Change in Naya Pakistan has been limited to a new party in control of power and law-making, with some saying that new amendments seek to self-satisfy the party, just as parties before it have behaved.
On the other hand, we see a lot of changes, especially in the way financial matters are being handled. The PTI’s policy seems to be to catch all sorts of fish — big or small — with regard to money laundering allegations. Its latest attempt to facilitate the deposit of money launderers and alleged criminals’ return to Pakistan is by eliminating the death penalty for suspects extradited from the European Union.
Albeit this, the death penalty is not supported through the angle of human rights. The motivation to eliminate it from Section 302 of the Pakistan Penal Code of 1860, however, is not because of the level of sensibility of the law or to support human rights; it is to regain custody of those who harmed and stole from the country.
In the frenzy to bring back Sharif and Zardari offshore money, financial rules and regulations are being implemented haphazardly. The ruling PTI is going quite aggressively after these two former dynastic rulers as well as Altaf Hussain but it is inadvertently making it difficult for businesses to operate. While we might agree with elimination of capital punishment in murder cases, there remains excessive oversight on financial transactions. On a macroscopic level, this is not in the best interest of the country.
Eliminating capital punishment in order for Pakistani-origin suspects to be returned to Pakistan was necessary; and unless Pakistani laws comply with EU laws, securing control of suspects — many of whom sought refuge in EU countries — was difficult.
The underlying concern, however, is that laws are being amended to ostensibly favour personal agendas and vendettas. This is what the actions of previous leaderships have led us to believe even though we acknowledge that securing looted capital is imperative for Pakistan to advance and that justice must be served with suspects given a trial to face accountability.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 18th, 2019.
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