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Benazir, Eyeing a Return

Interpol BB NoticeCan you for a moment imagine a situation where our next Prime Minister of Pakistan becomes Benazir Bhutto a person who was found utterly corrupt not once but on both times she was in office, to now plan for a return to lead us for yet another stint as the Prime Minster of Pakistan. Have we no other person in Pakistan to be willing to take this job, and have to resort to being represented by a leader who is corrupt beyond doubt, she may have managed to dismiss all her corruption charges by bribing her way out of them, but the people of Pakistan will not forget and feel that the Red Notice issued by Interpol was spot on.

It will be a sad day for Pakistan to see this corrupt leader back into our midst. We can be sure that this year, Musharraf has been reeling and dealing with Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif in an attempt to conjure up a plan which allows him to retain the Presidential seat in exchange for the seat of the Prime Minister. It has been rumored that of both the corrupt leaders Benazir was the favored of the two which would guarantee Musharraf an extended stay in power.

Today there are reports that the NAB Special Operations Division Head Hasan Nasim Afzal (GEO.tv video)whose agency had been directly responsible for the ongoing investigation of the numerous corruption cases against Bhutto and Zardari has been transferred to another location. This critical move which will favor Benazir comes at a very critical juncture and can be seen with suspicion since Islamabad is already abuzz with the ongoing Supreme Judicial Council hearing to decide the fate of the Chief Justice of Pakistan. It could very well be the start of the preparations which seem to lead to an eventual acquittal from all outstanding charges literally white washing everything hence lubricating a free entry into the country and maybe heading for a third term at the office.

The people of Pakistan have tried this leadership twice and each time she was kicked out primarily on charges of corruption literally across the board (link), and her husband Asif Zardari was right in the middle of the mess, popularly known as Mr 10% also had an even more extensive corruption list on his dossier.

To refresh those good ‘ol days, I quote a few lines from Ardeshir Cowasjee’s article written six years back Feb 2001

When Benazir was dismissed for the first time in 1990 President Ghulam Ishaq Khan filed six references against her alleging corruption and misconduct. None of these were decided during Nawaz’s first tenure (1990-93). So, when Benazir came back for her second round she naturally had herself acquitted on all charges. The country lost; the people lost.

In her second round, Benazir and her husband discovered a new source of income – inspection companies. Six cover companies were named and used: Capricorn Trading, Dargal Associated, Mariston Securities, Mariston Business, Nassam Incorporated, Bomer Finance. On September 8, 1997, the Swiss Federal Office for Police Matters, Berne, informed our government that sufficient evidence had been found to justify their writing to four banks informing them to block the accounts of “accused persons Bhutto Benazir, ex-prime minister, Zardari Asif Ali, husband of Madame Bhutto, Bhutto Nusrat Begum.”

When Benazir was thrown out in 1996 for the second time, charged with corruption and malpractices, and Nawaz came in for his second bout with the nation one thing he did do was to manage in 1999 to have a high court convict both Benazir and Asif. Asif is in prison whilst Benazir has embarked on a world lecture tour, posing to be as pure as the proverbial driven snow. Both have appealed to the Supreme Court against their conviction and this appeal is to be heard at the end of this month.

Its important to refresh our minds of their rampant corruption that we were all a witness to during her two tenures as the Prime Minister of Pakistan. Simply having the massive list against her name should seriously worry us about allowing her to take the office for the third time, which we all know would be no different then the previous occurrences. I’d like to talk to a person who believes she has turned a new leaf and will go corruption free, I on one hand have serious doubts about allowing her to run my country.

Have we not a single person amongst the 160 million people, that we have to see the likes of Benazir Bhutto again, also to call a leader the person who has been handed an extensive charge sheet for every time she stepped into office, have we not a single soul that can salvage Pakistan from this impending doom, Have we no one !!!!


Nasim Ashraf & his Resignation Bull Shit

PLEASE DO NOT GIVE ME THE BULL SHIT ABOUT NASIM ASHRAF RESIGNING!!

Cricket Bloggers of Pakistan: Nasim Ashraf offered to resign, trying to follow the footsteps of Inzamam-ul-Haq who can be considered valiant enough to have accepted responsibility for the World Cup disaster. Nasim Ashraf, the supposed leader of the Pakistan Cricket Board literally ran from the media hovering someplace at an undisclosed location in the interior of Sindh, when on the other hand he should have been manning the fort, and ready to stand to take the heat, front and center. After all it was on his watch that things were going haywire, leading to the culmination of a first round exit.

Immediately a few days after the fateful loss to Ireland followed by the disastrous news of Bob Woolmers death Geo.Tv was able to locate this whimpering Son-of-a-bitch roasting his sorry ass at some feudal lord harem in Sindh. When Geo.Tv talked to him live in a telephonic conversation Ashraf had not much to say to defend the PCB organization but very soon indicated in a casual off-the-cuff remark in a last ditch attempt to save his sanity in front of millions watching Geo.Tv, that he had already tendered his resignation to the President of Pakistan.

There is a must watch video on Nasim Ashraf later in the post
Continue reading “Nasim Ashraf & his Resignation Bull Shit” »


Dawn Under Pressure

Open Letter written by Hameed Haroon (CEO & Publisher, DAWN Group of Newspapers)

March 23, 2007
Dear Madam / Sir,

I am writing to draw your attention to an important matter that indicates the rapidly worsening environment for the freedom of press in Pakistan.

