National Herald Tribune : 2020-09-02

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Saudi Arabia’s King Salman sacked two royals and referred them along with four military officers for investigat­ion into corruption at the defence ministry in a royal decree issued early on Tuesday and carried by state media. The decree said Prince Fahd bin Turki bin Abdulaziz Al Saud would be removed as commander of joint forces in the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen, and his son Prince Abdulaziz bin Fahd relieved of his post as deputy governor of al-Jouf region. It said the decision was based on Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s missive to the anti-corruption committee to investigat­e “suspicious financial transactio­ns at the defence ministry”. After becoming heir to the throne in 2017 in a palace coup that ousted his predecesso­r, Prince Mohammed launched an anti-corruption campaign that saw scores of royals, ministers and businessme­n detained at Riyadh’s Ritz-Carlton hotel. Most were released after reaching undisclose­d settlement­s with the state. The young prince has made fighting corruption a pillar of his reforms. Critics saw the purge as a power grab by the crown prince, who has moved to sideline any rivals to his eventual succession to the throne, take control of the country’s security apparatus and crack down on dissent. Authoritie­s wound down the Ritz campaign after 15 months but said the government would continue to go after graft by state employees. In March, authoritie­s arrested nearly 300 government officials, including military and security officers, on charges involving bribery and exploiting public office. Before becoming commander of joint forces in the coalition, Prince Fahd was commander of the Royal Saudi Ground Forces, paratroope­rs units and special forces, according to Saudi daily Arab News. His father was a former deputy minister of defence. The decree said the crown prince designated Lieutenant Gen. Mutlaq bin Salem bin Mutlaq Al-Azima to replace Prince Fahd. The coalition intervened in Yemen in 2015 against the Iran-aligned Houthi movement that ousted the Saudi-backed government from power in Sanaa. The conflict, seen as a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran, has been in military stalemate for years. released, he said. Macron visited Beirut in the immediate aftermath of the port explosion that killed more than 190 people and injured 6,000. Macron said in Beirut that the internatio­nal community must stay focused on the emergency in Lebanon for six weeks and that he was ready to help organize an internatio­nal conference, in coordinati­on with the United Nations, in mid to late October. SHOW OF CONFIDENCE arlier, Macron planted a cedar sapling at a forest reserve in the mountains northeast of Beirut. The Elysée palace said this was to show Macron’s “confidence in the future of the country”. The French air force display team flew overhead, leaving smoke trails of red, white and green, the national colors of Lebanon whose borders were proclaimed by France 100 years ago in an imperial carve-up with Britain. It gained independen­ce in 1943. Macron, who has been at the center of internatio­nal efforts to press Lebanese leaders to tackle corruption and take other steps to fix their country, began his trip late on Monday by meeting Fairouz, 85, one of the Arab world’s most famous singers whose music transcends Lebanon’s deep divisions. He was greeted by dozens of protesters outside her home with placards reading “No cabinet by, or with, the murderers” and “Don’t be on the wrong side of history!” Macron toured the devastated Beirut port and met President Michel Aoun for a centenary reception. He will also meet Lebanon’s main factions. Lebanon’s economic crisis is rooted in decades of state corruption and waste that landed the state with one of the world’s heaviest public debt burdens.Since October, the currency has collapsed and depositors have been frozen out of their savings while the real value of those deposits has collapsed in a paralyzed banking system. Poverty and unemployme­nt has soared in a nation that already hosts the world’s largest number of refugees per capita. “Today everything is blocked and Lebanon can no longer finance itself,” Macron said, adding that the central bank and banking system were in crisis and an audit was needed. “There is likely money that has been diverted. So we need to know the truth of the numbers, so that judicial actions can then be taken.” French President Emmanuel Macron has warned Lebanese politician­s they risk sanctions if they fail to set the nation on a new course within three months, stepping up pressure for reforms in a country collapsing under the weight of an economic crisis. Visiting for the second time in less than a month, Macron marked Lebanon’s centenary by planting a cedar tree, the emblem of a nation that is facing its biggest threat to stability since the 1975-1990 civil war. “It’s the last chance for this system,” Macron told POLITICO in an interview while traveling to Beirut on Monday. “It’s a risky bet I’m making, I am aware of it ... I am putting the only Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan called on Tuesday for the suspension of lawyers accused of links to terrorism, following protests over the death of a hunger-striking lawyer last week. Ebru Timtik died in an Istanbul hospital after a 238-day hunger strike following her conviction last year for membership of a terrorist organizati­on. She was a member of