Sunday, November 30, 2014

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Where Did Chuck Hagel Go Wrong?


The ousted secretary of defense may not have been the wartime consigliere Obama expected.

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel’s sudden departure from the nation’s top military job has left many puzzled, wondering why a candidate so seemingly in line with the White House’s security goals would leave his position, particularly without a clear replacement lined up.
One thing is certain: The world today is sharply different than in February 2013, when Hagel was sworn in. Russia continues its aggressive actions in and around Ukraine, the Islamic State group – also known as ISIL or ISIS – continues to control vast swathes of land it seized during its summer sweep across Iraq, and China plans to expand its nuclear arsenal.
Perhaps Hagel wasn’t the secretary President Barack Obama wanted after all.
“I can’t figure out what he did to merit being voted off the island,” says Eric Edelman, who until 2009 served as the undersecretary of defense for policy, essentially the No. 3 position at the Pentagon.
“He gave them the strategy and the budget they asked for and wanted,” Edelman says. The White House has planned for a military drawdown after wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and a reset toward arenewed presence in the Pacific. “I understand there were a few occasions when he may have leaned a little too far forward on his skis with regards to ISIS. But it’s kind of hard to figure out what it is they found lacking in his performance.”
Edelman, now with the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, is among many former defense officials who can’t determine exactly where Hagel misstepped, or who served as the main force behind his retirement. Did he grow tired of an administration some say has become too centralized? Or did the president become impatient with Hagel’s perceived inability to make decisions?
“Hagel does not seem to have argued the Defense Department’s corner particularly loudly and effectively,” says Stephen Sestanovich, a professor of international diplomacy at the Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs. “There are plenty of issues that the president has got to decide, from the future of the defense budget to boots on the ground in Iraq, to lethal aid in Ukraine.
“If Hagel has got a view on those questions, he hasn’t let a lot of people know what it is,” Sestanovich adds. “He wasn’t picked to be a forceful advocate. He was picked to preside over a cabinet department the president was clearly eager to pay less attention to.”
Sen. John McCain, one of the most vocal critics of the Obama administration, said Monday that Hagel, his former Senate colleague, had expressed frustration surrounding his relationship with the White House.
“Chuck was frustrated with aspects of the administration’s national security policy and decision-making process,” the Arizona Republican said in a statement. “His predecessors have spoken about the excessive micromanagement they faced from the White House and how that made it more difficult to do their jobs successfully. Chuck’s situation was no different.”
Indeed, others who have held Hagel’s position during Obama’s tenure have been sharply vocal in recent weeks about the supposed micromanagement and a centralization of power in this White House. Instead of clearly stating policy goals and setting expectations, Obama has attempted to narrow decision-making down to his closet circles – or so say Leon Panetta and Bob Gates. Both Hagel predecessors have authored books in the last year criticizing Obama’s leadership.
“Because of that centralization of authority at the White House, there are too few voices that are being heard in terms of the ability to make decisions,” Panetta said while on a panel with Gates at the Reagan National Defense Forum in California this month. “You need to have people who are telling you not only what you got right, but also the mistakes you made so you can fix them.”
“It’s in the increasing interest of the White House to control and manage every aspect of military affairs,” Gates said. “When a president wants highly centralized control of the White House at every degree of micromanagement that I’m describing, that’s not bureaucratic, that’s political.”
Hagel and Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, current chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, also participated in the forum. And in a public statement Monday, Dempsey himself hinted at some of the stresses that may have contributed to Hagel’s retirement after less than two years of service.
“He led the military at a particularly difficult time in our history,” Dempsey said. “He set us on course for many lasting reforms. He challenged us every day to adapt and innovate to changing times.
“Secretary Hagel brought a soldier’s heart to work every day. He cared deeply for our young men and women in uniform, and they had no greater advocate. His insight into the nature of military service was both rare and welcome.”
Hagel is expected to stay in his position until the Senate confirms a successor. Neither he nor Obama has given any indication whom that might be, though pundits and critics have already begun circulating some names, including Michele Flournoy, the former undersecretary of defense for policy and a member of Obama’s transition team; Bob Work, the current deputy secretary of defense; Ashton Carter, the former deputy secretary; Democratic Sen. Jack Reed of Rhode Island; or perhaps even a military wild card such as retired Gens. David Petraeus or Stanley McChrystal, though selecting one of them would require lifting restrictions on active-duty troops becoming cabinet members within seven years of doffing the uniform.
But the question remains whether the next secretary will be expected to conform to the White House’s strategy or serve as a creative and strong leader to address the complicated security issues that will no doubt remain through the end of Obama’s presidency. The new secretary’s term could be one of great opportunity to shape policy, or rife with serious headaches from too many constraints.
“It is often the case that presidents fire secretaries of defense without knowing what they want the new person to do,” Sestanovich says. “This is a much murkier case.”
“If I were a candidate for this,” Edelman says, stressing that he is not, “and I were approached on behalf of the president or by the president, I’d want to know that I could actually say what I thought and do what I thought was best for the nation’s defense.”
And Hagel’s departure likely leaves many others within the national security sphere wondering: Is he only the first top leader to go? 

