A Perspective on Deposed Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's Conviction

Guest Post by Rashid Ahmad.

My thoughts on Nawaz Sharif (NS) verdict:

1. This decision, like all major decisions that involve national level politicians, will remain controversial as the people will look at this decision from their own perspectives. To Anti-NS folks he was guilty before the trial began, and it does not matter on which charge he is convicted, as long as he is knocked out. For those who support Nawaz Sharif, he would never be guilty even if he is caught red handed.

2. The conviction was a foregone conclusion. It may be selective justice but the real reason was the accountability court, working under direct supervision of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, which, to many people, is not a neutral arbiter any more, but the “REAL PROSECUTOR”.  It is selective application of the law.

3. Although not comparing, this kind of motivated convictions are not uncommon. Pakistan’s illustrious judiciary has to its “credit” many infamous decisions: Doctrine of necessity by Justice Munir, and all those decisions that approved violations of the constitution by “The Aliens”. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto's wrongful conviction, later admitted by Justice Nasim Hasan Shah. Justice Qayyum’s decision to convict Benazir Bhutto (BB) for corruption in 1998, based on illegal collusion among politicians, judges, and bureaucrats. This collusion was recorded by phone taps ordered by NS, but a bureaucrat provided a copy of it to BB and to British media. (Ironically in a different case earlier, Pres. Farooq Leghari had claimed that BB had tapped the phones of judges.) More recently, under Musharraf regime, the court had convicted NS and sentenced him for several years of imprisonment! Thus, if people take the decisions of the judiciary with a pinch of salt, they have a reason to do so.

4. During General Pervez Musharraf's regime, Nawab Akbar Bugti was once told by a reporter, in an interview, that govt. is prosecuting you because police investigations have established that you killed such and such persons. His response was telling, “If that police officer was under my control and command, he would sing a different song. The same police officer would state that Musharraf killed that person”! That is why the common phrase in Punjab is: “Wakeel na karo, Judge hi kar lo” (Don’t retain a lawyer, retain the judge”).  Zero faith in politicians, police, institutions and the courts.

5. Surprisingly the judge has acquitted NS from corruption while-in-office charge. He convicted him on a different charge.

6. The key question here was: Who has the burden of proof? NS lawyer has argued that NAB (National Accountability Bureau) has not met the 4 requirements set in law to shift the burden of proof to NS. The judge concluded NAB has met them, hence it is NS who has to provide evidence (how his young children acquired the Avenfield properties) to establish his innocence.

7. And finally, this judge needs to take supplemental English to write better opinions/decisions. The quality of his writing is awful. The decision is full of typos, grammatical, spelling mistakes, and incorrect names etc. which makes it hard to read. There is even a sentence, which, if taken literally, is contradictory to his decision. I wonder if this is common in his writings or did he not have time to proof read his decision, or was it written by his staff on which he signed off.

Author Rashid Ahmad is a Pakistani-American civil engineer with a Master's degree from UC Davis. He was recently recognized for his community service by Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg  with a key to the city. Ahmad came to the United States in 1970 and has since been living in Sacramento-Davis area in California. 

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

South Asia Investor Review

British Government Report Says Pakistan Among Top 3 Sources of Money Laundering

Did Musharraf Steal Pakistani People's Money?

Pakistan Economy Hobbled By Underinvestment

Raymond Baker on Corruption in Pakistan

Striking Similarity Between Sharif and Trump Narratives

Culture of Corruption in Pakistan

US Investigating Microsoft Bribery in Pakistan

Zardari's Corruption Probe in Switzerland

Politics of Patronage in Pakistan

Why is PIA Losing Money Amid Pakistan Aviation Boom?


