Monday, March 12, 2012

Veena to go to Pakistan to launch music album

Actor Veena Malik has said that she will be back in her home country Pakistan soon for some projects and to launch her own music album.

Malik is currently doing three films in India — Daal Mein Kuch Kala Hai, Zindagi Fifty Fifty and Bombay 125 Km. “I am also doing a film, Super Model, with
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Ashmit Patel,” the newspaper, Dawn, quoted her as saying. While DMKKH is a comedy, Malik plays a sex worker in ZFF, and Bombay 125 Km is a 3D thriller-horror.Talking about her first music album, Malik said she wanted to sing right from the beginning of her career but her friends suggested that she concentrate on acting.

“Now, I’ve decided to launch my first album, both audio and video,” she said. The songs would be a mix of Urdu and English and the male lead would be revealed later. “My singing will represent the young generation and I’ll be singing some rock stuff for them,” she added.

Malik said that the rights of her Indian show, Veena Ka Swayamvar, have been bought by an entertainment group in Pakistan. “The show received some 72,000 entries from all over the world which is a record,” she said.

'How I escaped an arranged marriage'

CNN's Erin Burnett talks to a Pakistani woman who ran away from home to avoid being forced to marry her cousin.

Pakistan: Yet another Christian woman charged with blasphemy

Police in Khichiwala, Bahawalnagar district have charged a young Christian woman under the country’s blasphemy laws allegedly for speaking against the Holy Prophet (PBUH), while her family claims that she has been framed for refusing to renounce her faith on the insistence of some relatives who had recently converted to Islam, Pakistan Today has learnt.
Twenty-six-year-old Shamim, mother of a five-month-old girl and resident of Chak No. 170/7R Colony, Fort Abbas tehsil, was taken into custody on February 28, by the Khichiwala Police and charged under Section 295-C of the Pakistan Penal Code after her neighbours accused her of uttering blasphemous remarks against Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
However, Shamim’s brother Ilyas Masih and brother-in-law Shahbaz Masih told Pakistan Today that the young woman had been wrongly accused as she had turned down an invitation to convert to Islam just a day before she was accused of uttering blasphemous remarks.
“Nazeeran, sister of Shamim’s husband Bashir Masih, nephew Nadeem and niece Bella converted to Islam on February 24, and called on her to do the same … she refused, telling them that she was satisfied with Christianity and did not want to convert,” Ilyas said.
“Shamim told us on the telephone that Nazeeran and others were forcing her to convert, and asked us to visit her. We [Shamim’s father and two brothers] went to meet her on February 27, and left just before evening. At night we were informed that Shamim’s neighbours had accused her of blaspheming,” said Ilyas.
According to the First Information Report (FIR No. 30/12) registered by the Khichiwala Police Station, Ansar Ali Shah, a local prayer leader of Chak 170 /7R Colony, alleged that Shamim’s neighbours Hamad Ahmed Hashmi and Abdul Qayyum had told him and other Muslims that they had heard the Christian woman blaspheming while standing in her courtyard.
As the allegation against Shamim spread, a large number of villagers besieged her house and demanded “severe punishment” for her as she had hurt their religious sentiments.


Shamim’s family claims that she has been wrongly charged with the offence.
“Qayyum, one of the two men named in the FIR as witnesses, has denied hearing anything from Shamim’s mouth that supports the charge. Qayyum told police that he wasn’t even present in his house at the time of the alleged incident, and had come to know about it from Hamad, the other witness,” said Shahbaz, Shamim’s brother-in-law.
Shahbaz said that according to the information gathered from Shamim’s neighbourhood, Hamad, who drives a motorcycle rickshaw, was also not present at his house at the time of the alleged incident, 3pm (as noted in the FIR).
“Hamad transports schoolchildren and could not have been in his house at the time of the incident as it was just after school closing hours,” he said.
Talking to Pakistan Today, Bahawalnagar SP Investigation Irfan Ullah admitted that one of the two witnesses had admitted to not being present at the alleged crime scene at the time of the incident.
“Qayyum told us that he hadn’t witnessed the incident and his name had been included in the FIR by the locals, but still that does not prove that Shamim did not commit blasphemy. The other witness is standing by his claim and she has produced nothing so far which can prove her innocence,” Irfanullah said, while vehemently denying that the police had caved-in to pressure of the locals and registered the case in undue haste.
“I visited the village twice and so far nothing has come up that suggests that the people have accused Shamim wrongly. We registered a case against her on the directions of the District Police Officer,” he said, adding that her challan would be sent to court within the week.
Bahawalnagar DPO Salman Ali Khan’s phone went unattended.
Shamim’s family and her minor daughter, meanwhile, will have to wait for a long time until she can return back to them.
To date no one has been executed for blasphemy in Pakistan, as most are freed on appeal after suffering for years under appalling prison conditions. However, vigilantes have killed at least 10 people accused of blasphemy, rights groups estimate.

