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Archive for category Morally corrupt Thieves of PML(N)

PAKISTAN HAS TWO CHOICES:1. FORCE NAWAZ SHARIF TO RESIGN 2. PEMRA IMPOSES BAN ON GEO FOREVER

PAKISTANIS PLEASE SPREAD THIS WARNING 

Pakistan is at a Crossroads.

It has two choices:

1. Nawaz Sharif voluntarily resign or be forced out

2.PEMRA Bans GEO Forever, because GEO is an Enemy Organization and a Clear & Present Danger to Pakistan

Nawaz Sharif Govt goes from one disastrous failure to next.

Can the nation afford the luxury of being a political casino for Nawaz Sharif and hiscorrupt and incompetent cronies to gamble with its future?

This question is being asked by every Pakistani.

The worst military rulers managed Pakistan better than Nawaz Sharif and his incompetent PMLN Team.

Pakistani people need “Roti, Kapra,Makan, Aur Taleem.”

Nawaz Sharif and PMLN has robbed “Roti, Kapra,Makan, Aur Taleem” from Pakistani people

Nawaz Sharif and PMLN has delivered “Zero, Zilch, Nothing, Cipher,Sifer.

PMLN is lead by an incompetent political duffer, who is under some grandiose perception of himself.

It is time Pakistan Armed Forces Intervene to Save Pakistan.

The Choice is Simple.Save Pakistan or Save “Sham Democracy.”

180 Million people are clamoring for stability and meeting of basic human needs.

Elitest “Sham Democracy” run by a bunch of is not filling their stomachs.

If Pakistan’s Senior Military Leadership is hesitant or afraid to step in to clean this Augean Stable (Ustabal).

Then, let be an early warning, that Younger Officers and Jawans, who are seething in anger may  take things into their own hands,

Such a decision shall not guarantee life or liberty of PM of Pakistan or the Senior Leadership of the  Pakistan Army.

Pakistan Think Tank through its network has learned that too much water has gone under the bridge.

We have provided two options to avert disaster. Nawaz Sharif and Pakistan Army leadership should NOT vacillate.

Otherwise their inaction will create a situation for them of a  deer caught in the headlights of an oncoming car.

Time is of the Essence, for Nawaz Sharif and Pakistan Army, already too much of it has been wasted. Its NOW or NEVER. Otherwise face the fate of the deer frozen in headlights of an oncoming car.

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MERITOCRACY IN NAWAZ SHARIF GOVT: Mussadaq Malik: A Carpetbagger US Citizen/Boston Pharmacist Becomes Minister of Water & Energy in Pakistan

 

Mussadak Malik-Mufaad Parast Carpetbagger

 

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Nawaz Sharif is a bungler and has no knack for recognizing talent. Instead, he uses his relationship with Jagirdars, Zamindars,Waderahs, and Bureaucrats to select their kith and kin for plump appointments.

He gives two hoots about the people of Pakistan.

His efforts are geared towards consolidating his power for the next term. Nawaz Sharif is like a malignancy, which spreads its malevolence through connections.

Mussadak Malik is a classic example of Nawaz Sharif’s Nepotism and Cronyism.

It could happen only in Pakistan. Mussadaq Malik (Special Assistant to the PM and Minister of Water and Power) is a square peg in a round hole.

Mussadaq Malik has a B.Pharmacy from the University of Punjab.

His doctorate is in Pharmacy Administration.

Unknown-4He is a US Citizen, who to date as far as we know,he has not given up his US citizenship.

He spent most of his time in Boston, Massachusetts, where he was unemployed most of the time.

His wife is from one of the most influential families in Pakistan, so Mussadak is riding her coattails.

Mussadak knows as much about Power, as Malala Yousufzai knows about the mathematical formulation of a general theory of relativity,including the gravitation as a determiner of the curvature of a space-time continuum.Mussadaq has a gift of gab or rather as we say in the US, “He is a B.S. Artist.”.

He can make killer powerpoints presentations, but when it comes for execution, he is tremendously lacking.

How sad for 180 million Pakistanis that their biggest problem of Energy is being tackled by a person least qualified to solve it.

May be he will develop High Energy Capsule for Pakistanis, so they can get rid of the Anxiety created by Energy shortfall in Pakistan.

 

Nawaz Sharif is a bungler and has no knack for recognizing talent. Instead, he uses his relationship with Jagirdars, Zamindars,Waderahs, and Bureaucrats to select their kith and kin for plump appointments.

He gives two hoots about the people of Pakistan.

His efforts are geared towards consolidating his power for the next term. Nawaz Sharif is like a malignancy, which spreads its malevolence through connections.

Mussadak Malik is a classic example of Nawaz Sharif’s Nepotism and Cronyism.

