Reasons for declining fertility rates in Pakistan.

Pakistan sixth most populous country in world: survey

* Life expectancy increased from 65.8% (female) and 63.9% (male) in 2010-11 to 66.1% (f) and 64.3% (m) in 2011-12

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=20136\17\story_17-6-2013_pg12_7

KARACHI: Pakistan is sixth most populous country in the world with an estimated population of 184.35 million in 2012-2013.

The growth rate of population during 2012-2013 is 2.0 percent. Under current circumstances, it is expected that Pakistan will attain fifth position in the world in terms of total population in 2050.

According to new Economic Survey of Pakistan 2012-13, the comparison of population data published by Population Reference Bureau shows that the world population growth rate reduced from 1.4 percent in 2011 to 1 percent in 2012. Nevertheless the decreased growth rate added 71 million people in global population, and the total world population crossed the figure of seven billion at the end of June 2012. Each year the number of human beings is on the rise, but the availability of natural resources, required to sustain this population, to improve the quality of human lives and to eliminate mass poverty remains finite.

Resultantly, these resources are becoming scarce and incapable of fulfilling ever increasing demand of population. The main affectees of increasing population are the developing countries where population growth rate is higher than developed countries while availability and use of natural resources is scarce as compared to developed world. However, this issue can be handled by advancement in technology and human resource development.

Increased investment in the technological development and higher labour productivity through improvement in education, health and training facilities are the main modes of increasing productivity of human resources.

People are living longer in both industrial and developing countries because of increased access to immunisation, primary health care, and disease eradication programs. In Pakistan, life expectancy has also increased from 65.8 (female) and 63.9 (male) in 2010-11 to 66.1 (female) and 64.3 (male) in 2011-12.

Age composition of a population is the number of people in different age groups in a country. It is one of the most basic characteristics of a population. A person’s age influence what he needs, buys, does, and thinks. The study of age composition of population is also helpful in determining the proportion of the labour force in total population. It also facilitates in understanding about the dependent population, longevity and aged population. According to age composition, population of a nation is categorized into three broad groups. These are Children (young), adult (middle age) and aged (old age).

The adult population is considered as wealth of a nation in terms of human resource. Adult population (15-59) has increased from 104 million in 2011 to 110 million in 2013. This age structure of a population affects a nation’s key socioeconomic issues. These people are economically productive and they comprise the working population.

Nevertheless, the rapid growth in this group can become problematic, if they are unable to find employment. However, the government with appropriate polices can utilise this youth bulge for the development of the economy. The population in third group (60 years and above) has shown a mild increase i.e. less than one million during 2011 to 2013 period. Total fertility is a general term covers the relationship between the current population (typically the current female population) and current numbers of births.

Total fertility rate represents the number of children that would be born to a woman if she were to live to the end of her childbearing years and bear children in accordance with current age-specific fertility rates. The fertility rate has rapidly declined in those countries which achieved major improvements in child survival rates and educational levels and have implemented family planning programs as well.

The increased access to family planning is helping parents to control the number and spacing of their children. In addition, with greater access to education and jobs more women are starting their families later and are having fewer healthier children. The fertility rate is continuously declining and reached at 3.3 in 2013. There are number of reasons for declining fertility rates in Pakistan. However, the main reasons are the introduction of the family planning methods, increased workforce participation by women and increased costs of child rearing. ppi

 

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Malala visits UAE and Saudia

http://www.alrasub.com/malala-yousufzai-received-uaes-top-leadership-tuesday-al-bahr-palace-geo-news-reported/

Malala Yousufzai was received by UAE’s top leadership on Tuesday at the Al-Bahr Palace

Malala Yousufzai was received by UAE’s top leadership on Tuesday at the Al-Bahr Palace

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General Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, received the young Pakistani girl who was attacked last year in her village of Mingora by the Taliban, for her efforts towards girls’ education.

On her way to perform Umrah rituals, Malala stopped over in Abu Dhabi to thank the UAE and Sheikh Mohammed for their assistance and support during her ordeal, noting that Sheikh Mohamed’s role highlights the humanitarian aspects of Islamic teachings.

The Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi was briefed about Malala’s health and treatment she has been recieving in the United Kingdom.

Sheikh Mohammed appreciated the determination exhibited by Malala to overcome difficulties so that she may continue her noble mission, adding that it was a duty of all people to standby Malala, while she is spreading the principles of love and peace.

Malala was shot in the head on Oct.9, 2012, while returning home from the school in Wadi Swat, Pakistan, because of her defence of women’s right for education. She was rushed to the UK for treatment upon the efforts exerted by the UAE. She has recovered and is now returned to school.

http://www.thenews.com.pk

 

 

Nuke expenses and Coal Power

VIEW : Coal power — Fakir S Ayazuddin     DAILYTIMES    Tuesday, May 28, 2013

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=20135\28\story_28-5-2013_pg3_3

 

Thar coal is much larger than a magic trick, and we should get very serious about this project, as it can turn our country around

We Pakistanis are so gullible that even our scientific elite are entrapped by the quacks of today. A case in point is the water-driven car. This magic trick has been already shown on many circus shows, and never made it beyond the magician’s spot. Yet in Pakistan we watch the anchors on television channels discussing the merits and demerits of the WDC (water-driven car). Our gullible public who have already been deprived of their hard-earned money courtesy the many Ponzi scams, and yet the public lines up for more of the same, including our Samad Dadabhoy, Double Shahs, and the like.

The whole world is still digging the coal out of the ground transporting it by sea and rail to the point of use. Government of Pakistan must concentrate on the mining of this precious product and distribution into the domestic market, and for the export trade. Both markets are huge, while the raw material is so close to the surface that it can be dug manually. The use of coal is hundreds of years old, and has fired the hearths of billions of people on all continents. Yet in Pakistan this valuable commodity is left underground for reasons that are obviously contrived to appease the formidable establishment, and it is obviously at the behest of the oil mafia, which at $15 billion sales a year is a very serious vested interest. They are very powerful, and are used to making or breaking governments. For them to devise a strategy to keep our coal underground is transparently simple.

