Tag Archives: management

Rot at the top in America?

Are these the words of the all powerful …

By Omar

Rajiv Chandrashekaran’s new book (which I have not yet read, but have seen some excerpts and discussions on TV) seems to confirm that higher management levels of the US government are indeed seriously broken.

Breaking my recent moratorium on comments about subjects that I do not know very well, I will take this opportunity to burnish my Cassandra credentials. I have been saying for years that Amrika bahadur’s blundering effort in Afghanistan (especially above the military unit level…where the US army is second to none) are overflowing with so much fraud, chicanery and incompetence that if the American taxpayers knew about it even they would be shocked. Whatever the accuracy of various claims and whatever the bias introduced by Chandrashekaran’s liberal education or Washington Post insider status, the book does remind us that America is not really the evil superpower of Jihadi (or Hindutvadi for that matter) myth. Its a superpower closer to what William Burroughs may have imagined. Small men doing petty things and scared of being overshadowed or outfoxed by other small men..and wasting taxpayer money like there is no tomorrow.

Of course, to avoid any accidental identification with the Tariq Ali brigade, I would add that I am very well aware of the fact that the small men running Russia are ten times more thuggish, the ones in China are 8 times more corrupt and the ones in Pakistan, well, better left unsaid. ….

Read more » Brown Pundits

Via – Twitter

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The new brass on the block

by Wajahat S. Khan

The game is on. Not the brash politicking from Raiwind that promises to dismantle the Presidency. Not the unscrupulous ingenuity from the Presidency that has muzzled the MQM back into the fold. Not from the Supreme Court as it tries to throw its weight around in Karachi. And not from Kabul, or New Delhi either, where Hamid Karzai and Manmohan Singh have matured a strategic pact in half the time of a human pregnancy. No, those are all little games.

In Islamabad – correction, Rawalpindi – there is only one game in town. And it’s called the Promotion Game. Up for grabs are stars…preferably four, but three will work too. And if they’re made of brass, then the political alchemy for converting khaki cotton into the armour-plating of power becomes so much more easier.

Here’s the backgrounder: General Ashfaq Kayani is set to retire (for a second time) in November 2013. That’s when his office will be available for occupancy. But till that moment arrives, like any bureaucracy – and the army is Pakistan’s biggest, even most politicised one – the ‘grooming’ and placement of his subordinates is key for the operational efficacy as well as internal dynamism of the institution he commands.

Kayani’s latest move – the promotion of four major generals to the rank of lieutenant general – is a critical indicator of what lies next for Pakistan’s most powerful institution. Who’s going to be Spook-in-Chief (DG-ISI)? Or the guy who keeps all the brass connected (chief of General Staff)? Who’s going to be GHQ’s record-keeper (military secretary)? Or the man who will fight with (or talk to) the Taliban (commander XI Corps)? Which general shall keep the Americans out of Quetta while ensuring Baloch separatists are suppressed (commander XII Corps)? What about the chap who watches the nukes (commander Strategic Forces), or the one who keeps India busy across the LoC (commander X Corps) while keeping his ‘Coup Brigade’ (the ‘111’) oiled and ready? And let’s never, ever forget the next probable for the COAS title.

Continue reading The new brass on the block

A sad day for the freedom of press in Pakistan – By the intimidation and threats of MQM, the talk show Bolta Pakistan suddenly stopped, and then the senior journalist and anchor person, Nusrat Javed, was fired from Aaj News Tv.

Nusrat Javed, one of the senior most journalists and host of Bolta Pakistan at AAJ TV has been reportedly fired from AAJ TV and his program was taken off air after 10 minutes of airing.

Nusrat said that MQM threatened the owners or management of AAJ TV that if they want to guarantee safety of 600 employees, then Nusrat should be fired.

More details → PKPOLITICS

Courtesy: → Aaj News Tv (Bota Pakistan with Nusrat Javed & Mushtaq Minhas)

via → ZemTvYouTube

Flooding makes 60,000 homeless in Sindh

SINDH – KARACHI: Devastating rains have triggered floods in southern Pakistan, affecting at least 700,000 people and forcing 60,000 from their homes, officials said Wednesday.

Villages have been flooded and crops destroyed in Pakistan’s Sindh province, one of the worst-hit areas in the unprecedented floods of 2010 that affected 21 million people and caused losses of $10 billion.

