Pakistan’s Budding Kissinger

 

“The elected government of President Zardari appoints an optician-turned-foreign policy expert Nasir Ali Khan as Ambassador at Large who has visited 25 countries in 24 months costing 15 million. His credentials? Played marbles with Shah Mehmood Qureshi at school”.

by ZAFAR HILALY | Thursday | 23 December 2010 | The News International

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan—To support the travel expenses of a Mr Nasir Ali Khan, an optician turned foreign affairs expert, now Ambassador at Large, probably takes a hundred fold as much money as it does to support the life of a common man.

Statistics to this effect were revealed in the National Assembly yesterday, in response to a question by a member of the opposition. Apparently in the space of 24 months Mr Nasir Ali Khan had visited 25 countries, some more than once, spending a total of 156 days outside the country at a cost of 15 million rupees to the national exchequer. On one trip to the US he stayed abroad on ‘assignment’ for as long as 18 days. That, apparently, is a record which is unequalled by any president, prime minister or foreign minister and one that will in all probability remain unchallenged.

It would have been interesting if MNA Nighat Saleem, who asked the question in parliament, would have followed up the government’s response by asking precisely what was the purpose of the Ambassador at Large’s mission to Trinidad and Tobago. I must confess that after a sleepless night I am still unable to think of one unless he was representing the Islamic Republic at a Reggae fest. 

On reading the government’s response I rang up some serving and retired contacts to ask them who exactly this budding Kissinger was and why was he being shielded from public eye almost as much as our nuclear assets. Guffaws of laughter greeted my questions. “Don’t you know? He’s a bum-chum of Shah Mehmood Qureshi since their school days,” said one and all. Not believing that our foreign minister had assigned this particular gentleman a spanking new office at the prestigious third floor of the Foreign Office, and insisted on being accompanied by him on his visits abroad only because they had played marbles at school, I decided to snoop around. But snoop as much as I did, I discovered nothing to suggest otherwise.

It then occurred to me that I must be looking in the wrong place and asked one of the most prominent and widely respected Pakistani journalists in Islamabad, who is also a columnist for several major international newspapers, whether he had met our ‘Kissinger’ or heard him dilate on foreign affairs and what he thought of him. Except relating he confirmed that he had met Mr Nasir Ali Khan the rest of what he said is unprintable.

Never having met the Ambassador at Large personally, or heard him speak, on or off the record, or having read a word that he had written, I can’t swear that it he is as clueless about his new job as is being alleged but, alas, one feels that he may be. In this regime, as we have discovered to our cost time and time again, there is simply no criterion to fill a post. Anyone can be slotted for any job. Appointments are made on the basis of blood relations, friendship, larceny and what have you. The disdain for qualifications, experience, aptitude, performance, merit, abounds with the candidate’s lust for office, backed by lucre, often proving decisive.

Of the ambassadors at large appointed by this regime, one used to be a computer operator at the World Bank; another was a restaurant owner in Dubai; a third had no fixed vocation and alarmingly no fixed address. Apparently there are more of whom one does not hear perhaps because they violated their bail bonds. Of course, the professions identified are perfectly respectable ones except that they are as far removed from the craft of diplomacy as this government’s concern is for merit. 
About the only ambassador at large today, who has any experience of diplomacy, is Ambassador Zia Ispahani but unfortunately his experience was only judged sufficient for a solitary mission in the past two years, in stark contrast to the 30 assigned to Mr Nasir Ali Khan, the optician. Considering that on most of his ‘missions’ the foreign minister was also with him, one wonders what Mr Nasir’s actual tasks were apart from being a factotum. And again, on this score too there is much lurid speculation in Islamabad.

For a government to be perceived as having the right man for the job adds to its stature and, of course, its performance; and the opposite is true when fools seem to be in an overwhelming majority. In her second term, some of BB’s advisers realising the politician’s proclivity to get carried away by considerations other than qualifications, experience, aptitude, performance and merit, suggested that she confine her selection to top posts in the bureaucracy from a shortlist of three provided by a select group of advisers headed by a very experienced former civil servant. BB would have none of it.

