Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Zulfikar Ali Bhutto...A LEGEND WHO STILL RULES !!!!

Pakistani nation will always remember the Great Leader Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, who was assassinated by a military dictator on April 4, 1979
ON this spring day, when flowers bloom and sparrows sing, all of nature joins in celebrating creation. For the multitudes of this stricken nation, though, April 4 is a sad reminder of the day when the shadows lengthened and darkness set in forever. Z.A Bhutto was hanged by a military dictator General Zia-Ul Haq by orchestrating a judicial trial to get rid of a popular leader. When the light was put off in one of the most brilliant shining stars in the galaxy in that dark night of April 4, 1979 Bhutto had already made indelible imprints on the sand of time, which no dictator could erase. When Zulfikar Ali Bhutto took the reins of a truncated Pakistan in December 1971, a new state was taking shape, not through gaining liberty , it had come into being because it had been decapitated and dismembered. Unlike 1947, there was no hope, no anticipation, no dreams, only distress and dejection. In 1947, Pakistan had to be built from the physical building blocks. In 1971, it had to be rebuilt psychologically. If Jinnah got a moth-eaten Pakistan, Bhutto got a truncated and traumatized Pakistan. He had to carry his charge forward through its first steps in a mocking world. He bore the pain and the passion of a new Pakistan. It was like the first chapter of Genesis. Myriad problems and challenges confronted Pakistan, both at home and abroad. Over 5,000 square miles of territory lay under enemy occupation and 90,000 prisoners of war, 20,000 of them civilians, were languishing in Indian jails. Not a day passed without the anguished cry of thousands of sisters, mothers and relatives reverberating across the country. The humiliating vision of Pakistani soldiers surrendering to General Aurora at the Dhaka Race Course haunted our people. An empty treasury, a tottering economy, an all-pervading sense of gloom - it seemed we were set to collapse in a slow dance of death. Globally, Pakistan had become a pariah. Indira Ghandi threatened and taunted us from across the border while Mujibur Rehman ranted and raved about war trials and demanded a share from our empty coffers. There was a mountain to climb and soon the mountain would become an Everest. But ZAB moved with amazing alacrity in all directions. "We have to pick up the pieces, very small pieces," he declared in his opening address to the nation. Brick by brick, the edifice of a shattered Pakistan was rebuilt from the debris of defeat and dismemberment. An ailing economy was nursed back to health. In line with the PPP manifesto, agricultural reforms were introduced and land distributed amongst the landless peasants. Labour unions were allowed and the minimum wage for labour was fixed. He gave Pakistan its first constitution, nuclear programme, held peace talks with India and brought 90,000 POW who were in Indian prison and were going to face war crimes. ZAB opened the doors for Pakistani labour to work in the Arab Gulf states, thus alleviating unemployment and providing the base for foreign remittances. The honor and morale of the demoralized armed forces was restored and they were equipped with some of the most sophisticated weapons the world had to offer. From the ashes of defeat was emerging a new Pakistan. In no time at all, the engines of government were rolling. "If you think FDR had an amazing first 100 days, watch us," he prophetically declared. ZAB possessed a vital magnetism which he transmitted to the people. He could touch the raw nerve of their emotion. He could tap the emotional wellsprings of the nation. He knew the pulse of the people, their heartbeat. They would laugh with him and cry with him. There was a compelling chemistry, an electrical charge that has not dulled with time. It was, in is own words, his greatest romance. He gave to the poor a future and he gave them a voice. He gave them consciousness and dignity which no tank, no dictator can take away. That bond has been frozen into doctrine. He liberated the small farmers and peasants from the repression and cruelty of big landlords and banished the jagirdari and sardari system declaring that all citizens are born equal and must live with equal rights. Z.A Bhutto was a Legend, who lived and died like a hero with courage, determination and devotion to his principles, when cruel dictator Zia was going to kill him, Z.A Bhutto could sign few papers and could live in exile but he was a real man, he was not a coward. He too could have made a deal and lived to fight another day; but only great men with principles sacrifice their life for their cause. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto earned everlasting fame in the pantheon of leaders from the Third World in the struggle against colonialism and imperialism. He had the privilege of interacting with many of those leaders who played a great role in the epic struggle for national independence in the 20th Century including Mao Tse Tung, Soekarno, Chou-en Lai, and Gamal Abdel Nasser. He belonged to a category of anti-imperialist leaders who included Jamal Nasir of Egypt and Jawahir Lal Nehru of India. Life in Pakistan has never been the same again following the judicial murder of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto by General Ziaul Haq in April 1979. Bhutto had crash-landed in Pakistan’s politics in 1958 as the youngest minister in the government of Ayub Khan. He was all together a different person in a cabinet that had generals and senior bureaucrats who had been in cahoots with each other to put their claim to power as the legal heirs to the British Raj. As opposed to them Bhutto was driven by his romance with democracy and freedom for the people as envisaged by his leader Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah. Having found a place for himself on a platform that was not favorable to politicians, Bhutto chartered himself on a course that would give a new sense of direction to the country and a fresh meaning to politics. In no time Bhutto had made a tremendous impact all around. As Minister for Fuel and Power, he had diverse explorers tapping into Pakistan’s underground hidden energy resources. For the first time Russians were involved in oil and gas exploration. His time as Minister for Science and Technology was well spent. He could measure the advancements made by India in the atomic field. He gave a proper sense of direction to the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission, set it on the mission to have a sound infrastructure and to educate and train a whole army of nuclear scientists and engineers. It was he who had convinced Ayub to seek enriched uranium course for acquiring nuclear wherewithal. From his death cell he wrote to his "dearest daughter" Benazir Bhutto, "There is personal bitterness no doubt [against Zia regime] but the impersonal hurt predominates over my personal feelings. These [ruling] individuals have taken Pakistan back to 1947. In the process they have robbed the nation of the high ideals and spirit of fraternity the people shared and demonstrated in 1947". He reflects further in the letter: "It is worst than saying we are back to square one or that we are right back to where we started from. Nations do not fall back to square one, nations progress or they deteriorate explosively or decompose silently". Bhutto had believed that the country's sound defense was dependent on a solid industrial base. Pakistan owes not only its nuclear arsenal - now inching towards a fold up - to Bhutto but to him goes the credit of establishing Pakistan Steel Mills, aeronautical and heavy machine tool complexes, shipyard, Karachi Nuclear Power Plant and its automobile industry. His daughter Benazir Bhutto picked up from where her father had left and the combined efforts of the two made Pakistan cover a long way in becoming self-sufficient in missile technology and arms manufacturing including exports. For Pakistan Bhutto was the harbinger of colossal changes. He harnessed socio-economic forces for challenging the status quo, unshackling the masses and their empowerment. His sense of direction not only gave him the strength but also a popular support to consolidate the edifice of the state on an egalitarian program seeking for his people roti, kapra and makkan. Besides, he awakened the masses, making them realized they were the legitimate fountainhead of political power. He deeply cherished democracy and viewed military rule as a negation of the very genesis of the country that came into being as a result of a democratic process and a vote. