Friday, July 27, 2012
A man Friday burnt her sixteen-year-old sister over a marriage issue against the will of her family. According to media reports, Beenish refused to marry against her will and that was unacceptable to her family. The incident occurred in Guru Nakakpura area. The girl was taken to Civil Hospital where doctors said that 70% of her body was burnt. On the other hand, uncle of the girl said that she tried self-immolation and not burnt by brother or anyone else.
Presenter: Sen Lam
Speaker: Professor Dr Nesar Ahmed, Bangladesh Agriculture University and the University of Stirliing, ScotlandDR AHMED: You know that Bangladesh population is currently 164 million, and by 2050 the population will increase to 222-million. So by that time, our agricultural land will reduce and the population will increase and Bangladesh will face alot of pressure. So in that case, if we ensure food security, we must go for rice-fish farming. We have ten million hectares of rice fields, in addition, we have two-point-83 million hectares of seasonal rice fields, where water stays for a couple of months. If we use this water body for the next decade, if we convert 2.83 million hectares of rice fields to rice-fish farming and also prawn farming, Bangladesh would get around one million tonnes of fish, 1.5-million tonnes of additional rice and Bangladesh would earn around ten billion US dollars per annum. That would accelerate our economic growth. So if we adopt this farming system, Bangladesh would be a poverty-free and food secure country within a decade. As we have 700 rivers and tributaries criss-cross the country and we have fertile land, around 10-million hectares of land, suitable for rice-fish farming, and we have found that as Bangladeshi people eat rice and fish, both, and when they culture fish in their rice fields, that means they're getting their staple food, rice and fish. Also, coastal areas, a few advanced farmers culture prawns with fish in their rice fields. LAM: And of course, the prawns, one presumes, would bring extra income, because they can sell the prawns? DR AHMED: Yes, rice and fish for staple foods and household consumption and local markets, but when they culture prawn, that's a high value product for the international market, as almost all Bangladeshi prawns are exported to the USA and Europe, so culture of prawn may bring enormous earnings and bring benefits to poor fish farmers. LAM: Food security of course has long been a challenge for Bangladesh, so is this Blue-Green Revolution happening, catching on, in rural communities as we speak, or has it been slow in taking off? DR AHMED: Actually, Blue Green Revolution has not yet been widely cultured in Bangladesh, but a few number of small farmers have been adopting rice-fish farming. As Bangladesh is a small country, and our population is around 164 million. LAM: What are the obstacles, what's stopping Bangladesh from adopting it full-scale? DR AHMED: Our main problem is water management. There're floods and drought. So there's too much water during the monsoon when fish escape, and the farmers are not interested in rice-fish farming, and the drought also is one of the major constraints for fish culture in rice fields, as they can't go for rice-fish farming, if there's no water. Actually, the northern part of Bangladesh is a drought-prone area. LAM: So in terms of water management, how is Bangladesh coping? DR AHMED: I think it's possible to cope very easily. If a flood happens, we can use a net around the ponds or rice fields, so the fish cannot escape. Or we can also build hard dykes so we can conserve rain water or flood water, that is also one of the coping strategies of climate change. And in case of drought, we can provide irrigation facilities. Our challenge is irrigation facilities require electricity supply or power, and Bangladesh has been a little behind in this opportunity. So we intend to introduce 'micro irrigation' facilities. You know Bangladesh invented micro-credit. This year, it's 'micro-irrigation'. So if we introduce 'micro irrigation' in our system, we can easily go for integrated rice fish farming. If we need huge irrigation, we need huge power - that is not possible because our government's first priority is industrial development, even though the government is keen to develop our agriculture sector. So in that case, we use our rain water, flood water and side by side, small-scale irrigation facilities - that would help and be of enormous benefit to our food production. Sometimes, the farmers' association or a community-based irrigation management would work very accurately. We have good contact with farmers, it's a two-way process - sometimes farmers come to us, and if we discover a new findings, we'll introduce them to the farmers. So it's a two-way process. As our research is mainly associated with agriculture, the farmer is always our friend. LAM: And one of the consequences of the green revolution is 'chemical agriculture' which can be destructive. Is this issue being addressed? DR AHMED: Oh, yes, the green revolution is actually not so green, because it means high-yielding varieties of rice monoculture, that is not sustainable. And it requires huge amounts of fertilisers, insecticides and pesticides that have negative impact on society, environment and bio-diversity. Similarly, the Blue revolution also a negative impact, as it too requires huge fertilisers and chemicals. So that's why we suggest rice-fish farming, to help the integrated management of rice and fish, reduce fertiliser use, insecticide use, pesticide use and bring alot of environmental benefits. Topics:
RADIO PAKISTANThe President said guided by the vision of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto‚ a number of legislative measures have already been taken to protect women President Asif Ali Zardari
Haleem Gul and his family shelter under U.N. tarps in the ceaseless sun and wonder when it will be over: The militancy in their tribal homeland, the occupation by Pakistani troops, the numbing days in the refugee camp. “My greatest wish is to go home,” said Gul, a taciturn, 35-year-old shop clerk. Having waited for more than two years now, he gestured skyward with his hands and said he can only entrust his future to Allah. Gul’s return to the scenic, mountainous Khyber tribal area that borders Afghanistan also depends a great deal on the Pakistani military — which has made little headway in three years against a relatively small concentration of Taliban-allied insurgents, raising questions about the security forces’ capacity and will to defeat them. While the United States and NATO draw down combat troops in Afghanistan, Pakistan is still battling a fierce Taliban and al-Qaeda-allied rebellion that arose in part due to its alliance with the United States after the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. In recent years the Pakistan army has launched several successful operations to clear militant groups from other northwestern regions, and resettled millions of people displaced because of the fighting. But the opposite is the case in Khyber agency: Because of the continued instability, more than 350,000 people from the Bara district, a longtime commercial hub, have fled to Peshawar, the closest relatively safe metropolis. Sixty-one thousand refugees — including Gul, his wife and young daughter — now occupy the UNHCR’s Jalozai camp, southeast of Peshawar. Officials say food supplies there are running short. In Bara, where fighting has leveled homes, shuttered hospitals and businesses and impoverished those who remained, the Pakistani Taliban influence is growing, some residents said. This is particularly worrisome because convoys carrying NATO supplies to Afghanistan wind slowly through the surrounding areas, vulnerable to attack. Gunmen on Tuesday killed a truck driver in the first such attack since Pakistan ended its NATO-routes blockade three weeks ago; the Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility. The hard-core militant ranks are believed to number about 500. Estimates of troop strength on the Pakistani side — mainly the paramilitary Frontier Corps, commanded by Pakistani army officers — top 5,000, but neither figure could be independently confirmed. “Not a single village has been cleared by security forces,” said Abdul Wahid Afridi, a leader in the secular Awami National Party who is based in Khyber. “The militancy could be collapsed. All the people are asking why can’t the army eliminate them? Why not, after three years?” To Haseebullah Khan, 37, another refugee from Bara, the answer is simple. “They don’t want to do it,” he said. “This is beyond our thinking.” Pakistani military officials did not respond to e-mailed questions. Foreign journalists are barred from Khyber agency and Pakistan’s seven other semiautonomous tribal areas, so it was not possible to corroborate the refugees’ statements. Some military analysts describe what’s going on in Bara as part of a long-standing “double game” in which Pakistan’s military establishment protects certain Taliban groups as a way to ensure influence in a future Afghan government after U.S. combat troops depart. “It cannot burn bridges,” said Ayesha Siddiqa, a columnist and author of a book on the Pakistani military. “From Washington this looks like a double game. From Islamabad’s perspective, this looks like a desire to build a constructive shield around itself when the U.S. draws down and Pakistan will deal with the consequences.” Ejaz Haider, another writer and analyst, said the military operations in Bara have been small-bore and less effective than the major offensives elsewhere. The security situation also is complicated by a terrain that favors the militants, who can shift quickly from one area to another. Haider disputed the notion that the military — which has lost nearly 3,500 troops fighting against the Pakistani Taliban and other radical Islamists — would back its enemies. “I don’t believe there is any official policy at any level that is supporting groups that are killing soldiers,” he said. At Jalozai, the largest of the three UNHCR camps left in Pakistan, the Bara refugee influx