Tag Archives: Economic

Pakistan Preparing to Defend itself?

– Is Pakistan Preparing to Defend Herself?

by Meinhaj Hussain

The global economic downturn appears to be never-ending. Political unrest is acute around the world. The lack of respect for international law has never been greater. Nations are arming despite the downturn and doing so at a rate that does not suggest modernization or replacement. With all said and done, this could still not spell imminent danger. But with China arming Pakistan with such urgency as to forgo its own defense needs, something appears to be happening behind secure doors, walls, guards, wire-fences and surveillance cameras.

The Chinese military-industrial complex has been busy over the last two decades at full throttle, attempting to catch-up to the West. There have been many stumbling points, including a frustrating inability to produce quality turbo-fan engines for her fighters, the loss of top Electronic Warfare (EW) and airborne radar scientists and rivalries between different corporatocracies.

However, in 2011, China has finally reached a position where it can begin to see itself as comparable to the West in key aspects such as technology, expertise and military capability.

At the critical juncture where the successful J-10B is to enter mass production and produce a dazzling plane deploying AESA radars and other advanced military technology, we find a strange occurrence. China has dedicated its J-10B production to meet Pakistan’s pressing needs. Such a level of cooperation and collaboration is unparalleled in modern history. Not even the United States has been willing to act in a similar fashion with Israel.

The Soviet Union and United States have long had allied states but have never sacrificed their own defense needs for its allies in a similar manner. China is not only willing to send J-10Bs, 58 odd planes of which are being produced for Pakistan with special customization as per the requirements of the Pakistan Air Force, but is also handing 50 new JF-17 Block IIs with stealth technology and possibly AESA radars.

Meanwhile, the Pakistan Navy (PN) is slated for brand new submarines at financing that is beyond friendship prices and rates. Again, China’s latest submarine the Type 043 Qing Class, yet to be inducted into the Chinese navy and the pride of China’s technological and engineering elite, is being manufactured for Pakistan.

Six odd submarines, which are among the largest conventional vessels manufactured by humanity thus far and closer to the displacement of nuclear submarines, capable of firing nuclear-tipped cruise missiles and possibly a single ballistic missile are also part of a rapid program to transform the Pakistan Navy. The submarines are technological on par with anything the West can or has built with regard to conventional submarines. These behemoths and technological marvels are built on technologies that has taken over 20 years for China to develop including Air-Independent Propulsion (AIP) that allows submarines to stay submerged for weeks and (possibly) pump jet propulsion, a propulsion system yet to be implemented even in Western conventional submarines. …

Read more → grandestrategy

Delusions of being Islamic

By: Humayun Gauhar

So long as we keep blaming others for our woes, so long we will not realise that the fault is ours for allowing others to take advantage of us. Pakistan pompously professes to be an Islamic Republic but doesn’t know what that means. Which Islam? The Islam of God or one of the 72 versions of the cleric? That is our core problem from which all other problems arise. We don’t know who we are and why we are. This leads to an erosion of self-confidence and self-esteem (except in rhetoric), the lack of which make us in thrall of alien ideologies and their political, economic and social constructs.

This poem on the Holy Quran written some 35 years ago by the ninth President of India, Dr Pandit Shanker Dayal Sharma, says it beautifully. It’s very good because it’s very true. I have translated it myself.

Amal ki kitab thi.

Dua ki kitab bana dia

It was a command for action.

You turned it into a book of prayer.

Samajhne ki kitab thi.

Parhne ki kitab bana dia.

It was a Book to understand.

You read it without understanding.

Zindaon ka dastoor tha.

Murdon ka manshoor bana dia.

It was a code for the living.

You turned it into a manifesto of the dead.

Jo ilm ki kitab thi.

Usay la ilmon ke hath thama dia.

That which was a book of knowledge;

You abdicated to the ignoramus.

Taskheer-e-kayenaat ka dars denay aayi thi.

Sirf madrason ka nisaab bana dia.

It came to give knowledge of Creation.

You abandoned it to the madrassah.

Murda qaumon ko zinda karne aayi thi.

Murdon ko bakhshwane per laga dia.

It came to give life to dead nations.

You used it for seeking mercy for the dead.

Aye Musalmano ye tum nay kia kiya?

O’ Muslims! What have you done?

Please don’t take kneejerk offence. Righteous rage before thinking is a hallmark of the ignoramus. Don’t focus on who says something but on what he says.

Look at the Muslim condition. They remain on the lowest rung of the ladder. The Jews, numbering less than the people who live in Karachi, are on the top rung. Why? Because they educated themselves, used their minds, recognised and understood the real levers of power, bought stakes in them and became the most powerful people in the world. The Muslims, on the other hand, remain mired in ignorance, waiting for divine deliverance without bothering to lift a finger, fooling only themselves by wallowing in their undoubtedly glorious past, deluded in their present illusions. They live on homilies and humbug.

