Update on The Performance of Democratic Institutions | February 2022

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This update is meant to identify key developments during the month on Performance of Democratic Institutions in Pakistan with selected high-profile international developments included occasionally.

  1. Pakistan retains Hybrid Regime status in EIU’s Democracy Index 2021
  2. 28th CJP Sworn-in
  3. Performance Evaluation of Federal Ministries
  4. SC declares Void Sections 74 and 75 of Sindh Local Government Act, 2021
  5. Sindh Assembly passes Sindh Students Union Act, 2019
  6. IHC Stay Order against election for Islamabad Mayor
  7. Second Phase of KP LG Elections
  8. ECP disqualifies Faisal Vawda in dual citizenship case
  9. Subsidized plots for Judges, Bureaucrats Illegal: IHC
  10. Reconstitution of PTI’s Core and Central Executive Committees
  11. 4th meeting of Apex Committee on Afghanistan
  12. 247th Corps Commanders conference
  13. Interaction of Foreign Dignitaries with Speaker National Assembly
  14. Chairman Senate meets Foreign Dignitaries
  15. Interactions of COAS with Foreign Dignitaries
  16. Prime Minister’s Interactions with COAS

Pakistan retains Hybrid Regime status in EIU’s Democracy Index 2021

On February 10, the Economist Intelligence Unit released its Democracy Index 2021 highlighting that democracy faced continued challenges worldwide in 2021 with increased pressure due to coronavirus pandemic and increasing support for authoritarian alternatives.[1]

Termed again as a Hybrid Regime, the Economist Intelligence Unit’s (EIU) Democracy Index 2021 has given Pakistan a global ranking of 104, down from 105 in 2020.

With the overall score of 4.31, Pakistan has received a score of 5.67 under the category of electoral process and pluralism, a score of 5.36 in Functioning of government, a score of 3.33 in Political Participation, 2.50 in Political culture and 4.71 on Civil Liberties.

The EIU Democracy Index divides 167 countries covered by the index in 4 regime types which include Full Democracies, Flawed Democracies, Hybrid Regimes and Authoritarian Regimes. Pakistan is placed among 34 Hybrid regimes around the world.

The index notes that in 2021, “less than half (45.7%) of the world’s population now live in a democracy of some sort, a significant decline from 2020 (49.4%). Even fewer (6.4%) reside in a “full democracy”; this level is down from 8.4% in 2020, after two countries (Chile and Spain) were downgraded to “flawed democracies”. Substantially more than a third of the world’s population (37.1%) live under authoritarian rule, with a large share being in China.” [2]

28th CJP Sworn-in

President administering the oath to Justice Umar Ata Bandial as Chief Justice of Pakistan

On February 02, Justice Umar Ata Bandial was sworn in as the 28th Chief Justice of Pakistan by the President Dr. Arif Alvi. Chief Justice Bandial will serve in the office until September 16, 2023 after which Justice Qazi Faez Isa is set to take the charge and remain in office until October 25, 2024. [3]

Speaking at a full court reference held in the honour of outgoing Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed, Justice Bandial said that ‘scandalisation’ of judges and a massive backlog of undecided cases are major challenges facing the judiciary.[4]

Performance Evaluation of Federal Ministries

As a result of a first-of-its-kind annual review of performance of 41 Federal Government ministries and divisions, Prime Minister of Pakistan honoured the 10 best performing ministries and divisions on February 10. In order of their performance, these included Ministry of Communications; Ministry of Planning, Development and Special Initiatives; Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division; Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training; Ministry of Human Rights; Ministry of Industries and Production; National Security Division; Ministry of Commerce; Ministry of Interior; and Ministry of National Food Security and Research.

