Tuesday, May 13, 2014
http://www.channelnewsasia.com/India's triumphant right-wing opposition said on Tuesday it was headed for a decisive majority in the world's biggest election after exit polls showed its hardline leader Narendra Modi closing in on victory. Stock markets surged to record highs on hopes of a business-friendly government under Modi after a decade of rule by a left-leaning coalition, while US President Barack Obama said he looked forward to working with the new administration in New Delhi. "Modi at Delhi Gate" said a headline in the Mail Today, while the Hindustan Times read simply "Exit Polls: Enter Modi" after a flurry of surveys released after voting ended on Monday pointed to a big win. All forecasts showed Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its allies trouncing the Congress party which has been in power for a decade, and most indicated they would seal a narrow majority. Results are due on Friday, with some still cautioning against over-confidence in a BJP victory given notorious forecasting errors at the last two general elections. Modi was keeping a low profile, but senior BJP figures struck a bullish note by predicting the opposition would win more than 300 of the 543 seats in parliament although it was willing to work with additional partners. "These elections have been fought on a hope that the country will get a good, stable government," V K Singh, a former army chief of staff who is now a senior BJP leader, told reporters at party headquarters. "After May 16, we will be open to working with any, all entities that wish to work with us for the country's well being and development." Asked about the exit polls predicting a majority for the BJP-led alliance, Singh replied: "We may perform even better than this." Party spokesman Prakash Javadekar predicted that the BJP-led alliance would get more than 300, echoing Modi's chief lieutenant Amit Shah. "My personal view is that we will get around 300 seats," Shah said. "We will still be open to support and collaboration from any party that wants to work with a government that is committed to work for the nation," he told the Headlines Today network. Reacting to the end of five weeks of voting that saw a record turnout of 551 million people, Obama said India had "set an example for the world". "We look forward to the formation of a new government once election results are announced and to working closely with India's next administration to make the coming years equally transformative," he added. Modi's election would present a headache for the US, which refused to deal with him for years in the aftermath of religious riots in the state of Gujarat in 2002 shortly after he became its chief minister. More than 1,000 people, mostly Muslims, were killed in the violence, which critics say Modi did little to stop, even though a court-appointed investigation team cleared him of any wrongdoing. Washington only ended its boycott of Modi in February when Nancy Powell, the outgoing US ambassador to India, met him for talks in Gujarat. European countries also refused to deal with him for years in the wake of the 2002 riots, for which Modi has refused to apologise. Foreign and domestic investors have few misgivings about his past, however, and appeared in no mood to heed the warnings about unreliable pollsters. "The expectation is that (the BJP alliance) will get to form the government comfortably and even if they need more allies they will not present a stumbling block for reforms," Harendra Kumar, head of Mumbai-based brokerage Elara capital, told AFP. The Bombay Stock Exchange index, also known as the Sensex, showed gains of nearly two per cent at one stage, hitting a new record high before dipping slightly in early afternoon trade. The Sensex has now gained around 22 per cent since the BJP chose Modi as its prime ministerial candidate in September. New data on Monday showed that industrial production shrank in March for the fifth time in sixth months, underlining the scale of the challenge for the next government in reviving growth. Modi has largely steered clear of Hindu nationalist rhetoric on the campaign trail, promising to concentrate on development by rolling out the red carpet to companies and restore badly battered business confidence. While a sweep by the BJP had been expected, the predicted scale of defeat for Congress was still striking, with exit polls showing support for the party, which has ruled India for most of the post-independence era, at an historic low. Party leaders have dismissed the surveys and remain defiant in public, insisting that Friday's results will surprise the pollsters and hand the Congress-led alliance a third term in power. They have begun rallying around Rahul Gandhi, the latest generation of the Nehru-Gandhi political dynasty, who has led his first national election campaign -- widely panned as lacklustre and uninspiring. Congress spokesman Shakeel Ahmed said party president Sonia Gandhi, Rahul's mother, as well as local Congress leaders had fought the election together and shared the responsibility for the outcome. "It is all collective," he said.
