STATE OF MEDIA IN PAKISTAN – ‘A media group banned at army offices’

silence1RAWALPINDI – A ban has been imposed on a private media group including its television channels at all offices of the Pakistan Army with immediate effect, a private ARY News channel reported on Wednesday.

The channel reported that there will be a blanket ban on the newspapers of the Independent Media Corporation, which owns the Jang Group of Newspapers and the Geo TV network, at all army offices, mess and units.

Read more » Daily Times
http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/national/23-Apr-2014/a-media-group-banned-at-army-offices

Fight against Eco Terrorism

ourWorldFamily awarded $3 million in first US fracking trial

After three years of legal wrangling, a Texas family has won its case against a company engaged in hydraulic fracturing near their home. The family, which suffered tangible health deterioration after the fracking began, was awarded $3 million.

A Dallas jury ruled Tuesday in favor of the Parr family, which sued Aruba Petroleum in 2011 after each member of the family noticed a decline in health that, their attorneys argued in court, was the result of dozens of gas wells surrounding their home in Wise County, Texas. The family was awarded nearly $3 million in what is believed to be the first fracking trial in US history.

Read more » http://rt.com/usa/154408-fracking-trial-family-sued/

An act of desperation

TaqiBy Dr Mohammad Taqi

Hamid Mir’s guardian angel was watching over him perhaps. Mir, a prominent Pakistani journalist and media personality, survived despite receiving multiple bullet injuries. He may be out of the woods medically but the violent threat to him and the Pakistani media at large has not dissipated. Mir was not the first journalist to be targeted with such brutal impunity and, unfortunately, will not be the last. Someone in the deep, convoluted bowels of society is getting really, really desperate. It seems like the war for the narrative and on those who may shape it has just entered a new and more deadly phase.
After a similar attack on the journalist Raza Rumi last month, I noted in my column ‘Hooked on jihadism’ (Daily Times, April 3, 2014) that “the Committee to Protect Journalists’ optimism notwithstanding, the Pakistani state is unlikely to kick its jihadist drug habit. The space for those citizens, especially media persons who do not conform, will continue to shrink. Raza Rumi, and others like him, will be left to fend for themselves.” The usual suspects seem gung-ho on either taming or eliminating the dissenting voices. The relentless assault on the media appears to be from both the state and non-state actors or some combination thereof. The attack on Express Television this past January was claimed by the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan while the one on Raza Rumi has apparently been traced to the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi ringleader Malik Ishaq. Many attacks, like the multiple bomb attacks on the residence of the Express Tribune’s Peshawar bureau chief, Jamshed Baghwan, have not been claimed by anyone.
Hamid Mir’s brother, Amir Mir — also a veteran journalist who has written extensively about the military-jihadist nexus — has directly blamed the ISI for the attack on Mir. Amnesty International’s (AI’s) Deputy Asia-Pacific Director David Griffiths has said in an e-mailed statement that, in the past three years, “Mir had on two occasions told the Amnesty International that he believed his life was under threat from different actors, including the ISI and the Pakistani Taliban.” Saying that they do not know who is responsible for the attack, the AI has called for bringing the perpetrators to book “regardless of their affiliations to any state institution, political party or any other group”. The Director General ISPR has since refuted Amir Mir’s allegations and an ISPR press release stated, “An independent inquiry must immediately be carried out to ascertain facts.”

Read more » Daily Times
http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/opinion/24-Apr-2014/an-act-of-desperation

The Hamid Mir case: ‘In Pakistan, they used to censor journalists – now they shoot us’

Hamid Mir

Hamid Mir

On Saturday in Karachi, one of Pakistan’s most famous journalists survived being shot six times. Soon after, the TV news channel he works for blamed the feared Inter-Services Intelligence agency for the attack. Author Mohammed Hanif reports on a fourth estate under siege

By , The Guardian

More than a hundred bouquets line the lobby of the private ward of Karachi’s posh, private Aga Khan Hospital. Outside, dozens of policemen with bulletproof vests and automatic weapons look at every visitor suspiciously, officers speaking urgently into their walkie-talkies. The Karachi police force is really good at strutting about after a high-profile crime has happened. One of the largest bouquets in the lobby is from the force. “Get well Hamid Mir,” it says. “We may not be able to protect you,” it implies, “but we know where to order the best flowers.”

Mir is upstairs recuperating. He took six bullets – in the ribs, thigh, stomach and across his hand – in an assassination attempt on Saturday as he came out of the airport to present a special broadcast on Geo, Pakistan‘s largest news channel. Mir had warned about a possible assassination. He had also named his would-be killers. That’s what his brother claims, that’s what his colleagues and managers at the channel say. Geo, just after the attack, broadcast the allegation and, in an unprecedented move, also flashed the picture of the accused: the head of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence chief, Lieutenant General Zaheer ul-Islam. In that picture he comes across as a big man. We are not supposed to know much about him except the fact that he is a very professional general. According to an internet myth very popular in Pakistan, the ISI has been rated as the world’s No 1 intelligence agency: Mossad is No 5 and MI6 languishes at No 9. According to television ratings, the man with three bullets still in his body is Pakistan’s top-rated TV journalist and one of the most vocal critics of Pakistan’s military and intelligence agencies.

One of the modest bouquets wishing Mir a full and speedy recovery is from the prime minister of Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif, who visited him in the hospital earlier this week after announcing a judicial inquiry. Going by the history of judicial inquiries in Pakistan, Sharif seemed to be saying: “Look Hamid, we want you to get well but don’t really expect us to find out who tried to kill you. Who is going to go and ask a working general? Meanwhile, here are three senior judges who will help you get over the whole thing.”

