Tag Archives: corruption

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

 

#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/

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

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

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

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.

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

When a state is dysfunctional

By: Abbas Nasir

WHO knows what a failed state is? Such definitions are for the academics and experts. But what one can easily ascertain is a state that is dysfunctional.

For what would you call a state that has neither the power to generate resources and tax those who need to be taxed, nor the system or even the need to ensure that it accounts for what it spends? It can keep piling up a huge deficit without question and have nothing to show for it.

What would you call a state that cannot deliver the very least: the safety of life and limb to its citizens? Where if you particularly happened to be in the smaller provinces the only thing you could get by on is your faith. Yes, God remains the only recourse.

Continue reading When a state is dysfunctional

Culture, Corruption and the Hereafter

Pervez Hoodbhoy

By Pervez Hoodbhoy

Some readers, whose intelligence I respect, took my last op-ed to be dismissive of corruption as a cause of Pakistan’s social decay. I apologise for having failed to express myself adequately: I certainly do not dispute that Pakistan is reaping the terrible consequences of wholesale corruption. Corruption, by definition, expropriates that which rightfully belongs to others. By doing so, it hurts the poor more than the rich, lowers productivity, creates mistrust of authority, breaks down the social contract and leads towards ungovernability. We all know that the average Pakistani is frustrated and that he encounters corruption while reporting a crime, seeking justice in a traffic accident, getting an electricity or gas connection, securing admission to school for children, or getting a business contract signed. We have kunda mafias, tanker mafias, and mafias of all shapes and forms that raise the collective blood pressure.

So, instead of emphasising corruption, why did I choose to identify the principal problems of Pakistan as a) unbridled population growth; b) terrorism; and c) slowness of cultural modernisation? (Please wait until I define modernity; it doesn’t mean consumerism or rock music!).

My plea: corruption is a symptom of some social disease, but there are very many different kinds of such diseases. To borrow a medical analogy: high fever could come from typhoid, pneumonia, measles, flu and a hundred other diseases. They can all make you hot and sick, but no genuine doctor specifically targets ‘fever’. Buying the wares of roadside hakeems who advertise anti-fever brews is worse than useless. It is equally useless to target corruption without understanding its origins.

Continue reading Culture, Corruption and the Hereafter

Rent-a-PM

by Hakim Hazik

If you already have carried out coup d’etas, or have your candidate in place, it is not too late. Please see our Morning-After package for details. (Previously called the Law of Necessity package.)

All are welcome to visit our brand new facility at the Constitution Avenue. We provide caretaker prime ministers, interim government leaders, technocrats and religious leaders at very competitive rates.

All our personnel come with a warrantee of a minimum of ninety days which can be extended to eleven years for a small monthly amount. (Terms and conditions apply, see the registrar Supreme Court for a detailed plan, customised to your needs).

If you already have carried out coup d’etas, or have your candidate in place, it is not too late. Please see our Morning-After package for details. (Previously called the Law of Necessity package.)

If your candidate has fallen foul of the articles 62-63 or of the Dual Nationality Law, a remedy can be found. Please see our Speedy Rehab plan for details. (Previously called the Halala package.)

This may include a six week intensive programme to learn the Ayat ul Kursi at Jamia Faridia International University. For the unlettered candidates, one to one oral instruction is available without any documentation, from our corporate partners, Arsalan-Riaz Associates. At the end of this intensive course, your candidate will fly through the requirements of reciting the selected suras in front of the most learned, pious and bewigged audience of the land and be able to maintain his parliamentary seat, without recourse to a by-election.

Continue reading Rent-a-PM

Pakistani cleric: catalyst for change or military stooge?

By Matthew Green and Mubasher Bukhari

LAHORE, Pakistan (Reuters): A month ago, Muhammad Tahirul Qadri was living quietly in Canada, immersed in the affairs of his Islamic charity and seemingly far removed from the pre-election power games shaping the fate of politicians in his native Pakistan.

In the past three weeks, he has returned home to lead a call for electoral reforms that has earned him instant celebrity, sent a stab of anxiety through the ruling class and raised fears of trouble at a planned rally in Islamabad on Monday.

