Sunday, November 6, 2016

South Asians in US Elections; PTI Protest Call-off; Gadani Shipbreak Tragedy

How will FBI’s leaked letter about Huma Abedin emails impact US elections? Why is pro-Trump Hindu group attacking Huma Abedin for her “Pakistan origin”? Who is more likely to win? Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump?

Huma Abedin with Anthony Weiner

Why did PTI Chief Imran Khan call off anti-government protests on Panama Leaks? How will it impact Imran Khan’s popularity and political standing? Will the Supreme Court’s corruption probe lead to indictments against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his family? Will there be any reduction of government’s abuse of power and corruption in Pakistan?

What happened at Gadani shipbreaking yard in Pakistan? Why is shipbreaking industry so large in South Asian nations of Bangladesh, India and Pakistan? Is it to satisfy demand for cheap steel in South Asia? Why are there so many tragic accidents in this industry? What can/must be done to improve worker safety?

Viewpoint From Overseas host Misbah Azam discusses these questions with panelists Ali H. Cemendtaur and Riaz Haq (

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Trump Phenomenon

Hindus For Trump

Huma Abedin in Twittergate

PTI Protests

Panama Leaks on Pakistan

Talk4Pak Think Tank

VPOS Youtube Channel

VPOS Vimeo Channel


Anonymous said...

Is huma abedin more Indian or more Pakistani?
Is she more trump or Clinton?
Only time will tell.
But only thing is sure both candidates are more pro India than Pakistan.
Will this result in Pakistan permanently going with China for economic as well as military support?
Will China help Pakistan or use it as a tool against India?
What is China's record compared to America when it comes to helping allies?

Riaz Haq said...

Why #Pakistan Matters To The Next #US President via @forbes. #POTUS #USElection2016 #Hillary #Trump

TIP is itself a walking, talking conflict of interest. TIP’s leadership now “advises” the government and holds office in the prime minister’s secretariat while auditing it at the same time. The chairman of TIP, who signed a multimillion dollar contract with USAID for a U.S.-taxpayer funded anti-corruption hotline, had his own son appointed as head of the program. Only in Pakistan could nepotism be the face of an anti-corruption project that Americans continue to pay for.

Alas, nobody watches the watchdogs. It should be no surprise that the Pakistani people lose faith in the U.S. government and in their own. It opens the door to the appeal of extremist organizations who lure supporters with seemingly “pure” alternatives. Only 20% of the Pakistani population supports the government’s friendly relationship with the United States. Compare that with the nearly 10% which openly support ISIS, and the figure becomes even bleaker.

That said, pulling the plug on funds would be a drastic mistake. Measures such as Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker’s move to ban Pakistani purchase of F-16s and the 2016 passage of the National Defense Authorization Act, which will block $450 million in aid to Islamabad, only serve to deepen the relational chasm between nations. This chilling in U.S.-Pakistan relations feeds directly into the rhetoric and intents of extremist organizations, fills their ranks with recruits, and leaves us with few friends in a strategically critical region.

You have three policy options: (1) continue U.S. aid to Pakistan with no change, (2) limit U.S. aid to Pakistan, or (3) reform and rethink our aid.

The third option is not only most efficient but will serve to address issues of instability and corruption in Pakistan. Just as the United States conditions its military aid, it must also condition its civilian aid, encouraging transparency and urging Pakistani oversight institutions on reforms of accountability and anti-corruption policies. Following suit, USAID should conduct an overhaul of its oversight policies and enact strict follow-through on grants to ensure that good money is being put to good use. With precious tax dollars and the fate of a strategically critical region in play, the United States cannot just tick the box of “aid granted” and move on to the next budget cycle.

To preserve the integrity of foreign funds, the next U.S. president’s tenure in Washington must show a new vigilance: Reform the aid infrastructure lest non-governmental antagonists deal irreparable blows with America’s own wayward dollars. Only the development of transparent, legitimate institutions accountable to the people can serve as a long-term bulwark against instability and extremism. The voters deserve that security, and the allies need that reminder.

Riaz Haq said...

From Daily Times:

The government has decided to appoint the former head of Transparency International (TI) Pakistan Chapter Adil Gilani as the Ambassador to Serbia.

It seems that the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is rewarding him for making bogus reports in favour of the PML(N) led government during last three and half years. Almost all the reports issued by Transparency International Pakistan during the regime of current government showed that Nawaz Sharif not only controlled corruption but also introduced good governance in Pakistan. It is also worth mentioning here that Adil Gillani is the father of Fawad Gilani, who heads up USAID's anti corruption hotline.

