Monday, July 6, 2015

Music Video - Rihanna - bich better have my money

#Turkey - Who used this ISIL terrorist to bomb the HDP rally?

The veil of mystery is being lifted from Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) terrorist Orhan Gönder, who planted a bomb at a Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) rally in Diyarbakır before the June 7 election, causing four deaths. 

Facts that came out from the persistent follow-up of our colleague İdris Emen have raised thoughts that a very complicated network of relations may be present beyond this act.  

First let us congratulate Emen for this successful journalism. Then let us take a look at stories published in daily Hürriyet:  

The person who recruited Gönder for ISIL fought in Syria and went back to his hometown, Adıyaman. The police did not monitor this person, though they watched this person influence young people, despite parental warnings. 

Right before Gönder joined ISIL and disappeared, his family went to the police and told them their concerns. The police again watched the situation, interrogated the young person and released him. 

When Gönder disappeared, his family even reached Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğluand informed authorities that they suspected their son had joined ISIL, but the police and the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) were not able to track him. 

While Gönder was wanted by state security forces, he came back to his country and went to Diyarbakır. He obtained a bomb from some people over there and he caused the death of four people with his terror attack. 

We learned from Emen’s story at daily Hürriyet that, during his time in Diyarbakır, he was taken from his hotel by the police; he was notified that he was a draft evader and he was released. Whereas experts state that Gönder’s name should have been included in the list of “missing persons associated with terror” but according to a statement by the Diyarbakır police dated June 26, there was no information about him “preparing for an illegal act.”

How can this be true? The information that he had joined ISIL was given to theAdıyaman police, even the prime minister was informed, but did the Adıyaman police keep this information to itself? Why did the police intelligence not share this information with other departments? 

There could be a negligence of duty in this case, but there is more than one negligent action in this incident. Starting from Gönder’s recruitment to ISIL to his family informing the police of this, there is a series of negligence. 

Conspiracy theories may be misleading but when so much negligence pools on one person, then there should be a meaning to it. 

There is a profile that is “extremely suitable to be used” and this negligence series may be pointing to the “being used” part.

The whole problem is indeed finding who used him. What we need to look for here is who was expecting to benefit from this attack and who protected him until he planted bombs in Diyarbakır. 

I have a guess but I do not have any information to prove this, so I cannot write my guess.

Who do you think protected and used him? 

If the region went into turmoil after the bombings in Diyarbakır, if there were more deaths, what kind of an effect would this have had on election results? 

Would it have been more difficult or easier for the HDP to cross the threshold? 

There are a series of questions here and this time this incident should not be left as another one the “unsolved cases.”

Putin, Hollande discuss results of Greek referendum

Presidents Vladimir Putin of Russia and Francois Hollande of France had a telephone conversation, in the course of which they discussed the results of Sunday's referendum in Greece, the Kremlin press service said.
"The two Presidents discussed the results of the referendum in Greece, including from the point of view of further development of the situation in the eurozone," the press service said in a report.
A total of 61.31% Greek citizens who came to the polls on Sunday voted against the terms of the agreement with creditors on settling the country's sovereign debt.
The government put up only one question for the referendum, namely, whether it was to accept or to reject the draft agreement authored by the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund and made public at a session of the Eurogroup of finance ministers on June 25.
The document consisted of two parts, which specified the reforms necessary for completion of the current programme and contained preliminary analysis of stability of the debt.
Judging from the outcome of Sunday's voting, the rank-and-file Greeks are discontent with the position of international creditors. Along with it, the majority of Greeks say in opinion polls and interviews they remain in favor of Greece's continued inclusion in the eurozone.
The Greeks have spoken out against the harsh austerity measures, which presuppose a new downsizing of pensions and and salaries and they would like to see the signing of an agreement on the basis of compromise proposals made by Greece where focus shifts to the opportunities of economic growth and debt restructuring.
The EU and the IMF have allocated almost 250 billion euro since 2010 when the crisis of sovereign debt began in Greece. The Athens government is to return the money gradually.
Although a part of the country's debt was written off in 2012, its current debt exceeds 315 billion euro at present, standing at 175% of its GDP thrice as much as the level admissible of a country within the eurozone, which is expected to be below 60% of the GDP.