It has always been difficult for governments to coexist with a free and independent press in Pakistan. Of late, however, the government headed by President Musharraf has become increasingly intolerant towards criticism in the press and towards the publishing of news that reflects poorly on the performance of his government on security matters.

One of the intended casualties of this swelling hostility between government and press in Pakistan is the DAWN Group of Newspapers, the country’s largest independent English language newspaper and magazines publishing house.

Since December 2006, the DAWN Group is facing massive advertising cuts equivalent to two thirds of total government advertising. This has occurred primarily as a consequence of a decision ostensibly taken by Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz’s government, but in reality ordered by General Musharraf and engineered by several of his advisors that constitute the government’s inner cabinet.

It is clear that objections to the propriety of the DAWN Group’s editorial policies emanate mainly from President Musharraf’s office and his stance is heavily influenced by key advisors who have been entrusted with responsibility for implementing crisis management and conflict control in flashpoint areas. Particularly sensitive for the agreement are the escalating developments in Pakistan’s western province of Baluchistan, and in the tribal agencies of North & South Wazirstan on the Afghan border. Also irksome have been the DAWN Group’s related attempts to monitor a recurring tendency toward covert militancy among responsible decision-makers in government.

While preparing this dossier, I have attempted to include details and supporting documentation wherever possible, to facilitate your assessment as a key practitioner in the press rights movement internationally. Recent events in Pakistan indicate that attempts by the government to curtail the autonomy of the judiciary have been on the increase. This may have facilitated a temporary unintended pause in the government’s relentless campaign to muzzle the press. But such pauses presage a return to more coercive methods by government against the press, once the messy business of the executive – judicial conflict is brought to a successful halt.

If you peruse the documents accompanying this letter, you will find a chronology of events that cover the continuing conflict between the DAWN Group and the Government of Pakistan in the critical years 2004 to 2007. (Refer Appendix A 1.0) and that reflects some of the main causes of the present breakdown of communication between the government and the DAWN Group.

In the first phase, approximating with the years 2004 to 2005, the Government of Pakistan essentially worked by attempting to exert pressure on the Dawn Group by proxy – the proxy in this case being the Provincial Government of Sindh. It is in Sindh’southern metropolis of Karachi, that the headquarters of the DAWN Group of Newspapers are located.

This period first witnessed the government’s exerting of harsh pressures on our daily evening Newspaper – The STAR – by attempting to intimidate and harass journalists with false cases and concocted charges, and by a failed attempt to implicate the writer of this letter, as CEO of the Group, in a totally fabricated incident of terrorism and illegal weapons possession. (Refer Appendix A 1.1.1, to, 1.1.4 and 2.1.2)

This attempt culminated with a complete ban on advertising on DAWN Group newspapers and magazines by the Government of Sindh. However, in response to a petition filed by DAWN’s lawyers, the Sindh High Court ruled in DAWN’s favour. The Sindh Government sensing an impeding debacle withdrew the advertising ban in advance of the Court’s final verdict.

The second stage involved the direct exerting of pressure by the Federal Government itself. After a series of fumbling measures and half-hearted advertisement bans by the Federal Government with respect to DAWN in 2005, a turning point was reached when one of our influential current affairs magazines, the HERALD, published a series of controversial stories and articles from June 2005 onwards on topics such as the Pakistan Government’s war against Al-Qaeda and the Taliban in North and South Wazirstan; a possible resurgence of covert government support to Kashmiri militants; and also on the mushrooming policy debacle for government with respect to the Bugti insurgency in Baluchistan. (Refer Appendix A 1.2.1, to, 1.2.4 and 2.2.2)

In September 2006 when the government approached DAWN in its attempt to seek a news blackout regarding Baluchistan and the troubled FATA agencies of North and South Wazirstan, the editor of DAWN, Mr. Abbas Nasir, and the Directors of the Board of the DAWN Group, concluded that the government’s ‘request’ was unreasonable and needed to be firmly turned down. (Refer Appendix A 2.2.2 September – December 2006)

As a consequence, the government imposed an almost comprehensive ban on Federal Government advertising. (Refer Appendix A 2.2.2t) with an intent to provoke the financial collapse of the DAWN Group.

The DAWN Group had somewhat anticipated events from the increasingly strident tone of government criticism of its news policies and from the subsequent escalation in unreasonable informational demands from the government. As a precautionary measure aimed at reducing large financial deficits, we were forced to suspend the publication of our newspaper, the STAR, an important, but financial deficit generating newspaper, which has existed for over half a century and had been founded by working journalists of the DAWN Group.

Financial conditions within DAWN now became even more vulnerable to outside pressures as a consequence of our decision to commence work on a new TV channel – DAWN News. The grant of television broadcasting licences by the government towards such end is farmed out to a government organisation – the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) set up courtesy of an Ordinance passed in 2002. The President of Pakistan had on three different occasions in the last three years publicly announced that the controversial cross-media ownership rule (illegally tagged onto the PEMRA Ordinance as a subsequent rule/regulation by the authority) would be withdrawn and the large resource of talent available in the print media would be allowed to participate in the burgeoning electronic media revolution in Pakistan. Public opinion expressed itself in the widely held conviction that with the entry of the mainstream print media in the electronic media profession, discriminatory attitudes and the repressive stance of PEMRA with respect to press freedoms in the electronic media (Refer Appendix B & C) would be rolled back. However, the government’s current position in the courts with respect to DAWN’s application for a television broadcast licence (Refer Appendix A 2.3.2) has forced a rapid reassessment of public opinion with respect to the bonafides of government intention and clearly demonstrates that President Musharraf’s government is bent on pursuing a policy of blatant cronyism vis a vis the inclusion of selected and preferred print media houses in the electronic media revolution, and the rejection of others considered as hostile or non-compliant to government needs.