Democracies champion principles of the rule of law and human rights and do not embrace “witch hunts,” the leader of the main opposition has said. Main opposition leader Republican People’s Party (CHP) Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu’s words come as obvious criticism toward the prime minister, who vowed to fight against members of the pro-Gülen community inside the state, even though it would be considered a witch hunt. “There are no witch hunts in democracies. Democracies include the concept of the rule of law. If there is a criminal, you take him or her to court with evidence,” Kılıçdaroğlu told reporters following his weekly parliamentary group meeting. Kılıçdaroğlu made this comment upon a question about Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s statement on May 11 that “If moving those who betrayed this country from one place to another is a ‘witch hunt,’ then yes, we’ll perform this witch hunt.” Crimes are investigated adequately and within the rule of law under normal democracies, Kılıçdaroğlu said, adding “But [this attitude of], ‘I’ll do whatever I’d like to do; I can arrest whoever I want’ is not the right behavior. This can’t be done in democracies.” ‘We want first class democracy’ Underlining that the regimes of the 21st century favor the principle of separation of powers instead of an absolute power used by a single person with the media regarded as the fourth power after legislation, executive and judiciary, Kılıçdaroğlu said Turkey had re-entered the outdated “absolute power” period. “Nations that have been ruled by anger instead of wisdom have paid heavy costs. In 21st century Turkey, we do not want to pay such heavy costs. We want to be a first class democracy of the 21st century. The people of this country do not deserve third class democracy,” he said. Recalling Erdoğan’s walkout of the ceremony on the occasion of the 146th anniversary of the Council of State as a reaction to the critical address of Metin Feyzioğlu, the head of the bar association, Kılıçdaroğlu said “A politician should listen to all critical voices. That criticism may not be right and be disturbing. But we’ll use our mind, we’ll be patient and we’ll listen carefully. We’ll draw lessons from all criticisms. You can be a statesman identity if you can handle it.” ‘Erdoğan a fake dictator’ “Why be afraid of words? They are afraid of thoughts. They even said ‘Books are sometimes more dangerous than bombs,’” Kılıçdaroğlu said and harshly slammed Erdoğan by saying “He cannot tolerate those who express their own views. He is a fake dictator.”
- Vast glaciers in West Antarctica seem to be locked in an irreversible thaw linked to global warming that may push up sea levels for centuries, according to scientists. A new study by researchers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the University of California, Irvine, says the glaciers have ''passed the point of no return'' and there is nothing to stop the entire glacial basin from melting into the sea.
Kuwait's justice and Islamic affairs minister has resigned, the local news service al-Rai said on Monday, after a senior U.S. official said he had called for jihad in Syria and promoted the funding of terrorism. Last month Nayef al-Ajmi rejected the comments made in March by U.S. Treasury Undersecretary David Cohen as “groundless and baseless,” and was backed by the Cabinet. But on Monday, Ajmi said the Gulf state's ruler had accepted his resignation, al-Rai said. Kuwaiti media reported last month that he had already offered to resign once, citing health reasons. “I thank His Highness the Emir for accepting my resignation and for understanding my reasons,” Ajmi said according to an SMS alert from al-Rai, which gave no further details. Attempts to reach Ajmi were unsuccessful. He has given statements to the private news group on the topic before. Cohen said that Ajmi had “a history of promoting jihad in Syria” and that his image had been featured on fundraising posters for a financier of a Syrian rebel group linked to al-Qaida - the Nusra Front. Kuwait has been one of the biggest humanitarian donors to Syria and Syrian refugees through the United Nations, but it has also struggled to control unofficial fundraising for opposition groups in Syria by private individuals. Unlike some other Gulf states, U.S. ally Kuwait is against arming rebels fighting to topple Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. But it has tolerated fundraising in private houses, mosques and on social media. In particular, some Kuwaiti and U.S. officials fear that campaigns that give militant Islamist groups funds to buy arms will not only fuel the violence in Syria but also stir sectarian tensions in Kuwait. Like other Western countries, the United States considers that Assad has lost legitimacy for his violent repression of what began as a peaceful protest movement, but does not want to see him replaced by the more hardline Islamist groups that have gained ascendancy among Syria's armed rebels. In another sign that Kuwait was reacting to concerns about Syria financing, a Kuwaiti official said a recent fundraising campaign backed by local clerics and politicians was illegal. Munira al-Fadhli, an assistant undersecretary in the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor, was quoted by Monday's English language daily Kuwait Times as saying that “our department does not authorize or license individuals to collect donations. Licenses are only given to official charities”. Fadhli said the recent “Syria Calls” campaign violated the law and legal action will be taken against its organizers. “Syria Calls” describes itself as a “Union of Kuwaiti campaigns to support Syria” and is backed by well-known local clerics and opposition politicians. An online poster for the group does not make clear exactly what the money is for.
