Catchup

Some successful lectures at MPDD and compliments from other places …………. but a bit hectic schedule ……… and when I do get free time ………. it’s either already reserved or really not in that mood to write.

But nevermind the next detailed post is almost due and should be coming in a day or two.

Till than you all take care and keep working for accomplishments of your goals …………… Best Wishes for you all

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No I’m Not 50 ………………… :)

There’s always been a pleasant implicit compliment in the remarks I’m quite used to now ”you don’t look as old as your qualifications and professional affiliations would suggest”. However recently there’s been a steady rise in the number and frequency of similar compliments. Infact quite recently I was told “Looking at your credentials it seems like you should be at least 50 but you obviously are not MashaAllah, you look younger than me”

First interview in LONDON: I still remember my first interview in London where the interviewer asked me “Mr. Zaheer, Just one question. Can you please tell me how did you manage to do all this at your age?”.Indeed it’s all Allah’s blessings combined with the commitment, motivation, hard work and consistency. Furthermore I was lucky to have immense guidance from my parents who mapped up a well-devised career plan for me with of course my inputs. And finally of course the hard work played its part.

As humbling as it is, I don’t believe I’ve yet achieved up to my potential or a height where I can safely say that I did enough justice with the abilities granted to me by Almighty. Having said that, no doubt the achievements are no common feat either.

Acknowledgement of and Thanks to the contributors:

Such incidents and requests from friends motivated me to write this brief piece and thank them for the compliments while acknowledging the main contributors in front of you all and clarify how it has been possible to attain all these credentials in my early 20’s. Perhaps it can motivate and help you too.

I’m thankful to the following:

  • First of all Allah Almighty who has always been with me and blessed me with everything ranging from great parents, good mentors, abilities, focus, determination, e.t.c. (contrary to what most people are made to believe nowadays, if followed by the spirit and good intent, religion makes one a stronger and better person)
  • My Parents, whose immense knowledge, guidance, love, affection and support has undoubtedly been instrumental in keeping me focused, consistent, devoted, goals-oriented and determined.
  • My mentors and all those who taught me even a single word are highly valued.
  • Than finally comes the effort part – the hard work, consistency, determination and focus. Yes it requires a lot of sacrifices but believe me it’s WORTH IT ALL in the end.

If this has motivated and/or intrigued you than snap up the initiative and should you require any guidance, please feel free to contact me at:

omerzaheermeer@hotmail.co.uk

Best Wishes,

Omer Zaheer Meer
ACCA (UK), BSc (Hons) (UK), CAT (UK), Adv. Financial Diploma (UK), Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialist (UK) & Certified CSM (LCCI & SMEDA – PAK)

Professional Associations:
CFAI (USA), PRIMA (USA), ACCA (UK), UKSIP (UK), PRMIA (USA), LCCI (PAK) & MPDD (PAK)

Yet Another Privilege and Honour – PRIMA (USA) Membership

By the grace of the Almighty I’ve been granted the membership of yet another prestigious body …….. PRIMA (USA)  – Public Risk Management Association

PRIMA (USA) has been pursuing excellence for over three decades now and is deemed a global leader in its field.

Being a specialised area and more so in the Investment industry’s Public Risk Management context, this is yet another privilege and humbling honour coming from another esteemed body.

The updated professional associations of myself are as below:

  • ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) – UK
  • PRMIA (Professional Risk Managers’ International Association) – USA
  • UKSIP (UK Society of Investment Professionals) – UK
  • Certified Accounting Technician (CAT) – UK
  • CFAI (Chartered Financial Analyst Institute) – USA
  • PRIMA (Public Risk Management Association) – USA
  • MPDD (Management & Professional Development Department) – PAK
  • Meer & Mir Consultants (Senior Consultant & Partner) – UK
  • Global IT Vision (Pvt) Ltd (CFO) – PAK

Injustices and Terror – Perfect Recipe for Economic & State Annihilation

9 to 10 blasts in the heart of Pakistan, Lahore rocked the nation yesterday. At least 2 of them were reported to be suicide attacks causing significant human and economic loss. The terror that engulfed the city specially after the back to back blasts in Iqbal Town, Shadman and nearby areas of Lahore, bought the cultural capital of Pakistan to a standstill.

