Tag Archives: corruption

Corruption in Pakistan

 

Corruption in Pakistan is widespread,[1] particularly in the government and lower levels of police forces.[2] In 2014, Pakistan scored 126 out of 174 on theCorruption Perceptions Index published by the Transparency International,[3]improving slightly from its previous score of 127 out of 175 in 2013.[4] Pakistan saw a significant improvement in its statistics in 2013 when its ranking improved by 12 indices compared to its previous rankings[5] – 139 out of 174 in 2012,[6]134 out of 182 in 2011,[7][8] 143 out of 178 in 2010,[9] and 139 out of 180 in 2009.[10]

Corruption has plagued Pakistan from the very moment it came into existence.[11] It was the unrepentant display of plutocracy amongst its powerfulbureaucracy and the West Pakistani Punjabi Muslim landowners that partly led to the secession of East Pakistan into the nation-state of Bangladesh.[12] Later,nationalisation policies prepared under the government of prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto paved the way for the corrupt elites to politicise the nation’s economic planning resulting in a public outcry against corruption.[13] This led the military dictator Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq to draft policies regarding denationalisation of institutions which only ended up benefiting a few rich business magnates such as the future prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, who was also a protégé of the military dictator.[14]

Read more » Wikipedia
See more » https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corruption_in_Pakistan

Pakistan’s former army chief Musharraf got Rs20m on retirement, bought Rs400m flats in London, UAE

Musharraf got Rs20m on retirement, bought Rs400m flats in London, UAE

By Ahmad Noorani

Islamabad Election Tribunal disqualified Musharraf for  discrepancy in assets

ISLAMABAD: Official land registry documents of the UK government show that Pervez Musharraf had made a payment of 1.35 million British pound (Approx 20 Caror Pak rupees) for purchase a flat in London on May 13, 2009. Another flat in UAE approximately with same monetary value was purchased by him in the same duration, whereas total financial benefits given to him following his retirement as army chief were less than Rs20 million (2 carore rupees).

Official documents submitted by Musharraf before Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) before contesting 2013 general elections, available with The News, show that he has not sold out any of residential or commercial plots or a farm house he obtained during his army service. The two squares (50 acres) agriculture land in Bahawalpur allotted to him because of his army service was sold out by him in 2002.

General Musharraf had left Pakistan in April 2009 after restoration of judiciary and had not started his international lectures by that time when on May 13, 2009 he purchased Hyde Park Crescent, London flat by paying 1.35 million pounds. His statement of assets submitted to ECP shows his following two foreign immoveable properties; 1- 28, Castle Acre, Hyde Park Crescent, London, 2- 3902, South Ridge Tower 6 Downtown, Dubai, UAE. UAE flat was also purchased by the general in the same duration and the according to property experts, its value was more than 20 caror Pak rupees at time of purchase.

Land registry documents of London flat show that Flat 28, Castle Acre, Hyde Park Crescent, London (Postcode: W2 2PT) has Land Registry Number: NGL906437, owned by Sehba Musharraf and payment of £1,350,000 was made on 13 May 2009 to acquire this flat.

Official documents show that National Accountability Bureau has all these details but it still has to move to start proper investigation against the ex-dictator. The payments made by Musharraf in a few months after leaving Pakistan in 2009 are around Rs400 million to purchase properties in London and UAE before starting his international lectures and without selling any of his residential plots, houses, commercial properties and a farm house. This is an issue pending with NAB along with all documentary evidence for long. According to reported fact, Musharraf started receiving income from his international lectures in 2010.

Read more » The News
See more » http://www.thenews.com.pk/print/114757-Musharraf-got-Rs20m-on-retirement-bought-Rs400m-flats-in-London-UAE

 

‘Retired generals sold ETPB land illegally’

LAHORE: Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) Chairman Siddiqul Farooq says that board owns no commercial property in Balochistan, as its all land in the province had been sold by its two former heads, who also were retired military generals, during the Musharraf rule.

He told Dawn the two retired military generals had declared the land as “unmanageable” during their tenures.

“In Balochistan, the ETPB had the commercial property worth billions on Jinnah Road in Quetta which was sold during the regimes of two retired generals,” he said.

“Their act caused a huge financial loss to the ETPB.”

He said it was shocking to know that trust’s commercial property had been sold illegally by declaring it “unmanageable”.

“You know the rates of commercial property in Quetta: Rs250,000 per squre feet.”

Read more » DAWN
See more  » http://www.dawn.com/news/1253863

2 generals among 11 Pak-Army officers terminated over corruption

RAWALPINDI:  In one of rarest incident in the history of Pakistan, Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif has terminated the service of 11 high ranking officers over corruption charges.

The most prominent among the terminated officers is former Inspector General Frontier Constabulary Lt Gen Ubaidaullah Khattak.

Others include Major General Ijaz Shahid, five brigadiers, three colonels and one major.

The sacked officers are asked to deposit the embezzled money. All perks and privileges are withdrawn.

The development comes a day after the army chief said “across the board accountability is necessary for the solidarity, integrity and prosperity of Pakistan”.

On Tuesday, the army chief had said that the war against terror cannot be won unless “the menace of corruption is uprooted.”

News courtesy: Online Indus
Read more » http://www.onlineindus.com/2-generals-among-11-pak-army-officers-terminated-over-corruption/

12 high ranking Army officers sacked over corruption charges

RAWALPINDI: At least 12 high ranking senior Pakistan Army officers have been dismissed from their services after internal inquiry found them involved in corruption.

The officers included Lieutenant General Obaidullah Khattak, Major General Ejaz. Others include five Brigadiers, one Colonel, three Lt-Colonels and a Major.

According to sources in the military, the internal inquiry was being conducted within the Army for more than one year.

The officers served in the Frontier Corps (FC) in Balochistan.

Also Read: General Raheel calls for across the board accountability

Other names in the list of sacked officers include Brigadier Haider, Brigadier Asad, Brigadier Amir, Colonel Haider, and Major Najeeb.

According to sources in the military, the internal inquiry was being conducted within the Army for more than one year.

Sources, the senior officers have been stripped of their ranks, and perks and privileges they were entitled to. The officers will only continue receive their pensions and medical facilities.

There has been no official announcement as yet from the military in this regard.

News courtesy: The News
See more » http://www.thenews.com.pk/latest/114324-11-high-rank-Army-officers-sacked-over-corruption-charges
– – – – –

Read more » BBC urdu
Learn more »  http://www.bbc.com/urdu/pakistan/2016/04/160421_army_corruption_dismissed_sh

Panama Papers: mass protests in Iceland call for PM to quit – as it happened

The biggest-ever leak of secret information involves 11m documents from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca. Here’s how the story is being covered around the world.

