Sunday, December 9, 2012

Karzai’s allegations may bottleneck Pak-Afghan progress

Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s claim that the failed suicide bombing that injured his intelligence chief Asadullah Khalid was planned in Quetta may affect the ongoing efforts to improve ties between Islamabad and Kabul and compel Pakistan to review its policy of freeing Taliban leaders. Pakistani authorities are perturbed over the renewed tension between Islamabad and Kabul over the assassination attempt on the Afghan spy chief, especially the allegation levelled by the Afghan president that the bombing was planned in Pakistan. The Foreign Ministry has already rejected Karzai’s claim, saying the Afghan government “should share information or evidence it might have about the attack before it starts levelling charges”. Islamabad has also said the Pakistani government was ready to assist any investigation into the criminal act. On Thursday, Pakistan condemned the attack on the Afghan intelligence chief. However, notwithstanding Islamabad’s condemnation, President Karzai announced that he would take up the issue with President Asif Ali Zardari when both leaders meet in Ankara for Pakistan-Turkey-Afghanistan trilateral meeting on December 11-12. “This attitude of Afghan authorities is disturbing and it is of no benefit to the recent ‘good will’ created on both sides of Afghan border owing to certain important steps that Pakistan has taken to improve the ties,” a diplomatic source said on condition of anonymity. Pakistan has recently freed several mid-level Taliban prisoners to send positive gesture to the militant leadership for coming to the table of negotiations with the Afghan government. There were also chances that Islamabad would free senior Taliban leaders such as Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the deputy of Taliban supreme commander Mullah Omar, who are currently in Pakistani custody. Besides, Islamabad agreed to hold a ‘joint Pak-Afghan ulema conference’ next month in Kabul against the scourge of terrorism. Pakistani authorities had also agreed to help the Afghan High Peace Council and Karzai administration to reach out to various Taliban groups for peace dialogue. The source said the Afghan president’s charges against Islamabad would, however, cast a negative impact on all efforts to better the bilateral ties. “If this negative attitude continues on part of Afghan authorities, Islamabad could reconsider its policy of setting free Taliban leaders,” he said. A Pakistani official expressed his disappointment over the claims of the Afghan president about the suicide bombing having been planned in Pakistan. However, he hoped that the Afghan authorities would opt for good sense and they would refrain from such allegations in the future. He said Pakistan was committed to the peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan and linking it to any terror bid in the neighbouring state was “unfortunate”. He said Pakistan’s ongoing efforts to improve ties with Afghanistan should be reciprocated by Kabul, instead of indulging in useless blame game.

Pakistan Polio: Crippling effect: Qilla Abdullah serves as greatest polio threat

Qilla Abdullah district of Balochistan, notorious for nursing and spreading a virulent polio virus strain to Afghanistan, has been declared as the greatest threat to polio eradication in Pakistan by foreign agencies overseeing innoculation. Genetic sequencing earlier confirmed that the newly-discovered polio strain, Sabin Like (2) poliomyelitis, had originated in Qilla Abdullah district. The virus is said to surface in areas which have a poor record of routine immunisation – a situation seen in several districts of Balochistan today. Since 2006, polio vaccination teams have repeatedly missed an estimated 50,000 children in Qilla Abdullah, jeopardising efforts to cut the endemic at its roots. Furthermore, nine other districts of the country have been declared as hurdles in the fight against polio due to an alarmingly high incidence of the disease in 2012, revealed a list jointly prepared by key partners of Pakistan’s polio eradication initiative. These include Pishin, Quetta, Lasbela and Loralai from Balochistan, Baldia and Gadap towns from Sindh, Khyber and Bajaur from the Federally Administrated Tribal Areas (FATA) and Tank from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. Criteria District evaluation was based on five variables: the number of children who missed inoculation as per district based reports from polio control rooms, as per the WHO Post Campaign Mechanism analysis, as per the Lot Quality Assurance Sampling (LQAS), the number of families in each district who refused to allow vaccination for their children and scientific data relating to active poliovirus spread in 2012. It is lamentable that Pakistan, despite receiving heavy international funding for polio eradication, is still unable to curb polio completely, said campaign officials. Mismanagement of resources, lack of transparency, absence of accountability, and the failure of grass root measures abet the programme’s inefficiency. The fact that the top three worst performing districts were from Balochistan was deemed worrisome. Officials said that considering the current dismal situation of polio in the country, the Prime Minister’s Polio Cell is planning to call an all party conference to bring all the political parties on one platform to battle polio. Gratefulness Meanwhile, in a statement, the WHO lauded the Balochistan chief minister’s resolve to curb the spread of Sabin Like (2) poliomyelitis virus in Qilla Abdullah, Pashin and Quetta. “We are grateful to Chief Minister Nawab Aslam Raisani for his personal interest towards the cause of polio eradication in Balochistan,” said the Chief of Polio Eradication Dr Elias Durry. Dr Durry added that emergency inoculation rounds were the need of the day, “In order to fight the virus, three high quality campaigns are urgently required in Qilla Abdullah, Pishin and Quetta to ensure that the new polio virus strain is not transmitted to the rest of the province and country”. The rounds are planned in three districts for December 10 and 24. The final rounds will be held on January 2 next year. The chief minister has also played a vital role in implementing the direct payment mechanism, through with thousands of polio team members will now get directly paid through bank accounts – a step which will boost their performance, leading to more effective campaigns, said Dr Durry.

