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Archive for category POOR GOVERNANCE BY NAWAZ SHARIF GOVT

China Counters Indian Influence in South Asia By Sajjad Shaukat

China Counters Indian Influence in South Asia

By Sajjad Shaukat

 

Under the caption “Chinese investment in Bangladesh rings India alarm bells, Beijing deepens ties across South Asia billion infrastructure loans”, a news item was published in the Financial Times on August 7, 2018. Its summary is:  “China has invested $3.7bn in Bangladesh to built a 6 km long bridge over Padma River which will link north and south Bangladesh by road and rail. India is disturbed over Chinese growing influence in South Asia where it funded similar projects in Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, and the Maldives. It is ringing alarm bells in India which surrounds Bangladesh on three sides and considers itself as Dhaka’s principal ally. India should be concerned, given the role China is also playing in other countries which surround it. In Pakistan, Beijing is planning to spend $60bn on roads, railways and power plants as part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, which will give China access to the sea via Gwadar port on Pakistan’s south coast. In the Maldives, it has signed a trade agreement and has been handed a contract to build a new airport that was originally granted to the Indian company GMR Infrastructure. In Sri Lanka, it has taken control of the southern port of Hambantota after Colombo was unable to repay the money it borrowed from Chinese state-backed lenders to build it.”

 

In fact, China is countering Indian influence in South Asia, as New Delhi has planned to establish its hegemony in the region.

 

 

 

 

 

 

In this regard, the fast-growing economic power of China coupled with her rising strategic relationship with the Third World has irked the eyes of Americans, Israelis, some Western countries and particularly, Indians. Owing to jealousy, America desires to make India a major power to counterbalance China in Asia.

 

America which is backing Indian hegemony in Asia, especially to counterbalance China is supplying New Delhi latest weapons, arms, and aircraft. During President Barack Obama’s second visit to India, the US and India announced a breakthrough on a pact which would allow American companies to supply New Delhi with civilian nuclear technology, as agreed upon in 2008. Besides, America also announced $4 billion of new initiatives aimed at boosting trade and investment ties as well as jobs for the Indians. During Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to America, the then President Barack Obama strongly assured him to favour India’s membership in the Nuclear Supplier Group (NSG), Earlier; Washington also pressurized the International Atomic Agency (IAEA) to sign an accord of specific safeguards with New Delhi. America had already contacted the NSG to grant a waiver to India for starting civil nuclear trade on a larger scale. In the recent past, during the meeting in Washington, the US President Donald Trump also gave the same assurances to Modi.

 

 

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By availing the US secret diplomacy, in the pretext of the presumed threat of China, India has been trying to establish her dominance in South Asia.

 

Historically, India has continued interventionist and hegemonic policies vis-à-vis her neighbours through its secret agency RAW. Besides supporting separatism in East Pakistan which resulted in the dismemberment of Pakistan and continued assistance to the separatist elements of Pakistan’s Balochistan province, New Delhi occupied Sikkim, subdued Bhutan, sponsored terrorism in Sri Lanka, and has been teasing Nepal.

 

As part of the double game, India has also been making a cordial relationship with the small countries of South Asia with a view to colonializing them gradually. For example, during the visit of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to New Delhi, India and Bangladesh on April 8, 2017, signed 22 agreements in the fields of defence cooperation, civil nuclear energy, space and cyber security among others, following bilateral talks between Indian Prime Minister Modi and his Bangladeshi counterpart. Both the countries also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) through which India would extend a line of credit of $500 million to support Bangladesh’s defence-related procurements.

 

India is planning to counteract China’s influence in Sri Lanka. In this respect, two different stories in published in Indian media, need attention.

 

In this context, on April 27, 2017, on a website, LiveMint.Com, Elizabeth Roche under the title, “India renews Sri Lanka ties to counter China influence in South Asia” wrote, “India moved to cement closer economic ties with Sri Lanka in a bid to negate the growing influence of strategic rival China in the Indian Ocean region and South Asia. A pact on economic cooperation was signed in the presence of visiting Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and his host Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The leaders welcomed the signing of the memorandum of understanding for Cooperation in Economic Projects, which outlines the agenda for bilateral economic cooperation in the foreseeable future”, an Indian foreign ministry statement said without giving details—Both sides expressed their commitment to ensuring that this mutually beneficial agenda is expeditiously implemented.”

 

Roche explained, “Analysts said this move by India was aimed at warding off increasing Chinese influence in South Asia which India considers its sphere of influence. In recent years, China has tried to co-opt Sri Lanka and the Maldives into its ambitious. One Belt One Road initiative—a programmes to invest billions of dollars in infrastructure projects including railways, ports and power grids across Asia, Africa and Europe—Given the subsequent hiccups in the neighborhoods first policy or placing—a deterioration of ties with Pakistan and strains in India-Nepal ties for instance—Modi seems to be looking at a new framework of ties with India’s neighbours with the aim of countering Chinese influence, Mansingh said. The new formula includes an element of strong economic cooperation, he said, pointing to India announcing the extension of a $4.5 billion line of credit for development infrastructure and other projects in Bangladesh and another $500 million for defence hardware purchases for Dhaka during the 7-9 April visit of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to India.”

