Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Trouble for Meera's nuptials as fiancé's father against marriage

The Express Tribune

Father of Meera’s fiancé, Raja Khalid said he will not let his son Naveed Shahzad marry the Lollywood star, Express News reported on Wednesday.

Calling her a cheat and a fraud, Khalid said Meera deserved to get a “Pride of Performance Award” for cleverly deceiving his son.

While speaking to Express News, Khalid said that Meera never told him about her first marriage and the related court case.

Accusing her of taking around $400,000 from Shahzad, Khalid said that he would file an FIR against the actor for retrieving the money.

It was also reported earlier that Meera was robbed of a wrist-watch worth two million rupees which she had purchased for her fiancé to be as a gift on their engagement.

Nawaz responsible for Baloch insurgency

Addressing to a public gathering in Shahkot, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan said that Nawaz Sharif excluded APDM parties from previous election by boycotting the polls due to which main Baloch leadership excluded from the parliament.If Baloch leaders were not thrown out from the parliament, they would have been contending political case of Pakistan, Imran said.Imran promised that PTI will overhaul the current rotten system and will address issues in education and health departments on emergency basis.
He also predicted that there will be PTI government till the next cricket world cup and we will present nation the gift of world cup.
Makhdoom Javed Hashmi also criticized Nawaz Sharif in his address and said that when PML-N’ s government was toppled in 1999 there was not a single minister from Sindh or Balochistan. Javed said that cabinet of Muslim League was more like a Punjab cabinet instead of federal cabinet.

Jennifer Lopez Denies Oscars Nipple Slip ‎

Gallup poll: 72 percent of Americans call individual mandate ‘unconstitutional’

Even among Americans who support President Obama’s health care overhaul, a large majority believe that the law is out of step with the U.S. Constitution, a Gallup poll released Monday revealed.

The poll, conducted Feb. 20-21, indicates that 72 percent of Americans believe the individual mandate — the government’s requirement for Americans to purchase health insurance — is unconstitutional. Even among Americans who feel the president’s health care law is a “good thing,” 54 percent think the provision is unconstitutional.

Just 37 percent of Democrats said the individual health care mandate is constitutional. A mere 6 percent of Republicans and 21 percent of Independents agreed.

The poll question read, “As you may know, the Supreme Court will hear arguments next month concerning a requirement in the healthcare law that every American must buy health insurance or pay a fine. Regardless of whether you favor or oppose the law, do you think this requirement is constitutional or unconstitutional?”

“The individual mandate is clearly unconstitutional,” Northwestern University Law School Professor Stephen Presser told The Daily Caller. “All you have to do is read the Tenth Amendment, which says the powers not granted to the federal government are reserved to the states … and the founders meant that.”

The Obama administration touts the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 as one of its most significant achievements. That law, however, has yet to attract a groundswell of support from a majority of the American people.Additionally, 27 U.S. states have filed lawsuits against the federal government over the law, and a new battle is brewing over the so-called “contraception mandate” found in the bill. That provision threatens to force religious employers to provide health insurance that includes access to contraceptives and abortion-inducing medications that conflict with some faiths’ teachings.

A critical showdown for President Obama’s health care law will be a series of U.S. Supreme Court oral arguments beginning on March 26. Arguments will span across three days with the individual mandate set for discussion on day two.

Some experts remain unconvinced that the individual mandate is an example of the federal government overreaching its authority.

Southern Methodist University law professor Nathan Cortez said that because the health care industry makes up one-sixth of the U.S. economy, the U.S. Constitution’s so-called “commerce clause” gives the federal government the authority to enforce the individual mandate.

Cortez told TheDC on Tuesday that the commerce clause allows Congress to regulate not only obvious things, such as products sold across state lines, but activities that substantially affect interstate commerce — including modern healthcare – even if the activities themselves are local.

“There is not much debate that health care is truly a national problem, not a local one,” he explained. “The mandate is a good way to solve some of our systemic problems [by] creating a more coherent health care system.”

The commerce clause is one of the most widely used constitutional arguments in support of the Affordable Care Act, though Presser said it isn’t a very convincing one.

“The commerce clause does not in any way attempt to overrule the Tenth Amendment,” he told TheDC. “If the federal government starts mandating that we buy things, they begin to wield a sort of power that the Tenth Amendment can no longer keep in check. And absolute power leads to tyranny.”

The Gallup poll, consisting of a random sample of 1,040 people, also revealed that only 24 percent of all Americans — including 40 percent of Democrats and just 3 percent of Republicans — believe that the health care law would improve their families’ health care situations.

The poll had a margin of error of plus or minus four percentage points.

Iran to supply Pakistan with 80,000 bpd of crude

Iran has offered to supply Pakistan with 80,000 barrels of crude oil per day and a $250 million loan to help build a gas pipeline from the Iranian border, a Pakistani official said Wednesday.

A Pakistani delegation will visit Iran in the middle of March to discuss the mode of payment, the official from the petroleum ministry told AFP.

Although the United States objects strongly to the pipeline project, Pakistan appears determined to press ahead importing fuel from its western neighbour under a deal expected to start providing gas in 2014.

Nuclear-armed Pakistan suffers from a crippling energy shortage and insists it cannot do without the fuel from Iran, subject to increasing EU and US sanctions over its controversial nuclear programme.

"Iran has offered to supply 80,000 barrels of crude oil per day on deferred payment to Pakistan," said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the media.

"Iran has also agreed to provide $250 million as credit to Pakistan for the gas pipeline project," he added.

Pakistani Oil Minister Assem Hussein was quoted in the local media as confirming the 80,000 barrels and $250 million loan.

New Delhi attack plot foiled

India's home minister said Wednesday that police had foiled an attack by suspected militants from the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) group who were caught with explosives at a rail station.

P. Chidambaram told reporters that two men had been arrested at New Delhi's main station after a tip-off from intelligence agencies and work by three state police agencies.

"They were planning to detonate a bomb or more than one bomb in a crowded locality," he said, citing initial reports from the police investigation.

The pair -- and others who have been detained in connection with the alleged plot -- are to be produced before a local court, he added.

Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), which means "The Army of the Pure" in Urdu, is one of the most powerful militant groups in Pakistan and is blamed for the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks that left 166 people dead.

Chidambaram said it was "an important module" of the group that had been planning a "terrorist incident in Delhi." Neither he nor the police would disclose when the men were detained.

The arrests, if followed by convictions, would be an intelligence coup for the Indian security forces which have been criticised for failing to prevent, or catch those responsible for, a string of blasts over the last few years.

New Delhi has been a frequent target for terror attacks.

In September, a bomb outside Delhi High Court killed 14 people, while in early February a bomb blast badly wounded an Israeli diplomat in the heart of the city near the prime minister's residence.

Despicable is Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton

is an interesting case study. She started four years ago as a charming Secretary of State, the smile on the snout to wipe out the snarl of her predecessor, Condoleezza Rice and four years on, she appears on camera butch, a trucker-type probably complete with tattoos, insolent, inconsequential and incompetent. We now understand Bill.

What happened to Hillary Clinton?

Her credentials for the position of Secretary of State were never that great; let us be honest: someone who lied on camera for all to see about getting off an aircraft in the middle of a war zone in Bosnia in the 1990s when in fact she arrived to a red-carpet welcome, complete with band playing... Since when is a red carpet and a band a war zone?


And now, the Chief of Diplomacy of the United States of America imitates her representative at the UNO, Susan Rice, in insolence, calling Russia and China "despicable" for spoiling her war plans in Syria (and beyond).

Insolence is indeed the mainstay and the keyword behind US diplomacy, intrusion ditto and hypocrisy has to be the toothpick in the throat of those who try to expound Washington's virtue on the world stage. And let us be perfectly frank. Hillary Rodham Clinton had a very easy passage before her as the outwardly visible sidekick of Barack Obama, elected after eight years of a Bush regime which confirmed all the worst nightmares of the conspiracy theorists. Did she pull it off? No she didn't.For someone in her position, to label the Russian Federation and the People's Republic of China as "despicable" because they exercised their right to block NATO's evil desire to make another Libya out of Syria, is a clear sign of how low US diplomacy has sunk. In fact, it is difficult to discern which of the last three Secretaries of State is worse: Colin Powell, with his lies at the UNO about Iraqi Weapons of Mass Destruction; Condoleezza Rice, with her justification of Georgia's murderous attack against Russians and now Hillary War Zone Clinton, responsible for Libya and desperate to press further eastwards as she holds the hands of those whose human rights records a word...despicable.

Despicable are those Gulf Royals, unelected, but in power, and accepted without a word of contestation by Clinton and Obama and company, some of whom allegedly go to Morocco and perform the most horrific sexual crimes with boys and girls...despicable are the leaders of the Gulf States favourable to the USA and its allies siphoning off their resources, which have carried out the most draconian measures against their citizens.

No mention from despicable Hillary War Zone Clinton.

Despicable is the United States of America and its policy of torture flights, on which CIA operationals carried out barbaric acts against detainees; despicable it is to flout international law, invade sovereign states and destroy their civilian infrastructures with military hardware.

Despicable it is to maintain concentration camps, a festering wound on the collective face of humanity and a profound insult to human decency. Despicable it is to sodomise detainees; despicable it is to urinate in food, despicable it is to deprive detainees of sleep, despicable it is to water-board people, despicable it is to force Moslems to eat pork.

Despicable is Guantanamo Bay concentration camp, where the worst human rights violations in Latin America are perpetrated by the United States of America; despicable was Abu Ghraib concentration camp in Iraq, where the great American heroine Lynndie England was let loose on people who had been imprisoned without charge but hey! "just havin' fun". Despicable it is to detain people without due process, without access to a lawyer, without access to family visits and without even an accusation.

Despicable it is to arm terrorists overseas, as was the case in Libya and as is the case in Syria. Despicable, then, if we analyse with a modicum of intelligence, is Hillary R. Clinton and the hellhole that she represents.

