Tag Archives: money

Investing with confidence: Chinese say their money is safe in Pakistan

By Shahram Haq

ISLAMABAD: Chinese businessmen have said investments they are putting in Pakistan are safe as both the countries enjoy excellent relations at government and public level.

“The global investments we make in any country depend on the nature of relationships between China and the particular country,” said Orient Evertrust Capital Group’s Chairman Jiang Xue Ming, while talking with The Express Tribune.

“Since Pakistan and China have excellent relationships, so we feel our investments in this country are completely safe,” he added.

A group of Chinese investors is currently in Islamabad as the Chinese president is arriving in Pakistan today (Monday) to sign some 50 different accords worth $46 billion, majority of which are energy based.

Read more » The Express Tribune
See more » http://tribune.com.pk/story/872766/investing-with-confidence-chinese-say-their-money-is-safe-in-pakistan/

Shipbuilding contract holds $250M mystery

Cost of Arctic patrol ships’ design sparks warning of another procurement ‘fiasco’

By Terry Milewski, CBC News

A CBC News investigation has uncovered a $250-million mystery at the heart of Canada’s ambitious shipbuilding program.

Public Works Minister Rona Ambrose and Defence Minister Peter MacKay announced March 7 in Halifax that Ottawa will pay Irving Shipbuilding $288 million just to design — not build — a fleet of new Arctic offshore patrol ships.

Irving will then build the ships under a separate contract.

However, a survey of similar patrol ships bought by other countries shows they paid a fraction of that $288 million to actually build the ships — and paid less than a tenth as much for the design.

In addition, the design of Canada’s new ships is based upon a Norwegian vessel whose design Ottawa has already bought for just $5 million.

The Norwegian ship, the Svalbard, was designed and built for less than $100 million in 2002.

Experts say the design price is normally 10-20 per cent of the total cost of the ships.

Another country with Arctic interests, Denmark, acquired two patrol ships for $105 million in 2007.

They have modest ice-breaking capability, similar to the Canadian project, which allows for the ships to crunch through “summer ice” – about one-metre thick.

The Irish navy now is building two offshore patrol ships for $125 million.

In all cases, these prices include the design.

Why is Canada paying more?

Ambrose, MacKay and Public Works officials running the Canadian project were not able to explain why Canada would pay so much more to get so much less: shelling out more than twice as much merely to produce a blueprint for similar ships, without building any.

Continue reading Shipbuilding contract holds $250M mystery

Miss a Traffic Ticket, Go to Jail? The Return of Debtor Prison (Hard Times, USA)

Thought debtor prison ended in the 18th century? Think again.

Editor’s note: America has a long history of treating the poor like criminals, from legislation banning the transportation of poor people across state lines to anti-vagrancy laws that could land you in jail if you didn’t have a job or a home. We’ve come to rely on the criminal justice system to deal with the poor, even as more and more Americans fall into poverty. The following is part of a series that looks at the diverse ways poverty is criminalized in America, such as laws targeting the homeless, the surveillance of welfare recipients, the re-emergence of debtor’s prisons, and extreme policing tactics like stop-and-frisk.

Kawana Young, a single mother of two kids, was arrested in Michigan after failing to pay money she owed as a result of minor traffic offenses. She was recently laid off from her job, and could not pay the fees she owed because she couldn’t find another source of employment. So a judge sentenced her to three days in jail. In addition, Young was charged additional fees for being booked and for room and board for a place she did not want to be. In total, she has been jailed five times for being unable to pay her debts.

“It doesn’t make sense to jail people when they can’t pay because they definitely can’t pay while they’re in jail,” said Young.

Continue reading Miss a Traffic Ticket, Go to Jail? The Return of Debtor Prison (Hard Times, USA)

Spain’s Chief Justice Quits Over Claims of Misusing Public Money

 

By RAPHAEL MINDER

MADRID — Spain’s image suffered another blow on Thursday when the chief justice of the Supreme Court resigned after being accused by a fellow judge of claiming vacations as business expenses.

The court’s chief justice, Carlos Dívar, also quit as leader of another institution, the General Council of the Judiciary, which acts as the administrator of Spain’s judiciary.

Chief Justice Dívar’s expense scandal came to light while the judiciary was being strained by several corruption cases against politicians from the country’s main parties. The monarchy has also been tainted by the investigations, with the son-in-law of King Juan Carlos I becoming the first member of the royal family to appear in court, in February.

Continue reading Spain’s Chief Justice Quits Over Claims of Misusing Public Money

U.S. names two Af-Pak money traders for helping Taliban

By: AFP

WASHINGTON: The United States named two Afghanistan-Pakistan money changers as helping the Taliban manage and move funds, setting sanctions against both that aim to hinder their business.

