Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Video Report - What will it take for Democrats to win the Senate?

If Democrats win, they’ll have a big mess to clean up

By Greg Sargent
A veteran Republican congressional staffer has published a scathing attack on his own party’s oversight failures in the Trump era. The piece hints at a crucial point that it’s time to start thinking about seriously right now.
In short: If Democrats do take back some or all of Congress, they’re going to have a lot of cleaning up to do. And while it’s tempting to think that all this means is exercising the oversight on President Trump that Republicans have not, it’s not that simple.
The piece — which is by Kris Kolesnik, who toiled on GOP oversight staff for nearly 20 years — flatly accuses the current GOP of the “downright destruction” of Congress’ oversight functions. It flays Republicans over the weaknesses of the Senate’s examination of Russian electoral sabotage, and the conversion of the House’s probe into a full blown harassment campaign aimed at law enforcement’s legitimate and independent Russia investigation.
But there would be a lot more beyond this to be done when it comes to restoring Congress’ institutional oversight integrity. Congressional scholar Norman Ornstein suggested to me today that it’s crucial that in restoring oversight, it “can’t just be the gotcha kind.” This means looking not just at media-friendly topics such as Russia and Trump’s tax returns, but also at failures of governance. As Ornstein put it, if Democrats take power, they must “look at mismanagement and malfeasance in programs and agencies,” that is, at “what went wrong and why.” There are some obvious candidates for this. Real oversight might examine the governmental response to Hurricane Maria and the shockingly high death toll that may have resulted in part from it. There is a lot to examine on immigration, too. Many of Trump’s immigration policies, from the thinly-veiled Muslim ban to the slashing of refugee flows, were implemented amid a bad faith refusal to take into account internal administration analyses that undercut their rationales. The administration proceeded with family separations after being warned by officials that they could result in psychological trauma to immigrant children. The governing processes behind these things could use a lot more sunlight.
Speaking of the family separations, Ornstein also suggests another area ripe for more congressional examination: The huge private industry in sheltering migrant children, which is fueled by government contracts. Democrats should “examine those contracts and how they came about,” Ornstein says. But Ornstein also called for a much broader look into privatizing in other areas, such as private prisons, arguing that Democrats must make a major priority out of “oversight of the relationship between government agencies and the private contractors.”
On another front, the sheer volume and nature of the administration’s efforts to undermine Obamacare also suggest a level of bad faith in implementation of the law that is crying out for some serious scrutiny.
In short, if Democrats can win some control, there will be a lot to do — well beyond Russia and Trump’s finances.
Democratic leaders must “lay out an agenda of oversight, all these things, for the public and say, ‘Here’s what we’re going to do,'” Ornstein says, adding that the message from Democrats to the American people should be: “We may not be able to get laws passed, but what we can do is make sure the programs you’re paying for are being faithfully executed.”