Dalai Lama's 80th birthday celebrations politicized: expert

 A Chinese expert has lambasted the Dalai Lama for hyping up his 80thbirthday celebrations and politicizing the issue in the United States.
In an op-ed published on Monday by the Global TimesLian Xiangmin from the ChinaTibetology Research Center said that Monday's celebration is the third time the DalaiLama has celebrated his 80th birthdayHe marked his eightieth year with a TibetanBuddhism service in 2014 and on June 21 this year in line with the Tibetan calendar .
Such celebrations are another farce by the Dalai group to save their declining influence,said Lianadding both China's national power and Tibet's rapid development haveeclipsed the Dalai group's so-called "middle wayproposalwhich advocates a "GreaterTibetwith "a high degree of autonomywithin China.
Lian accused the group of premeditating the eventciting the preparation work one yearagopress conferences and some overseas websiteswhipping up unrest in China.
That the Dalai chose to celebrate his 80th birthday in California shows that he is seekingthe support of the United Stateswhose Central Intelligence Agency (CIAhas funded theDalai groupit added.
As alwaysthe celebration marked another chapter in the Dalai group's "politicizingeverything," said the op-ed.
Though the Dalai Lama announced his retirement from politics in 2011 and vowed toseparate religion from politicshe seems busier than everAt 80, he still visits more than adozen countries a yearcourting senators and politiciansdoing talkshows and deliveringspeeches.
"He dresses like a monkbut he is a politician," said the op-ed.
The expert then cited Gyalo Thondupbrother of the Dalai Lamawho wrote a bookcriticizing the American government's handling of the Tibet issue and said the Tibet issuecannot be resolved without the participation of the Chinese government.
"The government has urged [the Dalai Lamato put aside his illusions in his remainingyearsface up to realityadapt his positionchoose the objective and rational pathand dosomething of benefit to overseas Tibetan compatriots in exile," it said.
"Perhaps he should listen to his brotherchange his position to what he held before 1959,when he fled Chinaand stand with the Tibetan people rather than with the separatists," itsaid.

Saudi Arabia cannot conquer Yemen: Analyst

Press TV has conducted an interview with Navid Nasr, political analyst in Zagreb, to discuss Saudis ongoing military aggression against Yemen.

Following is a rough transcription of the interview.

Press TV: If we want to take a look at the purpose of this, it is a very costly campaign for Saudi Arabia but are they getting back the investment they are making?
Nasr: I do not see what possible investment they are getting back for their trouble here, unless they actually want a completely destroyed and destabilized Yemen bordering them which very well could be the case. I do not know.
Honestly it is difficult sometimes to get into minds of people like this and see exactly what their intentions are, exactly what their goals are, what the endgame is that they envision. One thing we know for sure is that in their mind, in their delusional fantasies, this is all about Iran. This is all about curtailing Iran’s influence, the Houthis are Iranian proxies, and they are fighting Iran by destroying Yemen.
It is absolutely ludicrous but this is the narrative that at least they are putting out there and probably even something that they genuinely believe in. So who knows? Who knows how this is going to end? How they can claim victory and retreat because that is what is going to happen. They are not going to win here. They are not going to militarily conquer Yemen. They could not militarily conquer a sand dune in Najd much less the entire country of Yemen. They can bomb as many targets as they want but that is it.
Press TV: What is very interesting is that every now and then you would hear about these US drone attacks that would take place in Yemen. We do not hear about them anymore, in the past three months not one has been reported. What do you think that is?
Nasr: We can speculate and that is what I will do right now, I speculate, I say that AQAP (Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula) acts as another militant proxy both for the Saudis and for the US in terms of whatever foreign policy goes they seek to establish. Right now AQAP in terms of fighting prowess it is not even close. AQAP has actual fighters and the Saudis have… whatever, their army is a joke. So AQAP can actually fight, maybe go toe to toe with the Houthis and the Saudi army cannot, so they are not going to do anything that would weaken the AQAP.

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Music Video - Noor Jahan - (ve ik tera pyar)

Anti-terror financing meet: Russia's stance on Pakistan surprises India

There is unease in Delhi over recent stand that old ally Russia took at a recent anti-terror financing meet organised at Brisbane by opposing move by India to demand censure against Pakistan for its inaction against JuD & LeT.

While New Zealand and Australia also opposed the move, India is surprised with Russia's position which in the past has been very supportive of India's stand on Kashmir to the extent of vetoing resolutions in UN Security Council.

