Archive | February, 2017

‘Laali Ki Shaadi Mein Laaddoo Deewana’ Teaser Posters Will Definitely Make You Curious

Posted on 25 February 2017 by admin

Akshara Haasan and Vivaan Shah will be seen in upcoming family entertainer ‘Laali Ke Shaadi Mein Laaddoo Deewana’ and the teaser posters of the film featuring the fresh jodi, were released recently.

In the poster featuring Akshara, the lighteyed beauty is seen in bridal wear and a mischievous expression on her face as she clutches a piece of tamarind, hinting at the possibility of a pregnancy before marriage.

The other poster featuring Vivaan shows him holding a bouquet of wilted roses and a forlorn expression on his face. Needless to say, the teaser posters have made everyone curious to know more about the storyline and we guess the secret will be out as and when the film releases.

Written and directed by Manish Harishankar and produced by TP Aggarwal and Rahul Aggarwal under the banner Star Entertainment Worldwide Pvt Ltd., ‘Laali Ki Shaadi Mein Laaddoo Deewana’ also features Gurmeet Choudhary, Kavitta Verma, Saurabh Shukla, Sanjay Mishra,Darshan Jariwala, Ravi Kishan, Suhasini Mulay, Navni Parihar, Kishori Shahane, Jyoti Kalsh and Ehsan Khan. This film is a family entertainer which revolves around a royal marriage and quirky characters, who are hilariously trapped in their own tragedies.

Comments (0)

Find out what made Sonam famous?

Posted on 25 February 2017 by admin

Remember Sonam Kapoor swaying to the tunes of Oscar-winning music composer A.R. Rahman’s “Masakali” with a pigeon on her head in “Delhi-6″? The actress says the song made her famous.

“Delhi-6″, which tells the story of an NRI, who returns with his ailing grandmother to his homeland and gets caught in a bizarre temple-mosque dispute arising out of monkey man menace in the heart of Delhi, clocked eight years of its release on the siver screen on Monday.

“The song that made me famous! I remember this so well, I was young joyful with no worries in the world,” Sonam tweeted on Monday.

The “Neerja” actress also said that the song was a symbol of freedom. “‘Masakali’ was a symbol of freedom and love… Abhishek Bachchan and Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra… Eight years of ‘Delhi-6′,” she added.

The actress will next be seen in “Veere Di Wedding”. She will be seen sharing screen space with actresses Kareena Kapoor Khan and Swara Bhaskar.

Comments (0)

Very difficult to get good films: Taapsee Pannu

Posted on 25 February 2017 by admin

Taapsee Pannu has Running Shaadi.com, Naam Shabana, The Ghazi Attack and Judwaa 2 lined up.

Actress Taapsee Pannu is on a roll. She has at least four films lined up for 2017, and she is loving her busy phase. She has Running Shaadi.com, Naam Shabana, The Ghazi Attack and Judwaa 2 in her kitty.

“It’s very difficult to get good films for us, so I am very much excited about all my films,” Taapsee said here on the sidelines of a special screening of Running Shaadi, which is releasing on Friday.

The movie, debut directed by Amit Roy, also features Amit Sadh.

Talking about the romance comedy, she said: “I am little nervous and excited as well. ‘Running Shaadi’ is very special to me and because of this film, I got to work in Pink. I am looking forward to seeing the audience’s reaction.

“Until now you have seen me doing rough and tough roles, so now I want to see if I can also make the audience laugh. I am pretty sure this film will be able to bring a smile on everyone’s face.”

Running Shaadi revolves around a unique concept of helping people run away with the love of their life to get married.

In The Ghazi Attack, where Taapsee plays a prominent role, is based on the mysterious sinking of PNS Ghazi during India-Pakistan war of 1971.

Her Naam Shabana is an action spy thriller and a spin-off of the 2015 film Baby. Taapsee is reprising her role as Shabana along with the previous star cast Akshay Kumar and Anupam Kher.

Besides this, she has started shooting for Judwaa 2, in which she will be seen playing Varun Dhawan’s love interest.

