Update on The Performance of Democratic Institutions | January 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. “If I exit the government, I will pose a greater threat to you,” PM
  2. Pakistan slides 3 points on Corruption Perception Index 2021
  3. First Female Judge of Supreme Court
  4. PM unveils public version of National Security Policy
  5. FM acknowledges fencing differences with Afghan Taliban
  6. PTI has concealed dozen of Bank accounts: ECP
  7. PM appoints new Adviser on Accountability
  8. IHC declares Pakistan Navy’s Sailing Club and Farmhouses Illegal
  9. SC grants stay to Punjab Government’s Ravi Riverfront Urban Development Project
  10. NAB Chairman skips PAC meeting
  11. Dr. Tariq Banuri restored as HEC Chair
  12. IHC indicts former GB Chief Judge on affidavit scandal
  13. 3rd meeting of Apex Committee to Afghanistan
  14. 246th Corps Commanders’ Conference
  15. Speaker National Assembly meets Foreign Dignitaries
  16. Chairman Senate meets Foreign Dignitaries
  17. Interactions of COAS with Foreign Dignitaries
  18. Prime Minister’s Interactions with COAS
  19. Myanmar’s Junta files 5 new corruption charges Aung San Suu Kyi

“If I exit the government, I will pose a greater threat to you,” PM

Prime Minister Mr. Imran Khan

In a not-so-veiled threat during a live answering of public questions on January 23 Prime Minister Mr. Imran Khan, said that he will be more dangerous when he is out of office and on the streets.

“If I exit the government, I will pose a greater threat to you. Right now, I am sitting quietly in my office and watching the drama unfold. But if I take to the streets, you will have nowhere to hide,” he said while addressing public questions in a session titled “Ap ka wazir e azam, ap ke sath.” [1]

Pakistan slides 3 points on Corruption Perception Index 2021

Perception of corruption in Pakistan has seen a rise for the third straight year as Corruption Perception Index 2021 has recorded Pakistan’s score slipping 3 points to 28 from 31 in 2020. Pakistan’ international ranking also fell by a whopping 16 places to 140 compared to 124 in 2020. [2]

The annual Corruption Perception Index is issued by the Transparency International (TI) which has been compiling and releasing the international CPI for the past 26 years as a survey of the surveys.

First Female Judge of Supreme Court

First female judge of Supreme Court Justice Ayesha Malik taking oath

On January 24, Justice Ayesha Malik was sworn in as the first female judge of the Supreme Court of Pakistan. [3]

Justice Malik’s appointment was confirmed by the Parliamentary Committee on the Appointment of Superior Judiciary on January 18. Earlier on January 6, the Judicial Commission had approved her appointment with five (5) out of nine (9) members supporting her appointment. Justice Ayesha Malik’s appointment has been hailed widely in the country though it has not been without controversy as she was ranked fourth in the Lahore High Court in terms of seniority. Some members of the Judicial Commission, as well as lawyers’ bodies, have advocated using solely the principle of seniority for appointment of judges as long as a selection criteria is not developed . [4]

PM unveils public version of National Security Policy

On January 14, Prime Minister Mr. Imran Khan unveiled a public version of the national security policy which places economic stability as a key component of national security. [5] The policy has distinct chapters on National Security Framework, National Cohesion, Economic Future, Defence and Territorial Integrity, Internal Security, Foreign Policy and Human Security.

FM acknowledges fencing differences with Afghan Taliban

Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Foreign Minister of Pakistan

In a media briefing at the Foreign Office on January 3, Foreign Minister of Pakistan, Shah Mahmood Qureshi acknowledged differences with Taliban over fencing the Pakistan-Afghanistan border though he said that Pakistan would continue to fence the border on its side while resolving issues with Taliban through diplomatic channels. [6]

In December 2021, reports about Taliban preventing fencing and taking away spools of barbed wire had first emerged. Even though Pakistan had claimed at the time that the matter had been resolved and that further fencing would be done through mutual agreement, more reports of Taliban pulling down the fence and preventing Pakistani soldiers from erecting the barbed wire have continued to surface since.

