Archive | March, 2013

‘Canada’s a heaven for those from the developing world…’

Posted on 27 March 2013 by admin

DIVYA KAELEY

  “Canada is sufficiently liberal and forward looking. But at the same time, acquiring Canadian experience is a must for orientation and induction in the Canadian work system. The Canadian government, however, needs to address the ‘brain waste’ that some highly qualified immigrants have to undergo for some time before settlement. I am glad the government has taken care of it in the immigration policy announced on 16th of Jan 2013.”

 Aseem Malhotra, owner director Golden Path Financial and partner director Maple Gold Financial Inc, came to Toronto on 31st May 2009 from Delhi, India. An MBA, Aseem worked in the field of media in marketing and advertising in India – a job in media he was truly passionate about. Spanning over 14 years, from 1995 to 2009, from a humble start as an executive ($3000 eq PA) to becoming VP Marketing and then quitting this cushy job ($100,000 PA ), Aseem’s journey took a turn as he decided to come to Canada with his family — a one and a half-year- old kid, a nine-year-old boy and his wife Rashmi.

Says Aseem, “Canada offers unlimited opportunities for employment, for starting up businesses, for investment and self development. It is one of the richest countries of the world with a stable economy, strong multicultural ethos and a corruption-free environment. I believe

Canada offers what no other country in the world has - technical excellence in all fields of endeavour, modernity with spiritual values and money! I came to serve Canada and to provide best schooling and education in the world to my children. We came here for a brighter future, and financial freedom.”

 Aseem worked with McDonalds for survival for a year (2009–2010), an experience that was “both rewarding and fruitful”. This resulted in his decision to make a switch over to Financial/ Life Insurance industry for which he acquired requisite qualifications in Canada. “I started with Sunlife Financial and worked for about a year to get formal training with one of the leading financial companies in Canada. Soon I realized that it was time to be independent. I chose financial industry as my core business, and started my own independent brokerage Golden Path Financial,” he says.

Talking about his job, Aseem says that it’s the toughest job to sell in the world. It involves special and different interpersonal communication than selling ads in media but “my experience in media helped me deal with the needs of the business. Life insurance is all about meeting people and serving their insurance and financial needs with credibility and humility.”

In Aseem’s opinion, Life Insurance does not require connecting with the right people in the industry but connecting with the right people in the public at large and educating them and convincing them about the need for insurance for their financial needs. “Initially it can be disappointing but like any field, success requires hard work, dedication and good sales skills. You have to sell yourself. Compensation is tied to your personal effort and commitment.”

Currently Aseem is focused on developing his enterprise in life insurance, mortgage, finance and real estate — his new venture Maple Gold Financial Inc with his partner Satya Agarwal.

New immigrants should not only make themselves aware of the laws in Canada, but should also follow them, he points out. “It’s is like heaven for those coming from developing countries like India. The Canadian government is inclined towards serving the needs and requirements of its people.” Not only this, the work environment here is result-oriented and progress-friendly, he adds.

Is Canada open enough to newcomers? Canada is sufficiently liberal and forward looking. But at the same time, acquiring Canadian experience is a must for orientation and induction in the Canadian work system. “The Canadian government, however, needs to address the ‘brain waste’ that some highly qualified immigrants have to undergo for some time before settlement. I am glad the government has taken care of it in the immigration policy announced on 16th of Jan 2013,” he answers.

Aseem dreams of opening a business and a social venture in India in the coming year. “There is no question of going back. But certainly we’ll give back to our country,” he says. “India is the most ancient land and I am proud to be born there. My dream is developing a global institution catering to the financial, and real estate needs of individuals and nations for alleviating housing, education and health problems.”

The budding entrepreneur attributes his success to the continuous support of his wife Rashmi, his children and his family back in India. “Rashmi stood with me against all odds and worked for casual survival jobs to keep me going. After three years of patience and dedication, she landed with a job in her own field of information & technology,” he signs off.

