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Pakistan Press ( 10 Nov 2020, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Pakistan Press on Gilgit-Baltistan And Pakistan-China-Iran Trilateral Cooperation: New Age Islam's Selection, 10 November 2020


By New Age Islam Edit Desk

10 November 2020



• Towards A Constitutional Provincial Status For Gilgit-Baltistan

By Mehdi Hassan Khan

• Pakistan-China-Iran Trilateral Cooperation

By Nawazish Ali

• Rationalizing Politics And Governance

By Syed Wajahat Ali

• From Streets To Prisons

By Sarmad Ali

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Towards A Constitutional Provincial Status For Gilgit-Baltistan

By Mehdi Hassan Khan

November 09, 2020

Gilgit-Baltistan is all set to go to polls on November 15, 2020, to elect the candidates of the 24-member Gilgit-Baltistan Legislative Assembly (GBLA) for the next five years. The unprecedented attention that G-B’s upcoming election has been receiving from the leadership of the mainstream political parties of the country has tremendously added to the election frenzy in the region. Unsurprisingly though, all political parties going to the ballot in G-B are predominantly resorting to the prospective provisional provincial status for the G-B province, for gaining political mileage in the election. The Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan, during his visit to Gilgit on November 1, 2020, to celebrate the 73rd Independence Day of G-B, also reassured unveiling the details of the provisional provincial status that is to be granted to G-B after the elections.

While it remains to be known as to what exactly the provisional provincial status for G-B may entail, the response of the residents of G-B with respect to the overture is divided where a fairly vast segment of the populace tends to believe that the overture may be more of a political stratagem around elections rather than something that would satiate the longstanding demands for constitutional and political rights of the people of G-B. But what is known for sure is that this trust deficit amongst the residents of G-B stems from a deep sense of political deprivation entrenched in the region over the years. Contrary to the aspirations of the people of G-B — who have been demanding, for decades, a constitutionally backed provincial status for the region that commits to bringing the politically deprived province on a par with the rest of Pakistan in all spheres, including social, political and economic — the area has been administered largely through ad hoc based presidential orders, the latest being the Gilgit-Baltistan Order, 2018.

Having said that, the Gilgit-Baltistan Order, 2018 proved, in many ways, to be very consequential for G-B’s struggle to find its place in the Constitution of the pure land. First, this order caused the G-B’s constitutional conundrum to be pitched to the highest level of Pakistan’s judicature as it was challenged in the Supreme Court of Pakistan when it was annulled by the Supreme Appellate Court, the apex court of G-B. The Supreme Court of Pakistan, in its landmark decision dated January 17, 2019, in the case, restored the Gilgit-Baltistan Order, 2018 and directed the federal government to treat the residents of the region the same way as the citizens of any other part of the country. This verdict from the Supreme Court of Pakistan serves as a strong legal base for any prospective act of parliament including constitutional amendments aimed at granting political and constitutional rights to G-B.

Secondly, by maintaining the case, the apex court ruled for the first time in the judicial history of Pakistan that the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court of Pakistan extends to G-B as well. The Supreme Court of Pakistan, in its verdict, further observed that it was strongly committed to serving the rights and liberties of all the people, and those of the people of G-B made no exception for the court.

Thirdly, the Gilgit-Baltistan Order, 2018, also empowered the GBLA by transferring several important subjects of legislation including tourism, hydropower and minerals from the G-B Council which is represented by non-elected members.

