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Posts Tagged ‘Pakistan Situation’

Kingdom of the Sharifs in Pakistan – Do You Agree?

Posted by yourpakistan on July 24, 2014

Prime Minister Pakistan Nawaz Sharif His Highness

By Sabena Siddiqui – Opinion Maker

Pakistan has begun to look like a kingdom of the Sharifs , where family members are like royalty and are entrusted with the administration of various areas sans qualifications or experience. Living in Saudi Arabia for an extended time has left some imprint of the royals on the Sharif mind and they assume everything they do is right. Promises made at the time of the election campaign are long forgotten and the main concentration is on attaining as many luxuries as possible.

Their election victory is quite controversial to begin with , a parties-demanded Election Commission probe recently found vote fraud favouring Nawaz Sharif , and some politicians demanded that he must resign from his position of prime minister.

An ECP official said a typing mistake had increased the count by 7,000 more votes. Meanwhile, the controversy got worse as it also revealed vote fraud favouring Nawaz Sharif in his winning constituency. If this is what happened in the Prime Minister’s own constituency and he won by rigging , what would have happened in other constituencies.

What has been achieved in these 14 months? The ground realities of the last 14 months are an absolute contrast to the favorable impression given by improvement in the ranking of Pakistan by Moody’s. It is not easy to wait another 4 years for the turnaround of the country under PMLN’s rule. There is hardly any change in the power load shedding situation if you compare the PPP and the PMLN government. The same amount of electricity is being provided but at 100% increased rates. What makes it even worse than the PPP era is that the power is supplied at as low as 170 volts, in PMLN’s time . A lot of unwarranted extravagance has taken place on purchases of latest model BMW’s, costly foreign tours, purchase of expensive dogs, free five-star meals being served to their parliamentarians in the National Assembly cafeteria. There is a total disconnect between the ruling elite and the general public. Read the rest of this entry »

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Pakistan in Search of New Life

Posted by yourpakistan on December 25, 2013

“Pakistan needs a leadership that can rise above all schisms and think out of the box with honesty and dedication; such people are there but only need to be put in place.” Raja Mujtaba

Pakistan Is Our Passion

By Mahboob A. Khawaja, PhD – Opinion Maker

After the scheduled retirement of daily newsmaker Chief Justice Iftikhar Ahmed Chaudry, another favorite General is sworn-in to replace General Ashfaq Kiyani – the outgoing Army Chief and expiry of Asif Zardari’s fraudulent presidency, the intriguing news stunts appear to have subsided.  Nothing has changed over the years except Pakistan is floating in a bubble of political, social, economic and strategic entanglement and it is just a matter of time that foreign masters could undermine its flight without notice. Pakistanis are camouflaged into a world of fantasy and dream that crime-riddled corrupt politics of the few could rescue them from catastrophic consequences unthinkable to conventional wisdom at the present. Being a nuclear power in a highly competitive world of power politics is often a problem than a sustainable strength. It is not the power of nuclear weapons to be a decisive factor, but morally and intellectually enriched intelligent leadership to define the national interests effectively and to assume a powerful role of persuasive motivation and influence to gain favorable standing in global affairs. Pakistan is at great loss with nothing of that sort. Over half of century or more, Pakistanis failed to produce any intelligent and credible leaders to represent its national interests to a challenging world of competing interests. For too long, Pakistan’s national interests were not part of the political characters encroaching political power through backdoor conspiracies and secretive intrigues to maintain the status-quo for foreign dictates.  There are critical issues involving large segments of the society and politicians to be complacent in sustaining institutionalized corruption and dismantling the foundation framework of the freedom of the nation. There is no scarcity of informed, well educated and intelligent people to take up the challenging role of new-age leadership to change the course of self-geared destruction of the society but most are not part of the corrupt “no system” of politics as they have not earned wealth through bribes and backdoor deals, so their chances to any meaningful participation in national politics are non-existent. The institutionalized corruption is itself an operating powerful system of governance and it denies receptive opportunities to outsiders – the honest and educated people of the new generation to enter into politics and make the difference.  Money is a big motivator and hand-changer like the mafia of the feudal landlords and boxed-in family-based politicians of the few. None would feel the pinch if Pakistan is dismembered again and all that was precious and noble core values to its freedom fighters from the British colonial rule.

