Wednesday, February 4, 2015

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Video - Confirmation hearing for Ashton Carter

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The Pentagon in the hands of a scholar

President Barack Obama was full of praise when he announced his choice for Chuck Hagel's replacement in December, lauding Ashton Carter as a person who was "rightly regarded as one of our nation's foremost national security leaders." The president paid explicit tribute to Carter's "innovation" in the Pentagon and his tenure with regard to US defense policy, making it clear that the 60-year-old had more than enough experience to do the job. "He was at the table in the Situation Room; he was by my side in navigating complex security challenges."
Staring directly at Obama, Carter responded to the presidential praise with two promises:
"If confirmed in this job, I pledge to you my most candid strategic advice," he said. And that he would "keep faith with the greatest fighting force the world has ever known."

As deputy defense secretary, Carter was integral in procuring F-35 jets
Pragmatic technocrat
Over the past two decades in and out of the Pentagon, Carter has built a reputation for being an assertive technocrat with sterling knowledge of US weapons arsenals and the workings of the department of defense - and a proclivity for pragmatic decision-making.
Former Pentagon colleagues, including Defense Secretary William Perry, under whom Carter served as assistant during the Clinton administration, have described him as "efficient," "calculating," even "hard-nosed" when it comes to the use of force in implementing US defense policy.
He was Obama's chief weapons buyer from 2009 to 2011 and after that served as Pentagon number two until 2013. His deep knowledge of Pentagon budgetary affairs will come in handy amid a resounding White House and Congressional desire to cut military spending across the board. A characteristically pragmatic Carter has expressed willingness to decrease spending, but only where that spending is "unnecessary."
"Carter's great strength is his weakness," said John Hulsman, a German-based American foreign policy expert. "He is seen as a superb technocrat who knows how to make the unwieldy Pentagon work. As such, he is truly respected on both sides of the aisle," Hulsman told DW.
Despite his expertise and his political acumen, however, the question remains whether his vision for the US role in the world - given domestic qualms at home - is a viable one.
"He really isn't a grand geostrategist - and one is needed now to make sense of the multipolar world," Hulsman said, concluding that Carter's impact as defense secretary "may be limited."

In his academic days, Carter said he took a particular interest in the Higgs Boson
A quantum leap to defense policy
Carter's reputable expertise and interest in defense policy follows, almost bizarrely, an academic career in which he dedicated himself to the study of theoretical physics. He double majored in medieval history and physics at Yale and earned his doctorate as a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford, envisioning theories about quantum chromodyamics, i.e., the behavior of sub-atomic particles in nuclear reactions.
"In [Carter] you have a poster child for the guy who discovers that science and technology are the major drivers for some of the most important events in international affairs, and sometimes are the sources of the solutions," Graham Allison, who recruited Carter to work for the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard's Kennedy School, told the New York Times ahead of Wednesday's Senate hearing.
In a short autobiography published on the Kennedy School website, Carter explains that the motivation for his jump from academia to the political realm was inspired by the Cold War. "The enormity of the dangers could not be ignored," he wrote, with reference to the year 1979. "I flattered myself into believing that the two poles of my training, physics and history, came together in the effort to cope with the [potential destructiveness of the] Cold War."
And with regard to Washington, Carter writes: "Public service at senior levels is a little bit like being a Christian in the Coliseum. You never know when they are going to release the lions and have you torn apart for the amusement of onlookers."
Carter concludes that in the face of the "whirlwind" that is Washington the only thing that can help is "having an agenda," and the faith to say what he feels in the face of the lions. And those were indeed the two promises he made when Obama picked him for the Pentagon's top job.

