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> Monitor on Civil-Military Relations in Pakistan | October 2017
   
 
CMR Monitor
November 14, 2017
Islamabad

   

This monitor is meant to identify key developments during the month on Civil Military Relations in Pakistan with selected high-profile international developments included occasionally.

In this Issue:

  1. Interior Minister denied entry to former Premier's Trial Hearing by Rangers
  2. COAS comments on State of Economy
  3. Pakistan Army's Recovery of American hostages
  4. Continuing Role of COAS in Foreign Affairs
  5. Silence is also an Expression: DG ISPR
  6. Chief Minister Sharif bids farewell to Lahore Corps Commander
  7. Defence Minister "Calls On" Chiefs of Army & Naval Staff
  8. DG ISPR on Enlistment of Milli Muslim League
  9. Extra-Professional Activities by the Pakistan Army
  10. PM-COAS Interactions
  11. Thai Junta finally sets date for elections
  12. Genocide trial against Guatemalan dictator

 

Interior Minister denied entry to former Premier's Trial Hearing by Rangers

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Interior Minister Mr. Ahsan Iqbal speaking to the Press on October 02, 2017

In one of the most blatant face-offs in civil-military relations in recent times, the Federal Interior Minister, in full view of the nation, was denied access by Rangers into the Federal Judicial Complex in Islamabad on the day of hearing of former Prime Minister Mr. Nawaz Sharif's trial. When the Interior Minister asked the soldier on duty at the gate to call the commander present inside, the commander did not show up. [1]

Mr. Ahsan Iqbal openly and rightly claimed that, legally, the Ministry of Interior is the administrative Ministry of the Rangers. The Interior Minister had reached the Judicial Complex to personally ascertain the situation as several other PML-N leaders and media persons were denied entry, and the civil administration had claimed that the Rangers were not requisitioned by them. The Interior Minister was visibly upset at the treatment and the TV channels showed him saying that"This is not a banana republic…" and that "Two States cannot function within one State." [2]

After completing an internal inquiry within the civilian administration, Mr. Ahsan Iqbal made a statement on October 03, 2017 that the " civil administration was not responsible for any communication that led to this misunderstanding ". Mr. Iqbal also said, " We are seeking an explanation from Rangers... the DG Rangers now should explain under whose authority and whose directives they were deployed there ."[3]

The matter was also taken up in a cabinet meeting on October 03, 2017, and Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi is reported to have said, "Such incidents are not acceptable." [4]

Perhaps in reaction to the Interior Minister's remarks, on October 04, 2017, the Rangers and Quick Response Force (QRF) withdrew its personnel from the Parliament House, asking for written instructions for their deployment. According to media sources, the Punjab Rangers Director General was given 72 hours by the Interior Minister to provide an explanation for withdrawal of the force from the Parliament House as well as the earlier deployment of October 02, 2017 at the Federal Judicial Complex. Meanwhile, the Interior Minister directed the Frontier Constabulary to take over the Parliament House's security. [5]

It is not known what explanation was provided to the Interior Minister by the DG Punjab Rangers, however, a detailed press conference was held by the Director General Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor on October 5, 2017 in which a simplification of the events was given.[6]

The DG ISPR is quoted to have said, "… When a force is requisitioned for an area, then they do local coordination with the police and civilian administration…And it does not happen that all orders are in writing. Whatever area you are in, whatever threat to security there is, there is…" [7]

PILDAT believes that the incident was serious and had compromised the image of the country. An enquiry should be conducted and people responsible for the mistake be disciplined. 

