Posts Tagged ‘corruption’

“Dark Ages” of Pakistan


Posted @ LahorePostBlog

December marks the end of the deadliest 2010, the 201st decade, culminating after more than 100 drone attacks this year, killing mostly civilians. An era has passed, and it happened to be perhaps the most lethal and dreadful period for Pakistan. It proved to be a gloomy and historically “dark age” for the 63yr old country, in a rapidly evolving global geo-political environment. A nation that bore the brunt of WOT, sacrificed more men than any other ally, when no Pakistani was involved in it. Aided by, the most corrupt, and incompetent politicians as rulers of the state. It happened to be an age of bloodshed, extremely low self-esteem, and growing despair. Loosing, 10,000 cops, a good 30,000 civilians, and thousands of those who were crippled since the beginning of WOT. Still, we are not doing more.

The chaos began with the one man, dictatorial decision of Musharraf in 2001 to join War on Terror. It was a decision where options were limited but irony is that the gutless General gave in like a coward, and committed without any forcible terms and conditions.

Thereafter, giving in to their every demand as if Pakistanis were guilty. Later in 2004, he sent in armed troops without taking the parliament and the nation in confidence, and with no positive outcome whatsoever. Eventually an array of suicide attacks began, worsening as each day passes. Musharraf did manage to attract foreign investors but the economic boom proved temporary. Obviously, with a war going on at your borders and a growing concern over law and order situation, how could he have managed to sustain economic growth? Army once a pride and hope, thanks to him, earned an unruly, bad fame in his days. Lately, the 1999 coup fame, ex-Army COAS, Gen Zia-ud-din calls him an inexpert officer, incompetent general and a compulsive liar.

The 2007 Judiciary movement in due course commemorate the end of Musharaf and his continuous meddling with the constitution. He’s the pioneer of the unpardonable NRO which eventually allowed unclean politicians to take charge of the driving seat.

2008 marked the beginning of a democratic government, elected based on their slogan to revive and review policies. It lead in time to the rule of the most corrupt politicians. Theirs no change in the policies, no clear agenda whatsoever, and carnage and casualties continue. The world today is acquainted to drones through Pakistan.

Added to this is the escalating corruption, not even sparing institutions that previously had corruption free fame. Like, last month, motorway police got involved in a challan corruption scandal. It looks like an incurable epidemic. Steel mills scandal is outdated now. They have gone far beyond. The latest being the Reko diq scandal, which is equivalent to 200 steel mills.These guys are inventive and bold. The Hajj looting eventually leading to the prince writing to the CJ must have left many old ministers in a fury for not being so audacious!

More to it is the dooming economy. The Textile industry, our economic backbone, is barely surviving now, being forced towards an unnatural death. Foreign investment is out of question as there is not only miserable law and order situation but also distrust on the government by the International community, openly shown during the flood relief appeals. All of this is in due course leading to price hiking and hoarding of commodities. Might is right here now.

The adversity everywhere is eventually leading to an extremely low self-esteem of the nation as a whole, as is being manifested by the current sporting culture in the country. Cricket being a religion in Pakistan is not mere a sport here but also a representative of the spirit and morale of the nation and the youth. Cricketers are now being scrutinized. Another one, lately fled the field. Guilty or not, but the impact it creates is detrimental.

It is the end of 2010 and like Obama, the change that the elected democratic govt in Pakistan, comprising of the two mainstream political parties, promised is nowhere to be seen. The nation now awaits a messiah and a changeover.

Being an ultimate optimist, I also believe that it can’t go on like this forever and renaissance is round the corner! The nation that carries tremendous potential within herself now desperately yearn for a change. The best educated Muslims in the world today are Pakistanis, proving their mettle all over the world. The brainy, creative youth here is capable of not just making “copy” but “original” as well, (as can be witnessed by the rare opportunities they manage to get). All that is now desired is a changed and charged leadership.

I aspire that the new year and consequently the new age marks the beginning of a new blooming era for Pakistan – I still dream of a prosperous Pakistan, gearing steadily on a dodgy road towards the vision of Quaid, and the dream of Iqbal.