 

Similarly, Indian media and websites gave much coverage to an article, published by German TV Channel (Which also publishes online news items) under the title “India Nips at China’s Heels in Race to Collect Lanka Port Assets” written by Iain Marlow and Saket Sundria, April 26, 2017.

 

Iain Marlow and Saket Sundria wrote, “India is looking to invest in a colonial-era Sri Lankan oil-storage facility as it seeks to further its naval interests in the Indian Ocean and push China back in the process. A unit of state-owned Indian Oil Corp., the country’s largest refiner, is set to help fund the $350 million development of an 84-tank facility at the strategically located Trincomalee port on Sri Lanka’s east coast. India and Sri Lanka are also discussing setting up a refinery in the island nation, according to Shyam Bohra, managing director of Indian Oil’s subsidiary Lanka IOC. The talks come before a meeting between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe in New Delhi. Still, India’s interests in the Sri Lankan port are probably more strategic than economic, part of its effort to displace hefty investment coming into the country from China and preserving a key gateway to the Indian Ocean. China is expanding both militarily and economically in the region, and its submarines have docked previously in Colombo. Lanka IOC is managing the 15 tanks and a lubricant blending unit. The governments of India and Sri Lanka have agreed in principle to jointly develop part of the tank farm…The Sri Lankan government has suggested that Lanka IOC retain 74 of the 84 reconstructed tanks through an equal joint venture with Ceylon Petroleum Corp., Chandima Weerakkody, Sri Lanka’s minister of petroleum resources development said by phone. The other 10 would be handed back to Ceylon Petroleum, he said… Shyam Bohra, managing director of Indian Oil’s subsidiary Lanka IOC said…Lanka IOC is open to the joint development of the tank farm. Something should definitely happen because we are very keen to see to it that the facility is developed, However, Weerakkody…the minister compared India’s investments unfavourably to China’s. India should expedite their projects that they engage in, he said. Chinese investments—they are pretty quick. India’s foreign ministry was not immediately available for comment. If India’s investments materialize, the historic but relatively obscure port could become a hub for New Delhi, whose navy must go around Sri Lanka as it crosses from ports on India’s west coast in the Arabian Sea to those on the east coast in the Bay of Bengal. But New Delhi’s plans would almost certainly be worth far less than Beijing’s ambitious infrastructure-building in Sri Lanka. China has already built a port at Hambantota in Sri Lanka’s south in a move that alarmed Indian observers.”

 

Iain Marlow and Saket Sundria further wrote, “Beijing has also invested heavily in Gwadar, a port in Pakistan that serves as the terminus of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

 

As regards Nepal, on Nov 28, 2016, a memorandum was forwarded by the Greater Nepal Nationalist Front (GNNF) to the UN General Secretary Ban Ki-moon on facts, which disqualify India for attaining permanent membership of the UN Security Council (UNSC). The memorandum pointed out that “these days India is vying for a permanent United Nations Security Council (UNSC) seat. Greater Nepal Nationalist Front (GNNF) would like to register…reservations against Indian candidature for a permanent seat in the esteemed UNSC.”

 

It said, “Nepal has been a victim of Indian hegemonic and high handed mentality. India imposed a blockade against Nepal…why was India annoyed with Nepal? Because the people of Nepal did not heed Indian advise on promulgating a Nepalese Constitution. India refused to accept the mandate of the people of Nepal as the constitution was approved by more than 90% vote of the Constituent Assembly. India continues to illegally occupy 60000 square Kilo Meters of Nepalese territory.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In this context, on March 25, 2017, ABC News conducted a talk programme/interview with Mr Phanidra Nepal (Mr PN) Chairman of Greater Nepal Nationalist Front, and Dr Bishnu Dahal. In the programme, the discussion was carried out on the need to change Nepal’s foreign policy so that Kathmandu can maintain an equal level of relations with both Beijing and New Delhi. Mr PN said, “Border blockade, unrest in Madhesh, growing anti-India sentiments, excessive Indian interference in internal affairs of Nepal is largely the consequence of our faulty foreign policy and diplomacy…None of the current crises being faced by Nepal is an overnight development, rather these were expected long time ago due to India dependent policies of our country, but Nepalese leaders have failed to read the writing on the wall. China has never opposed maintaining good relations with India but India always managed to alienate Nepal from China. Most of the Nepalese leaders are guided by selfish motives and they try to climb an easy ladder to power through India. This is one of the main reasons that Nepal is subjected to undue Indian pressures, harassments and humiliations. Nepal will have to bear some economic hardship in the short term, but it can lessen all difficulties and achieve a sustainable growth in the long term if it adopts Chinese funded mega projects especially OBOR [China’s One Belt One Road] to reduce dependency on a single country, i.e. India. India is worried about visits of Greater Nepal’s campaigner Phanindra Nepal to China and through diplomatic channels may express her concerns.”

