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Pakistan News And Discussion-9 - Guest - 12-10-2006

<b>Complete shutter down strike observed in Baloch majority areas on arrival of President Musharraf </b>

QUETTA: Complete shutter down strike was observed in Baloch majority areas on the arrival of President Musharraf in Quetta on Thursday.

The shutter down call was observed on the call of BNP (Mengal) and National Party.

On the arrival of President Musharraf in Quetta, BNP Mengal and other nationalist parties of Balochistan announced for a complete shutter down strike against the death of Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti, ongoing military operation in Balochistan and arrest of political leaders and observing the day as Black Day.

In this regard, complete shutter down was observed in Baloch majority areas including Siryab road, Barori road, Hadda and other surrounding areas that of Mastung, Qalat, Khazdar, Noshaki, Dalbadin, Vidh, Turbat, Gwadar and Pinjghor.

On the other hand, black flags were hovering on top of public transport vehicles and flying high on buildings.

Pakistan News And Discussion-9 - Naresh - 12-11-2006

[center]<b><span style='font-size:21pt;line-height:100%'>The end of dialogue? Dr Ayesha Siddiqa</span></b>[/center]

<i>Greater provincial autonomy accompanied with the introduction of a bottom-up approach to development and politics would improve conditions in Balochistan where the nationalists fret over the top-down development agenda which could change socio-economic reality of their province</i>

Recently, I was at a seminar on Balochistan in London. The meeting, organised by the Foreign Policy Centre, was held in a committee room at the House of Commons and was attended by a large number of Baloch nationalists, hidden and not-so-hidden representatives from the Pakistani High Commission, other Pakistani nationals and members of the international media.

Participants spoke at cross-purposes and evinced a near-total inability to engage in a dialogue. Despite the predominant presence of the Baloch nationalists, it was Pakistan’s Minister of State for Information, Tariq Azeem who stole the show. He very forcefully drove the point home that since there weren’t too many people to present the statist perspective on the issue, the seminar denoted a bias against the government of Pakistan. He also pointed out how Islamabad was trying hard to bring development to the province and, in doing that had even lowered the standards to allow the Baloch to join the military. He determined that this was the best way to pull the Baloch out of their social backwardness and join the mainstream of economic development and progress.

The minister’s performance was impressive and reiterated what General Pervez Musharraf has been saying: the conflict is purely domestic and it needn’t be discussed in international forums; also, that it basically represents the tension between the myopic nationalists who want to keep the Baloch backward and the state that wants to modernise the tribal society.

Azeem’s voice, however, fell on deaf ears because the nationalists did not want to hear the official perspective, especially after the killing of Nawab Akbar Bugti. The situation at the seminar reminded me of the editorial in Daily Times after Bugti’s death which had pointed out the huge opportunity cost of killing a Baloch leader. A couple of days of interaction with the Baloch nationalists made it clearer to me the damage the state had done to its own cause by killing Bugti and creating a hero out of him.

For their part, the nationalists seem to have run out of options and find it difficult to move away from the maximalist position of struggling for an independent Balochistan. Although the international community, which the nationalists seek to address through such seminars, is not prepared to bite just yet, given its relations with Islamabad and the likely impact of Pakistan’s balkanisation on the region, there is very little sympathy among the nationalists for a Pakistani state or the development agenda proposed by Islamabad.

A better option would be for the Baloch to approach the issue on the basis of asking for greater autonomy and partnership in the province’s development. After all, why would General Musharraf not consider greater autonomy for Balochistan, especially after he has presented a similar proposal for Kashmir?

Musharraf’s proposal regarding autonomy for Kashmir is commendable since it is not just about changes in the governance of a territory but also about the meltdown of the political power structure. The Kashmiris are unhappy with New Delhi’s politics despite the fact that no one in India is allowed to buy property in Kashmir. Such policies were adopted to alleviate the concerns of the Kashmiris regarding other nationalities moving into Kashmir and dominating the socio-economic milieu. However, this approach did not make the Kashmiris happy because the overall policy framework continued to be top-down. Greater autonomy is likely to alter the political structure by making the Kashmiris more relevant to the State’s politics and governance.

Similarly, greater provincial autonomy accompanied with the introduction of a bottom-up approach to development and politics would improve conditions in Balochistan where the nationalists fret over the top-down development agenda which could change socio-economic reality of their province. Their fear is that allowing other ethnic groups to come and settle in Balochistan would turn them into a minority. The bottom-up approach to development, on the other hand, would necessarily mean allowing the Baloch to govern themselves and set the agenda. This would also mean more schools, hospitals, training centres etc rather than investing in large cantonments or structures in which the people feel that they do not have any ownership.

Currently, Balochistan has about 43 paramilitary cantonments, six cantonments with three others in the making, three naval bases and hundreds of military checkpoints. The Baloch consider these as symbols of state coercion, especially when they have very little representation in the military. Balochistan’s share of personnel in the armed forces is about 0.1 percent which does not necessarily mean that all these personnel are Baloch. This figure pertains to all those who have joined the services on a Balochistan domicile. Furthermore, most of the senior positions in the provincial government are manned by Punjabis or other ethnic groups. This situation can change only if more Baloch would join the civil services and the military. However, this should not require lowering standards to accommodate the Baloch; instead, the government should improve the standards of the Baloch by bringing better education to the province.

The top-down model, as is obvious from the conditions in the province, suffers from inherent problems. It creates artificial and fragile partnerships. For instance, while the government killed a brutal tribal leader, Nawab Akbar Bugti, it also replaced him with other people most of whom are ‘wanted’ men.

Although men in similar conditions are holding important positions in other provinces as well, the fact is that the use of this approach in Balochistan is analogous to Mancur Olsen’s concept of replacing stationary bandits with roving bandits. But the men that have replaced Bugti in Balochistan, given the nature of the Baloch society, would always be afraid of someone avenging Bugti’s death. Hence, they would never be able to settle down and bring stability. In fact, the more weapons and money they get for establishing control over the area, it would bring greater mayhem and instability.

The government’s plan to develop the province is undoubtedly a good idea. But this must only be achieved through creating a sense of ownership among the Baloch of the development process. The development of Gwadar, which is currently controlled by the central government or the fact that the first phase of the project only employed about 100 Baloch and that too on daily-wage basis, does not provide that ownership.

The Baloch are also suspicious about the division of resources. The latest report of the State Bank of Pakistan claims that the provincial government has run an overdraft of Rs22 billion and is liable to pay Rs22 million annually as interest on this overdraft. The Balochistan government will never be able to pay back this money with its meagre earnings of Rs1.6 billion. Such conditions are directly linked with the fact that the central government pays the lowest amount for the natural gas obtained from the province. The gas from Balochistan costs $0.38 per thousand cubic feet versus $2 from Sindh and $3 from Punjab.

The situation is far more complex and calls for a major meltdown of the existing power structure in the country. Introducing a bottom-up approach towards the crisis would automatically result in changing the entire structure of centre-province relations.

<i>The author is an Islamabad-based independent defence analyst. She is also an author of a book on Pakistan’s arms procurement decision-making, and on the military’s economic interests</i>

Cheers <!--emo&:beer--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/cheers.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='cheers.gif' /><!--endemo-->

Pakistan News And Discussion-9 - Naresh - 12-12-2006

[center]<b><span style='font-size:21pt;line-height:100%'>Pakistan never claimed Kashmir as its integral part</span></b> <!--emo&:flush--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/Flush.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='Flush.gif' /><!--endemo-->[/center]

<b>ISLAMABAD – In what is seen as a significant shift in Islamabad’s stand on Kashmir, the Foreign Office on Monday said Pakistan never claimed Jammu and Kashmir to be its integral part and the dispute is about the “aspirations” of Kashmiri people.</b>

“First of all Pakistan does not claim Kashmir.Kashmir dispute is about aspirations of Kashmiris,” Foreign Office spokesperson Tasnim Aslam said while addressing weekly press briefing here.

She said this while answering a question on President Pervez Musharraf’s remarks in interview to an Indian news channel that Pakistan is willing to give up its claim on Kashmir in pursuit of an acceptable negotiated settlement.

