Tag Archives: Public

Switzerland: 2,500 franc basic monthly income for every one

Swiss to vote on 2,500 franc basic income for every adult

(Reuters) – Switzerland will hold a vote on whether to introduce a basic income for all adults, in a further sign of growing public activism over pay inequality since the financial crisis.

A grassroots committee is calling for all adults in Switzerland to receive an unconditional income of 2,500 Swiss francs ($2,800) per month from the state, with the aim of providing a financial safety net for the population.

Organizers submitted more than the 100,000 signatures needed to call a referendum on Friday and tipped a truckload of 8 million five-rappen coins outside the parliament building in Berne, one for each person living in Switzerland.

Read more » Reuters
http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/10/04/us-swiss-pay-idUSBRE9930O620131004

Google to Offer Free Wi-Fi in Chelsea, New York

By Sarah Frier

Google Inc. (GOOG), the world’s biggest Internet-search company, plans to offer free wireless Internet access in New York’s Chelsea neighborhood, creating the largest public outdoor network in the city. …

Read more » Bloomberg
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-01-08/google-to-offer-free-wi-fi-in-chelsea.html

PPP’s Oct 15 Hyderabad Public Gathering yet another big Disappointment

By: Dr. Azhar A. Shah

PPP’s Oct 15, 2012 Hyderabad Public Gathering was yet another big disappointment indeed. None of the speakers’ could dare to justify the controversial & infamous SPLG Act 2012 and to refute the criticism logically. All they did was unethical character assassination of the nationalist leaders! They conveyed the message that PPP is not in a position to have dialogue on the SPLGA but it is ready for len den (political bribe)!

The feudal lords of PPP gathered their peasants and workers only to tell them that they had nothing to say about SPLGA 2012. Even the minister for Local Government and the Sindh Chief Minister didn’t bother to justify how SPLGA and its various provisions would be beneficial for the people of Sindh and how the criticism of nationalist leaders was invalid! They couldn’t cite any working examples of the newly passed controversial law anywhere in the world.

Having listened to all the speeches of PPP leaders one could easily conclude that they are no more eligible to be called people’s representatives. One of the PPP leader publicly says that he has firm belief that ‘aik zardari sab pe bhari(one zardari more than all). When this is the norm that one person is more than all then what do we expect about democracy! He indeed publicly confessed that it is Mr. Zardari who engages in all this game and he and other members of PPP have no role what so ever!

The take home message of PPPs public gathering for the people of Sindh was to go and get ready for revolution; we have nothing to offer you; elect your proper alternatives who could Save Sindh. That’s a good message indeed!

Courtesy: Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups, 16 Oct. 2012

Pakistan – Chaos and capitulation

By Editorial

What was supposed to be a day for Pakistanis to show their love, respect and reverence of the Holy Prophet (pbuh), instead turned out to be a day of murder, arson, looting and much mayhem. The government may have thought that by declaring September 21 “Youm-e-Ishq-e-Rasool”, it may have grabbed the initiative from the religious and conservative elements and that the protests and outrage may perhaps have channelled into one single day. However, the events of the past two days, in particular Friday, suggest that this was a grave miscalculation. The decision seems to have only galvanised and emboldened those elements in society who believe that by burning public and private property, destroying cars and injuring and killing innocent passers-by, they are somehow expressing their love for the Holy Prophet (pbuh). To many of those who we saw burning public and private property on our television screens on Friday, the government’s holiday announcement translated into a licence to do as they saw fit, and in most cases, this was to damage and destroy whatever they could find at arm’s reach.

Continue reading Pakistan – Chaos and capitulation

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

11 Christian nurses are poisoned in Pakistan for daring to drink tea during the month of Ramzan

Christian Nurses poisoned to Punish drinking tea during Muslims Ramadan in Pakistan

Karachi: July 30, 2012. (PCP) Christian staff nurses of Civil Hospital Karachi were poisoned as punishment to drink tea in their Hostel rooms during Holy Month of Ramadan being observed these days by Muslim majority community of Pakistan.

Among Eleven (11) poisoned Christian nurses (3) were rushed to Intensive Care Unit ICU of Civil Hospital Karachi were remaining (8) are being treated in emergency ward.