Continue reading Delusions of being Islamic

Sindh: Condemnation of Massacre During Recent Riots

– In a press statement issued today [July 16, 2011], World Sindhi Congress (WSC) strongly condemned the barbaric massacre of innocent people in recent clashes in the major cities of Sindh including Karachi and Hyderabad.

The killings started when Sindh Assembly withdrawn the so-called Local Government system and restored Commissionerate system in Sindh. The local government system was imposed by force by the military dictator General Musharaf against the popular wishes, demands and struggle of Sindhi people. The system completely undermined the historical, political, social, economic and educational rights of Sindhi people. Under the patronage of this system the complete control of the urban centres was handed over to Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM). The historical Hyderabad district was divided in four districts, five districts of Karachi were amalgamated in one, other districts were also divided. Most districts were handed over to criminal feudals to punish Sindhi people and suffocate their social and economic progress. As a result of this system the entry to educational institutions and jobs in the urban areas, particularly in Karachi was systematically denied to Sindhi people, Sindhi villages in Karachi were bulldozed and Sindhis were forced to live and suffer one of the worst apartheid in their own land.

The first thing that all Sindhi people hoped and demanded from Peoples Party was to abandon the draconian local government system when they came in power on the almost unanimous vote of Sindhi people. Unfortunately Peoples Party failed to deliver for three and half years on this issue of utmost significance for Sindhi people resulting from their compromise with MQM to remain in power at the any cost. MQM was and is the strongest supporter of this system as it provided them a disproportionate and complete hegemony over Karachi and Hyderabad.

The withdrawal of the local government system was completed in all other parts of Pakistan almost a year ago. It was kept only in Sindh at the sole insistence of MQM. It was withdrawn from Sindh by an over-whelming majority of Sindh Assembly. All parties in the Sindh Assembly except MQM supported the changes. In all the democratic sprits and norms MQM should have accepted this verdict as it was a unanimous demand of Sindhi people and democratically passed by an overwhelming majority of Sindh Assembly. However, it is really unfortunate to see how MQM has reacted violently and undemocratically. Consequently the situation is very sad as it has resulted in the massacre of scores of innocent men, women and children.

WSC condemn the irresponsible statements of Zulfiqar Mirza which were divisive and aimed to flame the riots among people of Sindh. ….

Sindhis have thousands year old traditions and civilisation of tolerance and peace and have demonstrated this times and time again. Sadly MQM in spite of their proclamations that they are sons of Sindh, have demonstrated through their actions that they only represent the narrow and many-times anti-Sindh ethnic interests  ….

Read more → UNPO

Searching for an alternative – By Lal Khan

The theory of reconciliation that was devised in connivance with imperialism was to amicably divide the loot and plunder between the different warring sections of the ruling classes who had bought their way up in the structures of the so-called political parties

The mayhem and human slaughter that has been prevalent in Karachi for more than three decades intensifies periodically. Another wave of this dreadful violence has been unleashed in recent weeks. However, this gruesome spate of killings and devastation is not the cause but a symptom of the severely diseased social and economic system the harrowing crisis of which are now nudging society into the throes of barbarism. Those at the helm of the political pyramid of this system and the echelons of power seem to be clueless to put an end to this violence and forge a lasting peace. Or perhaps the political and the state structures are themselves embroiled in this mayhem and the conflicts that are exploding are the clash of different sections of finance capital representing their vested interests in the different belligerent factions of the political and state institutions. …

Read more → Daily Times

800 million dollar question?

by D Asghar

Excerpt;

Many scream off the top of their lungs about our honor and sovereignty, but very rarely can come up with a solution, which hits a bull’s eye to our economic woes

The moment that dreaded news of the US government suspending its $850 Million aid to the Pakistani Military, hit the wires, there was this flurry of various experts. All weighed in, with their expert comments to exacerbate the already stretched and strained relationship between Pakistan and US. This was of course followed by all sorts of other explanations along with jingoistic comments.

The ongoing love-hate (mostly hate) relationship with America, begs some serious introspection. The gist of the matter is that any and all relationships, whether personal or national are dependent on vested self interest. To exploit a situation to maximize the self benefit is considered sound diplomacy. To say that we are lagging in that art of international politics would be a major understatement.

Ever since the event of May 02, we have been going through various debacles and till this date, we have not come to the realization of what challenges we face as a nation. We are surrounded by not so friendly nations around us. It is hard to admit, but it is due to our doing as well. From the get go, we seem to be in a “la Shaheen” mode. If it all boils down to the “strategic depth”, then make no mistake, we have dug a deep one for ourselves. ….

…. So as I said earlier, it all boils down to sound diplomacy. Diplomacy certainly does not mean laying down flat and let people run all over you. I think that it’s about time that we look around and learn a lesson or two from our neighbors. The $800 million question is what are we willing to apply, our rarely used head or our hyper inflated ego?

