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Depoliticise this mess soon By Shaheen Sehbai

 

 

 

 

Let-car

 

 

Depoliticise this mess soon

By
February 01, 2016
 
 
 

Viewpoint

DUBAI: The operation in Karachi and Zarb-e-Azb are fast being pushed into the political arena similar to the battles gladiators fight to the last.

Otherwise the Rangers DG Major General Bilal Akbar would not have to say: “They would criticise Rangers, if according to them, the operation is going fast. And if they find the operation getting slow, they would accuse the Rangers of having a ‘setting’.

“Our setting is only with our mission. Our setting is only with the nation. Our setting is only with our motherland,” he had to clarify on Sunday. There can be no doubt about his mission and his goals but why this situation has arrived is the big question the Rangers, and their think tanks, will have to ponder and answer.

After arrest of Uzair Baloch and starting with the arrest of Dr Asim Hussain, the Rangers have issued numerous statements and reports and its leaders have made public appearances. Plainly speaking they had to go public to lobby and explain their mission. Again why was it needed?

The simple answer to all these questions is that Rangers are working in a highly complex situation where conflicts of interests and contradictions are countless and the entire structure is infested with untenable centres of power and influence and twisted realities.

The first is that a government, which should have been the main vehicle of carrying out this operation, aided by the Rangers, has positioned itself against the operation, fearing its own wings may get burned. So the momentum and fury, as well as its effectiveness, has been cut short dragging the pace.

Secondly, while operations were in full swing against collaborators, abettors and helpers of terrorists inside the political parties, these parties were allowed to operate and contest elections and use their political muscle to pressurise the Rangers. Who allows rivals to gain and display support in the middle of the battle.

This situation was not taken into account by the think tanks of the Rangers and the army authorities. A temporary stop, a moratorium, on politics was a must to provide the necessary space and cover to take out the dirty fish, both political and apolitical. That was not done before the operations were launched.

The key issue was that if cleansing inside the political parties had to be done, a neutral, objective, non-political and strong administrative cover must have been provided first. That was not done.

So now there is a visible mess and this situation has to be resolved sooner than later because the operation has to go on. Any reversal or slow-down will encourage terrorists and their supporters to hit back with a vengeance. No one can afford it.

Even now the federal government, the army leadership, the security agencies and the Sindh government must sit down and find a workable solution. The worst-case scenario could be that the army may be left with no option but to steamroll everyone to achieve the logical results of the operation, as stated repeatedly by Army Chief Gen Raheel in the early days of Zarb-e-Azb. That may not be liked by many.

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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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Saudi Arabian Airlines soars to new heights

Saudi Arabian Airlines soars to new heights

 
 

Tariq A. Al-Maeena

I had been a long-term critic of the state of affairs at the national carrier we have all come to know as Saudia.  My extensive association with them provided me with an insight very few other writers had access to.  And watching how the airline floundered and stumbled from a position of strength was indeed painful, not just to me and not just to the many dedicated employees of the organization, but to the hundreds of thousands of passengers dissatisfied with their experience with this airline.

One of the most perplexing questions was how this airline with practically a guaranteed market failed to make any significant impact in the region.  In previous decades, and with very little competition around, Saudia was indeed the big kid on the block.  There was a very lucrative market to tap into.  The decades of the late 70s, 80s and 90s witnessed a massive flow of passenger migration called the “teacher movement”, whereby hundreds of thousands of school and university teachers from Egypt, Sudan, Syria, Jordan and elsewhere were transported back to their homeland during annual vacations.

There was also the annual flow of Saudi and expatriate tourists leaving the country during the hot summer months for cooler places.  With the generous surplus provided by increasing oil prices, many Saudis and their families began venturing outside their borders using Saudia as a vehicle to get them to their destinations.

The rising standard of living also led to the recruitment by Saudi households of hundreds of thousands of domestic workers from Third World countries, all of whom were initially required to fly on Saudia.

Then there were the Umrah passengers who would fly from different corners of the world to perform their religious rites.  Added to this were the millions who flocked to this country to perform the annual Haj pilgrimage.  Saudia, the primary beneficiary of this vast abundance of passengers from so many different sectors and at different intervals during the year, was indeed very fortunate and the envy of many regional carriers.  At that time, there was no Emirates Airlines or Qatar Airways or Etihad.  It was all Saudia.

