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Archive for November, 2016

The Indian Submarine By Col. Riaz Jafri (Retd)

.LETTER TO EDITOR

November 19th, 2016

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The Indian Submarine

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yet another act of belligerence by India and not an ordinary one too!  An Indian submarine was detected in Pakistan waters but how close was it to our shores is not disclosed.  Our only source of information to this Indian venture is media, which is not very explicit about it. A media report says that it was not allowed to enter Pakistan waters.  Another reports it to have been pushed away out of the Pakistan territorial waters – which implies that it had transgressed the Pakistan territory. Yet another one says that it was detected while snorkelling, making it easier to be located and identified. Submarines surface to periscope depth to recharge their exhausted batteries  which is normally done after a few days of their having been under water. Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) assets of the Pakistani Navy would have either spotted it or picked it up through radar or sonar. If the Indian sub had surfaced to breathe, for how long had it been there and w! hat was it doing? Was she on an intelligence gathering mission or trying to land saboteurs ashore or delivering weapons and explosives to the Indian agents already in Balochistan?  The question arises if it had been there in our waters was its presence known or not? If not, why not? In any case, now that it is established that the enemy sub did venture into our waters what guarantees are there that it won’t happen again.  And what could be done to prevent such a reoccurrence? Should the matter be not taken up internationally at the UN? Should China not be asked to augment our Anti Submarine Warfare Assets substantially to guard and protect Gwadar against any such future eventuality?  After all it is in China’s own interest to secure its recently opened line of communication. And lastly, the PN must ensure that no such intruder slips away that easily in future.

 

Col.Riaz Jafri (Retd)

Col. Riaz Jafri (Retd)
30 Westridge 1
Rawalpindi 46000
Pakistan

E.mail: jafri@rifiela.com

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Seminar on Kashmir: Question of Justice Organized by MUSLIM Institute

Seminar on
Kashmir: Question of Justice
Organized by
MUSLIM Institute

MUSLIM Institute organized a seminar on “Kashmir: Question of Justice” on Tuesday 27th August, 2013 at a local hotel in Islamabad. Among representatives of all sections of society, the seminar was attended by foreign diplomats, renowned analysts, professors and students of various universities, members of various research organizations and a number of journalists and academics.

Sahibzada Sultan Ahmad Ali
Chairman MUSLIM Institute

Kashmir is not only issue of South Asia or Muslim world but it is one of the important issues across the globe. The international organizations’ insistence on Pakistan and India to hold dialogue on Kashmir and offer to play role in this regard is commendable but silence of international organizations and world powers over state sponsored persecution in Indian Occupied Kashmir is worrisome. If leading personalities of the international organizations are not going to raise voice against the state sponsored brutalities in Indian Occupied Kashmir, trust of people of this region in efficacy of international organizations may be lost. Like implementation international conventions on human rights in rest of the world, these should be implemented in Indian Occupied Kashmir too. The organizations talking against all forms of discriminations are themselves committing discrimination if they do not express concern on human crisis of Indian Occupied Kashmir.

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Humanitarian Crisis & Human Rights Violations in Kashmir

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Prof. Dr. Tahir Amin
Director National Institute of Pakistan Studies, Quaid-i-Azam University

He commended MUSLIM Institute for organizing the event. He said it is basically the issue of right of self-determination. It is probably the oldest unresolved agenda on UN charter. Ban Ki Moon did not give it much attention during his visit to Pakistan. India is planning to build many dams violating the Indus Water Treaty and thus it will become worst issue for Pakistan. There are reports of thousands of mass graves in Indian Occupied Kashmir and it is ethnic cleansing. Indian army enjoys full powers to torture and kill Kashmiris in fake encounters. Change in Pakistan’s foreign policy has contributed in worsening the Kashmir crisis. Kashmir is fundamental issue between Pakistan and India both have to resolve it for good relations. However, if it is not resolved there may be severe consequences.

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Presentation: Discriminatory Approach of International Community in Resolving Kashmir Issue

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Brig(R) Asif Haroon Raja
Renowned Defense Analyst

Kashmir issue is unresolved due to violence of India. UN could not implement its own resolutions. India did not accept demilitarization and plebiscite. UN remained ineffective even with 18 resolutions. None including US tried to apply formula of Sudan or East Timor to resolve Kashmir issue. International community ignored Human rights violation in India Occupied Kashmir. No solution can be implemented without Kashmiris’ will.