To read complete article → ViewPoint

Imran Farooq murder: the bloody past of the MQM

The party of Imran Farooq, who has been assassinated in London, has a dark reputation that it has never left behind

by Declan Walsh in Islamabad

It is one of the great enigmas of Pakistani politics. For over 18 years the affairs of Karachi, the country’s largest city and thrumming economic hub, have been run from a shabby office block more than 4,000 miles away in a suburb of north London.

The man at the heart of this unusual situation is Altaf Hussain, a barrel-shaped man with a caterpillar moustache and a vigorous oratorical style who inspires both reverence and fear in the sprawling south Asian city he effectively runs by remote control.

Hussain is the undisputed tsar of the mohajirs, the descendents of Muslim migrants who flooded into Pakistan during the tumult of partition from India in 1947, and who today form Karachi’s largest ethnic group.

A firebrand of student politics, Hussain galvanized the mohajirs into a potent political force in 1984, when he formed the Mohajir Qaumi Movement – now known as the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, or MQM. The party swept elections in the city in 1987 and 1988 but quickly developed a reputation for violence.

At early rallies Hussain surrounded himself with gunmen and urged supporters to “sell your VCRs and buy kalashnikovs”; violence later erupted between the MQM and ethnic Sindhi rivals and, later, against the army, which deployed troops to Karachi in the early 1990s. …

Read more → guardian.co.uk

An era of misinformation – by Dr Manzur Ejaz

The combination of religious extremism and unbridled capitalism became very lethal in Pakistan. Every sector, including the media, produced a new class of rich people all spewing a demented worldview

Whenever something critical is written about religious extremism, jihadis, the Taliban or the Pakistan military, it is considered the magic of American dollars. Perhaps some confused misguided individuals genuinely believe that most of the $ 1.5 billion of US aid is being deposited in the bank accounts of a few liberal and enlightened columnists. The fact of the matter is that one or two English dailies that publish such material are always in financial trouble, unable to pay the wages and compensation to workers and writers. On the contrary, most of the media outlets are owned and run by the most conservative tycoons who generously compensate the pro-jihadi and pro-military columnists, talk-show hosts and their handlers.

It is very easy to find out who has benefitted from the explosion of the media as an industry. Count the number of shows and their hosts who are preachers of Islamisation, and who are always finding a Yahood-o-Hunood (Jewish and Hindu) conspiracy for everything that goes wrong in Pakistan. Most of the media men getting salaries in millions per month will fall into this category. The fortunes of these right-wing media persons are just like Hollywood-Bollywood top stars. The only difference is that the largest film industries’ rags to riches stories are related to an independent entertainment industry while said Pakistani media persons are pushing the corporate media’s fuzzy thinking and disinformation endorsed by the military, its agencies and mentally challenged emerging ruling classes.

Besides other things, Islamisation and jihad-preaching has become a huge industry involving millions of stakeholders. Writing jihad-preaching textbooks for millions of students for the government/privately-run educational system (from kindergarten to university level) to printing and publishing them is a mammoth industry. Unlike most other countries that prepare the students for improving the production of the economic sector, Pakistan’s education is geared towards producing jihadi producers and consumers. Once the jihad-fed generation of producers (media men) and consumers (readers and viewers) came of age, the stage was set for an unprecedented age of misinformation in Pakistan.

The overwhelming ethos of religious self-righteousness was accompanied by infinite greed, corruption, lack of work ethics and professionalism. In the British ‘pagan’ era, all such socio-economic ills were minimal. Unleashing of Darwinian capitalism on the international level by the Reagan-Thatcher era also confounded the problem. The combination of religious extremism and unbridled capitalism became very lethal in Pakistan. Every sector, including the media, produced a new class of rich people all spewing a demented worldview. Religious extremism, jihad, political anarchy, and the collapsing of different state institutions have immensely benefited the new rich: their simultaneous rise has to have some interlocking dynamics. One obvious link is the abandonment of any sense of equity, where the gains of economic development have been usurped by the top five or ten percent, including the media persons.

In Pakistan, jihadi Islam has been a big business after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Billions of dollars, pumped in by the US, Europe and the Middle Eastern monarchies have changed hands. Pakistan’s military and its agencies were the main channels to distribute jihadi money among the mullahs, politicians and media outlets. Further, since the state was run by the military and its agencies, they were the only ones who had key information that can make or break the media outlets, pen-pushers, and tongue-twisters.

No bigwig media warrior could survive or sustain without having deeper links in the ‘agencies’ because these military outfits were the only ones who had the know-how, manpower, finances and coercive authority to collect information about everyone, particularly the politicians and other state operators. The secret agencies were holding the purse and the information to create media jihadi warriors and eliminate the few who would try to deviate from the ‘path.’ Umar Cheema and Saleem Shahzad’s cases are the latest in a series of murders and disappearances of ‘wanderers of truth’, particularly if they happened to be from smaller nationalities or minority ethnic groups.

