Tag Archives: trade

China pledges to help Russia overcome economic hardships

China’s foreign minister has pledged support to Russia as it faces an economic downturn due to sanctions and a drop in oil prices. Boosting trade in yuan is a solution proposed by Beijing’s commerce minister.

Russia has the capability and the wisdom to overcome the existing hardship in the economic situation,” Foreign Minister Wang Yi told journalists, China Daily reported Monday. “If the Russian side needs it, we will provide necessary assistance within our capacity.

The offer of help comes as Russians are still recovering from the shock of the ruble’s worst crash in years last Tuesday, when it lost over 20 percent against the US dollar and the euro. The Russian currency bounced back the next day, but it still has lost almost half of its value since March.

Read more » RT
Learn more » http://rt.com/news/216563-china-russia-economic-hardships/

Jinnah Institute resolution: Pakistan, India experts spell out peace steps

By Maha Mussadaq

ISLAMABAD: A draft resolution on peace recommendations for India and Pakistan through trade and other measures were presented by former ambassador Sherry Rehman at Jinnah Institute’s 3rd Islamabad Dialogue which concluded on Friday.

As the two day Islamabad Dialogue came to an end, a number of Indian analysts and Pakistani experts on the region united for a successful dialogue.

Read more » The Express Tribune
http://tribune.com.pk/story/573228/jinnah-institute-resolution-pakistan-india-experts-spell-out-peace-steps/

Pak-Japan bilateral relations with focus on promoting trade and investment ties

Japanese Ambassador calls on the President

Islamabad; May 24, 2013: Japanese Ambassador in Pakistan Mr. Hiroshi Oe today called on President Asif Ali Zardari at the Aiwan-e-Sadr. Pak-Japan bilateral relations with focus on promoting trade and investment ties between the two countries were discussed during the meeting.

Courtesy: http://mediacellppp.wordpress.com/2013/05/24/japanese-ambassador-calls-on-the-president/?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=facebook

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“Pakistan has potential to become a global economic player”- Mark Lowcock

Politicians challenged to secure Pakistan’s global economic future

Mark Lowcock said:“Pakistan has everything it takes to be a successful, thriving, prosperous Islamic democracy.’

Pakistan has potential to become a global economic player.  It’s a powerful vision which can be realised if there is a focus on economic growth and implementing the vital reforms needed to stimulate and underpin growth a representative for the UK Government signalled yesterday.

Speaking at the Karachi School of Business and Leadership Mark Lowcock, the UK government’s most senior aid official, told business leaders and students that countries succeeding in today’s global race are those reforming the fastest to generate growth and reduce poverty.

Mark Lowcock said:

Pakistan has everything it takes to be a successful, thriving, prosperous Islamic democracy.”

“If you develop a clear and shared vision, sustain a long term commitment to travelling the long road of reform, and refuse to be deterred by the problems that will inevitably arise, then you can transform your country within a generation.”

Citing examples from across Asia and Africa, Mark Lowcock pressed that Pakistan’s stake in the global economy, and future investment potential, could be transformed. It has enormous potential for trade. Population dynamics mean that over the coming decades it could reap a demographic dividend, if the economy develops in a way that creates jobs for all young people.

Mr Lowcock stressed elections as an important watershed in embedding an inclusive political system, emphasised the importance of greater transparency in public operations, and highlighted the need to broaden the national dialogue on economic reform.

Mark Lowcock said:

Pakistan cannot sustain high rates of economic growth without a sufficient, reliable supply of energy…. The sector needs to be put on a more commercial footing, including a regulatory and tariff structure that is attractive to investors.”

“A tax system that collects less than 10% of GDP is unsustainable for any modern country. Without agreement and tangible progress on broader and fairer taxation, Pakistan will be unable to invest in a more prosperous future.”

Pakistan needs to invest in its best asset, which is your own people, especially in health and education to build human capital. It is also critical to promote women’s participation in the economy.  This is an issue of fairness and good governance. But it is also crucially an economic issue.”

Continue reading “Pakistan has potential to become a global economic player”- Mark Lowcock

How Arabs buy ‘wives’ and dump them in a few weeks

Mumbai: A month-long investigation by MiD DAY journalists has revealed a twisted form of human trafficking that involves rich Arabs, greedy Qazis, sham marriages, agents and girls lured into the flesh trade or those looking for a quick buck.

