How one TV reporter tried to reveal the underbelly of the Pakistani media

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The Ombudsman

By Christopher Beam

Posted Friday, May 20, 2011

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan—Last November, 30 of Pakistan’s most influential journalists boarded a plane bound for Saudi Arabia. The occasion was the hajj, the annual pilgrimage to Mecca that Muslims are expected to perform at least once in their lifetimes, if they can afford it. On this trip, however, money wasn’t a problem: The Pakistani government picked up the tab.

For months, the story of the government-sponsored hajj went unreported. The fact that reporters were accepting gifts from the government hardly qualified as news. Plus, reporters in Pakistan have an unspoken rule, a kind of omerta: You don’t write about other reporters.

Unless you’re Matiullah Jan. Jan, an anchor for Dawn News in Islamabad, launched a new show in January called Apna Gareban—the name means "under our collar," an Urdu idiom that translates as "our own underbelly"—in which Jan investigates the conduct of his fellow journalists. On the show, he acts as a kind of one-man ombudsman for all of Pakistan, badgering reporters, ambushing them Bill O’Reilly-style, and guilt-tripping them on air for their alleged misdeeds—behavior unheard of in the Pakistani media. "This is a very revolutionary thing," says Mehmal Sarfraz, op-ed editor at the Daily Times in Lahore. "Somebody had to do it."

In February, Jan aired an hour long report outing the journalists who visited Mecca on the government’s dime. Many of the reporters defended themselves. One said God had called him to Mecca, and he had to obey, despite having gone on hajj twice before. "God called you three times?" Jan asked, incredulous. Others said they didn’t know where the funds had come from, and they never bothered to ask. Pakistan’s supreme court soon ordered the reporters to pay back the money, though some have appealed the decision.

The issue wasn’t necessarily that journalists had taken a trip that was paid for by the government; journalists, Pakistani and otherwise, do that all the time. (This article, in fact, was made possible by the East-West Center, which organized a trip to Pakistan funded by the U.S. State Department.) The trip to Mecca wasn’t a reporting trip—some journalists even brought their families—nor was it acknowledged publicly until Jan brought the issue to light.

The growth of the Pakistani media over the last decade has exacerbated journalistic corruption. Newspapers flourished in the 1980s and ’90s, but there was only one cable TV channel, the state-run Pakistani Television. That changed in 2003, when Gen. Pervez Musharraf, frustrated that Pakistanis were getting much of their news from India, relaxed the ban on cable channels, or "electronic media." The medium boomed, as Pakistan went from one cable TV station to dozens in 2011.

As the sector has grown, so has its power. "The media is more unrestrained now than ever," says Najam Sethi, a columnist and the editor of the Friday Times in Lahore. "We can get away with murder." Sensationalism abounds, fact-checking is a foreign concept for many outlets, and TV reporters who have rushed in to fill the media vacuum often have no journalistic background. The agency that regulates cable channels, the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority, prohibits content that is "defamatory or knowingly false," but it rarely takes action.

Many Pakistani journalists accept gifts from politicians, presumably in exchange for favorable coverage. Less blatant forms of corruption—caving to threats from militant groups after a suicide attack by replacing the word "died" with "was martyred," for example—are common. In the most egregious cases, "reporters" aren’t reporters at all but simply businessmen with press cards who use their access to the press to help friends, punish enemies, and blackmail law enforcement. If you’re pulled over by a traffic cop and you have a press card, says Jan, you don’t have to pay.

Yet the media rarely critiques itself. Only one Pakistani newspaper, the Express Tribune, has hired an ombudsman, and his mandate is limited to that paper. He doesn’t write a column, either—he just handles reader complaints in-house. Media "navel-gazing" may have a bad name in the United States, but the Pakistani media’s belly could use some inspection.

That was Jan’s thinking when he created Apna Gareban. The purpose was to turn the same critical eye on journalists that they turn on politicians. Jan has worked for several years as a court reporter for Dawn News in Islamabad. "In court, we talk about right and wrong, black and white, accountability, justice, equality of treatment before the law," he says. But those terms are almost never used in conversations about the press. "All of the sickness of society is being scrutinized by the media, but the media is not being held accountable itself." Apna Gareban became the first major TV program to dig into the backgrounds of influential journalists, essentially making Jan the ombudsman for all of Pakistan.

In the first episode, Jan visits the federal government’s Press Information Department, where publishers—and often reporters themselves—go to solicit government ads. (A big chunk of the ads that appear in Pakistani newspapers and on TV are paid for by the government, usually to promote new projects or to congratulate officials for their achievements.) There, he interrogates a reporter who’s asking for ads. "If they don’t give you ads, do you publish stories against them?" says Jan. "Well, they do give us ads," says the reporter, "so why should we say anything against them?"

The transactional relationship between the government and the press is a recurring theme. In one episode, Jan examines the 290 million rupee ($3.4 million) "secret fund" set aside by the Information Ministry for journalists. The fund covers everything from buying ads in newspapers to providing medical care for reporters to paying for their daughters’ weddings. All this is to the good, former Information Secretary Ashfaq Gondal tells Jan: "There is no one to look out for the welfare of these journalists." Jan plays along. "These are great deeds," he says. "So why would you keep this a secret?" Gondal responds that the purpose of the information ministry is "to establish a sort of goodwill within the populace so that the populace tilts toward progress and keeps up with the times." What better way to "establish goodwill" than to buy off the press?

Another episode focuses on the awarding of lavish government housing to top-tier Pakistani journalists at cheap rates. Jan kicks off the program by reading the names of the 24 journalists, displaying their pictures, and describing their homes and how much they pay in rent. When confronted, one reporter insists it’s his "right" to get preferential treatment. Another compares his situation to that of a BBC reporter, whose salary is subsidized by the government. "Do BBC’s journalists get premium apartments from their rulers?" asks Jan. "I don’t have that information," says the reporter. "Forget information," says Jan, "they don’t get any, you know this."