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto had the courage of his conviction to decide to lay down his life rather than compromise or seek appeasement. The last chapter of his life is a glorious example of martyrdom for the cause of resurrection of democracy. At the time of his over throw, Bhutto was emerging as a spokesman of the World of Islam and the leader of the Third World. The age of Bhutto was an Age of Revolution. Although his life and career were cruelly terminated, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto will forever shine in history as one of the Great leaders who took part in the liberation of the Third World from the yoke of Imperialism and Neo Colonialism during the Twentieth Century. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto used to say that, "courage is in our blood, we are the children of a rich heritage. We shall succeed in our dream of an Islamic association since destiny demands it, political reality justifies it, posterity awaits it". He laid the foundation for his dream fortress of Islam in Lahore's Islamic Summit in 1974. The rest is then a chapter of blood in history--the blood shed of the Quaid and of his young followers. He was hanged by his own general who once said that the amount of attention Pakistan army received from Prime Minister Bhutto had "no parallel in the history of Pakistan army prior to 1971." Bhutto pushed politics out of the posh drawing rooms into real Pakistan-into the muddy lanes and villages of the poor. ZAB was a principled friend to the poor, downtrodden and oppressed. He was fearless in his beliefs and refused to bow before any man or power other than the Almighty. ZAB’S contributions to an impregnable Pakistan are seen in the Kamra Aeronautical factory, Heavy Mechanical Complex at Taxila, modernisation of Karachi Shipyard, creation of precision engineering works, Pakistan Steel Mills, Port Qasim, Pakistan Automobile Corporation to name a few. By signing the Simla Accord of 1972 he negotiated longest peace between India and Pakistan. His social reforms laid the foundation of an egalitarian society, his non-aligned foreign policy earned Pakistan respect in the comity of nations. He lifted the nation drowning in a sea of despair to Himalayan heights. Bhutto's inspiring leadership filled Pakistanis with hope, energy and strength. There was a sense of purpose and direction in the country in pursuit of peace and prosperity. The economic growth rate increased and money poured in from expatriates who got the universal right to passport. The Muslim countries donated roughly $500 million annually to Pakistan, freeing it of international financial institutions. The people got jobs and opportunities. Women of the country were emancipated entering the police force, Foreign, Civil Service and subordinate judiciary for the first time in the country's history. He was a modernizer and saw nationalism as the key to unity. He rejected fanaticism. He gave pride to the poor. As leader of the Third World he spoke boldly against racism, colonialism and imperialism. He fearlessly defended the right of nations to independence. He was true to his values. When the time came he sacrificed his life but refused to compromise on his lofty ideals. He was fond of saying; "It is better to live like a lion for one day than to live like a jackal for a thousand." He lived with the courage of a lion, defying death in embracing martyrdom. He said he would show "how a leader of the people lives and dies," and he did. The world pleaded for his life wanting to save a man whose intellect and contribution to peace and progress was vital to the world community. But a frightened dictator, ignoring the unanimous call of the Supreme Court of Pakistan to spare the Quaid's life, ordered the execution in the middle of the night. He was true to his values. Prime Minister Bhutto went bravely to the gallows as the world learnt in shock that it had lost its most beloved son. There was widespread national and international condemnation. Bhutto left his world to enter the pantheon of history where he stands today with other towering personalities who shaped the course of history. His martyrdom sparked freedom movements in many countries as people gathered in capitals across the world to condemn his murder. As a student of history, he knew that eternal life remains in sacrificing oneself for a cause that is larger than an individual. And the noblest of all causes is the cause of the liberation of humanity from tyranny and oppression.. Z A BHUTTO was indeed a great leader, a leader we must salute today. Education was nationalized and made available to every child. Scores of Universities were built to turn the children of the discriminated and downtrodden into lawyers, doctors and engineers liberating them from a destiny of backwardness. Quaid-i-Awam was born in 1928. He was martyred in 1979. Yet he lives in the hearts and minds of the people still shining like a star that brightens the sky motivating those caught in the prisons of oppression. He was the one who converted that static and decayed dictatorial polity into a vibrant and dynamic democratic society; the cost of which he paid with his own life. He who gave his blood, and the blood of his sons and daughter, Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto, knew that there can be no sacrifice greater than the sacrifice for the people whose respect, honor and dignity is the respect and dignity of the Nation. Quaid e Awam made the people proud of themselves and of their Nation. The 20th century has seen many great leaders, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto is one of them. Due to his glorious achievements, Mr. Bhutto rules the hearts of the Pakistani people from his grave. He was not only the leader of Pakistan, he was the leader of an Islamic world, the leader of Third World. He will forever be remembered by his countrymen as Quaid-e-Awam. ZAB's detractors have distorted history and tampered with the written word. They killed Plato's philosopher-king and filled the space with charlatans. But he has written his own history in blood and the legend has been nourished by the tears and the sweat of those who work in the fields and the factories. Bhutto belonged to the sweat and sorrow of this soil. His soul has mingled with the soul of the multitudes who cry out in their sorrow and in their pain, ZAB gave the people of Pakistan the foundation on which to build an inspired dream palace of their national thoughts. Today, we have surrendered ourselves to the momentum of mediocrity. In Plato's words, "what is honored in a country will be cultivated there." But we are not a nation given to honoring our heroes. Today, let us rise above narrow considerations and interests and acknowledge a man who was a brilliant beacon on the highway of history. As his followers say, "Zinda Hai Bhutto, Zinda Hai"--Bhutto lives, he lives. Indeed he does, in the hearts of all those who dream of a better tomorrow. Long Live Bhuttoism….