 

COAS comments on State of Economy

ISPR joined hands with the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) in organizing a Seminar on Interplay of Economy and Security, [8] where the COAS as the Chief Guest said that: " The economy is showing mixed indicators. Growth has picked up but the debts are sky high. Infrastructure and energy have improved considerably but the current account balance is not in our favor. Our tax to GDP ratio is abysmally low and this needs to change if we are to break the begging bowl If I were a statesman or an economist, I would say that this is high time for us to place economic growth and sustainability at the highest priority… We have to increase our tax base, bring in fiscal discipline and ensure continuity of economic policies ."[9]

Later the DG ISPR commented in reply to a question on a TV channel that "If the economy is not bad, it is not doing so well either." [10] Reacting to this, the Federal Interior Minister, Mr. Ahsan Iqbal, who was in the US holding meetings with the World Bank and other institutions, [11] issued a statement saying that the ISPR should refrain from commenting on the country's economic situation. He said that "Pakistan's economy is stable," and " Such irresponsible statements can dent Pakistan's global image. The Government has turned around Pakistan's economy in the past four years, through policies of economic, infrastructure and development reforms ," he added. [12]

However, the DG ISPR, responding to a question at a press conference about Mr. Ahsan Iqbal's criticism said that, "I was disappointed as a soldier and as a citizen of Pakistan". [13] "… The Pakistan Army is a State institution and it is very important to sit and talk about things ."

The Prime Minister of Pakistan, however, said, " When everybody can express their views on the economy, then why can't the army chief do so? " However, he also added that the Army Chief always sees the glass 'half-filled.'[14]

PILDAT believes that it is inappropriate for any State institution to make public comments critical of any aspect of the policy or conduct of another State institution. There are appropriate channels and forums available for conveying the views of the institutions to the relevant quarters and such channels and forums should be used instead. It is the responsibility of the Government to keep such channels of communication open and such forums available for exchange of views.

 

Pakistan Army recovers American hostages

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U.S. citizen Caitlan Coleman, and her husband Joshua Boyle, with their two children

The rescue of 5 foreign nationals by the Pakistan Army reportedly held hostage by the Afghan militants, which was hailed as a win by both DG ISPR and subsequently by US President Donald Trump, was later questioned when CIA Chief reportedly confirmed on October 19 that the couple kidnapped by militants in Afghanistan had actually been kept in Pakistan for the past five years.[15] The recovery of the family came on the same day as meeting of the COAS with Acting US Assistant Secretary of State, Alice G. Wells.

 

Continuing Role of COAS in Foreign Affairs

The COAS is continuing to play an active role in the diplomatic domain. Following is an account of his diplomatic interactions during October 2017:

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Chief of Army Staff meeting Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, on October 01, 2017

1.    Visit to Afghanistan

The COAS undertook a trip to Kabul to meet the Afghan President Mr. Ashraf Ghani on October 01, 2017. The two leaders met in a one-on-one meeting at the Afghan Presidential Palace as well as in delegation level talks. [16]

From the Pakistan side, the delegation included Foreign Secretary Ms. Tehmina Janjua, DG ISI Lieutenant-General Naveed Mukhtar and Pakistan Ambassador at Kabul Zahid Nasrullah Khan and staff of the COAS. Afghan delegation consisted of Afghan 2nd Vice President, First Deputy Chief Executive officer, 2nd Deputy Chief Executive officer,National Security Advisor, Chief of National Directorate of Security (NDS), Afghan Defence minister, Afghan Interior Minister, Afghan Ambassador to Pakistan and the Afghan COAS. [17] No statement was issued by Pakistan's Foreign Office upon return from Afghanistan.

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Foreign Ministry delegation, under the leadership of Ms. Tehmina Janjua meeting with U.S. delegation under the leadership of Ms. Alice Wells

2.   Acting US Assistant Secretary of State Ms. Alice Wells called on COAS

A U.S. delegation comprising Deputy Assistant to the President and National Security Council Senior Director for South Asia, Ms. Lisa Curtis, Acting Assistant Secretary of State, Ambassador Alice Wells and U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan Mr. David Hale, called on the Chief of Army Staff on October 12, 2017 at the GHQ.[18] According to ISPR, the US delegation briefed COAS on US strategy in South Asia. A discussion on regional security also took place. [19]

Later in the day, Ms. Alice Wells also had a similar session with Foreign Secretary Ms. Tehmina Janjua, including representatives from the military at the Foreign Office in Islamabad. [20]

