Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Wall Street leads the West to a world of chaos



The "Occupy Wall Street" movement has spread to tens of countries and led to violent protests and conflicts between police officers and demonstrators in many Western cities, including Rome and New York. Currently, the whole of Western society still cannot propose a way of alleviating and neutralizing the dissatisfaction of the people, and some Western politicians are praying that the protest could ultimately come to an end due to the exhaustion of the protestors.

Western societies have adapted to street demonstrations. Some people believe that the street demonstration is never able to overthrow the Western political system and is only a "release valve" for the capitalist society to release the social pressure and for the people to vent their anger or will ultimately be co-opted by the opposition party to turn into a tool of promoting the rotation of political parties.

This analysis is quite reasonable. And it also shows a deep reason for the lack of motivations for political reforms in the West. In the west, any political party is not responsible for eliminating social dissatisfaction as long as it is able to make use of and control the dissatisfaction and make it serve the short-term political goal of the party.

This widespread "Occupy Wall Street" movement is actually an intensive explosion of the problems underlying the political, economic, social and cultural issues that have existed for a long period under the capitalist system. When the global economy was good, these issues were covered. But with the economic growth rate slowing down and the people's quality of life worsening, all the anger will be ignited by a small blasting fuse.

There are a variety of causes behind developed countries' failures to adapt to the globalization. The existing social system of the countries in Europe and America encourages innovation instead of diligence. It encourages the strengthening of their advantages in terms of brand and technology instead of the competition between such advantages and basic industries. Countries in Europe and America have gradually become "elite countries" that are advanced and elegant but cannot endure hardship and have been on the opposite side of the market-oriented economic principles that they advocated during their rise and heyday.

The mechanism of promoting the development of industries and advancing social progress through the concentration of capital has been seriously distorted. Wall Street has set a bad example for the world to make a fortune through speculation rather than honest work. This has exposed the decaying "core" of the U.S. system, but people doubt whether the United States is determined to overhaul the "core."

When the Western upper classes are unwilling or not strong enough to initiate reforms, they are most likely to transfer their own contradictions and crises to non-Western countries. With emerging countries, including China, accelerating their development paces, they are more apt to do so. For instance, it is fully possible for the United States to use its frictions with China in issues such as the RMB interest rates and fair trade to transfer all or at least part of the indignations of their citizens over the Wall Street and domestic politics to China.

The entire world has indeed entered into an "era of turmoil," in which it is of great importance for Chinese society to calmly watch the situation on Western streets and see through the grand trend of the world rather than be confused by some radical interpretations.

From Russia with love

By Javid Husain

Pakistan’s relations with the Soviet Union

during the Cold War generally lacked substance and warmth barring a few short periods in which the two countries explored the possibilities of promoting mutual understanding and cooperation. This was not surprising considering the fact that the two countries were on the opposite sides of the Cold War divide, as Pakistan was squarely in the Western camp and a close ally of the United States.
In contrast, India took full advantage of its non-aligned status to develop in-depth cooperation with the Soviet Union in political, military and economic fields. India’s friendship with the Soviet Union enabled it to secure the Soviet support for its position at critical moments in the Pakistan-India relations. On the other hand, Pakistan’s general neglect of its relations with the Soviet Union not only narrowed the country’s diplomatic options, but also proved costly, particularly during the 1971 East Pakistan crisis. One can argue that by maintaining a more balanced approach in its relations with the two superpowers of that era instead of putting most of its eggs in the same basket (the only exception being Pakistan’s relations with China), Pakistan could have derived significant political, military and economic benefits that were otherwise denied to it.
The end of the Cold War and the disintegration of the Soviet Union have brought about a fundamental transformation of the global scenario. During the 1990’s, the US dominated the globe as the only superpower, while Russia as the successor State to the Soviet Union suffered from strategic dislocation in the form of internal weakness and indecisiveness in external affairs. China was growing rapidly in economic terms, but was still far from the position of posing any challenge to the US. The situation provided a golden opportunity to the US to provide leadership to the international community underpinned by diplomacy, multilateralism and morality, instead of reliance on unilateralism and military power. Unfortunately, Washington failed to come up to the mark, especially under President Bush Jr, as reflected by his administration’s adoption of the doctrine of unilateral preemptive military intervention.
The US attack on Iraq without any UN sanction was a practical demonstration of this doctrine, besides being a blatant violation of international law and the UN Charter. The earlier attack on Afghanistan, which was initially justified to punish Al-Qaeda for having organised the 9/11 attacks and the Taliban for having provided sanctuary to it, led to a brazen attempt by the US to impose a government of its choice on the Afghan people. Little wonder that the civil war in Afghanistan and the Afghan resistance against the foreign forces led by the US continue. In both these cases, the US exhibited a remarkable lack of restraint and sense of proportion in the exercise of power leading to disastrous consequences. Already, the US, according to one estimate, has spent more than $4 trillion on these wars, besides suffering an enormous loss of lives. While the US remains bogged down in these wars, China has made rapid strides economically emerging, as the second largest economy in the world with the prospect of surpassing the US some time in the 2020’s. Russia has gradually recovered from the strategic setback that it suffered during the Cold War and under Putin is determined to reassert its power, especially in its periphery. China and Russia have also joined hands in a strategic partnership to check the US unilateralism and expansionism. On the other hand, Washington is building up India, as a counterweight to China. While the US, despite its current economic difficulties, will remain the most powerful nation on the globe, economically and militarily, for quite some time to come, the American unipolar moment has already passed.

