Tuesday, September 18, 2012

NATO order changes way it will fight Afghan war

NATO's decision to restrict operations with small Afghan forces to mitigate the threat of insider attacks means fewer boots on patrols and a shift in how the U.S.-led coalition will fight the war in Afghanistan. It's unclear whether the coalition's exit strategy can succeed with less partnering with Afghan policemen and soldiers, who are slated to take over for foreign combat troops by the end of 2014, just 27 months from now. What is clear is that the mantra that Afghans and coalition forces are fighting the Taliban "shoulder to shoulder" is looking more and more like they're standing at arm's length. Earlier this year, the U.S. military stopped training about 1,000 members of the Afghan Local Police, a controversial network of village-defense units. U.S. commanders have assigned some troops to be "guardian angels" who watch over their comrades in interactions with Afghan forces and even as they sleep. U.S. officials also recently ordered American troops to carry loaded weapons at all times in Afghanistan, even when they are on their bases. Until now, coalition troops routinely conducted operations such as patrolling or manning outposts with small units of their Afghan counterparts. Under the new rules issued on Sunday, such operations with small-sized units are considered no longer routine and require the approval of the regional commander. NATO's decision reflected escalating worries about the insider attacks, coupled with the widespread tensions over an anti-Islam video that has prompted protests around the world, including Afghanistan. Early Tuesday, a suicide bomber rammed a car packed with explosives into a minibus carrying foreign aviation workers to the airport in the Afghan capital, killing at least 12 people including nine foreigners — eight South Africans, a Kyrgyzstani and three Afghans. Haroon Zarghoon, a spokesman for the Islamist militant group Hizb-i-Islami, claimed responsibility, saying it was carried out by a 22-year-old woman named Fatima and was meant to avenge the anti-Islam film that ridicules the Prophet Muhammad. But the underlying reason for the new directive that curbs contact between Afghan and international forces is the spike in insider attacks. So far this year, 51 international service members have died at the hands of Afghan forces or militants wearing their uniforms. That is more than 18 percent of the 279 international troops who have been killed in Afghanistan since the beginning of the year, according to figures compiled by The Associated Press. U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta argued that the attacks do not mean the Taliban are getting stronger. "I think what it indicates is that they are resorting to efforts that try to strike at our forces, try to create chaos but do not in any way result in their regaining territory that has been lost," he told reporters during a press conference in Beijing. Still, critics pointed out that insider attacks — which have continued despite efforts to vet all 352,000 members of Afghanistan's army and police forces — were undermining the international mission in Afghanistan. In London, lawmakers criticized the new restrictions on partnered operations as potentially undermining the strategy of training local forces to provide security once U.S. and NATO forces leave Afghanistan at the end of 2014. "It does appear to be a really significant change in the relationship between (coalition) and Afghan forces," said opposition Labour Party lawmaker Jim Murphy. British Defense Secretary Philip Hammond told lawmakers that troops would "return to normal operations" as soon as the tension eased. The coalition also downplayed the impact of the directive, saying international forces had not stopped partnering and advising Afghan forces. Coalition officials said the new restrictions were made at the recommendation of — and in conjunction with —key Afghan leaders. Companies remain partnered with Afghan units, but have changed the way they conduct their daily partnering operations with units smaller than a battalion, according to the coalition. Battalions — or kandaks as they are called in Afghanistan — differ in size, but typically have about 300 to 500 service members. In Afghanistan, however, most of the fighting occurs with tens not hundreds of troops. "We see this as temporary," said Col. Thomas Collins, the coalition's spokesman. "If you went out to the battlefield today, you would see partnered operations at the company and platoon level just as we've had in the past," he said. "Only now, we require the regional commander to approve operations below the battalion level." On Tuesday, NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said plans for a gradual transition to Afghan responsibility for security by the end of 2014 would continue despite the new restrictions, which he described as "prudent and temporary." The Afghan Ministry of Defense also downplayed the directive. "For a long time, small units of Afghan forces have carried out independent operations and patrols," said ministry spokesman Gen. Zahir Azimi. "This is for units smaller than the kandak level and we have already been doing that." Noor ul-Haq Holomi, a former general in the Afghan army, disagreed, saying the Afghan security forces need more training and equipment. "This kind of decision will have a negative impact on the security situation, on the morale of the Afghan security forces and will benefit the enemy and armed opposition groups," he said. "So far, Afghan security forces are not able to stand on their feet. Is doing this directive under the current poor security situation to the benefit of the international community? Of course not." Other military analysts describe the new order as a fundamental shift in the fight. "The insider attacks are a hammer blow to NATO's strategy of handing over security to reliable Afghan security forces in 2014," said David Cortright, director of policy studies at the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame. "The mission of training and equipping Afghan forces who might turn their guns against us has become absurd. Commanders assert that the policy remains the same — that they will continue to fight the Taliban alongside their supposed Afghan allies — but in reality that policy is being torn to shreds by these insider attacks." Mark Moyar, author of a counterinsurgency book that is used in training Afghan forces, said the directive "clearly represents a major change in the coalition strategy in Afghanistan." He said some within the U.S. military argue that partnering for too long makes Afghans dependent on international troops while others say long-term mentoring is needed for them to become self-sufficient, or they'll be easy prey for the resilient insurgents. "There has been, and remains, much uncertainty about how many Afghan forces can conduct tactical operations independently," he said. "This shift will eliminate much of that uncertainty. But some uncertainty will remain, because the Americans will know much less about Afghan security force activities when they do not go outside the wire with them." He wonders what the order means for the timing of future U.S. troop withdrawals. The U.S. will complete its drawdown of 33,000 American troops that President Barack Obama ordered out of Afghanistan by Sept. 30, leaving 68,000 U.S. service members in the country. "The reduction in U.S. participation could make it easier to accelerate troop withdrawals, but if the security situation deteriorates sharply, it could have the opposite effect," Moyar said. In other violence reported on Tuesday, 11 Afghan soldiers were killed and eight others were wounded in three roadside bombings across the country. The defense ministry said five died in Herat province in the west; five died in Logar province in the east; and one was killed in Kandahar province in the south. In Helmand province, one Afghan soldier and a civilian were killed when a suicide bomber detonated his car laden with explosives at a checkpoint in Gereskh district, the Afghan army said.

