Tag Archives: lawmakers

Millionaires Are Now the Majority in Congress: The 1% Literally Rule Us

By: MARK KARLIN, EDITOR AT BUZZFLASH.COM

According to a new analysis by OpenSecretsBlog, “Millionaires’ Club: For First Time, Most Lawmakers are Worth $1 Million-Plus”:

Of 534 current members of Congress, at least 268 had an average net worth of $1 million or more in 2012, according to disclosures filed last year by all members of Congress and candidates. The median net worth for the 530 current lawmakers who were in Congress as of the May filing deadline was $1,008,767 — an increase from last year when it was $966,000. In addition, at least one of the members elected since then, Rep. Katherine Clark (D-Mass.), is a millionaire, according to forms she filed as a candidate. (There is currently one vacancy in Congress.)

Last year only 257 members, or about 48 percent of lawmakers, had a median net worth of at least $1 million.

Remember, of course, those in Congress who aren’t millionaires have a very good chance of becoming ones after leaving office — particularly senators — by becoming lobbyists or working for corporations.

Read more » http://www.truth-out.org/buzzflash/commentary/item/18411-millionaires-are-now-the-majority-in-congress-the-1-literally-rule-us

Senators demand Musharraf’s arrest for supremacy of law

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ISLAMABAD: Lawmakers in the Upper House of the Parliament Thursday demanded action against former President General (retd) Pervez Musharraf for his crimes against constitution, democracy, political leadership and the nation.

They also demanded from the caretaker interior minister to inform the House how he escaped from the court to his residence and “why a former General could not be arrested if the elected prime ministers of the country can be sent to jails.”

Speaking on points of order, the senators claimed that double standard existed in the country in violation of the Constitution which considers every Pakistani equal before the law.

“We have been talking of the rule of law and independence of judiciary. But, today we have seen that it is easy to send an elected prime minister to jail but a former General and military dictator cannot be arrested,” remarked senior PPPP Senator Raza Rabbani.

“In Pervez Musharraf’s case it is test of time. When the court had ordered to arrest him, then why he was not arrested. It’s a question mark,” Rabbani added.

He charged Pervez Musharraf of involvement in the abetment of killing of Benazir Bhutto and Nawab Akbar Bugti, abrogating the constitution and house arresting the judges of superior judiciary.

“Musharraf is a usurper who twice abrogated the Constitution. He was announced to be arrested but he safely fled in connivance with state institutions. The caretaker government was responsible to arrest him and the interior minister should inform the House why the government had not fulfilled its obligations,” Rabbani said.

PPPP Senator Farhatullah Babar said he does not hold caretaker government responsible for his escape. “I have been looking the state apparatus very closely. There are two laws and double standards in the country. If we could not mend it over the time how we can hold the caretakers responsible for these double standards.”

Continue reading Senators demand Musharraf’s arrest for supremacy of law

Sindhi population under attack by Pak govt: US lawmakers

Sindhi population under attack by Pak govt bodies: US lawmakers

Washington: With the popularity of the United States inside Pakistan at an all-time low, an influential American lawmaker has asked the State Department to make efforts to reach out directly to the country’s population, in particular the Sindhis.

“Pakistan is a nuclear-armed Islamic state on the front line of several conflicts with so many extremist groups.

Pakistan is a pressing international problem for us. My hope is that you are reaching out to the Pakistani people not just in Urdu, which is the politically correct language that the government and the ISI in Pakistan would have you use, but also in the other languages, particularly Sindhi,” Congressman Brad Sherman, said during a Congressional hearing Thursday.

Sherman alleged that the people of Sindhi, predominantly those who speak Sindhi language, have been under attack by governmental bodies.

“That’s why the government of Pakistan would just as soon you not use that language. They’re so helpful in so many ways that perhaps you might want to ignore their advice,” he said.