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Low Mortgage Rates

Posted on 27 March 2013 by admin

After Bank of Montreal BMO brought back its controversial five-year fixed-rate mortgages to 2.99 per cent from 3.09 per cent, Canada’s Finance Minister was not too happy. He stated “Our government has taken action several times to make sure the housing market remains sound.”

“As for decisions by individual banks, as I have said repeatedly before, my expectation is that banks will engage in prudent lending — not the type of ‘race to the bottom’ practices that led to a mortgage crisis in the United States.”

The Bank of Canada has been warning that high household debt levels, the bulk of which come from mortgages, are the largest risk facing the country’s economy.

But when Manulife cancelled its low mortgage rate of 2.89 per cent after Minister Flaherty’s aid called the bank, there were concerns in many sectors that the government is meddling with the affairs of the banking industry. Not only that but why would a bank change its rate after hearing from Minister Flaherty’s office.

What’s more interesting is that between then and now, most big banks have been referring to mortgage rates one way or the other. They are trying to market it quietly and letting the public know in their own way that they can offer the best mortgage rate as well.

Billboard advertisements regarding mortgage rates have gone up from Scotia Bank , Royal Bank of Canada has also snuck ina word or two about mortgage rate in some of its advertisements.

Lower mortgage rates can attract more home buyers, and some buyers may be encouraged to take out larger mortgages. This is not what the Bank of Canada and Minister Flaherty want as Canadians are already under the record high debt levels. That’s not what policy-makers in Ottawa are hoping for. And that includes the official opposition.

Peggy Nash, the Finance Critic for the NDP said “I think it would not be helpful if we got into a mortgage rate war, because that obviously will get more people into the market, some of whom maybe shouldn’t be there.”

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The job landscape: Where workers are needed, and where they aren’t

Posted on 27 March 2013 by admin

WHERE THE JOBS ARE

Want to optimize your chances of getting a good job? Get into health care, science or management – and then move West, where unemployment rates are lowest. Research data looking at future job needs consistently point to labour shortages in health- and science-related fields, as well as mining and engineering. Most of the highest-demand job areas require university degrees or intensive training, raising doubts about the emphasis policy makers are placing on more basic trades training. Health-care jobs are expected to remain strong due to an aging population, while managers in industries such as science and health will be in demand because large numbers of people in those job categories are expected to retire in the next decade.

Health care

  • Physicians, dentists and veterinarians
  • Optometrists, chiropractors and other health diagnosing and treating professionals
  • Pharmacists, dietitians and nutritionists
  • Nurse supervisors and registered nurses
  • Technical and related occupations in health
  • Psychologists, social workers, counsellors, clergy and probation officers

Management

  • Managers in engineering, architecture, science and info systems
  • Managers in health, education, social and community services
  • Managers in construction and transportation

Business

  • Auditors, accountants and investment professionals
  • Human resources and business service professionals

Science

  • Professional occupations in natural, applied, physical and life sciences
  • Civil, mechanical, electrical, chemical and other engineers

Natural resources

  • Supervisors in mining, oil and gas
  • Underground miners, oil and gas drillers and related workers

WHERE THE JOBS AREN’T

At the opposite extreme, traditional jobs like butchers and bakers, as well as occupations in manufacturing, fishing and forestry, have far higher unemployment rates. A 10-year job projection in 2011 by Human Resources and Skills Development Canada concluded occupations expected to have a “labour surplus” in 2020 are mainly lower-skilled occupations that do not require a college or university degree. Many are linked to the processing, manufacturing and utilities sectors, where “expansion demand” is not projected to be strong. Others on the 10-year list are sectors where there is an excess supply of workers, or involve jobs such as computer professionals where workers are younger on average and there is not expected to be a high retirement rate by 2020.

