Nawab of Kalabagh: The Man Who Knew Too Much 

By Asif Javed MD , Williamsport, PA 

JackiesardarAs one enters the famous Borh House in Kalabagh, one is struck by its beauty. Borh House once served as Nawab of Kalabagh’s (NOK) guest house for his personal friends and visiting dignitaries, which included many heads of state. A young Shah Faisal stayed there. Its location, right on the western bank of the mighty Indus, is picture perfect.

The pictures on the walls and the decorations tell a lot of stories of the bygone era. NOK was once the second most powerful man in Pakistan; this was also where he would breathe his last. The present generation may not know much about him but no history of Pakistan is complete without mentioning his six years of absolute rule over what was then West Pakistan.

Nawab Amir Mohammad Khan of Kalabagh was the scion of a feudal family. In his youth, he developed a reputation for brutality—an unfortunate prerequisite for survival in rural society, some might say that it helped him gain the upper hand over his opponents, the Niazi Pathans of Essa Khel and Pir of Mukhad. He participated in the historic gathering at Manto Park, Lahore and made a substantial donation to Muslin League in 1940 when the Pakistan Resolution was passed. His swift rise to power was helped by the fact that he owned some hunting grounds that he used to entice people in high places with, men like Ayub Khan and Iskander Mirza. Z A Bhutto had used the same tried and trusted formula to get close to the duo. Of heavy built, NOK wore traditional Punjabi dress, had a huge moustache and was old fashioned in many ways; he had been educated in Atchison and London, and spoke good English. Ayub was impressed and made him Governor of West Pakistan preceded by a short stint as chairman of PIDC. This unusual partnership between the military dictator and a feudal lord was to last six years.

NOK governed West Pakistan with an iron hand; he developed a reputation for being a harsh administrator who remained well informed. His system of intelligence was almost flawless, based primarily on direct reports from the district administration and personal contacts. He once surprised Jahandad Khan, his military secretary, by telling him that before approving his appointment, he had looked deep in to Jahandad’s family background and knew that his grandfather was the first in his area to have performed the Hajj. NOK was financially clean. Decades after his exit, no financial scandals were associated with him or his family. There is no evidence that his assets increased while he was in power. He was punctual and hard working. Keenly aware of the dangers of nepotism, he kept his family at a distance; they were not allowed to stay at the Governor House. Muzzafar, his eldest son and heir apparent, was once harshly reprimanded by the Governor when he tried to sit with his father in the back seat of the official car; the Governor made him sit in the front seat with the driver saying that the back seat was meant for his military secretary. 

NOK drew no salary and did not avail himself of any benefits from his all-powerful post. He was fiercely loyal to Ayub and would insist on mentioning the President’s name in his monthly radio broadcasts at least three times.

He was also outspoken, and perhaps the only one who dared to warn Ayub about his family’s corruption. On one such occasion, when he broached this subject, Ayub was overheard telling him, “Do my sons not have a right to live in this country?” NOK was taken aback and later remarked in frustration that Ayub’s decline would be hastened by his son’s bad reputation.

Shahabnama has a reference to Gohar Ayub, one of Ayub’s infamous sons, who led a procession in Karachi after the rigged 1965 elections that resulted in violent clashes with the supporters of Miss Fatima Jinnah. Scores died and the exact body count is unknown to this day. Decades later, the same son, while a member of Nawaz Sharif’s cabinet, used administrative pressure to get his car registration from Gujranwala so that he could proudly display, GA 1. This most unfortunate tradition of protecting one’s corrupt loved ones has persisted and flourished in Pakistan; the most recent example being the son of a recently retired chief justice of the Supreme Court; while the publicity seeking father was generating headlines with his suo motos, the son had been enjoying his right to live in Pakistan.

Back to NOK: when asked to join the Convention League, he declined and was overheard saying, “Keep me out of that dirt.” He was also not in favor of Operation Gabraltar that was Bhutto’s brainchild; he once remarked in despair that Ayub’s foolish advisors would bring his downfall.

NOK was against Yahya Khan’s promotion to the post of chief of Pakistan Army and said so. Yahya’s fondness for alcohol and reputation as an inveterate lecher had not escaped the ever vigilant Governor. Ayub obviously ignored his advice. The self-proclaimed Field Marshal was by then surrounded by sycophants, for some of whom, he had become Daddy. Many would argue that Yahya’s promotion was a watershed moment in the history of Pakistan.