On January 05, Director General, Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR), Maj. Gen. Babar Iftikhar said that Pakistan would complete fencing of the 2,600km-long border with Afghanistan. He termed the removal of fence and obstruction of the construction work by the Taliban fighters as “localised issues.” [7]

PTI has concealed dozen of Bank accounts: ECP

A report of the ECP Scrutiny Committee in the 7-year old Foreign Funding Case against Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has raised serious questions about the origin of hundreds of individual PTI donors and foreign companies and some discrepancies in the annual audited financial statements submitted by the PTI. [8]

The Scrutiny Committee was set up by the ECP in March 2018 and was charged with the responsibility to “conduct scrutiny of the financial statements and …. accounting records of PTI for … 2009 to 2013 for finding out the defects and omissions in the disclosure of funds and their sources, received from abroad.” [9]

According to the Scrutiny Committee report, the PTI under-reported an amount of Rs. 312 million over a four year period, between Fiscal Year (FY) 2009-10 and FY 2012-13. Year-wise details show that an amount of over Rs. 145 million was under reported in FY 2012-13 alone. Report also calls into question the certificate signed by PTI chairman, Mr. Imran Khan, submitted along with the details of PTI’s audited accounts. [10]

PM appoints new Adviser on Accountability

Brig. (Retd.) Muhammad Musaddiq Abbasi, newly-appointed Advisor to PM on Accountability and Interior

On January 26, Prime Minister of Pakistan, Mr. Imran Khan appointed Brig. (Retd.) Muhammad Musaddiq Abbasi as his Advisor on Accountability and Interior. [11] He replaced Mirza Shahzad Akbar who had tendered his resignation on January 24, which was accepted by the Prime Minister. [12]

IHC declares Pakistan Navy’s Sailing Club and Farmhouses Illegal

Declaring Pakistan Navy’s Sailing Club and Farmhouses constructed on the national park land illegal on January 7, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) Chief Justice, Justice Athar Minallah, ordered the Capital Development Authority (CDA) to take over these and issued directions to initiate criminal proceedings against former Naval Chief, Admiral Zafar Mehmud Abbasi and other officials for approving illegal constructions.

In a 45 page verdict, it was stated that “the engagement of the armed forces in an activity which is a transgression from the constitutional mandate e.g. undertaking commercial or real estate ventures etc. is definitely not in the public interest. Its coercive power, strength and discipline can only be used for the restricted functions prescribed under the Constitution rather than using these characteristics to enforce its will on the people that created it.”

The IHC in its order had also asked the Cabinet Division secretary to place the judgment before the PM and the Federal Cabinet so they could take measures to restore the rule of law in the federal capital. [13]

SC grants stay to Punjab Government’s Ravi Riverfront Urban Development Project

On January 31, a two-member Supreme Court bench comprising Justice Ijaz-ul-Ahsan and Justice Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi suspended the January 25 Lahore High Court (LHC) order, which had scrapped the Punjab government’s Ravi Urban Development project. The SC bench, however, also restrained the RUDA and other allied agencies from undertaking any work beyond lands that had already been acquired, were in possession and their compensation paid. [14]

In the LHC judgement announced on January 25, Justice Shahid Karim declared the acquisition of agricultural land for the project as unconstitutional and in violation of the fundamental rights of citizens. The judgement also declared several provisions of the Ravi Urban Development Authority Act 2020 unconstitutional, such as Section 4 of the RUDA Act 2020, which was termed to be in violation of Article 140-A of the Constitution dealing with formation of local governments. Justice Karim also directed the Ravi Urban Development Authority to return a loan of Rs. 5 billion to the Punjab government within two months and ruled that the authority had failed to comply with the laws and initiated the project without a master plan. [15]

NAB Chairman skips PAC meeting

Justice (Retd.) Javed Iqbal, Chairman NAB

On January 6, Chairman NAB, Justice (Retd.) Javed Iqbal, did not attend a special in-camera meeting of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) which had been convened at his own request. A letter written by the NAB in this regard to Secretary National Assembly stated that it was Prime Minister, Mr. Imran Khan himself who had approved “that the Director General would represent Chairman NAB in his capacity of Principal Accounting Officer, before the Parliamentary Committees, including the PAC, Constitutional and Statutory Bodies.” The letter went on to state that the PM’s decision was made “in view of the statutory functions and responsibilities of the Chairman NAB.” Rana Tanveer Hussain, Chairman PAC, ended the PAC meeting in protest. [16]

On January 8, however, another NAB letter was sent to Secretary National Assembly which requested to consider the earlier NAB letter as withdrawn as “the reference made in this context … to His Excellency the Hon’ble Prime Minister was [made] inadvertently and accidentally.” It also maintained that Chairman NAB held the Parliament in the highest esteem and will continue to appear as and when required. [17]

Chairman NAB had been avoiding successive PAC meetings despite repeated summons and had finally appeared before the PAC for the first time on December 7, 2021, but requested to convene an in camera meeting to review performance of NAB.[18]

