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Archive for category PAKISTAN SHINING

My Beautiful Land Part 1:Pakistan

Garden in Front of Punjab Assembly

 

 

 

 

Faisal Masjid,Islamabad

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THE NIGHT OF OUR TRIALS COMING TO AN END: Pakistan: The Next Colombia Success Story?

 

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Pakistan: The Next Colombia Success Story?

Pakistan has the potential to be a global turnaround story. I recently spent time in-country listening to a wide range of perspectives and I am convinced that U.S. policymakers and business leaders need to look at Pakistan beyond the security lens. Getting our relationship right will require deeper thinking and action on issues around trade and investment, education, and broader economic development. The United States ought to be Pakistan’s preferred partner given its 70-year relationship. But in order to participate in the upside of the Pakistan story, the United States will need to view Pakistan not as a problem to be solved but as a potential partner. There are several changes that suggest the United States should soon act on this opportunity.

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Pakistan Think Tank & its Members Thank Mr.Daniel Runde to See the Potential in the People & Nation of Pakistan

 

I cover the opportunities for the US coming from the developing world.full bio →

 

The Pakistan of today is similar to that of Colombia in the late 1990s. Back then, words like “drugs, gangs, and failed state” were freely associated with the Andean country. Today, Colombia has a free trade agreement with the United States, a stable 3.5 percent annual GDP growth, and security is vastly improved. Similarly, Western headlines on Pakistan today gloss over the progress on the security front, the increased political stability, and incremental progress on the economic front. In spite of this potential for Pakistan, it continues to suffer from a terrible country brand that has not caught up with realities on the ground.

Action Against the Taliban

Pakistan’s improving security dynamic is the first change to note. It is hard to understate the before-and-after effects of the Taliban’s horrendous December 2014 attack on a military-owned elementary school in Peshawar that killed 145 people, including 132 schoolchildren aged eight to eighteen. Almost immediately after the attack, the military responded in force by taking out 157 terrorists via air strikes and ground operations in the North Waziristan and Khyber tribal areas adjacent to Peshawar.

What has not sunk into international perceptions about the country is the tangible consensus among government, military, and Pakistani citizens against violent terrorists including the Pakistani Taliban and the alphabet soup of other terrorist groups in and around the country. Pakistan will continue to experience attacks by fringe groups, but policymakers and investors need to stop operating as if the Pakistani Taliban is at Islamabad’s doorstep.

Political Stability

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is governing with a competent cabinet, a majority coalition, and is working in tandem with the military to deliver peace and security. Sharif was elected in Pakistan’s transition of power between democratically elected governments in April 2013 and so far, he has demonstrated enough of a commitment to democracy.

For much of last year, Sharif exercised restraint against an active opposition that led a crippling 162-day sit-in in front of the National Assembly to contest the 2013 election results. Instead of opting for an aggressive approach, Sharif wisely deferred to an independent election mission to verify the results, which recently ruled in favor of his party. The military, at the request of the Prime Minister, encouraged the crowds to disperse peacefully. The military’s decision not to use force against protesters – or the sitting prime minister – suggests that Pakistan could be on its way to further consolidating its fragile democracy.

Better Luck Around the Corridor

Chinese investment is another reason why the United States should reassess its Pakistan calculus. Since Xi Jinping first announced the $46 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) in 2014, the project has quickly become the centerpiece of diplomatic relations between the two countries. CPEC will include highways, railways, and oil and gas pipelines – all constructed via Chinese companies.

The CPEC project aims to connect China and Pakistan, ending in Pakistan’s Gwadar Port on the Arabian Sea.
The CPEC project aims to connect China and Pakistan, with an outlet to Pakistan’s Gwadar Port on the Arabian Sea.

Even the possibility of the scheme’s partial achievement has injected optimism in a country starved for infrastructure and energy investment. The deal has also greatly incentivized the government to clamp down on terrorist groups. Economic success is by no means guaranteed especially given China’s checkered track record of investing in infrastructure projects abroad. Still, China’s bet on Pakistan could overshadow US contributions unless we rethink our mix of engagement.

