Sunday, May 13, 2012

Afghanistan: Militant Attacks on Education As Violence Climbs
Afghanistan's United Nations mission condemned "anti-Government elements" in the country for using education as a political platform after a recent spate of violent attacks on education officials and institutions by insurgents. The UN Afghanistan Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (Unama) said Sunday it was seriously concerned over the recent attacks which violated Afghan children and "their right to education". Education is not a new battle ground in Afghanistan, with the Taliban's tactic of threatening harm to girls' schools and sending death notices to school teachers already well documented. Unama also said it has been monitoring "unacceptable levels of violence" over "the past year". However, a series of disconnected attacks across Afghanistan in the past week suggest that militants may be seeking to increase their power through the soft, but effective, target. The attacks include the assassination of education officials, poisoning water sources at girls' schools, the torching of a girls' school, and threatening harm to dozens of other schools if their doors remain open. "Unama condemns these attacks that aim to limit access to education and to intimidate civilians," the UN mission said in a released statement. "Unama also calls on the Government of Afghanistan and international military forces to ensure that effective security measures are in place to protect schools, students and teachers." UNAMA's calls for greater security follow those of Afghan lawmakers from the eastern Afghan province Ghazni. Ghazni MPs said in a Parliamentary session on April 30 that as many as 100 schools of the provinces 633 total had been closed at some point recently because of threats. Once a school reopens, some students do not return out of fear, making it difficult to renew classes and keep the school going, according to Ministry of Education official Attahullah Wahedyar. Afghan President Hamid Karzai made a public statement on May 5 in a radio address about the impact of school closures on the country. He called on militants who threatened schools to recognise they were ultimately harming Afghanistan's future, not their political enemies. A day later, gunmen fired upon a boys' school in Ghazni. Three students were wounded in the attack, the target of which remains unclear. But intimidation may have been the only aim. Insurgents in Afghanistan's far eastern Nangarhar province took intimidation to a new level when they set a girls' school alight in the Khogyani district on May 7. Taking lives was not the intention as the torching took place at around 10pm at night, but the incident, which seriously damaged the school property, followed threats that had closed as many as 10 schools in the district for a few days. The local Taliban had threatened to harm the schools if one of their own was not released from detention. Local officials had just ordered the schools reopen on the Monday. The torching took place Monday night. On May 8, as many as nine education officials were killed in two separate incidents on opposite sides of the country. Five education officials were killed and six others were wounded in a militant ambush on Tuesday afternoon while they were visiting schools in southeast Paktika province, which borders Pakistan. Meanwhile, four provincial education directors and five Afghan police were killed in a remote-controlled bomb blast late Tuesday in the western Farah province, which shares a border with Iran. On May 9, local officials in northern Balkh province told TOLOnews that as many as 100 schoolgirls and eight school teachers were taken to hospital after a suspected poisoning of the school's water source. It came only three weeks after a similar incident in the north-eastern Takhar province which saw 150 schoolgirls fall ill. Investigations into both tainted-water events remain inconclusive. Unama denounced these tactics as a violation of international humanitarian law, and the right to education, but is powerless to stop it.

