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Archive for category NAWAZ SHARIF THIEF

WHAT A JOKE — RECORD OF PROPERTY BOUGHT IN 2006 WAS LOST DURING 1999 MARTIAL LAW!

Panamagate: No record for Sharifs’ past business dealings, counsel tells Supreme Court

HASEEB BHATTI 

in DAWN, Pakistan

As the Supreme Court resumed hearing the Panamagate case on Wednesday, Advocate Salman Akram Raja picked up his arguments where he had left them off.

After welcoming Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed — whose sudden illness had forced a suspension in the case’s daily hearings — Raja reminded the court that “this is neither a trial nor the defendant a witness.”

“I will only argue this case based on the evidence present,” Raja, who represents Hassan and Hussain Nawaz, continued.

The record for the Sharif family’s business dealings for the last 40 to 45 years cannot be reproduced, the counsel said, as “it was lost during the 1999 martial law.”

The matter can be sent to relevant departments for inquiry as the Arsalan Iftikhar case determined that trials for cases can be held at corresponding forums, Salman Akram Raja told the court.

“A court has never conducted an independent inquiry in any criminal case,” Raja argued, adding that Article 10 of the Constitution says that every citizen of this country deserves a fair trial and that departments formed under the law should be allowed to do their job.

“There is no charge against the Prime Minister, so there is no charge against his children either,” he continued.

“If we suppose that the PM’s children are his employees, according to the National Accountability Bureau’s laws, then the burden of proof does not fall on the defendants,” Raja argued in court.

“This is not a criminal court, so even if Hassan and Hussain Nawaz are suspected, there is no proof against them,” he added.

There were eight questions that the court posed to the defendants, including the relationship between Mian Mohammad Sharif and the Al Sani family, the shares in Nielsen and Nescoll, and the profits the family gained from them, the counsel recalled.

Lawyer Salman Akbar said that Sharif family has ties with more than one Qatari royal family but he cannot disclose the name of other royal families before the court due to certain reasons.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“There were questions about the trust deed as well, and in this hearing, I will answer all these questions,” he told the court.

Justice Khosa advised Raja that he should first finish his arguments before answering the court’s questions.

Moving on to the matter of the London flats, Hussain Nawaz’s counsel argued that the flats were bought by the Al Thani family between 1993 and 1996.

“The Sharif family did not own the flats in 1999, as Hussain Nawaz was given the bearer certificate to the flats by the Al Thani family,” Raja argued. He added that the shares for the flats were given to Minerva Financial Services in 2006.

Upon hearing this argument, Justice Azmat Saeed asked the counsel to provide a paper trail for these transactions, and said, “You have been moving from one point to the other since the beginning, but have failed to provide any evidence in this regard.”

The allegation is that Maryam Nawaz contacted Minerva Holdings, Raja retorted, upon this, the bench asked that evidence should be proved that Hussain Nawaz is the beneficial owner of the offshore companies.

PTI’s new evidence

The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf (PTI) had announced on Tuesday that it would submit three more documents to disprove the stance adopted by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his family, but the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) is not convinced.

“We are submitting three more documents — one from PTI chairman Imran Khan that authenticates all previous documents presented by the party, the expert opinion of UK-based lawyers and a document that proves that Maryam Nawaz is the owner of UK-based firms Minerva, Nielson and Nescoll,” PTI spokesman Fawad Chaudhry told a press conference.

He said that Imran Khan would submit an affidavit stating that all documents previously submitted by the party were credible and authentic.

PML-N MNA Daniyal Aziz told Dawn that PTI’s lawyers had already completed their arguments and submitted all the evidence they had to the apex court. “Once they have completed their arguments, how can they file more documents?”

 

From The Guardian. London Archival Report

Search for the millions Sharif ‘stole’

The investigator Pakistan’s PM could not stop


They tortured Rehman Malik by placing his hands and feet on ice for up to an hour at a time at a ‘safe house’ in Islamabad. Three years on, he still has trouble feeling sensations in his palms and soles from the punishment, meted out in black masks, by Nawaz Sharif’s heavies.His neck, too, bears the painful crick from a year spent in solitary confinement in a tiny cell at Rawalpindi’s Adila jail with a brick wrapped in newspapers for a pillow. Malik, in mortal fear of convicted terrorists and official hatchet men, found his monthly half-hour visit from his seven-year-old son his single comfort.

Three times following his arrest in November 1996 the courts ordered Malik’s release. Each time he was re-arrested on trumped up charges until, after 12 months of humiliation, the Pakistani Supreme Court itself ruled his detention illegal.