The day after the assassination attempt, Pakistan’s army chief General Raheel Sharif visited the ISI headquarters to show that he stands with his intelligence boss.

And the very next day, the Defence Ministry recommended that the channel for which Mir works should be shut down for bringing a national institution into disrepute. Geo’s competitors have joined the chorus.

For years, Pakistan has been one of the world’s most dangerous countries for journalists. From feudal landlords to Taliban fighters, sectarian groups to separatists, all have killed journalists. The question one needs to ask is: does the ISI, a national body often referred to as “a sensitive institution”, occasionally kill journalists? As any trained journalist would tell you, we need two sources before we can tell you a story. Here are two stories, with multiple sources and two different endings.

Continue reading

Committee to Protect Journalists condemns move by Pakistan’s ISI against Geo TV

censorship

CPJ condemns move by Pakistan’s ISI against Geo TV

New York, April 22, 2014–The Committee to Protect Journalists is greatly concerned by actions brought by Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence Directorate (ISI) against Geo Television today. In its complaint to the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority, the ISI accused Geo’s parent company, the Independent Media Corporation, of conducting a “false and scandalous campaign undermining the integrity and tarnishing the image of state institution (ISI) and its officers.”

The media regulator has the authority to shut down broadcasters based on such complaints, and has done so under previous administrations of Pakistan.

“We call on the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority not to act on this spurious complaint, and we call on Pakistan’s security services to recognize the critical role of the media and exercise tolerance and maturity,” said Bob Dietz, CPJ’s Asia program coordinator. “The ISI is free to rebut allegations in the media but should not try to censor coverage.”

Tension between Pakistan’s military and intelligence communities and much of the media swiftly escalated following an assassination attempt on Geo TV anchor Hamid Mir on April 19. Mir was hit with six rounds from assailants on motorcycles as his car was traveling between Karachi’s airport and the center of the city. Mir is severely wounded and recovering in the hospital. Geo TV has broadcast accusations that the ISI was involved in the murder attempt.

Courtesy: The Committee to Protect Journalists
http://cpj.org/2014/04/cpj-condemns-move-by-pakistans-isi-against-geo-tv.php

Pakistan Army Demands Broadcaster’s Closure

Military Lashes Out Against Geo News After TV Channel Airs Accusations Against Spy Agency

By Saeed Shah

ISLAMABAD—Pakistan’s military demanded that the government close down the country’s top-rated TV channel after it aired accusations that the spy agency was behind the shooting of its leading talk-show host.

The demand stems from remarks made by relatives of journalist Hamid Mir that were broadcast by Geo News on Saturday after he was shot six times in the southern city of Karachi.

They blamed the attack on the Inter-Services Intelligence spy agency, or ISI, and its chief, Lt. Gen. Zaheer-ul-Islam, who they say singled out Mr. Mir for his reports of the spy agency’s role in the country’s politics.

Read more » THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
http://online.wsj.com/news/article_email/SB10001424052702303825604579517903002721352-lMyQjAxMTA0MDIwMjEyNDIyWj

Pakistan – Gen Beg warns of Egypt-like change in Pakistan

Gen. Aslam BaigProposes three-point formula to normalise situation

By Ashraf Mumtaz

LAHORE  – Former Army chief Gen Mirza Aslam Beg on Monday proposed a three-point formula to normalise the tense civil-military relations, warning the government of an Egypt-like change in case urgent steps were not taken in accordance with his suggestions.
He said the high treason case against Gen Pervez Musharraf should be dropped and he should be allowed to go abroad; the Pemra should ensure that no TV channel telecasts programmes that undermine the prestige of the army; and ministers or other leaders should be barred from speaking against the people who defend the country even at the cost of their lives. Talking to The Nation, he said the civil setup would face no threat and the situation would normalise within no time if the government acted in the light of his suggestions. Otherwise, he said, a military general would take over, just like Gen El-Sisi did in Egypt, and the United States would support the change for its own interests.
Gen Beg was of the firm view that the Constitution would not be able to block a military intervention if the rulers did not give the army its due respect. “ZulifikarAli Bhutto had said the 1973 Constitution would bury martial laws, but it was the martial law that buried Bhutto”.

Read more » The Nation
http://www.nation.com.pk/national/22-Apr-2014/gen-beg-warns-of-egypt-like-change-in-pakistan

Footprints: When Maata calls

indus-civilizationBy

Their windscreens decked out with prayers such as ‘Allah nigehbaan’ and ‘Mashallah’, the buses travel for hours along highways, curving along mountains and crawling over narrow bridges under the scorching sun. The destination is Sri Maata Hinglaj, also known as Nani Mandir.

Colourful saris and other clothing dry on rocks as several devotees take a dip in the muddy river a couple of kilometres short of the temple. “It is clean for them,” smiles Ali Sher, the driver of one of the buses overloaded with Hindu pilgrims. “We started our bus journey from Tando Mohammad Khan. On the way we stopped at all the temples that fell on our way through Keenjhar, Karachi and the mud volcano a few kilometres away from here. This is like Haj for Hindus and stopping at the different temples along the way is like Umrah for them,” he says.

About the Islamic inscriptions on the buses, bus conductor Abdul Raheen says, “We have our writings here, they have their red and orange triangular flags. We don’t mind that. They don’t mind this.”