Arrested IS suspects in Bangladesh claim training in Pakistan

Bangladeshi police arrested four suspected members of Islamic State in the capital, Dhaka, on Monday, including a regional coordinator for the militant group who told police they had been trained in Pakistan.
Reports of the growing influence of Islamic State, which controls territory in Syria and Iraq, have raised alarm bells across South Asia, though it remains unclear whether militants organising under the Islamic State name in the region are acting on their own or as part of a centralised initiative coming out of the Middle East.
“We arrested them in the city early on Monday, carrying a huge number of leaflets related to militancy for training, a laptop and other materials,” Shaikh Nazmul Alam, deputy police commissioner with Dhaka's detective and criminal intelligence division, told reporters.
The suspected coordinator, whom police identified as Mohammad Sakhawatul Kabir, told police that he and the other three men had received training in Pakistan, Alam said.
The Pakistani authorities were not immediately available for comment.
Alam said Kabir told police while under interrogation that the cell he ran from Dhaka was planning to collect funds and weapons for attacks on Bangladesh government targets.
“The aim of the attacks was to establish a caliphate state in Bangladesh,” Alam said.
Police in Bangladesh, which has been in the throes of a political crisis since controversial elections last January, have arrested eight people for suspected involvement with Islamic State in the past year.
“Of course this is a growing concern, particularly at a time when the country has been experiencing a politically unstable situation,” said Sakhawat Hussain, a retired army brigadier and a security analyst in Dhaka.
Bangladesh's leading daily newspaper The Daily Star released a photo of the arrested militants, stating that the group leaders have been put on a five-day remand after being arrested last night.
The report further mentioned that the suspects were identified before the media as Sakhawatul Kabir, regional commander of IS Bangladesh chapter, Nazrul Alam, a financier, Anwar Hossain, a convict of an explosions case, and Rabiul Islam.

President Obama’s New Budget

President Obama’s fiscal 2016 budget, released on Monday, pulls together the themes and policies set forth in his State of the Union address and other recent speeches and gives them a force and coherence — an ambitiousness — that a more piecemeal delivery does not convey.
As a practical matter, the budget details what Mr. Obama believes needs to be done to help ensure a more prosperous and inclusive future for ordinary Americans, including greater contributions from corporate America and from those atop the wealth ladder. Politically, it seeks to frame the terms of the debate for the 2016 presidential election season. If Republicans simply reject those terms — if they can’t discuss the ideas and act on them — they may find themselves, deservedly, struggling for a response.
The core of the president’s 2016 budget is a plan to boost the middle class by helping low- and middle-income earners pay for education, child care, job training and other needs, and by vastly expanding investment in the nation’s infrastructure. These initiatives would be paid for, in the main, by nearly $1 trillion in tax increases that would fall on the wealthy and large financial institutions over the next decade.
The new taxes, however, are also carefully crafted to spur economic growth more broadly. A proposed higher rate on capital gains, for example, would discourage rampant and inefficient tax sheltering, while encouraging investors to deploy the capital in ways that are more economically productive. Ditto the financial tax that is structured to discourage speculative activities at banks that endanger the economy, as well as taxpayers.
The President Obama’s budget also presents a reasonable plan for relieving the near-term damage from automatic budget cuts, also known as sequestration. Much like a bipartisan plan that reduced the harm of sequestration in 2014 and 2015, the proposed budget would raise nonmilitary discretionary spending over the capped level by $37 billion while offering a dollar-for-dollar increase in military spending.
Even with those increases, discretionary spending would fall by 2019 to its lowest level on record as a share of the economy, in data going back to 1962 — too low to meet the needs of a large economy and a growing population. Still, easing the sequester as Mr. Obama proposes would help shift the national discussion to how, when and how much government should spend, rather than how much it should retreat and retrench from its duties.
Contrary to the Republican charge that the budget is fiscally irresponsible, it addresses, albeit indirectly, longer-term problems like the financing shortfall in Social Security — just not in ways that Republicans care to acknowledge. For example, the budget assumes passage of comprehensive immigration reform, which would boost the economy by adding millions of newly legalized workers. Immigration and economic growth are essential to improving the financial health of the Social Security system.
The president’s budget will not be enacted in whole, and perhaps not even in part. But enactment is not the only measure of its success. The budget is a strong discussion draft, detailed in its particulars, unassailable in its aims and a powerful challenge to the Republicans.

