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Archive for April, 2018

Ch Munir’s Spider Web of Jagirdars-Industrialists-Connect Nawaz Sharif & General Naveed Mukhtar

Ch Munir’s Spider Web of Jagirdars-Industrialists-Connect Nawaz Sharif & General Naveed Mukhtar

Corridors of Powers interconnected through Marriages & Partnerships. 
Ch. Munir started from managing Property of Sheikh Zayd (rulers of Abu Dhabi) in Pakistan.
 
Then Ch. Munir’s sister was married to Sheikh Zayd of UAE.
 
Ch. Munir’s daughter married to Mian Aamir of Duniya TV and Punjab group of Colleges.
 
Ch. Munir’s Son married to Maryam Nawaz’s daughter.
 
 
Ch. Munir’s Sister-in-Law married to Corps Commander Karachi, Lt Gen Naveed Mukhtar, the new DG ISI.
 
Ch. Munir’s partner is Brig (R) Mukhtar, father of Lt Gen Naveed Mukhtar.
 
Ch. Munir is a contractor of new Islamabad Airport.

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The emergence of ISIS Threat in South Asia By Sajjad Shaukat

The emergence of ISIS Threat in South Asia

By Sajjad Shaukat

 

 

 

With the support of some state actors and after its defeat by the Russian-led coalition of Iran, Iraq and Lebanon-based Hezbollah in Syria and Iraq, the Islamic State group (Also known as Daesh, ISIS and ISIL) is rapidly spreading its tentacles in South Asia.

 

It is also due to the dual policy of the US-led some Western powers, Israel and India that ISIS which is most dangerous terrorist group than Al-Qaeda has accelerated terrorism-related attacks in the US, Europe, Syria, Turkey, Egypt, Yemen, Iran, Iraq etc. and some African countries where besides Muslims, the outfit also targeted the Christians. Now, its tentacles have reached other regions of Asia, especially South Asia.  Hence, the emergence of ISIS threat in South Asia needs attention.

 

In this context, the Daily Mail Online reported on February 22, 2015, “The terrifying rise of ISIS…tentacles now reach from Algeria to Afghanistan”.

 

According to online sources, “On January 26, 2015, Abu Muhammed al-Adnani chief spokesperson of the ISIS released an audio statement in which he declared the establishment of Wilayat Khorasan, a branch of the group encompassing Afghanistan, Pakistan and other nearby lands. Since then, Wilayat Khorasan has pursued a campaign of expansion and consolidation in the region, with most of its activity centring in eastern and southeastern Afghanistan.”

 

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Some other online sources disclosed, “ISI activities in Afghanistan are known as IS’s Khorasan Province (ISKP) or an Islamic State in Khorasan Province (ISKP).”

 

These sources revealed, “ISKP’s control of territory in Nangrahar reached its peak in summer 2015 when it became the dominant insurgent group in eight of the province’s 22 districts…Since then, the Taliban have fought to take back territory…ISKP then dug in through 2016 in all its remaining districts, that is, Achin, Kot and Nazyan in the south-eastern districts…as well as Deh Bala in the south-west…ISIL-KP maintained a presence in southern Nangarhar Province despite increased military operations carried out by the United States of America and the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces. SIL-KP continued its attacks against the civilian population and military and foreign military targets, and unverified local sources claimed that ISIL-KP reinforcements and recruitment continued…IS Khorasan gained its new strength through forging alliances with local sectarian pro-al-Qaeda or Taliban militant groups like Lashkar-e-Jhangvi al Alami (LeJ-A), Lashkar-e Islam (LeI), or disgruntled Taliban factions like Jundallah and Jamaat ul Ahrar (JuA), which have been active in the region for many years. It has also reportedly recruited operatives from the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU). The success of this strategy is manifest in the geographical distribution of the recent attacks, which suggests a logistical penetration and influence that extends from Kabul and Jalalabad in Afghanistan to Quetta and Peshawar in neighbouring Pakistan.”

 

It is mentionable that the militants attacked the Holey Artisan Bakery (Restaurant) in the diplomatic district of Dhaka-capital of Bangladesh on July 2, 2016, and killed at least 20 hostages and two police officers. It included nine Italians, seven Japanese and one American. The ISIS claimed responsibility for the terror attack on the restaurant. Top officials of Bangladesh Government claimed the existence of ISIS in the country. ISIS has also accepted responsibility for several past attacks in Bangladesh.

 

Taking cognizance of various terrorism-related assaults in Afghanistan and Pakistan by the ISIL, as its terrorists also entered Pakistan from Afghanistan, Pakistan has, repeatedly, been expressing concerns over the growing unrest and violence in Afghanistan, reiterating support for a dialogue-based settlement of the Afghan issue. Islamabad is supportive of an Afghan dialogue, recognizing Taliban as a legitimate party in the conflict. Similar stance has been adopted by Russia, China, Iran and even the Central Asian Republics.