Pakistan and its heart Lahore in particular have faced many tragedies and terror attacks but this was no doubt amongst the worst in terms of the psychological impact and fear mongering. The atmosphere in the city was unprecedented. This is the Lahore where people came out in large during Indo-Pak wars to cheer on their army. But this time the enemy is unseen and the people are confused.

Furthermore the prevailing injustices of a system where poor and weak are made an example of and the powerful go free, coupled with such fear mongering terror strikes are a perfect recipe for economic annihilation of any country.

To avoid the disaster we are moving towards, Govt of Pakistan needs to review its policies at all levels, be it strategic, tactical or operation level which are all, as of now, classic examples of failures except for some of the operations carried out by the PDF (Pakistani Defence Forces).

Some prime examples of such failures range from the alledged collaboration re Drone Strikes causing unrest among people and providing ideological  ammunition to those calling for revenge, the flawed strategic policy and approach on the so-called War on Terror to the import of expensive non-working scanner doors from China (does kickbacks ring some bells here?).

Recently there were some news that caught my attention.I’d refer to atleast two:

  • The Punjab police was running a basement “female only rape and torture center” where  innocent and young girls, many not even adults, were detained and abused illegaly, for the enjoyment of its officers and some politicians. They even had a girl abducted from her wedding ceremony. Despite extensive media coverage the culprits are still free.
  • A member of the assembly let his hungry hunter dogs “teach a lesson” to a women in her constituency and defended this in the name of tradition on the assembly floor. The killing was rewarded with him been made a minister and is said to be in the good books of the President.

I wonder if one of the girls was Bakthawar Bhutto would the reactions have been the same?. Certainly No. And this explains where the basics are wrong.

This battle for Pakistan’s survival cannot only be fought and won on the battlefield but by providing social justice to the people. It is the injustice prevailing in the society that is drawing the masses towards revolt. And in that eagerness for a revolt they don’t care much if those taking charge are the people commonly referred to as “terrorists”.

It is said that drastic circumstances requires drastic measures and its high time we start taking the long overdue drastic steps. Once there is justice for all, people will themselves eradicate these terror-mongering maniacs to justice.

Finance Ministry of Pakistan – Applications Invited

It is ironic that no leading political party has a properly drawn up financial plan re Pakistan’s future. Even more troubling is the fact that almost all of them lack adequately qualified people for the job in their parties. Those who do have someone still don’t have any idea how to fend off the economic challenges facing Pakistan.

Perhaps it would be better if they give some thought to this important area and prepare some ground work to help them if and when they come to power. Otherwise the economic disasters of last two decades are in front of us as well as the fact that the current Federal Government doesn’t have a single person for the job in their supposedly largest political party of Pakistan.

Even troubling is the information doing rounds in the power corridors of Islamabad that the last Finance Minister Mr. Shaukat Tarain resigned due to governmental pressures to allow alleged corruption and kickbacks, which he objected to. The situation was further worsened by a lack of political will to take steps for the re-haul of the economy. The stated reason for resignation was to given time to his personal business though.

Perhaps, its high time to do some badly needed strategic examination.

Creel, Goebbels and us

Thanks to Dawn News

It is a fallacy that dictatorships control our thoughts and democracies free them. The fact is that the two work in tandem, often as pacesetters to spur each other.

Joseph Goebbels stands accused as the forefather of thought-control and mass hysteria the Nazis whipped up against anyone who came in their way. Goebbels, however, had a role model in George Creel, a veteran journalist of the Denver Post who was enlisted by President Woodrow Wilson to turn a nation of pacifist Americans into warmongers and haters of Germans.

Creel headed the Committee on Public Information set up by Wilson at the start of the First World War to coordinate “not propaganda as the Germans defined it, but propaganda in the true sense of the word, meaning the propagation of faith”. With the state’s enormous resources and with the help of a conniving (democratic?) media Creel found success within six months.

“The war-mongering population … wanted to destroy everything German, tear the Germans limb to limb, go to war and save the world,” wrote Noam Chomsky about America’s diabolical manouevre that the Nazis were to emulate years later. “It was a major achievement, and it led to a further achievement. Right at that time and after the war the same techniques were used to whip up a hysterical Red Scare, as it was called.”

Intellectuals, including eminent writers, were more vulnerable to the nationalistic virus than they are thought to have been. In Britain, around the same time as Creel’s exploits, David Lloyd George, chancellor of the exchequer, was given the task of setting up a war propaganda bureau (WPB). He appointed the successful writer and fellow Liberal MP Charles Masterman as head of the organisation.

