Tag Archives: system

Pakistan: Raza Rabbani warns of serious consequences if system derailed

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leader and Senator Raza Rabbani has warned of serious consequences if the current system is derailed.

Expressing his concerns in the Senate Monday, Senator Raza Rabbani said this time the federation is facing threats and not the constitution.

He said that media is a watchdog and that it is not acceptable to put curbs on any news channel. The days are gone when media was restricted, he added.

He said that the time has come for the democratic forces to find reasons as to why the situation is being deteriorated.

Addressing the Senate, Senator Saeed Ghani said that the nation is being misled by bring people on the streets. He questioned as to why the matter of Geo’s morning show is not resolved yet even after the channel’s apology.

He further said that he can not support curbs on media channels over the wish of one political party.

Read more » Media Cell PPP
http://mediacellppp.wordpress.com/2014/05/20/raza-rabbani-warns-of-serious-consequences-if-system-derailed/

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Kenney says Canada can learn from Germany on skills training

By Lee-Anne Goodman, The Canadian Press

OTTAWA – Canadians have much to learn from Germany’s famed apprenticeship system despite doubts it could succeed in Canada, Jason Kenney said as he wrapped up a fact-finding mission into how the European powerhouse streams its youth into skilled trades.

“Sure, we can’t pick up the German system and transplant it to Canada — that would be ridiculous,” the employment minister said in a telephone interview, adding it was a “lazy point of view” to be dismissive of the long-established German partnership among government, schools and business.

“Closer collaboration between the education system and employers is so important. Giving kids relevant information about what kind of education is likely to lead to promising careers and remuneration — these things don’t have to be unique to Germany.”

Kenney said Ottawa and provincial governments can also look at “ways of massively expanding paid co-op opportunities for students during post-secondary education” and consider “reinventing” vocational high schools.

The minister has been leading a 30-member delegation of Canadian politicians from five provinces, along with business and labour union representatives, on a trip to Germany and Great Britain to learn about their apprenticeship programs.

Read more » Yahoo News
http://ca.finance.yahoo.com/news/kenney-points-study-u-democrat-income-splitting-promise-180242293.html

About 60 percent of Russians see communism as good system – poll

About 60 percent of Russians believe there were more positive than negative aspects to life in the former Soviet Union, an opinion poll suggests.

Of the 1,000 people whom Russia’s Public Opinion Foundation (FOM) interviewed by telephone in a survey last month, 14 percent said the word communism had percent “very pleasant,” “positive” or “wonderful” connotations for them and 12 percent said they were nostalgic about the Soviet era.

Communism was just a thing of the past for 11 percent, but the same proportion believed communism meant good and stable life.

Read more » http://rbth.ru/news/2013/10/12/about_60_percent_of_russians_see_communism_as_good_system_-_poll_30755.html

Alternatives to Capitalism

There Are Good Alternatives to US Capitalism, But No Way to Get There

Jerry Mander’s new book explores the fatal flaws of the “obsolete” capitalist system and strategies for change.

By Jerry Mander

The following is an excerpt from Jerry Mander’s new book The Capitalism Papers: Fatal Flaws of an Obsolete System (Counterpoint, 2013):

Which Way Out?

Let’s start with some good news. There is no shortage of good alternative ideas, plans, and strategies being put forth by activist groups and “new economy” thinkers in the United States and all countries of the world. Some seek to radically reshape the current capitalist system. Others advocate abandoning it for something new (or old). There is also a third option, a merger of the best points of other existing or proposed options, toward a “hybrid” economic model that can cope with modern realities.

Continue reading Alternatives to Capitalism

The surveillance state is even bigger, and scarier, than we thought.

It’s High Time We Abolished the Department of Homeland Security

It’s the path to national sanity.

The surveillance state is even bigger, and scarier, than we thought.

And, as a result, it’s time that we broke up the failed national security experiment known as the Department of Homeland Security. Returning to dozens of independent agencies will return internal checks-and-balances to within the Executive branch, and actually make us both safer and less likely to be the victims of government snooping overreach.

Last Wednesday, the  Guardian‘s Glenn Greenwald revealed that the National Security Agency is secretly collecting the phone records of millions of Verizon users. The agency received authorization to track phone “metadata” over a 3 month period from a special court order issued in April.

We now also know that what the  Guardian uncovered is just the tip of the iceberg of an ongoing phone and internet records collection program that likely includes almost all major U.S. telecommunications companies.

President Obama – who promised the “most transparent administration ever” – now finds himself and his DHS at the center of yet another civil liberties controversy. That controversy has deepened in the wake of two reports published last night in both the Washington Post and the Guardian that outlined a different NSA snooping program – a data mining initiative code-named “PRISM.”

PRISM – which was created in 2007 during the Bush Administration – is almost certainly the most far-reaching surveillance program ever created. By reaching into the servers of 9 different major U.S. internet companies – including Facebook, Google and Apple – the NSA has access to millions of users’ personal data, including emails, chats and videos.

Although PRISM is supposed to only be used to gain information about “foreign individuals” suspected of terrorism – the very methods used to access such information inevitably suck up the private data of American citizens

As the  Washington Post pointed out:

“Even when the system works just as advertised, with no American singled out for targeting, the NSA routinely collects a great deal of American content. That is described as “incidental,” and it is inherent in contact chaining, one of the basic tools of the trade. To collect on a suspected spy or foreign terrorist means, at minimum, that everyone in the suspect’s inbox or outbox is swept in.”

These startling revelations about American intelligence agencies raise a number of questions, the first being, of course, who’s the  Guardian‘s source?

Read more » AlterNet
http://www.alternet.org/civil-liberties/thom-hartmann-abolish-homeland-security

Pakistan adopts Chinese rival GPS satellite system

BEIJING – Pakistan is set to become the fifth Asian country to use China’s domestic satellite navigation system which was launched as a rival to the US global positioning system, a report said Saturday.