 

While Pakistan has expressed concerns over the emergence of ISIS in Afghanistan from where it has rapidly been spreading its terror-network in other South Asian countries. Islamabad’s worry is also shared by all the countries of the region. The dreaded terror outfit is being projected by the US, India, and some Western countries as a counterweight to Taliban. Therefore, the story of ISIS in Afghanistan is viewed carefully by the regional countries. Russia has repeatedly aired concerns about the possibility of tacit US approval or her inability to control the ISIS. Former Afghan President Hamid Karzai and few other Afghan leaders have also aired such apprehensions.

 

In this connection, a news item was published by all the leading dailies of Pakistan on October 8, 2017 regarding the statement of Afghanistan’s former Afghan President Karzai who, while dismissing criticism of Moscow’s ties with the Taliban and echoing Russian claims of American support to the ISIS terrorists, told Voice of America (VOC) that the United States has links with terrorist ‘Islamic State’, also known as Daesh…Daesh a tool of US…After it [the US] dropped the [mother of all] bomb on Afghanistan, it did not eliminate Daesh…the terrorist group has been supplied weapons by the United States forces…The US Army helicopters and army bases are being used to provide assistance to ISIS terrorists…I do not differentiate at all between Daesh and America…Reports of American assistance to the terrorists are coming from all over the country.” (It also includes Karzai’s revelations to VOC of April 20, 2017, and Newsweek’s report of the same day). 

 

Particularly, based in Afghanistan, secret agencies such as American CIA, Indian RAW and Israeli Mossad are in collusion, and are using the ISIS in destabilizing Pakistan and Afghanistan as part of the double game of their countries.  India and Israel want to prolong the stay of the US-led NATO troops in Afghanistan which has become the centre of their covert activities against Pakistan, Russia, China, and Iran. American President Trump is also doing the same in connivance with New Delhi and Tel Aviv. Now, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is the special target of these foreign intelligence agencies.

 

It is notable that Afghanistan-based Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and ISIS which are being backed by RAW, CIA and Mossad have claimed responsibility for several terror assaults inside Pakistan and Afghanistan, including the recent ones.

 

While, Pakistan has repeatedly pointed out ISIS’s involvement in anti-Pakistan violence and terrorism, and Islamabad has also shared credible information about the presence of ex-TTP militants inside Afghanistan, many of whom have switched sides to join ISIS. Therefore, Islamabad expects Afghanistan and the US-led forces (NATO) in Afghanistan to check the activities and projection of the ISKP activities.

 

Notably, ISIS has suffered heavily on accounts of its confrontation with the Afghan Taliban. Taliban have successfully undone ISIS influence from most of its controlled and contested areas. ISIS has lost most of its leadership in these fights and has been virtually squeezed to a few pockets of Nangarhar province. Taliban have been successful in checking ISKP’s (ISIS) ideological outreach by projecting the linkage of the brutal organization with extra-regional elements and thus discrediting them in the eyes of common Afghans. Most Afghans consider ISKP’s display of cruelties and inhuman behaviour against Afghan culture and do not buy group’s ideas of violence.

 

Meanwhile, Pakistan has successfully purged FATA and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa of militants through successful military operations Zarb-e-Azb and Radd-ul-Fasad. Lately, the country is focusing on improving border management and fencing project to address the cross-border movement of the terrorists. Pakistan is making concerted efforts to address extremism in all its forms. Recent steps by the country, including the nationwide agreed upon ‘Paigham-e-Pakistan’ (Message of Pakistan), are efforts to address the menace of terrorism and extremism on the ideological front.

 

In the same context, in the recent past, Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa in Munich Security Conference was a polite reminder to the US-led international community, especially the Western powers of their past practices in the region.

 

We can conclude that reality of ISKP is well known to the regional powers. People like the ex-President Hamid Karzai and countries like Russia have been quite vocal in expressing their concerns about who supports ISKP? For ISKP in Afghanistan, the onus rests on the American- led NATO forces as well as on the Afghan National Unity Government (NUG) who need to carry out a reality check. America, India, and Israel should also abandon their double game with Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, China and Russia in order to cope with the emergence of ISIS threat in South Asia.

 

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

 

Email: sajjad_logic_pak@hotmail.com

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Future Expects Tougher Times for Afghanistan by Ishaal Zehra

Future Expects Tougher Times for Afghanistan

Ishaal Zehra

 

 

 

In the changing geopolitical scenario, President Trump’s Afghanistan policy signifies tougher times for an already fallen regime.

The US urgency for an exit from this decades’ old Afghan war is being felt by the policy thinkers and onlookers though there is no working timeline given by President Trump. Determining the cost and productiveness of the troops in Afghanistan, the businessman turned President of the United States is now interested in withdrawing those troops from this costly war. The uncertainty produced in the region thus has translated into a situation where the other regional actors are responding to the reservations by aligning their own interests.

For these countries, there is no uncertainty about the bottom line. The White House is looking for an exit with the shortest considerable timeline. This has also been confirmed by the departure of ex-trump advisor on Afghanistan, H.R. McMaster, and the appointment of Iran and North Korea focused, John Bolton as his successor.

The US military commanders are seen moving quickly to finish the job. The situation has become so obscure that the other powers in the region — the two influentials, China, Russia and neighbouring Iran, India, and Pakistan — have started recognizing their security options, threats and opportunities once the United States fully withdraws, while minutely weighing in the limitations of the Kabul government.

