Sunday, October 23, 2011

The End of Qaddafi Dynasty

October 20, 2011

By Saeed Qureshi

The Lybian strong man Moammar Qaddafi’s end is stunningly tragic but was predictable. Mindlessly and tenaciously, he fought a patently losing war against insurmountable odds. How could he convince himself and nurse the hope that he could still prolong his iron-fisted rule over a country that he held in bondage for over four decades. Not only that his regime was nakedly undemocratic, he was a merciless head of state who would entertain least compassion while dealing with his dissenters.

The fundamental and inherent flaw in the Arab totalitarian regimes is that their rulers were alienated from their subjects and kept themselves at the helm with ferocious brutality and by keeping their people under the specter of fear. They are more or less tribal chiefs who treat their countries as fiefdoms and personal estates.

While the world was moving faster towards socio-political freedom, emancipation of the societies from abomination of dictatorship, with flowering of democratic culture and hum drum of equal economic opportunities and domestic liberations, traits of egalitarianism and tolerance, these deeply entrenched autocrats kept their societies in a medieval mold.

An individual or tribe or family would be the owner of the entire wealth of the country and would keep their people in poverty and socially backward by denying them the fruits of modern societies and even fundamental human rights.

These tyrants would perpetuate in power by fraudulent elections and with a farce of ballot that would not allow any other contender to be successful. In case of Libya it was still worse as the charade of elections that were ceremonially held in Egypt or in Tunisia were never contemplated.

The Libyans suffered under a very oppressive regime for 42 years and would have remained in those wretched conditions if Arab spring or that monumental change had not been triggered by a street vendor in Tunisia. That powerful and irresistible wave of decades’ pent up people’s outrage has started casting away the brutal autocrats one after another. The NATO certainly played a decisive role in obliterating Qaddafi’s loyalist forces and keep them at bay against the revolutionary militants.

The gubernatorial change in Libya with the death of Col Qaddafi has come about after hair-raising sacrifices and a huge loss of people in the civil war that started early this year in that beleaguered mass of land. The Libyan freedom fighters’ uprising is unique in the senses that it was waged against a ruthless despot, who was weird, eccentric and perhaps mentally sick.

Qaddafi was one time a hero under the banner of Arab nationalism and symbol of liberty, freedom and résistance against the discredited monarchies. His revolt against aging king Idris in 1969 was overwhelmingly hailed by his people. But in subsequent times, while the Arab nationalism became merely a slogan, devoid of any substance or passion, the freedom from the monarchies were switched into oligarchies or autocracies by strongmen like Qaddafi, Hosni Mubarak and Ben Ali of Tunisia.

It is for the first time in the history of Arab lands and also of North Africa mostly with Islamic regimes that a fresh breeze of true independence and democratic order has started blossoming in those closed societies lorded over and spawned by heartless individuals through police, army and intelligence network.

There is a visible parallel and similarity between the humiliating capture of Saddam Hussain and Col Qaddafi. The Iraqi dictator was found in a rat hole in Baghdad’s vicinity while the Libyan despot was dragged out of a sewerage pipe and subjected to a punitive degradation. Both pleaded mercy although Saddam merely uttered, I am Saddam Hussain?

Does not this irksome and mind boggling spectacle resonate unmistakable message across the globe that the days of absolutism and authoritarianism are numbered? Would this spine chilling turn of events and the utter distasteful end of the onetime powerful and power-hungry oligarchs convince the remaining tyrants in the same region to hand over power to the people in a peaceful manner and quit their vulnerable citadels?

There is dire and candid clarion call for both Bashar Assad of Syria and Ali Abdullah Saleh of Yemen, to call it a day and initiate negotiations with the revolutionary leaders for transfer of power. Otherwise they would also be dragged in the streets and subjected to indignities besides an eternal condemnation and curse from the people whom they ruled in most inhuman, repressive and pitiless manner all these years.

The National Transitional Council (NTC) that has to take over the reins of war-torn Libya has to move very cautiously, swiftly and decisively to restore law and order in Libya. The Council bosses should declare amnesty for those who fought on the side of Qaddafi except those who were involved in war crimes. The smooth transition from a rigid dictatorship to open and democratic environment is going to be difficult but not impossible.

The pillaged infrastructure has to be rehabilitated and normal civil life has to be restored. A new constitution based on human values and democratic guidlines has to be evolved. The announcement of the NTC that Libya is liberated from the tyranny of an oppressive regime should be actually observed with abolishing the strict obscurantist and uncivilized regulations that were in vogue during Qaddafi long rule.

