http://www.washingtontimes.comIt’s traditional for Americans to threaten to move to France or Canada when their candidate loses, but this year some disappointed voters are implementing a different plan. In the wake of the Nov. 6 election, petitions seeking to secede from the union have been filed on behalf of 23 states on the White House website, https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petitions. Most of the petitions contain the same wording and ask to withdraw “peacefully” from the United States in order to form independent governments. Critics describe the effort as a bit of an overreaction. “Anyone who wants their state to secede from the union is someone whose brain has already seceded from their body,” said John Andrews, director of the conservative Centennial Institute at Colorado Christian University. Still, the White House may have to take the requests seriously. According to the website, any petition receiving 25,000 online “signatures” on the “We the People” page within 30 days of posting will receive a review by the appropriate executive department and a response from a White House staffer. As of Monday, the Texas petition had already exceeded the 25,000-signature threshold, and the Louisiana petition was fast approaching the cutoff with more than 18,000 signatures. Most of the petitions were posted online Nov. 10, which means they have until Dec. 10 to qualify for a response. It’s impossible to tell from the website who is behind the drive, given that those signing the petition only use their first names, last-name initials, and city and state of residence. The website does show that most petitions include the John Hancocks of signers from other states. Steve Eichler, CEO of TeaParty.org, said his organization isn’t involved with the petition drive, but added that he wouldn’t be surprised if tea party advocates were at the root of it. “We have not put out anything seceding from the United States, but the feedback we’re getting shows that people believe that their elected state leaders are more in tune with their needs than those of the federal government,” said Mr. Eichler. He added that support for secession has cropped up in comments on the organization’s blogs. “People are feeling disenfranchised, they’re feeling a loss of voice, and they just don’t know what else to do,” he said. Many of the petitions make their argument by quoting extensively from the Declaration of Independence, although some also add that the federal government has grown too large. “The U.S. continues to suffer economic difficulties stemming from the federal government’s neglect to reform domestic and foreign spending,” says the Texas petition, which had more than 34,000 signatures as of Monday evening. The Oregon petition argues that the federal government is guilty of an “abuse of power” by forcing “unconstitutional laws over [its] own citizens.” Seth Masket, political science professor at the University of Denver, said the petitions may be a good way to blow off steam, but that they carry no legal weight. “It’s hard to see this as anything other than sour grapes,” said Mr. Masket in an email. “These petitions have no legal power and no president would ever agree to them. It’s a way to register dissent with the way the majority of the country voted last week, but it’s little beyond that.” Then again, said Mr. Eichler, the petitions could be the start of something big, such as the first call for a constitutional convention.“I’m glad people can vent their frustrations, but what if it’s more than that?” he said. “What can we do to stop this encroachment into states’ rights? What are the tools? Well, there aren’t too many of them, but one of them is a constitutional convention.” Petitions have been filed on behalf of the following states: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas.
Monday, November 12, 2012
The Express TribuneShia mourners clashed with participants of the Labaik Ya Rasool Allah rally on Shahrah-e-Pakistan near Super Highway in Karachi on Monday. The rally was entering Karachi from Hyderabad through the highway and reached Ancholi where Shia mourners were carrying the coffin of Mukhtar Ahmed – killed in targeted killing on Sunday – to a graveyard. The groups exchanged fire with each other, leaving three people injured. An angry mob destroyed a camp at Water Pump chowrangi, near Ancholi, set up to welcome the rally participants. Two funeral buses were also set on fire after the incident. Police and Rangers arrived at the spot after the incident to take control. Continual violence in the city has claimed five more lives on Monday, while police have managed to arrest eight suspects and a heavy amount of arms and ammunition. A doctor working at the Lyari hospital, identified as Dr Nisar, was shot dead in Lee Market. Earlier during the day, a firing incident in the Memon Goth area of Malir left two people injured, who later succumbed to their injuries. Unidentified men opened fire on and killed 40-year-old Maulana Muhammad Haroon near Taqwa Mosque in the Sultanabad area of Manghopir. Haroon was the imam of the mosque. Meanwhile, a young man’s body was recovered from the Iqbal Market vicinity of Orangi Town. The hands and feet had been tied and police said the deceased was tortured before being killed. The body could not be identified. In Jamshed Town, police conducted a targeted operation and arrested eight suspects, while a heavy amount of ammunition was recovered from the Patel Para and Baloch Para areas of the city. Violence in the city has taken 10 lives within the last 24 hours and around 100 in the last week. Earlier, Inspector General (IG) Sindh Fayyaz Leghari had reportedly issued show cause notices to Deputy Inspector General(s) of three zones of Karachi due to their failure to maintain peace in their areas.
