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Archive for category PPP ‘s Raja Rental Pervez Corruption

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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Terrorism Promoter Rehman Malik Should Be Jailed: His Buffoonery Cost 2,050 Pakistani People’s Lives Last Year

 Rehman Malik: national embarrassment or treasure

From the Newspaper | | 2 days ago
 
In a country where 2,050 people were killed last year in more than 1,500 bombings and terror attacks, few people would dare describe Pakistan’s struggle against a dizzying array of militant groups, separatist insurgents and powerful crime syndicates as a roaring success.

Unknown-3Yet its colourful interior minister, a man described by one commentator as Pakistan’s answer to London’s mayor Boris Johnson – a hugely famous politician who not everyone takes seriously – does just that.

“We have given a good beating to the terrorist,” Rehman Malik, 61, told the Guardian in December. “We have been able to break their back, we are in a position now to fight, to fight and fight.”

It is the sort of statement his detractors say blithely ignores reality, but that has also helped turn the career bureaucrat into one of the country’s best known politicians.

Whether or not the public believes domestic security has improved will be a key issue as the Pakistan People’s party (PPP) prepares to face the electorate in a few months’ time.

Critics say the government’s poor record on basic competence issues is epitomised by Malik, who many feel owes his position more to his usefulness as a master of political dealing rather than any great ability to administer internal security.

For many Pakistanis the interior minister, with his designer ties and purple-hued hair, is the face of the government: he is the only senior member of the bloated federal cabinet to have remained in post for the entire time the PPP has been in power, eclipsing even the prime minister.

He has found fame through his almost daily television appearances, usually made at the scene of the sort of catastrophic attacks that would end the career of a home secretary.

Everyone has a favourite Malik moment. For some it was when he said a spate of sectarian murders in Karachi was the handiwork of angry wives and girlfriends. Or there was the press conference in 2011 when he revealed to a country still reeling from a brazen Taliban attack on an important naval base in Karachi that the militant assault squad were “wearing black clothes like in Star Wars movies”.

An important trip to India in December produced a crop of gaffes that prompted fury in the Indian media. “The best thing would be to put Scotch Tape on his mouth to stop him talking,” said one former Pakistani diplomat, who claims to be a long-standing friend of the minister.

“Malik has his own irrepressible style of expressing himself, which may not be one of the most sophisticated in the world, but I think serious, sober Indians understood that.”

EMBARRASSMENT OR TREASURE: Malik’s status at home – somewhere between national embarrassment and national treasure – seems secure, however. “People love him,” said Murtaza Chaudhry, producer and host of the news comedy show Banana News Network (BNN) in which an actor playing Malik regularly lampoons the minister. “He is by far the most favourite character with the viewers.”

Recently his character was shown proudly presenting a flimsy construction of cupboard boxes that he boasted was of his own design, cost “only $60,000” and could protect the public from explosions.

Malik, who seems to relish the limelight, says he enjoys watching the comedy shows. He says there is no point complaining, or challenging reports of his many famous statements, which he says are always “twisted” by the media.

However, Chaudhry said that BNN had received a 10-page letter from Malik’s lawyer objecting to the mockery.

Malik’s defenders say he is much more capable and intelligent than his public personality suggests. “To some extent it’s just a ploy to disarm everyone,” said Mehmal Sarfraz, a Lahore-based journalist who credits the minister with successfully countering some threats in areas where civilian rulers have influence (many Pakistanis believe only the country’s powerful military has the ability to tackle militancy).

“Half the time he doesn’t believe what he is saying is true, he’s just saying what he thinks the public wants to hear.”

But critics find the buffoonery far from amusing. “He makes these statements which never make any sense, so no one can take him seriously,” said Aftab Sherpao, a former interior minister who was once a leading PPP figure. “When he gets up in parliament people just mock him – they laugh and jeer him.”

One analyst suggests the mayor of London, Boris Johnson, is the nearest equivalent politician in the West because he is “kind of goofy, kind of silly but people like him”.
Malik thinks he is more of a Mandelson, a Churchill, or a Miliband (“the one who was British secretary of state, not the present one”). “But I would not want to be compared to any of these people,” he said after reeling off more names, including a US president. “I consider myself a worker, a party worker – that is all.”

Despite his protestations of humbleness, the elected senator has achieved a remarkable, and to many perplexing, level of power in government. Neither a lifelong politician nor a member of the landed gentry, he rose from within the bureaucracy despite being what one commentator called a “lower-middle class outsider”.

His break came in the 1990s when he was spotted by Benazir Bhutto. At the time she was PPP leader and in her second term as prime minister and he was an official at the Federal Investigation Agency.

POLITICAL FIXER: He made himself an indispensable political fixer, particularly when Bhutto was living in exile in London in the late 1990s (until recently Malik was a British citizen and still has family and major business interests in the UK).

His influence over President Asif Ali Zardari is less clear. Some believe Malik has potentially damaging information about the business activities of a couple who have faced a number of overseas legal cases and investigations into major corruption allegations.

Cynics say his job is not to grapple with crime and terrorism, or reform the country’s dysfunctional interior ministry, but to help Zardari do whatever it takes to hold together his fragile governing coalition.

