Friday, January 27, 2012

Egyptians protest army to mark "Friday of Rage"

Large marches of protesters chanting antimilitary

slogans streamed from mosques around Cairo to join tens of thousands massed in central Tahrir Square in a new uprising anniversary rally Friday, with many demanding an early transfer of power by the ruling military and the trial of generals for the killing of protesters.

Tensions erupted when one march of hundreds of protesters headed toward the Defense Ministry building and was met by dozens of supporters of the military who chanted "the army and people are one hand." The pro-military group formed a human chain across an intersection, but the protesters pushed through them, shouting "down with military rule."

Outside barbed wire and armored vehicles guarding the ministry, the protesters chanted against the generals. Protester Ahmed Alish said the rally was to deliver a message to the military, "You must go." Later, several loud booms sent the crowd scattering. Alish said he saw a pro-military protester throw what looked like a homemade percussion grenade.

The protests, which included mass rallies in other Egyptian cities, commemorated the first anniversary of the "Friday of Rage," one of the bloodiest days of the 18-day wave of protests a year ago that ousted President Hosni Mubarak.In last year's "Friday of Rage," Mubarak's security forces fired on protesters marching toward Tahrir from around the capital, killing and wounding hundreds. Protesters battled back for hours until Mubarak's widely hated police forces collapsed and withdrew from the streets.

A year later, protesters' focus is now on demands that the military, which has ruled since Mubarak's Feb. 11 ouster, leave power. But Islamists and liberal, secular-leaning "revolutionary" protesters are divided. The revolutionaries want the generals out immediately, while the Muslim Brotherhood, which is now the most powerful bloc in parliament, is willing to wait for the military's promises to step aside by the end of June.

The leftists and secular groups accuse the military of being as dictatorial as Mubarak and of seeking to preserve their power even after handing over their authority to civilians. Regardless of the timetable, there is widespread resentment that little has been done to dismantle Mubarak's regime and prosecute security officers for the deaths of hundreds of protesters during and after the anti-Mubarak uprising. They call for more protests, while the Brotherhood wants to focus power on parliament. At the same time, there is also significant weariness over the continuing turmoil among Egyptians who are struggling with a worsening economy.

The differing tone was visible in Tahrir. Brotherhood supporters treated the day as a celebration of the victory of the "revolution," while non-Islamists insist there can be no celebrations when so many demands are unmet.

Some in the square shouted against the Brotherhood, chanting at them, "Get off the stage." Brotherhood supporters on a stage they have set up in the square tried to drown them out, blaring the national anthem and religious songs from multiple loudspeakers.

Amid the crowds in Tahrir, a Muslim cleric delivered a boisterous Friday sermon, proclaiming that the protesters, not the military, have the right to determine the country's course.

"Our right is to dictate the decisions of the revolution," said the cleric, Muzhar Shahine, speaking from a stage set up by leftist and secular groups, as the crowd cheered and cried, "God is great."

He gave a litany of the unrealized changes sought by the revolution.

"A year later, has State Security really been dissolved," he said, referring to Mubarak's feared internal security force that was the backbone of his police state. "Has our land been freed?" He said state media, a key mouthpiece for Mubarak and now the military, must be purged, a constitution must be written that is "shared by all political parties and that gives rights for all of Egypt's children," and Christians must be given the same rights as Muslims.

Rallies of thousands of protesters moved from main mosques all around Cairo toward Tahrir, chanting "we want civilian, not military." Some young men had shaved the words "down with military rule" in their hair cuts. In one rally from Cairo's Shubra neighborhood, a young man representing a slain protester was carried on other men's shoulders as a long Egyptian flag was unfurled down the boulevard.

Some were critical of the Muslim Brotherhood, which many suspect will not push for real reforms now that it has won a dominant place in parliament and which they fear is willing to strike a deal with the military that would give the general's some continued power. The Brotherhood denies any deal.

"We can't celebrate when there's no justice for those killed," 30-year-old protester Amr Sayyed said. "The Muslim Brotherhood is talking about justice, but not how or when."

"This is a day of mourning, not celebration," said Abdel-Hady el-Ninny, the father of a slain protester, Alaa Abdel-Hady. He and his family carried large posters of his son around Tahrir.

Balochistan Assembly backs Zardari, Gilani

Lawmakers of the Balochistan Assembly Thursday passed a resolution in the assembly urging the state institutions to avoid confrontation as it would harm democracy.

BA Speaker Muhammad Aslam Bhootani chaired the assembly session. Minister for Works and Deputy Parliamentary leader of the PPP in the provincial assembly Haji Ali Madad Jatak moved the resolution.

"The assembly reposes its trust in the leadership of President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani and fully support their efforts being put to strengthen democracy," the resolution said.

