Monday, November 5, 2012

Why I'm Voting for Barack Obama

Kate Walsh talks about where she comes from and why this elections (and Barack Obama) are so important to her.

Haqqani network hit with U.N. sanctions: U.S. envoy

The U.N. Security Council's Taliban sanctions committee on Monday added the Pakistan-based Haqqani network, accused of high-profile attacks in Afghanistan, to a U.N. blacklist, the United States said. The Security Council committee's move also singled out Qari Zakir, an operational commander involved in many of the network's highest-profile suicide attacks, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice said in a statement. "These sanctions oblige all U.N. member states to implement an asset freeze, travel ban and arms embargo against Zakir and the Haqqani Network," Rice said. New additions to the Taliban sanctions list are relatively rare, since such moves are usually agreed upon unanimously. Council diplomats said it was especially significant that Pakistan, a member of the 15-nation council until the end of 2013, did not stand in the way of the moved. The U.N. blacklist now contains 131 individuals, including Zakir, and three entities, one of which is the Haqqani network. The United States designated the Haqqani network as a terrorist organization in September, a move the group's commanders said proved Washington was not sincere about peace efforts in Afghanistan. U.S. officials have long accused Pakistan of supporting the network, an allegation Islamabad denies. The Haqqanis, who are allied with the Afghan Taliban, are some of the most experienced fighters in Afghanistan and have carried out several high-profile attacks on Western targets. "Today's action by the Security Council expands upon these (U.N.) sanctions and confirms the international community's resolve to end the Haqqani Network's ability to execute violent attacks in Afghanistan," Rice said. "It also reflects the Security Council's commitment to use and enforce sanctions against those who threaten peace in Afghanistan, in conjunction with a strong commitment to support Afghan-led peace and reconciliation," her statement added. Rice said that as well as organizing suicide attacks, Zakir had trained militants to use small and heavy weapons and improvised explosive devices. The U.S. State Department said separately on Monday that it added Zakir to the U.S. list of specially designated terrorists, a move aimed at freezing any property he might have under U.S. jurisdiction and prohibiting any U.S. transactions with him. "He has been involved in many of the Haqqani Network's high-profile suicide attacks and is partially responsible for making some of the final determinations on whether or not to proceed with large-scale attacks planned by local district-level commanders," the State Department said in a statement. It said attacks using personnel selected and trained by Zakir included the 2010 attacks on coalition force bases in Afghanistan, the June 2011 attack on the Intercontinental Hotel, and the September 2011 attack on the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, which killed 16 Afghans, including at least six children.

Obama at 48 percent vs. 46 percent for Romney nationally: Reuters/Ipsos poll

President Barack Obama was 2 percentage points ahead of Republican challenger Mitt Romney in the tight race for White House, according to a Reuters/Ipsos daily tracking poll released on Monday ahead of Election Day on Tuesday. Of 4,725 likely voters polled nationally, 48 percent said they supported Democrat Obama and 46 percent said they backed Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, according to the poll. The results fall within the poll's credibility interval, a tool used to account for statistical variation in Internet-based polls. In this case, the credibility interval for likely voters was plus or minus 3.4 percentage points. Obama and Romney made their final urgent pleas to voters on Monday in a closing sprint through vital battleground states, hoping to whip up strong turnout from supporters and to sway the few remaining undecided voters in the last hours of the race.