It is only a truly open and democratic era that would bridge the tribal, ethnic and regional discords that have been so pronounced and deep rooted in Libya. It would be a Herculean task to remove the mutual bickering and to avert the power tussle between the revolutionary groups. But with caution, sagacity and honesty of purpose, the NTC bigwigs should be able to bring about the historic switch from a rigid autocracy to a multi party system of government based upon the will and votes of the people through fair elections.

Libya would seethe with the preliminary teething problems but hopefully would finally emerge as a cohesive, democratic and united country with distinctive hallmarks of social freedom and prevalence of human and fundamental rights and the emergence of a veritable modern state. Libya is an oil rich country and in not too distant future it can tread towards the goal of prosperity and economic empowerment for its people.

The whole world is watching Libya with awe and keenness as to how its new leaders deal with the post Qaddafi challenges and come out with flying colors

Nawaz Sharif stands a better Chance to Win

October 18, 2011

By Saeed Qureshi

Nawaz Sharif’s party PML (N) has a brighter chance to capture majority of votes in the next general elections in Pakistan. There are a host of factors that prompt me to resort to this guess. First of all the fervent and passionate ovation that he has received during his whirlwind tour of interior Sindh augurs optimism for his growing popularity in that province that, since the beginning, has been the exclusive preserve of the Pakistan People’s Party.

It is certainly a mystifying development to watch Nawaz Sharif roaring in the lion’s den and challenging the traditional political adversaries in their backyard. That also lays bare the inescapable fact that the trends of politics are changing. The people now are more mindful of their rights and instead of blindly following the traditional loyalties in matter of voting or politics, are focused on who serves them the best.

Asif Zardari has never been willingly accepted the true and rightful supreme boss of the PPP. His sudden rise in the party after her spouses’ assassination has been taken by the people of Pakistan including a large section of Sindhis with a pinch of salt.
Mr. Zardari’s stature as a political chief of the PPP (renamed as PPPP) has been under the burden of myriad allegations of malfeasance, corruption and mismanagement.

His accidental advent and positioning in the PPP also catapults a big question mark with suspicions from various quarters that he might be an accomplice in that incident. The snail-paced and rather negligible progress and utter lack of any passion in the investigation of that high profile murder, all the more of the party chairperson and daughter of the founder of the party, has been like an albatross around the neck of Mr. Zardari.

Mr. Zardari as the PPP’s chairman with Sindh as party’s stronghold has been more like a divisive catalyst than keeping its cadres together and well knit. The party’s internal fissures and fractures bubbled up with the irreconcilable hostility between Rahman Malik and Zulfiqar Ali Mirza. Other PPP stalwarts, latest being Zafar Ali Shah, have been distancing themselves and issuing hostile comments on the ineptitude of the party leadership.

In both the rural and urban Sindh, the PPP in order to stay in the power saddle has been relying mostly on its alliance with MQM whose sphere of influence is confined to Karachi and partly to Hyderabad. This make and break and hate and love relationship with MQM has disheartened and dejected many PPP local leaders who are restive and oppose this penchant of Mr. Zardari to foil principles for the sake of saving their government.

The penchant for expediency and attainment of short term gains via alliances is also manifest in keeping the ANP in good humor to the extent that a visibly long standing, untenable demand of changing the title of the NWFP was accepted overnight. The PPP has therefore, considerably corroded its image of a party of ideals, principles, custodian of masses and being anti-establishment.

In the wake of the last and this year’s floods, that brought an all encompassing and unspeakable devastation and sufferings to the people of Sindh, the PPP government’s response has been inadequate or half hearted. The PPP government’s ministers and leaders have been missing or sparsely seen in the affected areas.

On the contrary, the other parties including the PTI and MQM have enormously contributed to the relief and rehabilitation efforts that are still going on. In the backdrop of these developments and PPP”s marked apathy and lack of concern for a huge devastated population of Sindh, its graph of popularity has lowered to a considerable level.
For PMLN, there is no other formidable contender except the PPP whose lofty standing is now waning unless the party rebounds with a revolutionary agenda to win back the support and loyalties of the Sindhis particularly and those of the people of Pakistan generally.

