Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Obama to propose $300 billion to jump-start jobs

The economy weak and the public seething, President Barack Obama

is expected to propose $300 billion in tax cuts and federal spending Thursday night to get Americans working again. Republicans offered Tuesday to compromise with him on jobs — but also assailed his plans in advance of his prime-time speech.
In effect, Obama will be hitting cleanup on a shortened holiday week, with Republican White House contender Mitt Romney releasing his jobs proposals on Tuesday and front-running Texas Gov. Rick Perry hoping to join his presidential rivals Wednesday evening on a nationally televised debate stage for the first time.
Lawmakers began returning to the Capitol to tackle legislation on jobs and federal deficits in an unforgiving political season spiced by the 2012 presidential campaign.
Adding to the mix: A bipartisan congressional committee is slated to hold its first public meeting on Thursday as it embarks on a quest for deficit cuts of $1.2 trillion or more over a decade. If there is no agreement, automatic spending cuts will take effect, a prospect that lawmakers in both parties have said they would like to avoid.
According to people familiar with the White House deliberations, two of the biggest measures in the president's proposals for 2012 are expected to be a one-year extension of a payroll tax cut for workers and an extension of expiring jobless benefits. Together those two would total about $170 billion.
The people spoke on the condition of anonymity because the plan was still being finalized and some proposals could still be subject to change.
The White House is also considering a tax credit for businesses that hire the unemployed. That could cost about $30 billion. Obama has also called for public works projects, such as school construction. Advocates of that plan have called for spending of $50 billion, but the White House proposal is expected to be smaller.
Obama also is expected to continue for one year a tax break for businesses that allows them to deduct the full value of new equipment. The president and Congress negotiated that provision into law for 2011 last December.
Though Obama has said he intends to propose long-term deficit reduction measures to cover the up-front costs of his jobs plan, White House spokesman Jay Carney said Obama would not lay out a wholesale deficit reduction plan in his speech.
In a letter to Obama on Tuesday, House Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor outlined possible areas for compromise on jobs legislation. Separately, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said last month's unemployment report — it showed a painfully persistent 9.1 percent jobless rate and no net gain of jobs — "should be a wakeup call to every member of Congress."
Whatever the potential for eventual compromise on the issue at the top of the public's agenda, the finger pointing was already under way.
Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell predicted Obama's Thursday night speech to Congress on jobs legislation would include "more of the same failed approach that's only made things worse over the past few years."
He spoke a few moments after Reid had said that Republicans, rather than working with Democrats to create job-creating legislation, insist on "reckless cuts to hurt our economic recovery."
The Senate returned to Capitol Hill on Tuesday after an August recess. The House comes back Wednesday.
Left largely ignored in the latest political remarks was a remarkable run of late-summer polls that show the country souring on Obama's performance — and on Congress' even more.
A Washington Post-ABC survey released Monday found that 60 percent of those polled expressed disapproval of Obama's handling of the economy. Thirty-four percent said his proposals were making the situation worse and 47 percent said they were having no effect — dismal soundings for a president headed into a re-election campaign.
Only 19 percent said the country was moving in the right direction.
Not that Republicans, or Congress as a whole, are in good odor with the voters.
The Post-ABC News poll found only 28 percent approval for the job the Republicans are doing, and 68 percent disapproval.
An AP-GfK survey last month put overall support for Congress at 12 percent — the lowest level ever in the survey's history.
The tea party has also been hurt, according to the same poll, which found that 32 percent of those surveyed have a deeply unfavorable impression of the movement that helped give Republicans control of the House in the 2010 elections.
In their letter to Obama, Boehner and Cantor wrote that neither party would win all it wants from the coming debate over jobs legislation. "We should not approach this as an all-or-nothing situation," they said, striking a conciliatory tone in the first moments of a post-summer session of Congress.
But it was unclear what, if any, concessions they were prepared to make.
"We are not opposed to initiatives to repair and improve infrastructure," they wrote, saying they favor repeal of a current requirement for 10 percent of highway funds to be spent on items such as museums or bike trails.
But they did not say they would support any additional funding for construction, and aides declined to provide any additional details.
Boehner and Cantor also said the House was ready to pass free trade agreements negotiated with Colombia, Panama and South Korea measures, which they noted the White House estimates would create 250,000 jobs.
The administration wants the trade deals approved simultaneously with legislation to provide job training and other benefits for workers who lose their job to imports, and the letter from the Republican leaders promised they would consider such measures rather than pledging to pass them.
There was maneuvering on another front during the day.
Democrats won approval in a Senate subcommittee for legislation adding $6 billion in spending to pay victims of Hurricane Irene and past disasters dating to Hurricane Katrina, including $4 billion for the 2012 budget year.
Republicans did not object, even though the legislation did not include other cuts to offset the cost and the new spending would exceed levels permitted in a sweeping compromise passed last month to cut future deficits by nearly $1 trillion over a decade.
It is unclear when the measure will come to the Senate floor, and whether Republicans will attempt to offset the increase when it does.
In comments in recent weeks, Cantor has said any increase must be offset.
For his part, Romney chose Nevada, where unemployment stood at a nationwide high of 12.9 percent in July, for a campaign speech in which he outlined numerous proposals to create jobs.
He called for lowering the maximum corporate tax from 35 percent to 25 percent and abolishing the tax on dividends and investment earnings for anyone making less than $200,000 a year. He also said any new government regulation that raises costs for businesses should be accompanied by other steps to reduce the burden by an identical amount.
"America should be a job machine, jobs being created all the time," he said.
The elements Romney outlined — lower taxes and less regulation — are the same as those advanced by Republicans in Congress.
McConnell said Republicans "will spend the next weeks and months arguing in favor of a robust legislation agenda aimed at blocking or repealing some of the most pernicious rules and regulations."

