crisis
Old formulae will not work
The military and the judiciary appear to be impatient with the civilian government. The latter may survive just because constitutional deviance appears to be unfeasible
By Raza Rumi  
Commenting on the melting state of the economy, a reputed economic analyst stated how the “deplorable state of governance” was responsible for the “mismanagement of public goods”. Luckily, he also reiterated how such accountability was best undertaken through an election.

The unlikely fall guy of Memogate
As things stand, there are two pieces of evidence placed before the Supreme Court — the first is against Husain Haqqani while the other one is against the ISI chief himself. And both pieces of evidence have been provided by the same person — Mansoor Ijaz
By Amir Mir  
The much trumpeted Memogate scam, authored by an American national, investigated by the Pakistani military establishment and taken up with the Supreme Court by a so-called anti establishment politician has had an unlikely fall guy: ISI chief, Lt Gen Shuja Pasha. A belated rebuttal that the ISI chief didn’t tour the Arab countries after the May 2 Abbottabad raid to discuss a coup against President Asif Zardari, has clearly put him in a tight corner as the allegation was actually levelled by none other than his own source in the Memogate scam — Mansoor Ijaz — and reported by a British newspaper, The Independent, on December 13, 2011.  

analysis
Reactionaries of the world unite!
The Difa-e-Pakistan get-together does surely prove that the right is alive and kicking, but it also makes clear that all is not well within its ranks
By Aasim Sajjad Akhtar  
It is difficult to ward away the feeling that Pakistan is on the brink of yet another major political upheaval. More than the ongoing Memogate trial or the suddenness with which Imran Khan and then Nawaz Sharif have started their mass contact campaigns, the gathering of the right-wing religious establishment on Sunday at Minar-e-Pakistan indicates that something serious is afoot.  

At the cost of the poor
Developed nations get five more years to cut emissions
By Alauddin Masood  
Under the landmark 1997 Kyoto Protocol, it was obligatory for the developed countries to cut down carbon emissions to levels agreed by them by 2012. Well before the deadline, the developed nations have managed to get a big breather — at least five years extension under an accord adopted by a marathon 194-nation conference, on December 11 in Durban (South Africa).  

plantation
Growing nuts
There is a great potential for planting walnut trees in Malakand and other areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
By Tahir Ali  
The Malakand Division, according to one estimate, accounts for roughly 95 percent of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s walnut yield. Walnut of different sizes, quality, and colour are produced here which are marketed in whole form or its flesh taken out and packed, and is sold in the market. What is being done to increase the yield of dry fruits after the militancy days are over?  

Reforming the
judicial apparatus 

Most of the goals set in Judicial Policy 2009 have not been implemented within the last two years
By Huzaima Bukhari and Dr. Ikramul Haq  
In any society, administration and dispensation of justice should be the top most priority, as without it ‘representative democracy’ cannot be established. A society without a trustworthy and speedy judicial system, which does not ensure effective dispensation of justice cannot progress or survive for long. Administration and dispensation of justice in Pakistan needs serious attention. There are serious concerns amongst Pakistani citizens about “justice”, “rule of law”, “fairness”, “equity” and independence of judiciary.  

review
Science station

Sinai’s book has a strong anthropological quotient and deals with the conflict between modern technology and centuries of tradition
By Jazib Zahir
Geek Nation
Author: Angela Saini
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Price: Rs. 1095  

The new political game
The uneasy relationship between the political and military leadership has exposed itself once again
By Salman Abid  
These days prospects of ‘political change’ are being discussed in Pakistan. The political pundits are foreseeing a caretaker setup. Despite the fact that the president is back in an environment flooded with rumors, it is believed that the game is not over. There is no good news for those who think that the memo issue has died out after the return of President Zardari or after meeting between Prime minister and the army chief.  

The woman factor
Lack of proper financing, experience, and training keep women entrepreneurship potential stunted
By Zubair Faisal Abbasi and Adeela Zubair
Much of the talk about the role of women in formal accounts of economic development is aspirational rather than factual. While gender equality is a human right, gender gaps are visible in health, education, wages, and work related attainments. 

 

 

 

 

  

 

crisis
Old formulae will not work
The military and the judiciary appear to be impatient with the civilian government. The latter may survive just because constitutional deviance appears to be unfeasible
By Raza Rumi

Commenting on the melting state of the economy, a reputed economic analyst stated how the “deplorable state of governance” was responsible for the “mismanagement of public goods”. Luckily, he also reiterated how such accountability was best undertaken through an election. A common misnomer that plagues public discourse relates to how “governance” is viewed as the job of an elected government and that the state and the government are interchangeable entities. It is important to note that the state of Pakistan — post-colonial, encroached and bitten by its non-state offspring — remains the dominant power centre and most elected governments have been at subordinate to these permanent interests.

The most glaring manifestation of this reality came about when the federal government in the memo-case (concerning the alleged treasonous act of authoring a memo addressed to the US against Pakistan’s security establishment) submitted before the Supreme Court that it had no control over the operations of the military and the premier spy agency — the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI). This has been said before as well in other judicial proceedings but not so directly. Everyone knew that but the government’s admission makes it clear that ‘constitutional governance’ is but a pipedream in the land of the pure. Without prejudice to any institution, this has been the case for decades and is not going to change overnight.

A new state within the state may have emerged. During the hearing of the same case, an honourbale judge of the Supreme Court remarked in his obiter dicta that the Judiciary was not answerable to anyone but the ‘people’. This statement defies logic as judges are not ‘elected’ by the people; and they are also servants of the state, paid by the taxpayers who are represented by the Parliament. These developments have prompted a beleaguered government and its Prime Minister to announce that Parliament was supreme and that there ‘states within states’ cannot be tolerated.

Leaving aside the torrential decade of 1970s, the evolution of an autonomous power centre within the state apparatus in the form of the intelligence agencies is a well-recognised fact. A martial state since 1950s has been a player in the global power games in the region; and the redirection of state unlike India was almost inevitable. The 2008 elections were, therefore, a transitional moment and during transitions from military to civilian rule, power is shared and not exercised by the elected officials. The addition of another power-centre i.e. the Judiciary is a recent and in its nascent stage of development. Its future course remains unclear whether it can arrest the dominance of the military-intelligence complex.