The US Treasury said the two hawalas, or money exchange businesses – the Haji Khairullah Haji Sattar Money Exchange (HKHS) and the Roshan Money Exchange – “have been used by the Taliban to facilitate money transfers in support of the Taliban’s narcotics trade and terrorist operations.” Up through last year, HKHS services were “a preferred method for Taliban leadership to transfer money to Taliban commanders in Afghanistan,” the Treasury said.

Roshan was used for money transfers by the Taliban, particularly in Helmand province, including allegedly moving hundreds of thousands of dollars last year “for the purchase of narcotics on behalf of Taliban officials.” The Treasury listed Haji Abdul Sattar Barakzai and Haji Khairullah Barakzai, HKHS co-owners, under the sanctions for donating funds to the Taliban.

HKHS has 16 branches in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran and Dubai, according to the Treasury.

Roshan operates 11 branches in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Courtesy: DAWN.COM

What happens when organized crime takes office? The rise of the mafia states

Mafia States – Organized Crime Takes Office

By Moisés Naím

The Rise of the Mezzanine Rulers

Michael Crawford and Jami Miscik

Governments across the Middle East and South Asia are increasingly losing power to substate actors that are inserting themselves at a mezzanine level of rule between the government and the people. Western policymakers must address the problem systematically, at both a political and a legal level, rather than continue to pursue reactive and disjointed measures on a case-by-case basis.

Continue reading What happens when organized crime takes office? The rise of the mafia states

Preying on Poverty: How Government and Corporations Use the Poor as Piggy Banks

by Barbara Ehrenreich
Individually the poor are not too tempting to thieves, for obvious reasons. Mug a banker and you might score a wallet containing a month’s rent. Mug a janitor and you will be lucky to get away with bus fare to flee the crime scene. But as Business Week helpfully pointed out in 2007, the poor in aggregate provide a juicy target for anyone depraved enough to make a business of stealing from them.

The trick is to rob them in ways that are systematic, impersonal, and almost impossible to trace to individual perpetrators. Employers, for example, can simply program their computers to shave a few dollars off each paycheck, or they can require workers to show up 30 minutes or more before the time clock starts ticking.

Lenders, including major credit companies as well as payday lenders, have taken over the traditional role of the street-corner loan shark, charging the poor insanely high rates of interest. When supplemented with late fees (themselves subject to interest), the resulting effective interest rate can be as high as 600% a year, which is perfectly legal in many states.

It’s not just the private sector that’s preying on the poor. Local governments are discovering that they can partially make up for declining tax revenues through fines, fees, and other costs imposed on indigent defendants, often for crimes no more dastardly than driving with a suspended license. And if that seems like an inefficient way to make money, given the high cost of locking people up, a growing number of jurisdictions have taken to charging defendants for their court costs and even the price of occupying a jail cell. ….

Read more » Common Dreams

The Taliban mercenary movement is the major cause of Pakistan’s isolation in the community of nations

Comment by: Manzoor Chandio

The Taliban mercenary movement is the major cause of Pakistan’s isolation in the community of nations … they work like rent-a-car business… rent-a-training camp is Waziristan’s buzzword… their true mercenary face came to fore when they started attacks on the Pakistan military… these Taliban might have been rented in Afghanistan… those carrying out attacks in Afghanistan, like the Haqqani network, are said to be helped by Pakistan… Taliban have nothing to do with Umah… they are based in a barren mountainous area… first time people of this area saw rains of dollars in the 1980s thanks to Dictator General Zia … the people of Waziristan rented out their lands for setting up jihad training camps… many more rented out houses as barracks for Jihadis… one rough estimate is that some 40,000 people from across Muslim countries landed in Fata for jihad… rent-a-training camp business flourished as high as rent-a-commercial suite in Dubai… Jihadis came from across the Umah to get training… again this was not without money… Muslim separatists from Philippines, Chinese and other countries paid money for training their fighters in Fata… Waziristan is like Sandhurst and Fort Hood of Jihadis across Umah… local Mehsuds allowed the training camps in their areas for money… & this is called business by them… they know how to protect their interests… then there was drug business & it flourished along with the killing Jihad business… there is a saying in Pushto ‘Awal Zaar, resto Jahan’… this mean business… the only way to close this jihad & drug industry is to industrialized Fata that provide jobs to the people.

Courtesy: Manzoor Chando’s facebook wall.

What a lier! Gen. Beg blames IsI for poll rigging

Asghar Khan petition: Gen Beg blames ISI for poll rigging

By Azam Khan

ISLAMABAD: Former army chief Gen Mirza Aslam Beg has blamed the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) for distributing money among various politicians to rig the 1990 elections as alleged in air marshal Asghar Khan’s petition.

Maintaining his innocence, Beg submitted another statement before the Supreme Court, in which he claimed that the ISI was a separate entity from the army and was not under the command of the army chief.

Beg insisted he was not directly involved in maintaining accounts and distributing funds during 1990 elections. “…In fact, the accounts were maintained by the ISI and (Beg) only instructed then DG ISI Gen (retd) Asad Durrani to maintain accounts ….

