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PERJURY COMPROMISES ACCOUNTABILITY

The Oxford Dictionary defines perjury as “an act of willfully telling an untruth when on oath”, and goes on to use the words, “lying, mendacity, mendaciousness, falsification, deception, untruthfulness, dishonesty, duplicity”. A perjurer is thus a criminal. Telling lies whether under oath or not is a favourite (and quite profitable) pastime in South Asia, particularly in Pakistan where it has flourished to become almost an art, a profession. A visit to any of the lower courts or even the High Courts should be an eye-opener, if needed one can hire services of touts who excel in lying under oath. According to the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) person giving or fabricating false evidence is liable to be punished with imprisonment for life or with rigorous imprisonment, extending ten years, and also liable to being fined. However it is so rarely used as not to provide any deterrent against a witness who comes into court solely to mislead and propagate lies.

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The Ashiana Scam

After the Panama Papers surfaced it was an even bet that Pakistan would be rocked by revelations about improprieties in many areas, corruption cases would include some of the worst scandals. The difference between corrupt practices at the creation of Pakistan and of today is usually not only mammoth in nature but directly or indirectly […]

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Understanding Hybrid Warfare

Gone are the days of fighting wars in the conventional manner; today’s strategy combines conventional warfare, irregular tactics and terrorist acts, including subverting the media by using the advertising power of financial institutions, and maybe of the State itself, other than violence, coercion and cyber warfare. Employing both modern technology and mobilization methods, variety of non-state actors are used, or a combination thereof. Wikipedia describes this new military strategy as “envisaging attacks by nuclear, biological and chemical weapons, improvised explosive devices and information warfare.” Taken together this is called “Hybrid Warfare”. Combining kinetic operations with subversive effort, the aggressor intends to avoid attribution or retribution, India has successfully managed this in world perception. Pakistan’s breakup in 1971 was the successful execution of this type of warfare by India.

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HYBRID WARFARE

Hybrid Warfare came to prominence in the 21st century, the “Age of Globalization” that has opened up many new technical and communication options and shrunk distances. According to Prussian general and military theorist Carl von Clausewitz “Every age has its own kind of war, its own limiting conditions, and its own peculiar preconceptions.” While fighting wars in the conventional manner. Russian General Gerasimov holds that “In the 21st century we have seen a tendency towards blurring the lines between the states of war and peace. Wars are no longer declared and, having begun, proceed according to an unfamiliar template”

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WE FILERS ARE IDIOTS!

A marked deterioration in the economy, a treasury on the verge of bankruptcy and huge levels of debt made fresh fiscal measures unavoidable, the PTI’s Federal Minister for Finance had perforce to present the Finance Supplementary (Amendment) Bill 2018 in the National Assembly (NA) on Sep 18.

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NO MORE PSLs ABROAD

The pulsating cheering crowd in the National Stadium Karachi for the PSL Final, and subsequently for the three international T20s, underscored the return of peace to a city (and country) torn by internal strife. Bereft of any sports spectacle and living in cold fear for life and limb of their (and their families) because of open-ended threats from terrorists, political, religious and the criminal kind, the people of Karachi had very good reason to celebrate, both their “freedom” and Pakistan’s return from sports “exile”. When the speakers playing the National Anthem failed during its rendition before the start of the match, the entire audience spontaneously started singing the anthem, could anyone have stage-managed patriotism better?,” to quote my article “Lest we forget” of April 6, 2018.

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WHY GOOD ADVISERS MATTER?

Two names were recently recommended to the PM for appointment as MD PIA. One was a former MD who had earlier set PIA on the road to destruction and would probably have been lynched by the PIA rank and file, the other recommendation was about someone professionally unqualified for the job, the individual’s major qualification was being related to someone important. Not only did the VIP have any idea that his name was being used, he had given strict instructions that if any friend or relative used his name they must not be accommodated. To his credit the PM turned down both the names. Some bureaucrats operate on the classic ploy of getting two birds with one stone without taking any blame themselves. Selection of the important person’s unqualified relative would have caused a furore, embarrassing not only the PM but also the VIP in question. With such unscrupulous people around the PM, “Dr Atif Mian” types of blunders are likely to be engineered regularly. Guess who stands to suffer the political fallout?

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A MATTER OF SHAME

That the wolves would soon be at the door should not have surprised anybody, what is surprising is that Imran Khan’s people were not better prepared to deal with the hungry pack left out in the political cold. Despite the losers’ calling for mass rejection of the alleged July 25 election rigging, they failed to mobilise the streets. Fazlur Rahman’s vociferously fulminated that the new National Assembly (NA) would not be allowed to go into Session, it did (without him). In an act of sheer hypocrisy he tried being elected from the same platform he condemned, what’s new? Subsequently when the “helicopter to Banigala” story failed to take traction, Usman Buzdar’s selection as the Chief Minister (CM) Punjab was made a point of contention. Barely 12 days into governance incomplete staff homework led to the “Dr. Atif Mian” fiasco. The opposition has been milking this heaven-sent opportunity for all its worth.

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SOLDIER CITIZEN ALL-AMERICAN JOHN McCAIN

The timing of the death of soldier citizen John McCain has immense ramifications for the dangerous crossroads the US is placed in today. For me personally this extraordinary all-American defender of democracy and freedom symbolized the courage and fairplay that was synonymous with the American persona and character mostly on display in the 20th century, during and immediately after the two World Wars. That is not to say it does not exist, it does among a vast majority but is increasingly less on display. With emerging threats to its global leadership and to the principles for which the US once stood for in the free world, democratic rule, protection of individual rights and equal justice before law, “his death is either the passing of an era or the rekindling of American purpose”, to quote my good friend Fred Kempe, President Atlantic Council.

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EURASIAN REAL POLITIK

Europe and Asia are geographically one land mass, British geographer Sir Halford J. Mackinder maintained as far back as 1904 that whoever controlled the Eurasian heartland would control the world. Soon after, Nicolas Spyman countered with the thesis that whoever controlled Eurasia’s rim would control the heartland and the world. China’s Belt and Road Initiative’s (BRI) enterprise of six economic corridors shifts the global developmental initiatives from the Indian and Pacific Oceans to the Eurasian mainland.

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