The Indian rupee fell to a new low against the dollar on Wednesday and stocks declined after a central bank promise to inject liquidity into the country’s financial markets provided only temporary relief from a deepening sense of crisis….
Burma: State of emergency imposed in Meiktila
A state of emergency has been imposed in the Burmese town of Meiktila following three days of communal violence between Buddhists and Muslims.
A statement announcing the decision on behalf of President Thein Sein was broadcast on state television.
He said that the move would enable the military to help restore order in the riot-hit town, south of Mandalay.
At least 20 people are reported to have been killed since the violence began, but exact figures are unclear.
A BBC reporter who has just returned from the town said he saw about 20 Muslim bodies, which local men were trying to destroy by burning.
Meiktila MP Win Thein told the BBC Burmese service that scores of mostly Buddhist people accused of being involved in the violence had been arrested by police.
He said that he saw the bodies of eight people who had been killed in violence in the town on Friday morning. Many Muslims had fled gangs of Buddhist youths, he said, while other Muslims were in hiding.
Mr Win said that that violence that recurred on Friday morning has now receded, although the atmosphere in Meiktila remains tense.
Police say that at least 15 Buddhist monks on Friday burnt down a house belonging to a Muslim family on the outskirts of the town. There are no reports of any injuries.
The disturbances began on Wednesday when an argument in a gold shop escalated quickly, with mobs setting mainly Muslim buildings alight, including some mosques.
Local government backlash: Amid song and dance, anti-Sindh mantra goes on
…. Wearing red caps and holding placards inscribed with anti-government slogans, the protesters, men, women and children, staged a sit-in in front of the press club.
A sea of red flags of different Sindhi nationalist parties filled the roads from Karachi Press Club to Fawara Chowk and from Arts Council to Zainab Market.
The protest call was given by the Sindh Bachayo Committee (Save Sindh Committee). Different political parties, including Awami Tahreek, Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz, Jeay Sindh Tehreek, Sindh Tarraqi Pasand Party, Sindh United Party, Pakistan Muslim League-Functional, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party and Jamaat-e-Islami, joined in.
And almost every leader of the party vented his anger against the government for passing the Sindh Peoples Local Government Ordinance 2012.
Jalal Mehmood Shah, the Save Sindh Movement convenor; Dr Qadir Magsi of Sindh Taraqi Pasand Party; Dr Safdar Sarki of Jeay Sindh Tehreek; Sanan Qureshi of Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz, Saleem Zia of the Nawaz Sharif-led Pakistan Muslim League; Masroor Jatoi of National Peoples Party; and Jamaat-e-Islami’s Asadullah Bhutto were among those who spoke.
Sindh is our motherland and no one would let the PPP and its coalition partner to divide it, said Dr Qadir Magsi. Criticising the ruling party and its leadership, he said that people of Sindh should not expect good things from the PPP any more. ….
In his speech, Jalal Mehmood Shah announced an “unending” struggle against the new local government system and termed the rally a referendum against the system. “This large gathering proves that people of Sindh will not accept the black law, which has been imposed in the province at gunpoint,” he said.
The nationalist leader reiterated that rallies, hunger strikes and all other protests will go on in the province until the law is withdrawn. ….
Read more » The Express Tribune
Violence revisits Lyari: Three, including PPP leader, shot dead
SINDH – KARACHI: In a showdown between police and protestors on Monday, three people were killed while over a dozen sustained bullet injuries and were admitted to local hospitals.
Violence revisited Lyari as agitated residents took to the streets and clashed with police over what they described as ‘biased operation’ of law enforcement agencies against the residents of Lyari.
PPP leader dead
According to sources, PPP leader Hassan Soomro was also shot dead in this recent bout of violence.
by Syed Atiq ul Hassan
Pakistani politicians and army officials blamed people of East Pakistan as being burden on Pakistan’s treasury. They were called coward and beggars. Today, Bangladeshi economy is better than Pakistan’s. Today Bangladeshi Taka is better than the Pakistani Rupee in international market. Today, Pakistan is begging Bangladesh to play cricket in Pakistan with assurance to provide them full security so that the Pakistani image can be restored for holding international cricket events in Pakistan.