Beijing demonstrators damage US ambassador's car

Associated Press
A car carrying the U.S. ambassador to China was mildly damaged after becoming the target of boisterous anti-Japan demonstrators who were expressing outrage over a territorial dispute and marking the 81st anniversary of Japan's invasion of China. The State Department said in a statement Wednesday that Ambassador Gary Locke was unhurt in Tuesday's incident, and that diplomats have expressed concerns to the Chinese Foreign Ministry. The statement said around 50 protesters surrounded Locke's car as he tried to enter the embassy and were eventually removed by Chinese security personnel. The incident comes amid heightened vigilance for American diplomats following violent attacks on U.S. embassies in Libya, Yemen and Egypt. The statement said embassy officials have asked the Chinese government to do everything possible to protect American facilities and personnel. People across China have engaged in days of furious protests over some East China Sea islands, claimed by Beijing and Tokyo, that Japan purchased last week from a private owner. The U.S., a close ally of Japan, has said it is staying out of the dispute, but it also been the target of Chinese anger. On Tuesday the dispute mixed with remembrances of a 1931 incident that Japan used as a pretext to invade Manchuria, setting off a brutal occupation of China that ended only at the close of World War II. China marks every Sept. 18 by blowing sirens, but demonstrations such as those seen Tuesday are not routine. Thousands of protesters marched in front of the Japanese Embassy, with some burning Japanese flags and throwing apples, water bottles and eggs. The daylong demonstration periodically spilled over to the nearby U.S. Embassy. The islands are tiny rock outcroppings that have been a sore point between China and Japan for decades. Japan has claimed the islands since 1895. The U.S. took jurisdiction after World War II and turned them over to Japan in 1972. The disagreement escalated last week when the Japanese government said it was purchasing some of the islands from their private owner. Japan considers it an attempt to thwart a potentially more inflammatory move by the governor of Tokyo, who had wanted not only to buy the islands but develop them. But Beijing sees Japan's purchase as an affront to its claims and its past calls for negotiations. Beijing has sent patrol ships inside Japanese-claimed waters around the islands, and some state media have urged Chinese to show their patriotism by boycotting Japanese goods and canceling travel to Japan.

CHINA : Landings fan protest flames

China made representations to Japan over the "illegal landing" of Japanese right-wing activists on the Diaoyu Islands on Tuesday, saying that it is a serious provocation that infringes on China's territorial sovereignty. This Tuesday was also the 81st anniversary of Japan's invasion of China, making the day especially sensitive. Two Japanese activists arrived on the Diaoyu Islands in a small boat Tuesday morning and swam to the island, and they returned to their boat shortly afterward, according to reports. The foreign ministry demanded Japan explain its endorsement of right-wing activities, and urged Tokyo to take effective measures and stop any acts that may intensify tensions over the islets. Liu Jiangyong, a vice dean of the Institute of Modern International Relations at Tsinghua University, told the Global Times that by choosing to land on the Diaoyu Islands on Tuesday, the Japanese activists may have been trying to irritate Chinese people's sentiments. In many cities across the country, people took to the street to voice their opposition against the Japanese government's "purchase" of the Diaoyu Islands from a "private owner." Outside the Japanese embassy in Beijing, more than 1,000 protesters faced off against riot police six rows deep. Some threw eggs and plastic bottles at the building and a few scuffles broke out with officers at the gate of the compound. Japan-based news portal ribenxinwen.com reported that three arrests had been made, but the Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau did not reply to the Global Times inquiry as of press time. In Shanghai hundreds of riot police blocked off roads leading to the Japanese consulate, while around 3,000 protesters rallied outside the building. Meanwhile, police authorities in Guangzhou said on their Weibo account that a few people behaved aggressively during the demonstrations. The protests have prompted Japanese firms including Toyota, Honda and Canon to halt part of their operations in China, after demonstrations in some parts of the country turned violent over the past weekend. Hong told a press briefing that Chinese people in many areas spontaneously took to the street to protest on Tuesday, which displayed Chinese people's justified position and patriotism. "Long gone are the days when the Chinese nation was subject to bullying and humiliation from others," said Hong, adding that the Chinese government and its 1.3 billion people wouldn't idly stand by during the encroachment on China's territorial sovereignty. On the same day, China's Defense Minister Liang Guanglie expressed the hope that the Diaoyu Islands issue with Japan will be peacefully resolved but he warned of "further actions," the Xinhua News Agency reported. Liang made the remarks after holding talks with visiting US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta in Beijing, noting that Japan is to be blamed for "heating up" the Diaoyu Islands issue as the Japanese government decided to "purchase" the islands. The Japan Coast Guard (JCG) told the Global Times Tuesday afternoon that 10 Chinese ships were spotted in waters near the Diaoyu Islands. Early on Tuesday morning, a Chinese fishery management vessel was sighted 42 kilometers away from the Diaoyu Islands, but left the area five hours later, AFP quoted the JCG as saying. NHK reported later Tuesday that at least two of the 11 Chinese marine surveillance ships and fishery law enforcement vessels entered waters within 12 nautical miles around the islets. Japanese media also said that some fishing boats marked with Chinese characters were spotted in waters near the Diaoyu Islands. Japan has mobilized its patrol ships in the wake of reports that about 1,000 Chinese fishing ships would head to the area. Zha Daojiong, a professor with the School of International Studies under Peking University, told the Global Times that it is normal for Chinese law enforcement vessels to patrol in areas where China claims sovereignty. "We shouldn't fear any disputes that may arise." Six Chinese marine patrol ships entered waters around the islets on Friday to assert China's sovereignty. Liu said such law enforcement missions have been the most concrete countermeasure taken by the Chinese side, which could put the area under Chinese practical control. "The government should continue such missions, which have changed the status quo. And the landing of Japanese nationals on the islets would be meaningless for asserting sovereignty in the context of international law," said Liu. Following Japan's nationalization of the islets, the Chinese government announced maritime baselines of the Diaoyu Islands, sent surveillance fleets to waters around the islands and submitted the outer limits of the continental shelf. "All these measures have effectively offset the legal consequences of Japan's illegal purchase of the Diaoyu Islands," Hong said Tuesday. Agencies contributed to this story Ripples from island dispute Players pulled from Yonex Open Amid rising tensions, China has withdrawn players from the six-day Yonex Open badminton tournament that started in Tokyo on Tuesday, The Kyodo News reported. China had several entries in the tournament being held at Tokyo's Yoyogi National Gymnasium, including the men's pair Cai Yun and Fu Haifeng, who won gold at the London Olympics, according to the agency. China issues topographical map of Diaoyu Islands China issued a topographical map of Diaoyu Island and its affiliated islands on Tuesday, in a move seen as another concrete measure to enhance its administration over the islands. The State Oceanic Administration had earlier released a string of geographic coordinates of the islands, including the exact longitude and latitude of the Diaoyu Island and 70 of its affiliated islands.

