Tag Archives: status

Multi-crore tax scam at American Embassy School

by Rajeev Sharma

India is on the verge of gaining some leverage in the Devyani Khobragade case with the unearthing of what looks like a gigantic multi-year tax evasion scam by the American Embassy School here. Even as the US has declined to drop charges against Khobragade on the ground that it does not mess around with domestic law, India now can pressure the Americans to do so, given the growing dimensions of the tax evasion. The Khobragade visa fraud case is now counterbalanced by what seems to be an American tax fraud in India that either went unnoticed or was ignored in the general need to defer to Uncle Sam in the past. In fact, there is some evidence—quoted in a New York Times story—that the spouses of American diplomats may have been encouraged to lie about their status to avoid having to get a separate work visa in India. Just as Devyani’s maid may have lied about her wages, US diplomats’ spouses may also have misrepresented their status. US Embassy in Delhi.

The Americans who threw the rule book at Khobragade and preached visa ethics are now finding themselves on the wrong side of the law here. Washington needs to be worried, very worried, on two counts. First, credible sources told this writer that the American Embassy School (AES) has been violating a number of Indian laws and fraudulently evading income tax since 1972. The cumulative tax evaded thus far and the penalties would easily run into scores of crores, if not more. The American diplomats in India have also been found to be indulging in an institutionalised mechanism of visa and tax frauds for decades. Worse, unlike the Devyani incident, which was a one-off case, the AES scam has been routinely perpetrated at the behest of top officials of the US embassy in New Delhi.

Read more » First Post
More at: http://www.firstpost.com/india/multi-crore-tax-scam-at-the-american-embassy-school-unearthed-1343915.html?utm_source=ref_article

Pakistan Day: JSQM leader demands freedom for Sindh and Balochistan

KARACHI: As the people across the country celebrated Pakistan Day, hundreds of thousand people from Sindh gathered in Karachi on Friday and demanded freedom for Sindh and an independent status for Balochistan.

This demand came in a ‘Freedom March’ rally organised by the Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz (JSQM), a Sindhi nationalist party, led by Bashir Qureshi. ….

Read more » The Express Tribune

Balochistan resolution in US Congress drives Pakistan crazy

By Chidanand Rajghatta

WASHINGTON: A resolution moved by a group of US Congressmen calling for right to self-determination for the Baloch people has driven Pakistan to hysteria, with its leaders from the Prime Minister down questioning Washington’s commitment to the country’s sovereignty.

Following a Congressional hearing last week on the human rights situation in Balochistan, the Obama administration had assured Islamabad that it is committed to the country’s unity and integrity, but suspicion runs deep in Pakistan that Washington is intent on fingering the country on account of its covert support for terrorists.

Some hardline American analysts have suggested that the Washington help the Baloch break away from the federation so that American and Nato forces can have unfettered access to landlocked Afghanistan, given how Pakistan has been holding the US to ransom.

While the hearing itself had caused much disquiet in Islamabad and pushed an angry Pakistan into lodging formal protests, the latest resolution has driven its establishment to hysteria and distraction. Pakistan’s prime minister Yousef Raza Gilani condemned the resolution as a move to undermine the country’s sovereignty, and the Pakistani foreign office and the embassy in Washington took exception to it, saying it was against the “very fundamentals of US-Pakistan relations.”

Politics behind the resolution: Introduced by California Republican Dana Rohrabacher and co-sponsored by two other Republican Congressmen Louie Gohmert (Texas) and Steve King (Iowa), the House Concurrent Resolution says that the Baluchi nation has a “historic right to self-determination.”

Stating that Baluchistan is currently divided between Pakistan, Iran, and Afghanistan with no sovereign rights of its own, the resolution explains that “in Pakistan especially, the Baluchi people are subjected to violence and extrajudicial killing,” and therefore, the Baluchi people “have the right to self-determination and to their own sovereign country; and they should be afforded the opportunity to choose their own status.”

The Baluchi, like other nations of people, have an innate right to self-determination,” Congressman Rohrabacher said in a statement. “The political and ethnic discrimination they suffer is tragic and made more so because America is financing and selling arms to their oppressors in Islamabad.”

