Sunday, August 27, 2017
The Natural Resources Monitoring Network (NRMN) criticized government for not reaching its revenue collection target from the mining sector for 2017.
According to the watchdog, the projected income should have been about $1 billion USD but only $15 million USD has so far been earned. The monitoring network said this was extremely low for a country that was potentially so wealthy in terms of minerals. The network said based on the National Development Strategy, the revenue from the mining sector should have been $1 billion USD. The officials accused mines of embezzling money and said bad management was to blame. “For the past three years, mines are being managed very badly – in fact we can say that mines are not being managed,” said Ibrahim Jafari, a member of NRMN.
Meanwhile, the ministry of mines acknowledged that revenue generation had dropped over the past few years. The ministry’s spokesman, Abdul Qadeer Mutfi, said they are reviewing contracts and are working on a strategy for mines and once the strategy has been finalized, measures will be implemented to grow the sector and increase revenue. “Our annual revenue has decreased because big contracts have not been signed and small contracts have been suspended,” said Mutfi. A number of economic affairs analysts meanwhile said the National Unity Government (NUG) has no plans for mine management and that natural resources are being looted.
NAWAZ Sharif wants to have his cake and eat it too.
He wants to have his party’s government in power and yet behave as if he is in the opposition. He wants to talk about strengthening institutions and democracy while relentlessly attacking the very institutions of democracy. This must stop.
The speech Mr Sharif gave to an audience of lawyers on Friday was unwise and unacceptable. It is clear that the Supreme Court judgement which ousted Mr Sharif from the prime ministership is flawed and controversial.
Mr Sharif is rightly aggrieved and some of the questions he raised on Friday are pertinent to his family’s continuing legal difficulties. A superior court judge monitoring a trial court’s proceedings against a defendant who the superior court has already declared to be unfit to hold public office appears to violate the principles of justice and due process.
Yet, Mr Sharif’s broadsides against the judiciary and dark allusions to threats against the democratic order are counterproductive.
Beyond the venting of personal grievances in public, it is not clear that the former prime minister has a strategy to strengthen the democratic order. A month since his ouster, the most Mr Sharif and his inner circle have been able to suggest is the need for a constitutional amendment to the qualification and disqualification criteria of parliamentarians.
While clarity is needed on the matter, the PML-N’s motives hardly appear to be altruistic. Indeed, the suggestion that a constitutional amendment be applied retrospectively to allow Mr Sharif to once again participate in electoral politics indicates that the PML-N continues to misjudge the national mood and is willing to deepen the political crisis simply to save its own leader.
A person-specific constitutional amendment would be the very antithesis of democracy, as were earlier stipulations barring Mr Sharif and Benazir Bhutto from becoming prime minister again.
There is an obvious path that the PML-N could take that would be democratic and help dispel the air of crisis: a snap election. Dissolve parliament and go to the voter for a fresh mandate with a manifesto outlining the constitutional, legislative and institutional changes that the PML-N intends to bring in order to deepen democracy in the country.
Admittedly, with detailed census results yet to be released and an important electoral reforms package still to become law, a snap election under current rules and with existing constituencies would not be ideal, but at least the vote would be a referendum of sorts on the PML-N and its plans for the democratic order. Another path, one that the Supreme Court itself may want to consider, is to convene the full court for a review of the judgement against Mr Sharif.
While there may be technical objections to such a move, surely the voice of the full court should be heard in the matter. What is clear is that the current situation is unsustainable. Mr Sharif and his PML-N cannot talk like they are in the opposition while running the government and the superior judiciary cannot ignore the genuine legal concerns that have been raised.
As per the provisional summary of the results of the 6th Population and Housing Census released by the PBS, the country’s transgender population stands at 10,418 — 0.005% of the total population of over 207 million.
While talking to The Express Tribune, transgender activists claimed that according to an estimate, there are more than one million transgender persons across Pakistan, adding that 5,000 to 10,000 are living only in the twin cities and surrounding areas.
The activists also expressed reservations over the procedure adopted by the census teams for counting transgender people – an exercise conducted for the first time in the history of Pakistan. Many complained that the census staff did not visit their homes or refuse to count them because they did not have CNICs.
Shilpa Sanam, a trans man also known as Fahimo, claims that 500 to 600 transgender people are living in Bari Imam, Nurpur Shahan, on the outskirts of the capital.
“If the census teams had approached me, I would have let them meet hundreds of transgender people living in this area,” said Sanam who not counted by a census team as transgender because according to the CNIC, he is a male.
