Tag Archives: controversy

Twin Islands Dingi and Bhandar (Bodha Island) are the property of Sindh

Another hitch pops up for foreign investment

By: Ramzan Chandio

SINHD: KARACHI – The controversy over the ownership of twin islands near Karachi has been resurfaced between the Sindh government and Port Qasim Authority, which allotted islands to the UAE-based company for establishment of Island city here.

The Bahria Foundation and UAE firm inked an agreement of US$20 billion to establish Island City on twin islands-Bundal and Buddo in sea near Karachi.

The controversy over the ownership arose during the PML-Q-led Sindh government of former Sindh Chief Minister Dr Arbab Ghulam Rahim and Port and Shipping Ministry of federal government in 2006, when federal government unilaterally allotted the islands to the Emmar Company of UAE.

Then opposition and present ruling party PPP, nationalist parties and fishermen had launched a protest campaign against the allotment of twin islands to the foreign firm, which compelled the foreign company from taking over the control of islands.

However, the issue resurfaced between the Sindh government and Port Qasim Authority when foreign company and local company Bahria Foundation of Malik Riaz inked a deal just two days ago. Sources said that Sindh Board of Revenue has moved a summary to the Sindh chief minister, urging him to take a position not to allow the allotment of islands to the foreign company as federal government sealed a deal with the foreign company even without asking from the Sindh government, which is the owner of the islands. Sources said that the Sindh government had taken notice of the recent deal between the foreign firm and Bahria Foundation and decided to take up issue with the federal government.

The Sindh PPP ministers led by Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah met with President Asif Ali Zardari on Tuesday evening at Bilawal House and urged the President to resolve the matter.

It may be recalled that a committee comprising of then Attorney General Makhdoom Ali Khan from federal government and Sindh law secretary Ghulam Nabi Shah and officials of Board of Revenue Department held meetings in 2006 as both sides remained stick to their views and issue could not be resolved. The Board of Revenue Department through their documentary proof has been argued that the area of sea was given to the Port Qasim Authority during the government of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto for operational purpose but ownership rights were reserved with the Sindh government. The PPP-led Sindh government while pleading same arguments raised the issue with President Asif Ali Zardari.

Meanwhile, the PPP ministers and MPAs have shown strong reaction over the sudden deal on the Sindh government’s property of twin islands-Bundal and Buddo near Karachi.

Continue reading Twin Islands Dingi and Bhandar (Bodha Island) are the property of Sindh

Pakistani Hindus seek asylum in India – NewsX

NewsX@9 is a NewsX special show which debates the main news event of the day. A group of some 250 Pakistani Hindus were today allowed to cross over to India for a pilgrimage after being detained at the Wagah land border crossing due to a controversy over reports that they planned to migrate to the neighbouring country. The Hindus protested at the Wagah border crossing after they were detained for almost seven hours.

Immigration authorities finally allowed the Hindus to cross the frontier at about 2.30 pm. The kidnapping of a teenage Hindu girl, Manisha Kumari, from Jacobabad city of Sindh province on August 7 had sparked widespread concern in the minority community amidst reports of an exodus of some 250 Hindus from the region. Confusion surrounded the travel plans of the Hindus from Sindh and Balochistan. Some TV news channels reported they had decided to migrate to India because of forced conversions, extortion and kidnapping. So we debate today – Why are minorities unsafe in Pakistan? We debate the question on the show and try to evolve consensus among our panelists over the issue. Watch this NewsX special NewsX@9.

Courtesy: NewsX » YouTube

Questions Surround New Supreme Court Order Disqualifying Prime Minister

The Supreme Court of Pakistan removed the Prime Minister in what is known as a “short order” – essentially a court order lacking a full explanation. These orders often begin, “For reasons to be recorded later…” – a practice that seems the beg for abuse and controversy – and then proceed directly to ordering some specific action on the part of an individual or institution. In this case, though, the specific action was not given until almost two months later – and made retroactive.

On April 26, the Supreme Court issued an order “for the reasons to be recorded later” that found then Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani “guilty of and convicted for contempt of court.” The Supreme Court did not declare the Prime Minister disqualified from office and sentenced him to a symbolic detention of about 30 seconds.

The Supreme Court having chosen not to disqualify the Prime Minister, the issue was then taken up by the Speaker of the National Assembly, Dr. Fehmida Mirza, who ruled that Mr. Gilani was not disqualified. That was last month.

Today, nearly two months after the Supreme Court issued its controversial conviction, a new short order, “for reasons to be recorded later,” was issued by Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry – this time declaring that “Syed Yousaf Raza Gillani has become disqualified from being a Member of the Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament)…on and from the date and time of pronouncement of the judgement of this Court dated 26.4.2012…”

This raises several very interesting questions. If the Prime Minister was disqualified pursuant to the Supreme Court’s order on April 26, why did they wait until June 19 to say so? Some have suggested that the Supreme Court was giving the Prime Minister the opportunity for appeal, but this is doubtful for a number of reasons: One, the Supreme Court could have declared the Prime Minister disqualified and then stayed the order pending appeal. But more to the point, to whom would the Prime Minister have appealed? The original order was given by a 7 member bench of the Supreme Court – there was no higher authority to appeal to.