It could happen only in Pakistan. Mussadaq Malik (Special Assistant to the PM and Minister of Water and Power) is a square peg in a round hole.

Mussadaq Malik has a B.Pharmacy from the University of Punjab.

His doctorate is in Pharmacy Administration.

He is a US Citizen, who to date as far as we know,he has not given up his US citizenship.

He spent most of his time in Boston, Massachusetts, where he was unemployed most of the time.

His wife is from one of the most influential families in Pakistan, so Mussadak is riding her coattails.

Mussadak knows as much about Power, as Malala Yousufzai knows about the mathematical formulation of a general theory of relativity,including the gravitation as a determiner of the curvature of a space-time continuum.Mussadaq has a gift of gab or rather as we say in the US, “He is a B.S. Artist.”.

He can make killer powerpoints presentations, but when it comes for execution, he is tremendously lacking.

How sad for 180 million Pakistanis that their biggest problem of Energy is being tackled by a person least qualified to solve it.

May be he will develop High Energy Capsule for Pakistanis, so they can get rid of the Anxiety created by Energy shortfall in Pakistan.

 

 

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GLOBAL COMMUNITY, GLOBAL MEDIA, HUMAN RIGHTS ORGS, CIVIL SOCIETY HOLD PM NAWAZ SHARIF RESPONSIBLE: 8000 PAKISTANI GIRLS FROM POOR HOMES KIDNAPPED INTO SEX SLAVERY OR ENTER INTERNAL SLAVE TRADE-IMRAN KHAN’S “TAKRAR” EXPOSE

 

9-year-old Pakistani girl kidnapped and gang-raped  

 

 

An archive photo of  a Pakistani girl. (Reuters / Fayaz Aziz)

An archive photo of a Pakistani girl. (Reuters / Fayaz Aziz)

 

 

 

 

 

Shakira Parveen was prostituted by her husband.

 

 

By 

 

 

Meerwala, Pakistan

 

 

Note: 

Mr.Kristof is a New York Jew and writes particularly vicious articles for the Jewish Newspapers like  The New York Times and Washington Post about Muslim societies like Pakistan, ignoring the 1 million cases of unreported rapes in

his home country.Pakistan allows these Jewish reporters, who cleverly hide their identity to roam around in Pakistan, and even to spy for Israel and India. Pakistan’s security agencies can only keep an eye on them, our executive and Judiciary protects them.

Our an enemy can only point out our flaws. It is for us to fix them

 
Fred R. Conrad/The New York Times

Nicholas D. Kristof

Nicholas D. Kristof

Shakira Parveen, far right.

If the thought has ever flitted through your mind that your spouse isn’t 100 percent perfect, then just contemplate what Shakira Parveen is going through. And give your own husband or wife a hug.

When Ghulam Fareed proposed marriage to Ms. Parveen, he fingered prayer beads and seemed gentle and pious. Ms. Parveen didn’t know him well, but she and her family were impressed.

“The first month of marriage was O.K.,” Ms. Parveen recalled. “And then he said, you have to do whatever I tell you. If I tell you to sleep with other men, you have to do that.”

It turned out that Mr. Fareed was running a brothel and selling drugs, and he intended Ms. Parveen to be his newest prostitute. “I said, ‘No, I don’t want to sleep with other men,’ ” she said, but he beat her unconscious with sticks, broke her bones and at one point set fire to her clothes. Finally, she broke and assented.

Her “husband” locked her up in one room, she said, and the only people she saw were customers. “For two years, I never left the house,” she said.

This kind of neo-slavery is the plight of millions of girls and young women (and smaller numbers of boys) around the world, particularly in Asia. A major difference from 19th-century slavery is that these victims are dead of AIDS by their 20s.

Finally, Ms. Parveen was able to escape and return to her family, but Mr. Fareed was furious and began to torment her family, saying he would let up only if she returned to the brothel as his prostitute. Then Mr. Fareed’s gang pressured Ms. Parveen by kidnapping her younger brother, Uzman, who was in the fifth grade. Uzman says that his hands and feet were shackled, and he was raped daily by many different men, apparently pimped to paying customers.

The gang members explained that they would release the boy if Ms. Parveen returned to the brothel, and she contemplated suicide.

After six weeks, Uzman escaped while his captors became drunk and left him unshackled. But when Ms. Parveen and her parents went to the police, the officers just laughed at them. Mr. Fareed and other gang members worked hand in glove with the police, the family says.

Indeed, the police even arrested Ms. Parveen’s father, who is one-legged because of a train accident (that is one reason for the family’s poverty). Apparently on the gang’s orders, the police held him for two weeks, in which time he says he was beaten mercilessly. The police are also searching for Ms. Parveen’s brothers, who have gone into hiding.

