Wednesday, March 14, 2012

President Zardari okays ‘Hilal-e-Imtiaz’ for Sharmeen Chinoy

Daily Times

President Asif Ali Zardari, on Tuesday, approved conferment of ‘Hilal-e-Imtiaz’ upon Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, the first Pakistani to win an Oscar award for her documentary ‘Saving Face’. The documentary ‘Saving Face’ chronicles the lives of acid attack survivors, their arduous attempts to bring their assailants to justice, and follows a British-Pakistani plastic surgeon, Dr Jawad, who performs reconstructive surgeries on them. Sharmeen Chinoy has produced numerous films and has won a number of awards, including the Emmy Award and the Livingston Award. In recognition of her achievements and her contribution to highlighting important social issues in Pakistan, the award of ‘Hilal-e-Imtiaz’ was being conferred upon her.

Sudan commits ‘war crimes’: George Clooney

Hollywood heart throb and activist George Clooney on Tuesday said Sudanese government forces are committing war crimes with attacks on civilians -- including a rocket strike that he narrowly escaped.

“There’s a difference between two armies fighting and what the Geneva Convention calls war crimes,” Clooney told a foreign policy think tank in New York hours after arriving back in the United States from a visit to the Nuba mountains region.

“We saw that very specifically happening on two occasions: rape, starvation, lack of humanitarian aid. They’re scaring the hell out of these people and they're killing, hoping and trying to get them just to leave,” he said.

Clooney has long called attention to the war between Sudan and newly independent South Sudan. On a trip in January he contracted malaria. On this trip the risks were even greater, he said.

While visiting villagers hiding in caves since the start of a government aerial bombing campaign, Clooney and his activist colleague John Prendergast, were told quickly to take cover, he recounted.

Thinking that the warning referred to a slow-moving government Antonov plane, Clooney said they failed to hurry. “But it wasn’t an Antonov. It was a rocket and it went boom. We were looking for that area and we got there, but we weren't expecting rockets,” he told the audience at the Council on Foreign Relations, which was packed for the event.

Clooney and Prendergast, who together co-founded the Satellite Sentinel Project, showed the rapt audience of foreign policy experts a video they'd made in the Nuba mountains.

Shown wearing a baseball cap and unshaven, Clooney looked little like most of the characters he plays on the big screen. In one segment he stands over a corpse, along with the text written: “How many more bodies?”

Other footage shows locals in front of huge rock piles. “For the first time since the stone age, people are living in caves,” the text says.

Clooney and Prendergast left late Tuesday for Washington where they will report on their trip to Congress and to President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Clooney said the key to pressuring Sudanese President Omar al-Beshir, who is wanted for war crimes and genocide by the International Criminal Court (ICC), is China, a big client for South Sudanese oil.

“China has investments in there, but right now China is pretty ticked off,” Clooney said. “There’s some movement here. There’s an opportunity,” he said.

“What I’d like is for the president to send a high-level envoy to China,” he said. “We believe there’s a moment in time when we can have a non-adversarial relationship with them.”

China premier calls for political reforms

Wen Jiabao warns of risk of 'Cultural Revolution'-style chaos, as parliament passes reforms on criminal detentions.

Occupy London to join student protest

Occupy London activists will take part in the national walkout planned by the students in opposition to the coalition government’s proposed reforms to higher education.

Anti-capitalist activists from Occupy London Stock Exchange movement will join the national day of protest in solidarity with university students who have planned to boycott lectures on Wednesday to show how universities would be if the tuition fees keep rising.

“Since the first assemblies at Occupy London in October, we’ve stood strong in solidarity with students fighting against the commodification of knowledge that is happening to our education system under the guise of unnecessary austerity cuts,” LSX supporter Arun Mistry said.

Tens of thousands of students at campuses all over the UK are expected to attend the protest arranged by the National Union of Students (NUS) as part of its Come Clean campaign to highlight that high tuition fees, hidden course costs and a lack of bursaries would force more and more students to leave the universities.

The NUS stressed the protest was planned to urge both the universities and government to come clean on the education costs and the future of the country’s education system.

The move comes after it was revealed in January that the government was seeking to drop, or delay the HE Bill, including steps on changing the university system to the more competitive one.

NUS president Liam Burns said that the national protest would tell the government that the student unions need a national debate on higher education reforms, it would also remind ministers that “we are watching what they’re doing.”

“When the government quietly dropped plans for a higher education bill earlier this year they didn’t drop their plans. They simply removed the opportunity for the kind of scrutiny that has been afforded to changes to the NHS.

“Students, parents, lecturers and anyone with a stake in education wants to know what the government and our institutions have in store for higher education and demand that they come clean,” Burns added.

