The ownership of the Raiwind palace spread over thousands of acres is a mystery because it has never been mentioned in the statements of assets and liabilities of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and other members of his family in politics. Even latest declarations submitted by Nawaz Sharif, his brother Shahbaz Sharif, son-in-law Captain Mohammad Safdar and nephew Hamza Shahbaz to the Election Commission of Pakistan are silent on the ownership title of the huge property. But Information Minister Pervez Rasheed told Dawn that the property was in the name of Shamim Sharif, mother of the Sharif brothers. The statements of assets show that the Sharif brothers have much in common. Both live in houses not owned by them. Nawaz Sharif lives in a house owned by his mother while Shahbaz Sharif resides in a house owned by his spouse Nusrat. Both use Land Cruisers gifted to them by unspecified persons. Both have multiple foreign and local currency accounts, own huge agricultural land and have investments in industrial units like sugar, textile and paper mills. The most visible dissimilarity is the rapid growth in the value of assets owned by the elder brother and continuous decline in the value of assets possessed by the younger brother. Another dissimilarity is that Shahbaz Sharif has two properties in the United Kingdom, but Nawaz Sharif has no assets abroad. Till the time of elections in May last year, Shahbaz was richer than Nawaz — though none of them a billionaire — but things are different now. According to the recent declaration, the value of Nawaz Sharif’s wealth has registered a six-fold increase in just 12 months to make him a billionaire for the first time. According to statements of assets and liabilities, the net worth of Nawaz Sharif’s assets was Rs261.6 million in 2012 and of Shahbaz Sharif Rs336.9m. In 2011, the assets of the two brothers were worth Rs166m and Rs393m, indicating an increase of Rs95.6m and decrease of Rs56.5m, respectively. In 2013, the value of assets of Nawaz Sharif ballooned to Rs1.82bn while that of Shahbaz Sharif slipped further to Rs142m. Incidentally, Shahbaz Sharif has more stakes abroad than in the country. He owns properties and bank account worth Rs138.28m in the UK. He has three loans worth 117.10m in Pakistani rupees in British banks. The younger brother has not disclosed the value of five properties with net area of around 676 kanal in Lahore – all gifted by his mother. He has Rs51.96m cash in hand and Rs7.27m in his sole bank account in the country. Mrs Nusrat, the first wife of Mr Shahbaz, had assets worth Rs273.46m on June 30 last year. It was Rs224.56m a year earlier. She has Rs14.34m cash in hand and Rs1.95m in her five bank accounts. The assets of Mrs Tehmina, the second wife of Shahbaz Sharif, are worth Rs9.83m. They were Rs7.64m last year. She has five bank accounts – two in Pound Sterling, one in dollar and two in Pak rupees, but the money in these accounts is only Rs23,770. She has cash in hand and prize bonds worth Rs750,000 and two cars. Kalsoom Nawaz, the wife of Nawaz Sharif, has net wealth of Rs235.85m, which is much less than that of Mrs Nusrat Shahbaz. Mrs Kalsoom has land and a house in Changa Gali, Abbottabad, worth Rs63.75m, a bungalow on Mall Road in Murree worth Rs100m, 88 kanal of land in Sheikhupura worth Rs70m, jewellery of Rs1.5m and shares in family businesses. She has Rs67,555 cash in hand and Rs55,765 in banks. Hamza Shahbaz is wealthier than his father with net assets of Rs250.46m. He has two wives. The wealth of his first wife is Rs2.45m and that of the second is Rs9.88m. Capt Safdar’s wealth is worth Rs14.23m. He owns a car which his wife Marium received as a gift from the UAE.
Every human being who has seized to have a healthy normal life has had weaknesses. By, weaknesses we do not mean health related issues, but those tiny mole hills or mountains for some of us women, on which we normally trip upon or find it necessary to take some Prozac for. So here is a list of at least ten out of bazillion weaknesses that a woman has when in a relationship. However, let it be known to all the men reading this, that we women do not find this list as a matter of pride; rather it’s a matter of angst for when you men are not-so-understanding.
- Self-esteem is attached to being beautiful and popular
Thank you boys for this really uncalled for reason. Some men just have this divine power of throwing our self esteem down to making us want to look pretty all the time, so that when we go out for a social call, our beauty should be that subtle sign of victory for their friends or colleagues. And if she is a social butterfly, nothing like it. If she is known, he is in the loop of gaining the same popularity. This may not be true for all members of the other species, but for most, especially those who suffer from massive dosage of low self esteem themselves.
- Completely Emotional
Most of us ladies think more from our hearts than from that organ we are gifted with called the brain. However, with time, I have come to realize that we are just made that way. Nevertheless, it is one of our biggest weaknesses as far as our relationships are concerned. The heart tends to absorb male data faster than the brain, which lands us is piles of gloom.
