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wannabe Friday, December 21, 2012 11:47 PM

Who Controls Karachi: Law or outlaws?
 
[SIZE="6"][CENTER][COLOR="Navy"]Who Controls Karachi: Law or outlaws?[/COLOR][/CENTER][/SIZE]

[COLOR="DarkOliveGreen"][SIZE="4"]Politics should ideally be about ideology but in Karachi, over the last ten years or so, it has become more about money.
[/SIZE][/COLOR]
Saturday, September 01, 2012

Whether it is Mumbai, Miami or Karachi, gangs or other criminal outfits start controlling cities when the system does not adjust to rapid economic growth.

Those who live in Karachi; and those who go to the city of lights frequently — whatever the purpose of visit may be — they all know the two things go unabated in the city: killing and extortion. The former needs no explanation as the very word itself is enough to cause goose bumps in one's back. The latter — extortion — perhaps needs a lot more understanding.

Up-to-the-minute definition: Extortion also called blackmail, shakedown, out wresting, and exaction. It is a criminal offence of unlawfully obtaining money, property, or services from a person, entity, or institution, through coercion. What is happening in Karachi is not mere extortion. The very word “exaction” defines the situation precisely.

Exaction refers not only to extortion or the unlawful demanding and obtaining of something through force, but additionally, in its formal definition, means the infliction of something such as pain and suffering or making somebody endure something unpleasant.

Easy money, i.e. the sum of exaction now amounts to the tune of two crore (million) rupees daily. Exaction peaks in Ramazan targeting traders, businessmen and industrialists. Fitra parchis (receipts) are common in Karachi and everybody knows who is behind this parchi system. Exaction or extortion whatever you name it also stands out during new-year eve (December), fiscal year end (June) and Bakra Eid.

Extortionists hurl hand grenades at shops, offices and even bungalows of the riches who declined to pay. This is done so to send a warning to stubborn victim. This also scared others. People pay taxes everywhere in the world. In Karachi people pay double taxes. The collectors are the government and the extortionists.

From August 1-10 more than 4,000 extortion threats were received by business community. All Karachi Tajir Itehad — a forum of megacity traders — claimed billions of rupees losses just because of exaction. Other violent crimes are also rampant. During first ten days of August 153 vehicles were reported commandeered. Some 563 motorcycles were snatched at gun-point or stolen. Likewise, from August 1-10 more than 400 cell phones were either snatched at gun-point or stolen.

The ongoing war between certain groups — both political or semi-political and political-criminal — over control of Karachi has its own toll. More money means more supporters. The more the activists are the more is display of power. The war is for illegal money. The war is for arms and drugs and liquors. The war is for illegal lands, not one or two marlas but thousands of acres and future prime locations. The war is for water supply through tankers that meant for posh areas. The war is for disposal of snatched vehicles. Political parties such as Pakistan People's Party, Muttahida Qaumi Movement, Awami National Party too have stains on their faces.
Land grabbing became a business and getting rid of land grabbers also became a business. Banks hired “collectors”, usually political workers or those with connections, to recover stuck loans and confiscate leased cars from people unable to pay installments.
If there is a bomb threat we have Bomb Disposal Squad. If a vehicle is commandeered we have Anti-car Lifting Cell. If a child is kidnapped for ransom we have Anti-violent Crime Cell. If there is corruption we have anti-corruption cell. Then, why the Karachiites are still deprived of with much-desired “anti-extortion squad” or “anti-extortion cell?”

Some four month ago, Sindh government announced to introduce an anti-extortion law to make all offences relating to money extortion non-bailable. This is a brainchild of our Interior Minister Rahman Malik. The elected government's representatives still do not have any time for necessary legislation in this regard. Instead we have an ordinance promulgated by Governor Sindh Dr. Ishart-ul-Ibad.

This so-called ordinance is not simple as it looks. It's a bit perplexing and mind boggling too. The ordinance declares: any person found using a stolen phone or a benami SIM card — a SIM card registered under someone else's name — to make extortion calls should be sentenced to seven years in prison. The accused once arrested will not have a remote chance of bail from any court of law. Under the new anti-extortion law a statement made before a police officer might be admissible before a court of law. The role of police is not impeccable but shoddy in many ways.

Separately, a joint task force headed by a DIG and having representation from Rangers, Inter-Services Intelligence, Intelligence Bureau and the Federal Investigation Agency had been constituted. An extortion reporting cell has been formed by IG Police Sindh. Citizen Police Liaison Committee is also taking complains of extortion. From January up till now the CPLC has so far received more than 400 complains of extortion from traders and individuals, says spokesperson of the CPLC Ms. Nazish Ayaz.

Federal Interior Minister Rehman Malik has on record revealed that activists belonging to political parties of the PPP-led coalition government of Sindh are to be blamed for the menace of extortion in Karachi. According to interior minister the activists of PPP, MQM, ANP and other parties were involved in extortion in the megacity. He also mentioned People's Amn Committee and Kutchhi Rabita Committee behind heinous crimes.

Politics should ideally be about ideology but in Karachi, over the last ten years or so, it has become more about money. In the 1980s, we were divided along ethnic lines, but they have been slowly erased and replaced by financial ones.

The story of change began in 2002, when Shaukat Aziz rigorously implemented an IMF agenda to liberalise the economy. Banks were pushed into consumer financing, lending was made easy. Banking, telecommunication and real estate grew. Import duties were minimised. Business flourished in computers, cell phones and luxury items. The media promoted new products. Middle class dreams were realised. People started discovering purchasing power. They bought cars, homes, refrigerators, cell phones.

Real estate became a focus in 2002 and this trend peaked by 2004 and 2005. A house that was easily available for one million rupees in 1999 was going for no less than eight million rupees. Food and shopping malls mushroomed. The government started to make new roads, bridges and underpasses to make property more attractive.

For those who were earning legally, there were plenty of places to spend. For those who were not able to jump on the bandwagon, they had their own way of earning from the city: land grabbing and petty crime. Snatch a mobile phone and you get at least Rs. 5,000, mug someone at an ATM and you can get up to Rs. 25,000.

Land grabbing became a business and getting rid of land grabbers also became a business. Banks hired “collectors” — usually political workers or those with connections — to recover stuck loans and confiscate leased cars from people unable to pay installments.

Karachi was already divided on political lines, thus political connections were essential for the recovery gangs. In many cases, settlements were reached at the offices of political parties. Later, recovery gangs became involved in land grabbing. To survive, they needed the protection of a political banner or flag. This is why, more and more political flags were put up on grabbed property or disputed land over the last ten years.

The Rangers have been tasked with security of some of the city's prime property but they also have a stake in the different business, especially the water supply one. A common perception at Karachi University, where the Rangers have been deployed since 1989, is that whenever students demand their removal from campus, a student clash takes place. Many circles believe the same theory applies to the city as well.

Many people believe banned sectarian outfits kill Shias to demonstrate strength and consolidate their support bank, get a piece of the pie. Police investigators cite the 1995-96 rise of the anti-Shia Taliban as linked to the killings of scores of Shias in Karachi. By targeting Shias, these outfits send a strong message to their supporters who then reach for their pockets to make donations. In a tit-for-tat response, many Sunnis have also been gunned down apparently by Shia outfits.

It would be unfair to hold criminals entirely responsible. They could not have come so far without benefiting the parties in return. Financial gains of political parties are not easy to prove. But an evaluation of leaders' assets and their growth in the last 10 years could reveal this side of the story.

From Lyari to Surjani, New Karachi to Orangi Town, party flags have surfaced and people claiming affiliation with different parties have been dictating the rules of business in real estate and other money matters. This was also made possible with the support from the administration, police, Rangers.

It is an open secret that the police and other law-enforcing agencies are beneficiaries. This is why people argue that the lifestyle of many officers does not match their legal sources of income. In some cases, the visiting cards of officers have been recovered from people shot dead in encounters.

Law enforcers are bowing down to the outlaws, thus throwing Karachi to the Frankenstein.

Asad Kaleem

wannabe Friday, December 21, 2012 11:49 PM

Media Influence on Pakistani Culture and Identity
 
[CENTER][COLOR="Navy"]Media Influence on Pakistani Culture and Identity[/COLOR][/CENTER]

[SIZE="4"][COLOR="Sienna"]Two-Nation Theory is the basis of creation of Pakistan. It states that Muslims and Hindus are two separate nations by every definition; therefore Muslims should have a separate homeland[/COLOR][/SIZE]

Saturday, September 01, 2012

It is human nature to show affection to the land where he is born, grows up and lives. He admires and follows the customs, values and principles of the life designated by the social set-up of the country. He strives to make his homeland a free, secure and a better place to live for himself and the generations to come. In a free country people have the opportunity to speak, act and pursue happiness without unnecessary external restrictions. It is important because it leads to enhanced independence, expressions of creativity and original thought, increased productivity, and an overall high quality of life.