To prove my point, in how many of the human rights violations mentioned above were Russia and China involved?


Thank you. I rest my case. Hillary War Zone Liar Clinton: YOU are despicable.

Pravda sticks it to ‘trucker-type’ Clinton

U.S.-Russian relations may have truly hit bottom. A vicious, over-the-top newspaper column Sunday blasted Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton for saying Russian and Chinese vetoes of an Arab League-backed peace plan for Syria were “despicable.”

The column in Pravda — formerly a commie house organ and now apparently in that same mode — was headlined “Despicable is Hillary Clinton.”

“She started four years ago as a charming Secretary of State, the smile on the snout to wipe out the snarl of her predecessor, Condoleezza Rice.”

But now, it continued, “she appears on camera butch, a trucker-type probably complete with tattoos, insolent, inconsequential and incompetent. We now understand Bill.”

The screed slides, with increasing incoherence, downhill from there, rehashing her 2008 campaign embellishment of her landing in Bosnia “under fire,” and then smacking her for blowing a “very easy” shot at the presidency. “Did she pull it off? No she didn’t.”

Russia and China only “exercised their right to block NATO’s evil desire to make another Libya out of Syria,” the column says. That would be bad? At least the Libyan government, as opposed to Russian ally Syria, was not engaged in a full-scale bombardment of women and children, last time we checked.

But Clinton’s not the only one who’s “despicable.” We quickly get to the “Gulf Royals, unelected, but in power,” and not a word of protest from the administration even though the regimes “have carried out the most draconian measures against their citizens.” (As opposed to a full-scale bombardment of women and children, see above.)

The ravings pivot further to “Despicable is the United States of America and its policy of torture flights.” And Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, Lynndie England and “arm[ing] terrorists overseas, as was the case in Libya and as is the case in Syria.” (Full-scale bombardment of women and children, see above.)

“Despicable, then, . . . is Hillary R. Clinton and the hellhole that she represents,” the column concludes, noting that Russia and China were not “involved” in any of those “human rights violations” mentioned.

Of course there was Hungary, Poland, Chechnya, Tibet, Tiananmen Square — but we digress.

Team Clinton was furious with the column, we hear. In truth, “despicable” was a most undiplomatic term. Probably better to say “reprehensible.”

What happened to the U.S.-Russia “reset” button? Oh, yeah, ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul has it — but the Russians are barely acknowledging his presence.

The more things change

The Capitol, that grand and glorious building towering above the city, draws nearly 3 million visitors each year.

Few of them know that the iconic structure and the dome are the result of the steadfast efforts of one key senator back in the 1850s.

That was Sen. Jefferson Davis, a Mississippi Democrat and also secretary of war, who left town to head the Confederacy before the building, though well underway, was completed.

Our former colleague Guy Gugliotta, in his new book, “Freedom’s Cap,” gives us a fascinating tale of the struggles to design, fund and construct the new Capitol — at a time when the country was expanding and, at the same time, lurching toward war.

Most of us learn precious little in history class about that period: Bleeding Kansas, Dred Scott , two exceptionally pathetic presidents — Franklin Pierce and James Buchanan — and not a whole lot more.

But Gugliotta weaves a narrative of the massive construction project and the politics surrounding it. We see how Davis and others foresaw that the still-new nation would become a great power — and deserving of a great building for its seat of government — amid signs that a civil war over slavery was increasingly inevitable.

Indeed, it seems that the notion of constructing the building was about the only thing Northern and Southern lawmakers could agree on.

Washington observers will be delighted to read that some things never change here. There was constant skirmishing over just about everything, starting with intense bureaucratic infighting between the Army and the Interior Department over control of the effort — the Army won — and including disputes over whether to use federal workers or to contract out.

The lawmakers bickered over the scope and design of the project and the yearly funding for it. Lobbyists fought over lucrative contracts while losers pushed for bogus investigations.

There were selective media leaks to undermine political enemies as well as outraged protests from the Know-Nothing party — a nativist, anti-Catholic group — that Italian and Irish immigrants were taking jobs from Americans.

Some things, of course, were slightly different. By December 1859 a large number of lawmakers were armed, Gugliotta writes, and a “near-riot began” when a pistol accidentally fell out of one lawmaker’s pocket.

“The only persons who do not have a revolver and a knife,” one senator wrote, “are those who have two revolvers.”

Gugliotta dryly observes: “The age of accommodation was over.”

Sleeping pills linked to higher risk of cancer, death, study says

Los Angeles Times

A new study suggests that the 6% to 10% of Americans who use prescription sleep medications such as zolpidem (Ambien), temazepam (Restoril), eszopiclone (Lunesta) and zaleplon (Sonata) are more likely to develop cancer, and far more likely to die prematurely, than those who take no sleep aids.

The increased rates kick in at really low levels too, the study says. For those prescribed as few as one to 18 sleeping pills in a year, deaths during the period of the new study were more than three and a half times greater than for those who got no such prescriptions, the study says. And for patients who took home the largest number of prescriptions for sleep aids--for more than 132 pills per year--the risk of death was five times greater than among those who appeared to take no sleep aids, according to the study.

Studies such as this one do not establish whether sleep drugs are a cause of the increased cancers and deaths or whether, perhaps, those who are at greater risk of dying or developing cancer are simply more likely to seek a prescription for sleep problems. To establish such cause-and-effect relationships, clinical trials, which would compare subjects taking sleep medications against those taking a sham drug, would be necessary, said study coauthor Dr. Daniel F. Kripke, a professor of psychiatry emeritus at UC San Diego now affiliated with the Scripps Clinic in La Jolla.

In addition, the "all-cause mortality" used in the study is a crude measure of a drug's risk, because the measure aggregates a wide range of seemingly unrelated health crises: automobile accidents, injuries, suicides, infectious diseases such as influenza, and chronic conditions, including asthma, diabetes and cancer.

The study, released this week by the British medical publication BMJ Open, found an increase in cancer incidence among those taking sleep medications that was modest but statistically significant. Compared with patients with no record of taking prescription sleeping pills, the study says, those who were the heaviest users of prescription sleep aids were 35% more likely to be diagnosed with cancer during the study period.

The use of sedative medications was a better predictor than a participant's current smoking habit of whether he or she would develop lymphoma or cancer of the lung, colon or prostate during the study period, according to the research.

Conducted by researchers from Scripps and the Jackson Hole Center for Preventive Medicine in Jackson, Wy., the study tracked 10,531 patients given prescriptions for hypnotic sedatives for at least three months and for as long as four years. For comparison, researchers matched each patient prescribed with a sleep aid with at least two patients of similar age, gender and health status who had no record of having had sleep aids prescribed.

Zolpidem--sold as Ambien--was the most widely used prescription sleep medication used by study participants, followed by Restoril, the research says. But 4,117 of the participants got prescriptions for other sleep aids, including Lunesta, Sonata, benzodiazepines, barbituates and sedative antihistamines.

Given the millions of Americans for whom prescription sleep medication is a routine habit, the authors estimate that in 2010 alone, 320,000 to 507,000 deaths in the United States may have been associated with prescription sleep-aid use. Despite evidence that they may not add much to a night's sleep, Americans in 2010 filled some 66 million prescriptions for "hypnotics and sedatives," according to IMS Health, which tracks drug trends. That makes sleep aids the 20th most used class of prescription therapies.

Kripke acknowledged he was "very shocked" by the higher cancer levels he found in this large population. "I suspect people who work for the manufacturers of these drugs might be shocked too."

Sanofi-Aventis, the maker of Ambien, said Tuesday in a statement that the BMJ Open study had limitations beyond those acknowledged by its authors. The company called the study's conclusions "highly questionable," and cited its average follow-up of 2.5 years as insufficient to detect whether cancers were new, and might be the result of sleep aids, or whether they had already taken hold at the time a patient got a prescription for sleep problems.

Kripke agreed that cause and effect had not been established but underscored that a litany of studies have stirred concern about the safety of sleep medications, including research that was submitted to the Food and Drug Administration when some of these drugs were approved.

Kripke said that beyond their common role in fatal medication overdoses, there's evidence that widely used sleep medications raise risks for many ills: "hangover" effects dull alertness and cognitive performance, which may lead to accidents and injuries; studies (including this one) have found that gastroesophageal regurgitation and peptic ulcers are more common among those taking sleep aids, which could drive up rates of infection and of cancer; other studies have linked sleep aids' use with depression and sleep apnea, which in turn raise risks of suicide, diabetes and heart disease.

As for how sleep medicine could be linked to cancer, that is harder to discern. A 2008 study by Kripke on rodents found hypnotics to have a carcinogenic effect, and suggested they can cause chromosomal damage. But human studies have been more mixed.

For those who rely on prescription sleep drugs to get to sleep and stay asleep, Kripke, a specialist in sleep disorders and their treatment, said that changes in "sleep hygiene" can make a difference, as can cognitive-behavioral therapy. But he added that many--especially older patients-- who lean on sleep aids should know that they may function perfectly well with a little less sleep, and that medications do not add large chunks of sleep-time to a night's rest anyway.

Wall Street greed fueling high gas prices

BY:Bernie Sanders,is an independent senator from Vermont. He was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2006 after serving 16 years in the House of Representatives and is the longest-serving independent member of Congress in American history.

Gas prices approaching $4 a gallon on average are causing severe economic pain for millions of Americans. Pump prices spiked 5% in the past month alone. Crude oil prices stood at $108 on Friday, up from only double digits at the beginning of the month.

What's the cause? Forget what you may have read about the laws of supply and demand. Oil and gas prices have almost nothing to do with economic fundamentals. According to the Energy Information Administration, the supply of oil and gasoline is higher today than it was three years ago, when the national average for a gallon of gasoline was just $1.90. Meanwhile, the demand for oil in the U.S. is at its lowest level since April of 1997.

Is Big Oil to blame? Sure. Partly. Big oil companies have been gouging consumers for years. They have made almost $1 trillion in profits over the past decade, in part thanks to ridiculous federal subsidies and tax loopholes. I have proposed legislation to end those pointless giveaways to some of the biggest and most profitable corporations in the history of the world.

