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Whisper
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Quote Whisper Replybullet Topic: Zardari's US visit
    Posted: 20 October 2008 at 11:55am
Mr Zardari’s US visit

By Anwar Syed

ASIF Ali Zardari was in America a week or so ago. I happened to watch a television talk show in which the host asked several prominent Pakistani observers how they assessed the significance of his visit.

They wanted to emphasise that this was not an official visit to the United States, and that he had come to address the United Nations General Assembly. I have no idea what he would have done during an ‘official’ visit that he did not do this time.

The participants in this TV show thought his address to the General Assembly, one of 32 delivered by visiting heads of government that day, did not go well. He mentioned Pakistan’s major problems only in passing. He wanted to talk mainly of himself and his family. He placed a large picture of Benazir Bhutto on the rostrum where all could see it, spoke of his abiding love for her and his dedication to her legacy. He announced, to the puzzlement of his listeners, that only the ‘Benazir doctrine’ (of which they had never heard) could solve the world’s problems in the 21st century. He said he had come to the United Nations looking for justice which must be done by the appointment of a commission to investigate Ms Bhutto’s assassination. This was a bad speech, unbecoming of a president, and one that did nothing for his country.

During this visit to the UN and other places, Mr Zardari took on the mission of introducing himself to world leaders who happened to be present. Second, he wanted them to know that democracy had arrived in Pakistan, that the country now had a democratic government, that the transition to democracy had been completed with his own election as president, and that all of this should be good news to the world. The interviewees on the talk show thought he should also tell his audiences about Pakistan’s central role in the war against terror, and the fact that its economy was close to collapse, and that the world must come to its assistance.

There is no convincing explanation of why Mr Zardari came to address the General Assembly. As far as I can tell, presidents who are heads of the executive back home came but those who are heads of state did not. Manmohan Singh came as prime minister, not president, of India. Many other prime ministers were present, and in some cases lesser officials represented their countries.

That Mr Zardari got to shake hands with a certain number of foreign dignitaries may have made him feel good but it cannot be said to have brought any gains to Pakistan. Government officials as well as the people of important western and Asian countries may have some interest in Pakistan, but it is unlikely that they want to know Mr Zardari (unless his lavish praise of Gov Sarah Palin’s beauty and his offer to embrace her tickled their fancy). Note also that several of our heads of state (Nazimuddin, Ghulam Mohammad, Iskander Mirza, Chaudhry Fazal Ilahi, Farooq Leghari and Rafiq Tarar) were little known outside Pakistan and no harm resulted to the country from that fact.

Democracy has come to Pakistan primarily because the generality of its people, print and electronic media, lawyers and judges, and other organs of civil society wanted it. Mr Zardari has had nothing to do with its arrival. Pakistan has done itself good by readmitting democracy, but in doing so it has not done the world a favour over which it should rejoice.

Mr Zardari does not have the credentials to present himself as a champion of democracy. He makes all of the important decisions for the PPP, and the party notables do his bidding. He advocates the supremacy of the constitution and sovereignty of parliament. In a parliamentary system the prime minister and his cabinet propose policies to parliament and manage the government’s day-to-day business. But Mr Zardari directs this country’s governance in violation of its constitution. If he is a democrat, he is one in some weird sense of the term unknown to most of us.

Mr Zardari asks the world to help Pakistan in its fight against terrorism. The world knows that terrorism poses horrendous threats to this country’s peace and security. The government has a very tough time combating it. American incursions into Pakistan’s tribal territory to hit the Taliban’s hiding places are condemned as violations of its sovereignty. The government and people of Pakistan want these American moves to stop. America should leave it to the Pakistani security forces to eradicate the militants operating in its territory. This sounds reasonable. If American intelligence agencies have information about the militants’ location on Pakistani territory, they could share it with their Pakistani counterparts, who would then go and hit these hideouts. American officials are reluctant to go this way because, as some of them have said publicly more than once, they suspect that there are pro-Taliban elements in the Pakistani intelligence agencies that will pass on this information to the militants. The latter will then move away to other places.

The presence of pro-Taliban elements in the ‘agencies’ is something to which Pakistani newspaper commentaries have also periodically referred. Mr Zardari should determine the truth of this matter. If pro-Taliban elements do exist but cannot be thrown out, the position being taken with the Americans should perhaps be reconsidered. Alternatively, Mr Zardari’s government may want to re-evaluate its modes of participation in the war against terror. These aspects of the situation should frankly and truthfully be placed before the parliament and the people. Will Mr Zardari do it?

The world is being asked to pull Pakistan out of its currently disastrous economic situation. Its spokesmen say it needs an immediate infusion of $10 to15bn, and that is to start with. The country is incurring huge budget and trade deficits. Mr Zardari has no expertise in economic management that would enable him to identify the follies that have brought the country to the brink of a ‘meltdown’. Nor does he know specifically what his government must do to help the nation’s economy recover beyond any help that the outside world may give.