Malik’s crime? To have been the deputy head of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), Pakistan’s equivalent of the FBI, investigating allegations of massive corruption by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, his family, and cronies.

At 46, he was the youngest officer to reach such a senior rank, the equivalent of an army major-general. In a 20-year career, Malik had gained an impressive reputation in the West for anti-terrorist expertise, including investigation of the 1993 World Trade Centre bombing in New York and of Saudi fundamentalist Osama bin Laden. And, after Malik’s inquiries were publicized by The Observer last year, he started a ball rolling which culminated in the coup against Sharif. ‘I have suffered enormously from doing my duty as a civil servant. My friends, family, and colleagues have been harassed. My life has been at risk,’ Malik told The Observer in his first UK interview since fleeing Pakistan for London after an attempt on his life 15 months ago. ‘I am not a politician, but I welcome the army’s action. They have saved Pakistan from someone who was ruining the country. As a career officer, I would like to return to fulfill my official obligations as soon as possible.’

He is also promising further explosive revelations, which will implicate Sharif and senior Muslim League politicians in allegedly creaming off more of the country’s wealth overseas.

Malik’s report last year was painful enough for the deposed Prime Minister, as were the cat-and-mouse tactics by which Malik has been a thorn in his side since. The 200-page report, smuggled into the country on Sharif’s official Jumbo jet, set out a secret web of fake bank accounts and firms in offshore tax havens through which Sharif’s family allegedly siphoned off more than $70 million (£40m) into London property, Swiss investments and banks in New York.

The family, whose empire grew hugely while Sharif was in office, was also accused of defaulting on $120m of state bank loans, a favourite way of milking the public purse.

According to further documents seen by The Observer, however, the revelations appear to be the tip of an iceberg. Following inquiries over the past year, Malik says he has established further channels by which the Sharif family channelled money illegally offshore.

They include $2.74m allegedly deposited in the account of an Essex-based Pakistani family at the Atlas BOT (Bank of Tokyo) Investment Bank in Lahore as security for loans to four Sharif family members. They also include $4.6m deposited at the Al Faysal Investment Bank in Islamabad as security for a loan to Hamza Board Mills, a paper, and forestry firm in the Sharif family’s Ittefaq group.

Among all his amassed wealth, Sharif also appears to have concealed ownership of a Russian-made Ulan helicopter, which he used during election campaigns. The aircraft, worth more than $1m, was bought from an Arab prince, Sheikh Abdul Rehman Bin Nasir Al Thani of Qatar, in November 1996 and registered in Sharif’s name at the Pakistani Civil Aviation Authority, according to official documents obtained by Malik. It was, however, not declared on Sharif’s statutory filing of assets and liabilities to the country’s Election Commission. ‘This was a man who once told me he could not afford a second-hand Mercedes. How then could he buy a helicopter?’ Malik asks.

Most explosive of all, however, is likely to be Malik’s new investigation, which is almost concluded and alleges laundering of more than $100m offshore via a network of UK trusts, Swiss accounts and offshore havens including Liechtenstein.

An Observer investigation has revealed other instances of alleged corruption during Sharif’s last administration:

• In an emergency budget after Pakistan’s nuclear tests last year, import duties on luxury cars were cut from 325 per cent to 125 per cent. A week later they were restored. In between a friend of Sharif imported 80 cars.

• In 1996 senior figures at Bankers Equity Limited, a finance house granted a huge loan, believed to be more than £10m, to close associates of Sharif. Last summer the bank collapsed and several senior managers, including a friend of Sharif’s, were arrested. The loan is outstanding.

• After the 1997 elections the Sharif family and their business concerns were able to reschedule and renegotiate loans worth nearly £100m from eight banks. When ordered by courts to pay some back they surrendered 33 factories. Only one factory was fully operational, the rest closed, out of order, or both.

Sharif, his family, and former Ministers have consistently dismissed the allegations as politically inspired.

Sharif himself is still in ‘preventative custody’, as the army calls it, in a government guesthouse on the outskirts of Islamabad. General Pervez Musharraf, the self-appointed Chief Executive of Pakistan, has not revealed his plans for the man ousted in a coup 10 days ago. Military sources say the evidence is being gathered to put Sharif on trial for corruption and possibly treason.

Sharif’s former residence, the 100-acre Raiwind estate, near the city of Lahore in eastern Pakistan, is widely seen as a symbol of the opulent lifestyle the Sharifs have led since their pursuit of power and wealth began to pay off 15 years ago. Last week The Observer was the first Western newspaper to visit it since Sharif’s fall.