Pakistan’s changed demographics and the existence of an urban middle class (estimated between 30-60 million) also complicates the future of democracy. The urban Pakistan is not an avid supporter of constitutional democracy; and its formulae for ‘change’ (judges in 2007 and Imran Khan in 2011) border on authoritarian models of a messiah fixing all the problems. Luckily, this segment of the population has little appetite for direct military rule. Yet, its influence and outreach is tremendous. It is the recruiting ground for the civil-military bureaucrats and of late the major supplier of human resource to the growing media oligarchies. Electronic media also thrives through its urban middle class consumers. Hence, the media campaign in the recent times against the democratic process articulates and reinforces impatience with civilian rule in favour of a deliverer.

Furthermore, these developments are taking place in a country where the majority of the population rejects the US and West as ‘enemies’ of Pakistan and back the emotional appeals to guard a militaristic conception of sovereignty and honour. Thus, the capture of political discourse by Islamist groups is a sad reminder that perhaps we are living in a new Pakistan where the old configurations and alignment of political forces are becoming somewhat irrelevant.

It is also an established fact that the civilian government has blundered on several counts and its promotion of incompetent people to deal with the various issues of economy has been far from satisfactory. Yet, its real watchdog is the Parliament and ultimately the electoral process. Elections are not too far and can be as early as next year. However, it remains to be seen if there is a ‘change’ effected through court orders or military diktat before the term of the assemblies ends in due course. Such is the perilous nature of a 3-4 year old democratic process that the media oligarchs and their employees are citing prescriptions of a ‘coup’, a technocratic government, as ‘viable’ and ‘legitimate’. Dissent to this narrative is equivalent to being treasonous. Journalists and commentators who are on the margins of the mainstream discourse are either facing threats or being silenced.

The plain reality is the unelected institutions – the military and the judiciary — backed by the media appear to be impatient with the civilian government. The latter may survive just because constitutional deviance appears to be unfeasible. But the damage to the credibility of the electoral process has already been done.

The enduring problem with Pakistan’s governance is that regardless of the government in power, the ‘state’ remains disconnected and disengaged with the citizens. The argument on mis-governance by a coalition government is untenable when unelected institutions of the state are unaccountable and unwilling to accept the oversight of public representatives. This is why we are trapped in yet another cycle of political instability.

The latest statements by the Army Chief and the Chief Justice are heartening. A military coup has been deleted from the available options. However, improved ‘governance’ will not result from implementing the game plan — of dismissing the elected government before its term is up. This fallacy, propagated by an unregulated media and an establishment under tremendous international pressure, to install improved “governance” without structural reform is a mirage. Any non-democratic stint will further damage the federation. Pakistan is too plural, diverse and factionalised to do without democracy.

Strange that we have not learnt anything from the 1971 tragedy when Pakistan was dismembered and a national humiliation was suffered. Forty years later, the script has changed little. A civilian head of the state is an alleged ‘traitor’, ‘national security’ equals nationalism and loyalty to the country; and the Baloch leaders are saying that they will be happy to be ousted from Pakistan.

Where does the political class stand in this morass? Frankly, their role has not been befitting of responsible, transitional actors. They have tried to undermine each other, squabbled over non-issues and despite the rhetoric have not touched the core area: civil-military imbalance.

The victory of politicians in drafting and approving the 18th amendment notwithstanding, they almost without exception, have played their own bargaining game with the security establishment. After all, the military establishment presented itself before the Parliament at least notionally. The memogate petition was filed by a ‘civilian’ leader; and current President and Prime Minister cannot escape some level of responsibility in building a consensus around structural reform. Perhaps consolidating power was the key goal, which, as it turns out, is no substitute for performance in the limited sphere of ‘civilian’ action.

It is fervently hoped that that an unconstitutional regime change will be avoided. The odds are against this but then this is not the Pakistan of 1990s. The country has moved on; and so have the power-players. Old formulas are proving to be difficult remedies of an old, festering governance crisis.

 

www.razarumi.com

 

 

The unlikely fall guy of Memogate
As things stand, there are two pieces of evidence placed before the Supreme Court — the first is against Husain Haqqani while the other one is against the ISI chief himself. And both pieces of evidence have been provided by the same person — Mansoor Ijaz
By Amir Mir

The much trumpeted Memogate scam, authored by an American national, investigated by the Pakistani military establishment and taken up with the Supreme Court by a so-called anti establishment politician has had an unlikely fall guy: ISI chief, Lt Gen Shuja Pasha. A belated rebuttal that the ISI chief didn’t tour the Arab countries after the May 2 Abbottabad raid to discuss a coup against President Asif Zardari, has clearly put him in a tight corner as the allegation was actually levelled by none other than his own source in the Memogate scam — Mansoor Ijaz — and reported by a British newspaper, The Independent, on December 13, 2011.

The Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) took eight days to rebuff the report, especially after one Engineer Jameel Ahmed had approached the Supreme Court of Pakistan and sought Shuja Pasha’s removal and a subsequent court martial under the Pakistan Army Act, 1952, pleading that the ISI chief had lost the right to remain in the military service for conspiring against a democratically elected government.

Engineer Jameel pointed out in his petition that media reports about Mr Pasha have neither been denied by the ISPR nor by himself. In the ‘Benazir Bhutto versus President of Pakistan’ case (PLD 1998 SC 388), the apex court had decided that “facts given in newspapers, having not been denied, would be considered undisputed fact”, Engineer Jamil has maintained in his petition.

Jameel’s petition was based on The Independent report which quoted Mansoor Ijaz, the whistleblower behind Memogate scam, as having said, “Their (US intelligence agencies) information was that Lt Pasha had travelled to Arab countries to talk about what the necessary line of action would be in the event they had to remove Asif Zardari from power...”

However, the press release issued by the ISPR on December 21 stated: “It is clarified that director general, ISI, did not meet any Arab leader between May 1 and 9 as alleged. His other visits to Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and UAE only, prior to or after this period, were part of routine intelligence sharing activity, during which he interacted with his counterparts only”.

The ISPR clarification added: “An article was published in daily The Independent on 13 December 2011, in which Omar Waraich has made false assertions regarding DG ISI’s visits to Arab countries. It has been said that the DG ISI met senior Arab leaders and asked permission for a military coup in Pakistan. The story has been published without verification at any level and a legal notice is being served to the newspaper to retract the story and apologise”.

