Tag Archives: Financial

Israel poverty figures up, 40% of children at risk

Nearly twice as many youngsters facing financial difficulties compared to average for European countries

By Stuart Winer

he number of Israelis at risk of poverty has gone up in the last decade and is nearly twice the average in the European Union, figures released Wednesday show. Details from the “Society in Israel Report No. 6,” published by the National Central Bureau of Statistics, showed that an increasing number of Israelis are failing to make ends meet.According to the report, 31 percent of the population in 2011 was in danger of poverty, compared to 17% in the European Union. For the purposes of the report, risk of poverty was defined as when each member of a household is supported on less than 60% of the average financial resources available to the rest of the population. Among Israeli single-parent households with dependent children, 44% were facing poverty compared to 41% in 2001. In Europe, the numbers stood at 35% in 2011 and 32% in 2001. Luxembourg was found to be worst of all with 46%. The number of children at risk of poverty in Israel was twice that in Europe in 2011

Read more » Times of Israel
http://www.timesofisrael.com/israel-poverty-figures-up-40-of-children-at-risk/

China’s Official Press Agency Calls For New Reserve Currency, And New World Order

by Tyler Durden

We assume it is a coincidence that on the day in which we demonstrate China’s relentless appetite for gold, driven by what we and many others believe is the country’s desire to have a call option on a gold-backed reserve currency when the time comes, just posted in China’s official press agency, Xinhua, is an op-ed by writer Liu Chang in which he decries the “US fiscal failure which warrants a de-Americanized world” and flatly states that the world should consider a new reserve currency “that is to be created to replace the dominant U.S. dollar, so that the international community could permanently stay away from the spillover of the intensifying domestic political turmoil in the United States.”

Of course, if China were serious, and if the world were to voluntarily engage in such a (r)evolutionary reserve currency transition ….

Read more » Zerohege,com
http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-10-13/chinas-official-press-agency-calls-new-reserve-currency

India gripped by mood of crisis as rupee falls again

By James Crabtree in Mumbai and Victor Mallet in New Delhi

The Indian rupee fell to a new low against the dollar on Wednesday and stocks declined after a central bank promise to inject liquidity into the country’s financial markets provided only temporary relief from a deepening sense of crisis….

Read more » Financial Times
http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/af335904-0a21-11e3-aeab-00144feabdc0.html#axzz2ceOcBPBJ

Europe’s Tax on Financial Trades Is a Risky Bet

By Mark Buchanan

Millions of Europeans are about to become the subjects of a vast social experiment. What’s troubling is how little anyone understands about where it might lead.

A total of 11 European Union member states — including France, Germany, Italy and Spain, but not the U.K. — plan to introduce a small tax on financial transactions by the beginning of 2014. Financial institutions will pay 0.1 percent on all stock and bond trades, and 0.01 percent on derivatives. Although taxes that are at least crudely similar exist in about 40 nations around the world, the European measure will be the first introduced on such a large scale.

The idea of a financial transactions tax goes back to the economist John Maynard Keynes. In the 1930s, he argued that speculation on assets drives market instability and suggested that an appropriate levy could deter it. If small enough, the tax would have a negligible effect on long-term stock investors, who trade infrequently and focus on real economic factors in making their decisions. It would primarily deter short-term speculators who buy and sell frequently in response to temporary market movements.

The idea makes intuitive sense and could, in principle, help channel investment to productive economic activity. There’s much debate, though, over whether it can work in reality. Well- known economists such as Joseph Stiglitz and Larry Summers have supported a transactions tax. Others of equal prominence have countered that it would be likely to lower equity prices, drive trading across borders and possibly increase market volatility.

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Steal bread, go to jail, steal a billion $, get bailed out

*Bank of America Bombshell: Whistleblowers Reveal Orchestrated Coverup and Massive Borrower Harm

Obama promised justice to abused American homeowners. Have they gotten it?

By Yves Smith

Editor’s Note:  In his 2012 State of The Union address, President Obama spoke of American homeowners abused by unscrupulous banks and financial institutions. Have they gotten justice? What follows is the first in a new series examining foreclosure settlements and the disturbing patterns of incomptency, malfeasance, and conflicts of interest which have marked their execution. Yves Smith of Naked Capitalism takes a deep dive into the mire of America’s mortage industry and investigates the continued suffering of the public at the hands of greedy predators.

On January 7, 2013, ten servicers entered into an $8.5 billion settlement with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Federal Reserve, terminating a foreclosure review process which was set forth in consent orders issued in April 2010. Borrowers who had had foreclosures that were pending or had completed foreclosure sales in 2009 and 2010 could request an investigation by independent reviewers, selected and paid for by the servicers but subject to approval by the OCC.

