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Peace is NOT coming to our financial world as well…

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The unraveling of Bear Stearns is a shock, we all agree. If the Chairman of the US Fed Reserve, Ben Bernanke, is to be believed, it was a situation that if left to its doings could have broken the bones of American economy and those of all the economies of the world. Timely and thankfully, the Fed came to our rescue at the last minute, and facilitated a hotchpotch of a deal to enable JP Morgan Chase take over the sinking ship. In the process, the Fed had to foot a bill for US $ 30 billion in return for assets whose real worth no one in the world yet knows. No one, imagine that in the backdrop of all our smooth talking laptop ticking oracles of the financial world who pretend to know the fair value of the entire universe to the nth.  

I am not much interested in the Bear Stearns saga, other than that I am now on the short side of the market, eagerly awaiting a local version of Bear Stearns to happen. Well, not a total collapse, but just a little drag down. Even a five rupee fall will be fine with me. 

What I am more interested in is to point out the blunt resemblance between Donald Rumsfeld of the Peace in Iraq fame, and Ben Bernanke and all those who accompanied him during his testimony to the Congressional Committee. He and his companions deserve the highest trophies in the Talk-to-Waste-Time category, for having munched meaningless hollow phrases for many hours over two days, without revealing a word that we didn’t already know. As the speakers talked on and on, they looked more and more like some meticulously prepared mini models of that greatest time-wasting-talker of our times, whose “coming soon” Iraq peace hasn’t turned the corner for years.  

And that tells me something else. Peace is not coming to the financial markets, just like peace has not landed in Iraq till this day, in spite of all the assurances of the all the phrase munching mouths of the world.  

I can bet all my money on it, and yours as well.


Written by baryaal

April 4, 2008 at 2:23 am

Ministers of Truth: Masters of Doublethink, Doubletalk

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These days, one can find pro-establishment mouthpieces in wholesale quantities in Pakistan.

Don’t know how they have managed it, but the result is fantastic. Everyday, we find articles, analysis, predictions, and posts, humiliating the politicians who are yet to take their seats, blaming them for all things that have happened and that which may happen. The propaganda bombardment is immense, incessant, and from all sides.

The mouthpieces come in all shapes and sizes; paid journalists, paid TV channels, paid programme hosts, paid political analysts, and now the fresh crop of new mouthpieces, the gems of the Pakistani blogosphere. 

They all pretend to be true patriots weeping over the shabby state of affairs in the country, and in turn try to take the blame a decade back precisely to the era of the 1990s, totally bypassing the misrule of the recent years, that we are still enduring, and the consequences of which even our children will face. Precisely, they also stop short of touching upon the dark age of the 80s. They weep over the lack of justice for the common man, and in the same breath criticize the lawyers’ movement to be hampering the deliverance of justice to the public because they are too concerned with the restoration of a few judges. 

Orwellian tendencies are at their peak. There is no escaping, and even the most intelligent readers must read really intelligently to be able to see the fine-print between the lines of the prejudiced half-truths of our new and old ministers of truth.

Let’s not worry though, since as long as we have freedom to think, truth will prevail. I also strongly recommend reading at least some chapters of George Orwell’s, Nineteen Eighty Four, to have some basic insight into the workings of the complex minds of our new ministers of truth. 

Written by baryaal

March 26, 2008 at 12:35 am

Another spy, same story

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Enters Manjit Singh…  

He insists his real name is Sarabjit Singh, and he was caught because the law enforcement had misidentified him for another Manjit Singh, who is said to have been involved in spying and terrorist activities in 1990, which had claimed the lives of 14.   

Sarabjit/Manjit Singh was awarded a death sentence in 1991, but fortunately or unfortunately, he lived on to suffer 18 years of jail. According to a media report, he will be hanged on 1st of April, 2008, or the famously known Fool’s Day. If that happens, Manjit will suffer half of Kashmir Singh’s fate and half Khalid Mehmood’s. 

Whether the specific date has any message for anyone, only the “anyone” can decipher it, but Ansar Burni says he will send a Mercy Plea to the President for his release. I sincerely wish Burni success this time (We’ll pick holes later J), but this one will be really difficult to pull off.  

“Never was patriot yet, but was a fool.”
John Dryden 

UPDATE I: The execution of Sarabjit Singh has been delayed for one month for reasons best know to the Authorities. 