“The US must reach out to Sindh, where the Sindhi language is spoken by more people than Urdu,” Sherman said in his remarks at the hearing of the Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade Subcommittee of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Courtesy: The Indian Express

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/sindhi-population-under-attack-by-pak-govt-bodies-us-lawmakers/983254/

Forced conversion of Hindus in Pakistan jolts US out of slumber

By Chidanand Rajghatta

WASHINGTON: Pakistan’s state-endorsed discrimination, and in some cases extermination, of its minorities has finally caught the eye of Washington lawmakers. Coming on the heels of support in Congress for a Baloch homeland in the face of Islamabad’s depredations in the region, a US Congressman has zeroed in on the abduction and forced religious conversion of Hindus in the country highlighted by the case of Rinkel Kumari.

In a sharply-worded letter to Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari, Congressman Brad Sherman urged him to take action to ensure the return of Rinkel Kumari to her family, pursuant to reports that she had been abducted with the help of a Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) lawmaker. In a case that has been widely reported in the liberal Pakistani media, Rinkel, who was abducted on February 24, was forced to marry one Naveed Shah and convert to Islam.

She was subsequently produced before a civil judge twice, but she was reportedly coerced into claiming that she had converted on her own will, even as her family was denied access to her in kangaroo court proceedings that revealed in video clips to be led by a frenzied mob of zealots, including armed followers of the Pakistani lawmaker. According to Pakistani civil liberties activists in Washington DC, Rinkel was allegedly threatened while in police custody that if she did not change her statement, she and her family would be killed.

”Rinkel Kumari’s case is just one case of abduction and forced religious conversion in Pakistan,” Congressman Sherman said in the letter to Zardari, citing the Asian Human Rights commission figure of 20-25 kidnappings and forced conversions of Hindu girls in Sindh every month. ”I urge you to take all necessary steps to bring an end to this practice and other harassment of Hindus in Pakistan.”

The Rinkel Kumari case was brought to the attention of US lawmakers not by Hindu activists but by the Sindhi American Political Action Committee (SAPAC), a lobby group that, like the Baloch groups, is increasingly asserting the secular and syncretic identity of Pakistan’s Sindhi community in the face of growing Islamization in the country. Sapac activists are telling US lawmakers that state sponsored discrimination against minority groups in Pakistan is rampant and is causing Hindus to migrate out of Pakistan in droves.

Hindus, who constituted more than 15 per cent of Pakistan’s population soon after Partition, have now dwindled to less than two per cent, mostly in some districts of Sindh. There have been several reports in recent months of Hindu families seeking to migrate to India in the face of growing radical Islamization of Pakistan, including abduction and forcible conversions, but it is the first time that Washington, which literally slept over Pakistan’s genocide of Bengalis in 1970-71, is paying attention to the issue.

US interest in the Rinkel Kumari case comes close on the heels of sudden support in Congress for Baloch self-determination, an effort led by California lawmaker Dana Rohrabacher. That effort has rattled Islamabad to the extent that it has told American interlocutors that Pakistan-US ties will be deeply affected if Washington interfered in Balochistan, even though the Obama administration has clarified that support for an independent Balochistan is confined to the Hill, where lawmakers are free to introduce any legislation they deem appropriate. That in turn resulted in Sherry Rehman, Pakistan’s ambassador to the U.S.,, writing to House Speaker John Boehner, expressing deep concern over Congressional action on Balochistan.

Courtesy: TOI

Rights violations shame Pakistanis at Congress hearing

By Anwar Iqbal

WASHINGTON: Guilt and shame were the two dominant feelings that overwhelmed many Pakistanis at a US congressional hearing room on Wednesday as witnesses detailed human rights abuses in Balochistan. Some were also troubled – while some felt elated – as all five US lawmakers who attended this unusual hearing of the House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations stressed the Baloch right to self-determination.

