Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Obama to attend 9/11 anniversary events

The White House says President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama will attend events in New York City, Pennsylvania and Washington in September to mark the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
The attacks killed nearly 3,000 people at the World Trade Center in lower Manhattan, at the Pentagon and near Shanksville, Pa.
Spokesman Jay Carney said Tuesday that Obama will pay tribute to those who were lost. He also will honor those who responded on Sept. 11, 2001, and who have served in harm's way in the decade since then.
Vice President Joe Biden will help dedicate a memorial at Shanksville to the passengers of Flight 93 on Sept. 10. That United Airlines flight crashed in a southwestern Pennsylvania field after passengers confronted their terrorist hijackers.

Man detained after jumping White House fence

A man who jumped the White House fence on Tuesday was apprehended by uniformed Secret Service officers who approached him with guns drawn.

The incident was broadcast live on CNN's "John King USA" program, which was produced from the North Lawn of the White House on Tuesday night.
After the man jumped the fence, armed officers ordered him to lie down and then handcuffed him before taking him into custody. A backpack thrown over the fence and lying on the ground nearby was being checked by security officers, who locked down the area as a precaution.
The incident ended shortly after 9 p.m. ET when authorities issued an all-clear directive at the White House.
There was no immediate information on whether the intruder had represented a security threat.
According to the Secret Service, the detained man is James Dirk Crudup, 41, who is homeless. He will be charged with unlawful entry and contempt of court because he previously had been ordered to stay away from the White House due to past incidents, the agency said.

US, Pakistan, Afghanistan officials hold trilateral meeting

Senior officials from Pakistan, Afghanistan and the United States met in Islamabad to discuss the peace-making efforts with the Taliban.
The core group of the three countries was formed in May this year to push the reconciliation process forward in Afghanistan.
The trilateral meeting took place in the backdrop of simmering tensions between Pakistan and the United States. Relations between the two countries were further strained last month when Washington withheld $800 million in military assistance to Pakistan after Islamabad expelled the American military trainers and restricted the movement of CIA operatives in the country.
At a joint news conference, the Afghan deputy foreign minister said lasting peace in his country is not possible without help.
His remarks highlight frustration on part of Kabul over the slow pace of reconciliation process apparently due to tensions between Pakistan and the US.
Pakistan and the US also appear to have differences on the issue of peace-making with the Taliban.
Islamabad insists that it is being deliberately kept out of the process by Washington to undermine its role in Afghanistan.
Analysts believe that the row between Islamabad and Kabul may complicate the matters in Afghanistan.

This was the forth meeting of Pakistan, Afghanistan and the US in last three months but the three countries have so far made little progress towards achieving any tangible results.

