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Posts Tagged Power Thief

Raja Rental Pervez’s Gift: Lights Out

Lights Out

Pakistan’s chronic power shortagesUnknown-20


Energy shortages, much like any widespread natural disaster, affect everyone within a given geographic range. Unlike any controversial government mandate, or newly passed legislation, Pakistan’s power cuts do not discriminate. When the population at large is deprived of something widely considered to be a publicly provided good, a common, anti-government animosity can easily fester, transcending social, political or ethnic boundaries.
Pakistani automechanics at a market repair a car during a power shortage in Islamabad late 16 January, 2010.

Pakistani automechanics at a market repair a car during a power shortage in Islamabad late 16 January, 2010.

Pakistan is no stranger to power shortages. For the better part of the past decade, the country has been battling endemic energy droughts, as both consumer purchasing power and demand for electric goods have drastically risen in tandem. Insufficiently robust infrastructure has only compounded the persistent crisis over the years, as has the country’s publicly stated mandate to reduce its dependence on oil by pursuing hydroelectrically produced energy.

With the summer season fast approaching, however, the country once again finds itself mired in an electricity shortfall so serious, its effects may extend across not only economic and social spheres, but across Pakistan’s political architecture as well. 

Experts estimate that, to date, Pakistan remains some 4,000 megawatts short of its power needs—a full one-fourth of its maximum capacity. Although it’s not uncommon to find advertisements or text-messaged promotions for electric generators, such devices are normally priced well outside of most Pakistani budgets.

All across the country, markets and storefronts are closing early, houses are dark, and, for an estimated six hours per day, a wide swath of Pakistanis are disconnected from the world.

The pernicious impact on Pakistan’s economy, therefore, is all too self-evident. A 2008 report from the Pakistan Institute of Development Economics estimates that power outages have decreased output by 25 percent across textile factories in the province of Punjab, where much of Pakistan’s textile industry is concentrated.

Meanwhile, governmental response to the energy shortfall has often been heavy on rhetoric, but noticeably light on results. In 2009, Federal Minister for Water and Power Raja Pervaiz Ashraf boldly predicted that the country would enjoy steady access to power by the end of the summer, thanks to a slew of new plant facilities that were making their way down the pipeline.

In April, Prime Minister Yousef Raza Gilani unveiled an ambitious new energy policy, aimed at limiting individual power usage in a wide array of consumer and domestic settings, including neon-lit storefronts and wedding halls.

As the BBC reports, the country’s leaders are also looking into alternative sources of energy, in addition to the hydroelectric-generated power upon which most of the country relies. It has even been reported that the administration may choose to explore nuclear power as one such alternative.

The PM has also promised that his government will grab the crisis by the horns, and has assured that his administration will do everything within its power to further tighten usage quotas. With this new plan alone, officials are hoping to save an estimated 1,500 megawatts per day.

As Gilani bluntly affirmed, “We are taking these decisions in the best national interest.” For the average Pakistani consumer, however, results won’t be apparent until the lights are back on—and until they stay on.

Moreover, by taking such a proactive, top-down approach to tackling the shortage, Gilani and his government are implicitly assuming responsibility for the predicament. The onus is now on the country’s political leaders to not only save power, but to begin work toward installing newer, more sustainable infrastructure within its energy sector, in order to allow Pakistanis greater autonomy over their consumption patterns.

As history has taught us time and again, whenever a palpable miasma of discontent begins wafting through the streets and airways of a sovereign nation, political upheaval is never far behind. Economic hardship breeds social antagonism. And more often than not, that antagonism manifests itself in political tumult.

Some frustrated citizens have already begun voicing their displeasure with the outages in Pakistan, having vandalized cars and other personal property in protest. Time will tell whether or not the governmental leaders are able to douse these flames of acrimony, but the mere fact that citizens have begun taking to the streets in defiant action is still an ominous harbinger, by any country’s standards—and even more so in Pakistan.