The statement explained that historically Baluchistan was an independently governed entity known as the Baluch Khanate of Kalat which came to an end after invasions from both British and Persian armies. An attempt to regain independence in 1947 was crushed by an invasion by Pakistan.

“Today the Baluchistan province of Pakistan is rich in natural resources but has been subjugated and exploited by Punjabi and Pashtun elites in Islamabad, leaving Baluchistan the country’s poorest province,” it said.

Continue reading Balochistan resolution in US Congress drives Pakistan crazy

U.S. resolution for independent Balochistan

A US resolution for independent Balochistan

Baloch are divided between Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan: Rohrabacher

They had the right to self-determination and to their own sovereign country, says resolution

A US Congressman Dana Rohrabacher has introduced in his country’s Congress a resolution seeking the right of self-determination for Baloch in Pakistan.

The resolution called as the House Concurrent Resolution in the US House of Representatives and co-sponsored by Representatives Louie Gohmert and Steve King calls for sovereign country for the people of Balochistan.

A week ago, Congressman Dana Rohrabacher had also chaired a Congressional committee’s hearing on Balochistan. His move is likely to affect Pakistan’s relations with the US. Both the countries are already sharing difficult relationship after the NATO attack on Pakistani post. Pakistan in reaction had suspended NATO supplies to Afghanistan.

The resolution says hat revolts in 1958, 1973 and 2005 indicate continued popular discontent against rule by Islamabad, and the plunder of its vast natural wealth while Baluchistan remains the poorest province in Pakistan.

The resolution further adds there is also an insurgency in Sistan-Balochistan, which is being repressed by Iran. The people of Balochistan, it said were divided between Pakistan, Iran, and Afghanistan and they had the right to self-determination and to their own sovereign country and they should be afforded the opportunity to choose their own status among the community of nations, living in peace and harmony, without external coercion.

Media reports said Rohrabacher, who is also the Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations also issued a statement from his office which said, “The Baluchi, like other nations of people, have an innate right to self-determination. The political and ethnic discrimination they suffer is tragic and made more so because America is financing and selling arms to their oppressors in Islamabad.”

The press release further added that Balochistan is “rich in natural resources but has been subjugated and exploited by Punjabi and Pashtun elites in Islamabad, leaving Baluchistan the country’s poorest province.”

WASHINGTON: TP MD, Feb 17, 2012

Courtesy » The Point – Voice of Sindh & Balochistan

http://www.thepoint.com.pk/world97.php

The PTI [Imran Khan’s] false promises won’t help

By Pervez Hoodbhoy

Zero attention was paid to recent news which, in many a country, would justifiably have been cause for panic. But in Memogate obsessed Pakistan no military or civilian ruler — or any normally loquacious TV anchor — has yet commented upon the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER). Released one week ago, this damning indictment of Pakistan’s schools shows how badly the country is failing to teach children even the most elementary of skills. For a country with a huge youth bulge and a population growing out of control, the consequences are fearsome.

Continue reading The PTI [Imran Khan’s] false promises won’t help

Religion And Rule Of Law In Pakistan

– By Dr. Khalil Ahmad

After military might, religion is the greatest alibi to defy the rule of law in Pakistan.

One of the most precious achievements of human civilization is the value of rule of law, as against the rule of man, ideology or faith. Herein is implied an inherent regard for the life and liberty of each person, his right to profess and practice any religion; in sum his right to live a life of his choice. It is as simple as that – that as against man, ideology and faith, rule of law is tolerant and accommodative of all creeds and all cultures, i.e. to all the individual differences of mind and body found in human beings. It looks upon each and every person as by birth endowed with certain inalienable rights, treats him as equal and without any discrimination; it provides equal protection of law to all; it gives every person right to be prosecuted under due process of law and prove himself innocent. That bestows the rule of law with an over-riding status. …

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PAKISTAN’S ARMY: DIVIDED IT STANDS

By: Pervez Hoodbhoy

Excerpt;

… Religion deeply divides the Pakistan military. Perhaps it might be more accurate to think of it as two militaries. The first is headed by General Kayani. It seeks to maintain the status quo and the army’s pre-eminence in making national decisions.