 

In this connection, in an article, under the caption, “Nepal leader vows to revive Chinese dam project, open to review pact over Nepalese soldiers in India”, Debasishroy Chowdhury wrote on February 25, 2018: “The campus was a US$350 million gift from China, which built it in two years and handed it over last year to the paramilitary force, which plays an important role in checking Tibetan refugees from entering Nepal. “Apart from the bricks and mortar, they brought everything from China. All the fittings, the furniture, everything,” says a visibly impressed Shrestha as he points to the overhead projector and the desks in one of the many classrooms. “This entire campus in just two years, imagine the level of efficiency…As a new government takes power in Kathmandu, this widening rift puts it on the cusp of a geopolitical transformation as Nepal seeks a hedge in China to counterbalance India’s traditional dominance.”

 

Nevertheless, India’s endeavour to alienate Nepal from China will not succeed, as a majority of the Nepalese is aware of this duplicity of New Delhi.

 

Regarding the Maldives, David Brewster pointed out on February 8, 2018: “Maldives opposition leaders, such as former president Mohamed Nasheed, are pushing for India to again intervene to restore democracy. However, Delhi’s biggest worry about the Maldives is not the current threat to democracy, but its tilt towards China, especially the possibility that Beijing may establish a naval and airbase there.” 

 

In the recent past, under the title, “Cold War between China and India”,  Jamshed wrote,

“Evidently the relationship between China and India has been strained due to border disputes and economic competition…However, both the countries are in the race to influence the region due to its geo-strategic location…The Global Times said in a recent editorial, “India has a strong desire to control all South Asian countries. It regards the region as its backyard. New Delhi is particularly sensitive to any endeavour by small South Asian states toward independence and autonomy, especially ties with other major powers. All small South Asian nations want to extricate themselves from India’s excessive leverage.” Particularly in the case of the Maldives, India has some very alarming type of fears and apprehensions with reference to the increasing Sino-Maldivian closeness. On request of the Maldivian government, China has consented on doing co-operation in the construction of a port in Northern Atoll. Moreover, last year on 8th December 2017 a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) was also signed between the Maldives and China during Maldivian President Abdulla Yasmeen’s four-day visit to Beijing. By signing this agreement, the Maldives became the second South Asian country after Pakistan to sign an FTA with China. This deal also proved a ‘stunning blow’ for India. Earlier in August 2017, the Maldives permitted three Chinese warships to visit the country, though India had expressed its strong resentment over the decision. Same is the approach of India towards the countries like Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bhutan and Myanmar and even towards Bangladesh. Whereas, China also wants to have its presence as well as influence in the region.”

 

An analyst wrote, Nepal maintains cordial ties with all its neighbours. Since it is one of the less developed countries in the region, it is interested in seeking investment for its economic development. Kathmandu intends to diversify its economic interdependence and develop its reliance on all the South Asian countries for resources and development. Nepal and Bhutan can be a big source of hydropower for neighbours. Bhutan and Maldives view regional economic cooperation as a strategy to bring about economic self-reliance and mutual prosperity. Bhutan aims to improve air links and telecommunication between member states. The Maldives, on the other hand, is interested in joint economic ventures, and in achieving greater liberalization of its economy. China’s observer status in SAARC was a product of the push from Nepal, Bangladesh and Pakistan. China is investing in several infrastructure projects such as the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar (BCIM) Corridor in South Asia. It is also investing in mega projects in Sri Lanka and the Maldives and enjoys cordial relations with Nepal.”

 

Besides, as part of the double game, based in Afghanistan, CIA-led Indian RAW and Israeli Mossad are also destabilizing Afghanistan and Pakistan through terrorism-related attacks and are giving a greater setback to the collective efforts of Russia, China and Pakistan which want peace and stability in Afghanistan.

 

Nonetheless, China is successfully countering Indian influence in South Asia. New Delhi will have to understand that maintaining hegemony in the region through negative planning is a bad idea in the 21St century. If India has to create a positive role, she will have to lend a hand to its Chinese investment in Bangladesh and other South Asian countries.

