The Black Holes Of Pakistan (FreePakistan Newsletter # 130)
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DISCOVER YOUR POLITICAL LEANINGS! World's Smallest Political QuizTake the Quiz now and find out where you fit on the political map!
By Abid Hasan
[The writer is a former operations adviser at the World Bank. The article first appeared in The News on
Black holes are natural phenomena scattered in outer space from which nothing can escape, not even light. Recently, with the advent of modern governments, many man-made black holes have been observed on our planet, especially in our own country. These black holes are government organisations that gobble up huge amounts of taxpayers' monies, and don't have much to show for it.
In the last decade, the government of
All these flawed policies are now posing an existential threat to the country, and have earned
The second largest black hole inflicting the country is the public education bureaucracy. We have spent close to Rs1.5 trillion in the last decade. Despite this, there is hardly any improvement in the standard of education imparted here. A large part of this money has been used to pay the salaries of the 1.2 million teachers, who are overpaid and under performing. Drop-out rates are still very high among the students and over half the schools don't have water, latrines or electricity. Importantly, education "apartheid" has increased, with the rich benefiting from good private schools and the poor stuck with poorly run public schools.
The third gigantic black hole in the country is the Rs1.2 trillion sunk into subsidies. The poor hardly benefit from subsidies on electricity, fertilizer, wheat or subsidies provided to PIA, Pakistan Steel or Railways. For the most part only the rich and middle income and overpaid, incompetent and corrupt employees of state enterprises benefit from these.
A whopping Rs800 billion has been consumed by the black hole providing sustenance to law enforcement agencies. These agencies are corrupt and incompetent to the core, and in many instances promoters and facilitators of criminal activities.
The health sector has gobbled up Rs600 billion, with hardly any improvement in the health indicators or access to health care. Whether it is immunisation coverage, births attended by trained birth attendants, availability of medicines and doctors at basic health units or quality of health care in public hospitals,
The irrigation department has consumed Rs400 billion in the last decade, where corruption and inefficiencies are endemic. The rural elite get more water then their legal right, depriving tail-enders in collusion with irrigation officers.
If you think we are done with black holes inflicting
So it is clear that the dismal state of
[Dr Irfan Zafar.
[Dr Irfan Zafar,
Zulfikar Mirza has called Interior Minister Rehman Malik a “compulsive liar”. Sir, who in the government is not? [Daily Times]
[Dr. Irfan Zafar,
[M Rafique Zakaria,
I have a friend in
It was comforting to know that the doctors in the
Strangely, some of these hospitals boast not only of their surgeons to be world renowned but also being equipped with the latest electro-medical machinery and gadgets to carry out such simple angiographies by the dozens a day. I am sure the President would now take personal interest in improving the technical know-how and expertise further, if required, of these and other hospitals in the country so that next time he doesn’t have to scurry in a hurry and subject himself to the hazards of the air travel which by itself could be damaging for a cardiovascular patient. [The Frontier Post]
LIMIT TO GREED?
[Dr. Irfan Zafar,
May we request the Honorable President and the Prime Minister to educate the masses by telling them "How much money is required in one's possession to find inner Peace and Contentment" Is there a limit to this lust? [The Nation]
STEALING ONLY RS 20 CRORE!