Mehran Bank’s money used against PPP

Interior Minister Rehman Malik has said action should be taken against those involved in the Mehrangate scandal for sabotaging the Constitution.
Interior Minister said that he has all the evidences that Mehran Bank's money was used against Pakistan Peoples Party in the past.
Talking to newsmen here on Monday‚ Rehman Malik said he will present all the documentary evidences in this regard if asked by the Supreme Court.
Responding to a question‚ he asked the banned outfits including the Taliban to surrender their weapons and enter into peace talks with the government. The Minister said certain elements out to destabilize Pakistan were behind the Kohistan killings.

Aslam Beg offered money during 1990 polls

Dunya News
PML-Q chief Shujaat Hussain said former COAS Aslam Beg offered him money in 1990 general election.
Pakistan Muslim League- Quaid-e-Azam (PML-Q) chief Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain said that he would present in the Supreme Court if was summoned as witness in Asghar Khan case.
While talking in Dunya News’ talk show ‘Kyoon’, Ch Shujaat said that former Chief of Army Staff Aslam Beg offered him money during 1990 general election but he rejected the offer.

PML-N leaders’ assets challenged

LHC sought reply from Sharif Brothers and other on writ petition seeking details of their assets.
When Justice Khalid Mahmood Khan started hearing of the case, the petitioner’s counsel Barrister Iqbal Jafri said that Nawaz Sharif, Shahbaz Sharif, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan and Ishaq Dar are owners of more assets they have shown in different documents moved in court and Elections Commission.
All the four characters have tried to befool the court in the name of rule and regulations.
The petitioner requested to the court that all the four parties should be ordered to make the details of their assets in the court so that the people may be able to become conscious of their leaders assets.
The court has issued notices to Nawaz, Shahbaz, Chaudhry Nisar and Ishaq Dar and sought an explanation from them in this regard.

'Sharifs should quit politics on Mehran Bank scandal'

Imtiaz Safdar Warraich says Sharif brothers should quit politics over Mehan Bank scandal.PPP Punjab President Imtiaz Safdar Warraich, while talking to the media in Lahore, demanded resignation of Chief Minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif over Mehran Bank scandal.
Both brothers took money for toppling PPP government but Younus Habib disclosed their plot, Warraich said.
He said that action against givers and takers of money is the responsibility of the Supreme Court now.
To a question, Warraich said that decision of becoming party in the case would be taken after legal consultation.
Imtiaz Warraich blamed that on construction of every flyover in Punjab, Rs 1 billion has been transferred to Raiwind and all flyovers are being constructed on high rates in the province.

Obama Strikes Back at GOP on Gas Prices

Reporters Without Borders names Bahrain ‘enemy of Internet’ for its crackdown on bloggers

Associated Press,

The Arab Spring is changing the face of Internet freedom, according to Reporters Without Borders, which released its latest “Enemies of the Internet” list Monday.

The annual report classifies as “enemies” countries that severely curtail freedom of expression on and access to the Web. It also draws up a list of states “under surveillance.”

The group added Bahrain to its enemies list, citing a news blackout and harassment of bloggers in an attempt to quell a yearlong Shiite-led rebellion against the Sunni monarchy.

The country had previously been under surveillance.

“Bahrain offers a perfect example of successful crackdowns, with an information blackout achieved through an impressive arsenal of repressive measures: exclusion of the foreign media, harassment of human rights defenders, arrests of bloggers and netizens (one of whom died behind bars), prosecutions and defamation campaigns against free expression activists, disruption of communications,” the Paris-based group’s report said.

But the Arab Spring — the name given to a cascade of revolts across the Arab world — has also led to the opening up of some regimes.