 

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

 

Email: sajjad_logic@yahoo.com

 

 

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Controversial Senate Elections Brig.Gen (Retd) Asif Haroon Raja

Controversial Senate Elections

Brig.Gen (Retd) Asif Haroon Raja

 

 

 

 

The March 3 Senate elections seem to be the most controversial elections in the 45-year-old history of the upper house of the Parliament as all the parties are crying foul and accusing each other of indulging in horse-trading. It is proven that big amounts were doled out to 20 legislators of PTI in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly to secure votes for PPP. PTI MPAs have confirmed that they are being asked by their leadership to return the amounts. Likewise MQM (Bahadurabad Group) MPAs were also purchased by Zardari.

Next round of foul play was witnessed on March 12, on which the election for the offices of Senate chairman and deputy chairman took place. PML-N with highest numbers of seats had fielded Raja Zafarul Haq to contest against joint opposition candidate Sadiq Sanjrani from Balochistan. Zafarul Haq was appointed at the 11th hour when PPP refused to accept PML-N’s proposal to field outgoing chairman Raza Rabbani. For the seat of a deputy, Usman Kakar from Balochistan was pitched against Mandiwala (PPP nominee). The opposition band comprised of PPP, PTI and MQM (Bahadurabad).   

The ones sitting inside the parliament house and those watching on their television screens were taken by complete surprise as the presiding officer declared that 40-year-old Sadiq Sanjrani, an unknown entity and a political minnow was the new, democratically-elected chairman of the Senate. He had secured six votes more than the desired figure of 52. Without any political association, he had managed to defeat an alliance of parties headed by political heavyweights such as Nawaz Sharif (NS), Mahmood Khan Achakzai, Maulana Fazlur Rehman, Hasil Bizenjo and Pir Pagara.

To dub this is a surprise would be an understatement. How could a pygmy first win the Senate elections as an independent candidate, and then, bag the crown of chairman of the upper house of the parliament? How could he floor all the seasoned politicians in one lunge? The only support that Sanjrani seemed to have was from five independent candidates from Balochistan. There had to be some secret hands that helped him in achieving the marvel.

What magic this six-man team had that forced archenemies Asif Ali Zardari and Imran Khan (IK) to join forces and put their weight behind Sanjrani? Why did the PPP the second-largest party in the house with 20 seats opt for the deputy chairman`s office? The consensus among commentators is that the party would have bagged the Senate chairman`s office with ease had Raza Rabbani been nominated. Whether one likes it or not, the fact is that Sadiq Sanjrani is now the democratically elected chairman of the Senate, as prescribed in the constitution.

Elections to the Senate are held after every three years. In Pakistan, where the military has directly ruled for more than three decades, these elections have continued to take place without fail for the past 33 years. But never have the Senate elections evoked as much public attention as they did this time.

The media gave exceptional coverage to it, in part because there was absolutely no certainty about whether elections would even be held. The apprehension was that the `real political players` or the `establishment` of the country did not want to see a second smooth transition from one civilian government to another.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A perception that Senate elections were in jeopardy was given hype by the media and PML-N social media in the wake of the events that had unfolded starting with the Supreme Court removing NS from office in the Panama Papers case to a ruling that barred NS from holding the office of party president. As Senate elections drew nearer, this narrative bugged the minds of all the mainstream political parties and had become a hot topic for discussion by the analysts.

Some baseless rumours gained currency and several scenarios about future political dispensation were floated and heatedly debated on social media. The most hyped themes were ‘technocrat government’, and ‘nexus between Establishment and Judiciary. While NS and his lobbyists blamed the judiciary for being prejudiced, anti-NS lobbyists bucked up the judiciary and kept elbowing it to hurry his conviction in three reference cases.  

The seeds of discontent were sown in January when the PML-N lost its coalition government in Balochistan after a revolt within the party. Many started to argue that this political move in Balochistan, at this point in time, was being orchestrated by the invisible `non-political forces` in an attempt to delay the Senate polls or to deprive PML-N of winning Senate elections.

The ruling party found more reasons to beat the drum. Its stalwarts cried out that it was not possible for Zardari to have conducted political engineering and horse trading all by himself. The July 2017 apex court verdict that barred Sharif from holding a party office also deprived PML-N candidates of their election symbol, just a few days before the Senate polls, because their nominations had been signed by Sharif. These steps further reinforced the suspicions of PML-N that the judiciary was predisposed and was implementing the given script. 

Despite the obstructions, the Senate elections could not be delayed. But those intent on disrupting the democratic process had more tricks up their sleeves. Analysts and political pundits in Islamabad believe that once `Plan A `to delay the Senate elections failed to materialise, the `schemers` implemented `Plan B` and deprived the single largest party of the upper house of getting its nominees elected as the Senate chairman and the deputy chairman.

Similarly, it was also opined by some politicians that when `their` plan to force the government to call it a day through Faizabad Interchange dharna failed and the next plan to bring Zardari and IK together through Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) chief Dr Tahirul Qadri in last January also backfired, they managed to achieve the same target through unknown young Balochistan Chief Minister Abdul Quddoos Bizenjo belonging to PML-Q.