“All the pilgrims are requested to take full care of the sanctity of Maata Mandir. Please abstain from creating nuisance on the premises. Eating any kind of meat and fish is prohibited. Maata Mandir is open only for the purpose of paying homage to Maata. Don’t come here for picnicking. Please don’t litter, take special care to keep this place clean. Please cover your head when entering Maata Mandir,” reads an inscription on the yellow board next to the mustard and light blue gates left open at this time of year. There are four temples inside, the biggest of which is Nani Mandir.

Read more » DAWN
http://www.dawn.com/news/1101465

Imtiaz Alam quits Express TV in protest against curbs

Imtiaz AlamPrint and broadcast journalist Imtiaz Alam has resigned from hosting his television show on Express News against what he called “imposing censorship and the channel adopting a policy hostile to freedom of expression and media solidarity”.

Follows the text of his resignation:

April 21, 2014

The Chief Executive Officer,
The Express News,
Express Media,
Karachi,

Subject: 30-Day Notice to resign from Express News Television, Express Media

Dear Mr Yousuf Baig Mirza,
This is after detailed exchange of messages and telephonic conversation between us today, Monday 21 April 2014, and your refusal to allow my program, Achha Lagey Bura Lagey, on the attack on Hamid Mir, a leading journalist and colleague, threats to freedom of media/expression and the need for media solidarity, etc,. that were to go live at 07.03 pm from Lahore station, that I am constrained to issue you this 30-day notice to resign from the Express News as a host/analyst of Achaha Lagey Bura Lagey in protest against imposing censorship and adopting a policy hostile to freedom of expression and media solidarity-in-self-defense.
The Express Media’s top management got disturbed, as I was told, by the principled position taken by me in solidarity with a colleague who was attacked in Karachi. The points for today’s program sent by me to you were appreciated by you: Following were the issues for discussion:
“Hamid Mir: issues are: right to life and social contract, freedom of speech, security of journalists and a culture of impunity, fate of enquiry commissions, professional ethics, media debates (attack on media or on sensitive institutions), ISPR’s reaction—editorial note: Need for caution and restraint; letting due process take place without prejudging or maligning any person or institution”.
Since you were keen to run a vilification campaign against another rival media group, you insisted on pre-recording the program so that you could censor it, knowing well that I abhorred censorship. I had told you that it was a wrong policy which would damage the whole media; it was Express TV/Express Tribune yesterday when Raza Rumi was attacked and I got death threats, on which equally despicably some media groups kept quiet, it is GEO today and tomorrow it could again be Express or any other group.
You know that I am against vilification of any person or institution and could never pre-judge any accused without investigation, nor could I ever use Express platform to serve anybody’s interest. Since you had other plans on the behest of somebody else to launch a campaign against your rival media group and I could never become an instrument in such a shoddy business, you preferred to plan an obnoxious program against all media ethics telecasted in place of the one I was supposed to host.
You are aware that I have been struggling for my whole life for fundamental rights, freedom of expression, free press, professional ethics, tolerance, peace and cooperation in the region. How could I become an instrument in such a sordid business and you knew it. You could have waited for two days when I was supposed to go on leave on 23 April, but it seemed you were under great pressure from somewhere else. I don’t want to cast aspersions, but I think the Express has been pressurized or followed its instincts of rivalry, as had happened in the case of Express Tribune when the Editor had to send a letter to his contributors not to write against extremists. It was Taliban threat in the case of Express Tribune, it is somebody else who made you take a decision even you appreciably didn’t like. I may warn you in a most friendly spirit against the consequences of this policy which is against not only whole media but also against Express Media. I may assure you that whenever Express Media came under pressure from any quarter you would find me on your side. This has not happened for the first time. A few weeks ago my talk-show Baibaak was also stopped on PTv, which I had started during the caretaker period.
Let’s part ways in an honorable manner and according to our legal obligations. My dear Baig Sahib, kindly accept this 30-day notice of resignation from hosting the program Achha Lagey Bura Lagey with a request for not bringing a bad name to a show that was quite credible. I will be available to do this program if you so like during this period of resignation but without restrictions.
My best regards with a wish that you don’t play into the hands of those who are bent upon undermining freedoms and democratic values.
Sincerely,

Imtiaz Alam,
Host/Analyst AchHA Lagey Bura Lagey,
Express TV, Express Media

Courtesy: SOUTH ASIA MEDIA
http://www.southasianmedia.net/sam-monitors/news/imtiaz-alam-quits-express-tv-in-protest-against-curbs-story

Pakistan’s Information minister Pervez Rasheed refused to defend ISI chief in Hamid Mir case

DG ISI should answer all questions: Pervez Rasheed

ISLAMABAD: In a surprising development, Pakistan’s Information minister Pervez Rasheed refused to defend Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) chief Zaheer ul Islam against the recent allegation of his involvement in murder attack on Hamid Mir.

Speaking in a Dunya News talk show, Information minister maintained that Hamid Mir’s brother Amir Mir has leveled allegations against ISI chief , not the government and the ISI chief should himself answer all questions.

“I do not want to become a party” said Pervez Rasheed.

It must be remembered that rumours of differences between Pakistan’s civil and military establishment were already taking rounds on the issues of Pervez Musharraf treason case and Taliban.

In the recent issue, no government official has come forward to defend Pakistan’s Intelligence Agency ISI.

