Free Pakistan Newsletter # 79
[July 01, 2007]
Note: Due to the larger size of the original FreePakistan Newsletter # 79, a shortened version of the same is being posted. To read the detailed Newsletter, please visit the following link:
0 Are Dictatorships More Successful Than Democracies
By Alvaro Vargas Llosa
0 What remains of Pemra law?
By I.A. Rehman
0 Issues of the Month: Judiciaryĺs Moment of Redemption; The Redistributive Budget;
and, Failures of the Monopoly
0 From the National Press
0 Private Initiatives
0 Good News
0 Letters to FreePakistan
0 Free Pakistan Highlights
Quote of the Month:
Without protection of civil liberties, the idea that our rulers should or would love us like our parents is na´ve to the extreme. Personally, I think that one writ of habeas corpus is worth more than all the Confucian philosophy ever written.
[Lin Yutang, 1895-1976]
Stripped of its academic jargon, the welfare state is nothing more than a mechanism by which governments confiscate the wealth of the productive members of a society to support a wide variety of welfare schemes. A substantial part of the confiscation is affected by taxation. But the welfare statists were quick to recognize that if they wished to retain political power, the amount of taxation had to be limited and they had to resort to programs of massive deficit spending, i.e., they had to borrow money, by issuing government bonds, to finance welfare expenditures on a large scale.
[Alan Greenspan, 1926-0000]
Thank you for subscribing to FreePakistan Newsletter!
Free Pakistan, a monthly newsletter, exists for the promotion of limited government, rule of law, protection of property rights, market economy, individual freedom, and private initiative. Its vision is a free and prosperous Pakistan; for only such a Pakistan can contribute positively to the creation of a free and prosperous world.
The Newsletter is an affiliate of Alternate Solutions Institute, Lahore, Pakistan, http://asinstitute.org, the first free market think tank of Pakistan.
The Alternate Solutions Institute is a registered, non-profit, non-political, non-governmental, educational and research organization. Its mission is to promote a limited responsible government in Pakistan under the rule of law protecting life, liberty, and property of all of its individual citizens without any discrimination.
For more information, comments and contributions, contact the institute at info@...
Free Pakistan URL: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/FreePakistan
DISCOVER YOUR POLITICAL LEANINGS! World's Smallest Political Quiz
Take the Quiz now and find out where you fit on the political map!
PHILOSOPHY OF LIBERTY
What is Philosophy of Liberty? A screensaver by Lux Lucre and Ken Schoolland explains it.
Download and install it. http://www.free-market.net/rd/321907219.html ; http://www.jonathangullible.com
BIGGEST BATTLE FOR THE RULE OF LAW
The Post of Friday June 22, 2007 carried an article "Biggest Battle for the Rule of Law" by Dr. Khalil Ahmad. The article argues that Pakistanis want an inviolable Constitution, rule of law, and an independent judiciary as mechanisms of check-and-balance in a country that has long been governed by a military rule. Pakistanis want their rights and freedoms to be protected by the judiciary. That's a good omen.
Here is the link: http://thepost.com.pk/OpinionNews.aspx?dtlid=103518&catid=11
ARE DICTATORSHIPS MORE SUCCESSFUL THAN DEMOCRACIES
By Alvaro Vargas Llosa
[This article first appeared on June 13, 2007 at http://www.independent.org Alvaro Vargas Llosa is Director of The Center on Global Prosperity at The Independent Institute. He is a native of Peru and received his B.S.C. in International History from the London School of Economics. He is widely published and has lectured on world economic and political issues including at the Mont Pelerin Society, Naumann Foundation (Germany), FAES Foundation (Spain), Brazilian Institute of Business Studies, Fundaciˇn Libertad (Argentina), CEDICE Foundation (Venezuela), Florida International University, and the Ecuadorian Chamber of Commerce. He is the author of the Independent Institute books The Che Guevara Myth and Liberty for Latin America.]
WASHINGTONŚA group of European readers of this column recently wrote to me, arguing that from an economic point of view, dictatorships have been outperforming democracies for many years and that if the trend continues, there will be very little incentive to replace autocrats with the rule of law.
This is an old discussion that resurfaces from time to time. The success enjoyed nowadays by autocracies awash in natural resources has reignited it. A recent article in the online magazine American.com measures economic performance against the degree of political and civil freedom existing in various nations. The conclusion is that in the last 15 years, the economies of nations ruled by despots have grown at an annual rate of 6.8 percent on averageŚtwo and a half times faster than politically free countries. Those autocracies that have opened their markets in recent decades but continued to restrict or prevent democracyŚChina, Russia, Malaysia, and Singapore, for exampleŚhave done better than most of the developed or underdeveloped countries that enjoy a considerable measure of political and civil freedom.