Norway freezes Afghanistan aid: Report

Norway is blocking payments of 300 million crowns ($55.2 million) in aid to Afghanistan until issues surrounding the collapse of the country's biggest private lender, Kabulbank, are resolved, a Norwegian newspaper said on Tuesday.

Kabulbank collapsed last year with outstanding loans of about $926 million, and was later taken over by Afghanistan's central bank and split into two. The International Monetary Fund and the Afghan government are at loggerheads over how to wind up the bank, recover lost assets and strengthen the sector. The impasse has delayed tens of millions of dollars in aid.

In an interview with Norwegian daily Dagens Naeringsliv, deputy Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide said the Afghan authorities' failure to provide good governance was one of the biggest problems for Norway in Afghanistan."If Afghan authorities and the IMF do not find a solution, we will not go back to business as usual," he said. "We will in that case find other solutions."

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has withheld a scheduled payment of $70 million from the World Bank-administered Afghan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF).

Afghanistan relies on foreign aid for around 90 percent of its spending but many international donors say they are reluctant to channel aid through the country's ministries because of a lack of capacity and corruption.

U.S. pulls back from lead role in conflicts: IISS

A war-weary United States will increasingly look for regional solutions to regional problems, playing a secondary "enabling" role in conflicts similar to the one it played in Libya, an influential think-tank said on Tuesday.

The International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) said U.S. leadership was giving way to a world where "rotating coalitions of the willing and available," sometimes without the United States, would address international crises.

The conduct of the air campaign in Libya, where the United States took a back seat in military operations led by its NATO allies Britain and France, could be a pointer to the future, the London-based security research body said.

"The (U.S.) choice in Libya was to be a 'super-enabler' of a European operation with Arab support. These inclinations signal the dawning of a period when 'regional solutions to regional problems' becomes ... a central aspiration of U.S. strategic policy," IISS Director-General John Chipman said, presenting the think-tank's annual "Strategic Survey."

U.S. warplanes took part in early attacks on Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi's air defenses but pulled back to a supporting role after NATO took control of operations.

President Barack Obama faced resistance in Washington to getting involved in a third conflict in the Muslim world in addition to the costly, unpopular wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"Obama and the people around him do really believe that America's long-term role can only be sustainable if we are not doing everything, if we are in a position of being an enabler," said Dana Allin, an IISS expert on U.S. foreign policy.

American and European preoccupation with domestic economic problems had created wider uncertainties over international leadership, the IISS said.


"There is a sense that the West is suffering from strategic arthritis and exhaustion (and) the rising powers of the East from strategic growth pains and indecision," Chipman said.

"The room for mavericks and rogues to maneuver for their own gain is thus expanded," he said without naming any.