The US is building up the strength of Afghan units with a re-energized air campaign and new advisory units emplaced with Afghan army battalions while the administration pushes for talks with the Taliban in order to bring a negotiated end to the conflict. China has made it clear that it will support Afghan government-led efforts to negotiate an end to the conflict with the Taliban – an approach which is supported by the United States. It has also signed a defence agreement with Afghanistan to build a base in northern Afghanistan and set up a trilateral contact group with Afghanistan and Pakistan to combat terrorism.

Moscow, on the other hand, has heightened cooperation between Russia and Pakistan that is empirically visible. In February of this year, Moscow appointed an honorary consul in the city of Peshawar, Pakistan. Moreover, the addition of Russian language signage in the tribal belt and even around Islamabad also reflect upon the camaraderie both the countries are enjoying. Iran’s concern about ISIS spillover beyond her boundaries can be seen as a reason behind its move to cement relation with Pakistan. In the past Iran and India have traditionally worked together at many visible times, however, as India has now moved closer to the United States and Israel, Iran has begun to take on a more adversarial tone vis-à-vis India. This became quite visible in 2017 when Iran rejected Trump’s call for greater Indian engagement in Afghanistan and criticized Indian military actions in Kashmir.

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Other small non-aligned countries like Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan have joined Russia and China in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) thus putting their weight behind these big regional powers. Apparently, India seems to be the only odd man out in the aligning of interests in the region. It has a long and most of the time troubled relationship with both China and Pakistan having a history of hostile conflicts with both. Her relations with Iran have become more difficult in recent years as New Delhi deepened her relations with the United States. This new friendship with the US has actually dismissed the chances of allying with her long-gone love of the past, Russia also.

Russia is the dominant military partner for Central Asia while China takes the lead in economic activities. Owing to the changing US policies in Afghanistan, both the countries, for varied reasons, are concerned about the ability of the Afghan government to keep control of its territory and its capability to fully contain the radical elements without the support of US army. Besides, they also recognize the importance of the role Pakistan is playing in reigning in the militants. And this recognition has made them adopt a two-track policy: providing support for the Afghan government while trying to get Pakistan on board vis-a-vis the Taliban.

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is coming at a time when the United States has relegated Pakistan’s role in the Afghan conflict culmination strategy and blocked the military assistance funds to Islamabad on the pretext of not doing more. The inability of the Afghan government to address the prevailing security situation is having a negative impact on her economic development consequently leading the major regional powers to look for other options to stabilize the region. Moreover, India will never put her boots on the ground because she is still been haunted by her failed experience with intervention in Sri Lanka in the 1980s. Also, given the uneasy relationship with Pakistan and Iran, the geography of the region precludes an easy way to do this and Indian army is neither trained to nor have the courage to go for a war in this terrain single-handedly.

Stakeholders in Afghanistan need to understand new ground realities. Any viable regional mechanism for taking on the Afghan cauldron cannot seem possible without having Pakistan on board. Especially at a time when both Pakistan and Afghanistan are on the course of redefining mutual relations. For a peaceful and economic exit plan, the US also cannot deny that Pakistan provides unmatchable logistic routes for the foreign forces engaged in the Afghan war. Routes through Pakistan are the shortest and cheapest and presently are the safest owing to the Pakistan army’s resolve to ascertain peace in the country. Another exit option could be through aligning the SCO with US exit policy since all the major regional powers are available under this one umbrella. Interestingly, and quite contrary to the US beliefs, the members of the SCO also trust Pakistan of being the lone brave lion to handle this menace impeccably. A better understanding of regional sensitivities will help the US to better grasp the situation in Afghanistan if she really wants to end this decades-old deadly conflict.

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Seven Big Challenges for Pakistan—and the Lessons They Could Teach  By Imran Ali , Ali Akbar & Benjawan Yanwisetpakdee

Pakistan-A Nation Given Lemons by its Enemies Makes a Lemonade

Seven Big Challenges for Pakistan—and the Lessons They Could Teach

 By

Imran Ali, Ali Akbar & Benjawan Yanwisetpakdee

Pakistan may be viewed as a case study of the fight for the survival of modern human civilization. Its complex and dangerous problems are not without possible solutions and the strategies that the nation chooses to provide a model for the rest of the world.

 Humans have made enormous advancements in technology. Unfortunately, the challenges to human civilization are also rising quickly. Our ignorance and mismanagement of resources have led us down the path of uncertainty, and we now need all of our available technology to survive. Pakistan is perhaps most known for its struggle with terrorism. Meanwhile, few associate the country with the fight for modern civilization’s survival. Dwindling natural resources, continuous natural disasters, disease outbreaks, and economic instability in the region make for a worst-case scenario for human development. Pakistan is neighbored by China and India, the most populous nations on the globe, so its failure would start a chain reaction of global. On the other hand, the country’s success in meeting current challenges could make it a model for counteracting the problems of modern civilization. This article offers an overview of the major challenges confronting Pakistan, along with possible solutions that provide lessons for the rest of the world.