“There is no question that the situation in Baluchistan is alarming and needs urgent attention….Military operation cannot be the solution – Pakistan should not forget what happened in East Pakistan.”
First East Pakistan to Bangladesh and now towards Baluchistan to Independent Baluchistan, political reasons may be un-identical but the tale of injustices; ignorance and autocratic behaviour of Pakistani establishment and civilian federal bureaucracy remain the same.
Pakistan’s answer to the iPad is the PACPAD
By CHRIS BRUMMITT
Catch me if you can … Mohammad Imran holds a locally-made PACPad computer tablet at his electronics store in Rawalpindi, Pakistan.
Inside a high-security air force complex that builds jet fighters and weapons systems, Pakistan’s military is working on the latest addition to its sprawling commercial empire: a homegrown version of the iPad.
It’s a venture that bundles together Pakistani engineering and Chinese hardware, and shines a light on the military’s controversial foothold in the consumer market. Supporters say it will boost the economy as well as a troubled nation’s self-esteem.
It all comes together at an air force base in Kamra in northern Pakistan, where avionics engineers – when they’re not working on defense projects – assemble the PACPAD 1.
“The original is the iPad, the copy is the PACPAD,” said Mohammad Imran, who stocks the product at his small computer and mobile phone shop in a mall in Rawalpindi, a city not far from Kamra and the home of the Pakistani army.
The device runs on Android 2.3, an operating system made by Google and given away for free. At around $US200, it’s less than half the price of Apple or Samsung devices and cheaper than other low-end Chinese tablets on the market, with the bonus of a local, one-year guarantee.
The PAC in the name stands for the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex, where it is made. The PAC also makes an e-reader and small laptop.
We are asking everyone to come out and demonstrate Saturday, to bring friends, relatives, workmates, and everyone who cares about democracy and the objectives of the Occupy Movement, which is to oppose the gross wealth being accumulated by the rich and powerful 1% at the expense of the 99% – the rest of the population whose wages and incomes have fallen dramatically, many of whom are unemployed and under-employed, many of whom are poor and very poor, and many more who are youth and whose lives and futures have been dramatically altered by the insatiable greed of the most powerful corporations and the richest people in the world.
Join the rally at the corner of Jarvis and King at 1:30 pm, Saturday, to march & distribute People’s Voice, and our statement in support of the Occupy movement.
Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org to help, or for more info.
Comradely and in Solidarity!
Former Philadelphia Police Captain Ray Lewis joined Occupy Wall Street protesters on Tuesday.
He was seen holding a sign reading “NYPD Don’t Be Wall Street Mercenaries.”
In a video interview with Livestreamers, he railed against the excessive power of corporate America and the wrongful eviction of protesters from Zuccotti Park. He said if the occupations “continue to grow, you’re going to see a lot more of the FBI.”
Rea more » Common Dreams
by Louisa Lim
What goes on inside China’s leadership is usually played out behind the closed oxblood doors of the compound where the top leaders live. This year, though, a political debate has sprung out in the open — and it has leaders and constituents considering how to move forward politically.
This ideological debate comes as China gears up for a once-in-a-decade political transition. The country’s future top leaders seem almost certain, with Xi Jinping in line for president and Li Keqiang on track for premier. Horse-trading is under way for other leadership positions, however, sparking a debate that could define China’s future.
The Chongqing Model: Equal Slices
In recent months, the streets of the city of Chongqing have been ringing with song. These are not spontaneous outbreaks; they’re government-mandated sessions, requiring employees to “sing the red,” patriotic songs praising China.
This is a leftist vision of China’s future, with powerful echoes of its Maoist past.
It’s the brainchild of Bo Xilai, Chongqing’s party secretary and the son of a revolutionary elder, Bo Yibo, one of the “eight immortals” of Communist China. Bo Xilai has taken a three-pronged approach by “smashing the black,” or attacking corruption and organized crime, with what some say is a disregard for the rule of law. His approach also includes putting in place measures to help those left behind by China’s economic boom.
“The government intervenes to correct the shortcomings of the market economy,” says Yang Fan, a conservative-leaning scholar at China University of Political Science and Law and co-author of a book about the Chongqing model.
