Pakistan: political history
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The Pakistan government said on Thursday that it will move to the Supreme Judicial Council to unseat the “mentally unfit” head of the tribunal.
The Pakistan government said on Thursday that it will move to the Supreme Judicial Council to unseat the “mentally unfit” head of the tribunal.
==SC asks army, ISI to stay away from politics==
==SC asks army, ISI to stay away from politics==
Latest revision as of 10:20, 16 January 2020
This is a collection of articles archived for the excellence of their content.
 The rulers of Pakistan: 1947-2018, July
i) The rulers of Pakistan: 1947-2018, July;
ii) Seats in the Pakistan National Assembly, province-wise; iii) Coups; iv) The number of polling stations in 2018; and v) Some election symbols.
This was Pakistan’s 11th general elections since 1947 and the ninth under its most recent constitution. No prime minister has ever completed his/her full five-year tenure in the country where the army exercises undue influence on government.
 Prime Ministers: no. of years held in office, 1947- 2018
Number of years for which Prime Ministers of Pakistan held the office, 1947-2018
 System of government, elections: 1947-2017
 Pakistan had to wait till 1970 for its 1st election
When did Pakistan hold its first general elections?
Unlike India, where general elections were held almost immediately after independence, Pakistan had to wait till 1970, more than two decades after its independence. At that time, Pakistan was a union of two geographically isolated regions -East Pakistan (today's Bangladesh) and West Pakistan (today's Pakistan). The 1970 general elections were swept by the East Pakistan-based Awami League of Sheikh Mujib-urRahman which emerged as the largest party winning 160 seats in the 300-seat assembly .In West Pakistan, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party (PPP) was the winner, but its 81 seats were far fewer than the Awami League's. The seat of power was in the West dominated by Punjabis and they were reluctant to let Mujib -ethnically a Bengali -lead the country .These developments caused massive protests in the East, which were brutally supressed by the Pakistan army leading to a guerrilla resistance by the Mukti Bahini and a massive influx of refugees into India. Accusing India of aiding the Mukti Bahini, Pakistan carried out air strikes on Indian airbases that led to a full scale war and the liberation of Bangladesh.
How was the government functioning before the 1970 elections?
Although it took decades for democracy to start functioning, efforts to dilute democratic institutions, mixing of religion with politics, politicisation of the army and using paranoia about India as a major political issue had started much earlier. Soon after the country's independence, power was seized by former army General Iskander Mirza, who became Pakistan's first president in 1955 before the promulgation of the country's constitution a year later. Mirza is often blamed for starting the politicisation of the army . On October 7, 1958 he abolished the constitution, declared martial law and appointed General Ayub Khan as the Chief Martial Law Administrator. Mirza was arrested within a few days and exiled to Britain and Ayub Khan seized power. Generally considered a secular person, Ayub Khan used religion in the 1965 presidential election against Fatima Jinnah, who emerged as the voice of dissent against the military dictatorship. Encouraged by Ayub Khan, many clerics denounced her, saying a woman could not rule a Muslim country. After the humiliation of the 1965 war against India, Ayub Khan was forced to hand over power to General Yahya Khan in 1969, who was later pushed to conduct elections.
Have elections been regu lar since then?
The defeat in the 1971 war made Yahya Khan extremely unpopular and he was forced to cede power to Bhutto, who won a majority of seats in West Pakistan. Bhutto became the PM in 1973 after a new constitution was imple mented. Bhutto was accused of misuse of power before the second general election held in 1977. The election was plagued with allegations of rigging by Bhutto. In July , 1977, soon after the election results, Bhutto was arrested by General Zia-ul-Haq. Ironically, as part of the by then established tradition of politicization and favouritism in the army , Bhutto had also not made the senior most general army chief and appointed his favourite Zia superseding seven lieutenant generals.
How was Zia's rule and why is America so close to Pakistan?
Coming from a conservative Muslim family , Zia is criticized by Pakistani commentators as a man with a `very today looking vision' and a shallow understanding of Islam.Zia introduced medieval era laws that included jailing of rape victims, making headscarf mandatory for news readers and use of public flogging as a judicial punishment. The 1979 USSR invasion of Afghanistan coincided with Zia's regime and Pakistan became crucial to US efforts to counter communism in the region. Pakistan was used by the US as a platform to support Islamic jihad against the `atheist' Soviets.Osama-bin-Laden was also among the jihadis supported by the Americans. The 2001 War on Terror also coincided with Pervez Musharraf's rule when Pakistan became a major US ally . Ironically, America has helped Pakistan more when it is under military rule.
 External borrowings
 2019: IMF’s $6bn loan, with tough riders
2019: IMF’s $6bn loan for Pakistan had tough riders
 The minorities
State-sanctioned persecution of [Pakistan ambassador to America, Sherry] Rehman is not a surprise — it’s an inevitability and just the latest in a long trend. Pakistan loves to shoot — literally or figuratively — anyone or anything who stands up for Pakistan.
In 1992 Pakistan figuratively shot their own Constitution when the Supreme Court championed the nation’s draconian blasphemy law in Zaheerudin v State. In a landslide decision, the Court upheld the law without citing a single Pakistani statute, ordinance, or decision. Instead, the Court enforced an invented precedent for all Pakistanis that “might makes right” when they wrote, “The [Ahmadis] who are non-Muslims want to pass off their faith as Islam? ...[a] [Muslim] believer... will not tolerate a Government which is not prepared to save him of such deceptions or forgeries...” Not two decades later this precedent would inspire a “Muslim believer” to haunt Pakistan’s highest offices. To protect their beloved blasphemy law, rather than their nation’s founding principles of pluralism, Pakistan shot its own Constitution.
