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Inspired political instability in Pakistan by Brig.(Retd)Asif Haroon Raja

Inspired political instability in Pakistan

Asif Haroon Raja

 

 

 

 

On October 11, 1999, a democratically elected government of PML-N was toppled by the military under Gen Pervez Musharraf. Nawaz Sharif (NS) was jailed and awarded life sentence on charges of hijacking and terrorism. Saudi Arabia came to his rescue and he was exiled for ten years. Benazir Bhutto (BB) was already in self-imposed exile. The Supreme Court legitimized military rule and authorized Musharraf to amend the constitution to his liking. With two mainstream leaders in exile, it became easy for Musharraf to carve out a King’s Party comprising turncoats from PML-N and PPP by applying coercive and blackmailing tactics.

Pakistan came under the black star after 9/11 when Musharraf agreed to become a coalition partner of US-NATO, render assistance to topple friendly Taliban regime in Afghanistan, and to help in installing the US selected Northern Alliance regime led by Hamid Karzai, which became anti-Pakistan and pro-India. Pakistan also agreed to become a frontline State to fight US imposed war on terror. Musharraf and his team didn’t realize that Afghanistan had been occupied by the USA under a preplanned strategy to destabilize the region and achieve its geostrategic and geo-economic objectives and that Pakistan was not an ally but a target.

Since then, Afghanistan is being bled by the occupying forces and the collaborators and Pakistan bled through proxies and drones. Pakistan has been striving hard to combat the existential threat of terrorism, achieve political stability, and improve its economy and to sail towards the shores of safety, security, progress, and prosperity. Terrorism couldn’t be eliminated since the ones demanding the elimination of terrorism secretly support terror groups in Pakistan and seek destabilization of Pakistan to achieve their hidden objectives.  

The socio-politico-economic situation became abysmal during the five years rule of the PPP under Zardari. The coalition of PPP-MQM-ANP installed by USA-UK in March 2008 with an ulterior motive reduced the country to a carcass. The rot was stymied when NS led PML-N government took over power in June 2013.

Improvement of internal security and the economy as a result of dedicated operations in Karachi, FATA and Baluchistan, better financial management and forthcoming CPEC couldn’t be digested by adversaries of Pakistan since it hampered their agenda of disabling Pakistan’s nuclear program. Likewise, development driven agenda didn’t suit the politicians in opposition.

A well-orchestrated hate campaign was unleashed by politicians, lobbies, media and social media against NS within one year of his rule to discredit him. Vilification campaign and demand for accountability should have been logically directed against massive wrongdoings of Zardari and company and anti-Pakistan MQM under Altaf working on RAW-MI-6 agenda, the effects of which are still being borne by the people of Pakistan.

Instead, the tirade has remained focused on ruling PML-N regime which has lifted all economic indicators from negative to positive, stabilized macro economy and restored the health of the sick economy to some degree. It has pulled out the country from the worst energy crisis and hopefully by March 2018 it would overcome power shortages. The lawless regions of FATA, parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), Baluchistan and Karachi have been made stable and peaceful and the genie of terrorism controlled to quite an extent. Large numbers of mega development projects are in progress and foreign investment that had dried up is flowing in. Socio-economic deprivations of smaller provinces are likely to be addressed by the game-changing CPEC. Pakistan’s image that had sunk low has risen among the world comity and it has again become relevant.

While the ruling government has made substantial progress in the last 4 years, however, a lot is still to be done. Pakistan is still not out of the woods since internal and external security situation is tense, debt burden and trade deficit have increased and exports have dwindled. One reason that Pakistan has not overcome its multiple difficulties is the negative role of detractors within Pakistan that have constantly been creating hurdles in the way of progress and development. Secondly, PPP-led Sindh government is not serious in carrying out reforms and controlling corruption which is bleeding Karachi, the economic lifeline of Pakistan. Thirdly, RAW, NDS, CIA, Mossad, MI-6 nexus based in Afghanistan continues to abet terrorism in Pakistan and induce political instability.

Turning a deaf ear to the impressive progress made, power hungry and disgruntled politicians assisted by media downplay the positives by finding faults in development projects and drum beat the weak areas. They are leaving no stone unturned to disparage the image of NS and block the progress through negative tactics. This phenomenon of vilification campaign and impeding growth and development is not new.

Awami League led by Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and PPP under ZA Bhutto disturbed law and order situation by resorting to street agitation to overturn the stupendous all-round developments made by Ayub Khan during his 10-years rule. Economically and militarily strong Pakistan was unacceptable to the adversaries of Pakistan. After forcing Ayub Khan to resign, the duo deliberately created a political logjam for politically naïve Gen Yahya Khan. By tearing up Polish resolution at the UN, Bhutto made sure that the armed forces suffered immense humiliation at the hands of archrival India. Mujib and Bhutto were instrumental in the breakup of Pakistan into two in 1971. All this was done at the behest of foreign powers to cut Pakistan and its armed forces to size.

While Sheikh Mujib had galvanized Bengali nationalism by blaming West Pakistan for the backwardness of East Pakistan and had promised the moon to the Bengalis, Bhutto cast a spell of magic on the downtrodden people of West Pakistan by chanting the slogan of Roti, Kapra, Makan. Both brought people on the streets to paralyze and derail the system. Both lacked sincerity of purpose and their sole ambition was to gain power. While Mujib wanted the whole cake, Bhutto wanted half of it. Lust for power overrode national interests.

ZA Bhutto during his 7 years rule became a dictator. To curb political dissent, he created FSF and opened Dalai camp to torture his opponents. He washed away the gains made by Ayub Khan through his highly anomalous policy of nationalization which gave a deathly blow to the burgeoning industry of Pakistan, banking, and education. Indiscipline was inculcated by Bhutto by inciting the labor and working class to rebel against their employers. He misled the masses by blaming 22 rich families for keeping Pakistan backward. He ignored the hard fact that Indian leaders had predicted that Pakistan would collapse within six months under the weight of economics. Pakistan developed its economic legs to stand on because of the financial assets brought by these very industrialists who had opted to shift to Pakistan. Ironically, since the early 1990s, successive governments in Pakistan have been begging foreign investors and offering lucrative terms to induce them to invest in Pakistan, build industries, buy lands and install thermal power projects.   

Bhutto intensified New-Sindhi and Old-Sindhi antagonism in Sindh by introducing quota system and making the Sindhi language a compulsory subject in Sindh. He incensed Baloch and Pashtuns after he sacked provincial governments in Baluchistan and Frontier provinces and mounted an operation against the Baloch rebels. He supported Islamists in Afghanistan to counter the belligerence of Sardar Daud thereby stoking religious extremism and Jihadism in Pakistan which later on accelerated during the 10-year Afghan war and uprising in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK). Bhutto promoted secularism which triggered religious extremism, deepened Islamic-secular divide and gave birth to PNA movement and led to his ouster.