Panetta lands in Afghanistan to meet with leaders

U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta arrived in Afghanistan on Wednesday to meet with troops, commanders and Afghan government officials just days after a U.S. soldier allegedly went on a deadly shooting spree.

The visit was planned months ago, long before the weekend slaughter that claimed the lives of 16 villagers, including women and children. But the trip propels Panetta into the center of escalating anti-American anger and sets the stage for some difficult discussions with Afghan leaders.

Panetta and other U.S. officials say the shooting spree should not derail the U.S. and NATO strategy of a gradual withdrawal of troops by the end of 2014. But it has further soured relations with war-weary Afghans, jeopardizing the U.S. strategy of working closely with Afghan forces so they can take over their country's security.

The military has detained an Army staff sergeant in connection with Sunday's massacre.

Even before the shootings, anti-Americanism was already roiling in Afghanistan over U.S. troops burning Muslim holy books, including Qurans, last month on an American base. The burnings came to light soon after a video purporting to show four Marines urinating on Taliban corpses was posted on the Internet in January.

Military commanders have yet to release their final investigation on the Quran burnings, which U.S. officials say was a mistake. Five U.S. service members could face disciplinary action in connection with the incident.

Panetta's two-day visit is scheduled to include meetings with President Hamid Karzai, Afghan defense officials and provincial leaders, as well as routine discussions with his commanders on the ground. The sessions are likely to touch on America's planned withdrawal of about 22,000 troops by fall, including as many as 10,000 Marines from Helmand Province.

Mehrangate: Supreme Court orders former inquiry reports to be made public

The Express Tribune News

The Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered the former inquiry commission reports regarding Mehran Bank and Habib Bank to be made public in the Mehrangate scandal, reported Express News.

A written order will be passed to make the report public during the next hearing of the case, remarked Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry heading a three-member bench.

During today’s hearing of the case, the Supreme Court bench inquired from the attorney general regarding the unavailability of the report, to which the attorney general said that the interior secretary was out of the country.

The court asked the attorney general sarcastically whether the interior secretary carries the report in his pocket.

SC takes notice of The Express Tribune’s story

The Supreme Court took notice of a news story published in The Express Tribune on Wednesday (Misappropriation: Govt withdrew millions from Intelligence Bureau’s account) claiming that classified documents have revealed that the Pakistan Peoples Party withdrawing Rs270 million from the secret fund of the Intelligence Bureau (IB) – allegedly for pushing its political agenda in Punjab.

The chief justice, while remarking that The Express Tribune is a credible newspaper said that their news would not be inaccurate. He ordered the attorney general to contact the editor, publisher and reporter to assist the court with the hearing and provide the classified documents.

The hearing of the case was adjourned till March 30.

In the previous hearing, the chief justice had asked the attorney general to inquire from the federal government whether the reports were made public or not. If not, the reports should be made available for the court’s use in-camera, the chief justice had said.

The Mehrangate scandal emerged after the Supreme Court began the hearing of air marshal Asghar Khan’s 20-year-old petition in which he stated that the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) rigged the 1990 elections by handing out money to several politicians.

Former chief of Mehran Bank Younis Habib appeared before the Supreme Court and had admitted of handing out Rs140 million to various politicians.

Fata conflict has displaced over a million people

Speakers at a conference here Monday said the prolonged conflict in the tribal areas had rendered over a million people homeless who are now reluctant to go back to their war-ravaged native towns.
The conference titled ‘Impact of conflict on civilians in Fata’ was jointly organised by the Department of International Relations and a non-governmental organization, Community for Appraisal and Motivation Programme (CAMP), at the University of Peshawar.
Former chief secretary Khalid Aziz was the keynote speaker. Acting Vice-Chancellor, University of Peshawar Dr Qibla Ayaz, chairman of the International Relations Department Dr Ijaz Khan and head of CAMP Naveed Shinwari also spoke on the occasion.
A good number of faculty and students of the university attended the moot.The speakers said life had been severely affected by the external forces, who had come to fight their wars from the tribal areas. They said conflict had hindered the process of development and damaged the local economy, social values and institutions of Fata.
They said although weapons have been part of the tribal culture, the last 30 years have witnessed unprecedented weaponization of the tribal society.They said the tribal elders had good influence in their areas, which should be used for checking negative sentiments among the local population against the state.
The speakers said the cost of the conflict was far higher than the cost of preventing it through reforms and much attention needed to be given to it. They said development projects and extension of bank loans should be extended to Fata for strengthening the micro finance and small and medium enterprises.
Dr Qibla Ayaz said Fata shared borders with neighboring Afghanistan and any conflict over there had a direct impact on the people living in the tribal areas. He told the organisers to make recommendations of the conference so that these could be put forth to the policy-makers.
Dr Ijaz Khan described poor literacy rate and lack of educational institutions as the main factors behind the poor socio-economic condition of the tribal people.He stressed the need for promoting educational facilities in the tribal areas. He urged those at the helm of affairs to take sincere steps for improvement of the law and order situation in the tribal areas and creating job opportunities there.
Other speakers said that youth of the tribal areas had been used in the conflict while the lack of accessibility for the humanitarian assistance providing organizations and the media meant that the true situation was almost hidden from the public and the heinous crimes and the human rights violations in the tribal belt weren’t reported.

