Mail: info@asinstitute.org




Power Sector Reforms: Privatisation The Only Solution (FreePakistan Newsletter # 134)

[February, 2012] 

CONTENTS:

 0 Power sector reforms: Privatisation the only solution  
  Interview of Dr. Nadeem-ul-Haq
0 HumorWise
0Letters to FreePakistan
0 Issue of the month: Judging the PTI



[February, 2012] 

CONTENTS:

 0 Power sector reforms: Privatisation the only solution  
  Interview of Dr. Nadeem-ul-Haq
0 HumorWise
0Letters to FreePakistan
0 Issue of the month: Judging the PTI

FreePakistan Newsletter # 134
[February, 2012]
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[Thomas Jefferson, Letter to Joseph Priestley (1802)]

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Free Pakistan, a monthly newsletter, exists for the promotion of limited government, rule of law, protection of property rights, market economy, individual freedom, and private initiative. Its vision is a free and prosperous Pakistan; for only such a Pakistan can contribute positively to the creation of a free and prosperous world.

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POWER SECTOR REFORMS: PRIVATISATION THE ONLY SOLUTION

An exclusive interview of Dr. Nadeem-ul-Haq, Deputy Chairman Planning Commission

[This interview first appeared in Business Recorder on January 19, 2012.]

In an exclusive interview to Business Recorder team comprising Wasim Iqbal, Zaheer Abbasi and Naveed Butt, Deputy Chairman Planning Commission Dr Nadeem-ul-Haq, a retired 24-year staff member of the International Monetary Fund, maintains that the privatisation of power sector is the only solution to the prevailing loadshedding in the country.

His rationale common to multilateral staff is that performance will rise with a reduction in political interference.

Dr Haq adds that CDWP (Central Development Working Party) meetings are necessary as they not only review the performance of ongoing development projects but also extend approval of critical new projects.

He also maintains that abolishing of tariffs and duties will make the consumer market competitive and proposed a growth strategy that, he argues, will assist in energy conservation and enhance human productivity by constructing high-rise cities.

Business Recorder: What has been your success in implementing reforms in the economy?

Nadeemul Haq: The energy sector reforms will not take more than two years provided they are implemented on a fast track basis. Slow implementation would require five years to complete the reforms proposed by the Planning Commission. The entire power sector must be revamped by inducting professional management otherwise its collapse is not far. I am not the sole decision making authority in the power sector as some others are also involved in the decision making 

BR: Any suggestions to stop political interference in power sector reforms?

NUH: Privatisation is the only solution to stop political interference in the power sector and to address governance issues.

BR: What reforms have you proposed for the power sector?

NUH: We cannot bring change in power sector by sitting in Islamabad. Power sector reforms meant a complete revamping of the power sector - Power Generating Companies and Power Distribution Companies (DISCOs), by inducting professionals and giving them a free hand. Along with developing a viable financial structure power companies need to put an audit system in place as well as bring in efficient technology to reduce losses. New appointments of CEOs and trained staff were also suggested by the Planning Commission. In our assessment approximately 150 new qualified staff is required per Disco. Power sector reform is a question of building an entire system. New technology is also needed in this sector to enhance capacity.

BR: How can energy efficiency be improved in Pakistan?

NUH: We are not implementing the fourth important strategy in the growth strategy, namely construction of dense and high rise cities as a growth engine for the economy. All industrial zones must be built in cities and not away from cities. Commerce must be in cities. Big hotels and shopping malls on international standards must be built in cities. We do not have office infrastructure. Flats - middle-class living - are not available. We are expanding our cities, which further deepen our energy crises. One needs transport even for small shopping. In Pakistan, focus has been on construction of roads, bridges and flyovers and cities were neglected. This concept is wrong. The Motorway cannot generate enough resources to meet its recurring expenditure. The countries who have constructed dense cities are rich compared to others. Productivity of any human being in dense, high-rise cities is relatively higher, and also helps in energy conservation by using the cheapest form of transport, elevators. The rich and not the poor are wasting energy resources because their consumption is much higher.

BR: What needs to change to ensure reforms?