Inspired by Malala, We Must Make School Accessible to the World's Children

When Malala Yousafzai was targeted and shot by the Taliban in Pakistan on October 9th, simply for wanting to go to school, the whole world of education was changed forever. Globally, 32 million girls do not yet go to primary school and since October 9th, thousands of children have demonstrated, signed petitions and registered their demand that Malala and girls like her should be able to go to school free of fear and intimidation. Elsewhere in South Asia, children have started to assert their rights to schooling. In Bangladesh, a new movement led by girls and boys is demanding an end to child marriage. In district after district 'child marriage free zones' are being declared as children themselves assert their right not to be sold into loveless marriages they did not choose. In India this weekend a 300 kilometer march of children started from Assam province, calling for a ban on child labor. Led by 100 child laborers rescued from trafficking, they will demand their right to be at school. So long as there are children denied the chance of school, Malala will be the standard bearer for their rights. Now and for every day until all young children have the chance to go to school, 'I am Malala' will be the banner under which millions of girls throughout the world will demand their right to education. Today we embark on a new stage in our global campaign to secure education for every one of the 32 million girls who do not go to school. We set out the next stages in our plan to match in-country action with international support from governments, UN organizations and the general public. Some girls are in bonded labor, forced to work in factories, farms and as domestic laborers and we estimate more than five million girls are completely denied any education because they are working. Some 10 million girls each year are sold or handed over into forced marriages they did not choose. Some girls are just 9, others 10, many 11, 12 and 13 -- all of them too young to make life-changing decisions that remove them from education and the chance of an independent life. And then there are girls who are trafficked into prostitution, thousands of whom end up in the street brothels of some of the world's best-known cities. Many girls can't go to school because we are short of two million teachers and four million classrooms. Even where classrooms exist, the schools are often ill-equipped and insanitary. In many cases girls who go to school are not being fed, denied school meals we could so easily provide. In KPK, the province in Pakistan where Malala lives, 700,000 children are still not at primary school -- and 600,000 of them are girls, whose chances of education are a fraction of those of boys. In Pakistan overall, 60 percent of the out-of-school children are girls, despite the desire expressed by girls in the 'I am Malala' campaign to attend classes. Around the world 32 million of the 61 million out-of-school children are girls. They need champions like Malala to stand up for their rights. The plan for action we set out today will be handed to the UN secretary-general to end the scourge of girls' illiteracy and the denial of their right to education. First, public pressure must be kept up. We will continue to add to our petition that calls on not just the Pakistani government but also the United Nations to ensure we invest the resources - in some cases only 100 dollars per year per child -- to get girls to school. The petitions have already secured two million signatures around the world. We will soon have an additional million signatures from the children of Pakistan alone which will be presented to the president of Pakistan and the United Nations. It is still possible for any member of the public to join us by signing up today on the website I can also announce that after consultation with Malala's family there will be on July 12th next year, Malala's own birthday, a day of action and we will invite children to assemble, walk, march, demonstrate, petition and pray for children's education to be delivered worldwide. Second, we are asking countries that are off-track in meeting the 2015 target of universal girls' education to sign up to a new process, to accelerate achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. Countries as big as Nigeria and India and as small as Timor Leste and South Sudan will be asked to draw up the plans that will ensure education for all girls and boys will be delivered by the end of 2015. Third, we will hold a summit in Washington on April 19th to be hosted by the secretary-general, the president of the World Bank, Jim Kim, and myself. At that summit we will agree urgent measures to get children into school by end of 2015, offering the support of international organizations to back up the efforts of off-track countries that are ready to do more. Fourth we will launch an international campaign for public subscriptions by companies, foundations and individuals to raise one billion dollars to show governments and international organizations that the public wants us to ensure every child is at school. We will soon offer citizens a unique chance to contribute directly, free of any administrative costs, to teachers, classrooms, books and nutrition for millions of children who want to go to school. Education alone can break the vicious cycle of poverty that is transmitted today from generation to generation. To help in this endeavor, Ziauddin Yousafzai, Malala's father, will become a special adviser to the UN special envoy for global education. His unique qualities -- a teacher and headteacher as well as a parent who has had to struggle against opposition to girls' education and the closing of schools -- makes him ideally suited to leading in our educational effort to get all to school. We wish Malala a speedy recovery from the terrible injuries inflicted on her in the attempted assassination. In time Malala herself is determined to join the campaign for every girl's right to education and when she has recovered she will do so, becoming one of the leaders of that campaign. With today's announcements we show that as a result of Malala's courage and her inspiration the whole world is now on a bolder and more urgent path for change. Before she was shot Malala was advocating the cause of girls' education, faced with a Taliban that had closed down and destroyed 600 schools. We now know that when the group of girls she was with on a school bus was assailed by a gunman asking 'where is Malala?', a fearless and defiant Malala did not scream and she did not cry but simply replied 'I am Malala.' Bravely she held the hand of her friend as she received what the Taliban considered her 'punishment' for the 'crime' of wanting education. If the Taliban sought to silence her voice once and for all, they failed. For today her dream and her insistent demand that children should go to school echoes all round the world as girl after girl, each wanting all girls to have the right to go to school, identifies with Malala, repeating the words she used -- 'I am Malala.'

Malala Yousafzai gets Mother Teresa Memorial Award

Pakistan's daughter, the 15-year-old Malala Yousafzai
is ruling almost every mind around the globe now. Even Pakistan's arch-rival India is not left far behind in pouring affection on the daredevil small girl who frayed against the deadly Taliban through a non-violent medium i.e. to educate the women. Reports are coming from Mumbai that Harmony Foundation, a private organisation from India’s economic capital Mumbai wanted to reward Yousafzai for her bravery. Meanwhile, the company found it difficult to do it as Malala is being treated in a London hospital which has been turned into a high security zone. Despite a number of hindrances on the way to Malala, the firm managed to reach Malala Yousafzai breaking the security cordon which was highly organised. Along with this, in order to make the award reach Malala, the firm made sure that it cheats the security deadlock well enough to manage the award reach the right person and not get stuck in the security. Harmony Foundation had chosen Malala for the award ‘Mother Teresa Memorial Award for Social Justice’ the last month. The award function took place after a week when ajmal Kasab, who was facing charges of provoking war against India, was hanged till death on November 21. Despite rigorous attempts from the director of the Foundation, Abraham Mathai and a number of Important Indian personalities Malala wasn't permitted to receive the award in India. Sevi Ali, a Pakistani actor of British origin received the award on behalf of Malala. The Taliban had shot Malala on October while she was returning from school and was in a bus. The rage came from the Taliban because of the fact that Malala initiated to work for the rights of women in a male dominated country. She was shot in head after which she was rushed to hospital from where after some of the primary medication she was referred to a hospital in London.