Perhaps this trend of depleting support for the PPP is unstoppable as the people, thanks to the ubiquitous media and pervasive information channels are politically more aware and possess enough pragmatism and discretion to judge and use their rights to vote for a party or leader of their choice.

After having been exposed to the rigors, following his ouster from the power, the PMLN chief Nawaz Sharif appears to be a much reformed and chastised person. Ten long years in exile have equipped him with enough sobriety and prudence to tone down his disposition of stubbornness, revenge and punitively hitting back his opponents.

Unlike his past volatile demeanor as an aggressive and capricious leader, who would not tolerate any opposition from the media or the judiciary; he seems now to be much mellowed, wiser and thoughtful person.

The Pakistani media was extremely hard pressed during his tenure as a prime minister and so was the judiciary. The Supreme Court building was brazenly ransacked while the then chief justice Sajjad Ali Shah was sitting inside.

His aversion for the military rule in Pakistan has been an enormously positive outlook that he has been constantly maintaining despite the stricture of friendly opposition meaning that they were surreptitiously hand in glove with the PPP and were merely putting up a mock show.

But that support and solidarity for PPP’s incumbent democratic dispensation was primarily not because of any love for PPP, but for blocking the military to grab power. That was and is still a laudable stance that in the longer run would stand in good stead for him and his party.

Of late, his political campaigning with direct attacks on Zardari and PPP government and to remove them through a concerted, unrelenting sit-ins, public rallies and processions is not to pave way for the army to step in but to discredit the government for its morbid performance and to protest against the pernicious conduct of the people in power.

It is a mission or movement for early elections. The PMLN’s realization and mobilizing the people though is belated. Yet it is for the sake of the country and against a coterie of thoroughly corrupt mafia that is outright incompetent, worthless and stampeding the supreme interests of Pakistan. Such a call is still not too late, as it is in accord with the aspirations of the people of Pakistan.

One of the most outstanding and commendably recognized achievements of Nawaz Sharif has been the nuclear explosions conducted in response to those of India. It is largely a consensus opinion that while Zulfikar Ali Bhutto should be given absolute credit for initiating the Pakistan’s nuclear program, Nawaz Sharif is entitled to an abiding national gratitude for conducting the nuclear detonations.

Nawaz Sharif or his family did not opt for exile or were forced to seek refuge in foreign lands because of criminal activities, embezzlement or looting national exchequer or for corruption. He made a hasty and whimsical decision to remove the then COAS Pervez Musharraf and replace him with a pliant person. This puerile decision and the immature way it was executed backfired and his luck ran out.

But a redeemed person would be more straight and honest because he has learnt the lesson to be upright after a great deal of hardship. That analogy is so relevant in the case of Nawaz Sharif. If he still persists in his temperamental weaknesses and wayward idiosyncrasies, he would face a double jeopardy and might become irrelevant and oblivious on the national political stage.

Nevertheless, in case of nuclear explosions he has proven himself to be a man of action. Besides, he is indeed a son of soil and his roots are here and inextricably linked to this land where he was born.

The PMLN and the PPP (P) are two grandiose parties of national stature. All other parties are fringe and wear regional, sectarian or ethnic headgear. The ANP is confined to Pakhtunkhwa province and that too only within the confines of the Pushto speaking part. It does not have a national or countrywide appeal.

The MQM has its hold on a part of Sindh province and therefore its constituency is limited and despite its latest overtures to expand its sphere, it has not been able so far to extend its tentacles to the entire country. It is an ethnic party that is primarily confined to the Urdu speaking population.

The PTI (Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf) is a budding political outfit that is on the march of eliciting support of the people on a countrywide basis. But notwithstanding the sizable presence of the crowds in Imran Khan public meetings, it has to go a long way before it would be able to emerge as a party with massive support all over Pakistan.

The PTI would find it difficult to beat the traditional parties and cannot muster enough seats in the parliament to capture power or even to be reckoned as a credible political force. The PPP’s constituency and support is dwindling although it might turn out to be runner up in the national elections.

If the anti government rallies and pickets (dharnas) make a headway and the PMLN keeps it tempo and momentum in high gear, then there is every likelihood that the sitting government is forced to call for midterm elections. Since due to its extremely intolerable and abysmal governance the incumbent government is at its nadir of unpopularity, the people are expected to throng to the marches and rallies of the PMLN in large numbers.