Courtesy: The News Tribe » Duniya Tv News » Daily Motion
http://www.thenewstribe.com/2014/04/22/dg-isi-should-answer-all-questions-pervez-rasheed/

Pakistan plans huge desert solar park to fight energy crisis

wapdaBADAIWANI WALA: For years Pakistanis have sweated and cursed through summer power cuts, but now the government plans to harness the sun’s ferocious heat to help tackle the country’s chronic energy crisis.

In a corner of the Cholistan desert in Punjab province, power transmission lines, water pipes and a pristine new road cross 10,000 acres of parched, sandy land.

The provincial government has spent $5 million to put in place the infrastructure as it seeks to transform the desolate area into one of the world’s largest solar power parks, capable one day of generating up to 1,000 megawatts of electricity.

The desert park in Bahawalpur district is the latest scheme to tackle the rolling blackouts which have inflicted misery on people and strangled economic growth.

Temperatures can reach 50 degrees Celsius in the country’s centre in June and July, sending demand for electricity soaring and leaving a shortfall of around 4,000 MW.

“In phase one, a pilot project producing 100 MW of electricity will hopefully be completed by the end of this year,” Imran Sikandar Baluch, head of the Bahawalpur district administration, told AFP.

“After completion of the first 100 MW project, the government will invite investors to invest here for the 1,000 megawatts.”

A ‘river’ of solar panels

Engineers and labourers are working in the desert under the scorching sun to complete the boundary wall, with authorities keen to begin generating solar electricity by November.

“If you come here after one and a half years, you will see a river of (solar) panels, residential buildings and offices — it will be a new world,”said site engineer Muhammad Sajid, gesturing to the desert.

Besides solar, Pakistan is also trying to tap its unexploited coal reserves — which lie in another area of the same desert, in Sindh province.

In January Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif inaugurated construction on a $1.6 billion coal plant in the town of Thar, in Sindh.

Work has also begun on a pilot 660 megawatt coal-fired plant in Gadani, a small town on the Arabian Sea.

Another 600 megawatt coal plant has also been given the go-ahead in the southern city of Jamshoro.

But while coal may offer a short-term fix to the energy crisis, authorities are keen to move to cleaner electricity in the long run.

“We need energy badly and we need clean energy, this is a sustainable solution for years to come,” said Baloch.

“Pakistan is a place where you have a lot of solar potential. In Bahawalpur, with very little rain and a lot of sunshine, it makes the project feasible and more economical,” he said.

Clean energy

Baloch believes that the new solar park will make Pakistan a leader in that energy in the region. The initial pilot project is a government scheme but private investors are also taking an interest.

Raja Waqar of Islamabad-based Safe Solar Power is among them. His company plans to invest $10 million to build a 10 MW project in the new park.

“The government has allotted us land over here. Infrastructure, the transmission line and road are available here, that is why we are investing,”Waqar told AFP.

A million dollars per MW is a sizeable investment but Waqar said the company expected to reap returns on it over at least the next decade, and others were keen to get on board.

“There are up to 20 companies who are investing in this park and their projects are in the pipeline,” he said. “Some of them are working on 50 MW, some on 10 and others on 20.”But not everyone is so upbeat about the project.

Arshad Abbasi, an energy expert at Islamabad’s Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI), said the cost of generating solar power from this project may be uneconomical for the government.

He also warned that buying in solar equipment from abroad made little economic sense.

“Had the government decided to establish more hydro or thermal plants in the country it would have generated more employment, business and construction opportunities,” he said.

And farmers in the area who scrape a living herding cattle on the unforgiving land are worried about their future.

“We don’t know if this energy park is good, the power will come or not, we only want the government to spare our area and allow us to continue living here with our cattle,” said Malik Jalal, a local villager.

Courtesy: DAWN
http://www.dawn.com/news/1101141

BBC – Can anyone control Pakistan’s ISI spies?

bbcPakistan’s dreaded spy agency, the ISI, is back in the spotlight, accused of murdering journalist Saleem Shahzad. The agency’s engagement with the media has become progressively more virulent as the “war on terror” has progressed. BBC Urdu editor Aamer Ahmed Khan asks whether anyone can bring the ISI under control.

Read more » BBC
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-south-asia-13638478

The New 1% isn’t just the Rich, it is the Spoiled Oligarch Heirs (Krugman)

Economist Paul Krugman explains how the United States is becoming an oligarchy – the very system our founders revolted against.

Bill Moyers interviews Paul Krugman

” Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, a 42-year-old who teaches at the Paris School of Economics, shows that two-thirds of America’s increase in income inequality over the past four decades is the result of steep raises given to the country’s highest earners.

This week, Bill talks with Nobel Prize-winning economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, about Piketty’s “magnificent” new book.

“What Piketty’s really done now is he said, ‘Even those of you who talk about the 1 percent, you don’t really get what’s going on.’ He’s telling us that we are on the road not just to a highly unequal society, but to a society of an oligarchy. A society of inherited wealth.”

Krugman adds: “We’re seeing inequalities that will be transferred across generations. We are becoming very much the kind of society we imagined we’re nothing like.” ”

Courtesy: http://www.juancole.com/2014/04/spoiled-oligarch-krugman.html

New York Times – Critic of Pakistani Military Wounded in Karachi Attack

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Hamid Mir, a prominent Pakistani journalist and a critic of the nation’s powerful military, was wounded by gunmen in the southern port city of Karachi on Saturday evening, according to police officials and local news media reports.

militaryThere was no immediate claim of responsibility, but within hours of the attack, Amir Mir, Mr. Mir’s brother, accused the chief of the intelligence service, the Inter-Services Intelligence directorate, or ISI, of being behind it.