Obama says he works ‘for everybody, not just for some’

U.S. introduces travel curbs for citizens in Pakistan

The United States has imposed travel restrictions for its employees throughout Pakistan following angry protest demonstrations against the anti-Islam film, the U.S. embassy said Tuesday. The restrictions have been introduced as anti-U.S. demonstrations continued across Pakistan on Tuesday and more are planned in the coming days. One person was killed and dozens others were injured in a protest outside the U.S. consulate in Karachi on Sunday. The demonstrators had crossed police barriers and reached the consulate, removed American flag and also stoned the building. Activists of religious and political parties clashed with the police near the U.S. consulate in the northwestern city of Peshawar on Tuesday. The police fired in the air, used tear gas shells and resorted to baton charge to disperse the demonstrators. They also burnt a U.S. flag. At least one protester was injured. "This security message informs U.S. citizens living in Pakistan that the U.S. government has instituted travel restrictions for its employees throughout the country," the U.S. embassy said in a statement posted on its website. The alert says that the U.S. government employees can now undertake essential travel only, including within the cities of the capital Islamabad and three provincial capitals -- Karachi, Lahore, and Peshawar, due to possible demonstrations moving along major routes. The U.S. has consulates in the three cities. "We remind U.S. citizens that demonstrations and protests in Pakistan are often spontaneous and can occur with little advance notice". The message urged U.S. citizens to avoid all protests and demonstrations and maintain a low profile. The U.S. citizens have also been asked to monitor the local news and maintain contact with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate by monitoring their websites for updates on the security situation in Pakistan.

Pakistan: Pro-Taliban militants slaughter Shia

At least five Shia Muslim pilgrims have been killed in an attack against their bus in southwestern Pakistan’s Balochistan Province, Press TV reports. The incident took place on Tuesday, in Mastung district south of Balochistan’s capital Quetta. Officials say the bus, on its way towards Tuftan, caught on fire after it was targeted by a roadside bomb. Every year millions of Muslim pilgrims visit the holy shrines in the Iranian cities of Mashhad and Qom. The bus had been carrying nearly 40 passengers. Pakistan's pro-Taliban militants have launched a violent campaign against Shia Muslims over the past years. According to local sources, militants affiliated to Taliban and al-Qaeda terrorist groups have killed hundreds of Shia Muslims in the region since the start of the campaign. The country’s Shia leaders have called on the government to form a judicial commission to investigate the bloodshed. The killing of Shias in Pakistan has caused international outrage, with rights groups and regional countries, including Iran, expressing concern over the ongoing deadly violence.

Bahraini regime forces attack houses of opposition leaders

Bahraini forces have stormed the houses of two opposition leaders, Shula and Bazzaz, as the Saudi-backed Al Khalifa regime continues its heavy-handed handling of critics. Scores of people have been killed and hundreds more injured in the regime crackdown on a popular revolt that started in February 2011. Many others, including opposition leaders and human rights activists, have been also given long jail terms as part of the crackdown. A report published by the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry in November said regime forces "resorted to the use of unnecessary and excessive force, terror-inspiring behavior and unnecessary damage to property," during popular protests in the country.

Pakistan: US suspends diplomatic missions

The US has closed its embassy and consulates in Pakistan to general public for indefinite period. Amid anti-film protests US Tuesday halted public dealing in all its diplomatic missions in Pakistan. According to statement issued by US embassy in Islamabad, all diplomatic missions in the country would be closed for public as security concerns. Meanwhile, US diplomatic personnel were shifted to unclosed location from Karachi consulate as angry protesters advancing to the diplomatic building in red zone of the largest and port city of Pakistan. Clashes between police and mob continued as protesters trying to reach consulate building. Police using tear gas, firing in air and water guns to stop people. Following the violent protests across Pakistan against anti-Islam film, the security has been tightened by the authorities in Peshawar. Fearing the security risk and creating traffic problems, the authorities have blocked a road towards the US consulate as the protests are continued in the city against the release of anti-Islam film. The heavy contingent of police have been placed out on entry and exit points of the consulate while the police are also alert in other parts of the city. US consulate in Lahore was also vacated by US officials who have been shifted to other safe places, local media reports said. Authorities have blocked all roadsgoing towards US diplomatic building in Lahore.

President Obama mocks Mitt Romney over China trade

Obama is president of 'all the people'

President Obama's spokesman responded to the Mitt Romney video today by saying that Obama is president of all the people. "When you're president of the United States, you are president of all the people -- not just the people who voted for you," said White House spokesman Jay Carney. Meanwhile, Obama's Twitter feed said: "We can't afford a president who says 'my job is not to worry about' 47% of the American people." Carney said he hasn't asked Obama if he has seen the video. As reported in our On Politics blog, the newly disclosed videotape of a Romney fundraiser shows the GOP candidate saying that President Obama automatically gets 47% of the vote because of people who are "dependent on the government" and "pay no income tax." The tape has roiled the presidential race with only seven weeks to go. During the White House press briefing, Carney said that Obama did not worry about whether workers or executives voted for him when he sough the auto bailout; the same outlook applied to the health care bill, Carney said. "He's fighting for every American," Carney said. As for Romney's comment that too many Americans see themselves as victims, Carney said: "The president certainly doesn't think that men and women on Social Security are irresponsible or victims; that students aren't responsible or victims ... He certainly doesn't think that middle class families are paying too little in taxes." Romney has stood by his comments, telling reporters last night in California that "the president believes in what I've described as a government-centered society, where government plays a larger and larger role, provides for more and more of the needs of the individuals. "I happen to believe instead in a free enterprise, free individual society where people pursuing their dreams are able to employ one another, build enterprises, build the strongest economy in the world," Romney said. Obama himself may get asked about the comments later today when he appears with talk show host David Letterman. The president's campaign manager, Jim Messina, issued a statement on the Romney tape: "It's shocking that a candidate for President of the United States would go behind closed doors and declare to a group of wealthy donors that half the American people view themselves as â??victims,' entitled to handouts, and are unwilling to take â??personal responsibility' for their lives. It's hard to serve as president for all Americans when you've disdainfully written off half the nation."

