Thursday, May 9, 2013
Bilawal Bhutto says remnants of Ziaul Haq conspiring to bring back the dark era of dictator.Chairperson Pakistan People’s Party Bilawal Bhutto Zardari Thursday addressed public rally in Islamabad on video link. He said the remnants of Ziaul Haq were once again trying to bring back the dark era of Zilul Haq. Bilawal said some politicians had joined hands with the terrorists just for sake of a few votes. He said PPP would not let the terrorists to take the people of Pakistan as hostage. “A deep conspiracy is being hatched against Pakistan but we will thwart the evil designs of the enemies of Pakistan,” he said. He appealed to the people to vote for PPP in order to foil the evil intentions of the conspirators. Lashing out at the PML-N leadership, Bilawal said Punjab government did nothing for the people of Punjab and wasted the public money on useless schemes like Sasti Roti and Metro Bus Sevice. “Lahore has been developed at the cost of south Punjab,” he said. He vowed that PPP would form South Punjab province after coming to power. He said PPP selected prime minister from South Punjab and gave important ministries to the region. “We will not allow anyone to usurp the rights of the people of south Punjab,” Bilawal said. He appealed to masses to vote for Pakistan People s Party, saying it would end poverty from the country.
President Asif Ali Zardrai has promulgated an ordinance, allowing over six million overseas Pakistanis to cast their votes, Geo News reported. However, the Pakistani expatriates would not be able to use their right of franchise in May 11 polls. Interim law minister Ahmer Bilal Soofi told Geo News that the ordinance was issued as per the directives of the Supreme Court of Pakistan. According to the ordinance, the overseas Pakistanis would have to get themselves registered with the Pakistani embassy in their respective countries. President Asif Ali Zardari has signed the Electoral Laws amendment ordinance 2013. According to the ordinance, polling stations would be setup within the premises of Pakistani embassies abroad.
Associated PressGunmen attacked an election rally in Pakistan's southern Punjab province on Thursday and abducted the son of a former prime minister, intensifying what has already been a violent run-up to Saturday's nationwide elections. Ali Haider Gilani, the son of ex-premier Yousuf Raza Gilani from the Pakistan People's Party, is running for a provincial assembly seat in the district of Multan. He was attending an election event in the city of Multan on Thursday — the last day of campaigning across Pakistan — when gunmen pulled up, started shooting, grabbed and threw him into a vehicle and drove off, officials and witnesses said. A resident of Multan who attended the rally told a local TV station that the attackers first pulled up in a car and motorcycle outside the venue where the younger Gilani was meeting with a few hundred supporters. When he came out of the building, two gunmen opened fire, killing at least one of the people in Gilani's entourage. "One of the gunmen grabbed Haider who had blood splashed on his trousers," said Shehryar Ali in comments aired by Pakistani television broadcaster Geo News. The former prime minister was not at the event when his son was taken. Speaking to reporters at the family's home in Multan, the elder Gilani appeared shaken but composed. He said two of his son's guards were killed in the attack, but he did not know whether his son was wounded. "His two guards were shielding him, and they died," said the former premier in comments aired on Pakistani television. "I urge all of my party supporters to remain peaceful and participate in the vote." It was not immediately known who abducted Gilani or why. Gilani's father served for roughly four years as prime minister but was forced out of office last summer by the Supreme Court after refusing to pursue a corruption case against President Asif Ali Zardari. Saturday's election marks a historic milestone for Pakistan as one civilian government completes its term and prepares to hand off to another. But the race has been marred by a string of violent attacks against candidates and election events. Much of the violence has been at the hands of the Taliban, who have mainly targeted political parties that have supported military operations against the militants in northwestern Pakistan. The younger Gilani is running as a candidate for the Pakistan People's Party, one of the three parties the Taliban has said it is focusing on. The PPP is the incumbent in this election but the security threats have forced it to curtail its campaign activities. Instead of the large, outdoor rallies that the party used to rally thousands of voters in the past, they have been relying on television and newspaper advertisements and