Wednesday, August 29, 2012

More world leaders arrive in Tehran for NAM summit

press tv
More world leaders and high-ranking officials are arriving in the Iranian capital Tehran to participate the 16th summit of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM). Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, Jordan’s Prince Hassan bin Talal and Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe are among the leaders who have landed in Tehran during the Wednesday evening. Earlier in the day, acting Palestinian Authority Chief Mahmoud Abbas, Afghan President Hamid Karzai, Syrian Prime Minister Wael Nader al-Halqi, Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Ruler of the United Arab Emirates’ Umm Al Quwain state Sheikh Saud bin Rashid al-Mu’alla and Tajikistan’s President Emomali Rahmon had arrived in the city to attend the conference. The United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has also participated in the Tehran summit despite strong opposition from the US and Israel. Meanwhile the two-day ministerial meeting of the 16th Summit of the NAM wrapped up on Wednesday evening in the Iranian capital. Iran’s foreign ministry says more delegations are expected to arrive throughout the day. About 55 delegations will be represented at the level of foreign minister. More than 100 countries are partaking in the NAM meeting which kicked off at the expert level in Tehran on Sunday. At the opening ceremony of the NAM expert-level meeting, Iran assumed the rotating presidency of the movement for three years. Egypt's Ambassador to the United Nations Mootaz Khalil formally handed over the presidency to Iran.

President Zardari leaves for Tehran to represent Pakistan at NAM summit

President Zardari has gone Tehran to lead Pakistani delegation at Non-Aligned Movement summit meeting that begins on Thursday. During his stay in Tehran he will also hold bilateral meetings with the leaders of various countries including Indian Prime Minister. Leaders from about one hundred twenty countries including thirty heads of state and governments will participate in the summit. Key issues on the agenda include a condemnation of Western sanctions on Iran and other NAM countries‚ a new push to quell the conflict in Syria‚ and a reaffirmation of calls to make UN decision-making more globally democratic.

Pakistan pins hope on Zardari, Manmohan meeting in Tehran

Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar on Wednesday said that Pakistan is looking forward to upcoming talks between President Asif Ali Zardari and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on sidelines of Non Aligned Movement (NAM) Summit in Tehran to resolve most important issues. Speaking to media representatives, she said environment between the two countries was now moving towards trust building. The minister said all previous talks between the two leaders have been “very useful particularly in New Delhi and we hope same spirit would continue in Tehran.” Khar said both sides need to show commitment to move forward. “As far as Pakistan is concerned it was committed to moving forward beyond any other issues that might arise between the two countries,” she added.

Pashto Singer Ghazala’s killer arrested

Pashto singer Ghazala Javed's ex-husband Jahangir Khan has been caught from Hindko Damaan who was named as her killer, Geo News reported. Ghazala Javed and her Father were killed in Shab Dhagri Garden Peshawar on June 18 in a firing incident. Jahangir Khan and his two companions have been pointed as accused in FIR. SP City Asif Iqbal told Geo news that Jahangir Khan has been arrested and police are trying to catch his companions and they will be taken into custody soon.

How the Republicans Built It

It was a day late, but the Republicans’ parade of truth-twisting, distortions and plain falsehoods arrived on the podium of their national convention on Tuesday. Following in the footsteps of Mitt Romney’s campaign, rarely have so many convention speeches been based on such shaky foundations. Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, in the keynote speech, angrily demanded that the American people learn the hard truths about the two parties, but like most of those at the microphone, he failed to supply any. He said his state needed his austere discipline of slashed budgets, canceled public projects and broken public unions, but did not mention that New Jersey now has a higher unemployment rate than when he took over, and never had the revenue boom he promised from tax cuts. “We believe in telling our seniors the truth about our overburdened entitlements,” he said, but his party has consistently refused to come clean about its real plans to undo Medicare and Medicaid. “Mitt Romney will tell us the hard truths we need to hear to put us back on a path to growth,” he said, but Mr. Romney has consistently refused to tell the truth about his tax plan, his budget plan, and his health care plan. It was appropriate that “We built it,” the needling slogan of the evening, was painted on the side of the convention hall. Speaker after speaker alluded to the phrase in an entire day based on the thinnest of reeds — a poorly phrased remark by the president, deliberately taken out of context. President Obama was making the obvious point that all businesses rely to some extent on the work and services of government. But Mr. Romney has twisted it to suggest that Mr. Obama believes all businesses are creatures of the government, and so the convention had to parrot the line. “We need a president who will say to a small businesswoman: Congratulations, we applaud your success, you did make that happen, you did build that,” said Gov. Bob McDonnell of Virginia. “Big government didn’t build America; you built America!” That was far from the only piece of nonsense on the menu, only the most frequently repeated one. Conventions are always full of cheap applause lines and over-the-top attacks, but it was startling to hear how many speakers in Tampa considered it acceptable to make points that had no basis in reality. Gov. John Kasich of Ohio, for example, boasted of the booming economy in his state, never mentioning that he and Mr. Romney opposed the auto bailout that has played an outsized role in the state’s recovery. (Apparently Mr. Obama’s destructive economic policies do not apply everywhere.) Andy Barr, a Congressional candidate in Kentucky, made the particularly egregious charge that the president was conducting “a war on coal,” ruthlessly attacking an industry and thousands of struggling miners. He was apparently referring to the Environmental Protection Agency’s efforts to limit greenhouse gas emissions and prevent power-plant pollution from drifting through the East Coast states. The country desperately needs to reduce its reliance on coal, which is far more polluting than natural gas, but that goal gets harder to achieve every time someone like Mr. Barr makes it out to be an attack on a way of life. Considering how Mr. Romney has conducted his campaign so far, most recently his blatantly false advertising accusing Mr. Obama of gutting the work requirement on welfare, it is probably not surprising that the convention he leads would follow a similar path. Voters looking for a few nuggets of truth would not have found them in Tampa on Tuesday.

