The promulgation of new Sindh Peoples Local
Government Ordinance (SPLGO) 2012, signed by the Governor Dr. Ishratul
Ebad on September 7 in a secretive manner after extensive parlays between
Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), has
caused ripples in the political scene of the province.
The other coalition partners in the provincial government, especially Awami National Party (ANP) and Pakistan Muslim League (F) and a minister belonging to PML-Q have now parted ways with the government in protest, complaining that they were not taken into confidence before signing of the final draft of the ordinance.
Pakistan’s economy has not been in good
shape for several years now. All records, officials data, formal studies,
institutional reports, experts opinions convey the same message. What is, however, not clear is that what steps are being
taken to rectify factors causing such downslide. Governments haven’t
shown any promise or commitment to deal with economic downturn spanned on
almost a decade now.
The same facts are reconfirmed by international agencies on serious problems our economy is facing. There are reports after report confirming economic recession without any recourse. A recently released report makes no exception to this impression that Pakistan’s economy is in bad condition. According to the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) recently released Global Competitiveness Report (GCR) 2012-13, Pakistan seems to be closer to Sub-Saharan Africa than South Asia.
The Karachi Electric Supply Corporation (KESC)
received higher subsidy than other power Distributions Companies in FY
2010-11, and received approximately Rs 6 per unit (kilowatt hour KWh) as
fuel adjustment compared with the national average of PKR.1.5 per unit.
The total subsidy amount paid to the company was Rs 47.317 billion (USD
These appalling figures have been quoted in the study report “Pakistan Power Sector Outlook: Appraisal of KESC in Post Privatization Period,” which was released last week. Conducted by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) Advisor and energy sector expert Arshad Abbasi, the study highlights the fact that there is an abnormally high consumption of fuel to generate one unit of electricity and the demand is being met by using furnace oil for electricity generation.
The Rio+20 was a disappointment for many, but
it is pertinent to keep repeating the larger sustainable development
agenda for the safe future of humankind. Nation states need to continue
taking steps, among other things, to mitigate adverse environmental
effects and learn about the successes and failures from each other, even
from a different field. One such learning is from the recent grant of a
compulsory license on a cancer drug in India.
One of the three grounds on which compulsory license was granted to Natco on the drug Naxevar was that Bayer, the patentee, had failed to ‘work the patent’ in India. This provision, seemingly less debated, has the potential to facilitate unused patents, covering Environmentally Sound Technologies (ESTs) as well as provide a way forward for their transfer, dissemination and diffusion.
and back again
My main concern at a dim and drizzly Friday
teatime in late winter 2012 as I waited for the PIA 710 to Lahore was not
the journey, but the prospect of being unable to sleep at all on the eight
hour flight departing at 17.30. In the event, I was rocked into somnolence
and retained there by the undulations of our course over Europe and then
the Caucasus at 36,000 feet or thereabouts.
After some hours of a kind of sleep, a cup of hot tea
provided revival as dawn broke over the sprawling suburbs of Lahore. Life
in Lahore is more relaxed than in most cities of comparable size across
the world. However, the all pervasive security manifests throughout
Pakistan, is in evidence on entering major public buildings and all hotels
in the city centre.
Few UK citizens travel to Pakistan other than to meet family members or for short business trips. Visa restrictions imposed in the 1990s complicate travel arrangements.
Signs of hope
3, the Prime Minister is reported to have received a briefing from the
Statistics Division of the government in respect to methodology,
preparedness and related issues pertinent to population census.
The concerned administrative machinery gave positive vibes in respect to initiating the process. However, the political pundits would argue that the timing of conducting census during a pronounced election year may not be appropriate. It may be proper to remember that census was due since 2008 and has been postponed on one count or the other. Constitutional bodies such as Council of Common Interests are also reported to have been silent in completing this much awaited scientific task.
Most of the International Non Government
Organisations (INGOs) working in Pakistan have faced a tough situation
after allegations leveled by intelligence agencies about connections
between some INGOs and the operation to kill Osama Bin Laden. In the same
context, Save the Children, a UK based charity, was ordered to withdraw
its entire foreign staff from Pakistan two weeks ago.
An official of the organisation says that only six
foreigners were working with the charity by the end of august 2012.
“Some expatriate staff has been facing visa problems.”
“The charity has been under scrutiny since last year when Dr Shakeel Afridi falsely claimed to have been working for Save the Children to launch a fake vaccination campaign used by the CIA to help find OBL”, he tells TNS.
“Hindus can never be true friends of
Muslims” is one of the many such lines from Pakistan Studies of grade
Incorrect, exaggerated and biased version of Islamic
and Sub-Continent’s history are part of Pakistan’s textbooks. That is
presumably to mould the nation’s emotions against India. Religious
fundamentalism and hate against other religions, especially ‘enemy’
countries – like India – is part of textbooks to sow the seeds of hate
in the country’s young minds.
A recent study Taleem Ya Nafrat Ki Aabiyari (Educating or nurturing hate), conducted by National Commission for Justice and Peace (NCJP), a non government organization working on human rights and minorities, identifies hate material and biases in the textbooks in Punjab and Sindh and education policy against religious minorities in Pakistan.
Lack of consultation during the formulation of the local
government ordinance has made it controversial
By Shujauddin Qureshi
of new Sindh Peoples Local Government Ordinance (SPLGO) 2012, signed by
the Governor Dr. Ishratul Ebad on September 7 in a secretive manner after
extensive parlays between Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) and Pakistan
Peoples Party (PPP), has caused ripples in the political scene of the
The other coalition
partners in the provincial government, especially Awami National Party (ANP)
and Pakistan Muslim League (F) and a minister belonging to PML-Q have now
parted ways with the government in protest, complaining that they were not
taken into confidence before signing of the final draft of the ordinance.
They termed it an
‘undemocratic’ act on the part of the government and also objected to
its contents. “Instead of brining a bill into the Sindh Assembly to make
an Act, the major coalition partners preferred to issue an ordinance in a
clandestine manner,” complains Shahryar Mahar, an MPA from PML -Q, a
strong partner of PPP at the Centre.