Read more » The Express Tribune

Pakistan is defaulting on sovereign debt

Power sector dues: Govt defaults on sovereign guarantees

By Shahbaz Rana

ISLAMABAD: Failure to honour its financial commitments to Independent Power Producers (IPP) has led to the first-ever sovereign default by the government in Pakistan’s history.

The default on sovereign guarantees – assurances the government provides to foreign investors – may not only unnerve the financial markets, but also downgrade the government’s creditworthiness, making it more expensive to borrow money.

“Today, the government of Pakistan has committed a sovereign default for the first time in the history of the country”, announced the IPPs Advisory Committee here on Tuesday.

“The government has defaulted on payments of roughly Rs45 billion to nine IPPs that generate 1,700 megawatts of electricity”, said Abdullah Yusuf, Chairman IPP Advisory Committee while talking to The Express Tribune. These nine IPPs started operations in 2004 and their total receivables amount to almost Rs232 billion.

Taking legal course

The IPPs gave a 30-day payment notice to the power purchaser, the Central Power Purchasing Agency (CPPA), followed by a 10-day notice to the government. Neither the CPPA nor the government cleared the overdue amounts, said the advisory committee.

The IPPs have exhausted all avenues available and the notice served to the government expired on Tuesday, the committee said.

After the default, the IPPs have issued a legal notice to the government for recovery by Thursday, May 10th, 2012 failing which the IPPs will follow a legal course.

Yusuf said the IPPs will go to the Pakistani courts.

“The default is a very serious matter and carries negative implications for the country”, Yusuf added. ….

Read more » The Express Tribune

Pakistani Police say ‘Blood Money’ obtained from US to free Raymond Davis led to Widow’s Killing

Pakistan: ‘Blood Money’ Linked to Widow’s Killing, Police Say

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

The widow and mother-in-law of a Pakistani man killed by a C.I.A. contractor last year were killed Monday, apparently by the widow’s father, who may have feared that she would remarry and take the money she received as compensation with her, the police said. The families of the two men killed by the contractor, Raymond A. Davis, in January 2011 received hundreds of thousands of dollars of “blood money” in exchange for pardoning Mr. Davis, a common legal practice in Pakistan. Mr. Davis said he shot the two men because they tried to rob him. ….

Read more » The News York Times

Via – Twitter

Rehman Malik provided proves against PMLn Chief Nawaz Sharif was involved in money laundering

Mehran Bank Scandal: Rehman malik provided proves to media

Interior Minister Rehman Malik proved that PML-N Chief Nawaz Sharif was involved in money laundering.

He gave evidence against Nawaz Sharif would be placed before the Supreme Court and National Accountability Bureau (NAB) for alleged corruption of $32 million.

Federal Rehman Malik said a commission may be formed to investigate alleged involvement of Nawaz Sharif in money laundering.

He appealed to the Supreme Court to call him and he would present all evidence. He further alleged that Nawaz Sharif made an NRO with former President Farooq Ahmed Leghari and as a result, Benazir Bhutto’s elected government was unconstitutionally dismissed in November 1996.

Federal Rehman Malik said that Nawaz Sharif made a second NRO with dictator Pervez Musharraf and went abroad after signing an agreement and violated the Charter of Democracy (COD) he signed with Benazir Bhutto in 2006. …

Courtesy: Duniya Tv News » Read more » LUBP

Mumbai attack ‘mastermind’ Hafiz Saeed linked to Osama bin Laden

A $10m bounty was placed on the head of a Pakistani militant leader after the US obtained evidence he had been in close contact with Osama bin Laden, planning terrorist attacks, according to a former American intelligence official.

By Rob Crilly, Rawalpindi and Dean Nelson in New Delhi

Documents found by US special forces at bin Laden’s final hideaway in Abbottabad last year apparently linked Hafiz Saeed, founder of Lashkar-e-Taiba, with the al-Qaeda leader.

Bruce Riedel, a former CIA analyst and adviser to Barack Obama on Afghanistan and Pakistan told The Daily Telegraph that the evidence showed bin Laden played a key role in planning the 2008 Mumbai attacks.

166 people died when 10 terrorists, thought to be from Saeed’s group, stormed five star hotels and a train station in downtown Mumbai.

Mr Riedel said the close connection lasted right up until the world’s most wanted man was shot dead in May last year.

“OBL communicated with Saeed and others via courier. He practised very good opsec [operations security]. The two had a long-standing relationship going back to the creation of LeT in the 1980s,” he said. “OBL provided some of the seed money to start the group.” ….

Read more » telegraph.co.uk

The bloody civilians and the almighty generals

Baaghi: Caviar to the general – By Marvi Sirmed

Even if the agencies in other countries play this ‘august’ role of interrupting the democratic process in their countries, does it justify ISI’s doling out money to keep a certain political party of the people’s choice out of government?

