Every now and again, the other side likes to claim President Obama doesn't have a record to run on. They're wrong. Here's a taste of why:
Every now and again, the other side likes to claim President Obama doesn't have a record to run on. They're wrong. Here's a taste of why:
http://thehill.comPresident Obama is ahead in the two crucial swing-states of Ohio and Virginia, according to a survey from Public Policy Polling (PPP).
On the final weekend of a fiercely fought presidential campaign, President Obama holds a narrow advantage over Mitt Romney in the crucial contest for the electoral votes needed to win the White House, even as national polls continue to show the candidates in a virtual tie for the popular vote. In Congress, despite record levels of disapproval with the institution, voters seem likely to opt for the status quo — Democrats in charge of the Senate and Republicans in the House. Democrats are expected to gain seats in the House but not the 25 needed to recapture the majority lost in the Republican sweep of 2010. In the Senate, Democrats hold a 53-47 majority, including two independents who caucus with them. Although 10 or more races were considered too close to call through much of the fall, Democrats are now in a position to maintain their majority, although perhaps barely. This election assessment, along with reports on all the states, is based on interviews by a team of Washington Post reporters with strategists in the two parties and both presidential campaigns, as well as state and local officials and independent analysts. The assessment includes an analysis of polls on individual states and races that have poured forth over the final weeks before the election. In the presidential campaign, the biggest and most consequential unknowns at this point are the size and shape of the voting population. An electorate that resembles or even slightly exceeds 2008 in terms of the share of minority voters vs. white voters would clearly benefit Obama. A slight decline in the minority share of the electorate and a more even split between Democrats and Republicans — closer to the 2004 electorate than 2008 — would greatly help Romney. Obama, however, may do better among white voters in some of the battleground states than he will do nationally. The latest Washington Post-ABC News national poll shows a dead heat this weekend, with Obama and Romney both at 48 percent among likely voters. The survey has barely fluctuated. Obama spent part of this past week in his official capacity as commander in chief as Hurricane Sandy devastated the Atlantic Coast, pummeling New Jersey and New York the hardest. His attention to the cleanup earned praise from New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a Romney supporter who delivered the keynote address at the Republican National Convention. Almost half of all Americans said Obama’s hurricane response would be a factor in their vote, according to the latest Post-ABC tracking poll. An earlier survey found that 79 percent rated his handling of the situation excellent or good. Another wild card is whether the latest jobs report will have a demonstrable effect on an electorate deeply polarized and with few undecided voters left. The report, released Friday, showed that 171,000 jobs were added while the unemployment rate ticked up to 7.9 percent. Presidential Through much of the fall campaign, nine states have defined the presidential battleground: Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin. Obama began the general-election race with a base of 18 states plus the District, totaling 237 electoral votes. Romney began with a base of 23 states, totaling 191 electoral votes. North Carolina is tipping toward Romney and Nevada toward Obama, putting the president at 243 and Romney at 206. Romney is making a late play in Pennsylvania and Minnesota and will campaign in the Keystone State on Sunday. Both states continue to lean toward the president, but Obama’s campaign has decided to send former president Bill Clinton to Pennsylvania on Sunday for extra measure. Assuming those states continue to stay in Obama’s column, the president would need only 27 of the remaining 89 electoral votes to win. Romney would need 64 of the 89, which explains why Obama still has an easier — but by no means certain — path to an Electoral College majority. For example, he could win a second term simply by winning Florida, which remains competitive. If the Sunshine State goes for Romney, then much will depend on Ohio, which is why it is the focus of so much campaign activity in the final days. Its 18 electoral votes represent the bulwark of Obama’s Midwestern line of defense against Romney. If the president were to carry Ohio — and he continues to hold a narrow lead in public polls there — he could win an electoral majority by adding Virginia (13 electoral votes) or Wisconsin (10) or Colorado (nine), or by winning Iowa (six) and New Hampshire (four). If Romney does not win Ohio, his path to victory would have to include Colorado, Florida, Virginia, Wisconsin and either Iowa or New Hampshire. But if he does capture the Buckeye State, he could become president by taking Florida and Virginia and then just one other contested state. Poll The Post-ABC tracking survey underscored the closeness of the race nationally. During two weeks of polling, the largest lead by either candidate was 50 percent to 47 percent, favoring Romney. Obama’s biggest was one point. Neither was statistically significant. Obama’s job approval rating continues to hold at 50 percent, with 34 percent saying they strongly approve and 39 percent saying they strongly disapprove. Romney holds a statistically insignificant three-point edge on who is trusted more to handle the economy. Obama has a six-point advantage on who better understands Americans’ economic problems. Through most of the campaign and as recently as October, more voters offered unfavorable than favorable impressions of Romney. Today a majority of likely voters has a favorable view. In fact, he and Obama are virtually tied on this measure: 54 percent say they have a