کلبھوشن، ویانا کنونشن اور اقوام متحدہ کا چارٹر

کلبھوشن، ویانا کنونشن اور اقوام متحدہ کا چارٹر

طاہرعلی خان

http://daanish.pk/6971/

بین الاقوامی عدالت انصاف کی طرف سے کلبھوشن یادیو کیس میں عبوری فیصلے پر پاکستان میں لوگ اپنی سمجھ بوجھ اور سیاسی وابستگی کی روشنی میں تبصرے کر رہے ہیں۔ کوئی اسے جندال کے دورے سے جوڑ رہا ہے، کسی کے خیال میں پاکستانی وکلاء ٹیم کی کارکردگی مایوس کن تھی، کوئی کہتا ہے پاکستان کووہاں جانا ہی نہیں چاہیے تھا اور کسی کے مطابق بین الاقوامی عدالت انصاف کے فیصلے ماننا لازم نہیں اس لئے کلبھوشن کو فوراً پھانسی چڑھالینا چاہیے۔

پاکستانی وکلاء کی عالمی عدالت میں کارکرگی اور وزیراعظم نواز شریف اوران کے دوست بھارتی تاجر سجن جندال کی ملاقات سے اس کو جوڑنے والے نکات پر ایک سے زیادہ رائے ہو سکتی ہیں۔

اقوام متحدہ کے چارٹر کی دفعہ ۹۴ کے مطابق بظاہر اس بات میں وزن دکھائی دیتا ہے کہ پاکستان کے پاس یہ اختیار تھا کہ وہ عالمی عدالت نہ جاتا تو پھر اس کا فیصلہ ماننے کا پابند نہ ہوتا۔ اب چونکہ دانستگی یا نادانستگی میں پاکستان عالمی عدالت میں چلا گیا ہے اس لیے اس پر مزید بات کرنے کا کوئی فائدہ نہیں تاہم آخری نکتہ کہ عالمی عدالت کے فیصلے بائینڈنگ نہیں اس لیے اب کلبھوشن کو پھانسی دے دینی چاہیے، متعلقہ قوانین اور بین الاقوامی ذمہ داریوں سے واضح لاعلمی پر مبنی ہیےاس لیے اس کی وضاحت ضروری ہے۔

اقوام متحدہ کے چارٹر کی دفعہ ۹۴ کےالفاظ یہ ہیں۔ ‘‘اقوام متحدہ کا ہر ممبر وعدہ کرتاہے کہ وہ ہر اس کیس میں عالمی عدالت انصاف کے فیصلے پر عمل کرےگا جس میں وہ فریق ہے۔ اگر کیس کا کوئی فریق عالمی عدالت کے فیصلے کے تحت عائد ذمہ داریوں کو پورا کرنے میں ناکام ہوجاتا ہے تو دوسرا فریق سیکورٹی کونسل سے رجوع کر سکتا ہےجو اگر ضروری سمجھے تو فیصلے پرعمل درآمد کے لئے سفارشات تجویز یا اقدامت کا فیصلہ کرسکتا ہے۔’’ چارٹر کی اس دفعہ کا انگریزی متن یہ ہے۔

UN Charter Article 94

  1. Each Member of the United Nations undertakes to comply with the decision of the International Court of Justice in any case to which it is a party.
  2. If any party to a case fails to perform the obligations incumbent upon it under a judgment rendered by the Court, the other party may have recourse to the Security Council, which may, if it deems necessary, make recommendations or decide upon measures to be taken to give effect to the judgment.

یہ بات تو واضح ہے کہ اب اس فیصلے سے روگردانی ممکن نہیں کیونکہ پاکستان امریکہ جیسی طاقت نہیں رکھتا جس نے کم ازکم دو مرتبہ عالمی عدالت کے اسی طرح کے فیصلوں کے باوجود ملزموں کو پھانسی چڑھا دیا تھا اور کوئی اس کا کچھ نہ بگاڑ سکا تاہم پاکستان کے پاس راستہ کھلا ہے کہ وہ عالمی عدالت سے کلبھوشن کیس کا حتمی فیصلے اپنے حق میں کروانے کے لیے خوب تیاری کرے۔ اس کے لیے چند نکات پیش خدمت ہیں۔

ہندوستان نے ویانا کنونشن کی دفعہ ۳۶ کی روشنی میں پاکستان پر کلبھوشن تک قونصلر رسائی نہ دینے اوراسکی گرفتاری سے بروقت مطلع نہ کرنے پر مقدمہ کیا اور آفشنل پروٹوکول کے آرٹیکل ۱ کی بنیاد پر مطالبہ کیا تھا کہ عالمی عدالت انصاف ویانا کنوشن کے مفہوم اور اطلاق سے پیدا ہونے والے تنازعات پرچونکہ فیصلے دینے کا لازمی دائرۂ اختیار رکھتا ہےا س لیے وہ کلبھوشن کے مقدمے کو سنے تاہم پاکستان نے کہا کہ بھارت اور پاکستان کے مابین ۲۰۰۸ میں قونصلر رسائی کا ایک معاہدہ ہوا تھا جس کی دفعہ ۶ کے مطابق سیاسی اور سیکورٹی بنیادوں پر گرفتاری، حراست اور سزا کی صورت میں ہر ریاست کو کیس کی میرٹ پر خود فیصلہ کرنے کا اختیار دیا گیا ہے۔

دیکھنا یہ ہے کہ آیا ۲۰۰۸ کا یہ پاک بھارت معاہدہ اقوام متحدہ کے چارٹر کے آرٹیکل۱۰۲ کے شق ا کے مطابق اقوام متحدہ کے ساتھ رجسٹرڈ کیا گیا تھا یا نہیں۔ اگرہاں تو پھر پاکستان کا کیس مضبوط ہے تاہم اسے یہ ثابت کرنا ہوگا کہ کلبھوشن ایک غیرقانونی مداخلت کار اور جاسوس ہے۔ اگریہ رجسٹرڈ نہیں تو اسی آرٹیکل کے شق ۲ کے مطابق اقوام متحدہ کے کسی عضو کے سامنے ایسے کسی معاہدے سے مدد نہیں لی جا سکتی۔

انڈیا نے اگر یہی لائن لے لی تو پھراگر پاکستان کشمیر میں بھارتی فورسز کے ہاتھوں انسانی حقوق کی پامالیوں پرعالمی عدالت انصاف میں کیس کرلیتا ہے تو انڈیا بھی شملہ معاہدے کی آڑنہیں لے سکے گا کہ یقیناً یہ بھی اقوام متحدہ کےساتھ رجسٹرڈ نہیں کیا گیا ہوگا۔

تاہم ویانا کنونشن کے آپشنل پروٹوکول کے آرٹیکل ۱سے پہلے چند الفاظ آئے ہیں جن کی بنیاد پر پاکستان اپنا کیس بنا سکتاہے۔۔‘‘جب تک ایک معقول وقت کے اندر فریقین تصفیہ کی کسی اور شکل پرمتفق نہ ہوں، وہ کنوشن کی تفہیم یا اطلاق سے پیدا ہونےکسی بھی تنازع پر بین الاقوامی عدالت انصاف سے رجوع کرنے کی خواہش کا اظہارکرتے ہیں’’۔ یہ معقول وقت کیاہے اور تصفیہ کی اور شکلیں کیا ہیں؟ اور یہ کہ اس کے بغیر کیا کوئی فریق براہ راست عالمی عدالت میں جا سکتا ہے؟

اس کنونشن کے آرٹیکل ۲ کے مطابق‘‘فریقین چاہیں، تواس کے بعد کہ ایک فریق نے دوسرے کو اطلاع دے دی ہو کہ تنازع موجود ہے، دو مہینے کے اندر اندر عالمی عدالت نہیں بلکہ کسی ثالثی ٹریبیونل سے رجوع کرنے پر متفق ہو جائیں۔ اس مدت کے اختتام پر کوئی بھی فریق ایک درخواست سے اس تنازع کو عالمی عدالت میں لا سکتا ہے’’۔

اس کنونشن کے آرٹیکل ۳ کے ذیلی شق ۱کے مطابق اسی دو مہینے کی مدت میں فریقین چاہیں تو عالمی عدالت سے رجوع کرنے سے پیشتر اصلاح و تصفیہ کے کسی طریق کار پر رضامند ہوں۔ شق دو کے مطابق یہ مفاہمتی کمیشن اپنی تقرری کے پانچ ماہ کے اندر اندر اپنی رپورٹ دے گا۔ اگر اس کمیشن کی سفارشات کو کوئی فریق دو ماہ کے اندر اندر قبول نہ کرے تو دوسرا فریق ایک درخواست کے ذریعے عالمی عدالت کے سامنے یہ تنازعہ لاسکتا ہے۔ دیکھنا یہ ہے کہ عالمی عدالت میں جانے سے قبل یہ شرائط ہندوستان نے پوری کی تھیں۔ کیا اس نے پاکستان کے ساتھ کسی ٹریبیونل یا مفاہمتی کمیشن کے لئے بات کرنے کی خواہش اور کوشش کی تھی؟ اگر نہیں تو وہ اس کنونشن کے تحت براہ راست رجوع کرنے کا حق نہیں رکھتا اور پاکستان کو پرزور انداز میں یہ دلیل پیش کرنی چاہیے۔

پاکستان کہتا ہے کلبھوشن ایک جاسوس ہے جو دہشت گردی کرانے غیرقانونی طریقے سے بھیس بدل کر پاکستان میں داخل ہوا تھا اور اسے ویانا کنونشن کے تحت حقوق نہیں دیے جا سکتے جبکہ انڈیا اسے ایک بےگناہ ہندوستانی گردانتا ہے جس کو قونصلر رسائی اور قانونی امداد کے حقوق حاصل ہیں۔ اب ایک طرف ویانا کنونشن ہے اور دوسری طرف اقوام متحدہ کا چارٹر جو دوسرے ممالک کے اقتداراعلیٰ اور سالمیت کے احترام اور ان کے اندرونی امور میں مداخلت کی اجازت نہیں دیتا۔ ایک طرف ہندوستان کی ویانا کنونشن کے تحت ذمہ داریاں ہیں اور دوسری طرف اقوام متحدہ کے تحت۔ ان میں کس کو فوقیت دی جائیگی؟ اقوام متحدہ کے چارٹر کے آرٹیکل ۱۰۳ کا اس سلسلے میں فیصلہ یہ ہے۔ ‘‘اقوام متحدہ کے ارکان کی اس موجودہ چارٹر یا کسی دوسرے بین الاقوامی معاہدے کے تحت ذمہ داریوں پر کوئی اختلاف واقع ہو جائے تو اس چارٹر کی تحت ان کی ذمہ داریوں کو فوقیت حاصل رہے گی۔’’

کیا اقوام متحدہ کا چارٹر عالمی ادارے کے ممبران کو ایک دوسرے کے اندر مداخلت یا جاسوسی کرنے یا ایسا کرنے والوں کی مدد یا پشت پناہی کی اجازت دیتا ہے؟

Writer’s intro

طاہرعلی خان فری لانس صحافی ہیں، رواداری ، احترام انسانیت اور امن کے پرچارک ہیں اور ان مقاصد کے حصول کے لیے ۔    کے نام سے بلاگ بھی رکھتے ہیں ۔ www.tahirkatlang.wordpress.com لکھتے ہیں. وہ

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CIVIC SENSE

What is civic sense? Do Pakistanis have/lack civil sense? Why do Pakistanis lack civic sense? What is needed for promoting civic sense?

By Tahir Ali

The writer is an academic who blogs at www.tahirkatlang.wordpress.com and can be reached at tahir_katlang@yahoo.com

 

While being interviewed by a panel at the Federal Public Service Commission, I was, inter alia, asked these questions, “What do you understand by the term civic-sense? What are the causes of lack of civic sense in Pakistan and what are your suggestions for ensuring widespread civic sense in Pakistan?

I answered the questions and the subsequent counter questions put by the interviewers in detail.  I had then resolved to write a comprehensive article on the issue but the idea could not materialise for my pressing engagements. It might have delayed it further but an interaction with one of my friends last week pushed me to go for it.

Last week, the friend Islam Ghani visited me and in the course of our discussion, he told me. “Every day when I leave home for my office, I see the drainage system blocked by polythene bags/garbage because one of my neighbours is in the habit of sweeping out all his garbage into the drain. I often clean the drain myself. The person and his children usually see me doing that. I request them to be sensitive to the neighbours but to no effect. And last week, the person had this to tell me: “I have done that. Do what you want/can. Do you think my garbage was to lie in my house? Why don’t you approach the municipal workers to come and clean the mess instead of becoming sweeper yourself or asking me to?” says Islam Ghani.

Throwing out your garbage this way and the subsequent response by the guilty speaks a lot of our public morality and an acute lack of civic sense in our society, he adds.

WHAT IS CIVIC SENSE?

The word ‘Civic’ means of or related to a city or people who live there or the duties and responsibilities of citizens, and the word ‘Sense’ means sound practical judgement or awareness about something. The term, therefore, literally means an understanding of the way how people should live and behave in a society.

Civic sense is a consideration for the norms of society. It includes respect for the law and for the ease and feelings of others and maintaining etiquettes while dealing and interacting with others. For example, if we visit someone’s house, ethics demand that we knock at the door, ask for permission to go inside or that we avoid visiting someone at the time of meals or at bed/rest time.

It means we respect and help others, avoid spitting on roads, streets and public places, avoid listening to loud music, refrain from blowing pressure horns, adhere to traffic rules, obey laws, park vehicles at nominated places, avoid wall chalking, ensure economical use of the natural resources and public facilities, help reduce leakage/wastage/misuse of gas/water/electricity, pay taxes and utility bills, wait for our turn, be tolerant towards opposing views, respect minorities and ensure religious harmony and devote ourselves to welfare/community services.

One is considered to have Civic Sense if he is caring and sensitive towards the elderly, women, children, disabled persons, the poor, the needy, neighbours, companions, subordinates, officers, public and private property, the environment, the animals, natural resources, or in short is behaving better with everyone and everything everywhere. It is about keeping lane while driving, desisting from rash driving or from driving while not in senses, throwing garbage but in a dustbin or designated places and avoiding smoking at public transport/places.

DO PAKISTANIS HAVE or LACK CIVIC SENSE?

Pakistan has been abundantly bestowed with natural resources. It has a highly fertile land. It has plenty of water. Its people are very intelligent and hard-working who have proved their worth and competence in every corner of the world. But the lack of civic sense is tarnishing our image as a respectable nation in the comity of nations and making the country an inhospitable place for both humans and animals. Instead of utilising the abundant natural and physical resources with care, these are being destroyed/wasted with impunity.

Good manners are exceptionally important in life and at the workplace. Unfortunately, most Pakistanis lack civil sense. They generally spit here and there, throw litters on and dirty the roads/public parks/platforms, disturb others by playing high-pitched music; we don’t care for others; we freely tease and harm others if we can escape getting caught/punished; we want to please our Lord by doing Naat-Khaani on loudspeakers even if it does adds to the woes of the neighbours or the sick; we waste natural resources with impunity and do not pay the utility bills; we violate laws, especially the traffic rules; we drive recklessly–one-wheeling on motorbikes is frequently seen; we write advertisements/graffiti on walls especially those of the toilets; we give bribes; we smoke in public places/vehicles; we ridicule the poor; we are intolerant towards others; and suspect and abuse others for nothing; hardly a few amongst us have the courtesy to offer their seat to a woman or an old person in public transport; the heaps of garbage in public parks, sea views, lakes and gardens, waste of food in functions and profuse use of polythene bags in our society display how acutely we lack civic sense. The polythene bags are not only creating health hazards but have the potential to disturb life in cities and destroy agriculture by blocking the sewerage and irrigation systems.

The scourges of extremism and terrorism are extreme manifestations of this lack of civic sense. Extremism has been resulted by the lack of due regard and tolerance for opponents and opposing ideologies. And terrorism is the result of a callous and ruthless mindset which divides the world between “us and them” and where there right of security of life and property is available only to ‘us’ while death is reserved for ‘them’, the opponents. Obviously, a man having civic sense –or regard for the life, honour, peace, happiness and ease of others- can neither be an extremist nor terrorism.

We often see people parking their vehicles in front of ‘No Parking’ signboards and at the footpaths. Materialism, terrorism, sectarianism, extremism, intolerance, racism, mud- slinging and quarrelling on petty issues, a mad race to excel others in money and prestige and disregard for the rule of law are both causes and manifestations of this lack of civic sense. Instead of listening carefully and respectfully to what others say, most of us resort to taunting and vandalism. As a nation, it seems, we are ruled more by our emotions than mind.

We claim having a strong culture of discipline and decency but then our people forget everything when it comes to eating and swarm the food in festivals and programmes.

WHY DO PAKISTANIS LACK CIVIC SENSE?

The familiar stereotyped perception is that the illiterate and the poor have no civic sense but it is erroneous to associate the lack of civic sense to wealth or poverty as the rich and the mighty also display lack of civic sense. For example, they delay flights with complete disregard for other passengers.

Lack of civic sense could be either due to lack of education and awareness. It could also be resulted by the lack of sensitivity and disregard for one’s obligations either for sheer arrogance or for the fact that there is monitoring/accountability structure in a given society that is required for forcing compliance to law. It is rightly said that people who have no sense of duties also have no civic sense and they usually violate not only laws but ethical obligations as well.

Then, we Pakistanis are always in a hurry so lining up and waiting for one’s turn is rarely seen. Again, materialism is fuelling the mad race for self-aggrandisement and account for the vices of corruption, nepotism, favouritism and other malpractices in government departments and private/public dealings.

Many dream of bringing change in Pakistan. But hardly a few are ready to change themselves. We want to bring change but only by criticising/correcting others. We are least prepared for introspection and self-reformation. The basic principle –that we cannot bring change unless we change ourselves, our attitudes and our mindsets –is generally forgotten

There is a memorable quote that best describes our style of religiosity. It read: “Pakistan is facing problems because everyone here wants a hearty share from the temporal bounties for himself/herself but is worried for the life-hereafter of others”.

The media, the intelligentsia and the education curricula could have been more helpful in bringing home the importance of civic sense. It has, unfortunately, been neglected thus far.

WHAT IS NEEDED FOR PROMOTING CIVIC SENSE?

NOT GOVERNMENT ALONE?

All responsibilities and tasks should not be left to government. Citizens need to perform their due role in each walk of life. We will have to shun the mentality that we have the right to throw garbage and spit anywhere and that it is the government’s duty to clean it.

INTROSPECTION AND SELF-IMPROVEMENT

For things to change, we must change. For things to get better, we must get better. We need to change ourselves first if we want change, reform and improved services. Setting a good example is better than teaching/preaching others what to do and what not to do. The Quran also declares: “Do you ask others to do the right things and forget about yourself?”

EMPATHY

We must be empathic. Empathy is trying to feel what somebody else is feeling or look at something through someone else’s eyes so as to understand, help and console him/her if needed. We should always have capacity and penchant to put ourselves in other place and think what would I have felt if this and that had been done to me. We need to be more civilized and caring for others. He/she must respect and facilitate others at home, schools, offices, hospitals, parks, transport and thoroughfares and in dealings, interactions, engagements and functions.

RIGHTS IMPLY DUTIES

It must never be forgotten that rights imply duties. Our rights are duties for others and others’ rights are duties for us. If we have a right to good, clean and peaceful environment, resources, security of life and property, and to be treated respectfully, these rights also imply duties on our part towards others. We must remember that every citizen has the right to enjoy civic amenities like drinking water, electricity, transport facilities etc. It is the duty of every citizen to use these civic amenities properly/carefully and pay the bills and other taxes imposed by the government so that welfare –development and repair/maintenance expenditures of public facilities –could be financed.

CONCERTED EFFORTS BY DIFFERENT STAKEHOLDERS

Different stakeholders –government, law enforcement agencies, media, religious scholars, civil society, professionals, the intelligentsia, and all others –should be involved and need to play their roles in promoting civic sense among the people.

ADVOCACY/ AWARENESS CAMPAIGNS

There is a great need to educate/motivate people, organize training sessions, and run advocacy campaigns. There print and electronic media, the ulema, the civil society and the intelligentsia should spread more awareness on the demands of urbanisation, social ethics and conservation of natural resources and our duties as predecessors to our successors –the next generations.

INCORPORATING CIVIC SENSE IN TEXTBOOKS

Government should include reading material regarding civic sense in textbooks. By educating the youngsters in schools through textbooks, pictures and videos on civic sense, we will not only be making him a better human being but also help rebuilding the country.

PICTURES AND VIDEOS ON CIVIC SENSE

Media could promote civic sense by telecasting/broadcasting short clips about positive and negative behaviours. There are quite a lot of useful and impressive videos already available on the internet on civic sense. In one of them, a person spit in front of neighbour’s door. The neighbour cleans it daily and smiles back whenever the guilty one passes by. At last, the guilty person repents and gives up the bad habit. In another, four youngsters dirty a wall. Usually, passersby warn and try to beat the boys and they disappear but reappear soon to start dirtying the wall again. This practice goes on until a boy with civic sense appears. He brings water and duster to cleanse the wall dirtied by the boys. He is soon joined by many passersby in his effort. At last, the trouble-makers too come and help wash/cleanse the wall.

COMPETITIONS ON CIVIC SENSE BETWEEN PERSONS, TOWNS, CITIES

The government and civil society should announce competitions on different aspects of civic sense like cleanliness, courtesy, humility, cooperation, following the law, paying taxes, helping the needy, caring for others, respecting others, tolerance, awareness and sensitivity to others’ rights, sense of duty and service to humanity etc. These competitions could be used to ascertain and reward the person with the best civic sense in offices, departments, institutions, localities. Similarly, this competition could be used to determine the best cities, villages, wards, Union councils, tehsils and districts on any of the above aspects.

BAN ON POLYTHENE BAGS

As regards the abundant use of polythene bags, the government should prohibit the carrying of daily items in plastic bags. The ban is already there but it needs to be implemented.

BAN ON ONE-WHEELING

One-wheeling has resulted in countless tragedies but it, nevertheless, continues. It is not only insensitivity for one’s own but also for others’ lives. Merry-making at the cost of human lives cannot be tolerated.

ACCOUNTABILITY MECHANISM

Government should announce that the shopkeepers and residents of a particular locality would have to dump their garbage at identified points only. It must also ensure that if someone is not throwing garbage in its proper place, he/she will have to pay a specific fine. The administration should bring to book the culprits destroying the natural resources and playing havoc with the lives and peace in society.

 

 

Reflections and Lessons

Reflections and Lessons
PTI Chief Imran Khan’s decision to postpone the lockdown of federal capital Islamabad on November 2 is a welcome step. The Supreme Court of Pakistan earlier gave PTI the much needed face-saving and the government a respite today after it asked the councils of the two parties to submit TORs for the formation of the commission before November 3 or else it will decide on them itself. The nation at large will also find itself at ease at last as the final outcome of PTI’s stubbornness to hold and the government’s strong resolve to stop the Dharna could be devastating for economy and democracy in the country.
Now that tension has subsided for the time being and the law is likely to take its course, there should be a reflection on what was being, and what needs to be, done for the last few weeks. That the Panama Leaks issue and corruption needed to have been addressed earnestly, quickly and comprehensively, no one could deny. A wayout between the opposing viewpoints of the government and opposition on the TORs and modalities of the investigation for the purpose would have been possible if there had been a genuine desire to do that. Unfortunately, the government opted for delaying tactics while the opposition wanted to make it PM-specific which was both immoral and unjust. The important issue of fighting, investigating and eradicating corruption justly and fairly was thus forgotten and made into an issue to settle scores against one’s political opponent (s).
And while the PM and his government could have enacted legislation and sent its own TORs for the commission or written again to the CJP to expedite the process for the formation of the commission, it played its own part in vitiating the political atmosphere by unleashing its media tigers on the equally resolute PTI leadership which had decided to hold a dharna in Islamabad neglecting the security threats facing the country as well as the norms of genuine democratic political struggle
The political leadership of the country will do extreme good to the country’s stability, prosperity and future if it decides to take care of a few principles. One, democracy demands more restraint, respect and sobriety when it comes to human rights. Two, there should be no more repetition of any unsubstantiated accusations. Three, no person can be punished or condemned unless proven guilty. Fourth, no one can be allowed to become an accuser and judge himself. Fifth, in a polity and democracy, it is the judiciary and not street power that is the ultimate third umpire between a plaintiff and an accused. Sixth, decisions of the judiciary must be respected even if it is against one’s expectations. Seventh, democratic forces need to talk in parliament and media and never take to dharnas for a few years to come.
TAHIR ALI

Qital in Pakistan?

Genesis of the Jamaat
Tahir Ali November 30, 2014

http://tns.thenews.com.pk/genesis-of-jamaat-e-islami/#.VaDmAomxVK0 Nov 30,2014

Is Jamaat-e-Islami switching over from its peaceful democratic struggle to violent means to achieve its objectives?

