Technocracy – Government Over Machines


What is technocracy?

According to dictionaries, technocracy describes a government which is under control of technically skilled people. Many people have associated this interpretation of the concept of “technocracy” with what actual, existing organisations advocating technocracy want to establish. Technocracy is unique in the aspect that the word itself draws negative connotations from all directions. The political left accuses the political right of being “technocrats” and vice-versa.
When technocrats are confronted about their ideological inclination, they often do not know how to deal with the hostility expressed by persons who have an inner mental picture of technocracy as some form of evil conspiracy, or mindless gray economistic totalitarian belief in the supremacy of industrialism.

We have most often discussed what technocracy is from a technical perspective, which has given the impression that we are hiding or downplaying the “ideological issues”. This has given room for accusations.

One could say that when technocrats are confronted on what technocracy is, they generally answer what we want to do. That is of course because no one has up to yet offered any viable definition of technocracy as an ideology. The reason for that is – shamefully enough – that no technocrat has ever investigated any eventual ideological foundation of technocracy.

In this article, we aim to explore why there is so little “ideological self-analysis” in technocracy, about the potential of the human being and the role of the technate, as well as human rights under a technate.

What is an ideology?

An ideology is an organized collection of ideas. The word ideology was coined by Count Antoine Destutt de Tracy in the late 18th century to define a “science of ideas.” An ideology can be thought of as a comprehensive vision, as a way of looking at things (compare Weltanschauung), as in common sense (see Ideology in everyday society) and several philosophical tendencies (see Political ideologies), or a set of ideas proposed by the dominant class of a society to all members of this society. The main purpose behind an ideology is to offer change in society through a normative thought process. Ideologies are systems of abstract thought (as opposed to mere ideation) applied to public matters and thus make this concept central to politics. Implicitly every political tendency entails an ideology whether or not it is propounded as an explicit system of thought. 

The three dominant ideologies in Europe and in the European off-shot cultures, have historically been liberalism, conservatism and socialism. Without going in-depth about them, we could state that they share some inherent similarities. What a lot of people tend to forget, is that all three of those ideologies are based on assumptions of human nature. Liberalism and socialism both stress a belief in progress and enlightenment, and share an optimistic view on the human being, while conservatism has generally viewed people as children in need for fatherly and paternal guidance (in some sense, that view is prevalent in marxism-leninism, social liberalism and social democracy as well).

Thus, similarities between the three basic ideoloigies from which all other modern ideologies have emerged are that they put human nature, human reason, and a vision for how the human being should pursue his/her happiness in the centre.

In technocracy, the nature of the human being is never investigated, since technocrats choose empirical evidence and statistical information before idealism in judging what should be done. The center of the technocratic world-view is the infrastructure, while the nature of the human being is left in the void, thus efficiently disconnecting technocracy from any short-sentenced reference to why we need to install it.

Why?

When technocracy was originally formulated in the 1920’s, it was a progressive standpoint reflecting the optimism of the early 20th century, the belief in technology itself as well as rationalism, taylorism and American pragmatism. In that essence, Howard Scott did have a point when he referred to technocracy as a post-ideology.

The original technocrats were not philosophers or sociologists, but people with education in natural sciences, with all the strong and weak points of a worldview following such an education.

The Nature of the Human Being

As a technocrat, one must realise that a human being is a life-form with physical needs which need to be satisfied for it to be able to raise itself. It is acting within a physical world and is talented with an unmatched capacity for abstract thinking, allowing it to interact and form holonic structures (yes, most basic human interaction is holonic by nature), as well as hierarchical units to serve its interests. That is already explored in chapter 23 of the TSC, known as the “Human Animal”.

The chapter generally takes a mechanistic viewpoint of human behavior, remniscent of behaviorism, but that is to be seen as a product of the particular level of science during that time.

We, humans, are of course basically still animals, but have taken the first steps towards evolutionary stages where we would be able to control, understand and develop our mental capacities. This development doesn’t of course negate neither our more primitive instincts or the need to establish a sustainable society.

It is evidently clear that we should develop our capacity to its fullest extent, but for it to be developed, it cannot be stomped out of the ground by cybernetic implants or control – no matter how benevolent – from above. Without the freedom to develop its full potential, the human being will become stiffled and unable to fulfil its creative needs.

It is of course still unclear exactly how complex the human psyche is, but it is clear that it is fragile, easy to manipulate and even possible to break. Still today, in modern Europe with all its prosperity, many human beings feel detached from life itself and alienated by the unnecessary demands from society administrated through a price system which demands all responsibility from its agents while virtually refusing to honor anything in return. Newly certified doctors and scientists often end up at MacDonald’s, where their talents are wasted, while the medic sector is terribly understaffed. It is a society with physical abundance, where mountains of waste are rising while ethnically and regionally based groups clash over lumps and stones.

What has that to do with human nature?

Of course, if we look at human nature as what the human is today, then it has everything to do with it. The price system has been raised because of generations of human interaction, and has led to unprecedented growth in technology, consumption and capital. This growth will inevitably lead to a downfall. “Human nature” must mean everything that is scientifically predestined to be “human”, including primitive as well as less primitive aspects of the human bodily functions and the human mind.

One could claim that the need for accumulation is a part of “human nature”, but – if we dissect that aspect from the metaphysical assertions of idealists and instead merge it with our understanding of how other advanced species of mammals function and work – we will quickly reject that argument and instead realise that human nature is a result of millions of years of evolution.

  • I doubt anyone here is willing to conclude that violence between human beings is an acceptable conduct in a civilised society. Yet, we generally have police forces. Every day, society fights to correct some unwanted actions deriving from human nature. If we would simply state that technocracy is unable to exist due to a possible contradiction with human nature, we would also render all education, all criminal correction facilities and all programmes to stop crime as “impossible”.

Even though technocracy in itself might be an infringement upon one aspect of human behavior, supposedly the observed tendency to accumulate, it is nothing resembling a direct, physical violation of human rights.

The Human Being Over Technocracy

The technate is of course a government, since it by its nature governs. But it is different from all other governments in one vital characteristic – it is not established to govern over people. The subjects under technocracy are not human beings, but the continental infrastructure, and under it, the resources of the area in question.

Technate is a service, under control of human being. It does not own its production capacity, but administrates the production capacity which is divided into shares owned and used by the human beings living in the same area as the technate. The only thing which the technate needs in order to be operated is technical maintenance from the users, during a specific minimum of time.

The role of the human being in the technate would not be that of a wealthy landlord, a libertarian entrepreneur or a proud proletarian, but that of an enlightened creator, with full access to a share of production capacity exceeding his/her own individual ability to create. By this autonomy, he/she is given the right to define the meaning with his/her own life.
The technate could not impose any laws, taxes or bills.

Any legislative or democratic bodies would lie outside of the operative framework of the technate, and the latter will not be able to influence such agreements. The only foundation of the technate, is that no individual may infringe on any other’s right to his/her share of usership of the continental production capacity.

Therefore, technocracy essentially does not need to motivate why the human being deserves to live in such a society, since it exists as a service initiated by human beings, rather than as an autocratic system aimed at transforming human social relations from above.