PML-Q has opted to
remain neutral in the situation as the party still holds office of an
Advisor in the Sindh cabinet with Haleem Adil Shaikh holding portfolio of
the Relief department. The final version of the Ordinance was even kept
secret for the coalition parties initially and not shown to their
legislators for the next couple of days. For the media, it also remained a
mysterious document until it was published in the official gazette.
The political parties
with a stronghold in the rural areas of Sindh as well as Sindhi
nationalist parties, though they are not in the assemblies, have
outrightly rejected the new ordinance by terming it an attempt to divided
Sindh. The Karachi Alliance party has gone a step ahead and challenged the
new ordinance in the Supreme Court by terming it violation of the Articles
4, 5, 25, 32 and 140 of the Constitution.
parties under Sindh Bachayo Committee (Save Sindh Committee) observed a
day of strike on September 13. Although other political parties in Sindh
had also announced backing the strike call, the major Karachi-based
political parties — ANP, PML-N, Jamat-e-Islami, Sunni Tehrik
and Tahrik-e- Insaf — withdrew the support to the strike due to factory
fire incident in Karachi on Sep 12. Instead, they observed the day of
mourning on burning of 289 garment factory workers in Baldia Town area in
Except for Karachi where
people did not react much, there was a shutter down strike in some
suburban localities and thin traffic on the roads. The strike call
received an impressive response from the rest of districts, where business
remained shut and there was a wheel jam strike in Hyderabad, Mirpurkhas,
Larkana and Sukkur.
“PPP and MQM should
now read the writing on the wall after the overwhelming response of the
strike,” says Jami Chandio, a political analyst and Executive Director
of Center for Peace and Civil Society (CPCS). He recalls that on 13th
August last year a similar complete shutter down strike was observed in
Sindh when the provincial government had introduced the Local Government
“Sindh needs a uniform
local government system based on democratic norms, transparency and
equality,” says Chandio talking to TNS. PPP and MQM ministers and core
committee members are trying hard to justify various provisions of the new
Ordinance, especially keeping 18 towns in Karachi.
“Although the law has
been promulgated through an ordinance, it will be placed as a bill before
the assembly, within three months from the date of promulgation, where it
would be discussed, amended, rejected or accepted. Criticism is the
inherent right of every citizen,” says Sardar Ahmed, MQM’s
Parliamentary Leader in the Sindh Assembly. But, he warns that terming it
to be an attempt to divide the province or to jeopardise the interest of
the people of Sindh may result in violence.
Finalised by a joint
core committee of PPP and MQM comprising Agha Siraj Durrani, Ayaz Soomro,
Murad Ali Shah, Rafique Engineer, Sharjeel Memon and Pir Mazhar ul Haq of
PPP, Dr. Farooq Sattar, Babar Ghauri, Wasay Jalil, Dr. Farough Naseem,
Kanwar Naveed Jamil from MQM, the Ordinance was signed by Sindh Governor
in presence of Sindh Chief Minister at the Governor House at around 3.30
am in the night.
The Ordinance provides a
framework for a three-tier local government system in the province —
Union Council/Union Committee, Town Council/Taluka Council and District
Council/ Metropolitan Council. The government terms it a great
breakthrough in bridging the gap between urban and rural as the
Metropolitan Corporations have been introduced in four more divisional
Metropolitan Corporations have been introduced on almost the same pattern
of the City District Government, mentioned in General Pervaiz
Musharraf’s Local Government Ordinance of 2001. It was a perpetual
demand of the MQM with the PPP to keep the Musharraf’s District
Government system intact at least in Karachi and Hyderabad cities where
the party has a control.
An attempt was made in
2011 when in a same clandestine manner the Sindh Governor issued an
ordinance of Sindh Local Government after a prolong meeting attended by
Interior Minister Rahman Malik and former Law Minister Babar Awan at the
Governor House, under which two types of local government systems were
introduced in Sindh.
The Nazim system was
kept intact for Karachi with City District Government and 18 towns and a
similar system for Hyderabad. For the rest of Sindh, the 1979 Local
Government style local government system was introduced with
reintroduction of Commissioner as head of the administration.
That Ordinance received
a tough opposition from the entire Sindh and after a successful protest
campaign by the nationalist political parties and ANP the provincial
government had to allow it to lapse, and as a result the 1979 local
government system was reintroduced.
In the new 2012 law, the
main contentious body, Metropolitan Corporation, headed by a Mayor and a
Deputy Mayor, has been established in the urban areas of five existing
divisional headquarters of Sindh Karachi, Hyderabad, Sukkur, Mirpurkhas
and Larkana. Karachi’s existing five districts have been merged into
single district with Karachi metropolitan corporation looking after the
administration of water board, property tax, primary schools, Basic Health
Units, Urban Health Centres, child and woman health affairs, and certain
clauses of anti-encroachment cell.
The civil defense,
community development and organisations, inland fisheries, social welfare,
games and sports boards, finances relating to local government, budget and
accounts, land and planning of KMC and KDA, planning and parking, mass
transit, master plan, urban planning, land user control, land management,
drinking water and its arrangement, reservoir, treatment plants and its
distribution, etc, falling within the limits of metropolitan corporation
have also been transferred to the metropolitan corporations. For the first
time, an office of Leader
of the Opposition has also been introduced in the local government system.
A mixture of the 2001
and 1979 Local Government Ordinances, the new 2012 ordinance can be
considered an important piece of legislation in absence of any local
The need for such a
system was being felt in all provinces as people were facing hardships due
to bureaucratic control over municipal affairs. Presently, in all the
provinces the interim set up has been put in place by the provincial
governments, which have never willingly allowed the local government to
After completion of the
4-year term in 2010, the local bodies were dissolved but no schedule for
new elections was announced. However, after the Supreme Court’s orders
to all provincial governments to immediately hold local bodies elections,
the provincial governments have now become compelled to hold local
government elections before the general elections scheduled in 2013.
in the past have never willingly allowed the local governments to operate.
All the provinces have virtually reverted to the old 1979 Local Government
system by making amendments in the 2001 local government laws and
scrapping the Nazim system. Now the colonial Commissioner system of
administration exists in all the provinces.