NUH: Without fundamental reforms and meritocracy, the change in the system can not be brought about in the country. We have been talking about reforms for the last thirty years not only in power sector but in other areas of the economy as well but have failed to implement them primarily because of resistance by the powerful vested interest. There is a nexus among vested interests - in bureaucracy, business community and politicians who are resisting reforms because it would hurt their interests. It is enormously difficult to dismantle their strong nexus.

BR: The government is considering minimising duties and tariffs from the next budget: Your comments?

NUH: How long can the government continue to protect local industry at the cost of consumers? We have been protecting industry for the last fifty years and we cannot sustain this for long. No country can produce everything indigenously and of course one would have to rely on and look to other countries, but this does not mean lowering the competitiveness of our own industry by patronising them.

BR: Public Accounts Committee (PAC) recommended to the government to suspend meetings of CDWP?

NUH: This is not in my knowledge. However, sometimes under pressure from certain quarters, the meeting of CDWP is convened and sometimes it reviews and revises ongoing development projects. The completion of documentation and to be update on ongoing development projects in the meetings of CDWP is another requirement of the government for taking decisions.

BR: What is the role of Higher Education Commission?

NUH: The HEC has a countrywide agenda. They made the mistake of centralising the universities which must be de-centralised. There must be an in-house decentralisation in the universities. Pakistan's future lies in the development of human resources and not in short-term solutions of electricity or gas shortages. We need university professors and educated youth, not universities covering a vast area with huge structures. We should encourage foreign qualified professors to visit Pakistan and educate our youth.

BR: Why was your lecture on economic growth cancelled in National Defence University?

NUH: A day before the meeting, I was informed that my scheduled visit to NDU on December 26 was cancelled. This did not surprise me and the reason given in the newspapers was not correct. I have given almost 25 presentations at various national and international forums on development and growth strategy.

BR: What is your preferred growth strategy?

NUH: I wrote content analyses in 1992 that economic development requires change of mind set. Bringing change in growth strategy does not need funds. The Planning Commission has not requested the government for money. Growth strategy is a bunch of suggestions which could be wrong in the long run and therefore need to evolve over time. The US government has been trying to implement various reforms in the health sector for the last 25 years and the reforms are still evolving. Similarly, during the Depression, regulations were changed but problems persist and therefore more changes would be required.

BR: Are you following the austerity plan tabled by former Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin?

NUH: Yes, we are following the plan. What Shaukat Tarin did as early as in 1997 should be a role model for reform in the public sector. Tarin with his Citibank team replaced the senior management of Habib Bank with qualified professionals and surplus staff was awarded golden handshake. With change of management, the bank started running into profit within a short period of two months. That kind of reform we need in energy sector as well as in other State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) to lessen their burden on the budget.

[Courtesy Business Recorder]

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HumorWise

TEARS IN THE CABINET

[Dr Irfan Zafar, Islamabad]

It was interesting to see Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan, the federal minister for information and broadcasting, with tears in her eyes while opting for resignation from the cabinet. It only took an hour to convince the lady by our prime minister to reverse her decision. Prime Minister Gilani, can you not see tears in the eyes of 180 million people of this country because of your government’s misrule in every aspect of life? Ironically a minister’s tears moved your heart while it remains heartless to the feelings of millions of people. [Daily Times]

TSUNAMI VS EARTHQUAKE

[Aslam Mumtaz, Islamabad]

Former President Gen. (R) Pervez Musharraf in his telephonic address adjacent to the Quaid’s mausoleum in Karachi has announced his return to Pakistan at the end of this month and termed his address (participation of gigantic populace) to as volcanic activity (Earthquake). Earlier, at the same place, the Chairman Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf Imran Khan has addressed to a huge gathering by saying it ‘Tsunami’ for change. May I kindly request to both of the leaders to use some positive symbols despite such awful codes because this country have had enough of that. Tsunami and earthquakes create panic and unfavourable conditions for the masses that this country has practiced a lot in terms of poor law and order situation, counterfeiting and lack of competent leadership. This country needs change but not in the form of unconstructive look. [The Nation]

