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Friday, April 12, 2013

'Where is Bilawal Bhutto?' Pakistan People's Party campaign struggles - Times Of India

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A cancelled rally, a loathed president and a party chairman kept out of the public glare because of Taliban threats Gulzar Ali Khawaja has never seen anything like it.

For the first time in his life, the once ardent supporter of the Pakistan People's Party, which led the coalition government for five years, says he won't be voting in the general election on May 11 and doesn't mince his words about why.

 Furious, with his face red under the hot sun, he cannot believe that no major party leader addressed the crowds on one of the most sacrosanct dates รข€” the anniversary of the April 4, 1979 hanging of PPP founder, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.

"I come here all the way from Karachi to pray on the anniversary and they can't come?" said the 45-year-old property dealer, who drove nine hours from Pakistan's financial capital to the Bhutto ancestral seat in Garhi Khuda Bakhsh.

"President Asif Ali Zardari has spoiled the party," he said.

The PPP announced it would kickstart its campaign for re-election after five years in office with a large rally on April 4, but then cancelled it.

Zardari, Bhutto's widower, and their son, Bilawal, addressed a small gathering, closed to all but state media, in the middle of the night.

Bilawal, the PPP's star attraction, appeared uncomfortable, speaking haltingly in heavily accented Urdu, a mark of his upbringing in England and Dubai.

He stumbled through the outgoing government's achievements before asking listeners to "promise" to vote for "Aunty Faryal" -- Zardari's sister -- who is contesting the Bhutto family seat.

Few party faithful who gathered at the shrine were impressed.

"Bilawal should not listen to anyone and come out into the public to see the workers as his mother and grandfather did," Khawaja told AFP.

In contrast, their main rivals, cricket star Imran Khan and frontrunner former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, have kicked off major campaigns drawing tens of thousands.

PPP spokesman and former cabinet minister Qamar Zaman Kaira told AFP that the party respected people's desire to see Bilawal but said the danger was too great.

"We can't expose Bilawal to the real threat of terrorism. We can't risk the life of another top leader," he said.

 The Taliban have directly threatened the PPP and its main coalition partners, the ANP and MQM, often described as "secular".

During Pakistan's last election campaign, Benazir defied repeated threats to address enormous rallies across the country.

When she was killed in a gun and suicide attack after an election rally in Rawalpindi in 2007, it shocked the party and the country.

Aged 24, Bilawal is chairman of the party but ineligible to run for office until his 25th birthday in September. Analysts say he appears uncomfortable in public and needs to work hard on improving his language skills.

Zardari, said to be deeply paranoid about security, is also rarely seen in public. He remains deeply unpopular over a multitude of corruption allegations.

"We want Bilawal to come here, to see us, to talk to us and address the workers' problems. We miss the love and affection of his mother and grandfather," says Muhammad Urs, 41, who sells snacks in the Garhi Khuda Bakhsh market.

Urs, a life-time PPP voter, threatened not to cast his ballot "until they come and talk to us".

But the PPP's Kaira dismissed big rallies as winners of elections, instead pointing to television and the Internet to reach larger audiences, even though the percentage that has regular online access is tiny.

"We believe that our message is going all over," he said.

But Muhammad Panah Soomro, a labourer in the village of Bangaldero, not far from the Bhutto shrine, is furious.

"I will show them my shoe if they will come here to seek my vote," he told AFP. The roof of his two-room house was blown off by heavy rain and he has no money to replace it.

"Bilawal doesn't come here. He's a rich man and lives abroad. His father is the biggest goon and has looted away his mother's party and wealth," said Soomro.

Critics point out that the PPP has presided over the country as the economy has worsened and security has deteriorated and they blame it for failing to do more to improve people's lives.

They say that a dynastic party, obsessed with the martyrdom of its fallen leaders and pilloried for corruption and incompetency, is losing touch with the centre-left progressive ideology on which it was founded in the 1960s.

Rasul Bakhsh Rais, a social sciences lecturer at Lahore University of Management Sciences, says that despite the security threat restricting PPP rallies, candidates have been campaigning well at the grassroots level.

"I expect them to put a good show. It's not possible to predict now how big a victory they will gain and whether they will form the next government or not, but I think they will get good results."

Is The British Government Unwittingly Helping To Finance The Pakistan Peoples’ Party Re-Election Campaign?

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British financial aid to Pakistan, a former colony, is an extremely controversial topic both in London and in Islamabad – nonetheless, by 2015, Pakistan is expected to receive an annual grant of £450 million from Britain, making it the UK’s single largest foreign aid recipient. Conservative politicians in the UK want the government to significantly scale back such largesse, while some opposition groups in Pakistan – notably presidential candidate Imran Khan – want foreign aid eliminated entirely because they feel it only feeds corruption in a state that is already one of the world’s most corrupt places.

Come on immature media - get rid of old folks minors!

