Archive for the ‘free markets’ Category

Journalists Under Attack In Pakistan

March 19, 2008

By Muhammad Khurshid
Khar, Bajaur Agency,Tribal Areas Pakistan
March 19, 2008
.
Journalists were thrashed by the security officials in front of National Assembly of Pakistan as they were covering the proceedings of the assembly.

Police guard the main entrance of the National Assembly during ... 
Police guard the main entrance of the National Assembly during the election of its speaker in Islamabad March 19, 2008. Pakistan’s National Assembly elected its first woman speaker on Wednesday, a member of assassinated former prime minister Benazir Bhutto’s Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) which won elections last month.
REUTERS/Mian Khursheed (PAKISTAN)
.
Journalists working in tribal areas situated on Pak-Afghan border have also been receiving threats from Taliban and terrorists, who have been ruling the areas nowadays.

So far several journalists were either killed by the terrorists or the security agencies in the troubled tribal areas. Situation in other parts of the country is not different as there the journalists have been facing immense pressure.

The journalists started protesting outside the Parliament House, when the security personnel cut off cables of their cameras.

The journalists from various news organization including news channels came to cover the proceedings of the 13th National Assembly on the occasion of election of speaker.

Law and order situation in Pakistan has been going from bad to worst. According to a newspaper comment, rising street crime in Karachi has touched new heights. While official figures of crime in the city tell one story, the reality seems to be something much different.
.
Police officials and senior government functionaries would have us believe that all is well and under control but incidents of mobile phone theft, mugging and burglaries in the city have shot up in the past couple of months. Particularly affected are the commercial areas of the city as well as the business districts where men on motorcycles accost pedestrians, motorcyclists and motorists in broad daylight and rob them of their valuables.
.
The slightest resistance can lead to death for some as the robbers seem desperate and ready to kill if their demands are not met. In the past week, there have been several cases where people were stopped in broad daylight in full public view and robbed. In most instances, people do not bother to register cases as this is another ordeal for them.
.
Pedestrians have been mugged in dark street corners, women have seen their earrings snatched from their ears and purses stolen, motorists have seen their cars broken into — and yet the police seem helpless in controlling this surge in street crime.

What is worrying is the fact that the government seems to be pumping considerable amount of money and resources in law-enforcement in the city but much of this does not end up in fighting crime. A high percentage of police resources are dedicated for VIP duties as well as protecting the high and mighty.
.
The lack of professionalism and accountability in the police forces has also meant a rise in corruption and unprofessional behaviour amongst men who are supposed to enforce and uphold the law. As a new political government takes office in Sindh later this month, it would be a good idea to examine the role and performance of the city’s police force and other law-enforcing agencies like the Rangers.
.
It is time long-term reforms were introduced in the police force to change the way the force is run. At the same time, the terms and conditions of service of policemen should be improved so that they are less prone to fall for corruption.
.
All this, however, requires political commitment and resolve. The new chief minister must work according to the peoples’ expectations, otherwise people will continue to suffer while the police look the other way.

In Parts of China, Human Rights and Protests are Big Issues

January 26, 2008

By Maureen Fan
Washington Post Foreign Service
Saturday, January 26, 2008; Page A01

SHANGHAI — Bundled against the cold, the businessman made his way down the steps. Coming toward him in blue mittens was a middle-aged woman.

“Do you know that we’re going to take a stroll this weekend?” she whispered, using the latest euphemism for the unofficial protests that have unnerved authorities in Shanghai over the past month.He nodded.

Behind her, protest banners streamed from the windows of high-rise apartment blocks, signs of middle-class discontent over a planned extension of the city’s magnetic levitation, or maglev, train through residential neighborhoods.

Read the Rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/01/25/AR2008012503500.html?hpid=moreheadlines

Olympics A Catalyst for Congressional Interest In China

January 12, 2008
By FOSTER KLUG, Associated Press Writer 

WASHINGTON – The world will be watching China closely as it gears up to host the Olympics this year. So will U.S. lawmakers, who hope to use the attention generated by the summer games to highlight their complaints about China’s government.