The IISS said war fatigue would shape the U.S. approach to international crises in the medium term.

Ten years after the September 11 attacks triggered a "war on terror," the West's appetite to take military action was lower than it had been for generations, the IISS report said.

The case for "liberal interventionism" could still be made -- as it was in Libya -- but calls for it had to be loud and the cause almost perfect for it to happen.

Obama's approach in Afghanistan "in effect to drop the ambitious counter-insurgency strategy, withdraw forces and prioritize a political solution, will be seen as signaling the end of a decade-long U.S. interventionist policy," Chipman said.

The United States is withdrawing 33,000 of 100,000 troops in Afghanistan by the end of next summer, aiming to hand lead security responsibility to Afghan forces by the end of 2014.

More than 1,600 U.S. soldiers have died in the 10-year war which has cost nearly $450 billion, according to the Congressional Research Service.

Europe's strategic ambitions had been crippled by its weak economic performance, the IISS report said. Defense budgets were being cut and Europe's political leadership was having to put its financial house together again, it said.

The IISS said revolts in Arab countries would not necessarily lead to the spread of democracy in the region.

"The transitions that have taken place so far remain half-baked and the promise of more democratic outcomes remains laced with the risk that sects, military institutions or other groups might still hijack the process," Chipman warned.

Pakistan arrests senior Al-Qaeda leader

The Pakistani army says it's arrested a senior al-Qaeda leader, who was mainly responsible for planning and conducting international operations. A Pakistani general says the operation was conducted with assistance from the CIA.

Al Mauritani was nabbed, along with two other senior al-Qaeda operatives, in the suburbs of the southwestern city, of Quetta. He'd been tasked personally by Osama bin Laden to focus on targets of economical importance in the US, Europe and Australia. Police say Al Mauritani was planning to target US economic interests including gas and oil pipelines and power generating dams.

Nationalists “Concerned” to See LeT, JeM Leaders in Baloch Districts


A central spokesman of the Baloch National Front (BNF) has expressed serious concern over the frequency of what it called visits by Punjabi Islamic extremist leaders and activists affiliated to the banned Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Muhammad in Baloch districts.
A official statement issued by BNF said Punjabi religious fanatics belonging to banned groups like Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, and Jaish-e-Muhammad were regularly visiting from Lahore and Karachi to the Baloch districts of Chagai and Dalbandin.
“These Islamic extremists are linked with Pakistani spy agencies who come to collect funds and recruit fighters from Baloch districts in order to counter the Baloch nationalist movement,” said a BNF spokesman. He said for the past seven days, the number of such visitors had dramatically increased which cast doubts in the minds of the Baloch nationalists about their actual motivations.
“We urge all the Baloch religious leaders not to welcome these Jihadi elements in Baloch districts.” the spokesman warned, “they should distance themselves from these hardliners who come from Karachi and Lahore.”