The modus operandi: set up a temporary or time-bound wedding to a rich Arab. The affluent Arab offers a negotiated amount for the services of a ‘wife’ during his stay in India. The price for the ‘booty’ varies from Rs. 15,000 to nearly a lakh for the 10-day marriage. Girls from poor families are sold like commodities to the Arabs, many of whom arrive on tourist visas from Saudi Arabia, UAE, Iran, Oman, Kuwait and Qatar. While this may seem shocking to many, the women involved in this latest form of flesh trade are often willing participants.

The Arab and The Qazi

These predators have been perpetrating a blatant crime under the veneer of nikaah, abusing the Islamic rules of marriage. Abusing the sanctioned provision which allows a Muslim man to have four wives at a time, many old Arabs are not just marrying minors in Mumbai and Hyderabad, but marrying more than one minor in a single trip to the country.

The Pimp and The Victim

A healthy stream of women keep flowing into the city from all parts of the country to solicit the Arab clientele who have turned Mumbai into a sex haven. For as little asRs 2,000 per job, scores of women line up every evening hoping to catch the eye of the adulterous tourist.

Continue reading How Arabs buy ‘wives’ and dump them in a few weeks

India-Pakistan Trade: Making Borders Irrelevant

By: Tara Beteille, co-authors: Kalpana Kochhar

In our blog post last November, we discussed Pakistan’s decision to grant India most favored nation (MFN) status. We were hopeful about the gains from easier trade between the two, but noted the many stumbling blocks in between. In the past 20 weeks, both countries have made serious efforts to address these blocks. Things are looking good. Here is an update.

Both countries mean business

In addition to the goodwill gesture of Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari visiting India this April and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh considering visiting Pakistan, important issues addressed include:

  • Pakistan issued an order in March 2012 to move from a positive list of 2,000 items for India to a negative list of 1,209 banned items. Pakistan intends to phase out the negative list altogether and formally give India MFN status by the end of 2012.
  • India, which formally granted Pakistan MFN status in 1996 (but maintained barriers) has agreed to reduce its sensitive list of 865 items by 30% within four months. India has also agreed in principle to allow Pakistani foreign direct investment in the country.
  • Both countries recently agreed to allow yearlong multiple-entry visas for business visitors, with visitors allowed to enter and exit through different cities.
  • The two countries have agreed to allow each other’s central banks – the Reserve Bank of India and the State Bank of Pakistan – to open bank branches across borders to facilitate financial transactions and ensure smooth trade.
  • A second checkpost gate was inaugurated this March at the Attari-Wagah border to ease road traffic between the two countries. The checkpost, with elaborate security features and capable of accommodating 600 trucks at a time, will provide upgraded infrastructure, including new storage go-downs, wide roads, and a luxurious passenger terminal.

Opportunities and gains

Making borders irrelevant can have far-reaching effects for economic prosperity across sectors in Pakistan and India. Consider a key driver of growth: electricity. South Asia’s recent More and Better Jobs flagship report estimated that industrial load shedding in Pakistan has resulted in the loss of 400,000 jobs. Trade between energy surplus and deficit regions could counter such losses — indeed, Pakistan is already in negotiations with India to import up to 500 MW of electricity.

Continue reading India-Pakistan Trade: Making Borders Irrelevant

No mention of the Munabao-Khokrapar trade option in India-Pak trade talks!?

Normal trade ties with India from February

By Jawed Naqvi

NEW DELHI: India and Pakistan agreed on Tuesday to resume normal trade ties in February, paving the way to end decades of political mistrust and military rivalry.

“We have turned the corner,” Pakistan’s Commerce Secretary Zafar Mehmood told reporters at a joint news conference with his Indian counterpart Rahul Khullar. “We are talking of a complete normalisation roadmap.”

Mr Mehmood said in a separate TV interview that Pakistan’s decision to accord India a most favoured nation (MFN) status would be conveyed officially to the world trade body before February. Misgivings about the move among ‘stakeholders’ in Pakistan who fear open trade with India would be allayed by then, he said. …

Read more » DAWN.COM

‘Occupy Islamabad’ rally tomorrow

– Amir Wasim

ISLAMABAD: Inspired by worldwide protest demonstrations against capitalism, a group of political workers and representatives of trade and student unions has announced that they will launch an ‘occupy Islamabad movement’ and hold a rally on Wednesday.

Coordinator of the recently-formed Anti-Capitalist Committee and secretary general of the Labour Party Pakistan Nisar Shah told Dawn on Monday that the march would start from Aabpara Chowk and culminate at the World Bank building, situated near the Constitution Avenue.