 

 

 

 

 Challenge 1: Population Explosion

 An average Pakistani woman gives birth to five children, thanks to a preference for large families and a particular desire for sons. Because of high birthrates and increasing life expectancy, Pakistan has one of the highest population growth rates in the world and is expected to become the fourth-most-populous country by 2050. Rising population triggers many other crises, including food shortages, energy and resources crises, and disease outbreaks.

Possible solutions: Pakistan’s rapid population growth highlights the need for effective family planning. Although the government has shown serious interest in the issue, the effects of its efforts are limited. According to one survey, each family welfare centre is visited by an average of two couples per day. The main reasons behind the problem are the overall low education and literacy rate and the inadequate mobility of Pakistani women. Pakistani society is dominated by men; women are scarcely seen in any walks of life, making them an invisible and inactive segment of the country. To help balance society, the government must require education for all citizens. Similarly, increasing the proportion of women in the workforce would increase women’s mobility. Along with free supplies of contraceptives, government incentives to limit childbearing can also motivate couples to use birth control.

Challenge 2: Food Security

Nearly 75% of Pakistan’s population resides in rural areas, where agriculture is the way of life. Unfortunately, Pakistan has not developed its food security policy at the national level. The agricultural sector has slowed by 2.7% from 2000 to 2010, and the country now struggles to provide its people with a sufficient amount of food. Calorie availability is, on average, 26% lower than that found in developed countries. Due to an inadequate food supply, many Pakistanis face the problem of malnutrition. The unmanaged slaughtering of animals, unregulated livestock smuggling to neighbouring countries, and a shortage of livestock feed make it impossible for the poor population to access beef and other meat. Approximately 17,000 acres are deforested every year, causing the depletion of wild resources from the forest, unprecedented ecological misbalance, and loss of biodiversity. The main factors involved in decreased food production are overpopulation, water shortage, energy deficiency, poor soil, and natural disasters. Most of the soil in Pakistan is deficient in macro- and micronutrients. Salinity and waterlogging add to the problem. More than 70% of Pakistan is arid and semiarid regions, where rainfall is insufficient for irrigation of crops; most rainwater is lost due to rapid evaporation and surface runoff, while floods and droughts cause further damage. Rapid urbanization also contributes to food shortages, as fewer people are now available to work on farms in rural areas. Meanwhile, with almost no technology inputs in many parts of the country, traditional farming cannot meet the increasing demand for food. A lack of infrastructure makes it very difficult to transport food from farm to fork.

 Possible solutions: Pakistan has enormous potential to increase its food supply with agricultural reforms. Nearly 20 million acres of cultivable land is unused. Construction of major dams could provide an additional 2.5 million acres of land suitable for agricultural purposes. Pakistan has the chance to become self-sufficient if it can reach even 30% of its potential. National agriculture policy is needed to counteract the low food supply. The government has focused primarily on increasing wheat production, but in order to tackle malnutrition, it must focus on other nutritious crops, livestock, and fruits. To keep up with the increasing population, the agriculture sector must maintain an annual growth rate of more than 5%. The government, with the help of the international community, must improve rural infrastructure in order to develop Pakistan’s agricultural sector. Similarly, poor farmers need access to easy, corruption-free loans to increase their crop yields and improve agricultural practices.

 Challenge 3: Energy Crises

Among developing countries, demand for electricity will rise 40% by 2030. In Pakistan alone, the demand for energy is expected to increase sevenfold. Yet the oil- and gas-reliant country, which currently imports 75% of its energy, lacks the necessary infrastructure, long-term planning, and institutional frameworks to meet current needs, let alone future energy requirements. The energy crisis badly affects the country’s agriculture, economy, the way of life, and technological advancement. A continuous rise in oil prices and electricity is causing inflation and devaluing the currency. Energy is becoming increasingly inaccessible the average person. These conditions are raising agitation, anger, and riots in the frustrated people of Pakistan.

 Possible solutions: Fossil fuels comprise 80% of the world’s energy supply. Rising fossil fuel prices highlight the need for renewable energy sources in Pakistan. Hydropower, solar energy, biomass utilization and wind power are some of the best sustainable energy options for Pakistan. Pakistan’s location is blessed with unending sources of solar energy. Pakistan receives up to twice the solar radiation needed to power solar photovoltaic appliances, such as water pumps. It is estimated that Pakistan’s hydropower is operating at only 15% of its potential. Biomass utilization, especially biofuel production, can fulfil the oil requirements of energy. About 70% of Pakistan’s land is uncultivated and could be utilized to grow crops with high biofuel potential. Livestock in Pakistan is a good source of wet dung and can yield substantial biogases for fuel purposes. Additionally, Pakistan has the capacity to produce 400,000 tons of ethanol per year from its sugarcane crops.

 Challenge 4: Disease Outbreaks

 Pakistan’s rapid urbanization is creating numerous problems, the most threatening of which is disease outbreaks. Water sources in and near big cities are at risk due to wastewater mismanagement.

