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Archive for January, 2016

The Last Option: Who Can Use Weapons of Mass Destructions? By Sajjad Shaukat

               

NModi of India Admirer of Hitler

NModi of India Admirer of Hitler

         

 

 

 

The Last Option: Who Can Use Weapons of Mass Destructions?

                                                          By Sajjad Shaukat

 

With the acceleration of the different war between the sovereign and non-sovereign entities, dangers are looming that by availing the vicious phenomena of global terrorism, any entity can use Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs) inside the US and Europe or any western country to obtain its selfish interests. This is the area of very sensitive nature. Therefore, we need caution to reach the conclusion. But, we should keep in mind that despite having collective aims, some countries are playing double game against one another.

 

Since the 9/11 tragedy, while waging global war on terror, the US-led western high officials and their media have been propagating in the world that Pakistan-based Islamic militants can use WMDs or ‘dirty nuclear bombs’ inside the US and Europe. And a plot in this respect would be prepared in Pakistan’s tribal areas. In this context, in connivance with Israeli secret agency, Mossad, Indian secret agency, RAW intensified its propaganda campaign against Pakistan. But, Islamabad took a temporary relief of sigh, because now, almost every plot regarding terrorism is attributed to Syria where illegitimate interests of Israel are at risk.  

 

It is notable that Indian nuclear weapons and their related-material are unprotected, as various cases of smuggling and theft have verified.

 

In July 1998, India’s Central Bureau of Investigation seized eight kg. of nuclear material from Arun, an engineer in Chennai, including two other engineers. It was reported that the uranium was stolen from an atomic research center. On November 7, 2000, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) indicated that Indian police had seized 57 pounds of uranium and arrested two men for illicit trafficking of radioactive material. IAEA said that Indian civil nuclear facilities were vulnerable to thefts. On January 26, 2003, CNN disclosed that Indian company, NEC Engineers Private Ltd. shipped 10 consignments to Iraq, containing highly sensitive equipment including titanium vessels and centrifugal pumps. Indian investigators acknowledged that the company falsified customs documents to get its shipments out of India.

 

On June 12, 2004, Berkeley Nucleonics Corporation, an American company was fined US $ 300,000 for exporting a nuclear component to the Bhaba Atomic Research Center in India.
In December 2005, United States imposed sanctions on two Indian firms for selling missile goods and chemical arms material to a Muslim country in violation of India’s commitment to prevent proliferation. In the same year, Indian scientists, Dr. Surendar and Y S R Prasad had been blacklisted by the US due to their involvement in nuclear theft. In December, 2006, a container packed with radioactive material had been stolen from an Indian fortified research atomic facility near Mumbai.

 

However, in collaboration with the officials, proliferation of nuclear components and their related-material has continued from time to time by the Indians.

 

Surprisingly, despite nuclear proliferation by India in violation of various international agreements and its refusal to sign Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) and Additional Protocol with the IAEA, Washington signed a pact of nuclear civil technology with New Delhi.

 

As regards Israel, many authors, writers, officials, doctors, experts and reports have proved with evidence that from the very beginning Israel have not only stockpiled the WMDs, but used them on various occasions.

 

Israeli military historian Urin Milstein and author Yeruham Cohen write, “In May 1948 the Zionist gangs besieged the well-fortified Palestinian city of Acre…to enter the city, the Zionist gangs injected typhoid in the aqueduct. Many Palestinians and some 55 British soldiers, who were in the city, got infected…the ICRC delegate Mr. De Meuron, sent a series of reports…describing the conditions of the city population as struck by a sudden typhoid epidemic…the infection was water borne…the Zionist crimes did not stop then, but targeted Egypt and Syria, using inhumane weapons.”

 

In his paper, published in the Non-Proliferation Review in autumn of 2001, Avner Cohen pointed out, “Israel’s chemical weapon started with David Ben Gurion’s doctrine…the destruction of the Palestinian society in Palestine…to accomplish this…Ben Gurion wrote a letter to Ehud Avriel; a member in the Jewish Agency in Europe, ordering him to recruit European Jewish scientists…experts in microbiology…were recruited to form the Science Corps in the Haganah which later was called HEMED BEIT….publically known as Israel Institute for Biological Research (IIBR)…was developing chemical and biological weapons in secret…when in 1992, El Al Flight 1862 crashed….on its way to Tel Aviv…in Dutch history killing at least 47 and destroying the health of 3000 Dutch residents….plane was carrying a shipment from Sokatronic Chemicals of Morrisville, Pennsylvania to IIBR, under the US Department of Commerce license, in violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC)…140 biological weapon scientists from the IIBR have strong links” with various related-research centers of the US and some European countries.    