SECRET VIDEO: Romney Tells Millionaire Donors What He REALLY Thinks of Obama Voters


Romney says 47 percent of America hooked on government

Mitt Romney has stirred up controversy with a video in which he says Obama supporters consider themselves "victims" owed by the government. The Republican candidate trails the incumbent in polls.
On Monday, the magazine Mother Jones posted comments made by Mitt Romney at a private fundraiser in May and taped without the candidate's knowledge. In the clip, Romney says 47 percent of Americans "will vote for the president no matter what." He calls this group people "dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it." "My job is not to worry about those people," Romney says, adding that he has focused on the dwindling independent and undecided voters. Romney quickly called a news conference on Monday night to say that his words were "not elegantly stated." However, he added that Obama's approach is "attractive to people who are not paying taxes." 'Depressingly inept' Obama campaign manager Jim Messina responded in a statement to Romney's remarks: "It's hard to serve as president for all Americans when you've disdainfully written off half the nation."he Obama campaign, often enough using Romney's own words, has proved effective at painting the Republican millionaire as out of touch with the needs of everyday Americans. A recent New York Times/CBS poll found that Obama holds a 21-point advantage over Romney with voters in households with annual incomes under $50,000 (38,000 euros). Romney, on the other hand, has a 16-point advantage in households with incomes higher than $100,000. "As a description of America today, Romney's comment is a country-club fantasy," the conservative New York Times columnist David Brooks wrote in a Tuesday opinion piece responding to the candidate's remarks. "It's what self-satisfied millionaires say to each other. It reinforces every negative view people have about Romney. … He's running a depressingly inept presidential campaign." Romney had already taken a political hit for his comments last week in the wake of embassy attacks in the Egypt and Libya sparked by an offensive anti-Islam video in the United States. Then, both Democrats and Republicans accused of him of being opportunistic and using poor judgment by accusing Obama of sympathizing with Muslim protests even after the US ambassador was killed in Libya. On Monday, just before the video's release, Romney announced that his campaign would refocus on the economy, seen by many as one of his strengths. Romney has lost his advantage in that area, however, according to a recent New York Times/CBS poll that found that 47 percent of voters now trust Obama with the economy, versus 46 percent for Romney. That same poll found that 60 percent of voters feel that Obama understands the needs of people like them, with only 40 percent saying that abut Romney.

Pakistan’s pro-Taliban & anti-democracy judiciary

Let Us Build Pakistan
During his 20 minute stint (from 16:18 to 36:32) on the Rana Mubasher show (September 11, 2012) , Senator Faisal Raza Abidi (Pakistan Peoples Party) made some crucial observations regarding the current judiciary’s predisposition towards Takfiri terrorists. While Pakistan’s Taliban apologist media chose to ignore it, Senator Abidi highlighted the important developments of how the Supreme Court is bent upon freeing mass murdering terrorists like Malik Ishaq – leader of Pakistan’s primary Al Qaeda affiliate, the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi.
The Supreme Court has a history of supporting the Islamofascist militant brigades of Lal Masjid. It has once again released the chief cleric of Lal Masjid inspite of the latter’s incitement to violence against the very State and Constitution of Pakistan. Pakistan’s civil society has been damningly silent in being critical of this PCO Judiciary. This is because they were instrumental in aligning themselves in a discredited movement to restore disgraced and compromised bureaucrats like Iftikhar Chaudhry and his crony judges. While Pakistan’s civil society is always ready to heap abuse and slander on the martyred leaders of the Pakistan People’s Party, they conveniently paper over their own substantial role in spreading religious extremism in Pakistan. During his brief time on the show, Senator Faisal Raza Abidi reiterated the corruption, bias and prejudice of Pakistan’s anti-democracy and pro-Taliban judiciary. He was even critical of his own party for their lack of courage in resisting judicial tyranny. As Pakistan’s PCO Judiciary gears up to dismiss another elected Prime Minister on an Un-Constitutional basis while going out of its way to thwart the efforts of the Law Enforcement authorities in nabbing Islamist terrorists, one should pay heed to Senator Abidi’s bold critique. We disagree with his unnecessary and insensitive remarks against Ahmadi muslims during one such segment. However, his exposure of this pro-Taliban judiciary and its various biases is the need of the hour.

FM Khar to arrive in Washington today

Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar
will arrive here Tuesday for talks with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and other senior officials on bilateral relationship, crucial to the outcome of Afghan conflict. The two top diplomats are expected to discuss wide-ranging issues including ways to enhance economic and trade cooperation, counterterrorism work along the Durrand Line, peace and security efforts in Afghanistan and regional issues of common interest. Besides holding formal talks with Clinton, the Pakistani foreign minister will meet with US National Security Advisor Tom Donilon and US Trade Representative Ron Kirk.

