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Political cartel active again in Pakistan

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Apr 24, 2007
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Political cartel active again in Pakistan

Shakir Mumtaz

Political Cartel Active Again in Pakistan.

The difference this time, however, is that it is under the guise of Democracy, borrowed from the West; historically tested, foolproof system of power and plunder, where the population becomes unwittingly sacrificial goat daydreaming of emancipation from all ills and miseries. The cartel has upgraded itself by becoming the member of the league of the democratic nations ushering the support of its founding members; based on the principle of power, plunder and designs sharing. The major player in this league, undoubtedly as always, are the Western imperialist masters, who are dictating the rules of the game.

The governments in Center and Provinces have been formed, after extensive bargaining for power and plunder under the supervision and sanction of the Grand Master, and now it is the time for share in the loot and perpetuation thereof. The dominant players, in succession, seem to be Asif Zardari, Nawaz Sharif, APN and Mulana Fazlur Rehman. Altaf Hussain is trying to be part of the cartel, as he reportedly has the exclusive backing of the Ex-Colonial-Masters.

Fazalur Rehman has adapted and settled quietly for chimp-change, whereas Altaf is seeking a bigger chunk of the pie. Hurdle is the oddest and most awkward, undesirable member of the cartel, Nawaz, who is at odds not only with Altaf Hussain but also with Musharraf and PML (Q).

Zardari for the time has been able to muster a consensus but it is very fragile and would start showing cracks, in this Coalition of Convenience, very soon. Two incidents involving Dr Arbab Rahim and Dr Sher Afghan Niazi and the fallout in Karachi is just the beginning. The show of disruptive power is a signal to the members of the cartel, by those who have not yet been included in the scheme, that they cannot be ignored. On the other hand, for public consumption, the hand of friendship is being extended; playing all good and Comradery.

At the moment, there are three outside players. The West (Grand Master-as has always been) who is doing everything to bring the point across that local players have no choice but to accept the rules dictated by it. Whether it be the staying in Power of Musharraf, GWOT, Iran, China, India or, Even the most sensitive and contentious, issue of Nuclear Arsenal. This is perhaps the most compelling reason that President Musharraf is in China, at a critical juncture; with several ministers of the opposing parties, when his own political-survival, seems, is at risk.

The reason for Musharraf´s visiting china is twofold.

1) It is evident from the past events, which have been taking place, that US want to see Musharaff weakened so that he could be rendered more pliant to her dictates, which Musharaff had started resisting to some extent as they were overbearing and in conflict with the national and his own interests. Conflict in Tibbet, Olympic games in china and heavy involvement of US military and diplomats are the other important issues where china needs our moral support and assurance respectively.

2) He wants to show to the opposing forces (local and international) that he is the one who is still calling the shots. It is no secret that he has been, very shrewdly, able to project himself as a progressive and visionary leader of a Muslim Nuclear state; who wants to be part of the developed community of nations, and is easily communicable on various concerns and issues from a very comfortable plane of understanding. This point seems to have gotten across very successfully in the western capitals, (with some infraction and deliration in the case of US who is in the habit of complete servitude of its clients) despite the fact that new Government, with a flavor of so-called democracy, is in place. The west dilemma is that the process of democratization (Baptization in western sense) failed to produce a towering figure of National stature that could have replaced or overshadowed Musharaff.

All on the scene are old hogs, with lot of baggage, with checkered past, nationalist hardliner or impotent of communicability and understanding of the world issues of a comfortable level.

The second, MOST DANGEROUSLY IMPORTANT, is Aitizaz Ahsan, very talented, eloquent, shrewd but a SELF-SERVIENT-ELITIST, who could do any thing to position himself for the achievement of ultimate goal. National interest, the Religion and Ethics have no rationality for this kind of genus.

He is already Notorious for handing down the list of Sikh secessionists to India, being instrumental in killing their movement; which could have resulted in a buffer zone between India and Pakistan saving it from direct frontal confrontation with sworn enemy. The National interest was compromised.