The people might join the PMLN’s anti- government drive not for the love of this party. They would do so because of the huge frustration and prodigious disgust they have developed against the government for a variety of reasons such as poor and sleazy governance, mismanagement, besides indulgence in rampant corruption and gross insensitivity to the people’s woes.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Pakistan is Withering

October 15, 2011

By Saeed Qureshi

In the wake of the escalating violence and unrelenting terrorism that are brutally rampaging Pakistan, the country’s future and destiny seems to be murky and bleak. I am not exaggerating nor am I a prophet of doom. I am simply warning the average citizens of the impending hell that would engulf a country that otherwise can be a paradise for its picturesque natural beauty, its untapped inestimable deposits and its precious human resource.

Pakistan is an alluring country, for a perfect and ideal harmony between its four seasons, for the grandeur of its tallest peaks, the splendor of its glaciers, the charm of its serene valleys sparkling with azure emerald like water; its captivating mountains, its vast mysterious deserts, its awesome and mighty rivers, its fertile lands, and a unique geographical location.It connects east with the west and north with the south. It borders China as well as Russia: the two formidable countries.

It is a gateway to Central Asia, opens on the Persian Gulf and Asia Minor, and sits atop the most precious outlet for the Arab and Iranian oil. It distinguishes itself as a phenomenal abode of the most ancient civilization known as Indus Valley Civilization. The diversity of cultures, languages, customs and traditions and folk lore, races and complexions give it a wondrous mosaic profile.

Yet it is in a state of drastic decline and moving fast down the hill. The state of Pakistan is withering at an alarming rate and its fabric being torn asunder. Its very existence as a geographical mass of land is exposed to fragmentation. This horrid transformation was sown at the very outset after its inception that went on inflating as the time moved forward. The rudest and unforgettable jolt that sliced this country into two halves came in 1971.

Pakistan’s former smaller part now called Bangladesh is believed to have become a haven for the Pakistani entrepreneurs and industrialists. They are seeking refuge and investing in that erstwhile part of Pakistan. Bangladesh is one fifth of the size of the existing Pakistan while its population is a little less than that of Pakistan.

Yet the violence, the social disorder, the colossal upheaval, the gross mismanagement, the loathsome governance; the chronically corrupt, self serving and inept leadership that one can witness in Pakistan is not hugely attributed to Bangladesh.
India is dreaming to walk into the shoes of an economic and technological giant and a regional power that aspires to countenance China. Pakistan looks a midget in comparison to neighboring India now leaping forward at a terrific speed in technology, with its stable democratic tradition and with ballooning economic boom.
Pakistan is trapped in huge debts and earns unenviable reputation as a failed state.

The leadership that we have is not worth a stack of chaff. A country ablaze with leaping fires of violence, with shameful and futile proxy wars being fought by its armed forces on its own territory, with the contagious curse of sectarian, ethnic and regional bad blood spilled all over; the hope for a better future is dimming fast.

Well all the maladies, challenges and the monstrous damnations that Pakistan is suffering from are known to even a child sleeping in a suffocating hut without electricity. Pakistan looks like a lunatic asylum where people are losing their sense of proportion, undergoing nervous breakdowns and sapped of any hope of a good time that is getting elusive by every hour and every day.

Is there is way-out for revival of Pakistan? This is a moot question that reverberates in the entire length and breadth of Pakistan. Can Pakistan survive under the ongoing stifling conditions and in a social milieu that is frightening? Can it successfully tackle the utter lack of basic facilities and ugly civic order and provide a decent living to its people? Can Pakistan disentangle itself from the thorny international commitments that serve no purpose except its disintegration and that are cutting across its viability? Can Pakistan be cast into an abiding democratic framework with free and untainted electoral system?

Can Pakistan shed its abominable curse of feudal, priestly, parasitic, papal and mystic, exploiting and comprador classes? Can Pakistan hammer out a truly federal system by which the populations of all the regions get their equal status and rights by creating more provinces with less lordship from the center? Can the country be salvaged from the morass of degeneration, it is sinking into? And so on.

If there are no immediate short term or long term solutions of these and similar other burning questions that revolve around the viability, welfare and survival of Pakistan, then mark my words there is no hope for the people to survive in a cohesive united, geographically contiguous land as it is now. The drift and disintegration is hovering over horizons of Pakistan and sooner or later it would descend and lead to an unstoppable decay and further dismemberment of the residue Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

The leaders of this marvelous nation are endemically hypocritical, deceitful and incorrigible thugs. They lack vision and insight and in contrast possess abundant obsession for power and boundless lust and irresistible appetite for money and self-enrichment. The press and judiciary are free but such a freedom is meaningless unless the government believes in accountability and right behavior and has respect for the judicial verdicts.