 In Pakistan, wastewater use in agriculture carries a wide risk of diseases. Food-borne diseases are also a concern, and natural calamities such as frequent floods add more severity to the outbreaks. One study of southern Punjab, Pakistan’s most populous province, found that diarrhoea and hookworm related diseases were common among farmers working in farms fed by wastewater. Other diseases run rampant: Several types of hepatitis are very common. Due to political propaganda and misinformation, the fight against polio is much tougher. HIV is on the rise. And typhoid, malaria, and tuberculosis are still uncontrolled. Currently, the most serious disease outbreaks are dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF) and Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever (CCHF). DHF is mostly found in the eastern part of the country, while CCHF is mostly found in the west. From 2005 to 2006, more than 3,640 patients were found to have DHF symptoms.

 Possible solutions: Proper wastewater management can minimize the risks of many diseases, such as hepatitis, malaria, dengue, and typhoid. Although using wastewater in agriculture can be beneficial for Pakistan’s nutrient-deficient soil, its use must be coupled with the pretreatment of water to get rid of any chemical and microbial contamination. Diseases that are spread by human contacts, such as CCHF, must be handled with proper care when dealing with patients, as well as animals. Education and awareness by religious scholars can help to lift the fight against polio and HIV. Health must be given priority in rehabilitation after natural disasters. Along with the global community, Pakistan’s government must be built measures for fighting disease outbreaks—especially ones that may bring global catastrophes.

 Challenge 5: Socio-economic Instability

 According to the Ministry of Finance’s annual economic survey, Pakistan’s GDP growth in 2013 was 3.6%, down from 4.4% in the previous year. The economy is severely affected by the energy crisis, terrorism, and the global economy, and the country operates with a large deficit, thanks to the administration’s reluctance and inability to cut spending or raise taxes. Meanwhile, the value of the Pakistani rupee has decreased in recent years. Each time the rupee falls, both inflation and foreign debts increase. More than 60% of Pakistan’s population lives below the poverty line, leaving many unable to obtain or pay for food, healthcare, education, and energy. While many factors contribute to the country’s rampant poverty, the energy crisis, in particular, has a strong effect, because of its negative impact on Pakistan’s agricultural and industrial sectors. Entire factories are often outsourced, which leads to unemployment and disturbs supply and demand and the balance of imports and exports. Unemployment and poverty have led to high rates of depression, anxiety, and suicide, as well as an increase in crime. Unemployed youth are frequently targeted for recruitment by terrorist organizations, who offer them the means to afford food and an opportunity to show their anger against society. Most of the country’s suicide bombers are under 20 years old.

 Possible solutions: Pakistan has to deal seriously with its energy crisis. Consistently available and affordable energy would lubricate agriculture and industry, which would, in turn, raise GDP and increase employment opportunities. Coupled with reforms to corrupt government spending and tax collection policies, increasing tax rates on certain sectors would provide the country with much-needed growth. Improved infrastructure would result in better trade opportunities with China and central Asia, while better trade between India and Pakistan could bring enormous economic benefits to both countries. The government needs to focus efforts on decreasing suicides and improving mental health. Public sports programs and technical education for unemployed youth would provide the country with young, healthy, and skilled labourers and members of society. And laws aimed at improving income inequality could help to eliminate hate throughout society.

Challenge 6: Natural Disasters

 Mother Nature seems unhappy with Pakistan, which faces severe crises with continued floods, earthquakes, drought, and global warming. Despite heavy investment in irrigation, Pakistan is vulnerable to continuous floods. Due to climate change, the intensity of floods in the Himalayan rivers has increased in the past 20 to 30 years. Human intervention in Pakistan has worsened scenarios by building unnecessary embankments and improperly using the land. The Indus flood of 2010 was one of the greatest disasters in the history of mankind, affecting more than 14 million people and killing nearly 2,000, with approximately US$9.5 million worth of losses to business, agriculture, and other parts of the economy. According to the UN, the humanitarian crisis caused by the flood was even greater than Japan’s 2011 tsunami and the disastrous earthquakes of Haiti and Kashmir. Nearly all the world’s glaciers are on the verge of disappearance, including the Himalayan glacial reserves. Billions of people in the Indian subcontinent rely on this water reservoir, which supplies the Indus, Ganges, and other rivers. Over the past century, the average global temperature has increased by 0.6°C (1°F) and continues to rise. The Himalayan glaciers have begun to melt, threatening frequent floods, loss of water reservoirs, and a rise in sea levels. Climate change has also been observed as a trigger for the increase in the outbreaks in northwest Pakistan of Plasmodium falciparum, a parasite that causes malaria. Similarly, a continuous decrease in precipitation, especially in arid and semiarid areas,  is causing a long-term drought. Pakistan is located in a region that experiences frequent earthquakes. In 2005, a devastating, 7.6-magnitude earthquake killed more than 82,000 people and injured more than 126,000. The earthquake also triggered massive landslides and caused dams to break.

