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Posts tagged with: Economy

Who is the TARGET: Pakistan’s Nuclear Weapons or President?

Guest Post by Silence from Islamabad Observer

We have not forgotten the debate which centered on the Saddam Husain’s weapons of mass destruction, his quest to destroy the world and duties of ‘civilized world’ to act before the dooms day takes place. The ‘civilized world” acted with unprecedented might and fire power, leaving 500,000 Iraqi’s dead, 4 million displaced and entire infrastructure of the country destroyed. The weapons of mass destruction were never found, however United States successfully got controls over world’s second largest oil reserves. Iraq is going through a civil war but the world is safe, not a bad achievement for ‘civilized world’.

We have witnessed another era of false propaganda being peddled by Western media when former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, recognized the Taliban government. Once, the ‘darling of the west’, overnight became a ‘Princess’ and her husband, a ‘play boy’. All sort of allegations were leveled against the couple and circulated as cover stories by Western and local media. Her misery ended with her assassination followed by a nationwide mourning, which sent a strong message to ‘intelligentsia-at-war’ against her, that people do people do have their own perceptions.
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A speech Zardari did not make

By Dr Muzaffar Iqbal
The News, September 12, 2008

(In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful, the Most Beneficent.)

My fellow citizens, assalamu alaykum. First of all, I am grateful to the Almighty for giving me the honour of serving a great nation as its president. It has become somewhat clichéd to say that today Pakistan stands at a crossroads, but today it is really so and I wish to turn the course of our journey towards a direction that is full of hope, vigour, and bright future for a nation that has been deceived, robbed, and cheated so many times.

Let me begin by stating that on Nov 3, 2007, a military dictator hijacked the entire system by serving a crushing blow to the judiciary. That one man can do so much harm to the system is in itself an indication of how bad things have become in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, but I will come back to that in a minute. First, let me share with you my decision to redress that action of Nov 3, 2007, by the military dictator. I have issued instructions to complete the legal process so that that the deed done by the general becomes null and void. Simultaneously, a process of accountability has started to bring to justice all those who have violated the Constitution, plundered national wealth, and the millions of American dollars given to Pakistan during the last nine years. Soon, you will hear more on this.
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US agression and ‘Honorable existence’!

Guest Post by Silence from Islamabad Observer

United States-led NATO forces killed 15 tribesmen, including women and children, in it’s first-ever ground attack inside Pakistani territory on Wednesday. The US forces landed by 3 choppers inside Pakistani village of Musa Neeke in South Waziristan Agency (SWA). The soldiers started indiscriminate firing with their automatic assault rifles at the sleeping inmates and shot dead nine family members of Faujan Wazir, including four women, two children and three men. The troops also killed another villager, Faiz Mohammad Wazir, his wife and two of his other family members.

Prime Minister of Pakistan and President has strongly condemned the unprovoked and cowardly act while the Senate, National Assembly and NWFP provincial assembly passed unanimous resolutions condemning the killing of innocent civilians and demanded the suspension of logistic support to US forces in Afghanistan. “We reserve the right of self-defence and retaliation to protect our citizens and soldiers against any aggression,” remarked Maj Murad, an ISPR officer based in Rawalpindi.
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Living with Corruption

Guest Post by Silence

Corruption and governance goes together in developing countries, especially the third world where democratic process is influenced by bloodline, money politics, feudalism, intervention of imperialist powers through military and religious exploitations. The process becomes more painful when the society is trying to develop from under develop, while profiled as ‘high risk investment zones’ these countries need investment for development, the clever investor who is aware of this fact bargains for softer terms and governments are unable to deny, the rules are relaxed and projects vital for survival of society are given to these investors, an example of this is can be the IPP’s in past Benazir Bhutto’s regime in Pakistan which was widely criticized at that time but proved to be a lifeline for Pakistan’s industry in following decade. It’s not a national interest which forces the governments to relax the rules, once relaxed in broader national interests, these rules become a tool for corruption and personal benefits, the prime examples are Pakistan’s defense agreements, where an Air Force Chief got kick backs of Billion of $ and many politicians like Asif Ali Zardari and Nawaz Sharif multiplied their holdings, Shaukat Azaiz sold the national institutions for personal gains and was forced to stop from handing over Pakistan Steel and a PIA owned hotel in New York by Supreme Court and Pakistan Senate respectively, the father in law of former dictator Pervez Musharraff got the contract of elevated Rail track in Karachi for five times higher bid from national exchequer then the Chinese company offered and that too on soft loan basis.
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The Great Game –The Count Down Begins !