Masterman invited 25 leading British authors to the WPB headquarters to discuss ways of promoting Britain’s interests during the war. Those who attended the meeting included Arthur Conan Doyle, Arnold Bennett, John Masefield, Ford Madox Ford, William Archer, G.K. Chesterton, Sir Henry Newbolt, John Galsworthy, Thomas Hardy, Rudyard Kipling, Gilbert Parker, G.M. Trevelyan and H.G. Wells. All the writers present at the conference are said to have agreed to the utmost secrecy, and it was not until 1935 that the activities of the WPB became known to the general public. Some who attended the meeting agreed to write pamphlets and books that would promote the government’s view of the situation.

The information ministry set up in Britain during the two wars was to become the prototype for similar ministries in India and Pakistan, and elsewhere in the developing world. Like Creel, who had on his committee the secretary of state, navy and so forth, the ‘information ministries’ are ably assisted in India and Pakistan by every government department, led by the home and defence ministries and their intelligence outfits, to create and disseminate propaganda.

A new US bill aimed at taming the foreign media perceived as hostile to American interests is expected to continue to lean on the tradition set by Woodrow Wilson and which has been dutifully followed by eager beavers elsewhere. There are of course different ways of dealing with a channel like Al Jazeera for example. One is to not allow it to broadcast in a country by legal or bureaucratic fiat, as happens to be the case in India.

The other way is to bomb the supposedly recalcitrant broadcasters as happens in the Middle East. In Pakistan journalists can be killed or made to ‘disappear’. In India, in the tradition of Creel, they are co-opted.

Some of the provisions of the US bill that purports to curb “anti-American incitement to violence in the Middle East” have set off alarm bells in the Arab world. The bill pleads gratuitously that though freedom of the press and freedom of expression are the foundations of free and prosperous societies worldwide, “with the freedom of the press and freedom of expression comes the responsibility to repudiate purveyors of incitement to violence”.

Then it comes to the point. “For years, certain media outlets in the Middle East, particularly those associated with terrorist groups, have repeatedly published or broadcast incitements to violence against the United States and Americans.”

“Television channels that broadcast incitement to violence against Americans, the United States and others have demonstrated the ability to shift their operations to different countries and their transmissions to different satellite providers in order to continue broadcasting and to evade accountability.”

“Television channels such as al-Manar, al-Aqsa, al-Zawra, and others that broadcast incitement to violence against the United States and Americans aid Foreign Terrorist Organisations in the key functions of recruitment, fundraising, and propaganda.”

So what is one to do about the US concerns? The American bill provides that the US would “designate as Specially Designated Global Terrorists satellite providers that knowingly and willingly contract with entities designated as [such] … to broadcast their channels, or to consider implementing other punitive measures against satellite providers that transmit al-Aqsa TV, al-Manar TV, al-Rafidayn TV, or any other terrorist owned and operated station.”

The United States would consider state-sponsorship of anti-American incitement to violence when determining the level of assistance to, and frequency and nature of relations with, all states.

And finally, it would “urge all governments and private investors who own shares in satellite companies or otherwise influence decisions … to oppose transmissions of telecasts by … Specially Designated Global Terrorist owned and operated stations that openly incite their audiences to commit acts of terrorism or violence against the United States and its citizens”.

How is Pakistan going to cope with its provisions? The best hope is that it will target only the ‘rogue’ channels in the Middle East, but who knows.

The truly amazing thing about the success of institutionalised propaganda is that it gets people worked up into such a frenzy that they readily embrace the absence of morality in their connivance.

A few weeks ago I met a group of pleasant, prosperous and generally agreeable Indians in San Francisco. The discussion revolved around the sacrifices that American democracy had to make to accommodate the authoritarian provisions of the Patriot Act.

Those present were Brahmins from Maharashtra, who would normally have fought the fascism of Mumbai’s Shiv Sena. But what one of them said to me on behalf of the others left me marvelling at the penetrating yet dangerous logic. “The Patriot Act has corroded some of my democratic rights, true. But I accept it because it has given me security against terrorism.”

The power of Creel and Goebbels over the people’s mind is like nuclear waste. It is not going away anytime soon, and its lethal effects could last for decades, even centuries.

Military Co-Operation with the US or Road to Economic Devastation ?????