NOK submitted his resignation in 1966, having realized that he no longer had the President’s confidence. For some time, there had been a strain in their relationship. The last straw was an election at Karachi where Ghaus Bux Bazanjo won with NOK’s support against the official candidate of the Convention League. The parting of ways was amicable, unlike Ayub’s dismissal of Bhutto. NOK drove up to Rawalpindi, had lunch with the President, exchanged pleasantries and went home to Kalabagh, having bid a final farewell and that was it; they were never to meet again.
Within a year of NOK’s departure, all had gone awry. West Pakistan was in turmoil. Yahya Khan easily pushed out the ailing Ayub. Some time after his fall from power, Ayub’s wife was overheard telling an acquaintance, “NOK’s dismissal was a mistake by Khan Sahib (Ayub)”. One wonders if her husband felt the same way, having replaced NOK with the meek and subservient Gen. Musa Khan. Insecure Ayub had earlier replaced widely popular Gen. Azam Khan in East Pakistan too, with another sycophant Monim Khan.

NOK’s reputation for ruthlessness created many myths: one was allegedly a slap to the principal of King Edward Medical College, a highly respected surgeon of Lahore, who had annoyed the all mighty Governor, by not approving a student’s migration to his institution; another, widely believed allegation was the attempted murder of Maudoodi Sahib of JI. Jahandad Khan who has devoted many pages in his memoirs to NOK, is convinced that both rumors were baseless, probably spread by the Governor’s political opponents and there was no shortage of them. NOK was an admirer of Amir of JI and once told Dr Toosi, a personal friend, of his frustration with Ayub who used to urge him to do something about “this dangerous Maudoodi”. Some time ago, this writer approached the physician son of the alleged victim of the slap, to clarify that incident. I have yet to receive a reply.

NOK’s sons were educated abroad but none had the talents of their father. What they did inherit from him was his weakness –the feudal mindset. He had been a harsh father and husband; there had been discord within the family. His return to Kalabagh, set in motion an unfortunate series of events that led to his tragic death.

NOK had two daughters; one was still single. For some time, he had been mulling over the proposal of Dr Tahir Toosi who was the son of a close friend of his. This young man was well educated and handsome but he was a Kashmiri and that was not acceptable to the Nawab’s family. This started a friction between him and his sons who were supported by their mother and maternal uncle. The sons had another concern too. NOK had given some indications that he was fed up with his sons and was considering transferring his property directly to one of his grandsons. This was too much for his sons. It is said ‘whom the gods wish to destroy, they throw a bone of property to them.’ And so, one day when NOK was relaxing in his famous guest house, where over the years he had entertained many rich, powerful and influential guests, he was murdered in cold blood by no other than one of his own sons while he was enjoying a movie. Malik Asad allegedly shot his father, point blank. With the much feared NOK dead, the whole family stood united behind Asad. NOK’s dead body was disposed off in a hurry; it was taken to the graveyard in a trawler and buried overnight – no funeral prayers were allowed.

Thus ended the life of NOK whose word was once law of the land. There was a trial. I recall that M. Anwar, the renowned attorney from Lahore, pleaded for prosecution in a case that made headlines for months. At the end, nothing came of it. Malik Asad went scot free. In his memoirs, Jahan Dad hints at some collaboration between NOK’s family and Ayub government who may have been relieved to see the end of someone who knew too much. But God has his own way of dispensing justice. Years later, Malik Muzafar, NOK’s eldest son who many believed to be the mastermind behind his father’s murder, was gunned down in broad daylight in Kalabagh by his political opponents, the Baghochi Mahaaz.
As I think of NOK, my mind goes back to that famous TV play of the late 70’s, Waris. The main character of that play was Chaudhry Hashmat, an old-fashioned feudal, who found it hard to accept change. At the end of the play, Chaudhry Hashmat preferred to be drowned in flood, rather than leave his ancestral home. NOK was also a representative of old times and feudal culture who found it hard to change with time. His way of life was fading away but he was clinging to the old obsolete values. Ayub had made good use of him to keep West Pakistan under control but times had changed. In Ayub’s government, NOK represented the pro-west faction; the other was pro-China group, represented by popular Bhutto and Altaf Gauhar. Ayub may have felt that NOK had become a liability and let him go.