Tasnim said, “Pakistan never claimed Kashmir to be its integral part. What we said is Kashmiris should be able to decide their future. We hope they would opt for Pakistan. This is what they have been saying.”
She said even if Kashmiris opted for Pakistan in accordance with the UN resolutions, in that case too we would talk to the Kashmiri leaders.

Tasnim denied that there was any shift in Pakistan’s stand and said even the country’s successive constitutions since independence never claimed Kashmir as part of Pakistan.

She said that this was the reason why Azad Kashmir had a president and prime minister. “Had it been part of Pakistan it should have had a chief minister and a governor,” she said.

She said that President Musharraf had not stated Pakistan would give up its stand on Kashmir unilaterally.
The remarks of Foreign Office spokesperson drew angry reaction from the media people who persistently asked her on what basis Pakistan could say it has no claim over Kashmir and what happened to slogans like “Kashmir banega Pakistan (Kashmir will become part of Pakistan).”

The journalists reminded the spokesperson that it was the father of the nation, Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, who termed Kashmir as “jugular vein” of Pakistan asking her how could she say that Pakistan never claimed Kashmir.

Tasnim said that Pakistan had not given up its position on Kashmir and stood by the resolutions passed by the UN Security Council to resolve the issue according to the aspirations of Kashmiri people.

To a question on Baglihar dam, the spokesperson said that World Bank neutral expert had deferred his judgment because Pakistan had brought certain new elements in his notice on the issue and he was looking at them before giving the final decision.

She said that Pakistan expected him to abide by the Indus Water Treaty under which he had been appointed.

Answering another query, she said that Pakistan had no differences with Afghanistan on the formation of proposed Loya Jirga that would discuss ways to end violence in the neighbouring country.

She said that Foreign Minister Khurshid Kasuri, in his visit to Kabul, gave comprehensive proposals regarding the formation of Jirga. She said that Afghan side would be handing over its proposals today to our ambassador in Kabul.

To a question on President Karzai’s speech in which he said that he could not stop infiltration from Pakistan, she said that terrorism was the problem for the whole region and due to Afghanistan issue, Pakistan had also been suffering from this menace since long.

“We are also victim of terrorism and facing it with bravery and courage having a determination to curb this menace,” she said.

She termed as baseless, the report of International Crisis Group that Pakistani pacts with pro-Taliban militants on the Afghan border have facilitated attacks on foreign troops in Afghanistan and allowed the militants to expand influence in Pakistan.

She referred to a recent UN report as much credible that said, Afghanistan’s insurgency was linked to its booming drug trade. She added that according to this report, corruption and the failure of governance, posed a grave threat to Afghan nation building.

On US-India nuclear deal, the spokesperson said that Pakistan’s position on the accessibility to nuclear technology was very clear adding that Islamabad had genuine energy requirements and Pakistan should have access to nuclear technology to meet its needs.

On Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz’s visit to Saudi Arabia, she said that Pakistan had very close brotherly relations with that country and the prime minister would discuss all aspects of our relations with the Saudi leadership including regional issues like Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine and Lebanon etc.

Tasnim said that the Egyptian Foreign Minister would visit Islamabad next week and he would discuss almost all the issues of mutual interest with his Pakistani counterpart.

Cheers <!--emo&:beer--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/cheers.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='cheers.gif' /><!--endemo-->

Pakistan News And Discussion-9 - Guest - 12-12-2006

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->ISLAMABAD – In what is seen as a significant shift in Islamabad’s stand on Kashmir, the Foreign Office on Monday said Pakistan never claimed Jammu and Kashmir to be its integral part and the dispute is about the “aspirations” of Kashmiri people.

“First of all Pakistan does not claim Kashmir.Kashmir dispute is about aspirations of Kashmiris,” Foreign Office spokesperson Tasnim Aslam said while addressing weekly press briefing here.
What about occupied POK? Do they consider same?

Pakistan News And Discussion-9 - Guest - 12-12-2006

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Pakistani journalists walk out of briefing
Nirupama Subramanian

Upset over spokeswoman's statement

"Pakistan never claimed Kashmir as part of its territory" "We are not the ones that had a forced union"


Pakistani journalists walked out of the weekly Foreign Ministry briefing on Monday shaking their heads in disbelief at what they had just heard the spokeswoman say inside - that Pakistan had never claimed Kashmir as an integral part of its territory.

The spokeswoman said this when asked to clarify President Pervez Musharraf's remarks to NDTV that Pakistan would be willing to give up its claim on Kashmir if India were to show similar flexibility in the search for a solution to the issue.

<b>"We were brought up on the Kashmir Banega Pakistan [Kashmir will join Pakistan] slogan, that Kashmir belonged to Pakistan," said one senior journalist after the briefing, confessing to being "totally confused."</b>  <!--emo&:roll--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/ROTFL.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='ROTFL.gif' /><!--endemo-->

At the briefing, asked about that slogan, spokeswoman Tasnim Aslam had simply said: "That is a slogan of Kashmiris, not of Pakistan." She added that it was Pakistan's hope that, were a plebiscite held, Kashmiris would choose Pakistan over India.

<b>When a journalist asked about "the fate of Azad Kashmir [Pakistan occupied Kashmir] in this new situation," Ms. Aslam retorted: "Which new situation? Do we say that Azad Kashmir is part of Pakistan? Azad Kashmir has its own president and prime minister. If we are claiming it as an integral part of Pakistan, we would have had a governor and chief minister there." </b>

<b>One agitated journalist asked why Pakistan had invested so heavily in military and diplomatic efforts in the name of Kashmir if it had no claim to it in the first place.</b>  <!--emo&Confusedtupid--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/pakee.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='pakee.gif' /><!--endemo-->

Another asked if this had been the actual position all along, had Pakistani politicians deliberately misrepresented it to the people.

But the spokeswoman was unmoved. As the questions flew, she kept repeating her statement about Pakistan never having claimed Kashmir as an integral part of its territory, only hoping Kashmiris would choose to join Pakistan in the event of a plebiscite. She asked people to look up history books.

"Please, I think you need to go back and study Pakistan's historical position from 1947 to this date. We are not the ones that had a forced union and then claimed that territory," she said. <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Pakistan News And Discussion-9 - Naresh - 12-13-2006

[center]<b><span style='font-size:21pt;line-height:100%'>Soldiers of Fortune Big Grinr. Ayesha Siddiqa</span></b>[/center]

[right]<b>Interview : Brig® Syed Mujtaba : Gulmina Bilal</b>[/right]

[right]<b>Business in Jackboots : Gulmina Bilal</b>[/right]

<b>The Pakistan military is among several other armed forces in the world engaged in commercial ventures. Today, its financial empire has an approximate financial size of 200 billion rupees with military-controlled welfare foundations operating in areas ranging from banking, insurance, leasing and real estate to private security, education, airlines, cargo services, knitwear, and major agri-based industries.

These businesses denote an additional cost for the government because of the use of state assets. <span style='font-size:12pt;line-height:100%'>A number of the commercial operations of the four welfare foundations, the Fauji Foundation, Army Welfare Trust (AWT), Bahria Foundation and Shaheen Foundation, as pointed out by several reports of the auditor-general of Pakistan, use state resources without reimbursing the government. However, the military's top management continues to claim that these are purely private sector ventures that do not fall under the scope of government accountability procedures and, hence, have continued to grow as part of the military's hidden economy.</span></b>

The military's economy comprises three interdependent but distinct levels. The welfare foundations represent the most visible segment. These four foundations are subsidiaries of the military, and the link is very clear. In general terms, all foundations use the logos of their parent services, and the overall management is provided by the respective service headquarters. The Fauji Foundation, on the other hand, is a tri-service organisation managed by the ministry of defence and has a system of plowing resources back into the welfare budget of the three services. These financial stakes account for about six to seven per cent of private sector assets.