But there's another reason for the wild rise in gas prices. The culprit is Wall Street. Speculators are raking in profits by gambling in the loosely regulated commodity markets for gas and oil.

A decade ago, speculators controlled only about 30% of the oil futures market. Today, Wall Street speculators control nearly 80% of this market. Many of those people buying and selling oil in the commodity markets will never use a drop of this oil. They are not airlines or trucking companies who will use the fuel in the future. The only function of the speculators in this process is to make as much money as they can, as quickly as they can.

I've seen the raw documents that prove the role of speculators. Commodity Futures Trading Commission records showed that in the summer of 2008, when gas prices spiked to more than $4 a gallon, speculators overwhelmingly controlled the crude oil futures market. The commission, which supposedly represents the interests of the American people, had kept the information hidden from the public for nearly three years. That alone is an outrage. The American people had a right to know exactly who caused gas prices to skyrocket in 2008 and who is causing them to spike today.

Even those inside the oil industry have admitted that speculation is driving up the price of gasoline. The CEO of Exxon-Mobil, Rex Tillerson, told a Senate hearing last year that speculation was driving up the price of a barrel of oil by as much as 40%. The general counsel of Delta Airlines, Ben Hirst, and the experts at Goldman Sachs also said excessive speculation is causing oil prices to spike by up to 40%. Even Saudi Arabia, the largest exporter of oil in the world, told the Bush administration back in 2008, during the last major spike in oil prices, that speculation was responsible for about $40 of a barrel of oil.

Just last week, Commissioner Bart Chilton, one of the only Commodity Futures Trading Commission members looking out for consumers, calculated how much extra drivers are being charged as a result of Wall Street speculation. If you drive a relatively fuel-efficient vehicle such as a Honda Civic, you pay an extra $7.30 every time you fill your tank. For larger vehicles, such as a Ford F150, drivers pay an extra $14.56 for each fill-up. That works out to more than $750 a year going directly from your wallet or pocketbook to the Wall Street speculators.

So as speculators gamble, millions of Americans are paying what amounts to a "speculators tax" to feed Wall Street's greed. People who live in rural areas like my home state of Vermont are hit harder than most because they buy gas to drive long distances to their jobs.

It doesn't have to work this way. The current spike in oil and gasoline prices was avoidable. Under the Wall Street reform act that Congress passed in 2010, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission was ordered to impose strict limits on the amount of oil that Wall Street speculators could trade in the energy futures market. The regulators dragged their feet.

Finally, after months and months of law-breaking delays, the commission in October adopted a rule. It was a weak version of a proposal that might have put meaningful limits on the number of futures and swaps contracts a single trader could hold. Even the watered-down regulation adopted by the industry-friendly commission was challenged in court. The Financial Markets Association and the International Swaps and Derivatives Association wanted free rein to continue unregulated gambling in the oil markets.

So today, Wall Street once again is laughing all the way to the bank. Once again, federal regulators should move aggressively to end excessive oil speculation. We must do everything we can to lower gas prices so that they reflect the fundamentals of supply and demand and bring needed relief to the American people.

The time for real action is now.

US: FDA warns on statin drugs

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has for the first time officially linked statin use with cognitive problems, media reported Wednesday.

Statins, the cholesterol-reducing medications, may cause memory loss, diabetes and muscle pain, the U.S. Federal health officials warned Tuesday.

The FDA planned to require drug makers to add the diabetes-risk language to the "warnings and precautions" section of the labels on statin drugs.

The drugs are usually used to prevent heart disease and they are among the most widely prescribed drugs in the world. Among the drugs involved are huge sellers like Lipitor, Zocor, Crestor and Vytorin.

The new alerts about risks provided more reasons that otherwise healthy people with moderately high cholesterol levels “should not be taking these drugs,” said Dr. Sidney M. Wolfe, director of Public Citizen’s health research group.

But the warning was not expected to prompt doctors to stop prescribing statins for patients with multiple risk factors for heart attack because cardiologists believe the benefits of statins still outweigh these risks for many patients.

“These are not major issues, and they really do not alter the decision-making process with regard to statins,” said Steven Nissen, chairman of cardiovascular medicine at the Cleveland Clinic.

The “cognitive changes can be quite dramatic” and “sustained” but that they disappear when statin therapy is stopped, said Amy Egan, the FDA's deputy director for safety of metabolic and endocrinological products

“We are trying to be as transparent as possible with our alerts and labeling,” said Dr. Egan, even though the alert on the possibility of fuzzy thinking “is not overly helpful.”

Protester slams World Bank as a liar

The prescription provided by the World Bank (WB) for a better Chinese economy over the next two decades is nothing but poison, a protester said Tuesday during a press conference held in Beijing by the bank, stealing attention from the head of the 187-nation lending organization.

China's export- and investment-driven economy has seen high growth over the past three decades, during which State-owned enterprises enjoyed favorable policies from the government but created little benefits for the average Chinese people, World Bank President Robert Zoellick said at the press conference, pointing to a need to restructure the nation's State-owned sector to allow more private participation.

Zoellick made the remarks in reference to a report jointly launched by the World Bank and the Development Research Center under the State Council Monday.

China's economy has reached a "turning point" and might fall into a crisis if the government fails to implement reforms including strengthening of its private sector and further opening up of its markets, said the report.

Such an advice drew the fury of Du Jianguo, a self-professed independent scholar, who broke into the venue at the beginning of the conference shouting "the World Bank is a liar" and distributing copies of a statement he said was written by him.

"Policies encouraged by the World Bank, which have failed in the West and the developing countries, such as promoting the privatization of banks and State-owned enterprises, as well as tax cuts for private companies, will destroy the Chinese economy and allow Wall Street and a few Chinese to plunder others," Du wrote in the statement.

He was soon evicted by the bank's staff.

Appearing to be unfazed by Du's disruption, Zoellick said he was used to "demonstrations and worse" as a former US Trade Representative. Such protests were "the point of any good research report," Zoellick said, noting that while the report was meant to advise the government to push forward reforms, the final decision is still left to the Chinese government, and that the reforms should be gradual instead of too abrupt.

Mainstream economists remain supportive toward a restructuring of the economy to facilitate a balance between the State and private sectors.

"We are not sure how much progress will be made during the economy's further opening to private participation, but it is certainly the direction of the economic development," Chang Jian, China economist at Barclays Capital, told the Global Times Tuesday.

Chang believes industries such as railway construction and financial services would see more private capital.

While State-owned enterprises would continue their presence in some fields related to public welfare, they should gradually step out from areas in need of better market competition, Lu Zhengwei, Shanghai-based chief economist of Industrial Bank, told the Global Times.

"China needs no big change to its current economic regime, and a strengthening of supervision over State-owned enterprises would be enough," 39-year-old Du reiterated in a phone interview with the Global Times late Tuesday.

Du told the Global Times that he has engaged in independent research on China's politics, economy as well as the global economy for about a decade. He has also worked as a magazine editor in the past.

Chinese online reactions were split over Du's action, with some applauding him for daring remarks, while others blamed him for over-sensationalizing the issue.

Censors ban screening of ‘taboo’ Egypt film

Egyptian filmmakers and critics denounced authorities Monday for blocking the screening of a “taboo” film about a love story between a Christian woman and a Muslim man.

“We denounce the fact that censorship authorities have prevented the screening of Hesham Issawi’s ‘Cairo Exit’ at the Luxor African Film Festival,” dozens of filmmakers and critics said in a signed statement.

They charged the censorship authorities had failed to respond to festival organizers on whether they could screen the movie even outside the main festival.

“The festival organizers suggested to the censorship authorities that the film be shown only to members of the jury, critics and journalists but they never replied,” the statement said.

“The censorship authorities stalled,” preventing the film from being screened as planned Monday at the event which opened on Feb. 21 and closes Tuesday.

Under Egyptian law, films must obtain a written permit from censorship authorities in order to be screened. Anyone violating the procedure could be sentenced to jail.

“Cairo Exit” screened at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York last year and at festivals elsewhere in the Middle East.

Long history of Iran's opposition

Al Jazeera

A look at opposition groups in Iran since the 1979 revolution that toppled the Shah.

Successful opposition movements the world over face opposition after taking power. Iran's Islamic rulers have been no exception to the rule.

Having toppled the autocratic Shah in 1979, the former revolutionaries themselves are now being challenged by groups thirsting for change.

Opposition to them began shortly after the revolution that ended the Shah's reign.

As the nation fought a costly war with Iraq, splits emerged among the once united revolutionary front and the government began a crackdown on dissent in an attempt to consolidate power and bring stability to the nascent Islamic Republic.

Perhaps the most well-known among the early opposition groups was the People's Mujahedeen of Iran (MEK). Despite being closely allied to Ayatollah Khomeini and his supporters throughout the 1970s, the group split from the Supreme Leader soon after the revolution.

n 1981, the conflict between the government and MEK fighters descended into street battles. After the MEK was outlawed, Iraq's Saddam Hussein exploited the group, giving it a base in Iraq and support to wage attacks inside Iran and provide intelligence.

Also among the opposition groups was the Tudeh party, or the "party of the masses". Many Tudeh members were arrested and executed during the 1980s.

In 1981, the Islamic Republic banned all political parties save the Islamic Republic Party. Khomeini later broke up the party in 1985 over internal conflicts; however, only parties that adhered to the Islamic character of the state could operate legally.

Those who held different views paid a heavy price, like Abulhassan Babnisdar, the Islamic Republic's first president. He went into exile after being impeached a year after taking office.

In 1989, another high-profile figure fell foul of the Supreme Leader. Ayatollah Hussein-Ali Montazeri, Khomeini's heir apparent, was fired after he had called for more openness and crticised the crackdown on dissent.

Montazeri was replaced by the more conservative Ayatollah Ali Khameinei, who succeeded Khomeini upon his death in June 1989, and remains Iran’s the Supreme Leader until today.