Adil Gilani is a controversial person and as the Chairman of Transparency International he was known as a blackmailer who gave a clean chit to only those who he liked. Now he may cause more humiliation for Pakistan globally as the government is sending him on the important position of Ambassador where he will be interacting with all other diplomats of the world.

It is high time the government should clean up the Foreign Office from those elements who do not only earn a bad name for the country but also become hurdles in depicting a good image of the country abroad, especially in such a sensitive time when the country is being pushed towards isolation by the concentrated efforts of her rivals.

The dubious role of Syed Adil Gillani and his fraudulent Transparency International Pakistan is nothing but the promotion of personal agendas and political motives. The controversial Gillani left no stone unturned to utilise the platform of Transparency International Pakistan for his personal gains as well as for his affiliates. Under the disguise of transparency, he is notorious for hijacking government offices and is exercising blatant and wholesale corruption as per various published media reports.

This can be deduced from the multi-billion-rupee land scam related to the National Insurance Company Limited in which the Transparency International chief was probed by FIA for his alleged involvement in the scam, massive levels of fraud in KDA and privatisation of KPT. It is also commonly heard, albeit without proof, that the organisations that did not agree to Gillani's demands are often defamed and face charges of corruption and misuse of funds by the TI.

Naturally, as the result of the above precedents, the nation cannot expect integrity and objectivity from Adil Gilani, as he remained an opaque person in the transparency industry. It is a matter of grave concern that corruption has deeply permeated in every strata of the society.

Allegations leveled by Transparency International without any factual information with malafide and ulterior motives adversely affect the country's image in the international arena. Initiatives taken by Transparency International are appreciated worldwide and are examples of good governance.

However, it seems that the Pakistani chapter of Transparency International has fallen to the wrong hands of Gillani, who has sworn to use the platform of TI to make personal gains or settle vendettas.

Riaz Haq said...


Anti-#Muslim rhetoric adds to #Pakistan’s anxiety over #Trump’s #Afghanistan policy but #US AID likely to continue

“It is very much against my grain to say that, but a country – and that’s always the country, I think, you know, we give them money and we help them out, but if we don’t, I think that would go on the other side of the ledger and that could really be a disaster,” Trump had said, without elaborating.....

For the time being, Pakistani politicians are hoping Trump’s more common election campaign rhetoric won’t be reflected in his presidential decisions. “I hope when he speaks through his actions it’ll be for global good,” tweeted the Pakistani prime minister’s brother, Shahbaz Sharif, chief minister of the populous Punjab province.

in an interview with the Hindustan Times just before addressing the crowd of Indian-Americans, Trump said he'd be willing to play a mediating role in addressing the "very, very hot tinderbox" of Kashmir between India and Pakistan.

"If it was necessary I would do that. If we could get India and Pakistan getting along, I would be honored to do that. That would be a tremendous achievement ... I think if they wanted me to, I would love to be the mediator or arbitrator," Trump said in the interview.

Anonymous said...

Trump wins!!

Despite Hillaray having the popular vote!

In a two party system.

And a month back you were giving gyan about how US system is superior to UK/Indian FPTP Parliamentary system.

Are you prepared for a rethink:)

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan’s ship breaking industry handles half of global oil vessels

Pakistan’s ship breaking industry demolished almost half of the global scrapped oil vessels during the last year, putting the country on the map of the world’s leading ship breakers, a United Nations body said on Monday.

In 2015, gross 1.169 million tons of scrapped oil vessels were sold for demolition around the world, said the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), in its annual ‘Review of Maritime Transport 2016’. Of that, 540,000 tons of such vessels were moved to Pakistan for breaking.

Last week, an accident killed at least 17 people in a blast in a scrap oil vessel at the country’s biggest shipping yard in Gawain.

The review recorded 23 million tons of vessels – including oil and chemical tankers, bulk and gas carriers, offshore and ferries, container and passenger ships – sold for demolition around the world during the last year. “Most demolitions take place in Asia; four countries – Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and China – accounted for 95 percent of ship scrapping gross tonnage in 2015,” it said. “Pakistan had the highest share of oil tankers, India of container ships and Bangladesh of offshore.”

While developed countries account for 60 percent of global vessel ownerships, the share of developing countries is also increasing.

“The leading ship-owners among developing countries are in Asia, led by China and Singapore,” the report said. The largest ship owning countries in South Asia are in India, Bangladesh and Pakistan.

The UNCTAD advised the governments to identify and invest in maritime sectors in which their countries may have a comparative advantage.