Similar to its approach in Kazakhstan, China is interested in leveraging Pakistan – in the words of Dan Twining – as a “launching pad” for greater connectivity with energy producers in the Gulf and Middle East, as well as markets in the West. The good news is that Pakistani businesses still prefer the allure of technology transfer and innovation offered by U.S. companies. But make no mistake: for Pakistanis, Chinese investment is better than no investment.

 

Pakistan: The Next Colombia Success Story?
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A New Development Story

Pakistan has a population of 182.1 million people and is the 6th largest country in the world. Sixty percent of the population is of working age. By 2050, Pakistan’s total population will be nearly 300 million, making it roughly ten times the size of Afghanistan. Pakistan is also among the world’s fastest urbanizing countries with half its people projected to live in cities by 2050. Twenty years ago, Islamabad, a planned city much like Brasilia, had a population of 400,000; today, it has a population of around 3 million including the peri-urban areas. Many Pakistani cities are undergoing a similar urbanization process, and this will create massive demands on food, energy, water, and consumer goods.

At the same time, macroeconomic and structural reforms over the last several governments have narrowed the budget deficit and raised GDP growth to a stable 4.5 percent despite large energy deficits, and built foreign reserves up to over $17 billion. Low oil prices and the $14 billion in annual remittances the country receives from its 6 million-strong diaspora have also helped. There has been substantial progress in reducing poverty, which has fallen to 13.6 percent in 2011 from 35 percent in 2002; in rural areas, poverty has dropped from 40 to 15 percent during the same period. While there is some debate on the accuracy of these numbers, there has been clear progress. In May, Standard and Poor upgraded Pakistan’s credit rating from stable to positive.

Pakistan is the world’s 26th largest economy in terms of purchasing power parity. Its national economic growth plan, Vision2025, aims much higher. With 90 percent of the country employed through SMEs, Pakistan has one of the most entrepreneurial economies in the world. Complete foreign equity is permitted in the infrastructure and manufacturing sectors, helping drive FDI to $1.45 billion in 2013, a 76 percent increase over the previous year but still far too small for such a big country.

Next Steps for International Engagement

As Pakistan gradually improves on a number of fronts, so should its relationship with the United States. Clearly, Pakistan wants more than just traditional foreign aid. During my visit, a prominent Pakistani intellectual and influencer told me that “if the United States isn’t going to build stuff, then it shouldn’t don’t bother.” Given the smaller budget envelope for U.S. infrastructure projects (the largest infrastructure project built by the United States in the last decade is the new U.S. embassy), assistance should be geared towards facilitating infrastructure investment particularly in the water and energy sectors.

Specifically, the United States should encourage regulatory and policy reform and encourage greater US investment using specialized agencies including Overseas Private Investment Corporation, the U.S. Trade Development Agency and USAID’s Development Credit Authority. Negotiations for a U.S.-Pakistan Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) have stalled due to reservations on both sides, but a successfully concluded BIT would be a strong signal of certainty and stability for US based investors interested in deeper engagement in Pakistan. This might be a good topic for discussion when Prime Minister Sharif visits DC in October.

A high level Pakistani official told me of their need for at least Pakistani 10,000 PhDs from the US in the near future. The United States should find more ways to increase educational opportunities for Pakistani students especially in critical areas such as urban planning, public administration, agriculture, and STEM.

Currently, the U.S. relationship with the country has been limited to a risk mitigation paradigm. However, the changes outlined above warrant a reframing of the way countries such as the United States engage with Pakistan’s government and especially its private sector. Pakistan is on a hopeful path and with the right mix of assistance and private investment, the United States can participate in Pakistan’s upside and remain a strategic partner.

 

This article previously stated that projections indicate Pakistan’s population will approach 300 million by 2025. It has been edited to indicate this will occur by 2050.

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Pakistan: The Next Colombia Success Story?