According to the former governor, State Bank of Pakistan, Ishrat Hussain, the military's stakes in the private sector are about 3.6 per cent. However, the former governor's estimates do not take into account the military business complex's real estate investments. Moreover, his estimates are based on the data collected from the Karachi Stock Exchange, which does not include a number of the military's business ventures. The military's corporate empire comprises 100 projects controlled directly or indirectly by the four welfare foundations, most of which are not even listed with the stock exchange. Although these commercial ventures have ostensibly been established for the welfare of the entire armed forces, the fact is that the officer corps, especially the top echelons, are the key beneficiaries of the military's economy. The cushy jobs given to senior commanders in these foundations or other military-controlled business ventures soon after retirement generate an interest at the senior level of the military's management to maintain a foothold in power politics. It is this aspect which is most troublesome for a polity that is trying to get back on its feet. A political army's interests in remaining well-entrenched in politics become significant when it has equally significant financial stakes in staying on top of things.

The armed forces' direct or indirect involvement in the economy and its parallel control of power politics allows it access to privileged information which, in Pakistan's case, has allowed two welfare groups, the AWT and the Fauji Foundation, to become two of the largest business conglomerates in the country. Besides access to strategic economic information, these business groups have been given tax breaks as well. For instance, the Fauji Foundation was exempt from taxes during the 1960s, and the AWT did not pay any taxes until 1993, when tax was levied on it during the first regime of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Even then, the trust paid fewer taxes than the Shaheen and Bahria Foundations. So much for the political influence of the army.

The military as a serious economic actor, which competes with other domestic economic players, is a phenomenon prevalent primarily in the developing world, especially in countries ridden with the problem of political underdevelopment. The armed forces of the developed world, such as in the US, France, Britain and others, also have a significant economic role, but these militaries normally piggyback on the civilian players to exploit resources in other countries rather than competing within. So, the Chinese PLA, the Thai, Pakistani and Burmese armed forces, or even the Iranian Hezbollah militia, directly depend on their political significance to exploit resources at home. In weak polities in particular, militaries are tempted to engage in economic ventures for a number of reasons, ranging from the welfare of their own personnel to filling the financial gap in order to meet their operational and personnel needs - especially when the governments cannot do so due to a resource crunch, or because the state has a poor tax base that does not allow it to generate resources - or merely to fulfill certain other objectives of the state.

Historically speaking, militaries have been engaged in commercial ventures for a host of reasons. The German military, for instance, was deeply entrenched in commercial ventures until it was defeated during the Second World War. However, a direct involvement in commercial ventures in the post-Cold War era is a phenomenon that one sees prevalent in developing countries mainly. It is also a feature in countries where the militaries were directly involved in nation-building or were people's armies, such as those in China, Indonesia, or a number of Latin and South American countries. The military in business is not a popular model in operational/professional militaries. Of course, there are exceptions such as Pakistan and Turkey.

Once one begins to look into this issue, there are clearly three models that are visible. The first model relates to cases like in China, Indonesia and many Latin American states where the military, including serving personnel, are directly involved in commercial ventures. Here, the militaries became engaged in commercial ventures as part of the politico-economic tradition whereby the armed forces were encouraged to get involved in business activities to raise their own resources or to meet budgetary gaps. In Indonesia's case, for instance, the military was consciously involved in commercial activities to meet the resource gap, even for buying military hardware. In China, this was also done to meet the shortfall in the defence budget. However, in Pakistan's case, the defence budget is completely funded by the government, which also bears the burden of over 30 billion rupees in military pensions. It is important to note that even in such cases like China and Indonesia, it was eventually realised that the military's direct involvement in commercialism was inimical to the professionalism of the institution. Hence, the Chinese armed forces were legally banned in 1998 from indulging in commercial ventures, especially in the service industry.

The second model relates to countries like Pakistan and Turkey where militaries are not engaged directly, but by proxy. This is done by running commercial activities through retired military personnel and using funds accumulated for welfare. This is a method that has been used in both Turkey and Pakistan. In Pakistan's case, the pension or the welfare fund is used to run three foundations: the Army Welfare Trust, Bahria Foundation and the Shaheen Foundation. Given the huge resources available to the armed forces as part of the post-retirement fund, the money is invested in business ventures to earn returns for those investing in the welfare scheme. This methodology also gives credence to those who argue that these ventures have no link with the military. In fact, in the view of most military personnel, the fact that these foundations and some of the businesses are run by retired military personnel does not signify that they are the corporate interests of the armed forces. Of course, what is always forgotten is that it is the political clout of the military - and the fact that it is directly involved in governance - that has a major role to play in giving these commercial ventures a big boost. Given the peculiar nature of the civil-military relations imbalance in Pakistan, there are times when contracts are granted on a preferential basis to military organisations. The entire construction workload given to the FWO and the NLC in Lahore by Shahbaz Sharif bears witness to the fact. Skeptics would argue that the contracts are obtained through competitive bidding. However, given the nature of transparency of the government, this argument is highly questionable.

The last model that was referred to earlier pertains to activities conducted in the developed world where retired military personnel set up security firms or organisations directly linked with the 'management of conflict.' These companies, like the MPRI in the US or Executive Outcomes in the UK or Sandline International of South Africa, are used indirectly by the military or the governments to pursue their security objectives in other countries or regions. A number of these companies were used in the African continent to support regimes or to bring down governments. This involvement is strictly military and is run in the fashion of the East India Company where private companies are used to protect commercial interests, such as natural resources, diamond mines, etc. However, the implications of this approach are for the polity and economy of other states rather than the country where such private organisations are registered.

Although all of these aforementioned cases are problematic, it is the military's direct and indirect involvement that is of major concern, especially for economies trying to survive. This is because in this situation money could be created or there could be an injudicious use of resources even in the corporate sector.

In many ways, Pakistan military's commercial activities represent a crossbreed between the first and the second models described. The military, in fact, seems to have adopted a two-pronged approach. First, turn public sector ventures into private ventures, hence using state capital. This pertains to operations like the National Logistic Cell and the Frontier Works Organisation, or even the military farms. These activities use state capital, but are later turned into private ventures. The second approach involves running commercial ventures through the use of welfare funds. It is through a combination of both that the military has arrived at the point where its businesses today control about 23 percent of the assets of the corporate sector, with two foundations - the Fauji Foundation and the Army Welfare Trust - representing two of the largest conglomerates in the country. This quantification does not, however, include the extent of the military's intricate network that forms its economic/commercial empire.

To even have an idea of how deep the network is, one needs to look at three distinct levels: (a) small and medium enterprises run independently by units and divisions. These businesses range from bakeries to more intensive ventures; (b) public sector large enterprises - this refers to organisations like the NLC and FWO that are run under a formal public sector set-up; and © large-scale private sector ventures where some or all of the capital has been drawn from the public sector. The control, definitely, is in the hands of the armed forces. For instance, the management of the foundations is connected with the service headquarters. To get an idea of the size of the private ventures, the Fauji Foundation has 21 projects, the AWT 41, Bahria Foundation 23 and the Shaheen Foundation has 11. These range from bakeries, petrol pumps and international airlines to real estate, financial services and banks.

Referring to the military's small and medium enterprises, one would like to cite the example of one recent venture started by the corps command/cantonment board Bahawalpur. In this case, the cantonment board erected a toll plaza on the main GT road and started to collect money, an action that is in contravention of the cantonment board/local bodies law. As per the rules, none of these organisations can impose a tax on a highway. Of course, the High Court rejected the plea against the decision, and one does not have to wonder why. Such ventures are carried out to make money that is then put in the regimental fund in the name of welfare, but with no accountability. There is absolutely no method to quantify the extent of such activities and the money generated through it. Unfortunately, the lack of transparency breeds corruption.

Then there are the two approaches used by the armed forces for what they term as their private sector ventures. The first relates to organisations like the Fauji Foundation that were raised by some funds from the government or those inherited from the British in 1947 as part of the welfare fund and invested in establishing commercial ventures. In this approach, the profit is used for the direct investment in welfare of retired personnel through opening schools, hospitals, training centres, etc. Since such operations are fairly independent, there is not a constant source of input from the public.

The businesses run by Fauji generate sufficient profit for the ventures to expand. However, efficient operations are not a common feature through the spectrum of the Fauji Foundation business. There are areas where the Foundation has, in the past, sought government intervention and financial help to remain afloat. The one example relates to Fauji-Jordan Cement. The operation had to be salvaged through help from Islamabad. In fact, a glance at the financial statements shows that the amount of the interest payable is so high that such establishments could be conveniently liquidated.

