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Daesh gunmen kill 3 in Iraq

Monitoring Desk

BAGHDAD: Daesh terrorists shot dead at least three people and injured 12 others in northern Iraq, a police official said.

“Daesh gunmen in a car attacked a number of civilians in al-Farh-aniya area, northwest of Balad district in Saladin province,” Lt. Salah-uddin al-Jabouri, the police officer, told Ana-dolu Agency. “The gunmen escaped immediately after the attack,” he added. Last Septem-ber, Daesh terrorist gr-oup lost its last stronghold in Saladin provin-ce after a military campaign in the eastern part of al-Shirqat district.

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Two killed in anti-govt protests in DR Congo

Monitoring Desk

KINSHASA:  At least 12 Catholic al-tar boys detained as they marched to demand President Joseph Kabila leave power and release political prisoners.

Congo security forces shot dead two men and detained 12 Catholic altar boys in the capital Kinshasa, where the Catholic church had called banned marches against President Joseph Kabila staying in power.

The two men were killed outside St Alphonse church in Kinshasa’s Matete district, Human Right Watch’s Central Africa Director Ida Sawyer said.

During the protests, police and soldiers set up checkpoints across Kinshasa and fired tear gas at opposition supporters.

Authorities ordered internet and SMS services to be cut following calls by Catholic activists for a protest march after Sunday mass. The activists are demanding that Kabila commit to not changing the constitution to stand for a third term and to release political prisoners.

Kabila has been in power since 2001 when he succeeded his assassinated father Laurent Kabila. He refused to step down at the end of his second and final term in December 2016.

At the Notre Dame du Congo cathedral in Kinshasa’s Lingwala district, where opposition leader Felix Tshisekedi was attending mass, dozens of police and soldiers blocked the path of more than 100 opposition supporters as they prepared to try to march.

Tshisekedi, however, who had backed the activists’ call to march, left the church in a vehicle, spurring angry shou-ts from the crowd, which said he was abandoning them.

The police have banned demonstrations and said that all gatherings of more than five people will be dispersed. Across the city, police and soldiers searched vehicles and checked passengers’ identifications.

Kabila’s ruling coalition and opposition leaders struck a deal last December 31 that allowed Kabila to stay in power beyond the end of his second and final term but required that the election to replace him be held by the end of 2017.

The country’s electoral commission, however, later said that was not possible and scheduled the vote for December 23, 2018.

About 150 Catholic churches have urged believers to heed their call to protest, bibles and crucifixes in hand on Sunday, in the capital Kinshasa to demand implementation of a deal signed exactly a year ago and designed to restore stability with Kabila stepping down.

Neither the National Episcopal Conference nor the country’s Vatican representative has commented on the planned rally.

But the governor of the city of 10 million on Saturday stated the unauthorized march cannot proceed.

“The city does not have sufficient numbers of police officers to supervise this march,” Andre Kimbuta said. “Therefore, I do not recognize the authorization requested.”

March spokeswoman Leonie Kandolo insisted, however, that “lay people will march tomorrow (and) the city authority and the police must fulfil their role of protecting people and property.”

The opposition has complained in recent days that new electoral reforms “automatically” ban certain hopefuls from next year’s poll by setting a minimum vote share threshold a candidate must win to obtain a seat as well as demanding a deposit equivalent to several hundred dollars.

Recent days have seen three pro-democracy activists released after spending five months in prison for organising “an anarchic march” in the country’s second-largest city Lubumbashi.

But another dozen anti-Kabila activists from the Struggle for Change movement were arrested on Friday after a sit-down protest near the southern city of Kananga.

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South Korea seizes another ship suspected of transferring oil to NK

Monitoring Desk

SEOUL: South Korean authorities have seized a Panama-flagged vessel suspected of transferring oil products to North Korea in violation of international sanctions, a customs official said on Sunday.

The KOTI was seized at Pyeongtaek-Dangjin port, the official told Reuters, without elaborating, due to the sensitivity of the issue. The port is on the west coast south of Incheon.

The ship can carry 5,100 tonnes of oil and has a crew mostly from China and Myanmar, Yonhap News Agency reported, adding that South Korea’s intelligence and customs officials are conducting a joint probe into the vessel. The official did not say when authorities moved in, but the seizure was the second to be revealed within just a few days.