A state historically plagued by its fractious ethnic and social composition now finds itself firmly entrenched within a decidedly more Manichean political landscape. At a very cursory glance, Pakistani politics has suddenly become substantially more binary, with upset citizens on one side of the aisle, and elected officials making promises on the other. But should Pakistan’s leaders fail to deliver solutions—and fail to do so quickly—the pupa of public restlessness may soon blossom into a full-blown, political pestilence.

Energy shortages, much like any widespread natural disaster, affect everyone within a given geographic range. Unlike any controversial government mandate, or newly passed legislation, Pakistan’s power cuts do not discriminate. When the population at large is deprived of something widely considered to be a publicly provided good, a common, anti-government animosity can easily fester, transcending social, political or ethnic boundaries.

It would be easy to write off Pakistan’s problems as part of the inexorable and often painful process of development. The country need look no further than next door in India, where, despite having enjoyed sustained and robust economic growth for the better part of two decades, the country still struggles mightily to develop public infrastructure efficient enough to keep up with its burgeoning economy and population. China, meanwhile, has likewise risen to the upper echelons of the world’s economic strata, yet continues to swim upstream against many of the same infrastructural growing pains.

The difference between Pakistan and India, China, or any other mid-level developing country, however, is that the majority Muslim nation’s political might is already stretched thin on one major international front.

It’s no secret that Pakistan is crucial to US military and intelligence operations in Afghanistan, and, according to many reports, the Obama administration has made significant progress in stabilizing the notoriously tumultuous Islamic Republic.

Any domestic discomposure spurred by energy-starved Pakistanis, however, could undermine that progress, effectively throwing a major wrench into the machinery powering the coalition-led war against Al Qaeda and the Taliban. The US, apparently aware of these potentially dire consequences, has already promised more than one billion dollars in energy aid to its critically important ally, through modernized distribution systems, as well as upgraded thermal and hydropower plants.

At this point, however, there’s no end in sight, and as the situation escalates, there’s no telling which party or faction could seize the issue, and use it to their own political gain. And with the impending summer heat raising tempers in concert with the thermometer, it’s impossible to predict how an exasperated voter constituency might respond.

Given the protean political and social winds that have blown across the country in recent years, however, injecting even the slightest modicum of uncertainty into such a brittle body politic is enough to raise the eyebrows of leaders from Islamabad to Washington. 

Electricity, in and of itself, may not be as fundamentally crucial a consumer need as say, clean water or food. But in today’s hyper-industrialized social and economic ecosystem, it’s more or less essential. And if the Pakistani government doesn’t act quickly to provide it on a level that measures up to contemporary standards, it may be “lights out” for many of the country’s incumbent leaders. 


Amar Toor – Freelance journalist and former consultant in the Trade and Agriculture Department of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)




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    This is a story of a historical murder ordered by a Fascist French government in the 1930s.  It is also a classic example of how corrupt fascists operate and how they use violence as a means to an end. Raja “Rental” Pervez is a fascist. It is not beyond reason, that Raja “Rental”Pervez, is connected with the order murder NAB, investigator. Kamran Faisal had information which would have resulted in long term jail sentence to Raja “Rental”Pervez  Ashraf.  His ilk, once cornered resort to violence. They are worse than blood sucking vampire bats. Once, exposed to light, they try all means to hide themselves. This Count Dracula of Corruption is a gift to the nation by none other than, the Demon of Corruption, the civilian dictator, Asif Zardari.   Ashraf is not only a bugling stooge, prone to violence but also  a hatchet man for Asif Zardari. He has risen from the lower middle class of Pakistan, to reach meteoric heights; through adeptness as a strong hatchet man for Asif Zardari.   Unlike, Z.A.Bhutto, who was hanged on very specious evidence, Raja “Rental” Pervez is right up to his neck in the Rental Power Scandal.  Rather he is the lead character and the main beneficiary of over $600 Million graft given by IPPs. It stands to reason that his culpability is obvious in this not only sordid but also grisly affair .  