The other approach relates to the other three foundations where welfare money is used to establish businesses that, in turn, are used to generate profit to be paid back to the investors. These investors are the retired personnel who have invested the money in welfare schemes.

What is interesting about most of the business and industrial ventures is that the operations are in areas with high government protection or relate to high consumption items. For instance, the military's major industrial ventures are confined to sugar, fertiliser, cereal, and cement production. The idea is to restrict operations to areas that are financially less risky and bring higher dividends. This is a pattern that one finds in other areas of operations as well. Major concentration in the trade and service industry is in areas where the foundations could either benefit from business provided by the parent services or where there is a greater surety of returns. The two examples in this regard are the knitwear project of the AW and the real estate businesses of AWT, Bahria and Shaheen. The additional benefit is that land is often acquired on concessional rates due to the military's image and then sold at higher market prices. The profits are definitely visible even in cases where a service has not invested a major share of resources in a project.

The one example relates to Bahria Foundation's housing and construction project. The construction of the Bahria town in Rawalpindi and other cities is replete with stories of kickbacks to individuals. In any case, this project involves the linkage between one Mr. Riaz and the navy with the former responsible for major financial investment in the housing projects in return for using Bahria's name. The relationship was finally terminated in 2000 when Bahria Foundation transferred all shares in Bahria Town Scheme to Malik Riaz. The foundation also challenged Riaz in court for continuing to use the name Bahria. However, the court decided in the businessman's favour whose contention was that the name Bahria had become synonymous with his large housing projects, and that his business would be affected if he did not use the name and the logo. Interestingly, the court did not seem to pay attention to the laws which prohibited the use of an official logo by private companies.

It must also be mentioned here that the real estate development projects run by the three foundations are separate from the housing schemes run by the respective service headquarters. Contrary to the practice followed by foundations that procure land against a certain price, service headquarters do not pay any price for the land acquired to establish welfare housing schemes. It is only the construction price for the house or flat that is borne by the officer who has been given the property. Hence, it is not surprising to see state land previously dedicated for military purposes being consumed by such housing schemes. In Lahore cantonment alone, about 600 acres of land allocated for army exercises and other uses was arbitrarily taken and converted into housing schemes or given to officials for the paltry sum of 17 million rupees. Intriguingly, no one seems to have questioned the decision.

Today, military's economic activities can be observed in all three key segments of the economy: agriculture, manufacturing and service industries. The general principle that seems to have been followed is to expand in areas where the foundations were more assured of profits. However, having this rule does not necessarily mean that the foundations are efficient as well. Some of the military's concerns have huge operating/management costs. As for the AWT, it had to ask the government for a 5.4 billion rupee bailout in 2002. According to sources, the Nawaz Sharif government bailed out the trust through helping it with one of its foreign loans. This is highly scandalous, and certainly as scandalous as the Sharifs getting unfair concessions for the Ittefaq group. Although intriguing and understandable at the same time, the political leadership continued to support the expansion of this economic empire, treating contracts and businesses as favours that might protect a particular regime from the army's wrath. While it was not possible to achieve the perceived objective, the financial empire started to bloat as well.

Nawaz Sharif is not the only one who supported the military's business. A number of projects by the welfare foundations were sanctioned under Benazir Bhutto's government as well, with rumors of close linkages between Asif Zardari's close friends and Shaheen Foundation's management regarding the setting up of the Shaheen pay-TV and radio projects. None of the political governments raised any major objection to the military business complex during the 1990s. Moreover, there are many in the corporate sector who do not object to the military in business or even become its partners. This complacency or tacit cooperation can be explained as a by-product of the military's economic role - it tends to create clientalism. In Pakistan's elitist-authoritarian political system, which is backed by a top-down authoritarian economic model of progress and development, the political class and other key sectors seek the military's partnership for their personal gains. Since the military is a permanent actor in politics, which also keeps returning to power, other players seek to build a partnership with the GHQ or not disturb its interests to seek economic gains. Unfortunately, this perpetuates an elite model of exploitation of national resources.

The negative impacts are multi-dimensional and it is not just on the economy, but also on the profession of the military as well. It is true that one does not have a large number of serving people involved in private businesses. The bulk of uniformed people are actually in the National Logistic Cell and the Frontier Works Organisation, two organisations that have turned commercial. Both organisations were initially established to handle special projects or national emergencies, but then encouraged to do their own revenue generation. The limited number, hence, one could argue, does not put Pakistan military's ventures on par with that of China or Indonesia's. Also, one could argue that the Pakistani model is different because it does not use serving officers. However, there are two critical issues that must be understood.

First, commercial ventures, even if they do not use serving officers, do, unarguably, have an impact on the professional mindset. Senior officers, who are quite aware of the rewards that await them after retirement in terms of extension of perks and privileges as a result of jobs in these companies, tend to compromise on the quality of their work during service. It is important to note that there is no streamlined system for selecting people for appointment in these organisations.

According to a senior retired army officer, Zia used these foundations to reward people he liked, or punish those he didn't by kicking them out of the mainstream GHQ positions into the foundations. But for the majority, it is a perk that requires major compromises during their military career, especially at the top. Second, there is an element of symbolism involved here. What this means is that with the number of soldiers involved in such ventures at the unit/division/corps level, and even looking at the post-retirement benefits, a lot would view these as an extension of their power and influence. It also inculcates an attitude of grabbing financial opportunities that tends to ruin the organisational ethos. Hence, there are problems even with this, otherwise, benign model.

<b>Finally, these are not the kind of activities that a professional/operational military ought to be getting involved in. <span style='font-size:14pt;line-height:100%'>After all, it was the sensitivity towards increasing or safeguarding the military's professionalism that lead the Chinese to force the armed forces to withdraw from it. There were other curbs that were imposed as well.</span></b>

[center]<i>Ayesha Siddiqa is the author of the upcoming book, Military Inc, Inside Pakistan's Military Economy (to be released in April 2007)</i>[/center]

Cheers <!--emo&:beer--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/cheers.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='cheers.gif' /><!--endemo-->

Pakistan News And Discussion-9 - Naresh - 12-17-2006

[center]<b><span style='font-size:14pt;line-height:100%'>'Pakistan heading towards acute water shortage'</span></b> <!--emo&:flush--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/Flush.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='Flush.gif' /><!--endemo--> [/center]

<b>LAHORE - WAPDA Chairman Tariq Hamid said that <span style='font-size:14pt;line-height:100%'>Pakistan is heading towards a situation of acute water shortage due to a rapid growth in population and depleting storage capacity, thus making construction of mega reservoirs inevitable without any further delay.</span></b>

Speaking at a seminar on “Corporate Social Responsibility” as a chief guest here Saturday organised by the Institute of Cost and Management Accountants of Pakistan (ICMAP), the chairman said that there required more than one mega water reservoir to cater the increasing needs of the country in the water and power sector.

Besides Chairman WAPDA Dr. Pervez Hassan Advocate Supreme Court, President Pakistan Environment Association Dr Baela Raza Jameel, Ex-Consultant UNICEF Chairperson ITA, Pakistan, Mr. Zaigham Mahmood Rizvi Chairman/MD, House Building Finance Corporation (HBFC), Mr. Nazir Ahmad Shaheen Executive Director SECP, Islamabad, Mr. Kashif Mateen Ansari Chief Operating Officer Army Welfare Trust, Dr. Shahid A Zia Director, Lahore Stock Exchange, Mr. Mutee-ur-Rheman Mirza Vice president, ICMAP and Ms. Faryal Zafar, ACMA were the guest speakers of the event.

Talking about the power sector, the WAPDA Chairman said that the annual growth in electricity consumption during the last four years had risen by 9.8 percent. He said that the load on the WAPDA system increased by 2000 MW during peak hours from 6:30 pm to 10:30 pm. “To address the problem of possible shortage of electricity in coming years, we have to generate sufficient electricity at an affordable rate and it is only possible through the construction of big dams”, he suggested.

He said, “Pakistan has a storage capacity of 9 percent to total water available whereas the average storage capacity worldwide stands at about 40 percent”, he observed and warned that Pakistan would be a water-short country, like Chad and Ethiopia, by year 2012, if storage capacity is not enhanced.