John Perkins (Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, 2005) knows too well how international economic development projects are planned and carried out by the World Bank and other international corporations affiliated to this paradigm. Pakistan is no exception as it owes some $70 Billions un-payable debt to the International Monetary Fund managed by the US. The mafia-like game works like this explains Charley Reese……….. Read the rest of this entry »

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Pirate Ship

Posted by yourpakistan on June 4, 2013

Pirate Ship

By Humayun Gauhar – Opinion Maker

Though Pakistan is being buffeted by wind and wave and caught in an impending Perfect Triple Storm, the worst thing to be is pessimistic. Those with Faith never lose hope, knowing that God knows best. Descending into hopelessness makes crashing onto rocks and icebergs inevitable.

Conversely, over-optimism based on nothing but wishful thinking is equally dangerous. Get realistic and base your analysis on facts good and bad. Start thinking for God’s sake. Take superficial media and social gossip with a pinch of salt. Think for yourself and think things through, putting your illusions, delusions, wish lists and prejudices aside.

If it helps, remember that the fundamentals of the US, UK and Japanese economies are even worse than ours. Where they are better is less bad leadership. But if their economic decline continues, centrifugal forces in the first two will arise too. After all man, not nature makes states if man thinks that under this particular dispensation his lot will improve. When it stops improving the justification for the existence of the state evaporates and it collapses to morph into other state or states or merge with other existing ones. Skeptical? Remember the Soviet Union and East Europe?

We are not a rudderless ship without a steering wheel. Our problem is that our rudder is alien and thus doesn’t work for our ship. It only works for its owners and top managers who are all pirates so such a ship suits them just fine. The hapless passengers keep sacking and reemploying the helmsmen regularly in a zero sum game, not realizing that they come from the pirates who have hijacked their ship of state. But now the question arises: are pirates good enough to steer and navigate the ship out of this Triple Storm and to where? The pirates’ destination is different, passengers’ different. The pirates are products of the same nursery of colonized minds that are intent on protecting and fortifying the man-eating iniquitous status quo that kills the passengers but enriches the owners. Read the rest of this entry »

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Connecting the Dots Around Qadri

Posted by yourpakistan on January 25, 2013

Tahir Ul Qadri Long March Saga

PKKH Exclusive | by Faiqa Salman

There is always a bigger picture, bigger players and bigger interests. Let’s look at our scenario in the region. The Afghan US war is the most pressing global issue in the region and Pakistan is the key player that comes after Afghanistan in bringing stability into the land. US forces will be leaving Afghanistan in 2014. NATO and US presence depends on the Pakistan’s support alone. US could leave today but it yet needs a face saving excuse to exit along with other regional interests none of which could be achieved so far and it partly blames Pakistan for it.

Elections in Pakistan are just months away. Despite all of its funding in shape of the Kerry Lugar Bill, the USAID etc. to make the Zardari Government successful, the inept corrupt government failed public support in the country and as a consequence failing the US cause. As it happens, PPP however much incapable, is the only force in Pakistan that can harbor US interests completely. Whereas smooth democratic transition in form of PTI or the coalition of PMLN with other Parties like JI is more likely to be underway, any one of which may force US troops to retreat even before 2014 or may not cooperate with the US backed Karzai regime. 

So what is the situation of Pakistan that suits US and NATO presence most.

  1. PPP being elected once again or given extension for an unlimited period of time.
  2. An Interim Government that suits its goals.
  3. Pak Army occupied internally acting as US proxy fighting its enemies in the region.
  4. A new democratic government that watches US interests after it leaves.