What Is ‘Bhuttoism’?

BY:Nadeem F. Paracha
In the last few months I’ve been receiving a number of emails from some young Pakistanis asking me to define ‘Bhuttoism’. Interestingly, most of them seem to be Imran Khan supporters. An ‘ism’ is a noun-forming suffix denoting a specific doctrine or theory — Marxism, Leninism, fundamentalism, monarchism, communism, capitalism, Zionism, Islamism. These are only a handful among hundreds out there that have been used by politicians, ideologues and historians. Sometimes elements from a well known ‘ism’ are fused with confined political conditions to generate localised versions of that ‘ism’. For example, when Russian revolutionary, Vladimir Lenin, added his own thoughts to Marxism to adjust classical Marxist theory to the on-ground realities of Russia, his manoeuvre became known as Marxist-Leninism. The same way, when Chinese revolutionary Mao Tse Tung did the same in Chinese settings, his move came to be known as Maoism. Over the decades there has been further fragmentation in the variety of political thought, and here lie ‘isms’ associated with the policies of individuals who (unlike Marx, Lenin or Mao), were not necessarily political philosophers. Nasserism (associated with Egypt’s Gamal Nasser), Khomeini-ism (Iran’s revolutionary and spiritual leader, Imam Khomeini), Reaganism (former right-wing US president) and Thatcherism (famous conservative prime minister of the UK), are a few examples. Such ‘isms’ also exist in Pakistan. One of the most used in this country is ‘Bhuttoism’. Interestingly, according to some leading former members of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) who were associated with the outfit in the late 1960s and 1970s, the term ‘Bhuttoism’ did not appear during the PPP’s first government headed by Z A Bhutto (1972-77). Instead, they suggest that this term was first coined by members of the student-wing of the PPP, the People’s Students Federation (PSF) in 1978 in Karachi. It began to appear as political graffiti on the walls of the universities and colleges in Karachi mainly during the beginning of the tussle between the Ziaul Haq dictatorship and the PPP. General Zia had toppled the elected government of the PPP chairman Zulfikar Ali Bhutto in a military coup in July 1977 and then sent him to jail on charges of murder. In 1979 Bhutto was sentenced to death through a sham trial. Initially the main opposition to the Zia dictatorship came from progressive student groups before mainstream political parties led by the PPP formed the first major anti-Zia alliance, the Movement for the Restoration of Democracy (MRD) in 1981. As the Zia regime began to patronise and allow the arming of right-wing organisations, especially the Jamat-i-Islami backed IJT, PSF responded by becoming the first anti-Zia student group to begin arming itself as well. In 1979 IJT introduced the Russian automatic rifle, Kalashnikov, in the growlingly violent battlefield of student politics in Pakistan and consequently, in the late 1970s, PSF’s Karachi president, Salamullah Tipu, formed a tight knit armed militant wing within the PSF to challenge IJT’s rise. This was also the group whose members (including Tipu) escaped to Afghanistan that was then under the control of a Soviet-backed communist regime. Tipu joined the Pakistani left-wing guerrilla, terrorist outfit, Al-Zulfikar Organisation (AZO) that was based in Kabul. As a frontline AZO operative, Tipu used some of his closest associates in PSF to hijack a PIA plane from Karachi (March, 1981) and force it to first land in Kabul and then fly to Damascus in Syria. Tipu’s demand of getting more than 50 political prisoners released from Zia’s jails was met and the hijackers got asylum in Syria, Libya and Afghanistan. As Tipu and his group of hijackers were descending from the plane in Damascus, TV cameras (of western media outlets) focussed on Tipu who began shouting, ‘We want Bhuttoism!’ This was the first time the term ‘Bhuttoism’ appeared in mainstream media, in spite of the fact that the PPP’s young co-chairperson and Z A Bhutto’s daughter, Benazir Bhutto, (who was a political prisoner in Pakistan at the time), denounced the hijacking and publicly castigated the AZO which was being headed by her brother, Murtaza Bhutto. PPP leaders avoided using the term ‘Bhuttoism’ in the 1980s, mainly because, thanks to the AZO, it had become synonymous with terrorism. To men like Tipu and the radical youth of his generation, ‘Bhuttoism’ had meant a socialist revolution (in the context of Pakistan) and ‘awami raj’ (people’s rule) as promised by former prime minister, Z A Bhutto. However, in the 1990s ‘Bhuttoism’ came to be understood as a call to maintain a democratic struggle against military intervention and upholding the supremacy of democracy. After Benazir Bhutto’s tragic assassination in December 2007, the term ‘Bhuttoism’ (now openly used by mainstream PPP leadership), has become associated more with the ideas of Benazir Bhutto rather than of her father. Thus, today ‘Bhuttoism’ may mean a left-liberal political philosophy that advocates the elimination of Islamic extremism and poverty through sustained social democracy. Its core thought, rather ideological manifestation, has shifted from meaning a struggle to bring about a ‘democratic-socialist revolution’ (and avenge the ‘judicial murder’ of Z A Bhutto), to suggesting that ‘democracy is the best revenge’ — a slogan first used by Benazir Bhutto shortly before her assassination in 2007.

US warns of cancer-agent in Japan weight loss pills

The US Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday warned consumers not to take a product called "Japan Rapid Weight Loss Diet Pills"
because they contain a suspected cancer-causing agent. The pills, advertised as promoting weight loss, are distributed by a company called Xiushentang and sold on popular web sites including Amazon.com, said the FDA. Consumers are advised to stop using the pills -- which are packaged in three colors: green, yellow and blue -- and discard them. They should also see a doctor if they have experienced any side effects, the agency said. An FDA lab analysis has confirmed that the pills, "Japan Rapid Weight Loss Diet Pills Green" contain "undeclared phenolphthalein," the agency said in a statement. "Phenolphthalein is a solution used in chemical experiments and a suspected cancer-causing agent that is not approved for marketing in the United States." The FDA has classified the agent as "not generally recognized as safe and effective," and it has been found to potentially damage or even cause mutations in a person's DNA, the warning said. A similar notice was issued for "Japan Rapid Weight Loss Diet Pills Yellow" because they contain both phenolphthalein and sibutramine, a weight loss agent found in the drug Meridia that was removed from the market in 2010 because it boosted the risk of heart attack and stroke. "The product poses a threat to consumers because sibutramine is known to substantially increase blood pressure and/or pulse rate in some patients and may present a significant risk for patients with a history of coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure, arrhythmias or stroke," the FDA said. A third product, "Japan Weight Loss Blue" contains sibutramine and ephedrine alkaloids. Products containing ephedra have been banned because they can boost blood pressure to risky levels. The agency said the dangerous weight loss pills are part of an emerging trend in which companies sell products purporting to be dietary supplements but which contain hidden ingredients that can be harmful.