My visit to Moscow last month was partly meant to assess the emerging trends in the Russian foreign policy so as to identify the opportunities for Pakistan-Russia cooperation. My detailed meetings with the senior scholars of the famous Institute of Oriental Studies were particularly instructive in enlightening me on the current thinking in Russia on the Pakistan-Russia relations and the situation in Afghanistan. I was struck by the apparently sincere desire of the Russian academics for the strengthening of relations with Pakistan. They stressed that both Russia and Pakistan could learn from their past mistakes in the management of their relationship in the future.

PML-N trying to avert masses’ attention from dengue

The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), while condemning the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) rally against load shedding, said that the Sharif brothers were trying to avert attention of the citizens from the dengue issue since the provincial government had failed in coping with the epidemic. When contacted, Opposition Leader in Punjab Assembly (PA) Raja Riaz Ahmad, said that the Punjab government had failed to control dengue owing to late sprays and fumigation as well as lack of its interest in public related issues. Raja Riaz said that more than one hundred innocent people had died due to dengue uptil now, showing that the Punjab government had failed in controlling the epidemic. He said that the PML-N government was now trying to divert the attention of the citizens from the dengue issue, hence, it had started a campaign against the federal government in the name of load shedding.He said that if the Punjab government failed in controlling dengue then a protest rally in this regard could also be staged outside the CM’s Secretariat. PA Deputy Parliamentary Leader Shaukat Basra, while talking on the issue, said that there Sharif brothers were wrong in holding rallies against the federal government regarding load shedding as they already knew the factual position about the reasons of electricity shortfall. He said that Punjab CM Shahbaz Sharif was not serious in dealing with issues of public interest, like dengue, adding that this was the reason he did not attend any of the assembly session nor bothered to answer the opposition’s queries. Talking to Daily Times, PPP Punjab Information Secretary Dr Fakharruddin Chaudhry, said that the Punjab government itself had requested the federal government to stop water supply, adding that the electricity shortfall could not be met owing to this disruption in the hydropower production. Dr Fakhar further said that the Sharif brothers were fully aware of the electricity situation across the country as well as the efforts being made by the federal government to overcome it and yet they had started a game of political point scoring over the issue of load shedding, which was “unfair” and an “irresponsible act” on their part. Meanwhile, PPP Lahore Leader Hafiz Muhammad Ikhlaq said that although load shedding was a pressing issue, more people were dying due to dengue. He added that load shedding was a gift of the Nawaz Sharif and Musharraf governments, whereas the current PPP government had been trying to conquer the menace by increasing power generation.

Afghans, Nato launch ‘new push against Haqqanis’

Afghan security forces and their Nato allies have launched a new push against the al Qaeda-linked Haqqani network along the troubled Pakistani border, senior defence officials said on Tuesday.

The United States recently accused the Haqqanis of orchestrating a 19-hour siege of the US embassy in Kabul, a September truck bombing on a Nato outpost that wounded 77 Americans and a June attack on Kabul’s InterContinental hotel.

US commanders say the network, a faction of the Afghan Taliban, is their most potent enemy in eastern Afghanistan and increasingly capable of launching high-profile attacks in Kabul.

Afghan Defence minister Abdul Rahim Wardak said operation “Knife Edge” was launched two days ago, while a senior defence ministry official said it was “largely against the Haqqani network”.

Washington last month dramatically escalated pressure on Pakistan to crackdown on the Haqqani network, with the then military chief Admiral Mike Mullen accusing Pakistani intelligence of involvement in the embassy siege.

The accusations caused damaging diplomatic rifts as the West seeks to end the 10-year war in Afghanistan.