“Our agenda is just democratic electoral reforms,” Qadri told Reuters in the eastern city of Lahore, the headquarters of his Minhaj-ul-Quran religious foundation. “We don’t want the law-breakers to become our lawmakers.”

Continue reading Pakistani cleric: catalyst for change or military stooge?

Nation refusing to defend itself — Tausif Kamal

No amount of good governance can usher in prosperity and progress without first dealing with and defeating the internal enemy in our midst

So our army brass has now come to the brilliant conclusion that the Taliban/jihadis’ internal threat constitutes the biggest security risk to the country. Indeed! This belated acknowledgment comes after a period of no less than a decade when this internal enemy first launched its attacks against the state and people of Pakistan, after the killing of no less than 40,000 of our citizens and forces, wounding of thousands more, and after the horrific destruction wrought by this enemy from within.

But even this Eureka moment of the army in recognising the Taliban as the country’s biggest enemy does not mean that it is ready to take action to confront and defeat this enemy. The army wants the civilian government to devise a ‘comprehensive strategy’ to fight this enemy. And the civilian government in turn wants the army to further tweak and ‘redefine’ its reading of this grave security threat.

Continue reading Nation refusing to defend itself — Tausif Kamal

The great Sindhi transformation

Swift changes in production and consumption are changing the society and politics in Sindh

By Dr Manzur Ejaz

Contrary to common belief that Sindh is a feudal-ruled primitive land, socio-economic transformation in Sindh is as fast as in Punjab. Rapid urbanization, mechanization of agricultural sector and commercialization has changed the very basis of Sindhi society. Such a transformation will have inevitable political consequences that may not be visible currently, but will materialize down the road.

The effects of this transformation are trickling down even to the common person, whether it is cellphone equipped goat herders or teens from small towns using motor vehicles. Colorful rickshaws have replaced tongas and tractors trollies have taken the place of centuries old wooden plows pulled by animals. Consumer goods have penetrated the Sindhi society deeply, uprooting and transforming the artisan classes and their skills. Consequently, the realignment of Sindhi class structure is duly underway.

Swift changes of economic production and consumption triggered mammoth urbanization from the 1980s onward. The newly urbanized masses have started playing their political roles as summed up by Zafar Junejo, chief executive officer of Thardeep – an NGO working for economic development – in an article published by Newsline.

He argues that recent protests against the new local governments system are led by these new urban masses rather than traditional nationalist groups.

Parallel to the great socio-economic transformation, Sindhi intelligentsia is cognizant of emergence of a neo-feudal class, led symbolically by Asif Ali Zardadri, Zulifqar Mirza, Pir Mazhar et al. These are people who do not come from the traditional feudal class but are rumored to have amassed huge tracts of land and industries by making money through illegal means, occupying public lands or forcing small land owners to sell their land. This is a class or type of ruling class which remains absent from their electoral constituencies and just show up at election times. They have nothing to do with the people and this is the main reason the major developmental projects are nowhere to be seen in the whole province. Hyderabad’s non existing metal roads are a manifestation of poor performance by the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) government in the province and the center. This may lead an ultimate downfall of the PPP in Sindh.

Continue reading The great Sindhi transformation

Corruption in Israel

Jerusalem of Gold

Does Israel Have a Corruption Problem?

By Ido Baum

The slew of recent high-profile graft cases in Israel makes it seem that Israeli politicians are more corrupt than others. Part of this can be chalked up to aggressive state prosecutors and an open media. But the problem is not simply one of public perception. …

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http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/138741/ido-baum/jerusalem-of-gold?cid=soc-twitter-in-snapshots-Jerusalem_of_gold-010413

A Peaceful Islamic Revolution in Pakistan?