hit an alarming high of 10,000 a day in mid-March. It has since ebbed, but Save the Children, UNICEF, and the U.N.’s World Food Program have put out urgent appeals for donations. The World Food Program recently had to reduce three of its camp rations — high-energy biscuits, yellow split peas and a nutritional supplement — by half, officials said. Further cuts may have to be implemented. “We are basically running out of food,” Robin Lodge, a WFP spokesman, said as U.N. officials gave a tour one day this month to European diplomats, hoping to drum up financial support. It was 115 degrees — especially dangerous for people from cooler, mountainous climes like Bara’s. In the flat expanse of the camp, medical workers paid special attention to pregnant women — 189 of them live in the latest sections of Jalozai to open. In another tent, mothers cradled newborns. Children in the camp are regularly screened for malnutrition, but there is not enough money to monitor that majority of refugees who live elsewhere in the Peshawar area. Back in their tribal districts, some besieged residents have turned to drug smuggling, kidnapping or joining the Pakistani Taliban for income. The insurgents pay about $100 a month — triple what a man can earn at hard labor, said a tribal leader who spoke anonymously for fear of reprisals. “And for joining the militants he gets great respect,” the tribesman said. “The militancy is not under control,” he added. “And day by day things are going to get worse.” Pakistani military and government officials deny the persistent U.S. argument that Pakistan tolerates and even promotes attacks by some militants to ensure a proxy role in the Afghanistan endgame. “Let me assure you that Pakistan does not support any terrorists,” the country’s newly installed prime minister, Raja Pervez Ashraf, told reporters during a visit with Afghan President Hamid Karzai in Kabul last week. “It is not in our interest and we cannot afford it.” When U.S. officials raise such accusations, Islamabad points out that Pakistan has sacrificed considerable blood and treasure, including 25,000 civilian deaths. It cites the displacement of 3.5 million citizens as part of the cost of carrying out military operations. Refugees Haleem Gul, his wife, Ishrat Bibi, and their 9-year-old daughter, Hina, are part of the collateral damage. Their loss can be seen in a picture the father painted and hung on one of the tarps that serve as walls for their hovel. It looks at first like a cheering reminder of their home in the scenic, green reaches of Bara, an urn filled with red flowers. But it bears this inscription underneath: “Disappointment is the other name for death.”
Published in The Express TribuneThe Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) has hired two advertisement agencies for publicising and promoting its activities, party sources told The Express Tribune. The decision was taken at a meeting of the party’s social media politics team after recommendations by the PML-N senior leadership and the Punjab government’s information technology-related officials, they added. The meeting, chaired by party president Nawaz Sharif, took place at his Raiwind residence. Punjab Board of Information Technology (PBIT) Chairman Umar Saif gave a presentation to the participants, discussing the PML-N’s current presence on social media and the appeal of the party’s manifesto for the youth. PML-N constituted its team of social media experts to counter the web presence of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM). According to some party officials, however, the team was hired by the Punjab government but has been utilised solely for PML-N objectives. A well placed source in the Punjab Board of Investment and Trade said that two floors of the board’s offices at Arfa Karim Tower were currently occupied by the PML-N’s social media teams, who had been working day and night to accomplish the party’s social media goals. He confirmed that the workers were hired by the Punjab government under PBIT, along with various other departments like the Punjab Sports Board. The Punjab government set up a five-member committee last year to spruce up its image with a social media campaign. This team however, is apparently being utilised to promote PML-N’s social media presence.
http://news.yahoo.comThe U.S.-led coalition says insurgent attacks in Afghanistan during the past three months were up 11 percent, compared to the same period last year. The latest statistics also say that the number of attacks in June was the highest for any month since fighting surged in the summer of 2010. NATO released the figures on Thursday. They indicate a disturbing uptick in attacks at a time when foreign troops are leaving and insurgents are trying to prove they remain a potent force. The coalition offered two possible reasons for the uptick. It says a shortened poppy harvesting season prompted insurgents to start their spring offensive earlier this year. Also, with more Afghan security forces on the ground and taking the lead in more operations, more of them are getting killed.
