Friday, December 7, 2012
http://www.ansamed.infoA majority of Turks do not want Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan to erode the secularist legacy of nation-founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk as enshrined in the nation's constitution, a Konda Research Institute survey showed. According to the survey commissioned by the Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation (TESEV), 82% of respondents want Ataturk's principles preserved in the constitution, and 50.6% said secularism should remain in the constitution with no alterations. Another 47% said they want secularism maintained, with further specifications on the relations between religion and state, and just 8.7% said they want it purged from the constitution entirely. However, 76.3% agreed that public employees should be allowed to wear Islamic veils if they so choose. A week ago, Erdogan's Justice and Development Party (AKP) proposed that lawmakers should no longer be required to swear loyalty to Ataturk's principles and the secular republic when taking their oath of office, fueling opposition fears that Erdogan has an ''occult agenda'' of Islamization.
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.comFilmmaker Amjad Khan, who was fighting a fatwa not so long ago for his depiction of the Muslim divorce process in his film Le Gaya Saddam, has announced another controversial movie. His next is on Malala Yousafzai, the girl who was shot by the Taliban for her movement against the social taboos set by the Taliban on women. Malala, who is undergoing treatment in a British hospital, has been Amjad's research topic ever since the incident happened. "I don't see her as a woman, or a girl, I see her as a revolution. She is all of 15, and yet, was a beacon of hope for millions of women the world over. If every society had a Malala, imagine what evolution is possible in terms of fighting useless societal norms," says Amjad. He adds, "In a country where education is still just a word for many, I think Malala's fight for the right to live life on her terms makes for explosive material for a film." "The entire cast has been finalised. Everyone is well known in Bollywood, except the girl who plays Malala. There are restrictions, from the actors' side, at their names being made public right now, but perhaps a couple of weeks later, I will disclose their names. Ladki ka naam toh abhi bilkul leak nahi hone denge - it's for her security. Her name will be made public just a week prior to the release of the film. I will name the character Malala, if permissions fall in place" adds Amjad.
http://thepeninsulaqatar.comPakistani President Asif Ali Zardari
Pakistani politicians are beyond common people’s imaginations; their words never match with their acts. Most of the time they shift blame on opponents and rest of the time blame; of Pakistani problems; is shifted on International powers. Right wing parties can’t accept the fact that currently Pakistan is burning in the fire of hatred and someextremist groups are taking advantage out of it. Recently, Nawaz Sharif was interviewed by a private channel and his statements especially for Karachi were conflicting with his past actions he took against Karachi. Nawaz Sharif bypassed 1992 Karachi operation (known as operation cleanup or code name Blue fox) from his interview, which he launched against Karachi. MQM claims to have lost 15000 workers in that operation which started to target 72 criminals (Big fish) in Sindh. Although, Nawaz Sharif when regained power in 1997 and visited MQM headquarter in Karachi, apologized for 1992 operation. He promised to compensate the families of those people who were killed in that operation. The act of apologizing and compensating was the acceptance of the wrongdoings in 1992. He said that Karachi’s situation was much better in his tenure and there was no killing and extortion in the city, then why did he need to launch the operation on the city? He said that our relations with our allies were jeopardized due to Hakim Saeed murder but the fact is different than his words. On August 13th 1997 he passed“Anti-Terrorism Act” which was opposed by all parties including their ally MQM. ATA was considering a free hand or license to law enforcement agencies to kill the citizens. ATA was openly opposed by the then judiciary and Chief Justice Sajjad Ali shah was not convinced on the need of establishing the special courts under ATA. The attack on Supreme Court was carried First time in the history of Pakistan by a political party workers. Human Rights of US State Department issued annual report of 1997; released on January 1998; criticized on the political and human rights in Pakistan. The report said that government has breached citizen privacy rights and political killings are common in Karachi. Judiciary is under political influence and there is limited freedom for assembly, movement and minorities specially Ahmadis. The report detailed about the extra judicial killings and said that criminal suspects found dead in Police custody and staged as police encounter. Karachi remained on top in report for politically motivated extra judicial killings. Corruption in Police and their involvement in extra judicial killings were also highlighted. 