In its December issues Global Research of Canada in a series of articles by Prof. Michel Chossudovsky outlined the American design for the break up of Pakistan. I give below the gist of his remarkably till now accurate analysis(with a few comments of my own),in the hopes that it serves as an eye opener for my country men- and my friends in India.

The report states that due to the assassination of Benazir Bhutto the process of US sponsored “regime change”, which normally consists in the re-formation of a fresh proxy government under new leaders, has been defeated. Their trusted ally General Pervez Musharraf – having been exposed – cannot long remain in the seat of political power. More over the fake elections supported by the “west” scheduled for January 2008 would now only create a political impasse.
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Shedding Crocodile Tears over Inflation

The News Tuesday, June 24, 2008
by Aqil Sajjad

The PPP and its supporters argue that the “common man” cares more about inflation than the restoration of the judiciary. They insist that forcing the present government’s hand on the judges’ issue would create political instability, threaten the democratic process and make it difficult for the elected government to resolve the economic issues.

Certainly, a major effort is needed to curb inflation, reduce unemployment and put our country on a sustainable path towards progress. But is the judges’ issue indeed beginning to be a distraction for efforts to solve the country’s economic problems, or is this only a false excuse to make the two issues look mutually exclusive? After all, the PPP supporters did not see inflation as a more urgent issue than the judiciary when the PPP was trying to get political mileage from the lawyers’ movement after March 9 last year and was passionately in favour of the independence of the judiciary.

Honest attempts at addressing any problem need to start from development of a team of competent people who can put together a coherent programme. This programme needs to be included in the party’s manifesto and shared with the public instead of spending all the time on rhetoric centred on personalities and emotional blackmail. A political party needs to do such homework before coming into power so that it can get to work straightaway and have a dedicated team of economists capable of working out the economic problems, regardless of the political situation and irrespective of the lawyers’ movement.
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Safe Passage for Musharraf – for What?

There are strong reports coming in from Islamabad that General Musharraf may truly [finally] be unseated and sent home packing.

Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani held an extremely important meeting with President Pervez Musharraf at the Army House Rawalpindi late on Wednesday. The meeting continued till after midnight lasting more than three-and-a-half hours. This was their longest one-on-one encounter. The meeting, which was significant in view of the current political and security situation in the country, gained further importance as it took place after day-long consultations of the Army chief with his important commanders.

The chain reaction started from the change of command in the Triple-One Brigade [Military unit designated to protect the President of Pakistan] where Brigadier Faheem Rao was asked to take over immediate command replacing the president’s loyal commander Brigadier Aasim Bajwa and reports saying that Musharraf has also been asked to vacate the Army House in Rawalpindi which he continues to occupy despite his retirement many months ago.
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Where is our parliament in all this?

Guest Blog by Amjad Malik

parliment-house-pakistanEconomy is nose diving in Pakistan and people with load shedding, wheat and oil crisis are forced to take law in their own hands and we saw people burning the robbers in Karachi and indecisiveness is breeding law and order crisis, apathy and decline where any thing can happen as a result and whatever happens is not at all in control of the human mind and may affect the best interest of Pakistan especially when foreigners are flying like eagles on our rear borders. Those who came declaring themselves the champions of democracy are solving constitutional matters outside the Parliament and democrats this time have made parliament a rubber stamp not the dictator, Judiciary is on the road, Justice Dogar is unacceptable to majority and he is facing extreme resistance by lawyer fraternity, CJ Iftikhar has a personality clash with the President, establishment is confused waiting for further instructions, Police is unable to enforce law, and people doing road justice by force in the absence of credible judiciary and Malik Qayum fame tapes are in the market spreading revelations about schemes to keep Sharifs out of election race. In these circumstances 10th of June Long March of lawyers have hidden stings in it which are many fold and they may attempt to put deposed judges back in the Supreme Court by might which may result in a successful lawful coup or it can be counter productive to invite a counter coup by President throwing his wrath on the parliament for their indecisiveness, breaching their pacts and neglecting to avoid the economy from decline or at best military intervention to stop this unrest multiplying reaching no where which all ends in the collapse of the 18th February popular mandate of the people of Pakistan and in the end so much so for the democracy of Pakistan and people’s vote.