The second is Allah’s army. This awaits a leader even as it launches attacks on Pakistani military installations, bases, top-level officers, soldiers, public places, mosques, and police stations. Soldiers have been encouraged to turn their guns on to their colleagues, troops have been tricked into ambushes, and high-level

officers have been assassinated. Allah’s army hopes to launch its final blitzkrieg once the state of Pakistan has been sufficiently weakened by such attacks.

What separates Army-One and ISI-One from Army-Two and ISI-Two? This may not be immediately evident. Both were reared on the Two-Nation Theory …

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Civilian supremacy over military: a process, not a transaction – Dr Mohammad Taqi

In post-bin Laden Pakistan, a unique prospect exists for the civilian leadership to neutralise the establishment and literally reverse the power equation. Such a constellation of events does not happen often and the agents of the status quo are hard at work to quickly close this small window of opportunity

Wherever and whenever nation-states make the transition towards a democratic form of government, the question about civilian supremacy over the military is bound to come up. In stable western democracies, such as the US and Japan, both convention and the constitution provide well-established safeguards against the military’s encroachment on the civilian power to oversee and control it. But in budding democracies, and especially countries like Pakistan that go through praetorian autocracy and democracy in a cyclical fashion, the issue of civil-military balance of power remains highly complex, unresolved and pernicious.

It was this struggle for power that Samuel Adams — one of the US’s founding fathers — had warned against, in a letter to James Warren: “A standing army, however necessary it may be at some times, is always dangerous to the liberties of the people. Soldiers are apt to consider themselves as a body distinct from the rest of the citizens. They have their arms always in their hands…Such a power should be watched with a jealous eye.”

Standing armies have nonetheless become a norm and the citizens’ militias, looked upon favourably by Adams and the legendary Baloch leader Sher Muhammad Marri, as a bulwark against martial law, have survived just in theory. Since the Portuguese Carnation revolution of 1974, ironically led by the military, a series of new democratic dispensations — the so-called third wave democracies — have continued to grapple with the issue of consolidating civilian control over the military, as part of the overall cementing of democratic change. The quest for fledgling democracies has been not only to oust the military from power but also to prevent it from staging another outright coup d’état as well as an indirect intervention in or competition with civilian power.

In the political scenario evolving in Pakistan after the US took out Osama bin Laden, the security establishment has found its chokehold on power to be in mortal danger. The façade of the military’s organisation and invincibility, nay infallibility, has been lifted, tilting the balance of power against it internationally, but more importantly, domestically. It is this exposed domestic flank that is really worrisome for the establishment, as a potential civilian compact could emerge and dislodge it from the direct and indirect role of control over the state that it is accustomed to exercising. The Latin American and Southeast Asian models of the juntas defanged and sent packing by the united political elite are not completely lost on the Pakistani deep state. …

Read more: Daily Times

Over centralized HEC Hurt Sindhis by Denying them

by Saghir Shaikh

Affirmative action is needed in Pakistan. Sindhis have been historically discriminated. All affairs involving money and distribution or resources must be governed by provincial resources. If implemented on just basis and if Sindh and Sindhis get their due share in resources, we will be much ahead.

Javaid Laghari is a great son of Sindh and has done a lot for Sindh and Sindhis and overall academic situation in Sindh and Pakistan.

However, we support the breakup of Higher Education Commission (HEC). Any structure under federal command – supported by constitution – means inequitable share to Sindh and Baluchistan, that is sad reality of status quo. Yes ‘merit’ has value in different context.

Pakistan historically deprives Sindh by stealing it resources, discriminating its rural population for decades since its inception creating almost an economic apartheid among South and North (of Pakistan). How can we expect that in this apartheid system rural folks are going to compete!