Lodged in Balochistan House in Islamabad a few days before the Senate elections, Quddoos shuttled between Zardari House and Bani Gala and eventually managed to bring the two antagonists together. He succeeded in getting IK to vote for Zardari`s nominee for deputy chairman. Although the move was justified in the name of giving representation to a smaller province, nobody is ready to believe that Zardari and IK have done so out of love for the people of Balochistan and to alleviate their sufferings.

Both PTI and PPP are vying to gain power in next elections, but well knowing that their chances are slim due to their below average performance, they are expectantly looking toward the judiciary to remove the major stumbling block, NS led PML-N whose performance is far superior to others. Another contender for power has emerged in the form of Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) under Quddus, which comprise mostly of dissidents of PML-N. All legislators of PML-N in Baluchistan will soon join the new party.

It has unveiled the wily plan which is similar to the birthing of King’s Party by Gen Musharraf in 2002. Other suchlike experiments were MQM, MQM Haqiqi and PSP. We know the fate of those experiments. For the first time, a national party had won a sizeable chunk of seats in Baluchistan in 2013 elections and it might have further improved its vote bank in next elections. Regionalization of politics and marginalization of national political parties, when seen in context with germs of provincialism and 18th Amendment, is harmful to the federation.

The BAP soon after its inception on March 29, made history by inducing exiled Juma Khan Marri to return and join the new party. Hopefully, more would return. If the intentions of BAP are sincere and based on the honesty of purpose to make Baluchistan peaceful, integrated and prosperous and free of racial prejudices, I wish the new party all the best.    

Many in the PTI rank and file are unhappy with the leadership`s decision to enter into an undeclared alliance with the most corrupt Zardari. They feel that the party has compromised its high moral ground. In order to hide his embarrassment and to pacify PTI activists, IK futilely tried to justify his volte-face by saying: `Had we allowed the PML-N to bag the office of the Senate chairman, they would have brought legislation to save the Sharifs from accountability and to protect the money that they have looted.

The other fear of PTI, PPP, Judiciary and the Establishment was that after winning a majority in both the houses, PML-N will not only restore NS but also clip the wings of Judiciary and Establishment. PTI’s leading lights naively feel that the move made by their leader has not only blocked PML-N from gaining a majority in two houses but has also lessened the chances of victory of PMLN in coming elections and brightened the chances of PTI. 

Saner elements and experienced politicians, however, are not buying their arguments and believe that machinations in the Senate polls amount to razing of a genuine political mandate and will harm democratic progress. Some are suspecting that once the initial plan of sabotaging Senate elections backfired, Plan B was launched to put up controlled Senate with puppets running the show. They say that perhaps Raza Rabbani and Farhatullah Babar advocating supremacy of parliament were irreconcilable.

Some of the reasons behind Plan B were the sinister designs of ruling party, hype created by media about annulment of certain clauses of 18th Amendment in the constitution, supposedly harmful to the integrity of the federation, allegedly professed by COAS Gen Bajwa, together with so-called Bajwa doctrine and the circulating gossip that ‘Army was standing behind the judiciary’.

Nationalist Senators from Baluchistan affiliated with PML-N were in high temper and expressed their deep resentment after the results were announced and the first session of The Senate was presided over by Sanjrani.  They bewailed that they had managed to build a semblance of the supremacy of parliament, brick by brick, but now they felt that the house had crumbled. Hasil Bezinjo angrily said that the face of parliament had been blackened.

He claimed that the parliament stood defeated this day when it was practically proved that the `dominant forces` were more powerful than the parliament. He said the assemblies of Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa had been turned into a market where votes were purchased. He asked the `dominant institutions` and political parties to let democracy prevail.

PkMAP`s Usman Kakar bluntly said that an intelligence agency was continuously meddling in the affairs of parliament; an act he deemed as `venomous for the state’. He warned, `They want to defeat parliament and democracy. They have opened up a front in the country’. He appealed to all political parties to unite for the supremacy of parliament, rule of law and constitution, and to prevent the interference of intelligence agencies in politics. He argued that given what had happened during the Senate elections, the intelligence agencies had now put a question mark over the upcoming general elections, too.

Sanjrani with no past experience has an uphill task ahead of him. His first task will be to win the trust of the house, the majority of whom believe that he has reached the office through manipulation and with the support of `unseen forces.` It will be extremely difficult for him to fit into the big shoes of Rabbani who had transformed the Senate from a `debating club` to a true `House of the Federation` in merely three years and had issued 78 rulings, more than the combined rulings of his three predecessors in 13 years.