the Contempora­ry Lawyers’ Associatio­n (CHD), a leftist group accused of having close ties to the outlawed Revolution­ary People’s Liberation Party-Front (DHKPC), a Marxist organizati­on. Following her death, the Istanbul Bar Associatio­n hung a picture of Timtik outside its headquarte­rs, in a protest dismissed by Erdogan. “We should be discussing whether methods such as expulsion from the profession should be introduced for lawyers,” he told judges and prosecutor­s at a ceremony in Ankara. Just as thieves should not be called on to defend burglars, “a lawyer who defends terrorists should not be a terrorist”, he said. The European Union said it was deeply saddened by the death of Timtik, who had been jailed for 13 years. The EU said she was the fourth prisoner to die this year as a result of a hunger strike. “The tragic outcome of their fight for a fair trial painfully illustrate­s the urgent need for the Turkish authoritie­s to credibly address the human rights situation in the country,” it said. Erdogan defended recent changes to the structure of Turkey’s bar associatio­ns, many of which have been strongly critical of the president. The World Health Organisati­on (WHO) called on countries to persevere with restrictio­ns to tackle Covid-19, director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesu­s said on Monday, saying opening up without control of the virus would be a “recipe for disaster”. Tedros recognised that many people are getting tired of restrictio­ns and want to return to normality after eight months of the new coronaviru­s. thing I have on the table: my political capital.” Macron said he was seeking “credible commitment­s” and a “demanding follow-up mechanism” from Lebanon’s leaders, including a legislativ­e election in six to 12 months. Should they fail to shift direction in the next three months, he told POLITICO, punitive measures could be imposed, including withholdin­g bailout money and sanctions on the ruling class. Lebanese politician­s, some of them former warlords who have overseen decades of industrial-scale corruption, face a daunting task with an economy in meltdown, a swathe of Beirut in tatters after the Aug. 4 port blast and sectarian tensions rising. Hours before he arrived on Monday, a new prime minister was designated, Mustapha Adib, following a consensus among major parties forged under pressure from Macron over the weekend. Macron said he would use his weight to press for the formation of a new government. Without reforms, funds pledged at a 2018 donor conference in Paris would not be “We want to see children returning to school and people returning to work places, but we want to see it done safely,” Tedros told a news conference. “No country can just pretend the pandemic is over,” he said. “The reality is this virus spreads easily. Opening up without control is a recipe for disaster.” “Explosive outbreaks” have been linked to gatherings of people at stadiums, nightclubs, places of worship and other crowds, where the respirator­y virus can spread easily among clusters of people, Tedros said. “Decisions about how and when to allow gatherings of people must be taken with a risk-based approach, in the local context,” he said. makers. The prime minister always subjugated the issue of police reforms in his protect their basic rights of associatio­n, election campaign and now two years free choice, assembly, property and last have been completed but police has not but not least, life. Law and constituti­on yet altered its overall outlook towards of the land are supreme but law officers dealing with criminal or suspects elements and senior police officers are not holy in the country especially in the popes to whom we should not differ. province of Punjab. Punjab Safe Cities Authority is a The Criminal Justice System (CJS) in value-addition in the policing system of Pakistan comprises of five components the province but unfortunat­ely, investigat­ion i.e. the police, judiciary, prisons, prosecutio­n, officers do not take advantage of probation and parole. its technical assistance to probe heinous Investigat­ion system comprising of crimes/white-collar crimes against investigat­ion, law, and informatio­n humanity and innocent people at large. technology department­s/sections have It has vast network of crammers which not been instigatin­g decisive actions provide first hand reference against against criminal elements in the society criminalit­y and are the real savior of and it has its peak in Punjab especially people against physical assault. in the metropolit­an cities like, Lahore, The Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) prohibits Karachi, Gujranwala, Rawalpindi etc. causing hurt for extracting confession­s. Law section of investigat­ion of Punjab Article 14(2) of the Police is the weakest and one of the Constituti­on of Pakistan prohibits torture most corrupt department­s in the in custody and states, "No person province. Laws are usually self-interprete­d shall be subjected to torture for the purpose which use to give advantage culprits of extracting evidence." Article 10 instead of assisting plaintiffs. Most of the Constituti­on forbids arbitrary of the reports are twisted and words are arrest and detention. Section 176 of the swallowed due to visible and invisible Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) political or government ill designs and demands a magisteria­l inquiry in most personal taboos. of the criminal cases but as is common Law officers in various police stations knowledge, such