The government too was very generous to the national airline, allocating a sizable portion of its annual budget to bolster the operating costs of this growing company.  But in spite of all that the company was gifted with, organizational rot began to set in.  By the mid 90s, complaints were rising against the carrier from frustrated passengers who targeted everything from poor customer services to the shabby appearance of the aircraft and technical delays.  But all such complaints fell on deaf ears.  Operating costs kept rising, new CEOs were appointed but there was no significant change.

The privatization scheme announced in the 90s by the late Prince Sultan, who was the country’s minister of defense at the time, failed to move forward for many years as many of the airline’s executives continued to drag their feet against such a move. They feared that it would end their tenure as recipients of the cash cow that came to be known as Saudia.  The airline was literally treated as a country club by some executives, where promotions to higher grades were determined not on the basis of qualifications but by who knew and buttered whom.

 

 

Saudi Airlines

 

 

 

The apparent lack of accountability led to unprecedented levels of nepotism.  This blatant abuse of ethics led to diminishing corporate ethics and poor worker morale which translated to poor service and a poor product.  It also signaled the end of service of many qualified individuals who left the airline disillusioned with the “backroom” politics. While other upstart regional airlines garnered awards on the global stage, Saudia was confined to looking at the festivities from behind the curtains.

But recently, things have begun to change.  A new CEO took over.  Saleh N. Al-Jasser was appointed as the director general of Saudi Arabian Airlines in 2014.  He brought with him a “can do” spirit of change.  He has introduced corporate discipline.  Unlike his predecessors, he began by getting rid of senior deadwood executives who had been hanging on tenaciously to their positions for decades and had contributed nothing of significance to the airline’s growth.  On the contrary, they were the reason the airline fell backwards. That process of cleaning up still continues as some more executives were removed from their posts recently.

Al-Jasser stated at the time of his appointment: “We will encourage a spirit of initiative and innovation to improve the level of performance and customer services.   We will give top priority to customers in order to maximize satisfaction.”  He also demanded that expenditures had to be rationalized and operational efficiency boosted.  The privatization drive has been given new impetus.  His pursuit of organizational agility and accountability has begun to translate itself as is evident by increased customer satisfaction and load factors.  Morale is on the upswing, service has improved, passenger complaints have dropped, and the airline is finally getting on the right track.  Saudia is becoming the first choice for many travelers.

Granted there is more work to be done and the competition is stiff, but with an individual like Saleh Al-Jasser piloting the organization, I have no doubt that Saudi Arabian Airlines will indeed be taken to new horizons.

— The author can be reached at talmaeena@aol.com. Follow him on Twitter @talmaeena

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LETTER TO EDITOR: Gen Zaheer’s “Coup” Attempt and the Reaction.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This a series of correspondence.We are publishing as received,We do not know know who Naeem Ahmed or Naseem Ahmed is,but their name appears on this correpondence.Forwarded to Editor Adnan Khan.
 
Biggest question, is Army taking care of corrupts? 
Perhaps this jurisdiction has been taken away and key is with thief to catch a thief when both are friends.
No it will never, its a farce that we have created around us.
We know nothing about mind set who matters, but for sure at the end of the day people of Pakistan would be highly disappointed.

 
Gen Zaheer’s “Coup” Attempt and the Reaction.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Brig Qadir’s  essential point seems to be spot on i.e  corruption in high places is nothing new. But what seems to be new is the level of frustration, disappointment and the anger it is engendering–and eventually a feeling of pure helplessness and hopelessness among a majority of us.
 
The following seems to be increasingly happening in Pakistan.
a. Anti-corruption sentiment seems to have graduated from strong disapproval to outright loathing and hatred for those who are selling our interests and our national assets. There is something personal about this now, which did not seem to be quite so, earlier.
 
b.When the partisans of the government insist on calling the present system a democracy, more and more people react as if their intelligence is being deliberately insulted by those making this claim. And because this claim is made by the thugs themselves or by their side kicks, the reaction to it has a virulence about it which was not there some time ago.
 
c. The Constitution was supposed to be that supreme law which was to hold the government in check and accountable. However its spirit is clearly seen to have been undermined in a way that it has now become a shield to protect and aid the government and give it immunity as it undermines the core interests of the state. With the police, bureaucracy, and the judiciary already made instruments of crime furtherance by the government, instead of crime prevention, and the Constitution being subverted to the same cause, is it any wonder then that whenever the Constitution is cited in support of the government, it elicits sneers from increasing numbers of people!
 
d. Apart from unchecked theft by people in power, the present era is defined by either mis-governance, or no governance whatever. You can take your pick depending on your experience.
 
e. It is a combination of all of the above, and utter terror of what tomorrow will bring if the perpetrators of our misfortune are not immediately restrained with the same ruthlessness, as the ruthlessness with which they are daily selling us down the drain, which is making people cry out for a  redeemer.
 