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Silence of International Human Rights Organizations over Kashmir

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Mr. Asif Ezdi
Former Ambassador & Renowned Columnist

Kashmir is old issue but it is not being given that attention which it requires. Today’s seminar by Muslim Institute is a good step. Although there is severe human crisis but there is silence from international community. Many organizations and countries are not considering human crisis of Kashmir due to their interests and relations with India. We could not clarify difference between struggle of freedom in Kashmir and terrorism. We should elaborate it on international level that struggle of Kashmiris against Indian forces is not terrorism. There are many Indian origin personnel in US government, who manage tilt of US policy towards India. We should work for implementation of UN resolutions and take stand on it.

Interactive Session

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After addresses of distinguished speakers, question & answer session commenced. Answering questions of participants, Ambassador Asif Ezdi said that the new generation of Kashmiris is more determined on their cause. We should take stand based on UN resolutions and mount international pressure on India to hold plebiscite. Answering a question about recent LOC violations by Indian forces, Dr. Tahir Amin said that the situation is not good for both countries and it should be contained. He said that due to elections in India, there are violations on LOC. Indian political parties use the situation for their domestic benefits.

Concluding Remarks by Chair

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Sardar Attique Ahmad Khan
Former Prime Minister Azad Jammu & Kashmir

On 15 August 1947 there was flag of Pakistan on government buildings all over Kashmir. Official letters dispatched on 15 August had stamp of Pakistan. Unfortunately we do not have consistent policy on Kashmir. He said that India is making all out efforts to justify its wrong stance but we are not taking required steps despite having rightful stance. We are doing much work on fault finding, while we should work for good will. India is making dams illegally and then releasing water in flood season. He further said that we should take stand on resolutions of UN. European Union took action on mass graves in Kashmir but we did not work to raise the issue at international issue level.

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First Lady – Kulsoom Nawaz Rs 2,500,000 Yves St Laurent Purse

LETTER TO EDITOR

November 17th, 2016

Kulsoom Nawaz Rs 2,500,000 Yves St Laurent Purse

Kulsoom Nawaz Rs 2,500,000 Yves St Laurent Purse

First Lady

 

 

 

During the meeting between Mrs. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan  (the visiting First Lady of Turkey) and Mrs. Kalsoom Nawaz, with a Rs 2,500,000 Yves St Laurent Purse; the later was also being referred to as the First Lady (of Pakistan).  This became rather conspicuous when during the meeting with the wife of the Pakistan president, she was just referred to as Mrs. Mamnoon only. As per the universal protocol the First Lady is the wife of the Head of the State (President) and not that of the Head of the Government. However, Pakistan is the only country in the world where it is the other way around. This strange practice owes it birth to ZAB who while stepping down from the presidency to the premiership in 1972 brought all the presidential (Head of the State) protocol with him to the PM House.  It included flying of Pakistan Flag on his car, playing of the National Anthem on his official appearances, a Brigadier/Major General  Military Secretary, a couple of ADCs (grammatically AsDC) and similar some other presidential perks and privileges of course not forgetting the First Lady. In no other democratic country of the world including India the PM is entitled to any such privileges. But the Pakistan is Pakistan.

 

 

 

Incidentally, what if the wife happens to be the PM like Benazir Bhutto ?  Was AAZ called as the First Gentleman ?!

 

 

Col. Riaz Jafri (Retd)

 

Pakistan

 

E.mail: jafri@rifiela.com

 

 

 

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Pakistan’s external debt likely to swell to $110b in four years By Shahbaz Rana

 

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Pakistan’s external debt likely to swell to $110b in four years

By Shahbaz Rana

Published: November 13, 2016
 
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s external debt is projected to grow to a whopping $110 billion within four years and it will need over $22 billion a year just to meet external payment requirements, posing a serious threat to the country’s solvency.

By that time, Pakistan will again be back to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to avoid default on international payments as it did in 2013, according to independent projections revealed at the National Debt Conference on Saturday.

Circular debt in power sector: Govt could not repay bank loans of Rs136.5b

Two renowned economists, former finance minister Dr Hafiz Pasha and former director general debt Dr Ashfaque Hasan Khan, have made the external debt projections. The $110-billion external debt level by 2019-20 will be $24 billion higher than projections made by the IMF in its latest report on Pakistan.

Khan shared his assessment at the debt conference, arranged by the Policy Research Institute of Market Economy (PRIME) – an independent think tank.