Then there is the matter of the ruling by the Speaker of the National Assembly. If the Supreme Court had determined that Mr. Gilani was disqualified as of April 26, why did they allow Dr. Mirza to proceed with deliberations and a ruling on Mr. Gilani’s status as parliamentarian? If the Supreme Court believed that Dr. Mirza did not have the authority as Speaker of the National Assembly to issue such a ruling, why did they not issue an injunction stopping the Speaker from carrying out the act?

While these questions remain unanswered, at least until the Supreme Court delivers more than the two pages made available today, they suggest very troubling possibilities. By allowing Mr. Gilani to continue serving as Prime Minister for months, the Supreme Court has created a policy nightmare for Pakistan. Making the disqualification retroactive to April 26 means that any decisions made by the government since are effectively nullified. Pakistan has, essentially, been operating without a government for over 8 weeks.

Moreover, by allowing the Speaker of the National Assembly to deliberate and issue a ruling without comment, only to nullify that decision weeks later, the Supreme Court has undermined the authority of parliament and created confusion about fundamental issues of separation of powers and constitutional authority. What government official can now carry out their duties without the fear of Supreme Court action if the Chief Justice does not like the outcome.

This gets to what is perhaps the most troubling question of all – would the Supreme have issued this new order had the Speaker of the National Assembly herself disqualified Mr. Gilani? In other words, is Pakistan’s Supreme Court acting pursuant to due process or desired outcomes?

Courtesy: http://americansforpakistan.com/2012/06/19/questions-surround-new-supreme-court-order-disqualifying-prime-minister/

Via – Twitter

In Pakistan, No Quick End to Islam Conversion Case

By DECLAN WALSH

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Hopes for the rapid resolution of a controversy over the conversion of a Hindu woman to Islam that has seized the Pakistani public were dashed on Monday, when the Supreme Court declined to decide the matter for at least three more weeks.

Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry ruled that Rinkel Kumari, a 19-year-old Hindu student who converted under disputed circumstances last month, should spend the next three weeks pondering her fate in protective custody, along with another Hindu woman in a similar situation.

During an emotional and sometimes rowdy hearing in a packed courtroom in Islamabad, the capital, Chief Justice Chaudhry noted that there had been “serious allegations of abduction and forced conversion” in both cases.

“Both ladies must have an atmosphere without any pressure to make a decision about their future,” he said.

Continue reading In Pakistan, No Quick End to Islam Conversion Case

So they find a way!?

Pakistan’s chief justice keeps up pressure on beleaguered Zardari

By Simon Denyer

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan – Pakistan’s chief justice kept the pressure on President Asif Ali Zardari on Monday, demanding he respond to charges of undermining national security, in a Supreme Court inquiry into the “Memogate” controversy.

Zardari returned to Pakistan early Monday from Dubai, United Arab Emirates, where he had been receiving medical treatment for a heart condition.

His sudden departure nearly two weeks ago had sparked rumors he was fleeing the country, being ousted by the nation’s powerful military or trying to wait out the inquiry. However, his return has neither silenced the rumor mill nor ended the sense of mounting crisis surrounding his presidency.

He will continue to face pressure from the Supreme Court and the military,” said Imtiaz Gul, executive director of the Center for Research and Security Studies in Islamabad. “The suspense will continue for quite some time.”

Zardari’s immediate troubles revolve around a secret, unsigned memo that surfaced last month, which solicited Washington’s help to rein in the Pakistani military and prevent a possible coup after the U.S. raid to kill Osama bin Laden in May.

The memo was sent by Pakistani American businessman Mansoor Ijaz, who alleged that he was following the instructions of the Pakistani ambassador to Washington to convey a message from Zardari.

The government has denied having anything to do with the memo, but the ambassador, Husain Haqqani, has resigned and is trying to clear his name.

The opposition alleged that treason had been committed, and the Supreme Court took on the inquiry, collecting depositions from government and military officials last week.

During the opening hearing Monday, Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, a longtime foe of Zardari’s, was clearly unhappy that the president had failed to respond to a request that he submit a sworn statement about the affair, saying it could be taken as acceptance of the charges.

This is what happens in civil cases,” Chaudhry said. “When you don’t reply, then charges are deemed as accepted by you.”

Although the president can be impeached only by a two-thirds majority of parliament on the grounds of violating the constitution or gross misconduct, a Supreme Court verdict of wrongdoing in the Memogate affair would put significant pressure on Zardari.

Last week, the military appeared to be at loggerheads with the government, arguing in its depositions that evidence showed the memo did lead back to Haqqani and demanding a full investigation.

