Tuesday, October 11, 2016

President Hillary Clinton

(Image courtesy www.bgr.in)

Failing any untoward incident or information coming to light over the next three weeks, Hillary Clinton should win the election on November 8 and be sworn in as President of the United States on January 20, 2017.

The damage Donald Trump has caused to the Republican Party, could result in Republicans losing several seats in the Senate and the House and possibly majorities in one or both houses.

To win the Presidential election a candidate needs to win at least 270 electoral college votes. It now seems that Hillary Clinton could win over 300 votes. The electoral college map below (courtesy Politico.com)  shows the current position. Only seven states are considered toss up. Of these Clinton is leading in Virginia and North Carolina. Arizona, Colorado and Florida are also beginning to sway towards Clinton.

Wikileaks is promising to dump more damaging information about Hillary Clinton, but whatever they have come up with so far has had no impact.  Worse still are Donald Trump's own words that cause him more damage each day.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Prime Minister Theresa May

Democracy in Motion

Theresa May 2015.jpg  
Photo courtesy www.flickr.com

The process of selecting a new Conservative Leader in United Kingdom suddenly compacted from weeks to days after Theresa May's opponent Andrea Leadsom withdrew her candidacy earlier today. Theresa May is now expected to take over as Prime Minister on Wednesday of this week.

David Cameron's resignation, short listing of two candidates by Conservative MPs and then withdrawal of one candidate who felt she had no chance of winning is keeping with democratic traditions and a lesson for many other countries which maintain a democratic facade, but never follow democratic traditions. U.K.'s Labor Party leader will now also be under pressure and resign to allow new leadership to emerge.

Theresa May was born in Eastbourne, Sussex, studied at Oxford and worked at Bank of England for a while. She was elected to House of Commons in 1997 and has been the Home Secretary since 2010 overseeing immigration, police and national security.

Ms. May is known to be a no nonsense person with a laser like focus on issues and is known as a tough cookie with a stern personality.

It will be interesting to see how she conducts herself face to face with Angela Merkel and other European leaders who are in no mood to negotiate anything before U.K. exits Europe. She may have to trigger article 50 withdrawal sooner than she would prefer to. She may also have to deal with challenges pertaining to Scotland's expected separation from U.K.

Friday, July 8, 2016


Pakistan’s Abdul Sattar Edhi “heartbroken” after robbery
(photo courtesy www.5pillarz.com)

He was a hero to Pakistan’s poor and needy -Washington Post

He was a real gem and an asset for Pakistan -  Hindustan Times

Renowned Pakistani philanthropist, who dedicated his life to the poor - BBC

Philanthropist dedicated his life to humanity & social services - The Indian Express  
Activist worked altruistically, rising above religious prejudices. Duetsche Welle

Edhi created a charitable empire out of nothing, masterminding Pakistan’s largest welfare organization - Dawn, Karachi

Abdus Sattar Edhi (1928-2016) was one of the greatest human being that walked this earth. He dedicated his entire life to serve humanity. He was born in Bantva in the Gujarat State, when he was eleven, his mother became paralyzed from a stroke and she died when Edhi was 19. His personal experiences and care for his mother during her illness, caused him to develop a system of services for old, mentally ill and challenged people.

His family migrated to Pakistan and settled in Karachi, where he and his family dedicated their lives to serve humanity. Motivated by a spiritual quest for justice, over the years Edhi Foundation created maternity wards, morgues, orphanages, shelters, and homes for the elderly -- all aimed at helping those in society who cannot help themselves and picking up where limited government-run services fell short.  

To stop women with unwanted pregnancies to abandon new born babies, he put out a cot outside his centers and his mantra was 'don't kill, just leave the baby in the cot and we will care for it'. Thousands of lives of new born babies were saved in this manner. In the volatile city of Karachi which became a hotbed of crime and murder, Edhi would show up personally immediately after each terrorist attack or bomb blast to care for the injured and to bury the dead.  Edhi Foundation deployed 1,500 ambulances  which showed up with unusual efficiency to the scene of terrorist attacks that tear through Pakistan with devastating regularity.

Edhi resolved to dedicate his life to aiding the poor, and over sixty years single handedly changed the face of welfare in Pakistan. Edhi founded the Edhi Foundation, with an initial sum of a five thousand rupees. Regarded as a guardian for the poor, Edhi began receiving numerous donations, which allowed him to expand his services. To this day, the Edhi Foundation continues to grow in both size and service, and is currently the largest welfare organization in Pakistan. Since its inception, the Edhi Foundation has rescued over 20,000 abandoned infants, rehabilitated over 50,000 orphans and has trained over 40,000 nurses. It also runs more than 330 welfare centers in rural and urban Pakistan which operate as food kitchens, rehabilitation homes, shelters for abandoned women and children and clinics for the mentally handicapped.

Edhi is no more, but he will be revered and remembered forever.

