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Pakistan News And Discussion-11
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[center]<b><span style='font-size:14pt;line-height:100%'>Pakistan's Permanent Crisis : Ayesha Siddiqa</span></b>[/center]

<b>A nexus of military-political power at all levels of Pakistan's state and economy chokes the country's potential for democratic development, says Ayesha Siddiqa.</b>

The streets of Pakistan have in recent days resonated with strikes, gunfire, and the cries of demonstrators. A crisis sparked by the suspension of the supreme court's chief justice on 9 March 2007 has exploded into a full-scale emergency with no end in sight. The turmoil raises acute questions about Pakistan's political future. But it also highlights a more deep-rooted question regarding the very possibility of political and economic progress in a country so heavily dominated by one institution : the Pakistani military.

The fact that Pakistan's crisis has turned violent - with forty-one people killed in Karachi over the weekend of 12-13 May and the assassination of a leading court official in Islamabad - adds a dangerous twist and makes the prospect of a quick resolution even more difficult. What is sure is that the country's general-president, Pervez Musharraf, is hard at work in the attempt to ensure his own survival. But where are the allies of the beleaguered leader, apart from the members of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) who were deeply implicated in the Karachi events? Here there are persistent rumours of a deal between Musharraf and the former prime minister and exiled opposition leader, Benazir Bhutto.

There has been no formal announcement, though Bhutto has mentioned the possibility of an arrangement between her Pakistan People's Party (PPP) and the president in the parliamentary elections tentatively scheduled for October 2007. If such a deal were made, Bhutto would expect to become prime minister for a third time with Musharraf remaining as president. Each side might benefit: Bhutto would secure a share of power and the lifting of the numerous corruption cases pending against her, while Musharraf would create a buffer protecting him from a tide of multiple, accumulating pressures. The partnership would also allay Musharraf's most potent anxiety, by appeasing the doubts of his foreign patrons about his ability to keep the religious extremist forces in the country at bay. The PPP would be a congenial partner in the effort to display to the world the liberal face of Pakistan.

<b>A stifled polity</b>

If the Musharraf-Bhutto deal does go through - and in the present fluid situation nothing is certain - one important result will be to reformat Pakistan military's partnership: shifting it from a military-mullah alliance to a military-liberal alliance (which was also the case during the 1960s). Such a marriage of convenience against religious extremism and cultural conservatism would be highly attractive to Pakistan's main external patron, the United States. The new relationship would need to be secured politically, the most likely mechanism being the manipulation of the electoral process that has so often been the forte of Pakistan's army and its numerous intelligence agencies.

There are many imponderables on the road from the Musharraf-Bhutto dalliance to arranged marriage. <b>But one thing is clear : the partnership will not strengthen democracy in Pakistan.</b>

The reason is rooted in the nature of the Pakistani military and its political influence. In the past, alliances between the country's various civilian leaders and its military have served only to consolidate the armed forces' control of political power. Today, the military remains the key political player, constantly seeking to cultivate bonds of dependence with politicians and among civil society in pursuit of its larger political and economic goals. <b>In fact, after sixty years of independence Pakistan is witnessing the integration of elite interests, including those of the senior military class and its cadres. In this process, there is developing a fusion of military, political and economic power - an outcome inimical either to better governance or stronger democracy in the country.</b>

The military's ambitions are not arbitrary but rooted in the organisation's range of material and institutional interests in Pakistan. The protection of these is vital to sustain the lifestyles of its officer cadre, in particular, senior generals, both retired and those still serving, appreciate the benefits accruing from a financial empire worth billions of dollars. This vast apparatus encompasses four military welfare foundations (valued at around $2 billion), but also includes hundreds of large-, medium- and small-scale business ventures which the military more or less directly runs. For instance, one major cargo transport giant is a military firm; and other army units have run everything from Lahore petrol-pumps to toll-levies on a national highway. <b><span style='font-size:14pt;line-height:100%'>The estimated total worth of this economy exceeds $100 billion</span></b> (<b>see Ehsan Masood, "Pakistan: the army as the state", 12 April 2007</b>).

These extensive financial interests guarantee the armed forces both organisational autonomy and a regular flow of resources from the public and private sectors to enrich senior officers. But the military's power goes even wider: it extends, for example, to the acquisition of state-owned land with impunity. It is now common for the government to dispossess landless peasants from state land they have in desperation occupied and transfer ownership to military personnel. By these and other means, the military has come to control about 11.58 million acres of state land (12% of the total). Much of this is then distributed to its personnel for private benefit (in return for a very modest rent).

This policy is ostensibly designed to benefit all military personnel, including soldiers, but the main beneficiary (especially from urban land distribution) is the officer cadre. In rural areas, too, senior officers receive extra subsidies such as farm-to-market roads, access to water and allowance to use soldiers as farm-workers. The similarities to the position of local feudal lords are more than contingent: in fact, the military economy is in effect a pre-capitalist socio-economic structure whose assets embody comparative political power rather than act as a source of capital formation.

<b>A crony economy</b>

Pervez Musharraf's eagerness to reward the members of his primary political constituency has meant that this system of rewards has flourished under his seven years of military rule. Behind Pakistan's political games and calculations, the system forms the basis of a "social contract" under which the military fraternity and its cronies will continue to enjoy access to resources and opportunities as long as they remain loyal. This formula is also the basis for the enhancement of the military's political power.

The domination of civilian institutions by the armed forces is at the heart of Pakistan's permanent crisis. This political-economic nexus entrenches political cronyism - and in a way that implicates international players too. In a situation of such extensive military control, forces (civilian, political, or Pakistan's foreign allies) which desire to advance their interests in the country have no option but to seek access to and preference from the state's most powerful institution.

<b>The economics and politics reinforce each other. The result is the emergence of a Pakistani ruling elite that comprises a complex network of senior military, significant industrialists, businessmen, landed-feudal owners, civil bureaucracy and now even media gurus. Some members of this elite coalition may not be entirely comfortable with the military's overarching control, but as a whole it has become a pillar of Pakistan's authoritarian form of governance. This system is a huge obstacle in the way of progress towards democracy in Pakistan.</b>

<i>Copyright © Ayesha Siddiqa, Published by openDemocracy Ltd.</i>

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<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>No business like mil–business </b>
Khalid Hasan
In a country where it is still illegal to photograph a bridge or to be found hanging around the road that leads to the Bum factory, it is amazing that the young female academic Ayesha Siddiqa should have written a book laying bare the Pakistan Army’s inner economy and providing the first documented account of the vast commercial empire it has built with public money. So secretive is Pakistan’s defence establishment that the National Assembly is not permitted – even under civilian governments – to debate its budget or question its spending. Nor is anyone authorised to look into the Army’s enterprises. If anyone is looking for a state within a state, he need not look any further. All he has to do is to come to Pakistan.

Ayesha Siddiqa’s book Military Inc.: Inside Pakistan’s Military Economy had long needed to be written but wasn’t because those who had the ability or the knowledge to write it considered discretion the better part of valour. How the Army will react to her findings, I am unable to predict. Since her facts are well supported, I suspect they will simply be ignored. However, I do hope a copy of the book will be available in every station library in every cantonment.