He said activists of Labour Party Pakistan, Workers Party Pakistan, Awami Party Pakistan and Socialist Movement Pakistan, representatives of the Pakistan Postal Union, PTCL Union, National Trade Union Federation, National Students Federation, Progressive Youth Organisation and a large number of civil society members, intellectuals and citizens would participate in the march in line with the ‘Occupy Wall Street’ campaign in the US and other such protests going on in more than 900 cities around the world. ….

Read more » DAWN.COM

Pakistani Beer tasted better than German, Scandinavian, British and American beers

Pakistan overturns ban on booze . . . for export

IT IS an Islamic republic where alcohol is forbidden to 97 per cent of the population and drinkers can face 80 lashes of the whip under holy law – but in a move set to anger religious conservatives, Pakistan is poised to become an exporter of beer.

An official in the Ministry of Commerce in Islamabad told The Times that a ruling this month by its Economic Committee on Trade would allow Pakistan to export beer and spirits from next year.

“India would be the largest market for our alcoholic products. ….

Read more: http://www.news.com.au/business/alcohol-is-forbidden-for-its-own-people-but-pakistan-is-set-to-become-a-beer-exporter/story-e6frfm1i-1226171580996#ixzz1bXDVGY00

 

FBR confirms 24,000 containers missing from Karachi Port

by Ansar Abbasi

ISLAMABAD: Thousands of Nato, ISAF and US Military containers have reportedly gone missing inside Pakistan during the last four years amid serious fears that many of these may have contained arms and ammunitions, which may have gone to terrorists.

Almost corroborating the grave charges levelled by PPP leader Dr Zulfiqar Mirza that a senior minister of MQM was responsible for these missing containers being in-charge of Ports and Shipping Ministry, sources in the Federal Board of Revenue say in addition to more than 24,000 missing containers of Afghan Transit Trade Commercial side, thousands of the unchecked containers belonging to Nato, ISAF and US Military had left the Karachi Port, but did not cross the Pak-Afghan border during the last four years. The sources, ….

Read more → The News

Pakistan college contest: Praise for bin Laden

LAHORE, Pakistan (AP) — Two months after the covert U.S. raid that killed Osama bin Laden, posters emblazoned with images of the burning World Trade Center towers appeared at the country’s largest university advertising a literary contest to glorify the slain al-Qaida chief.

The poem and essay competition at the prestigious Punjab University shows the footholds of hard-line Islamists on college campuses and growing efforts to raise their profile and influence even in the relatively cosmopolitan atmosphere of Pakistan’s culture capital, Lahore.

The contest’s organizers have kept their identities hidden. But many students and teachers suspect it is being held by a powerful Islamist student group that has increasingly enforced its conservative religious views on the rest of the campus — sometimes violently.

The Islami Jamiat Talaba, which is connected to Pakistan’s largest Islamist party, has denied involvement, saying it doesn’t participate in secret activities. But its leaders have publicly acknowledged that many members support bin Laden and have a profound hatred for the U.S.

The group’s rising ambitions have intensified fears about the radicalization of Pakistan’s educated middle classes, who make up a large part of the public university’s population. The educated classes have been seen as a bulwark against militant groups such as the Taliban in the nuclear-armed country.

The ability of Islami Jamiat Talaba, or Islamic Student Group, to gain ground on the university — even though many students reject its radical views — also reflects a general unwillingness of Pakistani authorities to challenge the powerful Islamist forces.

“Whoever is America’s friend is a traitor!” roared the head of the student group, Zubair Safdar, in an interview with The Associated Press. ….

Read more → Yahoo News

Anniversary: What if Pakistan did not have the bomb?

By Pervez Hoodbhoy

Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan has spent the last few years confined by the Pakistan Army to one of his palatial Islamabad residences where he whiles away his days writing weekly columns in newspapers. This venerable metallurgist, who claims paternity rights over Pakistan’s bomb, says it alone saves Pakistan. In a recent article, he wistfully wrote: “If we had had nuclear capability before 1971, we would not have lost half of our country – present-day Bangladesh – after disgraceful defeat.”

Given that 30,000 nuclear weapons failed to save the Soviet Union from decay, defeat and collapse, could the Bomb really have saved Pakistan in 1971? Can it do so now?

