Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Pakistan: 100 insecure Hindu families migrate to India

One hundred Hindu families have migrated to India due to rise in abduction for ransom cases. According to sources, these families had been residing in different areas of Balochistan and Sindh including Jackobabad, Khuzdar, Osta Muhammad for centuries. They had been victims of abduction and other crimes time and again. Scared by these atrocities, more than 500 people have migrated to India leaving their mercantile activities and sources of income at the mercy of looters and plunders. They left by trains to India where they deem themselves more secure. The affected families were of the view that nobody is secure in Balochistan. “Although, we belong to weak section of the society; we would not like to leave our houses but circumstances have compelled us to do so for security and survival of our lives,” an affected Hindu said.

Pakistan: Dismissing another PM will create anarchy

Federal Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira says dismissing another PM would create anarchy. Talking to the media in Islamabad, he said that no institution is entitled to meddle with the legislation; it is only right of the parliament. If another prime minister is sent home, it would create confusion, said Qamar Zaman Kaira. He said that Contempt of Court Law has been made with consensus of the parliament which has right of legislation. “Ultimate decision would be taken in consultation with law experts that either Raja Pervaiz would appear before the Supreme Court or not. If another prime minister is sent to home by the court, it would create anarchy and lawlessness in the country, said federal minister. Kaira opined that the attitude of institutions in any society does not dramatically change, adding that institutions don’t change; rather it is societies which bring transformation n their attitude. He said that the institutions and societies are to run shoulder to shoulder; all the politicians and institutions should learn from the past. He said that the PPP government has maintained traditions of the past; we accept the courts’ decisions at every cost whether we appreciate the or not.

Oman jails 12 for "illegal gathering"

An Omani court sentenced 12 people on Wednesday to up to a year in jail for "illegal gathering", their lawyer said, in a further move against unrest inspired by last year's Arab Spring revolts. Recent protests in Oman, which fronts the Gulf sea lane through which much of the world's oil trade is shipped, point to difficulties in implementing a strategy of defusing discontent by creating tens of thousands of public sector jobs. On Monday, another court in Muscat sentenced eight people to a year in jail over Internet posts it called "incitement" against the government, a court official said. The verdicts in both cases can be appealed. The 12 defendants, who included a television presenter and a lawyer, were also fined 200 Omani rial ($520) each, their lawyer Badr al-Bahri told Reuters. "The 12, who have been convicted of illegal gathering, are now arranging to pay a bail of 1,000 rials ($2,600) each since they say they want to appeal against the sentencing," a court official told Reuters, declining to be identified. In the case of those convicted of "incitement", the court official said the defendants had criticised the government for perceived inefficiency in creating jobs and a clampdown on protests that recently flared anew. Ten other people were sentenced last month to up to 18 months in jail over comments directed against the longtime Omani ruler, Sultan Qaboos, on social media websites and during protests in late May that grew out of strikes in the oil sector - which accounts for most state revenue. Sultan Qaboos - in power for 42 years and now the longest-serving Arab head of state following the fall of Libya's Muammar Gaddafi last year - promised thousands of jobs and unemployment benefits in response to last year's disturbances. Perceived failures and delays in making good on such promises were rallying cries in the recent protests, which saw anger directed against the once-sacrosanct figure of the sultan. Oman's public prosecutor pledged to prosecute such statements under its information technology law, which formed the basis of the latest rulings as well as the earlier verdicts. ($1 = 0.3850 Omani rials)