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An Irish engagement with the Greek crisis

To the crucible: an Irish engagement with the Greek crisis and the Greek left

By Helena Sheehan

January 21, 2013 — Irish Left Review, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal at the author’s suggestion and with her permission — A monumental drama is playing out before our eyes. It is a true Greek tragedy. The plot: A society is being pushed to its limits. The denouement is not yet determined, but survival is at stake and prospects are precarious. Greece is at the sharp end of a radical and risky experiment in how far accumulation by dispossession can go, how much expropriation can be endured, how far the state can be subordinated to the market. It is a global narrative, but the story is a few episodes ahead here.

Greece is the crucible.1 It is a caldron where concentrated forces are colliding in a process that will bring forth either a reconfiguration of capitalism or the dawn of its demise.

Salaries, pensions, public services are falling, while prices and taxes are rising. Massive asset stripping is underway. Water, power, ports, islands, public buildings are for sale. Unemployment, emigration and evictions have brought a sense of a society unraveling. Homeless people wander the streets and scavenge for food in bins or beg it from the plates of those eating in tavernas. If they are immigrants, they are terrorised. Those looking into a horizon without hope either drift into desolation or perform the ultimate decisive act of suicide. Some have done so in private spaces, while others have chosen public places to underline the political nature of their fate, as they jump from heights, set themselves on fire or shoot themselves. In April 2012, Dimitris Christoulas, a retired pharmacist, who felt he could no longer live a dignified life after his pension had been slashed, shot himself in front of parliament. His last words were: “I am not committing suicide. They are killing me.” He urged younger people to fight.

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Excerpt of Naseer Memon oped published in Sindhi Daily Kawish on the issue of controversail local govt. law

Creation of Metropolitan Corporations

· Government will create Divisional Head Quarter of Karachi, Hyderabad , Sukkur, Larkano and Mirpurkhas as Metropolitan Corporations But Karachi Metropolitan will be consist of five districts [Note: only Karachi is different from all other Metropolitan all other metro will be consists of only one district while Karachi five]

According to 1998 census MQM has only majority in two districts out of five. If Karachi Metro consists of five District Councils then MQM can have control on only two district councils and they cannot even win mayor ship of Karachi Metro! So MQM knowingly using this Ordinance created Karachi Metro based on five districts instead of 18 towns.

· Union Council boundaries with in the Metro area cannot stretch into any Talku or town

Please note that this doesn’t apply to Town boundaries, there are 5 districts and 18 towns are in Karachi. 18 towns were created in dictator Gen. Musharaf period gerrymandering so that MQM elect their Mayor. It was not possible before since out five districts MQM can only elect two districts only.

This also shows that Karachi is different from other Metro areas.

· Through this ordinance Mayor and Chairman have authority to remove encroachment and maintain peace using Criminal Procedure Code 109, 133, 143, 144 and 145 under the Police act of 1861 and under section 30A-34B. Also they have section 144 under their authority.

Using this authority MQM Bulldoze any Sindhi area, do not allow any political rally and activity, remove any flood relief camps etc.

· Using their financial resources councils have authority to create any new department

Obviously only Karachi and Hyderabad has revenue to create any new department. We already had seen how MQM created city police by recruiting its entire party worker. Rest assured how will these departments server the city.

· Using this ordinance Deputy Commissioner office becomes irrelevant and all the powers are transferred to Chief Officer, who reports to Metro Government. Only revenue matters left to DC office but Karachi will be different again.

Now you can imagine how MQM will utilize Chief Officer Office.

· Financial grant of Metro based on its financial needs, revenue potential and revenue generation

In other words since Karachi and Hyderabad generate most the revenue hence they need more money and rest of Sindh will go to hell. There is no parity for poverty which considers in federal divisible pool.

· Using this Ordinance there are many departments moved to Metro area but most consequential are primary education and fisheries

If Karachi metro can regulate primary education it means the small number of Sindhi medium school running will be closed and there will be no new sindhi medium school will open. Also fisheries department transferred to Karachi Metro mean they will regulate all the harbors where majority of Balochs and Sindhi currently works. They will also not allow any new fishermen housing society in future.

· Military dictator Gen. Musharaf police Ordinance only reactivated in Karachi only, rest of Sindh will still in 1861 act

Courtesy: Sindhi daily Kawish, 05 October, 2012

Via – World Sindh Congress (WSC) facebook wall.

The Costs of Capitalism’s Crisis: Who Will Pay?

Economics Professor Richard Wolff details the problems of capitalism and urges our recognizing its obsolescence and replacing it with institutions that truly serve the people.

Talk at Church of All Souls in New York City, January 24, 2012. Camera, audio: Joe Friendly.