  • Managers in manufacturing and utilities
  • Clerical supervisors, workers, general office skills, office equipment operators
  • Finance and insurance clerks
  • Mail and message distribution occupations
  • Secondary and elementary teachers and counsellors
  • Sales and service supervisors
  • Cashiers
  • Occupations in food and beverage services
  • Tour and recreational guides, amusement occupations, attendants in travel, accommodation and recreation
  • Technical and other occupations in personal service
  • Butchers and bakers
  • Upholsterers, tailors, shoe repairers, jewellers and related occupations
  • Fishing vessel masters and skippers and fishermen/women
  • Machine operators and related workers in metal and minerals
  • Products processing, machine operators and related workers in pulp and paper production and wood processing

Source: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/economy/jobs/the-job-landscape-where-workers-are-needed-and-where-they-arent/article10111532/

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Another Milestone in a glittering career!

Posted on 27 March 2013 by admin

Harbinder Badhwar

Created in 2012 to mark the 60th anniversary of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s accession to the Throne as Queen of Canada, the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal was a tangible way for Canada to honour Her Majesty for her service to this country. At the same time, this commemorative medal served to honour significant contributions and achievements by Canadians. During the year of celebrations, 60 000 deserving Canadians were recognized.

The Diamond Jubilee medal was presented to Mr. Nav Bhatia on behalf of the Governor General of Canada Honorable David Johnston recently. Ms. Eva Adams, the Member of Parliament presented this to Mr. Bhatia.

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The Federal Budget 2013: Why You Should Care?

Posted on 27 March 2013 by admin

By Asma Amanat

“We are paying extra money which we could be using for economy, for creating jobs .. Canadians [can get] tax cuts” – Minister Gosal

‘Canada Job Grant’ “isn’t anything new and doesn’t really address the job unemployment among young people” – NDP MP Cash

The federal budget titled “Economic Action Plan 2013” was announced last week on Thursday. This budget focuses on three areas, training people, infrastructure and manufacturing. The federal government will be investing $5,000 in training skilled workers while it insists that $5,000 should come from the province and $5,000 from the employer to train an employee. The government has also announced ‘going forward’ for municipalities over ten years. The federal government will also be making investments in manufacturing sector to create jobs.

The NDP leader Tom Mulcair had called this budget“propaganda.” The interim Liberal leader Bob Rae has termed this budget ‘Economic (in) Action Plan,’ and called Conservatives “good in marketing” and “packaging” recycled programs.

While it is true that there is about $400 million in new spending only, the government insists that it did not have to continue its funding in infrastructure and manufacturing. That money, in turn, could have been saved to eliminate the deficit sooner. Minister Flaherty had called this funding “going forward money.” He was quite blunt about it, without ‘packaging’ with a bow and a gift wrap.

South Asian Generation Next asked Minister of State (Sports) Bal Gosal and an MP from Bramalea-Gore-Malton why should an average Canadian family be excited or even be interested in this budget.

Minister Gosal noted that Canadian families invest in kids’ sports every year. The Government is providing “relief” to these families by making “sporting equipment cheaper. “ Minister of State (Sport) said that the cost of sporting goods like hockey, cricket, baseball etc “is going up all the time.” Baby clothing, he said, will also be cheaper once this budget is passed and enforced.

 “Every little bit helps,” he said.

But how will Harper Government ensure that retailers pass along the savings to consumers?

The Government “watch[es] what retailers do,” he said. MPP from Bramalea-Gore-Malton also said that the Senate did study on why the cost of the same items is higher in Canada than in the United States. He said that the recommendations of that study will be implemented and enforced “right away” once the budget is passed and implemented.

The Opposition claims that Canada is strong financially and could have afforded more spending rather than recycling the same programs. So, why is it so important for the Conservatives to eliminate the deficit in 2015?

“It’s very important. We are paying extra money which we could be using for economy, for creating jobs .. Canadians [can get] tax cuts,” he stated.

Speaking about ‘Canada Job Grant’ program, Minister Gosal said that the provinces and employers have been seeking action from the government as there is shortage of skilled labour, and jobs in certain fields were going unfilled. Nonetheless, doesn’t the Government need to do some arm twisting to get the employers and the provinces on board to its plan of $15,000 investment whereby each of the three partners will be contributing $5,000?