It’s always interesting when information like this leaks because it reminds people who are up to no good how fragile and how vulnerable they make themselves by indulging in this kind of activity.

We’ve got an anti-corruption summit here in May. This is a key agenda for the prime minister. We’re working with many countries around the world including Panama – I had a meeting with the Panamanian vice-president just a few weeks ago on this issue. We are making significant progress.

Read more » TheGuardian
See more » http://www.theguardian.com/news/live/2016/apr/04/panama-papers-global-reaction-to-huge-leak-of-offshore-tax-files-live?page=with%3Ablock-570246b8e4b0fde262ff62d9#liveblog-navigation

K-P minister, 10 others arrested by NAB over corruption charges

PESHAWAR: National Accountability Bureau and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Ehtesab Commission arrested KP Minister of Mineral Development Ziaullah Afridi and ten others on corruption charges, Thursday.

“Yes, we have arrested provincial minister Ziaullah Khan Afridi,” a high ranking office-bearer of K-P Ehtesab Commission told a private media outlet.

Afridi, a member of the Pakistan Tehreek e Insaf, was arrested for misuing his authority and violating the ban on the issuance of tenders, according to the official.

Other arrested officials include Bannu Commissioner Asmatullah Gandhapur and K-P Mineral Development Director Ziarat Khan.

In May, in a major move against corrupt officials, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Ehtesab Commission arrested former provincial excise and taxation minister Liaquat Shabab in a case related to alleged illegal assets.

Courtesy » Pakistan Today
Read more » http://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2015/07/09/national/k-p-minister-10-others-arrested-by-nab-over-corruption-charges/

Investigation is under way against Pakistan’s Prime minister Nawaz Sharif, regarding corruption casees

NawazNAB submits list of 150 mega corruption cases to apex court

BY ABDUL SHAKOOR KHAN

ISLAMABAD: Officials of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Tuesday submitted a report containing details of 150 mega corruption cases before the Supreme Court of Pakistan.

A three-member bench, headed by Justice Jawwad S. Khawaja, was hearing a case filed by Manzoor Ahmed Ghauri against chairman NAB and other officials. The case, initiated earlier this year, pertains to scrutiny of the anti-corruption body.

The list include cases against high profile figures, including incumbent Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, his brother and Chief Minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif, former premiers, ministers and top bureaucrats.

The document also lists 50 cases each of monitory irregularities, misuse of powers and land scams.

Read more » DAWN
See more » http://www.dawn.com/news/1192921

– – – – – – – – – –

نواز شریف سمیت چار سابق وزرائےاعظم کے خلاف تفتیش جاری
See more » BBC urdu
http://www.bbc.com/urdu/pakistan/2015/07/150707_nab_sc_assets_list_ra

FIA takes Axact employees into custody, seizes equipment following Nisar’s orders

By Qamar Zaman / AFP / Web Desk / Sameer Mandhro

ISLAMABAD: Around 45 Axact employees were arrested on Tuesday as Federal Investigation Agency raided the offices of the software company in Karachi and the twin cities.

The move came shortly after Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar ordered FIA to probe into the special report published by The New York Times alleging the software company was earning tens of millions of dollars by selling fake degrees around the world.

“If the said company is involved in any such illegal work which can tarnish the good image of the country in the world”, a ministry statement said.

Soon after, FIA teams comprising IT experts sealed Axact’s offices in the twin cities and registered a formal inquiry into the Axact scandal, sources privy to the development told Express News.

Read: INYT special report: Fake degrees earn company millions

According to Express News, employees were evacuated from the software company’s head office in Islamabad. Further, around 45 employees were rounded up, including HR and PR managers, to be taken to FIA headquarters.

The arrested Axact employees were shifted to FIA’s cyber-crime wing office.

The seven-member FIA team also seized hard disks, computers, other electronic equipment and documents belonging to the IT firm. The bags and mobile phones of department heads in Islamabad have also been seized.

“A report will be compiled after carrying out digital analysis to ascertain if the electronic equipment was used for illegal activities,”sources said.

After gathering evidence and rounding up employees, the FIA team is now headed to the software company’s second office in the capital.

The FIA also raided Axact’s call centre in Rawalpindi and seized voice call recorders and other devices. Axact’s call centre regional director Colonel (retd) Jamil was taken into custody.

A second team under the supervision of FIA Deputy Director Kamran Attaullah has raided Axact’s Karachi headquarters.

The FIA teams have left Axact’s Karachi headquarters. Speaking to the media after the raid, Deputy Director Kamran Attaullah said, “Investigations are still underway. We will let you know further details later.”

Read more » The Express Tribune
See more » http://tribune.com.pk/story/888790/chaudhry-nisar-orders-inquiry-into-axact-scandal/

Pakistan’s ranking in corruption index improves

By Amin Ahmed

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s ranking in the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) 2014 has improved and the Transparency International (TI), which released the report on Tuesday, has expressed the hope that Islamabad will work more vigorously to combat the menace.

The TI described Pakistan’s CPI score of 29 out of 100 and ranking of 126 among 175 countries as the best. The country has never achieved this distinction since the first CPI was issued in 1995.

Pakistan had secured the score of 28 and was ranked 127th among 177 countries in 2013, according to statistics released by Berlin-based non-profit organisation committed to promoting accountability, integrity and transparency.

Read more » DAWN
See more » http://www.dawn.com/news/1148425

#No more ghosts: Facebook campaign sparks revolution in education sector

By Sameer Mandhro

SINDH – KARACHI: What the Sindh government could not do with all its resources and powers, a few concerned individuals have managed to accomplish with a little spark of ingenuity and the help of modern technology.

The campaign against ‘ghost teachers’ that has gone viral on Facebook since it started last month has sparked a kind of revolution in the provincial education sector. The campaign has by now exposed hundreds of prominent figures, including journalists, political and social activists and nationalists who were drawing salaries from public schools but never bothered to attend even once.

The campaign

The major focus of the campaign was on those affiliated with the media. TV channel and newspaper owners were urged to take action against such journalists who were ruining the futures of hundreds of children.
A month on, the campaign has attracted the attention of almost 30 groups of individuals who collect data, including pictures of ‘ghost teachers’ from different areas and share the information on the page under the inscription, ‘He is also a ghost teacher’. The data is then viewed and shared by those subscribed to the page. The remarkable success of the campaign can be gauged from the fact that people from all over Sindh have started posting information on ‘ghost teachers’ on the page.
With the exception of a few, most of the ‘ghost teachers’ are male. They are individuals who are quite prominent in their professions. Interestingly, the moderators of the page claim that the number of female ghost teachers is far higher than their male counterparts.

