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Wednesday, 30 November 2011
Addressing a press conference, PTI city chapter president Mian Mehmoodur Rasheed alleged that departments of the provincial government were being used against the PTI on the directions of Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif.
Rasheed added: ?The ETD officers should make a public apology if they had sealed the party office by mistake. Otherwise, the provincial government should suspend them.? He warned that the PTI would launch protest demonstrations if the provincial government failed to comply with their rightful demand.
Mehmood said the PTI would seek remedy from a court of law if the provincial government continues harassment tactics. The PTI leader said that they had deposited the property tax of the party office today (Tuesday), while the last date for the deposit was November 23.
He added that excise department sealed the PTI office on 9:00 am today, later it de-sealed the premises. He claimed that excise department officers were also harassing the local leaders at various party offices. Those present in the press conference included Ijaz Chaudhary, Dr Yasmeen Rashid, Saloni Bukhari, Talat Naqvi, Zaheer Khokhar, Ishtiaq Malik and Murad Raas were also present on this occasion.
Earlier, Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif took notice of the excise department sealing the main secretariat of Tehreek-e-Insaaf located here at Jail Road and ordered to reopen the office Tuesday.
According to excise department sources, the step was taken due to non-payment of Rs350,000 property tax amount despite multiple reminders issued to the party office. Therefore, the authorities resorted to seal the main secretariat of PTI at Jail Road.
The CM Punjab took notice of the step taken by the excise authorities and passed orders to reopen the office. The team reached the location to implement the orders, however, the party workers did not allow the excise officers to open the office before the arrival of party leaders.
The sources claimed that Qasim has made up his mind to come forward after majority of the national sports federations in their recent inter action assured him full cooperation and support in the elections.
With sitting President, Lt Gen retd Syed Arif Hassan completing his second tenure next march, the announcing of candidatures by Maj Gen retd Mohammad Akram Sahi and Qasim Zia have given a premature momentum of the elections camapign.
In the line is another canadidate from Khyber PakhtoonKhawa, Syed Aqil Shah, President of KPK Olympic Association who has also given the indication for contesting the elections of President POA in case Gen Arif decides not to cotnest and if Arif decides to go for the third term he (Aqil) would support him.
"We know that the competition is going to be tough in the present circumstances as there are many candidates who are up to the similar task", said the sources.
In this phase-seven, a total of 300,000 students of 4400 schools in 36 districts are taking part in this test. Pre-QAT is aimed at to select new partners for giving free education to the poor children who cannot afford it on their own.
According to the spokesman of the Punjab Education Foundation, pre-QAT is a requirement for partnership with new schools that are paid monthly fee besides text books for the students. This test is being held through independent partners to ensure transparency and credibility, the spokesman maintained. Central monitoring room has also been set up to monitor the holding of this test.
Pre-QAT would now be held in the districts of Bahawalpur and Bahawalnagar on Wednesday (today).
According to the spokesman, FAS is the flagship program of the Punjab Education Foundation to encourage and promote the poor to send their children to schools where education is totally free. PEF has demonstrated that through public private partnership, better quality education can be provided at much lesser costs as compared to the public sector to educate a child in the public schooling system.
Adnan Mahmood 65 not out and Sher Latif 58 played well from Rawalpindi. Earlier put in to bat first, Pakistan International Airlines were bundled out for 147 in 53 overs. Akhtar 40, Haris 35, Ahmad 32 played well. For Rawalpindi Zubair Ahmed 4/21, Adil Shabbir 3/35and Adnan Mahmood 2/8 bowled well.
Aslam and Sjid Afridi supervised the match, Allah Ditta acted as match referee and Umer Iqbal acted as official scorer.
In another match of Group B played at Sheikhupura Stadium Sheikhupura, five-star Mir Hamza destroyed Faisalabad Region batting as they were tottering at 63/7 against Karachi Blues at stumps. Munir Ahmad (24) was the only batsman who could reach double figures. Mir Hamza 5/25 and Khurram Shahad 2/8 bowled well.
Earlier, Karachi batting first scored 137 all out in 41 overs. Ahsan Ali (40), Wasim Akbar (32) and Jahangir Javed (26) were the main contributors. From Faisalabad M Farman grabbed 6/32 and Ahsan 3/52 bowled well.
M Rashid & M Arif supervising the match while Shahid Butt acting as match referee and Nasir Khan is the official scorer.
There is a little doubt that this forum will be utilised by the Americans to shift focus of the Afghan war from fighting to talking, and at the same time devise a mechanism to safely withdraw US-led forces from Afghanistan.
There is an apprehension that Bonn meeting will be turned into a moot for a hasty US withdrawal without a comprehensive deal covering major interests and requirements for a lasting peace in Afghanistan.
The decisions taken in the first conference on Afghanistan exactly a decade ago at the same venue, instead of stabilising the war torn country turned it into a mayhem that is visible therein today.
The invitees to that particular conference were all US affiliates that sculpted the post-Taliban war status quo amongst them.
The Taliban and many of the Pashtun tribes, the prime movers of the Afghan movement, were not invited at the conference with the result that the insurgency continued to persist. Its deep penetration in the fortified capital city of Kabul indicates that the Taliban are still capable of attacking the foreign interests at places of their choosing and timings.
For this second Bonn Conference, which incidentally may be the final such conference on Afghanistan, there is an ambiguity on participation of major Taliban representatives. Kabul insists that there will be a single Afghan delegation for the conference wherein, the European diplomats say, Taliban representatives can be part of the meeting. But that looks illusionary as Mullah Omar; the Taliban Commander has indicated his aversion to attend the conference in an Eid message.
Ryan C. Crocker, the US Ambassador to Afghanistan has also stated that Taliban are not being included in Bonn Conference.
However, the German Foreign Minister has said that the invitation to Taliban remains open. The issues outlined for discussion at the conference will comprise the civil aspects involved in transferring responsibilities to Afghan government, prolonged involvement of the international community beyond 2014 and drawing up a political road map that could lead Afghanistan to a long-term stability. Like all such meetings this second Bonn Conference will not turn into a game changer for Afghanistan especially so when it is not designed to provide a platform to all major stake- holders.
President Karzai who will chair the conference is all set to take along a hand picked delegation to Bonn that may not have even the true representatives of Afghan society. Some 35 per cent of Afghans believe that Afghanistan under President Karzai is heading in a wrong direction. Prior moving on to Bonn, the President shrewdly held a Loya Jirga on November 16th, to show to the international community that he heads the conference from a position of strength.
The jirga was also utilised to decide US long-term presence in Afghanistan and the bilateral ties. The US seeks long-term presence through acquisition of five major military bases in Afghanistan that would also house 25,000 plus US especial forces in Afghanistan beyond 2014.
The ?Istanbul Conference? a prelude to Bonn Conference, could not agree to any major proposals on Afghanistan.
Iran, Pakistan, China and Russia remained non-committal to the idea of US military presence in Afghanistan beyond 2014 as the US plans on the subject have not been revealed as yet. The only thing that can be derived from ?Istanbul Conference? was joining the table to discuss Afghanistan by Pakistan and India amongst others, for the first time ever.
It is a fact that majority of the US-led coalition countries want their troops out of Afghanistan sooner than later with or without a declared victory ignoring the Afghan woes. They believe that exit of the US-led forces from Afghanistan will automatically prepare a ground for mutual ending of the hostilities and violence by various factions.
In a related development it is being increasingly realised that Pakistan has to be taken on board with greater mandate to help stabilise Afghanistan.
The US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during her visit to Islamabad acknowledged the essential requirement of taking Pakistan on board if peace and stability were to be brought to Afghanistan.
However, if Pakistan is entrusted with greater role, the US will have to drop its reckless twin-track policy of pressurising Pakistan to cooperate and at the same time bombarding the country through drone attacks.
If one looks into the vide variety of assessments that came out of the Istanbul Conference, all of them pointed to one common denominator that without regional consensus about the value of a stable Afghanistan there will be no sustainable peace in the region.
Can foreign military presence of US and other Western nations armed forces through ?strategic agreements? could help quell the insurgency? The answer is ?no?.
Despite all the analysis pointing to the negativities of prolonged foreign military presence, President Karzai is all set to enter into such agreements, utilising the extracted consent of the recently held Loya Jirga.
Tuesday, 29 November 2011
Russia last month used its UN Security Council veto to shoot down a resolution condemning the lethal crackdown by the regime of President Bashar al-Assad and has made clear it will not contemplate sanctions against Damascus.
In recent days, Moscow told the West it had failed to condemn violations by the opposition in the unrest and became the first major power to liken the unrest in the country to a civil war.