 

During various phases of the Palestinian Intifada, Israel used these fatal weapons against the unarmed Palestinians. In this respect, a number of investigative reports, after lab-verification, have indicated severe convulsions, the burning sensation, the difficulty to breathe, the vomiting and pain found in relation to the victims—mostly women and children.

 

In March 2003, BBC presented the documentary, investigating Tel Aviv’s development of chemical, biological and nuclear weapons.

 

In 2006, during the war against Lebanon, Israel used banned chemical weapons like phosphorous bombs in Lebanon and Gaza, which killed 286 Palestinians and injured 4,200, In this regard, an Italian television documentary programme (Channel, RAI News 24) have revealed that in the 2006 war, Israel employed dense inert metal missiles, which are highly carcinogenic. The documentary elaborated that the doctors observed, “Dozens of victims had completely burned bodies and shrapnel type injuries that X-ray machines had been unable to detect.”

 

In this connection, American leading media suppressed the real details of the 2009 United Nations (UN) fact-finding report which disclosed as to how Israel’s military used chemical weapons against Palestinians.

In 2013, the US Secretary of State John Kerry accused Syrian President Bashar al-Assad of using chemical weapons in relation to the Syrian civil war. In order to protect the interests of Israel, in the pretext, America was determined to attack Syria like the invasion of Iraq where no weapons of mass destructions were discovered. But, Russian President Vladimir Putin warned western powers against any airstrike. For face-saving, John Kerry withdrew from American stand, as he could not prove it. In fact, CIA-Mossad-supported rebels which have been fighting to oust President Assad’s government had used chemical weapons in Syria.

 

In fact, brushing aside the dangers, covertly, America and its related-industries which are mostly under the control of Zionist Jews have supplied Tel Aviv WMDs. Concealing these fatal weapons, Israel has flatly refused to sign the NPT, and to ratify the CWC which obligates states to submit to international oversight and destroy chemical agents in their possession. While in 2013, Damascus ratified the CWC.

 

As regards Israeli nuclear arsenal, it contains variety of atomic bombs. It also possesses small nuclear weapons.

 

In 1983, the former Israeli prime minister, Ariel Sharon suggested India to join with Israel to attack Pakistani nuclear facilities, and in 1982 he called for expanding Israel’s security influence from Mauritania to Afghanistan.

 

Since 9/11, by availing that golden opportunity, both India and Israel have perennially been manipulating the world phenomena of terrorism and anti-Muslim approach of the US-led west so as to obtain their secret designs. Both Tel Aviv and New Delhi have been equating the ‘wars of liberation’ in Palestine and Kashmir with terrorism, and under the cover, accelerated state terrorism on these controlled territories. Their main purpose is to divert the attention of the west from their own atrocities, while employing delaying tactics in the solution of these issues.

 

With the support of their lobbies and in connivance with the US neoconservatives, India and Israel have been exaggerating the threat of Islamophobia.

 

However, Tel Aviv and New Delhi have been acting upon a secret diplomacy in targeting the whole Islamic World in general and Pakistan, China, Iran, Libya and Syria in particular. In this respect, by manipulating President Barack Obama’s ambivalent strategy, both India and Israel have also been propagating that a ‘nuclearized’ Pakistan, having close ties with China is sponsoring cross-border terrorism in Afghanistan and Kashmir. And Iran and Syria are doing the same act in Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and Israel. Particularly, New Delhi considers Pakistan as its enemy number one. America and Israel are also against Pakistan, as it is the only nuclear country in the Muslim world.

 

Nevertheless, similarity of interests has brought Israel and India to follow a common secret strategy with the help of those Americans who are present in the US Administration. In this context, Indian RAW, Israeli Mossad and some American CIA agents are in collusion at the cost of the US global and regional interests.

 

It is mentionable that ideology of Hindu nationalism prevails in every field at the cost of other minority groups. It is even supported by Indian defence forces secretly. This could be judged from the incident, when on April 6, 2008 in a house of the fundamentalist outfit Bajrang Dal in Nanded, a bomb went off. The investigation proved that the militants were found in bomb-making. Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) of the Maharashtra arrested a serving Lt. Col. Srikant Purohit along with other army officials, indicating that they were helping in training the Hindu terrorists, providing them with the military-grade explosive RDX, used in terrorist attacks in various Indian cities. ATS further disclosed that Lt. Col. Purohit confessed that in 2007, he was involved in bombing of Samjhota express (Train between Pakistan and India in which a majority of Pakistanis travel), which burnt alive 70 Pakistanis.

 

It is noteworthy that in one of his tapes, LT. Col Purohit said, “One of our own captain had visited Israel”, and demanded “continuous supply of arms, training, an office with a saffron flag in Tel Aviv, political asylum and support for our cause of a Hindu Nation in the UN.” The Israelis, he added, gave “a very positive response.”

