Cabinet’s realistic approach

THE interim Federal Cabinet at its meeting held on Wednesday took some important but realistic decisions — reversal of the move to hold trial of former Prime Minister Mian Nawaz Sharif, Maryam Nawaz and retired Capt Muhammad Safdar in Adyala Jail, initiatives aimed at fulfilling obligations of the country to help avert inclusion of Pakistan in FATF’s black list and tax concessions for the erstwhile FATA and PATA as part of the policy of mainstreaming. Though caretakers are not supposed to take long-term policy measures but those okayed by it were unavoidable and in good spirit.
The decision to hold open trial of Nawaz Sharif and his family has rectified the wrong that sent highly negative signal as to what was happening in Pakistan on the front of administration of justice. Legal minds including interim Minister for Information and Law Syed Ali Zafar unanimously held the view that there was no precedent of opting for jail trial. PML (N) especially its President Mian Shahbaz Sharif have been complaining that only cases of terrorism are tried in jail. Whatever the causes and reasons of the earlier decision, its reversal is good and in future also important and crucial decisions should not be taken in undue haste. As for FATF, there is every reason to fulfil all legal and administrative actions aimed at choking terrorism financing and money-laundering. Though Pakistan can manage things while remaining in the grey list but we must do what others are doing to address one of the major challenges facing the world.
Pakistan is playing a frontline role in war against terror and there should be no bad reflection on its intentions and efforts just for some legal or financial issues. The decision not to collect sales tax on electricity, manufacturing and income tax on profits in business from the FATA and PATA areas as part of implementation of tribal areas’ merger with Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa is in line with the strategy approved by the PML (N) government. FATA and PATA remained neglected for a long time and it is but natural to provide people of the regions with necessary incentives to adjust themselves with new realities. Full-blown implementation of all laws and measures including taxation might evoke negative reaction. However, we have observed that once a concession is granted it becomes difficult to take it back at any time in future because of politicisation and vested interests as we have seen in the case of job quota that was to end in ten years but is there after 37 years of passage of the Constitution.

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