Justice Gulzar Ahmed
The 27th Chief Justice of Pakistan
Justice Gulzar Ahmed was born on February 2, 1957, in Karachi, to Noor Muhammad, a renowned lawyer of that time. Justice Ahmed completed his elementary schooling from the city’s Gulistan School. He then went on to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree from the Government National College, Karachi, after which he obtained his law degree from SM Law College, Karachi. He enrolled as an advocate on January 18, 1986, and joined the High Court on April 4, 1988. Justice Ahmed was elected honorary secretary of the Sindh High Court Bar Association in Karachi for the year 1999-2000. Subsequently, he became an advocate of the Supreme Court on September 15, 2001. He was elevated as Judge of the Sindh High Court (SHC) on Aug 27, 2002. He was notified as Senior Puisne Judge of the SHC on Feb 14, 2011, and was elevated to Supreme Court later that year on November 16. He took oath as the 27th chief justice of Pakistan on December 21 and will remain the country’s supreme judge till February 2022.
Justice Gulzar had remained part of benches which had announced various landmark and high profile judgments. He was also part of the bench which disqualified former prime minister Nawaz Sharif in Panama case. He is seen as an expert on civil and corporate law. He has remained part of the benches on several important matters, including constitutional amendments, military courts, Panamagate, restoration of Karachi Circular Railway, and removal of encroachments.
British Pakistanis in UK General Election 2019
Fifteen British citizens of Pakistani origin have been declared victorious on their seats in the contest of general election of the United Kingdom (UK). Most of the British Pakistanis won their electoral contests from Labour Party followed by the number of winning candidates of Pakistani origin belonging to the Conservative Party. These MPs are:
- Naz Shah, (Labour) Bradford West
- Khalid Mehmood, (Labour) Birmingham
- Yasmin Qureshi, (Labour) South Bolton
- Afzal Khan, (Labour) Gortan Manchester
- Tahir Ali, (Labour) Hall Green, Birmingham
- Muhammad Yasin (Labour) Bedfordshire
- Imran Hussain (Labour) Bradford East
- Zara Sultan (Labour) Coventry South
- Shabana Mehmood (Labour) Ladywood, Birmingham
- 10. Rosena Ali Khan (Labour) Tooting
11 Nusrat Ghani (Conservative) Wealden, East Sussex
- 12. Imran Ahmed Khan (Conservative) Wakefield
- 13. Sajid Javed (Conservative) Bromsgrove
- 14. Rehman Chishti (Conservative) Gillingham and Rainham
- 15. Saqib Bhatti (Conservative) Meriden
It is pertinent to mention here that more than 70 candidates of British Pakistanis had been given tickets by Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrats parties for the first time, whereas, many are contesting the UK general election as independent candidates.
Conservative Party had fielded 19 candidates of Pakistani origin, 12 by Labour Party and five from the anti-Europe Brexit, Liberal Democrats Party.
How to Combat Climate Change in Pakistan
Pakistan has been continuously ranked among the most affected countries by climate change. Our people in different parts of the country are already getting adversely affected by climate impacts, which include flash floods due to glacial melt, increased heatwaves, water scarcity, rising sea levels, food shortages and displacement. The worst part is that these impacts are only going to get worse. In such a scenario, here are some tips for the government to combat this menace:
What the government should do
- Undertake urgent reforestation and afforestation programmes on mountain slopes. The Billion-tree Tsunami campaign is a good start but needs to be scaled up in the long-term. The communities and the general public also need to be engaged in mass plantation drives across the country.
- Devise and implement a waste management strategy for mountainous areas. Since mountain communities have nowhere to dispose of their waste, they end up either throwing it in the rivers, burning the waste in open air, which contributes to black carbon deposition on glaciers and accelerates their melting, or burying it underground which resurfaces in the event of a natural disaster and adds to existing risks.
- Ban diesel vehicles in the mountains. Tourists visiting the scenic mountains in the north opt for using diesel (the most inefficient fuel) in their four-wheelers. The particulate matter emitted by the incomplete burning of fuels at such high altitudes directly contributes to the rapid melting of glaciers, thereby accelerating climate change.
- Switch to renewable energy sources. We have massive potential for solar energy in Thar and hydropower in the north which can provide clean, cost-effective and uninterrupted energy.
- Deploy a proactive approach rather than a reactionary one. We usually react to a disaster once it has happened, instead of preparing ourselves beforehand.
- Make climate change a priority in the development and political agenda. Climate change will influence every area of human and economic development and needs to be taken into account at every level.
