Monday, September 26, 2011

Rupee languishes at Rs90/dollar

Rupee’s erosion is far from over as it went as low as Rs90/dollar in the open market on Monday, Geo News reported.

Haji Haroon, President Exchange Companies Association of Pakistan (ECAP), told Geo News, they expected the dollar to fall --interbank trade-- in a couple of days as they strongly believed the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) would open reserves’ spigots to bolster greenback's supply.

He analyzed that a locally as well as globally strengthening dollar is depreciating rupee big time.

Experts hope rupee might buck the trend after SBP injects dollars into the system.

Consider military action against Pakistan

A Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee said Sunday that the U.S. should consider military action against Pakistan if it continues to support terrorist attacks against American troops in Afghanistan.
"The sovereign nation of Pakistan is engaging in hostile acts against the United States and our ally Afghanistan that must cease, Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina told "Fox News Sunday."
He said if experts decided that the U.S. needs to "elevate its response," he was confident there would be strong bipartisan support in Congress for such action.
Graham did not call for military action but said "all options" should be considered. He said assistance to Pakistan should be reconfigured and that the U.S. should no longer designate an amount of aid for Pakistan but have a more "transactional relationship" with the country.
"They're killing American soldiers," he said. "If they continue to embrace terrorism as a part of their national strategy, we're going to have to put all options on the table, including defending our troops."
In testimony last week to Graham's committee, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen, said Pakistan's powerful military intelligence agency had backed extremists in planning and executing the assault on the U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan and a truck bomb attack that wounded 77 American soldiers. Both occurred this month.
Mullen contended that the Haqqani insurgent network "acts as a veritable arm" of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence agency as it undermined U.S.-Pakistan relations, already tenuous because of the war in Afghanistan. Pakistan exports violence, Mullen said, and threatens any success in the 10-year-old war.
Graham said Pakistan does cooperate with the U.S. in actions against al-Qaida. But he said the Pakistani military feels threatened by a democracy in Afghanistan and is betting that the Taliban will come back there.
"The best solution is for Pakistan to fight all forms of terrorism, embrace working with us so that we can deal with terrorism along their border, because it is the biggest threat to stability," he said. "But Pakistan is terrorism itself. They have made a tremendous miscalculation."

Saudi troops target women in Bahrain

Women have been tied up, thrown on the streets and arrested in Bahrain by Saudi-Backed forces as the situation in Bahrain gets decidedly worse.

Press TV talks with Saeed al-Shahabi, Leader of the Bahrain Freedom Movement in its studio in Iran about how the Al Khalifa is sensing defeat and is reacting in even a more violent way now. Following is a transcript of the interview.

Press TV: It seems as if the situation is deteriorating rapidly in Bahrain. What has happened exactly especially in the last week to make the situation so much more severe than it was before?

Saeed al-Shahabi: Several factors have taken place. First of all the regime has failed to introduce any sort of reform to the extent that people have felt disappointed totally and outraged by the regime's policies.

In addition to that there is the the lack of real access to the detainees; to the leaders especially those 20 or 30 permanent leaders who have gone on hunger strike two days ago in support of the women protesters who were taken hostage last night by regime forces.

All of these factors have contributed to a state of anger among the youth and they are just going on and on and on until they bring down the regime.

Press TV: We know that on Saturday by-elections were held in Bahrain. Some are saying that the revolutionaries do not want a democratic process and they did not participate in it. What would be the answer to these types of criticisms?

Saeed al-Shahabi: The election process has been there for fourteen years and that did not deter the people from coming out in the streets against the regime. These elections did not produce parliaments or real democracy -- they are just elections for their own sake.

They did not bring the change, which was wanted by the people. The people have no say in the way the country is being led. There is nothing else but an absolute dictatorship and elections do not make regimes democratic. It is what the outcomes of these elections are; whether the people can contribute or not, they feel that they cannot contribute to any dialogue or any democratic process; they could not have a share in the way the country is run. It is an absolute dictatorship and this has to end.

Press TV: We also know the involvement of Saudi Arabia in participating in this crackdown. I want to look at the role of Saudi Arabia in this because we have reports as you've just talked about of the many women being arrested and there are reports that there are Saudi-backed troops involved in this.

It seems that this time they have become even more aggressive and this is with females in Bahrain.

Saeed al-Shahabi: First all you have a person or group or army feeling the pinch of defeat, then they become more aggressive. The more they are defeated the more they are aggressive. A strong person does not become aggressive usually such a person is kind, but once he feels he is weak he will react violently. This is what has happened in Bahrain.