So where did Dr. Tahir ul Qadri fit in. Let me stray away from the topic. Putting the pieces of the puzzle together, the mystery of his showing up abruptly reveals that there is a very careful planning behind the comeback, but what is behind the planning? Read the rest of this entry »

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Pakistan a Victim Of Geopolitics – Analysis

Posted by yourpakistan on December 28, 2012



By: Shabbir H. Kazmi

Since independence Pakistan has remained the focus of global and regional powers. The country is termed a natural corridor for trade ‑ including energy products ‑ gateway to Central Asia and landlocked Afghanistan. There is a perception that often regimes are installed and toppled in Pakistan by the super powers to achieve their vested interest. This is evident from cold war era to occupation of Afghanistan and from love and hate relationship with India to creation of Taliban (phantom now having many offspring).

At present Pakistan is facing extremely volatile situation, which has become a threat for its own existence. Fighting a proxy war for United States in Afghanistan for nearly four decade has completely destroyed the economic and social fabric of the country.

Pakistan is suffering from the influx of foreign militant groups getting funds and arms from different global operators.

Analysts say over the years Pakistan has been towing foreign and military policy of the United States, which has often offended USSR, China, India and Iran. Therefore, one needs to analyze Pakistan’s relationship with Afghanistan, India and Iran, enjoying common borders with the country. It may not be wrong to say that at present Pakistan doesn’t enjoy cordial relation with none of these countries.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Pakistan Under Multiple Pressures

Posted by yourpakistan on January 1, 2012

Pakistan’s adversaries huddled in Kabul had chalked out a comprehensive covert game plan in 2001 to destabilize, denuclearize, de-Islamize and fragment Pakistan spread over several years. They had pinned high hopes in Gen Musharraf and his King’s Party to help them in the realization of their hidden objectives. 

By Asif Haroon Raja

Massive expansion of media channels was part of the program to promote secularism and to damage Islamic identity. When they found that Musharraf was not allowing them to gain access to nuclear program, he and his political set up was changed in 2008 and they brought in new leadership totally submissive to Washington’s commands. With their cooperation, the schemers started weakening the economy and public sector enterprises and energy sector.

Six topmost intelligence agencies led by CIA were pitched against the ISI to discredit and defang it. Considering the Army to be the chief bottleneck, they had held high hopes in TTP in FATA, TNSM in Swat and BLA-BRA in Balochistan to enfeeble it. These militant groups had been provided huge funds, training facilities, arms, explosives, sophisticated communication sets, technical know-how of making suicide jackets, techniques of brainwashing suicide bombers and making improvised explosive devices together with intelligence support to enable them to confront major part of the Army, fix and possibly defeat it. Swat, Bajaur and South Waziristan were prepared as killing grounds to trap and annihilate security forces.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Wake Up Pakistan

Posted by yourpakistan on September 25, 2011

Robert J. Herbold is a retired chief operating officer of Microsoft Corporation, presently the managing director of The Herbold Group, LLC and author of ‘What’s Holding You Back? Ten Bold Steps That Define Gutsy Leaders.’ His new found company does business with China. He is a frequent visitor to China, during his last trip he did an informal comparative analysis between China and the US. His observations are nothing but commonsense and easily understood by the readers that have been reproduced below. 

On his return from China, he wrote a paper, “China vs. America: Which Is the Developing Country?” published in WSJ. It is indeed a very educative and informative study. His paper took me down the memory lane, the golden period of Pakistan’s development. Based on his paper, I did a mental comparison of Ayub Khan’s era and today’s China that’s by far the leading economy and a military power based on it’s own agro-industrial productions.

The platform that the Chinese used is the famous “five year plan” of Ayub Khan. The Chinese development was structured and spread out over ‘five year’ plans that’s precisely the reason for their balanced and spread out economic and industrial base.

Given Ayub Khan’s faults, he was a visionary and a planer and above all a statesman. He had picked the best brains for his team who carried out his vision with dedication. Today the economic infrastructure that we see in Pakistan was planned and laid down by his team. Dams, power generation, national grid system, industrialization, regional cooperation, atomic energy, SUPARCO etc were all the fruits of his planning and vision.