Taliban regrouping in Peshawar, Fata

Pakistani Taliban were regrouping in Peshawar and tribal areas to counter the impact of the security forces’ crackdown on them, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain said here on Tuesday.

During the Khyber Union of Journalists and Peshawar Press Club oath-taking ceremony at the Chief Minister’s House here, the minister said the talks between US and Afghan Taliban had led to a deep split within the Pakistani Taliban.

“The growing desire among Pakistani Taliban for holding talks with the government has created serious differences among the terror outfit. Due to these differences, the Taliban leadership recently sacked their spokesman, Maulvi Faqir Mohammad, for openly supporting the idea of dialogue with the government,” he said.

Mr Iftikhar urged Pakistan, Afghanistan and the US to form a joint team for meaningful dialogue with Taliban leaders to achieve desired goals of peace in the region.

“The experience of holding talks with Taliban separately by Pakistan, Afghanistan and the US miserably failed in the past. Even the recent US efforts to gain positive outcome from the Qatar moot is not going to deliver the goods,” he said.

The minister said the only way out to restore peace in the region lied in holding joint dialogue by Pakistan, Afghanistan and the US with the Taliban and that if it failed, then effective action had to be taken to eliminate them completely.

“We have faced them and rooted them out and will continue doing so,” he said.

Mr Iftikhar said the recent Peshawar bomb blast was a reaction of operations in Orakzai Agency and Darra Adamkhel and Bara Tehsil of Khyber Agency, where security forces cleared many strategic areas.

He said sectarianism was another reason of terrorist acts in the provincial capital.

He said terrorists wouldn’t be unable to continue with acts of terrorism due to the government’s effective plan to crack down on them.

The minister said there should be no good and bad Taliban and they all should be eliminated without discrimination to save the country.

He said no segment of the society had escaped from the Taliban’s actions and therefore, the society should take them head on.

He said the government had planned to take action against militants in tribal and settled areas simultaneously by giving powers of supervision to the relevant commissioners.

Mr Iftikhar said in the past whenever political administrations of tribal areas initiated action, terrorists fled to settled areas of the province but they won’t be able to escape anymore.

He said the government had hit anti-state elements hard and the war against them would continue until their complete elimination. He said the issue needed to be resolved on permanent basis.

Meanwhile, the information minister told reporters here that Awami National Party was a coalition partner of Pakistan People’s Party and would continue supporting its leader President Asif Zardari.

He said ANP would always remember the way in which President Zardari supported ANP over the last four years, especially during difficult times.

The minister said his party had supported PPP and Zardari ‘honestly and unconditionally’ and would continue doing so.

He said the ANP-PPP coalition government would complete its five years term in office. He, however, said the next general elections would be held at an appropriate time.

Mr Iftikhar said the provincial government always wanted to hold local government elections but security situation didn’t let it do it.

He said since the law and order situation had improved, local government elections would be held ahead of general elections.