“Having a cultivable land base of 77 million acres, Pakistan has a potential to bring 22.6 million acres of new land under cultivation provide additional water is available,” the chairman added. Earlier Mr. Khalid Mahmood, ACMA, Chairman, ICMAP Lahore Branch Council in his address of welcome highlighted the aims and objectives of the seminar with special reference to its theme.

The speakers at the seminar maintained that in the past, a company’s merit was based solely on its financial performance. Stakeholders are now beginning to better understand how corporate behavior affects social, political, and natural environments. With this increase in understanding, comes an increased pressure from investors, consumer, and employees, for companies to consider social and environmental criteria when making business decisions. This has created momentum for using an environmental and financial data when evaluating business operations. Increasingly, stakeholders are concerned that companies they support have business practices that positively impact society while achieving financial success.

CSR can involve almost any aspect of a company’s operations. Every company has a story to tell that sets it apart. It is important for every company to find its story and to tell it.

A company that is considered a good corporate citizen in one that demonstrates a commitment to its stakeholders through socially responsible business practices and transparent operations. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has emerged as a discipline that aligns business operations with social values. CSR integrates the interests of stakeholders-all of those affected by a company’s conduct-into the company’s business policies and actions. CSR focuses on the social, environmental, and financial success of a company-the triple bottom line, with the goal being to positively impact society while achieving business success. At the end, Mr. Asif Majeed Sheikh, FCMA, Vice Chairman, Lahore Branch Council presented vote of thanks.

Cheers <!--emo&:beer--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/cheers.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='cheers.gif' /><!--endemo-->

Pakistan News And Discussion-9 - Guest - 12-17-2006

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Musharraf’s formula excites Kashmiris </b>
Iftikhar Gilani
Kashmiri leaders insist that a dialogue on Kashmir must show results on the ground 
In the midst of the excitement following President Pervez Musharraf’s four-point formula on Kashmir, the Indian Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) is preparing to hold another round of dialogue with the pro-freedom Kashmiri parties. Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad has already been informed that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh wants to hold the third round-table conference with pro-India groups possibly in January, and preferably in Jammu.

The wait is inevitable considering the PM’s December visit to Japan, even though sources say he would have liked the round table to be held before the year ends. Exact dates of the formal round table are not confirmed yet because it is not clear whether the prime minister wants to hold talks before or after the visit to Pakistan on January 13 next year of External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee. Mukherjee is to review the third round of the composite dialogue between India and Pakistan with his Pakistani counterpart, Khurshid Kasuri.

Government sources say Manmohan Singh is also planning a separate audience with the moderate Hurriyat Conference led by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front led by Yaseen Malik and Democratic Freedom Party led by Shabir Ahmed Shah.<b> “The government is already talking informally with pro-freedom groups through its chief interlocutor N N Vohra,” says the source. Vohra is a former defence and home secretary. Others doing the talking include former RAW chief A S Dulat and the Minister for Water Resources Development Professor Saifuddin Soz.</b>

On the issue of the upcoming meeting between the foreign ministers of Pakistan and India, observers say Musharraf has already upstaged the Indian agenda for the meeting by unilaterally declaring a four-point formula for the resolution of the Kashmir issue. The formula has got most political actors in the Indian-Held Kashmir very excited; except the hard-line faction of the Hurriyat Conference led by Syed Ali Geelani, all groups including pro-India parties like the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) of former chief minister Mufti Sayeed and the National Conference of Dr Farooq Adullah are pressing the government to give serious thought to Musharraf’s proposals.

“Manmohan Singh is aware of the fact that the Kashmiri leaders will definitely raise the issue of these proposals in their meeting with the prime minister. He has, therefore, asked officials to prepare a brief for him on the subject,” says a source.

<b>Manmohan Singh had set up five special working groups to study various aspects of the Kashmir problem after the last round-table in Srinagar in May this year. The reports of four groups are said to be ready and Singh wants to discuss them in the upcoming roundtable. The fifth and most crucial group, which looks at Centre-State relations and demands like autonomy and self-rule, could be constituted only recently and hence the upcoming round-table may not get the report of this group in time.</b>

Sources in the Hurriyat say its leaders plans to visit Pakistan in January next year and will be carrying Hurriyat’s own set of proposals on Kashmir. “We have got some indication from certain channels that the government of India has realised that the resumption of the dialogue process with us is the need of the hour. New Delhi has also realised that round table conferences and working groups could not prove effective,” says Hurriyat Chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq.

Significantly, Hurriyat has sought a debate on the idea of ‘self-rule’ as put forward by President Musharraf. After a series of meetings, Hurriyat spokesman Professor Abdul Gani Bhat also defended the concept against critics who look at it as a betrayal of the two-decade-long struggle. Bhat says ‘self-rule’ is a palatable and realistic idea and “addresses the sentiment in the context of change”. ‘Self rule’ is also the slogan of the People’s Democratic Party.

Bhat says while different groups put their own spin on the concept of self-governance, Hurriyat concentrates on what is essential and basic. “We interpret the proposal in the context of sentiments that are fast changing. Self-rule or self-governance is not a concession; it is a concept in terms of a political thought, a concept that recognises the peoples’ right to be the masters of their fate. It implies no masters, no surrogates but equals,” explains Bhat.

Mirwaiz also stresses similar talks between Islamabad and the leadership in AJK. He says he is trying to unite the leadership of IHJK and AJK to mount pressure on New Delhi and Islamabad for a solution of the Kashmir issue. “During my recent visit to Cairo, I met Sardar Abdul Qayyum. We felt the need to form a joint platform of leadership of Azad Kashmir and Jammu and Kashmir. When we visit AJK, we will make efforts to form a joint mechanism for unity which will put us in a commanding position to pressurise India and Pakistan for a solution,” he says.

Insiders say a solution to the Kashmir problem is already on the table. “Track II channels have concluded steps to find an amicable solution that could be acceptable to India, Pakistan and a majority of the Kashmiri leadership. The only difference is that while President Musharraf mentions the term joint supervision or joint management, Prime Minister Singh prefers to use cooperative management,” said the source. “An exercise to harmonise the constitutions of both parts of Jammu and Kashmir has already begun.”

Speculations are also rife in Srinagar that Hurriyat has started an exercise to amend its Constitution. Though the Constitution is flexible in seeking an alternative solution acceptable to all parties to the dispute, the primary article envisages the implementation of the UN resolution. It is very likely that the demand to seek plebiscite may be abrogated once the peace process shows some progress on the ground.

Mirwaiz, however, maintains that dialogue must show results on the ground. “The talks should not be for the sake of talks but have some impact; human rights violations must come to an end and troops should be withdrawn to the barracks. We are not attaching pre-conditions to the dialogue. The important thing is that people must feel some relief.”

Meanwhile, the moderate faction of the Hurriyat Conference is also contemplating visiting China to seek Beijing’s help in the resolution of the Kashmir issue. So far, the Chinese Embassy in Delhi has kept Kashmiri leadership at an arm’s length.

Hurriyat Chairman Mirwaiz Umer Farooq says: “We are working on that [avisit to China]. We cannot underestimate that regional players, <span style='color:red'>especially China, have a great interest in Kashmir.” </span>

Pakistan News And Discussion-9 - Guest - 12-17-2006

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>SUCH GUP </b>
<b>Taking care</b>
Up until last week it was a given that general elections would take place in the spring. Our mole said it was a signed and sealed decision. And then the powers-that-be decided on a change of course, probably because the deal with Big Ben isn’t signed and sealed yet. <b>So, sources now say that elections will take place at the end of 2007.</b> Meanwhile, the Invisible Soldiers Inc are sounding out potential caretakers and lists are being drawn up. Rumour has it that a former Guv of the State Bank is a frontrunner in the race for caretaker prime minister.