Civil Hospital Karachi is under ministry of health of Sindh government where Christian medico staff was in majority till 1985.

Staff Nurses Rita, Anila and Rafia were in serious condition in ICU ward of CHK while staff nurse Rita was later transferred on life saving equipment.

There are reports that FIR have been registered against unknown person on poisoning Christian nurses in Aram Bagh Police Station of Karachi and non was arrested so far.

According to Ramadan Ordinance of Provincial Sindh Government, to eat in Public places is prohibited and restaurants and vendors will remain closed during timing of Ramadan.

The Ramadan Ordinance is not imposed on Five Star Hotels in Sindh Province and allows minority community individuals to take meals in indoor facilities.

After independence of Pakistan in 1947, all restaurants have to put curtain on their doors where Muslim and other religious communities were free to dine and smoke during Holy Month of Ramadan but laws of total ban or closure were made after Islamization of Pakistan during Zia-ul-Haq rule.

The poisoning incident of 11 Christian nurses have spread wave of fear among religious minorities of Pakistan and rising extremism in society.

Courtesy: Pakistan Christian Post

http://www.pakistanchristianpost.com/headlinenewsd.php?hnewsid=3656

Via – Twitter

Video: Taliban shoot woman 9 times in public execution as men cheer

Kabul, Afghanistan (CNN) — A shot rings out, but the burqa-clad woman sitting on the rocky ground does not respond.

The man pointing a rifle at her from a few feet away lets loose another round, but still there is no reaction.

He fires a third shot, and finally the woman slumps backwards.

But the man fires another shot.

And another. And another.

Nine shots in all.

Around him, dozens of men on a hillside cheer: “God is great!

Continue reading Video: Taliban shoot woman 9 times in public execution as men cheer

Supreme Court and Public Accounts Committee

by Marvi Sirmed

Sharing with you this important document, which has left me shocked and extremely disappointed in the ‘wisdom’ of those who need to be the wisest. Amid all kinds of corruption allegations on politicians being pursued by the Supreme Court of Pakistan (SCOP), one case got special treatment by the worthiest men of this country – the graft case of Mr. Arsalan Iftikhar. Iftikhar is a 34 years old ‘innocent boy’ who was reportedly ‘lured’ into accepting a not-s-small sum of money from one Malik Riaz, the real estate tycoon who knows how to make the mare go. The innocence of Mr. Iftikhar is further proven by the fact that he happens to be the son of Chief Justice of Pakistan. The case was thus, taken up by none other than CJP himself, as a suo-moto action under Section 184(3) which allows the CJP to move the court if the case pertains to violation of fundamental rights and is of public interest. The case, definitely is of public interest and violates Mr. Iftikhar’s right to remain innocent for the rest of his life! The case, as was right thing to do, was disposed of by mildly lecturing all parties to ‘behave’.

Why is it important to recall Mr. Iftikhar? Because his was not the only case where the worthy court to be partisan for its own interest. Responding to Public Accounts Committee, the elected watch body over the Auditor General of Pakistan that called Registrar of Supreme Court to present himself before the Committee and explained some overspending by the SCOP. Guess what happens next? The wise men in SCOP, came up with a document that conveniently leaves everyone in the SCOP outside the ambit of any elected watch body that oversees the transparency of financial transaction by public institutions including SCOP. Have a lok over how the Registrar of SCOP – an official who is not a judge – exonerates himself from legislature’s scrutiny.

One wonders who is going to ensure transparency when even the most responsible institutions of this country try to evade law on the pretext of law. Ironic and sad. The language used in this document and disregard for transparency makes my wish it must not be what the worthy men in SCOP meant. Have a good reading experience please!

Supreme Court, Pakistan, Chief Justice, Arsalan Iftikhar, Auditor General, Public Accounts Committee, Parliament, Judiciary, Pakistan …..