Aborted reforms

In 1989, soon after the death of Khomeini, Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani was elected as president for the first of two terms. Rafsanjani, whose critics accuse of widespread corruption, oversaw the period of reconstruction after nearly a decade of the devastating war with Iran.

Then, in 1997, came the election of the reformist Mohammad Khatami in a surprising landslide victory indicating the country was ready for change. However, while Khatami encouraged more openness in Iran, his reformist agenda was limited by the judiciary, which remained controlled by conservatives.

Khatami had tried to increase the president’s powers and limit the power of the Guardian Council, a 12-member council half appointed by the Supreme Leader and half selected by parliament, but was blocked by the powerful body that is able to veto parliament and interpret the constitution.

In 1999, after the nationwide student paper Salam was shut down, students took to the streets. For six days students protested. At least five people were killed and thousands more were injured and arrested. Sporadic protests continued in the following decade among mostly students and workers demanding reforms. But it wasn’t until 2009 that Iranians would, for the first time since the 1979 revolution, witness massive street protests against the government.

The “Green Movement”

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a conservative who, ironically, doesn't come from a clerical background like most of his predecessors, was elected to his first term as president in 2005. Ahmadinejad’s first term was characterised by defiance to western-imposed sanctions and threats against Iran.

In 2009, Ahmadinejad stood for re-election against his main challenger, Mir-Hussein Mousavi. Mousavi, who served as the Islamic Republic’s first and only prime minister from 1979 until the office was abolished in 1989, was a close ally of former president Khatami and ran as the main reform candidate.

In the lead up to the elections Mousavi held a number of energetic rallies. Mousavi’s supporters dressed themselves in green scarves, wristbands and other items as they paraded in the streets of Iranian cities to show support for the reform candidate.

Despite the visible display of support for Mosuavi, Ahmadinejad emerged from the June elections as the nationwide winner with over 64 per cent of the vote; Mousavi finished second with just under 34 per cent.

On June 13, one day after the elections, protesters turned out in the hundreds of thousands across the country, many chanting and carrying signs around the theme, “where is my vote?” Mousavi’s supporters went from being known as the “Green Wave” to the “Green Movement” and the government responded by ordering a crackdown. More than 100 people were killed and thousands of people were arrested during the protests that lasted for weeks.

Over the next few months, a number of arrested protesters faced trial and many were hanged. Many pro-reform and independent papers were shut down as protests continued. When Ayatollah Montazeri died in December, his funeral became a rallying point with tens of thousands of mourners chanting against the governement. However, by February 11, 2010, the anniversary of the 1979 revolution, the months of uprising seemed effectively crushed.

One year later, in February 2011, the opposition called for protests in solidarity with the uprisings that were then happening in a number of Arab countries. Just before the planned protests, Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, another leading pro-reform politician and a candidate in the 2009 elections, were placed under house arrest. Protests happened in a number of cities for a little over a week, and again hundreds were injured and arrested during the crackdown.

When Iranians go to the polls to elect fresh members of parliament on March 2, they will do so without the major reform candidates on the ballots. Most pro-reform groups are calling for boycott, but some individuals will run as independents. The battle in this election is seen as largely between the conservative camps.

Bahraini dies from inhaling toxic gas fired by regime forces

Another Bahraini citizen has lost his life after inhaling toxic tear gas fired by the Saudi-backed regime forces on protesters, Press TV reports.

Fresh protests have erupted against the Saudi-backed Al Khalifa dynasty in Bahrain after the demonstrators blocked roads and set tires on fire in Sar, near the capital, Manama.

The protesters condemned the imprisonment of the rights activist Abdul Hadi Khawaja and demanded the immediate release of the top campaigner.

Khawaja, the co-founder and former president of the Bahrain Center for Human Right, was sentenced to life in prison by a military court last year. He is currently on a hunger strike to protest against his detention and Al Khalifa regime’s brutal crackdown on protests.

The protest dubbed the “cry of conscience” was organized by the February 14th Youth Coalition.

Despite the ongoing crackdown, anti-regime protests continue in the Persian Gulf kingdom and there is no sign of the ruling Al Khalifa dynasty’s inclination to step down.

Bahrain has been witnessing a wave of anti-regime protests since February 2011.

Dozens of people have been killed and hundreds more arrested or fired from their jobs since the beginning of the popular uprising in Bahrain in February 2011.

On January 26, Amnesty International called on Bahraini authorities to “investigate and account for the reports of more than a dozen deaths following tear gas use.”

Amnesty also called on the US government to “suspend transfers of tear gas and other riot control equipment to the Bahraini authorities.”

In a 94-page report issued on February 28, Human Rights Watch (HRW) criticized the Bahraini regime’s trial of anti-government demonstrators, protest leaders, and the medical doctors, who treated the injuries caused in government crackdown on the protesters.

The HRW also called on Bahrain’s Saudi-backed Al Khalifa regime to release detained protesters.

Insecurity Restricts Access to Needy People in Afghanistan: UNDP

The situation in Afghanistan has further exacerbated and insecurity has restricted humanitarian workers' access to people in need in Afghanistan, the UNDP Country Director said on Tuesday.

The UNDP Country Director, Manoj Basnyat, made the comments in the sixth ECHO summit held in the Afghan capital, Kabul.

Mr Basnyat expressed concern over deteriorating security situation in the country adding that access to the people in need of basic services has been limited due to the worsening situation in the country.

"The situation is further exacerbated on going conflict, which as continued on appertained throughout 2011, so I think the key here is rising in security has also adversely impacted on the ability of humanitarian workers to access people in need and for the same people to access basic services," Country Director of United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Manoj Basnyat said.

According to the UNDP, 40 percent of Afghans are currently faced with economic challenges.

"Forty percent of the populations survive, on the less than one dollar per day," he said.
Meanwhile, Second Vice-President Karim Khalili has said that disaster preparedness programme is a priority for the Afghan government.

He expressed concern over the internally displaced people's loss of life due to heavy snow in some parts of the country. The Vice-President stressed on the importance of the sixth ECHO summit to take necessary measures to fight natural disasters in the country.

Cold weather has recently claimed lives of more than 40 internally displaced people in Afghanistan.

The UNDP also warned of natural disasters in the near future, including threats of floods in some parts of the country, emphasising the required funding should be available to tackle the situation.

Benazir Bhutto assassination case:Interpol to be issued red warrant for Musharraf's arrest

The Express Tribune

The government of Pakistan is all set to issue a red warrant to Interpol’s headquarters for the arrest of former president Pervez Musharraf on the orders of the anti-terrorism court-I in Rawalpindi in the Benazir Bhutto assassination case.

A senior official of the Interior Ministry, on condition of anonymity, told The Express Tribune that the all documentation will be dispatched to Interpol authorities in Geneva by evening, today (Wednesday).

Federal Investigation Agency’s prosecutor in the Benazir Bhutto murder probe, Chaudhry Zulfiqar told The Express Tribune that the documentation was completed and forwarded to the Interior Ministry. He added that the Interior Ministry is “likely to forward it by the evening, today.”

Musharraf will be placed on Interpol’s most wanted list after an arrest notice is issued by the agency.

The warrant states that Musharraf should be brought back to Pakistan in order to carry out proceedings against him in the murder probe.

The documentation submitted by the Federal Investigation Agency to the Interior Ministry entails the summary/investigation documents, copies of the statements given by the then director-general of Counter Intelligence wing of ISI Javed Iqbal Cheema and former director-general of Intelligence Bureau of Pakistan Ejaz Shah have also been sent to Interpol, US-based journalist Marc Siegel’s e-mail to Bhutto, copy of the court orders and other orders of ATC.

The investigation officer of the murder probe, Deputy Director Federal Investigation Agency Khalid Rasool had forwarded the arrest documents to the Interior Ministry, which moved it to the concerned authority of Interpol in Pakistan.

The warrant will be sent via e-mail and through post.

Earlier this month, Interior Minister Rehman Malik revealed the investigation report of the murder of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto in the Sindh Assembly and vowed to bring then president Pervaiz Musharraf back to the country.

He also assured the Senate that Musharraf would be arrested upon his return to Pakistan.
“I assure this house that if he lands in Pakistan, he will be arrested because he is a proclaimed offender in the Benazir Bhutto murder case,” the minister had said.

The interior minister’s assurance comes a day after Senator Raza Rabbani submitted a 10-point charge sheet in Senate, calling for the former dictator’s arrest.

Malik said the Pakistan Peoples Party-led government never said that it would not take action against Musharraf, and added that while it is the responsibility of the federal government to give an order for registering a case against Musharraf, it is important for someone to register a complaint in this regard.

Peshawar: The Women Behind Alighiero Boetti's Peshawar Textiles

More than 18 years after the death of Italian artist Alighiero Boetti, the Arte Povera artist is having a long over due traveling exhibition, which is set to shed new light on his varied body of work. The show has just closed at Madrid's Reina Sofia and is currently at Tate Modern, London ( 28 February - 27 May) before moving on to MoMa in NY. This highly antisipated show is bound to attract a new generation of appreciation to Boetti's joyous work.

A dazzling, multi-layered photo essay on the unseen story behind the making of this seminal artist's (embroidered works) is available for the first time. In this monograph, (Boetti by Afghan People: Peshawar, Pakistan, 1990) the international web of artisans who made the arazzi, comes into focus, through the work of American photographer Randi Malkin Steinberger. In 1990, Steinberger traveled to Peshawar, Pakistan, with Boetti's blessing, to document how the Afghan refugee women realized the embroideries which Boetti had outlined. Steinberger, traveling with a Boetti assistant, followed ''the journey of the cloths'' into the craftswomen's workrooms as they brought color to these spectacular works. When Steinberger returned to Rome, she and Boetti worked together to choose 55 color photographs for a future book. Now, two decades after the photos were taken, they are being published for the first time in this enlightened edition.