Pakistan’s ‘five year’ plans were adopted by other developing countries like China, South Korea etc. They continued with the plans but post 1972 era we reversed everything and nationalized anything and everything of significance, the result was an economic chaos that ushered an era of communist style governance that scared away the business community. The capital flight and brain drain took place at a very massive scale. US dollar that was valued at Rs 4.50 shot up close to 10 rupees. Since then rupee kept on losing ground not only to dollar but is in a far miserable state in comparison to Indian and Bangladeshi currency.

Today Pakistan does not have money to manage its business, railways, PIA, steel mill, WAPDA (the government power generation authority) all are losing concerns. The lucrative projects like PTCL etc have been thrown away at no price. Pakistan Railway has come to a virtual halt whereas China is adding tracks at 3 KMs a day, building high speed trains, surmounting the inaccessible mountains like Tibet etc where the train could never be dreamt. Pakistan Railways has been lost to transport mafia but not without the connivance of the respective governments since 1972. Instead of laying new tracks, the existing ones have been dismantled and sold out as scrap.

On the education side, one good thing done by General Musharraf was the establishment of ‘Higher Education Commission’ that is being rolled back because it did not endorse the fake degrees of the honourable parliamentarians. China is not only establishing more and more Education Bodies but is actively stipulating to get its brains back from abroad to absorb them in the local setups. Pakistan governments ensure that no brain stays behind in the country to challenge their authority; they are forced to flee and migrate to look for conducive environments where they excel.

The present government that we have got is the worst in our history; the entire lot is busy in corruption and plunder. The sudden collapse of Pakistan Railways and price hike of utilities with continued shortages is all by design. Whom can we blame for getting all this trash installed over us? When we see it more focused, it’s the notorious NRO, so all those who brokered it must take the responsibility.

“Recently I flew from Los Angeles to China to attend a corporate board-of-directors meeting in Shanghai, as well as customer and government visits there and in Beijing. After the trip was over, in thinking about the United States and China, it was not clear to me which is the developed, and which is the developing, country.

Infrastructure: Let’s face it, Los Angeles is decaying. Its airport is cramped and dirty, too small for the volume it tries to handle and in a state of disrepair. In contrast, the airports in Beijing and Shanghai are brand new, clean and incredibly spacious, with friendly, courteous staff galore. They are extremely well-designed to handle the large volume of air traffic needed to carry out global business these days.

In traveling the highways around Los Angeles to get to the airport, you are struck by the state of disrepair there, too. Of course, everyone knows California is bankrupt and that is probably the reason why. In contrast, the infrastructure in the major Chinese cities such as Shanghai and Beijing is absolute state-of-the-art and relatively new.

The congestion in the two cities is similar. In China, consumers are buying 18 million cars per year compared to 11 million in the U.S. China is working hard building roads to keep up with the gigantic demand for the automobile.

The just-completed Beijing to Shanghai high-speed rail link, which takes less than five hours for the 800-mile trip, is the crown jewel of China’s current 5,000 miles of rail, set to grow to 10,000 miles in 2020. Compare that to decaying Amtrak.

Government Leadership: Here the differences are staggering. In every meeting we attended, with four different customers of our company as well as representatives from four different arms of the Chinese government, our hosts began their presentation with a brief discussion of China’s new five-year-plan. This is the 12th five-year plan and it was announced in March 2011. Each of these groups reminded us that the new five-year plan is primarily focused on three things: 1) improving innovation in the country; 2) making significant improvements in the environmental footprint of China; and 3) continuing to create jobs to employ large numbers of people moving from rural to urban areas. Can you imagine the U.S. Congress and president emerging with a unified five-year plan that they actually achieve (like China typically does)?

The specificity of China’s goals in each element of the five-year plan is impressive. For example, China plans to cut carbon emissions by 17% by 2016. In the same time frame, China’s high-tech industries are to grow to 15% of the economy from 3% today.