“There are projects to improve people’s livelihood by letting migrant workers come to the city, by building them cheap rental places and allowing them to sell their land to come to the city,” he says.
This is where it comes to what’s been dubbed “cake theory.” If the cake is China’s economy, the Chongqing model concentrates on dividing the cake more equally.
The Market-Driven Guangdong Model
The competing vision, based in the province of Guangdong, focuses on making the cake bigger first, not dividing it. In economic terms, the Guangdong model is a more market-driven approach, pushing forward development ahead of addressing inequality.
“The Guangdong model aims to solve the concerns of the middle class,” says Qiu Feng, a liberal academic from the Unirule Institute of Economics. “It’s about building society and rule of law. It wants to give the middle class institutionalized channels to take part in the political process. Its basic thought is co-opting the middle class.”
He says the “Happy Guangdong” approach is aimed not at those left behind, but at those who have profited from the economic boom.
Guangdong’s party secretary, Wang Yang, has criticized the Chongqing model, saying people need to study and review Communist Party history, “rather than just singing of its brilliance.” In political terms, he’s throwing down the gauntlet at his rival, Bo Xilai.
Finding A Way Forward
Both these politicians are fighting for a place — and influence — inside the holiest of holies: the Politburo Standing Committee. This comes against a background of criticism of the current leadership from a surprising quarter.
“The bureaucracy is corrupt. Power has been marketized. Governance has been industrialized,” says Zhang Musheng, a consummate insider. “Local governments are becoming riddled with gangsters.”
Zhang’s father was secretary to China’s Premier Zhou Enlai. This makes him what’s known as a “princeling.” He’s attended a number of meetings held by children of former leaders, where criticism of the current leadership has been aired.
Despite their grievances, they came to one conclusion.
“China’s such a complicated society. Right now, it can’t leave the Communist Party. So the Communist Party must reform and improve,” Zhang says. “Although it’s criticized, right now there is no social force which can replace the Communist Party.”
Those are the key questions: how to reform or even if the Communist Party can reach consensus over which model it follows. ….
Read more » NPR
– Pakistan overturns ban on booze . . . for export
IT IS an Islamic republic where alcohol is forbidden to 97 per cent of the population and drinkers can face 80 lashes of the whip under holy law – but in a move set to anger religious conservatives, Pakistan is poised to become an exporter of beer.
An official in the Ministry of Commerce in Islamabad told The Times that a ruling this month by its Economic Committee on Trade would allow Pakistan to export beer and spirits from next year.
“India would be the largest market for our alcoholic products. ….
For decades, we have heard, and chanted, slogans against the evils of capitalism. We have witnessed the monopolization of multinational corporates and intensifying ratio of starvation, growing side by side. We have seen so many wars, imposed in the name of peace. We have heard enough lies about the people’s struggle and their achievements of the past. We have watched the world transforming into a global village of miseries, poverty, bloodshed, hunger and oppression. Now, the masses, all over the world, seem to realize the root cause of all the miseries: exploitation of man’s labour by man. Capitalism is failing. The world is changing!
It is a historical moment for us. The advocates of free-market economy are shaken by the series of protests that, starting from the New York City, have captured the hundreds of cities all over the world. These protests represent the awakening class-consciousness of the masses that has culminated in the Occupy Wall Street Movement. These occupy activists have gathered to change the existing economic inequality of the system. They have always been taught that Marx was wrong in his critique of capitalism. They have realized the empirical evidence of the opposite.
Karl Marx, in the 19th century, had explained the inevitable presence of exploitation as an essential ingredient of capitalism. The German social scientist had proved that, in any society, the exploitation takes place when a few people own all the means of production and the majority, who doesn’t own anything, is bound to sell its labour to that minor class which accumulates private property. While, the state functions to protect that unequal distribution of wealth, assuring the widening class-differences.
The NY Post has referred the Occupy Movement as the New York’s ‘Marxist Epicenter’. It has countered the myth, propagated by the media, that the occupy activists are a breed of bored, hippie-like folks who are doing some adventurism to seek attention. According to their report, the flags depicting revolutionary icons can be seen everywhere, showing their ideological commitment. Moreover, the ‘occupiers’ openly refer to each other as ‘comrade’, a term used by the left-wing worldwide, meaning ‘friend’ or ‘ally’. Their literature openly declares Socialism as a cure of all the prevailing problems.