This is the first time
that Sindh has introduced a different local government system, which is a
mixture of the previous two systems. Unfortunately, the colonial system of
administration under Commissioner system remains intact in the new law.
The Ordinance allows the provincial government to appoint political
administrators to run the affairs till elections of local bodies are held.
Although the government
has shown willingness to bring the Ordinance in the provincial assembly to
make it an Act and also have a detailed discussion in the house, lack of
consultation during the formulation of the Ordinance has made it
economy has not been in good shape for several years now. All records,
officials data, formal studies, institutional reports, experts opinions
convey the same message. What is, however, not clear is that what steps are being
taken to rectify factors causing such downslide. Governments haven’t
shown any promise or commitment to deal with economic downturn spanned on
almost a decade now.
The same facts are
reconfirmed by international agencies on serious problems our economy is
facing. There are reports after report confirming economic recession
without any recourse. A recently released report makes no exception to
this impression that Pakistan’s economy is in bad condition. According
to the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) recently released Global
Competitiveness Report (GCR) 2012-13, Pakistan seems to be closer to
Sub-Saharan Africa than South Asia. No one would expect to see Pakistan
amongst the top ranked nations in any such global list, and so a rank of
124 out of 144 countries should not surprise many.
The report ranks
Pakistan among bottom-20 of the 144 economies of the world. It has fallen
6 points from the previous year’s ranking. This steep decline in
rankings and ratings has been taking place since 2008. The GCR ranks
Pakistan in the first stage of factor driven development which carries
higher weightier of basic requirements, an area that Pakistan continues to
be consistently poor at.
the country’s macroeconomic environment turns out as most worrisome
amongst the basic requirements indicators as it is ranked better than only
five other countries, including Greece, Yemen and Sierra Leone. More than
the drop in rank, it is the massive drop in the ratings in terms of
macroeconomic environment from 3.6 last year to 3.1 that should serve as
an eye-opener for those at the helm of affairs.
It also reconfirms that
Pakistan lacks a long-term view of competitiveness. The level of
corruption and poor governance are some of the factors slowing down
Pakistan’s economic growth. The WEF ranks countries on more than 100
economic indicators comparing 144 countries.
These factors are
reconfirmed by the Pakistani business community that identified
corruption, crime and terrorism as some of the problematic factors for
doing business in the country. Lack of effective regulations on
intellectual property protection, poor governance in terms of favouritism
in decision-making and
Wastefulness of Government Spending have also shown significant decline in
The inefficiency of
legal framework in challenging regulations has also impacted the
compositeness of Pakistan’s economy as it has declined from 79 in 2011
to 97 in 2012. It is the government’s own inefficiencies such as
corruption, inefficient bureaucracy, policy instability and inflation that
were termed amongst the factors creating most hurdles to business.
The law and order
situation has been a serious threat to the economic activities, with war
on terror and other target killing issues impacting throughout the year,
the Reliability of Police Service has gone to 127 in the current year as
compared to 116 in the last year.
Though our economic
managers do not include the cost of waging the war on terror to the
economy anymore in the Economic Survey, but the World Bank and WEF
continue to do so, as there is only one country which carries higher cost
of terrorism to business activities. This, along with other dampening
indicators, partly explains the dearth of foreign direct investment flows
competitiveness ranking is based on the Global Competitiveness Index (GCI),
which was first developed by WEF in 2004. Defining competitiveness as the
set of institutions, policies and factors that determine the level of
productivity of a country, GCI scores are calculated by drawing together
public and private data around 12 key categories – the pillars of
competitiveness – that together make up a comprehensive picture of a
The report ranks
economies using 12 key pillars and Pakistan’s performed equally bad in
almost all counts: institutions (115), infrastructure (116), macroeconomic
environment (139), Health and Primary Education (117), Higher Education
and Training (124), Goods Market Efficiency (97), Labour Market Efficiency
(130), Financial Market Development (73), Technological Readiness (118),
Market Size (30), Business Sophistication (78), and Innovation (77).
The report remarks that
“Pakistan has lost its competitive advantage almost on all the pillars
of the competitiveness index except for in health, primary education and
labor market efficiency. Although Pakistan showed good performance on the
innovation and sophistication pillars, but on the factors for basic
requirements and efficiency enhancer pillars Pakistan continues to show
Pakistan’s ranking of
30 in the market size is as good as it gets amongst all indicators. The
market size itself presents the country with an immense opportunity.
On other parameters,
including Macroeconomic, the government’s performance has been weak with
the budget balance deteriorating from 108 to 125 from 2011 to 2012.
Similarly, labour market efficiency pillar shows a decline in the labour
and employer relations cooperation and the rank has slipped from 80 to 90.
Although Pakistan has seen some improvement on the internet usage, the
individual Internet usage has declined ranking of the country at 120 in
2012 from 98 in 2011.
In this area of
broadband usage, Pakistan has lost its competitive advantage, where it
dropped the ranking from 36 in 2011 to 79 in 2012. The extent of
information and communications technologies improving access for all
citizens to basic services (health, education, financial services, etc.)
also took a dip to 113 with losing 30 points from last year. Government
prioritizing of ICT also achieved a rank of 103 from 83 last year, making
a variation of 20 points.
Nonetheless, there are
some improvements too and those are in the areas of government regulation,
transparency of government policy making, and country’s credit rating
index has also improved. Significant improvements on the performance of
the Securities and Exchange Commission are also noteworthy area. Though
these factors have little implications on the direct economic growth and
development agenda but in the overall progress index are good signs.
With a record coverage
of 142 economies worldwide, the report remains the most comprehensive and
authoritative international assessment of the impact of ICT on
competitiveness and the well-being of nations.
The GCR has been
released at a time when the outlook for the world economy is once again
fragile. Global growth remains historically low for the second year
running with major centers of economic activity—particularly large
emerging economies and key advanced economies—expected to slow in
2012–13, confirming the belief that the global economy is troubled by a
slow and weak recovery.