The United States sees China’s introduction of an oil rig and several vessels in waters disputed with Vietnam as “provocative”, US Secretary of State John Kerry told China’s foreign minister in a telephone call on Monday. China claims almost the entire South China Sea, rejecting rival claims to parts of it from Vietnam, the Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia and Brunei.
“He [Kerry] said China’s introduction of an oil rig and numerous government vessels in waters disputed with Vietnam was provocative,” US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said. “He urged both sides to de-escalate tensions, ensure safe conduct by their vessels at sea, and resolve the dispute through peaceful means in accordance with international law.” China’s foreign ministry said there certainly had been provocative moves in the South China Sea, but that China was not the guilty party and repeated that it was the United States’ fault for encouraging such behaviour.
“We hope that the US side can carefully reflect – if they really hope for the Pacific Ocean to be peaceful, what kind of role do they actually want to play?” spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a daily news briefing. Hua said that Wang urged Kerry to “objectively and fairly” look at the South China Sea issue, and “act and speak cautiously”. Tensions rose in the resource-rich South China Sea last week after China positioned the giant oil rig in an area also claimed by Vietnam. Each country accused the other of ramming its ships near the disputed Paracel Islands. In separate remarks to visiting Singapore Foreign Minister K. Shanmugam, Kerry said the United States was deeply concerned by China’s “aggressive act” in the dispute.
“We are particularly concerned - all nations that are engaged in navigation and traffic within the South China Sea, the East China Sea, are deeply concerned about this aggressive act,” Kerry said in the Monday meeting. “We want to see a code of conduct created; we want to see this resolved peacefully through the Law of the Sea, through arbitration, through any other means, but not direct confrontation and aggressive action,” Kerry added, according to a transcript of his comments released by the State Department. Speaking to fellow leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations at a summit on Sunday, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung said Vietnam had acted with “utmost restraint” and used all means of dialogue to request China remove the rig. Dung said China was slandering his country and committing dangerous violations. However the communique issued at the end of the summit by the 10-nation Asean group contained no criticism of China. Vietnamese state media said that Vietnamese and Chinese ships had again used water cannon on each other on Monday, though there were no injuries. Chinese spokeswoman Hua would neither confirm nor deny the new face-off, repeating that China was urging Vietnam to “end its provocative actions” and withdraw its ships.
Vietnamese and Chinese ships exchange water-cannon fire in the disputed South China Sea.
اسلام آباد سے جاری اپنے ایک بیان میں قومی اسمبلی میں قائد حزب اختلاف خورشید شاہ کا کہنا تھا کہ سیاسی جماعتوں کو مل بیٹھ کر معاملات ٹھیک کرنے چا ہیئیں انتخابی اصلاحات کا مطالبہ صرف تحریک انصاف کا نہیں پوری قوم کا ہے، عمران خان کبھی نہیں چاہیں گے کہ ملک میں آمریت آئے۔ ان کا کہنا تھا کہ عام انتخابات میں دھاندلی پر الیکشن کمیشن کو سابق چیف الیکشن کمیشنر فخرالدین جی ابراہیم کے ساتھ ہی مستعفی ہو جانا چاہیئے تھا۔ خورشید شاہ نے کہا کہ ایم کیو ایم کے قائد الطاف حسین پاکستانی ہیں، حکومت کو ایم کیو ایم کے قائد کو ہنگامی بنیادوں پر شناختی کارڈ اور پاسپورٹ ملنا چاہیئے۔
For everything that is true of India, an old line goes, the opposite is also true. Keeping this caveat in mind would be useful while analysing the results of exit polls that were telecast on several television channels on Monday evening. In bipolar democracies, exit polls rarely go wrong and are usually seen as near infallible. Yet even in such polities there have been occasions, in tight finishes, when exit polls have proved to be inaccurate. In India, exit polls - like opinion polls - suffer from the additional handicap of converting vote share to seat share in a three or four-cornered contest. Depending on the wasted vote - the extra vote a candidate gets in a seat that only adds to his or her winning margin but is not needed to simply defeat all other candidates - an individual party could find its numbers inflated or reduced in a state. (India Votes 2014: Complete Coverage) Take Uttar Pradesh, where the BJP is projected to win about 40 per cent of the popular vote. This could yield it 45 of the state's 80 seats; it could as easily yield it 60. An analogy would be appropriate here. In the IIT entrance examination, the gap in scores - not to speak of the scholastic aptitude - of the candidate who finishes second and the candidate who finished 52nd is probably very tiny. Yet, that tiny gap can yield a very different rank. Something like this could well happen in an election. While most of the exit polls gave the BJP a similar tally for Uttar Pradesh, states like Tamil Nadu, Orissa and Bihar threw up large variations, even if the overall, all-India numbers were within a narrow range for all the exit polls save one. Why did this