Comments (0)

Trump vows to only tweak Canadian NAFTA provisions after Trudeau meeting

Posted on 15 February 2017 by admin

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau won personal assurances from President Donald Trump during an Oval Office meeting earlier this week that the United States only wants to tweak the North American free-trade provisions that govern commerce with Canada.

Mr. Trudeau steered clear of controversial subjects – refusing to criticize Mr. Trump’s ban on Syrian refugees and immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries – opting instead to win the President over by convincing him Canada can help his economic agenda.

Mr. Trudeau came to the White House with the overarching aim of obtaining U.S. guarantees that Canada’s export-driven economy wouldn’t be sideswiped by the President’s plan to renegotiate NAFTA.

“We have a very outstanding trade relationship with Canada. We’ll be tweaking it. We’ll be doing certain things that will benefit both of our countries,” Mr. Trump told a joint news conference in the White House after the sit-down. “Our relationship with Canada is outstanding. We are going to work together to make it even better.”

The U.S. President promised “to have a great relationship with Canada … as good or better, hopefully, than ever before.”

But the President said the United States will be seeking more “reciprocity” in trade with Canada, which could include demands that U.S. firms are able to bid on provincial and municipal projects. And he said “you can never be totally confident” that the U.S.-Canada border is secure, hinting at two possible areas of friction when talks begin in earnest.

Some Canadian provinces and municipalities have local content or “knowledge” requirements written into their procurement policies, giving an edge to Canadian companies. Infrastructure Ontario, for instance, which oversees tens of billions of dollars’ worth of provincial transit, hospital and school construction, favours contractors with local knowledge as a way to boost Ontario-based firms. This protectionist policy is important enough that the province fought to ensure it would be allowed to remain in place when Canada negotiated a free-trade deal with the European Union.

For the most part, however, Mr. Trump reassured Mr. Trudeau that he has nothing to fear from the new administration in Washington. Mr. Trump said his main aim in revamping NAFTA was to take aim at Mexico, which has a $58-billion (U.S.) trade deficit with the United States, compared with an $11-billion surplus with Canada.

“It is a much less severe situation than what is taking place on the southern border. On the southern border for many, many years the transaction was not fair to the United States. It was an extremely unfair transaction … we are going to make it a fair deal for both countries,” Mr. Trump said.

A senior Canadian government official said Mr. Trump and his advisers did not say when they expected NAFTA talks to begin. “We have no clarity on that,” said the official, who added the Trump team got along well with their Canadian counterparts despite the ideological differences.

The Prime Minister, who was close to former president Barack Obama, is seen by many Americans as a progressive voice on refugees after letting 40,000 Syrians into Canada at the start of his term. But he resisted a push from U.S. journalists to speak out against Mr. Trump’s immigration ban.

“The last thing Canadians expect is for me to come down and lecture another country on how they should choose to govern themselves,” Mr. Trudeau said. “My role, our responsibility is to continue to govern in such a way that reflects Canadians’ approach and a positive example to the world.”

However, Mr. Trudeau said Canada’s policy of welcoming refugees would continue and he noted U.S. security agencies had a role in vetting the Syrians who came to Canada.

The President strongly defended his controversial immigration ban even though the executive order has been blocked by the U.S. courts.

“It’s stance of common sense and we are going to pursue it vigorously and we don’t want our country to have the kinds of problems taking place not only here but all over the world,” Mr. Trump said. “We’re not going to let it happen.”

The pair largely stuck to trade, with Mr. Trudeau repeatedly drawing parallels between his concern for the middle class and Mr. Trump’s.

“At the end of the day, the President and I share a common goal: We both want to make sure that hard-working folks can go to work at a good job, put food on the table for their families and save up to take a vacation every once in a while,” he said.

The two leaders promised joint co-operation on border security, continental defence and infrastructure spending – and to stop the flow of opioid drugs coming across the U.S. border.

“The illegal use of opioids in our society is nothing less than a tragedy. We will do everything we can to ensure the safety of Canadians and Americans,” Mr. Trudeau said.