Pakistan Army Chief Issues Warning in Rare Message

Pakistan's army chief warned against efforts to undermine the military in a rare public statement Monday that analysts interpreted as a response to unprecedented pressure from the government, media and judiciary. Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani's cryptic message triggered some concern within Pakistan because of the army's history of seizing power in military coups. But experts saw the statement as less of a threat and more of a sign of the shifting power balance in Pakistani politics. "Armed forces draw their strength from the bedrock of the public support," Kayani told a group of officers at army headquarters in the city of Rawalpindi. "Therefore, any effort which wittingly or unwittingly draws a wedge between the people and the armed forces of Pakistan undermines the larger national interest." The army is still considered the strongest institution in the country, but the generals have slowly ceded power to Pakistan's civilian leaders and judges in recent years. The shift has occurred as the army has been bogged down in a bloody war against a domestic Taliban insurgency. Several recent actions by the Supreme Court have brought home the end of the army's once inviolable status. In a landmark ruling, the judges recommended last month that the government launch legal proceedings against a former army chief and head of intelligence for allegedly bankrolling politicians in the 1990 election. The court has also pressured the military for allegedly snatching scores of people off the street in southwest Baluchistan province, where the government faces a separatist insurgency, and holding them without charges. Kayani appeared to be hitting back at the judiciary in his comments Monday. "We all agree that strengthening the institutions, ensuring the rule of law and working within the well-defined bounds of the constitution is the right way forward," said Kayani. "Weakening of the institutions and trying to assume more than one's due role will set us back." The chief justice of the Supreme Court, Iftikhar Chaudhry, showed no indication of backing down in a speech he made Monday after Kayani issued his statement. He cited the Supreme Court's constitutional "supremacy over all other institutions and authorities." "Gone are the days when stability and security of the country was defined in terms of number of missiles and tanks as a manifestation of hard power available at the disposal of the state," Chaudhry told a group of civil servants. He said it means providing people with "social security and welfare nets and to protect their natural and civil rights at all costs." The media has also become more critical of the army, especially after it was unable to stop the U.S. from staging a unilateral raid to kill al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden last year. This scrutiny has made it more difficult for the generals to interfere openly in politics. The government has applied some pressure by investigating retired army generals for alleged corruption. "I think it is a turning point in the history of institutional balance in Pakistan," said Rasul Bakhsh Rais, a political science professor at Lahore University of Management Sciences. "I think the army feels a little bit isolated and somewhat powerless to manage the institutional balance the way it did for decades." Cyril Almeida, a columnist for Dawn newspaper, said he thought Kayani's comments were likely driven by pressure from within the army. "The army is facing a period of unprecedented public criticism of its handling of security affairs and the untouchable status of army officers, and that has created some unease among the rank and file and the leadership," Almeida said. "Kayani was probably trying to allay some of those concerns and reassert himself as the leader who will stand up for his institution."

President Obama: Romney doesn’t represent change

Vice President Joe Biden: "My guy's got character"

Closing Arguments for 2012 Presidential Candidates: Sprint to Finish

Virginia poll: Obama 48% – Romney 47%

A new poll released Monday indicates that President Barack Obama has a razor thin margin over Mitt Romney in Virginia, a crucial battleground state with 13 electoral votes.
Forty-eight percent of likely voters in the state back the president, while 47% support the GOP presidential nominee, according to the NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist survey. The one-point margin is well within the poll's sampling error, meaning the two candidates are statistically tied.One percent said they favor a different candidate, while three percent said they had not made up their minds. The poll was conducted entirely after Superstorm Sandy hit the U.S. East Coast and damaged parts of Northern Virginia and the commonwealth's shoreline. Among independents, Romney has a five-point edge over the incumbent president, while Obama has a modest advantage over his Republican challenger among women, 51%-45%. The gender gap, however, is half the amount from the same poll last month. Geographically, Obama is leading in the densely-populated Washington, D.C. suburbs, while Romney has the edge in other parts of Northern Virginia, the central/western part of the state, the Richmond area and eastern part of the state, according to the poll. The NBC/WSJ/Marist poll falls in line with a CBS News/New York Times/Quinnipiac survey, which was released last week and indicated Obama had a slender two-point margin over Romney in Virginia. However, two earlier polls showed Romney with the advantage over Obama. A Roanoke College poll had the GOP nominee ahead by five points, while a FOX News poll indicated Romney had a two-point edge. Both campaigns visit the Old Dominion on Monday, one day before the election. Romney makes two stops in Virginia, while Vice President Joe Biden also travels through the state. Obama narrowly carried Virginia in 2008 by six percent over Sen. John McCain, becoming the first Democrat in four decades to win the state. In the last four years, however, Republicans have taken several statewide seats, including the governorship. In the high-profile Senate race, Democrat Tim Kaine, a former governor of the state and former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, has a three-point margin over Republican George Allen, a former U.S. senator from the state and also a former governor. Kaine has the support of 49% of likely voters, compared to Allen at 46%, the survey found. For the survey, 1,165 likely voters were interviewed by telephone from November 1 through November 2, with a sampling error of plus or minus 2.6 percentage points.