As in previous years,
growth remains unequally distributed. Emerging and developing countries
are growing faster than advanced economies, steadily closing the income
gap. In this scenario Pakistan’s economic performance looks particularly
bleak and worrisome.
There can be several
aspects of this report that can be challenged or questioned but facts
remain that Pakistan has lost many opportunities to perform well. There
are many aspects of economy and its progress that are too visible and with
obvious consequences on citizens. What is important in the debate as to
who is responsible for the decay and what actions or policies are being
formulated to improve on these areas?
The writer is Deputy
Chief of South Asia Partnership Pakistan and Global Campaigner
Electric Supply Corporation (KESC) received higher subsidy than other
power Distributions Companies in FY 2010-11, and received approximately Rs
6 per unit (kilowatt hour KWh) as fuel adjustment compared with the
national average of PKR.1.5 per unit. The total subsidy amount paid to the
company was Rs 47.317 billion (USD 551 million).
These appalling figures
have been quoted in the study report “Pakistan Power Sector Outlook:
Appraisal of KESC in Post Privatization Period,” which was released last
week. Conducted by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) Advisor
and energy sector expert Arshad Abbasi, the study highlights the fact that
there is an abnormally high consumption of fuel to generate one unit of
electricity and the demand is being met by using furnace oil for
Based on the case study
of one organization, the study is reflective of the whole energy sector of
the country where efficiency and productivity have never been the
priorities of those who matter. Unfortunately, it reveals, the efficiency
of a particular plant is not taken into account by National Electric Power
Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) while receiving tariff petitions. The rates
are decided on the basis of cost of production which disastrous.
Explaining his point,
the author states KESC takes 11 to 18 cubic feet of gas to generate one
KWh of electricity whereas plants of other companies such as Uch Power,
Saif Power and Orient Power take only 7.37, 7.47 and 7.56 cubic feet of
gas respectively for generating the same quantity of power.
TNS talked to Abbasi who
shared that as per global standards, 10 kg to 12 kg of furnace oil is
required to produce 100 units of electricity. In Pakistan, the figure even
gets around 30 kg per hundred units. Instead of asking the producers to
improve efficiency the differential is paid by the government in the form
of subsidy and the cost passed on to consumers in the form of fuel
To sensitise the masses
and policy makers on the issue, Abbasi presents tables which show the
total budget for Science & Technology Research Division, Environment
Protection, Housing and Community Amenities, Health Affairs &
Services, Education Affairs and Services and Social Protection was Rs
46.649 billion for the fiscal year, which is less the subsidy paid to KESC.
Nationwide, the amount paid to power producers under subsidy stands around
Rs 1600 billion.
He simply challenges the
total subsidy paid to KESC which according to his findings is less than
338 percent of allocation to Higher Education Commission (HEC) and 169
percent less than the fund allocated to Special Areas (Azad Jammu &
Kashmir, Gilgit-Baltistan and FATA) declared as least-developed areas
Pakistan in federal budget 2011-12.
His point is that the
purpose behind privatizing KESC is not fulfilled and the company is
permanently on crutches. The company’s claims that it has improved its
generation efficiency from 33.07 per cent to 33.5 per cent over the over
by replacing old Korangi and site gas turbines by new gas engines is also
challenged in the study.
The study mentions the
newest arrival in KESC’s generation units- Bin Qasim II Plant- is less
efficient than the earlier ones. It mentions the heat-rate of Bin Qasim II
is 12,163 Btu/Kwh commissioned in 2012 which is even higher than Korangi
and SITE GTPS II having heat rate of 9500Btu/Kwh and commissioned in 2009.
Ideally the figure should be 5800Btu/Kwh and the larger it is the
efficient is the plant.
The good thing about the
study, as highlighted by energy sector, experts is that the performance of
KESC in generation, transmission and distribution since 1947 to up to date
has not only been compared with PEPCO and IPPs but also benchmarked with
international power plants. “This benchmarking draws the attention of
the policy makers to give immediate attention to the fuel efficiency,
minimizing auxiliary consumption and reducing the transmission and
The study also advises
KESC to adopt Advance Metering System but with a caution, to implement
this project in stages, starting from high loss areas, particularly where
three-phase domestic and commercial meters are installed and use of air
conditioners is in abundance. Other high loss areas may be those where
small industrial units or vendor units are located. Power supply through
Kundi system may be a small percentage of total theft in its poor people
localities and may be dealt with at later stage.
Last but not the least,
the study suggests, without saying anything, that heavy subsidy paid to
IPPS and KESC may be the most sophisticated and carefully designed case of
unprecedented corruption in the history of Pakistan. It’s quite likely
that the fuel consumption figures in some cases were inflated artificially
to claim high amounts in subsidies.
No doubt, the study
leads to some questions which will have to be answered ultimately. A few
of them follow:
Why was the performance
standard for electricity generation not incorporated in ‘power
Why was the technical
Audit of IPPs and KESC not conducted, causing provision of heavy subsidy
and ruining the national economy?
KESC is submitting
regularly heat-rate of all power plants, which are abnormally high. For
example, new installed Bin-Qasim-II is so-called state of the art plant
but its heat-rate is 12,163 Btu/KWh as against 5800 Btu/KWh but ignored or
unchecked by NEPRA officials. Why?
NEPRA is continuously
allowing KESC to enhance tariff, without checking fuel consumption of
power plants? Why is it so?
The Rio+20 was a
disappointment for many, but it is pertinent to keep repeating the larger
sustainable development agenda for the safe future of humankind. Nation
states need to continue taking steps, among other things, to mitigate
adverse environmental effects and learn about the successes and failures
from each other, even from a different field. One such learning is from
the recent grant of a compulsory license on a cancer drug in India.
One of the three grounds
on which compulsory license was granted to Natco on the drug Naxevar was
that Bayer, the patentee, had failed to ‘work the patent’ in India.
This provision, seemingly less debated, has the potential to facilitate
unused patents, covering Environmentally Sound Technologies (ESTs) as well
as provide a way forward for their transfer, dissemination and diffusion.
