Tag Archives: Nawaz Sharif

Modi makes surprise visit to Pakistan

BY MEHREEN ZAHRA-MALIK AND KRISHNA N. DAS

ISLAMABAD/NEW DELHI – Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a surprise stopover in Pakistan on Friday to meet his counterpart, Nawaz Sharif, the first time an Indian premier has visited the rival nation in over a decade.

Sharif hugged Modi after he landed at the airport in the eastern city of Lahore before the two boarded a helicopter for Sharif’s nearby estate, state television showed.

A spokesman at the Pakistani prime minister’s office told Reuters the two leaders would discuss a range of bilateral issues, including the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir, the most contentious issue dividing the nuclear-armed rivals.

Modi was on his way home after a visit to Russia. He stopped off in the Afghanistan capital Kabul earlier on Friday.

After months of a freeze, India and Pakistan resumed high-level contacts with a brief conversation between Sharif and Modi at climate change talks in Paris late last month, part of efforts to restart a peace dialogue plagued by militant attacks and long-standing distrust.

Modi, who inaugurated a new parliament complex built with Indian help in Kabul, spoke to Sharif earlier on Friday to wish him on his 66th birthday.

“Looking forward to meeting PM Nawaz Sharif in Lahore today afternoon, where I will drop by on my way back to Delhi,” Modi tweeted.

The two prime ministers flew to Sharif’s estate in Lahore named Jati Umra, after his family’s ancestral home in a Punjabi village in India, Pakistan state TV reported.

Read more » Reuters
See more » http://in.reuters.com/article/india-pakistan-modi-nawaz-sharif-idINKBN0U80G020151225

 

Protester disrupts Pakistan prime minister’s speech in Washington – Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A protester disrupted a speech by Pakistan’s President Nawaz Sharif at a Washington think tank on Friday, shouting slogans in support of freedom for the Pakistani province of Baluchistan.

A man in the audience at the U.S. Institute of Peace stood up and shouted “Free, Free Baluchistan!” and accused the Pakistani prime minister of being “friends” with late al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, just as Sharif was starting a speech.

Sharif looked up and paused briefly as the man was led away, but did not comment on the interruption.

News courtesy: Reuters
Read more » http://mobile.reuters.com/article/idUSKCN0SH1T120151023?feedType=RSS&feedName=worldNews

Investigation is under way against Pakistan’s Prime minister Nawaz Sharif, regarding corruption casees

NawazNAB submits list of 150 mega corruption cases to apex court

BY ABDUL SHAKOOR KHAN

ISLAMABAD: Officials of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Tuesday submitted a report containing details of 150 mega corruption cases before the Supreme Court of Pakistan.

A three-member bench, headed by Justice Jawwad S. Khawaja, was hearing a case filed by Manzoor Ahmed Ghauri against chairman NAB and other officials. The case, initiated earlier this year, pertains to scrutiny of the anti-corruption body.

The list include cases against high profile figures, including incumbent Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, his brother and Chief Minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif, former premiers, ministers and top bureaucrats.

The document also lists 50 cases each of monitory irregularities, misuse of powers and land scams.

Read more » DAWN
See more » http://www.dawn.com/news/1192921

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نواز شریف سمیت چار سابق وزرائےاعظم کے خلاف تفتیش جاری
See more » BBC urdu
http://www.bbc.com/urdu/pakistan/2015/07/150707_nab_sc_assets_list_ra

Nawaz Sharif calls PM Narendra Modi, appreciates India’s rescue efforts in Nepal

NEW DELHI: Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif on Thursday called up PM Narendra Modi and expressed his condolences on loss of lives in India due to earthquake.

“Got a call from PM Nawaz Sharif. He expressed condolences on the loss of lives in various parts of India due to the earthquake,” PM Modi said in a tweet on Thursday.

The PM added that Sharif appreciated India’s efforts in the rescue operations in Nepal.

“I thank him for his kind words,” Modi said.

Modi said that he suggested to Sharif that “SAARC nations should conduct regular joint exercises on disaster relief and rescue”.

“SAARC nations can come together and hold annual exercises of rescue teams, doctors etc on how we can minimise damage during natural disasters,” he added.

News courtesy: The Times of India
Read more » http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Nawaz-Sharif-calls-PM-Narendra-Modi-appreciates-Indias-rescue-efforts-in-Nepal/articleshow/47105811.cms

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More details » BBC urdu
Read more » http://www.bbc.com/urdu/pakistan/2015/04/150430_nawaz_calls_modi_rwa

Prime Minister 2.0: Harder, faster, stronger

By Syed Rashid Munir

In just a couple of weeks, thousands of Pakistani youth will sit through one of the most rigorous tests of human memory, in the form of the annual Central Superior Services (CSS) examination. In the exam, they will be asked questions ranging from the absurd to the most absurd, and you can almost be sure that the name of the brother-in-law of the sister of one of the cousins of the premier of a small African republic will be on the paper.

But, sometimes, through sheer luck, you can be tested on a relatively easier topic, for instance say, the name of the Prime Minister of Pakistan.

Under normal circumstances, this would be an absolute freebie of a point; the ‘aspirants’ would only have to recall the results of the last election, promptly mark Mr Nawaz Sharif’s name on the question paper, and then start daydreaming about sticking it to others while sitting in big offices.