2011 report showed Punjab Police topped in extra judicial killings. The human Right report also criticized on the Accountability Commission, that it is had been dominated by an “Accountability Cell” which is heading by a person close to then PM. Under the commission Asif Ali Zardari, then husband of Benazir Bhutto was also charged in corruption cases. Not to forget about “the Registration of Printing Press and Publication Ordinance, 1997″. The act was made to curb the freedom of press. The ordinance authorized the magistrate and low-level Police officers to intervene in the press and bar the newspapers without any judicial notice or process. In October 1998 Sind Government was dismissed by a suddenly held press conference by then PM Nawaz Sharif. He accused MQM in the assassination of Hakeem Saeed and even named some members including sitting MPA. The question which should have been arose that how can a prime minister accuse a group of people in a murder case without any investigation and judicial process? Governor rule was imposed in Sindh after two days of PM’s indictment, but Assembly was neither dissolved nor suspended. MQM distant it from government and it was a high chance that PPP could make government in Sind but the Sind government was dismissed and governor rule was imposed. Today’s words of Mian Nawaz Sharif don’t match with his past actions. But this is not USA where Republican vice president candidate Paul Ryan lost his own state because of his lies during election 2012 campaign.http://blogs.thenews.com.pk
http://worldtribunepakistan.comAmbassador Marc Grossman has said that the US wants to help Pakistan solve its own challenges. While addressing a farewell reception hosted by Pakistan s Ambassador Sherry Rehman, in his honour, at her residence Thursday night, he said “I am sure that the Pakistanis will solve their own challenges in their own way. And the United States of America is proud to support that effort”. He said that the US was willing to establish a broad-based relationship with Pakistani people. “Our attempt to have a relationship with Pakistan is based on people-to-people contact, on business, on Americans and Pakistanis getting together is an extremely important one”, he assured. “When I think about Pakistan and Pakistanis, I think about resilience, I think about a tough people who are very resilient and know very much what they want and want to live in a society of tolerance, and pluralism and democracy, and a society where they can make choices about their own lives”, he remarked. Ambassador Grossman recalled his first posting as a young diplomat in Islamabad from 1977 to 1979 with fondness ad said that the friendships he made then had lasted a lifetime. “When I consider those years in Pakistan, the walks in Margalla hills, the time in Swat, Kaghan, Karachi, Peshawar and Landi Kotal, these were very important parts of my upbringing as a diplomat”, he said while also displaying his limited mastery of Urdu language. He said that his last assignment as the US special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan had an element of destiny to it. “When Secretary Clinton called me at home two years ago and asked if I would take that responsibility, it kind of completes a circle. There is a certain kismet to this – having started in Pakistan – to come back to Pakistan and Afghanistan”, he maintained. He also paid tributes to Ambassador Sherry Rehman and said that they had “a great relationship to try to reset Pakistan and America ties”. He also appreciated the role played by Ambassador Rehman in the Pakistani society for promoting tolerance, pluralism, and for promoting the rights of women. Thanking her for hosting the reception, he said that “one of the things rightly said about Pakistan is that Pakistanis are known for their legendary hospitality”. He also took the opportunity to thank the people in the US and in Islamabad with whom he worked very closely, including the Pakistani Diaspora in the US. Earlier, in her remarks, Ambassador Sherry Rehman said that Ambassador Grossman has had to deal with an unprecedented crisis in the Pak-US relations. “This bilateral relationship was in a mode of recurring crisis when I came a year ago and weighed down with baggage from 2011. He was quick to agree that the task ahead was challenging but he also agreed that we could navigate it to a zone of steady progress and stability, instead of the cycles of highs and lows. If there is an air of hope and positivity about this critical relationship, a good part of the credit goes to Ambassador Grossman”, she appreciated. Commenting on the Pak-US relationship, she said that both countries were “engaging and hoping that they engage as democracies, sharing not only tangibles of geopolitics that we always do, but the economic and commercial interactions that are so critical to shared values”. “When we say that the future success of core foreign policy agendas are pivoted as much, or more, on investing in societies and people as they are on engaging with states”, she added. “Our task together must be to look to enhancing and broadening our bilateral relationship by creating opportunities for trade and business cooperation, building stronger ties through creative public communication, student exchanges, people-to-people exchanges and by fostering a deeper understanding of the multiple transitions, at least what our society is going through right now”, she said while outlining areas of shared interest. Ambassador Grossman, she said, had shared this vision of relationship as broad-based as well as building on an economic partnership and worked very hard to make it happen. “The five working groups in fact will complete their joint deliberations by the middle of this month. The constant strategic interface on grasping opportunities for a strong and secure Afghanistan and Pakistan, all took a lot of travelling between offices, countries and even continents”, she pointed out. Later, she also presented a Pakistan Embassy memento to Ambassador Grossman as a recognition of his services. Director National Intelligence, James Clapper, Afghan Ambassador, Eklil Hakimi, State Dept officials and other dignitaries also attended. Marc Grossman will spend December 14, 2012 as his last day in office. Deputy special representative, David Pearce, will succeed him.
