08192017Headline:

PM 2nd address to nation and JC TOR by Abdul Q Kundi

Prime Minister of Pakistan made an important follow up address to the nation today. The speech had five distinct elements in it:

  1. He emphasized that he is son of the soil and that he loves the country more than himself. If that is the case then why holding such large investments outside the country. It is true that political victimization has been the culture in the country but love for the nation comes at a cost especially to those that rise to the top of the government. But these sacrifices are not forgotten and provide inspiration to others.
  2. He criticized electronic media for holding a public trial and issue convictions without waiting for proper prosecution. I agree with him in this regard. Media has been using its power to engage in character assassination as a tool used in the game of thrones. Electronic media has been source of increasing anarchy in the nation using fictional information and maintaining a state of constant crisis using one protest or the other as headline news. This does not mean freedom of expression should be curtailed as done recently in Turkey. But media should improve its reporting by hiring experienced journalists as anchors rather than showmen.
  3. He criticized opposition for engaging in negative politics of personal attacks and dharna. He cant blame others when he himself engaged in such practices in the past. The reason for it cult and family based political parties and no ground rules respected by any party. ECP is the main culprit in this failure of political parties to be truly representative of the people.
  4. His main constituency is Punjab which likes strongmen. His bravado and anger to deal with his opponents is to energize his Punjab centric base. But will be criticized in other parts of the country.
  5. He announced that a letter has been sent to Chief Justice for inquiry of Panama Papers. And abruptly closed his speech.

Here is my position on Panama Papers:

  1. I do not support demands for resignation of PM at first instance. Pakistan is a complex country and one of the most difficult to rule. We have sectarian, ethnic, social and political divisions which create tremendous pressure on rulers. Then there are domestic and foreign stakeholders that also create pressures. In this complex web if PMs start resigning at first instance then the chaos will increase rather than stability and good governance achieved. A PM should resign once an independent inquiry prove wrong doing. PM Gilani resigned when he was disqualified by Supreme Court in a contempt case. So we do have a tradition to follow. PM offered to resign if proven guilty in asset concealment or money laundering. We should take him on this and prove charges against him.
  2. All people listed in Panama Papers should be investigated for tax evasion and ill-gotten money. Those found guilty should be prosecuted to set an example. The issue is larger than politics. Draft of TOR’s should be made public for comments from civic organizations and other experts. No back room deals should be done between political parties because all of them have links with Panama Papers leaks.
  3. A parliamentary committee should be formed to review laws and recommend amendments about tax evasion and off shore companies. Especial emphasis should be on those that have political links through family and business affiliations.

We are progressing as a nation to fix things. Army has taken the lead by leaking the names of those recently punished for failure to discharge their duties. Politicians, judiciary and bureaucracy should do the same. Imran Khan can set an example by suspending the membership of those listed in Panama leaks until their names are cleared.

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