No Strategy to Combat Sectarianism in Balochistan

Editorial:The Baloch Hal

It is a shame that the government of Balochistan does not have an official strategy to grapple with the menace of sectarian terrorism. The province is experiencing an upsurge in violent attacks targeting members of the Hazara community and Shia minority sect of Islam from Sunni militant groups operating inside Balochistan with absolute impunity.
The failure of the provincial government to firstly acknowledge the seriousness of the matter and then to weed out sectarianism is highly depressing. This implicitly shows that the PPP-led coalition government in Balochistan is not bothered by the brutal killings of innocent people by religious fanatics. One reason for deliberately snubbing the issue is probably the PPP does not want to irk its right-wing ally, the Jammiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI). As luck would have it, our intelligence agencies and anti-terrorism units are also notorious for running a covert love-affair with Sunnia Jihadists.
The fresh attack on Shia mosque on the Eid day killed at least eleven people. All the victims were Shias and most of them belonged to the Hazara tribe. As usual, the governor and the chief minister of the province restricted their role in response to this heinous crime to media statements.
Moreover, the Hazra Demcoratic Party (HDP), the largest representative party of the Hazaras living in Balochistan, has vented its anger through peaceful democratic protests. As usual, the Balochistan police have failed to immure the masterminds of the terrorist attack. The perpetrators, on their part, are brazenly gaining more and more confidence and strength by the day considering the lack of official commitment to dismantle networks of religious terrorists.
The Eid tragedy struck barely a month after another callous assault on the Shia Hazaras which killed eleven people on July 30th. Earlier, two pilgrims were killed and eleven were injured when attackers suspected to have links with Sunni-militant group the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and Sipah-e-Sahaba, ambushed a bus carrying pilgrims to Iran.
According to senior journalist Zofeen Ebrahim, around 500 Hazaras have been killed and 1500 injured in the last ten years in Quetta’s sectarian war.
Before proposing a solution to this worsening problem, one needs to understand a few basic facts.
The sectarian war in Balochistan is predominantly centered in and around Quetta, the provincial capital. There are very few Shias living outside Quetta in the districts of Sibi, Bolan and Loralai. Most of the Shias in Quetta belong to Hazara ethnic community but every Shia is not a Hazara. That said, there are Shias in Balochistan whose ethnic origin maybe Punjabi, Khandari or Kashmiri. There is no declared ethnic war against the Hazras. Instead, it is a declared war by the Sunni militant group against the Shias.
The Sunni militants use all tactics to pursue their agenda. They shoot individuals, ; carry out suicide bomb blasts on religious processions and mosques and detonate remote-controlled blasts.
The sectarian war, which began 1980s during the age of Isamization patronized by former military dictator General Zia-ul-Haq, has targeted the bulk of the Shia community which comprises of doctors, lawyers, politicians following Shia school of thought but hailing from assorted ethnic backgrounds have been victims of this cycle of violence.The biggest victim of this organized crime are the Hazaras.
We fully understand how much the Hazara community has suffered because of this war but this still does not qualify as an “ethnic war”. Ethnic tensions erupt only when two or more than two ethnic groups, not religious communities, clash each other.
The underground Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, which is responsible for almost all of these tragic attacks, does not have any ethnic agenda. Its is the unacceptable goal of driving all the Shias of out of the country by employing violent means.
At the same time, we have seen a more disturbing trend: Hazaras getting agitated with the use of the term “Shia-Hazara”. While members of the HDP and many Hazara professionals are all secular, many of them now get offended by being ghettoized by the media as “Shias”. We live in bad times when moderate and progressive people take pride in introducing themselves as ‘non-nonpracticing’ and ‘secular’ members of a particular community because nobody loves extremists these days.
Nonetheless, let’s be clear that there is nothing wrong with being a Shia as there is nothing wrong with being a Sunni. A lot of progressive Hazaras will not be doing a favor to their brethren practicing Shias by disassociating themselves from those who are killed merely because of what they believe in. Disassociating from one’s ancestral religion is a personal choice but it is not a long-term solution to the problem we are faced with.
The idea of secularism is not based on the total rejection of religion. It is an idea which simply separates religion from the state. In a secular culture, everyone would and should be allowed to practice their religion freely without ridiculing the other’s beliefs. It is not a ‘lesser crime’ to kill a Shia because they practice a different sect of Islam and a ‘greater crime’ to kill a progressive and secular Hazara democratic. The challenge we are confronted with as a society is intolerance based on religion. It is the responsibility all members of the society to discourage hatred on the name of religion.
The role of secular political parties such as the Pakistan People’s Party, Balochistan National Party, the National Party, Pashtunkhawa Milli Awami Party, Awami National Party and Jamori Watan Party (JWP), to protest against sectarian killings has not been very forthcoming. They should take up this challenge and pressurize the Balochistan government to bring the perpetrators to book.
Quetta is too small a place for the religiously-motivated elements to hide. If the government and its secrete services commit themselves in earnestly fighting this battle, it does not take more than a few weeks to clean Balochistan from sectarian militants.

‘Bol’ gets Indians talking

Facing stiff competition from Salman Khan’s Bodyguard on Eid, Pakistani film

Bol is managing to hold its own thanks to the word of mouth publicity.

Dealing with multiple issues ranging from misogyny to prostitution to fanaticism, Bol is director Shoaib Mansoor’s second offering after Khuda Ke Liye. Bol was released alongside mega blockbuster Bodyguard, ‘That girl in yellow boots’ and ‘Mummy Punjabi’. Unlike Khan’s masala movie, Bol offers a riveting storyline and great acting, with people publicising the film more than the PR agencies.

