Saturday, January 3, 2009

Taliban’s issues matrimonial ‘fatwa’ in Pakistan

lusty Taliban’s issues matrimonial ‘fatwa’ in Pakistan
Taliban has now issued a new dictum in the areas under their sway in Pakistan’s troubled NWFP asking parents of grown up daughters to marry them to militants. Their cadre are reported to have blown up or torched over 100 girls’ schools in Swat.
TALIBAN NOWADAYS is busy searching life partners for its activists. This so-called new marriage campaign is being run in most of the areas in Pakistan’s troubled NWFP through regular announcements from mosques. If you thought that Taliban is in a transitional mode, then you are on the wrong track. This campaign is one of the latest attacks on female identity by the Taliban.Taliban has been known for its tough and rigid attitude towards the fairer sex and treats the females as second category citizens. The latest diktat issued by Taliban says that the parents of grown up daughters should own the responsibility of marrying them to Taliban activists who are fighting a ‘Jihad’. They have even threatened the families to abide by the orders or else be ready to face dire consequences. If parents did not act accordingly, the girls would be forcibly married off.This order to forcefully marrying girls to Taliban activists is seen as an extension of Taliban’s crusade against female freedom in the areas under its sway in North West Pakistan. This inhuman diktat came to light when some of the affected women dared to approach authorities to seek help.However, it is said that Pakistan government seems to have no control over north-western Swat valley which is considered a stronghold of the local Taliban. The situation has gone out of control and Taliban enjoys the status of an undeclared government. In the backdrop of this matrimonial diktat recently, Taliban had banned girls from going to schools and followers of Pakistani Taliban commander Maulana Fazlullah have since been reported to have blown up or torched over 100 girls’ schools in Swat.Taliban have barred women from going to markets and have threatened them of harsh consequences if found outside their homes without identity cards and a male relative accompanying them. In case of couples, they are to carry with them marriage certificates to escape punishment.As if all such brutalities imposed by Taliban in the last decade were not enough, they have come out with the order against female education and forceful marriage with the terrorists. This would definitely hamper the prospects of those families where the bread owners are female members.

Peshawarites protest prolonged power cuts

PESHAWAR: The hours long suspension of power sparked protest demonstrations across the provincial metropolis on Saturday, as Peshawar Electric Supply Company (Pesco) has failed to ensure uninterrupted electricity supply to consumers.

Like other parts of the country, the people took to the streets against loadshedding and increase in the power tariff.

Residents of Karimpura held a protest demonstration against the unprecedented power outages in winter season. Abdul Wahid Qadri, nazim of the union council, led the demonstration. The protesters chanted slogans against Wapda authorities and government

Speaking on the occasion, Qadri said 18 hours loadshedding on a daily basis had paralysed the routine life of Peshawarites.

“If the government cannot provide electricity to consumers in winter season, how will the authorities manage to ensure power supply in summer when the demand increases manifold,” he said.

He demanded of the government to resign if it could not resolve energy crisis, which, he said, had brought life to a standstill.

He went on to say that they did not want to disrupt peace in the city but if Wapda authorities failed to end the loadshedding they would besiege Wapda House and would also stop paying the electricity bills.

Residents of Charsadda Road, Pajagi Road and Kohat Road also held separate protest demonstrations against the outages. The demonstrators chanted slogans against the government and demanded of the rulers to resign or immediately solve the problem.

It merits a mention here that before start of the month of Muharramul Haram Wapda authorities had assured that electricity to imambargahs would not be disrupted; however, entire city including sensitive areas have been plunged into darkness.

The Shia community is facing power outages, especially at nights when there several Majalis gatherings are held at all the major imambargahs across the city.

The long hours power outages might lead to an untoward incident in the imambargahs due to prevalent law and order, Syed Moizul Hasnain said while talking to ‘The News’.

He added that miscreants could take advantage of power outages and carry out an attack like the one that Peshawarites recently witnessed in Koocha Risaldar where at least 35 persons were killed.

Our correspondent adds from Nowshera: Condemning the ongoing prolonged power outages, Action Committee Tajiran, Anjuman-i-Shehriyan and Citizen Front Saturday threatened to observe a complete strike and sit-in if the routine was not changed forthwith.

The citizens complained that President Asif Ali Zardari had clearly announced to abolish the hours-long loadshedding but Wapda was defying the orders of the high authority. “Rather the span of power outages has been increased to enhance the pain and pangs of poor consumers.”