AJRAK DECLARED COMPULSORY

[Samar Sami, Sukkur]

Member National Assembly Ms Faryal Talpur has made wearing the traditional Sindhi shawl, ajrak, compulsory for every female student of 9th and 10th class studying in the government schools of Larkana district. I want to make a guess about the motive behind this move. Someone must have started an ajrak-making factory in Sindh and of course now poor girls have no choice but to buy ajrak shawls for them and their peers. It would definitely promote the use of the traditional shawl. I would also like to suggest that Ms Talpur should make ajrak a compulsory part of her dress. It would encourage the girls to abide by her command. [Daily Times]

PM’S BEGGING

[Dr Irfan Zafar, Islamabad]

Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani has said that “he begged COAS General Kayani and DG ISI to accept extensions”. Mr Prime Minister it’s your constant begging in every aspect of your governance which has brought this country to the brink of disaster. [Pakistan Observer]

SENATOR VEENA MALIK

[Mubashir Mahmood, Karachi]

Senate Deputy Chairman Mir Jan Muhammad Khan Jamali expressed his disappointment at the absence of federal ministers from the Upper House of parliament (Senate) to respond to call-attention notices of senators. PML-N Senator Mushahidullah Khan then suggested that Veena Malik should be made a senator so that the ministers show up. Senator Mushahidullah Khan said, “When she [Veena] will come to the Senate and display her ‘assets’ then maybe all the other senators too will declare their assets. And then perhaps then they will all join Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).”

It is quite disgusting that Senator Mushahidullah Khan, instead of criticising the ministers, is pointing fingers at Veena Malik. It is not only him, our society nowadays has found a safe resort, Veena Malik, who is being continuously bashed and criticised for being bold and outspoken. I do not understand why people are so bothered with whatever she is doing and not looking at hundreds of other much worse things/acts of our society and its politicians. What about the people who are corrupt, liars, dishonest, murderers, etc? They should leave Veena Malik alone and focus on something more meaningful and productive! She is not the cause of the downfall of Pakistan. It is due to all the hypocrites residing here. [Daily Times]

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Letters to FreePakistan

MEMOGATE

[Col. Riaz Jafri (Retd), Rawalpindi]

The commission on Memogate wants Mansoor Ijaz’s presence before it while a few others are interested in his not being there. All sorts of delaying tactics and impediments are being created for him not to travel to Pakistan such as issuance of visa, not guaranteeing his safety and security while in Pakistan and not granting him immunity from being charged for some other offence etc. May I, therefore, suggest that in this modern age of advanced telecommunications the commission could record his evidence through Video Conferencing. Similarly the documentary and technical evidence (Black Berry data, exchange of Emails etc.) can also be produced before the commission through internet and other technical media.

WORLD BANK TRANSPARENCY IN 2011

[David Shaman, USA]

I wanted to bring you up to date regarding important progress in my ongoing effort to increase transparency and accountability at the World Bank.  Throughout 2011, I actively encouraged the institution to resurrect B-SPAN, the Bank’s webcasting station, as a vehicle for disseminating development knowledge to the institution's stakeholders.  B-SPAN's guiding principle was to share unedited broadcasts of Bank policy dialogues to the development community.

During the year, I met with senior Bank officials and spoke extensively on the issue.  In the past few months, my advocacy has been featured in The New York Times, BBC's World News, Think Africa Press and the Center for Global Development's Views from the Center.  Articles also have been published in numerous online websites including Devex, AidInfo and Foreign Policy in Focus.

This past September, I led a coalition of more than 100 NGOs and development practitioners that wrote Bank President Robert Zoellick urging him to invest funds to revive B-SPAN (http://theworldbankunveiled.wordpress.com/).  In the letter, the coalition emphasized the gains for the Bank: Increasing business opportunities for the institution by focusing attention on it as a preeminent source of development knowledge and technical assistance.  In response, Bank officials voiced conceptual support for using webcasting more actively as a means of sharing content and interacting with stakeholders.  Officials want to bundle webcasting with other communications technologies and aggregate them into a single platform that provides multiple resources in which to engage stakeholders.  Once taken, it would represent an important step.  While the concept being espoused by the Bank is a modification of B-SPAN’s original vision, it may nevertheless still be a fruitful outcome.  The time frame is not clear, though officials have suggested they are working to put something in place by early 2012. 