Vice President Joe Biden Breaks Down the Romney-Ryan Plan for Seniors

President Obama: The Road to November 6th:

The 2012 campaign in two minutes

Republican Tax Priorities

If Congressional Republicans get their way, expiring cuts in the estate tax for America’s wealthiest families will be extended in 2013. But under their cruel plan, enhancements to tax credits for low- and moderate-income working families, which are also set to expire at the end of the year, would end. Extending the estate tax cut would benefit the estates of the wealthiest 0.3 percent of Americans who die in 2013 — about 7,000 people. Ending the tax credits would hurt some 13 million working families, including nearly 26 million children, many of whom live at or near the poverty line. Republicans in the House have already approved legislation — and similar legislation has been introduced in the Senate — that would undo a compromise tax plan approved in 2010. Back then, Republicans demanded estate tax cuts in exchange for extending the bolstered earned-income tax credits and child tax credits for working families that had been part of the 2009 stimulus. Under duress, the Obama administration agreed to temporarily raise the value of an estate that would be exempt from tax to $5 million ($10 million for married couples) from $3.5 million ($7 million for couples), the level in 2009. It also agreed to cut the top estate tax rate to 35 percent from 45 percent. In exchange for that tax cut, Republicans agreed to preserve improvements to the earned-income tax credit and child credit that help to ensure that low-income working families with children do not fall below the poverty line. Now, with another year-end showdown looming over expiring tax cuts, Republicans want to keep the generous provisions for the estate tax and end the enhancements to the working family tax credits. The winners would be the few and the wealthy: the Tax Policy Center has estimated that the estate tax breaks save wealthy heirs an average of $1.1 million per estate, compared with the 2009 estate tax law. The losers would be the many and the hard pressed: a married couple with three children and earnings at the estimated poverty line ($27,713) would lose $1,934 in tax credits in 2013, according to a study by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. The divide is especially noteworthy in the swing states. In Florida, 900 estates would get an estate-tax break, while nearly one million Florida families, with 1.7 million children, would see a tax increase. In Ohio, 140 estates would get a tax cut, while nearly 500,000 families, with nearly one million children, would face higher taxes. In Virginia, 220 estates would get a tax break, compared with 275,000 working families, with nearly 500,000 children, that would have their taxes rise. The heirs of the wealthiest people in America do not need continued tax breaks, nor can the nation afford the giveaway. Low- and moderate-income working Americans need all the help they can get. That is not the way Republicans see it, but that is the way it is.

U.S. Sandy's winds of uncertainty blow through presidential race

The devastating storm that slammed into the East Coast last week could send winds of uncertainty through Tuesday's presidential election, narrowing an already close contest and casting doubt on the legitimacy of the outcome. Though superstorm Sandy is unlikely to determine whether President Barack Obama or Republican Mitt Romney wins the White House, experts said it could expose flaws in how the United States conducts elections, leading to protracted legal wrangling and lingering bitterness in a country already fractured along partisan lines. In a worst-case scenario, the storm disruption could cause Obama to lose the popular vote and still win re-election, stirring up vitriolic memories of the contested 2000 battle that allowed Republican George W. Bush to triumph over Democrat Al Gore. Last-minute changes imposed by election officials also could further arm campaign lawyers looking to challenge the result. At minimum, low turnout would add another wild card to an election projected to be among the closest in U.S. history. Voting could be an afterthought for hundreds of thousands of people still struggling with power outages, fuel shortages and plummeting temperatures. "It's a possibility that we'll see significant drops in turnout in some of these densely populated areas," said George Mason University professor Michael MacDonald, a voter turnout expert. "The effects could be quite dramatic in terms of the popular vote," he said. ONE MORE HEADACHE Tuesday's election presents yet another headache for local officials in New York and New Jersey, which were hardest hit by the storm. Rescue workers are still recovering bodies, 1.9 million homes and businesses have no power, and tens of thousands of people are without heat as temperatures dip near freezing. Sandy, one of the most damaging storms to hit the United States, hammered the region with 80-mile-per-hour (129-kph) winds, while walls of water overran seaside communities. At least 113 people in the United States and Canada died. Election authorities now face unprecedented challenges. In New York City, 143,000 voters have been assigned new polling stations. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Sunday called the city's elections board "dysfunctional" and warned that it needs to clearly communicate changes to poll workers. In New Jersey, where 25 percent of homes and businesses have no power, officials are allowing displaced voters to cast their ballots by email. In battered Monmouth County, officials are spreading the word about new polling locations in at least 29 towns and setting aside paper ballots to use if electronic voting machines fail. "Whatever it takes, Asbury Park is voting," City Manager Terence Reidy said. Legal experts said the late changes, however well-intentioned, may give the losing candidate a basis to challenge results. "The devil is in the details and no doubt these news rules will be fertile ground for those who choose to challenge the results in the election." said Angelo Genova, a New Jersey election law expert who represents Democratic candidates in this election. The post-Sandy chaos also could expose flaws in the arcane electoral college system the United States uses to elect presidents. Candidates are not required to win the popular vote nationwide, but they must amass a majority of the 538 "electoral votes" that are awarded to each state based on population. The system was set up when the United States was founded, as a compromise between slave states and free states. Usually the electoral college winner also wins the popular vote. But in two elections - 1876 and 2000 - the results diverged, creating historic controversies. This year, Obama is expected to handily win New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, the states most impacted by the storm. But his popular vote total could fall by hundreds of thousands if large numbers of storm-hit voters in Democratic areas are unable to participate. Conceivably, Obama could win the White House while losing the popular vote. Several experts said they consider that outcome unlikely. "You'll see lower turnout, yes, but it's not going to change the outcome of the election," said Hunter College political-science professor Jamie Chandler, who predicts Obama will win by at least 1 million votes. If Obama carries the popular vote by a narrow margin, it could have implications on his ability to govern effectively, according to Ruy Teixeira, a senior fellow at the liberal Center for American Progress. "The more Obama has a solid popular margin the better his victory," he said. On Sunday, several Republicans said the storm gave Obama an advantage in the campaign's final week by shifting public attention away from the sluggish economy and other topics they hoped to emphasize. "The hurricane is what broke Romney's momentum," former Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour said on CNN. Obama campaign officials said that they are confident the storm will not interfere with the voting process. But they intend to have legal experts on standby just in case. "We're going to have lawyers who are ready to make sure people can exercise their right to vote. We're going to protect that as fiercely as we can," Obama senior adviser David Plouffe said on Friday.

