Tag Archive: Government of Pakistan


Now things are becoming clearer and more understandable. We should forgive those journalists, TV anchors and political leaders who support or avoid opposing and condemning extremists. They have a very genuine reason to live in hypocrisy. Someone who dared to oppose extremism, had to pay the price with his own life; a price for being forthright, honest, bold and outspoken. In spite of his failings and weaknesses as a human, he went down fighting a menace Pakistan has created itself. Punjab’s slain governor Salman Taseer had refused to accept that Pakistani society is no more a society of rational people; it is a jungle where you have to accept the command of those capable of killing. You must bow down to them or get perished. Period. The world is in shock at the gory incident but it fails to understand the fact that the act is being glorified by those elements who claim to profess a religion of peace. This is the most disgusting thing, more than the murder itself. And look at the attitude of the lawyers, the so-called custodians of “rule of law” who kissed and garlanded the accused when he was brought to the court. These are all very disturbing signs. Even Islam would not condone this attitude of showing disrespect to the due process of law.

It is not important that Governor Taseer was a politician and that he was killed at a point in time when his party’s government at the Center was facing worst ever crisis of its survival. The most important thing is that we have come to a pass where you cannot question a menace, particularly the one which was created to please a more dangerous menace, the clergy. The world which was worried about Pakistan’s political crisis is now in shock and unable to think what will happen next. The New York Times says that the assassination of an outspoken secular politician by one of his elite police guards on Tuesday plunged the government deeper into political crisis and highlighted the threat of militant infiltration even within the nation’s security forces.

The killing of Salman Taseer, the prominent governor of Punjab Province, was another grim reminder of the risks that Pakistani leaders take to oppose religious extremists, at a time when the United States is pushing Pakistan for greater cooperation in the war in Afghanistan by cracking down on militant groups like the Taliban.

Mr. Taseer, recently took up a campaign to repeal Pakistan’s contentious blasphemy laws, which were passed under General Zia as a way to promote Islam and unite the country. The laws have been misused to convict minority Pakistanis as the Islamic forces unleashed by the general have gathered strength. The laws prescribe a mandatory death sentence for anyone convicted of insulting Islam.

Religious parties staged vigorous demonstrations of thousands of people across the country last weekend to protest the campaign by Mr. Taseer, even burning him in effigy. Mr. Taseer countered in comments on his Twitter account and elsewhere.

“Religious right trying to pressurize from the street their support of blasphemy laws. Point is it must be decided in Parliament not on the road,” he wrote on Dec. 26 in the imperfect shorthand typical of such posts.

“I was under huge pressure to cow down before rightist’s pressure on blasphemy. Refused. Even if I’m the last man standing,” he posted on Dec. 31.

Mr. Taseer’s death will serve as a chilling warning to any politician who speaks out against the religious parties and their agenda and will certainly end immediate attempts to amend the blasphemy laws.

The paper also reports that Obama administration officials worry that even if Pakistan’s government survives the upheaval — which they believe it might, for a while — the turmoil could kill any chance for political and economic reforms. The assassination, one official said, leaves not only the repeal of the blasphemy laws in doubt, but also possible reforms to increase tax collection. Under pressure from Secretary of State and other American officials, the Pakistani government submitted a new tax law in Parliament. But it may abandon the push as a way to lure back coalition partners.

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The first sermon that Pakistanis received from the new US ambassador, as expected, was about the implications of rampant corruption in the country. It was immediately not made clear as to who was the possible audience of this sermon but it made one thing amply clear; uncle Sam’s envoy are bold (read: un-diplomatic) in and well-versed about the country of their posting, particularly when it comes to Pakistan. According to a report in the Sify News, the new US ambassador to Pakistan, Cameron Munter, said Monday the country will not be able to attract foreign investment unless and until it is able to check corruption.

While addressing industry representatives at Karachi Stock Exchange, he said: ‘Corruption in government sector can deter foreign investors and their confidence should be restored to attract maximum investment in Pakistan. Corruption in public institutions has caused a loss of over $300 billion and these institutions suffering from bad financial health need to be privatized,’ he suggested.

‘The rich and the privileged will also have to pay taxes if the financial constraints need to be overcome,’ Munter remarked adding that the ‘levying of the proposed reformed general sales tax (GST) will also broaden the tax net and increase revenue collection’. The US envoy also pointed out that several joint initiatives for energy production with the help of US firms were awaiting Pakistan government’s approval. ‘These include a project worth $375 million for producing 150 MW of electricity,’ he said.

Pakistan is facing economic problem after devastation caused by floods and terrorism across the country. The US administration is one of the major foreign donors working with the Pakistani government to avert this crisis in energy, trade and other sectors. The relationship between the United States and Pakistan is “spicy”, US Ambassador to Pakistan Cameron Munter has said.

The ambassador was in Pakistan’s cultural capital a day before where he after a hearty spicy breakfast he said: “Pakistan-US relations are spicy. No doubt traditional Pakistani food is world famous.” Talking to the media on Sunday after enjoying a traditional Lahori breakfast at a local restaurant along with his wife Dr Merilyn Wyatt and US Consul-General in Lahore Carmila Conroy, Munter said: “Pakistani people are spicy as well as sweet, very much like the Lahori food.”

The US envoy, who also relished ‘halwa-puri’ and ‘lassi’, said Lahori food was among the best food items across the world. “Being a Californian, I prefer spicy food and I have great relish for Pakistani spicy food,” he added. Talking about the recent WikiLeaks releases, Munter said they would not affect the strong Pakistan-US ties. “The United States-Pakistan relationship is strong. Pakistan’s government leaders talk to me openly and honestly and I speak with them in the same manner,” said Ambassador Munter, adding, “We continue to work very closely with the Pakistani Government.”

We often say that Pakistan’s problems can be solved through drastic measures and such decisions which are unpopular. It is a fact that no government elected by the people and brought to power by greedy coalition partners can take such unpopular decisions, be it Zardari, Sharif or anyone else. There is, however, some ray of hope. There is one leader who is known for taking unpopular decisions. In fact the only decisions that he takes without consultations subsequently turn out to be unpopular. But he is out of Pakistan and trying hard to be able to come back and remain untouched by those who want his head to be on the chopping board. The Express Tribune has reported that the Government of Pakistan is said to be under unprecedented pressure from the rulers of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to pave the way for a safe, secure and honorable homecoming for former president General (retd) Pervez Musharraf.

They are also said to have asked Islamabad to initiate steps to build a favourable political image of the former military dictator and ensure that upon his return home, he will not be harassed by court cases and the police.

According to an understanding reached between the UAE and Pakistan several months ago, it was decided that the Pakistani government would facilitate Musharraf’s return as soon as the two-year bar on his participation in politics ends, sources said. Official sources claimed that the pressure had already forced President Asif Ali Zardari to curtail his visits to Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

This extraordinary interest of UAE rulers in Pakistan’s internal affairs, especially in Musharraf’s political future, was thrown into light once again due to UAE’s foreign minister Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed al Nahyan’s covert visit to Islamabad within three days of the Federal Investigation Agency’s (FIA) announcement that Musharraf has been included in the investigation of former premier Benazir Bhutto’s assassination. He spent a mere 30 minutes with President Zardari before heading back home but, immediately after his visit, Interior Minister Rehman Malik told the media that the government did not intend to question Musharraf. Rehman, on November 27, categorically said that the government had not taken any decision to include Musharraf in the probe.