favorable impression of the president, while 53 percent say the same of Romney. For the first time in the Post-ABC poll, independent voters are evenly split between the two candidates, at 46 percent each. Until now, Romney has held an advantage ranging from three to 20 points. Obama leads among women by six points, Romney among men by seven points. Obama is winning 38 percent of white voters and 78 percent of non-whites. He gets 33 percent of whites without college degrees and 44 percent of whites with college degrees. Campaign Obama’s hopes for a second term rest on his ability to reassemble and motivate a coalition of African Americans, Hispanics, young voters and women, despite disappointment and diminished enthusiasm since his historic 2008 victory. In Ohio, he is aided by the success of the auto-industry bailout and the campaign’s attacks on Romney’s business background, which have bolstered the president’s support among white working-class voters. Beyond that, Romney has been hammered in Ohio for an ad suggesting that Chrysler’s new owners plan to shift production of Jeeps to China, which the chief executive denied. Romney has a motivated base, with Republicans eager to defeat a president they think is taking the country in the wrong direction. But he needs both a turnout that is large enough to make the GOP share of the electorate almost equal to that of the Democrats. He also needs an edge among independent voters. For the past week, Obama’s advisers have expressed confidence that the race is theirs to lose and that they will not lose it. “The economic debate has crystallized,” campaign manager Jim Messina said Saturday. “We have picked up steam and now what we have to do is turn out our vote. We continue to lead or are tied in every battleground state and have the ability to get to 270 electoral votes in a variety of ways.” Romney advisers have said their polls show that the battlegrounds, particularly Ohio, are closer than public surveys suggest. They also say that an incumbent who is not above 50 percent in the polls in the final days is in a precarious position. “When you take a look at the big three — Florida, Virginia and Ohio — we feel very good,” said Romney senior adviser Russ Schriefer. “Ohio is tight but it’s tied and I think we’ve got some advantages there. I think then you look at the rest of the map that, in a million years, the Obama campaign never thought they would be campaigning in these states the weekend before the election.” He added: “We’re going to win this thing.” Senate Democrats appear poised to hold on to their narrow Senate majority on Tuesday, a prospect that as recently as a year ago seemed far more difficult, given the disparity in the number of seats Democrats (23) and Republicans (10) had to defend. The turning point for Democrats may have been the surprise decision by Republican Sen. Olympia J. Snowe (Maine) not to seek another term. Snowe was considered a shoo-in for reelection but in her absence, former governor Angus King, an independent who would caucus with Democrats, has emerged as a favorite. Then Republicans made a series of self-inflicted mistakes, two centering on the subject of rape. Indiana Treasurer Richard Mourdock, who ousted longtime Sen. Richard G. Lugar in the GOP primary, gave Democratic Rep. Joe Donnelly an opening. Then Mourdock’s comments at a late October debate — where he said a woman who becomes pregnant by rape is carrying a “gift from God” and therefore must have the child — turned the race from a tossup to one that favors Donnelly. In Missouri, Rep. Todd Akin won the GOP nomination and days later made a comment about “legitimate rape” rarely causing pregnancy that created a national firestorm. Much of the party establishment abandoned Akin, but he refused to drop out of the race. Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) is favored to win reelection. Democrats have growing confidence that former Obama administration official Elizabeth Warren, a Harvard law professor, will beat Sen. Scott Brown (R) in Massachusetts. The contest is the premier Senate race in the country for the seat long held by the late Edward M. Kennedy (D). Republicans have a number of opportunities to pick up seats held by retiring Democrats. Races in Nebraska and North Dakota, where Democrats are retiring, seem likely to fall for Republicans. Virginia has a very tight race between two former governors: Democrat Timothy M. Kaine and Republican George Allen. In Montana, Sen. Jon Tester (D) and Rep. Denny Rehberg (R) have been tied for months. Even if several of those races tip to Republicans in the final hours, it still seems unlikely that the GOP will add the four seats it would need to control the Senate if Obama is reelected or the three it would would need if Romney wins. The most likely outcome is no net change, or Republican gains of one or two seats. House In the battle for control of the House, it has become clear over the past few months that the wave of elections that roiled the chamber in 2006, 2008 and 2010 will not be repeated Tuesday. Democrats need 25 seats to regain the majority. Not even their most optimistic strategists think that is anything more than a remote possibility. Because of the decennial redistricting process, both parties will score heavy gains in certain states. Republicans look poised to pick up at least three and maybe four seats in North Carolina. Democrats could take five seats from Republicans in Illinois. After taking control of more governorships and state legislatures in 2010, Republicans had the political muscle to carve up new congressional districts to their advantage. They shored up some of their most vulnerable incumbents and drew difficult districts for Democrats. The result: Republicans are now likely to gain at least 10 Democratic seats simply because of the partisanship of redrawn districts, and Democrats are fighting from behind in their effort to win back the House. That is why overall Democratic gains may be held to the mid-single digits. Aaron Blake, Sean Sullivan, Jon Cohen and Scott Clement contributed to this report.
