The year that was

The year 2017 has passed into history, leaving a trail of bitter and sweet memories. It was a tumultuous year with high drama full of suspenseful moments and unexpected turns of events. It was an eventful year on more than one count. The most dramatic development of the year was the disqualification of of Nawaz Sharif and his ouster as prime minister through a judicial verdict. Nawaz Sharif was accused and convicted of dishonesty by the country’s apex court in a historic case that ran for more than six months. On July 28, Supreme Court Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan announced that a five-member bench had unanimously deemed prime minister Nawaz Sharif unfit for holding public office and also ordered an accountability court to open references against him, his family and other respondents.
The saga began with Panama papers that hit the world headlines in 2016 following which the Supreme Court of Pakistan sanctioned a joint investigation team to probe Nawaz Sharif’s unexplained enormous wealth. On New Year’s Eve Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar constituted a five-member bench to hear the Panama Papers case which ultimately led to the thrice elected premier being disqualified on the grounds of not having disclosed a nominal salary from his son’s Dubai-based company.
A notable achievement of the year 2017 was the holding of the national the census after a gap of almost two decades. The results showed that Pakistan’s population is growing at an unsustainable rate of 2.4 percent a year. Bangladesh, which separated from us in 1971, has brought its population growth rate down to merely 1.1 percent. The revision in population has also resulted in Bangladesh overtaking Pakistan in terms of per capita income and export growth.
A major milestone of the year 2017 was the re-emergence the country’s religious parties as a political force. Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA), the most successful alliance of religious parties in the country’s history, was formally revived in preparation for the general elections 2018. In 2002, the Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal had swept the polls in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, but has remained defunct for the last 10 years. It is expected to put up a tough fight in KP and Punjab in the coming elections.
Another highlight of the year was assumption of office by the former army chief, retired Gen Raheel Sharif, as the head of a Saudi Arabia-led 39-nation Islamic Military Alliance amid criticism from within the country and also from neighbouring Iran. The development has been officially portrayed as an effort to strengthen the Muslim world struggling to combat terrorism, but Tehran thinks it is anti Iran in its aim and composition.

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Mian Bilal