Friday, 30 September 2011



I have been Pakistan’s best friend: Mike Mullen

In an interview conducted by The Wall Street Journal, US Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen explained what prompted him to review his outlook on Pakistan, and how his “partnership approach” had “fallen short and would be difficult to revive”.
“I am losing people, and I am just not going to stand for that,” Mullen told WSJ. “I have been Pakistan’s best friend. What does it say when I am at that point? What does it say about where we are?”
The report said that while Mullen earlier believed Pakistan was serious in its commitment to battle terrorism, the attack on the US embassy in Kabul on September 13 was a turning point. Mullen blamed Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) for collaborating with the Haqqani network, the militant group the US blames for the Kabul attack. However, he believes that while the ISI may not control details of Haqqani’s operations, it provides the group “strategic support”.
“It is very clear they (Pakistan) have supported them,” Mullen said in the interview. “I don’t think the Haqqanis can be turned on and off like a light switch. But there are steps that could be taken to impact the Haqqanis over time.”
Mullen also said that earlier on he had worked on a plan with Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani to launch an offensive in North Waziristan which Mullen believed would take away a “key haven” from the Haqqani group. He said he was disappointed when the operation did not materialize, and in the events that followed, he refrained from his practice of limiting public criticism of Pakistan.
On September 22, Mullen bluntly said he believes the Haqqani network acts as a “veritable arm of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence Agency”. He went on to say that the Pakistani government, army and intelligence agency jeopardize the Pak-US partnership in the war on terror by “choosing to use violent extremism as an instrument of policy”.
Pakistan has condemned these allegations, maintaining that it is committed to fighting the war on terror as it has been the greatest victim of militancy.

LAHORE: Highnoon Solar, LORENTZ join hands

High-noon Solar has tied up with LORENTZ of Germany, a world renowned manufacturer of solar water pumps for deep well pumping, clean drinking water supply, livestock watering and water irrigation based on solar solutions, said a press release issued Friday.
High-noon Solar is on approved list of Alternative Energy Development Board and in addition to having installed solar housing electricity system in Cholistan is also dealing solar water heaters, solar street and traffic lights.

Pakistan's PM Warns US to End 'Negative Messaging' on Militancy

Pakistani Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani is warning the United States it must end "negative messaging" by accusing Pakistan of supporting militant attacks in Afghanistan. He said such accusations will only strengthen anti-American feelings in his country.
In an interview with the Reuters news agency, Gilani said unilateral U.S. military action to hunt down Haqqani network militants inside Pakistan - similar to the raid that killed al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden in May - would be a violation of his country's sovereignty.

Gilani's statement came a day after the Pakistani military said it would not target the Haqqani network because it already is stretched too thin battling militants elsewhere in northwestern Pakistan.

Also Tuesday, hundreds of Pakistanis turned out for anti-American rallies across the country, and a suspected U.S. drone fired two missiles on a compound near Wana in the South Waziristan tribal region, killing at least three alleged militants.

Last week, the outgoing chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, said the Haqqani group is a "veritable arm" of the Pakistani spy agency. He blamed its fighters for a deadly assault on the U.S. embassy in Kabul, as well as an attack on a NATO base in Afghanistan earlier this month. Pakistan has repeatedly rejected the allegations.

On Tuesday, the Taliban said in an online statement that it, not Pakistan, controls the Haqqani network. The group said there are no ties between the Haqqani network and Pakistan's spy agency, the ISI, and that Haqqani fighters do not seek refuge in Pakistan's North Waziristan tribal region, as Washington claims.

The Taliban statement also said attempts to link the Haqqani network's founder, Jalaluddin Haqqani, to the Pakistani government are designed to "give a bad name" to its prominent figures by tying them to foreign intelligence services.

Solar Energy100,000MW solar energy Resource estimated in Pakistan

LAHORE – The solar energy resource has been calculated at 800 million megawatt while its estimation for our country is about 100,000 megawatts, as Pakistan is the 6th luckiest country in the world where sun-availability is up to 16 hours on average.
This was stated by Jawaid Tariq Khan, Chairman Highnoon Group of Companies, while talking to The Nation here on Saturday.
Mr Jawaid asked the govt to pay special attention for launching solar energy projects to overcome the rising energy needs in the country.
He said that the solar energy intensity in the sun belt is approximately 1,800-2,200 KWh per square meter with an annual sunshine duration of 8 to 8.5 hours.
“These values are among the highest in the world and ideal for the ‘photo voltaic’ and ‘concentrating solar plants’,” he said.
He said that the easiest and fastest way to overcome the energy shortage is electrification based on solar energy. In addition to electrification of villages, single homes, water heaters, tube wells and street, traffic and parking lights could be lit by solar energy, he added.
Many developed countries including USA, Spain, Germany and even the UAE were building entire cities electrified on solar energy simply because it is the cheapest source of energy, which runs for at least 20 years. He observed that small generation systems could be arranged within six months and so many thousands of systems in the same period of time.
He said that solar energy is pollution-free and with the help of photovoltaic devices light energy can be converted into electricity.
According to international estimates, Punjab is the most suitable place for setting up solar energy projects, he added. He informed that China could be helpful in launching new solar energy projects besides providing technical assistance for feasibility studies, capacity building and training and procurement of solar based home appliances.
“Currently, there is no solar plant in megawatt capacity installed in the country, except of a meagre capacity of 80 kilowatts. Despite the huge potential for micro hydro power, the current installed micro hydro capacity in Pakistan is zero, he observed.
Mr Jawaid said that he was extremely impressed by the vision of former US vice president Al Gore of alternative energy, as he established ‘Live worth’ in view of protecting the population and earth from pollution and for the first time he considered to generate energy from other sources which were cheaper and save for human life, he pointed out.
“So we started study work on solar energy in 2006 with a view to launch some solar energy projects in the country, as we needed to ensure a vertically integrated and holistic vision capable of serving the long-term needs of the country and fully exploit the God-gifted renewable energy potential,” he asserted.
Chairman Highnoon Group of Companies said that they offered to electrify a village with solar energy in Muzaffar Garh. He said that details in this regard were being worked out between the govt and Highnoon Solar.
He said: “All big projects importing technology should have technology knowledge and ‘percentage local development’ clauses including the contracts to promote local manufacture and create employment. All projects should have strict deadlines and measurable milestones. Besides, we need to master at least three major renewable energy technologies.
To achieve this we need to create a vibrant local market through government help; encourage entrepreneurship, investment, research innovation and growth.”
He said that Senior Minister Raja Riaz Ahmad has recently said that the Irrigation & Power Department can be an efficient platform for launching small hydel power generation as well as solar energy projects in the province to overcome the energy crisis. He quoted the minister as saying that there were 317 suitable sites already pointed-out by the department on canals and barrages where a total of 600 MW of electricity can be generated.