Boetti often said that he considered his art a way to communicate across the globe, and that the resulting works were owned as much by the women who realized the embroidery as by the artist himself. Now, their story is revealed, and their work can be celebrated as Boetti intended.
Steinberger’s photographs are published in Boetti by Afghan People: Peshawar, Pakistan, 1990, conceptualized when she traveled in 1990 to Peshawar, Pakistan, with Boetti’s blessing to document the process of the making of his embroideries. Due to Islamic cultural traditions, Boetti himself could not visit the women in their homes, where the embroideries were made. Steinberger though was given unprecedented access to follow “the journey of these cloths” from the shop of the antique dealers who served as middlemen into the craftswomen’s workrooms as they brought color and life to these spectacular works. When Steinberger returned to Rome, she and Boetti together selected 55 color photographs for a future book.

Now, two decades after the photographs were taken, they have been published for the first time to tell the story behind the making of some of Boetti’s most iconic and monumental works, including the Mappe, textile maps of the world.
Boetti often said that he considered his art a way to communicate across the globe, and that the resulting works were owned as much by the women who realized the embroidery as by the artist himself. Finally, their story is revealed and their work can be celebrated in print, adding a new dimension to Boetti’s seminal works.

Alighiero Boetti (1940-­‐1994) was one of the most important and influential artists of his generation. A leading Italian conceptual artist and a member of the Arte Povera movement, Boetti is best known for a series of embroidered maps of the world, Mappe, created between 1971 and his premature death in 1994.
Randi Malkin Steinberger is an American photographer and documentary filmmaker, whose work has been shown around the world over the past 25 years. A published author and curator, she has published two books of her collaborations with renowned artist Alighiero Boetti. Accanto al Pantheon, published by Prearo Editore in Milan, and Boetti by Afghan People: Peshawar, Pakistan, 1990, published by RAM Publications & Distribution. For more information please visit:

Alighiero Boetti (1940-­‐1994) was one of the most important and influential artists of his generation. A leading Italian conceptual artist and a member of the Arte Povera movement, Boetti is best known for a series of embroidered maps of the world, Mappe, created between 1971 and his premature death in 1994.

Boetti was active as an artist from the early 1960s until his passing. He developed a significant body of diverse works that were often both poetic and pleasing to the eye, while at the same time steeped in his diverse theoretical interests and influenced by his extensive world travels.

Born in Turin, Italy, Boetti was the son of a lawyer and violinist. His favorite authors as a young adult were the German writer Hermann Hesse and the Swiss-­‐German painter and Bauhaus teacher Paul Klee. Boetti also had a continuing interest in mathematics, music and philosophy.

He abandoned his studies at the University of Turin’s business school to pursue a life as an artist. Self-­‐taught, Boetti studied artists Lucio Fonatana, Arshile Gorky and Mark Rothko. Influenced also by his travels and philosophy, Boetti was searching for his own artistic identity when he went to Paris in 1962 and trained auto didactically.

From 1963 to 1965, Boetti began to create works out of then unusual materials such as Plexiglas, light fixtures, plaster and other industrial materials. In the late 1960s he was considered to be part of the Arte Povera movement, known for its use of modest materials and techniques.

Captivated by a journey to Afghanistan in 1971, Boetti purchased a small hotel in Kabul and called it One Hotel, which operated from 1972 to 1979. He was especially passionate about non-­‐western cultures, particularly in central and southern Asia and he traveled to Guatemala, Ethiopia, Sudan, and made numerous trips to Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Boetti often conceived of an idea for a work of art but left its execution to others, recruiting people to carry out his ideas and giving them freedom in their contributions to his works. These works known as arazzi developed from his own previous artistic practice with what he came to appreciate in the traditional skills of Afghan embroiderers. From there he started an artistic collaboration with women embroiderers in Afghanistan until the Soviet invasion (1979), and after that in the Afghan refugee camps in Pakistan, creating tapestries such as the Mappe, his political maps that would evolve according to the world’s political mutations.

In his prolific career, Boetti produced a remarkably heterogeneous body of work that is currently undergoing an enthusiastic re-­‐appraisal and appreciation in the United States and abroad. His works and his choices as an artist have influenced the generations of artists that followed in Italy and around the world.

ANP continues to be TTP target

There was an intelligence report based on intercepts that the militants could try and attack the ruling Awami National Party (ANP) public meeting in Nowshera on Monday using two explosives-packed vehicles, but in the end they could only manage to trigger an explosion through a motorcycle parked outside the venue.

The blast didn’t harm any party leader, but four participants of the meeting were killed and another 45 were wounded. The image of old men being brought to the Lady Reading Hospital, Peshawar for treatment was painful.

Informed sources said the police had reservations about holding the public meeting due to security concerns even though it was being staged in a ground inside a government school. Police officials had told the ANP leaders on the morning of the meeting about the intelligence report, but it was too late to cancel the well-publicised event.

Besides, the ANP had held a number of big public meetings in recent months in Swabi, Charsadda, Mardan, Peshawar and elsewhere without being attacked. An ANP public meeting was also held some weeks ago in Hakimabad in Nowshera. This had given the ANP and its government the confidence to organise more such meetings.

Senator Afrasiab Khattak, the ANP provincial president, said he saw a cloud of smoke and dust rising from the ground soon after the helicopter took off for Peshawar. He added: “I said this is a bomb explosion. Chief Minister Ameer Haider Hoti was sitting facing me in the helicopter and when he turned around and looked down he too said it was a bomb blast.”

Earlier, the ANP leaders had walked the short distance to the helipad from the venue of the public meeting. Eyewitnesses said many participants of the public rally had stopped to watch the helicopter take-off and this probably saved lives, as they would have otherwise walked towards the place where the explosion took place.

According to Afrasiab Khattak, the participants became excited and more responsive when the chief minister announced a very generous development package for Nowshera in response to the welcome address presented by ANP District President Ihrar Khattak. He announced reconstruction of the Nowshera-Charsadda Road, a cadet college to be built on the boundary between Nowshera and Charsadda districts, 30 more primary schools in addition to 40 announced earlier, and some other projects. Nobody knew that the happiness generated by the chief minister’s announcements would be short-lived as a tragedy was waiting to happen.

This was the second time that Afrasiab Khattak escaped unharmed in a terrorist attack. Earlier, he had survived a bomb explosion in Nahqi village near Shaqbadar in Charsadda district on February 9, 2008 during the general election campaign. The bombing had killed 27 people and injured over 50. Most of them were ANP workers and supporters.

Chief Minister Hoti hasn’t been attacked in the past, but he is certainly on the hit list of militants. Extraordinary security for him as the chief executive of the province seems to have prevented the militants from reaching and attacking him.

The Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) promptly claimed responsibility for the Nowshera bombing and it was obvious that the chief minister, Afrasiab Khattak, Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain and other ANP leaders were the target.

The Nowshera attack showed that the TTP and its affiliates are continuing to plot and execute attacks against the ANP, a secular and nationalist party that has openly challenged the militants and backed the military operations against them in Malakand division and in the tribal areas.

While making its claim of responsibility, the TTP reminded that it has been warning the people to stay away from the ANP meetings to avoid harm. As it has threatened more attacks against the ANP leadership, the party would have to figure out how to continue its political activities without risking the lives of its leaders, workers and common people.

Five million flood-hit Pakistanis still need aid, UN says

Over five million people in Pakistan still need basic aid such as shelter, clean water and healthcare six months after floods inundated thousands of villages in the south, a senior U.N. official said.

Floods triggered by annual monsoon rains in August last year disrupted the lives of nine million people in Pakistan's Sindh and Baluchistan provinces, killing more than 430 people and forcing hundreds of thousands to camp out in the open.

Lynn Hastings, head of the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Pakistan, told AlertNet that $440 million was needed to help around 5.2 million people rebuild their lives after the disaster.

"Across the board, in all the districts affected, there are very significant needs that are still outstanding - be it to provide food-for-work schemes or some sort of shelter - something better than tarpaulin sheets," Hastings said in a phone interview from Islamabad.

"There are varying degrees (of need) - there are people who have gone back to absolute nothing and then some people who have gone back and salvaged something. There are others who still can't return."

Hastings said 10,000 families - about 60,000 to 70,000 people - have not yet been able to return home as 10 percent of Sindh province is still underwater.

About 800,000 homes were destroyed or damaged by the disaster and large swathes of farmland submerged, she said, resulting in 92 percent of the area's cotton and 81 percent of sugar cane crop being lost.

U.N. officials estimate that more than one third of those suffering as result of last year's floods, were still in a state of recovery - having been hit by Pakistan's worst ever floods in July 2010. Those monsoon floods left one fifth of the country - an area the size of Italy - underwater and disrupted the lives of more than 18 million people.


Pakistan is not only prone to disasters such as floods and earthquakes, but the country has also seen the displacement of millions due military operations against Taliban insurgents in volatile northwestern regions in recent years.

Appeals for funding to tackle Pakistan's various humanitarian crises have, like many around the world, received a poor response from international donors.

For example, a previous U.N. appeal in September last year for $356 million life-saving aid for the same flood survivors has until now only been about 50 percent funded.

"I think it's a global economic issue, first and foremost. Some of the donors, when we were discussing this with them in the fall, did indicate that there were competing interests - in particular the Horn of Africa and Libya," Hastings said.

"This really put economic strains on donors, and then of course there were the floods in Thailand, an earthquake in Turkey and I guess it's just largely competing interests and the global recession."

Other humanitarian agencies, like the Red Cross, however last year alluded to Pakistan being a "bad brand" to sell to donors due to its reputation as being a haven for militants and its tense relationship with the United States, its biggest donor.

Hastings said she was hopeful that politics would not adversely impact Western donors' response to the flood victims.

"I think donors are interested. Whether or not that translates into money or not, I don't know. But certainly, the interest in knowing what the needs are has been expressed by donors," she said.

Tension prevails in Gilgit, Hunza Nagar post Kohistan killings

Tension has gripped different areas in Gilgit and Hunza Nagar after 18 passengers were brutally killed in Kohistan on Tuesday, Geo News reported.

