Govt leaves legacy of incompetence, corruption

Islamabad, MTT News Desk: The Islamabad Women’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry (IWCCI) said on day Sunday the democratic government has left a legacy of massive corruption and incompetence pushing country and masses into total gloom.

Those who take politics as a lucrative business secured their future through plunder while leaving 180 million people insecure, said Farida Rashid, President IWCCI.

Speaking to business community, she said that last five years would be remembered as a black chapter in the history of Pakistan.

The government made new records of incompetence, corruption, nepotism, lawlessness, bulldozing laws and clash of the institutions, she added.

Farida Rashid said that most of the economic, fiscal, foreign and internal policies of the government met with failure while Pakistan faced international disgrace on various occasions.

Government continued to plunder national resources during five years but made a history of loot during its last few days, she observed.

She said that almost all the policies were made to please nobility which took toll on Public Sector Enterprises (PSEs), rupee lost value, record loans were borrowed while collections and forex reserved dwindled.

Government failed to provide enabling environment, improve law and order as well as the circular debt contributing to flight of capital, shifting of industrial units and brain drain.

Incoherent policies left millions jobless while 10 million youth stepped in the job market with no opportunities available. Even the largest urban employment providing sector of textile failed to create a single job, she informed.

Farida said that oil and gas exploration was systematically discouraged to justify import of costly fuel for which the CNG sector was also destroyed.

Government took around Rs 2.7 trillion loans from international lenders out of which 2.3 trillion were used to finance politically run Public Sector Enterprises but none could come out of losses to become profitable entity.

Unprecedented corruption estimated at Rs 1800 billion, shook the foundations of the country and put its very survival.

Masses must learn a lesson as Pakistan cannot afford another round of such democracy, observed Farida Rashid.

Former military leaders express anguish, sorrow over Joseph Colony incident

Rawalpindi, MTT News Desk: The Pakistan Ex-Servicemen Association (PESA) on Friday expressed deep anguish and sorrow at the inhuman destruction of Joseph Colony at Lahore terming it lowest form of governance.

This was observed in a special meeting of the Executive Council of PESA held to discuss some of the serious issues that are vital to integrity and sovereignty of the country.

The meeting observed that Joseph Colony attack was a repeat of Gojra carnage with a difference that no life was lost this time.

Mass killings of Hazaras amount to ethnic genocide, the former military leaders said, adding that inaction against the culprits and cash awards to the affected people cannot wash the humiliation caused to Pakistan in the international community.

Religious leaders should spread the principles of human values, equality and freedom that are most cherished by Islam. Objectives Resolution also guarantees that fundamental right and the principles of democracy, freedom, equality, tolerance and social justice, as enunciated by Islam shall be fully observed and any violation must be dealt with a firm hand, they opined.

PESA members appreciated the independence and courage shown by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) in going ahead with preparation of revised nomination papers despite non-approval by the President.

They lauded the prompt support extended by the Supreme Court. However real test of the ECP will be implementation of the conditions prescribed under Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution. Real change can only come when individuals with tainted past are weeded out right from the start, the former military strategists said.

PESA office bearers expressed concern over the on-going Anti-Army campaign through some selected electronic and print media. Its sole purpose is to destroy integrity and strength of the force that is engaged in defending countrys geographical and ideological frontiers and the national values.

Thousands of officers and soldiers have sacrificed their lives in fighting the extremist elements who want to enforce their own version of Islam. It is a matter of great satisfaction that despite this anti-Army campaign, the masses retain their total faith in the Armed Forces and look up to them as true defenders of the Republic.

The PESA members expressed surprise at policies of some of the TV channels, who spare no occasion to blame past military rulers for all the problems but at the same time they are giving almost daily coverage to political ambitions and programme of General Musharraf.

Musharraf flagrantly violated the Constitution, brought ignominy through misadventures like Kargil, Lal Masjid and tragedies of Mohtrama Benazir Bhutto and Sardar Akbar Bugti.

His unconditional submission to USA on just one phone call brought the war on terror inside Pakistan. On the economic front, through his inaction over building the Neelum Dam he has caused threat of perpetual loss of Jhelum River to Pakistan which could render Punjab into a desert, they said.

