US plays old games again

History repeats itself:

[quote]The US government has a most convenient dual approach towards states they need but really do not want to see them being strengthened substantively. In such cases, the US President reaches out in “friendship”, hosting the leadership of that state and praising the “ally’s” unstinting support in furthering US policies — often, of course, defined in terms of “international” policies. The US President and his cabinet members offer such allies all manner of attractive aid and assistance, so the ally really feels that this time round its sincerity and living up to its side of the bargain have been truly understood, appreciated and, therefore, reciprocated! It is only when the nitty-gritty of the so-called reciprocity is set in motion that the ally discovers that the US Congress — that “monster” dominated by hostile interests — is not going along with the US President and is setting all manner of conditionalities to the terms of reciprocity. By this time, in most cases, the ally has delivered all it had to and so finds itself “betrayed” once again.

….For Pakistan, there is a clear sense of deja vu in the developments that have followed President Musharraf’s visit to the US where he was awarded the special US Presidential honour of being a guest at Camp David.

….No sooner had the Pakistan’s President left, then Congress came into its own. The proposed US Millennium Challenge Account Bill, under which the US is supposed to provide the support President Bush committed to President Musharraf at Camp David, was ravaged by the House of Representatives. Even as the Bush Administration never spoke of any conditionalities to the aid package agreed to during the Pakistani Presidential visit to Camp David, the US House of Representatives attached all manner of intrusive conditionalities and these were to be fulfilled every year by the US President before Pakistan could get any part of the aid package!

>>[url=http://www.jang.com.pk/thenews/jul2003-daily/23-07-2003/oped/o3.htm]The News: Shireen M Mazari[/url] [/quote]

No final decision on sending troops to Iraq: Pakistan

CYA: After holding their breath on the Indians for so long, Army HQ heaves a deep sigh of relief, and pushes the matter further away. If the Indians had decided to send troops, Mush would have been in a fine pickle indeed.

[quote]ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Monday said it had not made a final decision against sending its troops to Iraq and expressed willingness to send forces to Baghdad under United Nations? cover or an invitation from the Iraqi people.

>>[url=http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=story_22-7-2003_pg1_1]Daily Times[/url]

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Debt crosses Rs1.7 trillion mark

[quote]ISLAMABAD, July 20: Pakistan’s total outstanding domestic debt has crossed Rs1.787 trillion mark on May 31, 2003, up by about Rs70 billion, from Rs1.718 trillion in June 2002.

The rise in debt has taken place despite reduced interest rates and government’s claims that “accumulation of domestic debt has been brought to a stop” through fiscal discipline.

….The domestic debt servicing in Pakistan consumed more than 66 per cent of total revenue, leaving very little fiscal space for development spending, social sector and physical infrastructure spending.

>>[url=http://www.dawn.com/2003/07/21/top7.htm]Dawn[/url]

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400MW self-generation denying KESC huge earning

[quote]KARACHI: About 20 per cent of the industrial units in the city do not depend on the power produced by the Karachi Electric Supply Corporation (KESC) and rely on self-generation, certainly due to frequent power disruptions and the ever-rising electricity tariff.

….The city’s overall demand is 1900MW, excluding the self-generated 400MW which is fast becoming the rising trend. No one else but the KESC high-ups are to be blamed for the huge revenue the power utility is losing due to self-generation.

[url=http://www.jang.com.pk/thenews/jul2003-daily/21-07-2003/metro/k1.htm]The News[/url]

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Parliamentary censorship?

People wonder why we tolerate a military dictatorship so easily. The following should answer that quite nicely.

[quote]The National Assembly secretariat is reported to have started censoring speeches delivered on the floor of the House before incorporating them into the parliamentary record. The main targets currently are said to be leading opposition leaders, who are also the most vocal critics of the government and the Establishment. The censorship draws upon a ‘rule’ which, according to the Secretary National Assembly, bars criticism of persons not present in the House to defend themselves. The Speaker is also said to have ruled in favour of this practice.

The development is amazing because it seems effectively to rule out criticism of non-parliamentarians because only they cannot be present, and speak, in the House.

>>[url=http://www.jang.com.pk/thenews/jul2003-daily/20-07-2003/oped/editorial.htm#2]The News: Parliamentary censorship?[/url]

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A canter with the emperor

[quote] The opposition has been counting upon Pervez Musharraf committing a major blunder. Nimble-footed, he has disappointed them for the past three years. It must be terribly frustrating. No wonder, the two fading stars of failed democracy have been shoring up their flagging morale recently by promising themselves an uprising. It is redolent of Lahore coffee house guff of the early fifties when armchair radicals waxed eloquent about the imminence of a revolution.

….Large elements of the elite, listless in the wilderness, are pining away for yet another chance to make a killing. Their ambitions thrive in a cocoon of self-deception, and the world is passing them by.