PPP to resist new centres of legislative power

Daily Times
The Pakistan People’s Party expressed its determination to resist, within the bounds of law and constitution, the emergence of new centres of legislative power other than parliament. It said lawmaking is the sacred responsibility of legislature, which will not be abandoned at any cost. This was expressed during a meeting of federal ministers and senior PPP leaders, co-chaired by President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf, at the Presidency on Tuesday. PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, former prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, Commerce Minister Makhdoom Amin Fahim, Deefence Minister Naveed Qamar, Interior Minister Rehman Malik, Law Minister Farooq Naek, Religious Affairs Minister Syed Khursheed Shah, Information and Broadcasting Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira, former health minister Makhdoom Shahabuddin, Water and Power Minister Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar, Senator Mian Raza Rabbani, leader of the House in the Senate Jahangir Badr and Sardar Ali Khan attended the meeting. The president’s spokesman Senator Farhatullah Babar said the meeting discussed the current situation of the country with focus on preparation for elections, overcoming energy crisis and the legal challenges the government was faced with. He said the president called upon the party leadership to step up preparations for the upcoming elections, which the president emphasised, would be held on time in accordance with the constitutional and legal dictates and in consultation with coalition partners. He said the Election Commission of Pakistan had announced completion of electoral rolls that were on display, and advised the party leadership to ensure every MNA, MPA and ticket-holder thoroughly checked the voter lists so that no one was left out, and to report any discrepancy to the ECP for rectification. The president said the PPP believes in the people’s power and was never shy of reverting to the people for endorsement of its policies. He said the party believed in free, fair and transparent elections for which it was important that electoral rolls should be devoid of errors and no eligible voter was left out. The president said holding of next general elections on time by the present assemblies would be another important milestone in the nation's journey towards strengthening of democracy, and further strengthening of the political process. He also asked the party leaders to reach out to masses and address their problems. The spokesman said Water and Power Minister Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar briefed the meeting on the energy situation in the country. He said in view of the critical nature of the power issue and the problems faced by the people, repair work of high-voltage pylons in Muzzaffargarh was done on war footing and the suspended power restored to the national grid. He said power generation would further improve with necessary financial resources being utilised for fuel and expected rise in water level in the dams. The meeting was informed about the progress with regards to implementation of the cabinet’s decision about zero duty on the import of solar panels. He said solar energy would significantly reduce pressure on the power sector. In addition to this, work on small dams in various parts of the country was also being done on priority basis. Law Minister Farooq H Naek also briefed the meeting about various legal challenges and the strategy adopted to confront the challenges. The meeting expressed satisfaction with the strategy. The meeting also reposed full confidence in the leadership of President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf.

Pakistan court: PM must appear in corruption case

Pakistan's Supreme Court ordered the prime minister Wednesday to appear before it to explain why he has not followed their instructions to reopen an old corruption case against the president. The order is likely to further escalate tensions between the court and the government. The ongoing conflict has dominated Pakistan's political scene this year, stoking instability at a time when many say the country's leaders should be more focused on issues like the energy crisis and the Taliban insurgency. The court wants Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf to write a letter to Swiss authorities asking them to reopen a graft case against President Asif Ali Zardari dating back to the late 1990s. The government maintains that Zardari has immunity from prosecution while in office and so far has resisted writing the letter. The previous prime minister, Yousuf Raza Gilani, lost his job in June in a similar showdown with the court after refusing to write the letter. The head of a five-judge panel, Asif Saeed Khosa, said Wednesday that Ashraf must appear before the court on Aug. 27. The judge said it was unfortunate that the prime minister had failed to comply with the court order already. If Ashraf fails to appear in court or continues to refuse to write the letter, he could be charged with contempt of court, the judge added. A prominent Pakistani lawyer Abdul Hafeez Pirzada said he didn't expect Ashraf to write the letter to the Swiss, which could result in him being disqualified from office. "I don't think they (the government) are in a mood to write the letter," Pirzada said. An adviser to the prime minister, Fawad Chaudhry, said Ashraf had been informed about Wednesday's ruling and would consult with his political allies before making any decision. Chaudhry said the ruling could further deepen political instability at a time when the country is facing multiple challenges. However, Zardari is not in immediate danger of being put on trial. The Swiss have indicated they have no plans to reopen the case while Zardari is in office because he enjoys immunity as head of state. The court has been aggressive in using its clout to investigate the government as well as Pakistan's security agencies, and appears to consider it unacceptable for the government to ignore its orders. The ruling Pakistan People's Party views the court with suspicion, and supporters have questioned whether the court is becoming too powerful. The high court convicted Ashraf's predecessor Gilani of contempt in April and ousted him from office two months later. The PPP rallied support to elect a new premier and has continued to reject the court's decision. The PPP also tried to outmaneuver the high court by passing a law designed to protect the prime minister from being charged with contempt of court. But the Supreme Court last week struck down that legislation. The court could keep dismissing prime ministers over the issue, undermining the government and forcing an early national election. Meanwhile, two guards who were transporting six militant prisoners in a vehicle were killed when the detainees overpowered them, grabbed their weapons and opened fire, Pakistani officials said Wednesday. The incident happened Tuesday in the frontier city of Peshawar, a security official said. Three of the militants were later killed in a shootout with police, while the others escaped, a police official said. In a statement, the Taliban claimed their fighters killed five security personnel, but the insurgents often inflate the casualty toll to bolster their positions. The Pakistani officials all spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.