South Korea said on Friday that in late November it had seized the Hong Kong-flagged Lighthouse Winm-ore, which is suspected of transferring as much as 600 tons of oil to the North Korea-flagged Sam Jong 2.

The U.N. Security Council last month unanimously imposed new sanctions on North Korea for a recent intercontinental ballistic missile test, seeking to limit its access to refined petroleum products and crude oil.

The United States has also proposed that the United Nations Security Council blacklist 10 ships for transporting banned items from North Korea, according to documents seen by Reuters on Tuesday.

The Lighthouse Winmore is one of the 10 ships proposed to be blacklisted. The KOTI does not seem to be included on the list.

China on Friday denied reports it had been illicitly selling oil products to North Korea in defiance of U.N. sanctions, after U.S. President Donald Trump said he was unhappy that China had allowed oil to reach the isolated nation.

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Kuwait to start UNSC membership early 2018 amidst global challenges

Monitoring Desk

NEW YORK: Kuwait is set to commence its membership at the UN Security Council (UNSC) beginning 1st January, 2018, after a 40-year hiatus, amidst many regional and global challenges.

The Kuwait News Agency, KUNA, quoted Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, Kuwait’s Deputy Premier and Minister of Foreign Affairs, in earlier statements, as saying that Kuwait will continue being neutral in resolving different issues.

He added that Kuwait would fully cooperate with UNSC’s Member States to peacefully end conflicts and wars. Sheikh Sabah also stressed the importance of reforms within the UN organizations to allow them to properly execute their duties around the world.

Kuwait will have a two-year membership at the council and will succeed Egypt in representing the Arab Group in the UN.

KUNA also quoted Kuwait’s permanent envoy to the UN Ambassador Mansour Al-Otaibi as saying that 188 out 193 UN General Secretariat Member States voted for Kuwait’s membership, which shows that the country had gained the trust of the international community.

“Kuwait’s top priorities are to prevent conflicts before they occur, mediation in terms of the UN’s articles and reforming the UN General Secretariat and the UNSC,” he added.

He also highlighted the need of Arab representation in the council that would meet aspirations of Arab states, to properly demonstrate their cases and issues on the UN’s agenda.

Al-Otaibi also called for increasing the number of the council’s member states, adding that Arab countries are demanding a permanent Arab seat at the Council.

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Afghan war cannot be fought on Pakistani soil: Khurram

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: Minister for Defence Engr Khurram Dastgir Khan has said Afghan war could not be fought on Pakistani soil.

Talking to a private news channel, he said Pakistan had destroyed terrorist’s network from its soil and rejected perception that Pakistan was safe haven for terrorists.

The minister said Pakistan had categorically told to the United States (US) to deal war on terror issue inside Afghanistan but not Pakistan. “We had eliminated menace of terrorism from the country.”

He said massive land of Afghanistan was not under control of its government and urged Afghanistan to fight war by itself. He said Pakistan wanted peace in Afghanistan on permanent basis. If Afghanistan has any information regarding militants then it should share with Pakistan and we would take action against them.

Khurram Dastgir said Afghanistan should also take stern action against those elements using Afghan’s soil for terrorism activities against Pakistan.

He said civil and military leadership were united on Afghanistan issue as Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi was holding National Security Council meetings to evolve strategy on national issues. Replying to a question, he said the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government eliminated terrorism, gas and power load-shedding issues from the country and also launched mega projects including China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and termed them big achievements of incumbent government.

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PAT doing politics on dead bodies for political motives: Minister

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: Minister for Climate Change, Senator Mushahidullah Khan has said Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) and allied political parties were doing politics on dead bodies to achieve their political motives.

PAT chief Tahirul Qadri was not a democratic person and has no concern and links with democracy, he said talking to a private news channel.

The minister said opposition was hatching conspiracy against the country and democracy while PAT and PTI had created hurdles in the way of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government through protest demonstration and sit-ins.

He said both political parties had tried to delay number of projects launched by former Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif despite that he had launched China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), Orange Line Train, Metro Bus services, energy projects and constructed motorways and roads network.

He reiterated that opposition parties was playing politics on Model Town incident and questioned to them for not talking about assignation of former Prime Minister Shaheed Benazir Bhutto, Karsaz and Baldiya incidents in which several people loss their precious lives.