The profiles are shared from one person to another, and within hours, the accused inevitably finds out that they have been identified. Below the profiles follow a string of comments from users, urging the person to do justice to the profession. The comments are shaming, with the users having carefully picked their words to touch a nerve. ‘Go ghost go’, ‘Don’t destroy the future of our children’ and ‘You are not from among us’ are some of the popular messages to the ghost teachers.

The campaigners

“The first rally for education started in 2012 from Mithi,” recalled one of the senior campaigners, Liaquat Mirani. He is a teacher at a private school and has been threatened several times to stop the campaign. “The campaign has somewhat achieved what millions of rupees spent by the government and donor agencies could not do,” he said, adding that several teachers have started joining their duties after the drive was launched on the social media. “It is a social media revolution.”
Mirani is one of the campaigners who directly shares posts regarding ghost teachers on his personal Facebook profile. He has also asked others to come forward and help him point out those who cheat the nation.

Suhail Memon, who is himself a journalist, is among those who expose ghost teachers on social media. Speaking to The Express Tribune, Memon said that around 40,000 people have been declared ‘ghost teachers’ by the provincial government. “We are also collecting data of how many ghost teachers have been identified on our pages,” he explained.

What they hope to achieve

“Believe me, no one will dare to be absent from schools in the future,” he said. “There will be no compromise on education.” Memon added that the bhatta in the form of salaries taken from the government will not be tolerated. Social media had become the most powerful tool of information in the world. “Its impact is being felt in Sindh now.”

One of the individual campaigners, Shahnawaz Mandhro, remarked that the response was tremendous. “Common people whose complaints were not being entertained by the education department now contact us and share information on ghost teachers,” he said. “The school from where I got my primary education is now closed. It pains me that there is no mechanism to make schools functional again,” he commented.

Interestingly, the provincial education department has requested campaigners to share data with the department, with the promise that guilty teachers would be removed from their jobs after proper scrutiny.

Courtesy: The Express Tribune, November 20th, 2014.
Read more » http://tribune.com.pk/story/793902/no-more-ghosts-facebook-campaign-sparks-revolution-in-education-sector/

Financial irregularities of Rs 50 billion detected in PAF

By Sardar Sikander Shaheen 

*Audit report for financial year 2013-14 cites embezzlements, violation of rules, unauthorised occupation of public land and related malpractices in PAF

ISLAMABAD: The Auditor General of Pakistan (AGP) has detected serious financial irregularities exceeding Rs 30 billion, including embezzlements, violation of rules, unauthorised occupation of public land and related malpractices, in the annual accounts of Pakistan Air Force (PAF).
In its audit report for the financial year 2013-14 on the PAF accounts, the AGP has found that unauthorised expenditure exceeding Rs 25 billion has been incurred by the PAF authorities in terms of awarding an illegal consultancy contract to a private firm to execute a highly classified project. Moreover, the AGP has highlighted six instances related to unauthorised or illegal occupation of public land by the PAF that caused the national exchequer a loss of Rs 355 million in the last financial year.
According to the audit report, the PAF awarded contract number 08/2008 in an ‘unauthorised, illegal and incompetent’ manner, valued at Rs 429.234 million, to Kashif Aslam & Associates Private Limited for the development of PAF Base Shahbaz in Jacobabad, instead of awarding this contract to Military Engineering Services (MES), that is the competent authority to carry out such sensitive contracts in the defence sector. The project’s initial cost was Rs 7 billion but escalated to a total cost of Rs 25 billion under highly questionable circumstances amid alleged financial foul play committed by the PAF officials in collusion with the consultant.

Continue reading Financial irregularities of Rs 50 billion detected in PAF

Sharif risks straining ties with military, warns US intelligence report

By Anwar Iqbal

WASHINGTON: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif may strain his relations with the new army chief if he continues to expand his policy-making powers, warns a US intelligence report.

The report, presented before the US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on Wednesday, notes that Mr Sharif is seeking to “acquire a more central policy-making role” for civilians in areas that the Army has traditionally dominated.

“His push for an increased role in foreign policy and national security will probably test his relationship with the new Chief of Army Staff, particularly if the Army believes that the civilian government’s position impinges on Army interests” the report warns.

Read more » DAWN
http://www.dawn.com/news/1084027

Corruption scandal threatens to engulf Spanish Princess

By Gabriel RUBIO – GIRON (AFP)

Madrid — Spanish King Juan Carlos’s youngest daughter, Princess Cristina, has been hurled into the centre of a corruption scandal that swept up her husband, Inaki Urdangarin, and outraged the nation.

The blonde-haired, 48-year-old Cristina, once known for her easy smile, was summoned Tuesday to appear on March 8 before a court in Palma on the Mediterranean island of Majorca as a suspect in alleged tax and money-laundering crimes.

It will be the first time in modern history that a direct relative of the Spanish king has faced court as a suspect, dealing a grave blow to the prestige of the princess and a Spanish monarchy already reeling from a corruption scandal involving Cristina’s husband Inaki Urdangarin.

Read more » Google News
http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5hJSaQwMbVxWop-G1gR147trijssg?docId=8ad5e00e-f7b2-44dd-8e12-6268ed469fc7

China: Growing Strikes, Corruption and Debt are Harbingers of coming Revolution

Written by Daniel Morley and Congyue Dai

Six months into China’s new Politburo Standing Committee under Xi Jinping’s Presidency, it has become abundantly clear that the next ten years under his rule will not resemble the relative social stability and rapid growth of the past ten years. The cart will not keep on rolling down the same path. Xi Jinping and the Chinese Communist Party stand at a crossroads, facing that classic dilemma of all ruling classes – either to open up to democratic reform or clamp down on growing dissent?

Underneath the bland, controlled and seemingly unchanging edifice of Hu Jintao’s Presidency China has been anything but unchanging. Millions have joined what is by far the world’s largest proletariat and started producing more and more commodities. Of particular interest to Marxists is the rebirth of the Chinese labour movement which is growing in confidence and organisation day by day. This fact is of infinitely greater significance in determining the new regime’s approach to reforming itself than the pleas of enlightened liberals.

According to China Labour Bulletin (CLB), the three months from June to August 2013 saw 183 strikes, 7% up from the previous three months and more than double the amount in the same period in 2012!