In 1996 Pakistan figuratively shot their only Nobel Laureate, God particle pioneer Dr. Abdus Salam, when they literally defaced his tomb to remove the word “Muslim.” Dr. Salam was a devout Ahmadi. Thus, Pakistan legally forbids anyone from calling Dr. Salam a Muslim—even after his death. To protect their beloved blasphemy law, rather than celebrate one of histories greatest scientific achievements, Pakistan shot its own citizen.
In 2011, Pakistan’s 1992 Supreme Court decision that “might is right” inspired an extremist who violently shot and murdered Punjab Governor Salman Taseer. Taseer condemned Pakistan’s blasphemy laws and declared his public mission to see them repealed. The nation did not tolerate this. Governor Taseer’s assassin, Mumtaz Qadri, simply embraced the Supreme Court’s words that “...[a] [Muslim] believer...will not tolerate a Government which is not prepared to save him of such deceptions or forgeries...” and took vigilante action accordingly. To protect their beloved blasphemy law, rather than allowing the democratic process to proceed, Pakistan shot its own Governor.
In 2011, again, an inspired extremist in Pakistan shot and murdered Shabazz Bhatti, the nation’s only Christian federal minister. Bhatti, like Taseer, opposed Pakistan’s blasphemy law and made no secret of his intentions to repeal them. Last week, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper courageously inaugurated Canada’s first Religious Freedom Ambassador from the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Canada headquarters in Maple, Ontario. Harper declared, “Shahbaz Bhatti worked tirelessly to defend the vulnerable not only his fellow Christians, but also Hindus, Sikhs, Ahmadi Muslims, and all other minorities. He did so knowing that it placed him under a constant and imminent threat to his life.“ To protect their beloved blasphemy law, rather than allowing freedom of conscience the chance to reign free, Pakistan shot its own federal minister.
What began in Pakistan with the persecution of Ahmadi Muslims in the 1970s and 1980s, soon spread to the persecution of Hindus, Christians, Shias, and Sufis in the 1990s and 2000s, and is now consuming Pakistan’s remaining few pluralistic government officials in the 2010s. In just the past three years alone Pakistan has shot and killed over 119 Ahmadi Muslims, over 200 Shia Muslims, and at least two major politicians. Pakistan continues to shoot its Christian and Hindu citizens, and anyone not deemed the right kind of Muslim — all to protect their beloved blasphemy law
Qasim Rashid: Visiting Fellow, Harvard University’s Prince Alwaleed bin Talal School of Islamic Studies
 1990 election was rigged: SC
The Supreme Court ordered legal proceedings against a former head of intelligence and former army chief over allegations that politicians were bankrolled to stop the current ruling Pakistan People's Party from winning the 1990 election.
It was a landmark ruling from the Supreme Court 16 years after retired air marshal Asghar Khan filed a case, accusing the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency of doling out money to a group of politicians in the 1990s.
A three-judge bench comprising the chief justice, Justice Jawwad S. Khawaja and Justice Khilji Arif Hussain issued the short order after hearing a petition filed in 1996 by Khan requesting the court to look into allegations that the Inter-Services Intelligence had financed many politicians in the 1990 election by dishing out Rs140 million to create the Islami Jamhoori Ittehad (IJI) and stop Benazir Bhutto’s PPP from coming to power. The petition was based on an affidavit of Durrani.
The Supreme Court in its short order ruled that there was ample evidence to suggest that the 1990 election was rigged and that a political cell maintained by the then president Ghulam Ishaq Khan supported the formation of the IJI to stop a victory of the PPP. The ruling said Ghulam Ishaq Khan, Baig and Durrani violated the Constitution.
The Supreme Court ruled that "the general election held in the year 1990 was subjected to corruption and corrupt practices." Moreover, "it has been established that an “Election Cell” had been created in the Presidency, which was functioning to provide financial assistance to the favoured candidates, or a group of political parties to achieve desired result by polluting election process and to deprive the people of Pakistan from being represented by their chosen representatives."
“Late Ghulam Ishaq Khan, the then President of Pakistan, General (R) Aslam Baig and General (R) Asad Durrani acted in violation of the Constitution,” said the apex court, adding the federal government should take “necessary steps under the Constitution and Law against them.”
Stating that corruption was carried out in the 1990 election, the ruling said that the president, the army chief and the ISI’s director-general were not authorised to constitute an election cell. It added that the state should implement its authority through the elected representatives of the people.
The election cell "was aided by General (R) Mirza Aslam Baig who was the Chief of Army Staff and by General (R) Asad Durrani, the then Director General ISI and they participated in the unlawful activities of the Election Cell in violation of the responsibilities of the Army and ISI."
The apex court moreover ruled that political cells of the ISI and the President House should be abolished and ordered the government to take legal action against former retired generals involved in the corruption as well as against Younus Habib, former president of the now defunct Mehran Bank.
The court further ordered that money that was illegally disbursed among the politicians by the then president and the ISI should be recovered and deposited in the Habib Bank along with the accumulated interest on it. Adding to that, the short order said that legal action should also be taken against the politicians who received the money.
The order adds that “legal proceedings shall be initiated against the politicians, who allegedly have received donations to spend on election campaigns in the general election of 1990”, and a “transparent investigation on the criminal side shall be initiated by the FIA against all of them.”
"Mr. M. Younas A. Habib, the then Chief Executive of Habib Bank Ltd...arranged/provided Rs.140 million belonging to public exchequer, out of which an amount of Rs.60 million was distributed to politicians," added the short order. The ruling further said that Federal Investigation Agency should investigate into the matter, adding that, if evidence was found against anyone, action should be taken against them.