Pakistan came into being with the same thought in the mind of our great leaders who were not agreed to see Muslims living in oppressive conditions without any identity or individuality. Two-Nation Theory is the basis of creation of Pakistan. It states that Muslims and Hindus are two separate nations by every definition; therefore Muslims should have a separate homeland where they can spend their lives according to the glorious teachings of Islam. Mohammed Ali Jinnah's speech at All India Muslim League Conference in 1940 gives a crystal clear concept of Muslims' of that time. “The Hindus and Muslims belong to two different religious philosophies, social values and literary thoughts. They neither intermarry, nor dine together, and they belong to two different civilisations which are based mainly on conflicting ideas and conceptions.” Today, we are living in a free state, with our own laws, rules and freedom but a question arises here, is it the same Pakistan which our ancestors dreamt of?

As far as the celebrations on the Independence Day are concerned, the nation shows love and enthusiasm for their country but, on the whole situation is different. Every year we celebrate Independence Day on August 14, with excitement, great zeal and passion. Our nation renews commitments to make Pakistan prosperous and strong. Buildings are illuminated and decorated with national flags. Political and civil society organisations arrange rallies, parades and vibrant functions in all small and major cities of the country. Similarly, the electronic media plans wide-ranging programmes, including national songs, talk shows, dramas, quiz, etc. to mark the occasion. The print media carries special supplements, articles, features and highlight the importance of the day and sacrifices rendered by heroes and nation's forefathers for it. These programmes highlight the significance of the day, ideology of Pakistan, importance of identity, goals set for the future and pay tribute to the Father of the Nation, Quaid-e-Azam. Regrettably this enthusiasm remains just for few days.
The role of media is enormous here whereby the extensive promotion of western product brands are forcing consumers in our society to simply reject the local brands and consider them inferior comparing with the foreign brands in the market.
Today the world community comprises more than 180 countries. Pakistan appeared on the world map in August 1947. But in fact since its creation, with every passing year, Pakistan is losing its identity. It's not because of economic and political background, but due to the changing life patterns and thoughts of every Pakistani. It's the individuality or national identity that makes a nation different from rest of the world. Pakistani society is undergoing a massive cultural change rapidly resulting in an identity crisis for Pakistanis. The deep-rooted embedded cultural values in our society are becoming hollow and gradually fading away.

Various catalysts for change are responsible for this scenario including media as the key player. The European and American culture is slowly engulfing our society. The role of media is enormous here whereby the extensive promotion of western product brands are forcing consumers in our society to simply reject the local brands and consider them inferior comparing with the foreign brands in the market.

The programmes telecast through satellite TV channels and on cable TV networks in Pakistan are predominantly western and Indian. The promotion of American, European and Indian culture via dramas, movies, music programmes, skits etc., telecast on various satellite TV channels escalate change in local culture and values. Pakistanis tend to be more appreciative of the foreign cultures being promoted than their local values and trends. Therefore, they prefer adopting these foreign culture hence leading towards a change in our society. Our new generation is so much involved with foreign culture that it's getting away from the local dresses. They cannot differentiate between the two and ready to adopt whatever is shown to them by the media. They hardly know its actual and indigenous values, culture and traditions. And those few who are followers of their own culture are thought to be out-dated or backward.

The undue westernisation is dominating the typical Pakistani culture. For instance, the extended and joint family system, a hallmark of Pakistani culture, is slowly deteriorating. The younger generation seldom cares for their parents and elders. Fascination of English language is so much that many Pakistanis, who are fluent in English, are unable to understand Urdu. Therefore, speaking English language is a status symbol and the people speaking Urdu are considered backward or illiterate. They are creating inferiority complex among those who do not have good command on English but speak excellent Urdu. Further Urdu language is getting unwanted additions due to invasion of foreign words (Hindi and English). A new language which is a mix of Urdu, English and Hindi words is emerging. Similarly, the meal preferences have changed from chapatti and rice to Subway, KFC and McDonalds. Instead of traditional drinks, Pepsi and Coke have found its way into our homes.

Muslims being in majority in Pakistan are losing their Islamic/indigenous values and ultra-modern educational institutions as well as media are gradually inculcating western and Indian values in the younger generation. It seems that Pakistanis, a nation of 170 million, are confused about their ideology, culture and sociology, values, religion, priorities and even enemies.” Unfortunately our own media is playing a significant role in this regard.

Mahathir bin Mohammad, former prime minister of Malaysia is of the view that we live in the age of information technology. There has been and there will continue to be an unending explosion in the field of information technology. Today, we can sit in our homes and watch and hear whatever happens in the world. But what we see, hear and witness is decided by media. Clearly the people, who decide what we should see and hear, hold mammoth power.
As the people who control the media, control our minds and probably control the world. And who control the powerful world media are not the national governments of developing or developed nations but a very few people.
As the people who control the media, control our minds and probably control the world. And who control the powerful world media are not the national governments of developing or developed nations but a very few people. They have an effective weapon in the form of a worldwide television network. Today, they broadcast slanted news, tomorrow they will broadcast raw pornography to corrupt our children and destroy our culture. They are already doing that in Europe. We can control the reception today but not in future. He further says that Malaysia believes in press freedom but with responsibility.

The situation is indeed alarming for the national identity in Pakistan. Therefore firm steps are needed to be taken on regular basis to preserve Pakistan's cultural values and identity.

Apart from government to take measures to control the cultural invasion, the responsibility lies on every Pakistani to own, respect and love this country. We have to believe in our own native values in order to save and secure our identity. Being Pakistani, we should not forget that our homeland made us stand out in the map of the world as an independent nation and provide us the freedom, which many Muslim countries are still striving for today.

If we want to live with honour, dignity and secure our identity, we have to proudly own and love our country. If we want our upcoming generation should breathe freely as an independent nation in the world, then, today we have to work in the best interest of Pakistan. We have to rebuild our characters and minds to take the track which leads Pakistan to the destination our ancestors had dreamt of.

Pakistanis and Pakistani media are required to respect the native traditions and individuality, abide by the rules and regulations of the federation, support the minors/minorities and provide education for all irrespective of their financial and social background, we can bring the change, prosperity in our society and secure our homeland. The intellectuals in media and the political circles have the responsibility to start the debate. It is through repeated exposure that the citizens will start to identify themselves with democratic and liberal values.

To minimize and resist the effects of western and Indian channels, it is suggested that local channels should be strengthened and programmes should have better content. These channels should produce and broadcast quality programmes that could help in the promotion of Pakistani values and traditions and improve the image of Pakistan at international level.

Dr. Anjum Zia

Naveed_Bhuutto Wednesday, December 26, 2012 10:25 PM

[B][I][U][CENTER][SIZE="5"]Good Governance Defined and Elaborated[/SIZE][/CENTER][/U][/I][/B]


[I]Effective parliamentary system can seek information, ask pertinent questions, analyse reasons behind policy decisions and make governance transparent, responsible and accountable.[/I]


Good governance is the factor that leads to giving the citizens an enabling environment that gives justice, peace and order, welfare facilities (education and health) and economic opportunities that will increase their quality of life and standard of living.

Good governance is based on institutional frameworks. In parliamentary system, where free, fair and impartial elections are held, a parliament emerges which represents the people and is supposed to protect their fundamental rights. The majority party in the parliament forms the government. The parliament passes laws and bills through processes of questions, motions, debates and discussions. It holds government accountable. Effective parliamentary system can seek information, ask pertinent questions, analyse reasons behind policy decisions and make governance transparent, responsible and accountable. The committee system if works in an efficient manner can be a very effective mechanism in improving the quality of governance.

Parliament is the public forum where all important national and other issues and problems can be highlighted, debated and discussed and plausible solutions are put forward to the government for consideration.

Executive is composed of the cabinet headed by the prime minister. Permanent civil service (bureaucracy) executes the decisions and policies of the cabinet. The major responsibilities and functions of the government are as under:

[B]1. Security [/B]
Pakistan's biggest danger is terrorism. Suicide attacks have wrought havoc by killing thousands of innocent citizens. So far the intelligence agencies and the police administration have failed to quell this grave menace. The government has not shown the resolve to arrest this threat.

The foundation or base of terrorism needs to be identified and tackled so that the financers, organisers and operators of terrorism are apprehended, tried and punished. This is an extremely different but a challenging task which needs to be tackled to make Pakistan a safe and secure place to live in.

[B]2. Economy[/B]
Pakistan's economy is in a major crisis. Pakistan's expected growth rate (GDP) last year (2010-11) was 2.52 per cent. It was reduced from 4.52 per cent on account of floods.

Pakistan's biggest expenditure is on debt servicing. This will amount to Rs. 880 billion. Defence expenditure will be Rs. 600 billion (including pension). Civil administration expenditures will be Rs. 400 billion. Development expenditures will be Rs. 280 billion (reduced from Rs. 350 billion).

Tax collection has been earmarked as Rs.1600 billion. The government is trying to raise additional taxes through revised GST and by reducing subsidies and raising oil prices. These measures are now being negotiated between the government and the other parties in parliament.

To promote growth, higher productivity is required in industry, services and agriculture. With shortages in energy and water, and the difficult internal security situation, to increase the growth rate will remain a constant struggle.

Pakistan needs a higher growth rate to provide gainful employment opportunities for young entrants to the labour force. Unemployment rate is 5.5 per cent and needs to be reduced.