Dr. Tariq Banuri restored as HEC Chair

Dr Tariq Banuri, Chairman, Higher Education Commission (HEC)

Restoring Dr Tariq Banuri as chairman Higher Education Commission (HEC), a short order issued on January 17 by Justice Aamer Farooq of the IHC stated that the government notifications, dated 26/03/2021 and 05/04/2021, were issued without lawful authority and contrary to the amended provisions of the HEC Ordinance, 2002. [19]

IHC indicts former GB Chief Judge on affidavit scandal

Former Gilgit-Baltistan Chief Judge, Rana Mohammad Shamim

On January 20, IHC indicted former GB Chief Judge, Rana Mohammad Shamim, for contempt of court over an affidavit in which the judge had accused a former Chief Justice Mr. Saqib Nisar of trying to manipulate the outcome of a case involving former Prime Minister Mr. Muhammad Nawaz Sharif. However, the IHC deferred framing of charges against journalists Mr. Ansar Abbasi, Mr. Aamir Ghauri and Jang Group’s owner, Mir Shakeelur Rehman after journalists’ bodies assured the court they would devise a code of conduct to regulate reporting on sub judice matters. [20]

3rd meeting of Apex Committee on Afghanistan

Prime Minister chairing 3rd meeting of Apex Committee on Afghanistan

On January 14, 3rd meeting of Apex Committee on Afghanistan was chaired by Prime Minister Mr. Imran Khan. The meeting was attended by Federal Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Information and Interior, Advisor to PM on Commerce and National Security as well as Chief of the Army Staff (COAS). [21] Prime Minister said that “Pakistan is committed to provide all out support to Afghan people to avert humanitarian crisis.”[22]

246th Corps Commanders’ Conference

On January 11, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Chief of Army Staff chaired the 246th Corps Commanders’ Conference held at the GHQ. According to the ISPR, the forum took comprehensive review of the security situation with particular focus on Border Management and Internal Security.[23]

Speaker National Assembly meets Foreign Dignitaries

Mr. Asad Qaiser, Speaker, National Assembly of Pakistan
  1. On January 3, a delegation of Hindu Yatries headed by Ms. Kundan Bai Ji called on Mr. Asad Qaiser, Speaker, National Assembly.[24]
  2. On January 6, diplomats of Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) countries called on Mr. Asad Qaiser, Speaker, National Assembly at the reception hosted in the honour of diplomats of OIC countries.[25]

Chairman Senate meets Foreign Dignitaries

Senator Muhammad Sadiq Sanjrani, Chairman Senate of Pakistan
  1. Senator Muhammad Sadiq Sanjarani, Chairman Senate, launched the annual ‘APCEA Sustainable Development Report 2021’ at the Chinese Embassy, Islamabad on January 05. [26]
  2. On January 7, a delegation led by Mr. Radha Al Saleh, Chairman of Chamber of Commerce and Industries of Oman, called on Mr. Muhammad Sadiq Sanjarani, Chairman Senate at the Parliament House, Islamabad.[27]

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. Dr. Christian Turner, British High Commissioner to Pakistan on January 07 [28]
  2. Mr. Yerzhan Kistafin, Ambassador of Kazakhstan to Pakistan on January 17 [29]
  3. Mr. Nong Rong, Ambassador of China to Pakistan on January 19 [30]
  4. Mr. Mohamed Karmoune, Ambassador of Morocco to Pakistan on January 24[31]
  5. Mr. Michael Owen, former English Footballer, on January 25 [32]
  6. Ms. Androulla Kaminara, Ambassador of European Union (EU) to Pakistan on January 31 [33]

Prime Minister’s Interactions with COAS

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

  1. On January 14, PM and COAS met during the third meeting of the Apex committee on Afghanistan. Minister of Defence was not part of the meeting. [34]
  2. On January 26, PM and COAS met at the PM Office. According to the PMO, “professional matters pertaining to Pakistan Army were discussed during the meeting.” Defence Minister was not part of the meeting. [35]

Myanmar’s Junta files 5 new corruption charges against Aung San Suu Kyi

Aung San Suu Kyi

Five (5) new corruption charges have been filed by Myanmar’s military against the ousted leader Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi including the hire, purchase and maintenance of a helicopter used by her government. [36] She has been detained since February 1, 2021.

References

  1. Syed Irfan Raza, “Dread the day when I’ll be back on streets, warns PM Imran,” Dawn online, January 24, 2022, accessed February 3, 2022. https://www.dawn.com/news/1671128/dread-the-day-when-ill-be-back-on-streets-warns-pm-imran.