“The provinces have been asking that they have shortage of skills .. Employers can’t find the workers .. that is the reason that they will invest the money .. All of them are going to work with us .. [we] know that this will be a very successful program,” said the Minister.

How will the Government communicate to Canadians that so and so field has jobs available?

“We already started doing it with Employment Insurance changes .. we have been actively letting Canadians know .. what skills are needed and where the jobs are,” he said.

Minister Flaherty is hopeful that Canada Revenue Agency will be able to find more dollars from those who hide money and do not pay taxes. Will this move target average Canadian families?

“That is for people who hide money in offshore accounts,” he said. Minister Gosal said that the banks will be asking questions on large deposits [$10,000 and more] and money transfers to offshore accounts. “Banks will start notifying CRA .. they will be sharing that information with CRA to keep track of big money transfers and money laundering.”

What kind of impact will infrastructure and manufacturing investments have on the GTA?

As a response he cited Brampton Mayor Susan Fenell’s pleasure with this budget. Mayor Fennell has stated ““Brampton’s modern, creative and competitive economy depends on reliable roads, bridges and well connected public transit .. Entrepreneurs demand that people, goods and services move uninterrupted across Brampton, Peel Region and the Greater Toronto Area. It’s one of the many ways we help attract job-creating investments here to Brampton.”

Mayor Fennell has also highlighted the government’s decision to index the gas tax transfer. This measure alone – the first indexing of a municipal transfer – will add another $9 billion to the permanent gas tax fund over 20 years.

He said that the budget is based on projections, however it is based on “very very Conservative numbers .. that are very attainable.”

Minister Gosal also pointed out that South Asian community is big on adopting kids from other countries, so the federal budget has an adoption enhancement tax credit; tax credit to home care services has been expanded and there is also a super tax credit for first time donors to registered charities.

If the Federal Budget is so wonderful, why is the Opposition so much against it?

Minister Gosal says that the Opposition had voted against the budget even before it was presented. He said that the message from Canadians was “ to restrain from extra spending .. and spend money where it’s needed” and that’s what the Government did.

Andrew Cash, NDP Deputy Critic for Canadian Heritage and MP from Davenport criticized the Federal Budget 2013 for failing Canadians especially new Canadians.

Why is this budget a “propaganda”?

Harper Government and Jim Flaherty “have failed people in the GTA, take immigration backlog for example .. backlogs for citizenship applications have skyrocketed under the Conservative watch .. Long wait times are keeping families apart and is keeping the best and the brightest” out of Canada he said in an interview with Generation Next.

He added “the spokesperson for Citizenship and Immigration says that the cost of processing citizenship applicants has remained the same for the last 20 years but the fee has remained the same, $200.” He said that the spokesperson has suggested increasing $200 processing fee, “ but what we have said is that you don’t try to nickel and dime new Canadians especially when you have done nothing to shorten the wait time.”

Mr. Cash says that there should have been dollars spent in departments such as CIC where people are waiting for years to hear back from the Government.

Won’t ‘Canada Job Grant’ help address employment issues?

Mr. Cash stated that ‘Canada Job Grant’ is not a new program and has an added burden of requiring two additional partners: provinces and employers.

‘Canada Job Grant’ “isn’t anything new and doesn’t really address the job unemployment among young people. 60 per cent of workers in the GTA cannot find full time stable employment, so Canadians especially new Canadians have to take several part time jobs, work as free lancers or as self employed, or get contract jobs … and these are the jobs with no benefits, no pensions, no job guarantee,” MP from Davenport said.

In terms of youth unemployment that is officially 15 per cent “and much higher unofficially” the government has done nothing except for “downloading massively on the next generation” he stated. There are 240,000 more young people without jobs today than there were pre-recession he said.

NDP Deputy Critic for Canadian Heritage pointed out that there are young people who are spending 3 – 4 hours a day just commuting from home to their postsecondary institution or place of work and the Government’s response to $6 billion loss in productivity in the GTA in gridlock is to cut federal funding in infrastructure although he admits “some of the funding is more stable.”

