Tag Archives: review

United States and Canada should unite ASAP – Diane Francis

Merger of the Century by Diane Francis: Review

The argument for Canada and the U.S. to unite

Diane Francis’s Merger of the Century, HarperCollins, 403 pages, $32.99.

By: Don Tapscott

If the creation of the European Union is evidence, trade agreements, common markets and economic unions can lead to political unions. So it’s not so preposterous that 20 years after the signing of the North American Free Trade Agreement, someone has finally crafted a serious proposal for the political integration of Canada and the United States.

Best-selling author, writer and pundit (and dual citizen of both countries) Diane Francis argues that the United States and Canada should unite ASAP. She sets out the economic benefits of joining forces, how the deal could be fairly structured, and the political hurdles to overcome.

Continue reading United States and Canada should unite ASAP – Diane Francis

Advertisements

Have you heard of any country where the apex court wants to hand over a sitting president to a foreign magistrate?

Will not write letter to Swiss authorities, PM tells SC

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani on Monday submitted his reply to the Supreme Court in the contempt of court case, DawnNews reported.

In the reply, the prime minister formally informed the SC that he would not write the letter to the Swiss authorities to reopen graft cases against President Asif Ali Zardari.

The prime minister’s lawyer Chaudhry Aitzaz Ahsen’s associate Barrister Gauhar submitted the reply, consisting of 24 pages, to the apex court.

The PM claimed in his reply that he completely trusts the SC, but expressed reservations on the bench.

Gilani stated that he was wrongly convicted by courts for eight and ten years earlier too, but that he was as innocent then as he is today.

The prime minister claims that his decision to not write to the Swiss authorities was in good faith, and that the constitution does not allow him to write the letter. The reply further argues that presenting the president before a foreign would be in violation of the Constitution.

Earlier today, Aitzaz had said that it was not necessary that court’s verdict against Gilani would result in the premier’s disqualification.

Aitzaz said that Supreme Court should not take any decision on March 21 without hearing him.

Moreover, he also said that a sentence of less than two years could not disqualify the prime minister. Aitzaz added that following the constitution of Pakistan does not indicate that they are at odds with the judiciary.

He said that certain elements were trying to create a rift between the government and judiciary however they would not be allowed to succeed.

Courtesy: DAWN.COM

Via » Twitter

Lahore High Court shows true colors of strategic depth of Pakistan

Review board orders Malik Ishaq’s release

By Asad Kharal

LAHORE: A review board of the Lahore High Court (LHC), on Friday, denied an extension for the detention of Malik Ishaq, former leader of the banned Lashkar-i-Jhangvi, for one more month and issued orders for his release. ….

Read more » The Express Tribune

via – Twitter

President Zardari asks parliament to review NRO verdict

Parliament to decide my fate: Zardari

By APP / Express

ISLAMABAD: President Asif Ali Zardari, after consulting all coalition partners, has announced the decision to table the National Reconciliation Ordinance verdict of the Supreme Court before the parliament, Express News reported on Tuesday evening.

(Read: NRO case: Supreme Court warns president, PM of disqualification)

Zardari met with heads of coalition parties, including Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain of Pakistan Muslim League -Quaid, Asfandyar Wali and Afrasiab Khattak of Awami National Party, Asadullah Zehri of Baloch National Party – Awami along with Muttahida Qumi Movement leaders Farooq Sattar and Babar Ghauri, at the presidency in Islamabad. The Prime Minister was also present in the meeting.

They discussed Supreme Court’s decision and the overall political situation in the country.

Zardari said that the parliament was a representative of the people and was the supreme most authority in the country. Hence, if he were to resign, it should be decided in the parliament.

Zardari has summoned an emergency session of the parliament for 4 pm on January 12.

Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani said that the government could not be threatened with verdicts.

Zardari and Gilani are due to participate in a PPP core committee meeting as well.