By Greg SargentYesterday in Springfield, Ohio, the crowd listening to Barack Obama booed when the President brought up Mitt Romney and the Republican Congress. That prompted Obama to say: “No, no, no — don’t boo, vote. Vote! Voting is the best revenge.” Romney promptly pretended to be very outraged by this. He told his supporters: “Yesterday, the President said something you may have heard by now. That I think surprised a lot of people. Speaking to an audience, he said, ‘voting is the best revenge.’ He told his supporters — voting for revenge. Vote for revenge? Let me tell you what I’d like to tell you. Vote for love of country.” Romney picked up that refrain a second time: “Did you see what President Obama said today? He asked his supporters to vote for revenge — for revenge...Instead, I ask the American people to vote for love of country.” Of course, Obama was only encouraging people to vote. He was telling them that the real way to express opposition to GOP policies is to vote against them, rather than to merely boo them. And guess what: You may have forgotten about this one, but this isn’t the first time Romney has attacked Obama for encouraging people to get more engaged in the political process. In September, Romney blasted Obama for saying that “you can’t change Washington from the inside.” That September quote from Obama, however, also constituted urging people to get more involved in politics: “The most important lesson I’ve learned is that you can’t change Washington from the inside. You can only change it from the outside. And that’s how the big accomplishments, like health care, got done, was because we mobilized the American people to speak out...something that I’d really like to concentrate on in my second term is being in a much more constant conversation with the American people, so they can put pressure on Congress to move some of these issues forward.” Romney pretended to be very outraged about that, too, just as he is doing with regard to Obama’s perfectly innocuous “revenge” quote. The important thing to remember here is that the GOP argument for a Romney victory rests explicitly on the hope that those who turned out to vote for Obama last time won’t be quite as engaged this time around. Republicans are hoping the electorate is not as diverse as it was in 2008, and they are arguing that the GOP base’s enthusiasm is much higher than that of core Dem constituencies. The Romney camp seems to think it will help whip GOP base voters into a frenzy — and perhaps boost turnout — if Romney casts the way Obama is urging Democratic base voters to get more involved in the process as something sininster and threatening. This is beyond idiotic; it is insulting to people’s intelligence. The Post editorial board, in a widely cited piece, has claimed that the one constant about the Romney campaign has been that it is driven by “contempt for the electorate.” To make this case, the editorial cites Romney’s nonstop flip flops, his evasions about his own proposals, his refusal to share basic information about his finances and bundlers, and his monumental Jeep falsehood and all his other big lies. It’s fitting that Romney’s closing argument rests heavily on one last sustained expression of that contempt for the electorate — one focused squarely on a call for more engagement in the political process, i.e., on something that is fundamental to democracy itself.