Afghan president arrives in Tehran for NAM summit

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has arrived in the Iranian capital Tehran to participate in the 16th summit of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM). More than 100 countries are partaking in the NAM meeting which kicked off at the expert level in Tehran on Sunday. The two-day foreign ministerial meeting of the NAM summit began on Tuesday. The meeting of the heads of state will open on Thursday with an inaugural speech by Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei.

Shahbaz Sharif’s sanity

Leader of the Opposition in the Punjab Assembly Raja Riaz on Tuesday submitted an application to the speaker of the house for constituting a medical board for the mental examination of Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif. While talking to the media, opposition leader Raja Riaz claimed that Shahbaz Sharif was mentally upset and needed a thorough mental examination, adding that a medical board should be formed in this regard. He said that the opposition would move the Lahore High Court (LHC) if the speaker did not execute the proposed application. He also said that if any chaos and killing emerged during this duration, the CM and the speaker would be responsible for that.

Father of Pakistani Christian girl appeals to President Zardari
The father of a young girl with Down’s syndrome, who was recently accused of blasphemy, is pleading with president Asif Ali Zardari to pardon her. Human rights groups claim that Pakistan’s controversial blasphemy law is wrongfully used to “settle personal feuds” with religious minorities.
The father of the eleven year old Christian girl who was jailed last week after being accused under Pakistan’s controversial blasphemy laws has appealed to President Asif Ali Zardari to pardon her. Rimsha Masih, who was born with Down’s syndrome, was arrested and jailed after a large crowd of Muslims gathered outside their family home and threatened to kill her and burn down the house after they discovered pages from the Koran in her bag. A neighbour had accused her of burning the pages. Under Pakistan’s blasphemy law, she could be sentenced to death if she is found guilty of insulting Islam, the Prophet Mohammad or the Holy Koran. Critics and Human Rights groups say the law has been used by Muslims to settle personal feuds and business disputes with members of the country’s religious minorities. Calls to change the law to stop its 'misuse’ have met with violent reaction. The governor of Punjab province Salmaan Taseer, a close aide to President Zardari, was murdered by his own bodyguard in protest at his support for Christian woman, Asia Bibi, who was sentenced to death for blasphemy. A few months later Pakistan’s minorities minister, Shahbaz Bhatti, a Christian, was assassinated for criticizing the blasphemy law. Rimsha’s father Misrek Masih spoke out over his daughter’s treatment with support from local Christian groups and the human rights organization, Avaaz. In an open letter released through Avaaz, he said an angry crowd had threatened to “burn her alive.” “She has Down’s syndrome and often isn’t in control of her actions, but she is charged with desecrating the Koran, and we are afraid for her life. ”She appears in court this week charged under Pakistan’s anti-blasphemy laws that carry the death sentence. I’m asking President Asif Ali Zardari, who has already called for further attention into my daughter’s case, to pardon her and to prevent other people from being persecuted under these harsh laws like my daughter,” he said. She had been arrested after she was somehow found by Muslims with pages from the Koran in her bag. “This caused an angry crowd to gather and demand that the police arrest her – some even threatened to kill her and burn down the houses of Christians. I pray that when the medical assessment is released she will be freed as she has struggled with learning difficulties her whole life,” he said. His daughter’s arrest, following the assassination of Shahbas Bhatti, had spread fear throughout Pakistan’s Christian community. “It’s such a sensitive situation that many of our Christian neighbors from our Islamabad slum have had to flee their homes,” he said. ”We are a Christian family, we respect the religious rights of others. We simply wish for the safety of our daughter and our community and wish this had never happened,” he added. Hopes of a humane outcome increased on Tuesday after a medical examination to determine his daughter’s age confirmed she was a minor and that her mental development did not match her age. Her lawyer, Tahir Naveed Chaudhry, said the examination ruled she is between 13 and 14 years old, which means her case will be dealt with by a juvenile court where she is expected to be treated with greater leniency.

Pakistani Court rejects Rimsha’s bail plea

Rejecting the bail plea of blasphemy accused Christian girl Rimsha, a Sessions court on Tuesday sought the medical board’s report on the next hearing to ascertain the age of the accused. The court fixed the next hearing for August 30. Sessions Judge Raja Jawad Hassan Abbas resumed the hearing of the case, during which Rimsha’s counsel Tahir Naveed argued that since his client was a juvenile, her case be transferred to a Juvenile Court, and she be granted bail. In his arguments, the lawyer argued that was 14 years old, and under Section 7 of the Juvenile Justice Ordinance, she was not an adult. He presented the findings of a medical board constituted by a district magistrate. He told the court that according to the findings of the medical board, Rimsha was 14. After hearing the lawyer’s arguments, the judge told him that if his client was aging between 13 to 14 years, he should file a fresh application, requesting the court to order district magistrate for constituting a medical board to ascertain the age of the accused. The judge said that the previous medical board had been constituted by the order of the additional district magistrate, and not by the court. Complying with the court’s instructions, the counsel filed a fresh application and stated that as per the petitioner’s birth certificate, which had been issued by the authority concerned, the age of Rimsha was 14 years. “It is necessary in the interest of justice, that a medical board be appointed to determine the age of the petitioner,” the lawyer stated in his application. The court accepted the application and directed the district magistrate to constitute a medical board and present its findings on the next date of hearing. Rimsha, who is currently in jail, was arrested for allegedly burning pages of a Noorani Qaeda at Maira Jaffar G-12, Islamabad. On August 16, Ramna Police registered an FIR (First Information Report) against her under blasphemy law, Section 295-B of Pakistan Penal Code. Strict security arrangements had been made at the district court on Tuesday to avoid any untoward incident. A large number of people were present in the court during the hearing. Meanwhile, in an open letter, Rimsha’s father Misrek Masih appealed to President Asif Zardari to pardon his daughter and prevent other people from being persecuted under the harsh laws “like my daughter”. Misrek said an angry crowd had threatened to “burn her alive.” “She has Down’s syndrome and often isn’t in control of her actions, but she is charged with desecrating the Quran, and we are afraid for her life. ”I’m asking President Asif Ali Zardari, who has already called for further attention into my daughter’s case, to pardon her and to prevent other people from being persecuted under these harsh laws like my daughter,” he said. ”We are a Christian family, we respect the religious rights of others. We simply wish for the safety of our daughter and our community and wish this had never happened,” he added.