It is high time for the federal government to mull over pragmatically addressing G-B’s constitutional enigma, through an act of parliament or constitutional amendment, so that the decades-old disenfranchisement of the people of G-B comes to an end. The deep sense of political deprivation that prevails amongst the residents of G-B can be fairly gauged from the phrase “Sar Zameen e Bai Aayeen (the land without a constitution)” which the people of G-B usually use to refer to the constitutional enigma the region faces. G-B represents the area of Pakistan which liberated itself from the Dogra rule in 1947 through an armed struggle and acceded unconditionally to Pakistan with aspirations to become an integral part of the country. Yet it still continues to struggle in the constitutional quagmire even after more than 73 years of its independence.

https://tribune.com.pk/story/2271667/towards-a-constitutional-provincial-status-for-g-b

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Pakistan-China-Iran Trilateral Cooperation

By Nawazish Ali

NOVEMBER 10, 2020

“Economy and environment are the same thing. That is the rule of nature”. (Mollie Beattie)

The significance of financial resources is central to the possibility of economiccollaboration among various countries all around the globe. However, the commercial linkages in state-to-state relations cannot be entirely independent of political and strategic environment of the region in particular and the world in broad-spectrum. Respective national interests may not always align when more than one country are involved and economic cooperation that has the potential to create a win-win situation for all the parties involved should not be neglected. China’s rise, Iran’s attempted economic isolation by the USA and Pakistan’s crucial geostrategic location are all factors that have the capacity to bring these three countries in sync. China and Pakistan have a long history of deep friendship. The evolving China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) hasfurthercreated prospects for adjacent regional countries to benefit from this connectivity.

The challenges to these initiatives are many as the security situation in the region has always remained worrying. Terrorism, religious extremism, sectarian clashes and interference of extra-regional actors are only a few challenges that stand in the way of this nexus. The internal challenges of political instability and socio-economic factors can also affect this relationship adversely. However, if the leadership, governments’ policies and public opinion in these three countries remain steadfast in support of this trilateral cooperation, there is no doubt, the success of this interconnection would change the economic and regional balance of Asia forever.

China’s economic rise, its status as a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), its widespread global influence and connectivity initiatives make it the next world power in making as a rival to the USA. South Asia, East Asia and the Middle East are regions that occupy Centre stage in world businesses. Their cultural diversity, natural resources, maritime routes, geography and conflicts have wideranging implications even for the day-to-day affairs of almost all countries worldwide.With such adjacent allies, Pakistan can surely achieve prominent stature in the regional and global arena.

Pakistan has been facing challenges to its national security due to the turbulent situation in Afghanistan since 1979. Iran and China also have serious security and economic concerns tied up at fag-end of global war on terror. Iran and Pakistan have not seen eye to eye on the solution to Afghan war in the past as Iran backed the Northern Alliance after the Taliban seized power in 1996 whereas Pakistan, on the other hand,recognised the Taliban government in Afghanistan. China has high stakes in Afghanistan as it seeks to link it to its grand initiative of the Belt and Road (BRI). The Chinese access to Central Asian states and their oil resources is thwarted by the constant state of turmoil in Afghanistan not to mention the fear of spillover from northern Afghanistan into Xinjiang.

China and Iran also reiterated their deep strategic cooperation ahead of the expected Saudi investment in Pakistan, which means that China does not stand opposed to either Saudi or the Iranian participation in the upcoming CPEC projects

The peaceful Afghanistan is vital and stays a point of unification for these three countries, if they wish to effectively counter the Indo-US dominance in South Asia. They need to make sure that US withdrawal from Afghanistanshould not plunge the AfPak region into another civil war that would certainly upset the regional peace and any chances of further trilateral cooperation among these three countries. The significant role recently played by Pakistan in the Afghan peace process provides an opening for cooperation by Iran and China as their regional interests of keeping peace in Afghanistan align perfectly with those of Pakistan.

Iran and India enjoy a friendly relationship as the two have shared a cultural and linguistic affinity for a long time and further warmed up to each other when they signed a significantdefence agreement in the year 2002. Following that, the two have engaged in several trade contracts, the most prominent of which has been the Chahbahar Free Trade Agreement. In response to the launch of Gwadar port, as the sign of friendship between China and Pakistan, India pledged to assist Iran in expediting construction ofChahbahar port.