Pakistan portrays vague picture of Balochistan

Nawabzada Bramdagh Bugti, leader of the Baloch Republican Party (BRP), said Pakistan is depicting illusionary picture of Balochistan to the outer world.
While talking to Online, BRP leader said this on telephone line directly from Switzerland on Tuesday.
Denying the thanks giving statements of Interior Minister Rehman Malik to Afghan Government, Nawabzada Bramdagh Bugti said that the camps along the Afghan border are of the refugees fled from Balochistan to save themselves from the barbarous Pakistan government policies. Baloch people left their homeland to get a sigh of serenity but conspiracies against them are still in practice.
Human rights violations are in full swing in Balochistan. Reports of several organizations and Amnesty International clarified that violations are in full bloom. Frontier Corps and Secret agencies are throwing mutilated dead bodies of the Baloch politicians. State is working on the rule of ‘kill and throw’ policy in the province. More than three hundred mutilated dead bodies have been thrown from 2010 till present. Government is using the latest weaponry against Baloch people been provided to them by the US during war against terror.
Foreign elements like India or other forces are nowhere in Pakistan. Such statements are just baseless. If India or some foreign forces had working in Pakistan then Baloch nation would have been living in a free atmosphere.
The present state affairs are nonetheless different from 1972 when Bengalis were being killed. Children and women are not safe from the state agencies’ savagery acts. His sister and niece were murdered brutally in Karachi. Baloch people are living under great pressure as state agencies are continuously trying to crush Baloch Movement of Freedom but it would not be that east to keep us away.
The presentation of Balochistan Resolution in US Congress is highly appreciable. Resistance in Balochistan started from the very first day, it is not a new issue. Political and religious factions are in serious trouble, as they don’t have any soft corner for Baloch people. They are trying to get hold of the precious minerals of Balochistan.
Commenting further he said that if Pakistan wanted to give complete autonomy to Baloch people then BRP is ready to have meetings with the government. Baloch people will talk on freedom only.
Puppet Baloch government is being used to lower the temper of the angry politicians. Especially Nawab Zulfiqar Ali Magsi and Nawab Aslam Raisani are working for government’s benefits. He said, “We want them to sit with us leaving personal grudges and advantages aside with honest hearts work for freedom.”

Scandal of dirty money & disqualify the recipients

Almost all the important actors involved in the Mehran Bank scandal had confirmed and testified before the Supreme Court of Pakistan distributing money to commit electoral fraud and tamper with the mandate of the people of Pakistan using dirty tricks and official powers of the State. It is a serious allegation against the politicians and man like General Durrani, a former Director-General ISI and former Army Chief General Baig also confirmed distribution of money among the politicians who later rose to the status of the Prime Minister of Pakistan as a result of the tampering with the mandate of the people. There is a technical denial from certain quarters as it is known to all political activists that hidden hands were involved in forming the IJI, the Islami Jamhoori Ittehad of right wing parties against the PPP and its sitting Government. There were massive advertisements in the newspapers from undisclosed sources projecting the image of IJI and its leaders. It is an established fact that the political leaders and parties with modest means could not bear the cost of newspaper campaign which runs into hundreds of millions during the 1990 elections. Interestingly, the same religious party spent no money in subsequent elections it fought individually or collectively or in form of another religious parties’ alliance. Why so much money was spent on newspaper advertisement during the IJI campaign against the PPP? Naturally, it was the dirty money from dubious sources and not belonged to the party. The party kept quiet and said no words to disown the campaign in its political interests. The advertisements carried huge photographs of Qazi Hussain Ahmed during the IJI advertising campaign and still he is not aware that who financed the campaign? What the leaders of the religious party will say about the media campaign involving hundreds of millions of rupees during the election campaign of IJI. They must claim that some ‘sympathizers’ of the party or some God fearing persons must have financed it?
It is a fit case to be probed as it amounted to cheating the mandate of the people of Pakistan in general in which the former President, former COAS and ISI Chief was involved in distributing dirty money among the politicians. There is one Bizenjo, a recipient of Rs half a million from the ISI. Mir Ghous Bakhsh Bizenjo died a year earlier of IJI elections. He died on August 11, 1989 and elections were held in 1990. There must be a clarification that who was Mr. Bizenjo, a recipient of dirty money? One of the Star TV anchor persons known for distorting and manipulating facts had blamed the dead Bizenjo of receiving the dirty ISI money in his grave one year after his death. Similarly, there was one Kakar who too received money. One could guess that he was Malik Sarwar Khan Kakar, a late MPA who played a crucial role in denying the post of Chief Minister of Balochistan to late Nawab Akbar Bugti at the behest of ISI. There was no other prominent Kakar playing any significant political role in Balochistan or who qualified to receive recognition from the ISI and its top boss in 1990 elections.
It is a very fit case for the Supreme Court of Pakistan to give a verdict in the case involving dirty money to change and tamper with the verdict of the people in general elections. All the established politicians should be taken to task and they should be disqualified for their whole life for joining and abetting undemocratic and anti-people forces to change or tamper with the genuine verdict of the people of Pakistan. It is the biggest crime against the society and a serious violation of the Constitution of Pakistan. It is in the interest of constitutional rule that such people should be given exemplary punishment and deprived of the right to contest any election in future. They deserve no mercy as they tried to insult the mandate of the people of Pakistan by using objectionable means to tamper with the election results in the name of Islam and Islamic character of Pakistan as if the then ruling PPP people were not Muslims.