Read more: nroverdict

Courtesy: The Express Tribune

http://tribune.com.pk/story/319582/parliament-to-decide-my-fate-zardari/

Dr. Shazia on Pakistani movie

The Muslims aren’t happy ! They’re not happy in Egypt. They’re not happy in Morocco. They’re not happy in Iran.
They’re not happy in Iraq. They’re not happy in Yemen.They’re not happy in Pakistan. And where are they happy?They’re happy in England. They’re happy in France. They’re happy in Germany. They’re happy in Sweden. They’re happy in every country that is not Muslim. And who do they blame? Not their leadership (policy makers). Not themselves. THEY BLAME THE COUNTRIES THEY ARE HAPPY IN …

Courtesy: → SZS → YouTube

US House panel OKs defense bill, limits Pakistan aid

WASHINGTON: The House Appropriations Committee has approved a defense spending bill that imposes limits on US aid to Pakistan and creates a special bipartisan group to review the US role in Afghanistan.

The panel gave the go-ahead to the bill on a voice vote Tuesday. The legislation would provide $530 billion for the Defense Department and $119 billion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The bill is $9 billion less than President Barack Obama requested.

The bill would withhold 75 per cent of the $1.1 billion in US aid to Pakistan until the administration reports to Congress on how it would spend the money. Reflecting the frustration with Pakistan’s effort in battling terrorism, the committee adopted an amendment that gives Congress even more power to review the spending.

Courtesy: DAWN.COM

Pakistan looks towards China for building naval base in Gwadar

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan said on Saturday it wanted China to build it a naval base, in the latest sign of moves to strengthen ties with Beijing as relations with Washington falter.

The announcement from Pakistan’s defence minister came a day after Pakistan’s Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani returned from a four-day visit to China, Islamabad’s biggest arms supplier.

“We would be … grateful to the Chinese government if a naval base is … constructed at the site of Gwadar for Pakistan,” Defence Minister Ahmad Mukhtar said in a statement, referring to the deep-water port in Pakistan’s southwest.

The statement did not say whether Pakistan had asked China to build the base at the port in Balochistan province.

Islamabad is trying to deepen ties with Beijing as relations with the United States have strained following the killing of Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in Pakistan earlier this month.

Many in Washington have called for a review of billions of dollars of US aid to Pakistan after discovering bin Laden had been hiding for years in a Pakistani garrison town.

China invested $200 million in the first phase of the construction of the port, which was inaugurated in 2007.

The development, 70 km east of the Iranian border and on the doorstep of Gulf shipping lanes, was designed to handle transhipment traffic for the Gulf. ….

Read more: The Express Tribune

Book Review – Fatema of Sindh

Sindh Ji Fatema – A book Tribute by Chacha Mohammad Ali Laghari to his Wife

Book Review by Khalid Hashmani

After several years, in early part of 2011, Chacha Mohammad Ali Laghari visited his son (Sufi Munawar Laghari) who now lives in Washington D.C. The last time when I met him in May 2008, he was tending to his wife Ghulam Fatema Laghari at Munawar Laghari’s apartment. Fatema was suffering from cancer and had travelled thousands of miles to see his son. Munawar cannot visit Sindh due to fear of prosecution. She soon departed after returning to Sindh few days later. As I had enjoyed hospitality of gracious Chacha Mohammad Ali and his spouse Fatema Laghari and their son Anwar Laghari when I visited Sindh in 2000. Naturally, I invited Chacha Mohammad Ali for a simple meal at my apartment in the outskirts of Washington D.C. After “Hal-Ahwal“, Chacha Mohammad Ali took out a book from his bag and after writing a short note, he gave me that book to read. The title of the book was “Sindh Ji Fatema”. It intrigued me very much and I immediately started browsing this 200 plus book written in the Sindhi language enshrined with spiritual Sindhi poetry by legendary Sindhi poets such as Shah Abdul Latif, Sachal Sarmast, Shaikh Ayaz, and others. I was intrigued because it is not often that a person writes a book about his/her spouse. Particularly, coming from a male-dominated society, where literacy rate is substantially lower, his book about his wife was quite remarkable undertaking and indeed a great tribute.