Tornado tosses semitrailers like toys

Obama attacks GOP budget proposal

President Barack Obama
launched a major assault Tuesday on the House-passed Republican budget proposal embraced by front-running GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney, calling it "social Darwinism" that would stifle the American dream. In a speech to a media luncheon, Obama described the measure -- prepared by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, and passed by the House -- as a "Trojan Horse" that is disguised as a deficit reduction plan but actually imposes a "radical vision." "It is thinly-veiled Social Darwinism," Obama said. "It is antithetical to our entire history as a land of opportunity and upward mobility for everyone who's willing to work for it -- a place where prosperity doesn't trickle down from the top, but grows outward from the heart of the middle class." He added that "by gutting the very things we need to grow an economy that's built to last -- education and training; research and development; infrastructure -- it's a prescription for decline." The remarks signaled Obama's full engagement in his re-election campaign for the November vote as Romney has seized an apparently solid grip on the Republican nomination. For the first time this year, Obama mentioned the former Massachusetts governor by name in a speech, noting Romney's support for the Ryan budget plan. "One of my potential opponents, Gov. Romney, has said that he hoped a similar version of this plan from last year would be introduced on day one of his presidency," Obama said. "He said that he's very supportive of this new budget and he even called it marvelous, which is a word you don't often hear when it comes to describing a budget." Ryan and other Republican leaders immediately criticized the Obama speech as a politically motivated appeal to populism, rather than a serious approach to budget deficits. "History will not be kind to a president who, when it came time to confront our generation's defining challenge, chose to duck and run," Ryan said in a statement. "The president refuses to take responsibility for the economy and refuses to offer a credible plan to address the most predictable economic crisis in our history. Instead, he has chosen tired and cynical political attacks as he focuses on his own re-election." According to Ryan, Obama used his speech to "distort the truth and divide Americans in order to distract from his failed record." Obama, however, blamed a polarized political climate for an inability to make progress on such key issues as deficit reduction and entitlement reform, arguing that Republicans have shifted to the right and dropped support for moderate proposals acceptable to Democrats. "The problem right now is not the technical means to solve it. The problem is our politics, and that's part of what this election and what this debate will need to be about," Obama said in response to a question at the end. "Are we, as a country, willing to get back to commonsense, balanced, fair solutions that encourage our long-term economic growth and stabilize our budget?" Obama has increasingly portrayed the upcoming election as a choice between maintaining his policies and vision for continued economic recovery and investment in future growth versus what he calls failed Republican policies of the past based on deep spending cuts and lower taxes intended to benefit the corporate class. "In this country, broad-based prosperity has never trickled down from the success of a wealthy few," Obama said Tuesday. "It has always come from the success of a strong and growing middle class." In particular, he focused on the Ryan budget proposal for 2013 recently passed by the Republican-led House. The $3.5 trillion plan would lower tax rates and cut spending while reforming the Medicare and Medicaid government-run health care programs for senior citizens, the disabled and the poor. Ryan and other conservatives argue that major reforms are needed to subdue increasing federal deficits and debt, with particular focus on entitlement programs that are the main contributors to the budget imbalance. For example, the Ryan budget would convert federal Medicaid funding for states into block grants. Such a step could increase the cost burden on states, but would give them more autonomy about how to set up their Medicaid programs. As a result, a state could reduce how many people are eligible or increase enrollees' cost-sharing obligations. "If the president were serious, he would put forward a plan to deal with our debt crisis and save Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid for future generations of seniors without raising taxes on small businesses that are struggling in this economy," House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said in a statement Tuesday. "Instead, he has chosen to campaign rather than govern, and the debt crisis he is presiding over is only getting worse." Obama, however, called the Ryan budget an attempt to shift the burden of deficit reduction to the middle class and the needy. He outlined what he said would be cuts in government programs that provide early education, student loans and research grants as examples of the sweep of the GOP proposal. The Ryan plan's proposal to alter Medicare -- the government health care program for senior citizens -- would provide vouchers to help pay for health coverage rather than the universal plan of today, Obama said. People would have to pay any cost increases or expenses beyond the vouchers, which amounts to shifting the cost burden to senior citizens, the president asserted. "It's a bad idea and eventually will end Medicare as we know it," Obama said in targeting one of the most politically sensitive provisions of the Ryan plan. Obama also criticized tax cuts in the Ryan budget that he said would cost $4.6 trillion over the next decade. Such a move would benefit the wealthy while reducing tax breaks relied on by middle class families, such as the mortgage interest deduction, the president said. "This is supposed to be about paying down our deficit? It's laughable," Obama said. He repeated his longstanding support for a balanced approach to deficit reduction that includes increased tax revenue through higher rates on the wealthy. Obama again called for adoption of the so-called Buffett rule, a proposal that would have all Americans making more than $1 million pay at least a 30% tax rate. The Senate is expected to vote on a form of the proposal named for billionaire Warren Buffett, who has complained that the current tax code allows him to pay a lower tax rate than his secretary. The Obama speech to a luncheon by The Associated Press at the American Society of News Editors convention occurred on the same day as primary elections in Wisconsin, Maryland and the District of Columbia. Obama also scheduled high-profile events on previous primary days this year, including a speech at a United Auto Workers conference on the day of the Michigan primary in February, a news conference on Super Tuesday in early March and a visit to an opening NCAA basketball tournament game with visiting British Prime Minister David Cameron on the night that Alabama and Mississippi voted.

62% of U.S. Jews would reelect Obama

Survey shows most Jewish Americans favor diplomacy for peace over military action; 73% of respondents say Netanyahu represents Jewish values. Sixty-two percent of Jewish American voters would like to see U.S. President Barack Obama reelected in November, and only 4% define Israel as the most important issue influencing their vote. The results emerged as part of a survey conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute based in Washington, D.C. According to the survey, while only 62% of Jewish voters in the U.S. would like to reelect Obama, 30% would prefer to see a Republican candidate take the upcoming elections. In the 2008 elections, 78% of Jewish Americans voted for Obama, but, according to the survey's authors, the figure reflects statistics measured at a similar point in the campaign that year. The current figure also shows that Jewish support for Obama is much higher than that of the general American population (44% for Obama and 37% for a Republican candidate). Of the Jews who voted for Obama in 2008, 86% would like to see him reelected, while 7% said they have switched sides and would prefer to see a Republican candidate win this time round. Fifty-eight percent of the Jewish voters approve of Obama's performance as president, 34% disapprove. Thirty-six percent said they are "not sure" about their opinion of how Obama is handling the Arab-Israeli conflict. Sixty-seven percent of Jewish voters hold "mostly" or "very" unfavorable opinions of Mitt Romney, but Jewish Republican supporters prefer the former Massachusetts Governor by a large margin of 58%, compared to his rivals. Trailing far behind are former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum with 15%, former Speaker Newt Gingrich with 13%, and Congressman Ron Paul, with 12%. Economy over Israel The survey gives a decisive answer as to how important Israel is for the Jewish voters this time round: Not very. Only 4% define it as "the most important issue" influencing their vote. The economy is the top issue for 51%, while for 15% of respondents, the most important issue is the "growing gap between the rich and poor." Nearly two-thirds of the American Jews think the government should do more to reduce this gap, and 81% support raising taxes on Americans earning more than 1 million dollars a year. Ten percent were more concerned about health care, 7% for the federal deficit. Only 4% are worried about national security issues and Israel, 2% are most concerned about Iran, and 1% the environment, immigration, same-sex marriage and abortion. While "Birthright" trips to Israel might make participants more connected to the Jewish state, the survey showed that, overall, Israel is far from being the issue that defines Jewish identity among Americans. When asked which qualities are most important to their Jewish identity, 46% mentioned a commitment to social equality, 20% spoke of their support for Israel, and 17% cited religious observance. To the question of what influenced their political beliefs, 87% mentioned the Holocaust, 85% the "opportunities for economic success" in America, and 66% referred to being a religious minority in America. Being Jewish was "very important" or "most important" for 42% of the Jewish Americans, while for 29% it was "somewhat important" and for 29% it was "not too important" or not important at all. Being Jewish was "very important" to 73% of synagogue-goers, but only to 22% of those who do not belong to an established Jewish community. It was important for 64% of Conservative Jews, 39% of Reform Jews, and 10% of Jews who do not affiliate themselves with any denomination. As for Middle East politics and the perception of U.S.-Israeli relations, while While Obama Administration officials like to say military cooperation between the U.S. and Israel is closer than ever before, only 54% of Jewish Americans perceive the relationship is the same as always, while 37% think the ties "are worse", and only 7% think they are better than in the past. Fifty-three percent of Jewish Americans said they would support the establishment of a Palestinian state, while 42% would oppose it. Sixty-three percent think that, in general, diplomacy is the best way to ensure peace, versus 24% who prefer military action. But when it comes to Iran, 59% of Jewish Americans think the U.S. should take military action to stop Iran's nuclear program should sanctions fail, while 37% oppose it. The vast majority of Jewish Americans define Israel's major problems in terms of external threats (90% cite the Israeli Palestinian conflict, 83% Iran). Fifty-three percent also mentioned ultra-Orthodox control of religious life as being a major problem and 38% cited social inequality in Israel. Interpreting the results According to the survey, 70% of the Jewish Americans are either registered democrats or leaning toward the Democratic party, and 29% identify themselves as Republicans or leaning toward the Republican party. Dr. Robert Jones, CEO of the Public Religion Research Institute, told Haaretz that amid the speculations on the slipping Jewish support for the president, the results have shown "fairly solid support for President Obama - the numbers are virtually identical to the June 2008 Gallup poll that showed 62% for Obama and 32% for McCain. Today, it's 6% for Obama and 30% the Republican candidate." As for the low priority given to Israel, Dr. Jones stresses that it is important to note the statistic reflects how much weight Israel is given in terms of voting priorities, and does not reflect Jewish Americans' support for Israel. "As a voting priority it is low, [but] it doesn't mean it's not important," he said. Dr. Jones added that "we wanted to be sure on this issue and allowed people to mention their first and second most important voting issue, because it was clear the economy is swapping everything. But even as a second issue Israel didn't move up the list - it was still 5%." The survey also asked respondents to estimate how well eight public figures represent Jewish values. While questions could be raised about how the list of eight figures was compiled, the results were as follows: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu came first (73%), U.S. Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan second (66%), New-York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg third (65%), comedian Jon Stewart got 63%, Senator Joe Lieberman (60%), actress Natalie Portman (56%), the House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (38%) and comedian Sarah Silverman (37%).