Genesis of the Jamaat
Does Munawar Hasan know the implications of his views?Tahir-Ali2

Addressing last week’s Jamaat-e-Islami’s (JI) annual gathering in Lahore, former JI Ameer Munawar Hasan said that it was beyond the system based on elections to overcome the challenges being faced by Pakistan. “The problems of the society… can only be resolved through adopting and promoting the culture of jihad and qataal in the country. We need to wage jihad in the way of Almighty Allah along with democratic struggle to eliminate oppression and injustice from society.”
Does Munawar Hasan know the implications of his views? Will this qataal be against Pakistani security forces, political and religious leadership, parties or the entire system? Is the state on the wrong side and Taliban on the right or vice versa? Does JI support al-Qaeda?
It is ironical that he was the Ameer of JI and a successor of Maulana Maududi. Did Maududi write his famous book Aljehad Fil Islam on the strategy of qataal in a Muslim society? Munawar Hasan himself has never visited the battlefield himself or allowed his family members to go to the frontline. His assertion is likely to be misconstrued as an invitation/permission for violent reformation struggle.
Munawar Hasan represents a narrative in Pakistan that has many buyers. This narrative looks at democracy and electoral system as a hurdle in change. He dreams of an Islamic revolution, favours use of force to coerce compliance to Shariah, doesn’t accept the state boundaries and believes in Ummah as a political concept, sympathises with militants and considers them Mujahideen, thinks suicide attacks and terrorism are planned and executed by local agencies or Raw, CIA, Blackwater and attributed to Muslims to malign Islam, opposes military operations against militants and urges talks with them and so on.
Also read: The ameer and his party
He is not alone in these views. And there are many reasons — our dysfunctional system of justice and social services delivery system has disillusioned the masses. Private TV channels, intellectuals, religious class and state institutions have played their role to perpetuate and expand this disillusionment. Anti-democracy sentiments have spread especially in religious parties which have traditionally received negligible electoral success. The JUI F talks of democracy, for it has enjoyed sufficient electoral benefits.
JI at a crossroads
Earlier, Munawar Hasan had said that JI shared the same ideology with TTP and that the difference was in the tactics that JI employed. But how could JI, a political party that believes in democracy and constitutional rule within Pakistan, and al Qaeda and TTP, militant violent outfits that work for global khilafat, have same ideology.
Munawar Hasan represents a narrative in Pakistan that has many buyers. This narrative looks at democracy and electoral system as a hurdle in change. He dreams of an Islamic revolution.
There is no room for violent means in the JI strategy. Article 5 of the JI Constitution spells out that for the desired reform and revolution, the Jamaat shall use democratic and constitutional means, i.e., the use of advice and propagation of thought for reforming the mind and character, and preparing public opinion for accepting the desired changes and that this struggle for the realisation of its objectives shall be open and public, and not on the pattern of secret movements.
JI has several advantages vis-à-vis its rivals — discipline, countrywide support, internal democracy and simplicity. Even though Sirajul Haq, Ameer JI, says ballot paper is the only source of power and reformation, JI is at a crossroads. It has to decide whether it prefers the successful peaceful democratic Turkish model or the failed reactionary/violent Algerian and Egyptian models.
It has to decide whether it has to maintain status quo in its targets, ideology, structure and strategy. Or it has to become an ultra right militant group like al-Qaeda and TTP, or it reviews its plans and performances in the light of careful analyses of failure of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood and Turkey’s Justice and Development Party, to shape anew its political vision and mission and become a modern party.
Private jihad not allowed
Jihad is not synonymous with terrorism but opinions differ on what constitutes true jihad. For example, al-Qaeda and TTP assert that they fight for Islam; what is jihad for them is terrorism for others. There is no concept of war without state permission. War has only to be declared and managed by the state and government.
Similarly, administration of justice and execution of punishment is also the sole authority of the state. Women, sick people, children, animals, crops and non-combatants cannot be targeted. And desecration of bodies and targeting of religious places is not allowed.
All big religious schools of thought agree over this. There is no exemption for anyone.
Maulana Maududi never approved of jihad by private outfits. He had even outlawed jihad in Kashmir in 1948 for Pakistan had infiltrated private fighters there without any formal declaration of war. Had he been alive, he certainly would not have liked JI’s militant leanings.
Covert war against state(s) having diplomatic relations with Pakistan?
Maulana Maududi refers to Surah Anfaal 8:72, which says that Muslims are not allowed to indulge in secret subversive activities against infidels. He explains: “If we get into a dispute with a nation we are associated in a treaty with, and we realise that dialogue or international arbitration is not helpful in resolving the conflict or that it is bent on using force, it is legitimate for us to use force for its resolution. But this verse makes us morally bound that this use of force should come after clear and open declaration. To undertake covert armed activities, which we are not ready to admit openly, is an immorality which is not taught by Islam.”
Muslim states responsible only for their own citizens
In this verse, it has also been mandated that Islamic state is in no way responsible for the Muslims living outside its border. Maududi explains: “The responsibility of the Islamic states, as per this verse, is restricted to those living inside its borders….thus Islam has uprooted the very dispute that often originates from international complexities because when a country takes it upon itself to support some minorities living in other countries, it creates such anomalies that cannot be even solved by recurrent wars.”
What is Ummah?
Ummah is a spiritual concept but it is unfeasible as a political ideology. Unity is witnessed in Hajj which is a religious gathering. However, when Muslims come together in UN, OPEC, OIC, ECO etc which are political or economic entities, each country tries to safeguard its own interests for the ruler of each is the guardian of his nation who is accountable to/for his subjects. And when religious sects/parties cannot tolerate their rivals in other sects and in political struggle/fields and don’t unite into one, how could they argue for global Muslim Ummah neglecting state boundaries.
Muslims live in different countries and though they have sympathies with Muslims, every state pursues its own national interests first.
Sirajul Haq as a political leader prefers his party interests. As KP Finance Minister, he is not ready to share KP benefits with other provinces. At individual level, a Muslim doesn’t let stranger “Muslim brothers” enter his house or let them construct house on his land. Can he travel to another country without a valid visa issued by the other state from the Muslim ummah? Where is ummah in this equation?
Confusion?
Religious parties are confused over the genesis of terrorism. Terrorism can either be the work of foreigners/non Muslims or of extremists who are unhappy with the foreign policy. It cannot be two things at the same time. If it is the work of the former, there should be no reason to attribute the rise of terrorism to our alliance with the West and to suggest withdrawal from the coalition or talks with them as the prerequisite for peace in the region. And if it is committed by extremists, foreign agencies get automatically absolved of the blame.
Even if, as they say, Pakistan’s alliance with the West is the only reason for terrorism in Pakistan, does this justify the violence perpetrated by the extremists? They are yet to openly declare the TTP’s strategy unjust and un-Islamic.

Tahir Ali
tahir ali
The author is an academic and a freelance columnist. He blogs at tahirkatlang.wordpress.com and can be reached at tahir_katlang@yahoo.com.

……………………………………………………………………

ORIGINAL TEXT OF THE ARTICLE

Jihad and Qital and democracy

By Tahir Ali

Addressing last week’s Jamaate Islami’s (JI) annual gathering in Lahore, Munawar Hasan, Ex Amir JI, ruled that it was beyond the system based on elections to overcome the challenges being faced by Pakistan. “I won’t mince my words in declaring that the problems of the society in which we live can only be resolved through adopting and promoting the culture of Jihad and Qital (war) in the country. “We need to wage Jihad in the way of Almighty Allah along with democratic struggle to eliminate oppression and injustice from society.”

When MH says Jihad and Qital is needed to support democratic dispensation which alone doesn’t suffice to solve problems, does he know what could be the implications of his views? Will this Qital be against Pakistani security forces, political and religious leadership, parties or the entire system? Is the state on the wrong and Taliban on the right or vice versa? Does JI support Alqaeda? Is it legitimate to wage war against Pakistan and its citizens? The nation awaits clarification.

It is ironical he was the Amir of JI and a successor of Maulana Madoodi who was famous for his constitutional mind. Did Maulana Maudoodi write his famous book Aljehad Fil Islam on the strategy of Qital in a Muslim society? And then MH has passed almost his entire life in the peaceful democratic political struggle. He doesn’t seem ever to have visited battlefield himself or allowed his family members to go to the frontline of Qital. Then why this assertion which could be misunderstood by Pakistani youth as an invitation/permission for violent reformation struggle.

By persisting with intermittent statements that often trigger controversies, Munawar Hasan has shown that the leftwing activist in him who joined the National Students Federation – a student body with a communist ideology- and was elected its President in 1959 is very much still there. In NSF, he seems to have contracted an extreme hatred for the ‘US Imperialism’ that still overwhelmingly shapes his thoughts. Whosoever that fights or claims to fight with the US becomes his hero. An acute hatred of this kind often leads one to deviate from the path of justice and fair-play.

Munawar Hasan represents a narrative in Pakistan that has, nevertheless, many buyers here. This narrative looks at democracy and electoral system as a hurdle in change’; dreams of an Islamic revolution; favours use of force to coerce compliance to Shariah; doesn’t accept the state boundaries and believes in Ummah as a political concept; sympathises with  militants and considers them Mujahideen in Allah’s path; thinks suicide attacks and terrorism are planned and executed by local agencies or Raw, CIA, Blackwater and attributed to Muslims to malign Islam; opposes military operations against militants and urges talks with them and so on.

He is not alone in these views. Many do so. Reasons thereof are many. Our dysfunctional system of justice and social services delivery system has disillusioned the masses. Private TV channels, intellectuals, religious class and state institutions played their role to perpetuate and expand this disillusionment. Anti-democracy sentiments have spread enormously especially in religious parties which have traditionally received negligible electoral success. JUI F talks of democracy for it has enjoyed sufficient benefits from its democratic manoeuvres so far.

JI at a crossroads

Earlier, Munawar Hasan had said that JI shared the same ideology with TTP and that the difference was in the tactics that JI employed. But how could JI, a political party that believes in democracy and constitutional rule within Pakistan, and Alqaeda and TTP, militant violent outfits that work for global khilafat, have same ideology, one fails to understand.

There is no room for violent means in JI strategy. Article 5 of the JI Constitution spells out that for the desired reform and revolution, the Jamaat shall use democratic and constitutional means, i.e., the use of advice and propagation of thought for reforming the mind and character and preparing public opinion for accepting the desired changes and that this struggle for the realisation of its objectives shall be open and public, and not on the pattern of secret movements.

JI has several advantages vis-à-vis its rivals like discipline, countrywide support, internal democracy and simplicity. Even though Sirajul Haq, Amir JI, says ballot paper is the only source of power and reformation, JI is at a crossroads. It has to decide whether it prefers the successful peaceful democratic Turkish model or the failed reactionary/violent Algerian and Egyptian models.

It has to decide whether it has to maintain status quo in its targets, ideology, structure and strategy. Or it has to become an ultra right militant group like Alqaeda and TTP, or it reviews its plans and performances in the light of careful analysis of failure of Egypt’s Muslim brotherhood and turkey’s  Justice and Development Party, to shape anew its political vision and mission and become a modern party.

Muslims should obey their rulers

Religion doesn’t prescribe a particular political system but it gives broad principles that the government of the Muslims be formed and run through consultations, that it should be obeyed in all matters except vices, that disobedience to it is a sin and revolt against it is not allowed unless a kufre bawah (open heresy like denouncing Quran or prayer or Haj for example) is witnessed, that baaghi (mutineers) and fasadi (mischief-mongers) will be with dealt severely etc.

Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “If someone ever hears some disgusting things from his ruler, he should observe patience because if anyone went out even a hand sized distance from the obedience of his government and died thus, he died in a state of jahiliant (ignorance) [Bukhari 7053]. But if he is ordered to commit a sin, he will neither listen to him nor obey him [Muslim 4763].

 

Private Jihad not allowed

Jihad is not synonymous with terrorism but opinions differ on what constitute true Jihad. For example, Alqaeda and TTP assert that they fight for Islam. What is Jihad for them is terrorism to others. There is no concept of war without state permission. War has only to be declared and managed by the state and government. Similarly administration of justice and execution of punishment is also the sole authority of the state. Women, the sick, the children, animals, crops and Non-combatants cannot be targeted which are. And desecration of bodies and targeting of religious places is not allowed. All big religious schools of thought agree over this. There is no exemption in this principle for anyone. When Allah didn’t even confer on His prophets the right to declare war without first gaining state/sovereign power, how can it be given to the Mujahideen of today?

Maulana Maudoodi never approved of Jihad by private outfits. He had even outlawed Jihad in Kashmir in 1948 for Pakistan had infiltrated private fighters there without any formal declaration of war. Had he been alive, he certainly would not have liked JI militant leanings. It is incomprehensible that MH learnt from his 40plus years of association with Maulana Maudoodi and JI that a culture of Qital needs to be spread in Pakistan. It deserves a better future than being subjected to and degenerated to be like Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Labya by recourse to militancy?

Covert war against state(s) having diplomatic relations with Pakistan?

Muslims, in Anfaal 8:72, are not allowed to indulge in secret subversive activities against infidels, what to talk of Muslim governments. Maulana Maudoodi explains: “If we get into a dispute with a nation we are associated in a treaty with, and we realise that dialogue or international arbitration is not helpful in resolving the conflict or that it is bent on using force, it is legitimate for us to use force for its resolution. But this verse makes us morally bound that this use of force should come after clear and open declaration. To undertake covert armed activities, which we are not ready to admit openly, is an immorality which is not taught by Islam.”

Suicide attacks are also wrong and illegitimate from Islamic perspective for in a suicide attack, the attacker kills himself first with his own hands which is prohibited in Islam.

Muslim states responsible only for their own citizens

In this verse, it has also been mandated that Islamic state is in no way responsible for the Muslims living outside its border. Maudoodi explains: “the responsibility of the Islamic states, as per this verse, is restricted to those living inside its borders….thus Islam has uprooted the very dispute that often originates international complexities because when a country takes it upon itself to support some minorities living in other countries, it creates such anomalies that cannot be even solved by recurrent wars.”

Democratic and peaceful struggle

The situation is Pakistan is that to the extent of statute book, all laws (except the interest based bank transactions) are in consonance with traditional Islamic jurisprudence. If our system has failed to deliver it is because the laws are not being rightly followed, plaintiff and defendant lie in courts, witnesses either decline to give testimony or give wrong one, the police is corrupt, the lawyers use delaying tactics and the court officials seek bribes. There is room for improvement but the only way to remove the shortcomings and bring improvement in the government and individuals is the peaceful non-violent way comprising strategies of education, incitement, persuasion, encouragement, giving good tidings and informing/cautioning on vices. The violent strategy for that purpose leads only to disunity, injustices, anarchy and destruction.

Democracy may have its shortcomings but its benefits outnumber its drawbacks. It provides opportunity for gradual improvement. When peaceful change is possible (MMA, PTI mandate) why resort to illegal violent means?

Is coercion allowed?

 

Extremists advocate Jihad increases compliance with Islamic laws. But Muslims are not bound or entitled to force people or governments to come to the right path. Even the prophets of Allah were bound to preach and not to be dictators and force compliance. How could others be? Preaching should be done slowly, gradually, peacefully, affectionately and patiently. All the great Scholars of all Islam- Imam Abu Hanifa, Imam Malik, Imam Ahmad, Imam Shafi, Imam Bukhari etc never resorted to armed struggle against Muslim rulers who were more vicious and sinful than the rulers of today.

What is Ummah? Where is Ummah

Ummah is a spiritual concept but it is unfeasible as a political ideology. Unity is witnessed in Hajj which is a religious gathering. However when Muslims come together in UN, OPEC, OIC, ECO etc which are political or economic entities, each tries to safeguard its own interests for the ruler of each is the guardian of his nation who is accountable to/for his subjects. And when religious sects/parties cannot tolerate their rivals in other sects and in political struggle/fields and don’t unite into one, how could they argue for global Muslim ummah neglecting state boundaries. Muslims live in different countries and though they have sympathies with Muslims, every state pursues its own national interests first. Sirajul Haq as a political leader prefers his party interests and as KP finance minister is not ready to share KP benefits with other provinces. At individual level, a Muslim doesn’t let stranger “Muslim brothers” enter his house or let them construct house on his land. Can he travel to another country without a valid visa issued by the other state from the Muslim ummah? Where is ummah in this equation?
Gradual reformation?

Many Islamists who are eager and impatient to bring revolution are confusing two things: first, to desire and work for reformation; two, to be able to realise the dream. While Muslims are asked to work for bringing reformation, they are not bound to ensure it at any cost. They have to work for that and if they fail, they still will be rewarded for their sincere efforts. Forgetting this difference leads one to resort to hasty violent means for achieving objectives.

A collective system and its continuous reformation is the prerequisite for a civilised life but there is disagreement over whether reformation of society should precede that of the political system or follow it. One viewpoint argues when society and its people are reformed, governmental system will improve. The other says a competent and honest government automatically entails a transformed and honest society.

Confusion?

 

Religious parties are confused over genesis of terrorism. Terrorism can either be the work of foreigners/non Muslims or of extremists who are unhappy with the foreign policy. It cannot be two things at the same time. If it is the work of the former, there should be no reason to attribute rise of terrorism to our alliance with the west and to suggest withdrawal from the coalition or talks with them as the pre-requisite for peace in the region. And if it is committed by the extremists, foreign agencies get automatically absolved of the blame.

Even if, as they say, Pakistan’s alliance with the west is the only reason for terrorism in Pakistan, does this justify the violence perpetrated by the extremists? They are yet to openly declare the TTP’s strategy unjust and un-Islamic.

Tahir Ali

The author is an academic and a freelance columnist. He blogs at tahirkatlang.wordpress.com and can be reached at tahir_katlang@yahoo.com

KP Development budget 2014-15

No change in sight

Will the KP government be able to meet ambitious development targets set in the budget?

 
No change in sight
 
The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government presented its budget for 2014-15 with an outlay of Rs404.8 billion last week. The Rs139.8 billion annual development programme is 20 per cent higher than the current year. It also includes Rs39 billion foreign component of which 79 per cent are grants.

KP Finance Minister Sirajul Haq says the province has abundant human and natural resources but its population is living under poverty and backwardness due unfair distribution of resources and lack of good governance.

Major revenue receipts include Rs227.12 billion federal tax assignments, Rs12 billion net hydel profit plus Rs32.27 billion as NHP arrears, Rs29.26 billion oil/gas royalty, Rs27.29 billion war on terror grant, Rs35.35 billion as foreign assistance besides some others sources.

KP’s own revenue receipts estimated at Rs29 billion (up by 70 per cent against the current year) include Rs19.45 billion tax receipts and non-tax receipts of Rs9.3 billion. Rs12 billion as GST on services which rose by 100 per cent is inclusive of tax receipts. The province also earns Rs2.85 billion from own power plants. Current expenditure (welfare and administrative) will be Rs265 billion.

The government’s development priorities are right, people say, but they doubt it will be able to meet its defined goals. Our successive governments have failed to create jobs thus leaving Pakhtuns searching for even menial jobs in other provinces or abroad, they argue. Most of the development funds for the outgoing year largely remain unutilised, claims an industrialist.

Various hydel and alternate energy projects are being launched — Rs7 billion have been allocated to construct 350 small dams, while 400 megawatts of electricity will be produced through gas whose cheap energy will be given to industries.

The public-private partnership act has been approved. The private sector would be involved in the construction and maintenance of public sector development projects. New industrial zones will be established but there is no plan for the revival of the sick industrial clusters like Gadoon Industrial estate.

Various hydel and alternate energy projects are being launched — Rs7 billion have been allocated to construct 350 small dams, while 400 megawatts of electricity will be produced through gas whose cheap energy will be given to industries.

Zahidullah Shinwari, the president of the KP Chamber of Commerce and Industry, terms the budget a status-quo budget devoid of any vision and reform agenda. “KP is beset with flight of capital, rising unemployment, terrorism and energy shortage. Joblessness is on the rise — there is 14.8 per cent unemployment in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa against around 9.5 per cent at national level.”

“Emergency steps were needed for economic growth, industrial revival, infrastructure development, energy supply, revival of sick industrial units and improvement in law and order, but there is no proper roadmap. The government has failed to give new mineral, industrial, hydel, oil/gas and tourism policies reflective of its change agenda,” he said.

There is contradiction in the figures. The finance minister said the current ADP has 611 on going and 378 new projects of which 209 will be completed this fiscal. The remaining and ongoing project are therefore 780. But he said the next budget will have 1251 projects including 611 ongoing and 540 new projects.

In education sector, the government will upgrade schools, establish IT laboratories in high schools, provide furniture to 2300 schools, provide sports facilities in 2400 schools, provide scholarships to talented students and offer free education to special persons in all colleges of the province.

Agriculture is the mainstay of livelihood for over 70 per cent of KP people, acknowledges the minister, but for 46 projects, only Rs1.58 billion have been allocated. While the allocation has been marginally increased, it has in fact come down as percentage to the ADP — while the current year’s allocation was 1.8 per cent of local ADP, the new apportionment is 1.5 per cent.

In Rs39 billion foreign component of ADP, education again was the major beneficiary with Rs11.7 billion, followed by Rs7.6 billion for roads for five projects but agriculture gets only Rs0.8 billion, energy Rs2.6 billion and industries Rs1.6 billion.

The poverty and inability of farmers to use enough quality inputs to raise their produce is the biggest hitch, the minister says, but he comes up with only loans on easy terms for them.

The PTI fans and even some ministers are taking pride in ‘a record increase’ in education spending to Rs111 billion but critics say most of the allocation (over Rs80 billion) comprises current budget which is but natural for being the biggest employees-wise department of the province.

The detailed expenditure report for the current year also reveals that vital social and economic sectors of the ADP like social welfare, education, agriculture, energy/power and industries had been allocated Rs0.6 billion, Rs24 billion, Rs1.53 billion, Rs2.2 billion and Rs4.4 billion respectively, but actual utilisation remained at Rs.2 billion, Rs3.72 billion, Rs0.63 billion, Rs0.65 billion and Rs1 billion in this fiscal.

In a bid to increase KP’s own revenue receipts, the government intends to raise the ratio of provincial taxes and fees on stamp duty, professionals and professional institutions, business establishments, agriculture income and salaries. The rise in taxes/fees is expected to hit the consumers ultimately for it will be passed on to them. Strangely, a PTI-led government is to tax educational institutions including medical, engineering and law colleges.

As per the Finance Bill 2014-15, an annual tax of Rs330 will be levied on a person in any profession and trade who earns between Rs10,000-Rs20,000. While a person earning between Rs200,000-Rs500,000 will pay tax of Rs10,000.

The employees of grade 1-5 have been exempted from the tax and the minimum professional tax threshold has been increased from Rs6000/pm to Rs10000 a month which, the finance minister said, will provide relief to low income class. But does the assertion hold any ground on the face of the fact that minimum monthly pay has been already fixed at Rs12000/pm.

Twelve categories are suggested for urban immovable property (UIP) tax. For technical education, Rs3.7 billion have been allocated and a technical university will be established. Rs2.7 billion have been earmarked to give interest-free loans of Rs50,000-200,000 to jobless youth on their personal guarantee.

The government proposed ‘several austerity measures’ to bring down expenditure. No foreign treatment/training, no new cars and no posts to be allowed unless approved by the chief minister.

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ORIGINAL TEXT OF THE ARTICLE AS IT WAS SENT TO THE NEWS

KP budget 2014-15

By Tahir Ali

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf-led Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government presented its balanced budget for 2014-15 with an outlay of Rs404.8bn last week.

The Rs139.8bn annual development programme is 20 per cent higher than the current year. It also includes Rs39bn foreign component of which 79 % are grants.

The KP finance minister Sirajul Haq says KP has abundant human and natural resources but its population is living under poverty and backwardness for unfair distribution of resources, flawed planning, joblessness, illiteracy, corruption, nepotism, weak accountability system and lack of good governance. He pledged making KP free of social, political and economic exploitation.

Major revenue receipts include Rs227.12bn federal tax assignments, Rs12bn net hydel profit plus Rs32.27bn as NHP arrears, Rs29.26bn oil/gas royalty, Rs27.29bn war on terror grant Rs35.35bn as foreign assistance besides some others sources.

KP’s own revenue receipts estimated at Rs29bn (up by 70 per cent against the current year) include Rs19.45bn tax receipts and non tax receipts of Rs9.3bn. Rs12bn as GST on services which rose by 100 per cent is inclusive of tax receipts. The province also earns Rs2.85bn from own power plants.

Current expenditure (welfare and administrative) will be Rs265bn. It needs to be checked or it will in future restrict room for development portfolio.

The government’s development priorities are right, people say, but they doubt it will be able to meet its defined goals. Our successive governments have failed to create jobs thus leaving Pakhtuns searching for even menial jobs in other provinces or abroad, they argue.

Most of the development funds for the outgoing year largely remains unutilised, claims an industrialist.

The public private partnership act has been approved. The private sector would be involved in the construction and maintenance of public sector development projects.

New industrial zones to be established but there is no plan for the revival of the sick industrial clusters like Gadoon estate.

Various hydel and alternate energy projects being launched. Rs7bn have been allocated to construct 350 small dams. 400 megawatts of electricity will be produced through gas whose cheap energy will be given to industries.

To bring down poverty and accountability, the government has promulgated the right to information law and established a commission for access to information, access to services’ commission and conflict of interest commission, ihtesab commission, a complaint cell in CM secretariat. And a public procurement regulatory authority established to make the procurement system of hiring of services, goods and construction transparent and corruption free and introduced the market rate system instead of the composite scheduled rates to ensure transparency in development schemes. .

Zahidullah Shinwari, the president of the KP chamber of commerce and industry terms the budget a status-quo budget devoid of any vision and reform agenda.

“KP is beset with flight of capital, rising unemployment, terrorism and energy shortage. Joblessness is on the rise –there is 14.8 percent unemployment in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa against around 9.5 percent at national level. Emergency steps were needed for economic growth, industrial revival, infrastructure development, energy supply, revival of sick industrial units, improvement in law and order, focus on technical and IT education but there is no proper roadmap for the areas. The government has failed to give a new mineral, industrial, hydel, oilg/gas and tourism policies reflective of its change agenda,” he said.

There is contradiction in the figures. The finance minister said the current ADP has 611 on going and 378 new projects of which 209 will be completed this fiscal. The remaining and ongoing project are therefore 780. But he said the next budget will have 1251 projects including 611 ongoing and 540 new projects.

In education sector, the government will upgrade schools, establish IT laboratories in high schools, provide furniture to 2300 schools, provide sports facilities in 2400 schools, provide scholarships to talented students and offer free education to special persons in all colleges of the province.

In Rs100bn provincial ADP, Education got Rs15bn but important economic sectors have been allocated paltry sums: Rs3.4bn for power sector against Rs1.4bn in current year, Rs4.7bn against Rs3.28bn for irrigation and agriculture Rs1.58bn against Rs1.53bn in current year.

Agriculture is the mainstay of livelihood for over 70 per cent of KP people, acknowledges the minister, but for 46 projects, only Rs1.58bnn have been allocated. While the allocation has been marginally increased, it has in fact come down as percentage to the ADP – while the current year’s allocation was 1.8 per cent of local ADP, the new apportionment is 1.5 per cent.

In Rs39bnforeign component of ADP, education again was the major beneficiary Rs11.7bn, followed by Rs7.6bn for roads for five projects but agriculture gets only Rs0.8bn, energy Rs2.6bn and industries Rs1.6bn.

The poverty and inability of farmers to use enough quality inputs to raise their produce is the biggest hitch, the minister says, but he comes up with only loans on easy terms for them.

The PTI fans and even some ministers are taking pride in ‘a record increase’ in education spending to Rs111bn but critics say most of the allocation (over Rs80bn) comprises current budget which is but natural for being the biggest employees-wise department of the province.