Continue reading Book Review – Fatema of Sindh

Failure of Leadership in Pakistan

Review by Azhar Ali Shah

In oder to understand the root causes of the failure of leadership and parliamentary democracy in Pakistan, I will be sharing some important articles, for your comments and interaction. The idea is to detect the main causes of the faults and propose the remedy based on consensus of all of us. At the end we would try to synthesize these discussions in the form of a publishable document which could provide the bases for starting a public campaign for the implementation of political reforms in Pakistan.

To begin with, I am presenting my review of the Khalid bin Sayed’s article (Click here to read, COLLAPSE OF PARLIAMENTARY DEMOCRACY IN PAKISTAN ). This article provides some of the description of political setup during the very 1st decade of Pakistan and observes that it was Punjabi Machiavellianism (the political doctrine of Machiavelli: any means (however unscrupulous) can be used by a ruler in order to create and maintain his autocratic government) that caused the collapse of parliamentary democracy. The author then comments on the performance of the military regime and how it was dealing with politicians, civil servants and common people. The whole article is worth reading and is available online a: http://www.jstor.org/pss/4323166 .

Collapse of Parliamentary Democracy in Pakistan

Kahild bin Syed, Middle East Journal,Vol. 13, No. 4, Autumn, 1959

Review by Azhar Ali Shah
This article begins with the description of parliamentary democracy and its success in homogeneous communities. The article questions whether democracy could be a way of life in a country like Pakistan (consisting of heterogeneous communities)? It cites examples of Pakistani leaders (both at center and provinces) who flouted democracy and took arbitrary actions but there was no rally by any party/leader to defend the sovereignty of parliament!

Continue reading Failure of Leadership in Pakistan

‘Davis released in accordance with Shariah law’: Now why are they upset? What’s their morality & legality & how can they demonstrate against the Islamic Shariah law, protesting against Qasas & diyat, sounds like blasphemy according to their own rules. Otherwise liberel forces have always demanded review of these kind of laws.

Davis released in accordance with Shariah law

ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Information Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan said on Wednesday that Raymond Davis was released after the payment of blood money (Diyat) in accordance with Shariah Law.

Speaking on or show on PTV, she said that it was the federal government had already taken the stance that the matter would be decided by the court of law.

She said that according to the settlement, the families of the Lahore shooting victims pardoned Davis, after receiving the blood money.

The minister said that the Raymond Davis case was registered and carried out in the Punjab court and Punjab law minister Rana Sanaullah verified the settlement as well.

“If he speaks against his own party’s policy or decision, It was his legal right”, she remarked. …

Read more : The Express Tribune

Reforms in Pakistan Army

by Azhar

Let me reproduce the examples of some other reforms which were undertaken to bring British Army under the control of parliament and to integrate the induction/workding of WOMEN in the army (Annex I).

Taking this opportunity I would also like to reproduce some of my earlier messages regarding the induction of pure provincial regiments/ battalions (Annex II) (which is akin to localization scheme in Cardwell’s reforms) and abolishment of Military Hospitals (Annex III) and Cadet Colleges/ Army Schools (Annex IV).

I think this provides sufficient body of starting background to initiate a campaign for defense review in Pakistan. There are many other points that could be added e.g., abolishment of DHAs, Cantonment Boards, etc., banning the Army/ Military from involving in the provision/business of social services (education, health, transportation, banks, petrol pumps etc just to name a few) and allowing army personnel to go to civil courts etc.

Read more about the Reforms in the British Army: Wikipedia

Source: Pakistani e-lists,  February 28, 2011

Tariq Ali’s backhanded tribute to Salmaan Taseer

by Mahvish Afridi

Is Tariq Ali a reporter, a Marxist activist or an author of fluffy Islamist novels reminiscent of Nasim Hijazi? Or is he just an ideologue past his sell by date, cashing in on his Communist Cows.  Nonetheless, he clearly has his prejudices and his article “Salman Taseer Remembered” (London Review of Books) reveals some of them.