UN panel rekindles hopes for relatives of missing Baloch

For years, human rights groups had hoped that there might be an international outcry over a little-known epidemic of abductions, torture and murder in the Pakistani province of Balochistan where the local Baloch stand alienated and disillusioned with Pakistan’s establishment. Now, the relatives of the missing are placing their faith in a visiting UN team to highlight allegations that security forces are waging a campaign of mass disappearances aimed at silencing calls for Baloch independence.
The Pakistani establishment has often blamed a ‘foreign hand’ behind the call for separation and independence but on several occasions its civilian government has accepted its failure to improve the lives of ordinary people in Balochistan while heavily relying on the province’s resources.
Even Pakistan’s Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, who had launched a rare move by the judiciary to hold the military to account over the disappearances, declined to meet the UN team. He had warned this month that the province was a “volcano ready to explode” and said it was dangerous for outsiders to review Pakistan’s internal affairs. Since a popular movement by lawyers that helped reinstate the chief justice after his suspension by former military ruler Pervez Musharraf, there hasn’t been much progress in the case of missing persons that the Supreme Court continues to hear. “How many will they kill?” said Yusuf Baluch, who found the mutilated body of his son, Asif, last year, several months after he was taken away in Karachi. Overshadowed by a US-funded campaign against Taliban militants on the northwestern frontier with Afghanistan, the conflict between separatists and the state in Balochistan receives scant outside attention except in February this year when the National Assembly unanimously passed an opposition-sponsored resolution to condemn a US Congressional hearing on Balochistan. The resolution stated that the initiative would jeopardise Pak-US ties, which were particularly strained at the time. The foreign office soon echoed the lawmakers’ stance by lodging a formal protest with the US. On the other hand, the military has repeatedly denied committing abuses and has blamed the killings on an array of militant groups active in the resource-rich province that borders both Afghanistan and Iran. But human rights groups have gathered extensive evidence from relatives of the disappeared that raises serious questions over the conduct of the security establishment. Re- kindled hopes
The arrival of the UN delegation last week kindled hopes in the province that the disappearances would finally start to gain global attention, but stirred controversy in Islamabad. “If the UN has taken the pains to send a team to Pakistan, it means the world now knows what’s going on,” said Asif Baloch, a former student activist. “At least the news is out.” The delegation was sent by a panel on enforced disappearances set up by the Geneva-based United Nations Commission on Human Rights and arrived in Pakistan last week. Led by a French law professor, the team’s mission is primarily to gather information on cases of disappearances and serve as a conduit between relatives and the government. Nevertheless, families of the missing gathered ahead of its arrival in Balochistan’s provincial capital, Quetta, on Saturday to urge the UN to take action to bring their loved ones home. Even as the delegation began its tour of Pakistan, news of more disappearances reached Quetta. On Wednesday, two days after the UN mission arrived in Islamabad, residents in southern Balochistan alleged security forces had taken away two more men in vehicles. Baloch National Voice, a monitoring group, said another 14 men were detained at a military checkpoint on Friday. The bodies of six of them, all bearing gunshot wounds, have since been discovered, the group said. It added that the dead men had been blindfolded and their hands tied behinds their backs. More than 300 bodies dumped Parents and siblings of the missing have accused intelligence agencies of abducting people in many parts of Pakistan, but nowhere is the phenomenon more acute than in vast, sparsely populated Balochistan. More than 300 bodies have been found discarded by roadsides or abandoned on waste-ground in the province since early 2011, according to New York-based Human Rights Watch. Many of the remains bear cigarette burns, broken limbs or other evidence of torture. Baloch activists say the grisly trail is evidence of a state-backed “kill-and-dump” policy designed to intimidate separatist guerrillas and their sympathisers. The activists say several thousand people are still missing, though provincial authorities put the figure at several dozens. Security forces deny committing abuses and say insurgents sometimes don military uniform before kidnapping people. Major-General Obaidullah Khattak, head of the Frontier Corps, the main security agency in Balochistan, remains the only senior security officer who appeared before the Supreme Court to answer questions over the situation upon being summoned. The court has however not been satisfied with his explanations. “Criminals must be acted against and brought before the law,” Khattak said in a recent interview in Quetta. Army officers say the separatists have killed hundreds of what are termed “settlers” from other parts of Pakistan, in particular Punjab. Suspicion among the military elite A region of bone-dry desert and barren hills endowed with reserves of copper, gold and natural gas, Balochistan has witnessed waves of revolt by nationalists. While the Baloch separatists’ goal of independence seems a remote prospect, Balochistan nevertheless exhibits a litany of state failure, alienation, corruption and missed economic opportunities that present a microcosm of Pakistan’s wider woes. In Islamabad, the UN mission has sparked suspicion among the military elite, who are sensitive to any suggestion of interference in Balochistan. Concern among lawmakers that the UN visit may threaten Pakistan’s sovereignty prompted Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar to assure the National Assembly last week that the team had been invited by the government and had no investigative powers.

Punjab: Flood victims caught in intra PML-N rivalries

The Express Tribune
Political rivalry within Punjab has left scores of flood victims in the southern part of the province stranded for the last 48 hours as relief efforts in the region remained suspended on Sunday and Monday. Differences between Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s (PML-N) top leadership and the party’s representatives from the area, the Khosa family, have hampered relief activities in the flood-stricken DG Khan region where hill torrents have devastated two districts and displaced tens of thousands of people. According to sources in the PML-N, a top dignitary of the province’s ruling party forbade the local administration from giving any truck of relief items to the Khosa family for distribution in the region – in fact directing that they be given to a rival family. Consequently, a bruising back-and-forth between the two influential sides began. According to well-placed sources, the Khosa family declared the top leaders of the party persona non grata in DG Khan — for flood relief activities or otherwise. Sources revealed that after hearing of this action, Hamza Shahbaz Sharif – the chief minister’s son – decided to cancel his visit to DG Khan which was scheduled for Monday. Resultantly, DG Khan District Coordination Officer (DCO) Iftikhar Saho and DG Khan Commissioner Tariq Mehmood halted the distribution of relief items to the Khosas starting Sunday. DCO feels the heat The local administration has allegedly stocked up on the distribution items at the Baloch Military Police (BMP) Lines in DG Khan. Official sources in DG Khan revealed that Punjab’s former chief minister Sardar Dost Muhammad Khan Khosa arrived at the BMP and demanded that DCO Saho hand over the trucks of relief items for distribution – but he was told that there was no authorisation in this regard. Using local political influence, Khosa forced the DCO to give him 10 trucks full of relief items from the Lines. Meanwhile, the DCO called Senator Sardar Zulfiqar Khan Khosa who reached the area to contain the heated situation — but to no avail. DCO Saho and the commissioner then contacted the chief minister who directed them to stop the Khosa family from interfering in the affairs of the flood relief distribution and asked his son Hamza to visit the area.But after the Khosa family’s ‘threats’, Hamza cancelled his trip. New appointment On Monday, Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif appointed independent MPA Sardar Amjad Farooq Khan Khosa – who is said to have his own clashes with the Khosa family – as the head of the distribution of flood items and directed the concerned staff to “tackle the Khosa family with iron hands”. When contacted, none of the concerned officials, including the DCO, commissioner, members of the Khosa family or MPA Amjad, were available to comment on this development. Punjab government’s spokesman Senator Pervez Rashid maintained his ignorance of the issue and PML-Ns’ Punjab General Secretary Raja Ashfaq Sarwar refused to comment on it either.

Pakistan: Those who want clash between institutions are disappointed

Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Qamar Zaman Kaira said that those who want clash between the institutions are disappointed after the Supreme Court adjourned the NRO case till September 25th. Kaira happily said that Prime Minister presented the government’s stance before the court. ‘We will follow the court’s orders’ he added while talking with media outside the SC. Earlier, Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf told the court that the federal government has directed the Law Ministry to withdraw a letter written, by the ex-attorney general Malik Qayyum, to the Swiss authorities for the withdrawal of graft cases against the president. Responding to a question‚ the Information Minister said the stance of the former Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani was the right one and the present decision in the case has been taken keeping in view the current situation. He said “we should not struck up in the past and instead look towards the future.”

Veena Malik's raunchy photoshoot for ‘Supermodel’

Actress Veena Malik
looked stunning during a very bold photoshoot she did for her upcoming movie ‘Supermodel’, which is produced by Ravi Ahlawat and directed by Navin Batra. Veena looked extremely raunchy and racy in a black bikini with shorts, which she pulled off with utter zest and game.
“Today, I’m very much feeling like a supermodel myself. The photoshoot, which I have done reflects the glamorous part of being a supermodel,” Veena said.
With her shapely long legs and washboard abs, the flawless lass is seduced the camera with her dazzling deep eyes, and one couldn’t help but comment on her enigmatic beauty and uber-styled looks.
Director Navin Batra said, “When I was thinking about a supermodel, Veena was the one who come to my first. Veena was perfect for the role and she has worked in the film.”
‘Supermodel’ is Veena’s third upcoming movie, in which she journeys from being a middle-class girl to a super star. She will be sharing screen space with Bollywood actor Ashmit Patel in the film. Ravi Ahlawat, the producer of the movie said, “Veena was my first ever choice for ‘Supermodel’. She has done justice to the role.”