Read more » YouTube

Senator Faisal Raza Abidi demands Chief Justice’s resignation

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By Sidrah Moiz Khan

Abidi held Justice Chaudhry responsible for the alleged financial impropriety done by his son, Dr Arsalan Iftikhar

While hurling fiery allegations at Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Senator Faisal Raza Abidi on Sunday demanded a resignation from him and other judges who were reinstated under the Provisional Constitutional Order (PCO).

During a press conference in Islamabad, Abidi held Justice Chaudhry responsible for the alleged financial impropriety done by his son, Dr Arsalan Iftikhar.

The senator said that if the chief justice does not tender a resignation, then he will “force him out from the same way he had been restored as a judge.”

“He [Justice Chaudhry] says that he did not have any idea where his son got all that money from…I ask, when the case emerged, did you ask him where he got Rs900 million from?”

The senator produced bank account statements of Dr Arsalan and said that the person who used to “work under somebody else” now owns billions of rupees. He also showed that the billing address mentioned was that of the Chief Justice House in Islamabad.

“You [Justice Chaudhry] are to be blamed for this. This happened right in front of you. You cannot pretend to not know anything. Who gave Dr Arsalan the right to use government’s property for running his own businesses? Could he not rent out an office in some other area?

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Investigators says senior Mossad official be charged with fraud

Israeli police investigators have recommended an indictment should be issued against a senior Mossad official for crimes involving financial misconduct.

The investigators recommended Israel’s top prosecutor two months ago to charge the official, who is said to be a department head in the spy agency.

The media were, however, prevented from reporting on the story until the gag was removed on Sunday, while the nature of the official’s irregularities remains unclear.

The official, who has been forced to take a leave of absence, has reportedly denied any wrongdoing. But sources said he would likely not be reinstated following the investigation findings and will have to retire.

The accused is closely affiliated with Mossad chief Tamir Pardo, who appointed him to his senior position last year.

“The investigation deals with events that allegedly took place between 2009 and the middle of 2011,” read statement issued by the prime minister’s office.

Read more » Press Tv

http://www.presstv.ir/detail/253704.html

Via – Twitter

Global super-rich elite has hidden an extraordinary $21 trillion of wealth offshore

£13tn: hoard hidden from taxman by global elite

• Study estimates staggering size of offshore economy

• Private banks help wealthiest to move cash into havens

A global super-rich elite has exploited gaps in cross-border tax rules to hide an extraordinary £13 trillion ($21tn) of wealth offshore – as much as the American and Japanese GDPs put together – according to research commissioned by the campaign group Tax Justice Network. ….

Read more » guardian.co.uk

Via – Twitter

Chief Justice Supreme Court of Pakistan in controversy, country in turmoil

Tycoon, former envoy at centre of new Pakistan turmoil

By Qasim Nauman

ISLAMABAD – (Reuters) – A Pakistani real estate tycoon on Tuesday accused the chief justice of turning a blind eye to his son’s alleged corrupt financial practices, in a scandal that could damage one of the few public figures willing to take on the powerful military.

Malik Riaz, who fashions himself as a billionaire philanthropist, said he had given almost $3.6 million in bribes to Arsalan Iftikhar, son of Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry.

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Pakistan is defaulting on sovereign debt

Power sector dues: Govt defaults on sovereign guarantees

By Shahbaz Rana

ISLAMABAD: Failure to honour its financial commitments to Independent Power Producers (IPP) has led to the first-ever sovereign default by the government in Pakistan’s history.

The default on sovereign guarantees – assurances the government provides to foreign investors – may not only unnerve the financial markets, but also downgrade the government’s creditworthiness, making it more expensive to borrow money.

“Today, the government of Pakistan has committed a sovereign default for the first time in the history of the country”, announced the IPPs Advisory Committee here on Tuesday.

“The government has defaulted on payments of roughly Rs45 billion to nine IPPs that generate 1,700 megawatts of electricity”, said Abdullah Yusuf, Chairman IPP Advisory Committee while talking to The Express Tribune. These nine IPPs started operations in 2004 and their total receivables amount to almost Rs232 billion.

Taking legal course

The IPPs gave a 30-day payment notice to the power purchaser, the Central Power Purchasing Agency (CPPA), followed by a 10-day notice to the government. Neither the CPPA nor the government cleared the overdue amounts, said the advisory committee.

The IPPs have exhausted all avenues available and the notice served to the government expired on Tuesday, the committee said.

After the default, the IPPs have issued a legal notice to the government for recovery by Thursday, May 10th, 2012 failing which the IPPs will follow a legal course.

Yusuf said the IPPs will go to the Pakistani courts.