While Bhutto started the Kahuta project to develop a nuclear bomb, uranium enriched nuclear program could not have seen the light of the day had Afghan war not taken place. Gen Ziaul Haq took full advantage of it and pursued it relentlessly and carried out cold tests in 1984. Fear of bomb in the basement kept India at bay. Zia crushed the PPP-led MRD movement in 1983 with dangerous connotations, since it had the full support of India. He had to deal with foreign supported Al-Zulfiqar movement together with KGB-RAW-KHAD nexus involved in terrorism.

Pakistan under Zia single-handedly managed the Afghan war and emerged victoriously. Zia had made up his mind to make Pakistan a truly Islamic State in the light of Quran and Sunnah and had envisioned a clear strategy how to go about playing up the Khalistan movement and Kashmiri freedom movement and taking the two movements to their logical ends. Had Zia lived longer, Afghanistan could have saved itself from the bloody civil war and would have remained ever obliged to Pakistan. Prejudiced PPP and seculars, however, portray him as the worst dictator and blame him for loading Pakistan with all the misfortunes.

The PPP under Benazir Bhutto (BB) symbolized poor governance, immorality, and corruption, thanks to her husband Zardari who became Mr. 10% in her first tenure and Mr. 20% in 2nd tenure. Both the civil and military establishments viewed BB as a security risk owing to her extraordinary softness towards her Oxford buddy Rajiv Gandhi and her commitment given to the USA that she would roll back the nuclear program. But for the provision of the list of Sikh leaders to India, Khalistan could have become a reality and IOK might have achieved independence since the Khalistan and Kashmir movements had almost linked up and Afghan Mujahideen under Gulbadin Hikmatyar had promised physical help. Thermal power has driven IPP agreement signed by BB in her second tenure amounted to giving control of electricity to foreign powers. It paved the way for the energy crisis.

As opposed to two shortened PPP regimes led by BB, two short-lived PML-N regimes under NS were comparatively better which saw some development works including motorway and above all Pakistan becoming the 7th nuclear power.

PPP under Zardari scaled new heights of corruption, nepotism, and ineptness. An abortive attempt was made to civilianize the ISI. The ill-omened Kerry-Lugar Bill opened the doors for NGOs, Blackwater and CIA agents which triggered urban terrorism. Helicopters assault in Abbottabad to get Osama bin Laden was aimed at tarnishing the image of Army and ISI. Hussain Haqqani at the behest of Zardari signed the Memo to virtually give Pakistan on contract to the USA. Gen Ashfaq Kayani and Lt Gen Shuja Pasha blocked the ominous effort and regained 17 administrative units in the northwest under the influence of RAW-NDS-CIA controlled TTP.

PPP and MQM looted and plundered national wealth with both hands and sucked the blood of Karachi which generates over 60% of Pakistan’s revenue. Corruption-ridden ANP derailed the railway and did nothing for KP. While Karachi became lawless, a separatist movement in Baluchistan gained considerable strength. All State Corporations were systematically destroyed and Pakistan’s external debt doubled. Pakistan got caught up in worst energy crisis because of which industries began to close down and many industrialists shifted to other countries. The country was brought to the brink of economic collapse and yet the PPP government was allowed to complete five years.

PTI under Imran Khan (IK) gained political space in 2011 as a result of misdoings of PPP and MQM, but instead of training its guns on the PPP and MQM, it locked horns with PML-N in Punjab since it knew that power resided in Punjab and nowhere else. The only silver lining in those dark days was the Shahbaz Sharif-led government in Punjab which kept things going despite highly unfavorable environments. Indefatigable Shahbaz’s outstanding performance paved the way for PML-N’s impressive victory in May 2013 elections.      

IK never reconciled with 2013 election results and for reasons best known to him imagined that he deserved to win. He married up with dubious Tahirul Qadri led PAT and single seater Sheikh Rashid to drumbeat the issue of rigging. They discounted the fact that PPP and not PML-N was in power that had made the transitional government to hold elections and that PTI had no roots in rural Pakistan. IK chose to emulate politics of agitation and defiance of Mujib and Bhutto to achieve his political ends. Following in their footsteps, he chanted the catchy slogan of ‘change’ and ‘Naya (new) Pakistan’. Like Bhutto, he too promotes liberalism and is germinating seeds of indiscipline among the youth. Previously his slogan was ‘justice’ and now his slogan is ‘corruption’.

IK has all along pursued politics of defiance and agitation to undermine the State and its institutions and freely indulges in mudslinging and unsubstantiated accusations to defame NS and his family. After failing to oust NS by staging a 126-day sit-in in Islamabad in 2014, and then trying to lock down Islamabad in October 2016, IK is now pinning hopes on Panama Papers case handled by Supreme Court Bench. He refuses to admit that name of NS is not included in the list of account holders in Fonseca Mossack Offshore Company, and that PML-N government will remain in power until next elections even if NS is sacked or he resigns. 

While giving long sermons on the ills of corruption, IK completely skips the fact that cupboards of most of his party leaders are filled with skeletons. He is oblivious of the enormous moral degeneration of the society as a whole. Moral turpitude of the nation has hit rock bottom and corruption is one small part of it which has permeated into the blood of all segments of the society. The ones accepting graft and the others doling out graft are equally guilty. IK has no plan for moral refurbishment of the society or how to eliminate corruption.

 

 

 

 

 

How will the corrupt be taken to task in the absence of effective accountability bill which is lying pending since 2010? If IK is so concerned about the eradication of corruption, why has he not agitated inside and outside the parliament to pass the accountability bill and make National Accountability Bureau (NAB) more effective and independent?

If he strongly feels that all elections including the 2013 elections were rigged, has he made any effort to reform electoral laws to prevent rigging in future? Without comprehensive electoral reforms, same lot of immoral politicians will get elected and keep shifting from one green pasture to the other to derive maximum material benefits.

Likewise, he has not pressurized the government to reform the criminal justice system and functioning of lower courts. Unless the judicial system is reformed, justice will remain confined to the elite class only and the ones involved in white collar crimes and mega corruption will never be netted. Similarly, crime and corruption cannot be tackled unless the police are depoliticized and investigative/prosecution systems streamlined.

PTI is a collection of turncoats from other parties. Each and every defector in his party has a blemished track record. How IK expects to make New Pakistan with such opportunists who have brought him under their sway? When he couldn’t convert KP into a role model province, how can he change the destiny of whole of Pakistan with a King’s Party, particularly when he has no political standing in Baluchistan and Sindh?

PTI, PPP and other political parties in opposition are ganging up to derail the political system by creating chaos and hampering growth and development. This is being done at a time when Pakistan is at an economic takeoff stage as a result of better governance and financial management and commissioning of CPEC. At the same time, it is up against external enemies and local detractors that are trying to sabotage progress. CPEC is an eyesore for India, USA, Iran, and Dubai.

Upset by the achievements made by Pakistan, the adversaries that had been collectively trying to destabilize, de-Islamize, denuclearize and balkanize Pakistan since 2002 have intensified their efforts to block the development programs. The only option they are left with is to topple the ruling regime and foment political bedlam. This task has been undertaken by PTI and PPP.  