Mushahidullah Khan said PAT chief had rejected Justice Baqir Najfi report on Model Town and advised to Qadri now to plead this case in the Supreme Court. He claimed that many cases were already registered against Tahirul Qadri in Pakistan.

Criticizing the politics of former president Asif Ali Zardari, he appreciated Chairman of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and his utterances in support of democratic system and general elections would conduct on time.

Replying to a question, he said that Pakistan and Saudi Arabia were enjoying good historical and brotherly relations. Saudi Arabia always supported Pakistan and Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leadership in difficult time, he added.

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Murad inspects uplift schemes, orders removal of encroachments

F.P. Report

KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah on Sunday directed Inspector General of Police to make necessary arrangements for smooth traffic flow in the city because work on Rs 12 billion Karachi Package’s phase-II has been started on war-footing basis, which is bound to cause inconvenience to the citizens of Karachi.

This he said while talking to the Karachi administration during his visit to the newly launched schemes under Karachi Package phase-II today morning. The chief minister was accompanied by Local Government Minister Jam Khan Shoro and top officials.

The chief minister started his visit from Cantt Railway Station, where all the approaching roads are being constructed at the cost of Rs 240 million.

Later, he went to Garden Road at Ankelsaria Hospital via Fawara Chowk. At Electronic Market in Saddar, the chief minister saw heaps of garbage thrown out on the road by the shopkeepers, where stopped his vehicle and directed Commissioner Karachi to talk to the association of Electronic Market to stop this unhealthy practice, otherwise strict action will be taken against them. “We are working hard day and night to clean the city but the shopkeepers, despite having dustbins of solid waste management at their shops, are throwing their trash on the main road,” he said and added it was unacceptable.

Shah stopped at Anklesraia Hospital where construction of road from Fawara Chowk to Garden via Abdullah Haroon Road and back to Fawara Chowk via Zaibunisa Market has been kicked off with the cost of Rs 650 million.

PD Karachi Package Niaz Soomro and his Deputy Engineer Khalid Mansoor briefed the chief minister about the work. Shah directed them to work day and night to complete the scheme. “This is most important road and usually remains jammed at peak hours, therefore its construction with best quality must be made before time,” he said. The chief minister also drove from Garden area via MA Jinnah Road to Tipu Sultan Road where two different schemes are in progress. The schemes are reconstruction of Tipu Sultan Road and Khalid Bin Waleed Intersection at Shaheed-e-Millat Road at the cost of Rs239.993 million and construction of a bridge at Tipu Sultan and Khalid Bin Waleed Road Intersection at Shaheed-e-Miullat Road for Rs515.180 million.

It may be noted that while going to Shaheed-e-Millat Road, the chief minister stopped at Khalid Bin Waleed Road when he saw the vehicles of showrooms parked on the footpaths. Expressing his serious displeasure and anguish, Shah directed the Commissioner Karachi to either remove the encroachment from the footpaths or bulldoze the footpaths. “It pedestrians cannot use footpath, then there is no need of such facility,” he said in displeasure.

The chief minister while driving on Shahrah-e-Faisal topped at Drigh Road where a flyover connecting the Drigh Road with Rashid Minhas Road is being reconstructed. The engineer briefed the chief minister about the work in progress.  This flyover frequently develop craters due to its faulty design and now it is being reconstructed for Rs80 million. From Rashid Minhas Road, the chief minister went to Safoora Chowrangi via University Road where construction of the road and drain was in progress. At the Chowrangi, he mixed up among the people and listened to their problems.

Talking to media at the Safoora Chowarngi, the chief minister said that he had given clear instruction to Karachi administration and the police not to harass the people while going to Sea View to celebrate new year night. “I have directed them [police] to remove all the containers placed there to block all the roads and arties leading to Sea View,” he said and added the people of Karachi, particularly the youngsters were responsible enough and they should not create problems for the public and themselves.

“I am urging them to enjoy yourself peacefully and respectfully. Carrying weapons, doing one-wheeling practices and creating problems for others would not be tolerated,” he said.

Replying to a question, he said: “The sugarcane price is not increasing because the cane of Punjab is sold in Sindh for Rs 100 per 40 kg.  “We have given Rs9.30 additional subsidy on export of sugar so that sugar millers could start crushing, otherwise they were reluctant to start saying that huge quantity of sugar was lying in their go downs,” he said and added “with our efforts, millers have started crushing and now there is the issue of sugarcane price for which we are taking measure to get the growers better price,” he said.