The parameters of media control have never changed even after the American departure from Afghanistan by the end of the 80s and re-entry after 2001. In the interval of the US’s absence, the Middle Eastern monarchies have been supplying the funds. Nonetheless, the funds coming in from all these channels have been disbursed by the same old agencies to the same old beneficiaries. A few poor liberal enlightened media men are not the ones upon whom dollars shine. The greenback is still blessing the same old jihadi crowd, nowadays called the ‘ghairat’ (honour) brigade.

With the expansion of the jihad market, the media has gained its own clout and the US is more interested in buying out the most anti-America media outlets, pen-pushers and tongue-twisters. Some were bought in broad daylight and many of us know about it. Now media tycoons have accumulated huge sums of profit and the US may not be the only source of outrageous (given Pakistani median income) compensation. Just read daily ‘khutbas’ (sermons) in the most popular newspapers and listen to the talk shows and decide yourself. Other than jihadi fuzzy-thinking, what else are these media groups selling to the market? Short answer: nothing!

Courtesy: → WICHAAR.COM

Conference on Partition – Past and Present

Conference on Partition – Past and Present, on Saturday, October 15, 2011

Sub topics: 1947 Indian Subcontinent Partition, past and present; Partitions of Bengal; Partitions of Punjab, Kashmir and Assam; Partition studies in the Indian Subcontinent; Effects of partition on Assam, Tripura and Sindh; Bangladesh War of Independence; Reconciliation and forgiveness; Unity; Identity; History; Divided peoples of Africa, Asia, Europe and the Former Soviet Union; Narratives of refugees, survivors and protectors; Division’s long-term effect; Effects of displaced peoples on host population; Minority issues in divided lands; Indigenous peoples, their language, culture and religion; Longing for home. Date: Saturday, October 15, 2011, Time: 8:30 AM, Place: Politics, Economics & Law Department, State University of New York, Old Westbury, Long Island, New York 11568.

Continue reading Conference on Partition – Past and Present

Situation dire as spending on health declines

By Nasir Iqbal

ISLAMABAD: The Economic Survey 2010-11 has painted a bleak picture of the health sector, particularly with regard to the infectious and other diseases.

According to the survey report, the HIV epidemic has moved from a low-prevalence to concentrated state with 90,000 to 100,000 people testing positive for the virus — about 0.1 per cent of the total population.

As the situation unfolds, the crisis among high-risk groups, especially the users of injected drugs, is getting deeper. The total number of full-blown AIDS cases stands at 3,050. A recent survey among the high-risk groups indicates an average HIV prevalence of 20 per cent among consumers of injected drugs.

The survey noted that Pakistan still ranked eighth among the countries with the highest burden of tuberculosis (TB) in the world. The disease accounts for 5.1 per cent of the total national disease burden.

About drug abuse, which is spreading fast and affecting the country in many ways, the survey said the menace entailed heavy social and economic costs. ….

Read more : DAWN

THIS ARTICLE SHOWS NO HOPE FOR POOR PEOPLE OF PAKISTAN IN NEAR FUTURE

Something has changed

By: Huma Yusuf

TWO weeks after Abbottabad, the jury’s still out on Pakistan. Who knew? Who didn’t? And does anyone at all feel bad about the whole thing?

While international journalists and US lawmakers continue to ask these questions, Pakistan observers are at pains to point out that the answers matter little given that nothing has changed — the status quo has been maintained.

Continue reading THIS ARTICLE SHOWS NO HOPE FOR POOR PEOPLE OF PAKISTAN IN NEAR FUTURE

Pakistan, India & China: A tale of triplets

COMMENT: A tale of triplets — by Shahab Usto

Pakistan’s utmost priority should be to follow the Chinese model: shun external engagements and turn inwards to focus only on economic, social and human development. Remember, we have missed the bus twice

Independent Pakistan, India and China were born at almost the same time, inherited the same decrepit state structures, and shared the same trajectory of international wars and civil strife. But they do not share the same present. China is the fastest growing economy. India is catching up fast with it. But Pakistan lags far behind both.

As it is, China (closely followed by India) is all set to dominate the Asia-Pacific region, if not the world. The US-led West is jittery. Stuck in a financial crisis, the West has lost faith in its economic philosophy based on unregulated markets. “The teachers are in trouble,” as one Chinese minister put it, referring to the ideologues of the failing Anglo-Saxon corporate and financial models. …

Read more : Daily Times

The ‘wealthy’ Pakistani generals

Pakistan has had a turbulent history. And it remains in turmoil with growing internal instability and rising conflicts with its neighbours. Despite the return to civilian rule, the politics of the country has remained closely linked to the military, one of Pakistan’s most powerful institutions. The generals while projecting their utility are virtually in control. Interestingly, while Pakistan suffers economic difficulties, frequent political crises and issues like unemployment, illiteracy and malnutrition, the top brass of the army is making huge amounts of money through the corporate sector and controls large tracts of real estate. The Auditor General of Pakistan revealed that the army is using government land falling in A-1 category worth 1.4 billion USD (Rs. 120.767 billion) for commercial purposes.