The detailed expenditure report for the current year also reveals that vital social and economic sectors of the ADP like social welfare, education, agriculture, energy/power and industries had been allocated Rs0.6bn, Rs24bn, Rs1.53bn, Rs2.2bn and Rs4.4bn respectively but actual utilisation remained at Rs.2bn, Rs3.72bn, Rs0.63bn, Rs0.65bn and Rs1bn could be utilised in this fiscal.

In a bid to increase KP own revenue receipts, the government intends to raise the ratio of provincial taxes and fees on stamp duty, professionals and professional institutions, business establishments, agriculture income and salaries. The rise in taxes/fees is expected to hit the consumers ultimately for it will be passed on to them. Strangely, a PTI-led government is to tax educational institutions including medical, engineering and law colleges.

As per the Finance Bill 2014-15, an annual tax of Rs330 will be levied on a person in any profession and trade who earns between Rs10,000-Rs20,000. While a person earning between Rs200,000-Rs500,000 will pay tax of Rs10,000. There are such slabs.

The employees of grade 1-5 have been exempted from the tax and the minimum professional tax threshold has been increased from Rs6000/pm to Rs10000 a month which, the finance minister said, will provide relief to low income class but does the assertion hold any ground on the face of the fact that minimum monthly pay has been already fixed at Rs12000/pm.

Twelve categories are suggested for urban immovable property (UIP) tax. An owner of upto 5 marlas house (other than self-occupied) in category A, B and C will pay Rs1000, Rs 900 and Rs750 in UIP respectively. Owners of over 5 marlas will pay UIP tax of Rs1700, Rs1600 and Rs1500, owners of 10 marlas will pay Rs2200, Rs2100 and Rs2000, owners of 15 marlas house will deposit Rs3300, Rs3200, and Rs3000 while those with 18-20 marlas houses and flats will pay UIP tax of Rs10000, Rs9000 and Rs8000 in the three categories respectively. Similarly other eight categories have different tax slabs for the immovable properties.

For technical education Rs3.7bn have been allocated and a technical University will be established. Rs2.7bn have been earmarked to give interest free loans of Rs50,000-200,000 to jobless youth on their personal guarantee.

The mineral sector could be used for poverty alleviation but only Rs0.62cbn have been allotted to it in the ADP.

The government intends to set up stock exchange in Peshawar to support the progress of industry and trade sectors.

The government proposed ‘several austerity measures’ to bring down expenditure. No foreign treatment/training, no new cars and no posts to be allowed unless approved by CM. But he didn’t specify what happened to similar measures in the current budget. The minister said the government has formed committees for monetization and economy which are working with far reaching consequences, though he failed to identify any.

The construction of houses for officials and ministers on 20 marlas and 110 per cent raise in salaries of minister, advisors etc however is being resented.

Rs7.9bn has been allocated for a pro-poor initiative under which various welfare programs, such as health insurance, long-term loan for development of industries, and provincial youth technical education scheme etc would be launched. Rs6bn more allocated for a special relief package program for giving subsidized edible items to the poor.

The education budget was Rs13.87bn in current fiscal while this year it will be Rs14.31bn for the next year.

 

 

Schools under watch

 http://tns.thenews.com.pk/schools-watch-education-monitoring-units-kpk/#.U1wh4KzOXp8

Will the Independent Monitoring Unit help improve attendance and performance of teachers and education administrators in KPK?

Schools under watch
Anything but a school.

The Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government has launched an Independent Monitoring Unit (IMU) to improve attendance and performance of teachers and education administrators in the province. The IMU has been established under a three-year project funded by the UK’s Department for International Development. Rs500 million have been allocated for the initiative this year and more funds will be set aside for it in the next budget(s). The project will be extended if found useful after a third-party verification. Rs100 million have also been earmarked for establishing a third-party monitoring mechanism.

Muhammad Atif Khan, Provincial Minister for Elementary and Secondary Education (E&SE) Department, says 475 IMU monitors — 303 men and 172 women — have been appointed on merit for boys and girls schools respectively. They receive a fixed pay of Rs30,000 a month. Male monitors have been given motorcycles with Rs10,000 fuel allowance.

Each KP district has been divided in groups, each consisting of up to 60 schools and every monitor is responsible for visiting all the schools in his group. He/she has to visit a school at least once a month.

On the terms of references (ToRs) and standard operating procedure (SoP) of monitors, the minister says they are basically real-time data collectors and transmitters. “They have been trained for the purpose. They will collect, physically verify and send immediately data on the attendance of teachers, enrolment/dropout rate of students, needs and deficiencies of teachers and other school paraphernalia etc.”

The monitors will also collect data on the inspection of officers to schools, the distribution of free textbooks, stipends to the female students and the parents-teachers’ council (PTC) and other school funds. He says monitors have been given smart-phones with a proper format for feeding data and a general packet radio system (GPRS) to collect and transmit real-time data of/from the concerned schools to the IMU head office in Peshawar.

Asked what measures have been taken to guard against the misuse of powers by monitors, Khan says, “The monitors have been trained to be polite to principals/teachers, not to indulge in reasoning and avoid meddling in the teaching learning process. Their performance will also be monitored and action will be taken if any genuine complaints come to surface against them. The IMU is independent of the department’s control. They have to submit data immediately from the school they visit. This has been done to save the system from data/record-tampering.”

Lack of basic facilities at schools is a big problem. Over 20 per cent of the functional public schools in KP still have no boundary walls, 30 per cent no water supply, 42 per cent no electricity and 16 per cent no toilets facilities.

The KP Chief Minister, Pervez Khattak, recently issued directives of handing over the monitoring of all hospitals and basic health units to the IMU. But the system has been put in place in the education department only. The IMU has been empowered to monitor only schools in the public sector while education offices and private schools are still out of its ambit.

It is hoped the IMU will help pinpoint “ghost schools and proxy teachers” (the IMU, as reported, has detected 12 proxy teachers, four women among them, in government schools in Buner district recently), improve teachers’ attendance and make it easy/possible to take action against the corrupt and negligent elements in the department.

Most of the principals and head-masters of the E&SE Department support the initiative. They say teachers’ attendance and punctuality have improved significantly ever-since the launch of the IMU.

Mumtazuddin, a principal of a government higher secondary school, is all praise for the IMU. He says the IMU is a sort of an external counter-check upon the internal supervision system of the department. External or a third-party check, he says, is done everywhere in the world. “Officers fail to visit schools even in years. With teachers and internal monitors (administrative officers) mostly shirking responsibilities, the IMU is the need of the hour,” he says.

“Intra-district shuffling of monitors is being carried out every month to prevent the problems/dangers of familiarity/rapprochement between teachers and monitors. These dangers could be further minimised by inter-district shifting of monitors,” according to another principal.

Tahir Ali2

Some teachers support the move: “One of the biggest problems is the flawed monitoring system. Exceptions apart, our departmental monitoring system is too politicised, powerless and under-funded. One hopes the IMU will be kept safe from political interference, corruption, and data-delaying/tampering for whatever reasons. Much will depend also on whether its recommendations will be executed,” a teacher says.

But some term it ‘an unwarranted and inapt’ move that would ultimately bring little/no change. They say schools and teachers are monitored by head masters, and inspected by cluster heads, district education officers, directors, local bodies members, national and provincial assemblies’ members and chairman and members of the PTCs.

“There was no need to establish the IMU. Rather, the government should have strengthened/empowered the internal monitoring system. Schools should be left to the district education officers. Principals and officers should be empowered and political intervention in appointments and postings should be eliminated. Good administrators could do wonders,” says a teacher.

“Principals and administrators would also definitely give good results if facilities like smart-phones with GPRS connection and powers are provided to them and they are also made to report their inspection report immediately. Biometric attendance system at schools can also improve teachers’ punctuality. But teachers’ performance also needs to be improved. Principals should be explicitly authorised to hire new teachers from PTC or other school funds,” he argues.

Another teacher complains that earlier principals/headmasters and the district officers used to report on deficiencies and requirements of teachers, chairs, desks, books and other basic facilities regularly but these were scarcely fulfilled. Now monitors do the same, but will the government act upon their reports/recommendations? Khan responds the government will ensure speedy action on their reports and recommendations concerning administrative and financial matters and will allocate resources.

Khan says: “Rather it is a quest for excellence. Why would one have gone for this if the earlier internal monitoring system had been successful during the last 65 years? Our history proves and no one can contest that it has failed to deliver and that a change was needed.”

Another teacher, wishing anonymity, says: “The monitors visit a school once or twice a month. What if a teacher, who is otherwise punctual and dutiful, is on-leave or late on the monitor’s arrival date(s). Won’t that cause a negative and wrong perception about him in the IMU system?” He adds: “Educational monitoring is too technical a job to be left to inexperienced monitors. This is bound to fail.”

The KP E&SE Department possesses over 168000 employees with 133750 sanctioned and 119274 functional teachers who teach 3.9 million students in 28472 total and 27975 functional government primary, middle, high, and higher secondary schools.

It means a monitor will check around 250-280 teachers and 58-60 schools. The monitor-employee ratio will be 1:350 if education offices also come under their oversight.

Besides weak monitoring mechanism, crowded classrooms, indifference of teachers and administrators and political interference, lack of basic facilities at schools is a big problem. Over 20 per cent of the functional public schools in KP still have no boundary walls, 30 per cent no water supply, 42 per cent no electricity and 16 per cent no toilets facilities.

Tahir Ali

tahir ali
The author is an academic and a freelance columnist interested in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s politics, peace, education and economy. He may be reached at tahir_katlang@yahoo.com.
…………………
Original text of the article.
Impartial School Monitors
Or Independent Monitoring Unit
By Tahir Ali
The Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf-led Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has launched the Independent Monitoring Unit (IMU) to improve attendance and performance of teachers and education administrators in the province.
The IMU has been established under a three years project funded by the UK’s Department for International Development. Rs500mn have been allocated for the initiative this year and more funds will be set aside for it in the next budget (s). The project will be extended if found useful after third party verification. Rs100mn have also been earmarked for establishing a third party monitoring mechanism.
Muhammad Atif Khan, provincial minister for Elementary and Secondary Education (E&SE) department, says 475 IMU monitors -303 male and 172 female –have been appointed on merit for boys and girls schools respectively. They receive a fixed pay of Rs30000/pm. Male monitors have been given motorcycles with Rs10000 fuel allowance while female the latter.
Each KP district has been divided in groups –each consisting of up to 60 schools and every monitor is responsible for visiting all the schools in his group. He/she has to visit a school at least once a month.
About a question on the terms of references (ToRs) and standard operating procedure (SoP) of monitors and whether they could monitor the teaching-learning process, he said they are basically real-time data collectors and transmitters. “They have been trained for the purpose. They will collect, physically verify and send immediately data on the attendance of teachers, enrolment/dropout rate of students, needs and deficiencies of teachers and other school paraphernalia etc,” he said.
Monitors will also collect data on the inspection of officers to schools, the distribution of free textbooks, stipends to the female students and on the parents-teachers’ council (PTC) and other school funds.
For this purpose, he said, monitors have been given smart-phones with a proper format for feeding data and a general packet radio system (GPRS) to collect and transmit real-time data of/from the concerned schools to the IMU head-office in Peshawar.
Asked what measures have been taken to guard against the misuse of powers by monitors, Khan said. “Monitors have been trained to be polite to principals/teachers, not to indulge in reasoning or misbehaviour with them and avoid meddling in the teaching learning process. Their performance will also be monitored and action will be taken if any genuine complaints come to surface against them. The IMU is independent of department’s control. They have to submit data immediately from the school they visit. This has been done to save the system from data/record-tampering.”
KP chief minister Pervez Khattak recently issued directives of handing over the monitoring of all hospitals and basic health units to IMU. But the system has been put in place in the education department only partially: It has been empowered to monitor only schools in the public sector while education offices and private schools are still out of its ambit.
It is hoped IMU will help pinpoint “ghost schools and proxy teachers” (The IMU, as reported, has detected 12 proxy teachers, four women among them, in government schools in Buner district recently), improve teachers’ attendance and make it easy/possible to take action against the corrupt and negligent elements in the department.
Most of the principals and head-masters of the E&SE department support the initiative. They say teachers’ attendance and punctuality have improved significantly ever-since the launch of IMU.
Mumtazuddin, a principal of a government higher secondary school, was all praise for the IMU. He said IMU was a sort of an external counter-check upon the internal supervision system of the department. External or third-party check, he said, is done everywhere and is vital for bringing improvement.
“Officers fail to visit schools even in years. With teachers and internal monitors (administrative officers) mostly shirking responsibilities, IMU –an external monitoring system –was the need of the hour,” he said.
“Intra-district shuffling of monitors is being carried out every month to protect against the problems/dangers of familiarity/rapprochement between teachers and monitors. These dangers could be further minimized by inter-district shifting of monitors,” according to another principal.
Some teachers support the move: “One of the biggest problems is the flawed monitoring system. Exceptions apart, our departmental monitoring system is too politicized, powerless, underfunded, busy in file-work or lacklustre to properly monitor the schools under their jurisdiction. One hopes the IMU will be kept safe from political interference, corruption, and data-delaying/tampering for whatever reasons. Much will depend also on whether its recommendations will be impartially executed,” a teacher said.
But some oppose it terming it as ‘an unwarranted and inapt’ move that would ultimately bring little/no change. They say schools and teachers are monitored by head masters, and inspected by cluster heads, district education officers, directors, local bodies members, national and provincial assemblies’ members and chairman and members of the PTCs.
“There was no need to establish the IMU. Rather, the government should have strengthened/empowered the internal monitoring system. Schools should be left to the district education officers. Principals and officers should be empowered and political intervention in appointments and postings should be eliminated. Good administrators, like Mushtaq Ahmad, the ex-DEO Mardan, who comprehensively inspected all the schools of the district within a short span of three months, could do wonders,” said a teacher.
“Principals and administrators would also definitely give good results if facilities like smart-phones with GPRS connection and powers are provided to them and they are also made to report their inspection report immediately. Biometric attendance system at schools can also improve teachers’ punctuality. But teachers’ competencies also need to be improved. Principals should be explicitly authorized to hire new teachers from PTC or other school funds,” he argued.
Another teacher said that earlier principals/headmasters and the district officers kept reporting the deficiencies and requirements on teachers, chairs, desks, books and other basic facilities regularly but these are scarcely fulfilled. Now monitors do the same but will the government act upon their reports/recommendations and fulfil the deficiencies? Khan responded the government will ensure speedy action on their reports and recommendations concerning administrative and financial matters and will allocate resources.
When asked whether the step/body was tantamount to a distrust on the existing monitoring mechanism and shouldn’t the age-old system have been reformed/strengthened rather than establishing a new system, Khan said: “Rather it is a quest for excellence. And why would one have gone for this if the earlier internal monitoring system had been successful during the last 65 years? Our history proves and no one can contest that it has failed to deliver and that a change was needed.”
Another teacher, wishing anonymity, said: “Monitors visit a school once or twice a month. Now what if a teacher who is otherwise punctual and dutiful is on-leave or late on the monitor’s arrival date(s). Won’t that cause a negative and wrong perception about him in the IMU system?”
“PTI has rewarded the youth with jobs as monitors. But educational monitoring is too difficult and technical a job to be left to inexperienced fellows. This is bound to fail. It will, however, create hatred for PTI amongst teachers as disputes surface later.”
The KP E&SE department possesses over 168000 employees with 133750 sanctioned and 119274 functional teachers who teach 3.9mn students in 28472 total but 27975 functional Government Primary, middle, high, and higher secondary schools.
It means a monitor will check around 250-280 teachers and 58-60 schools. The monitor-employee ratio will be 1:350 once education offices also come under their oversight, something impossible.
Experts say weak monitoring mechanism, teachers’ absenteeism, crowded classrooms, indifference of teachers and administrators, political interference and schools sans facilities, etc are some of the problems facing education in the province.
Distressingly, 20 per cent of the functional public schools still have no boundary walls, 30 per cent no water supply, 42 per cent no electricity and 16 per cent no toilets facilities. As for other facilities like library, computer and science laboratory, the report says, only 1205, 254 and 1152 off the 3092 male and 451, 154 and 561of the 1810 girls middle to higher schools have these facilities respectively. The rest have no such facilities and so are the GPSs.

English medium education in KP

A medium of change
Tahir Ali
February 2, 2014

http://tns.thenews.com.pk/medium-change/#comment-4938

Pashto, Urdu, Arabic and now English.

Will the changeover from Urdu/Pashto to English-medium schooling in KP take the intended course?

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf-led Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government is going to introduce English-medium schooling and a uniform curriculum in all the public sector schools from the upcoming academic session. The shift from Urdu/Pashto medium to English-medium textbooks will be completed in several phases. In the first stage commencing from this April, the students of grade one, besides English, will also study Mathematics and General Knowledge in English. With the promotion of these students to grade two, English-medium textbooks/education will also move up the ladder, if not earlier. The process will take about four to five years to reach up to secondary level.
Official sources say the government is fully prepared for the shift. “First, 400 master trainers were trained who are now busy training primary school teachers for grade one. The process will continue till mid-March and 36000 teachers will be trained this year. One teacher from each primary school will be guided on the new textbooks in ten-day workshops. For more classes later, more master trainers will be trained who would then train all the 120000 teachers in KP,” says an official privy to the process.
He says the government has prepared/printed textbooks and these will be provided well before the start of the session.
Teachers and parents say English medium education was long overdue. It will bring public sector schools at par with their private counterparts which have seen a mushroom growth in recent years. In the absence or shortage of quality English medium government schools, parents go for private schools which are increasingly getting costlier and unaffordable, they argue.
Naming them Centennial model high schools, the government had earlier converted a few government high schools to English medium status throughout the province. These schools proved a great success and have gained parents’ confidence.
The PTI activists say it will help end the decade-old class-based education, bring a uniform curriculum, remove disparities between the education standards in urban and rural areas, ensure equal opportunities for competition and progress to both the rich and the poor and will augment enrolment in government schools.
Nevertheless, changeover from Urdu/Pashto to English-medium schooling is, however, easier said than done. It is likely to bring several problems for both the students and teachers overwhelmed by an English-phobia of an extreme kind. But nothing is impossible for a resolute mind and hardworking administration. Though the government seems conscious of the gigantic challenges lying ahead, some precautions must be made.

Too ambitious for schools with no infrastructure.
Planners will not only have to select and train qualified and competent master trainers and teachers in the later stages, they also will have to prepare/supply books in time and a permanent monitoring mechanism will also have to be developed.
“We need hardworking and proficient master trainers and teachers to be able to teach maths and science in English. Without qualified and committed trainers and teachers and a robust oversight mechanism and competent monitors, the move will come to nothing. One hopes the government will be able to publish/provide textbooks in time and will induct, train and provide competent teachers for this purpose,” says Zubair Ahmad, an educationist.
“Training of teachers continues province-wide. To make the process successful, the concerned officials should ensure that a trainee teacher nearing his retirement or likely to be promoted in near future is not selected. Or at least two teachers should be trained for a class,” says a teacher.
“Some of the trainee primary teachers can hardly speak a simple sentence in English for grade one. The trainee teachers must be young, energetic, qualified (preferably graduate) and must be selected on merit without any interference from teachers’ union and politicians,” says a master trainer. “Also, primary teachers whose promotion to high schools is due shortly must never be considered for training as their departure would deprive their erstwhile schools of a teacher trained for grade one while his training would be of no use in high schools. The government should also plan and ensure follow-up activities so that teachers continue to teach to the class they were trained for,” says the trainer.
“Almost all the teachers at my centre are young. They take keen interest in the training. They are happy that English medium textbooks will improve enrolment and prospects of their students and augment their own prestige,” says another master trainer.
English-medium education is being started from grade one (Awal Aala). It means two preceding classes — the preparatory class (called Awal Adna locally) and the other called Kachi have been left out, says a teacher, Shafiq Khan. The KP government, however, recently announced playgroup classes will be started in public schools from the upcoming session.
Most developed countries have uniform system of education. But different curricula in the public and private sectors and religious madaris (seminaries) have sharply divided Pakistan. A modern/uniform curriculum is necessary to strengthen national unity and promote moderation and tolerance in the country. The PTI, in its 6-points education policy, too had promised a uniform education system if voted to power.
It requires huge funds, time, personnel, incessant work and cooperation from all the private schools and religious seminaries to have a uniform curriculum province-wide. So, the PTI has decided to bring uniform curriculum in government schools through English-medium textbooks for the moment. Private schools may be covered later. The PTI leaders argue the government and private schools follow the same syllabus for class 9 and 10, so why can’t it be the same in other classes.
One hopes the move will lead to healthy competition between the public and private schools. The government should also promote spirit of cooperation and coordination between the two.
The PTI opponents accuse it of being ‘secular’ having pro-west agenda (JUI-F leaders harp on the theory) while some analysts accuse it of taking the KP towards fundamentalism.
Following the landmark 18th Constitutional Amendment that devolved education and curriculum design to provinces, the KP government can modify its curriculum and textbooks. Textbooks lessons have been usually changed by successive governments and the PTI government is also expected to follow suit. But its leaders say they would do so in strict compliance with the 2006 national curriculum. It means there will be no major changes in curriculum introduced by the previous ANP-led government.
The ANP government had included lessons on local heroes in curriculum such as famous poets Rehman Baba, Khushal Khan Khattak and Ghani Khan. They also included lessons on human rights, peace and religious tolerance and removed historic distortions, hate material and harsh sentiments against non-Muslims. The ANP activists say the Jamaat-e-Islami is now bent on reversing these changes.
The KP Elementary and Secondary Education Minister, Muhammad Atif Khan, as per newspaper reports, said Islamic ideology would be the basis of his government’s steps regarding curriculum. He said the PTI government would accept no bar on religious education and won’t tolerate external interference in this regard. He also vowed to rectify the ‘mistakes’ in present curriculum introduced by the ANP government.
The KP Information Minister Shah Farman reportedly said the KP would revise and develop curriculum as per Islamic teachings and the country’s cultural norms. He termed criminal the changes brought about by the ANP-led government (some changes he and Khan cited included the removal of Quranic verses on Jihad, mention of Kashmir as disputed land and replacement of lessons on Voice of God, Hazrat Umar and Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) with those on ‘The Man Who Was a Giant’, ‘Helen Keller’ and ‘Quaid-e-Azam’ etc).
“While its coalition partner — The JI — wishes to Islamise syllabi by expunging some ‘secular’ lessons from them and limit the donors’ role in policy/decision making, the civil society, opposition parties and donor agencies may dislike the move. How will the PTI deal with these conflicting viewpoints, remains to be seen,” says an ANP activist.

……………………

ORIGINAL TEXT OF THE ARTICLE

English-medium education in KP
Or
Uniform curriculum’ in KP
By Tahir Ali
The Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf led-Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government is going to launch a process of introducing English-medium schooling and a uniform curriculum through it, in all the public sector schools from the upcoming academic session.
The shift from Urdu/Pashto medium to English-medium textbooks will be completed in several phases. In the first stage commencing from this April, the students of grade one, besides English, will also study Mathematics and General Knowledge in English. With the promotion of these students to class 2, English-medium textbooks/education will also move up the ladder, if not earlier. The process will take about four to five years to reach up to secondary level.
Official sources say the government is fully prepared for the shift. “First, 400 master trainers were trained who are now busy training primary school teachers for grade one. The process will continue till mid-March and 36000 teachers will be trained this year. One teacher from each primary school will be guided on the new textbooks in ten-day workshops. For more classes later, more master trainers will be trained who would then train all the 120000 teachers in KP,” said a source.
He said the government has prepared/printed textbooks and these will be provided well before the start of the session.
Teachers and parents say English medium education was long overdue. It will bring public sector schools at par with their private counterparts which have seen a mushroom growth in recent years. In the absence or shortage of quality English medium government schools, parents go for private schools but which are increasingly getting costlier and unaffordable, they argue.
Naming them Centennial model high schools, the government had earlier converted a few government high schools to English medium status throughout the province. These schools proved a great success and have gained parents’ confidence.
PTI activists say it will help end the decade-old class-based education, bring a uniform curriculum, remove disparities between the education standards in urban and rural areas, ensure equal opportunities for competition and progress to both the rich and the poor and will augment enrolment in government schools.
Nevertheless, changeover from Urdu/Pashto to English-medium schooling is however easier said than done. It is likely to bring several problems for both the students and teachers overwhelmed by an English-phobia of an extreme kind.
But nothing is impossible for a resolute mind and hardworking administration. Though the government seems conscious of the gigantic challenges lying ahead, some precautions must be made.
Planners will not only have to select and train qualified and competent master trainers and teachers in the later stages, they also will have to prepare/supply books in time and a permanent monitoring mechanism will also have to be developed.
“We need hardworking and proficient master trainers and teachers to be able to teach maths and science in English. Without qualified and committed trainers and teachers and a robust oversight mechanism and competent monitors, the move will come to nothing. One hopes the government will be able to publish/provide text books in time and will induct, train and provide competent teachers for this purpose,” said Zubair Ahmad, an educationist.
“Training of teachers continues province-wide. To make the process successful, the concerned officials should ensure that a trainee teacher nearing his retirement, having poor eye-sight or likely to be promoted in near future is not selected. Or at least two teachers should be trained for a class,” said a teacher.
“Some of the trainee primary teachers can hardly speak a simple sentence in English for grade 1. The trainee teachers must be young, energetic, qualified (preferably graduate) and must be selected on merit without any interference from teachers’ union and politicians. Also, primary teachers whose promotion to high schools is due shortly must never be considered for training as their departure would deprive their erstwhile schools of a teacher trained for grade one while his training would be of no use in high schools. The government should also plan and ensure follow-up activities so that teachers continue to teach to the class they were trained for,” said a master trainer.
“Almost all the teachers at my centre are young. They take keen interest in the training. They are happy that English medium textbooks will improve enrolment and prospects of their students and augment their own prestige,” said another master trainer.
English-medium education is being started from first grade one (Awal Aala). It means two preceding classes – the preparatory class (called Awal Adna locally) and the other called Kachi have been left out, said a teacher Shafiq Khan. The KP government however recently announced playgroup classes will be started in public schools from the upcoming session.
Most developed countries have uniform system of education. But different curricula in the public and private sectors and religious madaris (seminaries) have sharply divided Pakistan. A modern/uniform curriculum is necessary to strengthen national unity and promote moderation and tolerance in the country. PTI, in its 6-points education policy, too had promised a uniform education system if voted to power.
It requires huge funds, time, personnel, incessant work and cooperation from all the private schools and religious seminaries to have a uniform curriculum province-wide. So, PTI has decided to bring uniform curriculum in government schools through English-medium textbooks for the moment. Private schools may be covered later. PTI leaders argue the government and private schools follow the same syllabus for class 9 and 10, so why can’t it be the same in other classes.
Once hopes the move will lead to healthy competition between the public and private schools. The government should also promote spirit of cooperation and coordination between the two.
Will KP change curriculum?
PTI opponents accuse it of being ‘secular’ having pro-west agenda (JUI-F leaders harp on the theory) while analysts (e.g. Najm Sethi) accuse it of taking KP towards fundamentalism.
Following the landmark 18th constitutional amendment that devolved education and curriculum design to provinces, the KP government can modify its curriculum and textbooks. Textbooks lessons have been usually changed by successive governments and PTI government is also expected to follow suit. But its leaders say they would do so in strict compliance to the 2006 national curriculum. It means there will be no major changes in curriculum introduced by the previous ANP-led government.
The ANP government had included lessons on local heroes in curriculum such as famous poets Rehman Baba, Khushal Khan Khattak and Ghani Khan, on human rights, peace and religious tolerance and removed historic distortions, hate material and harsh sentiments against non-Muslims but, its activists say, Jamate Islami is now bent on reversing these changes.
KP elementary and secondary education minister Muhammad Atif Khan, as per newspaper reports, said Islamic ideology would be the basis of his government’s steps regarding curriculum. He said the PTI government would accept no bar on religious education and won’t tolerate external interference in this regard. He also vowed to rectify the ‘mistakes’ in present curriculum introduced by the ANP government.
KP information minister Shah Farman reportedly said KP would revise and develop curriculum as per Islamic teachings and country’s cultural norms. He termed as criminal the changes brought about by the ANP-led government (some changes he and Khan cited included the removal of Quranic verses on Jihad, mention of Kashmir as disputed land and replacement of lessons on Voice of God, Hazrat Umar and Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) with those on The man who was a giant, Helen keller and Quaid-e-Azam etc).
“While its coalition partner JI wishes to Islamise syllabi by expunging some ‘secular’ lessons from them and limit the donors’ role in policy/decision making, the civil society, opposition parties and donor agencies may dislike the moves. How will PTI deal with these conflicting viewpoints, remains to be seen,” said an activist.

