Sindh succeeds in wooing US aid for schools, flood victims

SINDH – KARACHI – The hard work of the Sindh government to rehabilitate flood-affected schools has reaped benefits. The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has agreed to provide an additional funding of $4 million to the province for further enhancement of flood damaged schools.

USAID was providing the Sindh government with a total of $155 million to support the education sector in Sindh under the Sindh Basic Education Programme.

Under the said programme, the flood-affected schools would be reconstructed in various districts including Khairpur, Dadu, Jacobabad, Kambar-Shahdadkot, Sukkur, Larkana, Kashmore-Kandhkot, and Karachi.

The Sindh Education Programme will also support in enhancing reading literacy in schools, alleviating malnourishment in children and provide technical assistance to departments in order to increase their capacity. The total funding for this venture is $155 million, sources told Pakistan Today.

The goal of the Sindh Basic Education programme is to increase and sustain student enrolment in primary, middle and secondary schools in targeted geographical location in Sindh…..

Read more » Pakistan Today

http://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2012/07/07/city/karachi/sindh-succeeds-in-wooing-us-aid-for-schools-flood-victims/

The Collapsing State of Pakistan!

By Saeed Qureshi

Living in Pakistan for most of the Pakistanis is nothing short of a persistent nightmare and an unrelenting trauma. The Pakistani society is rapidly decaying and could be pictured as rotten. The rulers and the coterie of leaders do not shy away from heaping miseries, humiliations and deprivations on a nation that was born some six decades ago. The people have been subjected to horrendous civic and social deformities that could equate Pakistan with some of the obscure African countries where life is at a subhuman level and human civilization is yet to make its presence felt.

The dignity, the self esteem, the honor and the moral principles look like unpalatable anathema to the politicians of Pakistan. The, shameless leaders, the brazen-faced politicians and the parliamentarians are like leeches sucking the blood of the people and turning that hapless segment of humanity into living corpses.

Water, let alone potable, is becoming a luxury to be bought with money. The electric power for a society is like blood in human veins. This indispensible amenity is not only horrifically scarce but callously expensive. Because of the load-shedding patently a cover- up for acute power shortage, a whole nation is developing mental disorders and sinister psychological disabilities.

The social sector is in an indescribable mess. The Health, education, transport, environment, institutions, departments, railways, roads, dams, manufacturing units, mills, factories, moral moorings, individual ethics, are in state of rapid decay. If we try to look around for good governance among various societies in the modern times, Pakistan cannot be among them. If you picture Pakistan in your mind, you may visualize the deterioration of such essentials features as order, discipline, peace, decency, honesty, fairness, mutual respect, and self-esteem.

Continue reading The Collapsing State of Pakistan!

Our right to know

By Saroop Ijaz

The refusal of the Supreme Court Registrar to render to the Public Accounts Committee any details of the plots ostensibly allotted to the Honourable Judges leaves a distinctive and familiar bad taste in the mouth. The reason put forth by the Registrar is that according to Article 68 of the Constitution, no discussion can take place in parliament regarding the conduct of any judge of the Superior Courts  “in discharge of his duties”. The argument is indeed peculiar since I certainly hope that the Registrar is not implying that the land was acquired in discharge of duties. Let us get a few things clear at the outset; firstly, no allegation has been made against any judge or the judiciary. Secondly, even if an extra plot was accepted, it forms no basis of a prima facie misconduct. In this light, the reluctance or the outright denial seems faintly paranoid and defensive, in any event puzzling. I have a feeling that because the Supreme Court thinks that parliament is made up of incompetent crooks, it (the SC) cannot and should not subject itself to scrutiny by them. If that is so, the problem should be obvious: clichés likes “checks and balances”, “who will guard the guards” etc. The SC is empowered to interpret the law and decide what is permissible, yet the refusal comes too close to ambitiously high-minded self-comparisons with two of the four Caliphs. I am against anyone being held to the standards of the pious Caliphs and quite content with imperfect temporal constitutional standards. Yet, to the cynic it may seem as what can be colloquially termed as a “having-it-both-ways” approach.

