Saturday, November 30, 2013
Manal Al Sharif is a Saudi woman
By Sebastian Usher A leading Saudi campaigner for giving women the right to drive has been stopped by police as she was driving through the capital, Riyadh. Photos of Aziza al Yousef were posted on Friday morning as she was seen at the wheel. Her fellow activist, Eman al Nafjan, took the pictures. On her Twitter page, Ms Nafjan provided a running account of their drive, saying they bought a bunch of bananas without anyone batting an eyelid. She posted a photo of them filling up at a petrol station and expressed her satisfaction that this all seemed to be treated as an everyday occurrence. But then they were spotted and reported to the police, who stopped them. Aziza al Yousef messaged the BBC to say that they had been taken to a police station.
“Each year on World AIDS Day, we come together as a global community to fight a devastating pandemic,” the president said in a proclamation issued Wednesday by the White House. “We remember the friends and loved ones we have lost, stand with the estimated 35 million people living with HIV/AIDS, and renew our commitment to preventing the spread of this virus at home and abroad. If we channel our energy and compassion into science-based results, an AIDS-free generation is within our reach.” To that end, he says the nation has made significant strides toward strengthening scientific investments, building effective HIV/AIDS education and prevention programs, and bringing together public and private stakeholders. Sunday, Dec. 1 marks the 25th year of World AIDS Day and the president also discussed plans to address disparities in care and prevention, especially among those with the greatest HIV burden, which in the U.S. is the African-American community. African-Americans account for a higher proportion of infections at all stages of disease—from new infections to deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 2010, the most recent figures available, African-Americans accounted for an estimated 44 percent of all new HIV infections among adults and adolescents (aged 13 years or older), despite representing only 12 percent to 14 percent of the population, the CDC says. Noting the importance of early detection and treatment, President Obama points to an Executive Order issues in July that establishes the HIV Continuum Initiative. The plan addresses the disparities in care and prevention, especially among communities with the greatest HIV burden. Additionally, in November, he signed the HIV Organ Policy Equity Act, removing the ban on research into the possibility of organ transplants between people with HIV. “My administration remains committed to reducing the stigma and disparities that fuel this epidemic,” the president said in the proclamation. “Beginning in 2014, the Affordable Care Act will require health insurance plans to cover HIV testing without any additional out-of-pocket costs. It will also prohibit discrimination based on HIV status and eliminate annual benefit caps. Under this law, we have already expanded Medicaid for working class Americans and banned lifetime limits on insurance coverage.” The president said that the job to end HIV extends beyond the nation’s borders, which is why World AIDS Day is so important. “This is a global fight, and America continues to lead,” he says. “The United States has provided HIV prevention, treatment, and care to millions around the world, helping to dramatically reduce new infections and AIDS-related deaths. This year we celebrate the 10th anniversary of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), a powerful bipartisan effort to turn the tide on this epidemic. Through PEPFAR, we are making strong global progress and are on track to achieve the ambitious HIV treatment and prevention targets I set on World AIDS Day in 2011.” The first World Health Organization established the first World AIDS Day on Dec. 1, 1988. The 2013 theme is: “Shared Responsibility: Strengthening Results for an AIDS-Free Generation.” “When the World Health Organization established the first World AIDS Day on December 1, 1988, treatment options for people living with HIV were practically nonexistent, and AIDS was almost invariably fatal,” Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a statement released Friday. “Hope was in short supply, and there seemed to be little reason for optimism. I am grateful that the world is a very different place for the 25th annual World AIDS Day. “Thanks to tremendous advances in our understanding of the disease and how to treat it, millions of individuals, both in the U.S. and around the globe, are now truly living with HIV,” Sebelius said.
Three major U.S. airlines on Saturday confirmed that pilots were complying with Chinese government demands that it be notified of plans to traverse the newly declared air defense zone over the East China Sea. The demands from Beijing have resulted in tensions with Japan and the United States. On Saturday, United, American and Delta airlines told CNN that its pilots were following Washington's advice and complying with Beijing's "air defense identification zone." A senior official in U.S. President Barack Obama's administration said Friday that commercial airlines are being told to abide by Beijing's instruction, even if the U.S. government doesn't recognize it. "We ... are advising for safety reasons that they comply with notices to airmen, which FAA always advises," the official said.