Israel suffers summer of economic discontent

By Kevin Connolly
BBC News, Jerusalem

It is hot on August afternoons in Tel Aviv and even beneath the shade of the trees that line the elegant Boulevard Rothschild the air is sultry and still. But something is stirring in the summer heat.
A tented village of protest now stretches up the narrow strip of land than runs between the two lines of traffic on the busy street.
There are angry placards denouncing the government and complaining about the price of housing, of student life and of the most basic foods.
The atmosphere is Tahrir Square protests meets Woodstock, meets last-year's-camping holiday in the South of France.
A young man looks up from a group conducting a sing-song led by a bare-chested protestor playing a lyrical folksong on the balalaika.
"Welcome to the Revolution," he shouts.
Corruption claims
Here and there you will find leather sofas or low coffee tables neatly arranged between the rows of tents - the chattering classes have taken to the streets.
And, as we wander around chatting to the demonstrators, a young woman offers me an ice-cream from a box donated by a multi-national food corporation. It seems the revolution is to be sponsored too.
But there is no mistaking the depth of the anger driving the demonstrations. And this is the kind of protest that governments hate.
It is spontaneous - not the work of trade unions' organisers or opposition politicians. And it is not driven by concrete demands for specific concessions, but by a deeper and more generalised sense of discontent.
It is not about the absolute strength of the economy either - Israel's growth and unemployment numbers are pretty good.
The protests really are about how hard life has become for ordinary Israelis - the salt-of-the-earth, backbone of the country working and middle class families who work hard, pay their taxes, and uncomplainingly do their national service in the army.
They want to know how they have ended up in a situation where they have Swiss prices and Greek salaries.
And they are suspicious that corrupt politicians and greedy oligarchs bear a share of the blame.
Cottage cheese crisis
The catalyst for this summer of discontent was a protest that started on Facebook over the price of cottage cheese.
That is not quite as eccentric as it sounds. To Israelis, cottage cheese is not just the gloopy, velvety, earthy, dairy product that you find in the chiller compartments of grocery stores all over the world.
To Israelis it is the cornerstone of the traditional breakfast, the stuff you are weaned on, the food you miss when you're travelling abroad.
So an angry, but largely online, protest movement began as Israelis noticed how much more their cottage cheese cost than its American, French or British equivalents.
Manufacturers and shops were shamed into lowering prices - at least temporarily - and Israel celebrated a small victory for the little guy.
The Israeli celebrity chef, Yisrael Aharoni, who lives in a penthouse apartment overlooking the tent city says cottage cheese has an importance to Israelis that outsiders may find hard to appreciate.
"It is the taste of home," he says, "I don't think there's a home in Israel that doesn't have cottage cheese at breakfast."
And he is not surprised that the issue awakened a deeper feeling of discontent among ordinary Israelis.
He told me: "I am excited about it - I really hope and I do believe that it's going to bring a change. We haven't done it for so long and the excuse was always that our political situation was hard enough, but we can't buy this excuse any more."
Tent cities
The focus then began to shift to the deep-seated problems in Israel's housing market and especially its chronic shortage of affordable starter homes.
The problems are deep-seated and structural. Uniquely among developed nations, most land in Israel is a nationalised asset, owned and controlled by bureaucratic state agencies - a legacy of the leftist, collectivist instincts of Israel's founders.
It may have made sound strategic sense in 1948, but it does not help people who want more houses built now.
And the planning and approvals process too is the stuff of nightmares.
So it is tough for young couples and lots of Israeli families spend a cripplingly high proportion of their salaries on rents or mortgages.
The cottage cheese protesters had shown the way, and so the tent cities were born - the biggest by far being the one in Tel Aviv.
Gideon Levy, a columnist on the influential, liberal newspaper, Ha'aretz, argues that the sudden upsurge of Israeli protest is connected to the Arab spring.
He is aware that some outsiders dismiss the Israeli protest movement on the grounds that where Arab revolutionaries were fighting for freedom of speech and the right to vote, Israel's are fighting for cheaper dairy products.
He prefers to speak of a butterfly effect, transmitting the energy of protest from Tunisia to Egypt to Israel.
"The goals are different and the system is different," he told me. "But the conviction is that crowds can count and that people have a choice. I truly believe that Egypt has given us a lesson."
Growing unease
The Israeli government has looked a little rattled by this sudden sense of malaise - Prime Minister Benjamin Nethanyahu postponed a trip to Europe and a rather hasty-looking package of reforms has been assembled including a promise to build more student housing.
But putting the genie of discontent back in the bottle will not be easy.
Back at tent city, you get the impression that everyone to some extent is having their own revolution; one woman assured me that it was all about the growing difficulty of making a living as a street performance artist.
At one level that makes the protestors weak.
They don't have clearly defined objectives so it will be hard for them to argue that they've won and that their objectives have been achieved at any given moment.
But that creates an even bigger headache for the cabinet. It now faces an uncomfortable summer dealing with the difficulty that all governments dread the most - a vague, but dangerous and spreading sense that all is not well.

Senate’s body seeks briefing on Baluchistan situation

Standing Committee of Senate on Human Rights has expressed its apprehension over the present situation of Baluchistan and called the Secretary Interior, representative of provincial government and IG Frontier Constabulary for detailed briefing in the next meeting of the committee.

The meeting of the committee was held at Parliamentary House here on Tuesday. Chairman of the committee Senator Afrasiyab Khattak presided over the meeting.