According to the author, the commercial empire of the Pakistan Army has a net worth of Rs 200 billion. The term she has coined for the Army’s commercial and business activities is Milbus, which is shorthand for ‘military business.’ She defines Milbus as military capital used for the personal benefit of the military fraternity, especially the officer cadre, which is not included as part of the defence budget or does not follow the normal accountability procedures of the state, making it an independent genre of capital. It is directly or indirectly controlled by the military. She writes that this unaccounted transfer of resources can take many forms. She lists them as: state land transferred to military personnel, resources spent on perks and privileges for retired personnel, business opportunities diverted to armed forces personnel by flouting the norms of a free market economy, and money lost on training personnel who seek early retirement to join the private sector.

Ayesha Siddiqa maintains that a study of Milbus is important because it causes the officer cadre to be interested in enhancing their influence in the state’s decison making and politics. This military capital also becomes the major driver for the armed forces’ stakes in political control. She writes, “Pakistan’s military today runs a huge commercial empire. Although it is not possible to give a definitive value of the military’s internal economy because of a lack of transparency, the estimated worth runs into billions of dollars. The Fauji Foundation and the Army Welfare Trust are the largest business conglomerates in the country. Besides these, there are multiple channels through which the military acquires opportunities to monopolise national resources.”

Ayesha Siddiqa makes three major points. First, that Milbus is military capital that perpetuates the military’s political predatory style. This capital is concealed, not being recorded as part of the defence budget and it involves unexplained and questionable transfers of resources from the public to the private sector, especially to individuals and groups that have the inside track. Second, the military’s economic predatoriness increases in totalitarian systems. The armed forces encourage policies and related environments that multiply their economic opportunities. Milbus becomes part of the tribute that the military extracts from providing services such as national security. Since the armed forces ensure territorial security, they believe that anything that contributes to their welfare is justified. At times, the military convinces the citizens to bear additional costs on the basis of a conceived or real threat to the state. Third, the military’s economic predatoriness is both a cause and an effect of a feudal, authoritarian and non-democratic political system. In the process of seeking benefits, those in power give a blank cheque to other elite groups to behave in a predatory manner.

The author argues that the elite groups in society have their own reasons to turn a blind eye to the military’s economic interests. In politics dominated by the military, other dominant groups often turn into cronies of the armed forces to establish a mutually beneficial relationship, as has happened in Pakistan every time the military has been in power. Monopolies, caused by illegal military capital result in market distortions, place a burden on the public sector because of the hidden flow of funds from the public to the private sector. Since the military claims Milbus activities to be legitimate, funds are often diverted from the public to the private sector, which can and does include the use of military equipment by military-controlled firms and the acquisition of state land for distribution to individual members of the military fraternity for profit making.

A friend of mine, Tariq Jazy, says that when he looked up the word ‘army’ in the Concise Oxford Dictionary, he found it defined as an “organised force armed for fighting on land.” This definition, he added, he has modified in line with Pakistan’s requirements, and it now reads, “an organised force armed to fight for land.” Ayesha Siddiqa writes that the military is a significant stockholder in agricultural land. Out of the 11.58 million acres that is controlled by the armed forces, an estimated 6.9 million acres, or about 59 percent of the total land, lies in rural areas. The military is the only department of the government that has assumed the authority to redistribute land for the benefit of its officials, having distributed about 6.8 million acres among its cadres for their personal use. When a dispute arose over the Okara farms when the Army wanted to throw out the sharecroppers who had cultivated that land for generations, Army spokesman Maj. Gen. Shaukat Sultan said, “The needs of the Army will be decided by the Army itself and/or the government will decide this. Nobody has the right to say what the Army can do with 5,000 acres or 17,000 acres. The needs of the Army will be determined by the Army itself.” So there, in a nutshell, you have it.

Ayesha Siddiqa concludes, “An authoritarian system in which the military has a dominant position is hardly the panacea for Pakistan’s political problems, nor does it help the long-term interests of the country’s strategic external allies. A politically strong Pakistan will also be a stable Pakistan, which will not be detrimental to the South Asian region or the world at large.” She also points out that the military has been central in nourishing the religious right without necessarily realising the strength of religious ideology as an alternative to itself.

But let me close this with another observation from my friend, Tariq Jazy. “In Pakistan, the military has been civilianised and the civilians have been militarised.”

<i>- This is a regular column by TFT’s Washington correspondent. He can be
reached at khasan2@cox.net</i><!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->US: Pak students held for attack on Sikh
May 25, 2007 23:32 IST
Two Pakistani students were arrested after they allegedly removed the turban of a Sikh student and chopped off his hair during a scuffle in their school in a New York suburb, police said.

A third student, who provided the scissors, was also arrested after the incident at the Newtown High School in Queens suburb of New York City on Thursday.

The victim, a 15-year-old student, was not identified.      

The arrested included 17-year old Umair Ahmed but the other Pakistani(15), was not identified because of his age.

Ahmed and the other student allegedly pulled the victim into a bathroom after a heated argument, removed his turban and cut his hair, police said.

Police said the accused students face charges of unlawful imprisonment, aggravated harassment and coercion.

The New York Post quoted an Education Department spokeswoman as describing the incident as 'horrifying' and said the victim would be offered counselling.

At last a Pakistani proving the oft repeated Pakistani Leaderships’ Lies that the Muslims of UP, Bihar, Hyderabad, Bengal etc. were forced to flee India at the time of Partition of India :

[center]<b><span style='font-size:14pt;line-height:100%'>The MQM phenomenon : Ishtiaq Ahmed</span></b>[/center]

May 12, 2007 saw blood spilled on the streets of Karachi as the pro-Musharraf MQM and the supporters of the non-functional Chief Justice of Pakistan, Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, clashed. In the next two days more people died in gun battles and the total came to 46 and more than 150 injured. Both sides have accused the other of recourse to violence first, but the figures suggested that casualties suffered by the pro-Chaudhry elements were far greater than the MQM.

I have spent a lifetime studying collective violence and know for sure that without backing and connivance of state functionaries open gun battles and firing sprees cannot take place. There must have been a compromised administration, 15,000 security forces men as was reported, on the streets of Karachi on May 12 that let the situation get out of control. Alternatively one can say that the functionaries had been instructed not to intervene, notwithstanding whatever they felt or believed themselves, and therefore the responsibility lies even higher up somewhere.

The Tehrik-i-Insaaf leader, Imran Khan, has expressed the view that British Premier Tony Blair should be charged in a court of law for permitting the MQM Supremo, Altaf Hussain, to 'abuse' his sanctuary in the UK when there are several serious cases pending against him in Pakistan. Critics of the MQM have questioned how someone with such a record acquired British citizenship. Unfortunately the US-British war on terror is about terror that strikes their interests and not terrorism as such.

South Asia has produced quite a few ethno-nationalist leaders in the last few decades. Bal Thackeray of the Shiv Sena, Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindrawale of the Khalistan movement, Prabhakkar of the Tamil Tigers and Altaf Hussain of MQM have certain things in common. All of them made their way into politics when their ethnic group felt threatened by competitors and challengers from other groups. They resorted to questionable methods to crush perceived threats and thus gained a reputation of being men of steel. In the process a cult of adulation grew around them and they began to be surrounded by fanatical devotees but themselves became victims of megalomania.