By: Malik Siraj Akbar, Editor in Chief, ‘The Baloch Hal’

A Pakistani Muslim scholar with Canadian nationality has announced to transform Islamabad into “the world’s biggest Tahrir Square” on January 14th ahead of this year’s upcoming general elections. Dr. Tahir-ul-Qadri, a cogent public speaker, has made an abrupt but a robust comeback in Pakistan’s politics after spending nearly five years in Canada. Qadri, previously an unpopular politician but still a cleric with a large following of religious disciples, is asking for electoral reforms prior to the next polls.

There are two fundamental problems with Qadri’s demand.

First, he has given an absolutely unrealistic ultimatum of mere two weeks to the ruling Pakistan People’s Party (P.P.P.) to carry out vague electoral reforms, for example to ensure the election of ‘honest people’ to the parliament. In order to conduct these reforms, Dr. Qadri, while citing the Article 254 of the Pakistani constitution, justifies the postponement of the general elections which are expected to take place in May. The mainstream political parties, such as the P.P.P. and the Pakistan Muslim League of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, want to go for elections without any interruptions soon after the completion of the current term of the parliament because they oppose any kind of derailment of the democratic process.

Second, Dr. Qadri is asking for representation for the powerful Pakistani military and the politically active judiciary in the interim government, a demand that clearly clashes with the very spirit of democracy.

Continue reading A Peaceful Islamic Revolution in Pakistan?

The Idea of Pakistan-Myth and Reality

By Agha H Amin

Pakistan today stands in the eye of the storm and every act of Islamic extremism can be traced to Pakistan or persons of Pakistani origin. Resultantly a battle of ideas has started in Pakistan about ascertaining the true role of Mr Jinnah and his political ideas.

The political use of religion was started after 1857 by Muslim aristocracy of United Provinces of Agra and Oudh and Punjab once they saw that Muslims were under threat of being reduced to zero because of introduction of competitive examinations and European style political representation.Thus the origins of Muslim politics in India in the period 1858-1947 was safeguarding the class interests of Muslim aristocracy and middle class in Punjab and UP.

The All India Muslim League founded in 1906 was a Bengali Muslim heavy effort but immediately hijacked by UP Muslims and its headquarters shifted to UP.The All India Muslim League remained UP Muslim dominated to such an extent that in Lucknow Pact in absence of many Punjabis or Bengalis the All India Muslim League agreed to surrender Muslim majority in Punjab to partity and Muslim majority in Bengal to minority.A direct result of Lucknow Pact was the Unionist Party in Punjab ,formed because Muslims of Punjab needed to be in partnership with Hindus and Sikhs without which they could not form a government.Similarly the Bengali Muslims suffered all along till 1946 because of Lucknow Pact and were forced to be manipulated by Hindu blackmail in Bengal politics.Chaudhry Khaliquzzaman did call Lucknow Pact a faux pas.

Mr Jinnah the founder of Pakistan was not known to be a religious man till 1937 at least when his All India Muslim League was literally routed in Muslim majority provinces of India getting just (7,319,445) the League got only 321,772 Muslim votes out of a total Muslim votes of 7,319,445 a mere 4.4 percent. In Punjab the League won just 2 seats out of 84 , in Bengal 39 out of 117,in NWFP none .Even in Muslim minority provinces the Muslim League was not Muslims first choice except Bombay where it won 20 out of 29 seats.

The Second World War brought the Congress in conflict with British and the Congress resigned from its ministries.The Lahore Resolution of 1940 was a strategic response of Mr Jinnah to counter the congress.It dove tailed with British war effort which Mr Jinnah supported and it countered the Congress which again suited the British.

The higher class and the middle class Muslims in UP , Punjab , Bengal and Sindh saw it as an opportunity to eliminate the Hindus and Sikhs from political , economic and employment competition.It is well known that some 25 % of Hindu money lenders were in Punjab and the vast majority of Muslim landlords in Punjab and Sindh were in debt to these money lenders.This factor prompted many Punjabi Muslim members of the Unionist Party to change loyalties to the Muslim League in 1940-46.

The Muslim feudal and educated classes of Punjab and UP saw Pakistan as a place where they would dominate the politics ,the business, the jobs and thus be the successors of British,The Bengali and Sindhi position was very low in the Muslim League hierarchy dominated till 1936 by UP Muslims and by Punjabi Muslims in partnership with UP Muslims after 1938.