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) led the Gulf States have still not forgotten and forgiven the slight inflicted by Pakistan when its request for military support to tackle the threat posed by the Huthis in Yemen last year was impolitely turned down. The government had whittled under pressure of PTI and PPP. The fissures that were contracted with a lot of efforts are once again being widened by Iran inspired lobbies in Pakistan. Led by PTI, these lobbies in concert with media are applying pressure on the government to detach Pakistan from the 41-Member Islamic Military Alliance (IMA) sponsored by KSA to fight terrorism and to call back Gen Raheel Sharif, selected as head of the Alliance. The Same old logic of Iran’s sensibilities and misplaced danger of Shia-Sunni rift in Pakistan is being put forward.

Recently concluded Arab-Islamic-US Summit in Riyadh gave strength to these lobbies to state that their fears that the IMA was Iran-specific have come true after the vitriolic speeches made by Trump and King Salman. They upped the ante by painting a very dark picture with ominous ramifications for Pakistan. Pressure has been intensified to force the government to opt out of the Alliance, not realizing that such a step would fulfill the dream of India to isolate Pakistan. We have seen how KSA and its close allies have offensively reacted against Qatar, and it can treat Pakistan in a similar manner.

It must not be forgotten that KSA has always come to the rescue of Pakistan in its testing times, and has always been sympathetic towards Pakistan regardless of which political party or military ruler has been in power. It has taken pride in Pakistan’s armed forces and nuclear capability and has never threatened Pakistan. Same is not true for Iran. Gone are the days of Reza Shah Pahlavi. Attitudes in Iran have changed since the arrival of Ayatollahs and their officials have adopted an arrogant posture.

Under what pretext and logic the Iranian lobbies in Pakistan lobbied to stop Pakistan from dispatching troops to KSA when it was threatened by Iran supported Huthis? What moral right Iran has to militarily support Huthis in Yemen? In what way we were pitching ourselves against Iran? Pakistani troops would not have jumped into the cauldron of Yemen war but at best would have deployed a division size force along the Saudi-Yemeni border to defend the integrity of KSA. Has Pakistan not been sending troops in the past to KSA for training purposes and for the defense of Khana Kaaba, and when KSA was threatened by Iraq in 1991?

Once our myopic leaders opted to annoy KSA and the other Gulf States to please Iran, how did Iran reciprocate our gesture of staying out of Yemen war? Soon after, Iran stood with India and Afghanistan and signed Chahbahar agreement. Iran will never annoy India to please Pakistan but will annoy Pakistan to please India as was evident from Iran Army chief’s threat to Pakistan last May. It is closer to India and Northern Alliance ruled Afghanistan than with Pakistan.

This very lobby which is in a small minority but has also influenced many veterans has been consistently tarnishing the image of former COAS Gen Raheel Sharif with the sole purpose of forcing him to resign or compelling Pak government to call him back from Riyadh. It has been repeatedly stressed by the government that the IMA headed by Gen Raheel is directed against terrorism and is not against Iran or any other country and that whenever it transgresses its mandate, Pakistan will detach itself. But the lobbies are unprepared to buy it since they are solely worried about Iran’s interest and not of Pakistan and its armed forces and keep playing sectarian card. One may ask as to why they drum up proxy wars of KSA and not of Iran. Why do they want the IMA to fight Al-Qaeda, Daesh, and Taliban and to spare Iran’s proxies? KSA and not Iran is vulnerable to threats from proxies as well as from Iran-Iraq-Syria-Yemen-Hezbollah nexus.

Pakistan is faced with foreign funded proxies and Hybrid War. India wants to teach Pakistan a lesson. Afghanistan has become a hostile country. Indo-US-Afghan nexus has not changed its dangerous agenda against Pakistan. Iran is not friendly. Another storm stimulated by USA and Israel is building up in the already turbulent the Middle East as a result of heightened Iran-Saudi hostility and KSA-Qatar confrontation, which is giving shape to new alignments. Pakistan cannot remain unconcerned by these hazardous developments and its diplomacy is under test. Pakistan cannot afford to take sides and it will be its diplomatic success if it manages to stay neutral and act as a moderator to defuse KSA-Qatar tension and scale down KSA-Iran animosity.

It is, however, most unfortunate that our power hungry politicians backed by paid media are oblivious of the precarious geopolitical environments and are wholly interested in snatching power by hook or crook. Devoid of political power, they first provoked the Army to boot out NS and are now expectantly looking towards the Supreme Court to disqualify him whether he is an offender or not. Like PTI, PPP has also begun to flex its political muscles and is somehow very hopeful that it will regain power in the Centre and in all provinces.

The Author & Pakistan Think Tank Thought Leader

Asif Haroon Raja is a retired Brigadier, took part in the epic battle of Hilli in 1971 war, served as Defence Attache Egypt & Sudan, a defense analyst, columnist, author of five books, Vice Chairman Thinkers Forum Pakistan, Director Measac Research Centre. asifharoonraj@gmail.com     

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Pakistan amongst World’s fastest growing e-commerce markets: CEO eBay

Pakistan amongst World’s fastest growing e-commerce markets: CEO eBay

Pakistan amongst World's fastest growing e-commerce markets: CEO eBay

In a Facebook Live session on the page of the World Economic Forum (WEF), Wenig was asked a question regarding his thoughts on Pakistan and emerging markets.

“It’s the fastest growing markets we have around the world. Anywhere where wealth is growing and technology is being adopted, e-commerce is being adopted like crazy,” said Wenig.

 

According to the eBay CEO, the perfect opportunity for e-commerce was in countries where people were growing in wealth and do not have access to goods. “People use e-commerce to get access to those goods”.

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PAKISTAN THE DEPENDENT STATE – PART 1 Samson Simon Sharaf in The Nation

PAKISTAN THE DEPENDENT STATE  –  PART 1

 

 

Samson Simon Sharaf

2016 was a year of mixed achievements. Though theoretically, Pakistan is an independent sovereign democratic state, practically it is tied everywhere with chains. The governance structure of the state is ineffective and manipulated whimsically. The degeneration from a developing to an underdeveloped country is proceeding at a very fast pace. This decline is not attributable to any inherent defects of national power and political economy. It is manmade and artificially articulated to neutralize the many inherent capabilities of Pakistan. This neutralization is based on a premise of a weak and pliant country. Pakistan’s inherent capabilities are deliberately kept underdeveloped. Those that exist are being undermined or maligned in a manner that they do not matter. Pakistan is being strangulated by an apparently benign octopus with nonkinetic ferocity. This is what I called Pakistan’s Present and Future War way back in 2007. This hypothesis was framed by me in 2002 and has not changed since. The war has now entered its most destructive phase.

This series is an expose of how deliberate Pakistan’s meltdown is. In typical Kautilya Strategy, the enemies have reached into the womb and consuming from within. The analysis leads to the conclusion that Pakistan is already a dependent state in most elements of the policy. Economy, the engine that drives a state is now the biggest security threat followed by terrorism and non-performing democracy. Direct threat from India is way down the ladder.