Moreover, the Supreme Court said that political activism was not the domain of the military and the intelligence agencies. Their job is to cooperate with the government, the judgment said.
During the hearing, Attorney General Irfan Qadir began presenting his arguments.
Qadir said he was representing the federation and the defence ministry.
Responding to which, Chief Justice Iftikhar directed Qadir to produce the document enabling him to represent the defence ministry.
The attorney general said he would try to assist the court to the best of his abilities “in the short time that was available” to him.
Qadir criticised the judiciary upon which the bench expressed its displeasure.
The attorney general said he had reservations over comments alleged to have been made by Justice Khawaja.
"Justice Khawaja said the Pakistan People's Party government had failed to perform in the past four years," Qadir said.
Upon which, Justice Hussain said: "You should not name a particular judge. Those were the remarks of the bench."
The attorney general requested the bench to exclude the concerned remarks from the record of the case.
Qadir added that judges had taken oaths under the PCO in the past and had also allowed the military to step in, in violation of the Constitution.
The attorney general moreover said that the Asghar Khan case had been pending for the past 15 years and blamed the judiciary for the delay.
He further alleged that "the present judiciary" wanted to "destabilise the government".
The chief justice remarked that Rs140 million had been given out by Younus Habib and asked as to who was responsible for that.
He further said that evidence suggested that the money was distributed at the behest of the presidency, adding that, prima facie the President House was involved in the operation.
The chief justice reiterated that the president should be impartial and should not partake in political activity.
Responding to which, the attorney general said that the president's oath does not restrict him from partaking in politics, adding that, the office of the president was also a political position.
The president's oath is not any different from the oaths administered to the prime minister and the ministers, Qadir said.
Upon which, the chief justice said that the Constitution entitles the president, not the prime minister, as the head of state.
The attorney general added the parliament had on several occasions saved the judiciary from embarrassment.
Chief Justice Iftikhar said the judiciary would not allow derailment of democracy in the country.
He further said that former interior minister Lt-Gen (retd) Naseerullah Babar had also revealed that money was distributed to politicians to manipulate the country's politics, adding that, it was allegedly done in the greater national interest.
The attorney general said those involved in the decisions of the past were important personalities, adding that, the individuals who were accused of receiving the money should also be heard.
 1990 poll rigging
 In 2019, Pak SC orders action against army officers
The Supreme Court of Pakistan directed the ministry of defence to complete an inquiry in a case about the involvement of army officers, including former army and ISI chiefs, in financial scams aimed at keeping slain Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto out of power.
In 1996, a petition was filed by late air chief marshal Asghar Khan that former army chief General Aslam Beg, ex-ISI chief Lt Gen (retired) Asad Durrani and former president Ghulam Ishaq Khan had hatched a conspiracy to ensure Bhutto’s defeat in the 1990 polls.
According to the petition, the two senior army officers and then-president had doled out Rs140 million among several politicians, including former PM Nawaz Sharif, to rig the 1990 polls against Bhutto. A political alliance consisting of nine parties, including the Pakistan Muslim League and Jamaat-e-Islami, had won the 1990 polls, with Nawaz Sharif elected as prime minister. The alliance, known as the Islamic Jamhoori Ittehad (IJI), was allegedly formed and funded by the accused in the case.
In October 2012, the Supreme Court had issued a 141-page verdict, ordering legal proceedings against Beg and Asad Durrani, directing the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to initiate a transparent investigation and subsequent trial if sufficient evidence was found against the former army officers. In December 2018, the FIA had recommended to the apex court to close the files, citing lack of evidence. Following FIA’s suggestion, the court had notified Asghar Khan’s heirs about their reaction but the family opposed the closure of the case. On January 11, ex-chief justice Mian Saqib Nisar, after accepting the plea of the family of the late Khan, resumed hearing of the case.
During Monday’s hearing, a reconstituted three-member SC bench headed by Justice Gulzar Ahmed, issued directives to the ministry of defence to submit a reply regarding implementation of its 2012 verdict in the case within four weeks. “Why did the ministry of defence not initiate action for the court martial of the Pakistan army officers involved?” Justice Gulzar asked. In response, the attorney general said the matter will move forward after the completion of inquiry. The court declared that the FIA report will be reviewed along with the reply of defence ministry and adjourned the hearing for four weeks.
 Ahmadi economist’s withdrawal makes others quit govt panel
Jemima Goldsmith, the UK-based former wife of Pakistan PM Imran Khan, has launched a scathing attack on her ex-husband’s government for withdrawing the nomination of noted economist Atif Mian from a newly-constituted economic panel “because of his minority faith”.
Goldsmith’s indictment followed resignations by two more economists — Harvard Kennedy School professor Dr Asim Ijaz Khwaja late on Friday and London-based Dr Imran Rasul on Saturday — from the Economic Advisory Council in protest against the removal of Mian due to his Ahmadi faith.
“Have resigned from EAC. Painful, deeply sad decision. Grateful for chance to aid analytical reasoning but not when such values compromised. Personally as a Muslim I can’t justify this. May Allah forgive/guide me & us all. Ever ready to help. Pakistan Paindabad,” Dr Khwaja said on his Twitter handle.
Dr Rasul announced his resignation on Saturday in a series of tweets. “The circumstances in which Atif was asked to step down are ones I profoundly disagree with. Basing decisions on religious affiliation goes against my principles,” he said.