Explaining the Performance Agreements Process signed between PM and Federal Ministers against which performance was reviewed by the PMO, Prime Minister explained that 1,090 targets were set by the ministries and divisions of which 424 would be completed in 2022, including 207 related to governance and 100 to infrastructure.[5]

SC declares Void Sections 74 and 75 of Sindh Local Government Act, 2021

On February 1, the last day of his tenure as Chief Justice of Pakistan, Justice Gulzar Ahmed declared void Sections 74 & 75 of the Sindh Local Government Act 2021 for being against the principle enshrined in the Objectives Resolution, fundamental rights enacted in Articles 9, 14 and 25 of the Constitution and contrary to and in direct conflict with Article 140A of the Constitution. The SC also stopped the Sindh government from undertaking any fresh projects within the domain of the elected local government. [6]

The Supreme Court was hearing an appeal filed by the Muttahida Quami Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) that sought empowerment and autonomy for Local Governments in Sindh.

Following the judgement, Provincial Government laid the Sindh Local Government (Amendment) Bill 2022 in the Sindh Assembly on February 22 where it was announced that a Special Committee with representatives from all parties would review the amended bill.[7] However, the committee has not been notified and therefore the committee never met.

Sindh Assembly passes Sindh Students Union Act, 2019

On February 11, Provincial Assembly of Sindh unanimously passed the Sindh Students Union Act, 2019 making Sindh the first province to restore students’ unions in educational institutions since after the ban placed in 1984 by martial law regime under Gen. Zia-ul-Haq.

Support for the restoration of students unions was first expressed through a resolution in November 2019 by Ms. Nida Khuhro, MPA (PPPP). The resolution was unanimously passed by the Sindh Assembly on November 4, 2019 asking the provincial government to lift the ban on student unions in Sindh by introducing a code of conduct that may help avoid conflict among various student organisations in future. [8] On December 9, 2019, the Sindh cabinet approved a bill to lift ban on Students’ Union. [9]

According to the Sindh Students Union Act, 2019, within two months of the passage of this Act, each educational institution in Sindh shall formulate regulations and procedures for the conduct of the Student Union and conduct annual elections for Students Union. The law defines that each elected union will work towards maintaining social and academic welfare of the students, ensure rights and interests of all students, organize social, cultural, intellectual or other extra-curricular events to help in forming a student’s personality and make them responsible citizens, promote and strengthen relations between students and educational institutions, oppose and bring to light any discrimination or injustice that obstructs the social and academic life of students, endeavour to make students responsible citizens, aware of their rights and obligations towards their country as provided under the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan as well as other laws, play the role of a bridge between the students, Educational Institution and its staff to further the objective of academic excellence, coordinate and liaise with elected students bodies of different jurisdictions in the country, assist the Educational Institution in maintaining discipline and ensure the respect of teachers and staff of Educational Institution ensure democratic and inclusive atmosphere for healthy debate that respects others opinions. Elected Students Unions are also barred from indulging in any prejudicial activity within the premises of any Educational Institution or any other place connected with or related to any Educational Institution. [10]

IHC Stay Order against election for Islamabad Mayor

On February 10, Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani of the Islamabad High Court issued a stay order against holding elections for Islamabad’s mayor under temporary legislation and advised the government to conduct the polls through an Act of Parliament. He remarked that the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) Local Government Ordinance 2021 can not be used for election in the absence of an act of Parliament. [11]

Second Phase of KP LG Elections

On February 09, Election Commission of Pakistan issued a fresh schedule for holding second phase of local government elections in KP to be held on March 31, 2022 as a two-judge Supreme Court bench consisting of Justice Ijaz-ul-Ahsan and Justice Ayesha A. Malik suspended the Peshawar High Court’s (PHC) order that had postponed the holding of second phase of LG elections in KP due to weather conditions. [12]

Earlier, the first phase of LG Elections was held in 17 districts of KP on December 19, 2021 and the second phase elections were scheduled to be held on March 27, 2022.

ECP disqualifies Faisal Vawda in dual citizenship case

Mr. Faisal Vawda

On February 09, Election Commission of Pakistan disqualified Mr. Faisal Vawda, former MNA, Senator and federal minister, for submitting a false affidavit about his citizenship while submitting nomination papers for General Election 2018. The ECP judgement also stated that disqualification handed down under Article 62 (1)(f) of the Constitution is for life. Following the judgment, the ECP also de-notified him as senator to which he was returned as a member on March 10, 2021.