It would be silly to deny that a dictatorship can boast sound economic results. Any political system, free or unfree, that removes some obstacles to entrepreneurship, investment and trade, and makes a credible commitment to safeguard property rights to a certain extent will trigger a virtuous economic cycle. Spainĺs Francisco Franco and Singaporeĺs Lee Kuan Yew discovered that in the 1960s, as did Chinaĺs Deng Xiaoping at the end of the 1970s, Chileĺs Augusto Pinochet in the 1980s, and many others at various times.
But this is not the end of the story. Of the 15 richest countries in the world, 13 are liberal democracies. The other two are Hong Kong, a Chinese territory that enjoys far greater civil liberties than mainland China, and Qatar, where the abundance of oil and natural gas, and the tiny population, translate into a large per capita income average.
What this picture really tells us is that stability and reliability are most important when it comes to economic prosperity over the long term. Spain, a modern success story, has seen its wealth double since 1985 and yet at no point in the last quarter-century did the Spaniards achieve annual growth figures comparable to those of China. Similarly, the U.S. economy has grown by a factor of 13 since 1940, but never experienced ôAsianö growth figures.
When the environment in which the economy breathes depends on institutions rather than on the commitment of an autocrat or a party, stability and reliability generate the sort of long-term results that we call ôdevelopment.ö That is probably why Chileĺs economic performance after Pinochet compares favorably to the years when the general was in power. Not to mention the fact that dictatorships that enjoy economic success are heavily dependent on technology invented in countries where exercising a creative imagination does not land one in jail.
Another reason dictatorships are outperforming liberal democracies has to do with the fact that many of the latter countries are fully developed. Once a country starts to move forward, spare capacity and unrealized potential tend to allow it to grow faster than developed nations. Furthermore, if we consider that China is a disproportionately big component of the group of unfree nations outperforming liberal democracies, the growth rate gap is not surprising.
In fact, liberal democracies can compete favorably with dictatorships even in the short term. India, one of the worldĺs fastest growing economies, is a liberal democracy. So is Peru, whose economy is experiencing 7 percent annual growth. These are imperfect democracies, for sure, and in the case of Peru there has been little poverty reduction. But the recent success indicates that elections, freedom of the press and freedom of association can coexist with high economic growth.
From a moral point of view, the relative prosperity that a dictatorship can trigger is a double-edged swordŚit brings relief to people who are otherwise oppressed but also serves as an argument for the indefinite postponement of political and civil liberty.
Two things are certain, however. First, history indicates that the combination of political, civil and economic freedom is a better guarantee of ever-increasing prosperity than a capitalist dictatorship. Second, there are sufficient examplesŚPortugal or the Baltic countriesŚof underdeveloped countries that have generated stable and reliable environments through political freedom to invalidate the notion that a country should be kept in political and civil infancy until it reaches economic maturity.
WHAT REMAINS OF PEMRA LAW?
By I. A. Rehman
[This article first appeared in Dawn http://dawn.com on June 14, 2007. ]
The decision to withdraw the Pemra (Amendment) Ordinance of June 4 last can only be welcomed. The satisfactory turn of events is surely the result of the media communityĺs unity and steadfastness and the support it received from civil society at home and abroad.
It should now be possible to take a critical look at the law as it stood before the ill-timed and ill-fated amendment because its scrutiny during the recent agitation brought to light quite a few of its aspects that are violative of the right to freedom of expression.
The Pemra Ordinance in its original form was a bad law to start with, because it created a mechanism to control the electronic media in contravention of the objectives given in the Ordinance itself. These objectives were: to ôimprove the standards of information, education and entertainmentö, to ôenlarge the choice available to the people in the media for news, current affairsů.music, sports, drama and other subjects of public and national interestö; to ôfacilitate the devolution of responsibility and power to the grass-roots by improving the access of the people to mass media at the local and community levelö, and to ôensure accountability, transparency and good governance by optimising the free flow of information.ö
The people have a right to ask the Pemra as to what it has done to realise its mission and whether, instead of optimising the free flow of information, it has been trying to restrict the flow of information.
That the Electronic Media Regulatory Authority created under the ordinance was wholly under the federal governmentĺs control is borne out by the following:
The federal governmentĺs directives on a matter of policy were binding on the Authority. What constituted a matter of policy was to be decided by the federal government (Sec 5). The Authority comprised a chairman and nine members, all appointed by the president. Out of the nine members, five had to be ôeminentö citizens (Sec 6). The licensee was bound to broadcast programmes (in public interest) specified by the government or the Authority and comply with the rules and codes made by the Authority with the government approval (Sec 20).
The Authority was given the power to prohibit a broadcast/ distribution of programmes and the premises of a broadcaster/operator could be inspected ôafter giving reasonable notice.ö The Authority could revoke or suspend a licence if (a) the licensee had not paid fee and charges; (b) a committee appointed by the government, headed by a retired HC or SC judge (and a nominee each of the Authority and licensee) expressed opinion that the licensee had violated the Ordinance/rules; (c) licensee had failed to comply with licence conditions; (d) If the broadcast companyĺs ownership changed. However, a show cause notice (reasonable) was necessary except for reason of necessity in public interest (Sec 30).
