Long Live BhuttoismDismissed PM Yousaf Gilani’s son Abdul Qadir Gilani wins against independent candidate. According to the unofficial results Abdul Qadir Gilani bagged 64,628 votes and Shoukat Hayat Boson got 60,532 votes. Shoukat Hayat Boson was an independent candidate but he enjoyed the support of PML-N, PTI and Jamaat-e-Islami. All eyes were focused today on Multan NA-151 elections, as its result could determine the future political trends in the country. NA-151 seat was vacated after the Supreme Court of Pakistan disqualified former PM Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani. It was virtually a contest between PPP on the one side and all political forces on the other. The main candidates were the former prime minister’s son Abdul Qadir Gilani who represented Pakistan People’s Party and Shaukat Hayat Khan Bosan, who enjoyed the informal support of both Pakistan Muslim League-N, JI Pakistan and Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaaf. PTI President Javed Hashmi and Vice Chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi also used their influence in the favour of the independent candidate Bosan. Other candidates contesting the by-election were Abdul Mateen Qureshi, Dr Aleem Chaudhry, Mehr Ghulam Shabbir Sial, Shehla Shaheen Advocate, Muhammad Husnain Khan Bosan, Muhammad Amil Yousuf Jutt, Muhammad Abbas and Nawaz Muhammad Iqbal Khan. The seat fell vacant when the former prime minister, Yousuf Raza Gilani was declared disqualified by the Supreme Court of Pakistan.
Thursday, July 19, 2012
The Express TribuneAuthorities have declared that they are unwilling to extend the stay of almost three million Afghans residing in Pakistan beyond December 2012. In an exclusive interview with The Express Tribune on Monday, Habibullah Khan, the secretary for the Ministry of States and Frontier Regions (Safron), a body that deals with Afghan refugees, said that Pakistani and Afghan agencies are negotiating among each other on the repatriation of 2.7 million refugees. Official statistics show that 1.7 million Afghans residing in Pakistan hold legal documents issued by local authorities. While around one million are residing here without any legal documentation. It is reported that authorities are planning to launch a crackdown to expel all illegal refugees that the country hosted for over three decades. “One million illegal refugees would be treated under the Foreign Act of 1946,” he said. “We plan to expel all the illegal refugees from the start of next year…there is no way that we can extend their stay here.” Pakistan and Iran have been hosting refugees since the 1979 Russian invasion. The countries prepared a roadmap for the repatriation at a conference held in Geneva in May this year. The three countries have been running the repatriation programme for Afghan refugees with the financial and technical assistance of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR). Statistics show there had been a consistent decline in the number of individuals returning to Afghanistan under a programme of voluntary repatriation assisted by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR). As many as 4.6 million Afghan refugees have been repatriated under the programme since it started in 2002. The registered population living in Pakistan comprises 52.6% males and 47.4% females. Eighty-five per cent Afghans are Pakhtuns hailing from Nangarhar, Kabul, Kunduz, Logar, Paktia, Kandahar and Baghlan areas while the rest are Uzbeks and Tajiks. Khyber-Pukhtunkhwa (K-P) hosts the largest of the refugee populace estimated at around 62.1%, followed by 20.3% in Balochistan, 11% in Punjab, 4.2% in Sindh, 2% in the federal capital and 0.4% in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK). The official figures revealed only 40.6% Afghans live in the villages or camps set up for the refugees while 59.4% are settled across Pakistan in both the rural and urban areas and earn livelihood through means other than funding by the United Nations. In a survey conducted, 56% of the returnees are reported to be Pakhtuns. 26% of the refugees prefer Kabul as their most favoured destination followed by 20% who opted for Nangarhar. According to Khan, Pakistan would allow students, vulnerable persons like unattended widows and orphans and some businessmen to stay here on their visa until they finish their pressing assignments. Khan added that the Afghan authorities have expressed willingness to receive as many refugees from Pakistan as they can and hoped most would be leaving the country within the given deadline.
