Tag Archives: slow

Poloz reiterates bright outlook as Bank of Canada holds key rate

BY BARRIE MCKENNAThe Globe and Mail

OTTAWA — Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz says there’s a brighter future ahead if people can look beyond an economy that’s teetering on the brink of outright contraction.

The central bank kept its key overnight lending rate unchanged Wednesday at 0.75 per cent, even as it released a new forecast showing Canada’s oil-dependent economy stalled and likely didn’t grow at all in the first three months of the year.

The no-growth forecast is a sharp downgrade from the 1.5-per-cent annual growth rate the bank predicted just three months ago, when Mr. Poloz rattled financial markets with a surprise quarter-percentage-point rate cut.

But Mr. Poloz insisted the economy would snap back in the second half of the year as the shock of the oil price collapse fades – optimism that suggests more interest rate relief likely won’t be needed.

“By the middle of the year we should be seeing only the good stuff,” Mr. Poloz told reporters in Ottawa.

The Canadian dollar rebounded, gaining 1.2 cents to 81.30 cents (U.S.), as investors bet that Mr. Poloz’s upbeat tone makes another rate cut this year less likely.

Some analysts aren’t convinced Mr. Poloz is right. He got the first quarter wrong and now he’s overoptimistic about what the rest of the year will bring, said Ben Homsy, a fixed-income analyst at Leith Wheeler Investment Counsel in Vancouver.

“The impact from low oil prices on the Canadian economy is not a one-quarter event,” Mr. Homsy said. “We’ll see that reverberate through the second and third quarters.”

He pointed out that dismal factory sales, which fell for a second consecutive month in February, suggest the lower Canadian dollar isn’t yet helping non-energy exporters.

Read more » The Globe and Mail
See more » http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/economy/bank-of-canada-cuts-outlook/article23965431/

The alternative to the slow boat of democracy in Pakistan is failure

By Omar Ali

While the Zia-ul-Haq narrative promoted jihadist militias and covert foreign adventures, Pervez Musharraf’s regime led to open rebellion in Balochistan, an independent Islamic emirate in FATA, a nationwide terrorist problem and new compromises with the same corrupt politicians. And were Ashfaq Parvez Kayani to take over tomorrow, he will end up with the same compromises and the same old faces.

Before a democratic government can stabilise, the middle classes, schooled in the Pakistan Military Academy narrative, start aching for another saviour on horseback, but none exists.

In the current crisis in Pakistan, there has been some comment over what might work better for the country’s development — a “democratic” model or an “authoritarian” one. These categories may be misleading. Generalised arguments about “authoritarian regimes” and “democracies” hide far too many details under the hijab. There is vigorous debate about the shortcomings (real and imagined) of modern capitalist democracy and there is no reason to think that it is the final system under which mankind will live forever. But in the last 100 years, most absolute or dictatorial regimes have all either broken down, or seen capitalist development and evolved into some sort of democracy. The question then is not about democracy versus authoritarianism. It is about whether an “under-developed” state, such as Pakistan, can “develop” as a capitalist democracy without going through a fascist phase.

Continue reading The alternative to the slow boat of democracy in Pakistan is failure

‘Haqqani coerced to confess that Zardari behind memo’

Pakistan’s former ambassador to the United States Husain Haqqani said that the judicial commission investigating the memogate was trying to coerce him to confess that President Asif Ali Zardari had urged him to draft the memo to former chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee Admiral Mike Mullen.

This was revealed by Haqqani to Professor Christine Fair of Georgetown University, a South Asia expert, who has extensively researched the Pakistan army, the Inter-Serviced Intelligence and the terrorist organisations based in the country.

Haqqani was asked to step down as Pakistan’s envoy to the US over his suspected role in the secret memo, which said that the Pakistan government had sought help from the United States to stave off a military coup in the wake of the Abbottabad raid on May 2, which killed Osama bin Laden.

Fair, who was discussing the memogate affair at a conference at the Hudson Institute and arguing how the judicial process has been subverted and due process disregarded in the investigation of Haqqani, said she had met Haqqani last week. His interpretation of the investigation was “that they are trying to use these proceedings to put the fear of Allah in him to get him to give up the goods on Zardari to bring this government down,” she said. “This is a well-worn playbook that this military had in its disposal,” she added.

Fair said that this case “bears some similarity to what we saw with (former Pakistan prime minister) Benazir’s (Bhutto) father — Zulfikar Ali Bhutto — when they took the head of his security and coerced him into becoming what’s called an approver in Pakistani parlanace — I guess in our parlance it would be basically a witness for the state.”

Thus, she said, “While we all care about Husain Haqqani, I want to emphasise that this is not simply about the particular personal safety or lack thereof of Haqqani, but also about Pakistan’s democratic institutions.”

Fair said that what was currently taking place in Pakistan “in my view is a slow-moving coup.”