President Obama to hold meetings on Ferguson, mistrust, militarized law enforcement

President Barack Obama will discuss the situation in Ferguson, Missouri, Monday with his Cabinet, civil rights leaders, law enforcement officials and others.
The White House says Obama's Cabinet meeting will focus on his administration's review of federal programs that provide military-style equipment to law enforcement agencies.
The White House says the president will also meet with young civil rights leaders to discuss the challenges posed by "mistrust between law enforcement and communities of color." He'll then meet with government and law enforcement officials, as well as other community leaders, to discuss how to strengthen neighborhoods.
Protests have continued in Ferguson, but have been more muted than the violence sparked last week by a grand jury's decision not to indict a police officer in the shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown.

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After the midterm mauling, is the real President Obama finally standing up?

The exhausted-looking president who appeared before reporters after his party lost control of the Senate was determined not to give them a word to replace “shellacking”, the infamous soundbite he provided whenDemocrats were similarly polished off in the House of Representatives during 2010.
“It doesn’t make me mopey,” Barack Obama insisted at the post-election press conference, in the East Room of the White House four weeks ago. “[This result] energises me because it means that this democracy is working. People in America were restless.”
But the presidential energy was hard to see at first. Obama’s rumpled body language spoke of 2,114 days in office clearly weighing on frustrated shoulders. For a while, “mopey” appeared to be an entirely appropriate update on “shellacked”.
Not only did he seem physically defeated, but the president also spoke of a need for new ideological compromise with the triumphant Republican leadership, joking of working it out over bourbon with the Kentucky senator Mitch McConnell and letting the House speaker, John Boehner, beat him at golf.
However, four weeks on from the drubbing of 4 November, even Obama’s critics are instead beginning to wonder whether something snapped that day in the ornate finery of the East Room.
Rather than meeting rivals on their terms or continuing with the same uninspiring stalemate that many supporters blame for their midterm defeat, the president has delighted those on the left of the party by running hard in the opposite direction.
Within a blistering few days, the new Obama infuriated Republicans by granting legal status to 5 million undocumented immigrants; announced a historic deal with China over climate change; and defied powerful corporate interests by ruling that the internet should be kept universally available, under so-called “net neutrality” rules.
From the wreckage of his party’s defeat, a president appears to have been reborn. This is a president who bears much more in common with the firebrand elected in 2008 on a message of hope and change than the frustrated figure who had governed ever since.
“Since the election we have started to see the 2008 Obama and it’s been really exciting,” says Stephanie Taylor, co-founder of Progressive Change Campaign Committee, a leading fundraising group for liberals in the party. “The reason Democrats performed so badly in the midterms is because the party is really lacking a strong brand identity and the leadership is clearly recognising that something needs to change.”
Behind the scenes, the president has matched his sudden burst of executive action by dispatching collaborators: killing off a proposed budget deal, for example, that was struck between moderate Democrats and Republicans in Congress and would have restored tax breaks for big business.
Even the toughest challenges have been met with unexpected resolve. Despite aides previously promising there would be no bloodletting after the midterms, Obama sacked his defense secretary, Chuck Hagel, the last Republican in his cabinet, and let it be known he was blaming him for the administration’s lacklustre Middle East policy.
Obama, Hagel
 Obama looks on as the defense secretary, Chuck Hagel, talks about his resignation. Photograph: Susan Walsh/AP
More optimistic liberals like Taylor point to other developments on Capitol Hill, such as the promotion of left-wing darling Elizabeth Warren to the Democratic Senate leadership committee and a similar reshuffle in the House minority leadership, as signs that their wing of the party may now be in the ascendancy.
“Beyond Obama, this is the larger rift: there has been a struggle for the heart and soul of the Democratic party between the corporate/Wall Street wing and the Elizabeth Warren/economic populist wing that’s been ongoing for years,” Taylor says. “What we are seeing now is that [the] middle-of-the-road, corporate approach doesn’t work. Voters are repudiating the idea that Democrats should act likeRepublicans.”
