Pakistan this Week in Pictures | 21-27 November 2016
Pakistan this Week in Pictures | 21-27 November 2016
RAWALPINDI: Who would be the next army chief after Gen Raheel Sharif’s retirement is the most important question being asked today.
Here are the top four generals on the seniority list who could be promoted and appointed as the next COAS.
Chief of General Staff Lt Gen Zubair Hayat is the senior most followed by Multan Corps Commander Lt Gen Ishfaq Nadeem Ahmed, Bahawalpur Corps Commander Lt Gen Javed Iqbal Ramday and Inspector General Training and Evaluation Lt Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa.
Lt. Gen. Zubair Mehmood Hayat remained on important appointments like Corps Commander Bahawalpur and Director General Strategic Plans Division before assuming his present office. He was also Principal Staff Officer with former Army Chief Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani as a Brigadier. His retirement is due in January 2017.
Lt. Gen. Ishfaq Nadeem, who had been Chief of General Staff and was also Director General Military Operations. Presently, he is commanding Multan Corps. His retirement is due in August 2017.
Lt. Gen. Javed Iqbal is another prominent officer from 62nd Long Course, who is presently commanding Bahawalpur Corps and was previously president of National Defence University. His retirement is due in August 2017.
Lt. Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa is also among the runners who was previously Commander of important Rawalpindi Corps and is presently employed as Inspector General Training and Evaluation, at GHQ, a position General Raheel Sharif held before becoming the army chief. His retirement is due in August 2017.
However, it is the prerogative of the prime minister to appoint the Army Chief by promoting a three-star general to a four-star General.
Wuhan, capital of Hubei province, has started to use robots to inspect the city’s underground sewer network.
The city’s water affairs authority used to send workers down to inspect underground pipes, but some are not large enough, making internal inspection impossible. In other cases, there is poisonous gas in the pipes, threatening the safety of inspectors.
Sewer robots were developed by a local company thanks to advances in the fields of electronics and motion control engineering.
They are shaped like a model car, with four wheels and a flexible, revolving head that features a high definition camera and searchlights.
A cable connects the robot to a control device operated by the inspectors, who can direct the robot’s movements and see the images it transmits.
Article Published : Daily China
A plane flies past the moon a day before the “supermoon” spectacle in Kathmandu, Nepal November 13, 2016.
View of the church of Our Lady of Conception, with the moon during the brighter full moon phenomenon, when the moon will be closest to the earth since the past 70 years, in Vila Pouca de Aguiar, Northern of Portugal, Nov 13, 2016.
Participants in a Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb (L) walk across the western span of the famous Australian landmark as the supermoon rises after sunset, November 14, 2016.
The supermoon is seen in Qinhuagndao, northern China’s Hebei province, November 14, 2016.
The supermoon is seen behind a road lamp in Beijing, China November 14, 2016.
Quick facts on China’s internet industry
Smog is one of the most recognizable air quality problems in Canada. It refers to a noxious mixture of air pollutants which often gives the air a hazy appearance. The major components of smog in Canada are ozone and particulate matter (PM) in the summer, and PM in winter. These pollutants have been linked to a number of adverse effects on human health and the environment.
PM refers to microscopic solid and liquid particles that remain suspended in the air. Particles are what make the air look hazy on days with smog since they impair visibility. Ozone is a colourless gas that forms in the air. Smog-producing pollutants include direct PM emissions and the gases sulphur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx), volatile organic compounds (VOC) and ammonia (NH3).
In summer, large-scale smog episodes are typically associated with slow-moving high pressure systems, which bring with them very high temperatures, light winds and a times stagnant conditions, both of which allow the build-up of locally emitted pollutants. In the eastern part of Canada, southerly winds typically accompany these episodes, bringing with them pollutants from the United States. In winter, large-scale smog episodes are typically associated with high levels of PM, often brought about by a build-up of locally emitted pollutants under stagnant air.
Smog is a concern in many urban centres across Canada, and it can also be a concern in rural undeveloped areas, since emissions of smog-producing pollutants can be transported by the prevailing airflows over large distances and affect air quality in areas hundreds to thousands of kilometres away from their sources.
It is a battle for power. And it is bloody. Imran Khan wants to down Nawaz Sharif because he knows that this will open up Punjab for him. This is his path to the PM House. Nawaz is holding on because he knows that another year will make his position unassailable for the future political contests and another victory of his party would be the end of Imran Khan’s steaming ambition.