The resolution underlined the need to maintain principle of division of powers and that no state institution would interfere into the affairs of other institution. It said the bright future of the country and welfare of masses depended on smooth flourishing of democracy.

In his speech, Jatak said Asif and Gilani have been playing significant role for strengthening democracy. "Masses had given mandate to the incumbent government to complete five year tenure," he said adding that supremacy of the parliament should be recognised.

Health Minister Aainullah Shams said the government should be given chance to complete its five years tenure as masses had elected it. He stressed formation of a committee of political parties to review that who violated Constitution and who endorsed such act.

Minister for Sports Mir Shah Nawaz Marri, Minister for Quetta Development Authority (QDA) and PPP leader Haji Ismail Gujjar, MPA Ghulam Jan Baloch, MPA Nasreen Khaitran, PML-Q MPA Sheikh Jaffar Mandokhel, Minister for Law and Parliamentary Affairs and PML-Q leader Shama Perveen Magsi, Minister for Local Government and Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Nazriati (JUI-N) leader Abdul Khaliq Bashar Dost also addressed the session.

The chair put the resolution to the house which passed it unanimously. Later, after completion of other proceedings of the assembly, the Speaker adjourned the house until January 28.

Punjab Deaths exposed incompetence, says governor

PUNJAB Governor Sardar Latif Khan Khosa has said that loss of around 100 precious lives because of reaction of medicines is a big tragedy which has exposed the Punjab government’s incompetence.

Talking to reporters after inaugurating two-day international conference on toxicology at University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences (UVAS) here on Thursday he demanded formation of a judicial commission to investigate the serious issue. He said holding of several portfolios by the Punjab chief minister was beyond comprehension.

The governor, while referring to meetings chaired by the CM Shahbaz Sharif on daily basis, said instead of holding meetings all the day, practical work should be focused. He said on the one hand the chief minister considered himself as Khadim-e-Aala but on the other hand he was holding portfolios of several ministries. “It is necessary to trust others instead of merely becoming a preacher of democracy”, he added.

Latif Khosa said the CM even did not bother to come to Punjab Assembly, adding that if the same attitude of the Punjab government continued, the PML-N would be unable to find candidates for the coming general elections.

He also said local bodies elections were being delayed for the last four years. Earlier speaking at the conference, the governor said there was a need to evolve a comprehensive strategy to protect environment from pollution and to keep it clean.

Don't give us fish, teach us how to fish, Zardari asks world leaders

The Express Tribune

''ZARDARI...A great visionary leader misread and misunderstood by most of the Pakistani urban middle class due to a biased media trial of him. He is heading a party which, if allowed, can bring unity with diversity.''

President Asif Ali Zardari said on Friday that he has always asked world leaders to “teach us [Pakistan] how to fish rather than giving us a fish.”

Zardari was speaking in Karachi at the inauguration ceremony of Waseela-e-Haq-Sindh program. He said that during his meetings with international players, he talked about “trade and not aid.”

Speaking about the currency swap arrangement with Russia, China and Turkey, Zardari said he convinced countries to trade with Pakistan in local currency.

“My own state bank, however, was sceptical about the idea because it has the mindset of getting aid and preventing new approach,” he said.

BISP to create new middle class

According to the President, the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) will help raising the living standard of poor people and will create a new middle class.

“I was told that there are people who had earlier received money through BISP and are now in a position to return that amount,” Zardari said.

Foil conspiracies against govt everyday: Zardari

Zardari said that new conspiracies are hatched against govt everyday but we foiled all of them.
Addressing the inaugural ceremony of ‘Waseela-e-Haq Sindh Programme’ in Karachi, Co-Chairman Pakistan Peoples Party and President of Pakistan Asif Ali Zardari, said that everyday a new conspiracy is hatched against us but, by the grace of God, we defused every conspiracy.
PPP government is creating a new middle class in Sindh through this programme, Zardari said. He said that we want that new generation would not face hardships which we have faced. He said that right from the first day of presidency, I talked about trade instead of aid. Zardari also suggested the beneficiaries of WHSP to establish dairy farms.
Politics is our worship, he said, adding that we are in politics for the service of the people. Our politics is not dependent on votes, he said.
While talking about BISP, he said that we strengthened the economy through Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP).
When we designed this programme, he said, people criticized and showed their concern but now this programme is running successfully.
The president also asked CM Sindh Syed Qaim Ali Shah to solve the problems of PPP workers and to provide them jobs.

Judicial probe in spurious drugs case


Interior Minister Rehman Malik on Friday hinted at setting up a judicial commission to probe the issue pertaining to spurious drugs that have claimed the lives of around 104 people in Punjab.

“I will discuss the matter with the top leadership and suggest the setting up of a judicial commission to bring the real culprits to task. I will recommend the inclusion of a representative of the media as a member in the commission,” he said.