Jan’s interview technique, a one-two combo of logic and shame, drives his subjects into contortions. At first, the well-known anchor Asma Shirazi defends her decision to go on the government-funded hajj by saying she was misled about its funding. Then she says that even if she knew it was publicly funded, she would have gone anyway. Then she accuses Jan of failing to go after the "real big criminals," like journalists who take land as bribes. Finally she agrees to pay back the money.

Jan is more than happy to play populist demagogue, despite being the son of a retired Army colonel and living in a relatively comfortable neighborhood of Islamabad. "The taxpayers are hungry for food and thirsting for water," he tells Shirazi, "scrounging for every cent they can get, and instead you spent hundreds of thousands of rupees to go on a free ride to the pilgrimage."

His crusade hasn’t exactly endeared him to his colleagues. "Watching fellow journalists squirm" is "painful," writes Steve Manuel, who worked at Pakistani newspapers for 25 years and founded the website Journalism Pakistan. "There are other ways to expose such people … tattling on fellow journalists is not one of them." Manuel also argues that Jan could be more critical of his bosses. "Why not also highlight the corruption practiced and encouraged by big media houses including Dawn?"

Jan says he’s been careful to investigate his friends, too. And he’s paid a price. For one episode, Jan invited prominent columnist and longtime friend Rauf Klasra onto the show to explain why he lives in a high-end government residence. "I told him at the start of the show, we’re not friends in the studio—I’m a journalist and you’re a journalist," says Jan. During the interview, Klasra turned the tables on Jan by producing documents that accused the CEO of Dawn Media Group, Hameed Haroon, of corruption. Jan invited Haroon onto the show on the spot, but he never came. Jan and Klasra’s friendship hasn’t recovered.

The most profound moments of Jan’s program are not his attacks on the media, but what they reveal about broader systemic problems in Pakistan. When Jan asks a judge why he doesn’t punish media organizations that fail to pay their journalists—not uncommon in Pakistan—the judge blames the system. "I really want to prosecute them," the judge says, and salary issues fall squarely within his jurisdiction. But "there’s always a reason or a loophole that the defendant exploits to circumvent penalization." Even when the judge orders someone to appear in court, they often don’t show up. "I tell the police to summon the person to court, and they come and tell me the person is unavailable. What am I to do?"

In April, Apna Gareban was shut down after 12 episodes. The final straw was an investigation into the conduct of a reporter at Dawn News, Jan’s employer, who was making money on the side by selling goods from a kiosk provided by the government—a clear conflict of interest. "We knew [Apna Gareban] was going to be an experiment," says Jan, who has returned to reporting on the courts full time. "I’m reconciled to the fact that there were pressures on the organization from the highest levels of the media industry." The journalists who’d been exposed were angry, and media owners were worried they’d be next. "They looked in the mirror and saw what they looked like," says Jan. "Then they decided to break the mirrors instead of washing their own faces."

CLASSIFIED: Why we’ll never see dead Osama bin Laden,,, What really happened?

By Raqib Shah

What we all should know

In August 2010 after Pakistani authorities shared intelligence with US about the compound in Abbottabad. US after its own intelligence gathering ascertains that the compound is occupied by Osama’s children. Compound surveillance continues through the next year in anticipation of capturing Osama bin Laden. In January 2011 the young CIA contractor who is give the charge of Pakistan Station Chief works “extra hard” to gather clandestine information related to ISI and Al Qaeda relationship.

The contractor,now infamous as Raymond Davis the “American Rambo” receives a call from one of his assets, early morning on January 27 about a high value target. But the asset refuses to lay out details on phone or to leave the Lahore city, where he had gone underground.Raymond Davis hires a rent a car and drives to Lahore, while his security detail followshim in a bullet proof Land Cruiser.

Raymond Davis is able to loose his Islamabad’s ISI“detail” by leaving in unmarked rent a car. The ISI agents falling for his trap follow the embassy’s Land Cruiser. Raymond Davis arrives at Lahore one hour earlier than his detail and meets with the asset. The asset gives him some pictures of an intelligence building at Tarbela and recording of a phone call. Listening the phone call Raymond Davis realizes the gold mine he had struck and immediately calls his security detail which had also reached Lahore, knowing if ISI reaches him first, he would not leave Lahore alive.

Next hour when the security car catches up with Raymond Davis, the ISI bosses realizes that Raymond Davis had give them a slip earlier in the morning and in the couple of hours he had in Lahore, he might have got some important information. Resultantly,they put two contractors on his tail. Raymond Davis seeing a tail fears the worse and shoots them both in the back, at a traffic stop, without logically realizing that there was no way ISI could have know what he was holding.

His security detail which was close behind rushed to his “rescue” however, by the police had chased and arrested him, while the security Land Cruiser running over pedestrians escapes towards US embassy compound in Islamabad. ISI officers quickly reach the scene and confiscating the memory sticks realize Raymond Davis has unearthed a deep secret which even their immediate bosses didn’t know about.

The sensitivity of information rattles the entire echelons of the ISI and even its own officers are sent under house arrest while the relevant cell steps forward. At that time even some of the top intelligence officers of the secretive ISI outside the relevant cell did not know that Osama bin Laden had died and his body was kept frozen at Tarbela. Young Raymond Davis had unearthed the biggest secret of the century, somehow. But now the Pandora’s Box had been opened. Pak top brass knew it had only a few days or weeks at best to capitalize Raymond Davis’ arrest before US get the intel.