“At least 700,000 people have been affected by the floods caused by the recent rains in the six districts of Sindh province,” Sajjad Haider Shah, an official in the provincial disaster management authority, told AFP. …

Read more → DAWN.COM

Is Democracy as We Know It on Its Way Out?

By Frank Viviano

A decade ago, only paranoid alarmists would have posed that question.

 Today, it may be an expression of cold, brutal realism.

Is Western democracy coming apart at the seams? A decade ago, only paranoid alarmists would have posed that question.

 Today, it may be an expression of cold, brutal realism.

On both sides of the Atlantic — from the fires that raged in large stretches of London, to the political chicanery that brought the U.S. economy to its knees in early August — the institutional framework that came to define modern democracy in the 19th century is in deep trouble.

The principal organs of financial oversight and management are in tatters. Ferociously xenophobic political movements, an entire constellation of Tea Parties, now play important roles in nearly every European nation, as well as the United States.

Faith in elected leaders and legislatures, the central and defining institutions of democracy, has never been lower.

According to the Pew Research Center, the proportion of the U.S. public expressing trust in the federal government has fallen from just under 80 per cent in the late 1960s to barely 20 per cent today. 

….

Read more → AlterNet

First time in the democratic history of Pakistan – Public Accounts Committee calls for report against three retired generals

PAC calls for report against three retired generals

By Kalbe Ali

ISLAMABAD: For the first time in the country’s democratic history, the Public Accounts Committee of the National Assembly has directed the defence ministry and the GHQ to submit a report on corruption charges against three retired generals.

The generals were allegedly involved in misadventures in the stock exchange which caused a loss of about Rs2 billion to the National Logistics Cell (NLC).

A meeting of the PAC held here on Saturday also took notice of the killing by Rangers personnel of an unarmed youth in Karachi and officials of the interior ministry informed the committee that activities of Rangers were being monitored.

The meeting, presided over by Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan of the PML-N, asked the defence ministry to submit the report on NLC scam to the PAC Secretariat by June 30.

Saeed Zafar, a member of the PAC, said the committee had been waiting for the past seven months, but the GHQ was to submit its report on the scam to the committee.

The defence ministry officials said the GHQ had already completed its inquiry into the scam and would soon forward a report to the ministry.

“The three retired army general and a bureaucrat need to be brought to justice,” Chaudhry Nisar said, adding: “I have also told the army chief that the inquiry has to be in light of three audit reports already conducted into the NLC affairs.”

The NLC is a subsidiary of the Planning Commission but has traditionally been dominated by the army. It is being headed by a serving major general and various army officers are working as his subordinates.

According to an audit report, the NLC management had obtained illegal and unauthorised loans of Rs4.3 billion between 2004 and 2008 for investment in the volatile stock market and suffered a loss of Rs1.84.

The PAC chairman told the defence ministry officials that obtaining the report from the GHQ would not be a problem. “Gen Ashfaq Kayani has already assured me,” he said.

At an earlier meeting of the committee, NLC Director General Maj-Gen Junaid Rehmat had said the NLC was paying Rs2.7 million per day as mark-up on the loans illegally obtained for investment in the stock market.

SC BUDGET AUDIT: The PAC was informed by its secretariat that it had written to the Supreme Court chief justice a letter complaining that despite repeated requests the court registrar was not appearing before the committee to inform it about the audit of SC budget.

The PAC has been asking the Supreme Court to get its audit done as per regulations. ….

Read more: → DAWN.COM

Pakistan: Gross Financial Irregularity in Punjab

Gross Financial Irregularity in Punjab: Funds Allocated for Clean Drinking Water Project Diverted to “Sasti Roti” Project

Punjab Government Suggests Closure of the Foreign Funded Program

By: Aijaz Ahmed

Corruption and financial irregularities don’t seem to be limited to an individual or a single political party in Pakistan. One very often hears about the fabled corruption of the president of Pakistan and co-chairperson of PPP and also about the gross irregularities, mismanagement and corruption in the federal government. The accusers among others include the PML-N leaders who claim running a very clean government in the Punjab, the largest province in Pakistan. But as this report suggests their hands are not as clean either. They have engaged in financial irregularities and also seem to be playing gimmicks for short-term political gains at the cost of the welfare of the common men.

