http://www.thenews.com.pk/Spokesman Awami National Party (ANP), Senator Zahid Khan Wednesday accused Imran Khan, Chairman Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), of trying to become a political martyr following, what he called, PTI government’s failure in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. In a statement, Zahid Khan claimed that Imran Khan only took action against the ministers of Qaumi Watan Party while he (Khan) tried to protect his own party’s ‘corrupt’ ministers. “Imran Khan should announce when he is going to sack the remaining 10 corrupt ministers of the provincial Cabinet,” he said. He demanded that the ministers removed today be also declared ineligible, saying the PTI’s provincial government has failed.
Wednesday, November 13, 2013
A child was injured when a blast occurred near an Imam Bargah in North Nazimabad area of the city on Wednesday. A police officer said that the explosion was heard far-flung areas of the city. He added that a vehicle was also damaged in the blast. Police said that the blast occulted near an Imam Bargah in Pahar Ganj area.
This year’s polio cases have surpassed the last year’s tally of 58 to 62 with the relevant officials blaming it on the country’s failure to ensure quality polio vaccination, address immunisation refusal cases and reach all children under five years of age despite obtaining the $227 million loan from Islamic Development Bank for the eradication of the crippling disease. According to the officials, the country’s poor performance on polio front is also seen as a breach of the trust of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (B&MGF), which had pledged to pay seven per cent annual interest on the IDB loan on behalf of Pakistan besides playing a vital role in the grant of the loan after the international donors’ refusal to give more funds for polio eradication. Last year, Pakistan signed an agreement with IDB under which the latter began providing loan to the former in January 2013. In total, IDB is to provide Pakistan with $227 million worth of loan over a period of three years in as many installments. This year, North Waziristan and Khyber agencies and FR Bannu have reported 19, 17 and six cases respectively over the delicate security situation, while nine cases have surfaced in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, six in Punjab and four in Sindh. All this shows widespread circulation of the virus, the officials said. Previously, the polio programme suffered due to the involvement of foreign financial assistance, a factor which made clergy and the Taliban declare vaccination a Western ploy to render Muslims sterile. And now when the programme is totally funded by the government, polio cases have surged. Major reasons for it are vaccination refusal and no access to certain restive areas. According to the officials, the authorities in Fata are unable to vaccinate around 900,000 targeted children either due to the Taliban’s ban on vaccination in North and South Waziristan agencies last year or due to militancy and military action against militants in other agencies. They said the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa health department had been paying Rs500 per day to vaccinators for security reasons unlike other provinces, where workers vaccinating children against polio received Rs250 each, but even then, they were unable to convince parents of more than 35,000 children about vaccination. The officials said more than 32,000 vaccinators took part in polio campaigns, which cost the provincial government around Rs310 million in 2013. They said vaccination refusal was a major hurdle to polio eradication. An official said under the strategy, the provincial health department had to run three polio campaigns within four weeks of the detection of a case of the crippling disease in the surrounding locality. He said the surfacing of a fresh case determined polio-related activities. The official said first installment of IDB loan was secured in January this year, which was used for polio activities, including payment to field workers, purchase of oral polio vaccine and logistics. He said bulk of the loan was being spent in areas, which had reported polio cases but vaccination refusal and missed children cases coupled with the Taliban’s ban on polio campaigns hampered efforts to free the country from the crippling disease.The official said Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation had urged Pakistani government to use the IDB loan for stepping up vaccination efforts to safeguard children against polio. They said in the past, the government had accused donor agencies of failure to eradicate polio but it could no longer point an accusing finger towards them as it had been solely executing the programme since January 2013.