Inflation is a very major issue as it affects those who are more venerable in society especially the ones with fixed incomes. Therefore, the government has devised support programmes to assist the needy. Poverty is a major issue confronting the policy makers in Pakistan. With lower growth rates there has been an increase in poverty.

In the long-term Pakistan must address some of the structure challenges such as the low tax/GDP ratio and the low overall productivity in the economy.
[B]
3. Social Sectors Development[/B]
(a) Education: Public spending on education needs to be increased from 2% of GDP to 3-4% GDP. This will become feasible as we raise the overall growth rate of the economy.

Literacy rate must be improved. Substantially enrolment in basic education must be raised. Curriculum needs constant revision and up gradation. Science and technology needs to compete internationally. Teacher training needs to be standardised and institutionalized. Quality of higher education must be upgraded. Scholarship programmes need to be promoted.

(b) Health: Public spending on health needs to be increased from 0.6% of GDP to 1.5% of GDP. Manpower of the health department is composed of approximately 140,000 doctors and 10,000 dentists. The number of the dentist needs to be increased. There is dire need to improve the quality of medical education. Physical facilities i.e. hospitals, dispensaries, rural health centres and basic health units also need overhauling. Different programmes launched by the ministry of health like population planning programmes, drug abuse programme, blindness prevention and aids prevention need to be more effective.

[B]4. Foreign Policy[/B]
There needs to be a full-fledged debate in parliament on foreign policy. After the debate and input from all segments of society, the required changes should be made accordingly.

[B]5. Judiciary[/B]
The Supreme Court of Pakistan after being restored is showing judicial activism. It has taken up constitutional petitions. It has also taken up cases of citizens in distress under the fundamental rights. The courts have become the forum for resolving major national problems. Several thousand cases are pending with the courts. They need to be taken up expeditiously and disposed off.

Quality of governance will improve tremendously if all the organs of state carry out their functions and responsibilities with a view to serve the people.
The writer is a renowned columnist.


[B]Email: [email]qayyumnizami@gmail.com[/email]
Qayyum Nizami
[/B]

Naveed_Bhuutto Saturday, December 29, 2012 07:27 PM

[B][I][CENTER][SIZE="5"]Investment in Education and Skill Development[/SIZE][/CENTER][/I][/B]


[I]The economic rationale for investment in education was thus well established by the early 1980s.[/I]


According to the traditional view in the development debate of the 1960s, land, labour and capital were identified as the main factors of production and within these, the focus was on expanding capital by increasing investment to at least 15 per cent of GDP to achieve an average growth rate of five per cent per annum.

By the early 1970s, however, the definition of capital was broadened to include human capital. Investment in education, it was pointed out on the basis of several studies, created better skills and together with research for improved technology, would lead to higher productivity and faster economic growth. The economic rationale for investment in education was thus well established by the early 1980s.

The launch of the Human Development Report by UNDP in 1990 was another landmark in the conceptual framework for development. Pioneered by late Dr. Mahbubul Haq, the report prescribed supplementary criteria for determining performance called the Human Development Index (HDI). The Index built on four indicators: Life expectancy at birth, adult literacy rate, combined primary, secondary and tertiary gross enrolment ratio and GDP per capita, assigned a maximum value of 1 on the basis of which countries are categorized into High (above 0.8), medium (between 0.) and 0.8) and low HDI (below 0.5). This concept emphasized that human development was not just a means to more rapid economic growth but also an end in its own right.

The transition of the world towards a knowledge based economy and growing competition in the wake of globalization, has further magnified the importance of human resources in general and of education in particular as a key element in the process of social and economic transformation. Key indicators of progress in the coming decades will not only include the overall level of literacy, but also the proportion of skilled workers in the total work force, the percentage labour force employed in different sub-sectors of communications and the investment being made in research and technology. Only societies which have acquired the required knowledge and skills will be able to compete in the global markets.

The state of education in Pakistan
Viewed in this context, Pakistan has a long way to go. The facts and main indicators are well known, but the following shortcomings and lags are particularly noteworthy:
Overall investment in education in Pakistan is still very low, despite repeated commitments by successive governments to reach the UNESCO target of four per cent of GDP. Public spending on education in Pakistan, as a percentage of GDP is only 1.8 per cent which is the lowest in South Asia and has in fact declined from the peak of 2.5 per cent reached in the mid 1990s. Several Asian countries had already exceeded by the year 2000 the UNESCO target of four per cent of GDP. India (4.1 per cent). Philippines (4.2 per cent), Iran 4.4 per cent). Thailand (5.4 per cent). Malaysia 96.2 per cent).

Because of a combination of high population growth and low expenditure on education, the average level of adult literacy has moved very slowly from 26 per cent in 1981 to an estimated 57.7 per cent in 2010. If this average is broken down between urban and rural areas, between males and females and between different provinces, the wide disparities reflected in the dismal average becomes even more glaring. The rate of literacy for rural females in 2010 was only 22.5 per cent in Baluchistan, 20.3 per cent in Sindh. 29 per cent in KPK and 40.2 per cent in Punjab, yielding a national average of 34.2 per cent for female literacy. With this level of female literacy, the programme for population control will have only limited chances of success.

Despite a three fold increase in Pakistan's GDP over the last 30 years, there has been no corresponding improvement in social indicators. Pakistan was 127th on the global ranking of the Human Development Index for 2010 among169 countries.

Moving from the quantitative to the qualitative aspects of human development, the situation is even more depressing. On UNDP's Technology Achievement Index based on indicators like enrolment of science students, patents and royalties, and access to telephones, internet and electricity, Pakistan's rank is 0.17, compared to 0.20 for India and Sri Lanka, 0.31 for Brazil, 0.4 for Malaysia and 0.67 for South Korea.
In the past few years, HEC and the Provincial Governments have taken many initiatives in the field of education but there are many structural problems and institutional obstacles that have affected the implementation of well meaning policies and plans in the past.
Similarly on the global Knowledge Economy Index based on information, infrastructure, economic incentives regime, and expenditure on research. Pakistan's rank is 2.24, compared to 3.12 for India, 4.35 for China, 4.16 for Sri Lanka, 5.57 for Brazil, and 6.06 for Malaysia.

It should be clear from the foregoing that a very major effort will be needed on several fronts if Pakistan is to improve not only its overall level of literacy but also its ranking in the above-mentioned areas. The focus of these wide ranging efforts should be: (a) Mobilizing additional resources for investment in education and skill development. (b) paying greater attention to quality of education, and (c) ensuring more effective implementation through major institutional and administrative reforms.

In the past few years, HEC and the Provincial Governments have taken many initiatives in the field of education but there are many structural problems and institutional obstacles that have affected the implementation of well meaning policies and plans in the past. Unless these obstacles are tackled, the new plans and reforms will not yield the expected results and targets. Four such problems areas and obstacles are discussed in this article.

Shrinking fiscal space in the provinces
The most daunting challenge before the economic managers of Pakistan is finding ways and means of raising total expenditures on education to five per cent of GDP in the next few years and ensuring meaningful utilization of these resources to achieve universal literacy in the shortest possible time, to improve the quality of education and vastly expanding opportunities for technical and vocational education.

[B]Quality of education[/B]
Pakistan is currently trapped in a vicious circle of low skills and low productivity. The objective of improving the quality of education is therefore in many ways more important than the issue of overall expenditures or overall literacy levels.

The most important factor in higher productivity is skills and indigenous technological capacity. The expansion in educational facilities must be based on the projected market demand and the imperative of making Pakistan a knowledge-based economy. At present, most of the better educational institutions in Pakistan are producing high school graduates primarily for studying abroad. Many of them never come back. As a result of this brain drain, the country is unable to benefit from the best part of its human resource pool. In comparison, the education systems of both India and China are geared mainly to the domestic market.

The quality of education depends largely on the quality of teachers. The quality of teachers can be improved by recruiting teachers on merit on the basis of periodical competitive examinations and by offering higher grades to teachers with higher qualifications.

Similarly, the system of examination has to move away from memorizing certain lessons to a more systematic assessment of understanding, reasoning, originality and creativity so that the system of teaching, learning and testing becomes an integrated process. At present the conduct of secondary and higher secondary examinations is centralized under various boards of education. Under this system the students are taught by one teacher, the examination papers are composed by another teacher, without knowing what has actually been taught and a third teacher marks the examination papers. There is no provision to include an assessment of the projects undertaken by the students or individual attainments of a student during the year. Examinations are largely based on text books and tend to be quite repetitive. That is why students are not encouraged to go beyond studying (in fact memorizing) certain portion of the text books. Even laboratory experiments are reduced to memorizing relevant passage from the lab manuals.

A gradual shift to the semester system of teaching and assessment in the system of higher education is necessary to improve the quality of education in Pakistan. The conceptual framework of the National Curriculum 2000, prepared by the National Committee, with the participation of many outside experts is a very forward looking document but its implementation has been adversely affected by recent controversies over text books and the Agha Khan Examination Board.
Despite a three fold increase in Pakistan's GDP over the last 30 years, there has been no corresponding improvement in social indicators. Pakistan was 127th on the global ranking of the Human Development Index for 2010 among169 countries.