But the most stinging attack on the PM came from more intimate quarters. Goldsmith, 44, who is prolific on social media, tweeted her disappointment at Khan’s apparent bowing to far-right pressure. “Indefensible & v (very) disappointing. New Pak gov asks renowned & respected Prof of economics to stand down because of his Ahmadi faith,” Goldsmith said in a tweet on Friday. “NB [Note]: The founder of Pakistan, ‘Quaid-i-Azam’ (Muhammad Ali Jinnah) appointed an Ahmadi as his Foreign Minister.”
Ahmadis are designated non-Muslims in Pakistan’s Constitution and their beliefs are considered blasphemous in most mainstream Islamic schools of thought. They are often targeted by the extremists and their places of worship vandalised.
Goldsmith, who has two sons with Imran, had been among the first to congratulate him on his victory in the elections but had also sounded a note of caution in her Twitter message back in July. She said: “22 years later, after humiliations, hurdles and sacrifices, my sons’ father is Pakistan’s next Prime Minister. “It’s an incredible lesson in tenacity, belief & refusal to accept defeat. The challenge now is to remember why he entered politics in the 1st place. Congratulations”.
 Pak EC rejects nomination papers of Abbasi, Imran Khan
In a setback to bigwigs, Pakistan's election commission on Tuesday rejected the nomination papers of former prime minister and PML-N leader Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chief Imran Khan for the NA-53 constituency of Islamabad. The nomination papers of Abbasi and his covering candidate Sardar Mehtab Khan for NA-53 were rejected by the returning officer after the candidates failed to fill the affidavit as per the requirements, Dawn reported.
According to the returning officer, Abbasi had not submitted complete tax returns with his documents either.
The candidates have vowed to challenge the decision in the election tribunal.
Khan's nomination papers for the same constituency were rejected on account of being incomplete.
His nomination papers were challenged earlier this month by Pakistan Justice and Democratic Party candidate Abdul Wahab Baloch, who contended that Khan did not fulfill the criterion under articles 62 and 63 on the issue of Sita White and her daughter Tyrian.
Although the returning officer rejected Baloch's objections against Khan's candidature, he turned down the PTI chief's papers saying he had submitted an incomplete affidavit as approved by the Supreme Court.
The officer said that Imran Khan had not filled a column in the affidavit in which he was required to describe his performance as an Member of National Assembly (MNA).
Khan had served as MNA from NA-56 Rawalpindi.
There had been resentment in his constituency as he allegedly never visited it during his five-year term despite living in Banigala only a few kilometres away, the paper said.
 No takers for hardline, anti-India rhetoric
Parties that fought the polls using religion, Kashmir or anti-India and anti-US rhetoric found themselves on the losing side in Pakistan on Thursday. Their lack of experience on the ground and one-point agenda didn’t find favour with voters.
The attempt to revive Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal, a five-party opposition alliance that held power in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan in 2002-07, did not bear results. Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam’s Fazlur Rehman and Jamaat-e-Islami’s Sirajul Haq, both an integral part of the alliance, were defeated by young candidates from Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf.
In the September 2016 bypolls, the new Milli Muslim League — the political face of 2008 Mumbai terror attack accused Hafiz Saeed’s Jamaat ud Dawa and Lashkar-e-Taiba — and Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan, headed by cleric Khadim Hussain Rizvi did well, a feat they couldn’t repeat.
Both fielded over 150 candidates and their campaigns made national and international headlines, but most candidates did not cross three digits when it came to votes polled. Muhammad Jehanzeb, a member of Saeed’s groups, said winning by-elections was easier. “You can concentrate on a single seat but it is an uphill task to reach out to masses in different constituencies,” he said. MML was denied registration by Election Commission of Pakistan, after which it fielded its candidates as part of Allahu Akbar Tehreek, an unknown but registered party.
 Hindu PPP candidate wins NA seat
Mahesh Kumar Malani of Pakistan Peoples Party became the first Hindu to win the National Assembly seat from Tharparkar in Sindh province. Malani, the 55-year-old minority community leader, defeated his nearest rival Arab Zakaullah of the Grand Democratic Alliance in the NA-222 seat. He secured 37,245 votes while Zakaullah received 18,323 votes, the Express Tribune reported. Malani was a member of parliament from 2003-08 on a reserved seat, nominated by the PPP. In 2013 elections, Malani was elected as member provincial assembly in Sindh.
 PTI allotted 33/ 70 NA seats reserved for women, minorities
The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) have been allotted 33 of the total 70 National Assembly seats reserved for women and minorities, taking the party's total in the lower house of the parliament to 158 — just 14 shy of the number required for simple majority.
The Election Commission of Pakistan on Saturday distributed the reserved seats among the parties as per the quotas that their respective electoral performances commanded.
As expected, the PTI emerged as the biggest beneficiary after the distribution, thanks to the 116 seats its candidates had won themselves and the nine independents whom it had later recruited.
In all, the Imran Khan-led party was allotted 16 reserved seats for women from Punjab, four from Sindh, seven from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and one from Balochistan.
The party, which looks set to form its government in the Centre, also bagged five of the total 10 seats reserved for non-Muslims. Of the rest of the five, two have been given to the PML-N, two to PPP and one to MMA.
The PML-N, meanwhile, has added 15 reserved seats for women from Punjab and just one from KP, which, when added to their two non-Muslim seats, brings their total gains to 18.
Their total in the NA now stands at 82.
PPPP, meanwhile, have added a total of nine women's seats and the two aforementioned non-Muslims seats to their 42 general seats. They now have 53 seats in the lower house.
PTI's current tally of 158, however, is likely to be trimmed as Khan, who won on five NA seats in the July 25 polls, will have to vacate four of them.