- Disclosing Information
Since, the male mind is a series of comic complications, which women can just not understand, they tend to just talk endlessly about all their issues with their best friends and even colleagues at work. This can back fire. Remember, when a woman wants to be vengeful towards another woman, she does not take long to bombard her with all the information she shared with her. Towards the end of the day, it just simply stabs her like a steak knife being rammed in her chest.
Women are crafted in such a peculiar fashion by God. They are just so forgiving when in a relationship. Apart from the unforgivable crime of cheating, a woman will forgive her man for anything under the sky. All a man needs to do is to make that sorry face, and that just does it for her. Later, when the same mistake is repeated by the man, which in some cases is evident that it will, she again simply forgives. There is a serious need for this damaging act of ours to end, before we end!
- Expectation and False Hope
Women in general, have heaps of expectations and hopes from their men. I particularly blame this on those annoying romantic novels, movies and TV shoes. The more we expect and hope, the more we will be shattered.
- Wanting the partner to be romantic most of the time
Ladies, we all want to be told about how much we are loved in probably a thousand ways. But, sadly, these people called men just do not get it. It is easier for them to express our negatives but when it comes to expressing that emotion called love, they just fail miserably at it. It weakens us truly!
- Offering innocent ideas
When women give away complete innocent and honest ideas to their partners, it is taken in a light so different that we regret having said anything in the first place. A woman’s suggestions towards something different, or some piece of information that she thinks would be helpful for her partner when shared, the man takes it as criticism, blame and in some horrid cases as condemnation. Then all of that is followed by brawls, and it all boils down to a pool of heart rendering tear for her. It is only her love for her partner to share such views, but this weakness of hers can somehow manage to drive him crazy. How it manages to make him crazy, is still a mystery!
- Bending over her partner’s shoulders for comfort
When a woman wants to unload all of her worries to her man, it is seen as a call for help. Here the man tends to feel sorry for her. Having pity on her only makes her more vulnerable. Men also tend to perceive this as nagging from the woman, and that just does not settle in well with him.
- If you are more successful more than him
When a woman is more successful than her man, instead of that being a reason of pride for her, it normally ends up being her ultimate weakness in her relationship. The man feels threatened and even in some cases intimidated. Why that is, is something that women just do not understand! But this becomes one of her weaknesses only as it ends up threatening that delicate thread of her relationship.
10. Giving up everything far too quickly
Call it trust or a plain retarded behavior; women tend to just simply give up too quickly on most of the valuable things in their lives. Be it their apartments, finances, time, bodies, hearts and the list is endless. They do it nearly at the drop of an insane ugly hat! Without knowing the real intentions of the man, they just make this most absurd mistake. Maybe it is because of a sense of insecurity or perhaps they believe that the man will love her more in return for such charitable acts of hers. It is one of the most foolish weaknesses and mistakes. Giving up too quickly on anything is simply not done!
The first thing you notice, coming to Israel from the Arab world, is that you have left the most courteous region of the globe and entered the rudest. The difference is so profound that you’re left wondering when the mutation in Semitic blood occurred, as though God parted the Red Sea and said: “Okay, you rude ones, keep wandering toward the Promised Land. The rest of you can stay here and rot in the desert, saying ‘welcome, most welcome’ and drowning each other in tea until the end of time
Incompatible religious doctrines have balkanized our world into separate moral communities, and these divisions have become a continuous source of bloodshed. Indeed, religion is as much a living spring of violence today as it has been at any time in the past. The recent conflicts in Palestine (Jews vs. Muslims), the Balkans (Orthodox Serbians vs. Catholic Croatians; Orthodox Serbians vs. Bosnian and Albanian Muslims), Northern Ireland (Protestants vs. Catholics), Kashmir (Muslims vs. Hindus), Sudan (Muslims vs. Christians and animists), Nigeria (Muslims vs. Christians), Ethiopia and Eritrea (Muslims vs. Christians), Sri Lanka (Sinhalese Buddhists vs. Tamil Hindus), Indonesia (Muslims vs. Timorese Christians), Iran and Iraq (Shiite vs. Sunni Muslims), and the Caucasus (Orthodox Russians vs. Chechen Muslims; Muslim Azerbaijanis vs. Catholic and Orthodox Armenians) are merely a few cases in point. These are places where religion has been the explicit cause of literally millions of deaths in recent decades.
Why is religion such a potent source of violence? There is no other sphere of discourse in which human beings so fully articulate their differences from one another, or cast these differences in terms of everlasting rewards and punishments. Religion is the one endeavor in which us–them thinking achieves a transcendent significance. If you really believe that calling God by the right name can spell the difference between eternal happiness and eternal suffering, then it becomes quite reasonable to treat heretics and unbelievers rather badly. The stakes of our religious differences are immeasurably higher than those born of mere tribalism, racism, or politics
We consider ourselves a nation that just wants to live in peace, but it’s about time we realize that for Palestinians the siege and the occupation are a constant state of war.