Shahbaz Sharif’s jugglery

So hilarious is this jugglery of Shahbaz Sharif
. Not a day goes by when he doesn't rail against the "rulers" of doing this or not doing that, debunking them for pushing the country to the brink. But is he the manager of a coffee shop, not the chief minister of Punjab, the nation's most populous province and a formidable entity politically? Or, does he think he is a "ruler" who is exceptional and poles apart from the others in incumbency at the centre and in the provinces?But Punjab is definitely no island of opulence, progress and prosperity. It is echoing with public discontent and despondency as loudly as are the other parts of the land. Indeed, his watch has seen things happening that had earlier happened not. The people are horrified seeing government schools functioning on the streets and even in graveyards and colleges running in such unimaginable premises as vacated jail cells. Terribly, the province's rural landscape stays strewn with state-run schools, having no building, no furniture, no toilets, not even drinking water. And even the urban Punjab has scores of schools with dilapidated buildings. And the province still boasts of hundreds of ghost schools that stay as such even as he has been in office for more than four years.He makes so much of his daanish school contrivance. But where is the wisdom that you let the whole state schooling infrastructure to rot and build a school or two for the talented poor? What kind of a priority indeed is this that you secure the future of a select few and let the budding talent of a huge lot of students enrolled on the vast state schooling system get smothered and snuffed out? What kind of populism is this for which the future of millions of students studying in government schools is ruined and ransacked?He crows deafeningly about his unmistakably politically-motivated populist laptop bonanza. But the people all around are crying foul, smelling too much of rat in the scheme where the lucky awardees are handed over the laptop in a bag bearing his full portrait in big size on the front. And it is either he himself or his family members who award these laptops to the winners at gaudy functions whose bill is paid out from the state exchequer as is the price of laptops. And yet he has the audacity to feign as if he is not from amongst the rulers, whose filching of the state money for personal enrichment and political aggrandisement he is so enamoured of recounting at the drop of a hat. Ironically, he has lately taken to joining and leading the protest marches of demonstrators against the painful power load-shedding that has ruined the nation's economy and is playing havoc with the people's daily lives. But when would he start participating in the demonstrations of Punjab's young doctors who are often on the street in protest against his unfulfilled pledges to review and revise their deplorable service conditions? When would he become part of protest of his domain's police-brutalised nurses and lady health workers lamenting the raw deal being dealt to them by his own administration? And when would he start leading the street marches of district administrations' employees who are sour that his government is not regularly releasing their salaries? There indeed is too much of perfidy to his "rulers" chant. But he surely is failing to deflect the people's attention from his own debacles, foibles and falls. Ask the bereaved families of those felled by the killer dengue fever or the contaminated medication of the Lahore cardiology facility. The people died and he looked on listlessly, only trying to pass the buck on to others for the casualties that fell like autumn leaves on his own domain. He may yelp giddily, Ali Baba and 40 thieves. But the people are least amused. And that generation is still alive and in its prime of life that heard the stunning stories of staggering bank-loans write-offs and devastating bursting of cooperative societies in the mid-1990s when the Sharif Inc. was at its political peak. The people are anyway not impressed by his political rhetoric. They hold him as inept, as incompetent and as incapable as they view Zardari, Gilani, Hoti or Riasani. They see no difference in them all. They hold them all as the chips of the same block. Shahbaz should know this. His "rulers" chant will come of no avail to him. He stands as discredited in the public estimation as do all others.

Zia remnants misguiding people

Sindh Information Minister Shazia Marri, while criticising Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz chief Mian Nawaz Sharif and his brother, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, alleged they were misguiding the people.Talking to the media at New Sindh Secretariat on Thursday, Marri said that those who used to chant Punjab nationalist slogans were now chanting the slogans of democracy, adding that the remnants of General Zia were misguiding the people. She claimed that Nawaz Sharif was performing ‘publicity stunts’ to gain power.Talking about the recent merger of the PML-N and Sindh National Front (SNF) of Sindh veteran politician Mumtaz Ali Bhutto, she said the PML-N was now accepting those people who used to call themselves ‘nationalists’ in the past. She claimed that Mumtaz Bhutto had never even respected the slain PPP leader, Benazir Bhutto, adding that such people were unsuccessful in politics.She said that all efforts against democracy would end in vain as it was restored with the blood of the workers of PPP. She said that PPP co-chairman and President of Pakistan Asif Ali Zardari did his best to continue with the BB’s ‘reconciliation policy’, but the people who did not understand politics would never learn. She said that PPP had always believed in the sovereignty of the country, adding that the sacrifices of the workers of the party were in front of everyone.The minister said that they were expecting hundreds of thousands of people on their public gathering at Kamo Shaheed on May 12. Talking about electricity load shedding crisis, she accepted that entire country was facing energy crisis and it was not restricted to any region or city.