 

Regarding Hindu terrorism, Indian Home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde disclosed on January 20, 2013 that organised training camps run by the fundamentalist parties, RSS and BJP (Ruling party of India) were promoting Hindu Terrorism. He also explained that these extremist parties were behind the Samjhauta Express, Meccca Masjid and Malegaon blasts.

 

Since the leader of the ruling party BJP Narendra Modi became Prime Minister of India, various developments like unprecedented rise of Hindu extremism, persecution of minorities, creation of war-like situation with Pakistan etc. clearly show that encouraged by the fundamentalist rulers, Hindu extremist parties such as BJP, RSS VHP, Bajrang Dal and Shiv Sena have been promoting religious and ethnic chauvinism in India. Especially, assaults on Christians and Muslims including their places of warships and property have been intensified by the fanatic Hindu mobs.

 

It is of particular attention that on January 7, 2015, two Islamic militants attacked the office of French satirical weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris, and killed 13 people on January 9, 2015. Two brothers namely Said and Cherif Kouachi suspected for the incident were killed in a shootout with Police—in a hostage-taking situation. Thus, the gunmen killed total 17 persons. Afterwards, Mossad connections with Charlie Hebdo incident had been exposed by many senior analysts and social media bloggers, as the Zionist groups and Mossad used the episode to punish France on recognizing Palestinian state and to desist other EU countries to avoid such approach on Palestinians.

 

Similarly, on July 22, 2011, the twin terror-attacks in Oslo, Norway, killed 80 persons. The Norwegian man Anders Behring Breivik, a right-wing fundamentalist Christian, who admitted these attacks was obsessed with what he saw as the Muslim immigration—left behind a detailed online manifesto, calling for a Christian war to defend Europe against the threat of Muslim domination. In this context, Kevin Barrett disclosed on October 14, 2015 through Veterans Today, “The official story claims that Anders Breivik acted alone…but survivors of the massacre on Utoya Island, which annihilated the anti-Zionist leadership of the youth wing of the Norwegian Labor Party, reported there were multiple gunmen…as in dozens of other false flag terror operations. The purpose was to punish Norway and its Labor Party for two policy breaches: Refusing to join NATO’s war on Libya, and moving toward a full boycott of Israel.”

 

In his message, Breivik also favoured the ‘Hindu nationalism (Hindutva)—the anti-Muslim movement of the Hindu fanatic parties.

 

Although these lethal poisons (WMDs) seem to be mysterious, yet still could be within the reach of some Hindu terrorists with the help of RAW which could also got these destructive weapons from Mossad. Such chemical and radiological materials could have also been smuggled inside India by the Hindu fundamentalists with the covert backing of RAW. 

 

Frustrated in isolating Islamabad, RAW in connivance with Mossad might have prepare a most dangerous plan to use chemical, biological and nuclear weapons inside the US homeland or any major European country to implicate Pakistan for having allegedly used these weapons through some Taliban militants. Particularly, RAW-Mossad may also employ these fatal weapons against NATO forces in Afghanistan, as India and Israel want to prolong the stay of the US-led NATO troops in Afghanistan which have become the center of their covert activities against Pakistan, China and Iran. ISIS (Daesh) terrorists which are strategic assets of the CIA may be used by RAW and Mossad for employment of these unconventional weapons. While, India, Israel and the US are also playing double game against one another, hence, by utilizing the vicious circle of terrorism, New Delhi can alone use these weapons through Afghanistan-based Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) which have been supported by India, and has claimed responsibility for several terror attacks inside Pakistan, including the recent one at Charsadda’s university.

 

RAW’s sole aim will be to provoke Americans and its allies against Pakistan which is threatening Indian hegemony in the region. Thus, Indian RAW could create a dangerous misunderstanding in which US could use small nuclear weapons against Pakistan. Otherwise, Islamabad could be asked to rollback its atomic programme.

 

Meanwhile, various developments such as Russian airstrikes on the ISIS targets in the northern Syria, its coalition with Iran, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon-based Hezbollah in support of President Assad, exposure of the US-Israeli assistance to the terrorists of the ISIS and Al-Qaeda (Al-Nusra Front) to oust the Syrian president, reluctance of Europe and the NATO countries to join America against Russia in relation to Syrian war, acceptance of Syrian refugees by the European countries, especially Germany, the EU rule to boycott goods produced in Israeli settlements on the West Bank etc. culminated in terror attacks in Paris on November 13, 2015 as part of the Zionist-Israeli conspiracy against the Muslims, Christians and loyal Americans—the west and particularly Europe. In this respect, arrest of Israeli Col. Shahak in Iraq, his admission, proving links of Al-Qaeda and ISIS with America and Mossad and medical treatment of the ISIS warriors in the Israeli hospitals proved that Mossad was behind the Paris attacks.