President Obama Meets with DREAMers in the Oval Office

High-profile Saudi princes accused of funding Al Qaeda

By Rori Donaghy

Princes Turki al-Faisal, Bandar bin Sultan, and al-Waleed bin Talal were all accused of funding Al Qaeda in testimony given by Zacarias Moussaoui.
A jailed former member of Al Qaeda has given testimony to a US court accusing senior royals in Saudi Arabia of funding the militant group, according to court documents filed in New York on Tuesday.
Zacarias Moussaoui, serving a life sentence for his role in the 11 September 2001 attacks, made the claims in testimony given to lawyers for attack victims who accuse Saudi Arabia of providing direct support to Al Qaeda.
Moussaoui said he acted as a courier for the late Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden and compiled a list of donors to the group.
“Sheikh Osama wanted to keep a record who give [sic] money […] who is to be listened to or who contributed to the jihad,” said the 46-year-old French native who pled guilty to terrorism charges in 2005.
Moussaoui said Prince Turki al-Faisal (former intelligence chief), Prince Bandar bin Sultan (former ambassador to the US), and Prince al-Waleed bin Talal (well-known billionaire investor) all appeared on the Al Qaeda donor lists, as well as many of Saudi Arabia’s leading religious figures.
The former Al Qaeda member said he met the newly anointed King Salman, then crown prince, and other members of the royal family in Saudi Arabia when delivering messages from Osama bin Laden.
He also claimed to have met with an official from Saudi Arabia’s Washington embassy in Afghanistan and discussed a “stinger attack” on the US presidential plane Air Force One.
“I was supposed to go to Washington and go with him [the embassy official] (to) find a location where it may be suitable to launch a Stinger attack and then, after, be able to escape,” he said, adding that he was arrested before being able to do the attack reconnaissance.
The US Justice Department agreed last year to allow Moussaoui to give testimony in the case brought against Saudi Arabia and a team of lawyers questioned him in prison for two days last October.
Moussaoui also said in his testimony that he helped carry out a trial attack using a 750 kilogramme bomb planned to be used against the US Embassy in London. He also looked into the potential of using crop-dusting aircraft to carry out attacks.
The 9/11 attacks were carried out by 19 hijackers, 15 of whom were Saudi nationals. Wealthy Saudis have long been accused of funding groups including Al Qaeda, although the state has always denied any direct involvement.
On Wednesday Saudi Arabia’s US embassy released a statement denouncing Moussaoui’s testimony as having “no credibility.”
“Moussaoui is a deranged criminal whose own lawyers presented evidence that he was mentally incompetent,” the embassy said.
At his original 2006 trial Moussaoui’s lawyers, who he tried to have removed from the case, submitted evidence that he was suffering from a mental illness. He was, however, declared fit to stand trial and the judge described him as “an extremely intelligent man.”
Judge Leonie M Binkema said she was “fully satisfied that Mr. Moussaoui is completely competent.”
Lawyers who questioned Moussaoui in October reiterated that they thought him “focused and thoughtful”.
“My impression was that he was of completely sound mind,” Sean Carter said, according to the New York Times.
The case filed in 2002 by surviving victims of the 9/11 attacks has taken years to get to court, after having been initially blocked in 2005 on grounds that Saudi Arabia enjoyed “sovereign immunity”. That decision was later overturned and the US Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal brought by the Saudi government to dismiss the case.
Other statements filed in the case this week included statements by former senators who served on the committee that investigated the 9/11 attacks. Former Senator Bob Graham said links between the government of Saudi Arabia and the attackers must be explored further.
“I am convinced that there was a direct line between at least some of the terrorists who carried out the 11 September attacks and the government of Saudi Arabia,” wrote Graham.
The former Florida senator has been an advocate of releasing 28 pages of the congressional report on 9/11 that cover the alleged involvement of foreign governments in the attacks and which remain classified material.
US politicians who have read the 28 pages say its content is “disturbing”.
“I had to stop every two or three pages and rearrange my perception of history,” said Congressman Thomas Massie. “It’s that fundamental.”
Lawyers acting on behalf of the 9/11 survivors have said they will question Moussaoui further and have been granted permission to do so by prison officials.
“We are confident he has more to say,” Carter told the New York Times.