Speaking to media representatives here today, he said that clear directives had been given to the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to arrest whosoever was found involved in the drugs case.

He criticised the Punjab government for not checking up on the substandard medicines even when it had around 500 drugs inspectors.

Commenting on a statement from Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif regarding provision of security to Mansoor Ijaz in Punjab, the interior minister said that it was tantamount to contempt of court.

The minister said that the chief minister was attempting to divert the public’s attention from the spurious drugs case by issuing such statements.

He was of the view that Shahbaz Sharif, who also held the portfolio of provincial health minister, should at least have resigned from the minister’s slot after the deaths of 104 people.

LAHORE: Mass phobia grips city over local medicines

Patients with different ailments, especially heart-related, are in a fix over whether to purchase local medicines or not after scores of heart patients lost their lives after using medicines dispersed by the Punjab Institute of Cardiology (PIC), Pakistan Today has learnt.
People at large are panicking and are unable to decide if local medicines can be trusted at all, including even those which are not related to heart diseases. Many patients are scared and are refusing to use even simple painkillers as Ponstan.
Talking to Pakistan Today, Imran Syed, an expatriate from UK who is a heart patient said, “I’m a heart patient and I have come back to spend my vacations with my relatives…usually I buy medicines from here if I need them but this time I’ve been advised by my wife an kids to not to purchase medicines from here since they could be poisonous…my wife will be coming over from UK in a few days and will bring my medicines from there. It is a shame that we cannot even purchase medicines with peace of mind from here…what will the rest of the world think of us?” The panic is not just limited to patients. Even pharmacists have stopped buying large stocks of locally manufactured drugs with one of them saying, “When the government has not spared the factory owners, we are small fries and stand no where…it’s better not to purchase huge stocks because we might get booked somehow too.” Even doctors have started prescribing foreign manufactured drugs which are a lot more expensive. A senior doctor at PIC seeking anonymity said doctors are also afraid of the entire scenario. “The doctor only prescribes medicines, but if the drug is not effective or is spurious, it is not a doctor’s fault…but in current scenario the doctors are scared too and hesitate from prescribing even Paracetamol which is a very common drug, but they just don’t want to take the risk,” he added.
PIC Medical Superintendent Dr Salim Jaffar said, “people should take medicines for cure as God gives relief and man should not lose hope…one incident should not stop people from buying local medicines.”

Pakistan's unregulated drug industry

Contaminated medicines have killed 100 people, exposing a lack of regulation in the pharmaceutical sector.

Pakistan's government is being criticised for not doing enough to control the country's pharmaceutical industry. A hundred people have died, and 400 others are in hospital, after taking contaminated heart medicine.

Pakistan has a number of domestic pharmaceutical manufacturers, making generic versions of drugs and selling them at prices that are more affordable than their overseas counterparts.

While they are supposed to be regulated by the government, a recent devolution of the health ministries to the provincial level has meant that most are not monitored at all.

'Occupy arrest count in US tops 6000'

The anti-corporatism Occupy movement has reportedly had more than 6,000 of its protesters arrested across the United States since the campaign's evolution in September 2011., a website, which keeps track of the apprehensions, says the US police have so far laid at least 6020 Occupy protesters under arrest.

The figure includes 37 people, who were arrested in New York City on Thursday, while demonstrating among others against an auction of foreclosed homes at Brooklyn Supreme Court. The protesters had begun chanting when the bidding started.

At least three Occupy Minneapolis protesters were also arrested at the headquarters of the US Bank in the city on Tuesday. The protesters were demanding talks between bank officials and two people whose homes were being subjected to foreclosure.

The Occupy movement emerged after a group of demonstrators gathered in New York's financial district of Wall Street on September 17, 2011 to protest against the excessive influence of big corporations on the US policies and the high-level corruption in the country.

Despite police crackdown and mass arrests, the Occupy movement has now spread to many major US cities as well as to Australia, Britain, Germany, Italy, Spain, Ireland, Portugal as well as other countries.

Saudi forces kill another protester

Press TV

Saudi security forces have shot dead another protester in the town of Awamiyah in the east of the country, as anti-regime demonstrations continue in the kingdom, Press TV reports.

On Thursday, a protester, identified as Montazar Sa'eed Al-Abdel, was shot dead and two others were injured by Saudi regime forces in the Eastern Province.

At least seven anti-government protesters have been killed by Saudi forces since November 2011. Human rights groups have slammed the Saudi government, urging it to probe into the deaths.

Saudis have held peaceful demonstrations since February last year on an almost regular basis in the eastern region, demanding reforms, freedom of expression and the release of political prisoners.

The protesters also want an end to economic and religious discrimination as well as their government's involvement in brutal crackdown on pro-democracy protests in neighboring Bahrain.