Riaz Haq said…
#NawazSharif convicted under #Pakistan NATIONAL ACCOUNTABILITY ORDINANCE Sec 9 (a) v on "holder of a public office any of his dependents or benamidar" with assets "disproportionate to his known sources of income, which he cannot account for.." #corruption



(XVIII of 1999)

(As modified as on 26-03-2010)


Corruption and corrupt practices

1[(d) In case the Prosecutor General Accountability is absent or unable to perform the functions of his office due to any reason whatsoever, any other Law Officer of the NAB, duly authorised by the Chairman NAB, shall act as the Prosecutor General Accountability.]

9 (a) A holder of a public office, or any other person, is said to commit or to have committed the offence of corruption and corrupt practices-

(i) if he accepts or obtains from any person or offers any gratification directly or indirectly, other than legal remuneration, as a motive or reward such as is specified in section 161 of the Pakistan Penal Code (Act XLV of 1860) for doing or for-bearing to do any official act, or for showing or for-bearing to show, in the exercise of his official functions, favour or disfavour to any person, or for rendering or attempting to render any service or disservice to any person; or

(ii) if he accepts or obtains or offers any valuable thing without consideration, or for a consideration which he knows to be inadequate, from any person whom he knows to have been, or likely to be, concerned in any proceeding or business transacted or about to be transacted by him, or having any connection with his official functions or 2[from] any person whom he knows to be interested in or related to the person so concerned; or

(iii) if he dishonestly or fraudulently misappropriates or otherwise converts for his own use, or for the use of any other person, any property entrusted to him, or under his control, or willfully allows any other person so to do; or

(iv) if he by corrupt, dishonest, or illegal means, obtains or seeks to obtain for himself, or for his spouse 3* or dependents or any other person, any property, valuable thing, or pecuniary advantage; or

(v) if he or any of his dependents or benamidar owns, possesses, or has 4[acquired] right or title in any 5[“assets or holds irrevocable power of attorney in respect of any assets] or

pecuniary resources disproportionate to his known sources of income, which he cannot 1[reasonably] account for 2[or maintains a standard of living beyond that which is commensurate with his sources of income]; or

(vi) 2[if he misuses his authority so as to gain any benefit or favour for himself or any other person, or 3[renders or attempts to render] 4[or willfully fails to exercise his authority to prevent the grant, or rendition of any undue benefit or favour which he could have prevented by exercising his authority];

(vii) if he has issued any directive, policy, or any SRO (Statutory Regulatory Order) or any other order which grants or 5[attempts to grant] any 6[undue] concession or benefit in any taxation matter or law or otherwise so as to benefit himself or any relative or associate or a benamidar 1[or any other person] 7

8[(viii) if he commits an offence of willful default, 9{; or }]

10[(ix) if he commits the offence of cheating as defined in section 415 of the Pakistan Penal Code, 1860 (Act XLV of 1860), and thereby dishonestly induces members of the public at large to deliver any property including money or valuable security to any person; or

(x) if he commits the offence of criminal breach of trust as defined in section 405 of the Pakistan Penal Code, 1860 (Act XLV of 1860) with regard to any property including money or valuable security entrusted to him by members of the public at large;
Riaz Haq said…
Building a new Pakistan

by Dr. Atta ur Rahman


The single biggest opportunity to develop Pakistan lies in its 100 million people who are below the age of 20. We need to focus on their development to build a new Pakistan.

The country has abundant natural resources, the fifth largest river system in the world, which could be a huge source of cheap, and clean hydel power. Similarly, we have ample reserves of coal, as well as areas in Sindh and Balochistan that are suitable for wind energy projects. Given an honest and sensible government, we could have been producing energy at an average price of less than Rs3 per kilowatt hour.

However, the country has been eaten away by corrupt leaders who have built palaces abroad and accumulated mountains of wealth in the UK, UAE, Switzerland and many other countries, while the industry in the country lies devastated – with exports stagnating at about $21 billion annually. If we can produce energy at such low rates (as is already being done in the UAE through solar farms) we can hugely boost our industrial production, resulting in the expansion of the industry and provision of jobs to our qualified youth.