“The default is a very serious matter and carries negative implications for the country”, Yusuf added. ….

Read more » The Express Tribune

The Future of History – By Francis Fukuyama

Can Liberal Democracy Survive the Decline of the Middle Class?

Stagnating wages and growing inequality will soon threaten the stability of con­temporary liberal democracies and dethrone democratic ideology as it is now understood. What is needed is a new populist ideology that offers a realistic path to healthy middle-class societies and robust democracies.

Something strange is going on in the world today. The global financial crisis that began in 2008 and the ongoing crisis of the euro are both products of the model of lightly regulated financial capitalism that emerged over the past three decades. Yet despite widespread anger at Wall Street bailouts, there has been no great upsurge of left-wing American populism in response. It is conceivable that the Occupy Wall Street movement will gain traction, but the most dynamic recent populist movement to date has been the right-wing Tea Party, whose main target is the regulatory state that seeks to protect ordinary people from financial speculators. Something similar is true in Europe as well, where the left is anemic and right-wing populist parties are on the move.

There are several reasons for this lack of left-wing mobilization, but chief among them is a failure in the realm of ideas. For the past generation, the ideological high ground on economic issues has been held by a libertarian right. The left has not been able to make a plausible case for an agenda other than a return to an unaffordable form of old-fashioned social democracy. This absence of a plausible progressive counter­narrative is unhealthy, because competition is good for intellectual ­debate just as it is for economic activity. And serious intellectual debate is urgently needed, since the current form of globalized capitalism is eroding the middle-class social base on which liberal democracy rests.

THE DEMOCRATIC WAVE

Social forces and conditions do not simply “determine” ideologies, as Karl Marx once maintained, but ideas do not become powerful unless they speak to the concerns of large numbers of ordinary people. Liberal democracy is the default ideology around much of the world today in part because it responds to and is facilitated by certain socioeconomic structures. Changes in those structures may have ideological consequences, just as ideological changes may have socioeconomic consequences

Read more »Foreign Affairs

http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/136782/francis-fukuyama/the-future-of-history

Taliban are generating funds through bank robberies, protection rackets and kidnappings – BBC

Taliban’s brisk trade of kidnapping in Karachi

In Pakistan’s largest city, Karachi, police say the Taliban are generating funds through bank robberies, protection rackets and kidnappings.

Abductions are particularly lucrative, with ransom demands sometimes running to millions of dollars. The BBC’s Orla Guerin reports on how the militants are making inroads in Pakistan’s financial capital.

When the doctor had a gun put to his head by a man on motorbike in the evening traffic last month, he thought it was a robbery. He readily handed over his mobile phone and his wallet.

But when he was forced from his car, he realised that he was the prize. A routine journey to his clinic ended with imprisonment in a Taliban hideout.

“They blindfolded me and tied my hands behind my back. I was kept in a small space, with a low roof, but they gave me food and a pillow to rest on,” said the softly spoken father of four. For security reasons, we are not revealing his identity. ….

Read more » BBC

Americans do it due to stress, Muslims due to hate!

Discussing the Motives of the Afghan Shooter

by Glenn Greenwald

Here’s a summary of the Western media discussion of what motivated U.S. Staff Sgt. Robert Bales to allegedly kill 16 Afghans, including 9 children: he was drunk, he was experiencing financial stress, he was passed over for a promotion, he had a traumatic brain injury, he had marital problems, he suffered from the stresses of four tours of duty, he “saw his buddy’s leg blown off the day before the massacre,” etc.

Here’s a summary of the Western media discussion of what motivates Muslims to kill Americans: they are primitive, fanatically religious, hateful Terrorists.

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Chinese bank pulls out of Pakistan-Iran pipeline project

Industrial and Commercial Bank of China won’t help finance the natural gas pipeline to Pakistan, apparently because of U.S. sanctions on Iran.

By Paul Richter and Alex Rodriguez, Los Angeles Times

Reporting from Washington and Islamabad, Pakistan—

China’s largest bank has backed out of a deal to finance a proposed Iran-to-Pakistan gas pipeline that is opposed by the United States, a potential sign of the lengthening reach of U.S. economic sanctions on Iran.

Pakistani officials confirmed Wednesday that Industrial and Commercial Bank of China had withdrawn from plans to head a consortium that would finance the $1.6-billion Pakistani portion of the cross-border pipeline, apparently over concern that the bank could be excluded from the U.S. economy.