This time though, such a query is bound to be a loaded question. Let me explain why.

In a parliamentary system like ours, the prime minister is usually appointed by the political party in majority in the representative assembly. Tradition dictates that the leader of the majority party be bestowed with this honour (though there have been significant diversions from this norm even in recent years).

The prime minister is supposed to lead his cabinet and the country through thick and thin, and ooze a shimmering aura of national unity, so much so that the hearts of the masses are supposed to fill with a warm glow each time they look at their leader.

The premier is supposed to be approachable, so that his/her constituents can share their problems and concerns.

The premier should also have an unblemished reputation of being not only uncorrupt, but also incorruptible. He/she must understand the nuances of the issues and cultures within the territory of the country, and present a clarity of vision in taking initiative towards national reform.

All this is fine and dandy. But now, let us take a small dose of reality.

Continue reading Prime Minister 2.0: Harder, faster, stronger

PM Narendra Modi speaks to Nawaz Sharif, says Peshawar incident an assault on entire humanity

By:

Narendra Modi tonight spoke to his Pakistan counterpart Nawaz Sharif offering his “deepest condolences” on the dastardly terror attack at a school in Peshawar.

Sharing Pakistan’s pain in the wake of the “dastardly” terror attack in a Peshawar school, Prime Minister Narendra Modi tonight spoke to his Pakistan counterpart Nawaz Sharif on phone offering “deepest condolences and all assistance” in the hour of grief.

As a mark of solidarity with Pakistan, Modi appealed to all schools in India to observe 2 minutes of silence tomorrow for the “senseless act of unspeakable brutality” in Peshawar, where terrorists attacked a school and 141 massacred people, almost all of them children, terming the incident as an “assault against the entire humanity”.

Modi told Sharif that “this terrible tragedy has shaken the conscience of the world” and “that this moment of shared pain and mourning is also a call for our two countries and all those who believe in humanity to join hands to decisively and comprehensively defeat terrorism so that the children in Pakistan, India and elsewhere do not have to face a future darkened by the lengthening shadow of terrorism.”

Read more » Financial Express
http://www.financialexpress.com/article/miscellaneous/pm-narendra-modi-speaks-to-nawaz-sharif-says-india-stands-firmly-with-pak-in-fight-against-terror-offers-all-support/19961/

Not Fit to Print: An Insider Account of Pakistani Censorship

BY NEHA ANSARI

Imran [Khan], [Tahir ul] Qadri, and the ISI [Inter-Services Intelligence] are our best friends,” our weekly editorial meeting at Pakistan’s Express Tribune was (jokingly) told on Aug. 13, 2014, a day before the two political leaders began their separate long marches from Lahore to Islamabad, and plunged the country into crisis. “We know it’s not easy, but that’s the way it is — at least for now. I promise to make things better soon,” said the editor, who had called the meeting to inform us about the media group’s editorial policy during the sit-ins and protests that would eventually, momentarily paralyze the Pakistani government.

The senior editorial staff, myself included, reluctantly agreed to the orders, which came from the CEO, because our jobs were on the line. Media groups in Pakistan are family-owned and make all decisions unilaterally — regardless of whether they concern marketing and finance or editorial content and policy — advancing their personal agendas through the influential mainstream outlets at their disposal. A majority of the CEOs and media house owners are businessmen, with no background (or interest) in the ethics of journalism. The owners and publishers make it very clear to their newsrooms and staff — including the editor — that any tilt or gloss they proscribe is non-negotiable. As a result, serious concerns persist about violence against and the intimidation of members of the media. In fact, Pakistan ranks 158 out of 180 countries in the 2014 World Press Freedom Index.

Yet there is also a more elusive problem within the country’s press landscape: the collusion of Pakistan’s powerful military and the nation’s media outlets. I experienced this first-hand while I worked as a journalist at the Express Tribune during the recent protests led by Khan, the populist cricketer-turned-politician, and Qadri, a Pakistani-Canadian cleric and soapbox orator.

During this time, the owners of Pakistani media powerhouses — namely ARY News, the Express Media Group, and Dunya News — received instructions from the military establishment to support the “dissenting” leaders and their sit-ins. The military was using the media to add muscle and might to the anti-government movement in an attempt to cut Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif down to size.

The media obliged.

At the Express Media Group, anything related to Khan and Qadri were inexorably the lead stories on the front page or the hourly news bulletin. I witnessed polls showing support for Sharif being censored, while news stories on the misconduct of the protesters, along with any evidence that support among the protestors for Khan and Qadri was dwindling, were axed. While the BBC was publishing stories about how Qadri’s protesters were allegedly being paid and Dawn, the leading English-language Pakistani newspaper — and the Express Tribune‘s main competitor — was writing powerful editorials about the military’s role in the political crisis, we were making sure nothing negative about them went to print.

Day after day, my national editor told me about how he received frantic telephone calls late in the evening about what the lead story should be for the next day and what angle the article should take. First, we were told to focus on Khan. “Take this as Imran’s top quote,” “This should be in the headline,” “Take a bigger picture of him” were the specific directives given by the CEO. Shortly after, the news group’s owner was agitated that the newspaper had not been focusing enough on Qadri. We later found out that the military establishment was supporting the two leaders equally and the media was expected to do the same.

