Archive | October 4th, 2009

FRONTLINE with Kamran Shahid: OCT 3

Kamran Shahid interviews Imran Khan of Tehrik Insaf on Kerry-Lugar bill, NRO

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SAWAL YEH HAI with Dr. Danish: OCT 3

Dr. Danish discusses reole of Waderas and Jagirdars in politics with Dr. Farooq Sattar (MQM), Nawab Yousuf Talpur (PPP) and Barrister Shahida Jamil.

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A movement wasted

By Kunwar Idris

The lawyers’ movement has given no relief to the people seeking redress, nor has it made the procedure for the appointment of judges any fairer.

This is not just the viewpoint of a sceptical columnist who has felt all along that neither would come about by agitating on the streets.

It is Ali Ahmed Kurd, the lawyer who charmed the rabble and elite alike with his histrionics, now saying mournfully that pharaohs sit in courtrooms while brokers sit at the doors. An expression of collective discontent of the lawyers on the selection of new judges and the recall of old ones came in the boycott of their oath-taking ceremony by the Karachi bar, led by Rasheed Razvi, once himself a judge and a supporter of the movement.

Mysteriously silent is Aitzaz Ahsan, who led processions from one end of the country to the other swaying the lawyers with the rhythm of his poetic chants. It seems he now only has his losses to calculate.

Also silent is Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry’s spokesman Athar Minallah who, his passion spent, now broods over it all sitting somewhere else. Both Ahsan and Minallah may be quiet, but I suspect they are no less disillusioned than Kurd and Razvi.

The lawyers in the movement were so carried away by the prospect of humbling a haughty president that they forget that the judiciary could become neither independent nor more responsible only by the reinstatement of a chief justice — howsoever unjustly removed or harshly treated. Institutions are built by slogging over centuries and not by one quick march. The lawyers succeeded in their immediate aim but their campaign has made the judiciary more vulnerable to extraneous pressures than before.

Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, addressing the lawyers at Jamshoro soon after his reinstatement, spoke of the disposal of every case within six months. The reinstated chief justice of the Lahore High Court, Khawaja Sharif, similarly told the Sheikhupura bar that every ‘reptile’ would be tamed once the biggest among them, meaning Pervez Musharraf, was hauled up. Musharraf is not there now as an obstacle but Justice Sharif can hardly claim that the disposal of cases has become fairer and more expeditious since his departure. This writer has been following the proceedings of two pending cases, one in the high court and the other in a subordinate court. Neither has matured for a meaningful hearing in two years. The assurances of judges have come to mean no better than the promises of politicians.

The chief justice has also been showing anxiety over the conduct and integrity of the judges being called into question. Surely he now realises that the fact of who took oath, when and who administered it was not enough to acclaim or condemn a judge. The legal profession and the people need more demonstrable evidence. The best, though not conclusive, would be their reputation, lifestyle and wealth.

Repeated pleas made to the heads of state and government and the ministers to declare their assets have had no effect. Resultantly, it is left to conjecture or disclosure. Pakistan’s ever sinking rank in the world corruption table demands that the worst culprits among the offending public servants should be identified. The judges of the superior courts, who are expected to be the least tainted of all, could set the precedent by declaring their assets on joining office and later as well. Sadly, they do not seem to be so inclined.

India’s supreme court set an example by advising the judges to put their assets on the website of the court. But it is voluntary. A judge may refuse to do so as some indeed have.

Justice Chaudhry has only plaudits to earn if he were to make it compulsory. In fact he should go a step further and establish a forum where the public and litigants could air their grievances of delay or discrimination. At present they don’t know where to go and run the risk of contempt if they complain too loudly. The propriety of the conduct of judges must not be left to rumours or reports in the media. It should be open to public scrutiny.

The current discourses of the chief justice are all about the superior courts. The concern of the people, on the other hand, is more about delays and corruption in the lower courts. In fact the first and often the last court, so to say, for the common man is the police station. The delay and denial of justice at lower levels is widespread because the work is too much, even for prompt judges to handle.