Electing competent and honest leadership

The article was published on May5, 2013 before elections. Sorry for delayed posting.

Voting values
While the ECP and several advocacy groups are encouraging voters to cast their votes, what are the merits and demerits voters should consider before choosing their future representatives?
By Tahir Ali

http://jang.com.pk/thenews/May2013-weekly/nos-05-05-2013/pol1.htm#3

A week later, on May 11, 2013, 86.18 million Pakistani voters — 48.59 million male and 37.59 million female — will elect their representatives for National Assembly and Provincial Assemblies who would subsequently choose the next federal and provincial executives.

This exercise carries immense repercussions for over 180 million people as their fate will be left at the discretion of these elected representatives. This necessitates both quantitative and qualitative improvement in voting standard.

While tax evaders, defaulters and the corrupt couldn’t be sifted during the scrutiny process, voters are now the only hope to block their entry into power corridors. They will have to come out in large numbers and elect the best amongst candidates.

However, for multiple reasons — rampant corruption, joblessness, insecurity, poverty, maladministration, unawareness, corrupt practices that manipulate elections, terrorism and the like — voters stand disillusioned with political system that has resulted in low voters’ turnout in previous elections, coming as low as 20 per cent in different constituencies.

In the 2008 general elections, though voters’ turnout was 50 and 48 per cent in Islamabad and Punjab, it was 44 per cent for the country and only 31, 31 and 33 per cent in Balochistan, Fata and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa respectively. Women comprise around 44 per cent of the registered voters but have been mostly kept from using this basic right in the past.

The total number of voters has gone up from 80.7 million in 2008 to 86.1 million this year, but analysts foresee a low turnout due to terrorist attacks/threats, ban on transportation facility for voters by the candidates and voters’ distrust in elections and disappointment with politicians.

But the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and several advocacy groups are encouraging voters to cast their votes. With increase in the number of overenthusiastic young voters, the emergence of the PTI on the electoral landscape, a comprehensive security plan put in place for polling day, chances of massive women polling (candidates and parties concluded written agreements inhibiting women from casting votes in the past. But this time no intra-parties’ agreement has surfaced so far) and with almost all the parties participating in elections, hopefully the turnout would be good enough, between 50-55 per cent in this election.

Voters generally look at the candidate’s personal caste, character or performance, his party and its manifesto or his own personal interests at the time of voting.

Some, especially diehard workers, say parties’ performances and manifestos, rather than candidates’ characters, should be the main concern for voters because parties form governments and ultimately decide things. But the rest — the swinging majority — have their own priorities.

“The problem is parties are run by their leaders and their selected buddies. If the party is in wrong hands, they would violate rules, its manifestos and national interests for their political interests and will ruin institutions by nepotism and favouritism and use the national exchequer senselessly for self/party aggrandisement. So, a party shouldn’t be supported if its leadership and candidates’ character and competency are questionable,” says Shakirullah Khan, a lecturer.

“Some parties seek votes over slogans of religious revolution, sectarianism or support terrorists in one way or the other. Supporting them is tantamount to dividing the state and society on the basis of sects, religions or creed. Can we endure such an environment,” he argues.

Others say development work, provision of jobs and contracts, financial assistance to the needy, personal liaison with the constituents or good oratory skills should be the basis for supporting a candidate.

“But what if all this is done by a corrupt politician. Obviously, this support is driven by selfishness. Pakistan owes its retarded growth, rampant poverty and financial weakness to these flawed priorities on part of the voters. By supporting such candidates, one may end up getting benefits but this will leave the country’s resources, people and fate in the hands of senseless rulers, so it cannot be a choice of a patriotic voter,” says Muhammad Iqbal, another voter.

Independent candidates were the fourth largest group in 2008. They polled 11 per cent votes in National Assembly and 26 and 24 per cent votes in Balochistan and KP assemblies. Being the main source of horse-trading, they must never be voted for. There are always some persons with good reputation amongst the candidates, but they come from parties whose performances were dismal.

“But even if a noble fellow who is contesting from a bad party is sent to his/her parliamentary party and parliament, he/she will be a misfit there amongst most of the self-centred colleagues. Party discipline is another hindrance. If the party decides on a thing that he/she finds obnoxious, he will either have to conform or risk expulsion. If he accepts, corruption will continue as earlier,” according to Shah Hasan, another voter.

But Iqbal responded the personal abilities and character rather than the candidate’s party affiliation should be the guiding factor for voters. Ignoring all ethnic, linguistic and sectarian biases while voting, they must vote solely on the basis of honesty, sincerity, merit and competence.

Vote is a sacred trust and casting vote is mandatory. By voting someone, we testify to his character and abilities and authorise him to decide and work on our behalf. It is as if we engage a lawyer who obviously cannot be a person who can be bribed, intimidated and bought, Iqbal said. “Even if they have been nominated by popular and reputable parties, voters should reject candidates who are corrupt, loan-defaulters and tax-evaders. And they should support competent persons even if they are contesting on tickets of ‘bad/corrupt’ parties.”

Voters should continue with their determination not to send corrupt elements to parliament. This obviously is a long route. But slowly and gradually it will become a norm and most of the electorate will follow suit.

People are heard criticising corrupt leaders, but they too are equally guilty of preferring them over the incorruptible, competent and trustworthy substitutes. If parties ensure awarding tickets to ‘electables’ (not necessarily competent and honest candidates), it is because the electorate too has been accepting their nominees. It’s very shameful that electorate goes on to elect the very candidates, who were disqualified for having fake degrees. This practice of siding with the corrupt must end.

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Original text of the article

Election: choosing competent & honest representatives

By Tahir Ali

A week later, on May 11, 86.18 million Pakistani voters –48.59mn male and 37.59 female – will elect their representatives for National Assembly and Provincial Assemblies who would subsequently choose the next federal and provincial executives.

This exercise carries immense repercussions for over 180mn people as their fate will be left at the discretion of these elected representatives. This necessitates both quantitative and qualitative improvement in voting standard.

While tax evaders, defaulters’ and the corrupt couldn’t be sifted during the scrutiny process, voters are now the only hope to block their entry into power corridors. They will have to come out in large numbers and elect the best amongst candidates. 

However, for multiple reasons – rampant corruption, joblessness, insecurity, poverty, maladministration, unawareness, corrupt practices that manipulate elections, terrorism and the like – voters stand disillusioned with political system that has resulted in low voters’ turnout in previous elections, coming as low as 20 per cent in different constituencies.

In the 2008 general elections, though voters’ turnout was 50 and 48 per cent in Islamabad and Punjab, it was 44 per cent for the country and only 31, 31 and 33 per cent in Baluchistan, Fata and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa respectively.

Women comprise around 44 per cent of the registered voters but have been mostly kept from using this basic right in the past.

Total number of voters has gone up from 80.7mn in 2008 to 86.1mn this year but analysts foresee a low turnout for terrorist attacks/threats, ban on transportation facility for voters by the candidates and voter’s distrust in elections and disappointment with politicians.

But the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and several advocacy groups are encouraging voters to cast their votes. With increase in the number of overenthusiastic young voters, the emergence of PTI on the electoral landscape, a comprehensive security plan put in place for polling day, chances of massive women polling (Candidates and parties concluded written agreements inhibiting women from casting votes. But this time no intra- parties’ agreement has surfaced so far) and with almost all parties participating in elections as against 2008 when several boycotted the process, hopefully the turnout would be good enough, between 50-55 per cent in this election.

Voters generally look at the candidate’s personal caste, character or performance, his party and its manifesto or his own personal interests at the time of voting.

Some, especially die-hard workers, say parties’ performances and manifestos, rather than candidates’ characters, should be the main concern for voters as it is parties that form governments and ultimately decide things. But the rest -the swinging majority- have their own priorities.

“The problem is parties are run by their leaders and their selected buddies. If the party is in wrong hands, they would violate rules, its manifestos and national interests for their political interests and will ruin institutions by nepotism and favouritism and use the national exchequer senselessly for self/party aggrandisement. So, a party shouldn’t be supported if its leadership and candidate’s character and competency are questionable,” says Shakirullah Khan, a lecturer.

“Some parties seek votes over slogans of religious revolution, sectarianism or support terrorists in one way or the other. Supporting them is tantamount to dividing the state and society on the basis of sects, religions or creed. Can we endure such an environment,” he argues.  

Others say development work, provision of jobs and contracts, financial assistance to the needy, personal liaison with the constituents or good oratory skills should be the bases for supporting a candidate.

“But what if all this is done by a corrupt. Obviously, this support is driven by selfishness. Pakistan owes its retarded growth, rampant poverty and financial weakness to these flawed priorities on part of the voters. By supporting such candidates, one may end up getting benefits but this will leave the country’s resources, people and fate in the hands of senseless rulers, so it cannot be a choice of a patriotic voter,” says Muhammad Iqbal, another voter.

Independent candidates were the fourth largest group in 2008. They polled 11 per cent votes in National Assembly and 26 and 24 per cent votes in Baluchistan and KP assemblies. Being the main source of horse-trading, they must never be voted for.

There are always some persons with good reputation amongst the candidates but they come from parties whose performances were dismal.

“But even if a noble fellow who is contesting from a bad party is sent to his/her parliamentary party and parliament, he/she will be a misfit there amongst most of the self-centred colleagues. Party discipline is another hindrance. If the party decides on a thing that he/she finds obnoxious, he will either have to conform or risk expulsion. If he accepts, corruption will continue as earlier. If he doesn’t, he’ll be sent packing for indiscipline,” according to Shah Hasan, another voter.

But Iqbal responded the personal abilities and character rather than the candidate’s party affiliation should be the guiding factor for voters. Ignoring all ethnic, linguistic and sectarian biases while voting, they must vote solely on the basis of honesty, sincerity, merit and competence.

Vote is a sacred trust and casting vote is mandatory. By voting someone, we testify to his character and abilities and authorise him to decide and work on our behalf. It is as if we engage a lawyer who obviously cannot be a person who can be bribed, intimidated and bought, he said.

 

“Even if they have been nominated by popular and reputable parties, voters should reject candidates who are corrupt, loan-defaulters, tax-evaders, are themselves rascals or are supported by rogues, run illegal businesses, use abusive language against opponents, are incompetent, known violators of law or support the extremists and terrorists. And they should support competent persons even if they are contesting on tickets of ‘bad/corrupt’ parties,” he said.

“Of course initially, the men of character will face tough resistance in their parliamentary parties’ meetings and parliament. Perhaps they would be asked to remain quiet or quit the seat. Suppose he/she resigns or is forced to quit over principles, the electorate in the bye-elections must reject the party’s candidate if he/she is not as competent and honest as that one or better support another whose one is better.”

According to him, this will be a lesson for all. “The corrupt will never dare compete elections in future. Parties too will never award tickets to candidates on the basis of their electability but would decide on the basis of their character and capabilities to impress the transformed electorate. The men of character so elected will then be in majority. It will bring a soft revolution in the country’s political and economic landscape. Decisions will then be taken on the basis of merit. Parties’ leadership will no more be in the hands of the corrupt but in competent and honest hands.”

Voters should continue with their determination not to send corrupt elements to parliament. This obviously is a long route. But slowly and gradually it will become a norm and most of the electorate will follow suit.

People are heard criticising corrupt leaders but they too are equally guilty for preferring them over the incorruptible, competent and trustworthy substitutes. If parties ensure awarding tickets to ‘electables’ (not necessarily competent and honest candidates), it is because the electorate too has been accepting their nominees. It’s very shameful that electorate go on to elect the very candidates, who were disqualified for having fake degrees. This practice of siding with the corrupt must end.

 

Challenges to PTI KP government

Change they need
The new government in KP faces big challenges anyway, but they become even bigger because of the PTI’s promises
By Tahir Ali

http://jang.com.pk/thenews/May2013-weekly/nos-19-05-2013/pol1.htm#6

Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) stunned all and sundry with its performance in the recently held elections. Though it couldn’t sweep elections across the country as predicted by Imran Khan, it became the biggest party in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The PTI is going to form a coalition government in KP with Jamaat-e-Islami, Qaumi Watan Party and some independent members.

The PTI contested elections on the agenda of change. Its manifesto pledges, inter alia, devolution of power, zero tolerance for corruption, improvement of economy through reforms in energy, expenditure, revenue sectors, institutional reforms, accountability and governance reforms. It promises human capital development, skill development and a welfare state and says the state will provide uniform system of education for all, equal opportunity and a social safety net for the poor. It also promises to banish the VIP culture and rightsizing of the government and so on.

The PTI will initiate changes across the board in the first 90 days of its government, according to its manifesto.

The PTI government in KP can both be an asset and a liability. Though Imran Khan says the PTI government will be a model one, governance is certainly being seen as a big challenge in the province. However, all agree that the PTI future is directly dependent upon the performance of its government and its ability to deliver on its agenda of change.

The PTI has had announced several policies and manifesto. It should implement them but it will be difficult unless these are followed by a pragmatic plan of action — a vision that could serve as a guide for the party government and its workers. The PTI has prepared an action plan for ‘Naya Pakistan’ which is generally thought of as unrealistic.

In its bid to attract the young voters, the PTI leaders spoke of lofty ideals that generated high expectations. Living up to these expectations of the young supporters will be a herculean task for the PTI and its government.

Unless the gap between the ground realities and lofty ideals espoused by the PTI is bridged on emergency basis, the party will risk losing its youth even if its performance is better than the previous governments. However, this idealism can be an asset if supported by a realistic plan of action.

Most of the young PTI supporters are idealists. They have little knowledge of how our political system works. They were heard saying the PTI will lash the corrupt in public, will dismiss and replace Zardari immediately after polls, or that Imran will become prime minister/president immediately after election results are announced or that police and patwari system will be abolished.

Analysts say drone attacks, security problem, bad performance of other parties and the PTI slogan of change were the major factors in its victory. Change is, however, a complex phenomenon.

When Imran talks of change, he doesn’t mean he will disband the present system. Instead, he believes in working within the framework of the constitution and law to achieve his objectives. So, in fact, he is for reform and not overturning of the present system of election and governance in the country. Unfortunately, most of the PTI supporters don’t know this. When they will see that the same structure of government, with patwari, police, clerks etc, continues, they will get disillusioned.

Loadshedding, terrorism, restoration of peace, economic development, and reduction in poverty, inflation and joblessness are some major challenges facing the PTI.

According to Muhammad Khan, a Batkhela-based academic, the PTI will have to improve law and order situation through government-militant talks. Besides de-radicalisation and economic empowerment of people, the government will also have to deal with foreign militants.

“It will have to reduce loadshedding for which a short and medium term power generation plan based on micro-hydro power stations will have to be launched. It will have to introduce reforms in different departments to stop corruption and ensure transparency. To eradicate poverty and joblessness, it will have to start an emergency programme for small businesses that ensures interest-free small loans and technical training to youngsters to start their businesses. And most of all, it must prefer collective mega projects for community development.”

“The PTI will now have to deal with Taliban directly and help shape Pakistan’s Talibans’ policy. It will be exposed for the first time to militants. Will it still talk of talks if Taliban continue to challenge the state? Will Imran be able to bring peace to KP, stop drone attacks, eliminate loadshedding and improve economy and livelihood? For this, he will have to engage with other parties and the federal government. This necessitates a change in his style. He will have to be broad-minded, careful in his utterances and tolerant of others. Is Imran prepared to do that,” asks another academic who wished anonymity.

“Leniency and patience are the keys to success. The tension between the JUI and the PTI and the PML-N and the PTI must subside. Political differences must never become personal enmity. They should have working relationship. The PTI leadership and workers must shun bigotry, show magnanimity by accepting others and start doing issues-based politics instead of attacking personalities,” he adds.

According to a political worker, for dearth of experienced men in its ranks, the PTI won’t be able to establish a strong government. Only Pervez Khattak, Yousaf Ayub and Sardar Idrees have served as ministers. Another PTI MPA-elect Yasin Khalil had worked as nazim of a town during the Musharraf era.

“However, inexperience is not the only problem. Internal tensions between the old and new guards, represented by Asad Qaiser and Pervez Khattak respectively, is another problem. The PTI has opted for Khattak, a new comer, and neglected the committed and old Qaiser for the CM slot and has thereby risked its agenda of change. It will be deemed as injustice to the old guards. I think the two PTI allies — JI and QWP — have experienced members and would be the real beneficiaries of the setup,” he adds.

Then coalition government has its own compulsions. The PTI CM will have hard time to reconcile the conflicting interests of allies. “Selection of competent bureaucrats on merit for running the province will not be easy for dearth of officers, allies’ interests and internal rivalry between the old and new groups in the PTI,” he says.

There are other challenges too. In its expenditure reforms, the PTI had pledged ‘symbols of pomp and glory’ (e.g. Chief Minister and Governor Houses) will be shut down and put to public use. While it will need support of the federal government for closing the latter, the former can be easily shut down as the PTI incumbent will be occupying it.

It had also vowed to ‘limit’ perks of ministers, members of assemblies and civil bureaucrats and eliminate all discretionary funds and development funds for the parliamentarians. Will its MPAs let it do so?

During the previous Awami National Party government, the PTI had demonstrated against and urged the ANP to halt the Nato supply line. Will it be able to do that now when it is in power itself? The promise of uniform system of education is also uncertain. Will it be done by banning private schools or by privatising public schools? And rightsizing of government departments may well entail making many jobless.

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Challenges to PTI government in KP

By Tahir Ali

Pakistan Tehreeki Insaf (PTI) stunned all and sundry with its performance in the recently held elections. Though it couldn’t sweep elections across the country as predicted by Imran Khan, it became the biggest party in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

PTI is going to form a coalition government in KP with Jamat-e-Islami, Qaumi Watan Party and some independent members.

PTI contested elections on the agenda of change. Its manifesto pledges, inter alia, devolution of power, zero tolerance for corruption, improvement of economy through reforms in energy, expenditure, revenue sectors, institutional reforms, accountability and governance reforms. It promises human capital development, skill development and a welfare state and says the state will provide uniform system of education for all, equal opportunity and a social safety net for the poor. It also promises to banish VIP culture and rightsizing of the government and so on.

PTI will initiate changes across the board in the first 90 days of its government, according to its manifesto.

The PTI government in KP can both be an asset and liability. Though Imran Khan says the PTI government will be a model one, opinions differ on as to whether the PTI will be able to form one. However all agree that the PTI future is directly dependent upon the performance of its government and its ability to deliver on its agenda of change.

PTI has had announced several policies and manifesto. It should implement them but it will be difficult unless these are followed by a pragmatic plan of action –a vision that could serve as guide for party government and its workers. The PTI has prepared an action plan for ‘Naya Pakistan’ but it is generally thought of as unrealistic.

In its bid to attract the young voters, the PTI leaders spoke of lofty ideals that generated higher expectations.  Living up to these expectations of the naive young supporters will be a herculean task for PTI and its government.

Unless the gap between the ground realities and lofty ideals espoused by PTI is bridged on emergency basis, the party will risk losing its youth even if its performance is better than the previous governments. However, this idealism can be an asset if supported by a realistic plan of action.

Most of the young PTI supporters are idealists. They have little knowledge of how our political system works. They were heard saying PTI will lash the corrupt in public, will dismiss and replace Zardari immediately after polls, or that Imran will become prime minister/president immediately after election results are announced or that police and patwaris system will be abolished.

Analysts say drone attacks, security problem, bad performance of other parties and the PTI slogan of change were the major factors in its victory. Change is however a complex phenomenon.

When Imran talks of change, he doesn’t mean he will disband the present system. Instead, he believes in working within the framework of the constitution and law to achieve his objectives. So, in fact he is for reform and not overturning of the present system of election and governance in the country. Unfortunately most of the PTI supporters don’t know this. When they will see that the same structure of government, with patwari, police, clerks etc, continues, they will get disillusioned.

Loadshedding, terrorism, restoration of peace, economic development, and reduction in poverty, inflation and joblessness are some major challenges ahead of PTI.

According to Muhammad Khan, a Batkhela-based academic, PTI will have to improve law and order situation through government-militant talks, de-radicalization, economic empowerment and integration of the local and naturalisation of foreign, militants.

“It will have to reduce loadshedding for which a short and medium term power generation plan based on micro-hydro power stations will have to be launched. It will have to introduce reforms in different departments to stop corruption and ensure transparency. To eradicate poverty and joblessness, it will have to start an emergency programme for small businesses that ensures interest-free small loans and technical training to youngsters to start their businesses. And most of all, it must prefer collective mega projects for community development.”

“PTI will now have to deal with Taliban directly and help shape Pakistan’s Taliban’s policy. It will be exposed for the first time to militants. Will it still talk of talks if Taliban continue to challenge war on the country. Will Imran be able to bring peace to KP, stop drone attacks, eliminate loadshedding and improve economy and livelihood? For this he will have to engage with other parties and the federal government. This necessitates a change in his style. He will have to be broad-minded, careful in his utterances and tolerant of others. Is Imran and PTI prepared to do that,” says another academic who wished anonymity.

“Leniency and patience are the keys to its success. The tension between JUI and PTI and PML-N and PTI must subside.  Political differences must never become personal enmity. They should have working relationship. The PTI leadership and workers must shun bigotry, show magnanimity by accepting others and start doing issues-based politics instead of attacking personalities,” he adds.

According to a political worker, for dearth of experienced men in its ranks, PTI won’t be able to establish a strong government. Only Pervez Khattak, Yousaf Ayub and Sardar Idrees have served as ministers. Another PTI MPA-elect Yasin Khalil had worked as nazim of a town during Musharraf era.

“However, inexperience is not the only problem. Internal tensions between the old and new guards, represented by Asad Qaiser and Pervez Khattak respectively, is another problem. PTI has opted for Khattak, a new comer, and neglected the committed and old Qaiser for the CM slot and has thereby risked its agenda of change. It will be deemed as injustice to the old guards. I think the two PTI allies –JI and QWP – have experienced members and would be the real beneficiaries of the setup,” he adds.  

Then coalition government has its own compulsions. The PTI CM will have hard time to reconcile the conflicting interests of allies.

“Selection of competent bureaucrats on merit for running the province will not be easy for dearth of officers, allies’ interests and internal rivalry between the old and new groups in PTI,” he says.

There are other challenges. In its expenditure reforms, the PTI had pledged ‘symbols of pomp and glory’ (e.g. Chief Minister and Governor Houses) will be shut down and put to public use. While it will need support of federal government for closing the later, the former can be easily shut down as PTI incumbent will be occupying it.

It had also vowed to ‘limit’ perks of ministers, members of assemblies and civil bureaucrats and eliminate all discretionary funds and development funds for the parliamentarians. Will its MPAs let it do so?

 During the previous Awami National Party government, PTI had demonstrated against and urged ANP to halt the NATO supply line. Will it be able to do that now when it is in power itself?

The promise of uniform system of education is also uncertain. Will it be done by banning private schools or by privatising public schools? And rightsizing of government departments may well entail making many jobless.

PTI has indeed given a vision of change to its workers and raised their confidence but like some others, they lack sportsman spirit. They must be taught to respect the ideals and leaders of other parties and learn the art of discussion and tolerance. Unfortunately, by its loose talk, brandishing political opponents as fraudsters, unpatriotic, corrupt and inefficient, some political leaders have inculcated a culture of intolerance and accusations in the youth of the country.

Review of PPPP performance

Review of PPPP performance

performance
Facts and fudging
Economists are reluctant to buy what the PPP ads boast about the last five-year performance on economy
By Tahir Ali

http://jang.com.pk/thenews/apr2013-weekly/nos-21-04-2013/pol1.htm#1

The Pakistan People’s Party Parliamentarians (PPPP) recently published advertisements in newspapers and issued its manifesto for the 2013 elections wherein it enumerated its achievements during its last five-year rule.

Economic experts, however, reject these claims and accuse the regime of fudging the figures, mismanagement, poor governance and fiscal indiscipline.

The national economy is still faced with low revenue receipts, declining tax to GDP ratio, rising current expenditure, dying foreign direct and local investment, low annual GDP growth rate, rising debt to GDP ratio, acute power/gas crisis and the inefficient and sick public sector entities (PSEs).

Though the PPP claims reducing inflation to 9.6 per cent, it remained in double digits, hovering between 11-15 per cent during the last five years. As per the Ministry of Finance (MoF) figures, overall consumer price index and food CPI increased from 100 points in 2008 to 175 points and 196 points in January 2013. The IMF says inflation in Pakistan will return to double digits by the end of this fiscal year.