I for one, feel that we all are bound to look after the best interest of the state and at best if this uncertainty is allowed to loom, it can be disastrous for the state economically, politically, and socially. As any constitutional package containing unpopular clauses will hardly get to the stage of royal assent at least for a year unless Q or N league supports, I feel lawyers as well as people of Pakistan are getting restless because of this hit and run politicians who are ridiculing the judiciary by the very delay in restoring them. If they are unable to reach consensus then there must be some confidence building measures to show their commitment akin to the circumstances where politicians supported Musharraf to get elected by abstaining to vote instead by remaining in Parliament and in exchange getting a hero’s welcome on 18 October and issuing of a National Reconciliation Ordinance by the President who swore to keep BB and Babu out at every cost. Though we all are the passengers of the same boat and none have the exact answer but I have the following few suggestions throwing some workable scenarios for the legal hawks to brain storm in case the time comes for possible solutions;
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Bt cotton is “welcomed” in Pakistan

Published in Financial Post on May 12 2008 by Najma Sadeque
Previous discussions on BT Cotton can also be found here ‘Monsanto – Genetically modified BT Cotton ‘terminator’ seeds being introduced in Pakistan

No other fabric can compare with cotton, especially for warm weather wear. It will always be worn; it will always have a market. Cotton production has kept rising gradually around the world since the 1930s; then with booming populations and demands, shot up since the 1980s. After that its demand has remained on an even keel, but not so much because of lack of demand as lack of buying power on the part of poor consumers. And now, for reasons unknown but can be suspected, genetically-modified, or Bt cotton as it is known, is being thrust upon us.

Our agricultural areas of Punjab and Sindh have much in common with contiguous areas in India. Also in common are the same kinds of vested interests, exploitation, and the needs and sufferings of ordinary peasants and farmers. It is therefore relevant to take a close hard look at the Indian and other South country experiences with Bt Cotton.

Going back to the year 2001 in Gujrat, BT cotton mysteriously got to be planted. — Permission to cultivate any GM crop is required to be obtained from The Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) of the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests. When it was discovered, the GEAC ordered the entire crop destroyed, but the order was never implemented. — Maybe because the crop was already pre-sold.

One of the top cotton-growing areas in India is Madhya Pradesh. It has a rich black soil, perfect for cotton. In 2002 farmers were persuaded to use BT cottonseed. — Some 10,000 acres were planted with it — although official permission had not been granted till then. The farmers ended up with 100 per cent failure. Due to the drought, indigenous cotton varieties had also been negatively affected but their ‘failure’ accounted for only 20 per cent of the crop, not all of it. Furious farmers demanded compensation from the company that supplied these seeds. That was Mahyco. And where did Mayco get these seeds from? – From Monsanto, the US multinational chemical giant which had a 27 percent share in Mahyco.
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Economic Terrorism – by Zaid Hamid

I share with you a five-part series of the talk show Brass Tacks televised on TV One, the interview is of Mr. Zaid Hamid who shares his opinions on the global banking problems in light of historical understanding. He has some strong arguments, definitely worth a listen. Your views would be interesting to read in the comments section below

Part 1

Part 2

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The Package is out !!!

by Afzal Khan
Islamabad May 24

Musharraf toppling overThe Constitution Package proposed by the PPP is partly out. It is comprehensive and probably first attempt to cover a broad spectrum of changes and correct distortions made by military rulers since the original document was approved in 1973. It also tries to enshrine most part of the Charter of Democracy signed by Mohtarama Benazir Bhutto and Mian Nawaz Sharif in May 2006 that had enkindled a fresh hope for a democratic Pakistan. The full text has yet not been released to the media, so any meaningful commentary would have to wait for that.

Senator Asif Zardari and law minister Farooq Naek spelled out some of its salient features. However, they conveniently skipped over some other elements, in particular the abridgment of tenure of chief justices, extension in the retirement age of judges of superior courts and restoration of deposed judges. The media, in any case, was able to skim out many details from the PPP’s CEC members which are disturbing.

