CSS Forums

CSS Forums (http://www.cssforum.com.pk/)
-   News & Articles (http://www.cssforum.com.pk/general/news-articles/)
-   -   Articles by Civil Servants of Pakistan (http://www.cssforum.com.pk/general/news-articles/42392-articles-civil-servants-pakistan.html)

Viceroy Friday, December 17, 2010 12:38 PM

Articles by Civil Servants of Pakistan
[B]Many a times we see articles written by serving or retired civil servants in national and international news dailies. The purpose of this thread is to collect as many of these articles at one place as we can. These articles usually provide an insight into the working of various civil services along with an expert opinion on the topic they are written on thus a very interesting read for CSPs, qualifiers and aspirants alike. I hope members will make valuable contributions to this exclusive thread. I am starting off with Zafar Hilaly's article published in today's Daily Times. [/B]


Friday, December 17, 2010

[B]COMMENT: Corruption and democracy —Zafar Hilaly[/B]

The starting pay for an Indian Civil Service (ICS) officer in 1936 was Rs 450-500 a month, which was exactly what we, in the Foreign Service of Pakistan (FSP)/Civil Service of Pakistan (CSP), were paid 30 years later

“Among a people generally corrupt liberty cannot long exist,” said Edmund Burke. Had he lived to see India, Italy or for that matter present-day Pakistan in action he may have changed his mind. Democracy is thriving in both India and Italy, and for the moment in Pakistan, and so is corruption.

At one time in Italy more than a third of an outgoing parliament and numerous government departments were under investigation for everything from bribery to links with the Mafia, yet democracy continued to flourish. When the immunity of former Prime Minister Benedetto Craxi was lifted in 1992, a hail of coins were showered on him as he walked home, which was the old Roman way of expressing disgust at thieves who were paraded through Rome in disgrace. Corruption thrived during his term thanks to the trail that he blazed but nevertheless democracy was not endangered. Similarly today corruption charges against Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi are legion; the Italian economy is in meltdown as Berlusconi frolics with nymphets, but democracy is not in peril.

In India, as the economy grows by leaps and bounds, so do scandals. The latest is estimated to have cost a mind boggling $ 43 billion loss in government revenues; petty corruption is rife; many elected representatives carry criminal indictments; parliament has become dysfunctional as a result of the opposition tactics, but once again there is no talk of doing away with democracy.

On the other hand in Pakistan because corruption is endemic, a return to dictatorship is considered very much on the cards; some even pine for it. Why?

It cannot be because profits are fudged, tax returns missing and as much as half, if not more, of the moneys allotted to a project are set aside for kickbacks. Similar thieving exists in the other two democracies.

Nor are our politicians especially corrupt because, as everyone knows, it is as absurd to expect a politician to be honest as it is to expect an honest burglar. Besides, as the Musharraf years demonstrated, politicians are not the only thieves. He and his prime minister walked off with the entire Toshakhana (treasure-house) after changing the laws. Even in Italy the authorities are open to a ‘bargain’. Ask any Pakistani immigrant with document problems in Milan. And it is also not because the Pakistani police are uniquely inefficient. The detection rate for crimes committed is proportionately not much different than in India or Italy.

Rather, it has everything to do with the fact that while in Italy, and perhaps India, the chances are that when caught the guilty will be punished, in Pakistan the rich and the well connected can hope to get away. To dilate: it is not only the way the legal system operates but also the quality of the judges and vitally, the character of the magistrates. In Italy judges and magistrates have by and large an impeccable reputation. Italian judges are fashioned in the Jacobin mould. In other words, they act as the battering ram of social change, they are resilient, they thirst for justice and the truth and have a disdain for all other considerations including the sluggishness of the law. While they are un-elected, they are not apolitical. As agents of social change they have to be political, not in the sense of belonging to political parties but being responsive to the deep desire of the people to hold a common thief as much as a tycoon and the political class accountable.

The other reason why in Italy at least the battle against corruption is being won is that government employees get a liveable wage. While their salaries are not big, the job is ‘like gold dust, a meal ticket for life’. They also get an extraordinary number of privileges.

I recall asking Dr Mahathir Mohammed how Malaysia had managed to acquire a better reputation than most when it came to corruption in the bureaucracy. He replied that he had pegged the salary of his top civil servants to those of their western counterparts. It might sound like a lot, he said, but when you pay someone a handsome salary he develops a loyalty to his organisation and his job. Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore, a bigger success story, had done it earlier, setting the trend for Malaysia.

Dr Mahathir was right. I recall having to stay in a cheap hotel in downtown Chicago on account of the pitifully meagre allowance given to officers. In the neighbouring room was a drug addict seemingly awaiting a delayed delivery of cocaine and going spare while doing so and in the other, an abusive husband pummelling his wife. Meanwhile, on the street were a dozen teenagers looking for someone to rob. I would have gladly sold all the secrets I possessed to escape the next few hours, which were spent stacking the sofa against the door to prevent a break in.

Similarly, I recall my pay as a second secretary in our embassy in Prague in 1971, being half of that of the driver of the Danish Ambassador and the concern shown for our welfare by Islamabad was even less than that shown for the driver by his employer, judging by the fur coat he was wearing and the contented smile on his face.

One has no idea how salaries were calculated in Pakistan but those doing so must have been terrible at maths. The starting pay for an Indian Civil Service (ICS) officer in 1936 was Rs 450-500 a month, which was exactly what we, in the Foreign Service of Pakistan (FSP) or Civil Service of Pakistan (CSP), were paid 30 years later. On his salary my father was able to keep a stable of horses, maintain a car and travel every week to Calcutta and pay his losses at bridge, which must have been considerable as he was hopeless at it. All we could afford was a weekly dinner at the local Gymkhana. A Bengali roommate treated himself to half a dozen coconuts instead. Others went cap in hand to better off family members.

Denied judges attuned to the wants of society, a liveable wage and a decent shot at life, is it any wonder that corruption and inefficiency abound in Pakistan? Sick of waiting for the saviour on a white horse to rescue them, the people will settle for one on a nag by the looks of it. Good judges/justice and a decent wage is all that they want. Liberty, democracy and the absence of corruption is icing on the cake.

The writer is a former ambassador. He can be reached at [email]charles123it@hotmail.com[/email]


Islaw Khan Friday, December 17, 2010 03:51 PM

[B][COLOR="Black"][SIZE="2"]@ Viceroy
Thanx for starting this useful thread. This will help out the future bureaucrats to shape their ideas not only in the exams but in the practical life too. The long experience of the civil servants of Pakistan will be of great help for all of us.[/SIZE][/COLOR][/B]

Here i am going to share an article by one my most favorite CSP Tariq fatmi.

[COLOR="Green"][SIZE="3"][B]Exposure and duplicity[/B][/SIZE][/COLOR]

Tareq Fatemi

FOR Pakistan`s suffering citizens, for decades denied their fundamental human rights and deprived of most worldly pleasures, any entertainment — no matter how vicarious — is eagerly sought.

Consequently, the recent WikiLeaks disclosures have been seized upon, for they go far beyond exposing human foibles. The common man, who has scant respect for the ruling elite and suspects it of all kinds of misdemeanours, finds in these cables both confirmation of his worst fears as well as some explanations for the country`s ills.

To the initiated, there is little that is shocking. Nevertheless, the depths to which the privileged are willing to stoop to achieve their personal gains constitute the nation`s horror story. Yet the story is not without its share of the farcical, and this comes from the reaction of those caught out in their chicanery and duplicity.

Some, like the honourable prime minister, have claimed that this is fake information and need not be taken seriously. Others have taken refuge behind the much abused pretext that they constitute a conspiracy against Pakistan (or even better, against Islam). These are dishonest observations that bear little relevance to reality, as anyone with even a cursory knowledge of the workings of diplomacy would know.

A diplomat`s primary responsibility is to meet every one who matters in the country of accreditation and to report on all developments, so as to enable his or her Foreign Office to advise the political leadership accordingly. This explains why there are both written rules and unwritten conventions that seek to regulate contacts with foreign diplomats within clearly understood boundaries. Consequently most countries, especially developed ones, discourage foreign ambassadors from frequent interaction, except when required for official business and according to some degree of reciprocity.

Pakistan`s track record has, however, been abysmal. Our `hospitality` borders on the ridiculous, with even heads of state and chief executives priding themselves on the frequency of their exchanges with foreign diplomats. More often than not, these meetings are used to bare their souls and discuss the country`s secrets, either to promote their personal agenda or to ridicule their political rivals.

While it is easy to criticise the current cast of characters strutting across the political landscape, the fact is that 200 years of British colonial rule have left an indelible imprint on us all. This is evident in our servility before the powerful and our contempt for the weak. This has become our second nature, especially among those from the feudal classes, which accounts for the eagerness with which our leaders demonstrate their subservience to the Americans and obeisance to Arab rulers.

Other than prime ministers Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Mian Nawaz Sharif, few can claim to have withstood external pressures. It is doubly sad therefore that Bhutto`s political heir should have confided in the US ambassador that with a mere phone call, he had ensured that Pakistan did not “oppose the US-India civil nuclear deal at the nuclear suppliers meeting”.

Even Benazir Bhutto`s success in the 1988 general elections would not necessarily have translated into the assumption of office without Washington`s forceful intervention. Recall that two US special envoys were dispatched to Islamabad to `assure` the then president and army chief that she would not disturb the existing arrangement. Not surprisingly, the US ambassador became such a dominant player in the country`s political life that he enjoyed the sobriquet of `viceroy`.

It is also a fact that Benazir Bhutto was totally trusting of American friends who would not only be present in official meetings but be made privy to state secrets. Lest the reader have any doubt about the veracity of this claim, former ambassador Marker`s book Quiet Diplomacy is recommended.

Yet nothing can match the servility demonstrated by the general-president Musharraf, who was brazen enough to seize power from an elected prime minister. Nevertheless, he was so diffident in his dealings with the US that in one phone call from the then secretary of state Colin Powell in the wake of 9/11, he agreed readily to the most onerous US demands without even the pretence of consulting his confidants. And it was to assistant secretary Boucher (a mere joint secretary) that both Benazir Bhutto and Musharraf turned to in order to finalise their political understanding.

Not surprisingly, the WikiLeaks exposure has led to calls for fresh rules to be drafted to prevent such occurrences. However, we already have enough of these. What is required is a change in the mindset of our rulers. They must learn to trust their own people and recognise that their sworn responsibility is to promote and protect the national interest, rather than their own or that of a foreign benefactor.

As a former career diplomat, it is not pleasing to see diplomacy`s primary instrument —accurate reporting and intelligent assessment — coming under such massive assault. This is likely to inhibit diplomats from being totally honest in their reporting and guarded in their observations. Nevertheless, the revealed information should constitute a treasure trove for research scholars and political scientists.

While the leaked cables have caused deep embarrassment in many world capitals, revealing leaders as incompetent, dishonest and corrupt, they also reveal a superpower that does not hesitate to cheat, lie and double-cross its friends. Without compunction, it sanctions torture, kidnaps innocent civilians and sabotages elected governments, all in the name of peace, democracy and human rights.

The cables also confirm the view held by some scholars that though an imperial power, the US appears tired, confused and overstretched, living on borrowed money and failing to uphold its claims of moral superiority. Prof Kennedy had warned of the dangers of this in the mid-1980s, while more recently, historian Alfred McCoy observed that “so delicate is the ecology of power that when things start to go truly bad, empires unravel at unholy speed”. While that may still be far off, no wonder Secretary of State Clinton denounced the leaks as a “criminal act”, while the Republican presidential hopeful Sarah Palin called for the WikiLeaks editor to be hunted down as a criminal.[/B]

The writer is a former ambassador.


Viceroy Friday, December 17, 2010 11:18 PM

The decline of the civil service - Zafar Iqbal
[I]This is a must read article for getting to know the history of civil service in Pakistan and how it was used by politicians for their vested interests through the course of our history.
The decline of the civil service

By Zafar Iqbal

MS Anjum Niaz’s column in Sunday’s Dawn Magazine of April 9, 2006, seems to have incensed Mr Rashid Akhtar of Lahore. As a former member of the civil service I was rather flattered with Mr Akhtar’s observation that “throughout the history of Pakistan, CSP (Civil Service of Pakistan) officers have held sway over almost all the affairs of the country at different levels and positions.”

I wish we had been all that powerful. We might have had a better managed country today. The politicians, the army, the other government services such as the police, the customs, the income tax department etc. are, in Mr Akhtar’s opinion, of no account.

For one thing, the columnist was only talking about the Indian Civil Service. She was obviously kindly disposed towards it as both her father and father-in-law were in the service. From her latest column it appears that she is convinced that the CSP is dead. It is not. But it has been badly mauled by successive governments. The officers still occupy many of the top jobs but the quality of their output has deteriorated. The truth is that they do not really care any more.

The ICS came in three categories: In the first category there were the white men representing Whitehall; they ruled India. In the second category were the Indians who qualified on merit in the examination held in Delhi. In the third category were the quota positions, reserved for Muslims who had passed the examination but were not on the merit list. These were nominated to the ICS.

Pakistan inherited about 85 ICS officers at the time of independence — they largely came from the third category. Before 1947, the ICS comprised the ruling class under British domination. Things changed a bit with the implementation of the Government of India Act of 1935 but not much and not for very long. After 1947, this disappeared and the politicians took control.

Competitive exams for the ICS started around 1858. A merit Home Civil Service for Britain came into being with the Civil Service Act of 1871 and a combined examination was introduced. Before 1919, the people coming out on top tended to opt for the ICS, the others opting for the Home Civil Service. The Montague-Chelmsford reforms discouraged people from coming to India and the people at the top tended to opt, in increasing numbers, for the Home Civil Service. The 1935 Act indicated the coming exit of the British from India and nearly all the top people opted for Home Civil Service.

After 1947, Pandit Nehru retained the ICS now renamed the IAS (Indian Administrative Service) very much in its original form except that policy no longer originated in Whitehall but was decided by the Congress party in New Delhi.

In the beginning, much the same prevailed in Pakistan. We were, however, very short of officers and some lateral entrants were inducted into the CSP from the provincial services, some from the defence services and a few others, probably not more than 20 in all. The balance of the shortage was made up with something called the general administrative reserve plus officers from other services. The final set-up was, however, influenced by the ICS.

The first competition-wallahs for the CSP had appeared for the exam in Delhi in 1947 and after training came into service around 1949-1950. However, the most prominent bureaucrats in the early years were Mr Ghulam Mohammed, Chaudhry Mohammed Ali and Khan Qurban Ali Khan, none of whom were from the ICS. To these, one could perhaps add the names of G. Ahmed, Zahid Husain and M. Shoaib, again none of them from the ICS.

Women were ineligible for the civil service, foreign service or the police. There was another caveat that a candidate who got less than 50 per cent in the viva voce, no matter how well he did in the written exam, was ineligible for the civil and foreign service. All that happened was that those who did better in the CSS exam were considered of superior ability. Not absolutely true but not an entirely inappropriate generalisation. But the CSP, nevertheless, excited a degree of hostility. For instance, horse-riding was pilloried as making them elitist — a completely mistaken impression. The mostly middle-class young men had never encountered a horse before.

In Pakistan, there is a tendency among people to regard themselves as government servants and not public servants. This was true of the Indians in service when the British ruled India. After independence, attitudes changed in India, but with the dismissal of the Nazimuddin government, Pakistan’s nascent democracy was shaken to its roots fairly early. The rear-destruction of democracy in Pakistan was the result of a conspiracy between the governor general, the chief justice of the Supreme Court and the commander-in-chief of the Pakistan army. The army was inducted by Ghulam Mohammed to ensure the success of his political coup. It took over communication facilities to prevent Nazimuddin from making contact with anyone.

Thereafter, everyone became confirmed government servants. What is worse, they felt quite comfortable with this arrangement. This was further strengthened with the declaration of martial law in October 1958 when executive authority was concentrated in the hands of one man, without any checks and balances and, for all practical purposes, independent of public opinion. One of the requirements of the higher civil service is to advise without fear or favour. In order to protect this function they have to be provided protection from arbitrary action by political authority.

Amongst all the services it was the CSP which had most contact with the public; their behaviour was, therefore, important. Entry to the civil service had two components. The first was assured social esteem; the second, an opportunity to perform public service. Unfortunately, it was the first which seduced most of the entrants. Individuals varied in their attitudes but many of them, particularly in the districts, tended to behave like uncrowned monarchs — the greater their sycophancy towards their superiors the more their haughtiness towards the public.

Within the system the problems we face are ethnic prejudice, favouritism, nepotism, patronage and sycophancy. To some extent it is true of all societies, but for various reasons we have all of these in a virulent form. As a result, no nationally accepted version of competence has emerged. It is still substantially influenced by ethnic prejudice and sycophancy. There is, therefore, a great deal to be said for a structured system where the better ones at entry are given preference. In spite of all these problems, we, nevertheless, continued in a not unreasonable fashion, except for the 1965 war and the lunacy of the action in East Pakistan is March 1971, which eventually lead to the succession of Z.A. Bhutto as president and martial law administrator in December 1971.

His rule was a watershed in the government service structure of Pakistan. Theoretically, he levelled the playing field by bringing all the services at par. Their salaries were equalised and for one year they trained together, but thereafter went their separate ways. Since the establishment secretary also hated the CSP it was renamed the DMG (District Management Group). This did not matter all that much.

What did matter were Bhutto’s intentions. He had no interest whatsoever in the concept of “advice without fear or favour.” He simply wanted his desires to be implemented by the system; whatever they might be. He, therefore, changed the entire legal framework within which the services operated. Constitutional protection was withdrawn. The jurisdiction of the courts was replaced by an administrative tribunal under the establishment division.

The rules governing security of service were abolished, and any officer above the rank of joint secretary could be sent home without given a reason. As a matter of fact, it could happen to any officer at any level. This was further compounded by a complete free for all in the matter of promotions. Through this process Mr Bhutto achieved what he wanted. Respected senior officers were forced to become errand boys. I had no experience of this new culture because I was suspended from service in July 1972 for “arrogance, irreverence and impertinence.” Since I had committed no offence, except to annoy Mr Bhutto, nothing could be done, until the rules were changed and a new Constitution enacted. (My dismissal was announced in August 1973 but that is another story).

In the 1977 elections deputy commissioners competed with each other for getting the PPP the maximum number of seats from their respective jurisdictions. In Punjab, the PPP secured 94 per cent of the seats. Where the local administration did not fully cooperate as happened in the other provinces, the commissioners and provincial chief secretaries intervened, to achieve the desired results. Mr Bhutto won a landslide victory.

After 1970, all elections have been managed to obtain pre-arranged results. This is in stark contrast with our eastern neighbour where, in spite of a certain amount of murder and mayhem, elections are reasonably free and fair.

There are many societal and other differences between India and Pakistan. For one thing, the army has been kept out of politics, their higher judiciary is much more independent and their administrative machinery is more committed to political neutrality.

This stands in stark contrast to the slow degradation of the CSP into a group of rather intelligent sycophants.


Viceroy Friday, December 17, 2010 11:48 PM

Bureaucracy: how the rot set in - Roedad Khan
Saturday, October 02, 2010

Bureaucracy: how the rot set in
Roedad Khan

The writer is a former federal secretary

Albert Guerard, the fiercely democratic French historian, once exclaimed: "So long as the bureaucrat is at his desk, France survives."

What is it that is holding Pakistan together? Is it the fake democracy? Is it our rubberstamp parliament? Is it the Potemkin political institutions dotting the country? Is it the coercive power of the state? Or, as in France, is it the bureaucrat at his desk who keeps the flag flying?

This is what the Father of the Nation had to say on the role of bureaucrats. "Governments are formed, governments are defeated, prime ministers come and go, ministers come and go, but you stay on. And, therefore, there is a very great responsibility placed on your shoulders. You are the backbone of the state," he remarked in an informal talk with civil servants in Government House, Peshawar, in April 1948. Mr Jinnah's words still ring in my ears.

On the premise that Pakistan would encounter insurmountable problems in setting up the new state in the chaotic conditions that attended partition, it was decided that an official controlling the entire government machinery, working directly under Mr Jinnah, the governor general, was needed for coordination and speedy decisions. Chaudhry Muhammad Ali was appointed secretary general. He was a very able officer with a long experience in the finance department of the Government of India, a man of prodigious energy and hard rightwing views.

By a cabinet resolution, the secretary general was given the right to direct access to all the secretaries and all the files. To reinforce his position, Chaudhry Muhammad Ali set up a "Planning Committee" (as distinct from the Planning Commission, which was to be set up in the mid-1950s), of which secretaries of all the ministries were members.

Through the mechanism of the Planning Committee presided over by the secretary general, the entire state apparatus was able to function as a unified machine under a single head, more or less, independently of the cabinet. The Planning Committee was, in effect, a "parallel cabinet" of civil servants, with the secretary general functioning as "prime minister".

With the assassination of Liaquat Ali Khan in 1951, and the elevation of Ghulam Muhammad to the high office of governor general, the post of secretary general was abolished. As a consequence, while in one respect the power of bureaucracy was consolidated through the governor general, since he was a former bureaucrat, in another respect it was made less effective, as it had now to be mediated through the cabinet. The political leadership now acquired greater significance, for the power of the bureaucracy could not be exercised without the manipulation of the political leadership and occasional confrontation with it.

The political leadership at the Centre resented Ghulam Muhammad's authoritarian methods and resolved to rein him in. In October 1954, proposals were introduced in the Constituent Assembly for the curtailment of the governor general's powers, in particular to abolish the arbitrary powers under the Government of India Act, 1935, which allowed him to dismiss any ministry, even if it enjoyed parliament's confidence.

Before these amendments could take effect, Ghulam Muhammad declared a state of emergency on Oct 4, 1954, dissolved parliament with a nod from the military and assumed full powers. Under the dubious "doctrine of necessity", the governor general's illegal act was given a semblance of legitimacy by a pliant superior judiciary.

Ghulam Muhammad then appointed a new cabinet. Muhammad Ali Bogra became prime minister In place of Khwaja Nazimuddin and Chaudhry Muhammad Ali was asked to carry on as finance minister. And the biggest surprise of all surprises, Gen Ayub Khan became defence minister, although he retained his position of commander-in-chief of the Pakistani army. Defence secretary Iskandar Mirza, Pakistan's eminence grise, became minister of the interior. These individuals, who essentially represented the power of the military-bureaucratic oligarchy, referred to themselves as the "Ministry of All Talents."

Initially, the army was a junior partner, but its power and influence increased rapidly through the 1950s. Ghulam Muhammad then turned to Gen Ayub Khan, asking him to take over power in the name of the army. Ayub Khan declined. He had his own plans and his own timetable and could afford to wait. The rest, as they say, is history.

During the last 62 years, the country has lived in a state of permanent political crisis. Governments rose and fell with dizzy rapidity, some lasting but a few months, and nearly all of them set up and soon overthrown as a result of trivial intrigues in the corridors of power or military interventions. All this weakened the Republic from the beginning and paved the road to disaster.

Amid so much political instability how could the Republic continue to function and its ephemeral governments manage the business of government? What held the country together more than anything else and enabled Pakistan to function tolerably well was the steady hand of the permanent establishment. It comprised various organs, run and staffed by permanent civil servants, which administered the law, the legislation passed by parliament and the acts and services of government. In its strange but steady exertions one can see much of the secret of the solidity and continuity of life in Pakistan despite the toppling of regimes, dictatorships, the execution of an elected prime minister. In the 20th century a good deal of this bureaucracy seemed to be an anachronism, an apparatus musty from age. In reality it was one of the foundations of the Republic.

Elected and unelected rulers would come and go, some of them whiling away much of their time in the West at the tax payer's expense. Parliaments might be suppressed; ministers might spend most of their time in their hometowns, or abroad, the permanent bureaucracy, the officials high and low, the deputy commissioners, the magistrates, the civil and criminal courts, the revenue officers, the lowly clerks, the postmen, the police officers manning the police stations, the engineers and doctors -- they saw to it that the machinery of government ground away.

Taxes were collected, accounts kept, justice dispensed, and public services and civil order for the most part maintained. Honest to a degree unknown or unpractised among the parliamentarians and cabinet ministers, industrious in a plodding sort of way and fairly efficient, possessed of a strong sense of public duty, of a remarkable esprit de corps, and of a pride in their professional code, but also woefully unprogressive and unresponsive to the demands of the evolving society, they were a pillar of the state. Like the French permanent establishment, they saw to it that the business of government got done even in the most chaotic moments.

Once the civil service was the backbone of the state. No longer. Successive governments have reduced public servants to the level of domestic servants. The service we inherited on independence, known for its integrity, objectivity and political neutrality, has over the years been thoroughly mutilated, demoralised, politicised, corrupted and changed beyond recognition, and is now a ghost of its former self.

Not surprisingly, when tragedy struck in the greatest flood in our history, one fifth of the country went under water and millions of people were rendered homeless, there was nobody to look after them. Elected representatives of the people just vanished and were not to be seen anywhere. Civil administration was paralysed.