Significantly, the ISPR denial came following remarks by Asma Jahangir, counsel for Haqqani, during proceedings of the Memogate scam in the apex court on December 19 that Pasha should have resigned immediately after the May 2 raid, much as Husain Haqqani did after the US confirmed the existence of Mansoor Ijaz’s memo. According to Ijaz, Haqqani only began plotting against the military after the latter considered removing President Zardari. Interestingly, ISPR clarification denied ‘false assertions’ by Omar Warraich, but it was conspicuously silent on what Mansoor Ijaz had said in his interview with Warraich whose quotes were reproduced in the blog posting. Omar Warraich is a senior Pakistani journalist based in Islamabad and covering Pakistan for TIME Magazine and The Independent.

In his interview with Omar Warraich, Mansoor Ijaz had claimed that a senior intelligence source had told him that his information was that Ahmed Shuja Pasha had travelled to a few of the Arab countries to talk about what would be necessary to do in the event they had to remove Zardari from power and so forth. Mansoor Ijaz had made a similar claim during his BlackBerry message exchange with Husain Haqqani which has already been placed before the Supreme Court by Ijaz.

Despite repeated attempts, ISPR director general Major General Athar Abbas did not respond to a query, asking “Why didn’t the ISPR’s contradiction of December 19, 2011 mention Mansoor Ijaz who was the actual sources of The Independent story, accusing Mr Pasha of conspiring against President Zardari. Also, why did Lt Gen Pasha decide to serve a legal notice on the British newspaper alone instead of proceeding against the sources of the allegation — Mansoor Ijaz?”

In fact, the dilemma with Lt Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha is that if he refutes the allegation [of conspiring against President Zardari] by naming Mansoor Ijaz, it would put a huge question mark over the credibility of his own statement in Memogate scam which has been submitted with the Supreme Court of Pakistan and which is primarily based on claims made and evidence provided by Mansoor Ijaz.

Lt Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha has stated in his reply with the apex court that Mansoor Ijaz had enough corroborative material to prove his version of the memo scam. “Mansoor Ijaz should be summoned to appear before the honourable court as he alone holds the real evidence as claimed by him. He has already, on a number of occasions, indicated his willingness to do so, through the print and electronic media”, Pasha further stated in his reply. The ISI chief has given an insight into how he got in touch with Mansoor Ijaz through an unnamed source and that the meeting was set up in London on October 22 following the publication of Ijaz’s article in Financial Times.

In its reply to the apex court, the federation has also taken up Mansoor Ijaz’s allegation in the British daily against Lt Gen Pasha. As things stand, there are two pieces of evidence in the Memogate scam which have already been placed before the Supreme Court — the first is against Husain Haqqani [which has been ‘investigated’ by the ISI chief and was found to be genuine by him] while the other one is against the ISI chief himself which has not yet been investigated by the federal government. And both the pieces of evidence have been provided by the same person — Mansoor Ijaz.

In the first case, the alleged culprit, Husain Haqqani has already been compelled to resign, while in the second case, the accused, Lt Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha, is still in office, amidst calls by parliamentarians for his dismissal on charges of misconduct. The rhetoric against Pasha has increased in recent days. “If Husain Haqqani could resign based on mere allegations, why shouldn’t Pasha”, Awami National Party MNA Bushra Gohar stated last week on the floor of the National Assembly. The call was subsequently supported in principle by Leader of the Opposition in National Assembly Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan and Asma Jahangir.

Speaking to the media after the Memogate case hearing on December 19, Asma said she did not understand why the DG ISI felt the need to travel abroad in order to investigate the matter. Asma said that she was baffled by Shuja Pasha’s meeting with Mansoor Ijaz. “I don’t understand his interest in the Memogate scam. Even otherwise, let me ask under whose authority did he travel abroad to see Mansoor Ijaz?” Amidst heightened civil-military tensions, Asma Jahangir is set to raise all these questions in the Supreme Court of Pakistan.

 

 

 

 

analysis
Reactionaries of the world unite!
The Difa-e-Pakistan get-together does surely prove that the right is alive and kicking, but it also makes clear that all is not well within its ranks
By Aasim Sajjad Akhtar

It is difficult to ward away the feeling that Pakistan is on the brink of yet another major political upheaval. More than the ongoing Memogate trial or the suddenness with which Imran Khan and then Nawaz Sharif have started their mass contact campaigns, the gathering of the right-wing religious establishment on Sunday at Minar-e-Pakistan indicates that something serious is afoot.

It is instructive that anyone who wants to make a political splash these days is choosing to do so at the Pakistan Monument in Lahore. The implications are unambiguous; there is an epic struggle underway to define what Pakistan is and the right-wing — both moderate and radical — is both resorting to familiar symbols and invoking the age-old slogan of ‘Pakistan (read: Islam) in danger’.

To be sure, the ‘Difa-e-Pakistan’ rally on 18 December has established beyond a shadow of a doubt that the usual suspects are up to their usual tricks. Other than the religious parties, Ejaz-ul-Haq and Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed were notable participants, with the latter indicating in his typically cryptic manner that he had been ‘won over’ to Hafiz Saeed’s cause in recent times, thereby suggesting that the security establishment continues to hedge its bets on jihad as a foreign policy tool.

Maulana Fazlur Rahman was a conspicuous absentee, illustrating that cynical political interests often trump ideological affinities for even the most prominent of right-wing ideologues. Importantly, the Maulana has been accepted as a de facto ally by those who still consider themselves left-of-centre such as the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and Awami National Party (ANP) which suggests that pragmatism triumphs over principles on the other side of the political spectrum as well.

In any case, the Maulana’s exclusion notwithstanding, the Difa-e-Pakistan shebang is conclusive evidence for anyone who still doubted it that the religious right is structurally enmeshed into the power structure in Punjab and all the military operations in the world will not reduce its influence. Only a fundamental shift in the balance of power away from the permanent state apparatus and a bifurcation of Punjab as it is currently constituted is sufficient to cut the right down to size.

It is worth bearing in mind that it was only a few months ago that south Punjab was being decried as the hotbed of militancy and calls were being made for a military operation to eliminate the ‘terrorist’ threat. Much has changed in the intervening period, and it is now the calls for a Siraiki province that are dominating the discourse in south Punjab. Even the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) is tripping over itself backwards to play what it considers a popular card in the region — on Friday the MQM arranged a rally in Multan during which it reiterated its claim that it was the first party to explicitly support the Siraiki Suba demand.