In the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan, nights are often the hardest. It's dark. It's wet. It can be scary. There's little to do and, for many, even less to eat. "We don't have homes. We miss our homes, and we have nothing to eat," one storm victim taking shelter in a church told CNN, looking into the camera, tearfully appealing to viewers around the world: "We really need help now." That help is coming, on military and civilian transports, by air and by sea. But much of it is piling up at airports.While relief organizations say they have been able to deliver limited aid to some victims, many CNN crews report seeing little sign of any organized relief effort in the hardest-hit areas. Blame Haiyan and its unprecedented strength and scope, said UNICEF spokesman Christopher De Bono. "I don't think that's anyone's fault. I think it's the geography and the devastation," he said.When it struck Friday, Haiyan, known in the Philippines as Yolanda, flattened entire towns, layered debris over roads and knocked airports out of commission. The storm destroyed at least 80,000 homes, according to the latest Philippine government accounting. Although estimates of the number left homeless vary, the Philippine government puts the number at more than 582,000. United Nations officials have warned of increasing desperation and lawlessness, They said the situation is especially dangerous for women and children. Some areas haven't even been reached yet, according to Valerie Amos, the U.N. under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief.There were, however, some successes. The road between the capital, Manila, and hard-hit Tacloban opened Tuesday, holding out the promise that aid will begin to flow more quickly. The U.S. Agency for International Development said it expected to deliver its first shipment of relief supplies to victims on Wednesday. The UN's World Food Programme began distributing food in Tacloban, handing out rice to 3,000 people on Wednesday, the agency said. But more than 2 million people need food, according to the Philippine government, and even Amos acknowledged the pace of relief has been lacking."This is a major operation that we have to mount," she said Wednesday. "We're getting there. But in my view it's far too slow. " On Tuesday, President Benigno Aquino III defended relief efforts, saying that in addition to all of the challenges of blocked roads and downed power and communication lines, local governments were overwhelmed -- forcing the federal government to step in and perform both its own role and those of local officials. Most of all, he said, "nobody imagined the magnitude that this super typhoon brought on us. "Decomposing bodies'' Throughout the devastation, bodies of victims lie buried in the debris or out in the open. The government hasn't counted them all yet, but initial fears that 10,000 may have died have subsided. The official death toll Wednesday morning stood at 2,275. Aquino told CNN's Christiane Amanpour on Tuesday that he expected the final number would likely be around 2,000 to 2,500. While they are gruesome reminders of the human cost of the disaster, the dead are not a major public health threat, said CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta. "From a pure health threat standpoint, there are bigger threats," he said. People need clean food and water. The slowness of delivery of food and basic medical aid is the biggest threat to lives, Gupta said. "There are people there right now who can be saved. And it could be as simple as antibiotics that cost a penny."The World Health Organization agrees with Gupta that the decomposing bodies are a secondary concern. "From a public health point of view, dead bodies do not cause infectious disease outbreaks," said spokeswoman Julie Hall. Clean food and water take priority, as well as shelter from the elements. Unable to move on But the psychological toll is heavy. "I've seen dead people on the streets and the sidewalks," said 9-year-old storm survivor Rastin Teves. "It made me feel scared."It is important psychologically to collect the bodies, treat them with respect and bury them in locations where relatives can find the graves, Hall said. Survivors need to know where they are, to be able to grieve, move on and take care of themselves, she said. In Tacloban, survivor Juan Martinez can't do that yet. He sits in a makeshift shack where his home once stood. Nearby, the bodies of his wife and two children are covered by sacks. "I really want someone to collect their bodies, so I know where they are taken," he told CNN's Anderson Cooper. "I want to know where they are taken."
Ranjit Sinha addresses a press conference at the CBI headquarters in New Delhi, India. Photograph: Mustafa Quraishi/AP India's top police official has apologised for saying: "If you can't prevent rape, you enjoy it," – a remark that has outraged the country. Ranjit Sinha, chief of India's Central Bureau of Investigation, made the remark on Tuesday during a conference about illegal sports betting and the need to legalise gambling. The CBI, the country's premier investigative agency, is India's equivalent of the FBI. Sinha said at the conference that if the state could not stop gambling, it could at least make some revenue by legalising it. "If you cannot enforce the ban on betting, it is like saying: 'If you can't prevent rape, you enjoy it,'" he said. The remarks have caused outrage across India, which in the past year has been hit by widespread protests following the fatal gang-rape of a 23-year-old woman on a bus in New Delhi. On Wednesday, Sinha said his comments had been taken out of context and misinterpreted, and that he was sorry if he had caused hurt. Angry activists, however, called for his resignation. Brinda Karat, leader of the Communist party of India (Marxist), said Sinha's comments were offensive to women everywhere. "It is sickening that a man who is in charge of several rape investigations should use such an analogy," Karat told reporters. "He should be prosecuted for degrading and insulting women." The New Delhi attack on the young woman last December caused nationwide outrage and forced the government to change rape laws and create fast-track courts for rape cases. Laws introduced after the attack make stalking, voyeurism and sexual harassment a crime. They also provide for the death penalty for repeat offenders or for rape attacks that lead to the victim's death.