In their professional capacities, the editor and desk editors tried to put up a fight: they allowed some columns against the protests slip through; they did not extend the restrictions to publish against Khan and Qadri to the Web version of the newspaper; and they encouraged reporters to focus on the paper’s strengths, such as investigative and research-based reports. However, it was difficult for the staff to keep its spirits high with the CEO’s interference and his readiness to abide by the establishment’s instructions. To be sure, the dictates were never given to the senior editorial staff, of which I was a part, directly. They were instead relayed to the editor or the national editor (who heads the main National Desk) via the CEO and then forwarded to us.

People often speculate about the media-military collusion in Pakistan, but in the instance of the current political standoff in the federal capital, as well as the Geo News controversy — where the establishment was seen resorting to extreme methods, such as forcing cable operators to suspend Geo’s transmission and impelling competing media houses to publish news stories against Geo, to curtail the broadcast of the largest and most-watched television channel for accusing then-ISI chief Zaheer-ul-Islam of being behind the gun attack on Hamid Mir, its most-popular anchor — the media and the military worked hand-in-hand.

In most cases, it is common knowledge that the heavyweight broadcast anchors have strong ties to members of the military establishment, and they personally take direct instructions that are then conveyed to the owners of their respective media groups. This bias is often reflected in their coverage.

The anchors not only indulge in inaccurate reporting, but also shape political discourse against the democratically elected government and even the efficacy of democracy itself. Former Pakistani government officials have corroborated this by narrating their experience. One senior official told me: “Television anchors receive funds from the military establishment, if not the civilian Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. Today, all the Pakistani intelligence agencies and the military have media departments that ostensibly only disseminate background information and press briefings, but are actually guiding and managing discourses and the national narrative.”

And this narrative is pro-army. Consider one example in particular.

On Aug. 31, when Khan’s and Qadri’s protesters had stormed the Parliament’s gates, Mubasher Lucman, a television anchor for ARY News — now the most-watched TV channel in Pakistan after Geo’s transmission was illegally suspended — saluted the army during a live broadcast and invited the military to take over “and save the protesters and the country.” Earlier on Aug. 25, he welcomed the “sound of boots”(a reference to the military), as he had no sympathy for corrupt politicians who looted the country.

As if this was not enough, Lucman and his fellow anchors at ARY, some of whom are known to have strong ties to the army and the ISI, alsomade unverified claims on live television that seven protesters had been killed by riot police in the ensuing clash. (It was reported by other news outlets that three people had died, one by accident.) Moreover, when Javed Hashmi, the estranged president of Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) party, came out in public on Sep. 1 to reveal how Khan was banking on the military and the judiciary to end Sharif’s government, Lucman slammed Hashmi, while his fellow anchor, Fawad Chaudhry, insisted that Hashmi had been “planted in [the] PTI”by the prime minister’s closest aides.

Hashmi, who is known for his principled politics and who has been tortured and imprisoned by the military over the years, made the claims about Khan in a press conference where he revealed that: “Imran Khan said we cannot move forward without the army…He told us that he has settled all the matters; there will be elections in September.”

Soon after this, we at the Express Tribune were instructed by the military to highlight statements released by the army’s Inter-Services Public Relations office about how it was not a party to the crisis. When the military was on the defensive, issuing rebuttals to Hashmi’s “revelations,” we saw the instructions lessen and the powerful institution backing off. Yet media discourse throughout Pakistan’s history has been influenced by the military, the most powerful institution in the country, or, in a few cases, has been strong-armed and intimidated by civilian heads of state until they were ousted by the military. There is a structural bias against democratic institutions and elected officials in Pakistan, and such a discourse has the not-unintentional effect of making the military seem like a better alternative, thereby reinforcing the notion that democracy does not work.

Continue reading Not Fit to Print: An Insider Account of Pakistani Censorship

Thanks To Imran Khan And A Sunni Cleric, Pakistan’s Democracy Is Under Threat

By Deedar Hussain Samejo, Forbes

Pakistan has been once again gripped by the domestic political crisis. Country’s fragile democracy is facing serious threats as cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan, chairman of Pakistan Movement for Justice party, and Sunni cleric Tahir-ul-Qadri, head of Pakistan People’s Movement party, along with their supporters, armed with clubs and batons, continue to paralyze the capital city, Islamabad, for more than three weeks.

Protesters led by Imran Khan, who believes that Nawaz Sharif is corrupt and became prime minister after rigging the May 2013 elections, and Tahir-ul-Qadri, who aims to abolish the current parliamentary form of political system and bring “revolution” in the country, have occupied the sensitive area of the capital city, bringing the normal diplomatic activities at a complete standstill. They are demanding nothing less than resignation of elected Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

Continue reading Thanks To Imran Khan And A Sunni Cleric, Pakistan’s Democracy Is Under Threat

From czar-like prime minister to deputy commissioner-type character’

By Reuters

ISLAMABAD: Besieged Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has been assured by military that there will be no coup, but in return he must “share space with the army”, according to a government source who was privy to recent talks between the two sides.

Last week, as tens of thousands of protesters advanced on the federal capital to demand his resignation, Sharif dispatched two emissaries to consult with the army chief.

He wanted to know if the military was quietly engineering the twin protest movements by cricket star-turned-politician Imran Khan and activist cleric Tahirul Qadri, or if, perhaps, it was preparing to stage a coup.