[B]Inequalities in education[/B]
The third structural issue is the problem of growing inequalities in the system. Inequalities in education are not confined to different literacy rates between urban and rural areas, between males and females and among different provinces. There is also a very high correlation between education and income levels. As households with higher incomes have access to better education and also to technical education, they will naturally capture a larger proportion of the employment opportunities and other benefits in a growing economy. Education inequalities are thus a major cause of growing income inequality and poverty in Pakistan.

According to recent studies, educational facilities in Baluchistan and in rural areas of Sindh are very inadequate. It is absolutely necessary in expanding investment in education to give special attention to districts at the lowest range of the educational ladder. The basic purpose of public spending in education should be to enhance the income earning capacity of the poor and education is the most important starting point for the process of social transformation leading to greater quality and social justice.

Another and more serious form of inequality springs from the strong multi dimensional divide between English medium and Urdu medium systems of education. In the recent past, this divide has been further accentuated by the rapid expansion of madrassahs schools, offering religious education and catering to the educational requirements of low income groups. These three streams of education not only provide education under very different systems but also lead to divergent views and opinions about political, economic and international issues, often hostile to each others. This state of affairs, unless corrected through a more unified system of education, can lead to greater polarization in society, threatening the very unity of the federation.

[B]Reform of educational administration[/B]
One of the most important lessons of successful development experience in other countries is the sequencing of various reforms. Economic and sectoral reforms have yielded positive results only when these were preceded by administrative and institutional reforms that ensured adequate and timely implementation. In Pakistan, most of the educational reforms, action programmes or initiatives have floundered because the bureaucratic structures responsible for their implementation were totally inadequate. An important example of this mis-match was the Social Action Programme launched in 1992 with substantial support from external donors. Allocations for primary education under this programme were doubled over the next five years, but on the average only about half the physical and qualitative targets of programmes were achieved. Total enrolment increased from l 1 to 19 million between 1990 and 2000, and the literacy improved from 36 per cent to only 47 per cent over the same period. Successive evaluation of the programme showed serious inadequacies in their implementation. One such evaluation found that as a result of frequent transfers, the average tenure of the Secretary in the Education Department of Punjab (with primary responsibility for the programme and for a system employing 30,000 teachers) was less than one year. There were also reports about the appointment and transfers of teachers on the basis of political patronage, absence of incentives for good teachers and weak enforcement mechanisms for ensuring discipline and quality of service delivery. The general attitude and mindset of bureaucracy was also reported to be negative. As a result of these assessments, this programme was discontinued in 2002.

The above-mentioned institutional and administrative weaknesses have not however disappeared. Unless these are remedied, other reforms can meet the same fate. Increased allocations can be readily spent by building physical structures through contractors, but the qualitative targets in terms of actual enrolment, the quality of education and more diversified education according to future needs, will remain illusive.

Following the Successful example of setting' up HEC at the Federal level, the possibility of setting up Provincial Education Commissions in the four Provinces should be examined on a priority basis, to take over from the Provincial Education Departments the responsibilities for developing and managing higher education at the provincial level. These Commissions should be staffed by qualified professionals, with security of tenure to enable them to withstand political pressures.

For primary and secondary education institutional reforms have to move in two directions: major decentralization of responsibility from the provincial to the district and lower levels and association of civil society with the planning and implementation of education, including management of educational institutions, at all levels. As is dramatically illustrated by the success of many private NGOs in establishing good quality schools for the poor, there is a growing pool of businessmen, educational experts and social workers committed to the cause of education. They can play a major role in upgrading the quality of public education.

Finally, education is the most important route to overcome unemployment and poverty. That is why the time seems ripe to incorporate in our laws, the right to education as a basic human right and give investment in education the highest priority in managing the Pakistan economy.

[B]The writer is Vice-Chancellor of Beaconhouse National University, Lahore.[/B]

Naveed_Bhuutto Tuesday, January 01, 2013 02:58 AM

[B][I][CENTER][SIZE="5"]ABBOTTABAD Incident-Drama or Reality[/SIZE][/CENTER][/I][/B]


[I]Who are the supporters of the terrorist groups operating in Pakistan?[/I]


Dr Steve R. Pieczenik says, “Osama was dead in 2001.” He says 9/11 was a farce. Yes, it is true. A person with the inside knowledge of the American intelligence system cannot be wrong. Mr Pieczenik “cannot be dismissed as a conspiracy theorist.”The gentleman has served on important posts with Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan and Bush Senior. He was Secretary of State with the first three. A former US Navy Captain, still works as a consultant for the Department of Defense and is the recipient of two prestigious Harry C. Solomon awards at Harvard Medical School as he simultaneously completed a PhD at MIT. He has a long list of credentials that can be found through internet. He says, “Osama was suffering with Marfan syndrome.” Osama bin Laden died in 2001, “Not because special forces had killed him, but because as a physician I had known that the CIA physicians had treated him and it was on the intelligence roster that he had Marfan syndrome. US government knew Osama bin Laden was dead before they invaded Afghanistan. Bush Junior knew about it, the intelligence community knew about it. CIA physicians had visited Osama bin Laden in July 2001 at the American Hospital in Dubai.”

Marfan syndrome is a degenerative genetic disease for which there is no permanent cure. The illness severely shortens the life span of the sufferer. Then why to dramatize Osama bin Laden's capture, his murder and then throwing the dead body in the sea? What is the message sent out? Who gained and who are the losers?

CIA failed on 9/11. Was it? Zionist plan is gradually revealing. It is a pity that the poor Americans are so naïve that they cannot read in between the lines. They are the mechanised robots. They do not have time to go through the political jigsaw. Most of them only understand what is fed to them by the media, which is primarily owned and operated by the Jews. They are fleecing the people of America who are being practically controlled by Israel. Don't we know who controls the American economy? Don't we know about the owners of US gold reserves? Why destabilisation is being perpetuated in our part of the world? Who are the actors behind the scenes? Who are the supporters of the terrorist groups operating in Pakistan? Are we not aware of the funding channels of these plunderers? The answer is short and crisp. It is the Israeli perpetrators. They are there in the guise of our so-called religious brethren and friends.

So! Where are we, the Pakistanis? Are we being commanded and controlled by the puppets of those who are actually pulling the strings of the so-called” World Superpower”.
Was Osama bin Laden incident in Abbottabad an intelligence failure or was it a failure of the whole governing machinery? Answer is not only easy but also simple to understand.
Was Osama bin Laden incident in Abbottabad an intelligence failure or was it a failure of the whole governing machinery? Answer is not only easy but also simple to understand. USA, by virtue of this amazing Hollywood drama, has achieved the aim of maligning one of the best of armies and a very efficient intelligence organisation which has not only played a major role in throwing out the Russians but has also broken the back bone of the notorious terrorist groups. It is a pity to point a finger at one of the finest fighting arms of the world, which has sacrificed more than 2500 officers only. The killed ratio of officers and other ranks stands at around 1:3. No army has ever sacrificed so much. Even the Americans cannot come closer to this ratio. An organisation which can sacrifice its coveted sons for the soil of Pakistan, can never betray it. It is easy to talk against rather than facing the hardship and shed blood.

Dr. Pieczenik reveals the hidden agenda. In order to enhance the fading popularity, Obama had to do something. Birthing issue was blowing up. His approval ratings were plummeting. The hoax, the drama at Abbottabad had to be enacted. “ He(Obama) had to prove that he was more than American……he had to be aggressive”, said Pieczenik, adding that ”the farce was also a way of isolating Pakistan as a retaliation for intense opposition to the Predator drone programme, which has killed hundreds of Pakistanis. This is orchestrated, I mean when you have people sitting around and watching a sitcom, basically the operations centre of the White House, and you have a president coming out almost zombie-like telling you they just killed Osama bin Laden who was already dead nine years ago,” the whole episode is, “the greatest falsehood I've ever heard, I mean it was absurd.”

Controlling authorities of the Americans are once again bent upon convincing them to sacrifice their sons. They want to put their sons on the altar once more to achieve the ulterior motives. They are dramatising another time like Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, etc. It is a wakeup call for us Pakistanis. It is time now to pin point the 5th columnists. Now is the time to bring to the dock those people with vested interests and a hidden agenda, who are funded by those who are at the tangent with the welfare and progress of Pakistan.

The writer is a defence analyst on TV channals. Presently he is working as Principal, Garrison Post Graduate College for Men, Lahore

[B]Col (R) Khawar Munir Haroon, SI (M)[/B]

Naveed_Bhuutto Saturday, January 05, 2013 01:05 AM

[I][CENTER][SIZE="5"][COLOR="RoyalBlue"][B]Indo-Pak Issues[/B][/COLOR][/SIZE][/CENTER][/I]


[I]Both the countries continue to suffer from mutual mistrust and their bilateral disputes remain unresolved and their cooperation circumscribed by severe restrictions and limitations.[/I]


Since independence, Pakistan-India relations have been the victim of oscillations between short-lived periods of euphoria and raised expectations followed by long intervals marked by disappointment, strains, tensions and even armed conflicts. Consequently, both the countries continue to suffer from mutual mistrust and their bilateral disputes remain unresolved and their cooperation circumscribed by severe restrictions and limitations. Here is a brief commentary on the disputes that has plagued the mutual relations of these neighbouring nuclear powers.