I plan to remain engaged as an interested observer.  If and as I learn new developments, I would be happy to keep you informed.  And, of course, I'd be interested in any thoughts you might share.  Also, please keep me informed of your work as well.  If there are opportunities to collaborate, I would welcome them.

PM’S SHO

[Col. Riaz Jafri (Retd), Rawalpindi]

A front page head lines of The News of today reads, “Whatever the memo verdict, SHO will be assigned by me, says PM”. What a statement coming from the highest executive of the country and what has a thanedar (SHO) got to do with the Memogate except that he may be instrumental in implementing the judicial verdict?!  Frankly, what kind of message is the PM trying to give and to who? Is it not a clear case of flouting the supremacy of the Rule of Law?

Sayyan bahai kotwal hamein dar kahe ka? (Kotwal is a buddy, why fear anyone?)

AOTHER PROGRAM FOR LOOT SALE?

[Syed Nayyar Uddin Ahmad, Lahore]

It was reported last night on a TV channel, that Finance Minister Abdul Hafeez Sheikh expects 800 million USD revenue, from the auction of 3G (fast Internet) license to telecom companies.

Here, I must forewarn all and sundry, that under no circumstances, the worth of this auction amount can be less than 4-5 billion dollars. India got 24 billion USD from the same auction in April 2010 i.e. two years ago. Details are available at link:- http://www.snayyar.com/3g-telecom-technology-pakistan-can-earn-billions-of-usd-by-just-selling-air.html. All patriotic citizens and institutions must be alert, lest we may not be cheated again, by those who sold our valuable national assets, for even less than the peanuts, in Musharraf era.

THE PPPP MANDATE

[Col. Riaz Jafri (Retd), Rawalpindi]

The PPP regime which is in fact NOT the PPP but the PPPP (Parliamentarians) regime - remember? the PPP did not take part in the general elections of 2008 - is never tired of haranguing about the 5 year mandate given to it by the hundred seventy million people (satra karor awaam). Surprisingly, they are not the only one to make this tall claim but every other political party declares so, as if Pakistan’s population is not hundred and seventy million but hundred seventy billions!! However, even a cursory look at the statistics issued by the Election Commission of Pakistan for the February 2008 NA elections will refute their such claim, which are:

Registered Votes:  80133991, Total Votes Polled: 34980069, Valid Votes: 34113398, Rejected Votes: 940582, Turn Out Total Votes Polled:  43.65 %.

Pakistan People’s Party Parliamentarians won 93 seats and polled  6293701 votes or just 7.85 percent of the Registered Voters and a mere 3.70 percent of the estimated population (170 million) then.

In other words 96.30 percent of the population numbering around 163.7 million people did not vote for the PPPP. What a mandate and what a claim?!

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Issue of the month: Judging the PTI

PTI SURGE: REAL OR CONTRIVED?

[A.J.Marwat, Islamabad]

In my opinion the short answer to the all-important question whether the PTI’s surge is real or contrived is both, to a certain degree. There is no doubt that people are full of resentment not only against the government but also against other mainstream parties. The beeline of hereditary politicians jumping on the PTI bandwagon, however, seems to be the result of a wink from the right quarters. Mr Khan’s message of change and hope is losing some of its sheen with the joining of PTI by certain stalwarts of other parties. Especially damaging to the PTI’s image, in my opinion, is the joining of Musharraf’s lynchpins who, with great loyalty, followed and implemented Musharraf’s policies for five years.

It was these elements who were criticised by Mr Khan for so many years. So how do all these people become acceptable on joining the PTI? It also seems strange that everybody seems to be impressed overnight with the PTI’s message. The passion for the PTI seems to have evaporated into thin air as the chair grabbing in Kasur, after the rally, amply demonstrated. [Dawn]

WILL MUSHARRAF JOIN PTI?

