Evidences and Proofs - By : Prof. Dr. Munir M. Hasan

The judicial matters are usually handled by the persons who know law. However, the justice is a matter which should not only be done, but should be seen even by a common man. According to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle:

“It’s every man’s business to see justice done”.

However, in Pakistan, nobody can see justice being done to the people. There are many areas where justice is denied to a common man, and there are innumerable examples of these injustices. To explain all of them we need volumes of books to be written. However, in this small essay I will restrict my submission to only one matter. In Pakistan the public money is being robbed and public assets are being misappropriated by the ruling class. This is the matter of Fundamental Rights of the people. However, no institution in Pakistan seems able to stop this robbery and prosecute the robbers. This is a clear injustice to the people of Pakistan.

It is well-known and undeniable fact that Pakistan, from the very beginning, has been in the grip of dishonest and corrupt people. This corrupt ruling class has been devising and using different ways to rob the country’s resources. Various parties have been using their own particular ways and methods. One thing which is common to all parties is that they have been framing the laws which suit them and with loopholes in them so that they could escape from being punished in case they are caught by chance, and making it difficult even for an honest judge to award any punishment. This business has been going on for decades.

If the readers may recall, until 1970s there was a time when most of the institutions of Pakistan were progressing well. Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) was considered one of the best airlines in the world so much so that on one occasion the wife of the then sitting President of USA, Mrs. Jacqueline Kennedy, preferred to travel from New York to London by PIA rather than travelling in any of the US airlines. Power sector (WAPDA and KESC) was not only having sufficiently surplus power for the consumers, but also the cost was quite low because there was no profiteering by the private sector. Pakistani technical firms not only used to work in major projects within the country, but also used to get construction and other projects from abroad creating job opportunities for Pakistanis and earning foreign exchange. In those days, if someone in authority wanted to take an illegal share from these projects or from the institutions, it mostly used to be in Pakistani currency. If somebody wanted to hide this illegal money, he used to deposit it in Switzerland banks and in other countries by illegal means. Fearing that they might be caught while sending this money from Pakistan, the later corrupt governments changed the robbing procedures.

Since late 1980s this trend changed. The governments appointed corrupt people as heads of national institutions with the result that the prestigious institutions such as PIA, Pakistan Steel, Railways and other institutions collapsed. WAPDA and KESC were not allowed additional power generation and this job was given to private sector at much higher prices to ensure their own share in these projects. Even if the technical capabilities were available in Pakistan, the ruling class started giving the projects to foreign firms at exorbitant rates so that they could get their big shares and deposit them in foreign banks and in other foreign investment schemes directly without any money trail from Pakistan. The construction contract of the first Motorway in Pakistan (M2) was awarded to M/s Daewoo Corporation of Korea in 1991, which was considered as the most expensive motorway in Asia. If at that time this award was investigated, then many other similar robberies would have been stopped. I am personally witness to the present plight of Heavy Mechanical and Heavy Electrical Complexes in Pakistan. These were very useful heavy industries established in the 1970s. When I visited these industries in early 2000s, these were jobless because all major works were being awarded by the government to the foreign firms to get kickbacks in foreign currency. I found the heads of these organizations very much frustrated on this situation.

To achieve their targets, the family members of the ruling class found it necessary to establish offshore companies in the countries like Panama and others, which were out of reach of Pakistani agencies. They divided their families into two groups. The ruling members of the family became the managers of getting kickbacks from the foreign firms, and non-ruling members of the family started depositing this money in their offshore companies. This was the primary concern of these offshore companies. This allegation of mine is substantiated by the words of the present Prime Minister of Pakistan himself who is on the record saying that the corrupt people do not keep the money in their own possession. So, if anybody wants to get proofs of corruption of any ruler, he should not only trace the income of the persons in authority, but also of their close relatives. This corrupt policy of the ruling class, especially in the last three decades, has been damaging Pakistan continuously and doing injustice to the people of Pakistan.

Starting of not-so-important mega projects by the corrupt rulers neglecting their constitutional duties such as education, health and other matters of public necessities, awarding these projects to foreign firms even if the technical expertise were available in Pakistan, awarding these projects at exorbitant costs, are some of the evidences of their corruption. Members of the ruling class becoming billionaires without apparent legal incomes, and living luxuriously, are additional evidences of their corruption.

Not only I, but anybody looking at this situation can see these evidences clearly. If however I am asked to give a proof of these evidences I, having absolutely no authority to approach to the official records, cannot give any proof. It does not mean that there is no corruption in the country. To convert these evidences into proofs some investigation and reach to the official records is required.

In this scenario, the case of Panama Papers before the Supreme Court, in my view, is being mishandled. It is being considered as a dispute between the two personalities or two parties, and people are talking about the burden of proof on one party or on the other. The case of this corruption is not a dispute between the two persons or two parties. It is a matter of national importance because the public money has been and is being looted. It concerns public at large. There are many strong evidences of this corruption. In the Supreme Court of Pakistan the petitioners have pointed out these evidences of corruption and now it is the duty of the state to investigate these allegations and get the proofs. Ordinarily this is the job of the investigating agencies which are many in number. However, these investigating agencies headed by those who themselves are facing allegations of corruption, cannot hold fair inquiries. The present situation is that almost all the national, provincial and private institutions in Pakistan are crippled, impaired and paralyzed with the result that no authority responsible to stop this evil, can ever take any step to stop this economic terrorism.

The present Panama Papers case before the Honourable Supreme Court is at advance stage. In this case so much material has already been submitted that, in my opinion, this case under Article 63 against the Prime Minister can be decided within days. For determining the financial irregularities of this case and of so many other cases of similar nature pertaining to other elites of Pakistan, Supreme Court cannot afford to spend so much time on these cases. So, in order to do justice with the people of Pakistan, these investigations can be handed over to a commission consisting of legal and financial experts of integrity, to be appointed by the Supreme Court. And if the Honourable Supreme Court does not order such investigations, then the present trend of robbery by the ruling class will continue and there will be no solution left for Pakistan to come out of this situation.

Corruption at the governmental level is the mother of all other corruptions and evils. If it is not checked then there is no hope that this menace will ever be eliminated from Pakistan.

Posted on Dec 07, 16 | 11:32 pm