Malala's dad named UN education adviser

The UN Special Envoy for Global Education, Gordon Brown on Monday announced appointment of Malala Yousafzai's father, Ziauddin Yusufzai
, as Special UN Adviser on Global Education. He has been appointed to assist the work of getting every child to school by the end of 2015, an announcement early Monday morning said. The statement issued with the appointment said: "Worldwide, 32 million girls are not at school. Yousafzai, a former teacher and headmaster, will play a critical role in helping remove the discrimination and barriers that prevent girls going to school. Brown will unveil on Monday a Malala Plan to get all girls to school by the end of 2015. He will ask supporters of girls' education - who meet in Paris on Monday at the 'Stand up for Malala' event, under the auspices of UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova and President Zardari of Pakistan - to join a day of action on July 12th, Malala's birthday. Welcoming the visit of President Zardari to see Malala in Birmingham and announcing the appointment, Gordon Brown said: 'With today's announcements we show that as a result of Malala's courage and her inspiration the whole world is pushing for education for every girl. "We will prepare country-by-country reports of the gaps in educational opportunity. We will hold a summit with off-track countries in Washington on April 19th, which the UN secretary-general, the president of the World Bank and I will host." "Before she was shot, Malala was advocating the cause of girls' education faced by a Taliban that had closed down and destroyed 600 schools. We now know from her family that when the group of girls she was with on a school bus was assailed by a gunman asking, where is Malala?" a fearless and defiant Malala did not scream and she did not cry - but simply replied 'I am Malala." She held the hand of her friend as she received what the Taliban considered her 'punishment' for the 'crime' of wanting education. "If the Taliban sought to vanquish her voice once and for all, they failed. For today her voice and her insistent dream that children should go to school echoes all around the world, as girl after girl, each wanting all girls to have the right to go to school, identifies with Malala. "To help in this global endeavour, Ziauddin Yousafzai, Malala's father, will become a Special Adviser to the UN Special Envoy for Global Education.""In time Malala herself is determined to join the campaign for every girl's right to education and when she has recovered she will do so, becoming one of the leaders of that campaign. I can announce that after consultation with Malala's family, there will be on July 12th next year, Malala's own birthday, a day of action. We will invite children to march, demonstrate, petition and pray for children's education to be delivered worldwide."

Obama meets with Boehner on fiscal cliff: aides

U.S. President Barack Obama met with Republican Speaker of the House of Representatives John Boehner on Sunday at the White House to negotiate ways to avoid the "fiscal cliff," according to White House officials and a congressional aide. The two sides declined to provide further details about the unannounced meeting. Obama and Boehner aides used the same language to describe it. "This afternoon, the president and Speaker Boehner met at the White House to discuss efforts to resolve the fiscal cliff," White House spokesman Josh Earnest said. "We're not reading out details of the conversation, but the lines of communication remain open," he said. An aide to Boehner emailed an identical quote. The two sides are trying to reach an agreement that would stop automatic spending cuts and tax increases from going into effect at the beginning of the year. Analysts say if that "fiscal cliff" kicks in, the U.S. economy could swing back into a recession. Obama has made clear he will not accept a deal unless tax rates for the wealthiest Americans rise. Boehner and many of his fellow Republicans say any tax increases would hurt a still fragile economy. Last week Boehner and Obama spoke by phone, a conversation the Republican leader described as pleasant but unproductive. The common language used by both men's aides suggests an agreement to keep details of their discussions private, which could help both of them sell less politically palatable aspects of an eventual deal to lawmakers in their respective parties. Obama consulted with Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic leader in the House, and Harry Reid, the majority leader in the Senate, on Friday, but the high stakes talks have come down primarily to the two main players: the president and Boehner. Obama has said Boehner and other Republican leaders must accept the reality that tax rates will rise on the top two percent of U.S. earners before progress on other issues, such as reform of entitlement programs, can occur. Several Republicans said on Sunday that conservatives have no choice but to give in to White House demands on higher tax rates for the wealthy, if the fiscal debate is to move on to their main goal of overhauling big government benefits programs. "There is a growing group of folks who are ... realizing that we don't have a lot of cards as it relates to the tax issue before yearend," Republican Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee said on the "Fox News Sunday" program.

Egypt opposition rejects planned referendum

Major opposition bloc says President Morsi's decision to rescind controversial decree "falls short of expectations".
A major Egyptian opposition group has said that President Mohamed Morsi's decision only to rescind a decree that gave him sweeping powers and not scrap a referendum on a controversial draft constitution has "fallen short of expectations" required to defuse tensions in the country. In an announcement on Sunday, the National Salvation Front, the main umbrella group for opposition parties, said it rejected the planned December 15 referendum, and warned that it would lead to "more division and sedition." "We do not recognise the draft constitution because it does not represent the Egyptian people," said Sameh Ashour, who spoke on behalf of the coalition.The opposition is planning large rallies on Tuesday to protest the decree. Supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood are also organising their own rallies on Tuesday in Cairo, Alexandria and Assiut. Late on Saturday Morsi annulled the November 22 decree that also made all his decisions immune to judicial review, but insisted that the vote will go ahead as planned. The opposition has repeatedly said that the constitution, drafted by a Muslim Brotherhood-led constituent assembly, disregards the rights of women and ignores personal freedoms. "I cannot imagine that after all this they want to pass a constitution that does not represent all Egyptians," Ahmed Said, another member of the National Salvation Front coalition and the head of the liberal Free Egyptians Party, told Reuters news agency. He said the Front would meet later on Sunday to make a formal response to Morsi's decision to scrap the decree. Selim al-Awa, an official who attended Saturday's meeting between Morsi and politicians from smaller opposition groups, said that, legally, Morsi was unable to change the date of the referendum on the draft charter. He said that if the draft was voted down in the December 15 referendum, Morsi would call for an election within three months to pick a new constituent assembly. The main opposition groups had boycotted the talks, which lasted over 10 hours, and called on their supporters to step up protests. Sameh Ashour, from the opposition National Salvation Front, was among those calling on Egyptians to protest on Tuesday to refuse the constitution. "The National Salvation Front announces its total rejection of the referendum and will not legitimise this referendum which will definitely lead to more strife," he said. "The Front invites Egypt's great people to protest peacefully in various liberation squares in the capital this coming Tuesday to show dissatisfaction at the president's disregard of the people's demands and in refusal of the constitution that infringes on rights and freedoms."
Annulment 'meaningless'
Khaled Dawood, spokesperson for the National Salvation Front, said annulling the decree was "relatively meaningless". "The key issue of securing the process of adopting of the constitution is done," he told Al Jazeera.Asked whether the opposition's goal was to unseat Morsi, Dawood said: "This is definitely not in our agenda at all. Our agenda is basically limited to having a new draft constitution that everybody is satisfied about before going to a referendum. "We respect he was elected with 51.7 per cent of the vote, but 48 per cent did not vote for him. "That means that he has to compromise, he has to build consensus." On Sunday, a day after Morsi appeared to bow to political and public pressure, a wall is being built around his presidential palace. The barricade blocks any attempt by anti-government protesters from reaching the palace gates. Egypt has been hit by angry protests in the past two weeks to push Morsi to reverse his expanded powers and suspend the constitutional vote. The crisis has been the country's worst since Morsi took office in June.