So-Called 'Friends of Syria' Group not Friend of Majority of Syrians

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said "Moscow sees that most of the Syrian people do not consider the 'friends of Syria' group as a genuine friend of them and don't see it positively." In a comment posted on his Twitter page on Tuesday, Gatilov added that the protests held by many Syrians near the location where the ‘Friends of Syria’ meeting was held in Istanbul and which have been dispersed, show that many Syrians don't consider this group as a friend of them. Gatilov urged all concerned parties to actively support the mission of the UN envoy to Syria, Kofi Annan. Bogdanov Welcomes Syrian Decision to Withdraw Troops and Heavy Weapons from Syrian Cities before April 10th " The Russian President's Special Representative for Middle East Affairs, Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov welcomes Syria's decision to take the first step and withdraw troops and heavy weapons from the Syrian cities and villages before April 10th," the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement. The statement added that Bogdanov reviewed with the Syrian Ambassador in Moscow Riyad Haddad the development of the situation in Syria and the efforts exerted by the Syrian leadership to solve the crisis in the country. "Ambassador Haddad stressed that Damascus has started fulfilling its obligations under the plan suggested by the UN special envoy Kofi Annan," the statement said. The statement added that stress was laid on the need for positive steps by the Syrian opposition and its armed groups, including clear expression of support to the Kofi Annan plan and practical steps towards its implementation.

Working women? Not in Arab world

By overwhelming margins, young people in the Arab world think women should be allowed to hold any job they are qualified for. But in practice women aren’t given the same educational opportunities as men and far fewer actually enter the workforce. Those are the findings of a survey by the Gallup polling organization released yesterday. It found that among young people aged 23 to 29 in 22 Middle Eastern and North African countries, 70 percent of the men and 82 percent of the women polled favored equal opportunity. But the equality doesn’t reach the office cubicle or university lecture hall. The same survey found that less than a third of the women hold jobs, compared with more than 80 percent of the men. In education, too, the gap is yawning: Across the Arab world only half the women had a secondary education or better while 63 percent of the men had one. The gender gap represents a huge loss for the Arab world because it deprives the region’s economy of the labor and skills of half the population. It is also a political problem as the double-digit unemployment for young men and women that is the norm in the Arab world has been cited by analysts as a factor in the Arab Spring unrest. Overall, the female labor force participation rates at 25 percent of the population of working-age women are about half the world average and the lowest among other regions, according to the World Bank. The Gallup survey cites several factor holding back women in the job market. Women in the Arab world have fewer resources like legally mandated maternity leave and easy access to daycare that would enable them to juggle household and work responsibilities. Laws on sex discrimination are poorly enforced. They also face a glass wall because unemployment is high all across the Arab world labor market. The economies of the Middle East and North Africa, even when they were growing quickly, failed to provide enough jobs for men or women. The International Labor Organization (ILO) says the Middle East and North Africa are the only two regions of the world where unemployment is estimated to exceed 10 percent. Among young people, the rate is more than 26 percent. The ratio of female to male unemployment rates in most regions exceeds 1.0, but in the Middle East and North Africa the regional ratio was as high as 2.3 in 2011, it estimates. The job gender gap and its causes vary around the region. Among the highest-income countries the difference between men and women is the widest, with just 28 percent of the young women employed, compared with 81 percent of the men. In the poorest countries, the differential narrows to 36 percent to 81 percent. But the education gap, ironically, disappears in the region’s richest countries. More women in the age group (80 percent) have a secondary or better education than men (79 percent). While their prospects for entering the workforce are higher in middle-income and low-income economies, women are less likely to have advanced education credentials. In middle income economies, just 54 percent have more than nine years of education (versus 6 percent for men) and in low-income economies just 33 percent have it (versus 48 percent for men). The survey was based on face-to-face interviews with 7,670 young adults conducted in the spring and fall of 2011. Arab women in Israel have lower labor force participation rates than almost anywhere elsewhere in the Arab world. Yossi Tamir, executive director of the Tevet Employment Initiative, says has to do with the lack of jobs in agriculture, which in Israel comprises only a tiny part of the economy. Lack of public transportation and social attitudes create barriers to finding jobs in other sectors. “It’s really a severe problem,” he told The Media Line. “They have the ability [to work] and an increasing number have higher education, so they can be moved into the labor force.” The ILO report published in January pointed to North Africa as the home of the world’s worst unemployment rates for young people. Overall, the rate stood at 27.1 percent and for young women at 41 percent. “The situation for young women is particularly worrisome, given that there are only very few who are actually either working or looking for work,” the ILO commented, noting that the female youth labor force participation rates in North Africa was as low as 8.9 percent in 2010. Tara Vishwanath, an economist for the World Bank, worries that whatever progress women have made in recent year is being jeopardized by the Arab Spring. On the one hand, financially hard-pressed governments, whose sprawling bureaucracies have long been a source of jobs for women graduates, are no longer able to hire. On the other hand, the growing power Islamist movements threaten to roll back hiring women. “Throughout the region, there is a concern that efforts to advance women’s rights may be halted, and even reversed, as new governments come to power,” Vishwanath wrote in a blog posting March 9. Not everyone thinks the situation for women is as bleak as the numbers suggest. Hazami Barmada, chief executive of Al-Mubadarah: Arab Empowerment Network, said in response to Vishwanath’s posting that many women are working or are self-employed in the informal economy and don’t show up in official statistics. “There are many thriving networks of women-owned businesses, namely in the service and home goods sector. In our work … we are learning about many great initiatives of women that are sadly being marginalized by studies such as this!” she said.