The second area that we can tap into is the IT sector. There is a worldwide demand for software for a variety of applications, particularly due to the fast emergence of machine intelligence. These applications are finding use in a number of businesses. We need to tap into this fast-growing source of wealth by setting up a network of high quality training centres in the country for IT graduates so that their skills can be honed to meet the demands of businesses. The global IT market has risen to about $1,400 billion, with a significant increase in the last couple of years, particularly in the software development sector.

The advent of the Fourth Industrial Revolution has opened up a number of exciting opportunities for Pakistan’s youth, provided that they are properly trained. The rise of artificial intelligence and its integration into almost every sphere of human activity has created unprecedented opportunities for our youth. New and more powerful computers are being developed that will be able to take over many conventional jobs and lead to an expansion in some fields. Most industrial assembly plants will no longer require humans as their functions will be taken over by intelligent bots. This has opened up fantastic opportunities for IT professionals capable of developing powerful algorithms to tackle specific industrial and service requirements.

Free or low-cost legal and medical advice is already being given by IBM’s computer, aptly named Watson. Before long, lawyers, judges, doctors, nurses, restaurant waiters, film actors and other professionals will be replaced by intelligent bots. Autonomous vehicles driven by computers will replace 95 percent of the vehicles on our roads, drastically reducing accidents. Most automobile manufacturers will go out of business as there will be no need to have personal vehicles with the availability of cheap and efficient autonomous taxi services.

Therefore, machine intelligence is one area to which our government must give the highest priority, by setting up centres of excellence in every university to meet the growing demands of high-quality professionals in this field. The transition from vehicles powered by combustion engines to electric vehicles is also occurring at a fast pace. This is creating research and development opportunities for our youth in the field of electric batteries.

Bioinformatics is another exciting field that our youth should be trained in as it is linked to genetic engineering. The ability to process large genomics data with powerful computing systems and to analyse it in order to arrive at meaningful conclusions will impact the health and agriculture sectors. New plant and animal species are already being developed with exciting properties, and the demand for suitably trained youth in this field will grow at an accelerated pace.
Riaz Haq said…
Private jails in Balochistan’s fiefdoms - Pakistan - DAWN.COM


“On the first day, I was suspended from a girder in the courtyard, and I lost consciousness upon being beaten up by a guard,” reveals one of them. “After three consecutive nights, I finally stopped fainting from the physical violence.” It was the beginning of three years of hell.

“There were fetters on our legs and my hands were tied. One of my fellow prisoners would have to open the narra [drawstring] of my shalwar when I wanted to relieve myself, which I had to do in a cooler. That’s what the prisoners were given to use as a toilet,” he tells Dawn over the phone. “I went three years without taking a shower. I couldn’t even cut my hair and nails. I smelled of urine all the time as did the other prisoners.”

In the dead of night, the guards, many of whom had criminal backgrounds, would take them outside and taunt them over their disheveled appearance. “In winter, they would throw cold water on us in the courtyard, they would leave us there to die, hanging from the girder. I still suffer from trauma. My hands tremble so much, I can’t even hold a pen.”

One former prisoner said that during his two plus years in detention, he only saw sunlight after a mouse dug a little hole from outside into the room where he was kept.

Dawn Investigations tracked down another former prisoner, this one from Kachhi district. “There were 12 of us in custody, one of whom was suspended by his hands from a hook in the ceiling,” he told Dawn. “Among the prisoners was a Hindu man. He was reciting the Bhagavad Gita out of fear. I told him that the sardar and I are both Muslims, and if he didn’t forgive me over our own holy book, he won’t do it for your holy book either.”

Another former detainee, Fazal*, was kept in a room without any windows or air vents, he says while speaking to Dawn in his hometown of Barkhan. His hands and feet were constantly bound. “I even had to sleep like that,” he said, repeatedly putting his fingers to his face out of nervousness. “There was a water cooler in a corner of the room into which we would relieve ourselves. The smell and anxiety would not let us sleep.”

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