With Russia also slamming new Western sanctions against Iran over its nuclear drive and opposing UN Security council action, Russia's stance is increasingly reminiscent of the hardball heyday of postwar Soviet diplomacy. The Soviet Union's long-serving foreign minister Andrei Gromyko, who held the post for 28 years from 1957 to 1985, then won the grudgingly respectful nickame of Mr Nyet (Mr No) from the West for his cussed intransigence.
The spirit of Gromyko, who died in 1989, still haunts the Russian foreign ministry and his 100th birthday was celebrated with full ceremony in its Stalin-era skyscraper in 2009.
"Russia inherited foreign policy and a foreign policy establishment from the USSR and in many ways continues the tradition of Stalin and Brezhnev times," said Yevgeny Volk of the Yeltsin Foundation.
He said that Russia as the successor state to the Soviet Union still feels a loyalty to former Soviet allies regarded with distaste elsewhere -- including Cuba, North Korea, Iran and Syria.
Under strongman leader Vladimir Putin, modern Russia has always wanted to show it remains a "velikaya derzhava" -- a great power -- despite the humiliating loss of the Soviet Empire two decades ago.
The tensions with the West over Syria and Iran also come at a time when the elite wants to flex its muscle ahead of parliamentary elections in December and presidential polls in March, when Putin is expected to return to the Kremlin.
"Russia is not going to drop its allies, especially before an election at a time when nationalist sentiment is growing. It would be seen as surrender on the part of Russia," said Volk.
Moscow's stubborn stance contrasts with how in March it opened the way for the Western air campaign in Libya by declining to use its veto and instead abstaining on the vote to create a no-fly zone.
That decision was championed by President Dmitry Medvedev, who made much of his strong personal relationship with his US counterpart Barack Obama but is now standing aside for the more prickly Putin.
"The West wants Russia's support, but what will Moscow get in return?" said Viktor Kremenyuk, the deputy head of the United States-Canada Institute at the Russian Academy of Sciences.
"Russia received nothing for its support on Libya."
The Soviet Union built strong relations with Assad's father, the late Syrian president Hafez al-Assad, the kind of authoritarian but strongly secular Arab leader of whom the Soviet Union approved.
As a result, Russia remains a leading arms supplier to Syria and also has an occasionally-used but potentially strategic naval base in the Syrian port of Tartus which admirals have vowed to expand in the next years.
Kremenyuk said: "Syria has been loyal and this is appreciated. Moscow does not have so many allies in the world that they can just be easily cast aside."
Vyacheslav Dzirkaln, deputy director of Russia's Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation, bluntly stated earlier this month that Moscow would honour all previous military contracts to Damascus.
"Since there are no restrictions on arms supplies to Syria, Russia is performing all of its contractual obligations we have assumed before this country," he said, quoted by the Interfax news agency.
These are believed to include Yakhont anti-ship cruise missiles, a sale that has caused repeated alarm from Syria's foe Israel.
"Russia has invested a lot in Syria and does not want to lose its position," commented Volk. But he warned that if Russia defended Assad "too stubbornly" it risked completely losing all influence in the country if he was toppled.
The ousting of the Libyan regime of Muammar Gaddafi by rebels that Russia never fully backed -- even as the regime's end become inevitable -- left it struggling to regain political influence and an economic foothold in the country.
Wapda's riders struck superior technique to win 40kilometres individual road time trial and then grabbed first place in 1000m team sprint qualifying round. Sabir clocked 52:42:23 to win the 40kilometres individual road time trials and to set a new national record. Wapda's joy was doubled when Haroon took the second place followed by Army's Asad. The fourth, fifth and sixth places went to Habibullah of SSGC, Ismail of Army and Zameer of SSGC.
In 1000m team spirit qualifying rounds, Wapda got the first place followed by Army, SSGC and Railways.
Sabir Ali, who is winner of Tour de Pakistan 2011, has also beaten the national record on the first day of the championship in 4 km event, currently is the top contender for winning the National Cycling Championship 2011 and leading the table with 60 points.
Talking to TheNation, Sabir said: "I am striving hard to become number one national cyclist and soon I will be by the grace of Allah. Now I am aiming to win the Abbottabad to Nathiagali and Pindi to Murree Cycling Championship in the last month of the year. Then I will prepare myself for the Asian Cycling Championship and try my best to perform well in the event."
Chairman Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) Salman Siddique was asked to convene a meeting with the NAB chairman. The court also directed Salman to conduct adjudication against the involved people in the scam whose cases would be referred to NAB if they were on fault.
The FBR Chairman told the bench that writs were pending in Karachi High Court, filed by culprits including importer, clearing agent, terminal/port operator, customs officials, shipping agents, transporters, which caused delay in proceedings against them by the FBR.
A two-member bench comprising Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and Justice Arif Khiliji resumed hearing of the suo motu case regarding the ISAF container scam. The court said it would be the test case for NAB after the appointment of Fasih Bukhari as the chairman of the Bureau.
The FBR chairman informed that the board has unearthed duties and taxes' evasion of over Rs55 billion as 28,000 containers carrying commercial cargo under the Afghan Transit Trade (ATT) went missing on route from Karachi Port to Afghanistan. Besides, rest of the 322,000 containers, dispatched for Afghanistan from Karachi under the non-commercial category, meant for ISAF have not been found yet, further heavily denting national exchequer.
It was alleged before the bench that former President General Pervez Musharraf's nephew and former Corp Commander Karachi's son had played a major role in the scam.
The Chief Justice directed the Chairman FBR to provide details of the writs pending before Karachi High Court in which he said recommendation to expedite hearing would be sent to the KHC.
Justice Khiliji Arif revealed that it would be a result-oriented act if NAB comes forward to help probe the cases, adding that no pressure would be faced by FBR as well.
Siddique while giving details of the missed containers said that the trend of steep fall in import of Transit Trade cargo continued in ensuing months. He submitted that conducted study of FBR revealed in the matter that as against 63,264 commercial ATT containers imported during the period February 1, 2010 to September 20, 2010, the quantum of such imports in the corresponding period of this year has fallen to 33,414 containers, signifying a massive fall by approximately 50 per cent.
Salman added that similarly, non-commercial ATT imports have also fallen by 26 per cent to 28,802 containers which were found missing. He told that issuance of SCN was actively in progress, adding that the loss of revenue in terms of duties and taxes was around Rs55 billion.
However, he said that clearance collectorates have adjudicated 108 cases against 184 containers so far whereas total liability adjudged against them is Rs424 million (duty & taxes) and penalty Rs210 million (Total Rs.634 million).
It is worth mentioning that ATT cargo has four categories including commercial consignment, non-commercial imported by Afghan government/NGOs cargo, non-commercial imported by Nato ISAF Forces consignment and non-commercial cargo imported by US Military.
The Chief Justice asked Chairman FBR to file a report pertaining to development on meeting with Chairman NAB relating to issue and performance report in next hearing.
The hearing was adjourned for three weeks.
The dead body of Bismah, daughter of Murad Ali, wrapped in a blanket was lying alongside a road as police investigators rushed to the crime scene following some passersby spotted the minor and contacted the police.
Police investigators believed that the kidnappers abducted the girl when she was coming back home from the school on Monday afternoon. They said that the possibility of rape with the girl could not be ruled out as there were visible torture marks on the body parts of the poor girl.
Father of the girl told the police investigators on Tuesday that the abductors had contacted him by mobile phone a day earlier and demanded Rs 300,000 as ransom for her safe release. ?I hardly could arrange Rs 50,000 by borrowing from family friends and paid them as per their demand.
But they retuned the dead body instead,? a police officer quoted Murad Ali as telling the investigators. Meanwhile he was informed via phone call to place packet having demanded amount in a ground situated near Sabzazaar B-Block and his daughter would her home later.
However, when he approached the site where he was told his daughter was lying in condition of unconsciousness, he found nothing. ?On Tuesday around 1:30pm, a body wrapped in a blanket was found lying near Marghazaar Colony, Hanjarwal,? said a senior officer, adding father of the ill-fated girl identified his daughter. ?According to apparent circumstances, the girl was gang raped and was strangled to death,? he added. Police have lodged an FIR.
Talking to journalists here after a function organized by his party to celebrate the passage of Prevention of Anti-Women Practices Bill, Shujaat said that the seats adjustment between PML-Q and PPP for next general elections would be done on merit. He was quite hopeful while saying that his party mates who have joined Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaaf would soon rejoin his party.
Earlier, addressing the function, Shujaat said that the PML-Q has always raised its voice for the solution of public issues and its manifesto was to make ensure the easy availability of facilities to the common people and to give equal rights to the women. He added that they moved this bill during their own Government in 2006 but the landlords of their party became hurdle in its passage at that time.