As a citizen of Pakistan, Musharraf should be free to return home but at the same time he should face the cases that are registered against him.

It was decided to hold a news conference to details about the conspiracies and plans of certain powers to not just destabilize but also break up Pakistan as one nation.

PSEs pushing country to bankruptcy

Islamabad, MTT News Desk: The Pakistan Economy Watch (PEW) on Sunday said mounting losses in the politically managed Public Sector Enterprises (PSEs) are pushing country towards bankruptcy.

Living on hefty bailout packages, not a single PSE has contributed anything but sheer disappointments over the decades, it said.

These companies being run by the non-professional and politically motivated managers have become hub of favouritism and corruption with little hope for revival, said Dr. Murtaza Mughal, President PEW.

Governments use PSEs as a job creation tool to seek political mileage that in turn add to the losses in form of massive loans to pay salaries to an army of incompetent employees, he added.

He said that Pakistan International Airlines, marred with bad governance and misadministration, recently received Rs100 billion as bailout package while it has wasted around Rs 200 billion in last five years.

Estimates suggest that PSEs are wasting around 15 per cent of the total governments revenue which should be tackled immediately as collections have been sliding down since years.

Dr. Murtaza Mughal said that PSEs including PR, PSM, NHA, PEPCO, PASSCO, TCP, USC, receive over Rs300 billion as bailout packages annually with no improvement and continued wastage of fiscal resources which could have been used for bettering public services.

It can help government boost spending on critical sectors like health and education, he added.

Sometimes worst-run PSEs borrow more than what entire private sector of the country borrows from banks but they still make losses to the tune of billions while taxpayers money is used to keep them alive.

All the finance ministers of the incumbent government including Shaukat Tarin, Naveed Qamar, Abdul Hafeez Shaikh and Saleem Mandviwalla have failed to chalk out an effective strategy to turnaround the PSEs, said Dr. Mughal.

He said privatization of some PSEs might improve situation.

Inefficient CPPs inflicts Rs 70 billion loss annually on country

Islamabad, MTT News Desk: The All Pakistan CNG Association (APCNGA) on Saturday questioned the policy of providing cheap gas to captive power plants (CPPs) to gain political favours which is causing a loss of Rs 70 billion to the public exchequer per annum.

The technology, efficiency, cost, consumption, production, and other parameters related to the CPPs are questionable, as industry has been using scrap plants in place of modern and better equipment, said Ghiyas Abdullah Paracha, Chairman Supreme Council APCNGA.

The average efficiency of 113 CPPs, mostly installed in textile units, stands at 28 per cent meaning that they are wasting 72 per cent of the gas in the process of generating electricity, he said while speaking to APCNGAs central executive committee.

Ghiyas Abdullah Paracha said that data of SSGC and SNGPL shows that CPPs are getting 454 mmcfd gas per day out of which 327 mmcfd is lost to inefficiency causing loss of around 19 crore per day.

Planning Commission and Ministry of Water and Power have termed primitive CPPs a major drain of indigenous hydrocarbon resources but to no avail, he said, adding that statements of crackdown against wasteful CPPs by ministry of petroleum is mere eyewash.

He said that government is pleasing owners of CPPs on the cost of domestic consumers, CNG, fertiliser and general industry. Many industries closed since long are being provided gas while the power generated through that gas is being sold to running industrial units without approval from Nepra which must be probed, he demanded.

He said that the silence of concerned departments on the issue is not only amazing but also criminal at a time when whole nation is reeling under power crisis.

The country would not have faced energy shortages of such magnitude if decision were taken on merit and the gas allocated to CPPs was provided to efficient power houses, he said.

Power generation companies are facing heavy losses as gas consumption as well as some 2000 mw load has been shifted to the unregulated gas gulping CPP sector which do not require a licence and have no performance and efficiency checks.

The policy has hiked operation and maintenance cost of the Discos, average tariff is going up while average sale declines causing losses to the government while CPPs thrive on economical gas and support of petroleum ministry.