Read more » BAAGHI

http://marvisirmed.com/2012/07/08/supreme-court-and-public-accounts-committee/

Imran clear about dress code for women, in private and in public

ISLAMABAD: Chairman Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf, Imran Khan, who had a good day in Karachi on Sunday, says that under his rule no law will be made against Quran and Sunnah. He also hints that the likes of Veena Malik, the actress who remained centre of controversy for a nude photo shoot for an international magazine, would not be allowed to do so in Imran’s Pakistan.

While replying to questions asked by The News regarding his Islamic view and vision of Islamic socialism, Imran Khan said that under his rule ‘no law can be made against the Quran and Sunnah.’ ….

Read more » The News

http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-84221-Imran-clear-about-dress-code-for-women-in-private-and-in-public

Load shedding in America!

Rolling Blackouts: a Black Eye For Texas?

By Dave Fehling

There’s fear in Austin over what could happen if the state runs short of electricity and has to use rolling blackouts to keep the statewide electrical grid from collapsing.

The fear is for the state’s image.

At a meeting of the Texas Public Utility Commission (PUC) June 13th, Chairman Donna Nelson expressed concern that pleas to the public to conserve electricity during the late afternoon when demand is greatest might also send a message that Texas was running out of power and therefore was no place you’d want to do business. ….

Read more » State Impact

http://stateimpact.npr.org/texas/2012/06/27/rolling-blackouts-a-black-eye-for-texas/

The son also rises

 

By Amina Jilani

When former president General Pervez Musharraf decided to embark upon his politically suicidal path in March 2007, the first step was the production of a reference against the Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry — a fatal move. The first item of the reference concerned the CJP’s son, Arsalan Iftikhar, a doctor, who since then has now come somewhat full circle.

Justice Chaudhry was charged with having influenced the upward mobility of his son’s career. In 1996, the son of a judge of the Balochistan High Court managed a ‘C’ grade in his intermediate examination. This being insufficient for him to gain admission to the Bolan Medical College, Quetta, the judge allegedly approached the Balochistan chief minister with the request that the son be admitted to the college, regardless of his grade and given a special or vacant seat. Apparently this was done.

Nine years later, in June 2005 (his father, by then on the Bench of the Supreme Court), the young doctor was appointed as a medical officer in Quetta’s Institute of Public Health. In July, a short time following this appointment (by this time Justice Chaudhry was chief justice of Pakistan) the Balochistan chief minister again allegedly came to the aid of Arsalan Iftikhar, ordering his promotion as a section officer in the health department.

According to the reference, in that same year, August 2005, the young man decided to redirect his career. A letter was sent by the interior ministry to the Balochistan chief secretary informing him that the FIA wished to acquire the services of Dr Iftikhar. By September 2005, the doctor had a job as an assistant director in the FIA. This was followed up in April 2006 by his promotion to the position of deputy director.

Then, Arsalan, as claimed the reference, decided he would prefer a career in the police service. So, the ministry of the interior acted again, allowing him to bypass the necessary competitive services examination and the commandant of the National Police Academy was instructed to take him and put him through a course of field training, usually exclusive to Police Service of Pakistan (PSP) officers, after which, he was scheduled to move over to the Punjab Police.

But it was not that simple. For the doctor to be admitted as a permanent employee of the PSP, an amendment would have to be made in the Police Service of Pakistan Rules, which required presidential assent, the reference alleged. The prime minister’s secretariat was requested to do the needful but apparently the desired amendment did not materialise. The reference claimed further that in October 2006, he was nominated as a non-PSP officer to attend a training course in Istanbul, interestingly enough on the subject of Combating International Terrorism and Organised crime, the only non-PSP and sole under training individual to do the course.

Well, if our press and Dr Iftikhar are to be believed, the young man has moved on considerably and is now involved in business. He has also done quite a bit of travelling — regularly to Europe, London and Monaco, that we know of. It would seem that he is either naïve or forgetful when it comes down to brass tacks. In his statement dated June 6, made in the Supreme Court, referring to his 2011 visit to London, he stated: “I do not know from whose credit card the rent of the flat, which I remotely remember was around 3,200 pounds sterling per week, was paid. Perhaps I stayed for four weeks…”

Continue reading The son also rises

CPPC on Quebec Students Movement – We stand in solidarity with the students in Québec!

