Tag Archives: institutions

Every night in America, about 70,000 veterans sleep on the streets

Veteran who found his way circles back to help others

By Petula Dvorak

Every night in America, about 70,000 veterans sleep on the streets. For 30 years, Gerard Thomas was one of them.

A paranoid schizophrenic, Thomas took a long time to get back indoors after serving in a stateside military hospital during the Vietnam War.

In and out of prison, mental institutions and straitjackets for decades, sleeping on park benches, in doorways or in the woods, Thomas was living proof of the holes in our social safety net.

He kept looking for help, he said, but like many veterans of that war, all he heard was “No.”

“Back then, people didn’t understand how damaged we were,” said Thomas, 62, who now devotes his life to helping homeless veterans.

Continue reading Every night in America, about 70,000 veterans sleep on the streets

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General Kayani has also begun getting upset with TV talk shows – Pak generals (holy cows) love to be above the public scrutiny. They have things, they want to push under the rug.

Kayani takes exception to public discussion on agencies

ISLAMABAD – Tacitly registering his concern over the debate in the media on the role of the army and the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Ashfaq Kayani on Wednesday said “the national institutions should not be undermined”.

Continue reading General Kayani has also begun getting upset with TV talk shows – Pak generals (holy cows) love to be above the public scrutiny. They have things, they want to push under the rug.

Judiciary stressing its suzerainty: Kamran Shafi

By Adnan Farooq

I am sorely disappointed both with Nawaz Sharif himself going to court, and by the walk-out of the party from the National Assembly during the democracy vote on the 16th January’, says Kamran Shafi.

Pakistan’s leading columnist and a public debater frequently appearing at TV talk shows, Kamran Shafi, writes a regular column for the Express Tribune. He is a known critic of Pakistan military’s unconstitutional actions. In an interview with Viewpoint, he throws light on current political scenario in Pakistan. Read on:

What the present stand-off would lead to?

Hopefully to the realisation by all that it is best to stay within the confines of the Constitution as prescribed for all institutions.

What do you say about the role of judiciary. It was expected that the Advocates Movement would deliver the end of ‘Doctrine of Necessity’. But it seems, judiciary is once again ready to serve the Khaki interests?

I think judiciary is not serving ‘khaki interests’, only stressing it’s suzerainty over every other institution which can prove to be extremely dangerous.

Continue reading Judiciary stressing its suzerainty: Kamran Shafi

‘Institutions in Pak are on a head-on collision’

Q&A – Ayesha Siddiqa, Political Commentator

PAKISTAN IS in a political crisis, again. Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani is openly targeting the army. The army and ISI are digging up dirt against the prime minister on Memogate and are angry with his statements. The judiciary is adamant on pursuing corruption cases against President Asif Ali Zardari and is charging the prime minister for contempt. Amidst all this chaos, talks of a possible coup are doing the rounds. Gilani has been summoned to appear before the Supreme Court. Controversial Pak-American businessman Mansoor Ijaz, the man who claimed to have delivered the controversial memo to the Americans, is to visit Pakistan on 24 January. Kunal Majumder spoke to Ayesha Siddiqa, Pakistan’s leading authority on civil-military relations, about her assessment of the changing equations between the army, judiciary and the government.

Excerpts From An Interview

A lot of commentators are suggesting that a coup is not possible in Pakistan anymore. Do you agree with this assessment?

I wouldn’t agree that it is impossible, but at this moment, it doesn’t seem likely. A coup will happen only when the army runs out of options. Now, the military has other options available. It has a fiery judiciary ….

Read more » Tehelka

Judiciary always supports army rule, rues Asma

LAHOREFormer president of the Supreme Court Bar Association Asma Jahangir condemned the judiciary on Wednesday, saying it has always approved military rules in the past.

She said if judges wanted a hand in politics, they should contest elections. Talking to reporters at the Lahore High Court, she said that Parliament, not judiciary, was the supreme body in the country.

The judiciary should not consider itself as all knowledgeable, Asma said, while expressing her reservations over many decisions of the Supreme Court.