The lesson of history is that when the dykes of administration crumble, revolutions begin.

Email: [email]roedad@comsats.net.pk[/email], [url]www.roedadkhan.com[/url]

Viceroy Saturday, December 18, 2010 11:06 AM

Exposed - Asif Ezdi
Monday, December 13, 2010


Asif Ezdi

During the Musharraf dictatorship, much of the most important diplomatic business between Pakistan and the US used to be conducted through telephone calls from Washington and in direct dealings between him and the US ambassador. The main “advantage” of this form of diplomacy for both sides was that Washington got its response promptly, while Musharraf was able to cut out from the decision-making process all but a small band of chosen and faithful advisers, held together and guided solely by a common wish to prolong their hold on power. In one call shortly after 9/11, Colin Powell delivered his famous ultimatum to Musharraf and quickly got his consent.

The coming into office of an elected government in 2008 was supposed to change that. But as the French saying goes plus ça change, plus c’est la męme chose. The people have changed but the way the affairs of state are run has not. That is especially true of the manner in which top-level diplomacy with the US is conducted. As the cables released by Wikileaks confirm, the doors of the Presidency are always open for the US ambassador. Zardari himself meets him frequently or telephones with Washington, sometimes without the knowledge of the Foreign Ministry.

A cable sent by Ambassador Patterson following a meeting with Zardari on January 2, 2009 is both revealing and shocking. It says: “Zardari reminded the ambassador that it had only taken a ‘phone call’ from the US to ensure that Pakistan did not oppose the US-India civil nuclear deal at the Nuclear Suppliers Group.” She was referring to the discussions at the IAEA Board of Governors in July-August 2008 on a safeguards agreement with India which cleared the way for the approval of the India-US nuclear deal by the Nuclear Suppliers Group shortly afterwards.

Pakistan had initially objected to the safeguards agreement but later gave up its opposition under US pressure. Now we know that only a ‘phone call’ from the US had sufficed to produce this turnaround. There is more. The cable goes on to say that “Zardari emphasised he had no problem making decisions, recalling that we had asked him to refuse the release of detainees in the context of ‘peace deals’ [with Islamic militants] when the army and the ISI were pressing to do so.”

It is breathtaking that Zardari was at such pains to assure the US ambassador that he had no qualms about setting aside the advice of the Foreign Ministry or the army when it went against US wishes. A more obsequious act by a person occupying the highest office of state is hard to imagine.

The cables also reveal that Zardari has been talking to the Americans and the Brits on ISI appointments and a “reform” of the agency, codeword for bringing it under civilian control and curtailing its sphere of activity. Most countries would brook no foreign meddling in such matters but Pakistan under its present rulers is an exception. Zardari discussed this matter in November 2008 in a telephone call from Miliband, then the Foreign Secretary of Britain.

While Pakistani political leaders, whether in the government or in the opposition, have been assuring the US ambassador that they could be counted upon to take care of American interests, none of the cables released so far shows that they took up issues of vital national interest to Pakistan such as the US push to “make” India a global power or the denial of civilian nuclear technology to Pakistan. A cable sent by the US ambassador in February 2010 reports on the unhappiness in “Pakistan’s military and intelligence establishment” on the US favouring India over Pakistan, most notably by civil nuclear cooperation with India. But our political leaders either have no comprehension of these matters or are so keen for US favours that they do not want to jeopardise it by raising “inconvenient” subjects.

If the Wikileaks cables have unmasked the true face of our rulers, they have also further exposed the duplicity of the Western countries which deny Pakistan access to civilian nuclear technology and regularly berate the country for allowing “terrorism” from its soil while they remain mum on Indian atrocities in occupied Kashmir.

The main reason why the US continues to deny civilian nuclear cooperation to Pakistan today is that it does not want to displease India. But Washington has refused to admit it and instead seeks to justify its refusal on grounds of Pakistan’s “proliferation record”. A cable on the meeting between Senator Kerry and Zardari in January this year now implicitly confirms that India has been given a veto over this question. At this meeting, Kerry said that a “necessary condition for the US to consider civilian nuclear assistance to Pakistan” was “Pakistan’s ability to reach a new security arrangement with India”. The message is clear: Pakistan should first get India to withdraw its veto.

Kerry’s remarks are not necessarily official US policy but what he says is important because of his position as Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a leading member of Obama’s political party. Zardari does not seem to have responded to Kerry’s suggestion for a “security arrangement” with India – which brings us to the second main reason why Washington has so far not given any serious consideration to Pakistan’s request for nuclear cooperation: Pakistani leaders have never raised the issue as one of our top priorities or linked it with the topmost US priority vis-ŕ-vis Pakistan, namely getting the country’s cooperation in the war in Afghanistan.

Washington no doubt senses that when Pakistani leaders raise the issue of civilian nuclear cooperation, they do it for much the same reason as they object to drone attacks: to cater to domestic opinion. The real priorities of our rulers, Washington knows, lie elsewhere. As Zardari told Kerry at this meeting, he needed “a deal” with the United States to “strengthen his political position”.

After the revelations made by Wikileaks, the credibility of Pakistan’s political and military leadership and the US government has been eroded further by their lame efforts to question the veracity of the cables. Gilani was easily the most disingenuous when he said that they are “just the views of junior officers” and “are not authentic.” Holbrooke was only slightly less outrageous when he refused to rule out that the cables might have been “doctored.” Similarly, the claim of the ISPR director general that the army has been following a “policy of supporting the political process within the confines of the constitution” will certainly do very little for the credibility of the institution.

If our leadership really wants to win the people’s trust, they should follow the example of Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan who has publicly declared that if allegations made against him in a leaked cable are proved, he would resign.

The writer is a former member of the Pakistan Foreign Service. Email: [email]asifezdi@yahoo.com[/email]


Viceroy Saturday, December 18, 2010 10:15 PM

Thus are we governed - Roedad Khan
[B]November 10, 2010

Thus are we governed

Roedad Khan[/B]

The Zardari government treats truth as an insignificant value which can be suppressed, distorted and readily sacrifised to the will of power. Every now and then ministers make outrageous statements and spread blatant lies without the slightest regard for truth or principle.

Prime Minister Gilani told journalists recently, “There is no corruption in Pakistan.” Everybody knows this government is corrupt from top to bottom, from the bark to the core. “Talks held with US on equal footing,” said Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi. Everybody knows this government deals with the US with its “knees on the ground”. Nobody believes a word they say. The time for such stupid remarks is over. Such cruel jokes cannot amuse a country that is prostrate, exhausted, impoverished, humiliated, abandoned and no longer independent.

Today we have a government that is not a government of the people, by the people, for the people. It is a criminal syndicate, an organised crime ring. If you want to know how this cabal plunders this poor country, visit the Supreme Court and watch the proceedings.

The farewell address of George Washington will ever remain an important legacy for small nations like Pakistan. In that notable testament, the Father of the American Republic cautioned that “an attachment of a small or weak toward a great and powerful nation dooms the former to be the satellite of the latter.” “It is folly in one nation,” George Washington observed, “to look for disinterested favours from another...it must pay with a portion of its independence for whatever it may accept under that character.” No truer words have been spoken on the subject. Pakistan is paying and will continue to pay a very heavy price for the folly of attaching itself to America. In this country democracy is only permissible when the results are favourable to America. Not otherwise.

We lost our independence years ago. The decolonisation of Asia, triggered by the Second World War, led to the retreat of foreign powers and the creation of a number of nation-states, including India and Pakistan, in the region. Of all the de-colonised, newly-independent countries, Pakistan is perhaps the only country which has lost its independence, has been re-colonised and turned into an American colony. Today it is not just a “rentier state”, not just a client state. It is a slave state, ill-led, ill-governed by a power-hungry junta and a puppet government set up by Washington.

“Liberty once lost,” Adams famously told his countrymen, “is perhaps lost forever.” We Pakistanis lost our independence and all our democratic institutions in October 1999 when General Musharraf toppled an elected government. Sadly, Pakistan also lost her honour and became a ‘rentier state’ on Musharraf’s watch when he capitulated, said yes to all the seven demands presented to him at gunpoint by Secretary Colin Powell and joined the “coalition of the coerced”. Regrettably, this situation remains unchanged even though the country is now under a democratic dispensation!

Marx once said: “Neither a nation nor a woman is forgiven for an unguarded hour in which the first adventurer who comes along can sweep them off their feet and possess them.” October 7, 1958 was our unguarded hour when democracy was expunged from the politics of Pakistan with scarcely a protest. The door was opened to Bonapartism. The result is the mess we are in today. Today there is not much independence or democracy left in Pakistan to celebrate.

A lesson to be drawn from the works of Gibbon is that Rome’s enemies lay not outside her borders but within her bosom, and they paved the way for the empire’s decline and fall – first to relentless barbarian invaders from the north, and then, a thousand years later, to the Turks. Many early symptoms that heralded the Roman decline may be seen in our own country today: the ever-present threat of military intervention in the affairs of state, concentration of power in one person without responsibility and accountability, contempt for the constitution and the Supreme Court, absence of rule of law, high-level corruption and greed. Today what is at stake is the survival of the state itself. At this time, all those who see the perils of the future must draw together and take resolute measures to secure our country.

“After joining the coalition of the coerced”, this is what we get: a spurious democracy brokered in Washington, an accidental president facing corruption and criminal charges, a rubber stamp parliament, a figurehead and corrupt prime minister, and to add insult to injury, Zardari regime – a facsimile of the Musharraf regime in civilian clothing. Potemkin villages dotted all over the country, the nation’s army at war with its own people; flagrant violation of our air space and national sovereignty by US aircraft, resulting in the killing of innocent men, women and children. No protest by our “democratic government”, no expression of remorse by our coalition partner in the so-called war on terror, no regret. The state of the federation is chilling. It would stun someone who went to sleep soon after Independence Day in 1947 and awakened in the present.

All philosophers tell the people they are the strongest, and that if they are sent to the slaughterhouse, it is because they have let themselves to be led there. In other countries there are men and women who love their liberties more than they fear persecution. Not in Pakistan. Here the elite who owe everything to this poor country do not think in terms of Pakistan and her honour but of their jobs, their business interests and their seats in a rubber stamp parliament. Surrender rather than sacrifice is the theme of their thoughts and conversations. To such as these talk of resisting foreign intervention is as embarrassing as finding yourself in the wrong clothes at the wrong party, as tactless as a challenge to run to a legless man, as out of place as a bugle call in a mortuary. What is tragic is the total failure of the politicians, the intelligentsia, the intellectuals, infact, the entire civil society to comprehend the threat posed by surging American imperialism to the country’s very existence.

How can authentic democracy flourish in this country when people are not prepared to defend the core values of the nation – sovereignty of the people, inviolability of the constitution, supremacy of civilian rule, a fiercely independent, incorruptible judiciary, rule of law, an independent, incorruptible chief election commissioner, a neutral, non-politicised and honest civil service, social justice, egalitarianism and ruthless accountability of rulers? How can authentic democracy take root if people have no faith in their democratic institutions; if they do not value representative governments; if they are not prepared to make any sacrifices for its sake; if they are unwilling to defend it and if they are unable to do what it requires?

In this atmosphere of gloom and doom, Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry’s act of courage, his defiance of the military dictator, promised a resurrection, a rebirth of the nation. Today he alone is the incarnation of the values for which we are fighting. Rarely, in the history of human endeavour, have so many owed so much to one single, solitary individual. The conspirators who have ganged up against him and the reborn Supreme Court must not succeed.

The writer is a former federal secretary.Email: [email]roedad@comsats.net.pk[/email],[url]www.roedadkhan.com[/url]

Viceroy Sunday, December 19, 2010 03:13 PM

A crisis of the system - Roedad Khan
[B]Thursday, July 15, 2010

A crisis of the system

Roedad Khan
The writer is a former federal secretary.

Just when you thought our situation couldn’t get worse, the Punjab Assembly managed to get it down another notch. All the MPAs, without exception, from one end of the political spectrum to the other, ganged up against the media and unanimously passed a resolution condemning it for exposing fake degree holders! President Zardari and his government are already at war with the Supreme Court and seem determined to defang it. Now, in a rare display of unity, all the political parties closed ranks and were gunning for the media. This is not surprising because no corrupt or authoritarian ruler, elected or un-elected, can afford an independent judiciary or an independent media. No wonder, both are under attack in the democratic Pakistan today.

Freedom of the press is one of the bulwarks of modern civilisation. Newspapers are the cement of democracy. Their freedom from government control, direct or indirect, is essential for a democratic society. Of all the sentries posted by the constitution of a free country to stand guard over its freedoms, the most vigilant is the media. If it is removed, or hoodwinked, or thrown in fetters, arbitrary power and slavery take over. It is then too late to think of preventing or avoiding the impending ruin.

The duty of a journalist “is to obtain the earliest and the most correct intelligence of the events of the times, and instantly, by disclosing them, to make them the common property of the nation. The press lives by disclosures. It is bound to tell the truth as it finds it, without fear of consequences – to lend no convenient shelter to high-level corruption or acts of injustice and oppression, but to consign them at once to the judgment of the world”.

The press is, par excellence, the democratic weapon of freedom. News allows people to judge for themselves whether the people they voted into office merit their trust. Honest news is essential to ensuring that people know what their soldiers are doing in Waziristan as much as what their politicians are doing in their boudoirs. News, independently gathered and impartially conveyed, is an indispensable commodity in a society where the people rule themselves. Without the free circulation of news, there could be no free press and without a free press, there can be no free democracy. As Rebecca West put it, people need news for the same reason they need eyes – to see where they are going.

The state of the federation would stun someone who went to sleep in 1948 and awakened in the present. On August 14, 1947, we thought we had found freedom, but it has turned out to be another kind of slavery. The independence of Pakistan is a myth. Pakistan is no longer a free country. Today it is not just a “rentier state”, not just a client state. It is a slave state with a puppet government set up by Washington.

It is torture to live in an unrepublican republic. Today Pakistan, a camouflaged, thinly disguised civilian dictatorship, is a land of opportunities, heaven for a handful few and hell for countless millions of poor people. It is a paradise for gangsters, swindlers, smugglers, tax evaders, fake degree-holders and so on and so forth – all the dregs of humanity.

All the pillars of state, with the exception of the Supreme Court and the media, are dysfunctional. The president, the symbol of the unity of the federation, is totally indifferent to public welfare and is interested only in protecting himself and his ill-gotten wealth. Parliament, the so-called embodiment of the will of the people, is fake like a Potemkin village. It is deaf and blind to the anguished cries rising from the slums of Pakistan – Misery! Give us bread! Give us drinking water! Give us light! Give us the right to live! Its “stunning” performance fascinates only a few enlightened souls; whereas nine out of ten Pakistanis are totally indifferent and unaware of its existence. Quite a few members of this august body are fake degree holders. They concealed the truth, misrepresented their qualifications and managed to enter parliament through shameless, blatant lies and deceitful means. Instead of masquerading as chosen representatives of the people, they should all be tried and sent to prison.

We have a disjointed, dysfunctional, lopsided, hybrid, artificial, corrupt political system – a non-sovereign rubber stamp parliament, a weak and ineffective prime minister, the epitome of self-satisfied mediocrity, who changes his public statements as often as he changes his designer suites. Not surprisingly, Pakistan is rudderless and sliding into darkness. It is like a nightmare in which you foresee all the horrible things which are going to happen and can’t stretch out your hand to prevent them. Such is the feeling conjured up by the corrupt rulers of Pakistan as it enters a period of great uncertainty and sinks deeper and deeper into the quagmire.

There are periods in history which are characterised by a loss of sense of values. The times we live in are preeminently such an age. If you want to see a free nation stifled by inept, corrupt rulers, through its own apathy and folly, visit Pakistan. The great French thinker, Montesquieu, said in the 18th century: “The tyranny of a Prince in an oligarchy is not so dangerous to the public welfare as the apathy of a citizen in a democracy”. An irresponsible inept, corrupt, government is the inevitable consequence of an indifferent electorate. Politics will never be cleaner in this country, unless and until citizens are willing to give of themselves to the land to which they owe everything”. Today apathy is the real enemy. Silence is its accomplice. “The thing necessary,” Edmund Burke once said, “for the triumph of evil is for good people to do nothing”.

“Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter,” Jefferson wrote in 1787. If a referendum on this question were held in Pakistan today, millions of Pakistanis would, I am sure, opt for a free, independent media.

Both the government and the opposition have declared war on the media. This is an alarm call of the most compelling time and is ominous. The fear of conspiracy against the independent judiciary and independent media hangs heavy in the air. Our history can show no precedent for so foul a plot as that which the corrupt politicians of Pakistan have hatched against the two pillars of state.

It is time to turn the page. The time to hesitate is through. This is a moment of great hope for Pakistan. Don’t let it turn into a national nightmare. In this transcendent struggle of the Supreme Court and the media against fake democracy, neutrality is not an option. You’re either with the people or against them. There is no half-way house. Every citizen must ask himself now: if our core institutions are to survive, if Pakistan is to survive, whether we can afford to let our corrupt rulers remain in power and destroy all our core institutions.

How will this crisis pan out? Either this is a cyclical crisis in the system and it will soon resolve itself, or else it is a crisis of the system and we will soon witness the passage of one epoch to another. Whether the distortions, conflicts and resentments that exist in our society today are peacefully resolved or explode in revolution will be largely determined by two factors: the existence of dynamic democratic institutions able to redress grievances through legislation and the ability of intellectuals to transform a local fire into a nation-wide conflagration and fan the flames of social discontent and transmute specific grievances into a wholesale rejection of the existing order.

One thing is certain. For anything to change in this country, everything has to change.

Email: [email]roedad@comsats.net.pk[/email], [url]www.roedadkhan.com[/url]

Viceroy Sunday, December 19, 2010 03:15 PM

Lessons from a revolution - Roedad Khan
[B]Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Lessons from a revolution

Roedad Khan[/B]

On July 3, 1776, one day before the United States came into being, John Adams wrote to his wife, Abigail: “Yesterday, the greatest question ever debated in America was decided, and a greater one, perhaps, never was nor will be decided among men. A Resolution was passed without one Colony’s dissent ‘that these united colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent states, and as such they have, and of right ought to have, full power to make war, conclude peace, establish commerce and do all other acts and things which other states may rightfully do’”. On July 4, 1776, the Congress at Philadelphia adopted the historic Declaration of Independence, drafted mainly by Jefferson. It was the expression of the “American mind”. The time to separate from the mother country had arrived. The umbilical cord had to be cut. The die was cast.

When America was engaged in the most just of struggles, that of a people escaping from another people’s yoke, and when it was a question of creating a new nation in the world, outstanding men came forward to lead the country. Three Americans, George Washington, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson – all conservative members of the colonial elite turned revolutionaries, set the world ablaze and changed the course of history. These three men, more than any other, helped end British rule. They transformed His Majesty’s American colonies into a Sovereign, independent country.

The preamble of the Declaration asserts that under certain circumstances, revolution is justified. Governments must rest upon “the consent of the governed”, for they are set up to protect certain rights – “Life, Liberty and pursuit of Happiness”. It was a revolutionary document in the sense that it justified a revolution which had already begun. Years after the colonies had won their independence, John Adams noted that “the revolution was effected before the war commenced. The revolution was in the minds and hearts of the people”. The loyalty of Americans had been undermined by years of struggle and agitation before the first shot was fired at Lexington.

“All men are created equal”, the Declaration asserts but Jefferson and the others were not thinking of those who owned no property or slaves – those who were themselves owned property.

They were not thinking of women either. It took American democracy – the greatest democracy in the world – 86 years to abolish slavery, 144 years to enfranchise women and 189 years to assure the black people the vote! “What to the slave is the Fourth of July”?

The black orator Frederick Douglass would ask in 1852 in an Independence Day oration and would answer that “your high independence only reveals the immeasurable distance between us… You may rejoice. I must mourn”.

At the time of Independence African – Americans accounted for 20 per cent of the entire population of 2.5 million colonists, rising in Virginia to as much as 40 per cent. Jefferson’s attempt to incorporate a paragraph attacking slavery in the Declaration of Independence was struck out by Congress! Today, Obama, an African-American, is the President of the United States of America! A black family occupies the White House. A new dawn had arrived or so we thought. How wrong one can be?

Independent America, it was hoped, would become an “Asylum for mankind”, and offer refuge to the world’s oppressed. Like a shining beacon, America, it was hoped, would herald the “birth of a new world”, the beginning of an epoch in which humankind across the earth could “begin the world over again”. Alas! This was not to be.

The American dream has turned sour. Two hundred years ago, America caught the imagination of the world because of the ideals it stood for. Today its example is tarnished with military adventurism and conflicts abroad. Today America is symbolized not in the Statue of Liberty but the naked black hooded Iraqi man connected with wires setup on a box by his American perpetrators.

The photo of this naked, hooded, wired, Iraqi prisoner, standing on a box after having been told he would be electrocuted if he stepped or fell off, may well become the lasting emblem of this cruel, unjust war, much as the photo of a naked, fleeing, napalmed little girl became the emblem of the Vietnam war.

In the past, some envied America, some liked America, some hated America but almost all respected her. Very few respect America today. They all fear America. Today Muslims perceive America as the greatest threat to the World of Islam since the 13th century.

“One of the great lessons”, British historian Paul Johnston wrote, “is that no civilization can be taken for granted. Its permanency can never be assured. There is always a dark age waiting for you around the corner if you play your cards badly and you make sufficient mistakes”. Today America seems to be experiencing what Toynbee called “the dark night of the soul”.

Today America has lost the high moral ground it once occupied. It stands alone in the comity of nations, forsaken by most of its erstwhile friends and allies. There was a time when great causes pushed America to great heights that would not otherwise be achieved.

That is no longer the case. Before there were three faces of America in the world – the face of Peace Corps, the face of multi-nationals and the face of US military power. The balance has gone wrong lately. And the only face of America the world sees now is the one of military power.

Today free people are not looking to America for guidance in constructing another world order. Today their greatest fear is not America’s withdrawal from the world but its overweening involvement in it. This is certainly not America’s finest hour.

Today American troops are scattered around the world from the plains of Northern Europe to the mountains of Afghanistan and the plains of Iraq in search of a phantom enemy, bombing and killing innocent Afghan and Iraqi men, women and children.

Though it rejects imperial pretensions, it is for all its protestations, perceived in the world as peremptory, domineering and Imperial. Its actions in Afghanistan and Iraq are perceived as part of an open-ended empire-building plan with geo-strategic goals.

Under this plan, the United States would acquire a permanent military presence in Afghanistan and Iraq for projecting its power in central Asia, South Asia, Middle East and the Persian Gulf.

The farewell address of George Washington will ever remain an important legacy for small nations like Pakistan. He cautioned that “an attachment of a small or weak toward a great and powerful nation dooms the former to be the satellite of the latter”.

The strong might have interests and objectives that could be of little real importance to the weak; but once the latter submitted to acting the role of a satellite, it would find it no easy task to avoid being used as a tool by the strong”.

It is folly in one nation, George Washington observed, to look for disinterested favours from another…it must pay with a portion of its independence and its sovereignty for whatever it may accept under that character. No truer words have been spoken on the subject. If you want to know what happens to a small country which allows itself to be attached to a powerful country like America, well, visit Pakistan.

The writer is a former federal secretary.

Email: [email]roedad@comsats.net.pk[/email],

Viceroy Sunday, December 19, 2010 03:17 PM

Heading for the dead end - Roedad Khan
[B]Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Heading for the dead end

Roedad Khan
Our moment of truth has arrived. For Pakistan the hour has struck. To borrow the prophetic words of Dostoevsky, “I have a presentiment of sorts that the lots are drawn and accounts may have to be settled far sooner than one might imagine in one’s wildest dreams”.

Terror is the order of the day. Pakistan is experiencing the warning tremors of a mega political and economic earthquake. Today all the symptoms which one had ever met within history previous to great changes and revolutions exist in Pakistan. Pakistan no longer exists, by that I mean the country of our dreams, our hopes, our pride. Today a moral crisis is writ large on the entire political scene in Pakistan. The Pakistan dream has morphed into the Pakistan nightmare. The country is in deep, deep trouble. This is the darkest era in the history of Pakistan since 1971. The independence of Pakistan is a myth. Pakistan is no longer a free country. It is no longer a democratic country. American military personnel roam all over the country without let or hindrance. They violate our air space with impunity, bomb our tribal area, and kill innocent men, women and children with the full approval of our democratic government.

We were once the rainbow nation, the world’s greatest fairytale. We were a nation founded on laws and rules. What Zardari has done is essentially to throw away the Constitution, defy the Supreme Court and say that there are some people, no matter how corrupt, who are beyond the Constitution, beyond the law, beyond scrutiny, totally unaccountable. People are naturally filled with anger and angst. If you believe in democracy and the rule of law and sovereignty of the people, you would not be anything other than angry, living in the current day and age.

“Every country has its own constitution”, one Russian is alleged to have remarked in the 19th century. “Ours is absolutism moderated by occasional assassination”. The situation is not so very different in Pakistan. Two years after Bibi’s assassination, the mystery surrounding her death remains unresolved. Nobody knows who killed her. And nobody seems to care. In democracies, constitutional amendments are especially solemn moments. In Pakistan they are easier than changing the traffic regulations.