Bahraini regime forces arrest two female activists

Bahraini regime forces have arrested two female activists participating in a demonstration to show solidarity with prominent human rights activist Abdulhadi al-Khawaja in the capital, Manama, Press TV reports. A group of Bahraini women gathered in front of the US Embassy in Manama on Tuesday to hold a demonstration against the detention of Khawaja. Bahraini police arrested two activists as they tried to disperse the demonstrators in Manama. Meanwhile, Bahrain Center for Human Rights said on Tuesday Khawaja’s health has deteriorated as he entered the 55th day of his hunger strike in jail. The prominent Bahraini activist was given a life sentence in June last year. On April 2, the Court of Cassation in Bahrain refused to release Khawaja and 13 other detained activists. The court said it would announce its verdict on the case of the 14 activists on April 23, according to Bahrain Center for Human Rights. The Tuesday demonstration in Manama was held at a time when Bahrainis continue protests against the ruling Al Khalifa family. On Monday, Bahraini regime forces used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse anti-government demonstrators in the northwestern village of Diraz. Bahraini demonstrators hold King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa responsible for the death of protesters during the popular uprising in the country that began in February 2011.

Bahrainis hold demonstrations for jailed activist Abdulhadi al-Khawaja

Bahraini protesters have taken to the streets in several towns and villages across the country to express solidarity with prominent human rights activist Abdulhadi al-Khawaja held in prison, Press TV reports.

Hazara Women Rise Against Targeted Killings

The Baloch Hal News
Several activists of Hazara Democratic Party (HDP) Women wing on Monday staged a protest in front of the Balochistan Assembly against targeted killing of people belonging to Hazara community in Quetta. “We present our bangles to the members of Balochistan Assembly who have miserably failed to provide security to the members of Hazara community and bring the culprits to book,” the charged protestors said. Protestors were carrying party flags and placards inscribed with different demands such as “Down with sectarian killing and down with incompetent Balochistan government”. Six people, including a woman belonging to Hazara community were killed in sectarian target killing on March 29 when unknown armed men ambushed their van at Spanny Road Quetta. Throwing and tying bungles on the main gate of Balochistan Assembly, the infuriated protestors were shouting full-throat slogans against provincial government. Addressing on the occasion, HDP Woman wing leaders, Nazneen Zaman and Rifat Hazara strongly condemned Spanny Road incident, saying now the killers even not sparing our women. “We are here to register our protest because provincial government has failed to provide security to the people,” they alleged, and adding that for the past one decade the genocide of Hazara community was underway that had compelled women to come out of their homes and demand for security to their people. They regretted that innocent people were being ruthlessly killed and the cost of their life had become cheaper than that of animals and adding that the provincial government was only taking steps for its own security. “We request Chief Justice of Pakistan, who is in Quetta, to deliver justice to Hazara community and bound provincial government for taking stern action against culprits involved in the killing of innocent people, they added. They said that despite repeated targeted killings of Hazara people, the administration had failed to arrest culprits, therefore we present our bangles to the members who were sitting in the assembly. At the end, the protestors threw and tied bungles on Balochistan Assembly’s main gate before dispersing peacefully.

Life returns to normal in Malakand with USAID

The life in Malakand Division returned to normal with the financial assistance and cooperation from United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and help from the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government. A special function was held here at local hotel where the USAID and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government celebrated their successes in reviving the conflict and flood affected Malakand Division. Over the past five years, the US government has provided more than 450 million dollars in direct humanitarian assistance in those affected areas by conflict and natural disaster through a variety of projects providing food, water, shelter and other basic necessities. The U.S. government provided cash payment s to needy families, created tent schools for the children of internally displaced families and funded one year’s university education for more than 7,000 students. More than 14,000 affected families received funds to reconstruct their homes. Country Director USAID Andrew Sisson while addressing the function to celebrate the success stories of Malakand said, “The U.S. government is committed to working with the government of Pakistan and the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to help the region to recover from the damages of natural calamity and extremism.” He said U.S. government also provided extensive support to help revive the Malakand Division’s economy that include reconstruction of 261 hotels besides helping in the rebuilding of fisheries, schools, health clinics, water supply system and government buildings. The United States also provided support for reviving the regions tourism industry, one of the key industry of KPK, he added. The Country Director USAID said, “Mire than 100,000 farmers and micro-entrepreneurs received seeds, livestock, tools, training and other assistance to restart their normal life. He said with international assistance, although there were many success stories, but still a lot of things have to be done to fully revive the normal life in KPK. He acknowledged the involvement of community and its participation in the revival and rebuilding programme adding that courage and determination of the local people especially the internally displaced person helped in early recovery of the flood hit and extremism affected areas in Malakand. Information Minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Mian Iftikhar Hussain while appreciating the assistance and cooperation from USAID in reviving the life in Malakand, said there is need to remove mis-perceptions and misunderstanding between Pakistan, United States and Afghanistan so that they could joint work together to ensure peace and security in the region. He said the KPK government started negotiations with extremists and despite criticism from the international community, it went through the dialogue process but the extremists violated the agreement then the KPK government fought with the extremists elements and got some success. He said the achievements of the KPK are visible before the international community but there is still danger and there is need for joint efforts by the international community to ensure the continuity of the peace. Syed Iftikhar Hussain, who lost his only son and many relatives in various terrorist activities, vowed that the KPK government would continue its mission of fighting the extremism and terrorism for the security of its people. He said its wrong that some terrorists are bad and some are good, saying that terrorists are terrorists and they should be dealt with iron hand if they will not accept the language of negotiations. The KPK Information Minister said dialogue process with Taliban can not be successful unilaterally by Pakistan, Afghanistan or United States therefore, all these three countries should jointly negotiate with Taliban and if talks will failed then they should collectively fight against them removing mis-perceptions among them. Director General Provincial Reconstruction, Rehabilitation and Settlement Authority (PaRRSA) Shahid Malik also spoke on the occasion while a number of stalls were organized to show the success stories of the Malakand people. Representatives from different sections of the society including students, teachers, women and artists explained their experience after the revival of their educational institutions, work places and hotels.