In the next six weeks Pakistan plugs all leaks related to Osama’s death and makes sure that maximum gains are made for Raymond’s release. However,when Raymond Davis is released on March 16, his debriefing results in a tsunami of US policy, personal agendas and fueling of political rivalries. Everyone in the US chain of command now wanted to use the information to further personal goals from General

Petreaus to President Obama. On March 17, knowing that Pakistan had lost its trump card General Pervaiz Kayani releases a press statement in which he critically criticize drone attacks, first from him. From then on Pak Military raised its stance against drone attacks, fearing that US now might target its nuclear assets. While in USA politics was at its full swing. General Petreaus wanted to get the buckle for Osama bin Laden’s death on his belt for his future political ambitions, while President Obama wanted the credit to help is sliding popularity. While the tussle continued, the other issue still pending was how to confirm Osama’s death.

In the next one month, nearly every week a top US official visited Pakistan, everyone meeting with General Kayani trying to convince him to hand over Osama’s body. While the stance from Pakistan remained, “Osama, Who?” It was a first in the history that so many US top officials had visited and met with a military chief of a foreign country in such a short time. Seeing nothing getting through the top military brass of Pakistan, US started a political and media campaign on the sides to put extra pressure on Pak Military.

Politics within Obama Administration was also at its full swing. Petraeus was pulling all the strings to take the credit, while trying to lay out a plan to get Osama bin Laden’s body out of Pakistan. President Obama on the other hand in one smooth move decided to “promote” Petraeus to the head of the CIA. The news got out in the first week of April that Petraeus was being transferred to the CIA. While at the main front, Obama continued to pressurize General Kayani and General Pasha and one April 5, Obama Administration submitted a report to the Congress that Pakistan government had no clear strategy to triumph over militants. Alongside the report the media campaign against Pak Military and the ISI continued.

The second week of April began with a bang for top Pak Military brass. On April 7, Bruce Riedel, former CIA officer and White House advisor wrote a report arguing that Pakistan’s nuclear weapons are not only a deterrent to India but also to USA. The obvious had now become clear that Obama Administration has indirectly sent a clear threat to Pakistan’s nuclear assets. The timing of the report was perfect with Centcom Chief Gen James Mattis meeting with General Kayani next day. In the meeting General Mattis asked about Pakistan’s cooperation in capturing Osama bin Laden.

This was ironically one of typical Hollywood thriller scene. Pakistan knew that US knew that Pakistan knows that US knows that Osama is dead. But Pakistan continued the naive game of “Osama Who?” while US continued to play the game that “Osama must be captured”. General Mattis leaves with veiled threats and stresses that Pakistan must do more to against the Al Qaeda and Taliban, or indirectly saying that Osama bin Laden must be handed over.

For the ten days US waits and sees how Pakistan responds to the threats, but Pakistan acts by burying its head in the sand – see no evil, hear no evil. Obama Administration ups the ante and on April 18 on Pakistan’s Geo TV, Adm. Michael Mullen said Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence “has a longstanding relationship with the Haqqani Network.That doesn’t mean everybody in the ISI, but it’s there.” Again, international media had its field day against Pakistan’s ISI and its links with Taliban and the ISI.

After putting pressure on General Kayani, Adm. Mike Mullen meets with Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee General Khalid Shameem Wynne and General Kayani on April 20.Admiral Mullen again demands indirectly that Pakistan needs to help USA in locating Osama bin Laden. Pakistan’s response was again, “Osama, Who?” Admiral Mullen however, left with another threat that if they came to know about Osama bin Laden’s location they would go ahead and take unilateral action. This is the same message which President Obama repeated in his announcement of Osama bin Laden’s death, when he said, “We will take actions in Pakistan, if we knew where he was.”

In response to continued threats from USA Pakistan starts taking back its air bases from US in an attempt to avoid launching of any operation from its own soil. As a result on April 22 the news appears that Pakistan had taken back Shamsi Airbase back from CIA,US forces. While Obama Administration was piling pressure on Pakistan, General Petraeus visited Pakistan on April 26 and met with General Kayani openly asking him to hand over Osama bin Laden, otherwise get ready to face the consequences. Same day Washington also critically attacked Pakistan Army’s counter-terrorism efforts. General Petraeus left with a clear message that unless Pakistan hands over Osama, US forces would be forces to take action over Pakistani soil. Pakistani Military knowing that US knew that Osama bin Laden was dead couldn’t understand Obama Administration’s continued stance on capturing Osama bin Laden. General Petraeus left with the ultimatum that either Pakistan handed over Osama or US would get him.

Same day meeting of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (JCSC) is held at Rawalpindi,one week ahead of schedule at the Joint Staff Headquarters. The top brass discusses the Osama issue and decision is reached to work out the Obama’s strategy leading to continuous threats for capturing Osama bin Laden alive, even after knowing that he was dead. While in Pakistan intelligence community starts using all of its sources to reach to the bottom of US’ demand of capturing Osama bin Laden. On April 28 President Obama signs General Petraeus’ transfer to CIA and next day signs the orders to attack the Abbottabad compounds. Thus Osama bin Laden’s credit is assured to President Obama.

On 29 April after President Obama signed the orders to “bring back” Osama bin Laden,Pakistani security agencies get a report that another order had been signed which had authorized US forces to neutralize Pakistan’s nuclear assets, if needed. The report was nothing short of seeing a death angel for the top Pak Military brass.

Seeing the imminent threat, General Kayani tried his last shot when on 30 April 2011 he clearly stated in his Youm-e-Shuhada address: “Pakistan is a peace-loving country and wants friendly relations with other countries and our every step should move towards prosperity of the people. But we will not compromise our dignity and honour for it”.However, it didn’t stop what was about to come 24 hours later.

