Tag Archives: poor

Pakistan’s new economic agenda

by Manzur Ejaz

Then let’s start. Let’s take the economic agenda first:

1. Feudalism should be abolished completely

2. It will be a Social Democratic Economy…Public sector along with largely private enterprises. Public sector should be expanded to provide universal education and health services….

3. Everyone pays taxes to get services. At least everyone files taxes whether rich or poor. Role of indirect taxes should be minimized which is regressive but main source of government income. In a mixed economy taxes are the only instrument to distribute wealth on equitable basis. It is the only way to fund government operations without borrowing. And inflation or rising prices can only be checked if government borrowing is brought down to zero.

4. Electricity and gas should be supplied on continuous basis to run the industry and trade smoothly.

5. People living beyond their means and having wealth beyond known sources should be prosecuted and brought to justice.

6. End of monopolies or they should be regulated wherever necessary. Monopoly in media should be ended: Like the US one group should not have major newspaper in more than one region.

Read more : Wichaar

The Downfall of Political Islam

by Samir Yousif

Finally I would point out that political Islam has failed to provide a political model that can compete with other contemporary political models, such as the Chinese model, Western democracies, or even developing democracies such as India and the other Asian countries. That comes with no surprise, as religion, any religion, keeps itself centuries behind.

The theme of my argument is the following statement: Islam, as a religion, has nothing to offer to economic or political theory. This simple idea has serious consequences. Political Islam, when it runs the country, will ultimately fail. It has no appropriate agenda that provides solutions to real political or economic challenges such as underdevelopment, unemployment, inflation, recession, poverty, just to mention a few.

(I will not touch upon the most significant political-socioeconomic issue which is income inequalities, because Islam accepts a society composed of very rich classes living side by side with very poor classes- examples can be found from history or from today’s Muslim countries like Saudi Arabia, and Iran). While some Islamists continue to claim the existence of “Islamic economics,” they have failed in producing anything close to a simple theory of economics.

I believe that the main reason for the downfall of Muslim civilisation was the inherent social crisis: a society composed of few rich surrounded by the poor masses kept going by a strong religion. Social and political revolutions took place several times during the heyday of Muslim civilisation, as happened during the Umayyad Caliphate, the Abbasid Caliphate, in Muslim Spain, and the famous Zanj Rebellion during the year 869 in Basra. But historians have ignored such revolutions. Muslim economies have failed throughout history to solve the very basic problem: the wage equation. Unskilled and skilled workers were downgraded to the lowest classes in Muslim societies, and were paid the minimum. History has showed that under Islam the wealth of the country went mainly to the Calipha, feeding his palace, army, the royal family, and to the vested interest that the Calipha has chosen himself. The tax system was mainly imposed on the agricultural sector, what was known as the produce tax (Kharaj).

“Islamic economics” is a term used today to justify the significant income inequalities in such societies and to find religiously- accepted investment opportunities for the rich. …

Read more : http://www.document.no/2011/01/the-downfall-of-political-islam/

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

As Pakistan nears bankruptcy, patience of foreign lenders wears thin

BY GRAEME SMITH

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

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

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

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

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

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

READ MORE : Globe and Mail

Justice for Few

U.S. And Justice for Few – William Fisher

NEW YORK, 14 Dec (IPS) – Poor defendants on death row, immigrants in unfair deportation proceedings, torture victims, domestic violence survivors and victims of racial discrimination – all these groups are consistently being denied access to justice while those responsible for the abuses are protected, according to a new report by the American Civil Liberties Union.

Jamil Dakwar, director of the ACLU Human Rights Programme, told IPS, “Access to justice is a fundamental human right and bedrock tenet of American democratic system – it was even codified by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which the U.S. championed 62 years ago.”

“Unfortunately, access to the courts and effective remedy have been severely curtailed over the last decade, especially for those who need it most,” he said. “It is time for our government and judiciary to recommit to respecting and promoting this essential right.” …

Read more : ipsnorthamerica.net

Pakistani economist Mahbub ul Haq was particularly concerned about Pakistan, and India. Both were well down in his index, below even Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea. South Asia, he wrote in 1995, is sinking “into a quagmire of human deprivation and despair”. He was shocked that it had fallen behind sub-Saharan Africa, to become the most deprived region in the world.

Mahbub ul Haq, a heretic among economists, died on July 16th 1998, aged 64.