Malik is regularly dispatched to Karachi to smooth things over with the Muttahida Qaumi Movement whenever the party flexes its muscles.

On Jan 2 he even shuttled to London for a last-minute meeting with Muttahida supremo Altaf Hussain after he announced his party would participate in the anti-corruption protests in Islamabad orchestrated by Tahir-ul-Qadri. “As far as Altaf Hussain is concerned, Malik is just an errand boy,” said Aftab Sherpao.

Nonetheless, it will be on domestic security – as well as the dire state of Pakistan’s economy – on which the public are likely to make their judgment in the coming months.

According to the Pakistan Institute for Peace Studies, the level of violence has dropped since the government came to power in 2008. But the past few weeks have seen an attack on a major airport, the assassination of leading politicians, and the kidnapping by the Taliban of 23 tribal policemen – 21 of whom were lined up on a cricket pitch and killed.

Although sectarian attacks remain a huge problem, claiming 537 lives last year and injuring many more, Rehman Malik takes credit for “creating harmony between Sunnis and Shias”.

“In my five years there is hardly killing, mass killing, of Sunnis and Shias,” he said, weeks before two dreadful mass-casualty attacks on Hazara Shias in Quetta this year that claimed almost 200 lives. He says his strategy of “psy-war” – making sure the security forces have “a good backing and personal patting” – is paying off.

“It is important because your people are demoralised in war, you have to give them hope,” he said. “Wherever there is someone killed you must have seen I’m going to the field, in minutes I am there on the scene, supervising the whole situation.”

He has upset people with his enthusiasm for shutting mobile phone networks in major cities at short notice in an attempt to thwart terror plots; although the tactic seems to work.

In September he pushed for a national “Love of the Holy Prophet” day in response to public anger over a crude YouTube video that mocked Islam. What was meant to be a peaceful day of protest was taken as a state-sponsored opportunity for deadly rioting by religious extremists.

One diplomat, who was on “lockdown” as teargas drifted across the embassy walls from pitched battles between demonstrators and police outside Islamabad’s embassy quarter, recalls being phoned by a delighted Malik reporting how well he thought it was all going.

“I let them protest, but from a certain point I will not let them go further,” Malik said. “I ordered the [teargas] shelling. Had I not been there they had full programme to barge in [to the diplomatic enclave].”

BNN is working on a special series dedicated just to Malik, who will appear as a caped superhero. In Chaudhry’s favourite scene, Malik will be seen rushing into a burning building – but only to rescue a dog.

In the background people throw themselves from windows to escape the inferno as Malik delivers his catchphrase to the waiting TV crews: “Everything is under control.”

 

 

By arrangement with the Guardian

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VIDEO:PAKISTAN POLITICIANS & ELECTIONS

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New Episode of Topi Drama by Asif Zardari & Bilawal Bhutto Zardari

You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time.Abraham Lincoln, (attributed)
16th president of US (1809 – 1865) 

MAKAAR ZARDARI’S LATEST TRICK: NOORA KUSHTI AND TOPI DRAMA WITH BILAWAL TO DISTANCE HIM FROM ZARDARI’S TAINTED PERSONALITY AND MAKE HIM ACCEPTABLE TO PEOPLE

 

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Zardari is a master schemer and makaar as evident from his latest ploy.  He is ostensibly playing a game, where Bilawal can become more palatable to the people of Pakistan. In this game Bilawal is shown to have “falling-out” with Zardari. That way Zardari is kept at a distance from Bilawal, who can again use his “shaheed” mother excuse or victim syndrome to gain sympathy from the people. Bilawal is now no more tainted with the corruption of Zardari, as he is now a White Knight, who fought with his Prince of Darkness father, Asif Zardari, and therefore, is ready to continue “BiBi’s Mission,” without the taint of his Zardari’s evil shadow. This is yet another master stroke from Zardari to dupe the naive electorate and PPP Jiyalas of Pakistan; and thereby salvage the sinking ship of PPP in the coming election. Zardari is a megalomaniac. He is completely power drunk to the point of power inebriation. He will try any trick to hang on to the Presidency, come hell or high water.  He is a civilian dictator like Saddam Hussain, Manuel Noriega, Augusto Pinochet, and his personal hero Muammar Ghadafi. He is like a thief, who has been given keys to Fort Knox He will continue to enjoy the 5 lakhs/day or more open expense account of the Presidency. He will continue to loot the nation leading to Pakistan’s default and bankruptcy.

TOPI DRAMA PROLOGUE

Bilawal Bhutto leaves Pakistan after tiff with Asif Ali Zardari over PPP affairs

 

 
 

Bilawal Bhutto leaves Pakistan after tiff with Asif Ali Zardari over PPP affairs

 

SCENE ONE OF TOPI DRAMA

Islamabad/Lahore: Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has left for Dubai after a tiff with his father, President Asif Ali Zardari, over the affairs of the PPP, leaving the party without its star campaigner for Pakistan’s general election.

Bilawal, who was recently named patron-in-chief of the Pakistan People’s Party, developed differences with Zardari and his sister, Faryal Talpur, over the party’s handling of key issues, including militant violence, sectarian attacks against Shias and the award of party tickets for the polls scheduled for May 11.