The thrust of the chief justice’s drive, therefore, should be towards the creation of informal citizens’ courts. It is all too well known that getting involved in the institutional machinery of the state implies harassment and extortion. Courts are no exception and even the chief justice can do nothing about it.

In England most criminal cases and civil disputes — as many as nine out of 10 — are decided by justices of the peace who are all unpaid but respectable citizens. Pakistan’s local government laws, too, contemplate conciliation courts but hardly any were established, and litigants wouldn’t trust them either in a political environment even if they had been set up. Under a judicial umbrella they would. It would be good use of the funds and expertise provided by the Asian Development Bank’s Access to Justice Programme.

Howsoever carefully chosen and well-paid, the judges of superior courts can advance the cause of justice only if they are role models for all public servants. The other day, Chief Justice Chaudhry distributed official cars among the civil judges of Karachi and promised them better pay as well.

It makes me recall a scene from my student days in Lahore when Justice Masud Ahmad came to the high court riding a bicycle and other judges came driving their own cars — particularly striking among them was Pakistan’s then chief justice, A.R. Cornelius, who came in his sports coupe. Times and the judges have since changed, but not the hard reality that justice doesn’t flow from pay and protocol.

Mail to writer: [email protected]

{Source: Dawn}

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Film viewers back in Peshawar

The number of Pashto film viewers is increasing in Peshawar as quite a large number of Pashto films were releases on Eid and the same are still being displayed on the local cinema.

Some of the film viewers complained that obscenity was the main factor attracting the youngsters to come towards the cinemas.

Cinemas in Peshawar were facing the worst kind of financial constraints as most of them were being left deserted in the city.

Five cinemas have already been closed down due to the ongoing insurgency and some of them have already been demolished.

According to Lollywood film Producer Ajab Gul, the future of film industry can be saved but the government was not allowing production of films on the issue like terrorism and insurgency.

{Source: Dawn}

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Load-shedding to continue

The Private Power Infrastructure Board (PPIB) on Saturday indicated that all rental power projects (RPPs) are unlikely to start their operation by December 31, 2009, which means that load shedding will continue even after December 31, 2009, sources told Business Recorder.

The Minister for Water and Power, Pervez Ashraf, who has repeatedly assured the nation that there would be no load shedding after December 31, has stated that the reason for the delay can be attributed to criticism against the RPPs and the resultant reluctance of the investors to enter the market.

Sources said that the biggest hurdle in the way of RPPs is Finance Ministry, which is reluctant to release 14 percent mobilisation advances, as was agreed with the revised agreements with the sponsors of RPPs. They said that though the Prime Minister had approved installation of the RPPs, with total capacity of 2250 MW, the Finance Ministry has neither paid mobilisation advance to most of the RPPs nor has it finalised a mechanism to arrange $3.15 billion to be paid for the projects.

According to official documents:

- lump sum contract price of 248.95 MW Karkey rental projects is 564.64 million dollars;

- 230 MW Walters rental project has the price tag of 325.893 million dollars;

- 81 MW Gulf rental project would cost 85 million dollars;

- 221 MW independent power rental project has an estimated cost of 423.212 million dollars;

- 220 MW Reshma power rental project will cost 394.778 million dollars;

- 170 MW Ruba energy rental project has a price tag of 305. 669 million dollars;

- 85 MW Sialkot rental power project has a price tag of 112 million dollars;

- 150 MW Sumandari Road, Faisalabad, will cost 135 million dollars;

- 110 MW TPS Guddu has a price of 72 million dollars;

- 150 MW Sahuwala Sialkot to cost 165 million dollars;

- 192 MW TPS Multan to cost 208 million dollars;

- 220 MW Satian Road, Faisalabad, has a price tag of 111 million dollars;

- 200 MW Ludewala (Sargodha) to cost 151 million dollars; and

- 51 MW Naudero to cost 91.7 million dollars.