In March 1990 I was in Karachi to research the ongoing ethnic conflict in Sindh. It was part of my comparative study of ethnic conflicts all over South Asia and was published under the title 'State, Nation and Ethnicity in Contemporary South Asia' in 1996 and again in 1998. The MQM at that time was labelled 'a neo-fascist ethnic party' by its detractors who accused it of running its own jails and practising all kinds of unsavoury tactics. It was also alleged by its critics of enjoying the backing of the ISI which had allegedly floated it as a counterweight to the PPP.

I approached the MQM for an interview and was invited to their Azizabad headquarters in Karachi, but instead of being granted an interview by Altaf Hussain it was Azim Ahmed Tariq, the formal president of the MQM, who spoke to me. I found him to be a very worried man. He kept looking at the bag I had with me as if I might pull out a gun and kill him. I sensed that and opened it so that he could see that it contained nothing but my recording equipment and notebook.

<b>Afterwards he relaxed and gave me his litany of Mohajir grievances. <span style='font-size:14pt;line-height:100%'>He asserted that their elders abandoned their hearth and home in northern India not because they were threatened as Muslims were in East Punjab. Jawaharlal Nehru pleaded with them not to leave but the love of Pakistan, an independent Muslim country, was too great and so they came.</span></b>

They established schools and colleges and worked hard to succeed whereas the Sindhi landlords, the waderas, opposed the building of schools and their peasants and other poor Sindhis going to school. Consequently the Urdu-speakers had done well in Pakistan by dint of hard work and merit and not by unfair means. The Sindhis and Punjabis were now oppressing the Mohajirs and that was highly unfair, he argued.

I made him realise, however, that the Sindhis opened their arms and welcomed them in 1947 and that is how they found a home in that province. To that Azim Ahmed Tariq agreed. Later in 1993 he was assassinated.

The fortunes of the MQM dwindled when they clashed with the military and one officer was allegedly kidnapped by them. At that point the army chief Gen. Asif Nawaz and the Corps Commander of Karachi Lt. Gen. Naseer Akhtar ordered raids on the MQM strongholds. The media reported discovery of torture cells and other incriminating evidence. By that time Altaf Hussain had fled to Britain.

In the subsequent years the MQM had increasingly acquiring the appearance of a secular, parliamentary party. It enjoyed strong electoral support and was represented in both the Sindh legislature and the Pakistan National Assembly. Therefore when in December last year I was in Karachi to deliver a keynote speech at the Karachi International Book Fair I was very surprised that it continued to be feared as a ruthless organisation. Many people I spoke to said that what they were telling me in private what they would never dare to say in their office or before their staff or strangers.

This type of culture of fear did not affect only Sindhis or Punjabis or Memons and so on, but cultured and civilised, law-abiding Urdu-speaking Mohajirs also lived in constant fear of the party. Who can forget the murder of Hakim Muhammad Said of the Hamdard Foundation? One day he was mercilessly gunned down. MQM activists were arrested and found guilty of that heinous crime.

When a democratically elected government committed to the rule of law is in power in Pakistan it may well demand from Britain that Altaf Hussain be extradited to face charges for his alleged crimes. Britain is opposed to extraditing people to countries where capital punishment is practised. This is worth keeping in mind.

On the other hand, there should be absolutely no move now or in the future to victimise the Mohajirs. They should be treated as sons of the soil as any other Pakistani. But in return they should desist from associating with organisations that employ force and terror.

The writer is an associate professor at the Department of Political Science at Stockholm University in Sweden. Email: ishtiaq.ahmed@statsvet.su.se

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

[center]<b><span style='font-size:11pt;line-height:100%'><i>The authoritarian and rentier nature of Pakistan's ruling elite has been both the cause and effect of the political conditions in which the state finds itself</i>

Dr Ayesha Siddiqa</span></b>[/center]

<b>The other day someone asked me why there was such a difference in the political conditions of India and Pakistan. India with its established democratic norms is on the opposite end of the political spectrum to Pakistan. Again, while India had managed to get its first constitution within four years of its independence, it took Pakistan about nine years to achieve the same objective and even that was scraped within two years of its making. <i>Is it because the Indian leadership is more sagacious than Pakistan's or is it that the people there are better than what we have in this country?</i></b>

The difference becomes glaring particularly when we realise that the basic chemistry of the people is similar. The common man of the two countries is almost similar or at least they started out from the same starting line. So, what went wrong with Pakistan that it never managed to establish democratic norms or strengthen civilian institutions?

<b>The answer lies in the nature of the ruling elite which in Pakistan's case was always authoritarian and rentier in nature. The nature of the elite was both the cause and effect of the political conditions in which the state found itself.</b>

The fact is that authoritarianism has always flown in the veins of the country's leadership. Although it is considered sacrilege to question the country's leadership, especially those who established the state, the fact is that none of the decisions taken in the early years reflected any sensitivity for democratic norms. The decisions to annex Kalat or to dismiss the provincial government in the frontier province or engaging the military in a conflict with India are highly questionable. According to the famous Pakistani historian, Ayesha Jalal, such decisions were necessitated by the need to consolidate a fragile country. However, the fact of the matter is that these were precisely the decisions which embarked the polity on its peculiar course from which it could never extricate itself.

The leadership, which followed, was no different. The first popularly elected government that followed after thirteen years of military rule was not inclined to follow democratic principles. In fact, as soon as the 1973 Constitution was made Bhutto started introducing amendments to the constitution. Moreover, he erred by involving the military in political issues thus giving the armed forces the confidence to take over the reigns of the government again.

Such authoritarianism of the ruling elite got a fillip during the early years due to the formulation of a patron-client relationship. The hostility with India required strengthening of defenses and forging alignments which could then be used to keep a belligerent bigger neighbour at bay. Perhaps, it could be argued that Mohammad Ali Jinnah did not envision hostile relations with India. He had, as sources suggest, retained his house in Bombay where he planned to return and settle down after partition. In his imagination, life would return to normal after the two countries were made. Such a plan did not reflect an appreciation of realpolitik or realities of partition. Jinnah was certainly not prepared for the carnage or for getting a Pakistan truncated due to the absence of Kashmir.

<b><i>The war of 1947, which was meant to complete Pakistan, had far reaching implications for the country. It not only created a festering wound for both countries, but it also created conditions which pushed Pakistan into a system of global patronage.</i>

This system refers to the patron-client relationship developed with the West. The earlier leadership including Jinnah was keen to woo the US as a balancer of power. A patron-client relationship was finally established during the end of the 1950s when Pakistan joined two US-sponsored military alliances, SEATO and CENTO. Pakistan's military had agreed to fight the Communist threat on Washington's behalf in return for money, weapons and political patronage. Issues such as the Rawalpindi Conspiracy were flagged to get American attention and to justify an alignment with the West. People were told that there was a real threat of Communism to Pakistan.</b>

Twenty three years later, a similar argument was made by Zia-ul-Haq while re-establishing a strategic alignment with Washington. In a mercenary fashion, the military and the ruling elite agreed to serve American interests as long as Washington could guarantee relatively free flow of financial and material resources.