The ‘studies’ to show that Thar coal is substandard have been peddled successfully throughout different governments’ tenures; till today we are using valuable natural gas to burn in our kitchens, while billions of dollars of fertiliser factories are lying closed for lack of gas. Not to mention the import of huge amounts of fertiliser imported for the farmers, without which the recently achieved self-sufficiency in wheat will be yet another dream achievement unused, much like our vaunted atomic bomb.

In Pakistan, government is being pushed into investing by the group led by Dr Samar Mubarakmand to release the huge funds (hundreds of millions of dollars) that would be required to research and then design a plant for Underground Coal Gasification (UCG). While the good doctor is trying to convince the hard rocks of Islamabad, it should be pointed out that there is no underground gasification machinery available anywhere, off the shelf or otherwise.

The largest scam under serious consideration is the UCG plant. While in theory it is a very elegant plan, the reality is far more difficult. Which explains why UCG has not been put into production anywhere in the world.

Government of Pakistan should beware of such offers promising highly sophisticated concepts that are as yet unproven in the commercial arena. As explained earlier there is a desperate need for us to excavate and market the huge coal deposits in Thar. The transport systems will also have to be upgraded to handle the increased loads efficiently. The marketing will not be a problem, for there is a huge demand for coal in Pakistan as fuel. Our oil import bill is currently running at $15 billion annually, and we are still arguing about Thar coal. The real reason it would seem is the middleman in Pakistan who in insisting on his pound of flesh is destroying the project itself. That is a prime reason for genuine investors giving Pakistan a wide berth.

Government of Pakistan must now get its act together, and stop playing politics at the expense of the nation. They must appoint a senior member of the private sector to spearhead this important project. Otherwise we will have lost an immense opportunity to bring jobs and fuel to Pakistan. It also illustrates clearly that the politician of today is more concerned about his own health, and much less for that of his voters, the ones who voted him into power in the first place.

However, Thar coal is much larger than a magic trick, and we should get very serious about this project, as it can turn our country around. Our nuclear dream shall always remain a dream, as its use on the subcontinent will have disastrous and long lasting effects at its point of use, 500 years of radioactivity minimum. Yet the praise bring lavished on our nukes is far greater than the benefits being reaped by Pakistan. In fact, our expenditure on defence has risen dramatically after our becoming nuclear.

Any delay in the Thar project is anti-Pakistan, for which the punishment is well known.

The writer is a freelance columnist

 

 

 

Inspecting A Country’s Debt

Inspecting A Country’s Debt

 
 
Inspecting A Country's Debt
Nothing ruins a nice dinner party quite like discussing economics and fiscal policy. Blood boils, friends become enemies and no one bothers touching dessert. In the United States the rancor and gnashing of teeth over such matters reached a fever pitch during the 2012 elections and still carries on through negotiations over the federal budget. Questions about the role of spending and debt are a global issue, but the core issue isn’t how much to spend or what to spend it on as much as it is on whether debt is inherently bad. Tensions over just how to handle debt are pitting the rich world against the developing world like never before.

Developed Does Not Mean Better
Researchers often focus on the debt of developing countries rather than the debt of the rich world. To a certain extent this makes sense considering that developing countries can be neophytes when it comes to managing external debt and the flow of money. Developing country governments are faced with an ever-broadening array of financing options and may find themselves on the verge of a debt crisis, without strong institutions and policies in place to keep debt in check.

The argument posited by international organizations such as the IMF and World Bank, as well as rich world crediting nations, is that developing countries should follow the sort of policies described in the Washington Consensus. The 2008 global crisis has turned the argument on its head, however. According to the IMF, general government gross debt for advanced economies grew from 72.5% of GDP in 2000 to 109.9% in 2012, with much of that increase occurring after 2008. During the same period, emerging markets and developing economies saw their percentage drop from 36.6 to 34.4%.

Of the 35 countries considered advanced by the IMF, all but nine are in Europe, which has yet to right itself four years into its sovereign-debt crisis. Between 2008 and 2011, 13 European countries – half of all European countries considered advanced – had increases of general government gross debt exceeding 40%. In short, some developing economies are less indebted than developing ones.

Public Sector Vs. Private Sector Debt
Arguments over debt tend to focus on government debt, with particular focus on government debt as it relates to GDP. While high-debt ratios do indicate a greater claim on future growth by creditors, since debt requires service payments, focusing solely on government debt misses the other elephant in the room: private sector debt.

To illustrate how focusing solely on government debt can turn into a Titanic-meets-iceberg moment, Cyprus, the small island nation now dominating financial news, was flying under the radar with a debt ratio of 61% in 2010 (compare this to 98% in the United States). What everyone missed was that its banking sector debt was nearly nine times its GDP in 2010; the eurozone average was 334% in 2010.

Governments – and ultimately taxpayers – face two issues when it comes to debt. High government debt means that a greater portion of tax revenue has to be earmarked for debt service payments. This reduces funds for other programs. High private sector debt, while ostensibly backed by investors in the companies taking on debt, can wind up pulling in the government. Hence the popularity of the “too big to fail” quote.

In some respects private sector debt is more frightening than public sector debt, since a government keeping a tight fiscal ship won’t have as much of an impact (hence monetary policy). For example, a banking crisis in the private sector can cause business credit to seize, unemployment to spike and bankruptcies to ensue. This in turn would lead to decreased tax revenue, which would lead to a vicious cycle of cuts and contraction.