In an emotional outburst on Geo TV, the network on which Hamid Mir hosts a popular talk show, Amir Mir assailed the intelligence agency, saying that the ISI “was eating up Pakistan like termites” and accusing its director, Lt. Gen. Zahir ul-Islam, and other ISI officials of planning to kill Mr. Mir.

He said that his brother had told him about two weeks ago that his life was in danger and that he had recorded a video that had been sent to the Committee to Protect Journalists.

A spokesman for the media wing of the Pakistani military, Inter-Services Public Relations, condemned the attack but urged people not to speculate about it.

“An independent inquiry must immediately be carried out to ascertain facts,” the spokesman said. “However, raising allegations against ISI or the head of ISI without any basis is highly regrettable and misleading,”

The attack took place on a busy Karachi street just after 5 p.m. Saturday as Mr. Mir was headed to Geo’s main office.

He was shot three times, according to Karachi police officials, in the lower abdomen and shoulder. He was taken to Aga Khan Hospital, where he underwent surgery, Geo TV reported. His condition was listed as stable. In November 2012, a bomb was found under Mr. Mir’s car in Islamabad, but it did not explode. At the time, suspicions pointed to the Pakistani Taliban, which had singled out Mr. Mir for criticism over his coverage of Malala Yousafzai, the teenage activist wounded by militants in October 2012.

This is not the first time accusations have been made against the ISI. In 2011, Syed Saleem Shahzad, an investigative reporter, was found dead some months after he was threatened by intelligence officers.

Mr. Mir has been one of the most vocal critics of the military and intelligence services. He has also criticized the former military leader Pervez Musharraf.

Courtesy: The New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/20/world/asia/critic-of-pakistani-military-wounded-in-karachi-attack.html?_r=0

It is appropriate to shift Musharraf to jail: Aseefa

PPPKARACHI: Aseefa Bhutto Zardari has said it was not appropriate to shift former president General (retd) Pervez Mushararf anywhere else except jail, Geo News reported. The statement of Aseefa, younger daughter of former president Asif Ali Zardari and sister of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, came at a time when there were reports that Musharraf was planning to travel to Karachi.

Read more » Geo Tv
http://www.geo.tv/article-145129-It-is-appropriate-to-shift-Musharraf-to-jail-Aseefa

PAKISTAN: Senior journalist, anchor, and columnist Hamid Mir shot, injured in Karachi

Hamid MirBy: via Facebook Comments about Hamid Mir

Strongly condemn the attack on anchor, columnist & journalist, Hamid Mir in Karachi today. That tells you how some elements in the military & civil establishment & their collaborators ‘deal’ with the voices of dissent. His views on govt talks with Taliban, Musharraf trial, Balochistan army operation & on some other issues have been at variance with some powerful lobbies. And this is how they silence the voices of dissent. This may be an act by the mother of all terrorist outfits in Pakistan. The country is certainly becoming more & more dangerous for its citizens, especially the ones that don’t agree with the establishment.

Today it is about the attack on Hamid Mir. Yesterday it were Umar Cheema & Saleem Shahzad. (Even the killings of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, Benazir Bhutto, Akbar Bugti, Noroze Baloch, Nazeer Shaheed, Hasan Nasir, Bashir Qureshi, Muzaffar Bhutto, Sarai Qurban Khuhawar, Maqsood Qureshi, Samiullah Kalhoro & numerous others).

The supporters of the security establishment will not speak against the assailants & condemn them. They will even blame the victims. If you are in Pakistan, you can listen to some TV channels & commentators & read some columnists & see how they are blaming GEO news & Hamid Mir instead of condemning the attackers. Similarly, they will find ways even to defend the actions of military dictator Pervez Musharraf & try to undermine the Treason case against him.

They will label the critics of the security establishment as Indian agents. It is worst kind of fascism & it is dangerous. People must stand up against fascism.

According to his brother Aamir Mir;  Hamid Mir had recently told family and colleagues that he had received threats from the IsI because of his political views and his stand supporting the Balochistan movement.  He is the second prominent TV anchor to be targeted. Earlier this month, Raza Rumi was attacked, forcing the man to abandon his journalism career and leave the country.

We are not his followers and keep our right to oppose his point of view but killing some one on his right to say is inhuman.

State within State is not acceptable…nobody…no institution or its head is above the law… those responsible… direct or indirectly must brought to justice….

Please note: Above comments are taken from social media (Facebook)

Courtesy: Via Facebook

- – - – - – - – - – - -

Read more » Geo News
http://www.geo.tv/article-145131-Hamid-Mir-shot-injured-in-Karachi

 

Some 95% of 2009-2012 Income Gains Went to Wealthiest 1%

recessionBy Brenda Cronin

Research released this month shows that the incomes of the well-off have largely climbed back from the toll of the most recent recession while those of the poor have yet to start recovering.

According to the latest version of “Striking it Richer: The Evolution of Top Incomes in the United States,” by Emmanuel Saez, of the University of California, Berkeley, the income inequality gap has been expanding, rather than narrowing, as the 2007-2009 recession recedes. That trend has been unfolding for more than 30 years

Read more » The Wall Street Journal
http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2013/09/10/some-95-of-2009-2012-income-gains-went-to-wealthiest-1/

Income Inequality in Canada

Canada gets a “C” grade and ranks 12th out of 17 peer countries.
Income inequality in Canada has increased over the past 20 years.
Since 1990, the richest group of Canadians has increased its share of total national income, while the poorest and middle-income groups has lost share.

