Archive for November, 2008
Friday, November 28, 2008
by Sardar Mumtaz Ali Bhutto
During his last visit to New York, Zardari is reported to have remarked that US troops could not enter Pakistan, because they didn’t have visas. This in the wake of his earlier verbal mishaps and indiscretions. They may be funny for some–such as his expression of a desire to hug Sarah Palin and ending up embracing Manmohan Singh, who responded by cutting off water to Pakistan–but they embarrassed the nation.
Not that the US has not had its share of bungling presidents–i.e., George W Bush himself, whose Bushisms have even appeared in book form. (Examples: “More and more of our imports come from overseas,” “If we don’t succeed we run the risk of failure,” “We are ready for any unforeseen event that may or may not occur.”) However, the US is a mighty power which can endure such a comedy of errors, but Pakistan cannot. Hence the failed visits to the US, China, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, even though these are the powers that traditionally come to Pakistan’s aid in times of need.
Let us recall here the Simla Agreement with India. Right up to the last day there was no agreement. In the end, Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto suggested an unscheduled one-to-one meeting with Indira Gandhi. The meeting took place and the Shimla Agreement emerged.
Above all, a genuine leader has to be an undisputed leader of his people. Mere clones thrown up by circumstances and a collection of self-seekers cannot meet the requirement.
Someone must bring this truth to Zardari’s awareness before more serious harm is caused. A man who had been sidelined by his wife for eleven years suddenly bursts onto the Pakistani political scene as soon as she is murdered. Instead of rushing to the nearest police station to file a complaint about the murder and launch a crusade against her killers, he focuses on capturing the political and material heritage that she leaves behind. In this he receives collaboration from those who have been out of government for eleven years and are impatiently waiting to return to positions of power. Thus we have a president whose only attribute is marriage to a politically powerful wife. It does not matter that he has no academic qualifications and has been an accused in a plethora of criminal cases from which he has escaped because of a deal with Musharraf.
He does not have the courage to function outside the Bhutto aura and has had to take refuge in the “Jeeay Bhutto” slogan and move in the shadow of his wife’s portrait. This sort of things may fool the people at home but does not work abroad. His taking a huge portrait of his wife to the UN General Assembly was an act of unmitigated absurdity. In fact, this trick is becoming stale even in Pakistan.
Zardari has surrounded himself with hordes of hangers-on and scroungers, but has few real well wishers. Otherwise he would have been advised not to act as king, which has highlighted his serious limitations. In the short period since the elections he is being held directly responsible for the total failure of the third PPP government too. Benefiting by experience he should have remained co-chairman and pulled strings so that others became the targets while he continued to do what he does best.
As it is, the betrayed people, particularly in Sindh, are really on the warpath with their sights fixed on him. By exercising the powers of both president and prime minister, refusing to restore the pre-Nov 3 judiciary, holding on to the 17th Amendment and Article 58 (2) (b), ignoring Parliament, rewarding lucrative government posts to cronies and fellow-travellers, many of whom have criminal records (while the man in the street is forced into suicide because of hunger and mothers are reduced to selling their infants to buy food), allowing blatant corruption, murder and the other evils that plague our society, permitting all those in and around the government to have a ball rather than do their job and show results, and taking costly foreign trips, he has blocked all venues of escape for himself. On top of all this is the revelation in The Washington Post that US bombardment in Pakistan is under an agreement whereby the Zardari government will do nothing against the attacks but raise hollow objections to them for local consumption.
This has been followed by the disclosure by an American general that Pakistani and US troops are conducting joint operations against the militants in the north. All this has been denied but it fits smugly into the overall deal brokered by the US between the PPP and Musharraf, which is no longer secret. It is under its provisions that the NRO came into being while Musharraf continues to enjoy presidential perks and immunity from accountability. Many also feel that Shaheed Benazir was eliminated because she began to ignore the deal and became recalcitrant, while disclosures in the American media have highlighted the fact that she was not trusted: even Vice President Dick Chaney has been quoted as considering her unreliable.
The sudden disappearance of the most popular leader from the political scene, at a time when elections were around the corner, threw the whole political process into turmoil, out of which has sprung the current setup. Strictly speaking, Zardari is not a direct representative of the people. He was unpopular before and is unpopular now. Fate and greedy pulao politicians have catapulted him into a position which is not only beyond his wildest dreams but in which he does not fit. Having no roots, he is highly vulnerable and must cling to the support of parliamentarians who have put him in power. This is not available without patronage and privileges, the grant of which has become scandalous in the extreme.