Secretary General PML-Q Mushahid Hussain Syed on the occasion said that this bill was moved by Ch Shujat Hussain in 2006 and PML-Q under his leadership always played a vital role for the women rights. He was of the view that women were more active than the men and the PML-Q female members of Punjab Assembly have played a very positive role of the opposition in provincial assembly.
The PML-Q legislator Donia Aziz while addressing said that almost three half years were invested after that the bill was passed. She said that the hurdles were created in its passage but they would always safeguard the women rights.
Member National Assembly Dr Atya Anayatullah, MNA Nosheen Saeed, President PML-Q Women Wing Farrukh Khan, Member Punjab Assembly Amna Ulfat, Samina Khawar Hayat, Senator Dilawar Abbas, Mustafa MAlik, Imtiaz Ranjha, Fouzia Naz and other leadership of the party participated in the function.
to intervene. But Adm. Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Join Chiefs of Staff, told a Congressional panel that the Haqqani network was a ?veritable arm? of the Pakistani intelligence service?an assertion that other top US officials involved in the region are calling provocative and overstated.
The Sept. 8 meeting and request suggests a US idea to two realities: the Pakistan-Haqqani relationship may never be severed, and CIA drone strikes and US military raids aren?t enough to stop Haqqani attacks in Afghanistan.
Monday, 28 November 2011
"His country would continue co-operation with Pakistan in multiple fields as envisaged in the Enhanced Strategic Partnership," said Sir Peter Ricketts, National Security Advisor, UK, who heading a five-member UK delegation called on Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani at the PM House to hold discussion on the Enhanced Strategic Dialogue between the two countries.
The meeting was part of the Enhanced Strategic Dialogue between Pakistan and the UK.
Other components of the strategic partnership between the two countries are counter-terrorism co-operation, trade and commerce relations, financial macro economic stabilization, development assistance and cultural co-operation.
The Prime Minister was assisted by Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar, Army Chief General Ashfaq Pervez Kiyani, DG ISI Lt. Gen Ahmad Shuja Pasha and Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir. Sir Peter Ricketts, UK Security Advisor, was assisted by General Sir David Richards, Chief of Defence Staff, Sir John Sawers, Chief of SIS (MI-6), Ambassador Mark Sedwill, UK Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan and Adam Thomson, British High Commissioner.
The Prime Minister mentioned his meetings and joint press interaction with the British Prime Minister at the Commonwealth Summit in Perth along with Canadian Prime Minister, Australian and Nigerian President regarding polio eradication initiative among other subjects.
The Prime Minister highly appreciated the assistance of the UK particularly in the field of health and education that would go a long way to help the Government of Pakistan to meet the Millennium Development Goals.
The Prime Minister mentioned that the Council of Common Interests, representing all the provinces including Azad Kashmir and Gilgit/Baltistan, had passed a unanimous resolution on setting the national standards of education and enhancing budgets for education.
The Prime Minister was highly appreciative of the UK assistance in the development of the economy. UK was one of the biggest foreign investors in Pakistan, co-operation in the various sectors of economy was progressing well, the Prime Minister said.
The Prime Minister complimented the UK for giving generous financial assistance during the natural calamities this year, as well as in 2010 and in 2005.
The British delegation appreciated the recent improvement in Pak-India relations observing that surge in trade relations would definitely enable Pakistan to offset the fast approaching global recession which has already engulfed many countries of the developed world. Economic security is assuming added significance in the international diplomatic and inter-state relations, the advisor said.
The Prime Minister said that an Afghan delegation was coming soon to Pakistan and Pakistan would extend full co-operation in the investigation of the gruesome murder of Professor Burhanuddin who was a great friend of Pakistan. His murder was a setback to the peace process, the Prime Minister observed.
He further said that Pakistan was in favour of the peace process in Afghanistan, which was Afghan led and Afghan owned because independent, prosperous, stable and sovereign Afghanistan is in our interest.
The Prime Minister emphasized that Pakistan did not want a solution that would destabilize Pakistan as was the case last time when three million Afghan refugees had taken shelter in Pakistan and are still in Pakistan. "We want their early return with honour and dignity," he said.
With final preparations underway for Tuesday night's closing ceremony in Palembang, the event was tarnished by the tragedy in co-host city Jakarta where the hosts played bitter rivals Malaysia for football gold late Monday.
Two victims died in a crush before the match when stadium gates were opened and the crowd surged to get in, Jakarta police told AFP, adding that a boy taken to hospital had slipped into a coma.
Games organisers Inasoc had warned of the potential for flashpoints ahead of the highly-anticipated final -- which defending champions Malaysia won 4-3 on penalties after the teams were deadlocked at 1-1 after extra time.
Monday night's events took the sheen off glittering Games for the hosts, who had collected 182 golds in a bulging total medal haul of 475 with only paragliding finals to be contested Tuesday afternoon.
It meant Indonesia topped the Games medals charts for the first time since 1997 -- when they last hosted the competition -- and left 2009 winners Thailand trailing on 107 golds, followed by Vietnam with 96.
The gold most craved by the home fans was in the headline under-23 football, but instead they endured heartbreak as Malaysia's captain Baddrol Bakhtiar scored the winning penalty, following two missed spot-kicks by Indonesia.
The visitors showed their mettle in coming back from a goal down in front of the hostile home crowd, earning praise in their domestic media Tuesday, with the Malaysia Star newspaper hailing their win as "the mother of all golds".
Chasing their first Games football gold for two decades, Indonesia looked set to secure victory after centre-back Gunawan Dwi Cahyo headed in a corner after five minutes.
But Malaysia fought back, silencing the crowd with an equaliser by Omar Muhammad Asraruddin around the half-hour mark, and then defending resolutely to take the game to penalties.
Indonesian coach Rahmad Darmawan told the Jakarta Post that his players were reluctant to take the spot kicks.
"Only three players said they were ready for the shootout, while others needed to be encouraged," he was quoted as saying. "I express my apology to Indonesian fans for my failure to meet their highest expectations."
The only nation of the 11 taking part in the biennial Games without a gold medal was tiny Brunei. Indonesia has faced widespread criticism for a raft of problems that dogged the run-up to the Games, including building delays and shortages of accommodation and transport.
The troubles prompted Myanmar's chef-de-mission to vow his nation will do a better job when they host the next Games in 2013.
Strauss-Kahn and Anne Sinclair want 100,000 euros (135,000 dollars) from Le Figaro over a story speculating Sinclair was upset by reports her husband had sex parties with prostitutes, according to a writ served on the daily.
The paper also speculated that Sinclair, a celebrity television journalist and the heiress to an art fortune, might separate from her husband.
The writ, seen by AFP, said that if the case was successful, the money was to be donated to the anti-poverty charity Secours Populaire.
Similar writs will be served in the coming days to the weekly magazines L'Express, Nouvel Observateur, Paris Match and VSD, lawyer Richard Malka told AFP.
Recent articles in the French press have speculated that Strauss-Kahn was close to a nervous breakdown and had admitted to his entourage that he needed treatment for his compulsive sexual behaviour.
The couple are also planning to press charges against Sarkozy aide Henri Guaino over a television interview in which he said that in the Strauss-Kahn affair "one is in a zone where private life meets criminality", Malka said.
Strauss-Kahn, a 62-year-old Socialist politician and former presidential hopeful, resigned from the International Monetary Fund in May after he was arrested and accused of attempting to rape a New York hotel maid. The US case against him eventually collapsed, but he has been dogged by scandal since returning to France.
Strauss-Kahn's name has been linked to a judicial investigation into an illegal prostitution ring operating out of luxury hotels in the northern French city of Lille and a string of Belgian brothels.
Press reports based on leaks from the investigation have said prostitutes from the Lille network were taken to Paris and Washington to entertain the then IMF director at orgies in restaurants and five star hotels.
French media have revealed text messages allegedly sent by Strauss-Kahn to a businessman detained on suspicion of organising sex parties in restaurants and swingers clubs in Paris, Washington, Madrid, Vienna and Ghent, Belgium.
Strauss-Kahn has demanded to be questioned by the judges leading the inquiry, hoping to halt what his lawyers brand a "media lynching", but some warn he could face charges if the case expands to cover alleged graft or influence peddling.
Magistrates have already charged several leading local figures with organising the ring and there are suspicions that a construction company executive used his firm's money to entertain guests at sex parties.
Strauss-Kahn was once courted by dozens of senior figures, keen for a role in his expected future government, or hoping some of the glamour and energy of his jet-setting lifestyle and celebrity marriage would rub off.