Two sources privy to the development told PTI that Bilawal had made it clear to his father that he felt the PPP had not strongly taken up issues like the shooting of teenage rights activist Malala Yusufzai by Taliban fighters last year and three devastating bomb attacks on Shias in Quetta and Karachi that killed nearly 250 people.


Video: Rahul Gandhi accepts Bilawal Bhutto Zardari's invite to Pakistan

Bilawal Invites his Indian Cousin Rahul Gandhi to Pakistan

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    THE TOPI DRAMA SCENE TWO

  • Bilawal was also upset with the PPP’s handling of issues that affect the youth, especially in the wake of efforts by other parties like Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf to woo the youth ahead of the polls, the sources said.
  • The 24-year-old nominal chief of the PPP was angered by Faryal Talpur’s refusal to award tickets to certain candidates in Sindh province that he had recommended, a source said.
  • “Last month, Bilawal had recommended the names of some 200 PPP workers and asked former Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah to give them jobs but Talpur had intervened, causing bad blood between them,” the source said.
  • Bilawal discussed these matters with his father and sought authority to take decisions in party matters.
  • But Zardari sided with his sister, who plays a key role in the PPP’s affairs, the source said.
  • “When Zardari told him that he would be handed over the command of the party after he is groomed politically, Bilawal got upset and left for Dubai,” a source said.
  • Matters got so heated on one occasion that a source quoted Bilawal as saying: “If I had to vote, even I wouldn’t vote for the PPP.”
  • Bilawal’s abrupt departure for Dubai last week has caused considerable disquiet within the PPP as the party had been banking on him to appeal to the voters who have traditionally voted for the Bhutto family.
  • “Bilawal had been projected as the PPP’s star campaigner as the President cannot participate in the campaign due to pressure from the courts,” a PPP leader said.
  • “Without Bilawal, the PPP cannot touch the emotions of the people, especially the hard core PPP workers,” said the PPP leader, who did not wish to be named.
  • The leader said he feared the PPP might not be able to get the “Bhutto vote” if Bilawal did not take part in the campaign.
  • PPP leaders have acknowledged that Bilawal will not be present when the party launches its election campaign on April 4 from Garhi Khuda Buksh, the traditional stronghold of the Bhutto family in Sindh.
  • However, they contended that Bilawal was not participating in the event for “security reasons” and would instead deliver a telephonic address.
  • Latif Khosa, recently elected secretary general of the PPP, told PTI that there were security threats to the party’s leadership, especially Bilawal.
  • He said: “Bilawal may not attend election rallies due to security concerns and is likely to address gatherings on telephone or via video-conferencing.” 
  • PPP spokesman Qamar Zaman Kaira too said Bilawal would not attend the rally on April 4 because he was “facing more threats than other leaders of the PPP”.
  • Party leaders are also concerned that the PPP’s campaign is now likely to be led by former premier Yousuf Raza Gilani, who is known for his lack of charisma.

This would place the PPP at a disadvantage as it is up against seasoned campaigners like Imran Khan and PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif.

Gilani sought to play down the issue of Bilawal’s sudden departure from Pakistan, saying there were no differences between Bilawal and Zardari or Talpur.

“In our families, our children give immense respect to their elders,” Gilani told PTI.

Hasham Riaz, Bilawal’s chief of staff, said Bilawal had gone to Dubai for “routine business”.

He claimed the reports of differences between Bilawal and his father “mere rumours”. Asked if Bilawal would come back to Pakistan, Riaz said: “Of course.” 

Bilawal himself will not be eligible to contest polls till he turns 25 in September. The PPP had formally launched his political career at a massive rally in Garhi Khuda Baksh that marked the death anniversary of his mother, former premier Benazir Bhutto, in December last year.

American Press Toe US Government Line to Build-up US Puppet Zardari.

THE INEPT, MAKAAR, CONNIVING, INCOMPETENT & MURTAZA BHUTTO’S MURDERER ASIF ZARDARI 

FROM:LOS ANGELES TIMES

 

PAKISTAN LEADER’S LEGACY: THE ART OF POLITICAL SURVIVAL

As President Asif Ali Zardari ends a history-making five-year term, his approval ratings are low, but he has hung on. 

Asif Ali Zardari

 

The government of Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, center, ended its five-year term Saturday, setting the stage for the country’s first transfer of power from one civilian government to another. (Emilio Morenatti / Associated Press /September 6, 2008)

 
By Alex Rodriguez, Los Angeles Times

 

March 16, 2013, 11:09 p.m.

 

ISLAMABADPakistan — Throughout his presidency, Pakistan’s Asif Ali Zardari has looked over his shoulder. Would the military bounce him from office? Would an aggressive Supreme Court find a legal lever to send him packing? Would infighting and dissent erode his fragile coalition government?

Now, as he and his government make history by becoming the first civilian administration to ever complete its five-year term — despite public approval ratings as low as 14% — Zardari’s legacy is clear. He turned political survival into an art form.