The Beidou, or Compass, system started providing services to civilians in the region in December and is expected to provide global coverage by 2020. It also has military applications.

Thailand, China, Laos and Brunei already use the Chinese system, which currently consists of 16 operational satellites, with 30 more due to join the system, according to English-language China Daily.

Huang Lei, international business director of BDStar Navigation, which promotes Beidou, told the newspaper that the company would build a network of stations in Pakistan to enhance the location accuracy of Beidou. He said building the network would cost tens of millions of dollars.

Continue reading Pakistan adopts Chinese rival GPS satellite system

ONE SINDH, ONE SYSTEM – NO TO APARTHEID DUAL SYSTEM

Sindh has been subject to continuous onslaught against its sovereignty and unity particularly during last sixty five years of Pakistani Federation. The recent attack on its sovereignty has been hurled by no other than Pakistan People’s Party who claims to have the mandate of the people of Sindh. This attack on the unity and sovereignty of Sindh in the shape of so called Sindh Peoples Local Government Act, 2012 reminds us the era of July, 1948 when Karachi was snatched from Sindh and placed under the suzerainty of centre. Sindh Assembly had to take refuge in Hyderabad. At present, Sindh Assembly’s very existence at Karachi will also be devoid of any utility as it has transferred the executive authority of Provincial Government to Metropolitan Corporation, Karachi making itself and the Sindh Government a puppet in the hands of Karachi Mayor.

Unfortunately, Sindh Government is undeterred by its capitulation and surrender. Its Ministers, advisors and PPP office bearers have been making baseless allegations against the leaders of National and progressive Parties of Sindh who have been spearheading a heroic struggle against this black law. Ignorant of the very letter and spirit of SPLG Act, 2012, the Government is defending the defenseless. We would like to present the case of Sindh against this law by pointing out various provisions of this black law. For the sake of convenience and understanding, we have divided the Act of 2012 into three parts: First relates to the constitution of Councils, Second enumerates the powers of the Metropolitan Corporations and third is about the financial powers conferred on the councils and resources made available to them.

Continue reading ONE SINDH, ONE SYSTEM – NO TO APARTHEID DUAL SYSTEM

Bartering away Sindh Rights to remain in power is a wound that would never heal!

By: Khalid Hashmani

It is an unimaginable tragedy that the political party that Sindhis overwhelmingly voted for has turned around and stuck the most devastating dagger in the heart of Sindh. Sindhis in Sindh and else where in the world are feeling deeply betrayed and hurt by this action of PPP. They are not likely to forget and forgive this betrayal by a political party that had pledged protect and advance Sindhi rights.

I feel embarrassed to have urged my family and friends back home to vote for PPP in the last elections. I feel ashamed to have pleaded with others on this forum to give PPP some more time to deliver on their commitments when others were expressing disappointment with the PPP after few months of their government.

I must admit that I had never expected that PPP will be the main architect of laying foundations for the dismemberment of Sindh and strengthening a system that denies equal rights to Sindhis in large cities of Sindh. I know of no example where a political party so bluntly and stupidly bartered away the aspirations and rights of those who gave their 100% support.

Two other examples come to mind from Sindh’s past history – Chanesar’s support of Alla-uddin Khilji’s attack on Sindh so that he will become ruler of Sindh and the act of Sindhi members in Sindh’s Parliament in supporting the creation of one unit. History is the witness that in both cases the unjust actions and changes were ultimately defeated. Dodo Soomro gave his life and left example of sacrifice and love for Sindh for generations to come and the annulment of “one unit” within few years.

I have a belief that like “one unit”, this forced imposition of unnatural, artificial, rejected, controversial dual system that creates two governance system in Sindh will too see the same fate. Sindhis must not accept this unpatriotic division of Sindh and must continue the struggle to have one uniform system governance in Sindh. The struggle for reversion must be continued as we did against “one unit”.

We must urge our families and friends never to vote for any political party or group that has supported or will support this artificial dual system. We must encourage and foster a movement that will result reversion of this unjust division in near future.

Sindhi writers, intellectuals reject SPLGO 2012 – SAMA TV

KARACHI: Sindhi writers, poets, intellectuals, artists, civil society members, journalists and political activists staged a protest against Sindh People’s Local Government Ordinance (SPLGO) 2012 outside Karachi Press Club on Saturday.

A large number of the writers gathered here and chanted slogans against the ordinance, rejecting the dual system in one province.

Sindh Assembly Members, PML-F leaders Nusrat Sahar and Marvi Rashdi also participated in the protest and said that the ordinance was illegal and exposed PPP of betraying Sindh and its people.

The participants included Agha Salim, Fehmida Riaz, Amar Sindhu, Arfana Malah, Jami Chandio, Aijaz Mangi, G.N.Muhgal, Zulfiqar Halepoto, Inam Sheikh and others. They said that the act was aimed to create a state within state in the province. Courtesy: SAMAA TV

http://samaa.tv/newsdetail.aspx?ID=54853&CID=1

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More details » BBC

Violent protest in Nawabshah against SPLGO; 1 dead 6 injured

By Ahmed Farooq

Hyderabad: A man was killed and six others injured during violent protest against Sindh People’s Local Government Ordinance 2012 in Nawazbshah district [Home district of President Zardari] on Monday.

The protesters, belonging to various nationalists parties, …. and set ablaze Airport Police Station in Gharibad locality.

The protesters rallied on Sakrand Road as they observed strike against the controversial local government system, although, supported by two major political stakeholders the Pakistan People’s Party and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement. Police also resorted to aerial firing to disperse the charged protesters ….