Government Finances: This topic is, frankly, embarrassing. China manages its economy with incredible care and is sitting on trillions of dollars of reserves. In contrast, the U.S. government has managed its financials very poorly over the years and is flirting with a Greece-like catastrophe.

Human Rights/Free Speech: In this area, our American view is that China has a ton of work to do. Their view is that we are nuts for not blocking pornography and anti government points-of-view from our youth and citizens.

Technology and Innovation: To give you a feel for China’s determination to become globally competitive in technology innovation, let me cite some statistics from two facilities we visited. Over the last 10 years, the Institute of Biophysics, an arm of the Chinese Academy of Science, has received very significant investment by the Chinese government. Today it consists of more than 3,000 talented scientists focused on doing world-class research in areas such as protein science, and brain and cognitive sciences.

We also visited the new Shanghai Advanced Research Institute, another arm of the Chinese Academy of Science. This gigantic science and technology park is under construction and today consists of four buildings, but it will grow to over 60 buildings on a large piece of land equivalent to about a third of a square mile. It is being staffed by Ph.D.-caliber researchers. Their goal statement is fairly straightforward: ‘To be a pioneer in the development of new technologies relevant to business.’

All of the various institutes being run by the Chinese Academy of Science are going to be significantly increased in size, and staffing will be aided by a new recruiting program called ‘Ten Thousand Talents.’ This is an effort by the Chinese government to reach out to Chinese individuals who have been trained, and currently reside, outside China. They are focusing on those who are world-class in their technical abilities, primarily at the Phd level, at work in various universities and science institutes abroad. In each year of this new five-year plan, the goal is to recruit 2,000 of these individuals to return to China.

Reasons and Cure: Given all of the above, I think you can see why I pose the fundamental question: Which is the developing country and which is the developed country? The next questions are: Why is this occurring and what should the U.S. do?

Let’s face it we are getting beaten because the U.S. government can’t seem to make big improvements. Issues quickly get polarized, and then further polarized by the media, which needs extreme viewpoints to draw attention and increase audience size. The autocratic Chinese leadership gets things done fast (currently the autocrats seem to be highly effective).

What is the cure? Washington politicians and American voters need to snap to and realize they are getting beaten and make big changes that put the U.S. back on track: Fix the budget and the burden of entitlements; implement an aggressive five-year debt-reduction plan, and start approving some winning plans. Wake up, America!”

 Today, Pakistan is placed in far worst situation because of the global designs and games being played in the region, Pakistan needs to extricate itself very carefully and manage to stand on her own feet concentrating on socio-economic development. However what Robert J. Herbold has concluded, is more applicable to Pakistan therefore I endorse the same for the people of Pakistan, ‘Wake up Pakistan!’

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Things Will Get Better

Posted by yourpakistan on August 2, 2011

As a Pakistani, there is a lot to be unhappy about. Terrorism is widespread, our economy is in tatters, governance is an elusive entity and the country is starving for leadership. But viewing these problems out of context is to misrepresent the situation. Sixty-four years into its existence, todays hegemon, the United States, was bracing itself for the most brutal civil war this world has witnessed. The several conflicts we are currently confronting, cloak the slow progress our country is making. We have made catastrophic errors over the course of our brief existence, but we have progressed as well.

The writer (Ibrahim Khan) is an undergraduate student at Harvard University, Class of 2014 and tweets @ibrahimakhan

In times passed, the only news available on the television was the nine o’clock khabarnaama on Pakistan Television. The media is now an immensely powerful check on the functioning of our government; it is ingrained in the fabric of our society. This oversight has made corruption much harder to cover up. Moreover, other misdeeds by our elected officials no longer go unnoticed.

One measure of the progress of a nation’s economy is the relative ease with which business is done. The computerisation of ID cards and the State Bank’s Credit Information Bureau (CIB) have added to the development of local banking. To supplement that, we have three well-functioning stock exchanges and several powerful chambers of commerce. Venture away from the cities, and you find farmers plying their trade with utmost ease. In several instances, the prices their crops fetch are higher than international averages.

