Monday, August 13, 2012

Pakistan: Nation celebrates 65th Independence Day

Nation is celebrating the 65th Independence Day with zeal, enthusiasm.
The day will dawn with special prayers in mosques for the progress and prosperity of the country. Celebrations will begin with a 31-gun salute in the Federal Capital and 21-gun salute in all the four provincial capitals. A change of the guard ceremony at the mausoleum of Quaid-e-Mohammed Ali Jinnah, Pakistan’s founder, in Karachi would also take place. A number of events have been chalked out to celebrate the Independence Day in a befitting manner and pay homage to those, who laid down their lives to create an independent motherland for the coming generations. People from various walks of life have decorated their houses with national flags and the buildings, city shopping centers, bazaars and all the main roads are also being adorned with flags and fancy lights. National songs are in the air, which gives the message that whole the nation is united and tidy. The national flag will be hoisted at the important buildings to celebrate the day with befitting manners. Sweets will be distributed among the poor. Special prizes will be awarded to those who decorate and illuminate their building at best. Meanwhile prices of flags, pictures of national heroes and other stuff like badges are out of reach of common man, however some will buy and some will pray that prices go down in this regard. Printers and makers of bindings, flags, banners and badges are fully engaged in their business. They are also making arrangements to dispatch these items to other areas of the country to meet demand of people. The most enthusiastic are children who are busy collecting stickers, badges and also beautifying their bicycles with special stickers inscribed with messages of Independence Day.

Pakistan Civilian awards: Presidency issues list of 192 recipients

President Asif Ali Zardari announced on Monday a list of 192 recipients for the country’s top civilian awards, including Pakistanis and foreign nationals. The investiture ceremony will take place on Pakistan Day on March 23, 2013. Among those to be decorated with civilian awards include foreigners hailing from China, United Kingdom, France, Spain and Malaysia. Some of the prominent Pakistani recipients include cricket umpire Aleem Dar, prominent Pakistan Television newscaster Shaista Zaid and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leader, late Fauzia Wahab. According to details, the president has conferred seven Nishan-i-Imtiaz, one Hilal-i-Pakistan, 17 Hilal-i-Imtiaz, one Sitara-i-Pakistan, three Sitara-i-Shujaat, 45 Sitara-i-Imtiaz, 24 President’s Award for Pride of Performance, one Tamgha-i-Pakistan, 15 Tamgha-i-Shujaat, 76 Tamgha-i-Imtiaz and two Tamgha-i-Quaid-i-Azam. The Hilal-i-Pakistan has been conferred upon foreign nationals, including Yang Jiechi (China), Sitara-i-Pakistan to Dr Rowan Douglas Williams Archbishop of Canterbury (British) and Tamgha-i-Pakistan to Li Xiaolin (China). Some of the prominent recipients in their respective categories are: Nishan-i-Imtiaz The following have been awarded for public service: - Social activist Abdul Sattar Edhi - Governor Sindh Dr Ishrat-ul-Ebad Khan - Leiutenent General (retd) Khalid Ahmed Kidwai, Director Genral Strategic Plans Division Mehdi Hassan and Saadat Hassan Manto have been awarded posthumous awards in the fields of Art (Music) and Literature respectively, while Dr Muhammad Irfan Burney, Chairman, NESCOM and Dr Munir Ahmed Khan (posthumous) have been awarded in the field of science. Hilal-i-Imtiaz - The late Fauzia Wahab, former PPP leader/Member of National Assembly - Social activist Ansar Burney - Actor/compere Zia Mohyeddin - Singer Abida Parveen - Writer Anwar Maqsood - Writer Fatima Suriya Bajia - Cricketers, the late Hafeez Kardar and Fazal Mehmood - Hamid Mir, journalist - Azhar Abbas, journalist - Actor Khalid Abbas Dar Sitara-i-Imtaiz -Aleem Sarwar Dar, ICC award winning cricket umpire - Shaista Zaid, former Pakistan Television newscaster - Syed Ghulam Mohiyuddin Noor, film producer - Syed Noor, filmmaker - Senator Haji Ghulam Ali, former FPCCI president, - Dr Attiya Inayatullah, Member of National Assembly - Taj Haider, Pakistan Peoples Party senior leader - Ghazal maestro Ustad Ghulam Ali - Jugnoo Mohsin , journalist - Qazi Aslam, journalist - Hashim Khan, former squash player Tamgha-I-Imtiaz In the field of literature and journalism, the recipients include Sikandar H. Lodhi, Shaukat Pervaiz, Mohammad Aslam Khan, Syed Mir Mehdi Shah Mehdi and Dr Irfan Ahmad Baig. Tamgha-i-Quaid-i-Azam Sister Mary Lagan and Catherine Nicol were being awarded for their services in the field of education.

US shares Jinnah's goal of vibrant, self-reliant Pak

US shares Jinnah's goal of a vibrant and self-reliant Pakistan, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said while conveying Washington's Independence Day greetings to the government and people of the country. "Muhammad Ali Jinnah dreamt of a vibrant, self-reliant Pakistan, a goal we all share," Clinton said in her Independence Day greetings to the people of Pakistan."On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I am delighted to send best wishes to the government and people of Pakistan as you celebrate the anniversary of your independence this August 14," she said. "Since 1947, Pakistan has persevered in the face of immense challenges to build upon the democratic ideals of your country’s founders," she said. "Today, we take time to honour your sacrifices and renew our support for a stable and secure Pakistan for generations to come," Clinton said. "As Muslims around the world reflect upon the meaning of community and sacrifice during this holy month of Ramadan, the United States celebrates the hardworking Pakistanis who strive to fulfill Jinnah's vision of a stable, secure, and prosperous Pakistan," the Secretary of State said in her statement.