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VICTIMIZATION OF SASSO OFFICERS

Would the Chief Secretary and the Chief Minister of Sindh redress the financial problems of Sindh Government retired Sasso officers as they are not being paid their monthly pensions in time. When approached the concerned Section officer of Sindh Agriculture department, he responded rudely that State Bank of Pakistan does not release them the funds and if any further inquiry or reason is asked, he usually stop talking and putting the receiver of the phone to avoid any further inquiry. Secondly, the annual increment as allowed by the Government to their other serving and retired employees, has still not allowed Sasso officers such annual increments. We shall be highly grateful if our financial problems are solved being the retired and senior citizens of Sindh Pakistan.

Ghulam Hussain Qureshi, Retired officer of Sasso, Old Halla – Sindh

Received via email – drdhakansindheconomist@hotmail.com

Why the U.S. is Not Regulating Wall Street

The “Other Reason” Why the U.S. is Not Regulating Wall Street

Financial Giants Overshadow Governments

by Washington’s Blog

Sure, American politicians have been bought and paid for by the Wall Street giants. See this, this and this.

And everyone knows that the White House and Congress – while talking about cracking down on Wall Street with strict regulation – have actually watered down some of the most important protections that were in place. ….

Read more » Global Research

Desis stay away from Occupy Wall Street

by Dr. Qaisar Abbas

Excerpt;

While the American silent majority has spoken lodging its protest throughout America, the so-called model minority of Desis seems to be in a state of perpetual silence. The affluent are part of a capitalist system which they cannot afford to oppose anyway. On the other hand, the disadvantaged communities of the diaspora are so isolated from the American society; they do not feel to be part of a grassroots movement …

…. The grassroots agitation against the exploitative capitalist system is challenging the powerful businessmen, financial institutions and politicians in the United States. The recent issue of the progressive journal “The Nation” reports the deplorable economic conditions in the United States in these figures:

  • Twenty five million Americans are unemployed who are desperately looking for jobs
  • While corporate CEOs are paid handsomely, wages of 70% Americans without college education are declining
  • One in 6 American lives below the poverty line
  • One in four homes, considered to be the largest asset for most Americans, is at the verge of foreclosure and eviction by banks for nonpayment of mortgage loans
  • Fifty million people are unable to afford health insurance as healthcare costs are soaring
  • The economy works well for the rich 1% who control 40% of the wealth
  • Multinationals have conveniently transferred domestic jobs in other countries to reduce production costs
  • The rising cost of education is becoming unbearable for youth and they are burdened with a record high education loans ….

Read more » ViewPoint

Thousands of protesters fill New York Times Square

- Thousands of protesters fill NYC’s Times Square

by Associated Press

NEW YORK — Thousands of demonstrators protesting corporate greed filled Times Square on Saturday night, mixing with gawkers, Broadway showgoers, tourists and police to create a chaotic scene in the midst of Manhattan.

“Banks got bailed out, we got sold out!” protesters chanted from within police barricades. Police, some in riot gear and mounted on horses, tried to push them out of the square and onto the sidewalks in an attempt to funnel the crowds away. ….

Read more » The Wall Street Journal

OWS spreads all over

- Occupy protests spread around the world; 70 injured in Rome

By Faith Karimi and Joe Sterling, CNN

(CNN) — Thousands of people across the world railed against corporate power, grinding poverty and government cuts Saturday as the Occupy Wall Street movement spread to the streets of Europe, Asia and Australia — and took a particularly violent turn in Rome.

Firefighters battled a blaze at an Interior Ministry building near Porta San Giovanni in Rome, the main gathering site of the Italian protesters taking part in the Occupy movement Saturday, said eyewitnesses who reported seeing a Molotov cocktail thrown near the building.

A spokesman for Mayor Gianni Alemanno, who condemned the violence, confirmed 70 people were injured, 40 of them police officers. No arrest numbers were available late Saturday. ….

Read more » CNN

Dangerous Minds: Noam Chomsky on the Wall Street protests

Noam Chomsky sends a “strong message of support” to the organizers of the Occupy Wall Streetprotests:

“Anyone with eyes open knows that the gangsterism of Wall Street — financial institutions generally — has caused severe damage to the people of the United States (and the world). And should also know that it has been doing so increasingly for over 30 years, as their power in the economy has radically increased, and with it their political power. That has set in motion a vicious cycle that has concentrated immense wealth, and with it political power, in a tiny sector of the population, a fraction of 1%, while the rest increasingly become what is sometimes called “a precariat” — seeking to survive in a precarious existence. They also carry out these ugly activities with almost complete impunity — not only too big to fail, but also “too big to jail.”