The Afghan ministry official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the operation was tied to the recent spats between Washington and Islamabad, but gave no details about its scale.

A Nato spokesman confirmed only that “enhanced official operations” were ongoing in the eastern region that borders Pakistan, but offered no further details for security reasons.

Speaking to reporters ahead of a weaponry exhibition in Kabul, Wardak said the operation would “deliver a crashing blow to the enemy’s capabilities to conduct operations, especially terrorist operations during the winter”.

“This operation is launched along the border because the enemy lately operates along the border on both sides. Sometimes on this side and sometimes on the other side,” said the Afghan chief of army staff, Sher Mohammad Karimi.

On Monday, the Pentagon said cross-border attacks emanating from Pakistan against US-led forces in Afghanistan have increased since US troops killed Osama bin Laden near Islamabad last May.

US soldiers in Afghanistan’s eastern Paktika province told the New York Times that rocket fire had dramatically increased from Pakistani territory.

There were at least 102 “close-border” attacks against three US outposts in Paktika since May, compared to 13 during the same period last year, it said.

Afghanistan and Pakistan have for months traded accusations of responsibility for deadly attacks across both sides of the border.

Afghanistan is building up its national security forces, including a 193,000-strong army, trained and equipped mostly by the United States, which has around 100,000 troops in the country fighting the Taliban-led insurgency.

Malaria deaths fall over 20% worldwide in last decade

BBC.COM

There has been a fall of just over 20% in the number of deaths from malaria worldwide in the past decade, the World Health Organization says.

A new report said that one-third of the 108 countries where malaria was endemic were on course to eradicate the disease within 10 years.

Experts said if targets continued to be met, a further three million lives could be saved by 2015.

Malaria is one of the deadliest global diseases, particularly in Africa.

In 2009, 781,000 people died from malaria. The mosquito-borne disease is most prevalent in sub-Saharan Africa, where 85% of deaths occurred, most of them children under five.

An earlier report here incorrectly referred to a 40% drop in deaths.

It has been eradicated from three countries since 2007 - Morocco, Turkmenistan and Armenia.

The Roll Back Malaria Partnership aims to eliminate malaria in another eight to 10 countries by the end of 2015, including the entire WHO European Region. Robert Newman, director of the WHO's Global Malaria Programme, said "remarkable progress" had been made.

"Better diagnostic testing and surveillance has provided a clearer picture of where we are on the ground - and has shown that there are countries eliminating malaria in all endemic regions of the world," he told an international Malaria Forum conference in Seattle.

"We know that we can save lives with today's tools."
Global eradication

A global malaria eradication campaign, launched by WHO in 1955, succeeded in eliminating the disease in 16 countries and territories.

But after less than two decades, the WHO decided to concentrate instead on the less ambitious goal of malaria control.

However, another eight nations were declared malaria-free up until 1987, when certification was abandoned for 20 years.

In recent years, interest in malaria eradication as a long-term goal has re-emerged.

The WHO estimates that malaria causes significant economic losses, and can decrease gross domestic product (GDP) by as much as 1.3% in countries with high levels of transmission.

In the worst-affected countries, the disease accounts for: Up to 40% of public health expenditures; 30% to 50% of inpatient hospital admissions; and up to 60% of outpatient health clinic visits.

New Yorkers support anti-Wall Street protests




Anti-Wall Street protests have won broad support among New York City voters, who would overwhelmingly favor tougher regulations on the financial industry, new poll results showed on Monday.

Sixty-seven percent of those who responded to a Quinnipiac University survey said they agreed with the Occupy Wall Street protesters, who are upset that banks were allowed to earn huge profits after being bailed out during the recession, while average Americans remained under financial strain.

An even wider margin, 87 percent, agreed with the protesters' right to camp out in Lower Manhattan, as long as they obeyed the law. The movement began staging rallies more than a month ago.

Support for the protests was split down party lines, with 81 percent of the Democrats saying they backed them, while only 35 percent of Republicans said so.

The protests have spread across the country and moved overseas over the weekend. While most rallies were relatively small, violence flared in Rome where tens of thousands of people came into the streets.

The movement's focal point, however, has been New York, where protests have been largely peaceful. Still, less than half of those surveyed approved of the way police have handled the demonstrations, after several episodes in which force has been used on protesters.

The largest block of voters, 37 percent, blamed former President George W. Bush's administration for the nation's economic problems, while 21 percent blamed banks. Seventy-three percent said they would support tougher government regulation.