According to a government insider with a first-hand account of the meeting, Sharif’s envoys returned with good news and bad: there will be no coup but if he wants his government to survive, from now on it will have to share space with the army.

The army’s media wing declined to comment.

Thousands of protesters marched to parliament on Tuesday, using a crane and bolt cutters to force their way past barricades of shipping containers, as riot police and paramilitaries watched on after being told not to intervene.

Military spokesman General Asim Bajwa tweeted a reminder to protesters to respect government institutions and called for a “meaningful dialogue” to resolve the crisis.

Even if, as seems likely, the Khan and Qadri protests eventually fizzle out due to a lack of overt support from the military, the prime minister will emerge weakened from political crisis.

Sharif may have to be subservient to the generals on issues he wanted to handle himself — from the fight against Taliban to relations with India and Pakistan’s role in neighbouring, post-Nato Afghanistan.

“The biggest loser will be Nawaz, cut down to size both by puny political rivals and the powerful army,” said a government minister who asked not to be named.

“From this moment on, he’ll always be looking over his shoulder.”

A year ago, few would have predicted that Sharif would be in such trouble: back then, he had just swept to power for a third time in a milestone poll that marked the first transition from one elected government to another.

But in the months that followed, Sharif — who had crossed swords with the army in the past — moved to enhance the clout of the civilian government in a country that has been ruled by the military for more than half of its history.

He irked the generals by putting former military head Pervez Musharraf, who had ended Sharif’s last stint as prime minister in a 1999 coup, on trial for treason.

Sharif is also said to have opposed a military offensive to crush Taliban insurgents and sought reconciliation with India.

Sources in Sharif’s government said that with civilian-military relations in such bad shape, Sharif suspected that the street protests to unseat him were being manipulated from behind the scenes by the army.

He also feared that if the agitations turned violent, the army would exploit the situation to seize power for itself.

Read more » DAWN
http://www.dawn.com/news/1126545/

111 Brigade: only the formality remains

Islamabad diary

By Ayaz Amir

Calling on the army to protect Islamabad, from dangers yet to be adequately defined, is no one-off affair. It is the latest addition to a pattern we have seen growing rather dramatically over the last three months: the army’s influence on the rise, its profile getting bigger, even as civilian authority recedes and comes close to a point of total collapse. This is a takeover in all but name.

As far as anyone can tell, no one has planned this outcome. It is the playing out of no strategic configuration. No one has ever accused General Headquarters (GHQ) of such subtlety before, and this is a subtle drama we are witnessing: almost a creeping coup, a coup by stealth, Pakistan’s first ‘soft’ coup. No “meray aziz humwutnon” – my dear countrymen, the familiar invocation heralding Pakistani coups – no seven-point national agenda a la Musharraf.

 

Email: winlust@yahoo.com

Read more: The News
http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-9-264525-111-Brigade-only-the-formality-remains

Pakistan’s Federal minister for Planning & Development, Ahsan Iqbal’s son Ahmed Iqbal’s remarks against Pak Army

“The responsibility of all terrorist attacks falls squarely on the armed forces & intelligence agencies. People of Pakistan have made enough sacrifices. It is time that that these institutions start doing their job of protecting Pakistan & not themselves. There would no war, no Taliban, no external threat if they would have done their job. It is high time to not only hit back at terrorists but to secure Pakistan’s future by dealing with this menace. Spend on education, health, development, people & …. the army!”  “Warna, yeh Taliban Ko Paalnay Waali, India Ko Ukssanay waali, Jamhoriat Ko Lapaytnay waali Fauj apnay bojh talay Is Mulk Ko Kuchal day gi.” ~ Ahmed Iqbal Chaudhary

Read more » http://pakobserver.net/detailnews.asp?id=244363

More details »» Roznama Dunya
http://e.dunya.com.pk/colum.php?date=2014-06-16&edition=LHR&id=31946_74196307

Imran Khan boarding the wrong train…as usual

By Omar

Our great leader has taken the pulse of Twitter and Facebook (or heard good news from on high) and has decided to throw caution to the wind and board the anti-GEO bandwagon.
Sadly, once more, he may be boarding the wrong train. The army’s ability to swing itself into the harness and give orders has been slowly but steadily weakening for years. Zardari’s successful tenure (successful in not falling to a coup) and the peaceful transfer of power to MNS were baby steps. A major Paknationalist media empire deciding its time to openly challenge the ISI after its reporter is shot (by the ISI or by someone else) is a bigger step (because it means serious sections of the ruling elite feel it is time they can do this). This is not to condone GEO’s method of making the accusation, or their odious past record of labeling others as thieves, traitors, etc. That is all condemn-able and has been condemned in the past and should be condemned now. But their willingness to do so still indicates that they perceived a power shift.
The deep state (and its useful-idiot supporters in the PTI fan-base) have since mobilized to teach GEO a lesson and to show them who is still boss…but it is not exactly going  as planned. It took a few days, but liberal fascists (a term GEO and Hamid Mir freely popularized when they and the establishment were on the same page) continue to pop up to question the army’s right to label GEO (or anyone else) as traitors. More significantly, MNS does not seem to be cooperating. Astute politicians like Zardari will soon get the hint (if they have not already got it) that there is not going to be a coup and its time to stand aside and let the ISI expose itself and its remaining supporters for what they are: people out of step with Pakistani political reality. (Look at the dozens or at most hundreds of people showing up to wave pro-ISI posters at rallies).