PM Khaqan Abbasi has made things further difficult for Sanjrani when he stated on March 24 that he commands no respect among the masses since votes were bought to make him the chairman. He suggested his removal and replacement by consensus chairman. Some quarters are suspecting that PML-N may use the money to bring a vote of no confidence against Sanjrani. BAP leaders have taken offence to Abbasi’s outburst and threatened to march to Islamabad if he doesn’t take his words back.    

All eyes are now set on the NAB’s verdict on three cases which have already crossed the deadline of 15 March given by apex court. So far no documentary evidence has been furnished before the trial court by prosecution witnesses including Wajid Zia that NS had any linkage with Gulf Steel Mills, Al-Azizia Steel Mills and Avenfield apartments, or he had any role in these deals. It was also not established that NS had any connection with Qatari royal family. These have apparently gone in favour of NS and has deeply upset his antagonists.

As if this worry was not enough, sudden and unplanned meeting of PM Abbasi with chief justice Saqib Nisar on March 27 is giving sleepless nights to them. They are trying to read too much out of it and fear that some kind of NRO may not have been agreed upon to let NS off the hook. Earlier on, a rumoured meeting between COAS and CM Punjab had also disturbed the opponents of PML-N. However, in the wake of NS’s unrelenting attacks on the judiciary, they are very hopeful that soon he will land in jail. 

It was against this backdrop that the DG ISPR dropped another bombshell upon the rumour mongers by making it clear in his press briefing on March 28 that the Army had played no role in political manoeuvring, nor has anything to do with NRO, or had sought an alteration in 18th Amendment. He said that the news about Gen Bajwa-Shahbaz meeting was false. He also clarified that Bajwa doctrine was misquoted and wrongly interpreted and that it envisions safe, secure and peaceful Pakistan and nothing more. He rejected the impression that the Army was behind any dharna. About elections, he stated that EC is empowered to announce dates and sitting government and interim setup have a role in it. His briefing has punctured the balloons of the gossipers trying to tarnish the image of the military.      

The people are looking forward to timely elections but for that delimitation of constituencies has to be completed by Election Commission (EC). The PM and opposition leader are required to form an interim government. It is generally perceived that given the level of aversion, differences over selection of caretaker PM and CMs will prop up and perforce EC will do the needful, failing which the Supreme Court will step in to resolve the issue. A smooth and peaceful transition will strengthen democracy. 

Despite all the internal difficulties and external dangers, I still believe that Pakistan has a great future and it has the requisite potential and resilience to overcome the challenges. Pakistan is blessed with infinite resources and CPEC is a major project which is a ray of hope in these melancholic circumstances.

Since political stability is going to play a pivotal role in the development of our country, what is needed is electoral reforms. Democracy is essential for a better Pakistan but certain crucial reforms are required such judicial, bureaucracy, police, education, media, and moral reforms. These projects should be undertaken either by the caretakers or by the next elected government. 

The writer is retired Brig, a war veteran, defence, security and political analyst, columnist, author of five books, Vice Chairman Thinkers Forum Pakistan, Director Measac Research Centre, Editor-in-Chief Better Morrow magazine. asifharoonraja@gmail.com

 

 

 

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Pakistan’s progress is slow due to corruption and incompetence in country: CJP

Pakistan’s progress is slow due to corruption and incompetence in country: CJP

CJP

Pakistan’s steps toward progress and prosperity are being slowed down by corruption and incompetence, said Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali on Saturday.

Addressing the Azad Kashmir Judicial Conference 2016 at a reception here, the chief justice said the country could be put on the path to progress and prosperity by eliminating corruption and incompetence.

He said 60 percent of cases had been pending with the high court’s for a long time and the main reasons for the backlog were incompetence, negative thinking, and corruption in government departments.

He said 20 percent cases were pending in the courts due to mala fide intentions, egotism and the case for case trend.

He said judges were the servants of the masses and not their rulers.  He said the attitude of judges towards the parties should be positive, God-fearing, tolerant and amicable during the hearing of cases.

He further added that peace was impossible without a judicial system and that self-accountability was inevitable for good governance. “Since judges perform a sacred duty, their attitude should be positive in the courts,” he said.

Justice Jamali said improvement could be brought in the judicial system through the use of the latest technology and there was also a need to benefit from the experiences of other countries in this regard. He said corruption and incompetence were eating the country like termites.

Justice Jamali said Kashmiris must be allowed to exercise their right to self-determination in accordance with the UN resolutions. He said the Muslim countries were facing conspiracies from outside while inside they faced chaos.

He said the bar was an important part of the judicial system and therefore the duties of its members were manifold.

“Creation of an effective society is impossible without flushing out basic social ailments,” he added.  He said it was the responsibility of judges to change their attitude and fulfill the requirements of the Constitution and the law.

He urged the bar to cooperate with the judiciary in order to improve the judicial system.

CJP urged the bar not to pressurise judges so that the court proceedings could be completed in a pleasant atmosphere.   Chief Justice of Azad Jammu and Kashmir also addressed the conference.