Committee has taken serious view on not presenting the report regarding violence against journalist Umer Cheema and instructed government that the report might be submitted in next meeting. SP Islamabad Tahir Alam told the committee that warrant of a suspect Imtiaz were issued in this regard. He said that agencies were not involved in Cheema’s case because their method of conducting operation is quite different and they do not leave any evidences behind the case. The data of all mobile companies is being scrutinized to resolve the case as early as possible.

He said that NADRA is supporting to the culprits, as it did not provide the report regarding fingerprints of the wrongdoers from 2009 to date.

The committee’s chairman Senator Afrasiyab Khattak showed his disappointment over the poor performance of government functionaries by saying it seems that the country would has to call UNO for the protection of the people. Hue said that their regretful functioning has put a big question mark on them.

On the occasion the committee also took review on the violation of human rights in the jails of the country. The chairman asked the members to monitor the situation in jails in their respective provinces and inform the committee about the problems faced by the prisoner s as well as jail officials.

Karachi situation a big question mark over govt performance

Deteriorating law and order situation and increase in target killings in Karachi is a big question mark on the performance of both Federal and Sindh provincial government.
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The people who are destroying peace of Karachi are the enemies of Pakistan. This was stated by President Pakistan Muslim League and Chairman Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs Senator Salim Saifullah Khan in a press release issued from PML Central Secretariat here on Tuesday.

He said that target killing in Karachi has destroyed its peace and the government has lifted the people of Karachi over the blessing of target killers. He has urged upon the government to call upon all parties conference over Karachi situation and prepare comprehensive strategy to combat target killings.

He said that Karachi is hub of economic activity and big industrial city of Pakistan and deteriorating law and order situation has badly affected business activities in Karachi. The President PML while showing concern has said that target killings in Karachi has engulfed the lives of more than 800 innocent people from January 2011 till date.

He said the government has completely failed to control law and order situation in the country and the people of Karachi are caught by fear due to target killings and the government has become a silent spectator over situation of Karachi. He has said that Pakistan is passing through its critical phase and if the rulers and politicians like us would not learn from their mistakes, the future of Pakistan would become endanger.

He demanded from MQM, PPP and ANP to quit blame game and take all measures to bring normalcy and peace to Karachi.

9 girls rescued from India's red light district

Obama signs debt bill into law

Treasury won an immediate reprieve of $400 billion in new borrowing authority Tuesday, as the Senate gave final approval to a hotly contested debt and deficit-reduction agreement hammered out with the White House Sunday night.


The bipartisan 74-26 roll call followed a 269-161 vote in the House Monday evening and the bill was quickly signed by President Barack Obama, ending an unprecedented, hard-edged political struggle that pushed the nation to the brink of default.



Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0811/60503.html#ixzz1Ttw96hzD

Pakistan's quick response to charges by China that militants involved in attacks in Xinjiang had trained on its soil

Pakistan's quick response to charges by China that militants involved in attacks in Xinjiang had trained on its soil shows the importance of its ties with Beijing, but it could be a mistake for Islamabad if it relies too much on China.

Pakistan immediately dispatched Lieutenant-General Ahmed Shuja Pasha, director general of Pakistan's powerful Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) spy agency, to Beijing after Islamic militants mounted a weekend attack that left 11 people dead in the western region of Xinjiang, according to media reports.

While the ISI declined to confirm the trip, Western diplomats and Pakistani analysts agreed that the attacks would likely be at the top of any agenda.

"We cannot allow Pakistani territory to be used for any activities against any neighbour, especially a close ally like China," said Mushahid Hussain Sayed, Chairman of the Pakistan-China Institute.

"There are strong ties between Pakistan and China, and we are cooperating closely on this issue."

Pasha's speedy trip was a clear sign of Pakistan's priorities.

The United States rarely gets that level of cooperation when it presses Pakistan on militants operating in its border regions. American officials for years said al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, killed in a U.S. raid in Pakistan in May, was hiding in the country.

Pakistan often responded with demands for specific, actionable intelligence before it would consider investigating.

Islamabad makes no secret of its preference for China over the United States as a military patron, calling Beijing an "all-weather" ally in contrast to Washington's supposedly fickle friendship.

The Pakistani foreign ministry issued a statement on Monday extending "full support" to China.

China is a major investor in predominantly Muslim Pakistan in areas such as telecommunications, ports and infrastructure. The countries are linked by a Chinese-built road pushed through Pakistan's northern mountains.