 

 

NAWAZ SHARIF’S CORRUPTION


1. 1. CORRUPTION CASES

Nawaz Sharif and his cronies have always been working to plunder Pakistan’s wealth as their sole agenda. He expanded his business empire by misusing his authority as Chief Minister Punjab and Prime Minister Pakistan. And in order to gain financial benefits, he manipulated laws and changed policies. Likewise, in a bid to avoid accountability, the Nawaz Sharif Government amended “The Ehtasaab Act” and made it effective from “1990” instead of “1985” as proposed in the original text of the “Ehtasaab Act” prepared by the interim government of caretaker Prime Minister (Late) Mairaj Khalid (1996-97). And by bringing this change he cunningly saved his tenure of Chief Minister Punjab (1985-88) from accountability.
Despite all maneuvering following references were filed against the Sharifs:-

  1. Nawaz Sharif, Shahbaz Sharif and others misused official resources causing a loss to the national exchequer of Rs 620million by developing 1800 acres of land in Raiwind at state expense.
  2. Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif are accused of whitening black money during their first tenure (1990-93) and causing a loss of Rs 180 million to the national exchequer by evading income/wealth tax.
  3. Nawaz Sharif, Saif-ur-Rehman and others reduced import duty from 325% to 125% on import of luxury cars (BMW), causing a huge loss of Rs1.98 billion to the national exchequer.
  4. On the imposition of emergency and freezing of foreign currency accounts, Nawaz Sharif and Saif-ur-Rehman removed 11 billion US dollars from Pakistani Banks illegally. Without the consent of account holders, Foreign Exchange Bearer Certificates (FEBC) accounts were frozen and foreign exchange was misappropriated.
  5. Illegal appointments in Pakistan International Airlines (Nawaz Sharif and Saeed Mehdi).
  6. Abbotabad land purchase scam (Nawaz Sharif and Sardar Mehtab Abbasi).
  7. Availing bank loan for Ittefaq Foundries and Brothers Steel Mills without fulfilling legal requirements (Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif).
  8. Concealment of property in the US (Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif).
  9. Illegal appointments and promotions in Federal Investigation Agency (Nawaz Sharif).
  10. US wheat purchase scam (Nawaz Sharif and Syeda Abida Hussain).
  11. Murree land purchase scam (Nawaz Sharif and Saif-ur-Rehman)
  12. Tax evasion (Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif).
  13. Forging of passports and money laundering (Nawaz Sharif and Ishaq Dar).
  14. Concealment of private helicopter purchase while filing assets’ detail (Nawaz Sharif).
  15. Favoring Kohinoor Energy Co, causing loss of Rs. 450 millions (Nawaz Sharif and Others).
  16. Illegal cash finance facility given to Brothers Sugar Mills (Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif).
  17. Bribe offered to ANP’s Senator Qazi Mohammad Anwer (Nawaz Sharif and Others).
  18. Hudaibiya Paper Mills Reference against Sharif brothers and Ishaq Dar.
  19. Illegally appointing Chairman Central Board of Revenue (Nawaz Sharif)
  20. Whitening of black money by amending laws (Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif). 
  21. Causing Rs. 35 billion loss by writing off/rescheduling bank loans (Nawaz Sharif and Ishaq Dar).
  22. Bribing (late) Maulana Sattar Niazi from National Exchequer (Nawaz Sharif and Others).
  23. Plundering Rs. 200 million from Jahez and Baitul Maal funds (Nawaz Sharif & Others)
  24. Opening fictitious foreign currency accounts (Nawaz Sharif and Ishaq Dar).
  25. Making 130 political appointments in federal departments (Nawaz Sharif).
  26. Relaxing export duty and rebate to transport sugar to India (Nawaz Sharif).
  27. Whitening of money through FEBC (Nawaz Sharif).
  28. Wealth Tax evasion (Nawaz Sharif).
  29. Concealment of facts to evade property tax (Nawaz Sharif).
  30. Withdrawal of case against Senator Islamuddin Sheikh (Nawaz Sharif, & Ishaq Dar).
  1. 2. FINANCIAL GAINS BY USING HIS AUTHORITY AS PRIME MINISTER

The first tenure of Nawaz Sharif as Prime Minister in the year 1990 saw another reign of loot and plunder. During this period Mian Nawaz Shairf obtained loans amounting to more than Rs.614 billion from Banks through his influence against inadequate guarantees. According to the details of loans obtained by Sharifs include Rs.1556 million  for Ittefaq Foundries, Rs. 543 million for Haseeb Waqas Sugar Mills, Rs.455 million for Mehran Ramzan Textile Mills, Rs.373 million for Ramzan Bukhsh Textile Mills, Rs.339 millions for Ch. Sugar Mills, Rs.226 millions for Ittefaq brothers, Rs. 205  million for Sandalbar Textile Mills, Rs.182 million for Hudaibiya Engineering Mills, Rs.153 million for Hamza Board Mills Ltd, Rs.134 million for Hudaibiya paper Mills, Rs.351 Million for Brothers Sugar Mills, Rs.174 million for Brothers Textile Mills, Rs.159 million for Brothers Steel Mills, Rs.623 million for Ramzan Sugar Mills, Rs. 191 million Khalid Siraj Textiles, Rs.313 million for Ittefaq Sugar Mills, Rs.164 million for Ittefaq Textile Mills, and Rs.239 million were obtained for Ittefaq Brothers. Due to the malpractice the national wealth was used for establishing personal empire while the country’s economy was facing disaster. This loan was equivalent to the total internal loan obtained by the government of Pakistan! These so called patriotic politicians ruthlessly plundered the national exchequer and used national wealth for personal financial gains. In addition money laundering worth billions of dollars through illegal means, wheat import scam, awarding motorway’s contract to an internationally black listed company, receiving heavy loans despite of being defaulter, secret businesses in UK (Evidence attached), Sugar mills in Kenya and four flats in the most expensive area of London and huge commissions in privatization of Muslim Commercial Bank (MCB) are also a few “achievements” of Nawaz Sharif and family.

  1. 3. THE AUDITOR GENERAL REPORT

The Auditor General Report released in the year 1988-89 reported that Nawaz Sharif, misusing his authority as Chief Minister Punjab, issued directives which resulted into direct malpractice of Rs. 35 billion.
The report said that the Chief Minister Secretariat had been turned into a hub of corrupt practices and Nawaz Sharif used public money like an emperor that resulted into huge fiscal deficit of the province.
The Auditor General Report released in the year 1986-87 said that the then Chief Minister Nawaz Sharif had used Rs. 1200 million for malpractices in only one year.
Nawaz Sharif allotted 3000 precious Lahore Development Authority (LDA) plots among his favourites due to which the province suffered loss of billions of rupees.
Nawaz Sharif was the lead character of the Cooperative and Financial Institutions Scam, which deprived the retired employees, orphans, widows, and poor of their total assets amounting to Rs. 17 billion.
Nawaz Sharif released Rs. 1200 million from his discretionary grant in the year 1985-86 while Rs. 1895 million were released in 1986-87, Rs. 1899 million were used in 1987-88 while another Rs. 1887 million were distributed among his cronies.

  1. 4. RELATIONS WITH THE TERRORISTS

Nawaz Sharif, Shahbaz Sharif and other party leaders practically share and proudly identify commonalities between PML-N and Taliban and they have very close ties and cordial relations with terrorists and banned terrorist outfits. In early 90s Nawaz Sharif received huge sums of money from Osama Bin Laden to overthrow former Prime Minister of Pakistan Shaheed Benazir Bhutto’s Government. Even now PML-N’s cabinet members and spokespersons are commonly seen hanging around with members of those banned outfits, reportedly involved in managing terrorist attacks on thousands of innocent Pakistanis including soldiers, police officials and members of other law enforcement agencies.
Due to compromising attitude of PML-N’s leadership and their mild will to fight against the menace of terrorism the members of law enforcement agencies are completely demoralized. That is one of the reasons that the investigations against terrorists are not carried out in a proper manner and proof against arrested terrorists usually is not available. Due to the incapability of the Punjab Government terrible terrorist attacks took place in the province including suicide attack on Police Training School Bedian Road, blast in Moon Market Lahore, car bomb blast in the Rescue 15 building, car bomb blast in F.I.A building, suicide attack on Munawan Police Training Center, Model Town link road bomb blast, suicide attack on Jamia Naemia, terrorist attack on Ahmedi’s worship places, blasts in Imam Bargahs including Karbla Gammay Shah and suicide bomb blasts in the sacred shrine of Hazrat Data Gunj Buksh along with many others. After these attacks PML-N has morally lost its right of government in Punjab.
Further, it was Shahbaz Sharif, who instead of showing courage and political and moral will to fight against the enemies of Pakistan, in his speech in Jamia Naemia Lahore, begged for mercy from the terrorists. He, in a very disgraceful manner, requested them not to attack Punjab as they are likeminded and standing on the same side. This statement of Shahbaz Sharif reflects his mindset !

