Voice of the Peo­ple

Jus­tice de­layed is jus­tice de­nied

Pakistan Observer - - OPINION - SULE­MAN MAN­SHA GANDHI

NAB, Ad­mi­ral Fasih Bukhari has sug­gested ECP to give up use­less marathon ex­er­cise of scru­tiny of all can­di­dates for it is im­pos­si­ble for the com­mis­sion to com­plete the job. He fur­ther said “if ac­tion is taken against the can­di­dates they would be barred from con­test­ing the coming elec­tion giv­ing the im­pres­sion that their po­lit­i­cal par­ties are be­ing vic­tim­ized.” The sug­ges­tions, be­ing dis­cour­ag­ing, can­not be praised. No law of our coun­try di­rects to take care of the con­se­quences of any right and le­gal de­ci­sion. The scru­tiny of all the can­di­dates and to judge their abil­ity un­der Ar­ti­cle 62 and 63 of the Con­sti­tu­tion of Pak­istan is not a use­less marathon ex­er­cise. In the last five years the Apex court had to waist its pre­cious time to make Par­lia­ment free of dis­hon­est par­lia­men­tar­i­ans. Had the then Elec­tion Com­mis­sion taken ac­tion against those can­di­dates whose de­grees were fake, who were tax evaders, bank loans and util­ity dues de­fault­ers, the time of the Apex Court and the im­age of our Par­lia­ment could have saved. As far as the idea “our po­lit­i­cal party is be­ing vic­tim­ized is con­cerned” will be prop­a­gated at the very time when­ever the Elec­tion Com­mis­sion of Pak­istan and The Apex Court will try to judge the can­di­dates ac­cord­ing to the Con­sti­tu­tion. Elec­tion Com­mis­sion can­not save it­self from the al­le­ga­tion of vic­tim­iz­ing a po­lit­i­cal party, re­gard­less of the fact that it scru­ti­nizes the can­di­date be­fore and af­ter elec­tion. The peo­ple who have de­ceived this na­tion does not de­serve to be in the Par­lia­ment again. So ECP should not let them take part in the elec­tions come what may. —La­hore zens. I re­call the spirit of gen­uine ca­ma­raderie that ex­isted be­tween the peo­ple and the armed forces un­til the mid six­ties. Un­for­tu­nately since early sev­en­ties, ca­ma­raderie of the six­ties be­gan to be re­placed by a feel­ing of alien­ation. This is not the place to go into the whys and where­fores of this trans­for­ma­tion in the gen­eral pub­lic’s per­cep­tion. How­ever, suf­fice it to say that mea­sures like cre­at­ing ex­clu­sive ar­eas for the armed forces where com­mon peo­ple are de­nied ac­cess, al­beit in the name of se­cu­rity, alien­ate peo­ple from the armed forces.

This is par­tic­u­larly so when the over­all se­cu­rity sit­u­a­tion of the coun­try in far from ideal. Peo­ple have now be­come aware that it is tax­pay­ers’ money that is be­ing spent to pro­vide se­cu­rity to only a spe­cial cat­e­gory of per­sons at the cost of leav­ing the ma­jor­ity “ex­posed “to the dan­gers. The re­al­iza­tion is be­com­ing strong that this is un­just sit­u­a­tion which should not be al­lowed to con­tinue. It is time that those who wield the de­ci­sion-mak­ing ap­pa­ra­tus do away with the bla­tantly dis­crim­i­nat­ing se­cu­rity dis­pen­sa­tions for the se­lected few. Be­fore it is too late let us in­sti­tute in­clu­sive se­cu­rity ar­range­ments and do away with the ex­clu­sive ar­range­ments which are in vogue at present. —Is­lam­abad un­fair ac­tion by the com­pany, the reg­u­la­tors should ex­er­cise the dis­cre­tion given to them by Pak­istan’s laws and deny the de-list­ing.

How­ever a mi­nor­ity share­holder I would like to high­light that delist­ing of such high weigh­tage com­pany from the KSE will open flood­gates for all other Multi­na­tional Cor­po­ra­tions’sub­sidiaries to fol­low, and mi­nor­ity share­hold­ers will be thrown out in the streets with the mes­sage that they have no voice in Pak­istan. The MNC is pri­va­tise its Pak­istani sub­sidiary at a cheap val­u­a­tion be­cause it feels it can. they saw value in the Pak­istani sub­sidiary at cur­rent val­u­a­tions given its long term growth prospects.

They are tak­ing ad­van­tage of the de-list­ing rules in Pak­istan be­cause they are more le­nient than else­where. Mi­nor­ity in­ter­ests are clearly dis­ad­van­taged as their ob­jec­tions carry no weight. This is dif­fer­ent from other mar­kets where more strin­gent rules ap­ply. For ex­am­ple, in In­dia the thresh­old for ap­proval is 90% of all votes.

Fur­ther­more, the pri­vati­sa­tion must be ap­proved by two thirds of the mi­nor­ity share­hold­ers at a price agreed through a process of re­verse book build­ing. Un­doubt­edly a mat­ter of con­cern for the pro­tec­tion of mi­nor­ity in­ter­ests, the cred­i­bil­ity and devel­op­ment of the Stock Ex­change, and the devel­op­ment of the cap­i­tal mar­ket in Pak­istan if con­trol­ling share­hold­ers, par­tic­u­larly multi­na­tion­als, can delist com­pa­nies so eas­ily. We would urge the KSE to re­sist such ini­tia­tives and would en­cour­age the Ex­change to toughen its delist­ing pro­ce­dures and bring them more in line with in­ter­na­tional norms.

If this at­tempt of MNC to delist in Pak­istan is suc­cess­fully blocked, it will send a pow­er­ful mes­sage to the in­vestor com­mu­nity at large about the pro­tec­tion of mi­nor­ity share­holder rights and the pres­ence of an ef­fi­cient and fair reg­u­la­tory bod­ies in the coun­try. I re­quest the con­cerned au­thor­i­ties to­wards this ne­glected is­sue that will af­fect the mi­nor­ity share­hold­ers to­day but will dam­age the whole Pak­istan’s na­tional fi­nance in fu­ture. —Is­lam­abad

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