http://pakobserver.netFederal Minister for Political Affairs Senator Moula Bux Chandio has said that the decision of the Supreme Court on Asghar Khan’s petition has exposed the politicians including Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif and now the PML (N) Chief should apologise the nation for his undemocratic act. Speaking as chief guest at six days long training programme of SAFMA and later talking to media persons here at the Press Club on Saturday, he said that the decision of the Supreme Court has proved that formation of the IJI in 1990 was aimed at depriving Pakistan People’s Party of serving the masses who always gave heavy mandate to it. The PML (N) leaders were not realizing the fact at first, however after media pressure, Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif has accepted the decision, but whenever the present PPP government start action in respect of the decision of the Supreme Court, baseless propaganda will be started against the government, the minister said and added that the Supreme Court has authorized the FIA to carry out investigation against those who receiving money in 1990. The decision of the Supreme Court has proved the claim of Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto what she said that the elections results were stolen. Senator Moula Bux Chandio alleged that NRO was promulgated because of Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif who signed an agreement and escaped from the country. The scenario of the country could be different if Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif had faced the situation by staying in the country, the minister. Federal Minister for Political Affairs Maula Bux Chandio said on Saturday that Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) always protected women rights during its tenure and the same would continue in future. Talking to APP, he said that it is simply unimaginable for any country to grow without vibrant and equal participation of women in its economic, social and political life. To a question, he said without attending to 49 percent of Pakistan’s potential, the dream of self-sufficiency will remain only a dream. He said in line with the vision of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto, the present PPP government has made strides in the realm of women’s social, political and economic empowerment. He said in order to provide the working women with an enabling environment, a separate law against harassment at workplace has been passed, 10 percent quota has also been fixed for women in all federal jobs. Chandio reviews Muharram security plan: Federal Minister for Political Affairs Senator Moula Bux Chandio has directed the officers of divisional and district administration of Hyderabad to ensure comprehensive contingency plan to ensure law and order and to pre-empt any untoward incident during Muharram-ul-Harram. Presiding over a meeting with the officials of the divisional and district administration here on Saturday, he maintained that protection of the life of law abiding people is the top priority of the government and no negligence in this regard will be tolerated. He emphasized the need for preparation of effective security plan. The security should be beefed up during Muharram so that the people could carry out their religious activities without any fear, he added. The minister also underlined the need of establishing first aid camps along the route of mourning procession so that the mourners could get first aid without delay and at the nearest.
By Charlotte PritchardA recent study says that one in eight Australians are living in poverty. This seems quite high for a developed country, so what's behind it?
Daily TimesThe fears that the approach of Muharram may trigger sectarian killings have come true with a vengeance in Karachi, and peripherally in Quetta so far. In Karachi on Saturday, 20 people were killed, including six students of a Deobandi madrassa. These killings came after the authorities had imposed a ban on pillion riding, which does not seem to have deterred all kinds of gunmen on motorcycles from going about their deadly business. As though Saturday’s Karachi toll were not enough, Sunday saw a clash between two groups in Sohrab Goth, which soon reduced the area to a battlefield, with police and rangers attempting to restore calm at the time of writing these lines. While the killings in Karachi can be traced to a range of reasons and perpetrators, including tit-for-tat sectarian killings, targeted political assassinations and plain criminal gangs fighting each other, the Hazara community in Quetta continues to be targeted with impunity almost every other day. In neither city can the efforts of the law enforcing agencies be seen to be having much effect. The troubles in Karachi are of course of longer standing, but Quetta has now joined the killing fields of Karachi as a slaughterhouse frequented by sectarian killers. The Saturday events ironically took place when the prime minister and key members of the federal cabinet were in the Sindh capital, an occasion where the expectation of enhanced security and control was viciously shredded by the fanatics. Terrorism, sectarian conflict, crime and violence have become a way of life in the country, particularly in the big cities. The writ of the state is thereby exposed in all its weakness and ineffectuality. Arguably, these are the fruits of past (and continuing) flirtation with jihadi extremism for foreign policy goals, a venture that has not only affected Pakistan by the blowback from terrorist groups that have fallen out with the state and are challenging it to come to power and impose their narrow brand of religion, but also given space and deadly effectiveness to sectarian groups aligned with the Wahabi/Salafi school of thought. Crime, and violent crime in particular, is owed to the precarious state of the economy, with unemployment and inflation soaring and weapons being easily and relatively cheaply available. If the pattern of sectarian murders in Karachi are any guide, the motorcycle riding killers have graduated from the spread of the Kalashnikov culture in our past because of our interference in Afghanistan to now the automatic pistol, or TT culture. This is the weapon of choice for these latter day assassins because it is easily concealable and deadly at close range. In contrast, the police and law enforcing agencies are fighting violent groups and crime with one hand tied behind their backs because the killers and criminals enjoy the political protection and patronage of the parties in power in the province. Even if an accused is presented before the courts, the inadequacies of our prosecution regime, legal lacunae that fail to address the crisis emanating from terrorists and fanatics running loose, witnesses and judges’ intimidation, all combine to make the chances of conviction slim. The courts blame the police’s inefficient prosecution, the police blame the politicians, the latter blame each other, and so on, the bloody merry-go-round continues. Hopes that better sense would eventually prevail and the coalition partners in the Sindh government would come together in their own interests to tackle these problems and arrive at a modus vivendi to return the city of lights to its former glory have all been belied. If the Supreme Court (controversially, it must be admitted) has declared that the provincial government in Balochistan has lost its right to rule since it is unable to protect the lives of citizens, some may be tempted to draw a parallel with the situation in Karachi in particular and Sindh in general, which is now witnessing the conflict spilling over to the interior and cities within it such as Hyderabad. It is not enough for the government/s to keep reminding us that elections are around the corner. In and of themselves, the elections will not change the situation a jot. Only the authorities, armed with the requisite political will, can make a difference. Having said that, optimism withers.
Radio PakistanForeign Secretary Jalil Abbas Jilani has conveyed deep concern of Pakistan to the Afghan Ambassador today over the unprovoked border shelling by the Afghan forces last evening killing four civilians. Condemning the attacks‚ the Foreign Secretary said such attacks would only vitiate the conducive environment that Pakistan is trying to create for promotion of peace and stability in the region. He also strongly urged the Afghan government to take appropriate measures to prevent recurrence of cross the border attacks in future. Military sources said the Afghan National Army troops carried out firing from post KK top and fired three 122 mm mortar rounds yesterday which hit a civilian vehicle. As a result four persons including two children were killed.