  1. 5. CONSPIRACIES AGAINST DEMOCRACY

Nawaz Sharif and Co. has always been involved in destabilizing the democratic system by one way or the other and did not even hesitate to take bribes to grab power. Lt. General (R) Naseerullah Babar, the former Interior Minister had disclosed in the National Assembly in 1994, that the ISI had disbursed money to purchase the loyalty of various right wing politicians, including that of Nawaz Sharif, in order to manipulate the 1990 elections, for the Islamic Jamhoori Ittehad (IJI- Pakistan democratic alliance), and bring about the defeat of the PPP. As proof Lt. General (R) Naseerullah Babar, Lt. General (R) Asad Durrani and others have filed affidavits supported by copies of various documents. In Air Marshal Asghar Khan’s human rights petition (HRC 19/96) in the Supreme Court of Pakistan against the former Chief of Army Staff Mirza Aslam Baig and the former Chief of the ISI and a banker concerning the criminal distribution of the people’s money for political purposes. The case is pending adjudication in the Supreme Court of Pakistan for the last 14 years.
1. 6. DECEIT AND LYING

Nawaz Sharif’s politics is based on the philosophy “lie repeatedly till it seems as the truth”. He has based his politics on deceit and lies. Nawaz Sharif and his “chellaz” believe in lying repeatedly and religiously follow their convictions in this regard. They are masters in the art of manipulation and alteration and use their wealth to achieve their goals. One example is enough to expose their hideous character. After conviction in the hijacking case, Nawaz Sharif and his family approached foreign friends who persuaded President Pervez Musharraf to have mercy and forgive them. Nawaz Sharif, Shahbaz Sharif  and family sought pardon and signed agreements including a commitment not to participate in politics for a period of  ten years but they kept lying and hid the existence of these agreements from the nation until the head of Saudi Arabian Secret Agency, Prince Miqran Bin Abdul Aziz and Prime Minister of Lebanon Mr. Saad Hariri’s unveiled the existence of these agreements and Ch. Nisar had to admit the existence of these agreements during the press conference of Javed Hashmi. Sharif brothers in return of Pervez Musharraf’s “Ehsaan” (generosity) have not only crossed all limits of hostility but also lied to the nation. Would Nawaz Sharif and his “chellaz” ever tender apology to the Pakistani Nation, for lying to them for so many years?      

  1. 7. POLICE STATE

Under the horrible times of Shahbaz Sharif’s Government the Punjab province has been virtually converted in to a “Badmaash” (rogue) province. Here police officials get involved in heinous and brutal criminal activities like one in Sialkot. The administration did not take any action against the shameful and atrocious lynching of two young brothers until the footage was telecast on electronic channels. It is believed that only in Gujranwala Division, where a brother of PML (N) MNA was deputed as head of police department, more than two hundred extra judicial killings have taken place.  The record shows that in Punjab, police force has been continuously used to harass and insult political rivals. An endless campaign of lodging false FIRs against political opponents has also been initiated. Use of brutal police force and baton-charge has become a routine. Every segment of society including journalists, doctors, teachers, students, nurses, Government employees, semi Government and private institutions and lawyers have faced the brutality of police while protesting for their demands.

  1. 8. POOR GOVERNANCE & MALADMINISTRATION

It is a hard fact that poor governance & maladministration is trade mark of Sharif brothers. Shahbaz Sharif is an attention-seeker and likes to show off. For the sake of “cheap publicity” he has started calling himself “Khadam-e-Ala” but miserably failed to meet the challenges of governance and administration. It’s a harsh reality that during his tenure in Punjab all institutions deteriorated conspicuously. In order to achieve their motives, Sharifs always appoint their blue eyed personnel on key posts by completely ignoring merit. Almost all districts of Punjab are being run by grade 19 officers who are incapable hence a basic reason for poor governance. Due to his dictatorial approach Shahbaz Sharif himself heads 12 provincial ministries and he seldom holds cabinet meeting. He takes decisions over ruling, the cabinet. His obstinate behavior is the prime reason for the maladministration in the province. It would be just and appropriate to suggest that Sharifs have failed to establish a democratic spirit in their government and have completely overlooked the norms of democratic political setups.

  1. 9. CRIMINAL ASSAULT ON THE SUPREME COURT OF PAKISTAN

In order to consolidate and attain more power, ‘the champion of democracy and independent judiciary’, Nawaz Sharif attacked every individual and institution, he felt could get in the way and challenge his authority. In order to get rid of Chief Justice Sajjad Ali Shah, who Nawaz Sharif despised, the latter created divisions amongst the judges using the humble services of a former judge, Rafique Tarrar (later President of Pakistan) to make life difficult for the Chief Justice. A group of judges refused to acknowledge CJ Sajjad Ali Shah as the Chief Justice and things got so bad that a number of junior judges made it difficult for him to carry out his duties. Eventually, Sharif ordered his thugs to attack the Supreme Court in order to prevent the Chief Justice from giving a ruling against him.
The police did nothing to stop Sharif’s thugs as they attacked and entered the Supreme Court premises. The judges inside the building barely managed to escape. The thugs, led by Sajjad Naseem and Mushtaq Tahir Kheli, Nawaz Sharif’s political secretaries, entered the court chanting anti-CJ Sajjad slogans and destroyed the Court Room.
1. 10. CAMPAIGN AGAINST THE PRESS AND JOURNALISTS

A number of incidents during 1998-99 indicated a pattern of harassment and intimidation of individual journalists as the government was increasingly becoming intolerant. Imtiaz Alam, a Lahore-based journalist, complains of threats over the telephone and then of his car being set on fire in a mysterious manner the next day. Another Lahore journalist, Mahmud Lodhi, was picked up and held in illegal custody for two days. He was questioned about his involvement with a BBC team filming a documentary on the rise and wealth of the Sharif family. Present Pakistani ambassador in USA Mr. Hussain Haqqani was picked up in a cloak-and-dagger fashion and interrogated at a FIA Center for money embezzlement while he held government office.
The residence of Idrees Bakhtiar, a senior staff reporter of monthly Herald and BBC correspondent in Karachi was raided by CIA police on Nov. 26, 1998. The police harassed the family and also arrested his 28-year old son, Moonis, who was later released.  On Feb. 13, 1999, three persons, including Senator Abdul Hayee Baloch and a lady worker from Lahore, were injured when the police baton-charged, used water cannons and threw  bricks on a peaceful procession of the Pakistan Awami Ittehad in front of the parliament house in Islamabad. The march, organized by the PAI for the freedom of the press, was led by PAI president Nawabzada Nasrullah Khan (late), the then opposition leader Shaheed Benazir Bhutto and secretary general of the alliance Hamid Nasir Chatta, besides a number of sitting and former PPP MNAs and senators.
The owner of the Frontier Post, Rehmat Shah Afridi, was arrested in Lahore on April 2, 1999, by the Anti-narcotics Force. The Peshawar-based Frontier Post was critical of government policies. Afridi’s arrest was seen by journalists and others as another attempt to gag the Press. On May 8, 1999, Najam Sethi, Editor of The Friday Times, was arrested on the orders of Nawaz Sharif. Police stormed into his house in Lahore and dragged him out of his bed room. After brutal torture and breaking furniture of the house he was shifted to some unknown place. And before leaving the house with Mr. Sethi, they tied his wife Jugnoo’s hands with a rope and locked her up in a dressing room. Later, Nawaz Sharif asked COAS Gen. Musharraf to charge Mr. Sethi under the Pakistan Army Act for being a traitor and give him maximum punishment (maximum punishment is death!).
The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), a press freedom organization, said on June 1, 1999 that it was conducting an investigation into a “hit list” prepared by the Pakistan government that contains 35 prominent journalists of Pakistan. According to reports received by the CPJ, the federal government had decided to establish a special media cell comprising officials from the police, Intelligence Bureau and the Federal Investigation Agency to punish the journalists, who had been writing against the government. Ehtesab Bureau Chairman, Senator Saifur Rehman Khan was to head this cell which would function from Lahore, Islamabad, Karachi and Peshawar with its head office in Islamabad.
According to the CPJ, the journalists were: Irshad Ahmed Haqqani (late), Rehmat Ali Razi, Anjum Rasheed, (writer and anchor person) Suhail Warraich, Sohaib Marghoob and (late) Roman Ehsan (Jang Lahore), M. Ziauddin (Dawn Islamabad), Dr. Maleeha Lodhi, Javed Jaidi, Nusrat Javeed, Mariana Babar and Ansaar Abbassi (The News, Islamabad), Rehana Hakeem and Zahid Hussain (Newsline), Ejaz Haider, Khalid Ahmed, Jugnu Mohsin and Adnan Adil (The Friday Times, Lahore), Mahmood Sham (Jang, Karachi), Rashed Rehman (The Nation, Lahore), Amir Ahmed Khan (Herald, Karachi), Imtiaz Aalam, Beena Sarwar, Shafiq Awan, Kamila Hyat and Amir Mir (The News Lahore), Abbas Athar (Nawa-e-Waqt, Lahore), Kamran Khan and Shehzad Amjad (The News Karachi), Azam Khalil (Pulse), Mohammad Malik (Tribune), Imtiaz Ahmed (The Frontier Post, Peshawar), Ilyas Chaudhry (Jang Rawalpindi), Naveed Meraj (The Frontier Post, Islamabad) and Syed Talat Hussain (The Nation, Islamabad).
The Government of Nawaz Sharif started a campaign against the Jang group in July 1998 when it refused to sack a number of journalists critical of Government policies. The government objected to the Jang group newspapers’ reporting about the law and order situation in the country and put a ban on advertisement. On August 13, a report was published about non-payment of Rs. 700 million to farmers by the sugar mills owned by the Nawaz Sharif family. Three days later, the government sent notices to Jang for non payment of taxes and the case was shifted to the Ehtesab cell. On September 27, 1998, the Government asked the Jang group not to publish a report of ‘The Observer London’ that Nawaz Sharif had siphoned off millions of rupees. The report was not published by the Jang but it was published by its sister English newspaper The News. On November 5, bank accounts of the Jang group were frozen and FIA raided the Jang and the News offices in Rawalpindi and customs authorities stopped delivery of newsprint to the Jang.
On Jan 28 1999, a sedition case was registered against Mir Shakil-ur-Rehman for publishing an advertisement of Muttahida’s Khidmat-e-Khalq Foundation on January 1, which according to the police, was aimed at inciting people against the state.
Mir Shakil-ur-Rehman revealed that Senator Saif-ur-Rehman asked him to sack a number of Jang employees who should be replaced in consultation with the Government. He released to the press audio-tapes of conversation with Saif-ur-Rehman on this issue. Saif-ur-Rehman accused Mir Shakil-ur-Rehman for evading tax and customs duty to the tune of Rs. 2.6 billion.
The hostility of Sharifs towards media is also evident from the fact that in the parliamentary history of Pakistan for the first time a resolution, condemning the media, was tabled (by a group of MPAs belonging to Nawaz League) and passed in the Punjab Assembly.
1. 11. DESTABILIZATION OF INSTITUTIONS