His recent visit to America, with an entourage of some 60 persons, must have cost millions. It would help if he cancelled all planned foreign trips. The hazards to the country they carry would reduce if he just stayed home.

The writer is professor emeritus of political science at the University of Massachusetts

Sasha Khanzadeh
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Quote ak_m_f Replybullet Posted: 20 October 2008 at 2:07pm
zardari only did his high school, has no creditable degree.
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Quote wasi siddiqui Replybullet Posted: 20 October 2008 at 4:09pm
Zardari himself, ordered the killing of BiBi and he is doing just propaganda . He is also behind killing of another Bhutto , and now he is crying and asking for UN to do investigation. What a crook !!!!!
 
After the killing of Bibi , he produced a " Will" said to be written by BiBi  , another lie , how come she wrote the " Will" on a piece of paper.  The woman who looted the country in a organized manner , cannot write something on ordinary paper , which has no court attested document at all.
 
Zardari is just fooling around
 


Edited by wasi siddiqui - 21 October 2008 at 5:53pm
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Quote Whisper Replybullet Posted: 21 October 2008 at 2:22pm
Zardari himself, ordered the killing of Benazir Bhutto and he is doing just propaganda . He is also behind killing of Mir Mutaza Bhutto, and now he is crying and asking for UN to do investigation. What a crook !!!!!
 
After the killing of Benazir bhutto , he produced a " Will" said to be written by Benazir Bhutto , another lie , how come she wrote the " Will" on a piece of paper.  The woman who looted the country in a organized manner , cannot write something on ordinary paper, which has no court attested document at all.
 
Wasi, even her UK solicitor says that. Have you read the Prediction of The Century? These two men, Zardari and Rehman Malik will have some interesting end. They are marked by the I S I since they tried to take it over.
 
These fools are there for a very short while.


Edited by Whisper - 21 October 2008 at 2:48pm
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Quote wasi siddiqui Replybullet Posted: 22 October 2008 at 3:04pm

The International Monetary Fund says Pakistan has asked it to help deal with its looming balance of payments crisis.

Talks on plans to strengthen Pakistan's economic stability would begin in the next few days, an IMF statement said.

It said Pakistan's difficulties were "a result of high food and fuel prices and the global financial crisis". The scale of financing had yet to be determined.

Pakistani officials had said they would only ask the IMF for money if other options failed.

Pakistan is going through its worst economic crisis in a decade, with massive trade and budget deficits, plunging foreign currency reserves and capital flight.

The growing strength of Islamic militants, demonstrated by a devastating attack on the Marriott hotel in Islamabad last month, is deterring many investors.

Its traditional allies, China and Saudi Arabia, have so far refused its request for help.

The BBC's Barbara Plett in Islamabad says an IMF programme to stop Pakistan defaulting on its debt obligations would be politically unpopular because of the strict conditions attached.

Emergency mechanism

"The Pakistani authorities have requested discussions with the IMF on an economic programme supported by financial assistance from the fund to meet the balance of payments difficulties the country is experiencing," IMF managing director Dominique Strauss-Kahn said in a statement.

"The amount of fund financing under a stand-by arrangement has yet to be determined. Financing could be made within framework of the fund's emergency financing mechanism."

There was no immediate response from Pakistani officials.

Although the Pakistani economy has recorded some quite robust growth in recent years, foreign exchange reserves have dropped by three quarters in the last year and it is believed there are sufficient funds for just a few weeks of imports.

On Tuesday, Shaukat Tarin, adviser to the Pakistani prime minister on economic affairs, said the country needed $10bn-$15bn of support from foreign lenders to avert a balance of payments crisis.

Officials believe that a "positive signal" from the IMF may encourage international financial institutions and others to release funds which are already in the pipeline.

But is unclear whether this money will be available over the next month to stop Pakistan defaulting.

The country also needs up to $3bn within a month to avoid defaulting on loans.

Stability fears

In addition to strains on the country's foreign currency reserves there is a deficit in its trade with the rest of the world, approaching 9% of national income this year.

A balance of payments crisis is a possibility, analysts say, which would result in importers struggling to pay for foreign goods, including oil imports from the Middle East.

Soaring inflation and chronic power outages are also affecting the country.

Observers say the economic crisis adds a new element of uncertainty to a country whose stability is of growing concern to the United States and its Western allies.

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Quote Whisper Replybullet Posted: 01 November 2008 at 1:46am

Observers say the economic crisis adds a new element of uncertainty to a country whose stability is of growing concern to the United States and its Western allies.

Some interesting OBSERVERS, my brother, who are unable to observe the "certainity" of their own ultimate fall!


Edited by Whisper - 01 November 2008 at 1:48am
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