At the time that Mr. Vawda had filed his nomination papers to contest election as MNA in General Election 2018, he was a dual national holding nationality of Pakistan and the US. However, in an affidavit submitted at the time, he had stated that he was not a citizen of any other country.[13]

On February 15, Mr. Vawda filed an appeal before the IHC against his lifetime disqualification arguing that the ECP lacked jurisdiction to invoke Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution and to disqualify Mr. Vawda for life since it was not a court of law. [14] However, the IHC dismissed Mr. Vawda’s petition with the observation that the ECP was bound to give effect to the apex court declarations and “that is what it has done.” Justice Athar Minallah, IHC Chief Justice, also observed that dubious conduct of Mr. Vawda was the reason for his disqualification.[15] On February 18, Mr. Vawda petitioned the Supreme Court that the ECP had given no grounds or reasons for invoking Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution to disqualify him for life.[16]

Subsidized plots for Judges, Bureaucrats Illegal: IHC

On February 03, an IHC division bench consisting of Chief Justice Athar Minallah and Justice Mohsin Akhtar ruled that the allotment of plots on subsidised rates to top judges, lawyers and bureaucrats was illegal.

The judgement stated that the selection in the second membership drive by the Federal Government Employees Housing Authority (FGEHA) lacked transparency, the allotment of plots on subsidised rates had cost the public exchequer around Rs. 1 trillion in losses and a judge of the Supreme Court or high court, like a civil servant or other federal government employee, has no right or entitlement to a plot costing less than its market value. [17]

Reconstitution of PTI’s Core and Central Executive Committees

On February 26, Chairman PTI and Prime Minister, Mr. Imran Khan reconstituted the party’s 33-member Core Committee and 60 member Central Executive Committee (CEC). Mr. Khan is to remain head of both PTI committees. [18]

On December 24, 2021, Mr. Imran Khan had dissolved all PTI organisations across Pakistan. He appointed Mr. Asad Umar, Federal Minister for Planning and Development, as PTI’s Central Secretary General. He also appointed Mr. Pervez Khattak, Federal Minister for Defence, as PTI President in KP, Mr. Ali Zaidi, Federal Minister for Maritime Affairs, as PTI President in Sindh, Mr. Qasim Suri, Deputy Speaker National Assembly, as PTI President in Balochistan, and Mr. Shafqat Mahmood, Federal Minister for Federal Education, Professional Training, National Heritage and Culture, as PTI President in Punjab. [19]

4th meeting of Apex Committee on Afghanistan

Prime Minister chairing 4th meeting of Apex Committee on Afghanistan

On February 14, Prime Minister Mr. Imran Khan chaired 4th meeting of the Apex Committee on Afghanistan and directed that scholarships for Afghan students must continue; priority be given to trade, healthcare and communication projects for Afghanistan and that international community must help avert humanitarian crisis. The meeting was attended by relevant Federal Ministers and Chief of Army Staff. [20]

247th Corps Commanders conference

On February 09, 247th Corps Commanders conference was held at General Headquarters in Rawalpindi. According to Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR), Corps Commanders were briefed on recent incidents of terrorism and steps being taken to disarm enemy’s sinister design to destabilise the country, forum also paid tribute to the martyrs who were martyred during recent terrorist attacks in Balochistan. [21]

Interaction of Foreign Dignitaries with Speaker National Assembly

Mr. Asad Qaiser, Speaker, National Assembly of Pakistan

Following foreign dignitaries called on Speaker National Assembly, Mr. Asad Qaiser during February 2022:

  1. Dr. Christian Turner, British High Commissioner to Pakistan, on February 08 [22]
  2. Mr. Bernhard Stephan Schlagheck, German Ambassador to Pakistan, on February 20 [23]
  3. Prof Dr. Ali Erbas, President Religious Affairs, Turkish Republic (Diyanet) , on February 21 [24]