The economic performance was explained ‘between the lines’ report of the State Bank of Pakistan. Tailored to look least critical and circumvent criticism from IMF, World Bank, and analysts, the central bank pointed to some fundamental structural defects beginning FY2016-17. Though such projections may fool the public and parliamentarians, experts have identified the holes in the argument.

 

 

Image Courtesy: Reference

 

Background

The Government is continuously borrowing money from internal and external sources. Therefore, external debt and liabilities (EDL) rose 7.5 per cent to $60.116 billion in 2010-11 as against $55.901 billion in 2009-10, depicting an increase of $4.2 billion, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) indicated in its report.
Public debt also increased to $56.315 billion rose from $52.107 billion. The external debt has risen $711 million in the last quarter of 2010-11. The scheduled bank borrowings increase by 23.8 per cent to $239 million, which were $193 billion in June 2010. In the total EDL, the loan from the IMF grew to $8.94 billion from the same period of last years $8.07 billion.

 

After the end of IMF programme Pakistan’s economic managers have suddenly started reflecting unusual economic indices. This trend points towards a freewheeling policy with no checks from regulators and parliament. Trying to make sense of this berserk behaviour, it begins to dawn why the government wants to put all autonomous regulatory mechanisms under the ministries and why it is legislating new economic laws. The suspicion is that many things akin to PROTECTION OF ECONOMIC REFORMS ACT 1992 are in offing. To know how this Act facilitated money laundering and offshore businesses, read Panama the Marshy Trails (Nation on 12 November 2016). The nightmare has just begun to unravel.

For instance, the report mentions an inflow of US$ 1.1 billion in FDI inflows from China. This lends credence to official claims that forex reserves are rising, growth increasing and fiscal deficits decreasing.  The government is making the nation believe that the economy is resurging, circular debts being contained and energy gap being reduced. We are being made to believe that the new round of investments from CPEC will change the fundamentals of Pakistan’s economy to an export powerhouse in the region. But this is far from true. This single indicator below exposes the hollowness of sustainable economic growth.

US$700 million from $1.1 billion inflow from China is a commercial loan from a Chinese Bank at unknown interest rates to cater for the purchase of Chinese plant equipment. It is a commercial borrowing hidden in the head of FDI. Pakistan at some stage will have to repay this and many other loans like this. One explanation given by critics for such fudging is the drying up of coalition support fund, a reimbursement arrangement shown as remittances in the past. Pakistan’s exports and inward remittances have shown a decrease and not made up for the CSF loss. The international relief in oil prices has been squandered and not translated into improved indices like value addition and exports.  So to build an illusion of growth, the government has plugged the hole with CPEC. This means that rather than making CPEC a viable engine to development, the government is hell bent on mortgaging Pakistan’s future at least to win next elections.

What havoc will such transactions play with structural balances of Pakistan’s economy be anybody’s guess?  Already the IMF has warned Pakistan that if the government does not put in place a comprehensive strategy for reforms, investment, exports and growth such arrangement will create exorbitant debt liabilities. Unlike the five years plans of the past, no comprehensive plan exists. Economic management is on day to day basis through tight controls by the ministry of finance. Economic development models never work like this. This is exactly what happened to Latin American countries during the Cold War and is happening to Africa now. It is also happening in Libya, Iraq, and Syria.

Subtracting the incidental growth created by inflation and consumption, Pakistan’s actual growth is negative. FBR collection has shrunk. In fact, it cannot even cater to debt liabilities. The agriculture sector, the quickest element of national growth is in negative and neglected. This has impacted exports that are mostly agricultural including value added products (textiles etc). These are also hit by the energy shortages. Large scale manufacturing (LSM) is stagnant. Not a single economic index indicates any effort at sustainability. So it is easy for the government to indulge in tied aid, promote consumerism built on imports (tied trade) accumulate bilateral and multilateral loans, borrow commercially from international and national banks, floats bonds and use up all to pay back liabilities (debt trap), plug deficits and support expenses. The cycle goes on and on.

The government borrowed Rs 1079 billion (a turnaround of Rs 1314 billion including paying Rs. 235 billion) from the State Bank of Pakistan during the past six months. This is being dome to cater for budgetary deficits. Once the FDI loans, direct and indirect international and domestic borrowing is combined, it leads to the irresistible conclusion that Pakistan is being led into the  Black Hole of a debt trap that will gradually become impossible to navigate. The government is adding public debt at a rate of Rs 288 billion per month (liability of every Pakistani increasing by Rs. 14,400 per month). Thus the total liabilities of every Pakistani as part of per capita segment of the total loans are not in hundreds of thousand per head but in millions.

Pakistan’s LSM that contributes to home led sustainability has collapsed. From November 2015 to March 2016 LSM recorded a rising trend at 7.6%. By June 2016 it nosedived to zero. The past figures were fudged to please IMF. The ugly conclusion is that LSM is just the tip of a stagnating economy.

These are few but tangible indices indicators. Conspicuously missing is the reflection of the hyped fanfare of CPEC. Military’s efforts in constructing communication highways of CPEC and making Balochistan peaceful are in full gear. But where is the five, ten or twenty-year development plan that shall see Pakistan grow as a self-reliant, export-oriented powerhouse of the region? As of now India is ranked 39th, Sri Lanka 79th and Pakistan a low 122.

This single dissection reasserts my oft-repeated assessment that Pakistan is fast moving towards economic insolvency. The situation is beyond a dependency. Pakistan is moving very fast towards a ‘heavy in debt’; discredited; pliant and non-nuclear state. Got it!

Pakistanis have the right to be dreamers. But dreams cannot be substituted with delusions.

Samson Simon Sharaf

Pakistan Has Mortgaged Airports, Motorways & Buildings to Getting Loans…………….Shame on Country’s Financial Managers

We just hope that our government(s), whether federal or provincial, find other means to improve the economy instead of issuing superficial claims based on such huge amounts of loans

With loans crossing reaching the $75 billion mark, we seriously need to put a stop to this before loans become unpayable and the country defaults.

Pakistan Has Mortgaged These Airports, Motorways & Buildings in order to Get Loans

1) Jinnah International Airport Karachi

2) National Motorways and Highways

3)  Pakistan Television Assets

4)  Radio Pakistan Assets

And more vital assets may be under consideration for a mortgage.

 

Reference: AADIL SHADMAN

For decades, Pakistani governments have been taking loans to fulfill local demands and start new projects. As things stand, Pakistan’s foreign debts have currently crossed the $75 billion mark.

Read More: Pakistan’s External Debt Will Soon Cross a Staggering $75 Billion

In recent times, the loan amounts have reached such highs that not even international or local lending institutions are willing to loan money under simple conditions since they want assurances that their investments won’t go in vain.

For that reason, Pakistani governments have started putting national assets of extremely high value as guarantees (mortgage) in exchange for more loans or otherwise for Sukuk Bonds.