The penalties were: (1) For any violation of the ordinance, fine up to Rs. one million; (2) second violation, a three-year imprisonment or fine or both; (3) violation by a person who is not a licensee, a four-year imprisonment or fine or both.
The ordinance overrode other laws. (Sec 37), a feature not allowed in case of the Freedom of Information Ordinance, despite media communityĺs clamour.
Changes made by Act II of 2007: In 2004 the government decided to put more teeth in the ordinance. The relevant bill got stuck in Parliament but eventually it became the Pemra Act of 2007 (II of 2007) and was gazetted on April 14, 2007. A simple reading of this Act leads one to the conclusion that Parliament failed to show due respect for the right to freedom of expression and gave Pemra sweeping powers that could easily be abused.
Several amendments brought substantial changes in the law, and quite a few of them of a sinister nature. The number of members of the Authority (besides the chairman) was raised from nine to 12. As earlier, the number of Ĺeminent citizensĺ remained five and two members were to be appointed by the federal government on need basis on the recommendation of the chairman. The remaining five members were to be government officials/nominees. The composition of the Authority was thus radically changed. The five non-officials, who earlier on faced an equal number of officials, now faced seven officials. The pretence that the Authority could be an autonomous body was given up.
The section on delegation of power by the Authority (Sec 13) had a proviso in 2002 text: ôProvided further that the rules made under this ordinance shall specify use of delegated powers and shall be framed and enforced after promulgation of this Ordinance and before the notification of the establishment of the Authority.ö Under the Act of 2007 this proviso was dropped. This meant rules regarding delegation could be made at any time, even after the Authority had been established.
The gates of arbitrariness were thrown wide open. Further, previously the delegation of power did not include ôthe power to grant, suspend, reverse or cancel a broadcast licence.ö Now the word Ĺsuspendĺ was deleted and cable TV was excluded from protection. Obviously, it was made possible for a delegatee of power to suspend a TV channel licence and cancel a cable operatorĺs licence.
Amendments to Section 19 gave the Authority unfettered power to fix the number of licences to be issued in each category. This means that parties seeking licence after the limit for licences in a category has been reached cannot be entertained. This is not only contrary to the holy principle of market competition but also appears to be violative of fundamental rights.
The conditions of licence were expanded (Sec 20). Earlier, a broadcaster was required to Ĺrespectĺ national, cultural and religious values and the principles of public policy, now the order was to Ĺensure preservation ofĺ the values already mentioned. The condition is quite ridiculous and it is impossible to comply with it.
Earlier, the federal government could establish only one Council of Complaints, now it was bound to establish councils of complaints at Islamabad, at provincial capitals and at any other place. All councils were given power to summon a licensee in the course of hearing a complaint against him. This could mean relief to broadcasters from traveling to Islamabad in each case, and it could also imply a Karachi-based broadcasterĺs obligation to travel to FATA or Gilgit if a council were set up there.
The replacement of Sec 27 increased the grounds on which a broadcast could be prohibited. In addition to the standard jargon on integrity, security and decency, a programme could also be prohibited for ôengaging in any practice or act which amounts to abuse of media power by way of harming the legitimate interests of another licencee or wilfully causing damage to any other person.ö This was much too broad a power.
A new provision (Sec 29) empowered the Authority as well as its chairman to seize a broadcasterĺs equipment and seal the premises for contravening ôthis Ordinance or the rules made thereunder or any other law.ö Equipment could be returned to the holder of a valid licence after payment of penalty determined by the Authority. A licensee could be fined up to Rs one million. The new provisions encouraged abuse of power. Suppose a broadcaster attracted the defamation law, the Authority could supplant the courts of law and punish the accused.
Substantial changes were also made in Sec 30 (Power to suspend/revoke a licence). Earlier, a licence could be suspended/revoked for failure to pay fee/charges for failing to comply with conditions of licence, if a broadcast companyĺs ownership changed, or if a committee headed by a retired judge gave an opinion against a licensee.
The Act of 2007 replaced reference to the committee of inquiry with the Council of Complaints and gave the Authority blanket power to vary the terms of a licence ôwhere such variation is in public interest.ö Although a new Section (30 A) gave the right to appeal to the High Court, the granting of sweeping power and possibility of their abuse cannot be denied.
The fine for the first offence was raised from one to ten million rupees. Violation by a non-licensee could be punished with confiscation of equipment in addition to imprisonment or/and fine. A new sub-section was added to provide for punishment of anyone who damaged or stole a licenseeĺs equipment.
The Act of 2007 had made the Pemra ordinance as draconian as can be but obviously the establishmentĺs lust for arbitrary and absolute power was not satiated. Only 50 days after the Act II of 2007 was gazetted, it promulgated an ordinance to further amend the 2002 ordinance.