China urged India on Saturday to refrain from moves that complicates boundary issues and work with China to create conditions for talks. Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang made the comment when asked about Indian President Pranab Mukherjee's visit to the so-called "Arunachal Pradesh" from Nov. 29 to 30. China's stance on the disputed area on the eastern part of the China-India border is consistent and clear, Qin said. Bilateral ties have maintained a sound momentum for growth and both sides are trying to settle the border issue through the special representative mechanism and friendly consultations, Qin said. "We hope India can work with China to protect the overall relationship, preserve peace and tranquility on the border," the spokesman said. The so-called "Arunachal Pradesh" was established largely on the three areas of China's Tibet -- Monyul, Loyul and Lower Tsayul currently under Indian illegal occupation. These three areas, located between the illegal "Mcmahon Line" and the traditional customary boundary between China and India, have always been Chinese territory. In 1914, the colonialists secretly contrived the illegal "Mcmahon Line" in an attempt to incorporate into India the above-mentioned three areas of Chinese territory. None of the successive Chinese governments have ever recognized this line. In February 1987, Indian authorities declared the founding of the so-called "Arunachal Pradesh." China and India established a special representative mechanism in 2003 as an important platform for solving border disputes. They held their 16th round of talks in June. A border defense cooperation agreement was signed during Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's official visit to China in October, reflecting the will and resolution of both sides for a friendly and cooperative relationship. The agreement is built on previous agreements signed in 1993, 1996 and 2005 that recognize the principle of mutual and equal security.
Text of PPP Patron-in-Chief Bilawal Bhutto’s address to the public gathering at foundation day of PPP
http://dunya.com.pk/'پیپلز پارٹی کسی کھلاڑی یا کسی ملا کی میراث نہیں' پیپلز پارٹی کے چیئرمین بلاول بھٹو زرداری نے کہا ہے کہ پیپلز پارٹی کسی کھلاڑی یا کسی ملا کی میراث نہیں، پارٹی کے ساتھ (ن) یا (ق) نہیں لگا کہ ختم ہو جائے۔ اداروں کی نجکاری نہیں، دوستوں کو نوازا جا رہا ہے۔ کراچی: (دنیا نیوز) کراچی میں پیپلز پارٹی کے یوم تاسیس کی تقریب سے خطاب کرتے ہوئے بلاول بھٹو زرداری نے کہا کہ پیپلز پارٹی کے ساتھ کوئی (ن) یا (ق) نہیں لگا جو ختم ہو جائے۔ نہ ہی یہ کسی کھلاڑی یا ملا کی میراث ہے۔ پیپلز پارٹی ایک جنون ایک جذبے کا نام ہے، جذبے کبھی نہیں مرتے۔ اگلے الیکشن میں دنیا کو ثابت کر دیں گے کہ پیپلز پارٹی پہلے سے زیادہ مضبوط ہے۔ بلاول بھٹو زرداری نے کہا کہ شہید بھٹو نے ایٹمی اور بی بی شہید نے میزائل پروگرام دیا۔ بے نظیر بھٹو نے اسلام کے ٹھیکے داروں اور سٹیٹس کو کے علم برداروں کو چیلنج کیا اور آصف زرداری نے جمہوریت کا تحفہ دے کرآمریت کو شکست دی۔ بلاول بھٹو زرداری کا کہنا تھا کہ بے نظیر انکم سپورٹ پروگرام کو ختم کرنے کے منصوبے بنائے جا رہے ہیں۔ پرائیویٹائزیشن کے نام پر پرسنلائزیشن ہو رہی ہے۔ دوستوں کو نوازا جا رہا ہے اسے ناکام بنا دیں گے۔ بلاول بھٹو زرداری نے کہا کہ غریبوں کے منہ سے نوالا چھینا جا رہا ہے۔ انہوں نے حکومت کو مخاطب کرتے ہوئے کہا کہ غریبوں کے بجائے ان جیسوں پر بوجھ ڈالا جائے۔ بلاول بھٹو زرداری نے کہا کہ پاکستان کو ترقی یافتہ ملک بنائیں گے۔ تقریر کے اختتام پر انہوں نے جئے بھٹو اور جئے بھٹو بے نظیر کے نعرے بھی لگوائے۔ کراچی میں پیپلز پارٹی کے یوم تاسیس کی تقریب میں پارٹی رہنماؤں اور کارکنوں نے بھرپور جوش و خروش کا مظاہرہ کیا۔ شرمیلا فاروقی بھی نعرے لگوانے والوں میں شامل رہیں۔ یوم تاسیس کی تقریب میں شرکت کے لیے کارکن بھرپور تیاری کے ساتھ پہنچے۔ اکثر کارکنوں نے پارٹی پرچم والی ٹوپیاں پہن رکھی تھیں۔ پارٹی رہنماؤں کی آمد پر کارکنوں نے خوب نعرہ بازی کی۔ بلاول بھٹو زرداری اپنی بہنوں آصفہ اور بختاور کے ساتھ سٹیج پر پہنچے تو ان کا والہانہ انداز میں استقبال کیا گیا۔ تقریب میں پیپلز پارٹی کے ترانے بھی بجائے گئے۔ خواتین کارکن بھی جلسے میں شرکت کے لیے خوب بن ٹھن کر پہنچی تھیں۔ رکن سندھ اسمبلی شرمیلا فاروقی بڑھ چڑھ کر نعرے لگاتی رہیں۔ جلسے میں ایک معمر خاتون بھی شریک تھیں جنہوں نے پارٹی پرچم کا ڈوپٹہ سر پر لے رکھا تھا۔ تقریب میں بلاول اور بختاور بھٹو زرداری نے کیک کاٹا۔ پیپلز پارٹی کے یوم تاسیس پر جلسے کراچی میں جلسے سے خطاب کرتے ہوئے وزیر اعلیٰ سندھ قائم علی شاہ نے کہا کہ لوگ کہتے تھے کہ پیپلز پارٹی ختم ہو رہی ہے۔ جلسے میں کارکنوں کی بڑی تعداد نے ان کی باتیں غلط ثابت کر دیں۔ رضا ربانی کا کہنا تھا کہ پیپلز پارٹی نے پہلے بھی غریب کا ساتھ دیا آج بھی دے گی۔ قومی اداروں کی نجکاری نہیں ہونے دیں گے۔ ان کا کہنا تھا کہ حکومت طالبان سے مذاکرات پر گومگو کا شکار ہے۔ پیپلز پارٹی وفاق کے تحفظ کے لیے ساتھ ہو گی۔ شیری رحمان نے جلسے سے خطاب کرتے ہوئے کہا کہ بے نظیر بھٹو نے آمریت کا سامنا کیا، ان کا پیغام آج بھی جاری ہے۔ ان کا کہنا تھا کہ نیٹو سپلائی روکنے کے لیے عالمی طاقتوں کی آنکھوں میں آنکھیں ڈال کر بات کرنا ہو گی۔
The Express TribuneWe will show to the world by 2018 that the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) is still very much alive, said PPP patron in chief Bilawal Bhutto Zardari in a rare public appearance at the party’s 46th Foundation Day, which was held on Saturday at Bilawal House. In his speech, Bilawal highlighted the sacrifices and achievements of Benazir Bhutto and Asif Ali Zardari, stating that the PPP has always challenged the status quo. He also spoke about the rising cost of living in Pakistan and said the PPP will raise their voices on behalf of the poor. ‘Personalisation’ is taking place in the guise of privatisation, he said, adding that the PPP is opposed to 100 per cent privatisation. “Our detractors say that Bilawal Bhutto Zardari does not speak the same language as common people,” the young chairman said in his Urdu-language speech. “They do not realise that the relationship between me and [the party workers] transcends language.” At the end of his speech, Bilawal chanted party slogans along with the party workers in and afterwards joined his sister Bakhtawar Bhutto and aunt Faryal Talpur to cut a cake in celebration of 46 years of the party’s existence. Several leading members of the PPP were in attendance including former ambassador to the US Sherry Rehman, Senior Senator Mian Raza Rabbani and Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah.
indiatimes.comPakistan's known liquor company Murree Brewery has given a franchise to a Bangalore-based entrepreneur to bottle and sell its Murree brand beer in the Indian market. CEO of Murree Brewery, Isphanyar Bhandara, told TOI on Friday, "It was not permissible to export beer to India through Wagah-Attari border so we decided to offer our company's franchise to an entrepreneur in Bangalore to brew, bottle and market Murree beer in India. This will also strengthen trading ties between India and Pakistan. The product will hit the market soon." Bhandara said Murree Brewery produces beer, single malt whisky, scotch whisky, vodka and brandy. He said under the Pakistani law, Muslims are prohibited from consuming alcoholic drinks whereas non-Muslims and foreigners required consumption permits. "We sell our alcoholic products in five-star hotels only. Pakistan also prohibits export of alcoholic products. For now we are interested in finding distributors for our beer in India," said Bhandara about the company's business plans. Bhandara, a Parsi, said Murree beer will be made in India in the brewery of an Indian actor under their brand (Murree) and formulation.
