Thursday, May 2, 2019

CORRUPTION IN DNA - Pakistan's Fake Degrees

Investigating how Pakistan's degree mill profits from selling fake qualifications to people around the world.

Students usually work for years to gain a university degree, but a network of shady online institutions is offering degrees without any study or exams.

Hundreds of thousands of people from around the world are taking up this too-good-to-be-true offer. Alarmingly, some of them then use these fake qualifications to get jobs as doctors, teachers and engineers.
101 East exposes the sales tactics used by these fictitious online universities, with alleged links to Pakistani company, Axact.
After media reports exposed how Axact's network appeared to be profiting from bogus degrees, the company's founder, Shoaib Ahmed Shaikh, was arrested and charged with fraud.
Police raids at the company's headquarters in Karachi found lists of fake universities, blank degree certificates, names and phone numbers of their customers and call recordings of Axact staff trying to extract money from them.
But Shaikh insists his company is only running a call centre to render services to the fake universities.
Meanwhile, there are fears that people who have bought fake degrees are now working in professions where extensive training and knowledge is critical.
"It could be a huge disaster," says Atta Ur Rahman, a former official of Pakistan's Higher Education Commission.
"You have medical doctors who are practising medicine without knowing medicine. There are accountants in the field of accountancy without knowing anything about accounts and this applies across various fields."
101 East follows the case against Axact and its founder, as it stalls in Pakistan's courts amid accusations of witness intimidation and bribery.

PM should seek another apology from people, labourers, says Bilawal

Chairman of Pakistan People's Party Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has said that Prime Minister Imran Khan should seek another apology from the people of Pakistan for wasting their time through his governance in the last eight months while causing them economic sufferings and also from labourers of the country for doing their economic murder and subjecting them to unemployment, price-hike and poverty.
Addressing a public meeting of the Pakistan People's Party here in the Landhi area on Labour Day on Wednesday night, the PPP chairman sought another apology from the prime minister apparently in the backdrop of an apology sought by the PM earlier in the day in Islamabad while addressing the foundation day convention of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf for calling Bilawal Bhutto Zardari Sahiba instead of Sahib in a previous address in a merged tribal district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
The PPP chairman, while addressing the public meeting, vowed to hold the present government accountable for injustices and deprivation caused to the poor people and labourers in the country. “We will fight against your incompetency and will compel you to serve the masses,” he said on the occasion.
He said that PM Imran Khan had conceded his incompetency and complete failure in managing economy of the country by removing Asad Umer as being the first finance minister of his government.
He said that loans borrowed by the present government had been unprecedented in the history of the country as no previous government had taken such huge loans. The PPP chairman said that his party would not accept the deal the present government was about to sign with the International Monetary Fund till the time the same accord with the IMF was duly presented in the National Assembly for approval.
He said the present rulers belonging to the PTI had always blamed the previous regime of People's Party for securing massive foreign loans and also looting the national exchequer but at the end, the present government had hired the services of a person as finance adviser who had earlier served as finance minister during the tenure of former president Asif Ali Zardari.
“They have hired the services of finance minister of president Zardari but they haven’t adopted the people-friendly economic policies of People's Party,” he said. He said the present rulers believed that economy of the country would be benefited if rich got the opportunity to become richer. “Instead, the Peoples Party believes that if labourers, poor men, and farmers are given benefits then it will benefit the entire country as this money will circulate in the entire national economy and the country in turn will make progress,” said the PPP chairman.
The PPP chairman lamented that present government had introduced "an amnesty scheme for rich people" while poor masses in the country had been subjected to loans, taxes, and price-hike.
He said the present government had introduced anti-poor policies by increasing tax burden on them and also ending subsides being spent on destitute people. “Economic murder of poor people, unemployed youth, farmers, labourers, and small traders has been taking place in the country,” he said.
He lamented that the Federal Investigation Agency and National Accountability Bureau had been harassing businessmen and industrialists in Sindh and their families for investigating their Benami accounts so much so that businesses and mills of such traders were being shut down.
He said that mill owners of Sindh were being discriminated against and treated differently when investigation was launched against their benami accounts while industrialists in Punjab faced no such harassment, high-ended tactics, and closure of their industries when they faced probe under the same charges.
He said that businessmen and traders who didn’t come under the national tax net should not be treated and investigated in a manner as if they all were corrupt people. “If there are only two million registered taxpayers in the country out of the population of 200 million, it doesn’t mean that rest of 198 million masses in the country are all corrupt,” he said.Bilawal Bhutto said that his party would continue to wage struggle and raise its voice against high-ended tactics of the NAB, which he termed the practice of NAB Gardi. “We will not be afraid of the NAB and instead we will continue to raise our voice against NAB Gardi,” he said.He said that NAB had come into existence on the basis of a “Black Law” given during the regime of a previous dictator to do political victimisation and political engineering in the country.
He reiterated the stance of his party that the PPP was not against the accountability process in the country but accountability should be done across-the-board of all sections of the society under a uniform system without any discrimination, bias and on the basis of influence or status. “If there will be accountability in the country, then it will be of all the people and all the sections and if it is not the case, then there should be no accountability,” he said.
Bilawal Bhutto said that NAB was being used to deprive the people of Sindh of their due rights and resources in the country. “We will not keep silent and we will stop them as they are attempting to snatch your rights,” he said.He also criticised the federal government for not paying Rs120 billion to the Sindh government as its due share in the federal divisible pool. “Imagine how much benefit could be passed on to you people, how many job opportunities could be created for youth of the province if we possess these Rs120 billion,” he said.
He also criticised the political parties in the Sindh Grand Democratic Alliance and Muttahida Qaumi Movement, which were allies of the present government. He said that allies of the present government had to be accountable for the massive price-hike, unemployment, rendering people shelter-less, for pilfering water, and gas resources of Sindh, carried out by the present regime.
He said the present government of PTI had promised to give one million jobs and build five million houses but it failed to create a single employment opportunity or build a single housing unit till now. “Instead, the present government has made the people homeless in the garb of anti-encroachment drive for which its allies including the MQM will also be held accountable,” he said.
The PPP chairman said that he belonged to Karachi and he would continue the struggle for the just rights of people of the city, including their water needs, which were being denied by the Centre.
Bilawal said that being a native of Karachi, he would continue to strive for the grave injustices done to people of the city as their mandate was stolen in the last general elections while they, along with other people of Karachi, had not been properly counted in the last national census drive. “The mandate of people of this city was stolen in the last polls and instead the mandate was given through a fake process,” he said.