Bahrain activist protests barring from Egypt
A Bahraini rights activist wrote to Egypt’s president on Tuesday, complaining that she and other pro-democracy campaigners from her country were denied entry, charging that the policy is a holdover from the deposed Egyptian regime. Mariam Al Khawaja, acting president of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, was refused entry into Egypt on Sunday. Security officials cited unexplained “top security reasons.” In her letter to President Mohammad Mursi, she said she and another prominent activist now in prison in Bahrain had difficulty entering Egypt earlier this year. She said intelligence services working for deposed President Hosni Mubarak used to harass Bahrain’s activists. Mariam said she was disappointed such harassment continued in post-Mubarak Egypt.

Bahrain’s Military Is Closely Tied to the Monarch

Bahrain has been able to weather the turmoil that has brought down other authoritarian rulers in the Arab region may be explained by two characteristics in the Bahraini situation. The first is the different position taken by the U.S. administration toward popular protests against authoritarian regimes in the Arab region. The U.S. role has been crucial in shaping the outcomes of the popular protest in Tunisia, Egypt and Yemen. Its active role in the militarization of the popular protests in Libya facilitated the fall of the Libyan dictator. The U.S. political and logistical support remains crucial to sustaining the Syrian opposition groups. It is a different story in Bahrain, which also happens to be the headquarters of the U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet. The Obama administration, fearful of alienating Saudi Arabia, has not offered protesters in Bahrain the level of support it has given to Arab protesters elsewhere. The resumption last May of American military supplies to the Bahraini government has hardened the regime's intransigence. The second feature relates to the role military and security forces have played once the protest started. In Tunisia and Egypt, the military and security forces rapidly distanced themselves from the regime, thus facilitating their rapid fall. Unlike the rest of the Arab region, the rank and file in the Bahraini military, police and security forces consist almost entirely of foreign recruits. Most of its officers and noncommissioned officers are members of the ruling family and its allied tribes. Bahraini Shias, two-thirds of the indigenous population, are generally excluded from serving in these forces. These arrangements allow the Bahraini regime to remain confident that its military and security forces will remain loyal no matter how high the civilian casualties are. Unlike Libya and Syria, sectarian and tribal identities will not tempt soldiers in Bahrain to defect.

Pakistan action urged on road accidents

According to the World Health Organisation, more than 5,500 people died in road accidents in Pakistan in 2007. The number of road deaths per 10,000 vehicles in the country is one of the highest in the world. The government puts the economic cost of road accidents and injuries at more than $100m per year but only a fraction of that amount is spent on road safety and educating motorists. This is why health experts are demanding a comprehensive national safety plan.

Assad claims Syrian forces gaining ground

In television interview, president says battle is "progressing" and talk of buffer zones is "not on the table".

Pakistan: 17 killed, several injured in clashes, bombing

At least 17 people have been killed and several others injured in a bomb attack and fighting in Pakistan, Press TV reports. In the southern province of Sindh, three people were killed and several others injured in the bomb attack during the early hours of Wednesday. The bomb had been planted under a railway track in the town of Odano. Two trains were also derailed in the bombing. Separately, in the Bajur tribal region near the border with Afghanistan, three soldiers and 11 militants were killed during clashes between Pakistani security forces and militants late on Tuesday. According to security officials, the fighting was part of an operation led by the Pakistani army to drive back Taliban militants who occupied the village of Batwar in Bajur. Officials also said that seven hideouts were destroyed in the operation. Thousands of Pakistanis have lost their lives in bombings and other militant attacks since 2001, when Pakistan joined an alliance with the United States in Washington’s so-called war on terror. Since late 2009, there has been a surge in militant attacks in Pakistan and thousands more have been displaced by the wave of violence and militancy sweeping across the country.