It is a well known fact that Islam was used as a central mobilizing slogan in the elections of 1946 in Punjab,Sindh and Bengal.Mr Jinnah may have been a totally secular man but the campaign of 1946 did create a religious picture of Pakistan.

And now the class aspect of Pakistan. Who voted in 1946 Elections for Muslim League or Congress. Most of the people, particularly, women and lower class people, had no voting rights. These elections were based on the extremely restricted franchise of the 1919 Act, and the total number of votes cast was only 586,647, representing almost exclusively the propertied classes.Stanley Wolpert notes that just 5 % of Indias population voted in 1946 Elections.

Those who could understand and feel were bitter about the Punjab massacres and Hafeez Jullundhuri thus expressed his disgust :–

Qaafloay lut gayay barbad ho gayay to kia hua

Mutmain hain Qaflas salaar apnay kam say

The aftermath of Pakistan and its chequered political history proves many contradictions .

Continue reading The Idea of Pakistan-Myth and Reality

Terrorism in Pakistan: A View from Moscow

By: Andrei Volodin, specially for RIR

Russia should make every effort to help recover the pattern of civil society in Pakistan by supporting the role of political parties, civil groups and any organisations that aim to fight terrorism.

Terrorism has grown into probably the most destructive phenomenon in today’s Pakistan. The sorrow list of victims of terrorist attacks is expanding rapidly, going up from 164 casualties in 2003 to 40,000 in 2011. According to official data, damage suffered by the country from 2000 to 2011 exceeded $70 billion.

The official government acknowledgement of terrorism as the main threat to the unity and integrity of Pakistan has proved unable to reverse the situation as terrorist efforts retain their momentum.

The sources of terrorism in Pakistan are usually linked to the policy of Islamisation of the country by General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq (years in office: 1977 to 1988). An important element of the then emerging terrorist activity was Pakistan’s direct involvement in military actions in Afghanistan and the actual creation of the mujahideen units, who after the end of the military actions rose to prominence as a military and political force first in Afghanistan and then in Pakistan.

The government and society at large have no clear understanding of the strategy and tactics of fighting terrorism. The point of view of George Friedman, a U.S. analyst, is that Pakistan is losing its “trajectory into the future.” This opinion is underpinned by the increasingly chaotic social and political life in Pakistan, the army’s involvement in domestic processes, the poorly regulated government economy and the inability of political parties to set up adequate political life for more than five years. This “institutional vacuum” is inevitably filled up by other organisations, in case of Pakistan, terrorist structures.

Experts often describe Pakistan as a “pendulum state,” meaning the country’s typical alternation of military and civil government. However, following the resignation of Pervez Musharraf and with certain influence from the US, which disrupted the usual cyclicality, this constraint of political struggle was withdrawn from the political process. As a consequence, Pakistani parties were made even more fragile and unpredictable in their actions. There are basically personal problems that are substituting the existing controversies in the diverse social and political programmes of the Pakistan People’s Party, on the one hand, and the Pakistan Muslim League, on the other hand.

Continue reading Terrorism in Pakistan: A View from Moscow

JALSO of PML-F – A rejection to SPLGA – An emerging Alternative to get off forty years prison of PPP

Nawab Ali RahooBy: Nawab Ali Rahoo, Hyderabad,Sindh

Misfortune of one yields fortune for another. The prevailing leadership of PPP has provided an opportunity to PML-F to launch itself in a manner that deprived & betrayed masses by PPP-P Government may find rescue & comfort in the folds of PML-F. Since the day PPP- MQM coalition government tabled SPLGO in Sindh Assembly & got it passed hurriedly. The very moment PML-F on Assembly ground & the Nationalists on the roads opposed it with tooth & nail. The arrogant PPP neither paid attention towards public resentment nor responded to any political party opposing this barbaric bill.

