Riaz Haq's Blog – February 2008 Archive (23)

Wheat Price Up 400 Percent

Wheat Price Touches $900 Per Ton

Triggered by wheat export curbs by Kazakhstan and the lowest world inventory in 26 years, wheat price hit a new record at $25 per bushel or about $900 per ton. This translates into Pakistan Rs. 55 per kilo for raw wheat in bulk excluding transportation, milling and bagging. It represents a 400% increase in less than a year. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Foreign Agricultural Service, Kazakhstan is the sixth-largest exporter of wheat,… Continue

Added by Riaz Haq on February 29, 2008 at 10:08am — No Comments

Obama's Web Success

Obama Success With Social Networks

By Riaz Haq

Haq's Musings

Election Campaigns Transformation:

President John F. Kennedy's campaign in the early 1960s transformed the way the US presidential campaigns use Television as a medium to reach the American electorate. This year, Barack Husain Obama's campaign is re-writing the rules as it embraces Web 2.0 technologies to reach out to the young voters across the nation.… Continue

Added by Riaz Haq on February 24, 2008 at 4:08pm — 1 Comment

ISI General's Mea Culpa: I Rigged 2002 Polls

ISI General: I Rigged 2002 Polls

By Riaz Haq

Haq's Musings

General Ehtisham Zamir, the former head of ISI's political cell, has admitted playing a key role in rigging the 2002 polls to favor PML(Q), the pro-Musharraf faction of the Pakistan Muslim League. This was a joint effort of the ISI's political cell and the National Accountability Bureau. While it has been considered an open secret by many, this is the first time the ISI's… Continue

Added by Riaz Haq on February 24, 2008 at 8:55am — 1 Comment

Pakistan People's Party's National Character

In addition to winning the largest number of seats in Pakistan's National Assembly, Pakistan People's Party has demonstrated its national appeal by winning seats in all four provincial legislatures. In spite of its losses and third place finish, PML(Q) is the only other party with this distinction. All of the other parties, including the PML(N) with the second place finish, have won seats in only one or two Pakistani provinces.…


Added by Riaz Haq on February 23, 2008 at 7:17am — No Comments

Zardari Pursued By Swiss Prosecutors

Months after the amnesty signed by President Musharraf, Switzerland is continuing to pursue corruption charges against Mr. Zardari. Asif Zardari, the widower of former Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto, is accused of depositing $55 million worth of bribes in Swiss bank accounts. Swiss judicial authorities have been investigating Zardari and Bhutto for the past 10 years over allegations that they took bribes from Swiss cargo inspection firms and transfered them into their accounts,… Continue

Added by Riaz Haq on February 21, 2008 at 9:30pm — No Comments

Pakistan Vote: Hierarchy of Needs in Action

Many commentators in Pakistan and the World are in overdrive talking about mandates and profound meanings of the February 18 vote in Pakistan. Some are claiming it is a mandate to restore an independent judiciary, media and democracy while others are talking about it as rejection Musharraf's pro-US policies, "extremism" and "war on terror" etc.

In my humble opinion, there is a far simpler explanation for it: People voted in a predictable way based on the issues that affect them directly on… Continue

Added by Riaz Haq on February 20, 2008 at 3:52pm — No Comments

Illegal Immigration From India Jumps 125 Percent

Illegal Immigration From India Jumps 125 Percent

By Riaz Haq


There are an estimated 270,0000 illegal Indian immigrants in the United States, according to 2006 figures from the US Department of Homeland Security. With 125% percent increase from 2000 to 2006, India represents the fastest growing source of illegal immigrants to the United States, reports San Jose Mercury News, a major Silicon Valley newspaper. In absolute numbers, Central and… Continue

Added by Riaz Haq on February 19, 2008 at 6:37am — 9 Comments

Kosovo: A New Muslim State Is Born In Europe

Kosovo: A New Muslim State Is Born In Europe

By Riaz Haq

Haq's Musings

As Kosovo-a small, pro-West, secular and mostly Muslim state of 2 million people dominated by ethnic Albanians- declared its independence on February 18, the moment was pregnant with history. It reminded the world, in particular the Serbs and the Turks, of the Battle of Kosovo fought here in 1389, which pitted Prince Lazar of Serbia against Sultan Murad I of the… Continue

Added by Riaz Haq on February 18, 2008 at 11:59am — No Comments

All Hell Will Break Loose

All Hell Will Break Loose

By Riaz Haq


On the eve of the voting in Pakistan, someone responded on Facebook to

my post Pakistan Election Rigging 101 as follows: "All Hell Will Break

Loose" tomorrow. As much as I would like to disagree with this

comment, the history of elections in Pakistan makes me pause and

ponder on it. Regardless of whether the elections are free and fair,

there is usually trouble in the aftermath. The… Continue

Added by Riaz Haq on February 17, 2008 at 9:34am — No Comments

Pakistan Questions Safety of US Nukes

Pakistani nuclear weapons safety has been in the news lately. There are widespread concerns being expressed in the Western media about the possibility of Pakistani nukes falling in to the hands of Al-Qaeda or the Taliban or their alleged sympathizers. Even Mohamed El-Baradie of IAEA has chimed in on this issue. However, the Pakistani nukes are not the only ones making the news recently. The US nuclear weapons safety and handling procedures have also raised concerns, especially since the news of… Continue