These seasonal birds, predators of national honor and agents of worsening status quo, would hang around befooling the people in the name of a certain ideology or deceased zealot or divine retributions. They would vanish when the tide turns against them and Pakistan become utterly unmanageable. These are indeed the worst times and the darkest days for Pakistan. The leaders and parliamentarians are not servants but enemies of the country and hastening the demise of Pakistan as a sovereign, independent and viable country.

The poor people with dust and deprivation covering their skinny faces are running amok for a bowl of rice or a loaf of bread and for a few rupees to travel, or a bed in the hospital or admission of child in a school or to pay the bill of a utility or to buy grocery and to bribe a clerk for a birth certificate or ID card.

The president travels in presidential jet, sleeps in the well guarded presidential palace, issues orders, makes appointments, and collects commissions and kick-backs. The prime minister a scion of exploitative sainthood is a useless rubber stamp with not a grain of modesty, prudence, intellectual or political astuteness. The political friars designated as ministers look like goofs and clowns hovering around the top custodians of powers for favors.

This is our government and these are our leaders and we expect of them a magnificent turn around and a watershed revolution and safeguarding Pakistan’s territorial integrity and fine governance and rule of law and a civil society, fundamental rights of equality and integrity and education and health for all. The gulf between poor and rich has become alarmingly so wide as to make the middle class disappear.

Nursing the culture of nepotism and protecting clan interests are the most favorite pastime of the elected leaders as well as of those not elected. The fleecing of the national exchequer on such white elephants as rental power plants and dubious deals is apace in the power corridors. The national institutions and enterprises such as the railways, airlines, and steel mills are deliberately being rendered bankrupt and dysfunctional to finally sell these or auction to the private bidders.

They leave not even a slim chance to skim their share on every sale or purchase including import and export of commodities. They make and break scornful and expedient alliances to remain in power. This is brazen misuse of power and daylight robbery.

Army is a privileged class by itself. Army bungled in East Pakistan in 1971 and has donned a mercenary role for the past two decades. It devours most of the state funds and sits idle otherwise. Kashmir cannot not be gained by force or by the military means. India militarily is several times powerful than Pakistan.

So when would the time to protect the territorial integrity of Pakistan come? And if it comes can our meager army repel the aggression? Are our civil and military leaders aware that Pakistan army is outmatched by India in relation to its military equipment and number? The vital task of defending Pakistan from external attack would be more onerous as a good portion of Pakistan’s army is locked in the tribal region.

The religious bands of all hue and cries are busy always in wrecking the peace and tranquility of the state. They mercilessly annihilate each other in the name of sectarianism and different strands of faith. The Islamic Republic has become the hunting ground for Islamic sectarian chauvinism. The religious multitudes pose a stupendous threat to the normal and smooth functioning of Pakistan.

These religious entities have become pressure cartels which in their frenzied pursuit of a caliphate have been destabilizing Pakistan as a nation state. The sectarian schism is much more hideous and lethal in Pakistan than in Bahrain, Iraq and Syria. Can Pakistan subdue these faith based warring sects and enforce generalized version of Islam that should not pose a challenge to the unity, social harmony and stability and even existence of the country?

Let a student. A teacher, a barber, a teacher, a laborer, a peasant, a vendor, a doctor, a nurse, a shopkeeper, a clerk, a brick maker, a woodcutter, a bus driver, lead 5 million people and set up a camp in front of the presidential palace, parliament building, the prime minister house. They should force these fat bellied hoodwinkers to come out and face the public outrage.

Similar camps and rallies should be staged in provincial capitals. A parallel masses ‘government should be constituted on the constitution avenue to make such decisions that can fix the public enemies, punish parasitical power grabbers, and that can help reclaim the sinking Pakistan. Anna Hazare of India has set the example for such a mammoth assemblage. Let another French revolution recur in Pakistan.

Am I talking sense or getting crazy and unloading my pent-up frustration?

Rashidabad is a Dream City

October 13, 2011

By Saeed Qureshi

Rashidabad is dream city in the making. It is dedicated to a martyr who has immortalized himself by sacrificing his life to save those of thousands and even more. It is an epic story that would inspire the generations of defenders of Pakistan who dedicate their lives for the sake of their motherland and for the honor and security of their fellow citizens.