Video Report - #NineEleven - Return to ground zero

Saudi Arabia and the 9/11 Attacks: Theory of Mass Destruction

Carmelo Cruz 

As Americans honor those who lost their lives on September 11, 2001, many still agonizingly search for an answer that justifies the attacks.
September 11, 2001, the day which began normally, but ended up engulfing 2,606 innocent lives, is the day that America and the world will never forget. The attack was carried out by 19 men affiliated with al-Qaida, 15 of whom were citizens of Saudi Arabia, while the remaining 4 were from the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, and Lebanon.
It was in January 2000, when the first hijackers, Kahlid-al-Mihdhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi, arrived in the United States and settled in San Diego County, California. They were followed by three more, Mohammed Atta, Marwan al-Shehhi, and Ziad Jarrah, to undertake flight training in south Florida. The fourth, arrived in San Diego in December 2000. The remaining hijackers entered the U.S. by early-and-mid-2001.
In 2009, Richard Clarke, a White House Advisor during the Bill Clinton and George W. Bush years, in a video interview, pointed out that the attacks of 9/11 were so successful because top CIA officials did not share information about potential plots against the homeland. This included the Director of the CIA, George Tenet, who had crucial information regarding al-Qaida’s plot against the U.S., including the arrival of hijackers Khalid-al-Mihdhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi.
Due to the alliance formed by top CIA officials and the Saudis, the United States was aware of the terrorists. Fahad al-Thumairy, a former Los Angeles consular official and imam in Culver City, California, was linked to two of the hijackers, Mihdhar and Hazmi. In 2003, while returning from Germany, he was deported from the U.S., following his suspicious connections with the terrorists. Ironically, he still holds a lucrative government position in Saudi Arabia.
The spreading of extremism by Saudi Arabia dates back to 1973 when King Faisal first imposed an oil embargo against the U.S. for supporting Israel in the Yom Kippur War. The Saudi ideology was to impose control over Muslims by exploiting Islam, allegedly molding it into what is today known as jihad. In 1976, Saudi Arabia began the King Faisal Institution, and started spreading its ideology.
The effectiveness of the Saudi’s ideology to change the notion of Islam, can be easily traced through the Afghanistan war of 1979, where they publicly called for jihad and stood with the rebels. They openly opposed the official Afghan government which was supported by the then-Soviet Union.
In 1983, Prince Bandar bin Sultan officially became the Saudi ambassador to the United States and he was used as a bridge to promote the propaganda that Saudi Arabia stood with U.S. against its adversaries. The kingdom used the jihadi groups to its advantage against the Soviet Union. After the war ended, Saudi Arabia used Pakistan and its charity organizations to continue to fund their ideology groups, which in 1988 were officially established as al-Qaida.
The ideology expanded liked wildfire, giving rise to the likes of Osama bin Laden, whose views supported the destruction of America. Later in 2004, just before the U.S. presidential elections, Osama bin laden taped a statement which clearly acknowledged al-Qaida’s involvement in the 9/11 attacks.
Not only Saudi Arabia, but the UAE was also involved in the accounts of 9/11. According to the Library of Congress, research division in its 2007 report, “Dubai is strongly linked to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack on the United States; more than half of the hijackers flew directly out of Dubai International Airport to the United States…and the UAE banking system had been used by the 9/11 hijackers to launder funds.”
Even today, as reported by the Associated Press these compromises led by Saudi Arabia and backed by the UAE have allowed al-Qaida militants to survive to fight another day. The U.S. has continuously been involved in the selling of arms to the Saudi-led coalition which has been killing the Yemeni civilians since 2015. Outrageously, the same report also highlights that the Saudi-led coalition is hiring the al-Qaida militants to fight against Iranian Houthis which has alarmed Arab allies of the United States.
Today, Prince Khaled bin Salman is desperately fighting JASTA which calls for justice against sponsors of terrorist’s attacks in order to counter the belief that his father is the biggest supporter and funder of terrorism.

Opinion - The Real Lesson of Sept. 11

By Joe Quinn

I went to war to avenge my brother’s death. But the only person I truly wanted to kill died 17 years ago.
It has taken me a while to realize something.
Seventeen years ago, I saw a picture of Mohamed Atta for the first time, and my blood boiled from the sound of his voice emanating from the television, as he said over the airplane’s intercom system: “We have some planes, just stay quiet and you’ll be O.K. We are returning to the airport.” Instead, he crashed it between the 93rd and 99th floors of the World Trade Center’s north tower.
My 23-year-old brother, James, was on the 102nd floor.
Staring at that picture of Atta, I would have visions of what my brother’s final moments were like. I would envision my asthmatic brother slowly succumbing to smoke inhalation on the flat, gray corporate rug of his Cantor Fitzgerald office — trapped, climbing upward and afraid for the entire 102 minutes before the tower’s collapse. Glaring at Atta’s photo, I’d imagine my brother’s body buckling, falling, crumpling, burning, melting, and in that moment of imagination, my entire being wanted revenge against the people who did this.
So I joined the Army.
I joined the war. I deployed twice to Iraq and once to Afghanistan.
I learned many things but realized just one.
I learned that deploying for the second time was easier than the first, but each time it’s harder to fully come home.
I learned that I love soldiers. Nothing builds bonds more than living with a group of people in a war zone, getting shot at, not showering for months, roasting our own excrement in burn pits, cracking inappropriate jokes and serving something greater than ourselves.
I also learned how that love turns to heartache when one of those soldiers gets killed, and you pack his gear up in duffel bags to be shipped home to his wife and unborn child. I learned that another family’s losing a brother doesn’t bring my brother back.
But that wasn’t the thing I realized.
In Afghanistan, after an Afghan police officer demanded money from me at gunpoint to get through a checkpoint, I learned of the Kabul government’s widespread corruption. I learned that spending $68 billion on Afghan forces doesn’t buy the essential ingredients of a fighting force: loyalty, courage and integrity. I learned that most generals would always ask for more money, more troops, more time — and more war. It’s like asking Tom Brady what he wants to do on Sunday.
I learned that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. For the past 17 years in Afghanistan, we’ve tried everything: a light footprint, a big footprint, conventional war, counterinsurgency, counter-corruption, surges, drawdowns.
But that wasn’t the thing I realized.
I also learned that those who made the ultimate sacrifice are the very best of America.