“You give Zardari a roomful of politicians, and he will find you 51%. That’s an art he has perfected that no one really knew he had,” says Cyril Almeida, a Pakistani newspaper columnist. “By and large, he has done his own thing and cut whatever deals he needs. But he hasn’t gone after enemies and opponents, and that has kept the political temperature at a manageable level.”

Known to most Pakistanis as “the accidental president,” Zardari fell into the job after the slaying of his wife, former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, assassinated in 2007 as she was launching her political comeback. Many Pakistanis still call him “Mr. 10%,” a reference to corruption allegations that have followed him since stints in previous decades as a Cabinet minister.

Zardari’s government ended its five-year term Saturday, setting the stage for the first transfer of power from one civilian government to another in Pakistan’s 65-year history. Every other civilian government’s term has been interrupted by military coups or politically motivated ousters.

A caretaker government is slated to assume power as the country embarks on a campaign season that will culminate in parliamentary elections, expected in May. Members of the federal and provincial assemblies will then select a president later in the year. Zardari, 57, remains president and, unless he wins reelection, will step down upon the inauguration of a new president.

Zardari’s prime minister, Raja Pervez Ashraf, will step down as soon as the ruling Pakistan People’s Party and its main opposition, the PML-N, agree on a caretaker replacement. Parliament and the Cabinet dissolved Saturday.

The transfer of power through the ballot rather than military might is seen by most Pakistanis as a crucial step in the country’s democratic evolution.

But as Zardari’s PPP enters what is sure to be a tumultuous campaign, it faces an electorate deeply disappointed with the ruling government’s failure to remedy the country’s biggest ills.

Daily power outages that in the summer can last 12 hours or more shackle the economy and make everyday life miserable. Zardari has never been able to tamp down Islamist terrorism, and a recent wave of sectarian attacks by Sunni Muslim militants against the country’s minority Shiite Muslim community poses a new national security threat with the elections around the corner. The federal government remains heavily indebted to international lenders, and corruption taints every echelon of society.

An annual “Worldwide Threat Assessment” report delivered to the U.S. Congress last week by James R. Clapper, director of national intelligence, criticized Zardari’s government for being unwilling to tackle “problems that continue to constrain economic growth. The government has made no real effort to persuade its disparate coalition members to accept much-needed policy and tax reforms, because members are focused on retaining their seats in upcoming elections.”

The same sense of frustration with Zardari’s government runs through Pakistani society.

“This government has ruined the country in the last five years,” says Azhar Iqbal, 50, owner of a cookware shop in one of Islamabad’s central shopping districts. “It’s bad everywhere. Every night when we go home and turn on the television, we hear about this or that number of people killed.”

Despite popularity ratings as low as 14%, according to a recent Pew Research Center poll, Zardari and the ruling PPP government aren’t necessarily doomed in the upcoming elections, and in fact might be able to garner enough backing to engineer another coalition government and retain power.

The PPP and its primary rival, former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif‘s PML-N party, already have entrenched support bases, and cricket legend Imran Khan’s upstart Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party is expected to cull more voters from Sharif’s vote bank than the PPP’s, analysts say. And while dissatisfaction with the government is widespread, historically Pakistanis haven’t expressed their frustration at the ballot box. Turnout in Pakistan’s national elections has always been low, ranging from 36% to 45%.

The ultimate winner may not be the top vote-getter, but the better coalition builder.

“Political polarization in Pakistan is sharp,” says Hasan Askari Rizvi, a Lahore-based political analyst. “The PPP may lose some seats in Parliament, but they still will have the capacity to form a coalition government. Whereas Sharif isn’t seen as someone who can build a coalition. … So by default, the PPP may be able to pull through because they can produce a better coalition.”

During the last five years, Zardari’s most formidable opposition has not come from Sharif, but from the military and the Supreme Court, both institutions that have always viewed the president as a liability. Both the court and the army have hounded Zardari, at times stoking fear within society that the government would collapse.

But neither institution ever pushed Zardari and his government over the edge. The Supreme Court ousted Ashraf’s predecessor, Yousuf Raza Gilani, on a contempt charge in 2012, but since then has eased up on the government.

“While the army’s high command is angered by the mismanagement of the economy by the Zardari government, there’s also an understanding that they don’t really have solutions themselves,” newspaper columnist Almeida said. “And the Supreme Court can’t oust a political government because its entire public standing is based on the fact that it resisted unconstitutional moves by [former President Pervez Musharraf] in 2007.”

That year, Musharraf, who saw Supreme Court Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry as a threat to his authority, ousted him, a move decried by lawyers and opposition parties as illegal.