That leaves Imran Khan.

As expected, he has miscalculated. Thinking this whole sorry scheme of things entire may be wound up soon, he has boldly stepped forward (after waffling for a few days) and has now discovered that GEO is the enemy and he is ready to boycott them.
By doing so he stands ready to lose either way:

1. He is wrong and MNS and GEO both survive this episode, leaving him with abundant egg on his face after yet another failed “mobilization/revolution”.

OR

2. He has picked the “winning side” and the deep state will kill GEO and MNS (killing one without the other is not likely to be much help) on May 11th (the day Khan sahib and Canadian-gun-for-hire Tahir Ul Qadri are supposed to launch their campaign against this “corrupt system”). What then? He will find himself marked as a supporter of what will surely be Pakistan’s last and least successful coup. The inevitable disasters that follow will end his political career (and possibly more than that).

Read more » Brown Pundits
http://brownpundits.blogspot.ca/2014/04/imran-khan-getting-on-board-wrong.html?spref=fb

Pakistan – Gen Beg warns of Egypt-like change in Pakistan

Proposes three-point formula to normalise situation

By Ashraf Mumtaz

LAHORE  – Former Army chief Gen Mirza Aslam Beg on Monday proposed a three-point formula to normalise the tense civil-military relations, warning the government of an Egypt-like change in case urgent steps were not taken in accordance with his suggestions.
He said the high treason case against Gen Pervez Musharraf should be dropped and he should be allowed to go abroad; the Pemra should ensure that no TV channel telecasts programmes that undermine the prestige of the army; and ministers or other leaders should be barred from speaking against the people who defend the country even at the cost of their lives. Talking to The Nation, he said the civil setup would face no threat and the situation would normalise within no time if the government acted in the light of his suggestions. Otherwise, he said, a military general would take over, just like Gen El-Sisi did in Egypt, and the United States would support the change for its own interests.
Gen Beg was of the firm view that the Constitution would not be able to block a military intervention if the rulers did not give the army its due respect. “ZulifikarAli Bhutto had said the 1973 Constitution would bury martial laws, but it was the martial law that buried Bhutto”.

Read more » The Nation
http://www.nation.com.pk/national/22-Apr-2014/gen-beg-warns-of-egypt-like-change-in-pakistan

DG ISI had to face tough questions from Nawaz Sharif

DG ISI had to face tough questions from all

Inside the conference room of PM House … COAS assures PM things to be done as desired by govt

Excerpt;

The DG ISI gave a briefing on internal security and Pak-Iran relations. At one point, Zaheerul Islam claimed that some elements of Jundullah, a defunct organisation, were active in Balochistan upon which the prime minister gently asked the DG ISI whose job was this to inform the government about it. The prime minister at times asked questions directly from the DG ISI who, according to the law, came directly under his command.

During the briefing, the DG ISI mentioned Iran’s close relations with India on which Nawaz Sharif calmly reminded him of the government’s policy that they had nothing to do with the internal matter of any of the neighbours. Lt Gen Zaheerul Islam also discussed the internal security situation with regard to the Afghanistan situation.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, while addressing the participants, said that they needed peace and they didn’t want any kind of interference in any of the neighbouring countries. During the course of the meeting, the army chief, on a number of occasions, assured the prime minister that things would be done according to the directions of the prime minister. At no point there was any hint of any tiff between the civilian and the military leadership. Some participants, however, observed some unease between the army chief and DG ISI.

Read more » The News
http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-29792-DG-ISI-had-to-face-tough-questions-from-all

Military blocking Pakistan-India trade deal, says Shahbaz Sharif

Security networks’ distrust of increased business dealings is counter-productive, warns Pakistani PM’s brother

By in Lahore and in Delhi, theguardian.com

The powerful brother of Pakistan‘s prime minister has warned the military establishments of both India and Pakistan not to block efforts to sweep aside trade barriers between the two distrustful neighbours.

On Indian affairs Shahbaz Sharif, the chief minister of Punjab, is widely seen as the de facto Pakistani foreign minister, conducting diplomatic missions to Delhi on behalf of his brother Nawaz Sharif, the prime minister.

But speaking to the Guardian he warned that distrustful “security agencies” in both Pakistan and India were one of the two main “blockages” holding back plans to liberalise trade, which the Sharifs believe will provide a desperately needed boost to Pakistan’s moribund economy.

“Security agencies on both sides need to really understand that in today’s world, a security-led vision is obviously driven by economic security,” he said. “Unless you have economic security then you can’t have general security.”

While the Sharif brothers, in common with most mainstream politicians in Pakistan, are impatient for a rapprochement with India, the military is far more wary.

Read more » theguardian
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/feb/13/military-block-pakistan-india-trade-deal-sharif

Pak army stopped Nawaz Sharif govt from trade deal: India

By

NEW DELHI: UPA-2 will perhaps best be remembered for a series of financial scams and the so-called policy paralysis but as it prepares to sign off, it is now hobbled by its Pakistan policy.

Stung by what India sees as Pakistan’s refusal to allow any concession to the outgoing government for normalizing trade relations, senior government sources here told TOI Islamabad’s policy over the issue was being dictated by Pakistan’s military establishment. They said the upcoming elections are now certain to mark the termination of the idea that trade can lead to peaceful relations between the two countries.