 

He accused the federal government for creating this crisis. Had they not imposed ban on the export of sugar, the sugar stocks have not been piled up in the go downs. Replying to another question, Shah said that he was trying to complete all the development schemes being carried out in the city.

“I have the realization that almost all major roads of the city are dug up to reconstruct them and this has caused serious hardship to the citizens,” he said and added this hardship would hardly remain for next six to eight months and then these works would be completed.

The chief minister right from Safooran Chowarngi went to Saadi Town and paid surprise visit to North-East Karachi Filtration Plant of 100 MGD. When he reached, there was no security at the gate or at the ponds and even the relevant staff was absent from their duties. The chief minister called MD Water Board Hashim Raza Zaidi and asked him to rush to the plant. He also directed the MD to give him a detailed report about the numerical strength of the staff deputed on the duty in the morning shift. “I don’t want unwilling workers- if they are reluctant to perform duty remove them and kept only efficient and dutiful staff on the plant,” he said.

The chief Minister told the media that K-III was constructed in 2007/8 and those who had constructed it had not developed it filtration system and were supplying untreated water to the citizens. This was the efficiency they had and now they are making toll claims of serving this city, he said. “Now, we are constructing filteration plant, the chief minister said.

The chief minister directed DC East to deploy three police guards at the NEK Plant for security and keep inspecting the staff on duty off and on. The chief minister continuing his visits to uplift works drove from Saadi Town to Sunset Boulevard where he inspected the work started on construction of a Bridge at Intersection of Sunset Boulevard and Gizri Boulevard forRs470.509. The work has been started. The chief minister directed the Traffic police to provide proper alternate traffic routes.

The chief minister also inspected under construction Submarine underpass. The chief minister directed the PD Karachi to get its one side open for traffic. “I am happy that you have started the work on other track also but the delay in its completion is causing problems to the people.

On the last leg of his visit to the city, the chief minister went to Seaview where he saw the containers placed at different roads to block entry to the sea view. On his directives the police removed the container.

On the conclusion of his visit, the chief minister had breakfast to the media men and the officers who were accompanied with him in his visit at Boating Basin.

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Sharif brothers responsible for Khatme Nubuwwat issue: Baloch

F.P. Report

LAHORE: Secretary General, Jamaat e Islami, Liaqat Baloch, has said that Sharif brothers are responsible for the conspiracy on the Khatme Nubuwwat issue and the Model Town killings.

Talking to the newsmen after the APC of the PAT, he said that the attack on the Khatme Nubuwwat had been made under the cover of electoral reforms. He said that the Model Town tragedy was a dark spot on the country’s history as innocent political workers were killed in bind state terrorism. He said that the government ahd faield to provide jsuytice to the aggrieved but it was imperative to punish the culprits.

He said that the investigations into the Liaqat Ali Khan’s murder, Ziaul Haq’s air crash, Benazir Bhutto,s assassination, Nawab Akbar Bugti.s murder and the massacre in Karachi on 12th of May and the Karzaz Tragedy were placed int cold storage which had led the country into chaos and uncertainty.

The JI acting chief said that the PML (N) leadership had been working against the parliamentary democratic system, the wishes of the masses and had harmed civil and military relations. Preferences for personal and family interests over the state institutions and the parliament had deepened the crisis.  He said that in such a situation, the opposition would have to play decisive and constructive role.

Liaqat Baloch said that the masses should not surrender to the corrupt mafias.

 

 

 

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History of the world at year 1 after Trump

Hamid Dabashi

The world has endured one complete and completely calamitous year of Donald Trump, the president of the United States – “Mr President”, as Americans reverentially refer to him.

After a tumultuous and deeply divisive presidential campaign, in a free and fair general election, Americans elected a notoriously racist, consistently misogynistic, white supremacist, xenophobic, real estate charlatan as their president, entrusting him with their highest and most revered political office. He was solemnly sworn in “to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States” on January 20, 2017, at 9am.

To be fair, in electing Donald Trump as their president Americans did not have much of a choice, for opposing him in the final election was a singularly corrupt corporate lackey and carpetbagger named Hillary Clinton who systematically sabotaged the campaign of the only decent American that could have been elected president – Senator Bernie Sanders.