What the new ordinance did was: Sec 29 was amended to give power to the Authority as well as its chairman to seize a broadcasterĺs equipment and seal his premises without a show cause notice for illegal operation or violating orders passed under Sec 30. The amount of fine under this section was raised from one to ten million rupees.
Vide a new sub-section added to Sec 30 a licence could be suspended by ôa duly constituted committee comprising members of the Authority.ö What this meant was that a committee of any two official members or any two officials and one Ĺeminentĺ citizen could suspend a licence. Further, the proviso to Sec 30 was amended to drop the provision for revoking a licence on the opinion of the Council of Complaints, and the condition of a show cause notice before suspension of a licence was dropped.
Perhaps one of the most pernicious changes in the Pemra law made by the latest ordinance was the insertion of a Sec 39-A which gave the Authority powers to make regulations in addition to rules. While the rules had to be made by the Authority subject to government approval, no such approval was needed for regulations that might be made at any time. Any violation of regulations was as serious an offence as a violation of the ordinance and the rules.
Even after the ordinance of June 4 has been withdrawn, it will be necessary to review the Pemra law, to purge it of provisions that are likely to be abused.
It may be noted that in most of the recent cases when broadcasts by some of the TV channels were blocked/suspended for hours and days, it was not considered necessary to invoke the Pemra law. The reason is, first, that formal orders of Pemra can be challenged and, secondly, the powers available to the regulating authority are so awesome that a mere threat of their use can be sufficient to achieve the desired result. [Courtesy Dawn]
Issue of the Month: Judiciaryĺs Moment of Redemption
[Engr Ahmad Kundi, Dera Ismail Khan]
I hope for the first time in the history of Pakistan we are heading on the proper track of independent judiciary, rule of law and real democracy. Democracy without free and fair elections will always be called controlled democracy. While free, fair and transparent elections can only be possible through a free election commission that is the progeny of an independent judiciary. So an independent judiciary is the prerequisite for real democracy.
We have been badly affected by controlled democracy and law of necessity for the last 53 years, which were the products of a military-judiciary alliance. Numerous resistances from the prestigious judges have been seen in the past but these resistances have either been sabotaged by their brother judges or crushed by the military dictator. Now, for the first time the judiciary (bench and the bar) are unanimously striving to get free from the shackles of the military. At this sensitive moment I pray for the triumph of the movement, being led by Chaudary Iftikhar, which is indispensable for the security of our motherland. [The News]
[S T Hussain, Lahore]
As reported in the press on 26 June, 2007, Justice Ramday defended the judiciary by observing that judiciary alone should not be cursed for all the ills in the country. This is true, but the judiciary is the state organ responsible for protecting the Constitution, the interest of the general public, upholding the rule of law, dispensing justice, and acting as a watchdog on other state organs.
Judges working with judiciary must have very high moral character and moral courage. As they may derive no personal benefit from their powerful position, their conduct and judgment should be without fear. Without strong judiciary, justice cannot be dispensed and the exercise of power by different state institutions and the executive cannot be held accountable.
Issue of the Month: The Redistributive Budget
[Taj Muhammad, Karachi]
The government is considering introducing subsidies on essential items through USC for poor people. Over 90 per cent of the population bearing taxes are poor while two per cent of the rulers and elite enjoy public wealth and resources. This means the tax is paid by 98 per cent but enjoyed by just two per cent.
Miseries and hardships are common because of the impact of the tax on the common person. A person earning Rs5,000 and another earning Rs200,000 are paying the same price for edible items and utility bills. Also all expenses become part of businesses and form cost of production. Businessmen never object to any increase in taxes because they charge all expenses to the cost of production and the impact falls on the consumers.
I suggest the government withdraw GST on all products forthwith. This measure will stabilise the price whereby the cost of production will decrease. Merely telling the milk or meat sellers to reduce their prices is not sufficient unless the government reduces the tax burden on other inputs which are responsible for the increase in the first place. There is no other way but to review the tax structure if the government wants to give relief to the common person. [Dawn]
BUDGET & THE POOR
[Muhammad Farooq, Abbottabad]
This has reference to a news report on food subsidies. With a monthly relief of Rs2 per head, a needy person will not even be able to buy an extra roti a month. This is cruel and outrageous to say the least. I have no doubt in my mind that while plugging in the food subsidy figure of Rs1.8 billion for the over 71 million ôpoor and vulnerable Pakistanisö, the minister of state for finance, Omer Khan, had no understanding of the value of two rupees or else he would not have told the National Assembly that the budget was about ôrelief and the peopleö. The government should be ashamed of churning out such an unrealistic budget. To compensate for his sins of commissions and omissions in this budget, I suggest the state minister abandon his palatial house and shun his legacy and lifestyle for at least a few days and live the life of a poor and vulnerable person. This way, he will truly understand what it means to be the poor and vulnerable. Western books and foreign degrees are no substitute for real life experience. Mr Khan should not forget his lessons learnt abroad. This budget will be of no relief to the poor and will only add to their miseries. The increasing gap between the haves and haves-nots will explode one day or the other. It is high time the ruling elite took measures for a more equitable economic system so that budgets provided some real relief to the poor and vulnerable. [Pakistan Observer]
Issue of the Month: Failures of the Monopoly
POWER STATION LYING IDLE
[Mirza Iqbal Beg, Secretary, Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Sukkur]
I would like to draw attention of the power and water minister and the Wapda chairman to the fact that in Sukkur a thermal power station of 50MW has since been lying idle, with reasons best known to the authorities. This thermal power station was set up under Canadian aid and was functioning in the past, but now is lying closed. In order to reduce its operational charges, it was converted from fuel to gas, and successful trial was conducted, but again laid off.