http://rt.comIn a telephone call between Presidents Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama, the leaders expressed the coinciding view that a political solution must be reached for ending the violence in Syria, while admitting that differences between them remain. "Differences in approaches remain (between Washington and the Kremlin) concerning the practical steps in achieving a settlement," presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters following the Putin-Obama call. The Russian and American leaders spoke after a bomb attack Wednesday killed four high-ranking members of President Bashar al-Assad's inner circle. The attack came one day before the UN Security Council is set to vote on whether to extend the mandate of the UN observer mission in Syria, which expires on Friday. The unarmed UN observers were granted 90 days to monitor the situation on the ground in Syria, evaluating the implementation of Kofi Annan’s six-point peace plan. Russia and the US have competing views on how to extend the 300-member UN mission. Moscow is opposed to imposing sanctions against Syria, saying that to do so would be tantamount to supporting the aims of the rebels. Meanwhile, Moscow, imploring the West not to take sides in the Syria crisis, continues to practice what it preaches as Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov met with prominent Syrian opposition activist Michel Kilo in Moscow on July 9. The negotiation process continued two days later when Lavrov met with Abdel Basset Sayda, the head of the oppositional Syrian National Council (SNC). Presidential aide Yuri Ushakov told reporters on Thursday that Russia's position "boils down to the thesis that pressure must be applied not only to Syrian authorities but to the opposition forces as well.” On the topic of the bomb blast in Damascus on Wednesday that killed four high-ranking officials, Ushakov said Russia reaffirmed its firm position that it "condemns terrorist attacks, whoever commits them." Concerning the conversation between Putin and Obama, the White House stressed the need for a coordinated political approach to ending the violence. "The two presidents noted the growing violence in Syria and agreed on the need to support a political transition as soon as possible that achieves our shared goal of ending the violence and avoiding a further deterioration of the situation," the White House said. Peskov said the conversation showed that Putin and Obama "have a coinciding view of the general situation in Syria (and agree) on the end goal of reaching a settlement." "President Obama also took the opportunity to express condolences on the tragic loss of life resulting from flooding in southern Russia earlier this month and reiterated the US readiness to provide assistance if needed," the White House statement said.
THORN IN THE SIDE:Saudi Shias feel they are treated as second-class citizens ANGER is rising in Saudi Arabia's Eastern Province after security forces arrested and wounded one of the government's harshest critics, a Shia cleric called Nimr al-Nimr. Two young men were shot dead in the protests that followed. This takes the total number of Saudis killed since the start of the Arab spring a year and a half ago to ten, all from the Shia minority that makes up about a tenth of the country's 27 million-odd people. Sheikh Nimr has long been a thorn in the side of the ruling family. A warrant for his arrest was first issued in 2009 after he said that if Saudi Shias were not allowed to "live with dignity", the eastern provinces should secede from the kingdom. Such talk is particularly inflammatory, since most of Saudi Arabia's oilfields are in the east. Yet he was not actually arrested. Security forces may have been mindful of the fact that some households in his town, Awamiyeh, were known to have stashes of guns smuggled in from Yemen and Iraq. Recently, however, the sheikh had again irked the ruling Al Saud family with a speech marking the death of the long-standing interior minister, Prince Nayef, who had also recently become the crown prince, as well as having been in charge of the religious police since 1975. The prince was hardly beloved by Saudi Arabia's Shias, who saw him