“The several recent flip-flops made by the Nawaz Sharif government on the issue has greatly reduced the its credibility with Indian negotiators who have concluded that in addition to political and security policy, the Pakistan government does not even have the ability to go against the Pakistan military dictates on issues related to economic reforms,” said a top government official, in a reaction to Sharif’s comment on Monday that MFN status to India has been delayed because of the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections.

Read more » THE TIMES OF INDIA
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Pak-army-stopped-Nawaz-Sharif-govt-from-trade-deal-India/articleshow/32699101.cms

 

Sharif risks straining ties with military, warns US intelligence report

By Anwar Iqbal

WASHINGTON: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif may strain his relations with the new army chief if he continues to expand his policy-making powers, warns a US intelligence report.

The report, presented before the US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on Wednesday, notes that Mr Sharif is seeking to “acquire a more central policy-making role” for civilians in areas that the Army has traditionally dominated.

“His push for an increased role in foreign policy and national security will probably test his relationship with the new Chief of Army Staff, particularly if the Army believes that the civilian government’s position impinges on Army interests” the report warns.

Read more » DAWN
http://www.dawn.com/news/1084027

Pakistan – Drowned, sinking deeper in debt

By: HUZAIMA BUKHARI AND DR IKRAMUL HAQ

Pakistan, drowned deep in debt, is sinking deeper and deeper with each passing moment. The situation, if not remedied on a war footing, will eventually lead the country to an economic collapse. During the last three months, the debt burden has soared by Rs 980 billion – an unprecedented increase pushing the total domestic debt up to Rs 15 trillion. This does not include borrowing from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to avert a serious balance of payment crisis. The Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) was very critical of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) government for increasing the debt burden of the country by 100% in five years, but its own record during three months is more deplorable – adding Rs 11 billion a day is awfully gruesome!

On 30th June 2013, the federal government’s total domestic debt was Rs 14 trillion which as of today stands at Rs 15 trillion. Increase of one trillion in three months is terrifying. The total debt burden-internal Rs 15 trillion and external $62 billion-is not debated in the Parliament. The members seem more obsessed about arguing whether Hakimullah Mehsud, killed in a drone attack, is a martyr or not. For them drone attacks are violation of sovereignty but begging from USA, its allies and international donors is a matter of honour! One needs to remind them Allama Iqbal’s famous verse:

Taqdeer Ke Qazi Ka Ye Fatwa Hai Azal Se/ Hai Jurm-e-Zaeefi Ki Saza Marg-e-Mafajat!

[T’is the immutable decree of the Judge of destinies- That weakness is a crime, punishable by death].

Nobody in the National Assembly or Senate is worried about erosion of our resources consumed largely by debt servicing and how to come out of ‘debt prison’ that is main cause of political subjugation. They are wasting words and energies on non-issues.

Continue reading Pakistan – Drowned, sinking deeper in debt

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Tells Foreign Affairs Committee He Would Welcome Voice of America in Sindhi

ShermanWashington, D.C. – At a meeting between the House Foreign Affairs Committee and Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Tuesday, October 22, 2013, Congressman Brad Sherman (D-CA) raised the prospect of a Voice of America broadcast into Pakistan in the Sindhi language.

In response to Sherman’s question, Prime Minister Sharif said, “I would welcome it.” The Prime Minister went on to list efforts of his own government to communicate in the Sindhi language.

Sherman, a senior member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, is the chair of the Congressional Sindh Caucus.

“The response from the Sindhi community in Pakistan to U.S. public diplomacy in their language has been overwhelmingly positive,” said Sherman. “The Prime Minister of Pakistan welcomes this outreach.”

In a Foreign Affairs Committee markup on July 21, 2011, Sherman offered an amendment to the Foreign Relations Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012. The amendment required that, of the funds made available to Voice of America, $1.5 million be used only for Sindhi language programming. The Committee considered and unanimously approved Sherman’s amendment. However, that bill never became law.

Courtesy: via Sapac Sindh + Sindhi e-groups/ e-lists, October 25, 2013

Pakistan 2013: The uncertainty is real

By Omar Ali

Excerpt;

The first thing that strikes you on landing in Pakistan after a few years is how much more “modern” it is and how dramatically (and frequently, painfully) it is changing with every passing day. One is reminded that Pakistan is as much a part of “rising Asia” as India, Bangladesh or Thailand and is not all about terrorists, conspiracy theories, Salafist nutjobs or the clash of civilizations. But since more qualified people are writing about the economics of rising Asia, the destruction of the environment, the breakdown of traditional society, the future of the planet, and the meaning of life, I will try not to step too much on their turf. And since there are countless articles (and more than one famous book) detailing the Westernized elite’s view of how the underclass lives and dies in rising Asia, I will not intrude too far on that well-trodden terrain either. Instead, without further ado, here are my personal and entirely anecdotal observations from 3 weeks in Pakistan. ….

…… Last but not the least, our sense of humor is alive and well. With newly elected prime-minister Nawaz Sharif apparently floundering without a coherent national security strategy 2 months after taking office, the following joke was making the rounds: there is a new position in the kama sutra; its called the Nawaz Sharif. You get on top and do nothing.