For many developed nations with sophisticated banking systems, a good portion of private sector credit comes from within. A review of World Bank data on domestic credit to the private sector shows that 23 developed economies had ratios greater than 100% of GDP in 2011, with five countries – Cyprus, Denmark, Ireland, Spain and Hong Kong – with ratios greater than 200%. This matters because a private sector failure, such as a collapse of several big banks, will hit residents harder. This is part of the reason the European Central Bank is at odds with Cyprus: domestic depositors don’t want to take a hit.

Action to Take
How well a country manages its finances is rarely addressed until something goes wrong. In this sense, strong institutions and close vigilance can reduce the possibility of failure, but incentives often align to push governments toward policies that may kick problems down the street, rather than face them in the present. America allowed loose credit leading up to the financial crisis, while Cyprus basked in the warmth of being considered a banking haven. Debt statistics matter, but the complex workings of economics makes them only part of the overall picture.

Investors looking to take advantage of growth opportunities while reducing risk have a tough task ahead of themselves. The interplay of economic indicators is complex, but some general rules of thumb apply. Countries can run deficits, but just like the average Joe must be able to weigh the cost of borrowing with future growth. The higher the ratio of debt to GDP the more likely a country is to get into trouble.

For the optimist, looking into countries with healthier balance sheets will bring more stability, but with reduced risk comes slower growth. For the pessimist, investing against the negative consequences of a country running a greater deficit can mean taking positions that profit from increases in interest rate spreads. Investors can also look to currency trading to take advantage of a possible default.

 

 

Case Study: Genocide in Bangladesh, 1971

Summary

The mass killings in Bangladesh (then East Pakistan) in 1971 vie with the annihilation of the Soviet POWs, the holocaust against the Jews, and the genocide in Rwanda as the most concentrated act of genocide in the twentieth century. In an attempt to crush forces seeking independence for East Pakistan, the West Pakistani military regime unleashed a systematic campaign of mass murder which aimed at killing millions of Bengalis, and likely succeeded in doing so.

The background

East and West Pakistan were forged in the cauldron of independence for the Indian sub-continent, ruled for two hundred years by the British. Despite the attempts of Mahatma Gandhi and others to prevent division along religious and ethnic lines, the departing British and various Indian politicians pressed for the creation of two states, one Hindu-dominated (India), the other Muslim-dominated (Pakistan). The partition of India in 1947 was one of the great tragedies of the century. Hundreds of thousands of people were killed in sectarian violence and military clashes, as Hindus fled to India and Muslims to Pakistan — though large minorities remained in each country.

The arrangement proved highly unstable, leading to three major wars between India and Pakistan, and very nearly a fourth fullscale conflict in 1998-99. (Kashmir, divided by a ceasefire line after the first war in 1947, became one of the world’s most intractable trouble-spots.) Not the least of the difficulties was the fact that the new state of Pakistan consisted of two “wings,” divided by hundreds of miles of Indian territory and a gulf of ethnic identification. Over the decades, particularly after Pakistani democracy was stifled by a military dictatorship (1958), the relationship between East and West became progressively more corrupt and neo-colonial in character, and opposition to West Pakistani domination grew among the Bengali population.

Sheikh Mujibur Rahman
Sheikh Mujibur RahmanCatastrophic floods struck Bangladesh in August 1970, and the regime was widely seen as having botched (or ignored) its relief duties. The disaster gave further impetus to the Awami League, led by Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. The League demanded regional autonomy for East Pakistan, and an end to military rule. In national elections held in December, the League won an overwhelming victory across Bengali territory.

On February 22, 1971 the generals in West Pakistan took a decision to crush the Awami League and its supporters. It was recognized from the first that a campaign of genocide would be necessary to eradicate the threat: “Kill three million of them,” said President Yahya Khan at the February conference, “and the rest will eat out of our hands.” (Robert Payne, Massacre [1972], p. 50.) On March 25 the genocide was launched. The university in Dacca was attacked and students exterminated in their hundreds. Death squads roamed the streets of Dacca, killing some 7,000 people in a single night. It was only the beginning. “Within a week, half the population of Dacca had fled, and at least 30,000 people had been killed. Chittagong, too, had lost half its population. All over East Pakistan people were taking flight, and it was estimated that in April some thirty million people [!] were wandering helplessly across East Pakistan to escape the grasp of the military.” (Payne, Massacre, p. 48.) Ten million refugees fled to India, overwhelming that country’s resources and spurring the eventual Indian military intervention. (The population of Bangladesh/East Pakistan at the outbreak of the genocide was about 75 million.)

On April 10, the surviving leadership of the Awami League declared Bangladesh independent. The Mukhta Bahini (liberation forces) were mobilized to confront the West Pakistani army. They did so with increasing skill and effectiveness, utilizing their knowledge of the terrain and ability to blend with the civilian population in classic guerrilla fashion. By the end of the war, the tide had turned, and vast areas of Bangladesh had been liberated by the popular resistance.

The gendercide against Bengali men

The war against the Bengali population proceeded in classic gendercidal fashion. According to Anthony Mascarenhas, “There is no doubt whatsoever about the targets of the genocide”:

They were: (1) The Bengali militarymen of the East Bengal Regiment, the East Pakistan Rifles, police and para-military Ansars and Mujahids. (2) The Hindus — “We are only killing the men; the women and children go free. We are soldiers not cowards to kill them …” I was to hear in Comilla [site of a major military base] [Comments R.J. Rummel: “One would think that murdering an unarmed man was a heroic act” (Death By Government, p. 323)] (3) The Awami Leaguers — all office bearers and volunteers down to the lowest link in the chain of command. (4) The students — college and university boys and some of the more militant girls. (5) Bengali intellectuals such as professors and teachers whenever damned by the army as “militant.” (Anthony Mascarenhas, The Rape of Bangla Desh [Delhi: Vikas Publications, 1972(?)], pp. 116-17.)