[Marya Mufty, Lahore]

PTI Vice-Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi has said that the decision of forming an alliance with former President Pervez Musharraf will be taken after looking at the ‘circumstances’. Musharraf, who formed his own party by the name of All Pakistan Muslim League in 2010, has announced that he would return to Pakistan in January 2012.

Is it now the one-time all powerful Musharraf’s turn to seek shoulder of Imran Khan, as the latter was once offered by the then strongman during referendum? Or is it a bid by SMQ to dent the image of PTI which is already being criticised for accepting the turncoats to its fold? The level of trust on Imran Khan can shatter but there seems no other way for him to sweep the election and earn a clear majority to form a government. [Pakistan Today]

SUBSIDING TSUNAMI

[Moazzam, Islamabad]

After the PTI's gathering in Lahore it seemed that the party was indeed moving ahead like a political tsunami. But after its Karachi procession this tsunami has apparently subsided.  The party which claims to end the miseries of the people has failed to join the protests which are being held in almost all major cities against non-availability of gas and electricity and the hike in CNG prices.

[The News]

IMRAN KHAN’S TSUNAMI

[Hadia Mukhtar Singapuri, Karachi]

Imran khan’s political gathering at Quaid’s monument gained popularity among the politicians and citizens alike mainly due to his revolutionary ideas to bring change in the current political system and bring solace to people and eradicate aggravation in the society as a whole. In order to gain inspiration from the endless endeavours of the legendary leader and reaffirm the political, social and structural foundation the way Quaid foresaw, the venue was symbolic for Imran Khan’s speech.

The word which has gained tremendous popularity among the news channels in particular is Imran Khan’s prophesy of the tsunami whose target will be both the cause and repercussion of corruption inherent at every level of the system and human life in our country will then commence in the twilight of peace and security. His speech, no doubt paints a rosy picture of our society, where virtue reigns over the vices; however, his method of gaining quantitative strength to his league is highly questionable.

Many influential politicians by being highly intimidated by his radical ideas to turn the face of Pakistani politics are gaining allegiance in his league in overwhelming amount, making the current situation very ironic. Many of the influential leaders hold diametrically opposite views than that of Imran Khan and the irony is that Imran Khan will have to compromise his core message at the expense of quantitative strength.

The aftermath of the speech raises questions rather than answers and the major question lies on the nature of change advocated by him. Is the change merely superficial, an old illusion given a new face or the change will be as true as his words? We can only keep our fingers tight and anticipate where this tsunami would lead us to. [Pakistan Today]

IMRAN’S ‘CRIMINAL SILENCE’

[Rizwan Yassin, Karachi]

This is with reference to the news item that the Taliban murdered 15 Frontier Constabulary men in cold blood. Taliban being Taliban, one can expect anything from these blood-thirsty killers. However, what is shocking is that Imran Khan, who claims he will bring about change in Pakistan, has chosen to keep quiet on this cold-blooded atrocity. If the killings had been done by Americans mistakenly or deliberately in a drone attack or otherwise, Mr Khan would have been the first to condemn it in the strongest term. But here he has maintained a ‘criminal’ silence.

Is the blood of those killed by the Taliban less precious than those killed in drone attacks? The FC men were doing their duty: they were not even in combat. The murderers claming to fight for Islam took them by surprise, made them prisoners and later shot them in cold blood. Shame be on these killers without conscience! Mr Khan should know that even Israelis give prisoner-of-war status to Palestinians and other Arabs taken prisoner. But here are bloodhounds getting indirect sympathy from Mr Khan and his ilk who keep quiet on what, by any standards, are war crimes and should be punished by the International Criminal Court.

Mr Khan can draw heart from the fact that he is not alone; most ‘religious’ parties have chosen to tacitly support such murders, including those of women and children, for political reason. But they should be aware of the consequences: every evil recoils on the perpetrators of the crime, and Taliban criminals and their supporters will surely will one day get their justice. As a Pakistani citizen and as an earthling I strongly condemn this barbaric act and ask all those who love freedom, justice and human life and who believe in Islamic values, especially Islamic laws of war, to condemn this act, even if ‘religious’ parties and conservative politicians like Mr Khan choose to maintain silence.

