President Zardari suddenly leaves Pakistan – is he on the way out?

By Josh Rogin

Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari left Pakistan suddenly on Tuesday, complaining of heart pains, and is now in Dubai. His planned testimony before a joint session of Pakistan’s parliament on the Memogate scandal is now postponed indefinitely.

On Dec. 4, Zardari announced that he would address Pakistan’s parliament about the Memogate issue, in which his former ambassador to Washington Husain Haqqani stands accused of orchestrating a scheme to take power away from Pakistan’s senior military and intelligence leadership and asking for U.S. help in preventing a military coup. Haqqani has denied that he wrote the memo at the heart of the scheme, which also asked for U.S. support for the Zardari government and promised to realign Pakistani foreign policy to match U.S. interests.

Continue reading President Zardari suddenly leaves Pakistan – is he on the way out?

The virus of Taliban has spread in Pakistan to the extent that even the federal minster for interior Rehman Malik pays homage to them!

Malik thanks Taliban for ensuring peaceful Ashura

Excerpt;

…. Speaking to the media in Islamabad, he said he was thankful to everyone, including the Taliban, for their cooperation in ensuring peaceful Ashura processions throughout the country during the 9th and 10th of Muharram. ….

…. Answering a question, he said that former ambassador to the US Hussain Haqqani’s name had already been put on the Exit Control List (ECL) as per the orders from Supreme Court.

Read more » DAWN.COM

More details » BBC urdu

1st December night was a horrific night for President Zardari, he was certain that he would get arrested!

To read the story in urdu, CLICK HERE.

Courtesy» AHWAAL.COM via » Siasat.pk

Source » http://ahwaal.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2302%3A2011-12-06-01-38-02&catid=31%3A2011-08-25-09-52-49&Itemid=35&lang=ur#.Tt50zWu8Yek.facebook

 

‘Pakistani army is installing a dictatorship, without a coup’: Bruce Riedel

According to Bruce Riedel, “the Pakistani army is gradually installing a new military dictatorship, without even needing to resort to a coup”. Mr. Bruce Riedel says that “The new military dictatorship that is emerging in Pakistan will be very different from its predecessors.” He added “The facade of civilian government is likely to continue to go on… with very little real power. The media will continue to be very active and alive, except when they criticize the military.” ….

Read more » RUPEE NEWS

Pakistan is near to declare bankruptcy

Rs100 crore a day

By Dr Farrukh Saleem

Pakistan’s Public Sector Enterprises (PSEs) are falling like nine pins. The Pakistan Railways, the Pakistan International Airlines, the Pakistan Steel Mills, the Pakistan Electric Power Company (Pepco), the Pakistan Agricultural Storage and Services Corporation (Passco) and the Utility Stores Corporation (USC) collectively end up loosing Rs360 billion a year – Rs100 crore a day every day of the year. That’s a hundred crore the government does not have – so it begs, borrows, steals and prints.

Currently, Nadeem Khan Yousufzai, MD PIA, is managing to lose Rs7 crore a day every day of the year. Haji Ghulam Ahmad Bilour, Federal Minister of Railways, is managing to lose Rs5 crore a day every day of the year. PIA’s half yearly report titled “Flying towards a prosperous future” reports that liabilities went up from Rs62 billion in 2005 to Rs200 billion in 2009. PIA’s annual report titled “We stand for national values” reports that net losses at the PIA have gone up from Rs4.4 billion in 2005 to Rs35 billion in 2008. At the Pakistan Railways, the overdraft now floats around a hefty Rs48 billion.

In mid-2009, the Pepco’s circular debt had reached a colossal Rs300 billion and that’s when the Government of Pakistan gave birth to another illegitimate dragon – Power Holding Company. The new dragon took over all of the Pepco’s sins by borrowing heavily from the banking sector but within two years of that take-over the Pepco committed 300 billion additional sins. And now the banks have not much left to lend.

The power sector debt – Rs485 billion and rising fast – just by itself has the potential of landing Pakistan’s entire banking sector into the gutter. Loosing Rs100 crore a day every day of the year will land the government into a ditch deeper than the government has ever been in.

We desperately need a Public Sector Turnaround Strategy (PSTS) without which our very survival as an effective nation-state is at stake. Our survival is at stake and yet our decision-makers are all about political rallies. I was once told that politics is the second oldest profession but the way our politicians are practicing politics it bears a close resemblance to the first. ….

Read more » The News

Pakistan recalls troops from border posts

By Rob Crilly, Islamabad and Ben Farmer in Kabul

Islamabad has already closed its borders to Nato supply convoys in protest and withdrawn from a Bonn conference to discuss the future of Afghanistan.

A US investigation into the incident is due to report on December 23.

Officials in Pakistan say an American major passed incorrect coordinates to his Pakistani counterpart for the air strike, an account which is not being disputed by American officers.

Major General Athar Abbas, Pakistan’s military spokesman, said the decision to recall officers from the joint border posts was not intended as a protest. …

Read more » telegraph.co.uk

Sen. John McCain and Graham warn Pakistan about killing US troops

STATEMENT BY SENATORS McCAIN AND GRAHAM ON PAKISTAN

December 5, 2011 – Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) today released the following statement on Pakistan:

“We fully appreciate the importance of U.S. relations with Pakistan, which we believe can serve U.S. national security interests. The cross-border air action that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers was unfortunate and unintentional, and we are confident that the investigation being conducted by NATO and the U.S. military will clarify the circumstances of this terrible tragedy. We join the President and our colleagues in once again expressing our deep condolences to those who lost loved ones.