It is widely believed
that big global energy firms strategically acquire patents from the
inventors of possible new energy solutions and put them on the shelf so
that it cannot be ‘worked’. This enables them to continue their
monopolistic and rapacious approach of deriving benefits from the
investment already made, because any new energy solution might change the
status quo and curb their rents. The international energy politics, which
is at the core of determining the direction of the climate change
negotiations, tend to look the other way.
On the one hand, there
are issues related with transfer of technology and on the other, there are
cases where an invention itself has not seen the light of the day. It
needs to be kept in mind that the owners of patents are at liberty to
decide whether or not they would like to transfer their technology, and if
yes, on what terms and conditions.
Many a times,
governments have little or no influence over the private sector to
transfer their technology. But one thing governments can do is that to
make the patent ‘work’, which is not being worked in their
The provisions of the
Indian Patents Act, 1970 provides a good template for countries –
developed or developing – on the issue of “working of patents”. The
Natco case clarifies this provision. Vide order dated 9th March 2012, the
Controller of Patents, granted India’s first compulsory licence under
Section 84 of the Patents Act on the following three grounds: (1) the
reasonable requirements of the public with respect to the patented
invention have not been satisfied; (2) the patented invention is not
available to the public at a reasonably affordable price; and (3) the
patented invention is not being worked in the territory of India.
Inherently such an
approach is what is defined by competition policy honchos as the use of
the ‘essential facilities doctrine’ where access is to be made
available to others if the original IPR-holder denies it to them to use
and sell it at an affordable cost. The same applies in all networked
industries such as telephone, electricity and gas, where access is
necessary to transmit the goods through others media.
In such cases, the
problem is how will the patent authority know whether a patent has been
locally worked or not, when a large number of patents are granted every
year in a large number of countries. The Indian Patent Act puts the onus
on the patentee by virtue of Section 146(2), which makes it mandatory for
the patentee to furnish periodically the extent to which the patent has
been worked on a commercial scale in India. According to Rule 131 of the
Patents Rules, 2003, such information shall be furnished for every
calendar year within three months of the end of each year.
These patent provisions
are unique in the world and are inter alia aimed at ensuring “protection
and enforcement of patent rights contribute to the transfer and
dissemination of technology, to the mutual advantage of producers and
users of technological knowledge and in a manner conducive to social and
economic welfare, and to a balance of rights and obligations”. The
provision also ensures that patents are not granted merely to enable the
patentees to enjoy a monopoly for importation of the patented article.
Such provisions are
particularly relevant for countries where patents are granted using lax
patentability criteria without pre-grant opposition, resulting in
exponential increase in patents. For them, it would be useful to keep
track whether the granted patents are being worked, and its benefits
accrue to the society at large.
In terms of ESTs such
provisions would help identify as to which relevant inventions have been
put in the cold storage, and subsequently enable appropriate action,
including in the form of compulsory license to work the patent, if
required. Such provisions would hence result in not only “working” of
patents in the country of invention and/or in the country of registration,
but can also give some control to
governments with respect to transfer and dissemination of
technology in their territories.
In the context of
compulsory license on ESTs, it is pertinent to mention Section 308 of the
US Clean Air Act, which provides for a mechanism for mandatory patent
license. When a patent is necessary to enable someone to comply with other
provisions of the Clean Air Act and is not otherwise reasonably available,
the US government may require the owner of the patented technology to
grant such non-complying party a patent license in exchange for a
But there are stringent
conditions attached to the grant of license that makes the provision near
impossible to be invoked. Considering the political economy of the US, one
can easily appreciate that this provision has never been invoked in the
forty odd years since the legislation was enacted. No surprises! This goes
with the US policy on patents and compulsory license, which was also
visible enough when the matter of compulsory license on climate mitigation
issues was raised at Rio+20.
However, in the case of
pharmaceuticals, the US is very active in pushing compulsory licences
itself while criticising India for the Natco case. Their criticism was
that Nexavar meant for liver cancers is not a public health crisis.
Critics labelled it as double standards of the US.
At a time when the
climate change negotiation is struggling to achieve a multilateral
solution, countries can adhere to such unilateral patent reforms for the
‘working’ of possible climate change technologies, and their transfer
and dissemination. Viewing the not-so-successful big failure: Rio+20 the
hidden message is to adopt suitable domestic measures rather than expect
effective multilateral solutions. In this adverse negotiating environment,
small domestic steps like reforming the patent regime in the light of the
above-said could yield larger environmental and economic benefits.
The writer is Secretary
General, CUTS International. Ujjwal Kumar of CUTS contributed to this
My main concern
at a dim and drizzly Friday teatime in late winter 2012 as I waited for
the PIA 710 to Lahore was not the journey, but the prospect of being
unable to sleep at all on the eight hour flight departing at 17.30. In the
event, I was rocked into somnolence and retained there by the undulations
of our course over Europe and then the Caucasus at 36,000 feet or
After some hours of a
kind of sleep, a cup of hot tea provided revival as dawn broke over the
sprawling suburbs of Lahore. Life in Lahore is more relaxed than in most
cities of comparable size across the world. However, the all pervasive
security manifests throughout Pakistan, is in evidence on entering major
public buildings and all hotels in the city centre.
Few UK citizens travel
to Pakistan other than to meet family members or for short business trips.
Visa restrictions imposed in the 1990s complicate travel arrangements.
Following a lecture to
medical colleagues on the Saturday afternoon, next stop was a Mughal
palace in the old city of Lahore, still splendid in its faded majesty. Its
elaborate Mughal architecture is straight out of storybooks of the
‘Mysterious East’. Mostly visited on the day when I was there by
families on Saturday outings, I was reminded that the links between the
British and this part of South Asia go back long before the days of the
Raj, with trading links established in the 16th Century. Saturday night in
the old city of Lahore was as colourful, jostling and boisterous as
Saturday night in any European city with people of all ages enjoying good
food and convivial company in a renovated quarter just within the city
On arrival at Islamabad
on Sunday lunchtime, we found a demonstration blocking the airport road
about cuts in gas supply which people were putting up with regularly. In
cold mid-winter this posed a real danger for older people in North
Pakistan as well as a huge inconvenience for everyone, as domestic cooking
in towns and cites uses natural gas as the main energy source. The ripples
of this continue.