Local Sindh government will be corrupt and yes it will be manipulated from …, there is no doubt about it – these are valid arguments and I have my take on it. But please do not use the argument of merit and justice with Sindhis. And obviously criticism on HEC is never about its chief, but the inherent limitation of centralized illegal federal structure. If I was made HEC chair today I will not be able to keep justice to its spirit! Because system is unjust to its core!

Anyway, let us hope that HEC and all other institutions get transferred to provinces and than we can start a new struggle on improving our own house.

One caution – devolution does not mean we will get our due share from Islamabad (Punjab). That is another Himalayan task to get a fair share in terms of finance!

Courtesy: Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups, 12 April, 2011.

HEC issue to end up in the Supreme Court

By Zubair Shah

KARACHI: It is true that after the passage of 18th Constitutional Amendment, the Pakistani federation is inching towards the constitutional sketch made public in the Muslim League’s famous 1940 Lahore Resolution. However, this journey is not without a tough resistance by the country’s entrenched pro status quo centripetal forces, who would like to see a strong centre at the expense of federating units. Nothing highlights this phenomenon better than the drama around the planned devolution of the Higher Education Commission (HEC) announced recently.

Soon after the announcement, a smear campaign was launched by centripetal forces, who have been advocating and supporting the status quo based on numerous technical and legal grounds with apocalyptic predictions. …

Read more : Daily Times

Raymond Davis: fact & fiction – Najam Sethi’s Editorial

The case of Raymond Davis has outraged the imagination and sentiment of Pakistanis mainly because of a distortion of key facts by powerful sections of the Pakistani media. It has also become a vicious ping pong game between the PPP and PMLN governments, with both trying to score nationalist points regardless of the consequences for political stability and national security. Ominously, though, it has soured a troubled relationship between Pakistan and the US who claim to be “strategic partners” in the region. Let’s sift fact from fiction.

Fiction: Mr Davis “murdered” two Pakistanis. He shot them in the back, suggesting he was not threatened by them. They were not robbers. Their handguns were licensed. Fact: Two men on a motorbike, armed with unlicensed pistols, held up Mr Davis’ car. He expertly shot them through the windscreen, stepped out and took pictures of the gunmen with weapons as evidence of self-defense. Later, an autopsy report showed that four out of seven bullets had hit the gunmen in the front, confirming the threat to him. The criminals had earlier robbed two passersby of their cell phones and money.

Fiction: Mr Davis is not a diplomat because he doesn’t have a diplomatic visa or status registered with the Foreign Office. Hence he cannot claim diplomatic immunity under the Vienna Conventions. Fact: Mr Davis has a Diplomatic Passport. His visa application by the US State Department to the Pakistan Embassy in Washington DC of 11 September 2009 lists him as a Diplomat who is on “Official Business”. The US government has claimed diplomatic immunity for him. This is the norm. For example, Pakistan’s Ambassador to Spain in 1975, Haroon ur Rashid Abbasi, was granted immunity following discovery of heroin from his suitcase. Col Mohammad Hamid Pakistan’s military attaché in London in 2000, was caught having sex with a prostitute in his car in a public place. He invoked diplomatic immunity and avoided arrest. Mohammad Arshad Cheema, Pakistan’s First Secretary in Nepal, also invoked diplomatic immunity after 16kg of high inte4nsity RDX explosives were recovered from his house and he was suspected of being involved in the hijacking of Indian Airlines Flight IC-814. And so on. …

Read more : Wichaar

Most of Pakistani diplomats are peeing in their pants, as to what kind of precedent is being set by their government in Lahore!

Sex, Rhetoric And Diplomatic Impunity

Islamabad is hard pressed to withdraw its ‘diplo-basher’. New Delhi is only too relieved.

by Seema Sirohi , Amir Mir

Even at the best of times, he is known to be acerbic and pungent as they come, his anti-India vitriol alarming to the uninitiated. But last month, Pakistan’s UN envoy, Munir Akram, directed his bile at his live-in girlfriend and in the process earned a big, black eye for his country. His dreadful conduct took the wind out of Pakistani sails as Islamabad began its tenure as a non-permanent member of the Security Council—and just as it was gearing to deliver some good rhetorical punches there on behalf of the world’s Muslims.