On the one hand they started joking on opponents then criticized severely & finally conducted public meeting (jalso) in Hyderabad on 10th October 2012 which proved a flop show. On the other hand Sindh Bachayo Committee (SBC) under the convener ship of Syed Jalal Shah along with Jatoi Bros & Shahryar Mahar gathered at Pir Sahib Pagaro to accelerate the struggle against controversial Dual Local Government System. Due to Government’s tough & unfavorable stand on this controversial black bill there was a growing frustration among masses of Sindh.

In the mean time Pir Sahib Paggaro appeared as the gigantic voice of Sindh & Sindhis which raised a new hope among downtrodden masses of Sindh. His patriotic stand, vision, attitude & dealing with recently erupted political affairs earned for him a “leadership” role. Thus genial Pir Sahib Pagaro got consensus to lead all parties who are struggling against dual bill in particular and are willing to form a grand alliance against PPP in Sindh in coming elections in general.

Continue reading JALSO of PML-F – A rejection to SPLGA – An emerging Alternative to get off forty years prison of PPP

ISI should be accountable – No clue to Rs4.1bn paid to ISI for project

ISLAMABAD: Already in the eye of the storm for its political role, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency came under criticism at a Public Accounts Committee meeting on Tuesday for having spent over Rs4 billion on a project which never materialised.

The PAC of the National Assembly was informed that the National Police Bureau (NPB) had handed over Rs2.1bn to the ISI in 2005-06 for setting up an automated fingerprints identification system and a police record and office management system.

The project also included the setting up of a national integrated trunk radio system for police. Later, the amount was increased to Rs4.1bn.

According to an audit report presented before the PAC, the project had to be completed during 2005-06. However, no progress was reported in 2006-07.

NPB Director General Aleena Saeed Iqbal said she had repeatedly sought from the ISI information about the status of the project and details of the accounts, but there had been no response.

Continue reading ISI should be accountable – No clue to Rs4.1bn paid to ISI for project

Crimes against humanity in Sindh and Pakistan that have taken place during the last 4 years of PPP regime.

Crimes against humanity in Sindh and Pakistan

Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabani Khar has presented a rosy human rights report in the periodical human rights review session of the United Nations in Geneva, which is an attempt to hide underway crimes against humanity in the country.

SHE HAS claimed remarkable achievements regarding rights regime in Pakistan. Her report and talk at Geneva gives an impression that Pakistan has undergone a huge transformation during last four years similar to a revolution in the governance, rights regime, and legal framework.

The realities in Pakistan are entirely opposite to that report. If an analysis of last four years in Sindh province alone is carried regarding the Hindus exodus and ethnic cleansing, involuntarily disappearances, extra-judicial killings, and ethnically discriminative legislations, the intensity of the violations as well as denial of the rights under various treaties and declarations of United Nations will no doubt prove to be the crime against humanity.

Hindu Exodus and other forms of ethnic cleansing in Sindh

Thousands of Sindhi Hindus have been forced to quit Sindh, Pakistan, who have refuge or settled in the various countries mostly in India. Nearly 8000 Hindus from Sanghar district of Sindh, Pakistan have sought asylum in Rajasthan state of India during October 2012. The other form of ethnic cleansing is the target killings of ethnic Sindhi, Baloch, and Pashtun in Karachi city, which is aimed to resist these peoples settlement and force the existing population to migrate from city. The state support to an ethnic violence-making group through administrative decisions and legislative initiatives is an established reality of violating the various international treaties and declarations, which are rectified by Pakistan.

In this regards, the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide’ in Article II reads:

“….genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such: a. killing members of the group; b. causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; c. deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part…

According to the Article III of the convention, genocide; conspiracy to commit genocide; direct and public incitement to commit genocide; attempt to commit genocide; and complicity in genocide are punishable crimes. The article IV of the treaty clearly mentions, “Persons committing genocide or any of the other acts enumerated in article III shall be punished, whether they are constitutionally responsible rulers, public officials or private individuals.”

Continue reading Crimes against humanity in Sindh and Pakistan that have taken place during the last 4 years of PPP regime.