[B]Kashmir[/B]
The long-standing Kashmir problem is at the heart of all the hostility and antagonism between insofar the two wars were fought mainly due to Kashmir. The 10-million Muslims of the Kashmir Valley want independence from Indian rule. Pakistan has always supported the noble cause for which Mujahideen are still shedding their blood. After Mumbai attacks, there has been complete impasse and no development was seen on this issue. However, Indian foreign secretary Nirupama Rao recently said that the Indian government has confessed that its policy of not engaging with Pakistan – post 26/11 was wrong. The year 2011 has witnessed the resumption of talks and a number of meetings have been held at secretary and minister levels. Pakistan-India semi final of the 2011 cricket World Cup has also helped proactively to diffuse the tensions.

This is not only in the interest of both countries but is of utmost importance for the whole region as well. Once the main bone of contention between India and Pakistan i.e. Kashmir is removed, then the two arch rivals and “enemies” can become friends and concentrate on socio-economic problems of their peoples within a peaceful atmosphere.

[B]Water[/B]
After Kashmir, the most serious conflict is the water dispute. The water dispute surfaced when the Indian Punjab cut off the flow of waters in April 1948. However, through the efforts of World Bank President Mr. Eugene Black the dispute was resolved and Indus Waters Treaty was signed in 1960. For smooth operation of the treaty a permanent India-Pakistan Indus Commission was established.

Pakistani concern heightened in the 1990s after India began constructing a hydroelectric power project on the Chenab River in the Doda district of Jammu & Kashmir. Since the Chenab is the key tributary of the Indus, Pakistani policy-makers and political commentators feared that India could exert control over the waters. Such control could be used to weaken the Pakistani economy and livestock, or could be used to cause floods in Pakistan by the release of water during times of war.The issue of Kishanganga project and Tulbul Barrage are also important ones.

The concern is escalating because Pakistan's agricultural sector would be greatly affected by the building of dams and by the external control of the waters of several rivers that flow into Pakistan.

In February 2010, both countries started the dialogue process again and the foreign secretaries of the two countries met in New Delhi but the dialogue ended on a bitter note. Pakistan was resolute to discuss the water issue while India was adamant on discussing terrorism. The Indus Commissioners met in April to resolve this issue but nothing concrete came out. India's obdurate behaviour is the biggest hurdle in the amicable settlement of this issue.

[B]Sir Creek [/B]
The Sir Creek is a 96 km (60 miles) strip of water in the Rann of Kutch marshlands. The Rann lies on the border between the Indian state of Gujarat and the Pakistani province of Sindh. Pakistan claims rights, in accordance with the Bombay Government Resolution of 1914, to the entire waters surrounding and fed by the creek. India, for its part, insists that it owns half of the area on the basis of the Thalweg Doctrine pertaining to international law.

In recent years, interest in the delimitation of a maritime boundary in this area has been heightened by the prospect of oil and gas being discovered offshore. Pakistan is insisting on defining the extremity of its land frontier in the Sir Creek area in a manner which will give it control over a larger EEZ. The Pakistani EEZ will be enlarged by around 250 square miles if India accepts the Green Line showing Sir Creek's eastern bank as the land boundary.

In May this year, Pakistan and India agreed to resolve the Sir Creek dispute, keeping in view the interests of both countries. During the final round of talks the focus was on developing a consensus on concluding a joint survey of Sir Creek that was decided during the Musharraf regime.
Pakistani concern heightened in the 1990s after India began constructing a hydroelectric power project on the Chenab River in the Doda district of Jammu & Kashmir.
The dispute over this estuary has hampered exploration for oil and gas and led to the detention of hundreds of fishermen from the two countries when they stray across the poorly demarcated border. Sir Creek needs to be resolved at the earliest, and it can be done if there is flexibility on the past of India.

[B]Siachen[/B]
The Siachen conflict began in 1984 with India's Operation Meghdoot during which it wrested control of the Siachen Glacier from Pakistan and forced the Pakistanis to retreat west of the Saltoro Ridge. India established control over all of the 70 kilometres long Siachen Glacier and all of its tributary glaciers, as well as the three main passes of the Saltoro Ridge immediately west of the glacier—Sia La, Bilafond La, and Gyong La.

The Siachen Glacier is the highest battleground on earth where India and Pakistan have fought intermittently since April 13, 1984. Both countries maintain permanent military presence in the region at a height of over 6,000 metres (20,000 ft). Till now, more than 2000 people have died in this inhospitable terrain.

The conflict in Siachen stems from the incompletely demarcated territory on the map beyond the map coordinate known as NJ9842. The 1972 Simla Agreement did not clearly mention who controlled the glacier, merely stating that from the NJ9842 location the boundary would proceed "thence north to the glaciers."

India turned down a Pakistani proposal seeking the immediate demilitarisation of Siachen, at the recently held talks between the senior defence officials in New Delhi. However, the two sides again came close to striking an agreement on Siachen and Sir Creek during Pervez Musharraf's regime but political upheaval in Pakistan prevented the historic breakthrough.

[B]Afghanistan[/B]
What makes the issue of Indian and Pakistanis actions in Afghanistan so complicated is that both parties have overriding national interests in the situation. For India, there are the issues of interest to a rising regional and global power, including access to valuable resources. Pakistan also has various strategic interests in Afghanistan which are crucial for its existence. Pakistan has seen India's rapid insertion of material support into Afghanistan as a strategic loss. Pakistan asserts that Delhi's consulates close to the Durand Line serve as hubs for aiding the Baluch insurgency. Pakistan thinks that any Indian involvement in Afghanistan is absolutely pernicious for its interests. India has spurned Pakistan's accusations and apprehensions about Indian presence but Barnett Rubin sees Pakistan's concerns over India's involvement in Afghanistan as one of its “legitimate interests.”

In this regard US role is of crucial importance especially after the drawdown announcement made by Obama. If Obama intends to solve the problems of Afghanistan, he would best take a page from his first major foreign policy paper, penned in July 2007. "I will encourage dialogue between Pakistan and India to work toward resolving their dispute over Kashmir," he wrote in Foreign Policy magazine, focusing on long-standing tensions over the contested territory that has led to two wars between the nuclear-armed nations.

[B]Trust deficit[/B]
The absence of trust is the biggest problem between India and Pakistan and anything that addresses this “trust deficit” is helpful in the way forward. The leaders of the two countries should initiate a peace process in which they address each other's concerns including those on Jammu and Kashmir, terrorism, Siachen and Sir Creek water sharing. This is all the more important because the existing suspicions and distrust about each other have been further exacerbated by irresponsible and distorted stories, carried by sections of the media in both the countries.

[B]The Recent Foreign minister- level talks[/B]
The foreign minister-level talks were held between India and Pakistan when Pakistani foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar visited India in July. Both the countries agreed to keep the peace process between them going. The joint statement was issued at the end of the talks and both the ministers discussed variety of issues. They discussed Jammu and Kashmir, counter-terrorism measures, including progress in 26/11 Mumbai attacks trial in Pakistan, humanitarian issues, commercial and economic cooperation, Wullar Barrage/Tulbul Navigation Project, Sir Creek, Siachen Glacier, peace and security including CBMs and promotion of friendly exchanges.

[B]Outcome of the Talks[/B]
The one firm outcome of the talks between the two ministers was the CBMs on cross-LoC travel and trade. The frequency of Srinagar-Muzaffarabad and Poonch-Rawalkote bus services would be increased; it was decided. Another important decision was to convene separate expert groups meetings on nuclear and conventional CBMs, which has been scheduled to be held in Islamabad in September 2011.India and Pakistan expressed satisfaction on holding of meeting on issues of counter-terrorism, including progress on 26/11 Mumbai attacks



[B]Conclusion[/B]
Both Pakistan and India need to avoid short-sighted policies for points-scoring or securing short-term gains which resulted into bede-villing their relations in the past and diverting their attention from gigantic tasks of eradicating poverty and raising the standard of living of their peoples. The steady improvement between Pakistan and India requires some further changes in the way they deal with each other. India, being the biggest country in the South Asian region must lead the way by discarding hegemonic designs in the region. The extremists in Indian politics and media should also be admonished for their arrogant and aggressive statements because as long as India continues to nurture such elements, its relations with Pakistan will remain marked by mutual mistrust, and non-cooperation. So, it is in the best interest of the whole region that both nuclear powers take all possible steps to solve all the long-standing issues between them.