The Québec Student Strike – Why we support it and why we condemn Bill 78

The Committee of Progressive Pakistani Canadians (CPPC) believes the right to an education is one all citizens of the world must have access to. Moreover, that access should be without financial cost. Only by having an educated population can a country truly be free.

Continue reading CPPC on Quebec Students Movement – We stand in solidarity with the students in Québec!

PPP power show at Kamu Shaheed near Sindh-Punjab border

Congratulation to Sindh Chief Minister on PPP Rally.

12 May 2012: Delaware(USA), Millions of Pakistanis (estimated to be two millions) belonging to Sindh, Sarikistan, Punjab, Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Gilgit Baltistan and other areas of Pakistan gathered in Ghotki, Sindh, to express their support for democracy, in particular for the Pakistan Peoples Party and its leaders President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani.

Today’s public rally at Kamon Shaheed area on the Sindh-Punjab border is estimated to be one of the largest in Pakistan’s political history. The total number of people in today’s rally is estimated to be several times larger than other similar rallies organized by other political parties .

The leaders PPP USA, Shafqat Tanweer President, Mian Basharat Yousaf Chief Organizer, Shoukat Ali Bhutta Secretary General, Syed Iftikhar Zaidi Senior Vice President, Zafar Iqbal Chattha, Co ordinator Jahingeer Buttar Finance Secretary and Masood Zakria Choudhary Add’l Secretary General,PPP USA. Congratulate Chief Minister of Sindh Syed Qaim Ali Shah and PPP Leadership for this rally.

Jeay Bhutto, Jeay BiBi, PPP Zindabad.

‘Festive, Righteous Anger’: Occupy Makes May-Day Comeback With Massive Demonstrations

By Sarah Jaffe and Anna Lekas Miller and Sarah Seltzer and Julianne Escobedo Shepherd and Alex Kane and Joshua Holland

Yesterday, Occupy recaptured the public’s attention with rallies, marches, parties, and yes, arrests all over the country.

All over the world, May 1 is celebrated as International Workers’ Day. Yesterday, May Day also marked the reemergence of the Occupy movement, with events in cities all over America. AlterNet’s reporters were in the field — here are their dispatches from New York and the Bay Area …

Read more » AlterNet

US-Pak relations

Fresh start awaited

Excerpt;

….. Pakistani politicians are notorious for saying one thing behind closed doors and something quite different in public. Be it fecklessness or an opportunistic streak that seeks to be on the right side of public opinion whatever the cost, Pakistani politicians have just not been able to tell the truth to the people, the ones whose interests they ostensibly represent. The truth is this: by closing the supply lines to Afghanistan, in boycotting Bonn and by succumbing to sundry other emotional responses since last November, Pakistan has put itself dangerously close to being definitively regarded as part of the problem in the ‘Af-Pak’ region and not part of the solution.

It’s not just the US that Pakistan has challenged, the mission in Afghanistan is still an international one and from Nato countries to other powerful states, all have a desire to prevent Afghanistan from descending into chaos and civil war again. Pakistan really cannot afford to be on the wrong side of that equation.

The problem is, with elections on the horizon and the right-wing mobilised and baying for blood, mainstream parties will not want to be seen to take the lead in restarting relations with the US, a relationship that is immensely unpopular after the active cultivation of anti-US sentiment over the years. Perhaps they may want to think about doing it in the national interest, the real, not perceived, one.

Read more » DAWN.COM

http://dawn.com/2012/04/06/fresh-start-awaited/

Demands of Canadians – Raise Corporate Taxes, Create Jobs, Raise Wages and Living Standards! Curb Corporate Power!

Raise Corporate Taxes, Create Jobs, Raise Wages and Living Standards! Curb Corporate Power!

The CPC (Ontario) has condemned the Ontario Budget, delivered yesterday, as a massive attack on working people and the poor that will destroy tens of thousands of jobs, drive down wages, pensions, incomes and living standards, and which, combined with the austerity measures in Thursday’s federal budget, could push the province into another deep economic recession.

The Executive Committee of the CPC (Ontario) also warned that the threat of legislated wage controls is a dangerous attack on free collective bargaining and on civil and democratic rights.