http://dailynewsegypt.comOfficial Spokesman of the National Salvation Front and Nobel Laureate Mohamed ElBaradei addressed Egyptians on TV Friday night.
Protesters in the Egyptian capital and other cities rally against plans to go ahead with constitutional referendum.Thousands of Egyptians have marched towards the presidential palace in Cairo for another day of demonstrations against the government, while thousands of his backers gathered for a funeral of two men killed in recent clashes. As many as 10,000 protesters who were penned behind a barrier at the palace broke through barricades on Friday evening, climbing onto army tanks and waving flags as they chanted slogans against President Mohamed Morsi. Republican Guard soldiers did not engage with the protesters who broke through the barrier, and protesters, in turn, did not attack them. Morsi was not at the palace. Morsi's supporters, meanwhile, were teargassed when they attempted to storm the studios of private television news channels they deemed to be biased against the president. The protests on Friday came as the country's main opposition groups rejected Morsi's call for a national political dialogue to resolve the political crisis. Rival rallies were also held in Alexandria and Luxor, and some violence was reported from a demonstration outside a Muslim Brotherhood office in the Nile Delta city of Kom Hamada. Protests also took place in Mahallah and Assiut. In an overnight address to the nation, Morsi pledged to forge on with a controversial constitutional referendum process. The president condemned the street violence that has gripped the capital following protests against an earlier decree that put presidential orders beyond judicial review. He called the recent violence "regrettable", and blamed it on "infiltrators" funded by unnamed third parties. Rejecting Morsi's call for dialogue, Ahmed Said, one of the leading members of the opposition coalition, who also heads the liberal Free Egyptians Party, said: "The National Salvation Front [NSF] is not taking part in the dialogue, that is the official stance." Khaled Daood, a spokesperson for the NSF, told Al Jazeera the coalition was demanding that Morsi delay the vote on the draft constitution and rescind his presidential decree granting himself greater powers before any dialogue. Mohamed ElBaradei, a prominent opposition leader whose party is a member of the NSF, also urged political forces to shun the dialogue process. The liberal Wafd party added its voice to that call. Early voting postponed Opposition groups have said they will step up their campaign against the decree and the referendum set for December 15. Early voting in the referendum, however, was postponed, and will now open on Dec 12, rather than Dec 8 as originally planned. Morsi's government said on Friday that the date of the referendum could not be changed by the president, and was decided by the country's High Electoral Commission. The NSF pledged that any anti-Morsi protests would be peaceful. Soldiers and riot police have been deployed outside the palace to prevent protesters from approaching the building. Dozens of tanks and armoured vehicles, as well as barricades of barbed wire, form a ring around the compound. At the funeral held by Morsi's supporters after midday prayers at the al-Azhar mosque, Egypt's most respected Islamic institution, a cleric declared anti-Morsi protesters to be "traitors". Mourners yelled that opposition leaders were "murderers". The president's remarks overnight were his first comments to the public after bloody clashes outside his palace on Wednesday. Thousands of backers of the Muslim Brotherhood, the organisation Morsi resigned from on becoming president, fought with his opponents, resulting in at least six deaths. At least 700 people were also wounded. The speech brought shouts of "the people want to topple the regime!" from the crowd of 30,000 Morsi opponents gathered outside the palace - the same chant heard in the protests that brought down former president Hosni Mubarak in 2011. In response to the speech, ElBaradei held his own televised press conference, saying that Morsi's government showed reluctance in acting to stop Wednesday night's bloodshed outside the palace. He said this failure has eroded the government's legitimacy and made it difficult for his opposition front to negotiate with the president. At least four of Morsi's advisers have resigned over the crisis, and the Cairo stock market has fallen significantly. On Friday, the prosecution released 138 out of 150 people detained during the clashes between pro and anti-Morsi supporters on Wednesday.