Even after the shock of the US case -- which collapsed after prosecutors came to doubt the testimony of the alleged victim but ended his IMF career -- many stood by him, predicting an improbable comeback for their champion.
But now, with each week bringing new unseemly allegations, the small court of hangers-on who used to meet or telephone their champion at his elegant flat in Paris's super-fashionable Place des Vosges has dispersed.
Two children, aged around ten, were among those killed when tanks fired machineguns at villagers in the main street of Tal Dao in the Houla region, 22 km (14 miles) northwest of the Homs, the provincial capital, who had ignored a curfew announced by loudspeakers from tanks, they said.
"There was a strike in Tel Dao today and most shops were closed after two people were killed yesterday. But there were still people in the street. This is a rural region and people are not used to curfews," said one of the activists, who gave his name as Abu Raed. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan called on his former ally Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad to step down.
"Quit power before more blood is shed ... for the peace of your people, your region and your country," Erdogan said in parliament.
After weeks of mounting criticism of the Syrian leader, it was the first time the Turkish premier had directly called for his removal from power.
He is the second regional leader to do so, after Jordan's King Abdullah last week called on him to go. "Bashar al-Assad is saying he will fight to the death. Fighting your own people ... is not heroism but cowardliness," Erdogan said, referring to a recent interview with Assad published by the Sunday Times in London. "If you want to see someone who fought and died, take at look at Nazi Germany, take a look at Hitler, take a look at Mussolini and Romania's Ceausescu," he said. If the Syrian leader had failed to learn lessons from history, Erdogan invited him to consider the more recent fate of Libya's late strongman Muammar Gaddafi.
The opposition Syrian National Council said Tuesday it is organising a conference with the Arab League to prepare for a "transitional period" after the fall of President Bashar al-Assad's regime. Assad is under mounting pressure from Syria's neighbours to step down over his regime's eight-month crackdown on protests that the United Nations says has killed more than 3,500 people since mid-March.
"The Syrian National Council, in cooperation with the Arab League, will organise a national conference to prepare for the transitional period in Syria," it said in a statement received by AFP in Nicosia.
The SNC, the largest and most representative Syrian opposition grouping, said it was in talks with activists and dissidents to prepare for the transition "in accordance with the Arab League initiative."
"It was determined that the conference will issue a memorandum concerning the post-Syrian regime phase," it said, adding this would ensure "inclusivity and the participation of all political forces in Syria."
On Monday, British Foreign Secretary William Hague urged the Syrian opposition to unify to become stronger as he held his first meetings with their representatives in London.
France's foreign minister, Alain Juppe, issued a similar call last week, saying "the SNC must get organised" before it can win recognition from the French government.
The SNC has so far only been officially recognised by the new post-Gaddafi Libyan authorities.
A son of Abdul Hameed, a resident of Shabnam Colony in Liaqatabad, Ahsan lost his control on the gate-handle of the bus he was travelling in and fell down. A tailgate vehicle crushed him. He died on the spot, witnesses said.
The student was travelling on the bus while standing on the gate. Eyewitness believed the driver of the bus was guilty, but the police investigators, who recorded several statements of the area people, reached the conclusion that the ill-fated student died out of his own mistake.
Following the incident, dozens of residents of the area came on the road and staged a protest against the company the accident bus belonged to. They also chanted slogans against the police. Later, a good number of policemen reached the protest site and dispersed the protestors.
An FIR was later lodged against the bus driver but there was no arrest till the filing of this report.
Meanwhile, the 25-year-old Muhammad Ramazan of Ferozian Town was killed when an uncontrolled truck hit his motorbike in Johar Town. He was on his was to the workplace. He died on the spot. Police have lodged a case on the statement of one Abdullah, brother of the deceased.
STRAIGHTEN TRAFFIC: Chief Traffic Officer SSP Syed Ahmed Mobeen has directed the duty officers to ensure smooth flow of traffic in front of educational institutes and all major roads during the opening and closing hours.
The CTO chairing a meeting of the traffic circle in-charges and sector officers on Tuesday directed them to depute special squads at the educational institutions to manage the traffic especially around the Canal Road, Gulberg and Jail Road.
He said that vehicles must be fined for wrong and double parking on roads to avoid the traffic mess. The wardens have also been directed to lift the vehicles parked wrongly at markets, roads and educational institutions.
The CTO urged the people to abide by the traffic rules for their own and public safety. He asked the citizen to park their vehicles properly to avoid inconvenience for people during rush hours. The CTO, however, allowed one lane parking in front of schools and colleges only on holidays.
Meanwhile, the Mujahid Squad has claimed to have arrested around 109 accused involved in 76 felony acts in different parts of the City. Earlier, each DSP was directed to ensure full fledge crackdown against the anti-social elements, proclaimed offenders, court absconders, dacoits, robbers, and other accused. Police have also recovered 10 pistols, dozens of live cartridges and magazines, 1000 bottles of liquors, and a large quantity of opium. Further investigations are underway.
Sunday, 27 November 2011
The reports that Pakistan was striking backdoor negotiations with Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), a notorious militant outfit based in Pakistan?s north-western tribal region, have mounted concerns of tribal warlords who have joined hands with Pakistan Army to form armed militias or peace lashkars for taking on militants. A good number of the lashkar men have lost lives at the hands of militants following kidnappings and killings of pro-government tribal chieftains particularly those from Mehsud, Afridi and Wazir tribes.
Reuters on Monday had reported that TTP was holding exploratory peace talks with the government. The news agency quoted a senior Taliban commander as saying the discussions are focused on the South Waziristan region on the Afghan border and could be expanded to try to reach a comprehensive deal if progress is made. The Taliban, who are close to Qaeda, made several demands, including the release of prisoners and the withdrawal of Pakistani forces from South Waziristan, the report said. ?If successful, we can talk about a deal for all the tribal areas,? Reuters mentioned the Taliban commander as saying.
Pakistan military?s media wing Inter-Service Public Relations (ISPR) responded with a grim denial. ?Strongly and categorically refuting the media reports, a spokesperson of ISPR said that Army is not undertaking any kind of negotiations with TTP or its affiliated militant groups. Such reports are concocted, baseless and unfounded, he added. Any contemplated negotiation/reconciliation process with militant groups has to be done by the government, the spokesperson concluded,? an official statement said.
Talking to this newspaper on Tuesday, Wazir tribe chief in South Waziristan Malik Idrees Khan said making peace with militants was ?An insult to martyrs who went down fighting terrorism.?
?I?m not sure about the authenticity of these reports but I hope and believe that these are false. Who to make peace with? The militants? We?ve seen the result of those peace agreements in the past. It would not only jeopardise our efforts for the elimination of terrorism but create resentment among tribes who have sacrificed their sons.?
The peace agreements with militants during former President Pervaiz Musharraf oversaw strengthening the militants who established their influence across major parts of FATA.
The Pakistan Army launched two major military offensives Raah-e-Raast and Raah-e-Nijat followed by a series of small-scale operations to take on militants. In North Waziristan, Pakistani establishment has struck a reported informal ceasefire with militant commander Hafiz Gul Bahadur, a move resisted by tribal leaders.
Mehsud tribe chief in North Waziristan Dilawar Khan Mehsud said that peace in FATA would remain to be a far cry unless the tribal militias assisted Pakistani forces. ?Security agencies alone cannot succeed. They need our help to fight down terrorism because we the locals know who?s who, here. Negotiations with militants without involving us would not be without implications and we oppose reconciliation with them.?
Tribal militia and Afridi tribe chief in Khyber Agency Misri Khan Afridi said, ?It would be very unfortunate if the reports of backdoor peace deal proved true. We were the one to create tribal lashkars with army?s support and to convince our tribesmen to join hands with military for safeguarding our soil. How would we face our tribesmen if retreat is on the cards? Now that we have laid down our lives and property, there?s no way to retreat.? Slain tribal head and Misri Khan?s elder brother Mota Khan Afridi was gunned down by militants from Mangal Bagh led-Lashker-e-Islami in an ambush in Khyber Agency June this year. ?Time and again we?ve been assured by the military officials that there would be no peace with militants.
Political Agent SWA, Javaid Khan Marwat, said the decision to hold dialogue with any militant group stayed with the federal government. ?Its not for the political administration to deal with these kind of issues. We are working in close coordination with security forces to weed out terrorism.?
He was addressing the members of the Sialkot Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) here. Arvind Saxena, Counsellor Economic & Commercial, Aquino Vimal, First Secretary-Visa of Indian High Commission, and SCCI President Naeem Anwar Qureshi were also present on his occasion.