Needless to say, the visions of the Difa-e-Pakistan folks and the principled political forces calling for the division of Punjab — as opposed to those like the MQM that are only playing populist politics — are diametrically opposed. It appears that the epic struggle for Pakistan that I referred to earlier is based largely in Punjab. To the chagrin of the security establishment and right-wing political forces, the Siraiki Suba cat is now out of the bag and the once almost unchallenged ability of a monolithically constructed Punjab to be both the defender of the unitary state and the heartland of the state’s Islamic ideology has given way to a much more fragmented reality in which the status of Punjab itself, let alone Pakistan, is up for grabs.

Lest we get ahead of ourselves however, weakness typically precipitates reaction. In the case of already reactionary forces such as the religious right, this means even more reaction than is usually the case. In this reaction, the right will be patronised in some measure by the security establishment, which is also feeling a little more insecure these days than it was some years ago before the Musharraf dictatorship started to collapse under the weight of its own contradictions and the growing pressure of its imperial patron.

Thus the increased suspicion amongst many observers that we might have another Islami Jamhoori Ittehad (IJI) on the cards. For the time being, it does not appear as if the religious forces are going to be propped up by a major party as did the Pakistan Muslim League in the case of the IJI. However, there are likely to be many twists and turns in the coming days, weeks and months and the Difa-e-Pakistan crowd now actually has more than one possible ally with Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) emerging to challenge the Sharif brothers’ Punjab throne.

All in all, the polarizations that run rife through the polity appear to be growing more and more acute. The problem, as ever, is to conceive of a way out rather than assume despairingly that things are going to go from bad to worse. I fear that the liberals in our midst will dwell on the Difa-e-Pakistan gathering and will look again to some mythical liberators on horseback to ‘fix’ the ‘mullahs’, rather than taking advantage of the growing space to counter the structural presence of the right within the state. This means that the leadership of the Siraiki Suba movement, for example, will remain with the dominant classes within mainstream parties such as the PPP.

Meanwhile the political vacuum vis a vis class issues will remain a glaring one. It is this vacuum that new populists such as Imran Khan seek to benefit from. They can employ exceedingly vague language and propose no meaningful solutions yet can get away with it because everyone else is not even doing that much. In sum, the Difa-e-Pakistan get-together does surely prove that the right is alive and kicking, but it also makes clear that all is not well within its ranks. How things proceed is a question of how organized a front is put up by progressive forces to forge a new equilibrium.

 

 

At the cost of the poor
Developed nations get five more years to cut emissions
By Alauddin Masood

Under the landmark 1997 Kyoto Protocol, it was obligatory for the developed countries to cut down carbon emissions to levels agreed by them by 2012. Well before the deadline, the developed nations have managed to get a big breather — at least five years extension under an accord adopted by a marathon 194-nation conference, on December 11 in Durban (South Africa).

Environmentalists criticise the Durban package — as did many developing countries during the 13 days of hectic talks — for failing to move faster and deeper in cutting carbon emissions. Logically, the time to act is now, scientists maintain. They say that unless carbon emissions, chiefly carbon dioxide (CO2) from power generation and industry, level out and reverse within a few years, the earth will be set on a possibly irreversible path of rising temperatures that lead to ever greater climate catastrophes.

Some states argued that the developing countries have less responsibility than industrial nations that caused the global warming problem through 200 years of pollution. Therefore, the Durban package does not seem equitable, especially for developing countries that account for a minute fraction of global warming but have to pay the heaviest costs in the face of erratic weather in Asia and Africa.

Environmentalists believe there are too many loopholes in the ‘Durban Platform’ to ensure a uniform regulatory policy. Furthermore, domestic political constraints make it unlikely that pledges in Durban for more green projects in the developed world and stepped up aid for developing countries will come to fruition given problems for government funding in Europe, USA and Japan.

The apprehension of the scientists seems to be quite weighty, as following the Durban conference Canada became the first country to formally withdraw from the Kyoto Protocol, saying the pact was preventing the world from effectively tackling climate change.

Canadian Environment Minister, Peter Kent said, “We believe that a new agreement with legally binding commitments for all major emitters that allows us as a country to generate jobs and economic growth represents the path forward.” Under the Kyoto agreement, curbs apply only to rich countries, excluding the United States, which has refused to ratify the accord.

Canada had agreed under the Kyoto Protocol to reduce CO2 emissions to 6.0 percent below 1990 levels by 2012, but its emissions of the gases blamed for damaging Earth’s fragile climate system have instead increased sharply. Pulling out of Kyoto now allows Canada to avoid paying penalties of up to CAN$ 14 billion (US$ 13.6 billion) for missing its targets.

According to Kent, Canada produces barely two percent of global emissions. “To meet the targets under Kyoto for 2012 would be equivalent of either removing every car, truck, tractor, ambulance, etc, from Canadian roads or closing down the entire farming and agricultural sector and cutting heat to every home, office, hospital, factory, and building in Canada.”

Furthermore, “It is an agreement that covers fewer than 30 percent of global emissions, by some estimates 15 percent or less,” Kent said. For Kyoto supporters, Canadian pullout can badly damage the UN climate process already weakened by divisions. For instance, it can encourage other industrial countries to follow suit and thus negatively impact the Green Climate Fund that the Durban conference had decided to establish to provide US$ 100 billion dollar, every year, by 2020 for projects, programmes, policies and other activities in the developing countries using thematic funding windows.

Amongst its other uses, the Green Climate Fund could help identify climate friendly technologies, facilitate their deployment and adaptation to the needs of the developing countries, build national/regional technology management capacity, and support the research, development and demonstration of new climate friendly technologies.

It goes without saying that the global warming poses grave threats to human civilisation. Concentration of greenhouse gases (GHGs) in the atmosphere have reached new heights and are very rapidly contributing to an average rise of 2 to 2.4 Celsius (C) in global temperatures. Scientists believe any rise above 2.0 C threshold could trigger far-reaching and irreversible changes on Earth — both over land and in the seas.