He has, reportedly, developed very close relations with foreign political figures and their secret services. Some reports even suggest him getting the funding for the Lawyer´s movement from these very sources. A mild criticism by the media and some politicians has however, for the time being, put him on the defensive, forcing him to tone down his rhetoric for the restoration of the judges. An inevitable nexus has developed between naïve and bitter Shebaz Sharif and him. Shebaz is finding in him an ally out of rage against Musharraff, based on your enemy is my friend, but, I am afraid, in the end, he would be left licking his wounds for a very long time.

The third one is Altaf Hussain, who, at the moment is at the fringes, maneuvering and posturing for the partake. Who without debunking the President and PMLQ, is trying to play a part of the kingpin. He would, if succeeded, solidify his Position, his party´s position and turn out to be very influential figure in the politics of Pakistan. This could be a very harmful development for the PMLN, weakening its bargaining capacity and hard line stance to the issue of President and CJ and company.

A successful induction of MQM"s into the Government would render three people as the main beneficiaries.

Altaf Hussain himself, his party; probably grabbing some important portfolios, Zardari; who does not have to be pliant to the over-aggressive rhetoric of Sharif brothers with a capacity to survive without PML(N) participation in the coalition, a counter to the possible threat by aggrieved Amin Fahim, and to that of the Lawyer´s, in the event of minus 1 formula or any other alternative is implemented (as I had suggested in one of my articles even before it surfaced on the political horizon) and the President Musharraf.

There has developed a near unanimous notion that President Musharraf has become irrelevant. This is, mainly, being propagandized by the antagonized media, Nawaz and likes and their sympathizers. I strongly disagree with that and feel that he still is very relevant and would not only survive but also get stronger eventually.

One of the rationale for my optimism, despite all of his follies and blunders, is quite overwhelming; that he is the only one who had weathered the most jingoistic and belligerent side of the west (in the wake of 9/11debacle) and thus mastered the art of taking them on in their manner, and interjecting his point of view. He has engendered some eager ears in the West who are ready to listen even to his dissenting point of view.

Any one new would has to start it all over again and may or may not be able to handle them so smoothly. I am sure, with the democratically elected parliament and Prime Minister, with rational minded professional advisors, intellectual´s input, he could do wonders for the country; provided he is supported by the Parliament whole heartedly keeping the national interest as the top priority instead of personal/party vendetta or pleasing the Grand Master. (I am more hopeful of the new inductees into the politics who make I/3rd of the new parliament).

We should not forget even for a moment that Western policies, inter-alia, revolve around the security of Israil. He is among the very few heads of states with whom both are comfortable (Israil and the West) even with his dissenting but logical and rational point of views.

The media, for the right reasons of being attacked by his administration, has projected him a loathsome figure in the country but contrary to that perception he still has a sizeable clout, specially in the educated class and the Urbanites who attach his presence with National Security and guarding against the badly maimed politicians; since no one trusts the politicians wholeheartedly except they themselves or their inner circle of the party workers. The Feudals´s power base is their wealth and illiterate masses they rape day and night with impunity, who are deprived of the luxury of having an opinion.

I would like to think that the power to dissolve the Assemblies should be retained by the President, Unless the idea of National Security Council is revived and agreed upon by all political parties unanimously, as it shall keep the overaggressive and opportunistic elements in check, especially when there are four political parties with diametrically different agendas and leanings.

I am afraid, if left unchecked they might turn the so called infant democracy into a Plutocracy and kleptocracy.

Judges should be reinstated, as we need lot of them, but CJ Iftekahr should be consulted, with neutral and non-partisan figure (s), and made cognizant of the facts that he has rendered himself so stained, partisan, politicized and contentious that even if considered righteous would not be in the best interest of the country for him to continue as CJ. This way the lawyer´s movement would also be handled amicably.

There are many point of views vehemently critical of the coalition parties, labeling them not only as Pro-western but also as anti-Pakistan.

These Journalists and erstwhile writers may be right in their assessment, honest and sincere in their point of view, but none provides any unequivocal evidence to back up their allegations, with the exceptions of excerpts of other writers from various newspapers.

Here are two different points of views for the readers to go through and then make an informed opinion. I would give credit to both of the writers of these opinions for they are trying to inform and educate people sincerely, as the future is to be decided by the people of Pakistan.

Note of caution.

Hamid Mir of Geo (Capital Talk host) has just spoken and indicated a storm brewing should PPP and PMLN try to actualize the Charter of Democracy.