According to sources, the funeral prayers of 11 identified victims will be held today at 1 pm while curfew will be effective from 12 noon. The collective funeral prayers will be held at Imamia Jama Masjid after which the bodies will be sent to their native areas.

Local residents are already restricted to their houses while thin transport was observed on the roads.

Eighteen people were killed in a sectarian attack when unidentified gunmen forced them to disembark from four Gilgit-bound passenger buses and sprayed them with bullets in Kohistan district on Tuesday.

District Police Officer, Kohistan, Muhammad Ilyas said the armed men hiding on both sides of the road intercepted many buses in the Harban Nala area early in the day and ordered more than 100 passengers to get off the vehicles. He said that 18 passengers were separated, their papers were checked and were gunned down after their identification. He said the killers fled the scene after committing the crime. Mohammad Ilyas said the bodies were taken to the Rural Health Centre in Shatial from where they were shifted to Gilgit.

Media reports said one Ahmad Marwat, claiming to be the commander of the shadowy Sunni militant group, Jandullah, claimed responsibility for the attack. Survivors said seven to eight killers were involved in the attack.

Violence erupted in Gilgit as a result of the sectarian attack, claiming at least one life. The deceased has been identified as Ubaidullah, who was shot dead near the public school roundabout in the Joeyal area.

All the government and private offices, educational institutions and business centres across Gilgit-Baltistan were shut down after the news of attack reached the area. Security in the six districts of Gilgit-Baltistan was put on red alert.

All exit and entry points to Gilgit have been completely sealed on the directives of the deputy commissioner. Section 144 has also been imposed banning assembly of four or more persons and the display of arms. Educational institutions have also been closed in Gilgit for three days as a precautionary measure in the wake of a posible violent reaction by the victim community members.

Pakistan SC issues notice to former ISI chief, defence ministry

Pakistan's Supreme Court on Wednesday issued notices to former ISI chief Asad Durrani and the defence ministry as it resumed hearing a petition against the funding of politicians by the spy agency after a gap of over 12 years.

A three-judge bench led by Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry also sought records related to the case filed in 1996 by former air force chief Asghar Khan.

Among the documents sought by the bench were in-camera statements recorded in the past by Durrani, late Maj Gen Naseerullah Khan Babar and former army chief Gen (retired) Mirza Aslam Beg, and a report on the functioning of the ISI that was originally submitted to the apex court in 1998.

The bench said all these documents should be presented in court in sealed envelopes.

Asghar Khan, who recently announced he would merge his Tehrik-e-Istaqlal party with Imran Khan's Tehrik-e-Insaaf party, had filed the petition against Beg, Durrani and Yunus Habib, the former head of Mehran Bank.

The last hearing of the case was held 12 years and four months ago.

During Wednesday's hearing, the bench said it was necessary to go through the records as considerable time had passed since the last hearing.

The bench further said the matter could not be put off for long and decided to schedule the next hearing for March 2.

At this point, a defence lawyer pointed out that former ISI chief Durrani was abroad on a private visit and would not return till March 6.

At the suggestion of Attorney General Anwar-ul-Haq, the court adjourned the matter till March 8.

Terrorists targeting innocent people to avenge defeat in Orakzai, Khyber: Afrasiab

Frontier Post

President of ANP Khyber Pakthunkhwa Senator Afrasiab Khattak said on Tuesday that terrorists were targeting innocent people to avenge the killing of their mem in Orakzai and Khyber operations.
He was addressing a condolence reference at Bacha Khan Markaz wherein Quran Khwani was held for Eisal e Sawab of those killed in the Nowshera bomb blast.
The ANP leader said that terrorists were hired assassin who killed the innocent children, men and women for the sake of money, adding, there would have no been bloodshed in this part of world, had the advice of Bacha Khan was accepted which he gave during the Afghan war. “We were declared traitors and anti state at that time and our leaders were accused of conspiring against the country but today the entire world has accepted the stance of Bacha Khan”, he added.
He recalled that when ANP came to power in KP, terrorism was its peak but we courageously faced the situation and maintained peace after offering lot of sacrifices.
Today the terrorists are again trying to block our way but we they will not succeed in their designs.
Terrorism was not our problem alone as it engulfed the whole world today and we have to fight it out collectively, he added.
Changez Khan, Babar and English rulers made efforts in the past to make the Pukhtoon nation slaves but they never succeeded in their mission and neither they would succeed in future.
The ANP has emerged the strong political force in the KP as record 2.3 million people get registered themselves during the membership drive. The ANP would win the next election on the basis of its performance, he concluded.

More Afghans migrating to Quetta

In a tiny flat they have rented in Quetta, Zarnab Bibi and her husband Aziz Khan (not their real name) waiting patiently for the phone to ring. "We are hoping to hear from an agent we have paid to take us and our four children to Thailand and then maybe onto Australia," Khan was quoted as saying by IRIN, the UN information unit in a report.

The family left its home in Afghanistan's conflict-ridden Kandahar Province about a month ago, crossing into Pakistan illegally via a mountain pass. They spoke of a long walk on foot and said they spent all their savings on the journey.

They knew further travel overseas would also be illegal, but Bibi explained: "We really have no choice given the situation in Afghanistan." They feared a resurgence of the Taliban, which ruled Afghanistan for five years before it was overthrown in 2001 by international forces that are now gradually withdrawing from the country.

The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) says the number of people fleeing Afghanistan has dropped significantly in the past decade, since the government of Hamid Karzai took control of the country.

At the same time there are signs of a recent increase in the number of Afghans leaving for Pakistan, a trend which would complicate efforts by Afghanistan and its international partners to sustainably bring home refugees already outside the country.

In the Kurram Agency, one of seven tribal areas that share a frontier with Afghanistan, Moazzam Toor told IRIN from his village in the Tirah Valley that the number of refugees from Afghanistan "had definitely increased in the last few months, because they are worried about the future at home." He said many of the refugees were destitute, and had headed for Peshawar or other big cities in search of opportunities to earn income.

"Some do not even have shoes on their feet, and walk in leather tied with straps." The UN says a rise and spread of conflict in 2011 has led to a significant increase in displacement, with the number of people displaced within the country estimated to have risen to half a million by year-end. But tracking displacements outside the country has proven difficult.

"Pakistan and Afghanistan share a long and porous border, where hundreds of thousands of people cross the border back and forth daily for different reasons, which could be related to business, education or medical reasons," said Duniya Aslam Khan, spokesperson for UNHCR in Pakistan.

"Not every Afghan crossing the border into Pakistan is a refugee," she told. According to media reports, the prime minister of Pakistan told UN High Commissioner for Afghan Refugees (UNHCR) Antonio Guterres on a recent visit that 30-40,000 Afghans crossed the border annually and Pakistan needed international help to tackle the refugee situation. But Khan said the number of registered Afghan refugees in Pakistan remained 1.7 million and authorities in Peshawar said they had no official information on the arrival of new refugees into the country.

An official at the government commissionerate for Afghan refugees in Peshawar, who asked not to be named, said the number of Afghans crossing over had increased since mid-2011. "Most are economic [migrants], and also [refugees] worried about instability in Afghanistan.

They mainly live with other Afghans or in rented homes. We are not permitted to give figures, and the numbers are hard to ascertain anyway." Border residents say tensions with Islamabad have bolstered growing uncertainty in Afghanistan, amid fears that Pakistan - whose intelligence service allegedly supports the Taliban - is fomenting troublefor its neighbour.Zarnab has a college education but recalls the days under the Taliban, before 2001, when her daughters were not allowed to go to school.

"I am scared for the future of my two teenage daughters if the Taliban make a return, as this could happen given that the Pakistan government wants it and the militants are now talking to the US officials," she said, referring to peace talks under way between the US, Afghanistan and the Taliban. Pakistan is listed as "a source, transit, and destination country" for trafficked persons, according to the US State Department's Trafficking in Persons report for 2011.

"There are people everywhere in Quetta and other cities involved in getting people out of the country illegally, in exchange for money," Farid Ahmed, coordinator for the autonomous Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), told.

"Many from Afghanistan also come into Pakistan to make use of these agents." HRCP conducted a study in 2009, recording thousands of cases of human trafficking through Quetta from 2005 to 2008, including cases involving Afghans who had set out from Kabul.

‘One million unregistered Afghan refugees residing in Pakistan’

Minister for States and Frontier Regions (SAFRON), Engineer Shaukat Ullah said that 1.7 million registered and one million unregistered Afghan refugees are residing in Pakistan. The Minister was giving a briefing to the members of diplomatic community and humanitarian organisation, to discuss the critical issue of support to Afghan refugees, host countries and Afghanistan.

He said three hundred thousand whose registration cards have yet to be renewed and valid for by the end of this year 2012, says a press release here.

Most of these three million people continue to live in conditions which are below poverty levels in regions acknowledged as backward with severe economic constraints.

In terms of international support, the maximum provided in 1981-82 was US$ 293.1 million for 3.2 million Afghan refugees.

The Afghan refugees received considerable support from friendly countries including Saudi Arabia, USA, Germany, Japan, Italy, UAE in addition to assistance from UN Agencies, mainly, UNHCR and World Food Programme, WHO and UNICEF.

Iftikhar warns ultras: ‘Shape up or ship out’

Minister for Information, Mian Iftikhar Hussein has warned the terrorists to leave the province, adding that they will show no clemency for the enemies of peace.

He was addressing a big public meeting in district Nowshera on Monday.

The minister said that the land of the province is dear to them even than their lives and will not leave those deteriorating situation in any circumstances. He also warned of taking strict action against those harbouring terrorists.

He said that they will not leave the people at the mercy of terrorists and will guarantee the protection of their lives and properties even at the cost of their own heads.

He expressed sorrow over the justification of the terror incidents in the name of drone attacks, adding they themselves are holding negotiations with those carrying these attacks while targeting innocent and poor people here.