Afghan peace dialogue with the Taliban remains in limbo

Amid continuing charges and counter- charges between Kabul and Islamabad and increasing militancy in Afghanistan, efforts to bring the Taliban into the Afghan political mainstream looked increasingly difficult to succeed, analysts here said. "Since the intelligence agencies of some countries in the region are involved in a proxy war in Afghanistan to find a negotiated settlement is a very complex job," political analyst Ahmad Zia Rafat told Xinhua in a recent interview. Rafat, a professor at Kabul University, said that since the Taliban has been used as a pressure group by Pakistan against the Afghanistan government, it could not possibly enter into a dialogue with Kabul unless with the permission of Islamabad. However, Taliban has rejected the notion, saying that the group is independent and would act and fight independently free from foreign influence. To accelerate the process of peace talks with Taliban, a delegation of the government-backed peace body, the High Council for Peace would be visiting Pakistan soon reportedly to seek the release of Taliban former commander Mullah Brother who was arrested in 2010 in Karachi city of Pakistan. "I think the release of Mullah Brother and taking him to Kabul would not change the mind of Taliban leadership to hold direct talks with Afghan government," the analyst said, adding that the Taliban usually dismiss any of its leaders who are arrested or who would join the government. Afghan peace talks were started in the l980s and since then whoever was in power in Kabul had initiated talks with armed groups in the country, notably the Taliban, but all these efforts failed. Interestingly the armed groups opposing the government in Kabul have their bases in neighboring Pakistan prompting some Kabul officials to conclude that these armed groups are being supported by Pakistan. But Islamabad has consistently denied these accusations. In 1980s, the then Moscow-backed regimes had frequently offered peace talks with the Pakistan-based Mujahideen groups. Even though, the direct and indirect contacts for achieving national reconciliation continued till 1992, all had ended in a fiasco. The then government of Najibullah in Kabul collapsed; Mujahideen groups had overrun Kabul in April 1992 and established their administration. Nonetheless, the war didn't end as a new breed of Taliban, with bases in Pakistan had emerged, forcing new rulers in Kabul to ask the help of Pakistan in trying to open talks with the militants. Despite holding several rounds of talks between the administration of the erstwhile Burhanudin Rabbani and the Taliban, the group finally ousted the Kabul regime and established its authoritarian reign in 1996. According to Afghans, the same scenario is happening right now, with the incumbent Afghan government trying to open a dialogue with the Taliban. Blaming Pakistan's Inter-service Intelligence (ISI) for backing Taliban militants, Afghan officials allege that Pakistan' s lawless tribal areas along the border with Afghanistan have served as safe havens for Taliban militants. In a counter-accusation, Pakistani officials have blamed Afghanistan for allegedly supporting anti-Pakistan militants. Pakistani Interior Minister Rahman Malik, according to media reports, said recently that Mawlana Fazlullah who escaped Pakistan couple of years ago has taken shelter in Afghanistan's Nurisan province where he is reportedly organizing attacks inside Pakistan. The claim has been denied by Afghan officials. Taliban militants have increased their attacks since launching its spring offensive early May this year. Recently, the Taliban beheaded 17 civilians and executed 10 Afghan soldiers in Helmand province besides killing two NATO soldiers in Laghman. The militants also carried out a suicide car bomb attack in their former stronghold Kandahar late Monday night killing four civilians and injuring 21 others, mostly non-combatants.

Afghanistan: Neighboring Countries Should Respect Refugee’s Humanitarian Rights
The oppressed people of Afghanistan after witnessing three consecutive decades of imposed war and civil instabilities resorted to averse migrations to fulfill their daily expenditures and still this human tragedy is impacting the war-battered country while hundreds of these migrants had been victim of pathetic incidents in oceans and jungles and detention centers of foreign countries. These inhuman acts are still faced by the Afghan refugees in various Asian, European and neighboring countries which finally followed grievance of civil society and government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and currently they are trying to convince the host countries to pursue humanitarian approach towards these refugees while Afghanistan itself is not in a position to provide employment to them after witnessing years of war and violence. So the host nations should honor their commitments with respect to international laws on migrations and bilateral agreements between Afghanistan and the host countries. Based on Afghanistan’s foreign affairs ministry report, currently, more than one million Afghan refugees have been registered as legal migrants in Iran and they have gotten the rights to work and education and to utilize from social services in that country. Foreign affairs ministry also reported that the second phase of registration would be triggered after the holy month of Ramadan and both countries have expressed satisfaction over the contract which could boost relations between people and governments of the two brotherly nations. It hoped that our foreign affairs and returnees ministries to pursue consultation with the Iranian side to seek solutions for the ongoing refugee problems through negotiations and diplomacy and to resolve legal procedures of the refugees committing any crime in Iran. We hope that the governments of Afghanistan seriously follow these cases to eliminate humiliation and discriminations against nationals of Afghanistan in foreign countries as our oppressed people have seen major threats and crises during the 30 years of wars.

Zardari likely to meet Manmohan on margins of NAM Summit in Iran

Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari is expected to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the sidelines of the NAM Summit in Tehran, officials said today. Zardari, who will lead the Pakistani delegation to the summit, is expected to hold several bilateral meetings in the Iranian capital during August 29-31, the officials said. Zardari last met Singh in April during a day-long private visit to India to pray at a Sufi shrine in Ajmer. Besides Zardari, Singh is expected to hold meetings with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and leaders of Nepal and Bangladesh, Indian officials have said. Zardari will be accompanied by foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar, who will use the multinational forum to project Islamabad's position on key international and regional issues, including the situation in Afghanistan. During the two-day summit on August 30-31, leaders and delegates from other countries will exchange views on the latest global developments and issues related to Non-Aligned Movement.

Mullah Omar hiding in Pakistan
In a direct repudiation of repeated claims of Pakistan, a top American general based in Afghanistan has said that reclusive Taliban leader Mullah Omar is hiding in Pakistan along with his commanders. The statement contradicts Islamabad's stand that the Taliban leader lives across the border in his own country. "Omar lives in Pakistan, as do many of his commanders. From that safe vantage point, they've sent hundreds of young, impressionable, and helpless youths to their deaths and detention in Afghanistan. For this, they must forfeit their honour and any claim to Islamic virtue," General John Allen, Commander of US and Nato forces in Afghanistan , wrote in an article in The Washington Post. Allen's article focused on the recent increase in attack on US troops from the Afghan security force, which Taliban has been claiming it has infiltrated and carrying out such strikes. "The focus on 'greenon-blue' attacks obscures the callous slaughter of Afghan civilians by insurgents led by Mohammad Omar. He has the blood of innocents on his hands even though he hypocritically tells his subordinates not to attack civilians," Allen said, holding that Omar is either out of touch, or his forces are out of control. "Perhaps that should be no surprise. 'Green' and 'blue' have been taking the fight to the red enemy, the Taliban, and the enemy is fighting back from a position of weakness," he said. "His forces have largely been ejected from most of the relevant population areas, and from among the most relevant terrain in Afghanistan. Omar is losing financial support from donors, who are sending their money elsewhere , and from reduced drug profits, thanks to Afghan and coalition efforts to stamp out poppy harvest," he said.