The judiciary also disregards decisions of Parliament, she said, while pointing out the annulment of the parliamentary committee’s decisions on judges’ appointment.

She further expressed her inability to understand the SC’s January 10 judgment on the NRO non-implementation case. She said that while the NRO was a complicated issue, she never favoured it.

Asma regretted that state institutions were being politicised and added that no institution was clean.

Continue reading Judiciary always supports army rule, rues Asma

Why the U.S. is Not Regulating Wall Street

The “Other Reason” Why the U.S. is Not Regulating Wall Street

Financial Giants Overshadow Governments

by Washington’s Blog

Sure, American politicians have been bought and paid for by the Wall Street giants. See this, this and this.

And everyone knows that the White House and Congress – while talking about cracking down on Wall Street with strict regulation – have actually watered down some of the most important protections that were in place. ….

Read more » Global Research

Desis stay away from Occupy Wall Street

by Dr. Qaisar Abbas

Excerpt;

While the American silent majority has spoken lodging its protest throughout America, the so-called model minority of Desis seems to be in a state of perpetual silence. The affluent are part of a capitalist system which they cannot afford to oppose anyway. On the other hand, the disadvantaged communities of the diaspora are so isolated from the American society; they do not feel to be part of a grassroots movement …

…. The grassroots agitation against the exploitative capitalist system is challenging the powerful businessmen, financial institutions and politicians in the United States. The recent issue of the progressive journal “The Nation” reports the deplorable economic conditions in the United States in these figures:

  • Twenty five million Americans are unemployed who are desperately looking for jobs
  • While corporate CEOs are paid handsomely, wages of 70% Americans without college education are declining
  • One in 6 American lives below the poverty line
  • One in four homes, considered to be the largest asset for most Americans, is at the verge of foreclosure and eviction by banks for nonpayment of mortgage loans
  • Fifty million people are unable to afford health insurance as healthcare costs are soaring
  • The economy works well for the rich 1% who control 40% of the wealth
  • Multinationals have conveniently transferred domestic jobs in other countries to reduce production costs
  • The rising cost of education is becoming unbearable for youth and they are burdened with a record high education loans ….

Read more » ViewPoint

Dangerous Minds: Noam Chomsky on the Wall Street protests

Noam Chomsky sends a “strong message of support” to the organizers of the Occupy Wall Streetprotests:

“Anyone with eyes open knows that the gangsterism of Wall Street — financial institutions generally — has caused severe damage to the people of the United States (and the world). And should also know that it has been doing so increasingly for over 30 years, as their power in the economy has radically increased, and with it their political power. That has set in motion a vicious cycle that has concentrated immense wealth, and with it political power, in a tiny sector of the population, a fraction of 1%, while the rest increasingly become what is sometimes called “a precariat” — seeking to survive in a precarious existence. They also carry out these ugly activities with almost complete impunity — not only too big to fail, but also “too big to jail.”

The courageous and honorable protests underway in Wall Street should serve to bring this calamity to public attention, and to lead to dedicated efforts to overcome it and set the society on a more healthy course.” …

Read more » Dangerous Minds

Canadians losing faith in religion

– Many link traditional institutions with religious conflict, survey finds

By Teresa Smith

It’s no secret fewer Canadians attend church today than 20 years ago, but what may be surprising is almost half of Canadians believe religion does more harm than good, according to the results of a survey conducted by Ipsos Reid.

Explanations from experts vary – from fear of extremists and anger toward individuals who abuse positions of power, to a national “forgetting” of Canadian history.

“In the past few years, there have been several high-profile international situations involving perceived religious conflicts, as well as the anniversary of 9/11, and I think when people see those, it causes them to fear religion and to see it as a source of conflict,” said Janet Epp Buckingham, associate professor at Trinity Western University in Ottawa.