Pakistan has lapsed into languor, a spiritless lassitude. A sense of guilt, shame, danger and anxiety hangs over the country like a pall. It appears as if we are on a phantom train that is gathering momentum and we cannot get off. Today Pakistan is a silent, mournful land where few people talk of the distant future and most live from day to day. They see themselves as ordinary and unimportant, their suffering too common to be noted and prefer to bury their pain.

Today the political landscape of Pakistan is dotted with Potemkin villages. All the trappings of democracy are there, albeit in anaemic form. Parliamentarians go through the motions of attending parliamentary sessions, question hour, privilege motions, etc. endless debates which everybody knows are sterile and totally unrelated to the real problems of the people. Everybody knows where real power resides. Everybody knows where vital decisions are made.

One of the lessons of history is that when people lose faith in their rulers, when they lose faith in the sanctity of the ballot box, when elections are rigged and votes are purchased; when the gap between the rulers and the ruled widens; when there are no ways for people to express political preferences from time to time in an atmosphere free from fear, coercion, or intimidation; when known corrupt people, tax evaders and smugglers are foisted upon a poor, illiterate electorate unable to make an informed political choice, and raised to the pinnacle of power; when elections throw up not the best, not the noblest, not the fittest, not the most deserving but the worst and a legion of scoundrels, and most important, when hunger and anger come together, people, sooner or later, come out on to the streets and demonstrate Lenin’s maxim that in such situations voting with citizen’s feet is more effective than voting in elections.

What point is there preaching democracy to men, women and children dying of hunger or on the verge of committing suicide? What use is a ballot paper to skeletons? Hungry men have little to live for when their rage becomes ineffective. When one is tired of everything, it is time to give up everything. The calculation is as simple as that. A disgust for life is their sole reason for ending it.

Today we have a disjointed, dysfunctional, lopsided, hybrid, artificial, corrupt political system – a non-sovereign rubber-stamp parliament, a weak and ineffective prime minister, appointed by a powerful accidental president facing corruption charges at home and abroad. Not surprisingly, Pakistan is rudderless and sliding into darkness. It is like a nightmare in which you foresee all the horrible things which are going to happen and can’t stretch out your hand to prevent them. Such is the feeling conjured up by corrupt rulers of Pakistan as it enters a period of great uncertainty and sinks deeper and deeper into the quagmire.

We live in a miserable age of charlatans and mediocrity. In this desert of talent and virtue, Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry has emerged as a brief candle of courage, goodness and patriotism. Today the only ray of hope is the Supreme Court. People must rally round it and defend it; the first threats of counterrevolutionary activity have already begun to appear. Attempts are being made to subvert the people’s will and overturn the judicial revolution.

If people won’t even speak up in its defence, the present corrupt order will acquire the mantle of legitimacy and permanence. Today it is a political and moral imperative for all Pakistanis to fight for our liberties and be prepared to face all consequences.

I, like many, see Pakistan heading for the dead end. Who is there to lead us out of the hole the present rulers have dug? Do leaders make history, or do events take control and determine the course of history? “Do you think that history is changed because one individual comes along instead of another?”, Oriana Fallaci asked Willy Brandt. “I think that individuals play a definite role in history”, Willy Brandt replied, “But I also think that it’s situation that makes one talent emerge instead of another.

A talent that already existed… If the individual and the situation meet, then the mechanism is set off by which history takes one direction instead of another”. Today Pakistan is ripe for profound changes. The current situation is too severe to be treated with painkillers. It has reached a stage when surgery is required. The day is not far off when words will give way to deeds. History will not always be written with a pen.

Is this one of those moments of history when all that is needed is for someone to push open a door? The answer is yes and yes again. When a nation is in crisis, as Pakistan is today, it needs a man to match the crisis. Cometh the hour, cometh the man.

The hour will find the man.

The writer is a former federal secretary.

Email: [email]roedad@comsats.net.pk[/email], [url]www.roedadkhan.com[/url]

Viceroy Sunday, December 19, 2010 03:18 PM

The unmistakable mood - Roedad Khan
[B]Monday, June 14, 2010

The unmistakable mood

Roedad Khan[/B]

If you want to know how a country can survive despite its leadership, despite its government, well, visit Pakistan. Democracy is a splendid conception but it has the disadvantage, on occasion, of placing in the lead men whose hands are dirty, who are mired in corruption, who will sap the strength of their country, not in years but over a period of months. The idea that you can just hold election, fair or unfair, while everything remains colonial, feudal and medieval, means you won’t get democracy but some perversion of it as we have today in this country.

Elections are necessary but not sufficient. Elections alone do not make a democracy. Creating a democracy requires a free and independent country, an inviolable constitution, a sustained commitment to develop all the necessary elements: a transparent executive accountable to parliament, a powerful and competent legislature answerable to the electorate, a strong, independent judiciary, and a free and independent media. To assume that vote alone will automatically bring about a democratic metamorphosis would be to condemn Pakistan to a repeat of the cycle seen so often in our history: a short-lived period of corrupt, civilian rule, a descent into chaos and then army intervention.

Harold Macmillan, the British prime minister, was once asked by a young journalist what he feared most in politics. “Events, dear boy, events,” he responded. For Pakistan events are coming thick and fast: an ongoing, highly unpopular war against our own people in the tribal area, daily American drone attacks on our soil, killing innocent men, women and children, target killings in Karachi, massacre of Ahmedis in Lahore, total breakdown of law and order in the backdrop of spiralling inflation, driving thousands of angry protestors to take to the streets almost everyday. Their demand: nothing more than provision of basic necessities of life and the right to live. On top of all this, came a catastrophe of epic proportions in Hunza, caused by a landslide which has blocked the entire flow of the Hunza River, threatening everything in the valley all the way down to Tarbela.

Crisis is a crucible in which governments, residents, prime misters and other politicians are tested as nowhere else. The response one would expect from the head of state never happened. He seems too indifferent, too callous, too insensitive on the television screen. What is worse, he stayed away from the scene of this great human tragedy and did not bother to visit it even once. Hurricane Katrina defrocked a faith–based Bush. The Hunza crisis has similarly unmasked President Zardari.

What is it that people really expect from their president when a disaster strikes? The people expect the occupant of the presidency to keep hope alive, to assure them that they will survive; that they will get through it. He has to react promptly, direct recovery and mobilise resources. Above all, he must inspire confidence because everybody looks up to him in a national crisis. And so he has to be that larger-than-life figure. The change in intensity in the news media – cable channels are broadcasting round-the-clock pictures – has sharply increased the pressure on the president and his administration. In such a situation, people want and expect more of a personal connection. That did not happen.

People still remember how General Azam handled the flood crisis in East Pakistan. He struck a human chord and won over the hearts of the people. They loved Azam and still remember him with affection. In stark contrast, President Zardari looked so cold, so unconcerned, so indifferent, so distant, so wooden and so bureaucratic. Nothing about the president’s demeanour – which seemed casual to the point of carelessness – suggested that he understood the depth of the crisis.

And what of Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani? The less said the better. He visited the affected area on May 21, 2010, five months after the massive landslide. After an aerial visit of the 19km long artificial lake, he told reporters that the disaster reminded him of the problems Pakistan had to face during partition when it had to face a sea of incoming refugees. With that Gilani turned his back on Hunza and never went there again. His visit drew sharp criticism from the affected people who dismissed it as a crude PR exercise. No wonder, in public perception, Gilani is speedily becoming a more or less honorary prime minister, living in a kind of twilight just outside the things that really matter.

Isn’t it a great tragedy that at a time when the nation is battling the forces of nature in Hunza, Pakistan’s democracy is in limbo, parliament is paralysed and the opposition languishes in torpid impotence. The constitution is a figment; all civil and political institutions, with the exception of superior judiciary, remain eviscerated. All power is still concentrated in the hands of President Zardari. He wields absolute power without responsibility and is accountable to none. Nothing moves without his approval.

At a time when the country is at war, Mr Zardari, the supreme commander, spends almost his entire existence in the confines of a bunker – his macabre domicile which he seldom leaves these days. Mortally afraid of his own people and the sword of the NRO judgment still hanging over his head, he is more concerned about protecting himself and his wealth rather than protecting the country or the people of Pakistan.

Today the political landscape of Pakistan is dotted with Potemkin villages. All the pillars of state, with the exception of the Supreme Court, are dysfunctional. Pakistan sits between hope and fear. Hope because “so long as there is a judiciary marked by rugged independence, the country and the citizen’s civil liberties are safe even in the absence of cast-iron guarantees in the constitution”. Fear that in spite of a strong and independent judiciary, the present corrupt order will perpetuate itself because both the president and parliament are in collusion and out of sync with the spirit of the times.

Pakistan is in deep, deep trouble and is going down the tube. The ‘wechselstimmung’ or the mood for change is unmistakable.

The writer is a former federal secretary.

Email: [email]roedad@comsats.net.pk,[url]www.roedadkhan.com[/email][/url]

Viceroy Sunday, December 19, 2010 03:21 PM

The status quo is no longer an option - Roedad Khan
[B]The status quo is no longer an option

Roedad Khan[/B]

The writer is a former federal secretary.

A perfect storm is looming on the horizon. Islamabad is once again preparing for a collision between those who stand behind the Supreme Court — the defender of the Constitution, the rule of law, the protector of citizen’s liberties — and those whose hands are dirty, who have looted and plundered the resources of this poor country.

Three years ago, a judicial earthquake remade the political terrain of our country. On March 9, 2007, to be exact, began a new epoch in the history of Pakistan. On that day Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry defied the military dictator and refused to resign.

In Pakistan, the Supreme Court’s historical role has been one of subservience to military dictators. Chief Justice Chaudhry broke with the past tradition and changed all that. The nexus between the generals and the superior judiciary has snapped. An era of deference by the Supreme Court to the executive has given way to judicial independence. Isn’t it ironic that today the people of Pakistan, especially the poor, the disadvantaged and the voiceless, expect justice not from parliament, not from the presidency, not from the prime minister, but from an unelected and unaccountable Supreme Court? For once, the citizens of this benighted country have been assured that there is such a thing as true accountability.

They have the comfort of knowing that those who have grown fat and rich on ill-gotten gains at the cost of starving millions can be brought to book and shall be brought to book.

No military dictator and no corrupt civilian ruler can afford an independent judiciary or an independent media. They cannot co-exist. It is not enough to sit back and let history slowly evolve. To settle back into your cold-hearted acceptance of the status quo is not an option. The present leadership is taking Pakistan to a perilous place. The course they are on leads downhill. This is a delicate time, full of hope and trepidation in equal measure. Today it is a political and moral imperative for all patriotic Pakistanis to fight for our core values.

Ultimately, the true guardians of the Constitution are the people of Pakistan. People power alone can protect the Supreme Court from corrupt rulers. Our rulers know that the street is all they have to fear. Confronting them has now become a patriotic duty. Today there is no other path for our country, but the one, which led to the restoration of Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry and other deposed judges. In this transcendent struggle between the Supreme Court and kleptocracy, neutrality is not an option.

You’re either with the people or against them. There is no half-way house. As we approach the endgame, the nation has to decide between two conceptions of politics, two visions for our country, two value systems, two very different paths. Every citizen must ask himself now: if our core institutions are to survive, if Pakistan is to survive, whether we can afford to let our corrupt rulers remain in power and destroy all our core institutions.

Today the Pakistan stage is clogged with bad actors playing lousy parts from commanding heights. Too many conflicting agendas. Too many egos. Too many so-called leaders with dirty hands. Major absentee on the stage: the people of Pakistan, barely mentioned by anyone. How can corrupt rulers occupy any place in the political order of Pakistan? This is equivalent to asking what place should be assigned to a malignant disease which preys upon and fractures the body of a sick man.

Every democracy needs a vigorous and vigilant opposition to give voters a choice. I have never seen an opposition so nonplussed, so impotent, so clearly without a shot in the locker. Today we have no opposition party, worth the name, with its own pathway to the future. As Hazlitt put it, “The two parties are like two competing stage coaches which splash each other with mud but went by the same road to the same place”. This doesn’t mean we have no opposition.

Today there is an intense anxiety on the part of ordinary people for decisive leadership. People are waiting for a stirring lead and a clarion call. It seems that while the nation craves for leadership, political leaders are equally determined not to lead them. Is it because they are all status-quo friendly and do not want to rock the boat? Isn’t it a great tragedy that today the destiny of Pakistan is in the hands of its reluctant leaders who refuse to draw the sword people are offering them?

What prevents the opposition parties and their leaders from joining hands and presenting a united front against corrupt rulers out to destroy all our core institutions? What prevents them from taking to the street as they have in other countries and as they have in the past in this country? What prevents them from putting national interest above petty selfish interest? Today we are at the crossroads of a historic choice. This is the last chance, the last battle. If we do not stand out into the streets, a long polar night will descend on Pakistan. Isn’t it a great tragedy that at a time when a window of hope has opened, our political leaders are dithering and cannot forge a united front against corrupt rulers? The time has come when the ultimate sovereign – the people of Pakistan – must assert itself.

Otto von Bismarck once said that political genius entailed hearing the hoof beat of history, then rising to catch the galloping horseman by the coattails. Today Nawaz Sharif is acknowledged leader of a mainstream political party and has a decisive role to play in the critical days ahead. The voice of history beckons him. Will he “seize the moment”? Will he “seize the hour”? Will he respond to the challenge or continue to prevaricate and stay on the fence? That is the question. On that would depend the future course of events in Pakistan.

The feeling of the nation must be quickened, the conscience of the nation must rouse; the proprieties of the nation must be startled, the hypocrisy of the corrupt rulers must be exposed.

Email: [email]roedad@comsats.net.pk[/email], [url]www.roedadkhan.com[/url]

Viceroy Sunday, December 19, 2010 03:24 PM

What prevents it? - Roedad Khan
[B]Saturday, May 01, 2010

What prevents it?

Roedad Khan
The assassination of Benazir Bhutto, the former prime minister of Pakistan, shocked and saddened the people of Pakistan and of the world. The chain of events beginning with BB’s decision to return to Pakistan to participate in the election campaign, the unsuccessful attempt to kill her in Karachi, and her assassination on December 27, 2007 in Rawalpindi, evoked the demand, at home and abroad, for an explanation.

The intense public demand for facts was met by the establishment, and, on the request of the Pakistan government, a three-member UN commission of inquiry was formed. It was agreed that the international commission should be fact-finding in nature and that its mandate would be to determine the facts and circumstances of the assassination of Benazir Bhutto. The commission conducted more than 250 interviews – both inside and outside Pakistan. It is worth noting that the report does not include either a list of those interviewed or their statements.

The commission, though, mystified by the efforts of certain high-ranking officials to obstruct access to Pakistan’s military and intelligence sources, submitted its 65-page report to the secretary general of the UN in April. It made it quite clear that the duty of carrying out a serious credible, criminal investigation to determine who conceived, ordered, and executed this heinous crime remains with the government of Pakistan. Tragically, no such investigation has been ordered so far. Instead, to add insult to injury, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has set up another fact-finding committee composed of two civil servants and a major general of the Pakistan Army.

Flash back to November 22, 1963, the day John Fitzgerald Kennedy, the 35th president of the United States was assassinated. On November 29, 1963, a week after the assassination, President Johnson, by Executive Order 11130, created a commission, with the chief justice of the United States as its chairman, to investigate the assassination. The commission functioned neither as a court presiding over an adversary proceeding nor as a prosecutor determined to prove a case but as a fact-finding body committed to the ascertainment of the truth.

The commission directed major departments of the federal government and intelligence agencies to submit all relevant information available with them. The Federal Bureau of Investigation conducted approximately 25,000 interviews of persons having information of possible relevance to the investigation. By September 1964, it submitted over 2,300 reports totaling approximately 25,400 pages to the commission. During the same period, the secret services conducted approximated 1,550 interviews and submitted 800 reports totaling some 4,600 pages. The commission reviewed in detail the reports and actions of these agencies and called their highest officials to testify under oath. The commission itself examined 552 witnesses having information of relevance to the investigation.

In sharp contrast, the lackadaisical manner in which the PPP government is conducting the inquiry into the assassination of its leader, without any sense of urgency, purpose or direction, clearly shows that it is not interested in ascertaining the truth and unmasking the killer. Isn’t it a great tragedy that after 28 months of Benazir’s assassination, the government has yet to carry out a serious, credible investigation to determine who conceived, ordered, and executed this heinous crime?

What is preventing this government from appointing a high-level judicial commission, with the chief justice as its chairman to ascertain the truth? Why this reluctance to face the truth? Who is protecting the perpetrators of this dastardly crime against a courageous woman full of promise, this crime against a family, a nation and all mankind.

The writer is a former federal secretary.

Email: [email]roedad@comsats.net.pk[/email],

Viceroy Sunday, December 19, 2010 03:28 PM

Murder will out - Roedad Khan
Sunday, April 25, 2010

Murder will out

Roedad Khan

Political crimes are far worse than common crimes because, in the former case, only individuals are wounded, whereas in the latter, the existence of free society itself is threatened. I was frightened for my country the day Benazir was assassinated and horror of horror, the scariest moment of all, when Zardari was elected as the president of Pakistan.

Who killed Benazir? Who cut short her life so full of promise? The UN commission assigned to enquire into the facts and circumstances of her death does not answer this question. For some inexplicable reason, its hands seemed to be tied. It was appointed, it seems, not to unmask the killer, but only to determine the facts and circumstances of the assassination! The duty of carrying out a serious, credible, criminal investigation to determine who conceived, ordered, and executed this heinous crime remains with the PPP government. Isn’t it tragic that even after 28 months of her assassination nobody knows who killed her?

“Men may lie. Circumstances never lie,” is a guiding principle of the law of evidence. Some facts and circumstances determined by the UN commission of inquiry speak for themselves and are worth quoting:

* “The Commission is persuaded that the Rawalpindi Police Chief, CPO Saud Aziz, did not act independently of higher authorities, either in the decision to hose down the crime scene or to impede the Post-Mortem examination.” -Section 259 (x)

* “The rapid departure of the only back-up vehicle in which Mr Malik and other senior PPP leaders rode, was a serious security lapse.” -Section 236. (It allowed Ms Bhutto’s damaged vehicle to become isolated?)

* “There was not an effective criminal investigation of either the Karachi or the Rawalpindi attacks. This is inexplicable.” -Section 238

* “Ms Bhutto was killed more than two years ago. A government headed by her party, the PPP, has been in office for most of that time, and it only began the further investigation, a renewal of the stalled official investigation in October 2009. This is surprising to the Commission.” -Section 247

* “The Commission’s effort to determine the facts and circumstances of Ms Bhutto’s assassination is not a substitute for an effective, official criminal investigation. These activities should have been carried out simultaneously.” -Section 247

Many questions arise in one’s mind that remain unanswered:

* Mr Zardari is on record having said – not once but a number of times – that he knew who the killers of his wife are. If so, why hasn’t he brought this vital piece of information to the notice of the police?

* The FIR is a very important document as it sets the process of criminal justice in motion. The success or failure of the prosecution in a murder case depends to a large extent on the contents of the FIR and when it was lodged. Why didn’t Zardari lodge an FIR in the police station at the earliest opportunity?

* The post-mortem, the examination of a body after death, is a legal requirement and is carried out by pathologists in order to identify the cause of death. Why did Zardari refuse to have post-mortem performed on BB’s body? Why was it refused by the police? Why were they not interested in identifying the cause of BB’s death?

* Why was General Musharraf, a known suspect in the murder of BB, allowed to leave the country by the PPP government which was firmly in position at the time of his exit from the country? Was it all part of some deal?

The assassination of Benazir, a stain on the nation’s conscience, still haunts me. Tragically, her death is fast becoming a non-event. It seems no one is interested in unraveling the mystery surrounding her assassination or unmasking the perpetrator or perpetrators of this dastardly crime. Should the high and mighty, with blood on their hands, get off so easily when ordinary people committing petty crimes are sent to jail?

“It is essential,” the UN report says, “that the perpetrators of the assassination of Benazir Bhutto be brought to justice. The government of Pakistan should ensure that the further investigation into the assassination of Ms Bhutto is fully empowered, and resourced and is conducted expeditiously with no hindrance.”

Is the PPP government prepared to do that? Even though it’s already very late, will the PPP government set up a high-powered judicial commission headed by a judge of the Supreme Court?

The blood of Benazir calls for justice, not revenge. The PPP government owes it to its martyred leader to unmask her killer, whoever he may be, and bring him to justice. Let an enquiry be held in broad daylight. We will not be able to live with ourselves if we do not see to it that the truth is unveiled. The interests involved are too great and the men who wish to stifle the truth are too powerful, and the truth will not be known for sometime. But there is no doubt that ultimately every bit of it, without exception, will be divulged.

Truth carries a power within it that sweeps away all obstacles. And whenever its way is barred, whenever someone does succeed in burying it for any time at all, it builds up underground, gathering such explosive force that the day it bursts out at last, it blows up everything with it.

The writer is a former federal secretary.

Email: [email]roedad@comsats.net.pk[/email]

Viceroy Sunday, December 19, 2010 03:29 PM

Present at the creation - Roedad Khan
[B]Thursday, April 08, 2010

Present at the creation

Roedad Khan
Addressing a large gathering at Garhi Khuda Bux on April 4, President Zardari said, “The 18th Amendment would ensure that no dictator could trample the Constitution again”. It has a ring of déjŕ vu to it.

On Oct 9, 1972, in the backdrop of a bloody civil war that resulted in the dismemberment of the country, a constitution committee met in Islamabad to prepare the draft of a permanent constitution for Pakistan. I was lucky enough to have witnessed the passing of the Constitution Bill and the emergence of the 1973 Constitution in the National Assembly. It was a momentous event in the chequered history of our country and I was not going to miss it.

As the people’s representatives, elected directly for the first time by adult franchise, the members of the committee strived to arrive at a constitutional arrangement which would preclude any recurrence of past failures. The draft of the Constitution, the committee hoped, would do away with the dichotomy between the fiction and reality of executive authority. The committee provided what it thought to be effective deterrents against any attempt to abrogate or subvert the constitution, declaring it to be high treason offence.

I still remember Mr Pirzada thanking the Speaker for conceding the floor to him and his words still ring in my ears. “Mr President, sir, first time in the history of Pakistan of 25 years, tragic history of Pakistan, tragic constitutional history of Pakistan, for the first time we are not only on the threshold of giving a constitution through the most recognised and cherished democratic process but we are almost over that threshold…”

Mr Bhutto, who followed Mr Pirzada said, “I hope that after a long and tortuous road we have reached a stage in our life which can be regarded as a culmination. For a long time we have not been able to find basic solution to many problems that affect the country. Again and again, the issues have been opened and reopened with greater anger and with greater bitterness. Among these problems the answer to the constitutional problems of Pakistan can be regarded as the most important. After 25 years we have, after many disputes and quarrels, come to a point where we can say that we have a fundamental law; we have a constitution and nobody can deny that this constitution does represent the will of the people of Pakistan; nobody can deny that this constitution is a democratic constitution by any definition of democracy; nobody can deny that it is a federal constitution; nobody can deny that there is settlement over the quantum of autonomy, and thank God for that; nobody can deny that it is an Islamic constitution; It contains more Islamic provisions than any of the past constitutions of Pakistan as well as any of the other constitutions of Muslim countries other than the monarchist Muslim countries.

“To the young law minister, I would say that he has done great service to Pakistan and it is a good fortune of history that on his young and able shoulders fell the task of giving Pakistan a constitution, of piloting the Constitution Bill. This is not a privilege which can be easily had in our circumstances in the conditions of Pakistan. He has worked with great zeal and with untiring devotion. He has been in touch with the opposition leaders at all times. He has kept his mind open. He has acted with dexterity, with finesse, with nimbleness and he has amply demonstrated great qualities of a legal mind, of a political mind.

“I have continued my speech longer than I thought it would be, but I would finish with only one note which is: is this constitution a viable constitution? Its viability lies in the hands of the people, its viability lies in the consciousness of the people, its viability lies in our understanding of our conditions. If we take stock of the situation, if we learn from what had happened in the past, if we do not repeat the tragic errors that we have made in the days not so long ago, if we pause to think and consider what a certain action will contain and what will be the consequences and repercussions of certain acts either made out of lack of knowledge or out of sheer ambition or greed, then I believe that this document will stand the test of time. But if we think that it can be cast aside and that there are simple solutions and all that one has to do is to sit on a white charger with sword in hand and settle problems with its flash, in that case the tragedy of the greatest magnitude will befall Pakistan. Therefore, this document is in the vault of the people, the people hold the key to its viability. No country has had to face as much of constitutional experiences and troubles as Pakistan — we would now consider this document to be a fundamental law worthy of respect of the whole nation and that the whole nation now and the generations following it will protect it with their blood and with their lives.”