Jacqueline Kennedy on a camel ride with her younger sister Lee Radziwill on March 25, 1962, Karachi.NOK was a well-read person. A visiting delegation from Imperial Defense College (UK) once called on the Governor. After the meeting, one of the delegates remarked that the most well-informed person that they had come across in Pakistan on international affairs, was NOK. That surprised many but not those who knew of NOK’s love of reading; he kept himself well versed in international affairs. At a banquet given in her honor, Jacqueline Kennedy asked him a question about a fruit that she had not seen before. Now NOK was no absentee landlord; he was a well informed, experienced farmer who had over the years taken a keen interest in his farms at Kalabagh. His discourse regarding guava so impressed the first lady of USA that she said: “I am going to ask my husband to make you his agricultural advisor.”

I have a picture in which NOK, the Governor of West Pakistan, is seen chatting with a young Z A Bhutto, then the favorite minister of Ayub, while the visiting President of China, Leo Chao Chi is standing by. All three seemed to be having a jolly good time. Who would have thought that within a few years, all three would fall from power and meet tragic, violent deaths. But then, such are the ways of this world!


Mauritanian the New Sex Slave Center for the Saudis

Clip_3Up to 900 Mauritanian women have been trafficked to work in Saudi Arabia only in 2015. Many are subject to sexual abuse with no way out.

Mauritania was the world’s last country to ban slavery only in 1981, and today it tops the Global Slavery Index with the highest prevalence of slavery. But while Mauritania still has difficulty coming to terms with traditional slavery, contemporary forms of slavery such as human trafficking are also on the rise.

Trafficked women workers report how they were promised decent wages and jobs in Saudi Arabia as nurses and teachers, only to find themselves employed as domestic workers, working for a few dollars a day; and most of the time used as sexual slaves.

Many have their passports confiscated, and cannot leave the house without permission from the employer. Most have suffered sexual abuse, and report being beaten and locked in a room without food or water. Others were threatened with rape for complaining about working conditions. When they asked to return home to Mauritania, their employers refused.

The families have asked assistance from the Mauritanian Foreign Ministry to no avail.  Mauritanian trade unions and the family members have demonstrated in front of the Saudi Embassy in Nouakchott, but their voices were ignored.

The workers in this case are clearly victims of trafficking for forced labor. Despite cries for help, the Mauritanian government is turning a blind eye.

Unless the migrant labour program is revised to install safeguards against forced labor in the management system, more abuses will follow.

M. Ayub Rafique Asks for Funding to Oppose the Islamic State 

by M. Ayub Rafique


“In 2011 I founded an organization to counter religious extremism because I too was once a radical extremist.

I come from a highly religious and very rigid background. Although my father is not what one would call a “radical Islamist”, somehow I started leaning towards radicalism. Maybe it was because I visited many mosques and was a passionate teenager. I used to listen to Sipah Sahaba lectures and feel happy when I heard of the attacks on Shias. I was ready to go for Jihad myself so in 2002, after my studies ended, I decided to go serve the Islamic Militants and be trained by them.

Call it good luck or fate but my family did not allow me to leave.

I listened to them, joined college and decided to study further. At college I got involved in student politics & activism and realized I had a passion for it. A radical society with extremist Islamic views in college that I was very involved with gave me an outlet to channel my radicalism.

One day our society got into a fight with another society from college. My so called peers did not take a stand and I was left fighting alone and I was badly beaten up by the other society that day. I felt quite betrayed.

At the same time, I noticed a liberal left society that was also very active in college. I was curious and observed them. They were very friendly people and very loyal to each other and quite welcoming towards me. I was intrigued. These guys were also working against injustice and inequality which was a huge attraction for me. Two things were battling in my mind at this point; I found myself sympathizing with my conservative orthodox mentality and the radical groups and on the other hand I wanted to be part of this leftist group because they were representing Che Guevara who I am extremely inspired by. I found a new way to channel my radicalism via Che Guevara by joining the leftist group. I also became very interested in English and Urdu Literature which really helped shift my mindset.