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Sky is the limit for Pakistan,s ruling elite


Posted@ letusBuildPak

Global Voices

First the million dollar nuptials of Shoab-Sania, than Ishaq Dar,s son,s wedding at Atlantis Palm Jameirah. Mr Dar later showed the 27, 000$ dollar bill of the banquet hall in a TV show, (remaining expenditure of the wedding will remain undeclared! I bet it must have easily crossed the 1 crore  mark! ) modestly admitting, he goes, the expenditure is justified since it is his declared earnings and that he’s a big donor as well, not mentioning even if he’s right; Is it morally acceptable for a Govt representative of his stature to advocate such high-priced lifestyle, when the economy here’s is barely surviving. What kind of ultimately lucrative standards are they setting for their followers?

Moreover, I wonder what really is the limit of spending from one’s declared property? Especially for an office bearer. As corruption, and especially money laundering has been proven Hilal by majority of our rulers! What next? A trip to the moon? So much for the spoilt politicians and now their children.

Likewise, MP son of Sharif’s, the greatest flag bearers of simplicity, and who pay lesser tax than I do, imported a Siberian leopard a while ago. The Leopard needed special dietary requirements and a perfectly air-conditioned room round the clock, while the industry here is dying an unnatural death because of unwarranted load shedding. Though daddy Shahbaz disapproved it, yet such contemplation of a parliamentarian is beyond my mind.

Similar to them are our hypocrite mullahs, who send their own children to the best institutes in the world but always, promote and construct Madrassas here in Pakistan, of course, to keep a steady source of workers and voters. I absolutely have no issue with their kids obtaining foreign qualification, but the least they should do is advocate and toil for a unified curriculum in Pakistan.

The ecstasy of power is exclusive! Expenditures of PM house and Presidency in millions is to everyone’s knowledge. Lately, the £2m Harrods furnishing for Gillani,s place by his wife remained the tittle-tattle. The paradox is, there are no donors for the 2b flood affectees, and when every penny counts, the wealthy rulers are obliviously and religiously busy squandering.


Surrey’s history! Mr. Zardari,s visit to his Chateau in France was disapproved of all over the world as one of the worst flood of the century hit the country. I bet, the rulers abroad must be jealous of the empires he has made out of his job! No wonder, finally Hillary Clinton tells the govt to stringently draw tax from the rich.

The prime minister’s obsession for branded suits is no less trivial, his favorite said to be Bruno Magli costing between £3,000 and £7,000, and reportedly, he does not wear them twice. Instead, he declared to auction them (I doubt anyone showed interest!). Not to forget, the famous tale of family being imported on a chartered plane for a diner with Angelina Jolie, while she was making humble pleas to the world to donate to rescue the 2 billion flood victims.

This list has no end, as more such scandals keep rolling in now and then, given that it’s a “Family First!” policy. These very politicians than advocate simplicity, considering it times of adversity. Instead of pragmatic resolution of issues, they tell us to quit sugar if it is expensive.

Accountability aside, as policy makers and money handlers, what message are they sending across with such lucrative life styles, even if it is their Halal money as they always claim! Had we been an oil-drenching, gold-producing, sheikh land, I would have absorbed such lavish outgoing, but for heaven’s sake this is a war-poverty-flood-hunger-stricken bankrupt Pakistan at the disposal of IMF. Why can’t they postpone their shopping drills until the phase is over?

While they and their children are busy partying, the folks who advocated and demonstrated democracy show different values. There, the rich volunteer to pay more taxes to resolve the crunch, the PM leads from the front in economic crisis and flies in club class on local airways, and their heirs join troops, a tribute, and a symbol of solidarity to those at peril on the frontline.

Thriving on your own charity


…a flood rehab donation reminder!

Rehabilitation is underway in the flood-hit regions of Pakistan. Key players in this reconstruction include numerous NGO,s working strenuously in the field. Billions have been collected by them through charity given by Pakistanis alone, though efforts of international community indeed is well appreciated. However, considering a catastrophe of biblical scale, it is not surprising that 7 million still lack shelter according to a UN report and 30 billion dollars is estimated by World Bank for rehab. More recently,Oxfam has cited,

“The funding shortfall is so serious that existing regular food rations to 3.5 million people could be in jeopardy,”

Hence, still a long way to go.

It is being said that of the foreign aid pledged to Pakistan, only 20% has reached so far. Looking at the corruption graph, it is evident where that too would be spent. But, it is a time of crisis and the nation along with the NGO,s must stretch their efforts for more money.

