Pakistan govt makes history but record chequered
SHOTLIST: ISLAMABAD, MARCH 16, 2013, SOURCE: PTV/POOL - NO RESALE FOR NON-EDITORIAL PURPOSES Flag waving, music introduction to address SOUNDBITE Raja Pervez Ashraf (man), Pakistani Prime Minister (Urdu, 01 min 26 sec) "This is a matter of immense pleasure that the National Assembly has completed its term for the first time in the country's history. I congratulate you for this. It is matter of pleasure for me that an ordinary person like me is today Prime Minister of Pakistan and it gives the nation hope that there will be a continuation of democracy. There is a long history of tussling between the democratic and undemocratic forces in Pakistan, but the democratic forces have finally achieved a victory. Today an elected democratic government is transferring power through the constitutional process. I deem it necessary to thank the political parties and all institutions who played their role in strengthening democracy." -------------------------------------------------- AFP TEXT: Pakistan-unrest-vote-government,FOCUS Pakistan government makes history but record chequered by Sami Zubeiri ISLAMABAD, March 17, 2013 (AFP) - Pakistan's government has become the first in history to complete a full term in office, but a raft of key achievements has been overshadowed by mismanagement, economic decline and worsening security. When the Pakistan People's Party won elections in 2008 on a wave of national grief over the assassination of its leader Benazir Bhutto few imagined her widower would prove such an adept, agile and long-standing president. Asif Ali Zardari, the man belittled for years as the ill-educated playboy who spent 11 years in prison over corruption allegations despite never being charged, has managed to achieve what alluded all previous civilian rulers in Pakistan. For the first time a civilian government has completed a full five-year term in office and will be handing over to another elected government in a country which has seen three bloodless military coups and four military rulers. Helped by the army chief of staff's determination to keep to the sidelines and the opposition's unwillingness to force early elections, Zardari's wheeler-dealer ability has been crucial to keeping his government together. Political analyst Jaffer Ahmed, director of the Pakistan Studies department at Karachi University, said Zardari's record has been mixed at best, with his greatest asset the pragmatism needed to stay the course. "Despite the fact that he has been maligned in corruption, nepotism and numerous other things, he showed patience and perseverance. He successfully withstood pressure from the judiciary and played his cards well and survived," he told AFP. Parliament has passed more legislation than any of its predecessors. In 2010, Zardari relinquished much of his power to the prime minister, rolling back on decades of meddling by military rulers in an effort to institutionalise parliamentary democracy. His government sought to devolve powers to the provinces and introduced reforms that will for the first time allow parties to contest elections in the tribal belt, a den of Taliban and Al-Qaeda militants under only semi-government control. "Even more significant is parliament's record of enacting a raft of legislation empowering women," said Ali Dayan Hasan, Pakistan director at Human Rights Watch, of measures that include laws against domestic violence and sexual harassment. But achievements aside, there has been extraordinarily bad governance. Terrorist attacks and insecurity have increased. Shootings and bomb attacks are now a daily reality. Apart from a watershed military operation that pushed Taliban insurgents out of the Swat valley in 2009, the government has been unable or unwilling to crack down on the plethora of Islamist militant networks blamed for violence in Pakistan, Afghanistan and India. "Militants appear more defiant and bold in the absence of a clear strategy," said political analyst Hasan Askari. Pakistan has hosted no international cricket, the national obsession, since gunmen attacked the Sri Lankan team in March 2009. Religious violence has reached dizzying levels with the Shiite Muslim minority bearing the brunt. Karachi, the largest city and business hub, is suffering from record killings linked to political and ethnic tensions, with more than 2,000 dead in 2012. Furore over the blasphemy law led to the assassinations of PPP politician Salman Taseer, shot dead by his bodyguard, and minorities minister Shahbaz Bhatti. Nothing was done to resolve a chronic energy crisis or introduce desperately needed tax reforms. Ministers have been tainted by accusations of appalling corruption. After the elections, Pakistan is expected to have little option but seek another bailout package from the International Monetary Fund given its yawning budget deficit, estimated by independent experts at seven percent. Total foreign exchange reserves, including those held by private banks, have dwindled from $13.83 billion in 2008 to $12.56 billion. The rupee has plummeted 60 percent from 61.22 to the dollar on March 24, 2008, to 98 today. The government was also locked in a damaging power struggle with the judiciary, which in June 2012 sacked the prime minister for refusing to ask Switzerland to reopen corruption cases against Zardari. In a recent article for Foreign Affairs, Christine Fair, an assistant professor at Georgetown University, warned of the challenges as Pakistan heads into its first democratic transition of power in history. The next government must consolidate democratic institutionalisation, strengthen civilian control over the military, forge consensus among coalition partners and seek economic reforms against the wishes of itself and its constituents, she said. "This may prove too Herculean an agenda, especially with the military seeking new ways to assert its own power. Although the government has moved forward by leaps and bounds in the last few years, in other words, progress might be slower in the ones ahead," she wrote.
