Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to launch 31 million euro livelihood, infrastructure uplift project

Business Recorder

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government, with the financial assistance of Germany, is going to launch a 31 million Euro livelihood and infrastructure development project in five selected districts of the province.

The project to be launched in districts Swabi, Haripur, Buner, D I Khan and Chitral on livelihood programmes in these areas.

The department of finance, she said, had already received the fund, which would be utilised on initiating livelihood and infrastructure development projects in the province.

This was stated by Khyber Pakhunkhwa Minister for Social Welfare and Women Development, Sitara Ayaz while speaking in a Meet-the-Press Programme under the auspices of Khyber Union of Journalists (KhUJ) here at Peshawar Press Club (PPC) on Monday.

She said that another 8 million Euro olive cultivation project is already in progress in district Swabi.

Talking about children protection, she said that the provincial government has established Child Protection Units in eight districts under Child Protection and Welfare Act 2010.

eight more will become functional before March next year.

She said that children would be provided all kind of protection and they will be given legal cover.

She said that a memorandum of understanding (MoU) has been signed with the department for imparting training to the teachers against the corporal punishment in schools.

The purpose of the training, she said, is to create awareness amongst the teachers against the corporal punishment.

In first phase, she said the teachers of the public sector schools would be given training, which will be followed by the teachers of the private sector schools in the province.

The provincial minister said that since 2008 the budget of the Social Welfare Department had been tripled and now the department like other departments is initiating development schemes.

Sitara Ayaz said that the ANP led provincial government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is a head of other provinces in the matters relating to women development.

She said that an Inter-Ministerial Group has also been established, which is headed by her.

She said that women facilitation centres have been established in the three districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa with the helpline number 1121 to provide assistance to the women both inside and outside their houses.

The provincial minister said three centres have been opened in Mardan for provision of training in beautician, computer and sewing.

She said that the province is lacking women tailors, adding the provincial government is ready to support women in opening of tailoring shops.

She disclosed that the provincial government has opened a Shelter Home for women in Hayatabad, which was included in the annual development programme (ADP) of the current financial year.

She said that a shelter home of the international standard will become operational next month.

She said that the number of widows is higher in Peshawar as most of the terror incidents occurred here, saying they are conducting study on it.

She said that the widows of the victims will be given priority in imparting skills in vocational centres.

Similarly, she said they will be provided loans under Bacha Khan Khpal Rozgar Scheme.

Petition in Pak seek removal of ISI chief

A petition seeking the immediate removal of ISI chief Lt Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha has been filed in Pakistan's Supreme Court, alleging his involvement in efforts to oust President Asif Ali Zardari.

In his petition filed on Monday, Communist Party of Pakistan chairman Jameel Ahmed contended that Pasha was not eligible to hold the high post.

He based his petition on articles in the foreign media which said Pasha had allegedly sought and received approval from Arab leaders to sack President Zardari.

"Till date these allegations have not been denied by both the ISI Director General and the Inter-Services Public Relations," Ahmed said.

Petition in Pak seek removal of ISI chief
He requested the apex court to declare that Pasha's continuance in office was in direct contravention of Article 244 of the Constitution, which deals with the oath of the armed forces.

As interim relief, the court should direct the federal government to suspend the ISI chief till the disposal of the petition, Ahmed said.

Controversial Pakistani-American businessman Mansoor Ijaz has claimed that Pasha visited several Arab countries to seek approval for the ouster of Zardari after the May 2 US raid that killed Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad.

Ijaz also made public the alleged memo in which US help was sought to prevent a feared coup in Pakistan after the killing of bin Laden.

Ahmed said in his petition: "If whatever stated by Mansoor Ijaz about the 'memogate' is correct, then what about his opinion concerning the ISI (DG) that he got approval from the Arab world for the removal of the President."

Petition in Pak seek removal of ISI chief
He added: "This is alarming and shows involvement of the ISI DG."

Petition in Pak seek removal of ISI chief Ahmed contended that Pasha's alleged meetings with Arab leaders certainly came under the purview of politics.

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has had to face embarrassing questions from the media on whether Pasha had sought his permission to visit Arab countries in the aftermath of the raid against bin Laden.

Petition in Pak seek removal of ISI chief Bushra Gohar, a senior leader of the Awami National Party, which is part of the ruling coalition, has demanded that the ISI chief should resign following Mansoor Ijaz's revelations.