The government also appears determined to continue the domination of all news content on TV channels and on FM radio through harsh and repressive regulatory directives from PEMRA, evidenced in the grant of temporary uplink permissions in place of valid broadcasting licenses to selected channels of PEMRA’s preference.

The recent spate of programmes banned on television by PEMRA and a physical attack engineered by government on the offices of a prominent TV news channel-cum-newspaper office, clearly demonstrate the prevalence of government’s excesses in this matter.

In early December 2005 when the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Mr Shaukat Aziz summoned the undersigned to a meeting at Governor House (Sindh) to announce the Sindh Government’s decision to withdraw its advertising ban on the DAWN Group, he clearly informed me that the government was keen that DAWN should go ahead and set up a TV channel for the broadcast of English language news. The President’s constant public declarations regarding the withdrawal of the notoriously exclusionary cross-media ownership clause in the PEMRA rules and regulations and Parliament’s decision to finally withdraw this rule have not resulted in the licenses promised to newspaper publishing houses outside of government favour- this despite the passing of the legislation by both houses of Parliament . Such permissions have only been granted arbitrarily to selected groups by the government. This has led to a situation where we, at DAWN, in anticipation of the government decision to implement the new law have set up an entire organisation in Pakistan, employing over 350 journalists, technicians and managerial personnel and are anxiously awaiting the promised government license, all the while being forced to squander large financial outlays in anticipation of this.

The government’s refusal to give us a license mainly stems from our refusal to submit to its unethical pressures while reporting events in Baluchistan and North & South Waziristan. This refusal has become an acute cause of concern for the future financial viability of our publishing group.

Clearly the government would dearly like to see us lay off our journalists as they are viewed as a potential source of unwelcome criticism of government policies, rather than as compliant sheep to be hurriedly shepherded by PEMRA according to government whim.

Our colleagues in organisations devoted to protecting the freedom of the press throughout the world have always been a source of moral inspiration and help to us in our struggle for press freedoms in Pakistan.

We therefore urge you to extend your help in this matter and would appreciate if you address your concerns to the authorities in Pakistan regarding the following areas:

1. That the advertising ban by the Federal Government on the DAWN Group’s advertising is both unwarranted and unethical and a transparent mechanism to exert pressure on the newspaper group’s policies in contravention of the internationally accepted norms of objective news reporting.

2. That the decision to withhold a television broadcast license to the DAWN Group by the government is in violation of the judgments of the High Court of Sindh and the consent declarations made by PEMRA and the Federal Minister of Information in the Sindh High Court. Such right should be granted to other applying media groups as well on the same terms.

3. That the Government of Pakistan continue to submit its policies in Baluchistan and its agreements with the pro Taliban tribesmen of North & South Waziristan to the rigorous assessment of public and media scrutiny.

4. That the Government of Pakistan desist from abducting and arresting journalists in the judicious performance of their duties, and desist from physically attacking newspaper offices as has occurred last week in Islamabad.

Your concerns in this respect may be addressed to:

* The President of Pakistan, General Pervez Musharraf,
* The Prime Minister of Pakistan, Mr Shaukat Aziz,
* The Acting Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, Justice Rana Bhagwandas,
* The Federal Minister for Information Development, Government of Pakistan, Mr Mohammed Ali Durrani.

In addition your concerns should also be expressed to other key decision makers in the Government of Pakistan, urging all of them to desist from repressive, illegal and unethical practices deployed in their effort to subvert press freedoms.

For your ease of communication, I am including relevant fax contact details:

* General Pervez Musharraf, President of Pakistan +9251-9221388
* Mr Shaukat Aziz, Prime Minister of Pakistan +9251-9212866
* Justice Rana Bhagwandas, Acting Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Pakistan +9251-9213452
* Mr Mohammed Ali Durrani, Federal Minister for Information Development, Government of Pakistan +9251- 9203740

Thank you in anticipation for your much needed support in this matter.

Yours sincerely,

Hameed Haroon
CEO & Publisher,
DAWN Group of Newspapers

Annex A: Summary and Chronology 2004-2007
Annex B: Media Control Through PERMA Ordinance
Annex C: Explanatory Note on the PERMA Rule on Cross Media Ownership
Annex D: Supporting Documentation


Interviewing the Interviewer: Kamran Khan & VOA

Voice of America did an interview today at 10:00pm PST of Kamran Khan who was accorded the opportunity shed light on his interview with General Pervez Musharraf. In a very interesting show format Murtaza Solangi of VOA decided to talk to Kamran Khan and then he opens the lines to callers to shed their own analysis of the interview.

As every Pakistani felt that the hard hitting questions were not asked by Kamran Khan quite contrarty to the bashing he delivered all day after his show was banned on Geo.tv. As far as Musharraf is considered he was a nervous wreck, quite different from his usual confident self, and everyone felt that Musharraf was lying through his teeth and he is guilty beyond a shadow of doubt. Listen to the entire VOA show below

[audio:http://www.teeth.com.pk/blog/wp-content/audio/VOAKamranKhan.mp3]
or download the MP3 here (10MB)


CJP & the Politico-Constitutional Crisis

By Amicus

Part One

Presently President Musharraf is faced with the most serious political crisis since he assumed the power on 12 October 1999. Briefly the unfolding of the events may be recorded in a chronological order. Read the lines and read between the lines.