(Thanks to Dawn News)

Pakistan loses $400m to ‘enhanced oversight’

ISLAMABAD: Over $400 million in reimbursement claims by Pakistan under Coalition Support Fund (CSF) for 2008 have been rejected by the United States because of new guidelines requiring ‘enhanced oversight and accountability’.
Total claims for 2008 were $1.4 billion, but Pakistan got $997 million in reimbursement, whereas the remaining claims were disallowed on grounds of “inadequate substantiation, over-billing” and other objections, sources told Dawn.

About $548 million were initially paid and the rest was deferred. It took the Pentagon another 18 months to settle the deferred claims. While paying $349 million last week in settlement of all claims from 2008, US officials reportedly tendered a callous excuse for the long delay: accounting problems.

Claims worth over $2 billion under CSF for 2009 are still pending because of intense scrutiny of Pakistan’s claims. After the cuts in payments for 2008, there are renewed fears in Islamabad that demands for last year would meet a similar fate.

The claims pertained to expenditures incurred by Pakistan on food and clothing of troops; fuel; transportation; communication; medical charges; helicopter operations; destroyed paraphernalia; and repair and maintenance of equipment. Under a bilateral agreement between ministries of defence, US repays ‘legitimate expenditures’ incurred in support of its military operations.

Pakistan’s senior military commanders, peeved at the ‘penny-pinching’ CSF reimbursement procedures, say these were distressingly impertinent to Pakistan’s over 30,000 casualties in the war on terror.

The problems in repayment have compelled Islamabad to consume its trivial reserves for continuing its logistic and operational support for American counter-terrorism operations while cutting on its own development needs and compromising its war preparedness, senior government officials and military officers suggested during background interviews.

BITTERNESS IN ISLAMABAD: The inordinate delays in clearing deferred amounts and linking of the issue by the US to issuance of visas to its diplomats and embassy staff have intensified frustration in Pakistan. The release of latest tranche was made possible only after Islamabad issued most of the requested visas.

“It is too cold-hearted of the US to stress on the money it gives to Pakistan, but disregard its sacrifices,” a military commander said. The Americans in every interaction try to make their Pakistani interlocutors realise that ‘they were doing great favour to Pakistan’, he added.

About 2,500 Pakistani soldiers lost their lives in the war on terror while another 8,000 were injured, many of them crippled and maimed for life. Additionally, some 22,000 civilians were killed or injured by militants.

“Pakistan has suffered more casualties than the combined tally for troops from 43 countries fighting in Afghanistan,” another general noted, adding the government had to compensate the families of those killed or injured and look after their welfare.

“In those terms, this huge casualty figure for civilians and military men translates into massive economic burden on government’s treasury.”

Another senior official said Washington was indifferent to these realities and saw CSF only as a generous military support programme and an incentive for keeping Pakistan armed forces out on American counter-terrorism mission.

Additionally, Pakistan’s road infrastructure has begun crumbling because of heavy equipment and supplies for US operations in Afghanistan shipped from Karachi to Chaman and Torkham border. About 58,000 heavy US containers, government figures show, were ferried through Pakistan without any charge.

There had been little acknowledgement of Pakistan’s support for logistics, a senior officer looking after the security of shipments regretted, adding that the focus had been on terrorist attacks on US consignments passing through Pakistani territory.

Sharing statistics on US losses because of those attacks, he said they were as low as 0.1 per cent of the total volume of goods carried through Pakistan.

Feelings of resentment in the army, analysts believe, are serious for US strategists because their success in Afghanistan critically depends on wholehearted support of Pakistan military.

US Ambassador Anne W. Patterson, in a statement, looked forward to working closely with Islamabad for reconciling outstanding CSF claims for 2009. She attributed the delays to inability of the embassy personnel, engaged in processing the payments, to obtain Pakistani visas or get them extended.

US repays ‘legitimate expenditures’ incurred in support of its military operations. Pakistan’s senior military commanders, peeved at the ‘penny-pinching’ CSF reimbursement procedures, say these were distressingly impertinent to Pakistan’s over 30,000 casualties in the war on terror.

The problems in repayment have compelled Islamabad to consume its trivial reserves for continuing its logistic and operational support for American counter-terrorism operations while cutting on its own development needs and compromising its war preparedness, senior government officials and military officers suggested during background interviews.