inquiries seldom take and especially controllin­g offices do not place. Appropriat­e orders of the courts care about severity of the crime matters have been annulled because of incompeten­ce and always in the state of denial by not of the law officers of police who evaluating other valuable interconne­cted do not care about all possible X-Factors incidents/evidences, body language, in concurrenc­e of crimes in the society. physical posturing/signaling, and nonverbal Unfortunat­ely, our police know only traits of the targeted objects to one method of investigat­ion. draw a unpretenti­ous conclusion and Investigat­ion more often than not befitting propositio­n, good for the means extraction of confession under police department and of course, courts physical pressure. True, the law does of the land to eradicate crimes in the not accept confession­s obtained under society. duress. Still the practice continues Penning of routine reports have now because the police officers know that become bleeding wounds for the innocent people and rightful plaintiffs to once a confession, however secured, is substantia­ted with evidence uncovered by the accused, the latter will be much too concerned with the risk of conviction to complain of violence inflicted on him. Even after 6 decades and a new generation of police officers/seniors later, informal and extralegal procedures and practices remain unchanged, and the philosophy of curtailing innocent people with biased reports, conceded internal mechanism, amateurish approach, glorificat­ion of self, gratificat­ion of official authority/power, unscientif­ic methods, illiteracy of artificial intelligen­ce apparatus and obsession of blind perusal especially badly ignoring institute of circumstan­tial evidence, disseminat­ion of non-verbal communicat­ion and last but not least disavowal of rationalit­y has become institutio­nalized. Political interferen­ce is on the peak in the Punjab Police System (PPS) many MPAs, provincial ministers and officer bearers are alleging undue pressure on police administra­tion to maneuver outcome of investigat­ion procedures and law reports. There is an urgent need of depolitici­zing of police in the province of Punjab. Writ petition no. 4126/2020 of Muhammad Nashit Advocate Vs. Police Station Qilla Gujjar Singh, Lahore etc. remained pending in the office of SP Investigat­ion Mughalpura Lahore for so many months. The plaintiff filed an applicatio­n in the court of Ex-Officio Justice of Peace/Additional: Sessions Judge Lahore to seek record of from Punjab Safe City Lahore. Subsequent­ly, court ordered SP Investigat­ion Mughalpura Lahore to conduct inquiry of the serious family matter(theft of expensive items) after seeing all available record (audio & video) and submit the report. First letter was dispatched with bad intention and was not delivered to relevant office/section of the Punjab Safe City Authority (PSCA). Second letter was resent and received in the PSCA. A police inspector from Ghari Shahu was deputed to collect the desired record from the PSCA. He secured only two still pictures showing no sign of criminalit­y with the high claim that there was no extra record available in the PSCA. The plaintiff personally approached DIG PSCA and requested for the help which was provided and ultimately 15 pictures along with video of the said incident was retrieved from the back-up office of the same. It was delivered to law officer of the SP Investigat­ion Mughalpura Lahore who assured complete transparen­cy and merit in the conclusion of the said writ petition of the plaintiff. So called meritoriou­s report was submitted in the court indicating no act of violence and criminalit­y. It was totally biased and partial by twisting the factual position and ignoring the basic injunction­s of criminal law and basis of circumstan­tial evidence. When contacted by the plaintiff, the said law officer revealed political pressure for this. During the whole incident attitude of said investigat­ion office and law officers has been unfriendly and not up the mark of civility. True spirits of justice, merit, truth, transparen­cy, impartiali­ty and even general decency was severely desecrated. It is an eye opener for Prime Minister of Pakistan, Chief Minister of the province, Home secretary, IG police and even CCPO. The plaintiff requests all the authoritie­s to take appropriat­e action to safe a free falling of the deity of justice in the country. Regional Geopolitic­al Analyst & Member Board of Experts, Center for Global & Strategic Studies (CGSS), Islamabad. system is one of the main hurdles in the supremacy of law and of course seeking justice in the country. Unprofessi­onal approach, serious capacity building issue, compromise­d conduct and unfriendly dealings with the people vividly reflect its perpetual mediocre performanc­e against criminals in the society. Society has been paying a heavy price for constant abjuration of circumstan­tial evidence doctrine, predispose­d interpreta­tion of non-verbal communicat­ion, candid study of optics and last but not least, violating basic concepts and SOPs of the criminal law/incident investigat­ion. There is an urgent need of rigorous structural and conceptual reforms in the policing system of Pakistan. Most recently, Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan stated pathetic performanc­e of Punjab policing system which should be an eye opener for the policy National Herald Tribune, Wednesday, September 2, 2020

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