Let’s revisit 1971. Those of us who grew up in those times know in our hearts that East and West Pakistan were one country but never one nation. Young people today cannot imagine the rampant anti-Bengali racism among West Pakistanis then. With great shame, I must admit that as a thoughtless young boy I too felt embarrassed about small and dark people being among our compatriots. Victims of a delusion, we thought that good Muslims and Pakistanis were tall, fair, and spoke chaste Urdu. Some schoolmates would laugh at the strange sounding Bengali news broadcasts from Radio Pakistan.
The Bengali people suffered under West Pakistani rule. They believed their historical destiny was to be a Bengali-speaking nation, not the Urdu-speaking East Pakistan which Jinnah wanted. The East was rightfully bitter on other grounds too. It had 54% of Pakistan’s population and was the biggest earner of foreign exchange. But West Pakistani generals, bureaucrats, and politicians such as Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, feared a democratic system would transfer power and national resources to the East.

Denied democracy and justice, the people of East Pakistan helplessly watched the cash flow from East to fund government, industry, schools and dams in the West. When the Bhola cyclone killed half a million people in 1970, President Yahya Khan and his fellow generals in Rawalpindi’s GHQ could not have cared less.

The decisive break came with the elections. The Awami League won a majority in Pakistan’s parliament. Bhutto and the generals would not accept the peoples’ verdict. The Bengalis finally rose up for independence. When the West Pakistan army was sent in, massacre followed massacre. Political activists, intellectuals, trade unionists, and students were slaughtered. Blood ran in street gutters, and millions fled across the border. After India intervened to support the East, the army surrendered. Bangladesh was born.

That Pakistan did not have the bomb in 1971 must surely be among the greatest of blessings. It is hard for me to see what Dr AQ Khan has in mind when he suggests that it could have saved Pakistan.

Would the good doctor have dropped the bomb on the raging pro-independence mobs in Dhaka? Or used it to incinerate Calcutta and Delhi, and have the favour duly returned to Lahore and Karachi? Or should we have threatened India with nuclear attack to keep it out of the war so that we could endlessly kill East Pakistanis? Even without the bomb, estimated civilian deaths numbered in the hundreds of thousands if not a million. How many more East Pakistanis would he have liked to see killed for keeping Pakistan together?
Some might argue that regardless of the death and destruction, using the bomb to keep Pakistan together would have been a good thing for the people of East Pakistan in the long term. A look at developmental statistics can help decide.
Bangladesh is ranked 96th out of 110 countries in a 2010 prosperity index compiled by an independent London-based think-tank, the Legatum Institute, using governance, education, health, security, personal freedom, and social capital as criteria. Pakistan is at the 109th position, just one notch above Zimbabwe. By this measure the people of the East have benefited from independence. ….

Read more : The Express Tribune

Mujib’s 6 points

1. The constitution should provide for a Federation of Pakistan in its true sense on the 1940 Lahore Resolution and the parliamentary form of government with supremacy of a legislature directly elected on the basis of universal adult franchise.

2. The federal government should deal with only two subjects: defence and foreign affairs, and all other residuary subjects shall be vested in the federating states.

3. Two separate, but freely convertible currencies for two wings should be introduced; or if this is not feasible, there should be one currency for the whole country, but effective constitutional provisions should be introduced to stop the flight of capital from East to West Pakistan. Furthermore, a separate banking reserve should be established and separate fiscal and monetary policy be adopted for East Pakistan.

4. The power of taxation and revenue collection shall be vested in the federating units and the federal centre will have no such power. The federation will be entitled to a share in the state taxes to meet its expenditures.

5. There should be two separate accounts for the foreign exchange earnings of the two wings; the foreign exchange requirements of the federal government should be met by the two wings equally or in a ratio to be fixed; indigenous products should move free of duty between the two wings, and the constitution should empower the units to establish trade links with foreign countries.

6. East Pakistan should have a separate militia or paramilitary forces.

Source – Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups, April 21, 2011.

Pakistan has been playing us all for suckers

Britain is spending millions bolstering Pakistan, but it is a nation in thrall to radical Islam and is using its instability to blackmail the West

by Christina Lamb

When David Cameron announced £650m in education aid for Pakistan last week, I guess the same thought occurred to many British people as it did to me: why are we doing this?

While we are slashing our social services and making our children pay hefty university fees, why should we be giving all this money to a country that has reduced its education budget to 1.5% of GDP while spending several times as much on defence? A country where only 1.7m of a population of 180m pay tax? A country that is stepping up its production of nuclear weapons so much that its arsenal will soon outnumber Britain’s? A country so corrupt that when its embassy in Washington held an auction to raise money for flood victims, and a phone rang, one Pakistani said loudly: “That’s the president calling for his cut”? A country which has so alienated powerful friends in America that they now want to abandon it?