The same equation was struck by General Musharraf after 2001. There are many who argue that Pervez Musharraf should have evaluated the situation and behaved in a more constrained manner than what he eventually did. There are others who argue that a political government might have behaved a bit differently. However, both these arguments miss out on a fundamental reality that nothing would have changed the situation. Being rentier in nature, the elite has always jumped at opportunities to offer its services in return for American patronage. Of course, with international crises, which have implications for American security, the rent of Pakistan's rulers and its military always goes up. The military, in particular, is a direct beneficiary of the patron-client relationship because it is the only institution which can contribute the maximum to fulfilling American security objectives. Whether it is fighting Communism or Jihadis, or providing bases to American forces against the Soviet Union, Iran and others, Pakistan's military has always been the best option. Therefore, it is not surprising that the US has been more forthcoming in rendering support to the military and military regimes in Pakistan.

The above argument raises a vital question regarding issues on which the rulers have not delivered such as rolling back the nuclear programme or handing over AQ Khan to the US. These tricky issues do not necessarily denote divergence of views, but the domestic compulsions of the rentier elite. The arrangement between the patron and the client requires for the latter to have sufficient domestic control besides having the ability to deliver according to American strategic objectives. A restless mass of people can become problematic in delivering to the external patron. The issue with domestic control, however, is that it can be ensured through a combination of coercive tactics and acquiring some political legitimacy. The latter is achieved through creating an impression that the elite can deliver certain goods and services which are fundamental to the survival of the people and the state. This means propagating military security as essential for the survival of the state or to propagate that the state and its ideology is under great threat.

Pakistan's nuclear programme, its India policy or the Islamic agenda are essential ploys for gaining legitimacy at home. In the absence of commitment to socioeconomic development, such policies or popular agendas are critical in getting public support. The elite make people believe that they are getting their money's worth. Hence, these are the very issues on which a blatant comprise cannot be done.

<b>The external patrons understand the compulsions of their clients and do not push them beyond a certain point. The upshot of my argument is that the patron-client system is designed to ensure greater accountability to the external patrons instead of the domestic audience. <i>Devoid of any sense of responsibility to the people, the ruling elite is under no pressure to introduce political accountability or ensure socioeconomic development. Consequently, domestic politics in Pakistan has become nothing but an immoral game of realpolitik which lacks the capacity of bringing substantive changes within.</i></b>

<b>Over one lakh suicide bombers in Pak: cleric</b><!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->A top cleric of the Lal Masjid in Islamabad has claimed that more than one lakh suicide bombers, including 10,000 in the two madrassas controlled by him, were present in Pakistan and were ready to explode at the command of their superiors.

These suicide attackers are ready to operate anywhere and anytime in Pakistan, Red Mosque's head cleric Abdul Aziz said.

"We consider suicide attacks are right in Pakistan under a few circumstances while we consider them as absolutely justified in the context of Afghanistan and Iraq," he was quoted by The News as saying. "We favoured the Taliban not only in the past, we favour them even today."
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Ignominy of trading with India </b>
Khaled Ahmed
Free trade may be dishonourable but it avoids death and stops poverty. Nothing is more dishonourable than poverty 
Free trade destroys many orders. It destroys the ‘self-sufficient’ state. It destroys boundaries that maintain separated identities. It also destroys ideologies that work only in insulation. It destroys dominance of the state too.

Tribal societies, based on delimited food-scarce territories, are undermined by trade. Warriors don’t like trade and traders. The national security state with a backlog of just wars to be fought for national honour is aghast at the prospect of becoming ‘feminine’ through accepting the ‘insertion’ of enemy imports.

Today Pakistan is on the threshold of entering the South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA) which really means ‘opening up’ with India. But it has not ratified the SAFTA treaty while everyone else in South Asia has. It might actually get out of SAFTA, as remaining inside it means making India a Most Favoured Nation.

The prevalent argument is that India must make a move on Kashmir first. What if India did make that move? Will free trade with India become safe then? Those who argue against free trade with India put forward arguments that have nothing to do with Kashmir.

They refer to the configuration of the national economy of Pakistan that will not gibe with the more powerful industrial configuration of India. Although the industrialists of Pakistan object to opening up with India less and less these days, the national security thinkers do make reference to ‘competitive disadvantage’ of opening up.

They must persuade prime minister Shaukat Aziz to graduate from his ‘conditionality’ of Kashmir to actually getting out of the SAFTA agreement whose Article 8 recommends an ‘integration’ of the regional economies.

Article 8 refers to ‘removal of intra-SAARC barriers to investment’ while making it possible for the weaker economies to seek protection through ‘rules of fair competition’.

Even the Supreme Court of Pakistan did not manifest its dislike of the charge made during the Pakistan Steel Mills case that a part of the capital that sought to buy the steel mill was tainted with Indian money. A ‘free’ judiciary may not like ‘free trade’ in Pakistan.

<span style='font-size:14pt;line-height:100%'>There is nothing more unconvincing in the Pakistani stance than the Kashmir conditionality. That this conditionality was not invoked in relation to the Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline may actually have alerted India to the real intent of Islamabad.</span>

The real reason goes deeper than that. It is the fear of the nature of change that might come about through the SAARC vision. Why did the ‘peripheral’ states of South Asia sign the treaty anyway? Today, Pakistan, standing at the threshold of a scary change through trade, may not have signed it.

No matter how well regulated, free trade will destroy all sorts of barriers, change the nature of the state as well as that of the men who live in it. Is Pakistan ready for the change? It would appear that the masses are. The power elite may be hesitant.

If completely unregulated, trade is called smuggling. It has destroyed the ’notional’ Durand Line, and today Pakistan is losing territory in its west while in the east a similar thrust into India by Pakistan’s military has been aborted.

The national security regime is frayed at the edges. It does not live in national action but remains alive in the national mind. As a ‘revisionist’ state, Pakistan is fast running out of steam.

The power elite is hesitant. This hesitation may be owing to a lack of clarity at a deeper level of consciousness. A lack of intellectual capacity will not allow proper interpretation of internationally popularised slogans like ‘trade corridors’.

General Musharraf as an ‘out-of-the-box’ leader has talked about Pakistan as a ‘trade corridor’. He must have picked it up from the economists he talks to. Nothing will destroy the supremacy of the Pakistan army as the transformation of Pakistan into a ‘free-trade hub’.

The economist of today is the most subversive philosopher in history since Socrates. Imagine India using trade routes that spread like arteries across Pakistan’s sacred territory. Pakistan is a corridor of nothing unless India violates it with its manufactures.

The cost of maintaining Pakistan’s honour has escalated. Pakistan pays into Kashmir an estimated $2.6 billion annually to keep the APHC and the jihadi organisations alive in Held Kashmir. This also includes the ‘infiltration budget’. Pakistan gets 800 ‘incursions’ annually for this money.

Pakistan’s ‘conflict economy’, inclusive of military expenditures, is 10.6 percent of its GDP. This is unsustainable. In the post-Musharraf period, the politicians will find it difficult to defend this kind of spending. Their refusal to go on with it will be non-intellectual as any intellectual reformulation will mean taking on Pakistani nationalism.

Pakistan is fast losing territory and culture to a creed that can only be compared to medieval Muslim conquests. It doesn’t feel it is being conquered because it is ideologically prepared for defeat. But, economically, this creeping transformation presages an end to the modern state through a retreat into Hobbesian purgatory.

The politician will breach the India-Pakistan boundary through free trade even though it may be the last one to be breached in the world. (Only North-South Korea and Israel-Syria-Lebanon borders are the last bastions remaining.) He has tried doing it in the 1990s and has been repeatedly toppled because of it.