I learned to try to live a life worthy of their sacrifice, but perhaps this is a false platitude. We’ll say, “Until Valhalla,” after hearing the news of another brother killed, but perhaps preventing more brothers from dying is just as worthy of their sacrifice.
I also learned to be a father. As I hold my son Graham James in my arms tonight, I feel selfish because there are thousands of fathers who never came home to hold their children. I feel selfish because there was a father who came home from war 17 years ago to hold his child in his arms and now that child is going off to fight in the same war.
A hard lesson, but it’s still not the thing I realized.
I learned that Osama bin Laden’s strategic logic was to embroil the United States in a never-ending conflict to ultimately bankrupt the country. “All that we have to do is send two mujahedeen to the furthest point east to raise a piece of cloth on which is written ‘Al Qaeda,’” he said in 2004, “in order to make generals race there to cause America to suffer human, economic and political losses without their achieving for it anything of note ….” Why are we continuing to do what Bin Laden wanted all along?
But that, ultimately, was not the thing I realized.
I learned that every part of me wanted to just stay quiet with my feelings about the war because I was afraid of what people might say. It’s easier to bask in the warm embrace of “Thank you for your service” without questioning what that service was for. One way or another, we were all affected by Sept. 11, which has caused us to view the war through a distorted lens. This is why most of us won’t comment or share or at least have a dialogue about the war.
But the main reason I wanted to stay quiet is because it has embarrassingly taken me 17 years to realize something, and what I realized was this: Seventeen years ago, staring at that picture of Mohammad Atta, I wanted revenge against the people who killed my brother. But what I finally realized was that the people who killed my brother died the same day he did.
I refuse to take Atta’s orders, or Bin Laden’s. I will not “stay quiet.” End the war.
Joe Quinn is a United States Army veteran.