Democracy is binding force, provides solution: Ashraf

Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf said only democracy and no other system provides solution to problems faced by Pakistan and its people. Addressing seminar on “Pakistan: My Identity” in connection with Independence Day celebrations on Monday, he said democracy is the only binding force and the country cannot be governed through dictatorship. Future of the country lies in strong democracy and it is moral obligation of everyone to work with dedication to achieve this goal. Democracy is only time tested system that keeps aspirations of people supreme, he observed. Pakistan movement was vividly a democratic force and provided guidance which was unique example to follow, he stressed. All major targets in the world were achieved through democratic forces. There is no role of dictatorship anywhere in the world in development of any country, he added. Ashraf said so-called systems introduced by dictators could not run as these were not public oriented nor participatory in their chemistry. “As Pakistanis we should join hands to make the country progressive, developed welfare state. Pakistan is our identity and we have an unshakeable relationship with it,” said the premier. He urged media to act as neutral institution and avoid spreading despondency among masses. Media has right to criticise government policies but within certain parameters and portray good things about Pakistan to improve its image in comity of nations, he emphasised. He said Pakistan is blessed with talent like Shafah Khubani who is youngest Microsoft certified IT expert. Media should promote such people. He announced Rs 1 million for Shafah Khubani. Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira spoke of challenges facing the country said government taken several steps – 18th amendment, NFC award to strengthen participatory Federation, identity to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and greater share to provinces through NFC. He regretted democratic governments were never allowed to complete their mandated term that plunged the country into many crises. “By following vision of founding leaders we can put Pakistan on right course,” said the information minister.

President Zardari: People must guard against assault on Constitution

The Pakistani people and Parliament must be watchful against "new forms of assaults" on the Constitution, President Asif Ali Zardari said against the backdrop of a standoff between the government and the judiciary. Zardari made the remarks in a message issued to mark Pakistan's Independence Day days before the Supreme Court takes up a contempt charge against Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf for refusing to revive graft cases against the President. The restoration of the Constitution of 1973 by all political forces had raised hopes that the people would "revert to our true bearings and restore to Pakistan the values and ideals for which it was created", he said. "However, the people and the Parliament must also be watchful against new forms of assaults on the Constitution and the Parliament," he added. The Supreme Court has summoned Prime Minister Ashraf to personally appear on August 27 to face the contempt of court charge against him. Experts have said Ashraf could be disqualified like his predecessor Yousuf Raza Gilani for refusing to reopen the graft cases against Zardari. The Independence Day is an occasion to "pause and ponder over whether we have moved towards or away from the ideals for which Pakistan was created", the President said. Without referring to the ongoing tensions with the judiciary, Zardari said: "Our founding fathers envisioned Pakistan as a country where democracy, constitutionalism and rule of law would reign supreme. It was envisaged to be a country where the power of the ballot, and not bullet, will determine the political choices of the people." He said that for most of Pakistan's independent existence, the people were "often denied right to rule and the Constitution repeatedly abrogated". It was reassuring that the current parliament unanimously restored to a large extent the democratic Constitution of 1973, he added. Zardari asked the people to rededicate themselves to the democratic ideals and principles of Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan. "Adherence to the principle that political choices must be made by ballot, and not imposed through bullet, demands that we banish from our midst all forms of bigotry, extremism and militancy," he said. Everyone should work together for strengthening democracy, empowering the people and creating a progressive, tolerant, moderate and modern Pakistan, he said. In a separate message, Prime Minister Ashraf said the Pakistan Peoples Party-led coalition government had undertaken various initiatives and pursued a policy of reconciliation. "We have also refashioned our country's foreign policy in accord with parliamentary guidelines and national interest," he said. Ashraf reminded people of Jinnah's speech to the Constituent Assembly on August 11,1947 in which he had said: "You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place of worship in this state of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed, that has nothing to do with the business of the state." In conformity with the guidelines laid out by Jinnah, Ashraf said his government is committed to "an equal status for minorities as citizens of the state". The premier acknowledged that challenges like an energy crisis, law and order problems, economic difficulties and terrorism, and extremism had "slowed down the pace of socio-economic development". Despite these difficulties, Pakistan is a "vibrant polity where judiciary is independent, parliament is functioning, media is vibrant and civil society is active," he said. "We are a resolute and determined nation and can overcome these daunting challenges if we demonstrate tolerance, unity, solidarity and understanding," Ashraf said.