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Obama’s Defense Nominee Open To GOP’s Position Of Keeping More U.S. Troops In Afghanistan


President Barack Obama’s designee to become the next Secretary of Defense told the Senate Armed Services Committee earlier this week that he could recommend keeping more U.S. troops in Afghanistan to address security concerns and potentially protect the country from advances by ISIS or the Islamic State.
Last year, the Obama administration pledged to withdraw almost all troops out of Afghanistan by the end of 2016, keeping only a small force to protect the embassy in Kabul and assist the Afghans with certain security matters. U.S. forces will also continue to perform counterterrorism operations.
Ashton Carter’s written response to a lengthy committee questionnaire comes just days before he faces a Republican-dominated confirmation committee hearing on Wednesday and at a time when military commanders are raising concerns about the ability of Afghan forces to stand up to new threats.
In prepared testimony before the House Armed Services Committee on Tuesday, Marine Lt. Gen. Vincent Stewart, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, will note that Afghan forces “remain stalemated with the Taliban-led insurgency” and reliant on American “air, intelligence and maintenance support.” He will testify that the forces still “struggle to effectively replace these lost enablers.”
Meanwhile, Islamic State fighters are establishing “a growing international footprint” in countries like Algeria, Egypt and Libya, Stewart will say. In January, Afghan officials confirmed to CBS News that ISIS has begun “recruiting fighters, flying black flags and, according to some sources, even battling Taliban militants” in southern Afghanistan.
Senators are expected to question Carter about the administration’s reliance on Afghan forces and its plan to combat the growing threat from ISIS, using the hearing as an opportunity to criticize Obama’s foreign policy record ahead of the 2016 elections.
Republicans in Congress have called on the Obama administration to establish a no-fly zone in Syria and to deploy U.S. forces to assist Iraqi troops. Lawmakers and military officials have also criticized the administration for setting a firm date for withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan, arguing that the deadline could expose the country to greater violence. That view is shared by newly elected Afghan president Ashraf Ghani, who told CBS’s 60 Minutes earlier this month that Obama should “re-examine” his timeline.
On Sunday, Obama warned against exaggerating the threat posed by ISIS and stressed that the United States must adopt “a surgical, precise response to a very specific problem.” Speaking to CNN, the president explained that the group has no “governing strategy” and cannot “actually in a sustained way feed people or educate people or organize a society that would work.”

“What I do insist on is that we maintain a proper perspective and that we do not provide a victory to these terrorist networks by overinflating their importance and suggesting in some fashion that they are an existential threat to the United States or the world order,” he said. “It means that we don’t approach this with a strategy of sending out occupying armies and playing Whac-A-Mole wherever a terrorist group appears because that drains our economic strength and it puts enormous burdens on our military.”

U.S. Proposes One Billion USD Hike in 2016 Aid for Afghanistan

In the defense budget proposal submitted by the Barack Obama administration to the United States Congress on Monday, an additional one billion USD in aid for Afghanistan in the year 2016 is recommended, but on the condition that reforms are brought to the Kabul government beforehand.
U.S. officials originally planned to spend about three billion USD in Afghanistan next year, but an additional one billion USD has been added to the budget proposal. The increase is not set in stone, and must first clear the legislature in Washington.
Meanwhile, officials at the Afghan Ministry of Finance (MoF) were quick to respond to news of the hike in aid and the conditionality terms attached to it. They have emphasized that the new government is committed to bringing all necessary reforms and fighting corruption.
Mustafa Mastoor, the Deputy Minister of Finance, told TOLOnews that President Ashraf Ghani would discuss the specifics of the reforms with U.S. leaders upon his upcoming visit to the United Stats.
"The government has started to bring reform and is making efforts to complete the pending tasks of the previous government," Mastoor said on Tuesday. "The new government has started reforms in economic areas, an example of which is addressing the Kabul Bank case," he added, referring to the infamous corruption case Ghani had re-prosecuted within his first months of office.
In the U.S. budget for the year 2016, a total of four trillion USD in spending has been proposed, 534 billion USD of which is allocated for defense. The Pentagon's defense budget marks a 35 billion USD increase compared to the year 2015.
Out of the total defense budget, a total of 51 billion USD has been allocated under the Overseas Contingency Operations Budget, which provides funds for the U.S. military activities in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria.
Analysts have stressed the importance of oversight and accountability when it comes to utilizing the aid. "The thing that is important is that the money must be managed properly and with transparency, in order to prevent the repeating of past mistakes," economic analyst Tamim Assey said.
Meanwhile, political analyst Mir Ahmad Joyenda says the additional funds should be put toward bolstering Afghanistan's independence. "This money must be allocated to projects that make Afghanistan more independent," he told TOLOnews.
From the Bon Agreement to the London conference of 2014, the international community has continued to poor financial support into Afghanistan, often with condition requirements that went unmet. With the threat of the Taliban still very much alive, but a new government in Kabul promising to start a new chapter in Afghanistan, it seems U.S. defense leaders have decided there is still reason to hope, and still reason to invest, in Afghanistan.

