Sunday, July 29, 2012

Ansar Burney to sue Maya Khan for “conversion” stint on live show

Former Expert Advisor to the United Nations on Human Rights, Ansar Burney, has recently stated that he would file a legal suit against Maya Khan for creating a drama and using his worker Sunil without his permission for her Television show. Mr. Burney tweeted this statement on his official Twitter account on Friday. “Anchor Maya Khan again created dirty drama by inviting my office worker Sunil to her show without my permission to convert him Muslim,” tweeted Mr. Burney. Mr. Burney also tweeted that he would send a legal notice to Maya Khan and TV owners of 10 million sterling pounds. “The ‘Burney Legal Solicitors’ London is going to send legal Notice to Anchor Maya Khan and TV owners of 10 million sterling pounds,” further tweeted the former Federal Minister for Human Rights. Ansar Burney termed the entire “Hindu to Muslim” conversion as a “drama” by tweeting, “my worker has full right of freedom but what Sunil told me is a painful story of Drama so I have to take action.” According to Ansar Burney, Sunil is a worker within Ansar Burney Trust and who was deliberately used by anchor Maya Khan for a recent Ramzan transmission whereby Sunil was seen converting as a Muslim.

Popular uprising gets out of control across Saudi Arabia: Analyst

Saudi anti-regime protesters have held fresh demonstrations across Riyadh as well as the holy city of Mecca to protest against the arrest of political prisoners. Chanting anti-regime slogans on Saturday, the angry protesters demanded the release of political prisoners and the downfall of the US-backed monarchy. Similar demonstrations were also held against the regime in the village of Awamiyah and the city of Buraydah. Tensions have been running high in Saudi Arabia's oil-rich Eastern Province over the past weeks following the detention of Saudi Shia cleric Sheikh Nemr al-Nemr. Press TV has conducted an interview with Kamel Wazni, political analyst, to further discuss the issue. The following is an approximate transcript of the interview. Press TV: Mr. Wazni, how significant is that these protests have now moved into Riyadh and now Mecca as well? Wazni: Well obviously the legality of the issue and the merit of the issues indicate it is not the issue of the eastern part of Saudi Arabia, it is actually the issue of the kingdom itself. The policy of the royal family for very long time did not address the needs of the people and the needs of the people now surface with what is taking place around the region. I think there is widespread corruption within the Saudi monarchy. We know those royal family, the prince and the princess, they receive all the allocation of money out of the sales of oil at the expense of the Saudi population. I think this movement is resonated very well with real demand and real movement within the Saudi community and the beginning started in the eastern part with the arrest of Sheikh Nemr al-Nemr which should be called on the international community to release him immediately because he was expressing his civil rights which is allowed under the international norm. But I think the problem, it is getting out of hand for the Saudis and I think it is going to be problematic for the royal family which for very long time tried to dodge the situation. The level of discrimination that exists in the eastern part actually is spreading to other civil rights issues that actually giving the movement a spirit and I think the Saudis should not crackdown on these demonstrators, that Saudis should look very carefully, the Saudi government, the Saudi monarchy look very careful at what is taking place and to start addressing what is needed-- release all the political prisoners, stop the inhumane treatment of those prisoners especially Sheikh Nemr al-Nemr which has been beaten rapidly according to his family while he is in abduction because this level of hostility should not be exerted in this holy month of Ramadan or any months of the year. Press TV: Do you see any signs that the Saudi monarchy will honor many of the things that US has spoken about i.e. giving the rights to political prisoners and also to free Sheikh Nemr al-Nemr? Wazni: I think not any time soon but I think there is kind of dodging for the reality, the Saudis still live in denial, still have the backing of the United States. I think the order from the United States is to continue the crackdown against the peaceful demonstrators as it is the order from the United States to crackdown against the demonstrators in Bahrain. I think the Saudis while they are pushing their luck in Syria, supporting what is taking [place] in Syria, I think they should address what is taking place inside the Saudi Arabia. I think the monarchy have to look at the political issue, the economic issue, the social issues of the country but I think the level of demonstrations probably will escalate and I said before that this is a real movement and has a lot of legs and the Saudis will be surprised how magnificent this will be if they do not address the real issue. Here [is] a situation which requires the attention of the free world and I think the Saudis, they shortened the process by thinking that they can crackdown and this will end. I am looking at the picture actually and I was looking just like two weeks at the pictures, now there is a huge crowd actually starting to be entering the scene and demanding the change that is required in the Saudi Arabia.