What could be more un-Islamic than a relationship outside wedlock which under Shariah is punishable by Taliban-style retribution?

Akram’s stars plunged precipitously as New York’s tabloids screamed details of Pakistan’s “diplo-basher” and “abuser”. The US State Department asked Islamabad to withdraw his diplomatic immunity so he could face criminal prosecution as a common man. The Pakistani establishment didn’t know what hit them, struggling, as they were, with other difficult aspects of their tortuous relationship with Uncle Sam—border shootings and bombs dropping from American planes. They didn’t need a new complication from one of their own. The famed corridors of the United Nations were suddenly abuzz with talk of Akram’s physical, not verbal, violence. …

Read more : OutLook

Sindhi bboli Qoumi bboli (Sindhi Language should be a National language)

Hyderabad – Sindh : Recently some members of National (Federal) Assembly from treasure and opposition benches has presented a private member bill on national language issue. Members have mixed various dialects and mother tongues with national languages status. In this regard on Tuesday, 01-02-2011, a rally was organised by Sindhi Adabi Sangat (Markaz) in front of Hyderabad Press Club under the slogan of ‘Sindhi Bboli Qoumi Bboli’ (Sindhi Language should be National language). This rally was a start of mobilization of people on national language issue. Procession was attended / participated by a large number of leading writers, intellectuals, linguists, civil society, lawyers, peace and human rights activists, and poets.

Spurious symbols — Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur

I do not understand why pieces of apparel have to be given the status of cultural symbols; only those countries and nations that are culturally bankrupt need to impose them as symbols. This symbolism also reveals the inherent feeling of inferiority and the consequent need to make them appear as important and necessary.

Since last year, at the behest of a commercial television station in Sindh, a so-called ‘Cultural Day’ is being observed in the province. The two media groups that now want to own it celebrate it on two different days. This supposedly Cultural Day is observed by people wearing a Sindhi topi (cap) and an ajrak (shawl). These are being turned into symbols of Sindh; on this day, with a lot of fanfare and enthusiasm, many people adorn themselves with these symbols and the youth dance. Some political, cultural and social outfits wholeheartedly participate in it and, sadly, all believe that, with this, they are reinforcing Sindhi identity, which I think they are not. Sindhi identity is much larger and more varied than two pieces of attire. This Cultural Day is nothing but the commercialisation of culture and a means for raking in profits for television stations and the makers of topis and ajraks.

Advocating spurious cultural symbols helps exploiters distract people from the real threats to their identity and rights. The Sindhis participating in this frivolous celebration return home thinking that they have done enough for Sindh and their annual ritual, which it will now become, is adequate to protect the rights of Sindhis. The rights of Sindh demand sacrifices, dedication and struggle, not dancing and frivolity.

The true symbols of Sindh are its valiant sons who sacrificed their lives without hesitation. Makhdoom Bilawal Bin Jam Hassan Sammo (1451 AD/ 856 AH to 30th Safar 1523 AD/929AH) preferred to be ground in the grinder used to extract oil from seeds than to accept the fiat of the Afghan Arghun rulers. He needs to be emulated; his teachings are the cultural symbol needed to awaken the Sindhis. The poetry of Shah Abdul Latif should be made a cultural symbol and the Sindhis should be encouraged to read and memorise his enchanting verses to promote Sindh and its culture and history. His poetry will give them an insight into Sindhi history, geography and culture. …

Read more : Daily Times

How easily we forget Nawaz Sharif’s attack on Supreme Court

Link

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Protesters halt Pakistani PM court case – BBC

The trial of Pakistan’s Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif, has been halted after his supporters forced their way into the Supreme Court building in Islamabad.
Protesters shouted abuse against the Chief Justice, Sajjad Ali Shah, who was hearing a case of contempt of court, which could lead to the Prime Minister’s disqualification if he is found guilty. The court adjourned for the day.
The protest is the latest twist in the country’s constitutional crisis, which started over the appointment of five new judges to the Supreme Court.