3.    COAS met Saudi Crown Prince

On October 13, 2017, Mr Nawaf Saeed Al-Maliki, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, called on the COAS at the GHQ. According to ISPR, ' issues of bilateral relations including defence and training cooperation remained the focus of the discussion .'[21]

4.   Visit to UAE & KSA

The COAS also made a three-day visit to the Middle East (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and UAE) returning to Pakistan on October 17, 2017. The visit was not reported by ISPR. According to the news reports, the COAS General Bajwa first met Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai and Prime Minister of the UAE as well as other key UAE leaders on October 14, 2017. Later, he flew to Saudi Arabia to attend an International Conference organized by the Saudi Defence ministry, themed: "Alliance Against Terrorism: Strategies and Capabilities". [22] General Bajwa also met the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on the sidelines of the conference. The Arab News only reported the meeting and no official word on the trip was published.[23]


"Silence is also an Expression," DG ISPR

In an unusual development, a Corps Commanders Conference held at the GHQ in Rawalpindi, which lasted 7 hours went unreported by the ISPR. Reportedly, the meeting was called by the COAS to take Corps Commanders into confidence about his recent visit to Afghanistan. [24]

However, in response to a question on the unusual lack of a statement from the Conference, DG ISPR said that, "Silence is also an expression ."[25]


Chief Minister Sharif bids farewell to Lahore Corps Commander

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Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif bidding farewell to Lahore Corps Commander Lt. Gen Sadiq Ali, on October 09, 2017

Punjab Chief Minister bade farewell to Lahore Corps Commander, Lt. Gen Sadiq Ali, who paid him a visit on October 09, 2017. [26] Lt. Gen Sadiq will be replaced with Lt. Gen. Aamer Riaz. [27] On the occasion CM Sharif said that ' peace in the country is the result of the sacrifices rendered by officers and soldiers of the armed forces .' He also expressed good wishes for the outgoing commander and praised the Pak Army's role in eradicating terrorism. [28]

 

Defence Minister "Calls On" Chiefs of Army & Naval Staff

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Defence Minister Khurram Dastgir Khan meeting the Chief of Army Staff at the GHQ on October 10, 2017

The scheme of executive authority, as envisaged and put in place by the Constitution of Pakistan, makes the Federal Government in-charge to have control and command over the armed forces. The Federal Government exercises its powers of control and command of the armed forces through its Ministry of Defence with a Minister of Defence as the head of the Ministry. However, the converse seems to have been conveyed through the case of Mr. Khurram Dastgir Khan, Minister of Defence, who, as reported by ISPR "called on the Chief of Army Staff" at the GHQ on October 10, 2017, whereas it should have been the other way around. [29]  

Mr. Khuram Dastgir Khan also called on the newly appointed Chief of the Naval Staff, Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi, at the Naval Headquarters in Islamabad, on October 23, 2017, where he also received a briefing on Pakistan Navy's role in Regional Maritime Security and Operational Development in the Indian Ocean Region. [30]

 

DG ISPR on Enlistment of Milli Muslim League

DG ISPR Major General Asif Ghafoor, in response to a question at a press conference regarding the enlistment of Milli Muslim League said that, " Every Pakistani has the right to participate in the polling process ."[31]

It must be noted that the Election Commission of Pakistan has rejected the application of Milli Muslim League to be enlisted as a political party. [32] Milli Muslim League (MML) is apparently the political front of Jamaat-ud-Dawa, which is a proscribed organization under the Anti Terrorism Act of Pakistan.