By The Associated Press
The Taliban are regaining land and power lost after they were toppled by U.S.-backed forces in 2001. While there have been more than 2,000 American military casualties during this time, civilians have borne the brunt of the violence. In the first six months of 2012 alone, more than 3,000 civilians were killed or injured, according the United Nations. This number was down 15 percent from a year earlier. Anti-government and coalition insurgents were responsible for 80 percent of the civilian casualties, the U.N. says.More than 300,000 Afghan National Army soldiers and Afghan National Police members have been trained to replace foreign soldiers. Afghan security forces face big challenges, such as attrition, illiteracy and insurgent infiltration. Poverty and corruption Most Afghans are not just living in fear of an insurgent attack or NATO airstrike. They fear hunger and worry that they and their families won’t survive another winter. Afghans are among the poorest people on earth. According to the World Bank, per capita GDP was around $576 in 2011, up from $158 in 2002. More than half of children under the age of five are malnourished, according to the World Food Program. Afghanistan remains largely dependent on foreign aid – the World Bank says that 90 percent of the country’s national budget is still financed by governments and other foreign organizations.
timesofindiaPrime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday said India would like to see a "strong, stable and prosperous" Pakistan and that he was happy to see democracy flourish over there as he received a parliamentary delegation from that country. Singh also told the delegation led by chairman of Pakistan's Senate Syed Nayyer Hussain Bokhari that closer relations between parliaments in the two countries was necessary for strengthening bilateral relations. "Welcoming the resumption of dialogue process, Prime Minister said India would like to see a strong, stable and prosperous Pakistan and was happy to see democracy flourish over there," a statement from Pakistan high commission here said. Bokhari felt parliamentary diplomacy would be "more beneficial" in improving ties between the two nation as members of parliament represent the aspirations of the people. "We had a very good meeting. We discussed bilateral issues. It is a positive thing that the two countries are talking so that relations could improve," Bokhari told PTI after a 45-minute meeting with the Prime Minister. Besides the Prime Minister, the delegation, which is here at the invitation of Rajya Sabha chairman Hamid Ansari, also met external affairs minister Salman Khurshid, Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar, leader of the opposition Arun Jaitley and president of Indian Council for Cultural Relations Karan Singh. "We discussed the areas in which there are impediments which should be resolved," he said. The delegation also met President Pranab Mukherjee who expressed satisfaction over the enhanced parliamentary exchanges as well as forward movement in areas such as trade, culture and people-to-people contacts. "The President stressed on the need for the two countries to build on convergences and narrowing divergences," the statement said.