Read more » http://www.conferenceboard.ca/hcp/details/society/income-inequality.aspx

IMF Warns G-20 of Deflation Risk, Emerging-Market Turmoil

system 1By Sandrine Rastello

Risks of prolonged market turmoil in emerging markets and of deflation in the euro area are threatening the world’s improved economic prospects, according to the International Monetary Fund.

The IMF, in a staff report prepared for central bankers and finance ministers from the Group of 20, said the recovery is still weak and “significant downside risks remain.” A January global growth forecast of 3.7 percent for this year, from 3 percent in 2013, hinges on recent market volatility from Turkey to Brazil being short-lived, according to the report.

“Capital outflows, higher interest rates, and sharp currency depreciation in emerging economies remain a key concern,” according to the report prepared ahead of the G-20 Feb. 22-23 meeting in Sydney. “A new risk stems from very low inflation in the euro area, where long-term inflation expectations might drift down, raising deflation risks in the event of a serious adverse shock to activity.”

Read more » Bloomberg
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-02-19/imf-warns-g-20-of-risks-of-deflation-emerging-market-turmoil.html

Bill Gates: People Don’t Realize How Many Jobs Will Soon Be Replaced By Software Bots

bill gatesBig changes are coming to the labor market that people and governments aren’t prepared for, Bill Gates believes.

Speaking at Washington, D.C., economic think tank The American Enterprise Institute on Thursday, Gates said that within 20 years, a lot of jobs will go away, replaced by software automation (“bots” in tech slang, though Gates used the term “software substitution”).

This is what he said:

“Software substitution, whether it’s for drivers or waiters or nurses … it’s progressing. …  Technology over time will reduce demand for jobs, particularly at the lower end of skill set. …  20 years from now, labor demand for lots of skill sets will be substantially lower. I don’t think people have that in their mental model.”

He’s not the only one predicting this gloomy scenario for workers. In January, the Economist ran a big profile naming over a dozen jobs sure to be taken over by robots in the next 20 years, including telemarketers, accountants and retail workers.

Gates believes that the tax codes are going to need to change to encourage companies to hire employees, including, perhaps, eliminating income and payroll taxes altogether. He’s also not a fan of raising the minimum wage, fearing that it will discourage employers from hiring workers in the very categories of jobs that are most threatened by automation.

BBC – Brazil police strike ends in Bahia amid troop deployment

Police in the state of Bahia in north-eastern Brazil say they have voted to end a two-day strike over pay after accepting an improved government offer.

They said they accepted salary increases ranging from 25% to 60%, according to Brazil’s G1 news portal.

On Wednesday, elite police units and armed soldiers were deployed to the state to restore order amid a hike in the number of murders and other crimes.

Shops were also looted in the capital, Salvador, following the walkout.

Brazil’s third-largest city is due to host six matches during the football World Cup, which begins in June.

Following their vote to end the walkout, the protesting officers were seen on local TV celebrating what they said was a “victory”.

Their decision came a day after a federal judge ruled the dispute illegal and ordered the striking officers to return to work or their union would face fines.

‘Unacceptable’

State officials said 39 people have been killed in and around Salvador since the strike was announced, a much higher figure than normal.

The labour dispute also prompted car robberies and looters to pillage supermarkets, electronics stores and other shops, as police stayed away in defiance of the court order.

Many shops, schools and universities remained closed, and fewer buses circulated in Salvador after drivers refused to go to work for fear of being attacked.

Read more » BBC
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-27074277

The New York Times – A Return to a World Marx Would Have Known

*Doug Henwood is editor of Left Business Observer, host of a weekly radio show originating on KPFA, Berkeley, and is author of several books, including “Wall Street: How It Works and For Whom” and “After the New Economy.”

I don’t see how you can understand our current unhappy economic state without some sort of Marx-inspired analysis.

Here we are, almost five years into an officially designated recovery from the worst downturn in 80 years, and average household incomes are more than 8 percent below where they were when the Great Recession began, and employment still 650,000 short of its pre-recession high.

Though elites are prospering, for millions of Americans, it’s as if the recession never ended.

How can this all be explained? The best way to start is by going back to the 1970s. Corporate profitability — which, as every Marxist schoolchild knows, is the motor of the system — had fallen sharply off its mid-1960s highs. Stock and bond markets were performing miserably. Inflation seemed to be rising without limit. After three decades of seemingly endless prosperity, workers had developed a terrible attitude problem, slacking off and, quaintly, even going out on strike. It’s no accident that Johnny Paycheck scored a No. 1 country hit with “Take This Job and Shove It” in 1977 — utterly impossible to imagine today.

This is where Marx begins to come in. At the root of these problems was a breakdown in class relations: workers no longer feared the boss. A crackdown was in order.

And it came, hard. In October 1979, the Federal Reserve began driving interest rates toward 20 percent, to kill inflation and restrict borrowing, creating the deepest recession since the 1930s. (It was a record we only broke in 2008/2009). A little over a year later, Ronald Reagan came into office, fired the striking air-traffic controllers, setting the stage for decades of union busting to follow. Five years after Johnny Paycheck’s hit, workers were desperate to hold and/or get jobs. No more attitude problem.