Bilawal awarded BA Honours degree at Oxford

Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari's son
Bilawal has been awarded a BA Honours degree at a convocation of the Oxford University. The degree was awarded to Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, the chairman of the ruling Pakistan People’s Party, at the convocation held yesterday, the PPP said in a statement on Sunday.He was accompanied to the event by his aunt Sanam Bhutto and sister Bakhtawar Bhutto Zardari. Bilawal graduated with BA Honours in modern history and politics. Though he had completed the course two years ago, he was unable to formally receive the degree until now due to his busy schedule, the statement said. The son of slain former premier Benazir Bhutto will turn 24 in September. He can contest Parliamentary Elections only in 2013.

US drone kills seven militants in North Waziristan

Pakistani intelligence officials say a suspected U.S. missile strike has killed four people near the Afghan border. The officials say the missiles hit a car in Khushali village near Mir Ali in North Waziristan. They spoke on condition of anonymity Sunday because they were not authorized to talk to reporters. They say the identity of the four dead is not yet clear. North Waziristan is home to several Afghan and Pakistani militant groups, as well as foreign al-Qaida fighters. Pakistan says the strikes help militants attract new recruits and hit civilians, and demands that the U.S. halt them. In the past, there has been evidence suggesting Pakistan has given tacit approval to the strikes. The U.S. uses unmanned drones to hit militants in the absence of Pakistani moves against them.

PML-N formed govt in Punjab due to my favour: Zardari

President Zardari says Shahbaz Sharif was in power in Punjab only due to his kindness. Speaking to a public gathering in Khairpur on Sunday Asif Zardari said that general elections will be held on time which will be transparent and free. The president expressed the confidence PPP will sweep the upcoming elections as it has served masses following the vision of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto. He said opponents of PPP were unnerved but they will continue the policy of reconciliation. President Zardari said Shahbaz Sharif is in power in Punjab only due to his kindness. He vowed to sit in Punjab on permanent basis soon to solve the problems of the people. He said PPP government following the vision of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto is making sincere efforts to overcome all problems being faced by the people. Zardari said Shaheed Benazir Bhutto laid her life for the cause of poor people but never compromised on principles. He said the PPP is determined to overcome challenges being faced by the country with the support of the people. President Zardari said concrete measures are being taken to reduce power load-shedding through implementing long and short terms plans. He directed provincial ministers and elected representatives to concentrate on resolution of problems of the people. He also asked the people to have close eyes on the development activities in their areas. Earlier, President Zardari also held meetings with the people belonging to various segments of the society and listened to their problems.