as more hostile towards them than his gentler half-brother, King Abdullah. Saudi Shias feel they are treated as second-class citizens in a state that embodies a puritanical Sunni version of Islam. But the interior ministry dismisses unrest in the Eastern Province as "foreign meddling", a charge invariably laid against Iran, though Saudi Shias tend to revere Saudi or Iraqi clerics rather than Iranian ones. Prince Nayef was also a driving force behind last year's Saudi-led military intervention in neighbouring Bahrain, where protesters mainly from the Shia majority had been massing on the streets to demand more rights. The late prince's long-standing deputy and half-brother, Prince Ahmed bin Abdel Aziz, who has replaced him, is not generally seen as a bringer of change. But some Shia leaders look more hopefully to Prince Nayef's son, Muhammad, the deputy interior minister, who is admired in Western government circles for pioneering a rehabilitation programme for captured or surrendering jihadists. Sheikh Nimr told his followers in a posting on YouTube to celebrate Prince Nayef's death. Some young Shias even held parties. The sheikh said he was not afraid of being arrested and would even be willing to die if it helped his people to earn some dignity. The police soon responded, injuring him during his arrest. As pictures of his bloodied white robes circulated on social networking sites, young Saudi Shias took to the streets to shout for him and clashed with the police. Some Shia elders wish the sheikh had held his tongue. After all, it was too soon for changes at the interior ministry in the wake of Prince Nayef's death to have taken effect. And some Sunni dissidents sigh that the government thrives on the sort of provocative statements issued by Nimr, whom the Sunni majority in Saudi Arabia already finds easy to demonise. The arrest of the Saudi sheikh came two weeks after Bahrain's Saudi-backed security forces wounded another popular Shia cleric, Ali Salman, who was raked with birdshot as he addressed a clutch of flower-holding protesters outside his home. This peaceful gathering was unlicensed, so it was technically a crime. But the sheikh's shooting was likewise a response to a speech he had made a few days earlier, when he said that Bahrain's Shias had yet to display half of their power and could bring thousands onto the streets, dressed for death, at the drop of a fatwa. Salman's political group, Wefaq, won 45 per cent of the vote in parliamentary elections in 2010, enjoying roughly the same level of support as Egypt's powerful Muslim Brotherhood or the Islamists that won a general election in Tunisia. Yet Bahrain's government routinely dismisses it as a group of traitors in thrall to Iran. The Saudis say much the same of their eastern Shias. Pointing a finger at foreign plots is easier than accepting the need for reform at home. Read more: Violence troubles Saudi Arabia and Bahrain - Columnist - New Straits Times http://www.nst.com.my/opinion/columnist/violence-troubles-saudi-arabia-and-bahrain-1.109585#ixzz214NCN1xr
Zbigniew Brzezinski, former national security advisor to President Carter, says the rich are getting richer beyond any reasonable proportion and consequently the U.S. may be heading toward a social conflict.
http://www.arabianbusiness.comSaudi Arabia's population is the third most slothful in the world, new research has found, with 68.8 percent of adults failing to do enough physical exercise to keep themselves healthy. Only in Malta and Swaziland do adults exert themselves less than Saudi Arabia, and women in the Gulf state are the world’s least inactive females, according to data published in the Lancet medical journal. Kuwait and the UAE also rank in the top ten with 64.5 percent and 62.5 percent of adults respectively not meeting the recommended level of activity. Malta is the laziest country in the world with 71.9 percent of the population deemed inactive, while in Swaziland the proportion is 68.3 percent. Nine eastern Mediterranean countries featured in the list with those over 15-years old in Libya considered the most active of the region (45.8 percent inactive), ahead of Lebanon (46.8 percent), Iraq (58.4 percent) and the UAE (62.5 percent).