I pity Mr Khan and his likes as much as I pity the Taliban for their Nazi-Zionist disregard for human life. [Dawn]

CONTRADICTIONS GALORE!

[Sabeen Akhtar, Karachi]

Being a PTI supporter, I am somewhat disturbed by the party’s recent policy of accepting any and all turncoats into their ranks. After taking party members from the PPP, PML-N and PML-Q, rumours were rife that former dictator Pervez Musharraf was all set to join the ranks of Mr Khan. However, after seeing that the party base was horrified by the mere thought of such a thing happening, Imran Khan and several other party personalities quickly distanced themselves from the news and categorically denied that they would associate themselves with the former army chief.

The clarification was good news. However, their reasoning for it left me confused. The reasons given by most PTI office bearers was that Musharraf would not be allowed to join the party because of the Laal Masjid (Red Mosque) incident and handing over Aafia Siddiqui to the Americans. That would then lead a sane man to question why the PTI accepted people like the Leghari brothers and Mr Kasuri. Were these men not part of the government and cabinet at the time of these incidents for which Musharraf is being solely blamed, and did these other gentlemen not go on every TV channel defending their then president? The PTI needs to realise that it has at present become a party of contradictions, and if it has to maintain any credibility in the masses, it needs to stick to its initial principles and not compromise for the sake of power. [Daily Times]

IMRAN OR NAWAZ?

[Majid Taimoor, Lahore]

The youth of Pakistan, being a significant part of the population, could prove to be a significant factor in the upcoming elections. This places a burden on them to educate themselves about political parties and to choose their affiliation carefully. Many youngsters join a political party and head towards their rally whether they understand its policies or not. The PTI is one such party. It is gathering a lot o fpublic support but it is yet to announce how it is going to bring about the change that it talks about? Many of the youngsters joining PTI were kids when Nawaz Sharif came into power in 1997 and don’t understand the dynamic of Nawaz Sharif’s politics, yet they criticise him.

If Imran Khan has no concrete policy, then why does the youth flock towards his rallies? Do they go there to have a good time and enjoy the music and festivities? Or do they go there because they believe in change. It is true that his rhetoric exercises a great pull on the youth. But because of his vague populist rhetoric, people believe of him what they want to believe and project their hopes onto him. Technically speaking, there is no comparison between Nawaz Sharif and Imran Khan. Nawaz Sharif is an experienced and seasoned politician with better knowledge of running a state whereas Khan is politically naïve and inexperienced. Will it be right to compare a leader who was exiled from his country by a dictator with the other who was sitting along with that dictator and is now thinking of forming an alliance with him?

Nawaz Sharif might not be a perfect leader but he has learnt his lessons. He showed his concern for the people of Pakistan when he came out for the restoration of the judiciary. Many in Nawaz Sharif’s teams are those who fought against the dictator and were subjected to hardships. On the other hand, Imran Khan’s team comprises of many people from Musharraf’s teams. Is it so easy to forget the Lal Masjid issue, the Bugti murder and many other issues of the Musharraf regime and vote for the people who supported these actions just because they are now with Imran Khan? The youth should seriously consider the flaws of each leader before voting rather than being swept away by the tide of populism. [Pakistan Today]

IMRAN KHAN’S FLAWED LOGIC

[Fauzia Haider, Phoenix, AZ, US]

This is with reference to Brigadier (retd) Asad Munir’s article of January 20 titled “Imran Khan’s flawed logic on the war on terror”. The PTI chief’s approach on the issue of homegrown terrorism is naïve and shows a lack of understanding and depth of thought on what is a very complex issue. There is no doubt that he has good intentions for the improvement of the country but, if you get your facts wrong from the beginning, then how will you find the right solutions to solve your problems? If the diagnosis of a disease is wrong to start with how will you ever cure it? [The Express Tribune]

IMRAN KHAN & PARLIAMENT

[M Khan Sial, Karachi]

I was amazed to see the recent statement of Imran Khan, chief of TIP, in the press stating that if Parliament has to do everything, what is the use of having apex court? I would put this question to Mr Khan rather this way: If apex court has to do every thing, what is the use of having Parliament?