Religion seems to be a key player in many of today’s top stories, from stand-alone events – such as the 2005 riots in the suburbs of Paris linked to the French government’s proposed burka ban, and rightwing Christian Anders Behring Breivik’s shooting rampage in Oslo, Norway – to more drawn-out sagas, such as child abuse in the Catholic Church, and the perception that Christians are constantly campaigning against gay marriage and abortion. ….

Read more:→ http://www.timescolonist.com/life/Canadians+losing+faith+religion/5420900/story.html#ixzz1YUqS2IDX

 

We the Muslims – by Amjad Nazeer

Islam, like all other religions is a moral and spiritual faith and has nothing to do with science or other similar areas of inquiry. Religion could be no more than a set of beliefs and ethical injunctions. Social institutions, scholars and the state must not join hands in mythologizing it. By mythologizing Islam, its associated personalities try mythologizing themselves.

Psychological disorders are not necessarily individual. At times their symptoms appear in a collective as well and are equally disastrous. A sizeable proportion of Pakistani Muslims are afflicted with a number of irrationalities and absurdities they are made to believe through clerics’ mania and Islamization of the society in general. ….

Read more: → ViewPoint

Is Pakistan collapsing – by S Akbar Zaidi

This presence of Osama bin Laden led to an extraordinary event of US SEAL military officers “invading” Pakistan, violating its air space, carrying out a military operation for 40 minutes and killing the most wanted terrorist and flying back to Afghanistan.

From drone attacks to constant admonishing by the Obama administration, to a weak economy, an insurgency and target-killing of the non-Baloch in Balochistan, and a weekly dose of suicide attacks on common people, all support a perception that Pakistan is collapsing. However, this conventional understanding may not be accurate. What these events suggest is that there is a growing crisis and contradiction within and between the institutions of the state in Pakistan and these crises and contradictions, evaluated differently, might offer a completely divergent narrative. What may be collapsing is the political settlement that has existed for many decades and this may be a positive development. Democractic forces have an opportunity now to end the military’s domination of Pakistan. …

Read more: View Point

Military strategy and the flight of capital – by Dr Manzur Ejaz

The Malaysian Consul General, General Khalid Abdul Razzaq, told the press that in the last few years, about 700 Pakistanis had transferred Rs one trillion and 80 billion to his country in a specific programme. If one includes the most popular places for Pakistani capital in the Gulf States, Europe and the US, the transferred amount would be in the hundreds of billions of dollars. If capital is flying out so ferociously, the Pakistani economy has a very dim future. The more depressing aspect is that the policies that created such conditions are not changing in the foreseeable future.

First of all, it is mindboggling how a country wracked by all kinds of law and order problems and power shortages can still generate such a mammoth surplus that is being transferred abroad. This reflects the vibrancy and tenacity of the Pakistani population that it can survive against all odds the way it has been doing for centuries. Probably, this is one of the reasons that our rulers, specifically the military, are continuing the perilous policies that they adopted three decades ago.

Last month, Pakistan’s economic division estimated that the Pakistani economy has suffered losses of about $ 68 billion due to the war on terror. However, the figure was based on certain unproven assumptions and less than solid stipulations. It seemed that the figure was touted in the international press to convince foreign governments about the cost Pakistan is bearing for the war on terrorism and tell them that their aid is too little when compared to the losses. One could have questioned Pakistan’s projected loss figure on various grounds but the capital transfer to Malaysia cannot be questioned because it is coming from the horse’s mouth.

Every economist knows such a huge surplus that is being transferred abroad is gained through extreme exploitation and skimming of the masses. The surplus, whatever way it is gained, is called ‘the savings of an economy’. And, if the savings are not invested back into the economy, the country can never grow — on the contrary it can only degenerate. Pakistan’s rate of inflation, rising poverty and unemployment, which may be as high as 70 percent if one includes the redundant rural workforce, is a manifestation of how the export of Pakistani savings abroad has jeopardised the revival of the economy.