The one & only political party of Pakistan which has almost 7 Lacs (seven hundered thousands) armed & trained members paid by govt from tax payers money. “Army forcibly takes its resources from civilians”. It will tell you why politicians are weak in this country.  un ki koi sunta hi nahi.

Courtesy: via- Siasat.pkSouth Asia News – You Tube

Over centralized HEC Hurt Sindhis by Denying them

by Saghir Shaikh

Affirmative action is needed in Pakistan. Sindhis have been historically discriminated. All affairs involving money and distribution or resources must be governed by provincial resources. If implemented on just basis and if Sindh and Sindhis get their due share in resources, we will be much ahead.

Javaid Laghari is a great son of Sindh and has done a lot for Sindh and Sindhis and overall academic situation in Sindh and Pakistan.

However, we support the breakup of Higher Education Commission (HEC). Any structure under federal command – supported by constitution – means inequitable share to Sindh and Baluchistan, that is sad reality of status quo. Yes ‘merit’ has value in different context.

Pakistan historically deprives Sindh by stealing it resources, discriminating its rural population for decades since its inception creating almost an economic apartheid among South and North (of Pakistan). How can we expect that in this apartheid system rural folks are going to compete!

Local Sindh government will be corrupt and yes it will be manipulated from …, there is no doubt about it – these are valid arguments and I have my take on it. But please do not use the argument of merit and justice with Sindhis. And obviously criticism on HEC is never about its chief, but the inherent limitation of centralized illegal federal structure. If I was made HEC chair today I will not be able to keep justice to its spirit! Because system is unjust to its core!

Anyway, let us hope that HEC and all other institutions get transferred to provinces and than we can start a new struggle on improving our own house.

One caution – devolution does not mean we will get our due share from Islamabad (Punjab). That is another Himalayan task to get a fair share in terms of finance!

Courtesy: Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups, 12 April, 2011.

Let us strengthen Pakistan

Let us Unite to Uphold 18th Amendment including Devolution of HEC

By Khalid Hashmani

As more and more information comes out in the waning days of Higher Education Commission (HEC), most Sindhis are shocked to know that out of ten thousands (10,000) foreign and domestic scholarships that have been distributed by HEC so far, Sindh received only 892 (http://ejang.jang.com.pk/4-7-2011/Karachi/pic.asp?picname=99.gif). This amounts to about one third of the number that Sindh would have received even if the NFC award rules were applied. There is no province/ state or ethnic group anywhere in the world that has suffered as much as Sindhis have when it comes to scholarship opportunities in Pakistan. Instead of defending an institution that has denied Sindhis their due share in educational opportunities for so many years, we should be demanding trial of those officials who were responsible for denying Sindh its due share in scholarships. It is doubtful that an agency of such dreadful performance should even be given a role of standard setting and quality assurance. The Government of Pakistan should seriously consider creating a new agency with proper representation from each province/ state to oversee the jurisdictions that 18th Amendment allows at the federal level.

Continue reading Let us strengthen Pakistan

Behind ‘Rising India’

Behind ‘Rising India’ lies the surrender of national dignity

From India’s prime minister down, the rotten state of the world’s largest democracy has been exposed for all to see

Even the racketeers of Pakistani military and intelligence appear dignified when compared with the Indians stampeding to plant kisses on US behinds!

by Pankaj Mishra

Food prices become intolerable for the poor. Protests against corruption paralyse the national parliament for weeks on end. Then a series of American diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks exposes a brazenly mendacious and venal ruling class; the head of government adored by foreign business people and journalists loses his moral authority, turning into a lame duck.

This sounds like Tunisia or Egypt before their uprisings, countries long deprived of representative politics and pillaged by the local agents of neoliberal capitalism. But it is India, where in recent days WikiLeaks has highlighted how national democratic institutions are no defence against the rapacity and selfishness of globalised elites.

Most of the cables – being published by the Hindu, the country’s most respected newspaper in English – offer nothing new to those who haven’t drunk the “Rising India” Kool-Aid vended by business people, politicians and their journalist groupies. The evidence of economic liberalisation providing cover for a wholesale plunder of the country’s resources has been steadily mounting over recent months. The loss in particular of a staggering $39bn in the government’s sale of the telecom spectrum has alerted many Indians to the corrupt nexuses between corporate and political power. …

Read more : guardian.co.uk

Pakistan remains a military-dominated rentier state

Failed state or Weimar Republic?

Pakistan remains a military-dominated rentier state, still committed to American and Gulf Arab alliances

By Omar Ali

A friend recently wrote to me that Pakistan reminded him of the Weimar republic; an anarchic and poorly managed democracy with some real freedoms and an explosion of artistic creativity, but also with a dangerous fascist ideology attracting more and more adherents as people tire of economic hardship and social disorder and yearn for a savior. Others (much more numerous than the single friend who suggested the Weimar comparison) insist that Pakistan is a failed state. So which is it? Is Pakistan the Weimar republic of the day or is it a failed state?