Zardari stresses political choices be made through ballot, not bullet

President Asif Ali Zardari
while calling for elimination of all forms of bigotry, extremism and militancy stressed strengthening of democratic system and urged that political choices be made by ballot, and not imposed through bullet. In a message on the Independence Day the President urged the nation to rededicate itself to the democratic ideals and principles of Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah. “On this day I wish to call upon everyone to work together for strengthening of democracy, empowerment of the people and for a progressive, tolerant, moderate and modern Pakistan as envisioned by our great leaders,” the President said. The President regretted that unfortunately, for most part of the independent existence the people were often denied right to rule and the Constitution was repeatedly abrogated. “It is reassuring that the present Parliament unanimously restored to a large extent the democratic Constitution of 1973.” the President said. He said the restoration of the Constitution by all political forces and provinces raises hope that despite setbacks the nation would revert to its true bearings and restore the values and ideals for which Pakistan was created. “However, the people and the Parliament must also be watchful against new forms of assaults on the Constitution and the Parliament,” the President pointed. He said the founding fathers envisioned Pakistan as a country where democracy, constitutionalism and rule of law would reign supreme. The President said it was envisaged to be a country where the power of the ballot, and not bullet, would determine the political choices of the people. Countless lives were sacrificed for the achievement of these ideals including that of the country’s first directly elected Prime Minister Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Muslim world’s first elected woman Prime Minister Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto. The President extended heartiest felicitations to all Pakistanis within the country and abroad and said the day falling in the holy month of Ramzan, was the most important date in national calendar. “On this day in 1947, our long and hard struggle for independence against foreign domination was crowned with success and a new state was born wherein we could fashion our lives and destiny in accordance with our culture, values and aspirations.” The President said “our heads bow in gratitude before Allah and we express gratitude to our founding fathers who under the leadership of the Quaid achieved a separate homeland for us.” The President said while it was natural to rejoice the independence celebrations, it was also an occasion to pause and ponder whether the nation has moved towards, or away from the ideals for which Pakistan was created.

Kashmir women ordered to cover up or risk acid attack
A pro-al-Qaeda group in Kashmir has warned women it will kill them or disfigure their faces with acid if they are seen unveiled or using their mobile phones in public.
The threat has sown fear throughout India’s Jammu and Kashmir state where it revives memories of a similar campaign in 2001 when several women were attacked with acid. The warning comes amid growing concern in India about the number of acid attacks on women and fears in Kashmir that the practice, which is prevalent in neighbouring Pakistan, is being exported across the border. In both India and neighbouring Muslim countries it has been used in assaults against women who have refused marriage proposals or been accused of slighting the ‘honour’ of relatives or rejected suitors. Police and women’s groups in Kashmir were alarmed after notices were pinned to mosques in Shopian district, claiming to be posted on behalf of two previously unknown militant groups. “We appeal to the public that they ensure that their women observe purdah [cover their heads and faces] in public places. If we spot any woman without purdah we will sprinkle acid on her face. If we spot any girl using mobile phone, she will be shot dead,” said the note, which was signed by al-Qaeda Mujahideen and referred to another group, Lashkar e al-Qaeda.Another group, the Lashkar e Jabbar claimed responsibility for acid attacks and shootings of girls in 2001 as part of a campaign to enforce conservative Muslim values in the relatively liberal state and terrify young women it regarded as wearing “immodest” clothes, such as jeans and t-shirts. Professor Noor Ahmad Baba, a Kashmiri commentator, said women in Kashmir had been targeted before but had generally enjoyed greater freedom than women in other Muslim states. “In the last 23 years of the war, women have been targeted by fringe elements,” he said. “Generally, women in Kashmir are more empowered than women from other conflict zones. There have been campaigns to force women to wear veil but it didn’t sustain for long.” S M Sahai, Kashmir’s Inspector General of Police, said an investigation was under way and said it may be a part of a campaign by local militants to radicalise the state because militant infiltration into Kashmir from Pakistan has been substantially reduced. “The militants are trying to recruit locals as the infiltration has been brought to minimum. We have cases of militants trying to engaging boys of 12,” he said.

Imran cannot bring any change

Aitzaz says Imran cannot bring any change with the kind leaders he has around him. Addressing a ceremony held in connection with Independence Day in Lahore PPP leader Ch Etizaz Ahsan said that it was because of Chief Justice Ch Iftikhar Ahmad that we have democracy in Pakistan today; otherwise Musharraf would still have been ruling the country. He said elections would take place on due time as per provisions of the constitution. He said all institutions of the state should work within the limits earmarked in the constitution and there should be no clash. “It is unfortunate that judges have started sending people to jail just for starring at them,” he said. Aitzaz said he always raised his voice in the support of judiciary even violating the party discipline, and took part in two long marches for the cause of judiciary. “But this is the beauty of PPP that I am still in the party,” he said. Criticizing Imran Khan and Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf Aitzaz said no one can bring any change in the country with ‘fake coins’ in his pocket. Most of the leaders who have joined PPP, PML-N and Tehrik-e-Insaf would have joined Musharraf had he been in power now.