From the hills of Baluch

The varied aromatic and delectable tastes from Baluchistan take you on a route through the hilly region and bring it right to your platter. Here’s how you can get wrapped in the foil of a delicious experience
Though all Indian cuisines are very close to my heart and soul, one of the cuisines that I relish and love to dabble in is one that has many flavours and ingredients that are reminiscent of the Baluch tradition. Despite sharing the border with Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan and with a strong cultural semblance with that of her neighbours, what intrigues me is the distinct Baloch food in contrast to many other cuisines of the bordering regions. Though Baluchistan is one of the four provinces of Pakistan, it has a unique identity both in terms of its inhabitants and cuisines. The Baluch people are predominantly warriors, therefore, the food takes into consideration the lifestyle, so it is mostly meat, flavoured with a great variety of subtle, mild aromatic herbs and spices. Every region’s climate plays a vital role in the making of a cuisine. Baluchistan is no exception. The hot days and cold nights have led to the preparation of refreshing Murakkat ie. shorbas and hot and cold kebabs. The beauty of the cuisine lies in its simplicity of presentation and complex culmination of spices. A few of the signature cold kebabs are Kharbooze Ki Potli Mein Mast Zaika, Thande Thande Tandoori Jhumke Tandoor (cooked king prawns in a classic Afghani marinade) and Tandoori Raan ke Nazuk Parchey (spit roasted whole leg of mutton thinly sliced). Traditionally cooked chargrilled kebabs, steamed kebabs, Patte Patte Mein Jhinga, Tandoori Khayaal (delicately cooked lobster marinated with spices) are some regional favourites.

India: English Vinglish: Title Song (Telugu)

With Love From Australia:Diseased livestock

IT is indeed a relief that the Sindh government has begun to cull thousands of infected sheep that were brought into the country from Australia. However, it is safe to assume that if it were not for the hue and cry raised by the media, the meat from these sheep may easily have ended up on our dinner plates. Health officials said the culling was necessary as the infections — the animals were infected with foot-and-mouth disease, among other ailments — could have spread to local livestock. The episode raises questions primarily regarding government oversight, or lack thereof, when it comes to the import and export of livestock. For instance, why were the sheep, imported by a private concern, allowed into the country when they had already been rejected by Bahrain? Also, the authorities must explain why the animals were released before being properly examined in quarantine and why they were kept with healthy animals. The stakeholders’ urge to cut corners and the government’s willingness to look the other way has cost Pakistan’s livestock, fisheries and agriculture sectors dearly. For example, the European Union has banned the import of Pakistani seafood since 2007 due to concerns about the lack of hygienic handling of the catch in local harbours. Fruit export has also suffered due to local exporters’ failure to meet international standards. All this amounts to shooting ourselves in the foot. While importing diseased animals, presumably for local consumption, is tantamount to playing with people’s lives, ignoring safety and hygiene standards for export products translates to shutting ourselves out of foreign markets. The government needs to ensure livestock raised in the country for export or animals brought in for local consumption are healthy not only in the interest of public health, but also to prevent Pakistani exports from being labelled as unfit for consumption.

Female suicide bomber hits foreigners on Kabul bus

At least 12 people are dead, including 9 foreigners, after a suicide bomber targets a vehicle near the airport in Kabul

Afghans reject US-favored administrative detention

An Afghan judicial panel ruled Monday that administrative detention violates Afghan law, potentially thwarting a U.S. plan to hand over Afghan detainees that American officials believe should continue to be held without a trial. President Hamid Karzai's office announced in a statement that a top-level judicial panel met earlier in the day and decided that the detention of Afghan citizens without a court trial "has not been foreseen in Afghan laws" and therefore could not be used.The U.S. government has long held Afghans captured in operations inside the country without trial, arguing that they are enemy combatants and therefore can be detained for as long as their release might pose a danger to the international coalition. Afghan laws have come into play only since the signing of a deal in March in which the U.S. agreed it would hand over all Afghan citizens to the Afghan government - acceding to a key Karzai demand to pave the way for a pact allowing for the long-term presence of U.S. forces in the country. But the United States has also argued that it cannot risk the release of some high-value detainees to the notoriously corrupt Afghan court system. Even though the deadline for the handover passed on Sept. 10, the Americans are still holding more than 600 Afghans in their custody. A U.S. official confirmed that the transfer of detainees had paused because of the dispute. The official was not authorized to give a public statement and so spoke on condition of anonymity. Aimal Faizi, a spokesman for Karzai, said the judicial ruling followed a vigorous effort by the Americans to persuade the Afghans to adopt administrative detention. He said the topic was discussed Sunday during a contentious meeting between Karzai and the U.S. special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, Marc Grossman. "This was the intention, that administrative detention would be respected by Afghans," Faizi said. After the meeting, Karzai issued a statement lashing out at the Americans. "The continued holding of Afghans in American custody runs in contradiction with the spirit of mutual friendship and the provisions of the bilateral strategic partnership agreement," the statement said. It accused the United States of violating the March pact by continuing to hold some prisoners. In an emailed response, the U.S. embassy in Afghanistan said they were still committed to abiding by the memorandum of understanding, or MOU. "Ambassador Grossman made clear in his discussion with the president that the United States fully respects Afghan sovereignty. There is no question of our commitment to fully implement the MOU in recognition of Afghan sovereignty and the need to protect the security of Afghan civilians, Afghan national security forces and coalition forces," the statement said. Faizi said now that the judicial panel has ruled, Karzai expects the remaining prisoners to be transferred to Afghan control "as soon as possible." "We should respect the agreements signed between the two countries," Faizi said. He declined to say what Karzai would do if the U.S. continued to refuse to hand over the detainees by a certain date. He did add, however, that Karzai was demanding that the U.S. government provide more details about specifically what it hoped to get out of the next pact up for negotiations - a U.S.-Afghan security agreement that is supposed to get into the finer details of how U.S. troops will operate in the country, what type of bases they will have and what legal authority they will answer to. A failure to come to such an agreement in Iraq prompted the swift withdrawal of U.S. forces from that country. "We need to know the specifics of the security agreement," Faizi said. "We would like to know what the American government wants from us." The New York-based Open Society Foundations said in a report issued earlier this month that the U.S. is worried that the Afghan government will either release dangerous detainees or forward their cases to the messy Afghan system. The Afghan government agreed to embrace an internment system when it first signed the accord in March, but top Afghan officials and legal experts then started to argue that it violated the Afghan constitution, according to the report. The U.S. began detention operations at Bagram Air Field in early 2002. For several years, prisoners were kept at a former Soviet aircraft machine plant converted into a lockup. In 2009, the U.S. opened a new detention facility next door. The number of detainees incarcerated at the prison, now called the Parwan Detention Facility, has swelled from about 1,100 in September 2010 to 3,110 in the spring of this year. More continued to be added after the memorandum was signed.