Mr. Fareed also threatened to kidnap and prostitute Ms. Parveen’s younger sister, Naima, a 10th-grader who was ranked first in her class of 40 girls. Panic-stricken, the parents pulled Naima out of school and sent her to relatives far away. So her dreams of becoming a doctor have been dashed. (For readers who want to help, I’ve posted some suggestions on my blog:www.nytimes.com/ontheground.)

This nexus of sex trafficking and police corruption is common in developing countries. The problem is typically not so much that laws are inadequate; it is that brothel owners buy the police and the courts.

But Ms. Parveen’s tale arises not only from corruption, but also from poverty.

“If I had money, this wouldn’t be happening,” said Ms. Parveen’s mother, Akbari Begum. “It’s all about money. In the police station, nobody listens to me. The police listen to those who sell narcotics.”

“God should never grant daughters to poor people,” she added. “God should not give sisters to poor brothers. Because we’re poor, we can’t fight for them. It’s very hard for poor people, because they take our daughters and dishonor them. There’s nothing we can do.”

Yet in a land where poor women and girls are victimized equally by pimps and by the police, they do have one savior — Mukhtar Mai. She is the woman I’ve visited and written about often (she also uses the name Mukhtaran Bibi).

After being sentenced to be gang-raped by a tribal council for a supposed offense of her brother, Mukhtar refused to commit suicide and instead prosecuted her attackers. And then she used compensation money (and donations from Times readers) to run schools and an aid organization for Pakistani women.

 

 

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It was in Mukhtar’s extraordinary sanctuary that I met Ms. Parveen. In my Sunday column, I’ll tell more about Mukhtar today.

 
 

 

 

 

 

A nine-year-old Pakistani girl has been taken to the hospital in critical condition after being kidnapped and brutally gang-raped. The girl’s mother has named the abusers, but no arrests were made.

The girl was admitted to a hospital in Bahawalpur after being raped on Wednesday. She remains in critical condition due to loss of blood and internal injuries, the Express Tribune reported, quoting the hospital’s doctors. 

Local police have launched a criminal case against seven men for the kidnap and rape; no arrests have been made yet. 

The girl’s mother named five of the seven suspects. She reportedly told police that she hesitated to inform law enforcers because the kidnappers threatened to kill her and the girl if the woman spoke to authorities.

Station House Officer Irshad Joyia said they were ordered to arrest the suspects, but later were informed that the men had fled to Alipur village, the Express Tribune said. 

According to a First Information Report (FIR) prepared by police, the girl was beaten and then kidnapped by three women and a man in front of her house in Manzoorabad in Rahim Yar Khanby. The kidnappers reportedly took her to another location where she was gang-raped by three men, one of whom was named in the FIR. 

The girl was then allegedly taken back to the place from which she was kidnapped. The girl’s mother told police she found her bloodied daughter near their house. She then took the child to Sheikh Zayed Hospital for examination and treatment.

The rape came weeks after a similar shocking case when a six-year-old Hindu girl was allegedly raped in Pakistan’s southern Sindh province at the beginning of December. The child was also reportedly kidnapped and gang-raped. Residents of the province staged several protests in response to the incident. 

These two recent cases in Pakistan coincide with a horrifying gang-rape in India that claimed the life of a 23-year-old student raped on a bus by six men, the youngest of whom reportedly was a minor. The six men have all been charged with murder, gang-rape, attempted murder, kidnapping and other felonies. They are expected to appear in court on Monday. 

The case sparked mass protests in New Delhi. Demonstrators, particularly women, demanded the rapists be punished and called for the creation of new laws to protect Indian women.

The incident has drawn international attention to the high rates of violence against women in India, where rape victims often do not report to the police for fear of shaming their families or being ignored by law enforcement.

Read more: http://reviewpakistan.com/showthread.php?783131-Takrar-(-16th-June-2013-)-Full-ExpressNews-Young-girls-kidnapped-and-being-sold-all-o&s=f20d5cf6de42075517b4adb321f91edb#ixzz2WPbXEf00

RaiseForWomen

$1,190,655 raised for women
 

The American government has just gone into the anti-honor-killing “business.” Given my extensive academic and legal work documenting and opposing honor killing, I support this venture. I do find it a bit odd that the U.S. Consulate in East Jerusalem has just launched such a campaign–but for Palestinian women only.

I have written about honor killing among Palestinians and among Israeli Arabs; I also interviewed Palestinian feminist Asma Al-Ghoul about how she was fired and then arrested for her anti-honor-killing advocacy both in Gaza and on the West Bank. Thus, I favor some U.S. intervention in the matter.