…… Mr Haq said he was not sure whether the countries of South Asia had the political will to cut their arms bills and finance their “essential human goals”. In what he called his “intellectual journey” he had moved from idea to idea. In his World Bank days he had on his desk a notice which said, “It is too late to agree with me: I’ve changed my mind.” Critics said it showed his lack of judgment; admirers praised his flexibility. It was probably just a sign of his charm.

To read full article : Economist

Pakistan’s gurus of corruption: the US and India

Dr Manzur Ejaz

… Oftentimes, when I am writing my weekly column about topics in Pakistan, I feel as if I am writing an obituary or a poem about a lost battle. After one has described the degenerated patterns of Pakistan’s ruling class as the root cause of the country’s intractable problems and disastrous situation, one looks for cures. Naturally, one looks at the region around Pakistan or the countries that are influencing the direction the country is taking, i.e. the US and other industrialised nations. …

Read more : Wichaar

The profit of misery: what they know and we do not

– Dr Manzur Ejaz

The ruling elites induce various crises to make money for themselves and their allies. From the power crisis to sugar shortages, every occasion is used to siphon off billions of dollars to private accounts. The misery of the Pakistani people has become a profitable commodity for the rich and powerful …

Read more : Wichaar

Poorest of Poor

Drowning humanitarian aid – by Christopher Stokes
Barely hidden beneath the surface of Pakistan’s worst flooding in living memory were the geopolitical stakes shaping both the justifications for official Western assistance and how aid was delivered to victims of the disaster. The perverse result may be a further restricting of the ability of humanitarian aid workers to assist the Pakistani population in the most volatile areas of the country.  ….
…..  The people I saw in the camps in the flood-devastated region of Sindh last week are the poorest of the poor. They had very little and lost everything. Their children are now filling our malnutrition treatment centers. They deserve to be helped ….
To read full article : ForeignPolicy

Where is Jesus when we need him?

Scottish poet Robert Buchanan’s poem “The New Rome” written over a hundred years ago comes to mind.

Flood devastation

A THOUSAND starve, a few are fed,

Legions of robbers rack the poor,

The rich man steals the widow’s bread,

And Lazarus dies at Dives’ door;

The Lawyer and the Priest adjust

The claims of Luxury and Lust

To seize the earth and hold the soil,

To store the grain they never reap;

Under their heels the white slaves toil,

While children wail and women weep!

The gods are dead, but in their name

Humanity is sold to shame,

While (then as now!) the tinsel’d Priest

Sitteth with robbers at the feast,

Blesses the laden blood-stain’d board,

Weaves garlands round the butcher’s sword,

And poureth freely (now as then)

The sacramental blood of Men!

Lazarus lays dead. Where is Jesus when we need him?

Courtesy: Nadeem Ahsan & CRDP, August 23, 2010

ROLE OF BANKS TO HELP THE FLOOD AFFECTED PEOPLE IN PAKISTAN

by Dr Ali Akbar Dhakan, Karachi, Sindh

Since denationalization, liberalization and privatization of banks in Pakistan mostly 1980s, the private banks and foreign banks have earned Trillions of Rupees as profit yearly. At present there are 4 bank in public sector, 4 specialized banks, 25 private local banks, 7 foreign banks, 8 development financial institution and 7 micro finance banks.Since their start, they have earned not less than about 20 billion each every year. If we see their performance they have done no service for the common people of Pakistan .They have earned their profit for their owners (Seths ) and they keep that money in foreign countries for their future safety and children and families to live abroad with luxuries and lavish expenditures .In the days of tragedy and calamities throughout the country Pakistan, they must have felt their utmost duties and responsibilities to bring back all the money kept by them in the foreign countries and donate at least rupees 2 billion each bank to rehabilitate and accommodate our devastated people who are bravely facing with the hardships and odd times in the floods.

Continue reading ROLE OF BANKS TO HELP THE FLOOD AFFECTED PEOPLE IN PAKISTAN

Madeleine Albright calls Pakistan “International Migraine”

Pakistan, an international migraine, says former US Secretary Madeleine Albright

WASHINGTON: Counting many elements, including terrorism and nuclear weapons, in Pakistan as causes of international worries, a former top US official has described the South Asian country as an “international migraine”. ( Watch )

“…my own sense is Pakistan has everything that gives you an international migraine. It has nuclear weapons, it has terrorism, extremists, corruption, very poor and it’s in a location that’s really, really important to us.

Continue reading Madeleine Albright calls Pakistan “International Migraine”