“So the routes have been shut,” Almeida continued. “There’s no obvious route to dismantling this government.”

alex.rodriguez@latimes.com

Press Trust of India | Updated: March 26, 2013 14:00 IST 

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US CONVICTED PAKISTANI HEROIN SMUGGLER MIRZA IQBAL BAIG BUYS PROPERTY ON HALL & MALL ROADS IN LAHORE FOR SHOPPING PLAZA CONSTRUCTION

HOW MIRZA IQBAL BAIG INTRODUCED HEROIN INTO PAKISTAN

PML(N) & PPP ARE REWARDING HIM WITH A SHOPPING PLAZA CONSTRUCTION PERMIT ON THE CORNER OF HALL & MALL ROAD LAHORE

SHAHBAZ SHARIF & NAWAZ SHARIF IMPROVEMENT SCHEME FOR LAHORE 

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Pakistani Drug Lord Iqbal Baig has set-up shop in Lahore, specifically in the vicinity of Hall and Mall Road, in an area formerly called Lakshmi Mansion. He acquired these properties to build a Shopping Mall under blessing of Shahbaz Sharif, Nawaz Sharif, and Asif Zardari. Iqbal Baig is money laundering, by converting drug money into legitimate cash by buying properties in Lahore. He bought almost whole of Lakshmi Mansion and Hall Road properties. He is a known accomplice of Taliban and is clear and present danger to the global community including the US and Europe. He is the financier of Taliban and funnels money to every terrorist organization through money laundering in legitimate business enterprises. During the PPP government, he stayed under the radar and kept building assets to finance his patrons the Taliban. Pakistan’s ISI and US CIA should look into the activities of this dangerous criminal on par with Pablo Escobar. In 1995, Iqbal Baig, Pakistan’s most notorious drug lords was extradited to the United States, where he was charged with 100 counts of heroin and hashish smuggling. Iqbal Baig and Anwar Khattak were put on a U.S. government plane in 1995 night only hours after his appeals against extradition was turned down by the High Court in Rawalpindi.Baig and Khattak together ran one of Pakistan’s biggest heroin- and hashish-trafficking networks, according to U.S. and Pakistani officials. Both were imprisoned in Pakistan, where they had been convicted of drug smuggling.Baig and Khattak will face 102 counts of smuggling heroin and hashish into the United States. The trials are likely to take place either in Michigan or New York City, where the offenses allegedly occurred, a U.S. official said. Pakistan has been cooperating with the United States since 1993, when the Americans gave Pakistan a list of 17 suspected drug barons it wanted extradited. Seven were extradited in 1993; most others are in custody in Pakistan. 

 
 
 

Heroin Scourges Million Pakistanis

By JOHN F. BURNS
Published: April 05, 1995
 

In lucid moments, Mohammed Ilyas has happy memories of life as a fisherman on one of Karachi’s deep-sea shark boats. But that was 10 years ago, before Mr. Ilyas began smoking the low-grade heroin he knows as “brown sugar,” and before home became a threadbare blanket tacked to a grimy Karachi wall as a windbreak.

Now, Mr. Ilyas’s addiction brings him to the same lonely spot each night, with a sliver of silver paper to hold the heroin bought with a day’s panhandling in the docks, and a lighted taper to heat the powder into the vapors he inhales. On either side, fellow addicts crouch in their own pitiful isolation, ignored by the police and passers-by.

“What can I do, sir?” Mr. Ilyas asked on a recent evening, between pulls on the tube of rolled paper he uses as a pipe. “I would like to do something. I would like to be back with my family. But the brown sugar tastes too good.”

For Mr. Ilyas, who is 25, and 1.5 million other heroin addicts in Pakistan, there is little to prevent a slide that often leads to a lonely death. In a country of 120 million people, most of them poor and illiterate, heroin addicts are left mostly to fend for themselves. There is little in the way of help, and not much ceremony in the morning sweeps by private charities that carry wasted addicts’ bodies to the morgue.

The tragedy for Pakistan set in much deeper 15 years ago, when Afghan warlords, thrown into turmoil by the Soviet military intervention in their country, stepped up the growing of opium poppies as other forms of commerce collapsed. The product, as opium gum, traveled down old trade routes into the deserts and mountains along Afghanistan’s border, where Pakistani frontiersmen, who grow tons of opium themselves, took the gum and ran it through refineries, producing the cheap “brown sugar” smoked by Mr. Ilyas, as well as heroin in its purer, more lucrative forms.

Over the years, as ever larger quantities of the narcotic began flowing into Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar and other cities, the drug ate its way into the fiber of Pakistan. Political life was corrupted, to the point that one of the country’s most notorious drug barons, Ayub Afridi, sat as an elected member of Parliament from 1988 to 1990, dropping out only when an ordinance was passed barring any known drug trafficker from running in an election.

Drug barons have continued to exercise a pervasive political influence, discouraging decisive government action against them.

What’s more, the backwash from the Afghan conflict has brought a flow of weapons into Pakistan, creating a nexus between the drug barons and new generation of heavily armed gangs. In Karachi mainly, but also in other cities, these gangs have established a terror that is overwhelming the local authorities.

Along with Afghanistan, and to a much smaller extent India, Pakistan has become one of the world’s leading producers of heroin — and by some estimates, a larger producer now than the Golden Triangle countries of Southeast Asia.

With growing anxiety, Western nations, including the United States, have been looking at Pakistan in the way they have long looked at countries like Colombia and Thailand — as a place where narcotics trafficking, left to run rampant, has become a danger not only to the country itself but also to much of the world.

Pakistani leaders have made no secret of their belief that drug money was in some way linked to the March 8 attack that killed two Americans working at the United States Consulate in Karachi, and to the terrorist underground that supported Ramzi Ahmed Yousef, a 27-year-old fugitive and suspected mastermind of the World Trade Center bombing in New York in 1993. Mr. Yousef was arrested in Islamabad, the Pakistani capital, in February.