Food insecurity is on the rise. As per the National Nutrition Survey, 2011, conducted by the BISP, 58 per cent of Pakistanis were food insecure.

According to Dr Muhammad Yaqoob, former State Bank governor, the economic conditions of an average family have become worse due to rising prices, large-scale unemployment and shortage and the rising cost of gas and electricity.

The PPP had vowed to establish a fair tax system. It claimed raising tax revenues from Rs1 trillion in 2008 to over Rs2 trillion in 2012. Though revenues have increased in quantity, as per 2012-13 fiscal policy statement (FPS) of the MoF, total revenues were 14.6 per cent of GDP in 2008 which came down to 12.4 per cent in 2012.

The government has been unable to meet any of the revenue, expenditure and deficit targets over the last five years. For indecisiveness or self-centredness, it failed to levy tax on agriculture and impose reformed general sales tax as it didn’t want to annoy the industrial, business or agriculture lobbies and political allies. Most of its leaders allegedly avoided fulfilling their tax responsibilities, thus setting bad precedents for others.

The party claimed foreign remittances are now $14 billion against $6.4 billion in 2008. But “the rise partly reflects the diversion of black money and illegally-held capital abroad through remittance channels without any fear of being questioned about the sources of the funds. Moreover, there has been an inevitable need for workers abroad to send more remittances to support their families against rising inflation,” according to Dr Yaqoob.

According to FPS, the real GDP growth was 6.8 per cent in 2007. It came down to 3.7 per cent in 2008. From 2009 to 2012, it was recorded at only 1.7, 3.1, 3.0 and 3.7 per cent respectively.

The PPPP, in its 2008 manifesto, had pledged a sound debt policy and that the future generations won’t be overburdened with excessive debt.

But instead, the public debt — both domestic and foreign debt — has more than doubled in the last five years. It borrowed more than all the previous governments combined. The public debt was Rs4.8 trillion in 2008 but reached Rs12.6 trillion by June 2012. The tax to GDP ratio which was 55.4 per cent in 2007 was at 61.3 per cent in 2012. Total debt is now over Rs13 trillion.

Every Pakistani baby was born with a debt of Rs30,000 in 2007. Today he/she carries a debt of over Rs80,000.

The debt rose up by 21 per cent per annum despite the fact that fiscal responsibility and debt limitation act of 2005 had asked for reducing debt to GDP by 2.5 per cent annually to be able to keep Debt to GDP ratio below 60 per cent by June 2012-13.

If the IMF standby arrangement programme hadn’t remained suspended over the last three years, Pakistan’s external debt of $66 billion would have been jacked up by another $5-6 billion during the time.

The SBP second quarterly report for 2012-13 states that the government was unable to meet its self-imposed quarterly limit of zero net budgetary borrowing from the SBP.

Pakistan’s domestic debt servicing is climbing and is now the biggest single expenditure item. Similarly, its external debt servicing will reach $6 billion in the current and to $7 billion in the next fiscal year.

The party claims to have reduced fiscal deficit from 7.6 per cent in 2008. But if compared with 4.4 per cent in 2007, it rose to 5.3, 6.3, 6.0 and 6.6 per cent respectively in the next four years. The IMF estimates fiscal deficit will be 7.0-7.5 per cent of GDP as against the government target of 4.7 per cent. According to Dr Ashfaque Hasan Khan, a leading economist, the fiscal deficit reached as high as 8.5 per cent last year.

The manifesto claims Forex reserves are now $13.2 billion against $8.2 billion in 2008, but according to Dr Khan, the SBP’s Forex reserves stand at $6.69 billion on April 5. “Pakistan must retire $0.838 billion to IMF by June 30. With little or insufficient external inflows, the SBP’s reserves may fall to $5.8 billion by June 2013. The SBP has borrowed $2.3 billion from commercial banks in the forward market and if we adjust it, the SBP’s reserves would be $3.5 billion by then — sufficient to trigger a crisis of confidence.”

The party claimed it reduced interest rate from 15 per cent in 2008 to 9.6 per cent in 2013. Industrialists and experts doubt this. Nevertheless, the rate spread — the difference between return on deposits and lending rates — is still very high in Pakistan.

In 2008, the rupee was 62.61 against the dollar. The PPP left it at 98.98 by March 15, 2013. This has, besides causing price-hike locally, increased public debt and made imports costlier.

Instead of restructuring or privatising the loss-making PSEs, the PPP government kept on doling out hundreds of billion annually to these entities. Most of the PSEs were allegedly handed over to political cronies and were further destroyed by large-scale inductions by treating them, as Dr Khan put it, as employment bureaus.

Though the party claims having added 3600MW to the national grid, the country continues to face acute energy shortage. It has made life miserable for the people, halted industrial development and estimated to have inflicted a loss of Rs3 trillion to the country during last five years.

Over Rs1.8 trillion doled out to the power sector for financing circular debt would have sufficed to complete several projects that would have solved much of the energy problems.

The PPP had promised growth of business and industry with equity and making private sector as engine of growth. But Pakistan’s industrial sector and the private sector was badly hit by lawlessness, policy inaction and shortage of energy.

In 2007, large scale industrial production was 8.7 per cent which came down to 4.1 per cent in 2008 and to minus 8.2 per cent in 2009. In 2010, it again increased to 4.81 per cent but then declined to 1.14 per cent in 2011 and 1.02 per cent in 2012.

Economic growth was three per cent per annum during the PPP tenure against seven per cent per annum in the preceding five years.

Dr Khan said investment rate also continued coming down during the last five years and declined to a 50-year low at 12.5 per cent of GDP from 22.5 per cent in 2006-07. Industrial growth stagnated at near zero per cent against 12.4 per cent per annum in the preceding five years.

During FY09, foreign direct investment fell to $3.72 billion and further to $2.20 billion in 2010 and $1.63 billion in 2011.

…………………….

Original text of the article.

Reviewing PPPP performance on economy

By Tahir Ali

The Pakistan Peoples’ Party Parliamentarians (PPPP) recently published advertisements in newspapers and issued its manifesto for the 2013 elections wherein it enumerated its achievements during its rule.

Independent economic experts however reject these claims and accuse the regime of, inter alia, fudging of figures, mismanagement, poor governance, self-centredness and fiscal indiscipline.

The national economy is still faced with low revenue receipts, declining tax to GDP ratio, rising current expenditure, dying foreign direct and local investment, low annual GDP growth rate, rising debt to GDP ratio, acute power/gas crisis and the inefficient and sick public sector entities (PSEs).

Inflation

Though PPP claims reducing inflation to 9.6 per cent, it remained in double digits, hovering between 11-15 per cent during the last five years. As per the ministry of finance (MoF) figures, overall consumer price index and food CPI increased from 100 points in 2008 to 175 points and 196 points in January 2013. The IMF says inflation in Pakistan will return to double digits by the end of this fiscal year.

Food insecurity is on the rise. As per the National Nutrition Survey, 2011, conducted by the BISP, 58 per cent of Pakistanis were food insecure.

According to Dr Muhammad Yaqoob, former State Bank governor, the economic conditions of an average family have become worse due to rising prices, largescale unemployment and shortage and the rising cost of gas and electricity.

Revenue

The PPP had vowed to establish a fair tax system. It claimed raising tax revenues from Rs1 trillion in 2008 to over Rs2tr in 2012. Though revenues have increased in quantity, but as per 2012-13 fiscal policy statement (FPS) of the MoF, total revenues were 14.6 per cent of GDP in 2008 which came down to 12.4 per cent in 2012.

The government has been unable to meet none of the revenue, expenditure and deficit targets over the last five years. For indecisiveness or self-centredness, it failed to levy tax on agriculture and impose reformed general sales tax as it didn’t want to annoy the industrial, business or agriculture lobbies and political allies. Most of its leaders allegedly avoided fulfilling their tax responsibilities, thus setting bad precedents for others.

Foreign remittances

The party claimed foreign remittances are now $14bn against $6.4bn in 2008. But “the rise partly reflects the diversion of black money and illegally-held capital abroad through remittance channels without any fear of being questioned about the sources of the funds. Moreover, there has been an inevitable need for workers abroad to send more remittances to maintain their families for rising inflation,” according to him.

GDP growth

According to FPS, real GDP growth was 6.8 per cent in 2007. It came down to 3.7 per cent in 2008. During 2009 to 2012, it was recorded at only 1.7, 3.1, 3.0 and 3.7 per cent.

Public Debt

The PPPP, in its 2008 manifesto, had pledged a sound debt policy and that the future generations won’t be overburdened with excessive debt.

But instead, the public debt –both domestic and foreign debt –has more than doubled in last five years. It borrowed more than all the previous governments combined. The public debt was Rs4.8 trillion in 2008 but reached Rs12.6tr at June 2012. The tax to GDP ratio which was 55.4 per cent in 2007 is now at 61.3 per cent in 2012. Total debt is now over Rs13tr.

Every Pakistani baby was born with a debt of Rs30,000 in 2007. Today he/she carries a debt of over Rs80000.

The debt rose up by 21 per cent per annum despite the fact that fiscal responsibility and debt limitation act of 2005 had asked for reducing debt to GDP by 2.5 percent annually to be able to keep Debt to GDP below 60 percent by June 2012-13.

If the IMF standby arrangement programme hadn’t remained suspended over the last three years, Pakistan’s external debt of $66bn would have been jacked up by another $5-6 billion during the time.

The SBP second quarterly report for 2012-13 states that the government was unable to meet its self-imposed quarterly limit of zero net budgetary borrowing from SBP.

Pakistan’s domestic debt servicing is climbing and is now the biggest single expenditure item. Similarly, its external debt servicing will reach $6bn in the current and to $7bn in the next fiscal year.

Fiscal deficit

The party claims having reduced fiscal deficit from 7.6 per cent in 2008. But if compared with 4.4 per cent in 2007, it rose to 5.3, 6.3, 6.0 and 6.6 per cent in the next four years. The IMF estimates fiscal deficit will be 7.0-7.5 percent of GDP as against government target of 4.7 percent. According to Dr Khan, fiscal deficit reached as high as 8.5 percent last year.

Foreign exchange reserves

The manifesto claims Forex reserves are now $13.2bn against $8.2bn in 2008 but according to Dr Ashfaque Hasan Khan, a leading economist, the SBP’s Forex reserves stand at $6.69bn on April 5. Pakistan must retire $0.838bn to IMF by June 30. With little or insufficient external inflows, the SBP’s reserves may fall to $5.8bn by June 2013. The SBP has borrowed $2.3bn from commercial banks in the forward market and if we adjust it, the SBP’s reserves would be $3.5bn by then– sufficient to trigger a crisis of confidence.”

Interest rate

The party claimed it reduced interest rate from 15 per cent in 2008 to 9.6 per cent in 2013. Industrialists and experts doubt this. Nevertheless, the rate spread –the difference between return on deposits and lending rates –is still very high in Pakistan.

Rupee devaluation

In 2008, the rupee was 62.61 against the dollar. The PPP left it at 98.98 by March 15, 2013. This has, besides causing price-hike locally, increased public debt and made imports costlier.

Bleeding PSEs

Instead of restructuring or privatising the loss-making PSEs, the PPPP government kept on doling out hundreds of billion annually to these entities. Most of the PSEs were allegedly handed over to political cronies and were further destroyed by large-scale inductions by treating them, as Dr Khan put it, as employment bureaus.

Energy imbroglio

Though the party claims having added 3600MW to the national grid, the country continues to face acute energy shortage. It has made life miserable for the people, halted industrial development and estimated to have inflicted a loss of Rs3tr to the country during last five years.

Over Rs1.8 trillion doled out to the power sector for financing circular debt would have sufficed to complete several projects that would have solved much of the energy problems.

Industrial, economic growth and investment

The PPPP had promised growth of business and industry with equity and of making private sector as engine of growth. But Pakistan’s industrial sector and the private sector was badly hit by lawlessness, policy inaction and shortage of energy.

In 2007, large scale industrial production was 8.7 percent which came down to 4.1 percent in 2008 and to minus 8.2 percent in 2009. In 2010, it again increased to 4.81 percent but then declined to 1.14 percent in 2011 and 1.02 percent in 2012.

Economic growth was three percent per annum during the PPP tenure against seven percent per annum in the preceding five years.

Dr Khan said investment rate also continued coming down during the last five years and declined to a 50-year low at 12.5 percent of GDP from 22.5 percent in 2006-07.  Industrial growth stagnated at near zero percent against 12.4 percent per annum in the preceding five years.

During FY09, foreign direct investment fell to $3.72bn and further to $2.20bn in 2010 and $1.63bn in 2011.

Corruption

Corruption was rampant. Hajj scam, Pakistan Steel plunder, railways corruption, rental power loot and others scams remained the talk of the town.  Anti-corruption bodies were however made dysfunctional by their politicization. Transparency International estimated Pakistan lost over Rs8.5tr in corruption, tax evasion and bad governance during the previous government.

………………..

Achievements of PPPP

The new PPPP’s manifesto and advertisement have listed its accomplishments during the 2008-13 government.

“We inherited a bubble economy based perilously on consumer credit, stock market speculation, property mark-ups, non-transparent privatization and foreign aid. Inflation stood at 25 per cent, making the poor dangerously vulnerable to local and international shocks.”

“We lowered inflation to single digits standing at 9.6 per cent in 2013; raised tax revenues from Rs1 trillion in 2008 to over Rs2tn in 2013; We cut the fiscal deficit from 7.6 per cent of GDP in 2008 to 6.6 per cent in 2013(more robust as compared to India’s 8.7 per cent and the USA’s at 8.9 per cent); we kept public borrowing under 60 per cent of GDP; turned a current account deficit of $14bn in 2008 to a surplus of $62bn in 2013; investor confidence grew as the Karachi Stock Exchange index surged to 18,000 points in 2013 from 4,800 points in 2008 ( but the advertisement says it rose up from 5220 points in 2008 to 18185 points in 2013);  Forex reserves were $8.2bn in 2008 but are now $13.2bn (but the advertisement says these increased from $6bn in 2008 to $16bn in 2013); foreign remittances are now $14bn against $6.4bn in 2008; reduced fiscal deficit from 7.6 per cent in 2008; disbursed Rs 70bn amongst 75 lac deserving families BISP besides other pro-poor programmes; signed the Pak-Iran agreement on Gas Pipe Line, handed over Gowader Port to China; increased exports from $18 in 2008 to $29bn in 2012; the rural economy went up from Rs50bn in 2008 to Rs800bn in 2013; we added 3,700 MW of power to the national grid during our tenure and launched Mangla, Tarbela extension and other projects; increased pays of public sector employees by 158 per cent; foreign investment increased and so on.”

 

Do talks with Militants mean capitulation to them?

Capitulation to militants?
Unconditional talks with TTP is seen as detrimental to peace
By Tahir Ali

http://jang.com.pk/thenews/Mar2013-weekly/nos-17-03-2013/dia.htm#5

Two All Parties Conferences, first by Awami National Party (ANP) and second by Jamiat Ulemae Islam (F) have urged talks with the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) but is there any rationale for these talks?

Prolonged conversations with political workers and persons from different strata have revealed most are against the talks. But they wish to be anonymous while opposing them in public to avoid the militants’ wrath.

“It will help bring Peace, it is said. But have the earlier agreements with militants — Shakai (2004), Sararogha (2005), Miramshah (2006), Khyber (2008) and Swat (2008) brought about peace?” Asks a political activist.

“These agreements were explicitly pro-militants — the state halted operation withdrew troops from demanded areas, announced amnesty for, and released militants, paid them compensation etc. But all this didn’t pacify them; they didn’t stop their war against the state; instead, they got emboldened and more lethal and extended their campaign and sway to other areas,” he adds.

Some apologists, he says, accuse the state and its security forces of not honouring the earlier deals. They always support the narration of militants (anti-state elements) and blame the security forces (state institutions) for spread of terrorism and violation of these accords. “But didn’t militants agree to certain conditions but then violated them; they didn’t take advantage of opportunities given by the state; they used peace-talks as an interval for gaining more areas and strength; they continued to support foreign fighters on Pakistani territory; they killed over 35,000 innocent civilians and 5,000 soldiers and desecrated even their bodies; they least cared for Pakistan’ international compulsions.Talks with them won’t be accepted to the families of martyrs. It will mean surrender, appeasement and our capitulation to them. These can be held only if they surrender and accept the state sovereignty; there is no other option than to do to them what they are doing to us,” the activist says.

“Some analysts argue that when US could hold talks with Afghan Taliban despite their attacks and rejection of Afghan constitution, then talks with the militants should not be marred here by asking for their surrender and ceasefire. They forget the difference between the sitting here and there. Taliban there are fighting the US and its allies who have occupied Afghanistan and the TTP here is waging war against its own people, land and security forces. How could they be equated?”

According to a social activist, it is obvious no state or its people can allow or afford a parallel system or a militant force in its jurisdiction. They can’t be expected to embrace those who are hell bent on their annihilation.

“How can talks be held with them? Have they submitted to state’s writ, its constitution and accepted and repented their mistakes and injustices? Will they unconditionally surrender? Will they cease to indulge in terrorism?”

“The militants this week released another video wherein six Pakistani soldiers were beheaded. Then the TTP’s spokesman offered talks while Adnan Rashid, the master-mind of several high profile attacks who was freed from the Bannu Jail by TTP last year, sat beside him. He is a figurehead. His presence in the video makes a mockery of the talks offer and is meant to molest the establishment,” says another social activist.

“The security forces are fighting for the country and Pakistani politicians should visit the frontlines to express solidarity with them. Instead, they are adding insult to injury by urging unconditional talks with TTP,” he opines.

“Militants and some of their apologists say alliance with the US and drone attacks brought about terrorism in Pakistan. But if so, (one can say only for the sake of argument and if it is not taken as enticing them for attacks on the US) then why militants who attack Pakistani defence installations located hundreds of kilometres away from their hideouts and kill our soldiers and innocent civilians, don’t go and attack the US bases in Afghanistan located a few miles away from there?” he asks.

“So assertive are the militants that when the JUI APC avoids using the term terrorism and militancy, it is welcomed by the TTP as a ‘positive’ development. And when the ANP APC declares talks are the first priority (but not the only solution as declared often by others) and talks about other options, its APC is rejected and it is targeted,” opines another political worker.

“Taliban have threatened to target ANP, MQM and PPP during election campaign and asked people to avoid their meetings and warned other parties to consider their policies. By welcoming some parties as guarantors and declaring others as targets may end up giving open field to the former and restricting it for the latter.”

“In private discussions, most politicians reject talks but they are pro-talks in public so as to avoid being killed. During the APCs and elsewhere, they avoid condemning the Taliban. They urge talks but intentionally avoid discussing the other options (of state operation and retaliation) in case talks fail. They want peace and power but, it seems, political expediency is being preferred over demands of national security and sovereignty? Most are following a policy of appeasement. But never forget the first step in retreat is never the last one,” says a teacher.

Militants assert that they fight for Islam. What is terrorism to others is Jihad for them. They say the government should frame independent foreign policy, separate itself from Afghan war, cede operations in Pakistan, prepare Islamic constitution and repeal laws repugnant to Islam. So is urged by their mentors. “Who should decide on these things? Who should have authority to decide what is right and bad for the country, TTP or popularly elected parliament and rulers? Should anyone wage war on his state if one doesn’t agree with any of state policies? Should people have exclusive authority to elect their rulers or states can be taken over by force? Bullet or ballot, which should determine things? Should one believe in supremacy of constitution to be enforced and explained by the state judiciary or in abdication of state to the Taliban, that they decide and impose whatever they want to?” asks a technocrat.

“Nothing can be achieved with piecemeal half hearted endeavours devoid of any comprehensive anti-terrorism strategy clearly spelling out other post-talks-failure options,” he says.

“Militants don’t have the capacity to fight a sustained war against the state. The security forces have flushed militants out from most of their strongholds. They can no more hold on to an area for long. They only can indulge in hit and run campaign. But their guerrilla warfare can never bring about the change they cherish. It can only inflict material and human losses on the nation to satisfy only their sense of vengeance?” he adds.


……………….

ORIGINAL TEXT of THE ARTICLE.

The other view: Is Dialogue a capitulation to militants?

Tahir Ali

Two All Parties Conferences, first by Awami National Party (ANP) and second by Jamiat Ulemae Islam (F) have urged talks with the Tehreeki Taliban Pakistan (TTP) but is there any rationale for these talks?

Prolonged conversations with political workers and persons from different strata have revealed most are against the talks. But they wish to be anonymous while publicly opposing so as not to annoy the militants.

“It will help bring Peace, it is said. But have the earlier agreements with militants –Shakai (2004), Sararogha (2005), Miramshah (2006), Khyber (2008) and Swat (2008) brought about peace?,” asks a political activist.

“These agreements were explicitly pro-militants -the state halted operation, withdrew troops from demanded areas, announced amnesty for, and released, militants, paid them compensation etc. But all this didn’t pacify them; they didn’t stop their war against the state; instead, they got emboldened and more lethal and extended their campaign and sway to other areas,” he adds.

Some apologists, he says, accuse the state and its security forces of not honouring the earlier deals. They always support the narration of militants (anti-state elements) and blame the security forces (state institutions) for spread in terrorism and violation of these accords. “But didn’t militants agree to certain conditions but then violated them; they didn’t take advantage of opportunities given by the state; they used peace-talks as an interval for gaining more areas and strength; they continued to support foreign fighters on Pakistani territory; they killed over 35000 innocent civilians and 5000 of soldiers and desecrated even their bodies; they least cared for Pakistan’ international compulsions. Talks with them won’t be accepted by the heirs of martyrs. It will mean surrender, appeasement and our capitulation to them. These can be held only if they surrender and accept the state sovereignty; there is no other option than to do to them what they are doing to us,” the activist says.

“Some analysts argue that when US could hold talks with Afghan Taliban despite their attacks and rejection of Afghan constitution, then talks with the militants should not be marred here by asking for their surrender and ceasefire. They forget the difference between the sitting here and there. Taliban there are fighting with the US and its allies who have occupied Afghanistan and the TTP here is waging war against its own people, land and security forces. How could they be equated,” he argues.

According to a social activist, it is obvious no state or its people can allow or afford a parallel system or a militant force in its jurisdiction. They can’t be expected to embrace those who are hell bent on their annihilation.

“How can talks be held with them? Have they submitted to state’s writ, its constitution and accepted and repented their mistakes and injustices? Will they unconditionally surrender? Will they cease to indulge in terrorism?”

“The militants this week released another video wherein six Pakistani soldiers were beheaded. Then the TTP’s spokesman offered talks while Adnan Rashid, the master-mind of several high profile attacks who was freed from the Bannu Jail by TTP last year, sat beside him. He is a figurehead. His presence in the video makes a mockery of the talks offer and is meant to molest the establishment,” says another social activist.

“The security forces are fighting for the country and Pakistani politicians should visit the frontlines to express solidarity with them. Instead, they are adding insult to injury by urging unconditional talks with TTP,” he opines.

“Militants and some of their apologists say alliance with the US and drone attacks brought about terrorism in Pakistan. But if so, (one can say only for the sake of argument and if it is not taken as enticing them for attacks on the US) then why militants who can attack against Pakistani defence installations located hundreds of kilometres away from their hideouts and kill our soldiers and innocent civilians don’t go and attack the US bases in Afghanistan located a few miles away from there?,” he adds.

“So assertive are the militants that when the JUI APC avoids using the term terrorism and militancy, it is welcomed by the TTP as a ‘positive’ development. And when the ANP APC declares talks are the first priority (but not the only solution as declared often by others) and talks about other options, its APC is rejected and it is targeted,” opines another political worker.

According to him, Taliban have threatened to target ANP, MQM and PPP during election campaign and asked people to avoid their meetings and warned other parties to consider their policies. By welcoming some parties as guarantors and declaring others as targets may end up giving open field to the former and restricting it for the latter, he argues.

“In private discussions, most politicians reject talks but they are pro-talks in public so as to avoid being killed. During the APCs and elsewhere, they avoid condemning the Taliban. They urge talks but intentionally avoid discussing the other options (of state operation and retaliation) in case talks fail. They want peace and power but, it seems, political expediency is being preferred over demands of national security and sovereignty? Most are following a policy of appeasement. But never forget the first step in retreat is never the last one,” says a teacher.

“Militants assert that they fight for Islam. What is terrorism to others is Jihad for them. They say the government should frame independent foreign policy, separate itself from Afghan war, cede operations in Pakistan, prepare Islamic constitution and repeal laws repugnant to Islam. So is urged by their mentors. Who should decide on these things? Who should have authority to decide what is right and bad for the country, TTP or popularly elected parliament and rulers? Should anyone wage war on his state if one doesn’t agree with any of state policies? Should people have exclusive authority to elect their rulers or states can be taken over by force? Bullet or ballot, which should determine things? Should one believe in supremacy of constitution to be enforced and explained by the state judiciary or in abdication of state to the Taliban, that they decide and impose whatever they want to?,” asks a technocrat.

“Nothing can be achieved with piecemeal half hearted endeavours devoid of any comprehensive anti-terrorism strategy clearly spelling out other post-talks-failure options,” he says.

“Militants don’t have the capacity to fight a sustained war against the state. The security forces have flushed militants out from most of their strongholds. They can no more hold on to an area for long. They only can indulge in hit and run campaign. But their guerrilla warfare can never bring about the change they cherish. It can only inflict material and human losses on the nation to satisfy only their sense of vengeance?” he adds.

(These are the views of the persons. Writer’s total agreement with these is not necessary)

Talking out of chaos

Talking out of chaos
As the momentum for talks with TTP builds up, all the stakeholders should be taken on board on how to conduct and implement the peace agenda
By Tahir Ali

http://jang.com.pk/thenews/Mar2013-weekly/nos-10-03-2013/pol1.htm#3

Almost the entire commentaries on the possible peace talks with the proscribed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) are focused on what and why to talk but the most important part of how talks are to be conducted and implemented has not been concentrated upon.

There is little disagreement, at least in political circles, on that talks should be held but the all important implementation stage of agreement, which was neglected in the past deals that led to their failure and restart of militancy in the country, should be focused more than anything else.

Khalid Aziz, Ex-Chief Secretary Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and a tribal affairs expert, opines the country’s political leadership is trying to build a national consensus on what to do but neglecting how it is to be done.

