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Tuesday, July 16, 2024

The weak institutions of Pakistan

Pakistan is faced with multifaceted development issues that need to be dealt with with an iron hand. However, in the status quo, the gravest development challenge for Pakistan is the existence of weak institutions. Numerous development efforts have brutally failed in Pakistan because of the lack of institutions having the ability to sustain the policies.

The favoritism and demerit in government institutions have apart from crippling society, brought about embarrassment to Pakistan in the international community also. Weak control and nepotism by the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (PCAA) over the management of pilots’ rules/regulations have resulted in the ban of all Pakistani airline’s operations in Europe and the USA. So is the story of all other civil institutions.

The appointments there are mostly political and devoid of merit hence leading to dangerous compromises by employees while performing duty against the true spirit of their respective jobs.

Read more: Non-Traditional Security Threats and Institutions’ Role in Pakistan

20 million incitement cases in the US

In the year 1998-99 I used to watch Mr. Navaid Malik coming out of Chairman PIA (Mr. Khaqan Abbasi)’s office very often. He was said to be interested in PIA Flight Kitchen. Then the Military took over changed the scenario and everybody moved forward in life.

A few years back the name of Mr. Navaid Malik appeared in international and local media on the alleged agreement sparing US$ 20 Million for the Shareef brothers in return for getting the sale deal of Karachi Electric with a Chinese company materialized.

On 18th October 2018, the newspaper “DAWN”, quoting The Wall Street Journal (WSJ), published the following details :

“Arif Naqvi, the embattled founder of Dubai-based Abraaj Group, allegedly paid US$ 20 Million to businessman Navaid Malik for his assistance in securing the cooperation of Sharif brothers for K-Electric sale, claims an article published in The Wall Street Journal (WSJ).

The article by WSJ alleges Malik was tasked with securing cooperation from Nawaz Sharif, The then PM, and Shahbaz Sharif, the then Chief Minister of Punjab, to help sell Abraaj’s stake in K-Electric. Govt of Pakistan owns 25% of K-Electric.

After reviewing company documents and emails, WSJ claims that Omar Lodhi, partner at Abraaj, in October 2015 informed Naqvi of Navaid Malik’s assurance that former Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif was “willing to give strong endorsement” of the K-Electric deal to Chinese bidders.

Read more: How can we restore an institutional order in Pakistan?

The email also attributes the businessman saying it is “important for him to share every detail with the brothers and get their blessings as well their instructions as to how this money (US$20 Million) should be distributed, such as “a portion to charity” or “a portion to the election fund kitty”. Mr. Navaid Malik then denied and signaled to sue WSJ.

Proactive action by the UAE government

Upon this development, a proactive institution of Dubai carried out its own investigation as Abraaj was registered in Dubai. Hence two Abraaj entities were fined US$ 315 million and Naqvi was sentenced to three years imprisonment in absentia in Dubai.

In April 2019, Naqvi was arrested by authorities in the UK after being charged by the USA Department of Justice with fraud, misleading investors and misappropriating $230 million from a healthcare fund. In early May 2019, Naqvi was granted bail by a London court pending a hearing for his extradition to the USA, with restrictions including a record £15 million GBP surety and other conditions amounting to effective house arrest.

As per Reuters.com, in January 2022, Dubai’s financial regulator fined Naqvi almost US$136 Million and banned him from Emirate’s financial center for “serious failings” with respect to the firm. The DFSA also fined former Abraaj executive Waqar Siddique $1.2 million and banned him from DIFC.

Later, an article named Imran Khan as the 4th suspect after Navaid Malik, Shahbaz Shareef currently PM and Nawaz Shareef, ex-PM. However, I believe during the period of the alleged activity, 2013 to 2016, Imran Khan was not in power at the Centre while Sindh province where K-Electric is located was ruled by the People’s Party. So implicating IK looks to be a far cry, however, IK’s involvement in Charity Fund Raising through dinners and cricket matches has been attracting philanthropic investors.

Read more: Why is there an institutional disorder in Pakistan? -Dr Farid A Malik

Required action by FIA

As per Article 227 of the Constitution Of Pakistan 

“All existing laws shall be brought in conformity with injunctions of Islam as laid down in Holy Quran and Sunnah and no law shall be enacted which is repugnant to such Injunctions”.

Hence Quranic Verse No. 2:188 orders

“And do not consume one another’s wealth unjustly or send it [in bribery] to the rulers in order that [they might aid] you [to] consume a portion of the wealth of the people in sin, while you know [it is unlawful]”.

Pakistani premier investigation agency is supposed to be carrying out an investigation against Pakistani nationals to avoid future embarrassment abroad. However, the usual politicization of regulatory bodies in our country has made these institutions toothless against their political patrons in tenures of all political parties. On the other hand, I heard the authority is issuing notices for further investigation to already dismissed PIA employees on account of fake degrees. The only difference is those weak and dismissed PIA employees are no match for the powerful politicians.

I believe regulatory bodies can earn respect from the masses when they fearlessly investigate powerful but corrupt individuals as per applicable rules.


The writer is an Ex-Airliner and Management Consultant. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.