What are Sukuk Bonds?

Sukuk bonds are Islamic bonds. They have structured in such a way that investors get returns without infringing any Islamic law (for example, no interest is charged on such investments). Sukuk represents undivided shares in the ownership of tangible assets relating to special investment activity. In other words, the bond issuing authority purchases an asset and the investors get partial ownership and returns.

The issuer also has to buy the bond back at par value at a later date.

We’ve compiled a list of national assets and the details regarding their mortgage based on official as well as leaked documents in the public domain. The sources have been included in the end.

Let’s take a look at them one by one.

Jinnah International Airport Karachi Mortgaged

Back in 2013, the government used Jinnah International Airport Karachi as security for the Sukuk bonds and raised Rs. 182 billion based on it. The profits for bonds were to be paid using the income from the airport.

The Karachi airport hasn’t been mortgaged just once. Here are all the instances where it has been used as collateral:

  • 2013 was the first year where the airport was put as collateral to borrow Rs. 182 billion.
  • In December 2015, Rs. 117 billion were borrowed against the Karachi airport.
  • In February 2016, Rs. 116.2 billion were raised by putting the airport on a mortgage.
  • A month later, in March 2016, the government used the airport as the underlying asset to borrow another Rs. 80.4 billion.

These amounts were received from local and international institutions and investors.

National Motorways and Highways Mortgaged

Recently, Pakistan government was ready to put up Sukuk bonds in order to raise $500 million from investors but it was oversubscribed at $2.4 billion.

Finally, the government decided to raise $1 billion from foreign investors by mortgaging the Islamabad-Chakwal section of the Islamabad-Lahore (M2) motorway. These bonds are set to mature within 5 years.

Back in 2014, the government pledged the Hafizabad-Lahore section of the M2 motorway to raise another $1 billion in terms of Sukuk Bonds with a 5-year maturity period.

In June 2014, the government borrowed Rs. 49.5 billion by mortgaging the Faisalabad-Pindi Bhatian Motorway (M3).

According to official reports from the Finance Minister and leaked documents from journalist Rauf Klasra the following motorways are already pledged to get loans:

  • Peshawar-Faisalabad motorway
  • Faisalabad-Pindi Bhattian motorway
  • Islamabad-Peshawar motorway
  • Islamabad-Lahore motorway

The news about the above mentioned M2 motorway was also leaked by Rauf Klasra before an official announcement.

Back in 2006, the government decided to pledge most of the national highways and some motorways in order to raise Rs. 6 billion. Islamabad-Peshawar Motorway (M-I), Faisalabad-Multan Motorway (M-4), Islamabad-Murree-Muzaffarabad Dual Carriageway (IMDC), Jacobabad Bypass, D.G.Khan-Rajanpur Highway, Okara Bypass and several other toll-yielding projects were set as security. A consortium of banks provided the loan for seven years.

With this, the trustees own the motorway, all constructions on it, flyovers and interchanges in the case of late payment.

PTV Mortgaged

According to leaked documents, Pakistan government has decided to mortgage all PTV assets in the whole country as collateral for more loans.

The PTV assets are estimated to be worth in billions of rupees at the very least and the national television also holds great importance as far as national security is concerned.

So far there has been no confirmation or denial from the government but considering that these are official documents, the leaks seem authentic. There have been no estimates of how much the government valued these assets for.

Radio Pakistan Assets Mortgage

Similar to the PTV mortgage, leaked documents state that all of Radio Pakistan’s assets in the country will be pledged to get loans.

More details have revealed that 61 Radio Pakistan buildings across the country have been valued at just Rs. 72 crore. Experts say that this amount is equivalent to the value of Radio Pakistan’s single building in Islamabad’s Red Zone let alone 61 buildings in premium areas across the country. Estimates price these assets at several times the valued amount.

By devaluing such a huge asset, it is the investors who are benefiting the most.

Another aspect questioned by the experts is that national radio holds the most importance in times of war and with matters heating up between India and Pakistan, we could lose an important national security asset if the government fails to return the loan on time.

Possible Consequences

Pakistan government has been taking these loans to fill exports gaps, increase foreign exchange reserves, meet budget requirements but more importantly to pay back previous loans.

Ishaq Dar is leading Pakistan to a debt-trap: Experts

When a government pays back loans by taking, even more, loans, it is usually a recipe for disaster. When commenting on this borrowing spree, local and foreign experts say that Pakistani Finance Minister is leading the country towards a “debt trap”. This is a term experts use to explain such disastrous scenarios.

Pakistan can lose these assets if it fails to pay back in time due to unforeseen circumstances

Moving on, this also means that Pakistan cannot pay back its loans at the moment mostly because of the lack of exports and tax collection. When the country cannot pay back loans, putting up national security assets as collateral for the mortgage makes little sense.

Just imagine if Pakistan is late on any of the payments, and/or the situation with India worsens and results in a war, this could lead to Pakistan losing these assets to private institutions.

Issuing bonds is a good way to borrow money. However, mortgaging most of your vital installations like the biggest airport in the country, the national radio or TV or the central roads as collateral seems like a risky proposition, to say the least. What if some issues occur and profits from these institutions cannot be used to pay back profits on the loans? The government would be in deep trouble if something like this happens.

Terrorist attacks or a war could put all profit returns burden on the government

Some analysts also question the use of Islamic Sukuk bonds for budget financing and then linking the returns with treasury bills, citing that it is forbidden and against Shariah laws. However, that is an altogether different debate for another time.

We just hope that our government(s), whether federal or provincial, find other means to improve the economy instead of issuing superficial claims based on such huge amounts of loans. With loans crossing reaching the $75 billion mark, we seriously need to put a stop to this before loans become unpayable and the country defaults.

Citations and Sources: Tribune 1Tribune 2Tribune 3DawnNation92 HD News

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Cheap oil puts the House of Saud at risk: Spengler

 

 

 

Cheap oil puts the House of Saud at risk: Spengler

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It’s not clear whether Saudi Arabia can cut spending so deeply and maintain political stability. There are no official data on poverty in Saudi Arabia, but one Saudi newspaper used social service data to estimate that 6 million of the kingdom’s 20 million inhabitants are poor, some desperately so. After the 2011 “Arab Spring” disturbances, Riyadh increased social spending by $37 billion–or $6,000 for every poor person in the kingdom–in order to preempt the spread of discontent to its own territory. Saudi Arabia now spends $48.5 billion on defense, according to IHS, and plans to increase the total to $63 billion by 2020. The monarchy has to match Iran’s coming conventional military buildup after the P5+1 nuclear agreement to maintain credibility.