Tensions again rising between Afghanistan, Pakistan
The continuing rocket attacks from Pakistan on eastern provinces of the country have cost two high-ranking officials their jobs and threaten to further destabilize the country's fragile central government. Early last month, Abdul Rahim Wardak, the country's defense minister, was forced to step down after members of parliament called for his removal because of the ongoing shelling. Interior Minister Bismillah Khan Mohammadi, who controls the Afghan National Police, was also forced to step down. President Hamid Karzai said he would respect parliament's views and remove the two ministers, but he asked the two to stay on until replacements could be found. Wardak refused the president's request. Meanwhile, there is growing anger in Kabul as rockets continue to fall on the eastern Kunar province. Senior Afghan officials say that the Pakistani military, rather than Taliban militants, is responsible for the attacks, claiming that only Islamabad has access to the type of munitions being used. Pakistan has denied the allegation. U.S. defense officials and members of the international security force continue to suspect that insurgent forces may be behind the rocket attacks. Whoever is to blame, tempers are growing short among the country's leaders. Kabul previously threatened to go to the U.N. Security Council with its complaint against Pakistan if the bombardments, which began in May, do not stop. Kunar provincial governor Fazlullah Wahedi said nearly 2,000 rockets had landed in recent months. In addition to killing numerous civilians, the attacks have displaced hundreds of families. "The central government should address this issue seriously. The bombardment has made the public very anxious," he said. Army Chief of Staff Sher Mohammad Karimi recently told the upper house of parliament that he is convinced the Pakistani military is responsible for the attacks. He said he believes the assault was intended to pressure Kabul into accepting the Durand Line, a poorly defined border dividing the two countries that was imposed by the British in 1893. Kabul does not recognize the line; Islamabad would like to see it formalized. Lawmakers asked Karimi why the United States has not done more to address the situation. "I don't know why the Americans are ignoring this issue," he responded. "Maybe the Americans are afraid because Pakistan has nuclear weapons, or maybe they are old friends and (America) doesn't want to clash with them." In Washington, Pentagon spokesman George Little said America was working closely with Afghanistan and Pakistan to try and limit violence along the border. "We have obviously been in constant contact with the Afghan government to work on these issues and we have put pressure on the enemy that operates along the border," Little said at a recent conference. Kunar province is mountainous and heavily forested, and borders Pakistan's federally administered tribal areas, over which Islamabad has limited control. Officials in Islamabad have accused insurgents of staging attacks into Pakistan from Kunar. They say the Pakistani Taliban have found refuge in parts of eastern Afghanistan from which most Afghan and American forces have withdrawn in recent years. Pakistan's Dawn newspaper reported on July 24 that "terrorists" had launched 15 attacks from Kunar and Nuristan provinces against Pakistani border posts and villages over the last year. The newspaper claimed that 105 soldiers and civilians had been killed in the attacks. In a country rife with conspiracy theories, many see a dark purpose behind Washington's reluctance to become directly involved in the dispute between the two countries. They note that the United States and Pakistan in July signed a new agreement allowing the shipment of war materials from Pakistan to Afghanistan. Such shipments had been blocked since November 2011 following a U.S. airstrike inside Pakistan that left 24 Pakistani soldiers dead. As part of the agreement, Washington agreed to release $1 billion in frozen military aid to Pakistan's military. Wahid Mozhda, an Afghan political analyst, said that even if Washington knew Islamabad was implicated in the shelling, American officials might be reluctant to address the situation given the importance of the transit route through Pakistan. "The ... least expensive transit route for American troops here in the region goes through Pakistan. The U.S. needs Pakistan to achieve its long-term goals in the region," Mozhda said. "I am confident that with the technology at their disposal, the Americans know where the rockets coming into Afghanistan are being fired from, but they don't want to upset Pakistan." ABOUT THE WRITERS Hafizullah Gardesh and Mina Habib are reporters in Afghanistan who write for The Institute for War & Peace Reporting, a nonprofit organization that trains journalists in areas of conflict. Readers may write to the authors at the Institute for War & Peace Reporting, 48 Grays Inn Road, London WC1X 8LT, U.K.; Web site: For information about IWPR's funding, please go to This essay is available to McClatchy-Tribune News Service subscribers. McClatchy-Tribune did not subsidize the writing of this column; the opinions are those of the writers and do not necessarily represent the views of McClatchy-Tribune or its editors. Read more here:

US to crack down on Fazlullah’s Taliban militia

The United States has assured Pakistan that NATO troops based in Afghanistan would take effective measures against Maulvi Fazlullah-led Pakistani Taliban, who are involved in cross-border militant attacks on Pakistani posts from the Afghan provinces of Kunar and Nuristan and their hideouts, if found, would be eliminated. Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Director General Lt General Zaheerul Islam, who visited Washington in the beginning of this month, had focused talks with Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director David Petraeus and other senior American officials on the repeated attacks by Afghanistan based Pakistani Taliban (Fazlullah group) in Dir, Chitral and Bajaur border regions. Pakistani officials said on condition of anonymity that the ISI chief had also given “concrete evidence” to the CIA director and other officials in Washington about the hideouts of Fazlullah-led militants in Kunar and Nuristan, telling them that according to intelligence information, these terrorists had also been provided arms and ammunition from the other side of the border. Fazlullah and dozens of his followers crossed over to Afghanistan after they were defeated by the Pakistan Army in a major military operation in Swat in 2009. The group kept a low profile there, but began attacking Pakistani forces some months later, killing several soldiers deployed in the border regions. There has been a renewed surge in these militant attacks in recent months. “The ISI chief asked for immediate measures by US and NATO forces against Fazlullah’s group, telling CIA officials that as a friendly state and major partner in the war on terror, it was Washington’s responsibility to eliminate threats to the security of allies like Pakistan,” said an official seeking anonymity. He said the US officials in response came up with assurance that they would take all possible measures against the militants and their alleged hideouts in Kunar and Nuristan. However, he said the US once again asked for a full-fledged military operation against the ‘Haqqani network’ allegedly based in North Waziristan. Another official confirmed that the ISI chief had shared evidence with the American authorities against Maulvi Fazlullah-led Taliban, but it would be wrong to suggest that US had linked any action against the group with an offensive in North Waziristan. He said the operation in North Waziristan was an old American demand and they raised the issue with the ISI chief again. The official said Pakistan could go for a ‘selected’ and ‘targeted’ military action in North Waziristan without any discrimination against the militants there, but a major and full-fledged army operation in the near future couldn’t be carried out. “They (Americans) shall understand Pakistan’s constraints. Our security forces are engaged in anti-terrorist efforts in several areas across the country and they are overstretched, so it would be asking for too much to involve them in another full-fledged military operation,” the official said.