  2. Zulqernain Tahir, “Pakistan’s Transparency ranking worse off under PTI,” Dawn online, January 26, 2022, accessed February 03, 2022. https://www.dawn.com/news/1671455/pakistans-transparency-ranking-worse-off-under-pti.

  3. Nadir Guramani, “Parliamentary panel approves appointment of Justice Ayesha Malik as SC judge,” Dawn online, January 19, 2022, accessed February 03, 2022. https://www.dawn.com/news/1670361.

  4. “Justice Ayesha sworn in as SC’s first woman judge,” Dawn online, January 25, 2022, accessed February 03, 2022. https://www.dawn.com/news/1671340/justice-ayesha-sworn-in-as-scs-first-woman-judge.

  5. Baqir Sajjad Syed, “Security policy places economy front and centre,” Dawn online, January 15, 2022, accessed February 3, 2022. https://www.dawn.com/news/1669494.

  6. Baqir Sajjad Syed, “FM concedes discord exists with Taliban over border fence,” Dawn online, January 04, 2022, January 26, 2022. https://epaper.dawn.com/DetailImage.php?StoryImage=04_01_2022_001_007.

  7. Baqir Sajjad Syed, “Fencing on border with Afghanistan to continue, says ISPR,” Dawn online, January 06, 2022, accessed February 02, 2022. https://www.dawn.com/news/1667915/fencing-on-border-with-afghanistan-to-continue-says-ispr.

  8. Syed Irfan Raza, “PTI tried to keep lid on foreign accounts, reveals ECP,” Dawn online, January 05, 2022, accessed February 01, 2022. https://www.dawn.com/news/1667665.

  9. Ahmed Bilal Mehboob, “Scrutiny and beyond,” Dawn online, January 14, 2022, accessed February 09, 2022, https://www.dawn.com/news/1669369/scrutiny-and-beyond.

  10. Syed Irfan Raza, “PTI tried to keep lid on foreign accounts, reveals ECP,” Dawn online, January 05, 2022, accessed February 01, 2022. https://www.dawn.com/news/1667665.

  11. “Ex-DG NAB Musaddiq Abbasi appointed PM’s accountability adviser,” Daily Times online, January 26, 2022, accessed February 09, 2022, https://en.dailypakistan.com.pk/26-Jan-2022/ex-dg-nab-musaddiq-abbasi-appointed-pm-s-accountability-adviser.

  12. Syed Irfan Raza, “PM’s aide on anti-graft drive quits under a cloud,” January 25, 2022, accessed February 03, 2022. https://www.dawn.com/news/1671346/pms-aide-on-anti-graft-drive-quits-under-a-cloud.

  13. Malik Asad, “IHC orders demolition of navy’s farmhouses, sailing club in capital,” Dawn online, January 8, 2022, accessed February 02, 2022. https://www.dawn.com/news/1668232.

  14. Nasir Iqbal, “SC stays Lahore High Court order against Ravi riverfront project,” Dawn online, February 1, 2022, accessed February 04, 2022. https://www.dawn.com/news/1672556/sc-stays-lahore-high-court-order-against-ravi-riverfront-project.

  15. Wajih Ahmad Shaikh, “LHC scraps celebrated Ravi riverfront project,” Dawn online, January 26, 2022, accessed February 3, 2022. https://www.dawn.com/news/1671452.

  16. Rizwan Shehzad, “NAB tells PAC PM asked chairman to not appear before any committee,” The Express Tribune online, January 6, 2022, accessed February 09, 2022, https://tribune.com.pk/story/2337440/nab-tells-pac-pm-asked-chairman-to-not-appear-before-any-committee.

  17. ‘NAB takes U-turn on chief’s appearance before Public Accounts Committee,” Dawn online, January 09, 2022, accessed February 2, 2022. https://www.dawn.com/news/1668400.

  18. “Nab Chairman to give in-camera briefing to PAC on Jan 6,” ARY News TV online, December 7, 2021, accessed February 09, 2022, https://arynews.tv/nab-chairman-reaches-parliament-appears-before-pac/.

  19. “IHC restores Dr Tariq Banuri as HEC chairman,” The News International online, January 18, 2021, accessed February 03, 2022. https://www.thenews.com.pk/latest/926226-ihc-restores-dr-tariq-banuri-as-hec-chairman.