Saudi Arabia coercing convicts and death row inmates to fight in Syria
Secret documents “leaked to the media” disclosed on Sunday that Saudi Arabia has been sending death convicts to Syria to join the armed campaign against President Bashar a-Assad's government, according to a FARS news agency report.
“According to the document, the Saudi Interior Ministry has conceded to pardon these people who have been sentenced to death on charges of drug trafficking, murder and rape after they accepted to go under military trainings and be sent to Syria." Credits: FARS news agency
“According to the document, the Saudi Interior Ministry has conceded to pardon these people who have been sentenced to death on charges of drug trafficking, murder and rape after they accepted to go under military trainings and be sent to Syria to help terrorist groups and the FSA in the war on President Assad. Families of the convicts do not have the right to leave Saudi Arabia, but they receive monthly salaries from the Al Saud regime. The regime has taken the families hostage to make sure that the criminals remain loyal to their missions and plots in Syria. Pardoning inmates in return for terrorist operations in Syria is not confined to Saudi Arabia, and Qatar and some other Persian Gulf states have followed suit” (source: Saudi Arabia Sending Death Convicts to Syria to Help Rebels ) . The report indicated that so far thousands of criminals have been loosed on Syria to help wage a foreign sponsored terrorist war against the regime. We contacted the U.S. State Department which, not surprisingly refused comment on this story.

Dilip Kumar’s 90th birthday to be celebrated in Pakistan

Daily Times
Veteran actor Dilip Kumar`s 90th birthday tomorrow (Tuesday) will be celebrated in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa where he was born before he migrated to India, Zee News reports. The Cultural Heritage Council (CHC) of Khyber Pakhtukhwa will mark the occasion in Peshawar, an Indian peace activist said on Sunday. "The CHC has decided to celebrate the 90th birthday of the legendary actor for the first time ever," Jatin Desai told IANS. He said CHC had invited prominent personalities including film personalities, journalists, lawyers, peaceniks and commoners to celebrate the birthday of Dilip Kumar aka Muhammed Yusuf Khan. Ironically, Dilip Kumar will not celebrate his birthday in Mumbai as he is still grieving the death of several prominent personalities in the past few months. These include Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray, former union minister NKP Salve, filmmaker Yash Chopra, Rajesh Khanna, Dara Singh and others. On his 89th birthday last year, he had a mega bash at his Pali Hill residence that attracted, among others, Yash Chopra and Rajesh Khanna. In July, a public effort was initiated to conserve Dilip Kumar`s ancestral home, now in a dilapidated condition in Peshawar. It was launched by civil society groups in Pakistan and Bangladesh and other organisations. The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa administration recently planned to acquire the ancestral homes of Dilip Kumar and another Indian legend, Raj Kapoor and preserve them as national heritage monuments. Locals have urged the authorities to rename certain parts of Peshawar after Dilip Kumar and Raj Kapoor.

Karachi: Pakistan’s largest city suffers murder wave, Taliban seen using chaos to strengthen position

By Associated Press
Bodies are piling up in Pakistan’s largest city as it suffers one of its most violent years in history, and concern is growing that the chaos is giving greater cover for the Taliban to operate and undermining the country’s economic epicenter. Karachi, a sprawling port city on the Arabian Sea, has long been beset by religious, sectarian and ethnic strife. Here armed wings of political parties battle for control of the city, Sunnis and Shiites die in tit-for-tat sectarian killings, and Taliban gunmen attack banks and kill police officers. With an election due next year, the violence could easily worsen. According to the Citizens’ Police Liaison Committee, a civic organization that works with police to fight crime, the violence has claimed 1,938 lives as of late November, the deadliest year since 1994, when the CPLC began collecting figures. Police tallies put the dead at 1,897 through mid-October. The Taliban seem to be taking advantage of the chaos to expand their presence in the city, a safe distance from areas of Pakistani army operations and U.S. drone strikes. During recent Supreme Court hearings, judges ordered authorities to investigate reports that as many as 8,000 Taliban members were in the city. Security officials say the Taliban raise money in Karachi through bank and ATM robberies, kidnappings and extortion, and are recruiting as well. The head of the city’s Central Investigation Department, Chaudhry Aslam, who is tasked with tracking down militants, said the Taliban have killed at least 24 of his officers this year. Regular citizens are often caught in the middle. Samina Waseem says her son Aatir, 21, went out on May 22 to get his phone fixed. Three days later she found his body in the morgue with a gunshot wound through his head. She’s convinced he was killed because he belonged to the Mohajir community, descended from people who moved from India to newly created Pakistan when the subcontinent was partitioned in 1947. Part of Karachi’s problem is that since 1947 its population has mushroomed from 435,000 to 18 million. The metropolis ranges from the high-end neighborhoods of Clifton where people live behind bougainvillea-covered walls and eat arugula and fig salads at posh restaurants, to concrete block houses on the dusty outskirts. There migrants move in from the rugged northwest where the U.S. is waging its war with the Taliban, and from the flood-prone plains of Sindh. That population growth is marked by spurts of violence. Currently the overarching struggle appears to be between two powerful forces. One is the Muttahida Quami Movement, the city’s dominant force, which represents Urdu-speaking Mohajirs. The other is the Awami National Party. It represents Pashtuns whose numbers are increasing as their ethnic kin flee the northwest. The MQM prides itself on being the protector of middle-class, liberal, secular values in a country where extremism and religious conservatism hold sway. It says the Taliban began moving into Karachi in force, driven south by a military offensive in 2009, and is wreaking havoc while hiding among the Pashtun. “We are trying our level best to keep Karachi alive,” said Engr Nasir Jamal, of the MQM. The ANP and the Pashtuns believe the MQM is nervous that Pashtun population growth will undermine their hold on Karachi, and that it is targeting Pashtuns to intimidate them. The Pashtuns acknowledge that the Taliban are a big problem, including for them, because the terror group has also been killing its members. But they say the MQM exaggerates the problem. The battle lines are visible across the city. MQM flags and posters blanket the Urdu-speaking neighborhoods, and red flags and graffiti mark ANP territory in the poorer, blue-collar neighborhoods. Theirs is hardly the only conflict. The Pakistan Peoples Party, which heads the national government, says 450 of its activists have been killed over the last 4 ½ years. Nationalists from Baluchistan province find refuge in the city, Sunni extremists target Shiites they consider infidels and the Shiites fight back. Add waves of people displaced by floods over the last three years, and the lack of land and resources becomes a toxic brew. “This is a war for controlling Karachi,” said Taj Haider, a leading member of the PPP in Sindh. During pitched battles between armed wings of political parties last year, whole neighborhoods were cut off, children kept away from school and residents shot and killed while shopping for food. This year the violence has been more spread out. The effect on Karachi’s business community is being felt, said Mohammed Atiq Mir, chairman of the All Karachi Trade Association. He estimated that 20,000-25,000 businesses have left, and that the economic loss equals about $10 million dollars a day. Businessmen he talks with have begun hiring private security guards and are getting licenses to carry weapons. The city’s police are often outnumbered and outgunned. There is one police officer for every 600 people, compared with 1 to 150 on average in neighboring India, said Sharfuddin Memon, an adviser to the Sindh provincial government. There is no witness protection program, so people are reluctant to testify. De-weaponization plans have gone nowhere. Meanwhile the deaths multiply, and the death of Samina Waseem’s son remains one among hundreds that go unexplained and unpunished. “I just want that whoever did it to just tell us, why he did it,” she pleaded. “Just tell a mother why he killed my son.” __