 

In the post-Paris attacks, by producing anti-Muslim phenomena like the propaganda of the so-called threat of Islamophobia, persecution of the Muslims in the US, Europe and some other western countries, Israel has succeeded in its designs. Israel-led America also got the assistance of its western allies (NATO) against Russia. Now, as part of the ambivalent approach, American jet fighters and those of its western coalition are targeting the ISIS terrorists in Iraq and Syria. Although Tel Aviv has succeeded in its clandestine aims after the Paris attacks, yet some recent developments have depressed the Zionists and Israelis. The Russia-led coalition which have been successfully achieving its objectives have broken the backbone of the ISIS terrorists, Al-Qaeda’s Al-Nusra Front and the rebels who have fled most of the areas in Syria and Iraq. Besides, though President Obama is acting upon contradictory policy, but, in wake of the presidential election-campaign, ordinary Americans are focusing on internal problems which are the result of prolonged war on terror. Patriot Americans are openly criticizing the Zionist-protected policies of the US. Taking cognizance, Obama has asked Turkey to withdraw its forces from Iraq’s territories. In the recent past, John Kerry gave ultimatum to the Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu to agree for the two-state solution of the Palestinian dispute.

 

Most significantly, on January 17, this year, US-led western sanctions against Tehran have been officially lifted in accordance with the agreement, signed between six world powers and Iran, last year, whom Israeli prime minister has called a ‘historical blunder.’ In these circumstances, Tel Aviv may think that perhaps America is playing double game with Israel.

 

Notably, the Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom’s statement, hours after the Paris attacks caused a stir in Jerusalem, as she said that “to counteract the radicalization, we must go back to the situation in the Middle East of which not the least the Palestinians see that there is no future: we must either accept a desperate situation or resort to violence.”

 

At present, a debate has started between the Zionists and non-Zionist Jews for the two-state solution of the Israeli-Palestinian issue. Even, a majority of the western intellectuals have also been emphasizing upon the settlement of this dispute. Very soon, Tel Aviv will have no other option. Therefore, to avoid the solution of this old crisis, as the last option, most probably, Mossad with the help of Zionist Jews can supply weapons of mass destructions to the ISIS terrorists, and to use them inside the US and Europe or any major western country with the aim of implicating Syria—and to cause a major war between Russia and the US-led NATO, while turning the world to clash of civilizations, especially between the Muslim and the Christian worlds.  

 

Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations

 

Email: sajjad_logic_pak@hotmail.com

 

 

 

 

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We are the problem and none else Asif Haroon Raja

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
“The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars / But in ourselves, that we are underlings.” (Julius Caesar, Act I, Scene III, L. 140-141)

 

We are the problem and none else

Asif Haroon Raja

 

Pakistan suffers from multiple ailments. None care to carry out an appraisal as to what is wrong with Pakistan and why Pakistan is perpetually sick and not getting cured. Over a period of time, we seem to have lost our direction and have gone astray. The society as a whole is sunk in the pool of moral degeneration. High morals, principles, ethics, values, respect, brotherhood, affections and honesty are all stories of the past. Lies, deception, crookery, thuggery and corruption have become norms. Majority has chosen dishonesty as a way of life. In the past these traits were mostly found among the elites but now these have permeated down to the lowest class of people. All prefer to live in hypocrisy, mendacity, and squalor. People are averse to speaking the truth since telling the truth requires courage and character. Afraid of consequences, we go the easy way and in the process we have become addicted to lying. Those who say that these characteristics are found in every country of the world, and each human being has these tendencies may not be speaking the whole truth since these collective diseases are in abundance in Pakistan and are not seen anywhere else.

 

It is hard to get food items free of adulteration. Pure ghee is made out of fats of dead dogs and donkeys. Meat of donkeys and dead cows/buffaloes are sold in meat shops. Drugs including lifesaving drugs are spurious. We consume contaminated spices, cooking oil, milk and soft drinks. Fakery in all our dealings is rampant. Child labor, child abuse, human trafficking, hoarding, black marketing, smuggling, kidnapping for ransom, extortion are common. Lower courts and police can easily be swayed or bought. Police instead of catching the culprits and criminals gets in league with them. Hand of law fall upon the poor only. Our law makers are the biggest violators of rule of law. They either break or bend laws to suit their convenience. We indulge in them rather than striving to overcome them. We may deny it but the world perceives us that way. Instead of working hard to overcome our weak areas we lament and blame others for our failings.  