The Indian High Commissioner said that India was actively building up its trade and economic relations with Pakistan and other countries on priority basis. He said the Indian government has warmly welcomed the MFN status to India by Pakistan and said that Indian government was actively considering exploring trade potential between India and Pakistan besides considering Pakistani proposal of removing the non-tariff barriers (NTBs).
He further said the trade promotional dialogue between Pakistan and India was moving towards the right direction, saying that Pakistan have given very positive response to India in this regard. He said that the time was ripe for both of the neighbours to strengthen the mutual trade.
The Indian envoy vowed to continue the dialogues between Pakistan and India in this regard and said ?we wish to promote trade with Pakistan and both sides should keep it up?. He said that a separate gate and other facilities were being established at the Wagha border for speedy handling of export cargo, adding that the establishment of a separate gate would provide hurdle-free transportation facilities at the border.
The Indian HC said that Pakistani Commerce Minister Makhdum Amin Faheem had a very successful visit to India and had very positive discussions there with Indian officials and businessmen.
Relying to a question, he disclosed that Pakistan and India would soon sign a ?Liberal Visa Agreement? for giving maximum relief to the businessmen of both of the countries. He said that the businessmen of Pakistan and Indian have shown very keen interest in strengthening the trade and economic relations between Pakistan and India. He said that both the neighbours would soon enjoy the fruits of the ongoing trade and economic dialogues between the two countries.
Later, talking to the newsmen at SCCI, Sabharwal hoped that the ongoing dialogues between Indian and Pakistan would be fruitful, as they have very effective agenda. He said that both India and Pakistan should resolve all the core issues including the Kashmir dispute by dialogue.
While presenting his address of welcome, President SCCI Naeem Anwar Qureshi said Indian High Commissioner?s visit to SCCI would go a long way in creating better understanding between the business communities of the two neighbouring countries besides helping in creating new areas of commercial interaction to have far-reaching effects on expanding bilateral trade.
Qureshi revealed that both countries need to avoid short-sighted policies, which have resulted in bedevilling their relations in the past and diverting their attention from the gigantic task of eradicating poverty and raising the standard of living of their peoples.
The two countries must recognise that peace between them is a strategic imperative. It may be said that composite dialogue between the two neighbours must continue to build up trust and confidence, establish a strategic restraint regime, develop mutually beneficial cooperation and make progress towards the resolution of disputes and expansion of bilateral and regional trade.
The prospects of increasing trade between the two countries are considerable. It is encouraging that the two countries have recently held successful trade talks, moving a way forward towards progress and prosperity of the two countries.
The SCCI chief was of the view that issue of NTBs and certain restrictions by India outside statutory MFN status does not commensurate to the MFN position and somehow restricts exports from Pakistan especially those of textile items. It is time that India may reconsider its policy of specific tariffs and regulatory duties and give maximum relief to exports from Pakistan, crucially important for enjoying MFN status and enhancing bilateral trade as India can become most attractive and important market for Pakistani goods.
He said that there should be ship cargo service between both countries in order to facilitate interaction between private sectors and making easy the transportation of goods.
Trade between the two countries also suffers due to visa restrictions. It may be proposed that both countries should modify their visa policy and issue multiple visas. It is also recommended that Indian business visa must not be city specific rather business visa for all cities may be issued so that visitors from Pakistan may explore the massive Indian market in totality, he added.
?We hope that things will improve and improve rapidly to open a new era of economic cooperation, friendly relations and trade boost to bring prosperity, happiness and peace to our peoples, he narrated.
Protestors from different business areas of city demand that they would not summit their income tax return unless restoration of the previously tax payer system.
Attiq Mir president All Karachi Tajir Ittehad told The Nation that traders have already shown their concerns about current tax system to Chairman FBR in a meeting which was held in Karachi Chamber.
He added that traders requested to Chairman for a simple form.
Mir said that this is being done on the demand of IMF and World Bank. He blamed that IMF and WB inducted their agents in government organisations and they are trying to collapse country?s economy.
Tsonga, who lost his opening Group B match against Roger Federer, still has to beat Rafael Nadal in his final fixture on Thursday to have a chance of advancing, while Fish faces an early exit from the season finale at London's O2 Arena.
The result also means defending champion Federer will be guaranteed a semi-final spot if he defeats Nadal in tonight's match. "It's good to win here for the first time and of course it's good for my confidence because now I will play a match to qualify for the semi-finals," Tsonga said.
Tsonga believes he has more chance than usual of a shock win over Nadal because the match is on the Spaniard's least favoured hard courts. "It's better for me than to play him on clay. Last time I played him on clay it was really difficult, but this time I think I will have some chances," Tsonga said.
Tsonga started in aggressive mood, earning three break points before finally breaking at the fourth attempt with a brilliant winner on the run. The 26-year-old had out-lasted Fish to claim a five-set victory in their only previous meeting, in the US Open fourth round earlier this year, and this was another rollercoaster clash.
Fish broke straight back in the next game, only for the American eighth seed to surrender his own serve again to give Tsonga a 2-1 lead. Tsonga became the first player to hold serve in the next game, but the often-erratic Frenchman crumbled when he served for the set.
Fish had an animated discussion with the umpire between games and letting off some steam seemed to do him good.
He knocked Tsonga out of his stride with a magnificent top spin lob and levelled the score on his second break point when the sixth seed sent a backhand long. It needed a tie-break to decide the set and Tsonga took it with a pair of big serves to take advantage of his mini-break.
The 217-member assembly, the first elected body produced by the Arab Spring, was expected to confirm a deal whereby the Islamist Ennahda party and two other parties split the country's top three jobs between themselves.
The lawmakers, who will be tasked with drafting a new constitution and paving the way to fresh elections, sang the national anthem as the session got under way in the Bardo palace on the outskirts of Tunis.
"I give thanks to God, to all those martyred and wounded and those who fought so we could witness this historic day," Ennahda leader Rached Ghannouchi told AFP after the opening.
After longtime dictator Zine el Abidine Ben Ali's ouster in January and internationally acclaimed polls on October 23, the inauguration marked yet another landmark in the Arab Spring trailblazers' democratic revolution.
"This event is like a second independence for Tunisia," said Ahmed Mestiri, an iconic figure in the struggle for Tunisia's 1956 independence from France.
Several hundred demonstrators, including relatives of some of the protesters killed in the uprising, nevertheless greeted the newly-elected lawmakers at the Bardo palace with a warning. "We're watching you," read some of the banners. "We're here to remind the lawmakers of the demands of the Tunisian revolution -- dignity and freedom -- and to tell them the Tunisian people have not handed them a blank cheque," said Rafik Boudjaria of the Civic Front for Democracy and Tunisia.
Despite Ennahda's assurances, some Tunisians have expressed concern that an Islamist-dominated Tunisia could roll back hard-earned rights such as the Code of Personal Status, seen notably as one of the Arab world's most progressive sets of laws on women.
"Tunisia wants to hold up a model to society in which Islam is not a synonym of terrorism, fanaticism, extremism or hostility to democracy," Ghannouchi said Sunday during a visit to Algiers.
Speaking to AFP Tuesday, Ghannouchi -- who does not sit in the assembly and insists he does not seek any official post in the new executive -- promised to promote "a national reconciliation project... not a revenge project". On Monday, Tunisia's three main political parties formalised a power-sharing agreement hammered out in the aftermath of last month's polls. Ennahda's Hamadi Jebali is to take the post of prime minister, the Congress for the Republic (CPR) party's Moncef Marzouki will become president and Ettakatol's Mustapha Ben Jaafar the chair of the new assembly.
A popular uprising that started in December 2010 over unemployment and the soaring cost of living ousted Ben Ali, who had been in power 23 years and was thought to be one of the world's most entrenched autocrats. The revolt touched off a wave of pro-democracy protests across the region and Tunisians anchored their revolution last month with a historic election for a constituent assembly.
Ennahda, a moderate Islamist party inspired by the Muslim Brotherhood, holds 89 seats while the CPR and Ettakatol control 29 and 20 seats respectively.
The chamber's freshly-elected members are also expected to pick two deputy chairs and adopt a set of internal rules based on a document drafted by the now-dissolved body in charge of political reform after Ben Ali's ouster.
Challenging the bloc formed by the three main parties, the Progressive Democratic Party and the Democratic Modernist Pole, which have 16 and five seats respectively, will be main opposition forces.
A question mark still hangs however over the Popular Petition, a previously unknown group lead by a London-based millionaire which came out of the woodwork to clinch 26 seats, making it the assembly's third largest party.