Death for Ajmal Kasab

The Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld the death sentence of 26/11 Mumbai terror attack convict Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab,
saying that waging war against the country was the primary and foremost offence committed by the Pakistani terrorist.A bench of justice Aftab Alam and justice CK dismissed the plea of 25-year-old Kasab challenging his conviction and death sentence confirmed by the Bombay high court. The bench rejected his contention that he was not given a free and fair trial in the case. The bench also observed that the failure of government to provide him an advocate at the pre-trial stage did not vitiate trial court proceedings against him. It also held that the confessional statement given by Kasab, which he retracted during trial, was very much voluntary except a very small portion. Kasab along with nine other Pakistani terrorists had landed in south Mumbai on November 26, 2008 night after travelling from Karachi by sea and had gone on a shooting spree at various city landmarks, in which 166 people were killed. While Kasab was captured alive, the other terrorists in his group were killed by security forces during the counter-terror operations. The apex court also upheld the acquittal of two Indians, who were alleged to be co-conspirators in the Mumbai terror attack case. The trial court and Bombay high court had also given clean chit to Faheem Ansari and Sabauddin Ahmed in the case. The bench held that evidence showed that the conspiracy and planning of the 26/11 carnage was hatched in Pakistan. Reacting to the verdict, senior advocate Raju Ramachandran, who was appointed by the apex court as amicus curiae to defend Kasab, said, "I bow down to the apex court verdict." The apex court passed the order on the petition filed by Kasab challenging Bombay high court's verdict upholding the trial court's judgement convicting him and awarding death sentence in the 26/11 case. The bench had reserved its verdict on April 25 after a marathon hearing, spanning over two-and-a-half months of arguments by the prosecution and defence counsel in the case. Kasab, during arguments in the apex court, had contended that he was not given a free and fair trial and that he was not part of any larger conspiracy for waging war against India. He had told the bench that his right against self-incrimination as well as his right to get himself adequately represented by a counsel to defend himself in the case had been violated during the trial. The apex court had stayed Kasab's death sentence on October 10, last year. In the special leave petition (SLP) against the Bombay high court judgement, which confirmed his death sentence, Kasab had claimed he was brainwashed like a "robot" into committing the crime in the name of "God" and pleaded that he did not deserve the death penalty keeping in view his young age. Kasab, who is lodged in Arthur Road Prison in Mumbai, had filed the SLP through the jail authorities. He was sentenced to death by a special anti-terror court on May 6, 2010. The Bombay high court had upheld on February 21 last year the trial court's order of death sentence to the Pakistani terrorist for the "brutal and diabolical" attacks aimed at "destabilizing" the government. Kasab's death penalty was upheld on charges of criminal conspiracy, waging war against the nation and various other provisions of the Indian Penal Code and the anti-terror law --Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. The high court had confirmed Kasab's conviction on 19 counts under the IPC, the Arms Act, the Explosives Act, the Explosive Substances Act, the Foreigners Act, the Passport Act and the Railway Act.

Pakistan: Rift over Iran’s N-plan threatens entire region

Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar
has said that growing confrontation over Iran’s nuclear programme threatens further instability in the region. “In our view, dialogue and diplomacy should be the only instruments to resolve outstanding issues,” she said while speaking at the NAM Ministerial meeting during interactive debate on “ Lasting Peace through Joint Global Governance” in Tehran on Tuesday. “We believe that peaceful resolution of this issue is still possible on the basis of reciprocal confidence building measures.” Hina said Pakistan believes that founding principles of NAM, including peaceful co-existence sovereignty, territorial integrity of all States and non-interference in internal affairs of other countries, provide firm basis for enduring peace and stability in the world. “In our region Afghanistan will need support of NAM fraternity as it moves towards transition phase in the year 2014,” she added. Calling for peace, security and prosperity in the Palestine region, she urged a just solution of the issue on the basis of the “Palestinian people’s right to self-determination”. Moreover, she also called for an immediate end to ongoing bloodshed by all sides in Syria in the interest of regional peace and stability. The Foreign Minister also called for collective efforts in order to address issues of energy crisis, water shortage and environmental degradation. She said the world today is inflicted by many paradoxes, marked by interdependence and inequality; connectivity and chaos; islands of prosperity and oceans of abject poverty; technological prowess and underdevelopment; hegemony and repression, all existing side by side and causing all sorts of upheavals and turmoil in the world. She said in this backdrop the theme of the Conference “lasting peace through joint global governance” is both relevant and pertinent. The Foreign Minister said as a vibrant democracy, Pakistan holds promotion and protection of human rights and democratic ideals very dear to its heart. It is deeply committed to the nurturing and strengthening of these values, she said. She said disarmament and non-proliferation is an important area for global peace and security. She stressed for economic and social development of the member countries to build and sustain peaceful, prosperous and harmonious societies. Many NAM members have achieved significant and sustained economic growth yet; the challenge of development continues to be formidable for all NAM countries, she added. She pointed out that efforts have so far failed to make even modest progress towards introducing equity in international trade, inter alia, through the Doha Round. She said the NAM can play a role in the enlargement and implementation of the trade and development agenda through measures like reduction of agricultural subsidies in rich countries; elimination of high and escalating tariffs against developing countries; commodity price stabilisation; special and differential treatment, and capacity-building. NAM countries could also help each other directly, through regional economic integration and specific schemes for South-South cooperation, she said.