Continue reading Pakistan remains a military-dominated rentier state

SINDH NEEDS INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT

by Dr Ali Akbar Dhakan, Karachi, Sindh

All the macro economic objectives can be obtained through the development of industries both small and large scale because they provide employment facilities, increase supply of goods, boost up exports, control inflation and price hike, reduce poverty and provide chances of prosperity through improvement of purchasing power of the common people .The problem of unemployment in Sindh particularly in Rural areas is due to lack of focus and attention to be given to the development of this sector.

Continue reading SINDH NEEDS INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT

Dubai on Empty

By A. A. Gill

Excerpt:

…. You look at this place and you realize not a single thing is indigenous, not one of this culture’s goods and chattels originated here. Even the goats have gone. This was a civilization that was bought wholesale. The Gulf is the proof of Carnegie’s warning about wealth: “There is no class so pitiably wretched as that which possesses money and nothing else.” Emiratis are born retired. They waft through this city in their white dishdashas and headscarves and their obsessively tapered humorless faces. They’re out of place in their own country. They have imported and built a city, a fortress of extravagance, that excludes themselves. They have become duplicitous, schizophrenic. They don’t allow their own national dress in the clubs and bars that serve alcohol, the restaurants with the hungry girls sipping champagne. So they slip into Western clothes to go out.

The Gulf Arabs have become the minority in this country they wished out of the desert. They are now less than 20 percent of the total population. Among the other 80-plus percent are the white mercenary workers who come here for tax-free salaries to do managerial and entrepreneurial jobs, parasites and sycophants for cash. For them money is a driving principle and validation. They came to be young, single, greedy, and insincere. None of them are very clever. So they live lives that revolve around drink and porn sex and pool parties and barbecues with a lot of hysterical laughing and theme nights, karaoke, and slobbery, regretful coupling. In fact, as in all cases of embarrassing arrested development, these expats on the short-term make don’t expect to put down roots here, have children here, or grow old here. Everyone’s on a visa dependent on a job.

Then there is a third category of people: the drones. The workers. The Asians: Indians, Pakistanis, Sri Lankans, and Filipinos. Early in the morning, before the white mercenaries have negotiated their hangovers, long before the Emiratis have shouted at the maid, buses full of hard-hatted Asians pull into building sites. They have the tough, downtrodden look of Communist posters from the 30s—they are both the slaves of capital and the heroes of labor. Asians man the hotels; they run the civil service and the utilities and commercial businesses; they are the clerks and the secretaries, the lawyers, the doctors, the accountants; there isn’t a single facet of this state that would function if they didn’t maintain it. No one with an Emirati passport could change a fuse. Yet, the workers, who make up roughly 71 percent of the population, have precious few rights here. They can’t become citizens, though some are the third generation of their family to be born here. They can be deported at any time. They have no redress. Many of the Asian laborers are owed back pay they aren’t likely to get. There are reams of anecdotal stories about the abuse of guest workers. I’m told about the Pakistani shop assistant who, picking up an Arab woman’s shopping bags, accidentally passed gas, got arrested, and was jailed.

While the Security Establishment is blowing up money on F-16s and tanks, here is the current status of Education in Pakistan

Pakistan plans to buy more F-16s

By Anwar Iqbal

WASHINGTON: Pakistan is trying to purchase used F-16 fighter jets from the United States to enhance its air capabilities, diplomatic sources told.

“We will take as many as they are willing to give,” said a diplomatic source when asked how many of these aircraft Pakistan was seeking.

In 2006, the US Congress agreed to give Pakistan 28 F-16C/Ds under its EDA or excess defence articles initiative. Fourteen of these aircraft have already been delivered. …

Read more : DAWN

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While the Security Establishment is blowing up money on F-16s and tanks, here is the current status of Education in Pakistan – Click here

In the US, where 45 per cent of young African Americans have no jobs and the top hedge-fund managers are paid $1bn a year on average, mass protests against cuts in services & jobs have spread to heartland states such as Wisconsin

Behind the Arab revolt lurks a word we dare not speak

BY John Pilger

The people of Egypt, Tunisia, Bahrain, Algeria, Yemen, Jordan and Libya are rising up not only against their leaders, but also western economic tyranny. …

Read more : NewStatesman

Toledo-Hyderabad Sister City

The Honorable Michael. P. Bell, Mayor of Toledo, Ohio; Toledo Sister City International Organization and Toledo-Hyderabad Sister City Committee to celebrate the auspicious occasion of the signing of a Sister City agreement between the two great cities, Toledo, Ohio and Hyderabad, Sindh.

Sister City relationships involve cultural, economic, and educational partnerships. Members of the delegation from Hyderabad want to invest in medicine, alternative energy, media, and other industries in Toledo.

Read more : Toledo

Pakistan : Not revolution but anarchy

– Not revolution but anarchy

by Waseem Altaf

Revolution refers to drastic change in thinking and behaving in the cultural, economic and socio-political context.