In my opinion Nawaz Sharif has to let his maniacal-ego go away for the sake of the country and the new set up otherwise he would own the responsibility for any catastrophic eventuality. Should that happen we may not see a ray of hope for a very long time to come.

DOSE.

We need to concentrate on the Religious and Patriotic Zeal with sanity, guarding against the sworn enemy India and the West (US in particular) and Paying attention to our National Language "URDU"

Israil, a tiny state, is where she is due to several facts and one of them is the revival of a dead language "Hebrew"

India is where she it due to the revival of almost dead Hindi. Those who used to speak Urdu now speak Hindi and have forgotten Urdu.

Then, why can´t we Pakistanis speak our language rightly and be proud of it ??????

Quoted material.

first, we need to revisit what we wrote last week on the above developments and the future of Pakistani politics.

We had written:

"U.S. is so heavily involved in domestic politics of the country that it is certain that they are trying to mould the final outcome of the political cocktail already in the cooker at high temperature and pressure. But one thing is certain that it is going to further polarize the Pakistani society, politics and the country if the U.S. is able to push through with it´s plans for creating a secular, liberal and sub-nationalist political platform of its choice with its own agenda of supporting U.S. war on terror and weakening the Pakistani federation. Put simply, U.S. wants to create an alliance of PPP, MQM, ANP, JUI (F) and Musharraf to isolate Nawaz Sharif who is considered a hardliner on all major issues of support to U.S. on terrorism, future of Musharraf, relations with India as well as on the deposed judges. While PPP also wants a weakened President, it may want to retain the man under U.S. pressure. U.S. feels that Musharraf may still be an option if the political brew which the U.S. is cooking explodes in their face instead of crystallizing into a political alliance of their choice. Chances are that an unpredictable Nawaz Sharif may opt to part ways with the ruling coalition if PPP backtracks on its commitment on restoring the deposed judges and on impeaching Musharraf. Baitullah Mehsud, a close associate of Al-Qaeda, is responsible for all the suicide attacks in the country and he is an Indian asset working closely with naïve local tribesmen and deviant jihadists in the name of Jihad and Islam. He has stopped suicide attacks for the time being in the country as a government is taking shape which has a soft corner for India consisting of ANP, MQM. JUI and Zardari and do not want to create troubles for it in the immediate term. But U.S. is also increasing pressure on Islamabad and sending signals that, in case of another 9/11, Pakistan will be held responsible and may face a U.S. attack if Islamabad fails to continue its cooperation with the U.S. This is a blatant threat given in a veiled way and is a signal meant for the new parliament. We totally reject this Intel by CIA and believe that this is just another false alarm like the Iraqi WMD one to justify a U.S. invasion of Pakistani regions or hold Pakistan responsible for crimes it has not committed. The warning from CIA is pretty clear."

This week we are seeing the strengthening of signals on all the above counts.

The first major move to achieve that objective was the appointment of Hussein Haqqani as Pakistan´s ambassador to United States, the most strategically critical posting in the Pakistani foreign office. Haqqani is a known Zionist sympathizer and a close friend of Neo-Cons in Washington and Israel. He is known to be strongly against the armed forces of Pakistan and contributed significantly to creating the perception that Pakistan is a safe haven for terrorists and terrorism patronized and protected under the directives of the GHQ. The same perception is now being turned into a propaganda war against Pakistan by no less than

President Bush himself to create justification to send troops into Pakistan. The appointment of Husain Haqqani as Pakistani ambassador to U.S. basically ensures that no Pakistani interests would now be protected in Washington and the UN. This is a major breach of Pakistani national security and a malicious move by the new prime minister and Zardari working under the directives of the U.S.

At the more domestic levels, U.S. is now busy in creating a strange alliance which is sure to generate serious reaction within the country.

GRAND ALLIANCE

Create a larger political alliance in the country consisting of PPP, MQM,

ANP, JUI and Musharraf.

First, the policy on President Musharraf was made clear. While the U.S. remains focused on political leadership, Musharraf is kept as a backup candidate just in case the present political setup fails to deliver.

Then Zardari was called to Dubai for secret meetings with unknown people. The fact was also noted in the media with serious concern.

MQM is also forced into line to work with PPP though the differences between the two are so severe that it is almost impossible even for the Americans to bring them together.