happen? Frankly, attempting to decipher state or more so constituency-level results from a national sample makes for great television but is actually risky psephology. It is one thing to attempt a state-specific poll and choose a random sample from that state. It is quite another thing to draw up an all-India sample and then try and read its opinion in terms of state boundaries. In the May 12 exit polls, the Rashtriya Janata Dal's seat performance in Bihar was recorded extremely unevenly. Similarly, in Orissa (total seats: 21), one exit poll gave the BJP 23 per cent of the vote and one seat, and the Congress 27 per cent of the vote and five seats. Another exit poll gave the BJP 10 seats. It is likely that the BJP vote percentage was within the same band for both polls. Both polls could be completely honest but only one can possibly be right (or of course they can both be wrong). Given this, the exit poll data is more important for vote share than for seat predictions. The big picture to emerge from the exit polls is that the BJP is now head-and-shoulders above the Congress when it comes to being India's leading national party. In 2009, the BJP had an all-India vote share of 18.8 per cent. In 2014, the vote share is expected to almost double. This is a dramatic jump and much more than the seats the party may or may not win, it suggests the impact Narendra Modi has had. For anybody with a doubt as to the protagonist of the 16th Lok Sabha election, the CNN-IBN-CSDS-Lokniti poll was revealing. A massive 44 per cent of NDA voters said they "would not have voted for the alliance had Modi not been the PM candidate of the BJP". Most of the exit polls argue this incremental or Modi vote will be enough to take the NDA to a majority. They may or may not be right and may or may not have got their vote-to-seat conversions right. In that sense, they may have misread the quantum and impact of the Modi increment. Even so, it is unlikely that any verdict on May 16 will be able to completely deny the existence of the Modi increment. The man is now in a league of his own.
It is already the fifth time today that Rama makes a cross in the last column of the table that is displayed on her monitor screen. The column is reserved for sexual harassment. A 16-year-old girl has just informed her on the phone that she "was threatened with a weapon." Rama works at "Helpline 181," an emergency service for women. "I like to work here," says the 20-year-old, adding that "in my own case, the police did not help me and I felt being left alone. By working here, I can help other women so that they have it better." Rama has herself experienced sexually harassment. For years, she was stalked and groped by a much older man, who was a family friend. When she finally told her mother about it, she persuaded Rama not to complain to the police. Violence against women All people working at the small "Helpline 181" office in New Delhi have had similar experiences. The facility was set up after the fatal gang rape of a young student in late 2012, which made international headlines and drew attention to the safety of women in the world's second most populous nation. The center is open round the clock, with phones here ringing more than 2000 times a day. Students like Rama and other middle-aged women receive these calls. Some single mothers working here are fighting out their own court cases. However, the situation of women in the country has not become a major issue in the recent election campaign, says Muneera, who has been working in a windowless room since the launch of the hotline, overseeing shift schedules and looking after serious cases, where women are in acute danger. "No major political party has seriously dealt with the situation of women," criticizes the 35-year-old mother. The general elections in India lasted for five weeks and the final phase of polling finally ended on May 12. Female electorate Two friends Merja and Neema come to attend one of the election meetings of the opposition BJP's PM candidate, Narendra Modi, in New Delhi. They believe only Modi has the strength and the will to lead women to a better future. They wait for nearly three hours for Modi to take the stage. Eventually, at the end of his speech, the BJP leader touches on women's issues. "In this city," Modi says, "our sisters and mothers are no longer safe. Delhi has a lousy reputation and we will change that." This is also the promise the presumed PM nominee of the ruling Congress party, Rahul Gandhi, is trying to sell the 400 million-strong female electorate. Furthermore, the newly founded anti-corruption outfit, Aam Aadmi Party, has devoted a full chapter in its election manifesto to gender equality, and has given tickets to a number of female candidates, particularly in big cities, to contest the elections. Tokenism Analysts such as Niranjan Sahoo from the Observer Research Foundation say that even when political parties speak about the lack of security for women, they do not mean that they seriously intend to resolve the situation. "It is simple tokenism, which the parties offer," he told DW, adding that "parties try to demonstrate that they are sensitive towards women's issues by fielding women candidates – who are often from influential families and therefore receive prospects for a political career - here and there."