Trade with Pakistan is worth almost $9 billion a year for Pakistan, and China is its top arms supplier.

But all that matters only up to a point.

"Pakistan wants to play its own game by creating a front against the United States," said Hasan Askari-Rizvi, an independent political analyst.

"That will not happen. ... Now China has the same complaint which the United States has with Pakistan."

Barry Sautman, a professor at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, said that China, like the United States, wanted Pakistan to help it control Islamist militancy. But it is frustrated by the chaotic nature of Pakistani governance, and its inability to control militants or militant-friendly elements in its security agencies.

"I would think the Chinese government would want to have its military and security apparatus liaise with Pakistani authorities to come up with a common plan, but the U.S. found that very difficult to do," he said. "And I am sure China will find it difficult as well."

Furthermore, Pakistan's usefulness to China is only in South Asia, where it competes with India. But China has global ambitions; it is unlikely to sacrifice them for an ally that has proved a headache to the United States, which has its own deep relationship with China.

"Being seen to take a provocative stand alongside Pakistan comes at a substantial cost, but provides little strategic benefit," Urmila Venugopalan, an independent analyst and former Asia editor at Jane's Intelligence Review, wrote last month in Foreign Policy.

China, he wrote, does not want to push India deeper into the American orbit.

"An escalation in Chinese aid to Pakistan would surely antagonise India, creating a new point of friction in the triangular relationship between Beijing, New Delhi, and Washington."

China has also shown no sign that it is willing to shoulder some of the financial burden of propping up Pakistan that the United States has so far been willing to bear.

In 2008, when Pakistan was suffering a balance of payments crisis and sought China's support to avoid turning to the International Monetary Fund and its restrictive terms on a $7.5 billion loan, China provided only $500 million.

China may share concerns over Pakistan's stability, Venugopalan writes, "but it has preferred to let Americans bear the costs of improving the country's security".

Pakistan's attempts to play China off the United States will ultimately backfire, analysts say. Although important, Pakistan is not the most important issue for Beijing and Washington.

"It is our misunderstanding if we think that we will team up with China if we are pressed by the United States," Rizvi said. "China and the United States have their own relations and they cannot compromise them for the sake of Pakistan."

Afghan minister: Peace depends on Pakistan


Afghanistan's deputy foreign minister says Kabul has yet to contact the insurgent leaders it needs to for meaningful peace talks to begin.
Jawed Ludin also said Monday the success of the peace process would depend on Pakistan persuading Taliban leaders to come to the negotiating table.
His comments hint at the challenges facing the U.S.-supported reconciliation drive.
After fighting the Taliban for 10 years in Afghanistan, the United States now wants to cut a deal with them to enable it to leave the country.
The Taliban publicly insist they have no interest in negotiating peace so long as foreign troops occupy Afghanistan.

Fight against terrorism


A preliminary probe found that the East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM) was behind the explosion at the weekend that left six civilians dead and 15 others wounded in Kashgar, the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region.
The leaders of the group learned terrorist techniques in ETIM camps in Pakistan before they penetrated into Xinjiang.
The explosion again sends the message that terrorism is still a threat and that we must remain vigilant. Combating terrorism should be high on the agenda of our governments, especially those in border areas. It is also wrong and misleading to interpret the violent incidents in Xinjiang, including a recent attack on a police station in Hotan, as ethnic conflicts.
People from different ethnic groups have been coexisting peacefully in the region for many years. The social stability and the lives of local residents would not have been so brutally disrupted were it not for the terrorist acts of the ETIM, an international terrorist organization which is said to be the "most violent and dangerous" among the "East Turkistan" separatist forces.
In May a spokesman for the National Counter-terrorism Office of China said that while the region is generally stable, the "three forces" of terrorism, separatism and extremism have been colluding with "East Turkistan" terrorist forces both in and out of China in recent years.
Social turmoil and public panic are exactly what the ETIM wants to achieve in Xinjiang. However, very few residents, no matter what ethnic group they are from, want their peaceful lives disrupted by explosions, riots and attacks against innocent people. Most are well aware that the more terrorist attacks there are, the more ordinary people will suffer.
It is definitely right that no leniency should be shown to separatist activities and extremist forces. The government should make every effort to crack down on groups that employ terror tactics as a means to materialize their ambition of splitting a country or fanning extremist sentiments.
Such terrorist acts not only endanger people's lives, they also undermine social stability and have a detrimental effect on economic development and social progress, which in turn take their toll on residents' living standards and the quality of their lives.
At an emergency meeting convened immediately after the Kashgar attack on Sunday, Zhang Chunxian, Party secretary of Xinjiang region, called for a crackdown on terrorist attacks and extremist forces.
At the same time, measures should be taken to strengthen unity of different ethnic groups and greater efforts be made to inject vitality into the local economy so that living standards will be substantially improved for all residents.