If the government is able to put the plant to work, it would meet the power requirement of at least the Sukkur city and its industrial estates. It is pertinent to state the staff of this thermal power is already available and sitting idle and drawing salaries. [Dawn]
[Maliha Ghazanfar, Karachi]
I am writing to complain not about the inefficiency of the KESC but the behaviour of Karachiites during loadshedding. While I agree that electricity causes frustration but coming out on the roads and destroying everything in sight is the height of stupidity. It is senseless to go out on the roads, block traffic and cause inconveniences to other people.
Unfortunately police officials for some reason become helpless in such situations, and the KESC were ironically also helpless because rioters were not letting the KESC's vehicles through so that they could go and repair the lines. One cannot be so frustrated that they cannot let the KESC through as that was for their own benefit. [Dawn]
From the National Press
A JUST, LAWFUL ORDER
[Dr Zulfiqar Haider, Lahore Cantt.]
This is in reference to a letter by Col (Retd) Riaz Jafri in which he fails to find any relevance between the development of science and the rule of law. A society bereft of the rule of law and social justice is an unstable society where everyone is insecure. This is hardly conducive to developing long term policy for a knowledge-based culture. The author referred to China and Russia but failed to mention the great strides made by the West where law reigns supreme for all. One is reminded of Mr. Churchill, who at the height of the World War-II had remarked that ôBritain is safe if its courts are functioning.ö
As for Prof Abdus Salam, one of the great scientists of the 20th century, his genius flowered in the liberal milieu of the West. He died a sad man for lack of recognition in his own country, a reflection of our unjust system. I believe that for any kind of talent to flourish, a just, liberal and lawful social order is a must. [The Nation]
MILITARY ROLE IN STABILITY
[Khwaja Shamaas, Lahore]
This is apropos of Col (r) K. M. Ismail's letter (June 13) which epitomises the Pakistan army's utter disdain for the opinion of civilians and its indisposition to any form of criticism. It also displays Mr Ismail's grandiose delusions regarding his institution and his selective recollection of the 1965 war.
When he asserts that our army is the "finest machine in the world", he fails to tell us why the finest machine in the world capitulated to one phone call from America.
His inquiry as to where Mr Aitzaz Ahsan was on the fateful day of Sept 6, 1965 is a direct insult to the civilians who became martyrs underneath Indian tanks and played a crucial role in repelling the Indian blitzkrieg from Lahore.
In case Mr Ismail is not aware of what the consensus of history is regarding the 1965 war, it has been thoroughly analysed and laid bare as a massive strategic failure on the part of the Pakistani higher command. What began as an offence into enemy territory ended up as our own desperate defence. Pakistan paid the price for this failure at Dhaka in 1971. An army gains or loses its respect on the battlefield. It is an arm of the government and should be subservient to the houses of parliament and, therefore, to the people of Pakistan.
As far as I know, being a soldier is a profession just like any other. Everyone who is in the army joined it voluntarily and is paid for his duties. Being a soldier does not consecrate one; the Pakistan army must learn to take criticism.
By refusing to leave the political arena, the army is only increasing its hostility against the people of Pakistan. It must abdicate power to the people immediately and unconditionally. [Dawn]
STARTING A COLLEGE?
[Z. Israr, Karachi]
The chairman of Gujranwala Citizens Forum, or some such, in his letter to The Nation (29th May) has asked Punjab government to establish a medical college in their city. Why beg from anybody? If two million citizens give Rs. 100/month each to the chairman, he will have Rs 20 crores every month. He can have a medical college started in no time. [The Nation]
WORRIED ABOUT CRIME
[S. H. Wasty, London, UK]
When people are faced with the imminent onslaught of an army of the enemy, what will they do? They will either surrender or fight back. To fight back people must be organised much before hand. The same goes for crime. Either surrender to criminals or eventually come to realise that you have to fight back. Over the years, I have been trying to get people to see it this way. You have to fight back against crime. There is no other way. To be able to do so, people need to organise themselves. To organise, they need to start coming together. Coming together in the locality where they live is the only way to solve the mountain of problems faced by them. Will the people see the sense in sparing some of their leisure time to come together to do such constructive work, which will pay them heavy dividends?