http://www.islandpacket.com/Police say gunmen have fired on police officers protecting a team of polio workers in northwest Pakistan, killing one and wounding another. Peshawar police official Naeem Khan Khattak says the two officers came under attack Saturday as they were returning to a police station after doing duty with the polio workers on the outskirts of the city, the capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. No group claimed responsibility, but militants have killed more than a dozen polio workers and police protecting them over the last year in Pakistan. They accuse health workers of acting as spies for Washington and claim the vaccine is intended to make Muslim children sterile. Pakistan is one of only three countries where the virus is still endemic. Read more here: http://www.islandpacket.com/2013/11/30/2822412/police-guarding-polio-team-in.html#storylink=cpy
The Express TribuneThe federal government has removed the names of former inspector general police of Sindh Rana Maqbool and DIG Karachi Farooq Amin Qureshi from the exit control list (ECL). Both the former police officers are wanted in the case of wounding the tongue of Asif Ali Zardari during torturous interrogation when he was imprisoned in the second tenure of Nawaz Sharif. Rana Maqbool had filed a case against Zardari for causing injury to himself in jail. When the table turned in 1999 and Nawaz government was wound up by Pervez Musharraf, the then IG Rana Maqbool was also implicated in the airplane hijacking case along with Nawaz Sharif and his compatriots. In 2008, when Asif Ali Zardari became the president, the tongue cutting case became active, but Rana Maqbool and Farooq Qureshi stayed in Punjab under the wings of PML-N and refused to appear for any court hearing claiming threats to their lives. The PPP government’s interior minister Rehman Malik had put the names of these two ex-police officers on ECL. Now, under PML-N government, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar has directed removing names of Rana Maqbool and Farooq Amin Qureshi from ECL.
By DECLAN WALSH When he leaves his post on Friday, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, the inscrutable Pakistani Army chief and former spymaster, will end a nearly decade-long chapter as the focus of American fears and frustrations in Pakistan, the reluctant partner in a contentious and often ill-tempered strategic dance. Suspicious American officials frequently accused him, and the 600,000-member army he led, of double-dealing and bad faith: supporting the Afghan Taliban, allying with militant groups who bombed embassies and bases, and sheltering Osama bin Laden. Those accusations were made in private, usually, but exploded into the open in late 2011 when Adm. Mike Mullen, the American military chief who sought to befriend General Kayani over golf and dinners, issued an angry tirade to Congress about Pakistani duplicity. The taciturn General Kayani weathered those accusations with a sang-froid that left both allies and enemies guessing about what, or whom, he knew. But few doubted that he nursed grievances, too — about C.I.A. covert operations, the humiliating raid that killed Bin Laden, and perceived American arrogance and inconstancy. General Kayani, 61, steps down with those arguments still lingering. And reckoning with his legacy exposes a cold truth at the heart of the turbulent American-Pakistani relationship: that after years of diplomatic effort, and billions of dollars in aid, the countries’ aims and methods remain fundamentally opposed — particularly when it comes to the endgame next door in Afghanistan. “We have almost no strategic convergences with Pakistan, at any level,” admitted a senior American defense official. “You’ll never change that, and it’s naïve to think we can do it with an appeal to the war on terror.” Seen through Pakistani eyes, however, General Kayani was a more tangible, even positive, force. Despite his personal antipathy for the country’s civilian leadership, he restrained army meddling in politics and tolerated increased criticism in the news media. After the country’s first successful completion of a democratic election cycle, Pakistanis can dare to imagine that a long era of military coups might be over. Further, he was at least partly successful in refocusing the army’s monomaniacal attention on India, the old enemy, toward a new threat posed by the militants lurking in the country’s remote areas. Still, in other respects, Pakistan’s bullying military class has remained unchanged, particularly in its dismal record on rights abuses. General Kayani’s soldiers and spies have prosecuted a dirty war against separatists in Baluchistan Province, cultivated contacts with sectarian militias, and intimidated and bloodied rights campaigners and journalists. For all that, his authority was never seriously challenged. “He’s one of the most powerful generals Pakistan has ever had,” said Vali R. Nasr, the dean of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. Now, as he hands off to his successor, at a time of diminishing American engagement in the region, the largest question about the enigmatic general is how much of that legacy will endure. In many ways, General Kayani was the antithesis of the swaggering general and junta leader he succeeded, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, and his mandate after taking the top army post in 2007 was to repair the prestige that was tarnished under General Musharraf’s watch. He has been quiet and philosophical where General Musharraf was loquacious and boastful. Foreigners complained that his reserve could be unnerving, and that he mumbled. In meetings, he sat like a perched eagle, occasionally darting out for a cigarette. Those who knew him well said his public reserve was simply a tactic: In private, with small groups he trusted or needed, he could be blunt and forceful. “He was the anti-Musharraf,” said Shuja Nawaz, the author of “Crossed Swords,” a history of the Pakistani Army. But the rise of the Pakistani Taliban posed an immediate challenge. The Taliban’s drive to destroy the security forces and central