ریاست مدینہ، جناح کا پاکستان اور نیا پاکستان

ذہن میں ایک آندھی جو چل رہی ہے،بار بار لکھتی ہوں اور مٹا دیتی ہوں۔ وسوسے کچھ اوربڑھ گئے ہیں، 
اندیشے دو چند ہو چکے ہیں۔ اب تو لفظ اس قدر محتاط ہیں کہ کاغذ پر بکھرنے کو بھی تیار نہیں۔ زبان لفظوں سے محروم، بولتی ہے تو لکنت اور نہ بولے تو ضمیر کی مجرم۔ سوچ سوچ کر ہلکان ہوں کہ ہم کس قسم کا پاکستان تشکیل دے رہے ہیں جہاں ریاست مدینہ تو دورکی بات، جناح کا پاکستان تو درکنار، چند دہائیوں قبل والا پاکستان بھی گمُ ہوتا دکھائی دے رہا ہے۔
جناح کا پاکستان جہاں ہر شخص اپنے مذہب پرعمل کے لیے آزاد ہو۔ مندر، مسجد، گرجا گھر، سب اپنے اپنے عقائد میں آزاد ہوں مگر گلا تو ابتدا میں ہی گھونٹ دیا گیا۔ یقین کیجیے معاملہ عاطف میاں کی تقرری اور تنزلی سے کہیں زیا دہ کا ہے۔ کہ ہم یہ فیصلہ کب اور کیسے کریں گے؟ ہم نے کیسے جناح کی ریاست تشکیل دینی ہے جو مزید 70 سال مانگتی ہے، یا کم از کم اس کی جانب کوئی قدم تو اٹھائیں اور وہ کیا ہو؟ کوئی ایجنڈا سامنے نہیں ہے۔
ہم جس معاشرے کے باسی ہیں وہاں کے قواعد ہی الگ بنا دیے گئے ہیں۔ ایسا معاشرہ جہاں جھوٹ اتنا بولو کہ سچ لگے، دعوے اتنے بڑے بڑے کرو کہ حقیقت محسوس ہونے لگے، فریب ایسا دو کہ اجالے تک پشیمان ہوں۔ خواب ایسے پیش کرو کہ تعبیر ڈھونڈنی ہی نہ پڑے۔ دن میں سورج سے کشمکش اور رات میں چاندنی سے الجھو، سماج اس قدر حقیقتوں سے دور کر دو کہ بس بات بے بات دلیل نہیں منہ سے گالی نکلے۔ کچھ ایسا ہی معاشرہ ہم تعمیر کررہے ہیں۔ ہمیں نہیں معلوم منزل کی بات کرنے والے کہیں راستے سے بھی بےخبر تو نہیں ہو رہے۔
جناب عاطف میاں کی تعیناتی کی خبر گویا بجلی کی طرح گری۔ اقتصادی مشاورتی کونسل میں یوں تو درجن سے زائد اراکین تھے جن کا کام محض مشورے دینا ہے اور اس سے زیادہ کچھ نہیں۔ عملدرآمد سراسر حکومت کی ذمہ داری ہے۔ یہ کونسل صرف حکومت کی معاونت کرتی ہے کہ کیا کیا جائے اور کیا نہ کیا جائے۔ باقی فیصلہ حکومت کو خود کرنا ہوتا ہے۔ اب سے پہلے اقتصدی کونسل میں کون کون رہا کسی کو معلوم بھی نہیں مگر کپتان کی حکومت میں اس کمیٹی کے اعلان کے ساتھ ہی گویا بھونچال آ گیا۔ کیوں؟
یہ اگست 2014 کے دن تھے۔ کپتان دارالحکومت کے ڈی چوک میں دھرنا دیے بیٹھے تھے، دھاندلی کے الزامات اور حکومت کی کارکردگی پر سوالات اٹھا رہے تھے۔۔ پھر ایک دن جناب خان صاحب نے اعلان کیا کہ میں جب حکومت بناؤں گا تو اپنا سمدھی وزیرخزانہ لگانے کی بجائے دنیا کے 25 پائے کے اقتصادی ماہرین میں سے ایک۔۔ عاطف میاں کو وزیر خزانہ بناؤں گا اور جب وہ یہ اعلان کر رہے تھے تو ان کے کان میں نام بتانے والے کوئی اور نہیں خود جہانگیر ترین تھے۔ یہ ویڈیو آج بھی دستیاب ہے۔
اس بیان کے بعد بھی واواکار مچی، یہاں تک کہ خان صاحب کو وضاحت دینا پڑی جس میں انھوں نے اعتراف کیا کہ انھیں یہ علم نہیں تھا کہ عاطف میاں احمدی ہیں۔ کہانی یہاں تک کچھ بہت دلچسپ نہیں ہے، اس میں موڑ تب آیا جب حکومت کی تشکیل کے بعد عاطف میاں کا اعلان ہوا۔ بحیثیت وزیر خزانہ نہیں بلکہ بحیثیت مشاورتی کمیٹی کے رکن کے طور پر

وزیراعظم کا فیصلہ قطعی طور پر پاکستان کی معیشت کی بہتری کے لیے تھا مگر اس فیصلے کے ساتھ ہی سوشل میڈیا پرایک طوفان برپا ہو گیا۔ سوشل میڈیا سے شہلا رضا اور شہلا رضا سے قومی اسمبلی و سینیٹ۔ حکومت کو دی جانے والی اطلاعات کے مطابق پاکستان کے گلی کوچوں میں بھی احتجاج کی منصوبہ بندی متوقع تھی کہ عاطف میاں نے خود ہی حکومت سے معذرت کی اطلاع دی۔