Pakistanis are one wonderful nation, resilient and altruistic. Nevertheless, challenges continue as cholera and dengue hits now. No wonder, we possess the potential to manage the debacle on our own. In this respect, I could not resist mentioning the work of some brilliant organizations active in the filed.

Citizens Foundation; Apart from distributing 20 million meals in all provinces and providing food rations to families returning home, they are now working on rehab of more than 60 school units, as well as construction of new schools. Khidmat Foundation is running couple of rehabilitation programmes including micro credit. Islamic Relief USA coordinated a $23 million aid shipment filled with medical supplies.

After proving their mettle in relief activities and collecting a record 2 billion+ donation, MKRF and IKRF are now focused on rehabilitation. Their project includes provision of wheat seeds for flood-hit farmers owning 25 acres of land. The scheme will cost Rs 600 million and benefit 200,000 affected farm families. Under the scheme, certified and good quality seeds will be made available to farmers for 150,000 acres of land. Apart from this, houses, micro credit and health facilities are also being made available.

Subsequent to relief efforts, Pakistan Army is busy in rehab activities now. Army has completed as many as 49 Schools, 15 Health units, 11 Mosques, houses and roads in various areas of Southern Punjab. Extensive Army Engineer’s effort is underway to restore communication infrastructure in Swat and repair of Karakorum Highway. Likewise, many acknowledged organizations like Edhi, Zindaagi trust, Madad, News channels relief funds have their share.

These are only handful compared to scores of others operational in the field, doing exceptional work. All that is indispensable is more and more donations from our own resources first. For instance, A little change in lifestyle is the demand of time.

  • Setup a direct debit for at least 6 months for a particular amount of money that you can easily donate.
  • Give away the amount equivalent to every restaurant visit to the affectees.
  • Dig out your winter wardrobe; give away warm clothes -people are dying of cold now.
  • Spend less on clothes and accessories this season and donate the savings.
  • Eid is round the corner. I advocate, scholars should declare that instead of slaughter, the cattle this time be distributed among the affected. This is a sacrifice that God will accept Inshallah.
  • Make a resolution as not to eat junk for a couple of months, instead donate that money. Relish your body as well as your soul!

Let’s rebuild Pakistan, and make “opportunity out of misery” really happen.

Donate Generously!

Posted @Pak Spectator

Supreme Court is the new GHQ in Pakistan


….But can it eloquently dispense Change?

History has witnessed FOUR Marshal Laws in Pakistan. Pakistanis are well aware, what happens when their politicians get too naughty to handle! But, state of affairs have taken a new course lately never seen before in the history of Pakistan. NRO scam, Swiss scandal, row over 18th amendment, clash between judiciary and presidency, but eccentrically resilient higher judiciary in the absence of substantial military intrusion is new to this part of the world. Therefore, consequence is unseen.

Rumors about “investing” in judiciary have been around for a while with scams of Nawaz bribing judges and “Dr” Awan buying off lawyers. It seems the buzz has taken a practical course now! As a significant verdict of Supreme Court concerning NRO is approaching, it appears all the parties are playing their cards in the best of their interests!

“Change” is the new change in the rapidly evolving Pak politics, which escalated after the world witnessed empathic attitude of govt officials and their poorest governance in providing flood relief. While military continued the relief silently, it re-emerged as a leading and regimented force, wining hearts once again. So much so, that the discourse eventually lead to talks about, army interference in some way and bringing in technocrats to govern, have started. There are rants about alternate options for in-house change. Political Parties are uniting, and, new parties are being created in an attempt to enter power corridors. Talks about midterm elections after establishing a free election commission are in vogue. Some predict a revolution is about to happen bloody or soft. Contrary to all the fuss, some are still adamant that everything is perfect, and that they will complete their tenure and will be re-elected! (God forbid)

All options come to a dead-end. Only possible change is through judiciary now. Nevertheless, the recent tussle between judges and lawyers undermine its impression as a responsible institute. Chief Justice restored by the people after a worldly acknowledged campaign against two consecutive governments, though many do not admire, but now carries a huge responsibility on his shoulders. Moreover, even though he himself is an ex-PCO judge, but will now have to live up to the expectations of people, defending his oath and maintaining sacredness of his office. NRO ball & 18th amendment is now in his hands, which will undeniably change the pattern of future politics in Pakistan towards a positive side. Otherwise, only bringing about in-house change without tackling the “supreme commander” and other NRO beneficiaries will yield absolutely no change.