Betrayals from within – Analysis by Mohammad Ali Mahar

What the ruling party has achieved through the SPLG bill is not clear except for a few more days in power and the wrath of the common Sindhi

In the 14th century, Chanesar Soomro, a disgruntled elder brother of the king of Sindh, Dodo Soomro, invited Alauddin Khilji to invade Sindh in order to help him seize the throne from Dodo. The elders, despite Chanesar being older, elected Dodo as the king. The story has it that the elders went to Chanesar first and when they informed him that he was being enthroned, Chanesar making a grave error of judgment said to them, “Wait until I consult with my mother.” Sindh being a patriarchal society then as it is now, the elders, saying that one who could not make his own decisions, having to rely on his womenfolk’s wisdom, cannot be a capable king, rejected him instantaneously and crowned Dodo.

Chanesar contacted Allaudin Khilji to help him gain the throne, which he thought was his by right. In return, he is said to have offered Khilji his sister, Baghi Bai’s hand. Khilji accepted the offer and invaded Sindh. When Khilji attacked Sindh, Dodo encountered him head on and died valiantly defending his land. After Dodo, his only sister, Baghi Bai, hiding her face in a turban, led the battle and was martyred in the battlefield. To this day, Sindhis do not name their sons Chanesar. Dodo as well as Baghi Bai are still alive in the Sindhis’ hearts, while Chanesar has become a cuss word. Being called ‘Chanesar’ is one of the biggest insults to a Sindhi. Shaikh Ayaz, eulogising Dodo, wrote in his famous ballad, Dodo Soomro’s Death, “Doda tunhinjo Saah ta weendo, Dharti jo wesaah na weendo” (Dodo, by sacrificing your life, you will renew this soil’s faith in her sons).

For centuries now, hardly has there been a period when the Sindhi nation has seen one full year of solace. Right from the days when the Aryans invaded the land and drove the indigenous people out — even though Bhagwan Das Gidwani, in his magnum opus, Return of the Aryans, says that it was not an invasion but a homecoming for the Aryans, who had left the Indus land earlier — never has there been much peace in this unfortunate land. Sindh has suffered as much at the hands of foreign invaders as it has from the ingrate lot eating from its fruits and drinking from its waters, but harming it for their petty interests.

While the history of Sindh is full of epic deeds of its heroes who laid down their lives for the honour of their motherland, there has been no dearth of traitors, who either sold their motherland for power, money, or both. And, while the Sindhi nation sings the praises of its valiant sons, it never forgets its traitors.

The honourable members of the Sindh Assembly, by passing the Sindh People’s Local Government Order, 2012 (SPLGO-2012), have reminded me of a number of incidents from the history of Sindh. But I will delve into one instance, for not only does it perfectly fit the paradigm here but refreshes the memories of a time when a similar decision was imposed on the people of Sindh and how the Sindhi people reacted to it.

On September 11, 1954, Muhammad Ayub Khuhro, the uncle of the current speaker of the Sindh Assembly, Honourable Nisar Khuhro, facilitated the passage of the One Unit bill in the Sindh Assembly. Previously, Chief Minister Abdul Satter Pirzada’s government had been dismissed when he, considering the scheme to be detrimental to Sindh’s interests, had refused to get the bill passed through the assembly. An unelected Ayub Khuhro, who had been unceremoniously dismissed on the charges of corruption and maladministration previously, had to be reinstalled as the chief minister of the province when he agreed to toe the line of the central government and get the bill passed. The One Unit bill did pass even though the Khuhro government had to abduct the speaker of the house, Mir Ghulam Ali Khan Talpur, who had refused to get the bill admitted and passed by the assembly. How Ayub Khuhro is remembered in Sindh to this day is no secret and the fact was acknowledged not very long ago by the honourable speaker, Nisar Ahmed Khuhro himself.

What the ruling party has achieved through the SPLG bill is not clear except for a few more days in power and the wrath of the common Sindhi. What is certain, however, is that they have lost all the credibility their party enjoyed in the eyes of the Sindhi people, which had taken Mr Bhutto and Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto decades to build, forever. Sindhi people feel that with Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto gone; this party does not represent Sindh’s people and has failed to protect the interests of Sindh.