Whether this proves a correct reading of the midterm tea leaves remains to be seen, of course. For now, the White House is rather less keen to portray its post-election president as a man reborn.
Asked about the recent flurry of progressive moves on immigration, climate and net neutrality, Obama’s aides insist these are simply a continuation of previously stated priorities.
“President Obama has been crystal clear,” the deputy press secretary, Jen Friedman, told the Guardian. “He will continue to do everything he can to help strengthen the middle class, create more opportunity and make sure that we’re growing faster as an economy and staying competitive.”
One reason for the reluctance to publicly burn all bridges with Republicans is a hope that deals can still be reached on issues like the budget, tax reform and war reauthorisation, where both sides need to show voters they can put the dysfunction of recent years behind them.
But there is a marked shift of emphasis from the conciliatory tone on display immediately after the midterm results came in.
“[Obama] will work with Congress where he can to seek common ground and look for areas of overlap, but when Congress refuses to act on policies that are right for the country, the president will act within his legal authority to do what is necessary to serve the American people,” added Friedman.
It is also true that several of the biggest announcements of recent days have been a long time in the making. Officials worked for months behind the scenes to craft the Chinese climate change deal. Similarly the executive action on immigration reform was begun over the summer, when Obama publicly tasked his administration with finding ways around a stubborn Congress.
But what is undeniable is that these were moves he felt unable to make before the midterm elections. Nervous Senate Democrats explicitly asked the White House to hold off on relaxing immigration laws, for fear such an action would damage their chances in swing states where Republicans were campaigning heavily against it. Climate change was an equally tricky subject for many Democrats already opposed to White House energy policy over the Keystone oil pipeline.
A more troubling question for the White House is whether it was all worth it. If their caution failed to stop the party losing heavily in the midterms, what was the point in treading so carefully? Could the progressives be right that a bolder president would have galvanised voters more readily? After all, it was what drove many to vote for him in the first place.
“Whatever the reason for all this, the 2008 election was a validation that progressive principles are winning principles and it’s very encouraging to see a turn back toward those principles,” says Taylor. “The net neutrality policy that he put out is the same one that he campaigned on. Taking bold action on immigration is the reason a lot of people chose to support him in 2008.”
Glimpses of the new White House logic could also be seen in the post-election analysis of turnout figures by the press secretary, Josh Earnest, who said the president was likely to be more focused now on appealing to those who hadn’t turned out to vote in the midterms than listening to those who had.
It is an incendiary idea among Republicans, and there is no doubt the new political energy in Washington is contagious.
Republicans are fuming at what they regard as unconstitutional abuses of executive authority, some even threatening to dis-invite Obama from next year’s State of the Union address to Congress.
 Obama participates in the annual turkey pardoning ceremony, at the White House Photograph: Larry Downing/Reuters
More conservative Democrats, such as the New York senatorChuck Schumer, have stepped up their criticism in recent days of Obama’s few previous progressive achievements, such as healthcare reform.
Others on the left of the party would prefer to see him concentrate on what they see as the successes of Obamacare and campaign for extensions in Medicare, as well as new reform areas such as student debt relief and increases to the minimum wage.
But the reality is that without either chamber of Congress under Democratic control in his last two “lame duck” years, Obama’s best opportunities for radicalism may have been squandered. The battle is more likely to express itself in the race for the party’s nomination in 2016.
Obama, turkeyThe Progressive Change Campaign Committee is heavily promoting Elizabeth Warren as an alternative to the mainstream favourite, Hillary Clinton, and will shortly send its first organiser to New Hampshire, to start pushing candidates to adopt the more aggressive policies it wished Obama had followed through on while he had the chance.
Even if Warren doesn’t stand, and she is decidedly lukewarm in public, her fanclub hopes that the last two years of a bolder and more progressive Obama will help pull the party in her direction in time for a fresh assault on Congress and the White House in 2016.
“Whoever runs for the nomination should the embrace the Elizabeth Warren economic agenda,” says Taylor. “This is a moment of real crisis; people are very unhappy with the direction the country is going and it requires some audacious thinking.”