As night fell on Sunday, 1 May four choppers from a US Afghan base at a low altitude towards its destination in Abbottabad, to the same compound where Osama’s children were in the hiding. Without any detection courtesy of their latest stealth technology and Pakistan’s outdated technology the choppers continued over the Pakistani territory.Ironically, ten years ago a Pak Air force air commodore had raised concern about the outdated radar technology citing that US or worse India could fly helicopters into the country and take out nuclear installations and in reply he was shown the boot while no upgrades to the systems were made.

Anyway, the four choppers made it to the compound in Abbottabad. It is then that PakArmy was notified that they have a choice. Either face an entire barrage of US choppers attacking Pak nuclear assets or hand over Osama’s body. In the meanwhile the small

gun battle at the Abbottabad compound continued and to give the drama some authenticity the US forces torched one of their own choppers.  Pressed for time a Pakistani helicopter flew from Tarbela carrying dead body of Osama bin Laden which was stored in a cold storage there. While at Abbottabad Pak Army soldiers encircle the entire area around the compound within five minutes of the start of fire fight. The firefight continued for 35 more minutes, waiting for the Pakistani helicopter. Once the Pakistani helicopter reached the compound the three US choppers and the Pakistani helicopter flew towards the Afghan border, this time without the need to fly below the radar detection altitude.

Next day, the world woke up to the news that Osama bin Laden was dead and President Obama had delivered wheat President Bush and Dick Cheney couldn’t. But the Pak Military brass did not wake up, because they never slept the night before. Last night they had woken to the realization that US could fly under the radar and take out Pakistan’s nuclear assets. The problem here is that US has the complete inventory of Pakistan’s nuclear assets along with exact locations. It would be a matter of minutes in a country wide operation to dismantle Pakistan’s nuclear assets

The national insecurity state

 

By S. Akbar Zaidi | From the Newspaper

May 13, 2011 (2 weeks ago)

FOR many years some of us academics have heavily criticised the nature of the Pakistani state for being overly militarised and dominated by the military. While other social groups, entities and institutions have jostled for dominance over the state, there has been little disagreement that Pakistan’s military determines key decisions related to the state.

Decades ago, when institutions and social categories such as the landowning class were also said to be one of the three main forces which controlled or determined power over the institutions and arrangements of the state, it was understood that the military — specifically the army and its elite — dominated the nature of Pakistan’s state and was the more powerful of all social institutions and classes present at the time. There was little contention about this fact.

When the hold of the landowning classes began to fade on account of changes in the ownership of land and due to changes in the relations of production which determined the extent of economic and social extraction and coercion possible, the political power of the landowning elite also dwindled completely.

Despite the clichés parroted by most journalists that the ‘feudals’ control Pakistan — whatever that means — it has been many years now since that power shifted away towards urban and rural entrepreneurs and members of the services sectors. A business and service sector elite emerged in the 1980s for numerous reasons related to the structural change in economic and social relations of production, and has played a key role in determining the nature of Pakistan’s state and its society.

The social conservatism one has seen growing over the last decades in Pakistan is also on account of the class characteristics of this new elite and the middle classes which have consolidated their presence in the power structure of Pakistan. Those who have no reading of history have blind faith in the middle classes as always being a revolutionary or progressive force.

The middle classes are equally likely to be reactionary, undemocratic, authoritarian and exceedingly religiously bigoted. The
changing nature of Pakistan’s state reflects contestations and contradictions in its social formation.

The military is not a social class but an institution which reflects changes that take place in society and amongst social groups.

Hence, just as Pakistan has become more urban and more middle class, so has Pakistan’s military leadership. However, despite the changes in the composition of Pakistan’s military from the landowning classes to the more modern middle classes, its power as an institution, for the most part, has remained dominant and usually unchallenged. Not just under direct military rule, which has been the norm for most of Pakistan’s existence, but also whenever there have been civilian interregnums, Pakistan’s military has determined the nature and direction of Pakistan’s state.

It has been the military’s material might which has led to this domination which has given rise to the military reinventing itself as the sole guardian of Pakistan’s many boundaries, frontiers and terrains. It has assumed the right to speak for the nation and its constituents and to even represent the nation. The justification for the national security state was created by Pakistan’s military and the numerous civilians in positions of influence and power who have provided support to the military in one way or another. Whether using the threat from India, or more recently as the defenders of Pakistan in the war against terrorism and against militancy, the military in Pakistan used its power and position to create the narrative of the national security state, a state where the military defends the people, the frontiers and the interests of all Pakistan.

However, the abject and humiliating failures of the military have been well-documented by scholars and historians.

Most recently, the military’s bluff has been called and it is clear that it has been unable to determine whose interests it serves, what those interests are and, hence, its inability to defend those interests. Moreover, this lack of clarity and ambiguity of what exactly Pakistan’s interest ought to be has cost the military dear in terms of its reputation and image. It has, in fact, seen another layer being removed from the facade of what was justified as Pakistan’s national security state. The falsity of the notion of the national security state has once again been laid bare.

Pakistan’s state, in fact, is a national insecurity state and has been for some years now. The military’s inability to protect anyone’s interests other than its own narrow ones, in terms of economic and material privileges, underscores this impression.

However, an important point which needs to be highlighted is that the military’s invention of itself as the saviour of Pakistan and as the defender of the land and the faith is completely justifiable when one examines the interplay and positioning of different social forces.

Why would the military not defend the interests of its large constituency and why should it not claim to speak as the nation itself? Institutions which are allowed to dominate will enforce that domination, and this should not come as a surprise.

However, the problem in this relationship of power between the military and civilian and (for once) democratically elected institutions is not so much the strength of the military, but more importantly, the cowardly, dithering and weak civilian elites and the compromises they make with military power. They are equally implicated in making Pakistan a national insecurity state.