The dead and injured were taken to nearby hospitals. The Sindh Assembly today (Monday) passed the [notorious, controversial & black ordinance of dictator Gen. Musharraf in the name of] SPLGO 2012 bill which further fueled the already angry nationalist elements.

Courtesy: The News Tribe

http://www.thenewstribe.com/2012/10/01/violent-protest-in-nawabshah-against-splgo-1-dead-6-injured/#.UGr-qFFXljs

Save Sindh committee calls for strike today

The Save Sindh committee (SSC), an alliance of nationalist parties in Sindh has called for shutter down in Sindh today (Monday) after Qaim Ali Shah government in Sindh showed its intention to present controversial local government ordinance in the provincial assembly for making it a permanent law.

With the ordinance which drew severe criticism in Sindh, the government restored 18 Towns of Karachi and a notification in this regard was issued on Saturday.

The system as its opponents claim replicates the one introduced by military dictator Gen Musharraf with a malicious design of dividing Sindh into two parts.

The SSC convener Syed Jalal Mehmood Shah said it was a huge plot to divide Sindh and, they would never allow it to be implemented. Mr. Shah and his committee leaders including Dr. Qadir Magsi were in Thatto in connection to their campaign against the local government law. They appealed to the people of Sindh to observe strike today.

After the SSC’s call, reports said, the workers of the SSC parties staged protest demonstrations in various cities and towns of the province.

Also, there were reports that they besieged the house of a PPP MPA Dr. Magsi announced they would put siege around the houses of the members of Sindh Assembly today. The strike call is also supported by the PML – N, JI and other parties. The PML – F and its allies including the PML – Q and NPP have announced that they would severely protest in the assembly. They have their members in the assembly who have already sought separate seats on opposition benches in the house. KARACHI: TP Report, October 1, 2012

Courtesy: The Point

http://thepoint.com.pk/sindh72-Save-Sindh-committee-calls-for-strike-today.php

YouTube ban restricts rights of Pakistanis: Human rights organisation

KARACHI: Condemning hate speech on the internet in general and the anti-Islam film “Innocence of Muslims” in particular, the Bytes for All (B4A) Pakistan said it believes that banning “channels of communication [YouTube], limiting access to information platforms and steps to curtail free expression only serve to pave the way for politics-based control systems that curb the voices of individuals.”

The B4A, a human rights organisation with a focus on Information and Communication Technologies, commented on the recent ban imposed on video sharing website YouTube as per the order of Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf.

The organisation stressed that the film should not be allowed to form the basis of systematic censorship and filtering of internet in the country.

It further stated that the blanket ban restricted the rights of Pakistani citizens, who wish to use the platform for counter-argument, expression and other educational and developmental purposes.

“This extreme step ignores the alternative, more conservative actions that were available to the government, including the issuing of a take-down notice to YouTube for the removal of specific content in Pakistan,” the B4A remarked.

Courtesy: The Express Tribune

Restructuring of the Judicial System – Taj Haider

Article 209 (Supreme Judicial Council) lays down the composition as well the procedure to be followed to probe into capacity or conduct of a judge of the Supreme Court or a High Court.

While the said article in Sub-article (3) sections (a) and (b) looks at the possibility of looking at the capacity or the conduct of a member of the Supreme Judicial Council who is a judge of the Supreme Court or a Chief Justice of a High Court, it clearly omits the possibility of looking into the capacity and conduct of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

There is a clear procedure laid down for the impeachment of the President of Pakistan by the Parliament in article 47. However, the Chief Justice of Pakistan is not answerable to any authority if he is accused of misconduct or is perceived to be unable to perform his duties for any reason.

The composition of the Supreme Judicial Council is also faulty in the sense that it establishes a complete monopoly of the Supreme Court and makes the provincial High Courts subservient. Only two most senior Chief Justices of High Courts are council members as against three (Supreme Court Chief Justice and two next most senior Judges from the Supreme Court). This composition clearly violates the autonomy principle and concentrate authority in the Centre and de-facto in one person, who is the Chief Justice and also above probe if accused of incapacity or misconduct.

It is thus proposed that:

1) Besides the Chief Justice of Pakistan only the one senior most judge of the Supreme Court should be member of the Supreme Judicial Council.

2) The Chief Justices of all the four provincial High Courts should be members of the Supreme Judicial Council.

3) The Senate of Pakistan shall have the power to impeach the Chief Justice of Pakistan by two third majority.

Continue reading Restructuring of the Judicial System – Taj Haider

For the good of democracy – By Farrukh Khan Pitafi

Democracy means government by the uneducated, while aristocracy means government by the badly educated.” — Gilbert K Chesterton

At a juncture when the propinquity of a truly democratic order was almost being taken for granted, Pakistan suffered the biggest disaster since the hanging of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. A three-member bench headed by the Chief Justice of Pakistan, who has vowed to protect democracy, sacked a democratically-elected prime minister on a matter of constitutional interpretation.

The sacked man, Yousaf Raza Gilani, and his party accepted the ruling with grace and nominated another candidate. But the day the prime ministerial nominee, Makhdum Shahabuddin, was to file his nomination papers, an anti-narcotics court issued a non-bailable warrant for his arrest, on a case that had been pending for weeks. Imagine, a court waking up on that precise day. The powers that be in the Islamic republic do not seem to care much for democracy. I have previously expressed hope in the growth of democracy and the institution building process. With the prime minister removed through an undemocratic, albeit legal method, that optimism cannot be sustained. It is clear that this is not the case of institutions clashing over boundaries, but disputes concerning other matters. Of course, the ruling party, too, is responsible for this sorry tale.

In Islamabad’s drawing rooms, it is being speculated that a government of technocrats backed by the army will soon be installed through a soft coup. Those who make these claims, carry a list of candidates for each ministry. Another theory is that the judiciary-executive tussle will result in the announcement of early elections and when the assemblies are dismissed, names in the aforementioned list will be adjusted in the caretaker cabinet, which in time, will be granted two to three years of extension. As the sacking of a prime minister and embarrassing an elected government by asking it to write a letter against its own head of state can be considered akin to protecting democracy, there is little doubt that this would also strengthen democracy.