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Asif Zardari - Imran’s politics seems to be directed by ‘umpire

Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairman Asif Ali Zardari Sunday said there were many ‘misdirected children’ in today’s politics of the country and that his party will not buy the 4-month long TV drama and capsize the boat of democracy.
“We are not in a hurry, so the captain may keep on bowling,” Asif Zardari said while addressing a public meeting here to mark the founding day of the PPP.
He said had we allowed the boat of democracy to sink, it would pave the way for someone to repeat the words of ‘Meray Aziz Hum Watno’. “I deem Nawaz Sharif better than ‘Meray Aziz Hum Watno’,” he added.
The PPP Chairman said there was a huge difference between the politics of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chief Imran Khan and that of ours. “Imran Khan represents a narrow mindset while our view captures a forward-looking perspective,” he claimed.

He said Imran Khan’s politics seem to be directed by the ‘finger of the umpire’. “This is not how politics is done.”

Tribute To Benazir Bhutto - Kal Bhi Bhutto Zinda Tha Aaj Bhi Bhutto Zinda Hai..

Pakistan People’s Party - 47 years ago – the revolution is being continued

Today is the foundation day of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and 47 years ago, the ideological and pragmatic foundation of the PPP was laid at Lahore under the chair of Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. Despite the fact it had been a long time since the PPP was founded, the party is yet a representative political party of millions, and is still imparting ideological and pragmatic guidance to millions of party workers toward their right path. Without going into details, I would like reminding of those two days when millions were present in the meeting and 10 foundation papers were unanimously approved, which carried guidelines for the party workers toward the resolution of people’s problems. Again, it would not be an appropriate time to discuss about those 10 foundation papers in detail. However, it would be a right time to refer to one of those documents so as to leave some guidelines to the party workers, which carried a caption of – Why a new political party?

This question had provided the basis for the creation of a new political party, which was founded in a rich and politically fertile land at the grass root level. The party addressed people’s issues and proved to be an inevitable one for protecting the federation, maintaining the Islamic values, promoting the democratic norms and progressing toward the Parliamentary politics and for keeping the masses united across the board. The party, PPP, had its basis on four pillars, which were,

Islam is our religion

Democracy is our politics

Socialism is our economy

People are base of power

Later, Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto had added one more clause to those four pillars, that the martyrdom is our mission.

This is the base of the PPP, which is achieved through continued struggle and tremendous sacrifices for Islam, Democracy, unexploiting economy, rule of the masses. The PPP had on the basis of those pillars of its foundation raised a slogan for the political gains that Roti – Kapra aur Makan (means for living – clothing – and Shelter) are the basic needs of every human and it is the responsibility of the state to provide those articles to the masses. Later Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto Shaheed expanded that slogan with education, health, energy and law and order. In brief, this is the pragmatic basis of PPP’s ideology according to which the party was put into progress and Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto Shaheed had as per need of the hour run the party and thousands of party workers laid their lives for the cause. Their struggle is being continued and would never cease to exist and hence the PPP is still a sole pro-masses political party and the poor and the deprived are the heirs of it.

Asif Ali Zardari had while taking pains for protecting that basis of the hierarchy walked through difficult times along with the policy of reconciliation and provided a guarantee for the sanctity and prevalence of the Parliamentary democratic System. Today’s protected and prevailing democracy is the result of his philosophy of political reconciliation.

Twenty-five year old Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, the heir of the legacy of his Shaheed grandfather and Shaheed mother is the custodian of the basis of the PPP in future and he would incorporate their legacies for the welfare of the masses, sovereignty of the country, in future. Pakistan is a federation and its basic needs could only be met through continued democratic system of government and hence the existence of the PPP is correlated with the existence of the country. The revolution that the PPP had brought on November 30, 1967 is being continued and is non-stoppable. Not only the people of Pakistan but the people of the entire region are aware of the fact that destroying the PPP is tantamount to destroying federation of Pakistan. In past, many efforts were made and conspiracies were hatched by the forces of tyranny to eliminate the PPP but the party remained intact.

The PPP is still alive and active because they are the masses, who have owned this party and shed their blood for it. As I said earlier, the revolution had already been caused to seat in the country 47 years ago and the second biggest spell of the revolution was witnessed on April 4, 1979 when Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto while going toward the gallows had stated that he could be crushed but he could not be defeated in the history. Those, who had hung him, were deceived of their own false notions that the PPP had then been eliminated but the PPP was rejuvenated at the same time and of course, hundreds of party workers had added their blood to that rejuvenation.

The PPP is an ideology and a movement for attaining the goal and hence it could not be wiped out. The party is intact with the federation and those forces of tyranny that are yet bent upon wiping out it should remember it would jeopardizes the sovereignty of the country. Pakistan would live forever and the PPP, too. Dreams of the forces of tyranny would never come true.

Pakistan: Democracy and revolution: Is it enduring relationship?

"When liberty comes with hands dabbled in blood it is hard to shake hands with her."-Oscar Wilde

If you ever thought, and ignored, that in making the "burn them all" battle cry at the PTI rally in Nankana Sahib, Sheikh Rashid was at his expected best, think again. The PTI chief Imran Khan too thinks on these lines; or at least he seems to have given this mind to his senior party leaders. Reportedly, he told them if his 'peaceful' march on November 30 was obstructed there would be a "bloody revolution". His workers would reach the D-Chowk come what may, he said in Lahore on Wednesday. If merely arriving at the D-Chowk is all that PTI leadership wants, then it is not something new; the PTI is already on that site for over one hundred daysand the 'revolution' is nowhere in sight. Obviously, the agenda for the November 30 rally is more ambitious, and in the words of Imran Khan it would be implemented even if it demanded a 'bloody revolution'. As to how the 'bloody revolution' would play out the words uttered by Sheikh Rashid at Nankana Sahib bear repetition. "Waqt aagaya hai in choroun ur kami kaminay logon say mulk ko nijat dilaney ka. Niklo, maro, marjao, jalao, gherao, aur is mulk ko choron aur baimaan hukmurano say nijat dilaoo [time has come to rid the country of these thieves and low-caste, mean-minded people. Come out in large numbers, kill and get killed, burn, haunt and hound them and save the country from these thieves and dishonest rulers]." So far there is no public clarification from the PTI leadership what to talk of contradiction of these grim and sinister threats by the man who is often seen sitting by the side of Imran Khan at their rallies and sit-ins. No wonder then a thick layer of panic - thicker than that of dust raised by bulldozers working to give the twin-cities Rawalpindi-Islamabad the unwanted Metro Bus Project - hangs over the Capital. 