The PPP’s Punjab chapter has much riding on the Sharifs’ ouster. They can perhaps piggyback on the PTI’s ascendency. Either that or get themselves started again in Punjab politics, or through a network of limited alliances in constituencies win back some seats. PPP Punjab also sees itself somewhat closer to the country’s establishment, the permanent political party. Many of its stalwarts believe that they have fewer disqualifications as compared to members of PPP Sindh, which is considered by the establishment as a den of deep corruption.
The Jamaat-e-Islami is restricted to Karachi and other urban centres of Sindh. It is hemmed in Khyber Pakhtunkwha because of its senior and overbearing partner, the PTI. Sirajul Haq is lightweight with very little understanding of national politics. The party wants to see the N-League collapse in Punjab because this will open up the conservative vote bank that has been lost in the League government’s continuous occupancy of power.
Besides these factors, the PTI and the N-League fight is also about the sugar business. Jehangir Khan Tareen and the Sharifs directly compete with each other for the sugar market and for business space. This involves billions and billions. JKT understands perfectly well that without getting a solid political cover of a government in power he, like the Sharifs, cannot see his business expand at the cost of his competition. So he stands behind Imran Khan.
With JKT stand the real-estate gurus who eye the lucrative lands of Punjab. They hope to attains super-rich status once they are in power. Put differently, just as there can be only one prime minister, there can only be one monopoly, whether in business or in other ventures. One has to disappear for the other to take full control. This makes this battle for Islamabad not just politically explosive but also business-wise crucial for the parties involved.
It is fair to assume that if the N-League had this type of political preponderance in say Sindh or Balochistan there would not have been any uproar about its leadership. There would not have been a squeak about rigging in four ‘halqas’ nor a string of Dharnas. It is Punjab’s politics, and with it the race for the centre, that is at work here.
Also the N-League’s present term in power is not the issue. The N-League’s future term in power surely is. Nawaz has to be ousted now – and thus start the unravelling of the party that is centred around the elder Sharif – for future political and business prospects to open up. If Nawaz stays now, it will be a never-like scenario for the rest.
The establishment, collectively, has its own axe. For them Nawaz as an individual is not a problem. Nor is his family. The two were great buddies not long ago till Musharraf came along and caused a permanent separation. The view – projected, propagated and written about daily by pen-pushers and talk show hosts – is that continuity of the civilian order headed by a strong man runs the risk of shifting the balance of power towards elected institutions.
Now that is something of an upheaval and a structural change in the power equilibrium between the unelected establishment and elected governments. A pliant order is what they seek, it seems. This thinking is cemented by the general theory of politics that politicians are bad for the country as all of them are thugs and looters – all of them except those who pay homage and accept alms.
This sets the context of the matters that now lie before the Supreme Court. We can all adorn perfect civility and decorum before the Lords and argue with all respect and humility the legal side of the case, but that does nothing to change the political and extra-constitutional nature of the questions involved in the matter.
The honourable judges would obviously be seized of this situation. They live in the same world. They breathe the same air. They have read their own history and the history of power struggles in this country. They understand what stakes are brought before them for adjudication in the name of fundamental rights. And yet they cannot go beyond the remit of the law. Their options are limited. However, the effect of the options that they exercise will be gigantic, for politics, democracy and the constitutional order as it exists now.
The legal road ahead has to be travelled carefully. Foremost care has to be exercised in observations made in the court about the contents of the petitions. The words spoken will have consequences expanded beyond reason by a hyper media wired on the backend with well-established political and business interests. Whether we like it or not, there is a parallel court in a state of permanent trial and it is called the electronic media. Nothing that the honourable judges may say in the course of the proceedings would be left alone. Media judgements will be passed instantaneously and conclusions will be drawn. The court won’t be able to clarify everything. Some interpretations will stay and will become the criterion to assess the court’s inclinations.
Adding to these ‘proceedings’ of the media’s ‘supra court’ will be politicians who would hold press conferences after every appearance and give strange twists to what transpired in court. Of course the Supreme Court (or for that matter the Islamabad High Court) would not want to concern itself with what gets said outside the court room. But it is also a fact that politicians generate pressure outside to influence what is happening inside.
We have seen what has happened to the orders passed by the IHC last week. Even clearly written words got lost in the wind of fantastic interpretations. The honourable judges of the Supreme Court will have to speak strictly from their orders and their judgements. An additional sentence here and there can make a crucial difference to how their role is assessed in the realm of politics.
But in the end it is not politics but certain fundamental principles that ought to determine the course of the proceedings. For the most part of its existence, the judiciary has been perceived as a pawn on the chess-board of national politics, being moved here and there by the hands that play such games deftly.