The courageous and honorable protests underway in Wall Street should serve to bring this calamity to public attention, and to lead to dedicated efforts to overcome it and set the society on a more healthy course.” …

Read more » Dangerous Minds

Occupy Wall Street rediscovers the radical imagination

- The young people protesting in Wall Street and beyond reject this vain economic order. They have come to reclaim the future

• Police tactics attacked as officers pepper-spray women
• Occupy Wall Street: the protesters speak

by

Why are people occupying Wall Street? Why has the occupation – despite the latest police crackdown – sent out sparks across America, within days, inspiring hundreds of people to send pizzas, money, equipment and, now, to start their own movements called OccupyChicago, OccupyFlorida, in OccupyDenver or OccupyLA?

There are obvious reasons. We are watching the beginnings of the defiant self-assertion of a new generation of Americans, a generation who are looking forward to finishing their education with no jobs, no future, but still saddled with enormous and unforgivable debt. Most, I found, were of working-class or otherwise modest backgrounds, kids who did exactly what they were told they should: studied, got into college, and are now not just being punished for it, but humiliated – faced with a life of being treated as deadbeats, moral reprobates.

Is it really surprising they would like to have a word with the financial magnates who stole their future?

Just as in Europe, we are seeing the results of colossal social failure. The occupiers are the very sort of people, brimming with ideas, whose energies a healthy society would be marshaling to improve life for everyone. Instead, they are using it to envision ways to bring the whole system down. ….

Read more → guardian.co.uk

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via → guardian news blogYouTube

We demand representatives in Sindh assembly and federal assembly of Pakistan to break their criminal silence and take all measures necessary in addressing this clear and present danger before a greater tragedy hit ill-fated and already weak Pakistan.

Press release: Sindhi Association of North America (SANA) is extremely concerned about deteriorating law and order situation in Sindh. We are also alarmed at recent public announcement made by ex-home minister Dr Zulfiqar Mirza.

The allegations made by ex-interior minister are very serious indeed and caused great discomfort among people of Sindh and Pakistan. There are two main issues:

1) MQM’s direct involvement in violent activities that include target killings, systematic destruction of public and private property, ethnic cleansing, amassing illegal arms and ammunition, persistent disruption of peace and economic activity of financial and industrial center of Pakistan that has resulted in billions of Rupees of loses.

Even though Chief Justice Supreme court of Pakistan has taken suo-moto action and asked government and other parties to present facts and figures before the court, we believe this is a step in right direction. However keeping in view the serious nature of crimes we demand a complete judicial enquiry to be headed by highly respected retired judge of supreme court of Pakistan.

We also demand to put MQM on the list of banned and terrorist organizations if the charges leveled against them are proved to be right.

2) Governing province of Sindh through federal interior minister and governor Sindh who belongs to same organization that is believed to be involved in crimes against humanity. This is against the democratic core values and aspirations of millions people of Sindh. We believe federal government is grossly undermining government and parliament of Sindh, therefore treating people of Sindh at sub-par level when compared to others provinces of Pakistan i.e., Punjab, Khyber Pakhtoonkhuwa and Baluchistan, where respective Chief ministers and provincial parliaments are working independently and rightly so. Therefore we demand President and Prime Minister of Pakistan to give due respect to people of Sindh and leave the governance to Chief Minister and parliament of Sindh.

We also demand representatives in Sindh assembly and national assembly of Pakistan to break their criminal silence and take all measures necessary in addressing this clear and present danger before a greater tragedy hit ill-fated and already weak Pakistan.

We believe upholding rule of law is a fundamental part of democratic process, failure to bring to justice the violators will only strengthen extremism and further weaken already fragile democracy in Pakistan.

To read more details in Sindhi → http://www.awamiawaz.com/2011/September/4th/news/20.htm

Properties of Altaf Hussain in UK – by Roger Harding for The Asian Journal

- For years the founder of leader of Pakistan’s Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) has spoken about financial misappropriation and irregularities of the country’s feudal and industrial rulers through alleged or real misuse of power.

But British Land Registry records now revealed that Altaf Hussain, the charismatic middle class leader of Pakistan’s third largest political party could not curb the temptation of acquiring a series of expensive and middle class properties in the British capital – one of the most expensive cities in the world.

Read more → WICHAAR.COM → PKPOLITICS

Is Democracy as We Know It on Its Way Out?

By Frank Viviano

A decade ago, only paranoid alarmists would have posed that question.

 Today, it may be an expression of cold, brutal realism.

Is Western democracy coming apart at the seams? A decade ago, only paranoid alarmists would have posed that question.

 Today, it may be an expression of cold, brutal realism.

On both sides of the Atlantic — from the fires that raged in large stretches of London, to the political chicanery that brought the U.S. economy to its knees in early August — the institutional framework that came to define modern democracy in the 19th century is in deep trouble.

The principal organs of financial oversight and management are in tatters. Ferociously xenophobic political movements, an entire constellation of Tea Parties, now play important roles in nearly every European nation, as well as the United States.