So, if we care about Pakistan’s democracy as well as Husain Haqqani, the United States government really needs to be much more vocal than it has been,” she said. “We have to work with our partners to send a very clear message that we recognise that this is a coup albeit via judicial hue.”

Lisa Curtis, who heads the South Asia programme at The Heritage Foundation, a conservative Washington-based think tank, warned that “if the Zardari government is forced out, whether it be through the Supreme Court — and it looks like the army is working in tandem with the Supreme Court albeit behind the scenes — this is going to send a negative signal.”

Curtis, a former Central Intelligence Agency official, said the signal would be clear that “the Pakistan army still wields inappropriate control within the systems,” and that ‘civilian democracy has really not taken root in Pakistan“. She argued, “Even though the Zardari government may not be perfect, it’s an elected government and we need to keep that in mind.”

Courtesy: rediff.com

http://www.rediff.com/news/report/haqqani-coerced-to-confess-that-zardari-behind-memo/20120119.htm?sc_cid=twshare

People must stop pro-dictatorship forces from destroying democracy in Pakistan

By Khalid Hashmani

Multi-dimensional Tragedy

The non-democratic forces in Pakistan that include elements from military, judiciary and some their protege political parties are fast moving to take over Pakistan. The goal of their unholy alliance is to bring back dictatorship and impose their twisted views on the people of Pakistan. It is time for all those who wish to democracy to prevail and Pakistan to move towards the vision of 1940 resolution to fight back and prevent undemocratic forces to succeed in their evil designs.

Plot of deadly Consequences

The conspiracies to find a way of least resistance with minimal political backlash have been going on for some time. First, one of their operatives implements a set-up to lure former ambassador of Pakistan in USA (Husain Haqqani) into a plot to write a fake memo on the behalf of civilian government to the US government. The memo asks for help in case of a military attempt to topple the elected civilian government and help it to reduce the control of military over Pakistan’s decision-making process. In return, the civilian government allegedly promises USA to nominate international members of a commission and reduce the role of ISI in protection of nuclear arsenal of Pakistan. The writer of that memo (Mansoor Ijaz) then turns around and writes a story in a newspaper that he wrote and sent a letter to a US official on behest of the Pakistani ambassador. Immediately thereafter, the head of the Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency (General Pasha) flies to meet Mansoor Ijaz to London and takes his statement without securing any authorization from the civilian government of Pakistan. After returning to Pakistan, the ISI General files that statement with the Supreme Court against the civilian government. The Supreme Court which has already hostile to the Civilian Government for the delay in restoring the former Chief Justice who was fired by former dictator General Musharaaf shows more than eagerness to move against the civilian government.

Mr Ijaz also alleged in an interview in December that soon after the Bin Laden raid, the Chief of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency (General Pasha) visited several Arab capitals in an attempt to secure their support for toppling of the civilian government.

In a move that many call as violation of constitution, the Supreme Court has appointed a commission for further investigation and actions. Many fear that it just a matter of few days when the biased court will give verdict against the democratically elected civilian government. This verdict that will be implemented by the military which appears to have developed the dislike for the present government for its attempts to secure control of foreign affairs and country’s security matters from the military.

Many Pakistanis strongly suspect that this plot is thinly veiled attempt by the hostile Supreme Court and present military leaders to push the current government from power. One commentator is quoted as saying You could say what we’re seeing is a slow and gradual coup taking place, eating into the moral authority of the civilian government.” Another Pakistani said “A national political crisis has been engineered on the basis of an unsigned memo, the contents of which are exceedingly unrealistic but have somehow compromised national security.”

The consequence if this deadly plot succeed would be that both President Zardari and former US ambassador, Husain Haqqani could face treason charges. The history of Pakistan’s high courts provides ample evidence that Sindhi politicians never receive justice from them. Like President Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, this President Asif Zardari too could end-up in gallows.

Continue reading People must stop pro-dictatorship forces from destroying democracy in Pakistan

Pakistan’s Slow-Motion Coup

Islamabad’s generals are out to destroy Pakistani democracy. Obama should try to stop them.

BY:  C. CHRISTINE FAIR

Pakistan’s civilian government, led by the Pakistan People’s Party, has long been an irritant to the country’s generals. ….

Read more » Foreign Policy (FP)

RIM Asked to Hand Over Memogate Data to Pakistan Court

By Tarek Fatah

this involves the private messages between two individuals and as such RIM is unlikely to share this data — if it exists — with Pakistan’s Supreme Court

Research in Motion (RIM) and the Canadian High Commission in Islamabad have become the latest actors in the so-called “memogate affairthat observers believe is a slow-motion palace coup by Pakistan’s military aimed at unseating the civilian administration of President Zardari.

In a decision on Friday, the Supreme Court of Pakistan ordered the country’s attorney general to demand RIM hand over BBM messages allegedly exchanged between the former Pakistan ambassador to the U.S., Husain Haqqani, and American businessman Mansoor Ijaz. The exchanges involve an unsigned memo handed over to to former American Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, requesting U.S. intervention to stave off a military coup in Islamabad.