For starters, there is actress Vidya Balan who says, “Loved Bol! Love the performance of the father. The boy who played Saifuddin was cute. My heart went out to him.”

As one of the audience members, Tushar Pahwa, walking out after a show puts it, “Bol is a ubiquitous film- whether a Muslim family in Lahore or a Hindu family in Bihar, everyone can relate to it. Women and transgenders are disrespected in India and Pakistan both. I just hope people start to speak up after watching the movie. It was a good gift for Eid.”

Many have given the tickets to family and friends in beautiful gift envelopes as eidi. “This was my eidi to my sister The film’s message has been well received and I felt my sister must see this movie as an example,” says Shahnawaz Siddique, a shop keeper.

Film critic Taran Adarsh says, “I have a problem with the distributors of Bol, who have come up with a wrong strategy to release the film at the same time as Bodyguard. I think this was a blunder. If it were released at any other time the collections would have been much higher. The word of mouth publicity of the film is good and I would like to say that it is definitely doing better than the other two movies released the same week.”

Even the distributors are happy with the increasing popularity of Bol. Amita from the corporate communications of Eros International, the distributing company, explains, “Media across the board has liked the film and has been extremely supportive of the film. The response has been positive overall. It was the company’s strategy for a worldwide release on Eid. As for India, the numbers are still pouring in but in the middle east the film is doing very well.”

Even Salman Khan fans have expressed their liking for Bol. Pankaj Mishra, a movie buff who watched both Bodyguard and Bol on the same day explains, “There is no comparison between the two. While one is a masala movie for the masses, the other is a serious issue based film. It is sad but true that masala movies always do well in India as they are over hyped and well marketed. The real good cinema gets left behind. Bol is a brilliant film and off late Pakistani movie makers are doing a good job.”

Adarsh also emphasises the brilliance of the film, “I think it is one of the most amazing films to have come out of Pakistan. Shoaib Mansoor excelled in Khuda Ke Liye but this film has gone beyond that.”

People are already watching it twice. Sunita Sinha, another movie buff has a reason to do so, “For me the film has a strong message and inspires me to be brave. I can actually watch it again.”

The tag of a film from Pakistan is one of the main attractions. Anshu Sondhi, a film student, had to see this film as she missed out on Mansoor’s Khuda Ke Liye. She supports the film, “Bol’s concept is different and the actors are good. It gives us an insight into the Pakistani society and we Indians always want to know more about Pakistan. We want to understand the country and the people beyond what our governments want us to believe and see. Movies like Bol bring us closer to our neighbours.”

Kritika Rai, a businesswoman came to know about the film from a friend. She says, “We Indians don’t have that sense to appreciate good movies like Bol and we waste our time on watching stupid movies like Ready and Bodyguard. I think we should support good cinema whether it is from India or Pakistan.”

There is a buzz about Bol in Bollywood also. Many screenings of the film were done before its commercial release. Naseeruddin Shah, icon of Indian cinema, who was to play the role of the father in Bol, praised the film. In an interview to glamsham.com, an entertainment magazine website, he admires the film, “Bol is absolutely the kind of film that Khuda Ke Liye should be followed up by. It deals with an even more important statement like faith and empowerment of women. I have seldom seen a statement made with as much power and feeling as this film. This is yet another film to be proud of. I can only find myself wishing I was a part of this film.”

Bollywood has welcomed the movie from across the border and have supported the idea of art beyond boundaries. Samir Soni, who acted in films like Kabhie Khushi Kabhi Gham, Fashion and others explains, “To coexist and prosper we need to have a better understanding of each other and issues that affect us. It is only then we realise how similar we truly are and this ends fear and resentment. Cinema is perhaps the most important medium that takes you up close and personal and should not be bound by political boundaries.”

The social theme of the movie has attracted the intelligentsia. Rukmini Sen, a senior entertainment journalist, describes the film as “rebellious, brave and original”. She adds, “Bol talks about the state of third gender in Pakistan. Condition of women and third gender is pathetic in most parts of Asia so the film represents the silence of many of us. Bol deconstructs issues of sexuality and sexual identity very sensitively. It sees the issue in its larger context of patriarchy, feudalism, religion and nation state.”