<b>Clean up your act</b>
Sorry to have to break this to you folks but our national carrier is in imminent danger of not being able to land at any European airport <!--emo&Big Grin--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/biggrin.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='biggrin.gif' /><!--endemo--> if things carry on as they are. Apparently, our airline is not meeting international standards of care or hygiene and they have been warned by the European Union’s aviation officials that unless they clean up their act, they will not be allowed to land anywhere in Europe in the near future. <!--emo&Big Grin--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/biggrin.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='biggrin.gif' /><!--endemo-->
<b>Nuggets from the Urdu press</b>

<b>Sufis coming from White House</b>
As reported in daily Khabrain, the amir of Jamaat Dawa, Hafiz Saeed Ahmad, said that the Women’s Protection Bill was passed by the assemblies to make President Bush happy. He said the azaan and prayers were stopped during Prime Minister Tony Blair visit to Faisal Mosque in Islamabad. The infidels are not happy with the guard of honour but are happy when prayers and azaans are postponed. He said the Sufi council in Pakistan and the new movement of Sufism, tasawaf ka silsia, was born in White House.

<b>Criminals came from Afghanistan</b>
As reported in daily Nawa-i-Waqt, Afghan refugees are responsible for 70 percent of the crime in Peshawar, while the remaining 30 percent is done by local population. The DIG, Habib ur Rehman, told a press conference that 90 percent of abduction cases are solved and majority of criminals are from Afghanistan.

<b>Qazi and Sharifs loved the uniform of Zia ul Haq</b>
As reported in Daily Pakistan, Muslim League leader Majida Zaidi has said that the Sharif brothers and Qazi Hussain Ahmad are fuming against the uniform of Pervez Musharraf, but they loved the army uniform of General Zia ul Haq. She said the policies of Pervez Musharraf led to the economical revival of Pakistan. Dr AQ Khan was not handed over to America because of public sentiments. She said yesterday America was good for Hamid Gul and Jamaat Islami but today America is bad for them.

Fanaticism responsible for child labour
According to daily Jang, Farooq Tariq addressing a seminar on child protection said that religious fanaticism also leads to child labour. Children are forced to memorise Quran without knowing the meaning for 16- 18 hours daily. The numbers of trade union workers are decreasing and child labour is on the rise. Every 12th child is subjugated or is a victim of sexual violence. 97 percent of child labour is from the developing countries. Hina Jilani said 53 percent of Pakistan’s population is less than 18 years old.

<b>Mullah wants to invade private space</b>
According to daily Express, chairman Task Force Majida Zaidi said the repeal of Hudood Ordinance is according to Islam. She said Islam didn’t allow a caliph to peep into the house of others 14 centuries ago. Why does the sectarian mullah want this right to invade private space for the most corrupt institution of police?

<b>Rotten imports from India</b>
As reported in Daily Pakistan, rotten vegetables and expired meat is being imported from India across Wagah border. The Ministry of Commerce allowed the import of five vegetables, livestock and meat from India. The ministry suggested constructing plant and meat quarantines on the Wagah border to check the quality of vegetables and meat imported from India. Instead of building quarantines, only one technician is present at the border with only one thermometer as equipment to check the quality of imports.  <!--emo&Big Grin--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/biggrin.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='biggrin.gif' /><!--endemo-->

<b>Qazi not allowed in Egypt</b> Reported in daily Express, Qazi Hussain Ahmad was refused a visa by the Egyptian government to attend the world assembly of Muslim youth. The Egyptian government has banned Akhwan ul Muslimeen Murshid Mohammad Mehdi Ayef and other leaders from visiting Harmain Sharifain in Saudi Arabia. The daughters of Martyr Imam Hassan al Banna were not allowed to attend a conference in Jordan.

<b>Nobel Prize for lying</b>
According to daily Jang, a Pakistani impersonator who claimed to be nominated for Nobel Peace prize was arrested and deported from America. The 38 year old Sheharzad Farakhzad had applied for permanent settlement in America in special selected category. He claimed to have done research in applied economics, physics and mathematics and being nominated for Nobel Peace Prize. He belonged to the MQM and a case was registered against him in April.  <!--emo&Big Grin--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/biggrin.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='biggrin.gif' /><!--endemo-->

<b>Women’s Bill approved by Hira Mandi</b>
Writing in daily Express, famous columnist Abdur Qadir Hassan, expressed his gratitude to the reporter who went to interview the real benefactors of Women’s Protection Bill. He wrote that now his ignorance about the bill has lessened and he feels enlightened about the bill. According to the bill the police can’t enters a house and the prostitutes have celebrated this by distributing sweets in Hira Mandi (red light area). Now the abandoned houses of prostitution are coming to life again. It seems that this bill was brought to make the assemblies deserted and populate the houses of bazaar-e-husan (red light area).

<b>Sexual harassment at United Nations</b>
In an interview in daily Jang, Fauzia Saeed, author of Taboo said that she was sexually harassed when she was working in one of the organisations of the United Nations. She fought and won her case in a UN court in New York after two years. She formed an organisation, ‘AASHA’ to stop sexual harassment at private and government offices.

Pakistan News And Discussion-9 - Naresh - 12-17-2006

<b>Mudy Ji :</b>

Welcome Back!

Hope you enjoyed your Holiday!!

Cheers <!--emo&:beer--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/cheers.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='cheers.gif' /><!--endemo-->

Pakistan News And Discussion-9 - Naresh - 12-17-2006

[center]<b><span style='font-size:14pt;line-height:100%'>PAKISTANI WAILING : CHINA - INDIA VS CHINA - PAKISTAN RELATIONSHIP</span></b> <!--emo&:flush--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/Flush.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='Flush.gif' /><!--endemo--> [/center]

<b>1. The inside story of a relationship</b>

<b>2. Commercial diplomacy</b>

Cheers <!--emo&:beer--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/cheers.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='cheers.gif' /><!--endemo-->

Pakistan News And Discussion-9 - Guest - 12-19-2006

<b>Al-Qaeda training jehadists from West in Pak: Report</b>
New York, PTI - December 18, 2006
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Terrorist outfit al Qaeda is training a 12-member team of Westerners in Pakistan for a special mission including plotting attacks on return to their home countries, a media report has said.
Terrorist outfit al Qaeda is training a 12-member team of Westerners in Pakistan for a special mission including plotting attacks on return to their home countries, a media report has said.

The team includes nine British citizens, two Norwegian Muslims and an Australian, the Newsweek said quoting Taliban's Chief Qaeda liaison for Ghazni province in Afghanistan Omar Farooqi.

The magazine in its upcoming issue says some Taliban commanders told it of seeing the "English brothers," as foreign recruits are called, in person during the training.

Farooqi said he spent roughly five weeks last year helping indoctrinate and train a class foreign recruits near Afghanistan border in tribal Waziristan.

Their mission, Farooqi said, will be to act as, underground organizers and operatives for al Qaeda in their home countries -- and their yearlong training course is just about finished.

He said the Westerners were not meant to be suicide bombers themselves as they are far too valuable to waste.

The magazine quotes US and British security agencies as saying they have known this threat would come sooner or later.

While saying he could not confirm the English brothers' case specifically, a spokesman for Britan's Foreign Office called it "common knowledge" that jihadist recruits have been traveling from Britain to Pakistan for indoctrination and training.

US intelligence officials told Newsweek that their people were definitely concerned about terror suspects and operatives shuttling back and forth between Britain and Pakistan.

"For the most effective background checks on passengers, the United States needs information and assistance from the country where the traveler resides," says Homeland Security Department spokesman Russ Knocke, adding that such help should be "routine." Newsweek said Farooqi confidently described those plans to its correspondent at a mud-brick house in Afghanistan's Paktia province, not far from the Pakistan border.

The specifics of his story could not be independently corroborated, the report said.

The magazine says an open notebook lay on the carpet where Farooqi was seated, and the correspondent caught a fleeting glimpse of scrawled names and telephone numbers, including several that were preceded by the UK's country code: 44.

Farooqi told the magazine that he first met the brothers, all of them in their 20s, soon after they reached Waziristan in October 2005.

A few, he couldn't say how many, had arrived in Pakistan by air, but most had taken a clandestine overland route, across Turkey, Iran and Afghanistan.

According to Farooqi, the brothers' travel arrangements were made by Abdul Hadi al-Iraqi, one of Al Qaeda's top operations men and a liaison with insurgents in Iraq.

The transcontinental journey took a month to complete, but Farooqi claims the brothers left no official traces of their passage, slipping past every border-control post without showing any travel documents.