Libya, where the repressive rule of Moammar Gadhafi was thrown off in a violent revolt, was removed from the list of countries under surveillance.

“In Libya, many challenges remain but the overthrow of the Gadhafi regime has ended an era of censorship,” the report said.

The group said that the Arab Spring had also highlighted the importance of the Internet — and therefore the importance of protecting access to and expression on it.

“The Internet and social networks have been conclusively established as tools for protest, campaigning and circulating information, and as vehicles for freedom,” the group said. “More than ever before, online freedom of expression is now a major foreign and domestic policy issue.”

The enemies list contains countries that are well known for blocking Internet content, like China, Myanmar and North Korea.

But the list of those under surveillance contains some surprises like Australia and France.

Reporters Without Borders criticized Australia for persuading Internet service providers to create a national content-filtering system, which blocks access to child pornography sites and others deemed inappropriate. The group is concerned that the government is still also pursuing a system of mandatory content-filtering whose criteria are “very broad.”

France landed on the surveillance list last year for a series of criminal indictments of journalists for stories they wrote. It remains on the list this year because of a law that could punish people who repeatedly illegally download content by cutting off their Internet access.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Annan feels Syria mission "on right track" - spokesman

U.N.-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan feels his Syria mediation mission is on track even though violence still raged as he held talks with President Bashar al-Assad, his spokesman said on Monday.

Annan twice met Assad in Damascus, as well as opposition figures, at the weekend and saw Qatari leaders in Doha on Monday before heading to Turkey.

Before he went to Syria, he held separate talks with the Arab League chief and the foreign ministers of Russia and Saudi Arabia in Cairo, his spokesman Ahmad Fawzi said.

"This is the beginning of a process and the joint special envoy feels the process is on the right track," Fawzi told Reuters by telephone from Qatar.

"He has left a set of concrete proposals with Bashar on a cessation of hostilities, humanitarian access and political dialogue, and expects to hear from him shortly," Fawzi said.

"He is concerned that the fighting and the killing seem to be continuing while he is trying to put an end to it and while he is trying to talk to Bashar," he said.

Scores of people were reported killed in Syria during Annan's visit, when the military assaulted the rebel-held city of Idlib in the northwest. State media and opposition activists also said dozens of civilians were slain in Homs but gave conflicting accounts of who was responsible.

After his "comprehensive and candid" talks with Assad, Annan said it would be hard to reach a deal but he remained optimistic.

"The situation is so bad and so dangerous that all of us cannot afford to fail," he told reporters in Damascus.

Annan plans to pursue contacts with opposition factions, including the Syrian National Council, the National Coordination Body, the Free Syrian Army and others, and will encourage them to create a unified opposition front.

"It will be a step by step process. We have to get the opposition on board. We have to get the opposition parties to unify under one umbrella," Fawzi added. "And then we have to convince the government to come and meet them in whichever venue he (Annan) proposes."

Annan, who is based in Geneva, also wants foreign powers that have influence with the Syrian government or opposition to use their good offices to promote his mission.

"He has made proposals that he feels will push the process forward," Fawzi said.

Mehran Gate and the devils of the state

Let Us Build Pakistan

On April 30, 1999, Benazir Bhutto Shaheed disclosed to media that there was a definite role of Osama bin Laden, Mian Nawaz Sharif

and Pakistan army’s 111 Brigade in toppling her first government in early 1990s. “Bin Laden financed an operation to topple me in cooperation with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and the Pakistani intelligence services,” she had stated in an interview with the London-based al-Hayat newspaper. “Ramzi Yussef (implicated in the 1993 New York World Trade Centre bombing) tried to assassinate me on two occasions in 1993 to facilitate Nawaz Sharif’s rise to power. Yussef admitted to Pakistani investigators before his extradition to the United States that it was his duty to assassinate me, only because I was a woman in charge of the government,” she had added.

In another interview with Herald magazine on January 11, 2001. “Osama paid $10 million to overthrow my government during my first term. A serving Corps Commander held several meetings with PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif and Bin Laden to chalk out the plan to topple my government. Osama bin Laden was told that a woman in the prime minister’s position in an Islamic country was against Islam (Osama’s Islam) and so he should give them money to overthrow her. Nawaz Sharif told bin Laden he would bring Islam (Osama’s Islam) to Pakistan.”