#AtifMian - Fixing #Pakistan’s financial woes - By Atif R. Mian

                           By Atif R. Mian

IN what has become somewhat of a ritual, Pakistan is back at the doorsteps of international creditors. The PML-N government has left national coffers empty, just like the PPP and the Musharraf-led PML-Q governments before it. Like clockwork, Pakistan goes to the IMF after every election: 2008, 2013 and now 2018. This time the request for financial assistance is expected to be the largest ever.
The typical response of an incoming government has been to ‘plug the hole’ through IMF and kick the can down the road for another five years until the next near-death experience. However, for things to be different this time, the new government needs to respond differently. I highlight three elements here that should be part of the government’s strategy to get out this doom-loop.
First, strengthen Pakistan’s financial and regulatory authorities. Appoint competent and reputable leadership and design governance rules to minimise political interference. For example, the State Bank of Pakistan should be given legal and functional autonomy. The top leadership should be picked based purely on merit and appointed for a duration that is preferably as long as the political cycle of five years.
An independent regulatory authority, perhaps within the State Bank, should be empowered to monitor Pakistan’s exposure to risks such as leverage, liquidity and exchange rate risks in the financial sector. For example, when Pakistan agreed to take on the more than $50 billion in liabilities in exchange for CPEC, there should have been an independent analysis of the financial risks that such a commitment implied.
There are three crucial elements that should be part of the strategy to get out this doom-loop.
The benefits of having an independent and competent monetary authority are large. Markets reward a country with strong regulatory institutions with lower cost of funding, a stable currency and higher valuation. For example, when India moved towards making its monetary authority more independent and appointed competent individuals like Raghuram Rajan at the top, the Indian market rallied.
On the other hand, when President Erdogan challenged the independence of his own central bank, the Turkish lira plummeted. The lira depreciated further when Erdogan appointed his son-in-law as the finance minister. The new PTI government would do well if it could set a new tone for independence and competence within Pakistan’s financial institutions.
Second, shift Pakistan’s growth policy from the failed import-led strategies towards policies that focus squarely on raising domestic productivity growth and exports. Pakistan has relied too much on borrowed capital to fund large-scale capital expenditures. It is politically expedient to showcase ‘success’ by having a foreign country develop large capital projects on borrowed money. But at the end of every political cycle, the overhang of excessive borrowing ends up depressing the entire economy.
One of the most important lessons for students of economic growth is that a country’s long-term growth is almost exclusively a function of its domestic productivity growth. In plain words, a country cannot buy success from the outside, success has to be developed internally.
The new government needs to focus on factors that expand domestic productivity. For example, invest heavily in education so our labour force becomes more productive. From technology to market design and governance structures, there is now a wealth of information on what works in improving learning outcomes. Appoint competent people in top positions who can utilise this knowledge to run education policy.
Invest in science, technology and human capital infrastructure. Pakistan has a great shortage of producers of human capital, eg scientists and academics who can produce the next generation of skilled professionals. One of the government’s first orders of business should be to do everything it can to attract this top talent into Pakistan. This requires changing Pakistan’s narrative and promoting a pluralistic society. Today’s much sought-after global talent increasingly demands an open and free society.
The main reason for Pakistan’s perennial balance-of-payment crises is its anaemic export growth. For example, Pakistan’s exports did not increase in real terms over the last five years. Since 1980, Pakistan’s exports have grown at a rate that is only one-fifth that of India and Bangladesh. The new government must focus on expanding domestic productivity for Pakistan’s exports to rise.
Third, modernise the financial system in order to reduce the incidence of tax evasion and money laundering. Pakistan has one of the lowest tax collection rates that results in a high fiscal deficit. Pakistan also has an active black market in foreign exchange that siphons off ill-gotten wealth abroad. The black market facilitates tax evasion, further widening the fiscal deficit. It also increases the imbalance between the supply and demand for dollars. Both of these factors contribute to balance-of-payment problems in the long run.
The new government can reduce tax evasion and money laundering by moving the financial system towards a ‘cashless’ digital payment system that makes it easier to track and audit large financial transactions. The foreign exchange market should also be unified into a single market that integrates with the formal banking system. A combination of reputable leadership at the top and intelligent technology design can significantly reduce the incidence of tax evasion and money laundering.
For now, Pakistan is stuck in its old ways as the new government must plead to outsiders for a bailout. However, financial markets are forward-looking and operate on expectations. If the new government uses its first six months in power to signal real change along the lines above, market sentiment can change quickly.
Pakistan has tremendous potential. Once markets are convinced that those in power have the capacity to harness that potential, there will be no run on the rupee and no balance-of- payment worries. Let us hope that come next election time, there would be a ‘naya Pakistan’, where the departing government leaves behind a sound economic legacy.