The Oct 12-16 poll of 1,068 registered voters had a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Hamas Frees Israeli Soldier as Prisoner Swap Begins



An Israeli soldier held for more than five years by the militant Palestinian group Hamas was traded on Tuesday for hundreds of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails in an elaborate exchange that could shake up regional politics.

Buses containing the Palestinian prisoners — the first group of what will eventually be more than 1,000 — made their way into Egypt and from there to the West Bank and Gaza Strip where jubilant relatives awaited and celebrations were planned.


The soldier, Sergeant First Class Gilad Shalit, was taken from Gaza, where he had been held since being abducted in a cross-border raid in 2006, into Egypt and from there to Israel, where he was given a quick medical check and declared in good health. He changed into a military uniform before being flown by helicopter to an Israeli military base where he met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and was reunited with his family.

“Today we are all united in joy and in pain,” Mr. Netanyahu said in a televised address from the air base shortly after.

Sergeant Shalit was interviewed on Egyptian television before being handed over to Israel. Sitting in a blue checked shirt and speaking Hebrew, he smiled and reflected on the questions before answering them. He looked thin and pale but appeared otherwise healthy.

Asked if he had feared that he would never get out, Sergeant Shalit answered that he worried it would take many more years although in the past month he suspected a deal was in the works. He said he was told of his release a week ago.

Asked what he missed most in prison, he replied, “My family and my friends and seeing and talking with people. The worst was having to do the same thing every day over and over.”

He was told that Israel still had thousands of prisoners and was asked if he would like them released. “I will be happy for them to be released if they don’t return to fight us,” he said. “I very much hope that this deal will advance peace.”

The chief spokesman of the Israeli military, Brig. Gen. Yoav Mordechai, told reporters after Sergeant Shalit was handed over to Israelis, “Not far from here, Gilad’s tank was attacked and two armored corps soldiers were killed. In the same area, Gilad Shalit, accompanied by the commander of the south is at this moment being brought to the Amitai base. There he will have medical checks but before that he will talk with his family.”

Egyptian television showed Sergeant Shalit being rushed through the Rafah crossing terminal from Gaza into Egypt accompanied by Hamas and Egyptian officials.

Soon afterward, an Israeli military statement said: “Gilad Shalit crossed the border into Israel, ending over five years in captivity.”

Fawzi Barhoum, a Hamas spokesman, told Al-Jazeera television that the first step of the agreement was complete. Speaking from the Rafah crossing point, Mr. Barhoum warned Israel against “maneuvering or playing with any article of the agreement.” He added that Egyptian mediators assured Hamas that they would not allow Israel to violate the agreement.

Throngs of excited Palestinians woke to mosque loudspeakers crying “God is great” and “Victory to God” as they awaited the arrival of buses carrying the 477

prisoners on Tuesday. Another 550 are expected to be released in two months. Two women prisoners due to be sent to Gaza were demanding instead to be sent to Egypt.

Dozens of returnees began arriving in Ramallah in the West Bank where they were to attend a reception given by Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority. Although the exchange was negotiated by his rivals in Hamas, the release of prisoners was a source of national celebration.

At Rafah, the mother of one of the men who captured Sergeant Shalit in June 2006 arrived with his photograph. Her son, Mohammad Azmi Firwana, 23, from Khan Younis, was killed in the operation.

“I have come to greet the prisoners because they are all like my sons and daughters,” said the woman, Ahlam Firwana. “We have not got Mohammad’s body back yet. We have heard nothing.”

After his medical check, Sergeant Shalit — who had recently been promoted from staff sergeant to sergeant first class — was brought to the Tel Nof air force base south of Tel Aviv, where he was met by Mr. Netanyahu, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz, the military chief of staff. His family was there with him as well.

Earlier in the day, as Israeli officials began to gather there, Israeli television showed the Shalit family leaving their home in northern Israel to be taken by helicopter to the base, where an out-of-use F-15 warplane stood sentry at the entrance and signs with his image lined the road, proclaiming, “How good that you have come home.”

The mechanics of the deal were complex but apparently moved smoothly just after dawn.

In Gaza, the Hamas-run government took busloads of journalists in a tightly controlled media operation to the Rafah Crossing with Egypt shortly after dawn on Tuesday. Armed members of Hamas’s militant wing, the Qassam Brigades, lined the main highway to the crossing where the prisoners were to be released. They were wearing black and green bandanas and balaclavas. Some carried Kalashnikov assault rifles while others bore rocket-propelled grenade launchers.

