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Posts tagged with: Islamabad

Transcript of Dr. Kaiser Bengali’s Lecture – Making sense of Pakistan and its Economy

Attached is the entire transcript of the lecture given by Dr. Kasier Bengali in Dec at the invitation of People’s Resistance & The Green Economics & Globalisation Initiative where he talked on Making sense of Pakistan and its Economy at Shirkat Gah Office, Karachi

Alternatively Download the [download#2]

Let me begin by thanking Shirkat Gah for arranging this opportunity and you all for being here to exchange views. I am happy to see so many young faces here. This represents a change. I sensed the first indication of change in October 2005 when the earthquake hit. Young educated people, many of whom had never washed a spoon in their own houses, lived in tents and helped the victims. I think that something happened to bring a generation alive and we are seeing it again. In the current movement today, we may agree with a lot of things, not agree with a lot of things, but the point is that you are concerned, and that has been missing for 20 years, and 20 years is a long time. It’s a whole generation of people; people especially those in their 30s today, who in their own student days and youth were completely unassociated with any social issues. So I find this a very refreshing change and I consider myself fortunate that I am being able to interact with you today.

Now to the subject of economics. I know most of you do not have any economics background, but I will try to be simple. My ability to speak economics in rather simple language developed because when I started my career I started working with trade unions and I had to explain economics to people who were at best matriculates or even less, and that’s where I developed this ability to talk economics in the lay person’s language. I guess there was some kind of a social consciousness. I had no need to work with trade unions; I could have done consulting for the World Bank, or joined the World Bank. In fact I had an offer from an international bank. But like you, I thought I have to work with people and it is working with people that gave me the ability to speak the language of the people.
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Brave Citizens confront water cannons & tear gas in Islamabad

islamabad protest under water cannon blast

Islamabad Protestor being dragged away by polie

Macleans Canada Reports: Police using tear gas and water cannons clashed today with hundreds of lawyers to block them from reaching the barricaded house of Pakistan’s deposed chief justice. About 1,500 black-suited lawyers marched on the residence of Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry, the detained top judge of the Supreme Court, who was fired by President Pervez Musharraf three months ago. After the lawyers tried to breach the barbed-wire barricade, hundreds of police drove them back by firing tear gas and shooting water cannons from a fire truck.

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Email from Islamabad about the assault on Civil Society

Report / email from Urooj Zia a People’s Resistance activist who was in Islamabad for the protests

Friends from Islamabad and those from Karachi who went to Islamabad for the protest. I can still taste the friggin’ teargas, and the place where a stone lobbed by the policemen hit me on my hipbone. And the water-canon! The first one came as a shock. And then when they realised that a few of us WOULDN’T retreat, they started taking aim and dousing us. It’s a miracle we didn’t freeze to death.

And when THAT didn’t stop us, they buried us under teargas shells. Jesus Christ! A *lot* happened today. Will file a detailed report once I’ve stopped shivering. 😛

Meanwhile, let the records show that the lawyers and the activists at today’s protest fought the State machinery bravely. I’m so darn PROUD to have stood side-by-side today with such absolute heroes. *salute*

~ UZi

Update @ 2010: Initial reports from the Hum Logge Solidarity Rally in Islamabad

Sketchy details coming in from Islamabad:

If anyone wishes to show solidarity with those injured and affected by the police attack can reach Aitzaz Ahsan’s residence in Islamabad.

The rally was stopped by a very large posse of police (over 1000). Barbed wire was laid out on way leading to Aitzaz’s residence. As the group neared the barbed wire, police took up positions with tear gas guns, batons and bricks in hands.

As soon as those in front crossed the barbed wire, they were hit with high pressure jets of cold water from water cannons. The citizens moved backwards to take cover and the police lunged forward with their batons, and started throwing stones and bricks at the citizens. Some students and citizens were hurt in the process. In the meantime, to stop the police onslaught, stones were thrown back at the police in self-defense.

Moments later, heavy tear gas shelling started. Marriott Hotel, which was nearby, refused to give water to those affected by tear gas. In contrast, staff from offices in Software Technology Park building sent containers and coolers of water for the injured protesters.

International media was present and was also horrified at the unprovoked and brutal attack by the police.

At the moment, there is confirmation of arrest of Tahira Abdullah and also Umayr Hassan a faculty member of FAST NU (FASTRising), Lahore. Arrest of Athar Minallah is still being confirmed.