 

Sickness is within ourselves. The students choose to plagiarize and cheat. Men and women enter into marriage under false pretenses. Pompousness and vulgar show of wealth by the rich is in fashion, and so is nepotism and sycophancy. Suffering from superiority complex, the elites look down upon the poor. Problem lies with those who allow religion to give them a sense of false complacency. And those who pander to the powerful and the mighty, and ignore the weak and the frightened.

 

May I hazard to ask them who their gods are? Not Allah, surely. Their gods are flawed beings whom they admire and worship, and their own base selves. Parents who chastise their children, but never spend time with them, explaining right from wrong, the problem lies with them. And they try to assuage their children with toys and electronics, cars and jewels. Problem lies with the teaching community in schools and colleges who fall much short of acting as role models for the students.

 

Undoubtedly, Pakistan suffers from leadership crisis and is saddled with corrupt leaders and legislators who care a lot for their vested interests but little for national interests, but we are responsible for electing them again and again. We get swayed by their false promises and forget their past follies. We think in terms of political party affiliations, ethnic, linguistic and caste basis and pay little heed to national interests.  As a result, we are a divided nation and despite being a nuclear power and blessed with strong armed forces, everyone whips Pakistan. While Corruption is eating into the vitals of the country like a termite, terrorism is jolting the very foundations of Pakistan.    

 

Isn’t it high time to stop thinking that the problem is the army, the politicians, the mullahs, the nation? The problem is us. We are the problem. The same students who plagiarise their papers, who cheat in their exams, are clamoring at rallies screaming for “Inquilab”. The same women and men who point fingers at the immoral leaders are cheating on their spouses. The same men who lambast the feudals and industrialists are cheating on their taxes and not paying their electricity bills. The same people who donate so much money to the poor are underpaying their servants. 
Each and every person in Pakistan contributes to this system. We are the problem. 
And each person who says, “Not me, I’m honest” is the biggest liar of all. 

Nuclear might, strong army, and full coffers will neither make us a strong nation, nor will help in making us morally strong and virtuous. Each one of us will have to carry out self-accountability and put his/her own house in order rather than finding faults in others. Home is the best training centre followed by the educational institute to guide the youth towards constructive channels. These two reformatory laboratories need to play their role effectively. Once we bridge the societal divides and get united, improve our moral fibre and follow the righteous path as inscribed in the Quran and taught by Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), only then will Allah shower His blessings, and grant us an upright, honest, pious and bold leader who will cure the diseases of Pakistan and make it healthy and prosperous. Only then we as a nation will be able to confront the internal and external challenges squarely and lead an honorable life.    

 

 

The writer is a defence analyst, columnist, and author of five books. asifharoonraja@gmail.com

 

 

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Pakistan’s daunting deficits

 
 
 
 
 
 
The writer is dean and director at the Institute of Business Administration, Karachi.
The writer is dean and director at the Institute of Business Administration, Karachi.
Pakistan’s daunting deficits The government of the day has to answer these questions and satisfy its critics.

But this excessive preoccupation with short-term issues leads to the neglect of long-term issues that responsible governments must address. It is hard to predict where we would be in the next 10 to 20 years but evolving global trends do leave some pointers. Action will follow only if the gravity of the situation is realised. Benchmarking Pakistan of 2015 with other countries at the same level of development in the past and taking stock of the future determines that a few big deficits are critical for our future development.


Action will follow only if the gravity of the situation is realised.


Coping with climate change

The risks to energy, water and food security arising out of patterns of climate change are now well documented and substantiated by strong scientific evidence. The vast network of irrigation canals, barrages, headworks etc. has allowed us to be self-sufficient in food. But the global warming that will melt the Himalayan glaciers — the source of our rivers — would result in floods and then prolonged droughts. Already a water-stressed country, the non-availability of irrigation water for our major food and cash crops would be simply devastating. Population growth by that time would add another 100 million mouths to feed. International trade in food would be minuscule as the extreme weather would hurt the harvest in the surplus countries also. Pakistan has hardly done any preparatory work to develop drought-resistant, high-yield varieties of major crops that can be grown in a highly water-scarce environment.

Governance deficit

Underpinning most of the challenges and crises facing Pakistan is the deep-rooted governance deficit. Energy shortages are not due to inadequate generation capacity but to theft, losses, non-recovery of dues, and mismanagement by electric and gas companies. Low-tax revenues accrue due to inefficiency, lack of effort and connivance between taxpayers and tax collectors. Public enterprises incur heavy losses subsidised by the exchequer because of nepotism and favouritism in the appointments of chief executives. Poor law and order, arms, drug smuggling, terrorist hideouts all owe their sustenance to the auction of thanas to the highest bidders. A neutral, competent civil service imbued with a sense of public service can alone fill this deficit.