The migration of Pakistani savings to other countries shows that its top wealth holders — whatever their percentage — do not see a safe future in Pakistan. Insecurity is the fundamental reason for such a prevalent view among prosperous Pakistanis. The rise of religious extremism and acceleration of jihadism through the Taliban, al Qaeda and other private militias is the root cause of insecurity in Pakistan. Therefore, the state institutions that have given rise to such forces are directly responsible for the disaster Pakistan is facing.

The flight of capital from Pakistan started during the 1970s and 1980s, long before 9/11 and the US invasion of Afghanistan. Rising sectarianism in the country and ethnic violence in Karachi, engineered by secret agencies with no US input, started scaring potential domestic and foreign investors. It is interesting that this violence-ridden environment opened another chapter of economic plundering in Pakistan by all kinds of exploiters. The attitude had been to squeeze as much as possible in the shortest period. Somehow, the deepening of anarchy provided more opportunity to the exploiting classes and we witnessed unprecedented accumulation of wealth and its transfer abroad in this period. Who is responsible for creating such conditions?

The Pakistan military’s doctrine of seeking strategic depth in Afghanistan with the help of the Taliban and al Qaeda added to the anarchy, insecurity and, strangely enough, economic exploitation. Military spending kept on rising at the expense of the impoverishment of the masses. Therefore, the policy of seeking strategic depth in Afghanistan has caused misery for common Pakistanis from many angles.

Despite the international pressure and domestic rejection, Pakistan’s military is continuing its failed policy. Besides the US, every international power, including China, has asked Pakistan to clean up its jihadi mess and change its direction from India obsession-cum-seeking-strategic depth in Afghanistan to being friendlier towards its neighbours. Domestically, after Mian Nawaz Sharif’s declaration that we should end hostilities towards India and that the military should get out of civilian matters, other than a few religious parties no mainstream political party shares the military’s strategic vision. The PPP and ANP may be toeing the military’s line for opportunistic reasons for the time being but both parties are far from India-haters.

Therefore, it is the military strategy that is causing insecurity in the country and forcing Pakistani capital to flee. The quantity of outflow of capital is so huge that a few billion from the US, any other country or international agencies (the World Bank and IMF) cannot compensate the losses. Therefore, the first sign of stability in Pakistan would be seen when Pakistani capital outflows stop and domestic savings start getting reinvested in the country.

On the contrary, if the military keeps walking on the suicidal path, the economy will be squeezed and, if India grows steadily, Pakistan will become irrelevant in the region. The outcome of the ongoing military strategy of Pakistan will result in just the opposite of what is desired.

Courtesy: WICHAAR.COM

Military monopoly challenged

by Dr Manzur Ejaz

Excerpt;

Pakistan’s socio-political system has reached a critical stage where the competition or confrontation between institutions is leading to an inevitable but unexpected change. An overwhelmingly agrarian Pakistani society has evolved into a multi-layered complex body where new urban middle classes have matured enough to play a role. If the dominant institutions of the military and political elites do not rapidly adjust to the changing reality, an unprecedented and disastrous situation can develop.

Whatever way we cut it, the incidents of the last month compelled the military to come to parliament and explain itself to the legislators and the public. Despite the chiding posture of General Shuja Pasha, this was a new development. But then, Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani issued a long rebuttal, a public criticism, after the 139th Corps Commander’s Conference. In this comprehensive statement, he reasserted the military’s monopoly over defining the ideology and policy of the state of Pakistan. If one dissects General Kayani’s statement, part of it is the military’s claim to define the country as an ‘Islamic’ state and other parts are operational policies as to how the country is going to be run.

What General Kayani and the army do not realise is that the military’s monopoly over the Pakistani state was the product of a set of historical factors that have substantially changed. Now, other institutions of the state are maturing to the level that a new inter-institutional balance has to evolve or the state will wither away. …

… In the last decade, the media, as an institution, was rising and having an impact on different sectors of society. The movement for the restoration of the independent judiciary also showed that a vital branch of the state was gaining enough maturity. The way the PML-N acted as an opposition party was also another sign of the strengthening of democratic forces. Despite the incompetent PPP government and its non-cooperation with the judiciary or with the genuine political opposition, it is becoming clearer that a realignment of institutional balance is underway. Therefore, the military is facing other sets of forces that are different from the 70s. In this situation, the military can unleash ruthlessness to suppress the emerging forces or concede to them as a fait accompli. Maybe the military has read the tea leaves as an ex-COAS, General Jehangir Karamat maintains, but it has yet to be seen how far the military can withdraw itself from civilian affairs.