“Talks will be held as had already been. Hopefully, peace agreements would be signed as earlier done in Waziristan, Bajaur and Swat etc. Focus, to my mind, should have been on the implementation stage of agreements. It should be from the reverse side. It’s at the implementation stage that the real problems lie. So that stage needs more attention,” says Aziz.

“Accusations of violation of the pact by each side and differences would certainly come up. These have been responsible for failure of earlier militants-government pacts in the past. Answers to questions like who would be guarantors and responsible for implementation of the Jirga decisions, who will monitor the daily/minute details of progress on execution of agreement, what powers will they have etc needs to be discussed at length and consensus be built over them by all stakeholders. I mean there should be an elaborate implementation plan and execution structure already in place before any pact is signed,” he elaborates. “I think administrative support is more vital than political support for the Tribal Jirga holding talks.”

The Zardari-led Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), the federal government and the Pakistan army have neither supported nor rejected the talks. Their official policy statement is also yet to come on the Tribal Jirga and the guarantors proposed by Taliban.

With militants continuously attacking the military personnel and installations (they released another video of beheading of six Pakistani soldiers recently), the Army may be reluctant to accept talks for the fear that it may be construed as weakness on its part.

Aziz urges the inclusion of Pakistan Army, the federal government, the KP government and all political and religious parties and other stakeholders in the process.

Though Taliban have asked Nawaz Sharif, Maulana Fazlur Rahman and Syed Munawar Hasan to become guarantors for the government and army, it is still not clear whether they themselves would give authority to the Tribal Jirga or appoint their own men for talks? And whether they would be acceptable to the government and Army?

Aziz says Taliban should be talked to as to who would be their guarantors but, “I think, they would try to solve the issue through tribal customs and prefer tribal guarantors.”

Will the Tribal Jirga have the guts to give independent decision against the TTP if it genuinely considers it on the wrong or will it pursue a policy of appeasement vis-à-vis them?

Afrasiab Khattak, the president of the KP ANP, sounds optimistic that the peace talks would succeed. “There is national consensus on three points: one, that terrorism and extremism is a problem that must be addressed quickly; two, that dialogue is the first priority and other options would follow later; three, that the problem would be tackled within the framework of law, constitution, security and sovereignty of the country,” he says.

The Central vice-Amir of JUI, Maulana Gul Naseeb Khan, is also hopeful. “We have organised the APC that was attended by almost the entire political and religious leadership from the opposition and the ruling sides. The basic responsibility of the peace talks rests with Tribal Jirga. Maulana Fazlur Rahman and KP Governor Engineer Shaukatullah will serve as a bridge between the Jirga and the parties in the conflict.” Khan says the Jirga will be extended in future and all parties will be included and taken along if needed.

“We have shown our mettle in the past. We had held successful dialogue with the militants during the MMA government. There was no operation, no terrorism when we were in power during 2002-2007,” Khan claims.

Asked whether the Tribal Jirga will be given authority by Taliban and whether the Jirga will be in a position to take independent decisions, Khattak says, “We should not go into details at this point. All problems will be solved as the process goes on. It is a continuous process. The Tribal Jirga is there and it already has started its activities and talked to the governor whose office would be a coordination office.”

Gul Naseeb Khan says waak or authority by both the contending sides is must for empowering the Jirga to decide on the problem.

Khattak argues violence and terrorism is too big a problem to be solved overnight. “The present status quo, no doubt, is unviable. It has to be wrapped up. For this, all political parties and institution should sit together to chalk out its workable alternative.”

Will the federal government and the security establishment own the talks process with Taliban? Khattak says he could give assurance from the government side but cannot say anything on behalf of Taliban. “The government and state institutions are sincere in talks. They will abide by the decisions if the talks are given political ownership by the national leadership. Our party leader Asafandyar Wali Khan will meet President Zardari, PM Ashraf and Army chief General Kayani and take them into confidence”

There is no backup plan as to what is to be done if talks fail to bring about peace in the country. When asked as to what is to be done if talks fail, Khattak says dialogue should be given a fair chance. “But if state’s writ is consistently challenged and its law and sovereignty is not accepted, then the state has the right to resort to other options and respond accordingly.”

Urgent steps

The Tribal Jirga formed by the JUI has members from all the tribal agencies. But as its members were nominated by the JUI chief and may be his party men, they may be biased towards a certain viewpoint. Unless the Jirga is expanded by including members from other parties (and this should be done quickly), it won’t get the respect and backing from the Pakistani society it needs.

There is obviously a communication gap between the stakeholders. There is a need to hold a national conference of all stakeholders. The present policy of leaving things to ‘the other’ by both civilian and military institutions should be given up.

The national leadership should take up the responsibility instead of being in the background. If Nawaz Sharif, Maulana Fazlur Rahman and Munawar Hasan and other politicians claim they are national leaders and if they think Fata is part of Pakistan and it needs to be brought under the state writ, then they should lead from the front.

A combined delegation consisting of members of the PML-N, the JI, the JUI (F and S) and other political parties, and teachers from Deobandi Madaris, military and civil establishment, judiciary, journalists, civil society etc should be formed, empowered and facilitated to start the dialogue process.

It should ask the parties in the conflict to stop attacks and halt operations. If any side ignores its request and continues with its intransigence, it should inform the nation and unite the entire nation against it. This joint Jirga should seek authority from both the sides. It will then listen to the demands and statements of both the sides separately.

tahir_katlang@yahoo.com

caption

Everyone wants peace, but how?

……..

Original text of the article as it was sent to The News

Grey areas in peace agenda and the way forward

By Tahir Ali

Almost the entire commentaries on the possible peace-talks with the proscribed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) are focused on what and why to talk but the most important part of how talks are to be conducted and implemented has not been concentrated upon as it deserved.

There is little disagreement, at least in political circles, on that talks should be held but the all important implementation stage of agreement, which was neglected in the past deals that led to their failure and restart of militancy in the country, should be focused more than anything else.

Khalid Aziz, Ex Chief Secretary Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and a renowned tribal affairs expert, opines the country’s political leadership is trying to build a national consensus on what to do but neglecting on how it is to be done.

“Talks will be held as had already been. Hopefully peace-agreements would be signed as earlier done in Waziristan, Bajaur and Swat etc. Focus, to my mind, should have been on the implementation stage of agreements. It should be from the reverse side. It’s at the implementation stage that the real problems lie. So that stage needs more attention and more work on. Accusations of violation of the pact by each side and differences would certainly come up. These have been responsible for failure of earlier militants-government pacts in the past. Answers to questions like who would be guarantors and responsible for implementation of the jirga decisions, who will monitor the daily/minute details of progress on execution of agreement, what powers will they have etc needs to be discussed at length and consensus be built over them by all stakeholders. I mean there should be an elaborate implementation plan and execution structure already in place before any pact is signed,” he says.

“I think administrative support is more vital than political support for the Tribal Jirga holding talks and in implementation of its decisions,” he adds.

The Zardari-led Pakistan peoples’ party (PPP), the federal government and the Pakistan army have neither supported nor rejected the talks (it was PPP Parliamentarian, declared an NGO by federal government lawyer in Lahore high court, that attended the All parties conferences held on the issue). Their official policy statement is also yet to come on the Tribal Jirga and the guarantors proposed by Taliban.

With militants continuously attacking the military personal and installations (they released another video of beheading six Pakistani soldiers recently) the Army may be reluctant to accept talks for the fear that it may be construed weakness on its part. And will it give its authority to a Tribal Jirga, which may be apparently supportive or apprehensive of Taliban?

Aziz urges the inclusion of Pakistan Army, the federal government, KP government and all political and religious parties and other stakeholders in the process.

Though Taliban have asked Nawaz Sharif, Maulana Fazlur Rahman and Syed Munawar Hassan to become guarantors for the government and army, it is still not clear whether they themselves would give authority to the Tribal Jirga or appoint their own men for talks? And whether they would be acceptable to the government and Army?

Aziz said Taliban should be talked to as to who would be their guarantors but, I think, they would try to solve the issue through tribal customs and prefer tribal guarantors.

Will the Tribal Jirga have the guts to give independent decision against the TTP if it genuinely considers it on the wrong or will it pursue a policy of appeasement vis-à-vis them?

Afrasiab Khatak, the president of the KP ANP, sounds optimistic that the peace-talks would succeed. “There is national consensus on three points: one, that terrorism and extremism is a problem that must be addressed quickly; two, that dialogue is the first priority and other options would follow later; three, that the problem would be tackled within the framework of law, constitution, security and sovereignty of the country,” he says.

The Central vice Amir of JUI Maulana Gul Naseeb Khan, is also hopeful. “We have organised APC that was attended by the almost the entire political and religious leadership from opposition and ruling sides. The basic responsibility of the peace talks rests with Tribal Jirga. Maulana Fazlur Rehman and KP Governor Engineer Shaukatullah will serve as a bridge between the Jirga and the parties in the conflict. Jirga is to be extended in future. All parties will be included and taken along if needed,” he adds.

“We have shown our mettle in the past. We had held successful dialogue with the militants during the MMA government. There was no operation, no terrorism when we were in power during 2002-2007,” Khan claims

When asked whether the Tribal Jirga will be given authority by Taliban and whether the jirga will be in a position to take independent decisions, Khattak said we should not go into details at this point. “All problems will be solved as the process goes on. It is a continuous process. The Tribal Jirga is there. One of the major successes is that it will be expanded. An all encompassing jirga would hold talks with militants and the government. It already has started its activities and talked to the Governor whose office would be a coordination office,” he adds.

Gul Naseeb Khan said waak or authority by both the contending sides is must for empowering the jirga to decide on the problem.

Khattak says violence and terrorism is too big a problem to be solved overnight. “The present status quo, no doubt, is unviable. It has to be wrapped up. For this all political parties and institution should sit together to chalk out its workable alternative.”

To another question will the federal government and the security establishment own the talks process with Taliban, he says he could assure that from the government side but cannot say anything on behalf of Taliban. “The government and state institutions are sincere in talks. They will abide by the decisions if the talks are given political ownership by all the national leadership. Our party leader Asafandyar Wali Khan will meet President Zardari, PM Ashraf and Army chief General Kayani and take them into confidence”

Maulan Naseeb said all state institutions would back the process of dialogue which is the collective decision of all opposition and governing parties.

There is no backup plan as to what is to be done if talks fail to bring about peace in the country. When asked as to what is to be done if talks fail, Khattak said dialogue should be given a fair chance. “It should be the first priority. But if state’ writ is consistently challenged and its law and sovereignty is not accepted, then the state and the nation has the right to resort to other options and respond correspondingly.”

The JUI leader however said policies and decisions shouldn’t be made on the basis of hypotheses. “We are hopeful the talks would be successful. No such deadlock would occur. We will see to it if and when such problem arises.”

Urgent steps

The Tribal Jirga formed by the JUI has members from all the tribal agencies but as its members were nominated by the JUI chief and may be his party-men, they may be biased towards a certain viewpoint. Unless the Jirga is expanded by including members from other parties (and this should be done quickly), it won’t get the respect and backing from the Pakistani society it needs.

There is obviously communication gap between the stakeholders. There is a need to hold a national conference of all stakeholders. The present policy of leaving things to ‘the other’ by both civilian and military institutions should be given up.

 

The national leadership should take up the responsibility instead of being in the background. If Nawaz Sharif, Maualan Fazlur Rehman and Munawar Hasan and other politicians claim they are national leaders and if they think Fata is part of Pakistan and it needs to be brought under the state writ, then they should lead from the front.

A combined delegation consisting of members of PML-N, JI, JUI (F and S) and other political parties, and teachers from Deobandi Madaris, military and civil establishment, judiciary, journalists, civil society etc should be formed, empowered and facilitated to start the dialogue process.

It should ask the parties in the conflict to stop attacks and halt operations. If any side ignores its request and continues with its intransigence, it should inform the nation and unite the entire nation against it.

This joint jirga should seek authority from both the sides. It will then listen to the demands and statements of both sides separately. Then it will consider them in its private and confidential sessions. It will try first to reconcile the two opposing thoughts and if that is not possible, then it will take unbiased, neutral and rightful decisions.

This body or another implementation body made by it will be responsible for supervision of the implementation of any agreement. For this it will have far reaching powers including that of hearing the appeals and deciding on the accusations by the two sides as well as appointing, transferring, calling, arresting and jailing those responsible for violating the terms of the treaty.

(Added. Not included in the text sent to TNS) Drone attacks will have to be stopped and cease fire too will be required. The government will have to make a policy statement on talks in the parliament. The role of federal govt is vital as the centre of insurgency Fata is under its administrative control. A national conference of all stakeholders must be arranged without any delay.

 

                                                                       (tahir_katlang@yahoo.com)

On Peace-talks with militants

Talking peace with militants

 

http://jang.com.pk/thenews/Jan2013-weekly/nos-27-01-2013/pol1.htm#7
What are the chances of a dialogue between the militants and the 
government? What does it hope to achieve and how soon? These re all 
relevant questions at a time when we are so close to general election
By Tahir Ali

With the federal and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa governments as well as the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) having agreed for negotiations — albeit with some conditions — there cannot be a better time to discuss the pros and cons of this process.

What, at all, are the chances of this dialogue? What are the respective demands/conditions of both sides? What are the obstacles and how could these conflicting differences be bridged in a way that is acceptable to both the parties? What are the minimum requirements that will have to be fulfilled and the confidence-building measures that need to be taken by both the government and the TTP to create a conducive atmosphere for dialogue? Who among the Taliban should the government talk to and who should comprise the official or intermediary peace-body for negotiations? Which are the other national, regional and global stakeholders that need to be taken on board during the process? What should be the agenda of talks? Who will be the guarantors of any accord that is reached? What, are the chances of its success in bringing about peace in the volatile region? And what should be the subsequent options if the talks fail for intransigence?

Questions such as these and others need to be focussed on and discussed at length for working out a viable agenda and a conducive atmosphere for talks towards sustainable peace in the region.

The ANP Chief, Asfandyar Wali Khan, and the KP government recently said they were sincere in holding talks with the militants and that negotiations would be held before elections. However, no dialogue process has begun as yet. One hopes the talks are held and are successful in bringing about the much needed peace in the region.

Bakht Raziq, a political activist, is optimistic about the prospects of dialogue. “No problem could ever be solved by the use of power alone. To bring the war to a responsible close and for a lasting peace in the region, a political settlement is absolutely essential.”

That the provincial government has only two months left to start/complete the lengthy peace process and that the militants and the government have sharp differences of opinion has led some experts to be sceptical of the process.

Brigadier (Retd) Mehmood Shah, a security and tribal affairs’ expert, thinks the process is a non-starter and only a time-buying tactic on the part of the government. “Despite offers of talks from both sides, there is still no plan as to when, with whom and how the dialogue would be held.”

Aftab Ahmad Khan Sherpao, ex-Interior Minister and Chief of the Qaumi Watan Party, also thinks talks are hardly possible as the government has only four weeks to go. “The ANP government has been in for five years but failed to curb militancy and bring peace. Still the dialogue must be given a fair chance. With elections due shortly, the Taliban would also like to wait till the next government is installed. They had stalled attacks against the incumbent ANP-led government for four months when it came to power five years ago.”

There are other factors that show dialogue is still possible, even if a bit later. The US is holding negotiations with the Afghan Taliban. The Pakistani military establishment has changed the focus of its security doctrine from external to internal threats. Pakistan has released, and is releasing, the Afghan Taliban prisoners. It is reluctant to launch a military operation in North Waziristan (NWA) despite demands from the US.

The successors of Maulvi Nazir in NWA have vowed to continue the truce with the Pakistan Army while the TTP too has pledged to abide by it. The incumbent regime is almost at the end of its term and with general elections at hand, the militants may halt their attacks and prefer to adopt await-and-see policy till a new government is installed after elections.

Mehmood Shah opines that as dialogue with terrorists is not acceptable to the world, “the government will certainly ask the militants to accept Pakistan’s constitution, shun militancy, lay down arms and stop interference in Afghanistan before coming to the negotiating table.” They, on the other hand, would urge the release of their mates, withdrawal of army from the tribal belt, enforcement of Shariah and end to alliance with the US, says Shah.

Sherpao says though parties differ in their priorities, these can be bridged or else the differences be kept aside for the time being. “The Taliban would obviously demand the enforcement of Sharia, end of support to America, release of their prisoners, cessation of war policy in Pakistan, payment of compensation etc. They would also ask for guarantors to supervise the implementation of an accord. But these problems can be discussed and sorted out later.” The first question would be how to bring the contending parties to the negotiation table, says Sherpao.

He thinks these differences should not be made an excuse to stop or derail the negotiation process. “After all talks between the US, the Afghan government and insurgents, including the Taliban, are held despite the fact that Taliban don’t accept the Afghan constitution/government, have killed many Afghan leaders and closed girl schools.”

Some experts are of the view that Pakistani Taliban are an extension of the Afghan Taliban. So talks with the Pakistani Taliban cannot be held in isolation. The two and other regional and global elements must be taken on board.

Afghanistan president Hamid Karzai and Pakistani and American establishments still suspect each other. Each of them has its own list of enemies and friends. The friend of one is often the enemy for the other. Bridging this conflict of interest is essential. Whether the US would discontinue its drone programme inside Pakistan is still uncertain. An attack could spoil the entire peace process in no time.

All stakeholders — Pakistan, Iran, US, Afghan government and Taliban along with other groups there, TTP, political parties — of the conflict will have to be taken on board during the peace process.

The next government in Pakistan will have to own the process that begins today. For this, a national consensus between the stakeholders — political/religious parties, the security establishment, civil society — about the enemy, the ailment and the solution is needed.

“The government will have to form a peace council/ reconciliatory commission that should be acceptable to all stakeholders. This reconciliatory body would be given ‘Waak’ (authority of representing and deciding on behalf of a party in a conflict) by the sides. It will first conduct negotiations and then supervise the implementation of the agreed decisions,” says Sherpao.

To bridge the huge gap between the opposing views of the Taliban and the government, a mediator would be required. But an arbiter usually starts work on mutual request or at least upon the consent of the parties involved in a dispute. Again, an arbiter should be a neutral person or a body of people respected by all the parties concerned. He must be given authority or ‘Waak’ in Pushto. Has any Waak been given to a third party or arbitrator?

“The militants are practically divided into several groups that are separate and independent from the TTP. For example, Maulana Fazlullah-led Swat Taliban and Maulvi Faqir-led Bajaur factions are not under the operational control of TTP. Then there are sharp differences on dealing with al Qaeda, Tajik, Uzbek and other foreign militants,” states Shah.

caption

What if talks fail?

………………

Original text of the article

Chances of a dialogue between militants and government

By Tahir Ali

With the federal and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa governments as well as the Tehrik-e-Taliban PakistAAAan (TTP) having agreed for negotiations –albeit with some conditions-, there cannot be a better time to discuss the pros and cons of this process.

What are, at all, the chances of a dialogue? What are the respective demands/conditions of both the sides? What are the obstacles? How could/should these conflicting differences be bridged in a way that is acceptable to both the parties? What are the minimum requirements that will have to be fulfilled and the confidence building measures that need to be taken by both the government and the TTP to create conducive atmosphere for the dialogue? Who should be talked to and how? Who should comprise the official or intermediary peace-body for negotiations? Which are the other national, regional and global stake-holders that need to be taken on board during the process? What should be the agenda of talks? Who will be the guarantors of any accord that is reached at? What, if held, are the chances of its success to bring about peace in the volatile region? And what should be the subsequent options to curb militancy if the talks fail for intransigence?  

Questions such as these and others need to be focussed and discussed at length for working out a viable agenda and a conducive atmosphere for talks towards a sustainable peace in the region.

The ANP Chief Asfandyar Wali Khan and KP government recently said they were sincere in holding talks with the militants and that negotiations would be held before elections.

However, no dialogue process has begun as yet. One sincerely hopes that the talks would be held and would be successful in bringing about the much needed peace in the country and region.

 Bakht Raziq, a political activist, said there are lots of chances that dialogue will be held.  “No problem could ever be solved by use of power alone. To bring the war to a responsible close and for a lasting peace in the region a political settlement is absolutely essential.”

That the provincial government has only two months left with it to start/complete the lengthy peace process and that militants and government have sharp differences of opinion on the way forward has led some experts to be sceptical of the process.

Brigadier (R) Mehmood Shah, a security and tribal affairs’ expert, thinks that the process is a non-starter and only a time buying tactics on part of the government. “Despite offers of talks from both sides, there is still no plan as to when, with whom and how dialogue would be held.”

Aftab Ahmad Khan Sherpao, Ex Interior Minister and Chief of the Qaumi Watan Party, too thinks talks are hardly possible as the government has only 4 weeks to go. “The ANP government has been in for five years but failed to curb militancy and bring peace. But dialogue must be given a fair chance. With elections due shortly, Taliban would also like to wait till the next government is installed. They had also stalled attacks against the incumbent ANP-led government for four months when it came to power five years ago.”

But there are some factors that show dialogue is possible, even if a bit later. The US is holding negotiations with the Afghan Taliban. Pakistani military establishment has changed the focus of its security doctrine from external to internal threats. Pakistan has released and is releasing Afghan Taliban prisoners. It is reluctant to launch military operation in NWA despite demands from the US.  The successors of Maulvi Nazir in NWA have vowed to continue the truce with the Pakistan Army while the TTP too had pledged to abide by it. The incumbent regime is almost at the end of its term and with general elections at hand, the militants may halt their attacks and prefer to adopt wait and see till a new government is installed after elections.

Priorities of the parties

Mehmood Shah opines that as dialogue with terrorists is not acceptable to the world, “the government will certainly ask the militants to accept Pakistan’s constitution, shun militancy, lay down arms and stop interference in Afghanistan before coming to the negotiating table. But they would urge release of their mates, withdrawal of army from the tribal belt, enforcement of Shariah and end to alliance with the US,” he adds. 

Aftab Sherpao says though parties differ on their priorities’ list, these can be bridged or else differences be kept aside for the time being.

“The Taliban would obviously demand enforcement of Sharia, end to support to America, release of their prisoners, cessation of war policy in Pakistan, payment of compensation etc. They would also ask for guarantors to supervise the implementation of an accord. But these problems can be discussed and sorted out later. The first question is how to bring the contending parties to the negotiation table,” he said.

 “These differences should not be made an excuse to stop or derail the negotiation process. After all talks between US, Afghan government and insurgents including the Taliban are held despite the fact that Taliban don’t accept the Afghan constitution/government, have killed many Afghan leaders and closed girl schools. Obviously when the militants accept the writ of the state and its constitution, the problem would be over. Why would they fight the government then?”

Obstacles and hitches 

Experts say Pakistani Taliban are an extension of Afghan Taliban. So talks with the Pakistani Taliban cannot be held in isolation.  The two and other regional and global elements must be taken on board.

Afghanistan president Hamid Karzai and Pakistani and American establishment still doubt suspect each other. Each of them has its own list of enemies and friends. The friend of one is often the enemy for the other. Bridging this conflict of interest is a must.

If US would discontinue its drone programme inside Pakistan is still uncertain. An attack could spoil the entire peace process in no time.

All stake-holders –Pakistan, Iran, US, Afghan government and Taliban along with other groups there, TTP, political parties – of the conflict will have to be taken on board during peace process.

The next government in Pakistan will have to own the process tomorrow that begins today. For this national consensus between the stakeholders -political/religious parties, the security establishment, civil society – as to who is enemy, what is the ailment and what is the solution is needed which is far from there. Confusion on the friends and enemies will have to be removed.

“The government will have to form a peace council/ reconciliatory commission that should be acceptable to the stake holders. This reconciliatory body would be given Wak (authority of representing and deciding on behalf of a party in a conflict) by the sides. It will first conduct negotiations and then supervise the implementation of the agreed decisions,” says Sherpao.

To bridge the huge gap between the opposing views of Taliban and government, a mediator or arbiter between the two is needed. But an arbiter usually starts work on the mutual request or at least upon the consent of the parties involved in a dispute. Again, an arbiter should be a neutral person or body of people respected by all parties. He must be given authority or “Waak” in Pushto. Has any Waak been given to a third party or arbitrator?

 “The militants are practically divided into several groups that are separate and independent from the TTP. For example Maulana Fazlullah-led Swat Taliban and Maulvi Faqir-led Bajaur factions are not under the operational control of TTP. Then there are sharp differences on dealing with Alqaeda, Tajik, Uzbak and other foreign militants,” states Shah.

With no office for TTP still allowed or established, how and where talks would be held.

Militants will be extremely reluctant to stop cross-border attacks.

Education in Swat after militancy and Malala

Swatis love their schools
There is a renewed urge among the girls in Swat to get more education after the attack on Malala
By Tahir Ali

Following years of virtual militants’ sway, destruction of hundreds of schools, target killings and especially the October 9 attack on Malala Yousafzai, outsiders think of Swat as a place where female education has become a very difficult and risky enterprise. But apparently these incidents have further ignited the love for knowledge in the resilient Swatis.

According to a social worker in Madyan, who wished anonymity, there are no mentionable hurdles in the education sector but students and teachers somehow feel threatened. “There is a general perception that schools may be attacked, though there is no apparent threat. This fear is evident from the fact that NGOs have been asked to share their data/plans with authorities for security reasons. Polio workers are escorted by the police,” he says.

On October 15 last year, when the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government named the Government Girls Degree College, Saidu Sharif in Swat after Malala, the students of the college campaigned against it until the decision was withdrawn. Locals say they were not against Malala but they thought that associating her name with the college would make them susceptible to militants.

Dilawar Khan, an educationist in Mingora, Swat, sees no visible impact on the enrolment of students. “It has rather increased after the incident. As far as opposition to the renaming of college after Malala is concerned, it was pushed by some political elements and personal vendetta with her and her father rather than by security perception.”

Afzal Khan Lala, the famous local nationalist leader from Matta who remained in his hometown despite persistent attacks on him, seconded his thoughts.

“Swat already had good literacy rate irrespective of gender. In fact, the recognition and awards Malala received, has increased the urge for education and excellence among students. Malala was attacked for her advocacy for female education and for opposing the anti-knowledge agenda of militants. The opposition to naming a college after Malala was brought about by prejudice against her achievements and fear of becoming a target of militants,” he says.

According to Aftab Alam Advocate and ex-president Swat Bar Association, female education has got a fillip in post-militancy/Malala attack situation in Swat. “Her worldwide acclaim has encouraged other girls. It will not be out of place to point out that for the first time in Swat’s history, four female lawyers have been inducted in our fraternity and more such aspirants are in the pipeline,” he says.