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http://www.forbes.com/sites/danielrunde/2015/08/03/pakistan-the-next-colombiasuccess-story/

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China-Pakistan Energy Corridor By Brig (Retd) Asif Haroon Raja

China-Pakistan Energy Corridor

Asif Haroon Raja

 

 

 

 

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Establishment of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) was first proposed by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang during his visit to Pakistan in May 2013. Li stated, Our two sides should focus on carrying out priority projects in connectivity, energy development and power generation”. At that time, Pak-China bilateral trade had reached $12 billion. The proposed project of linking Kashgar in northwest China with Gwadar Port on southwestern Arabian Sea coastline in Baluchistan was approved on July 5, 2013 during the visit of PM Nawaz Sharif to Beijing, which included construction of 200 km long tunnel. In December 2013, China committed $6.5 billion for the construction of a major nuclear power project in Karachi. In May 2014, another agreement was signed to start Orange Line metro train project in Lahore worth $1.27 billion. In November 2014, the two countries signed 19 agreements related to CPEC. In addition, Chinese firms started work on six mega power projects in Gilgit-Baltistan such as Dassu, Phandar, Bashu, Harpo, Yalbo to tackle Pakistan’s energy crisis.  

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Originally scheduled to come on September 14-16 last year, China’s President Xi Jinping’s visit was postponed in the wake of prolonged anti-government protests in Islamabad and security concerns, and the government not wanting anything untoward happening. Postponement of the visit was seen by the government as a big setback since it entailed investment of $26 billion in Pakistan. Onus of postponement was squarely put on the shoulders of those indulging in futile dharna politics. This setback was not an ordinary one when seen in the backdrop of worst ever energy crisis, economy in shambles, state corporations in decay and all economic indicators in negative – thanks to the inglorious five-year rule of PPP led coalition. Cash-strapped Pakistan struggling to finance energy projects from western donors couldn’t afford a single day delay.

Operation Zarb-e-Azb which started in mid June 2014 in North Waziristan after the brazen terror attack on Jinnah airport in Karachi and peace talks having fallen apart was put in top gear after the gruesome tragedy in Peshawar Army Public School on December 16, 2014. Its scope was spread all over the country and cooperation with Afghanistan was greatly improved. Rangers-Police intelligence based targeted operation in Karachi was also speeded up and so was Frontier Corps-Police operation in Baluchistan. These efforts were backed by National Security Policy, Counter Terrorism Policy, Joint Intelligence Directorate to coordinate efforts of 33 intelligence agencies, formation of Counter Terrorism Force at federal and provincial levels, lifting of moratorium on hanging of convicts, setting up of military courts and focussed 20-point National Action Plan, all in a bid to eliminate the scourge of terrorism.

Brilliant successes against terrorism and extremism, which raised the stature of Pak Army backed by air force very high among the international comity, helped in further enhancing the confidence of China’s leadership in Pakistan. Well aware of Indo-US encirclement plan and shifting of Ameica’s pivot to Asia-Pacific to contain China, the latter wanted an early opening into world market to become an unchallenged economic giant as well as the super power. Mindful of the under developemnt of its western province which is its soft belly and ongoing Uighur movement, China wants speedy modernisation of Xingjiang to bring it at par with eastern provinces. For the accomplishment of these dreams, China needs access to warm waters in Arabian Sea through Gwadar since this route is the shortest and the cheapest. This access was never granted to Russia. With this objective in view, President Xi Jinping undertook a visit to Islamabad and pleasantly surprised the Pakistanis by raising the level of investment from $ 26 billion to $ 45 Billion in Pakistan.

Pakistanis opened their hearts to welcome the worthy guest. During his two-day historic visit (April 20-21, 2015), President Xi signed 51 agreements/MoUs worth $28 billion, with $17 billion in pipeline spread over 15 years. His visit achieved the milestone of the groundbreaking of historic 3,000 km-long strategic China-Pakistan-Energy-Corridor (CPEC). It includes $ 18 billion worth energy projects such as coal, solar, hydroelectric power projects which will inject 10,400 MW electricity in the national grid by 2017/18, laying down fibre optic cable from Xingjiang to Rawalpindi, 1240 km long Karachi-Lahore motorway, metro and bus service in six major cities, up gradation of 1300 km long Karakorum Highway (first opened in 1978), oil/gas pipelines, commercial sea-lanes and host of other projects.