Mascarenhas’s summary makes clear the linkages between gender and social class (the “intellectuals,” “professors,” “teachers,” “office bearers,” and — obviously — “militarymen” can all be expected to be overwhelmingly if not exclusively male, although in many cases their families died or fell victim to other atrocities alongside them). In this respect, the Bangladesh events can be classed as a combined gendercide and elitocide, with both strategies overwhelmingly targeting males for the most annihilatory excesses.

Bengali man and boys massacred
by the West Pakistani regime.

Bengali man and boys massacred by the West Pakistani regime. Younger men and adolescent boys, of whatever social class, were equally targets. According to Rounaq Jahan, “All through the liberation war, able-bodied young men were suspected of being actual or potential freedom fighters. Thousands were arrested, tortured, and killed. Eventually cities and towns became bereft of young males who either took refuge in India or joined the liberation war.” Especially “during the first phase” of the genocide, he writes, “young able-bodied males were the victims of indiscriminate killings.” (“Genocide in Bangladesh,” in Totten et al., Century of Genocide, p. 298.) R.J. Rummel likewise writes that “the Pakistan army [sought] out those especially likely to join the resistance — young boys. Sweeps were conducted of young men who were never seen again. Bodies of youths would be found in fields, floating down rivers, or near army camps. As can be imagined, this terrorized all young men and their families within reach of the army. Most between the ages of fifteen and twenty-five began to flee from one village to another and toward India. Many of those reluctant to leave their homes were forced to flee by mothers and sisters concerned for their safety.” (Death By Government, p. 329.) Rummel describes (p. 323) a chilling gendercidal ritual, reminiscent of Nazi procedure towards Jewish males: “In what became province-wide acts of genocide, Hindus were sought out and killed on the spot. As a matter of course, soldiers would check males for the obligated circumcision among Moslems. If circumcised, they might live; if not, sure death.”

Robert Payne describes scenes of systematic mass slaughter around Dacca that, while not explicitly “gendered” in his account, bear every hallmark of classic gender-selective roundups and gendercidal slaughters of non-combatant men:

Bengali intellectuals murdered and dumped at dockside in Dacca.In the dead region surrounding Dacca, the military authorities conducted experiments in mass extermination in places unlikely to be seen by journalists. At Hariharpara, a once thriving village on the banks of the Buriganga River near Dacca, they found the three elements necessary for killing people in large numbers: a prison in which to hold the victims, a place for executing the prisoners, and a method for disposing of the bodies. The prison was a large riverside warehouse, or godown, belonging to the Pakistan National Oil Company, the place of execution was the river edge, or the shallows near the shore, and the bodies were disposed of by the simple means of permitting them to float downstream. The killing took place night after night. Usually the prisoners were roped together and made to wade out into the river. They were in batches of six or eight, and in the light of a powerful electric arc lamp, they were easy targets, black against the silvery water. The executioners stood on the pier, shooting down at the compact bunches of prisoners wading in the water. There were screams in the hot night air, and then silence. The prisoners fell on their sides and their bodies lapped against the shore. Then a new bunch of prisoners was brought out, and the process was repeated. In the morning the village boatmen hauled the bodies into midstream and the ropes binding the bodies were cut so that each body drifted separately downstream. (Payne, Massacre [Macmillan, 1973], p. 55.)

Strikingly similar and equally hellish scenes are described in the case-studies of genocide in Armenia and the Nanjing Massacre of 1937.

Atrocities against Bengali women

As was also the case in Armenia and Nanjing, Bengali women were targeted for gender-selective atrocities and abuses, notably gang sexual assault and rape/murder, from the earliest days of the Pakistani genocide. Indeed, despite (and in part because of) the overwhelming targeting of males for mass murder, it is for the systematic brutalization of women that the “Rape of Bangladesh” is best known to western observers.

In her ground-breaking book, Against Our Will: Men, Women and Rape, Susan Brownmiller likened the 1971 events in Bangladesh to the Japanese rapes in Nanjing and German rapes in Russia during World War II. “… 200,000, 300,000 or possibly 400,000 women (three sets of statistics have been variously quoted) were raped. Eighty percent of the raped women were Moslems, reflecting the population of Bangladesh, but Hindu and Christian women were not exempt. … Hit-and-run rape of large numbers of Bengali women was brutally simple in terms of logistics as the Pakistani regulars swept through and occupied the tiny, populous land …” (p. 81).

Typical was the description offered by reporter Aubrey Menen of one such assault, which targeted a recently-married woman:

Two [Pakistani soldiers] went into the room that had been built for the bridal couple. The others stayed behind with the family, one of them covering them with his gun. They heard a barked order, and the bridegroom’s voice protesting. Then there was silence until the bride screamed. Then there was silence again, except for some muffled cries that soon subsided. In a few minutes one of the soldiers came out, his uniform in disarray. He grinned to his companions. Another soldier took his place in the extra room. And so on, until all the six had raped the belle of the village. Then all six left, hurriedly. The father found his daughter lying on the string cot unconscious and bleeding. Her husband was crouched on the floor, kneeling over his vomit. (Quoted in Brownmiller, Against Our Will, p. 82.)

“Rape in Bangladesh had hardly been restricted to beauty,” Brownmiller writes. “Girls of eight and grandmothers of seventy-five had been sexually assaulted … Pakistani soldiers had not only violated Bengali women on the spot; they abducted tens of hundreds and held them by force in their military barracks for nightly use.” Some women may have been raped as many as eighty times in a night (Brownmiller, p. 83). How many died from this atrocious treatment, and how many more women were murdered as part of the generalized campaign of destruction and slaughter, can only be guessed at (see below).