The earth can cope with maximum global warming of 1.5 to 2 degree C. Global warming at 3 degree can result in the crossing of many “tipping points,” including near-disappearance of the Arctic summer sea-ice, degradation of the Amazon rain forest, and instability in the South Asian summer monsoon, rendering any remedial action ineffective. In case global warming reaches 4 degree C, climate scientists warn, only one-tenth of the global population will survive.

The rapid rise in GHGs is not only reducing mankind’s ability to limit warming to safe levels, lending credence to apprehensions that the prospects of limiting the warming may close in this very decade. Furthermore, 13 of the warmest years recorded have occurred within the last decade-and-a-half and the year 2011 caps a decade that ties the record as the hottest ever measured since 1850 when accurate measures began.

Across the world over 710,000 people died from 1991 to 2010 from 14,000 extreme weather events, incurring economic losses in today’s terms of over 2.3 trillion dollars. When seen across this 20 year period, not a single developed country features in the top 10 for climate risk. Only one — Russia — featured in the top 20 as a result of July 2010 heat wave, but that was an exception. The results underscore the vulnerability of poor countries to climate risks.

According to scientists, floods in Pakistan, forest fires in Russia, mudslides in China and droughts in Sub-Sahara Africa are manifestation of scenarios which they had been predicting since long due to the impact of greenhouse gases, like CO2, methane and nitrous oxide. These climate changes, scientists warn, can contribute to disasters like 2010 floods in Pakistan, happening more frequently and more intense in future.

The greenhouse gases build-up in the upper atmosphere and lead to climate change or global warming. In other words, when CO2 rises into atmosphere, it screens the sunlight, allowing the sunlight in but preventing the heat to leave. By the year 2040, environmentalists forecast, due to greenhouse gases the global temperature will increase by 3 C and by the end of the century by 5-6 C, triggering sand/dust storms, micro cloudbursts, cyclones and tsunamis.

The highlands, in particular, are vulnerable to Glacier Lake Outburst Floods as overall glaciers retreat and additional snow melt can increase the amount of water dammed in the vicinity of a glacier, and the added pressure enhances the likelihood of disastrous outburst flooding.

Pakistan has some 5,218 glaciers, over 13,680 square kilometres or 13 percent of mountains in the Upper Indus Basin, and 2,420 lakes of which 50 are reportedly to be highly dangerous and may cause flooding in the plains in Punjab and Sindh. Pakistan’s Indus delta also remains exposed to sea rise and sea intrusion, causing an upward shift of almost 400 metres in the coastline.

Amongst other damages of global warming, Pakistan is experiencing biodiversity loss, shifts in weather patterns and changes in fresh water supply. The phenomenon of global warming might impact the snow and rain patterns and the availability of snow melting during summer. Normally, Pakistani rivers receive almost 70 percent of their flow from snow melting.

These changes, particularly in patterns of rainfall, glacial retreat and snowmelt, could cause unexpected floods in rain-deficient regions and create drought like conditions in fertile areas. These changes could accentuate after 2050 when, scientists forecast, presently shrinking Himalayan glaciers could disappear.

The global warming, which has been caused by greenhouse gases, is the price of development that the human-being is paying. But the fruits of development have been harvested by the rich developed countries where development activities, factory emissions, modern techniques of agriculture and life styles are contributing in a big way to global warming. But developing countries like Pakistan with least contribution to this phenomenon have to bear the brunt of ravages that have been accentuated by the activities of rich counties.

 

The writer is a freelance columnist based in Islamabad

[email protected]

 

 

 

plantation
Growing nuts
There is a great potential for planting walnut trees in Malakand and other areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
By Tahir Ali

The Malakand Division, according to one estimate, accounts for roughly 95 percent of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s walnut yield. Walnut of different sizes, quality, and colour are produced here which are marketed in whole form or its flesh taken out and packed, and is sold in the market. What is being done to increase the yield of dry fruits after the militancy days are over?

In Dir, these days per kilogramme prices of different qualities of walnuts range between Rs100-250 for whole and Rs400-700 for walnut flesh, of pistachio between Rs600-800, of almond Rs150-400 and chilghoza being the costliest of all with Rs1400, according to Saeedur Rehman, a dry fruit dealer in Dir.

Rehman says chilghoza (pine-nut) prices have surged to over Rs70,000 per 50kg (Rs1400) in the whole sale market and it may be sold around for Rs1500-1800 in the open market after adding the transportation charges, dealers’ commission, shopkeepers’ profit and imposition of various taxes.”

Contrary to the general impression, he says, militancy hadn’t badly impacted on the dry fruit production and businesses and opined that prices have come down as compared to last year.

“Prices of whole walnut were around Rs13-14000-50kg last year but this year these have come down to Rs11-12000. It is because there was bumper production this year. While we still have last year’s stock, the produce for this year has arrived in the market.” He believes, “There is no hope for the price-surge as the market is sluggish at the moment. The government needs to make arrangements for purchasing and exporting the commodity. I am sure the country would earn a lot of money in the global dry fruit market by exporting this quality commodity.”

He says, “The price of walnut, a Dir speciality, ranges between Rs5000-12000 per 50kg while that of its pure flesh ranges between Rs22000-35000-50kg. Walnut from Barawal and Bamboret are liked for their big size and taste. The brighter the fleshy part, the higher the price. And the cooler the area where it is produced, the better the taste and quality of the walnut,” he adds.

The sale of the walnut flesh fetches more income for the dealers. That is why people in Dir, rather than selling standing walnut trees or the whole fruit with cover, have started taking out its flesh and packing and selling it. A 50kg sac of whole walnut produces around 22-25kg pure fruit which fetches around Rs22000-35000 in the market, much higher than the whole fruit prices.

The importance of the walnuts cannot be overstated. Dry fruits and winters go hand in hand. While watching movies, reading books or newspapers or partying with friends, dry fruits help warm the body. Dry fruit are not only health-friendly but are also taken as gifts to friends and officials in beautiful packing. But skyrocketing prices are making them an unaffordable luxury for the majority.

Hundreds of tonnes of walnut, pine-nut and other dry fruit are produced in Dir and surrounding districts. Barawal, Dir Kohistan and Garam Chashma, Bamboret and Bony valleys in Chitral produce the best walnut and pine nut. The walnut from Nooristan Afghanistan also reaches the local market.” Experts say walnut helps improve memory, is useful for treating stomach, liver and kidney diseases, for cardiovascular diseases and high blood pressure. It helps control cholesterol level, strengthens the walls of blood vessels and prevents diabetes and supports immune system.