By Diego Laje and Corinna Liu, CNNAspiring Hong Kong musician Annabelle Cheng wants to be in America. "I think (Hong Kong) is a city that can be defined by business," said Cheng, who recently graduated from Baptist University in Hong Kong with a degree in religion and philosophy. "But the cost of living in a dynamic city is that you don't have your personal space." Living conditions in this crowded and hectic enclave are part of the reason Cheng wants to relocate to the U.S. "I really need that amount of time and space to think, to meditate, to get inspiration," said Cheng, who plans to save and apply for a post-graduate music program in the U.S. in two years. Cheng isn't alone. Despite the rising fortunes of Asia, the Pew Center released a report last month that shows Asians have surpassed Latinos as the largest group of immigrants to the United States. And university is often a gateway to residency: around half of Asian immigrants have a bachelor's degree or higher, compared to 13% of Hispanics, according to the report. "There have been many thousands upon thousands of Chinese students attracted to the U.S. for studies," said Yeung Yue-Man, Emeritus Professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong who specializes in development patterns. "This trend has been gathering pace for the last two decades since the Chinese have become better off than before, they have the means and they can afford the high tuition." China leads overseas applications to American university graduate programs, followed by India and South Korea, according to a report by the Council of Graduate Schools. Sean Luo first came to the U.S. in 2000 as a graduate student after working for a Chinese state-run telecommunications company. After earning his degree, he decided to stay. He attained permanent residency in 2006 and now runs his own telecommunications company in Los Angeles. "No matter who you are, chances (in the United States) are equal for everyone," said Luo, adding that as a first-generation American, there have been difficult adjustments. "For cultural reasons, it's not easy to get into the mainstream social circle." Although he occasionally thinks of returning to China, the growing cost of living and uncertain political climate keep him in the U.S. "Asian countries are the most populous, has more competition and less resources," Luo said. "We are just being rational to immigrate to the countries where there are less people and more resources." One entrepreneur who moved his family to Los Angeles said that he moved to give his children better educational opportunities. "China is not the best place to raise kids," said the 40-year-old man, who wants to remain anonymous so as not to jeopardize his business and family in China. As for himself, he left China feeling insecure in a society where government has the final say in everything. "Individuals should be protected by laws and everyone's commitment to obey laws," the entrepreneur said. "Everyone minds their own business here. Very few people like to judge others." It's a common reason for China's wealthy class to emigrate, he said. About half the Chinese millionaires polled last year said they are thinking of emigrating, with North America the top destination, according to a November Hurun Research Institute and Bank of China report. Another source of Chinese immigrants is investment. "In real estate, the recent Chinese [immigrants] are quite well off, they want to find places where they can park their investment," Yeung said. "U.S. cities have become quite attractive to Chinese investors to buy property," Yeung said. Cheng, the Hong Kong musician, says she has a lot of American friends coming to Hong Kong to look for opportunities. "At the moment, the economy in the U.S. is quite bad, compared to Hong Kong," Cheng said, "so I'm going to wait ... I think in two years the economy will boom again." Still, Cheng believes her prospects are greater across the Pacific. "This is more possible in the U.S. than in Hong Kong," Cheng said.
Dawn.comChaotic traffic in the provincial capital is causing road users a lot of stress but the relevant authorities have yet to put in place a reliable, effective traffic management system. Soon after its formation, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government announced construction of 11 overhead bridges and underpasses to manage traffic, but work could begin on two overhead bridges and two underpasses only. Work on two overhead bridges on GT Road and Courts Road has disrupted the entire traffic system to the misery of motorists, who usually cover a distance of 15 minutes in one hour during rush hours. However, traffic police are pessimistic about traffic management in view of the construction of two main overhead bridges in the city. Some traffic sergeants deployed on different roads told Dawn that overhead bridges or flyovers could bring positive change to traffic system but the problem was very complex in Peshawar mainly due to massive roadside encroachments and presence of illegal vehicles on the roads. They said a strong will was required to resolve the problem as local politicians didn’t let police take action against those responsible for messy traffic. “We launched campaigns against illegal vehicles, horse-driven carts and encroachments in collaboration with the relevant town municipal administrations but had to abandon them due to