Despite government efforts at amelioration, the torment and persecution of the survivors continued long after Bangladesh had won its independence:

Rape, abduction and forcible prostitution during the nine-month war proved to be only the first round of humiliation for the Bengali women. Prime Minister Mujibur Rahman’s declaration that victims of rape were national heroines was the opening shot of an ill-starred campaign to reintegrate them into society — by smoothing the way for a return to their husbands or by finding bridegrooms for the unmarried [or widowed] ones from among his Mukti Bahini freedom fighters. Imaginative in concept for a country in which female chastity and purdah isolation are cardinal principles, the “marry them off” campaign never got off the ground. Few prospective bridegrooms stepped forward, and those who did made it plain that they expected the government, as father figure, to present them with handsome dowries. (Brownmiller, Against Our Will, p. 84.)

How many died?

The number of dead in Bangladesh in 1971 was almost certainly well into seven figures. It was one of the worst genocides of the World War II era, outstripping Rwanda (800,000 killed) and probably surpassing even Indonesia (1 million to 1.5 million killed in 1965-66). As R.J. Rummel writes,

The human death toll over only 267 days was incredible. Just to give for five out of the eighteen districts some incomplete statistics published in Bangladesh newspapers or by an Inquiry Committee, the Pakistani army killed 100,000 Bengalis in Dacca, 150,000 in Khulna, 75,000 in Jessore, 95,000 in Comilla, and 100,000 in Chittagong. For eighteen districts the total is 1,247,000 killed. This was an incomplete toll, and to this day no one really knows the final toll. Some estimates of the democide [Rummel’s “death by government”] are much lower — one is of 300,000 dead — but most range from 1 million to 3 million. … The Pakistani army and allied paramilitary groups killed about one out of every sixty-one people in Pakistan overall; one out of every twenty-five Bengalis, Hindus, and others in East Pakistan. If the rate of killing for all of Pakistan is annualized over the years the Yahya martial law regime was in power (March 1969 to December 1971), then this one regime was more lethal than that of the Soviet Union, China under the communists, or Japan under the military (even through World War II). (Rummel, Death By Government, p. 331.)

The proportion of men versus women murdered is impossible to ascertain, but a speculation might be attempted. If we take the highest estimates for both women raped and Bengalis killed (400,000 and 3 million, respectively); if we accept that half as many women were killed as were raped; and if we double that number for murdered children of both sexes (total: 600,000), we are still left with a death-toll that is 80 percent adult male (2.4 million out of 3 million). Any such disproportion, which is almost certainly on the low side, would qualify Bangladesh as one of the worst gendercides against men in the last half-millennium.

Who was responsible?

“For month after month in all the regions of East Pakistan the massacres went on,” writes Robert Payne. “They were not the small casual killings of young officers who wanted to demonstrate their efficiency, but organized massacres conducted by sophisticated staff officers, who knew exactly what they were doing. Muslim soldiers, sent out to kill Muslim peasants, went about their work mechanically and efficiently, until killing defenseless people became a habit like smoking cigarettes or drinking wine. … Not since Hitler invaded Russia had there been so vast a massacre.” (Payne, Massacre, p. 29.)

There is no doubt that the mass killing in Bangladesh was among the most carefully and centrally planned of modern genocides. A cabal of five Pakistani generals orchestrated the events: President Yahya Khan, General Tikka Khan, chief of staff General Pirzada, security chief General Umar Khan, and intelligence chief General Akbar Khan. The U.S. government, long supportive of military rule in Pakistan, supplied some \\$3.8 million in military equipment to the dictatorship after the onset of the genocide, “and after a government spokesman told Congress that all shipments to Yahya Khan’s regime had ceased.” (Payne, Massacre, p. 102.)

The genocide and gendercidal atrocities were also perpetrated by lower-ranking officers and ordinary soldiers. These “willing executioners” were fuelled by an abiding anti-Bengali racism, especially against the Hindu minority. “Bengalis were often compared with monkeys and chickens. Said Pakistan General Niazi, ‘It was a low lying land of low lying people.’ The Hindus among the Bengalis were as Jews to the Nazis: scum and vermin that [should] best be exterminated. As to the Moslem Bengalis, they were to live only on the sufferance of the soldiers: any infraction, any suspicion cast on them, any need for reprisal, could mean their death. And the soldiers were free to kill at will. The journalist Dan Coggin quoted one Punjabi captain as telling him, ‘We can kill anyone for anything. We are accountable to no one.’ This is the arrogance of Power.” (Rummel, Death By Government, p. 335.)

The aftermath

Flag of independent Bangladesh, introduced 1972.On December 3, India under Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, seeking to return the millions of Bengali refugees and seize an opportunity to weaken its perennial military rival, finally launched a fullscale intervention to crush West Pakistani forces and secure Bangladeshi independence. The Pakistani army, demoralized by long months of guerrilla warfare, quickly collapsed. On December 16, after a final genocidal outburst, the Pakistani regime agreed to an unconditional surrender. Awami leader Sheikh Mujib was released from detention and returned to a hero’s welcome in Dacca on January 10, 1972, establishing Bangladesh’s first independent parliament.

In a brutal bloodletting following the expulsion of the Pakistani army, perhaps 150,000 people were murdered by the vengeful victors. (Rummel, Death By Government, p. 334.) The trend is far too common in such post-genocidal circumstances (see the case-studies of Rwanda, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, and the Soviet POWs). Such largescale reprisal killings also tend to have a gendercidal character, which may have been the case in Bangladesh: Jahan writes that during the reprisal stage, “another group of Bengali men in the rural areas — those who were coerced or bribed to collaborate with the Pakistanis — fell victims to the attacks of Bengali freedom fighters.” (“Genocide in Bangladesh,” p. 298; emphasis added.)

None of the generals involved in the genocide has ever been brought to trial, and all remain at large in Pakistan and other countries. Several movements have arisen to try to bring them before an international tribunal (see Bangladesh links for further information).