Iran is pivotal to the realization of China’s trans-continental, infrastructure-focused One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative in ways that Saudi Arabia is not. Iran’s oil and gas reserves, fourth and second largest in the world, spell out a boon for China’s exponentially rising energy needs. Out of the three markets that Iran’s massive piped gas reserves can be sold to, the closest and most accessible is China.

Gwadar is a deep-sea port with harbouring potential manifold that of the size of Chahbahar, which is only feasible for a transit trade arrangement via Afghanistan. Iran has quite tactfully declared Chahbahar a ‘sister port’ to Gwadar and managed to keep the option for cooperation with China open for all future ventures. Hence, it is evident from the Iranian stance that it wishes to bring its maximum resources to the CPEC for all practical purposes. Having stable economic cooperation with Pakistan, Iran can quite easily extend it further to China.

China and Iran also reiterated their deep strategic cooperation ahead of the expected Saudi investment in Pakistan, which means that China does not stand opposed to either Saudi or the Iranian participation in the upcoming CPEC projects. Rather itprovides China more avenues of participation and cooperation in the Middle East and Gulf region. China as a persuasive force in the SCO will make it easier for Pakistan to link energy corridors and, if Iran’s bid to join the SCO is also accepted, it will be another economic opportunity for the nexus among these three countries.

China as a rising economic power is making linkages worldwide and is offering monetary and commercial opportunities for developing countries with resources to join the wave of economic harmony. A potent economic force is expected to emerge in the foreseeable future having an anti-American agenda at heart. However, it will take serious concerted efforts from the regional players to resolve mutual differences and be determined to cooperate on economic fronts with one another to ensure regional harmony and prosperity. There are many avenues for cooperation and a huge amount of untapped potential lies in this trilateral collaboration that needs to be utilized to the maximum. Pakistan’s significant geographical locationstays central to this new emerging bloc.

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Nawazish Ali is a retired Pakistan army officer

https://dailytimes.com.pk/687236/pakistan-china-iran-trilateral-cooperation/

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Rationalizing Politics And Governance

By Syed Wajahat Ali

NOVEMBER 10, 2020

The exceptional propagation of globalization triggered by the dominance of world capitalist system in the economic, administrative, cultural, political, and intellectual demesne in most countries around the world. The purpose of globalization is to have identical rules and regulations across the institutions of the world so that institutions may benefit from the experiences of each other. Key ingredients of these reforms were enhancement of private sector, facilitation of market forces and encouragement of cross-national mobility of private capital. These reforms further encouraged developing countries to restructure their public institutions with a more developmental oriented approach which ultimately gave birth to “developmental administration” or global institutionalism .

The rationalization of political institutions has been the subject of several national as well as international seminars, conferences, and publications all over the world. Many measures have been taken in developed countries for transformation of academic research into policies, such as preparing tool kits for defining the priorities of research, capacity building of universities accordingly, by designing political maps for a better comprehension of the decision-making process by increasing research-based input, and by increasing liaison between higher education research and state institutions .

Politicians are not scientists and they should trust researchers for validation of policy hypothesis. The connection between executing agents and researching minds is impeded by several factors like bureaucratic frictions, lack of funds, and coordination between researchers and legislators. The consequence is the deviation of public policy from objective investigation and critical analysis towards rhetoric and populism . This is also seen in the context of developing countries where the national policy making is much likely to be affected by international variables. One such example would be the case of indebted third world countries which are significantly burdened with the policies of their donor countries or otherwise devise their public policy under traditions settled by bureaucratic and normative compulsions , like in the case of Pakistan.

Some African counties took substantive measures to allocate space for academic input in national policy subjects of war, diplomacy, economy, and domestic resource allocation. Universities played role in providing scholastic feedback to state agencies in form of think tanks, consolidated research reports, joint ventures, business incubation and funded projects. Research outcomes of universities are making a social intervention to develop a practical and sustainable approach, by increasing exactitude in data identification .