Veena Malik: Entertainers have the right to discuss religion

Veena Malik, responding to criticism of her Ramazan show ‘Astaghfar’ on Hero TV, has said that entertainers have the right to talk about their religion and has rejected the perception that entertainment and religion should be kept separate. She was speaking during an exclusive interview on Express News with Munizae Jahangir in New Delhi. On being told that entertainers talking about religion was akin to a ‘maulvi’ wanting to be a hero in the entertainment industry, she lashed out at the ‘maulvis’, saying that they do portray themselves as some sort of heroes on television, wearing gaudy clothes and makeup, entertaining viewers. She added that religion is a very beautiful thing and everyone, no matter anywhere in the world, has the right to learn about their religion. Flirting with the camera “No man can look at me the way the camera looks at me because the camera makes me look really pretty. The way I flirt with the camera, I can never flirt with anyone,” said Malik. Reflecting back upon her career as a once shy girl when she joined the entertainment industry, the bold actress said that the ‘shy girl’ will always be in her and that her first love will always be the camera. Talking about her struggle in India’s entertainment industry, particularly the film industry, Malik said that the struggle was the same as in Pakistan but she had never shied away from hard work, although she did face opposition from certain quarters here, including the Hindu extremist lobby and Muslim community as well. “If you talk about India, a lot of people do love me, but the fact is that being a Pakistani does offend the sentiments of a particular Hindu extremist lobby,” narrating an incident that took place while she was shooting for a Kannada film in Bangalore, adding that during the shoot of ‘The Dirty Picture’ remake, a Hindu extremist group protested against her being cast in the movie instead of an Indian. Malik, however, said that she had also received a lot of love in India, adding that on both sides of the border, there were people who were liberal and welcomed change, while at the same time there were those who equate patriotism with anti-India or anti-Pakistan sentiments. ‘No plans to settle in India’ Answering a question on whether she would settle down like many Pakistani celebrities had in the past, including singer Adnan Sami, or whether did she intend to return back to Pakistan, Malik said that she had never ‘set boundaries’ for herself and would continue to work in Pakistan and India, as long as she was offered beautiful and interesting projects. She had no plans to permanently settle in India. On her Kannada version of the film ‘The Dirty Picture’, she said that working in a Kannada film was a very different experience for her as she was not familiar with the language, and that she would also be singing in the film on the director’s request, for which she would start recording soon. When asked to sing a Kannada song, she was reluctant, but instead sang a popular song of Pakistan’s legendary singer Madam Noor Jehan, ‘Mujhse pehli si mohabbat…’ ‘Parents cannot be upset for long’ On her estranged ties with her father who was upset with his daughter’s exploits in India, also allegedly disowning her, the confident actress said that as of now he was upset but then parents can never be upset with their child for long. Speaking about living alone in India despite threats from Hindu extremists and the Muslim community, who had also issued an edict (fatwa) against her in Bhopal, Malik said that she had faced the same challenges in Pakistan too, reiterating that she had critics and lovers alike all over the world. Although, she misses her family, Malik said that she had been living out of a suitcase since she was 14 years old, and hence didn’t miss being at home, and was instead enjoying her life’s beautiful journey and looked forward to achieving a lot more. She said that everything comes at a cost in life. On threats from Taliban member Ahmed Masood, the defiant actress said that she had received threats in past but none lately and would most probably spend Eidul Fitr in Pakistan. ‘Politicians are the biggest comedians’ Responding to a question, with reference to an interview wherein she had called TV anchors as the biggest comedians, an amused Malik said that she had never said that, instead she had called politicians the aforementioned. According to Malik, veteran politician Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed was the biggest comedian amongst politicians. ‘Veena ka Vivah’ On talking about her show for an Indian channel, ‘Veena ka Vivah’, for which she received much flak from the local Muslim community with an edict issued against her, Malik said that everyone should be happy now since the show had been cancelled and she was enjoying her single status for now. She however defended the show’s concept calling it beautiful, saying that every religion encouraged the woman to choose her life partner. The edict had accused her for making a mockery of the institution of marriage in Islam and that the Muslim community would socially boycott her and the show, so as to avoid the actress from influencing women and girls of the community. Talking further about the show, Malik said that she had received over 75,000 entries from all over the world and was looking forward to meeting her Mr Right on the show. She quashed criticism that choosing a life partner on a television show were risky, adding that she was a public figure and wanted to share this joy of her life with everyone and that eventually when she does marry, ‘it will become national news anyways’. On being questioned whether there was someone in her life she wanted to get married to, Malik said not as of now, however during the interview she did mention that she was in a relationship but did not want to divulge much information about it since she did not want to jinx it. “I always need a lover,” added a shy Malik. FHM shoot On talking about her controversial shoot for an Indian edition of an international men’s magazine, FHM, and allegations that she insisted on a revealing shoot and posing semi-nude, Malik said that she had taken legal action against the magazine for allegedly morphing pictures over a semi-nude body and questioned why the magazine had not been able to prove to date the authenticity of the pictures. She refuted the magazine’s claims that she had approached them, adding that in India, she only worked with people who approached her. Questioning the magazine’s claims that there was a video of the shoot, she asked why was it not released yet. “Is it being cooked up?” ‘Shock Queen’ Addressing allegations on her being labelled as ”Shock Queen” and “Controversy Queen” , Malik said that whatever she was doing as an actress, is no different than what other Indian actresses or her peers across the border were doing, adding that had the FHM incident occurred with another actress, then she would have been considered a ‘victim’ but since this happened with Veena Malik, then it was considered that ‘she must have done it.’ Malik clarified that she had never posed topless or nude in her life. On whether she expected justice from the Indian courts here, she said that one always gets justice when one is right. Item number Talking about her item number ‘Channo’ in a Hindi film, she said that it was a beautiful song and concept, questioning what was wrong with the clothes. “Who will determine whether what is vulgar and entertainment? The same thing another actress does, is entertainment, but if Veena Malik does it, it is ‘something else’?” She said that people need to end their double standards and that they just liked talking about her. ‘Aphrodisiac endorsement’ Even Malik’s endorsement of an aphrodisiac product for men was not off limits in the interview. Defending her decision to endorse the brand ‘Power Prash’, she rejected the notion amongst people that she had done this because ‘times were tough’ for her in Bollywood. She said, “If Bollywood superstar Shahrukh Khan could sell a pressure cooker, why could not I sell Power Prash?” adding that celebrities endorsed everything from ointments (balm) to utensils. Malik said that she was not having trouble finding work in India and was on the contrary shooting for five films, adding that shes working both sides of the border and that critics should ‘just chill and relax’. “I have a bright future ahead of me. I am an actress and I am going to give my 100% in promoting my endorsed products.” Malik further said that she did not fear her image as a serious actor being affected by this endorsement. Alleged relationships Responding to a question about her alleged affair with Indian filmmaker Hemant Madhurkar and the leaked pictures pictures of them both at a party, Malik dismissed the whole affair as a rumor, saying that Madhukar was just a friend and a very talented director, with whom she had shot a 3D film, adding that one develops a personal relationship with people while working on a film and they become a part of one’s social life. She said it wasn’t her fault if people wanted to give the wrong impression by cropping out other people in the picture, leaving out only her and Madhukar. When asked whether had she seen the pictures, she admitted she had , adding that everyone has their own way of perceiving things, “a dirty mind sees dirty things while a beautiful mind sees beautiful things.” On her alleged affair with actor Ashmit Patel, whom she met on the Indian reality show Bigg Boss, she refuted the allegation that it was just an act, Veena said that she found it surprising that people actually believed that she would fake her affection for someone on national television. Malik also raised questions over an interview of Patel’s friend to Mumbai Mirror, wherein he had said that it was a one-sided affair and that Patel actually used to get upset on reading stories about his alleged affair with her, asking whether Patel had said any of this. She said that she and the Indian actor will always have mutual respect and regard for each other, however they were not together anymore. ‘Love me for who I am’ On talking about working after marriage, Malik said that she was not a piece of furniture, a sofa, which can be replaced any time just because one loses interest in her, terming marriage as a long term friendship and that one who loves her would never stop her [from achieving her dreams and goals in life]. She said that the definition of love had changed a lot over the years and that being protective did not mean that one ruins the life partner’s life and lose trust in the person. Admitting that she was a flirt, when not in a relationship to someone, she clarified it in the same breathe that she was very loyal when committed. She refused to stop working after marriage and would never accept such conditions from her future life partner, adding that relationships could not survive on ‘conditions’. “Today he might object to my work, tomorrow I might lose my hair or beauty!… so the person should love me for who I am.” On being asked about match-fixing in cricket and former boyfriend cricketer Mohammed Asif’s alleged involvement in it, Malik admitted that she had never witnessed a deal wherein a match was being fixed. She however said that the house in Lahore where Asif and she lived had a basement, where the cricketer usually met his friends but she was never allowed to meet them. Answering a question about whether her parents ever objected about her relationship with Asif, Malik said that being an independent adult, was a matter of concern for parents, however she narrated a conversation with her mother wherein she had strongly forbade Malik from marrying Asif. Malik added that she had no regrets about the failed relationship and that everything happened for a reason. Return to Pakistan? On responding to a question asking whether Pakistani society will accept her after her exploits in India, Malik said that she has kept her roots intact and had not ended her relation with Pakistan. “When you are a celebrity, there is propaganda and controversies related to you which are often exaggerated, but I have never crossed my boundaries. Pakistan is my country and I will go back.” Malik said that whenever she took on a project or any step, she always remembered that she was a Pakistani [woman] and will have to return back to her country. She said the image of the Pakistani women was misconstrued, since despite being shunned from voicing their opinion, they were politicians and professionals too, who wore both a burqa and jeans. Paying homage to her late grandmother, Malik said that she owed her self-belief and confidence to the latter, saying that her grandmother was a liberal, who always supported her.