The writer is a political economist.

A STUDY OF WHAT CHINA AND PAKISTAN CAN DO FOR EACH OTHER

by Mohammed Sulaiman Abbasi

 

I am a Mechanical Engineer by training and profession. Being an Engineer, I have been trained to look at a problem and devise simple, cheap and practical solutions. It bothers me to no end that my country just seems to slide further and further down a slope from where there seems to be no recovery. I have been racking my brain to find a way out for my country for it present state of turmoil.

I have looked at Pakistan and its multitude of problems and to my Engineer’s mind the following seem to be worthy of attention. These are listed in order of importance.

1 – Crippling Debt

2 – Poor Economic performance (growth, low GDP etc)

3 – Illiteracy

4 – Erosion of moral values.

I have not even bothered to list, power cuts, growing gap between the rich and poor, the very strange political setup or even the issue of personal safety, terrorism etc.

As I have said, I am a simple Engineer with a simple view of the world. I am of the beliefs that if 1-4 are addressed; all other ills of my country will automatically fall in place.

Crippling Debt & Poor Economic Performance

Over the years, Pakistan has mismanaged its economic affairs. Balance of payments is totally skewed. Govt. expenditures far outstrip income. Over the years the country has become dependent on handouts from the US called “aid packages” etc. On top of the aid packages, Pakistan has taken loans from the World Bank and the IMF. As all of us know that once you owe money you are forced to dance to the tune of your creditors.

What is absolutely necessary is for Pakistan to get back on track is to rid itself of debt.

The way I see it is that Pakistan has to develop the industrial base. Mind, that the selection of the type of industry has to be done carefully with an eye on export oriented strategy. This will lead to the following:

a – Create jobs

b – Improve balance of payments by industrial output earning foreign exchange.

Of course, you may say, “It is easier said than done”. What needs to be done is to get 100% of the debt be paid off and we need to say to America, “Thank you for all you help but we don’t need any help”.

My proposal is rather simple.

We have very few allies left today. One of them is China. China and Pakistan have a very special relationship. Right from the start in 1947, China has stood by Pakistan. To be fair, Pakistan has been invaluable to China as well. A great deal of arms technology has reached China through Pakistan during the time when China was a closed country.

Chinese are a wise people not easily swayed by world events. They are not easily intimidated by the Americans. The Chinese are cautious people. Pakistan needs form a business alliance with China. Get China to pay off 100% of all monies owed to all the agencies to whom we owe money to in exchange for something China needs. Stop any and all money, technology, assistance, involvement (security related or other) from the USA. It is no secret that USA has not proved a friend of Pakistan and it has no sympathy for this country. The only country USA cares for is itself. We have been used and abused by America for its own gains. I do not blame the USA for this but it us and our short sightedness to blame! As the saying goes, “If you sleep with dogs you will get up with fleas”. Today we are totally flea ridden!

The question one can ask is why would China want to pay off Pakistan’s debt? We have nothing to offer them. Actually, I think there is something we can offer them. At the end of the day it is business. A business deal is where two parties can benefit from each other. We have already determined that Pakistan will benefit from China by it paying off Pakistan’s loan; but what does Pakistan have to offer China?

China has a huge growing giant of an economy. It has a huge hunger to fuel this economy, it needs to grow. The problem is that being a wise nation, China does not want to open up all its provinces too quickly to this economic revolution. China is a communist nation and new to this economic revolution. Wisely, it is cautious not to expose the whole county to this revolution and limiting this phenomenon to a few cities/areas (Shanghai, Beijing to name a few). What Pakistan can offer is full and free access to its land and warm waters of the Arabian Sea by hosting the Chinese explosion.

The business proposition Pakistan needs to work with China is that in exchange for paying off its debt, China can build as many factories it wants and take all profits from such investments – no questions asked. Mind you, the deal should include turn over of ownership to Pakistan after 20 years. If you look at the proposition from China’s point of view, in exchange for paying off Pakistan’s debt it will gain free access to land upon which it will build industry whose output will enter the world from the ports of Pakistan. What China needs to work out is the payback period for the original debt plus the investment of the huge industrial base it will setup in Pakistan. Usually viable business venture have a payback of 3 – 5 years. Having the ownership turn over of 20 years will give China ample time to turn a good profit.

By default, if China has to make money with its new industrial base, it will have to renovate the Pakistan’s tattered infrastructure to support the huge growth that will come. The salary scales in Pakistan are still low enough for Chinese firms to turn an easy profit by remaining competitive on the international market.

What Pakistan gains will be freedom form its debt and a creation of jobs at a level never imagined possible. There will inevitably be a sprouting of support industries around the main Chinese investment. Within a period of about 7 – 10 years the economy of this nation can be turned around and can come close to having a growth figures enviable by others.

In the above model, the economy of the country will be divided into two parts. (A) The economy driven by Chinese investment. Where all profits from this investment will be bagged by China. No taxes will be levied on this output so as to allow China to produce with the lowest overheads. (B) The economy of Pakistan in almost its present form. Its present industrial units, agricultural base and so on. Pakistan will continue to earn income from the usual taxes and export as it does now. The difference being that it will no longer have to pay anything towards its debts. The additional deposable income now available will be spent on education, developing infrastructure (along with the Chinese) and security.

Chinese investment towards industry can be in the form if industrial estates that can be guarded as in Al-Jubail Industrial City with limited access and the requirement of an official ID cards for the workers to enter. Certainly we cannot ignore the terrorism factor that will play to destabilize the Chinese onslaught of investment.

Electric power to support this level of investment will have to be via additional hydro electrical units or perhaps Nuclear Energy. There are vast reserves of coal that my also be used to generate energy. This will lead to environmental pollution, but, at this stage we cannot afford to be sensitive to such matters.