In year 2006, former head of Jamat Islami Qazi Hussain, endorsed BB’s statements, Qazi Hussain was close aide of Osama bin Laden, he claimed that he himself was eyewitness of these developments. Afterwards, former ISI official, Khalid Khawaja revealed that being a close friend of Osama bin Laden he had arranged meetings of Nawaz Sharif with Osama for toppling BB’s democratic governments.

And, now, Mehrangate revelations have exposed the devils of the state and reaffirmed the fear that political parties should have in them. In his interview to an anchor of private news channel, CEO of now defunct Mehran Bank, Younis Habib has restarted a new debateon devils of the state.Those politicians and public office bearers who committed such flagitious and heinous crimes against Pakistan have been uncovered. Articles 6, 62 and 63 have been violated. It is beyond any shadow of doubt that sovereignty of the state was compromised by activities of devils of state. This is the biggest blunder of country’s history after fall of Dhaka. No one is above the law, Those who are involved in this scandal should be punished according to the laws of state and all these devils must be disqualified from politics for lifetime, so that our country’s politics is kept clean of these devils of the state.

As Shahbaz Sharif

so proudly sings the couplet, “aisay dastoor, subhe bay noor ko meinn nahee manta!”, we as proud supporters of PPP “aisay jhootay aur makkaron ko nahee mantay!”

3.7 million to be vaccinated during polio drive in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

About 3.7 million children below the age of five years will be vaccinated during a three-day polio eradication campaign in 17 districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

The drive was formally inaugurated by women Senator Farhat Abbas on Saturday during a ceremony held at Peshawar Press Club under auspices of Provincial Expanded Immunisation Programme (EPI) in collaboration with KP health Department, Unicef, Who and other donors agencies.

The drive will be carried out from March 12th to 14th in the 17 districts, including Bannu, Bunner, Charsadda, D.I.Khan, Dir Upper, Hangu, Kohat, Lakki Marwat, Mardan, Nowshera, Peshawar, Swabi, Swat (Mingora), Tank, Haripur, Karak, and Afghan refugees areas.

On the occasion, Dr Janbaz Afridi, Deputy Director EPI Programme KP, President Peshawar Press Club, Saiful Islam Saifi, EPI, Health and Nutrition expert, Dr Jamil, and representatives of Who organisation and health experts were present.

Dr Janbaz giving details about the upcoming drive against eradication in KP, he informed that a total of four cases had been reported in KP during this year, including one case each in district Peshawar, Kohat, D.I.

Khan, and Lakki Marwat.

He further added that more than 10,799 teams have been constituted including areas in-charge, mobile, transit, and fixed teams under a supervisor.

Unfortunately, he said the Pakistan is amongst three countries fighting against the crippling disease of Polio, saying that the number of polio hit states had been declined from four to three after getting rid India from the menace last month.

He said the polio is more prevalent in tribal areas with growing number of cases where teams are facing enormous challenges to carry out campaign in the turbulent situation.

Dr Afridi urged the parents to get their children immunise during the three day drive against polio to save them from life time disability.

Dr Jamil Health and Nutrition expert said that there was needed to access to those children were missed in last polio campaign in order to achieve 100 percent immunisation target during the anti-polio drive.

Saiful Islam said that media role is vital for creation of awareness about polio and other fatal diseases.

He assured that media would continue its support and co-operation to eradicate polio from the province.

Senator Farhat Abbas said that the government is committed to eradicate all fatal and crippling diseases from the country.

She said that it was encouraging sign that the number of polio cases had been declined after successful carrying out National Polio Immunisation Programme.

She expressed the hope that the Pakistan will get rid from the crippling disease of polio by end of this year.

Later, she administered two polio drops to kids to formally launch drive in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Merkel on surprise visit to Afghanistan

German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrived Monday in Afghanistan on a previously unannounced visit to troops stationed at Mazar-i-Sharif, a spokesman said.

Merkel had wanted to visit Kunduz but had to give up on the idea due to heavy snowfall, the spokesman added.

The chancellor last visited Afghanistan in December 2010, to meet German soldiers just before Christmas. On that occasion she described the fighting there for the first time as "war".

Germany, the third supplier of troops in the NATO-led international force ISAF after the United States and the United Kingdom, had 4,900 soldiers in Afghanistan as of February 1.

A complete German troop withdrawal is planned by 2014.