It is much better for people to do this than to waste time on those useless dramas that keep people glued to the idiot box. I am absolutely sure that they will achieve most of what are their just needs through organising self-help. The people must realise that either they organise self-help or they will get help from no one. By organising self-help they will see for themselves that they are getting help from where they would never dream of otherwise.
[ousuf Shabbir, Lahore]
At last, a consumer court has handed down a conviction in Lahore, in a case against a seller who sold a defective cooking range. The seller will reimburse the customer for the price of the appliance and will also pay a fine. Another petition, regarding a malfunctioning Haier air conditioner, is before the court.
This is good news for the hundreds of customers who have complaints against irresponsible manufacturers and retailers and have been able to do nothing about them. Much now depends on whether the verdict of the court will be enforced. Strict enforcement will encourage this kind of litigation, which is badly needed. People must be made to take the authority of the court seriously, otherwise it can do little good. [Daily Times]
Letters to FreePakistan
Thanks for such an informative and thought provoking write up (The Greatest Battle for the Rule of Law in Pakistan).
[Syed Javed Iqbal]
AP Administrator (PK Accounting)
I hope Free Pakistan will be interested in this issue, it's an attack on
honest, privately-issued currency. We are innocent, and the guilty ones
don't want the truth to emerge because fiat money is evil.
[James M. Ray]
Dear Board Members of EFF,
Since 2001 http://www.wired.com/politics/law/news/2001/03/42745 ,
multiple observers have noted similarities between the (now-chronic)
USSS campaign to destroy e-gold and their 1990 actions targeting Steve
In its eleventh year online, e-gold is under a mortal-intent assault
by the US government. I believe you would find the issues interesting
and pertinent to the work of EFF. Whatever the case is about, it isn't
about good faith efforts on the part of US law enforcement to combat
cyber-crime. The asset seizure aspect has been remarkably abusive and
I believe may entail first impression from the standpoint of the
victim of the seizures being forced to liquidate the seized assets
themselves, before judgment [in fact before any case was even filed.]
Fortunately, one of the attorneys who has come forward to aid in the
defense literally 'wrote the book' on asset forfeiture law
I would be pleased to brief any/all of you regarding the situation.
Gov press release regarding criminal indictment of companies and directors
My preliminary response
I would particularly direct attention to the hyperlinked documents,
especially the transcript from the emergency hearing of 12/05 where
the matter should have ended.
I held off on attaching a status report filed 17 May [because of file
size] to assist the judge as she transitions from the ex parte phase
to the phase that should more resemble due process. It is a worthwhile
document however and I would be happy to supply it and all other
pertinent documents that would enable you to evaluate the significance
and merits of the case.
What the USSS has done and is doing in this case makes SJG look like a
Free Pakistan Highlights
NEW BOOK: FIGHTING THE DISEASES OF POVERTY
Lahore: May 01, 2007
Many health policies promoted by intergovernmental bodies and governments in less-developed countries are counterproductive and lead to unnecessary suffering, according to a new book, ôFighting the Diseases of Povertyö launched here by Alternate Solutions Institute, a partner organization of Campaign for Fighting Diseases. In it, global experts challenge conventional wisdom about the diseases of poverty and set out pragmatic approaches to fighting disease.
The book's editor, Philip Stevens, says:
"Too often governments and international health bureaucracies promote grandiose and politically-motivated schemes that prove unworkable and lead to increased suffering and death. This is what happened with malaria and HIV/AIDS. Meanwhile, millions of children die every year from simple things like diarrhoea or chest infections. Governments need to prioritize their work better and get back to basics if there is any hope of meeting the Millennium Development Goals."
For a copy of the book, please contact the Institute at info@...
To download the full text pdf (1,613 kb), click here:
IDEAS FOR A FREE AND RESPONSIBLE SOCIETY
Ideas have consequences. They influence the political, economic and social systems that govern our actions and thereby affect the way we live our lives. Ideas have inspired many of the political and economic arrangements that have existed at different times in different places.
Some of these arrangements have promoted creativity, innovation, peace and prosperity, leading to improvements in quality of life and enabling people to fulfill their myriad needs and goals. Other political and economic arrangements have undermined creativity, inhibited innovation and lead to civil unrest, oppression, starvation, poverty and misery.
For most of history, in most places the latter type of arrangements prevailed and as a consequence the large part of humanity was poor, oppressed and miserable. Beginning around 1500, the political and economic arrangements in some Western European countries began to shift - and improvements in living standards began to be felt throughout those societies.