It was 2005 by then and I was changing; my attitude, my mind, my behavior were all transitioning. Today, I can’t recognize the boy I was in 2002. It is a complete paradigm shift and I have a liberal stance in life now. This has been a decade long journey- ten years of gradual transformation.
What is ironic is that now I face problems from my family. Till I was a radical fundamentalist Muslim, my father had no problem with it! I guess they were okay because if I had died in the name of God they would have resolved to the fact I gave my life for a good cause. They way they saw it, atleast I was not challenging their values and norms so they had no problem- but as soon as I transitioned into a tolerant liberal leftist (and a very active one), they had issues!

“What has been your biggest regret?”

“In regard to regret, I believe if any person is going through a complete transformation like me, they need to learn how to overcome the feeling of guilt. My father stopped talking to me- so there is that guilt. Then there is religious guilt where I am always wondering if I am right in doing this or not? What will happen to me on the day of judgement for my decisions? Will I go to hell or heaven? These are all personal struggles no one can help one with- these are thoughts I needed to resolve on my own and I did.

Like I said my journey has been one of ten years. I have reached a point where I can say I am very happy but at the same time the internal battle is ongoing because I know my parents are not happy with me. I am now living life with a new pattern – a new culture whilst my family is still the same rigid conservative family.

Working for the organization I founded gives me a sense of peace and purpose. This was my way of overcoming the depression I was beginning to feel because no matter what, if you do not have respect from your family, you just don’t feel complete.” 

Hillary’s Pakistani Aide Again in the Limelight

Clip_10 (2)Among the trove of emails released from Hillary Rodham Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state was this instruction to a trusted aide who needed to brief her on a matter that could not wait:

“Just knock on the door to the bedroom if it’s closed,” Mrs. Clinton wrote in November 2009 to Huma Abedin, then her deputy chief of staff.

Since she first interned for Mrs. Clinton as a 19-year-old George Washington University student, Ms. Abedin, 40, has held a singular role as one of the former first lady’s most trusted and most visible confidantes. She travels with Mrs. Clinton to her presidential campaign events and fund-raisers, dispensing political advice and serving as a gatekeeper for donors, Democratic leaders and even supporters who want a photograph with the candidate.

As questions continue to dog Mrs. Clinton about her use of a private email account, a spotlight has landed on Ms. Abedin, the aide so often at her side that she has been called Mrs. Clinton’s “surrogate daughter.”

Ms. Abedin’s own emails on her boss’s private server have drawn increasingly intense scrutiny — as has an arrangement she made to earn income privately while she worked for Mrs. Clinton at the State Department. Ms. Abedin was on Mrs. Clinton’s personal payroll, and her other outside employers were the Clinton Foundation and Teneo, a consulting firm founded in part by Douglas J. Band, who was a counselor to former President Bill Clinton.

When that arrangement was revealed more than two years ago, political opponents including Senator Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa and chairman of the Judiciary Committee, raised concerns about potential conflicts of interest. But those quieted until the email controversy provided a new opening — and the potential for new information to be unearthed.

HumaIn a recent letter to the State Department, Mr. Grassley suggested that Ms. Abedin, at Mr. Band’s request, may have asked Mrs. Clinton to urge President Obama to give a White House appointment to a Teneo client, Judith Rodin, the head of the Rockefeller Foundation.

Conservative groups like Judicial Watch and Citizens United have also applied pressure through Freedom of Information Act lawsuits and other measures to press the State Department to make public Ms. Abedin’s emails and employment records.

Those records, they argue, could give clarity about Ms. Abedin’s outside work and whether, as critics contend, it converged with her official duties. (Ms. Abedin’s lawyers say she has cooperated with all requests made in the lawsuits.)

Ms. Abedin declined to comment for this article. But in a letter sent Friday to the legal adviser’s office of the State Department, her lawyer, Miguel E. Rodriguez, wrote that Mr. Grassley’s notion that Ms. Abedin may have intervened on Ms. Rodin’s behalf was demonstrably false — Ms. Rodin received a presidential appointment two years before Ms. Abedin began working for Teneo — and that Mr. Grassley was citing hearsay related to email exchanges he had not seen.

Mr. Grassley, the lawyer wrote, had “unfairly tarnished Ms. Abedin’s reputation by making unsubstantiated allegations.”