As someone who has spent almost as much time in Pakistan as in Britain over the past 24 years, I feel particularly conflicted, as I have long argued we should be investing more in education there.

That there is a crisis in Pakistan’s education system is beyond doubt. A report out last month by the Pakistan education taskforce, a non-partisan body, shows that at least 7m children are not in school. Indeed, one-tenth of the world’s children not in school are in Pakistan. The first time I went to Pakistan in 1987 I was astonished to see that while billions of pounds’ worth of weapons from the West were going to Pakistan’s intelligence service to distribute to the Afghan mujaheddin, there was nothing for schools.

The Saudis filled the gap by opening religious schools, some of which became breeding grounds for militants and trained the Taliban. Cameron hopes that investing in secular education will provide Pakistan’s children with an alternative to radicalism and reduce the flow of young men who want to come and bomb the West.

“I would struggle to find a country that it is more in Britain’s interests to see progress and succeed than Pakistan,” he said. “If Pakistan is a success, we will have a good friend to trade with and deal with in the future … If we fail, we will have all the problems of migration and extremism that we don’t want to see.”

As the sixth most populous country, with an arsenal of between 100 and 120 nuclear weapons, as the base of both Osama Bin Laden and the Taliban leadership, and as homeland to a large population in Britain, Pakistan is far more important to our security than Afghanistan. But after spending two weeks travelling in Pakistan last month, I feel the situation has gone far beyond anything that a long-term strategy of building schools and training teachers can hope to restrain.

The Pakistani crisis has reached the point where Washington — its paymaster to the tune of billions of dollars over the past 10 years — is being urged to tear up the strategic alliance underpinning the war in Afghanistan.

Dana Rohrabacher, a Republican congressman from California who sits on the House foreign affairs committee and has been dealing with Pakistan since working in the Reagan White House, says he now realises “they were playing us for suckers all along”.

“I used to be Pakistan’s best friend on the Hill but I now consider Pakistan to be an unfriendly country to the US,” he said. “Pakistan has literally been getting away with murder and when you tie that with the realisation that they went ahead and used their scarce resources to build nuclear weapons, it is perhaps the most frightening of all the things that have been going on over the last few years.

“We were snookered. For a long time we bought into this vision that Pakistan’s military was a moderate force and we were supporting moderates by supporting the military. In fact the military is in alliance with radical militants. Just because they shave their beards and look western they fooled a lot of people.”

Christine Fair, assistant professor at the centre for peace and security studies at Georgetown University in Washington, is equally scathing. “Pakistan’s development strategy is to rent out its strategic scariness and not pay taxes itself,” she said. “We should let them fail.”The Pakistani crisis has reached the point where Washington is being urged to tear up the strategic alliance underpinning the war in Afghanistan

Pakistan’s prime minister, Yousuf Gilani, comes from one of Punjab’s largest land-owning families. Watching Cameron sign over the £650m, he said: “I think the root cause of terrorism and extremism is illiteracy. Therefore we are giving a lot of importance to education.”

If that were the case one might expect Lahore University of Management Sciences, one of the most elite universities in the country, to be a bastion of liberalism. Yet in the physics department Pervez Hoodbhoy, professor of nuclear physics, sits with his head in his hands staring out at a sea of burqas. “People used to imagine there was only a lunatic fringe in Pakistan society of these ultra-religious people,” he said. “Now we’re learning that this is not a fringe but a majority.”

What brought this home to him was the murder earlier this year of Salman Taseer, the half-British governor of Punjab who had called for the pardoning of a Christian woman sentenced to death under the blasphemy law. The woman, Aasia Bibi, had been convicted after a mullah had accused her of impugning Islam when she shouted at two girls who refused to drink water after she had touched it because they said it was unclean.

Taseer had been a key figure in Pakistan’s politics for decades and had suffered prison and torture, yet when he said the Aasia case showed the law needed reforming, he was vilified by the mullahs and the media. In January he was shot 27 times by one of his own guards. His murderer, Mumtaz Qadri, became a hero, showered with rose petals by lawyers when he appeared in public.

After the killing, Hoodbhoy was asked to take part in a televised debate at the Islamabad Press Club in front of students. His fellow panellists were Farid Piracha, spokesman for the country’s biggest religious party, Jamaat-e-Islami, and Maulana Sialvi, a supposed moderate mullah from the Barelvi sect. Both began by saying that the governor brought the killing on himself, as “he who blasphemes his prophet shall be killed”. The students clapped.