Afghanistan: Attack on NDS chief will not undermine peace process
The failed assassination attempt on the National Directorate of Security (NDS) chief, Asadullah Khalid, will not undermine the peace process, the International Security Assistance Force said on Saturday. David Warner, ISAF’s deputy head of reintegration, told a press conference in Kabul that Thursday’s suicide attack, which wounded Khalid, will not deter insurgents from continuing to join the peace process. Since the inception of the reintegration program, 5,900 militants have joined the peace process across the country while more than 200 others are in the process of being reconciled, Warner said, adding that employment opportunities have been created by local peace councils for the surrendered people.

Karzai: U.S. Troops Can Have Immunity In Exchange For 'Sovereignty'
Afghan President Hamid Karzai says he is willing to consider giving immunity to U.S. troops in a security agreement to be signed next year if his demand for "Afghanistan's sovereignty" is respected. The deal will outline the form of a U.S. military presence in Afghanistan, as well as the number of troops and bases, after NATO forces withdraw in 2014. Karzai said his key demands were that the United States hand over all detainees in its custody and shut all its jails in the country, rescind control of Afghan airspace, and refrain from raids on Afghan villages. "Within those conditions, and once those conditions are fulfilled...Afghanistan is willing to consider immunity" for the troops, he said. The United States still has more than 65,000 soldiers in Afghanistan.

Peshawar-Torkhum Highway project under review: USAID

The USAID told ‘The News’ that the environmental examination of Peshawar–Torkham Highway project is currently under review, as there are apprehensions about the protection of all the heritage sites that are located between the two cities. The USAID emphasised that the project will not affect cultural or religious monuments, or archaeological/paleontological resources. Recently, a Pak-US agreement was signed to construct a Highway through the Khyber Pass which will link Peshawar and Torkham and work is expected to be completed in two years. The USAID is funding the project. When asked if the USAID was keeping in mind the vital aspect of protecting all heritage sites , an official at the USAID responded, “All infrastructure projects funded by the USAID that have the potential for adverse environmental and social effects undergo an environmental examination which includes consideration of any potential impact on cultural resources (archaeological, paleontological, historical, cultural, landmark). No USAID funds are disbursed for the project until the required environmental analysis is completed and is approved by USAID.” The Peshawar–Torkham highway rehabilitation project is a government of Pakistan project being implemented by the Fata Secretariat. “USAID is providing funds for the project to further economic assistance goals through a cost-reimbursement agreement with the Fata Secretariat”, said the official. The site visits to collect baseline data took place in September 2012, and the initial results show that the project will not affect cultural or religious monuments, or archaeological/paleontological resources. “While welcoming this development, nobody can deny the importance of a trade route, but we have witnessed that whenever a developmental project of this magnitude is undertaken, heritage sites become the first casualty in our part of the world. We have to ensure that heritage safeguards are incorporated in the project. Khyber Pass is one of the world’s wonders. We cannot afford to let it get disfigured permanently. The project needs to go ahead but it must be mindful of the heritage aspect, and aesthetics of this ancient caravan route”, says Ali Jan, formally consultant with the Tourism Corporation Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and associated with the Sarhad Conservation Network. Of importance is not only the fact that the Highway is constructed but also that safeguards are in place to protect the heritage, environment and aesthetics of the historic Khyber Pass, when it is implemented. Of late destruction by militants has robbed Pakhtunkhwa of many protected heritage sites.

Managing waste: Peshawar’s sewage system going down the drain

The Express Tribune
The sewage system of Peshawar is in dire need of restructuring and proper maintenance, but for the elected representatives the issue has remained on the back burner for the past decade. The 19th century Shahi Khata drainage system is still intact albeit in a debilitated state. It is now barely able to carry all the sewage water from the inner parts of the city, where the population has substantially increased. Moreover, the three different portions made for drainage purposes in Shahi Khata are barely functioning. And with accumulation of dirt in the pipelines with little or no maintenance, residents of the walled city complain that the system is not tending to the increasing drainage needs of Peshawar. Sewerage water from most parts of the city, including areas around the City Circular Road drain into Shahi Khata, which is unable to accommodate all the water, especially during rain. The Shahi Khata system runs through the Bala Mari, Asia Gate, Kakshal, Sher Shah Suri Bridge, Firdous Cinema Chowk areas before going through the Afghan Colony and finally draining the water into the Budhni stream. “In the past, governments have constructed faulty sewerage lines in various localities, due to which several areas are now left with permanently clogged pipelines,” said an elder from Eshrat Cinema Road, Ali Jahangir Khan. A major sewage line, laid in 1996 for those residing in the eastern part of the city, running through areas of Shaikabad, Gulbhar-I and Gulbhar-II, Asad Anwar Colony, Afrido Ghari, Akhunabad and Peshawar Fruit Marker is also obsolete. Another sewage line starts from the city area of tehsil Gorghatri and goes through Karim Pura, Hashtnagri, Shahi Bagh and some parts of Charsadda Road. This too, like the two others, drains into the Budhni stream. Residents of these areas face surmounting problems in the rainy season when the Budhni stream overflows, resulting in filthy water flowing onto the streets outside their homes. A resident of City Town area, Rahimullah Shah complains: “The whole area turns into a huge puddle, which serves as a breeding ground for insects and germs.” The number of workers responsible for cleaning sewage lines of the 25 city union councils is not more than 180, of which around 40 employees are consistently absent from duty. The leader of representative body of local government employees, the United Municipal Workers Union, Salahuddin Chava said most of the cleaning staff are constantly absent, but still get salaries. He accused them of working for elected representatives and other high-profile government officials instead of showing up for duty. Town Municipal Officer Javed Amjid also complained of faulty sewerage lines. He, however, blames the burgeoning growth of residential towns in the surrounding areas of Peshawar. “In the last ten years, dozens of small residential towns have been developed without any proper planning for their sewerage system.” “There is a need for systematic planning to deal with the sewerage issue and to fix faulty lines,” Amjid said, adding that the town municipal administration is doing its best with the meagre resources at its disposal.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa : School crisis