The peaceful demonstrations have turned into protest rallies against the House of Saud since November when Saudi security forces killed five protesters and injured many others in the Eastern Province.

This month, the Saudi regime again stepped up its brutal crackdown on the protesters.

On Tuesday, Saudi security forces opened fire on demonstrators in the Qatif region of the Eastern Province, injuring many people. Some of the wounded are reportedly in critical condition.

Nine protesters were also arrested for their involvement in anti-regime demonstrations.

On Monday, Saudi security forces detained Zaher al-Zaher, a social activist, in Awamiyah.

Regime forces also killed 22-year-old protester Essam Mohamed Abu Abdellah and wounded three others in Awamiyah on January 12.

FIA to check if Punjab govt followed rules

Investigating the spurious drugs case that recently surfaced in Punjab, Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has focused its investigations that how the Punjab Government awarded contracts to six pharmaceutical companies who are facing allegations of manufacturing these suspected drugs, a source in the Interior Ministry informed.

It has revealed during the early investigations of FIA that these companies were providing supplies only to Punjab, a source aware of the development informed adding that FIA would ascertain in the probe that whether the provincial government properly followed Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA) rules in award of contracts to these companies. He further said that it had also come into light during the probe that one of these companies was based in Sindh and it was only proving medicines to Punjab and not any other federating unit including Sindh.

According to an official document of the Ministry of Interior, FIA has raided three pharmaceutical companies based in Lahore i.e. Pharma Wise Laboratories (Pvt) Limited, Al-Falah Pharma (Pvt) Limited and Mega Pharmaceutical Limited.

FIA in its investigations has transpired that Al-Falah Pharma purchased inactive raw material from local market but failed to produce any evidence of the source of purchase and other specifications of the raw material. In addition to that, the drug formulation licence of the company was found expired in April 2011 and the company failed to provide any revalidation of the license.

An official communication of FIA Punjab, Lahore office with the Interior Ministry shows that Pharma Wise Laboratories has been purchasing active and inactive raw material from local market against the prevailing Drug Act. Further more, the company failed to provide, before the investigators, particulars of manufacturer of the raw material and its specifications along with drug analysis report.

FIA investigations also show that Mega Pharmaceutical had been procuring the active raw material from a Chinese company Zhejiang Jiangbei Pharmaceutical Company (Ltd), China that is further being verified by the Agency. However, the company had been purchasing inactive raw material from local market against the existing law.

Meanwhile, Interior Minister Rehman Malik while briefing journalists on Thursday informed that FIA would jointly conduct investigations with the Punjab Government in the case to dispel the impression that Authority was probing the case with some political motivations. He said that six pharmaceutical companies were allegedly involved in the spurious drugs case, out of which chief executive officers of three companies namely Muhammad Waseem Chaudhry, Chaudhry Nadir Khan and Dr. Muhammad Tahir Azam had been arrested. “FIA during raids on three pharmaceutical companies including Pharma Wise Laboratories, Al-Falah Pharma (Pvt) and Mega Pharmaceutical Limited in Lahore has seized allegedly spurious drugs (Alfagril tablets, Solprin tablets and Carovatin tablets) from their stores,” he added.

The minister said all the relevant record pertaining to procurement of raw material used in manufacturing of the drugs has also been confiscated, which is being analysed.

Rehman Malik said these companies had supplied the alleged spurious drugs to Punjab Institute of Cardiology (PIC), which paid their bills after test reports from Drug Testing Laboratory, Lahore. “The relevant testing reports have been requisitioned from the laboratory,” he further informed. He said the samples of spurious drugs have been sent to the Central Drug Testing Laboratory Karachi for independent test reports through Federal Drug Inspectors. He said that post-mortem of one of the victims of the fake drugs could also be carried out, if required to ascertain the facts.

Commenting on the recent firing incidents in Karachi and Quetta, he said some elements, third forces, wanted to fan sectarianism especially to destabilize

Karachi, which is the hub of economic activities of the country. “According to some investigation reports, no religious party or outfit is involved in this sectarian violence,” he further said.

Replying to a question, Malik said 13 people were arrested over allegedly getting the copy of his (Malik’s) computerised national identity card illegally from the data bank of National Database Registration Authority. One of the arrested people has confessed the crime, he added.

Substandard drugs: Punjab government trying to escape duties by shifting responsibility to Centre

Federal Information and Broadcasting Minister Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan has blamed Chief Minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif that he is exhibiting one-man show in the province which has resulted in killing of several innocent people after taking sub-standard drugs.

Firdous was addressing a press conference here on Thursday.

She said that unfortunately Punjab government is trying to escape its duties by shifting responsibility to the federal government.