Mrs. Clinton’s critics have also seized on an inquiry by the State Department’s inspector general into whether Ms. Abedin was overpaid by the government by nearly $10,000 when she was on maternity leave in 2012. But Mr. Rodriguez has disputed those findings, saying the inspector general’s own report showed that Ms. Abedin was working while she was on maternity leave and thus had earned the extra pay.

Ms. Abedin, at a campaign stop in Norwalk, Iowa, in April. She serves as a gatekeeper for donors, Democratic leaders and supporters of Mrs. Clinton.CreditDoug Mills/The New York Times

In the letter Friday, Mr. Rodriguez wrote that Ms. Abedin’s “integrity and her tireless work ethic” made her “a role model for young women.”

Mrs. Clinton has been unable to put to rest questions about her email as some of her poll numbers have weakened and a new threat has emerged with Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. possibly joining the Democratic primary field. Now her campaign is mounting an aggressive defense of Ms. Abedin.

“Huma is wicked smart, multifaceted and has a great strategic sense,” the campaign’s chairman, John Podesta, said in a statement in which he also praised her humility. “She’s an integral part of the team, and we’re not going to tolerate these attempts to turn piecemeal, partisan leaks into an alternative reality. If the Republicans on Capitol Hill think they can bully her, they are dealing with the wrong woman.”

Clinton allies say Ms. Abedin is merely a pawn in congressional Republicans’ efforts to damage Mrs. Clinton, but one that will ultimately provide little fodder. And they say that Ms. Abedin, who is Muslim and was raised in Saudi Arabia, has long inspired conspiracy theories among conservatives eager to sully Mrs. Clinton.

But the email controversy and the outsize attention Ms. Abedin has attracted pose challenges as her role in the campaign evolves.

Ms. Abedin has long since graduated from the so-called body woman’s work of fetching Diet Cokes or the jalapeño peppers Mrs. Clinton eats to maintain her voice on the road. She helped plot Mrs. Clinton’s political activity during the 2014 midterm elections, orchestrated the promotion of her 2014 memoir, “Hard Choices,” and was rewarded by being named the vice chairwoman of her presidential campaign.

Though she is routinely at Mrs. Clinton’s side on the road, advising on policy and politics, Ms. Abedin — known as genial and easygoing, and for gushing about her young son, Jordan — has a corner office in the campaign’s Brooklyn headquarters with a sign marked for the vice chairwoman. She oversees scheduling, correspondence, surrogates, briefings and the advance staff members who set up events nationwide. She has also stood in for Mrs. Clinton at some small fund-raisers.

“Now, politically, organizationally and personally, she’s the glue that holds Clinton World together,” said Robert Barnett, a Washington lawyer who has worked with the Clintons for years. “She has the complete and unquestioned trust of the secretary.”

The ties between Mrs. Clinton and Ms. Abedin, called “Hillary’s Secret Weapon” by Vogue magazine in 2007, have only grown stronger since.

Mr. Clinton officiated at her 2010 wedding to Representative Anthony D. Weiner of New York, at Oheka Castle in Huntington, N.Y., just weeks before Chelsea Clinton’s wedding. A year later, when Mr. Weiner resigned from Congress amid a sexting scandal, Ms. Abedin’s decision to stand by him evoked comparisons to the marital travails her boss faced in the 1990s.

When Mr. Weiner tried for a political comeback in the 2013 New York mayor’s race, and new revelations showed he had continued his sexting ways even after leaving Congress, people who wanted to protect Mrs. Clinton’s image as she contemplated a 2016 White House run were not shy about urging him to drop out. (Mr. Weiner recently took a job at a communications firm owned by a Clinton donor.)

It was after Mr. Weiner’s resignation from Congress that Mr. Band, a friend of Ms. Abedin’s since their time working at the White House, offered her work at Teneo. He told people at the time that he hoped it would open her eyes to the possibilities outside the Clintons’ orbit. Ms. Abedin handled discrete projects, like a Teneo annual event, and did not influence State Department business, people briefed on her work at the time said.

But Ms. Abedin eventually decided consulting was not for her.

Marc Lasry, a Clinton donor and friend who attended Ms. Abedin’s wedding, called her “as loyal as they come.”