government shook the Pakistani military’s jihadist sympathies, through unprecedented violence: the beheading of soldiers, the assassination of senior generals, and even suicide bombings against the feared military spy agency, the Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence, or ISI. An audacious assault on the army’s headquarters in Rawalpindi in 2010 was particularly worrisome: The attackers came within a few hundred feet of the general’s personal office, and were aided by army conspirators. General Kayani’s response to the Taliban included a successful military offensive in the Swat Valley in 2009, and orders to dust off the army’s creaky, India-centric military doctrine, which he infused with modern counterinsurgency doctrine. And he publicly acknowledged the country’s Frankenstein problem: Jihadist groups that the army had once nurtured to fight Indian interests in Kashmir and elsewhere had become a menace to Pakistan’s stability. “We as a nation must stand united against this threat,” he said in a widely acclaimed speech in August 2012. But the army only partly embraced this conversion, to the immense frustration of American officials, especially Admiral Mullen. No other American worked so hard to cultivate General Kayani, whom he visited 26 times in Pakistan — more than any other foreign military leader, including those in Afghanistan and Iraq. The two generals played golf in America and held long working dinners in Rawalpindi. Some American officials joked about a “bromance.” But in September 2011, just before he left office, Admiral Mullen exploded with anger in testimony to Congress that suggested a personal betrayal. Despite years of cajoling General Kayani to cut the military’s ties with the Haqqani network, the Afghan Taliban’s most virulent allies, Admiral Mullen charged that the group was a “veritable arm” of General Kayani’s ISI. “He believed he had failed,” said an American official familiar with Admiral Mullen’s efforts, adding that the two men have not spoken since. But Admiral Mullen’s outburst reflected a broader American frustration with both Pakistan and Afghanistan after 2001: that despite warm handshakes and billions in aid, local leaders stubbornly refused to comply with American demands. With General Kayani, it came down to a confidence vote on the future of Afghanistan. He and his staff did not believe American assurances of a stable Afghanistan in which India, Pakistan’s main preoccupation, would be excluded, so he hedged his bets by refusing to turn the army’s guns on the Haqqanis, American and Pakistani officials said. “The problem with our Afghanistan strategy is that everything about it was anathema to Pakistan,” said Mr. Nasr, who previously served in the Obama administration. “You can’t have a partner who sees everything you do as a threat to his own interests.” Those contradictions unraveled most spectacularly in 2011, a year of serial crisis that plunged relations with Pakistan to their nadir: a C.I.A. contractor gunned down two men in Lahore, a Navy SEAL raid killed Bin Laden a few miles from the military’s main training academy just days after General Kayani had spoken there, and American aircraft mistakenly killed 24 Pakistani soldiers on the border. General Kayani, under pressure from other generals, closed a C.I.A. drone base within Pakistan, froze military cooperation and temporarily closed NATO supply lines into Afghanistan. But through it all, American and Pakistani officials said, he kept the relationship going — even though it cost him politically within the angry Pakistani officer corps. General Kayani himself was furious with American leaks, like the diplomatic cables published by WikiLeaks, undermining his standing in Pakistan. In one meeting with the American envoy Richard C. Holbrooke, he produced an annotated copy of Bob Woodward’s book “Obama’s Wars” and demanded to know who had leaked the information about him that appeared inside. Incongruously for a country where generals have ruled for half of its 66-year history, General Kayani had greater success with Pakistani civilians. He closed the ISI’s infamous political cell, the traditional dirty-tricks unit for political interference, and oversaw largely successful elections in 2008 and last May. Douglas E. Lute, a former security adviser to President Obama, said General Kayani told him with pride about his participation in elections. “He described putting on his best business suit, going down to the station and voting,” he said. Still, General Kayani was hardly softhearted. He steadfastly wielded his unofficial veto power over the country’s foreign and security policy, often operating through pliable civilian ministers. He continued to expand the country’s nuclear arsenal — still in the direction of India — and his troops and intelligence operatives faced accusations of gross human rights abuses. Inside the military, his reputation was hurt by stories that corrupt relatives had grown rich on military supply contracts. “Did Gen. Kayani’s brothers make billions?” read one newspaper headline this week. Now, after an extended term as army chief, he is retiring at a time of institutional flux in Pakistan. President Asif Ali Zardari stepped down in September; the country’s mercurial chief justice, Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, leaves next month. Whether General Kayani’s policy of militant restraint endures will depend partly on his successor — a choice that reflected a rare defeat for him, when Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif ignored his recommendation in favor of the new army chief, Lt. Gen. Raheel Sharif. But for all General Kayani’s impenetrable airs, one thing seems clear. Pakistan’s core strategic doctrine — distrust of India, and an accompanying insistence on exerting control through proxies in Afghanistan — is likely to remain unchanged. It predated his rise to power. And in the end, his legacy may come to be seen as the general who protected that doctrine, for better and worse, through the stormy years of American involvement in the region. “He can say, ‘I survived the Americans,’ ” Mr. Nasr said.
