Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Saudis hold anti-regime demo in Qatif

Saudi Arabia's Eastern province has been hit by yet another anti-government protest rally in which demonstrators have condemned the long-time rule of Al Saud for its suppression of protests. The protest erupted in the Qatif region on Wednesday following the beating of two women by Saudi forces. The protesters also called for an end to Riyadh’s military intervention in neighboring Bahrain and the regime’s violation of people’s privacy in their homes. The demonstration was staged despite a strict ban on all public gatherings. Since February 2011, Saudi protesters have held demonstrations on an almost regular basis in the oil-rich Eastern Province, mainly in Qatif and the town of Awamiyah, calling for the release of all political prisoners, freedom of expression and assembly, and an end to widespread discrimination. However, the demonstrations have turned into protest rallies against the Al Saud regime, especially since November 2011, when Saudi security forces killed five protesters and injured many others in Eastern Province. The Saudi interior ministry issued a statement on March 5, 2011, prohibiting “all forms of demonstrations, marches or protests, and calls for them, because that contradicts the principles of the Islamic Sharia, the values and traditions of Saudi society, and results in disturbing public order and harming public and private interests.” Saudi Arabia is a state party to the Arab Charter on Human Rights. Article 24 of the charter states that “every citizen has the right… to freely pursue a political activity [and] to freedom of association and peaceful assembly.” Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have also criticized the Al Saud regime for silencing dissent through intimidation and violation of the basic rights of citizens. (Source: Press TV)

UN says one million Yemeni children suffering acute malnutrition

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs has warned that nearly one million children in Yemen are suffering from poor nutrition, many of them struggling with death. "An estimated 967,000 children under five are suffering from acute malnutrition," United Nations spokesman Martin Nesirky said at a press briefing on Wednesday, Xinhua reported. Meanwhile, the world body has appealed to the international community to assist millions of vulnerable people in Yemen who are in need of healthcare, clean water, basic sanitation, and nutrition. In response to the crisis, aid organizations in the impoverished Arab country are asking for nearly $40 million to help 267,000 children who are at risk of dying if proper treatment is not administered. Children in Yemen also face the threat of unexploded ordnance and land mines, which have reportedly claimed the lives of 13 children and left another dozen injured in the first quarter of 2012.

PML(N)MAFIA : Not asking for laptops but for teachers!

Punjab government is closing the doors of education on us
To punish the historic Government Muhammadan Anglo Oriental College’s administration for being politically active against the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, the Punjab government has apparently decided not to provide any financial support to the college for faculty development, infrastructure and other needs, Pakistan Today learnt on Wednesday. The college’s Mass Communication Department, especially, is being made to face the brunt and no regular faculty has been hired to impart education to the students. The department has also received a warning from the Punjab University that said that the department’s affiliation with the university would be cancelled if faculty is not arranged soon enough. Sources in the administration said the Education Department had been requested again and again to provide the required faculty but a PML-N mafia was not allowing this. “MAO College has always been anti-Sharifs and now since they are in power, they are doing all they can to suppress any anti-PML-N activities in the future,” sources said, adding “the CM has time and again claimed that he has taken many initiatives to promote education in the province but on the other hand, his government is punishing the students of MAO College for expressing their opinion.” “We have received many requests from MAO Principal Dr Farhan Abadat Yar Khan over the issue of lack of staff but there is nothing we can do about it because the education minister and the Higher Education Department are not interested,” an official in the HED, asking not to be named, said while talking to Pakistan Today. “Boys belonging to the middle class study at the MAO College and come from far flung areas of the province but the CM is not giving the college its due respect,” he said. “Our college’s student union sided with the PML-Q and now PML-N is taking its revenge. The Mass Communication Department gets the top position in the university examinations and it would be unfair to them if Punjab government remains obstinate on the issue,” a faculty member of the college said. “We are not asking for laptops but for teachers to teach us,” a student said, adding that their future was being compromised over a political issue. “The Punjab government is closing the doors of education on us,” he said. Lahore Director Colleges Rana Naseem said he was not aware of the actual status of MAO College’s Mass Communication Department and added that he would enquire the matter. He said however in the beginning of this session, Punjab government had permitted all colleges’ administrations to hire visiting faculty and it was the administration’s fault if they had not hired anyone.