Mehrangate: Dirty money for dirty politicians

BY:Siddiq Baluch

Political workers believing in unadulterated democracy and rule of law remained under deep shock and dismay when they learned about the unending list of recipients of dirty money from the ISI generated by a dubious character banker who served the corrupt and dishonest rulers in his entire life.
Yunus Habib claimed that he had generated the funds from unknown sources to oblige the dishonest President of Pakistan, Ghulam Ishaq Khan, a sworn enemy of the will of the people of Pakistan.
There was a gang of criminal conspirators that headed by Ghulam Ishaq Khan and other members were Roedad Khan, Ijlal Haider Zaidi, General Aslam Beg and former ISI DG Asad Durrani.
The purpose was to reverse the will of the people of Pakistan by manipulating the general elections backing the right wing elements and parties in the shape of IJI. The PPP, whether someone like it or not, was the most populist party while the Muslim Leaguers were hand picked of the former military ruler General Ziaul Haq who promoted the dubious characters in politics for his dishonest and criminal intention to suit his politics and policies that brought disaster for Pakistan to this date.
Jamaat-i-Islami leader denied that he had received any money from ISI. In any case, it was part and parcel rather strategic ally and member of the IJI that was backed by the ISI and Ghulam Ishaq Khan for their hatred against the PPP and its populist policies.
Mian Nawaz Sharif was leading the IJI as he was the Chief Minister of the Punjab and he was supposed to be the next prime minister of Pakistan after dislodging the PPP and Benazir Bhutto from power in 1990 elections.
There is a report that caretaker Chief Minister of Balochistan; Mir Humayun Khan Marri also received Rs 1.5 million which he had denied immediately. Nawab Bugti’s JWP was part and parcel of the IJI understanding and he was supposed to form the Government in Balochistan as Nawab concluded an agreement with Mian Nawaz Sharif and his nominee Chaudhary Shujaat Hussain and Chaudhary Nisar Ali Khan. When the JWP emerged as the single largest party in the Balochistan elections and Benazir stood defeated convincingly at the national level, there was a change of mind from the Punjabi rulers and they backed out from their commitment and installed late Taj Mohammad Jamali who had only two votes in the Balochistan Assembly.
PNP of Mir Bizan Bizenjo was the main party backing Mir Taj Mohammad Jamali at the behest of the rulers in Islamabad , Ghulam Ishaq Khan and his co-conspirators, thus Taj Jamali was made the Chief Minister against the commitments made to late Nawab Bugti by the PML leaders.
In this background one Bizenjo is stated to be a recipient of Rs half a million from the ISI. However, some associates of late Mir Ghous Bakhsh Bizenjo claimed that the recipient of Rs half a million was Mir Majeed Bizenjo, a least known man at that time and having no political importance at the village level.
In any case, ISI played a political role in the 1990 elections and it manipulated elections at the behest of Ghulam Ishaq Khan and General Aslam Beg. It was confirmed by General Asad Durrani and Yunus Habib, two star witnesses in the IJI scandal.
There should be a clear verdict in this case disqualifying all the politicians who received money from the ISI to manipulate the elections and reverse the verdict of the people of Pakistan which is the biggest crime against the State and the society. At the same time, all those former employees of the State should be punished for subverting the constitution of Pakistan so that no one in future dare to subvert the Constitution of Pakistan or tamper the results of elections misusing the official powers and authority.
To this date, the Supreme Court was found of targeting the Government leaders and politicians in a variety of cases and spared the others giving an impression that it was not fair and impartial in hearing cases lesser importance and ignoring the serious crime against the humanity, target killing, enforced disappearances, bullet riddled bodies and mutilated bodies for the past many years. The Supreme Court got a fair chance to announce a verdict to disqualify all the recipients of ISI funds from participating in the future elections.
The cases of missing persons should be given top priority against the doubtful cases concocted by the Governments of the day against its opponents in the past or decades ago.
The Supreme Court should also ensure that no public money or dirty money from dubious characters should not be used in influencing the future elections and all the security agencies be barred from undertaking such operations. They should confine their role in preserving the security of Pakistan leaving politics for the genuine political parties.

Ghani Khan’s death anniversary tomorrow

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has decided to observe the 16th death anniversary of noted nationalist poet Ghani Khan at the Nishtar Hall on Thursday.

The anniversary programme would start at 10am with the Khatm-e-Quran and dua for the departed soul to be followed by paying tributes to the legendary poet. Famous singers will sing his poetry, Minister for Information and Culture Mian Iftikhar Hussain told reporters on Tuesday.
He said being a government spokesman and a worker of the ANP he was inviting people who loved Ghani Khan and were fans of his poetry irrespective of their political affiliation to attend the function. The anniversary would be observed under the government supervision and the ANP would fully participate in it, he said.