The Prime Minister’s Office is also keen on rebuilding electrical transmission links across the international border, something that could dovetail with Mr. Trump’s promised spending on infrastructure.

Mr. Trump, for his part, appeared to pick up on Mr. Trudeau’s insistence that trade with Canada could actually help his agenda. At one point, Mr. Trump included Canada in his vision for stopping the export of jobs overseas.

“Having more jobs and trade right here in North America is better for both the United States and it is also much better for Canada … we will co-ordinate closely to protect jobs in our hemisphere and keep wealth on our continent,” Mr. Trump said, adding that he wanted a “stronger trading relationship” and “more … bridges of commerce” with Canada.

Such comments are a sharp contrast with the protectionist rhetoric for which Mr. Trump is usually known.

While Mr. Trudeau and the President did not appear to develop the friendly banter the Prime Minister had with Mr. Obama, they were cordial with each other and seemed to have developed a rapport.

Mr. Trump spent half a day with the Prime Minister and his senior cabinet ministers that included an hour-long meeting in the Oval Office, a luncheon with key administration figures, including Vice-President Mike Pence, and a roundtable with female business executives from Canada and the United States.

During a walk from the West Wing to a luncheon, Mr. Trump and Mr. Trudeau were engrossed in conversation, with both strolling slowly and Mr. Trump placing his hand on Mr. Trudeau’s back. Mr. Trump’s strategist, Steve Bannon, meanwhile, could be seen speaking animatedly and gesticulating to Gerald Butts, Mr. Trudeau’s principal secretary.

Mr. Trump praised Mr. Trudeau and his father, Pierre Trudeau, at the roundtable announcing a Canada-U.S. women’s business council, after Mr. Trudeau presented him with a photograph of the elder Mr. Trudeau and Mr. Trump at an awards dinner at the Waldorf Astoria hotel in 1981. Mr. Trudeau also gave Mr. Trudeau a sculpture of a lion, carved out of sandstone from an Ohio quarry.

Mr. Pence’s office said he and Mr. Trudeau’s ministers discussed ways to “deepen” trade, and work together on fighting the Islamic State.

Mr. Trudeau also held a chummy meeting with House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan. Seated in front a fire, Mr. Ryan ribbed Mr. Trudeau for the way Canadian hockey teams scoop up players from his home state of Wisconsin.

Mr. Ryan’s office afterward said he and Mr. Trudeau discussed “breaking down trade barriers” between Canada and the United States – suggesting that Mr. Trump’s Republican Party may be pushing the President for more free trade rather than less.

Comments (0)

Don’t abandon tax break to encourage jobs for young people

Posted on 15 February 2017 by admin

Justin Trudeau came to power with the enthusiastic backing of young people. They turned out to vote in huge numbers in 2015 and embraced his call for change in Ottawa.

It wasn’t just about style. Trudeau promised to create a lot of jobs for young people – specifically “40,000 good youth jobs” every year from 2016 to 2018. He even named himself Minister of Youth for good measure.

Now, though, one of the central promises that Trudeau’s Liberal party made to young people seems to have evaporated.

During the 2015 campaign the Liberals pledged to encourage employers to hire young people. The government would offer them a 12-month holiday on employment insurance premiums if they hired people aged 18 to 24 for permanent jobs.

The idea, similar to one a previous Liberal government tried with some success in the 1990s, was to counter the chronically high unemployment rate among young workers. It’s now running at 12.6 per cent, almost double the overall jobless rate of 6.9 per cent.

The promise of an EI premium break was included in the mandate letter that Trudeau gave his first employment minister, MaryAnn Mihychuk. And there were high hopes it would be included in Finance Bill Morneau’s first budget last March. But it was nowhere to be found.

Now the promise has disappeared entirely from the mandate letter given to the new employment minister, Patty Hajdu, who got the job in January’s cabinet shuffle.

Instead, the new minister was instructed to work with the government’s “Expert Panel on Youth Employment” to come up with ways of lowering the jobless rate among young people.