Hum Logge Solidarity Rally in Islamabad Tear gassed & Arrests

The Hum Logge Solidarity Rally that was scheduled to be held in Islamabad today was heavily tear gassed and arrests have been made. Initial reports indicate that Athar Minallah and Tahira have been arrested. The tear gassing has stopped for a little while, updates to soon follow as they come in

Details of the planned Hum Logge [We, the people] Solidarity rally can be read here

AAJ TV Blackballed again because of Live with Talat

Live with Talat shut downA day back around 11:30 at night on Feb 6th AAJ TV was suddenly taken off the air in the regions of Rawalpindi and Islamabad and according to AAJ it was blocked up to Chakwal 60 km away. Live with Talat was due to air a discussion with Nusrat Javeed while some sources say that the shut down could also have been due to Aaj live broadcast of Nawaz Sharif’s Lahore address in which he accused that the militants had shot down the army helicopter.

AP Reports that prior to the broadcast, Musharraf’s spokesman Rashid Quereshi had advised Aaj that it should not allow Javed to appear on any of its programs, Aslam Dogar, an assignment editor for the station.

The international media rights group Reporters Without Borders accused state-run Pakistan Television of bias against parties opposing Musharraf. The media group noted Musharraf had promised fair and free elections when Pakistanis choose a new parliament Feb. 18. “The absence of fairness in the coverage provided by the only national terrestrial broadcast channel shows that this is not yet the case,” the group said in a statement Wednesday
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Scotland Yard – BB’s death from Shockwave NOT bullet

Well the news is making its rounds across the country that Scotland Yard has submitted a report that BB was killed by the shock wave from the bomb blast and not from a bullet [link]. It apparently seem to follow exactly in line with what the Government tried its best to pitch to the country back in December. I am, like many astonished to read these findings as the visual evidence does tell a different story altogether, but I am definitely not a crime scene investigator

Even with this report I remain critical of the Mush administration as to how they treated this tragic event, almost like a circus, but at the same time emotions within me feel its time to bring closure to the issue of Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto’s death, she is sadly no more with us and what good will it do to continually rehash her cause of death, she is quite simply dead and no more amongst us.

The report is supposed to be submitted today in the afternoon, but Scotland Yard has made it clear that it will remain mum on the issue until the Government of Pakistan chooses to make this report public, else we have to rely on what the government chooses to tell us. Excerpts of an article published in NewYork Times

NewYork Times: Investigators from Scotland Yard have concluded that Benazir Bhutto, the Pakistani opposition leader, died after hitting her head as she was tossed by the force of a suicide blast, not from an assassin’s bullet, officials who have been briefed on the inquiry said Thursday. The findings support the Pakistani government’s explanation of Ms. Bhutto’s death in December, an account that had been greeted with disbelief by Ms. Bhutto’s supporters, other Pakistanis and medical experts.
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Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Chaudhry responds to the allegations

AN OPEN LETTER TO: (PDF Available for Download)

The President of the European Parliament, Brussels.
The President of France, Paris.
The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, London.
Ms. Condaleeza Rice, Secretary of State, United States of America
Professor Klaus Schwab, World Economic Forum, Geneva.

All through their respective Ambassodors, High Commissioners and representatives.


I am the Chief Justice of Pakistan presently detained in my residence since November 3, 2007 pursuant to some verbal, and unspecified, order passed by General Musharraf.

I have found it necessary to write to you, and others, because during his recent visits to Brussels, Paris, Davos and London General Musharraf has slandered me, and my colleagues, with impunity in press conferences and other addresses and meetings. In addition he has widely distributed, among those whom he has met, a slanderous document (hereinafter the Document) entitled: “PROFILE OF THE FORMER CHIEF JUSTICE OF PAKISTAN. I might have let this go unresponded but the Document, unfortunately, is such an outrage that, with respect, it is surprising that a person claiming to be head of state should fall to such depths as to circulate such calumny against the Chief Justice of his own country.
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How to Steal an Election Without Breaking a Sweat

This writeup was posted on the People’s Resistance network, this might be more of a general report but quite literally the upcoming elections in Pakistan have all the signs to be fully rigged. Pakistan fails on each and every condition mentioned here

From Abuja to Islamabad, autocratic regimes have become adept at manipulating “free and fair elections to stay in power. Heres how they do itand how to stop them.

Control the process

How its done: Its much easier to steal an election when there are fewer checks on executive power and no legal framework for resolving disputes. When the laws are vague, election commissions are often powerless to confront a powerful central leader. “When you have a partial constitution that doesnt lay out the details of election law properly, thats a problem, says Chris Hennemeyer, director of African programs at the election-monitoring group IFES, adding, “Its a tried-and-true technique to stack the electoral commission with your cronies.