Still, Al Qaeda, Newsweek says, wasn't taking any chances with the English brothers' safety. They received much of their training behind the mud-brick walls of the sprawling compounds that are typical of Pakistan's tribal areas. The idea was to keep the men hidden from US and Pakistani reconnaissance planes. <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Pakistan News And Discussion-9 - Naresh - 12-20-2006

[center]<b><span style='font-size:21pt;line-height:100%'>Isolated in the region</span></b> <!--emo&:flush--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/Flush.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='Flush.gif' /><!--endemo--> [/center]

PAKISTAN’s relations with various countries of the world are an interesting, though disturbing, phenomenon. We cultivate friendship with far off lands in South America, Africa and elsewhere and exchange visits at the highest level, but the region we live in bristles with those who could be called anything but friends (antagonists, if not enemies), who are prone to suspect any move we make to get closer to them with the best of intentions in the world. The fast friends we had in the past have been showing signs of weariness, despite their public declarations. We failed to build on the excellent legacy of Shah-era Pak-Iran ties and convince the revolutionary leadership that followed his ouster that Islamabad’s over-riding interest in relations with Tehran was the mutual good of the Iranian and Pakistani people. With India eternally hostile and Afghanistan never friendly, developing ties of trust and deep understanding with Iran would have been our priority. But the military dictator who ruled the country at the time of the Iranian revolution and who had taken it upon himself to guide foreign policy could not figure out how to persuade Imam Khomeini and his team to treat us as genuine friends. There was a basic dissonance between the two countries’ policies. The Taliban era found us ranged on opposite fighting fronts. Things may have marginally improved since. The opportunity that the proposed gas pipeline provides to rebuild the equation is being frittered away. One should therefore not expect much to come out of the current visit of Foreign Minister Khurshid Kasuri to Iran. We have yet to reciprocate the presidential visit though Tehran has dropped hints about the lapse.

Even abandoning our principled stand on Kashmir, an issue of vital concern to Pakistan, has not brought India round to settle it, though it has bedevilled bilateral relations all these years. The US, which calls Pakistan a key ally in its War on Terror, hands out to our inveterate enemy the most sophisticated nuclear technology but unceremoniously turns down our request to that effect. Afghanistan is becoming ever angrier, accusing Pakistan of sending ‘terrorists’ across to reinforce the Taliban resistance. <b><span style='font-size:14pt;line-height:100%'>Whatever the claims, Pak-China ties are only a pale image of the past.</span></b>

The upsetting scenario, made worse by the internal political disunity, makes one wonder about the direction towards which the country is heading. The leadership, so vocal about economic progress, needs to seriously reflect on our increasing isolation in the region and do something about it.

Cheers <!--emo&:beer--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/cheers.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='cheers.gif' /><!--endemo-->

Pakistan News And Discussion-9 - Guest - 12-21-2006

On Pakistan’s isolation in the region I would like to give the following assessment:-
In respect of Iran, in the post Shah era Pakistan obviously could not cultivate close relationship with it , in view of its closeness towards the United States. At that time the Cold War was very much alive and the United States considered Pakistan a very close friend and a bull work against Soviet expansion towards the East.

Next comes China, at the time of the Cold War and subsequent to the China- India border conflict, China found it useful to court friendship with Pakistan, which was a rather balancing act against India. However , in the present situation the circumstances have changed and naturally China must have re assessed its priorities thus reflecting in the present changed feeling that Pakistan is feeling towards China. China must have taken into consideration its growing economic ties with India while changing its course of relationship with Pakistan.

Pakistan News And Discussion-9 - Bharatvarsh - 12-22-2006

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Pakistani from NY guilty of funding Sikh militants


New York, December 21, 2006

A Pakistani man living in New York was found guilty on Wednesday of wiring
money and trying to send a foot soldier to a Sikh militant separatist group
opposed to the Indian government.

Khalid Awan was found guilty in Brooklyn federal court of transferring
$25,000 and trying to recruit Harjit Singh, a former fellow prison inmate,
to the Khalistan Commando Force in 2003.

Awan faces a maximum of 45 years in prison when he is sentenced on March 7.
He was found guilty of all counts he faced, including providing material
support or resources to terrorists and money laundering to promote

Awan was detained on federal credit card fraud charges as a material witness
shortly after the September 11, 2001 attacks.

Inside prison he met Singh, who federal authorities say he introduced to
Khalistan Commando Force leader Paramjit Singh Panjwar through phone calls
placed from the prison - in the hopes that after Singh's release he would
travel to Lahore, Pakistan, to join the group.

But Singh turned on Awan, telling federal authorities of his relationship
with Panjwar, and Awan was soon being taped talking to the militant leader
on the telephone about the $25,000 and Singh's future.

The militant group, formed in 1986, is made up of Sikhs who have tried to
violently force India into letting them form their own state of Punjab.

Aside from hundreds of bombings, acts of sabotage and kidnappings committed
against the Indian government, the group is responsible for the murder of
Chief Minister Beant Singh of Punjab in 1995, according to the US Justice

Pakistan News And Discussion-9 - Naresh - 12-22-2006

<b>Ravish Ji :</b>

Well, I would like to make a few additions to your message posted 10:07 PM - 20-12-2006 :

1. Some time in 1948 – I believe First Half - Jinnah sent a Pakistani Delegation headed by Liaqat Ali Khan to the USA supplicating for the USA accepting Pakistan as an ally against the Iron Curtain Bloc. I believe the USA demurred.

2. The USA tried to rope in India but Nehru Ji in his quest for the Noble Peace Prize was rubbing shoulders with the Chinese and Russians.

3. Pakistan went <b>both feet in</b> when the USA - not being able to rope in India – looked towards Pakistan to curtail the Communists in Genral and Russia & China in Particular.

4. At this juncture China Termed Pakistan as <b>The Lap Dog of the Running Imperialistic American Dogs</b>

5. Thanks to Nehru’s Brilliance – polished by the Stalwarts of the IFS like Ambassador Pannikar to Beijing – China having built the Xinjiang-Tibet Highway went to war with India and Occupied Aksai Chin.

6. Pakistan immediately wanted to Invade Kashmir but was dissuaded by the USA as it aided India with Arms, Equipment etc. to fight the Chinese.

7. Realising that China had beaten the hell out of India Militarily, Pakistan now became <b>The Lap Dog of the Running Imperialistic Chinese Dogs</b>

8. China has been aiding Pakistan (Pakistan considers China as its <b>Underwear Friend</b>) since until the last year or two when China has finally realized the potential of its Economic Relations with India and <b>seemingly Hu Jintao has told Mush the Tush a few home truths about China’s Improving Relations with India, basically due to the Economic-Trading Factor, which necessitates Pakistan having to make <span style='font-size:14pt;line-height:100%'>Peace with India on India’s Terms</span></b>

With the increasing Fundamentalist Islamic Jehadi Terrorism in Pakistan itself as also the problems with Afghanistan Mush the Tush has had to say <b>YES SIL – LIGHT AWAY – FOLTHWITH</b> to Hu Jintao and thus we see Mush uttering a few conciliatory words to the Indian Leadership.

At the is juncture I would request your views on the following :

AA : Why is the Government of India going in for Open Borders with Pakistan knowing full well that Pakistani Fundamentalist Islamic Jehadi Terrorists are increasingly entering India?

BB : Why is the Indian High Commission in Islamabad issuing 10,000 Visas to Pakistani every month to Visit India when in the corresponding period the Pakistani High Commission issues only 1,000 Visas to Indians to visit Pakistan.

CC : Is it the Government of India’s Plan to hand over India to the Pakistanis in the form of Confidence Building Measures?

In short why does India have to bend backwards to Mush's Scraps when Pakistan is in such a weak position that India can demand to have its way?

Grateful for your inputs.