Continue reading Demands of Canadians – Raise Corporate Taxes, Create Jobs, Raise Wages and Living Standards! Curb Corporate Power!

General Kayani has also begun getting upset with TV talk shows – Pak generals (holy cows) love to be above the public scrutiny. They have things, they want to push under the rug.

Kayani takes exception to public discussion on agencies

ISLAMABAD – 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”.

Continue reading General Kayani has also begun getting upset with TV talk shows – Pak generals (holy cows) love to be above the public scrutiny. They have things, they want to push under the rug.

Jonathan Kay: The Pakistan problem

Jonathan Kay: The Pakistan problem isn’t just the government. It’s the people

By Jonathan Kay

Since the Taliban resurgence began gaining force in 2005, a common refrain in the West has been that Pakistan must “do more” to rein in the jihadis who are drawing support from bases in the borderlands of Balochistan and Waziristan. American officials have made countless visits to Pakistan to deliver variations on this message — with nothing to show for it.

Earlier this year, the BBC disclosed a secret NATO report, based on 27,000 interrogations with captured Taliban and al-Qaeda detainees, concluding that jihadis operating in Afghanistan continue to receive support and instruction from Pakistani military handlers. One interrogated al-Qaeda detainee quoted in the report declared: “Pakistan knows everything. They control everything. I can’t [expletive] on a tree in Kunar without them watching.”

The usual Sunday-Morning-talk-show explanation for this is that Pakistan is hedging its strategic bets: Pakistani military leaders doubt the United States military can tame Afghanistan before American combat forces’ scheduled exit in 2013. And rather than see the country degenerate into absolute chaos (as occurred in the early 1990s, in the wake of the Soviet departure), Pakistani military leaders want to be in position to turn Afghanistan into a semi-orderly Pashtun-dominated client state that provides Islamabad with “strategic depth” against India. And the only way for them to do this is to co-opt the Taliban.

Continue reading Jonathan Kay: The Pakistan problem

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”!?

US express concern over Hafiz Saeed’s public appearances

By Huma Imtiaz / Web Desk

WASHINGTON: The US State Department has raised concerns about Jamaatud Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed’s public appearances, including at the Difa-e-Pakistan Council (DPC) rally held in Karachi earlier this week.

The State Department issued a brief press release on Thursday, In response to a question submitted earlier in the week, which said that, “Lashkar-e-Taiba and its front group Jamaatud Dawa, is internationally sanctioned because of its associations with al Qaeda. We have and continue to urge the Government of Pakistan to uphold its obligations in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 1267/1989.”

The release further stated that the UN resolution “calls for all countries to freeze assets of sanctioned groups, prevent the transfer of arms to them, and prevent sanctioned individuals from entering or transiting their territories.”

JuD has been functioning in the country as a religious and charity organisation. Post Mumbai attacks in 2008, the organisation was declared a terrorist organisation by the West, UN and India. ….

Read more » The Express Tribune

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

Thousands protest media’s moral policing in Pakistan

By Beena Sarwar

A morning show broadcast in Pakistan on Jan 17, 2012, on Samaa, a Pakistani television channel, has catalysed what could well be the beginning of a media consumer rights movement.

In the show, Subah Saverey Maya kay Sath (Early Morning with Maya), the host Maya Khan, charges through a public park looking for dating couples to interrogate. With her is a battalion of other women, who join her in self-righteously lecturing the couples they come across – does your family know you are here, why don’t you meet at home if you are engaged, and, most outrageously, if you are married, where is your nikahnama (marriage certificate)?

When the harassed couples ask for the camera to be turned off, the Samaa team pretends to acquiesce but carries on filming with sound. As several people have pointed out, this intrusive behaviour could result in putting those couples in life-threatening situations in a country where forced marriages and ‘honour killings’ continue to be the norm. ….

Read more » Beena Sarwar

Institute for Defence Studies & Analysis (idsa) – Pakistan Military’s Desire to Slip Into The Driving Seat Once Again

By P. K. Upadhyay

Excerpt;

Some very strange developments seem to be unfolding in Pakistani politics. A political dogfight between the civilian and military leaderships has been unheard off in the country’s history so far. The generals never had to air their differences with the political masters in the public as they are doing at present. When faced with a ‘defiance’ of their writ at any stage, the generals have always taken over power after booting-out the civilian government. …..