The Saudi occupation of the country has enraged the people. The violence and the brutality of the Saudi invasion has rocked every industry. Today you cannot find anybody who supports the regime apart from some thugs who are paid by the regime.

At the end of the day the bottom line is that this regime has outlived its natural life and it has to go. And this is what the people have been saying not only in Bahrain, but also 2 or 3 years ago in the north when they were saying, 'Down with Hamad, down with Hamad' outside UN headquarters.

And of course after last night the people have more unrest today and are outraged because of the way their women have been dealt with. Imagine women being tied up and thrown on the streets I haven't seen that even in Israel.

Press TV: Concerning New York and the UN, we know that the ruler of Bahrain talked at the UN General Assembly. What's your take on what he talked about? He talked about human rights; however, he did not talk about what is happening at this time inside of his own country.

Saeed al-Shahabi: The human rights in his own country is different than the human rights that everyone talks about. The human rights that he is talking about is what we saw in the streets today and yesterday and the day before where we saw police throwing chemical gas canisters inside peoples' houses leading to several deaths.

Over the past two or three weeks we have seen how many people dying as a direct result of police brutality using shot guns or using gas canisters, which amounts to chemical weapons when you throw these gases into a confined space leading to the death of people because of the inhalation of these gases.

Press TV: Bottom line what do the revolutionaries want?

Saeed al-Shahabi: First of all they want to be given the right to self determination -- they want to decide what sort of government they have and how the country is ruled. What constitution they want - they want their own constitution; they want to make their own government; they want to determine things for themselves...

The Al Khalifa are invaders. They invaded the country 200 years ago. Now they have brought other invaders and Bahrain is under occupation.

I am surprised that the US and the UN are quiet about the occupation of our land. This is sheer futility on both sides whether it is the Europeans or the American who are keeping quiet about the Saudi occupation.

Press TV: Why do you think that silence seems to be the norm right now from the international community concerning Bahrain?

Saeed al-Shahabi: I think this is more degradation - Total and utter degradation. You cannot accept it - you should not accept a strong country occupying a weaker country. The people of Bahrain do not want outside forces on their land and this is exactly what's happening...

Top Chinese security official visits Pakistan

China’s top security official is visiting Pakistan for talks focusing on increased cooperation against Chinese militants who have found sanctuary in the northwest of the country.

Public Security Minister Meng Jianzhu’s visit Monday also comes at a time of intense strain between Islamabad and Washington.

Pakistani officials have been talking up their country’s relationship with China, with some commentators saying it could one day replace the US as Islamabad’s main foreign benefactor.

Interior Minister Rehman Malik said Sunday that Pakistan had killed several Chinese militants in the northwest and extradited others.

He also said Jianzhu’s visit shows China ”always stands with us in difficult times”.

Chelsea Clinton opens up about parents, inspiration

Ahead of Former President Bill Clinton's "A Decade of Difference" concert, a Yahoo!-broadcasted event on October 15 to celebrate his 65th birthday and honor the 10th anniversary of the Clinton Foundation, Yahoo! spoke with his daughter, Chelsea, about her father's momentous achievements, as well as that one person in her life who inspires her most.
The backdrop for this exclusive interview was Brooklyn's PS 123 elementary school. Chelsea visited the school Friday to recognize its strident efforts to combat childhood obesity as part of the Alliance for a Healthier Generation.
The organization was founded in 2005 in coordination with the American Heart Association and the William J. Clinton Foundation, after her father's heart surgery sent him a "wake-up call," she says.
"After his heart surgery he became much more diligent about taking long walks and going to the gym and going on hikes with my mom and their dog…. Starting a couple years ago, he really made a commitment to and a concerted effort to eat healthier," Chelsea says. "I am profoundly grateful that my dad makes different choices now. Selfishly, now I hope he lives forever. I am sure every child feels that way."
Watch the video to find out who else Chelsea is blessed to still have in her life and who is her biggest inspiration.