Mehrangate : Indulgence in absurdity

Editorial:Frontier Post

Now that the proceedings on the infamous Mehrangate have taken off in the Supreme Court, a funny political play is also in feverish enactment on the public stage. The Sharif Brothers and their acolytes are blowing hot and cold. Although the name of the elder sibling Mian Nawaz Sharif had popped up the day the scam had surfaced back in the mid-1990s, the Sharif Inc. is now crying foul. Making vehement protestations of innocence of the two brothers lording over the PML (N), the party caboodle is shouting that they are being conspiratorially targeted. On the other hand, while the gloating shoals of the PPP are screaming at the two brothers to come clean, the internal security czar, minister Rehman Malik, is shouting from the rooftop that he has incontrovertible evidence of their complicity in the scam, which he can produce if asked by the apex court.
But both sides are indulging in absurdity of the preposterous proportions. As the case is now before the court, it has to be decided on the judicial floor, not on the political corridors, the media channels or the public forums. If the Sharifs think they are clean, the right course for them is so obviously to prove their innocence in the court, establish there the fact of conspiracy they and their toadies are crying of, and get their names cleared. Then why are they raising all that hue and cry outside the court and not knocking at its door? And why Rehman is making his tall talk in the media encounters and not going straight to the court to divulge the incriminating evidence that he claims to be in possession of? Should he insist on an invitation from the court when as a citizen it is his moral, ethical and even legal obligation to assist the court in arriving at right decision? The court comprises the nation’s venerable legal minds and will rule on the case in their best lights.
There indeed is too much of perfidy to the act of both sides. It is all politics, nothing less, nothing more. It is plainly the discomfiture of each other they are gloating on. The PML (N) was dancing jubilantly so long as the PPP was on the mat for the slew of corruption cases against its head-honchos. And now that the Sharif Inc. is flattened on the floor, the PPP phalanxes are in a binge of rejoicing. Ironically, the PPP crowd has all along been dismissing those cases as conspiracy against their party leadership as is the PML (N) gaggle doing now. That crowd asserts that those cases were wrong and willfully slapped on their leadership by the Sharifs and their hatchet workers. And the Sharifs’ acolytes are likewise now bemoaning that some buddies and beneficiaries of the PPP leadership have been fielded to sully the names of their head-honchos.
But if the two sides think that they are deflecting or influencing the public opinion in either way, they are badly mistaken. They decidedly are not. They are befooling nobody in the masses who for long have passed the verdict that they are landed with kleptocrats posturing as their leaders. Mehrangate or no Mehrangate, their long-standing judgment is that in their self-styled leaders they actually have crooks and imposters who have robbed them mercilessly for making their own piles invariably at the people’s expense. And, verily, in the masses’ eyes, the self-touted pious faces are the ugliest on earth. It is only the lackeys and sidekicks of these fraudsters who tell them not of this public estimation of them. None of them indeed comes across to the masses as a paragon of virtues. They all figure to the peoples as stinking bundles of vices and moral turpitude.
Do the PML (N) and PPP partisans really think that the masses are not mystified that how comes that the Zardaris with their known means could own up a king’s palace in France or a fancy apartment in New York or a chateau in Dubai? And do they really think that the masses are no lesser intrigued how could the Sharifs build a palace in Jeddah, own up a luxury apartment in London, set up steel mills in Saudi Arabia or float a booming real estate business in Britain when they had escaped with an empty pocket to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia after a disgraceful reprieve deal with Pervez Musharraf? Do they really think that our people are so stupid that they know of all these things, yet harbour no questions in their minds, expect no answers to their questions and form no opinions? They have only to peep into the street and will know from the red faces that the ongoing deceitful slanging match between the PML (N) and the PPP sidekicks is drawing over there now. The circus show is showing no grandee across the divide in a pleasing light. All look so dirty and ugly.
But will the lackeys across the board take mercy on the beleaguered masses and spare them the torture of their perfidious jugglery? If they have something to say, they should go to the respectable apex court and get themselves exonerated from there. The people’s court has long condemned them all as an avaricious greedy lot and no friends of the masses.