Kamran Faisal’s murder also has as many similarities to the mysterious death of
Laetitia Toureaux on Paris Metro, which happened under similar circumstances in another era.  Laetitia was also eliminated, because, she knew too much, and as they say, a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. Kamran also paid dearly for the knowledge he held on the High and the Mighty Ministers of Pakistan’s corrupt and US supported government.  

Kamran Faisal was a man of integrity, honesty, and, as his father said, served only one Master, The Allah Almighty.  His aging father, an honest, soft spoken, and deeply religious man spoke of his son’s deep sense of commitment responsibility to the nation.  Kamran loved his job and was serving the people of Pakistan and earning Rizq-i-Halal. A rarity indeed in an abjectly dishonest society like Pakistan.  His misfortune was that he was at the wrong place at the wrong time He was investigating the fraud perpetrated by a malevolent crook, masquerading as the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Raja “Rental ” Pervez Ashraf, whose loyalty lies with the Don Corleone of Pakistan, Asif Ali Zardari.  A curse imposed a US government on the Pakistani nation; and also known to the global community as  Mr.Ten Percent.

Mysterious deaths of honest investigation officers have happened through out history. Chile’s Dictator, Gen.Augusto Pinochet, had death squads at his service. They eliminated any civil servant, who tried to expose or speak against the corruption in Chilean government . Pakistan has now become, the proverbial Pinochet ruled, Chilean model Banana Republic. It is ruled by Knights of Corruption, who have spread their cancerous tentacles of corruption infesting all sectors of Pakistan’s economy and commerce.

Pakistan’s civil society, which had so valiantly marched for the restoration of Chief Justice; is now in cahoots with the government. Its stalwarts are appearing on every TV channel, vehemently defending the corrupt government in coded terms, by saying, that they “were defending democracy.” What democracy? A democracy led by feudal elites and industrialist merchants, who flaunt all national and international laws. They do not pay taxes but enjoy the privileges and immunities of tax paying wage earners like the Pakistan Armed Forces.


An insidiously corrupt government, like that of PM Raja “Rental” Ashraf can do anything it likes. It has no accountability either to the people or the Judiciary, whom, they mock day in and day out.  Now, they have resorted to extrajudicial killings. The precedence for extrajudicial killings has been set by the MQM, a murder for hire organization in Karachi.  The culture of murder has now reached Islamabad.  It is already a norm in metropolitan Karachi, where MQM, reigns terror on ordinary defenseless Karachiites. Karachi’s killing fields have now been transplanted in Islamabad.  It seems, although, Kamran Faisal’s murder will NEVER be solved. Because, those in-charge of the murder investigations are also the perpetrators of the murder. These criminal murderers, go by such names as Pakistan Peoples Party, MQM, and PML(Q). But, those who live by the sword also die by the sword.  They are sure to be meted out Justice, if not Here, then in the Hereafter.   Pakistan is ruled by a Gang of Murders and Extortionists led by Numero Uno, Asif Zardari.    Such rulers can never be brought to justice, except by an Act of Almighty God. His name is also, Al-Adl, the Just. Accountability in the Hereafter, results in punishment forever, as embedded in Islam. It is the faith, Asif Zardari and Pervez Ashraf, claim to follow. Unless, they, are again being hypocritical. Or they consider Islam, as a mumbo jumbo confined to this world. That would be their biggest mistake for which there will not be any expiation or forgiveness.

Murder in the Metro

Mysterious Death Leads to Scholarly Work on Gender and Fascism in 1937 France


By Annette Finley-Croswhite and Gayle K. Brunelle


A Perfect Crime

On the 16th of May, 1937, at around 6 p.m., a striking, 29-year-old Italian woman wearing a finely tailored green suit, white hat and gloves left a suburban Paris bal musette, or dance hall, and walked quickly toward a bus stop. Approximately 24 minutes later, she stepped off the bus and entered a metro station where she boarded a first-class car bound for central Paris. Although the subway platform and the accompanying second-class cars were filled with Pentecost Sunday holiday-makers who had spent the afternoon at the Parc de Vincennes, Laetitia Nourrissat Toureaux sat alone in her first-class car. The train departed at 6:26 p.m., and 45 seconds later arrived at the Porte Dorée station where six passengers entered the first-class car and beheld a shocking sight. In front of their eyes, the woman in the green suit fell forward out of her seat, revealing a 9-inch dagger buried in her neck.