P. S. All the waiting for your London visit is making me Thirsty – you will have to make mine a “Large” Patiala Peg.

Cheers <!--emo&:beer--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/cheers.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='cheers.gif' /><!--endemo-->

Pakistan News And Discussion-9 - Naresh - 12-22-2006

[center]<b><span style='font-size:14pt;line-height:100%'>LOTASTAAN RENAMED</span></b> <!--emo&:flush--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/Flush.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='Flush.gif' /><!--endemo-->[/center]

[center]<b><span style='font-size:21pt;line-height:100%'>CRASSISTAN!</span></b>[/center]

Cheers <!--emo&:beer--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/cheers.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='cheers.gif' /><!--endemo-->

Pakistan News And Discussion-9 - Naresh - 12-22-2006

<b>Mudy Ji :</b>

Interesting news from Crassistan :

[center]<b><span style='font-size:21pt;line-height:100%'>Budget estimates : Furnace oil import may exceed by USD One Billion</span></b> <!--emo&:flush--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/Flush.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='Flush.gif' /><!--endemo--> [/center]

<b>ISLAMABAD : The import bill of furnace oil would exceed the budget estimates by around $1 billion in the current fiscal as the Water and Power Development Authority has demanded the government to allow it to import the furnace oil to avoid an energy crisis including acute power and gas shortages following the discontinuation of natural gas to the power producers and the overall industrial sector, Daily Times has learnt.

The consumption of furnace oil has showed an increase of almost 100 percent in the current fiscal and stood at 8 million tons so far this fiscal against 4.5 million tons during the whole of the last fiscal.</b>

“The surge in import bill is very huge. There could be abrupt rise in the import of furnace oil as almost all the gas supply to the industry and the power producers has been switched off,” a senior government official said.

<b><span style='font-size:14pt;line-height:100%'>* :The deteriorated law and order situation in Balochistan has partly damaged the gas pipelines due to which the gas distributing companies suffered losses. The losses are not only in the revenue but also precious natural resource, he said.</span></b>

The official said that Wapda is of the view that it would be more dependent on the import of furnace as the hydroelectric power generation showed a decline of around 5 percent in the current financial year.

The official said that the government’s plan to allow the private sector independent power producers (IPPs) to operate their plants on the imported coal is yet to give results.

Most of the IPPs would operate in Sindh as the imported coal would be economically beneficial if they utilise the imported coal near Karachi or other parts of Sindh. The official said that due to increase in the crude oil prices in the international market, the value of import of furnace oil would put further pressure on the government budgetary estimates viz-a-viz imports.

<b>Mudy Ji - <span style='font-size:14pt;line-height:100%'>* :</span></b> Crassistan is unable to operate its internal Natural Gas Pipe Lines and our Indian Ministers and Babus are bending backwards to have Pakistani allow India to get Natural Gas from Iran by a Pipe Line through Pakistan!

Cheers <!--emo&:beer--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/cheers.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='cheers.gif' /><!--endemo-->

Pakistan News And Discussion-9 - Guest - 12-22-2006

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Mudy Ji - * : Crassistan is unable to operate its internal Natural Gas Pipe Lines and our Indian Ministers and Babus are bending backwards to have Pakistani allow India to get Natural Gas from Iran by a Pipe Line through Pakistan!<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
Aiyer, Mr True Paki is doing his dharma. <!--emo&Big Grin--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/biggrin.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='biggrin.gif' /><!--endemo-->

Pakistan News And Discussion-9 - Guest - 12-22-2006

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Nuggets from the Urdu press </b> 
<b>9/11 done by Jews</b>
Writing in daily Khabrain, Dr Israr Ahamd stated that we are facing discord and hypocrisy at the personal and national level. We lie, don’t keep our words and we are involved in corruption. At the national level, we are victims of hypocrisy and for this we had to face the wrath of God in 1971 in the form of defeat by Hindus who were ruled by Muslims for one thousand years. At the international level, Jews with the help of neocons want to break our nuclear arm and throw us in front of India as a slave. September 11 was the work of Jews. They used the powerful media under their control to turn it against Al Qaeda, which the world didn’t know about before. I heard the name of Al Qaeda from the mouth of GW Bush, otherwise I was completely ignorant of this organisation.

<b>Father of Pakistani journalism</b>
As reported in daily Pakistan, the father of journalism, Maulana Zafar Ali Khan, was a staunch Muslim who served the Muslim cause by printing Zamindar for 50 years from Lahore. During the welcome of King George V in the Red Fort in Delhi, a majority of the ulema were standing in long lines. When the time for prayer came close, Maulana announced the unity and greatness of God and said azan for prayers, and then spread his coat on the lawns of the Red Fort and offered his prayers.

<b>Hyenas of establishment</b>
Quoted in daily Express, allegedly from the BBC website, wildlife films show a tiger or hyenas stalking thousands of bulls. The hunters separate a weak and young bull to attack him. The mother resists for some time and then joins the herd watching from a distance. The BBC said the hyena of the Pakistani establishment is constantly taking its prey from the Pakistani herd. People were arrested before but now they are disappearing with regularity. The hyenas of the establishment know that thousand of civil society members are only united like the bulls of a herd. Whenever a journalist disappears, only the relevant organisation or newspaper makes noise for some days and then it keeps quite.

<b>No entertainment in province of the pious</b>
As reported in daily Khabrain, Peshawar High court justice Dost Mohammad Khan said that a circus shall be installed in Punjab instead of the NWFP. A writ petition was filed in Peshawar High Court for permission to put a circus in Pakistan International Park in Pabbi. The learned judge said after the passing of Hasbah Bill, now the hasbah force will have sticks (danday) and the MMA government is against these activities. So this circus shall be organised in Punjab, as the situation has changed in NWFP after the Dargai suicide bomb attack. There is danger of another attack at such crowded places.

<b>Internet love in Waziristan</b>
According to daily Khabrain, in Bannu district near Waziristan agency, a young man, Aman ullah, started friendship with a Canadian woman, Sharon, on internet, which soon blossomed into true love. She came to Pakistan and accepted Islam because of her love and was named ‘Fatima’. The internet love reached its logical conclusion of marriage. She spent two weeks in Waziristan and then left for Canada with her old mother. Her husband would soon follow her to live in Canada. She was impressed with local customs and said the inhabitants of Waziristan are peace loving, contrary to the assertions of western world.  <!--emo&Big Grin--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/biggrin.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='biggrin.gif' /><!--endemo-->

<b>Cricketer Kaif under attack</b>
As reported in daily Express, Indian fans protesting against the poor batting of Indian cricket team in the one day series against South Africa, attacked the house of cricketer Mohammad Kaif. The members of a Hindu extremist party members attacked his house in Allahabad, as he could only score eight and 10 runs in two one day matches. They also protested against Sharad Pawar, Greg Chapell and other members of the Indian cricket team.  <!--emo&Big Grin--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/biggrin.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='biggrin.gif' /><!--endemo--> 

<b>Drawing salaries from alcohol</b>
Writing for daily Express, columnist Asar Chauhan said that Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto banned liquor on his last day in government. The factories of alcohol were running during the reign of Zia ul Haq, and are still producing alcohol which is being consumed in Pakistan. The excise duty and other taxes on alcohol are collected and added to national treasury. The salaries and other perks paid to members of parliament (including maulvi sahiban) are from the National exchequer. Is it halal?

<b>Allama Iqbal didn’t dream of Pakistan</b>
As reported in daily Jang, the leader of Mutahida Qaumi Movement, Altaf Hussain, said that the new generation is being taught a distorted history in schools. The idea that Allama Iqbal was the creator of the idea of Pakistan is a pack of lies. He said it is rubbish to assert that Allama Iqbal was the first to dream of Pakistan. We don’t deny that Allama Iqbal was a great poet, thinker and took part in struggle for Pakistan. He said humans basically want freedom but absolute freedom can destroy a society. Only nations who sacrifice collectively for their freedom live on in history.

<b>No social studies in madrassas</b>
Columnist Asar Chauhan opined in daily Express that religious leaders are against women as head of state but Maulana Maudoodi and Jamaat Islami intitiated movemmet against Ayub Khan in 1965 in favour of Fatima Jinnah for presidential elections. Maulana Mufti Mehmood was the supporter of Ayub khan but his son accepted important posts during the reign of Benazir Bhutto. Some body should ask these Maulanas why they don’t teach social studies in their madrassas. Probably they don’t want to teach their students about Quaid-i-Azam, Sir Syed Ahmad Khan and Allama Iqbal.