Politicians as a rule don’t like their freedom to appoint, and sometimes anoint who they wish circumscribed by rules or even common sense. They love to flaunt their power. After suffering as much as they do, in the form of beatings, jail and torture when out of office, they hate being told that some or other rule prevents them from savoring their victory and appointing whoever they wish to a job.

Just because the public has, for the moment, preferred their wisdom to that of their opponents they think they know best, and even though one of them paid for it with his life and BB’s choices on occasions turned out to be wrong it’s a habit that dies hard, as the Zardari-Gilani duo have amply demonstrated in their choice of candidates to fill important posts. Of course the performance of their opponents has been no better.

Pakistan is one of those rare semi-functional democracies where legally the president/prime minister can go off walking on the hills around his mansion in Islamabad and return with an ambassador designate in tow. All he has to do before taking his shower is to sign a note purporting to ‘be pleased to appoint’ him as one.

And that, by the looks of it, is how the current duo functions, except on the occasion when they spotted our peripatetic Ambassador at Large they were accompanied on their walk by the foreign minister who seems to have prevailed upon them to let his school chum join his diplomatic forays.

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What is the REAL truth about Wikileaks?!

I really don’t know, but by sharing this perhaps you may reach a conclusion! Koolblue

GORDON DUFF:

CHUTZPAH:  PROMISE TO STOP WORKING FOR ISRAEL

 

“FOOL ME ONCE, SHAME ON YOU, FOOL ME TWICE….”

 

By Gordon Duff STAFF WRITER/SeniorEditor

“it is one thing for the New York Times to edit their own stories but you let them censor everything for all of us”

Today, Julian Assange admitted that Wikileak material had been chosen by the press, not an independent organization after all.  Wikileaks, in effect, admitted that it has always been a front for what Helen Thomas refers to as the Zionist controlled media.  Assange, in a childish attempt at “spin” blamed the press for having too many “sensitivities ” to Israel and making Wikileaks look bad.

HELLO!

The only reason we needed Wikileaks in the first place is that the press failed so utterly.  Is it any secret that Assange turned total control of Wikileaks over to the press, the people who gave him “rock star” status?  How utterly sick.

CHICKENFEED ONCE MORE

Now Assange is telling us he has 3700 cables from the US Embassy in Tel Aviv, documents covering  an Israeli assassination and the tail kicking they got when they last invaded Lebanon.  Anyone who thinks they can expect to hear the embassy communications outlining American outrage at Israeli actions will die waiting.  Expect the same “media sensitivities” we have seen all along.

By “media sensitivities” we are simply saying that Israel controls Wikileaks and uses it to bash their enemies, the United States and their neighbors, some we now learn have been their friends all along.

SHAMEFUL ADMISSION DISGUISED AS SPIN

Wikileaks had promised the press thousands of documents about a “UFO War over the Southern Ocean.” I couldn’t wait for this one.  Instead, seemingly clever Julian Assange in his most apologetic manner is now telling us that he has sinned.  Where did the mysterious UFO story go?  Who told you to withhold it?  Are we sitting on that story because President Obama is now drumbeating for war with Iran full time?

WIKILEAKS ADMITS TO BEING A FRAUD

He let the press control Wikileaks.

Julian, if we wanted to read the New York Times, we would go out and get one.  Now you are telling us that the Times, a worthless rag of a newspaper, has been running Wikileaks all along?  Do you know what “fraud” means?

If we wanted to hear what Israel wanted us to hear, we simply would have turned on our televisions.  We have had nothing else for decades.  Now you admit you have been a part of it.  Are we supposed to be surprised?

You weren’t that hard to figure out.  Every day, a new photograph in hundreds of newspapers, always posed, always thoughtful.  You spend 9 days waiting for bail and we find out that you  have been working for the press, working for Israel, working for the most powerful and devious forces known to mankind all along?  You needed 240,000 pounds for bail?  This wouldn’t be a one month retainer for your lawyer or publicists.  The people you work for use money like that for lighting cigars.

We know it was all an act, just like this is part of that act, more drama brought on because some of us caught you early on and have “outed” you.  What I find amazing is your chutzpah. You admit to using us all, defrauding us, being a disinformation agent.