Balochistan - Chagai: A Graveyard of Problems

By Hassan Baloch
Chagai was separated from Noshki and became a district in April 2004.  Sakhi Dost Muhammad played an important role in acquiring division status for Chagai and therefore He is known as Baba-e-Chagai. Chagai is the largest district of Balochistan province area-wise and it consists of an areas of 45,000 square km. Chagai contains all kinds of precious minerals such as Copper, gold, Diamond, Marble stones to name a few.
Recently a report on poverty was presented in senate about poverty. Chagai was also among those districts where majority of people live below poverty line.  Chagai is contributing to economy of Pakistan in the form of Saindak Copper-Gold Project and Taftan border trade but it’s one of the least developed provinces in Pakistan.
Not to mention the fact, that today most of Pakistanis remember Chagai for the 1998 Nuclear tests in this district. At that time government announced that it would make Chagai a model district but all those claims proved to be mere rhetoric. Today, Chagai doesn’t have any good quality educational institutes; it lacks basic health care facilities. There is no electricity and gas for the Chagai district. Chagai has turned into a graveyard of problems.
Today, people of Chagai suffer from illnesses such as Yellow fever, Black fever and so on. There is acute shortage of drinking water in many parts of Chagai district. If an outsider visits Chagai he gets the impression that he has entered an area which still belongs to the Stone-age.
In the end, People of Chagai would like to request Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to make good on his promises that he made about Chagai in 1998. He promised to establish technical centers, basic health care units and make Chagai a developed district. We request him to convert Chagai from a graveyard of problems to a garden of prosperity.

Pakistan - Death anniversary of singer Malika Pukhraj observed

The 11th death anniversary of great legendary classical musician and singer Malika Pukhraj was observed on Wednesday.

Malika Pukhraj was born in village Mirpur and when she grew up her mother moved to Kanak Mandi area of Jammu, in present Jammu and Kashmir, where she spent early years of her life.
She was given the name "Malika" at birth, by `Majzoob', `Baba Roti Ram, a spiritualist, in Akhnoor area, and named Pukhraj by her Aunt.

Malika Pukhraj was coached by Ustad Ali Baksh Kasuri father of Bade Ghulam Ali Khan. At age nine, she visited Jammu and performed at coronation ceremony of Maharaja Hari Singh, who got so impressed by her voice that she was appointed a court singer in his Durbar, and stayed there for another nine years.
Malika Pukhraj was termed as a highly popular singer of Pakistan. She was generally called as "Malika" meaning The Queen. She is extremely popular for her rendition of Hafeez Jalandhri's song "Abhi To Main Jawan Hoon" (I am still youthful).

She was among the greatest singers of British India in the 1940s, and after partition of India-Pak in 1947, she migrated to Lahore, where she received further fame through her radio performances with composer, Kale Khan.

In 1977, when All India Radio, for which she sang until partition, was celebrating its Golden Jubilee, she was invited to India and awarded with the `legend of Voice' award. In 1980, she received the Presidential Pride of Performance Award, Pakistan. Malika Pukhraj also recorded her memoirs in the novel Song Sung True.
Malika Pukhraj died in Lahore on February 4, 2004. 