The CPEC project will include building new roads, a 1,800-km railway line and a network of oil pipelines to connect Kashgar in China’s western Xinjiang region to the seaport of Gwadar. It includes a string of energy projects, special economic zones, dry ports and other infrastructure. China is helping Pakistan in producing plutonium at Chinese built Khushab reactor and will also sell 8 submarines worth $5 billion, which will give a quantum jump to Pak Navy’s sea capability.

Gwadar, once a part of Oman before it was sold to Pakistan in 1958, is one of the least developed districts in Balochistan province. It sits strategically near the Persian Gulf and close to the Strait of Hormuz, through which 40 per cent of the world’s oil passes. Work on Gwadar deep-seaport had started in 2002 with China’s investment. In 2013, management of the seaport which was in the sloppy hands of Singapore PSA International was handed over to China’s Port Holdings. It is planned to develop Gwadar into free trade zone with a modern airport on the model of Singapore or Hong Kong and a gateway to CPEC. Some analysts perceive Gwadar port turning into China’s naval base in the Indian Ocean, enabling Beijing to monitor Indian and American naval activities and thus frustrating their ambition to convert the ocean into exclusive Indian lake. Modernization of Pak Navy by China is seen as a step in that direction.

 

 

Energy-poor Pakistan certainly seems to have found a saviour in China, which has promised to stand by the country in its dark hour (parts of the country suffer power cuts for up to 18 hours a day). Jubilant President Mamnoon Hussain predicted that the economic corridor will be a “monument of the century” benefitting “billions of people” in the region. Analysts believe that the CPEC has the potential to radically alter the regional dynamics of trade, development and politics. They say the projects conceived under CPEC will ease Pakistan’s energy shortages and make a substantial difference in the long term with both generation and transmission covered. Some experts opine this initiative can bring greater cohesion in South Asia, one of the world’s least economically integrated regions. Adil Najam, Dean of the Boston University Pardee School of Global Studies, believes anything that binds the region together is “a good idea” since countries tend to focus on “zero-sum geostrategic posturing” rather than recognising the benefits of integration. MNA Ahsan Iqbal says “CPEC is a game changer for the entire region and will uplift the lives of about 3 billion people across China, Central Asia, South Asia and the Middle East.

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While the CPEC may be ‘monumental’ for Pakistan, for China it is part of more ambitious plans to beef up the country’s global economic muscle. Chinese officials describe the corridor as the “flagship project” of a broader policy — “One Belt, One Road” — which seeks to physically connect China to its markets in Asia, Europe and beyond. This initiative includes the New Silk Road which will link China with Europe through Central Asia and the Maritime Silk Road to ensure a safe passage of China’s shipping through the Indian Ocean and the South China Sea. China is not building the corridor as an act of charity for Pakistan. It will happily fund and build any structure that plays into this goal – whether we’re talking about roads or ports”,  says Michael Kugelman, a senior associate at the Washington DC based Woodrow Wilson Centre. Access to Indian Ocean via Gwadar will enable China’s naval warships and merchant ships to bypass Malacca Strait.    

 

 

 

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At the same time, the new silk roads are bound to intensify ongoing competition between India and China –and to a lesser extent between China and the US – to invest in and cultivate influence in the broader Central Asian region. Kugelman stated, India has long had its eyes on energy assets in Central Asia and Afghanistan, even as China has gobbled many of these up in recent years. The US has announced its own Silk Road initiative in the broader region. India is concerned about China’s huge investment in Pakistan, particularly its recent decision to fund a new batch of nuclear reactors. Pakistan plans to add four new nuclear plants by 2023, funded by China, with four more reactors in the pipeline (adding up to a total power capacity of 7,930 MW by 2030). India and other detractors of Pakistan are propagating that China is supplying nuclear technology to Pakistan in defiance of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) guidelines, which forbid nuclear transfer to Pakistan as it has not signed the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. China argues that these projects were agreed with Pakistan before it became a member of NSG in 2004.