IT is a strange juxta-position. Two stories printed on the same day in this paper point to the anomaly in the education sector in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the tribal areas. In one report, the ANP-led government of the province — no doubt with an eye on the elections — has proclaimed its achievements in the field of education during its tenure. Below this is a story which says that in Mohmand Agency, only six out of the 112 schools targeted by militants have been rebuilt. Fears of kidnapping, especially of female teachers, have also adversely affec-ted educational activities in the agency. More schools have been destroyed by militants in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa than in Fata; government figures show that around 750 schools have been blown up in the province since militancy gained ground over the past few years. Floods damaged another 1,700 schools. There are two distinct areas that need attention in order to improve Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s educational system. The first is a purely academic and administrative problem. The ANP has made some impressive claims regarding its improvement of the education sector; these include raising the provincial literacy rate by seven per cent to an overall 56 per cent, as well as recruiting teachers, building more colleges and universities and raising enrolment rates. Yet while there have been improvements in the province’s educational infrastructure, the administration of schools leaves much to be desired. Hence perhaps the focus should be on quality rather than numbers. The second issue is that of security. While the government builds and rebuilds schools, militants keep destroying them. It is simply not possible to protect every school by posting security men outside them. Besides, there’s little a watchman or police officer can do when a group of militants show up and decide to blow up a school. The issue is a much larger one — that of improving security in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Fata by uprooting militancy. That is something the administration and security apparatus need to handle. Unless the environment is secure, the students of the province and Fata will be unable to realise their full potential.

Pakistan: Suddle Commission

The Supreme Court’s decision of dissolving the judicial commission, headed by Dr Shoaib Suddle, that partially investigated a Rs342 million business deal between Dr Arsalan Iftikhar, son of Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Mohammad Chuaudhry, and real-estate magnate Malik Riaz Husain, after it had only submitted an interim report, comes as a big surprise particularly when the SC took the plea that this is an issue between two individuals and they can take it up at any forum. The decision gives rise to a valid question as to how and why the country’s apex court had admitted for hearing the case at the filing stage when the two litigant parties have, of late, in one voice, contended that the SC should dispose the matter of. The commission has been dissolved at a time when it had only submitted an interim report and approached authorities in London to secure additional evidence. It seems pertinent to mention here that Malik Riaz did not appear before the Suddle Commission and moved the SC in an attempt to get its proceedings stayed; the court rejected this plea. The Chief Justice of Pakistan himself, on June 5, took a notice of the alleged business deal between his son and Malik Riaz. On June 14 the court ordered the attorney general of Pakistan to take strict action against the main characters of the case – Dr Arsalan Iftikhar, Malik Riaz and his son-in-law Salman Ahmed. In its order the court had noted, “Nonetheless, attempts by individuals to obstruct the course of justice are indeed a matter of serious and grave concern and imperil the reputation of the justice system at large. This is why such exchange of bribes with the attempt, even a failed one, to influence the course of justice, has been declared illegal and punishable under various laws. If proven guilty by a court of competent jurisdiction, the parties involved are liable to be punished.” The attorney-general referred the matter to NAB for a probe, but Dr Arsalan raised questions over the impartiality of NAB’s Joint Investigation Team and filed a review petition against it which was accepted by the SC. On August 30, the court formed the judicial commission comprising former police officer Dr Shoiab Suddle to probe the alleged business deal which was aimed at influencing the judicial process. The Suddle Commission, in the preliminary report, said the CJP’s son has admitted that he had availed two of the three foreign visits alleged by Malik Riaz and also confessed that he had received ‘favours’from Malik Riaz, his friend or his son-in-law. But it does not answer why he had accepted these and the businessman’s claim is that he had ‘favoured’Arsalan in order to get court cases settled in his favour. The commission also alleged Malik Riaz of a ‘plan’ to defame the chief justice and bring the highest court of the country into disrepute and also accused him of shady business deals, including the Bhria Town project. Yet, the report is silent about how Arsalan Iftikhar became a millionaire in no time and entered into telecom contracts worth Rs900 million. The commission has also implicated Dr Arsalan Iftikhar and Malik Riaz in massive tax evasion of Rs 51.3 million and 119.4 billion, respectively, and recommended imposition of a penalty for concealment of assets in wealth statements filed with income tax returns. However, the matter boils down to the amount of money paid to Arsalan. Malik Riaz says he paid Rs342 million but provide the evidence of paying Rs5.58 million and the son of CJP also accepts this. It is certainly not the issue of how much was paid; it is the matter that Arsalan received the amount, no matter how big or small it may be. This is a fit case of illegal transaction and an offence cognizable by police. Arsalan must not only stand trial for this but also for the fact that he has maligned the name of the top most judge of the country in this scandalous affair. It is also not understandable why the commission itself not suggested the criminal proceedings against the two although this was part of the terms of reference. It is not an ordinary matter but involves the country’s chief justice and superior judiciary. It is, therefore, absolutely critical that highest standards of integrity of the judiciary are not compromised under any circumstances.