Read more » http://www.marxist.com/china-strikes-corruption-debt-harbinger-of-revolution.htm?fb_action_ids=739718982710238&fb_action_types=og.likes&fb_source=other_multiline&action_object_map={%22739718982710238%22%3A159396910938122}&action_type_map={%22739718982710238%22%3A%22og.likes%22}&action_ref_map=[]

Deadly debt trap

The only way to come out of prevalent economic mess is to accelerate growth and enhance tax revenues

By Huzaima Bukhari & Dr. Ikramul Haq

Pakistan trapped in deadly ‘debt prison’ needs concentrated short and long term efforts to come out of it. Unfortunately, till today no workable plan and viable strategy is devised by the government or any political party in opposition to tackle the issue. The debt burden — Rs14.5 billion internal and $60 billion external — is becoming unmanageable as major resources are consumed by debt servicing. The budget allocation of Rs1.52 trillion for retiring public debt and payment of interest during fiscal year 2013-14 would prove short as there was surge of Rs180 billion in external debts alone during July 2013.

On July 29, 2013, the rupee recorded its lowest value against the dollar: Rs102.4 in the interbank market, Rs104.7 in open market, but actual rate was Rs105.5. Continuous slide of the rupee is not merely due to widening demand-supply gap or maneuverings by unscrupulous elements. Other factors are external debt repayments of around $1billion and speculations about official devaluation in the wake of IMF bailout.

Devaluation will have devastating effects e.g. tremendous surge in public debt (one rupee loss in the exchange rate adds Rs60 billion to public debt), enhancement in debt servicing, further widening of fiscal deficit and more expensive imports, especially of crude oil raising cost of all goods and services.

Already huge debt servicing is taking a heavy toll on economy — fiscal deficit for financial year 2012-13 jumped to 8.8 per cent of GDP as shortfall on the part of Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) alone was Rs442 billion. The fast depletion of foreign exchange reserves — from $14.776 billion in July 2011 to $5.153 billion by July 2013 — aggravated the situation. Heavy repayments to the IMF and others plus financing of current account deficit amounting to $2.3 billion in 2012-13 forced the new government to approach the IMF for a bailout package.

The situation on internal debt is equally disturbing. The government, for the first time in the history, borrowed from local banks Rs one trillion during the fiscal year 2012-13. The net government borrowing from domestic banks increased to Rs1.012 trillion between July 1, 2012 and June 28, 2013 against Rs629.9 billion over the same period last fiscal year. The federal government borrowed Rs1.005 trillion for budgetary support as compared to Rs696.5 billion during the corresponding period fiscal year.

The reckless and unabated borrowing from commercial banks is not only retarding growth but also depriving private sector of the much-needed funds for investments. It is but also forcing State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) to inject heavy amounts of liquidity in the banking system through frequent open market operations as high borrowings wipe out liquidity from the money market.

The only way to come out of prevalent mess is to accelerate growth, generate employment, enhance tax revenues, and stop financing luxuries of elites and losses of public sector enterprises (PSEs). But the present government, like the PPP-coalition government, is not serious about it. During its election campaign, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) made tall claims that on assuming power it will get rid of the “cancer of external debts”.

Continue reading Deadly debt trap

Corruption limits educational opportunities for Sindhi Children

Reopening ghost schools a lucrative business in Thar

By Prem Shivani

MITHI: The number of schools in the most-underdeveloped district in Sindh is roughly twice the number of total villages.

According to education department records, there are 4,153 operational schools in 2,484 villages of Tharparkar district.

The schools are ‘operating’ on paper only and are not even remotely related to providing education to children living in these villages. Such schools are used only to embezzle government funds received for their management, Dawn reliably learnt. A couple of years ago, more than 50 per cent ghost schools in the district were got reopened by local influential persons in connivance with officials of the education department.

The schools regularly receive funds, ration for students, stipends and scholarships which the bogus schools management committees — comprising the supposed supervisor, teacher and at times the education district officer and additional district officer — distribute among themselves, according to sources in the education department.

According to regulations of the education department, a primary school has to be opened after every two kilometres. However, since the education officers have a stake in schools funds they have been more than generous in opening as many as 60 bogus schools in a single village, said the sources.

These officials have evaded notice by maintaining fake records for students’ enrolment and semis code.

A school with a semis code receives Rs22,500 per year as school management committee fund, a stipend of Rs250 for every girl student enrolled and the person who opens the school in his locality or village gets the job of a lower staff or a naib qasid. Moreover, funds and wheat, oil and ghee are also given by the World Food Programme and Tawana Pakistan Project for these schools.

According to education department records, there are 61 primary schools for boys and girls and one high school in Vaouridora village in Chhachhro taluka which has a total population of 6,580 people.

Around 3,950 boys and girls — 60 per cent of the population — have been shown enrolled in these schools, also having 182 students who have even studied up to matric. Out of these 62 schools 42 do not even have a building but have been allotted a semi code by education officials.

Meanwhile, 27, 22 and 17 schools have been supposedly functioning in Chhachhro, Diplo and Islamkot towns respectively.

A greater number of schools are operating in several villages of Tharparkar district having a population of less than 5,000 people.

Moreover, 24 schools have been opened in Chelhar, 23 in Karuro, 23 in Charnore, 22 in Thardos, 21 in Kitar, 19 in Kitari, 19 in Sakrio, 17 in Kantio,16 in Udani, 15 in Janjhi,14 in Danbhario,14 in Ranpario, 13 in Jetrar, 12 in Khimejopar, 11 in Pabuhar, 11 in Bhorilo, 10 in Dhaklo, 10 in Jese jo Par,10 in Kaloi, and 9 in Aranro village, state official bogus records.

A senior teacher who worked with the Tawana Pakistan Project confirmed that many schools in Thar maintained bogus records of students’ enrolment.“Wheat and oil obtained for these schools is openly sold in the market of these villages and towns,” he said.

An education official who wished not to be named shed some light on ‘the rationale behind opening several schools in a single village’.

He said that influential persons of various communities used their clout to get as many schools opened as possible because for each school opened in a village, bogus teachers gave a cut of their loot to the school superviser and the influential person who had got the school opened. If a teacher paid Rs1,000 a month to the supervisor then more schools meant more teachers and more money, he explained.

Tharparkar district education officer Abdul Majid Hur said that the matter was being probed thoroughly. He said that he would not hesitate to take a stern decision for putting the educational system in Thar on a sound footing and ensuring that quality education was imparted in schools.

For about two years now, people working in such bogus schools in connivance with the education department have managed to pull the wool over the eyes of stakeholders who are funding these schools.