By:ABID S. MUSTIKHANNO doubt the situation in Balochistan today is quite horrendous. Tariq Khosa in his article ‘Blueprint for Balochistan’ (Oct 26) has given a good account of problems, but they are limited to administrative perspective. The problems in Balochistan are multifaceted and should be so addressed. The issues that need also to be considered before addressing them are authentic historical facts, regional geopolitical situation, corruption, wrong administrative decisions, policies and misdemeanours of successive governments right from the day when Pakistan acquired independence. Policies are made to protect self-interests and the government rather than strengthening the foundation of the country. The question is not about small or large groups which are antagonised, but how the largest province of the country reached the present state. The circumstances, which are the result of events during more than 60 years, cannot be reversed in a few days and that too through the barrel of the gun. It rather needs the government’s firm, long-term and stable policies and decisions in the right direction, honest and trusted people (not necessarily parliamentarians) who should be involved in pacifying the angered Baloch. I say the Baloch and do not name the tribes deliberately as the present uprising is quite different from what Balochistan has witnessed earlier. It may not be forgotten that these angered Baloch are Pakistanis and should be treated as such. Unfortunately, the government has no writ and political will. All the funds given to the provincial government hardly reach the people at the grassroots level. Jobs created are sold and the most cognisable development in the province is a competition between most of the parliamentarians and bureaucrats of owning a number of expensive four-wheel drive vehicles parked in front of their houses. Having no writ, various law-enforcement agencies are taking unilateral actions without any check, without realising that such actions create a state of anarchy which is detrimental to the very existence of the country. Since two wrongs never make a right, it is time those at the helm of affairs woke up to address the issues before more valuable lives are lost.
The Express Tribune
By Sonia MalikPublished: August 12, 2012Speakers and the audience at a seminar Jinnah ka Pakistan (Jinnah’s Pakistan) on Saturday agreed that the Quaid had wanted to keep religion and state separate. The seminar was organised by the Awami Party in Model Town to mark Mohammad Ali Jinnah’s August 11, 1947 speech. Jamil Omar, the party’s general secretary, compared Jinnah’s August 11 speech with the Gettysburg address by Abraham Lincoln and Jawaharal Nehru’s August 15 speech. Every child in the United States and India knows these speeches by heart since it is part of their syllabi, Omar said, but in Pakistan this speech has been censored from the press and never included in school syllabi. The people of Pakistan should know the speech by heart, he said, but the few who know about it have seen only a censored version of it. Omar said the speech had touched upon four important points: that nepotism will not be tolerated; that the government’s “first, second and last” responsibility is the people’s welfare; that citizens of all faiths will be treated equally; and that Pakistan is an independent and a self-sufficient country. He said it was the third point which had led to the speech being blacked out. Jinnah had reiterated secularism and wanted to keep state and religion apart, said Omar. If these four points had been adhered to, he said, Pakistan could have been the best country in the world. Wajahat Masood cited references from several books quoting from Jinnah’s speeches that promote a tolerant Pakistan where religious minorities had equal rights. He said the Quaid had objected to slogan Pakistan ka matlab kia, La ilaha illallah. Quoting from Malik Ghulam Nabi’s book Daghon ki Bahar he said during his last address to All India Muslim League in December, 1947, a man had asked the Quaid if the slogan was the foundation of Pakistan’s ideology. The Quaid had told him that was not what Pakistan stood for, Masood said. He said three articles of the national constitution needed to be expunged – Article 2 (a) upholding the Objectives Resolution; Article 227, which says that no law can be repugnant to Quran or Sunnah and Article 203 that gives the Federal Shariat Court the power to strike down any law passed by the parliament that is repugnant to Quran or Sunnah. He also quoted Thomas Jefferson who had warned that if church was not separated from the state half the people will be hypocrites and the other half stupid. “We should not care if Jinnah was a mullah, a secularist or a pluralist; a nation-state by definition is a secular entity,” he said. He ended his speech by quoting Jinnah, “In the course of time, Muslims will cease being Muslims; Hindus will cease being Hindus, not religiously, but politically.” IA Rehman urged the participants to reflect on Jinnah’s views. He said Jinnah had wanted a government that worked for the citizens’ welfare and a country where everyone had equal rights. After the speeches, the participants asked the party to demand that the clauses added to constitution during General Zia’s rule be removed and the Objectives Resolution declaring Pakistan an Islamic state be denounced. They also demanded that the federation should retain minimal authority and give more powers to the provinces.