Lawmakers, in hearings and in legislation, will scrutinize what some see as unfair Chinese economic policies, its secretive military buildup and its human rights abuses. China already has been targeted by presidential candidates.

“The Chinese want this `Show’ — with a capital `S’ — to showcase their government to the world,” Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., said in an interview. Congress, he said, should use that as leverage to “bring maximum scrutiny and light to their egregious human rights abuses.”

Chris Smith
Chris Smith (U.S. politician)

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080112/
ap_on_go_co/us_china_congress_3

Thailand shuts down political Web site

January 6, 2008
By SUTIN WANNABOVORN, Associated Press 

BANGKOK, Thailand – Thai authorities have shut down a political Web site that spoke out against the monarchy, the site’s operator said Sunday, in another move to punish critics of Thailand‘s most revered institution.

Visitors posted comments on the sameskybooks.com bulletin board, questioning claims in the Thai media that the entire country was in mourning over the death Wednesday of Princess Galyani Vadhana — King Bhumibol Adulyadej‘s older sister — and criticizing official calls for the public to wear black as a sign of mourning, said Thanapol Eiwsakul, who operated the site.

The Information and Communication Technology Ministry threatened local Internet provider Netservice with closure unless it took the action against sameskybooks.com, which was closed Friday, Thanapol said.

Read the rest:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080106/ap_on_hi_
te/thailand_web_site_ban_1

China Limits Internet Video Providers

January 3, 2008

By Min Lee
Associated Press
January 3, 2008

(HONG KONG) — China has decided to restrict the broadcasting of Internet videos — including those posted on video-sharing Web sites — to sites run by state-controlled companies and require providers to report questionable content to the government.

The policy will ban providers from broadcasting video that involves national secrets, hurts the reputation of China, disrupts social stability or promotes pornography. Providers will be required to delete and report such content.

“Those who provide Internet video services should insist on serving the people, serve socialism … and abide by the moral code of socialism,” the rules say.

Read the rest:
http://www.time.com/time/business/article/0,8599,1699727,00.html?xid=rss-topstories

Pakistan: Why Musharraf Must Go

January 1, 2008

By Muhammad Nawaz Sharif
Former Prime Minister of Pakistan
For The Washington Post
Tuesday, January 1, 2008; Page A11

LAHORE, Pakistan — There is no law and certainly no order in my country. What happened this past week has shaken every Pakistani. Benazir Bhutto was no ordinary person. She served as prime minister twice and had returned to Pakistan in an effort to restore our country to the path of democracy. With her assassination I have lost a friend and a partner in democracy.

It is too early to blame anybody for her death. One thing, however, is beyond any doubt: The country is paying a very heavy price for the many unpardonable actions of one man — Pervez Musharraf.

Musharraf alone is responsible for the chaos in Pakistan. Over the past eight years he has assiduously worked at demolishing institutions, subverting the constitution, dismantling the judiciary and gagging the media. Pakistan today is a military state in which a former prime minister can be gunned down in broad daylight. One of my own political rallies was fired upon the day Benazir Bhutto was killed.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/12/31/AR2007123100952.html?hpid=opinionsbox1

Saving Asia from the ground up

August 6, 2007

 By Andy Zieminski
The Washington Times
August 6, 2007

For some development authorities, one good deed — to land — could change the world. Giving even small amounts of land to the landless in India and ensuring property rights for Chinese farmers have the potential not only to improve the lives of hundreds of millions, but also to help close the rural-urban gap in two vast countries where years of rapid growth have disproportionately benefited the cities, said Tim Hanstad, president of the Seattle-based Rural Development Institute.

Mr. Hanstad and others argue that the lack of clear rules regarding land ownership has locked many of India and China”s 1.5 billion rural residents into deep poverty, blocking them from contributing significantly to each country”s booming economy.

“Really what land reform is about in both countries is creating or broadening an ownership society….

Read the rest:
http://washingtontimes.com/article/20070806/FOREIGN/108060032/1003