12.07.2018

The Indian news dailies have commented on the unravelling election scenario in Pakistan. It is only for the second time in 71 years that a democratic change of government might take place in Pakistan. The Indian press has discussed the healthy competition among Indian states in the ‘ease of starting business’ index. The Indian papers have called for urgent action by the global community, especially the West to mitigate the sufferings of the Rohingya refugees.

THE HINDU in an editorial A DIFFICULT CAMPAIGN writes democracy has always been fragile in Pakistan. It was only in 2013 that a transfer of power from one democratically elected government to another was realised for the first time. As the country heads for the second such transfer, with elections scheduled for July 25, the celebration is muted and overshadowed by a series of dramatic developments. Former Prime Minister and Pakistan Muslim League leader Nawaz Sharif has been sentenced to 10 years in prison in a corruption case involving undeclared property in London. The case, first cited in the Panama Papers, has seen Mr. Sharif disqualified from office and then barred from holding a party position in the ruling PML(N) after being held guilty by the Pakistan Supreme Court. But many Pakistanis, including Mr. Sharif’s critics, believe the anti-corruption court was overzealous, and even motivated by those in the deep state unhappy with his recent run as Prime Minister. In an unusual move, military and intelligence officers had been despatched to cities around the world to gather as much evidence as possible against him. Mr. Sharif, who has been sentenced along with his daughter and son-in-law has accuses the Opposition parties of having received support from the establishment to hold massive rallies calling for his ouster.

THE ASIAN AGE in an editorial A RACE TO WOO BUSINESS says it is encouraging to learn that most states in India are in serious competition to attract investments, and have realised the best way to do that is to improve the ease of doing business. Andhra Pradesh and Telangana have been particularly competitive over the past many years. They have put into practice the single window for clearances, and most of the positive feedback has been about the ease of starting businesses. If some traditional manufacturing states like Maharashtra  and Tamil Nadu have fallen behind on the index and rank below 10, it only shows how serious the competition has become. India itself has moved up to 100 in world rankings last year and hopes to break into the top 50 soon. The difference among the top three states (Haryana is third) in rankings based on feedback is minute, reflecting the competitiveness among states to straighten out procedures on construction permits, environmental regulations and land availability.

THE STATESMAN in an editorial THE ROHINGYA DEAL opines while the Memorandum of Understanding between the United Nations and Myanmar on the repatriation of Rohingyas does raise hope. The risk is that the deal may not readily translate to relief for the”nowhere people” is dangerously real. Tangible benefits remain ever so elusive; the fundamental entitlement of citizenship or freedom of movement throughout the country has not been guaranteed. The Rohingyas suffered one of the worst ethnic cleansings in history and were buffeted from shore to shore. Now, neither the UN nor the government in Naypidaw have been explicit on the details of the deal except to state that the hundreds of thousands of refugees, now sheltered in Bangladesh, shall be able to return safely and by choice. No less a subject of concern is whether conditions in Myanmar are suitably conducive for the refugees. The ground reality has prompted the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, to call for an international effort. The democratic world, most particularly the libertarian West, will be expected to pitch in to ensure that the deal fructifies to a humane existence.