Lack of official support, negligence of the concerned departments, continuous deforestation of the existing trees for getting ‘Dandansa’ and other purposes, and non-cultivation of new ones have badly affected the produce.

The government should provide technical advice and support to grow more walnut trees as these are depleting and about 90 per cent of the potential in the area is yet to be utilised.

Rehman was particularly unhappy over cutting walnut trees for getting “dandansa”. “The problem is for dandansa you have to cut down the younger trees whose stem-cover and roots are the best.

Shah Abdar, a Swat-based grower of walnut, says hundreds of tons of walnuts are grown in Bahrain, Kalam and other valleys of Swat, adding that the potential of walnut in the area is not being explored.

Swat is the ideal place for walnut. It usually grows on mountain ridges, in the gorges and river-banks and thus doesn’t impact the already less cultivable land. Walnut could be the greatest source of income for the area people. But despite being the main asset along with fruit, vegetable and livestock, the number of walnut trees has been on the decline and only about 5 to 10 percent of the area in Swat suitable for walnut is utilised..

“The reason for this is absence of personal ownership. The trees so cultivated are often destroyed by the people as there is no sufficient care and security for them. The government and non-governmental organisations need to provide expert advice, walnut plantlets /seeds, and insecticides to farmers to grow more trees. It is only then that the problem will be solved once and for all. In the hope of huge returns, they will do whatever is possible to keep it safe and healthy,” Shah argues.

It can have great financial benefits for the poverty, militancy, and floods-stricken farmers. “Around 5 big walnut trees grow in one canal of land. Farming families usually own less cultivable but much more non-cultivable lands in Swat. If we take the average land per family at 50 canals and the family grows walnut trees on it, it can become millionaire within no time. Just leave the 300kg yield per tree, even if the per tree yield is just 50kg, it will earn the family around Rs2.5million at the current market rate.”

“Though main roads in the area have been repaired to some extent, the link roads to far flung areas are still inaccessible. It leaves the poor people with no choice but to sell their standing walnut trees to dealers on meagre prices, thus incurring losses,” according to him.

 

 

 

   

Reforming the
judicial apparatus 
Most of the goals set in Judicial Policy 2009 have not been implemented within the last two years
By Huzaima Bukhari and Dr. Ikramul Haq

In any society, administration and dispensation of justice should be the top most priority, as without it ‘representative democracy’ cannot be established. A society without a trustworthy and speedy judicial system, which does not ensure effective dispensation of justice cannot progress or survive for long. Administration and dispensation of justice in Pakistan needs serious attention. There are serious concerns amongst Pakistani citizens about “justice”, “rule of law”, “fairness”, “equity” and independence of judiciary.

The right of access to justice to all is a well-recognised inviolable right enshrined in the Constitution of Pakistan, but it is still a distant dream for the poor and weaker sections of society. Justice can only be done if there is reliable, competent and independent judicial apparatus. Goals, announced through the National Judicial Policy 2009 remain unfulfilled. The following short-term and long-term measures for early disposal of cases were announced under this policy:

All pre/post-arrest bail applications are to be decided within seven days. Criminal cases, punishable with imprisonment up to seven years registered after January 1, 2009, would be decided in the shortest period, which should not exceed six months and cases punishable with imprisonment exceeding seven years, including punishment of death, should be decided within one year.

Provincial governments to establish new jails at district level or enhance the capacity of existing jails by constructing new barracks. A High Court judge, along with District and Sessions judge, must carry out inspection of prisons periodically for ensuring compliance within prison rules and giving on the spot remedy/relief to prisoners according to the law.

In civil matters, all writ petitions under Article 199 of the Constitution should be fixed for preliminary hearing on the next date of its institution and disposed of as quickly as possible. Writ petitions involving service matters, including promotion, transfer and admission of students in professional colleges and allied matters, should be decided within 60 days. All stay matters under Order 39 Rule 1 & 2 read with section 151 CPC should be decided within 15 days of grant of interim injunction and in case of delay the reasons should be furnished to the high court.

Rent cases should be decided within four months in trial courts and appeals should be decided within two months. Family cases, including custody of minors, succession certificate, letter of administration, insolvency and maintenance, should be decided within six months. Civil appeals arising out of family cases, custody of minors and against interim order should be decided within 30 days.

Cases filed under Order 37 of CPC regarding suits upon bill of exchange, hundies or promissory notes shall be decided through summary procedure within 90 days.

Cases relating to banking and different taxes and duties such as income tax, property tax, etc., should be decided within six months.

Labour and environmental cases should also be decided through fast track system. Judges of labour courts and tribunals should be appointed from amongst the lawyers qualified for appointment as district and sessions judge.

Priority should be given to quick disposal of women cases, juvenile cases, rent cases, stay orders, bail matters, small claims and minor offences under the Small Claims and Minor Offences Courts Ordinance 2002. The power of small claims and minor offences court may be conferred to all civil judges.

For clearing backlog under different categories, special benches are to be constituted for each category on the principal seat and branch registry of the Supreme Court and High Courts. There will be commitment of judges to decide the old civil and criminal cases up to 2008 within one year. District judges will also adopt such measures that ensure handling of 50 percent of cases from backlog (filed on or before Dec 31, 2008) and 50 percent from current cases.

For conducting elections, the services of judiciary in future will not be available. The focus of judiciary would be on disposal of cases to redress grievances of the people by dispensation of justice. If the government feels that the election should be held under the supervision of the judiciary, then a request may come and the NJPMC would decide as to what extent and in what form help can be extended in the conduct of elections.

Most of the goals set in Judicial Policy have not been implemented within the last two years. The huge back log still persists. There are no visible signs of improvement in the working of court system. Unless causes of litigation are removed, the system will remain choked. More and more judges will be required for coping with the ever increasing number of cases at all levels.

Everybody is totally dissatisfied with the existing socio-economic structure, which is the main root-cause of litigation. Those imparting justice complain of lack of facilities and huge number of cases with the complainants crying for early orders but having to wait for years (sometimes decades), and the government keeps on worrying about the blockade of colossal amount of money because of slow litigation process.