Not one of our wars was one of our choosing. Nobody should have to sleep with the thought of Hamas digging tunnels under their home. No state would have been willing to live with rockets. No one should accept the abduction of soldiers. No society would be willing to tolerate terror attacks in its cities. No one wants Katyusha rockets falling on cities in the north. No regime should accept stone-throwing on its main roads. All of the wars were entirely justified when they broke out, and anyone who doesn’t understand this is simply naive, or traitorous.
That’s how the obtuse rationale that has taken over Israel functions. Israeli existence has no past and no history, no context and no politics – just a cycle of threats and responses, all of which are justified.
At some point this cycle is supposed to get tired. At some point it should be clear that if you stop the suicide bombings, the other side finds rockets. And if you stop the rockets, the other side finds tunnels. I’m sure that the greatest of minds are working right now on a solution to the tunnels, except that soon another existential threat will rise, one that is much more primitive and much more frightening. Because that’s how independence struggles play out all over the world. Cruel, ugly, and bloody. The Viet Cong, the Algerian FLN, even the African National Congress at some point – they all held what were considered at the time to be radical ideologies, and they all used horrifying measures. Why would it be any different for us and the Palestinians?
The infrastructure for terror is the occupation. We consider ourselves a nation of peace seekers who just want to be allowed to live in peace, and I believe that no Israeli wants to kill or be killed. But it’s about time we understood that the Palestinians live in a constant state of war – whether it be the siege of Gaza or military rule in the West Bank. And if we don’t understand this, they’ll be sure to remind us. Gaza is the farthest place in the world from Tel Aviv – until the rockets fall. And then suddenly we remember we’re neighbors.
The entire world understands the connection between the occupation and terror. It’s only us who don’t. Only we feed ourselves stories of global Jihad and anti-Semitism being the root of the problem, while the most simple explanation is right in front of us. World history makes it clear: Either the occupied minority are made citizens of the occupying state, or it is granted independence. There are no other nations stuck in this kind of limbo, without citizenship and without a state, like the Palestinians. And there are certainly no other nations that would tolerate it.
Tel Aviv is to blame, too. Tel Aviv, which thinks it’s a cute Western city, opposes the situation in theory but mostly doesn’t pay any attention to those forgotten just an hour away. Tel Aviv would also prefer to have victims of war instead of paying the price of a just compromise. Maybe because most of the victims are on the other side. Maybe because the cost of a compromise is a war at home, with our own people.
One thing is clear: This won’t stop. If we occupy the Gaza Strip, the Palestinians will try to kill the soldiers who enter Gaza, and if we leave they will swim and dig and fire missiles so that we remember they exist. Then we will respond with force. There will be no other choice.
Ilham Tohti, who has become one of the most prominent political prisoners in China after his arrest in January 2014, was sentenced to life in prison last week. Amid the developments in the Middle East and the clashes between the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) and Kurdish groups in Kobani, many have missed this important verdict and the debates on its possible outcomes for the ethnic conflict in Xinjiang and the human rights situation in China.
First of all, the verdict demonstrates that China is becoming increasingly predictable in its patterns of behavior regarding human rights and defiant to the principles of the international community. In reality, nobody was surprised when Ilham Tohti was arrested in China. Even the life sentence did not shock many human rights advocates working on different issues of human rights and basic liberties in China. For years now, by constantly witnessing these forms of violations, the international community started to be less sensitive and Western governments “learned” to become satisfied with the minimum level of improvements in human rights in China. For years, very small gestures and the release of individual political prisoners as a result of international pressure have been regarded as “a major step” toward the improvement of conditions in the country. However, these “major steps” did not bring any form of structural reform or development in the state of human rights in the country. While Beijing remained reluctant to make these reforms, Western democracies started to bring human rights less frequently to their agendas of meetings with China. The global economic recession deteriorated the situation further as many Western countries started to approach human rights issues as a burden to their economic policies and trade relations with China. This situation may bring short term benefit for the economies of these countries, however, in the long run it is generating a major threat for the international system as a whole. What is being neglected here is how the government’s treatment of its citizens can have a major influence to its pattern of behavior in foreign relations, which can make it less cooperative and more assertive and aggressive. In addition, the defiance of a single country to the principles of the international community can generate a model for other less powerful authoritarian regimes in different parts of the world and may help the spread of authoritarianism. This situation presents a clear threat for an already unstable international system today.