Now you are taking a second shot at deceiving us all.  What we expect is the same press that you are now accusing, now supposedly “distancing” yourself from will be the lead on this new story.  What we are going to get is the New York Times, the Guardian, der Spiegel, the same triumvirate of baloney, your partners in crime, spreading the same old Wikileaks chickenfeed mixed in with Israeli disinformation and leaks designed to hurt the US government and discredit your Islamic neighbors.

Yes, Julian.  They are your Islamic neighbors.  If you don’t have Israeli citizenship yet, you soon will.  They need another comedian and that seems to be your only real talent.  I do so love your choice of words.

“SENSITIVITIES”

What you call “sensitivities,” a word that undoubtedly came from a committee of advisors juggling emails between New York and Tel Aviv is simply lying and cheating to the rest of us.  You lied to us all, not once but continually and now you think we are going to take more of your lies simply because they are delivered with a half hearted apology?

Chutzpah

(Gordon Duff is a political commentator & writer,associated with The Veteran Today).

NOTE:This is a cross post from The Veteran Today.

To my Blog readers, Family & Friends, Thank you!

With  7 odd days to the new year, I don’t recall another year like it! Gosh, It went so fast and perhaps one of the years that I wish had never happened, for so many different reasons; mostly because of all the sadness that we all experienced one way and another with all the news of the destruction around the world flooded in, literally with excessive rains that took communities around the world by surprise, by earthquakes that shook communities with their devastation that was unleashed killing the loved ones of so many people somewhere or the other, friends and loved ones lost their friends and loved ones, even in our own Motherland! I personally feel their pain as I know what they are going thru, having had similar experiences.

On the brighter side, over 2010 I met new people, some of whom have become good friends, others I pray will tolerate me in spite of all my failings, and perhaps some of them will, thru a chink in my armour, catch a glimpse of the inner me….do you think that is really possible?! I would truly hope so!

We could have done without the floods! But the Creator had to give us yet one more opportunity/warning! And look what we did with it! Every cloud has a silver lining my inner self keeps telling me! But for Heaven’s sake I have yet to encounter it! But surely these are signs for us to straighten up and fly right! Do we “the haves” really care? Do we give “the have-nots” a second thought? No! Because we relieve our guilty consciences by one generous hand out and walk away, as if to say, “I did my bit!” But there are those among us, had it not been for them, the misery would have been much worse for the effected ones!

I treasure the experiences of the year that is ending with all its memories more good than bad for me personally, becoming a Dada tops the list! Mind you there have been the monumental bad ones too, when realisation struck and one was jerked out of one’s complacency and ‘taking for granted’ mode, I wish I wouldn’t do that! But enough of me and my failings and more of my world and the lovely people who inhabit it, who in their individual way have made my life so much richer and in so doing made it possible to make it through the day/ the week/ the month and yes! this year! I thank each and every one of you!

Time is of the essence, do we really have enough of it? Are we really making the most of it? What is, ‘making the most of it’?? care to wander down that one?! More importantly how often in that fleeting time did we attempt to smile at someone or help in making their day, not often enough! We, nay, I could have done more, much more!

But thank Heavens, I am surrounded by such beautiful people, who, each in their individual way,  are there, when one reaches out; for that,  I "Thank you".

The Country today faces circumstances that may lead us to balkanisation but if I know the people of this Motherland, we will rise like we have always risen to any call in the defence of our Motherland, setting aside our petty (by comparison) differences, to defend to the last, our Pakistan;

Have you ever given a thought to the managers of this Fair Fine Land?

Incompetence , inexperience, inadequate, DISHONEST, CORRUPT & SELFISH, every man-jack of them, in every possible way! Did we elect/select them? I rest my case, we are the ones that should be labelled so! The only ones with vision, and strategic thinking, are in fact the ones we shun the most, the ones that will be the first to meet and answer a threat to our borders, skies and seas. And do you know why? Because, they are the only ones left who still, are trained and developed into what they are, while the rest of us, pass each day as an experience that is repeated day in and day out, focusing on our own selfish thoughts and needs!

So the world passes us by and we become stunted because the world is growing/developing while we stand still!