China vows to crush ETIM terrorists trained in Pak

Meanwhile, there was still no word here about the reported visit of ISI chief Lt Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha to Beijing for talks with Chinese officials.The Pakistan government yesterday said it will continue to extend full cooperation and support to China against the ETIM.Memtieli Tiliwaldi, 29 and Turson Hasan, 34, who were wanted in connection with the latest violence in Xinjiang province, were killed yesterday in the corn fields in the suburb of Kashgar, local officials said.The attacks appeared to have abated since yesterday as the Chinese forces beefed up security all over the volatile province which has been witnessing ethnic tensions.In a related development, the official Chinese media today made a prominent mention of the Kashghar government�s allegations that the militants were trained in terrorist camps in Pakistan."A preliminary probe found that the East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM) was behind the explosion at the weekend," the China Daily said in its editorial, 'Fight against terrorism'."The leaders of the group learned terrorist techniques in ETIM camps in Pakistan before they penetrated into Xinjiang," it said, calling for stepping up the fight against terrorism in the troubled province.Another English daily, the 'Global Times' carried the official statement that "those captured said the group's leaders had learned how to make explosives and firearms in camps run by the terrorist group ETIM in Pakistan before entering Xinjiang to organize terrorist activities.Mainstream Chinese language media also pointed fingers at terrorist training camps in Pakistan.It is perhaps rare for Pakistan to get bad publicity in the Chinese media, considering the close and "all weather relations" between the two countries. It is also the first time that China has directly mentioned Pakistan�s terror camps while referring to the violence in Xinjing.

Senate Passes Debt Plan to Avert Default

The Senate voted Tuesday to raise the government’s debt ceiling and cut trillions of dollars from its spending, finally ending a fractious partisan battle just hours before the government’s borrowing authority was set to run out.The bill, which passed 74 to 26 after a short debate devoid of the oratorical passion that had echoed through both chambers of Congress for weeks, was headed for the White House, where President Obama was poised to sign it immediately.

A few minutes later, Mr. Obama

said he would sign the bill right away, but excoriated his opposition for what he called a manufactured crisis that could have been avoided. “Voters may have chosen divided government,” he said, “but they sure didn’t vote for dysfunctional government.”

The compromise, which the House passed on Monday, has been decried by Democrats as being tilted too heavily toward the priorities of Republicans, mainly because it does not raise any new taxes as it reduces budget deficits by at least $2.1 trillion in the next 10 years. But it attracted many of their votes, if only because the many months of standoff had brought the country perilously close to default.

The wrangling also laid bare divisions within both parties, in the House when scores of the most conservative Republicans and most liberal Democrats refused to vote for the bill, and again in the Senate where senators such as Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire and Mike Lee of Utah, both Republican freshmen blessed by the Tea Party, voted against it. The last to vote was Senator Olympia J. Snowe of Maine, who conferred for several minutes with Senator Jon Kyl of Arizona, her face twisted in a grimace, then voted yes, as he had done. Ms. Snowe, who faces re-election next year, is already a target of Tea Party activists in her state.

Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the minority leader, who played a central role in arriving at the ultimate compromise, said his party’s goal was “to get as much spending cuts as we could from a government we didn’t control.”

“It may have been messy,” he said. “It may have appeared to some that their government wasn’t working, but in fact the opposite was true.” Legislating, he added, “was never meant to be pretty.”