The real death of Pakistan is coming gradually through the death of its culture. People make fun of ‘enlightenment’ and ‘moderation’ because they see the anti-cultural forces within and without the state winning territory on a daily basis. This is ‘black humour’ rather than rejection of culture.

Free trade and culture go hand in hand. The ‘monoculture’ of free trade (read globalisation) is cakes and ale compared to the ‘monoculture’ of Pakistani nationalism as interpreted by the clergy and the army. Those who are scared of it call it Talibanisation.

There is no honour in heroic isolation. The pinnacle of isolation is martyrdom. Free trade may be dishonourable but it avoids death and stops poverty. Nothing is more dishonourable than poverty.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Nuggets from the Urdu press
<b>Children chained in nighiban centre</b>
As reported in the daily Jang, a child protection and welfare institute raided a children’s centre where they found six children chained by the Social Welfare department employee at Lari Adda in Multan. They were kept without food for 12 hours and were victims of sexual assault; blue films were made to blackmail them. These children were sent to truck drivers and hotel employees for sex.

<b>Disease attacks sacred Buddhist tree</b>
As reported in daily Express, the sacred tree under which Siddhartha Gautama was enlightened is under the attack of disease and its leaves are falling rapidly. The Buddhi tree in Buddha Gia city is 2550 years old and is being preserved as historical heritage by the United Nations. A scientist said the disease is due to the lack of humidity close to its roots. Actions are being taken to remedy the sickness.

<b>Indians among richest men in England</b>
As reported in the daily Jang foreigners, especially Indians, are fast becoming the richest men in England. The richest man in England is steel manufacturer Lakshmi Narian Mittal, whereas the queen of England is at position number 229. Ismaili spiritual leader Prince Karim Agha Khan is the 51st richest man in England. Out of the ten richest British-Asians, nine are Indians and only one is Pakistani.  <!--emo&:bcow--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/b_cowboy.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='b_cowboy.gif' /><!--endemo-->

<b>Hafiz Quran travelled to Spain as Sikh </b>
As reported in the daily Nawa-e-Waqt, a hafiz Quran Abid Muneer tried to reach Spain using the passport of a British Sikh. He was arrested in Dubai by immigration officials and sent back to Pakistan. He told Pakistani officials that his two brothers are in Spain and had arranged fake documents through human traffickers to reach Spain. He said instead of a bright future he now faces lockup in Pakistan.

<b>Accept Islam in ten days or else</b>
As reported in the daily Jang, local Taliban threatened Khyber Medical College in Peshawar to make burqa (veil) compulsory for female students or to get ready for bomb attacks on the college. In another incident, a letter warned the Christian community of Charsadda that all resident Christians shall embrace Islam or leave the locality in ten days. If the deadline is not met, they will respond with a bombing.

<b>Can a mosque be built on illegal land? </b>
Columnist Afzal Rehan wrote in the Daily Pakistan, that the Islamic Ideological Council, in a detailed judgment, called constructing a mosque on illegally acquired land as against Islam. The judgment was given on the petition by the National Institute of Sociology against the forced construction of a mosque on its land. <i>[till now all Muslim did is build illegal mosque everywhere, over dead bodies]</i>

<b>Dhakka start Iranian Mahan Air aircraft</b>
According to the daily Jang, an interesting situation developed when dozens of PIA officials pushed Iranian Mahan Air aircraft to send it back to Iran. When the airplane crew forgot to place an engine part called ‘tobar’ on the plane, 60 to 70 PIA workers and passengers started to push the plane. <!--emo&Big Grin--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/biggrin.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='biggrin.gif' /><!--endemo-->  Iranian planes have previously been started like this on a number of occasions.

<b>Somnath and Chief Justice Mahmood Ghaznavi</b>
Columnist Mohammad Yasin Wato wrote in the daily Nawa-e-Waqt, that the worshippers of the temple of Somnath, who call Mahmood Ghaznavi a looter and dacoit have made him the chief justice of the Supreme Court. He said that Ghaznavi attacked Somnath because all rich temples supported the Hindu maharajas against Ghaznavi. Ghaznavi didn’t go to Karachi to attack them, but went only to address the Sindh high court bar.

[center]<b><span style='font-size:21pt;line-height:100%'>Book shines light on Pakistan military's '£10bn empire'</span></b>[/center]

· Business interests range from cement to cornflakes
· Little transparency into officer-led conglomerates

Declan Walsh in Islamabad

The Pakistani military's private business empire could be worth as much as £10bn, according to a ground-breaking study. Retired and serving officers run secretive industrial conglomerates, manufacture everything from cement to cornflakes, and own 12m acres [4.8m hectares] of public land, says Dr Ayesha Siddiqa, author of Military Inc: Inside Pakistan's Military Economy.

The book tackles a previously taboo subject - the range and depth of the military's business interests - considered a major factor in the ambitions of the generals who have ruled Pakistan for more than half of its 60-year history. "It feeds directly into the military's political power; it's an expression of their personal and organisation strength," said Ms Siddiqa, a former director of research at the Pakistan navy.

Five giant conglomerates, known as "welfare foundations", run thousands of businesses, ranging from street corner petrol pumps to sprawling industrial plants. The main street of any Pakistani town bears testament to their economic power, with military-owned bakeries, banks, insurance companies and universities, usually fronted by civilian employees. Ms Siddiqa estimates that the military controls one-third of all heavy manufacturing and up to 7% of private assets.

Profits are supposed to be pumped back into schools, hospitals and other welfare facilities - the military claims it has 9 million beneficiaries - but there is little transparency. "There is little evidence that pensioners are benefiting from these welfare facilities," she said.

Of the 96 businesses run by the four largest foundations, only nine file public accounts. The generals spurn demands by parliament to account for public monies they spend.

The military's penetration into society has accelerated under President Pervez Musharraf, who has also parachuted 1,200 officers into key positions in public organisations such as universities and training colleges. The military boasts that it can run such organisations better than incompetent and corrupt civilians.

In a 2004 speech to open a new industry owned by the Fauji ("Soldier") Foundation, General Musharraf boasted of "exceptional" military-owned banks, cement and fertiliser plants. "Why is anyone jealous if the retired military officers or the civilians with them are doing a good job contributing to the economy?" he said.

But Ms Siddiqa says the military businesses thrive, thanks to invisible state subsidies in the form of free land, the use of military assets, and loans to bail them out when they run into trouble. "There are gross inefficiencies and the military is mired in crony capitalism. The primary purpose of a trained military is war fighting. They are not designed for the corporate sector."

Her £10bn estimate of military wealth is a "rough figure", she says, split between £6bn in land and private military assets.

"Military Inc." comes at a sensitive time for Gen Musharraf, who is struggling to rebuild his popularity after the botched dismissal of the chief justice, Muhammad Iftikhar Chaudhry, in March. The move sparked nationwide demonstrations that have snowballed into a powerful protest movement. The furore has offered an insight into the raw power wielded by the generals. This week, Justice Chaudhry told the supreme court how military intelligence chiefs spent hours trying to pressure him to quit on March 9, before placing him under effective house arrest.

Ms Siddiqa fears her book, which names names and pours cold water on boastful claims, may step on some powerful toes. "Over the past three years a lot of my friends have advised me not to publish this book. They think I have suicidal tendencies."