Ministerial and advisory positions, assistantships, roving ambassadorships, appointments to high bureaucratic posts and simply grant of official hospitality to all and sundry have not only been a backbreaking burden on the depleted the public exchequer but also created a stink which has become politically damaging. The stature and image of the government has sunk to rock bottom and its writ reduced to nothing. Those in positions of authority, recalling the previous two quick exits of the PPP governments, do not trust their luck and feel the urgent need to grab whatever they can. Stories of corrupt practices being spread by those who are looking for jobs or handouts under the Benazir Income Support Programme and other such venues of beggary, are absolutely astounding. There is no way to control the excesses and liberties of those in government and their supporters, because, if control were exercised, there would be rebellion, leading to collapse of the government.
However, the heartbreaking scenario must not be allowed to sink a country that has potential for greatness. New options must be explored, and one is that an Election Commission headed by someone with the stature of Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry must hold elections from which the usual sinners must be banned. The election campaign must be strictly regulated and monitored to punish offences instantly and strictly. Portfolios must be allotted on the basis of qualifications, the cabinet must be small and ministers must be required to do their jobs, rather than simply having a good time at government expense. Of course, such steps are not enough for cleaning up the huge mess that exists, but they would be a start.
The writer is chairman of the Sindh National Front.
Courtesy: Toothpaste for dinner
Written by HASSAN PARVEZ in Dawn Letters
THE federal cabinet, currently operating with a small team of 61 members, urgently requires experienced and dynamic new ministers to fill up a large number of challenging assignments lying vacant due to the non-availability of suitably qualified and experienced candidates.
The ministers required are:
• Minister for promotion of vani, karo kari and jirgas. The applicant must be able to show bona fide evidence of his participation in at least 10 jirgas. Knowledge and deep personal commitment to the traditions of vani, karo kari and other similar compensatory mechanisms is an essential pre-requisite.
• Minister for burials and graveyards: This is a sensitive assignment and would require improvement in burial procedures specially relating to those women who are pre-maturely killed for such heinous crimes as wanting to get married to persons of their own choice. Preference will be given to ex-senators and those already serving in provincial cabinets.
• Minister for pointing fingers: This highly complex assignment requires the minister to point fingers during press conferences, typically towards carefully selected journalists, to indicate who should speak next.
• Minister for elimination of wild boars, dogs and other such animals: This ministry is not as simple as it looks. The minister will be responsible to get the unwanted wild boars out of the President’s House and the Prime Minister’s House. He/she shall also be responsible for creating a strategy for elimination of dogs from Khairpur and such other districts, where they are currently being used to maul women whenever ordered by a local jirga. As either the Jirgas or the dogs must be eliminated to get rid of this menace, the government has decided to retain the jirgas and get rid of the dogs.
• Minister for non-religious affairs: We already have six ministers, one each for Usher, Zakat, Haj, Moonsighting, Muharram and other religious affairs. We now need a minister who can point out what is non-religious about all these religious ministries. Candidates who have been earlier allotted free agricultural lands or diesel licences need not apply.
• Minister for unofficial foreign visits: This minister will be full-time responsible for creating reasons, making arrangements, issuing statements and planning yet more official-looking unofficial visits for the president and the prime minister. His task is to keep these two gentlemen out of the country for at least 75 per cent of the time.
Applicants must possess verifiable evidence of skill and excellence in their area of expertise. While a formal degree is not required, a non-recognisable vague qualification such as diploma in ‘education’ from any unknown institution would be desirable. Those with experience of driving around without number plates, participating or presiding over jirgas, wanted by courts or having been in jail on corruption charges would be given preference.
As you are primarily interested only in serving the poor people of Pakistan, your basic salary shall be Rs80,000 a month. Your hard work shall, however, be partly compensated by perks and perquisites, some of which are mentioned below:
a. One Prado/land Cruiser for self and three for staff and family.
b. A monthly foreign trip to observe elections being held in a country of your choice. Additional trips can be arranged depending upon your areas of expertise. These could be leading a Pakistani delegation to an interfaith conference, Kashmir conference, cultural conference, sports conference, or a conference on how to identify where such conferences are being held.
c. Two free ‘Umras’ per year, that include a four nights’ stay in Saudi Arabia in a five-star hotel. All expenses paid.
d. One free bungalow in Islamabad in any sector of your choice
e. Unlimited free travel and stay throughout Pakistan.
f. You may recommend up to 8,000 friends, relatives and well-wishers to receive monthly grants from the Benazir Bhutto fund.
g. You may recommend up to 300 friends, relatives and well-wishers per month to get employment in government organisations. i. Free medical treatment and medicines for self, friends and family. This facility, however, does not include free compensation for any violence that you and your family members may commit against the medical staff of the hospital.