Brand new roads lead out of Lahore, where the Sharifs have two other houses, to the walled 100-acre estate. A turning leads to a helicopter pad and a set of steel gates. Beyond is an open, grassy compound where five houses, all in white-washed villa style, lie in a rough circle around a man-made pond. Each has a huge colonnaded porch sheltering a £20,000 four-wheel drive Jeep. Two of the buildings are partially constructed as is a pool, though a lake stocked with fish is completed. There is a small zoo.

All the houses are similar, with deep red carpets and velvet curtains throughout. Sharif’s own house is distinguished by the number of televisions – the Prime Minister was gadget crazy. Now army machine gunners have replaced the bodyguards who previously watched the compound’s perimeter. And the muzzles of their weapons point in as much as out.

Raiwind is, to the ousted Prime Minister’s critics at least, a symbol of how his administration manipulated government to benefit itself.

According to opposition spokesmen, Sharif has ‘used public office for personal economic gain’. It is corruption, they say, even if it is within the letter of the law.

Soon after coming to power for a second time in February 1997 Sharif declared the Raiwind site to be the ‘Prime Minister’s Camp Office’ – his home away from the capital. The local municipal authority took on the estate’s maintenance at an estimated annual cost of 40 million Pakistani rupees (£500,000) and built a new road for it, while the state has also supplied gas, electricity and a 200-line telephone exchange.

Near Raiwind last week feelings were mixed about Sharif’s fall. Many remain loyal to a man they see as a local boy made good. ‘He has done a lot around here,’ said Ahmadullah Ali, a farmer. ‘He is a good man.’ In the rough and tumble world of Pakistani politics, Sharif may be down, but he still isn’t out.

 Reference Courtesy

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Sharif family has owned London flats since ’90s: BBC report BY HAMID KHAN WAZIR


Pakistan Today

Sharif family has owned London flats since ’90s: BBC report

BY HAMID KHAN WAZIR

PTI Spokesman Naeemul Haq says PM will have to surrender before the law of the land The news report by BBC Urdu regarding Sharif family’s London flats has helped the claims of Pakistan.

The news report by BBC Urdu regarding Sharif family’s London flats has helped the claims of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) who now say that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has been left with no option but to surrender before the law of the land.PTI Central Secretary Information Naeemul Haq, in reaction over the BBC Urdu report, has stated that the report has completely exposed the lies of the premier before the nation.He said that the PM could have avoided this humiliation had he not lied before the nation.The BBC Urdu report says that the properties owned by the Sharif family in London’s upscale Park Lane neighborhood were purchased in the 1990s and there has been no change of ownership since then.According to official documents available withBBC Urdu, the four flats were purchased in the name of the Nielsen and Nescoll companies.

 

 

 

 

Naeemul Haq said that Nawaz Sharif has wasted nine months to provide cover to his lies.

“The PM lied on the floor of the Parliament and before the nation; he changed his lawyers time and again to conceal his lies in the apex court,” he added.

Naeemul Haq said that despite efforts by the ruling party, they have failed to hide the truth from the public.

He said that Nawaz Sharif has no way to escape accountability, adding that the premier and his family did not take those who published Panama Leaks to the court. He said that PTI will see whether the family will sue BBC Urdu for its report.

According to the documents, an official record of companies doing business in the United Kingdom reveals that when Hassan Nawaz established Flagship Investment Ltd in 2001, the address he provided at the time of registration of the company was that of his Park Lane apartment.

According to the report, Neilson and Nescoll purchased the following flats:  Flat 17 on June 1, 1993; Flat 16 on July 31, 1995; Flat 16A on July 31, 1995; and Flat 17A on July 30, 1996. There has been no change in ownership since then.

After the Panama Papers were published, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s son, Hussain Nawaz, had accepted the family’s ownership of Nielsen and Nescoll.

Hussain had said: “The Park Lane apartments in London are ours, two offshore companies, Nielsen and Nescoll, own these flats and I am the beneficial owner of these companies, working under a trust held by my sister Maryam Nawaz Sharif.”

Flat 12A is owned by Flagship Investment Company since 2004. Hassan Nawaz is the director of Flagship which was created in 2001, the report added.