Hoodbhoy then took the microphone. “Even as the mullahs frothed and screamed I managed to say that the culture of religious extremism was resulting in a bloodbath in which the majority of victims were Muslims; that non-Muslims were fleeing Pakistan. I said I’m not an Islamic scholar but I know there are Muslim countries that don’t think the Koran says blasphemy carries the death sentence, such as Indonesia, Malaysia and Egypt.

“I didn’t get a single clap. When I directly addressed Sialvi and said you have Salman Taseer’s blood on your hands, he looked at them and exclaimed: how I wish I had done it! He got thunderous applause.”

Afterwards, “I came back and wanted to dig a hole in the ground,” he said. “I can’t figure out why this country has gone so mad. I’ve seen my department change and change and change. There wasn’t one burqa-clad woman in the 1980s but today the non-hijabi, non-burqa student is an exception. As for the male students, they all come in turbans and beards with these fierce looks on their faces.”

Yet, he points out, these students are the super-elite, paying high fees to attend the university: “It’s nothing to do with causes normally associated with radicalism; it’s that the mullah is allowed complete freedom to spread the message of hate and liberals are bunkering down. Those who speak out are gone and the government has abdicated its responsibility and doesn’t even pretend to protect life and property.”

Raza Rumi, a young development worker and artist who blogs regularly, agrees. As we sat in a lively coffee bar in Lahore that could have been in the West until the lights went off in one of the frequent power cuts, he said: “Radicalism in Pakistan isn’t equated with poverty and backwardness — we’re seeing more radicalisation of the urban middle and upper class. I look at my own extended family. When I was growing up, maybe one or two people had a beard. Last time I went to a family wedding I was shell-shocked. All these uncles and aunts who were regular Pakistanis watching cricket and Indian movies now all have beards or are in hijabs.

“I think we’re in an existential crisis. The moderate political parties have taken a back seat and chickened out as they just want to protect their positions. What is Pakistan’s identity? Is it an Islamist identity as defined by Salman Taseer’s murder, ISI [the intelligence service], the jihadists? Is that really what we want to be?”

He does not know how much longer he will write about such things. “I’ve been getting repeated emails that I should leave the country or shut up,” he said.

When I left the cafe I was followed for the rest of the day by a small yellow car.

Courtesy: thesundaytimes.co.uk

The great war of the 21st century?

Gerald Celente, the man behind the famous Trends Journal, is Max Keiser’s guest for this edition of Press TV’s On the Edge. The main focus the show is on the relationship between Middle East uprisings and financial changes as a result of such political transformations. Enjoy.

You Tube

 

Sindhis Start Peace and Tolerance Movement in Pakistan

A broader meeting of political parties and civil society activists from across Sindh held in Hyderabad, which after a detailed discussion over the peace and interfaith harmony and tolerance issues in Sindh as well as in the country took following consensus decisions:

– Formed Movement for Peace & Tolerance (Aman Rawadari Tahreek) initially by 51 representatives of political parties and civil society activists, which selected 15 members Coordination Committee.

– The proposal of Peace Long March was approved by the participants, however, it was consensually agreed that civil society and political parties activists from Punjab and Islamabad should be taken in the loop; and if they support in facilitation and organization of the initiative in the Punjab and Islamabad, it should be carried from Karachi to Islamabad, otherwise the march should be carried from Karachi to the shrines of Sachal Sarmast in Khairpur district or Bhagat Kanwar Ram in Ghotki district.

– District level rallies, marches and Seminars / Jalsas should be organized in Sindh, – Meetings should be organized in Sukkur and Karachi for above proposals, – Meetings should be held with political parties, trade unions, students, intellectuals and academia.

Courtesy: Sindhi e-lists, Sun, February 13, 2011

Current wave of extremism in Pakistan

Statistical ambiguity society

Just how some recent events of our surface politics offer an interesting study of the deep politics

By Dr Ahsan Wagha

It started with the worst ideological polarisation promoted by the military generals in the 1970s when Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was forced to invite Saudi ambassador Riaz Al-Khatib to mediate between him and the opposition, a practice that was reverberated during the Musharraf-Nawaz conflict and has almost culminated into becoming one of the basic features of our foreign policy. The phenomenon can be investigated in the background of the history of Arab colonisation of this region.

Continue reading Current wave of extremism in Pakistan

India- Pakistan : Playing little-boy games!