While in this post-Musharraf era, GHQ has resolutely distanced itself from political endeavors, striving to regain the pride army enjoys in Pakistan and is quite successful in achieving that so far. GHQ has limited itself to war on terror, and now flood rehab, with no direct political involvement whatsoever. In addition, the COAS enjoys the repo of being “pro-democratic”. In this vacuum and realizing the new powers of judiciary, SC has become the new battleground between lame, immature politicians and judges. Only difference is, as compared to generals and military; the lawyers, and judges enjoy a far more corrupt reputation. Considering the recent bar-bench brawl, question is will the course of events be in favor of the country or judges?

Army being the only established institute in Pakistan had to intervene, unconstitutionally though, in times of crisis. Judiciary being one of the most corrupt institutes has the exceptional opportunity to intervene constitutionally, in the times of crisis.

Will the judiciary be able to dispense soberly what GHQ has been delivering for decades – A change??    No one has the answer yet, but the answer lies with judiciary!    Fingers crossed!

Posted @ Let us Build Pakistan, GlobalVoices

PakSpectator

Organization,more than donations is required


Donations are pouring in from internal resources, plus Pakistanis abroad. Credible NGO,s have geared up and Pakistani people are sane enough to know where to donate. I, once in a long while liked what sharifs said about showing reliance on your own resources first.

Many international celebs like Angelina Jolie, Paulo Coehlo, Rafael Nadal, queen Rania of Jordan have made appeals for donations, apart from repeated UN appeals. So we are in the limelight yet again! This time for a change, as a sufferer rather than as a terrorist. But as the situation evolves, I seem to dislike it. It is somehow damaging our self-esteem and casting an impression of a molested nation. Damn, we r not Haiti, neither Africa, we are Pakistan; we can bounce back no matter what the hurdles are, or for that matter, how much corrupt the governance is. We have what is rare round the world – the magnanimity of our hearts. Seriously, we possess the potential to spring back with our own resources & without begging for international aid.

I believe, more than heavy donation; an outstanding organization will save us. With appropriate organization & co-ordination, we can surmount the issue of low budget. More can become less, if managed inappropriately. Less can become more if handled in a disciplined and organized manner. Without proper organization, some areas will remain thrifty, while aid and rehab will be subjected to others.

As the Indus is reined free in the South, water in the north has somewhat calmed down. Water has receded from much of the NWFP. Without hinging on to the govt, NGO,s should now come forward right away. They should organize, divide areas, and start reconstruction & rehab on their own. The lesser the time the displaced people spend in the camps, the lower will be spent on their food & shelter, and especially medicine (for outbreaks) which these days are much more expensive than food & shelter. Moving the displaced back to their homes as soon as possible will reduce the funds spent on diseases that they would encounter in camps.

With apt management, (even leaving out the government) Pak is one unique nation that holds the potential to handle such astounding catastrophe. For a change, let us do the building on our own without repetitively begging international donors, as charity begins at home!

Is the country moving towards anarchy?


Yesterday midnight, few half-clad and unkempt men, broke into a house in a posh locality in Islamabad, using hammers and knifes. They hunt for food & dined on what was available in the kitchen, took away food and money, and eloped.

I hope not, but is it a promo of what the future holds for us? Unless and until, the government starts behaving, the security of the entire population is at stake. Moreover, unless the unaffected population shows enthusiasm and connection with the victims, we are doomed.

Three weeks have passed since the heavy floods, and still no policy has been prepared by the government, mere slogans. From day one, they should have imposed emergency at national level. The situation on ground is equally worse. Politicians are fighting for their own houses and lands. Sufferers are living in inhumane conditions. Govt elite are not ready to cooperate & unite with each other.

Even if a few thousand of these 20 million affectees rushed to urban areas, they will play havoc with the law & order situation and already wrecked economy of the country. And if that happened nobody will be spared, neither the governing elite nor the disconnected nation.

Time to wake up: both the government & the nation, otherwise we are moving towards an anarchic situation.

Posted @ PakSpectator

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