Change may come in any shape, but if it comes through any means other than fresh elections, it will be detrimental. And change will definitely come. But let us fix responsibility for any undemocratic development. It should be remembered that the current democratic dispensation was founded on an intricate masonry of checks and balances. One function of the independent judiciary was to protect democracy. While it might have protected it from a military takeover, it has not been able to protect it from its own wrath. You can foresee the entire system collapsing. Some would say that the protectors of the Constitution have plunged the nation into another crisis-ridden bog.

If any undemocratic change comes, our armchair theoreticians assure us, it will not be limited to the cabinet and parliament alone, but will affect the judiciary as well. Perhaps, our judicial custodians have forgotten that they are part of the very democratic order that their recent verdicts seem to have so negatively impacted.

Courtesy:  The Express Tribune, June 23rd, 2012.

China’s ‘Bad Emperor’ Problem – Francis Fukuyama

For more than 2000 years, the Chinese political system has been built around a highly sophisticated centralized bureaucracy, which has run what has always been a vast society through top-down methods.  What China never developed was a rule of law, that is, an independent legal institution that would limit the discretion of the government, or democratic accountability.  What the Chinese substituted for formal checks on power was a bureaucracy bound by rules and customs which made its behavior reasonably predictable, and a Confucian moral system that educated leaders to look to public interests rather than their own aggrandizement.  This system is, in essence, the same one that is operating today, with the Chinese Communist Party taking the role of Emperor.

Continue reading China’s ‘Bad Emperor’ Problem – Francis Fukuyama

Pakistan’s Kangaroo Court calls itself “Supreme Court,” but in fact is another front for the Mullah-Military complex

Pakistan’s puppet Court – By Shiraz Paracha

The Supreme Court’s controversial detailed verdict against the elected Prime Minister of Pakistan is one more bad decision by a Court that has a dark history of collaboration with the military in depriving the people of Pakistan of their fundamental rights.

The Supreme Court has been transcending its legal boundaries and constitutional role. Its decisions are biased, unfair and politicized. The Court is not a neutral and objective defender of law and judges have been acting as puppets.

The Judiciary is not independent and appears to be playing someone’s game. Indeed the Supreme Court is acting as a proxy for imposing a controlled democracy in Pakistan. It seems that characters such as Imran Khan and Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan are part of this game. The former ISI chief Lt. General Shuja Pasha was an architect of the latest effort to introduce ‘clean democracy’ in Pakistan. General Pasha was not alone in military’s one more political adventure.

Actually, the military considers itself the sole defender of Pakistan and generals have been trying to shape and control the Pakistani politics. In fact, the military never felt comfortable with parliamentary form of democracy. For this reason every few years new campaigns are launched to ‘clean’ the system.

Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan’s recent calls for the establishment of a technocrat government and Imran Khan’s Tsunami are reflections of military’s new efforts to bring a setup that ‘suits’ Pakistan. The Judiciary and media are means to complete that agenda. As the Parliament is about to complete its term, Imran Khan is threatening that he would not accept results of the new elections. Dr. Qadeer, dubbed by some as the future president, has joined hands with Imran Khan. The media and the Judiciary are taking cue from some in the military to pressurize the present government. All these actors want to maintain the status quo by imposing a controlled democracy.

Continue reading Pakistan’s Kangaroo Court calls itself “Supreme Court,” but in fact is another front for the Mullah-Military complex

Minorities in Pakistan disturbed over forced conversions

Lahore: Minorities in Pakistan are disturbed over forced conversions and have taken strong exception to the justice system becoming ”an instrument of injustice” in their case, leaders of minority communities have said.

The leaders expressed serious reservations over the Supreme Court’s decision in the case of three Hindu women who were allegedly forced to convert and marry Muslims.

Earlier this week, a bench led by Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry said the women should decide their future, following which they chose to go with their husbands.

Emmanuel Yousaf and Peter Jacob, representatives of the Catholic National Commission for Justice and Peace, underlined the need for a comprehensive review of the issue of forced conversions and a firm stand by the government to uphold justice and human rights.

Referring to the cases of Rinkle Kumari, Asha Kumari and Lata Kumari, who were allegedly forced to convert, Yousaf and Jacob said the apex court’s procedures had become an “instrument of injustice” as the principle of free consent was applied loosely or selectively and in disregard to social realities.

Continue reading Minorities in Pakistan disturbed over forced conversions

The bloody civilians and the almighty generals

Baaghi: Caviar to the general – By Marvi Sirmed

Even if the agencies in other countries play this ‘august’ role of interrupting the democratic process in their countries, does it justify ISI’s doling out money to keep a certain political party of the people’s choice out of government?

“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’”, said a news item in an English language daily newspaper on March 15. What merited this royal annoyance was open to discussion in the media about the re-eruption of a long simmering ‘Mehrangate’ that should be best described as ISI-gate. According to this case, some Rs 140 million had been doled out to politicians to rig the elections in 1990. The rest of the money out of Rs 350 million, as claimed by one Younas Habib, Zonal Manager of Habib Bank at that time, who was allegedly asked by the ISI to generate these funds, eventually went to the coffers of ISI and its officials and General Aslam Beg, the then army chief.

Continue reading The bloody civilians and the almighty generals

How to say yes to online censorship

By Jahanzaib Haque

Excerpt;

….. The Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA) must issue a list of the blocked websites with explanations for who blocked the site and for what reason, under which law, along with the length of the ban. No ban should be put in place without court approval and due discourse with independent entities set up to safeguard the rights of the citizens. Any ban on a site should be preceded by a prior warning sent to the webmaster, possibly including a two/three strike system. A notice of an implemented ban should be sent to the site owners and announced publicly and there should be a clearly established system for challenging the ban.