If there is one person who has come out to be the real hero through this whole game, it is Pir Sahab Pagaro. Sindhis feel that they owe him not only their respect but their votes in the coming elections. Sindhis hardly forget their true sons and never forgive those who betray them. The elections of 1988 proved that. The next elections are not far and the results will demonstrate the fact.

The Sindhi nation also bows its head in gratitude, offering respects to the two honourable lady representatives of Sindhis, Marvi Rashdi and Nusrat Seher Abbasi who opposed the bill. They have become legends. The entire Sindhi nation feels proud of them. They will be sung for centuries in the Sindhi folk poetry.

After the passage of the hated SPLGO 2012, it remains to be seen whether the Sindhi PPP representative will ever be able to read Shah again with the same pride as they recited the poetry in their election speeches before.

Continue reading Betrayals from within – Analysis by Mohammad Ali Mahar

Major gas field discovered in Sindh

Major gas field discovered in Pakistan

ROME: Italian energy major ENI said on Wednesday it had discovered a major reserve of between 300 billion and 400 billion cubic feet of gas some 350 kilometres north of Karachi in Pakistan.

The discovery was made in the Khirthar Fold Belt region close to the ENI-operated Bhit gas processing facility, the company said in a statement.

ENI said it “confirms the presence of significant exploration potential that can be exploited through the application of new geological models.”

The company said it had begun talks with Pakistani authorities on creating a joint venture, adding that it would “help to reduce the national gas deficit.”

ENI has been in Pakistan since 2000 and is the country’s largest producer, with average production of 54,800 barrels of oil equivalent per day in 2011.

Pakistan has had an endemic energy crisis for years, characterised by frequent blackouts, which has crippled the economy.

The crisis is blamed on chronic mismanagement and corruption.

Courtesy: DAWN.COM

http://dawn.com/2012/09/19/major-gas-field-discovered-in-pakistan/

DAWN EDITORIAL – (Pak Army) Beyond the law

Beyond the law

THE move is so brazen that it would be amusing if it wasn’t deeply worrying: three retired generals inducted back into the military simply to prevent the civilian anti-corruption set-up from trying them for mismanagement of public funds. The three former army men accused of violating rules to invest National Logistics Cell funds, including large bank loans, in the stock market — and providing kickbacks and losing nearly Rs2bn in the process, including pensioners’ money — will now be court-martialled instead of being investigated by NAB. The two civilian NLC managers also accused of wrongdoing will, meanwhile, continue to be subject to the NAB probe. The decision follows three years of delays in the investigation caused mainly by the army’s refusal to share records and cooperate with the probe. And after all that foot-dragging, the military has finally found a way out. The inquiry and trial of its own men will be kept behind closed doors, despite the fact that they have squandered public money. The message is clear: the military expects to be able to operate as a state within a state, an organisation exempt from the rules and responsibilities under which the rest of the population operates.

The move also raises questions, once again, about the appropriateness of the army’s involvement in commercial ventures. Even those that administratively report to civilian organisations, such as the NLC, which technically sits under the Planning Commission, are effectively controlled by the army through managers who are retired and serving officers. The multiple reporting lines, limited civilian auditing and military influence that result make it all the more difficult to scrutinise their operations and their use of public funds. When they provide goods and services entirely unrelated to defence, they raise questions about whether running them is the best use of the army’s time and resources. In some sectors, their military connections turn them into market players that enjoy unfair advantages compared to private companies. And now this privileged position has allowed one such entity to avoid a civilian investigation and trial to which, as retired officers, its former managers should be liable.

Corruption within the Pakistani state is not limited to the army; from the country’s top politicians to its lower-level bureaucrats, government officials entertain and horrify us with a steady stream of scams. With the Malik Riaz scandal, even the superior judiciary’s honour has been called into question. But at least these entities are subject to public investigations and trials, no matter how tainted or delayed. When the army takes a case into a military court, it turns a flawed investigation into an unseen one.

Continue reading DAWN EDITORIAL – (Pak Army) Beyond the law