Tag Archives: matters

Pakistan has had so many “moments of reckoning” but here is another – By Najam Sethi

Matters are coming to a head in Pakistan. The deadlock in US-Pak relations over resumption of NATO supplies is veering towards confrontation. And the confrontation between parliament-government and supreme court-opposition is edging towards a clash. The net losers are fated to be Pakistan’s fledgling democracy and stumbling economy.

Pakistan’s Parliamentary Committee for National Security has failed to forge a consensus on terms and conditions for dealing with America. The PMLN-JUI opposition is in no mood to allow the Zardari government any significant space for negotiation. COAS General Ashfaq Kayani is also reluctant to weigh in unambiguously with his stance. As such, no one wants to take responsibility for any new dishonourable “deal” with the US in an election year overflowing with angry anti-Americanism. The danger is that in any lengthy default mode, the US might get desperate and take unilateral action regardless of Pakistan’ s concern. That would compel Pakistan to resist, plunging the two into certain diplomatic and possible military conflict. This would hurt Pakistan more than the US because Islamabad is friendless, dependent on the West for trade and aid, and already bleeding internally from multiple cuts inflicted by terrorism, sectarianism, separatism, inflation, devaluation, unemployment, etc. Indeed, the worst-case scenario for the US is a disorderly and swift retreat from Afghanistan while the worst-case scenario for Pakistan is an agonizing implosion as a sanctioned and failing state.

Continue reading Pakistan has had so many “moments of reckoning” but here is another – By Najam Sethi

Mother of all scams? Will justice be done by the Supreme court that called itself “Aazad Adliya”!?

Mother of all cases?

A testimony of the slim, short, veteran businessman-cum-banker, Yunus Habib, may come in handy when the Supreme Court starts hearing the almost decade-old petition of Air Marshal Asghar Khan on Feb 29, 2012. Habib hit the headlines in the 1990s for his key role in the release of Rs14 million (or maybe more) from his own Mehran Bank to defeat the Benazir Bhutto’s PPP in the next elections.

The affidavit submitted by the then ISI chief, Lt. Gen. Asad Durrani, is the first ever confession by any official of Pakistan’s premier intelligence agency of the role it played in pre-poll rigging and its direct involvement in political matters. But there is much more to it and all facts must come to the surface.

Though there was an unusual delay in the case being taken up for hearing, one hopes it will proceed as fast as other petitions like the ones dealing with NRO, NICL, the infamous Memo Case or the Haj scam.

Continue reading Mother of all scams? Will justice be done by the Supreme court that called itself “Aazad Adliya”!?

The Ottoman empire’s secular history undermines sharia claims

A new paper shows 18th- and 19th-century Ottoman rulers decriminalised homosexuality and promoted women’s education

by Tehmina Kazi

Hardline Muslim groups often portray the Ottoman empire as a magic template for a global caliphate. This is then used as a springboard for grandiose arguments that paint a caliphate as viable, and deem it as the only credible model of governance for the future. These arguments are based on a belief that the empire adhered to a single interpretation of sharia (Islamic law) for over 600 years, and – crucially – that its success was contingent on this.

But a paper by Ishtiaq Hussain, published by Faith Matters on Saturday displays a very different picture. Ottoman sultans, or caliphs, in the 18th and 19th centuries launched secular schools and promoted the education of women. The period of reformation known as the Tanzimat saw customary and religious laws being replaced in favour of secular European ones. More surprisingly, homosexuality was decriminalised in 1858 (long before many western states took their cue, and over a century before the American Psychiatric Association declassified it as a mental illness in 1973). Contrary to the claims of hardline groups, religious authorities approved many of these measures.

In terms of broader social change, the Ottomans made strong attempts to integrate non-Muslim communities. On the cultural front, it is well known that a minority of people claim that Islam frowns upon artistic expression. However, the last sultan/caliph, Abdulmecid Efendi (1922-1924) has numerous paintings on display in Istanbul’s new museum of modern art; many others were also keen musicians and played a variety of musical instruments. It is therefore clear that the sultan/caliphs enunciated a progressive vision for a secular Muslim society, many years before al-Qaida and similar groups came into existence.

Continue reading The Ottoman empire’s secular history undermines sharia claims

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

Imran Khan says, General Ghayur Mehmud, GOC, 7th Div. North Waziristan is a liar.