Official sources in .. 

Rivals Pakistan, India to start process of joining China security bloc

By Ben Blanchard
Nuclear-armed rivals Pakistan and India will start the process of joining a security bloc led by China and Russia at a summit in Russia later this week, a senior Chinese diplomat said on Monday, the first time the grouping has expanded since it was set up in 2001.
The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) groups China, Russia and the former Soviet republics of Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, while India, Pakistan, Iran, Afghanistan and Mongolia are observers.
"As the influence of the SCO's development has expanded, more and more countries in the region have brought up joining the SCO," Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Cheng Guoping told a news briefing."India and Pakistan's admission to the SCO will play an important role in the SCO's development. It will play a constructive role in pushing for the improvement of their bilateral relations."
India and Pakistan have fought three wars since 1947, two of them over the divided Muslim-majority region of Kashmir which they both claim in full but rule in part. Pakistan also believes India is supporting separatists in resource-rich Baluchistan province, as well as militants fighting the state.
India applied to join the regional security grouping last year and SCO foreign ministers gave a positive recommendation when they met in June. "We await further developments," said Sujata Mehta, a senior foreign ministry official.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be in Moscow for a summit of the BRICS group of emerging markets and both he and his Pakistani counterpart, Nawaz Sharif, will attend a special SCO "outreach" session as part of the gathering.
Pakistan's application is being considered, said foreign ministry spokesman Qazi Khalilullah. "We hope they will support us for full membership," he added.
The grouping was originally formed to fight threats posed by radical Islam and drug trafficking from neighbouring Afghanistan.
Cheng said the summit, to be attended by Chinese President Xi Jinping, would also discuss security in Afghanistan.
Beijing says separatist groups in the far western region of Xinjiang, home to the Muslim Uighur minority, seek to form their own state, called East Turkestan, and have links with militants in Central Asia, as well as Pakistan and Afghanistan.
China says Uighur militants, operating as the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM), have also been working with Islamic State.

"It can be said that ETIM certainly has links with the Islamic State, and has participated in relevant terrorist activities. China is paying close attention to this, and will have security cooperation with relevant countries," Cheng said.

Afghanistan: Ghani’s Pivot to Pakistan Falls Flat

Are Afghanistan and Pakistan Losing Detente? The Peace Window Is Closing For AfPak


    Relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan have changed over the last nine months. But progress toward reconciliation has at best stalled, potentially forfeiting an historic opportunity.
    Few can fail to see the signs of change in relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan over the last nine months. Not only has the tone improved, but encouraging steps by both sides point to a possible ending to the nearly 70-year history of mostly discord. Afghans and Pakistanis increasingly appreciate that their domestic insurgencies cannot be overcome without each other and how, in other respects, their countries’ futures are intertwined. These developments would not have occurred without a new Afghan leader’s determination to push a regional political and economic agenda and Pakistan’s reexamination of its strategic options with Afghanistan.
    Yet further progress in resetting ties between the two countries is in doubt and the diplomatic gains realized could be reversed. It was inevitable that historic suspicions on both sides would be aroused. Most seriously, a wide body of opinion in Afghanistan questions Pakistan’s sincerity about seeking a cooperative, mutually beneficial relationship. What is undeniable is the striking disconnect between Pakistan’s highly conciliatory rhetoric and its continued hosting of Afghan insurgent groups. Skeptics insist that the true test of Pakistan’s seriousness would be its expulsion of the insurgency’s Quetta Shura and Haqqani Network. Pakistan’s reluctance to end its patronage of these groups underscores the continued grip of older strategic thinking even as it pursues new approaches to Afghanistan.
    Let us accept the fact that a shift in attitudes toward Afghanistan has occurred at the highest levels of Pakistan’s military and civilian leadership. In a clear departure from the past, Afghanistan’s enemies have been declared to be Pakistan’s enemies, and Afghan Taliban fighters are accused of acts of terrorism. Despite having ostensibly broken with the Taliban post-2001, members of Pakistan’s premier intelligence service, the Inter-Service Intelligence, are known to have indulged and at times colluded with Afghan insurgents. By the recent admission of former President Pervez Musharraf, Pakistan had sought to weaken Afghanistan as a means of countering Indian influence in the country. Also driving Pakistan’s policies was the belief that international efforts to build a viable Afghan state were likely to fail with the country fragmenting ethnically and geographically. Against that outcome, Pakistan’s Afghan Pashtun clients were at a minimum expected to provide a security belt along bordering Afghan provinces.
    Several developments prompted Pakistan’s reevaluation. The United States and its NATO allies, together with the international donor community, have shown a more lasting commitment to Afghanistan than was anticipated. Even in the face of a sharp foreign military drawdown and an unrelenting insurgency, the backing of a large Afghan security force makes it unlikely that the Taliban will easily overrun the country as it did two decades ago. Unlike the 1990s, when Pakistan faced no Pashtun insurgency of its own, policymakers now have to fear that an Afghan Taliban military victory will energize and empower Pakistan’s ethnically and ideologically similar militants.
    Pakistan has thus been willing along with Afghanistan and its allies to explore a negotiated way out of the Afghan conflict. As against the uncertainties of outright Taliban rule or a chaotic civil war, a political solution would seem an attractive alternative for Pakistan. A power sharing arrangement that immersed the Afghan Taliban in coalition politics could also act to check its influence spreading to the region. Yet Pakistan has complicated Afghan-sponsored efforts to arrange peace talks by precluding any negotiators but those trusted in an agreement to protect its security interests. A more promising area for coordination with Afghanistan was created in recent years by Pakistan’s hard-pressed Taliban finding sanctuary in Afghanistan. Pakistan’s efforts to enlist the Afghan military to flush them out have naturally raised expectations in Kabul of reciprocal action by Pakistan’s army against the Afghan Taliban.
    But as long as a viscerally anti-Pakistan Hamid Karzai occupied the Afghan presidency, deep distrust limited the two countries’ ability to pursue common objectives. Ashraf Ghani’s election, however, brought to the office a leader whose extensive plans for Afghanistan were from the outset predicated on bettering relations with Pakistan. For the first time, Pakistan could now envision having a friendly government in Kabul without needing to subordinate it.
    Some in Pakistan, most notably hardliners in Pakistan’s intelligence service,complain that Pakistan’s leaders have gone too far in their reaching out to Afghanistan. But opposition to a normalization of relations is more vocal on the Afghan side. Ghani drew heavy criticism for agreeing to have a few military cadets train in Pakistan and was condemned for reportedly allowing Afghan troops to coordinate with Pakistan forces in military border operations against the Pakistani Taliban. Discussions on trade and broad economic cooperation were also met with suspicion. But it was an agreement several weeks ago for broad intelligence sharing with Pakistan’s hated military that spiked ire among Afghan politicians and with the public.
    Under pressure, a politically weakened Ghani has backtracked. In a tough letter to Pakistan’s leaders in late May, he conditioned further cooperation on their meeting a long list of demands, including the immediate cutting of ties to the Afghan Taliban groups and the arrest of their leaders. Predictably, Pakistan has ignored Ghani’s ultimatums. It is plainly in no rush to make enemies of its long sheltered Afghan insurgents and risk their teaming up with Pakistan’s militants to attack the state. More broadly, Pakistan is unprepared to give up on those groups considered strategic assets until convinced that the unity government and a unified Afghan state are likely to endure. Thus at the same time that Pakistan has moved toward policies intended to enhance Afghanistan’s stability, it continues to back forces set on undermining that very outcome.
    Putting the process of reconciliation back on track will require hard choices by both sides. Even if Pakistan may not be ready to meet demands that it completely rein in Afghan insurgent groups, it can visibly make their cross-border movement more difficult. Pakistan can also be more strategic in using its influence to strengthen those within the Taliban leadership more inclined toward a political solution. At the same time, Afghanistan should not take Pakistan’s facilitation of peace talks as the principal measure of its sincerity. While Pakistan has shown that it can play spoiler, its ability to steer Taliban leaders has always been greatly exaggerated. With the insurgency surging it is hard to see an incentive to accept a ceasefire and agree to join the Afghan political system. Meanwhile, the Afghan government’s prospects for negotiations are even less clear given the increasingly decentralized Taliban and the emergence of the Islamic State.
    Progress toward reconciliation has at best stalled. Better communication between security forces is needed to avoid border clashes such as occurred last week. It is all too easy for Pakistan and Afghanistan to slip back into a familiar pattern of mutual recriminations. Neither country can ignore how much their interests have converged and what is at stake. If efforts to improve relations fail, an historic opportunity to put Afghanistan and the region on a course toward stability and economic progress will have been forfeited.