Trust deficit

Pakistani society has become more fragmented, highly divisive, excessively polarised and stubbornly intolerant. Mistrust, intolerance, sectarian rivalries, religious and ethnic divides have gradually eroded social capital, the glue that binds diverse communities. In a deeply divided, suspicious and insecure society the transaction cost becomes high and the speed of the economic vehicle is slowed down. Post-9/11 events have exacerbated these cleavages and nurtured new forces of violence, extremism, radicalism and terrorism throughout the country.

Skill deficit

The average schooling years of the labour force in Pakistan is low and the demographic dividend is unlikely to be cashed if the present educational policies and management practices continue to persist. Thousands of unemployable graduates produced by the universities are either attracted to terrorism, crime or suffer misery and deprivation.

Conversely, garment factories are looking for stitchers and construction companies are short of welders. Technical and vocational enrolment is less than 1pc while the country needs five times more technicians, mechanics, welders, HVAC operators, nurses, paramedics. These can be absorbed not only in the country but also abroad. Internet penetration, mobile phone, broadband wireless and fibre optic backbone have not been used for training or upgrading the skills of the existing workforce or others living in the country’s remote areas.

Gender deficit

Gender disparity (only 20pc of women participate in the labour force, most of them unpaid family workers in rural areas) has sapped the economy’s vitality. Bangladesh which was lagging behind until the early 2000s has been able to overtake Pakistan in key economic and social indicators. High rates of female literacy and female labour force participation explain much of the variance. Unless one half of the population is empowered to take part in production and services sectors, economic stagnation is likely to persist.

Technology deficit

Japan, Korea and China have been successful because of technology diffusion and application in their production processes. They went through a cycle of learning by doing, by reverse engineering, imitating and adapting the techniques of production to their factor endowment and selling them at competitive prices. New firms and start-ups replaced old firms. In Pakistan, the industrial production base has remained unaltered for several decades. Rent-seeking and extracting concessions by existing firms have become commonplace. Innovation, new start-ups and entrepreneurship are sadly missing. R&D institutions are mired in red tape and academic-industry interactions are almost non-existent.

Competitiveness deficit

Pakistan inherited one of the world’s finest irrigation systems covering 80pc of arable land. The Indus Basin Works, dams and reservoirs, barrages and link canals and a large reservoir of groundwater added to our capacity. Any other country would have utilised such a scarce resource for producing high-value crops and their industrial derivative for exports. But we are contented with producing low-value crops. Water losses, neglect of maintenance and desilting of canals, the poor state of barrages, absence of lining water courses, waste and inefficient utilisation, inadequate assessment and weak recovery of water charges have eroded the natural resource-based comparative advantage. Cotton yields in India have more than doubled in the last decade while our national average has remained stagnant. The productivity gap between the average farmer and the progressive farmer, if narrowed, could restore this advantage. Pakistan’s export structure has remained unaltered since 1990. Consequently, our share in the markets is declining while that of India and Bangladesh has doubled and tripled.

The writer is dean and director at the Institute of Business Administration, Karachi.

Published in Dawn, January 16th, 2016

Additional Reading

Pakistani Elites Must Pay Fair Share of Taxes For National Independence

 
As Pakistan’s ruling elite and its ghairat brigade, led by PML’s Sharif brothers, engage in loud empty rhetoric about infringement of their national sovereignty by the United States, here is something to ponder:

Pakistan runs chronic budget deficits of around 5% of its GDP, and its government collects less than 10% of GDP in tax revenue which is among the lowest in the world. A big share of these deficits is funded by foreign aid and loans, making Pakistanis beholden to the interests and whims of major foreign donors and lenders.

Pakistan’s tax policies are among the most regressive in the world. Direct taxes make up less than 3.5 percent of GDP, with wide ranging exemptions to powerful segments of society coupled with governance issues at Federal Board of Revenue, according to former finance minister Shaukat Tarin. The bulk of the tax receipts are collected in the form of sales tax, placing the heaviest burden on the lower-income people who spend almost all of their income on their basic needs.

The other major weakness in public finances is the lack of fiscal effort by the provinces. With some of the largest segments of economic activity such as agriculture, real estate, and services in the provincial domain, the provincial tax receipts total an abysmal 0.7 percent of GDP.