[Shahryar Khan Baseer,
Mr. Moonis does not want to fight anyone and is a very peace loving person. He has once removed
We would like to use this forum to (Sarcastically) request Mr. Zafar Qureshi of the
BILAWAL APPEALS FOR HELP
Bilawal Zardari has appealed to the Pakistanis and the international community for help to the Sindhis ravaged by floods. By the way, has this appeal reached his fabulously rich father too and what has been his personal response in terms of donation, may we know? [The Nation]
Ever since the life-changing press conference by Dr Zulfiqar Mirza, popular culture has coined another cult saying — one that revolves around eating either a banana or an apple! It seems that now everyone is quoting that iconic saying where one lies about eating either an apple or a banana. The popular social networking site, Facebook, immediately sprang up with a group called, ‘That awkward moment when you are eating a banana and say it is an apple’ — it has hundreds of fans already! Then there is a joke making the rounds about four ‘apples’ changing history: the one eaten by Eve, the one that awakened Newton, the one invented by Steve Jobs and the one that was declared an apple by Rehman Malik! One must hand it to us Pakistanis: we really know how to laugh at ourselves and make light of some of the most serious situations to baffle most nations! [Daily Times]
letterLetters to FreePakistan
[Col. Riaz Jafri (Retd),
Mr. Omar Malik (NewsPost 16 September 2011) asks the Prime Minister,” How can you expect others to donate when they see such abhorrent display of extravagance by our Senators and MNAs?” Little did he know that the PM is leading an 80 strong entourage of politicians, journalists and others to the UN this year just to address the General Assembly for about half an hour and meet only one head of the state that is of
[Ahmad Kamal Khattak,
The horrific stories of car jacking and the revelations of car don mohammad hassan is writing on the wall the rampant activty of stealing cars in the country. Amazingly buying a new car is still a herculain challange for most part of the poor population of the country and those who manage to buy one are always in fear of being robbed of their precipous possession. As a recent revelation the car don exposed that at least 45000 small cars are being stolen from punjab and kpk to GB. The actual figure would obviously excced the claim of the don.
In this age of rural to urban shift, transportation is a biggest challenge the masses go through a no. of time everyday. Just to mention the case of
If we go by the islamic principle, the government should abolish all the taxes on transportation vehicles. the car companies should be forced by the government to sell their products on a reasonable price and the import of car should not be banned in any circumstances. Hopefully this way the car would lose it;s importance as a precious commodity at all and so will end the crimes associated with the whole activity. today keeping a car is a necessity, it is no more a luxury and by the way any car of the world has a service life too which is not too long with our roads condition.
MR KAMRAN KHAN
For now nearly two years you just focus on the corruption of Prime minister Galani. You have forgotten the horrendous corruption of MR Zardari responsible for destruction of
Everything Dr Zulfiqar Mirza said in his press conference on Sunday was nothing that we did not already know. Everybody knew that Rehman Malik and many others are the enemies within and that the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) was involved deeply in the violence in
SORRY NOT IMPRESSED
I never really wanted to dignify Zulfikar Mirza’s fatal press conference towards the end of the Holy Month of Ramzan by commenting on it but the reaction from a sizable number of educated people praising him for courage and of all things honesty was just a little too much to bear. Not that this reaction is surprising considering the current falling standards of morality and integrity as well as the diminished capacity of critical thinking in Pakistan these days.
Dissecting Mirza’s outburst the first question that comes to mind is regarding the conversation that took place according to him; between Messers Altaf Hussain , Mazar-ul-haq and Mirza himself in which the latter claims Altaf spoke about facilitating the breaking up of Pakistan and not being able to stop killing the Pakhtoons in Karachi. More than anything else one would like o know how Altaf Hussain found in Mirza the worthiness for such confidential talk. Could it be a case of “Birds of a feather flocked together”? Maybe Altaf recalled mirza’s famous “Pakistan Na khappay” speech and that must have inspired confidence in him that he was talking to someone of his own ilk. Two other questions worth raising here are why didn’t Mirza report such treacherous talk immediately? And why was his party so closely allied to the MQM? In any case the charges he has made must be thoroughly investigated and any party harbouring anti
Moreover, what is so honest about speaking half truths?
All that Zulfikar Mirza has succeeded in doing is exposing himself badly, he has already admitted that he hired ten thousand policemen not on merit but on personal discretion and is guilty of issuing three hundred thousand licenses for arms as Sindh’s home minister where as a sane and sincere person would have disarmed the already armed communities and not issued more of the same. [
What can be said? Zulfiqar Mirza has left no controversial stone unturned. Besides the entertainment value of his much talked about press conference, it must be remembered that the consequences of his statements will be far-reaching. He has laid some serious allegations against some very prominent personalities and these must be investigated by the authorities, including the Supreme Court. If Rehman Malik really is a serial and compulsive liar then he must be removed from the all-important interior ministry before he causes any more damage. If the allegations about the
DARK ASPECT OF JOURNALISM?