Faith in elected leaders and legislatures, the central and defining institutions of democracy, has never been lower.

According to the Pew Research Center, the proportion of the U.S. public expressing trust in the federal government has fallen from just under 80 per cent in the late 1960s to barely 20 per cent today. 

….

Read more → AlterNet

Pakistani intelligence secretly funneled at least $4 million to a Washington lobby group whose leaders improperly lobbied U.S. officials over Kashmir

Pakistan funded Washington lobby group, U.S. says

Washington (CNN) — Pakistani intelligence secretly funneled at least $4 million to a Washington front group whose leaders improperly lobbied U.S. officials over the disputed territory of Kashmir, federal agents alleged Tuesday.

A Pakistani-American man who served as director of the Kashmiri American Council is in federal custody, while a second man accused of steering money to the organization is believed to be in Pakistan, the Justice Department said. The KAC director, Syed Ghulam Nabi Fai, “acted at the direction and with the financial support of the government of Pakistan for more than 20 years,” an FBI arrest affidavit states.

One U.S. congressman quickly gave $4,000 donated by the two men charged in the case to charity, while another said he would consider a similar move if the source of the money was in question.

Fai and his co-defendant, Zaheer Ahmad, have been charged with conspiring to violate the Foreign Agents Registration Act, which requires lobbyists acting on behalf of another nation to register with the U.S. government. The charge carries a possible prison term of up to five years. ….

Read more → CNN

Triple explosions shake India’s financial hub Mumbai

Mumbai: Explosions shake India’s financial hub

The BBC’s Rajini Vaidyanathan says the explosions happened in the middle of rush hour. Three near-simultaneous explosions have shaken India’s commercial capital Mumbai (Bombay), police say. Twenty-one people were killed and 113 injured, said Maharashtra state’s Chief Minister, Prithviraj Chavan. He called the explosions, during Mumbai’s busy evening rush-hour, “a co-ordinated attack by terrorists”. One explosion was reported in the Zaveri Bazaar, another in the Opera House business district and a third in Dadar district in the city centre. …

Read more → BBC

The PPP in focus – by Shahab Usto

- The Zardari PPP has shown less commitment to tackling the chronic economic malaise: the deepening energy crisis, double-digit inflation, abysmally low investment and rising unemployment. Its social agenda — roti, kapra, makan (bread, clothing, shelter) — stands grounded

Last week, I analysed the PML-N’s politics using the metaphors of ‘dots of hope’ and ‘morbid haze’ to signify hope and despondency respectively. Today, I will focus on the PPP’s politics using the same metaphors, though building a seamless narrative of the PPP is rather unrealistic because unlike the Sharifs-run PML-N, the existing PPP has much metamorphosed under President Zardari’s no-holds-barred style of politics.

First, the dots of hope. Undoubtedly the PPP’s ultimate plume has been its secular and liberal politics. Ironically though, its founder, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, had expediently excommunicated a community of citizens, the Ahmedis, from Islam, and his political heir, Benazir Bhutto, also propped up and later legitimised the Taliban government in Afghanistan. But both were unquestionably wedded to secular and liberal values and tragically both fell victim to the very obscurantist and authoritarian forces that wanted to turn this republic into an absolutist Islamic emirate and a launching pad for the violent, Salafi version of jihad.

Indeed, from the dubious Pakistan National Alliance, which led to the fall of the elder Bhutto’s government in 1977, to the ongoing struggle between a liberal democratic Pakistan and a theocratic Pakistan, the PPP has been a bulwark of resistance to the conservative and authoritarian duo. The Zardari PPP has kept alive the liberal ethos of the party, though his detractors would claim that “he has no other option” given the US and establishment’s fight against Islamist terrorism, otherwise he would have also reneged on liberalism in the name of ‘reconciliation’.

Second, under the PPP-led government, the country has seen by far the most far-reaching constitutional reforms since the 1970s. As a result, the prime minister has become the pivot of executive power, parliament has regained its sovereignty, the judiciary is also reclaiming, though in fits and starts, its lost institutional moorings, and, more importantly, the administrative, legislative and financial powers have been devolved to the provinces, abolishing the concurrent list.

True, a real and effective constitutional democracy is still a far cry. Yet, once the initial rounds of institutional turf wars are over, the political system would find a lasting stability vis-à-vis the powerful institution, foreign powers and non-state actors. The telltale signs are already there. The executive-judiciary axes are beginning to conjoin, with occasional bouts of disruption; the defence ‘department’ is for the first time reeling from the combined judicial-public-media-political pressure due to its repeated security failures, persecution of media persons, and meddling in political and foreign policy issues.