#AtifMian - Imran Khan sacking Princeton professor can invite EU censure, hit Pakistan’s trade ties


Atif Mian’s sacking by Imran Khan’s PTI govt will not escape the notice of the EU or other Western trading partners.
One of the most shocking aspects of the sacking of Princeton professor and economist Atif R. Mian from Pakistan’s Economic Advisory Council is that Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government has clearly violated the fundamental rights guaranteed to all citizens in the nation’s constitution. And, it may also trigger negative international ramifications.
Article 27(1) of the Pakistani constitution assures “safeguard against discrimination in services… on the ground only of race, religion, caste…”
Besides the illegality of the move to sack Atif Mian for his Ahmedi identity, it was a high-profile blunder that is likely to have far-reaching global consequences for Pakistan. Especially because former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had, after all, made a commitment to the European Union to undo the historic discrimination against Ahmedis in Pakistan in return for trade concessions.
During Sharif’s government, parliament had unanimously enacted the Elections Act 2017, which scrapped the entire Conduct of General Elections Order 2002 inserted by former dictator General Pervez Musharraf. The new Act had potentially enabled Ahmedis to vote on the joint electorate rolls, without declaring themselves as non-Muslims. This would have served to end their disenfranchisement from the electoral process. The Ahmedia community has historically refused to vote under these conditions as they identify themselves as Muslims.
However, Imran Khan with the help of Islamist elements had run a relentless campaign of Khatm-e-Nabuat against Sharif and the amendment was reversed putting the Ahmedias back in the dock.
The sacking of Mian by Khan’s PTI government will not have escaped the eyes of the EU or other Western trading partners. If Sharif’s government was seen as well-meaning but helpless in its attempt at bettering the country’s human rights record, Khan’s will be seen as positively bigoted and incognisant of the financial and economic risks these sort of moves pose in a global era.
Disastrously, Mian’s removal was quickly followed by the protest resignations from the Council of the two remaining economists of international repute — Dr Asim Ijaz Khwaja (professor of international finance and development at the Harvard Kennedy School) and Imran Rasul, (professor of economics at the University College, London).
“They drove @AtifRMian off their economic advisory council?! Are they nuts?” tweeted Austan Goolsbee, an economics professor at University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business. He is also a former Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers. Many others joined him in condemnation.
Other consequences of this sacking become ironically apparent by one of Mian’s own policy recommendations in a piece he wrote before he was engaged, “One of the government’s first orders of business should be to do everything it can to attract this top talent into Pakistan. This requires changing Pakistan’s narrative and promoting a pluralistic society. Today’s much sought-after global talent increasingly demands an open and free society.” The protest resignations of Khwaja and Rasul have already demonstrated that Pakistan is on the reverse path to attracting talent back into a country.
Right on the heels of these resignations came Khan’s appeal to expatriate Pakistanis to donate for a dam fund announced earlier by the Chief Justice of Pakistan. “I am still stunned that on a day we’re all busy absorbing the news of what has happened on the EAC, Imran Khan decides to deliver a public appeal asking overseas Pakistanis to donate to the dam fund,” tweeted Khurram Husain, the highly respected business editor at Dawn newspaper. Twitter went up in a blaze with dam poetry and memes such as ‘bheekonomics’ (economics of begging) and ‘faqir-e-azam’ (beggar-in-chief).
Journalist Murtaza Solangi pointed out the foolish and unviable nature of the appeal given the share of expats in the Rs 1.93 billion collected so far in two months is only 1 per cent, with the rest of the money having been raised from resident Pakistanis via forced salary cuts, and extortion of errant members of the assemblies by the Chief Justice, and some high profile donations by those seeking to curry favour with the powers that be.
The other farcical aspect is, assuming the current rate of fund donations hold, it would require 120 years to gather the total required sum of Rs 1.45 trillion. Khan’s appeal coming in the wake of the exit of three economists rang ominous.
To compound the horror, fears of “launching crackpot schemes and wild goose chases under the garb of economic policy” according to Husain, started to come true. The task force promised by the finance minister to bring back ‘looted $200 million’ stashed in foreign accounts became a reality, and the chase began Saturday – notwithstanding the fact that neither is there any evidence such an amount in ‘looted’ wealth exists, nor a penny has ever been recovered from anyone’s offshore accounts. The tragi-comic provenance of the imagined number was investigated and debunked by Husain long ago.
However, in its very first meeting, the task force was obliged to revise the targeted figure down to $0.8 billion, a mere 0.4 per cent of the electoral campaign promises.
Next, Imran Khan chaired the first Economic Advisory Council meeting and pondered on out-of-the-box solutions for Pakistan’s current account deficit, and a wide import-export gap, and discussed bans on imports of cheese, smartphones and luxury cars. “You see how much cheese is coming in this country from abroad,” said Ashfaq Hasan Khan, a university professor, one of the remaining members of the EAC. “Market is full of imported cheese. Does this country, which doesn’t have dollars, deserve this, that it is importing cheese?”