As yet, the PTA and the government have made no overtures to suggest they want to be held accountable or want to develop a system after consultation with the citizens they serve. Till they do, the ongoing and upcoming censorship of the internet in Pakistan must be fought tooth and nail.

Read more: The Express Tribune, March 13th, 2012.

No future of Sindh in Pakistan

By Gul Agha

A complete meltdown of Sindhi culture and no future of the thousands years old Indus civilization in Pakistan — Sindhis will not only lose their essential diversity, but be reduced to a minority in much more of Sindh with another 10+% of its Sindhi Hindu population forced to migrate to India and other countries by the reactionary deep state which is influenced by AL-Qaeda ideology. Mullahs must be countered.. they have huge support from the government agencies and through the educational system which tries to brainwash children through a ridiculous ideology in … and Pakistan studies courses.

Via – adopted from Facebook

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20 Hindu girls forced to convert in a month: HRCP

New York Times – Pakistan Builds Web Wall Out in the Open

By ERIC PFANNER

PARIS — Many countries censor the Internet, but few spell out their intentions as explicitly as Pakistan.

In an effort to tighten its control over the Internet, the government recently published a public tender for the “development, deployment and operation of a national-level URL filtering and blocking system.”

Technology companies, academic institutions and other interested parties have until March 16 to submit proposals for the $10 million project, but anger about it has been growing both inside and outside Pakistan.

Censorship of the Web is nothing new in Pakistan, which, like other countries in the region, says it wants to uphold public morality, protect national security or prevent blasphemy. The government has blocked access to pornographic sites, as well as, from time to time, mainstream services like Facebook and YouTube.

Until now, however, Pakistan has done so in a makeshift way, demanding that Internet service providers cut off access to specific sites upon request. With Internet use growing rapidly, the censors are struggling to keep up, so the government wants to build an automatic blocking and filtering system, like the so-called Great Firewall of China.

While China and other governments that sanitize the Internet generally do so with little public disclosure, Pakistan is being surprisingly forthcoming about its censorship needs. It published its request for proposals on the Web site of the Information and Communications Technology Ministry’s Research and Development Fund and even took out newspaper advertisements to publicize the project.

“The system would have a central database of undesirable URL’s that would be loaded on the distributed hardware boxes at each POP and updated on daily basis,” the request for proposals says, referring to uniform resource locators, the unique addresses for specific Web pages, and points of presence, or access points.

“The database would be regularly updated through subscription to an international reputed company maintaining and updating such databases,” according to the request, which was published last month.

The tender details a number of technical specifications, including the fact that the technology “should be able to handle a block list of up to 50 million URL’s (concurrent unidirectional filtering capacity) with processing delay of not more than 1 milliseconds.”

Following the Arab Spring, which demonstrated the power of the Internet to help spread political and social change, Pakistan’s move to clamp down has set off a storm of protest among free-speech groups in the country and beyond.

Opponents of censorship say they are doubly appalled because they associated this kind of heavy-handed approach more with the previous regime of Gen. Pervez Musharraf than with the current government of President Asif Ali Zardari.

“The authorities here are big fans of China and how it filters the Internet,” said Sana Saleem, chief executive of Bolo Bhi, a group that campaigns against restrictions on the Internet. “They overlook the fact that China is an autocratic regime and we are a democracy.”

Continue reading New York Times – Pakistan Builds Web Wall Out in the Open

Quota System

By Dr Ali Akbar Dhakan

In order to remove inequalities in the recruitment in various organizations and corporations and also provide constitutional share to all small provinces in jobs, quota system was introduced in the 1973 constitution because of the fact that before this, the backward areas and small provinces had been neglected deliberately in the recruitment of all categories of jobs by the bureaucrats belonging to the big province Punjab as they were holding the senior positions since the partition of the subcontinent and also particularly after the imposition of one Unit system in 1955 and making Lahore as the capital of four provinces of west Pakistan  Continue reading Quota System

Introduction of Black Law for Internet Censorship by Alleged Democratic Government of PPP

The filtering and blocking system will function as a firewall for the entire country and will have the potential to block the access of any specific URL throughout the country.

In yet another move that appears to be aimed towards internet censorship in Pakistan, a government department has called for proposals for the development, deployment and operation of a national level URL Filtering and Blocking System.

The ad had been placed in local papers by National ICT R&D Fund, a division of the Ministry of Information Technology, on February 22, 2012. The proposal request states that each box of the system “should be able to handle a block list of up to 50 million URLs with a processing delay of not more than 1 millisecond.”

The filtering and blocking system will function as a firewall for the entire country and will have the potential to block the access of any specific URL throughout the country.

According to the Request for Proposal available on the ICT R&D Fund website, the system should be capable of filtering and blocking URLs from the domain level to sub-folder, file levels and also specific file types. Additionally, the system should have the ability to block a single IP or a range of IPs.

The proposal states that the solution should be able to handle 85Gbps of bandwidth and should have growth scalability of around 40% to 50% every year. ….

Read more » The Express Tribune

Catch me if you can – Pakistan’s army the best business corporation

Pakistan’s answer to the iPad is the PACPAD

By CHRIS BRUMMITT

Catch me if you can … Mohammad Imran holds a locally-made PACPad computer tablet at his electronics store in Rawalpindi, Pakistan.

Inside a high-security air force complex that builds jet fighters and weapons systems, Pakistan’s military is working on the latest addition to its sprawling commercial empire: a homegrown version of the iPad.

It’s a venture that bundles together Pakistani engineering and Chinese hardware, and shines a light on the military’s controversial foothold in the consumer market. Supporters say it will boost the economy as well as a troubled nation’s self-esteem.