 
 
 

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Dr Ashfaque, Dr Pasha, Dr Salman write open letter to IMF “Wrong sides of the Picture”

Dr. Ashfaque H. Khan, Dr. Hafiz A. Pasha and Dr. Salman Shah, who have served on key posts in Finance Ministry and Planning Division have written an open letter to the IMF, exposing wrong picture presented by the Dar-led economic team about Pakistan’s economy. Dr Khan send this article to the Editor of Corporate Ambassador, Javed Mahmood today.

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The three year program under the IMF’s Extended Fund Facility (EFF), has now come to an end. Pakistan has received $6.1 billion loan from the IMF under this program. During the tenure of the program, Pakistan was required to undertake wide – ranging structural reforms and implement the type of macroeconomic policy that would restore macroeconomic stability, gradually promote economic growth and build foreign exchange reserves to bolster external buffers.

After the completion of the twelfth and the final Review, the IMF Staff Mission Report has declared ‘victory’ and stated that “the Fund Supported Program has helped the country restore macroeconomic stability, reduce vulnerabilities and make progress in tackling key structural challenges. Economic growth has gradually increased and inflation has declined. External buffers have been bolstered, financial sector resilience has been reinforced, and the fiscal deficit has been reduced while social safety nets have been strengthened”.

On the reform side, the Report stated that “tax policy and administration reforms allowed for further revenue mobilization.Steps have been taken to strengthen the State Bank of Pakistan’s autonomy. Energy sector reform allowed a reduction of power outages, energy subsidies, and accumulation of power sector arrears. A country – wide strategy to improve the business climate was adopted”.

The Staff Report contains the views of the IMF on the “success” of the program. We, the three independent economists, through this open letter would like to present the other side of the picture. In particular, we identify the extent of the success, how these “successes” have been achieved and express our disappointment with the failure to implement reforms that are critical for achieving higher economic growth. Needless to mention, the three authors of this open letter have all dealt in the past with the IMF in senior management capacity at the ministry of finance, either as Federal Ministers or Advisor.

Firstly, building foreign exchange reserves to bolster the external buffer was the main pillar of the hurriedly put together IMF Program. The idea was to build reserves and repay the then IMF loan on time. That is why many independent economists including the ones who remained associated with the IMF for a long time termed the program as ‘Self-Serving Program’.

Such an objective of the program forced the government to borrow extensively to build foreign exchange reserves and in the process accumulate net external debt of over $12 billion during the program period. Incidentally, Pakistan added exactly the same amount to its foreign exchange reserves, that is, from $6 billion in end-June 2013 to $18.0 billion in end-June 2016. The above facts clearly suggest that we improved the external buffer entirely through adding external debt. Isn’t it simply postponing the current problem of insolvency to a future date?

Secondly, in a three year program, the IMF has extended sixteen waivers. Perhaps never in the history of the IMF did Pakistan receive such a large number of waivers. This diluted the purpose of the program and also reflected on the lack of emphasis towards implementing and achieving the stated goals of the program.

Sadly, the IMF Staff Mission has selectively highlighted the improvement in some economic indicators from 2012-13 to 2015-16. This includes rising economic growth, falling rate of inflation, rising tax-to-GDP ratio,  higher spending under BISP and private sector credit and falling subsidies as percentage of GDP.

The rate of economic growth achieved in the last three years remains contentious. The Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) has estimated the GDP growth rate as 4 percent or above each year, reaching 4.7 percent in 2015-16. The authors have presented contrary evidence that the growth rate has been exaggerated each year, and it has ranged between 3.1 to 3.7 percent during the program periods. The Data Quality Assessment Framework (DQAF) of the IMF should have been used to check the reliability of the national income estimates.

We would like to quote the recent statement of the Managing Director of the IMF as posted on September 1, 2016 by iMF direct. In her words “The longer demand weakness lasts, the more it threatens to harm long-term growth as firms reduce production capacity and unemployed workers are leaving the labor force and critical skills are eroding. Weak demand also depresses trade, which adds to disappointing productivity growth”.

This statement clearly depicts the current state of economic growth and unemployment in Pakistan in terms of the social costs of the excessive focus on stabilization policy. The persistence of lower economic growth has failed to create enough jobs. People in general and youth in particular, are finding difficulties to get jobs. People remaining unemployed for a longer duration are becoming unemployable, with all its social and economic consequences. Not only that the unemployment rate has surged to a 13 years high at over 8.0 percent (including the ‘discouraged worker’ effect), youth unemployment rate has also increased to over 11 percent in 2014-15. Furthermore, between 2012-13 and 2014-15, the annual number of entrants into the labour force has been approximately 650,000 as against 1.3 million during 2008-13.