"It is responsibility of the provinces to check the quality and ingredients of the drugs before purchase", she emphasised.

She added that following the passage of 18th amendment health has become a provincial subject and the federal government is now only responsible for registering the medicine companies.

She said that the Punjab government should expose elements involved in killing of innocent people, which have taken spurious drugs.

"Mian Shahbaz Sharif and the PML-N leadership must take stern action against those involved in death of around hundred heart patients and should not play politics on this sad incident by taking effective action against the responsible, she said.

Firdous highlighted that the federal government and PPP leadership in Punjab are ready to extend all out assistance to Punjab government for exposing elements involved in the business of counterfeit drugs." Awan said that Punjab has around 500 drug inspectors and it is responsibly of the provincial government to check and monitor the standard of the medicines.

"In presence of independent media no one can cheat and misguide the people", she noted and added that suspension of the Medical Superintendent (MS) is not the solution of the problem.

The minister said that federal government is also serious to look into this matter as under its directives, Federal Investigating Agency (FIA) is also probing the issue and its findings will be made public.

President Zardari takes note of Lahore contaminated drug deaths

President Asif Ali Zardari expressed concern over the reports of deaths due to spurious drugs in Lahore and called for a report from the health ministry in this regard.

Presidential spokesperson Farhatullah Babar said Thursday that the president also directed the Managing Director of Baitul Maal to visit the affected families and extend all possible assistance to the victims of spurious drugs.

He said that the president had asked the MD Baitul Maal to specially look after the poor children who have been rendered orphans as a result of this mishap.

The mishap of spurious drugs has a humanitarian side and the Baitul Maal must gear itself to look after the victim families, the president said.

Over a 100 cardiac patients in Lahore lost their lives due to the use of contaminated medication provided by the PIC.

France agrees to two decades of support in Afghanistan, despite attack on its troops

The Washington Post

One week after four French troops were killed by a rogue Afghan soldier, prompting President Nicolas Sarkozy to suspend military operations in Afghanistan, France will sign a bilateral agreement outlining its commitment here over the next two decades.

French troops will continue to train their Afghan counterparts well beyond 2014, when combat operations are due to conclude, according to the agreement described by Afghan and French officials.Afghan President Hamid Karzai will sign similar agreements with Britain and Italy during a trip to Europe this week, securing commitments from key NATO members as the alliance’s formal military campaign winds down. Karzai has long expressed concern that a lack of international support after 2014 could threaten the tenuous progress of the past decade.

Despite about a year of negotiations, the United States has been unable to secure its own strategic partnership agreement, which would govern the country’s military and diplomatic presence after the majority of its troops have withdrawn.

Karzai has said that he won’t sign such an agreement until “NATO-led night raids,” as he refers to targeted night operations, are halted.

Even though Karzai often refers to the operations publicly as “NATO-led,” he holds the United States alone responsible for the civilian casualties caused by the operations, according to Afghan officials. So, while the operations continue, Karzai felt comfortable signing partnership agreements with the three European countries, but not the United States, the officials said.

Efforts to bridge the gap between the two countries’ long-term demands have been steeped in mutual suspicion, with the United States balking at Karzai’s demands for an end to night operations and a prompt hand­over of U.S. detention facilities. The ease with which European partnership agreements were crafted highlights the relative scope and complexity of Afghan-American relations, and the commensurate tension.

“The U.S. is our largest and most important ally. What’s important for Afghanistan is the quality of the document, not how fast we can rush the signature,” said Janan Musazai, a spokesman for the Afghan Foreign Ministry.

France’s bilateral agreement with Afghanistan was crafted before last week’s attack on the French soldiers in Kapissa pro­vince, northeast of Kabul. Despite Sarkozy’s initial suspension of military operations — and his threat to withdraw from Afghanistan earlier than planned — the strategic partnership was not affected by the incident, according to French officials.

Afghan authorities have launched an investigation into the motives of the attacker, a 21-year-old man who joined the army less than three months ago, according to Afghan officials.

Britain’s partnership agreement, which will last through 2022, describes the role the British troops will play in training Afghan military officers and offers a commitment to economic development and cultural exchange, according to Afghan officials. Italy’s agreement, which also focuses on the country’s economy and security forces, was described as “long-term past 2014” in a statement from Karzai’s office.

In a Wednesday meeting with Italian President Giorgio Napolitano, Karzai described Italy’s contribution in Afghanistan as “unforgettable.”

All three pacts must be approved by Afghanistan’s parliament before they become official.

“These agreements reference the continued need for the training of Afghan security forces and acknowledge the long-term commitment of each of the three countries,” according to Musazai.

Although the partnership agreements provide few specific details about the character of bilateral cooperation beyond 2014, they carry symbolic weight in Kabul, affirming to Karzai that despite public opposition in much of Europe, major powers will contribute financially and militarily in Afghanistan for years to come.