The much-hyped clean government of the iron man # 2, Mian Shahbaz Sharif has been involved in certain gross financial irregularities, ….

Read more : Indus Herald

Devolution of HEC: Which model should we follow?

by Azhar Ali Shah

According to some HEC officials and other educationists, though the Western model of devolved higher education system is good but it may not be suitable for us to follow and that we should look at our neighbors China, Saudi, Iran and India for developing our system! One wonders whom our neighboring countries are going to follow? And the answer is the West!

Take for example China’s experience with higher education as described by Xin-Ran Duan [1]. Though initially based on the ideas of Confucius, China’s higher education adopted western (US) model with the establishment of Peiyang University in 1895 (changed its name to Tianjin University in 1951).

On becoming the People’s Republic of China in 1949, China changed its system of higher education from Western to Soviet Union. The difference between these two being that Western model was based on devolution in terms of management and common comprehensive university (one university for all disciplines) in terms of structure; while the Soviet model was based on over centralization of management and discipline specific universities in terms of structure (e.g., University of Engineering, University of Agriculture, University of Art and Literature etc.).

After the fall of Soviet Union in 1990s, China adopted open door-policy and started both devolving the power and management and merging the discipline specific universities into truly comprehensive universities following the advanced Western model again.

In order to describe how China’s over centralized system is going to devolve, I would like to present following excerpt from an article [1]:

One major change in governance has been the introduction of the “two-level education provision system,” in which the central government (Minister of Education) shares responsibility for educational governance with local governments (provincial bureaus of education). The provincial bureaus of education have been assigned greater responsibilities and now directly administer most common universities and colleges. The chief executive officer of a university is the president, who is usually appointed by the government. In the past, appointments were made without public hearings, interviews, or competition among candidates. The introduction of these processes has had a positive effect [1].

So having gone through this are we still going to follow China, India, Saudi and others who are themselves evolving to adopt advanced Western model! Our 1973 constitution placed some subjects on concurrent list only for 10 years (I repeat for 10 year only) so the country develops the resources at center and then devolves to strengthen the provinces. HEC has developed its capacity in 10 years and that is the maximum as per example of 1973 constitution which we need to transfer to provinces so they provide the same services even in a more efficient, fair and democratic way.

It is therefore, HEC officials along with educationists, experts and general public join the hands to start what we believe are good things developed by HEC and evolve it further with the participation of all of us. Why do HEC officials think that they could do this work while only sitting at Islamabad? What is the point? What if sub teams of these persons along some additional persons are provided the same setup and resources at provinces? Why they can’t work there exactly in the same way as they are working in Islamabad?

It is in the light of the above that we request HEC officials along with our friends in the academia to kindly help our provinces in setting up the same bodies at provincial level and do away with the centralized HEC. These opportunities for change come once in a generation and should not be lost in the narrow mindedness of bureaucratic hurdles. In order to build a true Pakistan, we have to build our system at local level, which is fair, transparent, democratic, honest and trustworthy. This might require some personnel sacrifices but that is the way to go ahead if we are really sincere with our country as a whole!

PS: BTW, HEC still follows the outdated Soviet Model not only in terms of centralization but

Continue reading Devolution of HEC: Which model should we follow?

Would GEO and Express TV disclose how much money they get from Americans?

By Farrukh Siddiqui
Editor, State of Pakistan blog
One of the objectives of Kerry-Lugar aid bill for aid to Pakistan is to “support for promotion of a responsible, capable,and independent media.”
According to this RT TV broadcast of March 10, 2010, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2UQCki_nC9c ,  the US government planned to spend $50 million on this objective. According to another report  dated Feb. 27, 2010 by the examiner , “the Obama administration plans to spend nearly $50 million on Pakistani media this year to reverse anti-American sentiments and raise awareness of projects aimed at improving quality of life, confirms a Washington insider. “
The history of collaboration between the agencies of the US government and some “ independent “ Pakistani media organizations is old. But more recently it was GEO TV that went public with jointly produced programs with Voice of America.
The following press release  dated Nov. 13, 2005 ( http://islamabad.usembassy.gov/pakistan/h05111301.html) of the US Embassy in Islmamabad is self-explanatory:
VOA Launches Urdu TV For Pakistan

11/13/2005 Washington, D.C. – The Voice of America (VOA) will launch Beyond the Headlines-its new television program in Urdu-on Monday, Nov. 14. The half-hour program will air on GEO TV in Pakistan at 7:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and on selected international satellites, including AsiaSat (Virtual Channel 409) and IOR (Virtual Channel 420). …..