The MQM has announced that the national referendum asking Pakistanis if they wanted Quaid-e-Azam’s Pakistan or Taliban’s Pakistan will be held on November 8. Booths for citizens to answer this question will be set up across the country and will be operational from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM. MQM leader Farooq Sattar said Sunday that Pakistan was faced with both internal and external threats. Sattar added that terrorists were targeting innocent people, children and were destroying schools. "The attack on Malala was a wake up call for the nation," Sattar said. According to the MQM leader, drone attacks had put the nation’s sovereignty into question. MQM chief Altaf Hussain last week on Thursday had asked the party’s coordination committee to start preparing for the national referendum.
http://www.dw.deThe recent attack on a shrine in Pakistan's northwestern district of Nowshera is proof that the Taliban consider pluralistic Islam a big ideological threat, say experts. On Sunday, a bomb blast outside the shrine of Kaka Sahib - a 16th century Sunni Muslim saint - in the district Nowshera of the northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan, killed at least three devotees of the saint and wounding 25 people. "It was a remote-controlled bomb that killed three people at the site," local police chief Muhammad Hussain told the media. Some Pakistani newspapers have put the death toll higher. No group claimed responsibility for the attack but Taliban militants have been known to attack shrines in the region in the past.Pakistan is facing a protracted insurgency in its troubled northwestern tribal areas bordering Afghanistan. Taliban insurgents have killed thousands of people over the years and attacked places of worship of minorities and followers of other Islamic denominations. Pluralism The militants - most of whom belong to the Saudi-Wahhabi sect of Islam - have attacked a number of Sufi shrines in many Pakistani cities in the past, killing scores of devotees, who mostly belong to the minority Shiite Islamic group or the majority Sunni Barelvi sect. Historians say that both Shiites and Barelvis believe in a wide cultural interpretation of Islam and seek inspiration from the Persian and Arabic saints, who played a role in spreading Islam throughout the Indian subcontinent. Many Shiites and Barelvis also revere mystics of Indian origin and regularly visit their shrines which are spread throughout India and Pakistan. These Muslims saints are equally loved by Hindus, Sikhs, Christians and Jews in South Asia.On the contrary, the Wahhabis, which are a relatively smaller group among the Sunnis, believe in "puritan Islam" and consider pilgrimages to shrines outside of the Islamic faith to be against the teachings of Muhammad. Dr. Mubarak Ali, a renowned Pakistani historian, told DW that the Taliban were against cultural variation. "Wahhabis are against any cultural plurality so they attack shrines, music festivals and other cultural centers that are not Islamic in their view," he said. The historian said that the influence of Saudi Arabia had seeped into the psyche of many Pakistanis, causing an "Arabization" of their many traditions. Many Pakistani analysts, including Ali, say that the zealot Wahhabi groups and political parties not only frown upon pilgrimages to non-Islamic shrines, they also endorse the demolition of historical Muslim sites, and emulate Saudi Arabia in this regard. A recent article in The Independent newspaper titled "Media: Saudis take a bulldozer to Islam's history" claims that the Saudi regime had destroyed a number of graves of known Islamic figures and historical sites such as the prophet of Islam's birthplace and the house of the prophet's first wife Khadija for the fear that people might convert them into places of worship. An ideological battle Shoaib Ashraf, a lawyer and rights activist in Karachi, told DW that the Taliban were bent on destroying the diverse cultural fabric of Pakistani society. "Pakistan cannot afford this kind of extremism. It is facing several crises at the moment but this is going to do an irreparable damage to the country. Pakistan will not survive if a minority forcefully imposes its extremist agenda on majority," Ashraf said.Attiya Dawood, a writer and peace activist, told DW that the love for saints ran deep in hundreds of thousands of people in Pakistan and that a big number of Pakistanis went to the shrines and listened to qawwali, or Sufi music. "The Taliban want to create fear among the people by attacking their sacred places so that they can restrict their social mobility and freedom," she said. Many Pakistani analysts are of the opinion that the main reason behind the attacks on shrines and followers of the saints is more political than religious. They say that the mystical Islam provides a counter-narrative to extremist Islam and is probably the biggest ideological threat to the Wahhabis. Some believe that mystical Islam could be more effective in defeating the Taliban than any military operation. State support Experts, however, say that the policies of the Pakistani state are not in favor of the proponents of Sufi Islam and are thus emboldening fanatics. "As long as the Pakistani state and security agencies continue to use Wahhabism as a dominant state narrative, attacks on shrines and their devotees will not cease," said Ashraf. Ali also pointed out that Wahhabi groups and organizations enjoyed state patronage and flourished at the expense of other groups, which in the past had been snubbed by the government. "It is a bit strange though because Wahhabism is a minority Sunni sect in Pakistan," Ali said. Ashraf demanded that the Pakistani government not only abandon its support to zealot Wahhabis, but also promote pluralistic Islam. This, he said, would not only be beneficial to Pakistani society in the long run but would also improve the international community's image of Pakistan.