Lahore Cops shoot two dead at a ceremony

LAHORE: Policemen have allegedly shot two persons dead in the middle of a ceremony in Nawaz Sharif Colony area here in Lahore, Geo News reported.
Eyewitnesses told Geo News that a police party in a raid-like-style crashed into a ceremony and started beating up a man. Startled by the brutality of Punjab police, the other attendees intervened to save him from further torture as the blows of gunstocks had already injured him seriously, they added. That was when the cops opened fire, which killed two people on the spot, the eyewitnesses said giving vivid details. The firing left three persons injured, including a three-year-old. This savagery mobilized an angry mob, which swooped upon the feral cops, who, fearing a probable lynching, managed to flee leaving their weapons as well as motorcycles behind. Following the tragic incident the local residents set tyres ablaze on Ferozpur Road and blocked it for traffic vowing to protest until justice was served.

Peshawar : Great rush of girls on bangles shops

Great rush of girls buyers have been witnessed on bangles and henna stalls ahead of Eid on Sunday here as shopkeepers have beautifully decorated their shops with buntings and clourful lights to attract customers. After Iftari, the Peshawari girls' accompanied with parents and guardians came out in large number for shopping and are seen busy in buying bangles and applying henna on hands in artistically decorated stalls setup at different areas of cantonment and city as eid celebrations have reached to its peak in Peshawar. The buying shiny bangles, jewellery, bright clothes and perfume with matching footwear were real fun for young girls during these days. The Eid flavour is moving to its peak with each passing day as many shoppers are expected to came out for shopping on Chand Raat. On Sunday, Shafi Market in the cantt area are turned into sea of women and girls as new shops of henna and bangles decorated with clourful buntings were opened to attract shoppers.


Naïve leaders from Punjab are making the persistent demand for immediate elections without considering the anarchy prevailing in all spheres of life of Pakistan. The writ of the Government had not been restored in some parts of Pakistan and life is not normal in other parts which will prevent the rulers from holding the elections. If demand for holding immediate elections is a political slogan and a pressure tactic on the coalition Government, then it is ok. If the Punjabi leaders are serious in forcing the Government to hold ahead of schedule elections is dangerous then we will be collecting huge crowd of unarmed and innocent people for the terrorists to kill people in thousands in a single explosion. In case of Balochistan, election campaigning is impossible as there is a strong and powerful section, though small, is opposed to parliamentary politics or representative democracy for which they had made some leaders target. The performance of the present Government in power in Balochistan is not ideal and people, in general, are not satisfied as they failed to deliver goods during the present political tenure. Presumably, they will not dare to face their electorates if the elections are called and if they did not enjoy the support of the establishment as usual. In such a case, their future is doomed and they are dumped in the history by the establishment. There is a growing awareness among the people in general not to tolerate any engineered elections. There will be zero tolerance to electoral fraud. Only genuine people enjoying the confidence of their electorates will be tolerated to contest the elections and people will listen to those parties and leaders who served the masses or comparatively more honest in political dealing. Those forces are not coming forward at the moment merely because of complete uncertainty and an adverse political environment created in Balochistan against representative democracy for the genuine people. Holding elections in parts of Balochistan and KP will not be very easy for the Election Commission or the new caretaker Government because of the law and order situation and also because of bitterness among the people on certain political issues. The security environment around Pakistan is not conducive for holding immediate elections, it is generally believed. Military leadership had issued public statements and published in the newspapers and carried by all the news channels in recent past that 20 foreign intelligence agencies are operating in place like Balochistan. If it is a possibility, then many more must be operating in the Federal Capital and the Punjab undermining the security of Pakistan. If the foreign powers are bent upon to settle their score with Pakistan, then there will be a definite interference in holding of transparent elections. It is claimed that during the last elections foreign money was available for certain parties. It was not confirmed by the officials to this date that foreign powers interfered in the last elections or not. Elections mean complete uncertainty. Who will win? No one knows. What will be the policies of the new Government? The entire system will observe a complete halt once the elections are announced. If elections are engineered by the establishment, then there will be no question of uncertainty on the political and economic front. The results will be manipulated in favour of the favourite party. If the stakeholders are confident that there will be no upheaval, no revolution, no least known, unpredictable man will rule this country, the situation will return to normal giving credence to electoral fraud in favour of the new ruling party. Presumably, the international community, led by the US and its allies, will try to defend their interests in the region by playing some role in the scheduled elections—seen or unseen. In the final analysis, elections are a distant dream of the Punjabi politicians and Punjab based political parties who are unaware of the ground realities in the whole country. Pakistan is not confined within the limits of Lahore and its surrounding. By holding one meeting in Quetta, it does not mean that all is well in rest of Balochistan. They will have to depend on their local allies to run the affairs of Balochistan, KPK and Sindh, if not the Seraiki area of Punjab.

Pakistan: AG wants court to avert clash between state institutions

Attorney General Irfan Qadir on Monday said that the judiciary should treat the office of the country’s prime minister with respect and sanctity, DawnNews reported. Speaking to media representatives during a visit to the Lahore Bar Association, Qadir said that under the Constitution, Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf was the head of the government and not answerable before any court of law. He added that the court should respect the office of the premier. Former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani had respected the courts and the courts should had treated him similarly, the attorney general said. Qadir moreover said that the court should create an environment which does not lead to a clash between the state’s institutions. The attorney general’s remarks come in the wake of the show-cause notice issued to Prime Minister Ashraf for not implementing the NRO judgment and the federal government’s filing of review petitions challenging the scrapping of Contempt of Court Act (COCA) 2012 and asking the premier to implement the NRO verdict. The review petition challenging the court’s July 12 order asking Prime Minister Ashraf to comply with the NRO judgment would be taken up on Aug 15 by a five-judge bench of the apex court, headed by Justice Asif Saeed Khosa.

Fathers of contempt law mull scrapping it

Britain is set to scrap the medieval offence of scandalising judges or the courts, as the government's official law reform organisation has termed it out-of-date, Daily Times has learnt. Judges no longer need the old law to protect themselves from scurrilous abuse, and any attempt to use it would risk bringing the judiciary into disrespect. The last successful prosecution was more than 80 years ago and there was controversy this year over an attempt to bring a case against former Northern Ireland secretary Peter Hain over criticism of a judge in his memoirs. Speaking at the launch of a consultation paper on the issue, David Ormerod of the British Law Commission said, “We are making a proposal to abolish this anachronistic form of contempt of court.” Dating back to 1344, scandalising the court is a form of contempt of court triggered by publishing anything that ridicules the judiciary so that it is likely to bring the administration of justice into disrepute. It was revived in the middle of the 18th century to deal with critics of the establishment but has since fallen into disuse. In 1900, the editor of the Birmingham Argus was found to have committed contempt by scandalising the court after describing Justice Darling as “an impudent little man in horsehair, a microcosm of conceit and empty-headedness”. The last successful prosecution in England and Wales was in 1931. The Law Commission’s consultation paper recommends abolition in England and Wales. But it also outlines a modified offence under which the case would only be proved if there was substantial risk of seriously harming the administration of justice or where the statements published were untrue. Ormerod said, “We are not leaving judges unprotected here. If the publication involves threats or harassment it could be prosecuted and in other circumstances judges could rely on the civil law by bringing proceedings for libel.” A separate offence of scandalising the face of the court would continue to exist.