March 9:
1. President General Musharraf summoned the Chief Justice of Pakistan, Justice Iftkhar Mohammad Chaudhry, to his Camp Office, located in the annex of the Chief of Army Staffs official residence in Rawalpindi, and in the presence of Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz sought his resignation. The Chief Justice refused to tender the resignation.

2. Confronted with an unexpected situation, President Musharraf, through a notification sought to make the Chief Justice of Pakistan non-functional and decided to send a reference, purportedly, under article 209 of the Constitution, to the Supreme Judicial Council to investigate the charges of misconduct and misuse of authority against him.

3. Not even a draft of reference had been prepared, perhaps owing to misplaced confidence or out of arrogance or in the hope that the Chief Justice would resign under persuasion or pressure. President only had letter of lawyer Naeem Bokhari containing some unsubstantiated allegations against the Chief Justice.

4. Simultaneously, President Musharraf, un-necessarily, appointed available senior-most judge, Justice Javed Iqbal, as the Acting Chief Justice of Pakistan. He was administered oath while the Chief Justice was still under detention in the Chief of Army Staffs Camp Office.

5. The Supreme Judicial Council was hurriedly formed. Since the senior-most Judge, Justice Rana Bhagwandas was outside the country, the Supreme Judicial Council did not fulfill the constitutional requirements.

6. If the Supreme Judicial Council was to find the non-functional Chief Justice guilty of the charges contained in non-existent or yet to be prepared reference, he was to be removed.

7. The Chief Justice was not allowed to go to his office even after several hours of detention. Against his wish, police escorted him to his residence where he was virtually placed under house arrest.

8. The Chief Justice was denied facilities of cable TV, newspapers and telephone. The flags of Supreme Court and Pakistan were removed from his hitherto official residence. Even his name was removed from the Official Web Site of Supreme Court. The Registrar of the Supreme court too was changed.

9. The legal fraternity took the Presidents action as unconstitutional and a blatant attack on the independence of the judiciary.

10.The Private TV channels exposed the hollowness and unconstitutionality of the Presidents action in their news, reports and discussion programs.

11.The nation was taken aback. The country was plunged into a deep crisis.

March 10
1. The newspapers were full of editorials and comments, and statements of lawyers and politicians condemning presidential reference. The private TV channels were seized of the matter. There was no respite. The intelligentsia and liberal sections of the society were shocked over the Presidents crude action.

2. It was vehemently contended that the government wanted to remove the Chief Justice because he had given bold decisions. His Suo- motu actions in the cases of privatization of Pakistan Steel Mills, the forced disappearance of the people, allotment of land to bureaucrats and army officers in Gwadar, etc were cited, as having presumably incurred displeasure of the government and prompted it to act against the Chief Justice. The whole exercise was rendered malafide and motivated by anything but the Constitutional diktat.

3. It was asserted with conviction that the Chief Justice had declined to promise a deputation of intelligence officials that he would uphold as lawful the actions which President Musharraf might take to get himself elected as president in uniform. And that this had left President Musharraf with no choice but to seek his removal before such actions were taken or emergency imposed.

4. The Chief justice remained incommunicado and a heavy police contingent was posted to guard his residence. His family was confined to the house and his son was denied access to his school.

5. All bar councils and bar associations decided to observe a black day on March 13 when the Supreme Judicial Council was to take up presidential reference. The lawyers began their agitation, which has continued to this date without let up.

March 11

1. Air Marshall Asghar Khan was allowed to meet with the Chief Justice. He disclosed that the Chief justice wanted the Supreme Judicial Council to have open proceedings.

2. Not sure of themselves, the ministers gave contradictory statements. The Sindh Chief Minister made wild allegations against the Chief Justice. The MQM was conspicuously silent. So did the Chief Minister of Punjab. Ironically both were, reported to have had complaints against the Chief Justice of Pakistan, which allegedly formed part of the reference.

March 12
1. Nationwide protests were reported. 40 lawyers were hurt in baton-charge in Lahore.

2. Two private TV channels were put off air for showing recordings of how lawyers were brutally beaten.

3. The government got visibly nervous and embarrassed.

March 13
1. The overwhelming support of the lawyers for the Chief Justice upset the government.

2. The Chief justice was roughed up on his way to the Supreme Judicial Council.

3. The Chief Justice demanded reconstitution of the Supreme Judicial Council.

4. The Opposition leaders stood by the Chief Justice.

March 14
1. The Acting Chief Justice took Suo motu notice of the manhandling of the Chief Justice.

2. The suspension of the Chief justice was challenged in the Lahore High Court.

3. Khalid Anwar and Fakhruddin G. Ibrahim declined to represent the government in the Supreme Judicial Council.

4. The US Assistant Secretary of State Richard Boucher arrived. The US State Department announced that his visit was not linked to the current situation in Pakistan.

March 15
1. Shaken by lawyers agitation and spontaneous outpourings of public support for the Chief Justice, the government reportedly initiated talks with the Chief Justice to find a way out of the crisis.

2. Sharifuddin Pirzada expressed his inability to represent the government in the Supreme Judicial Council.

3. A petition was filed in the Supreme Court to declare the whereabouts of the senior-most judge, Justice Rana Bhagwandas.

4. President Musharraf said that he would accept the verdict of the Supreme Judicial Council.

5. Boucher described the crisis in Pakistan as sensitive and said that it needed to be handled carefully.

March 16
1. Daylong battles were fought between protestors and the police across the capital, Islamabad, on the occasion of the second hearing of the presidential reference.