Ghulam Sarwar Khan and Tahir Sadiq also won two national and one provincial assembly seats each for the soon-to-be ruling party. Depending on which seats the duo end up keeping, the PTI's NA tally will be reduced by two to four more seats.
Moreover, PML-Q, a key PTI ally, is also likely to see its quartet of NA seats reduced by half as their party leader Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi is a candidate for the Punjab Assembly speaker's role.
If Elahi is to vie for the provincial speaker's gig, he will have to leave both of his National Assembly seats, which would see the PTI and their alliance's seat count regress some more.
ECP issues notifications of 33 reserved seats
Following the aforesaid allocation, the ECP issued notifications for reserved seats for women from the national and the four provincial assemblies.
The PTI's Shireen Mazari and Andleeb Abbas headlined a list of PTI female leaders whose notifications were issued.
From PML-N, part spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb, Maiza Hameed and Tahira Aurangzaib are among the lawmakers who have been issued their notifications for reserved seats.
PPPP's Shazia Marri, Naz Baloch and Hina Rabbani Khar have also joined the list of MNAs-elect.
 Imran govt lifts political censorship on state media
Pakistan’s new government led by PM Imran Khan has “lifted all political censorship” in the state-run media outlets, information minister Chaudhary Fawad Hussain claimed.
Promising “visible and drastic changes” in the ministry of information within the next three months, the minister said new instructions have been issued to state-run institutions like Pakistan Television and Radio Pakistan for “complete editorial independence”. The new direction was “in line with the vision of PM Imran Khan”, he said.
He said that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government has “lifted all political censorship” in the state-run media outlets. The minister said that the Pakistan Television and Radio Pakistan will now enjoy complete editorial independence over the content they produce.
The new information minister also proposed introducing an English-language channel of radio on the internet, particularly for international audience, Geo News reported. Khan in his first address to the nation on Sunday had promised wideranging reforms in government institutions with a view to make them independent and free from corruption.
 'Pak security services helped remove Sharif'
WASHINGTON: Pakistan's security services favoured Imran Khan and covertly manipulated the country's domestic politics before and during the 2018 election with a central motive of removing Nawaz Sharif and his party PML-N from power, a US Congressional report said, citing analysts.
The report prepared for US lawmakers by the bipartisan Congressional Research Service (CRS) said Khan had no governance experience prior to winning his current office and analysts contend that a purported "military-judiciary nexus allegedly came to favour" his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf party.
"Many analysts contend that Pakistan's security services covertly manipulated the country's domestic politics before and during the election with a central motive of (again) removing Sharif from power and otherwise weakening his incumbent party," the report said.
"Election observers and human rights groups issued statements pointing to sometimes 'severe' abuses of democratic norms, and the unprecedented participation of small parties with links to banned Islamist terrorist groups was seen to embolden militants (Islamist parties won a combined 10 per cent of the national vote in 2018)," it said.
Khan's 'Naya Pakistan' vision - which appeared to animate many younger, urban, middle-class voters - emphasizes anti-corruption and creation of a "welfare state" that provides better education and healthcare, but his effort has foundered due to the country's acute financial crisis, and a need for new foreign borrowing and government austerity, the report said.
"Most analysts see Pakistan's military establishment continuing to retain dominant influence over foreign and security policies," it added.
The powerful army, which has ruled Pakistan for more than half of its 70 plus years of existence, has hitherto wielded considerable power in the matters of security and foreign policy. But now, the military will play a greater role in the economic affairs of Pakistan as the government grapples with serious financial woes.
The CRS is an independent research wing of the US Congress, which prepares periodic reports on issues of interest for lawmakers. Its report are for meant for US lawmakers to make informed decision and not considered as an official report of the US Congress.
 Jan: forex reserves fall to 2 months of imports
Pakistan’s foreign exchange reserves are worth less than two months of goods and services imports, a report by Moody’s said, indicating the failure of the Imran Khan government to resolve the ongoing economic crisis by borrowing from allies.
The country does not have enough foreign exchange reserves to pay its public and private external debt due over this year, the Moody’s report revealed. “Foreign exchange reserves are low, and gross borrowing requirements are large in Pakistan and Sri Lanka, threatening the ability of these governments to refinance debt and fund deficits affordably,” Moody’s Investors Service said.
The forex crunch will make Pakistan vulnerable on the external front and push it again to a default-like-situation that it had averted in recent months with Saudi Arabia’s help. Pakistan’s foreign reserves have declined due to persistent current account deficit.
 Company threatens to cut power at PM's office
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan faces an embarrassing situation as an electricity company has threatened to disconnect the power supply to his sprawling office in Islamabad if the bills worth lakhs of rupees were not paid by his cash-strapped government.
The Islamabad Electric Supply Company (IESCO) on Wednesday issued a notice to the PM Secretariat that it will cut off the power supply if the bills were not cleared.
The IESCO said that the PM Office owed Rs 41 lakhs. The PM Secretariat did not pay Rs 35 lakh of the previous month also, it added. The PM Office failed to respond to several reminders, the company said.
Under the law, the company can disconnect the power supply by issuing a warning if the bills of the two consecutive months are not paid.
Due to the non-payment of bills, the company cannot pay to the private power producers which affect power generation.
Officials said the power supply in Pakistan has improved this year after many worst years in the past. Officials say that one of the reasons for low productivity was the unpaid bills by the government departments. According to estimates, 22,000-24,000 megawatt electricity is needed in Pakistan. This demand increases up to 5 per cent each year.
The Pakistan government claimed to produce 24,000MW electricity last year. But even the National Transmission and Despatch Company (NTDC), which is an institution of the government, does not confirm it.
