Monday, August 13, 2012
http://www.telegraph.co.ukA 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.
http://www.mcclatchydc.comThe 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: www.iwpr.net. For information about IWPR's funding, please go to http://www.iwpr.net/index.pl?top-supporters.html. 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: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2012/08/13/162068/tensions-again-rising-between.html#storylink=cpy
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.DAILY TIMES
Editorial:THE FRONTIER POSTNowadays, 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.
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