There is probably no institution in Pakistan which Nawaz Sharif did not aggressively confront in order to make them comply with his wishes. Besides picking a fight with the President, the Judiciary and the restricted/limited media of that time, Sharif also decided to have a confrontation with the army, the only viable institution left in Pakistan. Due to his hostile and dumb approach in Nawaz Sharif’s first term as prime minister, he fell out with three successive army chiefs:  General Mirza Aslam Beg, General Asif Nawaz and General Abdul Waheed Kakar.  During his second tenure, he fell out with two other Generals, General Karamat and later with General Pervez Musharraf. General Karamat became the first Chief of Army Staff in the history of Pakistan to have been prematurely retired!
One by one all challenges and potential obstacles to his dictatorial mindset were removed from his way by Nawaz Sharif. Ghulam Ishaq Khan, Farooq Leghari, Sajjad Ali Shah, and General Jehangir Karamat were all removed from the scene by Nawaz Sharif.
1. 12. Ill-CONSIDERED  ECONOMIC DECISIONS

Nawaz Sharif’s ill-considered economic decisions cost Pakistan dearly! But the Sharif family’s personal business empire grew exponentially through questionable means.
Nawaz Sharif, during his tenure as Chief Minister Punjab from 1988-90, deprived the provincial departments of Rs. 15.35 billion. In addition in 1997-99 he caused huge loss amounting in 11 billion US dollars to private account holders by freezing foreign currency accounts contrary to the law and constitution wherein he and his cronies managed to get away with huge sums even after the freeze. Billions of dollars were removed from the banks without the permission/consent of the account holders but the accounts of common Pakistanis were withheld.
In last two and half years, Shahbaz Sharif wasted more than 40 billion rupees in “Sasti Roti” and other subsidized food schemes that had been initiated to earn cheap popularity and to benefit their political supporters. Admittedly these funds have been distributed amongst their own supporters without any audit just to gain political mileage. A huge chunk of these funds has been disbursed by the ghost “Tandurs” (burners) owners. Inflation and un-employment is rocketing day by day due to the ill-conceived decisions of the provincial government. This is one of the reasons that Punjab could not help flood victims at the time because they had utilized their funds in senseless politically motivated schemes and now have an overdraft amounting Rs. 80 billion.

  1. 13. SELLING KASHMIR CAUSE TO VAJPAYEE IN 1999 AND HUMILATING ARMED FORCES IN USA, DURING KARGIL

The so called son of soil Nawaz Sharif virtually sold Kashmir in 1999 during Indian PM’s visit to Lahore. Nawaz Sharif deleted the word Kashmir from the joint declaration to please Indian counterpart. By crossing all the limits of treachery and falsehood Nawaz Sharif and his cronies claim that Pakistan armed forces lost the Kargil war. In fact, due to the decisions of Nawaz Sharif, Pakistan lost this war in the drawing room of the American President after wining it in the battlefield.
1. 14. ATOMIC EXPLOSIONS
It is a proven fact that in 1998 Nawaz Sharif was double-minded about the atomic explosions. While the nation waited breathlessly for a befitting reply to India, Nawaz Sharif was busy in negotiating economic packages with US Government. Gohar Ayub Khan, who was foreign minister at that time, has also corroborated this fact in his book.

Pakistan’s Mob Democracy


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Originally posted on Dilettante:

Mob democracy is a violent form of direct democracy, periodically activated in Pakistan to confuse, frighten, and undermine representative governments established under the Pakistan Constitution.

These days, a mob led by a charismatic politician and a cult figure is marching toward the nation’s capital, Islamabad, to demand that the Prime Minister resign and the national parliament be dissolved. The Pakistan high courts, including the Supreme Court, have ruled that such demands, no matter how popular, are unconstitutional and may even amount to treason.

As a system, direct democracy is not the same as representative democracy. Under direct democracy, the decisions are made by the people without a parliament or any other intervening institution. Historically, direct democracy has been a viable political method for decision-making in small cities and towns. In modern nations, referendums and initiatives are the procedures of direct democracy used to settle political questions and make constitutional changes…

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Pakistan’s Mob Democracy


Mob democracy is a violent form of direct democracy, periodically activated in Pakistan to confuse, frighten, and undermine representative governments established under the Pakistan Constitution.

These days, a mob led by a charismatic politician and a cult figure is marching toward the nation’s capital, Islamabad, to demand that the Prime Minister resign and the national parliament be dissolved. The Pakistan high courts, including the Supreme Court, have ruled that such demands, no matter how popular, are unconstitutional and may even amount to treason.

As a system, direct democracy is not the same as representative democracy. Under direct democracy, the decisions are made by the people without a parliament or any other intervening institution. Historically, direct democracy has been a viable political method for decision-making in small cities and towns. In modern nations, referendums and initiatives are the procedures of direct democracy used to settle political questions and make constitutional changes with popular support.

Most nations of the world have rejected direct democracy in favor of representative democracy -a form of indirect democracy under which the people elect a parliament (unicameral or bicameral) and authorize the parliament to make laws, set national policies, form governments, and amend the constitution. Pakistan is a layered representative democracy under which each of the four provinces as well as the federation elects a separate parliament by means of popular vote.

By contrast, mob democracy is popular agitation that thrives on turmoil. It arouses the people to paralyze the government through protests, sit-ins, and the so-called long marches. The leaders heading the mob democracy may use passionate rhetoric, pose open or veiled threats to execute the rulers, and may instigate the mob to disobey the parliament, the courts, the police, and other enforcement agencies critical for the maintenance of law and order.

In defending their course of action, the proponents of mob democracy may invoke several modern human rights, including the right to free speech, the right to association, the right to petition, and the right to justice, to argue that the mob pressure is necessary to unseat the members of an “illegitimate” parliament or the “corrupt” heads of government and state. The proponents may also invoke the right to food, shelter, and other social and economic rights to demand that the system be changed and a new constitution be established.