A key question that was not asked in the news conference nor did Mr. Naek volunteered any information, is about the status of the package itself. What is it amending? There is reason to believe that the constitution before the author of the package is post-November 3 document that includes Article 270 AAA. That means an implicit recognition of the constitutional validity of the emergency, the PCO, the massive purge in judiciary, his fraudulent election, grant of indemnity to himself besides Shaukat Aziz and other accomplices of gross violation of law and court judgments etc; and all his other acts perpetrated between November 3 and December 15 before lifting the emergency.
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Cui Bono: Is This Constitutional Amendment a Ploy?

Guest blog by Temporal from Baithak

The media is speculating about a 62 point draft of a constitutional amendment that would ostensibly cleanse the 1973 constitution of the changes made by Pervez Musharraf.

“Pakistan’s main ruling party has drafted a set of constitutional amendments that would erase the legacy of President Pervez Musharraf, its leader said Friday. Asif Ali Zardari provided few details, but said the reforms would reverse changes made to the constitution since Musharraf seized power in a 1999 military coup.”

Constitution is the basic declaration of the voice of people in governing themselves, stated as laws and principles that outlines the functions and limits of state institutions. Since it affects all people, and for it to be effective, it has to have widest possible consensus of the people.

This attempt by Naik and Zardari to “reverse” the Musharraf changes is self defeating. It is like the NRO that has a cut off date that benefits the Bhuttos and Zardaris but does not go far back enough to affect other politicians.
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Khuda Khair Karay

Guest Blog by Temporal from Baithak

The KSE 100 index has fallen below 13000 to an eight month low. There are rumors of three members who may default. The contributing factors have been:

  • The Rabbani government’s inability to provide economic leadership
  • SBP’s unprecedented pre market opening rate hike
  • Co chairman of the hand written will’s egotistical and hard hitting interview taking swipes at Musharraf
  • Musharraf has reportedly broken off conciliatory ‘contacts’ with PPP leadership and called in a meeting of constitutional experts
  • Moody’s lowering of ratings for four leading banks
  • Law Minister Naik’s expected constitutional amendment while admitting he and his allies do not have a two-thirds majority to carryit through in both houses
  • Ishaq Dar’s rants in the media is pushing away foreign investors

A combination of above will result in uncertain and turbulent economic climate. With shortages of electricity, essential commodities, oil, flight of capital and lack of vision in leadership indicates tough times.

The poor and the middle case will be the worse off. Nor do affairs, in the near future look rosy for the nascent democratic forces. Despite his public loathing, Kayani and Co. is being inadvertently pushed to be more proactive.

When will this chaos end?

Is the Judges Issue a Distraction to the Economic Crisis?

The most common argument that I get asked day in and day out, is “Judicial issue is diverting the governments attention from the core issue of the economical crisis”, in response I have endlessly argued against the rhetoric, since I have long since believed that the economical problem though valid and very important is more of a transient issue, and a fall-out from the mis-adventures of the old administration (read Musharraf, Shaukat Aziz & Q-League).

Economic stability needs time and a genuine commitment from the leading politicians to solve, only possible with a sincere effort and the courage to look towards a better Pakistan rather then hunting for a juicy under the table wad of cash. Whilst an independent judiciary will play its due role to ensure justice is served to the people of Pakistan and the people are not forced taking matters into their own hands to exercise their own version of civil courts served mob-style on the streets.

The existence of an independent judiciary will more importantly keep our bureaucrats and politicians in check and act as a deterrent for them hopefully preventing them to make a quick buck, while the country goes to hell. Aqil Sajjad has done well in trying to explain the argument in his article which was published in the The News this Saturday

By Aqil Sajjad published in The News on Saturday May 17th
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Soomro’s royal pilgrimage cost Pakistan $2.8m

The Nation published a news item highlighting the lavish spending done by the caretaker Prime Minster Muhammadmian Soomro when he took a few day sojourn to Saudi Arabia to perform Umrah. The state visit damaged our national exchequer to the tune of over $2.8 Million / equivalent to Rs 196 Million, since a Boeing 777 was brought into the maintenance shop to convert the aircraft into executive settings which apparently took over two days, then his Majesty flew to Makkah while he performed his rituals and begged for forgiveness the aircraft stood parked for four days to finally bring the entourage back to Pakistan. I wonder if he may even be a little guilty of this wastage and to know that he will finally be answerable to God for this blatant wastage while his people remain starving due to the crushing economy, the Rs 196 million could have given an astronomical number of people food for an entire month, just the thought of such wastage warrants that these leaders be tried for high treason
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