Playing little-boy games – by Kamran Shafi

…. I write this from Kabul where the Fourth Afghanistan-India-Pakistan Trialogue is being held. The loudest message our Afghan friends are sending out is that they be left alone … for both Pakistan and India to stop using their country as a chessboard. That if Pakistan is such a friend why does it not allow freer trade between the three countries so Afghan fruit can find its way to Indian markets before it spoils? And, gentlemen, listen closely: Pakistan is the most hated country in Afghanistan today. So, go figure.

To read full article : DAWN

Trade pact will give $12 bn boost to Indian economy: Canadian minister

New Delhi – The proposed Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) between India and Canada is estimated to give an annual boost of $12 billion to the Indian economy, says Canadian Minister of International Trade Peter Van Loan.

“We are quite excited about the agreement. It will be offering an annual benefit of $6-15 billion to our economy. The Indian economy will benefit $12 billion a year,” the minister told IANS in an interview. ….

Read more: Indiavision

Afghanistan: NATO’s mission impossible – by Shiraz Paracha

…. But in 1991, all that ended abruptly with the smooth and peaceful split of the Soviet Union. The West painted the Soviet demise as its victory. But in fact, it was the biggest shock for the huge Western military and propaganda machine.

The Cold War mindset was not ready to accept the new change. The mysterious attacks in the United States on September 11, 2001 and the subsequent ‘war on terror’ filled the enemy vacuum for the Cold War warriors, but it did not help an organization like NATO that was created on the concept of traditional warfare.

In the post-1945 era, despite their technological superiority and military and economic power, Western countries did not fight directly against powerful states. Proxy wars were the West’s preferred method throughout the Cold War period.

Nevertheless, in the 1990s, the West opted for military interventions and regime changes. Western countries acted as a pack of wolves and attacked small and weak states. The strategy provided an opportunity to lightweights such as Bush and Blair to imitate Churchill and Roosevelt and appear strong and victorious.

But the US defeat in Iraq and the NATO’s failed mission in Afghanistan have proven that military occupations and interventions are counterproductive and expose weaknesses of occupiers and aggressors.

Today, NATO is disillusioned and disoriented. It is demanding from its member states to allocate at least two percent of their GDPs to defense budgets. In a desperate effort to keep its large and bureaucratic structures and huge budget, NATO has been adding vague, unrealistic and ambiguous aims and objectives to its mission. It has committed blunders like Afghanistan but its commanders did not seem to have learned any lessons.

Regardless of the Lisbon rhetoric, not all NATO member states can afford ever increasing military budgets to counter open-ended threats and fight unspecified enemies. Weakening European economies need trade and investment rather than wars. They rely on energy but the energy sources are out of Europe. Skilled labor and markets are beyond the geographical sphere of the most NATO states. And most NATO countries certainly do not have the will and capacity for missions impossible, like the one in Afghanistan.

To read full article : Criticalppp

In Pakistan, a Sex Industry Has Begun to Boom

SEX IN DEPTH

In Pakistan, a dark trade comes to light

By William Sparrow

BANGKOK – Prostitution in the Islamic nation of Pakistan, once relegated to dark alleys and small red-light districts, is now seeping into many neighborhoods of country’s urban centers. Reports indicate that since the period of civilian rule ended in 1977, times have changed and now the sex industry is bustling.

Early military governments and religious groups sought to reform areas like the famous “Taxali Gate” district of Lahore by displacing prostitutes and their families in an effort to “reinvent” the neighborhood.

While displacing the prostitutes might have temporarily made the once small red-light district a better neighborhood for a time, it did little to stop the now dispersed prostitutes from plying their trade. Reforming a neighborhood, instead of offering education and alternative opportunities, appears to be at the core of early failures to curb the nascent sex industry. This mistake would become a prophetic error as now the tendrils of the sex trade have become omnipresent in cities like Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Karachi and Lahore, not to mention towns, villages and rural outposts.

An aid worker for an Islamabad-based non-governmental organization (NGO) recently related a story: quickly after his arrival in the capital, he realized the house next to his own was a Chinese brothel. The Chinese ability to “franchise” the commercial sex industry by providing down-trodden Chinese women throughout Asia, North America and Europe would be admirable in a business sense if it were not for the atrocities – human trafficking, sexual slavery and exploitation – which cloud its practice.