Written by baryaal

March 17, 2008 at 2:43 am

Asma & Burni – Watchdogs of human rights who watch only when it’s right!

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Ansar Burni, following that blockbuster press conference with Kashmir Singh, took the pain to walk along with the former spy right up to the Indian border, and would have jogged even to his village, had India allowed. Indian Authorities returned the favour, within a few days, with the tortured dead body of Khalid Mehmood, a cricket fan who went to watch the Pak-India dosti series in 2005, and was imprisoned, tortured, killed in captivity, to be returned and buried.

The irony is that our humanist minister, who was all over our screens in Kashmir Singh’s episode, and proved himself to be a master media manager, was nowhere to be seen either during the reception or the burial of Khalid Mehmood’s body, since that would have been a mega PR disaster, and humans rights only begin where disasters end.

Just as we thought nothing could top this height of hypocrisy, came another bombshell.

Yes, we have another world champion of human rights, who can beat all others of her kind hands down in any table talk, by the name of Asma Jehangir. She is presently in India exchanging smiles and gifts with Narendar Modi, the famous director and sponsor of the Gujrat Hindu-Muslim massacre. Asma also had the opportunity to visit Kashmir, where she kept ABSOLUTELY mum on the human rights situation. Asma explains that she is in India as HR Representative of the UN, thus meeting Modi is her right, receiving gifts an official courtesy, and speaking against HR violations is beyond her mandate.

Would someone remind this second watchdog of human rights of ours, that the same UN once had sent a Representative, Geir Pederson, to Lebanon in the heat of the recent war, who, as soon as he set his feet firm on Lebanon’s soil, blew the whistle on Israel and so loudly that the world was shaken awake right away!

Written by baryaal

March 12, 2008 at 12:35 pm

The mad dog’s way to get discovered

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Yesterday, a one liner news item appeared on the daily Jang’s website: “Mad dog in Hyderabad, (Pakistan) bites 20 people…”  This is an achievement for a dog to be a small dog and take a headline, in the presence of so many big dogs who occupy our media all year long. So what qualities did the small dog posses to make this impossible possible?

  • Firstly, the dog was really mad because he risked it all by sampling 20 randomly selected human beasts for his fame.

  • He was good at math, counted his score, and got counted.

  • He was aware that biting too few won’t get noticed, unless he was biting Americans. Thus, he also perfectly knew which side of the world he was walking, and biting. 

  • He had some mass biting training and was sufficiently good at preplanning, for he got them all cornered God-knows-where and took them one by one.

  • He was dying to get discovered, and got discovered.

Missing Details

  • The reporter is silent on how he ascertained the dog’s gender, and whether the first victim was the dog’s boss L

  • No one knows what happened to the dog after his biting spree was over. I fear the worst L

Written by baryaal

March 5, 2008 at 11:58 pm

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From Kashmir Singh to Ansar Burni

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Kashmir Singh sneaked into Pakistan blinded by his patriotic Indian zeal only to waste his life in a death cell.

He has been returned after making sure that he will not be able to fool around ever with the idea of serving his country in another country again. He has learnt his lesson, but the cost is horrific. 35 precious years of a lifetime wasted.

Ansar Burni was looking for a perfect opportunity to bring some life into his otherwise good-for-nothing caretaker ministry. He got it too. Gleeful amidst the flashing cameras, he made sure to sit tightly locked to Kashmir Singh, not to be separated or missed in any photo or video opportunity.

Obviously, he wanted more, and while Kashmir Singh talked, Ansar constantly dialed on his cell, most probably trying to contact Kashmir’s family to add some more spice to the whole episode. When finally, Singh’s family got on the line, the content hungry media denied him even the much deserved opportunity to be able to talk to his family in privacy for the first time in 35 years.

The channels broadcast live a conversation which otherwise should have been a private family reunion. Ansar Burni being the human rights activist turned the speaker of his mobile on, to let the world listen.

So who got what? Media got an hour of free content without doing much work. Kashmir got his freedom. Ansar added to his popularity, and Musharraf got a much needed prayer that otherwise would have been hard to come by, in Pakistan’s present political scenario.

I am still wondering which of the two is harder to bear: 35 years of rotting in a death cell, or being treated like a monkey by the media for 15 minutes.

Written by baryaal

March 4, 2008 at 5:39 am