Isn't it crassly diabolic that the PTI leadership which never tired of expressing its uncompromising commitment to genuine democracy in Pakistan should come to such a sorry pass that it should threaten the people with a 'bloody revolution'. Is it something like 'give me power or give me death'? Democracy has no value if violence is the price. Says the indomitable G. K. Chesterton: "You can never have a revolution in order to establish democracy. You must have a democracy in order to have a revolution". 'Burn them all' and a 'bloody revolution' calls are mutinous unworthy of the mouths that never tire of upholding the cause of a pure and pristine democratic order. To the extent that the PTI has the right to hold anti-government rallies and sit-ins nothing should stop it. The right of a political party to demonstrate enjoys constitutional sanctity. But this right is exercisable only with responsibility and within clearly laid down parameters. The same very constitution expects of the PTI to secure permission of local administration on its proposed venue and timeline for the proposed rally. If the local administration permits the PTI to hold rally at the D-Chowk it is fine. But if it doesn't, and Imran Khan decides to push through the security barriers then it would be a violation of the constitution. Then it would be a free for all tussle-for-power game, and we all know how it would end. Before taking the plunge, Imran should recognise the faces that brought him to this precipice. Sheikh Rashid has been a part of almost all previous governments including military regime of General Pervez Musharraf. And Shah Mehmood Qureshi and Pervaiz Khattak were indispensable cogs of Asif Ali Zardari's harvester. There is still time for Imran to recast his do or die plan in accordance with a famous quote of Winston Churchill: "A politician needs the ability to foretell what is going to happen tomorrow, next week, next month, and next year. And to have the ability afterwards to explain why it didn't happen." 

ANP lashes out: ‘PTI will be responsible for martial law’

Awami National Party (ANP) Senior Vice President Haji Ghulam Ahmed Bilour on Saturday said Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf would be responsible if martial law was imposed in the country.
Speaking to journalists at his residence in the provincial capital, Bilour claimed some elements were striving towards martial law. He said Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan and his allies would be responsible if such plans materialise.
“We do not support martial law and neither do we accept it. In fact, our struggle is for democracy in Pakistan.” Bilour said.
The former federal minister expressed his resentment over the increasing political polarisation of the country, alleging that certain circles were trying to disrupt the democratic process.
“We will not tolerate efforts aimed at derailing democracy,” he remarked, saying the party would not accept any constitution introduced under a military government.
Responding to a question, the seasoned politician said, “Political polarisation is being sponsored and dictated by those who have long been trying to derail the democratic process at the behest of others.” He made it clear that nobody apart from Pakistan Tehreek–e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan and his aides would be responsible for derailing the democratic process.
The ANP leader reaffirmed his party’s faith in democracy, the supremacy of the Constitution and Parliament.
He recalled that military governments caused huge problems in the past and dictators almost never fulfilled their promises to the people.
Elaborating on his point of view, Haji Ghulam Ahmad Bilour recalled military dictator Ziaul Haq introduced the heroin and Kalashnikov culture to the country, whereas militancy and terrorism were ‘gifts’ left behind by Musharraf.
“Only democratic governments are capable of running the affairs of the country according to the expectations of the people.”
The ANP leader suspected the involvement of a hidden power behind the ongoing protests and politics of confrontation. The ANP leader alleged Imran Khan staged his Islamabad sit-in when Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif refused to extend the tenures of two military generals, including the former chief of army staff (COAS).
Haji Ghulam Ahmad Bilour said anti-democratic forces were not only trying to derail the democratic process, but were also making a bid to harm the Constitution. He added the 18th and 19th amendments were passed after a tremendous struggle and brought the Constitution back to its original shape.
He said the actions of Imran Khan and PTI were detrimental to the very interests of the federation as the imposition of martial law could put the future of the country at stake. He felt the PTI chief was clearly confused as he kept on changing his statements and actions.