“She loves Hillary. She would die for Hillary,” Mr. Lasry said. “Really, what she’s always looking at is, ‘What’s in the best interest of Hillary?’ ”

Mr. Lasry said he had expected Ms. Abedin to reduce her workload in the past few years. Instead, she has maintained a breakneck pace.

“Her life,” he said, “is Hillary.” Offers Male Escort Services in New York

IMG_4246The terms of service on the website said that people could not use it to exchange money for sex. But federal authorities, who called it the largest online male-escort service and arrested the site’s chief executive and several other employees on Tuesday, said that was exactly what was happening.

The chief executive, Jeffrey Hurant, 50, and six other current or former employees appeared in Federal District Court in Brooklyn on Aug 25, 2015 on charges of promoting prostitution.

Although the site, founded in 1997, required visitors to accept the terms of service, the criminal complaint said visitors would arrive at a home page stocked with escorts’ profiles listing sexual services and fees. Escorts pay to post the profiles, and the site’s visitors contact them directly to arrange meetings.

The site, whose headquarters are on 14th Street at Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, has had $10 million in sales since 2010, the criminal complaint says.

“ attempted to present a veneer of legality, when in fact this Internet brothel made millions of dollars from the promotion of illegal prostitution,” acting United States attorney for New York’s Eastern District, said in a statement.

The lawyer for Mr. Hurant, said outside court that the case represented a First Amendment issue.

“My client advertises for people who are willing to be escorts, to accompany people for their time and be paid,” he said.

“He’s upset and confused about how this legitimate business could become the subject of a Homeland Security investigation,” he said. The Homeland Security Investigations arm of Immigration and Customs Enforcement was involved in the investigation, apparently because it believed the site promoted prostitution across state and national borders.

“I don’t think we do anything to promote prostitution,” Mr. Hurant said. “I think we do good things for good people, and bring good people together.”

Putting up profiles costs escorts $59.95 to $299.95 a month, depending on how visible the ads are, according to the complaint. Website members then contact them.

Escorts list “primary interests,” ranging from “vanilla” (“nice and clean”) to leather to role play to other fetishes. “A user can filter by a number of categories,” from primary interests to preferred sexual position, the complaint says. There are also fields for the escort’s pay rates, the complaint says, including overnight and weekend rates.

A separate website,, “contains explicit reviews of the escorts written by previous customers,” the complaint says.

In one profile quoted in the complaint, an escort in Manhattan advertising as Ryan Raz said, “I have an innocent shy mid-west look, but once you get me behind closed doors it’s an amazing experience.” He charged $300 per hour for a standard visit.

Some of the complaint details “the Hookies,” or the International Escort Awards, which the website holds each year. The site’s marketing banter for the awards described them as “covering all aspects of the oldest profession as presented in the newest media,” according to the complaint.

At the 2015 Hookies, held this year at a West 42nd Street hotel, an undercover agent approached Mr. Hurant, who gave the agent a business card with the email address on it and explained that the Hookies were about celebrating sex “so good, you had to tell someone.”

One of the other six defendants is Michael Sean Belman, 47, the director of the site. According to the complaint, Mr. Belman has given interviews indicating that he knows the escorts are offering sex, such as describing the Hookies winners as “sexual therapists.”

Another of those arrested was Edward Lorenz Estanol, 23, an escort, Hookies award nominee and former social-media coordinator for the site. He charged $300 an hour, or $3,000 for a weekend, the complaint says. On his personal website, he wrote that “escorting is a great way to explore your sexuality and get paid doing it,” the complaint says.

Another is Diana Milagros Mattos, 43, a former saleswoman, who had “a Twitter account in which she identified herself as the ‘escort whisperer’ ” while she worked at, the complaint says, and tried to help escorts increase their social-media presence so they would get more clients.

All of the defendants except for Mr. Lukas made their initial appearances in Federal District Court on Tuesday and were released on bonds ranging from $50,000 each for Ms. Mattos, Mr. Estanol and Mr. Calero to $350,000 for Mr. Hurant. Mr. Lukas was arrested and made his initial appearance in South Dakota.

Conviction carries a maximum penalty for each defendant of five years’ imprisonment and a fine of up to $250,000. The government said Tuesday morning that it was trying to seize the domain, which was not loading as of Tuesday afternoon.