Secondly, the arrest and sentencing of Ilham Tohti, who was considered as the most moderate voice among Uighurs in China, is also indicative of the possible path of ethnic conflict in the region. So far, authorities in China rejected to recognize anyone that voiced the demands and grievances of the Uighur minority. There is no political space for Uighur dissent to organize and ask for their rights in the country and every form of criticisms is perceived as a major threat. This situation prevents the emergence of a healthy and meaningful dialogue where parties can discuss their problems and possible ways they could be resolved. Uighur organizations abroad are considered “groups under the influence of foreign powers” and “external elements,” whereas more religious and conservative organizations are portrayed as being “fundamentalists” and “radicals.” The last hope of emergence of a meaningful and healthy dialogue between Uighurs and the Chinese state was the rise of personalities such as Ilham Tohti. However, the arrest and sentencing of Tohti demonstrates that China does not recognize the existence of a problem, will continue to avoid paying attention to the despair and grievances of the Uighur people and will not engage in a dialogue with Uighurs to resolve the problems. Without this dialogue it is hard to be optimistic and to expect the highly touted “social harmony” in the country.
Both of these outcomes presents a clear threat for both liberty and security of Uighurs and stability and prosperity of China as well as the future of human rights and fundamental liberties in international system. Thus this verdict provides us every reason to be less optimistic for the resolution of the ethnic conflict in the region.
Hypocrisy, in the sense of professing to believe one thing but actually practicing, or believing in, something different, is essential in any civilized society. Under the broad spectrum of hypocrisy come such survival techniques as good manners, politeness, diplomacy, euphemism, those ‘little white lies’, and wisely-formulated policies which include ‘the customer is always right’ and ‘money talks’. When we meet a person for the first time, perhaps socially, in a business or work situation, or through family, and that person proves to be the most utterly boring person we’ve ever met, we would be extremely ill-mannered, not to mention unwise, to tell this person we can’t bear another second of their company, and march off. Instead, we’ll nod politely, and find somewhere else we need to be as soon as possible. This form of hypocrisy is known as good manners. Similarly, if another person is introduced to us as a cattle farmer, and proceeds to speak proudly of their business, we shouldn’t instantly inform our new acquaintance that we believe all cattle-farmers to be little better than sadistic murderers of innocent creatures, parasites who make money by gratifying barbaric and carnivorous humans, and then throw a handy bottle of blood all over the surprised farmer. No matter how fierce a vegetarian we might be at heart, we’ll instead pretend to listen politely while quickly seeking an excuse to diplomatically move away. This is also good manners. Whatever we might think of another person, or their beliefs, or their business, or whatever else about them there might be that we don’t like, to make our distaste or even disgust obvious is a bad thing to do. We can hardly avoid meeting many people we might disapprove of while in company with others to whom we give, or owe, respect. To behave badly towards another in that company is to behave badly to all present. Where hypocrisy becomes distasteful and unpleasant is in circumstances where a person professes – for instance – good intentions, or good deeds, when we know perfectly well they’d take the last piece of candy from a starving baby. In other words, we know they’re lying about themselves. Again, because we live in a civilized society, we usually dont want to, or can’t, call them a filthy hypocrite loudly to their faces or to people we know will pass our comments back to them. We might keep quiet not because we condone their behavior but because to publicly condemn them might bring about unfortunate consequences to others, not to mention ourselves. Every day we make the decision to speak to or about people in a certain way; to behave towards them in one manner or another. If in every instance we behaved exactly the way we felt, we wouldn’t last long in any civilized society. We need to temper our reactions, our responses, with the realization that our need to live within a community involves civilized behavior. Mostly we do this without much, if any, conscious thought. But when the necessity arises to behave in a way at odds with our conscience, we weigh up the alternatives, to ourselves and to others, and respond accordingly. It isn’t clear cut, not black and white, at all. A small child might see its parent behave politely towards someone that child knows is despised by the parent, and feel outraged, even without knowing the term, ‘hypocrisy’. A wise parent will explain as simply as possible what has happened and why. Even without the advantage of wise parents, the child will in any case grow to learn how to instinctively respond to others so that their place in the community – civilized society – remains as pleasant as possible. When a really important struggle with one’s conscience arises, and it doesn’t usually arise all that frequently, then we can only make the best possible decision we can, taking the needs of others into consideration as well as our personal need to be honest. There is no shame in finding hypocrisy might be the best policy. Just call it good manners, and avoid lying about yourself: that’s the bad sort of hypocrisy which is, after all, also bad manners.
Any of several political-economic doctrines that have in common advocating that government impose political barriers to international trade (usually taxes on imports or quantitative restrictions limiting the volume of legally allowable imports of each particular good) in order to “protect” a domestic firm (or firms) manufacturing these same goods from foreign competition and thereby make it (them) more profitable than would otherwise be the case under free competition. Although difficult to justify on the basis of economic theory, protectionist measures often enjoy considerable political support because it is usually much easier for a tiny group of firms (and their associated labor unions) that stand to benefit greatly from a protectionist measure to organize for political influence than it is for the much larger group of consumers who each stand to lose smaller individual amounts by the proposed measure — even though the total losses normally greatly exceed the total gains.