0Metro authorities immediately summoned the Paris police and emergency personnel, but Laetitia Toureaux died before she ever reached the Saint-Antoine Hospital and without ever naming her assailant. The judicial section of the Paris police force, known as the Sûreté Nationale, immediately launched an inquiry into the murder. Over the next 12 months they interviewed more than 800 people who either knew Toureaux or who had been at the dance hall, bus stop or subway platform with her on the day of her death. The police never found a single witness to the crime, however, and eventually shelved the investigation. To this day, the murder of Laetitia Toureaux remains officially unsolved, a seemingly “perfect crime.”


The paradox of Toureaux’s murder is that by mid-January of 1938 the Paris police and even the journalists, who were just as determined to solve the mystery of her death, had little doubt about who had killed her. The murder was connected to the assassinations of three prominent figures: the Russian economist Dimitri Navachine, stabbed to death in the Bois-de-Boulogne on Jan. 26, 1937; and the Italian antifascist exiles Carlo and Nello Rosselli, gunned down on a road in Normandy on June 9, 1937. Police eventually traced all three assassination cases to an extreme right-wing organization called the Comité Secret d’Action Révolutionnaire (CSAR) and popularly dubbed the “Cagoule,” or “hooded ones,” because of their penchant for donning hoods when they needed to hide their identities. The Cagoule favored violence and planned a paramilitary coup to oust the socialist “Popular Front” government of the late 1930s before installing a military-style dictatorship in preparation for the return of the French monarchy.


CSAR leadership included former army and naval officers, engineers, doctors and industrialists, many of whom belonged to some of the most distinguished families in France. The organization was well-funded by the heads of major companies like Michelin, L’Oréal and Lesieur Oil and had some support within the French armed forces. The Cagoule had no true ideology but expounded a vehement nationalist, anti-communist, anti-socialist, anti-democratic and anti-Semitic stance. During the period 1936-37, the Cagoule committed a number of serious crimes that included two bombings in Paris, at least seven murders and the destruction of several airplanes bound for anti-Franco forces in Spain. They incited public riots and on more than one occasion attempted the assassination of the socialist leader and Popular Front prime minister, Léon Blum. In Paris, members of the Cagoule also formed militias, amassed huge stockpiles of weapons, trained terrorists, built underground prisons, sought support from Mussolini and ran guns in Belgium, Switzerland and Italy. Cagoulard cells also existed in the French provinces.


The French police exposed the CSAR on the night of Nov. 15, 1937. Several of those arrested claimed knowledge of Toureaux’s murder and provided testimony about her assassination. Additional circumstantial evidence also pointed to her involvement with the Cagoule. Apparently, she was murdered because she had infiltrated the Cagoule as an undercover agent. When the Cagoulard leadership discovered her betrayal, they had her executed. But if the police suspected this, why was Laetitia Toureaux’s murder never solved?

The CSAR was a clandestine operation with a strict code of secrecy. Its right-wing orientation arose out of hostility toward the Socialist government of Léon Blum during a time of rising unemployment, massive labor unrest and general post-World War I malaise. Its leader, Eugène Deloncle, boasted that by 1937, 12,000 men in Paris had joined the Cagoule and 120,000 belonged to the organization in the provinces. At most, the Cagoule probably consisted of fewer than 200 known affiliates who had some sense of the true Cagoulard structure and mission, and anywhere from a few hundred to several thousand who were tied to the CSAR through other organizations or associations. Most believed they had joined an auto-defense organization meant to spring into action in the event of a communist uprising, a misconception the Cagoule’s leaders actively fostered. Recruits joined seven-man cells linked by vertical ties to units, battalions, regiments, brigades and divisions. There were no horizontal ties in the organizational structure, however, so that no relationship existed between cells. In the end, the police arrested only 71 members of the Cagoule in 1937-38. Those imprisoned were eventually released in 1939 when France mobilized for war. The case against the CSAR did not come to trial until 1948. By then many of those charged were distinguished war veterans. Most had found important places in the Vichy regime and/or ended the war as part of the French Resistance. Few were punished for their prewar crimes, and in the rush for postwar reconciliation in France, the murder of Laetitia Toureaux was largely forgotten.