>>[url=http://www.jang.com.pk/thenews/jul2003-daily/14-07-2003/oped/o5.htm]The News International Pakistan[/url] [/quote]

Pakistan has no aggressive designs: Musharraf

Musharraf can now consider himself a proud graduate of of the school of political speaking. The art of speaking without actually saying anything while promising the world is not easy. Musharraf also seems to have taken an extra credit class in “Saying many good things over and over again which mean exactly nothing but they sure sound good.”

bq. ISLAMABAD: President Pervez Musharraf has said Pakistan has no aggressive designs and its weapons production capability is meant for peace with honour and dignity.

>>”The News”:http://www.jang.com.pk/thenews/jul2003-daily/13-07-2003/main/main3.htm

Cabinet okays telecom deregulation policy

10 billion dollars is a lot of money! At the very least, the telephone system and internet access should greatly improve. At the present moment, there is only one fiber optic submarine cable connecting Pakistan to the rest of the world. There are also multiple satellite links, but those cost a lot more. An E1 (2 MB) link from BT costs PTCL roughly $700 which it is retailing at $5,400 or 800% of the cost! See “Tee Emm’s Window to Pakistan”:http://pakistan.blogspot.com/ for more information.

Update: PTCL seems to be “waking up”:http://www.jang.com.pk/thenews/jul2003-daily/18-07-2003/business/b8.htm.

bq. KARACHI: The federal cabinet on Saturday gave approval to the much-awaited telecom deregulation policy after six months to the end of Pakistan Telecommunications monopoly, which the analysts say would kick off healthy competition and improve consumer facilitation.

….According to World Bank estimates, investments amounting to $8-10 billion are expected after the deregulation of telecom sector in Pakistan.

>>”The News”:http://www.jang.com.pk/thenews/jul2003-daily/13-07-2003/main/main10.htm

Stock Market Review: Karachi stocks gain 5% as record-breaking rally continues

Last year the Karachi Stock exchange had the highest growth rate in the world. It’s still growing:

bq. KARACHI: The Karachi stock market saw a bullish trading week on the back of positive political developments, an improved fertilizer sector outlook as a result of heavy rains, expectations of cash dividends during the upcoming earning season and the increase in the cement quota, analysts said.

Not even the Quetta carnage deterred trading, said brokers.

….the market on Wednesday once again made a new record breaching the 3,550 points level.

>> “Daily Times Pakistan”:http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=story_13-7-2003_pg5_12

Update: “KSE breaks 3700-point barrier”:http://www.jang.com.pk/thenews/jul2003-daily/18-07-2003/business/b2.htm

Update: August 2 2003:

bq.. KARACHI: The KSE-100 index hurtled past the unchartered 4,000 points level Friday, leaving brokers and investors struggling to catch their breath. After all, the ride to this record has been relentless.

…But clearly, the bulls aren?t letting up. Indeed, it?s a tough call to find a skeptic at the KSE. Broker and market mover Aqeel Karim Dhedhi, for example, has his sights and his money on 5,000 points. Similarly, a research report released by brokerage house Eastern Capital screams a target of 5,684 points. Happily, some big names like broker Arif Habib are taking a refreshingly more sedate view saying that ?if the market maintains the 4,000 level, that will be quite some achievement.?

>> “Daily Times: News Analysis: Index crosses 4,000 points ? Has the KSE gone overboard? “:http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=story_2-8-2003_pg1_10

Asif Zardari: Regime should decide who is real ruler

All the pundits and other political has beens have been going about this for months now, but when the “jailed spouse”:http://216.239.37.104/search?q=cache:zDOa70nQzJQJ:www.satribune.com/archives/jan20_26_03/P1_asiflcases.htm+asif+zardari+jail&hl=en&ie=UTF-8 of an exiled Prime Minister also starts on about it then it means that Musharraf is losing his grip somewhat. Much as the Mush would like to, he’s opened pandora’s box and though he can kill all the politico’s who’ve popped out he can’t put them back in.

As an aside, the link above is to the “google cache”:http://www.wired.com/news/business/0,1367,41065,00.html of the article at the South Asia Tribune’s “website”:http://www.satribune.com/ as the Govt. of Pakistan is “blocking”:http://ko.offroadpakistan.com/pakistan/2003_07/pakistan_tackles_web_porn.html access to it. It took me all of 0.28 seconds using “Google”:http://www.google.com to access the site. Once they block Google, I am afraid that time might go up to a second. They can always just disconnect the whole country from the net, but that is really going to give Musharraf a bad image.

bq.. KARACHI, July 9: Asif Ali Zardari claimed on Wednesday that the Musharraf regime was on the defensive against political forces, and urged it to put its act together to decide who was the real ruler of the country.

Talking informally to reporters inside the Karachi Central Prison prior to his acquittal in an attempt to commit suicide case, Mr Zardari termed Gen Musharraf’s Camp David visit a “failure”, and said the deplorable terrorist attack in Quetta and the state of relations with Afghanistan, Iran and other neighbours reflected Pakistan’s growing isolation.

>> “Dawn”:http://www.dawn.com/2003/07/10/top3.htm