[B]Prof. Khadim Ali Khan[/B]

Naveed_Bhuutto Monday, January 07, 2013 07:12 AM

[B][I][CENTER][SIZE="5"][COLOR="Blue"]Poor US Economy and Future Prospects[/COLOR][/SIZE][/CENTER][/I][/B]


[I]The Agency officially announced that the US economy is sick, and sick seriously.[/I]


The last month was not good for already stumbling US economy that received another blow from the leading credit rating agency Standard and Poor (S&P) which down-graded its credit rating from AAA to AA+. The S&P almost first time since its existence lowered long-term outlook on the sovereign U.S. debt to the downside, from stable to negative. This means that the position of the world's major currencies - the dollar - is much reduced. Although US government was able to pass a new act that increased the debt ceiling (amount of money the country could borrow), poor economic growth numbers have raised the prospects of another recession in the world's largest economy. The S&P dropped the United States rating one level over concerns that the country's plan to lower deficits does not go far enough. The Agency officially announced that the US economy is sick, and sick seriously. The credit rating downgrade stemmed not only from runaway US deficits and national debt, but also the expectation that America's debt burden will grow heavier in the future. The Managing Director of S&P, in an interview, pointed to Washington's inability to overcome political obstacles and enact aggressive fiscal reforms. S&P lists 5 pillars in its Sovereign Rating Framework as:
The S&P downgrade further fueled these speculations and came at a time when most analysts were busily revising down their growth estimates and talking about the recession.
Institutional effectiveness and political risks, reflected in the political score Economic structure and growth prospects, reflected in the economic score
External liquidity and international investment position, reflected in the external score

Fiscal performance and flexibility, as well as debt burden, reflected in the fiscal score
Monetary flexibility, reflected in the monetary score
(Source: Standard & Poor's Sovereign Rating Framework)

Economists were worried about the possibility of a stalling US economic recovery even before the S&P downgrade. Many reports point towards slowing down of the economy. For example, the Commerce Department's report announced expansion of US economy at an annual rate of 1.3 percent during the second quarter of the year which is pretty low by all standards. The S&P downgrade further fueled these speculations and came at a time when most analysts were busily revising down their growth estimates and talking about the recession. This is a further hit to business confidence and to household confidence. The critics of President Barak Obama term Standard & Poor's rating downgrade as a deeply troubling indicator of America's decline under President Obama. They blamed that his failed policies have led to high unemployment, skyrocketing deficits, and now, the unprecedented loss of nation's prized AAA credit rating.

The downgrading of credit rating of developed economies is not something new. In the past many countries received such downgrades. But with a solid reform program, they were able to pull out of such situation. Five countries, including Canada, Sweden and Australia, managed to regain their AAA rating after falling to AA+, as the United States did last month. But the quickest rating recovery took nine years to materialize, and came after enacting significant reforms to improve finances and boost economic output. The trouble for United States economy is that it has yet to demonstrate the capacity and commitment to change. Given the nature of the debate in the country and the polarization of views around fiscal policy, the S&P indicated that they do not see anything immediately on the horizon that would help an upgrade back to AAA again. The S&P downgrade is not really about the ability of the U.S. to meet its debt payments, it is about the ability of its policymakers to get their arms around the problems, and put the country back on the path of growth, jobs, and prosperity. And until they do that, the United States risk further downgrades.

The S&P report on down grading of US economy has profound psychological and economic effects for the world economy. It sent shock wave to the global economy, as a result, panic ran among global investors and they rushed to get out of risky assets like stocks. In just three weeks (from July 26 through Aug.11) about $6.8 trillion was wiped off the value of global equity markets. This news also did not go well because of America as the biggest debtor. China, Japan and Russia hold U.S. debt in their reserves as part of a financial portfolio. China holds more than one trillion dollar, Japan nearly 900 billion, while Russia holds over $ 150 billion. Total American government owed to its creditors over $ 14 trillion is nearly 100 percent of gross domestic product (GDP). The budget deficit has too long exceeded the rate of 3 per cent for countries with the highest rating, such as Germany and France, for example. In this new situation, investors are going to have to get accustomed to above- normal volatility. Economic uncertainty is going to continue to outweigh the good. The large price swings are indicative of uncertainty in the markets.

It is pertinent to note that the United States has the largest, most diverse and technologically advanced economy in the world. The population of US accounts for only about 4 percent of the world's population but its GDP is 26 percent of the world's total economic output. It is based on the private enterprise system that has only limited government intervention in areas such as health care, transportation, and retirement.

American companies are among the most productive and competitive in the world. In 1998, 9 of the 10 most profitable companies in the world were American (even the non-U.S. exception, Germany's Daimler-Chrysler, has a substantial part of its operations in the United States). Unlike their Japanese or Western European counterparts, American corporations have considerable freedom of operation and little government control over issues of product development, plant openings or closures, and employment. The United States also has a clear edge over the rest of the world in many high-tech industries, including computers, medical care, aerospace, and military equipment.

The United States has considerable natural resources. These resources include coal, copper, lead, phosphates, uranium, bauxite, gold, iron, mercury, nickel, silver, tungsten, zinc, petroleum, natural gas, and timber. It also has highly productive agricultural resources and is the world's largest food producer. The economy is bolstered by an excellent, though aging, infrastructure which makes the transport of goods relatively easy.

In the 1990s, the American economy experienced the second-longest period of growth in the nation's history. The economy grew at an average rate of 3-4 percent per year and unemployment fell below 5 percent. In addition, there were dramatic gains in the stock market and many of the nation's largest companies had record profits. Finally, a record number of Americans owned their own homes. This long period of growth ended in 2001, when the economy slowed dramatically following a crash in the high-technology sector.



Despite its impressive advantages, the American economy faces a number of problems. Most of the products and services of the nation are consumed internally, but the economy cannot produce enough goods to keep up with consumer demand. As a result, for several decades the United States has imported far more products than it exports. This trade deficit exists entirely in manufactured goods. The United States actually has trade surpluses in agriculture and services. When adjusted for the surpluses, the U.S. trade deficit in 2000 amounted to a record $447 billion. The United States has been able to sustain trade deficits year after year because foreign individuals and companies remain willing to invest in the United States. In 2000, there was $270 billion in new foreign investment in

American companies and businesses.
Another major problem for the American economy is the income inequality, with some Americans enjoying very high income levels while others remain in poverty. As the workplace becomes more technologically sophisticated, unskilled workers find themselves trapped in minimum wage or menial jobs. In 1999, despite the strong economic growth of the 1990s, 12.7 percent of Americans lived below the poverty line. There are other wage problems in the United States. Although the economy has grown substantially, most of the gains in income have gone to the top 20 percent of households. The top 10 percent of households earned 28.5 percent of the nation's wealth, while the bottom 10 percent accounted for only 1.5 percent. There is also a growing number of Americans who are not covered by medical insurance.

Although American economy has diversity, services dominate economic activity and accounts for approximately 80 percent of the country's GDP. On the other hand, manufacturing accounts for only 18 percent, while agriculture accounts for 2 percent. Financial services, health care, and information technology are among the fastest growing areas of the service sector. Although industry has declined steeply from its height in the 1950s, the American manufacturing sector remains strong. Two of the largest American corporations, General Electric and General Motors, have manufacturing and production as their base, although they have both diversified into the service sector as well. Meanwhile, despite continuing declines, agriculture remains strong in the United States. One of the main trends in the agricultural sector has been the erosion of the family farm and its replacement by the large corporate farm. This has made the sector more productive, although there has also been a decrease in the number of farmers and farm workers.

Since the middle of the 20th century, the United States has aggressively pursued free and open trade. It helped found a number of international organizations whose purpose is to promote free trade, including the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), now known as the World Trade Organization (WTO). It has also engaged in free trade agreements with particular nations. The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) between the United States, Canada, and Mexico is an example of this. One continuing problem for American companies engaged in foreign trade is that the United States is much more open to trade than many other nations. As a result, it is easy for foreign companies to sell their goods and services in the United States, but American firms often find it difficult to export their products to other countries.
The trouble for United States economy is that it has yet to demonstrate the capacity and commitment to change.


The nation is a net provider of economic aid. It provides $6.9 billion in direct aid to nations. In addition, the United States funds many international organizations. It provides 25 percent of the operating budget of the United Nations and almost 50 percent of the budget for day-today NATO (The North Atlantic Treaty Organization is a military alliance of 19 countries in Europe and North America) operations. Nonetheless, this aid has only a small impact on the U.S. budget. All spending on international affairs, including the costs of maintaining embassies overseas, foreign aid, and support for international organizations, amounted to $19.5 billion in 1999. That was only 0.01 percent of the federal budget. In comparison, in 1999 the United States spent $26.7 billion to fund the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

None of this will help the U.S. standing in the world if the American government is not going to introduce reforms. Already, outside commentators have seen the U.S. debt and the political system's clumsy handling of it as proof of American decline. A debt deal that extends the fraught politics over deficit cuts through the end of this year is likely to keep this painful issue in the headlines. Also, the borrowing authority that the president has been granted will keep the government running only until 2013. In less than two years, this fight will resume again.