Saudi Economy on its Knees But Good News as it Will Lessen Sunni Terrorism

Clip_4 (2)The world’s oil producers are boiling in cheap oil. This is a statement which aptly describes condition of OPEC and other oil producers, including Saudi Arabia and Sunni Gulf states.

Saudi Arabia may go broke before the US oil industry buckles.  If the oil futures market is correct, Saudi Arabia will start running into trouble within two years. This would be excellent news for free democracies, as there will be less money for extremist Sunni Mosques and Madrassas and Sunni Terror organisations as well as Sunni client States.

Saudi Arabia and other Sunni Gulf States jumped on Tiger’s back to frighten ‘Living Day Lights’ (Arabs are no 007 Bond film material) out of the US Shale producers by increasing production to drive the oil price down last year. Now they cannot just get off quickly. So either they lose billions of Dollars in revenue or lose all credibility and power at a fast speed.  The Saudi king Salman and his young son prince Mohammed cannot afford to look ridiculous, so Saudi forex reserves will go down and borrowings up. it could lead to friction within the house of Saud, as other ‘branches’ of the family try to position themselves for more power, leading to changes in the power structure, at the cost of prince Mohammed.

Oil prices dominate business news currently as weak Chinese demand accelerated the fall in addition to spectre of Iranian oil coming to market.

Goldman Sachs in a client note called for Brent oil to fall to $45 a barrel by October ( Brent price on 21 August was US$ 45.34) indicating that the global crude market is currently oversupplied by at least two million barrels a day, up from 1.8 million barrels a day in the first half of the year. Oil prices are likely to remain low for about at least 4 years, due to the changed character of the global oil geopolitics, since the price came down from US $ 100 for Brent oil.

Before that oil prices were high due mainly to limited OPEC supply, which resulted in the development of shale energy from new technology in the US. This transformed the USA, from being an importer of oil into a net exporter in short period as high oil prices resulted in commercial production. But the technology was developed in relation to prices with a cost of $60 per barrel. Saudis expected that if prices fall, shale oil wells will shut down and the companies will be out of business. The plan did work initially. Oil companies reported drop in profits. Number of wells producing shale oil came down and Oil companies shelved large projects, deferring $200 billion of investments.

But despite lesser wells running, oil production in the US will be more in 2015 than in 2014. This was something few in the industry including Saudi’s had imagined.  John Hess of Hess Corporation stated that shale producers have lowered their costs to such an extent that their average break-even price for a barrel of US crude is now little over $40, down from $60. Further, technological advancement in drilling led to more oil being produced from the same well.  This is where OPEC miscalculated and have got stuck.

Now the Saudi’s are seeking $27 billion in debt via issuance of bonds. Oil constitutes 90 per cent of Saudi’s revenue and it needs a price of $106 per barrel to balance budget. Saudi Arabia has an illegitimate ( not elected ) Government and has to bribe its people, army, public sector employees and clerics to stay in power, so its expenses can not be reduces significantly. Actually its exploding population means more cash outflow further increased by Yemen type misadventures. Saudi Forex reserves have already gone down form US $ 732 Bn in 2014 to US $ 672 Bn in June this year. Either it borrows lot more or observes Forex reserves disappear like mirage in desert.

Once the OPEC dictated unjustified high oil price to importers and now refreshingly the boot is on the other foot. Oil exporters are desperate to sell oil to large importers like China, Japan, India, Korea etc and have to offer special discounts. When the Iranian oil comes in the market, Japan, India and others will increase imports from Iran to pre-sanctions level at a competitive price and Saudis and others will have to match the prices to keep market share. You ain’t seen nothing yet Pardner, as US shale gas rough necks are saying, as they want to put pressure on the Saudi led OPEC now, with indirect assistance from more Iranian oil next year. Recently UAE invited the Indian Prime Minister Modi for two day visit with red carpet treatment to ensure that UAE has access to large Indian economy both for energy exports and investments, as India is now the fastest growing large economy in the world, as slowing Chinese economy is experiencing hard landing. Iran, Saudis, Iraq, African countries etc are competing for the Indian ( and other large importers’ ) energy market share.