Afghan truckers a forgotten front in a war growing deadlier by the day

In the cabins of their "jingle" trucks flamboyant with tinsel baubles and painted tiger patterns as they move NATO's war supplies,
Habibullah thinks he and other drivers are becoming a forgotten front in an Afghan war growing more vicious. From a dusty truck park midway between Kabul and the Pakistan border, and under the constant thump of helicopters from Jalalabad airbase over the road, Habibullah moves food and military materiel across the Taliban's eastern heartland, from Nuristan to the former al Qaeda cave stronghold of Tora Bora.
"We worry about our fate when NATO leaves, because the Taliban also call us the infidels. For them, we are not just the enemy, but also traitors," said the soft spoken 23-year-old, who contributes seven trucks to a cooperative with five owners. It is a thankless and increasingly deadly job, and one so mired in graft that the drivers see a fraction of the cash paid by U.S. military paymasters, with the rest skimmed by middlemen or even going into the hands of insurgents for "protection". Only this week, three of Habibullah's trucks were attacked and burned by Taliban amid the rugged mountains of Nuristan, a virtual no-go zone for NATO soldiers after heavy past losses and now garrisoned by a handful of Afghan troops and police. A truck belonging to another company was torched and the driver shot dead across the border in Pakistan, while 22 fuel tankers were blown up in the north by insurgents there as they moved fuel and equipment. "One of our drivers was killed. We brought his body back to Jalalabad," Habibullah said. "His wife came and grabbed me by my collar, tearing my shirt and shouting 'you killed my husband'. I had to give her some money. The Americans don't help with that." Another driver, Lalajan, sits on a crimson carpet in a container filled with the rattle of an ageing fan against the oppressive heat and says Taliban raids are mounting this summer, as foreign combat troops look to leave the country by 2014. The NATO-led coalition this week acknowledged that insurgent attacks had risen 11 percent in the past three months compared to last year, with a spokesman blaming a severe winter and crop failures driving poor farmers into paid Taliban ranks. "We have between us lost 15 trucks this year so far. We had one truck break down and we sent others to help. Then out of the blue the Taliban appeared," said Lalajan, his heavily bearded face furrowing as he sits cross legged with his 4-year-old son crawling over his lap. "I asked them, I will give you money not to attack my trucks, but they said my money was haram (forbidden). The leader burned them," he said. No less disruptive are the frequent border closures on the Pakistan side, including a seven-month shutdown enforced on NATO traffic last November after 24 Pakistani soldiers were mistakenly killed in a U.S. airstrike. The main Torkham border crossing only reopened in July, but Lalajan said there was still an immense backlog and some days only a few trucks could pass a border gateway which last year averaged around 160 each day. POCKETING THE DIFFERENCE Adding to security fragility, Lalajan said, was that Afghan drivers working from distribution hubs in Afghanistan like Bagram airbase north of Kabul could not obtain insurance, as drivers coming from Pakistan were able to. Local drivers, except for those working for the largest transport companies, were also forced to rely on brokers who sold on contracts to smaller firms and pocketed the difference, often as much as half the job's entire worth. For the majority of contracts paid by the military, worth around $8,000 on average, middlemen pocketed $4,000 for doing nothing other than having good connections. Drivers then received around $300 per month in salary, but pocketed $1,000 extra in danger money for each 10- to 15-day delivery to military bases in the riskiest areas. "The middlemen often hold our money for sometimes months, investing it in other things. Sometimes when we go to claim, the company has disappeared and we get nothing. The Americans don't care about that," Lalajan said. Laghman province, which is home to the truckers, is one of Afghanistan's poorest, with 67 percent of people living in poverty and 78 percent underemployment, while seven in 10 people do not get adequate food each day, according to World Bank data. Asked which road he feared most, 40-year-old driver Mohammad Qayum said the valley route to the most far-flung U.S. base in the northeast, Forward Operating Base Bostick near the Pakistan border in north Kunar, was the most dangerous. Bostick, in a natural mountain amphitheatre visited by Reuters in June, is a frequent target for Taliban rockets aimed down at the first battalion of the U.S. 12th Infantry Regiment. "Last year, two of my trucks were attacked going to Kunar. My nephew was inside and was burned to death," said Lalajan, nodding agreement with his friend. Smaller cooperatives like his with 70 trucks say margins are so tight they cannot make the security payments to protect convoys and which critics say often end up in the hands of the Taliban, helping fund the insurgent war effort. "For bigger companies that get first-hand contracts, for them it's possible. They can have 60 trucks in a convoy and can pay some money to avoid attack," he said. "But for us there are lots of Taliban groups. Which one would we pay? The attacks have been mounting." Habibullah said the only thing keeping drivers in jobs vital to the NATO war effort currently were danger bonus payments, but even they were losing their lure as the Taliban intensified their fight and foreign troops wound back their presence. "We don't have any faith that the government will reach any deal with the Taliban. If they reach a deal, these attacks on us will still continue, because in the eyes of the Taliban we are kaffirs (infidels)," he said. "We think for drivers like us, as has happened with some translators, foreign borders should be opened to us. We should be allowed to leave Afghanistan."