    Pakistan - Former President Asif Ali Zardari condemns attack on Hazaras in Quetta

    Co-Chairman Pakistan Peoples Party Former President Asif Ali Zardari has strongly condemned attack on innocent Hazara people in Quetta Monday morning and termed it target killing.
    In a statement, Former President has condemned killing of three innocent Hazara people and called this attack a cowardly act of terrorists. He demanded immediate arrest of culprits and bringing them to book. He also prayed for eternal peace for departed souls and strength and fortitude for bereaved families to bear this loss with equanimity.

    Pakistan - July 5th - ‘Black day’: ‘Remnants of Zia still hogging political space’

    The Awami Workers’ Party Lahore chapter said on Sunday
    that July 5 should serve as a reminder to political parties in the parliament that their right to rule was not absolute.
    “They have been sent to the parliament by the people. They should think twice before putting in place constitutional provisions allowing the military to encroach upon the domain of the judiciary,” the AWP said in a statement issued with reference to the dismissal of a democratically elected government and imposition of martial law by General Ziaul Haq on July 5, 1977.
    The statement said that thousands of people had sacrificed their lives to strengthen democracy in the country.
    The AWP said that in submitting to the doctrine of necessity in establishing military courts in the country, the ruling party had disrespected these sacrifices.
    Pakistan Peoples Party
    The Peoples Students’ Federation and the Pakistan Peoples Party arranged a seminar at Alhamra Hall, The Mall, to observe July 5 as ‘black day’.
    Speaking on the occasion, PPP general secretary Latif Khosa said the party would continue to mark the day to protest against the martial law imposed by Zia. He said remnants of Zia were still hogging political space. He said PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari was determined to counter those trying to weaken democracy.

    Pakistan - Hate Speech

    The Anti-terrorism court (ATC) judge, on Friday conferred a 10-year and four months jail term to the prayer leader of a mosque at Qaimpur Town, near Hasilpur, for hate speech. The convict, Maulana Abdul Ghani, was arrested by the Qaimpur police after he delivered the speech against a particular sect about two months back, with a fine of 0.7 million rupees.

    With Section 9 of the Anti-Terrorism Act stating a ‘prohibition of acts intended or likely to stir up sectarian violence’, the federal government has asked the provinces, apart from making laws to curb rampant hate speech and heaps of extremist material within their remit, to make sure that there was no abuse of the loudspeaker, which most extremists, posing as religious scholars, employed as an effective tool to brainwash young minds. However, with the proliferation of not only terrorist acts against particular sects or communities in Pakistan, but also a media that propagates certain ideologies, are these laws really enough to tackle the root causes of extremism?
    Since 2007, over 2,000 alleged terrorists, who have been accused of having been involved in high profile terrorism cases, have been freed by the Anti-Terrorism Courts of the country. If the security agencies are to be believed, a large number of them have rejoined terrorist fronts. This shows a clear failure on the part of these courts, where the weakness of Pakistan’s prosecution and judicial system is once again in the limelight. It was only after the atrocious Peshawar attack last December that more than one politician and analyst spoke forcefully of the need to reform the laws so that terrorists would be held accountable in the courts. Given the blatant crisis that we are facing collectively, there should simply be no reason to explain why terrorists are rarely convicted by the courts. Be it the flawed investigation, the lack of evidence or the fear of the terrorists, all these reasons lead to those accused of terrorism being freed by the courts, and ultimately no justice being given to the unbearable amount of people that die every year because of them.

    Given the delay and unreliability caused by the ATC’s it is also necessary to make hate speech an issue in the public sphere and the print and digital media to help shape a very necessary but forsaken debate. In a country, where authorities continue to enforce blasphemy laws, regulations designed to marginalise the Ahmadiyya and Shia community, and on various occasions restrict religious freedom, one can see that even if this monitoring of religious sermons might be done with a ‘noble’ intention, it still does not tackle the root cause of intolerance in Pakistan. A more nuanced system of accountability for hate crimes and hate speech is needed, but we might be taking steps in the right direction.