The Cagoule leadership were simply too important to punish for the death of an Italian immigrant of questionable reputation. A case in point involves the late French President François Mitterand, who never belonged to the Cagoule, but developed close ties in his youth to many in its ranks.  Mitterand steadfastly refused to discuss his Cagoulard ties during his long presidency, but he clearly knew of the Cagoule’s prewar crimes and chose to ignore them. Laetitia Toureaux’s story, therefore, forms part of the larger French refusal to come to terms with the pre-World War II era when many French sympathized with extreme right-wing politics, fascism and anti-Semitism. Indeed, it can be argued that Vichy France was the fulfillment of right-wing agendas.


By retracing Toureaux’s life and death in a historical monograph, we intend not only to tell a good story and solve a murder, but also juxtapose the worlds of working-class immigrant culture and upper-class French society in order to craft a portrait of French politics and culture in the 1930s. Toureaux’s story thus becomes the lens through which we view French society during a turbulent time when many in France flirted dangerously close with fascism.


Who Was Laetitia Toureaux?

The morning after the murder, “Le Crime du Métro” made sizzling front-page copy in all the papers as Parisians awoke to the shocking news that a beautiful young woman was brutally killed on a subway train. Paris was abuzz with curiosity about the crime and its victim. The doctor who performed the autopsy on Toureaux’s body theorized that the blow that killed her had severed her jugular vein so perfectly that only a professional assassin could have done it. But what did this clue indicate about Toureaux’s background and lifestyle?


In the weeks that followed her demise, the Parisian newspapers and scandal sheets sensationalized the murder and its investigation, little by little uncovering the details of Toureaux’s unconventional life and offering hypotheses on her untimely death. In the first few days after the murder, the journalists and the Parisian public viewed Toureaux as an innocent, an ingénue perhaps, but a respectable, recently widowed immigrant who was a victim of cruel fate. Five days after the murder, however, public opinion turned against her. Exposed as an ambitious social climber with a taste for money and adventure, her marriage to the late Jules Toureaux was revealed to be a clandestine relationship. His scandalized bourgeois family only learned of the union on his deathbed and unsurprisingly severed all legal ties with his working-class wife. Toureaux’s lifestyle also had been unsavory, for like many Italians living in France, she frequented bals musette, often located in the most sordid neighborhoods of Paris where pimps and prostitutes solicited customers. Toureaux lived a mysterious and exciting life and was known to acquaintances by another name, “Yolande.” The police learned that she had sexual encounters with men in hotels and public parks, but they never uncovered any evidence that she charged for sex. Faithful to her husband during their six-year secret marriage, she took a series of lovers from her milieu after his death in 1934.


Even more intriguing, Toureaux not only worked in a glue factory by day and a bal musette by night, she also gained intermittent employment as a sometime “mouche,” or informant, with a detective agency in central Paris called Agence Rouff, where she specialized in surveillance and message delivery. Much of her detective work was done in the bals musette. Her beauty was her greatest asset since her good looks gave her entry into many places and access to people she was expected to watch. Through her employer, Georges Rouffinac, it appears that she began working unofficially for the investigative division of the Paris police and in this capacity infiltrated the Cagoule. Late in his life, her former lover and Cagoule member, Gabriel Jeantet, told a reporter that she had been something of a double agent in the employ of Mussolini, but no documentation to this effect has ever been found.