Pakistan: Khyber vaccinators decide to boycott anti-polio drive

Health workers and their supervisors on Saturday announced boycott of the upcoming anti-polio vaccination campaign in Jamrud and Landi Kotal, which is scheduled to start on Dec 8.
The decision was made at a meeting attended by a large number of health workers and at least 31 polio team supervisors. 
The meeting took stock of what they called the health authorities intentional denial of timely payment of dues to health workers and supervisors after the completion of every vaccination campaign in Khyber Agency.
“Every health worker puts his or her life in danger for the sake of reaching out to every child under age five even in the high-risk localities, but at the end they are made to wait for payment of their dues for months,” said the participants of the meeting.
They said that payment for last five campaigns had not been made to them, which had compelled most of them to borrow money from their colleagues for meeting their day-to-day expenses.
Through a unanimous resolution, the health workers announced boycott of the forthcoming campaign till they were paid all their outstanding dues. The World Health Organisation has made it mandatory to pay Rs5,000 to every supervisor and Rs3,000 to Khyber vaccinators decide to boycott anti-polio drive health worker after completion of every campaign. 
WHO representatives said that all the outstanding dues had already been released and it was the responsibility of the agency surgeon to disburse the amount among the health workers.
The affected health workers said that they had also submitted a written request to the political administration, asking it to help release the withheld amount to polio workers, but to no avail.
Dawn has learnt that the issue of non-payment of dues to the polio workers had severed relations between the officials of political administration and former Agency Surgeon Dr Rehman Afridi as WHO insisted on a number of occasions that the amount was already handed over to Dr Afridi but it was not timely distributed among health workers. Dr Afridi was only recently replaced by Dr Qasim who said that he would take up the matter with his high-ups in Fata Secretariat. 
Khyber Agency has so far registered 60 of the total 267 polio cases in Pakistan with most coming from the restive Bara tehsil where health officials said they had abandoned the anti-polio vaccination due to ongoing military operation. However, arrangements have been made at five exit points to vaccinate children coming out of Bara with the newly displaced families.

Pakistan: Democracy is our politics: Zardari

In an apparent message to some political and religious elements, PPP Co-Chairman and former president Asif Ali Zardari has said Our founding principles ‘democracy is our politics' and ‘all power to the people' are ingrained in the consciousness of the people and will never be erased," he said.

He said that the PPP would not permit anyone to impose any peculiar agenda through brute force and using the facade of religion. "The party is also conscious of threats to democracy in the name of democracy itself and is determined to foil them," Zardari said in a statement issued in relation to the 47th founding day of the party, which falls today (Sunday). "Our founding principles ‘democracy is our politics' and ‘all power to the people' are ingrained in the consciousness of the people and will never be erased," he said. He said this year the Pakistan People's Party was celebrating its founding day by holding conventions of party workers for stock-taking and soul-searching as well as for reiterating its commitment to the ideals for the pursuit of which it was founded by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. "We reiterate that all power belongs to the people and they alone have the power to bring about political change through the ballot box," he remarked.

SALUTE TO Z A BHUTTO !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was executed on April 4, 1979, a darkest day in the history of Pakistan. Bhutto wrote a book from his death cell, Titled "If I am assassinated," its last pages contained a quote from Russian author Nikolai Dostoevsky: "Man's dearest possession is his life, and since it is given to him to live but once, he must so live as not to be scared with the shame of a cowardly and trivial past, so as not to be tortured for years without purpose, that dying he can say, 'All my life and my strength were given to the first cause in the world - the liberation of mankind.' " As death stared the Z.A Bhutto in the face, he stared back. His past has no shame of cowardice. His daughter, too, gave her life in courage.
 "If India builds the bomb we will eat grass or leaves, we will go hungry. But we will get one of our own." This statement by Zulfiar Ali Bhutto should open up our eyes and bring back the passion of patriotism, unity and love for each others for the sake of Pakistan. I would like to express that this man is and was hero of Pakistan. Historians, Retired Judges of the Superior Courts and eminent lawyers have now unanimously admitted that Mr. Z.A Bhutto was hanged by a military dictator General Zia-Ul Haq by orchestrating a judicial trial to get rid of a popular leader. He gave Pakistan its first constitution, nuclear programme, held peace talks with India and brought 90,000 POW who were in Indian prison and were going to face war crimes.

He liberated the small farmers and peasants from the repression and cruelty of big landlords and banished the jagirdari and sardari system declaring that all citizens are born equal and must live with equal rights. Z.A Bhutto was a Legend, who lived and died like a hero with courage, determination and devotion to his principles, when cruel dictator Zia was going to kill him, Z.A Bhutto could sign few papers and could live in exile but he was a real man, he was not a coward. He too could have made a deal and lived to fight another day; but only great men with principles sacrifice their life for their cause. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto earned everlasting fame in the pantheon of leaders from the Third World in the struggle against colonialism and imperialism.