Saturday, 26 November 2011
They said the locals informed police that militants had planted explosive devices in the Government Girls High School, Shahdad Baba, in the limits of Par Hoti Police Station. Sources said the police personnel on duty in the area came to the spot and started searching the explosives at 6:45 am. They said the explosive devices, hidden in a rubbish heap near the school gate, went off killing constable Allah Nawaz, resident of Khairabad, and a passer-by, identified as Tahir Khan, son of Shabir Shah, resident of Shahdand Baba, on the spot. They said constables Atif, resident of Gharo Shah, Jawad, resident of Baghcha Dheri, and Ali Bahadur, resident of Katlang, got seriously injured.
They added that watchman of the school and other persons got seriously injured.
The injured were shifted to District Headquarters Hospital, where their condition was stated to be out of danger. They said the school gate and boundary wall were partially damaged.
The sources further said that the bomb disposal squad officials came to the spot and defused another explosive device at the site. Following the incident, the police launched a search operation, but no arrest was made till the filing of this report. Police registered a case against unidentified militants.
Sources said that militants set up their strongholds in different parts of the city and they started their activities. They said the intensification of militant activities in the district, particularly in the city, created panic among the masses.
All to little avail.
But it turns out that US officials have at times also tried another, more humble approach: simply asking Pakistani leaders to appeal to Haqqani to refrain from certain attacks.
Earlier, this month, Gen. John Allen, the US commander in Afghanistan, travelled to Rawalpindi to share intelligence with COAS Gen.Ashfaq Parvez Kayani. The intelligence indicated that the Haqqanis were planning a truck bomb attack on a US military installation in Afghanistan.
A US military official familiar with the Sept. 8 visit, which was first reported by The Guardian, said Allen asked Kayani to intervene not by disrupting the plot but by using his influence to dissuade Haqqani forces from carrying it out.
?We knew [an attack] was coming but we didn?t know where?, a US military official said. ?We didn?t know when, what trucks?, the Post said. Three days later, on Sept. 11, a truck bomb killed two Afghan civilians and wounded nearly 80 NATO soldiers at a military base in the Wardak province.
The official said the US military had drawn ?no conclusions? as to whether Kayani had tried to intervene. But Adm. Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Join Chiefs of Staff, told a Congressional panel that the Haqqani network was a ?veritable arm? of the Pakistani intelligence service?an assertion that other top US officials involved in the region are calling provocative and overstated.
The Sept. 8 meeting and request suggests a US idea to two realities: the Pakistan-Haqqani relationship may never be severed, and CIA drone strikes and US military raids aren?t enough to stop Haqqani attacks in Afghanistan.
Edwards (65 not out) and left-handed Bravo (57 not out) put on 117 for the unfinished third-wicket stand as the West Indies reached 267-2 at stumps in their first innings at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai.
The tourists suffered a setback even before the first ball had been bowled when key batsman Shivnarine Chanderpaul was ruled out of the Test due to a calf injury.
But the West Indies made the most of winning the toss on a good batting track, with teenager Kraigg Brathwaite (68) and Adrian Barath (62) adding 137 for the opening wicket to give their team a solid start.
Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin removed the well-set openers in four overs in the afternoon session, but there was no respite for India as Edwards and Bravo executed attractive shots.
India took the second new ball in the 85th over, but failed to break the Edwards-Bravo stand.
Edwards, who scored a century on Test debut against India in Dominica in July, extended his impressive run in Test cricket as he has so far made two hundreds and three half-centuries in six matches. He has so far hit 10 fours in his 117-ball knock. Bravo, who cracked a brilliant 136 in the last Test in Kolkata, was lucky to survive on 33 when he was dropped by Rahul Dravid at lone slip off left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha. He hit seven fours in his seventh Test half-century.
India struggled for success on a first-day pitch which had little in it for the bowlers as they went wicketless in the opening and last sessions. The hosts had to wait for more than three hours for their first wicket, with Ashwin having Barath caught behind. Barath, who scored 62 in the last match, hit eight fours in his 2nd successive Test half-century. Ashwin struck again when he removed Brathwaite, with Virat Kohli holding a bat-pad catch at forward short-leg. Brathwaite cracked eight fours in his third Test half-century. Brathwaite, who turns 19 next month, was dropped on 57 by Venkatsai Laxman at backward short-leg off Ashwin, but failed to capitalise on the chance as he could add only 11 more runs.
The West Indies openers batted patiently in the morning, with Barath playing some handsome shots especially against pacemen Varun Aaron and Ishant Sharma in the opening hour.
Barath fluently drove debutant Aaron through the covers and turned him to fine-leg for fours before cover-driving Sharma for another boundary.
The West Indies made two changes from the side that played in the last Test as they brought in batsman Kieran Powell and paceman Ravi Rampaul in place of Chanderpaul and Kemar Roach.
WEST INDIES 1ST INNINGS:
A Barath c Dhoni b Ashwin 62
K Brathwaite c Kohli b Ashwin 68
K Edwards not out 65
D Bravo not out 57
EXTRAS: (b4, lb10, nb1) 15
TOTAL: (for two wkts; 91 overs) 267
FOW: 1-137, 2-150
BOWLING: Sharma 17-6-33-0, Aaron 16-3-47-0, Ojha 26-7-55-0, Ashwin 27-2-86-2, Sehwag 3-0-23-0, Kohli 2-0-9-0
Toss: West Indies
Umpires: Tony Hill (NZL) and Bruce Oxenford (AUS)
TV umpire: Shavir Tarapore (IND)
Match referee: David Boon (AUS)
Friday, 25 November 2011
"Seven militants were wounded in the Zinjibar bombing," another official said.
Meanwhile in the nearby village of Mudia, "three Al-Qaeda fighters were killed and two wounded when gunmen attacked a house where they were hiding," a tribal source told AFP on condition of anonymity.
The attack took place "shortly after an explosive device blew up in Mudia killing two armed tribesmen and wounding five others," the source said, blaming Al-Qaeda linked militants for the attack.
Tribesmen have joined government troops in battling the Al-Qaeda linked Partisans of Sharia (Islamic law) group which overran Zinjibar in May.
The militants have taken advantage of a weakening of central authority since January, when tens of thousands of Yemenis launched an unprecedented protest movement against President Ali Abdullah Saleh's regime.
Despite months of clashes, government troops have so far been unable to take back full control of Abyan's towns and cities.
LAHORE ? Chairman Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Zaka Ashraf on Tuesday congratulated Pakistan women cricket team for qualifying for the 2013 World Cup to be held in India and World Twenty20 to be played in Sri Lanka.
In a telephonic conversation with Pakistan team captain Sana Mir, manager Shahid Aslam and coach Mohtesham Rashid, the pcb chief felicitated them for their achievement.
He expressed the hope that women team will also continue to perform like this in future also and bring more laurels for Pakistan. ?If the women players carry on their performances like this they will also win the World Cup qualifiers final,? he said.
Qureshi, who left the PPP recently, held over two-hour long meeting with the PML-N President Nawaz Sharif at latter?s Raiwind residence on Tuesday, but no announcement came from him regarding his joining or not the PML-N. Qureshi held a one-on-one meeting with Nawaz which was later joined by Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif and leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Ch Nisar Ali Khan.
The leaders reportedly discussed prevailing political situation in the country as well as foreign affairs relating to Pakistan, besides pondering over the ways and means to steer the country out of the existing quagmire, created due to the ?mismanagement? and ?poor policies? of the PPP-led coalition government at the centre. Qureshi expressed conformity with the viewpoint of Nawaz on different issues and expressed his support to the PML-N on various matters yet he abstained making any announcement on the question of his joining the party.
Later addressing the media men, Qureshi said he would make announcement regarding his political future at the Ghotki public meeting. He said he supported the stance of the PML-N that the present assemblies have lost their efficacy and sitting therein was useless. Giving a clear indication of his wish for an early election, he said ?Mian Sahib is right in demanding resort to the public? as the question has arisen whether or not Pakistan was in safe hands under the PPP-led government.
He maintained the government under President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gillani has lost credibility at the international level which means Pakistan has lost due respect and importance in the international arena which was a matter of serious concern. He also supported inquiry into the Memo episode. Giving an account of the public woes under present political dispensation, he said it?s time to come out of the assemblies which he said have become useless under the present rulers.
Qureshi laid stress on the need for appointing an independent election commission and urged the Supreme Court to supervise the next election in the country.
He said the existing judiciary was independent and impartial, and election held under its watch would be acceptable to all as independent election commission alone cannot meet this objective. He asked the Judiciary to play a historic rule in the national interest.
Ashraf?s counsel Wasim Sajjad said that the federal cabinet and economic coordination committee (ECC) approved the summaries sent by the ministry.