The Baloch Hal
By: MALIK SIRAJ AKBARIn his most scolding language ever used to describe the abysmal performance of the Balochistan government, the Supreme Court Chief Justice, Iftekhar Mohammad Chaudhary, has billed Nawab Aslam Raisani’s administration as absolutely ‘deet‘ [utterly incompetent]. The top judge looked upset because no amount of criticism and court orders have helped to persuade the Balochistan government to improve its performance. In an earlier verdict in October, the Supreme Court, while hearing a case of the Balochistan Bar Association about the state of law and order in the province, said that the provincial government had lost its ability to rule the province. The judgement initially led to naive speculations that the ruling Pakistan People’s Party would ask Raisani to step down or the court would order his ouster, as was seen in the case of the former prime minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani. In addition to its existing problems, the government was immediately caught up in a fresh constitutional crisis when the Speaker of the Balochistan Assembly Muhammad Aslam Bhootani refused to chair further sessions of the Assembly because, in his words, the government’s legal status had become controversial after the apex court ruling. As the tug of war divided the government, Raisani still succeeded in obtaining a vote of confidence from the provincial parliament. The vote of confidence, however, does not in any way suggest the stability and popularity of the Raisani government. The Chief Minister has developed two major opponents: Speaker Bhootani and Saddiq Umrani, the provincial president of the P.P.P. who believes his party is beating a dead horse by supporting an incompetent man like Raisani. On his part, Raisani has avoided responding to hard questions (relating issues of governance) by presenting himself in the public as a joker and a man known for his (sick and dry) humor. Some other reports suggest that Raisani has been planning to avenge Speaker Bhootani by bringing a vote of no-confidence against the king-maker politician. But the C.M. does not have the support from his coalition partners for his initiative. The Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (J.U.I.), which has closer and older ties with the P.M.L.Q as compared to the P.P.P. in Balochistan, appears least enthusiastic about a vote of no-confidence against the Speaker because the J.U.I. believes such a confrontational move will deepen the ongoing crisis in the province. The constitutional crisis in Balochistan is already very serious; if it gets worse, we may have face the C.M.’s expulsion by President Asif Ali Zardar who will ultimately impose the governor’s rule in the province. While preparing for the next general elections, the P.P.P. is not ready to accept more political losses in return of its support to Nawab Raisani. Ironically, the Balochistan C.M. has outdone President Zardari in unpopularity among the general masses. So, Zardari wonders why he should gamble on his party’s future by standing beside Raisani. One could also see a change in the P.P.P.’s attitude toward Mr. Raisani from the dramatic cancellation of a visit of Interior Minister Rehman Malik to Balochistan where he was expected to address a much-hyped closed-door session of the Balochistan Assembly. Mr. Malik even did not provide any convincing reasons for the cancellation of his trip to Balochistan but Raisani was certainly disgraced by, what he called, Mr. Malik’s ‘immature behavior’. The C.M. told the media that Mr. Malik, who belongs to his own P.P.P., had disrespected the mandate of the Balochistan government by now showing up in the assembly session as promised. However, Raisani’s opponents, such as Mr. Umrani, the provincial president of the P.P.P., appreciate Mr. Malik for his ‘right decision’ to not address the Balochistan Assembly which, he says, “has averted a new life to a government that has lost constitutional legitimacy.” In the midst of this deepening crisis, we still believe that the Supreme Court has not been fair to Mr. Raisani and his government. While the government’s failures and corruption are already known to everyone, the million-dollar question is: where do we go from here? By soley and excessively rebuking the Balochistan government, the S.C. is risking giving a free hand to the Pakistani military for its covertly overt political role in Balochistan and the extra-constitutional activities of the intelligence agencies and the security forces. If the S.C. does not approach the issue from all directions, the status quo will continue in the troubled province. Raisani may not return to his current office but nor will the next general elections lead to significant structural changes in the next dispensation. The Supreme Court is apparently unable to make a ‘deet‘ government work but it can at least put accountable all those, including the intelligence agencies, who have so miserably contributed to the Balochistan unrest. If that is done, we will have some hope for freer and more transparent elections next year. If the current state of fear and corruption continues, popular political parties like the Balochistan National Party, the National Party and the Pakhtunkhawa Milli Awami Party may either be forced to once again stay away from the elections or fail to gain substantial electoral gains under the shadow of the security establishment’s influence.
Pakistan's ailing national airline has sacked three of its pilots after discovering they had faked their qualifications.Asif Yasin Malik, the chairman of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), has also promised to launch an investigation to root out any other staff whose degrees turn out to be forged.
xfinity.comcast.netNew Jersey Republican Gov. Chris Christie