Malala Yousufzai status update- 5 November 2012

Malala spent a comfortable weekend at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham. She has now been in the hospital for three weeks, under the care of a specialist team from both the Queen Elizabeth and Birmingham Children’s hospitals.

Malala will soon undergo reconstructive surgery

Malala Yousafzai, 15-year-old Pakistani girl who was shot a month ago, will soon undergo reconstructive surgery in the UK, Pakistan’s Ambassador to the UAE has told Khaleej Times. Jamil Ahmad Khan said the surgery could be done “within weeks”. “Doctors just want to make sure her brain tissue has healed enough and is ready to accept a patch.” He also said that she was walking, talking and even reading at Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital, where she was flown by air ambulance provided by General Shaikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, after being shot at close range by Pakistani Taliban in the northern city of Mingora. Malala, who the Taliban said was punished for studying, barely survived the attack with the bullet travelling through her head, neck and then lodging in her shoulder. Ambassador Khan said he had spoken at length to Malala’s father Ziauddin Yousafzai and the Pakistan’s ambassador to the United Kingdom. “With good wishes from all of the nation and world, Malala will bounce back with the same resolve.” Khan said Malala’s father Zia had resolved to take his daughter back to school.

Khyber tops violence in Fata

Khyber Agency has recorded the highest number of subversive acts during the current year as compared to other parts of Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata). The data complied by offices of political administration in Fata shows that total 96 bomb blasts, suicide and rocket attacks have occurred in Khyber Agency between January and October this year. These incidences have left at least 100 civilians and 20 security personnel dead besides injuring 60 others, the record shows. Army and paramilitary forces have been conducting operations in Khyber Agency since 2009, but they have yet to evict militants from the area, situated at a stone’s throw from Peshawar. The volatile agency has also topped the list of kidnapping for ransom incidents among all tribal units as it recorded 40 cases in which people were picked up and taken there before making demands for money from the relatives of the kidnapped persons. Main militant groups like Lashkar-i-Islam, Tawheedul Islam, Ansaarul Islam, Haji Namdar group and Abdullah Ezzam Brigade have been operating in the area, according to sources. The infighting among these militant outfits and subsequent military operations caused mass exoduses from the militancy-stricken area. According to Fata Disaster Management Authority’s report, around 71,000 displaced families, who left their native homes in the wake of lawlessness, had been registered with it. Officials blamed deaths and civilian casualties in Khyber Agency on artillery shelling and rocket attacks. The trouble started in Khyber Agency in 2003 when supporters of two rival sectarian groups led by Mufti Shakir and Pir Saifur Rehman respectively clashed in Bara. Mufti and Pir were expelled from the area in 2004. However, the sectarian clashes resulted in emergence of Mangal Bagh group. Interestingly, official reports portray situation in South Waziristan Agency, the birthplace of Taliban in Fata, as relatively quite and calm. No loss of life of civilians and security forces has been reported from South Waziristan where total 20 attacks, including improvised explosive devices and roadside blasts, took place though media had reported that 30 security personnel and five civilians were killed in these acts of violence. Also, decline has been witnessed in suicide attacks in Fata in the current year. Sources said that political authorities had confirmed four suicide attacks in tribal areas one each in Bajaur, Khyber and Kurram agencies and Frontier Region of Kohat. Militants had reportedly carried out nine suicide attacks in Fata in 2011. Officials said that situation in Bajaur Agency was pretty normal though acts of violence had occurred in the area. According to reports, 10 blasts and 15 missile attacks had taken place in Bajaur that claimed lives of 24 civilians and 10 soldiers. Around 100 civilians and security personnel have suffered injuries in these attacks. “Confidence of local people in government has been restored as people contact government offices for resolution of their disputes