In what should have been a tribute to a childhood friend, Tariq Ali can’t help himself and resorts to his typical petty digs based on his own prejudices and neurosis. He remembers their childhood memories but cannot bring himself to appreciate the late Salman Taseer’s business success and political activism.  I suppose that is natural given that Tariq Ali comes from a privileged feudal background and ran off from Pakistan instead of facing any consequences for being part of the Left movement of the late 1960s. Tariq Ali’s grandfather Sir Sikandar Hayat Khan was a leader of the Unionist Muslim League, a feudalist political party formed to represent the interests of the landlords of Punjab. It is the same feudal lord about whom Allama Iqabl wrote: nigah-e-faqr mein shaan-e-sikandri kia hai

In Tariq Ali’s elitist lexicon, being a self made and highly successful businessman is far inferior to being a paid lecture circuit mouthpiece for Hamas and Taliban and their supporters that reside on the fringes of the Far Left.

His glossing over the incarceration that Taseer had to face for his political affiliation with the Pakistan Peoples Party and its leadership are probably an indication of his insecurity for running away to England at the first sign of trouble. Not unlike other members of Pakistan’s ‘fake civil society’, Tariq Ali hates the PPP and the Bhuttos because they deprived him and his likes of the imaginary revolution that Tariq Ali so much wanted to lead but never possessed the guts and heart to do so.

In his back handed tribute to Shaheed Taseer, Tariq Ali reveals more about himself and his prejudice than about the late Governor’s successful life. …

Read more : CriticalPPP

US Afghan war review — Dr Mohammad Taqi

The word victory has never featured in Mr Obama’s speeches in the Afghan context and is unlikely to pop up now. We will hear a lot from him about the build-hold-clear-stabilise-handover process and the long term US ‘commitment’, but there will be hardly any reference to nation-building or even sustained counterinsurgency

US president Barack Obama will announce his annual review of the Afghan war today (December 16, 2010). A successful legal challenge to Mr Obama’s healthcare plan and hectic congressional activity to extend the Bush-era income tax cuts had pushed this review off the US media radar, but the death of the Special Representative Richard Holbrooke has managed to put it back in the news-cycle, at least for the time being. What was expected to be a low key affair will still remain a whimper but more questions are being asked about the shape of the things to come as a larger-than-life member of Mr Obama’s Pak-Afghan team made his exit from the diplomatic and world stage.

The Washington Post has reported that Mr Holbrooke’s last words, spoken to his surgeon, were: “You have got to stop this war in Afghanistan.” Incidentally, Mr Holbrooke’s surgeon happened to be a King Edward Medical College-educated Pakistani. Of course, neither the surgeon nor the common Pakistanis have much to do with the war in Afghanistan but given the Pakistani establishment’s massive involvement in favour of the Taliban, Mr Holbrooke’s last words seem almost surreal.

Mr Holbrooke, however, was not the only one calling for ending the war in Afghanistan. On the eve of the Afghan war review, a 25-member group of experts on Afghanistan, which includes respected names like Ahmed Rashid and Professor Antonio Giustozzi, has published an open letter to Mr Obama, calling on him to authorise a formal negotiation with the Afghan Taliban and seek a political settlement. However, buried in the text of the 1,030-word long plea to talk to the Taliban is the key sentence: “With Pakistan’s active support for the Taliban, it is not realistic to bet on a military solution.” …

Read more : Daily Times

WikiLeaks cables: ‘US aid will not stop Pakistan supporting militants’

Embassy cables reveal US frustration as Islamabad fosters selected insurgents as a buffer against India

• WikiLeaks cables expose Pakistan nuclear fears

– Declan Walsh in Islamabad

Pakistan‘s army is covertly sponsoring four major militant groups, including the Afghan Taliban and Mumbai attackers Lashkar-e-Taiba, and “no amount of money” will change the policy, the US ambassador warned in a frank critique revealed by the state department cables.

Although Pakistan had received more than $16bn (£10bn) in American aid since 2001, “there is no chance that Pakistan will view enhanced assistance … as sufficient compensation for abandoning support to these groups”, Anne Patterson wrote in a secret review of Afghanistan-Pakistan strategy in September 2009.

The assessment highlights a stark contradiction – that one of Washington’s key allies is quietly propping up its enemies – and is an admission of the limits of US power in a country that still views India, not the Taliban, as its principal threat. …

Read more : Guardian.co.uk

Development of Sindh: Shallow Promises

– Mushtaq Rajpar

PPP ruled Sindh government is about to present third budget of their tenure. Be ready for new promises, pledges and schemes. Are you interested listening and read all that? What did Sindh government achieved in the current outgoing fiscal year 2009-10?