Woah whatever that means
This site says: ISTP – The Mechanics is my blog type.
The independent and problem-solving type. They are especially attuned to the demands of the moment are masters of responding to challenges that arise spontaneously. They generally prefer to think things out for themselves and often avoid inter-personal conflicts.
The Mechanics enjoy working together with other independent and highly skilled people and often like seek fun and action both in their work and personal life. They enjoy adventure and risk such as in driving race cars or working as policemen and firefighters.
Oh My My MY
Written by Zahida Hina in Daily Express.
Effort is not everything in performance. A good batsman may ‘effortlessly’ flick a ball to the square leg boundary. Knowing what to do is the most critical factor in performance, as the following interesting story illustrates:
There was this huge ship whose engine failed one day..
The ship’s owners tried one expert after another, but none of them could figure but how to fix the engine. Then they brought in an old man who had been fixing ships since he was a youngster. He carried a large bag of tools with him, and when he arrived, he immediately went to work.
He inspected the engine very carefully, top to bottom. Two of the ship’s owners were there, watching this man, hoping he would know what to do. After looking things over, the old man reached into his bag and pulled out a small hammer. He gently tapped something. Instantly, the engine lurched into life. He carefully put his hammer away. The engine was fixed!
A week later, the owners received a bill from the old man for ten thousand rupees. “What?” the owners exclaimed. “He hardly did anything!” So they wrote the old man a note saying, “Please send us an Itemized Bill.”
The man sent a bill that read:
Tapping with a hammer …………………. Rs 2.00
Knowing where to tap………………….. Rs 9998.00
Total Rs 10,000.00
Effort is important, but knowing where to make an effort in your life makes all the difference.
First read in syra’s post ^_^
Cancer Fighting Foods/Spices
The National Cancer Institute estimates that roughly one-third of all cancer deaths may be diet related. What you eat can hurt you, but it can also help you. Many of the common foods found in grocery stores or organic markets contain cancer-fighting properties, from the antioxidants that neutralize the damage caused by free radicals to the powerful phytochemicals that scientists are just beginning to explore. There isn’t a single element in a particular food that does all the work: The best thing to do is eat a variety of foods.
The following foods have the ability to help stave off cancer and some can even help inhibit cancer cell growth or reduce tumor size.
Avocados are rich in glutathione, a powerful antioxidant that attacks free radicals in the body by blocking intestinal absorption of certain fats. They also supply even more potassium than bananas and are a strong source of beta-carotene. Scientists also believe that avocados may also be useful in treating viral hepatitis (a cause of liver cancer), as well as other sources of liver damage.
Broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower have a chemical component called indole-3-carbinol that can combat breast cancer by converting a cancer-promoting estrogen into a more protective variety. Broccoli, especially sprouts, also have the phytochemical sulforaphane, a product of glucoraphanin – believed to aid in preventing some types of cancer, like colon and rectal cancer. Sulforaphane induces the production of certain enzymes that can deactivate free radicals and carcinogens. The enzymes have been shown to inhibit the growth of tumors in laboratory animals. However, be aware that the Agriculture Department studied 71 types of broccoli plants and found a 30-fold difference in the amounts of glucoraphanin. It appears that the more bitter the broccoli is, the more glucoraphanin it has. Broccoli sprouts have been developed under the trade name BroccoSprouts that have a consistent level of sulforaphane – as much as 20 times higher than the levels found in mature heads of broccoli.
Carrots contain a lot of beta carotene, which may help reduce a wide range of cancers including lung, mouth, throat, stomach, intestine, bladder, prostate and breast. Some research indicated beta carotene may actually cause cancer, but this has not proven that eating carrots, unless in very large quantities – 2 to 3 kilos a day, can cause cancer. In fact, a substance called falcarinol that is found in carrots has been found to reduce the risk of cancer, according to researchers at Danish Institute of Agricultural Sciences (DIAS). Kirsten Brandt, head of the research department, explained that isolated cancer cells grow more slowly when exposed to falcarinol. This substance is a polyacethylen, however, so it is important not to cook the carrots.
Chili peppers and jalapenos contain a chemical, capsaicin, which may neutralize certain cancer-causing substances (nitrosamines) and may help prevent cancers such as stomach cancer.
Need to say more?
Pre-printed sifarshi letters?
And the letter header rocks too.