The name of this illustrious pilot is flight Lt. Rashid Ahmed Khan who embraced martydom on December 13 1997 to save the city dwellers from a calamity that could have devoured thousands individuals on the land.

He drove his mirage fighter that caught fire away from the populated area and refused to bail out despite several instructions from the ground control tower. He would have saved his life but in that bid of self protection a devastation would have struck the densely populated areas on the ground.

His father a remarkable, air force commodore Shabbir A Khan( R) decided to dedicate the city after the name of his intrepid son and to keep alive his memory of conspicuous heroism and exceptional martyrdom as a trail blazer to motivate others to imbibe the same spirit of self sacrifice to save the countrymen.

“A single spark can light a prairie fire.” That metaphor was given a concrete shape by commodore by his tireless efforts and unsurpassed dedication. As a result an amazing city has emerged in a remote area of Sindh that is role model for its excellent education environment, marvelous health services and monumental social work.

“Rome was not built in a day” quipped Air Commodore who is the founder and the executive director of this most ambitious and gigantic project being pursued with a missionary zeal. He explained that Rashidabad would be expanded as the time passes depending upon the availability of resources.

In a meeting convened in Dallas at the residence of Mr. Shahid jaffery his long time buddy, Air Commodore Khan who is currently on a tour of the United States, explained in greater details how the ideas of creating such a city was conceived and translated into concrete reality. It was now emerging as a beacon of hope for the local downtrodden citizenry as well as students of the under- privileged families from different parts of Pakistan.

The brochure published by RMWO (Rashid Memorial welfare organization) mentions the projects and facilities that have already been built and are functional. It also provides the contours of the future plans and projects that would be added and thus the scope and ambit of this unique institution would be further enlarged to accommodate the growing needs of the deprived, neglected and poor sections of the society.

The brochure outlines the mission of the city as, “We focus on eliminating illiteracy and alleviating deprivation from the country through establishing projects at district level. The project encompasses four essential elements of progress (education, health, environment and socio-economic uplift)”

The brochure defines the objective of this phenomenal undertaking in the following words:

“The objective of RMWO is to set up model villages throughout the country which shall integrate all essential facilities in a well-knit mosaic so as to ensure positively beneficial outflow to the needy rural folk. Our main thrust is on education, health and vocational training contributing above all in helping to transform the rural mindset from superstitious to the rational. Corollary benefits that would accrue include a check on rural migration to urban towns and empowerment.

At the outset, the idea to build a city like this was born on the spur of the moment and in an atmosphere of 1971 war when the Pakistani air force pilots including air commodore were engaged in flying combat missions. Commodore Shabbir gave graphic yet grieving details as to how after each sortie some of the pilots did not return.

But the defining moment to practically kick off this most momentous project was evolved by the martyrdom of his only son Flt. Lt. Rashid Ahmed Khan. The city’s foundation stone was laid by Lt. Gen. Moinuddin Haider, Governor Sindh on 13th December, 1998. With an initial donation of 20 million contributed mostly by the air force officers, the Rashidabad city started shaping up on a 100 acres tract of land.

In a span of merely 13 years Rashidabad has come up as a flourishing metropolis The city is studded with schools, residence units, healthcare facilities, a vocational training centre, recreational facilities, a mosque and an artificial lake.

Among the entities and organizations that help and fund the school, the most outstanding are the Citizens' Foundation (TCF), General Traders (YK Academy) and the Old Boys' Association of the PAF Public School, Sargodha providing expertise in education, Layton-Rehmatullah Benevolent Trust (LRBT), Fatimid Foundation, the Shahnaz Ghani Trust and the Healthcare Foundation providing healthcare services, the Mustafa Benevolent Trust and the DMKM Welfare Trust providing socio-economic services.

Air commodore Shabbir A Khan, a modest and fine human-being is shy of asking for donations but essentially he needs continued financial succor and sustained flow-in of funds to keep building this blooming and bustling unique city. Such an awesome devotion, supreme passion and earnest aspiration to serve the disadvantaged families and poor humanity can flow out of sincere hearts and pure minds.

Friday, October 7, 2011

How Pakistan can produce abundant electricity!