A particularly worrying feature of the current employment situation is the extremely high unemployment rate of 20 percent of workers with either graduate or post graduate degrees. There are 2.4 million educated workers with bad employment prospects. This is the unfortunate outcomeof the IMF Program

On the size of the fiscal deficit, the IMF Report claims that this has been reduced from 8.5 percent to 4.6 percent of the GDP. A number of steps have been taken to report smaller deficits. For example, holding back refunds and forcing  commercial entities to pay taxes in advance to jack up revenue, privatization proceeds and foreign grants treated as non-tax revenue to inflate overall revenue rather than treating them as financing items, engaging in quasi-fiscal operations outside the budget, allowing for large statistical discrepancy each year (cumulatively Rs. 600 billion in three years) to show lower expenditures, exaggerating the size of the Provincial cash surplus, retaining earmarked revenues in the Federal consolidated Fund and building up large contingent liabilities (over Rs. 1400 billion of power sector circular debt, accumulation of debt in commodity financing and pending tax refunds). The IMF staff has either been blissfully unaware of or has condoned this creative accounting. Adjusting for these practices implies a fiscal deficit each year in the range of 7.0 to 8.0 percent of the GDP.

Other areas, where serious distortions exist, are: the estimates of the GDP deflator; investment and saving rates and rate of inflation, especially for poor households. A case ought to have been made for complete operational autonomy of the PBS.

Yet another “success” of the program as stated by the IMF Staff Mission is the sharp reduction in inflation rate. It has declined from 7.4 percent in 2012-13 to 2.9 percent in 2015-16. Does this decline owe to the ‘prudent’ fiscal and monetary policy pursued during the program period? The answer appears to be in the negative. The international oil and commodity prices started collapsing since June 2014. Such a collapse in the oil and commodities prices led to a worldwide decline in inflation, including in Pakistan. Furthermore, as stated above, the pursuance of stabilization policy for a prolonged period weakened the domestic demand, resulting into deceleration of prices. Thus, the sharp decline in inflation during the program period owes to the weakening of domestic demand, as well as a collapse in the international prices of oil and commodities and not to the prudent use of monetary and fiscal policy. In fact, when inflation rate was rapidly on the decline, the SBP was pursing an easy monetary policy.

The quarterly reviews have ignored the deterioration in key economic indicators. They failed to discuss big decline in exports – to – GDP ratio, stagnation in the overall and private investment – to – GDP ratio, fall in FDI, rise in external debt and public debt – to – GDP ratios, fall in total PRSP pro-poor expenditure to GDP and very importantly, a rise in the rate of unemployment especially among young, educated, and female workforce. Only 750,000 jobs were created annually in 2013-14 and 2014-15 as against 1.1 million jobs annually earlier.

As stated above, Pakistan was asked to implement a wide-ranging reforms under the IMF Program. What has been the performance on the reform side?

Power Sector Reforms

The glaring failure of the Fund program is in the implementation of power sector reforms. The 12thReview Report declares victory primarily by demonstrating that the subsidy to the sector has fallen massively from 2percent of the GDP in 2012-13 to only 0.6percent of the GDP in 2015-16.

How has this been achieved? The answer is not by any major improvements in efficiency through big reduction in losses. Instead, the policy has been to raise the power tariffs to generate more revenues and thereby reduce the need for subsidies. From 2012-13 to 2015-16, the average electricity tariff (including surcharges) has been enhanced by 40percent, leading to extra revenues of distribution companies of over Rs 250 billion. The tariffs have been increased at the time when the fuel costs have fallen by over 49 percent.

On top of this, contingent liabilities have increased exponentially in the sector. Today, the circular debt of the sector stands at almost Rs 630 billion, over 2percent of the GDP. Sooner or later, this debt will have to be retired, as happened in 2012-13, if a breakdown is to be avoided in supplies due to liquidity problems in the sector.

IMF also claims on behalf of the Government, that power load-shedding has been substantially reduced, especially in industry. Evidence to the contrary is the large continuing demand-supply gap according to NEPRA, and the fact that electricity consumption per industrial consumer has fallen in nine out of ten distribution companies, in comparison to the level achieved in the pre-load-shedding years.