The current status of RPPs in pipeline was discussed in the 83th meeting of PPIB Board, presided over by the Minister for Water and Power, who is chairman of the Board. During the meeting, the Minister appreciated the Managing Director of PPIB, Fayyaz Elahi, for his efforts to operationalise the projects in time.

“Some of the RPPs can be delayed due to current political and media criticism,” said Ashraf talking to the media after the meeting. According to an official statement, the Minister for Water and Power stated that the most important task that the government of Pakistan (GoP) has in hand today is to overcome the energy crisis prevailing in the country.

“This crisis has not only affected everyday life of the people of Pakistan, but has badly affected the overall economy of the country. It will be very difficult for us to move forward unless this challenge is addressed,” the Minister said. “We have not only to encourage new investors but also provide out of the box support to projects in the pipeline so that they come on line by the required timelines,” he added. The Minister also constituted an inter-ministerial committee to look into the policy of oil logistics for all future power plants.

{Source: AAJ TV}

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Pakistani drug smugglers get death sentence in Yemen

SANAA : A Yemeni court on Saturday sentenced two Pakistani fishermen to death and jailed two others for 25 years after convicting them of drug trafficking.

Salim Abdulrahim, 46, and Ghulam Khan Mohammed, 50, were given the death penalty while Imam Ayub, 30, and Mohammed Ahmed, 40, were sent to prison for smuggling 1,695 kilos (3,729 pounds) of hashish.

Death sentences in Yemen are usually carried out by firing squad.

The court acquitted seven other fishermen of the group of 11 who were arrested in Yemen’s territorial waters in May 2008 on board a boat from Pakistan. Their trial began in December last year.

Five people have been executed in Yemen this year, and according to a 2008 report by London-based watchdog Amnesty International at least 15 people were executed in the country in 2007. Figures for 2008 are not available.

{Source: AAJ TV}

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New Zealand defeat Pakistan by five wickets

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Pakistan, US lost track of Osama, says Musharraf

Pakistan and the United States were closing in on Osama bin Laden about five years ago, but suddenly lost him, says former president Pervez Musharraf.

‘It was some five years back when there was some intelligence that got picked up of a broad location,’ Mr Musharraf told a near-capacity crowd at a college in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

‘Then suddenly, we lost track.’

The former president described this as a failure of Pakistani and US intelligence and said that now they did not know whether Osama was dead or alive.

Mr Musharraf, 66, conceded that he committed several blunders in the years leading up to Sept 11, but he also took credit for several accomplishments, including improving the nation’s economy and introducing ‘an essence of democracy’ to Pakistan.

‘This gives me pride to say, that although I was a military man -– a man in uniform -– I did believe in real essence of democracy,’ he said.

‘I take pride in declaring that I introduced the essence of democracy in Pakistan.’

He did this, he said, by empowering citizens. Women, he said, gained political power and were given more seats in the local and national levels of government -– a comment that drew a standing ovation from the crowd.

Mr Musharraf is currently in the United States on a lecture tour.

On Tuesday, Mr Musharraf was invited to Capitol Hill to share with both Republican and Democrat lawmakers his thoughts on the current situation in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region and the way forward.

‘Mr Musharraf provided his personal and candid insights on Afghanistan and Pakistan and shared his perspective for strategies to stabilise the region,’ said Congressman Steve Buyer after the meeting.

‘President Musharraf’s thoughts will be very helpful to us as Congress works with the administration in crafting a successful way forward in Afghanistan.’

The congressional meeting came on the eve of the crucial ’situation room’ meeting of the US President Barack Obama with his top policy advisers on Afghanistan and Pakistan.

As the administration continues to consider a new strategy in Afghanistan, which could include an increase in US troops, hearing ‘Mr Musharraf’s insight will help us make the necessary decisions to support a successful strategy with the ultimate goal of finding sustained peace and stability in the region,’ Congressman Buyer said.