We have also made progress on the judicial front. A few years ago, the country was gripped with a lawyers movement that was internationally recognised. Currently there are bills in the parliament that focus on developing a witness protection program, and improving the law of evidence in judicial proceedings. A much needed system of prosecution is also being developed. Certainly, this is progress.

Security is an area where we have been severely troubled over the last decade. But, as the famous cliché goes, ‘the night is darkest before dawn’. Following what our security agencies have dealt with in this decade, they will be hardened and more efficient in their dealing with future challenges. If handled appropriately, the United States scheduled pullout from Afghanistan should bring stability.

With 180 million people, we have a large labour force. Pakistani labourers constitute the majority of construction workers in the United Arab Emirates; these very labourers are responsible for $11 billion in foreign remittances. Our medical schools produce doctors that are in high demand all over the Middle East. The Higher Education Commission has utilised funds to help several Pakistani universities improve the quality of their education. The civil service examination still attracts Pakistan’s brightest talent.

Undoubtedly, we are facing circumstances that would depress any public and force most populations to outright resignation; but Pakistan and its people are different. We are surviving, our lives are continuing. No matter how many times we are pushed against the wall, we turn around and fight back. Surely, that is an indication that greener pastures and better times are around the corner. The process has just begun, there is still a lot to improve; we are nowhere near the end of the path to progress. But we are a strong nation and we will continue walking. It can get better. And it will.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 2nd, 2011.

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America’s Men In Pakistan

Posted by yourpakistan on September 20, 2010

In his latest write up for BBC, Pentagon adviser Ahmed Rashid proposes putting Pakistan under an international trusteeship. Too bad he forgot that Pakistan is not under US or NATO occupation. Ahmed Rashid leads the pack of pro-US and pro-UK activists in Pakistan, whose work is tailored to please a foreign audience. But he is not alone. There is Dr. Hafeez Shaikh and Dr. Nadeem ul Haq, Pakistan’s key economic managers. The United States does not need to invade and occupy Pakistan and execute a regime-change like it did in Iraq and Afghanistan. In Pakistan, Washington is using apologists in politics, media and intelligentsia who are willing accomplices without Washington having to fire a single bullet.

The more one observes the Pakistan-US relationship, the more one realizes that to understand fully its multiple dimensions, one really needs to look at it through a Gramscian [Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci] framework of hegemony where the hegemon has so entrenched its value system in the ruling elite of the subservient nation that it does not need to exercise the use of force or brute power. In other words, it has established its hegemony, which Gramsci distinguishes from power through use of force – to explain the depth of Gramscian thought in a simplistic but comprehensible fashion. That is, the ruling elite imbibe the value system of the hegemon – in this case the US – as its own and relate to it, rather than to its own indigenous influences and realities. Aiding and abetting this external value system’s adoption are of course the “organic intellectuals” in the Gramscian sense, who are linked to the ruling class and have to be won over by the hegemon since it is this group in a society that create an awareness not only of a class’s functions in the economic sense, but also in the social and political fields. But an even more important group of “intellectuals” are the “traditional intellectuals” who claim to be autonomous and independent of any class in society, including the ruling class but are not always so. If one now examines the extensive definition of intellectuals by Gramsci, it includes not just those who think in society – which he says everyone does – but who have “the function of intellectuals” and included in this are business managers, media persons, researchers, engineers, politicians and so on.

In Pakistan today, one can see a range of these groups of intellectuals – both organic and traditional – who are increasingly being co-opted by the external hegemon, the US, as it pours money into the media and other sections of civil society.

Leading the field in the co-opted intellectuals one can identify the likes of Ahmed Rashid who now specifically writes what the West wants to hear and his latest piece for the BBC as a guest columnist practically suggests handing over Pakistan and its governance to foreign technocrats controlled by the US. It is no wonder the US government is using him as an adviser for this region – but unfortunately he is totally out of synch with the ground realities of Pakistan and its people; or he would have realized how such ideas will not gel in Pakistan just as the US-loyal intellectuals are finding few takers within the nation as a whole.