Doctor declares alive infant dead

Sunday, January 04, 2009

KOHAT: Staff of the Women & Children Hospital here Saturday declared an infant dead, but the child was found alive when examined by a private doctor.Shah Wali Khan took his one-month-old grandson to the nearby Women & Children Hospital in a serious condition where a child specialist examined the infant and declared him dead. However, the grandfather was not satisfied with the doctor’s observation and took the newborn to another doctor of the same hospital who refused to examine the child, saying that he don’t want to go against his senior.Later, the child was taken to a nearby private clinic, because the man was sure that his grandson was breathing. Child Specialist Dr Mehar Ali found that the infant was alive.The baby, currently admitted to the Intensive Care Unit of a private clinic, is said to be in stable condition now.Dr Mehar Ali, while talking to this scribe, said doctors should perform their duties with utmost honesty and dedication, as negligence on their part could not be compensated.Shah Wali demanded strict action against the staff of the hospital. When contacted, DMS of the hospital Dr Hussain Jan said action would be taken against the staffers concerned.

6.2 quake shakes northeast Afghanistan, Pakistan

Officials say a strong earthquake has hit northeastern Afghanistan, a quake that rattled the capital Kabul for about a minute.
The U.S. Geological Survey says Sunday's quake had a preliminary magnitude of 6.2 and was located in the northeastern province of Badakhshan in the Hindu Kush mountains. The area is often hit by earthquakes but is sparsely populated.A Badakhshan police official, Fazel Ahmad Naderi, says the quake was strong but noted that his cell phone still worked, meaning that towers had not been toppled. The quake hit about 12:50 a.m. local time and Naderi says he won't know about damage until daylight.The quake rattled buildings in Kabul, about 160 miles southwest of the epicenter.

Rain, snowfall drop temperature in various cities.........
Peshawar—The mercury dropped to minus 10 in Kalam, Istor and Gopez areas as widespread rains and snowfall on hilltops were reported in most parts of the NWFP including the Provincial Metropolis here on Saturday. According to the Provincial met office, the current rainy spell would continue for the next two days. Most of the link roads were closed in Chitral, Galyat, Swat and Kaghan valley due to heavy snowfall in these areas. Talking to APP here on Saturday, an official of Provincial met office said that the westerly cold winds would continue its impact in the upper parts of country during the next two days. He said that heavy downpour was expected in NWFP, Kashmir, Punjab and Balochistan during the next 48 hours. The mercury remained at four degree centigrade in Peshawar on Saturday, minus two in Parachinar, 8 in Bannu, 3 in Balakot, 7 in Chirat, minus 1 in Dir, 0 degree in Chitral and Darosh, 4 in Taimargara, Dera Ismail Khan and Kohat, 2 in Abbotabad, 6 in Kohat, minus 7 in Skardu and minus 1in Gilgit.Snowfall started in Northern Areas on Friday night disrupted communication system besides adding to other miseries in different areas including Phandar, Yasin and Ashkoman, Hunza and Nagar. While the Met office has forecast the spell could continue for some more days in these areas. According to details, these areas received from 2-3 feet snow and in some areas, road access was blocked to Gilgit.
Taliban leader arrested in Pakistan - officials

PESHAWAR, Pakistan, Jan 3 (Reuters) - Pakistani security agencies on Saturday arrested a senior Afghan Taliban official who had been released from prison in Afghanistan in 2007 in exchange for a kidnapped Italian journalist, intelligence officials said.Ustad Yasar, who headed a Taliban information wing, was arrested in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar, they said."Our security forces raided a house on a tip-off and arrested Ustad Yasar," said an intelligence official who declined to be identified.The official said Yasar had been detained because he was a militant commander and involved in Taliban activities.Yasar was among several Taliban leaders released by the Afghan government in March 2007 in exchange for kidnapped Italian journalist Daniele Mastrogiacomo, a Taliban spokesman said at the time.Another Pakistani security official said Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar had sent Yasar to mediate in a dispute between Taliban factions in northwest Pakistan.
Yasar was first arrested in Pakistan in 2005 and handed over to the Afghan government.Relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan, both important U.S. allies, have come under strain in recent years over Afghan complaints that Pakistan is not doing enough to stop Taliban insurgents operating from Pakistani soil.Pakistan officially stopped supporting the hardline Islamists after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.Pakistani security forces are battling Pakistani Taliban on its side of the border while Western and Afghan government forces fight the Taliban on the Afghan side.
New cases of Hepatitis, HIV detected in Peshawar
PESHAWAR, Jan 3 (APP): Frontier Foundation Welfare Hospital has detected more than 1000 new Hepatitis and HIV AIDS cases in NWFP and presently 1600 children are under treatment for various blood diseases particularly Thalassaemia in the hospital.