Pakistan has remained under a dark star for a long period; it has bravely sailed past the period of trials and tribulations but at a very heavy cost. Pakistan has acted as the frontline state against the Soviets and against global terrorism and suffered enormously, but in the process it allowed China 35 free years to develop and prosper. Landmark CPEC has further cemented Pak-China relations and made them natural allies. China’s liberal investment which surpasses all foreign investments in Pakistan in the past are based on trust, confidence and convergence of interests and both are in a win-win cooperation. The all-weather, time-tested friends share common vision and seek peace and not confrontation. They have entered into a new era of geo-economic relationship and plan to boost two-way trade to $20 billion.

The Silk Road Economic Belt will not only connect and develop China and Pakistan but also the regional countries for the first time and promote peace. It has opened vista of great opportunities for Pakistan and will greatly help in poverty alleviation, overcome unemployment, remove inequities of smaller provinces and help Pakistan in becoming the next Asian tiger. Strategic economic moment for Pakistan has arrived and interesting part is that Pakistan has assumed the position of economic pivot for the whole region. This paradigm shift in circumstances is a cause of great worry for the enemies of Pakistan both within and outside. They have put their heads together to work out new strategies how to block the forward march, but time and tide is not in their favor.  

The writer is a retired Brig/defence analyst/columnist/author of five books, Member Executive Council PESS, Director Measac Research Centre, Director Board of Governors TFP. asifharoonraja@gmail.com

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

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Pakistan test fires nuclear-capable ballistic missile by Tim Craig

 

 

 

 

Pakistan test fires nuclear-capable ballistic missile(0:45)

 
 
Pakistan conducted a successful test launch of a surface-to-surface ballistic missile on Monday, capable of carrying nuclear and conventional warheads. (Reuters)

 

 

 

In recent years, India has moved toward the creation of a missile defense system and is upgrading its air force and submarine fleet. In 2012, India test-launched its first intercontinental ballistic missile, which it said has a range of more than 3,100 miles.

India’s growing defense budget is largely a result of its uneasy relationship with China. But Pakistan and India have fought three major wars since 1947. Analysts estimate that Pakistan and India possess about 100 nuclear warheads each, and nonproliferation experts say the Indian subcontinent remains a nuclear flash point.

Several Pakistani military analysts said the Shaheen-III has a range greater than that of any other Pakistani missile. The maximum range of the earlier versions of the Shaheen missile was about 1,500 miles, which meant it could not reach parts of India’s eastern frontier.

“Now, India doesn’t have its safe havens anymore,” said Shahid Latif, a retired commander of Pakistan’s air force. “It’s all a reaction to India, which has now gone even for tests of extra-regional missiles. . . . It sends a loud message: If you hurt us, we are going to hurt you back.”

Some analysts caution that the true range of the Shaheen-III could be less than what Pakistani military leaders claim. But Monday’s test could aggravate unease in parts of the Middle East, including Israel. Historically, there also has been some tension between Pakistan, which is overwhelmingly Sunni, and Shiite-dominated Iran.

Mansoor Ahmed, a strategic studies and nuclear expert at Quaid-i-Azam University in Islamabad, said, however, that Pakistan’s nuclear ambitions are focused solely on India.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

India has a no-first-use policy on nuclear weapons. But Pakistani leaders have repeatedly declined to adopt a similar stance, saying they might be forced to resort to nuclear weapons should India invade Pakistan with conventional forces. The Indian army is more than twice the size of Pakistan’s and has a vast advantage in weaponry such as tanks, aircraft and artillery pieces.

Ahmed said Pakistan’s military is not interested in a “tit-for-tat” arms race with India. Instead, he said, Pakistan hopes to improve “existing capabilities,” including new delivery systems for evading an Indian missile defense shield.

Ahmed said he suspects that Pakistani scientists and engineers are working to equip the Shaheen-III with multiple warheads, which would make the missiles harder to defend against. Pakistan is also seeking to advance its cruise missile technology. Ahmed said the ­Shaheen-III can be fired from mobile launchers, making the missiles easier to conceal and move around in the event of a nuclear exchange between India and Pakistan.