“Supporting the maritime sector is no longer a policy choice. Rather, the challenge is to identify and support selected maritime businesses,” it said. “Policymakers need to carefully assess the competitive environment for each maritime subsector they wish to develop, and to consider the value-added of a sector for the state economy, including possible synergies and spillover effects into other sectors – maritime and beyond.”

The UN body said countries also differ with regard to the proportion of officers and ratings that work on board ships.

Riaz Haq said...

Anon: "Trump wins!! Despite Hillaray having the popular vote! In a two party system. And a month back you were giving gyan about how US system is superior to UK/Indian FPTP Parliamentary system. Are you prepared for a rethink:)"

Unlike Modi's win in India with just 30% of votes cast in 2014 elections, Trump won with almost 50% of the vote yesterday.

The difference between Trump and Hillary votes is only about 100,000 votes.

Riaz Haq said...

Obama put it best when he said this morning:

So this was a long and hard fought campaign. A lot of our fellow Americans are exalted today, a lot of Americans are less so, but that's the nature of campaigns, that's the nature of democracy. It is hard and sometimes contentious and noisy and it's not always inspiring.

But to the young people who got into politics for the first time and may be disappointed by the results, I just want you to know, you have to stay encouraged. Don't get cynical, don't ever think you can't make a difference. As Secretary Clinton said this morning, fighting for what is right is worth it. Sometimes you lose an argument, sometimes you lose an election.

You know, the path that this country has taken has never been a straight line. We zig and zag and sometimes we move in ways that some people think is forward and others think is moving back, and that's OK.

Riaz Haq said...

Clinton won popular vote but lost electoral college--a vestige of slavery compromise

When the founders of the U.S. Constitution in 1787 considered whether America should let the people elect their president through a popular vote, James Madison said that “Negroes” in the South presented a “difficulty … of a serious nature.”

During that same speech on Thursday, July 19, Madison instead proposed a prototype for the same Electoral College system the country uses today. Each state has a number of electoral votes roughly proportioned to population and the candidate who wins the majority of votes wins the election.

Since then, the Electoral College system has cost four candidates the race after they received the popular vote — most recently in 2000, when Al Gore lost to George W. Bush. Such anomalies and other criticisms have pushed 10 Democratic states to enroll in a popular vote system. And while there are many grievances about the Electoral College, one that’s rarely addressed is one dug up by an academic of the Constitution: that it was created to protect slavery, planting the roots of a system that’s still oppressive today.

“It’s embarrassing,” said Paul Finkelman, visiting law professor at University of Saskatchewan in Canada. “I think if most Americans knew what the origins of the Electoral College is, they would be disgusted.”

Madison, now known as the “Father of the Constitution,” was a slave-owner in Virginia, which at the time was the most populous of the 13 states if the count included slaves, who comprised about 40 percent of its population.

During that key speech at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, Madison said that with a popular vote, the Southern states, “could have no influence in the election on the score of Negroes.”

Madison knew that the North would outnumber the South, despite there being more than half a million slaves in the South who were their economic vitality, but could not vote. His proposition for the Electoral College included the “three-fifths compromise,” where black people could be counted as three-fifths of a person, instead of a whole. This clause garnered the state 12 out of 91 electoral votes, more than a quarter of what a president needed to win.

“None of this is about slaves voting,” said Finkelman, who wrote a paper on the origins of the Electoral College for a symposium after Gore lost. “The debates are in part about political power and also the fundamental immorality of counting slaves for the purpose of giving political power to the master class.”

He said the Electoral College’s three-fifths clause enabled Thomas Jefferson, who owned more than a hundred slaves, to beat out in 1800 John Adams, who was opposed to slavery, since the South had a stronghold.

While slavery was abolished, and the Civil War led to citizenship and voting rights for black people, the Electoral College remained intact. Another law professor, who has also written that the Constitution is pro-slavery, argues that it gave states the autonomy to introduce discriminatory voting laws, despite the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that was built to prevent it.

In 2013, the Supreme Court freed nine states, mostly in the South, from the stipulation in the Voting Rights Act that said they could only change voter laws with the approval of the federal government.

“A more conservative Supreme Court has been unwinding what the [other] court did,” said Juan Perea, a law Professor of Loyola University Chicago. “State by state, that lack of supervision and lack of uniformity operates to preserve a lot of inequality.”

In July, a federal appeals court struck down a voter ID law in Texas, ruling that it discriminated against black and Latino voters by making it harder for them to access ballots. Two weeks later, another federal appeals court ruled that North Carolina, a key swing state, had imposed voting provisions that “target African Americans with almost surgical precision.”

Riaz Haq said...