The picture in Afghanistan today is bleak: worsening security, ubiquitous Taliban presence, poor coordination between donors and the government, and a slowing economyExactly 12 years ago, on November 13, 2001 — just two months after the assassination of Ahmad Shah Massoud and the al Qaeda strikes in New York and Washington D.C. — Massoud’s forces entered Kabul after Taliban fighters fled the city the previous night. This came on the heels of desperate diplomatic efforts to prevent the Northern Alliance from occupying Kabul and taking over the reins of government. Why did the United States and its allies go to Afghanistan? U.S. troops went there to get rid of the al Qaeda leadership, and combat terrorists with a global reach. Operation Enduring Freedom was launched against terrorist entities and the states that harboured them. That was the reason for targeting the Taliban regime. Intense operations The United Nations Security Council mandated an International Security Assistance Force for the security of Kabul and its environs on December 20, 2001. ISAF has since been supported by 49 U.S. allies and partners. At its high point in 2011, there were 1,40,000 ISAF troops in Afghanistan, including 1,01,000 Americans, not counting contracted private security personnel. After such impressive marshalling of forces and intensified military operations, Afghanistan continues to remain among the greatest security challenges of our times. What happened? A 2009 Senate Foreign Relations Committee report blamed the 2001 Pentagon leadership for the “lost opportunity” of preventing Osama bin Laden’s flight from Tora Bora to Pakistan. Centcom Commander General Tommy Franks turned down a CIA request for a battalion of Army Rangers to assist a rag-tag force tracking bin Laden. Concurrently, in late November 2001, Pakistani planes were allowed to airlift from Kunduz hundreds of Islamabad’s advisers and troops, presumably along with some of the Taliban’s and al Qaeda’s leading cadres. A year or so later, the U.S. shifted its attention to Iraq, leaving the Afghan and Pakistan tasks unfinished. The U.S. and NATO initially believed that a strong Afghan Army was not required, since the Taliban and al Qaeda fighters had dispersed without a fight — as for those who fled, Pakistan would take care of them. Afghans are still reaping the consequences of this initial neglect. The blunder of sub-contracting to Pakistan the management of the Taliban resulted in the outfit’s fighters being nursed, nurtured and re-infiltrated into Afghanistan from 2005. Since then, Afghanistan has become an arena for experimentation in social and political engineering. The military campaign was first cast as a war against terror, then as a counter-insurgency operation. The advantages gained by the surging American troops and more muscular military action were defeated by the announcement of the exit strategy. Opportunity lost As for building Afghan capacity, little was done for several years. U.N. representatives on the ground advocated a ‘light’ international footprint. Rich countries were initially parsimonious in their commitments. In early 2002, Afghanistan was a relatively clean slate on which anything could be written, so long as the country’s well-wishers took account of its regional strategic space. But that was not to be. Paradoxically, after the Taliban recovered, regrouped and re-equipped itself in its safe havens and brought violence back to Afghanistan, a stepped-up civilian effort followed. The Afghanistan Compact, put together in London in January 2006, made nation-building the main focus of the future international effort. Its conceptual flaw was the vision to transform Afghanistan into the image of its benefactors. The instruments used to achieve this, such as the Provincial Reconstruction Teams, bypassed Afghan institutions and indigenous impulses. Afghan political leaders complained that the parallel structures created by the PRTs undermined their government. Between 2001 and 2009, the Afghan government incurred an expenditure of $5.7 billion through its own budget and institutions, compared to $41 billion committed for assistance to Afghanistan during the same period. Extent of fraud Audits point to the fact that contractor profits and consultant fees absorbed a substantial part of the international assistance. The 2008 U.S. Commission on Wartime Contracting reported that fraud alone could account for as much as $12 billion spent in Afghanistan and Iraq. Some of this actually funded terrorism and insurgency in Afghanistan. “Every year, nearly $500 million flow into the Taliban kitty from