Urdu another attraction for Pashto writers

Amir Hamza Khan Shinwari, a famous Pushtun poet of the 20th century, once started this couplet in Urdu: ‘Laila nazar aata hai, Majnoon nazar aati hai…’ and the people in the mushaira began laughing at his wrong Urdu genders. But then he continued: ‘Duniya ka har naqsha ulta nazar aata hai’ and the audience quieted down pondering over the deeper meaning of Pashtun Baba’s wordplay. This incident shows that Pashto writers and poets have used Urdu as much fluidly as their mother tongue when it came to literature. This history goes back to early 16th century Sufi writer Pir Roshan from South Waziristan, who penned down the first ever Pashto book Khairul Bayan in an embellished prose style. Dr Tariq Rehman, an authority on Pakistani languages, quoting Dr Jameel Jalibi argues that one portion of Khairul Bayan is written in early Urdu script, proving that it was the first ever book to be written in Urdu. This was later followed by great works of the likes of Rahman Baba and Khushhal Khan Khattak in the 17th century and Qasim Ali Khan Afridi in 18th century who wrote a complete Diwan in Urdu. Urdu has been adopted by many masters of languages who are versatile and not limited to one language for their expression. The wider reach of Urdu today becomes added temptation for many Pashto writers to write in Urdu as well. And for Urdu speakers, this is a positive move too because it gives them an insight into the Pashto world. Karachi-based Pashtun fiction writer Tahir Afridi has five Pashto short-story collections to his credit, one of which titled Deedan was published in the late 90s. This short story collection was so well received in Urdu literary circles that it crossed over the border and reached New Delhi. To Afridi’s work, a critic in Delhi remarked that this was the first time he had seen inside the Pashtun psyche and social traditions through the eye of a Pashtun writer in such refined Urdu. But the role of Pashto for Urdu is more than to serve as a window into the Pashtun world. Urdu has also acted as the bridge between literature in other languages and Pashto. Pashto has borrowed many literary/creative genres from English, Arabic and Persian via Urdu. Had there been no bridge of Urdu language, perhaps Pashtun poets and writers would have been deprived of the best thought and imaginative modes of expression. Many literary genres from Persian, Arabic and English languages have also come to Pashto via Urdu, like the ghazal, nazm, qaseeda, rubai, short story, novel etc. So, any literary genre or trend that emerges in Urdu is immediately adopted by Pashtun poets and writers. The azad nazm and Japanese Haiku are some of the recent adoptions. Recently, translation of Urdu works into Pashto has also been taken up on a large scale. Great Urdu poets and fiction writers like Allama Iqbal, Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Krashan Chander and Saadat Hassan Manto have been converted into Pushto. Hamdullah Rahi, a young poet from Talash, Dir Lower, launched the translation of Ghalib’s Diwan in 2011 which took him a laborious five years. But the flow is not one-way. Pashto writers have also inspired translations into Urdu. The complete Diwan of Rahman and selected poems of Khushhal Baba have been rendered into Urdu by Professor Taha Khan. And as a result of this two-way flow, Urdu today is being adopted by Pashto writers in a greater frequency than ever. Urdu literature has scaled the heights of success in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa both in substance and style. Today Pashtun poets, fictionist and prose writers are writing on almost every topic and are expressing in all literary genres in Urdu with great ease and comfort. Even young Pashtun Urdu poets and fiction writers are devoting their full time to expression in Urdu. Syed Zubair Shah, a rising short storywriter, who recently published his maiden collection of Urdu short stories, explained: “Even though my mother tongue is Pashto, I want to be read and understood by a large audience. And I find that Urdu diction and expression is fluent and easy and gives one many options for expression as it has a vast treasure of words and phrases.”A certain softness to Urdu expression and its vivid imagery attracts many Pashto writers. “I feel very comfortable expressing myself in Urdu verse. Urdu is rich in imagery so there is much space for competition. And I get the best of both worlds because Urdu critics as well as Pashtun audience like my poetry. I think my contribution has been to add a Pashtun poetic thought to Urdu,” explained Maqbool Aamir, another senior Urdu poet from Bannu. And then Urdu has been a source of inspiration to modernise Pashto literature. With the popularisation of Urdu language and literature, Pashtun poets and writers also did away with the old traditional style by adopting new ideas in their writings. As a result, a large of number of Urdu newspapers and bilingual literary magazines made great progress in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Among them, Qand and Afghan were prominent and even gained popularity in India for their unique expression thus truly allowing Pushto writers to access a much wider audience than they would have in Pashto. “Urdu has made lot of progress during the last few decades,” explained Owais Qarni, a young poet. He added: “I write in Urdu because I feel like I can express myself well in it. I have exhausted Pashto classical poetry reading the writings of Rahman Baba and Khushhal Baba, but there is a sea of ideas and images in Urdu to explore. Urdu is not limited to one society and has helped us to be understood by others.” And in this positive interaction, both Pashtu and Urdu have evolved, and Pushtun people have utilised Urdu in making their identity known widely besides enriching the Urdu literature with their literary-cum-socio-political thought.