It is my very strong feeling, that though we have suffered all this in the past, but the sheer scale of the horror to which Pakistan is being subjected today, and the expectation of consequences that must unfold from this have become so unacceptable, that ANY redeemer will be acceptable. 
Thus would most readers agree with me in that, though Pakistan has suffered much in the past, what is unique about today is actually the scale of the effort which is undermining the state. And thus as a reaction to this is the scale of anxieties and fears unleashed.
 

From: Mehboob Qadir <clay.potter@hotmail.com>

    One can not agree more with Naeem Ahmad.His is a cry of frustration, disappointment and anger on what is going around in the country behind the democracy smoke screen.However plunder of national resources, pocketing kick backs and commissions is not new here, particularly is no big issue with the  NS clan.They are used to it since long. Any modicum of propriety detected in thereabouts should be taken as alarming .
   Their hero and business partner Mr Ardugan is reported to have  got a huge (800 rooms)  palace constructed to go with the grandeur of the Turkish President, of which about 200 rooms are under use by his clansmen and kin.He is  planning to subvert the Turkish constitution from a Parliamentry form to Presidential form, so that he could continue to be the President for as long as he wants.In Turkey one can not be a Prime Minister more than two times.He has nearly demoilshed his opposition; the Kamalist Republican Party and the field is set for ‘democratic’  semi theocratic dictatorship.It is common knowledge that no major government contract can be sanctioned without his poersonal approval.As a result he and his children( quite like NS and family) have become billionnaires.This briuef introduction must show why these profiteering men dash off to Istanbul so often and why these monsterous metros.Detect any similarities?

    Has anyone noticed the pathetic sight of an awfully under-capacity and small metrobus plying on the huge fly over track in Rawalpindi like a snail on your staircase.That disgust is not about the size of the bus but the utter disproportion of the expense on a trivial travel help which could best be served by a modern fleet of a hundred buses on properly metalled Rawalpindi- Islamabad roads.But that was neither glamorous nor provided opportunity to pocket billions of rupees.This track keeps dripping after rains even after days and there is no guarantee of workmanship of a project whose chief was a politician involved in huge Ephedrine scam.His engineering skills are unknown and more than that his personal integrity is completely suspect.But that is the way NS clan operates.Put a thief incharge of the treasury and pliage with both hands.
     One is not sure of Gen(r) Zaheer’s alleged attempt , but one thing is certain ,these men and their buglers would soon have their feet in their mouths and would be made to suck.What goes around comes around.

   Mehboob Qadir



Date: Fri, 7 Aug 2015 17:36:24 -0700
Subject: Fwd: Gen Zaheer’s “Coup” Attempt and the Reaction.
From: pindori47@gmail.com
To:

fwd as rcvd.

Gen Zaheer’s “Coup” Attempt and the Reaction. Nasim Ahmed.

Recently, Khawaja Asif accused Gen Zaheer, ex-D.G of ISI, of goading Imran Khan into the Dharna to make grounds for a coup against Nawaz Govt. This should never have been discussed on T.V. Least of all by the Defense Minister.
Najm Sethi, being Najam Sethi with his famous “Chirya” put addition spin on this. He said the “coup” was aimed at pulling down Nawaz Sharif, and pusing out Gen Raheel Sharif!
This added masala was expected to sensationalize the issue. Sethi’s spin was designed to put Nawaz Sharif and the General on the same plank, and hence on the same side.
It was indeed sensationalized and it became a talk of the town, but precisely for two days. After its 15 minutes of fame it died out.
It did not get any further traction. The effect was quite the opposite of the intended. No one believed the Sethi spin, and saw it for the crude propaganda which it was.
Instead of condemning Zaheer more and more people stated to rue the fact that he did not succeed. 
 
It started being said in private conversations that if Zaheer tried to do what he was being accused of, he needs to be praised for the effort.
They said Pakistan was in the claws of vultures, and any one who gets the country out of these claws will be a hero.
 
It is said that as chief of ISI he knew the cirmes of rulers much better than any one else. Any patriot would act the way he is alleged to have done.
People are willing to bear anything. But they cannot bear to be plundered by their “leaders”. This is just not acceptable any more. They want to see these leader hanged.
See the link to Dr Farrukh Saleem’s article below. This is a researched article. See what Pakistan has paid for its Metro. Then compare this with the next highest costing metro in the world has cost. And see the cost of gas imported from Qatar, and what India is paying for it.
Who is pocketing the difference? No one needs to take a second guess to know where the plunder is going.
If election commission had done its job, none of these leaders should have been allowed to even contest the elections because of corruption. But Ch Iftikhar the one eyed man. The thief. The hypocrite wanted take the country to hell with himself. 
 