The Balochistan joke

Nowadays, holding amid great fanfare a road show is a cabinet committee on Balochistan. But what kind of a joke is this? Who really needs a committee, a commission or a task force to know of the problem afflicting Balochistan? Has such an enterprise not been undertaken in the past many a time that this government has again embarked on a new one? How long indeed is this joke to go on? When will the perfidy going around the select coterie of political elites, commentariat galaxy and civil society groups be put paid to and the Balochistan problem be truthfully told and addressed? When will honesty prevail and it will be conceded candidly that the crying need of the hour is to demolish the elitist status quo in the Baloch belt for the Baloch commoner to emancipate to become a fuller human being, master of his own life, will and vote? When will it be recognised that the Baloch community’s real stakeholders are no more those traditional power centres, namely, the compulsive exploitative and suppressive sardars and chieftains, and the self-styled deceitful nationalists? The stakeholders are now the commoner Baloch youths. An innately-talented lot being swayed by a forceful awakening, they are not ready to live as serfs and slaves. They are restive, struggling to emancipate. And it is their struggle that needs to be buttressed by every conceivable means. They require educational facilities that they should get at any rate, even at the cost of incurring the anger of entrenched powers centres that deem they have descended from heavens with some divine right to rule and reign over the Baloch commoners. They require jobs and opportunities to grow, flourish and prosper, which they should get in any event. The precious billions pouring into the provincial treasury should cease landing in privileged pockets under one cloak or the other. That prized dough must go into establishing schools, universities, professional colleges and technical institutes for the commoner Baloch children to be educated and groomed in various professions and skills to be respectable earning citizens. The valuable moolah must be used by way of easy loans and grants to help the Baloch youths to fork out into diverse businesses and trades. And as the military has opened its doors wide to the Baloch youths for recruitment, why the civilian apparatus is so loath of following suit? Why nobody is ever pushed in Islamabad about moving proactively to obviate the persistent niggardly representation of the Balochs in the central services? Why never ever has some innovative method been employed to redress this criminal injustice to the Baloch youths? Why never ever some attractive incentives have been introduced to draw them into these services? Why indeed the elites across the spectrum are always out to pamper their cohorts, the Baloch elites, not the commoners? Why even now they are fretting so hard to preserve and reinforce the status quo in the Baloch belt and strengthen its oppressive traditional power centres? Why the cabinet committee is not bothering to reach out to the Baloch commoners, especially their youth, and find out what they want and how to meet their hopes and expectations? Is it because the elites of the centre are intrinsically sympathetic to their Baloch peers — the Baloch sardars, chieftains and self-styled nationalists? But they have in their much-touted Balochistan package already given them on a platter a state-funded private militia in the form of the Levies to suppress and oppress their enslaved tribal folks. Ostensibly, the force comprises the nominees of the tribe. But who doesn’t know that they are actually the nominees of tribal sardars and chieftains? Is that not enough of it that the centre’s elites are so keen to further cajole, flatter and adulate them? What else they want to give them to make them happy? Will they tell? Nevertheless, if they have any sense left to them they would realise that the time has come critically to show if the state is with the commoner Baloch youth or with the Baloch elites. The first option bodes well for the Pakistani state. The second option spells very ill for it. They must know this.

Singer Nazia Hassan remembered
One of pioneers in the country's pop music and iconic singer
Nazia Hassan was remembered on her death anniversary Monday. Nazia Hassan was born on 3rd April 1965 in Karachi. Nazia began her singing career during the late 1970s, when she appeared on several television shows on PTV as a child artist. Her professional career started at the age of fifteen when she provided the lead vocals for the song Aap Jaisa Koi from the 1980 film Qurbani and in 1981 won Filmfare award for it. In 1981, Nazia became the first playback singer to release an album after the release of her first album, Disco Deewane. Nazia's second album Star/Boom Boom was released in 1982. The soundtrack of the album was used in the movie Star. Nazia's third album, Young Tarang was released in 1984. The album sold 40 million copies which set the record of most selling video album of all times. Nazia's fourth album, Hotline was released in 1987. In 1988, Nazia and her brother Zoheb appeared with music maestro Sohail Rana in his television program, Sung Sung. In the following year, Nazia and Zoheb hosted the groundbreaking show Music '89. Nazia hosted another show, Dhanak on PTV in the same year, 1989. In 1991, Nazia and her brother Zoheb recorded her fifth album, Camera Camera. The album was released in 1992. Nazia was married on March 30, 1995 to Mirza Ishtiaq Baig. They had a son born on April 7, 1997 named Arez. Nazia's marriage with Mirza Ishtiaq Baig was a complete failure and she got divorced on August 4, 2000. Nazia died of lung cancer in London on August 13, 2000 at the age of 35. The Government of Pakistan has conferred upon Nazia Hassan the highest civilian award Pride of Performance.