“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’”, said a news item in an English language daily newspaper on March 15. What merited this royal annoyance was open to discussion in the media about the re-eruption of a long simmering ‘Mehrangate’ that should be best described as ISI-gate. According to this case, some Rs 140 million had been doled out to politicians to rig the elections in 1990. The rest of the money out of Rs 350 million, as claimed by one Younas Habib, Zonal Manager of Habib Bank at that time, who was allegedly asked by the ISI to generate these funds, eventually went to the coffers of ISI and its officials and General Aslam Beg, the then army chief.

Continue reading The bloody civilians and the almighty generals

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”!?

Watch Top anchor person of Pakistani media, Mubashir Lucman on Chief Justice of Pakistan, Iftikhar Chaudhry

Mubashir Luqman is one of the top Pakistani anchor persons on TV. As is evident from the name of his program “Khari Baat” (Straight Talk) Luqman is known and revered for bringing out the truth in all its forms with the right amount of audacity and courage. He also writes regularly for the newspapers. Viewers of Mubashir Luqman’s programs are captivated by his hard-hitting questions and dauntless opinion. The language of the talk show is urdu.

» YouTube

Geo News – ISI distributes money to political parties: Imran Khan

KARACHI: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran khan said the case about ISI’s alleged role in distributing money among political parties is already in the Supreme Court, and as the proceedings will move ahead, things will become clear, Geo News reported Saturday.

While talking to the media at Karachi Airport, Imran Khan said that corruption is Pakistan’s biggest problem and urged the nation to stand united on the issue. ….

Read more » http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=34900

Defence of Pakistan Council – Pakistan’s finest are at it again, but why?

By: Omar

Pakistan’s finest are at it again, but why?

The “defence of Pakistan” council has held several public meetings (each probably costing millions of rupees) in different parts of the country and is now headed for a “mother of all jalsas” at Karachi on Feb 12th. All the usual suspects are there. Jamat ud Dawa (reincarnation of the blessed Lashkar e Tyaba of Mumbai atrocity fame) is leading the way, but  everyone who is anyone is there. Sheeda Tully is there (He was Musharraf’s railway minister and helped to run it into the ground, after having held several other ministries, his farmhouse was famously listed as a gathering spot for Kashmiri Jihadis in the 1990s). Zia ul Haq’s son, Ejaz ul Haq is there. Hamid Gul is there.
But why?

Why has military intelligence, in its infinite wisdom, activated every zombie from the good old days of the Kashmir Jihad?
Is it to get more money out of Uncle Sam? That particular ATM may be out of cash right now, so its probably not that.
Is it because the bloody civilians may actually be able to do shocking things like start normal trade with India? so what? what is the threat here?

Is it something to do with the ongoing bumbling “get Zardari operation”.

Is it because the army has split into factions and the jihadi faction is trying to embarrass the mercenary faction?

Come on hive mind, answers please.

Courtesy: Brown Pundits

Court Revives Investigation on ISI Money for Politicians

By Nafisa Hoodbhoy

(Includes ATDT Excerpt on Backdrop for Asghar Khan’s Petition)

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Monday fixed February 29 to hear the petition filed by Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf (PTI) leader Asghar Khan 16 years ago pertaining to Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) distributing money among politicians.

Meanwhile, the former ISI chief Gen. (Retd) Durrani submitted an affidavit confirming the accusation.

The petition has called upon the apex court to punish the politicians and political groups who have been receiving pots of money from the agency.

Various politicians had demanded the petition to be heard.

Air Marshal (retd) Asghar Khan, in 1996, wrote a letter to then chief justice Nasim Hasan Shah against former army chief Mirza Aslam Baig, former ISI chief Lt-General (retd) Asad Durrani and Younis Habib of Habib and Mehran Banks, relating to the disbursement of public money and its misuse for political purposes.

Aboard the Democracy Train Excerpt (P. 27)

Elections Were the Tip of the Iceberg

As a guest of the interim Prime Minister Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi, I had witnessed how state funds and propaganda were used to defeat Benazir. But I was still an onlooker, without inside knowledge of what had transpired in the inner circles. Then still an inexperienced reporter, I couldn’t guess how the establishment defeated the PPP, which, right or wrong, had the support of the masses.

In 1996, some clues emerged. Retired Air Marshal Asghar Khan filed a case in the Supreme Court, alleging that the powerful secret service wing of the army – the ISI – had rigged the 1990 election. Based on Asghar Khan’s petition, former ISI chief, Lt. Gen. Asad Durrani took the stand in the Supreme Court and provided an affidavit that the army had indeed distributed Pkr 140 million (USD 1.6 million) to anti-PPP candidates, only a few months before the October 1990 election.