With the utmost respect for those at the helm of affairs, should we total up all of their experiences, education, skills, training, on-the-job or career specific, it makes me shudder to think that we are being managed by a bunch of "Interns" with NO Supervision, except the meddling selfish ways and strategies of the West whom we ape and turn to with upturned hands!!!! ‘Time for change’, like a man in the west recently said; Even there, success & change has eluded the expectant voters!

But us, can we really change?! If deterioration is change, then, we are way ahead of the rest!

I went to school in Quetta, and College in Peshawar, worked all over the country during my attempt to earn a living; Tears well up in my eyes as I write about the state of two great cities and two very distinctive Provinces of our Motherland! Look what we are doing to them and letting strangers/aliens do to them! We are being ravaged by the suicide bombs of the “Kafirs” who believe they are Muslims like the rest of us! While we look the other way!

Thank God for my time there, I was most fortunate, as I saw both cities in their Splendour and Grandeur I salute them! But I also Pray wholeheartedly for a 180 degree turn so we can all be one again, May He make it so!

I was in Bangladesh at the beginning of this year, and truly, tear welled up in my eyes, when I saw those people, they, believe me, were the lucky ones for doing what they did! They have left us far behind on the road to progress, just one example I will quote, and it speaks volumes about their taaleem & pervarish, people actually form queues where more than one person is standing or waiting and await their turn till it comes!!!

They do it themselves, they don’t sit on their haunches and pray to Him to make it better! They do it ! Unlike us, who, only do what is good for ourselves, NEVER giving this Motherland even a second thought! We have created a divide, that could result in devastation! We are our own Greatest Enemy!

As for ourselves, we need to :

SAVE, yes! Save:

Cash

Gas

Petrol

Water

Electricity

Ghee

Sugar

Atta

And

20101227_22

STOP, Yes stop:

WASTAGE and “fazul  kharchee” in EVERY form!

HAVE WE/YOU/I  SUCCEEDED?!

"Life is too short to wake up in the morning with Regrets; So love the people who treat you right, forget about the ones who don’t and believe everything happens for a reason. If you get a chance, take it. If it changes your life, let it. Laugh when you can. Apologise when you should and let go of what you can’t change. Love deeply and forgive quickly.

Life is too short to be unhappy…

So, Keep Smiling & Have a Good Day  and a Greater Year in 2011!"

 

“HAPPY NEW YEAR!!”

So, to conclude, my dear reader, dear family and my dear friends, May I wish each and every one of you a better brighter tomorrow and a much better year in 2011, and May The Creator of All, bestow upon us all His Blessings  and Mercies and guide us out of our yesterdays and yesteryears into a future of which we can all be safe, happy & proud..Ameen.

Giving up the ghost

by Khurshid Anwer

Never have I felt so close to giving up the ghost. When people at the level of chief ministers start talking nonsense and the newspapers start printing such nonsense then it is time to throw in the towel.

Chief minister Sindh talking to a delegation from The National Defence University, Islamabad, was pleased to pontificate that, “Water distribution is a critical issue”. Then he went on to expose his total ignorance of the subject.

Already there is water shortage in the country and Kalabgah dam will destroy the economy of the country”:

Feb062010-RiverSindhHyderabad.jpg

I ask him, if Mangla and Tarbela dams are destroying the economy of Pakistan why not stop storing water in these dams and stop generating power from these dams. Will we then not have floods for three months and draught for the remaining nine months. Will Punjab and Sindh then start producing more food grain. Will this put us in a position to export food grain or will we have to import even more than before. Where will water for the Rabi period come from if we don’t store water during the Kharif period. Will we then be left with any reserve for any contingency, natural or man made. Will we then not be at the mercy of India. Will not the per capita, per annum availability of water nose dive to below the water-scarce level. Have China, USA, Turkey and India stopped adding to their thousands of dams because their economies are being ‘destroyed’.

I wish some newspaper had the guts to ask these question from the chief minister who through his abject ignorance is bent upon destroying the economy of the country.

