Eventful week ahead

KARACHI: The country is all set to witness an eventful week commencing from June 10. The first will be the laying of annual budget before the National Assembly and it was expected to be different from the previous ones as the strict conditions from International Monetary Fund (IMF) will make it difficult for tax payers to digest. Although claimed to be voluntary cut , the Armed Forces of Pakistan will witness a cut and this never happened before in the history of Islamic Democratic Republic of Pakistan. It is stated by quarters closed to the international donor that one of the main conditions it placed is the reduction in expenditures on defense. The another is taxing the agriculture income which would be another historic decision in the making and is expected to meet resistance from the landed aristocracy enjoying formidable power in legislative assemblies of the country. The biggest questions haunting everyone is that whether the new budget will propel the economic activities or will further slow down the wheels of business and industry. Whether more devaluation of rupees is expected, whether the tax net would be broadened or businesses will be protected and given relief are other questions taxing the economic experts.

The second event is confirmation of bail granted to former President Asif Ali Zardari, accused in money laundering case which according to NAB has ripened after Chairman NAB okayed a reference and arrest of the former president is expected any time in next week starting from Monday, June 10. Pakistan People’s Party of which Asif Ali Zardari heads as co-chairman with Bilawal Zardari has braced to meet the worst scenario after the anticipated arrest  of Asif Zardari. PPP’s leaders of front line have already reached the capital and have started contacts with central leaders of parties in the opposition to lodge a protest movement leading to over throw of what they called ” selected prime minister”. The arrest of Zardari may lead to break of law and order in the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad as ‘Jiyalas’ have been asked by their leaders to show strength and solidarity with the leadership which is in real trouble.

The third event will be the  hearing of appeal filed by convicted, imprisoned former Prime Minister Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif against his conviction by a NAB court. The health of Nawaz Sharif has deteriorated in the previous few weeks and the multiple diseases he is suffering from are main ground for bail. The appeal will be heard and it may turn out to be a lengthy legal battle till it is decided by Islamabad High Court to be followed by appeal before the Supreme Court by Nawaz Sharif or NAB.

Simultaneously, the  lawyers of country have also started converging in the capital for a grand meeting to decide their line of action in connection with a reference filed by the present government against Justice Qazi Fayez Essa of Supreme Court of Pakistan and Justice Karim Khan Agha of High Court of Sindh. The most respected judge of the apex court has also challenged the credibility of the Prime Minister that whether he ( Imran Khan ) has declared the assets of his ” all wives and children ” and is ” Ameen and Sadiq and credible to  file a reference against him. This legal point is set to brew difficulties for the Prime Minister who has sent the reference on the advice of Law Ministry to the President of Pakistan.  The lawyers have announced stiff resistance to the reference and are demanding that the references, complaints against judge pending decision before the Supreme Judicial Council are over three hundred and instead of dealing with them in order they were filed, why reference against Qazi Fayez Essa is being processed on fast track basis. The movement by  lawyers is expected to be as strong as was witnessed when former Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry was removed from his position and was restored after a long drawn struggle for restoration of the former chief justice.

In short  federal capital may witness lockdown, break of law and order and mass protest brewing trouble for the uncomfortable coalition government with BNP mulling quitting the government and MQM increasingly un-happy over cold shoulder response from PTI. And the nation will be witnessing these developments with a bathed breath.

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