The “cure” worked for about 30 years. Corporate profits skyrocketed and financial markets thrived. The underlying mechanism, as Marx would explain it, is simple: workers produce more in value than they are paid, and the difference is the root of profit. If worker productivity rises while pay remains stagnant or declines, profits increase. This is precisely what has happened over the last 30 years. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, productivity rose 93 percent between 1980 and 2013, while pay rose 38 percent (all inflation-adjusted).

The 1 percent got ever-richer and more powerful. But there was a problem: a system dependent on high levels of mass consumption has a hard time coping with the stagnation or decline in mass incomes.The development of a mass consumer market after Marx died, with the eager participation of a growing middle class, caused a lot of people to say his analysis was obsolete. But now, with the hollowing out of the middle class and the erosion of mass purchasing power, the whole 20th century model of mass consumption is starting to look obsolete.

Borrowing sustained the mass consumption model for a few decades. Non-rich households borrowed to buy cars, buy food, pay medical bills, buy ever-more-expensive houses, and so on. Conveniently, rich households had plenty of spare cash to lend them.

That model broke apart in 2008 and has not — and cannot — be revived. Without the juice provided by spirited borrowing, demand remains constricted and growth rates, low. (See also: Europe.)

Raising the incomes of the bottom 90 percent of the population through higher wages and public spending initiatives — stifled since Reagan starting putting the squeeze on them — could change that. But the stockholding class has resisted that, and they have a lot of political power.

And an extraordinarily lopsided economy is the result. We didn’t expect that the 21st century would bring about a return of the 19th century’s vast disparities, but it’s looking like that’s just what’s happened.

Courtesy: The New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2014/03/30/was-marx-right/a-return-to-a-world-marx-would-have-known?smid=fb-share

Pakistan – DG ISI had to face tough questions from Nawaz Sharif

 

PML-N Chief Nawaz Sharif.DG ISI had to face tough questions from all

Inside the conference room of PM House … COAS assures PM things to be done as desired by govt

Excerpt;

The DG ISI gave a briefing on internal security and Pak-Iran relations. At one point, Zaheerul Islam claimed that some elements of Jundullah, a defunct organisation, were active in Balochistan upon which the prime minister gently asked the DG ISI whose job was this to inform the government about it. The prime minister at times asked questions directly from the DG ISI who, according to the law, came directly under his command.

During the briefing, the DG ISI mentioned Iran’s close relations with India on which Nawaz Sharif calmly reminded him of the government’s policy that they had nothing to do with the internal matter of any of the neighbours. Lt Gen Zaheerul Islam also discussed the internal security situation with regard to the Afghanistan situation.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, while addressing the participants, said that they needed peace and they didn’t want any kind of interference in any of the neighbouring countries. During the course of the meeting, the army chief, on a number of occasions, assured the prime minister that things would be done according to the directions of the prime minister. At no point there was any hint of any tiff between the civilian and the military leadership. Some participants, however, observed some unease between the army chief and DG ISI.

Read more » The News
http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-29792-DG-ISI-had-to-face-tough-questions-from-all

Israel’s embassies worldwide were closed.

Foreign Ministry shut as striking workers block entrances

Unclear what will happen at Washington embassy, base of dozens of employees who don’t work for the foreign ministry.

By

The Foreign Ministry headquarters in Jerusalem were shut on Monday, as striking ministry workers blocked all entrances and prevented entry.

The workers declared a general strike on Sunday, closing all foreign ministry offices and missions around the world. The workers are protesting the employment conditions of Israeli diplomats and the Finance Ministry’s decision to cut their salaries over the renewed sanctions.

As a result of the strike, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon cancelled a planned working visit to Rome next week.

The striking workers erected a protest tent at the entrance to the ministry early on Monday morning and blocked all access points with truckloads of garbage, assisted by members of the Histadrut’s Jerusalem district.

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Military blocking Pakistan-India trade deal, says Shahbaz Sharif

Shahbaz SharifSecurity networks’ distrust of increased business dealings is counter-productive, warns Pakistani PM’s brother

By in Lahore and in Delhi, theguardian.com

The powerful brother of Pakistan‘s prime minister has warned the military establishments of both India and Pakistan not to block efforts to sweep aside trade barriers between the two distrustful neighbours.

On Indian affairs Shahbaz Sharif, the chief minister of Punjab, is widely seen as the de facto Pakistani foreign minister, conducting diplomatic missions to Delhi on behalf of his brother Nawaz Sharif, the prime minister.

But speaking to the Guardian he warned that distrustful “security agencies” in both Pakistan and India were one of the two main “blockages” holding back plans to liberalise trade, which the Sharifs believe will provide a desperately needed boost to Pakistan’s moribund economy.

“Security agencies on both sides need to really understand that in today’s world, a security-led vision is obviously driven by economic security,” he said. “Unless you have economic security then you can’t have general security.”

While the Sharif brothers, in common with most mainstream politicians in Pakistan, are impatient for a rapprochement with India, the military is far more wary.

Read more » theguardian
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/feb/13/military-block-pakistan-india-trade-deal-sharif

Sindhis of Kolkata – Sindhi spirit endures at Sindhi New Year

Cheti chandSindhis bond over struggle and success Sindhi spirit endures

- Uprooted community celebrates new dawn, Scot discovers hometown roots at city cemetery

BY SUSHOVAN SIRCAR

If you are a Sindhi living in Calcutta, you have got to know Mohini Bhawnani.

In case you don’t, trust someone to tell you at your first Cheti Chand celebration in town how a spunky 14-year-old had fled Karachi alone aboard a ship in the blood-soaked summer of August 1947 to reach this city and go on to become the first woman engineer at Calcutta Telephones.