Tax Reforms

The IMF Twelfth Review has highlighted, as one of the key successes of the Program, the over two percent points increase in the tax-to-GDP ratio. Much of the improvement has come in 2015-16. How has this been achieved? The main contribution is actually from enhancement in effective tax rates and not by broadening of the various tax bases. The tax structure has become more regressive and created more distortions in economic activity. Furthermore, various levies which used to be the part of non-tax revenues prior to the IMF Program were renamed as ‘other taxes’ and added to the tax revenue collected by the FBR to arrive at ‘new’ tax – to – GDP ratio. Such a practice has made the ‘new tax – to – GDP ratio non-comparable with the pre-IMF Program period.

The biggest failure is in lack of development of the direct tax system. The elite continues to enjoy wide ranging tax exemptions and concessions like the virtually no or low taxation of global income, profits of private companies, agricultural income and unearned capital incomes. The IMF clearly prefers not to antagonize the ruling elite through its reform agenda.

Improvement in Living Standards

Contrary to the claims by the IMF, living standards have probably fallen in Pakistan during the tenure of the Program. A number of reforms undertaken have contributed to rising unemployment and poverty.

The anti-poor actions include, firstly, the rise in input costs of fertilizer and electricity in agriculture due to hike in power and gas tariffs and additional taxation in the form of the GIDC. The result is that food prices have risen faster than the overall CPI and wages of unskilled workers. Today, Pakistan has the extremely serious problem of malnutrition. In the 2016 ranking of the Global Hunger Index, Pakistan has the 11th lowest position, even below Bangladesh, out of 118 countries. The non-implementation of the PMs agricultural package of September 2015 under the IMF pressure has contributed to the recent debacle in the sector.

Secondly, the primary adjustment mechanism for achieving the fiscal deficit targets in the Program has been large cut backs of up to 30percent in budgeted development spending by the Federal and Provincial governments. In 2015-16 alone these cuts have implied less employment generation of almost 300,000 jobs.Thirdly, hikes in indirect taxes have affected the cost of living adversely. This includes the levy of minimum import tariffs on basic food and other items and jump in GST rates on petroleum products, especially HSD oil.Fourthly, the decline in exports has contributed to loss of employment in labor-intensive sectors like SMEs and textiles. Consequently, as highlighted earlier, the underlying unemployment rate has gone beyond 8 percent. Fifthly, social indicators have shown only minor improvement in three years. This is due particularly to the pressure on Provincial governments to spend less on social and other sectors so as to generate large cash surpluses.

Anti-Export Bias

According to the original Program projections, exports were expected to show a steady annual growth rate of 8 percent and reach $30 billion by 2015-16. Instead, they have been falling since 2012-13 to below $22 billion last year, a short fall of over 23percent. This is perhaps one of the single most important failures of the Program. It has adversely impacted on growth and employment in the country and frustrated the achievement of greater self-reliance.

How did the Program reinforce the anti-export bias? The record level of external borrowings during the last three years has led to a form of ‘Dutch Disease’. Larger reserves, based completely on external borrowing, have created artificial stability in the value of the rupee, thereby reducing competitiveness. Enhancement of electricity tariffs by over 40percent and gas price to industry by 64percent, further affected competitiveness. In an effort to meet the Program revenue targets, FBR has held back over Rs 200 billion of refunds, leading to liquidity problems for exporters. Further, levy of a minimum import duty on raw materials and intermediate goods has added to costs.

Today, the decline in ability to service external debt obligations, including those to the IMF, is clearly demonstrated by the phenomenal increase in the external debt to exports ratio. It was 193percent in 2012-13 and has risen to 266percent by the end of 2015-16. It is likely to continue rising and go beyond 300percent by 2017-18. There is no other option now in the post-Program scenario but to present a strong export incentive package, including significant depreciation of the Rupee.

External Financing Requirement

The original Program projections were that external financing requirements, consisting of external debt amortization and the current account deficit, would reach $9.2 billion by 2016-17 and fall to $8 billion in 2017-18. However, following the much larger build up of external debt, the latest estimates of the financing requirement in the 12th Review is $ 10.9 billion in 2016-17, rising to $13.2 billion in 2017-18.

However, these estimates are based on significant positive growth in remittances and exports and a big jump in FDI. This is highly unlikely given the current trends. A more realistic estimate of external financing requirement is $15 billion in 2016-17 and $18 billion in 2017-18. This is more than 5percent of the GDP, which is considered the danger point. Part of this requirement will have to be met by a sizeable depletion of foreign exchange reserves. There is a high likelihood that by June 2018, reserves may fall to about half of the present level.