smaller, indoor meetings with supporters. Party officials have complained that a lack of protection means they have been left vulnerable. "We were screaming that we need security for our candidates. We were saying that we have received threats, but no one heard our pleas, and we did not get security," said a party spokeswoman, Sharmila Farouqi. "Now see what has happened. The son of a former prime minister has been kidnapped." The elder Gilani is one of the PPP's most prominent politicians. Although his ouster from office meant he could not run in this election, the Gilani family is still heavily represented in the race. In addition to the son who was grabbed Thursday, the former prime minister has two other sons who are running for national assembly seats in the Multan district. The former prime minister has focused his efforts on helping his sons in their election efforts. While most of the pre-election violence has been targeted at the parties viewed as more liberal and secular, no one has been immune. On Thursday, a bomb blew up at an election office of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam in the city of Mir Ali in the North Waziristan tribal area near Afghanistan, according to two Pakistan intelligence officials. One person was killed and six others wounded, the officials said. The party is considered more favorable to the Pakistani Taliban and has supported negotiations with the militants instead of military operations in the tribal areas. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to talk to the media.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai says he is ready to let the U.S. have nine bases in the country after the 2014 combat troop pullout, but wants Washington's "security and economic guarantees" first. Speaking at a ceremony on Thursday at Kabul University, Karzai said Afghanistan is ready to sign a partnership agreement to that effect. Karzai says: "When they (the U.S.) do this, we are ready to sign." The remarks are the first time the Afghan leader has offered any insight into ongoing talks over a deal that would outline American presence in Afghanistan after 2014. Karzai says Afghanistan wants a U.S. commitment to quickly bring security to the country, strengthen its security forces and the promise of prolonged economic development. U.S. officials were not immediately available for comment.
http://www.pakistanchristianpost.com/Ameer Jamat Islami Pakistan Ji that “Liberal must register their names in minorities voter list” when he was targeting Pakistan Peoples Party PPP, Muthida Quomi Movement MQM and Awami National Party ANP which claim them Liberals. Nazir Bhatti clarified that Jamat Islami Ameer have insulted Christians in particular who are people of Book according to Islamic teaching but he termed them as infidels with his statement to claim that Pakistan is for Muslims only and founded for Islamic laws. Nazir Bhatti said that Christian played positive role for creation of Pakistan during Pakistan Movement while Jamat Islami opposed formation of Pakistan and called Mohammad Ali Jinnah, Founder of Pakistan to be an infidel. The All India Christian Association voted for Pakistan in Round Table Conference in London in 1930-1932, and voted for division of Punjab to fall in lot of Pakistan before Boundary Commission but Jamat Islami Hind was against formation of Pakistan. The founder of Pakistan in his historic speech of August 11, 1947, in Karachi, termed Pakistan to be not a state for Muslims but country for every community living in Pakistan irrespective of any religion, cast and creed. Dr. Bhatti said that its time that all Christians whom Jamat Islami have nominated on reserved seats in parliament for minorities may publically pull them out of that list submitted to Election Commission of Pakistan and announce to leave Jamat Islami Pakistan JIP. Nazir Bhatti said that it is shameful for Pakistani Christians to seek nomination from Islamic Religious extremists Party Jamat Islami to reach in assembly. The Pakistan Christian Congress PCC Chief confirmed that Pakistani Christians are boycotting election 2013 and not voting for any Muslim party. Nazir Bhatti also expressed concern that Muslim parties’ candidates are harassing Christian voters in their constituencies to vote for them and offering cash in reward of votes also in nights. There are 96 constituencies of National Assembly of Pakistan where Christians are balancing votes from 10,000 to 50,000 to make any candidate win. The Christians are protesting on not allocating them Dual Voting Right that they may elect their representatives in parliament and may also vote for Muslim candidates in respective constituencies. The Christians have no right to vote for their representation but to vote for Muslims who will select their leaders in Assembly.