What restrained Imran Khan to take legal course on corruption of Nawaz Sharif?

Let Us Build Pakistan
Khawaja Mohammad Asif, the PML N stalwart accused Imran Khan of corruption in SKMT accounts. He accused Khan of misusing the trust funds in gambling and real estate which caused heavy loss. Imran replied with some clarifications and retorted by claiming that Mian Nawaz Sharif during his tenure as CM Punjab and PM misappropriated billions of the national exchequer. He alleged that the royal palace of Raiwind was the result of public money. He also revealed the assets, the Sharif family has made in London UK and other countries. It seemed that the two sides have reached a point of no return. The war of words reached a point that the mighty Khan announced his intentions of approaching the most honest of the honest judges with all the evidence he has to prove corruption of The Sharif Family. But we saw Imran Khan going back on his pledge. All his claims of going to courts went in the air. Since August 8,2012 more than 2 weeks have passed but thre is no movement in this regard as far as Imran is concerned. What went wrong? Which force has restrained him doing so? Let us look at the events just before and after the August 8 announcement. Imran had on July 12, 2012 declared his program of storming the N Waziristan against what he called American intervention through Drone attacks. He said that he would take a long march to N Waziristan in September. The episode of allegations and counter allegations between N league and Imran started in the last week of July till Imran finally pledged to resolve the matter of corruption in the court. All of a sudden TTP (Tehrik e Taliban Pakistan) gave a killing threat to Imran Khan within 12 hours of his press conference in which Imran pledged to go to the court. It is strange that Imran’s intentions of marching on to Waziristan did not wake TTP for any reaction, but all of a sudden TTP wakes up and threatened him of KILLING with lame excuse of “ Hum ek pro-western politician ki hamdardi ke muhtaj naheen hain. Imran ne long march kia to use qatal kar dia jaiga”. This message was sent by Mullah Ehsaan ullah to the media on August 8, 2012. I request my countrymen to see this development with due concern, because Imran Khan have forgotten his pledge to draw Mian Nawaz sharif to the courts since then but he has reiterated his resolve to march on Waziristan a number of times. His instance on Sharif family’s corruption has changed. But why? What is the relation between TTP threat and Sharif family? Imran perceived the real threat and became silent vis a vis NS corruption. Had the threat really meant to restraining him to pursue Sharif’s corruption? If yes, it may be a very horrible phenomenon to silence a voice against corruption of Sharif Family. Furthermore how many people have already been silenced by TTP over this issue without even threatening them publically? I remember a case who had taken up the issue of Nawaz Sharif getting money from TTP God Father Osama. He was brutally killed by TTP (Punjab Chapter) after being kidnapped by an unknown organization “ASIAN TIGERS”. Don’t forget that Nawaz Sharif has many times pledged to make Pakista An ASIAN TIGER.

President Zardari summons NA, Senate session

According to a statement released from presidency, President Zardari has summoned the session of upper and lower house of Parliament on September 3 at 5PM. Sources from National Assembly’s secretariat told that the session of National Assembly will continue for more than a week. Meanwhile, the opposition is likely to discuss the issue of new provinces, electricity load shedding and the subjudiced matters in Supreme Court.

Pakistan's blasphemy Law: Save Rimsha Masih
Rimsha is 13 years old and is the youngest in the family. She has a brother and a sister and both parents are alive but now, along with their two children, are forced to live in hiding. Rimsha, who suffers from a mental disorder, was playing in the courtyard of their home when in the yard of their home found a 'garbage bag’ that others had thrown and burned. Among the garbage were hidden burnt pages of the Koran, and a neighbor of the Muslim family, began to rant saying that she had ripped and burned the Koran of own initiative. But is Rimsha even capable of consent? And to know the difference between a simple paper and a page of the Koran? And who is the real culprit? The one that took away the rubbish from her home where he was playing with her dolls, or the person who threw the paper away knowing that there were pages of the Koran? The news has gone around the mosques and the surrounding area. Thus, after prayer Friday 17, 3000 demonstrators gathered to attack Christians and burn their homes. They were armed as in the case of Shanti Nagar and Gojra. Government authorities in high positions were immediately informed and the President in turn, issued the order of high alert of Emergency. A thousand police and Special Forces were sent to stop the attack on the Christian village but despite such a large number of ordered forces, one thousand demonstrators managed to get near the location where Rimsha Masih lived and the Police immediately arrested Rimsha to protect her from the demonstrators. 600 Christians who lived in the town and surroundings where Rimsha resided fled for their lives. Right now they are kept in a secret place but are looking for the opportunity to escape the country as their lives are at risk as were the victims of Gojra and Shanti Nagar. It is hoped that in the coming days Rimsha will be released. The question is whether it will still be safe after her release! SO THAT 1. Rimsha could meet her family freely and in this regard we ask for the immediate retrieve of the accusations against her and for proper protection for their security. 2. All the work of the several confessional and non-confessional organizations can be encouraged and at the end the blasphemy law could be cancelled or usefully amended. 3. Freedom of thought, conscience and religion, present in the art. 18 and 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, signed by Pakistan as well, can be asked for and applied in Pakistan equally. ASSOCIATION OF PAKISTANI CHRISTIANS IN ITALY ASKS TO ADHERE By signing the appeal which will be sent to the President of the Islamic Repubblic of Pakistan.
One can e-mail proper signatures: Or call at: 0039-334-1427307