John Legend - John Legend performing Marvin Gaye's classic album, "What's Going On" Live from The Hollywood Bowl
Ohio-born John Legend is a critically acclaimed, multi-award winning, platinum-selling singer-songwriter. His work has garnered him nine Grammy Awards, three Soul Train Awards, the BET Award for Best New Artist and the special Starlight Award from the Songwriters Hall of Fame. A graduate of University of Pennsylvania where he studied English and African-American literature, Legend participated in a wide range of musical activities while in college. During the same period, Legend was introduced to Lauryn Hill, who hired him to play piano on her track "Everything Is Everything," and shortly thereafter he began to play shows around the Philadelphia area, eventually expanding his audience base to New York, Boston, Atlanta and Washington D.C. After college, Legend was introduced to then up-and-coming hip-hop artist Kanye West, who quickly signed Legend to his G.O.O.D. Music imprint and hired him to sing vocal hooks on some of his music. Legend started gaining momentum through a series of similar collaborations with established artists, adding vocals to an impressive list of chart-topping hits including West's "All of the Lights," Jay-Z's "Encore" and back-up vocals on Alicia Keys' 2003 song, "You Don't Know My Name." Legend’s debut album, Get Lifted, was released in December of 2004 through Columbia Records. The critically acclaimed album spawned the artist's first hit single, “Ordinary People,” and scored Legend multiple Grammy Awards in 2006, including Best R&B Album, Best New Artist and Best Male R&B Vocal Performance. The follow up was 2006’s platinum-selling Once Again, which brought Legend another Grammy, Best Male R&B Performance, for his single “Heaven,” and included collaborations with Kanye West, will.i.am and Raphael Saadiq. Legend’s next release was 2008’s Evolver, led by the hit single "Green Light" featuring Andre 3000. His 2010 collaboration with the Roots, Wake Up, won the Grammy for Best R&B Album a year later. Legend’s highly acclaimed fourth and most current studio album Love In the Future continues to gain momentum on the Billboard 200 Chart and is nearing gold status. Produced by Legend and longtime collaborators Kanye West and Dave Tozer, the album’s break out hit, “All of Me,” spent 3 weeks at no. 1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 Singles Chart and marks Legend’s highest selling and charting single of his career to date, with sales over 4 million in the US and 6 million worldwide. The single also recently hit no. 1 at five formats of radio: Urban AC, Top 40, Rhythm, Adult Top 40 and Adult Contemporary and the cumulative radio audience on the single is over 4 Billion. "All of Me" now joins an elite group of cross-over hits dominating airplay at five different formats. Throughout his career, John has worked to make a difference in the lives of others. In 2007, he launched the Show Me Campaign (ShowMeCampaign.org), an initiative that focuses on education as a key to break the cycle of poverty. The 2010 BET Humanitarian of the Year award, the 2009 CARE Humanitarian Award for Global Change, the 2009 Bishop John T. Walker Distinguished Humanitarian Service Award from Africare and the 2011 Harvard Foundation Artist of the Year Award recognize Legend's efforts and leadership in this arena. John sits on the boards of The Education Equality Project, Teach for America, Stand for Children and the Harlem Village Academies and co-chairs the Harlem Village Academies’ National Leadership Board.
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