Wednesday, September 9, 2015



An important development has been made in the murder case of Sabeen Mahmood’s driver Ghulam Abbas, who was also the eye witness of Sabeen’s murder. According to police officials, Ghulam Abbas was not murdered due to personal enmity rather proofs of the involvement of a banned terrorist organization have been found.

Investigations have been going on for Sabeen Mahmood’s driver murder case who was shot dead in Korangi, an area of Karachi. Police has recorded the statements of driver’s daughter and brother and is also making sketches of the culprits, with the help of eye witnesses. According to the family members of Ghulam Abbas, he did not have any conflict with anyone and police told that some strong proofs have been found for the involvement of banned outfit. According to SHO Ibrahim Haidri, there will soon be a breakthrough in the investigation. Initially, it has been found that murders had done complete raiki of Ghulam Abbas. On the other hand, it has been ordered that the security of other witnesses of Sabeen Mahmood’s murder should be increased after this incident.

Balochistan - Top 10 Blunders by Dr. Malik Baloch’s Government

Adnan Aamir

Since taking power as the Chief Minister of Balochistan, Dr. Malik Baloch and his allies have made a lot of blunders. Following is an attempt to list down the top 10 bloopers of the coalition government of National Party, Pashtunkhwa Milli Awami Party and PML-N, which is headed by Dr. Malik Baloch.
10) Internship program that never materialized
Soon after coming to power in June 2013, Dr. Malik Baloch announced a paid-internship program for all the graduates in Balochistan. As a part of this program, graduates had to be utilized in government departments and be paid a stipend. Tens of thousands of unemployed graduates submitted their applications and nothing has been heard from the government ever since.
9) Teacher recruitment tests through NTS
In order to prove its self-proclaimed commitment to merit, Balochistan government conducted teacher’s recruitment tests through National Testing Service (NTS). NTS charged Rs. 1,000 per application whereas the fee for similar tests in all other provinces was not more than Rs. 300. Over Rs. 100 million were earned by NTS from the testing process which has taken over eight months and still no sign of teachers’ recruitment. Rumors are gaining momentum with regards to nepotism dominating the recruitment process.
8) Arranging youth and sports festival
The government has been arranging youth and sports festivals in Quetta on a regular basis over the last two years. A great deal of taxpayers’ money was wasted on these futile exercises. In normal circumstances such festivals are appreciable, but given the law and order situation, prevailing unemployment and abject poverty, such festivity is akin to rubbing salt into the wounds.
7) Establishment of CMPRU
Dr. Malik established Chief Minister’s Policy Reforms Unit (CMPRU) as a policy advisory body for the government. He specially hired a renowned economist from Sindh to head this body. Almost two years in existence, CMPRU has failed to contribute anything positive other than providing hefty salary jobs to National Party office bearers, their relatives and the economist who is chairing it.
6) Conducting Balochistan Development Forum
Under the auspices of CMPRU, Balochistan government conducted Balochistan Development Forum in January this year in Islamabad. The stated objective of conducting that forum was to attract investment and facilitate the development in Balochistan. According to modest estimates over Rs. 25 million were spent on the three-day event and overwhelming majority of the participants were believed to be National Party workers. Not to mention the fact that there was no positive outcome of the forum for Balochistan in economic terms.
5) National Party delegation meeting Khan of Kalat
National Party sent a delegation of tribal chiefs to meet Khan of Kalat in London. The meeting didn’t prove to be more than a photo session where National Party members even filmed their dinner with Khan of Kalat. The visit was widely criticized by all quarters as a desperate attempt by National Party to prolong its stay in power.
4) Extravagant trip of Balochistan Assembly members to USA
As of this moment a 34-member delegation of Balochistan Assembly, including cabinet members, is on a weeklong visit of USA. This huge delegation is taking part in a freedom rally in the US. According to sources within the Assembly almost Rs. 100 million would be spent on the trip. The Assembly members, most of whom don’t celebrate freedom day in their hometowns, are enjoying in USA in the name of freedom day of Pakistan.
3) Local government elections
Under pressure from Supreme Court, Balochistan was the first province to conduct local government elections. What is a lesser known fact is that those elections lingered on for over 14 months just to ensure that Mayors and District Council Chairmen of ruling coalition parties somehow manage to get elected. Local Government Act of 2010 amended by this government has rendered the local governments absolutely powerless. Local government elections were conducted, but power was never transferred by this so-called democratic government.
2) Educational emergency
In order to improve education sector in Balochistan, the government imposed a so-called educational emergency in January 2014. 26 percent of total budget, on paper, was allocated to education. Government published full page advertisements for educational emergency in leading newspapers and conducted seminars to promote it. Educational emergency turned out to be a political gimmick because literacy rate in Balochistan decreased after imposition of the emergency as per the findings of Pakistan Social and Living Standards Measurement Survey.
1) Appointment of Arsalan Iftikhar as Vice-chairman Board of Investment
In June 2014, Dr. Malik appointed Arsalan Iftikhar, son of former Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, as vice-chairman of Board of Investment in Balochistan. The Chief Minister is the chairman of that board; so effectively Arsalan Iftikhar was given charge of making key investment decisions about natural resources of Balochistan. Arsalan Iftikhar had no competence in investment matters, but he was an accused fraudster and blackmailer. Initially, Dr. Malik Baloch strongly defended his decision and termed it in best interests of Balochistan. After mounting pressure from media, civil society and opposition, Dr. Malik was left with no choice but to ask for resignation of Arsalan Iftikhar.