IMF has also pointed out that the budget deficit of Saudi Arabia will touch 20 percent in the present year. Reducing the country’s outlook to “negative”, S&P had said “We view Saudi Arabia’s economy IS NOT diversified and IS vulnerable to a steep and sustained decline in oil prices.”

Saudis and other OPEC nations and the US shale oil businesses are producing more oil to increase their income due to low oil prices. The state-of-art shale oil technology will ensure that if oil prices increase at all other wells which have been closed down will also add to the supply. The US producers have added drilling rigs for a straight fourth week in spite of the oil prices at nearly 6 year low mark. For large net importers like China, Japan, India, Korea, etc this competition for markets reduces the oil import bills by many billions a year.

Sunni Saudi Arabia is yesterday’s power and the West, especially the UK, was behind the reality curve. Now, one step at a time, the West is moving towards neutrality between Sunni and Shiite Islamic sects, as the nuclear deal with Iran has been worked out by President Obama despite Saudi and Israeli objections. The geopolitics of oil has changed after the US virtually becoming self-sufficient in totality and Uncle Sam does NOT now depend on Saudi oil. The UK Foreign Secretary Hammond was in Iran on 22/23 August with a large business delegation for  potential business and to re-open the British Embassy there. Other European Ministers and business delegations also have been to Iran.

The Western and other free democracies have realized the present and real danger from global Sunni Islamic terrorism and are gradually getting more united to confront Sunni terror where ever it projects its evil and barbaric influence. The US defense department has informed the Congress that Pakistan is still supporting Haqqanis and other Pakistan based terrorist groups that attack Afghanistan and the military aid to Pakistan may be stopped. Afghanistan has accused Pakistan of supporting terror groups for cross border attacks in Kabul etc with a view to cement position of Pakistan’s stooge Mullah Mansoor, who is opposed also by other Taliban sections and terrorists, as well as mainly non-Pashtun people of Afghanistan, known as ‘Northern Alliance’ opposed to Pakistani influence. This confirms the trend in democratic countries not to tolerate Sunni Islamic Islamic terrorism for more peaceful World. Now the West also knows that any Iran sponsored negative acts are confined mainly to Islam’s sectarian war in the Middle East.

Why Reham Khan Had to Lie on Her Resume?

Clip_24When I disclosed in January that cricket legend Imran Khan had secretly married former BBC presenter Reham Khan, his ex-wife Jemima Goldsmith seemed less than thrilled and publicly thanked Pakistanis who contacted her to say she remained their favourite First Lady.

Now questions are starting to be asked about the CV of TV journalist Reham, 42, who left Britain for Pakistan two years ago. Reham’s personal website states that she won her post as a reporter on the BBC regional show South Today after starting a postgraduate course ‘in Broadcast Journalism at North Lindsay [sic] College’, in Scunthorpe, Lincolnshire.

However, according to officials at North Lindsey, it has never offered such a course.

Indeed, it does not teach journalism at all. Furthermore, they can find no record of anyone bearing Khan’s name or age ever having enrolled.

Questions are starting to be asked about Reham’s CV. She is pictured with her husband

‘We do not have anyone by those names or date of birth having attended this college,’ says a spokesman. ‘We have never done a degree in broadcast journalism.’

Reham could not be reached for comment but it is not the first time that her past has been clouded in mystery.

In early 2015, she claimed in an interview with a Pakistani journalist that she was a victim of domestic violence during her first marriage, to 54-year-old NHS psychiatrist Dr Ijaz Rehman.

However, this was angrily denied by the doctor, who told me: ‘I reject these allegations strongly.

‘I have never lifted hands on anyone. Domestic violence is a very serious offence.

‘I work in a very senior position in the NHS and if I was convicted or charged or found involved in domestic violence, in any sense, I wouldn’t have been able to practise.’

Clip_39Imran, 62, who is now a leading politician in Pakistan, has two sons from his nine-year marriage to Jemima, 41, and a daughter from a previous relationship with the late heiress Sita White. Reham has three children from her previous marriage.

Clip_30She married Imran in a simple ceremony in Islamabad after a whirlwind romance and their wedding was reported to have been met with opposition from some members of his family.
Reham was subjected to insults after photos of her in ‘revealing’ clothes and a video of her dancing the tango were posted on the internet in the conservative Islamic country.


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