…. Then why this time around is General Kayani not able to push out the President and Prime Minister ….

….. Nawaz Sharief’s efforts to fish in troubled waters as also to move closer to the Army’s position on ‘Memogate’ ….

….. It was clear that the Army was reluctant to assume power and, at the same time, also reluctant to let the Zardari-led PPP government continue. It appears to have chosen the judicial route to hound out the government. Apparently, a deal between the Army and the Chief Justice of Pakistan allowed not just a renewed focus on the old National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) cases against Zardari and others, but also the setting up of a four-judge judicial enquiry into Memogate ….

…. Why is this unprecedented and uncharacteristic spat between the Army and the civilian government continuing? Apparently, the United States is a factor. Although, for the record, the US Administration and Pentagon had dismissed the memo to Mullen, they seem to have quietly acted on it by heavily leaning on the Pakistan Army. Despite the recent breakdown in their relationship, the US military still has a considerable hold over the Pakistan Army …..

…. Why is this unprecedented and uncharacteristic spat between the Army and the civilian government continuing? Apparently, the United States is a factor. Although, for the record, the US Administration and Pentagon had dismissed the memo to Mullen, they seem to have quietly acted on it by heavily leaning on the Pakistan Army. Despite the recent breakdown in their relationship, the US military still has a considerable hold over the Pakistan Army in the form of continuing supply of spares and other vital equipment, apart from training and intelligence cooperation. The Americans could have conveyed to Kayani and company that ousting the civilian regime in a coup would mean a total break in links, including the supply of spares and other wherewithal. The Pakistan Army cannot resist this pressure, since without using US supplied armour and attack helicopters, it cannot continue its operations against the Taliban in FATA or the Baluchi rebels in Baluchistan. Another inhibiting factor for Kayani and his generals could be the extent of penetration of the Army by jehadi elements. For sometime now, there appears to be a lull in clashes between Islamic radicals and the Army. While a let-up in US drone strikes (after the handing over of the Shamsi airbase) appears to be a significant facilitating factor for this lull, it cannot be the key trigger for it. The possibility of a JUI (F) brokered truce between the Army and Taliban should not be ruled out. The Army wants to preserve this truce for the present and, therefore, is reluctant to rock the boat by staging a coup at this juncture. It possibly fears that in case it ousts the Zardari government and becomes all powerful, that may have some destabilizing impact on the current truce with the Taliban. Lastly, Kayani and other senior generals may still not be out of the shock they suffered from the violent outbursts of junior officers after the Abbottabad raid. They recognize that the younger lot of Pakistan Army Officers does not come from traditional sections of the society known for its contempt for ‘civilians’ and their ways. These officers are the off-spring of former JCOs/NCOs of the military, as also the urban middle and lower middle classes, and may be harbouring a strong antipathy towards the bourgeois attitudes of their superiors.

This, however, does not mean that Kayani and company are going to let the Zardari-Gilani combine continue to spite them. Army backed judicial action against the regime is a strong possibility. ….

To read complete article » Institute of Defence Studies & Analysis (idsa)

http://www.idsa.in/idsacomments/PakistanMilitaryDesiretoSlipIntoTheDrivingSeatOnceAgain_PKUpadhyay_130112

Imran Khan: a very Punjabi takedown in Kasur

By Omar

In his hurry to reach the prime minister’s chair, great cricketer and philanthropist Imran Khan has recently started acquiring every lota available on the Pakistani political scene (Lota, or ablution vessel, is the colloquial term for political opportunists who switch parties, frequently at a signal from our master strategists in Aabpara). His latest acquisition is Mr Khurshid Mahmood Kasuri, formerly foreign minister under Pervez Musharraf (and therefore part and parcel of the foreign policy that IK always describes as treacherous, anti-Muslim, sellout, disastrous, CIA-inspired, etc etc). Mr Kasuri, an otherwise respectable elder statesman from kasur, joined IK at a rally there. But somehow, the crowd spoiled the glorious occasion by running away with the chairs after the public meeting ended.