At this historical moment, the Pakistan’s left is reorganizing like their counterparts of the West. We have a long history of youth’s struggle against the dark military regimes. From the Democratic Students Federation’s front ‘Red Guards’ to the Lawyer’s movement, our young activists have always stood for the people’s cause. Continuing their legacy of internationalism, Pakistan’s left parties have decided to start anti-capitalist camps, initiating from Lahore, not only for the solidarity for the Occupy Wall Street movement, but also as a continuous struggle to change our indigenous problems. We need to realize the importance of this revolutionary wave. We need to be in the flow. For how long the people will continue to suffer and dream for a better society? The time has come to make those dreams an existing reality. The time has come to reject all the confused liberators. The time has come to chant, ‘Occupy Islamabad!’
But, unfortunately, the state is not the only thing to occupy, in our case. We are aware that Pakistan suffers from multiple complex issues. We don’t only have the corrupt feudal political families and their huge palaces to occupy; we have millions of minds to occupy which are burning in the flames of religious fanaticism. We have to occupy the rising sectarian mindset of the people. We have to occupy the religious rage to assure peaceful coexistence of everyone. We have to occupy the narcissistic prism and replace it with rationality and realism. We have to occupy the filth of the society and the filth within. And we, the people, can do that! We can do that because we are the 99 percent!
Courtesy» The Express Tribune
Dog & Donkey’s Meat Sellers Arrested in Faisalabad
Health department arrested two butchers who were selling the meat of Donkey in Faisalabad.
DCO Naseem Sadiq launched a campaign against unhygienic meat in district due to gastric diseases in Chat 35-RB last week. Doctors told the diseases are increasing due to the sale of donkey and dog meat in district.
15 butchers were arrested in a raids of Health Depart who were selling unhygienic meat or water-fed meat. Two of them are behind the bars who admitted selling donkey meat. They were selling the meat much cheaper then the market rates.
More than 30 people admitted in different hospitals of area for vomiting and gastric symptoms after eating the meat. Lab attendant Mubashar told that people suffered because they were not used to such meat and when the samples of meat tested in lab, results came as the meat of dog or donkeys.
Two suppliers arrested who were supplying the meat of dog and donkey to meat sellers. Raid officers took more than 100 kilograms meat in the custody and destroyed the entire stock.
Livestock district officer Dr. Abdur Rehman told that the patients in Allied hospitals pointed two butchers who had been selling the donkey meat. When we started asking from patients we realized that most of the patients bought the meat from the two meat sellers. Upon investigation it was discovered that they were selling dog and donkey meat.
by Farid Ahmad
Sitting in the middle of load-shedding, watching the political theater roll-on ad infinitum, and reading the news of another security incident somewhere, it is easy to be depressed about Pakistan these days.
Depression, however, is parasitic.
It jumps from person to person and grows in strength unless treated. It makes you weak and vulnerable and sometimes it is necessary to break the circle. Yes, Pakistan is going through very tough times, but there is no reason to throw all hope to the wind and to start denying the things that are going right and a lot has gone right in the past twenty or so years.
First, the necessary disclaimer: The intention here is not to sweep Pakistan’s problems under the rug or to try and rationalize away the immense suffering of the victims of recent violence and economic turmoil. There is no doubt that things have taken a very serious turn in recent months and millions of people are paying a heavy price every day.
With that disclaimer in place, here’s a collection of things that I have seen change for the better in my life in Pakistan – from high-school in the eighties to today.
It is necessarily a very personal list, though others might be able to relate to some of it. Traveling apart, Iâ€™ve spent my life living in Islamabad and Lahore and my memories are naturally specific to these places. So again, Iâ€™m fully conscious of the fact that not everyone can relate to or agree with my attempt at optimism.
But even if I come across as being overly optimistic, it is only to counter those who are becoming unnecessarily pessimistic.