Afghanistan: Successful Young People Leaving Kandahar
Dozens of talented and successful youths are departing to other areas of Afghanistan or abroad, which has created a wider gap of capable individuals in the southern province of Kandahar. The troubled province is facing lack of capable youths who are able to incur positive changes and play vital role in development. Experts acknowledge if the problem persisted it could literally have bad consequences. They recommend Civil Society and Afghan government for a sustainable solution as soon as possible. Pre- Suar revolution in Afghanistan, graduates mainly worked in their related provinces, or at least inside the country, said Niak Mohammad, a veteran teacher. He says, at that time people had the feeling of love and devotion to the country, but now it has either vanished or decreased considerably. “There was a time when graduates would keenly work either in related provinces or somewhere else in the country, but not abroad,” he added. As education is now provided free of charge in Afghanistan, like so many other regimes, Hence, it is their responsibility to serve for the soil where they are trained and educated. Experts assume if talented and successful people reside and work for their own province it will maximally solve the slow work procedure caused due to lack of creative people. Previously, not only government would fulfill it’s responsibility to provide work opportunities within each province but people were devoted and had love for their residence to serve it honestly, but the feelings have been vanished, say experts. Cultural activist and professor at Kandahar University, Hayatullah Rafiqi says for the previous generations morale factors were more important than materials and youths would spend their energy on development of their own states. “Graduates would go to other parts of Afghanistan from Kandahar, while all positions were filled,” he said. Despite the fact that devotion to country has decreased but a considerable number of people are hopeful for a helpful solution. “When there was security all positions were filled,” he added, “one reason for this was that government would provide job opportunities and this would grow keenness to serve within their related states; and this would prevent them departing to other parts of Afghanistan.” While many move off from Kandahar in quest of work, but some are departing due to promotions, which according to some is rather beneficial. The concern is over that category that could find jobs within their native states but still move off abroad or to other parts of the country. “This could have both good and adverse side effects,” said Abdul Nafi Sana, who is from Kandahar and currently work and reside in Kabul, “Because if they are move due to a promotion it is good.” According to his point of view, many youths are not willingly leaving Kandahar but they are forced due to security problems. “I know many who left Kandahar because of security problems, but have returned back when it got comparatively good,” he added. In general expert say that sending talented individuals out of province or to abroad could cause shortage in the number of creative people that could make shaky the overall progress of the state. They say it’s their responsibility to serve where they are trained and have studied.

Hamid Karzai Announces New Phase of Transition, Peace Process Suffers Another Blow

It seems Afghan President Hamid Karzai just can't win.
On a day meant to showcase the strength of the country's armed forces -- with an announcement that the next phase of the transition from NATO foces would eventually see 75 percent of the country under Afghan control -- a high profile assassination served as a grim reminder that the war is far from over. video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player Phase Three, or Tranche Three as it was announced, will see the transition of 122 more districts across the country to Afghan command. Included in the transition is the full handover of Kapisa, Uruzgan, and Parwan provinces. The French currently maintain a force of 3,400 soldiers in Kapisa. Afghan officials said the third phase of transition could take as little as six months. Handing over control to Afghan security will allow French president elect Francois Hollande to make good on his promise to pull his troops out by the end of the year. Phase three of the transition also includes handing control of provincial capitals across the country to local security. It's a significant move for Afghanistan's 330,000-member security forces, who have been dogged by a wide range of criticism, including cronyism, ineptitude, and divided loyalties. NATO and its allies were quick to boast. "Tranche III! Tranche III! Tranche III!!!" The U.S. Embassy in Kabul tweeted as soon as the announcement was made. Other leaders praised the training and preparedness of the Afghan army. The transition "is a testament to the capacity and capability of the Afghan National Security Force" said U.S. Gen. John Allen, the commander of all international forces in Afghanistan."Afghanistan continues to move forward in security the sovereign future of their country," he said. "This is another step in bringing the hope of greater prosperity to the Afghan people." But even as U.S. officials celebrated that new hope, the increasing menace of an insurgency that shows no signs of abating cast its shadow once again, this time, striking at the very heart of Karzai's vision for peace. A high ranking member of Karzai's hand-picked High Peace Council -- the body charged with spear-heading reconciliation with the Taliban -- was gunned down in broad daylight. Arsala Rahmani, a former deputy minister under the Taliban regime, was on his way to work when his car was stopped in traffic. According to Kabul's police chief, an unidentified gunman pulled up in a Toyota Corolla, and fired a single shot from a firearm equipped with a silencer. The bullet pierced Rahmani's arm, then entered his chest. The attack was so precise -- and so sudden -- that his own driver wasn't sure Rahmani had been hit. He later died in hospital. Rahmani was seen as a key figure in luring the Taliban to the negotiating table. In 2011, the Karzai administration arranged for his removal from a U.N. blacklist, allowing him to serve in an official capacity on the High Peace Council. As a former deputy minister, he maintained contact with several high-level Taliban leaders, and expressed hope that the Taliban could eventually be convinced to end their decade-long insurgency. Initial speculation about responsibility for the attack fell to the Taliban, who had announced that they would target High Peace Council members as part of their annual "spring offensive." But in mild surprise, a Taliban spokesman today denied responsibility, saying the insurgent group wasn't responsible for Rahmani's death. It marks the second time in just the last few months that an influential member of the High Peace Council has been assassinated. Burhanuddin Rabbani, the head of the council, was assassinated last September by a man carrying a bomb in his turban. Rahmani's killing, carried out in daring fashion with the assailant still unknown, is another setback for Karzai, who has maintained that the only way to a lasting peace in Afghanistan is for the insurgency to end.