“Swatis love books, schools and peace. Every visitor to the area will testify that Swatis are tolerant and progressive people and have nothing to do with militancy,” says a local, Tahir Shah.

Alam too cited jealousy, political considerations of some locals and fear of attack by militants on the college as reasons for opposing Malala college.

“The importance of girls’ education cannot be emphasised. There goes a saying “Mard paray, fard paray but zan paray tu watan paray (if a male reads, it is as if an individual reads but when a woman studies, it is as if a country reads), says Alam.

Nasir Khan, another Swat resident, says these factors had positive impact and rather boosted the morale and vision of the female students in the area. “There was some fear initially but now things have become normal. The students opposed renaming of the college because that would have made them potential target of militants,” he said.

The district education officer (female) Swat Dilshad Begum also says Malala is the pride of the area and has motivated others. “There is a renewed urge to get more education. The government has made education free up to the secondary level and is providing free books to students and stipends to girls. The KP government has given plenty of monetary benefits and incentives to all cadres of teachers. We are motivating and preparing them for the task through refresher courses. There cannot be a better opportunity. They should now ensure quality education to their students,” she says.

The strength of students has increased. “From 74904 female students in Swat in 2009, the number increased to around 118594 students in 2011. Data for this year is being finalised and it says that the female enrolment has gone up.”

There has been no security threat to any school of late. “The government has provided police officials where needed. Again, it has asked all the headmasters and principals of the schools to prepare special entry passes for all girl students. A teacher will be deputed to allow students into the schools after checking their cards,” she added.

Swat already had a good literacy rate for both boys and girls. The former ruler of Swat, Miangul Abdul Wadood, had opened a chain of schools for girls. But during their peak days, the Taliban first asked girls to observe strict purdah (veil) on their way to school. Later, they banned girl education and ordered girls’ schools to be shut down by January 15, 2009, and threatened to attack the students and teachers who didn’t follow the edict.

The Taliban had started their anti-girls education campaign in 2003 which continued for the next four years. They would announce and eulogise the female students on radio who gave up studying. So convincing was their appeal for the naive girls that in 2004, more than 200 girls of high school Charbagh asked for school leaving certificates and tore them there.

In May 2008, the Kabal GGHSS was the first school to be destroyed. With that began a trend that saw the destruction of over 400 schools in Swat. 217 of these were girls’ schools. 124 were fully destroyed and 93 of them were partially damaged. As of now 270 schools are fully or partially destroyed, Dilshad Begum informs. Even though the Swat of 2012 is way different from what it was in 2009, still with the militants saying they will continue their campaign, there is no room for complacency within the government circles.


…………………….

ORIGINAL TEXT OF THE ARTICLE AS IT WAS SENT OT THE NEWS.

Female education in Swat after Malala incident – situational analysis of past and present

By Tahir Ali

Following years of virtual militants’ sway, destruction of hundreds of schools, target killings and the October 9 attack on Malala Yousafzai there, outsiders think of Swat as a place where female education has become very a difficult and risky enterprise. But locals and officials say none have negatively impacted it and these have further ignited the love for knowledge in the benign but resilient Swatis, the fear of the hidden enemy and their attacks notwithstanding.

According to a social worker in Madyan, who wished anonymity, there were no mentionable hitches in the education sector but students and teachers somehow felt threatened. “There is a general perception that the school may be attacked though there is no apparent threat. This fear is evident from the fact that NGOs have been asked to share their data/plans with authorities for security reasons. Polio workers are escorted by the police,” he said.

On October 15 last year, when the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government named the Government Girls Degree College, Saidu Sharif in Swat after Malala, the students of the college campaigned against it until the decision was withdrawn. Locals say they were not against Malala but they thought that associating her name with the college would make them susceptible to militants.

Dilawar Khan, an educationist in Mingora Swat, said there had been no negative effect of attack on Malala on the enrolment of students. “It has rather increased after the incident. As far opposition to the renaming of college after Malala, it was pushed by some political elements and personal vendetta with her and her father rather than by security perception.”

Afzal Khan Lala, the famous local nationalist leader from Matta who remained in his hometown despite persistent attacks on him, seconded his thoughts.

“Swat already had good literacy ratio for both girls and boys. In fact the recognition and awards Malala received, boosted the urge for education and excellence on part of other students. Malala was attacked for her advocacy for female education and opposing the anti-knowledge agenda of militants. The opposition to Malala’s college was brought about by prejudice with her achievements and fear of becoming target of militants,” he said.

According to Aftab Alam Advocate, Ex-president Swat Bar Association, female education has got a fillip in post-militancy/Malala attack situation in Swat. “Her worldwide acclaim encouraged other girls. It will not be out of place to point out that for the first time in Swat history, 4 female lawyers have been inducted in our fraternity and more such aspirants are in the pipeline,” he said

“Swatis love books, schools and peace. Every visitor to the area will testify that Swatis are tolerant and progressive people and have nothing to do with militancy,” said a local, Tahir Shah.

Alam too cited jealousy, political considerations of some locals and fear of attack by militants’ attack on the college as reasons for opposing Malala college.

“The importance of girls’ education cannot be emphasized. There goes a saying “Mard paray, fard paray but zan paray tu watan paray (if a male reads, it is as if an individual reads but when a woman studies, it is as if a country reads). The more there is investment on female education, the better for humanity and the country. For this more schools, more resources like playground, laboratories, teachers) be provided in Swat, Malakand division and elsewhere,” he added.

Nasir Khan, another Swat resident, said these factors had positive impacts and rather boosted the morale and vision of the female students in the area. “There was some fear initially but now things have become normal. The students opposed the college renaming for that would have made them potential target for militants,” he said.

The district education officer (female) Swat Dilshad Begum also said Malala was a pride for the area and has motivated others. “There is a renewed urge to get more education on their part. The government has made education free up to the secondary level and providing free books to students and stipends to girls. All cadres of teachers have been given plenty of monetary benefits, incentives and up-gradation by the KP government. We are motivating and preparing them for the task through refresher courses. There cannot be a better opportunity. They should now ensure quality education to their students,” she said.

She said the strength of students has increased. “Against around 74904 female students in Swat in 2009, there were around 118594 students here in 2011. Data has been collected for this year and is being finalised according to which female enrolment has gone up.”

Talking about security threats and measures, she said there had been no security threats to any schools of late. “The government has provided police officials where needed. Again, it has asked all the head masters and principals of the schools to prepare special entry passes for all girls’ students. A teacher will be deputed to let allow students into the schools after checking their cards,” she added.

There are 507 primary, 55 middle, 27 high and 5 GHSSs in the public sector in Swat where around 118594 female students are taught by 2595 teachers. Of these, 96631 are primary students who are taught by 1845 teachers where the students- teacher ratio stands of 53:1 per cent against the required 40:1 in the province.

“We need more teachers to be able to provide education to the locals at their doorstep. We need some resources (vehicles etc) to improve teachers’ accessibility to schools on some routes. There are no high schools in some areas. Through the KP government’s Rokhana Pakhtunkhwa scheme, students in some areas are being financed by government for their education in some reputable private schools but we need more schools in certain areas. Besides, there are no IT teachers in our schools. Some other schools lack laboratories or equipments therein,” Dilshad Begum said.

Destruction and reconstruction of female schools

Swat enjoys good literacy rate for both boys and girls. Even the former ruler of Swat Miangul Abdul Wadood, had opened a chain of schools for females. But during their peak days, Taliban first asked girls students to observe strict purdah (veil) when they go to school. Later they banned girl education and ordered the girls schools to be shut down by January 15, 2009 and threatened to attack the students and teachers who didn’t follow the edict.

How the female students were psychologically hit by the order is evident form one of Malala diaries, she wrote for BBC, on January 3, 2009. She writes: “On my way from school to home I heard a man saying ‘I will kill you’. I hastened my pace and after a while I looked back if the man was still coming behind me. But to my utter relief he was talking on his mobile and must have been threatening someone else over the phone.”

The Taliban had started their anti-girls education campaign in 2003 which continued for next four years. They would announce and eulogise the female students on radio who gave up studying. So convincing was their appeal for the naive girls that in 2004, more than 200 girls of high school Charbagh asked for school leaving certificates and tore them there.

In May 2008, the Kabal GGHSS was the first school to be destroyed. With that began a trend that saw the destruction of over 400 schools in Swat. 217 of these were girls’ schools. 124 of these were fully and 93 of them were partially damaged. As of now 270 schools are fully or partially destroyed, Dilshad Begum informed.

Girls’ schools in backward and remote areas in Tehsil Kabal, Matta and other areas across the Swat River especially received the brunt of attacks. Shamozai, Koza Bandai, Khwazakhela, Sheen and Kharriri etc were other affected areas. Urban areas remained mostly safe then though they also saw destruction of some schools later.

“Hundreds of schools were destroyed by militants in Swat. They dynamited the buildings thereby depriving the students of education and light. The government girls’ higher secondary school (GGHHS) in our village was the only school that remained safe because the community protected it day and night. But the militants dynamited the boys’ school there which we didn’t expect as they were only after girls’ schools then,” Lala recalled.

“The destruction would have rendered their students uneducated for long. However the government opened schools in rented buildings, tents, and makeshift homes. In the meanwhile, the Pakistan army and the provincial reconstruction, rehabilitation and settlement authority started rebuilding the schools with support from Qatar Charity, UAE, EU, USAID and the like. Most of them have been reconstructed and rehabilitated. Only 33 remain to be reconstructed as of now,” Dilshad begum informed.

It could not be ascertained as to whether any girls’ schools are being used for residential purposes by the security forces or not.

Even though the Swat of 2012 is way different from it was in 2009. But with militants saying they will continue their campaign, there is no room for complacency within the government circles as it can encourage them to expand their hit and run campaign.

On Malala

Malala Yousafzai, the Swati teenager rose to glory after she wrote daily diaries for the BBC website with the pen-name of Gul Makai. She was later adjudged The Daughter of Pakistan by the National Assembly and has earned several fascinating distinctions that filled others with envy: She won Pakistan’s first peace award; was the Herald’s, person of the year; was nominated for International Children’s Peace Prize in 2011; was awarded the 2012 Tipperary International Peace Award from Ireland, which was awarded to Benazir Bhutto in 2007 as well; she stood at number 6, ahead of Obama amongst Foreign Policy magazine’s 100 influential world thinkers; she was named ‘Young Person of the Year’ by The Times; a bill has been introduced in US Congress that seeks Congressional Gold Medal for Malala; She is suggested as candidate for the Noble Peace Prize; the list continues to expand.

On December 10 last year, President Asif Ali Zardari Monday announced a 10-million-dollar donation for the “Malala Fund for Girls’ Right to Education” which will ensure that all girls go to school by 2015 in line with UN Millennium goals.

According to the Education for All Global Monitoring Report released by UNESCO, Pakistan has around 5.1 million out of school children, the second highest worldwide, with 63 percent of these girls.

Community police in Malakand

Community police force in Malakand division

By Tahir Ali

http://e.thenews.com.pk/11-11-2012/nos_page18.asp

While there are doubts on the future of the nascent Community Police Force (CPF) in Malakan division as per a report, a senior official of the Malakand police said they are not being disbanded in near future.

Locals say they need to be retained, sufficiently trained and compensated for the task they were inducted for –community protection against militants.

Soon after the 2009 military operation that drove the Maulana Fazlullah-led militants out of the region, the CPF, also called special police force, was raised to check terrorism at community level and to fill the gap between required and available police personnel at that critical juncture.

Members of the CPF were recruited on the recommendation of local jirgas under the supervision of the Pakistan army.

Around seven thousand poor youth had joined the CPF in Swat,Buner,Dir upper/lower and Shangla, in late 2009 for one year. Paid by the provincial government, their services are extended after every year.

Some police officials had resigned from service. Some even had to publish their resignations in newspapers as demanded by militants there. Militants had killed around 180 police officials, including a police-woman Alia, who was murdered for she had refused to tender resignation.

The members of the CPF were trained by army for 6 weeks before they joined the force. They were provided official weapons and black clothes and were distributed in the police stations in the districts of their domicile. They provided valuable help to army and police in tracking down militants as they were fully conversant with the local norms and the area terrain. Some CPF personnel were also awarded for their effective role against militants.

CPF formation and involvement of local communities for crime prevention and intelligence-gathering is a pragmatic approach. Also, police strength is even insufficient for routine policing. Rising tide of terrorism has further increased their woes.

The idea of community policing has been successfully implemented in several countries like Italy, France, Germany, Britain, Switzerland, Sweden and India. The US had also resorted to this concept in Iraq.

The members of the CPF in Malakand are, as per the terms of their service, still being paid Rs10,000 per month. Thousands of the poor and nominally educated persons had thronged the centres to join the force. They hardly had any other option for rampant unemployment and acute poverty.

While legally speaking they are under obligation to work against this salary and remain contractual employees, but when thousands of other contractual employees in other departments are being regularised, why are the CPF members denied the facility?

The CPF has given many sacrifices. In the recent fatal attack on Fateh Khan, the president of the peace body in Buner, three of his body guards who lost their lives, were also the CPF members.

In September last year KP Chief Minister Ameer Haidar Khan Hoti had said his government couldn`t afford to wrap up CPF in Swat under current delicate security situation. But there are unconfirmed reports that the force is being disbanded from December this year.

“Community Police was hired under a contact agreement for 2 years in 2009. This contract has subsequently been renewed on yearly basis. The fiscal year in government runs from July – June. Hence the present contract is valid till June 2013. Therefore they are not being disbanded in December,” said Akhtar Hayat Khan, the Deputy Inspector general of police in Malakand division through an emailed response.

While Pakistan army has handed over control of administration to civil authorities in Shangla and Buner in May 2011 and it plans to hand it over in other parts of Malakand division soon, what is needed is the capacity building of existing regular police and CPFand augmenting it with new inductions rather than depriving the existing CPF of their services, locals say.

A clear, hold, build and transfer of authority to civil administration and financial empowerment of the locals and elsewhere must be the basic ingredient of any counter-terrorism strategy. Militancy can’t be defeated without poverty eradication. Depriving the MCP members of their jobs and income sources will render them more vulnerable to militants.

“The Special Police Force personnel are not being terminated in the near future. Moreover, the government , security forces and the police department specially has tried to create a peaceful atmosphere in Malakand Division . Last year saw a record number of tourists in excess of 400,000 visiting Swat during Summer. Swat’s economy is tourism dependent, once it picks upon the reliance on government jobs should decrease,” added the official.

Afzal Khan Lala, the nationalist leader from Swat, while enumerating several attacks on the police in Swat and other parts of the province, noted that police was and is the front line defence of the state and the major target of militants. They know if police is defeated, they would be free to do what they like.

He was all praise for the CPF and urged its retention. “It filled the gap created by the killing/injuring and desertions of police in Malakand division. Doing away with them is tantamount to facilitating the militants. In the event of planned delegation of control to civilian forces, which necessitates increase in personnel and capacities, they must be retained and regularised. They must also be strengthened with sophisticated weapons and training for their capacity building,” he added.

Though the number of police personnel has almost been doubled in Malakand division, there are still around 16000 police personnel, much less than required to make a viable alternative for around 50000 army personnel in Malakand division.

According to Zahid Khan, a leader of Swat Qaumi Jirga (SQJ), the induction of MCP had been suggested by SQJ.

“Rather than forming Peace Lashkars, we thought it better to suggest and arrange the CPF that would have official recognition, power and weapons. They were intended to guard the community by manning the streets and entry/exit point of villages. They were a better option in counter-terrorism strategy as they knew the locals and could easily identify non-locals or suspicious persons. Unfortunately, they are being used for performing tasks like hounding drug pedlars etc and not specifically used for community protection,” he said.

“Most of them are in community policing. They work in their police station areas . The advantage being their familiarity with the area and its people. Some are also employed for intelligence collection, which you would agree is essential to thwart incidents. In course of duty they might have been part of a drug peddler arrest but then doesn’t arrest of drug peddlers also contribute to a safe and peaceful community. Regular Police and Special Police carry out patrolling together,” opined Mr Hayat Akhtar.

“If they are to be used as regular police, they need to be regularised, trained like them and scrutinised. The government needs to increase their monthly salary and give them other benefits. But if they are used only as guards, their pay is enough and in consonance with the contract with them,” Mr Zahid Khan added.

However there are many complaints against them. “As most of them are uneducated and insufficiently trained, hence desertions, mistakes like unintentionally killing their counterparts and behaviour problems have been observed. Quite a few have been dismissed for these reasons. Again most of them were inducted without proper scrutiny that’s why one of the CPF members carried out attack on the passing out parade of a CPF batch in Municipal committee Swat last year, killing several of them,” Zahid Khan argued.

While locals say quite a few have left the job for less pay and lack of other allowances, the official source said only a few have resigned from their service for they joined other departments.

“No desertions have taken place in Special Police Force. Some have left jobs by terminating their contracts by finding more fruitful jobs either in the government or private sector, which is a natural phenomenon as pursuit of better prospects is the right of every individual,” opined Mr Akhtar.

He also rejected as totally unfounded that any community police personel had ever carried out suicide attack. “The suicide bomber in the Mingora Police Station Bombing in which members of Special Police Force embraced Shahadat was not a SPF Constable. This attack too occurred in 2009 and not last year as erroneously suggested. Again, nobody has been killed by the firing of a Special Police Force Colleague barring one incident of accidental firing of weapon in Shamozai in 2010,” added Mr Akhar.

Under the Shahuda package of provincial police, the relatives of the martyred regular police personnel are given Rs3 million and their families get their salaries until the year of their retirement. It couldn’t be ascertained whether the CPF members also receive the same amount if killed in terrorism incidents. But Zahid Khan says they are given only Rs0.3mn –the amount due to each civilian killed in terrorism.

When asked, Aftab Alam advocate from Swat expressed his ignorance as to whether it is part of the CPF contract or not.

“MCP members, being contractual employees, are entitled to get only the benefits mentioned in their contracts. They can’t claim benefits like pension etc accrued to regular civil servants if not specifically mentioned in their contracts. That’s the legal situation. Morally speaking, they also deserve to be given benefits like posthumous compensation amount and other benefits available to other regular employees,” he said.

The CPF members must be cognisant of their role and limits. They should not be allowed to investigate crimes at local level as this would create tensions and complexities for the regular investigators.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

………….

As the article was published in The News.

Community police force in Malakand division

By Tahir Ali

While there are doubts on the future of the nascent Community Police Force (CPF) in Malakan division, locals say they need to be retained, sufficiently trained and compensated for the task they were inducted for –community protection against militants.

Soon after the 2009 military operation that drove the Maulana Fazlullah-led militants out of the region, the CPF, also called special police force, was raised to check terrorism at community level and to fill the gap between required and available police personnel at that critical juncture.

Some of police officials had resigned from service for recurring incidences of militant reprisals. Militants had killed around 180 police officials, including a police-woman Alia, who was murdered for she had refused to tender resignation.

Members of the CPF were recruited on the recommendation of local jirgas under the supervision of the Pakistan army.

Around seven thousand poor youth had joined the CPF in Swat,Buner,Dir upper/lower and Shangla, in late 2009 for one year. Paid by the provincial government, their services are extended after every six months.

The members of the CPF were trained by army for two months before they joined the force. They were provided official weapons and black clothes and were distributed in the police stations in the districts of their domicile. They provided valuable help to army and police in tracking down militants as they were fully conversant with the local norms and the area terrain. Some CPF personnel were also awarded for their effective role against militants.

CPF formation and involvement of local communities for crime prevention and intelligence-gathering is a pragmatic approach. Also, police strength is even insufficient for routine policing. Rising tide of terrorism has further increased their woes.

The idea of community policing has been successfully implemented in several countries like Italy, France, Germany, Britain, Switzerland, Sweden and India. The US had also resorted to this concept in Iraq.

The members of the CPF in Malakand are, as per the terms of their service, still being paid Rs10,000 per month. Thousands of the poor and nominally educated persons had thronged the centres to join the force. They hardly had any other option for rampant unemployment and acute poverty.

While legally speaking they are under obligation to work against this salary and remain contractual employees, but when thousands of other contractual employees in other departments are being regularised, why are the CPF members denied the facility?

The CPF has given many sacrifices. In the recent fatal attack on Fateh Khan, the president of the peace body in Buner, three of his body guards who lost their lives, were also the CPF members.

While locals say quite a few have left the job for less pay and lack of other allowances, an official source said only a few have resigned from their service for they joined other departments.

In September last year KP Chief Minister Ameer Haidar Khan Hoti had said his government couldn`t afford to wrap up CPF in Swat under current delicate security situation. But there are unconfirmed reports that the force is being disbanded from December this year.

While Pakistan army has handed over control of administration to civil authorities in Shangla and Buner in May 2011 and it plans to hand it over in other parts of Malakand division soon, what is needed is the capacity building of existing regular police and CPFand augmenting it with new inductions rather than depriving the existing CPF of their services, locals say.

A clear, hold, build and transfer of authority to civil administration and financial empowerment of the locals and elsewhere must be the basic ingredient of any counter-terrorism strategy. Militancy can’t be defeated without poverty eradication. Depriving the MCP members of their jobs and income sources will render them more vulnerable to militants.

Afzal Khan Lala, the nationalist leader from Swat, while enumerating several attacks on the police in Swat and other parts of the province, noted that police was and is the front line defence of the state and the major target of militants. They know if police is defeated, they would be free to do what they like.

He was all praise for the CPF and urged its retention. “It filled the gap created by the killing/injuring and desertions of police in Malakand division. Doing away with them is tantamount to facilitating the militants. In the event of planned delegation of control to civilian forces, which necessitates increase in personnel and capacities, they must be retained and regularised. They must also be strengthened with sophisticated weapons and training for their capacity building,” he added.

Though the number of police personnel has almost been doubled in Malakand division, there are still around 16000 police personnel, much less than required to make a viable alternative for around 50000 army personnel in Malakand division.

According to Zahid Khan, a leader of Swat Qaumi Jirga (SQJ), the induction of MCP had been suggested by SQJ.

“Rather than forming Peace Lashkars, we thought it better to suggest and arrange the CPF that would have official recognition, power and weapons. They were intended to guard the community by manning the streets and entry/exit point of villages. They were a better option in counter-terrorism strategy as they knew the locals and could easily identify non-locals or suspicious persons. Unfortunately, they are being used for performing tasks like hounding drug pedlars etc and not specifically used for community protection,” he said.

“If they are to be used as regular police, they need to be regularised, trained like them and scrutinised. The government needs to increase their monthly salary and give them other benefits. But if they are used only as guards, their pay is enough and in consonance with the contract with them,” he added.

However there are many complaints against them. “As most of them are uneducated and insufficiently trained, hence desertions, mistakes like unintentionally killing their counterparts and behaviour problems have been observed. Quite a few have been dismissed for these reasons. Again most of them were inducted without proper scrutiny that’s why one of the CPF members carried out attack on the passing out parade of a CPF batch in Municipal committee Swat last year, killing several of them,” Khan argued.

Under the Shahuda package of provincial police, the relatives of the martyred regular police personnel are given Rs3 million and their families get their salaries until the year of their retirement. It couldn’t be ascertained whether the CPF members also receive the same amount if killed in terrorism incidents. But Zahid Khan says they are given only Rs0.3mn –the amount due to each civilian killed in terrorism.

When asked, Aftab Alam advocate from Swat expressed his ignorance as to whether it is part of the CPF contract or not.

“CPF members, being contractual employees, are entitled to get only the benefits mentioned in their contracts. They can’t claim benefits like pension etc accrued to regular civil servants if not specifically mentioned in their contracts. That’s the legal situation. Morally speaking, they also deserve to be given benefits like posthumous compensation amount and other benefits available to other regular employees,” he said.

The CPF members must be cognisant of their role and limits. They should not be allowed to investigate crimes at local level as this would create tensions and complexities for the regular investigators.

No official response could be obtained on the observations by the filing of the story on Friday morning.

The poverty challenge

The Poverty challenge

By Tahir Ali

http://e.thenews.com.pk/10-27-2012/nos_page4.asp

Life for Fazal Malik of Mardan, 60, has always been tough. Uneducated and without any assets or business, he did manual labour for years to earn livelihood for his wife, four daughters and two sons. He is now too old and weak to work. One of his daughters is mentally retarded. His elder son is uneducated and jobless and the younger did his matriculation but failed to find job and is now an addict. Worse, they had sold their ancestral house to treat his addict son and account for other domestic expenses. One of his daughters, who receives about Rs10,000/month from a private job, is the only bread earner for the family. But the monthly rent and health, food and other expenditures are too big for her meagre income. With no help from any pro-poor programme, Malik has started begging.

With widespread deprivations, poverty and inequalities but less effective pro-poor programmes, Pakistan is prone to ethnic and religious extremism and has become a difficult place for the poor like him.

Article 37(a) of the constitution of Pakistan says that the state shall secure the well-being of the people, irrespective of sex, caste, creed and race, by raising their standard of living, by preventing the concentration of wealth and means of production and distribution in the hands of a few to the detriment of general interest,”. And article 25 (1) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights stipulates that everyone has a right to a standard of living adequate for  the health and well being of himself and his family.

Despite their commitments to the poor, successive governments have had perpetuated/increased the burdens of the poor. While unrestrained price-increases have been allowed, surcharges and taxes on gas, electricity, petroleum and other items of general consumption have also been multiplied that invariably add to the cost of living and throw millions beneath the poverty line. Enormous but untargeted subsidies have aggravated the poverty conundrum.

What is poverty?

There is difference on as to what constitutes poverty and who is poor. There is no standard formula available to measure poverty. Poverty is measured by the household income expenditure by the Pakistan bureau of statistics.  According to some, people living without certain level of incomes or calories (2350 calories per person) are poor but others measure it by multiple indices and say poverty entails multiple deprivations such as lack of access to education, health and electricity etc.

According to the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP), poverty is a multi-dimensional concept and is defined either narrowly on the basis of income or broadly by lack of access to opportunities for raising standard of life. The extent and depth of poverty measured through different approaches varies depending upon the indices used and definitions adopted.

However, there are some common characteristics of the poor namely, but not limited to, low literacy level, large family size, no or fewer physical assets, joblessness or a heavy reliance on daily manual labour for sustenance, are unskilled, thus work in the informal sectors and live mostly in rural areas or slums.

