Saturday, April 11, 2009

Terrorists in Pakistan real threat for US: Holbrooke

ISLAMAB:Deteriorating Pakistan situation is of vital importance for Afghanistan peace, US special envoy Richard Holbrooke said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal.

"If Afghanistan had the best government on earth, a drug-free culture and no corruption it would still be unstable if the situation in Pakistan remained as it is today.

That is an indisputable fact, and that is the core of the dilemma that the Western nations, the NATO alliance, face today," Holbrook said.

Take the dilemma a logical step further, I suggest. The terrorists who threaten America are in Pakistan, but the US fights the Afghan Taliban, who don't. "That's a fair point," added Holbrooke, "but the reason for fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan is clear: The Taliban are the frontrunners for al Qaeda. If they succeed in Afghanistan, without any shadow of a doubt, al Qaeda would move back into Afghanistan, set up a larger presence, recruit more people and pursue its objectives against the United States even more aggressively."

Among Pakistani politicians, Zardari speaks most clearly about the threat emanating from the country's west, noting the assassination in late 2007 of his wife, former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. But he is politically weak, and sounds disinclined to push the military to wage war against the Pashtun tribes in the mountains.

Praising President Zardari's efforts he said, "the president deserves credit for his personal courage" in holding the job. He welcomes the "statesmanlike" resolution of a recent political feud with rival Nawaz Sharif over the reinstatement of judges. The fight could have resulted, he says, in "civil war on the one hand or assassinations on the other."

"We are well aware of these accusations," says Holbrooke. "But our experience with [Pakistani Army chief, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez] Kayani does not support them. We deal with him with respect and with the assumption that he is a serious person doing the best he can under difficult circumstances."

Quetta down Peshawar in thrill-packed Buzkashi clash

PESHAWAR: Three timely goals by Salam Behalwan steered Quetta to beat young Peshawar side by 9-6 in the thrill-packed Buzkashi match played here at Karnal Sher Shaheed Stadium.

NWFP Minister for Sports Syed Aqil Shah was the chief guest on this occasion and witnessed the matchless skills of the players on their horseback.

Secretary of the Pakistan Buzkashi Federation Zahir Hussain Sarwari, vice president Dr Abdul Baqi and other office-bearers of the federation were also present on the occasion amid a large number of spectators.

The skills of the riders and horses enthralled the spectators who responded with cheers.

The two famous Buzkashi players, Salam Behalwan and Muhammad Jan Behalwan, were the pick of the pack, which opened the account for Quetta team when they took the calf from the circle time and again and dropped after a busted ride of 200 yards. Both scored three individual goals each for Quetta in the first 10th minutes.

Peshawar, led by young strikers comprising Musa Jan, Shamas and Haji Abdullah reduced the margin in the next five minutes by scoring two goals each to make the tally 6-4.

Later, for Peshawar Najmuddin, who also delighted the spectators with his skilled riding, scored two quick goals to make the tally 9-6. In the dying moments both teams tried hard but mostly both defended the circle specified for the goal.

Shutter down strike across Balochistan, 10 killed

QUETTA: The Baloch Liberation Army (BLA) has claimed responsibility for the killing of six people whose bodies were recovered from Quetta's Margat area on Saturday, DawnNews quoted a BLA spokesman as saying.

Also on Saturday, unknown armed men shot dead a Balochistan Constabulary personnel on Quetta's Jail Road, police told DawnNews.

Latest reports said three more people were killed in firing incidents, one on Quetta's Kirani road and another on the city's Sikri road. While two others were injured during an exchange of fire in the city's Jinnah town.

A shutter down strike was being observed in Quetta, Khuzdar, Kalat, Panjgur, Awaran, Kharan, Noshki, Turbat and other parts of Balochistan against the recent killings of three Baloch nationalist leaders.

Strict security measures were in place across Balochistan to avert any untoward incident as political activists blocked the Quetta-Karachi national highway at Kalat, police sources said.

Separately, police detonated an explosive device planted at a roadside on the Quetta-Karachi RCD highway in Khuzdar district's Wadh tehsil.

In Turbat, a mob set the Pakistam Muslim League - Quaid's office, the district nazim's office, an old museum and a bank on fire. While in Noshki, the new district jail building was set alight, police told DawnNews.

Violence continued in other parts of Balochistan as well. In Dera Bugti's Loti area, three rockets were fired at a security forces checkpoint, officials told DawnNews. However, no casualties were reported from this incident.

Meanwhile, an angry mob set on fire a zakat office and other official buildings in Panjgur.

Separately, the Balochistan Bar Association will boycott courts across the province on April 13 on the call of President Supreme Court Bar Association Ali Ahmed Kurd to condemn the nationalists' killings, Baz Mohammad Kakar of the BBA said.

The BBA has also demanded the unconditional release of all detained political workers and the recovery of Balochistan's missing persons, Kakar said.