President Obama’s tough sales job on the economy

Public opinion on President Obama’s top economic accomplishments during his first term in office is strongly divided in new polling done by the Washington Post and ABC News — a split that reflects the difficulty he will have running this fall solely on the strength of what he has done in office to improve the country’s financial standing. People line-up to enter a fundraising event for President Obama on Thursday in Seattle. Forty-seven percent of registered voters have a favorable opinion of Obama’s $787 billion economic stimulus package, while 49 percent view it unfavorably. Forty-eight percent of registered voters regard increased regulation of the financial sector by the Obama Administration favorably, while 45 percent see it unfavorably. The bailout of the auto industry is the most popular of the trio of economic accomplishments, with 49 percent of registered voters viewing it favorably as opposed to 44 percent who rate it unfavorably. That none of Obama’s major economic proposals garner majority support has to be worrisome for the president and his political team, who recognize that the incumbent’s stewardship of the economy will be the critical issue for many undecided voters in this election. While Obama has already begun the effort to raise questions in voters’ minds about former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney’s approach to the struggling economy — the thrust of the Obama argument is that his opponent wants to go backward, not forward — that negative message alone may not be enough to convince undecided voters to give the incumbent another four years. For Obama to win a second term, he will almost certainly have to pair the “Romney is wrong” message with an “I was right” message — proving that some of the policies he put in place have begun to make things better. The stimulus is clearly a dead end in that regard. Just 44 percent of electorally critical independents see the legislation in a favorable light, while 50 percent regard it unfavorably. Interestingly, the stimulus also draws the most divergent responses from the two party bases. Seventy-four percent of Democrats view it favorably, and 80 percent of Republicans regard it unfavorably. That, of course, likely has more to do with the message wars around the issue than what the stimulus law actually does (or doesn’t do). Both the regulation of the financial sector (51 percent) and the auto bailout (52 percent) garner majority support among independents, although neither is winning such a large majority that would make running on it a no-brainer for Obama. The campaign seems to have decided that its best bet in terms of a positive economic message is the auto bailout; it was mentioned in the first 60-second positive ad the campaign ran and is now featured in its latest commercial. But, even in those ads, the challenge of selling a positive economic message at a time of ongoing economic anxiety is apparent. “We’re not there yet,” says the ad’s narrator. “It’s still too hard for too many. But we’re coming back.” Selling that comeback will be central to Obama’s chances this fall. And these poll numbers suggest it will be no easy sell. Obama fundraises off gay marriage position: The Obama campaign appeared to try and raise money off the president’s embrace of gay marriage on Thursday. The Obama campaign sent supporters a text message with the following missive: “If you’re proud of our president, this is a great time to make a donation to the campaign.” It then provided a link to help them donate money. It’s not clear that the “proud” reference was made in connection with the gay marriage switch, but logic would suggest that’s the case. Romney’s campaign said Thursday that it would be inappropriate to raise money off the issue. “You know, I don’t think the matter of marriage is really a fundraising matter either for the president — it’s certainly not for me. I don’t know what our figures look like,” Romney told Fox News. “I hope the issue as tender and sensitive that the marriage issue is not a source of fundraising for either of us.”