Hilarious video:

Who knows, maybe it was spontaneous, but I suspect that the fix was in…IK is remarkably disconnected from everyday Punjabi life and I think someone in the PMLN had the bright idea of teaching him “aatey daal ka bhao” (the price of flour and lentils…ie the state of affairs on the ground as opposed to how it looks from his evacuee property in Zaman Park). It wouldnt have taken much. A wink and a nod and a few professional saboteurs (the kind who are available in any village to “spoil” a rival’s wedding feast or other big occasion) would have started the free for all…after that, its a self-catalytic process. ….

Read more » Brown Pundits

Should Sindhis join Imran Khan – Tehrik Insaaf?

By Khalid Hashmani

There is an item titled “Shah Mehmood Qureshi Jaa Kujh Anokha Taarikhi Hawala” “شاهه محمود قريشي جا ڪجهه انوکا تاريخي حوالا” written by Farooq Bijarani from Tagwani, Kandhkot, published in Sindhi daily newspaper and posted on Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups, if true then would be an alarming development. That article quotes a statement by the Vice Chairman of Tehreek-e-Insaf Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi as saying at a public gathering in Ghotki that he is like Mahmood Ghaznavi, who is on mission to break the Somnath Mandar in Sindh. Those familiar with the history of Sindh know the historical account of cruelties that Mahmood Ghaznavi bestowed on Sindh on his way back to his home country after destroying the Somnath Mandar in Gujrat. He slaughtered many Sindhis and burned the capital city of Sindh.

Makhdoom sahib also said that there now lives a Pharaoh in Sindh (probably referring to his old mentor President Asif Zardari) and that he is coming to free the people of Sindh from his slavery. The article asks: Are we Sindhis so gullible or helpless that we need some one from Multan or Mianwalli to free us from the slavery of a Pharaoh? Replying this question, the author says “We Sindhis are neither slaves nor sleeping that we would allow a Pharaoh to rule us.

I agree with the author that every one has the right to present their views but they should think before they open their lips. They should be aware of the true history before comparing themselves to historical figures.

Courtesy: Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups, December 14, 2011.

Impact of OWS

– Finally, Higher Taxes for the 1% — Is Occupy Behind Governors’ Moves to Make the Wealthy Pay Their Share?

By Sarah Jaffe

Is the narrative around taxes finally shifting? Thanks to heavy public pressure, Governors Cuomo and Brown propose taxing their states’ ultrarich. …

Read more » AlterNet

Pakistan is near to declare bankruptcy

Rs100 crore a day

By Dr Farrukh Saleem

Pakistan’s Public Sector Enterprises (PSEs) are falling like nine pins. The Pakistan Railways, the Pakistan International Airlines, the Pakistan Steel Mills, the Pakistan Electric Power Company (Pepco), the Pakistan Agricultural Storage and Services Corporation (Passco) and the Utility Stores Corporation (USC) collectively end up loosing Rs360 billion a year – Rs100 crore a day every day of the year. That’s a hundred crore the government does not have – so it begs, borrows, steals and prints.

Currently, Nadeem Khan Yousufzai, MD PIA, is managing to lose Rs7 crore a day every day of the year. Haji Ghulam Ahmad Bilour, Federal Minister of Railways, is managing to lose Rs5 crore a day every day of the year. PIA’s half yearly report titled “Flying towards a prosperous future” reports that liabilities went up from Rs62 billion in 2005 to Rs200 billion in 2009. PIA’s annual report titled “We stand for national values” reports that net losses at the PIA have gone up from Rs4.4 billion in 2005 to Rs35 billion in 2008. At the Pakistan Railways, the overdraft now floats around a hefty Rs48 billion.

In mid-2009, the Pepco’s circular debt had reached a colossal Rs300 billion and that’s when the Government of Pakistan gave birth to another illegitimate dragon – Power Holding Company. The new dragon took over all of the Pepco’s sins by borrowing heavily from the banking sector but within two years of that take-over the Pepco committed 300 billion additional sins. And now the banks have not much left to lend.