But Talat Hussain, a retired general and political analyst, said Ms Siddiqa was a "courageous" researcher. "This area has always been considered a sacred cow in our society," he said.

The book will be launched in Islamabad today. The main military spokesman, Major General Waheed Arshad, said he had not yet obtained a copy. "Let me read it and then I'll get back to you," he said.


The <b>650,000-strong</b> military has been at the heart of power since Pakistan was carved from northern India in 1947. <b>Generals</b> seized power in 1958 and have ruled intermittently since. The main intelligence service, the <b>ISI</b>, has consistently meddled in politics. Three-quarters of all army recruits come from <b>Punjab</b>, reflecting a similar imbalance in the country's power structures. The army's reputation for professionalism stretches back to colonial days, but has been eroded by business-related corruption allegations and three wars with India, including the loss of its eastern half, with the independence of <b>Bangladesh</b> in 1971.

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

[center]<b><span style='font-size:21pt;line-height:100%'>Where has US aid to Pakistan gone?</span></b><!--emo&:flush--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/Flush.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='Flush.gif' /><!--endemo--> [/center]

Mariana Baabar

<b>ISLAMABAD : The billions of dollars in US military aid to Pakistan since September 11, 2001, without any accountability, has now been billed as a “tsunami of new funding”.

Washington’s Centre for Public Integrity, in its report, says that today human rights activists, critics of the Pakistani government and members of Congress want to know, where most of the money — totalling in the billions — coming through a Defence Department programme, subject to virtually no Congressional oversight, has disappeared to.

The Centre says that this is a major finding of more than a year of investigation by the Centre for Public Integrity’s International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ). <span style='font-size:14pt;line-height:100%'>US military aid to Pakistan since September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks includes almost $5 billion in coalition support funds, a programme controlled by the Defence Department to reimburse key allies in the global war on terror. Pentagon reports that the ICIJ obtained through the Freedom of Information Act requests show that Pakistan is the No 1 recipient of these funds — receiving more than 10 times the amount that went to the No 2 recipient, Poland — and that there is scant documentation of how the money was used.</span></b>

Pakistan also benefited from other funding mechanisms set up in the aftermath of the 2001 attacks. In three years after the attacks, Pakistan was the third-largest recipient of the Pentagon’s new regional defence counter terrorism fellowship programme, designed to train foreign forces in counter terrorism techniques. More than $23 million was earmarked for Pakistan in fiscal 2006 for “improving counter terrorism strike capabilities” under another new Pentagon programme referred to colloquially as Section 1206 training, which allows the Pentagon to use a portion of its annual funding from Congress to train and equip foreign militaries. Pakistan finished first in the race for this new Pentagon-controlled training.

The US State Department rates Pakistan’s human rights record as poor and reports a long litany of abuses. That nourishes critics’ claims that the US largesse has been put to abusive purposes, including to buy weapons that have been turned against Pakistani civilians and to offer bounties on suspects the US is seeking.

According to Senator Sana Baloch, an opposition lawmaker who fled the country out of safety concerns, the US has several military bases inside Pakistan, including some in the senator’s home province of Balochistan. “Most of the US bases are based in Balochistan,” Baloch told ICIJ in an interview. “One or two of them are in Kharan, my own home district. The US is using the bases in this area for the war on terror. We are very supportive of the US in this role.”

The majority of the new US funding to Pakistan has come in the form of billions of dollars of coalition support funds (CSF), a post-9/11 funding mechanism created to reimburse key countries for expenses incurred in supporting American counter terrorism operations. According to K Alan Kronstadt, an expert on South Asia at the Congressional research service, by August 2006, CSF accounted for roughly $4.75 billion of the military aid Pakistan received from the US since the terrorist attacks. Pentagon documents obtained by ICIJ say the money that went to Pakistan was largely for “military operations on the Afghanistan border.”

Coalition support funds are considered a reimbursement by some and a blank check by others. Craig Cohen, the co-author of a recent Centre for Strategic and International Study on US aid to Pakistan, asked rhetorically whether CSF money is “intended to yield some sort of specific action on the part of the government,” adding, “If so, there’s clearly no oversight.”

Olga Oliker, an expert on US defence policy and co-author of a recent RAND think tank report on the human rights performance of internal security forces in South Asia, said she’s concerned that US-made weapons that go to Pakistani security forces and US training that the forces receive are being used against civilian populations. “In implementing assistance,” she told ICIJ, “the US has paid relatively little attention to human rights abuses and oversight. People weren’t paying attention.”

The new Democratic-controlled Congress has taken a greater interest in CSF payments to Pakistan. Under the previous GOP majority, there was virtually no oversight of CSF payments to any country. In January 2007, the House of Representatives acted to impose conditions on military aid to Pakistan by adopting the Implementing the 9/11 Commission Recommendations Act of 2007.

Section 1442 of the bill relates to Pakistan. It identifies areas of concern for US policy, including the need for Pakistan to curb the proliferation of nuclear technology, to address the presence of the Taliban and other extremist forces and to secure its borders to prevent movement of terrorists.

The bill would impose limits on foreign assistance to Pakistan, declaring that the US assistance may not be approved until “the president determines and certifies to the appropriate Congressional committees that the government of Pakistan is making all possible efforts to prevent the Taliban from operating in areas under its sovereign control. “In addition, Pakistan would be required to demonstrate that it is making significant steps toward free and fair parliamentary elections in 2007.”

The bill also requires that the president submit a report describing the long-term strategy of US engagement with Pakistan.

“The American-supplied military arsenal has been used against Baloch nationalists,” Senator Baloch told ICIJ. He said he and others have gone to the State Department, “and the State Department says [the US has] given military hardware with no conditions.”

A former US official, previously based in Pakistan, acknowledged to the ICIJ that in Balochistan “the [Pakistani] army stepped in with a pretty heavy hand last year.”

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

[center]<b><span style='font-size:21pt;line-height:100%'>Exploring the army’s empire</span></b>[/center]

<b>Ayesha Siddiqa</b> is a military analyst with a PhD in war studies from King’s College, London. Her recently published book, Military Inc: Inside Pakistan’s Military Economy has already created ripples, with the ISPR sending rejoinders to the media without actually reading the book from cover to cover, claims Siddiqa. It took her two years to write the book and three years to research it. Her earlier book was Pakistan’s Arms Procurement and Military Buildup, 1979-99.

[center]<b><span style='font-size:12pt;line-height:100%'>Here she talks to Books & Authors :</span></b>[/center]

<b>Defining Milbus</b>

Milbus or military business is a word coined earlier by a group of academics including me working at the Bonn International Centre for Conversion. We were looking at the military economy in different countries. I have, however, redefined it to mean military capital used for the personal benefit of the military elite but this is neither recorded nor is a part of the defence budget. The most significant component of this genre of capital are the entrepreneurial activities which do not fall under the scope of normal accountability procedures of the state, and are mainly for the gratification of military personnel and their cronies.

<b>Army’s motive in entering politics</b>

In 1958, the army came to power due to the personal and organisational ambitions of the then C-in-C, General Ayub Khan. The ambition had an economic dimension as well. The direct control of the state would also allow the military to monopolise national resources. It was, however, during the Ayub regime that the top leadership turned predatory. The army chief and other senior officers gained personal advantages. Henceforth, political power had two dimensions: power to control the state and its resources which could then be monopolised by the military’s top leadership and their civilian cronies.