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OCTOBER 22, 2015

Saudi Arabia spends money like there’s no tomorrow.  A new report from the International Monetary Fund suggests that there might not be a tomorrow for the House of Saud. Without massive spending cuts, the Kingdom will exhaust its monetary reserves in five years at current oil prices, the IMF reckons. Saudi Arabia is a rich country full of poor people, and the House of Saud has bought a lot of legitimacy by subsidizing its subjects. The dynasty might not survive the sort of austerity measures that the IMF insists are necessary to keep the Kingdom from running out of reserves by 2020. Egypt, now dependent on Saudi subsidies, also is at risk.
Saudi royal guards stand on duty in front of portraits of King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz (R), Crown Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz (C) and second deputy Prime Minister Muqrin bin Abdulaziz

Saudi royal guards stand on duty in front of portraits of King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz (R), Crown Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz (C) and second deputy Prime Minister Muqrin bin Abdulaziz
Gaming the fall of the House of Saud has been a fool’s pastime for years. As William Quandt wrote in Foreign Affairs twenty years ago, “There is a cottage industry forming to predict the impending fall of the House of Saud.” Countless experts claimed to see handwriting on the royal palace wall, but to no avail. Thus far the wily Saudis managed to co-opt, buy off, or butcher the competition. This time is different. As IHS-Janes analyst Meda al Rowas observed last July, Saudi Arabia’s clerical establishment is one of the most important stabilizing mechanisms in the kingdom. Salafist Wahhabi ideology requires obedience to the confirmed ruler, which in Saudi Arabia’s case, is the king, but only so long as he enforces Islam.”
This time may be different. All of the monarchy’s survival tools require a great deal of money, and the challenge to the self-styled guardians of Islamic purity from the battlefields around the kingdom gains credibility as Islam sinks deeper into chaos and crisis.
As IHS-Janes analyst Meda al Rowas observed last July, Saudi Arabia’s clerical establishment is one of the most important stabilising mechanisms in the kingdom. Salafist Wahhabi ideology requires obedience to the confirmed ruler, which in Saudi Arabia’s case, is the king, but only so long as he enforces Islam.” The Saudi royal house allied with Egypt’s military against the Muslim Brotherhood, a form of Islamism more attractive to young Saudis excluded from power and privilege by the monarchy, and ISIS is now pressing its claim to lead Islam against the sclerotic House of Saud, a risk noted bynumerous Western analysts.  In November 2014 ISIS chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi called on Muslims to rebel against the Saudi monarchy. ISIS staged suicide bombings against the country’s Shia minority earlier this year to assert its authority against the government-allied clerical establishment, and a devastating attack against a Shia mosque in Kuwait last June.
The royal family has responded to the Islamist threat by styling itself the Sunni champion against Iran. IHS’ al Rowas warns, “King Salman’s attempts to keep the clerical establishment onside, including allowing the adoption of highly charged sectarian language targeting Iran and the Shia more generally, risk backfiring in the three-to-five year outlook, particularly if Saudis believe that the Al-Saud monarchy is failing to curtail expanding Iranian influence.”
In the background to the sectarian war, though, Saudi Arabia’s economic problems present the gravest threat to regime continuity. The 2,000 Saudi princes who control the country subsidize between a quarter and third of the Saudi population. They may no longer be able to buy social peace, according to the IMF.
The chart below shows the oil price at which all the major Middle Eastern producers can balance their government budgets; in the Saudi case, the break even oil price (yellow columns) is $105. The green dots show the number of years each country has before it runs out of monetary reserves. Iraq is flat broke now. Saudi and Algeria have five years, and Iran has eight.
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The IMF wants the Saudis to cut the spending equivalent to more than 20% of non-oil GDP, as shown in the IMF’s chart below.
saudigap
It’s not clear whether Saudi Arabia can cut spending so deeply and maintain political stability. There are no official data on poverty in Saudi Arabia, but one Saudi newspaper used social service data to estimate that 6 million of the kingdom’s 20 million inhabitants are poor, some desperately so. After the 2011 “Arab Spring” disturbances, Riyadh increased social spending by $37 billion–or $6,000 for every poor person in the kingdom–in order to preempt the spread of discontent to its own territory. Saudi Arabia now spends $48.5 billion on defense, according to IHS, and plans to increase the total to $63 billion by 2020. The monarchy has to match Iran’s coming conventional military buildup after the P5+1 nuclear agreement to maintain credibility.
Saudi Arabia and other Gulf States also keep Eypt afloat. They pledged $12.5 billion in new aid to Egypt earlier this year, and Egyptian media project the total aid package at more than $20 billion. Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohammed Morsi was overthrown in July 2013 as Egypt’s economy collapsed, and his successor Gen. Fatah al-Sisi immediately secured help from the Gulf States. Egypt’s economy is still deteriorating. The country’s trade balance has widened steadily since the 2011 overthrow of President Hosni Mubarak. The largest Arab country imports half its food, and buys nearly $40 billion more than it sells. If the Gulf State subsidy disappears, Egypt’s economy will fail.
egypttrade
Offsetting revenues from tourism have fallen sharply, down 41% from 2012 to 2013 to only $5.9 billion a year. Half of Egyptians depend on government subsidies, which have ballooned the budget deficit to 12.5% of GDP.
egyptbudget
Even under adverse strategic and economic conditions, the House of Saud would have formidable resources. Its 100,000 man National Guard is mainly a militarized internal police force staffed by tribal personnel loyal to the royal family. The Saudis and other Gulf monarchies also hire Pakistani mercenaries, who by some estimates comprise a tenth of the 500,000 military and policy employed by the Gulf states. Under some conditions the large foreign contingent in the Saudi armed forces could become a danger, e.g., in a revolt by some of the kingdom’s 1.5 million Pakistani workers.
The trouble is that the House of Saud has few friends. It was abandoned by the United States, its principle ally, in the nuclear deal with Iran. Russia has aligned with Iran in Syria, with Chinese support. Turkey was never a friend, and is closer to the Muslim Brotherhood–still the main opposition to the Saudi monarchy–than it is to the royal family.
In order to keep the favor of the Wahhabi clerical establishment, the monarchy has allowed wealthy Saudis to provide free-lance financing for Islamist causes that Riyadh officially rejects. A Chinese official told me recently that the one thing China fears in the Middle East is Saudi Arabia, which is funding Wahhabist madrassahs in China’s Muslim-majority Western state of Xinjiang. On the surface, Saudi-Chinese relations are excellent. China is Riyadh’s biggest customer for oil, although China for the first time bought more oil from Russia than from Saudi Arabia in 2015. Russia is taking payment for oil in Chinese currency, while the Saudis demand US dollars.
The trouble is that the central government in Riyadh is either unable to stop individual Saudis from supporting radical groups, or it is so beholden to the Wahhabist clerical establishment that is has to double-deal. Muslim separatism is an urgent Chinese concern. Like Russia, China doesn’t see Iran as a threat; Chinese Muslims are Sunni not Shia). The spread of Islamic fundamentalism from Saudi-funded madrassahs frightens China–it has no natural defenses against foreign religious ideologies on its own soil–and Saudi Arabia is looking more and more like a liability.
The Saudis are learning that money can’t buy strategic preeminence, just at the point where money threatens to become scarce. The monarchy has made fools of its doomsayers for decades, but it now may have passed its best-used-by-date.
(Copyright 2015 Asia Times Holdings Limited, a duly registered Hong Kong company. All rights reserved. Please contact us about sales, syndication and republishing.)