political interference,” a police officer said. He said four years ago, the government had announced 11 projects, including overhead bridges and underpasses, but it avoided them and work was initiated simultaneously on the two overhead bridges, two underpasses on University Road, sewerage lines and footpaths in different areas, which caused problems to motorists and pedestrians as well. For effectively controlling traffic chaos, the officer stressed the need for increasing traffic police manpower, closure of illegal bus and wagon stands, removal of encroachments, specification of designated bus stops, removal of illegal vehicles from Peshawar and grant of full authority to police to proceed against rule violators. According to the Regional Transport Authority (RTA) officials, no action against thousands of illegal vehicles plying the city roads was the major reason for traffic jams. They said despite a decision, the government could not restore the magisterial powers of the transport department to check traffic violations but all powers were with police officials, who generated money by not taking action against traffic rule breakers. However, RTA secretary Naseem Bacha told Dawn that the authority regularly examined route permits with transporters and responded to overcharging complaints. He said currently, there were 526 permit holder buses, 1146 minibuses on Peshawar roads but the actual number of vehicles might be higher. “The taxis with permit are 3,065 and 10626 auto-rickshaws only in Peshawar but the actual number is around 50,000,” Mr Shah said, adding that the rest of all rickshaws illegally plied the roads. The SSP traffic said police were doing best to regulate the traffic but the ongoing construction work had its impact on movement of the vehicles, saying traffic engineering had main role in the system. Peshawar Development Authority deputy director Shakeel said work on the Arbab Sikandar Khan Khalil overhead bridge at Gulbahar had been in progress and would be opened for traffic on August 14. He said its stipulated time was 24 months but the PDA completed it almost in 14 months. He said work on the Mufti Mehmood overhead bridge near Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly was also in progress and it would be completed until December 2013. He said there were some hurdles near Radio Pakistan building and Livestock Department, saying after completion of the projects, major issues of traffic in Peshawar would be solved. He said the groundbreaking ceremony of another overhead bridge at Phase III Hayatabad would be held on August 14, while two underpasses were also being constructed for pedestrians on Tehkal and Abdara roads. In charge of PDA traffic engineering Siraj Anwar said his department had planned the construction of overhead bridges after finalisation of their feasibility reports but the most important thing for solution to the problems was political will. He said enforcement of laws was basic things but there seemed no enforcement of traffic rules in Peshawar. Mr Siraj suggested that encroachments, illegal vehicles, especially auto-rickshaws, be removed for smooth flow of traffic.
Daily TimesA bomb blast killed 14 passengers, including a woman and three children, on board a pick-up in Orakzai on Wednesday, officials said, adding that the vehicle was carrying Shia passengers. "It was a remote-controlled bomb planted on the road. The bomb exploded near a pick-up van carrying passengers," senior administration official Zakir Hussain said of the incident in Sepoy village, Orakzai district. Shias have been targeted in the region for a long time, with Taliban militants exploiting Sunnis’ sentiments to gain influence in this strategic region, experts say. Eight people were killed on the spot and six died in hospital in the nearby city of Kohat, Hussain told Daily Times by phone. The dead included three women, two 11-year-old boys and a three-year-old girl, he said. All the victims were part of the same clan or same extended family. "It was a militant attack, the aim was to create panic in the area by killing ordinary people," Hussain said. He said that the victims were Shias, but ruled out a sectarian motive because it happened in a Shia-controlled area. Doctor Muhammad Naeem of Kohat District Hospital confirmed the toll and said an 11-year-old boy with serious injuries was transferred to Peshawar for specialist care. Meanwhile, a faction of the Pakistan Taliban claimed responsibility for the bomb attack, a spokesman for the group said. "We targeted them because they were Shias, and they are enemies of Islam," Muhammed Afridi, spokesman for the Darra Adam Khel faction of the Pakistan Taliban told Reuters by telephone. Sunni militants loyal to al Qaeda and the Taliban have carried out high-profile attacks on members of the Shia community in the past. "This appears to be part of a series of attacks by militants against one particular sect," said Khushal Khan, a senior government official in Orakzai. Orakzai is one of seven districts in the tribal belt on the Afghan border that is home to Taliban and al Qaeda strongholds. Washington has dubbed the area the most dangerous region on Earth. The government ordered the military to move against the militants in Orakzai two years ago, however, the situation still remains unstable there and Taliban continue to target Shias on the main Kurram-Kohat highway through Orakzai.