Encouraged by U.S. gestures, an otherwise dull and "switched off" President

Musharraf mustered the courage to confront the rowdy lawyers who are
demanding his scalp.

Musharraf warns against anarchy

ISLAMABAD, April 10: President Pervez Musharraf on Thursday called upon lawyers to stop spreading anarchy as tensions flared in the country just days after a new government took office.

President Musharraf still feels that he can play a balancing role between U.S. desires and Pakistan´s national security needs. In fact, he overestimates his capability even now. His arguments would make sense if he is able to have any impact on the policy making of the new government and is willing to use his office to keep the anti-State policies of the new government under check, a government that is taking its dictation from Washington. How

Musharraf feels that he can influence the policies remains to be seen. But he indeed has a high opinion about his role despite the fact that he is becoming irrelevant by the day. But as long as he is in the office, he would want that the building blocks which he had placed do not crumble so fast.

Americans to attack Fata if Musharraf steps down´

LAHORE, April 6: President Pervez Musharraf thinks that if he steps down as head of state the United States will go for direct military attacks on tribal areas and will also take away Dr A. Q. Khan for interrogation. Official sources told Dawn on Sunday that the president was also of the view that Gwadar port project would be adversely affected if he left the scene and consequently the country´s

time-tested relations with China could suffer a setback.

SEPARATISM

Support sub-nationalists in Balochistan to give strength to sub-nationalist

and separatists movements. To lead to creation of Greater Balochistan.

The new Chief Minister of Balochistan has embarked on a fast track process to seek pardon for the terrorists and to put pressure on the armed forces to call off the anti-terror and anti-separatists operations. The direction seems heading for the creation of Independent Baluchistan as shown in the new map released by a U.S. defense journal for the proposed new Middle East and new Pakistan.

Declaring Akbar Bugti and Balach Marri as heroes and demanding an inquiry means trying to nail down the military as the guilty party.

Mountain fighters not terrorists, says Raisani

By Amanullah Kasi

QUETTA, April 9: Balochistan Chief Minister Nawab Aslam Raisani has said that dialogue with militants is necessary for restoring peace.

Addressing the provincial assembly after taking a vote of confidence on Wednesday, he rejected a perception that people fighting in the mountains were terrorists or saboteurs.

Encouraged by the changes in Islamabad, even the sub-nationalist terrorists are feeling confident enough to make their demands and threats clear to the government.

LOOSE FEDERATION

Shape Pakistan´s political profile from a federation to a confederation by

supporting the doctrine of provincial autonomy.

Now all major parties in the government including MQM and ANP are asking for provincial autonomy. In trying to go along with the sentiments of the ruling parties, even the opposition members are threatening the federation if the provinces are not given more autonomy.

Rind calls for provincial autonomy

QUETTA, April 7: The only opposition leader in the Balochistan Assembly, Sardar Yar Mohammad Rind, has warned that the country´s integrity will be at stake if the federal government denies provincial autonomy to the provinces. Speaking at a press conference after taking oath here on Monday, the PML-Q leader said the issue of provincial autonomy was more important than seeking funds for Balochistan. He said that the release of political leaders and workers and production of missing people was another important issue.

DIVIDE PASHTUNS

Initiate talks with local Taliban in tribal areas to create a larger Pashtun

sub-nationalist alliance led by communist "red capped" ANP, the new

best friends of U.S. in the Pashtun region.

The NWFP government under the blessings of the U.S. has already initiated talks with the militants in both Swat and Waziristan despite the fact that U.S. disapproves of the move by the army or the Federal government. This dual U.S. policy towards the militants is being noted by us very closely and it fits into the larger game to promote ANP in the region.

DISHONOR PAK MILITARY

Discredit and dishonor Pakistan armed forces to widen the gap between

forces and political parties and civil society. Armed forces and the nuke weapons are the integral guarantee for Federation. They have to be weakened to put stress on the federating units.

The deployment of military personnel on civil duties and making them responsible for running civil affairs – a task for which the military is not intrinsically cut – will inevitably lead to straining of relations between the armed forces and the civil society. The politicians and the vested interests who feel restricted due to the presence of the army on their turf are always quick to

blame the armed forces for all the ill and bad governance. Military, by its very nature, is not an establishment to play by the rules of the shrewd politicians or the ruthless media out to tarnish its image. As a result, it always loses in the process and as we have seen in Pakistani society, it results in extreme straining of relations between the army and major segments of the population and civil society, especially after long durations of military backed rules as is the case today.