Real-world example: Kenyas constitution invests an enormous amount of power in the executive branch. This allowed President Mwai Kibaki to create a vast system of patronage throughout the government based largely on tribal ties. The head of the Electoral Commission of Kenya, Samuel Kivuitu, has recently admitted that he was pressured by the presidents office to announce results before he could verify their authenticity.

How to stop it: An independent judicial branch that is capable of arbitrating electoral disputes without partisan pressure is a must. It also helps if polls are managed by independent election commissions rather than interior ministries.
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High Profile Deportation of Chaudhry Wajahat Hussain

Chaudhry Wajahat HussainChaudhry Wajahat Hussain, elder brother of PML (Q) President Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, was deported by British authorities when he arrived at Heathrow Airport from Spain. Wajahat had gone to London to lead a pro-Musharraf rally in London basically to counter the anti-Musharraf protests planned for his visit a few days later

The prominent PML-Q leaders were reportedly questioned about alleged involvement with terrorists, after a tip-off by the Spanish police which had recently rounded up Pakistani’s said to be involved in terrorism. It is being reported that the British high commission in Islamabad has swiftly expressed regrets to Chaudhry Shujaat.

This incident without doubt brings about a mischievous smile on our face as if to say ‘serves them right’

Chat with Cisco Country General Manager, Dr. Aamir Matin

Chat with Dr Amir MatinA few days back I had the opportunity to sit down for an hour long talk with Dr. Aamir Matin, the Cisco Country General Manager who had flown in from Islamabad to be in Karachi for a few days. The casual meeting was arranged through the efforts of Rabia Garib of Rasala Publications and editor of NetXpress Online who just wanted us to sit and talk about anything over a cup of coffee.

There were no questions, per se, but a casual conversation where we touched a number of issues related to the IT industry, the overall economy in Pakistan and at the same time we did also touch the political nerve somewhere in between. It goes without doubt that Dr. Matin catches you a little off guard, where I expected an aloof CEO sitting across the table, but this guy was simply fun to talk to his casual style was definitely worth noting and I must admit he does carry refreshing aura of energy around him

Cisco is without doubt a core player in Pakistan’s IT arena and seems to have done well in Pakistan promoting its products in the open market while at the same time being mindful of its due role of corporate social responsibility here in Pakistan. Dr. Matin heads this unit fully aware of the difficulties facing this country and he remains adamant at exploring every opportunity available to Cisco and Pakistan, he was upbeat to point out that there has been a marked growth in infrastructure in the past few years and expects this growth to continue on into the years to come. To explain this phenomenon he had one simple sentence which aptly summarized the issue ‘if our routers are selling like hotcakes there must be something going on right in the country to show this growth’.
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Pakistan’s Nuclear Threat – A State of Denial by Pervaiz Hoodbhoy

By Pervez Hoodbhoy
Published in International Herald Tribune: January 16, 2008

A cacophony of protests in Pakistan greeted a recent statement by the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Mohammad ElBaradei. “I fear that chaos, or an extremist regime, could take root in that country, which has 30 to 40 warheads,” he said. He also expressed fear that “nuclear weapons could fall into the hands of extremist groups in Pakistan or Afghanistan.”

But in Pakistan, few worry. The Strategic Plans Division, which is the Pakistani agency responsible for handling nuclear weapons, exudes confidence that it can safely protect the country’s “crown jewels.”

The SPD is a key beneficiary of the recently disclosed secret $100 million grant by the Bush administration, the purpose of which is to make Pakistan’s nuclear weapons safer.

This money has been put to use. Indeed, ever since Sept. 11, 2001, there has been a regular traffic of Pakistani military officers to and from the United States for coaching in nuclear safety techniques.
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RSF Questions Cyber Crime Law in Pakistan

Reporters Sans FrontiersReporters Without Borders has written a strong letter to the Minister of Information and Technology questioning the Government of Pakistan on the Cyber Crime Ordinance which was promulgated into effect barely a two weeks ago. Reporters Without Borders fears that a new law on cyber crime, revealed on 7 January by the authorities, will pose serious obstacles to “citizen journalism and calls on the government to clarify the definition of some of its provisions.

“This law prevents any blogger from posting photos or video showing persons who have not given their consent, the press freedom organisation said. “Pakistan has understood its right to give itself a law for fighting cyber-crime, but it is vital that this law should not obstruct freedom of information.

Reporters Without Borders added: “We urge the government to clarify the content of some of the provisions that we think are dangerous. With just one month to go to legislative elections, some of the articles of this law look like censorship.

The Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act has been in force since 31 December and will be submitted to the new parliament in April, after it has been elected. Reporters Without Borders has written to minister of information technology and telecommunications Awais Laghari asking him to “provide guarantees as regards respect for freedom of information.

The law provides for the death penalty for anyone causing the death of another person by means of email messages. A Federal Investigation Agency representative in Islamabad tried to justify the law by referring to Daniel Pearls murder and describing the exchange of emails between the kidnappers as a “cyber-crime.
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The NAB Diaries – Part Four

Guest Post by Amer Nazir

Part One of the ‘The NAB Diaries’ can be read here
Part Two of the ‘The NAB Diaries’ can be read here
Part Three of the ‘The NAB Diaries’ can be read here

“Do you wish to know whether that day is coming? Watch money.

Money is the barometer of a societys virtue. When you see that trading is done, not by consent, but by compulsion when you see that in order to produce, you need to take permission from men who produce nothing when you see money is flowing to those who deal, not in goods, but in favors when you see that men go richer by graft and by pull than by work, and your laws dont protect you against them, but protect them against you when you see corruption being rewarded and honesty becoming a self sacrifice you may know that your society is doomed. Money is so noble a medium that it does not compete with guns and it does not make terms with brutality. It will not permit a country to survive as half-property, half-loot.
Ayn Rand (Atlas shrugged)

Perhaps we are missing out on a simple point. It is not an issue of the Army against Democracy. We want democracy but what is holding us back are the illiterate, incompetent, and corrupt politicians. And we do want our army Pakistan needs an army but what is holding us back from having a professional army are the 150 or so generals that are in command…

Corrupt institutions can only bring forth corrupt people and a lawless society. Proper institutions bring forth proper people and transparency. Apart from institutions we need wealth and prosperity a larger pie. With the pie shrinking it is but natural that the men with guns would want to snatch other peoples share as well… there being no other solution for their personal economic survival. Any moral slogan is adopted patriotism, morality, religion, terrorism whatever.
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Cyber Crime Ordinance Promulgated by the President

UPDATE 2: we can now confirm that the Ordinance is in full effect, infact its been in full force since 31st of December, but it will come up on the National Assembly floor in four months or 120 days.

UPDATE: Some helpful reporters of Dawn News are on the prowl to get full confirmation from the government about this story, the only news report that has appeared is in the Express newspaper today

Pakistan Cyber Crime Bill 2007In a shocking and sudden development yesterday and caught our attention today when it appeared in the newspaper today that the The President of Pakistan has just promulgated the Cyber Crime Bill. I dare to say but this is just a method to crack down on the voice of free expression on the internet akin to the PEMRA ordinance that strangulated the electronic media after Nov 3rd.

I don’t have the exact document but our last understanding of the issue – which was the ‘final draft’ this bill can be considered very dangerous for regular citizens. The bill forms a Tribunal which is in effect judge jury and executioner all encompassing, it allows the FIA full authority to confiscate and arrest anyone who is deemed by the government to be in violation of the ‘integrity of Pakistan’ labeled as a person having terroristic intent – this is a new word created by the Govt of Pakistan for the English Language ;). There maybe some good aspects to the law but when an agency or tribunal supersedes the Justice system one would tend to worry of its widespread potential to misuse.

As per the final draft – an officer can walk into my house confiscate my computer and arrest me, he/she does not have to explain why and neither give reason for the arrest. I shall remain in custody as long as it takes for the tribunal to take collect evidence. And if found guilty by the Tribunal I am punishable from 3-10 years &/or Rs. 5,00,000.

A rough idea about the bill, as the one that was on FINAL DRAFT before all the emergency in Pakistan was, the FIA under orders from a Cyber Crime Tribunal court could accuse anyone of engaging in Terroristic activities and confiscate their computer without reason or explanation, and condemn the person to 3-10 years in prison, and the bill allowed the tribunal to keep the person under question without charge until it prepared the evidence. The onus of proof does not necessary have to come before the arrest. To understand the cyber Crime Bill one could follow the presentation by Zahid Jamil which he made a few months back.

DISCLAIMER: This is my own understanding as per the FINAL DRAFT that was up for approval – though our team of lawyers met the Ministry of IT and voiced their opinions, I am told that they were only heard and we don’t know if it was accepted into the bill. we await a copy and if someone has it please forward along.

Coverage on T2F website as well: E-Crime Bill Roundup

This is the actual news report which appeared today, translation and updates too soon follow
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