Petition in Pak seek removal of ISI chief Shortly after the US raid in Abbottabad, Pasha had secretly visited China, Saudi Arabia and some other countries.

White House Stands by Biden Statement That Taliban Isn't U.S. Enemy

The White House on Monday defended Vice President Joe Biden for saying that the Taliban isn't an enemy of the United States despite the years spent fighting the militant Islamic group that gave a home to Al Qaeda and its leader Usama bin Laden while he plotted the Sept. 11 terror attacks.

"It's only regrettable when taken out of context," White House spokesman Jay Carney said of the vice president's remarks in an interview published Monday.

"It is a simple fact that we went into Afghanistan because of the attack on the United States on Sept. 11, 2001. We are there now to ultimately defeat Al Qaeda, to stabilize Afghanistan and stabilize it in part so that Al Qaeda or other terrorists who have as their aim attacks on the United States cannot establish a foothold again in that country," Carney continued.

During Biden's interview with Newsweek last week, the vice president said it's "good enough" for the U.S. if Afghanistan stops being a "haven for people who do damage and have as a target the United States of America" and its allies. He added that the U.S. is supportive of a reconciliation process between the Afghan government and the Taliban even if it's questionable whether a reconciliation is possible.

"Look, the Taliban per se is not our enemy. That's critical," Biden said. "There is not a single statement that the president has ever made in any of our policy assertions that the Taliban is our enemy, because it threatens U.S. interests. If, in fact, the Taliban is able to collapse the existing government, which is cooperating with us in keeping the bad guys from being able to do damage to us, then that becomes a problem for us."

Biden said that the U.S. is on a dual track in Afghanistan -- keep the pressure on Al Qaeda and support a government that is strong enough to "negotiate with and not be overthrown by the Taliban."

Carney said the U.S. did not send the military into Afghanistan because the Taliban were in power, and the vice president's point was that "while we are fighting them, it is not the elimination -- the elimination of the Taliban is not the issue here."

Indeed, the U.S. entered Afghanistan just weeks after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks that killed nearly 3,000 Americans to rid the country of Al Qaeda, whose leader had been an invited guest and offered safe haven for years by the Taliban government that ruled Afghanistan with an iron fist.

Today, fewer than 200 Al Qaeda terrorists reportedly remain in the country. But military officials say the primary attacks against U.S. forces in Afghanistan are being conducted by fighters loyal to the Taliban and the Taliban-tied Haqqani network, both of which are based out of neighboring Pakistan and freely cross the treacherous border.

According to Reuters, U.S. officials are hopeful that 10 months of secret negotiations with Taliban insurgents will soon result in a breakthrough that will allow the U.S. to leave Afghanistan as scheduled by 2014 without leaving the country to the whims of the hardline group.

Reuters reported Sunday the deal the U.S. is considering would include a prisoner release of Taliban detainees in Guantanamo Bay in exchange for a renunciation of violence and international terrorism, part of reconciliation talks with the government headed by Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

The U.S. also would offer unequivocal support for establishing a Taliban office in an Islamic country that it could use as a diplomatic headquarters, Reuters reported, and would demand preconditions such as a renunciation of violence, a break with Al Qaeda and respect for the Afghan constitution. Carney said Monday that the U.S. has been clear that those conditions "would need to be met."

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said Biden's remarks -- as well as Biden's and President Obama's belief that the Taliban are not the enemy -- are "bizarre, factually wrong and an outrageous affront our troops carrying out the fight in Afghanistan." He said the comments also reflect the administration's policy of "appeasement."

"The Taliban harbored the terrorists who killed 3,000 Americans on Sept 11. The Taliban continues to wage war against us and our allies, a conflict in which we have lost over 1,800 troops. The Taliban receives arms and training from Iran. And the Taliban seeks to reinstate a tyrannical government that violently rejects basic notions of human rights and oppresses minorities. The Taliban is clearly a bitter enemy of the United States," Romney said in a statement late Monday.

Malala Yousafzai receives National Peace Award


Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani gave the National Peace Award for Youth to Malala Yousafzai here on Tuesday, Geo News reported.

Thirteen-year-old Malala, who fought for rights of girls’ education during Talibanisation in her hometown Swat, was given the award in a ceremony held at Prime Minister House, Islamabad. She is the first Pakistani student to receive this award.

Earlier, PM Gilani had directed the cabinet division to constitute the National Peace Prize to be awarded to extra-ordinary children on an annual basis.