western sources,” the former ISI Chief, Asad Durrani wrote recently. This was mainly by way of protection money. Moreover, all three pillars of Afghanistan’s transformation — security, governance and development — were undermined by the growing security deficit. Increasing Taliban attacks immobilised the fledgling state structures at all levels and undermined Afghan growth and development. As Asadullah Khaled, former Kandahar Governor and former head of the National Directorate of Security, told me on my first visit to Kandahar in February 2008: “It is not that the Taliban is strong; it is that we are very weak.” The picture in Afghanistan today is bleak: worsening security, ubiquitous Taliban presence, poor coordination between donors and the government, a slowing economy, and increasing insecurity. A complete exit of ISAF would be a catastrophe for the country, the region and the world. Such an exit would dampen the ongoing development effort, undermine the impressive social and economic gains achieved with so much effort and sacrifice, embolden the enemies of progressive change in Afghanistan, and possibly even lead to a reversal to the ancien regime of 2001, with serious security implications worldwide. So, where do we, the world community, go from here on Afghanistan? The international community should not abandon Afghanistan. It should not encourage the country’s partition or leave it to the mercy of those who are not accountable to the Afghan people. It should avoid acquiescing on exclusive rights over Afghanistan of any single power, or group of outside powers. The global community should abjure extra-territorial demands, defined in terms of a veto over decisions that Afghans themselves must make. Afghanistan’s neighbours should guarantee its independence and sovereignty rather than engage in acts that subvert them. A return to status quo ante should be avoided. Terrorist networks in the region, with their cult of suicide bombings, are ever more closely tied to al Qaeda and its associates. Their membership is more dispersed, diverse, and numerous than it was in 2001. Their restitution in Afghanistan might well lead to the unravelling of the state system in Pakistan, creating for India and the world an even bigger security challenge than the one we face today. We must strive to make Afghan security sustainable by supporting its security apparatus and dismantling the infrastructure of terrorism, both within the country and its border regions. Terrorism and insurgency have never ceased anywhere in the world where support, sustenance, and safe havens for terrorists and insurgents have been available in the contiguity. On development, the world should abandon the idea that it can come from outside. An environment should be created in which Afghanistan can develop itself. Afghan voices should be heard and space allowed for national leadership. We must work towards desirable outcomes, without tangling in processes internal to Afghanistan. Afghanistan will be economically sustainable when it becomes a trade, transportation, energy, and minerals hub in the region. The Afghan leadership had hoped to join SAARC six years ago, and that Afghanistan would soon become a land bridge linking Iran and Central Asia to China and the Indian subcontinent. The templates and action agendas for dismantling trade and transit barriers, and encouraging freer movement of goods, services, investments, peoples, and ideas, are already in place. It is the inability to operationalise them that prevents Afghanistan’s sustained stabilisation. Hard task In spite of multiple international back channels and the efforts of the Afghan High Peace Council, talks with the Taliban have not made much headway. Key players within the Taliban and Pakistan’s state structures are yet to be convinced that they should abandon their campaign to seize power by violence. It is a hard act to fight and talk simultaneously. While a lasting and permanent solution with them on board will be difficult, without them it will be impossible. Efforts for peace, re-integration, and reconciliation with the reconcilable must, therefore, continue. Afghanistan’s fragmented polity needs to look at reconciliation — between and among ethnicities, between Afghanistan and its neighbours, and between the government and those elements of the armed opposition ready to embrace democracy and the Afghan Constitution, respect human rights, and end ideological and organisational links with al Qaeda and its associates. As Rumi, the great Afghan Sufi sage said in his Masnawi 800 years ago: “Believe in God, yet tie the camel’s leg.”