Mr Ali Shah charged Mr Sharif with contempt after his outspoken criticism of the candidates. Mr Sharif responded by trying to remove him from office.

The two men are under considerable pressure from the country’s powerful armed forces to resolve the situation constitutionally.
Mr Ali Shah’s position in the court has become increasingly uncertain after an internal struggle emerged in the Supreme Court over his status. Four of his fellow judges in two separate hearings ruled he was suspended from office because he was not the most senior judge when he was appointed.
Friday’s trouble started when one of Mr Sharif’s Members of Parliament climbed over the gates in front of the court to get inside.
A crowd of a few hundred party supporters then began to follow him and, as the police and the security forces in riot gear stood by and did nothing, they pushed open the gates and ran into the court compound.
A few members of the crowd got into the court building and ran to windows and onto the roof of the entrance, chanting slogans against the Chief Justice.
Amid the commotion a court official ran to the courtroom and said the Chief Justice was in danger. The judges immediately adjourned proceedings and left the room.
Courtesy: BBC

Status of Karachi

A Letter to Editor Dawn

By ABDUL KHALIQUE JUNEJO

THIS is apropos of Bina Shah’s article, ‘Who owns Karachi?’ (Sept 14). Earlier she had come on the columns of this paper with another question, ‘Who is a Sindhi?”

I fail to comprehend what compels her to bring under dispute such settled issues and put question mark over the future of a people who carry a glorious past of more than 5,000 years. Is she doing this with some objective in mind or out of sheer ignorance and/or innocence? She herself says: “I learned more about Karachi from Mr Yousif Dadabhoy’s letter than I have from all my years living in the city, to be honest”.

Honestly speaking, if she really wants to get answers to such important and serious questions, she should open the pages of history books, know more about the process of immigration, natural and unnatural, throughout the world and understand the political and economic interests/motives of the different power players therein.

She considers the city nazim of Karachi ‘forward-thinking and progressive’ and is very much impressed by his ‘My City My Responsibility’ programme, according to which “anyone can come forward and register himself or herself as a city owner. All one has to do is volunteer two hours of time per week doing something in the interest of the city”.

Her one question comes to mind immediately: is this the way of owning cities in the world, particularly the US to which Ms Shah refers so often? Can I go, whenever it suits me, to New York, Paris or London and become its owner by getting my name registered after doing two-hour work in the interest of the city?

And if giving two-hour time can make anyone the owner of Karachi, then what will happen to those who gave sweat and blood to build this city and have spent many generations here? The current nazim has initiated another programme, also called ‘Hamara Karachi, an annual festival, for the last few years. Here people from as far as Kolkata, Hyderabad Deccan and Mumbai are included but no Sindhi is invited.

The writer compares the ‘golden years’ of 40s and 50s of the ‘gem of Karachi’ with ‘today’s Karachi of guns, drugs, crime and filth’ with a sense of sadness.

I would only like to add here, for her knowledge, that this difference, in the exposure of Karachi, is the result of unlimited, uncontrolled, unregulated and free-for-all influx of people from different parts of the world facilitated by such policies as pursued by the sitting mayor.

Ms Shah has fallen prey to the tendency, nowadays being promoted by certain groups, of using such terms as carry serious repercussions for the unity and integrity of Sindh. For example, ‘urban Sindh’ ( and rural Sindh). Through this description the idea being promoted is that the urban Sindh belongs to non-Sindhis ( immigrants)and the native Sindhis occupy the rural Sindh.

The most important part of Ms Shah’s article is the one mentioning plans for picking Thatto as an option (alternative to Karachi)for ‘the disinfranchised population of the old goths of Karachi, as well as a restive interior youth who want to move from the rural to the urban areas of Sindh’.

Here a two-pronged policy is being pursued: ‘old villages’ are being uprooted and the people of ‘interior’ denied entry into the life of Karachi, while people from outside Sindh are being facilitated settlement in Karachi.

Courtesy & Thanks: Daily Dawn
http://dawn.com/2008/10/01/letted.htm