It all comes together at an air force base in Kamra in northern Pakistan, where avionics engineers – when they’re not working on defense projects – assemble the PACPAD 1.

“The original is the iPad, the copy is the PACPAD,” said Mohammad Imran, who stocks the product at his small computer and mobile phone shop in a mall in Rawalpindi, a city not far from Kamra and the home of the Pakistani army.

The device runs on Android 2.3, an operating system made by Google and given away for free. At around $US200, it’s less than half the price of Apple or Samsung devices and cheaper than other low-end Chinese tablets on the market, with the bonus of a local, one-year guarantee.

The PAC in the name stands for the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex, where it is made. The PAC also makes an e-reader and small laptop.

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/digital-life/tablets/pakistans-answer-to-the-ipad-is-the-pacpad-20120220-1tk59.html#ixzz1n7Mx84Bb

We are all prisoners here in Pakistan

We are all prisoners

By Mehreen Zahra Malik

Excerpts;

….. But here in Pakistan – where the justice system is hopelessly damaged, and where the guardians of national interest get to decide not just who is a criminal but also which criminals are enemies of the state – there was little chance of the Adiala 11 being punished in the ways in which punishment has come to be understood around the world.

Not here, no. Here, the truly powerful feed pain and terror to the masses like fast food while they dine on the most exclusive delicacy of all – impunity. That is how the law works here: by leaving behind the gift of grief, these souvenirs of pain that the Adiala 11 have become in the public imagination.

But while pain has limits, apprehension has none. At the hands of a punitive state, you and me are left not only to grieve for what we know has happened, but also to endlessly fear all that possibly may happen.

In a sense, then, we are all prisoners here in Pakistan.

The writer is an assistant editor at The News. Email: mehreenzahramalik@gmail.com

To read complete article : Daily Times

http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=93852&Cat=9#.T0OjfsNm1A0.twitter

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Bangladesh Army says it foiled a coup via Facebook

Intelligence sources say the Bangladesh coup attempt last month was fueled by retired officers campaigning to introduce sharia law. The news raises concern about political instability in the region.

By Anis Ahmed, Reuters

Dhaka: Bangladesh’s Army said on Thursday it had foiled a coup attempt by retired and serving officers last month that intelligence sources said was driven by a campaign to introduce sharia law throughout the majority Muslim country.

Army intelligence discovered that Major Ziaul Haque had fled the barracks and was contacting fellow officers and ex-officers through Facebook and by cellphone to encourage them to join the plot, Brigadier General Muhammad Masud Razzaq said.

“Specific information has been unearthed that some officers in military service have been involved in the conspiracy to topple the system of democratic governance,” he told reporters.

He said around 16 former and active officers were involved. Some had been detained and would appear before a military court.

Impoverished Bangladesh has a history of coups, with army generals running the South Asian nation for 15 years until the end of 1990.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina took power in early 2009 and has since faced threats from Islamist and other radical groups.

A revolt in the country’s paramilitary forces in February 2009 started in Dhaka and spread to a dozen other cities, killing more than 70 people, including 51 army officers. The revolt was quelled after two days but the country has since been shadowed by fears of further uprisings.

Sources in the army said the coup attempt was made late last month. “The attempt has been effectively controlled and now the process is on to punish the culprits,” one military official said.

Intelligence sources said the coup attempt was fuelled by a retired officer and associates in active service who were campaigning to introduce sharia law.

Intelligence officers also said it appeared to have been planned over weeks or months by officers having close links with what they described as religious fanatics within and outside the military. ….

Read more » CSMONITOR.COM

Why is Iftikhar Chaudhry destroying Pakistan?

by Bilal Qureshi

Every objective analyst who follows Pakistan has come to the same conclusion – Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry is becoming a serious threat not only to the country, but also to the entire democratic system that is already under tremendous stress. In fact, it is pretty much established that some behind the scene players in Pakistan are interested in seeing ‘favorable’ people take over the government and these forces are perhaps using the Chief Justice as a tool to achieve their nauseating objective.

As pointed out by Wajid Ali Syed, It is indeed a sad commentary on Pakistan that when an army chief is asked to leave, he refuses and instead launches a coup. When the chief justice is sacked for his alleged corruption, he refuses to accept the decision of the government that appointed him and instead comes out on the streets with thugs (dressed as lawyers) and only calms down when he gets his way. Where is the law of the land? Why can’t an elected Prime Minister or an elected President appoint or dismiss people based on the facts that are before them? Why is everything in Pakistan political? We talk about chaos in Taliban controled areas, but our own people are responsible for the current mess because they refuse to accept anything coming from others – everyone wants to get his way at every cost. Isn’t it pathetic? Yes, it is.

Looking at Pakistan’s political landscape, one doesn’t have to be a rocket scientist to know what is going on between Iftikhar Chaudhry, Ashfaq Kiyani, GEO TV and Nawaz/Shahbaz Sharif and regretfully, I also know that it is not good for the country. The current government, which was elected democratically, is the target of pro-Taliban hate mongers and unfortunately for Pakistan, these forces of darkness and mayhem have found an willing ally in Iftikhar Chaudhry. But, any effort to destabilize the government would be considered an act of war, disguised asl activism by the majority, especially in smaller provices. And it doesn’t matter who is pulling the strings behind the scene– it is time to break the vicious cycle of musical chair that has been going on thanks to successive, but unnecessary ‘interventions’ by generals in Pakistan for decades. Otherwise, Pakistan would continue to be considered a failed state, a corrupt state, and a state which is not capable of producing competent generals or judges.