The difference between demand and supply which was 5,000MW in 2013, has reached up to the level of 6,000MW in 2018, according to reports.
In June, Minister for Power Omar Ayub said that power generation improved due to better management. He said there was $80 billion investment opportunity in power generation and distribution sector.
Pakistan is facing "significant economic challenges" due to weak and unbalanced growth and that its economy is at a critical juncture where it needs an ambitious and bold set of reforms, according to the IMF, which last month approved a $6 billion bailout package to the country.
Pakistan has also received billions in financial aid packages from friendly countries like China, Saudi Arabia and the UAE during the current fiscal year.
According to the Economic Survey 2018-19, Pakistan's economy grew at an average rate of 3.29 per cent in fiscal year 2018-19 against an ambitious target of 6.2 per cent set in last year's budget.
The fiscal deficit was recorded at 5 per cent of the GDP compared to 4.3 in the corresponding period last fiscal.
 First Hindu woman judge
Suman Kumari has become the first Hindu woman to be appointed as a civil judge in Muslim-majority Pakistan. Suman, who hails from Qambar-Shahdadkot in Sindh province, will serve in her native district.
She passed her LLB examination from Hyderabad and did her masters in law from Karachi’s Szabist University. “I have entered the field Jof law because I know that in the backward areas of Sindh poor people need a lot of advice Jand assistance in legal matters,” she said. “My father and my family supported me a lot as in our community it is not easy for women to enter such fields,” she added.
Her father, Dr Pawan Kumar Bodan, wants his daughter to provide free legal assistance to the poor people specially from the Hindu community. “Suman has opted for a challenging profession, but I am sure she will go places through hard work and honesty,” the father said.
This is not the first time that a person from the Hindu community has been appointed as a judge. The first judge from the community was Justice Rana Bhagwandas, who served as the acting chief justice of Pakistan for brief periods between 2005 and 2007. Last year, Hindu woman Mahesh Kumar Malani became the first non-Muslim to be elected on a general seat in the National Assembly.
 Haj subsidy abolished
Pakistan government’s decision to abolish the Haj subsidy will save Rs 450 crore to national exchequer, the country’s religious affairs and interfaith harmony minister Noorul Haq Qadri has said.
The decision to abolish the Haj subsidy was taken during a federal cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan in Islamabad recently, sparking a debate whether Islam allows a subsidised Haj or not.
“The previous (Pakistan Muslim League-N) government was paying Rs 42,000 subsidy on each pilgrim which put an additional burden of Rs 450 crore on national exchequer.
Keeping the current financial situation of the country, the federal cabinet has decided to withdraw this subsidy,” Qadri was quoted as saying by local media on Tuesday.
This year 1,84,000 Pakistanis will perform Haj out of which 1,07,000 will go on government quota whereas the remaining will perform the pilgrimage on private quota, Qadri said. Last week, the federal government increased Haj prices up to 60 % putting an additional burden of up to Rs 1,56,000 on each pilgrim.
 Military agrees to an unprecedented budget cut
Pakistan’s powerful military has agreed in a rare move to cut its hefty budget for a year to help ease the South Asian country’s “critical financial situation”, PM Imran Khan said.
Pakistan has struck an agreement in principle with the International Monetary Fund for a $6 billion loan but Islamabad is expected to put in place measures to rein in a ballooning fiscal and current account deficits to get access to the funds.
Pakistan’s de facto finance chief, Hafeez Shaikh, on June 11 is due to announce spending plans for the financial year beginning in July.
Khan late on Tuesday tweeted that he appreciated the military’s “unprecedented voluntary initiative of stringent cuts in their defence expenditures” for next financial year because of the country’s “critical financial situation”.
The previous government hiked military spending by 20% to 1.1 billion, but the military appears to have overshot that figure amid a flare up in tensions with arch-foe India.
Khan did not say by how much defence spending would be trimmed.
A military spokesman said the “voluntary cut” in the defence budget for a year would not be at the expense of security. “We shall (maintain) effective response potential to all threats,” he added on Twitter. REUTERS
 Musharraf gets death penalty in treason case
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan's ex-military ruler Pervez Musharraf was sentenced to death in the high treason case by a special court here, according to media reports.
A three-member bench of the special court, headed by Peshawar High Court Chief Justice Waqar Ahmad Seth, handed Musharraf, 76, death sentence in the long-drawn high treason case against him for suspending the Constitution and imposing emergency rule in 2007, a punishable offence for which he was indicted in 2014.
The former army chief left for Dubai for medical treatment in March 2016 and has not returned since, citing security and health reasons.
The special court — comprising Justice Seth, Justice Nazar Akbar of the Sindh High Court (SHC) and Justice Shahid Karim of the Lahore High Court — announced the verdict it had reserved on November 19, the Dawn newspaper reported.
 Taking cue from army, Imran govt throws weight behind Musharraf
The Pakistan government, led by PM Imran Khan, has said former president General Pervez Musharraf was not given a “fair trial” as a special court had sentenced him to death in absentia in the high treason case.
“President Musharraf was neither allowed to produce evidence nor given a chance to record his statement under Article 342 of the constitution by the court,” attorney general Anwar Mansoor Khan said at a Tuesday night press conference in Islamabad. He said his comments should not be construed as supporting or favouring an individual. “I am only describing the legal aspects of the case,” he said.
In Musharraf’s case, AG Khan said, the requirements for a fair trial were not fulfilled and the verdict was illegal. “He was neither given an opportunity to present his testimony nor witnesses. His request to record his statement through video link or before a commission was also turned down by the judge,” the AG said. If Gen Musharraf, Khan argued, had been given a chance to record his statement and present his witnesses, he might have come up with “logical” arguments in support of declaring a state of emergency in 2007.