However, Sahoo believes the election will be determined by other issues, such as economic growth and fight against corruption. This tendency is also confirmed by Khadijah Faruqui, director of the "Helpline 181." "Women's safety has become a buzzword. But this is again the concept of strong men, who think they have to protect women. What we actually demand is not security, but equal rights for us women," said the activist.
Nick GalvinWhile westerners typically only look on from the outside at women wearing the burqa, artist Jennifer Gowen began pondering how the world might look from inside the traditional garb.
The UK government should set up an inquiry into "lessons learned" after troops withdraw from Afghanistan at the end of this year, MPs have recommended. The Commons defence committee said ministers should plan for a "thorough" study covering the aims of the war and whether efforts had been "sufficient". Defence Secretary Philip Hammond promised to "look strategically across the campaign" after the mission ends. More than 450 UK personnel have died in the Afghan conflict since 2001. An official inquiry into the Iraq war began almost five years ago and has still to publish its findings. This follows arguments between the panel, led by former civil servant Sir John Chilcot, and Whitehall officials over which documents can be disclosed. 'Uncertain' In its report on Afghanistan, the Defence Select Committee said the Taliban insurgency in the country remained "a strong and persistent threat". It said the Afghan government would need the continued support of the international community after most UK and other international troops left. The committee warned of an "uncertain" future and said it hoped Defence Secretary Philip Hammond's prediction that the country would not descend into civil war would prove correct. It said that, while there had been gains in the rights of Afghan women and girls during the years international forces had been in the country, progress remained "fragile". In contrast, the UK's counter-narcotics strategy had failed, with opium poppy cultivation in Helmand province soaring to record levels as the troops prepared to leave. "We are concerned that this will continue to fund organised crime, and undermine the development of democratic government and governance," the report said. The committee called on the government to begin work towards the eventual publication of an official history of the Afghan campaign, as well as commissioning a more immediate "lessons learned" inquiry. It said: "The study should set out what the political ends were, how they changed during the course of the campaign, and judge whether the ways and means, diplomatic, economic and military, were sufficient during the course of the campaign." The committee also said: "A relatively small investment could have a significantly beneficial impact on future planning." A source told the BBC that the hearings for an Afghanistan inquiry would not necessarily take place in public and its findings could be shown only to ministers and Whitehall officials. One of the committee members, Labour MP Dai Havard, told the BBC: "It's not meant to be 'let's find a head on a stick and someone to blame'. "It should be that Parliament says to the executive that it needs to address these issues. We have to learn from these experiences." In response to the committee, Mr Hammond said: "As combat operations in Afghanistan draw to a close we can be proud of the contribution British forces have made to ensuring that the country cannot be used as a base for international terrorists to attack us and our interests. "We have a highly effective process for identifying lessons to be learned in near real time, but we will want to look strategically across the campaign as a whole to see what longer-term lessons need to be learned, once the mission is over." For Labour, shadow defence secretary Vernon Coaker said: "It is important the we learn the lessons from our involvement in the long and difficult combat operation in Afghanistan. "The evolving role of the armed forces over the course of the mission presented great challenges to the military, and we should examine these fully to ensure we gain an insight in to all aspects of what happened over the last number of years." Such decisions would be have to be made by a future government, they added.