That day I felt like I had a future. Pakistan was back on the rails, or so I thought. Disillusion was soon to set in.

It is unfortunate that Mr Bhutto violated the sanctity of the Constitution and the constitutional accord by a series of unilateral amendments in the Constitution in the teeth of opposition from his political opponents. In the process, he destroyed the delicate political compromise which formed the basis of the 1973 Constitution, weakened his position and exposed himself to vicious attacks. Ultimately, he was overtaken by the forces he thought he had neutralised and had in fact re-empowered.

Constitution-making is a hazardous business in Pakistan. On the eve the 1973 Constitution was passed, Mr Bhutto said: “Today we have passed through the dark tunnel, and I see the golden bridge.” Tragically, what he saw was not the golden bridge but an optical illusion and a mirage. On April 4, 1979, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, the prime minister of Pakistan and the architect of the 1973 Constitution, was taken to the gallows on a stretcher and hanged.

A written constitution makes sense only if people genuinely believe in its sanctity and supremacy and are prepared to protect and defend it. It makes no sense if people withdraw their support of the Supreme Court, the guardian of the constitution and are not prepared to defend it. A written constitution makes no sense if what it says is one thing and what actually happens in practice is another. It makes no sense if citizens allow it to be periodically abrogated, suspended or held in abeyance by people who have sworn to defend and uphold it. It makes no sense if it is treated as a parchment of dried leaves and torn to pieces whenever it suits the rulers. If that is how we are going to treat our written constitution, why have a written constitution at all? Whither, then, are we tending?

The Supreme Court should be the barrier that protects the citizens from the winds of evil and tyranny. If we permit it to be desecrated or demeaned, and it crumbles, who will be able to stand in the winds that follow? Obviously we have learned nothing from history. Isn’t it a great tragedy that today the democratically elected government has virtually declared war on the Supreme Court and is determined to defy it? This is the challenge that all of us now face. Every citizen of Pakistan must search his soul and decide where he stands. It has been rightly said that those who do evil are bad, but good men who do nothing to oppose it are equally so.

The writer is a former federal secretary.

Email: [email]roedad@comsats.net.pk[/email]

Viceroy Sunday, December 19, 2010 03:31 PM

What is there to celebrate? - Roedad Khan
[B]Wednesday, March 24, 2010

What is there to celebrate?

Roedad Khan
Every year, we commemorate March 23 in remembrance of ‘The Pakistan Resolution’ passed in the historic city of Lahore. Memories come back to me like shards of glass. I was in Lahore, the city of my dreams, on that memorable day. Yeast was in the air. The idea of Pakistan was about to be born.

A day earlier, on March 22, 1940, Mr Jinnah had arrived in Lahore by the Frontier Mail to preside over the Muslim League meeting. When he entered the packed pandal, he faced a sea of humanity – all his admirers who had converged on Lahore to hear what he had to say. The Nawab of Mamdot, Chairman of the Reception Committee, presented Mr Jinnah to the vast multitude. It was Jinnah’s largest audience, his greatest performance to-date. On that day, the Muslim League led by Mr Jinnah declared its support for the idea of Pakistan. His Lahore address lowered the final curtain on any prospects for a single united India. It was a ringing repudiation of Sikander Hayat’s Unionist Party’s basic platform of Hindu-Muslim-Sikh co-existence. That is why generations of Pakistanis will always remember March 23 with profound reverence and respect. Seven years later, on August 14, 1947, thanks to the iron will and determination of Mr Jinnah, I was proud citizen of a sovereign, independent country – a country I could live for and die for.

As he left the constitutional convention of 1787, Benjamin Franklin was asked by an admirer, “Dr Franklin what have you given us”. Franklin turned to the questioner and replied, “A Republic, if you can keep it”. Not too long ago, we too possessed a great country earned for us by the sweat of the brow and iron will of one person. Where giants walked, midgets pose now. Our rulers, both elected and un-elected, have done to Pakistan what the successors of Lenin did to the Soviet Union. “Lenin founded our State”, Stalin said, after a stormy session with Marshal Zhukov.

The German army was at the gate of Moscow. “And we have …it up”. This is exactly what we have done to Jinnah’s Pakistan. Today it is neither sovereign, nor independent, nor democratic. Today it is not just a “rentier state”, not just a client state. It is a slave state, ill-led, ill-governed by a corrupt, power-hungry junta running a puppet government set up by Washington. The dream has morphed into a nightmare.

Sixty two years after independence, are we really free? Are the people masters in their own house? The kind of Pakistan we have today has lost its manhood and is a ghost of its former self. Our entire political system has been pulled into a black hole caused by periodic army intervention and prolonged army rule. Today if Pakistan were to look into a mirror, it won’t recognise itself. The contrast between Pakistan in 1947 – idealistic, democratic, progressive, optimistic, and Pakistan today – leaderless, rudderless, violent, besieged, corrupt, uncertain about its future – could not be sharper or more disheartening. If you want to know how a people can survive despite their government, or leaders, well, visit Pakistan.

What is there to celebrate? There is no reason to celebrate! But there are myriad reasons to reflect. We lost half the country in a suicidal civil war in 1971. Like the Bourbons of France we have learned nothing and forgotten nothing. Today Pakistan is dangerously at war with itself once again. The federation is united only by a ‘rope of sand’. Sixty two years after independence, we have a disjointed, dysfunctional, lopsided, hybrid, artificial, political system – a non-sovereign rubber stamp parliament, a weak and ineffective prime minister, appointed by a powerful accidental president.

This is an eerie period, the heart of the nation appears to stop beating, while its body remains suspended in a void. What has become of the nation’s core institutions? The militarised state has destroyed the foundations of all our political institutions. The army has been enthroned as the new elite. The level of fawning and jockeying to be merely noticed and smiled upon by any pretender in uniform speaks of a nation that is loudly pleading to be crushed underfoot.

The independence of Pakistan is a myth. By succumbing to American pressure, we managed to secure a temporary reprieve. But at what price? Everyday American aircraft violate our airspace, and bomb our villages. In 2009 alone, they killed 667 innocent men, women and children with impunity. No questions asked. No protest. No remorse. Today Pakistan is splattered with American fortresses, seriously compromising our internal and external sovereignty. American security personnel stationed on our soil move in and out of the country without any let or hindrance. Pakistan has become a launching pad for military operations against neighbouring Muslim countries. We have been drawn into somebody else’s war without understanding its true dimension or ultimate objectives. Nuclear Pakistan has been turned into an ‘American lackey’, currently engaged in a proxy war against its own people.

Parliament is one of the chief instruments of our democracy. Today, it is cowed, timid, a virtual paralytic, over-paid and under-employed. Parliamentary membership is the key to material success, a passport and a license to loot and plunder. Who says it is a check on the arbitrariness of the executive? Nobody takes it seriously. Today it is the weakest of the three pillars of state. It has suffered a steady diminution of power and prestige. Its image is tarnished and has been turned into a fig-leaf for unconstitutional and illegal practices.

To no nation has fate been more malignant than to Pakistan. With few exceptions, Pakistan has long been saddled with poor, even malevolent, leadership: predatory kleptocrats, military dictators, political illiterates and carpet-baggers. With all her shortcomings, Benazir Bhutto had undoubted leadership qualities – charisma, courage, political acumen and articulation. After her tragic assassination, Mr Zardari’s sudden ascension to the presidency caused panic among the people. His record since then hasn’t exactly been an exercise in the glories of Pakistan’s democracy.

To settle back into your cold-hearted acceptance of the status quo is not an option. The present leadership is taking Pakistan to a perilous place. The course they are on leads downhill. This is a delicate time, full of trepidation. Today it is a political and moral imperative for all patriotic Pakistanis to fight for our core values, to resist foreign intervention in our internal affairs and to destroy the roots of evil that afflicts Pakistan. That is the best way to celebrate March 23.

“Every country has its own constitution”, one Russian is alleged to have remarked in the 19th century. “Ours is absolutism moderated by occasional assassination”. The situation is not so very different in Pakistan. In democracies, constitutional amendments are especially solemn moments; in Pakistan they are easier than changing the traffic regulations. After 62 years, a parliamentary committee is busy rewriting the Constitution of Pakistan! If you want to know what happens when constitution, the fundamental law of the land, is periodically decimated, disfigured, defiled with impunity and treated with contempt, well – visit Pakistan.

The recent spontaneous demonstrations and outpouring of anger witnessed in and around Islamabad are ominous. With such ripples do tidal waves begin? Who will tap the anger, the frustration and the resentment among millions of our people? Both military dictatorship and corrupt, fraudulent democracy, have failed them. The country is impoverished and humiliated. Democratic forms remain, but democracy itself is in effect dead or dying.

The writer is a former federal secretary.

Email: [email]roedad@comsats.net.pk[/email]

Viceroy Sunday, December 19, 2010 03:32 PM

Hope for the country - Roedad Khan
[B]Monday, March 15, 2010

Hope for the country

Roedad Khan
No authoritarian or corrupt ruler can afford an independent judiciary. The two cannot coexist and are bound to collide. Without an independent judiciary, the Republic cannot be made to endure. But when government falls into perfidious hands, it becomes itself the instrument of counter-revolution. No wonder, all those who do not believe in the rule of law and all those who represent the forces of darkness and counter-revolution have joined hands once again to reverse the judicial revolution triggered by Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry.

The proposed constitutional mechanism for selection of judges is a thinly disguised attempt to undo the gains of the judicial revolution. Counter-revolution does not give up easily. With the restoration of the deposed judges we thought we had reached the summit and our problems were over. Alas, the ascent of one ridge simply revealed the next daunting challenge. In retrospect, it seems it was naďveté to have imagined that the restoration of judges alone would defeat the corrupt system and criminals and mafiosi who have found in our democracy the perfect Trojan Horse for preserving their power.

In Pakistan, as in all federations, the Supreme Court plays a crucial role. It is the sole and unique tribunal of the nation. The peace, prosperity, and very existence of the federation rest continually in the hands of the Supreme Court judges. Without them, the Constitution would be a dead letter; It is to them that the executive appeals to resist the encroachment of parliament; parliament to defend itself against the assaults of the executive; the federal government to make the provinces obey it; the provinces to rebuff the exaggerated pretensions of the federal government, public interest against private interest, etc. They decide whether you and I shall live or die. An awesome responsibility rests on the shoulders of the Supreme Court. Their power is immense. But they are all-powerful only so long as the people and the government consent to obey the laws.

In every period of political turmoil, men must, therefore, have confidence that the superior judiciary, the guardian of the Constitution, will be fiercely independent and will resist all attempts to subvert the Constitution. It is our misfortune that from the country’s first decade, our judges tried to match their constitutional ideals and legal language to the exigencies of current politics. The superior judiciary has often functioned at the behest of authority and has been used to further the interests of the rulers against the citizens. Their judgments have often supported the government of the day. This was their chosen path through the 1950s and during the martial law period of the 1960s and 1970s. When the history of these benighted times comes to be written, it will be noted that the superior judiciary had failed the country in its hour of greatest need.

On March 20, 1996, the dark clouds on the judicial horizon lifted and the situation changed dramatically. On that fateful day, the Supreme Court, headed by Justice Sajjad Ali Shah, delivered the landmark judgment in the Judges’ Case which made the arbitrary appointment of inexperienced, ill-trained, ill-qualified persons of doubtful integrity and party loyalists to the court almost impossible. We all thought this decision was a major divide in the constitutional jurisprudence of Pakistan and in the decisional philosophy of the Supreme Court. It was hoped that it would fundamentally alter the character of the court’s business, the nature of its decisions, and will help restore public confidence in its independence and objectivity.

Our euphoria did not last long. On Nov 28, 1997, the Supreme Court of Pakistan was attacked by thugs organised and led by the government. Gen Jahangir Karamat, the chief of the army staff, to whom an appeal had been made by the chief justice for protection, stood aside and watched the fun. The attack on the Supreme Court was launched in broad daylight. The Honourable Justices had to flee for life. The same day Chief Justice Sajjad Ali Shah was forced to go on leave and then officially retired on Feb 16, 1998.

In the darkest hour in the history of our country, Fate had found the man who had the character, the will and determination to speak truth to the military dictator. Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry appeared on the scene like a deus ex machina and changed the course of history. He broke with past tradition. The nexus between the Generals and the superior judiciary has snapped. Isn’t it ironical that today the people of Pakistan, especially the poor, the disadvantaged and the voiceless, expect justice not from the parliament, not from the presidency, but from an unelected and unaccountable Supreme Court? This has not made the court very popular with the executive.

It follows that Supreme Court judges must not only be good citizens and men of liberal education, sterling character and unimpeachable integrity; they must also understand the spirit of the age. Their appointment is dealt with by Articles 177 and 193 of the Constitution. Article 177 (1) provides: “The Chief Justice of Pakistan shall be appointed by the President, and each of the other Judges shall be appointed by the President after consultation with the Chief Justice.” The question of consultation has been dealt with extensively in the well-known Al-Jihad Trust Case, wherein the Supreme Court held that “consultation in the scheme as envisaged by the Constitution is supposed to be effective, meaningful, purposive, consensus-oriented, leaving no room for complaint of arbitrariness or unfair play. The opinion of the Chief Justice of Pakistan and Chief Justice of a High Court as to the fitness and suitability of a candidate for Judgeship is entitled to be accepted in the absence of very sound reasons to be recorded in writing by the President/Executive.” This is now the accepted method of selection of Judges. A crude attempt was made to deviate from it but it failed.

Why disturb the status quo? Why circumscribe the discretion of the chief justice? What is wrong with the present method of selection of judges? It has stood the test of time and has the full support of the people. Why involve the law minister, the attorney general and the Bar Council in the selection of judges of the Superior Courts? Why involve parliament and the political parties in the selection of judges? Why politicise the judiciary? Is the proposed method for selection of judges consistent with the principle of separation of powers enshrined in the Constitution? Why not leave the matter to the discretion and good sense of the chief justice, as is the case today? Why reopen the controversy? The reason is not far to seek. Independent judiciary suits nobody in this country. It only suits the people, especially the poor and the exploited. It does not suit the tiny minority which rules this country and is virtually above the law. They want to clip the wings of Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry and take the country back to the bad old days when the superior judiciary functioned at the behest of authority and was used to further the interest of the rulers against the citizens.

Today there is hope for the country.

“The President may slip, without the state suffering, for his duties are limited,” Tocqueville wrote in 1837. “Congress may slip without the Union perishing, for above the Congress there is the electoral body which can change its spirit by changing its members. But if ever the Supreme Court came to be composed of corrupt or rash persons, the Confederation would be threatened by anarchy or civil war”. This is exactly what would happen in this country if the proposed mechanism for the selection of Judges is adopted.

The judicial revolution triggered by Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry is irreversible. Let there be no doubt about it. Any attempt to undo it will be resisted. The people have planted an independent judiciary in the path of our turbulent democracy. No longer would the executive be a law unto itself. Today there are many now willing to spill their blood to defend their heart-earned independent judiciary. Try to destroy the independence of judiciary, and the moment is not far off when this beautiful country will be plunged into a civil war.

The writer is a former federal secretary.Email: [email]roedad@comsats.net.pk[/email]

Viceroy Sunday, December 19, 2010 03:34 PM

On celebration and introspection - Sher Afgan
[B]On celebration and introspection

Sher Afgan[/B]

Two recent articles in The News (August 12 and August 24) have prompted me to comment on Independence Day celebrations. Let me begin by stating that the former is known to my family since 1958 when he was posted as Deputy Commissioner in Dera Ismail Khan; the latter is a friend from 1971, when the newly inducted officers of the Information Service of Pakistan (ISP), joined us in the Civil Service Academy – Lahore.

The contents of the article by the redoubtable Roedad Khan make for sombre and realistic reading and end on an optimistic note expressing the hope to get the country back on track. The fact that Khan was Information Secretary at the time does not necessarily make him solely responsible for the expulsion of foreign journalists from Pakistan — especially when the country was under martial law and decisions were being taken elsewhere.

Also, at a time when the new practice of embedded journalists has been introduced by the greatest democracy in the world, the 1971 action does not seem that draconian after all. Let me also mention that Roedad Khan is not known for lionising or projecting General Agha Mohammad Yahya Khan as was done in the case of General Pervez Musharraf when Mahmood was at the helm of the Information Ministry. As mentioned by the latter, limitations do exist on the freedom of action of senior bureaucrats working under military regimes, but keen observers have a fairly good idea about the degree of loyalty exhibited by some civil servants towards leaders of the day — whether they were legitimate or otherwise.

My friend Mahmood goes on to say that he does not agree with Khan’s contention that Pakistan’s independence is a myth. This can only be when one refuses to see the ground realities. What independence and sovereignty is being talked about when drone attacks are the order of the day and US civilian and military advisors come calling at will to accommodate their demands, disregarding Pakistan’s own long-term interests and stability of the region. In such an environment, what is there to celebrate anyway?

It is good that Mahmood has not taken issue with Khan’s scathing comments on our parliament and the case of failed leadership. He talks about the sacrifices made by our officers and soldiers. This is gratefully acknowledged. He, however, objects to Roedad Khan’s billing of the military action in Malakand and Swat as a proxy war. May one ask who has brought this war upon us? Is it not because of the NATO-ISAF action in Afghanistan? Are we not furthering the interests of the US? The brunt of this military action is being borne by the hapless and poor people of the NWFP. It can only accentuate the sense of alienation felt by the local population.

It is very pertinent to recall the meetings of former President Musharraf with the OIC leaders that I covered as Additional Secretary MFA, at the Doha Summit in November 2000. The former President would never tire of praising the Taliban for ushering in a period of stability and how unwise it would be to topple them. Such an action, he said, would bring back the days of warlordism and internecine warfare in Afghanistan, thus threatening the stability of the region. Perhaps he was clear about the consequences of dislodging the Taliban but could not say no to Colin Powell. Therefore, he readily agreed to facilitate America’s attack on Afghanistan. We are now reaping the consequences of the US action.

Mahmood writes that “retrospection and self-criticism is helpful only if they (these) are blended with a recipe for improvement.” His wise counsel has already been heeded by Roedad Khan when he clearly gives a recipe for improvement and writes that “today we need a leader who has the vision, the skill and the courage to pull Pakistan together as one nation and inspire the people. We need a president whose hands are clean and who has the capability to steer the ship of state through the rockiest shoals our country has ever known. Our nation has the heart of a lion. But who is there to give it the roar? Pakistan is not a case of failed state. It is a case of failed leadership.”

Let me end by saying that Roedad Khan took a leading part in the struggle for the restoration of the judiciary. He has a very clean reputation and a distinguished service record. He is a fearless person who speaks his mind even if it entails the censuring of the high priests of temporal power. People from the NWFP know that his late brother Raziq Khan was a leading light in Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto’s PPP, but this has not deterred him from being critical of the party’s leadership.

In my view Roedad Khan will not be remembered only as a great environmentalist of Islamabad as Mahmood has hinted in his article, but he will have a place in the pantheon of outstanding civil servants of Pakistan. Keep up the great work, Sir.

Islaw Khan Thursday, December 30, 2010 03:16 PM

[COLOR="Green"][SIZE="4"][B]In pursuit of failure[/B][/SIZE][/COLOR]

By Tareq Fatemi

[COLOR="Black"][SIZE="2"][B]NINE years of occupation, over 2,000 lives lost and billions of dollars wasted, yet the US is still in the process of determining what its strategy in Afghanistan should be.

The Obama administration’s year-end review of its strategy in Afghanistan and Pakistan was more an exercise in diplomatic obfuscation than an objective assessment of ground realities. Its cautiously reassuring message is belied by a close reading of the public summary which stated that the Taliban insurgency has been slowed, but admitted that this achievement remained “fragile and reversible”. In Pakistan, progress has been “substantial” but not enough to deny either Al Qaeda or the Taliban the havens that shelter them. The president asserted that “we are on track to achieve our goals” but the reality remains grim, with a record number of American casualties and fears of Taliban resurgence.

These fears were confirmed by US intelligence agencies which remain sceptical of the military claims, suspecting them to be politically motivated. The influential International Crisis Group has also dismissed them, pointing out that dozens of new districts have come under Taliban control. The respected Council on Foreign Relations, too, warned recently: “We cannot accept these costs unless strategy begins to show signs of progress.”

What then explains America’s continuing reluctance to seek a negotiated settlement and look for politically acceptable safe-exit options? After all, Obama’s intelligence and political instincts cannot be doubted. Yet acknowledging mistakes and abandoning failed policies is neither easy nor pain-free, particularly for superpowers that are convinced of their “manifest destiny”. It was belief in its invincibility that humiliated the US in Vietnam and destroyed the Johnson administration.

More worryingly, the review confirmed that the president remains torn between the ambition of his generals and the fear of his advisors. For those who may doubt the extent to which individual ambitions and institutional interests are clouding national objectives, one need only read Bob Woodward’s book, Obama’s Wars.

It is fascinating on many counts but more importantly for the portrayal of the infighting in Washington’s corridors of power. The jealousies and rivalries he exposes are treacherous.

Obama comes out a lonely and frustrated figure, failing to garner the support of even his defence and state secretaries who, the author hints, see long-term political advantage in supporting a more robust military posture.

Recall what President Eisenhower wrote some 50 years ago. Though America’s most celebrated soldier, he cautioned against the military’s enormous growth, fearing that the economy risked becoming a subsidiary of the military.

In his farewell address, Eisenhower warned that the influence of “the military-industrial complex was economic, political, even spiritual”, and exhorted Americans to break away from their reliance on military might as a guarantor of liberty and “use our power in the interests of world peace and human betterment”.

As James Ledbetter points out in his book on Eisenhower, the former president was no pacifist but he deeply feared the consequences of what he called a “garrison state”, in which “policy and rights are defined by the shadowy needs of an all-powerful military elite”. Obama’s failure to get the generals on board with regard to his preferred political strategy in Afghanistan is a painful confirmation of Eisenhower’s fears.

Obama’s generals already appear to have succeeded in moving the goalposts. Their ambition, as well as the appetite of the defence industry, is enormous. This explains why Biden was constrained to warn that America would withdraw by 2014, come “hell or high water”. The president is caught between Scylla (the military) and Charybdis (his supporters), unable to break away from either.

There is little evidence of the president being able to listen to experts who call upon the US to radically change its strategy and negotiate directly with the Taliban “now rather than later, since the Taliban will likely be stronger next year”.

Characterising the 2014 deadline as unrealistic, they have stated that “like it or not, the Taliban are a long-term part of the Afghan political landscape”. A genuine role for the Taliban in a new political dispensation in Afghanistan is becoming increasingly inevitable.

With the Republicans determined to reset the domestic agenda, Obama’s room to manoeuvre even on foreign policy issues is narrowing.

He has to decide soon on a strategy that actually enables him to declare a ‘victory’ to pull out troops, without allowing the Republicans to accuse him of abandoning Afghanistan and being soft on national security issues.

If the American policy is succeeding as the administration claims, then it should have no problem in steadily drawing down its forces. But if the strategy is not working, as critics claim, then it is even more important to abandon the Petraeus-advocated counter-insurgency in favour of a lighter counter-terrorism strategy. In fact, the Petraeus strategy is alienating civilians and intensifying anti-American sentiments while aiding the Taliban in recruiting new fighters.

America has to abandon the false notion that the more intense the operations, the greater their effectiveness. While there are major differences among the stakeholders about the modalities for the peace process, there is no doubt that the US has to give primacy to political strategy that is complemented by military tactics, rather than the other way round.

What Obama decides is not a matter of mere academic interest to Pakistan. The Americans continue to demand that we ‘do more’, while Admiral Mullen speaks of his “strategic impatience” with Pakistan. There is also credible evidence concerning Washington’s growing inclination to expand its operations to Pakistan. This is likely to be far more disastrous than Nixon’s decision to seek salvation for Vietnam in Cambodia and Laos.

Let our leaders beware that any show of pusillanimity at this time will unleash the dogs of civil war deep within Pakistan. We have already paid an enormous price in furtherance of US goals; let us not slide into this quagmire. The Americans have the luxury of walking away from the mess but we will remain stuck in it.[/B][/SIZE][/COLOR]

The writer is a former ambassador.

Mossavir Wazir Friday, December 31, 2010 03:27 PM

[B][SIZE="4"][CENTER]Robber's Hospital[/CENTER][/SIZE][/B]
[B][CENTER]By Yasir Pirzada[/CENTER][/B]

On November 29, 2009 at 3 a.m. in the morning, a three year old baby girl named Imanae, spilt hot water on her wrist. Her parents immediately took her to a '5 Star' kind of a hospital, well known for its hefty charges, located in Johar Town, Lahore. Although it was a very small burn, the parents chose to go to the hospital as their baby was in terrible pain. At the hospital, they were met by the emergency ward staff, which applied an ointment on her hand and gave her an injection to soothe the pain. However, Imanaecontinued to cry after which the nurse called the doctor on duty. The doctor, who had just been woken up from sound sleep, instructed the nurse to give the baby another injection. Imanae, however, continued to cry. Fifteen minutes later, the sleepy doctor again instructed the nurse to give Imanae a 3rd injection. All in all, 5mg of this anaesthetic/pain killer was given to the three year old baby girl. This was the moment when that little baby tried calling out her dad and said that everything was getting blurred and she couldn't see clearly. Little did her parents know that these were the last words their daughter would ever say. The girl then went silent and started losing consciousness and in few minutes she was dead.

