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Pakistan Regime And Armenian Parallels

The new military regime in Pakistan, which overthrew the government on October 12, has begun a campaign to recover billions in outstanding bank loans. The Armenian political killing has parallels. John Howard reports.

Around the world groups are rising in opposition, with sometimes disastrous results, against crony capitalism, political corruption, collusion, nepotism and outright theft by political officials. Russia, Armenia, Indonesia, Pakistan, Asia, some African and South American states, and even the United States, all now have groups who are taking the law into their own hands.

Analysts say when the leaders or parties in charge of a nation abuse power, the very nature of the abuse begets carelessness, hubris, and a false sense of security. Resources are frittered away or stolen, opportunities are squandered, the people made complacent with the end result that all sense of reason is abandoned. Afterall, they say, a powerful leader or party does not have to negotiate only demand.

In Pakistan, a country of 140 million people, just 322 families and businesses are responsible for $2.7 billion in unpaid debts to Pakistan's banks.

Mohammed Yaqub, governor of the State Bank of Pakistan, listed deposed Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif as one of the debtors.

"The government is monitoring all their (Sharif's) assets...this time justice will be blind," Yaqub said. He added that unpaid bank loans totalled about $4 billion but the new regime will not take over their bankrupt factories but attack their lifestyles.

Defaulters have been given until November 15 to repay loans or face criminal charges. The military regime also warned it would publish the list of defaulters after the cut-off date. The list is said to include large numbers of former politicians and public servants.

Pakistan's coup leader, General Pervaiz Musharraf, has pledged to pursue the corrupt, revive the battered economy and recover illicit wealth before returning Pakistan to democracy. He says the nation's most powerful used their influence and connections to prevent earlier court action against them.

Few Pakistanis have seemed anxious for elections, preferring instead to see alleged criminals rooted out.

The background to the Armenian crisis and killings has parallels and is now seen by some analysts as a reaction to alleged long-term crony capitalism, corruption and collusion by political leaders. The Armenian economy has been in tatters since 1991.

The killers, who have since given themselves up and released the hostages, said they just wanted all people to live well and that their victims were "parasites." They have been charged with terrorism.

If the subsequent court case is fair, transparent, and relevant evidence is allowed to be presented, and that's not guaranteed, much more will be learned about the motives behind what were political killings.


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