Over the course of the past two hundred years, the number of countries with such beneficial political and economic arrangements has gradually increased. As a result, this period has seen rapid improvements in technology and economic conditions. Meanwhile, the number of people living in abject poverty has been declining in absolute terms for fifty years in spite of a dramatic rise in the world population. Nevertheless, over a billion people continue to live in miserable circumstances.
ôIdeas for a Free and responsible Societyö is a collection of writings published on a CD. The CD contains a selection of contributions by some of the most important scholars and thinkers, both historical and contemporary, which explain the general intellectual concepts, some of the challenges, and some applications to public policy issues. This CD is designed for those who are interested in what these beneficial economic and political arrangements are that lead to economic growth and have the capacity to eliminate poverty. It does not pretend to provide a definitive answer but rather to point people in the right direction. The title of the CD, "Ideas for a Free and Responsible Society," was inspired by the observation that the political and economic arrangements that seem to be most conducive to peace and prosperity are those that exist in free and responsible societies.
In such societies, there exist certain institutions that guarantee political, economic and social freedom, and those institutions are in turn underpinned by ideas. Such ideas have been explored by individuals from many different perspectives, starting with ancient Chinese, Roman and Greek philosophers and continuing to the present day. The reader will find that a rich intellectual debate about the nature of these ideas exists even among the authors of texts on this CD.
The contents are not intended to be a comprehensive review of the literature of the subject, which is enormous. Instead, the CD contains a selection of contributions by some of the primary scholars and thinkers who have developed ideas which relate to a free and responsible society. Their contributions explain some of the general intellectual concepts and challenges, and the application of these ideas to public policy. It is hoped that the selections included on the CD will inspire readers to consider the advantages of a free and responsible society, to further investigate the wide array of literature on these topics, and even to put these ideas into practice.
If you live in Pakistan and want to own the CD: Ideas for a Free and Responsible Society, please download and fill out the following pro forma, and send it to the following address via mail only. This pro forma will enable us i) to remain in contact with you and ii) to have feedback as to the influence this CD would be having on your ideas and thinking.
Download the pro forma: http://ipn.lexi.net/images/uploaded/7-45a8aaa87c958--CDOrderForm.pdf
Released and distributed in Pakistan by
Alternate Solutions Institute
Address: P. O. Box No: 933, GPO,
THE INSTITUTION OF ASLAM EFFENDI MEMORIAL LECTURE
To promote the mission and work of Late Aslam Effendi (1924-2006) a great free marketeer from Pakistan, Alternate Solutions Institute has instituted Aslam Effendi Memorial Lecture. The First Aslam Effendi Memorial Lecture will be held in February 2007.
To read about Aslam Effendi, please check the following links:
SPECIAL PAKISTAN EDITION
OF THE ECONOMIC FREEDOM OF THE WORLD 2005 ANNUAL REPORT
For quite some time Pakistani government is pursuing diligently a policy of privatization and de-regulation but keeping its hold intact by over-regulating and over-taxing, and not only is the size of government increasing but its spending also! This amounts to less and less space for economic freedom and free economic activity for the people of Pakistan.
All of the Reports (such as UN Human Development Report), Indices (such as The Index of Economic Freedom, prepared by Heritage Foundation and Wall Street Journal), etc. published world-wide that measure the stages of economic development or economic freedom reflect figures that do not augur well for Pakistan.
One such report based on reliable data and considered very authoritative is annually published by the Fraser Institute, Canada. To introduce and promote the concept of Economic Freedom in Pakistan, Alternate Solutions Institute, Lahore, in collaboration with Friedrich Naumann Foundation, Pakistan, has published a Special Pakistan Edition of the Economic Freedom of the World 2005 Annual Report. This is second in the series first being the Special Pakistan Edition of the Economic Freedom of the World 2004 Annual Report (available at http://ipn.lexi.net/images/uploaded/7-4257db45139a4--efw-2004-pakistan.pdf) that was published and launched last year in July
The Special Pakistan Edition of the Economic Freedom of the World 2005 Annual Report was launched on March 29, 2006, in Islamabad. For a copy of the Report, contact khalil@... or click the following link: http://ipn.lexi.net/images/uploaded/7-458044e235be9--EFR2005-Part1.pdf
For more information and feedback, info@...
CIVIL SOCIETY REPORT ON INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY, INNOVATION AND HEALTH
This report from a global coalition of 16 civil society groups, including the Alternate Solutions Institute Pakistan http://asinstitute.org analyses the relationship between intellectual property, innovation and health. It was released ahead of the report of the WHO's Commission on Intellectual Property, Innovation and Public Health. Experience shows that such UN reports are typically biased by political considerations and subject to heavy influence by vocal interest groups. As representatives of civil society, the 16 civil society groups have produced their own report on the same issue. Their aim was to produce a report untainted by political influence and based on sound economic analysis of the situation. It was motivated in part by a concern that the WHO's Commission on Intellectual Property, Innovation and Health, would not address the fundamental issues because of concerns about the response of member governments. The report has been written by a group of independent experts from think-tanks and health organizations around the world and reviewed by senior academic economists and health experts.