Effects and measurement of inflation

The most immediate effects of inflation are the decreased purchasing power of the rupee and its depreciation. Depreciation is especially hard on retired people with fixed incomes, as spending power decreases each month. Those not on fixed incomes are more able to cope, because they can simply increase their income. Another destabilising effect of inflation is that some people choose to speculate heavily in an attempt to take advantage of the higher price level. Because some of the purchases are high-risk investments, spending is diverted from the normal channels and some structural unemployment may take place. Finally, inflation alters the distribution of income. Lenders are generally hurt more than borrowers during long inflationary periods, which mean that loans made earlier are repaid later in inflated rupees. Inflation weakens the function of money as storage of value, because each unit of money is worth less with the passing of time. The progressive loss of the value of money during a period of inflation makes the borrowers to be less willing to use the money as standard differed payments.
To measure the price level, economists select a variety of goods and construct a price index such as the consumer price index (CPI). This is one measure of inflation. The CPI measures inflation as experienced by consumers in their day-to-day living expenses; it is the ratio of the value of a basket of goods in the current year to the value of that same basket of goods in an earlier year. By using the CPI, the inflation rate can be calculated. This is done by dividing the CPI by the beginning price level and then multiplying the result by 100. The GDP deflator is another very important measure of inflation as it measures the price changes in goods that are produced domestically.
Pakistan publishes four different price indices, namely: the consumer price index (CPI), the wholesale price index (WPI), the sensitive price index (SPI) and the GDP deflator. The CPI is the main measure of price changes at the retail level. It indicates the cost of purchasing a representative fixed basket of goods and services consumed by private households. In Pakistan, the CPI covers the retail prices of 374 items in 35 major cities and reflects roughly the changes in the cost of living of urban areas. The WPI is designed for those items which are mostly consumable in daily life on the primary and secondary level; these prices are collected from wholesale markets as well as from mills at organised wholesale market level. It covers the wholesale price of 106 commodities prevailing in 18 major cities of Pakistan. The SPI shows the weekly change of price of 53 selected items of daily use consumed by those households whose monthly income in the base year 2000-01 ranged from Rs3000 to above Rs12000 per month. The SPI also informs about the actual position of supply: whether the commodity is available in market or not. If the commodity is not available, the reason for that is also recorded. It is based on the prices prevailing in 17 major cities and is computed for the basket of commodities being consumed by the households belonging to all income groups combined as in CPI. In most countries, the main focus for assessing inflationary trends is placed on the CPI, because it most closely represents the cost of living. In Pakistan, the main focus is also placed on the CPI as a measure of inflation as it is more representative with a wider coverage of 374 items in 71 markets of 35 cities around the country. Inflation has started veering its ugly head in many parts of the world, including Pakistan. Food inflation has emerged as the main contributor to inflationary pressures. (See Table)
The inflation rates based on CPI, SPI and WPI for the year 2008-09 increased by 22.35 per cent, 26.33 per cent and 21.44 per cent respectively over the corresponding period of 2007-08. It increased by 10.27 per cent, 14.09 per cent and 13.70 per cent respectively in 2007-08 over the corresponding period of 2006-07. In 2006-07, the rate of inflation increased by 7.89 per cent, 11.13 per cent and 6.92 per cent respectively over the same period of 2005-06. An analysis of data for last three years for the same period indicates that CPI, SPI & WPI were higher as compared to last two years. (See Chart)
The government is cautious about inflation and thus has taken various steps to release demand pressures on the one hand and enhance supplies of essential commodities on the other. To ease demand pressures, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has continuously tightened the monetary policy over the last three years and more so in the current fiscal year, while to enhance supplies, the government has relaxed its import regime and allowed imports of several essential items so that there is a continuous flow in the supply of those important commodities. In addition, the government increased the imports of items like wheat, pulse and sugar to complement the efforts of the private sector. In order to provide relief to the common man, the government also increased the scale of operations of the Utility Stores Corporation (USC) which supplies essential commodities such as wheat flour, sugar, pulses and cooking oil/ ghee at less than the market prices.

Average July–April over same period of previous year
(Change of indices in %)
Index 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09
CPI 7.89 10.27 22.35
SPI 11.13 14.09 26.33
WPI 6.92 13.70 21.44
Source: FBS