The first and foremost need is ensuring socio-economic justice. Justice system cannot be improved in isolation. It is part and parcel of an ailing system. The slogan of “independence” of judiciary is meaningless if divorced from empowering the weak and less privileged.

The costly litigation process works against the poor and favours the rich. Separation of judiciary from administration is Constitutional command, but enforcement of Article 10A requires providing justice to all without any hindrance. The present system where vested interest dominates appointment of judges destroys the very independence of the system. People’s court is the only answer to ensure true implementation of Article 10A of the Constitution.

The right of access to justice to all is a well-recognized inviolable privilege — now re-emphasised under Article 10A inserted by the 18th Constitutional Amendment — enshrined in the Constitution of Pakistan. It concludes “the right to be treated according to law, the right to have a fair and proper trial and the right to have an impartial court or tribunal.”

Justice, therefore, can only be done if there is economic equality. Replacing existing courts with people’s courts is the need of the hour. All judicial and quasi-judicial authorities should be appointed and supervised by a People’s Judicial Commission, elected by voters. This is the only way to ensure dispensation of justice in its true substance and constitutional requirement.

 

The writers, tax lawyers and authors of many books, are Visiting Professors at Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS)

 

 

 

 

 

 

review
Science station
Sinai’s book has a strong anthropological quotient and deals with the conflict between modern technology and centuries of tradition
By Jazib Zahir

The world tends to associate India with the spirituality of Gandhi. But it was the less heralded Nehru who imbued the nation with a sense of pragmatism. He dreamed of legions of Indian scientists and engineers slaving away in cutting-edge laboratories and seeding the innovation needed to build a proud and robust country. No surprise then that he fathered the birth of the famed Indian Institutes of Technology and prestigious government programmes to boost space travel and nuclear power.

“Geek Nation” is about how science and technology seem to be integrated into the modern Indian DNA. The products of Indian science and technology education may have been parodied in pop culture from, “The Simpsons”, to “The Big Bang Theory”. But they are a force to reckon with at leading institutions of higher learning around the world.

The writer of the book, Angela Saini, is able to offer an insider’s account given that she is from a family groomed on a culture of science in India herself. While she has since moved abroad, she has journeyed back to India to chronicle the story of the place of science in its social and economic development.

If you have not had a chance to visit India, you’ll enjoy the travelogue with vivid descriptions of the cosmopolitan cities, the agrarian heartland and the inconspicuous research laboratories that seem to abound in the countryside. You’ll be treated to a graphic depiction of life in the Indian Institutes of Technology eerily similar to that shown in “3 Idiots” with their star students but dubious quality of infrastructure and teaching methods. A key suggestion from Sinai is that the current university entrance examination system is too formulaic and tending to produce drones rather than the innovators that Nehru envisioned.

Sinai also sketches vignettes of the burgeoning Indian technology sector. She visits major IT hubs around the country and interviews the heads of major firms like Infosys and Wipro to understand the role of innovation in Indian industry. The most impressive of her findings is how the luminaries of the Indian technology industry refuse to rest on their economic laurels. They are keen to be involved in government and policy to leverage their knowledge to build a more efficient and robust economy.

The impact of technology on developing nations with swathes of their populations still mired in ancient culture is not well documented in literature. Sinai’s book has a strong anthropological quotient and deals with the conflict between modern technology and centuries of tradition. For example, many farmers are not keen to adopt genetically modified seeds despite their tangible benefits.

Saini raises concern over how the benefits of technology within India are not distributed equally. She illustrates how some communities are being destroyed at the expense of growing technological utopias and highlights an issue that may grow in significance as the national drive towards modernisation continues.

We learn about how Indian government is relentlessly promoting the use of technology to streamline governance and cut through the notorious red tape around the government machinery. We are made to ponder over the many common diseases that afflict the population at large and are being ignored by major pharmaceutical firms who see profits by catering to the demands of more affluent Western markets.

This scenario has forced India to innovate within its own limited resources to seek home-grown solutions. Most intriguingly, we are given insights into India’s long term energy policy revolving around thorium based nuclear plants that may just emerge as a major factor in the global race to power voracious populations.

The picture that emerges from “Geek Nation” is that of an ambitious country with far-sighted leadership that has invested a great deal of effort in grooming students of science to tackle the most pressing problems facing the country. The limitations of this model too are explored: it is accepted that the country does not invest nearly as much in research and development as it should and some negative ramifications of the technology juggernaut need more attention, but the overall tone remains sanguine.

There are lessons for scientists, economist and policy-makers from Pakistan who dream of emulating some of these models in our educational and economic systems but are not yet at the stage where they have to grapple with the myriad issues raised. Those well-versed with the state of technology in Pakistan will agree that while there are silver linings, the impact of Pakistani science lags far behind the clout across the border. And competing here will pay richer dividends than all the World Cup trophies and disputed territories in the world. To cite the words of Churchill that serve as a parting note for the book, “The empires of the future are going to be the empires of the mind.”

 

 

 

The new political game
The uneasy relationship between the political and military leadership has exposed itself once again
By Salman Abid

These days prospects of ‘political change’ are being discussed in Pakistan. The political pundits are foreseeing a caretaker setup. Despite the fact that the president is back in an environment flooded with rumors, it is believed that the game is not over. There is no good news for those who think that the memo issue has died out after the return of President Zardari or after meeting between Prime minister and the army chief.

Secondly, the ISPR’s statement and clarification note about the issue of conversation between Zardari and army chief also shows the gap between civilian and military leadership.

Actually, the People of Pakistan are living in an environment of rumors. The main cause behind it is surely those who are called anti-government but it is also unfortunate to notice the unreasonable and immature party leaders who left no stone unturned in making the situation even worse.

Even the Prime Minster in his address to the Senate showed his concerns and said if the political system fails elections will not be held in our life time. Such a statement gives a clear indication that the party is almost ready to face ‘change’ that seems ready to take place.

In case President Zardari goes back to London or Dubai after addressing the public meeting of Garhi Khuda Bux on the 27th of this month, the fears of ‘change’ will resurface.

That is why Nawaz Sharif, Imran Khan, Maulana Fazalur Rehman and Munawar Hassan, including the PPP leadership, have taken this apprehension seriously and said any such attempt towards ‘change’ will be declared great conspiracy against democracy.