Accountability Court summons Sharif family on August 6

The Accountability Court IV headed by Chaudhry Abdul Haq on Saturday once again issued notices to the former twice-elected prime minister Nawaz Sharif and Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif and eight other members of their family and friends in three corruption references pending against them. The notices were issued to them on the application of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) for the reopening of the corruption references and the court directed NAB to ensure that the notices are served. The court adjourned the reference of the state vs Hudaibia Paper Mills till September 15 while two other references, the Ittefaq Foundries and state vs Mian Muhammad Sharif references, commonly known as the Raiwind assets case, were adjourned till August 6. Advocate Akram Sheikh represented the Sharif family in the Hudaibia Paper Mills reference while no one appeared in the two other references. The court directed the accused members of the Sharif family to file their representation in the two references by August 6. In the State vs Hudaibia Paper Mills Ltd reference, Akram Sheikh Advocate argued that he has not been provided with the NAB’s application for the reopening of these references. The court then directed NAB to provide him with the copy of the application and the copy was then provided. The AC judge asked advocate Akram Sheikh to assist the court regarding the stay order issued by a bench of Lahore High Court (LHC) Rawalpindi. Forwarding arguments in the state vs Hudaibia Papers Mills, Akram Sheikh said that these cases, after they were formed some 12 years ago, have continued to be adjourned sine die. So they lost their validity and effectiveness. There is not a single precedent in a criminal case for sine die adjournment, he argued. The court has also to see if it could summon the accused at the request of the prosecutor whereas an LHC bench has already issued stay order in these cases stopping the federation to proceed. As per law there is 30 days time for initiating trial proceedings in a corruption reference. Akram Sheikh further argued before the court that these cases were formed on political basis for vengeance. On previous orders of the court, notices were served on the two accused only and those too were incomplete. We appeared before the court after receiving information through media. Akram Sheikh requested the court to dismiss NAB’s application. NAB’s prosecutor Chaudhry Riaz argued before the court that the LHC issued stay orders stopping federation to proceed in these cases. The stay orders were not applicable to the NAB. The AC judge inquired the prosecutor if NAB was not an institution under the federation? The NAB prosecutor replied that the institution of NAB was formed to investigate corruption. He said that the Sharif family has been in exile after these cases were formed and then in 2007 there was National Reconciliation Ordinance. The sine die adjournment was granted to save the time of court. The NAB prosecutor said that Sharif brothers on one hand say that their cases were facing inordinate delay to decide and on the other hand want to close these cases. “Previously it was said that the references were not signed by the chairman NAB and now we got signatures of the chairman NAB on these cases,” the prosecutor added. After that the court put off hearing. There were three corruption references pending against Nawaz Sharif and his other family members. In one corruption reference by the title of State versus Hudaibia Paper Mills (Pvt) Ltd, nine members of the Sharif family were accused of committing corruption amounting to Rs642.743 million. As per NAB allegations the accused deposited ill-gotten money in the accounts opened in other persons’ names and used the money from these accounts to pay off loans of the “Sharif companies.” Mian Muhammad Sharif, Nawaz Sharif, Mian Shahbaz Sharif, Mian Abbas Sharif, Hussain Nawaz, Hamza Shahbaz Sharif, Mrs Shamim Akhtar (mother of Nawaz Sharif), Mrs Sabiha Abbas, Mrs Maryam Safdar and former federal minister M Ishaq Dar were the accused in this reference. It is worth mentioning here that the accountability court IV had abated this reference to the extent of Mian Muhammad Sharif after his death. Second corruption reference by the title of State versus Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif etc is of the Raiwind assets. Main allegation in this reference has been that the accused had acquired vast tracts of land upon which a number of palatial houses and mansions were constructed thereupon with pecuniary resources which appeared to be grossly disproportionate to their known sources of income. As per NAB allegations there involves an amount of Rs247.352 million. Apart from Mian Nawaz Sharif, his mother Shamim Akhtar was also an accused in this case. In third corruption reference by the title of State versus Ittefaq Foundries etc Nawaz Sharif, his brother Abbas Sharif and Kamal Qureshi were allegedly involved in corruption amounting to Rs1,063 million. The main allegation against the accused in this case was that M/s Ittefaq Foundries Ltd obtained cash finance from National Bank. As per NAB allegations the company wilfully defaulted to pay back the amount in 1994. All these references were either filed or investigated in 1999-2000 at the Accountability Court at Attock at that time. The cases later on were shifted to Rawalpindi after the establishment of accountability courts at Rawalpindi.

PPP warns Shahbaz against using abusive language for President

Adviser to the PM and senior PPP leader Chaudhry Aslam Gill has warned Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif to avoid using abusive and derogatory language against President Asif Ali Zardari. Addressing a party workers’ meeting, he said: “PML-N has lost the support of the people of Punjab. The PPP will sweep the general elections and form its governments not only at the Centre but also in Punjab.” Aslam Gill said National Assembly Speaker Dr Fehmida Mirza has given her ruling regarding the reference against Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, keeping in view the constitution and the parliamentary traditions, but the hooliganism of the PML-N members in the parliament was tantamount to humiliating the parliament. The speaker, in her ruling, had declared that the prime minister had not ridiculed the Supreme Court, so no question of his disqualification arises and that no reference for his disqualification can be sent to the Election Commission of Pakistan.