Pakistan resumes executions after terror attack, but kills mostly criminals, not militants

For years, Pakistan did not put prisoners to death. Then a Taliban attack butchered 150 people, most of them children, and the country resumed carrying out the death penalty and quickly turned into one of the world's most avid executioners.
But instead of killing militants, the campaign is largely executing common criminals, The Associated Press has found.
Only one in 10 of the 226 prisoners executed since December was convicted of a terror attack, according to human rights activists. Still, the executions continue in order to placate a public still angry over last year's Taliban assault on a military school in the city of Peshawar.
The Pakistani government refuses to discuss the executions, and most on the street still support them. Some, however, are beginning to question whether the death penalty truly works as a deterrent in a country where suicide bombings remain a common militant tactic.
"You cannot deter those militants who are committed to die for a cause," said analyst Hasan Askari Rizvi, a retired political science professor.
Pakistan under former President Pervez Musharraf halted executions in 2008, partly due to the pressure of human rights groups. The hiatus started after another terror attack shocked the nation — the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto amid a heated election campaign. The government blamed the Pakistani Taliban for that attack as well, though the militants never claimed responsibility for the assault and others questioned why elements of Pakistan's powerful intelligence agencies failed to prevent her killing.
At the time of the pause in 2008, Human Rights Watch said some 7,000 people were on Pakistan's death row and 36 had been put to death that year. The year before, authorities executed 134 people; they put to death 85 in 2006, 52 in 2005 and 21 in 2004. Officials discussed commuting the death sentences of those remaining to life in prison, but apparently never did.
After 2008, Pakistan's military executed only one soldier in 2012 after convicting him of murder. Civilian authorities largely didn't discuss resuming executions, even as the Pakistani Taliban and other insurgent groups continued their campaign of violence across the country, including suicide bombings and the 2012 shooting of future Nobel Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai.
The Dec. 16 attack changed everything. In Peshawar, Taliban gunmen stormed a military-run school, killing 150 people, nearly all children attending class. Popular anger raged against the militants, many of whom have long ties to sections of Pakistani intelligence services.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif used his strongest language yet against the extremists, vowing there would be no discrimination between "good or bad Taliban" as he allowed those convicted of terror charges to be executed. He also pledged to "continue this war until even a single terrorist is not left on our soil,"
Days later, Pakistan carried out its first executions by hanging Mohammed Aqeel, convicted of attacking an army headquarters near Islamabad, and Arshad Mahmood, put to death for his role in a 2003 plot to kill Musharraf. Other executions followed. In all, at least 21 people have been executed in terror cases involving a plane hijacking, attacks on soldiers and other violence, according to data from the independent Human Rights Commission of Pakistan.
In March, Pakistan quietly lifted its execution ban entirely and hangings surged. Over all, Pakistan has executed at least 226 people, according to the commission, though an exact number is difficult to ascertain as authorities decline to discuss the death penalty in detail. Repeated requests for comment by the AP to the Pakistani Interior and Information ministries have gone unanswered.
Officials also said Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan was traveling abroad and unable to discuss the executions. However, Khan told journalists in August that the country had executed at least 211 people, including terrorists. He did not elaborate.
On the street, the executions remain incredibly popular among many Pakistanis, including those who lost loved ones in the Peshawar school attack.