Chinese bordellos, often operating as “massage parlors” or beauty salons, are across Pakistan, even spread even to war-torn and restive locations such as the Afghan capital Kabul. Chinese in the sex industry have developed a cunning ability to recognize areas where the demand for sex far outstrips the supply.

The NGO worker said that after months of living adjacent to the brothel things were shaken up – literally. One evening a drunk Pakistani drove his car into the brothel. Later the driver told authorities the ramming was a protest by a devout Muslim against the debauchery of the house and its inhabitants. The NGO worker, however, had seen the same car parked peacefully outside the house the night before.

The local sex industry comprised of Pakistani prostitutes has also grown in recent years. One can easily find videos on YouTube that show unabashed red-light areas of Lahore. The videos display house after house with colorfully lit entranceways always with a mamasan and at least one Pakistani woman in traditional dress. The women are available for in-house services for as little as 400 rupees (US$6) to take-away prices ranging 1,000 to 2,000 rupees. These districts are mostly for locals, but foreigners can indulge at higher prices.

Foreigners in Pakistan have no trouble finding companionship and may receive rates similar to locals in downtrodden districts. More upscale areas like Lahore’s Heera Mundi or “Diamond Market”, cater to well-heeled locals and foreigners. At these places prettier, younger girls push their services for 5,000 to 10,000 rupees for an all-night visit, and the most exceptional can command 20,000 to 40,000 rupees for just short time.

Rumors abound online that female TV stars and actresses can be hired for sex. “You can get film stars for 50,000 to 100,000 rupees but you need good contacts for that,” one blogger wrote after a trip to Lahore.

“The Lahore, Karachi and Rawalpindi sex scenes are totally changing and it’s easier and easier to get a girl for [sex],” another blogger wrote. “Most of the hotels provide you the girls upon request.” Bloggers also reported that it is easy to find girls prowling the streets after 6 pm, and foreigners can find young women hanging out near Western franchises like McDonald’s and KFC. Such women, the bloggers claim, can lead the customer to a nearby short-time accommodation.

Short-time hotels offering hourly rates can be found all over major cities, underscoring the profits being reaped by the sex industry.

Pakistan can also accommodate the gay community with prostitution. Unfortunately, this has also given rise to child prostitution.

A Pakistani blogger wrote, “We [ethnic] Pathans are very fond of boys. [In Pakistan] the wives are only [had sex with] once or twice a year. There are lot of gay brothels in Peshawar – the famous among them is at Ramdas Bazaar. [One can] go to any Afghan restaurant and find young waiters selling sex.”

As in many societies, access to technology, the Internet and mobile phones has only facilitated the sex trade in Pakistan. “Matchmaking” websites serve the male clientele, while providing marketing for prostitutes.

The root causes of prostitution in Pakistan are poverty and a dearth of opportunities. Widows find themselves on the streets with mouths to feed, and for many prostitution offers a quick fix. A local Pakistani prostitute can earn 2,000 to 3,000 rupees per day compared to the average monthly income of 2,500 rupees.

Forced prostitution is not rare. Women in hard times are often exploited and pushed into prostitution. Sandra (not her real name), said that after the death of her father she was left alone; friends and relatives deserted her after the grieving period. As a middle-class, educated woman she was surprised to find herself forced into prostitution from her office job.

“My boss initially spoiled me at first,” she told Khaleej Times. “[But] now I am in [the sex industry].” Sandra first thought her boss was being gracious, but quickly learned he was grooming her for sex for his own pleasure, and then acting as her pimp.

Many of Pakistan’s contemporary sexual mores may have evolved from traditional practices. For example, the polygamy permitted in Muslim society stemmed from the need for larger family units, the better to support familial ties and tend for widows. Until such ancient customs are updated, women such as Sandra will continue to be bought and sold.

It’s time for Pakistan to admit that prostitution is doing a roaring trade within its borders, and will continue to prosper until it is addressed in a modern manner. Let us hope that the people and government of this proud Muslim country will stop pretending the problem simply isn’t there.

William Sparrow has been an occasional contributor to Asia Times Online and now joins Asia Times Online with a weekly column. Sparrow is editor in chief of Asian Sex Gazette and has reported on sex in Asia for over five years.

Courtesy: atimes.com

Source- http://pakteahouse.wordpress.com/2008/07/20/in-pakistan-a-sex-industry-has-begun-to-boom/

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Courtesy: ARY News (Sar-e-Aam – August 24th 2012)

Via – Siasat.pk » YouTube

http://www.siasat.pk/forum/showthread.php?129943-Sar-e-Aam-August-24th-2012