Where is the sustainability of our external position? Has the IMF Program reduced our vulnerabilities? Are we doomed to go back once again to the IMF? Will conditionalities next time go beyond the usual prior actions? Already, two weeks after the end of the IMF Program, Pakistan has been forced to float relatively high cost bonds externally of $1 billion. This indicates a lack of confidence in the sustainability of reserves in coming months and years.

Finally, in the immediate aftermath of the IMF Program, the economy has begun to unravel. Agricultural growth was negative last year and the prospects for the current cotton crop are not much better. Growth of the large-scale manufacturing sector has also turned negative in the last four months for which data is available. Seven out of the twelve industrial groups are showing declining output. The fall in exports continues and the trade deficit has risen sharply. Remittances are also contracting, along with a sharp reduction in FDI. FBR tax revenue growth has plummeted and large borrowing has been resorted to by the Federal Government from SBP. Development releases of funds have been relatively small and the process of implementation of CPEC infrastructure projects is very slow. Contingent liabilities have reached alarming levels and the bleeding of public sector enterprises/utilities continues. Can we still say that the reforms implemented during the tenure of the Fund Program have left the economy in a ‘sustainable position’? The answer, unfortunately, is an unambiguous no.

 

* The authors have worked for the Ministry of Finance and dealt with the IMF at the highest level for a long time.

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Blunders & Goof-Ups of Nawaz Sharif in his THIRD tenure so far (2013 – 2015)

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Blunders  of Nawaz Sharif in his THIRD tenure so far (2013 – 2015)

This is Nawaz Shareef’s third tenure as a Prime Minister of Pakistan and look like he has gained very little in respect to the political maturity, international affairs awareness and leadership vision. In this short blogs i will try to highlight few of his biggest blunders according to my opinion and will try to explain what he did wrong.

Change of Route of Pak-China Economic Corridor

Pak-China Economic Corridor is one of the most forward looking economic project of Nawaz Shareef’s current tenure. In a sense i feel its the need of the hour not only for economy of Pakistan but its security stability and unity. Road not only bring traffic but also economic activity, prosperity to the land and also reduce hatred and terrorism. According to the original plan the economic corridor was suppose to go through Balochistan and KPK into the china. Currently all Pakistan’s infrastructure is present on the eastern side and this economic corridor will provide much needed infrastructure development on the western side. Western side is also the side troubled with terrorism and sense of depravity and this development will increase the harmony and reduce the terrorism.

But recently PML-N decided to change the route and take it through Lahore. Lahore already is over populous and full of infrastructure and this would have created more chaos and congestion to the over crowded city.

Then the mistake over the mistake was the statement they give for the change of route that the security was lacking. There are two problems with this statement. Is PML-N not in government? do they not plan to improve the security? and secondly are the not giving the message that only Punjab is safe.? so are they acknowledging that their government has failed in improving security and have no plan to improve the security.

Thirdly this project is multi billion rather trillion ruppee project once the road is finalized you cant just pick it up and take it somewhere else so one excuse should not over shadow other important gains like giving the strategic depth, development of the western side, improvement of the harmony among people by improving travelling. opening new routes. enabling the development of the under developed areas and so many more benefits.

Cyber Security Bill

Cyber Security Bill is also one of the high level blunder. This is one of the most ill concived bill in which freedom of speech is restricted and this will give rise to more anti-government sentiments. Social Media was one of the few places where government managed to get some support against the dharna politics of Imran Khan Now they are trying to block it and it will hurt them more in the future then gaining them anything in the present. Most form of the criticism is blocked according to this bill.

I am not against having some restrictions but according to the bill even making political cartoons is a crime. The other issue is the government has not given his view. If they have all these points in the bill for some specific reason then they should commnicate to the masses. But unfortunately tnawaz shareef lack of democratic views and keeping quiet s hurting more than serving him

Enactment of Military Courts 

This is one of the biggest blunder of internal politics. The PML-N enactment of military courts is a message that government is incapable and cannot fix the judicial system of the country. If we go by this logic then the government should not criticize dictatorship or dictators because they also believe that democratic system has not produced results for Pakistan and therefore dictators should be allowed to the govern Pakistan. There government says that democracy should be given time to strengthen then why not give time and direction and make effort to fix the judicial system of Pakistan also to make it more effective.?

Failure to understand Sindh

Although federal government is considered to be representative of all Pakistan and PML-N also waste no time in saying that it got votes and seats in all provinces o the Pakistan but its hidden thing that PML-N is highly disliked by people of Karachi in unanimity. Looking at various steps of the ruling party PML-N it come as no surprise.