A two-member SC bench, comprising Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and Justice Khilji Arif Hussain, heard a suo moto case and two identical petitions filed by Faisal Saleh Hayat and PML-N MNA Khawaja Muhammad Asif against the RPPs. The bench directed the FBR chairman to submit a detailed report about custom duty and goods description, showing the life of machinery, whether it was branded or unbranded, year of make of equipment today (Wednesday).
During the hearing, the court observed that the government was getting recoveries from RPPs on the intervention of the judiciary otherwise it appeared all-defective.
Justice Khilji Arif Hussain remarked, ?Whether you people were in government or opposition, darkness became the fate of the masses and the government signed RPPs paying billions of rupees in advance but got just 100MW.?
Wasim Sajjad stated when his client took the charge as minister, there was countrywide agitation against loadshedding and it become an election issue so he decided to continue with the RPPs policy as it was the only short-term and speedy remedy to overcome the crisis. ?My client took charge of the ministry on March 21, 2008 while the issue surfaced well before him,? he added. The chief justice asked Wasim Sajjad how many RPPs were signed during his client tenure. He replied that a couple of them were signed under his ministry but the policy had already been there and bidding process was almost completed.
He submitted that Gulf, Karkay, Reshma and Nodero were the main RPPs signed during his client?s tenure. The CJ observed that in Karkay, no advertisement was made.
Wasim Sajjad said no doubt that shortage of electricity was there but even then his client did try to keep transparency by adopting criteria of International Competitive Bidding (ICB).
He stated that rates were also approved by the Nepra and as far as implementation was concerned, it was the duty of the line department and the minister was not responsible for that and increase in mobilisation amount was approved by the federal cabinet.
The CJ asked him to clarify the responsibility of the minister under the rules of business. Justice Khilji asked him why his client did not wait for the other bidders. ?He might have got some cheap bidders if he tried to get cheap electricity,? he added.
Wasim Sajjad stated that no money has been looted in this regard and every penny was recoverable. He said Reshma had returned all the money and interest will be paid soon.
He observed that it was the duty of the minister to frame a policy but all was done without any concrete policy. ?If u had any policy in this regard, just show it to us so that we can be happy that you did something in accordance with the law,? CJ added with anger.
Wasim Sajjad said that it was decided by the federal cabinet and he would show the policy during his arguments.
He said: ?The ministers never make any policy before the approval of the cabinet as previously we faced some problems due to the shortage of gas and then decided to make some RPPs, which could be able to work on dual fuel. The CJ regretted that all such experiments were made after getting loans.
?All such things were the prime duty of the minister but your client did not bother about the success of RPPs,? CJ added. Wasim Sajjad replied that everything was transparent and could be seen on the websites. The court adjourned the hearing.
Thursday, 24 November 2011
The RPO Sahiwal Khaliq Dad Lak, DPO Sahiwal Rana Ayaz Saleem, DPO Okara Dr Mohammad Abid Khan and DPO Pakpattan Jehan Zaib Nazir Khan briefed the sub-committee regarding the security steps being adopted by the police department in the region.
Sardar Zulfiqar Ali Khan Khosa, Senior Advisor, Chief Secretary Punjab Nasir Mehmood Khosa and Home Secretary Punjab Shahid Khan were also present in the briefing. On request of Sahiwal police officers, Police Chief agreed to enhance police force for security purposes during Moharram to foil any untoward incident.
While addressing on the occasion, Javed Iqbal directed the field police officers to keep regular surveillance of Madarasas. The IGP also directed that female volunteers should be deputed for proper checking at the entry points of women Majlis during the month. IGP further directed that police officers/officials should remain in the state of high alert till Chehlum. Later, DPO Pakpattan also briefed the Police Chief regarding the security measures taken by him for the annual Urs of Hazrat Baba Fareed Shakar Ganj.
kids reunited: Punjab Highway Patrol (PHP) reunited five missing children to their heirs.
According to the details, PHP Sukh Chaina Gujrat team found a nine-year-old lost child Mohammad Azam and reunited him to his uncle Shoukat Ali. PHP Sannatika Morr Bahawalnagar also found four children Muhammad Atif, Muhammad Asif, Muhammad Babar and Muhammad Sabir of Bahawalnagar.
PHP team traced out their parents and handed them over to their parents on Tuesday. PHP also rendered help to the 517 commuters across the province.
Speaking on the occasion, Prof. Dr. Muhammad Khaleeq-ur-Rahman said that the recent economic crunch has greatly affected the institutions of higher learning in Pakistan and there is a dire needed that noted companies like Warid should come forward and support quality education in Pakistan. He said that the world over universities have come forward by establishing their endowment funds with the help of their old students and corporate sector.
?Harvard University has an endowment fund worth billions of dollars,? he added.
However, he said that GCU is the only public sector university in Pakistan which has an active endowment fund giving scholarships to deserving students.
Warid Telecom Sales and Distribution Head Amer Aman Khan said that Warid is not just a telecom company but a ?life ka network? and the youth is the most important part of this network. He said that costs of education are rising every year and collective efforts are required to help the bright students of the society who can not afford their academic expenses. He said that GCU is an international standard institution in Pakistan and it is a privilege to support the bright students of such an esteemed educational institution.
He also pledged that the Warid would give more donations to the GCU Endowment Fund Trust to support its great cause.
With UN sanctions blocked by Chinese and Russian opposition, the United States, Britain and Canada rolled out measures aimed at pressing Iran to abandon its alleged nuclear weapons programme. Notably, the measures seek to limit the West?s links with Iran?s Central Bank - which has been key in funneling proceeds of energy sales to Iran?s government.
Iran?s energy sales are thought to account for around 70 percent of the government?s budget and are crucial to the broader Iranian economy.
?As long as Iran continues down this dangerous path, the United States will continue to find ways, both in concert with our partners and through our own actions, to isolate and increase the pressure upon the Iranian regime,? President Barack Obama said in a written statement. Iran can ?fulfill its international obligations... or it can continue to defy its responsibilities and face even more pressure and isolation,? he said.
The announcements came in response to an International Atomic Energy Agency report two weeks ago that came the closest yet to accusing Iran outright of seeking nuclear weapons. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, unveiling what she called a ?significant ratcheting up of pressure on Iran,? said the United States was targeting Iran?s energy sector directly for the first time.
Detailing sanctions against goods, services and technologies for the petrochemical sector, Clinton said ?there have to be consequences of such behavior.?
Iran, already hit with four rounds of UN sanctions, strongly denies its nuclear programme is geared towards making a bomb.
In tandem, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner issued a warning that any firms doing business with Iran?s banking sector could run the risk of funding illicit activities.
The angry Iran and its powerful ally Russia on Tuesday slammed new Western sanctions imposed on Tehran, saying they were illegal and futile.
The measures against Iran?s financial, petrochemical and energy sectors announced Monday by the United States, Britain and Canada amounted to no more than ?propaganda and psychological warfare,? Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said.
They were ?reprehensible? and would prove ineffective, he said.
Iran?s parliamentary speaker, Ali Larijani, warned Britain and other Western nations ?should wait for the Iranian reaction? to the sanctions.
Russia said the sanctions were ?unacceptable and against international law.?
Russia dismissed new US sanctions targeting Iran?s financial and energy sectors as ?unacceptable? and said they would damage any chances of renewing negotiations with Tehran over its nuclear programme.
?We again underline that the Russian Federation considers such extraterritorial measures unacceptable and contradictory to international law,? Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said in the statement.
?Such practices ... seriously complicate efforts for constructive dialogue with Tehran,? Lukashevich said.
The US government named Iran as ?a primary money laundering concern,? but stopped short of adopting fully blown sanctions against Iran?s central bank that could strain ties with European and Asian allies.
But, Geithner warned, ?financial institutions around the world should think hard about the risks of doing business with Iran.?
According to former US Treasury official, Avi Jorisch, Tehran has become increasingly dependent on the central bank to clear payments for energy sales as other banks have faced sanctions.
According to leaked US diplomatic cables, Iran had sought to use the central bank to transfer payments from as far afield as South Korea, France, Britain, Spain and Italy.
Britain was the first to make the sanctions public early Monday, with finance minister George Osborne saying London was cutting links with Iranian banks.
?We are ceasing all contact between the UK financial system and the Iranian banking system,? Osborne said.
?All UK credit and financial institutions are required to cease business relationships and transactions with all Iranian banks, including the Central Bank of Iran,? said a ministry statement.
A series of announcements followed, designed to show collective resolve as the West struggles to slow Iran?s nuclear march.
In Ottawa, House Leader Peter Van Loan announced measures that would ?block virtually all transactions with Iran, including those with the central bank.?
France went one step further, calling on international partners to impose a freeze of Iran?s central banks assets and an oil embargo, but did not announce sanctions on Monday.