We travelled on by road
to Peshawar, where I stayed in a hotel by the road that goes on eventually
to Kabul – about 4-6 hours’ drive, following the ancient Silk Route
over the Khyber Pass. I was the only English person there. After a trip
around the city centre, which is one of the oldest inhabited places in the
world, with shops selling everything from life chickens, pashmenas
unchanged in design for centuries and grain by the bushel to iphones and
the latest NIKE trainers.
I met with Mr Khattak,
deputy leader of the Awami Nation Party and a hugely influential figure.
We spoke about the future and the past for this region of Pakistan and for
Mr. Khattak’s view is
that economic co-operation and integration is the way forward for both
countries with demilitarisation of the border and robust trade links
through rail and road providing prosperity as well as closer ties in a
sense that will impact positively and in real day to day sense on
people’s lives. This is resonant with the aspiration of Western European
politicians in the early 1950s.
Mr. Khattak advocated a
model similar to the European Coal and Steel Community that through the
1950s cemented the relationship between France and Germany culminating in
the Schumann led-plan and laying the foundations for what ultimately the
European Community. A robust political framework, respect for the rule law
and reconciliation between former enemies
- then as now - were critical components.
Mr Khattak stated that
what the people of this region need on both sides of the Pakistan-Afghan
Border is a better standard of living, improved health care and more
consistent access to education. None of these things will reach fruition
until there is more stability and peace in the region. But one cannot
occur without the other. It is time that resources were diverted away from
arms to support infrastructure projects at all levels.
The highlights of Monday
were a visit to the gracious Peshawar Museum where one of the curators Mr
Gul, gave an enlightening whistle stop tour, including a narrative of the
life of the Buddha, then on to visit a combined Khyber Medical College
fair. With the students I flew a kite badly on a blustery afternoon on the
roof of the teaching centre.
The students there are
as informed about events across the world as any of their peers in
Manchester or Harvard and as up to speed with 2012 styles, whether in
fashion nails for the girls, GQ sharp jackets for the boys or UK chart hit
downloads. Some of the students, who are taught their medicine in English
come from villages far afield such as the high mountains on the Afghan
border or the Swat valley. The experience of watching a rock band playing
cover versions not just of Euro top 20 and contemporary Urdu hits but also
of traditional Pashtoon songs will stay with me forever.
A day later, I returned
to the UK to my usual life. I still remember how flying a kite gave me the
freedom to travel over the streets of Peshawar in a way that I hope
everyone in that city may one day do again freely, without fear or
prejudice. Britain has good friends there and in the rest of Pakistan. We
are linked by history. We can use that in a positive way if we choose.
The writer is Consultant
Endocrinologist at MidCheshire Hospital Crewe UK
September 3, the Prime Minister is reported to have received a
briefing from the Statistics Division of the government in respect to
methodology, preparedness and related issues pertinent to population
administrative machinery gave positive vibes in respect to initiating the
process. However, the political pundits would argue that the timing of
conducting census during a pronounced election year may not be
appropriate. It may be proper to remember that census was due since 2008
and has been postponed on one count or the other. Constitutional bodies
such as Council of Common Interests are also reported to have been silent
in completing this much awaited scientific task.
Numerous objections and
apprehensions are voiced by different political parties, community groups
and vulnerable sections of the society during the recent past. The
technocrats are strong supporters of this vital exercise and wish to keep
it apolitical in nature to maintain its transparency and validity.
Certain locals in Sindh
have raised concerns about potential under reporting of some locations due
to logistics and accessibility reasons. Displacements due to past year
floods, in-migrations for different causes to Sindh from elsewhere,
horizontal movement of population and categorization of housing typologies
are also labelled as potential issues that shall have a bearing on census
Balochistan that have suffered multiple predicaments do not feel confident
that head count would be accurate and open for listing their actual
existence. The minority communities fear the incongruent recording of
their existence, given the environment of intolerance prevailing in many
parts of the country. Whereas every objection and concern is worth an
impartial and objective investigation, few fundamentals may be established
to streamline the progress of this vital assignment.
By its very nature,
census-taking is a technical exercise to be conducted in a neutral
manner. It is initiated as the first step in diagnosing the social,
demographic, economic and developmental status of the people and the
contexts they inhabit.
generated as a consequence of census has a bearing on the allocation of
public resources, preparation of cases for dealing with extraordinary
underdevelopment, updating of population listings in different
constituencies, outlining development priorities, and streamlining choice
of projects and many other attributes related to the communication
The census is also an
exercise in impact assessment in respect to past public investments done
in public health, education, social welfare and even physical
infrastructure. The level of actual coverage and penetration of mass
schemes such as immunization works is studied through the tabulation and
analysis of census results.
It is important to note
that the conduct of census can inform us about the scale, extent and
nature of urbanisation that has happened in an exponential manner during
the past two decades.
The definition of urban
settlements and the parameters of urbanisation need to be re-visited to
enable the policy makers recommend the right choices of resource
allocations, development programmes and infrastructural preferences –
principally the energy consumption thresholds.
The understanding about
trends in internal displacement, production links with settlements,
locations experiencing disasters and consequent population shifts are also
important matters that can be studied with precision based on census
findings. The works of other institutions such as NADRA, Election
Commission and Planning Commission will be greatly supported with the
fresh body of information that shall be generated through a credible
Fears and concerns
around census are of various types. Political parties at various layers of
their working and existence, fear the command and control of these
exercises may impact their vote bank. Ethnic groups – and their overt
and covert representatives – are concerned about the manner in which
concentration of population shall be recorded.
Parties and groups
dealing with specific regions and peoples wish to see the results directly
responsive to their aspirations. Proportional population weightage in
provinces is another fear. As population factor is a vital variable in
resource distribution through NFC award, census results and their
validation shall become an extremely contentious issue.
But these concerns
cannot undermine the importance of census. The government can come up with
institutional arrangements to deal with the conduct of census in an
objective manner. At the procedural level, a complaint cell can be created
in each taluka/tehsil/town to redress applications made by various
An appropriate method
can be devised to implement this approach in an effective manner.