[B](Source: Newspapers and internet)
Dr Zafar Mueen Nasir[/B]

Naveed_Bhuutto Thursday, January 10, 2013 07:30 AM

[B][I][CENTER][COLOR="RoyalBlue"][SIZE="5"]Could Hiroshima be saved?[/SIZE][/COLOR][/CENTER][/I][/B]


[I][I]By the summer of 1945, the Japanese had virtually lost almost their entire naval and air force and a single air attack on Tokyo had killed around 83,000 people in March.
[/I][/I]

“I have become death, the destroyer of the worlds.” This line from the famous Hindu poem Bhagvat Gita was recalled by the American physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer, on witnessing the first test explosion of the atomic bomb.

After the defeat of Hitler’s Germany in May, 1945, the Allies were concentrating all of their energies and resources on their war against the Japanese in the Pacific; and were urging them to surrender unconditionally or to face “Prompt and utter destruction.” The meaning of “utter destruction” became vividly clear to the whole world when on August 6, Hiroshima became the target of the first atomic bomb without any explicit warning. According to the US estimates, 70,000 to 80,000 people were killed or missing and equal number of people were injured in the initial blast. (The Japanese estimate of casualties is much higher.) Every year, on August 6, when thousands of people get together in the Peace Memorial Park built at the site where the bomb exploded, to remember those who were slaughtered in this lethal attack, they ask themselves whether it was really necessary to bomb their city. For a satisfactory answer to such questions, we need to have a clear understanding of the situation prevailing at that time and the views of those who were at the helm of affairs in those final moments of the World War-II.

By the summer of 1945, the Japanese had virtually lost almost their entire naval and air force and a single air attack on Tokyo had killed around 83,000 people in March. US intelligence agents had successfully broken the Japanese diplomatic codes and were continuously listening to the cable traffic between Tokyo and its embassies all over the world. After the German defeat, all indications suggested that the Japanese had realised the inevitability of their defeat. They were only waiting for some honourable terms of surrender from the Allies. They needed some sufficient pretext for ending the war to satisfy the die hard elements within their army. With the crumbling of the Japanese strength, a full scale US invasion of Japan was also being planned for early 1946. In these circumstances, the US intelligence experts generally believed that the Japanese would agree to surrendered if they were assured that their emperor Hirohito (whom they regarded as a god) would be allowed to remain in office (though with nominal powers similar to those of the British monarch) and would not be tried for war crimes. It was further suggested that such assurances should be accompanied by another military shock, which would come in the form of a declaration of war against Japan by the USSR, followed by a Red Army attack on Manchuria, a Chinese territory bordering on the USSR which was occupied by the Japanese. This Soviet attack was widely expected in August. On July 13, US intelligence officials decoded a message in which the Japanese foreign minister Togo told his ambassador to the Soviet Union that the emperor wanted to end the war and that the main obstacle to peace was the US insistence on unconditional surrender. But the Truman Administration seemed in no mood to take any serious notice of it. The reason was that work on the making of the atomic bomb was feverishly going on and Truman was waiting for its final outcome, before giving any concessions to the Japanese in the form of assurances regarding their emperor.



On July 16, 1945, the first atomic bomb was successfully tested in New Mexico and this changed the whole scenario for Truman, who realised that after possessing the world’s most powerful weapon, he no longer required the Soviet help for ending the war and that he could also use this weapon as a potent threat against the Soviet Union in any future confrontation with it (Because the signs of tensions and differences over Europe were already becoming visible between the two countries.) Moreover, Americans had lost thousands of their soldiers in its war against Japan and the American public opinion was bitterly against giving any concessions to the Japanese government. By inflicting maximum damage on Japan, Truman was hoping to assemble maximum political support for his future political career.
Americans had lost thousands of their soldiers in its war against Japan and the American public opinion was bitterly against giving any concessions to the Japanese government. By inflicting maximum damage on Japan, Truman was hoping to assemble maximum political support for his future political career.

Thus, on the pretext of ending the war at the earliest time and minimizing the loss of further American lives in the war, he authorised the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima on August 6, causing untold destruction and misery. Some analysts argue that it was an attempt on his part to hasten the end of the war, but even they cannot justify the dropping of another atomic bomb on Nagasaki just three days later, because the massive death and destruction brought about by the first bomb was quite sufficient to convince everyone that the Japanese surrender had become inevitable. It is interesting to note however, that even the two dreadful atomic bombs could not force the Japanese to capitulate immediately. They agreed to surrender five days later on August 14, only after receiving US assurances (though in implicit terms) regarding their emperor. It is argued that in case of a full scale invasion of Japan, many more American lives would have been lost. It is impossible to estimate the exact number of US casualties in such a case, but it is quite obvious that if in early April, the US government had given the above mentioned assurances to the already much weakened Japanese army, accompanied by the threat of an imminent Soviet attack, there would have been no need for a full scale US invasion of Japan and thus, the lives of those Americans and Japanese who were killed in the fighting between April and August could have been saved. In simpler terms, the bomb delayed the ending of the war and thus, caused more American and Japanese casualties.

Truman and his Secretary of State Byrnes were the most vocal advocates of the dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki and their will prevailed. But with the passage of time, it became increasingly clear that many top military officials of that time were not in favour of if, though they did not openly express their dissent at that time. For instance, General Eisenhower, who was the Supreme Commander of Allied forces in Europe during the World War-II and the President of the US from 1953 to 1961, later on recalled in his book “Mandate For Change” that when he came to know from the Secretary of War Henry Stimson that an atomic bomb was about to be dropped on a Japanese city, he had a feeling of depression and expressed his grave misgivings about the whole affair to Stimson “First on the basis of my belief that Japan was already defeated and that dropping the bomb was completely unnecessary, and secondly because I thought that our country should avoid shocking world opinion by the use of a weapon whose employment was, I thought, no longer mandatory as a measure to save American lives.”

Even more forceful views on this subject were expressed in his book “I Was There” by Admiral William Leahy, who was President Truman’s Chief of Staff. “…The use of this barbarous weapon at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan. The Japanese were already defeated and ready to surrender.…

“…In being the first to use it, we … adopted an ethical standard common to the barbarians of the Dark Ages. I was not taught to make war in that fashion, and wars cannot be won by destroying women and children.”

Other prominent figures who regarded the bombing of Hiroshima as unnecessary include General Douglas Macarthur, the Supreme Commander of Allied forces in the Pacific, General George Marshall, President Roosevelt’s Chief of Staff and President Truman’s Secretary of State, General Henry H. 'Hap' Arnold, commander of the US Army Air Forces; Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, Commander-in-Chief of the Pacific Fleet; Admiral William Halsey, commander of the Third Fleet; Curtis Lemay, Army Air Force major general and commander of the 21st Bomber Command; and many others.

The above evidence clearly proves that the Japanese had already been completely humbled down and their destruction of their cities by means of atomic bombs was quite unnecessary. Even then, the Americans used them perhaps, to estimate the extent of their destructive capability, hoping that this information might be useful for them in their future wars. During the recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Americans were again accused by some quarters of deliberately testing their newly developed weapons on innocent civilians. The debate over the legitimacy of Hiroshima bombing may continue for a long time to come, but every impartial historian is likely to conclude that Hiroshima could surely be saved, because even if the atomic bomb had not been dropped on it, the outcome of the war would have remained the same.


[B]Professor Abdul Rauf[/B]

Naveed_Bhuutto Tuesday, January 15, 2013 02:58 PM

[B][I][CENTER][SIZE="5"][COLOR="Blue"]At last South Sudan[/COLOR][/SIZE][/CENTER][/I][/B]


[B]South Sudan became a United Nations 193rd member state
[/B]



Full name: Republic of South Sudan
Population:7.5-9.7 million (UN estimate, 2006)
Capital: Juba
Area:619,745 sq km (239,285 sq miles)
Major languages: English, Arabic (both official), Juba Arabic, Dinka, others
Major religions: Traditional religions, Christianity
President: Salva Kiir Mayardiit

South Sudan is bordered by Ethiopia to the east; Kenya to the southeast; Uganda to the south; the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the southwest; the Central African Republic to the west; and Sudan to the north.

Sudan got its independence from joint British and Egypt in 1956. After that the people in south Sudan felt that the promise undertaken at the time of independence was not fulfilled as having the federal form of government and participation of the south in the government. Due to it, army in south Sudan rebelled against north leading towards civil war. The first Civil War (1956-1972) ended when Addis Ababa Agreement signed in 1972 which promised autonomy for the south.

Hardly the agreement was in force when in 1983 the president of Sudan, Gaafar Nimeiry, declared enforcement of Shaira in the whole Sudan even including the south Sudan. It was the start of the second rebellion in South Sudan because promised-autonomy was withdrawn once again. The civil continued from 1983 to 2005 when Comprehensive Peace Agreement 2005 was signed between Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) and government of Sudan aiming at giving south Sudan democratic share and oil revenues. It was also concluded that a referendum would be held in 2011 for its independence.

In 2005 agreement, the government of South Sudan was formed which would administer 10 states of south. Actually it was the first step towards their seeking independence. In 2011, as promised in Peace Agreement 2005 to conduct referendum, it was done and 99 per cent south Sudan sought for separation. North Sudan was the first to recognize it suddenly after its independence. During this period it is widely believed that more than 1.5 million people lost their lives and more than four million displaced. On 14 July 2011, South Sudan became a United Nations 193rd member state.