The latest tug of war between the government of President Zardari and his generals erupted on Oct. 11, 2011 when the Financial Times ran an op-ed titled “Time to take on Pakistan’s Jihadis.”

In the article, Mansoor Ijaz, a Pakistani-American businessman, claimed he was contacted by a Pakistan’s ambassador to the U.S., Husain Haqqani, and asked to contact Admiral Mullen to prevent a military coup from taking place in Pakistan. The military was outraged and wanted heads to roll. Ijaz wrote:

Early on May 9, a week after U.S. Special Forces stormed the hideout of Osama bin Laden and killed him, a senior Pakistani diplomat telephoned me with an urgent request. Asif Ali Zardari, Pakistan’s president, needed to communicate a message to White House national security officials that would bypass Pakistan’s military and intelligence channels.

As evidence, the American businessman handed over copies of his alleged BlackBerry message exchanges with Haqqani to Pakistan’s feared military intelligence force, the ISI. On his part, Haqqani categorically denied that he had asked Ijaz to draft any message and dismissed the messages cited by Ijaz as a fabrication.

As a result of the controversy, Ambassador Haqqani — a man not liked by his country’s jihadis, whether civilian or military — was forced to resign his post and ordered back to Pakistan, where he was placed under security watch and barred by the military from leaving the country.

The country’s parliament set up a commission to get to the depth of the matter, but this inquiry was upstaged by opposition politician Nawaz Sharif who took the matter to the country’s Supreme Court that is closely allied to the country’s military generals.

Pakistan Supreme Court

Last Friday, the Supreme Court ruled that there was merit in the complaint against Haqqani and set up a three-member judicial commission that will report back in four weeks to determine the guilt or innocence of the former Boston University professor and Pakistan’s most prominent diplomat in the last four years.

At the crux of the matter is the authenticity of of the BlackBerry messages that were allegedly exchanged between the two men.

In its decision on Friday, the Pakistani Supreme Court ordered the country’s attorney general to get in touch with Research In Motion in Waterloo, Ontario to secure from RIM the data verifying the validity of the alleged BlackBerry conversation between Haqqani and Ijaz.

In an unprecedented move, the Pakistani Supreme Court stepped beyond its jurisdiction to direct the Canadian High Commissioner in Islamabad, ordering it to facilitate in the securing the data from RIM.

In August 2010, Research In Motion was pressured by the Indian government to allow it access to data exchanged on its BBM messenger service. RIM resisted that pressure and the two parties came to a resolution. However, that involved BlackBerry messages within India, not overseas.

RIM ended up ready to compromise on the privacy of corporate customers to placate Indian regulators. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates too threatened to shut off BlackBerry services unless RIM opened its encrypted client data for the sake of national security.

However, in this case, the alleged exchanges between the Pakistani Ambassador and the American businessman were conducted in the United States, not Pakistan. Unlike the Indian request, this involves the private messages between two individuals and as such RIM is unlikely to share this data — if it exists — with Pakistan’s Supreme Court.

In addition, the Supreme Court ordered former ambassador Husain Haqqani to not leave the country, thus placing him in virtual house arrest. Haqqani, fearing for his life at the hands of the military and jihadis, has now taken refuge inside the Prime Minister’s residence in Islamabad.

Dark day for Pakistan

Haqqani’s counsel in the case, prominent human rights lawyer Asma Jahangir reacted with shock at the Supreme Court decision, labelling it a “dark day” for the country’s judiciary.

Ms. Jahangir a former president of the country’s Supreme Court Bar Association and the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion, said the decision was evidence Pakistan’s civilian government had for all practical purposes come under the thumb of the army.

Speaking to the media outside the Supreme Court on Friday, Ms. Jehangir said that the court’s judgment in the “memogate scandal” had forced her to wonder whether Pakistan’s judiciary represented the people of Pakistan or the country’s (military) establishment.

Two days later Jahangir announced that in protest at the high-handedness of the Pakistan Supreme Court, she was stepping down as counsel for Husain Haqqani. She alleged the judges of the Supreme Court were acting “under the influence of the [Military] establishment” and not in the cause of justice or due process.

A noose around Haqqani’s neck

She told Karachi’s DAWN Television she was stepping down because the only outcome left was a noose around Haqqani’s neck. She said:

“If nine judges of the Supreme Court can be under their [military] influence, then I am sorry to say I cannot have any expectations from three judges, who are subordinate to the same Supreme Court judges.””Should we close our eyes? Should we allow ourselves to be fooled?… I have told my client [Haqqani] he can appear before the commission if he wishes to — and he will go–but I have no confidence at all in the [judicial] commission.”

Continue reading RIM Asked to Hand Over Memogate Data to Pakistan Court