The power sector debt – Rs485 billion and rising fast – just by itself has the potential of landing Pakistan’s entire banking sector into the gutter. Loosing Rs100 crore a day every day of the year will land the government into a ditch deeper than the government has ever been in.

We desperately need a Public Sector Turnaround Strategy (PSTS) without which our very survival as an effective nation-state is at stake. Our survival is at stake and yet our decision-makers are all about political rallies. I was once told that politics is the second oldest profession but the way our politicians are practicing politics it bears a close resemblance to the first. ….

Read more » The News

Pak nukes not safe, former foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi says

Pak atomic program not safe in Zardari presence: Qureshi

GHOTKI: Former foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi Sunday alleged that Pakistan’s atomic program was not safe as long as Asif Ali Zardari was the President of the country.

Addressing a large public gathering here, Qureshi said: “Pakistan’s atomic program was not safe in the presence of Zardari …. I would make more disclosures on the threat posed by Zardari to the atomic program at Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s rally in Karachi (on Dec 25).”

Earlier, Shah Mehmood Qureshi formally announced joining Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf in the presence of its Chairman Imran Khan.

He claimed that government’s rhetoric of reconciliation is nothing but a programme to save their term, calling it a ‘kursi bachao program’.

Qureshi regretted that the successors of Benazir Bhutto buried her legacy and vision. ….

Read more » The News

http://www.thenews.com.pk/NewsDetail.aspx?ID=27407&title=Pak-atomic-program-not-safe-in-Zardari-presence:-Qureshi

Top US General dismissed for disparaging civilian leadership

US General Fired From Afghan Training Job

by The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — The top U.S. commander in Afghanistan has fired a senior officer from his job as the No. 2 general in charge of training for making inappropriate public remarks about Afghan President Hamid Karzai and his government.

Gen. John Allen issued a statement Friday saying that Maj. Gen. Peter Fuller has been relieved of his duties as deputy commander for the Afghan training mission.

In a recent interview with the website Politico, Fuller characterized Afghan leaders as erratic, ungrateful and isolated from reality. The interview quotes him as saying Afghan leaders don’t fully recognize America’s sacrifices on their country’s behalf. …

Read more » NPR

A Pakistani Christian student’s question to the High Court

Is a Pakistani Christian equal to a fellow Muslim?

“A young Pakistani student belonging to the Christian faith has posed an interesting question through a petition in the Lahore High Court. The question is: Am I, a Pakistani Christian equal to a fellow citizen who is a Muslim ? For those of the readers who missed the news item reported by an English daily, this young student belongs to a low income group, is a practicing Christian and extremely bright. She has been competing to get into the King Edwards Medical College but was beaten on the list by 20 marks by a Muslim student who got the extra 20 marks for being Hafiz–e-Quran. So, now this young Christian girl has filed a plea in the Lahore Court declaring that she and the Muslim student had equal marks but the latter got the advantage of religion. The young Christian student claims that “this is discrimination against religious minority students and a violation of fundamental rights granted by the Constitution of Pakistan.” The petition admitted by the Lahore High Court demands that either the LHC should rule to abolish the policy or should declare that a parallel policy should be made to award twenty additional marks to religious minority students on the basis of their religious knowledge. Fifty eight years after the creation of the country to ask such a question through the courts is both tragic and hopeful”.
Constitution of Pakistan, Part II, Chapter -1, Fundamental Rights, Article 22 says:-

(1) No person attending any educational institution shall be required to receive religious instruction, or take part in any religious ceremony, or attend religious worship, if such instruction, ceremony or worship relates to a religion other than his own.

(2) In respect of any religious institution, there shall be no discrimination against any community in the granting of exemption or concession in relation to taxation.

(3) Subject to law: (a) no religious community or denomination shall be prevented from providing religious instruction for pupils of that community or denomination in any educational institution maintained wholly by that community or denomination; and

(b) no citizen shall be denied admission to any educational institution receiving aid from public revenues on the ground only of race, religion, caste or place of birth.

(4) Nothing in this Article shall prevent any public authority from making provision for the advancement of any socially or educationally backward class of citizens.

Read more » Pak Tribune