Parliament is the supreme body everywhere and people like Mr Khan cannot be allowed to snatch such powers from Parliament for his personal likings or disliking. I advise Mr Khan to study the Constitution of UK as its Parliament is already labeled as “Mother of all Parliaments.” It is generally said: The UK Parliament can do each and every thing except to change the sex of woman as man and vice versa. We all must condemn the efforts being made by a lobby in Pakistan who wants to eliminate the supremacy of the Parliament for their vested interests. [The Frontier Post]

PTI’S HYPOCRISY

[Usman Farooq, Dubai]

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI’s) hypocrisy against Musharraf is simple: kill Ali Baba and pardon all of his 40 thieves. The other day I saw Dr Arif Alvi’s Facebook status, which said: “We will never accept Musharraf keeping in mind the incidents of Laal Masjid [Red Mosque] and the brutal assassination of Akbar Khan Bugti.” With the inclusion of notables like Mr Khurshid Mehmood Kasuri and Mr Abdul Aleem Khan, my question is why the PTI is accepting such people, who had the power to veto these very acts back then when they were the so-called lawmakers, into its fold. Why is there so much bias against one individual, Musharraf, when almost all members of his cabinet and accomplices have been welcomed with open arms into the party? [Daily Times]

NO MORE IMRAN’S PTI

[Mariam Khan, Lahore]

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) came into being almost sixteen years back, with an agenda of justice for all. However, today things have changed in PTI, for good or bad. Their manifesto was never clear since its birth and now it has become even more ambiguous. The shift in PTI’s ideology and vision has raised many questions for the rational minds. With the entrants of new heavyweights, and turncoats, the party has now turned into just another party of riff rats and opportunists. It seems like Imran Khan has now left his own party. The party we all trusted. The man we all trusted left us like others.

How easily (within one year) Imran compromised on his sixteen-year-long stance is surprising and worrisome too. Now there is an immense difference between the ideology of 16 years back PTI and the current PTI. Unfortunately, PTI is no more Imran’s party. Is he the same Khan who said that he would never compromise? People like Dr Shireen Mazari and Omer Srafraz Cheema, who were with him through thick and thin, are now left out as nonentities. In addition, people like Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Sardar Assef Ahmed have taken the key position in the party within few days. Why? How? Unanswered questions.

Imran has said that PTI needs electable candidates. My question is why don’t PTI create electables? Why do they have to rely on the tried and tested people (people who did nothing when they were in power)? Bhutto never came into power with any of the leftovers. He made his own electables. So why cannot Imran? Currently, it looks like Imran has joined a party of leftovers. Why Imran left PTI, what could be the possible reasons? Is it the establishment using PTI and Imran for its own motives? Mr Khan is too innocent to comprehend all this. Moreover, the supposed formation of a forward block with the name “PTI Nazariati” is evidence that Imran has left PTI. Imran Khan, the man who chanted slogans of change, justice, and youth. Imran, who gave us vision and hope, has now fallen prey to the same people, the people who betrayed us. Sad, but true that Imran has left PTI, the party which we all consider a breath of fresh air has unfortunately turned out to be just another party. [Pakistan Today]

MR. KHAN GROW UP PLEASE!

[Dr. Saif Ur Rehman, Islamabad]

Imran in his recent interview to a British newspaper, The Times, has clearly indicated that he is against democracy of Pakistan. He said “PTI will support SC if it asks army to remove current democratic government”. It is not surprising comment for well-wishers and lovers of democracy in Pakistan. The intelligentsia of Pakistan are well aware that he has no vision and programme for progressive and democratic Pakistan. His flawed logic regarding war on terror is something quite disgusting. To be very honest he has no vision at all. I wonder that some people call him the leader.

Every informed journalist and Pakistani might remember that, when Musharraf was going to hold a referendum on April 30, 2002, then, it was Mr. Khan, the only man who launched a campaign in favour of him and visited each and every corner of the country for getting support of masses for Musharraf.