Mian Iftikhar reiterated that they are against both drone attacks and terrorism and it will not be tolerated. He said that they have repeatedly demanded the sharing of drone technology with Pakistan to enable it in the elimination of terrorism.

He said that instead of bringing decline in terrorism, drone attacks are increasing it.

He said that they are the true followers of Bacha Khan and his ideology and philosophy that will remain alive forever.

He welcomed the chief minister on his arrival in Nowshera, saying the visit of the chief executive of the province is of great importance and will bear everlasting good impact on the lives of the people of the district.

The provincial minister for information said that the announcement of a development package of Rs.2.5 billion for district Nowshera and the establishment of Cadet College in the halfway of district Nowshera and Mardan will usher a new era of progress and development in the area.

He said that on the basis of performance, ANP will not only return to power in Nowshera but in the whole province. He said that despite terrorism, the provincial government had completed record development schemes, which has no precedent in past. He said that if the province was not the victim of terrorism then situation today will have totally different.

No computer lab at 2,000 Khyber Pakhtunkhwa schools


Around 2,000 high and higher secondary government schools in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have no computer laboratory, said provincial elementary and secondary education secretary Mushtaq Jadoon on Monday.

Mr Jadoon, who was briefing the provincial assembly`s standing committee on E&SE here, also said his department lacked 4,500 computer teachers and 2,000 senior English teachers.

The meeting was attended by committee chairman MPA Mukhtar Ali Khan, assembly speaker Kiramatullah Chagharmatti, E&SE minister Sardar Hussain Babak, MPAs Shah Hussain Khan, Abdul Akbar Khan, Sikandar Khan Sherpao, Anwar Khan, Rashid Khan, Sardar Aurangzeb Nalotha and Munawar Sultana, and assembly secretary Amanullah Khan.

The E&SE secretary told Dawn that around 300 high and higher secondary schools in the province had computer labs. “We are trying to establish more computer labs in schools with the support of donor agencies,” he said.

Mr Jadoon said of late, the planning and development department approved funds for establishing computer labs in 170 schools. He, however, said establishment of computer labs at schools alone won`t work and recruitment of teachers and provision of other facilities there was also needed.

“This requires huge budget,” he said.

Earlier, the secretary told the committee that the government had planned to build four rooms in future primary schools instead of two for better educational environment, according to a spokesman for the provincial assembly.

He said acquiring land for new schools was very difficult in big cities, including Peshawar, Mardan, Abbottabad and Nowshera but to fulfill this need, his department had planned to build two and three storied schools in future.

Until now, the education department has built schools on the land donated by people before providing Class IV job to one named by donors. However, higher prices of real estate, especially in urban areas, have stopped most landowners from offering land for government schools.

An education official asked why should people donate 10-marla land for a Class IV job, while its price ranged from Rs2 to Rs3 million.

Mr Jadoon told the committee that it would be very costly to raise a primary school building at Rs4.5 million after purchasing land at Rs20 million. He said his department was working on different options to establish schools in different areas on need basis.

“We are trying to set up school in rented buildings,” he said, adding that government land was also being found for schools in areas where cost of land was very high.

Speaker Chagharmatti asked the E&SE secretary to ensure early recruitment of computer teachers and provision of solar energy to computer laboratories in government schools.

He said the centre would provide the province with adequate funds for construction of 1,000 primary schools in line with President Zardari`s special directives.

Pakistan: Women`s votes

IN the 2008 general elections, according to Election Commission data, over 560 female polling stations — nearly 480 of them in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa — saw a zero per cent turnout. Over 580,000 women were registered at these stations. As the next countrywide polls approach, recent by-elections indicate that this unacceptable state of affairs may well continue. In by-elections held on Saturday, women were effectively barred from voting at certain polling stations in Mardan and Mianwali.

These are not cases of women being physically held back from going to cast their votes. Instead, pandering to the conservatism of certain areas of the country, political candidates in those areas develop informal agreements, or at least understandings among themselves, that they will not try to bring out the female vote. Over time this regressive approach has taken hold to the point where voting for women in some constituencies has become as taboo as going to the mosque or walking into the male section of segregated wedding functions. It has, in other words, become the cultural norm, one perpetuated by those in a position of power.

What is particularly alarming is that this is true of parties across the political spectrum. The ANP and PPP are dominant in the Mardan constituency that was contested on Saturday and the PML-N in the Mianwali constituency. These are all significant and mainstream parties, and at least the former two clearly position themselves as being secular and progressive. Yet Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, where the ANP and PPP have dominated in 2008 and since, is the province where this problem is most acute. The National Commission on the Status of Women and the Free and Fair Election Network have called for the by-election results from the relevant polling stations — and therefore the constituencies in which they are located — to be scrapped. This is a perfectly legitimate demand; political parties need to be held accountable for failing to make it clear to their candidates that creating conditions that effectively bar women from voting is both unconstitutional and against the spirit of democracy.

Solidarity With Balochistan: WPP Rally in Islamabad Demands an End to Exploitation

Scores of political activists, students, trade unionists and ordinary citizens held a protest demonstration on Monday at Aabpara chowk in the federal capital to demand an end to state repression in Balochistan and for sustained and serious efforts to address the sense of exploitation amongst the Baloch people.

The protest was called by the Worker’s Party Pakistan (WPP) in cities across Punjab as an attempt to demonstrate the solidarity of Punjab’s working people with the Baloch nation. Protestors stood at Aabpara chowk for an hour chanting slogans against the military establishment and the United States for attempting to fragment the Baloch cause.

Speaking on the occasion Aasim Sajjad of the WPP said that the gruesome kill-and-dump and kidnapping tactics of the state’s security apparatus has driven the Baloch people to distraction and provided an opportunity to imperialist powers to influence the nationalist movement. He said that the situation in Balochistan is panning out exactly like that in east Pakistan four decades ago when unbridled military brutalities on the part of the state resulted in the Bengali people’s move towards separatism. Aasim Sajjad said that Balochistan will soon reach the point of no return and until and unless the military’s control over all affairs in the province gives way to a genuine political process, there is no chance that the Baloch can be wooed back into the Pakistani mainstream.

Speaking on the occasion Alia Amirali of the National Students Federation (NSF) said that the primary victims of state excesses in Balochistan are students and youth and when the future generation of any society is subjected to such treatment the entire society becomes radicalized. She said that young Baloch have been educated in the same schools as other Pakistanis yet they are becoming increasingly alienated from the Pakistani state because there is no space for the Baloch to secure their identity, rights and resources. Alia Amirali said that if the Pakistani military continues to subject the youth of Balochistan to such inhuman treatment hatred will intensify and the civil war in the province will become increasingly brutal.

Other speakers rejected the typical characterization of Baloch nationalists as sardars noting that it was the Pakistani state itself that has historically patronized the tribal elite and in fact the current nationalist movement is dominated non-tribal elements. The protestors appealed to all Punjabi working people as well as those of other ethnic groups in Pakistan to oppose the military operation in Balochistan. The protestors passed resolutions to demand a complete withdrawal of all state security personnel from the province including the Frontier Corps, discontinuing existing ‘development’ projects such as Gwadar and Saindak until control over such projects is passed completely onto the Baloch people, and immediate accountability of all intelligence operatives who have been responsible for kidnapping Baloch youth and dumping mutilated bodies across the province. The protest ended with an appeal to the Baloch people to look to an alliance of all of Pakistan’s oppressed nationalities and working people rather than to the imperialist powers who will never genuinely support the Baloch cause.