Pakistan asks Karzai to share information about attack on spy chief

Close on the heels of Afghan President Hamid Karzai claiming that a suicide bomber who targeted his spy chief had come from Pakistan, Islamabad has said his government should share any information it has on the "cowardly attack" to back up the allegation. "Before levelling charges, the Afghan government would do well if they shared information or evidence with the government of Pakistan that they might have with regard to the cowardly attack on the head of the NDS (National Directorate of Security)," Foreign Office spokesman Moazzam Khan said in a statement last evening. Mr Khan further said Afghan authorities should also probe possible lapses in the security for Afghan spy chief Assadullah Khalid, who was attacked in Kabul on Thursday by a Taliban suicide bomber posing as a peace envoy.They (the Afghan government) would also do well by ordering an investigation into any lapses in the security arrangements around the NDS chief," Mr Khan said. Pakistan's government is "ready to assist any investigation of this criminal act," he said. Pakistan, on Friday, condemned the attack on the Afghan spy chief and expressed its commitment to efforts to usher in peace and stability in war-torn Afghanistan. Pakistan had also said that it would "continue to work closely with Afghanistan to eliminate" terrorism. Mr Karzai claimed earlier yesterday that the suicide bombing that injured his spy chief was planned in Pakistan. He said Afghan officials were certain the suicide bomber came from Pakistan. The Afghan President further said he would raise the issue when he meets Pakistani leaders at a trilateral summit in Turkey next week but stopped short of blaming the Pakistan government. Mr Karzai did not provide any evidence to support his allegations. Meanwhile, Mr Khalid is in a stable condition in a US-run military hospital near Kabul after the Taliban assassination attempt. Last year, Afghan High Peace Council chief Burhanuddin Rabbani was assassinated by a bomber posing as a Taliban peace envoy with explosives hidden in his turban. Afghan officials had then alleged that the bomber had come from Pakistan, a charge that was denied by Islamabad.

Why we chose Bilawal Bhutto Zardari

By Riaz Ali Toori
The young generation of every country in the world is considered a great asset as it plays a key part in the process of the country’s development. Positive role of youngsters always keeps the nation upfront at the international level because through their contribution, the nation can move on and on in the right direction of prosperity. Pakistan’s growth depends heavily on the thinking of youngsters and the country will remain on safe grounds if our youth loves our country perpetually and works hard to make it an eminent nation on this planet. Along with the youth’s potential to change the fate of this country we also need an educated, futurist and potential young leadership. The primary role of young people is to get a good standard education today, to become quality citizens of tomorrow. They need to learn skills to serve the nation and boost the economy of the country. They also need to know how to perceive, understand, think and analyse multiple issues facing their country and actively participate in its political affairs. They need to study its history, to be proud of its past, to make sense of its present, to chart the course of its future. In the recent past the social media has vastly influenced our youth and we are witnessing their interest in political affairs of the country in both the domestic and international domain but it is not sufficient because politics is a practical service of the nation that cannot be accomplished alone through using social media, a few tweets and comments on facebook while sitting in well facilitated cafes. Our youth needs to come forward and take over the driving seat in order to take the country towards right directions. Young people can also help to build a nation by becoming actively involved in social causes along with participation in politics so that they can work for peace, human rights, and environmental issues and for the cause of minorities. Pakistan is presently facing terrorism and extremism for which we do not need a leadership that is either silent on terrorism or has sympathies with terrorist organizations for the sake of a few votes. This way we cannot rescue Pakistan from the quagmire of terrorism and extremism. It is welcoming to see youngsters like Bilawal Bhutto Zardari Co-Chairman Pakistan Peoples Party, Moonis Elahi from Pakistan Muslim League, Hamza Shahbaz and Maryam Nawaz from PMLN on the political front. It was the vision of President Asif Ali Zardari who, after martyrdom of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto chose one of our youth in order to appreciate and evaluate the role of our youth in the political affairs of our country. If we look deeply into our past, we see a young MA Jinnah, ZA Bhutto then Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto who were all highly energetic and active participants in the political affairs of Pakistan. No doubt it was all because of these few personalities that Pakistan’s name has shone globally. However, it is quite crucial and important to choose visionary leadership today for a better Pakistan tomorrow. These political scions indeed boast a political background but it does not mean that they were capable or had the vision to run this country on better lines, for vision alone is inadequate to run a country in the absence of an ideology. At this stage, when Pakistan is at the cross roads facing mammoth challenges on political, economical and security fronts, it would be quite sagacious to narrow the lens of our choice. It is very unfortunate that only PPP is inheritor of secular norms and principles that nudge this country on the way of prosperity and progress. Z.A Bhutto Shaheed, Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto Shaheed and then President Asif Ali Zardari practiced these norms of secularity and tolerance. Bilawal Bhutto Zardari indeed cannot deviate from the set ideology and principles of his forefathers. Unlike other youngsters that proved much introvert under the narrow minded policies of their parties, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari seems quite extrovert with a better vision, perception and ideas about global changes. Where there is an issue of human rights violation, brutality of the inhumane Taliban, exploitation of minorities, we see only Bilawal Bhutto Zardari single-handedly condemning it and asking his party workers to stand like a solid rock wall against terrorists and extremists. Bilawal has always vehemently condemned human rights violation and boldly spoken against atrocities committed by Taliban, something that is quite amongst the present political stalwarts. Engulfed by huge problems, we cannot afford that our future leaders be of limited ideology that fuels only domestic politics and gimmicks to remain in power. In order to integrate ourselves with the modern, developed world we need leaders of international standards like Z.A Bhutto and Shaheed Benazir Bhutto. Following the life and policies of his mother and grandpa, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari can fulfil the vacuum, created after the martyrdom of Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto Shaheed. Although Bilawal is not practically into politics, the statements and speeches delivered by the younger Zardari, brings on the nostalgia of the past period of PPP rule by his mother. We have seen that Bilawal Bhutto Zardari is following the footsteps of his grandfather and his mother who sacrificed their lives for Pakistan and its people. Shaheed Benazir Bhutto’s entire life is marked with struggle for the empowerment of the poor oppressed people, empowerment of women and for the rights of minorities. PPP is the only secular party of Pakistan that always fought for the rights of minorities and gave them maximum protection. Considering PPP as merely a political party is totally wrong. PPP is an ideology, a vision and a thought. Indeed, Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto Shaheed were the founders of the very basis of this party, but after them deeming that the party’s existence is over, is absurd. Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has the potential, courage, vision and ideology that can keep Pakistan afloat on both the domestic and international fronts. Moreover the workers of PPP, from the earthly paradise Parachinar and mountainous Gilgit-Baltistan to the seashore of Karachi, love and trust the leadership of Bilawal Bhutto Zardari just as they had loved ZA Bhutto and Shaheed Benazir Bhutto after that. Presidential Adviser Farahnaz Ispahani rightly says, “The politics of principle is still alive and I believe that the PPP chairman is delivering and will continue to deliver into the future. Give him a chance.”