Courtesy: DAWN
http://www.dawn.com/news/1023302/reopening-ghost-schools-a-lucrative-business-in-thar

Brazilian Revolt Claims Second Life as Violence Erupts

By Joshua Goodman, Raymond Colitt & David Biller

Brazil’s swelling street rebellion claimed its second fatality in the largest and most violent protests yet, as 1 million demonstrators rallied for better public services and an end to corruption

Marches took place in hundreds of cities across Brazil last night in what began as a peaceful protest. Violence later erupted with police battling mobs trying to storm the Foreign Ministry in Brasilia and Rio de Janeiro’s city hall.

In the northern city of Belem, a 54-year-old street cleaner died today after having a heart attack during the protests there, local health officials said. Yesterday an 18-year-old was killed when a vehicle accelerated into a crowd in the city of Ribeirao Preto, the military police said. The Free Fare Movement that helped organize protests in Sao Paulo said today it wouldn’t call new protests for now.

President Dilma Rousseff, who has been struggling to get in front of the mass movement, met with cabinet members today to discuss emergency measures to help quell violence and prepare proposals on education, health and other demands of protesters, a government official aware of her agenda said.

The movement triggered by an increase in bus fares this month has spread amid a groundswell of discontent among Brazil’s middle class. While faster economic growth helped lift 40 million people out of poverty over the past decade, a recent slowdown and faster inflation threaten to erode social gains.

Read more » Bloomberg
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-06-21/brazil-protests-persist-after-cities-revoke-fare-increase.html

Exclusive interview with Noam Chomsky on Pakistan elections

By Ayyaz Mallick |

Professor Emeritus at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Noam Chomsky, is without doubt the most widely heard and read public intellectual alive today. Although trained in linguistics, he has written on and extensively critiqued a wide range of topics, including US foreign policy, mainstream media discourses and anarchist philosophy. Chomsky’s work in linguistics revolutionised the field and he has been described as the ‘father of modern linguistics‘. Professor Chomsky, along with other luminaries such as Howard Zinn and Dr Eqbal Ahmad, came into prominence during the anti-Vietnam War movement in the 1960s and has since spoken in support of national liberation movements (and against US imperialism) in countries such as Palestine, El Salvador and Nicaragua. In fact, his prolificacy in terms of academic and non-academic writing has earned him a spot among the ten most cited sources of all time (alongside Aristotle, Marx and Plato). Now in his mid-80s, Professor Chomsky shows no signs of slowing down and maintains an active lecturing and interview schedule. Here we caught up with him to get his views on upcoming Pakistani elections, American influence in the region and other issues.

As a country which has spent almost half of its existence under some sort of direct military rule how do you see this first ever impending transition from one democratically-elected government to another?

Noam Chomsky: Well, you know more about the internal situation of Pakistan than I do! I mean I think it’s good to see something like a democratic transition. Of course, there are plenty of qualifications to that but it is a big change from dictatorship. That’s a positive sign. And I think there is some potential for introducing badly needed changes. There are very serious problems to deal with internally and in the country’s international relations. So maybe, now some of them can be confronted.

Coming to election issues, what do you think, sitting afar and as an observer, are the basic issues that need to be handled by whoever is voted into power?

NC: Well, first of all, the internal issues. Pakistan is not a unified country. In large parts of the country, the state is regarded as a Punjabi state, not their (the people’s) state. In fact, I think the last serious effort to deal with this was probably in the 1970s, when during the Bhutto regime some sort of arrangement of federalism was instituted for devolving power so that people feel the government is responding to them and not just some special interests focused on a particular region and class. Now that’s a major problem.

Another problem is the confrontation with India. Pakistan just cannot survive if it continues to do so (continue this confrontation). Pakistan will never be able to match the Indian militarily and the effort to do so is taking an immense toll on the society. It’s also extremely dangerous with all the weapons development. The two countries have already come close to nuclear confrontation twice and this could get worse. So dealing with the relationship with India is extremely important.

And that of course focuses right away on Kashmir. Some kind of settlement in Kashmir is crucial for both countries. It’s also tearing India apart with horrible atrocities in the region which is controlled by Indian armed forces. This is feeding right back into society even in the domain of elementary civil rights. A good American friend of mine who has lived in India for many years, working as a journalist, was recently denied entry to the country because he wrote on Kashmir. This is a reflection of fractures within society. Pakistan, too, has to focus on the Lashkar [Lashkar-i-Taiba] and other similar groups and work towards some sort of sensible compromise on Kashmir.

And of course this goes beyond. There is Pakistan’s relationship with Afghanistan which will also be a very tricky issue in the coming years. Then there is a large part of Pakistan which is being torn apart from American drone attacks. The country is being invaded constantly by a terrorist superpower. Again, this is not a small problem.

Historically, several policy domains, including that of foreign policy towards the US and India, budget allocations etc, have been controlled by the Pakistani military, and the civil-military divide can be said to be the most fundamental fracture in Pakistan’s body politic. Do you see this changing with recent elections, keeping in mind the military’s deep penetration into Pakistan’s political economy?

NC: Yes, the military has a huge role in the economy with big stakes and, as you say, it has constantly intervened to make sure that it keeps its hold on policy making. Well, I hope, and there seem to be some signs, that the military is taking a backseat, not really in the economy, but in some of the policy issues. If that can continue, which perhaps it will, this will be a positive development.

Maybe, something like what has happened recently in Turkey. In Turkey also, for a long time, the military was the decisive force but in the past 10 years they have backed off somewhat and the civilian government has gained more independence and autonomy even to shake up the military command. In fact, it even arrested several high-ranking officers [for interfering in governmental affairs]. Maybe Pakistan can move in a similar direction. Similar problems are arising in Egypt too. The question is whether the military will release its grip which has been extremely strong for the past 60 years. So this is happening all over the region and particularly strikingly in Pakistan.

In the coming elections, all indications are that a coalition government will be formed. The party of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif is leading the polls with Imran Khan’s (relatively) newly-emerged party not far behind. Do you think an impending coalition government will be sufficiently equipped to handle the myriad problems facing the country that you have just pointed out, such as civil-military imbalance, drone attacks, extremist violence etc.

NC: Well, we have a record for Nawaz Sharif but not the others. And judging by the record, it’s pretty hard to be optimistic. His [Sharif’s] previous governments were very corrupt and regressive in the policies pursued. But the very fact that there is popular participation can have impact. That’s what leads to change, as it has just recently in North Africa (in Tunisia and Egypt). As far as change goes, significant change does not come from above, it comes through popular activism.

In the past month or so, statements from the US State Department and the American ambassador to Pakistan have indicated quite a few times that they have ‘no favourites’ in the upcoming elections. What is your take on that especially with the impending (formal) US withdrawal from Afghanistan?