Monitoring mechanisms can be devised with consensus to enable the various
parties and groups oversee the process. And the input of research and
development institutions can be taken on board for streamlining various
problems including access, registration, and denial of information by
various people as well as cross-verification.
Most of the
International Non Government Organisations (INGOs) working in Pakistan
have faced a tough situation after allegations leveled by intelligence
agencies about connections between some INGOs and the operation to kill
Osama Bin Laden. In the same context, Save the Children, a UK based
charity, was ordered to withdraw its entire foreign staff from Pakistan
two weeks ago.
An official of the
organisation says that only six foreigners were working with the charity
by the end of august 2012. “Some expatriate staff has been facing visa
“The charity has been
under scrutiny since last year when Dr Shakeel Afridi falsely claimed to
have been working for Save the Children to launch a fake vaccination
campaign used by the CIA to help find OBL”, he tells TNS.
The charity was given a
deadline of August 31 to withdraw all foreign staff but after mutual
understanding between government and the agency the deadline was extended
to September 12. “The last batch of four foreign staff members had
already left Pakistan on September 13 early morning”, Ghulam Qadri, a
spokesperson of Save the Children tells TNS.
An intelligence report
of Pakistan’s civil and military security organistaions says that Dr
Afridi had attended a Save the Children training workshop in Peshawar in
2008 and accused a former director of the charity of introducing him to
The officials of the
organistaion admit that Dr Afridi was among 50,000 Pakistanis to have
attended its training programmes, but they say that there is “absolutely
no truth” to the claims about the introduction. “We have never been
provided any evidence in this regard. In fact, he was never employed by
Save the Children nor was he ever paid for any kind of work. We have never
run a vaccination programme in Abbotabad”, says an official of the
Save the Children has a
long history in Pakistan. It has launched its largest global operation in
Pakistan providing emergency relief for flood victims and war refugees and
another on development, including health, education and malnutrition.
It operates clinics,
primary schools and projects to combat child labour and violence against
children. It is also the biggest distributor of World Food Programme aid
in the Sindh province. “Save the Children employs 2,000 local staff in
Pakistan and spent USD105 million in the country last year. We have been
running our projects in 70 districts of Pakistan and supporting more than
7 million children and their families” says Qadri. He insists that the
orgaanisation works through or with support of Pakistani government.
The UK government is one
of the main donors of the agency while it has also been running projects
supported by other Western countries. “The charity has also requested
ambassadors of donor countries to interfere in the matter.”
It seems the situation
is under control as Rehman Malik has also announced last week that orders
of expulsion of foreign staff of Save the Children have been suspended.
But, we have not received anything in writing, so we sent our staff out of
country”, an official of Save the Children tells TNS on the condition of
anonymity. “It has become too tough to work for us after the OBL raid.
We have been given tough time by government agencies. Our international
staff was not being issued visas while obtaining NOC for different
projects”, he says.
It is not the only INGO
facing problems after last year’s OBL raid and consequently arrest of Dr
Shakeel Afridi. In fact, most of the INGOs working in Pakistan have been
under tight scrutiny. On April 12, 2012 Ministry of Foreign Affairs wrote
a letter to the concerned departments, asking them to discontinue
activities of Information Management and Mine Action Programme (iMMAP), an
INGO focusing on mines clearance with immediate effect.
Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) which is active in Pakistan since 1983
has also been facing several problems. The government has already asked it
to run its operations only in Karachi, Quetta and Peshawar.
It was in the forefront
after the floods to provide relief and health facilities to thousands of
people in KP and Fata and feels betrayed as the government denied
extending NOCs of its offices in Swat, Bonair and Fata after the floods.
“Most of the people in security agencies believe that INGOs share
information with CIA and other Western intelligence agencies. ICRC, so
far, has terminated more than 250 local staff from different stations as
most of the projects have been stopped.
“Security concerns of
foreign staff have also increased after kidnapping and murder of a foreign
staff member in Quetta early this year”, an official of ICRC tells TNS.
Security has become a
real issue for the staff of INGOs. On January 19, 2012, two foreign
workers of an NGO working in flood hit areas of Multan were kidnapped. On
January 5, 2012 a foreign doctor working with ICRC in Quetta was
kidnapped. Later, his dead body was found. On December 14, 2011, eight
workers of an American NGO were kidnapped from Balochistan. On August 13,
2011, an American aid worker was kidnapped from Lahore.
Cate Heinrich, Advocacy
and Communications Advisor Pakistan Humanitarian Forum (PHF), which
comprises 51 of the international NGOs working in Pakistan, regrets the
recent departure of six global Save the Children staff from its team in
Pakistan. “Aid agencies working in Pakistan have been facing several
other problems including delays in obtaining visas or being granted
permission to travel to some areas of Pakistan where they work. The delays
and restrictions on moving about the country for both international and
national staff is impacting on the life saving work and support that aid
agencies and their partners provide to communities to help them become
stronger and more resilient. There is no clarity on why this is
happening”, she says.
They said we are closely
monitoring the security situation in Pakistan, but the potential risk
faced by aid workers in Pakistan is not new. “This risk is already
factored into agency security plans and operating procedures.
International agencies carry out their work in an independent and
transparent manner according to the Red Cross Code of Conduct that sets
out the principles international agencies follow”.
are huge unmet needs in Pakistan following two years of consecutive
flooding in 2010 and 2011 as well as communities being affected by ongoing
conflict. “There have been difficulties faced in reaching these
communities at times but humanitarian organisations are committed to
coordinating with the government to provide assistance where it is
required”, she says.