The reformation in education planning and re-shuffling of research priorities not only uplifted the acute economic dependencies but also helped in removing class conflicts by reducing frictions and strengthening social institutions

The structure of governance is getting more and more complex due to diversification of socio-economic challenges in the 21st century. Open market competitiveness and globalization of demand and supply has tremendously evolved economic determinants. Policymaking institutions are the structural backbone of a community to confront the complexity of both targets and tools associated with this concept of development. The political impact of research and education is so comprehensive that it nearly changes the outlook of a human society completely by introducing innovation and organization in it .

The stability of politics is linearly dependent upon the quality of knowledge induced in it. In modern society, with the development of the theory of social stratification researchers have come to agree that the education and possession of theoretical knowledge is the dominant figure in “post-economic society where public policy can deliver only when it is formulated after proper research and investigation of complex social, economic, and political undercurrents of that particular society. It is relevant to connect research channels with real-time modalities of intricate public policy matters to expedite the growth of research and public institutions exponentially .

An extensive research dealing with the rationalization of politics in Kazakhstan was conducted. Early 90s Kazakhstan was characterized with economic recession, weakening economic and diplomatic relations with the republics of the former USSR, the establishment of political relations with other countries, the formation of foreign and domestic policy. The internal socio-economic situation was also in a deep crisis. The reformation in education planning and re-shuffling of research priorities not only uplifted the acute economic dependencies but also helped in removing class conflicts by reducing frictions and strengthening social institutions. The policies in the field of education contributed to the formation of a new identity of Kazakhstan, needs to master the skills needed in the workplace and appropriate knowledge and skills of international standards to steer and improve societal processes through social institutions.

Public relevance of academic research is envisioned in national policy documents of Pakistan as well. The strong emphasis research and innovation is stated in Vision 2025 document compiled by Ministry of Planning Development and Reforms as “we will build a worldwide education & research network of universities which will allow institutions to initiate research through government and the private sector focused support enabling them to build an international partnership program” (p. 35). Keeping in view the circular progression of politics in Pakistan, it is needful to deal with public policy purely on scientific grounds so that it is less likely to be impacted by day-to-day political antagonism and polarization. The most significant way to achieve this goal is to connect policy institutes with academic research. The liaison will be mutually interactive and beneficial for institutions.

https://dailytimes.com.pk/687234/rationalizing-politics-and-governance/

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From Streets To Prisons

By Sarmad Ali

NOVEMBER 10, 2020

Consortium for Street Children(CSC) in London estimates that there are about 1.5 million children on streets of Pakistan they are often subjected to violence, sexual abuse, child labour or forced into drugs. Karachi is the city of Pakistan- where it is said that 50,000 children have been connected to street many among them are involved criminal cases informed to the Sindh High Court by Sindh authorities in response to a petition filed to the Sindh High Court.Approximately, 20,000 street connected children said to have been in Quetta city of Balochistan out which 60 % are scavengers.However, population of street connected children must have been much higher in Punjab considering its all over population. Out of 1.5 million 43 % said to have not attained more than 15-year of age. Most of those have been associated with garbage collection work, begging, drugs users, and some of them have association in capital making industries as child labour. These children do not have access to education, health, and legal supportapparently, they are deprived of basic fundamental human rights. Despite laws in place across Pakistan (even weak to some sense) population of street children had increased in last decade or so even after introduction of numerous policies and strategies in order to minimize rampant increasing population of street connected children.

Prior to introduction of Destitute and Neglected Children Act (DNCA) 2004 (amended in 2017) in Punjab, primarilyfour major laws said to have existed across Pakistan for protection of rights of children. After the promulgation of DNCA 2004 in Punjab Child Protection & Welfare Bureau was created under the law for overseeingissues of childrenacross Punjab. Today, it had 08 operational units all across Punjab, and some 11 units will be established in coming year all across Punjab. It is on record of Child Protection Bureau that from 2013 to 2018, the Child Protection Bureau had rescued 30,992 children (a total of 2,093 children were rescued in 2013 while in 2014, 4,707 children were saved). Similarly, the figure was 4,536 in 2015; 7,087 in 2016, 7,412 in 2017; and 5,157 in 2018.Akin to that, a total of 117 children were taken into judicial custody, while another 113 children-who experienced domestic violence-were given protection.Moreover, cases against 489 accused persons-who were charged with the crime of forcing children into beggary and subjecting them to physical and sexual abuse-were registered.Throughout the five-year period, around 25,766 children were reunited with their families.