Note: Present level of expenditure on the defense needs to continue unchanged. I believe that we need our Air Force, Navy and the Army to be the strongest it can be. It should be so strong that any nation, USA, India, Afghanistan or any other are forced to think 10 times before taking us on.

Illiteracy

With a population of about 60% under the age of 15 years, Pakistan will have to think radically outside the box.

Education up to the tenth grade has to be made compulsory. Teacher’s pay scales have to be revised to the point where teaching becomes a profession of choice attracting the finest minds.

We have enough Educational institution turning out Degree holders but the quality of curricula is very poor. We do not have any institutions that can lay claim to being the best, or second best or third best even the 50th best in the world. Our degrees are not recognized anywhere. Yes our professionals work all over the world but never as fresh graduates. What needs to be done is not to increase the number on Universities but to improve the quality of the output.

Not every child needs to become an Engineer, Doctor, Lawyer etc. mainly because the Pakistani Economy can only support just so many Professionals. However what is missing are Polytechnic institution turning out a trained work force. Our work force learns on the job from the “ustaad”. This is not a desirable state of affairs. Polytechnic institutions will invaluable in turning out skilled work force that will be ready to take up jobs in the Chinese industrial base proposed above.

Some of the funds now available to the Government as no more payments toward debt are necessary needs to be diverted to the Universities for the purpose of Research and Development.

There is another problem prevalent in the villages. This problem can be summed up as the resistance to the advent of education of the farmers by the feudal land lords. The fear being that if the common villager became educated then the power he has over them will erode in time. Thus it is often the case that teacher sent to a particular village is chased off and the government built school is used to house the cows of the feudal land lord. To address this situation, the school inspectors have to be empowered to stand up to the feudal lords with out any fear. They need to be accompanied by a group of armed police while doing village school inspections. Salaries of the School Inspectors need to be at a level that makes bribery pointless.

All village schools need to be to the matriculation level.

Once hope returns to the masses that education is the path to self betterment, the need for parents to enroll their children in Madrassas where some fool does systematic brain washing of young minds will eventually stop.

At the end of the day we all want peace, three decent square meals a day and hope for a bright future. A place where or kids will have a decent life. All of the above are deeply linked to the economic growth of a nation.

Moral Values

This is a tough one. We have reached a stage where the line between right and wrong no longer exists. Our moral fiber has been damaged beyond repair.

If I look back to my youth, it was my father who taught me to be honest no mater what. His vision of right and wrong was as sharp as a needle. He taught me never to loose sight of right and wrong even if it meant that by remaining truthful, I may suffer a loss. Never to lie, have the courage to say “What you are doing is wrong”.

How many fathers take the time and coach their sons on right and wrong. Judging from the rampant dishonesty and corruption in my country – not many.

Today an honest Policeman, Customs officer etc (if you can find one) is immediately transferred because he refuses to play ball. Our moral fiber has degenerated to a point where an honest person is referred to as “innocent”, “buffoon” or simply unworldly wise. It has been decades since I have heard any one call himself “sufaid poosh”. Instead of being proud of being “sufaid poosh”, we are ashamed. In our society, the more crocked one is and the more money one amasses by illegal means is directly proportional to the respect he is given.

Isn’t that a shame?

So how to restore our nations moral fiber? That is indeed a tough one.

It is our religious leaders (imams) who are responsible for taking care of the nation’s moral fiber. But our imams are ill equipped to carry out the sensitive task entrusted to them. Instead they have their own agendas of invoking young impressionable minds towards violence.

All imams must be certified to be able to hold that position. All imams must be graduates of an Islamic University and must have at least a BA degree in Islamic Studies with a minor in Education as a minimum qualification before he is able to hold a microphone in the Masjid. Additionally, they must be on the Ministry of Religious affairs payroll. The Friday “khutba” must be an official document prepared by the Ministry of Religious affairs. All imams must stick to this document during the Friday sermon.

It is sad to say that despite the steps mentioned above there is little hope restore our moral fiber. Perhaps a more radical approach will be to start with the three year olds and build an entire new generation of morally true nation.

As I said this is a very difficult task to do with desirable outcome.

In Summery, it is not an easy task to turn around my country but until and unless a major, radical change from the root up is brought about there is very little hope. In fact chances are that if left to its own devices, this country will most certainly be carved up by USA. USA will engineer its breakup with the North seceding to Afghanistan and Punjab/Kashmir to India. Perhaps Baluchistan may become a new independent country and so may Sindh. It is hard to say what will become of Pakistan.

Nothing is impossible as long as there is a will to do so. One thing is for certain, we just cannot allow Pakistan’s to remain in its present state.

PROOF THAT OBAMA IS LYING

Bin Laden’s assassination is not a victory against terrorism. Rather there is likelihood that terrorism after OBL’s death many not only not reduce —but may even increase. His death will not have the slightest effect on the Taliban or the war in Afghanistan and in Pakistan, even if the Pakistani government consciously shielded bin Laden, there is not much the US can do about it. 
·

by Michael C. Ruppert

·

I have personally interrogated underage criminal suspects who could lie better than White House Press Secretary Jay Carney. It has been four days since the P.T. Barnum proclamation of the death of Osama bin Laden (OBL). President Obama’s account of the firefight has had zero credibility from the outset and it continues to fray and wear thin as each day passes. 

First, bin Laden was shooting. Then he wasn’t. Now, no pictures are going to be released. Ridiculous arguments on CNN, by House members stating that releasing photos would inflame and invite retaliation, flatly contradict what I suspect every grunt who ever earned a Combat Infantry Badge would say:

“Release the damn pictures. Give us some to hand out to the “indigs”. We got our man and that’s a message to anyone who would mess with us…Hoo Ah!”