2. The defense lawyers said that no copy of reference was provided to them.

3. The police stormed the office of Geo TV. President Musharraf apologized for the attack.

4. The attack on media was condemned. Journalists came out on the streets.

5. The opposition flexed its muscles. The MQM declared that it was not consulted about the reference.

6. The British lawyers assured support to the Chief justice.

March 17
1. The Chief Justice declared that he would not resign and fight the battle for the rule of law and supremacy of constitution.

2. The Federal Minister for Law, Wasi Zafar stated that the Chief Justice was on forced leave under section 2 of the Judges Compulsory Leave Order 1970, validated in 1975 under the Validation of Laws Act 1975. A belated change in governments position?

3. President Musharraf said that he had no personal differences with the Chief Justice. The president tried to save his position by claiming that the government had sent a reference against the Chief Justice to him and as president it was his constitutional duty to send it to the Supreme Judicial Council.

4. President Musharraf termed the police attack on Geo TVs office in Islamabad a conspiracy [yes conspiracy] aimed at tarnishing his image.

5. 50 were injured as lawyers and police clashed in Lahore. There is a call by lawyers for countrywide strike on 21 March.

6. Balochistan cities were hit by rockets and bomb blasts.

7. In New York, Benazir Bhutto said that the Taliban must be defeated in Pakistan this year or the country risked to fall under the sway of extremists.

Part Two

The above-mentioned developments from March 9 onwards suggest that the situation is very tricky and has all the potentials to drift out of control.

President Musharraf needs to weigh his options very carefully and take a decision that appears to be in national interest and in the interest of his own survival.

From a hind side, on three counts President Musharraf must be very clear:

1. He did not have the authority to make the Chief Justice non-functional. His act was unconstitutional.

2. He did not have the authority to appoint an Acting Chief Jusitce nor was it called for or ever occasioned.

3. In the absence of the senior-most judge after the Chief justice, who in the present case is Justice Bhagvandas, the composition of the Supreme Judicial Council is not as per mandatory requirements of the Constitution.

In the present circumstances when the legal fraternity has discussed the whole issue threadbare in bar associations and in public through electronic media, the Supreme Judicial Council is likely to declare its own composition unconstitutional or wait for the return of Justice Bhagvandas to fulfill the constitutional requirement.

Justice Bhagvandas has a reputation for being a man of principles. He is not likely to accept any pressure from executive in dealing with the matter.

The Supreme Judicial Council under Justice Bhagvandas would more likely to declare presidential notification, making the Chief justice non-functiona,l as null and void. Such a decision would be extremely embarrassing for President Musharraf.

There is no guarantee that any fresh reference against the Chief justice as per constitutional procedure would result in his conviction and removal. If the Supreme judicial Council absolves Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, President Musharraf would become laughing stock in public.

The best course for President Musharraf is to admit publicly that he had committed a procedural mistake and to withdraw his notification of declaring Chief Justice non-functional and so also his reference against the Chief Justice to the Supreme Judicial Council.

In the past we have seen that President Musharraf broke his promise of giving up uniform by 31 December 2004 and explained his reasons to the nation for that. If he is able to convince the people that some advisors misguided him regarding the procedure of filing the reference, the people are likely to excuse him for what happened.

Within a few weeks the whole issue may go into oblivion and become a thing of the past. The lawyers would go back to their business and the opposition would be left without a potentially dangerous issue.

President Musharraf would then be in a position to take a fresh stock of the situation. He may identify the people who made error of judgment or deliberately misguided him. Once the culprits are identified, he may get rid of them in a proper manner. Some heads would roll and the things would settle down.

For future, it is advisable that President Musharraf realizes the limitations in which he has to maneuver. The present political dispensation has lost its worth. If he tries to get himself elected from the existing assemblies without consent of the real stakeholders, he would face an extremely stiff opposition. The country may plunge into another major crisis, the first casualty of which would be Musharraf himself if extra-constitutional forces intervene.

Instead, a sensible option is to take all the stakeholders, including the Pakistan Peoples Party, on board and form a government of national consensus.

If needed due to genuine reasons, President Musharraf may impose emergency with the approval of stakeholders and as per constitutional provisions the term of the present assemblies may be extended by one year. The assemblies may elect President Musharraf without uniform for another five years and at the end of the assemblies extended period, free and fair elections may be held under the national government.

If the real stakeholders (foremost being the PPP) are not prepared for postponement of general elections, the present assemblies may be dissolved under relevant constitutional provisions, a national government or a government of consensus may be formed and general elections held without unnecessary delay. (This may not be to his liking owing to the fact that he, at the behest of his over zealous advisors, has squandered lot of capital for now).

The circumstances are such that if the dissolution of the assemblies is challenged, the Supreme Court is likely to uphold the legality of dissolution on the ground of state necessity or on the basis of the argument that for holding of presidential election, which is due between 16 September and 15 October 2007, it is imperative that the newly constituted assemblies should serve as electoral college.

Another sensible way is that after the budget session, President Musharraf may persuade the Prime Minister and the Chief Ministers to tender advice as per constitutional provisions for dissolution of the National and Provincial Assemblies. By the second week of September 2007, the new assembles may come into existence to serve as electoral college for presidential election which is, as stated above, due between 16 September and 15 October 2007.