These links are likely to be discussed when Pakistan’s Prime Minister, Benazir Bhutto, arrives in the United States on April 5. For five years, the main stumbling block to improved ties has been Pakistan’s persistence with a covert program to develop nuclear weapons. But on this visit, Pakistan’s Prime Minister may find American leaders at least as concerned about Pakistan’s role as a center for drugs and terrorism.

When she recently met with American reporters in Islamabad, Ms. Bhutto offered a stark picture of Pakistan as a society where torrents of drugs and weapons have combined to undermine the basis for a civil society.

“We are a clean Government,” she said. “For the first time in our history, we are going to take action against drug barons, militants and terrorists.”

Western embassies that have pressed for years for a narcotics crackdown were encouraged three months ago when the Government froze $70 million in assets belonging to seven leading Pakistani drug lords, and took steps, for the first time in Pakistan, to curb money laundering by drug bosses. The Government also announced the biggest raid on a narcotics laboratory in North-West Frontier Province, site of many of the heroin refineries, seizing 132 tons of hashish and nearly half a ton of heroin.

Ms. Bhutto also promised to speed up action by Pakistani courts on United States requests for the extradition of six drug lords held in Pakistan, and for the arrest and extradition of two others, including Mr. Afridi, the former legislator.

Maj. Gen. Salahuddin Termizi, the country’s anti-drug chief, has won the confidence of Western narcotics experts. But few with experience in combatting the drug world in Pakistan are ready to congratulate Ms. Bhutto just yet.

[ In a crackdown on the eve of the Bhutto trip, two suspected drug barons, Mirza Iqbal Baig and Anwar Khattak, were flown to the United States on April 3. The extraditions were cited by General Termizi as further proof of Pakistan’s commitment to rolling back booming drug production and trafficking. General Termizi said on April 4 that Pakistan had smashed the bulk of its heroin factories and arrested all but 2 of 12 leading drug barons. ]

Top army officers have been accused in the past of conniving with the drug lords, to the extent of running heroin shipments to Karachi aboard army-owned trucks.

And even if Pakistan were to live up to all of Ms. Bhutto’s promises, it would not tackle what has always been the core of the heroin problem: Afghanistan’s role as a secure hinterland for the traffickers. Years of efforts and millions of dollars have been spent by Western governments in an effort to persuade Afghan warlords to stop growing poppies and plant other crops, but poppy acreage has increased every year.

United States officials who have seen the blaze of white, red and pink poppies that cover much of Afghanistan each spring argue that little will be achieved until Washington shifts its spending priorities. The officials say spending $80 million of the State Department’s anti-narcotics budget on efforts to combat cocaine production in South America, and barely a tenth as much on all of Asia and Africa, means that efforts against heroin have to take a back seat.

Currently, the closest thing to a United States Government anti-narcotics program in Afghanistan is a $100,000 grant to Mercy Corps, an American volunteer agency that is trying to persuade communities in a small part of Helmand Province to substitute other cash crops for poppy-growing. Narcotics experts say that their work is hampered because Washington has no embassy in Kabul, the Afghan capital, and that the Clinton Administration has played virtually no part in efforts to negotiate peace between Afghan factions that have been fighting a civil war since Soviet troops withdrew.

When Mrs. Bhutto meets President Clinton, she seems likely to argue for an American responsibility to help Pakistan and Afghanistan deal with their narcotics problems. The argument is that Washington’s decision to channel billions of dollars in weapons and financial backing to the Afghan rebel groups in the 1980’s, without close scrutiny of the some of the Afghan leaders involved, contributed to a climate in which some of those leaders turned to heroin trafficking.

“We have been getting a bad name, and it is clear that our activity needs to be geared up,” Brig. Gen. Mohammed Aslam, deputy director of the new anti-narcotics force, said at his office in Rawalpindi.

But the general smiled when he was asked what part of the blame he attributed to the United States.

“I will only say this,” he said. “I believe that we in Pakistan are doing what we can to undo our part of the crime.”

Reference: http://www.nytimes.com/1995/04/05/world/heroin-scourges-million-pakistanis.html?pagewanted=all&src=pm

Pakistan Extradites Drug Suspects to U.S. : Crime: Turning over alleged kingpins is latest move by Islamabad that pleases American officials.

April 04, 1995|JOHN-THOR DAHLBURG | TIMES STAFF WRITER

NEW DELHI — Two days before Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto leaves for a U.S. visit, her government handed over two alleged heroin kingpins to the United States and a court opened the way for more quick extraditions.

Haji Mirza Mohammed Iqbal Baig, once reputedly the head of Pakistan’s largest drug syndicate, and his lieutenant, Mohammed Anwar Khattak, were flown to the United States on Sunday night aboard an American aircraft, said officials at the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad, the capital. The two Pakistanis’ names appear in more than 100 U.S. narcotics cases.

“There is a lot of evidence that these guys are big-time heroin dealers. We’re happy to bring them to justice,” a U.S. drug official in Islamabad said.