Read more » 3QarksDaily
http://www.3quarksdaily.com/3quarksdaily/2013/08/pakistan-2013-the-uncertainty-is-real.html#more

Nawaz Sharif: a sloppy start to national security

By Dr. Mohammad Taqi

Without a holistic strategy addressing Afghanistan, India and also the United States, Mr Sharif cannot even begin to solve the domestic terrorism problem

Two months into his third stint, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his core team’s handling of the national security debate has been cavalier and sloppy at best, and downright dangerous at worst. The ostensibly well-oiled political machine that was supposed to have replaced the chaotic governance of the outgoing Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) has yet to issue a coherent statement on the domestic counterterrorism issue and the national security and foreign policies, which Mr Sharif and his associates have been promising after every major terrorist attack. About 60 terror incidents in as many days have not really instilled a sense of urgency. No sane person wants Mr Sharif’s government to fail on the anti-terrorism front or elsewhere for that matter.

We had noted here at the start of Mr Sharif’s term that “his cautious approach early in his stint is understandable but if Mr Sharif does not delineate his idea of the national interest, chances are that the usual suspects who have had a chokehold on formulating such definitions will do it for him. It might not be too long before the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) finds in its lap issues like the Kerry-Lugar-Berman Act, which were used to set the national security narrative against the PPP.” Also, within days of President Asif Zardari’s October 2008 interview with The Wall Street Journal to start with a clean slate in India, the Mumbai massacre was unleashed. With the volatility along the Pakistan-India Line of Control in Kashmir, Mr Sharif already has a mini-Mumbai situation on his hands, if not something worse. His previous generic remark that ‘Pakistan and India should be friends’ is not enough. The usual suspects may be defining the national interest for Mr Sharif and perhaps the domestic redlines that they don’t want him to cross.

Continue reading Nawaz Sharif: a sloppy start to national security

Nawaz Sharif announces to try dictator Musharraf for High Treason

Government to try Musharraf for high treason: PM Sharif

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif announced in the National Assembly [Federal Parliament] that former military dictator General (retd) Pervez Musharraf will be tried for high treason under article 6 of the Constitution, Geo News reported.

Pervez Musharraf faces charges of abrogating the Constitution of Pakistan and detaining judges of the higher judiciary after imposing emergency on November 3, 2007.

Speaking in the National Assembly on Monday, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said that Pervez Musharraf will be held accountable for subverting the Constitution of Pakistan, stopping judges of higher judiciary from working through illegal orders and taking unconstitutional steps of imposing emergency on November 3, 2007.

He said that there had been a tug of war between democracy and dictatorship, adding that political parties and intellectuals didn’t let the flag of democracy fall.

Moreover, Nawaz Sharif said that Pakistan came into being through democractic struggle and the process of transition of power will continue in the country.

Article 6 : High Treason*

(1)Any person who abrogates or subverts or suspends or holds in abeyance, or attempts or conspires to abrogate or subvert or suspend or hold in abeyance, the Constitution by use of force or show of force or by any other unconstitutional means shall be guilty of high treason.

(2)Any person aiding or abetting [or collaborating] the acts mentioned in clause (1) shall likewise be guilty of high treason.

(2A)An act of high treason mentioned in clause (1) or clause (2) shall not be validated by any court including the Supreme Court and a High Court.

(3)Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament) shall by law provide for the punishment of persons found guilty of high treason.

*excerpt from the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan

Courtesy: Geo TV
http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=106588

PM Sharif’s convoy stopped to let Army chief pass

ISLAMABAD: As Pakistan witnessed a historic democratic transition, many in the county have started to believe that the days of military supremacy are over. But not on the roads, at least not yet.

As Nawaz Sharif, along with his family, left for the Presidency to take oath as prime minister for a record third time on Wednesday, he struck reality on the streets of Islamabad.

The question is: who is the real power wielder in Pakistan? The prime minister or the Army chief? Theoretically, the army chief is answerable to a grade-22 civil bureaucrat. Practically, he is mightier than any elected or non-elected individual in the country.

One such demonstration of this reality was witnessed Wednesday soon after Mian Nawaz Sharif’s election as Prime Minister of Pakistan.

After securing more than two-thirds majority in the National Assembly, the premier reached Punjab House to freshen up.

The prime minister was supposed to reach the Presidency before 4:00 pm to take oath from President Asif Ali Zardari.

At the oath-taking ceremony, services chiefs, political leaders, diplomats and senior civil and military officials had been invited.

PML-N sources and eyewitnesses said first to come out of Punjab House was the SUV carrying first lady Kulsoom Nawaz and her daughter Mariam Safdar. Just behind them were the vehicles of Hamza Shahbaz and Hassan Nawaz.

The convoy of the prime minister was standing at close distance from the cars of his family members. As soon as they reached the outer barrier of Punjab House adjacent to Margallah Road, an alter commando blew the whistle with full force ordering the driver to stop the vehicle.

Consequently, the prime minister’s convoy had to stop as well. The pause remained for two to three minutes.

The commando was there to make sure nothing should obstruct the route of the Army chief’s convoy, only allowing vehicles from Punjab House to pass after the entire convoy of the army chief drove away.

Continue reading PM Sharif’s convoy stopped to let Army chief pass

Is it Musharaf’s political Kargil?