NC: That could well be true. I do not think that US government has any particular interest in one or another element of an internal political confrontation. But it does have very definite interests in what it wants Pakistan to be doing. For example, it wants Pakistan to continue to permit aggressive and violent American actions on Pakistani territory. It wants Pakistan to be supportive of US goals in Afghanistan. The US also deeply cares about Pakistan’s relationship with Iran. The US very much wants Pakistan to cut relations with Iran which they [Pakistan] are not doing. They are following a somewhat independent course in this regard, as are India, China and many other countries which are not strictly under the thumb of the US. That will be an important issue because Iran is such a major issue in American foreign policy. And this goes beyond as every year Pakistan has been providing military forces to protect dictatorships in the Gulf from their own populations (e.g. the Saudi Royal Guard and recently in Bahrain). That role has diminished but Pakistan is, and was considered to be, a part of the so-called ‘peripheral system’ which surrounded the Middle East oil dictatorships with non-Arab states such as Turkey, Iran (under the Shah) and Pakistan. Israel was admitted into the club in 1967. One of the main purposes of this was to constrain and limit secular nationalism in the region which was considered a threat to the oil dictatorships.

As you might know, a nationalist insurgency has been going on in Balochistan for almost the past decade. How do you see it affected by the elections, especially as some nationalist parties have decided to take part in polls while others have decried those participating as having sold out to the military establishment?

NC: Balochistan, and to some extent Sindh too, has a general feeling that they are not part of the decision-making process in Pakistan and are ruled by a Punjabi dictatorship. There is a lot of exploitation of the rich resources [in Balochistan] which the locals are not gaining from. As long as this goes on, it is going to keep providing grounds for serious uprisings and insurgencies. This brings us back to the first question which is about developing a constructive from of federalism which will actually ensure participation from the various [smaller] provinces and not just, as they see it, robbing them.

Continue reading Exclusive interview with Noam Chomsky on Pakistan elections

Pakistani youth ‘cool on democracy’

 

More than half of those surveyed said democracy had not been good for them or the country

More Pakistani youth would prefer Islamic law or military rule than democracy, a survey suggests.

More than half of 5,000 18-29 year-old Pakistanis polled said democracy had not been good for them or the country.

Some 94% said Pakistan was going in the wrong direction, up from 50% in 2007, the British Council survey found.

Almost a third of registered voters in Pakistan are under 30 years old, and are expected to play a big part in a general election due in May.

When asked to pick the best political system, both Sharia and military rule were favoured over democracy.

The survey points towards a pessimistic generation, disenchanted with democracy after five years of civilian rule, says the BBC’s Orla Guerin in Islamabad.

Most of those surveyed had more faith in the army than any other institution.

Approval ratings for the military were about 70% compared with just 13% for the government.

Continue reading Pakistani youth ‘cool on democracy’

Pakistan: A vanishing state

By Shabbir Ahmad Khan
Both empires and states fail or collapse. Examples include the Roman, Ottoman, Austro-Hungarian, Mughal and British empires. From the recent past, the Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia and Sudan are the best examples. Professor Norman Davies, in his book Vanished Kingdoms: The Rise and Fall of States and Nations recounts the history of 15 European states which disappeared. Professor Robert Rotberg, in his book When States fail: Causes and Consequences provides empirical description on a state’s failure. Similarly, the Fund for Peace and Foreign Policy magazine publishes a list of failed states each year, on which Pakistan ranks 13. Pakistan’s score is just 13 points below that of the most failed state in the world, Somalia, and just five points below that of Afghanistan, which is at number seven on the list.Why do empires and states fail or fall? There are a number of factors for state decline, including social, economic and political. The most common factor is global; it includes intervention by external political agents or forces. In such situations, the empires or states first fail to cope with the new challenges and later collapse. There is a new challenge before Pakistan, which no state in history has ever faced. Today, the world community is unified against religious extremism of any kind and a nuclear Pakistan is heavily convulsed by internal violence linked to religious extremism. After World War II, colonial powers gave independence to many nations, including Pakistan, with a clear rationale or prime motive. At a very critical juncture in history, if states lose their rationale, they lose their right to survive. Pakistan is passing through a critical juncture of her history. If she loses her rationale, she loses her right to exist.Two questions are important to answer the above-mentioned query. Who creates states and what is their rationale — i.e., the cause of their birth? More than 140 states got independence after the two world wars. The winners of the wars designed the world map by decolonising nations. The process of giving self-rule to new states was intentional and purposeful. British rulers, in congruence with the US, wanted to split India for their long-term interests in the region. In my opinion, Pakistan — the same way as the state of Israel — was created as an independent state to guard Western interests in the region. In both times of war and peace in history, Pakistan proved herself as the guardian of vested interests of Western powers. In return, Pakistan also got the liberty to do a number of things, including attaining nuclear capability. Throughout history, Pakistan changed herself with the changing demands of the West to fulfill her utility and her indispensability.

Thus, a militant, extremist, rigid and nuclear Pakistan was in the larger interests of Western powers, particularly to contain the Soviets and its allies, i.e., India. Now, the Western world has changed its policy towards the region where Pakistan is located and has demonetised its political currency by putting immense pressure on the country to change her course accordingly. But Pakistan seems reluctant.

Continue reading Pakistan: A vanishing state

For Zardari, five years of lost opportunities

The PPP regime huffs and puffs past the finish line, leaving behind a toxic legacy

By Ayesha Siddiqa

BUT DON’T you think we are getting over-excited about the PPP (Pakistan People’s Party) government and the Parliament completing its tenure?” It is almost as if every journalist who calls to seek comments on the state of democracy in Pakistan wants you to be sceptical. They would rather have people talk about all the unfulfilled dreams and promises of what was once Benazir Bhutto’s party. However, it is positive to see a transition from one civilian government to another taking place for the first time in the country’s history. The critics perhaps forget that the censure the ruling party has received is the real beauty of democratic rule. If you are unhappy with a party, you can seek to replace it with another. At least, the government is not being booted out. Yet, it would be too quick to call this the perfect run to the finish line because of two reasons.

First, the Parliament has completed its tenure but not the Cabinet. Prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani was sacked through extra-political manipulation. This makes it similar to the fate of the 2002 Parliament that completed its term but saw three prime ministers. Such changes indicate pressures on the civilian government and the fact that it is still not free to operate. Moreover, the PPP government was unlucky due to the media being unleashed on it from very early on, giving it the reputation of the most corrupt party in the country. It is said about the PPP that it “drinks less than it spills”. It is far less adept in hiding its mismanagement than other parties in Pakistan, especially the urban-based Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz Sharif ). The inability to think strategically in hiding its corruption does not bode well when the media is trained to target one particular party or group.