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa plans free cancer care

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has planned free treatment of cancer patients in the province under a new programme, say officials. “The government has Rs500 million for free treatment of cancer patients in the province this year. The programme will receive the same amount of money every year,” an official told Dawn on Tuesday. The move has been made in light of the success of another programme under which the government in collaboration with a pharmaceutical firm has been giving free treatment to patients at the oncology ward of Hayatabad Medical Complex (HMC), Peshawar. Until now, HMC has registered 600 patients for free treatment, according to an official. “The cost of the eight-year programme is around Rs8 billion of which only 10 per cent has been paid by the government, while the rest is borne by the firm under a memorandum of understanding (MoU),” he said. Dr Abid Jameel, who oversees the new free cancer treatment programme, told Dawn that the decision had been taken by the government in view of the increasing number of patients and their inability to afford the costly medicines. “Currently, around 40,000 patients are being treated at four cancer centres in the province. Majority of them have breast, lung, stomach and mouth cancer whose treatment is expensive,” he said. According to him, a meeting to finalise the programme will take place next week after which a committee will make the mechanism to implement the programme. “We have designated four cancer treatment centres, including oncology ward at HMC and Institute of Radiotherapy and Nuclear Medicine (Irnum) in Peshawar besides Ayub Teaching Hospital and Institute of Nuclear Medicines Oncology and Radiotherapy in Abbottabad for free treatment of patients. These centres will be asked to apprise us of their medicine requirements in line with the number of patients. A committee will inspect them to see if medicines are given to patients free,” he said. The official said under the new programme, the patients suffering from all kinds of cancers would get free treatment, but those who were in stage four of any type of cancer wouldn’t get free treatment. He added that on average, the cost of cancer treatment per patient was around Rs800,000 and the government could afford it. “However, we can extend free treatment to a patient on his/her physicians even if they’re in stage four of cancer. If physician thinks that the treatment could prolong their lives by one year or more, then they will be given free treatment,” Dr Abid said. He said Khyber Pakhtunkhwa registered 6,000 new cancer cases every year and the number was increasing due to lack of public awareness of causes of the deadly disease. “Keeping in view this, we have also included public awareness campaigns in our programme. We’ll educate people on the causes of the common types of cancers so they could adopt preventive measures,” he said. According to Dr Abid, more focus will be laid on early detection of cancer, especially among children. “Blood cancer among children is curable if the right doctor offers the right treatment at the right time,” he said. He said hopefully, the programme would be in place after two months. “After final approval to the programme likely next week, modalities will be finalised to form a committee and float tender for the purchase of medicines. Rules will be framed to ensure transparent purchase of medicines of good quality,” he said.

Reign of terror...TALIBAN ZOMBIES

Taliban’s have tarnished Islam. Only if they could realize this, life would become much easier and comfortable for all those who are paying with their life for the disservice these self made curators of Islam are doing to their faith. Why do they think they have the right to enforce Islam? Why do they think they are licensed to kill people for not following the injunction of Quran (if the Taliban thinks so)? Even if anybody is defying any Islamic values it is a personal matter that could only be interfered if the society is being seriously affected. Even if one feels responsible to stop others from committing a sin then it could never be in a way of a criminal, that too beheading people gruesomely. What a way to impose Islam or any religion. This is one reason why people have grown averse to Islamic norms, Islamic teaching and Islam itself. Who is to be blamed for all this: the Taliban’s and their likes, who else. Even if the Taliban deny that they have not killed those 17 people partying at the Kajaki district, they cannot be relived of the responsibility of setting the precedent for those who have acquired the ‘Taliban’ way of killing people who they dislike. This is what the statement of President Karzai shows; the ‘irresponsible members among the Taliban, it refers to that creed of Taliban who have only learnt to be a spoiler. Understandably what else but terror could be the reason behind killing people in a gruesome way of beheading them or cutting their throat? Even when in power their way of governance was nothing short of brutality. The worst brunt was taken by the women. They were barred from going out of their homes without a male. They were not allowed to attend schools, colleges and universities. They were stopped from working and forced to marry men they did not want to marry. It was a complete chaos. No civilization would allow its people to be treated like animals. On the one hand they upheld Islam and the status of women in it, on the other they treat them like cows, a docile creature who can be anchored to anything. When America let NATO forces came to Afghanistan a major part of the country took a sigh of relief. They saw salvation from a religious crime that had them brutalized. Now that the time for the NATO to leave Afghanistan is drawing closer, the fear among the women, of the return of terror on them have increased manifold. They are worried about their freedom. They are worried that they might be thrown back to the Stone Age that they once were forced to live in. How would America and the government of Afghanistan ensure respect for humanity and especially for women under Taliban dominance is a million dollar question. The world is worried over the future prospect of Afghanistan that is increasingly becoming cloudy and uncertain, once the US leaves the country. If it were to be the return of the Taliban rule then all those years, lives and resources so far spent on Afghanistan would go wasted. Obviously the threat of Talibanization is not restricted to Afghanistan. Pakistan is equally in danger and has taken the heat of it many a times. Its soldiers were beheaded and shown mercilessly on a video as well. How many times, people had to preach these tormentors about the true image of Islam and its requirements. This reign of terror might end in a bigger calamity that even the Talibans may not have foreseen or expected.