Criticising the move to lower the efficiency benchmark for CPPs, Ghiyas Abdullah Paracha demanded a probe into the issue to fix responsibility on those who played havoc with the country for their personal welfare.

He demanded an immediate comprehensive and independent audit of captive power plants, banning Discos buying power from captives using cheap gas as fuel, and concrete steps to improve the efficiency and avoid wastage of precious natural resources in the national interest.

The government needs to increase gas price for CPPs by a minimum of 150 per cent to resolve all issues, ensure efficiency and reduce load shedding. There is a need for a well-integrated power policy which addresses the various issues to ensure an overall development of the sector and economy.

Sun’s energy crucial for our survival

Islamabad, MTT News Desk: An international energy solutions company based in Europe is gearing up to help the local business community by offering latest and low cost energy solutions in Pakistan.

Saeed Zuberi CEO of Tameer Energy, a group company of Tameer Foundation said on his visit to Pakistan that his company intends to introduce state-of-the-art technology developed by NASA engineers.

The technology has not been employed anywhere in the world which I wants to introduce in collaboration with Planetary Power Incorp., a US-based company working on cutting-edge technology in the energy sector, he said.

Saeed Zuberi, who was accompanied by Angus Jackson OBE, Director Planetary Power, visited the FPCCI Capital Office on the invitation of Tariq Sayeed, VP CACCI, where they told the business community that more solar energy reaches the earth’s surface in two hours than the total energy consumed by humans in an entire year.

VP FPCCI Mirza Abdul Rehman, President ICCI Zafar Bakhtawari, Presidents and office bearers of other chambers including Raja Zaheer, Ch. Pervez Waraich, Malik Zubair Ahmed, Shahid ur Rehman, Munawar Mughal, Tariq Mehmood, Malik Sohail, Chairman Media and Diplomatic Affairs FPCCI and others were also present on the occasion. Tameer Energy was further represented by AVP Imran Ahmed and CTO Syed Fahim.

Saeed Zuberi, French national of Pakistani origin, has worked intensively in the social and infrastructure sectors of Pakistan. Among other projects, Tameer Foundation is credited with its reconstruction efforts after the floods of 2010 and 2011.

Zuberi said that with the right technology solar energy is easy to capture and use; our ability to harness the sun’s energy is crucial for our civilization’s survival as well as current and future prosperity.

Our hybrid technology is highly dependable which can cut electricity and maintenance costs by 50 per cent while it can be monitored and controlled through satellite, landline or a mobile phone, he explained.

The ultra-modern diesel and solar powered electricity generation units can be installed in villages with no access to national power grid and small businesses which are easily upgradeable, he added.

He informed that he had a detailed meeting with energy officials of the federal and provincial governments whose response was encouraging.

Speaking on the occasion, Angus Jackson OBE said that we would like to use Pakistan as a production hub for his companys units workable with any fuel and at any altitude, which will not only help masses overcome energy issues but would also initiate exports to regional markets.

Pakistan is best suited for such operations as what we see in media about this country in west is contrary to the situation, said Jackson.

Speaking at the occasion, Mirza Abdul Rehman said that Pakistan is becoming a failed state due to energy scarcity.

Zafar Bakhtawari said that construction of Kalabagh dam could have addressed the issue which was put on the backburner while pace of development on the other mega projects is unsatisfactory.

He said that anyone who can help us address energy issue will be our friend and hero while those pushing country to darkness could never be our friends as they contribute to the sufferings of communities and commerce.

Malik Sohail and others said that we want power with unmatched efficiency without the compromises associated with traditional renewables, they demanded.

We welcome the initiative to bridge gap between renewable energy and fossil fuel powered power plants and assured all out cooperation to the visiting experts, said Sohail.

SROs great source of discrimination, tax fraud

Islamabad, MTT News Desk: The Pakistan Economy Watch (PEW) on Friday said SRO culture has remained one of the biggest hurdles in ensuring national development by widening the tax net.

SROs are the foremost source of corruption, discrimination, budget subversion and national disgrace, it said.

FBR has become a factory producing SROs (Statutory Regulatory Orders) to favour influential which undermines capability of the government to spend on welfare and development, said Dr. Murtaza Mughal, President PEW.