For all these options to succeed, President Musharraf would have to strike a deal with the Pakistan Peoples Party on future political set up. The PPP is likely to accept Musharraf as president without uniform provided it is offered a level playing field and allowed to form government in case it is able to forge a majority.

This would take the country back to erstwhile system of troika. The restoration of the troika system would be acceptable to the armed forces also. It will let the Supreme Court in its place, as the arbiters for convenience or exigency.

Other options are fraught with extreme dangers.

If the legal battle over the presidential reference takes a nasty turn due to any reason and anti-government agitation picks up, President Musharraf may be forced to have unceremonious exit by the armed forces.

If President Musharraf wins legal battle through unscrupulous means – he pressurizes the Supreme judicial Council or bribes or threatens Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry to obtain resignation – neither the people would accept it nor the legal fraternity or opposition.

If President Musharraf imposes emergency without approval of the stakeholders or tries to get himself elected by the present assembly without first forging understanding with the stakeholders, he is almost certain to fail.

His emergency may then be followed by martial law.

President Musharrafs own constituency is already uneasy with him. Some of his policies are resented by strong quarters in the armed forces. It is advisable for him not to go for head-on collision with the opposition.

A recent, motivated, article in The New York Times, has indicated that the United States no more considers General Musharraf as indispensable. If Musharraf goes, the Vice Chief of Army Staff would simply become the Chief of Army Staff and the Chairman of Senate would assume presidency. It would be a re-enactment of what happened in 1988 after President and Chief of Army Staff General Mohammad Zia ul Haq was killed in a plane crash.

When some sensible options are available, why take risk?


Nasim Ashraf Resigns – Bluff ?

Cricket Bloggers of Pakistan : Geo.tv has just started displaying of a news report that Nasim Ashraf has handed in his resignation as Chairman of PCB following the miserable debacle at the World Cup. His reign of 5 months at the helm of cricketing affairs in Pakistan were far from smooth and attracted some unnecessary attention to himself rather then allowing the smooth functioning of the cricketing body and its team.

It is rumored that he has offered his resignation to the President of Pakistan, but it has not yet been accepted. Personally the President of Pakistan has too many things already on his plate to worry about cricket but then again I feel this is just another clever ploy played by Ashraf to attempt to avoid a beating at the hands of Pakistani fans. He is just dilly dallying and will use this news report of having offered his resignation to allow him enough time to sneak the cricket team back into the country and when addressing any press conference he can catapult past the harsh questions which many Journalists will throw at him by simply saying ‘…hey I offered my resignation but the President insists that I stay’

I would like to stand on record to be willing to call this a bluff, I could be wrong but gutt feeling and his loyalty to Pervaiz Musharraf reeks of something fishy. Interestingly cricinfo also still chooses to call it as ‘citing unconfirmed sources’, I assure you it will forever remain unconfirmed.

Cricinfo reports

A local station said that he handed in the resignation letter to the president of Pakistan, who is also the Patron of the PCB, late on Monday. It was not clear, however, whether it had been accepted. Citing unconfirmed sources, the station said the chairman had accepted his responsibility for the World Cup debacle. He had only been at the helm for five months as he took over from Shahryar Khan who resigned in October


Govt Bans Kamran Khan’s GEO.tv Show

Kamran Khan CensoredToday at 11:05pm the regularly scheduled show titled “Aaj Kamran Khan Key Sath which is hosted by the outspoken Kamran Khan was stopped from airing, people witnessing the live feed noticed a sudden block lasting for ten minutes after which the show was replaced by some other programming for the allotted time.

There is no doubt that this blatant censorship is quite contrary to the open attitude as being portrayed by the Emperor Pervaiz Musharraf. Geo.tv reports
Continue reading “Govt Bans Kamran Khan’s GEO.tv Show” »


Justice or Martial Law?

Ever since the attack on the Judiciary in Pakistan, last Friday (post) practically the entire country is abuzz with a number of confusing questions of which probably the least addressed is when does Pervaiz Musharraf enforce a proper Martial Law. In my opinion Pakistan is already under a full fledged Martial Law since 1999 but disguised as a torjan horse titled Enlightened Moderation.

Iftikhar beaten up
Police escort Manhandling the
Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry,
A picture not aired in the media outlets in Pakistan

A number critics say that it just can’t happen, while many believe that martial law is inevitable. I belong the latter group, in my opinion Musharraf had been buttering the people of Pakistan for the past year in preparations to make them swallow the presidency pill for another five years. The stage was prepared when he successfully masterminded a thumbs up from Uncle Sam, it was during his US-Book Tour visit that Pakistan went through an interesting roller coaster ride, I had protested back then that the simple revelation of Pakistan being bombed back into the stone ages should have been enough for any decent Pakistani leader to walk off, but not Musharraf as he was their for a more personal reason far more important then Pakistan. Millions back home reacted simply How Dare They?. It was actually Musharraf who expertly handled the ABC interview threw out this ball-busting comment to force George Bush onto the back foot and then was able to pull out the trump card right from the grasp of Uncle Sam getting himself a sexy peck on the cheek and a pat on the behind for a job well done. Musharraf finished the cake with a hilarious gig with Jon Stewart where he displayed stand-up comedy type of showmanship but the icing was when he got Bush to publicly plug his autobiography on live TV, asking people to ‘Buy the Book’, literally a dream come true for any aspiring writer.