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NAWAZ SHARIF & ASIF ZARDARI’S CORRUPTION,MONEY LAUNDERING & FRAUDLY ELECTED PARLIAMENTARIANS TAKING NATION TO HELL

www.pakway.blogspot.com (27)
Pakistan Think Tank Commentary
Our Beloved 200 Million People Suffer Disaster Upon Disaster:Our Nero Nawaz Sharif & His Second Fiddle Asif Zadari Fleece The Wealth of Pakistan. Nearly $200 Bn Stolen Pakistan’s Wealth lies in Swiss Banks/.Pakistanis Die,while Nawaz sharif & Asif Zardari and their wicked Children enjoy luxurious life.
Our Young & Old Are Hungry & Thirsty;
Lets Make
Imran Khan & Dr.Tahir-ul-Qadri 
Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf & Pakistan Awami Tehreek
Boot The Showdaz or Scoundrels Out of The Rigged Elections Wicked Parliament
who have Robbed Quaid’s Pakistan for Almost 70 years.Worked on Western & India’s Agendas to Weaken Strategically Pakistan’s Armed Forces
Enough Already.
WE WILL NOT TAKE IT ANY MORE.
Abdul Quayyum Khan Kundi’s
Commentary 
My response to the joint session of the parliament:
Parliament has all the right to talk about the agenda of the protestors sitting outside. But what about the aggravating situation of poverty and decline in other human development index. What is parliament doing about rights of non-Muslims that are violated every day; about rising inflation which has made life miserable for over 60% of the population; about emancipation of women; about wide difference in quality of life between provinces and urban/rural; and about parochial approach of police to deal with law and order. What agenda has been set by the parliament to make Pakistan a social welfare state that was the vision of Quaid and Allama?

They should not forget that parliament is not an assembly of the elite but of people’s representative. They can protect their rights but they must not forget that the masses are watching them closely about rights of the majority and will hold them accountable. If these elites sitting in the parliament did not serve the people then they will rise up against them to snatch it from them by force.

Abdul Quayyum Khan Kundi
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The Failure of World Bank Projects in Pakistan

World Bank projects failing in Pakistan’
 
 
ISLAMABAD: Almost one third of World Bank’s (WB) multi-billion dollar credit financed projects in Pakistan have failed to achieve the desired results, official economic ministry documents exclusively available with the News disclosed.

 

According to the documents, this number has been rising for the last several years.

 

The portfolio assessment of WB’s funded projects in Pakistan reveals that the organization is responsible for funding projects – worth millions of dollars – like Project to Improve Financial Reporting and Auditing (PIFRA), FBR’s Tax Administration Reform Project (TARP) and Public Sector Capacity Building projects where amount may be lower but the impact on blocking key reforms is enormous.

 

The number of projects went up from 20 in 2007 to 24 in year 2012 while average implementation period increased from 3 years in 2007 to 3.4 years in 2012.

 

Problematic projects also increased with the passage of time as this number stood at 5 percent in 2007 which went up to 25 percent in 2012.

 

In terms of amount spent, this number was standing at 5 percent in 2007 which increased to 26.3 percent in 2012.

 

Twenty nine percent projects fell into the category of risk in 2012 while this number was standing at just 5 percent in 2007.

 

“The disbursement ratio declined significantly in recent years; standing at 37.5 percent in 2007 it was reduced to just 7.1 percent in 2012,” the document shows. The disbursement ratio stood at 33.8 percent in 2008, 39.9 percent in 2009, 18.7 percent in 2010, 62.1 percent in 2011 and just 7.1 percent in year 2012.

 

The disbursement ratio reduced last year mainly because Pakistan was not part of the IMF program so disbursement of the Washington based WB was also reduced substantially.

 

The WB is the second largest donor in recent years. The current Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) for FY 2010-14 implemented by the World Bank envisages a lending program for Pakistan worth $5.9 billion in these three years period under IBRD and IDA resources.

 

World Bank funded major programs in the budget with series of poverty linked reforms programs during the last one decade without significant results.

 

There is the Poverty Reduction Strategy Credit (PRSC-1 and II) program aimed at removing market distortions and providing support to the poor through improving markets. An amount of $500 million has been spent through budget. The loan was aimed at major reforms in the areas of agriculture markets, energy sector and public financial management. No visible results and benchmarks were achieved.

 

Next the Pakistan Poverty Reduction and Economic Support Operation (PRESO), which also received $500 million to support the structural reforms of PRSP-II for regaining and maintaining economic stability, while protecting the poor and vulnerable.

 

Under Pakistan Business Reforms Project, the sub-national Doing Business in Pakistan 2010 project benchmarked business regulations in 13 Doing Business areas across 6 cities and covered all provinces in Pakistan.