Clinton, Nooyi, Sonia among 'World's most powerful moms'

The list released by Forbes ahead of World Mother's Day on Sunday placed 64-year-old Clinton at No 1.US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was named No 1 in the World s 20 Most Powerful Moms list which also ranked India-born Indra Nooyi at the 3rd spot and Indian ruling Congress party chairperson Sonia Gandhi at No 6, US media reported on May 13 that is international day to give tribute to mothers.The list released by Forbes ahead of World Mother s Day on Sunday placed 64-year-old Clinton, who has one of the world s biggest jobs in hand, at No 1.The list chosen from diverse spheres of government, business, entertainment and philanthropy, ranked 64-year-old Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff at the second position.56-year-old Nooyi, PepsiCo chairperson and a mother of two, has been placed at the 3rd position. She says if her kids call in the middle of a meeting, she takes the call.65-year-old Sonia, mother of Priyanka and Rahul, was ranked ahead of US First Lady Michelle Obama (ranked 7) and Myanmar s democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi (ranked 20).According to the magazine, the power-moms must develop unique strategies to succeed in both boardrooms and playrooms.Forbes Woman analysed the annual list of the world s 100 most powerful women - based on money-control, decision-making power and multiple measures of influence--and teased out the moms who are at the top of their game.The list also figured Melinda Gates, co-founder of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of International Monetary Fund and Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook.

Shahbaz is a hatemonger

Punjab Governor Latif Khosa Saturday blamed Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif for inciting the masses against the federal government, adding that Shahbaz is backing the violence in the province. Talking to reporters in Lahore, Khosa said Shahbaz was backtracking from his statement made during the National Energy Conference as Shahbaz Sharif had praised the PM’s initiatives regarding the solution of the energy crisis. He said all the decisions were made during the conference with the mutual consensus of provinces and federal government, adding that the Punjab government was running its affairs illegally. He said Shahbaz wanted to damage the center by leading the violent protest against the federal government in Punjab, adding that the incumbent government wants democracy in the country. He warned Shahbaz that Punjab government would collapse with in no time, if sued in the High court. He said with the willingness of all four provincial ministers the decisions were made during the energy conference. Accepting the reality of American and NATO forces strength, Khosa said giving free hand to any other country in Afghanistan was against national interest.

Afghanistan announces security transition

The Afghan government says it is taking the lead from the U.S.-led coalition for providing security in areas that will eventually make up 75 percent of the country's population. Ashraf Ghani, who is head of a commission overseeing the transition to Afghan-led security, announced Sunday a list of areas where Afghan forces will take the lead from foreign troops. He said this stage, the third in the transition process, should be complete in about six months. Earlier stages put Afghans in control of areas representing 50 percent of Afghanistan's population of more than 30 million. The transition process is a key part of NATO's exit strategy from Afghanistan. The fifth and last stage is to be completed by the end of 2014 — when most foreign combat troops will leave.

Shahbaz unconstitutional CM

Punjab Governor Latif Khosa has said that the Sharifs would be convicted if Supreme Court gave verdict in Mehran Bank case. Talking to the newsmen after attending 4th convocation of King Edward Medical University as a chief guest on Saturday, he said that the Sharifs would not only be punished but also disappear from the political horizon forever. Khosa said that Shahbaz Sharif was an unconstitutional Chief Minister and had no seat in Bhakhar or Rawalpindi. “We believe in democracy and want continuity of democratic process. I can reject all Chief Minister’s summaries on the ground of his unconstitutional and unlawful status,” he said. To a question about Nato supply, the Governor said that civil and military leadership would collectively decide this issue according to the aspirations and wishes of the people of the country. “Our top most priority is the dignity and independence of the country and its countrymen. A person who is holding the top government office of the province is involved in a procession of agitation. In fact the CM is hatching a conspiracy against the democracy under the umbrella of protests,” he said. Earlier, addressing the passing out graduates of King Edward Medical University, the Governor said, “We can eliminate illiteracy and poverty by acquiring education as it is the only strong and solid base in which we can erect a stable edifice of prosperous nation.” He further said, “We should impart such education which could make students job creators instead of job seekers.” The Governor told the graduates that acquiring degrees was not enough and they should come up to the expectations of the poor, needy and deserving patients by offering their skills and expertise. “Today you enter a new phase of life. Your education has prepared you well but it is now up to you to harness the skills you have acquired and gain more knowledge to make this world a better, more humane, tolerant and just place,” he said. He also announced grant of Rs 30 million for the university. Later, the Governor distributed 262 degrees among fresh graduates while 41 degrees to the students who completed their M Phil. 36 position holder students received their gold medals. On this occasion, a female student Ms Anam Afsar received five Gold and three Silver Medals including Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani Best All Rounder Graduate Gold Medal of the year.