Pakistan will never be able to break the begging bowl until the SRO culture is totally eliminated, he added.

He said that the infamous instrument called SRO has frequently been employed to provide exemptions worth billions to politically connected business tycoons while it puts unnecessary burden on taxpayers which amounts to punishing them for honesty.

Dr. Murtaza Mughal said that the tax authorities have been using powers of the Parliament by issuing SROs while the politicians have seldom challenged the violation.

The SRO culture has kept Pakistans tax- to-GDP ratio one of the lowest in the world putting brakes on positive initiatives, he said.

Taxation system has developed serious flaws due to special focus of the authorities on issuing SRO with no end in sight, he observed.

Dr. Murtaza Mughal said issuance of 4500 SROs and tax exemption to the tune of Rs 650 billion is tip of the iceberg. Those benefitted from this culture should be taken to the task, he added.

Matters relating to tax exemptions, change in duties etc. should be debated by lawmakers who are not beneficiaries of unjust tax breaks and exemptions, he said.

An amendment in the law disallowing FBR to issue SROs can increase tax collection to boost shabby economy.

He asked to independent think-tanks and superior courts to review in detail the negative impact of misuse SROs which is hurting the society in general and specifically hitting poor.

Petroleum ministry pushing country to dark ages

Islamabad, MTT News Desk: The Pakistan Economy Watch (PEW) on Thursday said Pakistan continues to march towards dark ages in absence of any concrete effort to resolve energy crisis by the authorities concerned that has left millions out of work and brought economy to the brink.

Petroleum ministry continue to keep critical energy issue on the back burner while trying to get approval of controversial projects aimed at personal welfare, said Dr. Murtaza Mughal, President PEW.

By ignoring implementation of viable projects to overcome energy shortages the politicians and advisers have initiated controversial projects that will not provide any relief to masses, he said.

He said that all objectionable activities of politicians and bureaucracy are going unchecked which will leave masses to face the consequences of their actions for decades.

Dr. Murtaza Mughal said that the situation become graver with failure of the authorities to check losses resulted from theft of electricity and gas amounting to Rs 170 billion per annum. Main reason behind pilferage is lack of accountability and appointment of top officials on political bases, he added.

Giving example of questionable decisions, the President of PEW said that a gas block in Dear Bugti containing double gas than Sui was given to OGDCL ignoring merit which failed to extract any gas since last sixteen years.

During harsh winter, gas load management results in suspended or curtailed supply to power stations, fertiliser and industrial sector and CNG stations in the name of ensuring uninterrupted supply to residential consumers which proved a trick, he said.

Dr. Murtaza Mughal said that forcing masses to rely on costly LPG and harmful firewood and coal briquettes for cooking and heating is result of the wrong policies and incompetent management of the gas companies.

Pakistan remains one of the very few countries using clean gas to run power plants, a decision made by Gen (Retd) Musharraf which the incumbent goverenmt failed to reverse.

The failure of the government to secure sustainable, dedicated and affordable energy supplies has resulted in closure of hundreds of units and unemployment of millions which is leading to unrest.

Democracy is useless if it forces masses to commit suicides and put very survival of country at stake, Dr. Mughal noted.

PESA expresses concern over failing economy

Rawalpindi, MTT News Desk: The Pakistan Ex-servicemen Association (PESA) on Tuesday said governments non- wasteful expenditures have put the economy in a tailspin and the damage would be irreparable if immediate corrective measures were not taken.

Local currency has been eroding while value of dollar is sky rocketing since last five years turning debt trap in to death trap, it said.

Corruption, tax evasion, undue relaxations, waivers and borrowings have crossed all limits putting a question mark on the ability of our economic managers, said President PESA Lt. Gen. Ali Kuli Khan while chairing a meeting.

Vice Admiral Ahmad Tasnim, Air Marshal Masood Akhtar, Lt General Naeem Akbar, Brig Mian Mahmud, Brig Masud ul Hassan, Major Farouk Hameed Khan, Major Khurram Naveed Khan, and Naik Raja Muhammad Fazil were also present on the occasion.

