Nov 302011

Pakistan’s nuclear programme has made some extraordinary progress by developing one of the world’s smartest nuclear tactical devices, it has been learnt.

According to a western diplomat, the former dictator and the then President General Pervez Musharraf, during one of his meetings with US officials, had deemed it proper to convey it to the Americans what Pakistan possessed and how the country’s nuclear scientists had secured the defence of Pakistan.

The diplomatic source said that New Delhi also knows what Pakistan has produced and what is really unmatched. The Indians got this source said and believed that Musharraf intentionally conveyed this to the Americans so that the country is not treated by the US like Afghanistan and Iraq Pakistan is neither a signatory to NPT nor CTBT, however, it has unilaterally decided to use its nuclear programme only as deterrence against any foreign aggression.

After becoming the target of the Western capitals particularly Washington, which have been unleashing all sorts of propaganda against Pakistan’s nuclear programme, Islamabad has developed one of the most credible and foolproof command and control systems for its nuclear programme. The US authorities have acknowledged the credibility and security of Pakistan’s nukes.

Wikipedia quotes a Washington-based science think tank as saying that Pakistan is increasing its capacity to produce plutonium at its Khushab nuclear facility. The website said that the estimated Pakistani nuclear weapons were probably in the neighbourhood of more than 200 by the end of 2009.

It, however, adds that the actual size of Pakistan’s nuclear stockpile is hard for experts to gauge owing to the extreme secrecy, which surrounds the programme. Pakistan’s nuclear programme was started by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto while the country conducted its nuclear test on May 28, 1998 during Nawaz Sharif’s tenure.

 Posted by at 10:13 am
Nov 302011

TOKYO: Toyota’s president unveiled a futuristic concept car resembling a giant smartphone to demonstrate how Japan’s top automaker is trying to take the lead in technology at the upcoming Tokyo auto show.

Toyota Motor Corp. will also be showing an electric vehicle, set for launch next year, and a tiny version of the hit Prius gas-electric hybrid at the Tokyo Motor Show, which opens to the public this weekend.

But the automaker’s president, Akio Toyoda, chose to focus on the experimental Fun-Vii, which he called “a smartphone on four wheels” at Monday’s preview of what Toyota is displaying at the show. Continue reading »

 Posted by at 10:11 am
Nov 292011

By Mehmood-Ul-Hassan khan

Right now most of the Arab world is struggling for survival. Change is projected through the notions of so-called Arab Spring. Different models of change are at work in the Arab world which has already produced larger than life experiences. The change revolves around bloodily revolutions, massive protests, massive violence and the last but not the least, peaceful way-forwards. Obviously, change has its spillovers repercussions.

Despite major turnaround, Egypt is still at transitory stage. Syria is bleeding and burning. Jordan is under transformation and at half way. Sudan is divided. Yemen is burning and struggling for political stability and national harmony. Libyan has apparently surpassed the unthinkable but still at its fancy. Tunisia held elections and people elected their new democratic representatives. Morocco has also started its journey towards more democratic spirits and principles. Bahrain and Oman experienced new elections and prospects of normalization and greater national consensus are now bright.

It seems that Arab world the land of unlimited prophecies and pharaohs is again in search of new Moses to achieve political harmony and peace. Democratization process has already been started in many Arab countries and in this regard the United Arab Emirates played a leading role.

Regional political scientists called it miracle while international strategists are still skeptical about the ultimate outcome. People termed it silent revolution and junta supported it as timely rescue. Power brokers projected it as anti-status quo and provoking to regional stability.

For most of the people, change in Arab world is real, drastic and significant. It carries hope for better future. It guarantees greater political participation of the common people in the development process. It upholds a progressive development model which consists of stability and sustainability with gradual change through democratization drive. It protects greater civil liberty, human rights and social justice for the marginalized communities and the UAE has already secured political mileage through evolutionary approach by successfully conducting 2nd Federal National Council Parliamentary Elections in the country. Consequently, the rest of the region followed this prime example. It was not held because of fear or frustration but to comply with the strategic vision of its leadership which always cares about the aspirations of its people. Majority of the candidates were between 30-35 years category that strived to brighten the future of the younger generation of the country for a better UAE society.

UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan termed the Federal National Council (FNC) elections a perfect opportunity to make a major step towards empowerment and further democratization. Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum strongly stressed the need to back the “democracy test” by actively franchising in the elections 2011.
The 2nd Federal National Council (Parliament) Elections was held on September throughout the UAE. Some 468 candidates along with 86 women contested for half of the 40 seats in the seven Emirates. Arab world where people are struggling for achieving democracy, the UAE plans for further democratization is a bold and right step.

The 2nd FNC elections were the turning point in the political history of the UAE which widened popular participation in the process of government. Electoral College increased from 7,000 to 129,000. The UAE society is a politically sensible, socially dynamic and economically vibrant which can easily be judged even from its high interests in the Electoral College. Notwithstanding, turn- out was below expectation, but it was right step towards right direction.

There was no discrimination against any candidate in the elections 2011. The FNC elections 2011 offered a chance for all nationals of different age and gender to engage with the diverse processes of democracy and play important role in the decision making process. The voters were free to cast their votes.

Democracy stands for quality of life and greater good for the community. Most of the countries took centuries to reach a universal suffrage, political empowerment and the building of progressive institutions. Whereas, the UAE since, its inception 1971 has been sincerely trying to have golden principles of democracy. By any international standard or definition, the United Arab Emirates is the icon of democratic norms and traditions and recently held FNC elections further strengthened the democratic process in the country.

Governance system must be free from any political dogma, societal stigma, and economic barrier. Democracy is not a fairy tale or queen of happiness, keeping by which one succeeds to achieve socio-economic prosperity. Take the example of China, Brazil, UAE, Saudi Arabia and Qatar where so called highly projected Western Styled democracies are not at work but still these countries have achieved high levels of socio-economic prosperity and sense of security. The so-called democratic countries of the West were responsible for the ongoing global economic recession and financial crunch and the countries mentioned above are the sign and hope of survival for the whole world.

The political philosophy and history of the modern democratic systems reveal a conflicting reality and favours gradual and rationale changes in the governance systems. Shock-therapy, most of the time bring disastrous consequences and encourages upheavals in the countries. Eastern Europe is the classic example of it. Whereas, gradualism and rationalism always brings desired goals of socio-economic prosperity and security. UAE, Qatar, Uzbekistan, and China are the prime examples in this regard. Usually first comes the macro-economic stability and societal cohesion than surfaces political system.

Respect for local talent, indigenous wisdom, traditions, customs and special circumstances ought to be pivotal for onward march towards democratization. No system is perfect. Every system has its pitfalls. Main purpose of any governance system is to deliver and free from any gender, racial and ethnic discrimination and the United Arab Emirates upholds the true spirits of humanity, survival, production, cooperation, social justice and above all welfare spirits. It has already set high standards of stability, tolerance, modernity and cultural identity in the region. So, UAE is on right path and going towards a greater public participation after holding elections 2011 in all its seven emirates.

The Federal Nation Elections (FNC) 2011 strengthened the process of gradual process of democratization. It gave the chance to government to prepare ground for further political initiatives and the people to be the part of ongoing socio-economic prosperity and decision making.

Democracy demands greater responsibilities and duties. It evolves around the sustainable development, rule of the law, and social justice. It protects the genuine spirits of civility, rights of the minorities and upholds freedom of speech. It guarantees qualitative life, better education, health and good law and order situation. By al means and international standards, UAE is the country where all above mentioned golden principles of democracy are being followed in letters and spirits and hopefully, the recently held FNC Elections 2011 would further boost the empowerment and democratization drive in the United Arab Emirates in the days to come.

