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Sunday, December 16, 2018

Pak PM Imran's sister fined by Supreme Court ~ and some acclaim him still in India

Imran Khan defeated their own system and became the PM of Pakistan .. and immediately spit venom .. .. on twitter taking  a potshot at our Indian Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modiji,  over the cancellation of meeting between India and Pakistan. “Disappointed at the arrogant & negative response by India to my call for resumption of the peace dialogue,” he tweeted. “However, all my life I have come across small men occupying big offices who do not have the vision to see the larger picture.”  .. one cannot expect anything more undiplomatic from someone who had buoyed up suddenly.  The little crooked mind cannot understand the bigger properly elected PM of the World’s largest democracy.    The meeting had been  called off because of two “deeply disturbing developments”—the brutal killing of a BSF jawan by Pakistan, and the release of 20 postage stamps in July “glorifying” terrorist Burhan Wani.  India was in right in asserting what they knew was right !

Pakistan’s world record holding cricketer Yasir Shah called on Prime Minister Imran Khan here at his Banigala residence.  Imran Khan congratulated the team’s leg-spinner for setting the world record of taking the fastest 200 wickets in Test cricket history, having broken the previous record set by Australian bowler Clarrie Grimmett some 83 years ago.   Imran Khan himself was a great Cricketer before entering politics.  Looking at the way Ishant Sharma bowled a vital no-ball at Adelaide when Aaron Finch was out and now at Perth where more than few times, Aussies were not called for overstepping though the feet appeared clearly over the line, one recalls that tour of 1983 – Imran Khan, Sarfraz Nawaz, Sikhandar Bakht, Jallaluddin – repeatedly overstepped as Indian batsmen found the pace and swing too uncomfortable and lost the series badly.

After 2 decades of international cricket, Khan born in Lahore and  later at Oxford, became a fulltime politician.  In its  long political history, Pakistan  peppered with military coups and martial law, elections 2018 were to be  the second successive transition of power through a constitutional process from one elected government to another. However, political opponents, the independent Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, and international observers such as the European Union alleged that irregularities and election rigging occurred in many parts of the country, particularly in rural and urban Sindh and Punjab provinces.

Cash-strapped Pakistan on Friday received USD 1 billion from its close ally Saudi Arabia as part of a second bailout package to boost the country's dwindling dollar reserves, according to media reports. The latest package has shored up the central bank's foreign reserves, hitting the USD 9.4 billion mark, said State Bank of Pakistan Spokesman Abid Qamar. He said another Saudi financial package was expected in January next year, Dawn newspaper reported. In October, Saudi Arabia agreed to provide Pakistan USD 3 billion in foreign currency support for a year to address its balance-of-payments crisis.

Despite that financial boon, there is more trouble - Imran Khan, Pakistan’s prime minister, has appeared to drop his promise to grant citizenship to hundreds of thousands of Afghan refugees living on the margins of Pakistani society. On Sunday Khan announced that he would start work immediately to provide passports to the children of refugees born in the country. However, after a backlash from politicians and supporters of the country’s powerful military, he said on Tuesday that no decision had been made. About 2.7 million Afghan refugees have crossed the border into Pakistan since the Soviet invasion in 1979. Without official documentation they are shut out of schools and employment. As many as 1.5 million children born to refugees in Pakistan are denied citizenship. After a strong push-back, Khan said he had raised refugee citizenship “just to initiate a debate”. The founder of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, which swept to power in July, has a reputation for retracting his words, reported Pak Newspapers.

More on corruption was to flow as the Paki  Supreme Court on Thursday ordered Aleema Khanum, Prime Minister Imran Khan's sister, to pay Rs29.4 million in taxes and fines.    A three-judge SC bench, while hearing a case against 44 politically exposed individuals or their benamidars who possess properties in the United Arab Emirates, remarked that failure on Khanum's part to oblige to court orders will result in confiscation of her properties.  In its  hearing, the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) told the court that a fine and tax worth Rs.29.4m has been placed on Khanum, who has been identified as benamidar of a property.   Khanum, who was present in court, took the stand and said that she had bought the property abroad in 2008 against $370,000 and that she had sold the said property in 2017.

According to the summary, 96 more Pakistanis have been identified for having properties abroad. The total number of Pakistanis with properties abroad is now 2,154. Out of these, 1,208 people own properties in the UAE.  At least 21 Pakistanis that own these properties have been sent notices in accordance with the court's orders, the summary said and at least Rs45m have been recovered from these people. This case is the result of a list of politically exposed people which was submitted as part of an annexure to a three-judge SC bench comprising Chief Justice Saqib Nisar, Justice Faisal Arab and Justice Ijazul Ahsan. Taking suo motu notice of the matter, the apex court had observed that it appeared the money siphoned off abroad without payment of taxes through illegal channels represented either ill-gotten gains or kickbacks from public contracts. “Such money creates gross disproportion, inequality and disparity in society, which warps economic activity and growth, and constitutes plunder and theft of national wealth,” it had said.

Imran Khan’s sister Aleema Khanum  has been fined for not disclosing her property in the UAE, with the Supreme Court (SC) ordering her to submit Rs29.4 million as a fine. However, she was not asked to disclose her source of income and neither was a joint investigation team (JIT) ordered to probe her source of income or for the authenticity of the money trail she presented in court. No reference of assets beyond known means was filed against her in the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) either.  On the other hand, on the same day, the SC ordered a JIT against former premier Nawaz Sharif for allegedly allotting an Auqaf land in the Pakpattan district back in 1986, when he was the chief minister of Punjab. Moving beyond Nawaz, Maryam Nawaz was also asked to prove her innocence in front of a JIT in connection to the Mayfair apartments. Similarly, Saad Rafique and Shehbaz Sharif are both facing prison sentences for ‘misusing’ their authority and for their alleged involvement in corrupt practices.

Pak press reported that  Khanum’s case is an exception. She came to court, offered a simple explanation – saying she bought the property in Dubai with half of her own capital and half taken from a mortgage loan – and her justification was accepted without any inquiry being deemed necessary.   This begs the question: is there a double standard of justice and accountability prevalent in the country? After all, if a former prime minister, his brother, daughter and other party members can face inquiries pertaining to assets beyond their means that they failed to reveal, then we have to wonder why Khanum should not be subjected to the same process. After all, if she proves her innocence in front of a JIT, she can easily get a clean chit and would set the perfect example of how in Naya Pakistan accountability truly is across the board, and not just another drive meant to dent parties of the opposition.

Sure, such things would go unheard and unnoticed by those  in India, who acclaim the present leadership of Pak and those (couple of Minister of erstwhile regime)  who went over to Pak and spoke disparagingly about our Nation.  Fie upon such politicians !!

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
16th Dec 2018.

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