[Mohammad Khan Sial,
On September 09, 2011, MQM chief Altaf Hussain addressed press conference direct from London which was live telecast by seven private TV channels for more than 4 & half hours each so much so news bulletins and commercials on the channels were not telecast during the period that was set back to news viewers on one hand and big financial loss to the channel owners on the other may be in millions. Immediate after the press conference, a discussion programme was going on of Hamid Mir on GEO TV but another anchor Kamran Khan immediately intervened and he gave a detailed and controvercial interview of ex-City Mayor, CDGK Syed Mustafa Kamal taking too much time despite Altaf had already addressed four and half hours. It was clear that Kamran Khan was openly supporting the said ethnic group out of the way.
When Mustafa Kamal abused repeatedly Zulfikar Mirza by claiming that he was running “Blue Film Shop” in Hyderabad, Kamran Khan strangely did not object or intervene but when Masood Sharif – a guest talked about the operation against MQM in the past, Kamran Khan lost his temper and asked at least twice Masood Sharif to mind his language despite he (Sharif) did not pass any objectionable remarks against any one. It was darkest aspect of journalism. [
[Malik Tariq Ali,
It is against national interest of
It is the state executive and establishment which has failed, if they were aware of the extent of crimes that were being committed and the identity of criminals. People of
The interests of
[Iftikhar Shaheen Mirza,
Zulfikar Mirza’s recent revelations have put a big question mark against the integrity of Reman Malik and the MQM. The veteran politician, by taking the oath over the Holy Quran, has hit the jackpot. If we accept what Mirza has said, then what kind of trust can one have in the government? Is it not the ugliest form of democracy? Are not we headed for a total collapse? The government’s manoeuvering has already put
During the Supreme Court's hearing of the Karachi suo motu case, many amongst public and leaders were anxious to give evidence and opinion, and actually submitted applications for becoming a formal party. Dr Zulfiqar Mirza was not called, nor were the MQM leaders asked to testify. A nasty allegations-and-counter-allegations theatre was thus avoided. Seemingly, the hearing was confined to the objective of making it clear to the police authorities that they were being observed, and the political parties that they could be banned or convicted. This might help the Gilani government and discourage background operators. If this does not work, then, within the democratic setup, nothing will.
The Supreme Court played a non-political role, but its message may be too weak to reach the hardened shells of criminals. The filing of affidavits by the
Dr Mirza's press conference on
Before current tenure of the
b- Get an honest population census.
c- Redefine the electoral constituencies.
d- New voter registration list. There should be an agreed formula to consider people from other provinces to become permanent residents of
e- Measures to be taken to gradually eliminate the ethnicity flavour of all the political parties in
[S T Hussain,
Allegations levelled by former Sindh Home Minister Dr Zulfiqar Mirza claim that MQM’s Babar Ghauri, Federal Minister of Ports and Shipping, is involved in stealing of thousands of NATO, ISAF and US military containers. According to the press reports published in the print media Federal Board of Revenue has confirmed that 24,000 containers went missing inside
I think it would have been more appropriate if the MQM senior minister would have replied to the allegations of missing containers in a more sincere and transparent manner. In order to know the truth, it is imperative that an independent commission should be formed to investigate truth about these missing containers. It is a serious matter and the government should not sweep it under rug on the pretext of policy of political reconciliation for its self-interest to complete the five-year term by hook and crook and keeping all the political parties happy. [
Edited and prepared by
[FreePakistan Newsletter, among other things, is a compilation of views and news taken from the national newspapers’ print and online editions. It is not possible to mention the source of every piece of news or view made use of herein; but as a matter of policy, where possible the source is mentioned with due thanks. However, no opinion expressed here should necessarily be taken as reflecting the view of Free Pakistan Newsletter.]
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