- The above-mentioned steps are urgently required, but it is also important to recognise that the onus for change is not completely on the government. We, as aware citizens, need to demand action on these issues and work closely with governmental and non-governmental institutions to ensure that these measures get implemented.
Energy Cooperation under CPEC
Energy projects under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) have contributed $250 million in taxes and provided 10,000 jobs by adding 14.5 percent of the total electricity output in NTDC system so far. According to the official documents, CPEC energy cooperation has increased power supply in Pakistan. Power generation of CPEC projects reached 17.728 billion kWh, 14.5 percent of the total output in the NTDC system, which could supply over 33 million people on per capital power use basis.
CPEC energy cooperation has also promoted economic and social development of Pakistan. According to statistics, CPEC projects as of the fiscal year of 2018-2019 have paid about 250 million USD in taxes during the construction period and provided over 10,000 jobs. Reliable power supply is a significant facilitator to local economy and social development, documents indicated.
Documents showed that as of September 2019, 12 power generation projects have either started construction or been in commercial operation already, with a total installed capacity of 7240 MW and a total investment of about $12.4 billion. Among them, there are nine Commercial operation (COD) projects (some are constructed by phases), with a total installed capacity of 5320 MW and a total investment of about $8.175 billion and three projects, expected to be completed and put into operation between 2020/21 to 2022/23 fiscal year, are under construction (some are constructed by phases), with a total installed capacity of 1920MW.
In addition, nine projects stand at early stage (some are constructed by phases), with a total installed capacity of 6390MW.
Iran’s Military Power
The US Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), one of the US Department of Defense’s intelligence arms, published an unclassified report that “examines the core capabilities” of Iran’s military power, including Tehran’s “intent, capabilities, organization’s structure and capabilities” of the Iranian military. The report says that despite decades of sanctions, Iran has succeeded in developing its missile arsenal, which is larger than that of any other Middle Eastern country including Israel. The 130-pages document provides a helpful and readable summary of the threat perceptions, doctrine and strategy, and capabilities of the Iranian armed forces.
Important excerpts from the report
“Iran views the United States as its greatest enduring threat and believes the United States is engaged in a covert and “soft war” to subvert the regime, undermining what Iran perceives as its rightful place as a regional power.”
“The growth in militant Sunni extremism, particularly ISIS, and Iran’s perception of its regional adversaries’ growing military capabilities has prompted Tehran to adjust some of its military modernization priorities.”
“Tehran’s national security strategy aims to ensure continuity of clerical rule, maintain stability against internal and external threats, secure Iran’s position as a dominant regional power, and achieve economic prosperity.”
“Iran refers to its efforts to build a regional network to counter Israeli and Western influence as the “Axis of Resistance,” which includes Iran, Syria, Hizballah, Iraqi Shia militias, the Huthis, and some Palestinian militants. Beyond these closer allies, Tehran seeks to cultivate relations with other countries; Iran is also a member of the Nonaligned Movement and has observer status with the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.”
“Iran has an extensive missile development program, and the size and sophistication of its missile force continues to grow despite decades of counterproliferation efforts aimed at curbing its advancement.”
“Iran’s liquid-propellant SRBMs—the Shahab 1, Shahab 2, and Qiam-1—are based on
Scud technology. The Qiam-1 has a range of at least 750 kilometers, and variants of the system have been used as part of Iranian strikes on ISIS in Syria. Tehran has also supplied extended-range Qiam-1 variants to the Huthis in Yemen. These missiles, launched mostly at Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, have flown to a range of more than 900 kilometers.”
“Lacking a modern air force, Iran has embraced ballistic missiles as a long-range strike capability to dissuade its adversaries in the region — particularly the United States, Israel — from attacking Iran.”
“Decades of international sanctions have hampered Iran’s ability to modernize its military forces through foreign procurement, but Tehran has invested heavily in its domestic infrastructure, equipment, and expertise to develop and produce increasingly capable ballistic and cruise missiles. Iran will continue to improve the accuracy and lethality of some of those systems and will pursue the development of new systems.”
Edhi Foundation conferred with Isa Award
On November 14, the Edhi Foundation was awarded the Isa Award for its service to humanity. The Foundation received a medal of pure gold, certificate of appreciation and USD 1 million in a ceremony held in Manama, the capital of Bahrain.
This is the fourth award by the organisation — established in 2008 in memory of Emir Sheikh Isa bin Salman Al Khalifa after whom the award is named — which recognises the services of charities across the world once every two years. The Isa Award “emphasises humanitarian openness to various races and religions and avoids politics and conflict of any kind”, the press release explained.