Recently, in response to whether I could write an opinion piece that may be slightly critical of the ethnic party, the Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM), the editor of an English daily told me that it was their policy not to criticise the MQM, the real estate tycoon Malik Riaz and the PML-N. This basically leaves out the Pakistan Army and the PPP. While the armed forces are not really affected by criticism, the PPP definitely is.

Second, the end of the government has left people feeling that the PPP lost out also because of its inherent inefficiency and lack of personalities who have Benazir’s natural capacity to lead the party. Asif Ali Zardari may be a past master at brokering deals and saving a moment, but he may be unable to save the party from collapse or becoming an entity of the past rather than the future.

Indubitably, things were not on the side of Benazir’s party, which is suspected much more than any other political party by the army. Things were not easy in the past five years because Zardari had changed the top leadership and brought in people of his own choice, a development that created more sceptics and enemies. In the past five years, Zardari certainly earned the reputation of being a great survivor. He resisted and circumvented all pressures that might have materialised in greater military intervention. However, this survival was done at the cost of inaction in many areas, starting from the inability to manage the party and market it properly. His media team proved fairly ineffective in selling policies for which the government could take credit, such as the passing of the 18th amendment to the 1973 Constitution, allowing for greater provincial autonomy.

Continue reading For Zardari, five years of lost opportunities

Humorously close to reality!

Daddy?

Yes, son.

Are we going to have a war with India?

Perhaps.

Oh, goody. We will thrash them, right? Like we did in 1857!

It wasn’t in 1857, son.

Oh, okay. But whom did we thrash in 1857?

The British, son…

And the Hindus too, right?

Well…

Did Quaid-i-Azam fight in that war along with Muhammad bin Qasim and Imran Khan?

No, son. The Quaid and Imran were born much later and Muhammad bin Qasim died many years before.

Then who ruled Pakistan in those days?

There was no Pakistan in those days, son.

But there was always a Pakistan! It has been there for 5,000 years!

Who have you been talking to, son?

No one. I’ve just been watching TV.

It figures.

Daddy, why are all these people against us Arabs?

Arabs? But we aren’t Arabs, son.

Of course we are because our ancestors were Arabs!

No, son. Our ancestors were of the subcontinental stock.

Sub-what?

Never mind.You seem to like wars, son.

Yes. I like to watch them on TV.

But real wars are fought outside the TV, son.

Really? How is that possible? What sort of a war is that?

Never mind.

Daddy, you look worried.

Of course, I am, you little warmongering punk!

Daddy! Why are you scolding me?

Because TV is talking rot and so are you!

Daddy, are you supporting Hindus?

No!

Daddy, have you become a kafir?

Keep quiet! No more TV for you! Go watch a movie on DVD or listen to a CD.

Can’t do that.

But we have so many DVDs and CDs, son.

Not any more.

What do you mean?

I burned them all.

What?!

I burned them all.

I heard that! But why?

They spread obscenity.

Oh, God. Son, go do your homework. What happened to that science project you were working on?

It’s almost complete.

Good boy. What are you making?

A bomb.

What?!

A bomb.

I heard that! But why?

Because I am a true Muslim who hates America.

But only last week you wanted to go to Disney Land.

That’s different.

How come?

Mickey Mouse is Muslim.

No, he isn’t.

Is so. He converted when he heard azaan on the moon.

On the moon?

Yes. Because the earth is flat and…

What??

The earth is…

I heard that!

Daddy, do you want to see my science project, or not?

Gosh, that bomb? But your science teacher will fail you.

No, she wont.

Really?

Yes. I plan to blow her up as well.

God, what is wrong with you? Go call your mother!

She can’t come.

Why not?

I’ve locked her in the kitchen.

But what for?

A woman’s place is in the kitchen. I will not let her out until she covers herself up peoperly!

But she’s your mother!

She’s also a woman!

So?

So she should be hidden.

Hidden from whom?

The whole world and Tony.

Tony?

Yes, Tony.

But Tony’s a cat.

Yes. But he’s male.

Son, have you gone mad?

No. By the way, I’ve made sure Kitto starts covering up as well.

Kitto?

Yes, Kittto.

But Kitto’s a cat!

Yes. But a female cat.

But she’ll suffocate.

Oh, she’s already dead.

What?

She’s already dead.

I heard that! But how?

I buried her alive.

You what?

Yes. To avenge Tony’s honour. But now I will behead Tony.

But why?

To save mom’s honour!

Oh, God!

Don’t say that. Always say Allah.

What’s the difference?

Daddy, do you want to be beheaded too?

No!

Do you want to be stoned to death?

No!

Do you want to be flogged?

No!

Do you want to get your arms chopped off?

No!

Then stop asking silly questions. By the way, I won’t call you daddy anymore.

What will you call me then?

Whatever that is Arabic for daddy.

I don’t know any Arabic, son.

That’s because you are a kafir.

Who the heck are you to tell me who I am, you little fascist twit!

What’s a fascist?

An irrational, violent, self-righteous mad man!

W… aaaaaaa…

Why are you crying?

You scolded me.

Okay, I’m sorry. You have to be tolerant and rational, son. Now be a good boy and go read a book instead of watching TV.

I have no books.

Of course, you do. I bought you so many books.

I burned them.

What?

I burned them.

But why?

They were all in English.

So?

It’s a non-Muslim language!

But we are speaking English, aren’t we?

W… aaaaaaa…

What now?

Zionists made me forget my Arabic.

But you never knew any Arabic, son.

W… aaaa… yes, I did until you and mommy gave me the polio drops… aaaaa…

Okay, tell me, can you do me a favour?

Sure, dad.

Can you blow up something for me?

Oh, goody! Of course, dad. What should I blow? A CD shop, a hotel, a school…?

No, no, something a lot more sinister.

Mom?

No, no…

What then?

The TV set!

What?

Blow the TV set.

I heard that! But why?

Just do it!

I see. Dad?

Yes.

You’re so unconstitutional! – (author unknown)

Courtesy: Pakistani e-lists/ e-groups, March 18, 2013.

Malik Riaz ‘nabbed’ ? Dream Island crashes-X

zardari saleBy Amir Mateen

The good news is that the NAB finally woke up to stop Port Qasim Authority from giving further concessions to Malik Riaz of Bahria Town to build, if at all he plans to do that, the alleged Island City, 3.5 km off the Karachi coast.