Masood Azhar’s terrorist tag victory for India, but doesn’t mean end of Pakistan terror

Getting China to relent on designating Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar a global terrorist is a major diplomatic victory for India. But New Delhi shouldn’t kid itself about having damaged Pakistan’s terror factory or treat this as another election trophy. Sustained pressure must be maintained on Islamabad to stop supporting terrorists.

Naxal attack exposes BJP’s national security campaign pitch as hollow

The attack on special police commandos in Gadchiroli in the middle of elections puts a big question mark on BJP’s campaign pitch on national security and claims of Maoist strongholds shrinking by 60 per cent. It’s a colossal intelligence failure, with no lessons learnt from past attacks, including in Chhattisgarh.

India doesn’t need a burqa ban. It’s just a pointless polarising issue

Unlike Sri Lanka, there is no immediate security crisis or terror challenge that calls for a debate on or a demand for burqa ban in India. The country is already witnessing an over-heated and vicious election campaign. Stop raising new and unnecessary polarising issues every day. Indian voters deserve better.

China backs UN blacklist of leader of Pakistan-based militants, ending a decade of opposition

Keegan Elmer
Beijing’s decision to support UN Security Council sanctions against Jaish-e-Mohammad head Masood Azhar is a breakthrough for India-China relations. India stepped up diplomatic efforts to convince China that Azhar should be labelled a terrorist following a deadly attack in Kashmir. China has agreed to a UN Security Council push to blacklist Pakistan-based terrorist Masood Azhar, head of Pakistan-based group Jaish-e-Mohammad, in a breakthrough for India-China relations.