 Possible solutions: Natural calamities cannot be avoided, but their intensities, frequencies, and effects can be minimized. Floods in Pakistan are caused by excessive monsoon rain and global warming. Construction of dams can help to store the excess floodwater, which can be used for agriculture and to generate hydroelectricity. Global warming must be fought at the global level by controlling greenhouse gas emissions and by using a carbon credit system. The government of Pakistan must ban the extensive deforestation in the country, as well as solve the energy problem because the trees are mostly cut for energy requirements. Improving public transport systems would minimize individual car usage. There is also a need for nationwide applicable building construction policy to control the effects of earthquakes. Earthquake-proof houses have proven effective, and nationwide quick-response emergency teams equipped with modern technologies can minimize the aftereffects of natural disasters.

Challenge 7: Nuclear War Threats

 Pakistan is of great geostrategic importance. India and Pakistan have fought three major wars and many small military conflicts. The warrior minds are visible as both sides spread the hate and push for war at all times. It may be that they simply do not fully understand the consequences of a war between two countries. The outcomes will not be regional; they will bring global suffering. India is a big country with superiority in conventional weapons and instruments of war. However, Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal compensates for this disparity. Each country has more than 100 nuclear warheads at its disposal. A nuclear war between the two countries could kill more than 20 million people in the region, while a nuclear winter caused by the generation of smoke could cripple agriculture of the whole world.

Possible solutions: Both Pakistan and India—and in fact, the entire world—are left with no option but to resolve all their issues through dialogue. War is never a solution to any problem and always a trigger for other problems. The international community must insist that both countries sit together and have a dialogue under UN mediation. There are better uses for nuclear technology than bombs. In the winter, winds are blown from Pakistan to India, and in the summer, Pakistan receives winds from India, making it impossible for these neighbours to think that they will be unaffected by nuclear war. Strategies, Prospects and Hope Pakistan is facing huge, interconnected problems in many areas. The problems begin with people, and, in Pakistan’s case, with overpopulation. The increasing population will require more energy, food, employment, and health facilities. The avail problems, including employment, food production, and underdeveloped infrastructure. The long-term strategy should focus on health care, education reforms, infrastructure development, promoting agriculture, and counteracting explosive population growth. Conditions in Pakistan are not perfect, but not all is bad. Pakistani society looks well aware of the challenges they are facing. Thousands of new PhD scientists generated by Higher Education Commission of Pakistan look committed to providing scientific solutions to the problems Pakistan is facing. For instance, researchers have introduced drought-resistance crops to counter the food shortage. High-yield seed varieties are being used to increase the production of food and fodder crops. There is a considerable amount of ongoing practical and applicable research on renewable energy, and food-safety experts are doing considerable research to ensure safe food handling. Pakistani authorities are serious about mitigating the country’s challenges. For years, Pakistan’s government has tried to control the population. The Lady Health Worker (LHW) program has succeeded by providing basic maternal health facilities in rural areas. The LHWs provide guidance in contraception processes and lead to jobs and mobility. Even given the tumultuous world economy, the Karachi Stock Exchange is showing exceptional progress. In 2013, exports increased slightly, while imports declined. The federal budget looks promising in raising tax net and revenue, controlling inflation, and improving development projects. The government is working to build new dams for controlling floods, as well as to increase hydropower In light of the recent disastrous floods and earthquakes, the role of Pakistan’s people and the government has been appreciable. Establishment of the country’s National Disaster Management Authority looks like a good initiative by the government to manage the effects of natural disasters. And the international community’s responses have shown that it is ready to stand with Pakistan. The Pakistani political regime looks promising in promoting good relations with India. As reported by The Indian Express, Pakistan Premier Nawaz Sharif has said that he is looking to make a new beginning with India in pursuit of disarmament and nonproliferation and that Pakistan is getting out of the arms race. Such statements are encouraging for the peace process between the two countries. We humans have been given brains more tremendous than any other creature’s. The only destruction we can inflict on ourselves is to be ignorant of what is happening around us. Most of the world’s countries will face the same scenarios that are now happening in Pakistan. Pakistan’s geographic centrality means that any crisis can quickly spread to neighbouring countries. Even though its problems are great, there are solutions that are applicable to the rest of the world. Pakistan still has the strength and opportunities to fight back. The country’s failure or survival will symbolize the defeat or success of the fight for modern humanity.

 About the Authors

Imran Ali (lead author) is a postdoctoral fellow at the Plant Biomass Utilization Research Unit at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand, and a lecturer at the University of Balochistan in Pakistan. Co-authors include Ali Akbar (University of Balochistan, Pakistan), Hunsa Punnapayak (Chulalongkorn University), Sehanat Prasongsuk (Chulalongkorn University), and Benjawan Yanwisetpakdee (Chulalongkorn University). The authors thank Chulalongkorn University in Thailand for providing access to literature. The Research Grant Funds have been provided by agreement on Post-Doctoral Research Grant Allocation from the Ratchadaphisek Somphot Endowment.

 

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 After Plunder at the Hilltops Now Plunder at Islamabad     Absolutely shocking.

 After Plunder at the Hilltops

Now Plunder at Islamabad

Absolutely shocking.

 

 

This super cracker scandal originates right in the heart of Islamabad and that too on Constitution Avenue.

 

The Grand Hyatt currently under construction in Islamabad on a 13.5-acre (55,000 m2) site (6.75 hectares).