STAYING true to past form, the PML-N has dipped into its old bag of economic tricks and unveiled its latest incentives for taxpayers and investors. The thinking is the same as before: tax dodgers and people who have earned millions in the black, grey or undocumented economy do not want to enter the formal economy; in order to encourage them to submit to documentation and participation in the formal economy, a no-questions-asked policy about the provenance of the investment or tax payments needs to be implemented; and this, somehow, will help address Pakistan’s investment and taxpaying problems. At least this time, the PML-N has tweaked the investment part of the programme: no questions will be asked if an investment of over a certain stipulated limit creates jobs in sectors that are not already mature and saturated. The simple question then: how much of an impact will these measures have? On the investment climate, at the margins perhaps there may be some positive effect, but surely no more. The reasons for that are straightforward, and by now long-standing: where energy is scarce, where the currency is always on a downslope and where monetary policy is tight, where existing businesses are struggling to stay afloat, how are new investors to be convinced to invest in new projects? In addition, the PML-N government seems afflicted by the same drift and indecision of previous dispensations, dashing hopes that governance or security would quickly improve. In that climate of fear and uncertainty, no meaningful economic turnaround can be engineered, and certainly not if tried- and-failed methods are attempted once again. On the taxation front, the government appears to have virtually surrendered to special interests. After caving in to traders earlier, now the government has further diluted the senior tax authorities’ powers to access banking details. Whether the proposition itself was a good one to begin with is a separate question; what matters now is that the government has backtracked on the centrepiece of its anyway paltry tax-system reforms. This in addition to the usual promises to extend the no-audit promises to various tiers and categories of taxpayers. Why not, instead, unveil reforms to make the audit process more transparent and fair to lower the possibility of abuse and extortion? Perhaps the most telltale sign of the government’s wrong approach to taxation is the introduction of special VIP privileges for top-tier taxpayers. Paying taxes is a duty and the more the income, the greater that duty. Taxation should never be about giving the already privileged even more privileges.
The Pakistan Peoples Party is celebrating the 46th foundation day of the Party this 30th November by reiterating its commitment to the founding principles and the framework for the emancipation of the people which lay at the basis when the Party was founded by Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, the former President Mr. Asif Ali Zardari said in a message today. “The founding principles of the Party ‘Democracy is our politics’ and ‘All power to the people’ are ingrained in the consciousness of the people which will never be erased. Today we reiterate yet again that political change can only be brought about by the people through ballot and no one will be permitted to impose their political or ideological agenda through the bullet and the gun” Born during the struggle against dictatorship the Pakistan Peoples Party is proud of its record of continuous struggle against civil and military dictatorship, he said. Dictatorship rears its ugly head from time to time in different forms and appears in different manifestations he said warning also that militants and militancy seeking to impose their religious and sectarian ideology through force was a new form of dictatorship. Our leader Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto laid down her life leading from the front, the fight against this new threat to democracy. Let us on this founding day vow to continue fight against militants and militancy- an enforcement agencies and civilians have laid down their lives. Our Mission is the great mission of emancipation, of hope, of honour and respect, of a society free of poverty and of holding high the banner of human dignity for which the great Quaid e Awam gave his life. It was the PPP which led the resistance against dictatorships and gave the country a unanimous Constitution, technological defense capability and a democratic culture. When the constitution was disfigured by dictatorships it was the PPP which three years ago led the political parties in forging a rare political consensus to restore the constitution. “The Party’s momentous achievements were made possible by the enormous sacrifices made by the workers of the Party for which they deserved the gratitude of all patriotic people.” Just as no amount of terrorism by the state actors in the past could stop our workers from pursuit of their democratic beliefs, no amount of terrorism perpetrated now by non state actors and militants will shake the belief in democratic values an culture of the workers of PPP and democratic political parties. History bears witness to the fact that when the democratic and progressive elements of civil society were tortured, jailed and hanged there were also those who colluded with the dictators, took oath of allegiance and abetted in their crime of stifling the democratic voice. This makes the sacrifices of our workers even more glorious. The Party salutes all these valiant workers for their dedication, commitment and sacrifices made for the cause. “I ask the workers to go out to spread the message of hope and deliverance, which is the message of the PPP, I urge you to tell the silent, demoralized and suffering majority of people that a bright morning awaits at the end of a long and hard flight against the militants and the enemies of democracy.”
Friday, November 29, 2013
Two militants, including an accused linked with attack on Pakistan Army headquarters in Rawalpindi, were also injured in the US drone attack that targeted a compound in Miranshah town of North Waziristan. According to sources, Aslam alias Yaseen is linked with attacks on General Headquarters (GHQ) and another attack on the naval base in Karachi. The sources further said that three militants were killed in the drone strike. Two militants were from Punjab. They said that the injured militants have been taken to hospital. The militants were fighting in Afghanistan, the sources claimed. The militants were living in the attacked compound for four months, the sources added.