SC resumes hearing of Asghar Khan case

The Supreme Court will resume the hearing of petition filed by Asghar Ali Khan.
A three-member bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry has resumed the hearing of case regarding accusations of taking money from ISI for general polls 1990.
The apex court directed for making public the statements of former DG ISI Assad Durrani and former Interior Minister Nasirullah Babar.
Attorney General Maulvi Anwarful Haq said the interior minister is out of the country and prayed the court to give him more time to present report of Mehran Bank Commission.
Air Marshal (retired) Asghar Khan‚ former Chief of Army Staff Aslam Baig‚ former DG ISI Assad Durrani‚ and Ex Chief Executive Mehran Bank Younus Habib are present in the court.
The petition filed by Asghar Khan has been lingered on for 16 years in the Supreme Court.
According to petition, politicians of IJI have had money from the ISI for general polls 1990; so legal action should be taken against the politicians who intentionally violated the constitution.
Nawaz Sharif, Baigum Abida Hussain, Muhammad Khan Junejo, Pir Pagara and others are among the prominent figures who have been made defendants in the petition.

So you need the Turks to clean after you now?

World Minorities Alliance Convener J Salik has strongly condemned the recent signing of a sanitation contract between the Lahore City Government and two Turkish firms. Salik said it was highly shameful on the part of Punjab government that it had failed to handle a basic issue like sanitation and had handed it over to a foreign government. He alleged that the decision to hand over the contract had nothing to do with the sanitation of the city of Lahore rather it was a pre-meditated ploy to embezzle Rs 2.5 billion by the New Solid Waste Management. He said he had already challenged the decision to privatise Solid Waste Management in the Lahore High Court. Therefore, the decision to hand over the contract was unlawful.
He said the decision had endangered permanent jobs of thousands of SWM workers, mostly Christians, who were already being deprived of their basic human rights. J Salik strongly criticized Istanbul Mayor Dr Kadir Topbas for becoming party to an anti-worker decision of the Punjab government. He said the privatisation would not be accepted and a movement would be launched against the unlawful decision. He announced that the alliance would start observing ‘Shame Week’ from March 13 as protest against the SWM until the privatization decision ends.

LTC signs agreements with Turk companies

To modernise urban transport system in Lahore and other districts of the province, two agreements were inked between prominent Turk companies Al-Bayrak, Ozkartallar Compak and Lahore Transport Company (LTC). According to a handout issued here on Tuesday, Ahmet Al-Bayrak of Al-Bayrak Company and Muhibi Kartel and Abdul Qadir Turan of Ozkartallar Compak and Khawaja Ahmad Hasaan Chairman Lahore Transport Company signed the agreements. Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif and Mayor Istanbul Dr. Kadir Topbas were also present on the occasion. The Chief Minister congratulated Mayor Istanbul and his delegation as well as Pakistani and Turk business community on this occasion and said that Pakistani and Turk investors should benefit from the best opportunities of investment available in the province. He said there was vast a scope of investment in infrastructure, transport and energy sectors in Punjab and there was a need for the investors of both the countries to strengthen mutual contacts so that the stakeholders could fully benefit from the dividends of progress.

Mehran Bank: Gen Aslam Beg got Rs 155m for self and family

General Aslam Beg’s son-in-law got Rs 155 million from Mehran Bank, Dunya News reported.
The reports procured by Dunya News showed that Imtiaz Ali, Beg’s son-in-law, got the money in the name of various companies.
General Aslam Beg not only got Rs 30 million for his NGO named Friends, but also bestowed Rs 150 million on friends on family.
The revelations made in Dunya News programme ‘Kayun’ Mehran Bank director Muhammad Ali Khan was a relative of General Aslam Beg, precisely father-in-law of his daughter.The companies of General Aslam Beg’s son-in-law and his father Muhammad Ali Khan were paid Rs 155 million. The companies included MAK Corporation, MAK Enterprise and MAK Dying and Finishing Mills.
Younis Habib has also revealed earlier that Aslam Beg and MA Khan are relatives.

Nawaz /ShabazSharifs got Rs200m from Mehran Bank

Dunya News

Sharif family and friends got Rs 200 million from Mehran Bank, said FIA.
Nawaz Sharif was given Rs 7.7 million as bribe, said an FIA report.According to the report, Chaudhry Sugar Mills was issued loan of about Rs 50 million without any guarantee.
Chaudhry Sugar Mills directors included Shahbaz Sharif, Husain Nawaz, Hamza Shahbaz and some women. For this purpose, an account was opened in Mehran Bank Lahore branch on April 4, 1993 and on the same day, parties applied for loan.
Younis Habib gave Rs28.5 million to the Pak Punjab Carpets of Talha Zubair, the incharge of Nawaz Sharif’s election campaign. Yousin Habib had received direction from Prime Minister House over a phone call.
The FIA report also revealed that the income Nawaz Sharif showed within 50 years was Rs 7.8 million on which about Rs 2 million were paid as tax. It was also revealed that Nawaz Sharif showed his income worth Rs 3.8 million from 1971 to 1994 and paid one million rupees tax.
Shahbaz Sharif showed his income worth Rs 3.6 million and paid more than half a million rupees during this time.
It was also revealed that Sharif family is in habit of showing assets less than actual amount.