In Washington, Justice Department officials said the men were due to arrive Monday night in Hawaii and will be flown to Travis Air Force Base in Northern California’s Solano County before being transferred to New York for arraignment.

Baig and Khattak are wanted on various federal charges, including conspiracy to smuggle heroin into the United States. They had already been convicted by a Pakistani court in the 1985 seizure of more than 17 tons of hashish in the southwestern province of Baluchistan.

The drug dealers’ extradition, which the Clinton Administration had sought since 1993, is the latest of several tough-on-crime measures by Bhutto’s government that–by design or not–have especially pleased the United States.

On Feb. 7, Pakistani and U.S. agents joined forces in Islamabad to arrest Ramzi Ahmed Yousef, the alleged mastermind of the World Trade Center bombing. He was flown to New York to stand trial.

Such actions will undoubtedly be cited by Bhutto, who leaves for the United States today, as proof of her determination to do her part in combatting the global narcotics trade and Islamic terrorism, two major U.S. security concerns.

Next Tuesday, Bhutto is scheduled to meet President Clinton at the White House. She has been seeking more U.S. help–including the lifting of a law that has barred most American aid to Pakistan since October, 1990, because of the Asian country’s nuclear weapons program.

Late last year, U.S. drug czar Lee P. Brown warned Bhutto that Pakistan could lose badly needed World Bank and International Monetary Fund loans unless the country, the world’s No. 3 opium producer, did more to stem narcotics production and trafficking.

*

U.S. drug officials have praised what has happened since. On March 23, more than 2,000 paramilitary troops staged an unprecedented drug raid in the remote, lawless Khyber region bordering Afghanistan. They seized 6.3 tons of highly refined heroin, as much as Pakistan normally confiscates in a year.

Baig and Khattak had been served notice earlier this year that they could be extradited to the United States. Pakistan’s law allows citizens in such a position to file a petition in court opposing extradition.

On Sunday, their petitions were rejected and they were quickly put on a plane for the United States.

Special correspondent Jennifer Griffin in Islamabad contributed to this report.

 

Drug barons' extradition challenged in SC 
-------------------------------------------------------------------  
*From  Nasir Malik 
 
ISLAMABAD, April 4: The Supreme Court will hear arguments on Wednesday  
about the admissibility ) of three petitions filed by the wives of  
alleged drug lords Mirza Iqbal Baig and Anwar Khattak against the Lahore  
High Court decision that cleared the way for their extradition to the  
United States. 
 
The Lahore High Court on Sunday allowed the extradition of seven drug  
barons, including Baig and Khattak. The two were immediately flown to  
the United States in a US military plane. 
 
Though apparently the petitions will make  little difference for Baig  
and Khattak who have already been sent abroad, they can affect the  
remaining five accused who are in Adiala Jail. 
 
One of the five accused, Nasrullah Hanjera has applied to the Supreme  
Court to grant an order blocking his possible extradition. 
 
Khawaja Haris, lawyer for the accused, has maintained in his petitions  
that the extraditions are in isolation of Section 5 (2) of Extradition  
Act 1972 which bars extradition until an accused has been  acquitted or  
completed a sentence in his own country. 
 
Interior Minister Naseerullah Babar told reporters on Monday that the  
alleged drug barons were handed over to the US authorities after  
completing all legal requirements. 
 
But constitutional experts say the government acted in haste by  
immediately parcelling the two accused thus denying them of their  
constitutional right to appeal before the Supreme Court. They also point  
out that the extradition was also contrary to Article 4 of the  
Extradition Agreement signed between the two countries. 
 
Article 4 says: The extradition shall not take place if the person aimed  
has already been tried, discharged or punished or is still under trial  
in the territories of the high contracting party (applied to in this  
case Pakistan) for the crime or offence for which his extradition is  
demanded. If the person claimed would be under examination or under  
punishment his extradition shall be deferred until the conclusion of the  
trial or the full execution of any punishment awarded to him." 
 
Haris told reporters that Baig and Khattak were still serving their  
five-year jail term awarded to them by a Karachi magistrate. Besides,  
two cases were also pending against them. 
 
For Drug Traffickers, Balochistan a Safe Haven
 
The Nation
 
March 7, 1995
 
Balochistan provides land and sea exist routes to international drug traffickers who operate in this province or in the tribal borderlands of Pakistan and Afghanistan. Owing to the ineffectiveness of governmental control, for drug traffickers to use these exit routes to their best advantage is not so difficult.

Balochistan’s Makran Coast along the Indian Ocean is the most active zone for drug smuggling operations, in which Afghan and Pakistani drug barons are allegedly engaged in the trafficking business. Drug traffickers are seemingly scared of operating through Iran, for fear of being hanged by its revolutionary authorities. Otherwise, Iran would have provided them a relatively easier road access to Turkey and then to Europe, the final destination for drugs.

Here comes the strategic importance of the Makran coastal range for drug traffickers. To some extent, the port of Karachi also acts as a drug trafficking exit point, in the wake of the current lawlessness in Pakistan’s financial centre. Khyber Pass and Vash crossing point at the Kandahar-Balochistan border remain the two normal road passages for drug traffickers, stationed in Afghanistan and bringing purified drugs from there to the southern coast of Balochistan.