<b>Why Milbus as a phenomenon has assumed this blatantly predatory form in Pakistan as compared to India</b>

Milbus is found in other countries as well. However, Pakistan’s Milbus signifies internal political and economic predation of the military. <b>It is not found in India to the same extent as in Pakistan because of the political power of the military. The Indian leadership made sure after independence that the armed forces remained subservient to the political class and the civilians in general. <span style='font-size:14pt;line-height:100%'>In Pakistan the top leadership, <i>starting with Mohammad Ali Jinnah,</i> failed to institute a strong mechanism to control the military.</span></b>

<b>Nature of army’s linkages with religious extremists</b>

The link is more political and causal than economic/business which means that the strength of the religious right helps the military sustain its significance. The primacy of the national security agenda is critical in this relationship.

<b>Armed forces’ strategy vis-à-vis India, the composite dialogue and its impact on the army’s economic interests</b>

<b>The illegal military economy thrives on the military’s significance as a protector of the state and its ideology. <span style='font-size:14pt;line-height:100%'>The army will never have total peace with India. The adversary will always be propped up as a threat.</span> <span style='font-size:14pt;line-height:100%'>Solving Kashmir is just getting rid of an existential issue. It doesn’t mean that the rivalry is over. Wars boost Milbus rather than weakening it because it justifies the military’s expansion into the state, the society and the economy.</span></b> What is important to realise is that Milbus is to bolster the military’s political power. It is not about profit-making. If the generals understood profit-making, they would loosen their control of politics and the state.

<b>Links between multinational corporations and Milbus</b>

All military companies are making an effort to build linkages with international companies. The Fauji Foundation, Defence Housing Authorities and Shaheen Foundation have international linkages.

<b>Class friction/conflict in the armed forces</b>

The military economy I have discussed in my book is highly elitist. The Pakistan military is extremely class-oriented and elitist. The soldiers are treated differently from the officer cadre. The soldiers have less access to facilities which is borne out by the fact that all urban housing schemes are for officers and none for the soldiers. Moreover, they also have the benefit of discipline which is used to curb any internal class warfare.

<b>Implications of Milbus for democracy</b>

The military’s political and economic interests and power are intertwined. The generals will never withdraw from power as long as they have personal and financial stakes in wielding power. The problem is that these economic interests have turned the military into an independent class which now co-habits with the rest of the ruling elite. This development has eroded the military’s image as an arbiter which means that in our politically fragmented society people cannot look at the military as a neutral umpire. Hence, there is greater likelihood for the common man to turn towards an alternative ideology which could be religious extremism.

<b>Milbus and land reforms in Pakistan</b>

<b><span style='font-size:14pt;line-height:100%'>Milbus is central to the debate on land reforms because the military cannot afford to have laws which are detrimental to their personal interests and that of their civilian cronies. Since the military has evolved into an independent class which now predates with other ruling classes, it is essential to stop pro-poor laws.</span></b>

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

[center]<b><span style='font-size:21pt;line-height:100%'>At year’s end</span></b>[/center]

THE Finance Ministry seems to be toeing the water before it announces the next fiscal year’s budget. It is conducting a tour of meet-the-presses called “Budget 2007-08 – A milestone in the continuation of economic reforms”, the third leg of which was held in Lahore yesterday.

Advisor to the Prime Minister on Finance, Dr. Salman Shah was the keynote speaker. <!--emo&Confusedtupid--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/pakee.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='pakee.gif' /><!--endemo-->

Dr. Shah talked about a lot of issues, ranging from the fiscal deficit (“We’ll maintain it at 4 percent of GDP”) to education and human resource development (“We’ll raise it to 4 percent of GDP”). He talked of investor confidence and the voracity with which government bonds are gobbled up in the international capital markets. The real question on everybody’s minds, however, was inflation. And that was what a majority of the questions were about. Specifically food inflation, which has seen a particularly bad year. There are two trends in food prices, Dr. Shah told the audience. First, food prices are increasing the world over. Second, the support price that the government sets for certain food items contributes to keeping the prices up. <!--emo&:liar liar--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/liar.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='liar.gif' /><!--endemo-->

Who should we protect? The farmer or the consumer? Dr. Shah is right when he points out that it is a fine balance. However, support prices have been around since a very long time.

The rampant, near double-digit food inflation that we have been seeing cannot be explained away by support prices. Food inflation is basically a result of the government’s mismanagement of the agricultural goods market. <!--emo&:rocker--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/rocker.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='rocker.gif' /><!--endemo-->

<b>Dr. Shah admitted the fact that the inflation target of 6.5 percent could not be met. The other targets that the government could not meet this year, the one’s that did not come up for discussion at the seminar: industrial production, down 6.8 percent from 11 pc target; Large scale manufacturing down to 8.8 pc from a target of 13 pc. Exports have fallen short of the target by about 13 pc. Happy new fiscal year.</b> <!--emo&:flush--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/Flush.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='Flush.gif' /><!--endemo-->

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

Breaking news.
<b>Dr. Ayesha Siddiqa has escaped from Pakistan and is now in London.</b>

Whats going on ?

[center]<b><span style='font-size:21pt;line-height:100%'>Dr Ayesha Siddiqa leaves Pakistan : Rauf Klasra</span></b>[/center]

<b>LONDON : Renowned scholar Dr Ayesha Siddiqa secretly reached London on Wednesday after she “received a message that a charge sheet is being prepared to put her on trial” for writing a book against the Pakistani military establishment.</b>

Dr Ayesha, whose recently launched book, “Military Inc”, created a stir in Pakistan, was scheduled to reach London on June 13. However, she abruptly got out of the country after the messengers told her that she might be put on trial soon.

<b>Before leaving Pakistan, Dr Ayesha also received a legal notice from a retired general, demanding Rs 1 billion as damages for exposing his alleged acts of omission and commission in her book.</b>

She was informed by some of her close family friends that her life was in a danger and she should be very careful. “I left Pakistan quietly as certain messengers were sent to my house to inform me about government’s intentions to prepare a charge-sheet,” Dr Siddiqa told The New here.

She said she believed that the messengers, who were personally known to her, were sent because the authorities concerned were annoyed at her work on the political and economic might and role of the military establishment.