The he misquoted the Water Accord of 1991 by saying that the agreed figure of 10 million acre feet of water was not being released below Kotri barrage. He has not bothered to look up the Accord (www.wateraccord1991.com) which says – in the absence of an agreement it was decided to conduct further studies. A later foreign consultant’s Study put the figure at less than half of what he is claiming. 

He is clueless that even the 10 maf will not stop sea incursion though the year if all of it flows down during the three flood months. He needs to know that the agreed amount has to be stored in dams for distributing it over the twelve months for year round protection of the Indus delta. The delta needs more dams, not less dams.

Before complaining that Sindh is not getting the increased amount as per the Water Accord, he should ask himself, why was Punjab willing to decrease its share in all future dams to increase Sindh’s share. If he can answer this question, I will stop writing on Kalabagh dam.

The River Indus at Kalabagh

Experts say food insecurity a ‘growing threat’ to Pakistan

 

Staff Report
ISLAMABAD: Experts at a seminar held Tuesday claimed that 80 out of 131 (61 percent) districts in Pakistan were food-insecure in the pre-flood situation – the devastating floods that recently ravaged a large part of the country.
Executive Director, Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI), Dr Abid Aqiyum Suleri, speaking at the seminar dubbed “The relationship between food insecurity, poverty, extremism and conflict” said in terms of population, 48.6% of the population is facing food insecurity. He also shed light on the key findings of recently launched “Food Insecurity Report 2009” jointly published by WFP, SDPI and SDC, said that the results showed that food insecurity at the household, district, provinces and country levels has become more severe as compared to 2003 — particularly after the recent floods in the country.


He said there is interconnectedness between individual, national, regional and global security. He said that poverty and hunger is a growing security concern, as there exists a strong linkage between food security, hunger, poverty, and vulnerability to disasters. He underlined the need that the citizens should challenge the fundamental paradigm of state which was focusing more on non-development expenditures such as debt-servicing, defense, day to day administration and very little was left for development and people.
“Lack of investment on individuals and their social development among major reasons behind extremism and terrorism in Pakistan,” he added.
Moeed Yusuf of the United States Institute of Peace (USIP), while giving opening remarks, stressed the need to learn from experiences of other countries, which improved their internal management and resolved internal conflicts and subsequently developed without needlessly relying on foreign countries to help them to progress.
“Corruption has become a norm in Pakistan and without individual self-accountability it is impossible to develop a balanced society in Pakistan,” he added.

Faisal Nadeem Gorchani, Head of Policy Advocacy and Outreach, SDPI gave an overview of human development situation in western part of district Rajanpur particularly of Union Councils Tribal Area Mat Kund, Tibi Lundan, Harrand and Wah Lishari which present poor human development indicators, abysmal socio-economic conditions, and appalling development scene with majority of population suffering with poverty, illiteracy, malnourishment and unemployment. “People affected by hill torrents have a growing sense of resentment that they have been either ignored altogether or inappropriately taken care of, given the extent and scale of destruction in these areas since the overwhelming focus of district administration, non-government organizations (NGOs) and media have been on the people and areas affected by the unprecedented devastation of Indus River,” he added.

Other experts also underlined the need for challenging the fundamental paradigm of state in the favor of public, provincial autonomy, and addressing the worsening crisis of governance.
During an interactive question-answer session the media persons and experts held a detailed discussions on issues such as social injustice, unequal distribution of resources, prevalent corruption, foreign interference, non-inclusive polices, lack of social safety nets, vested interests, lack of public participation and ground realities in policies, sense of fear, lack of check and balance system, changing social values into corporate values, denial of provincial autonomy and right of provinces over their resources, lack of judicious utilisation of resources, lack of water reservoirs creating energy shortages, unemployment, dual polices and foreign interference into Pakistan’s internal affairs, feudalism, vacuum of visionary leadership, absence of long-term policies, absence of rule of law and many other complex challenges to peoples’ real economic and political empowerment in Pakistan

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Roaring racing cars leave behind more than tragedy

 

From the Newspaper DAWN
December 11, 2010 (3 days ago )

By Mohammad Asghar

It has been a week since a car racing event in Bahria Town ended in tragedy but the deathly silence, rumours and questions that it left behind continue to haunt the twin cities.