Juveniles behind prisons and street connected children do not have access to education as guaranteed under Article 25 (A) of the Constitution of Pakistan, 1973 nor authorities tend to have schemes or strategies for their integration into society

To the other hand, Sindh provincial assemblyin year 2011 passed a set of laws on basis of which Sindh Child Protection Agency was notified in year 2014.The funds for the agency were allocated in the 2016-17 budget, but the institution had yet to start operations and nothing had been happening in Balochistan and KPK provinces. However, it is not out of place to mention here that law passed in Punjab, Sindh are meant to provide protection to children those who have not charged with any criminal act. For dealing with such incidence, Pakistan introduced a Federal lawJuvenile Justice System Act (JJSA)2018 for protection of rights of children in conflict with law. JJSA 2018repealed Juvenile Justice Ordinance 2000 with a view of strengtheningjuvenile justice system of Pakistan, and integrating juvenile offendersin lines with General Comment No. 10 on United National Convention on Rights of Child (CRC) which Pakistan ratified and signed in 1990.

A non-governmental organization Legal Awareness Watch (LAW) orated in recent Conference on Issues of Street Childrenorganized by(CSC) held virtually in London this year due to the outbreak of the Covid-19 that the street childrenhave often subjected to violence, abuse, or sexual exploitation all across Pakistan akin to that it is safely depicted that children who have been behind notorious 104 prisons of Pakistan were street children at glance. The first premises of children who have no parents/orphans or eloped from their homesdue to poverty, lack of food, family’s oppression, etc.live on streets andthey are the ones languishing in prisons on account of alleged criminal act. Furthermore, it surfaced during the said conference exact figure on population of street children, and juveniles behind prisons across Pakistan to date is not unknown to this reason policies and strategies aiming at protection of children those introduced in past years had found to be miserably failed and inoperative. Promulgation of JJSA 2018 at national level, and child rights laws at provincial levels could not provide protection to children those behind bars and on streets of Pakistan. Provisions of JJSA 2018 to date had not been implemented all across Pakistan. Children below the age of 18-year often found subjected to violence(as same as street children) in prisons or killed extra judicially during physical remand under section 167 CRPC 1898 i.e. Muhammad Rizwan in 2017 in Lahore.

Juveniles behind prisons and street connected children do not have access to education as guaranteed under Article 25 (A) of the Constitution of Pakistan, 1973 nor authorities tend to have schemes or strategies for their integration into society. In writer’s view juvenile justice system and laws pertained to street connected children shall be construed and seen from the prism of UNCRC itself and its comments i.e. General Comment No. 10, and 21. The process of protection of child rights had emerged in Pakistan after it withdrawn its reservation on July 23, 1997 (that the provisions of the CRC shall be interpreted according to the principles of Islamic Laws and values). Thereafter, in year 1999 the then President of Pakistan Pervez Mushraff issued a presidential notification grating remissionto children behind bars and sentenced to death or life. That was a point where laws specifically for juveniles and children in general beginning to emerge from the floor of Parliament. The writer submitted that children either allegedly accused of criminal acts or living on street of Pakistan shall be given their due fundamental human rights and laws promulgated for their protection must be implemented effectively. That would only be achieved if exact figure pertaining to street children and children behind prisons would trace out. Population of street children and juveniles across Pakistan isn’t accurate rather outdated.

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Sarmad Ali is an advocate, based in Lahore. He can be reached at greenlaw123@hotmail.com

https://dailytimes.com.pk/687233/from-streets-to-prisons/

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