However, as with 9-11, in order to fully appreciate the stupidity of the Obama Administration’s ploy it is only necessary to focus on one glaring inconsistency. With our focus on this inconsistency, demand an answer to it and bring down a house of cards that is already falling. This approach is essentially the same path I have taken with the War Game exercises that were being conducted on September 11th. The issue that follows is to focus on what to do with this inconsistency.

9/11 BACK ON THE TABLE?

This also raises a fair question: Is 9-11 back on the table for me?

The answer is yes and no. Especially when “no” applies to any expectation that a competent, trustworthy court with jurisdiction would act with a budget and full approval of the U.S. Congress and the American people to actually reveal the truth and take action.

It is yes when, as you will hear below, responsible and credible academics and journalists see the direct connection between September 11,2001 and where we are today… and where we are headed as a planet.

This is because it is not possible to accurately understand or respond to Collapse without “seeing” all the criminality that led to it. Moreover, it is not possible to effectively deal with Collapse until the criminal behavior has been identified, addressed, and effectively terminated. Otherwise, the human race is left to confront Collapse as it is now; on an ad hoc basis, without any participation of sincere, honest and focused governmental bodies.

There is a massive awakening-taking place globally. However, the difference between this and what could be accomplished if governments were actively and helpfully involved is… maybe three billion human lives.

Now, back to Osama bin Laden.

Let’s start with what I consider the most-obvious proof that the Obama administration is lying. It comes from a world-class microbiologist who allowed me to use this quote on condition of anonymity. The simple proof of his accuracy is to just ask any microbiologist experienced in DNA sequencing about his statement. There are tens of thousands of them around the world.

Here is what he wrote me:

I am a molecular biologist and I’ve built a lucrative career in human genetics. I have run one of the world’s largest and most productive DNA genotyping facilities and now I am helping to build the global market for clinical whole human genome sequencing for the world’s largest human genome sequencing facility. I

have worked with the absolute best genome scientists from the military, academia, medicine, and industry from around the world. I know DNA. And, one thing I know about DNA is that you cannot, repeat CANNOT: take a tissue sample from a shot-in-the-noggin-dead-guy in a north central Pakistan special forces op, extract the DNA, prepare the DNA for assay, test the DNA, curate the raw DNA sequence data, assemble the reads or QC the genotype, compare the tested DNA to a reference, and make a positive identity determination… all in 12 hours- let alone transport the tissue samples all the places they’d need to have gone in order to get this done.

Some might try to argue that ruggedized, field ready kits could test a DNA sample- which is true if one is attempting to determine the CLASS of a bacteria. It is not true if one is trying to determine the specific identity of an individual. Any way you slice it, the real work would require days, and I find it unlikely (although not impossible) that an aircraft carrier would have a laboratory outfitted for this kind of work… it is not the Starship Enterprise out there.

So, maybe they did get Osama. But there is no fucking way they had any genetic proof of it by the time they dumped the body over the side. What is it that we are not supposed to see with all this distraction? I think the French call it “legerdemain”.

The only things necessary to prove or disprove this statement is to question anyone who is an expert on DNA identification.

Two more examples illustrate the lack of credibility enjoyed by the U.S. government. The first is from Tuesday’s (5-3-2011) World News Desk. The second is from today’s (5-5-2011).

EXAMPLE 1

White House backtracks on how Osama bin Laden died in US raid – Telegraph

“Claims that the al-Qaeda leader had died while firing an automatic weapon at commandos were withdrawn, with President Barack Obama’s spokesman admitting “he was unarmed”. A dramatic description of bin Laden using his wife as a “human shield” and forcing her to sacrifice her life also proved to be false. The woman was still alive and was taken into custody with several of the terrorist’s children.

In an embarrassing climb-down, Barack Obama’s press secretary, Jay Carney, admitted that the previous version of events — which came mostly from the chief US counter-terrorism adviser, John Brennan — had been put out “with great haste”.

The about-turn left the US open to accusations of a cover-up and led to calls for video footage of the raid in Abbottabad, Pakistan, and images of bin Laden’s body to be released to end conspiracy theories.”  

EXAMPLE 2

Even the Pentagon is staying away from the White House circus. Here’s a quote from a DoD publication. The story’s title? The Bin Laden Information Drought”.

No one is complaining that bin Laden is dead. But every time Washington has to change details about what happened, it damages its credibility on the whole story. And instead of continuing to feed the ravenous reporters clamoring for information, officials are starving them: The Pentagon today cancelled its regular briefing for the second day in a row, even as the White House refers some questions about the bin Laden story to the Defense Department.

Now I am not going to do what we found necessary to do after 9-11, by making a huge (ever-growing) list of the galaxy of inconsistencies available. I am not going to repeat the work of myself and others, like Michel Chossudovsky and Paul Thompson, on the mythological intelligence construct that was the legend of OBL. That is all meticulously documented in “Crossing the Rubicon”.

But as the world continues to ask the obvious questions and the story continues to fray, I note that the indignant refusal by Barack Obama to produce a photo is really setting off alarms. In the past, it was an essential foreign requirement to produce death photos of Josef Goebbels, Herman Goering and Saddam Hussein. No one thought that unseemly. Granted their bodies were all intact, but I should probably note that the credibility of the United States Government was – like the dollar – more intact then.

I saw a “crawl” on CNN stating that George W. Bush declined to appear at Ground Zero with President Obama for a planned extravaganza today. Even W has got enough sense to avoid that black hole. And today we see that apparently the plans for a PR extravaganza were quashed by someone telling the President to “Shut the f*** up” and keep it simple. Obama laid a wreath, shut his mouth and got the Hell out of Dodge.