The coalition's research finds that 50 per cent of people in parts of Africa and Asia have no access to medicines due to a range of harmful government policies including: weak health infrastructure; taxes and tariffs on medicines; price controls; bureaucratic drug registration requirements; and regulations that prevent the formation of health insurance markets.
For a copy of the Report, contact khalil@...
To read the report online, click http://www.policynetwork.net/uploaded/pdf/Civil_Society_text_web.pdf
To read the Executive Summary online, click http://www.policynetwork.net/uploaded/pdf/Executive_summary_web.pdf
For more information, please contact info@...
TRADE AND SECURITY: A VIEW FROM PAKISTAN
Alternate Solutions Institute, Lahore, participated in a project of the Atlas Economic Research Foundation <http://www.atlasusa.org>, and contributed the following report that can be accessed by clicking the following link:
"Trade and Security: A View from Pakistan" by Khalil Ahmad
STATEMENT CALLING FOR SOLUTIONS TO END THE WAREHOUSING OF REFUGEES
Alternate Solutions Institute has endorsed the Statement Calling for Solutions to End the Warehousing of Refugees. For details, please visit < <http://uscri.refugees.org/site/R?i=O18iS2pMeIZOKeXRvrE2uQ>
PDF VERSION OF THE SPECIAL PAKISTAN EDITION OF EFW 2004 ANNUAL REPORT
The PDF Version of the Introduction to the Special Pakistan Edition of the Economic Freedom of the World 2004 Annual Report is now available online.
To download, click one of the following links:
TAX EVASION AND MONEY LAUNDERING IN PAKISTAN: AN OVERVIEW
Alternate Solutions Institute, Lahore, participated in a project of the Atlas Economic Research Foundation <http://www.atlasusa.org>, it contributed the following report that can be accessed by clicking the following links:
"Tax-Evasion And Money-Laundering In Pakistan: An Overview" by Khalil Ahmad
ALTERNATE SOLUTIONS INSTITUTEĺS FIRST BOOK OF TRANSLATION
Alternate Solutions Institute, Lahore, Pakistan, has published its first book of translation, Ken Schoolland's "The Adventures of Jonathan Gullible: A Free Market Odyssey," in Urdu which is understood not only in Pakistan but throughout South Asia. Ken's modern fable has so far been published in 29 languages of the world Urdu being the 30th. This book explains the principles of market economy in a simple manner and helps promote the concepts of open market and property rights. The book has been translated into Urdu by Khalil Ahmad. A. S. Institute is indebted to Irshad Ameen for his tireless efforts in getting the book out of the press.
It is hoped that the book will give a new direction to the discussion of welfare state in Pakistan.
If you want to purchase the book, contact at info@... ; khalil@...
HOW TO END ALL WARS FOREVER
Aslam Effendi, an old and unsung Libertarian of Pakistan, has written three books on free market philosophy: HOW TO END ALL WARS FOREVER, HARD FACTS OF HISTORY, and, ECONOMICS FOR THE CONFUSED. When no publisher agreed to invest in the project, he spent out of his own pocket to get HOW TO END ALL WARS FOREVER printed. But, for want of a distributor, this book which has been praised as a classic remained dumped and could not find its way to the market. For details, read ĹAslam Effendi: A Free Marketeer in Pakistanĺ < <http://groups.yahoo.com/group/FreePakistan/message/7>
or visit http://asinstitute.org/articles.php. Alternate Solutions Institute, Lahore, Pakistan, has purchased all the copies of the book from Aslam Effendi to make it available to the right persons and to compensate the author as well.
If you want to purchase the book, contact at info@... ; khalil@...
A. S. Institute intends to publish all of his books; if you are interested in this project, please contact at the above-given email addresses.
HARD FACTS OF HISTORY
The Foreword of this second book of Aslam Effendi was written by Henry Hazlitt in 1992. Since then this book remained unpublished, but now Alternate Solutions Institute has taken up the task of publishing this book in a befitting manner. The book will be out most probably in July 2005.
Edited and prepared by
Email: khalilkf@... khalil@...
[FreePakistan Newsletter, among other things, is a compilation of views and news taken from the national newspapersĺ print and online editions. It is not possible to mention the source of every piece of news or view made use of herein; but as a matter of policy, where possible the source is mentioned with due thanks. However, no opinion expressed here should necessarily be taken as reflecting the view of Free Pakistan Newsletter.]
ôYou are subscribed to the monthly Free Pakistan Newsletter, an affiliate of the Alternate Solutions Institute Lahore, Pakistan. <http://asinstitute.org>. If you have received this message by mistake or wish to be removed from the mailing list, please send an email to subscribe@... with the subject ôunsubscribe.ö