So Why Was Laetitia Killed?

Laetitia Toureaux loved to dance, and as a dancer she met many young army officers who were attracted to right-wing politics. It appears that sometime in 1936, Laetitia, now known as “Yolande” and working for the police to infiltrate illegal, right-wing political groups, became the lover of Jeantet, the Cagoule’s arms smuggling expert. Jeantet ran a garage near Montmarte and commanded a fleet of cars he used to smuggle arms from Geneva to Paris. By the spring of 1937, the Cagoule began to suspect Toureaux of deceit and set a trap for her. News of an upcoming arms run was leaked to her, but when the car was stopped at the Swiss border, it was empty. The ruse cost Toureaux her life. The Cagoule leadership met on May 10, 1937, and determined her fate. In all probability, the group’s most notorious assassin, Jean Filliol, was ordered to kill her. Filliol proceeded to pull off the perfect crime and fled to Spain before World War II broke out. He finished his life a rich man near San Sebastian.


Why Tell Laetitia Toureaux’s Story Now?

Laetitia Toureaux’s story is both timely and compelling. A 500-page summary of the investigation compiled by the police a few months after her death paints a fascinating picture of one woman’s struggle to achieve bourgeois respectability in a world that denied upward mobility to people of her sex, class and ethnicity. Her murder is also intertwined with the history of French fascism. The Cagoule leaders were not street thugs but highly educated nationalists who used terrorism, particularly the bombing of two sites in the wealthy 16th district of Paris – ironically, on Sept. 11, 1937 – as a means of sending a message to the French public. On this particular 9/11, they hoped to fool the public into believing that a communist putsch was imminent and thereby hasten the fall of the Third Republic. Historians, however, seldom give more than summary attention to the Cagoule’s prewar aims. Ultimately the Cagoule failed to bring about regime change and install an ultraconservative state. Even so, their use of violence as a means of promoting disorder in 1937 has never been fully examined. A reassessment of the CSAR could aid understanding of France’s fall in 1940. At the very least, such a study provides insight into how terrorist cells operate, incite fear, and as Americans know only too well, change history.


And in the end, what do we make of Laetitia Toureaux, the woman who gives us access to those violent times? Reconstructing her life was no easy task. The files concerning her murder were sealed by the French government for 101 years and are not due to be released until 2038. We acquired legal derogations and gained access to many of these files but only after signing documents in which we promised never to compromise the names of leading French families. In many instances, files we sought vanished “without explanation.” A five-year search finally turned up the police archives that we were repeatedly told did not exist. More than one French archivist warned us not to pursue this research.


In 1997 we set out to find Toureaux’s grave. There in the stillness of a cemetery on the outskirts of Paris, we vowed to this woman to tell her story. Laetitia “Yolande” Toureaux was no heroine, but she embodied many of the complexities of interwar French society. In 2002 the lease expired on her grave plot, and her body was exhumed and cremated. In some sense, we believe, the publication of our book will reanimate and validate her existence.


In 1997 Annette Finley-Croswhite, associate professor and dean of graduate studies in the College of Arts and Letters, happened onto two or three sentences in a Paris travel guide about a 1937 unsolved murder in the capital city’s subway. That reading would lead to an eight-year project that is now drawing to an end. Finley-Croswhite and fellow researcher Gayle Brunelle, whom she had met in graduate school at Emory University and who now teaches at California State University, Fullerton, agreed that the story was too good to pass up. Although both are French historians whose specialty is the 16th century, they “retooled” themselves to write about this fascinating piece of history from the 20th century. They published a major article in the journal French Cultural Studies, “Murder in the Metro,” and have spoken about it at several conferences. After years of research, they have produced a manuscript, titled “Laetitia Toureaux and the Cagoule: Murder, Gender, and Fascism in 1937 France.” The subject of the scholarly work remains highly controversial, and many people in France would prefer that the story be forgotten. As dedicated historians and researchers, however, Finley-Croswhite and Brunelle couldn’t let that happen.



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