Government officials say
that activities of all INGOs are being monitored closely. They say it is a
fact that some of them are involved in information sharing with
intelligence agencies of other countries. “In 2010 after floods we
pointed out activities of a foreign member of an INGO who was trying to
establish contacts with the Taliban. In 2011, the government also asked
economic affairs division to formulate regulations for working of INGOs in
Pakistan. A 10-page draft under title of ‘International Non-Government
Organisations Regulations, 2011’ was prepared but it has not been
implemented yet. But there is a strong realisation among different
quarters of government that INGOs are needed to be monitored properly”,
says a senior official of interior ministry.
never be true friends of Muslims” is one of the many such lines from
Pakistan Studies of grade seven.
and biased version of Islamic and Sub-Continent’s history are part of
Pakistan’s textbooks. That is presumably to mould the nation’s
emotions against India. Religious fundamentalism and hate against other
religions, especially ‘enemy’ countries – like India – is part of
textbooks to sow the seeds of hate in the country’s young minds.
A recent study Taleem Ya
Nafrat Ki Aabiyari (Educating or nurturing hate), conducted by National
Commission for Justice and Peace (NCJP), a non government organization
working on human rights and minorities, identifies hate material and
biases in the textbooks in Punjab and Sindh and education policy against
religious minorities in Pakistan.
The study examines 22
textbooks for the academic year 2012-13, being taught in the provinces of
Punjab and Sindh for grades 1–10. There are 55 chapters containing hate
against Hindus, India, and Christians.
Unfortunately, hate material and religious discrimination are still
part of our curricula — social studies, geography and history.
The study shows that
hate-based material in Punjab textbooks increased in 2012–13. In 2009,
there were 45 hate speeches in the books, the number has increased to 122
Most of the hate
material has found its way in the textbooks of Urdu and during the
academic year 2009-11 in Sindh, 11 lessons carried portions of hate
material. Critics point to this syllabus as main reason behind
radicalisation of Pakistani youth and deteriorating education standards.
Besides showing evidence
and trends of religious bias in textbooks from class 1-10 in Punjab and
Sindh, the study also identifies biases against religious minorities in
Pakistan in the education policy itself.
The textbooks say that
during partition only Muslims faced violent attacks, loss of life and
property loss and Muslims did not take part in the bloodshed. The whole
treatment and arrangement of textbooks is discriminatory against
non-Muslim citizens of Pakistan, violating Articles 18, 20, 22 and 25, of
Constitution which guarantee equality and freedom to all.
Article 22 of the
Constitution states: (1)
“No person attending any educational institution shall be required to
receive religious instruction, or take part in any religious ceremony, or
attend religious worship, if such instruction, ceremony or worship relates
to a religion other than his own; In respect of any religious institution,
there shall be no discrimination against any community in the granting of
exemption or concession in relation to taxation; and no citizen shall be
denied admission to any educational institution receiving aid from public
revenues on the ground of race, religion, caste or place of birth.”
The civil society has
been raising voice on this issue for the past many years. However,
successive governments turned a deaf ear to the voice of sanity. The
education policy in 2009 also ignored the issue while the provincial
government textbook boards, especially in Punjab and Sindh, failed to act
against the practice.
The study underlines the
need of serious reforms in the education sector in general and curriculum
policy in particular. “Biases and preferences based on religion and
belief in the syllabus are seen as divisive,” says Yousaf Benjamin, from
NCJP who carried out this research.
“The objective of the
study is to underline the need of education reforms and address the
sensitive minds to think on such policies,” says Peter Jacob who has
edited the report, adding “It has been noted that the biased syllabus is
the main reason behind radicalization of Pakistani youth and deteriorating
Draft of National
Education Policy (NEP) mentions the ‘concept of tolerance, social
justice and democracy, which is not reflected through NEP text”, says
Jacob. “Knowing the fact the Pakistani society, especially the youth
stands radicalized and the curriculum is one of the chief sources this
policy is doomed to give way to another policy catastrophe.”
The civil society
organizations maintain that no commitment has been made in the NEP draft
about removing controversial material and arrangements in the syllabus in
use which fans sectarian and religious discrimination.
There is, for instance,
authorization of separate books for Sunni and Shia students and the
Subject of Ethics for non-Muslims students. Moreover educationists,
intellectuals and civil society organizations have time and again
identified lessons reflecting religious biases and twisting of history,
this critique has been completely ignored. Islamic Studies is compulsory
from grade 1 to 12 which was previously taught from grade 1-10.
The subject of Ethics, a
substitute given for Islamic studies is no choice for hundreds of
thousands non-Muslim (Hindu, Christian, Sikhs) students. “Because in
practice, taking Ethics in lieu of Islamic studies would result in
increased religious discrimination, a majority of non-Muslim students are
forced to study Islamic Studies,” says Jacob criticising parts of NEP.
“We demand that the
current policy should be reviewed to incorporate a clear direction for
removing lessons and subjects which have been identified as discriminatory
and inflammatory against the minority faiths; and the subjects other than
Islamic Studies should not have lessons and exercises about a single
religion,” he says.
Dr Kaiser Bengali, noted
economist, observes that the first 50 years of Pakistan witnessed seven
educational policies, eight five-year plans, and different schemes and
programmes to improve the literacy and raise the education standards. In
1951 the literacy rate of the country was 16.4 which came down to 16.3 in
the next decade.” He recalls that in 1972 some modern techniques were
introduced to raise education quality but later after 1977 all hoped ended
when Ziaul Haq took over. He made key changes in the curriculum focusing
on religion and the Islamic ideology.
To achieve the goal of
quality education and for building a peaceful society, the NCJP study
recommends that education and curriculum policies should be reviewed to
incorporate a clear direction for removing lessons and subjects
discriminatory against minority faiths. Moreover, a group of independent
historians should be assigned to stem out distortion of historical facts
in the textbooks.
The report suggests that
subjects other than Islamic studies should be inclusive of other religions
without discrimination and bias against anyone. It calls for arrangements
for students belonging to Hindu, Christian, Sikh and other religious
groups to study their own religions in lieu of Ethics as a substitute of
Islamic Studies; and either no preference should be given or an equal
treatment to students belonging to all religions should be ensured.
Murwwat, former chairman of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Textbook Board, has
reportedly stated that such hate content causes fundamentalism in society.
“The then military dictator Ziaul Haq used this syllabus of hatred to
create religious and ethnic divides in the society. Such syllabus promoted
extremism, intolerance, militancy, sectarianism, fundamentalism and