‘State of education emergency’: 3 million children out of school in K-P

Three million school-aged children in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) are out of school and two million of these are girls, according to British High Commissioner to Pakistan Adam Thomson. “This is really a state of education emergency,” said Thomson, while speaking at the launch of the ‘K-P school enrolment campaign 2012’ in Peshawar. The project, which aims to enrol over 800,000 children in school by 2015 in addition to building more than 2,000 classrooms, is being provided for by the UK government’s Department for International Development (DFID). “Education is the single most important factor that can transform this province’s future,” Thomson emphasised. The drive was formally launched by K-P Chief Minister Ameer Haider Khan Hoti after he enrolled one Aurangzeb, son of Mohammad Hamza, in the Nasir Bagh Primary School. Hoti asked the donors to strictly monitor the efficacy of the programme so that projects are completed on time and in a transparent manner. ‘Foundation of enlightened societies’ Reflecting upon the importance of female literacy in the province, Hoti asserted that after peace had been restored in Swat, girls had been able to go back to schools that had earlier been destroyed by militants. “Educated mothers lead to enlightened societies,” he said. “We will utilise all resources to promote education in K-P. Opening 100 schools in partnership with private firms in areas that have no middle or high schools is also a goal,” he added. Speaking on the occasion, DFID Pakistan Chief George Turkington said that it was alarming that seven million people in the province were illiterate while children who should have been in primary school were not enrolled. A DFID statement said that the UK government will also build around 2,000 literacy centres to teach women how to read and write. In recent years, the UK has helped around 590,000 girls to continue with their education by granting cash stipends. Each girl receives Rs200 a month as well as a set of free textbooks in return for attending school for four days throughout the week. Published in The Express Tribune

Madrassa children ‘severely’ tortured

The Express Tribune
Three children, all under the age of five, were ‘severely’ tortured by their teacher after they were caught plucking flowers from their madrassa’s garden. Four-year-old Aasia, five-year-old Aqsa and four-year-old Junaid were beaten with sticks and were forced to lie under the sun with three bricks placed over their chests and legs after their teacher, Qari Asghar, got to know that they had plucked flowers from the garden. The children told The Express Tribune that they were beaten up after the bricks were placed on them. “We were plucking flowers for our female teacher who teaches us in the morning. Qari Asghar had put his leg on my neck and then grabbed my hair and beat me up,” said Aasia. The parents found their children nearly fainting after they were called to the madrassa by some member of the staff. They said that the children were bleeding due to the bricks. Asghar ran away from the madrassa after the incident. However, SHO Gul Muhammad of Bara Meel Police Station said that he was arrested and will be prosecuted according to the law. The parents took their children to the Kabirwala THQ Hospital, where Dr Saima, in the examination report, confirmed that the children were “severely tortured”. The police, on the application of the parents, registered an FIR in 57/2012 under the sections 337 L2 and 357 L2 at the Bara Meel Police Station. Irked by the incident, Aasia’s father Mukhtar Ahmed said that such a “brutal” person does not deserve to teach the Holy Quran.

15 Shias massacred by ASWJ-SSP militants in Chilas and Gilgit

Let Us Build Pakistan
Gunmen opened fire and killed fifteen passengers in Chillas, Geo News reported. According to official sources, the passengers were taken off buses, their Shia identity verified, and were then killed. Six buses were also set ablaze. Earlier, curfew was imposed in Gilgit when four people were killed and 45 injured in clashes following a hand grenade attack. In the latest development, the ISPR states that the Army has been summoned to Gilgit to control the law and order situation. According to sources, Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ, previous name Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan SSP) was observing a shutter down strike on Tuesday when unknown men hurled hand grenades at Ittehad Chowk that injured two policemen and a civilian. According to details, police had nabbed some members of ASWJ-SSP allegedly involved in target killing of Shia Muslims. The ASWJ-SSP supporters demanded the release of arrested persons but situation turned violent when detainees were not set free. The grenade attack, suspected of being engineered by the ISI, initiated clashes that later killed four people and injured 45 others. The injured were shifted to District Headquarter Hospital. Different roads were blocked by burning tyres and incidents of aerial firing were also reported. Witnesses said that the district administration and law enforcement agencies were not present to control the violent situation where as fear gripped the entire area after hostility. ……. While Pakistan army chief praises Saudi role in regional security, in a “totally different” event, 15 passengers killed by “unidentified gunmen” in Gilgit. At least 15 Shia Muslims have been shot dead after being taken off passenger buses near Chilas in Gilgit-Baltistan. According to various news reports, at least 5 passenger buses have been attacked and torched near Chilas city. Yesterday, ISI-sponsored Jihadi-sectarian militants (SSP-ASWJ) had issued a call to kill Shia Muslims in all part of Pakistan. A large number of people have been killed, according to sources. Radio Pakistan has reported the death of five people. Some sources are putting the figure of people killed to 15. All of the passengers identified and killed were Shia Muslims.While ISI-infected Pakistani media persons continue to misrepresent Shia genocide in Pakistan as ‘Sunni Shia sectarian violence’, Iran-infected Shia mullahs continue to ignore Pakistan army’s role in Shia genocide.

Bilawal Bhutto: Supreme Court should apologise for judicial murder of ZAB

Addressing the Central Executive Committee of the PPP at Naudero, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said that the Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto (ZAB) reference pending in the court provides a golden opportunity for the Apex Court to "right the wrongs of the past". In what was his first full-blown political discourse that analysts would interpret as his formal launch into politics, Bilawal said that he did not believe if the Sharifs of Lahore could get their cases disposed of, ZAB could not get justice. Bilawal said a prime minister from Sindh is hanged while a prime minister from Punjab is freed. “Let’s hope the court doesn’t repeat double standards,” he said on the eve of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto's anniversary.
The PPP chairman said that Mukhtaran Mai’s case should be heard afresh. He said all terrorists should be hanged after a proper trial. And the Supreme Court of Pakistan should apologise as an institution for ZAB’s judicial murder. Without referring to the SC call of writing Swiss letter, Bilawal said the elected Prime Minister of Pakistan would not violate the Consitution of Pakistan, and he would not violate the Vienna conventions. "No one will be allowed to have a trial of the corpses of the martyres." Gesturing to Prime Minister Gilani sitting next to President Zardari on the atage, Bilawal said the Prime Minister would prefer top go to barracks instead of violating the law of the land. "You may lose your government, but you would not desecrate the graves of the martyres.......History has proven us innocent. History will prove us innocent....The Bhuttos of Larkana will also see the justice being serves.....There is a court beyond the Supreme Court; the court of the people of Pakistan." At the end of his otherwise English speech, Bilawal uttered an Urdu slogan in favour of his party. Aitzaz Ahsan was amongst the party stalwart present through the speech. Aitzaz is representing the PM in the contempt case.