Lawlessness in Balochistan: Three Hindu traders kidnapped in Kalat

The Express Tribune
Three traders belonging to the Hindu community in Balochistan were kidnapped some 140 kilometres from the provincial capital Friday night. The incident has sparked off protests against the government’s continued inability to provide any sort of safety to residents of the restive province. The minority group’s representative body’s protest was supported widely by local political parties and business associations. Denesh Kumar, Retesh Kumar and Rathan Kumar were on their way back from attending a family function when they were intercepted by unidentified men at the Jiwa intersection of the RCD Highway in Surab tehsil, Kalat district. Their van was pulled over by armed men who took the traders hostage at gunpoint, an official of the Balochistan Levies, Abdul Rahim, told The Express Tribune. “The kidnappers came in two black four-wheel-drive vehicles and a white sedan,” he said. Though no one has approached the relatives of the abducted men, who all belong to one family, it is believed the men were being held for monetary gains. “It could be a case of kidnapping for ransom,” Abdul Rahim added. Mukesh Kumar, the brother of one of the abducted men, Rathan, is convinced the men have been kidnapped for ransom and said the Hindu community is an easy target for criminals. He, however, added that, “no one had called to make any demands yet.” Kumar said the traders had left Khuzdar at about five in the evening on Friday and were picked up an hour later. “The kidnappers coerced the driver of the van to get out of the vehicle, which they then drove away with.” Kumar said the wagon was later found in the Surab area with flat tyres. He added that the women of the family were still in the vehicle, but the kidnappers had whisked the three men away. Protests Following the incident, a complete shutter-down strike was observed in Kalat on Saturday. The call was made by the Hindu Panchayat and supported by the Shaheri Action Committee, Traders Union, Kalat, along with all major political parties. All commercial activity remained suspended as shops and markets were closed throughout the day. Traders and members of the Hindu community also blocked main roads in protest and chanted slogans against the government and police for failing to protect citizens. Demanding the government to employ all available resources for the safe recovery of the abducted men, protesters threatened to prolong their demonstrations otherwise. The Quetta-Karachi RCD Highway was blocked for nearly five hours in Kalat with a large number of vehicles stranded for the same reason. As a result, Nato supplies were also disrupted. There has been a marked increase in kidnapping for ransom cases in Surab Tehsil, the hometown of a provincial home minister, in recent years. Hindus are seen as easy targets. The Mahraj of Kali Mandir, the historic Hindu temple, was also kidnapped from the same region earlier, but was released after a ransom of Rs8 million was paid for his return.

Pakistan:Investors terrorized -Pakistan lost around $18 billion

Pakistan has lost around $18 billion foreign and domestic investments in last three years due to terrorism and chronic energy crises, an official of Board of Investment said. The official told “Online” Saturday that the expected investment of about $18 billion of last 3 years did not come in Pakistan after investors cited the problems of terrorism and energy shortages. “Now government is making all-out efforts to build the confidence of foreign investors by removing the barriers that discourage investment in the country,” said the official, adding that terrorism and energy shortages have put long-off term investors. The official told that unstable law and order situation, political instability, corruption and inconsistent policies on part of government were also major impediments in way of promoting investment in the country. The official further told that the Board of Investment will now move ahead more rapidly for motivating local and foreign investors to invest in the country and through recently passed Special Economic Zones (SEZ) bill some of the investor countries like Korea, China and Japan were expecting to benefit from the scheme as soon as it became operational. According to the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) foreign investment into Pakistan fell 65.6 percent to $680.4 million during financial year 2011-12 and foreign direct investment fell 50.3 percent to $812.6 million.

56%Pakistanis apprehensive of further difficulties in next six months Only 33 per cent feel otherwise: Survey

According to a Gilani Research Foundation Survey carried out by Gallup Pakistan, 56% of Pakistanis are apprehensive about further difficulties for their country over the next six months.Meanwhile, 33% feel it will get no worse; 10% believe things might improve.A nationally representative sample of men and women from across the four provinces was asked “Kindly tell for the next six months, will the difficulties faced by Pakistan decrease, increase or will there be no difference?” Responding to this, 10% believe that their difficulties will decrease, 56% believe difficulties will increase whereas 33% believe difficulties will remain the same. However, 1% did not give a view.The study was released by Gilani foundation and carried out by Gallup Pakistan, the Pakistani affiliate of Gallup International. The recent survey was carried out among a sample of 2638 men and women in rural and urban areas of all four provinces of the country.Meanwhile, according to another Gilani Research Foundation Survey carried out by Gallup Pakistan, 57% say there is a no chance at all that this government can resolve the electricity crisis. Despair more than doubles during last 3 years.A nationally representative sample of men and women from across the four provinces was asked “In your opinion, what are the chances that the current government will be successful to deal with energy crisis?” Responding to this, 7% there is a high chance that government will be successfully deal with energy crisis, 27% believe there is a little chance whereas 57% believe that there is absolutely no chance that the current government will be able to deal with energy crisis. However, 9% did not give a view.