The anti-PPP candidates banded in the IJI comprised feudal, Islamic and ethnic parties that resolutely opposed Benazir’s populist rule. Subsequently, we learnt that the care-taker President Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi, who had stayed mum while Chip probed him – had actually taken PKR 5 million (USD 59,000) from the ISI. Meanwhile, Nawaz Sharif – who was ushered in by the military to succeed Benazir as prime minister – was revealed to have received PKR 3.5 million (USD 41,000) from the spy agencies.

Apparently, the army was so scared that Benazir would be elected back into power that their IJI coalition distributed state funds among various interest groups to prevent her return.

As I covered national politics, Asghar Khan talked to me in earnest, as though I was a player rather than a reporter. Then in coalition with the PPP, he told me that Benazir and Nawaz ought to unite to repeal Article 58-2(b). This was the constitutional clause introduced by Gen. Zia ul Haq that allowed presidents like Ghulam Ishaq Khan to dissolve the assembly.

Although, I shared Asghar Khan’s desire for principled politics, it surprised me that he seemed clueless about Benazir’s approach of doing whatever it took to return to power.

Courtesy: Aboard The Democracy Train

http://www.aboardthedemocracytrain.com/court-revives-investigation-on-isi-money-for-politicians

US government website shows that the Sunni Ittehad Council received $36,607 from Washington in 2009 under the State Department’s Public Diplomacy Programmes

US aid to Sunni Ittehad Council backfired

By Huma Imtiaz

WASHINGTON: The United States gave money to the Sunni Ittehad Council to organise anti-Taliban rallies in 2009; however, the council later led demonstrations in support of Mumtaz Qadri, the self-confessed killer of former Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer, in an apparent boomerang of US policy to support religious moderation in Pakistan.

US government website Usaspending.gov shows that the Sunni Ittehad Council received $36,607 from Washington in 2009 under the State Department’s Public Diplomacy Programmes for Afghanistan and Pakistan. …

Read more » The Express Tribune

Marvi Sirmed remembers the day they killed Benazir Bhutto

BAAGHI: Remembering Benazir Bhutto, personally! – By Marvi Sirmed

One wonders what potent challenge she posed to the establishment that they had to invest all their might, money and resources to gather all the opposing political parties on one platform against BB’s PPP

“Is she okay?” I was screaming at the top of my voice on the phone with my husband while madly driving towards General Hospital, Rawalpindi on December 27, 2007. “It is over, Marvi,” my husband cried and the line disconnected. Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto, twice prime minister of Pakistan, had paid the highest price anyone could ever pay for continuing to engage with people and carrying on with the democratic process.

It has been four years since BB, as she was commonly called, has left us but there has not been a single moment in the crisis-ridden politics of Pakistan that she was not missed. Without going into the achievements and failures of her governments, I just want to remember her as she was — a strong leader with a political vision not paralleled by any living politician. The struggle that she chose for herself when she was just 23 years of age was not an ordinary one. At a broader level it entailed dealing with an all-powerful military dictator, being imprisoned and later exiled, losing family, organising the most popular political party of the country during the worst times of persecution, etc.

At a personal level it posed many additional challenges to a young Pinky. Her being a woman never hindered her; so much so that when the forces opposing her tried to use her biology against her, she turned it around. When she was expecting Bilawal, they announced elections around the dates they thought she would be in maternity. I cannot forget her coming to the political rallies with her intravenous drip in her hands. She later wrote in her book, Daughter of the East: An Autobiography, that Begum Nusrat Bhutto, her mother, had advised her to never let her physiological issues come in her way. When she was expecting Bakhtawar during her premiership, the crisis was once again carefully chosen to coincide with the dates of her delivery. She did not make herself absent from her office for more than 48 hours.

All through her political life, she struggled against the hegemony of the oppressive deep state that used every jape that they could, and from right-wing rhetoric that was nauseatingly misogynist and anti-people. From scandalous attacks on her character, assaulting family, facilitating all odd political characters of the country that had only one common thread among them — hatred of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and the Bhuttos — the establishment put to use every antic. What they could not do was separate BB and the people. When I was growing up, I did not understand the love people had for her. I was in high school when BB came to power for the first time. I did not even pass my higher secondary when her government was dismissed on charges of corruption. Like every youngster, I hated corruption but was amazed to see people from the lowest of the lower strata who were crazy for BB and her PPP. In an industrial exhibition in Lahore, I met an artisan woman selling her handmade fans. She had woven BB’s picture on one of the hand-fans. She broke into tears while telling me how every cruel oppressor in this country has joined hands to bring BB down.

At the Lok Virsa last year, I met a family from southern Punjab who had brought their snakes and were showing snake tricks to earn meagre money. One of their children was wearing a locket bearing BB’s picture. The woman of the family was swearing against Musharraf, the army, feudals and extremists who had snatched their beloved leader. The anger in her voice was so intense that I for once thought she must be a blood relative of BB. She was not.