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Pakistan: Leaders or Criminals

Pakistan: Leaders or Criminals

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By Mahboob A. Khawaja, PhD.

 

 

 

 

 

Nawaz-and-zardari-funny-pic

 

 

 

[At least 55 people were killed and more than 150 injured in a lethal suicide attack on the Pakistan side of Wagah border. Photo courtesy Times of India.]

Leaders with No accountability and No Shame

Pakistan is in ruins. The nation and its iinstitutions, law and justice, commerce, thinking hubs, political governance all appear dysfunctional and self-contradictory. Eroding freedom of thought and action speaks of the missing accountability of the political elite. The nation is fast becoming a victim of the US planned blue-print being used in Iraq. Vengeful sectarian killings and dismantling of economic, political and moral infrastructures is used to incapacitate the nation by its own sadistic rulers. All fighting against each other to end the very existence by collective madness. The paid Pakistani political and security agents are instrumental in carrying out heinous crimes. Increasingly, and without any logical redress, common citizens are the targets of the political cruelty. No wonder, once conditions favorable to cruelty are ote:established, it spreads like frightening wildfire. The governance demonstrates a dead-ended political conscience at the expense of the interests of the people. After a decade-old American entrapment in the bogus war on terrorism, the country has lost the energy and capacity to deal with any major problem of security or national unity. The foreign agenda is focused on breaking the moral and spiritual lifelines of the Pakistani nation by its own agents of influence. There are no brave and proactive politicians to stop the continuing political stagnation. The nation faces colossal disaster day in and day out but nobody is held accountable for the crimes. The Generals are convenient spectators and Nawaz Sharif is happy, the herd is politically manageable to complete his inherently fraudulent term of office as prime minister.

Pakistan is in ruins. The nation and its institutions, law and justice, commerce, thinking hubs, political governance all appear dysfunctional and self-contradictory. Eroding freedom of thought and action speaks of the missing accountability of the political elite. The nation is fast becoming a victim of the US planned blue-print being used in Iraq. Vengeful sectarian killings and dismantling of economic, political and moral infrastructures is used to incapacitate the nation by its own sadistic rulers. All fighting against each other to end the very existence by collective madness. The paid Pakistani political and security agents are instrumental in carrying out heinous crimes. Increasingly, and without any logical redress, common citizens are the targets of the political cruelty. No wonder, once conditions favorable to cruelty are established, it spreads like frightening wildfire. The governance demonstrates a dead-ended political conscience at the expense of the interests of the people. After a decade-old American entrapment in the bogus war on terrorism, the country has lost the energy and capacity to deal with any major problem of security or national unity. The foreign agenda is focused on breaking the moral and spiritual lifelines of the Pakistani nation by its own agents of influence. There are no brave and proactive politicians to stop the continuing political stagnation. The nation faces colossal disaster day in and day out but nobody is held accountable for the crimes. The Generals are convenient spectators and Nawaz Sharif is happy, the herd is politically manageable to complete his inherently fraudulent term of office as prime minister.
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Daily blood baths of civilians go unabated, adding to the statistical record for lack of adequate security. The latest cold blooded murder of 55 innocent people at Wagha border and 150 or so injured adds nothing new to grieving citizens belief that Pakistan is governed by most inept, incompetent and corrupt people ever witnessed by an informed nation. No politicians assume responsibility for the protection and safeguard of life and property of ordinary Pakistanis. There is an obvious disconnect between the people and the political rulers constantly hated and feared by the masses. The conflicting time zones are widening in which ordinary people suffer versus the ruling elite breathe as daily civilian casualties continue to rise because of the Taliban attacks and targeted massacres of ordinary citizens. Whose failure is it, and who should be held accountable? Is the Pakistani security apparatus so incompetent and ill equipped that it cannot ensure public safety? Given the lack of accountability and lack of shame, there is nothing to prevent these political criminals from repeating their crimes. So the killings of the innocent civilians go unabated. Strange as it is, opposition activists raising voices against the Sharif regime are conveniently arrested and jailed, but not the Sharif brethren who kill the citizens at random and implement planned massacres. Those facilitating crimes against the people occupy positions of political leadership and even law and justice cannot question them. They are abetted by the political class, committed the greatest heist in history.
Assuming political power in Pakistan means supporting the king’s men of oligarchy. Nobody could dare to challenge their supremacy in the annals of public affairs. For almost three months thousands of people across wide spectrum of Pakistani society, were raising voices of REASON in Islamabad to imagine political change and to have the Sharif brothers held accountable for politically geared killings and death squads against peaceful demonstrators. The inaction contributes to the downfall of the country to obscurity and insanity often irreversible in time and space. This week, at Wagah international border, 55 civilians were cold bloodedly massacred by a group of Taliban. Reportedly 100 or more were critically injured. Sharif and military security officials have proven to be a failure to console the people in situation of emergencies and moments of pain and anguish.