Many hundreds, perhaps thousands, of the guards — at some points posted every 15 feet — had apparently been deployed to forestall disruptions. A celebratory rally was planned at Brigades Park in one of Gaza’s largest open spaces where a stage has been erected for the Hamas prime minister, Ismail Haniya, to address the crowd and publicly welcome the returnees.

One of the returning prisoners, Yehya Sinwar, a co-founder of an early security wing of Hamas, is also scheduled to speak.

The buses carrying the prisoners drove through a huge crowd of Hamas police and a drum band and honor guard. The freed prisoners got off the buses one by one and ran a gantlet of people who cheered them, held up camera phones, saluted and patted them on the back. Some were given sashes with the Palestinian colors.

Along the length of Salahuddin Street, the main north-south road that runs the length of the Gaza Strip, Hamas activists attached Islamist banners to streetlights on Monday, welcoming home the 131 Gaza returnees from among Palestinian prisoners being released by Israel.

Both Israel and the divided Palestinian leadership — Fatah runs the West Bank while Hamas controls the Gaza Strip — were making elaborate preparations for the handover, which will end five years in captivity for Sergeant Shalit; hundreds of the Palestinians have been held much longer. Rafah is the Gaza of Gaza — isolated, poor and, for years, all but cut off from the rest of the coastal strip during the era of Israeli settlements here, which ended in 2005.

The community is not just where the Shalit saga was to end, barring a last-minute change, but it was also where it began. In June 2006, Hamas and two other militant factions mounted a surprise raid on an Israeli military post at Kerem Shalom, after having dug a long tunnel beneath the Rafah sands under the border, capturing Sergeant Shalit. He has not been seen in public since.

He was the first captured Israeli soldier to be returned home alive in 26 years.

In Israel, there were elaborate preparations for his return, a calibrated mix of relieved celebration and acknowledgment — both of the pain and death that the released Palestinians caused many families and of the risk that their release may pose.

Several petitions to block or alter the exchange were rejected by Israel’s high court on Monday. The scene at the courtroom was emotionally charged, with some families who lost members in terrorist attacks assailing the Shalit family and the government.

Prime Minister Netanyahu sent letters to the bereaved families saying he understood their heartache.

“I know that the price is very heavy for you,” he wrote in the letters. “I understand the difficulty to countenance that the evil people who perpetrated the appalling crimes against your loved ones will not pay the full price that they deserve. During these moments I hope that you will find solace that I and the entire nation of Israel embrace you and share your pain.”

After a more extensive medical examination and some time with the officials and his family, Sergeant Shalit and his family are to be transported by helicopter to their home in northern Israel. Reporters and onlookers will be barred from his neighborhood to give the family a measure of privacy. Chiefs of major Israeli news organizations vowed to respect the restrictions.

With a hammer in his hand, Hussein al-Rifi, 20, paused on Monday while hanging flags in Gaza to say that he was happy to help with the preparations, “to show the people that Hamas still exists in Gaza and to make the happiness of the prisoners complete.”

As he spoke, a bulldozer was smoothing the sandy ridges that run on each side of the highway to beautify the route. Later, five numbered buses arrived at the barred crossing gates at Rafah, ready to pick up the released prisoners; they were followed by a busload of Hamas police officers to form an honor guard.

In the West Bank, President Abbas was to greet the prisoners to be released there at a ceremony in Ramallah. Though the exchange was negotiated by his rivals in Hamas, Mr. Abbas was expected to try to make it as much of a nonpartisan Palestinian achievement as possible.

Atallah Abu al-Sebah, Hamas’s minister of prisoners’ affairs, said the prisoners released in Gaza would first be greeted inside the Rafah crossing by 200 officials and up to four members of each prisoner’s family. There would be a “short official reception,” including the Palestinian national anthem.

Mr. Sebah said that any prisoners who needed accommodation, including those who did not have families in the strip, would be put up in hotels for one month, irrespective of whether they were associated with Hamas, Fatah or other factions. They would then be moved to apartments being prepared for them around Gaza.

“We call upon our Palestinian people to put our brothers from the West Bank in their hearts and eyes, regardless of their affiliation,” he said. “It is enough that they belong to Palestine.”

Afghanistan launches technical study of railway networks


According to officials in Ministry of Mines of Afghanistan, the technical studies of railway network construction between capital Kabul and northern city of Mazar-e-Sharif and capital Kabul to Torkham border has been started by the officials.

According to a statement released by the Ministry of Mines of Afghanistan, the railway network construction has been discussed between the concerned departments in Ministry of Mines of Afghanistan.

The statement further added, the officials decided to start the survey work and construction of railway network for the better transportation of Ainak Copper.