Jeffrey Lewis, a nuclear and nonproliferation scholar at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, said Pakistan has been working to make smaller, lighter nuclear warheads. A smaller warhead makes it far more likely that the Shaheen-III can really deliver a nuclear payload up to 1,700 miles.

“You would want to model it, but at first approximation, I would be surprised to learn [the range] would be widely off,” Lewis said.

The timing of Monday’s missile test caught some analysts by surprise. It occurred less than a week after India’s foreign secretary, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, ­visited Islamabad to meet with Pakistani diplomats in a bid to improve bilateral relations.

Although Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has expressed interest in boosting ties with India, Pakistani military leaders are deeply skeptical of such efforts. And the testing of nuclear-capable missiles has, at times, appeared to serve as an outlet for the military to vent frustrations.

In early February, just days after President Obama signed a deal with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi for enhanced civilian nuclear cooperation, Pakistan test-fired a short-range cruise missile.

Shaiq Hussain contributed to ­­
this report.

Read more:

Pakistan looks to Russia for military, economic assistance

 

Tim Craig is The Post’s bureau chief in Pakistan. He has also covered conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan and within the District of Columbia government.

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Media can make Naya Pakistan By Asad Khan Betini

Media can make Naya Pakistan  

By Asad Khan Betini 

 

Even if your intellect is a replica of “Plato”, The Mainstream Newspapers won’t allow your ideas reach millions of readers unless an elite bureaucrat or a leader intends to make news headline or contribute. What can you expect from such Mediums those are not the voice of general masses but a platform of particular contributors who have wrapped themselves in the cloak of patriotism, human rights or both to overawe and undermine the real ideology of Pakistan.  Do you have any idea how poor survive when cold or the warm weather is on its zenith? We must not forget IDPs, who are craving for medical aid; their loved ones are dying in vain, The Thar which is not being covered properly, and Balochistan an abyss of problems due to unnoticed corruption.  Mainstream Newspapers will only try to make headlines of The “President” or the “Opposition” or waiting for a “Mishap” to be happened, but won’t bother question local people of their snags. Our common crowds have turned into sacrificial animals and sole edibles of our failed democracy. The ignored people of FATA and Balochistan are strongly in dissonance, agitation and discomfort and their cities are on the verge of backwardness. Those representatives who are continuously elected must be brought into account if we want Naya Pakistan. Particularly, In Balochistan, one representative is elected again and again with a simple trick of aiding “needy people” during election campaigns.   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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We must remind these politicians their real purpose, we ought to enforce “The Success of Democracy”, and it is possible through engaging common citizen taking part in opinions at grass-root levels. Due to unawareness, illiteracy, blind fundamentalism, these people fall prey to political tactics and their long convincing speeches especially by Mullas or by other wealthy factions. There should be honesty without the thought of heaven or hell.  There are other high profile politicians too who can be named here, and I openly mention here honorable Asif Ali Zardari who has turned his back to Garhi Khuda Baksh Where people are starving to death, and the lack of many basic facilities, and the other so called heros of Sindh Who disregard Thar. Similarly Maulana Fazal ur Rehman has not done a single development work for the people of Dera Ismail Khan and not to speak of Balochistan because Corruption is still an instance of white ant in the province. The Media must enforce popular will, instead encouraging terrorist attacks with live coverage and front page stories, there should be minor amendments in our minds. I think the greatest Jihad is spreading educational awareness, through letting people know the practical means of popular sovereignty. These things are possible if an integrated effort is done by mainstream Media through the opinion polls with title of “Kia aap apnay muntakhib numainday say mutmaeen hayn?” At least there ought to be a soft corner for general masses of the parishes, towns and districts where they could share the progress report of their elected representatives and administration.If this concept is officially applied, it is not less than a grand proposal, through database or NADRA type organization can manage application to engage citizen in official public opinion programmes.  Media has to assume its real purpose and forget being pawn. 

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