The matter was reported in local media and on 02 December, the Punjab Chief Minister constituted a committee to probe into the incident. As per media reports, the three member Committee concluded, inter alia, that it was due to the criminal negligence of the doctors which took the life of three year old baby, hence, a case should be registered against the responsible doctors while the hospital should be shut down. The Committee also recommended to the Government to register a case against the MD of the hospital. As a result of all the uproar, pharmacy of the hospital has also been sealed because expired medicines were being sold there. However, there are still some questions which need to be answered; but before putting up those questions, let's have a glance on the paraphernalia of the Health Department of the largest province of the country:

The Punjab Health Department is headed by a Secretary under whom there is a Special Secretary and four Additional Secretaries and a Director General Health Services. Under each Additional Secretary, there are 2-3 Deputy Secretaries and 4-10 Section Officers while Personal Staff Officers, Planning Officers, Law Officer, Superintendents and Chief Drug Inspector are in addition to this. DG Health Services has its own "estate". S/he is supported by the Directors: Communicable Disease Control; Expanded Program of Immunization; Basic Health Services/Headquarters; Reproductive Health / Maternity and Child Health and Planning & Evaluation; and several Additional and Assistant Directors Health Services at the provincial Directorate and by Directors Health Services at Divisional headquarters plus District Health Officer, Deputy District Health Officer, Medical Superintendent and large number of other health officers. In short, the Health Department enjoys all kind of powers which are supplemented by a plethora of Rules and Acts ranging from The Punjab Medical and Health Institution Act, 1998 to Vaccination Ordinance 1958. The website of the Punjab Government, which according its own counter, has been visited by more than 3.2 million visitors till 06 December'09, was last updated (Health Department section) almost a year ago on 06 Jan'09 and ironically it is silent about the budget of the Health Department.

The Mission Statement of the Department is also quite interesting as it says "To improve the quality and coverage of Health Services with special focus on Primary Health Care to achieve Millennium Development Goals." And the Vision Statement is even more interesting: "Health population with a sound health care system practicing health life style, in partnership with private sector including civil society, which is effective, efficient and responsive to the health needs of low socio-economic groups especially women in the reproductive age." Despite my utmost effort, I have not been able to make head and tail of this "Vision Statement."

Now the questions which still need answer:

What is the use of army of health officials if it cannot even monitor/regulate/check the most expensive hospital, which should better be called "Robber's Hospital", situated in the heart of the provincial metropolis?

If this is the state of affairs and level of efficiency of the officers of one of the most important departments of the Government, right under the nose of a hard task master like Shahbaz Sharif, what would be the situation in the far flung areas like tehsil Rojhan of district Rajanpur? How a Medical Officer of a government hospital would treat the child of a poor farmer there? Not much intelligence is required to answer this question.

Why we are always moved after loss of precious lives? What stops the government department to act well before time?

Why the concerned health officer/drug inspector of the area who was responsible for checking the pharmacy/hospital has not been taken to task? Had he done his job properly and honestly, a precious life could have been saved.

Health Department officers would definitely come up with all kinds of plausible explanations to these questions and one can't beat them on this account as they are well trained to defend themselves against all odds. They would give fancy presentations to the Chief Minister which would persuade him that due to scarcity of resources, it has become almost impossible to govern a province like Punjab; hence, they are doing wonders under the circumstances. So guys, as far as the government departments are concerned, everything is hunky dory for them till the time an innocent child lost his/her life and an inquiry is ordered. Hence, the moral of the story is, "if we want the government departments to take action on any issue, we should sacrifice some lives before that, preferably of the children."

Email Address: [email]yasirpirzada1@gmail.com[/email]

[COLOR="Navy"][B]NOTE:[/B] Yasir Pirzada appeared in the Central Superior Services Examination (CSS) and stood 78 all over Pakistan. He joined Civil Services Academy in 1996 as Assistant Commissioner Income Tax. As a federal officer, he has served as Deputy Commissioner Income Tax and Deputy Program Director in the federal and provincial government respectively.[/COLOR]

Viceroy Thursday, January 20, 2011 06:38 PM

From Crisis To Crisis - Shakeel Ahmed
From Crisis To Crisis

Shakeel Ahmed

Islamabad this morning is enveloped in a thick rolling fog. There is no gas in the house. Earlier in the morning there was load shedding of both the scheduled and un-scheduled type. Life appears to bring no relief— misery having started from the first day of the new year when a steep increase in POL prices was announced. The earlier price increases, specially in the price of diesel oil led to conversion of public transport wagons from diesel to CNG. Shortage of CNG developed and has forced the closure of CNG stations for two days in a week. There are huge waiting lines at the CNG stations not witnessed before. It would not be surprising if an announcement in the increase of CNG prices is made as soon as the Petroleum Minister Naveed Qamar wakes up to take advantage of the situation.

The government of President Zardari does not possess a magician such as private banker Shaukat Aziz who could perform abra cadabra with the economy and actually convince the outside world that Pakistan was attaining great economic heights. Shaukat Aziz could not have been a reality. Like him, his much vaunted economic miracle has come and gone. It was with Gen. Musharraf’s approval that the unprecedented and mysterious step of a 30% upward revision in the GDP was undertaken. It was Shaukat Aziz who claimed that he had doubled per capita income from $400 to $800. This was a cruel joke played on a hapless nation. It was obvious to everyone except the General that for the claim to be credible, per capita income would have to grow at 25% plus the rate of growth of the country’s population. It is true that mobile phones became popular. It is also true that banks lent billions for the purchase of cars and other toys. But such developments simply conveyed to the world that some people had become very rich and poverty was rising. The manipulated economic data did nothing to enhance the well being of the common man. The biggest disappointment is that the magician Shaukat Aziz was unable to change the structure of the economy.

The rich became richer and managed to remain out of the tax net. Their ill gotten wealth was stashed away in foreign banks. Agricultural incomes were not taxed. Land reforms did not take place. The problems that plagued the economy in October 1999 persisted through the Musharraf regime and were there for the new democratic government to face—a task to which they were supremely unqualified. The economic crisis was building up during the Musharraf era. The widening trade gap would have forced a decline in the value of the domestic currency. POL prices were artificially maintained at unsustainable levels. Most of the unpleasant decisions were left to be taken by the popularly elected government. Private banker Shaukat Aziz packed the few belongings he had and evaporated in thin air. The new government had to tackle multiple economic crises. It found itself totally ill-prepared and clueless in addressing the challenges arising out of the shocks. While rest of the world was taking corrective measures and adjusting to higher food and fuel prices, Pakistan lurched from one crisis to another. For a protracted period after the 2008 elections, there were no finance, commerce, petroleum and natural resources and health ministers in the country.

The government lost six precious months in finding its feet. Mr. Zardari was ill-equipped to lead the nation. With effort and devotion he could have managed a country farm. Pakistan was never easy to govern. He gave the impression of having little sense of direction and purpose. A crisis of confidence intensified as investors and development partners started to walk away. The stock market nosedived, capital flight set in, foreign exchange reserves plummeted and the Pakistani rupee lost one-third of its value. In short, Pakistan’s macroeconomic vulnerability had grown unbearable. It had no option but to return to the IMF for a bailout package. There were no road maps, no contingency plans, no options. There was only one plan, that is, to return to the IMF.

The fact is that Pakistan’s economic problems are chronic, endemic and systemic, beyond the capacity of Pakistan’s present rulers to fix. Military rule simply brushes the problems under the carpet. Due to lack of vision and leadership qualities, Pakistan’s democrats have failed to solve these problems which are becoming insurmountable year by year. Debt has become the ugly hallmark of Pakistan’s economy together with rising poverty. This debt burden which has simply increased over time has now reached the tipping point where it is overwhelmingly suffocating and crushing Pakistan’s economy. As the debt crisis in Europe currently shows a point will come when lenders will stop lending to indebted borrowers; in Pakistan’s case the much hyped ‘Friends of Democratic Pakistan’ has been an abysmal failure with only $700 million materialising.

Pakistan has so far failed to cut the budget deficit. Even cosmetic changes have not been made. The economy continues to remain in intensive care unit and is breathing thanks to the injections from the IMF, World Bank and Asian Development Bank. The economy is not on the radar screen of the government and as such the economic managers have no relevance in the current political set up. That could be a prime reason for the invisibility of the current Finance Minister, Mr. Hafeez Sheikh.

Action needs to be taken quickly to bridge the budget deficit. As pointed out by the State Bank of Pakistan in its latest report, the printing of notes at their current levels cannot be sustained. If resources cannot be increased in the short run, government can take measures for a drastic cut in expenditures. This does not seem to be on the cards. Pakistan does not deserve to face another crisis on this account. Should Mr. Yusuf Raza survive the present crisis he should move to correct some of the structural imbalances.

—The writer is a member of the former Civil Service of Pakistan.


Viceroy Friday, January 28, 2011 04:26 PM

Poor governance & poverty - Shakeel Ahmed
[B]Poor governance & poverty - Shakeel Ahmed[/B]

Theoretically governance is defined as the manner in which political and administrative power is exercised in the management of a country’s social and economic resources for development. In the case of Pakistan this need not be the case as political and administrative power can be and is in fact utilized for the economic and financial well being of the leadership in power. Good governance requires a vision and an executive and administrative understanding and capacity to utilize public revenues for human development such as education and health. Measured on this yardstick the government of President Zardari does not get even a passing grade. Good governance is held to be an essential pre-condition for pro-poor growth as it establishes the regulatory and legal framework essential for the sound functioning of land, labor, capital and other factor markets. This agenda is missing from President Zardari’s radar screen.

The overthrow of an elected government in 1999, the scrapping of the Constitution and the adoption of other unlawful actions clearly established that governance including adherence to the rule of law was the country’s foremost problem. The discontinuity in the democratic process accelerated corruption. Political instability resulted in disastrous consequences for the economy. For the first time in Pakistan’s chequered history, poverty reared its ugly head. Notwithstanding the import of private banker Shaukat Aziz as the country’s Finance Minister, and the installation of another World Bank import as the Governor, State Bank of Pakistan business confidence continued to wane, economic growth continued to worsen, and the country’s debt profile continued rising despite major debt relief granted by the donors in the wake of 9/11. The rich began to grow richer. Nearly one third of the country’s population fell below the poverty line.

The right to education and health is a basic entitlement. Development allocations in these sectors showed no improvement. With the introduction of devolution, there was a visible decline in the governance abilities. The deterioration is evident from the fact that funds allocated for education and health could not be fully utilized. The surrender of scarce funds at the end of the financial year was not treated as criminal negligence. No action was ever taken against those failing to fully perform this nation building task. Corruption flourished in the delivery of public services. There were hospitals and basic health units without medicines. Medicines meant for these health facilities were regularly sold in the market. The existence of ghost schools was endemic. Salaries were drawn regularly. The teachers never showed up for work. Artificial enrollment reports were sent to those who cared to receive them. Women and girls were the worst to suffer in this situation. The rich could afford to send their children for studies abroad or in expensive English medium private institutions at home. Children of the poor had nowhere to go. Those who have somehow managed to go on to colleges and universities are ill-motivated and abhor the acquisition of knowledge. Pakistan has rapidly fallen behind in the human development index.

Poverty is considered intolerable where strong state institutions exist. There was a serious undermining of state institutions when in the name of devolution, the age old and well established institution of the Deputy Commissioner and the Divisional Commissioner was abolished. Governance took a nose dive. The familiar and functional police system was also tinkered with in the name of reforms. The lack of public confidence in state institutions, including the police and judiciary, eroded their legitimacy and directly contributed to worsening conditions of poverty, public security and law and order. The present Government has been unable to carry thorough reforms to restore the legitimacy and performance of many institutions that are in desperate need of rehabilitation. These include the executive, administrative, and magisterial organs of the state. Its focus of attention is in promoting cronyism and ignoring their rapacious tendencies.

Investment helps generate employment and alleviate poverty. A stable and well functioning democratic system and an independent judiciary is fundamental to the creation of an enabling environment for domestic and foreign investment to take place.. The lack of transparency in public sector planning, budgeting and allocation of resources in Pakistan has ensured that those who do not constitute the political elite (read the poor and the vulnerable) are unable to make political leaders and the Government responsive to their needs or accountable to promises. This has led to a supply driven approach to service provision, with development priorities being determined not by potential beneficiaries but by an inefficient, dishonest and incompetent bureaucracy and a political elite which appears to be completely out of touch with reality. In order to tackle the rising trend of poverty, the government of President Zardari should re-arrange its priorities and assign improvement in governance as the foremost task. This is a key determinant of long term poverty. Poor governance tends to exacerbate the vulnerability of the lowest income groups in times such as those that have been ushered in by President Zardari”s government.

The writer is a member of the former Civil Service of Pakistan.

[url=http://pakistanherald.com/Articles/Poor-governance-and-poverty-2652]Poor governance & poverty - By Shakeel Ahmed @ Pakistan Herald[/url]

Maroof Hussain Chishty Wednesday, February 02, 2011 08:49 AM

Licensed to kill?
[COLOR="YellowGreen"][SIZE="6"][CENTER][U][B][FONT="Georgia"]Licensed to kill?[/FONT][/B][/U][/CENTER][/SIZE][/COLOR]

[COLOR="DarkOrange"][SIZE="2"][B]Asif Ezdi[/B][/SIZE][/COLOR]
[COLOR="Blue"][SIZE="2"][B]Wednesday, February 02, 2011[/B][/SIZE][/COLOR]

You only have to read the three press releases issued by the US embassy on the shooting to death last week of two Pakistanis by an American employee of their consulate at Lahore to see through the sheer flimsiness of the claim of his diplomatic immunity.

The first press release described the perpetrator as “a staff member of the US consulate general in Lahore”. Crowley, the spokesman of the US State Department, also designated him as “an employee at the US consulate in Lahore.” The killer himself told the Lahore police and the magistrate’s court that he works as a technical adviser at the consulate. (Since Crowley denied categorically that the person in question was named Raymond Davis and since US officials refuse to divulge his true name, we will call him the first killer, to distinguish him from the second killer, unnamed and unidentified, who knocked down and crushed a Pakistani motorcyclist to death the same day, while trying to reach the first killer.

The second press release, issued a day later, had a different story. It described the first killer as a “diplomat assigned to the US Embassy in Islamabad”. Overnight and without any explanation, a member of the staff at the Lahore consulate became a diplomat at the Islamabad embassy.

A third press release then made another change - or refinement. It describes the first killer not as a diplomat but as a member of the “technical and administrative staff” of the embassy.

This is also not correct. A person does not become a member of the “technical and administrative staff” of an embassy just because the embassy claims that status for him; or because he holds a diplomatic passport; or because a visa, even an official visa, has been issued to him on such a passport. He becomes a member of the staff of an embassy only if it notifies to foreign ministry of the receiving state (ie the host country), in accordance with Article 10 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, that he has been assigned that position. There is no mention in any of the press releases that such a notification was issued.

The reason why a consular employee mutated overnight into a member of the embassy’s staff is obvious: A member of the technical and administrative staff of the embassy enjoys full immunity from local criminal jurisdiction under Article 38 of the Convention on Diplomatic Relations and cannot be lawfully arrested or detained, while a consular employee enjoys no such privilege under the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, which governs consular missions. As regards liability to criminal jurisdiction, he is in the same position as a citizen of Pakistan and can be proceeded against, tried and punished for criminal acts in the same way as a Pakistani.

The claim made by the US embassy on his behalf that that he acted in self-defence is also of dubious validity. It is not enough, as the embassy states in its press release, that there were armed men who he had every reason to believe “meant him bodily harm”. It will have to be established that they were targeting him, that he was in grave danger and that the shooting was not an excessive response. The burden of proving all this will rest on him.

So far, at least as far as public statements are concerned, the Pakistan government has refused to bow to the US demand for giving immunity to the killer. But our past record, and not simply that of the present government, is not reassuring. One example is the surrender to the Americans of Aimal Kasi by Nawaz Sharif in 1997 during his second term as prime minister without fulfilling the legal requirements, simply upon a phone call from the then Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.

Rehman Malik said in the National Assembly: “This is Pakistan... The law will take its course.” That is precisely the problem. Our leaders say one thing for public consumption in Pakistan and quite another thing privately to the Americans. And then they do as promised to the Americans. Gilani’s famous conversation with the US Ambassador in 2009 on drone attacks is just one example.

True to his record, Gilani once again has been trying to run away from his responsibility in this matter. He told a press conference that since the matter was in the court and the Punjab government was conducting an inquiry into it, he would not comment on it. Gilani is right that the investigations have to be conducted by the Punjab Government and that the courts have to take a decision on the criminal liability of Davis. But it is for the foreign ministry (ie the federal government) to make a determination whether the killer is a member of staff of the embassy or of the Lahore consulate, the central issue upon which his immunity depends.

Clearly, heavy pressure is being exerted on Pakistan to let him go scot-free. It may be the US is not concerned only about the welfare of one of its nationals but, more important, it fears that a trial of the killers might bring into public knowledge some unsavoury facts about the activities of US security companies and US officials (spies?) in Pakistan. The first killer was certainly no diplomat in the conventional sense. According to the ABC News and The Huffington Post, he was an employee of a fly-by-night private security company, a small-bore version of the more famous Blackwater. He certainly acted in a cold-blooded manner. After he had shot his victims in the back, he pumped some more bullets into their bodies as they lay on the ground.

Even more outrageous than the misrepresentation of the first killer’s status is the complete silence of the US embassy on the motorcyclist who was crushed to death by the second killer. It was not just an accident or a hit-and-run offense but an act of recklessness showing complete disregard for the lives of ordinary Pakistanis. Anyone who breaks a road barrier and drives in the wrong direction on a one-way street bears full responsibility for the consequences and if a death results he is as culpable as a person who shoots his victim dead.

The US embassy has not offered even one word of regret or sympathy for this killing. They have even refused so far to identify the killer despite the repeated requests of the police. It is to be suspected that an attempt will be made to whisk him away, if he has not left the country already.

Pakistan must make a demarche immediately that if that happens all those members of the embassy and the Lahore consulate who are complicit will be asked to pack up and leave the country.

What happened in Lahore last Thursday was not an accident. It was a disaster waiting to happen, given the impunity with which we have allowed US diplomats and “security guards” to violate our laws. They behave as if they have a license to kill. We have given them tacit permission to carry unauthorised weapons, travel in vehicles with darkened windows and false number plates and even to threaten our police when they ask them to submit to security checks. There are killers on the loose on the streets of Pakistan masquerading as diplomats. They will become even bolder if we fail to bring the Lahore killers to justice.

[COLOR="Blue"]The writer is a member of the Pakistan Foreign Service. Email: asif [email]ezdi@yahoo.com[/email][/COLOR]

Viceroy Friday, February 04, 2011 01:47 AM

Davis and our blundering Foriegn Office - Zafar Hilaly
[B]Davis and our blundering Foriegn Office[/B]

The Foreign Office’s (FO) pathetic attempts to find a policy are, once again, on display in the case of Raymond Davis. Watching it perform is like watching a third-rate review in some backstreet theatre where performers appear in various guises and dance, with despairing vigour, the same old jig (of evading facts and keeping quiet when they need to speak up).

It beggars the imagination that the FO does not know whether a member of a foreign mission is a diplomat or not. Actually it knows, but the man who heads the show will sing you any song that you want him to sing. His short-sighted policy — not to confront reality for the sake of cheap popularity — is the very nature of this government. Time and again we have seen how it bends to ‘lick its own spit’ because reality is unavoidable, which is what will eventually happen in this case.

The fact of the matter is that Raymond Davis is, by the reckoning of most neutral observers, a ‘diplomat’ for the purposes of Article 38 of the Vienna Convention and hence entitled to diplomatic immunity. No court needs to decide that, only the Foreign Office does, because his status is a question, not of law, but of fact, and by refusing to do so the FO has landed the government in a far greater mess than it would have been in had it alluded to international law and said that, given the circumstances, it was helpless. Our politicos, too, would have had to lump it. Because what is likely to happen is that either the US shuts shop and stops dealing with Pakistan or, alternatively, informs Pakistan that the immunity of its diplomats in the US will be withdrawn. Of course, for good measure, it can stop issuing visas for the 1,800 or so diplomatic and official Pakistani passport holders who travel to the US annually.

There are many other courses of action open to the US, and for that matter to Pakistan, to demonstrate their respective displeasure, but what is clear is that the former would have to react in some manner or lose face to an extent that would be insufferable and, frankly, counterproductive. Besides, Congress would step in somewhere down the line to further muddy the waters if Washington does not react strongly.

Of course, it is lamentable that nations lie and dissemble, and want gunmen and sleuths to be treated on par with diplomats in order to enable them to claim immunity from prosecution. But then, welcome to the real world. Lest we think we are any better, we have several Raymond Davis types in our missions abroad, trying to collect the same kind of information that he was. And, now and then, they too get caught and end up being repatriated, albeit without anyone being any the wiser.

The court would do us all a favour by insisting that the Foreign Office determine whether Raymond Davis has immunity, rather than to let the government off the hook by coming to the same decision itself after proceedings, during which our relations with the US will be greatly strained. Of course, there is no reason why we should not take on the US, but surely when international law is on our side, not merely to court cheap popularity. Meanwhile, all should focus on getting maximum compensation for the families of those killed by Davis.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 4th, 2011.

[url=http://tribune.com.pk/story/113724/davis-and-our-blundering-foriegn-office/]Davis and our blundering Foriegn Office – The Express Tribune[/url]

Viceroy Tuesday, February 15, 2011 02:26 AM

What next for Egypt?
[B]What next for Egypt?[/B]

President Hosni Mubarak, who ruled over Egypt like a pharaoh for nearly 30 years, resigned on February 11, 2011, after an unprecedented popular uprising that lasted almost three weeks. Thank goodness, because if he had not, as he had said in a TV address the night before, the country would have plunged into bloodshed and utter chaos. So what happened in less than 24 hours to make him change his mind? It seems to me that the higher echelons of the military, recognising the grave consequences of his refusal to quit, told him to go.

I met Mubarak a few times during my three-year stay in Cairo. When I presented my credentials — when I went with our prime minister to meet him — I found him to be one of the stiffest of the 13 heads of state I had met in the last 15 years of my diplomatic career. He never smiled, hardly ever shook hands, never attended a diplomatic reception or received any ambassador alone, except perhaps the American, the Russian, the Saudi and one or two others.

My other indelible memory of Egypt is that of oppressing poverty, huge disparity of wealth and a large number of beggars of all ages, thronging every historical site, cringing for ‘bukhshish’ from tourists. It was embarrassing, even to me, a Pakistani. Egypt earned twice as much foreign exchange, had less than half of Pakistan’s population, yet its poverty was as great as Pakistan’s.
Torture, death in prison and long jail sentences were common, and these had created such terror that all of Egypt seemed wrapped in a blanket of silence. People went about their business on tiptoe, even students and labourers, normally vibrant elements in any society, did not dare utter a word of protest.
So if anyone had asked me in June 1997, when I left Egypt, about the present uprising, my honest answer would have been a firm no. I could not even imagine the current situation. In that sense, what has happened in Egypt is truly revolutionary and not just a revolt.

Hence, it is to the credit of the Egyptian people that they forced Mubarak to resign, though he tried hard to stay in power. The question is, what now? The first challenge for the Supreme Military Council (SMC), now in charge, is to manage the withdrawal symptoms among the Egyptians caused by the diminishing intoxication of victory and the impatience for a new civilian government in the shortest possible time. Therefore, to keep the Egyptians’ hope of a real change alive and avert another round of uprising and a bloody confrontation between the Egyptians and the military, the SMC should take the following measures at once.

All its members must declare their intentions not to be candidates in the next election, even as a civilians; set up a commission of eminent Egyptian intellectuals/thinkers to frame a new constitution; encourage people to form new political parties, but pass a law that no party with less than a million verifiable members will be allowed to contest elections; make this applicable on all parties, new and old; form an independent Election Commission; announce the date of the next election, which should be held between three to four months from the day of Mubarak’s resignation.

It is obvious that the Egyptian revolution will have an impact throughout the Arab and Muslim world, including Pakistan. The militaries of all these countries will be forced to resist the temptation of carrying out a coup and the monarchies will have to move towards constitutional rule.

The writer served as Pakistan’s ambassador to Russia, Mexico, the UAE and Egypt

Published in The Express Tribune, February 15th, 2011.

[url=http://tribune.com.pk/story/118821/what-next-for-egypt/]What next for Egypt? – The Express Tribune[/url]

Predator Tuesday, March 08, 2011 02:12 PM

[B][U][CENTER][COLOR="DarkGreen"][SIZE="5"][FONT="Georgia"]Modern forensic tools[/FONT][/SIZE][/COLOR][/CENTER][/U][/B]

[B]By Sharjil Kharal
08 March, Tuesday 2011[/B]

CRIME detection is one of the main concerns of modern police forces. Across the world, law-enforcement bodies strive to obtain evidence through scientific means.