Chairman Senate meets Foreign Dignitaries

Senator Muhammad Sadiq Sanjrani, Chairman Senate of Pakistan

Following foreign dignitaries called on Chairman Senate Senator Sadiq Sanjrani during February 2022:

  1. On February 04, Canadian High Commissioner to Pakistan, Ms. Wendy Gilmour [25]
  2. On February 04, USAID Mission Director for Pakistan, Ms. Julie A. Koenen [26]
  3. On February 22, Mr. Chris Kaye, Country Head of the World Food Program (WFP) [27]
  4. On February 24, USAID Mission Director for Pakistan, Ms. Julie A. Koenen [28]

Interactions of COAS with Foreign Dignitaries

General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Chief of Army Staff

The following foreign dignitaries called on General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) during the month:

  1. Canadian High Commissioner to Pakistan, Ms. Wendy Gilmour, on February 01 [29]
  2. Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Turkmenistan on February 01 [30]
  3. Interior Minister of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), His Royal Highness Prince Abdulaziz Bin Saud Bin Naif Bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, on February 07 [31]
  4. Interior Minister of Iran, Mr. Ahmad Vahidi, on February 14 [32]
  5. Commander of Sri Lankan Navy, Vice Admiral Nishantha Ulugetenne, on February 22 [33]
  6. Ambassador of Uzbekistan to Pakistan, Mr. Aybek Arif Usmanov, on February 25 [34]
  7. Archbishop of Canterbury (ABC), Head of the Church of England, Honourable Justin Welby, and Dr Christian Turner, British High Commissioner to Pakistan, on February 28 [35]

Prime Minister’s Interactions with COAS

During February 2022, Prime Minister Mr. Imran Khan, and Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa met and interacted thrice:

  1. On February 09, PM and COAS met during the visit at FC camp in Nushki. Defence Minister was not part of the group. [36]
  2. On February 14, PMO reported that PM and COAS met at the PM Office. [37] PMO also reported that COAS was part of the 4th meeting of the Apex Committee on Afghanistan held on February 14. Defence Minister was not part of either interaction. [38]
  3. On February 28, PM and COAS met at the PM Office to discuss internal and external security situation. Defence Minister was not part of the meeting.[39]

References

  1. “Democracy Index 2021: less than half the world lives in a democracy,” Economist Intelligence Unit online, February 10, 2022, accessed March 25, 2022. https://www.eiu.com/n/democracy-index-2021-less-than-half-the-world-lives-in-a-democracy/.

  2. “Democracy Index 2021: the China Challenge,” The Economist Intelligence Unit online. https://www.eiu.com/n/campaigns/democracy-index-2021/.

  3. Nasir Iqbal, “Criticise judgements, not judges, says Justice Umar Ata Bandial,” Dawn online, February 02, 2022, accessed March 04, 2022. https://www.dawn.com/news/1672724/criticise-judgements-not-judges-says-justice-umar-ata-bandial.

  4. Nasir Iqbal, “Justice Bandial sworn in to top judicial office,” Dawn online, February 03, 2022, accessed March 04, 2022. https://www.dawn.com/news/1673003/justice-bandial-sworn-in-to-top-judicial-office.

  5. “Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday asked the ministries to keep the national interest foremost and work on ‘out of the box solutions’ to deliver the most,” PMO online, February 10, 2022, accessed March 03, 2022. https://pmo.gov.pk/press_release_detailes.php?pr_id=3996.

  6. “Supreme Court stops Sindh from undertaking projects within LG domain,” Dawn online, February 2, 2022, accessed March 05, 2022. https://www.dawn.com/news/1672739/supreme-court-stops-sindh-from-undertaking-projects-within-lg-domain.

  7. Tahir Siddiqui, “Sindh Assembly select committee formed to finalise new local govt law,” Dawn online, February 24, 2022, accessed March 25, 2022. https://www.dawn.com/news/1676697.

  8. Azeem Samar, “PA unanimously resolves to lift ban on student unions in Sindh,” The News International online, November 05, 2019, accessed March 25, 2022. https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/550765-pa-unanimously-resolves-to-lift-ban-on-student-unions-in-sindh.