The Pakistani government’s response to these events, however, has been deeply troubling and has added to the continued deterioration of our relationship. In recent days, the government has prevented NATO supplies from entering Afghanistan through Pakistan. It has ordered U.S. intelligence officers to leave the country and disrupted their work on important national security matters. And it has boycotted an international conference in Bonn, Germany that supports peace in Afghanistan.

“If these actions were not concerning enough, there were reports just this morning that the Pakistani government has allegedly decided to suspend all bilateral agreements related to counterterrorism, as part of a broader review of Pakistan’s political, diplomatic, and military relations with the United States. Such steps by the Pakistani government would mark a new low for our relationship.

“The United States has been incredibly patient with Pakistan. And we have been so despite certain undeniable and deeply disturbing facts. Most importantly, Pakistani army and intelligence officials continue to support the Haqqani Network and other terrorist groups in Pakistan that are killing U.S. troops in Afghanistan, and the vast majority of the material used to make improvised explosive devices used against U.S. forces in Afghanistan originates from two fertilizer factories inside Pakistan.

“The time has come for the United States to fully review its relations with Pakistan. We must assess the nature and levels of our support for Pakistan. In particular, all options regarding U.S. security and economic assistance to Pakistan must be on the table, including substantial reductions and stricter standards for performance. Most of all, U.S. policy toward Pakistan must proceed from the realistic understanding that certain actions of Pakistan’s military are contributing to the death and injury of our men and women in the military and jeopardizing our national security interests.

“In light of what could be an entirely new relationship with Pakistan, the United States and our allies must develop contingency plans to ensure the continued logistical support necessary for our military operations in Afghanistan.”

Courtesy » http://mccain.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=PressOffice.PressReleases&ContentRecord_id=10974d5c-9375-faca-6f92-4026304d9334

‘Sindhi culture is on a ventilator’

By Mohammed Wajihuddin

Satyanand is a young patriot who just cannot tolerate the British Raj any longer. Responding to the Mahatma’s call for satyagraha, he scales up the flagpole at a government office one day and tries to pull down the Union Jack. The young revolutionary faces the wrath of the white cops, and the lathi blows he gets on his head send him into a coma.

The country subsequently gets its freedom at midnight, but, to borrow poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz’s famous description, the dawn, accompanied as it is by the horrors of Partition, is sooty and dark. Like millions on both sides of the Radcliffe line, Satyanand’s family gets uprooted. Still in a coma, he is brought to Mumbai where his wife and son work hard to build life anew. Forty years later, Satyanand gets his senses back. But much water has flowed under the bridge since his family left its beloved “Sindhu desh”. Sindh is now part of Pakistan, and nobody in Satyanand’s neighbourhood speaks Sindhi, his mother tongue. Few among his fellow Sindhis care to know that they trace their roots back to the basin of the mighty ancient Indus river which cradled a great civilization.

This, in sum, is the message of “Haath Na Lagaye” (“Don’t Touch Me”), a Sindhi film released last month, which articulates the collective dilemma of a community which lost more than a geographical area many summers ago. It depicts, albeit in the genre of comedy, the identity crisis Sindhis in India suffer from. Deprived of the patronage of a state, the biggest victim, as the film powerfully hammers in, is the Sindhi language and culture.

“Hindus from Sindh, after losing their land, fought bravely and prospered. But the Sindhi language in India is on a ventilator, gasping for breath,” rues T Manwani, the film’s writer-director. “We want a landless Sindhi state with a budget which will protect our language and culture.” Manwani isn’t alone in his concerns. The one-million-strong Sindhi community in Mumbai and its neighbouring Sindhi hub, Ulhasnagar, are equally pained at the erosion of the Sindhi language, culture and ethos.

“Sindhi medium schools downed shutters a decade ago. The new generation isn’t keen on learning the language,” says Subhadra Anand. As former principal of the RD National College, Anand made the learning of Sindhi mandatory for those students who came through the minority quota. However, she admits, this rule is not followed in many of the 24 educational institutions run by Hyderabad Sindh National Collegiate Board, the umbrella body of Sindhis’ educational initiative in Mumbai.

If few learn Sindhi, fewer speak it. Playwright-poet Anju Makhija, though not fluent in Sindhi herself, is acutely aware of the great cultural loss the community is witnessing. And she doesn’t blame indifferent youngsters alone. “The many moneybags in the community who have bankrolled hospitals and housing colonies must share the blame, as they seldom loosen their purse strings to promote Sindhi culture,” says Makhija, who has translated iconic Sindhi saint-poet Shah Abdul Latif into English with the help of a Sindhi scholar. “Building hospitals and colleges is good and necessary, but these rich Sindhis have done precious little to preserve Sindhi culture.”

Sindhis’ art scene is bleak also because it attracts very few buyers. “Whether you write books, stage plays, make films or cut albums in Sindhi, you are destined to lose money,” says singer Ghanshyam Bhaswani who crooned the evergreen “Itni shakti hamein dena daata…” for “Ankush”. Bhaswani, like many others, also blames the void on the lack of a Sindhi channel in India. “There are three channels in Sindhi in Pakistan, but we don’t have a single one here. How can we expect Sindhi to flourish?” he asks.

There are, however, optimists who believe that Sindhi will survive the tides of time. Baldev Matlani, head of the Sindhi department at Mumbai University, is one such. “Every year, we get 15 to 20 students for the Masters course,” says the academic who has supervised the publication of several tomes, including a history of Sindh, through his department. “Many may not know it but Sindhi is alive and kicking in literature.”

That may be a trifle over-optimistic, say community members. But if not a reality, it’s certainly a fervent wish for the future.

Courtesy » TOI