Chinese fighter jets were scrambled and followed US and Japanese planes that had entered the newly-proclaimed Chinese air defense zone in the disputed area of the East China Sea, Xinhua reports. Two US surveillance aircraft and 10 Japanese F-15 jets were ‘tailed’ by Chinese pilots on Friday. China ordered an urgent dispatch of its Su-30 and J-10 fighter jets to an area in the East China Sea after the foreign aircraft “invaded” the air defense zone, they said. The reported intrusions came in defiance of the East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ), established by Beijing last week. China’s move has triggered outrage from several states in the region and critical rhetoric from the US, as the vast zone covers disputed areas, including the islets claimed by both China and Japan. Earlier on Thursday, the Chinese Air Force conducted its first air patrol flights over the zone, as Japan and South Korea sent their own military aircraft into the zone's airspace in an act of defiance. China has stressed its decision to enforce the airspace identification zone - which requires all aircraft flying over or near it to identify themselves - follows common international practices and “is a necessary measure in China’s exercise of self-defense rights.” No international flights will be affected by the setup of the zone, Chinese Air Force spokesman, Shen Jinke, told Xinhua. Japan and its US ally blasted the decision as “unacceptable” and rejected the “unilateral” declaration, saying it would create dangerous tension. However, Chinese officials gave a reminder that both countries have long had their own ADIZ, and that the Japanese never discussed theirs with their neighbor. “If they want it revoked, then we would ask that Japan first revoke its own air defense identification zone and China will reconsider it after 44 years,” China’s Defense Ministry spokesman, Yang Yujun, said in a statement posted on the ministry’s website on Thursday. While possible action against the zone’s infiltrators has been vaguely defined as “defensive emergency measures,” The Global Times, a Chinese state media newspaper, on Friday called for “timely countermeasures without hesitation,” should Tokyo violate the new ADIZ. At the same time, the paper suggested China could ignore violations by some other states, including the US. Two US military B-52 bombers flew over the area on Monday without prior notice, with a Pentagon spokesman telling Reuters we “have continued to follow our normal procedures.”
President Hamid Karzai has said "for as long as arbitrary acts and oppression of foreign forces continue, the security agreement with the United States will not be signed. The president expressed these views in the wake of a coalition forces’ airstrike that killed an eight-year-old child in southern Helmand province.
Additional District and Sessions Judge Safdar Ali Bhatti has sought comments from the Kot Lakhpat SHO for December 3 on a petition seeking an attempted suicide case against a woman already being tried for blasphemy. The petitioner, Advocate Tahira Shaheen Mughal, submitted that at the last hearing of the blasphemy case against Waleeha Irfat in Central Jail, warders had told the court that they had foiled a suicide attempt by the accused. She asked the court to direct the SHO concerned to register a case against Irfat for attempted suicide under Section 325 of the Pakistan Penal Code, which carries a term of up to a year in prison. A witness told The Express Tribune that when the judge directed jail officials to produce the accused before the court, the warders responded that she did not wish to come out as she was not appropriately dressed. She was eventually brought to court covered in a long shawl.
Blasphemy trial Meanwhile, M Amanullah, who claims to be Irfat’s fiancé, has filed a petition asking that she be sent to a private hospital for treatment and for him to be allowed to stay with her as an attendant. He said that Irfat had been behind bars for a year and a half and her confinement had caused psychological issues. The Punjab Institute of Mental Health, in a report dated August 29, 2013, declared that Irfat was suffering from a mood disorder which caused impulsivity issues and she required pharmacological treatment as well as counselling. Advocate Ghulam Mustafa Chaudhry filed an objection petition in response, alleging that the medical report issued by the Mental Health Institute was invalid and an attempt to evade criminal prosecution. He said that no notice had been issued to the complainant when the constitution of a medical board to examine the accused was ordered, which was illegal. A board of certification had not been assembled to examine the accused, he said. The judge directed the jail superintendent to get the accused medically examined by a medical officer. If this facility was not available in the jail, the judge said, the accused should be examined elsewhere. The judge fixed December 3 for recording the statements of prosecution witnesses. At the last hearing, Irfat had complained to the judge that women prisoners in the judicial lock-up had told her she deserved to be killed as a blasphemer. Irfat’s request for post-arrest bail was dismissed in July 2012 and an acquittal application was dismissed on April 8, 2013. An FIR was registered against Irfat at the Factory Area police station under Section 295-B (defiling the Holy Quran) of the Pakistan Penal Code on the complaint of Abdul Monam Shah, a security guard at Punjab Society near DHA. He said that at 5a on March 3, 2012, while he had been on patrol, a woman named Saima Bibi had made a hue and cry stating that she had seen Irfat tearing up two copies of the Holy Quran and then sitting and spitting on them. He said that he and a society resident named Boota had entered Irfat’s residence and seen her sitting on pages of the Holy Quran and using derogatory language.