Socio-economic deprivation or gross disparity or conflict of interest among competing groups causes frustration which leads to aggression. The aggression so caused is channelized by leaders who symbolize an ideology. A critical mass of the population is necessary who are supportive of this ideology.

Today people in Pakistan are frustrated. This has caused aggression. The manifestations of this aggression are visible everywhere. The irritability of the common men, show of force and inflammatory speeches in public rallies, ever increasing crime rate, intolerance and impatience are all indicative of this aggression. However there is no such leader who has an ideology and who enjoys the support of a critical mass of the population which can bring about a revolution in this country. Hence the thought of revolution becomes even more irrelevant in a country where there are so many ethnic, social, political and religious divides with no leader enjoying mass support at the national level.

However this country is fast drifting towards a change. Let us see what the present state of the nation is:

Today it is not the government, the parliament, the media, the judiciary or even the army which calls the shots but the firebrand mullah in the streets who determines the tone and tenor of the statements and initiatives emanating from all the so called pillars of the State. Sherry Rahman has withdrawn the blasphemy bill, informed the Prime Minister on Wednesday 2nd of Feb. Sitting ministers either support the stance taken by the mullah or remain silent. While it is Mumtaz Qadri versus the State, the case has been shifted to Adiala jail for proceedings as the State does not feel secure in an open court in Islamabad. Last time the public prosecutor could not attend the court as the jail premises was thronged by Sunni Tehrik supporters of Mumtaz Qadri.Today the conduct of the Parliament is determined by the mullah as in the Senate, it was not allowed to say fateha for Salman Taseer in response to a resolution moved by Senator Nilofar Bakhtiar. Even the liberal MQM members refused and not a single member of PPP rose to support the resolution. …

Read more : View Point

Will Pakistan Follow Egypt’s Example?

Author: Jayshree Bajoria, Senior Staff Writer

Pakistan may be even more vulnerable than Egypt (The News) to popular discontent, with higher inflation, unemployment, and external debt, much of it exacerbated by the devastating flood of 2010 that crippled an already teetering economy. Many Pakistanis are sympathetic (PressTV) to the anger over corruption, surging food prices, and lack of jobs driving Egypt’s protests.

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani rules out the likelihood of an uprising such as those in Egypt and Tunisia. “Our institutions are working and democracy is functional,” Gilani says (Daily Times).

Huma Yusuf, a Pakistan scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, says it is unlikely Pakistanis will unite against a common cause. “Decades of manipulative politicking under military regimes have fractured civil society (Dawn) and factionalized politics,” she writes. “We will always see ourselves through an ethnic, sectarian, or socio-economic lens before we see ourselves as Pakistani.” The murder of Pakistan’s Governor Salman Taseer by his own security guard in January, and support for Taseer’s assassin among many Pakistanis, exposed some of these growing divisions.

Like Egypt, Pakistan is an important strategic partner whose stability matters even more for U.S. national security interests, in neighboring Afghanistan as well as in U.S. efforts to confront al-Qaeda. But U.S.-Pakistan relations have been strained following the detention of a U.S. diplomat on possible murder charges. The Washington Post reports the Obama administration has suspended all high-level dialogue with Pakistan.

Read more : Council on Foreign Relations

Injustices in Pakistan: Startling Disclosures of Federal Employment Figures

 

By Aziz Narejo

 

Sindhis and Baloch have been complaining about injustices to them since the inception of Pakistan. Be it the distribution of resources, apportionment in budget, provincial autonomy, water rights, share in economic development, expenditure in social sectors, education, health and infrastructure development, their involvement in the decision making process or their share in the military, the most powerful institution in the country, they are ignored everywhere. Their cries are never heard or even noticed at the highest levels.

It is even more unfortunate that the so-called human rights advocates, champions of the civil society, the ‘democratic forces’ and others proclaiming to be on the side of fairness in society also always ignore the voices from Sindh and Balochistan. After losing all the hope for any positive change, Baloch have finally decided to part ways with Pakistan. If it continues, Sindhis may have to make a decision too. …

Rea more : Indus Herald

The Egyptian Uprising Is a Direct Response to Ruthless Global Capitalism

By Nomi Prins

The revolution in Egypt is as much a rebellion against the painful deterioration of economic conditions as it is about opposing a dictator, though they are linked. That’s why President Hosni Mubarak’s announcement that he intends to stick around until September was met with an outpouring of rage.

When people are facing a dim future, in a country hijacked by a corrupt regime …

Read more : AlterNet

Many in Pakistan Fear Unrest at Home

By JANE PERLEZ

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Protests over crippling prices and corrupt leadership are sweeping much of the Islamic world, but here in Pakistan this week, the government blithely dismissed any threat to its longevity or to the country’s stability.

Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani insisted that Pakistan was not Egypt or Tunisia. “Our institutions are working and democracy is functional,” he said. The economy, while under pressure, is not in crisis.