In Pakistan, where the masses are poor and the basic amenities of life are unavailable, mob mutineers know that they can easily excite the masses by painting the rulers as greedy accumulators of wealth for personal gain. The allegations of rigging the elections are also popular excuses to challenge the government.

In hot summer months made worse due to shortage of electricity, the passions can run high and a credible case can be made that the government is incompetent and doing little to remedy the problems the people face.

Mob democracy is popular in Pakistan because the politicians of all parties are steeply engrossed in inter-personal power politics. They see gaining power as a game and not a responsibility to solve problems.

Like the contentious princes of the Moghul Empire, Pakistani politicians spend most of their time and resources in hatching conspiracies to keep or snatch away the throne. Few of them believe that great service to the nation can be rendered by sitting in the opposition and doing the nitty-gritty legislative work.

Gaining executive power is the most valued dream of most Pakistani politicians. Even the provincial executive power does not satisfy their love of personal glory and ambition.

The people of Pakistan need to understand that mob democracy is the worst form of government, worse than the military rule. Mob democracy disrupts normal life, undermines the rule of law, discourages foreign investments, and devalues the national currency. In the fold of mob democracy, the people who suffer the most are ordinary workers and families with limited resources.

The Pakistani media have a special obligation to teach the nation that mob democracy undermines representative democracy, which is neither perfect nor efficient. In every country, representative democracy favors persons with money and networks. It benefits influential families. Yet in an imperfect world, representative democracy delivers more social and economic freedom than any other form of government.

In the final analysis, Pakistan must conclude that the constitutional continuity of democracy is better than rosy revolutions.

STRIVING FOR AKHIRA


Don’t be too proud in wearing designer brands, when the last thing you’ll be dressed in is a white cloth.Don’t be too proud in lushing up your homes, when the last home you’ll be visiting and living permanently is your grave.Don’t be too proud in living your life to the fullest, when the last thing you’ll realise is you wasted your whole life striving for Hell.Don’t be too proud in having all the worlds money, when the last thing you’ll realise is that only one thing will go with you to your grave; and that’s not money!It’s about time we woke up to reality and depend on Allah and His Messenger because it’s not this life we need to settle in, it’s the Akhirah! It’s your decision! 

Pakistan Assessment 2014


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Terrorism in Pakistan has already resulted in at least 460 fatalities, including 241 civilians, 86 Security Force (SF) personnel and 133 militants in just the first month of 2014, according to partial data compiled by the South Asia Terrorism Portal (SATP). 38 major incidents (each resulting in three or more fatalities) have inflicted at least 309 fatalities, and 70 explosions have also been recorded, accounting for 167 deaths. In one of the worst attacks of 2014 targeting civilians, at least 24 Shia pilgrims returning from Iran were killed and another 40 were injured in a bomb attack targeting their bus in the Khusak area of Kanak in the Mastung District of Baluchistan Province, on January 21, 2014. The Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) claimed responsibility for the attack.

Clearly, the ‘terror industry’ that was established by Islamabad decades ago with the primary intention of exporting mujahideen into neighbouring countries, including India and Afghanistan, to secure Pakistan’s perceived ‘strategic interests’, continues to thrive. This vast misadventure, however, turned progressively against its very creators, and, since 9/11, Pakistan has itself become the increasing target of several formerly state sponsored terrorist formations that have ‘gone rogue’, even as international pressure has forced Islamabad to undertake visibly reluctant operations against some of these groups. The process escalated after the creation of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) in the aftermath of the Lal Masjid (Red Mosque) operations in 2007, causing a spiral of violence that now threatens the very existence of the country. Pakistan’s undiminished tolerance for religious extremists has not just destroyed lives and alienated entire communities; it is destroying Pakistani society and the very idea and edifice of the nation.

 

Despite continuing terrorist depredations, according to a survey by the British Council published in April 2013, a majority of respondents – 38 per cent – expressed the opinion that Islamic Sharia was the best system for Pakistan, and another 32 per cent backed military rule. The smallest proportion, just 29 per cent, favoured democracy. The survey covered over 5,200 youth across the country. Ironically, more than 90 per cent of the youth surveyed also believed that the country was heading in the wrong direction.

That direction is dramatically illustrated by trends in terrorist violence, including one of the most glaring among its various parameters – the suicide attack. Before 9/11, Pakistan had witnessed just one suicide attack, when a suicide bomber rammed a pickup truck packed with explosives into the gate of the Egyptian Embassy in Islamabad, killing 15 and wounding 59, on November 20, 1995. Since 9/11, however, the country has recorded at least 387 suicide attacks, resulting in 5,964 fatalities and 12,379 injuries. Five such attacks have already been executed in 2014, killing 28 and injuring 71. Indeed, the number and lethality of such attacks appears to be increasing again, with 43 such incidents resulting in 751 fatalities and 1,411 injuries, recorded through 2013, as against 39 such attacks resulting in 365 deaths and 607 injuries in 2012. A very dramatic decline had been recorded in 2011, with 628 killed in 41 incidents, after the peak of 2010, with 1,167 killed in 49 incidents. In one of these attacks, the Superintendent of Police, Crime Investigation Department, Karachi Police, Chaudhry Aslam Khan, was killed, along with another two Policemen, when a suicide cadre of the TTP rammed his explosive-laden car into Khan’s convoy near Essa Nagri on the Lyari Expressway in Karachi, the provincial capital of Sindh, on January 9, 2014.

Though total terrorism related-fatalities have shown some decline over the past years, current levels remain alarming, and much of the decline is accounted for by the diminution of terrorist fatalities, the result of operational paralysis among state Forces. According to SATP’s partial data, at least 5,379 terrorism-related fatalities were recorded across Pakistan in 2013, as compared to 6,211 fatalities in the preceding year, a decline of 13.39 percent [since media access is heavily restricted in the most disturbed areas of Pakistan, and there is only fitful release of information by Government agencies, the actual figures could be much higher]. Much of the decline was accounted for by the 31.14 per cent drop in terrorist fatalities, from 2,472 terrorists killed in 2012, to 1,702 killed in 2013. Confirming the reluctance of state Forces to confront the terrorists is a significant drop in SF fatalities as well, with 676 SF personnel killed in 2013, as against 732 in 2012, a decline of 7.67 per cent. Civilians, however, continue to pay the price for state inaction, with 3,001 killed in 2013, almost the same as the 3,007 killed in 2012. Crucially, the number of civilian fatalities in Pakistan now exceeds the number of civilian fatalities in neighbouring ‘war torn’ Afghanistan (an estimated 2744 in 2013), widely regarded as the most volatile and unstable country in South Asia.

Pakistan recorded 355 major incidents (each involving three or more fatalities) resulting in 3,268 fatalities, through 2013; as compared to 451 such incidents, resulting in 3,396 deaths, in 2012. While the total number of incidents and total fatalities declined, the lethality of these attacks has risen from an average of 7.53 fatalities per attack in 2012, to 9.21 fatalities per attack in 2013. Similarly, the number of explosions and resultant fatalities stood at 574 and 1624, respectively, in 2013, as against 652 explosions resulting in 1,007 fatalities in 2012, indicating a dramatic rise in lethality, from an average of 1.55 to 2.83 fatalities per incident. At least 128 sectarian attacks, resulting in 525 deaths, were also recorded in Pakistan through 2013, as compared to 173 such attacks and 507 killed in 2012, once again demonstrating a substantial rise in lethality, from 2.93 to 4.11 fatalities per attack, though the overall incidence declined.

 

The worst attack targeting civilians in 2013 occurred on January 10, when at least 105 persons were killed and over 169 were injured in two separate bomb blasts on Alamdar Road in Quetta, the provincial capital of Baluchistan. The worst attack targeting SFs in 2013 was on August 8, when 38 persons, including 21 Police officials, were killed, and another 40 were injured in a suicide blast at a funeral at the Police Lines in Quetta. January 19, 2014, has already recorded a massive attack targeting SFs, with at least 20 soldiers killed and another 30 injured when a bomb ripped through a military convoy in Bannu Town, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP).

Pakistan maintained its ‘status’ as the most dangerous country for journalists in South Asia, with a total of 10 journalists killed in 2013, according to the South Asia Media Commission’s Media Monitor Report. 13 journalists were killed in the country in 2012.

The Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) remain the worst affected region in Pakistan recording at least 1,716 fatalities, followed by Sindh (1,668 fatalities), Baluchistan (960 fatalities) and KP (936 fatalities). The Punjab Province remains the least afflicted region of the country with 81 fatalities. In terms of civilian fatalities, however, Sindh maintains primacy, accounting for 1,285 deaths. Further, the volatile region of Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) recorded 18 killings, including 12 civilians, through 2013.

The pervasive and unbridled terrorism related violence has belied expectations that had been aroused with the formation of the new Government under the premiership of Nawaz Sharif, on June 5, 2013, after Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) secured a convincing victory in the May 2013 General Elections. In evidently misplaced optimism world leaders and pundits had conveniently overlooked Sharif’spast misadventures, his entrenched connections with terrorist formations, as well as his obsession with Kashmir and India. Nawaz Sharif brought this obsession out into the open once again, in his speech at the annual gathering of world leaders at the United Nations General Assembly on September 27, 2013, declaring, “Suffering of the people of Jammu and Kashmir cannot be brushed under the carpet. Kashmiris should be given the right to self-determination.” He remained silent, of course, on the comprehensive denial of rights and the abysmal conditions prevailing in Pakistan occupied Kashmir.

Sharif’s unchanged orientation was also reflected in one of his first major steps, on June 12, 2013, with the announcement of a substantially augmented defence budget of PKR 627 billion for the current fiscal, year as compared to PKR 545 billion in the previous year that ended on June 30, a hike of 15 per cent.

On the other hand, describing the situation in Baluchistan, Major General Ejaz Shahid, Inspector General, Frontier Corps (FC), complained, on January 22, 2014, that, out of PKR 28.5 billion promised to the FC in Baluchistan for 2013-14, the Government had released only PKR 15 billion. He added that a further 30 per cent had been slashed by the Finance Division, even while “we are struggling to establish the writ of the Government along Baluchistan’s western border. We are quite far away from even playing the national anthem in state-run schools in Panjgur, Turbat [Kech] and adjacent cities in Makran Division.” 

Conspicuously, despite vaunting rhetoric on fighting a ‘full throttle war’ against the TTP and its affiliates, and arguing that the “cancer of terrorism needs to be treated before it eats up our country”, Sharif’s overwhelming emphasis has been on talks with the terrorist outfits. His latest initiative in this direction was announced on January 29, 2014, with the formation of a new four-member non-political team to help Government in its efforts for peace with TTP. Sharif told the National Assembly, “Entire nation will stand by Government if it decides to eliminate terrorists by force, I know it. However, we want to give peace another chance since offer of talks has come from the other side.” Sharif, however, conveniently ignored the fact that the TTP had earlier declared, “Democracy is the system of the infidels… If we believed in democracy, we would enter the political arena.” Crucially, TTP’s long-standing objective has been the enforcement of Shari’ah (Islamic Law) in the country “whether through peace or war”.

Moreover, Sharif has stalled operations against terrorists in the North Waziristan Agency, the epicenter of terror in the country. During a meeting with Chief of Army Staff (CoAS) General Raheel Sharif on January 28, 2014, Sharif asserted that no decision on launching an offensive in NWA could be taken without consensus among ‘all stakeholders’ and that any such decision must be in the best ‘national interest’.

While the Prime Minister appears conciliatory in his approach to terrorist formations in the country, his Government is pushing hard in its efforts to prosecute former President General (Retd.) Pervez Musharraf for ‘high treason’, among other charges. The Federal Government has leveled five charges against Musharraf, praying to the Special Court to award the former military ruler the death penalty or life imprisonment, setting the stage for a major potential confrontation between the civilian Government and the Army. In an effort to safeguard himself against any military misadventure in this context – his nemesis during both his earlier tenure as Prime Minister – Sharif appointed General Rashid Mehmood as Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC) and General Raheel Sharif as CoAS, on November 27, 2013.  Both appointees are reported to be close to Sharif’s family. Significantly, however, Pervez Musharraf had been ‘hand-picked’ by Sharif to head the Army, superseding two senior Generals, before the coup of 1999, when he deposed and subsequently exiled Sharif.

As Sharif fails to take any effective action to rein in terrorist formations operating in and from his country, the international community, particularly the US, has once again intensified efforts to cajole Pakistan to shut down its ‘assembly lines of terror’. The US interest, however, is overwhelmingly to secure the safe withdrawal of its Forces from Afghanistan through Pakistan, and Washington continues with its policy flip-flops on Pakistan, despite overwhelming evidence, provided by its own officials, among others, of continuing Pakistani malfeasance. Indeed, on December 20, 2013, after long deliberation, the US Congress passed a USD 552 billion Defense Authorization Bill for 2014, providing for USD 80.7 billon for operations in Afghanistan and USD 1.5 billion for reimbursements to Pakistan, through 2014. The Bill is now pending with the White House for President Barrack Obama to sign into law. The White House has already indicated that the President will sign the Bill.

Reciprocating the US gesture, on December 27, 2013, Nawaz Sharif warned his political rivals against the ongoing anti-drone protests, and the growing isolation of the country, declaring, “Our effort is to transform the existing friendly ties (with other countries) into mutually beneficial partnerships. We live in a globalised world where no one can afford isolation at any level.”

Indeed, on December 4, 2013, the US had announced the suspension of NATO shipments to and from Afghanistan via the Torkham Gate route of KP, following violent protests across the Province by the Imran Khan-led Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and its partners – Jama’at-e-Islami (JeI) and Awami Jamhoori Ittehad Pakistan (AJIP) – in the KP Government. The protests escalated following the killing of then-TTP chief Hakimullah Mehsud on November 1, 2013. Significantly, the Federal Government had claimed, on October 30, 2013, that 2,160 suspected terrorists had been killed in 317 drone strikes since January 2008, while 67 innocent civilians had died in these attacks. Ministry of Defence data also claimed that no innocent civilian had been killed in a drone strike since January 2012, while more than three hundred terrorists had been targeted. The official data negates the claims by local political and religious parties that US drone strikes in Pakistan have mostly killed innocent civilians, including women and children.

Despite the overwhelming damage terrorism has inflicted on Pakistan, the country’s establishment shows no signs of abandoning this device as an instrument of state policy, particularly for its strategic ambitions in India and Afghanistan. It is useful, in this context, to note that, while Pakistan has lost an estimated total of 15,000 SF personnel in the four wars that it has fought with India since 1948, it has lost at least 50,943 lives to terrorism just since January 1, 2003, according to the SATP database, including 18,373 civilians, 26,992 terrorists, and 5,578 SF personnel.

Islamabad’s long sustained policy of appeasing the extremists and terrorists has promoted their unrestrained growth, even as some of these groups have gone renegade. This unmitigated trend has neutralized the limited positives that may have emerged after the restoration of democracy. The current regime’s overtures towards extremist formations in the midst of sustained waves of terrorism can only push the country into further chaos.

 

Why aren’t we protecting our children?


From a basement in Austria to impoverished communities in Asia to convents around the world, child abuse is happening again and again.

In the wee hours of the morning or the dead of night, it goes on and on, over and over.

What can be done? When will it ever stop? Will adults ever realize that we only borrow the world from our children? That the damage brought about by just a single act of child abuse could not be undone?

That each and every act of child abuse is larger than life itself?

In the Philippines, the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB), the government’s statistics agency, recently released the latest figures on child abuse.

The statistics are stark, disturbing, alarming, heinous and telling.

The number of cases of child sexual abuse and child labour handled by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) remained major problems in the country from 2009 to 2010, even as the total number of child abuse cases declined during the period, the state agency said.

In its report, ‘Abused Children’, NSCB said the number of cases handled by the social welfare agency declined from 2009 to 2010 but noted that cases of certain types of abuse have gone up.

Child abuse cases, as defined by the government, are those where the child is ‘abandoned, neglected, sexually abused, sexually exploited, physically abused, maltreated, victims of child labour, victims of illegal recruitment, victims of child trafficking, victims of armed conflict and emotionally abused.’

The number of child abuse cases served by the government went down to 4,749 cases last year from 6,524 cases in 2009.

But the government can’t rest on its laurels just yet.

According to the report, cases of sexual abuse are still the second most common cases handled by the social welfare department, next to neglect and abandonment. These cases accounted for 27.3 per cent in 2010 from 29.6 per cent in 2009.