Gwadar port to be taken over by Chinese co

The Port Singapore Authority (PSA) has decided to leave Gwadar Port due to non-handing over of allocated land required by the Authority for making the port fully operational, according to Federal Minister for Ports and Shipping Babar Khan Ghauri. “The denial of land at Gwadar Port forced PSA to leave the port, which will be taken over by a Chinese company,” the Federal Minister informed the Senate Standing Committee on Ports and Shipping that met with Sardar Fateh Mohammad Hassani in the chair here on Tuesday. It was agreed in the MoU signed with PSA that the government would provide the required land to make the Gwadar Port fully operational, which was in the possession of Pakistan Navy and Coastal Guard. However, that commitment did not materialise, which led PSA to leave the port, said Ghauri, adding that the government had issued an NoC to PSA in this regard, which was going to sell its shares to a Chinese company. Hassani said that due to government’s mistakes, PSA was going to leave the port and if corrective measures were not taken the Chinese company could also follow suit. The Committee recommended that GPA, Pakistan Navy, Coast Guard, Balochistan government and Planning Commission should resolve the land issue in three weeks and report to the committee. It further recommended that as an alternative, Pakistan Navy should take the available 300 acres of land from government of Balochistan and vacate 584 acres of land at Gwadar Port. Pakistan Navy (PN) officials informed the committee that the PN was a legal and legitimate owner of 584 acres of land at Shamba Ismail Gwadar, which was allocated to PN against payment by the Government of Balochistan for Defence/operational purposes. However, PN land at Shamba Ismail was made part of Gwadar Port Development Plan without its consent. Hence, Ministry of Ports and Shipping had been pursuing the case for the transfer of PN land to GPA since long. The Ministry also took up the case with Prime Minister in 2008, who after thorough scrutiny of records, finally approved the retention of land at Shamba Ismail by PN. However, only 30 acres of land for the rail/road link from Gwadar Port to Free Zone/Container Freight Terminal was to be spared by the PN. Therefore, the PN’s possession of Shamba Ismail land has been well before Gwadar port project was launched, according to the PN. In lieu of the land at Shamba Ismail, the government of Balochistan had offered two pieces of land at Pishukan and Shabi Tehsil to PN. Later in Jan 2012, the Prime Minister constituted a committee under the chairmanship of Chief Minister Balochistan to resolve the issue. Subsequently, a feasibility study of both pieces of land was carried out by the PN and land offered at North Bay of Pishukan was considered suitable for the PN. The PN also conveyed that the size of alternate land should be approximately 1000 acres instead of the offered 584 acres and that the PN would retain 84 acres of land at Shamba Ismail. As a future course of action, M/o P & S is requested to undertake necessary action in line with PN stance on the issue. PN being the legal owner is in the possession of the land at Shamba Ismail since 1980 and this land is essentially required by the PN for Defence/operational purposes due to its strategic location. However, PN may consider handing over the land to GPA in the greater national interest provided suitable alternate land meeting all essential PN requirements was offered, PN officials told the committee. Chairman Gwadar Port informed the committee that the government of Pakistan had decided in year 2002 to construct Port in Gwadar due to its naturally sheltered location from south — westerly monsoons. The main objectives for development of the port were trans-shipment, transit trade, Gwadar industrial development and Gwadar city growth. Under a Financial arrangement with the Government of China, the port was constructed at an estimated cost of $ 287.8 million. The Chinese government made a $ 220.26 million contribution to the project. M/s Arthur D Little prepared a Master Plan of the Port and identified Strategic Zones and Land Bank requirements for the next 35-50 years. He further said that in February 2007 through a concession agreement with PSA Gwadar Pte Limited, which is a subsidiary of PSAI, the management, operations, maintenance and development of Gwadar port were transferred to the concession holder for a period of 40 years under the ‘Landlord’ concept. GPA’s share in Gross Income was calculated as follows: PSA Gwadar International Terminal Limited 9%; Gwadar Marine Service Limited 9% and Gwadar Free Zone Company Limited 15 %. The chairman said that after taking the possession of Port as a concession holder, the PSA installed two Gantry cranes, 200 meter of single rails and one Sub-Station. In accordance with Schedule-5 of the Concession agreement, the PSA was bound to invest US$ 775 million for the development of port, which did not materialize, he added. The construction of East Bay Expressway on East Bay of existing Gwadar City had been proposed to link the Gwadar Port with existing Makran Coastal Highway, he said and added that the Port, at present, was connected to Coastal Highway through existing city road due to which city population as well as Port cargo traffic faced huge problems. According to him, the existing city road is designed only for city traffic and it is unable to be used for heavy port traffic. During the Port Operations the road is totally congested with the traffic and there is high risk of accidents due to low capacity of the road for bearing the heavy port traffic. There are also observations of the city government as well as existing population of the city for the shifting of heavy port traffic to some other places. Due to prevailing law and order situation in the country as a whole and especially in Balochistan, the existing road is insecure for port traffic. The 584 acres of land allotted to Pakistan Navy at Shamb-e-¬Ismail Gwadar is to be transferred to GPA. The Prime Minister has constituted a committee headed by the Chief Minister of Balochistan, which held a meeting under the chairmanship of Chief Minister Balochistan in March 2010 to resolve the issue. Pakistan Navy consented to vacate the 584 acres of land at Shamb-e-Ismail Gwadar, and requested for an alternate piece of land at Pishukan having an adequate sea frontage. In this regard, the last meeting was held in April 16, 2012 at Gwadar chaired by the Commissioner Makran Division. Both parties agreed that 584 acre of land at East Bay Gwadar allotted to Pakistan Navy would be transferred to GPA and in lieu thereof around 1000 acres of land, both government and private, will be allotted to Pakistan Navy at Pishukan as identified by the concerned naval authorities. The revenue authorities the Gwadar have indicated the price of land to be around Rs 744 million, which would be required to be paid by GPA in this respect, the chairman informed the committee.