However, I wonder: Why not branch out to Pakistan or Afghanistan where honor killing and honor-based violence is, possibly, even more epidemic?

Last night, I watched an excellent and heartbreaking Frontline documentary by Habiba Nosheen about honor-based violence in Pakistan: “Outlawed in Pakistan.” Thirteen-year-old Kainat Soomro was chloroformed, drugged, kidnapped, and then gang-raped for three or four days by four men who threatened to kill or sell her.

Amazingly Kainat escaped, in her bare feet and without her headscarf.

I am very partial to a story about a girl or woman who escapes a life-threatening captivity in the “Wild East,” as I once did, in Kabul, long ago. I write about this in my forthcoming book, An American Bride in Kabul.

But, I was a foreigner, an American, and once I got out I had a second chance. Kainat is now and forevermore a ruined child, an “outlaw,” whose family was meant to kill her for having “dishonored” them.

Amazingly, her loving family refused to do so. Unlike so many honor-killing families in which parents and siblings are either hands-on perpetrators or collaborators in the murder of their daughters and sisters, Kainat’s mother weeps and kisses her. Her father and older brother proudly supported Kainat’s search for justice.

This family deserves a major prize for having the courage and the sanity to stand up to tribal misogyny.

The Soomros turned to the police who refused to act. Instead, they said to kill her according to tribal custom. “She has shamed you.” The police do no sperm or DNA testing, and do not secure the crime scene. They ensure that charges of rape are almost impossible to prove.

Perhaps the U.S. Consulates in Peshawar and Karachi can donate rape kits to the Pakistani police.

Instead of becoming a bandit queen, as the gang-raped Phoolan Devi did in Uttar Pradesh, India; instead of killing herself — Kainat wanted justice. She wanted these men “sentenced to death” because they ruined her life. And they have. Probably, no one will marry her, and Kainat’s plans to become a physician may be permanently on hold. The death threats against this honorable family became so serious, that Kainat’s 18-person family was forced to flee their home for two rooms in Karachi.

Men who rape girls in tribal areas feel no guilt. Kainat’s accused rapists were enraged when their victim dared speak out. They hotly denied Kainat’s charges.

In Karachi, Sarah Zaman, of War Against Rape, a grassroots feminist group, decided to help Kainat and found her a dedicated pro bono lawyer. Zaman knew that powerful village men routinely rape girls and then have them killed for having shamed their families. In Afghanistan, raped women are either honor-killed or jailed as criminals. Kainat bravely agreed to endure a 5- to 10-year legal process, one in which she will be grilled in humiliating ways. The pro bono lawyer who represented the accused men, is also representing the President of Pakistan.

Nevertheless, Kainat’s lawyer managed to have the four men jailed and held in jail without bail for three years. This, too, is amazing.

Nevertheless, the accused rapists prevail. We see dozens of their village supporters descend on the courthouse yelling that “Kainat is a whore.” Their winning defense is ingenious: They claim that Kainat married one of them and he produces her thumbprint on a marriage document and a photo of the two of them, smiling. Kainat repeats that she was drugged and does not remember this. Her presumed bridegroom demands that she return to him.

Kainat was only 13 and did not have the right to consent to a marriage under secular law. However, under Sharia law, if she has reached puberty, she can do so. Sharia law prevails in the matter and the accused are all freed.

Despite claims to the contrary, Sharia law and Sharia courts are dangerous for women.

Kainat’s story is a victory and like all such victories, the price is high and the risk is even higher.

For a poor girl and her family to have four powerful men jailed for three years is extraordinary. The price: They allegedly killed her supportive brother, Sabir. And despite national headlines, the police closed the murder investigation. Kainat quietly says that her “life is a living hell.”

Kainat and her family live under police protection. Again, this is extraordinary.

I suggest that the U.S. Consulates also consider funding Kainat’s education as a physician. Perhaps the entire family should be air-lifted out of the Pakistani Badlands and into America for their safety.

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FIVE RULERS OF PAKISTAN: FAISAL BUTT, NAWAZ SHARIF, ASIF ZARDARI,TAJI KHOKHAR, & MALIK RIAZ

THREE RULERS OF PAKISTAN: ASIF ZARDARI,TAJI KHOKHAR, & MALIK RIAZ

 

FARUKH IS TAJI KHOKHAR ‘S SON: OBSERVE THEIR LAVISH LIFE STYLES

Who rules Pakistan? Malik Riaz of Bahria Foundation

 

WHO STILL RULES PAKISTAN ?

cheaters

Taji Khokhar owned/ owns a guest house in Islamabad where Mr. Asif Zardari used to visit in the

 evenings while in so called detention. He supplies Russian girls to

 Asif Zardari .