A ‘Failed State’ or Quagmire of Political Insanity

Pakistan lives in self-inflicted turmoil of political and military intrigues – all deceiving all – all trying to gain their foothold in power either by attracting foreign interventions or creating catastrophic political hazards to dismantle the fabric of the originally Muslim nation. The stage actors want power and use it as a divine right of absolutism against the interests of the coerced masses. This set the stage for the gradual decadence of the meaning and purpose of the Pakistan Freedom Movement. The worst emerged when ZA Bhutto and General Yahya Khan refused to transfer power to Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the majority East Pakistani leader after the 1971 national elections. They managed to kill several thousands of Pakistanis on both sides to retain power and ended up in humiliating surrender to India. Both betrayed the nation and both escaped the accountability. ZA Bhutto emerged as an absolute illegitimate leader of defeated Pakistan assuming the role of Martial Law administrator, President and later Prime Minister. Another military coup by General Zia ul-Haq got the US-other Western nation involved in military intervention to oust the Communist USSR from occupying neighboring Afghanistan and evolution of jihadist – Taliban struggle. In August 1988, Ms. Bhutto and her mother were reportedly responsible for the plane crash of General Zia ul Haq and Killings of 12 Generals and hundreds of others civilians including foreign diplomats. Subsequently, Ms. Bhutto and her mother were not charged with killings of so many precious lives but embraced as the first female PM. She was dismissed twice as corruption that knew no bound. Ms. Bhutto and Asif Zardari stole millions of dollars from Pakistan and were indicted by Swiss court on money laundering schemes. The $60. Million were never recovered by the national treasury. A crime-riddled political culture flourished in which these monsters floated freely. Nawaz Sharif was also dismissed twice on corruption charges. In 1999, he conspired to hijack a PIA incoming flight from SriLanka to Karachi in which the then COAS General Pervez Musharaf and 250 or more civilian passengers were traveling. Sharif had the plan to send the plane to India or to get it crashed. A military coup ousted Sharif and was tried on terrorism charges in a court law and exiled. General Musharaf and his colleagues traded-in Pakistan’s national interest including the nuclear program, and hundreds of innocent Pakistanis sold to populate infamous Guantanmo Bay terror prison in return for cash payments by George W. Bush. Musharaf lived in a $1.4 million newly bought mansion in London under British police 24/7 protection before returning to Pakistan. “Do Pakistanis have any sense of honor?” asked one British journalist of the Daily Telegraph. Would any honorable nation or country allow such criminals to reemerge as political leaders?
Pakistan Needs Educated and Intelligent Leaders to Cure the Political Curse
To imagine a progressive country, educated Pakistanis living abroad could be resourceful to transfer their knowledge and experiences for the good of the country and to strive for a Navigational Change. But how? Hold your breath! An American neurologist of Pakistani origin goes back passionately to serve the people. His clinic in Satellite town- Rawalpindi offers highly specialized systematic health care services to fellow Pakistanis. Even treats those who cannot pay the fee or medication bill. Thousands line up and day and night go to this clinic. The doctor starts getting warning messages from local ‘ghundas’ (rascals) asking for protection money. The doctor continues to work and informs the police. They too want their share of the protection money and do nothing. He complains to higher civic authorities upon getting death threats but nobody listens and does anything to ensure the safety of the doctor and clinic. One day hundred of patients get big surprise when they see the rampaged clinic and the doctor is nowhere to be seen. Lufhtansa Germany Airline flies to Lahore but does not change its crew over there. The fear of kidnappers demanding money haunts them all the time. What a Shame…. What a Shame … What a DISGRACE to a conscientious Pakistani that leaders of Pakistan’s Government cannot extend sense of security to a reputable international airline. No sensible person or global citizen will ever invest or travel to a country at the crossroads of daily bloodbaths, corruption and political gangsterism. Is this prevalent fact hard to grasp to any responsible person in Pakistan? Tourism is a lifeline to any developing nation like Pakistan. During the summer of 2013 under PM Sharif, 10 international tourists were cold blooded murdered by Taliban group near the K2 mountainous region. Is Pakistan that naïve and hopeless in security that it cannot protect the international tourists? Farzana Parveen would have liked to know why she was stoned to death right where law and justice were supposedly administered to have protected her at the Lahore High Court compound. Police were watching the horrifying killing. “Farzana Parveen Stoning Shames Pakistan.” (Asia Times: 6/2/2014). The terrifying scene portrayed in the global news media showed hundreds of spectators witnessing the most horrifying crime to human nature, not in darkness but in broad daylight, and right where freedom, human dignity, and honor of the citizens should have been protected – the Lahore High Court compound with police in attendance. It is incredibly shameful to be a Pakistani and to watch this inhuman atrocity out of the nowhere. Why the police did not offer protection to Farzana? Farzana’s soul must be wondering, why did society not protect her against this draconian act of violence? Where are the concerned citizens who claim to be believers – the Muslims who day and night talk about Islam as being the faith and value of their society? The Sharif brother’s investigation revealed nothing to hold the criminal responsible. In June, Karachi International Airport (“Pakistan in Quest of Political Change.” Uncommon Thought Journal, USA: 6/18/2014), was on flame under Talibans attacks. It was a devastating blow to the international image and security of Pakistan. Nobody resigned or was held responsible for failing to protect the airport. Could Sharif and the few complacent Generals assure the global community that Pakistan is a safe place to travel, study, visit and do business? If not, why not? The bogus assemblies, time killing discussions, Sharif and the few Generals are the people embedded with wrong thinking and doing the wrong things. They are part of the problem, not solution and have NO SENSE of the freedom, honor and dignity of the nation. There was no “peace process” between Pakistan and Taliban and there is no peace. Only the absence of peace, and the gnawing want for it, the desperation of the vanquished clearly visible on the mindset of public horizon.
There is a frightening trend of crime explosion across the nation. Daily killings of the civilians go unabated and unchecked by the security agencies. The blame game is centered on Talibans – the creation of the Bhutto family and the Generals. For almost two decades, Pakistan’s capacity for change has been badly fractured and its moral, intellectual and political consciousness derailed and undermined by the few. Bruce Riedel, one of President Obama’s advisors on Pakistan and the War on Terrorism (“Battle for the Soul of Pakistan” 1/4/2013, Brookings Institute and Centre for Middle East Policy), recently described the Pakistani rulers-both civilian and military:Pakistanis cannot be trusted as they play dubious role, cheat and become double agents in War on Terror” and warns that: “The changes in Pakistan are unlikely to come peacefully and will have major implications for India and America. The stakes are huge in the most dangerous country in the world.”
Pakistan’s worst enemies are those who are unable to listen to voices of reason and peaceful activism for political change. The ruling elite and the people live in a conflicting time zone being unable to understand the meaning and essence of the Pakistan’s Freedom Movement. Pakistan faces multiple chronic problems which could undermine its future. To all concerned and thinking Pakistanis, the country needs a Navigational Change or we could end up losing our national freedom. What is the cure to the current problems? There is no magic pill to deal with all critical situations except a comprehensive new systematic approach for ‘Anew Pakistan.’ Few decades earlier, in “Pakistan: Enigma of Change” (Media Monitor Network, USA) and “Revisiting Pakistan Enigma of Change”, this author offered proactive vision for planned political change to evolve new institutions and new-age educated leadership for a sustainable future. For too long, the masses have experienced tormenting pains and political cruelty. Nawaz Sharif and his brother must be tried in a court of law for the killings of 14 civilians and injuring 80 peaceful activists at Minhaj al Quran Academy Lahore and stolen wealth. Despite evidence, the FIR against Sharif was not registered by police. Nawaz Sharif has no political integrity and must step down or take leave of absence. There is substantial evidence for the 2013 election rigging by the election commission members. Sharif would need a powerful jolt as criminals do not exit voluntarily from powerhouses. It will provide a logical breathing space for a planned and workable remedy to a highly critical political crisis and to enhance a sustainable Change goal. A new Government of National Unity should be formed under a non-partisan and non political leader of moral and intellectual integrity for a period of two years; a New Constitution should be framed with new public institutions under leadership of new generation of educated people; and then a new election could give meaning and clarity to the purpose of democracy and to transform the ideals of a progressive legitimate functional democracy. The Need is desperate for the Pakistani nation to think critically and see the Mirror and stand firm in raising voices of reason for accountability and political change. The people must ponder at past misconceptions and errors of judgments and to bring 21st century’s educated, proactive and intelligent young people into political leadership role and to safeguard the national interest, freedom of the nation and its future.

Dr. Mahboob A. Khawaja specializes in global security, peace and conflict resolution with keen interests in Islamic-Western comparative cultures and civilizations, and author of several publications including the latest: Global Peace and Conflict Management: Man and Humanity in Search of New Thinking. Lambert Publishing Germany, May 2012.

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