"I think terrorists should be killed at public places the way they kill innocent people," said Ashfaq Ahmed, an Islamabad taxi driver. "If terrorists use guns to kill people, you too kill them with guns. Kill them the way they kill innocent people."
Mohammad Ahsan, a university student, agrees.
"Hang 200 to 300 killers every day," he said.
But the rise in executions worries activists like Zohra Yusuf, the head of Human Rights Commission of Pakistan. While only murder and treason carried the death penalty when Pakistan gained its independence in 1947, now 27 offenses carry the possibility of execution, including blasphemy charges often used in personal disputes against minorities in this largely Sunni Muslim country. While no one has been put to death for blasphemy, those accused in the past have been killed by mobs.
Others have raised concerns about death-row inmates being beaten into confessing to crimes they didn't commit or took part in as minors. In August, Pakistani authorities hanged Shafqat Hussain, who was convicted of killing a 7-year-old boy in 2004 when he was just 14, according to his family.
"There is a popular opinion in Pakistan that death penalty should not be abolished, but increasing incidents of terrorist attacks and routine crimes indicate that executions are not a deterrence," Yusuf said. "Even after the resumption of executions, violence has continued. There have been incidents of sectarian violence and we also witnessed attacks on churches."
Of the prisoners executed since December, most were convicted on murder charges. A confidential government report submitted to Pakistan's Supreme Court and seen by the AP said 7,056 prisoners were on death row in 2014, while the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan said it believes the number is more than 8,000. It's unclear how many of those on death row were convicted on terror-related charges.
Either way, Pakistan was one of the world's top executioners this year, behind China, Iran and Iraq but ahead of Saudi Arabia, according to Amnesty International. The U.S. has carried out 19 in 2015 — 10 of them in Texas.
Pakistan carries out its executions at several locations, but all die by hanging.
A senior prison official and three other workers, all speaking on condition of anonymity as they weren't authorized to talk to journalists, told the AP that executions are carried out before sunrise. The condemned has a final meal, bathes and then has time to pray before being led to the gallows, they said. Executioners cover their face with a black hood and tie their hands and legs before hanging them, they said.
One of the last prisoners executed, 71-year-old Maqbool Husain, spoke to the AP before his death Aug. 27. He said a dispute between families over property saw him lose his right leg in an attack before his own family took revenge and amputated the leg of a rival. The other family killed two of his brothers in 1994 and Husain waited until 1996 before killing six of them in retaliation, he said.
Looking back on his life, he said: "I request all to end enmity so that no one faces hanging like me."

PPP to regain strength with the support of masses: Bilawal Bhutto

Pakistan Peoples Party Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, while chairing the meeting of district Bahawalnagar party organisation on Tuesday, said the PPP would once again prove its strength in Southern Punjab and continue to plead the case of farmers on every forum.

The meeting, chaired by Bilawal Bhutto at Bilawal House, was also attended by Bakhtawar Bhutto Zardari, former Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, Senior Vice president Sherry Rehman, President PPP Southern Punjab Makhdum Ahmed Mehmood, Coordinator to chairman Nadim Afzal Chan, PPP members from Bahawalnagar including former Senator Zafar Iqbal,Haider Zaman Qureshi, Shaukat Mehmood Basra, Abdul Qadir Shaheen and others were also present.

Addressing his stalwarts, Bilawal urged them to get ready for the local body elections and start public contact campaign. He said the PPP had a history of sacrifices and struggle for the restoration of democracy and it would regain its lost strength with the support of the masses. Bilawal further said that farmers had the key contribution to the country’s economy and the PPP wanted them completely facilitated by the government and vowed to raise voice for their rights at every forum. Bilawal Bhutto Zardari will chair a meeting of Punjab Executive today.