Pakistan - At least 25 militants killed in air strikes near Afghan border

At least 25 militants were killed in air strikes in the tribal regions near the Afghan border on Wednesday as part of a major offensive against the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and other insurgents.
The strikes took place in the Sanzila area of South Waziristan and Tirah in Khyber, ISPR said in a statement.
“In precise aerial strikes, 25 terrorists were killed and seven hideouts were destroyed,” the statement added.
The conflict zone is off-limits to journalists, so there is no way to independently verify the number and identity of those killed.
Tirah is part of Pakistan’s restive Khyber tribal region where a number of air strikes have been launched against militant hideouts in recent months.
The Pakistan Army has been targeting TTP and Lashkar-i-Islam militants in the region since October 2014.
The military launched Operation Zarb-i-Azb, a long-awaited push to clear insurgent bases from North Waziristan, last June after a bloody TTP attack on Karachi airport finally sank faltering peace talks.
Air strikes, artillery, mortars and ground troops have all been used to take back territory.
The semi-autonomous tribal areas on the Afghan border have for years been a hideout for militants of all stripes, including Al-Qaeda and the TTP as well as foreign fighters such as Uzbeks and Uighurs.

Pakistan - Govt, security agencies should act together to protect citizens: HRCP

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has called upon the federal and provincial governments and the security and intelligence agencies to pull their act together rather than passing the blame for the Shikarpur massacre, and show responsibility in fulfilling their obligation to protect people’s lives.

HRCP Chairperson Zohra Yusuf said in a statement issued here on Tuesday that in the aftermath of the terrible attack on the Shikarpur Imambargah, question much deeper than who visited the area and when need to be asked if the killers of our people are to be brought to justice or stopped from striking again.

She said that wishing that the massacre in Shikarpur had not happened, or adopting resolutions of condemnation is neither going to lessen the pain of victims’ families nor prevent further attacks by terrorists while provision of aircraft to move the critically injured to better medical facilities is important, in the larger scheme of things that is almost irrelevant.

The chairperson said that better strategies and implementation must prevent attacks, not merely try and make transportation of the injured more efficient.

The consistent failure to apprehend the perpetrators aggravates the grievance of the people, she said adding that they expect the members of the government to be going after the perpetrators, rather than after one another. She also said that it is imperative that the people are informed about what became of the national action plan against terrorism and whether anybody is looking after implementation at all.

The brutal killings in Shikarpur are a failure for policing, intelligence and security forces in varying degrees and political point scoring and trying to find scapegoats is not going to help in any way, she concluded.

Pakistan & Bedouin Arab royals - '' Houbara Bustard in the cross hairs ''

The way successive governments in this country have bent over backwards to facilitate Arab royals can no better be witnessed than in the sad example of the Houbara Bustard, an endangered specie of bird, ruthlessly hunted down by rich sheikhs and Arab princes in Balochistan and other areas in Pakistan where, supposedly, the bird is protected. This has been happening in our land for years but the matter has taken to another dimension now with the fact that the Balochistan High Court has issued a verdict prohibiting the hunting of the Houbara Bustard, a verdict that is now all set to be defied. This is because, once again, the government, this time of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, has allowed Prince Fahd bin Sultan Abdulaziz al Saud to hunt freely this bird in the Chaghai dictrict of Balochistan, an offer the Saudi royal has no hesitation in accepting. At the time of writing, the hunting party has already landed and is probably readying its guns to hunt down as many endangered birds as possible.

So, how does one go about describing the fact that the government itself is in contempt of court? The Balochistan High Court issued the ban in November of last year when it was brought to its attention that Arab royals had killed as many as 2,100 Bustards, a feat of shocking cruelty. This is a bird that has been described as “vulnerable” and “declining in numbers”, one that must be saved from hunters, not presented to them on a silver platter. The Houbara Bustard is a migratory bird and with the flight of some 500,000 to one million of these birds to Pakistan every year come also the special permits the government issues to Saudi and Arab royals to come and do as they please with the protected birds. What an appalling disregard our government has for anything deserving of its protection and care. What an apathetic attitude towards a marvellous gift of nature, one where we are given the chance to save something instead of harming it. However, we choose to not only allow such savagery to take place in our country, we shove aside the rulings of the High Court to facilitate the Saudis. There is no shame in a government where the whims and pleasures of bored royalty trump the law of the land. The PML-N government had a chance to do the right thing but decided to ally itself with the Saudi princes, once again.