Investments in infrastructure and manufacturing will help communities to certain degree, won’t the NDP agree?

He said that among G-7 countries, Canada is the only country that does not have “a national public transit strategy at the federal level” and NDP is advocating to have a national public transit strategy.

NDP Critic said that the NDP’s vision is to address problems of urban economy as 80 per cent of Canadians live in urban neighbourhoods of Canada.

Will the NDP have supported a budget that had more spending, resulting in elimination of deficit at a later time?

“That is a difficult question to answer,” said Mr. Cash.

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My Home Economy in Deficit

Posted on 27 March 2013 by admin

By Dalbir S. Singh

Toronto

I don’t really check how much I have in our bank account. But when my wife started complaining a bit about how there are too many expenses and only one income to pay for those bills. After her constant b*** about it for a few days, out of curiosity I checked online the state of our home economy.

I was completely shocked!

Appalled!

Absolutely surprised that she had let our family finances get into a deficit of over $2,000 a month.

I was dumb for a few minutes, completely speechless as to how this could happen to me of all people. I hate to run debt on credit cards. I don’t buy things that I cannot afford to buy. Other than my car and home, nothing in my home is financed or leased.

I abhor the idea of leaving my family with unpaid bills and deficit. I could not bear the thought of dying, leaving my family with the interest and owing balances on my purchases and investments.

Once I found my voice, I was outrages.

Yes, I yelled at my wife for letting us run into $2,000 deficit for the first time in our five-year-old marriage.

I screamed at her for not controlling the finances. And I threatened to take away all control of money from her if it ever happens again. In other words, no debit or credit cards for her. (I don’t think I would have succeeded in doing so.)

Well, you can guess what happened next. Once my rage’s storm subsided and the waters were clear, my wife sat down with me and crunched the numbers, in other words gave me the reason for the deficit.

There was an unexpected basement leakage, so that needed fixing.

Then, we had to pay premium on travel insurance for our kids.

Then, one of our cars needed service B.

Then as if there weren’t enough thens already, our wedding anniversary happened to fall in this expensive month. And I had promised to buy her a gold set.

And I could have gotten off the hook with all the other expenses but not her gift. I haven’t bought her a present in five years. (Every time she asked for something it was an upgrade of our home, so I couldn’t really complain).

But still, DEFICIT. I cannot spend the money I don’t earn. Isn’t it as simple as that?

Probably not, not for our politicians at least.

So, when I heard Canada’s Finance Minister insist in his budget announcement that the deficit has to be eliminated in 2015, I was relieved that someone is talking sense. I was stunned that the Opposition was unanimous in its opposition of Minister Flaherty’s plan of getting rid of this ugly deficit.

I will admit that I vote Liberal, always have, probably always won’t, but our Conservative Minister was making sense. He had planned to spend money on things that made sense like roads and bridges, so that many Canadians like me can get to and from work with some convenience, and on jobs that my family and my neighbours may get access to.

Minister Flaherty is right that he didn’t have to spend this money or extend these investments. He could have eliminated the deficit sooner if he just ended funding to Canadian municipalities and saved the money to pay the owing amounts to eliminate the deficit sooner (although Citizenship and Immigration Canada could have used more funds to process my wife’s citizenship application faster). But he didn’t. I think he deserves more credit for that than the Opposition’s suggestion that the budget is ‘a propaganda,’ or that Harper’s colleagues are good at ‘marketing’ seems a bit absurd.

But then again when you come down to think about it, isn’t the Opposition’s job to oppose. If they started agreeing with the government, won’t they be out of their jobs and be called Conservatives rather than the New Democrats or Liberals.

Nonetheless, the Opposition can convince the Canadians that the government should have and must invest a heck of a lot to get rid of youth unemployment. 15 per cent of our young people cannot find job, ridiculous! This is a recipe for social problems, gangs, violence, interest in guns, good kids getting into trouble and what not.

The Government’s ‘plan’ of getting the employers and the provinces to pay up $5,000 is utter silliness. Why? Because getting them to collaborate in on a plan may not work. And addressing youth unemployment is not something to be left on others to team up with. At best this is bad ‘marketing’ and poor ‘packaging.’