The AG also questioned why the verdict was announced “in haste”. “The trial was conducted in absentia, which is not a matter of routine,” he said.
With the powerful Pakistan army publicly backing Musharraf after he was sentenced, PM Imran Khan discussed the issue with his top party aides on Wednesday. Geo News reported that PM Khan convened an emergency meeting of the ruling PTI’s core committee to discuss the sentencing. Following the sentencing the army spokesman Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor had said that due legal process seemed to have been ignored during the case. Alarmed by the military’s public statement, PM Khan deployed two of his trusted aides to assure the army to say that the government would defend the self-exiled, ailing ex-president during the hearing of an appeal to be filed on his behalf.
 Drag his body, hang for 3 days if...: Court
A special court in Pakistan that awarded death sentence to former military ruler General Pervez Musharraf for high treason said in its detailed judgment uploaded that if the former army chief was found dead before the execution, his corpse should be dragged to the D-Chowk in Islamabad and hanged for three days.
A three-member bench of the special court, headed by Peshawar high court Chief Justice Waqar Ahmad Seth, had on Tuesday sentenced Musharraf to death for high treason over his imposition of emergency rule in the country in November 2007. Musharraf (76) is currently in Dubai undergoing medical treatment.
“We direct the law enforcement agencies to strive their level best to apprehend the fugitive/convict to ensure that the punishment is inflicted as per law and if found dead (before execution), his corpse be dragged to the DChowk, Islamabad, Pakistan, and be hanged for 03 days,” read the 167-page judgment.
Reacting over the detailed judgement, Pakistan army’s spokesperson Major General Asif Ghafoor said that reservations of the armed forces on the verdict stand true. “The words used in the written order are beyond humanity, religion, culture and any other values.”
Imran govt wants removal of ‘mentally unfit’ judge
The Pakistan government said on Thursday that it will move to the Supreme Judicial Council to unseat the “mentally unfit” head of the tribunal.
 Pak high court annuls Musharraf’s death sentence
The Lahore high court declared as “unconstitutional” the formation of a special court that had awarded the death sentence to former military ruler General Pervez Musharraf in December 2019 after finding him guilty of treason. The death sentence, therefore, stands void, according to both the federal government and Musharraf ’s lawyer.
Musharraf had challenged the special court’s decision in the Lahore high court on December 27, 2019, stating that the verdict was a mix of anomalies and contradictory statements. The former dictator had also said in his review plea that the treason trial against him was hurriedly wrapped up. The high court decision, according to Musharraf’s counsel, means that he is now a free man.
Musharraf was sentenced to death in absentia by a special court in Islamabad on December 17, 2019, six years after the trial began. The high treason verdict was met with condemnation from both the PM Imran Khan-led government and the country’s armed forces.
Additional attorney general Ishtiaq A Khan, who appeared on behalf of the government and presented a summary and record of the special court’s formation, said: “The complaint was not filed according to law. The special court which convicted Musharraf was formed without the approval of the cabinet as required after the 18th Amendment to the Constitution.”
In a unanimous verdict, a three-member bench of the Lahore HC ruled that the treason case against Musharraf was not prepared in accordance with the law.
 SC asks army, ISI to stay away from politics
Top Court Orders Government To Act Against Those Propagating Hatred, Extremism And Terrorism
In a landmark verdict, the Supreme Court of Pakistan on Wednesday proscribed the armed forces, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and other spy agencies from indulging in political activities and ordered the federal and provincial governments to sternly monitor and act against all elements advocating hatred, extremism and terrorism.
The verdict of a two-judge bench was related to the apex court taking suo motu cognisance in November 2017 of a three-week sit-in in the twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi. The sit-in, spearheaded by Islamist parties Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) and Sunni Tehreek, was held against a change in the “Finality of Prophethood” oath, termed by the then government as a clerical error when the government passed the Elections Act of 2017. The agitation was called off after protesters reached an agreement with the government through the good offices of the army and ISI.
“The constitution emphatically prohibits members of the armed forces from engaging in any kind of political activity, which includes supporting a political party, faction or individual. The government of Pakistan through the ministry of defence and the respective chiefs of the army, the navy and the air force are directed to initiate action against the personnel under their command who are found to have violated their oath,” the bench comprising justices Faez Essa and Mushir Alam ruled.
The 43-page verdict directed intelligence agencies and the army’s media wing not to exceed their constitutional mandate. “All intelligence agencies, including ISI, Intelligence Bureau (IB) and Military Intelligence (MI), and the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) (army’s media arm) must not exceed their respective mandates. They cannot curtail the freedom of speech and expression and do not have the authority to interfere with broadcasts and publications, in the management of broadcasters/ publishers and in the distribution of newspapers,” it said.
The intelligence agencies, according to the judgment, should monitor the activities of all those who threaten the territorial integrity of the country and all those who undermine the security of the people and the state by resorting to or inciting violence. “To best ensure transparency and the rule of law it would be appropriate to enact laws which clearly stipulate the respective mandates of the intelligence agencies,” the verdict suggested.
In Pakistan, the army is considered the most powerful institution and its chief the most powerful person, one who has the final say in all important matters related to foreign policy, the economy and national security. While several observers lauded the apex court’s verdict, some expressed their reservations considering the rules of the game being set in Pakistan’s corridors of power. “...The military’s role in the political domain cannot be fixed unless the civilian institutions in the country remain weak,” Aamir Ghauri, a prominent Pakistani analyst, told TOI.