After #Trump Victory, Fear and Gloating in #Pakistan

There is dread, and fear and loathing. But mostly there is gloating. Those who are gloating here in Pakistan have a convincing enough narrative: Everything we already knew about ugly America just got a chest-thumping confirmation from Americans themselves.

The bully that roamed the earth proposing to start wars, topple governments and bankroll tin-pot dictators has finally come home and brought with it all the racism and vulgarity it doled out in various parts of the planet. It has come home to assert its supremacy, its whiteness, its right to be ugly and foul-mouthed and to get rewarded for it. America, say the gloaters, is a bit like that aging thug who can’t terrorize the neighborhood anymore and so has turned on his own family.

Trump’s win has made the rest of the world more self-righteous, especially here in Pakistan, especially among men. He is the final proof, if any proof were needed, that a man can have it all, that a man can be all the man he wants to be — a billionaire and a porn star in his own life’s movie — and still make people love him and trust him with their future.

Pakistani democrats feel they have a special right to gloat. Over the last few days, some of them have been reminding the rest of us Pakistanis that we have never elected a right-wing fascist as our leader. They have reminded us that we elected a woman as our leader way before America even contemplated the possibility for itself.

The late Benazir Bhutto was indeed the first woman to be elected as prime minister of a Muslim country. But we seem to have forgotten the ugly campaign against her, the sexual innuendoes and the doctored pictures — all this before Photoshop and social media. And let’s not forget that we managed to assassinate her 70 days after really, seriously, trying to kill her. We have also not even gotten around to finding out who killed her. And, as any working politician will remind you, her legacy doesn’t get you very many votes.

So we can gloat all we want, but hating powerful women is definitely not just an American thing. When Hillary Clinton was last in Pakistan as secretary of state in 2011 and she brought her town hall-style meeting to Islamabad, the most intimate compliment she got was that she behaved like the envoy of a quarrelsome mother-in-law who is always asking Pakistan to do more.

Still, Pakistan’s ruling elites were hoping Hillary would win — not because they believed she stood for something, though, but because some of them once had dinner with her and met her family.


Americans are often accused of being ignorant about the world, of not being able to tell their Mosul from their Kandahar, of having no memory of who they bombed and why. If the world beyond your borders doesn’t really interest you, maybe there is some merit to staying home, cooking dinner and taking out the trash. But first stop calling each other trash and then decide whose turn it is to take it out.

I asked my son, a freshman at college in London, what his American roommates thought of the election results. He said his best friend is glad because the country needs a revolution. Everyone else, he said, is shattered. I asked: You mean your American friend thinks that the Trump win is good because it will trigger a revolution? No, he corrected me. Trump is the revolution.

Riaz Haq said...

"We love Pakistan. I love Pakistan," says Donald Trump in a video which has gone viral on social media forums in Pakistan.

The US president-elect also gave a thumbs-up gesture to the camera.

It is not clear when was the short video recorded but one thing is clear its positive content could allay fears among Pakistanis who were wary of Trump's per-election call for banning Muslims from entering the United States.

Tambi Dude said...

Another day , another bomb blast. By good terrorist :-) , I mean good for India.

Anonymous said...

Riaz Haq said...

Anon: ""

Dawn Op Ed titled "The Establishment Dilemma" by Pervez Hoodbhoy is based on falsehood.

The fact is that Pakistan's National Defense University teaches a much broader view of national interest that include education, health care, economy and technology. Here are excerpts of a Pakistan National Defense University paper by Brig Khurshid Khan:

Here are excerpts of a Pakistan National Defense University paper by Brig Khurshid Khan:

"To meet the 21st century security challenges, investing in academia including science, technology, engineering etc is paramount; one may take a lead from the national security strategy document released by the US government recently. A new body, the Higher Education Commission (HEC) that was formed during 2002 with a task to overhaul higher education in the country must be revived and requisite funding must be made available to encourage the younger generation to enter into PhDs program in various fields"

"National security takes into account a wide range of factors that contributes towards stability or stimulates conflict. The national security policy is framed based on national purpose, aim and defined objectives. Besides many other factors, demographics, health; natural resources and environment; science and technology; the global economy; national and international governance; and future conflict are the drivers which impact in shaping the national security as described by John C. Gannon.12 In Pakistani context, its domestic conflicts stemming from religious, ethnic, or political disputes are also the drivers which impact its national security calculus"

"Economic depression coupled with uncontrolled population generates a number of interconnected problems. The issues like social justice, poverty, unemployment, health and literacy which flow from economic strength are amongst the major destabilizing factors in Pakistan. We can’t have a healthy nation without education and healthcare and both have been the most neglected sectors since the last three decades. The health services vis a vis population in Pakistan is pathetic due to less than 2 percent spending of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on this important sector. By shedding away the responsibility to respective provinces, it is highly unlikely that a positive change in health sector would come in foreseeable future.37 Similarly, Pakistan’s existing education system which continues to spend just only 1.5 percent of the GDP is yet another factor which is detrimental to its national security. The existing model of Pakistan’s education system helps creating further classes in youth other than sectarian and ethnics division. The author fully endorses the views of Zirgham Afridi who says that the imported foreign syllabi by the private schools and blindly imparting it to the children of the privileged class will only be available as skilled labor to the developed countries."