 

This development consists of a 45-storey hotel and serviced apartments tower along with two smaller 20-storied residential & office towers. The smaller towers are linked together by means of a bridge at the 20th floor, aligned with the axis of the Constitution Avenue.

 

The land for Grand Hyatt land in Islamabad was sold to the Bismillah Group for peanuts, i.e Rs. 1.9 Billion by CDA. 

 This is a separate matter, as to Who is behind Bismillah Group ? Or this Bismillah Group owner is the elder brother of Al- Rahmet Group, the party which bought Sharif’s property pledged to banks on account of their default on bank loans. 

 

Later, Sharif family had informed that sale agreement of Ittefaq groups four units had been finalised with Al- Rehmat group. He said that Al- Rahmet group would buy the units for Rs. 6 billion and schedule of payment had also been decided. So properties were sold to this for Al-Rehmat Group for Rs. 6 billion in order to compensate against defaulted Bank loans. 

 

However, knowledge people say, that present Market value of the four units was priced between Rs.22-25 billion.

 

But wait.

 

Here’s the brilliant move. The payment to CDA is to be made in very easy instalments over 13 years.

 

And Here’s even more brilliance.

 

Not a single Rs has been paid to CDA as yet but the Authority has very generously transferred legal ownership to the Bismillah Group.

 

And the final piece in this brilliant broad daylight highway robbery is this.

 

This outstanding very well connected owner in cahoots with all the powers that be then uses this land as collateral for a Rs 5 Billion loan from the Bank of Punjab to develop the Project.

 

Who says money doesn’t grow on trees and cannot be created out of thin air.

 

Apparently, the Public Accounts Committee was apprised of this huge white collar daylight robbery by the Auditor Generals office.

 

It is said that even the likes of Syed Khurshid Shah were heard saying ….” this is too much even I haven’t seen such blatant and brazen corruption and misuse of power and authority”. 

 

Result? No action. No article in any paper. No talk show. Quite on all fronts.

 

Rauf Klasara only hinted yesterday on the scam in very few words. I was alerted when the name of Haroon Pasha appeared on the TV screen.

 

The real owners of this property must have really everything under tight control.

 

The issue has been under investigation by FIA. 

 

Only yesterday, Ch Nisar in a press conference expressed his absolute helplessness in this scam, saying that he is under extreme pressure.

 

Apparently, all this is available in the records of the Auditor General of Pakistan’s office as well.

 

According to Rauf Klasra, the man allegedly behind the whole affair is Haroon Pasha – Advisor to the Sharifs in London and Jeddah.

The Chief Minister of KP’s previous government, using his own discretionary powers allotted a large plot to himself at Dunga Galli.

Six close relatives of the sitting prime minister have ‘manoeuvred’ to own extravagant residences at priced locations in Dunga Gali and Nathia Gali. 

It was Akram Khan Durrani who alloted himself a corner plot in Dunga Galli overlooking a sloping hill, which too has become his property. The contractor who built the house for Akram Durrani was an official NWFP Building and Roads department contractor who used govt funds and material for the same. 

The same contractor was hired by the Sharif family to build their mansion a couple of hundred yards away on instructions of Durrani. 

 

The 800-meter kutcha trail to the Sharif residence from Dunga Gali bazar was concreted and widened, and street light poles erected through the courtesy of Ameer Haider Hoti the C.M of ANP government a couple of years later. A 1.5-kilometer water illegal pipeline was laid by Hoti’s govt from a Chashma exclusively for the Sharif mansion. The neighbourhood approached the govt for their share of water from the pipeline but was turned down.

 

During the construction period, two suites of Govt House Nathiagali remained in the possession of Sharifs, besides the complete Resthouse at Dunga Galli Water Tanks for the staff.

 

Similarly quite a few owners of adjacent plots were forced to sell their plots to the Sharifs, again courtesy of NWFP Govt. One complainant was Asma Jahangeer who stood her ground!

A fine example of close cooperation between so-called political rivals! 

Plunder at the hilltops

 

 

 

 

Timber mafia using poor people for cutting woods illegally from Islamabad forests

 

 

 

Unbelievable. INCREDIBLE.

 

The Khoon League criminals— sorry, politicians– were painting a different picture in order to divert the masses’ attention from their crimes.

 

Hope the PLM–N ( the Punjab Loot Maar-Nuaserbaaz ) Party will take pity on the poor Punjabis and learn something from the KP government.

 

I hope Mulla Diesel ( MD ) will start speaking the truth for a change. Unnoticed in the heat of the moment and the prejudices of the politics, a quiet but remarkable change is taking place in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Even a casual visitor cannot help observing that every child that you come across is attending school, that teachers are present in classrooms and doctors are available at the rural health centres.

The Public Trust Doctrine, now a part of common law, recognises natural resources like air, sea, water and the forests as public property and considers it unjustified to make them a subject of private ownership. The Supreme Court of India in its recent judgements has declared that the state is the trustee of all natural resources which are meant for public use and enjoyment.

The public at large is the real owner of the beaches, running waters, airs, forests and ecologically fragile lands, while the state is only a custodian. Such resources should be made freely accessible to all citizens and not converted to private ownership.