According Wahidullah Shahrani Mines Minister of Afghanistan, the decisions for the primary construction of railway network between Kabul and Torkham border and the second phase of railway network construction from Kabul to Hairatan with the length of 921 kms, was finalized last year.

MCC which has been awarded the exploration of Ainak copper mine announced the tender of Railway Network construction and the project was awarded to China Railway.

China Railway has implemented a number of projects in Afghanistan and is familiar with the territory.

According to the statement of Ministry of Mines of Afghanistan, China Railway will start its preliminary technical study of Railway Construction between capital Kabul to Mazar-e-Sharif and capital Kabul to Torkham border in the near future.

Pakistani women playing vital role in all departments


Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar has said that Pakistan is one of the leading country in the developing states where the women had been empowered more as compared to other countries and they are playing vital role in different departments.

She was addressing a reception hosted by British High Commissioner Adam Thomson at the British High Commission on Monday night ahead of the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting taking place in Perth, Australia on 28th October.

The theme of the event was ‘Women as Agents of Change’ and the British High Commissioner was joined at the event by Australian High Commissioner Timothy George.

Hina Rabbani Khar said it was the credit of Pakistan that Shaheed Benazir Bhutto was the first woman prime minister of Muslim countries.

She said speaker of National Assembly is women and many other departments have significant representation of women.

Hina Rabbani Khar said from agriculture to business, women are actively participating in all the fields in Pakistan.

She said a number of legislation had been passed by the parliament with the support of all the political parties for the protection and empowerment of women.

Highlighting the importance of Benazir Income Support Programme, initiated by the present government, she said, the programme is aimed at the economic empowerment of the women through out the country.

British High Commissioner Adam Thomson addressing the reception said, “The Commonwealth is an important international forum for the UK, Australia and Pakistan, bringing together over 2 billion people from 54 countries- one third of the world’s population.”

He said, “The UK is committed to playing a leading role in developing our links with the Commonwealth.”

He said, “Today we are celebrating one of the core messages of this year’s Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, which is “Women as Agents of Change”.

The British High Commissioner said,” Today, we have highlighted just a few of Pakistan’s women who are playing inspiring roles across all areas of Pakistani society.

This is just a small example of the important role that women play in Pakistan every day.”

He said, “It is vital that Pakistan continues to encourage the involvement of women in all aspects of society, and we continue to support the government of Pakistan in achieving this.”

The High Commissioner also recognised some of the best entries to the British High Commission’s online competition where it asked people from across Pakistan to send stories of Pakistani women who had inspired them or inspired change in their communities.

British High Commissioner Thomson said, “It’s important to recognise not just those inspirational women in the public eye but also those who work hard to bring a better life to those in their communities.”

He said, “We received many entries to our online competition highlighting many of Pakistan’s inspirational women.

Some were teachers who have inspired their students to strive to achieve their potential, some were mothers who worked tirelessly to look after their families and drive their children to succeed, and some were inspirational women working with those less fortunate in their communities to make a better life for those around them.”

The British High Commission used today’s event to celebrate the women, recognising their achievements at every level, and from every part of the country.

The British High Commission produced a video to recognise the inspirational stories of women in Pakistan from Fehmida Mirza, Speaker National Assembly to Zahida Kazmi, Pakistan’s first woman taxi driver as well as other exceptional women from politics, business, the NGO sector and the arts, recognising their contribution to Pakistan and their inspirational messages to women across the country.

Australian High Commissioner Timothy George speaking on the occasion said Australia is proud to host coming Commonwealth Summit in the last week of this month.

He said the Commonwealth Organization comprising over 50 countries is very dynamic body working for the welfare of the member states.

The Australian High Commissioner expressed the hope that coming Commonwealth Summit will prepare the agenda for further development, progress and prosperity of the member states.

A large number of women from different walks of life including sports, media, health, parliament, politics, business, economic, art and culture and social welfare departments and diplomats attended the reception.

Pakistani women playing vital role in all departments

Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar has said that Pakistan is one of the leading country in the developing states where the women had been empowered more as compared to other countries and they are playing vital role in different departments.

She was addressing a reception hosted by British High Commissioner Adam Thomson at the British High Commission on Monday night ahead of the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting taking place in Perth, Australia on 28th October.

The theme of the event was ‘Women as Agents of Change’ and the British High Commissioner was joined at the event by Australian High Commissioner Timothy George.

Hina Rabbani Khar said it was the credit of Pakistan that Shaheed Benazir Bhutto was the first woman prime minister of Muslim countries.