Sunday, July 3, 2016


Hillary Clinton Receives Obama’s Endorsement, Destroys Donald Trump ...  (Picture courtesy www.celebuzz.com)

After a three and half hour voluntary interview with FBI this weekend, it is still not clear whether  FBI would indict Hillary Clinton on the email issue. Pundits give it a 3% chance, but even 1% could come back to bite. Assuming there is no indictment, Hillary Clinton is running away with the prize. Trump is losing ground in all swing States even in some traditional Republican States.

The latest polls in 'Real Clear Politics' Blog present the following picture in swing States:

       State                                                            Clinton%           Trump%
     Pennsylvania                                                  46.0                   43.7
     Florida                                                            46.5                   42.8
     Ohio                                                                44.3                   41.8
     Virginia                                                           43.8                   39.8
     North Carolina                                                44.0                   43.3
     New Hampshire                                              44.5                   41.8
     Georgia                                                           40.8                   45.0

Trump leads in only one of these States and Georgia is not a true swing State as it traditionally votes Republican, except on certain occasions.

Trump will get a bump in the polls after Republican Convention in two weeks, however that bump will mostly be canceled out by Democratic Convention later. Also, President Obama is actively campaigning for Hillary Clinton. Currently he is sitting high on popularity levels and attracts many young voters.

An indictment by FBI could upset the whole apple cart, it could send Trump soaring in the polls, but it would also bring in new faces as candidates, some of whom like the Bloomberg, former Mayor of New York, could severely challenge Trump. An FBI decision should be coming down shortly.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Is This the End of the Road for Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif?

With Panama leak papers, has Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif run out of options?

Two offshore companies that were incorporated in 1993 & 1994 bought two expensive Park Lane flats which to this day as per their own admission are owned by Nawaz Sharif family. Prime Minister's three children were rather young at the time and probably had no justifiable resources to acquire such expensive properties, hence the implication that the possibly the purchase was funded by Mr. Nawaz Sharif himself!. There is a lot of noise in the country, but critical questions that arise are:

1. Where did the money come from in the first place and how was it transferred overseas
2. Is there money laundering and tax avoidance involved
3. Were the properties declared in Wealth Tax returns by Mr. Nawaz Sharif
4. Were these properties declared to Election Commission of Pakistan when Mr. Nawaz Sharif filed papers to run for office.

in 1993 & 1994 Pakistani citizens were allowed to maintain foreign currency accounts, so transfer of funds overseas may not be a violation. However source of funds and lack of declaration in income and wealth tax returns and non declaration to Election Commission are very serious offences.

Parliamentary Committee and the proposed Judicial Commission notwithstanding, these revelations are serious and require serious answers from the Prime Minister, who has tried to wiggle out of this controversy, but he now seems to be at the end of the road. He seems to have sought Mr. Asif Zardari's help but does not seem to be forthcoming or is perhaps available at too high a cost. 

Irrespective of fairness of 2013 elections, PMLN, the ruling party should complete its term. The only choice for the Prime Minister is to step aside and facilitate an in-house change i.e. another member of his party should take over as Prime Minister. If the Judicial Commission clears Mr. Nawaz Sharif of any wrong doing (which is a tall order), then he should come back and resume his position.

In this scenario who is likely to take over as Prime Minster? The ideal candidate is Mr. Shahbaz Sharif, the development minded  Chief Minister of Punjab. But he is not a Member of National Assembly, a prerequisite to be elected Prime Minister. His son could resign his National Assemblyshahbaz sharif photo: Shahbaz Sharif Shahbazsharif.jpg
seat and Shahbaz Sharif could then contest a by election from that seat. This process will take a couple of months, but if the Prime Minister announces he will step down in favor of his brother then the heat will die down on him. Also, Shahbaz Sharif is well regarded in Military circles, so the currently rough civil military relationship can also be reset. The Federal cabinet also needs a major overhaul and it will be good opportunity for a new Prime Minister to get rid of many of the incompetent and verbose Ministers. Also, with no Foreign Minister in place for the last three years, Foreign Policy has suffered major damage, relations with United States, Iran and India seem to be heading South and require a fresh approach and rather quickly. 

The question then arises, who will take over as the Chief Minister of Punjab? The ideal candidate will be the Federal Interior Minister, Ch. Nisar Ali.
Ch Nisar directs FIA and NACTA to take immediate action against ...

But Sharifs are not likely to give up their bastion to an outsider, so likely candidate is Shahbaz Sharif's son, who having vacated a seat in National Assembly for his father could contest from the seat his father gives up in Punjab Assembly. Thus the domain of Punjab remains in Sharif hands.

The Shahbaz Sharif option poses one major problem, It is rumored that relations between Nawaz and Shahbaz Sharif are currently less than warm, so Nawaz Sharif may be reluctant to hand over power to his sibling. He will probably want to the new Prime Minister to be compliant.

There are many candidates running around hoping to be noticed, but if Shahbaz Sharif is not the option then the most logical choice is the current Speaker of National Assembly, Mr. Ayaz Sadiq.
Ayaz Sadiq