Continue reading “Justice or Martial Law?” »


Karachi – Dubai ‘A Cruise to Hell’

Shattered Dreams aboard Gulf Dream Cruise

To follow up on my initial report of the Karachi – Dubai Cruise liner which I posted a week back practically a day before it set sail for its first maiden voyage from Karachi to Dubai. The ship left the berth with the cruise management and Geo.TV (Jang) promoters literally patting themselves on the back for this remarkable feat.

During the five days on the sea, no news filtered through from any of the passengers but upon its return, I amongst many, were surprised of a strange hushed silence on Geo which should have been prancing with joy, it seemed to suggest that something was amiss. Little do these old-school media moguls realize the power of the Internet especially with the emerging concept of Citizen Journalism (blogging) where individuals can speak out and be heard, no more hidden agenda, no more governmental control, its the time of being brave to speak out, this is the true power of Citizen Journalism, commonly referred to as blogging.
Continue reading “Karachi – Dubai ‘A Cruise to Hell’” »


Karachi – Dubai Dream Cruise – A Review

Gulf Dream CruiseYesterday I had the opportunity to have dinner on the ‘hype of the town’ Dubai Dream Cruises. Before I begin, I would like to issue a disclaimer more so to make you aware of the frame of mind I had while walking up the gangplank to enter the Gulf Dream Cruise vessel. I have previously taken a cruise to the Caribbean upon the Celebrity vessel managed by Carnival Cruise Liners, it was a superb experience with excellent food and amazing entertainment. At the same time many Pakistanis have been relating the ship to the amazing footage they saw in the movie Titanic which in its time captured the heart of millions. Despite my experience, and the splendor of the Titanic I will attempt to review this experience with neutrality leaving my own critique to the end.
Continue reading “Karachi – Dubai Dream Cruise – A Review” »


PM issues a Bribe’em Bash’em Policy

BribeA number of news agencies reported yesterday that the Prime Minister’s secretariat has recently prepared a list of 30-odd journalists who have been labelled as being a pain in the ass for the government and hence need to be dealt with and require “softening up”. You & I can easily assume the type of softening which is actually being suggested, it would either be a decent softening of a few bones, it could easily be a handsome exchange of wealth or it could even be a top notch government post in exchange for a neutrality. Anything is possible in this political system of ours.

This exercise could very well be in preparation for the elections where Musharraf desperately needs the support of a good positive press. These top notch jouranlists wil surely not help him being re-elected into power. I have tried to reproduce the list as it appears in The Daily Times for easy reading, surprisingly the list goes to even identify the individual responsible for the “softening up” process, how interesting.

I would like to form a collective effort of all my blog readers to follow these journalist and report any noticeable change in any of these people hence trying to keep a running tab on who has been softened up or even elevated to a position of power.

Journalist Bash ’em List
Journalist

Association
Assigned Party
1
Irshad Haqqani
Jang
Info Min Durrani
2
Ardeshir Cowasjee
Dawn
3
Amina Jilani
4
Khalid Hasan
TFT
Shahid Rafi
5
Kamran Shafi
6
Irfan Ghauri
7
Khaled Ahmad
TFT
8
Kamla Hyat
The News
Maj Gen Shaukat Sultan
9
Rauf Klasra
The News
10
Ansar Abbasi
The News
11
Mehtab Haider
The Nation
12
Sherry Rehman
PPPP
13
Farhatullah Babar
PPPP
14
Roedad Khan
15
Hasan Nisar
Daily Express
Info Min Durrani
16
Abbas Athar
Daily Express
Info Min Durrani
17
Irfan Siddiqui
Nawa-i Waqt
Info Min Durrani
18
Attaur Rehman
Nawa-i Waqt
Info Min Durrani
19
Haroon Rashid
Nawa-i Waqt
Info Min Durrani
20
Attaul Haq Qasmi
Jang
Senator Tariq Azeem
21
Abdul Qadir Hassan
Daily Express
Senator Tariq Azeem
22
Hamid Mir
Geo TV
Javed Akhtar
23
Farrukh Saleem
News/TFT
Javed Akhtar
24
Shafqat Mahmood
The News
Javed Akhtar
25
Khaled Ahmed
Javed Akhtar
26
MB Naqvi
The News
Jaffar Bilgrami
27
Ghazi Salahuddin
The News
Jaffar Bilgrami
28
Ayaz Amir
Dawn
Ashfaq Gondal
29
Farooq Qaiser
Khabrain.
Ashfaq Gondal
30
Raja Anwar
Khabrain.
Ashfaq Gondal



PS – I aplogize for any errors and will edit items as the errors are pointed out

Source: The Daily Times (free registration required to view the news story)


Pakistan Googled by a Texan

Bush Googly

George W. Bush’s two-day trip to Pakistan can now sadly be looked back upon more as a state sponsored relaxation trip for the President after his hectic schedule in India. Little do the Pakistanis have anything to show for this visit by the most powerful dictator of the world. In 2000, we were literally on our knees begging for Clinton to stop by to say Hi, but in contrast, in 2006, when the US President willfully offers to come, we fail miserably to perform.

It was no secret that Pakistan was unlikely to get any crumbs from the nuclear grants when India worked hard to create a mutual understanding. Delhi has been after Washington for a long time and Pakistan can’t expect to get a deal just for the heck of being a critical neighbour with India. For Pakistan, the Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) should have been the hot deal to be inked during the two-day trip. The BIT has been in the works for a good time, but sadly, Islamabad was caught napping till the nth hour and any last minute efforts only left objections making it unreasonable to be finalized in March.