Afghanistan's farmers planted a record opium crop this year, despite a decade of western-backed narcotics programmes aimed at weaning farmers off the drug and cracking down on producers and traffickers. For the first time over 200,000 hectares of Afghan fields were growing poppies, according to the UN's Afghanistan Opium Survey for 2013, covering an area equivalent to the island nation of Mauritius. Violence and political instability means there is unlikely to be any significant drop in poppy farming in the world's top opium producer before foreign combat troops head home next year, a senior UN official warned.
The parts of the city will be sealed from Wednesday evening for the last two days of Muharram, officials said on Tuesday. The city will be sealed from Kohati to Gulbahar, Ashraf Road, Chowk Yadgar and Khyber Bazaar.
The Baloch HalBy Malik Siraj Akbar During last year’s SAFMA [South Asian Free Media Association] conference, Imtiaz Alam, the organization’s secretary general, grumbled with the chief guest, the then president Asif Ali Zardari, about the government’s inaction against the Pakistani Taliban. Mr. Alam went on to warn the president that if Islamabad did not quash the Taliban, the people of Pakistan would cajole the United Nations to intervene in order to rescue the country from the cruelty of the Taliban.
The Pakistani polio virus strain, which has already affected five countries in the past 22 months, has now become a threat to European countries as well. The warning came from a reliable health journal of Europe: ‘The Lancet Medical Journal’. The United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) had confirmed the presence of polio virus among children in northeast Syria. However, the Syrian government alleged that the virus had arrived from the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) as Pakistanis from this part of the country were fighting along with the Syrian rebels. Dr Martin Eichner of the University of Tübingen and Stefan Brockmann of Germany's Reutlingen Regional Public Health Office in his article published in the journal noted that most European countries give polio vaccine once at the time of birth rather than giving immunisation repeatedly. “Since a large number of refugees are fleeing Syria and seeking refuge in neighbouring countries and Europe, there is now a chance the virus could travel into the areas which have been polio-free for decades,” he said. It is pertinent to mention that in January 2012, as many as 21 children were affected because of the virus in a Chinese province and it was confirmed that the virus came from Pakistan. In December 2012, the virus was detected in the Al-Azhar University, Egyt and it was again the Pakistani one traveled from Sukkur (Sindh). In March 2013, the same virus was also traced in Palestine and just after three months it was detected in Israel. Unicef has confirmed that the virus in Syria has been transmitted from Pakistan. However, it (Unicef) has not confirmed which part of the country it came from. A health expert requesting not to be identified said that Syria had been claiming that the virus was transmitted from Fata because it wanted to prove the foreign militants’ involvement in the country’s uprising. “According to our research, the virus which has been detected in Syria was the same that was traced in Egypt and it might have been transmitted from Egypt to Syria,” he said. Secretary, Social Services Fata, Aftab Durrani said that government of Pakistan knew that it was a very sensitive issue and Pakistanis could face traveling ban in Europe.
Two members of the Khasadar force were killed in an explosion that occurred near a security checkpost in Takhta Beg area of Khyber tribal region's Jamrud Tehsil on Wednesday, DawnNews reported. Political administration sources said that unknown persons had planted an explosive device near the Takhta Beg checkpoint in Jamrud which exploded on Wednesday morning with a huge bang. Two personnel of the Khasadar force were injured in the blast and shifted to Hayatabad Medical Complex in Peshawar. The security men however succumbed to their injuries. Fear and panic gripped the area after the blast whereas a contingent of security men reached the site and cordoned off the area as a search operation went underway in the area. In another incident, two policemen were injured when militants attacked a police checkpost in Bannu. According to sources, militants fired 12 rockets at the police checkpost in the northwestern district of Bannu, in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. Police retaliated and managed to repulse the attack. Two police personnel, however, sustained injuries. At least, 20 police personnel were present at the checkpost at the time of the attack. The northwestern town of Bannu, which stands at the gateway to the semi-autonomous Waziristan tribal region, is 150 kilometres southwest of Peshawar, the capital of KP. The town has witnessed a number of attacks and was the scene of a massive jail break in April 2012 during which 384 prisoners escaped from its central prison. Moreover, an explosion took place near Achini Bala area on Peshawar's Ring Road. There were no casualties in the blast.