Farm income, mostly earned by the nation’s feudal ruling elite, accounting for about 20% of the GDP is entirely exempt from any income tax under the law. Only about 2 million of 180 million Pakistanis pay income tax. Of them, 1.8 million are salaried and paid Rs.27.37 billion in taxes during ended fiscal 2008-09, according to a report to the Senate by Minister of State for Finance and Economic Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar. The government runs large current account deficits, forcing it to beg and borrow to meet the budget needs. The budget deficit for2008-09 was 4.3% of GDP and it is likely to grow with lower revenue amidst slowing economy in 2009-10. The tax evasion in Pakistan is estimated at Rs500 – 600 billion a year, almost half of the total tax collection of about Rs1200 billion during 2007-08. The untapped amount is almost equivalent to the country’s annual budget deficit.

In a country where majority of the transactions, including purchase of big ticket items, occur in cash, there is widespread tax evasion and a sizable informal economy. The estimates for Pakistan’s underground economy vary from 25% to 50% of the formal economy. A recent World Bank (WB) report concluded that every Pakistani citizen evaded tax amounting to Rs 4800 in the year 2007-08, while the total tax evaded in the period stood at Rs 796 billion.

Food prices have dramatically increased since the current PPP government took power in 2008. These higher food and commodity prices are resulting in the transfer of additional new tax-free farm income of about Rs. 300 billion in the current fiscal year alone to Pakistan’s ruling party’s power base of landowners in small towns and villages in Southern Punjab and Rural Sindh, from those working in the the economically stagnant urban industrial and service sectors who pay bulk of the taxes. The downside of it is an even bigger hole in Pakistan’s pubic finances which is being funded with increased foreign aid and loans.

During the height of corruption under Bhutto-Zardari-Sharif governments in the 1990s, the size of the underground economy rose to almost 55% in 1999, by one estimate. As the military regime of President Musharraf cracked down on tax cheats, the nation’s revenue collection doubled from Rs. 500 million in 2000 to to Rs. 1.04 trillion in 2007-08.

While the income, assets and taxes of the president and top government officials are publicly disclosed and heavily scrutinized by all in the US, no such transparency exists in Pakistan. In fact, tax cheating in Pakistan starts at the top. The richest and the most powerful politicians in the ruling elite pay little or no taxes, setting a horrible example for the rest of the nation.

For example, Benazir Bhutto, Asif Zardari and Nusrat Bhutto declared assets totaling $1.2 million in 1996 and never told Pakistani authorities of any foreign bank accounts or properties, as required by law in Pakistan. Zardari declared no net assets at all in 1990, the year Bhutto’s first term ended, and only $402,000 in 1996, according to a report in the New York Times.

Bhutto’s family’s income tax declarations were similarly modest. The highest income Bhutto declared was $42,200 in 1996, with $5,110 in tax. In two of her years as prime minister, 1993 and 1994, she paid no income tax at all. Zardari’s highest declared income was $13,100, also in 1996, when interest on bank deposits he controlled in Switzerland exceeded that much every week. In June 2008, a senior PPP leader and president of Pakistan’s Supreme Court Bar Association, Mr. Aitzaz Ahsan, who was interior minister in Benazir Bhutto’s first government, told James Traub of the New York Times that most of the corruption and criminal cases against PPP Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari which were dropped recently in Pakistan were justified, and that the PPP was a feudal political party led by a figure (Zardari) accused of corruption and violence. After a moment’s reflection, Ahsan further added, “The type of expenses that she had and he has are not from sources of income that can be lawfully explained and accounted for.”

It was only in 2007 that President Asif Ali Zardari returned to Pakistan under an amnesty, euphemistically called National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO), sponsored by the Americans. However, the Americans know that the corruption charges against Zardari were credible and he, along with his late wife, was convicted in at least one case by a Swiss judge. The conviction was under appeal in Switzerland when Pakistan government withdrew all charges pursuant to the NRO signed by then President Musharraf under pressure from the Americans.

The PPP leadership is not alone in evading taxes. The PML leadership appears to be just as guilty. The entire Sharif family paid a nominal income tax of Rs 250,000, wealth tax of Rs 550,000 and agriculture tax of Rs 130,000, considering their vast assets and properties of at least 23 sugar and textile mills and huge agricultural land, according to the News. The tax evasion by the the Sharif family was the reason that the donor agencies giving aid to Pakistan in late 1990s insisted on publishing tax records of all lawmakers and senior bureaucrats, The News said, adding that for this reason, the donor agencies insisted on broadening the tax net to prop up government revenues.

As Pakistan faces a severe economic crisis and the current leaders appear ready to mortgage the nation’s future, the chances of the ruling elite setting a good example by paying their taxes in full appear rather remote. In fact, the feudal politicians are fighting the current IMF condition for even a modest tax on farm income. The only hope for a fairer tax system and improved collection from the rich and powerful to fund education and health care lies in serious and sustained pressure on Pakistan’s ruling elite from the donors and lenders, backed by the United States.