The ruling also said that any person issuing an edict, or fatwa, which harms another or puts another in harm’s way must be criminally prosecuted.
 $9.1 billion financial assistance from friendly countries
China pumped-in $2.2 billion to cash-strapped Pakistan to shore up its close ally's foreign currency reserves and help avert a possible default on external debt payments.
With the generous Chinese assistance, Pakistan has so far received a total of $9.1 billion in financial assistance packages from friendly countries during the current fiscal year, The Express Tribune reported.
While China has pumped-in $4.1 billion, Pakistan has got $3 billion from Saudi Arabia and $2 billion from United Arab Emirates (UAE), it said.
"The State Bank of Pakistan has received RMB 15 billion value equivalent to $2.2 billion as proceeds of the loan obtained by the government of Pakistan from China," the central bank tweeted.
Finance ministry Spokesperson Khaqan Hassan Najeeb said the funds deposited in the State Bank of Pakistan would strengthen the stability of the country.
The SBP's reserves stood at $8.84 billion as on March 15, 2019, according to the central bank's latest weekly report. The latest deposits came from Beijing are expected to boost the SBP'S reserves into double digit after a gap of almost one year, the report said.
The comparatively higher imports than exports and debt repayments did not allow the reserves to stay stable, as the government was partially financing such international payments using the reserves.
Apart from the financial help, Riyadh has also enabled a $3 billion petroleum oil supply line on deferred payment for Pakistan as well.
Finance minister Asad Umar has estimated a financing gap of around $12 billion for the ongoing fiscal year 2019 and another $7-8 billion for the fiscal year 2020, the report said.
The friendly countries have extended the soft loan at an interest rate ranging 2.5-5 per cent to shore up SBP's foreign currency reserves and averting payment default.
Pakistan is also negotiating with the International Monetary Fund for an aid package but talks have been inconclusive, media reports said.
Earlier, the UAE had announced a $6 billion package for Pakistan in December 2018 including $3 billion in cash deposit and a credit line of another $3 billion for the supply of petroleum on deferred payment.
However, Pakistan has not been able to secure the $3.2 billion oil on deferred payments facility from the UAE.
"The deposits are coming at a very critical time as Islamabad is set to make a large external debt payment next month – April, while its reserves remain under pressure,” Arif Habib Limited Head of Research Samiullah Tariq said recently.
"Pakistan is scheduled to pay off $1 billion for a maturing Eurobond in April.. this will be in addition to other external debt payments during the month," he said.
The increased international payment pressure led to depletion of Pakistan's foreign currency reserves to almost five-year low at $6.63 billion as on January 18, 2019.
 SC reduces army chief’s extension to 6 months
Top Court Orders Imran Govt To Justify Extending Gen Bajwa’s Tenure For 3 Years
The Supreme Court of Pakistan extended conditionally the tenure of General Qamar Javed Bajwa by six months during which the Imran Khan government will have to justify why it granted a controversial extension to the country’s army chief.
The three-member bench, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Asif Saeed Khosa, announced the verdict after being assured by the government that parliament will pass a legislation on the extension/ reappointment of an army chief within the given time.
The chief justice warned that if the legislation was not passed in the given time, the appointment would become illegal. “We are showing judicial restraint although there is no provision in law to grant an extension,” chief justice Khosa told the court. “We leave this matter to parliament to make law regarding this.”
The court’s verdict, observers believe, has further cornered the incumbent government which enjoys a thin majority in parliament. To amend the constitution on the apex court’s order, Khan’s government will require a two-third majority in parliament which is not possible without the support of the opposition parties.
The top court’s announcement came hours ahead of Bajwa’s retirement. He was set to retire at midnight on Thursday. Khan had extended Bajwa’s tenure through a notification in August, citing the national security situation due to a perceived threat from India, but the top court had suspended it on November 26 due to a series of irregularities.
“We find it appropriate to leave the matter to parliament and the federal government to clearly specify the terms and conditions of service of the COAS (chief of the army staff) through an act of parliament and to clarify the scope of Article 243 of the Constitution in this regard,” read the court’s short order.
Article 243 empowers the federal government to have command and control of the armed forces. The order noted that according to Article 243, the authority to appoint an army chief lies with the president. However, there is no duration of appointment specified in the Article.
The court observed that the matter of the army chief ’s reappointment or extension of tenure was challenged and the government kept changing its stance, sometimes referring to it as “reappointment” and at other times as an “extension”.
On the court’s orders, the government submitted a copy of the amended notification regarding Bajwa’s extension which excluded mention of the supreme court, duration of the army chief ’s tenure and descriptions of his salary and incentives.
A much-relieved Khan lauded the apex court and said the verdict “must be a great disappointment to those who expected the country to be destabilised by a clash of institutions”. In a series of tweets, the PM indirectly targeted India and his political rivals (top opposition leaderships of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and Pakistan Peoples Party), saying they were waiting for a clash of institutions.
“That this did not happen must be of special disappointment to our external enemies & mafias within who have stashed their loot abroad and seek to protect this loot by destabilising the country,” he added.
The current government has enjoyed good relations with the armed forces, in contrast to the previous government of Khan’s main rival Nawaz Sharif. During Bajwa’s tenure, the military has been accused by opposition politicians of electoral manipulation, meddling in politics, suspension of civil liberties and muzzling the media to help Khan win power last year. The military has always denied interfering in politics.
The army chief usually serves a three-year term. Since the role was established in 1972, only one general has had his term extended by a civilian government.
The cabinet of PM Imran Khan approved a 3-year extension for General Qamar Javed Bajwa in August, citing a worsening national security situation in the region over its rivalry with India