 

Extra-Professional Activities by the Pakistan Army

Following activities were organized by the Army during October 2017:

  1. Jeep Rally from Chitral to Islamabad

With Commandant Chitral Scouts Col. Moeen in the chair, it was decided in a meeting reported on October 11, 2017 that the Pakistan Army will organize Independence Jeep Rally on October 20, 2017, from Chitral City, to Islamabad, via Shandur Pass and Jaglot (Gilgit-Baltistan). [33]

On October 20, 2017, twenty jeep riders left Chitral for Islamabad via Gilgit-Baltistan. Commandant of Chitral Scouts, Colonel Moeen saw off the jeep riders after a festive party in the polo ground where events of traditional polo match, cultural show and paragliding were also held with thousands of spectators. [34]

  1. Jashan-e-Bahawalpur organized by Pakistan Army

    Pakistan Army organized a 10-day cultural show at Noor Mehal in Bahawalpur in which different local and national artists performed. The closing ceremony was held on October 16, 2017 in which the Corps Commander, Lt-Gen Sher Afgun, attended as the Chief Guest. The grandson of the late Amir of Bahawalpur Nawab Salahuddin Abbasi also attended the ceremony as the Guest of Honour. [35]

  2. Motor Rally organized by the Pakistan Army

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COAS witnessing Pakistan Motor Rally 2017 2nd segment at Gomal Zam, South Waziristan, on October 26, 2017

Pakistan Motor Rally 2017 was organized by the Pakistan Army from October 21 to October 31, 2017 reportedly to commemorate country's 70th year of independence.[36]

Chief of Army Staff (COAS) along with Governor KP Engineer Iqbal Zafar Jhagra attended the event. According to ISPR, the ' COAS appreciated spirit of all participants and organizers to promote peaceful and soft image of Pakistan .'[37]


PM-COAS Interactions

Prime Minister Mr. Shahid Khaqan Abassi and the Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa met twice during the month of October 2017: 

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Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi chairing a meeting of National Implementation Committee on FATA Reforms on October 12, 2017

  1. The first interaction took place during a meeting of the National Implementation Committee on FATA Reforms on October 12, 2017.[38]

    The meeting was attended by Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Minister for SAFRON Lt. Gen (R) Abdul Qadir Baloch, Minister for Law Mr. Zahid Hamid, Deputy Chairman Planning Commission, Mr. Sartaj Aziz, Governor Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Mr. Iqbal Zafar Jhagra and Chief Minister KP Mr. Pervez Khattak. The Minister of Defence was not part of the meeting.

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Pakistan Delegation led by Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi meeting U.S. delegation led by U.S. Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson

  1. The second interaction took place when the Pakistan delegation, led by Prime Minister Mr. Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, met U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, in Islamabad, on October 24, 2017. The Pakistani delegation included Foreign Minister Mr. Khawaja Asif, Interior Minister Mr. Ahsan Iqbal, Defence Minister Mr. Khurram Dastgir Khan, Foreign Secretary Ms. Tehmina Janjua, Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa and Inter-Services Intelligence Director General Lt Gen Naveed Mukhtar.[39]


International News


Thai Junta finally sets date for elections

Prime Minister General Prayuth Chan-ocha, on October 10, 2017, finally gave the date for general elections in Thailand. The elections will be held in November 2018 and a more precise date will be announced in June 2018. This is the most precise date the General has given since taking over power from Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra in 2014. Yingluck Shinawatra whose family (or those backed by them) has been winning every election in Thailand since 2001 and who was recently convicted and sentenced in corruption cases has since disappeared from Thailand and is considered a fugitive. [40]

On October 18, 2017, son of Thailand's ex-Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, and nephew of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, was also formally charged with money laundering. It has yet to be decided whether or not the case will go into criminal court. [41]


Genocide trial against Guatemalan dictator

A 91-year old Guatemalan dictator General (Retd.) Efrain Rios Montt faced a second trial for genocide on October 13, 2017. Rios Montt, who ruled from 1982-83, was convicted four years ago for ordering massacres leading to deaths of at least 1,771 Ixil Mayan Indians but the ruling was overturned. The Supreme Court of Guatemala will hear the case against the former dictator, who is 91 and diagnosed with senile dementia in 2015. [42]


References

[1] 'Whose orders is Rangers following?' Ahsan Iqbal lashes out at force for blocking entry to court, DAWN, October 02, 2017, as accessed on November 03, 2017 at
https://www.dawn.com/news/1361230