That sounds very much like a recipe for delay, delay and more delay. The promise of a temporary break on EI premiums was a focused measure that could be implemented quickly and give employers a concrete incentive to hire young people. In 2015 the Liberals estimated it would have saved employers who took advantage of it between $60 million and $80 million a year.

It’s still not too late for Morneau to include such a measure in this spring’s budget, though the fact that it is not to be found in Hajdu’s official job description doesn’t make that very likely.

The EI break was a relatively small-bore promise. But letting it fall by the wayside is problematic, especially since the prime minister is having trouble meeting the hopes that were raised when he named himself youth minister in addition to his day job of running the federal government.

It was great symbolism. But as the Star’s Alex Ballingall reported this past week, advocates for young people and students are starting to feel let down by Trudeau the youth minister.

So far his government has a mixed record in this area. It has increased student grants substantially for people from low- to middle-income families, raised the income threshold for repaying student loans, and created more summer jobs. At the same time, student debt continues to mount, tuition costs are rising, and youth unemployment remains at stubbornly high levels.

It’s asking a lot for a prime minister to also be an active, engaged youth minister, perhaps too much. One concrete gesture would be to revive his old promise and put the break on EI premiums to encourage jobs for young people back on the government’s agenda.

Comments (0)

How Has Technology Changed The Way We Trust?

Posted on 15 February 2017 by admin

Rachel Botsman has spent over a decade thinking about the “sharing economy.” As an an author and a visiting academic at the University of Oxford, Saïd Business School, who researches how technology is transforming trust, she’s an authority on the subject. She’s also one of Fast Company‘s Most Creative People. She is currently writing a book, due out next fall, about the new decentralized economies and how that has changed trust.

I recently chatted with her about what this means for the future of leadership. What follows is a transcript of our conversation. It has been edited for space and clarity.

Can you talk a bit about your current project and its background?

In 2009, I wrote What’s Mine Is Yours about the so-called sharing economy. And there were really two aspects that always interested me about it. One was how you can take these idle assets and unlock their value through technology, and then the second was trust. This notion that technology could breed familiarity and enable strangers to trust one another was fascinating, and the start of something much bigger.

I started to research things like the blockchain and our relationship to artificial intelligence, and all these other technologies that transformed how we trust people, ideas, things, companies. I felt that there was a paradigm shift happening.

At the same time, it’s hard to ignore the headlines that trust is really imploding. So whether it’s banks, the media, government, churches . . . this institutional trust that is really important to society is disintegrating at an alarming rate. And so how do we trust people enough to get in a car with a total stranger and yet we don’t trust a banking executive? So that’s essentially what the book unpacks.

And what I’ve discovered through writing the book is that these systems aren’t better—they still bump against human error and greed and market forces. It is very hard to have a decentralized system because you always end up with a center or a monopoly of power. What I find really frightening is this denial—and this is a leadership question—first of all [to accept] that trust is changing. And then the lack of organizations completely rethinking how you build trust, what you do with trust when it’s destroyed, whether the basic principles are really changing.

Comments (0)

Trudeau Must Defend Canada’s Progressive Values From Trump

Posted on 15 February 2017 by admin

The Hon. Charlie Angus 

Ottawa

As Prime Minister Justin Trudeau heads to Washington, Canadians are asking themselves how the presidency of Donald Trump will affect our nation. This question is important, but equally important is the question of what role Canada must play in a world that has been upended by the Trump agenda.

Within the month of taking office, Trump has plunged the world into a period of frightening instability. He elevated the conflict level with Iran and China and threatened to destabilize the precarious situation in Israel/Palestine. He has hung up on the Australian prime minister and picked a fight with Mexico. But it has been his targeting of Muslim travellers and direct challenge of the U.S. judiciary that is the most disturbing foreshadowing of what is to come.

Trump has elevated America’s right-wing fringe to the inner sanctums of power. They are spoiling for a fight on a whole manner of issues from climate change, to women’s rights, to the Middle East.

There have been those in the media who advise the prime minister to keep his head down and avoid angering a clearly erratic president. But let’s not kid ourselves — the idea that the prime minister can get away with tiptoeing around Trump’s attack on international law and human rights isn’t going to cut it.