MALIK RIAZ 

Malik Riaz of Bahria Town…. …and his crooks!

Malik Riaz was the conduit for bringing the PML Q wing led by Chaudhry

 Shujaat/Chaudhry Pervez Illahi into Asif Zardari’s fold.

Pres. Zardari was so pleased/Jubilant with NICL scandal!

 He said that NICL delivered three people/groups to him who covered to his

 feet. 

1. Yusuf Raza Gilani, as his son/sons were involved

2 Benazir’s nominee for PM…. Makhdoom Amin Fahim

3. Chaudhry Shujaat Husain and Chaudhry Pervez Illahi

How the corruption of some, benefits the other corrupt elements. The threat by MQM was thwarted by NICL as Chaudhries came into the fold, by out smarting the murderous MQM.

Who is Taji Khokhar?

Brother of Nawaz Khokhar formerly, Deputy speaker of National Assembly.

He works on behalf of Malik Riaz for acquisition/ land grabbing in

 Islamabad/ Rawalpindi area on behalf of Malik Riaz, the Don….

 Taji ( Imtiaz Khokhar) lives on the main road connecting Rawalpindi to Islamabad and has his own Zoo, where inter alia he has kept two live lions. The whole menagerie daily expenditure runs over several lakh rupees. He is responsible for killing of at least 100 people in pursuit of land grabbing.

At one point after killing more than four persons at a land site, he came home and shot his long time guard and registered FIR against those killed by him and using as a cause for retaliatory firing. Of course he compensated the family adequately.

 

Who is Faisal Butt? 

He owned/ owns a guesthouse in Islamabad where Asif Zardari used to visit in the evenings while in so-called detention. He supplies Russian girls and provide Asif Zardari’s favorite alcoholics drinks. Asif Zardari asked Faisal Butt of his Choice. He asked for CDA. Asif Zardari, who is known for never forgetting anyone who even offered him a glass of water, when in difficulty (unlike Nawaz & Shahbaz Sharif). Asif Zardari asked his choice for Chairman CDA. Butt suggested Kamran Lashari…. Asif Zardari agreed and

appointed him. He told Lashari to follow orders from Mr Faisal Butt. This continues after Kamran Lashari, former Secretary Defence’s brother amassed Millions of Dollars with full patronage of his powerful brother.

Also it is learnt that real brother of COAS, Ali Kayani has amassed billions through Mr Malik Riaz?

 

Malik Riaz also has Shahbaz Sharif in his pocket and has been successful in causing a breach in PML N. Chaudhry Nisar was the victim. All PML N MNA’s and MPAs from PML N from the area around Pindi/ Islamabad are in the pocket of Malik Riaz.

 

TAJI KHOKHAR IS STILL FREE,WHILE KAMRAN FAISAL’S KILLERS ARE FORGOTTEN 

 

Islamabad Murder and Taji Khokhar

FOUR MURDER ACC– — USED ARRESTED AFTER BAIL PLEA REJECTION

By: Israr Ahmad | October 03, 2012 .

RAWALPINDI – Police arrested four men, allegedly involved in the murder of a woman over property dispute, outside the courtroom after an additional district and sessions judge (ADSJ) Tuesday rejected their pre-arrest bail here on Tuesday. According to details, ADSJ Yar Muhammad Gondal rejected the bail applications of Khalid Khokhar, Muhammad Rafique, Kamran Khan and Tilawat Khan and police arrested them outside the courtroom.

The four men are the bodyguards of Imtiaz Khokhar alias Taji Khokhar, brother of former Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly Haji Nawaz Khokhar. The four accused along with several other armed men murdered one Sabira Bibi, 45,at Dhoke Gangal, the area of Police Station (PS) Airport, over land dispute on August 17, 2012 when a local commission on the direction of a civil judge was present to prepare its report on the disputed land.

Earlier on Saturday another accused person already in Adyala Jail namely Irfan alias Niko confessed to have shot dead Sabira Bibi, who had a dispute over the ownership of piece of land with Taji Khokhar, uncle of Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar advisor to Prime Minister on Human Rights.

Two other men Muhammad Waheed and Anwar-ul-Haq besides Niko are also in police custody for killing a woman and firing at her lawyer Ghufran Khursheed Imtiazi and the commission also a lawyer Raja Saim-ul-Haq Satti. It is pertinent to mention here that the main accused Imtiaz Khokhar, commonly know as Taji Khokhar, is on transit bail for the 20 days that he had obtained from the Peshawar High Court (PHC).

Meanwhile, Taxila police arrested four robbers after an encounter and recovered weapons, a vehicle and stolen gold from their possession. However, two robbers managed to escape during the encounter, informed DSP Taxila Circle Raja Taifoor here on Tuesday.