contrary to the past when they would approach the Taliban-run courts for the same,” said an official. He termed it a major breakthrough, saying it was an indication that state’s writ was established. Situation in previously troubled Mohmand Agency also remained under control during the past 10 months after subsequent military offensives against militants. Officials said that security forces flushed out militants from villages and towns of Mohmand and consolidated government’s writ there. An official said that 39 bomb and rocket attacks had taken place in Mohmand Agency. Situation in violence-stricken Kurram Agency is still murky, particularly in the lower and central subdivisions of the area where 50 civilians died and 90 received wounds in suicide attacks and other subversive activities. North Waziristan Agency, the nest of various militant outfits, also remained tense because of night attacks on security installations, military convoys and roadside blasts. Around 60 attacks had been taken place in the area that killed 20 civilians and soldiers besides injuring 50 others.

Zardari urges neighbours to unite against terrorism

Daily Times
President Asif Ali Zardari on Sunday urged regional countries to join hands to fight the menace of extremism and terrorism, saying no country had suffered from it as much as Pakistan. “We have lost more than 40,000 innocent lives in addition to Rs 80 billion in economic terms,” he said, while addressing the inaugural ceremony of three-day sixth conference of the Association of SAARC Speakers and Parliamentarians at the Presidency. The president said the region should adopt a collective approach to face the common challenges and explore the opportunities for benefit of the people. He urged parliamentarians from SAARC countries to play their proactive role in forging better bilateral relations and addressing inter-state issues to ensure peace, progress and prosperity in the region. He said the SAARC parliaments should plan and lead efforts for solving complex issues by protecting political liberties, human freedoms and the rule of law to promote regional peace and security. He said Pakistan was committed to the SAARC charter and believed durable peace in the region was in the interest of all. President Zardari said the government of Pakistan had taken bold decisions to empower parliament. A democratically elected government was nearing completion of its term and soon Pakistan would achieve a peaceful democratic transition. “We are well on our way to realising democracy’s dividends,” he added. The president said some people might feel parliament was still under assault from some quarters, but these were teething problems of a genuine democratic transition. “These are the dying kicks of an old order,” he added. He also said there was a need to address the issue of illegal drug trafficking, which was serving as a financial source for militancy. Emphasising greater people-to-people contacts between the regional countries, the president said dialogue among the SAARC parliamentarians would have a long-lasting and positive impact on the situation in the region and help achieve the ideals of peace and stability. Earlier, National Assembly speaker and chairwoman of 6th Conference of the Association of SAARC Speakers and Parliamentarians, Dr Fehmida Mirza, in her welcome address, said parliaments, which were voices of the people, were most important forum to exchange views and discuss the regional issues. Indian Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar, addressing on the occasion, said being representatives of the people, parliamentarians should play their proactive role to meet expectations of the people. She said increased interaction among SAARC member countries would help learn from each others’ experiences and find solutions of daunting challenges. Meanwhile, President Zardari met Meira Kumar separately at the Presidency after the inauguration of the SAARC conference. He said Pakistan would continue to play a proactive role to make SAARC a vibrant regional organisation. He said changing political and economic landscape had enhanced the role of SAARC parliaments, which were now well placed to plan and lead efforts for solving complex issues besetting the region. Discussing Pak-India bilateral relations, he said Pakistan was committed to a constructive, sustained and result-oriented process of engagement with India and reiterated his call for the two countries to make determined efforts for friendly, cooperative and good neighbourly relations.