Nov 292011

By Mehmood-Ul-Hassan Khan

Abu Dhabi: November 29. A media delegation from Pakistan is currently in the United Arab Emirates on the invitation of National Media Council for the 40th National Day Celebrations. First day of their trip, H.E. Mohammed Omar Abdullah Undersecretary, Department of economic development, H.E. Sultan Naseer Al Surwaidi, Governor of UAE Central Bank and H.E. Saqr Ghobash, minister of Labour briefed about their respective fields.
H.E Mohammed Omar Abdullah highly projected the significance of Abu Dhabi Strategic Vision 2030 for achieving higher targets of socio-economic growth in the future.
“Abu Dhabi’s 2030 which stands for further diversification of economy, better higher education, entrepreneurism, research, development of small to medium-sized businesses and knowledge-based economy would achieve its desired goals in the days to come he added”.
H.E Mohammed Omar Abdullah said diversification of economy is the highest priority of the UAE government. He said till 2030 hopefully the diversification of macro-economy may reach to 64 percent of GDP.
“It has four principles, first, active participation of private sector, second integration of national economy with the global economy, third, provide business and investment friendly environment and fourth excel in renewable energy mix including peaceful nuclear energy program in order to match with the increasing demands of energy supplies in the country, he further explained”.
He said despite ongoing Euro debt crisis and weak global economic scenarios, UAE economic are resilient, strong and sustainable due to its prudent policies. He said that ongoing Arab Spring has brought tremendous opportunities for the UAE in terms of greater inflows of foreign direct investment, joint ventures and trade and commerce ties.
He elaborated that diversification drive of economy is now paying its dividends. He shared that the UAE government’s constant support to industrial sector has made it UAE less reliant on revenue from its oil exports. Its non-oil foreign trade surged by 14 per cent in 2010, to Dh 754.4 billion (US $ 205.3 billion), compared to 2009. Exports increased by 27 per cent and re-exports registered 26 per cent upwards growth, with non-oil imports rising only by 8 per cent. He said that the UAE also ranked 25th largest global importer of goods and 19th exporter in the world 2010 becoming the only Arab nation to be among the top 30 markets.
He clarified that oil and gas revenues now account for 30 per cent of GDP despite high oil prices at international markets. He said, now manufacturing sector is active, healthy and productive. It is one of the leading sources of employment generation, exports and revenues. It is hoped that a strong manufacturing industry that meets the needs of the international markets will help protect the UAE from the continuing economic turmoil he added.
He briefed about the salient features of UAE economic growth model based on evolutionary approach by achieving sustainable development. He said that UAE is a federation and all the seven emirates jointly work for the socio-economic betterment of its people at large.
He said that economic integration with Asia is one of the main characteristics of its country, UAE has strong bilateral trade relations with China, Pakistan, Korea, Malaysia and other regional countries, and we are looking forward for its further strengthening of trade and commerce relations with Asian countries.
He talked about inter-GCC trade, prospects of economic integration, monetary union and one gold currency in the Gulf Cooperation Council countries and shared UAE government sincere efforts towards achieving desired socio-economic integration goals within the GCC.

H.E. Sultan Naseer Al Suwaidi Governor of UAE Central Bank

H.E. Sultan Naseer Al Suwaidi Governor of UAE Central Bank said that UAE banking and financial system is resilient and is providing essential inputs for survival and production. Banks in the United Arab Emirates are in a good position and should not be affected by turmoil in global financial markets he added.
“The IIF report (2011) indicated that the country has one of the strongest fiscal positions in the region he added”. He sated that Its projected total gross foreign assets of the UAE to continue rising to about $600 million by end 2012. It would result in an overall net external asset position of about $480 billion, equivalent to 130 per cent of 2012 projected GDP he further elaborated.
He briefly talked about the basic composition of the UAE banking system comprising of 24 national banks with 762 branches throughout the country, with 8 Islamic banks, 32 foreign banks and exchanges 196. Foreign banks capital assets reach to 340 billion Dh he further added. He defended UAE pegging policy with dollar and clarified that there is no threat to its banking and financial system due to ongoing banking and financial crisis of the European Union. He suggested that EU should tackle its liquidity problem as soon as possible for the revival of global economy.
Responding to question about banking sanctions on Iran, he clearly defined his government policy towards the compliance of UN Security Council Resolution. He said the even ASEAN does not have common currency but prospects of greater economic integration and FTAs are bright in these countries. The prospects of common currency and monetary union are bright and hopefully with the passage of time we would achieve it he added.
He said that UAE government and economy is better prepared to face a fresh global slowdown by its diversification drive and GDP may reach to 4.5 percent in 2011. Suwaidi also said in October exposure of the country’s banks to sovereign and private sector debt in Europe is small and their capital adequacy ratio was around 11 per cent. He said monetary policy of the UAE is stable and soft and supports business and investment environment of the country.