Talking to Pakistani journalists during his Washington visit, Mr Musharraf said he would defend himself in Pakistani courts and his lawyers were reviewing the detailed verdict of the Supreme Court regarding his imposition of emergency rule on November 3, 2007.

The former president said he was ready to face all charges levelled against him in courts, as he commented on the Supreme Court terming his November 3, 2007 actions unconstitutional and unpardonable.

Also, former Pakistan Cricket Board chairman and close Musharraf confidant Dr Nasim Ashraf told reporters that Mr Musharraf had decided to defend himself if a case was registered against him.

Mr Ashraf said President Asif Ali Zardari had not met Mr Musharraf, either in New York or Washington.

{Source: Dawn}

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Sugar crisis in Pakistan. Is it real or artificial. Talat discusses the issue with Khalid A Mirza who is the first and current Chairman of the Competition Commission of Pakistan

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DO TOK with Mazhar Abbas: OCT 3

Mazhar Abbas interviews Jamaat-i-Islami Ameer Syed Munawwar Hasan who says the next big alliance by Jamaat and the Islamists will essentially be an anti-US movement.

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MERAY MUTABIQ with Dr. Shahid Masood: OCT 3

Kerry-Lugar Bill; NRO and Zardari’s status after detail judgement by CJ; Musharraf’s overseas stay. Guests: Ch. Aitzaz Ahsan (PPP), Justice (R) Rana Bhagwan Das, Dr. Babar Awan (PPP).

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Muslim Singles, Matrimonial, Shaadi and Marriage Introductions Online -

Talk Shows

    October 22, 2009 | 2:06 am

    NRO and level of corruption among political leaders specially PPP and PML-N leaders. Guests: Syed Talat Hussain (Anchorman), Shahid Khaqan Abbasi (PML-N) and Fouzia Wahab (PPP)

    October 22, 2009 | 1:26 am

    A MUST WATCH: Attack on Islamic University in Islamabad; Was Indo-Israeli axis behind it?; Guests: Qazi Hussain Ahmed (Ex-Ameer JI), Sardar Asif Ahmed Ali (PPP), Sen Zahid Khan (ANP)

    October 21, 2009 | 9:28 am

    A MUST WATCH: How intrusive are the conditions and clauses of Kerry-Lugar Bill. Who will implement the reforms mandated in it? Guests: Imran Khan (Chairman PTI), Qamaruzzama Kaira (PPP), Maria Sultan (Defense Analyst), Ishaq Dar (PML-N)

  • OFF THE RECORD with Kashif Abbasi on ARY: OCT 20
    October 21, 2009 | 8:55 am

    NRO and Transparency Intl’s latest report on Corruption in Pakistan which has increased by 600 pct. Guests: Syed Khurshid Shah (PPP), Javed Hashmi (PML-N) and Ahmad Bilal Mehboob (PILDAT)

    October 21, 2009 | 8:32 am

    Runoff polls in Afghanistan; Af-PAk affairs; South Waziristan Operation; War on Terror and its toll on PAkistan. Guests: Rustam Shah (Ex-Amb to Afghanistan), Syed Saleem Shahzad (Asia Times Online Analyst) and Sadiq Al Farooq (PML-N)

    October 21, 2009 | 2:51 am

    Twin suicide blasts at Islamic Univeristy in Islamabad. Guests: AVM (R) Shahzad Chaudhry (Analyst), Rauf Klasra (The News Journalist) and Abdul Hafeez Pirzada (Renowned Attorney and ex-PPP leader)

    October 21, 2009 | 2:32 am

    Twin suicide bombings in Islamic University in Islamabad and its repurcussions vis-a-vis South Waziristan operation. Guests: Tasneem Ahmed Qureshi (PPPP), Makhdoom Javed Hashmi (PML-N) and Sen Muhammad Ibrahim Khan (Jamaat Islami)

    October 21, 2009 | 1:15 am

    Rehman Malik’s unusual media-hogging appetite and Talat Hussain’s demand that Rehman Malik be sacked. Media performance on twin suicide blasts at Islamic University in Islamabad.

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