She said speaker of National Assembly is women and many other departments have significant representation of women.

Hina Rabbani Khar said from agriculture to business, women are actively participating in all the fields in Pakistan.

She said a number of legislation had been passed by the parliament with the support of all the political parties for the protection and empowerment of women.

Highlighting the importance of Benazir Income Support Programme, initiated by the present government, she said, the programme is aimed at the economic empowerment of the women through out the country.

British High Commissioner Adam Thomson addressing the reception said, “The Commonwealth is an important international forum for the UK, Australia and Pakistan, bringing together over 2 billion people from 54 countries- one third of the world’s population.”

He said, “The UK is committed to playing a leading role in developing our links with the Commonwealth.”

He said, “Today we are celebrating one of the core messages of this year’s Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, which is “Women as Agents of Change”.

The British High Commissioner said,” Today, we have highlighted just a few of Pakistan’s women who are playing inspiring roles across all areas of Pakistani society.

This is just a small example of the important role that women play in Pakistan every day.”

He said, “It is vital that Pakistan continues to encourage the involvement of women in all aspects of society, and we continue to support the government of Pakistan in achieving this.”

The High Commissioner also recognised some of the best entries to the British High Commission’s online competition where it asked people from across Pakistan to send stories of Pakistani women who had inspired them or inspired change in their communities.

British High Commissioner Thomson said, “It’s important to recognise not just those inspirational women in the public eye but also those who work hard to bring a better life to those in their communities.”

He said, “We received many entries to our online competition highlighting many of Pakistan’s inspirational women.

Some were teachers who have inspired their students to strive to achieve their potential, some were mothers who worked tirelessly to look after their families and drive their children to succeed, and some were inspirational women working with those less fortunate in their communities to make a better life for those around them.”

The British High Commission used today’s event to celebrate the women, recognising their achievements at every level, and from every part of the country.

The British High Commission produced a video to recognise the inspirational stories of women in Pakistan from Fehmida Mirza, Speaker National Assembly to Zahida Kazmi, Pakistan’s first woman taxi driver as well as other exceptional women from politics, business, the NGO sector and the arts, recognising their contribution to Pakistan and their inspirational messages to women across the country.

Australian High Commissioner Timothy George speaking on the occasion said Australia is proud to host coming Commonwealth Summit in the last week of this month.

He said the Commonwealth Organization comprising over 50 countries is very dynamic body working for the welfare of the member states.

The Australian High Commissioner expressed the hope that coming Commonwealth Summit will prepare the agenda for further development, progress and prosperity of the member states.

A large number of women from different walks of life including sports, media, health, parliament, politics, business, economic, art and culture and social welfare departments and diplomats attended the reception.

Prime Minister Gilani lays Foundation Stone of Bhasha Dam


Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani Tuesday laid foundation stone of the US 12 billion dollar Diamir Bhasha dam that would generate 4500 MW electricity and store over 8 Million Acre Feet of water to meet country’s growing power and irrigation needs.

The dam, world’s highest concrete dam on River Indus would produce 19 billion units of electricity annually and enhance life of Tarbela Dam by over 35 years.

Prime Minister Gilani was accompanied by Minister for Defence Ch. Ahmed Mukhtar, Governor Gilgit Baltistan Pir Karam Ali Shah, Chief Minister GB Mehdi Shah, Minister for Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit Baltistan Manzoor Ahmed Wattoo, Minister for Information Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan, Minister for Water and Power Syed Naveed Qamar and Governor Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Barrister Masood Kauser and Chief Minister Amir Haider Khan Hoti.

Pakistan in the jaws of militancy

S has said that militant outfits pose a grave threat to Pakistan and both the countries are standing up against this menace shoulder-to-shoulder, Geo News reported.

Spokesperson, Mark Toner, expressed these views during a daily state department briefing.

Going forward, he stressed that we’re working together with Pakistan.

“We want to find ways that we can act jointly on our shared challenges. We continue to pursue those interests. We’re obviously – as we’ve said many times, Pakistan is under enormous threat from extremist groups. We want to find ways to work constructively with them to address these challenges”, said he.

To a question he said that our work in Pakistan was geared towards building the kind of institutions that will strengthen Pakistani democracy. US wanted to see a strong democracy emerge in Pakistan that works side by side with the military, and that’s to the benefit of the Pakistani people moving forward, he added.

He refused to confirm Secretary Clinton’s visit to Pakistan on 20th for a two-day visit, saying he is not going to confirm it.