Chelsea Clinton, Sandra Fluke Unite Over Rush Limbaugh Attacks

Rush Limbaugh was uncharacteristically quiet today after Chelsea Clinton recounted how the conservative talk show host appeared to make fun her looks by comparing her to a dog when she was 13-years-old.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, however, had harsh word for Limbaugh when reminded of the incident saying, "We're better than that." Chelsea Clinton spoke last week about Limbaugh's comments while on a panel about women involved in politics. The former first daughter made the comments while defending Georgetown University student Sandra Fluke who had been ridiculed last month by Limbaugh as a "slut" and a "prostitute" for testifying before Congress in support of a government mandate requiring health insurance to cover contraception. "She and I actually have something in common," Chelsea Clinton said. "We've both have been attacked by Rush Limbaugh." "She was 30. I was 13," she added. When her dad, former President Bill Clinton, was in the White House and Limbaugh was on television as well as radio, the conservative commentator had this to say about the teenage girl living at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. back in 1993: "Socks is the White House cat. But did you know there is also a White House dog?" Limbaugh said on his television show before showing an image of the young Clinton. "Thankfully I had grown up in public life and knew that having thick skin was a survival skill," Chelsea Clinton said after recounting the incident. "I do also believe if you have the right type of enemies you're doing something correct." Her mother today had tough words for Limbaugh without mentioning his name. "I think we need to call people out when they go over the line," Secretary Clinton told MSNBC. "They're entitled to their opinion, but no one is entitled to engage in that kind of, you know, verbal assault." Limbaugh did not mention either Clintons' remarks on his show today nor did he return ABC News' request for comment. He caused a furor when he made his comments about Fluke, prompting some high profile advertisers to pull their ads from his show.

'Pakistan's sweetheart': Nazia Hassan's 47th birthday

On April 3, 1965, the ‘Sweetheart of Pakistan’ Nazia Hassan was born – a soon to be iconic figure of the Pakistani pop industry. If alive today, April 3, 2012 she would be celebrating her 47th birthday. Nazia’s first hit was a pop song “Aap Jaisa Koi” which she sang for an Indian film titled Qurbani at the age of 15. She won a Filmfare award for this song and paved the way for her debut album, Disco Deewane. The pop icon of the 70s soon became the striking beauty of the 80s and along with her brother produced audio and video hits, forever changing the Pakistani pop music industry. Even during the conservative era of General Ziaul Haq, Nazia persevered, not faltering in her passion for music and became a celebrity. Among her biggest hits were “Ankhen Milane Wale” and “Dum Dum Dede”. In 1995 she got married and had her son Arez in 1997. Sadly, Nazia passed away in 2000 after losing a battle with cancer. She however remains a celebrity in the hearts of the 80s’ generation and lives on through her fans and all those who showered her with their love. The Express Tribune

Gilgit violence leaves 7 dead, 48 injured

At least seven people were killed and 48 were injured as the situation turned violent in Gilgit.According to the reports, police had arrested some people allegedly involved in firing on a rally and situation turned violent when they were not released. The enraged mob blocked the road and burnt tyres.A large number of police and security forces arrived at the scene while people injured in different firing incidents were shifted to hospitals.On the other hand, residents of the city have confined to their homes due to violent incidents and tense situation.The local administration is trying to control the situation, while curfew has also been imposed in the city. DUNYA NEWS

Afghanistan's first female Olympic boxer eyes London dream

An arena where the Taliban used to execute women provides a chilling and incongruous setting for one teen girl's unlikely Olympic dream. But the dusty floors, broken mirrors, and poorly-lit hallways inside Kabul's Ghazni stadium have been the training base for 17-year-old Sadaf Rahimi. Dressed in a track suit, red lace up boots and a blue bandana, she is on course to become Afghanistan's first female Olympic boxer and only the third Afghan sportswoman to compete at an Olympic Games.
"The first time I hit someone it was in my village, I was 11. It was actually my cousin," she told CNN during a break from training. "Afterwards he said I hit him so hard that I should become a boxer!" She did just that. A wild card from the Olympic committee has propelled the student towards the London games this summer, a daunting prospect given the modest resources at her disposal.Rahimi and her teammates, including her sister Shabnam, can't train in a proper boxing ring, because one doesn't exist in war-torn Afghanistan. Instead dozens of girls and women in the team shuffle around in mismatched uniforms inside a small, dirty improvised gym complete with padded flooring. "The equipment we have is pretty inadequate. I've even had to buy my own boxing socks," she said.With sport facilities in short supply in Kabul, the boxing team's time in this gym is limited. "We can only train one hour a day, and that's it," said Rahimi. "It's not enough to prepare for London. Other teams around the world train three times a day." Rahimi says she would like expert help in Dubai or India to be competitive against more seasoned international fighters. But this is Afghanistan, where money is too often in all the wrong places. So they're left hoping for a sponsor to help them out. "We would like a sponsor with a good name in the world of sports. But more importantly a company that can assist our female athletes in the future, Rahimi's coach, Mohammed Saber Sharifi, said. Sharifi, a former male professional boxer and an advocate for women's rights, believes the world will see Afghanistan in a different light when Rahimi steps into the ring in London. "I hope the world can see that Afghan women are breaking down barriers by pursuing their dreams of becoming a professional athlete. We represent this country with pride," he said.The Afghan Amateur Women's Boxing Association was established by the Cooperation for Peace and Unity project in 2007 to promote women and girls in sports. When female athletes were banned by the Taliban from competing in sport, Afghanistan was suspended from competition by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). It missed the 2000 Olympics in Sydney as a result. Afghanistan -- with female athletes involved for the first time -- competed in Athens in 2004 after the Taliban had been ousted in 2001. But the Taliban have not been the only obstacle. In a country where human rights activists say women are still vulnerable to prejudice and a range of issues including domestic violence, forced marriage and sexual abuses, Rahimi fears for her own safety. Her father spoke of anonymous threats and warnings that his daughters should not be boxing. Many fear this kind of conservatism in Afghan society will increase when NATO leaves the country. "For one month I was not allowed to come to the gym for practice because of my safety", she said. While her own parents are extremely supportive of her and her sister, she says other family members have criticized their lifestyle. "My aunt used to say girls should stay at home and do housework, they shouldn't be going out and playing sports. She would say my actions are not in line with Islam." But Rahimi says this pressure doesn't keep her from the sport she loves. It's easy to be impressed by the dedication shown by someone who says she's never hit anyone in anger -- well, not yet anyway.