When dealing with the most powerful country of the world it should not be difficult for us to come up with alternative memoranda of understanding (MOUs) to cover up and potentially replace the BIT. Other MOUs could then have served a face-saving for the embarrassed government and it would have been a benefit for Pakistan even at a microscopic level. Instead, the two days were spent playing cricket and munching dinners at state expense.

The Texan did make news (the only news to make headlines around the world), not on a political level but instead while playing cricket – he was hit by a bouncer and spun a googly in the process. It goes to say what a waste of time it is, trying to teach a baseball fan to hold the oddly shaped cricket bat let alone trying to teach him to bowl over-arm without the sling shot pitching style he’s more used to.

Making matters worse, Mushy and his cronies went all out to cordon Islamabad off from the world. The airport and all incoming roads were effectively closed for all making it more like a prison and, simultaneously, all sorts of political activity was addressed by issuing house arrests for the loudest of all critics namely Qazi and Imran Khan. I applaud Imran Khan to have taken the limelight from the visit with some very interesting TV interviews he gave leading to the trip. Qazi Saheb, what can I say?

Bottom line – Musharraf and his team have terribly mismanaged this trip, only to be remembered for the wrong’un delivery that Bush faced during his practice session at the nets.


Jahil Online

I am sure you all must know of our famous MNA cum TV personality Dr. Aamir Liaqat Hussain. For the past few months rumors have been circulating that he is a fake doctor finally I have evidence. In a detailed investigation conducted by a local newspaper ‘Ummat‘ and recently published in South Asia Tribune, some really interesting fact have indeed come forth surely worth a NAB ‘chappa’.

Dr. Aamir appears to be one of the biggest local scams of Pakistan. For the past couple years he has been the host of ‘Aalim Online‘ on Geo TV where he brings together Islamic Scholars to shed light on the religion of Islam. I have always disliked watching the show as it always appeared as a scam, a snazzy looking Dr. Aamir preaching Islam some how irritated me, but that’s just me, I have for sometime labeled his show as Jahil Online. It now appears to be entirely true. Dr. Aamir had been preaching Islam with such authority that it had the nation fooled for years including our General who has appointed him as a Minister of Religious Affairs (probably in a deal with MQM)

He has graduated from ‘Trinity College and University‘ with a Bachelors of Arts in Islamic Studies (conferred on March 17, 1995). The next degree that he allegedly pursued was a Masters of Arts in Islamic Studies (conferred on March 15, 2002) and amazingly 20 days later was awarded a doctorate, Doctor of Philosophy in Islamic Studies (conferred on April 5, 2002). All these degrees were awarded by Trinity College based out of Spain. The going rate for these ‘degrees by mail’ as published on the Trinity College website (link) is

Bachelors = $ 212
Masters = $ 332
Doctorate= $ 500
Or a one time deal all three degrees for a bumper price of $ 850

Trinity College on its webpage claims the following slogans “providing degrees based on your previous life” and the best slogan “No Residency or Attendance is required in Spain Everything by Mail

Dr. (Fake) Aamir Liaquat Hussain contested the National Assembly elections based on these degrees and successfully won, he stands to be disqualified for providing fake degrees to support his candidacy (which as you all recall was strictly limited to graduates). The Higher Education Commission Pakistan has also declare in a letter that Trinity College is not a authorized degree awarding university. How can it be since its just one of those online stores that awards these degrees. Check these pictures out as they sure are incriminating evidence.

Copy of Amir Liaquat Hussain's Bachelor of Islamic Studies from Trinity College & University

Copy of Bachelor of Arts in Islamic Studies from Trinity College & University

Copy of his Bachelors of Arts in Islamic Studies degree on 17th March 1995


Copy of Masters of Arts in Islamic Studies of Amir Liaquat Hussain

Copy of Masters of Arts in Islamic Studies of Amir Liaquat Hussain

Copy of his Masters of Arts in Islamic Studies degree on 15th March 2002


Doctor of Philosophy in Islamic Studies

Doctor of Philosophy in Islamic Studies of Amir  Liaquat Hussain

Copy of his Doctor of Philosophy in Islamic Studies on 5th April 2002


Provisionally Accepted Degree

Election Commissioner ‘provisionally’ accepting his degrees on August 24th 2002


Trinity College being listed as a NOT LISTED university

Higher Education Commission declaring Trinity College as a not listed university


Side by Side example of Sample Degree with Amir Liaquat’s degree

A sample degree issued by Trinity College (Side-by-Side)


Detailed report on SA Tribune
Get your fake degree –> Trinity College Website
I leave you with considerable evidence, for you to decide

Update 13th March: In a Google search of our fake Aalim I came across this interview from Daily Times

Daily Times: What are your predictions about the Pakistani politics?

Aamir Liaqat:I am really disappointed with the Pakistani politics. The biggest despondency is the involvement of Maulvis in the mainstream politics, who are raising local issues at national levels. I am not hopeful with the national politics. The politicians of my country fight only for their own interests. I request General Musharraf to give me a chartered plane, and I would take all the politicians to Iraq. Then I would ask all those who claim to be great Muslims to come out and fight against the anti-Islam forces. If I could not take the airplane to Iraq, then I will destroy it in the sea. I would sacrifice my own life for this noble cause.

I am foreseeing a bloody revolution. Sorry to say, the democracy would bring nothing better in this country. Pakistan needs a bloody revolution. A person is required here, who will eliminate all the politicians once for all, and then intelligent and young people of Pakistan will come forward to lead the nation. I fear that in revolution the geographical situation might also change.


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