    Pakistan - Theory of “35 Punctures” Punctured

    Najam Sethi 

    The Theory of “Penti Pentures” (35 punctures) was supposed to explode with a bang. Instead it has evaporated into thin air without a whimper.
    There was no secret tape recording of mine informing Nawaz Sharif that I, as caretaker CM Punjab, had applied “Penti Pentures” (ie rigged 35 seats) to the elections in 2013. Indeed, not one word of “Penti Pentures” was even whispered by the great Hafeez Pirzada (with Imran Khan breathing down his neck) when I was cross-examined before the Judicial Commission last week. What was produced was a clip from my TV show of 7th July 2013 in which I had said that about fifteen days before the end of my tenure as caretaker chief minister Punjab on June 6th 2013, (ie, ten days after the election results were announced on May 11) I had become powerless and the Punjab bureaucracy was already looking to the designated new chief minister. So what was so strange about that, the CJP seemed to imply, when he asked Mr Pirzada to move on.
    Imran Khan’s unending harangue about Nawaz Sharif “rewarding” me for applying “penti pentures” by appointing me chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board also fell flat. Indeed, it never went to the point of explicating the substance of the so-called “reward”. How could it? I have not drawn a penny in salary for two years. I have not even taken a luxury vehicle for my personal use. In fact, I have abolished all undue “perks and privileges” that previous chairmen enjoyed, like free First Class International Travel with spouse, a posse of hangers-on, a fleet of expensive rented cars, millions of rupees of free tickets for family, friends and cronies during international cricket events abroad, unlimited entertainment allowances, BoG meetings in holiday resorts, and a score-full of jobs in PCB for sifarishis and family.
    The “Penti Penture Theory” was based on idle talk cunningly fabricated by a maverick named Ejaz Hussain who was desperate to worm his way into the top echelons of Khan’s party. A gullible Imran bought into it readily because it suited his political ploy. How could he manufacture a conspiracy theory of Nawaz Sharif stealing the election without challenging the results of the elections in the Punjab that contributed to Mr Sharif”s thumping victory? Hence it was critical to damn my administration. Fourteen months ago, I sued him in court to prove his allegations or pay damages for defaming me. He hasn’t appeared in court once, nor filed a word in response to my complaint. Much the same may be said of his lackeys like Naeem ul Haque and Shirin Mazari who have parroted the same lie ad nauseum, and “journalists” like Dr Shahid Masood who are constantly creeping out of the woodwork. The amusing fact is that only days after the fiasco in the Supreme Court, Naeem blatantly named the source of the “penti penture” story as Agha Murtaza Poya, the veteran politician and ex-owner of The Muslim newspaper, only to be rebuffed by a stout public denial by Mr Poya hours later.
    The fact is that I was the caretaker CM nominee of the PPP and its allies. The fact is that the PMLN had fielded two candidates of its own but only acceded in my favour half an hour before the three-day deadline because it realized its nominees would most certainly be adjudged unsuitable by the ECP. The fact is that Imran Khan publicly welcomed my nomination as a consensus caretaker CM in March. The fact is that I refused to accept the nominee of the ECP, Qamaruzaman Chaudhry, as my Chief Secretary because Imran Khan publicly asked me not to appoint him. The fact is that I shunted 15 senior bureaucrats from the Punjab to Islamabad because they were allegedly close to the Sharifs. The fact is that I shuffled the bureaucracy from Patwari to Chief Secretary and SHO to IGP so that none could complain I was biased. The fact is that I retained two senior secretaries whose close relatives were contesting on PTI tickets. The fact is that my Home Minister was on the PTI’s Task Force on Terrorism. The fact is that I even leaned on the Advocate General appointed by Shahbaz Sharif to resign his constitutional position in order to be neutral. The fact is that the only favour I ever did anyone was to Imran Khan when I allowed him to hold rallies in the centre of the small towns on his campaign trail in Southern Punjab, which was contrary to the SOPs of the elections. The PTI accepted the results as free and fair, a fact corroborated by FAFEN and over 100 international observers.
    Imran Khan didn’t have the courage to accuse ex-CJP Iftikhar Chaudhy, ex-Justice Khalil Ramday, and GEO/Jang Group in the JC, all co-accused with me in public. Now that his short-cut-to-power bid has failed and been exposed, he should have the courage to apologise to me and stop tarnishing my reputation.
    Najam Sethi
    - See more at:

    Pakistan's New Military Budget: By the Numbers

    It should come as no surprise that the release of Pakistan’s federal budget on June 5 went unremarked in Washington. Nevertheless, Pakistan’s budget—particularly its defense budget— will quietly attract the attention of American officials and analysts who work this issue because important U.S. interests are engaged in Pakistan.
    Pakistan is a large country with the potential to enjoy robust economic growth and attract foreign investment. It is a front-line state in the fight against violent extremism, and it is one of the world’s nuclear powers. The United States, in other words, wants Pakistan to succeed. Its national budget can help or hinder success.
    Pakistan’s potential won’t be realized until it is at peace with itself and its neighbors. Pakistan needs to be defended against internal and external threats.  A strong, transparent defense budget that reflects a balanced strategy for national security would advance Pakistan’s national interests. The finance ministry has yet to release the country’s budget documents in full, but based on the few details that have already emerged, it appears that this defense budget will in many respects be similar to those in previous years. It may also offer some surprises.
    Two elements of the budget represent continuity with the past—the military spent more in the last year than it was allocated, and this year’s spending increase was similar to past increases. According to the Budget in Brief, the country spent $7 billion on defense affairs and services in FY 2014-15. This is almost $200 million more than the military was allocated. Since 2008—when the government first began releasing reasonably substantive budget documents—Pakistan’s defense spending has always run over-budget. Consistently going over-budget is problematic, particularly as fiscal consolidation has been a central pillar of the current government’s economic agenda.
    The defense budget grew from $6.1 billion (629.8 billion Pakistani rupees) in FY 2013-14 to $7 billion in FY 2014-15—a 14.7 percent increase. This is the largest year-on-year percentage increase since 2012, and it reverses a trend in which the defense budget had been growing at a slower pace over the past eight years. Although in real terms the spending increase is not as significant—a decline in global oil prices has reduced year-on-year inflation to 3.2 percent as of May 2015—it is still in keeping with long-term trends in Pakistan. The proposed budget for FY 2015-16 of $7.6 billion is $390 million less than what the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s shadow budget proposes.
    There appear to be a few surprises in this year’s budget. First, the military spent nearly twice its allocated development budget in FY 2014-2015. While it was allocated $22.1 million under the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP), the military actually spent $41.9 million. While this represents less than 10 percent of total defense spending according to the government, going 100% over-budget is problematic on any scale.
    Second, a recent report suggested that the development budget for the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) has been cut in half from $578.9 million to $296.8 million for FY 2016. While the report has not yet been confirmed, this is noteworthy not only for the size of the cut, but the fact that there was a cut at all in a key component of Pakistan’s nuclear program. According to past budget documents, the PAEC’s overall budget has increased steadily since 2008.
    In all likelihood, Pakistan’s defense budget is higher than what the official documents indicate. First, the defense budget has not included pensions since the early 2000s. In the first years of the most recent Pakistan People’s Party government, the issue of where to place military pensions became the subject of parliamentary debate. In a 2010 meeting of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), then-parliamentarian and current defense minister Khawaja Mohammad Asif reportedly said, “Whom we are trying to fool by showing military pension budget as part of civilian budget?” The entire fund in 2010 reportedly amounted to roughly $704 million.
    Second, the use of “contingent liabilities” raises important questions. According to the Pakistani government, contingent liabilities “are possible future liabilities that will only become certain on the occurrence of some future event.” The finance ministry explains that they do not appear on the balance sheets, and “such off-balance sheet transactions cannot be overlooked in order to gain a holistic view of a country’s fiscal position.” According the recently-released Economic Survey, the outstanding guarantees to Public Sector Enterprises (PSEs) under the contingent liability fund exceeds $5.9 billion. While the government does not document the percentage of contingent liabilities that go to the military, it is safe to assume that some percentage does, and that this would further inflate the defense budget.
    It will be possible to conduct a more comprehensive analysis of defense spending once the government releases more detailed budget documents to the public in the next few weeks. Although Senate Chairman Raza Rabbani wasrecently quoted as saying that parliamentary debates on the specifics of the defense budget should remain secret, a more transparent budget process strengthens democracy and thereby national security. With more information, observers might be able to find answers to questions that have already emerged from the release of top-line spending figures. Perhaps most importantly, the Pakistani people will be able to debate the budgetary trade-offs necessary to enhance national, economic, and social security.