Campaign Stops on Park Ave at CFR, Coups, Cases & Debt Scoffed At,
Osama Likened to Che Guevara
November 9 -- Pervez Musharraf is on a roll, or thinks he
is. After launching his All Pakistan Muslim League in the UK, he has
held roll out events in hotel ballrooms in Florida and New Jersey.
Tuesday morning found him at the Council on Foreign Relations in
Manhattan, fielding questions about how and why he plans to reclaim
power in Islamabad.
own praises, that after his 1999 “coming into power” -- as his
CFR biography tactfully puts in it -- he grew the Pakistani economy
until, he said, it had more promise that India's.
were “stirred up against” him, foreign direct investment has
dried up and 50% of factories have closed, in his telling.
other stories are told, of how Musharraf hurt the electrical power
market, allowed for the first time the US to fly drones over the
country, attacked the judicial system. (Click here for
Press recent coverage of
Pakistan and the International Monetary
Fund, on power subsidies and textile taxes).
there are no court cases against him in Pakistan, and that if any
began now it would be “political.” Meanwhile, in his New Jersey
appearance where he took no questions from the media, he accused
Nawaz Sharif of stealing $1 billion and hiding it in London.
were taken, chosen
by NPR's Deborah Amos from among “members,” as
she put it. At least one member called on was a journalist, Lawrence
Wright of the New Yorker. The last question was finally given to the
back of the room, but to (at least) 32 year CIA veteran Jack
Devine of the Arkin Group, who
asked about Osama Bin Laden and Pakistan's seven tribal areas.
Bin Laden to Che Guevara, saying the latter was able to evade capture
Musharraf, 9/20/06, before the stir up
He said that
the tribal areas were left undeveloped as a buffer
between Russia and India, there there is “two to three percent
literacy.” Bin Laden “is viewed as their guest,” Musharraf
said, recounting how on one of his visits, he traveled virtually
without security because he was protected as a guest of an elder.
Nation, beyond possible court cases Musharraf has been told not to
return to Pakistan due to a lack of “security arrangements.” This
heralds back to the assassination of Benazir Bhutto when she
returned. The UN's three person investigations panel's report left
open many questions as to Musharraf, but no one raised it at the CFR
was unclear if
Musharraf viewed his appearance as part of his campaign, or more akin
to a speaking tour. He said he's spoken in Hong Kong and is going to
Nigeria, that his son in Palo Alto started his Facebook page on which
he has 350,000 friends. But how many enemies? Watch this site.
* * *
Hardball in Pakistan on Textiles & Tax, IMF Silent, on Ukraine
By Matthew Russell Lee
4 -- After the floods in
International Monetary Fund said it was much concerned, was only
waiting for a joint assessment mission in order to consider how to
help the country.
an IMF team in
Islamabad is back to playing hard ball, about not only the country's
utilities but now its textile sector.
November 4 briefing, Inner City Press submitted two questions,
the ongoing humanitarian situation in Pakistan, please explain report
that “IMF has turned down Pakistan’s request to exempt textile
sector from Reformed General Sales Tax.”
spokesperson Caroline Atkinson merely said that with an IMF team in
the country, she would not comment. But Pakistani officials have been
speaking, off the record, about the IMF's demands.
Pakistan after floods, IMF hardball on textiles & tax not shown
also submitted this question, while Ms. Atkinson was still speaking:
Ukraine, some 2000 small businesses have protested tax increases on
them, which they blame on the IMF. What is the IMF's response?”
the following arrived:
Mr. Lee: Regarding your question on Ukraine that came in after the
briefing was concluded please be advised that the following can be
attributed to an IMF spokesperson:
IMF supports the modernization of the tax system in Ukraine in a
manner that is consistent with medium term fiscal sustainability. An
IMF mission is currently in Kyiv for the first review under the
Stand-By Arrangement. The mission will be discussing with the
authorities the draft tax code to ensure that is consistent with the
program and promotes the rationalization of the tax system, broadens
the tax base, and strengthens tax compliance”.
2000 protesters. Watch this site.
* * *
IMF from Debt Relief, EU Stalls GPS+, Ripert
-- As at the UN countries jostled to give
speeches about past contributions to Pakistan, Inner City Press asked
UK International Development Minister Andrew Mitchell about the IMF's
requirement that Pakistan not seek any relief of its $500 million a
year in debt payments in exchange for a $450 million loan.
debt service is “only 3% of its gross national
income.” He said he was sure negotiations would continue on the
a letter submitted to the IMF on September 10 by State Bank
Governor Shahid Hafiz Kardar and Finance Minister Dr Abdul Hafeez
Shaikh committed, at the IMF's demand
make sure Pakistan’s international trade and financial relations
continue to function normally, we will not impose any restrictions on
payments and transfers for current international transactions nor
introduce any trade restrictions or enter into any bilateral payment
agreements that are inconsistent with Article VIII of the Fund’s
Articles of Agreement.”
Pakistan's foreign minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi about
this, and he replied that his country's finance minister is speaking
with the World Bank, the IMF and Asia Development Bank and he is
“sure he will take it [debt relief] up with them at the appropriate
he and the
country appear precluded from taking it up, by the IMF's own demands.
asked Mitchell about whether the EU will grant Pakistan GSP Plus
trade benefits. Mitchell made much of his Prime Minister Cameron
pushing for this, but the EU has yet to move on it, reportedly due to
protectionist opposition by France, Italy, Poland and Portugal (which
is seeking a UN Security Council seat). It was impossible to ask the
EU, as Catherine Ashton unceremoniously canceled her scheduled
the side of
Minister Lectureship’s stakeout, against his will, stood UN envoy
Jean-Maurice Ripert. He had refused to speak to the Press outside the
General Assembly's pledging session on Pakistan, and this time had to
be summoned after Secretary General Ban Ki-moon left without taking
questions, due to the need to swear in Michelle Bachelet at the head
of UN Women.
Ripert, by name, to explain his and the UN's failure to push
for humanitarian access to the Federally Administered Tribal Areas
including Waziristan. Ripert tried to get OCHA's Valerie Amos to
answer in his stead, but Inner City Press said Ms. Amos had already
taken the question last week. (Ms. Amos later on Monday introduced
and praised her previous UK colleague Andrew Mitchell in a way some
correspondents found noteworthy, “like Le Roy and the French,”
microphone and offered nothing but praise for the government, then
referred to “security issues,” saying it is “quite normal that
the UN has to discuss with the government” issues of access.
Qureshi with Ripert in a previously life, IMF and
Ripert's dodges not shown
not had access in Darfur to parts of Jebel Marra since February,
the UN and NGOs have been denied access to Wazirstan. And what has
the UN and Ripert done?
avoiding the Press for days. On September 17, greeted
by Inner City Press, he scowled and walked away, smoking a long white
cigarette. Later he was seen chatting euphorically on his cell phone
in the UN's Vienna Cafe. On Sunday evening he was on CNN
International saying that the floods have impacted an area “as
large as Italy.” Some in the Pakistani press corps have stories of
Ripert in the Alps -- others say Geneva -- but everywhere but
Pakistan. Watch this site.