Upright Opinion: Rebuilding Pakistan -----4

October 6, 2011

By Saeed Qureshi

During the two stints ( 1988-1990) and ( 1993-1996) of Benazir Bhutto as the prime minister of Pakistan, her spouse Asif Zardari was the main brain behind her faulty and self-perpetuating decisions. One of those decisions that she took was to hire the international IPPs (independent power producers) to overcome the growing demand of electricity.

As far my memory can help me I reckon there were a total of 12 IPPs with whom Asif Ali Zardari inked agreements to produce electric power in Pakistan. The tariff that was agreed upon was much higher than the prevailing rates then. The opposition raised hell and under pressure from the rival political parties and due to the stigma of Mr. 10 per cent, the plan could not make any headway.

But the Baloch Zardari never forgot that setback. After assuming the presidency of Pakistan his main penchant has been to once again hire IPPs. Besides, the so called rental units have been marshaled to meet the burgeoning shortfall that has created mayhem in Pakistan.

The deals or the agreements that have been worked this time are barbaric and speak for the callous disregard of the PPP power wielders for the majority of the people who cannot even eke out their one meal a day. The rental power units have been generously paid in advance and so are the IPPs who may generate the power or not but would be paid for the time these remain under rent.

There is no accountability for their slow production or no production. The IPPs and rental obsolete units have been paid billions of rupees in advance while their output is faulty and so low as to never meet the phenomenal shortage that bedevils the people of Pakistan.

On top of it the government is insensitive to the sufferings of the people. The entire country is in a state of commotion and outrage. Due to wide gap between the generation and the consumption, the industry is most affected and is at a standstill wholly or marginally.

The educational institutions, the hospitals, the household across the country are undergoing an indescribable agony. The population is turning into psychological patients.

Such is the apathy, incompetence and audacity of the sitting government as they fear no accountability nor have any respect for law and the courts’ decisions. We can see the president of Pakistan, the prime minister, and ministers sitting in cozy royal wide chairs, gossiping, chatting, and smiling in their bushy moustaches as if heaping insult on the intellect and dignity of the people of Pakistan.

Their only obsession is to cling to power, amass as much wealth as they can. For those ignoble goals they make and break new alliances with the political parties that are always on sale and ready for mortgage.

There is no plan or strategy or project in sight that would genuinely address the most heart rending distress and torture of the people of Pakistan. There is complete lack of any meaningful initiative or worthwhile drive to provide electric power to the harassed citizens who cannot sleep, get water pumps running, cook their meals, or turn on the fan. Bangladesh despite smaller in size and more population is better than Pakistan.

In a country where there is grinding poverty, it is outright dacoity and extortion to force the people to pay Rs. 20 per unit for one watt of electricity. This fleecing should be punished with hundred of lashes and several years in jail to the felons.

But who can punish these looters for their limitless crimes? In Pakistan there is no accountability for the criminals from top to bottom, for their naked nepotism, the wanton misuse of authority, the widespread and rampant corruption.

There are scores of criminal cases pending against the president down to every minister and parliamentarian for gross misdeeds. The superior judiciary has been handing out verdicts for the executive to take follow up actions. But how can thieves, thugs, robbers, and public enemies take action against themselves?

A beautiful country is going to dogs and is declining; the people caught in a web of countless socio-economic maladies aggravated by utter lack of concern by the rulers for their miseries.

Everyone in these desperate times is offering shortcut remedies for the multitude of diverse problems that the people of Pakistan are facing every day, every hour and every moment. I am inclined to offer my recipe and solution for an immediate resolution of the power shortage in Pakistan. My plan is simple, less costly and can be completed in 6 months to a year. This comprises three parts as follows:

•To absolutely eliminate the theft and misuse of power lines.

•To introduce a new cost effective and durable system of transmission of power from the grid to local transformers and to the houses.

•To maximize the generation of electricity even beyond the total need of the country.

I shall elaborate these three measures in my next article. I am aware my voice is lone in the wilderness and would face stony silence from the decision makers or may be ridiculed by the cynics. But as an earnest well wisher of the people of Pakistan, it is my foremost obligation to express my perceptions on an issue that is paramount and that has deprived the people of their peace of mind.

To be continue

Monday, October 3, 2011

Hamid Karzai is the Enemy of Pakistan

October 2, 2011

By Saeed Qureshi

In the aftermath of Burhanuddin Rabbani’s assassination, the venomous statements of Afghan president Hamid Karzai irrefutably show that he is an inveterate enemy of Pakistan.He is trying to fish in the troubled waters by throwing mud on Pakistan which is a sordid and ugly attempt to show his puppet’s government’s incompetence to run Afghanistan. His government is sunk deep into mammoth scandals of corruption and administrative sloth that is getting deeper and deeper as the time passes.