And yes, I sat down and watched the pundits and politicians react to the budget as if my life depended on it. I remember that before immigrating to Canada, my dad, my uncles, my grand dad and the whole family would sit in front of the TV screens at our home in Patiala to wait for any announcement related to their pay raise. (They were/are all in public service). The budget announced was followed by heated discussion over it.

And it stayed with me, for good hopefully. And here I am saying kudos to Minister Flaherty for the job almost well done.

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International Trade Minister Highlights Pro-Trade Plan in Vancouver

Posted on 27 March 2013 by admin

March 22, 2013 – Vancouver - The Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, during a visit to Canada Place, highlights the ways Economic Action Plan 2013 will benefit workers and families in British Columbia and across Canada.

“Canada’s long-term prosperity requires us to continue to diversify our trading relationships and establish new, permanent links to large, dynamic and fast-growing economies around the world,” said Minister Fast. “As part of the most ambitious trade expansion plan our country has ever seen, we will continue to facilitate trade through the Asia-Pacific Gateway and Corridor Initiative and by working with partners at Port Metro Vancouver.”

Port Metro Vancouver is now the most diversified port in North America, processing $75-billion worth of goods moving between more than 130 trading economies each year.

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Pakistani Elections between 1947 and 1985

Posted on 27 March 2013 by admin

Dr. Hasan Askari

  The national and provincial elections in Pakistan have been scheduled for May 11, 2013. These would be 9th general elections in Pakistan from 1970 to the present. No direct elections were held in Pakistan for electing the national assembly at the federal level from 1947 to 1970.

 The two-part article will provide an overview of the elections in Pakistan as a backgrounder to the forthcoming elections.

 The system of elections was gradually introduced by the British colonial government in India. The British government decided in the second half of 19th century to associate Indians with government affairs. Initially Indians were nominated to government positions. Subsequently the system of election was introduced which expanded from 1909 onwards. The central and provincial legislative bodies began to be partly elected. That is, some members were elected and some were nominated and were official members. In 1937, the provincial assemblies were fully elected. The same principle applied to provincial elections in 1946. However, the British introduced restricted voting system. The people fulfilling the prescribed conditions could vote in the elections.

 It was after the attainment of independence in August 1947 that Pakistan and India introduced universal adult franchise. All citizens of at least 21 years of age were given the right to vote. In the year 2002, the voting age in Pakistan was reduced to 18 years.

 Pakistani leaders shied away from holding elections at the national level. The first two constituent assemblies were constituted in 1947 and 1955 by indirect election. The members of the provincial assemblies elected the members of the constituent assembly. The 1947 constituent assembly was originally elected on the basis of the 1946 provincial assemblies. More people were inducted through nomination and elections later.

 Pakistan had provincial assembly elections in 1951-54. The provincial assemblies of the Punjab and Sindh were elected by direct vote in March and December 1951. The Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (NWFP) Assembly was elected directly in March 1953 and the East Pakistan (East Bengal) Assembly was elected directly in March 1954.

 There was little interest in holding elections at the national level. It was decided that the National Assembly at the federal level would be elected directly in early 1959. That did not happen because in October 1958, General Ayub Khan, Command-in-Chief of the Army and President IskanderMirza decided to abrogate the 1956 Constitution and impose a martial law.

 The military government of Ayub Khan introduced the system of indirect elections. He established a local bodies system called Basic Democracy. It had 80,000 elected members in different local councils. These elected councilors elected members who were made the electoral college for electing the president and national and provincial assemblies.

  The first indirect elections through the members of Basic Democracy were held in April-May 1962 when the National Assembly and Provincial Assemblies were elected. Another National and Provincial Assemblies’ elections were held in the same manner in 1965. Presidential elections were held in January 1965 wherein Ayub Khan won against Fatima Jinnah. These elections were also indirect through the members of Basic Democracy.