The past has been haunting this country. Verdicts obtained beforehand made trials held later mere game-shows. An elected prime minister could be hanged, a self-confessed abuser of the constitution had to be allowed to leave the country for the treatment of back-pain and yet schizophrenia is not a permanent mental disorder – this sums up the confusion that clouds the future path of justice in this country.
The honourable judges bear no burden of the past, nor can they be expected to address individual issues raised in previous cases. But they certainly are expected to bring clarity to the key question that none of their predecessors or contemporaries have provided and answer with total clarity: can power politics be allowed to hold the Supreme Court hostage to its whims and desires? Can law and constitution be allowed to become guises for political goals using judges as endorsers and facilitators?
The honourable judges will decide the way they must. But then history will judge them the way history always does – clearly, severely, and without any fear or favour. And on this earth, history remains the better judge.
It is an easy argument to make either way, but people must make up their minds about it one way or the other. While protests remain a democratic right, the costs can be high.
Indeed, the cost of the PTI protests to the country and the economy is very large, if measured in terms of the erosion of confidence, the muddying of the Pakistan narrative for foreign and domestic investors, and the weakening of the state’s controls over the economy and its ability to discharge its regulatory and oversight duties.
There may not be an immediate impact in terms of loss of output or damage to infrastructure, but the cost to the underlying pillars upon which a market economy operates can be immeasurable. However, some of these costs are avoidable.
Already, the state has impounded containers laden with export consignments to use as obstacles in the path of the protest caravans in a repeat of what was done two years ago when the same scenario played itself out. Needless to say, this tactic does incalculable harm to our exports that are already suffering.
The stock market has lost more than 1,500 points since hitting its historic high this month, an indicator of the storms of uncertainty unleashed in the investor community.
The former is an example of an avoidable cost, while the latter represents an enduring loss whose effects will linger long after the affair is over and the market has regained its momentum, because the damage done to investor sentiment in manufacturing will take far longer to repair.
Those participating in the protests may ask: what are the costs of not protesting? This is a fair question, because business as usual is also marred by its many dysfunctions, primarily poor governance, a bad security environment, and corruption.
But, at the same time, it would be naïve for protesters to think that should they succeed in their goals, the dysfunctions will disappear. The path to repairing Pakistan’s many dysfunctions is a long one, and progress on that road can only be gradual.
The first thing to be fixed is the political system, more specifically the path to power and the means through which power is legitimised. The more we politicise that, the more we undermine the very tools with which any course correction can be undertaken.
To fix the economy, the ship of state must be steady and resting on an even keel, and it must be clear to all contestants in the political arena that there is only one path to power — and that leads through the ballot box. Any loosening of this principle weakens the ability of the state to address its own dysfunctions regardless of the intentions of the rulers.
These protests exact a cost from the economy that outweighs any benefits that the protest leadership promises.
Article Published in DAWN
Over the last few years, we’ve seen an impressive collection of new websites, blogs and social media accounts dedicated to ‘travel porn’. They’re filled with big, sweeping images of fairytale lands and precarious precipices. Sometimes, like this incredible piece on architectural density in Hong Kong, they’ll depict urban decay or stifling poverty – always gilded by the photographer’s lens.
At Atlas & Boots, we want to strike the right balance between travel porn and more in-depth content; the type that provides some previously unknown knowledge or insight. As we take our first steps into the former, we hope we can provide a bit of the latter. Let’s kick things off with 10 awesome international borders from around the globe.
If you saw that image of a shipping ship shipping shipping ships a few years ago, then perhaps you’ll be able to process this more easily: Dahala Khagrabari is an Indian enclave inside a Bangladeshi enclave inside an Indian enclave inside Bangladesh. At 7,000 square metres, it is the world’s only counter-counter enclave, which means if you drove straight through it you’d go through Bangladesh, India, Bangladesh, India, Bangladesh, India, Bangladesh. Legend has it that the enclaves are a result of a series of chess games between the Maharaja of Cooch Behar and the Faujdar of Rangpur who waged villages instead of currency. Academics say it’s the result of peace treaties in 1711 and 1713 between the kingdom of Cooch Behar and the Mughal empire. The poignant thing about the area is that the enclaves have been left in a state of near abandonment with little access to public services. Residents cannot leave because they do not have passports nor the means to get them, and the two governments have thus far opted to avoid tackling the logistical quagmire despite their vows to do so.