Political and military upheaval did not end with Bangladeshi independence. Rummel notes that “the massive bloodletting by all parties in Bangladesh affected its politics for the following decades. The country has experienced military coup after military coup, some of them bloody.” (Death By Government, p. 334.)

Afghan lawmakers block legislation protecting women’s rights

Conservative Afghan lawmakers block legislation protecting women’s rights

By Associated Press, Published: May 18

KABUL, Afghanistan — Conservative religious lawmakers in Afghanistan blocked legislation on Saturday aimed at strengthening provisions for women’s freedoms, arguing that parts of it violate Islamic principles and encourage disobedience.

The fierce opposition highlights how tenuous women’s rights remain a dozen years after the ouster of the hard-line Taliban regime, whose strict interpretation of Islam once kept Afghan women virtual prisoners in their homes.

Khalil Ahmad Shaheedzada, a conservative lawmaker for Herat province, said the legislation was withdrawn shortly after being introduced in parliament because of an uproar by religious parties who said parts of the law are un-Islamic.

“Whatever is against Islamic law, we don’t even need to speak about it,” Shaheedzada said.

The Law on Elimination of Violence Against Women has been in effect since 2009, but only by presidential decree. It is being brought before parliament now because lawmaker Fawzia Kofi, a women’s rights activist, wants to cement it with a parliamentary vote to prevent its potential reversal by any future president who might be tempted to repeal it to satisfy hard-line religious parties.

The law criminalizes, among other things, child marriage and forced marriage, and bans “baad,” the traditional practice of exchanging girls and women to settle disputes. It makes domestic violence a crime punishable by up to three years in prison and specifies that rape victims should not face criminal charges for fornication or adultery.

Kofi, who plans to run for president in next year’s elections, said she was disappointed because among those who oppose upgrading the law from presidential decree to legislation passed by parliament are women.

Afghanistan’s parliament has more than 60 female lawmakers, mostly due to constitutional provisions reserving certain seats for women.

There has been spotty enforcement of the law as it stands. A United Nations analysis in late 2011 found only a small percentage of reported crimes against women were pursued by the Afghan government. Between March 2010 and March 2011 — the first full Afghan year the decree was in effect — prosecutors filed criminal charges in only 155 cases, or 7 percent of the total number of crimes reported.

The child marriage ban and the idea of protecting female rape victims from prosecution were particularly heated subjects in Saturday’s parliamentary debate, said Nasirullah Sadiqizada Neli, a conservative lawmaker from Daykundi province.

Neli suggested that removing the custom — common in Afghanistan — of prosecuting raped women for adultery would lead to social chaos, with women freely engaging in extramarital sex safe in the knowledge they could claim rape if caught.

Another lawmaker, Mandavi Abdul Rahmani of Barlkh province, also opposed the law’s rape provision.

“Adultery itself is a crime in Islam, whether it is by force or not,” Rahmani said.

He said the Quran also makes clear that a husband has a right to beat a disobedient wife as a last resort, as long as she is not permanently harmed. “But in this law,” he said, “It says if a man beats his wife at all, he should be jailed for three months to three years.”

Lawmaker Shaheedzada also claimed that the law might encourage disobedience among girls and women, saying it reflected Western values not applicable in Afghanistan.

“Even now in Afghanistan, women are running from their husbands. Girls are running from home,” Shaheedzada said. “Such laws give them these ideas.”

More freedoms for women are one of the most visible — and symbolic — changes in Afghanistan since the 2001 U.S.-led campaign that toppled the Taliban regime. While in power, the Taliban imposed a strict interpretation of Islam that put severe curbs on the freedom of women.

For five years, the regime banned women from working and going to school, or even leaving home without a male relative. In public, all women were forced wear a head-to-toe burqa, which covers even the face with a mesh panel. Violators were publicly flogged or executed.

Since the U.S.-led invasion in 2001, women’s freedoms have improved vastly, but Afghanistan remains a deeply conservative culture, especially in rural areas.

Saturday’s failure of the legislation in parliament reflected the power of religious parties but changed little on the ground, since the decree is still the law of the land, however loosely enforced. Kofi said the parliament decided to send the legislation to committee, and it could come to a vote again later this year.

“We will work on this law,” she said. “We will bring it back.”

Some activists, however, worry about potential changes to the law. Bringing the legislation before parliament also opened it up to being amended, leaving the possibility that conservatives will seek to weaken it by stripping out provisions they dislike — or even vote to repeal it.

“There’s a real risk this has opened a Pandora’s box, that this may have galvanized opposition to this decree by people who in principle oppose greater rights for women,” said Heather Barr, a researcher for Human Rights Watch.

That’s true for lawmaker Rahmani, who said President Hamid Karzai should never have issued the decree and wants it changed, if not repealed.

“We cannot have an Islamic country with basically Western laws,” he said.

___

Associated Press writer Rahim Faiez contributed in Kabul.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

PTI will find it hard to turn its pro-people election manifesto into a reality – Dawn

“The PTI would find Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s existing income insufficient to finance an investment intensive programme promised under its election manifesto.”

PESHAWAR, May 19: The upcoming Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf led provincial government will find it hard to turn its pro-people election manifesto into a reality without growing Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s income considerably, according to official sources.

http://dawn.com/2013/05/20/ptis-pro-poor-agenda-too-big-to-implement/

“The PTI would find Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s existing income insufficient to finance an investment intensive programme promised under its election manifesto,” said an important functionary.

Some of the senior government functionaries, in their background interviews to Dawn, said that Khyber Pakhtunkhwa was balancing its annual budget with quite a difficulty, hardly meeting its most important expenditure requirements.

“This programme (PTI’s agenda) would be difficult to implement without improving the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s income levels,” said an official.

The party has promised to create a bottom-up governance system establishing village level councils, focusing on the community.