None of the agreements details the number of foreign troops that will remain in Afghanistan after 2014 or NATO’s financial obligation to the country after its combat operations conclude. The maintenance of Afghanistan’s military and police forces probably will cost between $4 billion and $6 billion annually, according to Afghan Defense Minister Abdul Rahim Wardak. Some Western officials have expressed concerns about those costs.

Rockets hit Pakistan academy near bin Laden home

Attackers on Friday fired rockets at Pakistan's top military academy, damaging its outer wall in a major security breach near the home where Osama bin Laden lived for years, officials said.

No one was hurt in the pre-dawn attack and it was unclear who fired the nine rockets from behind a mosque in mountains overlooking the Kakul academy, Pakistan's equivalent of West Point 30 miles (50 kilometres) from the capital.

The garrison city of Abbottabad was considered one of the safest parts of nuclear-armed Pakistan until American special forces on May 2 found and killed the Al-Qaeda founder in a compound where he apparently lived for five years.

The bin Laden raid humiliated Pakistan's powerful military, exposing it to charges of complicity or incompetence after it emerged that the world's most wanted man had lived on the doorstep of its premier academy for years.

Three rockets on Friday damaged the outer wall of the academy, which is just 500 metres (yards) from the site of the US Navy SEALs raid that seriously damaged already turbulent relations between Pakistan and the United States.

"Nine rockets were fired. Three rockets hit the boundary wall of the military academy and damaged it. No one was hurt in the attack," Imtiaz Hussain Shah, a top local government official in Abbottabad told AFP.

"We have launched a search operation," Shah added.

Mohammad Karim Khan, Abbottabad police chief, confirmed the attack.

"Three rockets hit the boundary wall. Three others landed in an open area and three others landed in a field," he said.

Officials blamed terrorists for the attack.

Shah told TV channel Geo that police had recovered nine rocket-launching pads behind a mosque, about 500 metres from the academy.

"We have a security system and checkpoints on the roads, but the place they used as a launch pad is accessible from all sides and there are mountains at the back of this place," he said.

"At this stage we cannot say who was involved, but they are terrorists and we are investigating how they managed to reach this place."

Taliban and other Islamist militants are fighting an insurgency against the army, although there has been a marked decline in violence in recent months.

Considered one of the quietest towns in the northwest, nestled in pine-dotted hills and popular with day-trippers from the capital, Abbottabad is listed on Pakistan's official tourism website as a "popular summer resort".

But although it is mainly tranquil, it is close to more troubled areas.

A judicial commission is investigating how bin Laden managed to live undetected in Pakistan for so long, and whether there was any government or military collusion.

Pakistani-US ties have since reached a new low over US air strikes that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers last November, leading Pakistan to shut its Afghan border to NATO supplies and conduct a review of its alliance with Washington.

Killing members of the Shia community---Crush sectarianism!


The fanaticism of sectarian groups killing members of the Shia community has been a bane in Pakistan flourishing in its magnitude with each passing day and will continue to do so owing to the lax response of the law enforcers. On Wednesday, six men belonging to the Shia Muslim community became their targets in Karachi and Quetta, gunned down in a similar way. Three of the deceased in Karachi were lawyers and members of the Legal Aid Committee while the other three murdered in Quetta belonged to the peaceful Shia Hazara community. They included an inspector of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), a television artist and a poet. The killings took place only a day after two activists of the Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ) — a re-organised version of the banned militant group Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP) — were shot dead in Karachi. There is speculation that the Karachi killings were in response to the murders of ASWJ activists. However, this should not be treated as a ‘tit-for-tat’ response in the face of the mounting death toll of Shias being killed every other day around the country.

Thousands of Shia Muslims have been killed during the last three decades across the country after General Zia in collaboration with Saudi Arabia endorsed the Deobandi militants and sowed the ugly seeds of sectarianism in society. Since then, the country has been witnessing sectarian violence and bloodshed. Sectarian groups have gained so much strength that it seems almost impossible to control their terrorist activities. Unfortunately, there are several lacunae in the country’s legal system and the prosecution regime is full of flaws, which in turn facilitates the terrorists even if some of them are captured. The same happened in the case of Malik Ishaq, the chief of defunct sectarian group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) who has been released by a court despite the fact that his group had claimed responsibility for the Mastung deadly attack on Iran-bound innocent Hazara pilgrims last year. It is even more unfortunate that Ishaq enjoys a soft corner in the heart of the Punjab government. The presence of these extremist elements can be easily felt in the state institutions, which is another reason for the government’s helplessness against them. The situation indeed reflects the paralysis of political will to take a stern action against these gory murderers.