He did all this, because Musharraf had offered him premiership; but after general elections, held in October 2002, number game did matter. All MNAs of Balochistan province demanded prime minister of their province, they nominated Mir Zafarullah Jamali for premiership and in this way Musharraf could not fulfill his commitment with Mr. Khan. After ten years, yet again, khan is repeating his same mistakes. He has learnt nothing from his past. This time, again, he is expecting best from establishment, and he has been actively rendering his dedicated services for establishment. Mr. Khan, my suggestion to you is that time and tide wait for none. So grow up please, move forward for strengthening democracy. History will remember you with your deeds, and it depends upon you what you opt for, either good or bad. [The Frontier Post]

POLITICS OF PTI

[Gull Zaman, Peshawar]

The problem of Pakistan’s ruling elite is that they all try to emulate life style of Mughal emperors and princes, who other than tales of their opulent living have not much to their credit. Imran Khan like other politicians that he criticizes so much, suffers from the same mental affliction to live in a home spread over 300 Kanals and then talk of championing for down trodden masses, whose daily life is full of misery, aguish and denials of basic necessities of life.

Just the other day IK advocated celebration of Basant, totally unmindful of the ground realities that hundreds of poor have had their throats slit by chemical thread while the few could have their moments of ecstasy flying kites whose thread would cut other kites. What IK must realize is that as long as state cannot enforce discipline and regulate import or manufacture of such chemical thread, and punish all those involved in this ruthless business, ban on kite flying must stay. You cannot justify provision of such avenues of entertainment, which result in death of citizens just because few dirty rich could have kicks. The same absurd logic was forwarded by members of the so called misled civil society that was discussing the death of minor girls in a stampede during a musical concert held by a school owned by an affluent group minting billions engaged in the business of private education. Just because this group runs a media channel, nobody has dared to point the finger at them.

The issue in this case should have been that why such schools and colleges, charging premium fee are allowed to function, without provision of basic recreation facilities like an auditorium or play grounds. Had this music concert been held within premises of a school, the sad incident would not have happened. While hundreds of poor citizens of Pakistan have died from spurious drugs handed out to patients of Punjab Institute of Cardiology, Pakistan’s political elite, be it those in power, or those in opposition, thought it appropriate to go on foreign tours and continue on such leisure trips in spite of the gravity of this crisis. The issue here is not PIC, which has been serving the poor afflicted with cardiac illness, but the corruption within the federal ministry of health which regulates drug manufacturers or the federal and provincial drug inspectors, the police or FIA tasked to check manufacture of fake spurious life saving medicines.

In this very critical situation at home, IK was in Davos surrounded by his new courtiers, most of whom had served Musharraf or the present regime and were involved in abuses of office with many having risen from rags to riches. [Pakistan Observer]

IMRAN KHAN

[RAMEESHA QASIM]

Recently, I read a tweet by Mr Imran Khan, chief of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI). He tweeted: “US: We will be your friend, not your slave. We will help you withdraw from Afghanistan, but will not launch military operation for you.” He has said the same thing in some of his interviews and rallies as well. It is good to see that Mr Khan does not want Pakistan to become any country’s slave but much of his views on the US are based on anti-Americanism. It is a tragedy that Mr Khan’s anti-Americanism appeals to the general populace; not just the usual right-wing but the educated middle class as well. Anti-Americanism sells. If you take a realistic approach when it comes to the US, you are labelled a traitor — even if you are anti-imperialist. But if you criticise ‘Amreeka’, you are a true ‘patriot’. Does Mr Khan realise that the war on terror is not just the US’s war? It is also our war now. Pakistan has lost more than 35,000 people in this war on terror and if we are still delusional enough to believe that this is someone else’s war, then we are living in a fool’s paradise.

This kind of thinking is an extension of our reaction to our soldiers’ deaths in a NATO strike and hardly any action or reaction when our soldiers are brutally killed by the Taliban. [Daily Times]

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Edited and prepared by

Khalil Ahmad

Email: khalilkf@yahoo.com khalil@asinstitute.org 

[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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