To read complete article: Wichaar

PEMRA issues notices to 4 TV channels for provoking anti-national sentiments

ISLAMABAD, Jun 3 (APP): Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) on Friday issued notices to Geo News, Dawn News, News One and Dunya News for being irresponsible and provoking anti-national sentiments among viewers by sensitizing events unnecessarily. According to a PEMRA press release, some of the talk shows and programmes of these channels were observed in violation of Section 20 of PEMRA Ordinance 2002 read with Rule 15 of PEMRA Rules 2009 and clause (1) (d) (g) (h) of Code of Conduct set out in the Schedule-B of PEMRA Rules 2009.

After the PNS Mehran tragedy, it was being observed that some news channels were not realizing their journalistic responsibility and ethics towards society, institutions and country. Some news channels even went overboard in maligning role of security agencies, armed forces and state institutions.

For instance, Geo News televised interview of an alleged eye witness of PNS Mehran attack and created undue sensation and hype

Continue reading PEMRA issues notices to 4 TV channels for provoking anti-national sentiments

Death of ObL, Nightmare for Pakistan: Army Chief Suggests to Nawaz Not to Demand Resignations; ISI Chief Surrenders to Parliament But His Tone Remains Unchanged?

Death of ObL, Nightmare for Pakistan: AQ Khan Under Threats; Army Chief Suggests to Nawaz Not to Demand Resignations; ISI Chief Surrenders to Parliament But His Tone Remains Unchanged?

By Aijaz Ahmed

Excerpt:

Islamabad: Developments are taking place at a fast pace ever since Osama bin Laden was killed in a limited operation by US Navy SEALs in Abbottabad, 60 miles north of the federal capital, Islamabad.

The life of the most wanted man on earth was dangerous for peace and stability in Pakistan, but his death has become a nightmare for Pakistan, that puts the very fiber of the society at stake and integrity of the country in danger. The “Ghairat” (honor) brigade of media is very active as it is trying to bring the democratic dispensation under pressure on one hand and point its guns towards the security institutions on the other hand.

The debate sparked by the May 2 operation focused on Pakistan’s national sovereignty, but nobody amongst the hawks were ready to accept the fact that although the US action was undoubtedly a clear breach of the national sovereignty, the presence of ObL on Pakistani soil, especially in a garrison city like Abbottabad had equally subverted the national sovereignty and undermined our security framework. …

…. Indeed the military leadership admitted its failure, but the briefing given to the sitting was not very significant, says Syed Zafar Ali Shah, a PML-N hawk. Although general Pasha surrendered before the parliament, it was for the sake of their institution, and not for the supremacy of the civilian rule, he added. The attitude of the uniformed top brass was rather contemptuous towards the elected representatives of the country, sources said adding that it was evident from the tone of the soldiers and the response they given to the elected representatives who asked tough questions or pointed out political hobnobbing by the agencies.

The tone was harsh and not like that of a person wanting to admit his mistakes, said Zafar Ali Shah. He however, was silent on the question that why PML-N did not ask for certain resignations over the Abbottabad incident. Sources closed to Mian Nawaz Sharif on the other hand answered this question. The close circles of Mian Nawaz Sharif have confided that the Army Chief General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani had a one on one meeting with Mian Nawaz Sharif on May 9th at his residence in Murree. The said meting took place on the first day of PML-N central leadership’s meeting in Islamabad when Mian Sb asked his party men to demand for the resignation of military top brass.