However, the problem for us is that the US is willing to accept the bizarre advice of people like Rashid and act on it – thereby causing more damage to Pakistan. After all, we already have some of these people in key economic decision-making roles from Dr Hafeez Shaikh to Dr. Nadeem ul Haq in the Planning Commission – all with strong links to the US and IMF. But that is not enough for Rashid who suggests in the column on the BBC website that foreign technocrats should take over our economic and, clearly linked to that, political decision-making. Now how “foreign” these technocrats should be is not specified given how Shaikh and Haq by any definition are foreign enough in terms of linkages and time spent abroad as well as assets abroad – and we are not too sure about dual nationalities!

Anyhow, Rashid has suggested that a Pakistan Reconstruction Trust Fund be set up like the one operating in Afghanistan, especially to fund the government, army and police! Such a fund would not just monitor the “cash” but also “help” (in other words dictate) a supposedly “non-political neutral” reconstruction effort. Oh the phrase “non-political and neutral” which used to denote a pretext for military non-democratic rule at one time! Now we are seeing it to justify Neoimperialism. While the floods are the pretext for justifying such a move, the real agenda is clearly that of the IMF and World Bank because according to Rashid, such a body would also plan long-term economic reforms including future taxes!

Too bad Rashid has forgotten that Pakistan is not under US or NATO occupation, although judging from his earlier advice he may be wishing it were! To make this suggestion more acceptable he has advocated that “neutral” Pakistani technocrats should be included and of course where else can these be found but in the “NGO workers” for one! The fact is that in any social science field where there are value judgments, nothing is “neutral”. Clearly just as the British colonialists co-opted Indians into their running of British India, Rashid has the same idea for the neoimperialist masters of his – the US! The British colonists also felt they were more efficient than the Indian rulers – and perhaps they were considering that India’s Muslim rulers, the precursors to Pakistan, were in a decline after centuries in government – but the cost of this efficiency was colonization.

This is not to deny the sorry state of governance and the rampant corruption in the Pakistani state today but we have the capacity and capability to bring about change through our own resources and hopefully through democratic means. Incidentally, Rashid also continues to beat the bogey of the threat of “Islamic extremism” which has certainly served him well! Rashid tries to draw a parallel between the 1971 cyclone in what was then East Pakistan; but the fact is that the crisis there had begun way before the cyclone and secessionist forces and the ruling elite’s political obduracy were already on a collision course which was aggravated by the cyclone. This is not to say that things are not disastrous today as we look around a flood ravaged national landscape and an inept and corrupt government. But there are signs of hope also from the money pouring in from Pakistanis and private external donors to non-government sources as well as the exemplary relief work being done by the three Services (regardless of their other shortcomings). Pakistanis will reconstruct again – of this Rashid should have no doubts. Also, many Pakistanis are also seeing the floods as a wake-up call to restructure and reform their government and state institutions, but again not through the option of external rule and colonization. So there is a new political awakening; but the challenge is to bring change while strengthening democracy not accepting colonization.

Not that the US needs to colonize us overtly since it is already more than halfway there with a growing injection of money into the media and with its private and official covert operatives all over the country and in some of our sensitive air bases and other military outfits. In fact, the extent of the US presence in Pakistan is unknown but can be felt and seen to be extensive. What Ahmed Rashid is seeking is to find a legitimate way to make it all overt and therefore more legitimate. After all, as an organic intellectual of the hegemon he has to play his due role. But when will Pakistanis wake up and see this insidious agenda against the country?

This column was originally published in The Nation under the title, Apologists for US Imperialis. Reach Dr. Mazari

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Zardari Unhappy with Kayani Extension

Posted by yourpakistan on August 7, 2010

Whatever spins the Presidency and the PPP media managers may put on their super duper follies or political misadventures and miscalculations, they cannot hide the fact that relations between the Presidency and the GHQ are at best cold and indifferent and at worst bitter and confrontational.