The current tension in Pakistan between Zardari and judiciary is the direct result of unconstitutional judicial activism and aggression by Iftikhar Chaudhry. And, sadly, the chief justice seems to believe that once he carries out the illegal, unethical, and unconstitutional orders of his masked masters (of removing Zardari), he (he the chief justice) will continue to be important, and relevant, (his desire to be the president of Pakistan is the worst kept secret in the county) but little does he know the history of Pakistan’s political establishment’s ability to use and dispose important figures. But, we all live and learn and he too will regret his current actions, but then, it will be too late.

So, where does Pakistan go from here, especially if Zardari, who is the democratically elected president of Pakistan, is removed from Pakistan? Well, nothing earth shattering is going to happen instantly, but according to Pakistan watchers, the winds of tragedy that are currently blowing in Baluchistan will not only gain momentum, but they will also engulf Sindh and N.W.F.P. As it is, Canadian and other Western military planners believe that by 2016, Pakistan as we know it won’t be there. I hope and pray that these people are wrong. At the same time, I also hope and pray that military, mullah, media and judiciary in Pakistan would realize the catastrophic impact of their current strategy of demonizing Zardari and his allies, and by extension, creating an environment in which people prefer to have stability over democracy. The scare tactics currently used by the evil nexus in Pakistan to overthrow the government could also force people, especially in smaller provinces to realize that their future with Pakistan is nothing but humiliation and slavery. Once this notion got going in smaller provinces, it would be hard to un-prove it. Remember Bangladesh?

Courtesy: » Foreign Policy Blogs

http://foreignpolicyblogs.com/2010/02/13/why-is-iftikhar-chaudhry-destroying-pakistan/

Memogate: an attempt to thwart democracy, and threatening the representative system is an attack on sovereignty of the people of Pakistan

Civil Society of Pakistan’s stand on So-called Memogate

Civil society terms memogate scandal an attempt to thwart democracy; Says threatening the representative system tantamount to attack on sovereignty of people.

Karachi, Sindh – 17 December 2011: We, the representatives of the Civil Society including non governmental organisations, labour organisations, academia, women’s rights bodies, and media persons express deep concern over the current political situation in the country where a crisis is being manufactured on frivolous grounds, and is being referred as the so-called Memogate. This has the potential of subverting democratically elected Parliament and the Constitution.

It is time all conspirators against democracy and the sovereignty of the people be called to account. Sovereignty belongs to the people who have agreed to exercise it through their representatives in a federal, parliamentary, and a democratic system. Any attempt at arbitrarily altering this arrangement is tantamount to an attack on the sovereignty of the people. Various institutions of the state are supposed to function within their defined constitutional parameters and complement each other but they seem to be working at cross-purposes, to the determent of public interest.

We emphasise that the role of political parties and political leaders is to represent their constituents’ interests and arrive at negotiated agreements to differences in agreed political forums.

The role of state’s security organizations is to serve the people through stipulated constitutional arrangements, under the command of the executive, and not to define what is or is not in the national interest.

The role of the judiciary is to protect the rights of the citizens from arbitrary abuse of executive power, and not to itself become a source of arbitrary executive power.

The role of the mass media is to help citizens hold powerful interests groups within and outside the state to promote their legitimate interests and hold violators of rights accountable, and not to itself act as an unaccountable interest group.

In our opinion, parliament is the appropriate forum to discuss and investigate this issue and come up with findings.

We believe that any attack on the sovereignty of the people will be unjust. It will necessarily lead to conflict and must be resisted.

We appeal to the people of Pakistan to stand united and firm in support of democracy and to resist all attempts aimed at its subversion. The people of Pakistan have made great many sacrifices for the cause of democracy and they should not let any vested interests trample their right to have a democratic and an elected representative system run the country.

Continue reading Memogate: an attempt to thwart democracy, and threatening the representative system is an attack on sovereignty of the people of Pakistan

The dream of a new start in Pakistan

By Omar Ali

The rise of Imran Khan and memogate have enthused those who dream of a “reformed” democracy under the guiding hand of the army.

A few days ago, I was planning to write about Imran Khan. Pakistan’s most successful cricket captain and philanthropist had been trying to add “successful politician” to his resume since 1996, but after many years in the political wilderness he finally seemed to make a breakthrough with his large public meeting in Lahore. Pakistan’s educated youth, in particular, appeared to be very excited about a politician for the first time in their young lives. But they were not alone; even the ageing British Marxist, Tariq Ali, threw caution to the winds and announced that Mr. Khan’s gathering was a sign that the “Arab Spring” had finally made it to Pakistan and was even larger than the huge rallies of Benazir Bhutto and her father in days gone by. Comrade Tariq seemed to have forgotten that the Arab Spring had come to Pakistan many decades before it belatedly reached the Arab world and never mind the size of the rally, which bore no comparison to Benazir’s historic 1986 rally. But, Tariq Ali’s flights of fancy notwithstanding, the rally was clearly large and the arrival of Mr. Khan as a politician with crowd support was a major event.

But then President Asif Ali Zardari called his U.S. ambassador Hussain Haqqani to return to Pakistan to explain his role in “memogate,” the still mysterious affair in which he apparently gave international fixer Mansoor Ijaz a memo that was passed on to Admiral Mullen. It is not yet clear who was behind the memo and what he hoped to accomplish; did the Zardari regime really fear a coup at a time when the army was on the back-foot and faced real public humiliation in Pakistan in May 2011? And if it did, why pick this circuitous route to look for American help? And how would a regime that is unable to control the army and fears a coup be able to turn around and completely defang the same army with U.S. help a few days later? Is there more to the story? We don’t know, and may never know, but the story is not over yet.