[2] 'Whose orders is Rangers following?' Ahsan Iqbal lashes out at force for blocking entry to court, DAWN, October 02, 2017, as accessed on November 03, 2017 at
https://www.dawn.com/news/1361230

[3] Punjab Rangers chief told to explain court takeover: Ahsan Iqbal, DAWN, October 04, 2017, as accessed on November 03, 2017 at
https://www.dawn.com/news/1361590

[4] Punjab Rangers chief told to explain court takeover: Ahsan Iqbal, DAWN, October 04, 2017, as accessed on November 03, 2017 at
https://www.dawn.com/news/1361590

[5] Rangers withdraw personnel from parliament, DAWN, October 05, 2017, as accessed on November 03, 2017 at
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[6] ISPR chief justifies Rangers' deployment at courts, DAWN, October 06, 2017, as accessed on November 03, 2017 at
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[7] ISPR chief justifies Rangers' deployment at courts, DAWN, October 06, 2017, as accessed on November 03, 2017 at
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[8] Army chief says economy showing mixed indicators, DAWN, October 12, 2017, as accessed on November 03, 2017 at
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[9] ISPR Press Release, Official Website, October 11, 2017, as accessed on November 03, 2017 at
https://www.ispr.gov.pk/front/main.asp?o=t-press_release&id=4319&cat=army

[10] Dunya News, 'Dunya Kamran Khan Ke Sath - 12 October 2017 - Dunya News,' YOUTUBE, October 12, 2017, web,
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KNI08o2ycko

[11] Ahsan Iqbal leaves for US, DAWN, October 11, 2017, as accessed on November 03, 2017 at
https://tribune.com.pk/story/1528120/ahsan-iqbal-leaves-us/

[12] ISPR should refrain from commenting on state of the economy: interior minister, DAWN, October 13, 2017, as accessed on November 03, 2017 at
https://www.dawn.com/news/1363592

[13] 'Democracy has nothing to fear from Pakistan Army': DG ISPR, DAWN, October 13, 2017, as accessed on November 03, 2017 at
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[14] Army chief has right to comment on economy: PM Abbasi, TRIBUNE, October 17, 2017, as accessed on November 03, 2017 at
https://tribune.com.pk/story/1533080/army-chief-right-comment-economy-pm-abbasi/

[15] Hostage family held in Pakistan for five years: CIA, DAWN, October 20, 2017, as accessed on November 03, 2017 at
https://www.dawn.com/news/1364928/hostage-family-held-in-pakistan-for-five-years-cia

[16] Bajwa meets Ghani, offers support to Afghanistan, DAWN, October 03, 2017, as accessed on November 03, 2017 at
https://www.dawn.com/news/1361348/bajwa-meets-ghani-offers-support-to-afghanistan

[17] ISPR Press Release, Official Website, October 01, 2017, as accessed on November 03, 2017 at
https://www.ispr.gov.pk/front/main.asp?o=t-press_release&id=4286&cat=army

[18] ISPR Press Release, Official Website, October 12, 2017, as accessed on November 03, 2017 at
https://www.ispr.gov.pk/front/main.asp?o=t-press_release&id=4323&cat=army

[19] ISPR Press Release, Official Website, October 12, 2017, as accessed on November 03, 2017 at
https://www.ispr.gov.pk/front/main.asp?o=t-press_release&id=4323&cat=army

[20] US sends high-level delegation in move to repair relations, DAWN, October 13, 2017, as accessed on November 03, 2017 at
https://www.dawn.com/news/1363481

[21] ISPR Press Release, Official Website, October 12, 2017, as accessed on November 03, 2017 at
https://www.ispr.gov.pk/front/main.asp?o=t-press_release&id=4323&cat=army

[22] Bajwa back home after 'quiet' visit to Saudi Arabia, UAE, DAWN, October 18, 2017, as accessed on November 03, 2017 at
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[23] Bajwa back home after 'quiet' visit to Saudi Arabia, UAE, DAWN, October 18, 2017, as accessed on November 03, 2017 at
https://www.dawn.com/news/1364522/bajwa-back-home-after-quiet-visit-to-saudi-arabia-uae