How did Zardari become president when he was found guilty in the Swiss court? Having been found guilty of money laundering the prosecutor enhanced the charge to “aggravated” money laundering. Zardari and Queen Benazir refused to attend the hearings. But the original guilty remained. 
 
Ishaq Dar has given a confession for money laundering. Nawaz Sharif cannot justify their assets with their stated income which is reflected by the taxes they paid. This is the simplest formula to establish white collar crime in most civilized countries. They are all criminals if investigated. But every institution which could have brought them to book has been destroyed and works FOR the criminals they are supposed to work.
 
In the public mind the constitution has become  irrelevant. In most minds it has become a dirty word. 
After  eighteenth amendment it has become dirt itself, because it allows dirt of the nation to settle on top of it. It permits this to happen without challenge.
No one can help Pakistan and pull it out from this dirt.
Army is the only institution left which can do this.
Army has to choose between Pakistan and constitution.
It is fault of thief politicians that this situation has come about.
So long live Gen Zaheer if he thought of his country and tried to save it.
And long live Gen Raheel and all his other generals who seem to be thinking only of Pakistan.
For the first time it seems our army is working on behalf of the people of Pakistan. It is fighting heroically in trenches in the north. It is cleaning out the south. We hope it will now move to the middle and clean it of the filth which has been accumulating there for decades.
 
If Pakistan has democracy, and this is what democracy means i.e no governance, no accountability of leaders, and total plunder by them, most people do not want democracy. The want security. A little justice. And some decency in public life.
And they do not want to be plundered by these thieves sitting in the assemblies.
Naeem Ahmed.
 

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THE CURRENT POLITICAL SCENARIO IN PAKISTAN by Mobashra Anees

Prevailing political stalemate in the country with agitators of both Pakistan Tehrik-e- Insaaf (PTI) and Pakistan Awami Tehrik (PAT) observing sit-in at capital city of Islamabad, blocking sensitive Red Zone and threatening vital Govt buildings, have negatively impacted the entire nation causing fretful anxiety for all segments of society. The political chaos in Pakistan has deepened, with the country’s embattled Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif now vowing not to step down despite escalating protests against his rule. Sharif came to power for the third time in elections last year. His victory marked the first successful civilian transfer of power in Pakistan’s history. His considerable electoral mandate and peerless political pedigree . Sharif is a heavyweight in Punjab, Pakistan’s most populous state led many to believe the country could turn a corner, mend ties with India and revitalize its stagnating economy. But criticism of his government’s performance dogged by the persistence of the country’s woeful energy shortages, inflation, security issues among other problems grew in the year.

imagesA lot is being said about Pak Army’s role behind instigating the current political chaos in the country. Politicians and a segment of the local and international media have been accusing the very defense institution of being the hidden power behind the turmoil. No one, so far has been able to prove it with facts. Everyone is quite familiar about peace talks and negotiations held with TTP by PTI and govt but failed. There upon Pakistan Armed forces in total cohesion with state adversaries opted to initiate Operation Zarb-e-Azb in North Waziristan, which has been the main hub of terrorists. Country wide terrorist’s activities were being planned and directed by the terrorists residing in NWA. This whole situation led to various speculations about civil-military seriousness in wiping terrorism out. This also divided the society on various fronts. Politicians, civil society members and people from every walk of life started possessing fragmented feelings.

What is happening in Islamabad is in front of everybody. Apart from Pakistani media, International media outlets are reporting it fondly. What is being observed is that Media in Pakistan is divided into fragments where each media outlet has a particular stance to promote and propagate. Media has got an issue at hand. Special media and analyst teams are giving 24/7 coverage and analysis. Speeches of Dr. Qadri and Imran Khan are being covered and analyzed specifically in relevance to their agenda. The whole political scenario has diverted the media and people attention from the IDP’S and Thar affectees. Whenever any disaster hits Pakistan, army is there as saviors and defenders of their people.

The political scenario is quickly changing with every passing day though the end is not very obvious at the moment. We may have reservations over the way Imran Khan and Qadri chose to proceed with their demands, but a vast majority does accept that their demands are justified. Implementation of Article 62 & 63, electoral and social reforms, justice and eradication of corrupt system are all the things that Pakistan is desperately in need of at the moment.

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