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The Quaid and the Quetta massacre

By Haider Nizamani

If Muhammad Ali Jinnah happened to be on the Quetta-bound bus of Shia pilgrims on June 28, the self-proclaimed custodians of Islam would have killed him, along with 13 others. They would do so because Jinnah was a Shia and that would have been reason enough.

Jinnah, for most Pakistanis today, is the Quaid-e-Azam — the man above any sect in the Islamic Republic. As the Republic he founded increasingly becomes a place where minorities feel vulnerable, it would be remiss to forget that the founder of the country was a Shia. Born into an Ismaili family, he later converted to the Twelver (isna ashri) branch of Shia Islam. He died in 1948 and his sister, Miss Fatima Jinnah, filed an affidavit in the Sindh High Court stating that her brother was a “Shia Khoja Mohamedan”. Liaquat Ali Khan, the first prime minister of Pakistan, jointly signed the affidavit. Khaled Ahmed, in his book Sectarian War, documents in detail how the last rites of the Quaid were performed according to Shia stipulations. Jinnah’s Shia colleagues such as Yusuf Haroon and Hashim Raza attended the namaz-e-janaza (funeral prayer) at the Governor General’s House, while prime minister Liaquat Ali Khan waited outside in the adjacent room. After the Shia funeral prayer, the nascent state took the body for Sunni last rites at the grounds where now stands the Quaid’s mausoleum in Karachi. Miss Fatima Jinnah passed away in 1967 and in her case, too, private last rites were performed according to Shia guidelines and the state-sponsored namaz-e-janaza followed it.

Sunni militant outfits portray Shias as lesser Muslims and thus, lesser Pakistanis. This commandeering of state discourse on Islam from the 1980s onward has emboldened the militants to take up arms against their coreligionists in select parts of Pakistan.

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Hindu migration a concern

Hindu migration a concern in Pakistan

Every month one family migrates to India, say action groups

By: Ayyaz Gulzar, Karachi

Hindu leaders in Pakistan say persecution is the main reason for the recent migration of members of their community from the country.

“Every month a Hindu family leaves for neighboring India. Insecurity, killings, kidnappings and forcible conversion of women to Islam are the major causes,” said Jaipal Chabria, a Hindu politician in Pakistan.

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan says that every year about 300 Hindu girls are abducted and converted to Islam against their will in Sindh province alone.

Hyderabad diocese’s Vicar General Father Samson Shukardin also referred to “increasing frustration” among minority groups. “Most of the cases registered from Hindu families are from the Haris (peasants) community. The recent murder of the only Catholic federal minister has also increased desperation among minority groups,” said the director of the National Commission for Justice and Peace in the Catholic diocese in Sindh province. “Many Christian families wish to leave the country but cannot do so because they are poor,” he said adding “Minorities are feeling left out.” ….

Read more » UCA News

Supreme Court and Public Accounts Committee

by Marvi Sirmed

Sharing with you this important document, which has left me shocked and extremely disappointed in the ‘wisdom’ of those who need to be the wisest. Amid all kinds of corruption allegations on politicians being pursued by the Supreme Court of Pakistan (SCOP), one case got special treatment by the worthiest men of this country – the graft case of Mr. Arsalan Iftikhar. Iftikhar is a 34 years old ‘innocent boy’ who was reportedly ‘lured’ into accepting a not-s-small sum of money from one Malik Riaz, the real estate tycoon who knows how to make the mare go. The innocence of Mr. Iftikhar is further proven by the fact that he happens to be the son of Chief Justice of Pakistan. The case was thus, taken up by none other than CJP himself, as a suo-moto action under Section 184(3) which allows the CJP to move the court if the case pertains to violation of fundamental rights and is of public interest. The case, definitely is of public interest and violates Mr. Iftikhar’s right to remain innocent for the rest of his life! The case, as was right thing to do, was disposed of by mildly lecturing all parties to ‘behave’.