[24] COAS Bajwa chairs 'seven-hour' huddle at General Headquarters, DAWN, October 04, 2017, as accessed on November 03, 2017 at
https://www.dawn.com/news/1361576/bajwa-chairs-seven-hour-huddle-at-ghq

[25] A deafening silence, DAWN, October 07, 2017, as accessed on November 03, 2017 at
https://www.dawn.com/news/1362135

[26] Peace result of soldiers' sacrifices: CM, THE NATION, October 10, 2017, as accessed on November 03, 2017 at
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[27] Reshuffle at the top: A template of future under army chief, THE NATION, October 03, 2017, as accessed on November 03, 2017 at
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[28] Peace result of soldiers' sacrifices: CM, THE NATION, October 10, 2017, as accessed on November 03, 2017 at
http://nation.com.pk/10-Oct-2017/peace-result-of-soldiers-sacrifices-cm

[29] ISPR Press Release, Official Website, October 10, 2017, as accessed on November 03, 2017 at
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[30] Defence Ministry Press Release, Official Website, October 23, 2017, as accessed on November 03, 2017 at
http://www.mod.gov.pk/frmDetails.aspx?id=91&opt=newsevents

[31] No conflict between state institutions, says army, PAKISTAN TODAY, October 5, 2017, as accessed on November 03, 2017 at
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[32] ECP dismisses MML's plea to register as political party, GEO NEWS, October 11, 2017, as accessed on November 03, 2017 at
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[33] Army to hold jeep rally, DAWN, October 11, 2017, as accessed on November 03, 2017 at
https://www.dawn.com/news/1363043/army-to-hold-jeep-rally

[34] 20 riders from Chitral take part in jeep rally, DAWN, October 21, 2017, as accessed on November 03, 2017 at
https://www.dawn.com/news/1365267

[35] Army lauded as curtain falls on Jashn-e-Bahawalpur, THE NATION, October 17, 2017, as accessed on November 03, 2017 at
http://nation.com.pk/17-Oct-2017/army-lauded-as-curtain-falls-on-jashn-e-bahawalpur

[36] Army's 10-day motor rally starts on Saturday, DAWN, October 19, 2017, as accessed on November 03, 2017 at
https://www.dawn.com/news/1364759/armys-10-day-motor-rally-starts-on-saturday

[37] ISPR Press Release, Official Website, October 26, 2017, as accessed on November 03, 2017 at
https://www.ispr.gov.pk/front/main.asp?o=t-press_release&id=4345&cat=army

[38] Prime Minister Office Press Release, Official Website, October 17, 2017, as accessed on November 03, 2017 at
http://pmo.gov.pk/press_release_detailes.php?pr_id=2050

[39] Prime Minister Office Press Release, Official Website, October 24, 2017, as accessed on November 03, 2017 at
http://pmo.gov.pk/press_release_detailes.php?pr_id=2062

[40] Thai junta sets firm date for election after many false starts, REUTERS, October 10, 2017, as accessed on November 03, 2017 at
http://www.reuters.com/article/us-thailand-politics/thai-junta-sets-firm-date-for-election-after-many-false-starts-idUSKBN1CF0M5

[41] Son of Thailand's ex-PM Thaksin charged with money-laundering, REUTERS, October 18, 2017, as accessed on November 03, 2017 at
http://www.reuters.com/article/us-thailand-politics-shinawatra/son-of-thailands-ex-pm-thaksin-charged-with-money-laundering-idUSKBN1CN0RE

[42] Genocide trial against ex-Guatemalan dictator Rios Montt to restart, REUTERS, October 12, 2017, as accessed on November 03, 2017 at
http://www.reuters.com/article/us-guatemala-trial/genocide-trial-against-ex-guatemalan-dictator-rios-montt-to-restart-idUSKBN1CG2PR