Pakistan will not attack Haqqani group, defying U.S.: report

Pakistan's military will not take action against the Haqqani militant group that Washington blames for an attack against its embassy in Kabul, despite mounting American pressure to do so, a Pakistani newspaper reported on Monday.
Army chief General Ashfaq Kayani held a "special" meeting with his top commanders on Sunday to discuss the security situation, the military said, after a week of tension and tit-for-tat rhetoric with the United States.
The United States accuses the Pakistani army's powerful spy agency of supporting the Haqqani militant group, a chief driver of violence in eastern Afghanistan and a serious obstacle to President Barack Obama's plan to wind down a long war.
In stunningly blunt comments last week, the top U.S. military officer called the Haqqani network a "veritable arm" of the ISI intelligence agency and accused Pakistan of providing support for the September 13 attack on its Kabul mission.
The Pakistani commanders agreed to resist U.S. demands for an army offensive in North Waziristan, where the United States believes the Haqqani network is based, the Express Tribune reported, quoting an unnamed military official.
"We have already conveyed to the U.S. that Pakistan cannot go beyond what it has already done," the official told the newspaper on condition of anonymity.
The unilateral American special forces raid that killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in a Pakistani town in May heavily strained ties between Washington and Islamabad.
Both sides appeared to be working to repair the damage and then a war of words erupted after the Kabul attack.
Underscoring the magnitude of tensions, Pakistani stocks fell over 2.7 percent on Monday, in part due to concerns about the worsening relations between Islamabad and Washington.
The United States has long pressed ally Pakistan to pursue the Haqqani network, one of the most lethal Taliban-allied Afghan groups fighting Western forces in Afghanistan.
Pakistan denies it supports the Haqqanis and says its army is too stretched battling its own Taliban insurgency to go after the network, which has an estimated 10,000-15,000 fighters.
Analysts say the Pakistani military could suffer heavy casualties if it were to attempt a crackdown on the group, which has developed extensive alliances with other militant organizations in the region, and has mastered the rugged mountain terrain.
Pakistan says Washington overlooks the sacrifices it has made since joining the U.S. "war on terror" launched after the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States.
Pakistani officials say about 5,000 soldiers and security forces have been killed fighting militants and 30,000 civilians have died.
Widespread anti-American sentiment in Pakistan also makes it difficult for the army to cave in to U.S. pressure.
"Are we responsible for the attacks that Taliban do throughout the country. It was a big mistake of our rulers that they supported Americans," said Khan Alam Marwat, 40, a car salesman in Islamabad.
Sirajuddin Haqqani, who heads the Haqqani network, says the group no longer needs sanctuaries in Pakistan, and it feels safe operating in Afghanistan.
Two weeks ago, militants launched an assault against the U.S. embassy and NATO headquarters in Kabul. U.S. officials blamed those attacks on the Haqqani network.
U.S. officials said there was intelligence, including intercepted phone calls, suggesting those attackers were in communication with people connected to Pakistan's principal spy agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) directorate.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly – the worst place to be a woman

Women parliamentarians are being treated unfairly in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly as the male majority ignores the resolutions presented by them, discouraging and discriminating against lawmakers who represent 52 percent of the country’s population.
The speakers and other ministers also ignore the opinions and remarks of the female legislators, who have been deprived of their rights as elected representatives of the people. “The attitude of the male members is very discouraging and we are constantly being discriminated against,” Shazia Auranzeb of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz told Pakistan Today.
She quoted the example of Pakistan People’s Party’s member Noor Sahar’s walkout from her set because the speaker, Kirmat Ullah Khan Chargharmati was not listening to her, adding that members from the opposition also supported her. She said Noor only continued after her Parliamentary leader Abdul Akbar Khan ordered her to resume the set. “Women are already being underrepresented in the assembly and we, the lawmakers, should raise our voices if we want to be heard,” she said.
“We need to keep presenting resolutions which favour women, only then can we end this discrimination,” another female member of PML-N Advocate Mehar Sultana said, adding that all women should unite for the cause. She said she had grounded two bills in the assembly but they had been ignored and recently she had requested all female members to sign the Domestic Bill so that it is taken up in the assembly. She said the rights of the women needed to be defended well since in most areas of the province they were not even allowed to vote.
Another PPP member Faiza Rasheed said it had been a year since she had presented the Labour Law Bill but it still had not been picked up by the speaker, adding that she had not been given the floor even once in three years. ANP lawmaker Zubida Ihsan said women need to be made aware of their rights so that they could become constructive members of the society.

‘Shahbaz Taseer’s kidnappers identified’

Law enforcement agencies have traced and identified the kidnappers of Shahbaz Taseer, son of slain Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer, Law Minister Rana Sanullah told reporters on Sunday. He claimed Taseer’s kidnappers had been identified by a joint team of various agencies including the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) that was probing the matter. He said, however, that the names of the abductors were being kept secret until their arrest.

‘Shahbaz Taseer’s kidnappers identified’