He and Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the majority leader, had a gentle toe-to-toe as the debate ended, praising each other’s performance while denouncing each other on the substance.

“It’s never, ever personal,” Mr. McConnell said.

Mr. Reid presaged the next battle, when an appointed Congressional committee is to seek new ways to cut the deficit, by rejecting the assertions of his Republican colleagues that the next phase would again exclude revenue increases, which the Democrats failed to include in the first round. “That’s not going to happen,” Mr. Reid said.

Mr. Obama, too, called for the ultimate solution to include new revenues, including raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans and closing corporate loopholes, saying that he would fight for that approach as the Congressional commission considers what to recommend to Congress for an up-or-down vote before the end of the year, as the new law requires.

Enactment of the legislation signals a pronounced shift in fiscal policy, from the heavy spending on economic stimulus and warfare of the past few years to a regime of steep spending cuts aimed at reducing the deficits — so far, without new revenues sought by the White House.

“Make no mistake, this is a change in behavior from spend, spend, spend to cut, cut, cut,” said Senator Lamar Alexander, Republican of Tennessee, as the debate began on the Senate floor.

But the fight, which is only half over until a second round of deficit reduction is completed over the next five or six months, also exposed deep ideological schisms between and within the political parties, and tarnished the images of Congress and the president alike.

And the fight left many lawmakers on both sides deeply uneasy — including Senator Richard J. Durbin, Democrat of Illinois and the assistant majority leader, who said he had consulted with the Senate chaplain over his vote, because “from where I stand it is not the clearest moral choice.” Liberal critics say the plan will hurt an already limping economy.

Despite the tension and uncertainty that has surrounded efforts to raise the debt ceiling, the House vote of 269 to 161 was relatively strong in support of the plan. Scores of Democrats initially held back from voting, to force Republicans to register their positions first. Then, as the time for voting wound down, Representative Gabrielle Giffords, Democrat of Arizona, returned to the floor for the first time since being shot in January and voted for the bill to jubilant applause and embraces from her colleagues. It provided an unexpected, unifying ending to a fierce standoff in the House.

Although the actual spending cuts in the next year or two would be relatively modest in the context of a $3.7 trillion federal budget, they would represent the beginning of a new era of restraint at a time when unemployment remains above 9 percent, growth is slowing and there are few good policy options for giving the economy a stimulative kick.

Republicans and Democrats alike made clear they were not happy with the agreement, which was struck late Sunday between the leadership of Congress and Mr. Obama.

Despite such misgivings, members of both parties welcomed the end of the debt-limit clash after months of intrigue, partisan rancor and stop-and-go negotiations that ultimately left Congress voting just hours before a deadline to avoid default.

“On to the next fight,” said Senator John Cornyn, Republican of Texas.

Troops deployed after 34 killed in Pakistani city

A senior government official says Pakistani authorities have called in paramilitary forces to contain political and criminal violence in the southern city of Karachi after 34 people were killed here in less than two days.
Sharufuddin Memon says 11 people were gunned down on Tuesday, and 23 were killed the day before.
Memon is the security adviser to the chief minister of Sindh, the province where Karachi is the capital.
Karachi is Pakistan's largest city and has a long history of ethnic, sectarian and political violence. Much of the fighting is done by gangs allegedly affiliated with the main political parties in the city.
Memon says that more than 300 people were killed in Karachi in July.

Nawaz also responsible for power crisis

People’s Labour Bureau chairman Chaudhry Manzoor Ahmad said PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif cancelled various power projects of 40,000mw including Thar Coal in his regime. Addressing a ceremony of traders, he said the people were facing hardship due to the power crisis which was a fallout of wrong policies of the Musharraf government.
A commission should also be constituted on power to know who had worked for generation of electricity in the past.
A large number of CNG filling stations were allowed by the Musharraf government and if CNG had been used to generate electricity, people could not have been facing shortage of power, he added.
He said the quota of gas connections had been doubled and a divisional office of gas was being set up in the city to facilitate locals.
Ch Manzoor said a passport office would be functional in the city during the current month, adding that a grid station of 132kv would also start working in August.