The assassination of the eldest son, Nasiruddin Haqqani, of the Haqqani Network (HN) leader Jalaluddin Haqqani in Bhara Kahu on the outskirts of Islamabad on Sunday night comes barely a week after Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) leader Hakeemullah Mehsud’s death in a drone strike in North Waziristan. He is reported to be the fourth Haqqani brother to have been rubbed out by one means or the other. Two armed men opened fire on Nasiruddin, the chief financier and spokesman of the HN, as he was buying bread in the bazaar, stopped to make sure he was dead and then fled. Nasiruddin’s driver picked up the body and transported it to the Haqqani home near Miranshah, North Waziristan, where he is reported to have been buried. No claim of responsibility has surfaced so far, feeding the rumour mills fulltime. The TTP was quick to react, blaming the ISI for the assassination because they said, of Nasiruddin’s close support to Hakeemullah Mehsud. They also vowed to avenge his death. Other speculation centres on the usual cast of suspects, headed first and foremost by the US, which had declared the HN a terrorist group in 2012, in an ironic twist on the HN’s once blue-eyed boys status in the eyes of Washington during the anti-Soviet struggle in Afghanistan. Former US Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mullen had categorised the HN in 2011 in testimony before Congress as a “veritable arm” of the Pakistani ISI. HN is considered one of the most deadly groups fighting the US, NATO and the Karzai Afghan government, with links to al Qaeda, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, and a string of militant groups in Pakistan, including the TTP. The Pakistan army’s ISPR refused to comment on the assassination. The local police appeared clueless about whether the murder had actually occurred, and if it had, who was the victim, since the body was whisked away long before the police lumbered onto the scene. The local SHO has been suspended, but what good does that do when the incident is clearly a ‘black ops’ targeting by whoever was responsible. Some intriguing questions have arisen as a result of this incident. Some are describing it as a replay of the Osama bin Laden raid. It is being reported that Nasiruddin Haqqani had been living in the area for the last 3-4 years. Surely the intelligence agencies, if not the authorities, would have been aware of his presence. That will be the question that will once again be asked by the world. It will strengthen the conviction amongst wide swathes of international and domestic opinion about the establishment’s support for the HN. It will also once again resurrect the questions about the policy of the security establishment when this incident has once again highlighted the links of HN with a conglomeration of the Pakistani state’s enemies, including the homegrown TTP against whom the military is fighting. Nor should it be forgotten that all the reports speak of Maulana Fazlullah, the recently crowned successor of Hakeemullah Mehsud as the chief of the TTP, having found safe haven in eastern Afghanistan just across the border under the aegis of the HN. Internationally, it may ratchet up the pressure on Pakistan regarding its links with the HN. The complex play of forces in the Afghanistan (and now increasingly Pakistan) theatre shows the manner in which alignments have changed and shifted since the end of the Cold War. Yesterday’s allies (the US and the Afghan Mujahideen, including the HN) are today’s sworn enemies. Pakistan’s long standing policy of so-called ‘strategic depth’ in Afghanistan to be gained through armed proxies has badly backfired in the shape of domestic terrorists (like the TTP) linked inextricably with the global (al Qaeda) and regional (the Afghan Taliban, etc) terrorist groups that have laid siege to Pakistan and Afghanistan, not to mention the broader region, and created the gravest threat to Pakistan’s security in living memory. The military needs now (if it has not so far) to review its policies and options in the matter of Afghanistan before the 2014 drawdown of US and NATO troops and, as a corollary, how to tackle the homegrown terrorist threat, and advise the government accordingly.