UK visit: Gilani stresses enhanced cooperation on fighting terror, trade

Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani while addressing a reception at the House of Commons said that Pakistan and the United Kingdom were partners in the fight against terrorism and extremism and that Pakistan remains committed to fight the scourge till its elimination. Gilani, who is in England on a five day trip following the invitation of British Prime Minister David Cameron to attend a summit to review Enhanced Strategic Dialogue (ECD). He also attended a joint session of the British Parliament on Wednesday, which was also addressed by the Queen. Addressing a reception here at the House of Commons to meet with British Parliamentarians, on the invitation of High Commissioner Wajid Shamsul Hasan, “We are also together in the common fight against terrorism and extremism. The democratic government has created national ownership to this campaign and has brought all stakeholders on board. Our Parliament has recently reaffirmed Pakistan’s commitment to the elimination of terrorism and combating extremism in pursuance of our national interest,” he said. With Pakistan under the spotlight for being a haven where terrorists can plan attacks on other countries, Gilani reasserted that “we have also repeatedly said that we would not allow our territory to be used for any kind of attacks on other countries and we expect that the soil of other countries would not be used against Pakistan.” He said the sacrifices made by Pakistan in its campaign against militancy, terrorism and extremism were unparalleled, and the resolve of the two countries in this regard remains unshakeable. Gilani also had an extensive interaction with British parliamentarians and shared experiences of the nascent democracy in Pakistan and the challenges it faced. Gilani had travelled with Minister for Commerce Makhdoom Amin Fahim, Minister for Information Qamar Zaman Kaira, Minister for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar, Minister for Finance Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, Minister for Interior Rehman Malik, Minister for Political Affairs Moula Bukhsh Chandio and Minister of State for Housing Raza Hayat Hiraj, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Social Sector Shahnaz Wazir Ali and Chairman Board of Investment Saleem H Mandviwala. He was joined by the Pakistan High Commissioner to UK Wajid Shamsul Hasan. Commonwealth a beacon for democracy The Premier said the forum of Commonwealth has been proudly espousing the cause of democracy and the human rights among the member countries. He recalled how Pakistan became the member of the Commonwealth in 1947 soon after independence, but it was suspended during the military dictatorship of General Ziaul Haq during the eighty’s. However, it was restored once Benazir Bhutto became the Prime Minister. He said the membership of Pakistan was suspended once more during General Musharraf’s military rule and restored after when a democratically elected government came to power. “I am happy to state that there is not a single political prisoner in Pakistan today. [The] Media is completely free and the civil society is robust and human rights organisations’ assertions are making qualitative difference as far as the human rights are concerned. Judiciary is free by any stretch of imagination,” Gilani added. He said at the last Summit of Commonwealth in Perth, Australia, the forum was unanimous in supporting the democratic governments of member states and pledged to foil the designs of those who intend to usurp the rights of the people. Pakistan, UK for enhancing bilateral trade Gilani said the governments of Pakistan and UK have also decided to jointly launch a trade and investment promotion roadmap that envisages increased bilateral trade to £2.5 billion by 2015 and to enhance investment opportunities. He said the United Kingdom has been a consistent advocate for Pakistan to gain enhanced trade access to the European Union. “We are appreciative of the UK support for EU trade concessions for Pakistan and we hope that the United Kingdom would continue supporting Pakistan’s request for GSP Plus,” the Premier said. He said the ESD covers a wide spectrum of bilateral, regional and international issues of mutual interest. “I am satisfied that we have made good progress under the ESD framework, and I look forward to holding detailed and wide ranging discussions with Prime Minister Cameron and other members of his cabinet to further intensify this cooperation.” The Prime Minister expressed his sincere gratitude to the British government and its people for having stood by the people of Pakistan in their difficult times – particularly in the aftermath of unprecedented floods that devastated the country. Pakistan keen to normalise ties with neighbours The Prime Minister said Pakistan believes that its agenda for prosperity and development can only be achieved in an environment of peace and security. He said it was in this context that Pakistan was keen to normalise its relations with all neighbours, particularly India and Afghanistan. Gilani said Pakistan strongly believes that a peaceful and stable Afghanistan is an absolute prerequisite for stability and peace in Pakistan. He reminded the audience that Pakistan was the first to suffer at the hands of strife in Afghanistan and would be the first to benefit from peace in Afghanistan. However, the solution to Afghanistan’s problem lay inside Afghanistan. “It has to come from Afghans and has to be led by Afghans themselves.” Referring to the improvements made in ties with India, a fellow Commonwealth country, Gilani said Pakistan has made tremendous strides in building a constructive relationship with India. “We have made significant progress on trade and economic cooperation and are in the process of granting MFN status to India despite hurdles. We have started the dialogue process with India,” Gilani said, before adding that Pakistan wanted to resolve all outstanding issues with India, including that of “Jammu and Kashmir, through an uninterrupted, meaningful and result-oriented dialogue.” British Member of Parliament Julian Brazier said the presence of many British parliamentarians at the reception spoke of the high value that his country attaches to relations with Pakistan. He said Britain is serious in strengthening relations with Pakistan. Pakistan’s High Commissioner to UK Wajid Shamsul Hassan said Pakistan-UK relations were time tested and have grown from strength to strength. He expressed the hope that under the guidance of Prime Minister Gilani, Pakistan could overcome all challenges.