The time has come that the government decide the fate of these religious fanatics and use all force to crush them otherwise this contagion will spread and invite retaliation from the victim community. There is also an urgent need to improve the faulty Anti-Terrorism Act and criminal laws or replace them with specially made effective laws so that justice can be served. To fight these saboteurs of peace and religious harmony, the government has to act decisively.

Contaminated drugs: Punjab death toll reaches 105

The number of people killed from contaminated heart drugs in Punjab has reached 105 on Friday.

President Asif Ali Zardari, taking notice of the deaths, directed Bail ul Mal MD to help the affected families.

Meanwhile, Lahore High Court (LHC) has asked for reply from all parties involved by January 30.

The issue of contaminated medicine is worsening after every passing day as death continue continues to rise.

Despite all measures taken by Punjab Government, there seems be to no end to killings. Sampling of suspected drugs has been sent local and foreign laboratories.

The provincial government says it is a complicated matter and culprits could not be identified before completion of probe.

Shahbaz statement on memo is contempt of court


Interior Minister Rehman Malik has termed Shahbaz Sharif’s statements on providing security to Mansoor Ijaz as ‘contempt of court’, Express News reported on Friday.

Malik said that he will file a request for a ‘contempt of court’ notice against the chief minister.

Shahbaz Sharif, on Thursday, said that he will take personal responsibility of providing complete security to Ijaz during his visit to Pakistan.

He said that he will welcome Ijaz and will provide him security till the last moment he is in Pakistan, and also offered the judicial commission probing the controversial memo to come to the province to record Ijaz’s statements.

In response to Shahbaz’s statements, Rehman Malik also said that the ‘cat is out of the bag’ now and that it was clear why Nawaz Sharif went to court for the Mansoor Ijaz case.

JI slams PML-N on ‘medicine poisoning’

The Jamaat-e-Islami has joined other political parties, like PPP and PML-Q, in blaming Punjab chief minister for the deaths caused by contaminated medicine, which were provided by the Punjab Institute of Cardiology .

The party slammed Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz government for its alleged negligence and has demanded the resignation of Shahbaz Sharif on the grounds that he holds the portfolio of Punjab’s Health Ministry. JI Punjab General Secretary Nazir Ahmed Janjua expressed his deep sorrow over the deaths of dozens of people at PIC.

He held Punjab chief minister responsible for the deaths and said stern action should be taken against those responsible so that such incidents never happen again.

Janjua said the government should ban the sale of heart medicines like Cardiovestin, Isotab, Corcont, Zafnol and Solprin in the interest of public safety and destroy all available stock of these medicines. He said three Lahore-based pharmaceutical companies are supplying substandard medicine to Punjab hospitals and medicals stores are selling these medicines without any record.

Janjua said cash assistance of Rs 1 million should be given to each victim’s family while Rs 0.5 million compensation should be given to the patients who suffered medicine reaction and that the government should bear the expenses for their treatment.

Call for governor’s rule in Punjab


LABOUR Party Pakistan will stage a demonstration against the Punjab government over deaths in the PIC medicine reaction. The demonstration will be held outside the Lahore Press Club in which senior members of the party, including Farooq Tariq, will participate.

Meanwhile, in a statement issued on Thursday, former MNA and PML-Q (Likeminded) Punjab Secretary Information Mian Muhammed Asif demanded imposition of Governor’s Rule in Punjab for a period of at least two weeks to ensure fair probe into the matter.

PPP: President PPP Punjab Imtiaz Safdar Warraich has demanded the resignation of Chief Minister Punjab over the deaths at the Punjab Institute of Cardiology. Talking to media at the PPP Punjab Secretariat on Thursday, the party’s provincial President said that the Punjab government and the CM were responsible for the loss of innocent lives at the PIC.

PTI demands Shahbaz resignation

PAKISTAN Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has held Punjab Chief Minister Mian Shahbaz Sharif in the capacity of health minister responsible for the deaths of 100 cardiac patients after reaction from substandard medicines at the Punjab Institute of Cardiology (PIC), Lahore, and demanded his immediate resignation in conformity with democratic traditions.

Addressing a press conference at a local hall on Thursday, PTI Central Information Secretary Shafqat Mahmood, General Secretary Punjab Dr Yasmin Rashid, Information Secretary Punjab Andleeb Abbas and Women Wing Punjab President Saloni Bukhari requested the Lahore High Court to take suo motu of this criminal negligence resulting in deaths of 100 patients and leaving hundreds other in a critical condition. They demanded immediate appointing of a judicial commission to investigate and bring to trial all government officials and the companies involved in this scandal.

The PTI leadership observed that Punjab government should take full responsibility of these deaths and since the chief minister was personally heading the health ministry, therefore he was fully accountable for the deaths of these patients.