Destroying the image of the army remains the fundamental pillar of this new sub-nationalist plan to achieve their larger goals. The Pakistani military has been the most respected institution within the Pakistani society in the same way that the police is the most loathed and hated department. The reason is not just uniform, glamour or the perks but the proud tradition of courage, honor, sacrifice and

religious zeal of fighting for a noble cause. The fabric of Pakistani society is built around deep religious and national pride with love for the nation, faith, country and the armed forces.

There is no doubt that damage has been done to the image and prestige of the army but the fact remains that it is partial and can be reversed. The emotional and religious fabric of the society is stronger than its political and ethnic pulls which are threatening this nation provided the leadership of the armed forces is able to tap those resources.

The military is being blamed for all the ills from Balochistan operation to tribal wars to swat actions to lal masjid cleanup with no religious or political party willing to share the burden of the national security operations. We will see more of that in the coming days.

BYPASS KASHMIR

Force the Pakistani leadership to improve ties with India and bypass Kashmir dispute, making it possible for Indians to dilute Islamic and ideological character of the country.

The Indians are fast tracking their diplomatic contacts with Pakistan, even in an aggressive and demanding note as they know that the new government is not stable and more likely to succumb to their demands. We strongly feel that this is too early for the new government to enter into any talks and dialogues with the Indians considering that not a single debate has taken place on any issue in the parliament and the Indians are hyper active even aggressive to seek major strategic concessions. The PM has given the signal that Kashmir will be bypassed for the moment as desired by the Indians and the U.S. and the sub-nationalist allies of the government.

The Indian wish to open the northern route into Kashmir is the most dangerous step and would create serious security crisis for Pakistani forces who would then be exposed to Indian infiltration and possible attack across the sector. The demand is being made by the Indian assets on this side of the LoC.

INVADE PAKISTAN

Create environment to launch an attack on Pakistan under the pretext of
attacking Al-Qaeda but actually to grab and destroy Pakistan´s nuclear assets.

There is no doubt now that U.S. is planning an invasion of the tribal areas before the end of the term of President Bush if they cannot attack Iran before that. Iran would be a long and messy affair; hence targeting Pakistani tribal regions as well as nuclear sites would be the best gift which the outgoing U.S. admin can give to Israel. The ground is now being prepared at high intensity.

This column is extracted from a situation report released by BRASSTACKS, a security and defense analysis think tank based in Islamabad. Mr. Zaid Hamid is its Founding Consultant. He can be reached at info@brasstacks.biz

Please End Pakistan´s British Democracy

By HUMAYUN GAUHAR

Thursday, 17 April 2008

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan—"So this is democracy?" ask a bewildered people who mistakenly expected utopia to jump out of the ballot box.

"Yes, these are the joys of democracy," smugly reply those who reject that leftover of slavery, the British parliamentary system.

Those with their feet on the ground were hoping – and still are – that finally these elections would put us on the right track after 60 years in the wilderness.

Instead, because we are still slavishly following the convoluted British system, we ended up with no one winning and parties getting more votes and less seats compared to parties getting less votes and more seats, with 70 percent of the electorate making the most important statement of the elections by not showing up and rejecting of system, the parties and the politicians.

Result: a proxy prime minister presiding over a coalition government of four parties with different priorities and agendas.

"No problem," we said. "It reflects both the rich diversity as well as the acute polarization of Pakistan."

Everyone was talking reconciliation after claiming to have learned from past mistakes. But now it seems that all this lovey-dovey show is on the surface and the usual backstabbing is going on below.

Now we understand the meaning of that humbug, "Democracy is the best revenge."

Democracy and revenge don't go together, not even revenge against authoritarian forces that almost always are products of the failure of democracy.

"Revenge for what?" one might well ask. If one were to consider those parties that have ever held power, one would come to the conclusion that this revenge nonsense will never end for they have all done equally vile and undemocratic things to one another, to the people and to the country during their tenures.