In colonial times, Haiti had a population seven times higher than its neighbour. Today, the two countries are more or less on par (10m in Haiti versus 9m in the Republic) but at half the size of its neighbour, Haiti has a far higher population density. This in combination with low rainfall and scant legislation led to rapid deforestation on the Haitian side. In spring last year, the Haitian government vowed to double the country’s forest cover by 2016, currently at a precarious 2%, one of the lowest rates in the world. Despite some scepticism, hopes are high that the campaign will turn the tide on centuries of degradation.
The Haskell Free Library and Opera House lies in both Stanstead, Quebec (Canada) and Derby Line, Vermont (USA). A big black line slices it down the middle, marking one of the most unusual international borders between countries. Built in 1904, the library was deliberately constructed on the border by American sawmill owner Carlos Haskell and his Canadian wife Martha Stewart Haskell to ensure availability to customers of both nationalities. In total, there are three streets that cross the border. While security has been tightened post 9/11, residents can still cross international lines by visiting the library.
(Image: Francis Vachon)
Sarah Palin’s apocryphal quote (“I can see Russia from my house”) was most likely inspired by The Diomede Islands. What the hapless Republican actually said was: “They’re our next-door neighbors, and you can actually see Russia from … an island in Alaska.” Incidentally, she is right. The Diomede Islands – just 2.5 miles apart – are on either side of the USA-Russia border. The Big Diomede Island is a part of Russia while the little one is a part of the American state of Alaska. The most interesting part is that the border coincides with the International Date Line, so when Americans look across to the neighbouring island, they’re not only looking into another country, they’re looking into tomorrow. Despite the short distance, when it’s 9am on Saturday on Little Diomede, it’s 6am on Sunday on Big Diomede.
This threadbare piece of rope marks the border between Ethiopia and Somaliland, an autonomous region of Somalia. The ramshackle barrier in the village of Wado Makhil has a rather laidback approach to customs, archetypal of several African border posts. Peter, who crossed the Tanzania-Kenya international borders in 2010, tells me he had a similar experience on his way back from Kili: “I arrived at a dusty outpost by coach and simply strolled into no man’s land between the two countries. I did buy a visa before entering Kenya and was amused to see that they had simply stamped it ‘Peter’ with no other details whatsoever.”
This satellite image clearly shows the international borders between South Korea and its isolated neighbour. North Korea lies in darkness, its capital Pyongyang one of the few places with electricity. The lights at the top of the image depict cities in China while the bright line in the middle marks the DMZ (demilitarised zone). It’s said that night-time illumination is an indicator of economic prosperity. By that measure, North Koreans are living in practical poverty. After the Arab Spring, South Koreans reportedly sent balloons across the border informing their long-suffering neighbours of the protests. One hopes for a similar revolution but in one of the most militarised countries in the world, it’s most likely impossible.
One of the few pairs in this list that actually like each other, Sweden and Norway share this stunning international border. With snow-capped trees on either side, the route stretches for over 1,000 miles, making it the longest border in either country. Photographer Havard Dalgrav posted the mage to Reddit in 2012 garnering over 1,000 comments. He says in the thread: “Funny part is that riding a snowmobile for fun is illegal in Norway, but legal in Sweden. So we are riding on a very thin line here, literally…”
From afar, the Papua New Guinea-Indonesia seems striking in its simplicity: a straight line that runs directly from north to south. Look closer and you’ll notice what looks like a small bite mark taken out of Indonesia. That bite mark is a bend in the Fly River, which strays to the west before levelling out into a straight line once again. It’s said that the anomaly is a result of headhunting (and not of the LinkedIn variety). In 1893, the area was awash with actual, real headhunting. The British, who controlled the southeastern quarter, found it difficult to act due to the then ambiguous border. The problem was solved by a deal that moved the border to the east, allowing British powers to patrol much further without having to cross borders. The amendment is all the more remarkable as it has become the continental border between Asia and Oceania.
The Mexico-USA border usually evokes images of desperate Mexicans clambering over a fence to start a better life in a prosperous country. What we picture less often is the gentle waters in which the border ends. This barrier, nestled between Imperial Beach in California and Tijuana Beach in Mexico, is designed to prevent would-be migrants from walking over to the US during low tide. It extends 90 metres into the Pacific Ocean and is occasionally used as a fence in friendly games of international beach volleyball.
This list wouldn’t be complete without a mention of Mount Everest. The Nepal-China international borders run all the way up this iconic mountain and across the precise summit point, making it the highest international border in the world. Everest can be climbed from both sides but is more frequently tackled from the Nepalese side which has better infrastructure and more experienced Sherpas to lend support to would-be summiteers.
(Additional photography: Dreamstime, Google Maps)
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