Both stories may even be related; there are suggestions that Mr. Khan’s sudden rise is not just spontaneous combustion but involves some help from “the agencies.” Circumstantial evidence in favour of this suspicion includes the obvious sympathy he is receiving from pro-military websites and the fact that his extremely “liberal” and reasonable interview with Karan Thapar has not ignited any firestorm of protest in the “Paknationalist” community — a community generally quick to jump on anyone who talks of improved relations with India or admits that we do have militants and that they do need to be eliminated. Memogate is even more obviously a story about the civilian-military divide in Pakistan and it is no secret that it is the army that is asking for his removal. Is this then the proverbial perfect storm that will sweep away the current civilian dispensation and replace it with that old favourite of the army and the middle class: a “caretaker government” that will rid us of “corrupt politicians” and “unpatriotic elements” and make Pakistan the China of South Asia?

I have no way of knowing if the time is nigh, but the dream of a new start is not a figment of my imagination. The military and its favourite intellectuals (and large sections of the middle class) seem to be in a permanent state of anticipation of the day when the military will sweep away this sorry scheme of things and then we will have order and progress. If pressed about the nature of the system that will replace the current system, the naïve foot soldiers may think of the late lamented (and mostly imaginary) caliphate if they are on the Islamist side of the fence; or of “reformed” and real democracy, the kind that does not elect Altaf Hussains and Asif Zardaris, if they are on the smaller westernised liberal side of the fence. But the army’s own house intellectuals are more likely to point to China. That the history of China and the ruling communist party has no resemblance to GHQ’s own history of inept and retrograde interference in Pakistani politics is something that is never brought up; apparently this time, the GHQ will start where the Chinese are today, having conveniently skipped an intervening century of mass movements, civil wars and revolutions, not to speak of 4000 years of civilisation and culture.

Of course, the system as it exists is unnatural. Either the army has to be brought to heel under an elected civilian regime or civilians have to be pushed aside for a more efficient form of military rule (even if it is in the garb of a civilian “caretaker regime”). The current “neither fish nor fowl” system will have to evolve in one direction or the other, or crises like memogate will continue to erupt. Since most people think the army has the upper hand, the second outcome appears more likely to them. It could be that Mr. Khan offers them the chance to have their cake and eat it too; he is genuinely popular and if his party wins the elections and comes to power, the army may have the regime it wants in a more legitimate manner. But this middle-class dream outcome also seems unlikely. It is hard to see how the PTI can win a majority in a genuine election. And with no plan beyond simplistic patriotic slogans, any such regime will soon face the same problems as the one it replaces.

That brings us to the second prediction: the current atmosphere of crisis will continue unabated no matter what arrangements are made by the army. The really critical problem in Pakistan is not “corrupt politicians.” In that respect, we are little different from India, Indonesia or many other countries not thought to be in terminal existential crisis. The real problem is that an overpopulated third world postcolonial state has not yet settled even the most fundamental issues about the nature of the state and its institutions. The “hard” version of the two-nation theory and its associated Islamism have helped to create a constituency for millenarian Islamist fantasies. And 20 years of training militants for “asymmetric warfare” against India has created an armed force and a safe haven for that force. These two streams have mingled to the point where the state faces civil war against its own creations. It is also a war for which the deep state lacks an adequate narrative, having spent decades nurturing a virulent anti-Indian and Islamist ideology that glorifies the very people they are now forced to fight. But fight them it must because its own interests lie with globalised capitalism, not militants. They may imagine they can again direct the war outwards to Afghanistan and Kashmir, but the militants have other ideas, and will not go quietly into the night. Even if they did, the legitimacy of the 1973 constitution and its institutions within the elite remains low and so the crisis of governance would continue.

So, after this doom and gloom, a faint “positive” prediction: There are better than even chances that eventually the deep state will be compelled to claw its way past all these problems to defeat the militants, make peace with India and establish a straightforward near-secular democratic system to run the country. All of that may look less than the paradise many Pakistanis are waiting for, but it’s what the world has to offer at this point in history and it is unlikely that the intellectual resources of GHQ will somehow produce an alternative that the rest of the world has not yet found. It will not be pretty, but it will be done.

Or they will fail, with unpredictable dire consequences for their own people and the region. Either way, India would do well to help positive trends and resist negative ones without losing sight of the big picture. I think Manmohan Singh realises that, I hope others do too.

Continue reading The dream of a new start in Pakistan

Defend Occupy Toronto from Eviction!

ALL OUT TO DEFEND OCCUPY TORONTO! NO POLICE VIOLENCE! STOP THE EVICTIONS!

The Toronto Police have served eviction notices to Occupy Toronto protesters at St. James Park (Jarvis St. and King St.), ordering them to vacate the park between 12 midnight tonight and 5 a.m. tomorrow and threatening to remove them. Removal in the wee hours of the night means the police want to act without witnesses, increasing the threat of violence against peaceful protestors at Occupy Toronto.

The message of the Occupy Toronto protesters, representing the views of the majority of people in Canada, is a sharp critique of the inequalities, suffering and corruption of the capitalist system and advocates a more just society.

The camp is an expression of the right to free assembly and free speech.

We call on all those who care for democracy, civil rights, and the right to dissent, to go to the Occupy Toronto site at St. James park (Jarvis and King) and to stand in solidarity with the camp and its ideals, and to prevent a government attack on peaceful protesters.

The OFL is mobilizing a mass picket, linking arms around the site, at 11 pm tonight. President Sid Ryan notes that in London last night, the cops waited until supporters went home and then moved against the Occupy site around 1 am.

Comrades and friends should start going to the park whenever they can, and those who can, should also go to the 11 pm rally ..

If you cannot go to the site, phone your city councillor and the Mayor to demand they stop the eviction, and stop security officials from forcibly removing peaceful protestors from the site. Call your MP and MPP, call the talk shows, make your voice heard.

CP24 is running a poll asking the public if they support the eviction or not. Go to http://www.cp24.com to vote.

Unity and Solidarity Can Win!

Toronto Committee and Provincial Executive, Communist Party of Canada (Ontario)