“Though I am a transgender, I was counted as a male in the national census,” complained Sanam.
Nighaian Kiyani, a trans woman from Jehlum, said the census team did not visit her home.
“It is a big joke that there are only 10,000 transgender people in Pakistan,” said Kiyani, adding that the census teams must have failed to reach all the places where they lived. Hooram, an intersex person hailing from Hyderabad, also claimed that no census staff visited her house. “The transgender count shared by the PBS contains no data on the number of intersex people in Pakistan,” said Hooram.
Meanwhile, Nadeem Kashish, the founder of the Shemale Association for Fundamental Rights (Safar), said that over 300 trans persons alone were registered with the NGO. Kashish said there were several organisations or gurus, alone taking care of 500 to 600 transgender persons. “How is it then possible that there were only 10,000 transgender across the country!”
“The count shared by the PBS is entirely misleading and inaccurate as the number of transgender persons in Pakistan is increasing with each passing day, “Kashish said, adding that around 11,000 were already registered with NADRA.
Kashish said the government should have approached the transgender community, their gurus and various organisations working for their rights. Kashish also said the census staff was not given any kind of training for verifying or registering the transgender persons. “Whosoever made a claim of being a transgender was counted as so without any verification,” Kashish complained, adding that several transgender persons, who were mentioned as male or female in their CNICs, were not counted as transgender.
Kashish said that before the census, the transgender community and activists had demanded of the government to come up with a proper procedure for counting them, “but our woes were not heard by the government.”
The official was responding to a series of question on the statements coming out of Pakistan, which are generally in strong opposition to the Trump’s South Asia strategy. America’s security aid to Pakistan “will be conditioned” on the steps Islamabad takes against terrorist groups such as the Taliban and the Haqqani network, a senior Trump administration official has said. “There have been long standing relationships between the Pakistani intelligence officials and these terrorist groups. So, we don’t expect things to change overnight. We expect incremental changes over time,” the official told PTI. His comments came days after US President Donald Trump hit out at Pakistan for providing safe havens to “agents of chaos” that kill Americans in Afghanistan and warned Islamabad that it has “much to lose” by harbouring terrorists. “We will be able to see when these changes start to happen. They [might] not become immediately apparent to the public, but we’re confident that when Pakistan takes the steps we’re asking it to do, we’ll know it and we’ll be able to assess. And so, our security aid will be conditioned on the steps that we expect them to take against, in particular, the Taliban-Haqqani Network,” the official said on condition of anonymity. The United States, the official said, is monitoring the situation carefully in Pakistan and expects some progress. “It wouldn’t be appropriate for me to give exact timelines that we’re dealing in. But, certainly there is an expectation that we’ll start to see some changes in the very near future,” the official said when asked if the Trump administration has set a time line for progress in action being taken by Pakistan against the terrorist groups. The official was responding to a series of question on the statements coming out of Pakistan, which are generally in strong opposition to the Trump’s South Asia strategy. “How do you see Pakistan’s reaction? Do you think that they would be, given these kind of reactions that’s coming up in public domain, think they will be cooperating this time with you on counter—terrorism issues?” the official was asked. “I think the President was very clear that we are going to take a different approach to that stand. There’s a lot of frustration (in the US) with the continued safe havens in Pakistan. But we believe there is hope for greater cooperation from Pakistan on these issues. It’s Pakistan’s choice. Pakistan has much to benefit from by cooperating with the US and cracking down on some of these groups,” the official said. And Pakistan has much to lose if it fails to do so, the official warned. “We’re not going to talk about the precise steps that the US is considering with regard to its relationship with Pakistan. We’ll reserve that for our private discussions on Pakistan. We’ll just simply say that it’s extremely important to this administration that Pakistan take tangible steps against the groups that continue to support attacks against US service members and US officials in Afghanistan,” the official said, adding that the US will be working very closely with Pakistani officials to achieve that objective. Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif is soon expected to visit the US and meet Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Ahead of the US visit, Asif is scheduled to travel to China, Russia and Turkey to hold meetings with their leaders on the Trump’s South Asia policy. “We think that Pakistan will see that it’s in its own interest to cooperate with the US. And that, when they’re thinking about their core security interests in Afghanistan, they will assess that they can better achieve those objectives by being in a cooperative relationship with the US, rather than a contentious relationship. These are the kinds of conversations that we’re having with Pakistan,” the official added. http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/us-security-aid-to-pak-will-be-conditioned-white-house-official/article19570016.ece