“Each village will be governed by an empowered village council,” contains its manifesto, adding “a village will have sufficient money as a ‘right’ to maintain services and perform functions that will become its responsibility under village councils.”

The party has promised to empower village councils and provide them access to development funds for investment and infrastructure.

According to official sources, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa will need to make significant changes in its local government law which took effect on January 1 this year after the last provincial government repealed the Local Government Ordinance 2001.

“The PTI is talking about things that would require a bigger government, requiring substantial investment to implement its plans,” said a finance manager.

Its plan envisages rural industrialisation by developing cottage industry and micro enterprises and promotion of small and medium enterprises through ‘finance support systems, technology and market linkages.’ In an effort to encourage and provide incentives for fulfilling people’s housing needs, the party has promised to give innovative financing measures to facilitate the deserving. Similarly, it plans to establish ‘Jawan Markaz’ (youth centres) in all districts and tehsils to facilitate youths in addition to significantly increasing scholarships and free loans for deserving students. In fulfillment of an identical promise, the party will set up ‘Insafgah’ (one step women centres)  at the union council level to provide medical, legal, economic direction, references, and aid to women. Besides, self-employed women have been promised training programmes, subsidies, and monetary incentives to increase opportunities.

It has also promised to modernise the trucking industry and introduce ‘mass transport systems’ in all major cities.

“All this sounds great, but it would be difficult to achieve without money,” said a development planner.

The insufficient money has been an issue that none of the successive Khyber Pakhtunkhwa governments found it easy to overcome, managing funds with a higher degree of difficulty.

The last provincial government had anticipated to raise a total of Rs303 billion revenue receipts during the outgoing financial year. Of this amount, over Rs191 billion would serve the province’s current revenue expenditure requirements, including a total expenditure of Rs115.4 billion on salaries of the government employees, and Rs31.5 billion on the government’s necessary operations, repair and maintenance works.

However, the next government could work around to gradually implement its manifesto by making use of the funds available for development activities.

The province, said an official, had already committed itself for at least next three years as its ongoing development schemes would take, on average, three years to complete, requiring an investment of over Rs300 billion.

“They (PTI leaders) are talking about improving social services at the village level which means more nurses, more doctors, more health equipment, and more teachers across the province,” said a planner.

The PTI’s manifesto promises to extend primary health care to the poor, revitalise all basic health units with doctors, staff and medicines. Similarly, it promises to make rural health centres to be the fulcrum of the primary health care delivery, improving mother and child health care and modernising all district and tehsil headquarters hospitals.

Apart from creating jobs in healthcare it promises to ‘dramatically increase the number of nurses, lady health visitors, paramedics, doctors with special focus on dentists and eye doctors.

The PTI has promised to ensure availability of clean drinking water and sanitation facilities across rural and urban areas.

Similarly, in the education sector, the party has promised to increase a fivefold greater investment in five years, underlying one education system across the area under its rule.

Promising a decentralised service delivery system at the district level, the party has committed to empower community to help manage schools, introduce a need-based voucher system to fund students to go to private schools to fill gaps where government schools are not enough with focus on girls education (double number of girls high schools in five years).

As per its election promise, the party would go for holding local body elections in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa within 100 days after coming into power.

“This means a lot of work to do in the months to come, overhauling the existing local government law to make it in accordance with the new government’s manifesto and organising the government administrative structures at the grassroots level that had recently been wounded up by the last provincial government,” said an official.

Imran Khan and PTI saved from ONE big DIFFICULTY.

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Power shortfall likely to hit 7000MW this summer

* Ministry of Water and Power estimates generation would stagnate at 10,000MW

* Finance Ministry refuses to increase power subsidies from revised Rs 291 billion

By Sajid Chaudhry

ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of Water and Power has assessed that power shortfall may go beyond 7000MW in peak summer season this year when demand will grow and generation will remain stagnant at 10,000MW.

The power crisis is going to worsen further in the summer, as the Ministry of Finance has refused to increase the volume of power subsidies from upward revised benchmark of Rs 291 billion. Against an immediate demand of Rs 57 billion, the Water and Power Ministry and WAPDA have been directed to ensure recovery of Rs 207 billion from private sector, Rs 140 from the provincial departments and Rs 69 billion GST refund blocked with the Federal Board of Revenue to meet its additional requirements. A senior official at the Ministry of Finance said on Monday that Rs 180 billion had initial been allocated for power sector subsidies for the entire fiscal year 2012-13.

However, the growing imbalance between the costs of generation and sale of power has resulted in jacking up of this allocation to Rs 291 billion for the fiscal year. According to the official the Ministry of Finance had released Rs 257 billion till the end of March 2013 and Rs 11.2 billion further have been released to PSO for oil arrangement. The sources said that despite an increase in allocation for power subsidies, power managers of the country are now demanding Rs 57 billion in one go to arrange furnace oil, so as to ensure minimum load shedding in the summer season, especially at its peak in June and July.

When contacted, Finance Special Secretary Rana Assad Amin said that “there will be no increase in upwards revised allocation of Rs.291 billion”. He said that it has been decided during a high-level meeting that Water and Power Ministry and other power managers would be required to arrange additional funds, in case the subsidies goes beyond Rs 291 billion. In this regard, power managers have been directed to ensure maximum recovery of Rs 207 billion from the private sector through the National Accountability Bureau.

Although the National Accountability Bureau has started a crackdown against the power defaulters, however, recovery position is less than satisfactory, an official at the Water and Power Ministry disclosed.

Similarly, they have been directed to ensure maximum collection from provincial governments the power dues to the tune of Rs 140 billion and Rs 69 billion from the FBR on account of blocked GST refund on power bills. The official sources at the Power Ministry said that due to the non-availability of furnace oil in required quantity for the next two or three months, the duration of load shedding would increase to an unbearable level. According to the officials at the Water and Power Ministry some 700MW of power been lost due to the damage caused to a gas pipeline, whose repair would take some time.