THE FRONTIER POSTEven the prime minister has spoken up. He too has said that the unrest in Balochistan is "foreign-abetted". But he also has not named the foreign hands involved? Why this secrecy? Shouldn't those vile hands be identified specifically when they are playing so maliciously with the very territorial integrity of this nation and its solidarity and cohesion? Shouldn't our people know of this? Shouldn't the world be told of this? Why indeed this newly-wed damsel-like shyness to call her bridegroom by name? Is it because the names are too big that the rulers dread to name? But does anyone in Islamabad have an idea how hurtfully this stupidity of theirs is damaging Pakistan nationally and internationally? Off and on, someone in Islamabad whispers inaudibly that the Indian intelligence agency RAW is involved. But is that all? What base does it use to infest Balochistan and fan the separatist sentiments in Balochistan? What else if not Afghanistan? And could the Indian spy agency employ our western neighbour as the springboard for its vile activities in Balochistan all surreptitiously? And could it be acting all alone? We must be kidding ourselves. It has to have the local or foreign collusion in Afghanistan to carry out from there its subversion and infestation in bordering Balochistan. Our own hierarchs could be coy and reticent to our people. But not the objective realities. For years, the US viceroy and real effective power in Afghanistan after its US-led invasion and occupation was the American intelligence agency CIA. It indeed had conducted the invasion and was berthed by the Bush administration in Afghanistan to administer the occupied country thereon. Not a leave could flap on the security front in Afghanistan without the consent and acquiescence of CIA. For reasons known to it, the CIA at once shunted aside the Pakistani establishment, especially the ISI, and embraced alien agencies hostile to Pakistan. RAW was one of them, which had a free hand to subvert Balochistan as well as Pakistan's tribal and adjoining settled areas. But that was not all. In one fatal "terrorist" strike, several Chinese engineers and technicians building the key Gwadar port, which the American have been eyeing covetously all along, were killed and wounded. The Pakistani investigators must have found the hands responsible for this carnage. But they did not make their finding public, while the thinking public has still been pointing the finger at the CIA for that deadly attack. In any case, contrary to the general expectation that on completion the port would be handed over to the Chinese to operate, Pervez Musharraf, then ruling the roost, contracted it out to the Singapore Port Authority at throwaway terms and conditions. This he is widely believed to have done at the behest of the Americans. Pertinently, the Baloch dissidents, snuggled up in the warm laps of American spooks and lawmakers advocating deviously Balochistan's secession from Pakistan, have been giving out telltale utterances. When Balochistan secedes, they promise, they would not allow the gas pipeline from Iran pass through Balochistan to Pakistan. And the Gwadar port they would hand over to America. Anyway, our own spooks are still to tell the nation who were the merchants in human loyalties, who started descending on Balochistan in the mid-2000s with bags brimming with greenbacks. They were hawking to buy every Baloch youthful loyalty at the running rate of $10,000 per head plus a lot of goodies later on. This is a widely known fact in Balochistan, even though not much spoken of for the reasons not hard to fathom. And surely the government's ears and eyes must be knowing all about those merchants in human loyalties and their trading. Yet neither Musharraf ever dared to speak out nor our spooks have ever alluded to it, not even now. Why indeed are they so mum about something that they should have blared out at the top of the voice from the rooftop? They must take a lesson or two from the Indian establishment. With loud-mouthed surmises and allegations, it has successfully demonised the Kashmiris' palpably indigenous uprising for freedom as Pakistan-sponsored terrorism and India's own homegrown terrorism as Pakistan-abetted. And likewise the US administration officials, congressmen and intelligence community have peddled fictions so dexterously that the world has come to believe that everything is okay with Afghanistan except the Afghan insurgents' safe havens in Pakistan from where they crawl out and attack the Afghan and NATO forces. Someone in Islamabad has to break this silence fast and cry out the home truths. A lot is at stake in Balochistan for this nation's security and stability. A lot of foreign interference is occurring there to hurt us grievously, with Afghanistan serving as the nestling place of hostile alien agencies. And it is sinful not to tell the world what actually is happening there. Both Quetta and Islamabad must speak of it, but specifically and persistently, not vaguely or generally.
The Express Tribune News Network.