Invariably the well-connected politicians, bureaucrats, generals, judges and corporates manage to get these plots allotted for themselves. 

The Chief Minister of KP’s previous government, using his own discretionary powers allotted a large plot to himself at Dunga Galli.

Six close relatives of the sitting prime minister have ‘manoeuvred’ to own extravagant residences at priced locations in Dunga Gali and Nathia Gali. 

An ex-chairman of Senate now owns 16 Kanals of public property on the hilltops of Dunga Gali. 

There are hundreds of other similar examples where the friends, relatives and cronies have been benefitted by each successive government.

The development of hill resorts appears to focus exclusively on appeasing its privileged residents. Trees are being uprooted to widen the roads solely to please this polluting class, now whizzing through (rather than walking) in their noisy and smoke-emitting luxury land cruisers. One can get some idea of the level of noise pollution and carbon emission by the fact that 200,000 vehicles transited from Murree on Eid day in 2015.

There is an urgent need to rethink ‘development’ on the hilltops. There should be a complete ban on all land allotment and construction. Invoking the doctrine of public trust, owners should be made to surrender the already allotted land and be suitably compensated. All 47 government guest houses currently being used by government officials and their families should be opened to the public. The ‘katcha’ trails should be left in their perennial condition and saved from decorative ‘eviscerating’ that benefits only the contractors and brick makers.

A ‘park and ride’ system could be introduced, making all vehicles park and then having people use shuttle services beyond a certain point. Private cars entering the ‘Galiyat’ roads ought to be heavily taxed. Most homes and hotels release their raw sewage directly down the slopes of the mountains. All such premises be fined heavily and closed down till they can build effective septic tanks.

Likewise, the slopes and trails are riddled with plastic bottles and solid waste. GDA could learn from Singapore where one would be fined $2000 for littering the first time and then up to $10,000 for the subsequent convictions.

Despite heavy rainfall, there is a shortage of water supply in the ‘Galiyat’. Almost no one appears to be utilising the sloping roofs for the collection of rainwater – which can be easily achieved by installing trays at the lower surface of the slopes and collecting the water in storage tanks.

Finally a request on behalf of the butterflies and birds of the pipeline trail between Dunga Gali and Ayubia. Please ban the movement of motorbikes on this path so that we can live our lives without rubbing shoulders with the polluting elite of Pakistan.?

Absolutely shocking.

This super cracker scandal originates right in the heart of Islamabad and that too on Constitution Avenue. 

The Grand Hyatt currently under construction in Islamabad on a 13.5-acre (55,000 m2) site (6.75 hectares).

This development consists of a 45-storey hotel and serviced apartments tower along with two smaller 20-storied residential & office towers. The smaller towers are linked together by means of a bridge at the 20th floor, aligned with the axis of the Constitution Avenue.

The land for Grand Hyatt land in Islamabad was sold to the Bismillah Group for peanuts, i.e Rs. 1.9 Billion by CDA. 

 This is a separate matter, as to Who is behind Bismillah Group? Or this Bismillah Group is the elder brother of Al- Rahmet Group, party which brought Sharif’s property pledged to banks on account of their default on bank loans. 

Later, Sharif family had informed that sale agreement of Ittefaq groups four units had been finalised with Al- Rehmat group. He said that Al- Rahmet group would buy the units for Rs. 6 billion and schedule of payment had also been decided. So properties were sold to this for Al-Rehmat Group for Rs. 6 billion in order to compensate against defaulted Bank loans. 

 

However, knowledge people say, that present Market Value of the four units was something between Rs.22-25 billion.

But wait. 

Here’s the brilliant move. The payment to CDA is to be made in very easy instalments over 13 years.

And Here’s even more brilliance.

Not a single Rs has been paid to CDA as yet but the Authority has very generously transferred legal ownership to the Bismillah Group. 

And the final piece in this brilliant broad daylight highway robbery is this. 

This outstanding very well connected owner in cahoots with all the powers that be then uses this land as collateral for a Rs 5 Billion loan from the Bank of Punjab to develop the Project.

Who says money doesn’t grow on trees and cannot be created out of thin air.

Apparently, the Public Accounts Committee was apprised of this huge white collar daylight robbery by the Auditor Generals office.

 It is said that even the likes of Syed Khurshid Shah were heard saying …” this is too much even I haven’t seen such blatant and brazen corruption and misuse of power and authority”. 

What is the result? No action? No article in any paper. No talk show. Quiet on all fronts.

Rauf Klasara only hinted yesterday on the scam in very few words. I was alerted when the name of Haroon Pasha appeared on the TV screen.

The real owners of this property must have really everything under tight control.

 The issue has been under investigation by FIA.  

Only yesterday, Ch Nisar in a press conference expressed his absolute helplessness in this scam, saying that he is under extreme pressure.

Apparently, all this is available in the records of the Auditor General of Pakistan’s office as well.

According to Rauf Klasra, the man allegedly behind the whole affair is Haroon Pasha – Advisor to the Sharifs in London and Jeddah.

 

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