  9. Imtiaz Mugheri and Imtiaz Ali, “Sindh cabinet approves bill to lift ban on student unions,” Dawn online, December 09, 2019, accessed March 25, 2022. https://www.dawn.com/news/1521331.

  10. “The Sindh Students Union Act, 2019,” Provincial Assembly of Sindh online, February 11, 2022, accessed March 25, 2022. http://www.pas.gov.pk/uploads/acts/Sindh%20Act%20No.I%20of%202022.pdf.

  11. Malik Asad, “IHC stays elections of Islamabad’s mayor under temporary legislation,” Dawn online, February 11, 2022, accessed March 05, 2022. https://www.dawn.com/news/1674423/ihc-stays-elections-of-islamabads-mayor-under-temporary-legislation.

  12. Nasir Iqbal, “Supreme Court suspends KP local govt poll postponement order,” Dawn online, February 10, 2022, accessed March 05, 2022. https://www.dawn.com/news/1674281/supreme-court-suspends-kp-local-govt-poll-postponement-order.

  13. Mumtaz Alvi, “22 months on, ECP axe falls on Faisal Vawda,” The News International online, February 10, 2022, accessed March 04, 2022. https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/932161-22-months-on-ecp-axe-falls-on-vawda.

  14. Malik Asad, “Faisal Vawda moves IHC against his disqualification,” Dawn online, February 16, 2022, accessed March 04, 2022. https://www.dawn.com/news/1675331/faisal-vawda-moves-ihc-against-his-disqualification.

  15. Malik Asad, “IHC throws out Vawda’s plea against disqualification,” Dawn online, February 17, 2022, accessed March 04, 2022. https://www.dawn.com/news/1675521/ihc-throws-out-vawdas-plea-against-disqualification.

  16. Nasir Iqbal, “Faisal Vawda takes his disqualification case to Supreme Court,” Dawn online, February 19, 2022, accessed March 04, 2022. https://www.dawn.com/news/1675858/faisal-vawda-takes-his-disqualification-case-to-supreme-court.

  17. Malik Asad, “IHC strikes down subsidised plots for judges, bureaucrats,” Dawn online, February 04, 2022, accessed March 04, 2022. https://www.dawn.com/news/1673173/ihc-strikes-down-subsidised-plots-for-judges-bureaucrats.

  18. Amir Wasim, “PM Imran retains old faces in new PTI committees,” Dawn online, February 27, 2022, accessed March 04, 2022. https://www.dawn.com/news/1677304/pm-imran-retains-old-faces-in-new-pti-committees.

  19. Ch Fawad Hussain (@fawadchaudhry), Twitter, December 25, 2021, 1:12 pm, accessed December 28, 2021, https://twitter.com/fawadchaudhry/status/1474654272638046208.

  20. “Scholarships for Afghan students to play a vital role in Afghanistan’s development : PM,” PMO online, February 14, 2022, accessed March 3, 2022. https://pmo.gov.pk/press_release_detailes.php?pr_id=4001.

  21. Baqir Sajjad Syed, “Terrorists, abettors to be eliminated at all costs, vows Bajwa,” ISPR online, February 10, 2022, accessed March 1, 2022. https://www.dawn.com/news/1674290/terrorists-abettors-to-be-eliminated-at-all-costs-vows-bajwa.

  22. Speaker-National Assembly of Pakistan @NASpeakerPK Twitter, February 08, 2022, 5:34 pm, accessed Marchy 04, 2022. https://twitter.com/NASpeakerPK/status/1491027733690073088.

  23. Peaceful And Prosperous Afghanistan Vital For Regional Peace And Development: NA Speaker; Reiterates Constructive Cooperation Between German Bundestag And National Assembly Of Pakistan – February 15, 2022,” National Assembly of Pakistan online, February 15, 2022, accessed March 05, 2022: https://na.gov.pk/en/pressrelease.php?content=101#4741.