As much as Canada has economic interests, we have moral interests. And this isn’t simply a question of values. This is also a matter of standing up for Canada’s vital interests.

This must be kept in mind as the prime minister meets in Washington. Will we turn over security information on Canadian pipeline protesters under the broad powers established by C-51 to the Trump administration? Will we be silent on his all-out assault on privacy rights for travellers entering U.S. airspace? Will we stay silent as the president destabilizes our allies?

Clearly Canada’s economic interests are deeply entwined with the U.S. market. The prime minister has a duty to work to maintain the economic flow of goods between both countries. But he also needs to be a champion the interests of sectors like lumber and beef even as Trump attempts to add to his wish list of trade concessions. Taking advice from Brian Mulroney, who has been floating the trial balloon of adding supply management sector to the negotiating table, sends a very wrong signal.

On the international front, Canada is going to have to step up its multilateral diplomatic initiatives to Latin America, Europe and Asia. Having a part-time ambassador to Germany and the EU isn’t good enough when we need to be working closely with them on containing the Trump effect.

On the domestic front, the prime minister cannot use the Trump presidency as an excuse to walk away from his electoral commitments to a more progressive Canada. His attempt to invoke fears of the rise of an extreme right wing as a reason to kill the electoral reform commitment reeks of cynicism.

Last month, at the height of the fabricated tensions against Muslim Americans, six Canadians were murdered in a religious sanctuary where they should have been safest. In the days following this despicable act, Trump’s spokesmen used the murder of Canadians to justify policies, which are against Canadian values and undermine our national interests. Yet, the Trudeau government opted to stay silent in the face of these falsehoods and attacks on the memory of these innocent victims of right-wing terror.

Canadians may not be in a position to change the Trump administration, but we must take the steps needed to keep him from changing us. I believe the prime minister should take his lead from the tens of thousands of ordinary Canadians who are organizing an incredible resistance movement rooted in community, protest and respect. The ring of peace that was organized by a Canadian rabbi to protect Muslim worshippers at prayer in cities across Canada is a symbol of all that is best in our nation.

We need leadership in Ottawa that channels this energy. In dark and uncertain times, Canada’s voice is needed more than ever. Canada can provide the world with a progressive, principled vision that does not get thrown off by the politics of bullying and fear.

Charlie Angus is the Member of Parliament for Timmins-James Bay.

Comments (0)

Funding for municipalities improved to offer more travel options to commuters

Posted on 15 February 2017 by admin

Ontario is boosting support for Brampton by providing reliable, long-term funding to improve and expand local transit and offer more travel options for commuters and families.

Transportation Minister Steven Del Duca was joined by Harinder Malhi, MPP Brampton-Springdale today to make the announcement.

The province has heard directly from people who are frustrated by their daily commute and from regions and municipalities that are struggling to meet their transit needs. In response to these concerns, starting in 2019, Ontario will increase funding for Brampton Transit and other municipal transit systems across the province through an enhancement to the existing gas tax program, doubling the municipal share from two cents per litre to four cents by 2021. There will be no increase in the tax that people in Ontario pay on gasoline as a result of the enhancement to the program.

Brampton is able to use the new funding to plan for and make major infrastructure upgrades, buy additional transit vehicles, add more routes, extend hours of service, implement fare strategies and improve accessibility.

Supporting stronger public transit systems is part of our plan to create jobs, grow our economy and help people in their everyday lives.

Comments (0)

Immigration fuels Canada’s population growth of 1.7 million in five years: latest census

Posted on 15 February 2017 by admin

Immigration, urbanization and a burgeoning west.

That’s the story of the nation, revealed Wednesday as Statistics Canada began its year-long roll-out of data collected in the 2016 census.

Statistics Canada counted 35,151,728 people in its May 2016 census, a 5 per cent increase over the 2011 national count, and 14 million private dwellings, up 5.6 per cent.

Toronto held its title as Canada’s largest city, with 2,731,571 residents, 7.8 per cent of the country’s population. That’s one million more than Montreal, the second-place city, with 1,704,694 residents.