Tackling Karachi situation

No-one can say it for sure when Karachi, the economical capital of Pakistan where about 80 per cent of the country’s economy is rooted, started boiling to the current alarming proportion. Turf wars and getting hold of major share of the extortion, the bone of contention between and among political parties may have been one reason of the largest city of the country being pushed into a ferocious hostility. Then the people remember the dictatorial regime of Gen Zia when violence took roots as a sectarian strife. It also owes largely to the land mafia which had the patronage of political parties. Right now there is hardly any crime that is not committed in Karachi. Extortion, kidnapping for ransom, dacoities, thefts, sectarian and ethnic killings, land grabbing, bomb blasts and what not; all crimes are rampant in Karachi today. Interior Minister Rahman Malik told the National Assembly in September this year that a total of 1,363 people have lost their lives at the hands of target killers during the past five years. Of them104 people were killed in 2008, 160 in 2009, 373 in 2010, 478 in 2011 and 248 so far in 2012. It is also believed that about 10 people on an average are daily losing their life in the bloodshed in Karachi where business is in ruins and industrial and commercial activities have so slowed down as to take a heavy toll of the national economy. In all, the country is losing about Rs2 billion a day, if not more, in the turmoil in Karachi to further weaken the economy. This is backdrop in which the Supreme Court rightly took up the case of Karachi observing on Saturday that the people of Karachi have, for years, been living under an environment of fear because of poor law and order situation that continued to deteriorate and undermine the security of the people; normalcy might never return to Sindh, particularly Karachi if remedial steps were not taken as top priority. Hearing the case on a suo moto notice by a five-judge bench at Karachi registry since Nov 1, the SC also ruled that a number of instances clearly reflect “mala fide conduct” of the government of Sindh in dealing with the poor law and order situation particularly in Karachi. The country’s apex court on Nov 1, remarked in the same case that Sindh administration was running a parallel judiciary by setting at liberty persons involved in heinous crimes. As many as 3,500 terrorists were freely roaming in the largest city of Pakistan taking the peace of the city their hostage. The court took serious exception to a decision by the provincial government nine years ago to release on parole 35 prisoners who were under trial on charges of committing “heinous offences”. The court ordered the provincial government to issue non-bailable warrants for arrest of the persons who have since absconded. The bench in its order directed the police and other law-enforcement agencies to look into complaints regarding “influx of Taliban into the city of Karachi” and “take all possible measures to meet any challenge which is confronting the citizens of Karachi due to the presence of illegal immigration of foreigners and Taliban, are armed with sophisticated weapons”. Later the police submitted a report, which was made part of the record. The bench observed that the police report on targeted killings showed that the situation had further deteriorated over the past 18 months or so. The SC remarked that the report revealed that killing of innocent people for one reason or the other was a rapidly increasing phenomenon which needs to be tackled with an iron hand. The SC bench noted that no “high-up” was serious about building up the police institution. “The police department has a lot of shortcomings, but no one amongst the senior officers seems to have shown concern.” The situation in Karachi is primarily political question as violence in the port city took its birth from the womb of political parties superseding each other to gain the city’s control. That is why it still needs political steps for the restoration of normalcy in the commercial capital of the country. A strong political will is the most vital prerequisite for a peaceful Karachi. All the stakeholders, including political parties, must, therefore, initiate serious and sincere dialogue rising above their narrow vested interests to save Karachi from a full blown catastrophe because saving Karachi is like saving Pakistan.

Aseefa Bhutto calls Malala to inquire her health

Radio Pakistan
Aseefa Bhutto Zardari‚ daughter of President Asif Ali Zardari‚ has inquired the health of Malala Yousufzai in a telephonic conversation with her. Malala thanked Aseefa Bhutto for showing concern about her welfare. She requested Aseefa Bhutto to convey to President Asif Ali Zardari her profound gratitude for his concern about her health and treatment. When asked how Malala sounded Aseefa said‚ she was very sweet and very appreciative of all the help President Zardari provided to save her life and the specialised treatment for her earliest recovery. Aseefa conveyed to Malala that the entire Pakistani nation is praying for her recovery. It may be noted that Malala holds Mohtarma Shaheed Benazir Bhutto as her role model.