Shafqat Mahmood strongly condemned the negligence and incompetence of both the federal government and the Punjab government. Due to the corruption in the federal government, he said, licences had been issued to substandard drugs manufacturing companies and medicines manufactured by them were neither monitored nor tested. As regards the PML-N government in Punjab, he said, it has made no attempt to scrutinise the quality of medicines being purchased by hospitals.

He said that, after a summer that witnessed over 400 deaths of innocent people through mismanagement of dengue, the government continued to show its complete lack of governance by letting the spurious medicines kill another hundred people and perhaps more. “In fact there are reports that politics and corruption both played a part in the choice of these substandard medicines,” he added.

Dr Yasmin Rashid, while highlighting the mismanagement of the whole debacle, said that medicines being supplied in PIC to the poor patients who suffered the adverse reaction did not carry the manufacturing date and the expiry date. Clearance by Drug Testing Laboratory is totally erroneous and dishonest. These medicines are only available in PIC and not in any pharmacy outside.

She further claimed that the first patient reported was admitted to Services Hospital on December 15, 2011; the conclusion about the drug reaction was diagnosed on January 12, 2012; while the notification by Punjab government on stopping use and procurement of drugs causing serious adverse reaction came out on January 18. Regarding the awareness campaign, she claimed, it had been delayed to date and only print media had been involved although majority of the patients might not read those newspapers. The electronic media has not been involved in its true spirit.

She said that there was no proper data on the number of patients affected or who had died due to reaction was available, adding that the chief minister had given the number which was different from the heath department information. “This is a conservative figure because we don’t yet have information of the mortality rate in other government hospitals of Punjab,” she added.

She criticised that the chief minister was now blaming the federal government for this tragedy, and questioned why the chief minister not played his opposition role properly if he thought that the registration of drugs was faulty. “Why is it that only after the death of 100 people does he come up with this allegation,” she questioned.

The PTI leadership believed that if the guilty were not punished then this scenario of people losing their lives due to mismanagement and poor governance of the Punjab government would continue and the poor people would continue to suffer.

“We have previous experience that no punishment was meted out to the people involved in the dengue scandal,” they said, adding that Lahore High Court must step in to protect the lives of the people of Punjab.

The PTI leadership warned that if the responsible were not brought to justice and this ‘deadly wrong’ was not rectified immediately to save lives of other patients, the PTI would stand with the people of Punjab and would continue fighting to get the rights of the people.

Peshawar airport to be named after Bacha Khan


The Federal Government has agreed in principal to rename Peshawar International Airport after the name of Khudai Khidmatgar Khan Abdul Ghaffar alias Baacha Khan in recognition to his services for the Muslims of sub continent and struggle as preacher of non-violence.

The jubilant President of Awami National Party Asfandyar Wali Khan announced this at a public meeting held in connection with the 24th death anniversary of Baacha Khan and 6th death anniversary of Rehbr e Tehrik Khan Abdul Wali Khan held here at Tehmas Khan Stadium.

Amid clapping he announced that Peshawar International Airport would be renamed as Baacha Khan International Airport as the Federal Government has explicitly agreed in this regard. "The Federal government has accepted our demand", he said.

Chief Minister Khyber-Pakthunkhaw Amir Haider Khan Hoti and Provincial President of ANP KP Senator Afrasiab Khattak also addressed the public meeting.

The parliamentarians, provincial ministers and MPAs belonging to ANP were present on the occasion.

Faulty drugs toll reaches 104

Death toll from PIC drug reaction reaches 104 as another patient die today.

More than hundred heart patients have died after spurious drugs intake provided by Punjab Institute of Cardiology (PIC) and dozens more are in a critical condition in hospital.

Today, a patient named Muhammad Gulab, 60, passed away at Meo Hospital in Lahore.

Punjab Chief Ministers Sharif has ordered autopsies of the drug victims and samples of the suspect drugs have been sent to laboratories for tests.

Meanwhile, the Pakistan Medical Association’s Lahore chapter has asked the Punjab government to establish a drug regulatory authority, change the policy of purchase of free medicines in the public-sector health facilities and upgrade the drug testing laboratory.

One-man show in Punjab must end: Firdous

Federal Information Minister Firdous Ashiq Awan said one-man show should end in Punjab.Crticising Punjab CM Shahbaz Sharif over casualties of nearly 100 people due to fake medicines given by the Punjab Institute of Cardiology, Lahore, the federal minister said that the CM should resign from his office after the deadly mismanagement.She said that people are losing lives while the CM is so stubborn that he is not taking pain to attend the Punjab Assembly session.
Interior Minister Rehman Malik said that casualties of 100 people is not a trivial matter; stern action should be taken against the people responsible in this regard.
He said that the government of Punjab is responsible for the death caused by spurious medicines.