Despite the Anti-Rape Law of 1997 – the country’s anti-rape legislation – the most common sexual abuse during the period is still rape, followed by incest and acts of lasciviousness.

‘Rape victims are predominantly female – 97.6 per cent in 2009 and 90.5 per cent in 2010. One wonders whether the prohibition under Republic Act 9346 in 2006 of the death penalty originally possible for convicted rape offenders under certain conditions has contributed to this social problem,’ the statistics office said in its report.

Alarming, too is the fact that under types of sexual abuse, the number of incest cases has gone up to 37.5 per cent of total abuse cases in 2010 from 32.9 per cent in 2009.

The problem calls attention to the breakdown of the family as a social institution.

Tracing the roots of the problem, the social welfare department also found out that most sexually exploited children are either victims of prostitution or cyber pornography.

The numbers increased to an alarming 52 per cent and 31.5 per cent last year, respectively from 48.5 per cent and 33.8 per cent in 2009.

Child prostitution cases went up to 66 in 2010 from only 63 in 2009, statistics also showed.

In the area of child labour, the statistics office said there were five cases of child labour in 2009 and this increased to nine cases in 2010.

Some of the victims are only five to 10 years old.

The facts and figures speak for themselves. It’s heart-wrenching, to say the least. Image

CYANIDE USED TO CATCH PET TROPICAL FISH IN INDONESIA


The following is an article that appeared in the “Environment” section of “The Caymanian Compass”
on 1 December 2000. 

“Nusa Dua, Indonesia (AP) – Ever wondered why some of the tropical salt-water fish you bought at the pet shop died so soon?
Chances are, a diver in Indonesea or the Philipines caught them by first squirting cycanide into the water, which stuns the fish and allows them to be easily scooped into a net.
After a few days, a fish usually appears to recover. It is then exported to the United States, Europe and elsewhere to be sold in pet stores for anything up to US$400.
After a month or two, though, traces of cyanide in the fish’s system often attack its liver, eat away at its digetive tract and corrode its respiratory system, until it dies.
But not only does cyanide irreversibly poison the fish it’s used on, the toxin also damages the ocean environment, killing other marine life.
So widespred is the problem that 1,000 environmentalists, marine biologists and pet-fish collectors have set up a worldwide organisation – the Marine Aquarium Council – to try to eradicate the illegal practice.
Up to 20 million tropical salt-water fish are sold in the United States every year, said Paul Holthus, head of the Honolulu-based group. Not all are poisoned, but many are, he said.
‘Fish buyers are unknowingly contributing to the destruction of coral reefs and marine ecosystems,’ he said.
Marine scientists meeting on Indonesia’s tourist island of Bali warned recently that more than a quarter of the world’s coral reefs had been destroyed by pollution, global warming and poor fishing practices, including the use of cyanide.
They said that unless urgent measures are taken, the remaining coral reefs may be dead within 20 years.
Mark Erdman, a San Franscisco marine biologist who has long worked in Indonesia, said almost all aquarium-bound fish caught in Indonesia are poisoned.
Fishermen often store the cyanide in cans on the ocean floor to escape detection by authorities. They then dissolve a cyanide tablet in water in a plastic bottle. The deadly mixture is then squirted at schools of fish living around coral outcrops.
Holthus said cyanide is also used widely in the Philippines.
Aquarium fish from the two cuntries account for much of the tropical salt-water fish imported by the United States and Europe, he said.
The international aquarium fish trade is worth about
$1 billion a year, experts said.

Comatose
In two warehouses on Bali, hundreds of brightly coloured fish float in small dirty tanks, waiting to be packaged in water-filled plastic bags and flown out of the country. Clown tiger fish, with bright yellow lips, sharp teeth and pink dorsal fins, lie on their sides seemingly comatose from cyanide.
Holthus said the use of poison is limited to only some tropical salt water varieties. More popular fresh water fish mostly come from commercial fish ponds and are chemical-free.
He said that by reforming the salt water segment of the industry, the welfare of marine life could be improved and healthier fish would be provided for collectors.
Walt Smith, a businessman from Los Angeles who exports live fish from Fiji, said the problem is not as widespread as some fear. He said all the fish he sends to the United Sates are caught without poison.
The marine council plans to start monitoring fish exported from various parts of the world to ensure tht they have not been caught by divers using cyanide and that they are handled professionally. Fish buyers in the United States and Europe will be able to look for Marine Aquarium Council-certified fish in certain pet shops by the end of next year.
“We will test everything from the reef to the retailer,” Holthus said.
Mike King, a pet-fish retiler from Grand Rapids, Michigan, said everyone will be a winner if environmentally sound fish-collection prctices are observed.
“Most consumers want to do the right thing for the environment and the fish,” he said. “They are prepared to pay a little more for it.”‘Image

We must unite and protect our coral reefs from destruction! 

Enzymes


What are enzymes?

Living cells and tissues require basic nutrients and essential substances to divide, grow and perform their normal activities. Most of these substances are synthesized from components of ingested food, water, and other nutritional supplements, or from breakdown products of tissues. The biochemical reactions to synthesize the basic elements required by living cells depend on a steady supply of energy from these sources. Ordinarily, this energy is supplied by a step-by-step oxidation of food components. In addition, the biochemical reactions themselves sometimes release energy. During times of stress or disease, there is am increased demand for the nutrients and essential supplies required by cells. Without very special helpers and at normal body temperature, it would be impossible for the cells and tissues to perform all the essential biochemical reactions required fast enough to meet the basic needs of the body. Fortunately, very specific and remarkable helpers initiate, accelerate and terminate these biochemical reactions. The helpers are highly specific organic substances which have evolved in living organisms and developed the capacity of performing these accelerated tasks to perfection via remarkable and specific catalytic actions. These remarkable substances are called enzymes.

Enzymes are catalysts. They make things work faster. For example, the chemistry of the body is all about utilizing one substance to produce another. Let us call it turning chemical A into chemical B. The biochemical reaction to do this may require energy or release energy, depending on whether molecules A or B contain their own energy.

Regardless of whether energy is required or released, the reaction time is shortened by its specific enzyme, without the enzyme being used up. The reaction is accelerated through the use of enzymes. This acceleration without consumption is the nature of a catalyst. For practical purposes, most biochemical reactions require enzymes since the reaction A to B might take hundreds of years without them.

It seems that enzymes are the fountain of life. Enzymes serve as the labor force to perform every single function required for our daily activities and are required to keep us alive. Digestive enzymes are only a part of the total amount of enzymes in the body. There are about 3000 known enzymes. They are responsible for all the functions of every organ system in our bodies.  At the same time they are most important in supporting our body defenses and immune system to protect us from harmful forces and specific dangers to our health. The immune system depends heavily on enzymes to conduct its protective function. In addition we require enzymes not only to eat, digest and absorb our nutrients, but also to see, hear, smell, taste, breathe and move. Enzymes are required for our blood and coagulation system, cardiovascular functions, kidneys, liver, elimination of toxic products, excretion, reproduction, etc. They are required even to think, dream or for sexual excitement. When enzyme activity stops, life stops and the person or organism dies!

There are two major enzyme systems in the human body. One is digestive and the other is metabolic. The digestive enzymes help break down all of the food that we eat so that it can be absorbed by the body. The metabolic enzymes help to run all of the systems of the body from respiratory system to the nervous system.

The seven categories of food (digestive) enzymes and their activities are:

  • Amylase: breaks down starches.
  • Cellulase: breaks down fibers.
  • Lactase: breaks down dairy products.
  • Lipase: breaks down fats.
  • Maltase: breaks down grains.
  • Protease: breaks down proteins.
  • Sucrase: breaks down sugars.

 

Health Issues

Enzymes are extremely important to our health. When enzymes are short in supply, or become inactive, the body will suffer. As the body is built from the food we eat, paying attention to what we eat is one of the most important things we can do. Unfortunately we do not eat what our instinct and common sense tells us to do. We do not eat the right quantities of the right foods at the right times and in the proper manner. The results can include digestive disturbances, deposition of fat, and becoming overweight. These findings can be associated with further health problems including disorders of the circulation which lead to more severe cardiovascular disease and disorders of the heart. The reducing diets often recommend generally provide only temporary weight loss and many of them may be even more detrimental to health in the long run.