Ahmadiyya TimesIn yet another incident of minorities' prosecution, five members of the Ahmadi community were dragged on Tuesday from an anti-terrorist court to a police station and detained for several hours by an anti-Ahmadi group. The police eventually determined that they had not broken any blasphemy or terrorism laws, as alleged, and released them without registering an FIR. The Ahmadis were attending a hearing at the anti-terrorism court earlier in the day concerning relatives who have also been accused of blasphemy and terrorism offences by printing an Ahmadi newspaper, under Sections 295B and 298C of the Pakistan Penal Code and Section 11-W of the Anti-Terrorism Act. Members of the Khatm-e-Nabuwat Lawyers Forum (KNLF) opposed the bail applications of Faisal Tahir, Azhar Zarif, Khalid Ashfaq and Tahir Mahmood. Shortly after the court granted bail to two of the accused, Tahir and Zarif, some 15 men approached the five Ahmadis and, with the help of the police, snatched their mobile phones and took them away to Mustafabad police station, an Ahmadi who had spoken to the detainees later told reporters. “They appeared to be very angry that two people had been granted bail,” he said. “They claimed that one of them had been wearing a ring inscribed with a Quranic verse, and that this was a crime. Apparently they intend to scare people from supporting or representing Ahmadis at trial.” He said that the SHO had contacted an SP, who had investigated the complaint and then determined it to be baseless. Hassan Muavia, the complainant in the case, being heard earlier at the anti-terrorism court and of the application asking Mustafabad police to register an FIR, said one of the Ahmadis was wearing a ring with a Quranic verse written on it. “He was using the same finger to clean his nose, which is a crime and a sin,” he said. Muavia, who is also a KNLF spokesman, claimed that the Ahmadis had been filming their movement and sending details of their vehicles to someone via SMS. He said that the Ahmadis were planning to attack them. He said that the KNLF would move the courts to cancel the bails of the two men granted them on Tuesday, and to direct the police to register a case against the five Ahmadis released without an FIR. Mustafabad SHO Saeed Sarwar told the reporters that the complainants were harassing members of the Ahmadi community. He said their allegations were totally baseless and that was why they had not registered an FIR. This is the third time this month that this set of anti-Ahmadi campaigners has sought to register cases against Ahmadis. In another case, seven Ahmadis are accused of violating Section 295B (defiling the Holy Quran) of the PPC and Section-11 of the ATA. The anti-terrorism court was to hear their bail applications on Tuesday, but deferred them till May 13.
PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has said if returned to power, his party will adopt a comprehensive strategy to make Pakistan stronger and more prosperous. Talking to party leaders on telephone on Wednesday, Bilawal expressed confidence that May 11 will be the day of victory for progressive and liberal political forces. He said negative propaganda by some political parties could not diminish the love of Benazir Bhutto from the hearts of the people. “It is only the PPP which worked for the promotion of democracy and served the masses whenever it was given a chance to serve the country.” He appealed to the people to come out on May 11 and cast their votes to strengthen democracy. - See more at: http://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2013/05/08/news/national/ppp-to-make-country-stronger-prosperous-bilawal/#sthash.b8WLMcLR.dpuf
THE May 11 election will result in a National Assembly in which none of the three leading parties will win a simple majority of the seats, the results of an exclusive Herald survey conducted among 10 top experts on Pakistan’s electoral politics indicate. The survey conducted in the last week of March 2013, and involving experts from the academia, think-tanks and civil society organisations, shows Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) getting the highest percentage of seats — at 34.89 per cent, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) getting the second highest percentage — at 24.89pc, and Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) getting the third highest percentage of seats in the National Assembly — at 12.11pc. In seven experts’ opinion, PML-N will get 30pc or above seats — with one of them giving it as high as 44pc. Only two predict that it will get less than 30pc seat and none gives it below 25pc. The highest per cent of seats PPP may get is 35pc and the lowest is 18pc. Two experts believe that the party will get less than 20pc seats and three believe it will get more than 30pc. The rest expect it to win anywhere between 22 and 28pc seats. In PTI’s case, the highest per cent of seats it may win, according to two survey experts, is 16pc. The party’s lowest expected presence in the National Assembly could well be just 7pc, according to one expert. Other experts believe that PTI will win anywhere from 9pc to 15pc seats in the National Assembly. The results of the survey, being published in the magazine’s special pre-election issue which was scheduled to hit the newsstands on Wednesday, also indicate that PML-N will get the highest percentage of votes from among the Hindko-speaking voters — at 49pc, followed by 48pc Punjabi speakers. Similarly, PPP is likely to get the most percentage of votes from among the Sindhi-speakers — at 52pc — and from among the Seraiki speakers — at 46pc. A rather high percentage of Seraiki speakers — at 43pc — may vote for PML-N. Among the Pashto-speakers, ANP is likely to get the biggest share of votes at 38pc, followed by PTI at 35pc. For most Balochi speakers, the preferred party seems to be Balochistan National Party-Mengal (BNP-M) with 45pc of them likely to vote for it, according to the survey experts. The second highest vote-getter among the Balochi-speakers could be PML-N, at 32pc. PTI, which is either leading or is being a runner-up in most public opinion surveys, is likely to get the highest percentage of votes only from among the speakers of ‘other’ languages, including the speakers of Kashmiri, Gojiri, Pothohari languages. Among the Urdu-speakers, however, MQM may take a clear lead by polling 71pc of their votes, the survey says.