But while Mr. Gilani appeared unruffled, diplomats, analysts and other Pakistani officials admitted to unease, and conceded that Pakistan contained many of the same ingredients for revolt found in the Middle East — and then some: an economy hollowed out by bad management and official corruption; rising Islamic religious fervor; and a poisonous resentment of the United States, Pakistan’s biggest financial supporter.

If no one expects Pakistan to be swept by revolution this week, the big question on many minds is how, and when, a critical mass of despair among this nation’s 180 million people and the unifying Islamist ideology might be converted into collective action.

Some diplomats and analysts compare the combustible mixture of religious ideology and economic frustration, overlaid with the distaste for America, to Iran in 1979. Only one thing is missing: a leader.

“What’s lacking is a person or institution to link the economic aspirations of the lower class with the psychological frustration of the committed Islamists,” a Western diplomat said this week. “Our assessment is: this is like Tehran, 1979.”

Mr. Gilani is right in that Pakistan held fairly free elections three years ago, when the democratically based Pakistan Peoples Party, led by President Asif Ali Zardari, won.

But the return to civilian government after a decade of military rule has meant little to the people because politicians have done nothing for voters, said Farrukh Saleem, a risk analyst and columnist in The News, a daily newspaper.

As it has been for all of Pakistan’s more than 60 years of history, Parliament today remains dominated by the families of a favored few, who use their perch to maintain a corrupt patronage system and to protect their own interests as Pakistan’s landed and industrial class. The government takes in little in taxes, and as a result provides little in the way of services to its people.

“Ninety-nine percent of Pakistanis are not affected by the state — it doesn’t deliver anything for them,” Mr. Saleem said. “People are looking for alternatives. So were the Iranians in 1979.”

There is little question that the images from Egypt and Tunisia are reverberating through Pakistani society, and encouraging workers to speak up and vent frustration in ways that were unusual even three months ago.

“There’s no electricity, no gas, no clean water,” said Ali Ahmad, a hotel worker in Lahore who is usually a model of discretion. “I think if things stay the same, people will come out and destroy everything.”

When a young banker in a prestigious job at a foreign bank was asked if Pakistan could go the way of Egypt, he replied, “I hope so.”

At the core of Pakistan’s problem are the wretched economic conditions of day-to-day life for most of the people whose lives are gouged by inflation, fuel shortages and scarcity of work.

They see the rich getting richer, including “the sons of rich, corrupt politicians and their compatriots openly buying Rolls-Royces with their black American Express cards,” said Jahangir Tareen, a reformist politician and successful agricultural businessman.

Food inflation totaled 64 percent in the last three years, according to Sakib Sherani, who resigned recently as the principal economic adviser at the Finance Ministry. The purchasing power of the average wage earner has declined by 20 percent since 2008, he said.

Families are taking children out of school because they cannot afford both fees and food. Others choose between medicine and dinner.

A middle-class customer in a pharmacy in Rawalpindi, the city where the powerful army has its headquarters, told the pharmacist last week to sell him only two pills of a course of 10 antibiotics because he did not have enough money for groceries. …

Read more : The New York Times

The Downfall of Political Islam

by Samir Yousif

Finally I would point out that political Islam has failed to provide a political model that can compete with other contemporary political models, such as the Chinese model, Western democracies, or even developing democracies such as India and the other Asian countries. That comes with no surprise, as religion, any religion, keeps itself centuries behind.

The theme of my argument is the following statement: Islam, as a religion, has nothing to offer to economic or political theory. This simple idea has serious consequences. Political Islam, when it runs the country, will ultimately fail. It has no appropriate agenda that provides solutions to real political or economic challenges such as underdevelopment, unemployment, inflation, recession, poverty, just to mention a few.

(I will not touch upon the most significant political-socioeconomic issue which is income inequalities, because Islam accepts a society composed of very rich classes living side by side with very poor classes- examples can be found from history or from today’s Muslim countries like Saudi Arabia, and Iran). While some Islamists continue to claim the existence of “Islamic economics,” they have failed in producing anything close to a simple theory of economics.

I believe that the main reason for the downfall of Muslim civilisation was the inherent social crisis: a society composed of few rich surrounded by the poor masses kept going by a strong religion. Social and political revolutions took place several times during the heyday of Muslim civilisation, as happened during the Umayyad Caliphate, the Abbasid Caliphate, in Muslim Spain, and the famous Zanj Rebellion during the year 869 in Basra. But historians have ignored such revolutions. Muslim economies have failed throughout history to solve the very basic problem: the wage equation. Unskilled and skilled workers were downgraded to the lowest classes in Muslim societies, and were paid the minimum. History has showed that under Islam the wealth of the country went mainly to the Calipha, feeding his palace, army, the royal family, and to the vested interest that the Calipha has chosen himself. The tax system was mainly imposed on the agricultural sector, what was known as the produce tax (Kharaj).

“Islamic economics” is a term used today to justify the significant income inequalities in such societies and to find religiously- accepted investment opportunities for the rich. …

Read more : http://www.document.no/2011/01/the-downfall-of-political-islam/