The drastic decline of Pakistani minorities

Faiza Mirza
It is fairly true that some people just do not learn the lessons. Maya Khan, the unprecedented queen of controversial morning shows, quite evidently remains one of them. Whether we talk about her endless stream of crocodile tears shed during the live transmission of her shows or her posse of women running after young couples, Khan certainly knows how to stir up sensation and ratchet ratings. Khan, popularly known for running after people in the parks, was sacked after a social media campaign was launched against her. However, she was hired by another private TV channel soon for her sensationalism and controversies. Her recent escapade, which involved converting a Hindu boy on live television, has angered many people. The show revolved around the ritual of conversion and people calling in to congratulate Khan, her team and Sunil, who was later, renamed Muhammad Abdullah. When asked what motivated him to accept Islam, Sunil responded incoherently about his intentions. Most of his responses revolved around praising Sarim Burney Trust, where he works and supposedly received the courage to change his religion. I am truly ashamed to have witnessed such a hideous mockery of the two religions. I am appalled to be a part of a society which hails such unjust and unethical practises and deeply saddened to know that minorities are blatantly marginalised on live television while the silent majority lives in denial. It was ironical to see that not a single caller objected to this ridiculing of religions or safeguarding the rights of minorities living in Pakistan. I am positively sure that at this rate minorities will cease to exist in Pakistan. It is rather disappointing to see that people such as Khan and Shahid Masood who are best known for gaining popularity through such shoddy tactics are being followed around like deities. Amazingly, most of us fail to understand that spirituality and religion are matters of personal choices. Advertising and exhibiting religion is neither permissible in Islam nor is recommended by the ethical parameters of any progressive society. The bombardment of Ramazan transmissions featuring religious clerics, public and pseudo-religious scholars-cum-hosts that aim to question and reinforce the concept of faith, are nothing but promotional stunts to fool the public. When will we learn? Why cannot we see that the only chance of our survival lies in tolerance and coexistence? Why cannot we respect other religions the way we honour Islam? How can a person who disrespects one religion, honour another? The forced conversions and abductions of non-Muslims living in Pakistan are hushed-up whereas ‘victories’ such as the one we witnessed this week are publicised on national television, further intimidating and isolating minorities. We talk about atrocities carried out in Indian Kashmir and the Gujrat riots but forget about the minorities who are living in constant fear of their lives, legacies and children. Khan’s show depicted the true picture of people because of whom the non-Muslims population in Pakistan is declining drastically. Whether the conversion was forced or willful remains arguable, however, we all know how Pakistanis would have responded if a Muslim would have been converted on live television. The ensuing catharsis would have engulfed the entire country in a raging fire; however, the minimal reaction this episode has received just proves that we are a failed society. Equally if not more, Pakistan’s media ethics are also to be questioned. The code of conduct which is found missing in most of the cases is one of the main reasons why such grotesque shows are approved for broadcast. Who has given electronic media the right to disseminate such negative propaganda about religion? Is it not more important to address issues related to the suppressed minorities of Pakistan and broadcast messages of peace in harmony during Ramazan? It is important to understand that unless we learn to live in mutual harmony, we will continue to suffer. The silent majority must rise and reprimand such media houses, producers and anchorpersons who entice masses to laud such medieval practises. We saw a revolution on social media after Khan’s “chasing couples in park” fiasco and we must continue to raise our voice. The change will take time; however, it will also only be brought about by you.

PPP committed to making South Punjab a province: Zardari

President Asif Ali Zardari has said that making South Punjab a separate province was part of PPP’s nation building process and the party would endeavor to honour its commitment made with the people of South Punjab. “The creation of a Janoobi Punjab province would help provide the people of South Punjab with the needed openings and opportunities for their socio-economic development,” the president said while talking to a delegation of office bearers of PPP South Punjab led by Makhdoom Shahab-ud-Din, Federal Minister for Textile Industries, which called on him at the Aiwan-e-Sadr late Friday night. The delegation included among others Haider Zaman Qureshi, Senior Vice President PPP South Punjab, Shaukat Basra and Khawaja Rizwan Alam. The participants congratulated the president on the success of a PPP candidate, Abdul Qadir Gilani, in by-election in NA 151 Multan and also apprised him about the aspirations of the people of South Punjab about the creation of a new province for them. The president stressed the need to increase mass contact with the people to better understand their problems with a view to resolving them.