One of the first scientific developments in this regard was that of the fingerprint system as an investigative tool in the detection of crime. Since this technique was adopted, crime patterns have changed. Now, there is an electronic signature. The advent of cyber crime has led to the evolution of the discipline of computer forensics. Today, it is possible to detect the computers used by perpetrators for carrying out the offence. Similarly, the increased use of cellphones in the commission of crimes has compelled the police to focus on developing cellphone forensics through which one can establish a person’s presence at a crime scene where no material evidence may be available.

Other sophisticated gadgets such as polygraphs and voice stress analysers are used for verifying suspects’ statements. Almost all police forces increasingly rely on video footage acquired of any significant incident, such as an accident, a crime or an incident of terrorism. Police forces have been able to positively identify terrorists in post-blast incidents through the images captured on state-of-the-art cameras.

Earlier, fingerprint examination was done manually. The Sindh police have been using this tool through a fingerprint bureau where images of the fingerprints of suspects were prepared on a print card using roller ink. With the introduction of the Pakistan Automated Fingerprint Identification System (PAFIS), fingerprints are secured and processed electronically through biometric technology.

The current PAFIS database has a record of around 200,000 digital fingerprint impressions of suspects arrested and charged in various cases. The centralised PAFIS database has helped check the inter-provincial movement of suspects. Fingerprint impressions that are stored in the database can easily be matched against the latent impressions lifted from a crime scene as well as with the impressions already stored in the national databank. DNA-typing is a revolutionary technology currently being used by the Sindh police. The value in DNA-typing lies in accurately being able to establish the identity of a suspect or other person. Such analysis also helps in identifying potential suspects whose DNA may match with evidence left at a crime scene. Furthermore, it helps exonerate wrongly accused persons.

Investigators of the Sindh police successfully identified several victims of the 2007 Karsaz bombing through DNA analysis. Then in 2008, in the much-publicised case of the rape of a young girl near the Quaid’s mausoleum, the suspects were traced through this method of analysis. The DNA samples of four suspects matched with samples secured from the crime scene. DNA analysis also proved beyond doubt the involvement of the ‘white Corolla’ rapist who used to stalk his victims in Karachi’s Defence Housing Authority area in 2008.

It would be fitting to put in a word about the digital forensic capabilities of the Sindh police. Digital forensics involves the accurate analysis and presentation of computer-related evidence. It is a tool and technique to recover, preserve and examine digital evidence found on or transmitted by digital devices. The Sindh police forces existing capability includes the recovery of deleted data from cell phones, SIM cards, hard drives and the retrieval of Internet history, IMEI numbers, email records, messages, call logs, call data records and SIM forensics. The investigation units of the Sindh police have successfully traced several cases with the help of these modern tools.

The much-awaited video surveillance system for Karachi is to be implemented soon. This system will help in deterring terrorist acts and street crime, traffic monitoring, the enhancement of VIP security and of overall levels of public safety and security. The existing CCTV system can only show a video recording of the incident and cannot be used to retrieve or magnify certain other aspects of the footage. With the video surveillance system, such limitations will be removed through image-enhancing features.

Despite the availability of the tools, the Sindh police force still faces tough challenges in crime detection. Some of the techniques involve cost-intensive equipment and training of officers. Similarly, the absence of a laboratory for testing DNA samples is a hurdle — samples have to be sent to Islamabad. DNA testing is costly and the police must be very selective about getting the analysis done in high-profile cases alone.

The fact that the National Database and Registration Authority does not allow the police access to its family tree or fingerprint data — the latter numbering over 80 million — leads to great difficulty in tracing suspects. Similarly, the lack of access on an urgent basis to cellphone data by the companies is also a handicap. It is true that these organisations have provided some access, but it is selective and procedural delays hamper police investigations. Time is of the essence in the detection of crime and in some cases the police must act instantly to apprehend suspects.

What has been witnessed in modern jurisdictions around the world is across-the-board support provided to law-enforcement agencies by various organisations, both state-run and private, in crime investigation. In Pakistan, however, such institutions have displayed a myopic approach whereby facilitation is the exception rather than the norm, which brings about delayed results. There is no denying that the law and order situation in the country is a matter of concern and efficient and effective policing is what is needed.

It is time the authorities took notice of the issues outlined above and streamlined this very important and procedural aspect of local law enforcement. If the problems related to the use of forensic technology and procedural matters were to be resolved, the police would be facilitated in crime detection in a tremendous way and the cause of justice would be better served.

[B][I]The writer is a senior superintendent of the police currently heading the Forensics Division of the Sindh police.[/I][/B]

Predator Thursday, March 24, 2011 09:32 PM

[B][U][CENTER][COLOR="DarkGreen"][SIZE="5"][FONT="Georgia"]Civil servants’ behaviour[/FONT][/SIZE][/COLOR][/CENTER][/U][/B]

[B][I][CENTER] The PCS officers must learn to live with the history, concept and structure of the civil services.[/CENTER][/I][/B]

[B]By Kunwar Idris
24 March, Tuesday 2011[/B]

THE PCS (Provincial Civil Service) is a perpetually angry and aggrieved cadre of Pakistan’s civil servants. The roots of their discontent lie in the competitive system of entry into the civil services dating back to colonial times. It is not a new phenomenon — only, they have lost discipline.
The feeling of injustice that the PCS officers nurture has been finding expression, over the years, in representations, litigation and sometimes even in protest, but never in the breach of public order of the kind that was witnessed in Lahore recently.

It was at once amusing and disgusting to see a lot of them — including some young women — being herded into prison vans by policemen as they revelled in the defiance of law and decency.

For once, the custodians of the law were seen violating the law across the country and beyond on TV channels. Their ranks already weighed down by nominations, corruption, political affiliations or pressures, the agitating civil servants seem to be driving the last nail in the coffin of professional administration, thereby handing over, quite unwittingly, the responsibility of making decisions to the politicians, who would like nothing better.

The grievances of the PCS officers may be legitimate and their aspirations justified. But they must not compare their career path and promotion prospects with the DMG — the District Management Group which, though much diminished in worth and authority, is still a successor to the Civil Service of Pakistan (CSP) and before that the fabled Indian Civil Service of colonial times.

Z.A. Bhutto, fearful of the recognition and powers that the CSP officers had come to enjoy, split up the service into three groups. The district, being the hub of Pakistan’s field administration, and the District Management Group (combined with the tribal group), in the course of time have emerged to regain the stature that Mr Bhutto loathed.

Nor have the promotion prospects of DMG officers diminished to any significant extent. The cadre not only survived the later depredations of Pervez Musharraf but seems to have emerged even stronger after his departure.

The PCS officers must learn to live with the history, concept and structure of the federal and provincial civil services. They must also not forget the increasing spread of their postings and ever-improving prospects of their promotions. Here let me recall a personal example in support of this statement, if it is of any consolation.

My father joined the PCS in the year I was born. When I joined the CSP in 1957 at the age of 23, as additional sessions judge he was just one grade ahead of me. Seven years later, when he retired at the age of 60 and I was barely 30, both of us were in the same grade. But I held an allpowerful (call it lucrative if you will) post of political agent while he was an austere, slogging sessions judge.

Not much different was the situation of three or four of my batch mates who also happened to be the sons of PCS officers.

My father would sometimes mention, without making a grievance of it, that were he not over age by a year for the ICS examination in 1934 he, too, like his friend and class fellow N.M. Khan in Lahore’s Law College (both always competed for the top position) might have made it to the ICS and ended up as secretary to the federal government at the age of 50 or even less. He never let it bother him. He made up for it by writing law books alongside, that came to be relied upon by the superior courts.

Fate, time and accidents determine the course of a civil servant’s career as much as his competence, integrity or capacity to win the patronage of senior colleagues or politicians. Some officers who initially joined the PCS later rose as high — some higher — as the CSP officers. Familiar names that instantly come to mind are Ghulam Ishaq Khan and Nawabzada Sher Afzal Khan. I had the privilege to know both and worked under them. In competence and grace both outshone the best among their contemporary ICS/CSP officers.

Promotions in the PCS cadre in the normal course are much faster now than in my father’s time and for many years after independence. Now they hold many more jobs they could only dream of in the ICS or even the CSP days.

In colonial times, a PCS officer becoming deputy commissioner made news. It created quite a stir when some years after independence a PCS officer became deputy commissioner of Lahore or Karachi. Now perhaps there are as many PCS DCs (or by whatever other name the post is now called) as there are DMGs.

In this historical background and inherent limitations, all that the agitating PCS officers of Punjab can be advised is to seek remedy for their genuine grievances (where it is denied within the official hierarchy) by appealing to the tribunals, ombudsmen and courts — even the Supreme Court would take cognisance if a guaranteed or fundamental right is being denied.

In any case, they must not stoke fires on the streets which tomorrow they might be called upon to extinguish, only to find their moral authority undermined.

The writer is a retired civil servant.
EMAIL :- [email]kunwaridris@hotmail.com[/email]

[url=http://epaper.dawn.com/ArticleText.aspx?article=24_03_2011_007_007]Civil servants[/url]

Mossavir Wazir Thursday, June 16, 2011 11:51 AM

[CENTER][B][SIZE="5"][COLOR="DarkGreen"]All is not well[/COLOR][/SIZE][/B][/CENTER]

By Syed Saadat.
[B]16th June, Thursday 2011.[/B]

THOSE readers who have visited the marvellous Mohatta palace in Karachi must have noticed a couple of lion statues sitting there since 1920, the year the palace was built.

Had the palace been a government office, these lions would have made it to the top echelons of bureaucracy. Why? Because the performance evaluation system in vogue is such that you just have to be there and sit idle to rise to the top.

I admit I might have exaggerated the scenario a bit, but only a bit. In Pakistan’s civil service the years of service an individual puts in matter a lot more than the quality of those years.

In a meeting some time ago, the finance minister gave senior officers of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) a piece of his mind regarding their performance. A fly on the wall tells us that he went to the extent of saying that they should leave if they could not meet revenue-collection targets and let someone competent take their place. However, have no doubt that their Performance Evaluation Reports (PERs), previously termed Annual Confidential Reports (ACRs), will give the ‘all is well’ verdict this year, just as in the previous so many years.

An in-depth analysis would conclude that the system of performance evaluation of government officers is flawless but any rule, law or procedure is only as good as it is implemented. The problem lies in the fact that government officers are mostly so jaded that unless or until there are personal scores to settle, superiors just rate everybody as very good in his PER. For them every officer is fit for promotion, thus undermining the very logic behind a performance-appraisal system.

The reasons behind this are multifaceted, including the tendency to want to stay away from controversy and so-called courtesy. The latter is extended at the expense of efficiency or something as trivial as the fact that if you rate an officer as below average or as extraordinary in his performance report, you have to provide a citation as to why you think so. Citations mean extra work, something which most government officers simply hate.

Then there are prejudices, irrespective of what is fair and what is not, CSS officers would side with their tribe, doctors would stand by doctors and so on and so forth. The recent rift between the District Management Group and the officers of the Provincial Civil Service officers and strikes by the doctors in Punjab stem from these complexes. This cadre addiction can go to great levels and a nexus exists among people who have a grip on ways to manipulate government rules and procedures.

Everybody protects their own kind.

However all is not lost. There are slight changes that can be introduced in the system to make it more effective. First and foremost in that list would be making the system more interactive. The so-called ACRs are confidential documents. The officer whose performance is being evaluated is not supposed to have a clue about the content of the review, but the fact of the matter is that almost everybody who is even remotely interested knows what is in the ACR. If you can tip a clerk in the relevant department you can even get a photocopy of the report.

I don’t see a reason behind the confidentiality any longer; modern management concepts call for progressive improvement in employee behaviour and performance through constant feedback. You cannot hit a target if you cannot see it, so if the target is to eliminate shortcomings in an officer, one has to ensure that he knows these. Government organisations with considerable employee strength are usually so well structured that the system of interactive evaluation can be introduced without any burden on existing resources.

Secondly, accountability has to be inculcated in the system, both in letter and spirit. Somebody who is not up to the mark should suffer for incompetence; somebody accused of corruption should be sidelined until proven clean and not decreed clean by something like the NRO. A slack evaluation system has a domino effect; if people committing blunders continue unfettered then the system is bound to rot. Blunders should be reflected in PERs which in their turn should be reflected in the postings of civil servants.

The reality, however, is that connections and loot are the most lethal combination to win lucrative postings in this lovely land of the pure. A lot of examples can be quoted from recent as well as distant history but let’s just leave it there.

For curious readers, I would suggest researching any incident related to law and order, corruption or dereliction of duty this country has been confronted with and you would find that being found guilty aside, the responsible are not even feeling guilty.

The rise of the media has made life for such elements uneasy; but not to worry, we as a nation suffer from amnesia so it’s just a matter of time, usually a fortnight, before all is forgotten. However, if during your research you find an officer in trouble for his deeds, wait a couple of months and you’ll find him singing, “All is well”.

The writer is a civil servant.


[B][COLOR="DarkGreen"]Excellent Article.[/COLOR][/B]

Mossavir Wazir Tuesday, June 28, 2011 12:16 PM

[B][COLOR="DarkGreen"][SIZE="5"][CENTER]Agenda of terrorists[/CENTER][/SIZE][/COLOR][/B]

[B]By Iqbal Jafar
28th of June, 2011[/B]

WHO are the terrorists, and what do they want? There are many answers to these questions that have kicked up so much bitter controversy that there hardly is any possibility of consensus.

The confusion about terrorists and terrorism is mainly because three different sorts of activities by three different groups have been lumped together, ignoring their separate concerns and objectives. Those three groups are clearly distinguishable: Al Qaeda and its affiliates, the Pakistani Taliban and their affiliates, and the Afghan Taliban.

Al Qaeda, born during the ‘jihad’ against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, is mainly an Arab-led organisation that felt betrayed when the US established a strong military presence in many Arab lands soon after the release of Afghanistan from the Soviet bear hug. It has an anti-US and anti-West agenda, and a global network. But having been hunted down in many parts of the world for the last 10 years, it now reportedly has diminishing resources and arguably weakening support in the Arab world and elsewhere.

The Afghan Taliban, on the other hand, have no global agenda or network. Like their precursors, the Mujahideen, they are fighting against the occupation of their land. They have never attacked any American or European asset outside Afghanistan.

They do, however, have sympathy for Al Qaeda, an organisation of their brothers-in-faith.

As Pashtuns and Wahabis they do have close affinity with the Pakistani Taliban, but they have never been directly involved in any unprovoked acts of violence in Pakistan. Calling them terrorists doesn’t belittle their objective nor does it diminish support for them in Afghanistan.

Finally, there is the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan and its affiliates. Accepting the reality of what the Pakistani Taliban did in the areas that fell under their operational control, such as Swat, and what they claim to aspire to, we should have no doubt that their goal is to capture the state apparatus by force and establish in Pakistan a regime dedicated to imposing their version of Islam on the model of the Taliban rule in Afghanistan. While the story of Al Qaeda can be said to be almost over and the story of the Afghan Taliban will reach a predictable end in the near future, the story of Pakistani Taliban has just begun.

Even from those few things that we know for sure about the Pakistani Taliban, it is clear enough that what we are facing today in Pakistan is a raging ideological civil war, not merely terrorist activities by criminals or semi-literate mullahs. The Pakistani Taliban are, in fact, well-trained, well-equipped, overly motivated and generously funded. They also have significant support in every section and strata of society directly or through their affiliates and sympathisers.

The way this insurgency is proceeding in its early phase is so well-orchestrated that we cannot be sure whether we are in the midst of a civil war. Most of us have the uncomfortable feeling that we are in the midst of some kind of war. But whose war? We keep asking this question with the detachment of an unconcerned onlooker.

In the ongoing insurgency the classic tactics of guerrilla warfare are already observable: harass, weaken, infiltrate, confuse and sow the seeds of discord, and harvest the countryside for associates. The insurgents have done all this and more. Their technical and organisational competence has been displayed in the raids on such military strongholds as the GHQ and PNS Mehran where almost all the aforementioned tactics can be seen in operation.

The insurgents operate from behind the smokescreen of anti-US, anti-India and anti-Israel slogans and have probably assimilated a bit of the ideologies dictated by all these slogans. But their persona is not the sum total of all those negativities.

They have seemingly assigned to themselves a much larger task: overthrow the existing state apparatus and inaugurate a theocracy of their definition. During the course of an evolutionary period of more than 30 years, they have evolved into a formidable weapon.

This brings us to the most disturbing question of all: who wields this weapon? It is difficult to believe that any of the known present or past leaders of the Taliban could possibly plan and execute such professionally conducted raids as the ones on the GHQ or PNS Mehran. Could it be that all those names that we keep hearing are no more than the public face of so far unknown persons who operate from behind the scenes? Could it be a cabal of highly educated, trained and experienced zealots that are well-versed in the art of unconventional warfare?

It could be that the truth, if and when revealed, will turn out stranger than fiction.

Who can stop the insurgents, whether or not led by a hidden cabal? Obviously, the armed forces — not unarmed civilians. It is time, therefore, for the armed forces, politicians and civil society to stop slinging mud at each other and come together. It is also time that the security forces cleansed their own ranks of infiltrators and zealots, instead of behaving like a harassed and embarrassed giant flailing at outspoken politicians and a hostile media.

Finally, the enigmatic role played by the US administration and think-tanks in providing fuel to the anti-US bandwagon, driven by the Taliban, on which all sorts of people are trying to clamber. Consider just two of the many examples. The US administration continues to rebuke and humiliate the Pakistani leadership publicly, while drones continue to pound the tribal areas. US think-tanks keep rolling out all sorts of anti-Pakistan prescriptions, including the break-up of Pakistan.

A number of analysts have joined the band of political cartographers in Washington that feel that an independent Balochistan would be a good idea. Yet, even better would be an independent Pakistan.

[B]The writer is a retired civil servant.[/B]


Predator Tuesday, July 12, 2011 03:34 PM

[B][U][CENTER][COLOR="DarkGreen"][SIZE="5"][FONT="Georgia"]Unchanging agony[/FONT][/SIZE][/COLOR][/CENTER][/U][/B]

[B]By Kunwar Idris
Tuesday, 12 July, 2011[/B]

‘PAKISTAN struggles for survival’ was the headline of the lead story of America’s well-known magazine Life in its issue of Jan 5, 1948. The subsidiary headline of the story ‘Religious warfare and economic chaos threaten the newly born nation of 70 million Moslems’ might as well have been printed today if ‘newly born’ were changed to 60-plus years old and 70 million to 180 million.

Bangladesh (then East Pakistan) included, the population figure should be 350 million. From 30 million to 180 million in 64 years is a ‘great leap forward’ of its own kind.

In an era of fast change, the agony of Pakistan and the world’s perception of it has remained unchanged. Religious warfare, then restricted to the borderlands and Kashmir, today devastates the whole country and is getting deadlier. Pakistan was then said by Life to be “fighting a close battle with economic bankruptcy”. If it has not yet lost that battle it is only because of foreign doles and routine rescheduling of its huge debt.

Life then noted: “except for ailing Jinnah, Pakistan has few national leaders”. The only other noteworthy public figures for the magazine then were Lady Nusrat Haroon, the ruler of Khairpur state Mir ‘George’ Alimurad Khan Talpur and a “more forceful, toothless, nearly blind, barely literate” wali of Swat who kept track of his warring subjects with an “efficient field-telephone system”.

That brings back the memory of an evening in Malakand after the states were abolished. A more vigorous, better educated son of the founding wali, Jahanzaib Khan, then told the political agent of the merged states that Ayub Khan had taken over his state only to hand it back, sooner than later, to the warriors whom his father had tamed with a combination of cunning and brute force. A generation later, he was proved right.

The relaxed mir of the desert and the warrior wali and mehtar of the mountains have since made way for regionalists and terrorists. The national scene remains denuded of leadership more than it was in 1948. The extinct hereditary nawabs or tribal chieftains were closer to the people and more caring than are today’s elected representatives. If yet another reason is to be found for discontent spreading wide and fast, it is corruption in public services and the long delay by the courts in punishing
criminals, settling civil disputes and enforcing the rights of the poor.

Disputes of all kinds that in the frontier regions were decided by the princes, political agents and their jirgas in hours, days and weeks — and gratis — now linger for years and cost a fortune.

To compare the state of the economy or the infrastructure in 1947/48 and now is not easy nor would it be an accurate exercise. But a humiliating comparison must not go unmentioned. The rail route in miles may be the same today, or less, but the extent and quality of service rendered by the railways then was a matter of pride. Now it is a matter of shame.

The concept of a welfare state was cast aside. Deliberate destruction of the railways that served the masses is one instance of this, and the low per cent of the budget spent on education another. Here is yet another less quoted example. The production of cars over the years has gone up from 33,000 to 176,000 (more than five times) but the number of buses produced has fallen from a peak of 1,500 to less than 500. The Punjab chief minister, the other day, inaugurated a car taxi service aided by the government. A taxi ride costs no less than Rs10 a km. But not one bus has come on the street in three years out of the 8,000 promised with subsidies in fares from the federal government for the capital cities.

The blame for religious strife, lawlessness and a faltering economy lies squarely on past and present leaders. Religious radicalism that found its first expression in raids to liberate Kashmir at the dawn of independence now pervades the constitution sparing no sphere of life or institution.

Ziaul Haq’s slogan for the army was Jihad fi sabil lillah. If the army has to defend not just the physical frontiers of the country but the faith of the people as well, it can only do so by taking over state power. In fact, that is what it has been doing in the past. Unfortunately, even now justifications have been provided by some political leaders for the army to take over the reins of power.

As per its duty, the army should guard the country’s borders and the state should work for the well-being of the people of the country. The people can take care of their own beliefs. The ongoing ‘Arab Spring’ is not about faith but about democracy, civil rights and ending decades of oppression. There is a lesson to be learned here.

[I]The writer is a retired bureaucrat.[/I]

[url=http://www.dawn.com/2011/07/12/unchanging-agony.html]Unchanging agony | Opinion | DAWN.COM[/url]

Predator Monday, August 22, 2011 09:28 AM

[B][U][CENTER][COLOR="DarkGreen"][SIZE="5"][FONT="Georgia"]A diversion to nowhere[/FONT][/SIZE][/COLOR][/CENTER][/U][/B]

[B]By Tanvir Ahmad Khan
Published: August 21, 2011[/B]

While a cacophony of incomprehensible voices dominates the so-called daily debates on dividing existing provinces in Pakistan in TV talk shows, a more serious discussion has fortunately begun in the print media. In a multi-lingual and multi-ethnic state like Pakistan, such reorganisation and the distribution of powers between the centre and the federating units are valid issues. In our case, the debate has erupted in the wake of long-awaited steps towards greater provincial autonomy but without being an organic extension of that devolution. More likely, its roots are in a Machiavellian group in the regime that raises issues to divert attention from poor governance, deepening economic malaise and unprecedented levels of corruption.

Prominent amongst the bits that can be understood in the TV talk shows are references to the large number of provinces in Afghanistan and Turkey and the considerable increase in the number of federating states in the Indian Union. The references to Afghanistan and Turkey are irrelevant as, in their cases, the word is a poor translation of what is called an administrative district in India and Pakistan. References to India betray a conspicuous lack of understanding of the processes that led to the multiplication of states.

The first major reorganisation of states in India took place in 1956. The Congress had been seized of the issue since the closing years of World War I. Gandhi was an ardent supporter of linguistic re-demarcation and the development of India’s 22 or more languages. He demanded it publicly in October 1947. Nehru disagreed at first as his plan for modernisation, rooted in his own brand of socialism, envisaged central planning for larger inherited administrative units. It was the language-driven unrest in the south, especially in the huge province of Madras, that made him accept the creation of new states. Subsequently, India carved out more provinces and autonomous territories to meet other expediencies particularly on its periphery. Invariably, there was resort to the time-honoured British practice of establishing high powered commissions of eminent people to study and report on the matter. It has not been a linear process. The Sarkaria Commission of 1983, for instance, investigated, amongst other things, if decentralisation had unnecessarily weakened a strong centre that India needed. The centre asserted its dominance by invoking Article 356, the real nemesis of state governments, frequently till some moderation was introduced by the checks and balances prescribed in the landmark Bommai Judgment of the Indian Supreme Court.

Unlike India, where empirical factors such as the rise of powerful regional parties and old traditions shaped decisions, Pakistan has seen arbitrary reorganisation such as the infamous One Unit that made any subsequent consideration of new provinces a highly explosive issue. Balochistan and Sindh are the foremost examples where the proximity/kinship argument discussed in Ejaz Haider’s enlightening two-part analysis in this newspaper would, in today’s inflamed situation, lead to reactions likely to rip the federation apart. Awami National Party’s gratuitous proposal to create a pseudo-Pashtunistan in Balochistan is both ill-timed and ill-considered. The situation of Punjab does not have the same incendiary emotions but it has not been scientifically studied. The plausible idea of a Seraiki province has been hyped up only to create a rival dynasty that could curtail the Sharif brothers’ realm. This is the surest way of vitiating this idea, a clear case of mala fide intentions.