The robbers, held by police, identified as Kamran hails from DI Khan, Shabir Khan of Chontra, Muhammad Hanif resident of Lahore and Abdul Rasheed of Rawalakot, he added. According to him, a gang of six robbers had entered Javed Jewelers at Taxila and fled away in a Corolla car with 7 tolas of gold. He said that police cordoned off the area after receiving information. However, the robbers succeeded in fleeing towards Haripur. Taking action, police started chasing the robbers stopped them in a forest near TIP Colony. But, the robbers shot at the police, which also retaliated.

US Reporter Says Nawaz Sharif Propositioned Her

 

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Kim Barker, an American reporter who covered Afghanistan and Pakistan for Chicago Tribune starting in 2003, claims that she was propositioned by Pakistan Muslim League leader Nawaz Sharif when she met him for interviews for her newspaper. 

In an interview with KERA radio, Barker said she followed her bosses advice to try and blend with the local population. However, being a young white female journalist with blue eyes who stands at 5 ft 10 in tall, she says she received unusual attention from the men she met to do her job in Afghanistan and Pakistan. In her recently released book “The Taliban Shuffle: Strange Days in Afghanistan and Pakistan”, Barker recounts how Nawaz Sharif gave her an Apple iphone as a gift and asked her to be his “special friend”. When she declined Nawaz Sharif’s sexual advance, Foreign Policy Magazine reports that he offered to set her up with President Asif Ali Zardari. 

This latest report adds Sharif’s name to the “illustrious” list of senior Pakistani political leaders who have made news for their dalliances with women. 

A 2007 Youtube video showing Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani groping Sherry Rehman attracted a lot of attention. Then, President Asif Ali Zardari was shown gushing about US Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin, and asking to “hug” her during a meeting in New York.

Here’s a video clip of Barker’s interview:

 

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Escaping Pakistan’s poverty trap

Escaping Pakistan’s poverty trap

Millions are working their way out of poverty in Pakistan thanks to one man’s vision

Shoaib Sultan Khan, who set up the Rural Support Programme 30 years ago

Shoaib Sultan Khan, who set up the Rural Support Programme 30 years ago Photo: Eduardo Diaz
 

7:00AM GMT 04 Mar 2013

 

We were on the road from Gilgit to Sost, in the far north of Pakistan, a journey that follows the Silk Route taken for millennia by merchants on the road to China.

We passed the site of the battle of Nilt, where three Victoria Crosses were awarded after a desperate fight in 1891 between British forces and local tribes.

We reached a great gorge where, according to geologists, the subcontinent of India crashed into Asia, the catastrophic event that threw up the Karakoram mountain range through which we were travelling. Around us were glaciers and great snow-packed mountains of 25,000ft or more.

The Karakoram mountains have still not settled. Three hours’ drive north of Gilgit, the capital of Gilgit-Baltistan province, we reached the spot where in 2010 a mountain had collapsed into the Hunza river, destroying the road and creating an enormous lake.


Lake Attabad, between Gilgit and Sost (EDUARDO DIAZ)

My travelling companion, 79-year-old Shoaib Sultan Khan, was taking me back to where the final stage of his awesome life story had begun.

Exactly 30 years ago, when General Zia-ul-Haq was in power in Pakistan, Khan was commissioned by the Aga Khan to combat the endemic poverty and backwardness of Pakistan’s northern areas. Khan, who was working in a Sri Lankan forest village when he was hired, had spent his life in development work. He was already convinced that democratic village institutions held the key to releasing the rural masses from poverty. He set up the Aga Khan Rural Support Programme to put his insights into practice.

Khan stayed for 12 years in Gilgit and Chitral, a town 100 miles to the west, moving from village to village and living among the people. The only money he had at his disposal came at first from a $400,000 annual grant from the Aga Khan – a pinprick in such a vast area. Though other donors (including Britain’s Department for International Development) followed, the small sums involved meant the only way he could bring about change was by persuading local people to do it themselves.

Yet during this period living standards improved more than twofold, according to World Bank figures. Literacy rates soared from a negligible three per cent in 1982 to 70 per cent or more today. Women – hidden from view across much of the rest of Pakistan – have obtained a fuller and more confident economic and social role.

Today Gilgit and Chitral are two fragile islands of stability in a part of the world given over to terrorism and war, in the surrounding tribal areas of Pakistan and in neighbouring Afghanistan. They alone have largely escaped the contagion. One of the most important reasons for this is Shoaib Sultan Khan. In the areas where he has worked there are jobs, means of livelihood, reasons for hope. So in the course of our journey, I asked him to explain how he set about transforming the lives of the people in these tough but incredibly beautiful areas.