  24. “President Religious Affairs, Turkish Republic (Diyanet) Calls on Speaker National Assembly – February 21, 2022,” National Assembly of Pakistan online, February 21, 2022, accessed March 05, 2022: https://na.gov.pk/en/pressrelease.php?content=101#4755.

  25. “Canadian High Commissioner to Pakistan Called on Chairman Senate,” Senate of Pakistan online, February 04, 2022, accessed March 05, 2022. https://senate.gov.pk/en/news_content.php?id=4189.

  26. “USAID Mission Director for Pakistan Called on Chairman Senate,” Senate of Pakistan online, February 04, 2022, accessed March 05, 2022. https://senate.gov.pk/en/news_content.php?id=4190.

  27. “Chairman Senate Muhammad Sadiq Sanjrani exchanging views with Mr. Chris Kaye Representative and Country Director of the World Food Program (WFP) in Pakistan Parliament House Islamabad on February 22, 2022,” Senate of Pakistan online, February 22, 2022, accessed March 05, 2022. https://senate.gov.pk/en/news_content.php?id=4214.

  28. “USAID Mission Director for Pakistan Called on Chairman Senate,” Senate of Pakistan online, February 24, 2022, accessed March 05, 2022. https://senate.gov.pk/en/news_content.php?id=4223.

  29. “Ms Wendy Gilmour, Canadian High Commissioner to Pakistan called on General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) at GHQ,” ISPR online, February 01, 2022, accessed March 05, 2022. https://ispr.gov.pk/press-release-detail.php?id=6357.

  30. “Turkmenistan envoy, Canadian High Commissioner meet COAS,” Geo News online, February 01, 2022, accessed March 05, 2022. https://dunyanews.tv/en/Pakistan/639388-Turkmenistan-envoy-Canadian-High-Commissioner-meet-COAS.

  31. “His Royal Highness Prince Abdulaziz Bin Saud Bin Naif Bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, Interior Minister of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) called on General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Chief of Army Staff (COAS),” ISPR online, February 07, 2022, accessed March 05, 2022. https://ispr.gov.pk/press-release-detail.php?id=6358.

  32. “Mr Ahmad Vahidi, Interior Minister of Iran along with a delegation, visited GHQ and met General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Chief of Army Staff (COAS),” ISPR online, February 14, 2022, accessed March 05, 2022. https://ispr.gov.pk/press-release-detail.php?id=6365.

  33. “Vice Admiral Nishantha Ulugetenne, Commander of Sri Lankan Navy called on General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) at GHQ,” ISPR online, February 22, 2022, accessed March 05, 2022. https://ispr.gov.pk/press-release-detail.php?id=6370.

  34. “Uzbekistan ambassador calls on COAS,” The News International online, February 25, 2022, accessed March 05, 2022. https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/936534-uzbekistan-ambassador-calls-on-coas.

  35. “Honourable Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury (ABC), Head of the Church of England and His Excellency Doctor Christian Turner, British High Commissioner called on General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) at GHQ,” ISPR online, February 28, 2022, accessed March 05, 2022. https://ispr.gov.pk/press-release-detail.php?id=6371.

  36. Saleem Shahid, “PM announces 15pc increase in security forces’ salary,” Dawn online, February 09, 2022, accessed March 05, 2022. https://www.dawn.com/news/1674092/pm-announces-15pc-increase-in-security-forces-salary.

  37. “Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa called on Prime Minister Imran Khan today,” PMO online, February 14, 2022, accessed March 05, 2022. https://pmo.gov.pk/press_release_detailes.php?pr_id=4004.

  38. “Scholarships for Afghan students to play a vital role in Afghanistan’s development : PM,” PMO online, February 14, 2022, accessed March 3, 2022. https://pmo.gov.pk/press_release_detailes.php?pr_id=4001.

  39. “Army Chief calls on PM Imran Khan,” PMO online, February 28, 2022, accessed March 05, 2022. https://dunyanews.tv/en/Pakistan/643346-Army-Chief-meets-PM-Imran-Khan–