According to a Business Recorder exclusive, rising fiscal deficit due to higher than budgeted allocations for current expenditure notably power sector subsidies and a shortfall in the budgeted tax collections as well as from external inflows account for an escalation of domestic debt by over one trillion rupees in the current fiscal year. Pakistani governments, the PPP-led government that recently completed its constitutionally mandated five years as well as previous governments, have traditionally focused on current expenditure with little or no production component (around 65 to 70 percent of the total expenditure) relative to development expenditure; and additionally in case of a shortfall at the end of the year have traditionally slashed development expenditure instead of current expenditure. At the same time our tax to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ratio remains one of the lowest in the region and comparable only to some Sub-Sahara countries which has accounted for a rising reliance on external inflows to bring the budget deficit to some level of sustainability. However, recently multilateral and bilateral donors have begun to challenge our inability to reform our own tax system and compel the elite to pay taxes; in addition the post-2010 cessation of budget support by our donors is sourced to the government's failure to implement the agreed tax and power sector reforms under the 2008 supported International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme loan. The donors' stance at present is that the government must either get a Letter of Comfort from the IMF or else implement the reforms that it agreed to in 2008 to become eligible for budget support. Failure to do either accounts for heavy domestic borrowing with its implicit impact on the rate of inflation. Countries whose populations are suffering acutely due to a forcible austerity regimen imposed by donor agencies that is biting into social sector programmes targeted towards the vulnerable like in Greece, Portugal, Spain, Italy as well as in France have a debt-to-GDP ratio in excess of 88 percent and in some instances in excess of 160 percent. In Pakistan even though total debt nearly doubled during the past five years yet debt-to-GDP ratio has remained relatively stable even though it is projected to be slightly higher, a couple of percentage points at least, than the 60 percent allowed under the Fiscal Responsibility and Debt Limitation Act. Unfortunately though in the case of Pakistan there has been evidence of data manipulation that, if corrected, would almost certainly lead to a higher debt-to-GDP ratio than is acknowledged. The manipulation in question takes several forms. First and foremost, the budget documents in a footnote indicate that the fiscal balance excludes debt consolidation of power and food arrears. Subsidy to the power sector alone was revised upward last year to 440 billion rupees from the budgeted 147 billion rupees while in the current year the bar was raised to 291 billion rupees from the budgeted 185 billion rupees, an amount that is depleted with three months still remaining and more is likely to be released soon. Food subsidies accounted for around 38 billion rupees in the revised estimates for last year as opposed to 10 billion rupees in the budget - an amount that was budgeted to decline to 21 billion rupees this year. To put these two untargeted subsidy allocations in perspective for last fiscal year it is relevant to note that the subsidies were higher than the customs collections of 215 billion rupees and around half of sales tax collections of 852 billion rupees. Growth versus austerity debate is continuing to be waged in Western capitals as well as in the corridors of multilaterals and there is no consensus on any exact prescription with specified dosage of how much growth must be allowed within the context of austerity measures to fit the nature and extent of the disease (recession) in the country in question. According to Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff of Harvard University, economic growth is likely to stagnate in a given country once the ratio of its government exceeds a threshold of 90 percent. Although, the results of this study have been questioned, but this study cannot apply to Pakistan because our primary balance is already in the negative. It shows that we are borrowing to meet our current expenditure and not for investment into our future, thereby expecting our future generations to pay this debt. We spent a trillion rupees to subsidise tariff of electricity supply instead of investing this amount in new power generation projects. It amounts to paying monthly rent instead of mortgage payment towards a home; that one day you can own. Borrowing must therefore be focused on development expenditure as that, by itself, contains the seeds for future growth which in turn will generate the capacity to pay off the loan. This is good advice, one that the next elected government would do well to follow.