Anonymous said...

Have you heard the news on can saying donald trumps national security adviser is a hardcore anti Pakistani and wants to have a puppet government in Pakistan. Isn't it a scary know lot of Pakistanis can be bought by the American establishment with their influence and money. Do you know what is the stand of Pakistani establishment on this issue?

Riaz Haq said...

Anon: "Have you heard the news on can saying donald trumps national security adviser is a hardcore anti Pakistani and wants to have a puppet government in Pakistan. Isn't it a scary know lot of Pakistanis can be bought by the American establishment with their influence and money. Do you know what is the stand of Pakistani establishment on this issue? "

I think you are referring to Gen Michael Flynn who served as Defense Intelligence chief under Obama.

Flynn is not just anti-Pakistan but also an anti-Muslim bigot. But what he and Trump don't seem to understand is that there is a big difference between collecting intelligence and making policy.

Flynn needs to know what Pakistan's pro-West anti-establishment favorite liberal Pervez Hoodbhoy has said: "Pakistanis can outstare the West"

And what ex US Ambassador Ann Patterson said: " The Pakistani establishment, as we saw in 1998 with the nuclear test, does not view assistance -- even sizable assistance to their own entities -- as a trade-off for national security vis-a-vis India".

Here's a 2012 Bloomberg Op Ed titled "No More Bullying Pakistan" written by former State Dept official Vali Nasr:

It took eight months, but the U.S. has finally apologized for killing 24 Pakistani soldiers in a firefight on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.
The clash in November between U.S. and Pakistani forces was a mess, with miscommunication on both sides but fatalities on only one. Pakistan, still seething over the U.S. breach of its sovereignty in the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound, closed U.S. military supply routes to Afghanistan when the U.S. initially refused to apologize. The U.S., in turn, froze $700 million in military assistance and shut down all engagement on economic and development issues. In a further deterioration of ties, the Pakistani Parliament voted to ban all U.S. drone attacks from or on Pakistani territory.
No Sympathy

The Pakistanis held firm in their insistence on an apology. Officials at the Pentagon thought the case didn’t merit one. Many had no sympathy for the Pakistanis, whom they regarded as double-dealers for stoking the insurgency in Afghanistan and providing haven to the notorious extremists of the Haqqani Network. The White House feared that an apology would invite Republican criticism. Throughout the crisis, Clinton and her senior staff argued that the U.S. should apologize. She supported re-engaging with Pakistan to protect a critical relationship while also holding Pakistan accountable for fighting the Taliban and other extremists, a point she has raised in each of her conversations with Pakistani leaders.

Clinton’s recommendations were contrary to the policy the Pentagon and Central Intelligence Agency put in place in early 2011. Relations had soured when the Pakistanis held CIA operative Raymond Davis after he shot two Pakistanis. Frustrated with Pakistan’s foot-dragging on counterterrorism, the two agencies successfully lobbied for a strategy to reduce high-level contacts with Pakistan, shame Pakistan in the news media, and threaten more military and intelligence operations on Pakistani soil like the bin Laden assassination. It was a policy of direct confrontation on all fronts, aimed at bending Pakistan’s will.

It failed. Pakistan stood its ground. Far from changing course, Pakistan reduced cooperation with the U.S. and began to apply its own pressure by threatening to end the drone program, one of the Obama administration’s proudest achievements.

Riaz Haq said...

In bizarre #birther twist, claim that #Trump was born in #Pakistan, adopted by #American couple via @timesofisrael “Believe it or not, presidential candidate Donald Trump was born in Pakistan and not in America,” the Urdu-language Neo News reported last month in a video clip that went viral after Trump’s election victory on November 8.

According to Neo News, Trump was born as Dawood Ibrahim Khan in the now-Taliban-controlled Waziristan region of the country in 1954. After his parents were killed in a car accident, a British Indian Army captain took little Dawood to London, where the Trump family later adopted him and brought him to America, the report claimed.

Citing numerous tweets to back up the story, Neo News even provided a photo of the alleged young Trump, wearing what appears to be traditional Pakistani boys’ garb.