Four cities in the Golden Horseshoe — Toronto, Mississauga, Brampton and Hamilton — ranked among the top 10 largest Canadian cities.

The new numbers reveal that Canada’s population grew by 1.7 million people since the last census in 2011. Immigrants accounted for two-thirds of the increase and the so-called natural increase — the difference between births and deaths — accounted for the rest.

Over the coming years, newcomers to Canada will account for more and more of the country’s population growth due to low fertility and an aging population.

Canada’s population growth slowed in the last five years, compared to the previous census period when the country grew by 5.9 per cent, but still led all G7 nations.

In the census done five years ago, the story was of a nation growing and going west. That’s the story this time around too, with Canada’s surging western provinces all recording above-average increases in population.

Population growth accelerated in both Manitoba, up 5.8 per cent, and Alberta, which led all provinces with an 11.6 per cent increase, despite the oil patch slowdown that has slowed its economy.

Urban areas in the west were also fast-growing with Canada’s fastest growing urban areas were in the west with Calgary leading the way (up 14.6 per cent), followed by Edmonton (13.9 per cent), Saskatoon (12.5 per cent) and Regina (11.8 per cent).

Ontario — Canada’s most populous province with 13.5 million people — grew by 4.6 per cent. It’s the second census in a row that the province’s growth rate has been below the national average.

“Are we seeing a new pattern for Ontario where growth will be slightly lower than the national average? Who knows,” Martel said.

Still, Guelph, Oshawa, Toronto, Barrie, Ottawa and the Kitchener-Waterloo region were among the larger Ontario centres that saw above-average growth.

Immigrant settlement is behind much of the regional differences in population growth.

“We know that the geographic distribution of immigrants has changed slightly over the last few years. More are going towards Saskatchewan and Manitoba and less to Ontario and that explains in large part why the population growth in Ontario has decreased,” he said.

New Brunswick was alone in seeing its population actually drop, falling by 0.5 per cent. The population of Saint John fell by 2.2 per cent, blamed on people moving out of the province.

Indeed, Atlantic Canada’s share of the population has dropped over the years because of lower population growth. In 2016, 6.6 per cent of Canadians lived in the region, compared with 10 per cent in 1966.

Population growth slowed in Ontario and Quebec but the two provinces still accounted for 61.5 per cent of the Canadian population.

Nunavut took top spot as the fastest growing province or territory, seeing its population jump by 12.7 per cent, to 35,944 residents, thanks to the highest fertility level in the country. Women in Nunavut give birth to 2.9 children on average, compared to the national average of 1.6 children.

The census numbers track the changing fortunes of towns and cities across the nation. Warman, Sask. took the prize as the country’s fastest growing town or city with a 55 per cent jump in its population to 11,020. Shelburne, Ont. saw its population jump by 39 per cent.

At the other end of the scale were towns like Bonnyville, Alberta, Flin Flon, Manitoba, and the Ontario communities of Espanola, Kirkland Lake and Elliot Lake, which all lost residents.

Still, the latest census data confirms the continuing urbanization of Canada with 83 per cent of its population now living in cities. And the large urban areas grew by 7.9 per cent, faster than the overall growth in population.

“Canada was a rural country 150 years ago at Confederation. Now, we’re among the countries in the world with the largest proportion of the population living in metropolitan areas,” Martel said.

The census data also shows that population growth was higher in so-called peripheral municipalities (up 6.9 per cent) compared with central municipalities (5.8 per cent). “This is very valuable information for those who are planning public transportation,” Martel said.

Canada had just 3.9 people per square kilometre in 2016, compared with 35.3 people per square kilometre in the United States. But the country’s population is highly concentrated with two out of three people living within 100 kilometres of the U.S. border.