The more Barack Obama beats the 9-11 drum, the more he is going to invite a bitch slap from people and even governments around the world who understand that the 9-11 story has been a lie since before the attacks occurred.

The following interview, which I gave to a German radio station catering to intellectuals and academics, about a week before the announcement of OBL’s death, is real evidence that much of the world is waiting to pounce on 9-11 anyway, especially as the rubble threatens to bury us.

You see people will accept lies if their lives get better. As their lives get worse, they will inevitably ask questions. And as their lives disintegrate, they will start looking for both answers and suspects. That was and is the swimming pool full of gasoline that Barack Obama is lighting matches in.

If the United States of America does not immediately announce a massive drawdown in Afghanistan, the world will keep asking questions about OBL because our lives will be getting worse, not better, by the day. And every time Mr. Obama opens his mouth about 9-11, he pours more gasoline into the pool and asks for another box of matches.

It was not my choice. Barack Obama has placed 9-11 back on the table again. Mainstream media, of course, can’t say Jack Diddly about this theater of the absurd, even though they’ve been cornered into asking a few pseudo-hardball questions. They are, after all, criminally culpable for the endorsement and concealment of something they damn well knew was a lie, murder, and high treason ten years ago.

Rs 1,000,000,000,000 Black Hole.

by Khurshid Anwer

Dr Farrukh Saleem’s comments on the national budget:

Rs 1,000,000,000,000 is the difference between what the Government of Pakistan (GOP) earns and what it spends.

GOP looses Rs 300 crore a day, every single day.

Rs 11 crore per hour or Rs 20 lakh per minute for every single minute of the entire year.

GOP would have lost Rs 60 lakh by the time you will finish reading this brief commentary.
GOP is now less of a government and more of a black hole. When nature creates a black hole, nothing can come out of it because its density and gravity increases to infinity while its size shrinks to zero.

Pakistan’s one trillion rupee black hole created by the GOP has no chance of shrinking because it is just like cosmic drain which is going to suck jobs, dreams, aspirations and wishes of the Pakistani public.
Presidency cannot survive without a Rs 3.5 crore injection a month, every month of the year.

The PM Secretariat cannot survive without devouring Rs 50 crore a year.
The Cabinet Secretariat with an army of ministers gobbles up Rs 100 crore a month.

Then there are ‘developmental funds’ – nay political bribes – to be paid to all of our honourable legislatures.

At 100 senators, 342 MNAs and 728 MPAs that’s a cool Rs 300 crore a month down the drain every month of the year. Imagine; lawmakers doing gutters.


Then there are at least half a dozen black holes within the real black hole;

-                           Pakistan International Airlines,

-                           Pakistan Steel Mills,

-                           Pakistan Electric Power Company,

-                           Pakistan Railways,

-                           Pakistan Agriculture Storage and Utility Stores Corporation.

Among them they loose at least Rs 250 billion a year or Rs 70 crore a day, every day of the year.

Then there are others:

-                           Tomato Paste Plant,

-                           Roti Corporation of Pakistan,

-                           Pakistan Stone Development Company,

-                           Pakistan Hunting and Sporting Arms Development Company,

-                           National Institute of Oceanography,

-                           Pakistan Gems & Jewellery Development Company,

-                           Technology Commercialisation Corporation of Pakistan,

-                           National Industrial Parks Development & Management Company,

-                           Technology Up-Gradation and Skill Development Company,

-                           National Productivity Organisation,

-                           Centre for Applied & Molecular Biology,

-                           Council for Work and Housing Research,

-                           National Institute of Electronics,

-                           Pakistan Council for Science and Technology,

-                           Pakistan Council of Research in Water Technology,

-                           Pakistan Council of Scientific and Industrial Research,

-                           Pakistan Standards and Quality Control Authority,

-               Central Inspectorate of Mines.
Wait there are more:

-                           National Insurance Corporation,

-                           Heavy Electrical Complex,

-                           Machine Tool Factory,

-                           Services International,

-                           National Power Construction Company,

-                           National Fertilizers Corporation,

-                           State Engineering Corporation,

-                           National Construction Limited,

-                           Pakistan Steel Fabricating Company Limited,

-                           Pakistan Mineral Development Corporation,

-                           Ghee Corporation of Pakistan,

-                           Republic Motors,

-                           Pakistan National Shipping Corporation,

-                           Pakistan Railways,

-                           State Cement Corporation of Pakistan,

-                           State Petroleum Refining & Petrochemicals Corporation,

-                           Trading Corporation of Pakistan,

-                           Cotton Export Corporation of Pakistan,

-                           Rice Export Corporation of Pakistan,

-                          Pakistan Industrial and Technical Training Centre and

-                           Pakistan Engineering Company.


From here onwards budget making is a piece of cake – add every ‘Demand for Grant’ from the president downwards, deduct the IMF-allowed budgetary deficit and surprise, surprise you have the final revenue figure.

By the end of the next fiscal year, the president, the prime minister and everyone below them would end up overshooting their allocations by 10 to 20 percent.

Surprise! Surprise! By the end of the next fiscal year GOP will give mother nature another Rs 1,000,000,000,000 black hole.

==============================================

My comments: Revenue generation in a big way is required to undo the above. This cannot be done without growth in Industry and agriculture. Industry needs input of mega quantities of power and agriculture needs input of mega quantities of water. To produce these mega quantities we need mega dams. The ‘Sindh’ and ‘Punjab’ Cards will never allow mega dams to be built. So we are back to square one, one step forward, two steps back.

All talk of stopping Drone attacks and blocking NATO routes is nonsense. US will come down on us like a ton of bricks. National sovereignty will not come without economic sovereignty.

Khurshid Anwer

The 3 Baboons

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The 3 Baboons, Hear no Evil Speak, no Evil and See no Evil!