Militants are using token sums of money to lure impoverished youth to carry out bombings.A young would-be suicide bomber has told investigators that militants are using monetary rewards to lure youths to commit bombings. Shoaib Akhtar was arrested April 20 after trying to plant a bomb near a police check-post in Badhaber village, Peshawar District, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), police said. In the ensuing interrogation, he said the militants paid him Rs. 1,000 (US $10), case investigator Taj Muluk told Central Asia Online. Pakistanis outraged that militants think they can 'buy' loyalty That the militants are using money to bring youths to their cause is giving Pakistanis more reason to hate how the insurgents operate. "I can simply say it's the worst example of destroying the human race, unknowingly pushing [these youngsters] into hell," said Shagufta Malik, a female former member of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly and an ANP leader. It is yet another example, religious scholars say, of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) militants skewing the tenets of Islam to achieve their ends. Shoaib trained to become a suicide bomber at Nala Kajori, a Lashkar-e-Islam stronghold, along with other teens, Taj said. The Bara-based militant group that recruited and trained him ordered him to plant a bomb near the Badhaber police check-post to test his ability and commitment before he could "graduate" to carrying out a suicide bombing. The militants offer money and other benefits to poverty-stricken teens and their parents, Taj quoted the youth as saying. After a preliminary investigation, Shoaib appeared before a Peshawar court May 3. The court handed him back to police for further investigation. Citizens try to prevent youth from joining militants Pakistanis have condemned militants for taking advantage of the country's youth, and some are calling for the country to take a more active role in countering the strategy. The willingness of these children to carry out bombings for Rs. 1,000 shows the extent of their desperation, Peshawar-based researcher and human rights defender Farhat Khan said, stressing the need for the country to take a more active role in giving youth more hope for their futures. Academicians, journalists and teachers play a vital role in educating youngsters against terrorist elements, Voice for Children of Islamabad Chairman Azhar Niaz said, noting that they should work with parents to ensure that children are learning proper principles at home. Training children in useful skills also would be helpful, foMalik said, adding that such skill sets would improve their job prospects. The KP Child Protection and Welfare Act 2010 is an effective piece of legislation for handling such problems, KP Child Protection Commission deputy chief Ejaz Ahmad said. "Child Protection Units have been established in 11 districts of KP to protect children from being used for terrorist activities," he said. The commission not only protects children against such atrocities but also works to rehabilitate them and return them to normal life.
'Incorrect statement'Dr Shakil Afridi was accused of using the cover of a door-to-door vaccination campaign to help the US find Bin Laden in 2011. He was convicted of alleged ties to militant groups and imprisoned in 2012 - a move widely seen as punishment for his alleged role in the Bin Laden raid, which he denies. But days after the WHO's most recent statement on the re-emergence of polio, a foreign office spokesperson told reporters that suspicion fostered by the CIA's fake vaccination programme was a major reason behind the rise in polio. The foreign office said: "A fake campaign of vaccination was conducted in Pakistan in which the UN agencies were also used." But the WHO has disputed this, saying it was "deeply concerned by the circulation of an incorrect statement that was made during a press conference". It said that the statement "wrongly and erroneously alleged the involvement of United Nations agencies in events conducted by Dr Shakeel Afridi". But it went on to say that following the UN's formal objection, it had received assurances from the government that the foreign office statement was "categorically incorrect". On Saturday the lawyer for Dr Afridi told the BBC that he had quit the case after receiving frequent death threats.
http://thefrontierpost.com/Two bodies were recovered in gunny bags dumped in drainage from Hayatabad area of Peshawar Tuesday morning, Local TV reported. According to police, the bodies of a man and a women bearing torture marks were found dumped in a drainage in Hayatabat today morning that were discovered after bomb disposal unit checked the suspicious bags. Police took the bodies into custody and transferred them to the hospital for identification and medico-legal formalities. The deceased could not be identified until the last report was filed.
The Express Tribune News
Unidentified men opened fire at a government school in Hangu, leaving two teachers dead, Express News reported on Tuesday. The incident took place in the Khan Bari area of the district. One of the teachers died at the spot while the other later succumbed to his injuries at the hospital. The police have reached the site of the firing, cordoned it off and started a search operation in the area. This is not the first time such an incident has taken place in Hangu. On February 10, unidentified militants had gunned down three teachers when they were returning from school in Kach Bandha, Hangu. Three days later, another primary school teacher was shot and injured by unidentified militants on the city’s outskirts. Hangu district lies on the border with Kurram and Orakzai agencies and is one of the most sensitive districts of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. It has seen several incidents of sectarian violence and terrorism in the past few years. Cases of kidnapping have also increased.