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Wasim Akram calls off marriage rumours - thenews.com.pk

Media say it report what they find, interestingly minors find things on floor and eat it up without recognizing its  after effects. Such alike, local media to create and establish its rating among the watchers seldom forget to negative effects both on content and themselves.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Regulator himself remains unregulated? - thenews.com.pk

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The Securities & Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) Chairman Muhammad Ali was a partner in a construction business with brokers he regulates till mid-2011 despite serving as one of the top regulators of the country, official documents reveal. It is said to be believed that the Chairman SECP is blue eye of AKD (Aqeel Karim Dady) who is well know in stock market with his nick name "Aik kay Dau", revealed by former Addl. Registrar Ahmed Muzzamil who is currently working in a Lahore based law firm (The closed ally of Mr. Abdul Rehman Qureshi - Secretary to SECPB.

Ali, appointed SECP chairman on December 24, 2010, was a 15 percent shareholder in RI Enterprises, which had four other partners — all stock market brokers, according to Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) documents for the financial year ending on June 2011.

The partnership between stock market brokers and a regulator raises eyebrows because this arrangement remains open to nepotism and abuse of authority. One of the partners, Dawood Jan Mohammad, a leading name at the Karachi Stock Exchange, has a number of cases pending against him relating to massive tax evasion which conveniently go nowhere near prosecution with the current SECP administration, market sources said.

The FBR documents, a copy of which is available with ‘The News,’ stating that Ali had opening capital of more than Rs52 million in RI Enterprises. A pre-tax profit of around Rs5.5 million was earmarked in his name in fiscal 2010-11, taking his total drawing capital right to a little over Rs56 million. The FBR accused the company of evading Rs2.5 million worth of taxes in fiscal 2010-11.

However, the SECP chairman, when contact by ‘The News,’ denied that he was a partner in R I Enterprises after assuming office and said that he had sold his shares in early 2006.“I have all the documents, proving that I sold my share in this business in 2006,” he said by telephone from Islamabad. “The confusion about the FBR documents is because my former partners did not remove my name from the business,” he maintained.

In Pakistan it remains a common practice that the relevant authorities — the registrar office in this case — are often not informed about the change in partners in time, he added.However, market sources said that it was surprising that an expert of Ali’s caliber, who remains on top of the game, failed to properly close his deal after selling his stakes in a business. An expert said in fact Ali would have known that his financial issues would remain secured by remaining a partner. That was the reason that he did not get his name removed. He would have thought that if this was pointed out he could say that his partners have not removed his name.

“This is not the case of some novice businessman... here we are talking of Muhammad Ali, who even before assuming the SECP charge, was a big name in the stock market,” said one stock market broker, requesting anonymity. He established and led key brokerage houses, including W I Carr Securities and Elixir Securities during the mid-1990s and the early 2000s respectively besides being the moving spirit behind many other business ventures.

Mansoor Ahmad Janjua, an official of an Islamabad-based brokerage house, who lodged complaints against the SECP chairman at the Federal Tax Ombudsman, Inland Revenue Karachi and FBR, asked why did Ali not take action against his former partners for not removing his name from the documents of the business.

“Why did he not officially clarify to the FBR or the other authorities that he was no longer with this business?” he said.In his declaration to the tax authorities for FY2010-11 and FY2011-12, Muhammad Ali cites seven and six businesses respectively in which he had stakes, but it did not mention R I Enterprise in them.

SECP’s Commissioner Securities Market Division Imtiaz Haider, who himself has been controversial at times because of his closeness to the SECP chairman, said that Januja worked as the company secretary of a brokerage house, Ahmed Nadeem Securities, which remains under scrutiny for defaulting on payments to its investors.

This brokerage house has applied for voluntary winding up of operations after defaulting on the payments for Rs80 to Rs90 million, he said questioning the motives behind what he called propaganda against the SECP chairman. The Islamabad Stock Exchange has frozen the membership of its owner and investigations are being carried out against it, the SECP official said.

The SECP chairman said that an organised campaign had been lodged by some powerful brokers to malign him because decisive action was being taken against them for violating various rules and regulations and manipulating the market. However, his appointment is also challenged in the Supreme Court, the judgement of which has been reserved.

“I have everything in black and white... it is just propaganda to tarnish my name,” he said.It is said that powerful business groups of Karachi, which are close to powerful PPP circles, want to make the SECP chairman finance minister of the country.

 

SECP chief in the line of fire! | Pakistan Today | Latest news | Breaking news | Pakistan News | World news | Business | Sport and Multimedia

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SECP: > Take left or right to hell > Speed breaker > Drive 420km/hr carefully > Steep curve > Wet ahead > Slippery area begins > Prove your ID > Hell 55km  - Heaven 70km > Keep your lane > Avoid frequent indicators > Over taking prohibited > First come to ever go!

 
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