Nawaz Sharif has vowed resistance against any unconstitutional step. He said in his constitutional petition before the apex court that he will accept no unconstitutional change.

It seems the PMLN has taken a step back from the go-Zardari-go campaign and is striving to provide a safeguard to the political system. Nawaz Sharif is fully conscious that the agenda of ‘change’ entails a caretaker setup and does not provide an opportunity to go for fresh general polls and that such a setup will be disastrous not only for President Zardari but for PMLN also.

Some critics give importance to meetings of Imran Khan with US government officials and inclusion of ‘new faces’ in PTI. On the other hand, Imran Khan is looking not ready to be a part of such game. He is asking for transparent elections and threatening to launch a mass campaign against sham polls.

In this context, it is quite early to speculate how long President Zardari may or may not reside in the presidency. Some voices are suggesting that ‘power players’ have managed some sort of reconciliation between the president and the ‘establishment forces’.

Will it work or not? We can get an answer from the speeches to be made by Peoples Party leaders in the meeting of 27th of December. There are critics who say that the President’s position will be weak in decision-making. The question is whether the political forces will accept the doctrine of necessity or go for mass resistance.

It seems the PPP and PMLN will never accept such a change. The Peoples Party is blessed with the quality to consolidate itself against the manoeuvers of the establishment. It has got a number of cards that can be shown on time. Similarly, we cannot eliminate the possibility of major political parties coming together to stop such a ‘change’.

It is the need of the hour that all political partiers get together on a single point agenda and develop consensus at a time of crisis. It is worth noting here that track records of some of our political forces have been notorious for joining hands with the establishment. But that seems to be a thing of the past now.

Another question is whether the ‘secret forces’ are able and capable of packing up this political system and setting up a new system of their own choice?

There is no doubt that military establishment is avoiding any direct intervention against the government, but if it is planning to transfer power to its handpicked faces by sitting behind the curtain the same will be considered as its direct intervention.

At the same time, political pundits are of the opinion that the establishment is bent upon creating trouble for the government. In fact, non-political actors are sure that immediate election will not produce any big change and crisis on the internal and external fronts will continue to exist. Some politicians are foreseeing that in case of ‘change’ there is no chance of elections coming up.

If the people aspiring for ‘change’ against the present government take a course of any illegal or unconstitutional step it will bring harm to both government and our political process. It is advisable that the present government is allowed to complete its term and the election process is held on its fixed time. The political leadership is justified in criticising the role of the establishment in the politics of Pakistan.

 

The writer is a political analyst. He can be reached at [email protected])

 

 

 

The woman factor
Lack of proper financing, experience, and training keep women entrepreneurship potential stunted
By Zubair Faisal Abbasi and Adeela Zubair

Much of the talk about the role of women in formal accounts of economic development is aspirational rather than factual. While gender equality is a human right, gender gaps are visible in health, education, wages, and work related attainments.

Income, property and work levels are quite disproportionate. For example, women work two-third of the worlds’ working hours but they earn only 10 percent of the world’s income while own less than 1 percent of the world’s property.

According to International Labour Organization, the gender gaps in wages averages between 10 percent to 30 percent which widens with increase in education and experience. The story does not stop here.

Decent employment and working environment, access to land and credit is also limited, putting serious pressure on capabilities to live a full life. For example, in Southern and Western Asia, and in North Africa only 20 percent of those employed outside agriculture are women.

Such losses of primary opportunities and a sheer lack of enabling environment for women put them in a disadvantaged position to benefit from increase in businesses and trade. It can be argued that if trade between Pakistan and India is increased, the country which provides more formal economic opportunities to women is positioned better gain social development benefits of flow of goods and services.

It is interesting that much of the mainstream economic policy analysis put a lot of emphasis on ‘binding constraints on economic growth’ does not really factor in the constraints on women as limiting factor on economic development. UNWOMEN’s recent report argues that, “When women have equal access to economic assets, decent livelihoods and leadership opportunities — the building blocks of economic endowment economic well-being increases’.

However, most of women workforce is disproportionately over-represented in informal economy as well as unpaid care-related work. Globally, more than half of working women (53 percent) are in vulnerable jobs while around 80 percent of working women in Asia and Africa are in this category.

Using economics, one may say that these types of social and economic capsules keep women away from commercial activities and do not generate enough returns on investment in girl education and access to better healthcare.

It makes them a victim of low level equilibrium in market-based exchange of goods and services as well. In fact, these fundamental structural inequalities of society, makes the experience of poverty and wealth different for men and women.

Sociologically speaking, owing to the impact of family life, childcare responsibilities, and a general lack of high profile role models women tend not to identify themselves as ‘enterprises’.

It may be a surprise for many that only 13 of the world’s 500 largest corporations had a women CEO in 2009. It is interesting to note that even in countries such as Ireland, women are relatively reluctant than men to become entrepreneurs or start a business owing to the fear of failure.

Around 15-18 percent entrepreneurs are women in Ireland. Households make such mistakes and the whole nation suffers. Irish government has identified three main reason of business failure of women. These are perhaps relevant for Pakistan as well.

The first one is a lack of proper financing, the second is a 0lack of proper experience, and the third is a lack of training. These gaps play a significant role in keeping women entrepreneurship potential stunted. However, the public sector in Ireland has started a strategic intervention which imparts training to identified women and strives for improving access to childcare facilities as well as flexible working arrangements and increased parental leave.

Male-dominance is market place is not unique for Pakistan or South Asia. It is almost everywhere. The difference is how serious national governments are to promote gender equality and women entrepreneurship.

In Lebanon, for example, there are 1350 cooperatives. Men-dominated cooperatives are in farming sector while food-processing cooperatives have more women memberships. Recently, the Ministry of agriculture has started policy dialogues to design strategies in which such cooperatives are to be provided support who provide sustainable market access for rural women with focus on rational use of natural resources. There are gender-sensitive sustainable social development lessons for our governments as well.

Gender-sensitive entrepreneurship development is so important that according to Food and Agriculture Organization, by gender equalizing access to land and agriculture inputs, this world can reduce the number of people living in hunger by 100m-150m.

What is perhaps needed is that labour, credit, and goods and services market are regulated in ways that provide decent work and equal opportunities while maintaining macro-economic stability and economic growth potentials.

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