The duo updated their previous external debt forecast for fiscal year 2018-19 from $90 billion to $98 billion after the government borrowed heavily in the past one year.

At present, the external debt stands at $73 billion, which has been projected to swell 50% to $110 billion in just four years.

They did not see a major change in Pakistan’s export situation and anticipated that by 2019-20, the exports would stand roughly at $25 billion, a level that the country crossed in the last year of previous government of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP).

Owing to slowdown in exports, Pakistan’s external debt to export ratio has been projected at 441.8% by 2019-20, which is highly unsustainable. By that year, the country will consume 40% of its export earnings to service the external debt.

“Pakistan is fast slipping into the debt trap and neither the government nor parliament is playing its due role,” remarked Asad Umar, MNA of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf while speaking at the conference.

Khan said by 2019-20 amortisation payments would increase to $10 billion. To fill the current account gap, the country will require another $12.5 billion a year, increasing the total external payment requirement to $22.5 billion. The current account deficit will mainly widen due to imports of machinery and plants for projects being developed under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

Against IMF’s projection of $16.7 billion, Khan said total external financing needs to bridge the current account deficit and repay loans would stand at $22.5 billion by 2019-20.

After exhausting all available resources including CPEC financing, foreign investment and funds from traditional donors, there would still be $11-billion financing gap, which the country would not be able to bridge without IMF’s help, said Khan.

He predicted that Pakistan would return to the IMF in 2018-19 – the fiscal year when the country’s external debt would be $98 billion and its financing gap will be $9 billion.

“Pakistan’s debt situation is deteriorating rapidly and posing a serious threat to its solvency,” he cautioned. Commercial borrowings comprised 25% of external debt, which was a matter of concern, said Shahid Kardar, former governor of the State Bank of Pakistan.

He said low returns on the country’s foreign currency reserves compared to the borrowing cost were also a matter of concern.

Khan said the PML-N and PPP governments had added $49 billion to the current external debt of $73 billion. Most of this amount, estimated at $32.6 billion, was added from 2008 to 2016 while the remaining $17.4 billion was added during the 1990s.

Pakistan’s trade deficit widens 22%, stands at $9.3 billion

“We need to develop a more effective borrowing strategy, which should be consistent with the country’s development priorities,” suggested Khan.

“Pakistan can keep its debt at sustainable levels by achieving about 6% annual economic growth,” said Dr Ali Kemal, research economist at the Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE). He, however, said despite the increase in debt levels, Pakistan was still not Greece.

“We are at a comfortable stage and there is no need to worry about anything,” said Zafar Masud, Director General of the Central Directorate of National Savings, while speaking at the conference.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 13th, 2016.

 

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The lockdown and after

 

 

 November 05, 2016

 

The lockdown and after

 

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At a stage when Pakistan is fast approaching insolvency, events shaped by Imran Khan convinced the Supreme Court of Pakistan to admit petitions on Panama Papers which were unfortunately dubbed as frivolous earlier by the Registrar. The recent proceedings of the apex court indicate a prevalence of sense of urgency within the bench. As the administrative head of the Supreme Court, it will be interesting to see as to what action the Chief Justice will take to dispel any notion of partisanship of the Registry of the apex court that was created by the Registrar’s gross illegality of returning the petition on Panama Leaks.

With the two organs of the state i.e. the Parliament and the Executive already tainted, Pakistan’s approach to Rule of Law as the next alternative now depends a lot on how the Supreme Court conducts itself in the discharge of its constitutional obligation. This is an extraordinary situation and the apex may have to resolve the issues in terms of the principle, ‘welfare of the people is the supreme law’. The Supreme Court is on trial and dialogues inside the courtroom indicate that the honourable judges are conscious of this fact. The precedent set up in Yousaf Raza Gilani’s case in the recent past of disqualifying a Prime Minister is extremely relevant in the case of Panama Leaks, wherein Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is being attributed in misdeclaration of assets and if such misdeclaration is established, the apex court will have no choice but to disqualify him keeping in view the principle of consistency or equality.

PTI’s petition is precise and specific. Nowhere does it ask for an inquiry commission whose recommendations will be subject to action by the government at its own speed and convenience. The fate of commissions in the past provides a peep into what lies ahead. Therefore, cognisant of this futility, the PTI legal team must refocus its arguments to its prayers. Any action broader than this could put this exercise into a trap of delaying the matters indefinitely.

