Singer – Ustad Rashid Khan.
Singer – Ustad Rashid Khan.
Free-Market Medicine: A Personal Account
by Michael Parenti
When I recently went to Alta Bates hospital for surgery, I discovered that legal procedures take precedence over medical ones. I had to sign intimidating statements about financial counseling, indemnity, patient responsibilities, consent to treatment, use of electronic technologies, and the like. ….
Read more » Common Dreams
By Nafisa Hoodbhoy
(Includes ATDT Excerpt on Backdrop for Asghar Khan’s Petition)
ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Monday fixed February 29 to hear the petition filed by Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf (PTI) leader Asghar Khan 16 years ago pertaining to Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) distributing money among politicians.
Meanwhile, the former ISI chief Gen. (Retd) Durrani submitted an affidavit confirming the accusation.
The petition has called upon the apex court to punish the politicians and political groups who have been receiving pots of money from the agency.
Various politicians had demanded the petition to be heard.
Air Marshal (retd) Asghar Khan, in 1996, wrote a letter to then chief justice Nasim Hasan Shah against former army chief Mirza Aslam Baig, former ISI chief Lt-General (retd) Asad Durrani and Younis Habib of Habib and Mehran Banks, relating to the disbursement of public money and its misuse for political purposes.
Aboard the Democracy Train Excerpt (P. 27)
Elections Were the Tip of the Iceberg
As a guest of the interim Prime Minister Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi, I had witnessed how state funds and propaganda were used to defeat Benazir. But I was still an onlooker, without inside knowledge of what had transpired in the inner circles. Then still an inexperienced reporter, I couldn’t guess how the establishment defeated the PPP, which, right or wrong, had the support of the masses.
In 1996, some clues emerged. Retired Air Marshal Asghar Khan filed a case in the Supreme Court, alleging that the powerful secret service wing of the army – the ISI – had rigged the 1990 election. Based on Asghar Khan’s petition, former ISI chief, Lt. Gen. Asad Durrani took the stand in the Supreme Court and provided an affidavit that the army had indeed distributed Pkr 140 million (USD 1.6 million) to anti-PPP candidates, only a few months before the October 1990 election.
The anti-PPP candidates banded in the IJI comprised feudal, Islamic and ethnic parties that resolutely opposed Benazir’s populist rule. Subsequently, we learnt that the care-taker President Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi, who had stayed mum while Chip probed him – had actually taken PKR 5 million (USD 59,000) from the ISI. Meanwhile, Nawaz Sharif – who was ushered in by the military to succeed Benazir as prime minister – was revealed to have received PKR 3.5 million (USD 41,000) from the spy agencies.
Apparently, the army was so scared that Benazir would be elected back into power that their IJI coalition distributed state funds among various interest groups to prevent her return.
As I covered national politics, Asghar Khan talked to me in earnest, as though I was a player rather than a reporter. Then in coalition with the PPP, he told me that Benazir and Nawaz ought to unite to repeal Article 58-2(b). This was the constitutional clause introduced by Gen. Zia ul Haq that allowed presidents like Ghulam Ishaq Khan to dissolve the assembly.
Although, I shared Asghar Khan’s desire for principled politics, it surprised me that he seemed clueless about Benazir’s approach of doing whatever it took to return to power.
Courtesy: Aboard The Democracy Train
Visualizing Violence Against Indian Women
(Via SepiaMutiny Newsfeed): A Malayali civil engineer and former software developer, Shemeer Padinzjharedil, came to a conclusion that many BPs have already done through deduction: India is likely a dangerous place for women relative to the Western world. Inspired to debunk the results of a Thompson-Reuters poll of gender ‘experts’ perception of danger to women, where three of the five worst offenders were south asian countries, Shemeer thought the reported statistics would paint a different picture. Given the survey combined questions about statistics with reporting bias problems (sexual assault, trafficking, non-sexual assault) and factors (cultural and religious) for which one could combine statistics about which I would be more comfortable citing (maternal mortality, female literacy and other health stats), he faced a difficult task. Given that the solid numbers are unambiguous, Shemeer decided against deconstructing this picture and sought, instead, to flesh it out with self-reporting by building a site where anyone can report violence: www.maps4aid.com The site is in it’s infancy but you can already see some trends: centers of population and urbanized areas report the most violence regardless of the category. A second site, blogs4aid, has handy bar graph breaking it out by state. For 2010 you may find a few surprises:
Read more » Brown Pundits
By Kamran Shafi
All of the time, in more ways than one. So, first to our blow-hot, blow-cold prime minister who has executed another dizzying U-turn. This time on his statement that the Sipah Salaar-e-Azam (an honorific bestowed upon the Sipah Salaar by Akram Shiekh, who is also Mansoor Ijaz-of-the-Murky-Memo’s counsel) and the DG ISI had acted improperly in submitting a reply to the SC without the government’s approval.
We are now told that he had said what he said under “a unique situation when there was no clarity”, but that now, “since there is clarity and now we have all met … that (remark) does not pertain to these two gentlemen”. I don’t know if your head is spinning reader, mine surely is. It’s so bad actually that I am now going for a walk with my beloved Labrador, Mister, to try and clear my head. I only hope I can get this piece done by my deadline.
Now, that was good! A crisp sun shines down on a Lahore that was freezing till yesterday — no gas, thank you very much. While the walk was bracing, my head is still buzzing at the extent of Makhdoom Sahib’s naiveté. However, here goes another effort at writing.
So then, the three protagonists met and clarity came, eh? Was it in the form of a demand that the PM withdraw his remarks and mayhap the army would let the government off the hook? Or were there any other quid pro quos to off-set the PM’s humiliation? And if there weren’t any, why? Should one of them, indeed, not have been ISPR’s withdrawing its harsh and insolent statement against the PM? Once bitten twice shy they say, but he simply will not learn: I’ll bet the PM will be bitten again.
And now to Mamogate or Meemogate, depending on which TV channel you prefer. I attended the first hearing of the Commission and, even before proceedings started, told my nephew who was with me that this was going to descend into a complete farce. And what do you think made me say that? Only the fact that whilst a twice-elected former prime minister accompanied by seven senior leaders of his party, all former chief ministers and federal ministers (two of them flying in from Karachi for the hearing) attended; whilst senior Grade-22 ‘bloody civilian’ bureaucrats attended, two army officers, one Grade-21 and one Grade-22 did not deign to attend. All had been issued like summons. The portends were clear from the start.
Look at where we are today; just look at what the world is saying about us Pakistanis, our politicians, our army, our intelligence services, even our superior judiciary. Just read reports in the international press from the Christian Science Monitor to the Washington Post to the Wall Street Journal. Indeed, see what the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) has said. In short, that we are an irresponsible, unfair, inequitable, capricious, bitter people.