If the politicians really want reconciliation, then it is imperative that every party indulges in introspection and critical self-analysis and comes to terms with its own undemocratic past. Otherwise the viscous revenge spiral will go on spinning on the same spot while the world moves forward and we keep getting left behind.

As God says, "Don't hate your enemy so much that you cannot do him justice." Of course they'll say that we don't understand because of that other load of gibberish, "Bhutttoism starts where intellectualism ends." Sure. Its called cultish obsession, which has nothing to do with intellect.

If people like Arbab Rahim, the former chief minister of Sindh, and the septuagenarian former parliamentary affairs minister Dr. Sher Afghan Niazi did anything illegal, charge them. Take them to court. Don't lynch them like a self-righteous Ku Klux Klan mob of lawyers, politicians and party workers. If nothing is proved against them by due process, or if due process is not allowed to proceed for years, then we will be forced to come to the conclusion that they are "squeaky clean", just as Mr. Asif Zardari has become "squeaky clean" thanks to the National Reconciliation Ordinance and that no charge was ever proved against him. If these people really are democrats, they should repeal the NRO as well as the satanic accountability law that places the onus of proof on the accused before they start righting other wrongs, real or imaginary or politically convenient.

It is less the actions of the people who committed the vile acts against Arbab Rahim and Sher Afghan and more their individual and collective mindsets that worries me.

I have often been asked what I mean by 'liberal fascists' and 'moderate extremists'. Now you know.

What else would you call people who claim to be upholders of the law and purveyors of democracy but only tolerate those who agree with them and would lynch those who don't? Are these guys lawyers? Democrats? Or fascists in democrats' clothing?

This is not democracy. It is revenge only. Again, one asks: revenge for what? That some people exercised their democratic right to disagree with those who are now in power?

We are being fed with so much lies that its callousness is mind-boggling. But then we should be used to it, since it is the normal fare of our lawyers and politicians.

The lawyers' apologists insist that it was, inevitably, a 'conspiracy', and those who thrashed Niazi were not lawyers but, inevitably, "hidden hands", the intelligence agencies. Yet the next day we are told that it was an angry people, "taut as bows".

So that's that about "hidden hands". Its angry people "taut as bows". Haven't we had enough of such verbiage? They freeze TV footage and point to one face in a sea of faces and declare, "This is not a lawyer." Then another: "This and this are not lawyers." But whose are all those other faces? Angels? Or Draculas in lawyer's garb?

To be sure the Supreme Court Bar Association President tried his best to stop Niazi's thrashing, and even got hit more than him, and did the right thing by resigning (has he, inevitably, taken it back, like Altaf Hussain?) but he should ask himself: "If so many lawyers are in the pockets of the intelligence agencies, then what movement am I leading? A movement of intelligence agents to restore a chief justice who doesn't even have the guts to face the reference against him?"

The fact is that a huge number of lawyers are members of political parties or associated with them. While everyone is passing the buck on to the "hidden hands", those who attacked Arbab were associated with the People's Party, most of the lawyers who thrashed Niazi are said to be linked to the Nawaz League, the lawyers who protested peacefully against Niazi's thrashing were MQM and the hooligan lawyers who attacked them are said to be People's Party again. They sent 13 people to hospital, one critical. Karachi caught fire, literally. Five people were burned alive in a lawyer's chambers.

Again, the lawyers' leaders insisted that they were lawyers. It transpires that two were women and all were clients of the lawyer whose chambers they were in.

There is a limit to extracting political mileage out of every tragedy. Congenital habits die hard.

One recalls the thrashing by fellow lawyers of Naeem Bukhari, the blackening of Ahmed Reza Kasuri's face, the illegal restraint of trade put on dissenting lawyers by their bar associations and so much more. Those thrashers were not intelligence agents too, were they?

So even if this new dispensation seems to be self-destructing faster than expected, it is imperative that we help it to survive for a full five-year term. No dissolution of parliament please. No army intervention, even if America says so.

Mr. Gauhar is a Pakistani commentator. This is an edited version of a longer column that appeared in Lahore´s The Nation newspaper.
 

batmannow

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A VERY great effort by FATMAN and nice one.....most of the subjects very true off course! but it will be very good that a new marshall law shouldbe called in and BANGLADESH S..EXAMPLE canbe followed.
 

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