Read more : http://www.yousufnazar.com/?p=1219

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

Army Chief appears before Public Accounts Committee

PAC meet on canteen scam ends inconclusively

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) meet on the canteen scam ends inconclusively. The army and the air force have divergent views from that of CAG and the PAC. PAC would hold further meetings to reconcile this.

It’s the first instance of its kin, serving chiefs have been asked to appear before PAC in connection with Canteen scam.

Army Chief General V K Singh, air chief V K Naik and naval vice chief D K Dewan met the PAC headed by senior BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi and with other MPs. The hearing is in connection with the alleged irregularities in the canteen stores supplies. The PAC meet was called after the CAG report pointed out irregularities in the supply chain management of rations by CSD.

General VK Singh, Army Chief, said, “I am happy to be at meeting. We made a presention on the issues raised by MPs on rations issued to soldiers.” …

Read more : The Times of India

Pakistan nears bankruptcy, yet its Army poaches most of the resources of the nation

As Pakistan nears bankruptcy, patience of foreign lenders wears thin

BY GRAEME SMITH

ISLAMABAD — A terrifying kind of mathematics has become popular among aid workers, analysts and others who spend their lives tracking the fate of Pakistan. It’s a back-of-the-envelope calculation about how the country will get through the coming years without declaring bankruptcy: take the country’s foreign debt ($53-billion), add interest, subtract the $1.8-billion that won’t arrive as scheduled on Jan. 1 from the International Monetary Fund because Islamabad failed to meet loan conditions. Add the staggering cost, perhaps $10-billion, of rebuilding after summer floods.

The numbers seem bleak. The government floated the possibility last week of running a deficit for the coming year of $15-billion.

Islamabad’s latest plan to raise revenue, a reformed tax law, has become bogged down by stubborn opposition parties, front-page criticism and street protests. The cabinet’s economic team is threatening to quit.

Pakistan needs a bailout. But is the country still a good investment?

“That’s the conversation people are having now, about whether you’d be throwing good money after bad,” said Mosharraf Zaidi, a development expert and policy analyst based in Islamabad.

The international community has accused Pakistan of poor financial management for years. Cables recently posted by the website WikiLeaks show a U.S. intelligence official complaining in 2008 about the country’s preference for spending money on strategic military hardware instead of development: “Despite pending economic catastrophe, Pakistan is producing nuclear weapons at a faster rate than any other country in the world.” …

READ MORE : Globe and Mail

Karachi’s civil war: politics by other means —Dr Mohammad Taqi

… In a situation where the PPP is finding it difficult to break the cycle of violence and an army action may not be in sight, a bolstered police and rangers action with a clear mandate must start in earnest, and soon. The public perception of the PPP’s weakness is seriously damaging its political base, especially in Sindh. However, for such an action to deliver even the bare minimum, the PPP will have to restrain its coalition partners. If the PPP leadership is able to demonstrate some crisis management skills, it could project the party’s soft power through its image restoration. Karachi’s perennial inter-ethnic problems are unlikely to evaporate soon but a proactive PPP could manage to keep them from spiralling into a full intensity civil war.
Read more : Daily Times

Angry Feelings!

An unknown author once wrote, “Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.”

Did you know that anger causes an increase in your heart rate, blood pressure, and blood sugar levels, and that it also triggers other chemical changes in your body? Did you also know that it is unhealthy, both emotionally and physically, to hold in or repress emotions such as anger?

This is why it is so important that you learn how to safely release your feelings of anger after you take your anger time-out. Releasing anger does not mean that you are not in control—it is a natural and necessary aspect of the anger management process.

You should release your anger in a private place where it won’t distract others, injure people, damage property, or focus attention on you. Since everyone responds to anger differently, there are a number of techniques you may have to try to release your anger appropriately. Several techniques you can use are described, visit our blog for detailed techniques.

“You don’t have to be noisy to be effective.” -Unknown