World Watch Monitor Discloses An Increase In Blasphemy Allegations After The Peshawar Church Bombings
According to statistics presented by the World Watch Monitor: four blasphemy cases against Christians were registered in not more than a month’s time; this ratio is four times higher than the monthly average recorded from 2011 till date. Notwithstanding the fact that no direct or substantial proof was available against those accused in all of these cases. The incident of All Saint’s Church bombings was a marker in the history of Pakistani Christians. Reactions from the Muslim majority to Christians protesting against the deadliest bombings were mixed. Few days back UK Foreign Office Minister Baroness Warsi also expressed concerns for Christians in Pakistan urging for international reaction to minorities being persecuted in WashingtonDC. World Watch Monitor has examined the time period since the Peshawar Church bombings; noticing a general environment of much commiseration and kindness towards Christians however few blasphemy charges have tainted the set-up of mutual harmony. In a recent write-up, the World Watch Monitor claims that as a reaction to the twin suicide bombings targeting Christians, the Pakistani Christians erupted in nationwide protests showing annoyance with the government to provide security to the minorities. The WWM presented a case from Hyderabad, as Christians held protest rallies in almost every corner of the city. However, some anti-rally protesters got in amongst the Christians and started attacking passers-by and buildings such as gas stations, said Catholic priest Father Samson Shukardin.”The situation got tense but it still remained calm because the Muslims were equally saddened by the attacks,” he said. Another incident was reported in this write-up from Rawalpindi involving a clash between the Malik and Pashtoon tribes and the Christians of Iqbal Town. When the Christians there held a protest rally on September 23, about two dozen men pelted them with stones. Saleem Masih, a resident of Iqbal Town, said that three days after the protest, a Muslim desecrated a copy of the Qur’an, but Christians were blamed. For the following few nights, he said more than 100 armed Christians guarded the Christian area in Iqbal Town. On October 29, at about 7pm, worship was taking place in the Pentecostal Saints Church of Pakistan in IqbalTown when about five young Pashtoon men thumped the main gate shouting to close the Church. When the congregants came out, the young men fled from the scene. A similar episode extended on November 2 in IqbalTown, where a Christian convention was taking place. A group of young men again tried to disrupt the gathering. “One of them said that they are the ‘lords’ of this area and nothing can take place without their permission,” said Riaz Masih. The WWM further writes about another incident in Lahore, when Christians from the Christian colony of Yahounabad were holding a rally, a Muslim vegetable vendor, Muhammad Akbar, known as Billa, jeered at them. He shouted at protesters that it didn’t matter that a “few Christians had died in the [Peshawar] blast”. He said these same Christians had also come out to protest when Joseph Colony was set on fire. “He even went on to ridicule the poor Christian community by saying that Christian women were willing to do anything for the sake of two kilograms of potatoes, so what right did they have to protest,” Pakistan People’s Party minority wing leader Napoleon Qayyum told World Watch Monitor. Violence then broke out between the Christians and Billa, during which his shop was damaged. Since then, local Christians have boycotted Billa’s vegetable stall. The report goes on with another incident in Karachi, when the Christians of Michael Town had to flee from their homes following a rally on September 23, after they were accused of committing blasphemy by pelting the sign of a mosque with stones. A journalist working for a local news channel, who reached the site when the attack was taking place, told World Watch Monitor that “a large number of attackers wearing dark brown and green turbans” told him that a text message had been circulated saying that the Christians had demolished a mosque, so they had come to avenge the “blasphemous act”.Although the Pakistani police initially tried to strike a compromise between the Christians and Muslims in Karachi, in the end they registered two criminal cases against the Christians. The first case was registered against three men (Yasir, Harry and Waqas Masih) for allegedly murdering a man who was part of the Muslim mob and who died in the stampede.The second case was lodged against Ubert, Ilyas and Babar Masih under Pakistan’s blasphemy laws. No criminal case for the rampage and arson carried out by the Muslim mob was registered, primarily because the Christians feared a backlash.About 300 Christian families had to flee from their homes in the wake of the blasphemy accusation. They returned after two weeks following mediation by the Sindh government. However, the legal cases are still pending and these Christians will face trial. - See more at: http://www.christiansinpakistan.com/world-watch-monitor-discloses-an-increase-in-blasphemy-allegations-after-the-peshawar-church-bombings/#sthash.PAQn4XgI.dpuf