Pakistan does not have the unifying and centralising agency of big internal ‘multinationals’ that knit the burgeoning private sector in India to the Union government and through it to its ‘neo-liberal’ international partners. Though the imperfect Indian economic model has sharpened disparities amongst the federating states, it does dilute centre-state polarisation.

Pakistan’s best option is for the government to abandon its diversionary tactics and focus on the restoration of law and order and the revival of the economy. It should be much more deliberate on the reorganisation of existing provinces and appoint a commission of public representatives and experts under a judge of impeccable credentials to formulate viable recommendations to satisfy local aspirations and make governance vastly more efficient, honest and creative. This is no time to create new Frankensteins that the government has hardly any capacity to flirt with.

[B]Published in The Express Tribune, August 22nd, 2011.[/B]

[B][I]The writer was foreign secretary from 1989-90 and is a former chairman of the Institute of Strategic Studies in Islamabad[/I][/B]

[url=http://tribune.com.pk/story/236433/a-diversion-to-nowhere/]A diversion to nowhere – The Express Tribune[/url]

Mossavir Wazir Thursday, December 29, 2011 11:57 PM

[B][SIZE="4"]Who’s heading what?[/SIZE][/B]

[B]Syed Saadat[/B]

I AM building a house and I wish Ahmed Faraz, the poet, or Ashfaque Ahmed, the writer, had been alive. Why? Because I would want one of them to be the project manager responsible for making sure the construction goes well technically.

After reading the first paragraph, readers would reach out for their laptops and blackberries to send me messages about the absurdity of my choice. However, I would like them to consider the three most important technical organisations in the country: Pakistan Railways (PR), the National Highway Authority (NHA) and Wapda. The gentlemen heading these organisations are senior bureaucrats from service groups that have nothing to do with anything of a technical nature.

They are all civil servants who had not served in the departments they are heading prior to their appointment to the top slot.
Secondly, during their careers they have hardly been associated with any job in the technical domain. Thirdly and most importantly, they are bureaucrats occupying positions that, for the sake of Pakistan, should have been occupied by technocrats. However, do not blame them for this; it is absolutely normal in a country where a banker can be turned into a prime minister and back with enviable ease.

Logically speaking, someone from within the officers of an organisation who has given a couple of decades of his life to it and knows the dynamics of the organisation inside out deserves to eventually head it, instead of someone who specialises in not specialising in anything — the typical bureaucrat that is. Degrees earned miles away without the recipient having a clue as to how he or she would actually make use of them hardly helps when it comes to decision-making. Keep in mind the various unions, logistics, attitudes, technical knowledge and vested interests.

[B]If Microsoft had been an organisation in the Government of Pakistan, an MA Persian who cleared the civil service exam in 1979 and knew only one meaning of the word ‘windows’ might have been its CEO.[/B]

The other day it was interesting to read the ‘50 years’ section of this paper which said something about Pakistan Railways making a considerable profit in 1961. The news item prompted me to research when things took a turn for the worse in the case of PR. I figured out that until the 1970s, PR was a self-sustaining organisation run by an autonomous railway board which constituted a member traffic, member mechanical, member civil and member finance.

Apart from the member finance all were Railways employees specialising in their respective fields and the PR chairman was also appointed from among these three. That was PR’s golden era, one reason, apart from many others, being that technocrats were in control.

The problems our technical organisations face are not of a commercial nature because the number of passengers willing to travel by train is still pretty high; electricity consumers are desperate to purchase power at any cost; and the need for roads cannot be denied especially when militants continue to take over and destroy infrastructure in the north, including roads and bridges.

I am fully aware that appointing a technical head would not act as a magic wand and matters would not change overnight but at least it would be a step in the right direction. At the moment, we have our eyes set on the moon while we are actually drilling the earth and digging ourselves into a deeper hole.

Some might argue that the chairman PR has general managers from the Railways group and the engineering wing at his disposal to assist him, and similarly the NHA or for that matter Wapda has many technical members who give their input. But the point is this situation ensures that the chairman plays into the hands of those who are better equipped in the said field.
Arbitrary appointments devoid of vision cannot lead to progress. One day a certain officer from a certain fraternity is appointed head of the NHA, the next day he might find himself an OSD and the next something else.

Another interesting fact is that the ‘spoils system’ prevalent in the political parties of Pakistan ensures that the political heads of the ministries are generally clueless. It is part and parcel of the system that we have, though maybe there is nothing bad about it as long as the ‘cluelessness’ ends with the political heads, and the secretary, who happens to be the eyes, ears and hands of the minister, is somebody who knows it all.

Lastly, a suggestion for our policymakers is to think along the lines of establishing a tangible criterion for appointments to top positions in important techno-based organisations. There should be a check list ascertaining the qualifications and the years of service in the said department as eligibility for heading these organisations.

If nobody does that, somebody should move the Supreme Court with a petition in the same manner that we are moving the SC in every other matter. Some, including old-school bureaucrats, who may be holding or vying for such positions themselves, might find these views disturbing. But the point is that they will retire in a few years. It is the country that still has a long way to go and that longs for a paradigm shift.

[B]The writer is a civil servant.[/B]


ABDUL JABBAR KATIAR Tuesday, January 31, 2012 04:59 PM

Judging the sovereign
Roedad Khan
Tuesday, January 31, 2012

I had the privilege of moving a petition in the Supreme Court challenging the validity of a deplorable legislation, not because I had an animus against any particular person. Nor did I stand to personally gain anything. I did so because, as a citizen, I felt it my duty to challenge such an iniquity being imposed on millions of my fellow citizens.

The nationwide jubilation which we witnessed after the Supreme Court delivered its landmark judgement in the NRO case was justified on many grounds. It restored the majesty of the Constitution; it proved the independence of the judiciary; it threw into the dustbin the odious agreement between a military dictator and an ambitious politician which was motivated purely by the desire of each to retain or gain political power. The court also directed that criminal proceedings against all the beneficiaries of the NRO should be continued from the stage at which they were withdrawn. The date was Dec 16, 2009.

While doing all this, the court did not exceed the limits of good jurisprudence and stopped short of actually assuming the role of a trial court and proceeding against any particular individual. It did, however, insist that the names of the beneficiaries should be disclosed, no matter how high and mighty they may be, and the amounts they had stolen be shown to the court and the public.

The government’s refusal to send a letter to the Swiss court and, in particular, to comply with the Supreme Court directive is an alarm call of the most compelling kind. The fear of conspiracy against the Supreme Court hangs heavy in the air. Our history can show no precedent for so foul a plot as that which this corrupt, dying regime has hatched against the Supreme Court.

One thing is clear: disillusion is fast setting in. People are getting impatient and are asking questions: Why is the Supreme Court not taking action against the corrupt rulers who are defying its orders and not implementing the NRO judgment? Why is no action being taken against ministers guilty of contempt of court? What is preventing the court from taking action against the prime minister who is openly defying it? Why is the court not exercising its awesome powers under Article 190 of the Constitution? Is there one law for the common people and another law for the corrupt few who rule this country?

The “historic encounter” between Justice Nasirul Mulk heading the bench in the NRO contempt case and Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani over the issue of immunity for President Asif Ali Zardari reminds me of the famous confrontation between Chief Justice Coke and King James I. “This means,” said King James, “that I shall be under the law, which it is treason to affirm.” “To which,” replied Chief Justice Coke, “I said that Bracton saith, quod rex non debet esse sub homine, sed sub Deo et lege” (the king should not be under man but under God and law). This was the first confrontation between the king and the superior judiciary in England. Chief Justice Coke did not waver. He did not falter. He risked going to the Tower but he stood his ground.

In the altercation between Chief Justice Coke and the King, there is personified the basic conflict between power and law. Coke did not stop with affirming that even the king was not above the law. In Dr Bonham’s case, Coke seized the occasion to declare that law was above the parliament as well as above the king; that when an act of parliament is contrary to fundamental law, it must be adjudged void. The year was AD 1608.

Zardari is obviously much more powerful than King James was in AD 1608. He is President of Pakistan, Co-Chairperson of the ruling People Party, and First Diplomat, all rolled in one. He is above the Constitution, above the parliament, above the law, accountable to none. He has power without responsibility. For all practical purposes he has become the state. No wonder, he gets away with murder.

It is not always easy to say no to the sovereign. In late July (43 BC) a Centurion from Octavian’s army suddenly appeared in the Senate House. From the assembled gathering, he demanded the Consulship, still vacant, for his General. The Senate refused. The Centurion brushed back his cloak and laid his hand on the hilt of his sword. “If you do not make him Consul,” he warned, “then this will.” And so it happened. Today the Supreme Court Reborn finds itself in a similar situation. It faces the unenviable task of deciding the question of President Zardari’s immunity. How will the court decide this contentious issue? It “ought to do that,” in the memorable words of Chief Justice Coke, “which shall be fit for a judge to do.”

The court has to decide whether President Zardari’s case pertains to civil or criminal proceedings. He has no immunity if the proceedings are civil. The government of Pakistan was a civil party to the proceedings in the money laundering case in Switzerland, claiming that the money belonged to the people of Pakistan. The unauthorised letter written by Malik Qayyum to the Swiss court, in 2008, also stated that the government wanted to withdraw its case as a “civil party” in the money laundering case.

In the NRO judgment the court had observed: “It is to be noted that while making request to the foreign states for legal assistance, no request for criminal proceedings in such states can be demanded under Section 21 of the NAB Ordinance. The money laundering case in Switzerland was not opened upon the request of Pakistan; the Pakistan government became a civil party to the proceedings in Switzerland. One thing is clear: The issue is of civil nature and not of criminal nature. There is no mention of criminal proceedings, for the simple reason that it was a civil case in 1997 when the unauthorised letter was written by Malik Qayyum. It remained a civil case when the case was withdrawn. There might have been criminal proceedings in Switzerland but the government of Pakistan joined the proceedings in a civil capacity.

One thing is clear: Civil society must remain actively engaged. It must, as it did in the Judges’ Case, see the battle through. No single individual, no matter how well-intentioned, can do it alone. If civil society is to be effective, it must organise itself as an identifiable and disciplined force. Those of us who took the initial steps now need the support of civil society as a whole to see that the spirit of the Supreme Court judgement is carried through. We must be ready to join in actions which ensure that thieves and robbers never again take the destiny of the nation in their hands. They must atone, they must be cast aside, they must not be allowed to enjoy the tainted wealth that they have acquired. It is our duty to ensure that the judgement of the Supreme Court is put into full effect, in letter and spirit.

The writer is a former federal secretary. Email: [email]roedad@comsats.net.pk[/email], [url=http://www.roedadkhan.com]Roedadkhan.com[/url]

mommy Tuesday, February 14, 2012 12:45 PM

Many faces of Arab Spring
[B][U][SIZE="5"][CENTER]Many faces of Arab Spring[/CENTER][/SIZE][/U][/B]

Tanvir Ahmad Khan

“A THING long expected,” Mark Twain noted, “takes the form of the unexpected when at last it comes.” The yearning of the Arab masses for self-determination, democracy and human rights has a long history stretching back to the Ottomans, the European colonial rule in North Africa and the British and French mandates following the First World War.

The anti-colonial struggle often led to Arab socialist regimes and not multiparty democracy. The Arab people that resisted republicanism witnessed consolidation of strong dynastic rule.

The protests that began in Tunisia in January 2011 and quickly spread to several Arab states were hailed in highly romantic terms. The original clichés still figure in the international discourse on the changing political landscape in the Arab world but its glowing vistas stand darkened by the post-Qadhafi chaos in Libya, the conflict in Syria, the collapse of the state in Yemen, the uncertainties of Bahrain and the unresolved political and economic issues in Egypt.

The Arab Spring has been no exception to the fact that revolutions are prone to unintended deflections of course. Arab struggles have historically suffered from a deterministic mix of internal contradictions and foreign interventions. First, the affluent Arab states built counter-revolutionary dykes against the rising tide with limited reforms and generous spending of oil revenues on instant welfare schemes. Secondly, external interference came in a concerted western effort to control and redirect the processes of change by diplomatic and military means.

The indigenous dynamics of the Arab Awakening were unmistakable. The UNDP report on Human Development and Poverty in the Arab states (March 2000) documented how the Arab region had lagged behind other regions in moving towards participatory governance by missing out on waves of democratisation that swept across Latin America, East Asia, Eastern Europe and Central Asia in the 1980s and early 1990s. There was also a conspicuous failure to translate economic development into social development with most indices being disappointing.

A decade later, the scene was even more ominous. Leaders in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya had been in power for 25 to 40 years; their authoritarian rule more intolerant of dissent and their political institutions more stagnant than ever before. In Syria, the long rule of Hafez al-Assad had been followed by his son Bashar al-Assad assuming power. Unexpectedly, Bashar al-Assad failed to reform the state, partly because of the reluctance of senior members of the ruling Alawite clan to take risks when the West held a sword of Damocles over Syria, the closest regional ally of Iran.

None of the Arab leaders seriously addressed the deleterious effects of the neo-liberal economics adopted under western advice. As Soumaya Ghannoushi pointed out in the Guardian in March 2011, millions had suffered as state-owned firms (67 per cent of firms in Tunisia; more than 50 per cent in Egypt) were privatised and sold to foreign investors and their local partners.

Ghannoushi identified the upsurge as a rebellion as much against political authoritarianism as against the economic model imposed by the IMF, the World Bank and the European Union. The aging rulers, in particular Hosni Mubarak, also faced simmering discontent because of the failure of their conciliatory Israel policy.

Against this backdrop, western powers can achieve only limited success in redirecting the Arab upsurge to their advantage.
President Sarkozy began by offering French assistance to the then Tunisian president, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, to put down the protests. Washington made pro-Mubarak noises. Once the West comprehended the scale of the uprising, it switched to the lexicon of freedom and liberation.

The climax of this role change was Libya where France and Britain, with Barack Obama leading from behind, deftly converted the UN Security Council resolution 1973, passed in the name of the doctrine of Responsibility to Protect (R2P), into a mandate for a massive and sustained assault on Muammar Qadhafi. Not much is heard of this doctrine now that Libya is ravaged by disparate militias fighting for turf and profit.

Tunisia was a relative success but the Egyptian revolution continues to be characterised by surprises, especially for the West.
There was no chaos as the armed forces led by Field Marshal Mohammed Hussein Tantawi stepped in to ensure stability and the military’s pre-eminence in Egypt’s polity. Since then, radical activists have continued to agitate against the military’s interim rule as they are fearful of it influencing the presidential election and the new constitution.

The other unforeseen development in Egypt is the phenomenal success of Islamist parties in parliamentary elections: the Muslim Brotherhood participating as the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) bagged 47 per cent of seats; the new rightist Salafist Nour Party took another 25 per cent seats. The traditional liberal parties fared badly.

Till the other day, the moderate Muslim Brotherhood seemed ready, much to the chagrin of the secular protesters, to accept the army’s dominance till June. In a remarkable shift, it has risked tension with it by demanding that parliament form a new coalition government to replace the prime minister and the cabinet.

Egypt’s politics is complicated by a notable economic downturn: sharp fall in foreign investment; shrinking of foreign exchange reserves from $36bn in January 2011 to the current $10bn; rising unemployment; double-digit inflation; and a steep drop in tourism revenue. Ironically, the military has run into difficulties with the US that is unabashedly leveraging economic assistance to gain political influence.

Nothing defines the complexity of the Arab Awakening better than Syria where all the sub-texts are heading for a bloody denouement. The regime used gratuitous force against demonstrators in Latakia and Deraa more than a year ago triggering off a spiral of ever-increasing violence by government and armed protesters. An emerging ‘Free Syrian Army’ may well become a conduit of external military interference.

Bashar al-Assad has lost support of Arab states and, no less significantly, of neighbouring Turkey. He now depends heavily on Russia and China that vetoed a Security Council resolution which might have conceivably created space for foreign intervention. Obviously, Syria needs a separate article that should also encompass the politics of influential oil-rich Arab states.
This would be my next contribution to this newspaper.

Predator Wednesday, March 07, 2012 03:28 PM

[B][U][CENTER][COLOR="DarkGreen"][SIZE="5"][FONT="Georgia"]Is a rethink under way?[/FONT][/SIZE][/COLOR][/CENTER][/U][/B]

[B]By Najmuddin A. Shaikh
March 07, 2012[/B]

FOREIGN Minister Rabbani Khar`s recent statement to journalists rubbishing, in the words of one journalist, the concept of `strategic depth` and maintaining that if this were being sought it could not be obtained militarily or through proxy war but only by `building trust with the Afghan state`, is welcome.

It is a recognition of the reality of the regional situation. It appears to signal that Pakistan is now prepared to perceive Afghanistan, with which Pakistan shares many bonds and on whose behalf it has assumed many burdens, as a sovereign, independent neighbour. But is this statement and the claim that the `trend` towards the change of policy `isclear` and we have actually `walked the talk` reflected in actual actions? In this exchange with journalists, Ms Khar noted approvingly that PresidentKarzai had talked of Pakistan having a `proactive supportive role and not a proactive leading role`. But then she added her views on the path that Afghanistan should follow: hold a loya jirga to decide the broad framework for peace talks including an intra-Afghan dialogue to see on what conditions they want to run the process of peace and reconciliation, who do they want it to be run by and the time frame in which they want this completed.

This is good advice. I myself have long advocated an intra-Afghan dialogue that brings together various ethnic groups the Tajiks, Uzbeks, Hazaras and anti-Taliban or at least moderate Pakhtuns to decide on power-sharing arrangements and changes in the constitutional structure that can be offered to the Taliban.

I, however, am a private citizen and can offer such advice publicly. A Pakistani foreign minister has to be much more circumspect in public statements even while being prepared to offer such recommendations in private discussions.

One must assume that since Ms Khar was obviously speaking from a well-prepared brief this suggestion was designedto address suspicions in Afghanistan that Pakistan did not believe that ethnic minorities had a role to play in the reconciliation process.

But does this, important as it may be, constitute `walking the talk`? From the Afghan perspective our contribution should be to persuade the Taliban to come to the negotiating table. After President Karzai`s visit Ms Khar dismissed as ridiculous what she termed as the Karzai demand that Pakistan deliver Mullah Omar to the negotiating table.

She may be right in saying that Pakistan does not know where Mullah Omar is and certainly cannot force him to negotiate with Karzai. What Pakistan can, however, do is be more helpful in identifying and bringing forward such Taliban and Haqqani representatives that have credible positions in the move-ment and are valued as initial negotiating partners by Afghanistan.

Mullah Ghani Baradar, who we have been holding as an honoured guest, is one person Karzai believes is of consequence in the Taliban movement, since at the time of his detention he was perceived to be Mullah Omar`s principal lieutenant. He probably also believes that Ibrahim Haqqani, brother of Jalaluddin Haqqani with whom the Americans held talks arranged by the ISI, could be another interlocutor. If we are really rethinking our position on Afghanistan these are requests we should accede to and urgently.

This is not altruism. We must recognise that reconciliation on whatever terms the Afghans can agree among themselves with such prodding as we and other Afghan well-wishers can provide is as urgent a necessity for Pakistan as it is for our Afghan brethren. We must recognise that suspicions about our intentions trigger reactions by other neighbours of Afghanistan that would retard reconciliation. We must therefore be seen through our concrete actions as being sincere in our protestations of sup-port for Afghan-led reconciliation.

Recent incidents such as urinating by American soldiers on Afghan corpses, and more importantly, the burning of religious texts makes problematic the prospect of agreement on the Strategic Partnership Document that the Afghans have been negotiating with the Americans to govern a limited US presence after foreign troops withdraw.

These incidents have probably also ensured that the Americans will complete their withdrawal by 2013 rather than the originally envisaged 2014 date.

Therefore, this possible source of economic activity and employment generation for Afghans will also disappear faster than anticipated.

Political turbulence in Afghanistan and the expected economic downturn have already increased the flow of eco-nomic refugees to Pakistan.

This refugee trickle will turn into a flood as there is greater unemployment following the reduction inthe size of the Afghan National Security Forces from 358,000 to 230,000, by retrenchment in firms that currently provide security at ongoing projects and by the halt of construction and other economic activities generated by the foreign troops` presence.

It is my estimate that unless we take precautionary measures we will have in the next two to three years some two million economic refugees from Afghanistan. If there is no reconciliation, the mix of economic and political refugees will climb to five million to add to the numbers already here.

Even as we work with Karzai to promote reconciliation and increase our diplomatic efforts to win support from others for such reconciliation, we must do more to secure our borders against the influx of refugees. For starters the biometric system must be enforced for all travellers between Afghanistan and Pakistan across Torkham and Chaman.

We must also ensure that we exercise greater control over the refugee camps even if we cannot close them down.

[B][I]The writer is a former foreign secretary.[/I][/B]

[url=http://epaper.dawn.com/~epaper/DetailImage.php?StoryImage=07_03_2012_007_004]Is a rethink under way? | ePaper | DAWN.COM[/url]

Predator Wednesday, March 07, 2012 03:42 PM

[B][U][CENTER][COLOR="DarkGreen"][SIZE="5"][FONT="Georgia"]What law and whose rule?[/FONT][/SIZE][/COLOR][/CENTER][/U][/B]

[B]By Iqbal Jafar
March 06, 2012[/B]

A QUESTION has been waiting to be asked for a long time, but hasn`t yet been formulated. Let me try: why do our collective thought processes work in such devious ways that twisted logic, perverse defence of patently criminal acts and misplaced sympathy for the guilty, find easy accommodation in our legal and moral universe? This is not an idle question in a society where vocal support for, or partisan silence over, suicide bombing, faith-based murder, massive corruption, open defiance of the law, or even making fun of the superior courts is not uncommon.

Two factors could be at the root of this moral and legal disorder. First, the lingering colonial mindset where defiance of the laws of the state is not only permissible but even laudable, and free of social stigma. Second, the different laws, values and practices of pre-Muslim, Muslim, and of the modern origin, that have coalesced into a mishmash of hybrid morality.

Defiance of the laws of the state is a residue of the colonial period of our history where persons charged or punished by the agencies of the government were our compatriots and the punishers were the alien rulers or their native mercenaries.

Hence, sympathy for the punished and antipathy for the punishers sounded justifiable. That behaviour pattern survives as a baggage of history that we`ll have to carry as long as our ruling class remains alienated from the people and retains a pre-Independence adversarial relationship with them.

The other factor has even deeper ramifications, and is profoundly complex. First, this hybrid morality is not the end product of an evolutionary development where the old is replaced by the new. The three different strains of hybrid morality that emerged at different times, separated by hun-dreds of years, continue to run parallel to each other, and remain largely unaffected by each other.

Secondly, each of these three strains has its own source of sanction. The pre-Muslim (tribal, feudal, customary) laws, values and practices, have the sanction of history and community; Muslim values, laws and practices have the sanction of religion and tradition; modern laws, values andpractices, codified and compiled during and after the colonial period, have the sanction of the state, unsupported as yet by any social, religious or moral pressure, except the coercive power of the state, where the state is willing and able to exercise that power.

Since there are three different flavours of morality on offer, the choice of one instead of the other is often motivated by self-interest or considerations other than what is just and what is unjust. This can happen at the highest level of public discourse.

Consider, for example, the debate on the question of presidential immunity under Article 248 of the constitution. Since the case against the president appears rather weak within the confines of the constitution, it has been argued at the highest level that the president cannot claim immunity as it is against the traditions of Islam.

The example cited is that of the second caliph who presented himself before a court to answer a charge against him.

But one could, then, argue that by the same token, the president could claim to be the chief justice as well, as was the case with the second caliph and the one before him and those after him. I am sure the claim will be rejected out of hand on the basis of perfectly sound reasoning that this cannot be done without amending the constitution. This is a good example of how the hybrid nature of our laws and values allows a person to be selective, inconsistent, even dishonest, and yet remain credible.

Another example, taken from the highest rung of the social and intellectual ladder, is that of Ghulam Ishaq Khan. In his famous letter to Sardar Shaukat Hayat, about a matter relating to their two families, he took pride in his own belief in Pakhtunwali and Islamic values, that he adhered to, but advised Sardar Shaukat Hayat to seek redress through a court, knowing full well that the courts administer mainly the British-made laws based on the Anglo-Saxon notions of justice.

This shows how deeply these three strains are embedded in our hybrid morality. Our conscience would be satisfied by resorting to any one of them.

The third example is that of a senator who wouldn`t hesitate waxing eloquent on the virtues of modern democracy, rule of law and human rights, but did choose to defend a tribal practice whereby women suspected of adultery could be buried alive.

These three examples, taken from the highest strata of society, show that we are truly a lawless society in a very subtle way, for we do allow three different, often conflicting, laws and values to prevail wherever they may. Worse, each of the three strains grows weaker by the day for different reasons.