A spokesperson of Frontier Foundation, Samina Ahmad told APP in an exclusive chat here on Saturday.

She said that Frontier Foundation in collaboration with the Chief Minister Amir Haider Khan Hoti’s Welfare Organization Tanzeem Lisail Wal Mahroom have planned free medical camps all across the Province besides providing free medicines to the needy people.

The mobile laboratories of the foundation conducted 103 blood tests regarding Hepatitis‑B, C and HIV AIDS and Malaria. The specialist doctors of Cardiology, ENT, Pediatrics, Orthopedics and General Medicine personally examined patients and conducted screening tests of around 300 persons, she said, adding that free laboratory tests were conducted and free medicines were distributed among the patients.

Samina said that Frontier Foundation was providing healthy and screened blood to children suffering from thalaseamia, hemophilia and other blood related diseases under treatment in various public and private sector hospitals.

Moreover, she went on to add that the foundation has provided free of cost blood bags to 49,853 patients. She said that currently 100,000 children were suffering from Thalaseamia in Pakistan and every year 5000 new children were added to this figures.

She said that the blood of both the female and male should be tested before marriage in order to protect them from many complications and diseases in future.

Frontier Foundation has planned to hold a total of 87 free medical camps in different districts of the Province in the current financial year, she informed, adding that so far these camps were held in Kohistan, Batagram, Manshera, Abbotabad, Haripur, Chitral, Upper Dir, Swat, Charsadda and Mardan.

Similarly, she informed that 17 free medical camps would be held in Peshawar, five in Nowshera, three each in Upper Dir, Dera Ismail Khan and Bannu, two in Karak, Swabi and Lakki Marwat and one in Tank district.

At the venue of the camps, posters, banners and publicity material regarding Thalassaemia were displayed to create awareness among masses regarding this deadly disease, she told.

Moreover, Samina said that video films from Thalassaemia International Federation were also on the display as part of FF Thalassaemia campaign.

During these camps, Dr. Atif of Frontier Foundation informed the children that Thalassaemia is a genetic blood disorder, transmitted to the offspring from their parents. Due to this disease, hemoglobin, which is contained in every RBC, is abnormally produced so the RBCs are misshapen and are broken down soon after their formation.

This leads to a drop in Hb% and the resulting anemia needs to be treated with blood transfusion, he added.

Moreover, he added that about Thalassaemia, he said, 5‑7 percent of our total population (approx 8‑10 million) are carrying genes of this disorder and are known as Thalassaemia minor. Thalaseamia minor patients do not need blood transfusion themselves but due to a by chance marriage of two such persons, they may give birth to a child with Thalassaemia major, who will need regular blood transfusion for the rest of their life.

He informed that due to a high carrier rate in our society more than 5000 children with Thalassaemia major are born every year in the country. As a rough estimate, he said, at any given time, more than 100,000 Thalassaemia major children may be found in our country, getting halfhearted treatment with infrequent blood transfusions and inadequate iron chelating therapy.

For optimum treatment every Thalassaemic child will need frequent transfusions of screened packed red cells and regular iron chelating therapy which will cost more than Rs. 6,000.
Pakistan expresses grave concern over attacks in Gaza

ISLAMABAD, Jan. 3 -- Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari Saturday said Pakistan expressed grave concern over the attacks in Gaza and called for cessation of the attacks against unarmed and innocent Palestinians.

Talking to a Special Envoy of Iran Gholamhossein Nozari here at the President's House, Zardari said the attacks were violative of the United Nations Charter.

The News Network International news agency quoted Zardari as saying that the Pakistani government had also urged the international community to bring to end the violence against the Palestinians and promote a peaceful, just and durable settlement of the Palestinian issue in accordance with relevant United Nation Security Council resolutions.

Gholamhossein Nozari delivered a letter from the President of Iran Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

He said that the recent attack and blockade of Gaza by Israeli forces had posed a new threat to peace and stability in the region that called for a concerted action by the Muslim countries.

He said the Palestinians particularly in Gaza were facing great hardships due to blockade and the international community must act to alleviate their sufferings.

Gholamhussein Nozari also highlighted the close relations between Iran and Pakistan and the need to translate them in greater economic cooperation between the two countries.

He also renewed the Iranian President's invitation to Zardari to visit Iran, which he said would further cement the close relations between the two countries.