I recall women of my own family when BB took oath as the prime minister in 1988. My family, being a landholding Punjabi orthodox religious family, has been strongly against a progressive and socialist Bhutto. The men in our family frequently borrowed right-wing arguments against a woman head of the government being un-Islamic, while equally conservative and religious women including my grandmother vociferously confronted the argument. It was amazing to see these women drawing power from a woman prime minister with whose political views they did not even agree. Our village women, very conservative in religious and cultural views and who were made to believe that the PPP was an anti-religion party, could not help loving BB. Women, I can still remember, got new dreams of playing a powerful role in society.

Her struggle did not end when her party came to office in 1988. Seeking office was incomplete without power, which still rested with the all-powerful establishment that had delayed nominating her as prime minister despite her party’s clear majority. They did never rest after that. One wonders what potent challenge she posed to them that they had to invest all their might, money and resources to gather all the opposing political parties on one platform against BB’s PPP. Her clear-headed vision that led the country throughout the years of crisis distinguished her from the rest of the lot who started appearing pygmies in front of her.

My last meeting with her was in November 2007 when she calmly heard our criticism on various recent decisions that we thought would give a lease of life to a dictator. How patiently she heard, how diligently she took notes and how sagaciously she responded to every single concern of ours. When she arrived in October 2007, she had changed in many ways. One could see the strength of her resolve seeing a sea of people ready to sacrifice their lives for her. Despite strict security warnings, she would not stop from going to the hospital to visit the survivors of the October 18 terrorist attack on her rally.

Prior to that, she was the only leader among the entire bunch of expedient politicians of Pakistan who spoke openly against terrorists and their apologists. She was the only leader who tried to lead people’s opinion against the militants who had forced the tragedy of Laal Masjid (Red Mosque), instead of criticising the military action against the militants or terming the Laal Masjid militants as ‘innocent students’ like almost every politician did.

The unusual courage she displayed was not without a vision of possible consequences. She knew the price she might have to pay. Nothing deterred her. She went on and lived up to every challenge. And boy, what a life she lived! Salutes to a leader par excellence, to a woman with unfathomable courage and resolve, to a politician of exemplary vision, to a committed democrat who never failed the test of pragmatic and inclusive politics. Rest in peace BB. Pakistan misses you.

The writer is an Islamabad-based commentator on counterterrorism, social and political issues. She can be reached at marvisirmed@me.com and tweets at http://twitter.com/marvisirmed

Courtesy » Daily Times

Fai pleads guilty to working for ISI

By Anwar Iqbal

WASHINGTON: A US-based Kashmiri leader Syed Ghulam Nabi Fai pleaded guilty on Wednesday to federal charges of lobbying for Kashmir without registration and spying for the ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence).

Mr Fai also acknowledged receiving money from the Pakistani spy agency through clandestine routes and causing revenue losses.

Pleading before the US District Court in Alexandria, Virginia, Mr Fai conceded that he received at least $3.5 million from the ISI between 1990 and 2011. This resulted in a revenue loss of between $200,000 and $400,000 to the US government. …

Read more » DAWN.COM

Help me in petitioning against Gen. Aslam Baig

Open letter to Gen Aslam Baig

Dear Aslam Baig Sahib,

I heard you talking in a TV programme sometime back, where you once again disputed your role in forming the IJI and your involvement in the Mehrangate Scandal to the sheer shock of the audience. Sir, I will be short and precise in whatever I write because I am traumatised at what you said in the court of law and that too under oath of the holy book.

Let me remind you general to what you said in the Supreme Court in 1997 (Human Rights Petition 19/96 filed by Air Marshal Asghar Khan). Aslam Baig Sahib, your quotes from the SC records are “the money was donated by Younas Habib. The ISI was acting under the directions of higher authorities. As chief of the army staff at that time, when I was informed of this matter, my only concern was that the money received by the ISI was utilised properly and an account was maintained and beyond that I had no concern with the money…” Referring to the amount raised by the ISI for possibly helping right-wing political parties.

But, your astounding claim that you only “over-looked” the operation was rebuffed by your own ISI chief during the time, General Asad Durrani, who filed an affidavit in response to your rather, innocent claim. Gen Durrani, who later in 1996 became our ambassador in Germany, when approached by the SC, wrote an affidavit, confirming that he had received instructions from COAS General Beg (you) to provide ‘logistic support’ for the disbursement of donations made by certain ‘businessmen of Karachi’ to the IJI election campaign of 1990, and was told that the operation had the blessings of the government rebutting your claim that you acted only as a ‘watchdog’.

General Beg, Iqbal Haider who is now a human rights activist, defended General Nasurullah Baber and in a recorded statement (record could be verified by the SC registrar) said, “The ISI was involved in politics”. Lt General Hameed Gul, a former ISI chief, was on record as having boasted that it was he who created the IJI, and another ISI chief, Lt General Javed Nasir, had taken credit for creating the MQM Haqiqi.