The treatment of the story is much talked about. Satish Sharma, a painter by profession after watching the film appreciated the director’s strokes. “It was a joy to see how the director puts some of the old world wisdom in the right perspective. Whenever the father of the actress tried to escape a situation by quoting old quotes, she would correct him by putting his lines in the correct perspective. I thought it was intelligently handled.”

While the praises are outdoing the critics, but not all have liked the film. Babita Verma, a social worker by profession objects to the melodrama in the movie especially while dealing with real issues. “It began at some point and ended at another. The director moved away from the plot. It was not comprehensive and dragged at the end,’ disapproves Verma.”

Some have even believed the word of mouth publicity to be the truth. Karishma Kapoor, a teacher, has not seen the film based on her friend’s feedback. “I have heard it is long, technically poor and acting is bad. After this feedback I don’t think I want to go and watch the film. I will catch it on television, as it is a film from Pakistan.”

Permanent army post in Chitral demanded

International Human Rights Commission (IHRC) Goodwill Ambassador for the Pak-US Relations Aliya Harir on Monday said that keeping in view the strategic importance of Chitral, the government should establish permanent security post of army in southern and western borders of the district.

Expressing concern over the recent attacks in Chitral from across the border, Aliya Harir, who belongs to Chitral, said the recent killing of the innocent personnel of Chitral Scouts, police and border police was a matter of serious concern for all and sundry, especially for the youth of Chitral.

“I wish to appeal to the chief of International Human Right Commission to take up the matter at an appropriate level to prevent bloodshed of Chitrali people,” she told The News by phone here Monday.

She said Chitral had remained an area of peace, love and affection for Afghan refugees for more than 30 years. “Half a million people of this part of the country opened their houses for over two million Afghan refugees and accommodated them just like their own brother and sisters,” she said, adding, “May I ask Nato and Afghan National Army, how they were not aware of the mounting activities of the militants in the country.

The reports of an unusual movement of Nato helicopters across the border in Kunar province during the attacks in the area, as reported by media, need to be answered, she added. “I wish to appeal to the US to look into this continued aggression by the militants from across the border into Chitral, which is historically a peaceful land in Pakistan,” she said, adding that being a Chitrali daughter, she would appeal to the local leadership to learn a lesson from recent history and prepare security to cope with the emerging security threats in our area to maintain peace in the district.

No ransom demand recieved: Shehryar Taseer

The family of former Governor Punjab Salman Taseer’s have refuted reports that the kidnappers have demanded Rs 2 billion ransom for the release of Shahbaz Taseer.
According to media reports, the kidnappers telephoned the family of late Salman Taseer and demanded ransom of Rs 2 billion for Shahbaz Taseer’s release, however Shehryar Taseer refuted the news item and said that they have not recieved any calls or demands for ransom.
On the other hand the private TV channel also reported that the security agencies said that the kidnappers have shifted Shahbaz Taseer to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, because the phone number of the kidnappers is from Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa.

PML-N riddled by rifts over key party posts

The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) is holding a crucial meeting later this week to overcome growing internal differences ahead of elections to choose the party’s provincial office-bearers and chalk out a ‘decisive’ strategy to seek fresh parliamentary polls, sources said.
According to party officials, PML-N president Nawaz Sharif shortened his trip to Saudi Arabia and arrived in Pakistan on Monday to chair the meeting of key party leaders expected on coming Friday.
Some PML-N leaders, including its spokesperson Senator Mushahid Ullah Khan, however, said the meeting was scheduled for September 12.
Sharif rushed back home after one of his veteran associates from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa threatened to form a faction if he was not offered an important slot in the intra-party elections.
Saranjaam Khan, a PML-N leader from Mardan, recently said he would quit the party if his demands were not met.
Similarly, the party was also facing challenges in Sindh where Ghous Ali Shah was demanding a key post.
The party was also facing trouble choosing a provincial president out of several heavyweights in Punjab, including Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, his son Hamza, Sardar Zulfikar Khosa and Khwaja Saad Rafiq.
In July, a general council of the party elected central office-bearers, but deferred elections for provincial party post because of emerging differences.
There have been hectic efforts since then to resolve issues, but insiders said little headway has been made till now. “That is why Mian Sahib (Nawaz) himself decided to take control of things,” one party leader said.