The meeting noted that the alarming figures regarding state of economy indicate that we are on the brink of an economic collapse which will force the next government to accept humiliating terms of our Western friends before they put something in our beggars bowl.

They said that almost all the public sector enterprises are being run of political considerations pushing them to bankruptcy but rulers seems preoccupied with winning votes only with revival of economy on the backburner.

The political and economic chaos will leave caretaker government will little options which will be a disaster for the country, the former military generals observed, adding that prevailing economic situation has emerged as a big threat to Pakistan.

The meeting demanded at elections should be held in time after giving all the independence to the Election Commission of Pakistan.

They military strategists said that all political parties must be included in the process of formation of the caretaker government which is at present confined to two groups in the parliament.

The meeting observed that huge amount of funds are being misused in the name of charity which is nothing but pre-poll rigging.

Masses can ensure a change only if they free themselves from stranglehold of feudal lords and influence of baradari system.

PESA members criticised plans to divide Punjab on ethnic basis, in a hurry, as it will add to the problems being faced by country.

Pakistan cannot be entrusted to tax evaders

Islamabad, MTT News Desk: The Pakistan Economy Watch (PEW) on Sunday said future of the country cannot be entrusted to politicians who have remained involved in massive tax evasion.

Election commission should take concrete steps to stop politicians involved in mass scale tax evasion from contesting parliamentary elections, it said.

Around seventy per cent of politicians, many billionaires, dont pay taxes to discharge their obligations and at the same time ask masses to pay taxes to finance their luxuries, said Dr. Murtaza Mughal, President PEW.

The behaviour of politicians is highly inappropriate which indicates that they take politics as a profitable business and consider country as their landed estate, he added.

Dr. Murtaza Mughal said that masses will never pay taxes voluntarily in the unfair tax system as they know that politicians having billions evade taxes, get exemptions and look for foreign donors for help.

The efforts of the FBR to improve tax-to-GDP ratio and other reforms will remain futile as tax compliance in Pakistan will have to start from the top and work its way down, he observed.

The salaried class, business community and some professionals are paying taxes to some extent but many industrialists and landed elite are evading tax while feasting on national resources pushing country under unmanageable debt.

He noted that the plunder of national resources and robbing masses has reached to the proportions where the survival of country seems on stake while the ruling as well as opposition parties seem totally unconcerned.

Pakistan cannot afford another spell of the democracy by incompetent leaders politically and economically, he said adding that incumbent rulers have proved themselves biggest obstacle in making Pakistan a real democratic country.

Dr. Murtaza Mughal said that Pakistan has a chance if Election Commission succeeded in partial implantation of Articles 62 and 63 of the constitution otherwise we will face a crushing defeat without a war.

Pakistan Mission in Kuala Lumpur marks Kashmir Solidarity Day

Kuala Lumpur, MTT News Desk: The High Commission for Pakistan in Malaysia organized a function in Kuala Lumpur today (Tuesday) to mark the Kashmir Solidarity Day in recognition of the untold sacrifices rendered by the Kashmiris to realise their goal of self-determination.

Speaking on the occasion, Pakistans Acting High Commissioner to Malaysia Mr. Mohammad Nadeem Khan paid rich tributes to the Kashmiris for challenging the Indian occupation and rendering countless sacrifices to throw off the yoke of subjugation.

He called on the international community to help resolve the Kashmir issue to secure durable peace in the region. He lamented that while the people of Kashmir had long suffered, the civilized world had only paid a lip service to the issue, leaving millions of defenceless Kashmiris to the mercy of a brutal regime intent on crushing the freedom struggle through bullet and bayonet.

Mr. Mohamamd Nadeem Khan also underscored Pakistans efforts to resolve the issue, saying our position is based on the support for a just cause and on principles recognized by the international community and enshrined in the UN Charter. Pakistan is committed to extending full moral, diplomatic and political support to the Kashmiris till the realization of their right to self-determination, he added.

Later, documentaries highlighting the plight of Kashmiris and their struggle for freedom were shown. A group of schoolchildren also presented skits and tableaus signifying the theme of Kashmir Solidarity Day and highlighting the rich Kashmiri culture and traditions.

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