Peshawar : Imran Khan the chief of the Tehrik-e-Insaf party said in TV program “Policy Matter with Nasim Zehra” at Hayatabad, Peshawar during sit-in-protest (Dharna) to block NATO supply line route against the drone strikes, that Maj. Gen. Ghayur Mehmud, GOC, 7th Div. North Waziristan is a liar when he (Maj. Gen. Ghayur Mehmud) says, “majority of those killed by drone strikes are hardcore Taliban or al-Qaeda elements, especially foreigners, while civilian casualties are few”.

Courtesy: Duniya TV ( program “Policy Matters with Nasim Zehra”  23rd April 2011 – Imran Khan & Saleem Safi and others at the Dharna, Hayatabad)

via Siasat.pk, You Tube

ENEMIES OF DEMOCRACY INVITING ARMY & JUDICIARY TO PLAY UNCONSTITUTIONAL ROLE AGAINST ELECTED DEMOCRATIC GOVT.

N’ reaffirms judiciary, army proposal

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (N) on Wednesday said it considered the army and the judiciary major stakeholders in the country’s national affairs as it justified Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif’s controversial call for inviting representatives of the two institutions at a proposed all-party conference to prepare a broad-based national agenda to steer the country out of crisis.

“Since the country’s constitution has assigned roles to both the judiciary and the army, besides the executive, the call for inviting the army chief and the chief justice for consultation on national issues is not something extra-constitutional,” PML-N spokesman Ahsan Iqbal told a joint news conference with the party’s former information secretary, Siddiqul Farooque, and MNA Dr Tariq Fazal Chaudhry at the party’s central secretariat here.

The PML-N leaders announced that if the government did not stop recruitment in state-owned corporations on ‘political grounds’, their party’s parliamentarians would ‘gherao’ (besiege) these institutions.

The Punjab chief minister told journalists after inaugurating a three-day polio campaign in Lahore on Monday that the deteriorating situation in the country demanded that all stakeholders, including the political leadership, army and the judiciary, sat together and discussed the challenges facing the country.

He also said he had already contacted Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani “on the advice of (party chief) Nawaz Sharif to suggest to him to sit together with the army and the judiciary and discuss a strategy to steer the country out of the current situation”.

Wednesday’s news conference seemed aimed at countering criticism of Mr Sharif’s statement from the federally ruling Pakistan People’s Party and various sections of society and media, with some political observers terming the call as an open invitation to the army for a direct intervention in the country’s political matters.

Read more : DAWN

Pakistan the ‘most bullied US ally’!?

RAWALPINDI: On the day WikiLeaks released a slew of American diplomatic cables revealing, among other things, tensions between the US and Pakistan over nuclear matters, a top Pakistani military official claimed the country “has transited from the ‘most sanctioned ally’ to the ‘most bullied ally’” of the US.

The comments were part of a wide-ranging briefing given to editors, anchors and columnists on Sunday. The timing of the briefing appeared to be a coincidence, having been scheduled before the WikiLeaks information became public. All comments were made strictly on the condition of anonymity being maintained. …

Read more : DAWN

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Courtesy: DunyaTV (Dunya Mere Aage with Nusrat Javed and Mustaq Minhaas, 30 November, 2010)

via – ZemTV, – YouTube Link

War between Judiciary & Executive in Pakistan

Call for end to bickering among institutions
HYDERABAD, Oct 20: Judiciary and Executive are two important pillars of a democratic society and the present split between the two is apt to creating disastrous situation for the state, if not checked early.
This and other similar concerns were expressed by the Sindh Democratic Forum over boiling political state of affairs ruling the country. The SDF, in a statement, criticized the national institutions of not resolving the basic issues of general public like growing inflation, increasing poverty, lawlessness, daily killings, unemployment, electricity problem and other allied issues instead were busy in bickering with each other over petty matters.
People had endured enough and now they want peace for which cooperation among national institutions was a prerequisite, it further stated.
Commenting over the midnight drama between the judiciary and the executive, it stated that perhaps it was for the first time in contemporary judicial history that a full bench was called on a rumour which has damaged the sanctity of justice.
The democratic-minded people feel the elected parliament a supreme body and because the 18th Amendment was passed by the representative of 16 parliamentary parties, therefore there appears no supra body which can challenge parliament’s decisions, said the SDF.
The coverage of court proceedings, judges’ statements, conservative comments by media and support of right wing political parties is portraying as if judiciary was being influenced by armed forces and they were trying to disband the present democratic setup, it further said.
The SDF appealed to superior judiciary to protect the cause of justice and avoid creating the impression as if it were against the elected parliament and democracy.
Judiciary being an important pillar of state and custodian of justice should give a shut up call to irresponsible statements of media, besides taking suo-motu notice against such utterances, it said.
Read more : DAWN