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Friday, March 14, 2008

Mediawatch: Mushy, Sharfoo, Goldy and More

The fighting cats are united in a forced marriage (read coalition) to keep the barking dog away. Since the dog has no tag (read uniform) the cats hope the dog is of the barking variety not the biting kind. Speculations abound in this unfolding tale of cats and dogs.

He (Zardari) did point out that his party did not even have a simple majority. It was going to be a coalition government. The candidate that his party will present for premiership should be acceptable to all the parties concerned. “The prospect of premiership is within the realm of possibility for all MNAs. I am not even an MNA.” (Watch out Fahim) “There are immense expectations on the upcoming government. There are real issues that the nation faces. There is the issue of terrorism, there is an economic meltdown and an energy crisis.”

Zardari said that the media is a system of checks and balances in the country. In this age of the media, nothing can be hidden from the public eye. “We are going to devise a method for there to be media representation in committees of the National Assembly.”

“We are faced with an economic meltdown. It is the duty of the new government to provide food and water to the citizens of the country. We have to deal with the issue of poverty,” he said, speaking on the economy.


Mian Nawaz Sharif directed the party leaders to avoid giving controversial and provocative statements against the leaders of the coalition partners when the issue of Kh Asif’s statement about the PPP leader Makhdoom Amin Fahim came up in the meeting which had triggered a new controversy and developed a bad taste if not some serious blow to the strength of the coalition between the two parties.

The sources informed that soon after the meeting Kh Asif and Makhdoom Javid Hashmi entered into a verbal brawl at the lunch table and both the leaders hurled abuses at each other and they were about to enter into a fistfight when the senior party leaders intervened and separated them.

Meanwhile, Secretary Information of Pakistan Muslim League (N) Ahsan Iqbal said that the right of nominating a candidate for the slot of PM was given to the Pakistan Peoples Party and his Party had no objection to the nomination of anyone including Amin Fahim for the office of the Premier.


Today Amin Fahim met with Zardari again and reinforced his candidacy, shrugging off alternatives that may have been offered.

ISLAMABAD: President Pakistan People’s Party Parliamentarians, Makhdoom Amin Fahim Thursday said he is still a candidate for the post of Prime Minister and that he is not interested in the post of National Assembly speaker.

“I will be first person to support Zardari if he wished to become the Prime Minister,” Amin Fahim remarked.

To a question, he said he is President of PPP and that he considered his present position much more important than that of a President of Pakistan. “In case Asif Zardari nominates someone else for the job of Prime Minister, the decision as to what course of action to be adopted will be made then,” he said.


This is bad news for the incoming coalition.

LAHORE, March 12: Pakistan has lost 24 per cent of water storage capacity and its reservoirs can now hold only 11.38 million acre feet water against a capacity of 15.02maf, according to a survey of dams.

A survey of Tarbela dam has been an annual feature since 1981, whereas Mangla dam’s survey is conducted every three to five years because of little silt moving into the lake. According to the survey, Tarbela dam, which was completed three decades ago, had a gross capacity of 11.62maf and live (usable) capacity of 9.68maf, with 1.94maf water left in the lake (dead level) to check silt movement.

In 1979, Tarbela lost 3.3 per cent storage and its live storage capacity dropped to 9.36maf. In 1990, the loss came to 10.6 per cent, with storage dropping to 8.65maf. In 2000, the live storage dropped to 7.97maf a total loss of 17.7 per cent. In 2007, the loss has gone up to a whopping 24.07 per cent, with total capacity dropping to 7.35maf.

The loss at Tarbela was further aggravated by the raising of the dead level, which caused another loss of 0.511maf. The live storage thus further came down to 6.84maf from 7.35maf.

At Mangla, the live storage capacity has come down to 4.54maf against the original 5.34maf in 1967 when the dam was built. The loss has remained limited because of slow movement of silt in the lake and the dead level remaining the same over the past 40 years. The two dams had in the beginning a combined capacity of 15.02maf, which has now declined to 11.36maf. The cumulative loss at the dams has thus increased to 3.64maf or 24 per cent.


Dr. Naeem Chishti comes to Goldy's rescue, dubbing NYT's article FromPrison to Zenith of Politics in Pakistan character assassination and in the process manages to malign NYT, a leading Pakistani TV channel (Geo?) and Makhdoom Amin Fahim. If Goldy is such a clean citizen, he should have advised him to sue the pants off NYT.

I have written in these columns on previous occasions that those who planned Benazir Bhutto’s murder had also planned the future course of political events in Pakistan. Whether Makhdoom Amin Faheem had the knowledge of their conspiracy or not, Benazir Bhutto’s assassins clearly knew that, being the senior vice chairman of PPP, he would emerge as a beneficiary from her murder. Therefore, they wanted to see Faheem not only as the next chairman of PPP but also as the next prime minister of Pakistan. Benazir Bhutto was convinced that the main motive of her enemies in her husband’s character assassination was to pass on the party-leadership and the prime minister-ship of the country to Faheem after her assassination.


Jumairaat ka roz hay baba, tel daydO, dallar daydO

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan People's Party Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari and Pakistan Muslim League Quaid Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif have planned to undertake a joint visit to Saudi Arabia after the formation of the new government to seek the Saudi oil facility in view of the economic crunch that could hit the country.


Some good leg work by Muhammed Ahmed Noorani

All the six honourable judges of the Supreme Court who had refused to take oath under General Musharraf's first PCO in 2000, do not want to return to the bench and have, thus, closed one chapter of this ongoing legal controversy.

Pervez Abdullah reports on plagiarism in the Faculty of Islamic Studies, K. U.

Plagiarism, which has plagued various universities of the country, has now spread its tentacles to the University of Karachi (KU), that too in the most unexpected of quarters – the Faculty of Islamic Studies.

The person who has allegedly committed the act is no other than Dr Jalaluddin Noori, professor and the dean of faculty. While Dr Noori denies the charges, documents present incriminating evidence. Even his colleagues and high-ups in the university do not doubt the allegation.

Nausheen Saeed writes on Women Empowerment

The PML-Q leadership has also advanced female empowerment by giving women cabinet-slots, reserving 33 per cent seats for them in local councils, 20 per cent seats in the Provincial and National Assemblies and 10 per cent quota for women in Central Superior Services. Un-Islamic social practices such as vani, swera and marriage to the Quran are prohibited and punishable; Honour killings punishable by death or life imprisonment and the draconian Hudood law dealt with. Women are no longer a fig-leaf; they are now visible in large numbers in all walks of life.


Kamila Hyat offers solutions to curb suicide bombing. Is Geo listening?

This close relationship, knit by agencies with pro-jihadi groups in Kashmir, and in some case retained even after the militants turned their attention inwards to Pakistan, represents the biggest challenge to anyone attempting to tackle the problem. At the same time, new leaders must also review policies on madrassahs, resurrect public-sector education and initiate socio-economic reform. There is also a need to build a media campaign against terrorism, as was done in the case of the Hudood ordinances. But all these measures are necessarily long term. For the immediate moment, there is a need to send out a clear message by clamping down on some key militant outfits. At the same time, ulema, clerics, prayer leaders -- most of whom oppose suicide bombing but sometimes confuse pro-militant sentiments with an anti-US stance -- need to be brought on board and used to deliver an unequivocal message against violence. This message must be delivered at mosques, over the media and especially through the FM radio stations and CDs used so effectively by militants in northern areas.


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