Firstly they have highly incapable president of Sindh PML-N. A president of sindh PML-N can not win his own seat even a provincial seat. He has no backing plus he is notorious. Secondly the the mentality of Karachi voter is highly different then the thinking of Punjabi voter.

Secondly just before the election PML-N included candidates or made alliances with the parties who were notorious and with little support on the ground. After these parties lost they again split  from PML-N. So instead of giving exposure to some of their own capable candidate they relied on external unreliable support. Then PML-N Sindh has no voice and even when rarely they make a statement they make a stupid one.

Lack of Foreign Minister

May be in its effort to keep the government size manageable PML-N federal government tried to restrict the number of ministers. But not appointing a dedicated Foreign Minister PML-N just shows that either they are incapable of understanding foreign affairs. ? or they lack a good personality to handle foreign affairs or foreign affairs matters are not in their control. All three meanings shows a blunder and nothing else on PML-N part

They also have some of the worst ministers in IT. Even water and power minister have failed to end load shedding or give a clear vision.

Large delays in Appointing on Key Posts

Nawaz Shareef seems to be incapable of making a decision. Number of key bureaucratic and head of departments post which required agreement with opposition leader like chairman NAB takes a long long time in getting appointment. They get appointed in the end because of strict warnings from the Supreme Court Judges. When a person is incapable of simply appointing key positions with honest and well reputed people in timely fashion then it leaves a big question mark on his decision making skills.

Development of Lahore Karachi Motorway

I am always pro infrastructure projects. but there has to be limit to the amount of such projects especially if its destroying your most fertile land and giving no benefit at all. There are now number of links from Lahore to Multan so developing yet another road from Lahore to Multan for Lahore Karachi motorway is simply like cutting your limb. Pakistan already is facing heaving reduction in agricultural land. We just need to develop the missing roads between Lahore Karachi and should use the existing infrastructure as much as possible.

Yemen Affair:

Without having a dedicated foreign minister its no surprise that PML-N made number of blunders on Yemen Affair. Yemen affair has number of significance. Our trusted friend Saudi Arabia first time asked for help. Nawaz Shareef agreed to provide this help. Suddenly media started maligning campaign against this issue, openly accusing Nawaz Shareef under personal gains helping Saudi Arabia without realizing that our existence is largely thanks to Saudi Arabia help which have never shied from helping us in our time of trouble.

Blunder 1: Government gives no directives to media not malign our trusted friend. (When Musharraf sent NS to Saudi Arabia under the deal he directed media not malign Saudi Arabia in this affair)

Blunder 2: Under pressure from Media and probably Army, Nawaz shareef tried to back track from its commitment and for this calls a joint session. This joint session started talking foul about Saudi Arabia. It is Saudi that helped us when we were put under economic sanctions and its Saudia that has helped monetarily whenever we asked. The joint session speakers started speaking in favor of Iran who deliberately tried to roll back our nuclear program by informing about our help to Iran. Dr. Abdul Qadeer father of Pakistan nuclear capability is penalized because of Iran’s effort.

Nawaz Shareef should have called a meeting with the parliamentary leaders and should have given them directives not to use any foul languages against our trusted Saudi friends

Nawaz Shareef should atleast have told his own party members that they should not take a position against Saudi Arabia.

Blunder 3: Iran FM visited Pakistan and Saudi Arabia also announced to send its representative to Pakistan.. PM after meeting the Iranian FM passes resolution in the join session regarding Yemen conflict which sound n favor or Iranian point of view before even the meeting with the Saudi delegation is held. So a message is sent to our friend that dont come we have already accepted Iran point of view. A country which has number of times violated our sovereignty and killed our soldiers. What a stupid message to give our friend Saudi Arabia.

Blunder 4: When our friends gave a well deserved harsh response to our parliamentary resolution then our Interior Minister who is mostly missing and never found giving a statement on matters related to interior minister gave an even more damaging response. Come on cant the Prime Minister tell his minister to shut up instead of burning to ashes our friendship with the most loyal friends.

Blunder 5: When some section of media highlighted the contribution of Saudi Arabia after our nuclear blast, PML-N finance minister gave a statement in denial of those gifts and concessions and contribution. So now we showed to our friend that we are one undeserving and inconsiderate friend.

Just to wrap up. I feel that Nawaz Shareef is far from the leader the Pakistan needs at this time. His decision making leaves a lot to be desired. He lacks total understanding of foreign affairs. His political skills and political sense are very weak and incapable of developing further. This may turn out to be the bigger threat for PML-N then any other party including PTI

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