Given their choice between Hillary Clinton and a nefarious charlatan, Americans opted for the nefarious charlatan. There are certain snakes in hell from which you run to dragons, as we say in Persian.

The world thus nosedived into perhaps the most dangerously destructive year in its recent history. We are now living that history. We are about to finish its first year: year 1 AT (after Trump).

We, the future historians of our present

The future historians (if Trump leaves us a future to fathom and does not cause a nuclear holocaust or an environmental calamity does not put an end to us all) ought to know that this US president wakes up early in the morning and the first thing he does is start bombarding the globe with the most inane, most imbecilic salvos of gibberish that emerge from his mental and moral indigestion.

He calls them his “tweets”. What a beautiful word to abuse and waste for his blithering verbal diarrhoea – no harmless birdie ever chirped anything but joy in this world. Then he goes about issuing his racist misanthropic fatwas against one thing or another.

One day, he bans Muslims from entering the US; another day, he pulls the US out of environmental accords meant to preserve the earth; the next day, he wants to build a wall at the Mexican border because he thinks Mexicans are rapists; and the day after, he steals a whole historic city and gives it to his Zionist financiers, before, just for fun, saying Haitians “all have AIDS”.

If he doesn’t have anything else to do, he just tweets – a few Islamophobic videos, defends some neo-Nazi thugs, and makes a few anti-Semitic remarks. His supporters just love him for these spontaneous outbursts of his true nature. “He tells it like it is,” they say.

Trump consistently lies, systematically cheats, unabashedly insults weak and vulnerable people.

He keeps up with his predecessors’ habit of mass-selling arms to Arab tyrants to kill more Muslims, gives them for free to Israelis to keep killing more Palestinians and stealing their lands, and he then awards them by declaring Jerusalem their capital.

The world is scared witless of climate change. He says global warming is good to combat cold weather.

The world is aghast at the range of sexual assaults and sexual harassment perpetrated by powerful men and here he is the president of the United States, the most dangerously powerful man on planet earth, facing allegations of predatory sexual misconduct.

We the future historians of our present must rush to anachronism to tell our posterity (if there will be a posterity) what has happened to us.

A neo-globalist

The world looks at the United States today and shivers with outrage, with fear and trembling, aghast at the moral and political bankruptcy of a “democratic system” that results in such disgraceful insults to common human decency. This is in sharp contradistinction to what any decent American thinks of himself or herself. Trump’s election has brought the majority of Americans to the bosom of humanity at large – fearing for themselves their own elected imperial officers.

There are those among Americans who think Trump is a political isolationist or an economic nationalist. But that is not the case. Politically, he is a warmongering bully that has intensified bombing of nations and then sought to close the US borders to its catastrophic humanitarian consequences. That is not isolationism. That is amoral cowardice.

The same goes for his economic policies. He wishes to rob the world of its natural resources, destroy the environment, and enrich his obscenely rich political backers. That is not economic nationalism. That is highway robbery on a global scale.

The first target of Trump’s nefarious economics has been American people themselves.

His monumental tax scheme that his fellow Republicans just passed will target the poorest segments of the US society to enrich the tiny upper echelon of the country. What sort of “nationalism” is that? He is a thief stealing from the poor enriching the rich even more.

What Donald Trump has staged is first and foremost the moral and political crisis that “Western democracy”, in general, and American democracy, in particular, face today.

All the way from Plato and Aristotle to Thomas Jefferson and Alexis de Tocqueville, the world has been force-fed, lectured at and politically held hostage to overdoses of highfalutin treatises about “Western liberal democracy” – the crowning achievement of which is this clinically diabolical buffoon.

Trump is no isolationist or nationalist. He is a neo-globalist of fear and fanaticism, of thievery for the rich and destitution for the rest.

The law of diminishing returns

A year into the Trump presidency, the global perception of common American decency has been seriously diminished, the fear of its vulgar and violent militarism increased, the brutish impact of US disregard for planetary environmental calamity intensified, nefarious US allies like Saudi Arabia and Israel given free hands to slaughter people in Yemen and Palestine with impunity, the poorest and most vulnerable segments of American society targeted for even more impoverishment, its richest pockets made even deeper and more obscenely rich.