Nawaz, Mumtaz for using ‘Sindh card’

Adviser to Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah on media Sharmila Faruqi on Wednesday criticised Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) chief Nawaz Sharif and Sindh National Front (SNF) chief Mumtaz Bhutto for using the ‘Sindh card.’ In a statement, she asked them not to try to become the ‘champion of the interests of the people of Sindh.’ Faruqi was of the view that Nawaz Sharif and Mumtaz Bhutto were not sincere with the people of Sindh yet these two were shedding “crocodile’s tears” and that they would not be in a position to deceive the people anymore. She said that the 180 million people of Pakistan are with the present democratic government. Faruqi further stated that the government ensured equal distribution of resources to the provinces through the National Finance Commission (NFC) Award and that it also brought to an end the anti-Sindh Kalabagh Dam project. She also flayed those who were criticising President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani without any justification. Faruqi was of the view that such elements were targeting the present democratic government just to hide their own corruption.

Ajmal Khattak : cherta che baran de Khday..Gulzar Alam

Five injured after two bombs go off at Ajmal Khattak’s under-construction mausoleum

The Express Tribune
Two successive blasts at the under construction mausoleum of former Awami National Party chief Ajmal Khattak on Grand Trunk Road, Akora Khattak, in Nowshera left five people injured, officials said on Wednesday evening. According to details, Nowshera police were trying to clear people gathered at the site of a bomb explosion at the under construction mausoleum of Ajmal Khattak. As the people, and journalists were being asked to leave, another improvised explosive device (IED) exploded in the same graveyard. Five people including three journalists were injured. “Chaos broke after the second explosion took place,” Siddique, an eyewitness told The Express Tribune. “Neither the police nor journalists went close to the area after the explosion.” An official of the bomb disposal unit said that around four kilograms of explosives were used to carry out the first attack while approximately a two kilogram IED caused the second explosion. Nowshera police said that investigations were still underway into the incident. Condemnations from various factions and sectors poured in. The injured were rushed to District Headquarters Nowshera hospital. Earlier, a bomb went off at the under-construction mausoleum of famous Pushto poet and a former Member National Assembly, late Ajmal Khattak on Grand Trunk (GT) road, Akora Khattak area of Nowshera, badly damaging the structure. No loss of life was reported in the incident, and no group has claimed responsibility for the attack thus far. Police have arrested the guard of the building and are currently interrogating him. Police said that initially five armed people approached the under construction building of the mausoleum and over-powered the guard. He was tied with a rope before the armed men placed explosive devices inside the building which went off with a big bang. Up to 80 per cent of the mausoleum was damaged. “They were five people who came to the area and planted bombs there and fled the area after the explosion,” said a police official of the local police station while talking to The Express Tribune. The provincial government had provided a Rs10 million grant for the construction of building at the grave of late Ajmal Khattak. The grave is situated along the main Grand Trunk (GT) road in a graveyard. They said that the move was aimed at creating unrest among the local people. Ajmal Khattak was the former president of Awami National Party (ANP) and a former MNA. He died of illness on February 7, 2010 in Peshawar. Last month, an anonymous threatening letter was found at the shrine of Sakhi Sarwar in Dera Ghazi Khan which warned of ‘dire consequences’ if some rituals were not abolished. Security was beefed up after the letter was received. Similarly, a letter was received last year followed by two terrorist attacks at the shrine that killed more than 55 people and injured over 150. Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan had claimed responsibility for the attacks.