  20. Malik Asad,” Ex-GB judge indicted for ‘scandalous affidavit’,” Dawn online, January 21, 2022, accessed February 03, 2022. https://www.dawn.com/news/1670668

  21. “”Pakistan is committed to provide all out support to Afghan people to avert humanitarian crisis,” said Prime Minister Imran Khan while chairing 3rd meeting of the Apex Committee on Afghanistan”, PMO online, January 14, 2022, accessed February 4, 2022. https://pmo.gov.pk/press_release_detailes.php?pr_id=3935.

  22. Prime Minister’s Office, Pakistan (@PakPMO), Twitter, January 14, 2022, 7:01 pm, accessed February 11, 2022, https://twitter.com/PakPMO/status/1481989896474886148?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw.

  23. “246th Corps Commanders’ Conference was held at GHQ today. General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) presided over the conference.” ISPR online, January 11, 2022, accessed February 03, 2022. https://www.ispr.gov.pk/press-release-detail.php?id=6351.

  24. Protection of Rights of Religious Minorities, a Religious and Constitutional Obligation: NA Speaker; Minorities’ Contribution For Development Of Pakistan Praiseworthy: NA Speaker – January 3, 2022,” National Assembly of Pakistan online, January 3, 2022, accessed February 09, 2022, https://na.gov.pk/en/pressrelease.php?content=101#4686.

  25. “Peace and stability in Afghanistan vital for regional peace: NA Speaker – January 6, 2022,” National Assembly of Pakistan online, January 06, 2022, accessed February 11, 2022, https://na.gov.pk/en/pressrelease.php?content=101#4690.

  26. “Chinese enterprises Report launched by Chairman Senate, speakers welcome Prime Minister’s February visit to China, CPEC investments top $ 25 billion says Nong Rong,” Senate of Pakistan online, January 05, 2022, accessed February 11, 2022. https://senate.gov.pk/en/news_content.php?id=4159.

  27. “Chairman Senate Muhammad Sadiq Sanjrani called for diversifying the already cordial ties with Oman and laid emphasis on increasing bilateral trade and economic relations in different sectors,” Senate of Pakistan online, January 7, 2022, accessed February 04, 2022. https://senate.gov.pk/en/news_content.php?id=4162.

  28. “British High Commissioner appreciates Pakistan’s efforts for regional peace,” Geo News online, January 07, 2022, accessed February 11, 2022. https://www.geo.tv/latest/392134-british-high-commissioner-meets-coas-gen-qamar-b.

  29. “Kazakhstan ambassador calls on COAS Gen Bajwa, appreciates Pakistan’s role in regional stability,” Geo News online, January 17, 2022, accessed February 11, 2022. https://www.geo.tv/latest/393844-kazakhstan-ambassador-calls-on-coas-appreciates-pakistans-role-in-regional-stability.

  30. “Chinese envoy calls on Gen Bajwa,” Express Tribune online, January 19, 2022, accessed February 11, 2022. https://tribune.com.pk/story/2339466/chinese-envoy-calls-on-gen-bajwa.

  31. “Moroccan ambassador calls on COAS Gen Bajwa,” The Nation online, January 24, 2022, accessed February 11, 2022. https://nation.com.pk/24-Jan-2022/moroccan-ambassador-calls-on-coas-gen-bajwa.

  32. DG ISPR @OfficialDGISPR, Twitter, January 25, 2022, 6:08 pm, accessed February 04, 2022, https://twitter.com/OfficialDGISPR/status/1485962897872363524?cxt=HHwWiIC90b7YmZ8pAAAA.

  33. “COAS, EU envoy discuss Afghanistan situation,” Express Tribune online, January 31, 2022, accessed February 11, 2022. https://tribune.com.pk/story/2341292/coas-eu-envoy-discuss-afghanistan-situation.

  34. “Pakistan is committed to provide all out support to Afghan people to avert humanitarian crisis,” said Prime Minister Imran Khan while chairing 3rd meeting of the Apex Committee on Afghanistan,” PMO online, January 14, 2022, accessed February 04, 2022. https://pmo.gov.pk/press_release_detailes.php?pr_id=3935.

  35. “Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa called on Prime Minister Imran Khan today.,” PMO online, January 26, 2022, accessed February 04, 2022. https://pmo.gov.pk/press_release_detailes.php?pr_id=3958.

  36. “Ousted Myanmar leader Suu Kyi faces five new corruption charges,” AlJazeera online, January 15, 2022, accessed February 11, 2022, https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/1/15/ousted-myanmar-leader-suu-kyi-faces-5-new-corruption-charges.