 He had the privilege of interacting with many of those leaders who played a great role in the epic struggle for national independence in the 20th Century including Mao Tse Tung, Soekarno, Chou-en Lai, and Gamal Abdel Nasser. He belonged to a category of anti-imperialist leaders who included Jamal Nasir of Egypt and Jawahir Lal Nehru of India. He was a brilliant Diplomat who negotiated some of Pakistan's most enduring diplomatic policies as well as bargaining from a position of weakness against Indira Gandhi in Simla. He was a great diplomat; there is a story that the American President John F. Kennedy was much impressed with then Foreign Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. When they met, Kennedy walked with him in the Rose Garden and said, "Bhutto, if you were an American, you would be in my Cabinet". To which Zulfikar Ali Bhutto smilingly replied, "No, Mr. President. If I were an American, you would be in my cabinet". A Pan Islamic socialist who weakened the Feudal and tribal system..

He also pushed through Pakistan's nuclear programme despite enormous International pressure. He was also a brilliant politician whose popularity and powerful speeches impressed even his worst opponents. It took a great man to get Pakistan out of the 71 trauma. A dynamic leader, who stood up against imperialism and looked to China and other progressive countries for an alliance. When he was Prime Minister, the country prospered and was set on a course of industrial and agricultural development. He gained popularity in villages and poor industrial areas. Bhutto was the only true leader in our history who gave us constitution, identity in international relations. You will be surprised to know when Bhutto became as Foreign Minister, at that time; we did not have ambassador level relations with so many big countries of the world like Indonesia etc. He empowers the poor of his country.

Such people like Z.A BHUTTO are born rarely, who will forget his capabilities as an extempore speaker, as an writer, as an diplomat, as an leader and above all as lover of poor. On the day of his martyrdom his opponents called him as a culprit but same are now calling him as an innocent. The simple reason for this is that Zia tried his best to create divisions among people in order to finish the popularity of Bhutto. The irony is all those who hatched conspiracy against him are no more in this mortal world, all of them died a horrible death. Bhutto was the greatest leader we can think in the modern history. In his book "If I Am Assassinated", Bhutto clearly mentions his fear of 120 million Pakistanis under a defenseless sky in comparison to a nuclear India. What a vision! India could have swallowed Pakistan long ago if thanks to Bhutto we were not an atomic power. On the economic front Bhutto vision for nationalization was that Pakistanis will work hard like Chinese, but here Pakistanis failed him. The labor and the management of nationalized industry had no interest to take advantage of this opportunity. Using this as a golden opportunity, the industrialists, bureaucrats, and above all corrupt army declared him as an unsuccessful leader. Bhutto loved poor and poor loved Bhutto. This relationship is ever lasting. The first leader who legislated labor laws and enforced in Pakistan and nobody could do it till now. This is the reason of his popularity among labors. He tried to unite the Islamic world.

The Pakistan is still under developing country because Bhutto is not alive. Z.A Bhutto is the first person in Pakistan who has given the voice to the common people. Z.A Bhutto was great charismatic leader, man of masses, top class negotiator, excellent communicator, a visionary, known for mercurial brilliance, wit and a highly well read person. He attracted mammoth crowds where ever he addressed public meetings even in remote regions of the country. He was a man of masses because of his personal charm and charisma and the one who spoke in the language of workers, laborers, peasants and the people in the streets. He would make the people feel that he was one of them, understood them, had solutions to their problems and give them roti, kapra aur makan. He might have given all these things to them if his government had not become target of the establishment's conspiracies. ZA Bhutto's Powerful Political Legacy Cannot be eliminated. In no time Bhutto had made a tremendous impact all around. As Minister for Fuel and Power, he had diverse explorers tapping into Pakistan's underground hidden energy resources. For the first time Russians were involved in oil and gas exploration. His time as Minister for Science and Technology was well spent. He could measure the advancements made by India in the atomic field. I can't help grieving the tragic death of a Hero who paid with his life to set an ultimate example of principled politics.

 I hope we honor Shaheed Bhutto by giving to the weak and less fortunate people of Pakistan the gift of unconditional empowerment through democracy and moral governance and not trade his dream for our illusions. Bourgeois battled Bhutto's populist economic and political enforcement, the bourgeois and the petty-bourgeois became ready instruments in carrying out their social propaganda against Bhutto. He was the man behind introducing democracy in the country by kicking out the dictatorial rule and finally gave a consensus constitution of 1973 with guarantees to basic human rights under the supremacy of parliament. Cruel dictators like Zia and Musharraf are responsible for bringing fundamentalists into the corridor of power, Mush, who is now trumping against them just an eye wash. Political Leaders must posses' qualities of power, vision, ethics, courage, knowledge, decision making, integrity, enthusiasms and devotion and should have principles, Z.A BHUTTO had all those qualities.