H.E. Saqr Ghobash, minister of Labour, UAE

H.E. Saqr Ghobash, minister of Labour talked about UAE labour policy, incentives, prospects and emerging trends in the UAE labour markets. He clarified that the UAE government is open to any country and especially Pakistan for labour import but it is the organizations and different private sectors to decide to recruit. He said that UAE is still safe heaven for seeking employment for securing prosper socio-economic future for all the countries in the world. He said that his country is following and implementing the MDGs in letters and spirits. He highlighted the salient features of the UAE new labour policy and said it is labour friendly which promises to safe guard their dignity and hnour along with financial benefits. He said that UAE has already formulated National Qualification Authority for the betterment of Emiratization drive

Nov 282011

By Afshan Subohi

The attendance of educated youth in Lahore meeting of Imran Khan is seen generally to reflect their distrust of the mainstream politics. The goodwill for Tehreek-i-Insaf in a segment of the business community can be explained probably by its concern about the future amid economic difficulties.

While it is too early to reach any conclusion, the support in elite class for the former cricketer skipper seems to have been generated more by the perceived patrons rather than his own credentials. Continue reading »

 Posted by at 11:23 am
Nov 282011

Asif Ezdi -The writer is a former member of the Pakistan Foreign Service

Monday, November 28, 2011

In his first public comment after removal from the post of ambassador last Tuesday, Husain Haqqani asserted that he had resigned to “bring closure” to a “meaningless controversy” over an “insignificant memo written by a self-centred businessman” that was “threatening the country’s fledgling democracy”. He also claimed self-importantly that he had always striven to empower the country’s elected leaders “as per our constitution” and promised to continue his services to the promotion of democracy and the building of a country free of bigotry and intolerance.
Continue reading »

 Posted by at 11:21 am
Nov 282011

Farrukh Saleem

ISLAMABAD: President House spending Rs13 lakh a day is not sustainable. Prime Minister’s Secretariat spending Rs15 lakh a day is not sustainable. The Cabinet Division spending Rs80 lakh a day is not sustainable. None of this is sustainable for as long as three out of four Pakistanis make Rs125 a day or less.

Pakistan Railways (PR), Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), Pakistan Steel Mills, Pakistan Agricultural Storage and Services Corporation (Passco) and Utility Stores Corporation (USC) collectively end up losing Rs360 billion a year, Rs100 crore a day every day of the year. This must end. Pakistan Electric Power Company (Pepco) has lost Rs90 billion over the past 12 months. That must end. Continue reading »

 Posted by at 11:19 am
Nov 262011

Thar coal project will become operational in December 2013, member of the Science and Technology Planning Commission, Dr Samar Mubarakmand, said on Thursday. Talking to a private news channel, he said that the project would bring prosperity in the country. “Pakistan has enough coal reserves that can provide electricity to the country for more than 500 years,” he said.

He said that development work is in progress and the first 50 megawatts (MW) gasified project has almost been completed. He said that the project is to cost Rs8.898 billion with a foreign exchange component of Rs 5.847 billion that was approved by the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council last year. Dr Mubarakmand said that the success of the Thar coal project would lead to investment from leading international companies. Continue reading »

 Posted by at 3:33 am
Nov 252011

Development work is underway in sector I-11/1 and I-11/2, while fund worth of Rs 320 has been approved for the development project. The development of the sector was on hang fire for last 20 years due to land dispute between victims of Bokra Saraheen and Capital Development Authority (CDA). Sources said that 850 plots were allotted to CDA employees in the sector in 1989, while 2,300 plots were allotted to the employees Continue reading »

 Posted by at 11:32 pm
Nov 252011

The Capital Development Authority (CDA) has completed more than 90 percent of the development work in Sector I-16 and the allottees have started construction of their houses in the area, said CDA Chairman Imtiaz Inayat Elahi on Thursday.

He was briefing members of Senate Standing Committee headed by Senator Kulsoom Parveen during their visit to inspect the development work in the Sector I-16 on Thursday.

Member Engineering, Syed Ibrar Hussain Shah, Member Estate, Khalid Mehmood Mirza and other senior officers of the authority were also present on the occasion along with worthy officials of other relevant government departments including IESCO and SNGPL. Continue reading »