Maybe you have your own stories, your own inspirations, your own rays of hope that keep you going… these are mine. And I share them with the hope that they will help someone else break out of the circle of pessimism.
Roads: 1989: Driving from Lahore to Islamabad was an ordeal on the mostly single-lane, badly maintained GT road.
2010: Driving from Lahore to Islamabad is a pleasure on the motorway. And it is not just this one road, a lot of roads have been added to the network or improved. I know people in my office in Islamabad who routinely drive to Karachi with their families. We need many more roads â€“ but we have certainly not been sitting idle.
Communications: 1989: Calling from Islamabad to Lahore meant going to the market to a PCO, telling the guy to book a 3-minute call and waiting around till it got connected. Even if you had an STD line at home, your fingers were likely to get sore from dialing before you got connected. And once the call was connected you watched the clock like a hawk as it was so expensive.
2010: Instant, cheap calls worldwide for everyone from cellular phones.
Internet: 1995: I was first introduced to the wonders of Email in 1995. It was an offline ‘store and forward’ system (remember those @sdnpk email addresses?) . If you sent a mail in the morning, it reached in the evening when your Email provider called USA on a direct line to forward it.
2010: Broadband, DSL, WiMax, Dialup, Cable – instant connectivity for everyone. More generally, I’ve gone thru a series of denials about the adoption of new technologies in Pakistan. I went through thinking that cellular phones would never gain widespread adoption – I was wrong; that internet would remain a niche – I was wrong; that broadband would never take off here – I was wrong; that Blackberry would never be adopted – I was wrong. Here I speak from some experience as I work for a cellular company and Iâ€™ve seen all these numbers grow exponentially. The fact is that Pakistan and Pakistanis love technology and are eager to adopt and adapt the latest technologies as soon as they become available. With its huge population, this creates a large market for every new technology in Pakistan and businesses rush in to fill it. This bodes well for the future. ….
Read more : Pakistaniat
Karachi – Sindh: Today on January 05, 2011 in the evening hundreds of people turned up at Karachi press club against the assassination of Salman Taseer. They marched from press club to Zainab market (Saddar). Male- female participants were chanting slogans against the assassination of Salman Taseer & “mulla minded” forces. At the end candles were lit to pay tribute to salman Taseer.
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Municipal officers differ on why a ban is desirable
LAHORE: Town municipal officers (TMOs) across Lahore continue to grapple with the idea of banning women as vendors in Sunday Bazaars as was announced by Ahad Cheema, the DCO, two weeks ago.
The actual implementation of the order, for which Cheema had not given a reason for, still seems distant. In the Sunday Bazaars set up at Ravi Town and Iqbal Town, among others, female vendors were seen selling as usual without any opposition by the local market committee representatives. ….
Read more : The Express Tribune
Lahore : Institute for Peace and Secular Studies [IPSS] organised a gathering of writers, intellectuals and activists from Lahore on March 23, 2010 at Shadman market chowk to pay homage to Bhagat Singh.
To see, a RARE document! Death certificate of Bhagat Singh » http://yfrog.com/nms709j
Once upon a time in a village, a man appeared and announced to the villagers that he would buy monkeys for Rs. 10/-. The villagers seeing that there were many monkeys around, went out to the forest and started catching them.
The man bought thousands at Rs. 10/- and as supply started to diminish, the villagers stopped their effort. He further announced that he would now buy at Rs. 20/- This renewed the efforts of the villagers and they started catching monkeys again.
Soon the supply diminished even further and people started going back to their farms. The offer rate increased to Rs. 25/- and the supply of monkeys became so little that it was an effort to even see a monkey, let alone catch it!
The man now announced that he would buy monkeys at Rs50! However, since he had to go to the city on some business, his assistant would now buy on behalf of him.
In the absence of the man, the assistant first kept buying the monkeys and then on one day he told the villagers,’ Look at all these monkeys in the big cage that the man has collected. I will sell them to you at Rs35 and when the man returns from the city, you can sell it to him for Rs. 50/- ‘
The villagers squeezed up with all their savings and bought all the monkeys.
Then they never saw the man nor his assistant, only monkeys everywhere!!!
Welcome to the ‘Stock’ Market!!!!!
via – Dileep Ratnani