<b>Dr Ayesha said she had planned to visit London in the second week of June to attend her book’s launching ceremony here on June 13. But, after receiving these messages she decided to leave for London quite early, she said, adding that after receiving these messages, her husband was frightened about her safety in Pakistan.</b>

Cheers <!--emo&:beer--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/cheers.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='cheers.gif' /><!--endemo-->
Her book only proves that Paki Army had occupied Pakistan or we can Pakistan is its vessel state.
I hope we can get download free version.
<!--emo&Big Grin--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/biggrin.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='biggrin.gif' /><!--endemo-->
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Dictatorial streak </b>
The Pioneer Edit Desk
Musharraf shows his true colours
It may be somewhat galling to Gen Pervez Musharraf, who has basked in his image of a benign and liberal autocrat, that he finds himself forced to take stern steps to shore up his regime. Yet, even as the snowballing pro-democracy political agitation unleashed by the March 9 suspension of Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry has possibly isolated him, popular discontent - so far repressed - has found a channel of expression in Pakistan.<b> Army rule has come under increasing criticism, as indicated by the publication of Ms Ayesha Siddiqa's book on the Pakistani military's assets, reflective of middle-class anger against rulers in uniform</b>. Gen Musharraf has begun to find that he has limited options. Before the agitation began, he was perhaps expecting an easy ride in the September presidential election, with hopes of sustaining the existing political arrangement despite pressure on him to give up one of his two hats. He may also have been hopeful that the subsequent general election, held under his supervision, would throw up a configuration convenient to him. The current agitation, that has also emboldened the political parties, has substantially altered the picture and considerably weakened his position. <b>The General has now to ride out this storm to survive. He perhaps believes that media coverage has given force to the campaign against him, devoid of which it would fizzle out. This may be one of the reasons why he has resorted to an attempt to regain some initiative by attacking the freedom of the Press under the pretext that private channels have been devoting too much time to criticism of the Army and other institutions of the state. Broadcast content is now to be controlled through a draconian Ordinance, drafted by men in khaki, that empowers the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority to unilaterally confiscate equipment of defaulting television channels and seal premises. It comes in the wake of a Government order that has banned live coverage of events on television. </b>

That in the immediate future an increasingly beleaguered Gen Musharraf may resort to further repression to retain his hold was indicated in a crackdown on activists in Punjab in which - as claimed by the Opposition - hundreds of protesters have been arrested. Cases have also been lodged against many newspersons who have refused to accept the new media regulations. Already, the spectre of military repression has begun to generate fears in Pakistan that the process of elections may get derailed if Gen Musharraf takes to an unconstitutional path, giving democracy a setback. Were this to happen, it would be deeply unfortunate for Pakistan and would only deepen the political crisis which now prevails. Gen Musharraf would find popular support deserting him, as political parties tap the growing discontent. Dependent largely on force, he would be hamstrung and ineffectual. This in turn could lead to his fall from grace and exit from power. It's happened before.
<b>NYC Pakistani editors threatened: rights group</b><!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->NEW YORK (Reuters) - A U.S. media rights watchdog group said on Wednesday that editors of two Pakistani newspapers in New York City have been threatened over reports on criminal activity in the Pakistani-American community and other articles.

The Committee to Protect Journalists, or CPJ, said threats were made against the editors of Urdu-language newspapers Pakistan Post and Urdu Times and thousands of copies of the papers destroyed.

The group said the free newspapers were targeted for stories on alleged criminal activities by Pakistani-Americans in New York City and opinion pieces by Jewish authors.

[center] <!--emo&:liar liar--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/liar.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='liar.gif' /><!--endemo--><b><span style='font-size:21pt;line-height:100%'>A Barrel Full of Laughs</span></b> <!--emo&Confusedtupid--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/pakee.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='pakee.gif' /><!--endemo-->[/center]

Cheers <!--emo&:beer--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/cheers.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='cheers.gif' /><!--endemo-->
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Nuggets from the Urdu press
Hang Dr Qadeer from the highest tree
As reported in daily Khabrain, the Pakistani ambassador in the USA said that, unfortunately, Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan, is our national hero otherwise we would have hung him from the highest tree. He also said<b> India is fortunate to have 30 years of leadership by the Nehru family while Pakistan never had such leadership</b>.  <!--emo&Sad--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/sad.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='sad.gif' /><!--endemo-->
<b>Lawyers use “Go Musharraf Go” ringtone</b>
As reported in daily Nawa-e-Waqt, the lawyers of the Lahore High Court have vowed to use a “Go Musharraf Go” ringtone on their mobile phones. The decision was accepted by the general house of the Lahore High Court Bar. The idea was presented by Ahsan Bhoon of the People’s Lawyer’s Forum.

<b>Father-in-law marries his daughter-in-law</b>
According to daily Khabrain, a lewd human trafficker, Osama Zubair, developed illicit relations with his daughter-in-law. When the parents of the girl found out, they brought her home and her husband divorced her. Zubair abducted and married her. The head of Dar ul Ulum, in Faisalabad, said that this marriage is against Islam and that the time of iddat after the divorce had not been completed.

<b>Shumail Raj was not a virgin </b>
According to Daily Pakistan, the Lahore High Court sentenced the two girls of Faisalabad to 3 years in jail and 10,000 rupees in fines for lying in court. The court also ordered that a case be registered against the doctors who operated on Shumail Raj to remove her sex organs. A medical report declared Shumail Raj as not a virgin girl. The learned judge asked the lawyer to inform the court about the Islamic teachings relating to the marriage of two girls.

<b>Arms factories in two provinces</b>
As reported in Daily Pakistan, the MQM said that not only Karachi but the whole country shall be cleared of arms. Hyder Abbas Rizwi of MQM said that there are no arms factories in Sindh and that arms are smuggled into Sindh from two neighbouring provinces. He said that the arms factories in the two provinces shall be closed and cases will be registered against the provincial governments.

<b>Learn from Egypt, Turkey, and Abu Dhabi </b>
In Pakistan magazine, the irrigation expert Chaudhry Mushataq Ahmad Gill said that we failed to build the Kala Bagh Dam because technical experts didn’t guide politicians, and the project became a target of suspicions and conspiracies. He said that Pakistani politicians should learn from Turkey, Abu Dhabi and Egypt, countries that have made their deserts into fertile land while we have turned our fertile land into deserts.

<b>Nine year old American spy</b>
In daily Express, the columnist Saad Ullah Jan Barq wrote that in a Peshawar bomb blast near Masjid Mahabat Khan, a nine year old American spy was killed. He was pretending to collect leftover bread crumbs. The Americans have abandoned recruiting long robe wearing spies with bulging stomachs and thick necks and have starting recruiting starving half naked spies. The columnist congratulated the azmin janat “residents of paradise” (ie suicide bombers) for targetting American spies hiding as labourers, vendors and beggars on the streets.

<b>Security measures for Imam Kaaba's arrival</b>
As reported in daily Jang, district mayor of Lahore, Main Aamer Mehmood, presided over a meeting in Jamia Naemia to finalise security measures. The statements asked the people not to bring handbags, mobile phones and cameras to the mosque. A separate praying place was designated for women and a shuttle service was provided for namazis from Qadafi Stadium to Jamia Naemia. The solid waste department had started to clean the area before the arrival of the Imam Kaaba.

<b>Jihad against the rulers by ulema and mashaikh</b>
As reported in Daily Pakistan the central leader of Ittehad Ahle Sunnat, Supreme Council Dr Sarfaraz Naemi, said that on May 27, Jamia Naemia would hold a “Save Pakistan convention” where thousands of ulema and mashaikh would declare jihad against the Islam-hating rulers of Pakistan. He said the time has arrived to make mosques, shrines, and madrassas into fortresses and surround the Islam repugnant rulers of Pakistan.

MMA was partner of Pervez Musharraf
As reported in daily Nawa-e-Waqt, chairperson of the PPP, Benazir Bhutto, said that the clerical alliance of the MMA gave a vote of confidence in favour of President Musharraf’s uniform and are also partners of the present government. She said if the President is sincere in holding talks then they are also ready for negotiations. She said she would go back to Pakistan no matter what the ministers of the ruling party say about her comeback.

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