 

The project was funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USD 290,000), UK Department for International Development (USD 90,000) and the World Bank Group (USD 290,000). The Ministry of Finance and the Government of Punjab also dedicated resources and in-kind support to the project.

 

Under Punjab Education Sector Reform Program, under four IDA credits, a total of US$400 million was provided to support education reforms from 2004 through 2007. As a result of this funding, net enrolment of girls increased, teachers were trained and absenteeism reduced, examination standard improved.

 

For Social Safety Net Development Policy Credit and TA Project, the World Bank supported the BISP through the Social Safety Net Technical Assistance Project with $60 million (IDA). Another $159 million were disbursed against commitment of $200 million. Given the success of BISP in establishing itself as the national safety net platform, additional financing of US$150 million (IDA) was approved in February 2012. So far the BISP has disbursed more than US$1 billion in the form of cash grants to 3.5 million beneficiary families across Pakistan.

 

Through Punjab Municipal Services Improvement Project, WB has provided $50 million commercial loan for the project.

 

With Punjab Cities Governance Improvement, the WB committed to provide $154 million to support the province of Punjab’s cities in strengthening systems for improved planning, resource management, and accountability, and to improve the province’s capacity to respond promptly and effectively to an eligible crisis or emergency. The project will be completed in 2017. Under Natural Gas Efficiency Project, the aim of the WB project was to provide $272 million loan for reducing physical and commercial losses in the gas pipeline system.

 

Through Earthquake Emergency Recovery Project, the project initially got US$400 million through IDA funding, of which US$220 million was earmarked for the housing reconstruction component.

 

The livelihoods support and import financing components were allocated US$85 million each and US$10 million was assigned to the capacity building component. Following the floods of 2010, an additional US$300 million was provided to the import financing component.

 

World Bank also provided $350 million to support the Government of Sindh’s Medium Term Education Sector Reform Program (SERP) which is for increasing school participation, reducing gender and rural-urban disparities and increasing progression and improved measurement of student learning.

 

The rise in net enrolment as envisaged in PSLM data is used to substantiate the result which shows that net primary enrolment increased by modest 3 percentage points between 2006 and 2011. But this was in line with the increase between 2001 and 2006; which was achieved without spending government funds worth $3.3 billion.

 

Misplaced priorities?: PC chides World Bank for funding ‘failed projects’

“We do not need capacity building. Help us in undertaking reforms and do not hedge us against little things,” says deputy chairman of Planning Commission. ILLUSTRATION: JAMAL KHURSHID

ISLAMABAD: 

Amid increasing footprints of international donors, Planning Commission chief Dr Nadeemul Haque has criticised the World Bank for throwing money behind failed projects and venturing into areas that are not so important for the revival of the economy.

Haque’s remarks reflect an effort to highlight the donor-bureaucrat nexus that has led to unchecked benefits for bureaucrats and donor agencies alike, which is widening the debt burden of the country.

He was speaking at a ceremony organised to launch a report on the water and sanitation sector, prepared by the World Bank.

How such events are used to benefit the people involved can be gauged from the fact that to give a 15-minute presentation on the situation of water supply and sanitation in Pakistan, William D Kingdom, the Regional Lead Specialist Water, flew in from Washington.

Haque came down hard on the Washington-based lending agency at a time when the WB was ready to offer another $300 million in the name of tax reforms despite failure of the previous $150 million support for the same purpose. Despite Planning Commission’s opposition, the project is likely to be signed soon.

“We do not need capacity building. Help us in undertaking reforms and do not hedge us against little things,” said a visibly upset deputy chairman of Planning Commission while giving his concluding remarks.

He complained that the WB was either focusing on areas which came at the bottom of the country’s priority or the proposed solutions which have already been given in the Framework for Economic Growth – the strategy paper that the Commission believes offers solutions to all economic ills.

He said the Planning Commission gave policy guidelines without seeking donor funding and the WB would always conduct research in areas where it wanted to give money without caring about the outcome.

Haque also admitted the failure of the government in funding research and implementing reforms in all spheres, which eventually provided an opportunity to the donors to do work according to their will.

He said in the Framework for Economic Growth “we came to the conclusion that people need a lot more.”

“Water and sanitation is important in people’s life, but they need a lot more. They need liberty and happiness and this requires reforms, which neither the government nor the WB is ready to support,” said Haque, who could not make a dent despite remaining the head of an institution that is supposed to be ahead of present times.

He argued that the WB was ignoring critical areas like energy and civil service reforms and without conducting studies in these two areas and eventually initiating meaningful reforms the country could not progress.

He disclosed that the WB had frankly told him that it could not cooperate in these areas. “In Pakistan, bureaucracy controls everything and without civil service reforms the country cannot be put on the path of sustainable development,” he added.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 25th, 2013.

 

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