Read more » The Washington Post

Pakistan’s first-ever nude cover-girl, creates a storm; sports an ISI tattoo

Veena Malik’s nude picture in Indian magazine causes furore

Pakistani actress Veena Malik, best known for her participation in Indian reality show ‘Bigg Boss’, was at the centre of a fresh controversy today after being featured nude on the cover of ‘FHM India’ magazine, sporting a tattoo with the words ISI on her arm. ….

Read more » TOI

Sindhi-Mohajir Rapprochement is possible

– Rapprochement is possible

By Abrar Kazi & Zulfiqar Halepoto

ONCE again, differences between the PPP and MQM have translated into a Sindhi-Mohajir confrontation. In fact, the reasons for this are inherent in the politics of both parties.

The politics of PPP which it calls ‘the politics of reconciliation’ is in fact politics without principles that negates its manifesto. For example, the party promised to undo the Musharraf-era division of Hyderabad district and the clubbing together of Karachi’s five districts, which Benazir Bhutto criticised as an administrative division imposed by a dictator. But the promise was never fulfilled.

The PPP’s major fault is, however, to take the support of Sindhis for granted. It has failed to recognise that the Sindhi people’s love for their motherland transcends party lines, all sacrifices rendered by the PPP or any other party notwithstanding, and that their unity of thought on major issues is phenomenal.

The MQM’s politics appears to be based on the ethnic sentiments of its voters, which when exploited, have the damaging effect of causing dislike for those who do not speak Urdu. The journey from ‘Mohajir’ to ‘Muttahida’ was considered a policy shift towards the integration of MQM supporters with the rest of Sindh. But it turned out to be more a change of strategy than of heart.

Such politics tend to paint all Urdu-speaking people with the same brush although most are progressive and liberal and desire peace and integration. Pakistan’s security establishment, the guardians of the ‘ideological and geographical frontiers’ of the country, have contributed their own bit to this confrontation so that the province has reached its present status of seemingly insurmountable problems.

Consciously or unconsciously, a large segment of the Urdu-speaking intelligentsia, civil society and media have either kept quiet or are perceived as supporting such an ethnic viewpoint thereby increasing the rift. Pervez Musharraf’s dictatorship further widened the gulf through deliberate design to give control of Sindh’s urban centres to the MQM as independent administrative units through the district government system. The LGO 2001 appeared to dovetail with the thinking of those who supported the idea of a Mohajir province in Sindh. This resulted in causing suspicion among Sindhis, who despite the numerous merits of the local government system, rejected the change as an attempt to divide Sindh.

Sindhis voted for the PPP and its manifesto which promised to undo all Musharraf’s actions including the local government system of 2001. Since then, there have been incessant demands for the promised actions.

One point must be noted here. Since 1988, the MQM and the PPP have shared power in Sindh three times. Without going into the deeper factors, the general acceptance of the power-sharing by the masses is indicative that by and large the voters and also the people are fundamentally in favour of coexistence between the Sindh- and Urdu-speaking-sindhis of the province.

Another point worth noting is that the ‘Sindh card’ often played by the PPP whenever it has been in trouble is in effect dead from this point on.

Rather than acting on people’s aspirations, the PPP government has resorted to unprincipled politics, refusing to understand the larger issues involved in the present controversy and thus further aggravating the Sindhi-Urdu (Mohajir) divide.

The angry reaction of Sindhis against the PPP and MQM must be seen against this backdrop. It is not about a few nationalist leaders, intellectuals and members of civil society agitating the people. Neither is it about the present district government controversy. It is the pent-up frustration and anger of many decades of authoritarian and military rule in Pakistan, especially in Sindh. It is about what is seen as the plunder of Sindh’s resources without corresponding benefits to Sindh.

It is about the ownership of two prosperous cities of Sindh, established and developed by a competent and dedicated mercantile and cosmopolitan Sindhi Hindu and Muslim class that flourished much before Pakistan came into existence. It is about the humiliation of seeing a provincial assembly passing a resolution to in effect put a ban on Sindhis getting admission in public-sector professional institutions and employment in the multinational companies. It is also about the frustration at the unending cycle of blood on the streets.This constant confrontation between Sindhis and Mohajirs (urdu-speaking-sindhis0 is a source of great loss to Pakistan and still greater loss to Sindh. Despite being secular and progressive, Sindh lags behind in terms of economic and social development because of the albatross of PPP and MQM policies. Sindh is a prosperous and resource-rich province. It is also a land of secular and liberal people who have given strong political leadership to Pakistan from Jinnah to Benazir Bhutto.

It presented the incumbent PPP government an unmatched opportunity to correct all the wrongs done to the country by the civil and military establishment of Pakistan. A strong democratic and plural society, could have been created to tackle terrorism, the sectarian and ethnic divide and violence in politics but the opportunity was lost by the PPP. The MQM’s alignment with the security establishment further damaged the cause.

There is still hope though. The present revolt against the PPP indicates that Sindhis can reject their own elected government if they fear a division of the province. This raises the opportunity for progressive Urdu-speaking Sindhis to join hands with the Sindhis to make the province an ideal homeland setting an example of peaceful coexistence and democracy.

Courtesy: DAWN.COM