Pakistan’s Next Premier an Islamist Comeback Kid

Pakistan’s Next Premier an Islamist Comeback Kid

By SEBASTIAN ABBOT Associated Press
ISLAMABAD May 13, 2013 (AP)

The man set to become Pakistan’s next prime minister after historic elections over the weekend could be called the Islamist comeback kid.

Nawaz Sharif has held the job twice before, but the last time didn’t end so well. The 63-year-old was toppled in a coup by the country’s army chief in 1999 and sent into exile in Saudi Arabia. He spent years in the steamy Gulf before brokering his return in 2007.

After serving as the country’s main opposition leader, Sharif came roaring back in Saturday’s elections, in which his Pakistan Muslim League-N party scored a resounding victory.

Sharif’s supporters believe his pro-business background and years of experience in government make him the right person to tackle the country’s many economic woes, like growing power cuts, painful inflation and widespread unemployment. He is also a main proponent of improving ties with Pakistan’s archenemy and neighbor India, a step that would likely boost his country’s economy.

Pakistan Elections.JPEG

Critics worry that Sharif, who is known to be personally very religious, is soft on Islamic extremism and won’t crack down on militants that pose a serious threat to Pakistan and other countries — chief among them the Taliban and al-Qaida-linked groups.

The United States will be watching Sharif closely, since Washington relies on help from Islamabad to fight Islamic militants in Pakistan and to negotiate an end to the war in neighboring Afghanistan.

The son of a wealthy industrialist from central Punjab province, Sharif entered politics as a protege of Gen. Zia ul-Haq, who seized power in a military coup in 1977. Sharif was prime minister from 1990-93 and again from 1997-99.

Sharif’s second stint in power was cut short when he was toppled in a military coup and sent into exile by Gen. Pervez Musharraf, who was then serving as army chief. The coup followed an attempt by Sharif to fire Musharraf by preventing his plane from landing when he returned from a trip abroad.

In an ironic twist, Musharraf is currently under house arrest in Pakistan after returning from self-imposed exile, and it will be up to Sharif’s government to decide whether to bring treason charges against the former military strongman.

Following the 1999 coup, Sharif spent seven years in exile before Musharraf grudgingly allowed him to return in November 2007, apparently under pressure from Saudi Arabia’s king, an important ally of Pakistan.

Former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto also returned from exile around the same time to run for parliament, but she was killed in a gun and suicide bomb attack at the end of 2007, before the election.

Sharif also intended to run in the 2008 election, but he was disqualified by a court because of a conviction on terrorism and hijacking charges, stemming from Musharraf’s coup. Sharif insisted the conviction was politically motivated, and it was overturned by the Supreme Court in 2009.

Sharif’s party came in second in the 2008 parliamentary election, behind Bhutto’s Pakistan People’s Party. The two parties originally formed a government together, but after two months, Sharif’s party became the main opposition, accusing Bhutto’s widower, President Asif Ali Zardari, of reneging on a vow to restore judges fired by Musharraf.

Sharif put steady pressure on the government, but wary of army interference, never enough to threaten its hold on power. This attitude helped enable the national assembly to complete its five-year term and transfer power in democratic elections on Saturday for the first time since the country was founded in 1947.

Sharif draws much of his political support from the middle class in urban areas of Punjab, Pakistan’s most populous province, because of his pro-business policies. But he has also played the populist. May of the battered yellow taxis rattling around Pakistani cities date from a microfinance plan he set up to help create jobs for the poor. He also set a minimum wage.

But he is perhaps best known for testing nuclear weapons in response to India’s nuclear test in 1998.

It was an immensely popular decision in Pakistan — millions celebrated in the streets — but one that was made in defiance of U.S. appeals for restraint. President Bill Clinton even intervened personally, reportedly offering millions of dollars in aid and a state dinner if Sharif held off.

Sharif’s party, which controlled the Punjab government for the last five years, is more closely aligned with hard-line Islamist parties than the outgoing Pakistan People’s Party. The Pakistan Muslim League-N has been criticized for not going after militant outfits in Punjab, a stance analysts said was driven by its reliance on banned militant groups to deliver key votes.

During Sharif’s tenure as prime minister in the 1990s, he not only supported the Taliban regime in Afghanistan but also tried to vastly increase the powers of his office while pushing aside Pakistan’s penal code in favor of an Islamic justice system. Many saw these ill-fated moves as an attempt to “Talibanize” Pakistan, and they eroded his popularity.

After returning from exile, Sharif admitted that the pro-Afghan Taliban policy he pursued when he was prime minister in the 1990s was a failure and said Pakistan should stop trying to influence affairs in Afghanistan. That is the same message the U.S. sent to Pakistani leaders as American troops fought the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Pakistan and the U.S. have had a tense relationship in recent years, especially following the American raid that killed Osama bin Laden in a Pakistani army town in 2011.

Sharif has criticized unpopular U.S. drone attacks targeting al-Qaida and Taliban militants in Pakistan, and has called the Afghan conflict “America’s war.” The Punjab government, controlled by Sharif’s party, turned down over $100 million in American aid in 2011 to protest the bin Laden raid.

Now, many analysts believe Sharif will take a pragmatic view toward relations with the U.S. and won’t want to see ties deteriorate.

His influence on the course of the relationship, as well as other foreign policy issues, will be tempered by Pakistan’s powerful army, which often plays a dominant role in national security decisions.

Many observers are watching closely to see how Sharif deals with the military in his first months as prime minister.

For example, later this year the term of Pakistan’s chief of army staff Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani — the most powerful military officer in the country — is slated to end. The appointment of a new chief could create friction between Sharif and the army’s leadership.