www.statesman.comPakistan has temporarily stopped Nato supply trucks crossing its northwestern border into Afghanistan over security concerns due to fears of terror attacks, officials said Thursday. Gunmen on Tuesday attacked a convoy of Nato supply trucks, killing a driver, in the town of Jamrud near the main northwestern city of Peshawar, in the first such attack since Pakistan lifted a seven-month blockade of the border. "Movement of Nato vehicles has been temporarily suspended since Wednesday evening to beef up security," a paramilitary official told AFP. "We have launched a search operation in the hills surrounding Jamrud," the official added. On Wednesday officials at the northwestern Torkham crossing had said traffic was picking up for the first time since the blockade ended, with more than 100 vehicles crossing in recent days. Local administration official Bakhtiar Khan confirmed Thursday the supply route had been suspended due to "security reasons". "Intelligence officials have informed the authority that attacks may occur on Nato vehicles this week and in the light of this a security plan is being chalked out," Khan told AFP. He said the Nato route would "resume very soon", but that until then trucks carrying supplies for the 130,000-strong US-led mission in Afghanistan had been told not to approach the border. "We have been told by authorities to wait here as they are building up security after the firing incident," Amanullah Khan, a Nato truck driver, told AFP in Peshawar. So far, the closure has only affected the Torkham crossing. At the southwestern crossing of Chaman, some 17 trucks were awaiting clearance to enter Afghanistan and 20 other trucks were parked in Quetta, clearing agent Ashraf Khan told AFP. Islamabad closed its land routes to Nato convoys after US air strikes killed 24 Pakistani soldiers on November 26, but reopened them after Washington said sorry for the deaths. Before the blockade, around 150 trucks crossed into Afghanistan each day at Torkham - the closest border crossing to Kabul - and officials say the flow will rise to up to 300 a day.
EDITORIAL:The hypocritical approach towards the Afghans by the establishment should now end and all of the Afghans should be sent back to their home country, voluntarily or involuntarily. In 1980s, they were valuable political guests we needed to oust the nationalist and radical Government in Kabul as the imperialist world and their agents desired it. Now they are unwanted guests of Pakistani people, if not the State, and considered a serious economic and security burden in the wake of serious political and economic crisis Pakistan is facing. The Afghans contributed a lot in deepening the crisis of survival making it more complicated by siding with the enemies of Pakistan. In a conference in Australia, the former Prime Minister of Pakistan, Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani, categorically declared that Pakistan would not accept the Afghan refugees after December this year. After December, the international community should establish refugee camps on the Afghan side of the international frontier and keep them there as long as the community wants. There is no place for Afghans on the Pakistani soil and the period of hospitality is over as they became a serious security threat. They are a serious burden and a security risk for Pakistan thus they should be herded out of all major cities of Pakistan, mainly Quetta, Karachi and Lahore, as the Government had already barred Afghans from Peshawar and Islamabad. We hope that the announcement made by the former Prime Minister in Australia is part of the State policy and not the personal views of the former Prime Minister. For this, the Government should make preparation to take all Afghans out of the major population centres, mainly Quetta, Karachi, Lahore, settle them in transit camps close to the Afghan borders till such time they are repatriated to Afghanistan. If they try to leave the camp should be arrested. Pakistan Government had fulfilled all its international commitment by providing them shelter, food, jobs and other services which were denied to the Pakistani citizens, mainly the Baloch people, to this date. There is no violation of international obligations on the part of the Government of Pakistan. Now the International Community should play its role by providing food, shelter and other facilities to Afghans on other side of the international frontiers. It is up to the Afghans they want to go back to their homes or prefer to stay in refugee camps inside Afghanistan. The international community should bear the cost of the refugees, including for their food, shelter and other comforts besides transporting them to Afghanistan from different points in Balochistan and KPK. The UNHCR should stop apply pressure tactics on the Pakistan Government, using power and influence of the super powers, to allow Afghans to stay back or settle permanently in Pakistan as they spent three decades in Pakistan. This argument is not acceptable and if the Government surrenders to the pressure from the international community allowing the Afghans to stay back, the Government will face wrath of the people who were deprived of their means of livelihood on the pretext of humanitarian assistance to the Afghans. The Afghans are economic refugees as they are facing no threat to their life as there is a friendly nationalist Government in Kabul and they are not at war with the Kabul Government. The Afghans are here for economic reasons or the militants misusing the goodwill of the people of Pakistan by using the Pakistani territories in launching attacks on Afghan and other foreign forces for political reasons. The militants should be first to be kicked out from Pakistan so that they should not undermine the security of the people of Pakistan. They use Pakistani territory as a springboard in attacking the US and other foreign forces; providing a risk of retaliatory attacks on Pakistan in which the people of Pakistan will suffer the most. The Afghan militants should not be acceptable at the cost of the innocent people of Pakistan. It is the responsibility of the Government to provide security of life to its own citizens. It should be the politics of the state to defend the people first against all pressure or incentives from foreign powers.