Pakistan - Shah lambasts Nisar over contradictory Shikarpur findings

Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly, Syed Khursheed Shah on Wednesday questioned the statements made earlier by Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar in NA when he claimed that a finger of the terrorist involved in the Shikarpur blast had been found.
Shah said that the DIG investigating the Shikarpur incident had earlier briefed that the terrorist’s hands, feet as well head had been found but now Nisar was contradicting that only a finger has been found.
The Leader of the Opposition went on to say that there needs to be unity amongst everyone to overcome the challenges of terrorism and that disagreements and arguments will lead to nothing.
He further said that the nation wants to see action being taken and not just meetings and public statements of condemnation.
Earlier today, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar took to the floor of the National Assembly and placed the responsibility of the Shikarpur incident on the Sindh government.
Nisar said intelligence agencies and security institutions work under the chief minister.

The interior minister further said a finger of the terrorist involved in the Shikarpur blast had been found and his identification by NADRA would be completed today. He added that the tailor who stitched the terrorist’s clothes was in custody.

Saudi Arabia and Pakistan may have just renewed a secret nuclear weapons pact


The visit by the chairman of Pakistan's Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee will likely prompt concern in Washington and other major capitals that Saudi Arabia and Pakistan have reconfirmed an arrangement whereby Pakistan, if asked, will supply Saudi Arabia with nuclear warheads.
The main meeting on Gen. Rashid Mahmoud's itinerary was with King Salman — the topics discussed were reported as "deep relations between the two countries and ... a number of issues of common interest."
General Rashid also saw separately Defense Minister Prince Muhammad bin Salman — who presented him with the King Abdulaziz medal of excellence — as well as Deputy Crown Prince and Interior Minister Muhammad bin Nayef and Minister of the National Guard Prince Mitab bin Abdullah.
The only senior Saudi absent from the meetings appears to have been Crown Prince Muqrin.
For decades, Riyadh has been judged a supporter of Pakistan's nuclear weapons program, providing financing in return for a widely assumed understanding that, if needed, Islamabad will transfer technology or even warheads.
It has been noticeable that changes in leadership in either country have quickly been followed by top-level meetings, as if to reconfirm such nuclear arrangements. Although Pakistani nuclear technology also helped Iran's program, the relationship between Islamabad and Riyadh has been much more obvious.
In 1999, a year after Pakistan tested two nuclear weapons, then Saudi defense minister Prince Sultan visited the unsafeguarded uranium enrichment plant at Kahuta outside Islamabad — prompting a US diplomatic protest.
Last year, as Riyadh's concern at the prospect of Iranian nuclear hegemony in the Gulf grew, Pakistan's chief of army staff, Gen. Raheel Sharif, was a guest of honor when Saudi Arabia publicly paraded its Chinese CSS-2 missiles for the first time since they were delivered in the 1980s.

Although now nearly obsolete, the CSS-2 missile once formed the core of China's nuclear force. Pakistan's first nuclear devices were based on a Chinese design.
Pakistan's prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, visited the kingdom January 23 for the funeral of King Abdullah and had also been there a couple of weeks earlier to pay his respects to the ailing monarch.
The civilian leader and his military commanders have an awkward relationship — in an earlier term of office, Nawaz Sharif was overthrown in a military coup and sent into exile in Saudi Arabia — but Pakistan's nuclear program seems above any civil-military partisanship.
The visit by General Rashid comes a day after Pakistan announced the successful flight-testing of its Raad air-launched 220-mile-range cruise missile, which reportedly is able to deliver nuclear and conventional warheads with pinpoint accuracy.
While chairing his first cabinet meeting as prime minister yesterday, King Salman announced there would be no change in Saudi foreign policy.
In its own way, today's top-level meetings with the Pakistani military delegation seem to confirm this statement, adding perhaps an extra awkward complication to the Obama administration's effort to secure a diplomatic agreement with Tehran over Iran's nuclear program.

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