The Edhi Foundation was founded by the late Abdul Sattar Edhi and its operations are sprawled throughout the country. It homes orphanages, differently-abled, rejected and displaced children. They have shelters for abused women, maternity centres, family planning centres, training institutions for nurses, blood banks, a tuberculosis clinic and a tumor hospital. Edhi provides free-of-cost medical services, several ophthalmology hospitals, diabetes centers, surgical units, a small cancer hospital and several mobile clinics, as well as two blood banks in Karachi. It provides food for prisoners, shelter services to needy children and psychiatric patients.
Before his death in 2016, Edhi founded the 50-kilometre Edhi project. It focuses on helping accident victims on the internal and external roads of Pakistan.
The Lisbon Treaty
The Lisbon Treaty was signed by the 27 European Union Member States on 13 December 2007. Subsequently, all the EU countries were required to approve it in accordance with their national procedures. This process was finally completed in 2009, and the Treaty came into force on 1 December, 2009. The Treaty makes Europe more democratic and effective. It works to not only reduce the possibilities of blockade in the Council through qualified majority voting, but also give more powers to the European Parliament. During the last ten years, the Treaty has shown its capabilities, but also its limits. Many think it is time to organize a conference about the future of Europe, that would lead to the reinforcement of integration. However, others think it has already gone too far in this direction. Nevertheless, the Lisbon treaty included the famous Article 50 that allowed Britain to leave the European Union.
India’s New Citizenship Law Explained
A new Indian law that grants citizenship to persecuted Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians who fled Muslim-majority Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan prior to 2015 has led to violent demonstrations.
Indian President Ram Nath Kovind gave his assent to the citizenship bill late on Thursday, signing it into law, an official statement said.
Clearance of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill triggered widespread protests in eastern state of Assam, as protesters said it would convert thousands of illegal immigrants into legal residents.
Muslims also protested against the law as it does not give them the same rights to citizenship as members of other faiths, a move critics say undermines the secular constitution.
Passage of the bill was a key election promise of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, re-energising his nationalist, Hindu support base.
How did the bill secure parliament’s support?
Modi had promised that his party would grant citizenship to the six communities who according to the government have historically faced persecution on grounds of religion in the three Muslim-dominated countries. Lawmakers belonging to his party voted in favour of the bill.
What do critics say?
They accuse Modi’s government of drafting rules to favour its hardline Hindu agenda aimed at disturbing permanent settlements belonging to Muslims.
Who does the law leave out?
Opposition parties say the law is discriminatory as it singles out Muslims, who make up nearly 15 per cent of the population. The government says that Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh are Muslim-majority countries, so Muslims cannot be treated as persecuted minorities.
Who could suffer?
Rights organisations say Modi-supporting lawmakers have cleared the bill to justify the deportation of thousands of Muslims living in the northeastern state of Assam and unable to provide documents to prove Indian citizenship.
What are the discrepancies?
The law does not clarify why minority migrants from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan are favoured over those fleeing Sri Lanka and Myanmar from where minority Muslims have sought refuge in India.
The law has been challenged in India’s Supreme Court by a Muslim political party, lawyers and rights groups on the grounds that it violates the secular constitution.
More than 500 eminent Indian jurists, lawyers, academics and actors have signed a statement condemning the legislation.
Differences between Parliamentary and Presidential Forms of Government
- The executive is not separated from the legislature. The members of council of ministers are the members of legislature.
- The executive is accountable to the legislature. The executive loses power when it loses the confidence of the legislature.
- In the Parliamentary government, one person is head of state while another persons is head of government.
- In the Parliamentary systems, the Prime Minister is most powerful.
- In the Parliamentary system, the Prime Minister can appoint only the members of parliament as minister.
- In the Parliamentary system, the tenure of the executive is not fixed. The Council of Ministers is dismissed if it loses the confidence of the legislature before its tenure is over.
- The Parliamentary government is more democratic, because the executive • (council of ministers) is accountable to the legislature (Parliament).
- There is less of separation of powers in the Parliamentary government.
- During war and other emergencies, the Parliamentary government is relatively less effective and successful.
- The executive is completely separated from the legislature. The members of executive are not the members of the legislature.
- The executive is not accountable to the legislature. The legislature cannot remove the executive from power] through no-confidence motion.
- In the Presidential government, i same person is head of state as well as head of government.
- In the Presidential system, the President is most powerful.
- In the Presidential system, the President appoints persons from outside the legislature as minister.
- In the Presidential system, executive has a fixed tenure normally, the executive head (President) stays in power for the whole term. It is not easy to remove him from power through impeachment.
- The Presidential government is democratic, because the executive (President) is not accountable to the legislature.