Is Musharraf going for a political Kargil?

by Dr Ghayur Ayub

Gen. (rtd) Pervez Musharaf is a commando trained by a well disciplined army. Against such background, he is known to have taken risks during his career. He makes tactical and strategic plans and executes them accordingly. He does not get discouraged if his tactical plan fails and waits for proper time to strike at strategic level. Take Kargil episode for example. In 1995 he put the plan and presented it to the then PM Benazir Bhutto. It was turned down. He retreated it tactically but kept it alive strategically for future. When the time came he executed it. That’s how his brain works.

When he was the most powerful leader heading Pakistan with four caps, he shouldered MQM in political gusto and made it the most powerful ally in Sindh controlling the economic hub of Pakistan. During his tenure Mustafa Kamal, the administrator of Karachi, was given a privileged reception when he visited America; thanks to him. It was in those days when a news appeared in media that he might join MQM. He never rebutted it. This was his tactical move to be counted as a political player.

Altaf Bhai who has many political eyes on his face and matching ears on his head realised the consequences. He took it as Musharaf’s tactical move to enter MQM and push him to one side later as part of strategic plan taking over the party leadership. He became active and made sure it did not happen. To show his command over the party he brought down two important personalities of MQM to their knees- Dr. Liaqat Hussain and Mustafa Kamal. It happened both were close to Musharaf. The former was thrown out of the party.

Thus Altaf Bhai was successful in obstructing his tactical move. Being Musharaf, he let it go but held to his strategic plan. According to news coming out of London, he maintained his links with a few old guards of MQM such as (late) Dr Imran Farooq. Were those links part of the strategy? Is it also part of that strategy which landed him in Pakistan? Keeping his Kargil episode in mind it may not be surprising to link it with that. Only this time he might be planning to fight political Kargil on three fronts; to clear his name in court cases; to make inroads in MQM; and to isolate Nawaz Sharif. How?

Before going to Pakistan he went for ‘a politicised Umra’ and prior to that he apparently met Nawaz Sharif in Saudi Arabia with blessings of the West and Saudi Arabia.

Continue reading Is it Musharaf’s political Kargil?

Has a countdown begun in Islamabad?

By: Shaheen Sehbai

Zardari will have to make his decision very quickly on whether he wants to exit with dignity or become a martyr. The days, as they say, are in fact numbered.

ISLAMABAD: The crumbling presidential edifice in the bunkered palace with two green flags on the Constitution Avenue is giving rise to numerous stories, some fiction, some wishful thinking, and some partly true.

The man inside the house is reported by some to be collapsing while others say he is in a defiant mood and will fight till the last. One thing is clear though that a psywar is going on and President Asif Ali Zardari has not many friends who have unflinching faith and commitment to defend him.

The key role is being played by Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and it is hard to figure out on whose side he really stands. His own political future is also at stake but his role has assumed the all critical importance because everyone is looking up to him, the civil and military establishment has put its power eggs in his basket as against the president, while his party remains confused and divided. The opposition and most of his coalition partners have abandoned the president but continue to back his handpicked prime minister.

The few who are still standing with Zardari include the Governor of Punjab Salmaan Taseer, whose latest brag that there would be no ‘minus-1’ but that if anything happened it would be a ‘minus-342’ (reference to total strength of the National Assembly) is considered by many as the final defeatist declaration that Zardari will not go alone but will take the entire house with him. There are not many takers for Taseer’s threats. On the contrary, the party which President Zardari considered to be his most dependable ally, the MQM of Altaf Hussain, has gone many steps forward to seek his removal from the top office. Almost everyone I met and talked to was surprised at the leap Altaf Hussain had taken from just opposing or abstaining from voting on the NRO to demanding the resignation of Zardari. It was like the last straw on the heavily loaded camel’s back and Zardari was stunned, those around him reported.

His attempt to save the sinking ship by calling Governor of Sindh Ishratul Ebad to Islamabad and then authorising Interior Minister Rehman Malik to fly to Dubai for urgent talks with an MQM delegation from London could be the last desperate effort but as someone who knows the scene reported, “The MQM has closed the doors and has gone to sleep,” meaning that it is no longer interested in seeing Zardari sitting in the Presidency.

Nice words wrapped in high sounding moral logic are being said by MQM to urge Zardari to make his exit dignified but Altaf Hussain is not backtracking from his demand of a resignation. He probably knows more than many in Islamabad. Even when Governor Ebad was rushing to Dubai on Wednesday night after meeting the president, the MQM made it a point to include the resignation issue in the agenda of the Dubai talks expected to begin on Friday.

Continue reading Has a countdown begun in Islamabad?

Imran Khan, PTI leaders Alliance with Tahirul Qadri

PTI leaders, Tahirul Qadri hold talks over reconstitution of ECP

By Ema Anis

LAHORE: Top leaders of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) met Minhajul Quran International (MQI) chief Dr Tahirul Qadri in Lahore on Wednesday to discuss their reservations over the current Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).

PTI president Makhdoom Javed Hashmi told the media that the reservations were only discussed during the meeting, but the final decision will be taken by his party regarding the petition being filed in the Supreme Court by Qadri for the reconstitution of the election commission.

PTI vice chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi said that a transparent ECP is crucial for the upcoming elections, “but the government claims that it cannot dissolve the election commission as it is against Article 209”. ….

Courtesy: The Express Tribune
http://tribune.com.pk/story/503384/pti-leaders-tahirul-qadri-hold-talks-over-reconstitution-of-ecp/