Saturday, September 20, 2014
The Independent Election Commission (IEC) has said that the final vote results announcement has been confirmed for Sunday, September 21st. IEC spokesman, Noor Mohammad Noor said the final results for the runoff presidential will be released by election commission on Sunday. Noor had earlier said that the election commission expects to release the final vote results today. The decision to announce the final vote results comes as presidential candidates Dr. Abdullah and Dr. Ashraf Ghani finalized an agreement to form a national unity government on Friday. Release of final vote results, share of power and authorities of the chief executive are believed to be the main reasons prohibiting the conclusion of the controversial electoral process. In the meantime, President Hamid Karzai has once again hosted the two candidates for talks on unity government. Speaking during the commemoration ceremony of former president Burhanuddin Rabbani’s third death anniversary, President Karzai said he expects a good news for the Afghan people following his meeting with the two candidates.
Baluch separatist leaders on Friday called on Pakistan to follow in Britain’s footsteps by holding a referendum similar to Scotland’s on granting independence to the insurgency-wracked province. Scots rejected independence in a vote that left the centuries-old United Kingdom intact despite a surge in nationalist support in the final fortnight of the campaign. Asked whether a similar poll should be held in Baluchistan, Dr. Bashir Azeem, secretary-general of the outlawed Baloch Republican Party, told AFP: “The Baluch have been struggling against the excesses and tyranny of Punjab-dominated establishment of Pakistan for decades.” Punjab is Pakistan’s most populous and influential province. “If a fair referendum is conducted after creating an atmosphere for it, providing the opportunity to Baluch population for deciding their future, it is welcomed,” he added. Resource-rich Baluchistan is the largest of Pakistan’s four provinces, but its roughly seven million inhabitants have long complained they do not receive a fair share of its gas and mineral wealth. Rebels began their fifth insurgency against the state in 2004, with hundreds of soldiers and militants killed in the fighting. But rights groups allege security forces are also responsible for picking up non-militant separatists, including academics and students, torturing them and dumping their bodies on the streets. The current insurgency gained in intensity after the 2006 killing of 79-year-old Baluch leader Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti, a revered figure for many rebels. Azeem’s son Jamil Akbar Bugti said: “I stand for a free and fair referendum in Baluchistan under the United Nations. “Let Baluch people who are struggling for their independence decide their future whether they want to stay with (the) federation of Pakistan or break away.” The desperately poor province is also riven by sectarian strife and Islamist violence in its northern Pashtun belt, with middle-class Baluch increasingly viewing independence as their only hope for a more liberal and secular state. Pakistan accuses neighboring India of funding and arming the rebels — a charge analysts believe is true and payback for Pakistan’s interference in Kashmir. Source: http://www.arabnews.com/featured/news/632581
IT did not have to be this way. This is the fourth major flood to have hit Pakistan since 2010, and in each case the cause has been heavy rains.The first flood alert issued this year by the Pakistan Meteorological Department was on the morning of Sept 3, more than three days before the arrival of the flood peak at the Marala headworks on the Chenab, where the river enters Pakistan from India. That same evening, a meeting was convened by Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif to discuss flood preparation plans, with almost the entire government machinery present, including the chief secretary. But the Federal Flood Commission seems to have taken its time waking up to the flood alert. Its first record of a meeting since the alert was issued is on Sept 6, by which point the flood peak of 900,000 cusecs was only hours away from the Marala headworks. Moreover, a report published in this paper detailed how the various government bodies, led by the FFC, preferred bickering over turf when they should have been coordinating their response. It appears the country has learned no major lessons from the previous three flood episodes, preferring to act only once disaster has struck. More distressing is the lack of effort going into flood forecasting. Our forecasting models are designed to anticipate the arrival of rains more for crop management than for flood warning. The Met Department did issue an advisory of a low pressure system forming over Rajasthan as early as Aug 28, but its technology and models could only warn of “scattered thundershowers with heavy to very heavy [rain]falls in isolated places in the upper catchments of rivers Ravi, Sutlej and Chenab” as late as Sept 2. The flood alert was issued the following day, which turned into a flood warning on Sept 4, only two days before the flood peak arrived. Yet today, meteorological models exist that can provide up to 10 days of flood warning with very high probability. Bangladesh has been using such a system successfully for almost a decade now, which has on two occasions given accurate forecasts of floods 10 days in advance. Yet more troubling are the things being said in some places. Describing the floods as an “Indian water bomb” plumbs the lowest depths of ignorance. Instead of pointing fingers at India, what is needed is a serious approach for sharing of meteorological and hydrological data to enable more accurate forecasting. Better coordination amongst government departments is also critical. Currently, it is not clear who has the responsibility to coordinate the response once a flood alert has been issued. The Met Department ought to take better advantage of the latest scientific knowhow to upgrade its forecasting capabilities. With this being the fourth flood in recent years, it’s a travesty that none of this has yet been done.