http://www.rferl.orgThe U.S. Representative to the UN Human Rights Council has expressed "serious concern" over Pakistan's violent response to separatists in southwestern Balochistan Province. Ambassador Eileen Donahoe told the council in Geneva on October 30 that Washington has serious reservations about human rights situation in Balochistan. She said Pakistan Army operations there are "aimed at silencing dissent." She said Pakistan should ensure that those guilty of torture, enforced disappearances, and extrajudicial killings must be prosecuted. Donahoe made the remarks during Pakistan's Universal Periodic Review. All UN members are expect to undergo such a review of their human rights record every four years. Thousands of civilians, soldiers, and guerillas have been killed in eight years of unrest in the vast desert region where numerous ethnic Balochi factions are fighting for independence from Pakistan.
The Express TribuneCommonly used drugs are fast disappearing from Peshawar markets as the ‘medicine mafia’ is hoarding medicines and selling them in black markets for considerable profit. A number of medicines such as Actifid, including Actifed DM syrup and Actifed cold, Sancos cough syrup and Augmentin injections are no longer available. Meanwhile, prices for medicines such as Hydraline, Augmentin, and Palmonale, which had disappeared from markets for some time, have increased by 30%. Silicose used by blood pressure patients is only available in the black market on double the retail price. Thyrosin (a tablet which most patients have to take for life once prescribed), Lexotanil and Thioredoxin are also nowhere to be found. Chief Drug Inspector of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Sabir Ali, told The Express Tribune that a drug pricing committee has been formed at the federal level to stipulate and approve the prices of medicines. The price of a particular product depends on its availability, he said. The inspector said that pharmaceutical companies are being encouraged to sell their products directly to the retailers in an attempt to prevent hoarding, which creates an artificial shortage in the market. Waheed Ullah Wazir, a medicine retailer, said: “Pharmaceutical companies have contracts with wholesalers who hoard products.” He also alleged that “Doctors prescribe foreign medicines that are not usually available in the market. This creates a problem for patients.’ Dr Saoodul Islam, a general physician at the Khyber Teaching Hospital (KTH), acknowledged that doctors prescribe medicines that are often not locally available. “International brands provide doctors with benefits to sponsor their products so they prescribe them instead of their local alternatives.” Islam too, said that a ‘medicine mafia’ is responsible for the shortage of medicines in the city. Nasirullah, a medicine wholesaler, refused to accept the blame. “The government imposes taxes and prevents us from increasing the retail price,” he said, adding “That is why many of us stop supplies.” He claimed that pharmaceuticals are responsible for hiking up prices and withdrawing products.
The Express TribuneMuttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) lawmaker Iqbal Qadri has filed an application with the Supreme Court Karachi registry asking the court to declare Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) president Nawaz Sharif ineligible to contest elections, Express News reported. The application filed on Saturday stated that Nawaz was responsible for the extra-judicial killing of MQM workers in Karachi during the 1992 operation. The petition further added that the PML chief had assets abroad and that he was a loan defaulter. Earlier Sindh Information Minister Sharjeel Inam Memon had also requested the Election Commission of Pakistan to disqualify the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leader, saying that Nawaz was the ‘brainchild of dictatorship’ and his propaganda and conspiracies against the present government have failed. Memon said that the Asghar Khan case has revealed Nawaz Sharif’s true nature.