Supplementary to this in an another affidavit filed by Gen Babur in the SC (HRC 19/96) included Asad Durrani’s (your ISI Chief) confidential letter to the late Benazir Bhutto which read, “My dear prime minister, A few points I could not include in my ‘confessional statement’ handed over to the director, FIA. These could be embarrassing or sensitive. (a) The recipients included Khar Rs 2 million, Hafeez Pirzada Rs 3 million, Sarwar Cheema Rs 0.5 million and Mairaj Khalid Rs 0.2 million. (b) The remaining Rs 80 million were either deposited in the ISI’s ‘K’ fund (60m) or given to director external intelligence for special operations (perhaps the saving grace of this disgraceful exercise. But it is delicate information.) [Noted in the margin of this paragraph, by the writer in his own hand: “This is false. The amount was pocketed by Beg (Friends)”]

“If the idea is to put Gen Beg on the mat: he was merely providing ‘logistic support’ to donations made by a community ‘under instructions’ from the government and with the ‘consent’ of the military high command. In any case; I understand he is implicated in some other deals in the same case…” Asad Durrani claimed. Fair enough, but money worth Rs 60 million that was supposed to be made to the ISI’s K Fund went to your pockets. General Baig, this is serious, because as per your own ISI chief, “you” and “your friends” pocketed the money.

And friends, sir? Apparently, Naseerullah Babar also filed in court a copy of a bank account sheet headed “G/L Account. Activity Report. Account 12110101 G Baig (sic)” The column heads read “Transaction, Date, Particulars, Debit, Credit”.

The numbered transactions took place between October 23, 1991, and December 12, 1993. The first transaction listed was “Cash-PO Karachi Bar Association A/C Gen Baig (sic.), debit, Rs 505,680” (advocate Mirza Adil Beg, Aslam Beg’s nephew, the then president of the KBA, confirms that the KBA received the money). In January 1992, $20,000 was sold @ 26.50 and Rs 530,000 was credited to the account. Thereafter all debits: “Arshi c/o Gen Baig (sic.) Rs 290,000; Cash paid to Gen Shab Rs 240,000; Cash Friends Rs 100,000 [Aslam Beg’s organisation, FRIENDS, Foundation for Research on National Development and Security]; Cash TT to Yamin to pay Gen Sahib Rs 300,000; Cash TT to Yamin Habib Rs 1,200,000 ; Cash Friends Rs 100,000 ; Cash Friends Rs 100,000 ; Cash paid through YH 1,000,000 ; Cash Friends TT to Salim Khan Rs 200,000 ; Cash Rs 100,000 ; Cash Towards Friends Rs 500,000 ; Cash Asif Shah for Bungalow Rs 35,000 ; Cash Friends Rs 100,000 ; Cash Friends Rs 100,000 ; Cash TT through Yamin for Friends Rs 100,000 ; Cash paid to Fakhruddin G Ebrahim Rs 200,000 [he confirms having received the money from General Baig as fees and expenses for defending him in the contempt of court charge brought against him – PLD 1993 SC310] ; Cash paid through TT to Yamin for Friends ; Cash paid to Fakhruddin G Ebrahim Rs 128,640 [he confirms receipt for fees/expenses for contempt case] ; Cash Guards at 11-A Rs 10,500 ; Cash TT for $240,000 Fav Riaz Malik to City Bank (sic) New York Rs 6876,000 ; Cash Friends Rs 100,000; Cash Guards at 11-A Rs 10,500 ; Cash Major Kiyani Rs 10,000; Cash mobile phone for Col Mashadi Rs 28,911 ; Cash TT fav Qazi Iqbal and M Guddul Rs 300,000 ; Cash Major Kiyani Rs 10,000 ; Cash TT to Peshawar Rs 300,000 ; Cash deposited at Karachi A/C EC [Election Commission] Rs 300,000 ; Cash Guards Rs 24,000 ; Cash TT to Quetta Rs 700,000 ; Cash mobile bill of Col Mashadi Rs 3,237 ; Cash TT to Peshawar Br Rs 400,000 ; Cash deposited at Karachi Br Rs 400,000 ; Cash Guards Rs 11,520 ; Cash TT to Peshawar for EC Rs 200,000 ; Cash TT to Quetta for EC Rs 200,000 ; Cash Guards Rs 5,760 ; Cash Major Kiyani Rs 5,000 ; Cash A/C Guards Rs 8,640 ; Cash th YH Rs 200,000 ; Cash A/C Guards Rs 5,760 ; Cash TT to Salim Khan Rs 100,000.”

General Aslam Baig, its about time you come clean on the allegations and apologise to the nation for not only laundering the nation’s tax money, but artificially forming a right-wing political party, or face Article 6. It is also the duty of the SC to take up the petition of Air Marshal Asghar Khan and take it to its logical conclusion.