We should all eat properly and follow a balanced diet  containing a substantial amount of fresh foods in each meal. We should also avoid highly processed foods and high levels of preservatives, additives or chemicals. We can also take natural digestive enzymes in order to support the digestion of processed or cooked foods. Every food that has been cooked, boiled, heated, grilled, baked has lost its enzymes and is a burden to our organs which have to supply the digestive enzymes. As almost nobody in our modern age is willing to eat everything raw, you can take digestive enzymes with your cooked, etc., food. (An informative site about raw food is Living and Raw Foods) It is also good to stay away from processed foods as they often contain enzyme inhibitors (to prolong shelf life), chemicals, and sugar (white sugar is destructive to our bodies, and contributes big time to obesity).

 

Information about Enzymes

The European scientific community has generated great excitement in the field of enzymes, which can be used preventively to prevent illness and give us a longer, healthier life. However in the United States the average person does not know much about enzymes and their importance.

Enzyme supplements

After you have read all about enzymes and why they are so important to our health, the next question is “what can I do about it? We will focus here only on digestive enzymes. Ideally you should eat everything raw. As raw food contains all the necessary enzymes to digest the food, our body does not have to deplete its organs of their necessary enzymes. And thus our body stays healthy. But in this modern age, who can eat everything raw? Make sure you eat enough raw food, but for the rest, supply your cooked or baked food with enzyme supplements.

There are several enzyme supplements on the market, but one of the best supplements is Dr. Howell’s N-Zymes, the enzyme supplement we ourselves are using. Dr Edward Howell was an enzyme pioneer who questioned the use of cooked, processed food for human consumption. He found that heating food to 118°F (47.78°C) for more than 15 minutes destroyed all the enzymes. Obviously then, heating foods at higher temperatures for shorter periods also destroys enzymes. Dr Howell wrote two books reporting his life’s work: Food Enzymes for Health and Longevity and Enzyme Nutrition.

N-Zymes is made by the National Enzyme Company, and distributed by Enzymes Inc, Parkville, Missouri. The digestive enzyme supplement we are using is called “Genuine N-zymes, Dr. Howell’s Original Formula“. The capsules contain the enzymes protease, amylase, lipase and cellulase). N-Zymes is available through health food stores. For their other enzymes products, visit Genuine N-Zymes.

 

Advice on Taking Enzymes

When taking enzyme supplements, remember to

  • open the capsules and sprinkle the enzymes on your food (not too hot please). This way they can start working. Otherwise it will take time for the capsule to dissolve in your stomach.
  • also drink water with your food, as enzymes are only active when water is present.
  • One also needs to chew one’s food well because the digestive enzyme cellulase is trapped inside the fiber itself and must be liberated in the chewing process—otherwise, one experiences the gas and bloating.
  • Eat plenty of fresh raw fruits and vegetables to maximize your enzyme intake.
  • Raw seeds or raw nuts, contain enzyme inhibitors which will neutralize some of the enzymes your body produces. In fact, eating foods with enzyme inhibitors causes a swelling of the pancreas. All nuts and seeds contain these inhibitors. Raw peanuts, for example, contain an especially large amount. Raw wheat germ is also one of the worst offenders. In addition, all peas, beans and lentils contain some. Potatoes also have enzyme inhibitors (concentrated in the eyes of the potato). In eggs the inhibitor is contained mainly in the egg white. There are two ways to destroy enzyme inhibitors. The first is cooking; however, this also destroys the enzymes. The second way, which is preferable, is soaking, rinsing and germinating or sprouting. This destroys the enzyme inhibitors and also increases the enzyme content from a factor of 3 to 6. Taking extra enzymes is the third way to neutralize the enzyme inhibitors in ungerminated or unsprouted seeds and nuts.
  • Fermentation also removes the enzyme inhibitors and it has other benefits too. Fermentation neutralizes unhealthy chemicals found in grains and beans. Second, it adds a host of beneficial micro-organisms to food, making them more digestible and increasing the healthy flora in our intestinal tracts. Grains and beans all contain an acid, myoinositol-hexa, or phytic acid. Phytic acid blocks the absorption of calcium, phosphorus, iron and zinc. A diet high in unfermented whole grains can lead to mineral deficiencies and bone loss. Fermenting grains and beans before eating them neutralizes phytic acid. It also neutralizes enzyme inhibitors and breaks down gluten, sugars, and other difficult to digest elements in grains and beans. The simplest way to lacto-ferment grains and beans is by adding whey and water, and letting them stand for at least seven hours. Beans should ideally stand for twelve hours or more. Yogurt can be added instead of whey, which is a by-product of cheese-making and is commercially available as a powder (sold in health food stores).
  • Make sure you also read our article about Kefir, a special culture used in the fermentation of milk that adds a lot of enzymes in the process. It is very easy to make kefired milk and it is very healthy! It also is a way of making excellent whey for fermenting your grains and cooked veggies.
  • Salt is an indirect enzyme inhibitor, so use it sparingly.

 

Other Sources of Enzymes

There are four major types of proteolytic enzymes: trypsin, chymotrypsin, papain, and bromelain.

Chymotrypsin is a proteolytic enzyme crystallized from an extract of the pancreas gland of the ox.

Trypsin is a proteolytic enzyme also crystallized from an extract of the pancreas gland of the ox.

Papain is derived from the green papaya fruit.

Bromelain is extracted from the pineapple. Because of the relative value of the fruit, the difficulty of processing the juice, and the improvements of methods to extract bromelain from pineapple stems, the source of most bromelain is the stems.

Proteolytic enzymes are enzymes that help you digest the proteins in food. Although your body produces these enzymes in the pancreas, certain foods also contain proteolytic enzymes. Papaya (the unripe fruit) and pineapple are two of the richest plant sources. Papain and bromelain are the respective names for the proteolytic enzymes found in these fruits.

The primary use of proteolytic enzymes is as a digestive aid for people who have trouble digesting proteins. However, proteolytic enzymes also appear to reduce pain and inflammation, which has made them popular in Europe as a treatment for sports injuries and as an aid in recovery from surgery. Supplemental proteolytic (protein-digesting) enzymes also enhance immune function, helping to destroy pathogens; and proteolytic enzymes seems to be good for people with pancreas problems.  Digestive enzymes are classified as a food by the FDA., but if you want to take proteolytic enzymes you should discuss this with your doctor.

Another source of enzymes is brewer’s yeast which stimulates enzyme activity in the intestines. There are also enzyme preparations available from the pharmacy for digestive disorders. Fermented foods are full of enzymes, like yogurt, sauerkraut, soy sauce and kefir.

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Small Business Ideas


If you are aspiring to start a small business, one of the first things that would come to your mind is what business to do, how much investment will be required and what would be the skills that should be learnt. In these uncertain days of layoffs and panic, it is good to have a backup plan in life, so that one can remain unaffected. Taking the first two points into consideration, I have put together a collection of small business ideas, some of which can be started from home and most requiring low investment. This list also makes sure that one need not have a formal degree or education to get started; most of these skills can be learnt quickly. Thus everyone can use their capability & talent to start one, without worrying about having to spend a couple of years of their life in college and spending the next decade paying education loans.

Senior care services;

In many countries the concept of joint families still exists. Sons usually stay with their parents after getting married. Sometimes such a situation arises where they would need to stay in a different country or state for working and might not be able to take their parent along with them because of factors like availability of passport, cost factor and climate. While some of them turn to relatives to take care of their parents and other elderly persons in the house, not everyone has that luxury. Hence the senior care services come as a boon to the travelling employee. It involves setting up a homely atmosphere for elderly people, having all the amenities from medicine to food to entertainment. If one has a spacious house or apartment, they might want to start such a center. The charges can be collected on a monthly basis from the customer (either the senior persons themselves or their sons or daughters). One also needs a couple of employees for managing the house, taking care of the senior people, giving them medicines if required and keep them happy. This business also gives repeat income every month and can also be expanded to other parts of the city if the demand is more. Since the absolute investment required can vary depending on the country, only a list of things to be bought and list of expenditure is given below. Using this list you can arrive at an approximate start-up capital required and the monthly list of expenditures.

  • House or flat or apartment (can be rented)
  • Beds, cots, furnishing
  • Kitchen items required for cooking for many people
  • Money for advertising in newspapers and on the internet
  • A cook or chef
  • A few employees for cleaning the house, running errands etc.