EDITORIALTax evasion is one of the most commonly use practice is Pakistan where the taxation system itself is overwhelmed with anomalies if all sorts, the most glaring of them being not charging the powerful elite, predominantly the landed aristocracy, with tax encumbrance. In the past men and women associated with cinema in Pakistan, more prominently top actors and actresses, not paying their taxes used to attract the mind of the common person. Now that the film industry has collapsed, the focus has shifted the top cricketers not fulfilling their national obligation, is the focus of attention. Recent media reports suggest that the income tax department has issued notices 21 top cricketers who were found to have evaded taxes of more than Rs100 million over the past two years. This is the first time that the Federal Board of Revenue has issued notices to cricket celebrities who will be grilled about tax liabilities. The investigation department has already compiled the tax profiles of these cricketers on the basis of information collected by the income tax intelligence directorate of the FBR. The Regional Tax Office (RTO), Lahore, had issued notices to Umer Akmal, Misbahul Haq, Kamran Akmal, Abdul Razzaq, Mohammad Hafeez, Azhar Ali, Imran Farhat, Rana Naveedul Hasan, Saeed Ajmal, Taufiq Umar and Wahab Riaz. RTO Karachi issued notices to Shahid Afridi, Younus Khan, Abdul Rahman, Asad Shafiq and Tanvir Ahmad; RTO Sialkot to former captain Shoaib Malik, RTO Peshawar to Umar Gul and RTO Rawalpindi has finalized notices to be served on Shoaib Akhtar, Sohail Tanveer and Yassir Arafat. Umar Akmal alone owes to the national exchequer Rs7.5 million, the highest among his colleagues because he is the busiest cricketer at present with a number of international engagements.May they be cricketers or people from other walks of life, the FBR's revenue collecting machinery has always shown flexibility over and above the law and consequently bing unable to meet targets stipulated at the beginning of every fiscal year. Every time it sets targets that are ambitious rather than being objective and in the end it has to lower them to demonstrate that it has achieved revenue collection targets. The very recent example is the shortfall of nearly Rs 66 billion during the first four months (July-October) 2012-13. So far, the FBR has not revised downward the ambitious revenue collection target of Rs 2,381 billion for the current fiscal. However, there seems a little improvement for the month of October when the FBR provisionally collected Rs 138 billion against Rs 126 billion in the corresponding period of last fiscal, reflecting an increase of Rs 12 billion.Some other FBR targets can also materialize to portray a rosy picture of revenue collection in Pakistan for the fiscal year 2012-13. For example, Islamabad is highly more or less sure of receiving $680 million from the United States on account of coalition support prgramme. The country's economic manager also hope to realize around $800 million upon the auction of the third generation telecom licences. But this proposition, which remained unfulfilled even last year, seems difficult to be realized this year also because the team working on this has not so far been able to appoint a consultant despite the lapse of five months. Almost similar is the status of the FBR's tax amnesty scheme that proposes whitening the black money amounting to around Rs170 billion, because the FBR has not so far whetted it with a cover of a legal regime. Thus the has not yet been submitted to the government.Pakistan's economic survival lies in collecting taxes wherever due by abandoning the policy of appeasement towards the powerful and the rich, spending the funds prudently by right-sizing gigantic government machinery, benefits of civil servants and public office holders, investing in long-term productive projects, and catering for basic needs of the citizens. An unshakable determination, consistency in policies and political will are required to curb the years-old habit of defying tax laws with the purge in tax machinery and spending tax money for the welfare of the entire population and not merely a handful of people.
The Frontier PostGovernor Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Barrister Masood Kausar has said that economic development guarantees lasting prosperity of a nation and tribal female could improve their socio-economic conditions learning by various skills. He stated while addressing a certificate distribution ceremony held at Governor\'s house on Saturday on conclusion of a training workshop for the internally displaced tribal female. MNA Munir Orakzai and Officials of FATA Development Authority were present on the occasion. The Governor gave away certificates and sewing machines to 60 IDPs female for successfully completing the training conducted by FATA Development Authority (FDA). Barrister Masood Kausar said that skills are not only used for the benefits of the country but also used for participants to bread earn. Shedding light upon FATA Skills Development Programmme, he said that this programme was based on National Skills Development Strategy. He said that this strategy has been made in view of the socio-economic conditions in FATA and the prime objective of the plan was to give skill development training to the tribal youth that would help them earn their livelihoods. The Governor appreciated the efforts of FDA and said that the authority has set up 42 women business centers in the tribal areas, which was a commendable step towards economic empowerment of tribal female. He said that the government was taking all possible steps to provide education and technical skills training to the tribesmen and the internally displaced persons so as to remove the lingering sense of deprivation among them and bring them in the main stream of life. The Governor asked media to highlights development projects initiated by government in tribal areas.
RADIO PAKISTANInformation Minister says more facts will be revealed in Asghar Khan case in the days to come.Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira says the people will take action through vote against those who had robbed their mandate in the past. Talking to newsmen in Lala Musa on Saturday‚ he said Supreme Court verdict in Asghar Khan Case has turned the first page of the political history of the country. He said more facts will be revealed in the days to come. Qamar Zaman Kaira said mandate of the people was stolen with the connivance of establishment and politicians.