PML-N sources are of the view that Mian Saheb was to demand resignations during his next day press briefing, and some how this was conveyed to the Army leadership that created bit of worry in Rawalpindi, thus the COAS rushed himself to his Murree residence and requested him not to do so. Mian Sb, according to the sources while accepting the suggestion, changed his words, but kept very harsh tone. This was also indicated in 15th May media briefing when he demanded agencies budget and expenditure to be presented in the parliament. …

To read complete article: Indus Herald

Pakistan : Religious zealots and political Islam – Dr Manzur Ejaz

The assault by religious zealots has now been undertaken by the Sunni Tehreek. The transformation of this otherwise peaceful group of Muslims shows how deep an effect the religious right-wing has had in radicalising all other religious parties and sects. Now, it can be safely said that there is no tolerant Islamic sect among Pakistani Muslims.

It seems that the movement for Tahaffuz-e-Namoos-e-Risalat (TNR) has become a source of political power for the mullahs. As expected, wherever there is power, there are contenders for the throne. Thus, the intense competition between the mullahs has begun and it is in fact a stampede under which Pakistan is being brutalised and crushed.

The prime mover of the TNR is the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), the mother of most theocratic and extremist religious trends. Presently, the JI is competing for influence for itself versus Fazlur Rehman but that is its secondary goal; the main goal is political power. For the JI, the TNR is a vehicle to keep religious parties united and to slowly dismantle what is left of the secular institutions of the state. The Taliban and other jihadi groups fit very well in its strategy to undo the system. Therefore, while the Taliban and other jihadis keep the state engaged with guns, the JI provides a political cover to them with rhetoric. The ‘Free Aafia Siddiqui’ and TNR movements are just political covers masterfully orchestrated by the JI. …

Read more : Wichaar

Blasphemy Law: Mullahs fighting each other for political gains

Blasphemy Law: Mullahs fighting each other for political gains (2 JI) – Wichaar Analysis

The prime mover of TNR is Jamaat-i-Islami (JI), the mother of most theocratic and extremist religious trends. JI is another case of fake contender of ideology of Pakistan. The party opposed the creation of Pakistan tooth and nail and issued fatwas against Mohammad Ali Jinnah. By the way it got foothold in Punjab courtesy of Allama Mohammad Iqbal. A landlord Chauhdry Barkat Ali had asked Allama Iqbal to recommend a suitable Islamic organization who can take his estate in Pathankot. Allama Iqbal recommended Maulana Maudodi and this is how JI expanded its base in Punjab. This one of the reason that I feel that JI cadres and Taliban are Iqbal’s ‘Shaheens.’

Presently, JI is competing for influence for itself but that is its secondary goal versus Fazalur Rehman whose main goal is political power. For JI, TNR is a vehicle to keep religious parties united and to slowly dismantle what is left of the secular institutions of the state. Taliban and other jihadi groups very well fit in its strategy to undo the system. Therefore, while Taliban and other jihadis keep the state engaged with guns JI provides a political cover to them. …

Read more : Wichaar

No representation of Sindh in financial institutions

by: Dr Ali Akbar Dhakan

The representation to people of Sindh as it has been observed that in the appointment of heads of all institutions, financial corporations, banks and departments etc no Sindhi has been given the post of the head of the Department, bank and financial institution. In this way Sindhis deserving, highly qualified and experienced have been neglected and not given their constitutional rights and representation in any bank or financial institution.

Even recently, for the post of banking ombudsman, a retired Deputy Governor State Bank of Pakistan has been appointed who got two extensions in State Bank of Pakistan.The deserving people of Sindh are depressed and frustrated so much that from the policies of the PPP Government, they are thinking for diversion of their sympathies, hopes and blessings. Not only the appointment as the heads of banks but even no bank or corporation needs representation of Sindhis as its Board of Director or member of its committees. All intellectuals and parties of Sindh are demanding inquiries and checking of these facts to the effect that why not Sindhis are neglected and given their representations in all financial institutions.The President of Pakistan is therefore requested to issue his orders for providing constitutional representation to Sindhi people in all banks and in institutions.

Apirl 15, 2009