The world, including the majority of Americans, stand today on one side, and Donald Trump and his richest and most dangerous beneficiaries from Washington to Tel Aviv to Riyadh on the other. They are wreaking havoc across the globe and we are bracing for even worse to come.

A shining truth emerges from this calamitous condition of humanity at year 1 AT of our world history. The world is forever freed from all its dangerous delusions: from the nativist American democracy to European liberal globalism, from the corrupt Russian oligarchy to the globalised Chinese communism, from xenophobic Zion-ism to megalomaniac Islam-ism, from homicidal Hindu fundamentalism to genocidal Buddhist nationalism.

Free at last, as the moral voice of Martin Luther King Jr, declared, thank God Almighty we are free at last from all the false god terms of our history – just a year into the presidency of our very own Roman Emperor Mr Donald Trump, Real Estate Developer, Inc.

We are freed from all delusional fantasies East and West and walk through this valley of despair with our eyes and hearts wide open, our minds and intellect clear and caring – the modest prophets of our own uncharted destinies.

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LNG power generation

In a wise move, the government has approved the conversion of four duel-fuel fired thermal power plants having a combined generation capacity of 910 megawatts to Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG). But at the same time a financial concession of hefty amounts of idle capacity payments were agreed to these four Independent Power Producers (IPPS) at the expense of poor people of the country. The owners of the IPPS could have run their plants on High Speed Diesel (HSD) due to the non-availability of LNG. They appear to be the blue-eyed guys of the ruling PML-N. The non-availability of LNG will be treated as force majeure. The power producers that benefited at the cost taxpayer’s money include Saif Power LTD, Orient Power Ltd, Sapphire Electric Company and Halmore Power Generation.

The second Benazir Bhutto government made agreements with the independent power producers which were heavily loaded against the interest of the country and its people. The clauses about the payments for idle capacity and non-purchase surplus electricity were irrational and politically motivated for personal interests, the heavy price of which is being paid by the domestic and commercial consumers in the form of highly inflated electricity charges bills.  It was because of these vested interest protecting clauses that National Distribution and Transmission Company of Pakistan lost its case against IPPS in the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) on 31st October. The Arbitration Court in its final award  asked Pakistan’s  government  to pay more than Rs. 14 billion to nine IPPS.

Ever since the end of President Ayub Khan Government, the successive civilian government deliberately ignored working out a long term energy policy with a view t giving more weight to power generation from renewable sources like water, wind and solar. In mid 60s the construction of Tarbella dam was started, technical feasibility of Kalabagh dam was also completed bedsides initiating the process of land acquisition for its construction. Moreover, conducting feasibility studies for other big dams upstream Tarbella were decided. But Z.A Bhutto government shelved Kalabagh dam project in mid 70s. Later, it was made politically controversial by the regional nationalist parties of KP and Sindh. Benazir Bhutto made the opposition of Kalabagh dam an election slogan in 1988.It was in the PPP second government that agreements of HSD fired thermal power plants, which ran contrary to national interest, were made.

Conversion of duel fuel fired power plants to LNG is a welcome step as it will reduce the production cost of thermal power by 50 percent. Hence the remaining duel fuel fired plants should also be converted to LNG. But the price of LNG in Pakistan is $11 mbtu as compared with India where it is available at $ 7 mbtu. The price of this energy input must be renegotiated with Qatar to bring down its price. The business community is making persistent demands for reduction in the electricity and gas tariffs to steer the economy out of acute stagflation and boost productivity of manufacturing sector.  The Ministry of Finance has estimated gross external financing liabilities at $ 18 billion for this fiscal. But this figure again appears un-realistic as it does not fully take into account the ever widening current account deficit and the ballooning external debt payment. Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry has given 20 plus workable proposals last month for substantial increase in exports but the federal government has not responded positively to valuable proposals of businessmen. If immediate measures for increasing exports are not taken pressure on foreign exchange reserve will intensify further. The total amount of these reserves are $14.13 out of which $ 6.12 belong to private depositors who fear that the PML-n government may freeze the foreign currency accounts which they had once done in May, 1998 when the economic situation worsened because of stoppage of economic assistance by the United States, European Union and Japan. The mantra of economic gains should be abandoned and the issues of alarming trade gap and reckless borrowing be addressed by taking corrective measures.