Now the further issue rises as how to settle the following issues:
Drawing up the new border
How to divide Sudan's debts and oil wealth
Whether the new country will have its own currency
What rights southerners will have in the north - and vice versa
How vigorously the border will be enforced.

Secondly, south Sudan is rich in oil but most of the oil refineries are situated in North Sudan. It will remain a hot and complex issue due to the division of oil resources which was a main motive behind the independence of South Sudan.



If we compare the independence of South Sudan having a Christian country with other Muslim countries seeking their independence we will conclude that America is only the champion of the rights of the Christian and other religions except Islam. One can quote the example of Kashmir; a long issue claimed hundred and thousands lived but how many more lives will be sacrificed only God knows.

A chronology of key events
1899-1955 - South Sudan is part of Anglo-Egyptian Sudan, under joint British-Egyptian rule.
1956 - Sudan gains independence from joint British-Egyptian rule.
1962 - Civil war led by the southern separatist Anya Nya movement begins with north.
1969 - Group of socialist and communist Sudanese military officers led by Col Jaafar Muhammad Numeiri seizes power; Col Numeiri outlines policy of autonomy for south.
1972 - Government of Sudanese President Jaafar Numeiri concedes a measure of autonomy for southern Sudan in a peace agreement signed in Addis Ababa.
1978 - Oil discovered in Unity State in southern Sudan.
1983 - Fighting breaks out again between north and south Sudan, under leadership of John Garang's Sudanese People's Liberation Movement (SPLM), after Sudanese President Jaafar Numeiri abolishes South Sudan's autonomy.
1988 - Democratic Unionist Party - part of Sudan's ruling coalition government - drafts cease-fire agreement with the SPLM, but it is not implemented.
1989 - Military seizes power in Sudan.
1993 - Revolution Command Council dissolved after Omar Bashir is appointed president of Sudan.
2001 - Sudanese Islamist leader Hassan Al-Turabi's party, the Popular National Congress, signs memorandum of understanding with the southern rebel SPLM's armed wing, the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA). Al-Turabi is arrested the next day.
2002 - SPLA and Sudanese sign agreement on six-month renewable cease-fire in central Nuba Mountains - a key rebel stronghold.
2005 January - North/South Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) ends civil war; deal provides for a permanent ceasefire, autonomy for the south, a power-sharing government involving rebels in Khartoum and a south Sudanese referendum on independence in six years' time.
2005 July - Former southern rebel leader John Garang is sworn in as first vice-president. A new Sudanese constitution which gives the south a large degree of autonomy is signed.
2005 August - South Sudanese leader John Garang is killed in a plane crash. He is succeeded by Salva Kiir Mayardiit.
2005 September - Power-sharing government is formed in Khartoum.
2005 October - Autonomous government is formed in South Sudan, in line with the January 2005 peace deal. The administration is dominated by former rebels.
2006 November - Hundreds die in fighting centred on the southern town of Malakal - the heaviest between northern Sudanese forces and former rebels since the 2005 peace deal.
2007 October - SPLM temporarily suspends participation in national unity government, accusing Khartoum of failing to honour the 2005 peace deal.
2007 December - SPLM resumes participation in national unity government.
2008 June - Southern Sudanese leader Salva Kiir and Sudanese President Omar Bashir agree to seek international arbitration to resolve dispute over Abyei.
2009 June - Khartoum government denies it is supplying arms to ethnic groups in the south to destabilise the region.
2009 July - North and south Sudan say they accept ruling by arbitration court in The Hague shrinking disputed Abyei region and placing the major Heglig oil field in the north.
2009 December - Leaders of North and South reach deal on terms of referendum on independence due in South by 2011.
2010 January - President Omar Bashir says he would accept referendum result, even if South opted for independence.
2011 January - The people of South Sudan vote in favour of full independence from Sudan.
2011 May - North occupies disputed border region of Abyei.
2011 June - Governments of north and south Sudan sign accord to demilitarize the disputed Abyei region and let in an Ethiopian peacekeeping force.
2011 July 9 - Independence day.

Naveed_Bhuutto Tuesday, January 15, 2013 02:59 PM

[B][I][SIZE="5"][COLOR="Blue"]Pak-German Relations: History of Time-Tested Cooperation[/COLOR][/SIZE][/I][/B]


[I]Germany is Pakistan's fourth largest trading partner and biggest trading partner in the European Union.[/I]


Pakistan is located in one of the most important economic zones of the world. Being a strategic location, at the crossroads of China, the Middle East and Central Asia, with a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with China and Sri Lanka and home to 177 million consumers, Pakistan offers matchless prospects for trade and investment to world community. Besides, Pakistan is traditionally regarded as gateway to Central Asia with ever-growing investment potential and business opportunities being a vast agro-based country with huge mineral and industrial potential.

Above all, Pakistan is full of talent and our industrious manpower has made significant headway in the world labour markets. Pakistani expatriates, as individuals have performed outstandingly in Europe, US and Middle East. Pakistan and Germany enjoy extremely close, warm and historical relations.

Germany is Pakistan's fourth largest trading partner and biggest trading partner in the European Union. Germany has been a reliable partner in trade, development, military, scientific and cultural cooperation. The collaboration between Germany and Pakistan dates back to the creation of Pakistan. Pakistan has the honour of being the first country with which the Federal Republic of Germany entered into bilateral investment treaty in 1959 and to commemorate the 50th anniversary of this treaty another bilateral Trade Investment Treaty was signed in December 2009 to redefine and upgrade their economic relationship in the 21st century. The new instrument is more investment friendly. It builds upon long-standing corporate relations and takes both countries into a new era of mutually beneficial collaboration. Presently, Germany is the eighth largest investor in Pakistan and several German multi-nationals are operating in Pakistan.

Germany is home to 53,668 Pakistani immigrants. It is the third largest country for higher education for the Pakistani students and Germany has been providing scholarships. There are at present 2,000 Pakistani scholars enrolled in German universities for higher studies. As one of the founding members of the Friends of Democratic Pakistan (FoDP), Germany has actively participated in the group's meetings. It pledged Euro 115 million at the Tokyo donors Conference (Euro 80 million provided under Bilateral Development Cooperation).

Germany has also extended active support to Pakistan's initiatives with the EU for providing greater market access to Pakistani exports to EU. German government and German people had contributed generously for flood affected people amounting close to $300 million that included $210 million from ordinary German people. Germany has significantly enhanced the Development Assistance from Euro 64 million in 2007-08 to Euro 145.4 million in 2009-10. This assistance is focused on four priority areas, namely, basic education, primary healthcare, renewable energy/energy efficiency and microfinance/poverty alleviation.

The two countries enjoy remarkable ties during last 64 years but since the last couple of years the relationship is not growing at the historical pace and it needs to rejuvenate the bilateral trade and investment relationship. There is ample space to expand and further strengthen the bilateral relations and cooperation in various fields including economy, education, defence, infrastructure and energy. Germany has expertise in the area of renewable energy and agriculture sector and it could extend cooperation in these two important areas. Pakistan is the third largest milk producing country and Germany can help Pakistan to preserve milk and milk products. Germany can help Pakistan by enhancing counter-terrorism capacity through provision of necessary equipment and training.
Germany has expertise in the area of renewable energy and agriculture sector and it could extend cooperation in these two important areas.
Pakistan and Germany share belief in market forces, private entrepreneurship and free enterprise. The private sector of our country is the pillar of our growth. The multinational companies (MNCs) experience in Pakistan has been a success in terms of their expansion and prosperity. More than 200 multinational companies are already working in the country, with laws guaranteeing full protection. German companies are also well established in Pakistan and their products and technology are highly valued and admired in Pakistan.

Pakistan has abundance of untapped natural resources, rapidly growing telecommunication and information technology industry, an improving transportation network; a well-established banking system with almost 20 per cent stake belonging to foreign banks and above all industrious and quality manpower. Pakistan has offered one of the most competitive packages of fiscal and monetary incentives in the world for investors with an investment climate, rated highly for its business friendliness. All sectors of our economy are open to business and anyone can start business without approval or sanction on hundred per cent equity ownership basis.

Foreign investment is given top priority and it remains fully protected by law. Their yield is one of the highest in the world. By widening the area of prosperity, and spreading the dividends of development through investing in Pakistan it can help catalyse societal change and increases security for all. This is also a win-win scenario for both countries. Pakistan is striving hard to attract investment in many sectors as falling investment-to-GDP ratio is the most critical element of concern. Pakistan has signed bilateral investment promotion and protection agreements with 47 countries of the world to boost investment in productive sectors of the economy to enhance job creation ability of the economy.

Moreover, Special Economic Zones (SEZs) are being established in Pakistan where investors enjoy additional facilities. Investor can freely remit royalty, technical and franchise fee, capital, profits and dividends and can enjoy high rates of return. The government is trying to build a better future, for Pakistan, for the region and the world and Pakistan badly needs partnership with time-tested friend like Germany. The investment treaty signed 50 years ago can rejuvenate and strengthen bilateral relations between two countries.


[B]The writer is the finance minister.
Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh[/B]


11:24 AM (GMT +5)

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