Peshawar blast,Nine hurt

At least nine people including a minor and three policemen were injured as a bomb exploded on Ring Road near Mal Mandi, Geo News reported. The attack targeting a police check post was planted in bushes. Law enforcement agencies cordoned off the area. The injured were shifted to the Lady Reading Hospital for treatment, where the condition of a policeman was said to be critical. According to an official of the Bomb Disposal Squad, 5-6 kg of explosives were used in the bomb that completely destroyed the police picket.

Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa: A woman of substance

The Express Tribune
As Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa police fights its fierce battle against militancy, women officers stand shoulder-to-shoulder with their male colleagues. Some, like Shazia Gul, pay the ultimate price for their courage. Her family was fully aware of the perils of the job, but for them her wish to die for the country was enough reason to pledge all their support. And die in the line of duty, she did. Shazia Gul, 25, became the first policewoman to die in the ongoing fight against militancy in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa when she was killed in a bomb blast on May 10, 2011, in the cantonment city of Nowshera, about 35 kilometers (22 miles) east of provincial capital Peshawar. The one-kilogramme bomb, which went off outside the District and Sessions Court in one of the province’s largest cities, killed her, a police constable and an unidentified passerby on the spot. According to police records, 10 others were wounded. The bomb had been planted in a canister at the main entrance to the court. Situated close to several military installations and government buildings, the court is considered vulnerable to militant attacks and therefore secured by dozens of policemen who stop passersby at checkpoints and give them pat-downs. For Shazia, who attentively stood guard outside the court, it was another day in her strife-torn town. The police had stopped a van for a routine security check in the court’s parking lot. The blast occurred as Shazia inspected the bag of a woman passenger of the van. Shazia was born in Pir Piyai, a small village in Nowshera District, in 1986. Her father Sher Dad Khan was a retired army officer who had fought in the 1965 and 1971 wars. “It was my husband’s wish that Shazia become a police officer,” Shazia’s mother, Najma Bibi, says. An apt profession, it seems, for Shazia had inherited her father’s gallantry and patriotism. “Pakistan is our homeland and we will live and die for it,” she would often say. After she finished training in Hangu, she was recruited by the provincial police force on May 22, 2005, in Nowshera. Choosing a vocation women are rarely allowed to, Shazia was enthusiastic about her work despite the dangers that came with it. This was due in no small part to the upbringing she received at home and her fervent belief in the nobility of her mission. “I’m proud of my daughter. She was a woman of courage who embraced martyrdom for her country and set an example for others,” says Najma, as she wipes tears. As fearless as she was, Shazia was also considerate. Her colleague Rozeena remembers Shazia as a kind person who never fought with anyone. Shazia, who had been married barely two years, left behind her nine-month-old son Zainullah and her visibly heartbroken but proud husband Muhammad Fayyaz. “She was very brave and very caring,” Fayyaz says. “I knew the perils of her job but I never asked her to leave because she wanted to live and die for others. And Allah fulfilled her wish,” he says, breaking down. Shazia’s mother embodies the courage that explains why it was her daughter who broke societal barriers, fighting more than just gender discrimination on the job. Her daughter isn’t the only sacrifice this mother living in the eye of the storm has made. In 2009, she lost her son Misri Khan, an employee of the paramilitary Frontier Constabulary force, who was killed in an attack in Ghallanai, Mohmand Agency. In Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, every other family has a similar story to tell. The wave of terrorism that has engulfed the country, shattering peace and destroying families, has hit this province the hardest. Thousands have lost loved ones and, because of the very nature of their work, law enforcers have borne the brunt of the attacks. But these militants, who have wreaked destruction in the name of religion, have failed to sway the common man in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. The belief that terrorists have no faith is widespread in the province. “Their only agenda is to spread devastation and destruction,” says Najma. “The Quran teaches us that killing one human being is equivalent to killing the whole of humanity, but these people are brutally killing innocent men and women, especially police personnel.” Shazia now rests in her ancestral graveyard in Charbagh village. A courageous officer, an obedient daughter, a loving wife and a caring mother, Shazia’s sacrifice is emblematic of the valour of police officers in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa who are determined to defeat the plague of militancy, come what may.