To the close-knit community of Sindhis, 82-year-old Bhawnani epitomises the spirit of survival that had brought the first batch of post-Partition migrants here more than six decades ago, scarred but not subdued.

This spirit was on show during an advance Sindhi New Year celebration last Sunday at the Khudiram Anushilan Kendra when the elderly and young lined up to greet and shake hands with the still sprightly Bhawnani.

“You can say she is the living embodiment of the history of Sindhis in Calcutta,” said travel company owner Anil Punjabi, who was among those who sought Bhawnani’s blessings.

Cheti Chand, which falls on the second day of Chaitra, is on Tuesday but the community decided to have a get-together on a weekend so that everyone could attend the event. The turnout in excess of 10,000 included Sindhis who came from places like Raidighi and Kalyani.

The Sindhi New Year rituals invoke Ishtadev Uderolal, the presiding deity who is worshipped as Jhulelal and believed to have risen from the sea astride a giant fish. But Sunday’s was more than just a community coming together to celebrate a festival. To those who had risen from the horrors of Partition, the assembly of 10,000-odd Sindhis symbolised a triumph.

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Election 2014: Death Knell of Strategic Depth?

Afghanistan has voted. And wow, what a lot of voting there was! Millions of Afghans turned out and voted in an election where a vote for anyone was a vote against Mullah Umar and his backers. Now it may be that the results will not be accepted, that the winners will fight each other or that the good feeling will evaporate as some future Taliban offensive shakes the state. But if the results are credible and are accepted, then it may well be (to quote journalist Tahir Mehdi) that April 5th 2014 will be to strategic depth what December 16th 1971 was to the two-nation theory.
Of course, one may then point out that the Two Nation theory has had a very healthy Zombie existence since 1971. But even the healthiest Zombie is still a Zombie. Dying is forever.

Read more » Brown Pundits
http://brownpundits.blogspot.ca/2014/04/election-2014-death-knell-of-strategic.html

Study Says Fleets of 3D Printed Drones Will Fight Tomorrow’s Wars

By:

3D printing and drone technology are two of today’s most exciting technologies. Both have started working in conjunction with each other in a way that we have not seen before.

They have a potential to take wars into the robotic, Terminator-like age. According to the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), the future of military warfare will be decided by specialized robots and fleets of 3D-printed, remote-controlled drones in the not-too-distant future.

The world will be motivated to use these unmanned systems due to rising costs of military personnel. Future military warfare could be as simple as just pressing a button to 3D print a fleet of drones, stealthily swooping in and out of battlefields thousands of miles away.

So instead of procuring expensive manned aircrafts in small numbers, the military might be able to build thousands of customized 3D printed drones using robotic assembly lines that run 24 hrs a day.

Read more » http://www.industrytap.com/study-says-fleets-3d-printed-drones-will-fight-tomorrows-wars/18086?fb_action_ids=726800504037493&fb_action_types=og.likes

The rise and fall of the communist party of Pakistan

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Pakistan’s first communist party was actually formed in India (!). The Communist Party of India (CPI) was of the view that the newly created country (Pakistan) was ripe for a communist revolution due to the fragile nature of the country’s politics and economics at the onset of the partition of India in 1947.

The CPI sent a number of its Muslim members (led by Marxist intellectual, Sajjad Zaheer), to Pakistan for the purpose of fostering ties with labour leaders, students and leftist politicians and to prepare the ground for a communist revolution in Pakistan.

Entryism’ — originally a Marxist concept (honed by Soviet communist leader, Leon Trotsky) in which dedicated members of a small communist party were encouraged to infiltrate strong progressive and/or socialist ‘bourgeoisie outfits’ to gain direct access to a larger polity — was also explored.

Zaheer formed the Communist Party of Pakistan (CPP) in 1948 in Kolkata and then shifted the party to Pakistan. The party began organising itself in both wings of the country (East Pakistan and West Pakistan).

As planned, it also forged links with labour leaders and trade unionists and gave shape to an active student organisation, the Democratic Students Federation (DSF). The latter not only became the party’s student-wing, but also the country’s leading student outfit at the time.

As a strategy the student group and the labour unions were not officially proclaimed to be wings of the CPP but had secret CPP workers at the helm of these organisations.

CPP was Leninist in orientation. Due to lack of developed bourgeoisie capitalism and the consequential absence of a strong urban proletarian base in the newly formed country, CPP tried to implement the Leninist idea of triggering and guiding a communist revolution through a small, well-trained and dedicated group of intellectuals and workers (like the Russian revolutionary, Vladimir Lenin, had done in Russia in 1917).

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Thousands in Paris and Rome protest austerity measures

A demonstration in Rome turns violent when protesters throw rocks and firecrackers at police

Anti-austerity protests took over parts of Paris and Rome on Saturday, with one demonstration in Rome spurring violence when protesters threw rocks, eggs and firecrackers at police, with at least one person injured.

Tens of thousands of people took part in protests in central Paris and Rome, organized by hard-left parties opposed to government economic reform plans and austerity measures.

Police in Rome armed with batons charged members of a large splinter group — many wearing masks and helmets — and also used tear gas to push back the crowd, with protesters fighting back with rocks and firecrackers. One man lost a hand when a firecracker exploded before he could throw it.

Read more » AlJazeera
http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2014/4/12/rome-paris-anti-austerityprotests.html