Deliberately ignoring Pakistan’s historic role in curbing the indigenous terrorism and insurgency in the volatile tribal regions with deployment of its armed forces and with countless casualties, he does not omit even a slim chance to denigrate and slander Pakistan, in total disregard of the diplomatic niceties and the fundamental norms of ethics.

His despicable attempt seems to stoke the bitterness that of late has surfaced and continues unabated between the United States and hard pressed Pakistan. The brunt of Osama episode and the latest Rabbani murder by Taliban has put Pakistan in a very tight corner. A leading warrior as Pakistan is in this so called war on terror, is being condemned and slated as a fifth columnist and duplicitous in western war on terrorism.
In this moment of unprecedented misunderstanding and massive apprehensions about Pakistan, people like Karzai see a rare chance to look taller and pass the buck of their failure on others. Why should Pakistan be interested in eliminating Rabbani is a million dollars question. The answer is that Pakistan would have enormously benefitted from his survival as that would have liberated Pakistan from this devastating war in which it has been trapped by default.

Prime Minister is absolutely right when in response to a hurricane of tirade and a dubious campaign of diatribe said that Pakistan was not responsible for protecting NATO forces. By harping on the same tune as that of retired admiral Mike Mullen and Leon Panetta, Mr. Karzai is falsifying the facts and undermining the possibilities of peace in Afghanistan.

He is an epitome of opportunism, and is evil spirited who leans more on blaming others for his own shameful failures. He is the one who along with his roguish brother is facilitating heroin trafficking out of Afghanistan and trading in weapons sold to Taliban and other insurgent outfits. His reputation as an honest, dignified and an astute head of state is zero.

How come that he has the audacity to despise Pakistan’s involvement in the assassination of the former president of Afghanistan Burhanuddin Rabbani and attacks on American embassy in Kabul? Why should all these Johnnies including Karzai link ISI with Haqqani network to launch attacks on NATO locations in Afghanistan? This is atrocious conduct of the head of a beleaguered state. This is to conceal the total debility of his government in thwarting the insurgents by a centimeter of success.

President Karzai is notorious for his uninhibited involvement in greed, corruption, nepotism, electoral fraud, and regulating trade of opium and heroin through his half brother Ahmed Wali Karzai. According to the New York Times, “many members of the Karzai family have mixed their personal interests with that of the state, and become hugely influential and wealthy by murky means.”

Mr Karzai, in flagrant defiance of law and the constitution has established a personal court that has reinstated scores of candidates who were delisted for fraud in the 2010 parliamentary elections by the Independent Electoral Commission.

Such is the twisted moral compass of a person who has the audacity to point accusing fingers on an ally whose armed forces has laid down thousands of lives of its soldiers for a war that primarily concerns Afghanistan, the imperial west and mighty America.

In fact he is trying to join the chorus of people like admiral Mullen who failed to produce the results that were expected of them and instead of admitting their failure they are now trying to pass on their buck to an ally whose achievement are as shining as the rising sun and which not even imbecile can deny.

Hamid Karzai is widely known to be heavily inclined towards India and therefore his latest murky twist and maligning Pakistan can be attributed to his sympathy and support for Pakistan’s regional and traditional rival. The treachery and turncoat character of individuals like Karzai can never be condoned as they are rank liars and shorn of basic acceptable conduct because they are primarily focused on their personal clannish interests, self-enrichment than that of the nation and county.

The United States is aware of the shady character of Hamid Karzai and his odious retina of cohorts. When the day for the occupation forces to vacate Afghanistan would arrive, these aberrations of greed, self-indulgence and moral turpitude would vanish like the shadows when the sun sets. These obnoxious and sold out characters cannot have their places in a soceity which they traumatized and haunted so long.

President Zardari of Pakistan has been inviting this enemy of Pakistan on such auspicious days as the Independence Day and Pakistan day as a guest of honor. As a serpent knows only to sting, this man has always been ungrateful and the moment Pakistan is slandered, this man does not relent for a moment and endorses that by preposterous accusations.

Mr. Zardari perhaps feels a kind if kinship with this untrustworthy and slippery person because both sail in the same boat of self-aggrandizement and for their unquenchable penchant for amassing wealth even by most questionable means.