As the month long campaign for May 11 parliamentary polls is coming to an end on the midnight between Thursday and Friday, it has already taken the lives of some 102 people and will thus be remembered as the bloodiest electioneering in the country’s history. Tuesday was the worst day for workers of political parties because some 18 of them were killed and another 53 injured in three attacks in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the province most exposed to the militants. Unlike in the past, the target this time was also Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-F which suffered these casualties near Hangu-Kohat Road. Five people were killed and 16 wounded when a roadside bomb hit the convoy of PPP activists at Maidan tehsil of district Lower Dir. A supporters of the candidate of a relatively little known party was killed and three activists sustained injuries in Baje town of Swabi district. On Wednesday, three people -- two women and a policeman -- were killed while 27 others, among them 10 women and children and nine policemen were injured as militants targeted Bannu’s Domail Police station with a car bomb. If the account of the casualties is taken from the date when assemblies were dissolved, a horrible picture depicting an interregnum emerges. About 2,000 people were killed by with guns, by suicide attackers and bomb explosions, mostly conducted by the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan who believe elections and democracy to be anti-Islam. This state of affairs is the gravest in characteristics because the Taliban are not even sparing their religious mentors - the JUI-F - who have came under their attack of late. The Taliban wrath started with targeting three mainstream progressive and liberal parties - the Pakistan People’s Party, the Awami National Party and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement - which lost even their candidate in these attacks to countermand polling in those constituencies. These scathing assaults forced all the three parties to confine their election campaign. A leaderless party, the PPP, was the first to limit its campaign on April 4 when party chairperson Bilalwal Bhutto Zardari withdrew from speaking at the annual rally at Naudero, the burial place of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto. Bilawal was scheduled to launch the party’s election campaign from this rally but he did not even participate in the meeting on Bhutto’s death anniversary because of security concerns. The PPP candidates have so far been holding corner meetings in their areas. The same goes for the ANP whose president Asfandyar Wali, who used rallies in his area and that of several party candidates across the province and even in Karachi, has confined himself in a house in Islamabad from where he is running the campaign. Likewise, former chief minister Amir Haider Khan Hoti and senior party leader Ghulam Mohammad Billour have also confined themselves to addressing corner meetings and going door-to-door seeking votes. But the MQM candidates has been exercising more restraints and are only driving their campaign by only door-to-door canvassing. The parties so far not targeted by the TTP include Nawas Shaif’s Muslim League and Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf. Khan however, joined the list of injured candidates when he fell from a height of about 16 feet at a rally in Lahore on Tuesday. His head injury caused a scare among hundreds of thousands of the people who later wished him speedy recovery. Meanwhile, Chief of Army Staff Gen Ashfaq Pervez Kayani has called for the implementation of integrated and well-coordinated security plan that the security forces have worked out for voting day in consultation with provinces and the Election Commission of Pakistan. The Pak Army is deploying some 40,000 troops in addition to police and the Rangers; bringing up the security staff to about 134,000 across the country. Special deployment will be made to the volatile port city of Karachi. Besides, Prime Minister Mir Hazar Khan Khoso last week decided to place the National Crises Management Cell, presently working under the Ministry of Interior, at the disposal of the ECP. The elections this year, beyond doubt, pose the biggest challenge of our history for all at the helm of affairs. The election is vital for the transition of democracy to the next parliament and the way all the stake-holders have so far conducted themselves, withstanding all the pressure, merits a big word of praise for them. None of the parties to the election milieu, may they be political parties, their candidates and workers, the military establishment, the civil administration and the vast majority of the youthful electorate, have faltered in this gigantic task that ensures a much better future for the country. All of them joined hands for the all-important national task and this unity would certainly go a long way in realizing the dream of the people about a Pakistan free from all wants.