NATO force orders teamwork with Afghans cut back

In the most sweeping response yet to “insider” shootings that have killed 51 Western troops this year, the NATO force has ordered a halt to joint patrols and other field operations by Afghan and foreign troops unless specifically approved by a regional commander, military officials said Tuesday. The move is a dramatic blow to what had been the centerpiece of the Western exit strategy, which was for foreign troops to train Afghan police and soldiers in the field, so that Afghan forces would be ready to take the lead in fighting the Taliban by 2014. Under the new directive, Afghan and NATO troops will continue to share joint bases, but contact between them will be limited to officers at the battalion level, mainly in the form of planning sessions and meetings, military officials said. The order was given Sunday by Lt. Gen. James Terry, who heads the Joint Command of NATO’s International Security Assistance Force, or ISAF, on the same day that four American troops were shot and killed by Afghan police. The NATO force did not publicize the directive other than to provide copies in response to specific queries from news organizations. Maj. Adam Wojack, an ISAF spokesman, acknowledged that the change would have a “huge” effect in the field. Until now, up to 80% of operations were “partnered” ones involving Western and Afghan troops. He said the directive was prompted not only by insider shootings, which have accounted this year for about 15% of the NATO force’s fatalities, but also by an anti-Islam video that has triggered protests across the Muslim world, including a violent demonstration in Kabul on Monday. “There’s a lot of tension out there,” he said, describing the directive as “a pretty major measure to mitigate risks.” Exceptions to the directive would have to be approved by regional commanders, most of whom are two-star generals. Previously, lieutenants were authorized to give the go-ahead for patrols and other joint operations.

Pak PM agrees to reopen graft cases against Zardari

In a setback to President Zardari, Pakistan Prime Minister Pervez Ashraf has told the Supreme Court that the govt will open the graft cases against President Zadari. The Pak PM told SC that he has instructed authorities to revoke former AG's letter asking for closure of graft cases against the President in Switzerland. The Supreme Court has asked the govt to revoke the letter in two to three days. The Pakistan apex court has adjourned the case till September 25 and exempted the Prime Minister from personal appearance. At the last hearing on August 27, a five-judge bench accepted Ashraf's plea for more time to address the issue of reopening the cases against Zardari and gave him three weeks. Ashraf is the second premier to appear in the apex court to face a contempt charge for refusing to revive the cases against Zardari in Switzerland. His predecessor, Yousuf Raza Gilani, was convicted of contempt and disqualified in June. The Supreme Court has been pressuring the government to revive the cases against the president since December 2009, when it struck down a graft amnesty issued by former military ruler Pervez Musharraf that benefited Zardari and over 8,000 others. The government has refused to act, saying the president enjoys immunity in Pakistan and abroad.

SC gives govt 7 days to write Swiss letter

Dunya TV
Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf appeared in SC for the second time in NRO implementation case. Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf on Tuesday told the Supreme Court that he was willing to revoke the Attorney General s letter that had asked for the closure of graft cases against the President. PM Ashraf directed Law Minister Farooq H. Naek to withdraw the application forwarded to the Swiss authorities by then attorney general Malik Qayyum. The graft cases were shelved in 2007 after Malik Qayyum wrote letters to the Swiss authorities following the promulgation of the NRO. The Supreme Court, however, in December 2009, declared the ordinance unconstitutional and ordered the reopening of cases against the politicians. The cases that had been closed by Malik Qayyum`s letter can now be reopened by the Swiss authorities if they choose. Further, the prime minister while requesting the court to adjourn the case until end of September, informed that he needs more time to draft the letter. The court said that the powers of withdrawing the letter should be delegated to the Law Ministry by tomorrow and directed the government to write the letter to Swiss authorities by September 25. The apex court also exempted the prime minister from appearing in the next hearing. In April 2012, Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani was thrown from the PM s chair by an order of the SC that found him guilty of contempt of court for failing to reopen the cases against Zardari. Ashraf too was charged with contempt of court after repeated failure to implement its order.

10 dead, including 9 foreigners, in Kabul attack

At least 10 people, nine of them foreigners, were killed Tuesday when a suicide bomber blew himself up on a major highway leading to the international airport in Kabul, security officials said. An Afghan official said nine foreigners and an Afghan were killed, and two Afghan policemen wounded. "The foreigners were from a private company working at the airport," the official told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the media.

Prime Minister Raja Pervez in the dock as show-cause hearing resumes

The Supreme Court on Tuesday resumed the hearing in the show-cause notice for contempt of court over the NRO implementation case, DawnNews reported. A five-judge bench of the apex court, headed by Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, was hearing the case. A Supreme Court bench had issued a show-cause notice to Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf for not implementing its orders in the NRO case of writing a letter to the Swiss authorities to reopen graft cases worth $60 million against President Asif Zardari. 09: 56: Justice Khosa directed that the matter of the letter be resolved by Oct 2. 09: 51: Justice Khosa instructed the prime minister to write the letter to Swiss authorities following four steps: The prime minister would authorise someone in writing to write the letter, the content of the letter should satisfy the court, subsequently the letter is sent and lastly the court is informed once the letter is sent. 09: 44: The prime minister concluded his arguments in the court. 09: 40: The prime minister requested the court to exempt him from court appearances. 09: 39: The prime minister said he was experiencing pressure from different quarters and questions were being asked, adding that, the matter should be resolved. 09: 37: The prime minister further said that if the court cooperates, the matter could be resolved amicably. 09: 35: During the hearing, the prime minister told the court that he had asked the federal law minister to withdraw the letter sent to Swiss authorities by former attorney general Malik Qayyum for the closure of graft cases against President Asif Ali Zardari. 09: 15: Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf arrived in the courtroom along with his counsel Wasim Sajjad for the hearing. 09: 12: Prime Minister Ashraf was also seen busy in consultation with Law Minister Farooq H Naek in the courtroom. Naek had accompanied the prime minister on his arrival at the court’s premises. 09:01: Earlier today, the prime minister had arrived at the the Supreme Court’s premises for the case’s hearing. 09:00: The prime minister was expected to apprise the court of the government’s decision over the issue of writing a letter to Swiss authorities for reopening grafts case against President Zardari, sources told DawnNews. 08: 56: Sources moreover said that the government had devised a middleway to write a letter to Swiss authorities. 08: 45: Leaders from the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and its coalition allies had arrived earlier at the court. The leaders present at the court included Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain of the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML – Q), Muttahida Qaumi Movement’s (MQM) Farooq Sattar, PPP’s Firdous Ashiq Awan and Awami National Party’s Minister for Railways Haji Ghulam Ahmed Bilour. The leaders stressed upon finding a middle-ground on the issue of the letter. 08:30: A large number of media and security persons were present at the Supreme Court premises. Strict security measure were witnessed at court room number four and entry into the area was prohibited hours before the prime minister’s arrival. 08:25: Islamabad’s red zone area was sealed for the public due to security concerns. Earlier on Monday, the ruling PPP and it coalition allies had decided in a meeting chaired by President Zardari that Prime Minister Ashraf would appear before the court in the show-cause notice for contempt of court over the NRO implementation case to apprise it of his government’s stance on the issue of the letter. Prime Minister Ashraf and former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, who was sent packing by the apex court in the same case, also attended the meeting. The leaders of coalition parties had reiterated their support for the prime minister and decided to accompany him to the court.