Commuters cross Lake Attabad (EDUARDO DIAZ)

‘In every village I went to,’ he replied, ‘I was very blunt and would tell them that I have not come to listen to your problems nor your needs because I don’t have the resources to do anything about these. But I have come with the conviction that you have potential and we would like to unleash that. So I offered them a development partnership, which entailed their having to do something first before the programme can do anything. I told them that individually I would not be able to help and could only help if they got organised. And that organisation has to be in the common interest of the group.

‘My second condition to them was: you have to identify one of your own men or women as the activist who will lead the organisation. No outsider can do that. My third condition was saving. Since capital is power, you must generate your own capital through savings. However poor, you must save something – even one rupee a week.’

This model subverted the conventional model of social development, which assumed that either central government or outside agencies would lift people out of poverty. Years of experience had taught Khan that this method never worked, and that only the villagers themselves understood what they needed. Central to his vision were the community activists.

‘The basis of our system is to identify leaders,’ he told me. ‘I had no more than 200 of these at most at the start. Now we have 10,000. These were the ones who developed this area. I used to say these community activists are our diamonds. They gave the shine, glitter and permanence to our organisation. The qualities we looked for were twofold. First, they needed to be honest, because they had to do the work themselves and, second, they should be prepared to act for others besides themselves.’

It was the activists in Sost who came to Khan and told him that they wanted to build an irrigation channel deep into the mountain to reach the glacier.

‘Our engineers had a look and said that it was not possible,’ he said. ‘But when we came back three months later we found that they had started work by themselves and dug 200m without our help.’

Incredibly, no machinery of any kind was used. The villagers had hacked into the mountainside with the aid of nothing more than rudimentary equipment: shovels, pickaxes, digging bars and hammers of various sizes. ‘We thought, if they can dig 200m then they can dig for a kilometre and a half,’ Khan said. ‘So we gave them assistance.’


A worker in an irrigation tunnel dug through the mountain at Sost (EDUARDO DIAZ)

The initial grant amounted to only 55,000 rupees (about £700). Later the villagers were given materials worth a further £2,000. That was all it cost to turn thousands of acres of barren and desolate land into orchards, plantations and fields.

Khan himself comes from a thoroughly conventional background. Born in Uttar Pradesh, India, he was educated at Lucknow University and Cambridge, and then worked in the Pakistan civil service for two decades. But in Gilgit he found himself taking part in what amounted to a revolution. For centuries the Hunza Valley had been controlled by the Mirs, feudal rulers who denied rights to their people and demanded free labour from the villagers. It is no coincidence that many of his early activists had been involved in a revolutionary struggle against the Mirs in the three decades that followed Pakistan’s independence in 1947.

In the village of Karinabad I found Syed Yahya Shah, who told me how he had been incarcerated in Gilgit’s notoriously harsh Chilas prison for two years at the height of the struggle in the 1960s, before being released on the orders of President Ali Bhutto, who put an end to the power of the Mirs.

Now an old man with a white beard, Yahya Shah told me that ‘I was a hero to the people when I returned home.’ He said that when Shoaib Sultan Khan arrived, his method of ‘mobilising people at grass roots was something I had already done and that appealed to me. The first thing I did,’ he continued, ‘was to learn exactly what Shoaib Sultan Khan’s organisation, the Rural Support Programme, was saying. Then I went to all the villages and became part of the team. Our first achievement was to inculcate the sense of self-reliance.’


Yahya Shah (EDUARDO DIAZ)

Yahya Shah said the most difficult task was to encourage farmers to act collectively. Thirty years ago one member of every household was brought up as a hunter, expected to journey into the mountains and kill wildlife. As a result the local snow leopard, ibex, Marco Polo sheep and markhor mountain goats were near extinction. The villagers also ruthlessly cut down trees for firewood in the higher parts of the valley, opening the way to soil erosion and floods.

But Khan’s Rural Support Programme taught the villagers a new way of doing things. Once they had formed village organisations, and started to cooperate instead of pursuing their separate interests, everything changed. They planted trees in the areas opened up for cultivation on the mountainside. Meanwhile, hunting was banned. The village hunters were hired instead as waged staff (initially paid by the project) to survey the wildlife and deter poachers, thus turning them into guardians rather than destroyers of the environment.

Every year a handful of international trophy hunters are now invited to bid on the internet for the privilege of killing a mountain goat, the proceeds being paid back to local people (and now covering the wages of the former hunters). The villagers opened up new irrigation channels and pioneered agricultural techniques. As a result the upper Hunza Valley is today an idyllic spot. Dominated by massive mountain peaks, it is full of poplar plantations, apple orchards and flourishing small businesses.