No one took interest in exposing Benazir`s killers: CJ Iftikhar

The Supreme Court on Monday directed the attorney general to submit his response within two weeks on recommendations of the UN Commission and findings of Scotland Yard and other investigation agencies on the assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto.
A three-member bench of the apex court comprising Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Justice Tariq Parvez and Justice Amir Hani Muslim admitted an appeal for regular hearing against the June 23, 2011 verdict of the Lahore High Court, rejecting a plea seeking registration of a second FIR in the Benazir assassination case against former president General (retd) Pervez Musharraf and 12 others.

The court also directed Attorney General Maulvi Anwarul Haq to submit to the court investigation reports of the United Nations, Scotland Yard, Inspector General of Police Mian Majeed and FIA on the assassination of Benazir Bhutto.

The chief justice noted that after receiving the reports, a larger bench could be constituted if needed. He said according to the concluding chapter of the UN report, Pakistan was fully empowered to investigate the case further. He also asked the attorney general whether the government had implemented the recommendations of the Scotland Yard and UN investigation teams.

Appellant advocate Chaudhry Muhammad Aslam, who had served as late Benazir Bhutto’s protocol officer for about 21 years, stated that his party leadership cancelled his membership after he included in his petition the names of two sitting federal ministers for their alleged involvement in Benazir’s assassination. He stated that when an FIR in the Akbar Bugti murder case could be registered, why could a second FIR not be registered in the Bhutto assassination case.

Aslam filed the appeal under Article 185(3) of the Constitution, making Musharraf, Interior Minister Rehman Malik, former Chief Minister Punjab, Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi, former Law Minister, Babar Awan, former Intelligence Bureau Director General Ejaz Shah, former caretaker Interior Minister Hamid Nawaz, former Interior Secretary Kamal Shah, former spokesman to Interior Ministry, Brig (retd) Javed Iqbal Cheema, and others respondents.

The Lahore High Court, Rawalpindi bench, had dismissed Aslam’s request seeking the registration of an FIR against Musharraf and 12 others and the inclusion of the names of Babar Awan and Rehman Malik in the Exit Control List (ECL). One of the LHC judges had also written an additional note that Aslam was neither the aggrieved party nor a legal heir of the late Benazir Bhutto and thus had no right to get an FIR registered.

The appellant has stated that the LHC’s June 23 order was unlawful, perverse, without jurisdiction and based on fanciful application of the mind. He said the LHC ignored the design of washing of the crime scene, which was a deliberate destruction of material evidence. He also said there were two blasts around the truck carrying Benazir Bhutto in Karachi on October 18, 2007. He said the blasts killed 121 persons who were buried without autopsy, a question that the LHC had ignored in its order. He said the LHC had also failed to give due consideration to the United Nation’s report on which $60 million from the national exchequer was spent.

Online adds: During the hearing, the chief justice remarked that Benazir Bhutto was murdered ruthlessly in broad daylight and neither any inquiry commission was constituted nor anyone took interest in exposing her assassins.

The CJ remarked: “Benazir was a great leader and no one took interest in exposing her killers. It is a matter of vital importance and a larger bench will hear the case.” Justice Iftikhar inquired from the attorney general: “No inquiry commission was constituted in this incident which was a mammoth tragedy despite the fact that a criminal inquiry was must in this case. The former prime minister was killed mercilessly in broad daylight but no one took interest in exposing the killers.”

Ha said: “If recommendations of the Scotland Yard or UN Commission were implemented, which was a vital matter, it could not be overlooked. Larger bench would be constituted in this regard.”

Pakistan for practicable Afghan strategy

)Pakistani Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani has stressed on a strong practicable strategy for Afghan crisis that ensures it does not destabilize Pakistan.
Talking to the visiting Polish foreign minister, Radoslow Sivoski, who called upon him at the PM secretariat, he said that stability in Afghanistan would definitely stabilize Pakistan, politically and economically as well.

“Such a blueprint of Afghanistan’s future, ushering in regional stability is quite indispensable”, he stressed.

Gilani also expressed his deep disappointment at Pakistan failing to get sufficient support from global community in its war against terrorism.

“If the global community had fulfilled its pledged economic assistance and military aid to combat terrorism, Pakistan could have tackled this menace more effectively
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