Added by Riaz Haq on February 15, 2008 at 5:00pm — 1 Comment

Pakistan Elections Dominated By Feudals

As Pakistanis go to the polls on Feb 18, 2008, the role of the feudal class in Pakistan as power brokers is getting scrutiny from the world media. Some Pakistani feudals and politicians, including Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi of PPP, Syed Fakhr Imam of PPP, Imran Khan (Tehreek Insaf), and others argue that the feudal influence is overrated. They say the feudal power is declining and represents more of a mindset than reality. However, the media men traveling through rural Sind and rural Punjab… Continue

Added by Riaz Haq on February 14, 2008 at 6:53am — 2 Comments

ISI Election Cell De-activated?

Is Military Brass Cooling To Musharraf?

By Riaz Haq

Haq's Musings

General Kayani's Orders

Pakistan's Army Chief Gen. Kayani has initiated a number of changes that establish a divide between the uniformed army and Mr. Musharraf, say senior Pakistani officers. Last month, Gen. Kayani, 55 years old, issued an order barring officers from any unauthorized meetings with Pakistani politicians, including the president.… Continue

Added by Riaz Haq on February 13, 2008 at 6:30am — 1 Comment

RAND Report: US Strategy Counterproductive

RAND Report: US Policy in Muslim World Counterproductive

By Riaz Haq


The RAND Corporation, a highly respected non-profit policy research

institute in the United States, says in its latest report on the

ongoing War on Terror: "Large-scale U.S. military intervention and

occupation in the Muslim world is at best inadequate, at worst

counter-productive, and, on the whole,… Continue

Added by Riaz Haq on February 11, 2008 at 8:59pm — 1 Comment

Poll: Musharraf Hits New Low

Poll: Musharraf Hits New Low

By Riaz Haq


A new poll in Pakistan conducted by the US-based International

Republican Institute shows President Musharraf's opposition receiving

support from 72% of respondents. Only 15% of the poll participants

approve of Mr. Musharraf, lowest ever positive rating registered for

him to date. The sympathy wave for PPP in the wake of Benazir… Continue

Added by Riaz Haq on February 11, 2008 at 10:32am — No Comments

Does Pakistan Face Debt Crisis?

A number of Pakistani economists and newspaper columnists are fretting

about what they call "Pakistan's Debt Crisis". They claim that

Pakistan's national debt has risen dramatically over the last 8 year.

Putting in perspective, it seems to me that they are raising an

unnecessary alarm. While it is true that Pakistan's total external debt

has increased by about 10% since 1999, it is also true that Pakistan's

GDP has more than doubled.

Here are the facts:

In… Continue

Added by Riaz Haq on February 9, 2008 at 7:43am — 2 Comments

Scotland Yard: Benazir Killed By Blast, Not Bullet

Early reports in New York Times and Times Online

indicate that Scotland Yard's conclusions support Pakistan Government's

findings on the cause of Benazir Bhutto's death. Investigators from

Scotland Yard have concluded that Benazir Bhutto, the… Continue

Added by Riaz Haq on February 7, 2008 at 9:42pm — No Comments

ISI Role in Pakistan Elections

Rigging Allegations

The allegations of poll rigging are getting louder as Pakistan approaches

the Feb 18, 2008 parliamentary elections. When you hear the opposition

politicians, particularly from PPP and PML-N, describe the details of

alleged rigging in Pakistani and world media, it seems that they have a

great deal of personal knowledge and expertise in

this specialty, the kind of depth that can only come from having engaged… Continue

Added by Riaz Haq on February 7, 2008 at 12:42pm — No Comments

New Deal: Roti, Kapra Aur Makan

Food, Clothing And Shelter For All

Pakistan Peoples Party has revived "Roti, Kapra Aur Makan For All", first

successfully introduced by Late Zulfikar Ali Bhutto in the late 1960s

as a popular slogan, and made it a part of its platform for the

upcoming elections in Pakistan. These planks by the PPP elicit a range

of reactions among Pakistanis ranging from strong enthusiasm to total

skepticism. Among the poor and the… Continue

Added by Riaz Haq on February 6, 2008 at 10:11am — No Comments

Pakistan Economy Hits Rough Patch

The recent political turmoil with Bhutto's return and her tragic

assassination in Oct-Dec 2005 period is taking its toll on Pakistan's

economy. Weaker textile exports, rising food prices, and ongoing energy

crisis have caused the government to scale down its growth target for

the fiscal year ending June 2008.

Immediately after… Continue

Added by Riaz Haq on February 5, 2008 at 4:05pm — No Comments

Bhutto's Book Release Hastened Before Elections

Bhutto's Book Release Hastened Before Elections

By Riaz Haq


Former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto's posthumous book

titled "Reconciliation: Islam, Democracy and the West" is being

released February 12,2008, exactly 6 days before the crucial voting in

Pakistan. Ghost-written by Mark Siegel, Washington lobbyist and

Bhutto's personal friend, the book was originally… Continue

Added by Riaz Haq on February 5, 2008 at 8:36am — 2 Comments

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