According to ONE organisation, an international advocacy group on poverty reduction, women are the worst affected by poverty. They work longer hours earning less money, have fewer educational and political opportunities and are more vulnerable to failures of weak health systems and diseases than their male counterparts.

Pakistan’s statistics

Poverty is widespread, mainly in rural areas where most of the poor live. A careful estimate suggests that one third of Pakistanis are poor –women and children, disabled and the aged, the most vulnerable – who have little or no assets and access to essential social services. There, however, is no reliable data on the extent of poverty.

The present regime for the first time in Pakistan’s history didn’t include the chapter on poverty in the economic survey of Pakistan 2010-11. It reveals two things: one, fighting poverty is either low in its priorities; second, poverty incidence has gone up.

The Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) reported recently that poverty incidence is 33 per cent in Pakistan or that around 59 million persons are living below the poverty line.

The SDPI report says 52 per cent population in Baluchistan, 33 per cent in Sindh, 32 per cent in KP (that KP is less poor than Sindh is debatable) and 19 per cent in Punjab lives below the poverty line. It says that 20 districts in the country –16 in Baluchistan and 4 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa –have an acute poverty incidence with Kohistan in KP the most vulnerable district.

According to a research of the Higher Education Commission, poverty has increased to 40 percent in Pakistan in the last decade. The State bank of Pakistan puts the number of the poor at 62mn.

An independent estimate says around 74mn persons live below the poverty line. Another estimate says the number is 135mn, of which an estimated 70mn are extremely poor.

The Mahboobul Haq’s Centre, based on official data from last six years, estimates that 29.2 per cent or 52.5mn persons live in poverty in Pakistan and thus adds that poverty ratio may have gone up.

The World Bank estimated in 2008 that 60.2 per cent of Pakistanis earn $2 a day in 2008, which often is the yardstick for measuring poverty, but in 2005 it had said that 73.8 per cent were poor in the country. These figures are questioned by economic experts.

The UNDP’s Human Development Report, 2011 ranks Pakistan at 145th with HDI value of 0.504, up from 0.503 in 2010 and 0.499 in 2009, through Pakistan’s rank has slipped a little during 2011. Pakistan’s Inequality Adjusted Poverty Index is 0.346 and multi-dimensional poverty index is 0.264.

It was in 2005 that the official poverty statistics were last released showing a decline in the calorie-based income poverty from 34.5 per cent in 2001 to 22.3 per cent in 2005. In 2007-08, the figure came down to 17.2 percent. The figure was accepted by the WB, IMF and ADB but the PPP regime didn’t release it officially.

It was astonishingly recorded at 12.4 percent in 2010-11 by an official team but the PPP government aptly decided not to release the figure. With this an election year, the government, as per reports, wishes to show that poverty incidence has decreased ever since this government came to power in 2008.

But the goal of poverty reduction becomes very difficult if high inflation, increasing indirect taxation, low economic growth that forces job cuts, declining and twisted development and pro-poor expenditures are taken into account.

Why poverty increased?

Pakistan has initiated several Safety net programs to save the poor from economic shocks but according to a research, most of these pro-poor programmes are fragmented and often duplicative, have limited coverage, are poorly targeted (Only a fraction of Rs500bn spent by the government on different subsidies last year reached the poor) and most contribution are obtained by non-poor households, are characterised by slack implementation and monitoring capacity is very low.

Lack of access to markets/services, snags in agriculture development, illiteracy, political uncertainty that triggered frequent changes in regime that made long term development planning impossible, slump in businesses, low investment, increased joblessness for rising energy cuts and militancy, inflation and currency devaluation, recurrent natural calamities, un-targeted energy and food subsidies, inequitable income/resource distribution (the richest one per cent, it is estimated, grabbed 20 per cent of total income in 2001. This might have surged further of late), governance deficit, government’s failure to affect sustainable enterprise development, and limited coverage of social safety programmes have exacerbated, or failed to stem, poverty in the country.

The Asian Development Bank ascribes rise in poverty to growing population, internal tensions, mounting defence expenditure, agricultural backwardness, unequal income distribution, swelling utility charges and rising non-productive activities.

Mr Wolfgang Herbinger, Director World Food Programme in Pakistan, argued last year that food prices were too high in Pakistan and it is a country full with food but with people who are too poor to buy it.

Changes in per capita income, economic conditions, unemployment situation, and remittances alter economic fortunes and force people move in or out of the poverty situation.

The level and intensity of poverty is dependent on the pace of economic growth, the degree of social, political, and economic inclusion or exclusion, weak governance, inefficient judicial system, poor service delivery performance and corruption and leakage.

The Rural Support Programs Network,  through its dialogue with communities in different districts of Pakistan identified discriminatory education system, high incidence of health problems, widespread unemployment, deprivation from capital for enterprise development, few opportunities for women, lack of vocational skills, inadequacy of agriculture and livestock extension services, environmental degradation, inconsistent water supply, lack of access to justice, and a rapid rise in population, and at times variance between local needs and projects as the reasons for rampant poverty.

According to another report, ‘Human Development in South Asia 2012’ ‘governance deficit’ is adversely hampering efforts to cut poverty despite big expenditures. “(It) increases out-of-pocket expense for health and education….and (causes) unequal access to water, sanitation and electricity.

(To be continued)

Swat development initiatives

planning
Returning to normalcy
A few development projects
undertaken in Swat can make the difference for the local people
By Tahir Ali

http://jang.com.pk/thenews/aug2012-weekly/nos-05-08-2012/pol1.htm#2

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has undertaken several development initiatives in Swat and Malakand division (MD) with the support from local and foreign partners.

The Chief Planning Officer (CPO) of P&D KP, Usman Gul, said hundreds of projects worth around Rs145bn are being pursued there. “213 projects in line with the Post Conflict Needs Assessment (PCNA) Strategy worth Rs114bn are being planned with allocation of Rs11.4bn this year’s ADP for the purpose.

Similarly, 5 mega projects under Swat development package worth Rs1bn, funded by the federal government, have been completed in Swat. As far as normal ADP channel funded by KP is concerned, 111 projects worth Rs30bn are being planned in Malakand division of which Rs4.5bn are to be spent this FY. 44 projects of these are due for completion shortly,” said the official.

“There are two donors’ assisted projects underway in Malakand under the ADP: One is the UNDP-assisted for strengthening rule of law in Malakand worth Rs13.38bn with an allocation of 335mn for this year.

The other relates to the construction of three police stations and one police line in Swat (NAS Assisted) costing Rs622mn with an allocation of Rs203mn for this year,” he added.

 “Agriculture, minority affairs, drinking water and sanitation, elementary and secondary education, energy and power, food, forestry, Industries, law and justice, mines and minerals, population welfare, regional development, roads, sports, tourism, archaeology, etc are major focus of all these projects,” he informs.

“Energy and power sector is one of the top priority sectors, therefore, 55 per cent of the ADP alone in energy and power sector is being managed through our indigenous resources,” he said.

According to Gul, there is no foreign aided hydro power project (HPP) in Malakand but as most of the hydro power potential was located there, the government was spending 50 percent of the funds there. “13 out of 15 ongoing projects and Rs600mn of Rs1.137bn total allocated for the sector this year are for Malakand division. And off the total cost of Rs23bn of these schemes, Rs16bn have been allocated for the area,” he added. 

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister, Amir Haider Khan Hoti, recently inaugurated the Matiltan and Daral Khwar (Bahrain) hydro power projects. Both projects would earn billions for the province besides considerably mitigating loadshedding.

The residents of Matiltan and Kalam would receive Rs260mn from the Matiltan HPP and 250 persons from the area would get jobs. Similarly, the Daral Khwar HPP would generate Rs100 million as royalty for the residents.

The Chief Planning Officer agreed that KP and Swat has great hydropower potential which should be utilised but said that the government had to see institutional capacity of the implementing agencies before assigning any project to them.

The CPO identified sites identification, acquisition of land, funding issue and security constraints as the main problems in implementation of projects and meeting of targets.

The army has been in the forefront in development work in the area. Colonel Arif, In-charge of the Inter Services Public Relations in Swat, said the army also sought help from the NGOs and sensitised and requested the international donors for assistance to rebuild the area. “By activating all these channels, we have been able to restore 100 per cent all the 1625 schools that were partially or totally destroyed by floods or militancy.

The army engineers ensured that the Kalam-Bahrain road remained open for traffic for the first time round the year. So far, the reconstruction of road and bridges has been done on self-help basis by the army and no government funds have been used for them,” he said.

“We had also worked with the local and international NGOs to revive the agriculture and to rebuild the devastated trout fish hatcheries,” he added. According to another official, the Frontier Works Organisation (FWO), a subsidiary of the Pakistan army, has been given around $70mn for water sanitation, construction of schools and road infrastructure development etc by donors.

For the total post floods reconstruction estimates of $1.1bn, work plans for Rs34bn have been prepared but only Rs18bn have been committed by last year. For the total post militancy reconstruction needs of $0.86bn, only $0.4bn have been committed by the same period. 

The European Union (EU) has been working through a multi-donor trust fund in various fields, which has set aside $114mn for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of Malakand. EU was spending 300 million Euros on the reconstruction of schools and other development projects in Swat and Malakand. The USAID has provided $25mn for reconstructing about 110 militancy-destroyed schools in MD.

KP also hopes to receive $200 million for reconstruction activities from the UAE’s Abu Dhabi Fund for Development which would be utilised for construction of Swat Expressway, university in Swat, besides reconstructing damaged schools and colleges. Negotiations are also underway with the Korean government for the Malakand tunnel project of $78 million.

Many areas still have no bridges and chairlifts are the only means of communications across the noisy Swat River. On the way to Kalam, one can see that several micro power stations and the biggest Madyan grid station have been swept away by floods. As none of the hydro power stations and the Madyan grid station has been rebuilt, the entire Swat is provided power by the Khwazakhela grid-station which is beyond its capacity.

“There is no electricity. The only exchange in Kalam is closed since last two years. The health units, schools and other entities have no facilities. Swat airport is still not open for flights,” said Zahid Khan, a local hotel industry leader.

Humayun Khan from Bahrain lost his house and agriculture lands worth millions of rupees in the flash floods of 2010. “Several NGOs helped reconstruct the houses of the affected people. But as I lost my land too, my house wasn’t built by any NGO,” he says. Humayun still lives in a tent with his family which interestingly has solar-lamps and a solar-cooker provided by an NGO.

The army is reported to have helped women and girls to learn skills such as knitting, sewing, machine embroidery, etc, by establishing training centres which were later handed over to the Sarhad Rural Support Programme. Over 800 girls and women had completed training and were now running their own businesses.

Lasting stability depends on several other factors and not restoration of peace alone. Sluggish economic recovery, perpetuation of faulty governance and failure to reach out to the distant areas and the poor most and lack of a speedy judicial system in Malakand could undo military gains.

According to the World Development Report 2011: Conflict, Security and Development, the Taliban gained support in Swat valley by building their case on local grievances, weaknesses in administration and justice system. Unless the region has a sound and speedy justice system, the problem would not be solved.

Revival of tourism in Swat

Revival of tourism in Swat

Internally displaced persons return to Swat. – File photo by AP

Internally displaced persons return to Swat. – File photo by AP

WITH the restoration of public confidence in sustainable peace in Swat and improved road infrastructure in its upper parts, the picturesque valley drew multitudes of local tourists this year.

Swat, called the Switzerland of Asia, usually attracts a large number of tourists in this season of the year. The Kalam-Mahodand tourism festival held from July 12 to 16 attracted over one hundred tourists, according to Zahid Khan, president of All Swat Hotel Association (Asha).

“Hotel occupancy was 100 per cent and locals even rented their guest houses to accommodate those who could not find rooms in hotels. The festival provided the badly needed support to local handicraft-makers, transporters and other businesses dependent on tourism,” he said.

All this was made possible by Pakistan Army engineers by making the routes navigable after constructing bridges and repairing roads to Kalam and Mahodand, the scenic resort located some 35km northeast of Kalam.

Though the Bahrain-Kalam and Kalam-Mahodand roads are mostly Katcha, these can be used even by small cars. Some adventurers had also reached the valley on motorbikes in groups.

Colonel Arif, incharge Inter Services Public Relations in Swat, said the Frontier Works Organisation (FWO) would construct proper road from Bahrain to Kalam by next season with the UAE assistance.

“In its bid to attract more and more tourists, Asha last year had announced free stay at hotels for three days and subsequently subsidised stay-packages for the visitors. This year, the hoteliers were so confident that they didn’t announce any special discount for their customers.

Public transport is now available to Kalam from Mingora. And what was an added advantage that per passenger fare from Bahrain to Kalam had come down to Rs120 from Rs300-500 last year.

At night during the festival dozens of tourists went up and down the Kalam bazaar dancing to the noisy beat of music played in cars or by drums beaters. However unlike the golden days of Swat tourism, foreigners were conspicuous by their absence, although there was no restriction on their visit.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in general and Swat in particular is suitable for tourism but it has been badly impacted by militancy, indifference of the government and raging poverty.

After the landmark 18th constitutional amendment, the tourism sector has been devolved to provinces but meagre budgetary allocations and failure to invest in upgradation of tourism resorts continue as in the past.

This sector was allocated just Rs0.67bn or one per cent of the provincial ADP in 2010. It was increased to Rs1.22bn or1.4 per cent in 2011 and Rs0.68bn or 0.7 per cent this year.

The 2010-17 strategy for the province’s development has allocated Rs14.3bn or 1.5 per cent of its total outlay of Rs960bn. Zahid Khan said some major steps were needed to fully revive tourism in the region.

“Former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani had promised that the Swat Express Way would be built/linked to the Peshawar Motorway but nothing has happened.

The Tourism Corporation of KP should construct roads or provide chairlift facilities to Deeshan and Boyu valleys, two picturesque valleys lying west and east of Kalam bazaar. Similarly ski resorts should be set up there. Walking tracks to several lakes such as Condol Lake in Uthror Kalam and Bishgram Lake in Madyan need to be constructed. The Malam Jabba chairlift also needs to be restored to facilitate tourists and skaters. Road to the beautiful Gabinajabba near Kabal is awaiting development,” he said.

The government should also construct an international cricket/sports stadium and an international wildlife park near the Kalam Bazaar. “The hotel industry should be provided donations or interest-free loans for repairing and upgrading their hotels from the $9 million and $12 million funds given to Smeda by the Multi Donor Trust Fund and the USAID respectively for rehabilitation of small and medium enterprises in the region,” he added.

Welcome to Swat

revival
Welcome to Swat
Thousands of tourists thronged the scenic valley of Kalam to attend the summer festival
By Tahir Ali

http://jang.com.pk/thenews/jul2012-weekly/nos-22-07-2012/foo.htm#1

The influx of thousands of tourists to the scenic valley of Kalam to attend the recently-held summer festival was a rather welcome sign for the tourism industry in Swat, the Switzerland of Pakistan.

The festival was organised in Kalam and Mahodand simultaneously by the Pakistan Army from July 12-16. Programmes were held in Mahodand during the day and at the grassy ground near the Kalam bazaar at night.

According to the Inter Services Public Relations Swat in-charge Colonel Arif, thousands of tourists visited the valley following the return of peace and construction of roads — and sent a message to the world that Swat is now open for tourism.

Mahodand is a scenic resort located some 35km north-east of Kalam. There is a big natural lake where boats and other water vehicles were available on rent.

On the way, a traveller came across stunning glaciers, waterfalls and hydropower stations, and could devour some delectable snacks. Emergency medical camp had been established too. Accommodation in tents was available but several tourists had brought their own tents. Horse riding, free-fall and other athletic activities were also arranged.

However speeding cars and vans created a lot of dust as the road has not been carpeted yet — though it was negotiable even by small Suzuki cars. Some adventurous youngsters had reached the valley on motorbikes in groups.

Unlike previous years, when the Bahrain-Kalam road was navigated only by 4-wheel drives, this year public transport was available to Kalam from Mingora. However, no public transport was available between Kalam and Mahodand. Tourists either travelled by their own vehicles or hired taxi from Kalam at Rs2000-2500 for two way journey to and from Mahodand.

“I have been to various tourists resorts round the world but Mahodand is simply wonderful… The area has all the potential to attract tourists,” said Muneeza Hashmi, a tourist from Sialkot.

In the grassy ground of Kalam, tourists enjoyed festivities at night. Hayatullah Khan, another tourist, recollected it was the same ground where a militant in April 2009 had openly challenged the state — “It is heartening to see that today a multitude of tourists are attending the festivities”.

At night, dozens of tourists went up and down the road dancing to the noisy beat of music played in cars or that of drums played by local men.

The presence of vast number of female tourists was encouraging in the Kalam bazaar.

Unfortunately, no foreigner was seen strolling in Kalam or Bahrain or Miandam or other attractive valleys in the area. Are they not allowed or do they prefer not to come here, one wondered. But Col Arif said foreign tourists are not barred from visiting the area.

Tourism in Swat has been badly impacted by militancy, indifference of government and raging poverty. Kalam, Bahrain and Madyan were devastated by floods. Of the total 136 hotels swept away by floods in 2010, 50 were in Kalam. It still wears a deserted look. But friends and couples were sitting besides the river on boulders, charpoys and standing in the crystal clear water of the river Swat, enjoying snacks and chatting endlessly.

Details about the identity of tourists are registered at several checkposts between Kalam and Mahodand, which most tourists found to be time consuming. Zulfiqar Ali, a tourist, said he counted 17 checkposts from Dargai to Mahodand. “The number of checkposts could be reduced without any compromise on security by opening a big registration camp at Landaki Swat where the visitors are registered and issued special passes,” he said.

Zahid Khan also said though these are meant for public safety, there should be no more than 5 checkposts from Dargai to Kalam.

Col Arif however said that the number of checkposts was reduced from 29 last year to 15 this year to facilitate tourists. “Some tourists’ information and facilitation centres may have been mistaken as checkposts,” he said.

Though the hoteliers haven’t announced any special discount for the tourists unlike last season, Iftikhar Ahmad, a hotel manager in Bahrain, said room fares were far cheaper than other tourist resorts in Murree or Kaghan.

He was all praise for the USAID which he said offered in-cash and in-kind support to the hotel industry in Swat.

“Earlier communication to Kalam and other upper Swat areas would remain suspended for days. But last winter, for the first time in history, traffic to Kalam didn’t stop even for a day. Hopefully, the coming season will be the best in terms of winter tourism,” Col Arif added.

Zahid Khan, the president of Swat hotel association, said funds allocated for the roads should be released without delay. “Former Prime Minister Yousaf Gilani had promised he would release funds for the Swat expressway linked to Peshawar motorway but its fulfilment is still awaited. The Tourism Corporation KP should construct roads or provide chairlift facilities to far off valleys in Swat,” said Khan.

Though tourism is part of the productive sectors, the sector was allocated just Rs0.67billion or one per cent of the provincial annual development plan (ADP) in 2010. The next year, the sector’s budget was increased to Rs1.22bn or 1.4 per cent of ADP but has been slashed to Rs0.68billion this fiscal year.

There is however no foreign funded project in the ADP for the tourism sector in successive budgets.

Tourism has been devolved to the provinces, yet the PTDC hotels and motels are yet to be handed over to the province. If devolved, the resourceful PTDC would suffice the province to run the ministry from its own revenues.

KP’s neglected economic roadmaps

Planning
KP’s neglected economic roadmaps
The Comprehensive Development Strategy (CDS) is an ambitious economic growth plan
By Tahir Ali

http://jang.com.pk/thenews/jul2012-weekly/nos-08-07-2012/pol1.htm#3

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has prepared quite a few documents which, if implemented, could originate unprecedented economic development in the province. However, these economic roadmaps are generally overlooked while setting development priorities for different sectors.

According to the Comprehensive Development Strategy (CDS 2010-17), the province has strong agricultural potentials, and offers a diverse climate and landscape for a variety of tourism activities. “Located at the crossroads of important international trading routes, the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have long traditions of trade and travel. Hydroelectric power, forestry and minerals offer resources for a modern economy,” it states.

The Economic Growth Strategy (EGS) also envisions that acceleration of growth will be realized by concentrating on natural resource endowments of KP in hydel power, mining and minerals, Oil and Gas and agriculture value addition and agro-processing industries.

“With huge potential for development there is a necessity to focus on growth. Unfortunately, the resources’ investment strategy while following a much trodden path for decades remained captive to an antiquated thinking; to invest more and more in brick and mortar as a development solution to the problems of low and slow growth; high rates of unemployment and underemployment; a decadent infrastructure; inefficient, inadequate transportation facilities; a non-competitive industrial sector and last but not the least, stagnant human development indicators,” states the EGS.

According to the Whitepaper for this and last year, the previous ADPs were skewed towards brick and mortar projects and whereas the social sectors (education and health etc) have consumed a sizeable chunk of the development program, the socio-economic (food, agriculture, roads etc) and productive sectors (energy, minerals etc) remained low in priorities.

The growth policy will target the sectors with comparative advantages of indigenous raw materials and natural resources like minerals, tourisms and agriculture with a significant increase in total investment in productive sectors to attain higher rate of growth, states the EGS and stipulates that foreign loans would be sought for productive sectors if required and for the socio-economic and social sectors only grants would be utilised.

The EGS, the CDS and the budget whitepaper, said the KP finance minister Humayun Khan, have served as the bases of the annual development programme (ADP) this year.

But while in the Rs303bn budget, ADP, with an outlay of Rs97.4bn, including foreign component of Rs23bn, has a share of 35 per cent against 65 percent for current budget which is in line with the EGS recommendations, most of the budget targets and allocations don’t match with these official strategies.

While the EGS recommends 70 ADP funds for ongoing and 30 per cent for new schemes, they have been allocated 62.5 per cent (Rs46bn) and 37.5 per cent (Rs27.8bn) funds respectively in the core provincial ADP of Rs74.2bn.

The province has abundant potential in water, oil and gas and precious stones like marbles and other minerals. Around 6.76 per cent area of KP is under exploration for oil and gas reserves with a one billion barrel of oil and four trillion cubic feet of gas. Investment in these sectors can offer a base for developing a flourishing industry.

While the EGS says productive sectors and socio-economic sectors would be given top priority in funds allocation and the expenditure on social sectors would be capped at current level, allocations to the sectors speak otherwise.

Against the avowed 70 per cent, 30 per cent and 20 per cent share in the ADP for the productive, socio-economic and social sectors respectively as per the EGS, the 9 productive and 7 socio-economic sectors have been allocated just 12 per cent (Rs11.6bn) and 23 per cent (Rs22.6bn) respectively in the ADP while the social sectors have got 39 per cent (Rs37.9bn).

While education and roads have got over Rs22bn and over Rs14bn respectively, energy and mineral sectors got only Rs1.8bn and Rs0.5bn in that order. Allocations for minerals and minerals stand around only 0.9 per cent and at less than two per cent each for energy, power and agriculture sectors.

In the FY 2010/11 too, out of 972 projects funded through ADP, mines and minerals had only 11 projects with an allocation of Rs255mn at 0.42 percent of ADP.

By the end of 2012, the CDS stipulates an additional Rs14.6bn for the agriculture sector which obviously is far higher than the existing new ADP allocation of Rs1.4bn In the outgoing year too, the productive sectors were allocated Rs10.8billion, the socio-economic Rs21.3bn and the social sectors Rs36.8bn in the total core ADP of Rs69bn.

The CDS is a pretty ambitious economic growth roadmap. Its total seven years’ financial cost above the 2010 level expenditure is Rs960 of which Rs648bn would be for development expenditure and the rest for current expenditure. Rs516bn of these would be met through local resources and Rs444bn from external assistance.

It recognises increased insecurity, financial mismanagement, food inflation, inconsistency and duplication for increased donor funding, climatic hazards such as flooding etc as main risks to the implementation of CDS, and has suggested remedial measures.

But the CDS ironically has failed to point alternative resources in case the expectation of increased domestic revenue and foreign assistance fail to materialise while the current expenditure increases beyond the estimates.

Under the annual strategy review (ASR), a detailed analysis of the ADP 2010-11 and 2011-12 was carried out to know whether development allocations in different sectors matched the above strategies and with the short term allocations for those sectors in CDS. As per the ASR, Rs126bn out of the total ADP for 2010-12 were allocated against the CDS recommendations/allocations of 201bn.

“The province is far from eradicating poverty by 2015, and is unlikely to be able to effect a reduction in poverty incidence to 20 percent, as articulated in the CDS,” states the CDS paper. The white paper and EGS eye reduction in throw forward liability — the money required to complete all the ADP projects-by allocating more resources to ongoing project i.e. 70 percent of ADP.

But as the government usually misses the development targets for several departments come up with attractive projects that they could not execute, the throw forward liability is on the rise and is expected to be Rs343bn by end of this fiscal.

The government could utilise Rs79bn off Rs85bn last fiscal, Rs61bn off Rs69bn in 2010 and Rs46bn off Rs51 in 2009. If it cannot ensure full utilization of funds, what is the justification of increasing development outlays that results in throw forward liability for the
coming governments?

And if this government which, besides phenomenal increase in its federal receipts, has been getting Rs25bn in net hydro profit arrears could not bring down the number of in-complete development projects, how would the incoming governments do when the money would cease to come from 2013-14 onwards.

The foreign component projections at Rs23bn also seems unrealistic as the revised estimates for this head in last year stood at just Rs7.5 against Rs16bn of budget estimates.

KP has given top priority to energy and power sector. In this regard substantial amount of net hydel profit arrears has been transferred to Hydel Development Fund (with assets of Rs24bn) and various schemes are under pre-feasibility, feasibility and implementation stages in the province.

The KP government has prepared a 10-year hydro power generation action plan worth Rs330 billion according to which 24 projects would be initiated in KP to generate 2100 megawatts of electricity. But there is a perception that had this government started these projects when it was installed, the province would have no problem of loadshedding now.

According to a 2004 survey, industrialists and traders in KP identified policy uncertainty, tax administration, access to electricity supply, corruption, access to finance, insecurity and transportation as major hindrances to growth.

There is some good news in the budget too. While the foreign project assistance was just Rs4.61bn in 2008 with 83 per cent of it comprising loan component, it has increased to Rs23bn this year with 84 per cent of it to be in shape of grants and only 16 per cent as loans.

Numerous pro-poor schemes have been allocated Rs5.7bn against Rs4.5bn in last fiscal. Ranging from students’ related scholarship scheme to laptop distribution schemes to schemes in health, IT and agriculture sector etc, these also have a scheme for long term financing schemes for industrialists.

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