The Taliban do not want them back. This is what it looks like from the way the Internally Displaced People (IDP) from the Khyber Agency had been attacked at the Arbab Niaz stadium in Peshawar on Sunday. The IDPs were getting themselves verified in the makeshift government office in the stadium to claim sufficient food to take back home. The suicide attack khat killed four people was a message that in spite of all the tall claims of the government about Khyber being cleansed of terrorists and safe for its inhabitants to finally return, the ground realities are different. What would be the fate of those who had already returned to the Agency? Are they any safer? What awaits those planning to return? Will they too be killed just as many of their compatriots have been in the IDP camps, because this was not the first time that the IDPs had been attacked. Terrorism in Pakistan morphs into as unusual forms as the position the government takes to deal with the terrorists. The so-called peace process is going nowhere. The ministry of interior has been giving muffled responses to questions about the progress achieved so far. At times it shifts the blame for this winding process to the coordinating committee appointed by the Taliban for their penchant to play to the gallery rather than to persuade the Taliban to behave like good boys. On another occasion the ministry is found baffled at the Taliban’s refusal to abide by the ceasefire and keeping to its undeterred position of attacking the state. Stripped of any meaning, the dialogue process seems a mere eye wash or could it be a Taliban strategy to buy time? For how long will the people of FATA suffer? The situation is too much for them. They are neither safe in their own homes nor in the custody of the government. It has been found through credible research that the situation of the IDPs has been deplorable. They are living in one of the most unsuitable environments for human existence. Many of their children have died of contagious diseases. The government has always been indifferent to the tribal areas, treating them as if alien, whose culture does not allow any sophisticated dealing On the top of that we infested their areas with the Taliban who have now become a headache even for the government. It is not surprising that the Taliban are biting the very hand that once fed them.
Two new polio cases have been detected in the country. An 18-month-old girl of a family which had shifted to Karachi from the Federally Administered Tribal Areas in recent months is the latest victim of polio virus, sources in the Sindh health department and Prime Minister’s Polio Cell confirmed to Dawn on Monday. They identified the girl as Hafsa, daughter of Marjan, a resident of Manghopir’s Sultanabad area, administratively in Gadap Town, where two cases were reported early this year. Five polio cases have been found in Sindh so far this year, all of them in Karachi. The other polio case reported on Monday is from North Waziristan, which is home to 160,000 unvaccinated children since August 2012. The agency has recorded 41cases in the countrywide tally of 61 in 2014 so far. Six cases have been found in other areas of Fata, which is directly governed by the federal government. Nine cases have been found in Khyber Pakhtunkhawa — five in Bannu and four in Peshawar. Meanwhile, the army has started giving oral polio vaccine to children in North Waziristan for the first time since the Taliban banned vaccination there, according to sources. The army has been holding free medical camps where children are being administered polio vaccines. Residents said people also brought vaccines from Bannu to Miramshah and other parts of the agency. In Boya, Dosal and Esha villages, children have been vaccinated in the camps where people said they had not seen vaccinators since the Taliban banned the campaign. Local authorities said that they had also planned medical camps in Kajoorai, Razmak, Dattakhel and Tall to offer diagnostic and treatment services to people by trained doctors and staff of the army.
The Kotwali police have registered a First Information Report (FIR) under Section 295/A of the Pakistan Penal Code (blasphemy law) against eight nominated and 60 unknown members of the District Bar Association here on Monday. A couple of days ago, on the orders of the Kotwali district police officer, the police had registered a criminal case against Kotwali Station House Officer Umar Daraz, ASI Mubashir and five other policemen for thrashing and keeping a lawyer Aftab Nadeem in illegal detention. When the police did not arrest the nominated accused police officials, the DBA members went on strike till the arrest of the SHO and his subordinates. On the third day of the lawyers’ protest Arshad Mahmood, a resident of Basti Attawali, Jhang Sadar, through an application informed the police that during the protest some lawyers had shouted slogans with the name of SHO Umar Daraz and the mention of the name Umar had hurt the applicant’s religious emotions. The Kotwali police lodged an FIR (No 294/14) against eight nominated and 60 unnamed lawyers under Section 295/A of the PPC. Sources said it was an exceptional FIR in which the lawyers who were protesting against the police highhandedness were booked under blasphemy law. The issue would be taken up by Punjab and Pakistan Bar Councils. Some DBA members alleged SHO Rana Umer Daraz belonged to Faisalabad and was a relative of a prominent Punjab minister. They alleged the police registered the case against the lawyers as a counter to the FIR against the SHO. District Police Officer Zeeshan Asghar was not available for a comment on the issue.