People of Sindh want to know. Can Sindh government publish a Development Review or Economic Review and inform the public on state of economy, development and projects announced last year in the budget.

Rs 113 billion were allocated for development, including Rs 16 billion by federal government. How much actually has been achieved?

Newspapers report suggest development funds were not utilized more than 42%. This is height of negligence and ineptness of an elected government. Sindh continues to live in backwardness; people live under hard socio-economic conditions.

Budget 2009-10

· Rs. 113 development out lay included Rs 75 billion ADP: Where did this money go?

· The federal government was to be asked to settled the issue of Rs204 billion arrears of GST on services. Did they get arrears back?

· Rs. 2 billion were allocated for Thar Coal Development

Developing a proper method of accountability- Watchdogs on the judiciary, parliament, executive, police, or for that matter

Issues to consider

–  Aqil Sajjad

I’m listing down some political issues that we should consider taking up now that the deposed judges have been restored. Each one of these issues is very important, and we need someone to take it up.

1. Judiciary and police reforms:

..Developing a proper method of accountability for the judges because the existing SJC structure is flawed. – Reforming the lower judiciary. – Police reforms

2. Devolution:

This is very important because devolution has the potential to open up opportunities for ordinary citizens to enter electoral politics. Union councils are small, and you can contest elections even if you are not filthy rich. Once you have been a union councilor, you can gradually go on to contest elections for bigger constituencies and move up in politics.

Things to do: convince the media to have more constructive discussions on devolution, and promote the idea to the people at large, so that it becomes increasingly difficult for any government to roll it back.

3. Intra-party democracy:

This requires engaging with the media and political party workers at the grass roots to highlight this issue.

4. Demanding live debates on local radio:

Due to the wider reach of radio, and considering the fact that TV channels can generally only talk about national issues, there is a real need for local city/district radio stations to come up and hold live debates on local issues. During elections, the election commission should even arrange for regular structured debates at the local level for all constituencies.

We need to highlight this issue and press the govt to remove unnecessary restrictions and giving live debates proper air time on govt-owned local radio stations.

5. Corruption:

Highlighting the need for a constitutionally independent NAB, which can investigate and prosecute corruption cases against anyone including those in power without political interference.

6. Provincial autonomy:

A first step should be to make an attempt to understand what people outside Isb, Lhr and Khi think and want…

7. Constitution revue:

Understanding our constitution, and then determining whether it really serves our needs even if it’s restored to the original 1973 form. Then figuring out the kind of amendments that are needed for the genuine empowerment of the people. Some of the earlier points related to judiciary reforms, devolution, NAB and provincial autonomy would automatically be a part of such an effort, but here the goal would be to have a comprehensive review of the constitution rather than a single issue focus.

8. A political party Watchdog:

Looking at things like

a. The extent of intra-party democracy. This should include how party tickets are awarded.

b. Whether the parties have proper think-tanks for policy formulation.

c. Whether the parties have competent people and intra-party mechanisms for bringing such people forward.

d. whether there are any intra-party mechanisms for accountability, how many members of the parties have criminal or corruption cases etc.

e. How many of the MNAs and MPAs elected on party tickets are lotas with a history of switching loyalties.

9. Media watch:

This can include things like

a. keeping an eye on the political connections of newspaper and TV channel owners, and making knowledge of such connections well known to the public;

b. keeping track of whether journalists are consistent in applying the same principle. Example: if someone said that Iftikhar Ch should be restored when he was first removed by Musharraf, then did they continue to propagate the same position when the PPP came into power or did they suddenly do a ‘lota’ on this?

c. rating various talk-shows on the diversity of guests they invite, so that our national discourse does not remain monopolized by a very small group of people.

d. Pointing out instances of yellow journalism.

10. Other watchdogs:

Watchdogs on the judiciary, parliament, executive, police, NAB, or for that matter, any regulatory authority, like PEMRA or SECP.

March 28, 2009