The public is directly co-relating mind-numbingly dumb discussions reported at the EAC with the exit of brilliant economists. The deep worry and trepidation is cloaked in mirth, as usual, having resulted in Twitter hashtags like #CheeseGate and memes like ‘Imran Khan will Make Pakistan Grate Again’ – first tweeted by Reuters correspondent Drazen Jorgic.
In an effort to normalise the chicanery that is passing off for economic policy of the government, PTI minister Shahram Tarakai tweeted a fake, generated news image of Dawn newspaper asserting that the first governor general of Pakistan, Muhammad Ali Jinnah appealed to overseas Pakistanis to deposit money in the ‘Partition fund’ – on Sunday, 30 August 1947, fourteen days after Partition.
There is no light at the end of this tunnel — yet. And the entire world, including the IMF, is watching.

#Pakistan - #KulsoomNawaz - شریف خاندان کی دل آزاری پر انتہائی دکھ ہے،اعتزاز

پیپلز پارٹی کے مرکزی رہنما اعتزاز احسن نے بیگم کلثوم نواز کے انتقال پر شدید دکھ اور افسوس کااظہار کیا اور کہا کہ ان کی باتوں سے شریف خاندان کو ہونے والی دل آزاری پر انتہائی دکھ ہے۔
میڈیا سے گفتگو میں اعتزاز احسن نے کہا کہ بیگم کلثوم نواز نیک اور پارسا خاتون تھیں، نواز شریف کے خاندان سے اظہار ہمدردی کرتا ہوں،سابق خاتون اول کے انتقال پر شدید دکھ اور افسوس ہے۔
انہوں نے مزید کہا کہ مجھےاظہارتاسف کی پیشکش کی گئی تھی لیکن میں نے نہیں کیا جس پرافسوس ہے،بیگم کلثوم نوازکا انتقال شریف خاندان کا بہت بڑا نقصان ہے ،جمہوریت کےلئےان کی گراں قدر خدمات تھیں،پرویزمشرف کےدورمیں وہ جواں مردی سے ڈٹی رہیں۔
رواں سال جون میں اعتزاز احسن کا ایک متنازع بیان سامنے آیا تھا جس میں انہوں نے شریف خاندان پر الزامات عائد کرتے ہوئے کہا تھا کہ زبان زد عام ہے کہ ہارلے اسٹریٹ کلینک جہاں کلثوم نواز زیرعلاج تھیں، شریف خاندان کی ملکیت ہے،وہ کوئی اسپتال نہیں لیکن وہاں دل کے بائی پاس ہوتے ہیں۔
پی پی کے رہنما نے اپنے متنازعہ بیان میں سابق وزیراعظم نواز شریف کے اپنے اہلیہ کے ساتھ رہنے کو تاخیری حربہ قرار دیا تھا،یہی بیان صدر مملکت کے لیے اپوزیشن کے متفقہ امیدوار کی حیثیت سے اعتزاز احسن کے نام پر ن لیگ کے اعتراض کی بنیادی وجہ سمجھا جاتا ہے۔

#Pakistan - #KulsoomNawaz - Bilawal Bhutto expresses deep grief and sorrow over the sad demise of Begum Kulsoom Nawaz

Chairman Pakistan Peoples Party Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has expressed deep grief and sorrow over the sad demise of Begum Kulsoom Nawaz, who breathed her last in a London hospital today after protracted illness.
In his condolence message, the PPP Chairman termed Begum Kulsoom Nawaz as a brave woman who fought for democracy during Musharraf regime.
Bilawal Bhutto Zardari offered condolence and expressed sympathies with the members of bereaved family and prayed to Almighty Allah to rest the departed soul in eternal peace and grant courage and fortitude to the bereaved family members to bear this irreparable loss.