Even otherwise, much of the Durand Line remains open for any sort of smuggling. Among other means of road transportations, trucks are frequently used to traffic drug. On these, the agents of drug barons travel hundreds of miles—and often without any fear, since their safely is assured allegedly by the government officials, including those belonging to Anti-Narcotics Task Force (ANTF), Customs and Police departments, and the border security forces.

In some instance, state agencies are also helpless. For instance, the encounters between drug traffickers and jawans of the Frontier Corps (FC), patrolling along Balochistan’s borders with Kandahar, take place routinely. Many a times, the druglords of Afghanistan have kidnapped FC personnel men and taken them inside Afghanistan as hostages. They are released only after these barons are assured of “safe passage.”

Much of the poppy which after purification takes the shape of heroin and other drugs is still being grown in the war-ravaged Afghanistan. The rise of Taliban in southern Afghanistan has not made much of difference in the country’s poppy production capacity. In Helmand, for instance, the poppy cultivation remains as popular a profession as before.

The last of the drug processing factories in Balochistan were destroyed in December 1990, following a bloody skirmish between the FC and Notezai tribal forces. Such units, however, still exist reportedly in other parts of the lawless tribal areas. It is in the war-ravaged Afghanistan that heroin and other drugs are principally processed and produced. The drug barons are said to be benefiting the most form the prevailing anarchy in Afghanistan.

The operational ineffectiveness, willful collusion or helplessness of other state agencies aside, even ANTF has so far failed to make headway in checking the growing drug trafficking in the country. As a part of the Pakistan Narcotics Control Board (PNCB), the ANTF was created by the caretaker government of Moeen Qureshi in October 1993. The other three steps which the government had taken for the purpose were: the issuing of the Dangerous Drugs (Arms) Ordinance, 1993, under which drug traffickers can be hanged after being declared guilty of crime by the court of law; the extradition of five Pakistani drug traffickers to the United States who were facing drug charges in various US courts and, finally, the appointment of Maj Gen Salahuddin Trimzi as head of the PNCB and the ANTF.

One particular incident depicting the PNCB-ANTF failure—rather, ineffectiveness—was the arrest and, then, sudden release of Shorang Khan by the Crime Investigation Agency (CIA) in Karachi in June 1994. Known as the king of heroin in Karachi, Shorang Khan is of Afghan origin a familiar name as far as Balochistan’s Chamman district. Despite protests by Gen. Trimzi, the CIA released him.

In terms of the powers vested in it, ANTF can override the authority of any other state security agencies in its anti-drug trafficking operations. It can employ the Army commandos during the operations. The Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate assists it in tracing the international connections of drug traffickers based in Pakistan. For the purpose, ANTF can also receive information from the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and Interpol.

In recent years, even some arrested or convicted drug barons in the Frontier province escaped from prison. In November 1994, three drug traffickers, two Afghans and one Pakistani, escaped from Peshawar jail. They were to be extradited to the US. In October 1993, Ammanullah Kundi, related to a former Federal Minister, escaped from his hospital confinement in Dera Ismail Khan. He was serving seven years in jail, after the court had proven him guilty of smuggling heroin to Germany. He also feared extradition. No one has been aware of his whereabouts since his escape.

Five of them—including Salim Malik, Khalid Khan, Taweez Khan, Shahid Hafeez Khawaja and Mishal Khan—were extradited by the former caretaker government. The sixth one, Muhammad Azam, was extradited in 1994 by the Benazir Bhutto government.Similarly, Haji Ayub Afridi who allegedly runs a drug empire from his stronghold in the Khyber Agency is still at large. In 1994, the tribal jirga freed him from all the charges leveled against him by Pakistani government and American courts. Like Shorang of Karachi and the Notezais of Chaghai, he is on the government’s Most Wanted list of drug traffickers. The United States had demanded the extradition from Pakistan of some 20 traffickers.

Many of the arrests of persons already extradited to the US or to be extradited were made following the joint PNCB-FC action against the Notezais in October and December 1990. For instance, those among the Notezais arrested following the action, confessed the names of their copartners such as Salim Malik (already extradited), Anwar Khattak and Mirza Iqbal Baig (facing extradition).

A major obstacle to combating drug trafficking is the political clout of drug barons in provincial and central governments. Additionally, the continuing tribal warfare in Balochistan—between Hamidzais and Ghaibezais, Bugtis and Kalpars, Raisanis and Rinds. The government of Chief Minister Zulfiqar Magsi is considered to be very weak—a loose coalition, with majority of parliamentarians out of a total of 43, elected as independents. Magsi himself does not have any political association.

And in the police station of Tahl Magsi, the seat of his tribe, some 300 miles south west from Quetta, in an FIR registered against him by his uncle Sardar Yousaf Ali Khan Magsi, the Balochistan Chief Minister is accused of committing multiple murders, with court decision on the issue still pending. With such circumstances prevailing in Balochistan, which are nothing less than anarchic, the trans-national drug traffickers, based in this province or elsewhere, are having a field day.

 

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