Bangladesh and now Balochistan


BY: Syed Atiq ul Hassan

First East Paki­stan to Bangladesh and now towards Balochistan to independent Balochistan, political reasons may be un-identical but the tale of injustices; ignorance and autocratic behaviour of the establishment and civilian federal bureaucracy remain the same.
In May 1954, Army dictator and then Governor-General, General Malik Ghu­lam Mohammad appointed Iskandar Mirza as the Governor of then East Pakistan supposedly to maintain peace in troubling East Pakistan. Iskandar’s first step, as a Governor, was put up more than 300 prominent political leaders including Sheikh Mujeeb-ur-Rehman and Yousuf Ali Chaudhary behind bars. Within 4 to 5 weeks more than 1000 arrests were made including professors, scholars and 33 parliamentarians. At that time, Nawabzada Mohammed Ali Borgra was the Prime Minis­ter of Pakistan who was a close friend of Mohammed Ali Jinnah and a prominent vocalist of Pakistan’s movement.
On 24th of October (1954), General Ghulam Moh­­ammed dissolved Constituent Assembly and declared emergency in entire Pakistan. On the next day (25th of October), Pakistan signed a defence agreement with the United States that US will provide assistance to Pakistan if they face war conflict with any country. From 1954 to 1958 Pakistan went through an unsettled democratic process followed by more than ten years (1958 to 1969) rule by Field Marshal Ayub Khan. The feel of deprivation and ignorance further heated in East Pakistan yet no one in West Pakistan acknowledged the boiling hatred against the establishment that could result dangerous consequences to the sovereignty of the country.
First General Election under the newly formed Election Commission was held in Pakistan in 1970. There were 31,211,220 voters in East Pakistan and 25,730,280 in West Pakistan. There were 300 national assembly seats each in West and East Pakistan of total 600 seats of the National Assembly. Awami League of Sheikh Mujeeb-ur-Rehman won 288 seats in East Pakistan nil in West Pakistan. Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) won 144 seats in West Pakistan and nil in East Paki­stan, 13 seats won by other parties and independents in East Pakistan and 157 seats won by other parties and independents in West Pakistan. Therefore, it was very much clear that Sheikh Mujeeb-ur-Rehman of Awami League deserved to be called to form the National Government but the power was handed over to Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. It was obvious to understand that the military establishment and civilian bureaucracy of West Pakistan did not trust on East Pakistan’s leadership. The biggest dilemma of Pakistan which led to the split in the geography of Pakistan is that the conspirators were treated as heroes and heroes as traitors.
Mujeeb-ur-Rehman was the rising young leader of All India Muslim League during the Independence movement in United India. He joined All India Muslim Students Federation in 1940. The founder of Pakistan Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah brought him in a leading role in Muslim Students Federation. Mujeeb fought for Pakistan from the Muslim League platform. He was among the pioneers of Pakistan. If we look at the post 1970 election fiasco and the two main contenders of the new government, there was no comparison of Mujeeb with Bhutto as a leader for the nation.
Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s political life started in hands of Field Marshal Ayub Khan who was Bhutto’s mentor. Bhutto served Ayub Khan and his then newly formed convention Muslim league. Bhutto was the Secretary General of Ayub Khan’s convention Muslim League. Bhutto and Ayub were the pioneers of damaging Jinnah’s Pakistan Muslim League. Yet, the so-called champion of democracy and Jialey (activists) of PPP and many others title Zulfikar Ali Bhutto as Quaid-e-Awam and founder of democracy in Pakistan. Unfortunately, the army establishment and civilian bureaucracy treated Mujeeb as a leader of Bengalis not as a leader of Pakistanis. For me, the first black day in Pakistan’s political history was 26th of March 1971 when Mujeeb-ur-Rehman announced the declaration of independence of East Pakistan and the establishment of the sovereign People’s Republic of Bangladesh. And the reason was one, the army dictator General Yahya Khan and Zulfikar Ali Bhutto preferred army-civil nexus on the solidarity of the country. Eventually, the people of Pakistan had to go through a painful and appalling saga of East Pakistan to Bangladesh in 1971 and the world saw the shameful images — high ranking Pakistani army officers and about 100,000 soldiers surrendered and bowed down in front of Indian Army in December 1971.
Jinnah’s Pakistan came to end when East Pakistan became the Bangladesh. Pakistani politicians and army officials blamed people of East Pakistan as being burden on Pakistan’s treasury. They were called coward and beggars. Today, Bangladeshi economy is better than Pakistan’s. Today Bangladeshi Taka is better than the Pakistani rupee in international market. Today, Pakistan is begging Bangladesh to play cricket in Pakistan with assurance to provide them full security so that the Pakistani image can be restored for holding international cricket events in Pakistan.
The people of East Pakistan were not against the ideology of Pakistan rather they were the founders of Pakistan. People of East Pakistan demanded for separation when they were refused to form the national government despite of the fact that they had majority of seats in the house of the federal parliament.
Balochistan is now on the verge of taking separation from Pakistan. Balochistan is a state full of natural resources. Located at the most important strategic location, Balochistan is 44 percent of Pakistan’s total territory. Balochistan is the only province of Pakistan which has close borders with Middle East, South-West, Central Asia with hot Arabian Sea coast which means if Balochistan is separated from Pakistan, the existence of Pakistan will be on stake.
Having the least population compared to the other three provinces of Pakistan, Balochistan has been providing gas, coal and other natural resources to the rest of the country. On the other hand the basic facilities like drinking water, power, education, health, transport and security in Balochistan are close to none, even in most of the inland people have not been provided gas which they own.
Instead of working for the people of Balochistan and for the development of the province, Pakistani federal powers (army, bureaucrats) and even political leaders when in power made deals with Sardars (Tribal Leaders) paying them ransoms from public accounts for the security of sensitive installations, gas pipelines, electricity grids, railway lines, etc. These Sardars of Balochistan are enemies of their own people. For them the ordinary Baluch are consumable commodity to use them as and when needed to fight against Pakistani forces if federal government don’t pay attention to their demands and take any action against them. They receive millions of dollars from the federal public accounts on the name of peace in Balochistan but they hardly spend any money on the people of Balochistan. So, it is very important to look the background of these Sardars and why and how they became the part of Pakistan.
Before the Partition of United India in 1947, the State of Qalat was an independent State but running like a British Colony headed by Mir Ahmed Yar Khan (under the shelter of UK). Qalat was comprised of about 22 percent of then Balochistan.
Looking into Balochistan mayhem it is very important to remember that in 1947, Mir Ahmed Yar Khan reportedly approached India to be in the dominion of India but then Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru, refused Mir Ahmed.
Mir Ahmed then joined Pakistan on the agreement that defence, currency, foreign office and finance will be controlled by the federal government of Pakistan. Later, when One-Unit was formed in Pakistan in 1954 Balochistan became the part of West Pakistan.
Khan of Qalat had differences with the other Sardars even within his family on his decision to join with Pakistan. That is why just in a year time – in 1948 – insurgencies against Pakistani army and law enforcement agencies began.
They have formed Baluch nationalist movement which was basically structured by Sardars to play double games in case if Pakistani government don’t follow their demands. Brother of Ahmed Yar Khan, Abdul Karim Khan denied the accord with Pakistan. He claimed that the Pakistani government forcibly asked Mir Ahmed Yar Khan to join Qalat with Pakistan. He declared separatist movement in 1948 and launched guerilla war with his followers against Pakistan forces. Ahmed Yar Khan with other Sardars launched insurgency against Pakistan law enforcement agencies.
Since 1960 the insurgency against Pakistani forces gained substantial increase. Pakistani establishment instead of paying attention to win the hearts and minds of the common Baluch and activists, they engaged Sardars (tribes; Bughti, Mengal, Mari and so on) and tried to make them happy. That is why; the activists’ movement of independent Balochistan never attracted by the common and poor people of Balochistan and spread at the grass level. The goals of running these movements are to create insurgency by their paid insurgents and slaves when needed in order to threat and negotiate best deal with the Pakistani establishment.
The tale of Balochistan’s uncertainty spreads over half a century, it is not possible for me to sum-up all those mayhems in this write-up, however, I could boldly say that from 1973 military operation by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto to 2005 military operation by General Pervez Musharraf, I found that that these operations were launched supposedly to eliminate the anti-Pakistan movements but basically behind these operations were the conflicts between the federal powers and the tribal powers of Balochistan. These operations never ended any trouble in Balochistan instead created more hatred among the common Baluchis, at the same time, provided Sardars opportunities to use poor Baluch against Pakistani law enforcement agencies.
The unfortunate saga is that Pakistani army, civil bureaucracy, and selfish politicians are still putting their interest in front of the interest of the people of Balochistan and the integrity of Pakistan. Today, they are still trying to negotiate with those Sardars (tribal) who have always looked their interest and protection on the cost of the betterment of the common people of Balochistan. Due to the remote territory, less population and lack of access to the media, Balochistan political disorder and instability have been hidden from the people of rest of the country particularly from the people of Sindh and Punjab.
Today, some sections of Pakistani politics are blaming murder of Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti as the cause of current instability in Balochistan. Akbar Khan Bugti had been the Governor and Chief Minister of Balochistan in the past. When in power, he was asked in an interview by Emma Duncan, an international journalist, how many people has he killed by himself as a tribal leader, he replied he did not count. In 2005, Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti and Mir Baluch Marri gave a 15-point agenda to Musharraf’s government. Their demands included greater control of the province’s resources and freezing of army bases were total threat to the sovereignty of Pakistan and the actual reasons behind these demands were that Bugti wanted power of Balochistan and increase in the annual ransoms on name of protection of sensitive installations of the country. At the same time, they made several attacks on military convoys, helicopters and other vehicles killing many army personnel including Inspector and Deputy General of Frontier Corps. Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti was killed in 2006 during the fight between his militia and Pakistani forces.
Today, Bughti’s grandson, Brahamdagh Khan Bugti has now taken the role. He has stood-up threatening Pakist­an’s sovereignty. Unfo­rtunately, the political pundits in Pakistan who are calling him as representative of deprived Baluch must answer how many personnel of Pakistani law enforcement agencies they have already killed and how much damaged they have done to the infrastructure of Balochistan. Brahamdagh’s and his partners don’t allow Pakistan flag to be waved in their jurisdictions. They maintain their own jails and armed detachments. They do their own policing the people and run their own courts. Braha­mdagh himself is now living a lavish life in Switzerland and getting funds for his separation movement from anti-Pakistan elements. According to reports he is receiving huge funds and other logistic support from India. These Sardars of Balochistan have very simple strategy. As long as their vested interests are being served by the Pakistani government and establishment stick with Pakistan, as soon as the things are going against their interest, make the freedom movement alive.
Pakistani interior minister Rehman Malik announced that he would welcome Brahamdagh and others in Pakistan and withdraw all charges against them upon his returns to Pakistan. I would like to ask Mr. Malik that he should also reveal the list of murders of Pakistani soldiers and other important figures these Sardars have committed before to give them asylum. How long Pakistani establishment and bureaucracy would listen to the threats of tribal leaders and make them happy on their demands.
Recently, three US Congressmen passed a resolution for independent and sovereign Balochistan. This resolution has no value other than that United States want to pressurise Pakistani government against Pakistan’s decision of freezing NATO supply to Afghanistan and banned CIA activities in Pakistan.
There is no question that the situation in Balochistan is alarming and needs urgent attention. Not attention should be paid to the threats and blackmailing of tribal leaders and foreign powers but attention be paid to the needs of poor neglected poor of Balochistan. Pakistani government should use the cane and carrot policy – canes for Sardars and carrots for the common people. Pakistani government should launch massive development programme for the people of Balochistan, provide extensive security to the ordinary people, build roads and damaged infrastructure, open new education, health and law and order enforcement centres and win the hearts and minds of the common Baloch. At the same time never bow down against Sardars and foreign powers, use full power to deal with anti-Pakistan elements, there should not be any compromise on the sovereignty of Pakistan. Another important matter is the continuation of democratic process in Balochistan. Military operation cannot be the solution – Pakistan should not forget what happened in East Pakistan. At the same time, no concession be given to the anti-Pakistani elements, doesn’t matter how Sarar is involved as these Sardars and their system is the biggest hurdle in the development of Balochistan. And to win the hearts and minds of the people of Balochistan so that they could feel that their future is with Pakistan is linked to the development of Balochistan and providing basic rights and facilities to the common people of Balochistan.
(To Be Concluded)