Women’s groups emerged. I visited one in Chinar, a suburb of Chitral, which started with only half a dozen members 15 years ago; more than 100 households have joined since. It has saved some four million rupees (£26,000), a colossal sum that dwarfs the 1.6 million (£10,000) raised by local men. Sitting cross-legged on a classroom floor, one member, Musarat, told me, ‘We used to be economically dependent on the men. Today they depend on us. They come to us to borrow money.’


Women trainees in a wood workshop in the Hunza Valley (EDUARDO DIAZ)

These women have never been allowed to attend the local bazaar, so they have set up a trading zone of their own higher up the hill. Each one I spoke to had started a business. Musarat, who runs a garment shop, told me how she had been sent by the Rural Support Programme on a course in management and enterprise. She in turn trained up Nazia, who now has a shop selling local vegetable produce, and Johanara, who sells ribbons and buttons.

These women have made use of their savings to set up an internal banking operation, with 1,131,000 rupees (£7,500) given out in loans this year alone. Musarat told me that they made a 200,000 rupee (£1,300) profit last year, and there has never been a default. She showed me three immaculately kept ledgers recording loans, savings, and the names of those present at their regular meetings, along with the minutes of their discussions. Since the arrival of the Rural Support Programme the lives of these women have become purposeful and confident. They have been given new lives.

Up in Sost the manager of the women’s organisation is Mehr Kamil, a very impressive 38-year-old mother of three who works as a teacher. Her organisation has 170 members and has amassed savings of three million rupees (£20,000). It operates an active loan portfolio, and has never had a bad debt.

I challenged Shoaib Sultan Khan with the claim that his concept of social development, which involves a rejection of the state, was essentially capitalist, and he pondered for a while. ‘No,’ he said. ‘Capitalism is about big ownership. We support small ownership and people in cooperation, the 100-hectare farmers.’

Khan’s teaching is highly sceptical of the state because of its remorseless insistence that villagers stand on their own feet and take care of their own lives. But Khan also recognises that just as the state can rarely produce sustainable change, people can achieve little unless they work as a community. His funding from the Department for International Development was ended two years ago, he said, with no reason given.

Gilgit and Chitral are oases of relative prosperity, but these two jewels in the far north nevertheless remain vulnerable to the terrorism that has become commonplace through the rest of this anguished part of Pakistan. As I left the country, the prime minister, Raja Pervez Ashraf, warned of the ‘wave of deadly sectarian violence that has gripped the tourism haven’. He was referring to the massacre a few weeks earlier of 24 bus passengers by Sunni terrorists near Gilgit.


Members of the women’s organisation in Sost (EDUARDO DIAZ)

I travelled along the road where this atrocity occurred on my journey between Gilgit and Chitral, a 14-hour marathon across the Shandour Pass, which at 12,000ft hosts the highest polo ground in the world. The villages we passed through looked peaceful, as farmers gathered in their harvest ahead of the coming winter. There was no disguising, however, the underlying nervousness and fear. At one of the security checkpoints a soldier asked us for a lift. The police had held him back for three days, he said, because they feared that as a Shia he would be killed if he continued on his own.

Such is the scale of the sectarian hatred that at another checkpoint my guides were asked to declare whether they were Shia, Sunni or Ismaili. I was later told that four hours after we had completed the journey the road had been closed. No reason was given but I was told that suspected terrorists had been captured on the road. In the town of Gilgit itself, life is now lived on sectarian lines. One local man told me that ‘there is one hospital for Sunni, one for Shia, one for Ismailis’, and claimed that such is the tension that the rival sects even choose different routes to work.

Much of the trouble comes from outside. Gilgit and Chitral have always been of importance because they are on the road that links India and Asia. That is why, ever since the days of British rule, there have been incursions into the area. With the war against the Taliban still raging, today is no different. But there is more to it than that. As one elder, Subiday Qlaudar Khan, from Paidendas, a village south of Gilgit, told me, ‘These people don’t descend from the sky. They rely on local leaders for support. The people in the villages have been asleep. The violence is our fault.’

The only way that Chitral and Gilgit can retain their immunity from the tragic violence that has disfigured neighbouring territories is by cooperating to block the outsiders who arrive in the area intent on bringing terror, and creating the jobs and prosperity that give people reasons for hope. Shoaib Sultan Khan may be 79 years old, but his work is more important than ever before. The guardians of his legacy are the village activists of Chitral, Gilgit and the Hunza Valley. But his influence stretches far wider. Khan’s social model is today being copied in India, Japan, Korea, Sri Lanka and – most recently – across the border in Afghan­istan. It has already lifted some 30 million people out of poverty, and his unique insights have urgent lessons for the world.

 

Reference

 

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