Beijing’s decision, ending a decade of opposition, came after New Delhi stepped up diplomatic efforts to convince the Chinese government that Azhar should be labelled a terrorist following a deadly terror attack in the disputed territory of Kashmir in February. Following China’s approval, the UN will issue a travel ban and arms embargo against Azhar. The move will also freeze his finances and assets. Jaish-e-Mohammad, also known as JeM, claimed responsibility for a suicide attack in Kashmir’s Pulwama district which killed 40 Indian troops.Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping “have developed a chemistry of trust with each other” since their meeting in Wuhan a year ago, said Madhav Nalapat, a professor of geopolitics at India’s Manipal University. Beijing’s approval of the UN sanctions “would be a win not for India or China but for the global war on terror”, he said before Beijing’s decision was announced.“Terrorists have neither a religion or a nationality, and should be opposed by all countries unitedly and in co-ordination.”
China, a permanent member of the Security Council, blocked the assembly’s move to sanction Azhar in 2016 and 2017. India first proposed the sanctions in 2009.
The United States, France and Britain put forward the proposal again in March. China vetoed that motion, but placed a “technical hold” on the decision, citing the need for more time for a “comprehensive and thorough assessment”.India’s Foreign Secretary Vijay Keshav Gokhale visited China last week, where he shared evidence of terrorist activities of JeM and Azhar and raised the issue of banning the group at the UN with China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi.“My information is that President Xi Jinping (who has had multiple conversations with Prime Minister Modi) decided that relations with India were too important to be held hostage any longer to the pro-Pakistan lobby, and intervened to ensure that the block on the designation of Azhar as a global terrorist was removed,” Nalapat said.
“Opposition parties in India have mocked Modi for the Wuhan summit with Xi, but this move is among the fruits of Wuhan,” he said. Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan concluded a state visit to China on Sunday for the Belt and Road Forum and bilateral meetings with Chinese leaders. Xi told Khan at a meeting that he hoped Pakistan and India could “meet each other halfway” and improve their relations. Tensions flared after the Pulwama attacks, and China urged its two neighbours to exercise restraint. The attack ignited military engagement from both sides.
Indian planes conducted cross-border strikes on suspected terrorist camps, and dogfights ensued after which both sides claimed to have shot down enemy fighter jets.

20 million Pakistani children smoke,Prime Minister Imran Khan receiving donations from tobacco companies.

Tobacco consumption in Pakistan is very high, even among children. The Ministry of National Health Services Regulations and Coordination has estimated that 1,200 children between five and 15 years of age start smoking every day in the country.
The report says there are 20 million child smokers in Pakistan. It also revealed that more than 100,000 people die every year in Pakistan from tobacco-related illnesses.
Tobacco control activists in the country are raising their concerns over Prime Minister Imran Khan receiving donations from tobacco companies. The country representative of Tobacco Free Kids, Malik Imran, believes that if PM Khan were to read some of the research done by the World Health Organization on the number of tobacco consumers, he would take action as the premier is an anti-tobacco advocate himself.
“PM Khan is committed to work against cigarette smoking,” Imran said on SAMAA TV’s show Naya Din on Thursday. “He knows it can lead to cancer,” he added.
The activist said the premier has not been properly advised by his team on whether to meet the tobacco companies. “Taking donations from the companies is a clear violation of Article 5.3 of the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC),” he added.
The FCTC states that government representatives are restricted from meeting or receiving funds from tobacco companies, even as part of under Corporate Social Responsibility activities.
Imran said PM Khan may not be aware that being a signatory of the FCTC, Pakistan cannot receive any funds from tobacco companies. The government signed the FCTC in May 2004 and ratified it the same year. The FCTC is the first international treaty providing a framework for tobacco regulations.
He said that the tobacco industry is profiting as there is currently no tax levied on cigarettes, adding that even NAB is taking their revenue under consideration.
“The companies think they can get away with giving donations, but they cannot,” he added. 
The role of parents and schools
Motivational speaker Shahzad Qamar believes that children are being influenced to start smoking because of their environment.
“Cigarette smoking has become very common in our society and young teenagers are being affected by it,” Qamar told SAMAA TV. He said shopkeepers should not sell cigarettes to children in school uniforms, adding that if someone sees that happening, they should stop it.
In schools, children should be taught about the health hazards of smoking and it should be a part of their curriculum. “Parents should not smoke in the house either,” he added.
Van drivers, security guards and other school staff should also not smoke in front of children, he suggested. “Smoking is the first step to addiction,” he said, adding that we need to break the misconception that cigarettes reduce stress.
The whole society should become a watchdog to stop the sale of cigarettes to underage children, urged Qamar.