Warm Regards,

Ali K Chishti

Courtesy » Daily Times

Source – http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2010\10\12\story_12-10-2010_pg7_23

Spectacular bloodshed – By Nayyer Khan

In agricultural society, live stock represents wealth and hence sacrifices. In an urban society wealth is represented by money. If one contributed the equivalent of the price of a goat or a cow to charity — i.e. feeding the poor, donating to hospitals etc, it should have the same effect

Every year, on Eid-ul-Azha (3 days long annual Muslim Festival, starting in a few days, during which animals are sacrificed to please Allah), I feel as if I am living in one of the ancient civilizations ….

Read more » ViewPoint

Sharif’s letter to Brother Abdullah

by Hakim Hazik

With Saudi money, American weapons, suicidal youths, and the fauji IQ, Pakistan will prevail and lead the Ummah. We will have a friendly government in Kabul, the Dhimmis in Orakzai will pay Jizya and the infidels in New Delhi will pay tribute. I would appeal to Taliban again, not to attack us, because as the Chief Minister has said, we stand for the same things …

Read more » ViewPoint

The judge, who had handed down two death sentences to Mumtaz Qadri for killing Punjab governor Salman Taseer, has left Pakistan along with his family after receiving death threats from jihadis

Qadri case judge sent abroad

by Zulqernain Tahir

LAHORE: The district and sessions judge, who had handed down two death sentences to Mumtaz Qadri for killing Punjab governor Salman Taseer, has left for Saudi Arabia along with his family after receiving death threats from extremists.

“The death threats have forced Judge Pervez Ali Shah to leave the country along with his family for Saudi Arabia,” Advocate Saiful Malook, the special prosecutor in the Qadri case, told Dawn on Monday.

He said sensing the gravity of the situation the government had arranged the lodging of Mr Shah and members of his family abroad. “Although security was provided to the judge and his family members, the government on the reports of law-enforcement agencies opted for sending him abroad,” he said.

There were also unconfirmed reports that extremist elements in religious parties had fixed the head money for the judge. “There were such reports but there was a potential threat to the life of Mr Shah and his family members,” he said.

Mr Malook said he also had been receiving threats to his life and urged the government to arrange adequate security. “The government has deployed only two policemen for my security which is not adequate,” he said.

Judge Pervez Ali Shah had said in his verdict: “No-one can be given the licence to kill anyone in any condition, therefore, the killer cannot be pardoned as he has committed a heinous crime.”

Assassin Qadri, a constable in the Punjab Police Elite Force, tried to justify the murder by stating that he had killed Mr Taseer for supporting Aasia Bibi, a Christian woman who the slain governor had projected as having been wrongly convicted of blasphemy. Qadri, who was on duty to guard Taseer, gunned him down outside a restaurant in Islamabad on Jan 4 this year. ….

Read more » DAWN.COM

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Courtesy » Aaj News Tv (Bolta Pakistan with Nusrat Javed and Mushtaq Minhas – 25th October 2011)

via » ZemTv » YouTube

Pakistan: We have money to spend on missiles, tanks and submarines, and other things, little to invest in public needs.

The Republic: a con artist’s dream by Ayaz Amir

Excerpt;

… We have money to spend on missiles, tanks and submarines, and other things, little to invest in public needs. But this is empty moaning. In the fortress of Islam other priorities reign. We can cry until the cows come home but there won’t be much interest in public education or public transport, or in the need to get rid of that devil’s invention which is the plastic shopping bag. (I am sorry for referring to this time and again but why can’t we do something about it?) ….

Read more : http://www.columnspk.com/the-republic-a-con-artist%e2%80%99s-dream-by-ayaz-amir/

Behind Pakistan’s ‘Haqqani problem’

– Analysis » By Khaled Ahmed

The planned committee that will ensure that the APC statement is acted upon will have a tough time bringing the Haqqanis under control because in this instance the tail is wagging the dog

During the APC against America on 29 September 2011 in Islamabad, Maulana Samiul Haq said that the Haqqani network was ‘indigenous to Pakistan’. How could he say that except on the basis of the fact that both the founder of the Network, Jalaluddin Haqqani and his son the current commander Siraj, are graduates of his Madrassa Haqqania in Akora Khattak, Nowshehra, near Peshawar?

Continue reading Behind Pakistan’s ‘Haqqani problem’

Rs30m demanded for Taseer’s son release

– By: Jam Sajjad Hussain

LAHORE – Commander Arif of Tehrik Taliban Pakistan (TTP) is holding the fate of Shahbaz Taseer, son of slain Governor Punjab Salman Taseer, demanding Rs 30 million as ransom money for his safe return, The Nation has learnt reliably.

Shahbaz Taseer, has been hidden somewhere in the provincial capital since his abduction, whereas his cell phone is being used by his abductors from Razmak, which is one of the three sub-divisions of North Waziristan Agency. ….

Read more → The Nation