Families of the five persons who were killed when one racing car crashed into the spectators are still in mourning and one of them appeared disinterested in helping the Rawalpindi police in its investigations.

“We are too distressed. Whatever happened has happened,” said Rehan, a relative of the family.

But such are the suspicions surrounding the tragedy that the Supreme Court on Friday took suo motu notice of the incident.

Although the Rawat police registered an FIR the same day, rumours continue to circulate that the police was under pressure not to register one because the four accused it named in the FIR – Ali Riaz, Waleed Khan, Majid Naeem and Sheikh Atif – were influence wielders.

Media echoed that “influence” when it reported that Islamabad police apologised to Malik Riaz Hussain, the real estate tycoon who developed Bahria Town, for the police raid on his house in search of Ali Riaz, his son.

All four accused appear to have gone into hiding and police say their arrest is the top priority for them. Police commandos have been deployed in the street in which the tycoon lives, reportedly to prevent Rawalpindi police launch another raid.

In the meantime the Rawalpindi police have managed to put the name of Majid Naeem, who was driving the car that went out of control and caused the tragedy, on the Exit Control List to prevent his fleeing the country.

But skeptics ask why he alone?

Waleed Khan is said to be the marketing manager of Bahria Town properties. Majid Naeem also was a corporate executive and Sheikh Atif was the one sent to seek permission from the local administration for holding the car race.

Press reports say the District Coordination Officer sent his application to City Police Officer who had no objection to the `sport` event provided “security procedures” were followed. But when the application reached Commissioner Rawalpindi Division Zahid Saeed, he refused permission for “security reasons”.

Sheikh Atif assured the commissioner that the race would not be held in the Rawalpindi part of Bahria Town but in the part which lies in the Islamabad Capital Territory, according to the reports.

But the deadly accident, attributed in the FIR to reckless driving, took place in the Rawalpindi part of the town and so became a matter for its police to deal with.

Jurisdiction and “influence” issues apart, the more important question is: what the law says.

Federal Ministry of Sport sources said the day after the tragedy that car racing was not recognised as a sport at the official level.

There exists neither a racing track in the country nor any law to govern the sport.

“Sunday`s (December 5) event was just an exhibition sporting event. Had there been better protective measures for the spectators, the tragedy could have been averted,” an official of the sports ministry was quoted saying the day after the tragedy.So, a lot of ambiguities have to be cleared before fixing the responsibility for the tragedy.

The Centenarian

by Zahid Husain

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As we alighted from our vehicle, the folks who had been waiting to meet my friend gathered round to welcome each of us having finally got there after a delay of over an hour due to the traffic jams caused by the vehicles at the 2nd session of the Raiwind congregation; We began shaking every ones hand, each one eyeing us with some circumspection, as I took in the looks and facial expressions of curiosity.

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He slowly shuffled up to me and welcomed me with a salaam and we shook hands, I returned his greeting, he quietly moved away from the rest of the people who had gathered to welcome my friend Ahmad Kamal, whose land it was that we were visiting.

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I watched him as he sat there in the benign winter sun basking and straining to listen to the exchanges between the owner and the tenants of the fruit orchards located in the vicinity of Kot Radha krishan.

 

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We then wandered over to review the developments that were taking place in the village, Ahmad’s family had built a school for the the locals first, before the Mosque was started, (they have their priorities right) religion without education has proved to be a concern for us all!

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Lunch was in the form of the seasonal Sarsoon ka Saag, Makaee ki roti and daysee mukhan accompanied by buttermilk lassi, and to end, we has dood key chai, and it was rich dood and not any diluted form of it!

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The village had been established by Ahmad’s great grandfather and the ancestors of the folks around us! While chatting of the earlier days, ages were being discussed, and someone in passing mentioned Mohammad Sharif, as probably being the oldest living person around! His ID card was sent for from his home and checked! 1898 it read! That’s when I decided to include him in my photo session.

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I first checked with Ahmad if it was ok to give him some money for having modeled for me, after having suggested that Sharif should be put on a stipend for the rest of his living days; he appeared unmoved with his days earnings from a 15 minute photo shoot!!

As we departed, my last words to him were, “Baba jee, Rabb Rakha!”