  In March 1969 Ayub Khan’s military dominated government came to end and General Yahya Khan, the Army Chief assumed power on March 25, 1969. His military government accepted the demand of political parties to hold direct elections to national and provincial assemblies. It was also decided to divide seats in the National Assembly on population basis between East and West Pakistan instead of their equal representation as was the case in the past. This decision increased the seats ofEast Pakistan in the National Assembly because it had more population than West Pakistan.

 The first direct elections of the National Assembly were held in December 1970. Provincial elections were also held in the same month. Two leaders emerged in these elections. In East Pakistan, the Awami League led by Sheikh MujiburRahman won 160 general seats out of 162 seats allocated to East Pakistan in the National Assembly. It campaigned on the basis of 6-point Formula for maximum provincial autonomy for East Pakistan which bordered on separatism. In West Pakistan, the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) led by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto won the largest number of seats allocated to four provinces of West Pakistan. The PPP agenda was Islamic socialism, state ownership of important industries and greater focus on the lowest strata of the society.

 The next elections were held in March 1977 for national and provincial assemblies. These elections caused much controversy because the opposition claimed that the PPP government had rigged these elections. The opposition boycotted the provincial elections and launched street agitation against the manipulation of the elections by the PPP government. All those opposed to the PPP and its socio-economic policies and its policies of restrictions on press came out in street. It soon became a nationwide movement. However, this movement for holding new fair elections soon changed into a movement for introduction of Islamic political order, described as the ‘Nizam-e-Mustafa.” Islamic political parties and groups, including the madrassa students who had the support of the business and trading classes were in the lead.

  In June 1977, the government and the opposition (led by Pakistan National Alliance, PNA) started negotiations for holding elections. They agreed to hold fresh elections but diverged on details, including the issue how would the government ensure fair elections?

 While the negotiations were in the final stages, General Zia-ul-Haq, Chief of Army Staff, overthrew the civilian government of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, suspended the constitution and imposed martial law. The opposition, the PNA, welcomed the overthrow of Bhutto. Zia-ul-Haq promised to hold election in 90 days but this promise was not fulfilled. The elections were postponed and the military government embarked on Islamization of the state and society and started the accountability of the political leaders. The main target of the accountability and punitive action were the leaders and activists of the PPP.

 He promised in March 1979 to hold elections in November 1979 but these elections were also postponed and he ruled with an iron hand, suppressing political opposition by all possible means. The next elections were held in February 1985.

Next week we will discuss the elections from 1985 to 2013.

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Clamour over pardon for Sanjay Dutt grows louder

Posted on 27 March 2013 by admin

Divya Kaeley

 Even as the chorus for clemency for actor Sanjay Dutt grew louder, social activist Anna Hazare on Saturday disapproved of the demand to pardon him in a case related to the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts. “The judiciary has given its verdict. It is not proper to interfere with the court judgement,” he told reporters when asked to comment on the pleadings from various quarters and the Bollywood for Dutt’s pardon.

 Senior BJP leader Gopinath Munde on Saturday said he was opposed to granting any remission to actor Sanjay Dutt, whose conviction in connection with the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts was recently upheld by the Supreme Court. “Granting any remission to Sanjay Dutt would set a bad precedent. Sanjay Dutt should not be pardoned simply because he is a celebrity”, Munde said addressing a function.

Dutt would have to undergo nearly three-and-a-half-years in jail after the apex court ruled against granting any probation to the actor found guilty of illegal possession of arms during the blasts.

 RSS mouthpiece Panchjanya too on Saturday criticised the “hue and cry” about the jail sentence to actor Sanjay Dutt under the Arms Act in the 1993 Mumbai terror blast case and said he actually got away with a light punishment.

“On the one hand there are family members of the victims who are looking for lines in the verdict that would cool their anger which has been simmering for the last two decades. …On the other hand are those who are crying for the star… That he has two small kids and hundreds of crores are at stake in Bollywood,” Panchjanya said in the editorial of its edition.