Resultantly, the Foreign Office is coming out of the backwaters to which it had been pushed by the Inter-Services Public Relations, the media wing of the armed forces. The US-led western alliance, the old guardian of our military establishment, is also betting on a democratic Pakistan, which it believes is the only thing that can tame the fury of religious schism and bigotry, here and abroad. Amusingly, the US continues to hedge on the PPP government despite the latter’s ‘image problem’ and inability to protect it from the mounting public and institutional pressures for US unilateralism and the unbridled use of drones in FATA.

Moreover, for all the ills and fissiparous tendencies, the ongoing democratic openness has brought home a universal realisation that no strategic agendas or narrow tactical moves can achieve efficacy or success without public support. It is this realisation that makes both the US and the establishment wary of the rising power of democratic institutions, media and public opinion. As a result, the PPP government has entrenched its position vis-à-vis the US and the military establishment, knowing full well that both need it in their respective interests.

Finally, putting aside the ideological imperatives, the PPP has ended ‘tribal politics’, initially mending fences with the PML-N, and now with the Chuadhries of Gujarat, its ‘sworn enemies’. This is realpolitik at its best. This alliance has not only drastically transformed the electoral and political landscape of central Punjab, the PML-N’s stronghold, it has also enabled the PPP to exploit the three ongoing spates: the US-GHQ, the PML-N-GHQ and the media-GHQ. Also, it is no more losing sleep over being bitten by its old bed bug, the MQM.

And now the morbid haze caused by the PPP’s politics. The PPP may have come out of troubled waters, but the country remains mired in a range of existential threats. Its policy and performance failures are many but only the glaring ones are discussed. ….

Read more → Daily Times

Looks like noose is being tighten around the establishment

US brands Haqqani network commander as terrorist

By Arun Kumar, IANS

Washington, May 11 (IANS) In a crackdown on terrorists operating in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the US has designated the commander of a Pakistan-based insurgent group as a terrorist and banned Americans from doing business with him.

The State and Treasury departments said Wednesday that they had added Badruddin Haqqani to their list of ‘specially designated global terrorists’, a step that will freeze any assets he may have in US jurisdictions.

Badruddin Haqqani is the senior military commander of the Haqqani group and a son of the group’s founder, Jalaluddin Haqqani, who had previously been designated as a terrorist by the US.

The Taliban-affiliated group operates from North Waziristan, a tribal area in Pakistan, and conducts attacks on US troops in Afghanistan, the State Department said.

The step will help stem the flow of financial assistance to a dangerous individual, it said.

The United Nations has also added Badruddin Haqqani to its list of Al Qaeda and Taliban terrorists, a step that requires all UN member states to implement an assets freeze, a travel ban, and an arms embargo against him.

Badruddin Haqqani took responsibility in November 2008 for the kidnapping of New York Times reporter David Rohde. The reporter escaped in June 2009.

Courtesy: Yahoo News

Pakistan: Gross Financial Irregularity in Punjab

- Gross Financial Irregularity in Punjab: Funds Allocated for Clean Drinking Water Project Diverted to “Sasti Roti” Project

Punjab Government Suggests Closure of the Foreign Funded Program

By: Aijaz Ahmed

Corruption and financial irregularities don’t seem to be limited to an individual or a single political party in Pakistan. One very often hears about the fabled corruption of the president of Pakistan and co-chairperson of PPP and also about the gross irregularities, mismanagement and corruption in the federal government. The accusers among others include the PML-N leaders who claim running a very clean government in the Punjab, the largest province in Pakistan. But as this report suggests their hands are not as clean either. They have engaged in financial irregularities and also seem to be playing gimmicks for short-term political gains at the cost of the welfare of the common men.

The much-hyped clean government of the iron man # 2, Mian Shahbaz Sharif has been involved in certain gross financial irregularities, ….

Read more : Indus Herald

Pakistan, India & China: A tale of triplets

COMMENT: A tale of triplets — by Shahab Usto

Pakistan’s utmost priority should be to follow the Chinese model: shun external engagements and turn inwards to focus only on economic, social and human development. Remember, we have missed the bus twice

Independent Pakistan, India and China were born at almost the same time, inherited the same decrepit state structures, and shared the same trajectory of international wars and civil strife. But they do not share the same present. China is the fastest growing economy. India is catching up fast with it. But Pakistan lags far behind both.

As it is, China (closely followed by India) is all set to dominate the Asia-Pacific region, if not the world. The US-led West is jittery. Stuck in a financial crisis, the West has lost faith in its economic philosophy based on unregulated markets. “The teachers are in trouble,” as one Chinese minister put it, referring to the ideologues of the failing Anglo-Saxon corporate and financial models. …

Read more : Daily Times