Of course, Malik will continue to publish ads showing fabulous pictures of Dubai’s man-made islands besides announcements about building the world’s biggest Mall and the tallest building. No explanation is given about the equity; who will put in how much money and how. And this is about a whopping sum of $ 45 billion. But Malik Riaz keeps changing his figures as pennies in his pocket. After the Abu Dhabi Group backed out, Malik Riaz brought the figure down to Rs 15 billion investment through a news report from his ‘chosen’ editor and newspaper.

The figure was ballooned to $ 15 billion in six hours and then to $ 20 within 24 hours–interestingly propagated by the same media groups. Bahria rose the figure back to its original claim of raising $ 45 billion in its ads published by almost all mainstream newspaper. Only this time there was no name and face of the investor, except the promise that a consortium of Arab and Europeans will descend upon Pakistan soon to pledge the $ 45 billion just because “Bahria commits, Bahria delivers.”

Thousands of cases exist where Bahria has not delivered at all with people running from pillar to post to recover their life-savings– Awami Villas (DHA phase-2 extension), Bahria Town Phase 9, DHA Valley, REHC, just to name a few.

What we have on the table is the grand arrival of controversial US investor, Thomas Kramer, whose net worth is $ 90 million. How will he bring in the promised money is yet to be seen. Malik Riaz shows a loss of Rs 107 million in his personal income declaration for the last three years (2010-12). He owes another Rs 107 billion in taxes as documented by the Federal Tax Ombudsman (FTO) and much more to investors whom he is yet to ‘deliver’ despite taking billions in advance illegally. Yet he keeps buying jet planes, the latest being a $ 20 million worth hawker Beech craft that he bought last month, perhaps to facilitate the electoral candidates that he is supposed to ‘deliver’ from every political party. The likelihood is that he may not declare this as he has not declared the Rs 850 million that he declared on TV to have spent on Shahbaz Sharif’s Ashiana Scheme or the Rs 2 billion that he claims to spend on feeding people.

So the only concrete thing on ground is the dubiously acquired State land for which he invites investors.

The NAB, we are told, took notice of complaints under the Prevention of Corruption Initiatives regarding the award of contract by the PQA. This was done after several complaints from Transparency International, consumer watchdogs and nationalists. The Sindh Assembly opposition lodged explosive protest against the sale of the ‘motherland.’ It got provoked because nobody consulted the Assembly about giving the project, which, among other things, entails building the world’s tallest building on its soil. Sindhi nationalists got incensed over Prime Minister Pervaiz Ashraf receiving the US tycoon who is accused of rape, child-molestation and many other traits that he shares with his hosts here.

He was also received by the MQM contingent including Governor Ishratul Ibad, who went a step forward by offering him 4500 acres over and above the 1200 acres ‘delivered’ by the PQA. Malik seems everybody in his pocket. Who else can bring an alleged rapist and make the high and the mighty of this land receive him without any notice. “What is going on here?,” asked Sindhi activist Zulfiqar Halipoto who led a protest rally in Islamabad. A placard in the rally asked: “How stupid can we become?”

Endlessly, we think. The NAB surprised everybody by advising “the PQA not to sign any concession agreement in violation of RFP, government rules and regulations.” It bragged that it has made mandatory for the PQA to get the contract vetted by a panel of experts also “give a presentation regarding compliance of all terms and conditions of agreement by the Bahria Town.”

The bad news is that nobody trusts the NAB, which is accused as “Bahria’s laundry shop” where they like to take their difficult cases to get a tag of piety. NAB Chairman Fasih Bokhari had his daughter working for Bahria Town earlier. Bokhari, who served in Pakistan Navy when Bahria was in partnership with it, was accused of having clandestine arrangements with Malik Riaz in a court of law. Many think that the NAB shows the interest to take the charge and give a clean chit t Malik Riaz. Only in movies, you might say.

Interestingly, Malik Riaz identifies himself with movie characters. His web site actually shows a long note in his own writing comparing his life with the hero of Bollywoods movie Guru (Abhishek Bachan). He writes, the chapter is titled “Guru or king-maker,” that as Guru he also grew against all odds. He particularly mentions the climax, where Guru thunders before an inquiry board that “I tried to play it straight but I was obstructed because nothing happened without bribery and corruption.” He goes on to describe that, as Guru, Malik Riaz also had to “open the doors” whatever it took from ‘sifarish’ to bribery to violence. In the process, he says, he made himself rich and everybody else. The crux is that, as Guru, that the ordinary courts could not judge him as it is for the people to decide.

Continue reading Malik Riaz ‘nabbed’ ? Dream Island crashes-X

SINDH – Class struggle vs national movement

By Khalique Junejo

Ideologically as well as strategically, the socialist movement and the struggles for national independence are considered to be natural allies against imperialism

Daily Times of March 3, 2013 carried an article “Bangladesh: past haunts the future” written by Lal Khan. The writer while discussing the current situation of Bangladesh arising out of the court verdicts against Jamaat-e-Islami leaders for war crimes of 1971, brings to the fore the old (though not obsolete) debate over the class question and nationalist movements, particularly in Pakistan. He links the roots of the current agitation with the bourgeois character and capitalist connections of the nationalist movement of Bengalis, particularly its leader Sheikh Mujibur Rehman and concludes that “the real motive of these trials at this stage is to subvert the rising wave of a renewed class struggle.”

The article needs serious discussion. First we analyse the subject matter from a historical perspective and then apply it to the political progress of Pakistan and Bangladesh.

The terms capitalism, secularism, nationalism and class struggle referred to in the article are the product of (Western) Europe. So let us have a look at the matter from that angle.

One thousand years (fifth to 15th century) of Europe’s history are described as the ‘Dark Ages’. During this period European society was dominated by three factors: feudalism, religion (Church) and the kingdoms established through military power. During the Renaissance these factors were challenged, and later on replaced, by three other facts, i.e. capitalism, secularism and nationalism (nation states). These factors put Europe on the path of progress that made it the leader of the world. This shows that capitalism accompanied by secularism and nationalism is a progressive phenomenon in comparison to the feudalism-dominated society and an unavoidable stage in the progress of human society.

Continue reading SINDH – Class struggle vs national movement

Canada drops out of top 10 most developed countries list

The United Nations human development index now ranks Canada as 11th

By the Canadian Press

Canada has slipped out of the top 10 countries listed in the annual United Nation’s human development index — a far cry from the 1990s when it held the first place for most of the decade.

The 2013 report, which reviews a country’s performance in health, education and income, places Canada in 11th place versus 10th last year.

Continue reading Canada drops out of top 10 most developed countries list