But this emotive session – which often drew warm applause from Baloch nationalists – offered little insight into how to resolve this difficult issue. Perhaps, that’s not even the intention of those who had organised the meeting. They wanted to highlight Balochistan as a possibly explosive spot close to a US war-theatre and they succeeded in doing so. …

Read more » DAWN.COM

Army, not a mafia! – Chaudhry Nisar, the leader of the opposition, fiercely criticized the killing of missing citizens in the custody of a spy agency asked Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Kayani to protect the honour and goodwill of the Pakistan Army

Ch. Nisar

Rein in agencies, Nisar asks Gilani, Kayani

ISLAMABAD – Strongly criticising the role of agencies in the missing persons’ case, Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan on Thursday asked Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani and Army chief Gen Ashfaq Kayani to rein-in the intelligence agencies.

Responding to Nisar’s fierce criticism of the killing of four people who were in the custody of a spy agency and his demand of constitution of a court of inquiry by the government, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani said a committee of the House could be constituted to look into the matter, but he proposed that as the matter was sub-judice, the court’s verdict should be awaited.

Gilani said all state institutions should work under their constitutional ambit and all institutions were answerable to parliament. He said the government would respect the Supreme Court’s order in the missing persons’ case. Speaking on a point of order earlier, Nisar announced that he would go to the Supreme Court on the next hearing of the missing persons’ case to express solidarity with the families whose relatives had been illegally abducted and killed by spy agencies.

He said a secret agency had dumped the tortured corpses of four people who it had abducted upon their acquittal from a court of law. Nisar also asked Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Kayani to protect the honour and goodwill of the Pakistan Army and take notice of such incidents.

“This is a national army, not a mafiaGeneral Kayani must stop such things which tarnish the army’s image,” he said.

PML-N MNAs chanted slogans ofshame, shame” over the killing of missing persons. Nisar added that it was a moral and constitutional obligation of all members of the parliament to raise voice in parliament for missing persons and against the atrocities of secret agencies and to appear in the Supreme Court to express solidarity with the families of the missing persons. “Whenever the government feels threats from agencies, the prime minister wastes no time in pointing out a state within the state, but in this case no government functionary has come forward to speak in favour of common citizens,” he said, asking the prime minister to rein in secret agencies and bring their heads before parliament so that lawmakers could hold them accountable.

Courtesy: Pakistan Today

http://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2012/02/rein-in-agencies-nisar-asks-gilani-kayani/

Study: Wealthy Stockbrokers More Dangerous Than Psychopaths

By David Sirota

The findings are a reminder of why now — more than ever — we must refuse to succumb to political apathy and laissez-faire demagoguery.

Like most people living through this jarring age of economic turbulence and political dysfunction, you can probably recall a moment in the last few months when you thought to yourself that our lawmakers and corporate leaders are all crazy. And not just run-of-the-mill crazy, ….

Read more → AlterNet

US brings down its dependence on Pakistan supply routes to Afghanistan

by Wichaar Desk

WASHINGTON: The US has halved its reliability on Pakistani supply routes to Afghanistan from over 70 per cent to 35 per cent, given the volatile nature of the border areas where a number of NATO suppliers have come under attack.

America’s reliability on Pakistan for supplying goods and arms and ammunition for its troops in Afghanistan has reduced to just 35 per cent, a top Pentagon official told US lawmakers.

This is a considerable achievement given that till recently it was more than 70 per cent and this was considered to be one of the main bargaining points for Pakistan with the United States.

This figure of 35 per cent is expected to come further down in the coming months as the Pentagon is working to increase its supply to Afghanistan through the Northern Distribution network.

“It’s my understanding that approximately 35 per cent moves through the ground, and the other is moving through the Northern Distribution Network, coupled with also lift as we bring in supplies by air,” General William M Fraser told the Senate Armed Services Committee at his confirmation hearing to be Commander, United States Transportation Command.

The US officials have stated in recent times that they were working on reducing their dependency on the supply routes in Pakistan after a series of attacks on NATO tankers carrying oil and other goods to western forces and Afghanistan.

Courtesy: → WICHAAR.COM