Comments (0)

CONFLICT IN PAKISTANI POLITICS

Posted on 15 February 2017 by admin

  Dr. Hasan Askari

  Conflict is on the rise in Pakistani politics. Two major political parties, the PMLN and the PTI, are persistently hostile towards each other in their statements inside the parliament, in public meetings and TV political talk shows. Often time they use non-democratic idiom. On January 26, 2017, the PMLN and the PTI members exchanged punches on the floor of the National Assembly. This incident is the proof of the growing tensions between the two major political parties. In this growing conflict between the PMLN and the PTI, the PPP is pursuing a two tracks strategy. Asif Ali Zardari adopts a soft approach towards the PMLN but Balawal Bhutto often adopts harsh disposition toward Nawaz Sharif and the PMLN. However, Balawal makes sure that he is not seen as a partner in the PTI’s political struggle against the PMLN. It is not clear what will be the ultimate disposition of the PPP as Pakistan moves closer to the general elections.

 The growing conflict in Pakistan’s politics can be explained with reference to two important events: the news about a national security meeting in the prime minister house that blamed the Army for supporting some militant groups; and the on-going Panama Leaks case in the Supreme Court.

 The PMLN federal government would like to sleep over the news item issue. It is not keen to officially disclose if it has received the delayed report of the inquiry about the publication of the news item. The report may or may not be released to public but the government appears confident that it can set aside the matter by taking some dummy action. The Army top command is very unhappy on this issue but it does not have any easy option to take a direct punitive action against those responsible for fabricating the news item and getting it published. This will, however, adversely affect civil-military relations that are currently showing some stability.

 What worries the federal government most is the Panama Leaks case in the Supreme Court because the former has lost the initiative in this respect. It was able to deflect the PTI pressure on the Panama Leaks until the matter came before the Supreme Court. The federal government’s concern has increased since the Supreme Court, in another case, temporarily suspended the operations of three sugar mills of the Sharif family that were shifted surreptitiously to Southern Punjab and asked the High Court to take up the matter for final settlement.

 The PMLN leaders are now pursuing four media strategies to cope with the Panama Leaks case. First, they are putting up a brave face that they would come out successfully from the Supreme Court and that, as Nawaz Sharif’s name does not figure in the Panama Leaks, no action can be taken against him.

 Second, some of the PMLN activists are invoking Nawaz Sharif’s electoral mandate in the 2013 general elections to argue that a popularly elected leader cannot be removed except by the votes of people. This is an indirect message to the Supreme Court, which is a non-elected institution as well as to the PTI which got less votes than the PMLN in the last elections, to stop thinking about removing Nawaz Sharif.. The PMLN activists are also talking of a conspiracy to dislodge an elected prime minister. Another argument suggests that the people will not accept the removal of an elected leader. The PMLN did not make these arguments when the Supreme Court removed the PPP Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani from his office in June 2012.

Third, a major media campaign has been launched by the federal and the Punjab governments to highlight their contribution towards socio-economic development and welfare of the people. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is inaugurating some section of motorway, some electricity generation plant or a development project even if it is incomplete. The federal government is also highlighting what it describes as the major achievements in the economy which is on way to a take-off. All this is being done to demonstrate that the opposition’s political campaign and the court cases are undermining the government that is working for the welfare of the people.

 Fourth, the PMLN activists have intensified their criticism of Imran Khan and his senior colleagues and have accused them of corruption, incorrect declaration of personal wealth and assets, and the use of influence by some opposition leaders to get their bank loans write-off. Several members of the federal cabinet and senior party leaders, including paraliamentarians, have made their reputation for harsh and personalized criticism of Imran Khan.

 The response of the PTI stalwarts and media persons is equally harsh. The Sharif family, especially Nawaz Sharif, is the main target of their criticism. His governance and political management are also criticized. The PMLN and the PTI engage in polemics against each other in TV political talks shows. Some of these TV programs end up as shouting matches between the activists of these two political parties.

 Whatever the judgement of the Supreme Court, the conflict between the PMLN and the PTI is expected to persist and they will continue to blame each other for the problems of the common people. The bitter verbal exchanges between the PMLN and the PTI make it difficult to discourage religious and cultural intolerance that has taken strong roots in Pakistan during the last three decades. Democratic values of tolerance, political accommodation through dialogue and mutual respect will remain weak in Pakistan.

Comments (0)

Advertise Here
Advertise Here