Mr. Bhutto lived consciously to make history and to leave a legacy in the form of the development of his nation. He is right credited with saving Pakistan at the darkest moment of its history, as French President Giscardd' Estaing said he was the man,'' who incarnated Pakistan at a dramatic hour of its history''. Z A BHUTTO was indeed a great leader, a leader we must salute today; who gave voice to the voiceless and helped them shape their own destiny. It was under his leadership that every Pakistani given the right to passport. Education was nationalized and made available to every child. Scores of Universities were built to turn the children of the discriminated and downtrodden into lawyers, doctors and engineers liberating them from a destiny of backwardness. Bhutto pushed politics out of the posh drawing rooms into real Pakistan-into the muddy lanes and villages of the poor. The ever-lasting contribution of Bhutto was to raise the consciousness of the people for democracy. He awakened the masses, making them realize they were the legitimate fountainhead of political power. He enlightened the peasants, the industrial workers, the students, the women and the rest of the common people of their importance and of their right of franchise, which is the definite means of bringing changes and improvement in the lives of the common people. He deeply cherished democracy and democratic values and in the end gave his life for the cause of freedom. In the case of Pakistan, he viewed military rule as a negation of the very genesis of the country that came into being as a result of a democratic process and a vote.

 Today as the Nation pays tribute to one of its greatest sons; it is destined to move forward in the spirit of Federalism, Democracy, Autonomy and Egalitarianism which he lit through his example of courage in the defense of principles and ideals. Z.A BHUTTO was a people leader, a legend and a poet and he remained so till the last breath in his body. He was a true revolutionary; his revolution was against imperialism, against bourgeois. He was a charismatic leader and his charisma still rules the nation. Z.A Bhutto ruled the hearts of people when he was alive and till date he rules their hearts. Z.A Bhutto was a principled friend to the poor, downtrodden and oppressed. He was fearless in his beliefs and refused to bow before any man or power other than the Almighty. His contributions to an impregnable Pakistan are seen in the Kamra Aeronautical factory, Heavy Mechanical Complex at Taxila, modernization of Karachi Shipyard, creation of precision engineering works, Pakistan Steel Mills, Port Qasim, Pakistan Automobile Corporation to name a few. By signing the Simla Accord of 1972 he negotiated longest peace between India and Pakistan. His social reforms laid the foundation of an egalitarian society, his non-aligned foreign policy earned Pakistan respect in the comity of nations. He lifted the nation drowning in a sea of despair to Himalayan heights. The death cell in which his killers kept him failed to break his will or his determination to challenge military rule and stand up as the leader of the people. Bhutto was a modernizer and saw nationalism as the key to unity. He rejected fanaticism. He gave pride to the poor.

 As leader of the Third World he spoke boldly against racism, colonialism and imperialism. He fearlessly defended the right of nations to independence. When the 1973 Ramadan War broke out, he sent Pakistan's military to defend the borders of the Muslim countries including the Golan Heights of Syria. Bhutto's short life of fifty years was spent in the service of many international, regional and national causes. Today Pakistan is at the crossroads. Its policies relating to Nuclear, Taliban, India, Militancy, Religious Parties, Democracy and Economy are in shambles. Shaheed Bhutto believed that the army could protect its institutional competence by keeping out of politics. He said, "Those soldiers who leave the barracks to move into Government mansions lose wars and become prisoners of war as happened in 1971; his words reverberate as a warning and a guide to the country to save its honor, respect, pride and position by reverting to the golden principles that gave it birth. April 4 falls at a time when Pakistan is faced with a critical situation. The dark shadow of military dictatorship clouds the political horizon and spawns fissiparous tendencies striking at the solidarity of the country. Rocket launchers and bomb blasts kill innocents while the military is involved in operations against its own people.

The rise of the suicide bomber and armed struggle is reminiscent of an earlier military dictatorship. The tyranny of General Zia's military rule led to the Kalashnikov culture where young men picked up automatic weapons. That culture has reasserted itself under the military dictatorship of General Musharraf. Except that the weapons are more dangerous than the Kalashnikovs of yesterday. Every time a General ruled Pakistan, innocent people were being killed. Today many people in Pakistan must be scared as Mr. Zardari is shaking hands with MQM, let's not forget that Mr. Bhutto and Benazir were killed by two presidents,who supported MQM.As Asfand Wali Khan has some reservations about MQM,I agree with him. Z.A Bhutto was born in 1928. He was martyred in 1979. Yet he lives in the hearts and minds of the people still shining like a star that brightens the sky motivating those caught in the prisons of oppression. No doubt, the age of Bhutto was an age of revolution. At the time of his over throw; Bhutto was emerging as a spokesman of the world of Islam and the leader of the third world. Although his life and political career were cruelly terminated, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto will always be remembered as one of the great leaders who took part in the liberation of the third world from the yoke of Imperialism and Neo Colonialism during the twentieth century. "It is better to live like a lion for one day than to live like a jackal for a thousand." Z.A.BHUTTO''. Long Live Bhuttoism!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!