Barack Obama and David Cameron fly to basketball game

All red meat is bad for you, new study says

A long-term study finds that eating any amount and any type increases the risk of premature death.

Eating red meat

— any amount and any type — appears to significantly increase the risk of premature death, according to a long-range study that examined the eating habits and health of more than 110,000 adults for more than 20 years.

For instance, adding just one 3-ounce serving of unprocessed red meat — picture a piece of steak no bigger than a deck of cards — to one's daily diet was associated with a 13% greater chance of dying during the course of the study.

Even worse, adding an extra daily serving of processed red meat, such as a hot dog or two slices of bacon, was linked to a 20% higher risk of death during the study.

"Any red meat you eat contributes to the risk," said An Pan, a postdoctoral fellow at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston and lead author of the study, published online Monday in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Crunching data from thousands of questionnaires that asked people how frequently they ate a variety of foods, the researchers also discovered that replacing red meat with other foods seemed to reduce mortality risk for study participants.

Eating a serving of nuts instead of beef or pork was associated with a 19% lower risk of dying during the study. The team said choosing poultry or whole grains as a substitute was linked with a 14% reduction in mortality risk; low-fat dairy or legumes, 10%; and fish, 7%.

Previous studies had associated red meat consumption with diabetes, heart disease and cancer, all of which can be fatal. Scientists aren't sure exactly what makes red meat so dangerous, but the suspects include the iron and saturated fat in beef, pork and lamb, the nitrates used to preserve them, and the chemicals created by high-temperature cooking.

The Harvard researchers hypothesized that eating red meat would also be linked to an overall risk of death from any cause, Pan said. And the results suggest they were right: Among the 37,698 men and 83,644 women who were tracked, as meat consumption increased, so did mortality risk.

In separate analyses of processed and unprocessed meats, the group found that both types appear to hasten death. Pan said that at the outset, he and his colleagues had thought it likely that only processed meat posed a health danger.

Carol Koprowski, a professor of preventive medicine at USC's Keck School of Medicine who wasn't involved in the research, cautioned that it can be hard to draw specific conclusions from a study like this because there can be a lot of error in the way diet information is recorded in food frequency questionnaires, which ask subjects to remember past meals in sometimes grueling detail.

But Pan said the bottom line was that there was no amount of red meat that's good for you.

"If you want to eat red meat, eat the unprocessed products, and reduce it to two or three servings a week," he said. "That would have a huge impact on public health."

A majority of people in the study reported that they ate an average of at least one serving of meat per day.

Pan said that he eats one or two servings of red meat per week, and that he doesn't eat bacon or other processed meats.

Cancer researcher Lawrence H. Kushi of the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research in Oakland said that groups putting together dietary guidelines were likely to pay attention to the findings in the study.

"There's a pretty strong supposition that eating red meat is important — that it should be part of a healthful diet," said Kushi, who was not involved in the study. "These data basically demonstrate that the less you eat, the better."

UC San Francisco researcher and vegetarian diet advocate Dr. Dean Ornish said he gleaned a hopeful message from the study.

"Something as simple as a meatless Monday can help," he said. "Even small changes can make a difference."

Additionally, Ornish said, "What's good for you is also good for the planet."

In an editorial that accompanied the study, Ornish wrote that a plant-based diet could help cut annual healthcare costs from chronic diseases in the U.S., which exceed $1 trillion. Shrinking the livestock industry could also reduce greenhouse gas emissions and halt the destruction of forests to create pastures, he wrote.

Al Gore Endorses the 'Occupy Democracy' Movement

"Our democracy has been hacked," Al Gore said to a group of entrepreneurs, journalists and techies at the South by Southwest Interactive Conference in Austin Monday. "It no longer works to serve the best interest of this country."

The former vice president and environmental activist joined Sean Parker, the founder of Napster and founding president of Facebook, in a conversation about how technology can change politics. Gore began the discussion with a call for an "Occupy Democracy" movement, launching a flurry of tweets with the hashtag #OccupyDemocracy.

The influence of money in politics has grown to the point that money has become a proxy for a vote, Gore said. The Internet, with its low barriers to entry, offers a space to change that. The online rally against the Stop Online Piracy Act was an example of people using social media to bring attention to and affect the issue, he said.

New digital tools let people take abstract ideas and turn them into platforms so they can make the system work, said Parker, whose startups -- Causes, NationBuilder and Votizen -- seek to organize political action. "The change we want to see is not going to come from inside politics,” he said. To which Gore replied: "I can confirm that."