With speculation about a possible Israeli military strike against Iran reaching fever pitch, Paris also warned of ?the added risk of a military escalation in the region.
?The consequences of which will be catastrophic for Iran and for the world.?
Diplomats said the European Union is eyeing sanctions on some 200 Iranian firms and individuals.
The new measures would be announced by EU foreign ministers meeting in Brussels on December 1, the sources said.
?More than 200 extra names are to be added to the list? of sanctions against Iran, said one EU diplomat who asked not to be identified.
Another diplomat said EU nations were debating whether to also target ?new areas and industry sectors? but that no decision had been taken as yet.
Asked if EU nations were split over such economic sanctions, the source said: ?They?re not divided over sanctions on entities and individuals.?
There was a muted market reaction to the news.
Oil prices in New York and London were pushed lower by fears about debt levels in the United States and Europe, although gasoline and gas prices in New York were higher.
?Ijaz? behaviour suggests that he is either an epically erratic operator or someone who from the outset was attempting to subvert Haqqani,? wrote Jeffrey Goldberg, a Bloomberg View columnist and a national correspondent for the Atlantic.
Questioned on Monday about the affair, State Department spokesperson Victoria Nucland said, ?I don?t have anything to say on this specific issue. Our understanding is that Ambassador Haqqani is home on consultation. So I would refer you to the Pakistani government with regard to his consultations and what he is specifically up to.
?You know, we always expect that Pakistan?s leaders will act in accordance with Pakistan?s constitution and in a manner respectful of its democratic institutions. So beyond that, I don?t have any specific comments on this issue.?
In his article, columnist Goldberg also accused Pakistan?s ISI of attempting to subvert democracy ?as opposed to, say, winning wars against India, or helping the U.S. defeat the Haqqani terrorist network in Afghanistan?.
Goldberg wrote, ?Haqqani (no relation to the Haqqanis of terrorism fame) has long been known as a pro-democracy activist and a critic of the army?s meddling in Pakistan?s civilian affairs. As a scholar (he was a professor at Boston University before taking his current post), he wrote the definitive book on the Pakistani military?s unholy alliance with jihadists, ?Pakistan: Between Mosque and Military.?
About Mansoor Ijaz, the article said, he ?keeps turning up in the most unlikely places. In the 1990s, he has said, he was involved in discussions in which the Sudanese government offered to deliver Osama bin Laden to justice, a claim denied by Clinton administration officials. In 2006, he suggested that he knew of evidence that Iran had already produced a nuclear weapon.
?But the ISI apparently sees him as very credible. And they found in his op-ed a chance to move against Haqqani. The spy agency quickly fomented an anti-Haqqani campaign among the more pliant of Pakistan?s newspapers (the ISI is also known to keep journalists directly on its payroll), and Zardari was forced to recall Haqqani to Islamabad. Haqqani denies drafting the memo, and has already offered to resign, in order to protect Pakistan?s civilian president.?
Goldberg said that during his recent e-mail exchanges with Haqqani, the Pakistani envoy ?raised some obvious questions about Ijaz and his motivations. Ijaz says he is a critic of the ISI and claims to be opposed to military rule in Pakistan. Yet, according to reports in the Pakistani press, he recently met with General Ahmed Shuja Pasha, the head of the ISI, and turned over his BlackBerry...
?It?s not at all clear how this scandal will end, but if it results in Haqqani?s removal as ambassador, it would be a minor tragedy for an already tragic country. Military rule has brought Pakistan nothing but violence, stagnation and political repression.?
Hussain Haqqani has been insisting that he has nothing to do with the memo that was sent to former US military chief Admiral Mike Mullen. The memo was reportedly sent to Mike Mullen by Mansoor Ijaz, but later it transpired that it was sent through former US national security advisor James L. Jones. The memo accuses Pakistan army chief General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani of planning to bring down the government in the aftermath of the raid on Osama bin Laden on May 2. It asks Mike Mullen to use his influence to stop it. It says ?the government will allow the US to propose names of officials to investigate bin Laden?s presence in Pakistan, facilitate American attempts to target militants like Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri and Taliban chief Mullah Omar, and allow the US greater oversight of Pakistan?s nuclear weapons?.
Haqqani in his book ?Pakistan between Mosque and military?, had analysed and traced the origins of the relationships between Islamist groups and military, and disparaging Pakistan and its army. One would not know on whose behest the memo was written to Mike Mullen, which would only be known after the investigation. However, the CIA hand behind this memo to create fissures between the civil and military leadership cannot be ruled out.
Indeed, Ijaz Mansoor is as dubious character as Hussain Haqqani is. However, there is a perception that even if Haqqani can prove that he is not involved in memo scandal, his role in issuing visas to CIA operatives and his book in which he demonised Pakistan and its institutions were enough to deserve his sack. Having said that, the US statement in the wake of accusations against Hussain Haqqani is intriguing. The US State Department stressed the need to continue the democratic process in Pakistan, when Ambassador Hussain Haqqani had just left for Pakistan three days ago to appear before a parliamentary committee to try and put a lid on the ?memogate? scandal. ?We clearly support the democratically elected government of Pakistan, as well as its constitutional processes,? State Department spokesman Mark Toner told a briefing in Washington.
After outgoing US top soldier Admiral Mike Mullen?s initial denial of having received the controversial top secret memo, Pakistani-American Mansoor Ijaz?s disclosure lost much of its credence with the Pakistani public, which anyway had not taken very seriously his article in the British daily Financial Times. The very premise his memo act was hinged on was too incongruous with the prevalent public mood at the time when it was purportedly undertaken to be plausible. In the Abbottabad American commandos raid?s aftermath, in the eyes of public outrage was the military, not the civilian leadership which indeed had vehemently come to the military?s defence in the face of hostile outpourings in its failure to prevent this foreign aggression on our territory.
It is just unthinkable in such conditions the military would have even imagined of takeover. His article thus didn?t cut much ice with an incredulous public. And those familiar with his background and proclivities dismissed it as merely a mischievous piece aimed at self-aggrandisement and self-promotion. Of course, there could be other characters involved in it, which would be known during the inquiry.
It really is puzzling to comprehend, in the first place, what instigation or provocation was it that impelled Mansoor Ijaz to break the confidentiality of an act that on his own assertion was undertaken in utter secrecy, to which, apart from him, only two other Pakistani personalities were a privy and no Pakistani institution, including the foreign office, was in the loop. Then what was it that led him to spill the beans and after so many months? It doesn?t look quite a straight matter. The firm positions that the Pakistan military leadership has taken on certain issues, particularly on a military operation in North Waziristan, has put Washington in a huff, as it expects unarguably not defiance but obedience from Pakistan?s every state arm.
An independent high-level, high-powered probe under the Supreme Court?s oversight must be instituted unfailingly to know the truth and the whole truth. The probe must have investigative access to the top. There can be no holy cows when it comes to the nation?s sovereignty, solidarity and dignity. And no diplomatic niceties should be allowed to stand in the way of unraveling the entire truth. A complete harmony between the state?s civil power and military power is of utmost import to face up to the dire challenges confronting the nation internally and externally.
Wednesday, 23 November 2011
The war crimes have been committed by all 3 parties. so all of us must accept the fact that whenever Army is used or in war situation, human rights issue arise, Kashmir, Afghanistan, Tribal areas of Pakistan etc are examples.
by the way all of us must behave well in blogs/forums, i have seen folks abusing and using dirty language. i hope we all must use our arguments instead of swearing at each other.
i hopeful that india and pakistan will have good relations in future
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan appointed a former information minister and human rights campaigner as its ambassador to the United States on Wednesday, moving quickly to fill a post left vacant after Husain Haqqani’s resignation.
“The prime minister is pleased to appoint Sherry Rehman as the new ambassador to the United States,” said the spokesman for the prime minister’s office, Akram Shaheedi.
Rehman is veteran member of President Asif Ali Zardari’s Pakistan People’s Party and a staunch proponent of civilian rule.
Former ambassador Husain Haqqani resigned on Tuesday, days after a Pakistani-American businessman accused him of being behind a memo that said the military was plotting a coup and appealed to the Pentagon to help ward it off.
Haqqani denied any connection with the memo.
Rehman, a former journalist, was information minister for Zardari. She resigned in March 2009 over a crisis in which the government was refusing to reinstate judges sacked under the military regime of President Pervez Musharraf.
Rehman has been a strong advocate of women’s and minority rights and faced death threats for her calls to reform the country’s blasphemy laws.
Haqqani resigned on Tuesday, days after a Pakistani-American businessman accused him of being behind a memo that accused the Pakistani military of plotting a coup in May.
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