To conclude this post, let me quote former finance minister who said the following in a recent op ed: “At the heart of it, these issues are related to governance. This state of affairs is a manifestation of a broader challenge that Pakistan has grappled with virtually since independence – the shifting of the burden of responsibility by a small, self-serving and venal elite to the rest of the population.”

 

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The Many Faces of Donald Trump: Mr.Bigot Runs For US Presidency

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

The reaction to this idea, fairly or unfairly, by many on social media, was to accuse Trump of wanting to mimic laws that Nazis had imposed on Jews, including requiring them to wear a gold Star of David on their clothes.

After Trump confirmed that he would set up a database for Muslim-Americans, an NBC reporter asked him point blank: “Is there a difference between requiring Muslims to register and Jews in Nazi Germany?” A clearly annoyed Trump at first refused to respond, but then told the reporter, “You tell me,” and walked away.

Just so it’s clear, Trump did not suggest that Muslim-Americans should be required to wear a symbol that would visibly identify them as Muslims, such as a gold crescent. (On the other hand, he did not rule it out.) But the Nazis do offer guidance on the practical impact of laws that target a religious minority. As The Holocaust Center notes on its website, the Nazi-era laws that required Jews to publicly identify their faith was “one of many psychological tactics aimed at isolating and dehumanizing the Jews of Europe, directly marking them as being different (i.e., inferior) to everyone else.”

There’s no doubt that making Muslims carry special religious identity cards or having to register with the government sends a clear message to other Americans that Muslims are different. That we, simply because of our faith, are less than fully American. I shudder to think where this may lead.

But Trump was not done in painting the hellish nightmare that awaits Muslims, and our country, if he’s elected president. The GOP frontrunner explained that he was open to wholesale surveillance of Muslim-Americans and warrantless searches of mosques. He even praised past NYPD policies that spied on the New York City Muslim community as “great,” despite the reality that this controversial program did not yield any leads or arrests. This means that under a Trump administration, Muslims would have fewer rights than other Americans simply because of our faith, which is no different than advocating for racial profiling of blacks or Latinos.

And Trump then doubled down on his recent proclamation that he was open to shutting down American mosques, noting he’d have “absolutely no choice” if “some bad things happen” in a mosque. Consequently, if two or three people in a mosque of say 500 did “bad things,” the entire mosque would be shuttered. It would be as outrageous as closing down a mega church because two or three members firebombed an abortion clinic. Our system of justice punishes specific wrongdoers, not all who simply share the same faith or race of a criminal.

To be blunt, these ideas by Trump on how to deal with Muslims aren’t original. They are very much akin to the ones anti-Muslim bigots have advocated in the past. Those people we can dismiss. But when the front-runner for a major political party starts parroting those alarming proposals, it’s time that we all take notice.

Trump has shown us in this campaign that he has no qualms about stoking the flames of hatred for minorities in his quest for power. He has already done this to the Latino community with his despicable comments that Mexico is sending us “rapists” and other criminals.

So it’s not surprising that Trump would use Muslim-bashing to score points because it plays well with GOP voters. In fact, a poll released earlier this week found that three-quarters of Republicans believe Islam is “at odds” with American values.

Regardless of why Trump is espousing these policies, his words must be bringing joy to ISIS. As I learned firsthand at the White House Summit on Countering Violent Extremism earlier this year, ISIS hopes that Muslims in the West are demonized and discriminated against. Indeed, ISIS’ operatives made that very point on social media after the Paris attack, expressing their hope that Muslims in Western countries would be victims of hate crimes.

Why? It’s simple: ISIS hopes that when Muslims in the West are demonized, they will become alienated from the country in which they live. ISIS operatives believe then that their recruitment pitch that the West is at war with Islam will resonate more strongly. Consequently, ISIS is likely rooting for Trump’s proposals to become law.

All of us want Americans to be safe from ISIS. But Trump’s plan is both morally repugnant and ineffective. It doesn’t make us safer, it simply demonizes Muslim-Americans and could help ISIS recruit. That’s truly a losing combination for America.

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Donald Trump’s horrifying words about Muslims By Dean Obeidallah

Dean Obeidallah, a former attorney, is the host of SiriusXM’s weekly program “The Dean Obeidallah Show,” a columnist for The Daily Beast and editor of the politics blog The Dean’s Report. Follow him on Twitter: @TheDeansreport. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

(CNN)Donald Trump’s words on Thursday detailing the revolting measures he’s open to imposing on Muslim-Americans literally sent a shudder down my spine.

A non-Muslim friend of mine tweeted: “This literally made me cry.”

Another tweeted: “I Will Stand Up For Muslim Citizens Because I Want Help When The GOP Come For ME.”

Dean Obeidallah
 
 

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