The Government should continue the present campaign against the smuggled Kabuli vehicles which are being used by the terrorists, smugglers and criminals merely because there is no record of registration with the Government. For the past many days, there is a blessing with least pollution and no congestions on the main roads even during the peak hours merely because the smuggler Kabuli vehicles are off the roads. Even the Traffic police officials were found relaxed at the main commercial centre saying that there is no traffic jams in and around Mizan Chowk. There is no congestion. There is no arrogant owner of Kabuli vehicles insulting the traffic policemen publicly when asked not to park their vehicles in no parking zone. In some cases, the Traffic Police cops were abused as we personally witnessed on the roads. One can judge the huge number of smuggled Kabuli vehicles that had provided relief to the people by remaining off the road. The owners are interested merely because they were cheap and smuggled and there were no taxes and no duty paid to the Government. The Public Exchequer suffered huge financial losses because the border security guards allowed or ignored the smuggling of Kabul vehicles for their personal petty gains. The Government should tighten the border security and should not allow the smugglers to smuggle in imported goods, including vehicles from Afghanistan for better prices. We suggest that the Government should conduct raids the places where the smuggled Kabuli vehicles are kept by their owners. There are not on the roads. Only a few naïve people are bringing their smuggled Kabuli vehicles on road thus they are caught by the police and Excise officials.

Pakistan: Import of infected Australian sheep

Pakistan's Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf has directed the government of Sindh to hold inquiry into the import of large number of infected sheep at Port Qasim, Karachi and identify the persons responsible for this illegal act. The prime minister has desired that findings of the inquiry may be communicated for his consideration within seven days. Sindh government officials decided on Sunday to cull more than 21,000 imported Australian sheep and the process of killing the animals and burying them started late in the night in Razzakabad area amid tight security. The government took the decision after reports from a second laboratory also confirmed that the animals were diseased. The culling began in the presence of livestock and local government officials. "We have culled about 150 sheep so far. The step has been taken after the animals were found suffering from highly contagious diseases. Infections could spread in our environment if the animals were allowed to live," Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, representing the livestock department at the site near the private farm in Razzakabad where the animals had been kept, said. The animals, he said, were being buried in a 15-foot deep ditch after being slaughtered. Referring to the latest report submitted by the Tandojam Central Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, provincial Livestock and Fisheries Secretary Syed Abid Ali Shah said it showed that the sheep had got foot-and-mouth disease, besides having bacterial infection as had earlier been indicated in a lab report by the Sindh Poultry Vaccine Centre. "There is no option left but to cull all animals in public interest because two laboratory reports have confirmed that they are diseased. Preparations are under way for the culling that will begin soon," he said, adding that the remains would be buried deep at the same place. "That means these animals are a grave risk to public health because we don't have this virus in our environment right now, nor the lab facilities required to detect it. "The spread of new viruses is a major health hazard across the world which is why developed countries have stringent rules and regulations to protect their environment," he said.

Rains, floods kill 262 in Pakistan

A total of 262 people have been reported killed and 815 injured so far this year as torrential monsoon rains and flash floods wreak havoc throughout the country, National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) said Monday. Over 70,000 houses have also been reportedly damaged, with 51,027 partially and 19,465 completely damaged, said the official statistics which are updated until Sept 16. Approximately 3,883 villages, spreading over an area of over 1,345,531 acres, have been affected by the torrential rains. DawnNews reported that most casualties were reported in Sindh province, according to the data, with 106 people killed and 361 injured, and a total of approximately 273,000 people affected by the torrential rains. At least 58 people were killed and 272 injured in Punjab due to rain related accidents, with over 857,000 people affected in total in the province. Torrential rains and flooding killed 39 people and injured about 35 others in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, with 104 houses damaged. Meanwhile, 25 people were killed in Balochistan. Kashmir region recorded 31 deaths, while 3 people were reported killed in Islamabad region. INP ADDS: Heavy rains in upper parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Lahore, Faisalabad, Sargodha, Rawalpindi and Islamabad on Monday badly affected normal life as roads and low lying areas were flooded with water. Heay shower lashed parts of KP including Peshawar, Mardan, Swat, Dir, Bajaur and Abbottabad. According to the Pakistan Meteorological Department, many districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, upper Punjab and Balochistan will receive more rain during next 12-hour. The rain which started in Rawalpindi and Islamabad around 1:00am continued for more than four hours. Nullah Leh which passes through Rawalpindi was flooded and the water level was recorded at 11.8 feet. Islamabad received 115 mm of rain while Okara received maximum of 117 mm. The rain affected smooth flow of traffic in the big cities as roads were flooded with water. According to reports, hill torrents of Koh-e-Suleman played havoc in Sothern Punjab as all the streams and nullahs were flowing over their embankment. Reports say that rural areas of Rajanpur districts were under feets of water. There was a 100 feet wide breach in Kadra canal that flood hundreds of acres of land. Met office said that Chenab and Jhelum rivers could witness high flood during the next twenty four hours. In Balochistan Jafferabad has been worst affected by rain and flood. One report said that water level at Jafferabad bypass was between 12 to 15 feet inundating vast areas and with rains in southern Punjab the water level was rising.

PM Raja to appear before SC in NRO implementation case today

The Spokesman said PM Raja Pervez Ashraf will appear before the Supreme Court in NRO implementation case on Tuesday He said coalition partners will accompany the Prime Minister to the Supreme Court as a mark of solidarity. The coalition partners reiterated their full support to the government.