Why is it important to recall Mr. Iftikhar? Because his was not the only case where the worthy court to be partisan for its own interest. Responding to Public Accounts Committee, the elected watch body over the Auditor General of Pakistan that called Registrar of Supreme Court to present himself before the Committee and explained some overspending by the SCOP. Guess what happens next? The wise men in SCOP, came up with a document that conveniently leaves everyone in the SCOP outside the ambit of any elected watch body that oversees the transparency of financial transaction by public institutions including SCOP. Have a lok over how the Registrar of SCOP – an official who is not a judge – exonerates himself from legislature’s scrutiny.

One wonders who is going to ensure transparency when even the most responsible institutions of this country try to evade law on the pretext of law. Ironic and sad. The language used in this document and disregard for transparency makes my wish it must not be what the worthy men in SCOP meant. Have a good reading experience please!

Supreme Court, Pakistan, Chief Justice, Arsalan Iftikhar, Auditor General, Public Accounts Committee, Parliament, Judiciary, Pakistan …..

Read more » BAAGHI

http://marvisirmed.com/2012/07/08/supreme-court-and-public-accounts-committee/

Corporate Profits at All-Time High; Wages at All-Time Low: Can We Call it Class War Yet?

By Sarah Jaffe

The middle class is being hollowed out; increasingly, there are the super-super-rich, and there are the rest of us.

This week, David Segal at the New York Times broke the news to America that not only was Apple — the computer and gadget manufacturer formerly seen as a symbol of good old American ingenuity — making its profits on the backs of abused factory workers in China, but also on poorly paid store employees here in the US.

Apple store workers, he wrote, make up a large majority of Apple’s US workforce—30,000 out of 43,000 employees in this country—and they make about $25,000 a year, or about $12 an hour.

Lawrence Mishel at the Economic Policy Institute notes that that’s just a dollar above the federal poverty level. This for a company that paid nine of its top executives a total of $441 million in 2011. ….

Read more » Alternet

http://www.alternet.org/story/156042/corporate_profits_at_all-time_high%3B_wages_at_all-time_low%3A_can_we_call_it_class_war_yet?page=entire#disqus_thread

Gilani’s sentence proves no one is above the law: Chief Justice

By Zeeshan Mujahid

KARACHI: The contempt of court case against former prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani proves that every individual, irrespective of his position, is subject to the law, said Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry while addressing a lawyers’ ceremony at the Supreme Court Karachi registry on Saturday.

The chief justice added that action was taken against Gilani under the contempt of court law because the chief executive of the country defied court orders, and added that the implementation of court orders is the duty of the executive, which has been explained adequately in Article 190 of the Constitution.

Addressing the issue of immunity provided to the elected representatives, the chief justice said that if a person elected by the people violates the Constitution, then it is the duty of the courts to stop him.

Continue reading Gilani’s sentence proves no one is above the law: Chief Justice

Renowned Sindhi Journalist and writer Irshad Gulabani passes away

Irshad Gulabani passes away

Renowned Journalist and Compere of Mehran Online programme of News and Current Affairs Channel‚ of Radio Pakistan Karachi Irshad Ahmad Gulabani died in Karachi

Renowned journalist and Compere of Mehran Online programme of News and Current Affairs Channel of Radio Pakistan Karachi Irshad Ahmad Gulabani died after protracted illness in Karachi on Saturday.

He was 48. He will be laid to rest in Hyderabad on Saturday night. He had been associated with a popular Sindhi newspaper for the last twenty-two years.

President Asif Ali Zardari has expressed grief and sorrow over the demise of senior journalist Irshad Gulabani.

In his condolence message‚ the President prayed to Allah to rest the departed soul in eternal peace and to grant courage to the bereaved family to bear this loss with fortitude.

Prime Minister Raja Parvez Ashraf has also condoled death of the senior journalist and euologized his services for the cause of profession.

Sindh Governor Dr. Ishratul Ibad Khan in his condolence message highly appreciated the journalistic approach and services of Irshad Ahmad Gulabani and said his contributiions would be remembered till long.

In his condolence message‚ Provincial Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah sad that the death of a renowned journalist is a big gap which will take time to fill in.

Continue reading Renowned Sindhi Journalist and writer Irshad Gulabani passes away