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Archive for February, 2005

A Regional Partnership

Pakistan and Sri Lanka have a shared history of crisis in parallel; there is also a shared history of cooperation during crisis. In the 50s and 60s Sri Lanka was very much an island of tranquility. A beautiful paradise inhabited by a very peace-loving people, this island of approximately 25000 square miles has a population of 17 million, of which more than 12.5 million (74%) are Sinhalese, 2.21 million are Tamil (13%), 1.19 million are Muslims (7%), Indian Tamils are 850000 (5%) and others 170000 (1%).


The “Ethics Retreat”

In keeping with the requirements of good governance, National Accountability Bureau (NAB) recently organized a unique event, an “Ethics Retreat” for the members of the Federal Cabinet. The informal Seminar cum Workshop for the principal leaders of the government was attended by the President, the Prime Minister and their close aides. Chairman National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Lt Gen Munir Hafeez must be congratulated for bringing home to the leaders of this country how transparency has an inherent inter-action with good governance. The many successes NAB has achieved in bringing accountability into governance in Pakistan is certainly a matter of pride for Pervez Musharraf. Accountability has been institutionalized, while corruption at the highest level has not been eradicated it is not that rampant (and/or blatant) as it once was. For recovering quite some sums of illegally acquired wealth, NAB has not only to be commended but eulogized. The idea of a “Retreat” for Cabinet members was excellent, this modern corporate practice for informal education of the managerial elite is in vogue in all big multi-nationals (MNCs) as well as leading corporate entities of the western world.


Political Patchwork

One thing is constant about political dynamics in Pakistan, it keeps changing, only the period of change is uncertain. And being Prime Minister is a high risk proposition, if an assassin won’t get you, the President will. Destiny is smiling sweetly for the moment on Shaukat Aziz, a suicide bomber failed to blow him up and the real ruler of the sovereign State of Pakistan does not seem to be tiring of him, at least for the present. Very much like Julius Caesar the PM should beware the Ides of March, a month is a long time for political manipulation in Pakistan. With both affluence and poverty upwardly mobile, the latter in ratio unfortunately far more than the former, the economic realities at ground level is rather confusing. Already beyond the 7000 level, is the Karachi Stock Exchange (KSE) a true barometer of economic prosperity or just a crude measure of anticipated economic bliss in the distant future?


The World At Davos

Symbolically, but in a representative way that has no equal, the world assembles at Davos, Switzerland during the last week of January every year. If you are not rubbing shoulders with the likes of former US President Bill Clinton and the British PM Tony Blair, then you are doing so with mediamen such as BBC’s Nik Gowing and Stephen Cole, or Richard Quest of CNN. People like Microsoft’s Bill Gates and Unysys’s Narayan Murthy are regular attendees, so is Amre Moussa, former Foreign Minister of Egypt and Secretary General of the Arab League. Among the religious leaders you will find Mostafa Ceric of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Lord Carey of Clifton, the Archbishop of Canterbury. Many Universities are well represented here, such as Harvard University’s Joseph S. Nye Jr, Dean of the Kennedy School of Government, etc. Brainchild of Dr Klaus Schwab, the Geneva-based World Economic Forum (WEF) has its Annual Meeting at Davos, a unique gathering of leaders in almost every discipline, Heads of State and Government, mutli-national industrialists and businessmen, Heads of world institutions and prominent NGOs, media persona, academics, and eminent personalities from many diverse fields, etc.