 The Maharashtra Governor lacks power to pardon Sanjay Dutt, senior lawyer and BJP leader Mahesh Jethmalani on Saturday said criticising Press Council Chairman Justice Markandey Katju for his “unseemly haste” in seeking relief for the actor sentenced to 5 years jail for possessing arms during 1993 Mumbai blasts. He said Katju has written a “wholly misconceived” letter to the Governor and others, including Law Minister Ashwani Kumar and I&B Minister Manish Tewary, members of film fraternity and office bearers of Congress, NCP and Samajwadi parties “have jumped on to his ex-Lordship’s bandwagon”. He said Dutt has been convicted under the Arms Act and the Governor’s power of pardon under Article 161 of the Constitution does not extend to conviction under this law.

 Meanwhile, a host of parliamentarians and top figures from Bollywood extended support to actor Sanjay Dutt who was sent back to jail by the Supreme Court Thursday in an arms case related to the 1993 Bombay blasts. Cutting across party lines, the members said that the actor had already suffered a lot and should be pardoned.

Not just the film fraternity, Sanjay Dutt has found support from political circles as well. Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray has come out in support of the beleaguered actor. Raj Thackeray reportedly said “In these 20 years the entire nation has cheered and applauded Sanjay Dutt and 20 years after the incident he is convicted and sentenced to five years in prison.”

“Whether he is guilty or not I do not know. The Supreme Court has considered him guilty according to the laws in the country but I cannot digest the fact that this case has taken 20 years and while Sanjay Dutt is being punished those who are actually guilty are out of the country. Be it Dawood Ibrahim or Tiger Memon they are all out of the country. When will

they be brought to book? They are happily living abroad,” Raj Thackeray added.

 Congress MP Priya Dutt on Saturday said that their family would explore all the options to seek clemency for her actor-brother Sanjay Dutt. “As a sister, as a family…We will always stand by him (Sanjay). That is what any loving family will do. It is only logical that as a family we will explore every option,” Priya said in a press statement.

 As film stars and politicians joined the chorus for actor Sanjay Dutt’s pardon, daughter of Zaibunisa Kazi, who is facing similar charges as the actor, questions why her mother should not also get the same support? Daughter of 1993 Mumbai blasts convict, Zaibunisa said, “I wish I was a celebrity or my mother was a celebrity or a sister of an MP. Even my mother would have got the kind of support Sanjay Dutt is getting.”

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5 Ways Pregnancy Changes Your Body

Posted on 27 March 2013 by admin

Pregnancy permanently changes the size of a woman’s foot, according to a new study published in the American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation . Researchers measured the foot length and arch height of 49 women during their first trimester and again five months after giving birth. In 60 to 70 per cent of participants, they found a reduction in the height of the arch, a reduction in the rigidity of the tissue responsible for holding the arch up, and a two to 10 millimeter increase in foot length.

Your Skin 
Don’t freak out if you start breaking out shortly after conceiving. It’s pretty common to have acne early on, particularly during the first trimester. Many women can also get skin tags due to hormonal spikes. Some of these can linger after you give birth, but a dermatologist can easily remove them. Perhaps the most frustrating skin-related change is discoloration, which can happen all over the body and may take up to a year to fade. Also, some women might develop a dark, brownish line (known as linea nigra) that goes down their stomach vertically. In time, this fades on its own.

Your Veins 
Women might be more prone to getting varicose veins during pregnancy–and they may actually get more with each pregnancy. The weight of the baby exerts pressure on the veins, making it harder for blood to return to the heart. The (not pretty) result: swollen-looking veins.

Your Hands 
Along with your feet, your hands might get larger. During pregnancy, your hands swell (to the point where you might have to have your rings resized) as you retain more water. Sometimes, they don’t return to the pre-pregnancy size.

Your Hair 
While your hair might look shiny and healthy during pregnancy, you may start losing some of your locks as soon as you give birth. This happens because your hormones are incredibly high during pregnancy, and as soon as you deliver, they drop, causing you to shed. This can last up to six months post-partum, but your hair will eventually return to how its pre-pregnancy state.
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