While the sanctions behind the tribal, feudal and Muslim laws, values and practices do command voluntary acceptance, their hold on the people grows ever weaker due to the sectarian and linguistic polarisation of society. But there is nothing to replace them. The modern laws (codified during and after the colonial period), on the other hand have the sanction of the coercive power of state, but are subject to the rule that weaker the state, weaker would be the enforcement of laws; and more rapacious a state, more hostility there would be to its laws. It so happens that the state of Pakistan is both weak and rapacious.

The stage is thus set for complete legal and moral anarchy, both in concept and in enforcement. Hence, the question: what law and whose rule?

[B][I]The writer is a former civil servant.[/I][/B]

[url=http://epaper.dawn.com/~epaper/DetailImage.php?StoryImage=06_03_2012_006_011]What law and whose rule? | ePaper | DAWN.COM[/url]

Predator Tuesday, March 13, 2012 01:47 PM

[B][U][CENTER][COLOR="DarkGreen"][SIZE="5"][FONT="Georgia"]Fair wind from Kremlin[/FONT][/SIZE][/COLOR][/CENTER][/U][/B]

[B]By Tanvir Ahmad Khan
March 13, 2012[/B]

THE Putin project to restore Russia to great power status advanced on March 5 when Vladimir Putin won 64 per cent of the vote to win the presidential election for a third term.

The margin of victory frustrated a lingering hope of his opponents and of some western circles that Putin would be forced into a run-off election that would diminish his moral authority and substantiate the thesis that he had won a Pyrrhic victory and would not be able to rule effectively.

Putin has dominated the corridors of power for 12 years. He became prime minister in August 1999 under president Yeltsin and, upon Yeltsin`s sudden resignation on Dec 31, 1999, his successor.

Faced with a constitutional bar to a consecutive third term in 2008, Putin shifted back to the office of prime minister under President Dmitry Medvedev.

As expected, he is now returning to theKremlin as elected president. An attempt to trigger off mass protests by questioning the legitimacy of the decisive vote for him has fizzled out.

From a Pakistani viewpoint,Putin`s triumph ensures continuity of the process by which Islamabad and Moscow are overcoming decades of distrust. It is a work in progress that would greatly benefit from Moscow`s quick acceptance of a prompt Pakistani invitation to Putin to visit Islamabad in September. Musharraf went to Moscow in February 2003 and President Zardari was there in May 2011. These visits from Pakistan have distinguished precedents but Putin would make history when he comes to Islamabad.

The Russian election and the forward movement in Pakistan-Russia relations take me back to the autumn of 1996 when, in Moscow, I observed the political and economic decline of Russia. Unlike Putin in 2012, Yeltsin got elected president in August that year only in the runoff; the first round gave Yeltsin 35 per cent of the vote with 32 per cent going to the communist leader, Gennady Zyuganov, who had campaigned in the name of the lost glory of the Soviet Union.

As Pakistan`s ambassador, I also had to contend with the darkening shadow on bilateral relations of the Taliban`s cap-ture of Jalalabad and Kabul and, much worse, their northward push.

Yeltsin had gained in stature during the crisis that led to the break-up of the Soviet Union but had faltered in steering the democratisation of the state and the liberalisation of the economy. In his camp, battles of turf raged continuously; privatisation was a struggle between those who wanted a much larger middle class to rise from it and the emerging oligarchs pursuing extreme concentration of new wealth.

William Safire wrote in New York Times that lights were going out all over Russia.

In the midst of increasing chaos, our despatches foreshadowed economic disarray though hardly anyone visualised the staggering scale of the financial crisis that overwhelmed Russia on Aug 17, 1998, warranting massive devaluation of the rouble. Bailout packages from the West were suspect in the public eye because of Nato`s eastward march despite sanctimonious treaties with Moscow and the reckless greed of west-ern firms invading the Russian economy.

Vladimir Putin`s authoritarianism may be rooted in his long association with the KGB but it gets easily validated by the need for stabilising the ship of the state.

The latest onslaught of the western media doesnotcutdeepbecausein the12years of Putin`s ascendancy, per capita income rose from a little over $6,000 to well over $19,000; the `oligarchs` were contained and a large middle class emerged for the first time in Russian history.

This self-conscious class, predictably, demands greater participation in governance and the rule of law, human rights and individual freedoms. As the main architect of this basic restructuring of Russian society, Vladimir Putin should be ready to engage constructively with its legitimate expectations in his third, and possibly fourth term, as president.

The effort to transform PakistanRussian relations is marked by two important features: one, there is, at long last, a consensus in Pakistan to establish meaningful cooperation with Moscow; two, Moscow is outgrowing the assumption that Pakistan was, deep down, animplacable ideological foe.

Pakistan tried to dispel this entrenched perception in 1996 as well but the initiative failed to gather critical mass as the much-needed visit of prime minister Benazir Bhutto to Moscow kept getting delayed. The military ambitions of the Taliban were the principal hurdle; the presumed Pakistani assistance to the Chechen insurgents added fuel to the fire.

When I met the affable commander of the Russian Border Forces Gen Nikolaev in August 1996, he and, more particularly, his associate Col Gen Koveshnikov additionally alleged that the Islamist insurgents destabilising Tajikistan were trained in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

A self-proclaimed bulwark against the rising tide of Islamic jihadist forces, Yeltsin`s Russia viewed Pakistan as a threat to Russian interests in what we call a `common region` today even though Russia had retreated from Afghanistan.

Bhutto`s visit tentatively slated for December 1996 was aborted by her dis-missal; I was precipitately recalled from Moscow and P a k i s t a n ` s embassy there remained, rather disdainfully, without an ambassador for six months.

Pakistan`s rela-tions with the Soviet Union took a nosedive after Nikolay Bulganin and Nikita Khrushchev took adversarial positions on Pakistan`s issues with Kabul and New Delhi during their visits to these two capitals in 1955. Relations deteriorated even more sharply during the Bangladesh crisis and the decade in which Afghan leftists seized power and the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan to prevent the collapse of the Marxist regime.

History cannot be erased but the momentum of bilateral contacts between Islamabad and Moscow since 2003, of which president-elect Putin`s visit would be the high water mark, will enable the two capitals to put it in the perspective of a receding past and initiate a new phase of cooperation.

Future prospects would obviously need to be assessed in a separate article.

Suffice it to say that the wind is fair and that it is possible to sail forth towards new horizons.

[B][I]The writer is a former foreign secretary who was ambassador to Russia from 1994 to 1997.[/I][/B]

[url=http://epaper.dawn.com/~epaper/DetailImage.php?StoryImage=13_03_2012_007_008]Fair wind from Kremlin | ePaper | DAWN.COM[/url]

Predator Thursday, March 22, 2012 11:39 PM

[B][U][CENTER][COLOR="DarkGreen"][SIZE="5"][FONT="Georgia"]The changing endgame[/FONT][/SIZE][/COLOR][/CENTER][/U][/B]

[B]By Najmuddin A. Shaikh
March 21, 2012[/B]

AS parliament begins its debate on the resetting of USPakistan relations and presumably insists on laying out transparently the parameters for the relationship it should bear in mind the recent dramatic changes in the Afghan situation which are an important though not dominant element in the USPakistan relationship.

I say important rather than dominant because the elimination of the terrorist threat posed by Al Qaeda and its affiliates remains the principal American objective in the region and that is seen to be emanating from Pakistan`s soil rather than Afghanistan`s.

In my view, even if a reconciliationprocess brings a modicum of peace to Afghanistan the American interest in our region and in our own struggle against terrorism and extremism will continue for the decade or more thatwould be needed to change the mindset created over the last 34 years.

Unfortunately, recent developments in Afghanistan make it unlikely that peace of any sort will be achieved in Afghanistan. One can break up these developments into two parts, the first being those that have exacerbated almost to a breaking point the tensions between the Karzai and Obama administrations, between the Afghan National Security Forces and Nato forces and perhaps most importantly between the Afghan populace and the Nato forces particularly in the insurgency-ridden south and east of the country.

These include the video showing American soldiers urinating on Taliban corpses, the discovery by Afghan cleaners that Americans were incinerating copies of the Holy Quran, the subsequent riots in which some 30 Afghans were killed and 200 injured and the killing of two American officials in a high-security area by a security-cleared Afghan.

These also include the withdrawal of all Nato personnel from Afghan offices thus halting progress on developmental and training activities, the shooting ram-page by an American sergeant Robert Bales in an Afghan village killing 16 people including women and children and the abortive effort by an Afghan interpreter employed by the British to use an explosives-filled hijacked truck to ram either the plane carrying US defence secretary or the VIP military delegation waiting to receive him at a military airport in Helmand.

In terms of the impact on Nato plans for completing the withdrawal of all foreign forces by 2014 and then retaining some 20,000 Americans at Afghan-controlled bases perhaps the most important of these developments are the attacks on Nato forces by the very Afghans that they are training and mentoring or employing.

These `green on blue` episodes are not new. Many in the past have been talked about as resulting from personal differ-ences rather than ideology or from poor vetting which permitted Taliban infiltrators to join the Afghan security forces. It was said that inculcating greater cultural sensitivity and more rigorous vetting would reduce if not eliminate this problem. After the two most recent incidents, however, this optimism is questionable.

The training mission already understaffed will find it difficult to find the extra people needed or to retain those already deployed from other Nato countries. Similar problems will arise for the Special Operation Forces that are supposed to train the Afghan local police, the creation of which is theoretically a key element in retaining government control of areas wrested from Taliban control.

The second set of developments relate to US-Afghan relations at the government level.

First, on March 11 President Karzai said in an interview to Radio Free Europe that he was almost ready to sign a general Strategic Partnership Agreement with the Americans (this followed up on an agreement reached earlier on the transfer to Afghan control within six months of Bagram prison and the 3,000Taliban or suspected Taliban held there).

However, he made it clear that while this agreement could be concluded before the Nato meeting in Chicago in May this would not cover an agreement on a continued US military presence after 2014.

For this, he said, another year of negotiations would be needed.

Second, after the shooting rampage by Bales, Karzai demanded that American forces withdraw to their bases and leave the protection of villages to Afghan forces and that the handover of security responsibilities to Afghan forces be completed by 2013 rather than 2014. This despite the fact that of the Afghanistan army`s 158 battalions only one is deemed capable of operating independently and even that is dependent on American air support. It seemed that Karzai had backed away from this demand after aconversation with President Obama but thefactthatthe demand was made reflects his frustration and his perception of the public mood.

Third, the Taliban haveannounced the breaking off of negotiations with the Americans in Qatar. This is probably because the Americans made the release of the five Taliban demanded by the negotiators conditional on an unequivocal renunciation of Taliban ties with the Al Qaeda or any international terrorist movement.On the American end in this election year opinion remains divided but it is my view that there will a growing clamour for `bringing our boys home` and for pursuing American goals by other means. Parliament must therefore bear in mind the strong possibility that Nato will be licking its wounds, leave Afghanistan earlier than expected and the Americans will abandon plans to maintain a residual presence.

Reconciliation will remain stalled and chaos will ensue as the Afghan economy shrinks, as the exodus of capital estimated at $8bn a year increases, as the Northern Alliance girds its loins to prevent a Taliban takeover and as the flow of Afghan refugees, a trickle now, becomes a flood bringing another two to five million refugees into our beleaguered country.

[B][I]The writer is a former foreign secretary.[/I][/B]

[url=http://epaper.dawn.com/~epaper/DetailImage.php?StoryImage=21_03_2012_007_004]The changing endgame | ePaper | DAWN.COM[/url]

Predator Tuesday, March 27, 2012 04:19 PM

[B][U][CENTER][COLOR="DarkGreen"][SIZE="5"][FONT="Georgia"]Parliamentary oversight[/FONT][/SIZE][/COLOR][/CENTER][/U][/B]

[B]By Tanvir Ahmad Khan
March 27, 2012[/B]

AFTER a curious and almost indefensible delay, the Parliamentary Committee on National Security (PCNS) on the guidelines for revised terms of engagement with USA/Nato/Isaf finally tabled its recommendations to a joint session of the two Houses of Pakistan`s parliament on March 20.

It was a workmanlike document written by members representing various parties; at least Prof Khurshid Ahmad had known reservations about the report`s contents on drone attacks and transit facilities to foreign forces in Afghanistan.

The text, competent though it was, showed the strain of various factors that weighed on PCNS` deliberations. First, it could not be assumed that the executive had referred sensitive foreign policy issues to parliament because of a funda-mental change in its outlook; it may simply have been an expedient to conceal failures of its muddled US policy under the cloak of parliamentary consent.Secondly, PCNS addressed the task of reflecting the will of the people without any assurance that the executive had the resolve or the capacity to implement recommendations that Washington would push back against even as it repeats sanctimonious clichés about respecting Pakistan`s parliament.

Third, the committee did not, apparently, feel that it could sketch a comprehensive framework of Pakistan`s external relations with any greater detail than customary phrases about national sovereignty and bare-bone recommendations about China, Russia and Iran.

Considering that PCNS had such luminaries as Senators Raza Rabbani, Wasim Sajjad and Ishaq Dar as its members, an opportunity to write a document that would have compelling and abiding power over an executive, the motives of which are suspect in the eyes of the people, for years to come has almost been lost. PCNS should have aspired to a longer shelf life for its report particularly when it is evident that in its uncertain final year, the current parliament may not be able to strike deep roots for parliamentary oversight of external relations and worse still, may not even be interested in doing so.Establishing this oversight is a challenge even in states with long traditions of democracy. The demanding business of crafting adequate responses on a daily basis strengthens the grip of the executive, particularly it`s foreign and security policy establishment, on the conduct of external relations. The `establishment` can draw upon supportive inputs from think tanks and an already enlisted media.

On their part, legislators have, in the more recent past, sought to leverage their influence by strengthening the role of consultative bodies such as foreign affairs committees, by scrutinising money bills more critically, and above all, by promoting direct parliament-toparliament contacts. Pakistani parliaments have seldom manifested such proactive interest in the formulation and conduct of the country`s external relations. Did they, for instance, act strongly enough to prevent the government from contracting secret obligations after 9/11and did they demand that such agreements be brought to them for approval? Substantial sections of the present government are a carry-over of the Musharraf regime and were complicit in decisions that parliament now is expected to review.

Be it as it may, the Raza Rabbani committee`s challenge to parliament to assume ownership of foreign policy is a dynamic that can have a life of its own, particularly if the media keeps it alive. It will, in future, be difficult to hide behind the belief that the armed forces do not allow the elected institutions to play a significant role in the realm of foreign and security policy. Parliamentarians will be expected to invest time and energy to make an intensive study of issues confronting the nation.

Rhetorical demands for ending drone attacks are liable to wither away for two major reasons: one, the offensive use of unmanned vehicles an increasingly lethal weapon of choice is a growth industry; two, Washington is likely to return to leaks that drone attacks are often carried out with clandestine approval from Pakistan. Pakistan`s parliament will probably make little impression on this CIA operation; its ability to rule out Pakistan`s own secret assent, atleast in some drone attacks, is also not assured.

The issue of Nato supplies is emotive and will attract sharp partisan politics if the government does not handle it with tact. Depreciation of Pakistan`s infrastructure by its large-scale use for Nato supplies amounts to billions of rupees.

Failure of international users to compensate Pakistan adequately with much higher taxes and tolls would fuel resistance that may not only be conceptual.

The committee was strangely weak on `foreign intelligence operatives`. The international system tolerates their limited presence as duly accredited `diplomats` in foreign missions but what has happened in Pakistan with undeniable complicity of government functionaries is simply outrageous. Parliament`s task is to reduce this pervasive foreign `footprint` to acceptable levels available only in embassies.

PCNS` recommendations about deepening relations with China, about pursu-ing Pakistan-Iran gas pipeline and about strengthening the initiative to build a qualitatively different relationship with Russia would have better traction if parliament can pursue them robustly and with expertise comparablewith, if not superior to the specialised institutions. Foreign affairs committees would need to meet more frequently and draw upon experts within and outside the government. Similarly, parliament must create a tradition of informed and professional engagement abroad and eliminate the deeply rooted culture of inane tourism in the name of foreign policy, worst seen in `projecting` the Kashmir issue.

Foreign policy of a state cannot be static even as some of its underlying concerns and norms have an enduring value.

In a world of flux, its conduct demands flexibility and adjustment within its abiding parameters. Pakistan`s parliament would have to remain continuously, and not episodically, engaged with foreign and security policy issues if it wants to break the near monopolistic control of the executive on them.

Unless it re-tools itself for an effective role in formulating and supervising foreign policy, it would run the risk of instrumental use by the core practitioners in the Foreign Office and elsewhere.

Effective parliamentary oversight in future would be a bold departure from our past.

[B][I]The writer is a former foreign secretary.[/I][/B]


Predator Wednesday, March 28, 2012 01:05 PM

[B][U][CENTER][COLOR="DarkGreen"][SIZE="5"][FONT="Georgia"]Regional security[/FONT][/SIZE][/COLOR][/CENTER][/U][/B]

[B]By Najmuddin A. Shaikh
March 28, 2012[/B]

MEETING his Iranian, Afghan and Tajik counterparts in Dushanbe President Zardari made all the right noises.

A stable Afghanistan was in Pakistan`s interest; the nexus between militancy and drug trafficking needed to be curbed; non-state actors wanted to destabilise Afghanistan and, implicitly, they should not be allowed to do so; cooperation in all spheres among the four countries would assume added significance after the withdrawal of foreign forces in 2014; etc.

Separately, all four leaders agreed that terrorism and militancy needed to be tackled jointly. This clichéd repetition of public stances adopted earlier should not be the only thing to emerge from thequadrilateral summit. They must have discussed the implications of the following developments and raised the following questions: One development has been the increase in `green on blue` incidents, the latest example being the killing of two British soldiers by an Afghanat milÏtar Éras n elmand and the confirmation that the man was from the Afghan army. Separately, an Afghan policeman shot an American soldier.

These brought the number of such incidents in 2012 to 10.

The US commander in Afghanistan, Gen Allen, has conceded that these incidents have led to an erosion of trust between allied and Afghan forces, though earlier he had suggested `we should expect that this will occur in counterinsurgency operations`. Yesterday 16 people were arrested from the Afghan Ministry of Defence, at least some of them Afghan soldiers intending to use suicide jackets stored in the ministry itself to blow up buses bringing workers.

Where then will trust come from? In a New York Times poll conducted before the latest incidents, more than two-thirds of those surveyed think that the US should not be at war in Afghanistan when four months ago only 53 per cent felt that way. As regards the state of the war, 68 per cent thought the fighting was going `somewhat badly` or`very badly`, compared with 42 per cent who had those impressions in November 2011. Will there be any support, in the face of these polls and the green on blue incidents, for a continued, albeit reduced, presence of American troops at jointly operated Afghan bases? Did the participants seek confirmation from Karzai that even if the US agreed to halt night raids he would only sign off on a general strategic partnership document and that the question of basing rights for the Americans would need another year of negotiations? Or was this not raised because of the known Iranian opposition to continued US presence? Earlier, Gen Allen in his testimony before Congress said that the build-up of the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) to 352,000 would be completedby the end of 2012 and that these forces would be maintained at that level until 2017. It has been estimated that at present pay and maintenance levels such a force would cost $7-8bn annually.

On the other hand, it appears that Ambassador Grossman had difficulties in securing firm commitments from European allies for a contribution to the $4.1bn annually, post 2014, to support a reduced ANSF force of 230,000. Even if the $4bn target is met who will plug the gap for the three years that the ANSF will remain at its present level? Certainly, Congress would have no appetite for this in the face of the opinion polls cited earlier and the general weariness with the decade-long conflict. What would be the consequences for stability if the forced demobilisation of lethally trained soldiers added to the ranks of the unemployed in an economy strained by the massive drop in foreign aid? The Taliban have suspended talks with the US ostensibly because of the latter`s vague and erratic stance. Is this the real reason or is it because the Taliban do notwant to publicly renounce ties with Al Qaeda or its affiliates among the latter would be large sections of the Tehrik-iTaliban Pakistan or because hard-liners in their ranks believe that they can resist regional pressures, wait for Nato forces to withdraw and then restore the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan? If the hard-liners prevail in Taliban ranks will the result be anything other than a civil war for which the minority ethnicities are now better prepared than ever before? Could the participants in the summit take the initiative to seek the appointment of a UN special representative along the lines of the Cuellar/Cordovez mission of the 1980s to bring together the government and `armed opposition`, the only precondition being the renunciation by the armed opposition of ties with ter-rorist organisations? Could the participants call for a meeting of all regional countries for a reiteration of the 2002 Kabul declaration on good-neighbourly relations and ensure that this time pledges of non-interference would be honoured? Would something along these lineswork when vested drug trafficker and warlord interests within Afghanistan actively seek to subvert it? Can the government and opposition in that country, unlikely as it may seem, work together to eliminate this threat? The quadrilateral summit in Dushanbe coincided with the fifth Regional Economic Cooperation Conference on Afghanistan. As against the 11 countries that attended the first conference in Kabul and the 24 that attended the third in Islamabad more than 80 countries and a host of international organisations are present in Dushanbe.

International interest in working for a stable Afghanistan after the Nato withdrawal is obviously at its peak. Any worthwhile initiative by the summit participants and other regional countries will win international support. Pakistan must take the lead because it is Pakistan, as I have shown in earlier columns, that would be most affected by continued instability in Afghanistan.

[B][I]The writer is a former foreign secretary.[/I][/B]

Predator Friday, March 30, 2012 12:25 PM

[B][U][CENTER][COLOR="DarkGreen"][SIZE="5"][FONT="Georgia"]An outstanding civil servant[/FONT][/SIZE][/COLOR][/CENTER][/U][/B]

[B]By Sartaj Aziz
March 30, 2012[/B]

ZAFAR Iqbal, who passed away last week after a brief illness, was not only an outstanding civil servant but also belonged to a very different class of civil servants.

Through tradition and the force of circumstances, most civil servants learn very early to say `yes` to all commands from above. Some of them even learn to say `yes sir` and not just `yes`. Zafar Iqbal was very different bold and upright always looking for opportunities to display his fighting spirit, if he detected any irregularity or digression at any level.

The most dramatic display of Zafar Iqbal`s defiance came in 1972, when he was outraged by the out-of-turn promotion of an officer junior to him as additional secretary.

He submitted an appeal to the establishment secretary and requested him that the issues raised about the criteria, under which the principle of seniority has been ignored, should be clarified and also brought to the notice of the president.

The establishment secretary felt that the representation of Mr Zafar Iqbal wasarrogant and provocative and therefore amounted to misconduct. He recommended that the displeasure of the government should be conveyed to the officer.

The president recorded the following order on the file: `I agree with all the reasons given by Establishment Secretary but the action suggested is not sufficient. First suspend this man and charge sheet him for dismissal. I will not tolerate impertinent individuals like this malapert servant.

Mr Zafar Iqbal was suspended and a charge sheet was served on him in July 1972 with the allegation that the impugned letter was impertinent, arrogant and irrelevant. Mr Zafar Iqbal`s response to this charge sheet was given to an enquiry officer who ruled that the accused officer was guilty of the charges. Subsequently, Mr Zafar Iqbal was dismissed from service in August 1973.

Mr Zafar Iqbal did not give up his fight. He appealed to the Services Tribunal and after six years` struggle won his case.

He was reinstated with full benefits and seniority.

I first met Zafar Iqbal in1955 when he went to England with the 1953 CSP batch for final training and I was also there for a threemonth O&M training course with the British treasury.

After that we remained colleagues and close family friends. Zafar Iqbal rose to prominence in the mid-1960s when, as deputy secretary external finance, he displayed exceptional competence in preparing and presenting the annual foreign exchange budgets which provided the basis for periodical import policies whose centrepiece was the famous Export Bonus Voucher Scheme.

As chief of the international economics section in the Planning Commission at that time, I worked very closely with him and his immediate boss, the late Majid Ali, joint secretary external finance.

Zafar Iqbal`s reputation for hard work and innovative management got another boost in 1979, when after his reinstatement, he took over as chairman, National Development Finance Corporation, which had been set up to meet the funding requirement of public-sector enterprises.Two other DFIs, namely PICIC and IDBP had been working for two decades to finance private-sector projects, but after the large-scale nationalisation of industries in the early 1970s, there were dozens of corporations to handie nationalised units in several sub sectors.

By the time Zafar Iqbal left NDFC in 1986 to join the central secretariat as secretary ministry of production, it was one of the best DFIs. NDFC`s monitoring role, before extending financial facilities to public-sector enterprises, kept them from gliding into the kind of financial meltdown that was witnessed in later years.

Greenstar, the well known family health NGO, which Zafar Iqbal had been managing for the past 15 years, bears his hallmark of integrity and efficiency. Zafar Iqbal, above all, was a very fine human being. He leaves behind many friends, and admirers who will miss him with many fond memories.

[B][I][SIZE="2"]The writer is vice chancellor of the Beaconhouse National University, Lahore.[/SIZE][/I][/B]


08:48 PM (GMT +5)

vBulletin, Copyright ©2000 - 2020, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.