In its response to an earlier request by the government, the Supreme Court showed its inability to proceed under the Inquiries Act. A commission can only recommend and not punish.

In case the PTI lawyers accept the suggestion of a commission, it would amount to abandoning or at least postponing the basic relief being claimed in its petition. If this happens, the entire case will be doomed by procedural delays of the Commission. Rather, PTI should continue to demand the resignation of the prime minister and his entire official team (paid from public exchequer), busy in defending him. 

The reluctance of state institutions to act on Panama Leaks has now been exposed in the Supreme Court. NAB, FBR and FIA hid behind flimsy excuses. In the recent Public Accounts Committee deliberations, heads of SECP, NAB and State Bank did not make an appearance. Chairman FBR though present, shirked from responsibility. The Registrar of the Supreme Court, a deputationist who does not belong to the legal fraternity, violated judicial precedents under the nose of Chief Justice of Pakistan and his fellow judges. In pursuance to PROTECTION OF ECONOMIC REFORMS ACT 1992: ACT No. XII OF 1992, the State Bank issued many circulars relating to offshore businesses and refused to investigate.

The most powerful anti-corruption institution is NAB. Through the powers vested in it, it can force all other institutions to act in unison. By law it has the power to arrest and investigate public office holders of Pakistan except those with constitutional immunity. According to Section 4 of NAO, the applicability extends to all public servants and citizens. Once placed in juxtaposition with Section 9, a combined reading leads to the irresistible conclusion that none are excluded. When Admiral Fasih Bokhari was Chairman NAB, his office investigated two sitting prime ministers and filed references against them in the Accountability Courts in OGRA and RPP cases. Logically, Panama papers will have to be investigated by NAB and accountability courts that function under the Supreme Court of Pakistan. Others will have to assist NAB.

This is what PTI has prayed for. If the prayer is accepted, the Supreme Court will have to make Chairman NAB and others accountable. Only then will the investigations proceed effectively.

Now back to political questions.

Principally, Imran Khan’s call for transparency and accountability is no different from the stances taken by PPPP. What sets them apart is the methodology. But Imran Khan’s agenda is much beyond Panama. He is seeking accountability and transparency in all matters of the state; a proceeding under law on Model Town Massacre and apprehension of all high offices involved in the planted leaks to Dawn. All three issues reflect the aspirations of the people and the interests of the state. Supreme Court’s admission of the PTI petition in public interest is only one aspect of the recent agitation. The other two issues have yet to be addressed.

In the past week, the world witnessed workers being beaten, teargassed, arrested without warrants and put in preventive detentions. There were also two avoidable deaths. Live coverage of events by the media made numbers inconsequential. The State, with blatant abuse of power, displayed and employed all munitions of violence and obliged a lockdown all over Punjab and Islamabad. In addition, there were also counter narratives flashed by the government.

First, news was spread that PTI protesters would be armed and supported by militant outfits mentioned in Dawn Leaks. This brought the few liberal and leftist activists into the open against PTI. They steamed out in Pakistan, London and New York. The purpose of this narrative was to reinforce perceptions created by Dawn Leaks and depict PTI as a proxy of the defence establishment and link it to militant outfits.

The ploy failed. No militants were seen. Rather a group of rightist parties with criminal records, supported by the government were allowed to rally despite the imposition of Section 144. By submitting to Supreme Court, Imran Khan deflated this narrative. He exercised his democratic right. This should dispel all propaganda of the party being a toy of military establishment and militant outfits.

Secondly, the trigger happy PML-N media team unsuccessfully created a perception that its crackdown was supported by the military. This was done to divert attention from the planted Dawn story.

The ploy failed due to an ISPR release and social media.

Thirdly, the government launched an advert campaign on media highlighting its achievements. In the past, the PPPP government had been prevented to do so by the Supreme Court when its Prime Minister was under charges. The Supreme Court must stop this.

So apart from the Panama Papers, the focus has to shift to the Model Town Massacre and Dawn Leaks. In addition, the government has to account for its excessive use of force and suppression of the fundamental rights of its citizens. PTI and all its allies including PAT and PMLQ have to forge a collective framework and strategy to carry forward these cases in the logical direction. Justice will only come if the pressure is relentless.

 

 The Nation: Islamabad Lockdown & After

The writer is a political economist and a television anchorperson. He can be contacted at samson.sharaf@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter

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