— D Asghar
The entire world is watching our demise as a sensible, law abiding and law obeying society at the hands of a ruthless, senseless and utterly crazy mob.Historians will not be very kind to Imran Khan and Mr Qadri for what they have done to the political culture of this Godforsaken country. In the guise of freedom and revolution, what has been exercised and glorified will come to haunt these characters, should they ever realise their dreams of occupying the Prime Minister’s House. In short, hooliganism is the order of the day and anarchy is the new face of new age democracy in the so-called ‘new Pakistan’. What lies ahead will be relatively similar to the ideology of the Taliban. Tolerance was never in the reservoirs of those warriors and these revolutionaries are following in their footsteps by demonstrating their brutal anger in a relatively similar fashion. The world has seen images of police officers being beaten by mobsters armed with sticks and uniformed, armed servicemen just standing by witnessing their ruthlessness. Perhaps I am making an argument of double standards here when it comes to obeying the writ of the state. The lens of the camera is capturing all of this for the rest of the world. These container-bound revolutionaries have even openly threatened civilian law enforcement personnel. I humbly beg both Mr Qadri and Khan to try this in front of 10 Downing Street or in front of President Obama’s official residence to witness how the writ of the state is established without fail by uniformed policemen within minutes. All this noise is to basically challenge and erode the writ of this state. Speaking of that four letter word ‘writ’, one is painfully reminded of how a former general established it not very long ago in the same capital. No one is implying that this government must take its cues from that ugly episode, though it is part of our glorious history and engraved in our collective memories. We constantly hear that our elected government is handling the current standoff with immense restraint and patience. Agreed, well and good, but it is at a very hefty cost. The entire world is watching our demise as a sensible, law abiding and law obeying society at the hands of a ruthless, senseless and utterly crazy mob. The thrust of the project being carried out by the firebrand leaders is to instil this as part of regular imagery so the rest of the world can determine that it is dealing with a weak, impotent and toothless prime minister. What irony that a prime minister who holds a comfortable majority and has his opponents in parliament watching his back, is totally backed into a corner. I hope I am seriously mistaken but I had expressed my unrestrained criticism on this farcical process of negotiations on Twitter. The government’s mouthpieces brag that five out of six demands made by Khan have been accepted and that there are modalities that are being ironed out. To confuse matters a tad, there is an opposition jirga (council) playing a facilitative role as well. I know I am a very poor and inexperienced political observer but does anyone honestly think that it takes this long to reach any sort of logical conclusion? It almost seems like both parties know what the actual conclusion is and both are trying to buy as much time as possible. One has to honestly question the state of mind of the besieged premier. Yes, it is understandable that he is a victim, yes he has sympathy and yes the people challenging him have crossed all lines of decency. His mouthpieces use all kinds of flowery language to express their dismay about how the poor prime minister has been paralysed by certain anti-democratic forces. I know I am not very bright and perhaps not so well versed in politically correct jargon but in my very humble opinion, he basically has three options. The first is to have a face to face with both his adversaries and have a heart to heart conversation. Rather than going through everyone and their mother-in-law as an interlocutor and facilitator, the premier should just break the ice himself, use an unannounced visit to offer a handshake himself and break this deadlock. If he is unable to stoop to the level of the mischievous duo, he must man up and exercise the writ of the state, not by bullets but exhibiting that there is presence of law and order in the capital. Anyone who practices violence is met with the strong arm of the law. If the revolutionaries try to turn that situation to gain political point scoring then let the media expose their duplicity. No one, whether rich or poor, should be able to raise their hand on uniformed law enforcement personnel, whether civilian or military. If this solution is too much for the prime minster to bear then he has one final option left. If he has an ounce of dignity left in him to handle matters then he should dust off his suit, come on national television and have a heart to heart talk with the nation. He should expose all the hidden hands that have tied his hands and made him a laughing stock in front of the world. The state and its writ are far more important than a challenged premier or two unreasonable bozos. If the argument of not caving under pressure because it will set a poor precedent holds any water, then our respected prime minister has set another dangerous precedent by his inaction. I repeat: the writ or its semblance is far more important than any individual.