What is President Zardari mission to Paris...

President Asif Zardari of Pakistan is in Paris spearheading the high profile Unesco-co-sponsored global event ‘Stand Up for Malala: Girls’ right to education’, on December 10. Just before the event President Zardari and his daughter Aseefa Bhutto Zadari had visited Malala in the hospital to enquire about her recovery, to convey prayers and best wishes of the people of Pakistan in person and to convey to her how proud entire nation was over her bravery and commitment to strive, to seek and not to yield under threats to kill from the blood thirsty terrorists. Malala has become a symbol of nation’s pledge to root out terrorism, sectarianism, extremism and its determination to return the country to the liberal and tolerant vision of Quaid-e-Azam and martyred Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto. Dark forces of obscurantism had struck what they thought a debilitating blow that would run panic among the peace-loving people of Pakistan. The Taliban killers believed that if they had succeeded in assassinating brave 15-year old Malala Yusufzai of Swat (Oct 9) half of their battle against education of girls and empowerment of Pakistani women would have been won. Allah, the Most Compassionate, willed otherwise. Malala is safe and steadily recovering thanks to expert medicare by Pakistani doctors followed by painstaking efforts by the doctors at Birminigham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital. Horrendous attempt on Malala’s life—a teenager whose only fault—along with other hundreds and thousand of girls in Pakistan—was pursuit of modern education and enlightenment. An injured Malala has blunted lethal terrorist attack on her by showing rare resilience for a girl of her age by declaring that she being a follower of martyred Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto—who has been a role model for her—she would continue her sublime mission in accordance with the teachings of Holy Prophet Mohammad (Peace Be Upon Him) who had commanded his followers—irrespective of gender—to pursue education and knowledge even if they have to travel as far as China. Despite the murderous attack Malala is determined to pursue enlightened education to be a model and an example for others to emulate. December 10 Paris “Stand up by Malala” conference organised jointly by Unesco and the government of Pakistan is coinciding with International Human Rights Day. This high profile event for the cause of making enlightened education available to all girls—irrespective of caste, creed, colour or country—has brought together representatives of governments, UN partners, international and bilateral organizations, foundations, donors, private sector, civil society, academics, religious leaders, eminent personalities, the media and other stakeholders in an effort to renew commitment and seek support for education of girls globally. President Asif Ali Zardari, along with Ministers for Foreign Affairs and Education and Chairperson Benazir Income Support Programme, is personally attending “Stand up by Malala” to ensure his own and his government’s resolute commitment to the cause of promoting and universalising education for girls. Besides the Unesco conference, the president will be having a briefing meeting with Director General Unesco Iriva Bokova who is the host of the event. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to establish Malala Fund to promote education for girls is expected to be signed between Pakistan and Unesco during this presidential visit. Pakistan will provide seed money for the establishment of this fund. President Zardari will also meet French President Hollande to discuss bilateral issues during his three-day visit on December 9-11. Among other high-level International figures to participate in this conference include Jeam-Marc Aryalt, the Prime Minister of France, former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown- UN Special Envoy for Global Education, Tarja Helnon former President of Finland, Michelle Bachelet Executive Director UN women education and Former President of Chile, Sheikh Abdullah Foreign Minister of UAE, Liela Zerrougui Under Secretary General and Special Representative of UN Secretary General for Children and Armed Conflict, Dr Abdulaziz Othoman Altwaiijri Director General Isesco, Maria Arnholm State Secretary to Minister for Gender Equality and Deputy Minister for Education. British government is being represented by Baroness Sayeeda Warsi— its first high profile Muslim Minister in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) holding as well the portfolio of Interfaith Relations and Human Rights. While the broader framework of Education For All (EFA) seeks universalisation of education for the less and under-privileged in line with the EFA goals and the priorities of the ‘Education First’ initiative, the overall objective of this event is to advocate for and promote right of girls to education, encompassing on all facets and all aspects of education, so that education becomes available and accessible to all girls. EFA framework will be so moulded that it will be readily acceptable and adaptable to every country’s specific needs and circumstances. Since Malala has come to be a global icon of hope and inspiration, defrosting the world-wide inertia, awakening and igniting a revolutionary reaction and mobilising support for education for girls globally, Pakistan’s response has been quick, positive and a way forward to grapple with the bull of illiteracy by the horns. President Zardari inspired by martyred leader Mohtarma Benazir Bhuto’s desire to seek education for all girls and less privileged children, has been overly expressive of his determination to renew her and Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah’s commitment to provide meaningful impetus to encourage, to protect, and to promote education for girls in line with the objective of achieving EFA’s goals. Being held beyond the frontiers of Pakistan encompassing all those who consider education for girls as a must for fostering equality of genders, the historic Paris conference “Stand up For Malala” is a landmark manifestation and commitment of Government of Pakistan to take this opportunity to wake up and mobilise the global support for inalienable right of education for girls all over the world. This unparalleled initiative of Government of Pakistan and Unesco shall blossom into a trailblazer for 61 million children across the world, most of whom are girls, who want to be educated but cannot go to schools for reasons beyond their circumstances and resources. The sublime objective of the Paris “Stand up for Malala” conference is to sensitize the global community about the importance of education for girls and enormous challenges and obstacles encountered by those millions of them seeking education. It will also pave way beyond basic schooling for advance education for girls as an imminent policy. “Stand up for Malala” would go a long way in motivating, mobilising support and commitment from various participants for giving an accelerated boost to the global agenda for education of girls.

US drones kill 3 suspected militants in Pakistan

Associated Press
Pakistani intelligence officials say a U.S. drone strike has killed three suspected militants near the Afghan border. The two officials say four missiles struck a residential compound Sunday morning near Miran Shah, the main town in the North Waziristan tribal region. The identity of the suspected militants was not known. North Waziristan has been a frequent target of U.S. missile strikes. The tribal region is home to a mix of insurgents from Pakistan, Afghanistan and al-Qaida-linked foreign militant groups. Pakistan publically protests the drone strikes, although officials say Islamabad has secretly supported the program. The intelligence officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media.