This cold war is seemingly escalating and the strongest defender of the president, PPP’s Fauzia Wahab, has almost spilled the beans by bursting out on TV channels that the Army was not following the policies of the political leadership and the ISI chief canceled his visit to the UK on his own, without consulting the political government leadership.

“There are differences and such differences are common everywhere. Even in America this happens,” she said without mincing words. “We have to go on even if differences are there. Each (institution) has its own perception and has its own point of view. What do you want the president to do, follow what the ISI was saying?” she asked.

While Fauzia Wahab invariably represents the thinking of the Presidency as she speaks for the party and not the government, other spokespersons, including Minister Kaira, often deny what she says, further confirming that the house of PPP was not in order and confusion had engulfed the two big power houses on the Hill, the PM House and the Presidency, like a smog.

On top of this not-so-concealed friction have come calls by the ANP and others, coalition partners of the PPP, that Karachi should be handed over to the Army, an obvious and direct confession that the political government and the parties have failed and the ultimate responsibility has again to be given to the armed forces, just 30 months after the elections took that responsibility away after an 11-year run, beginning with the October 12 coup.

Fauzia Wahab went two steps ahead and blamed the Army not just for insubordination but bypassing the democratic leadership and process just when Interior Minister Rehman Malik was announcing that the Army could be called in Karachi once again to restore peace and some order. She even raised objections to and mentioned the statement issued by the GHQ on the Kerry-Lugar Bill.

All this is happening amid a slow-burning and whispered campaign that President Zardari was not on board and happy with the three-year extension given to General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani in such a hush-hush and mysterious manner in which the prime minister had to rush his announcement, though he claimed that Mr Zardari had been consulted.

As an obvious part of this campaign, it is now being whispered that Mr Zardari was bent upon taking his revenge from the people who ignored his wishes and gave General Kayani an unexpected and unprecedented three-year legal and constitutional second tenure.

The president’s Le Monde statement that everybody, including Pakistan (he did not exclude Pakistan), was losing the war with Taliban, was almost in direct conflict with the claims of the Army chief that Pakistan Army had scored numerous successes. The Army chief is right but why did Mr Zardari also include Pakistan in his sweeping statement is a big question mark.

The Army reaction to this creeping tension has been cool and calculated. At the 131st Corps Commanders meeting on Thursday, the commanders issued a statement in which the focus was to help the flood victims, with each soldier donating one day salary and tons of food supplies. On the ground, even before the political governments issued any directions, the Army high command had moved its troops and machinery to help the flood victims, anticipating that ultimately the governments will ask for their help, though it may be a delayed request. Helicopters were flying all over the swamped land.

But the GHQ statement after Thursday’s meeting also sent a subtle response to the widespread media and political outcry against President Zardari that he was enjoying visits to foreign capitals at the taxpayers’ expense when he was needed back home at times of extreme distress and tragedy.

This new confrontation, now confirmed by the PPP, adds another disturbing factor to the already messed up national scene and why has Mr Zardari and PPP decided to get into such a confrontation at this time is a million-dollar question. But what can be said easily is that Mr Zardari has either grown extremely overconfident and brash in his political thinking or he has lost the capacity to read the writings on the wall.

When millions are drowning in flash floods and when Karachi is burning in a bloodbath and when terrorists are roaming around with abandon, he has decided not only to insult the nation by his abrasiveness and arrogance, he has picked up a fight with the Army as well.

This fight with the GHQ may turn out to be the proverbial last straw. He is no longer in a position to take the nation with him against the Army and it appears he is deliberately inviting the Army to a battle which he will obviously lose but which he thinks he will win by becoming a political martyr.

This thinking is warped and this is no time to get into such mindless pursuits. But he has decided to take the plunge. He has to remember that judgments of all the cases pending are yet to come and to be implemented, ultimately by the Army if the worse comes to the worst. But Fauzia Wahab says Zardari will win this war. Pray that she is right.

The News

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