Baluchistan's press under siege

www.cpj.org


Reporters in Pakistan's conflict-stricken province of Baluchistan have been organizing to display their anger against the continued death threats they have been receiving from government secret services, religious militant groups, and armed nationalist organizations. Their most recent demonstration on October 1 was only one in a string of protests to confront the problem.

Baluchistan is a deadly province for correspondents, where state and non-state actors violently interfere in journalists' professional work, with the aim of controlling how they and their enemies are portrayed in the media. On September 11, Javid Naseer Rind, the deputy editor of the Urdu-language Daily Tawar, was grabbed by intelligence agents and has not reappeared, his relatives say. Soon after Rind's disappearance, the paper's editor, Khadim Lehri, went into hiding after receiving threats on his life.

The men and their families are right to fear for their safety, At least three Daily Tawar reporters, Abdul Hameed Hayatan, Siddiq Eido, and Rehmatullah Shaheen, were killed last year. [CPJ is investigating these cases to determine whether the murders were related to journalism.]

The paper blames the Pakistani government, where they have found little sympathy for their situation. At a recent hearing, the Baluchistan High Court threatened to imprison journalists for six months if they publish the statements of militant organizations that have been banned because of their involvement in violence and terror. The court says the publication of the groups' activities glorifies violence, and has little sympathy for the journalists' plight.

"If you can't face the pressure then stop publishing newspapers," Chief Justice Qazi Faiz Essa told reporters at the hearing.

Journalists have not found understanding from the militant side. The Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) is an Islamic extremist group that aims to eradicate the minority Shia sect or convert its followers to Sunni Islam. On September 20, the group killed around 30 Shia pilgrims in an attack on a passenger bus. The LeJ wants newspapers to publish its press releases word for word, local journalists say.

"The LeJ does not recognize the high court decree and forces reporters to violate the law," said one senior journalist who requested anonymity for safety reasons.

Reporters who have spoken to LeJ representatives on the phone say the organization insists that it has a "religious responsibility" to warn reporters at least three times before killing them. "If reporters defy our warning for a third time then we naturally get the religious endorsement to kill them," a journalist in Baluchistan's capital city Quetta cited an LeJ spokesman as saying. A newspaper editor, when contacted by this writer, said journalists would land in trouble if they dared to omit from the militants' press releases the derogatory language denouncing the government.

The threats are taken seriously. "It is scary how much these organizations already know about each reporter's family, home address and travel routes. They say if they can kill top army officers, then journalists can't escape either," the editor said.

Ayub Tareen, a senior BBC journalist, was recently threatened by the Baluch Liberation Front, a separatist nationalist armed group, because of the latter's complaint of receiving what the group called "insufficient coverage."

"They rang me up and inquired why the BBC covered the activities of their rival group [Baluch Liberation United Front, which] they termed as a 'fake' organization. I said my job was not to judge which organization was fake or authentic. As a reporter, my responsibility is to find out which group claims responsibility for an important attack," he told this writer. Since the warnings, Tareen has changed his daily routine and reduced his reporting. His colleagues offered to relocate him to a safer location, but he declined.

Caught between the government and the militants, reporters say they have found little sympathy from their editors either. With no control over their editors' decisions on how to edit or where to place a story, they are at the receiving end of complaints from the factions they are covering in the field. Government intelligence agencies such as the Inter-Services Intelligence, religious extremists groups and nationalist groups quickly complain to the reporters if their activities are not covered. And with the complaints come more threats.

Benazir was about to reveal Musharraf’s rigging plan’ Before the assassination: ‘

The Express Tribune

As the political battle for Punjab heats up, Governor Latif Khosa appears to have joined the ranks of PPP leaders who have been lashing out at their party’s political opponents, alleging on Monday, for instance, that former prime minister

Benazir Bhutto had been hours away from revealing former president Pervez Musharraf’s plan to rig the 2008 elections on the day she was assassinated.“A PPP special committee had compiled a 600-page dossier to disclose Musharraf’s plan of marginalising the PPP’s mandate through rigging. The committee was scheduled to meet and present the report to visiting US senators but Benazir Bhutto was assassinated that very day,” said Khosa while inaugurating a National Registration and Database Authority (Nadra) registration centre in Chakwal district.

Khosa, who claims to have been on that committee, said that the dossier was available on the PPP website.hosa lambasted Punjab’s ruling PML-N for trying to launch a movement to topple the PPP-led government.

“They are afraid of the PPP’s success in the upcoming elections,” said Khosa, in what appears to be a reference to the March 2012 Senate elections where the PPP is expected to win at least a strong plurality if not an outright majority in the upper chamber of parliament.
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