Thursday, October 29, 2015


Video - Earthquake aftermath: Fatal landslide caught on camera in Pakistan

Pakistan - Due share in CPEC, not meagre packages, to solve issues: ANP

Awami National Party leader and MNA Ghulam Ahmed Bilour has said that the federal government should give due share to the militancy-hit Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in $46 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project instead of announcing meagre packages after a disaster hits the province.
He said that China wanted this corridor to develop those parts of the country where it was facing religious extremism. The federal government here should do the same as sheer force can’t end militancy and extremism, he said.
“Development is the only way to end extremism in provinces like Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan,” said the senior ANP leader, who himself had narrowly escaped a suicide blast, but his younger brother and former senior minister Bashir Ahmed Bilour was killed in a suicide attack in Dec 2012.
Speaking at a press conference at his home in Peshawar on Wednesday, he said that if these provinces were not given equal importance like Punjab than joblessness and poverty would force the people to side with extremism in one form or the other. Federal minister for planning and development and focal person of the CPEC projects, Ahsan Iqbal, thinks more like a Punjabi than a Pakistani, Mr Bilour claimed and advised him to think for the rest of Pakistan too.

Bilour says development only way to end extremism in KP, Balochistan

The ANP leader said that unlike other political parties having financial and donation resources his party had no such resource so they could not help the quake-hit people much financially, but their party would raise voice for their rights.
“The relief package has been announced for the quake-stricken people. Let’s see if the federal government implements it too. It would be good if it does so,” said Mr Bilour. He lamented that often such promises were easily forgotten as it had been witnessed in the case of CPEC.
“The road that has been promised is like a lollipop. The people of KP and Balochistan should be given share to develop these militancy hit-provinces,” he said.
The ANP leader said that he respected people’s wish who voted Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf to power in the province, but he called on the ‘Banigala resident’ to also raise voice for the rights of this province. “A person dreaming of becoming prime minister would never raise voice for the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa,” Mr Bilour taunted the PTI leader for not giving priority to issues of KP.
“Pakhtuns have always been promised things which were never fulfilled,” he said, adding that they were not considered Pakistanis if they raised voice for their rights.
Later, he called on the government to ensure that schools and mosques damaged by the recent earthquake were rebuilt on priority. He said that the local government representatives should help in relief activities.


An ineffective $8 billion counternarcotics effort, $500 million worth of cargo planes that had to be turned into scrap metal and a $30 million program to grow crops that nobody wants — those are just some of the examples of how US funds have been wasted in Afghanistan.
While taxpayers have every right to be upset about how their money has been squandered, they might feel even more strongly about the lack of consequences for those who spend it so unwisely.
“We don’t hold people accountable for losing and wasting taxpayer money,” John Sopko, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), toldWhoWhatWhy in an exclusive interview.
“People have got to be fired, people have got to lose promotions, people have got to be demoted. And only when that happens will we start to see really significant changes with protecting the taxpayer’s dollar.”
The special inspector general says his team is doing all it can in a difficult environment. Its criminal investigators have recovered nearly $1 billion in fines and restitution. Although dozens of people have been indicted when crimes were committed, Sopko noted that most of the problems he and his team encounter are not related to theft.
“It isn’t criminality,” he said “It’s just waste and abuse.”
And in those cases, despite the vast sums involved, not much is happening with regard to personal responsibility.


The sheer size of the undertaking magnifies the problems. At currently about $110 billion, more US taxpayer funds have now been appropriated for Afghanistan’s reconstruction than for rebuilding all of Europe after World War II — even after taking inflation into account.
And the entire program is run without any attention to what in the private sector would be called the bottom line.
“I can’t find anybody … who can tell me … what the costs are and what are the benefits from doing something,” Sopko said. “The problem in the government is that the bottom line is the appropriations. Did we meet the appropriations, did we spend all the money? And that is the unfortunate approach to government as a whole.”
He also describes the current personnel system as “very poor.”
“We can’t hire the right people, we rotate them in and out of Afghanistan too quickly, we reward them for basically spending the money and not for actually accomplishing anything,” Sopko noted.


The biggest waste of all, according to the special inspector general, has been the $8 billion spent on counternarcotics, which “hasn’t really accomplished much of anything.”
“And again,” Sopko pointed out, “nobody has been held accountable and nobody has lost their job.”
Another “horror story of waste and fraud and abuse,” as the special inspector general described it, was the purchase of about 20 cargo planes for the Afghan air force that cost approximately $500 million.
“They were the wrong planes for Afghanistan, for the terrain and the weather and altitude,” Sopko explained. “We were basically told by pilots who flew the planes over [to Afghanistan] that they were death traps. They were poorly maintained, poorly rehabbed and basically they didn’t fly.”
In the end, they had to be turned into $30,000 worth of scrap metal — at an additional cost of about $50,000.
“It even cost us money to scrap them,” Sopko said, adding that some of the wastes of money would be “primetime comedy except for the fact that it’s the taxpayer’s dollar and the fact that there are people’s lives at stake.”


Still, he is hopeful that the new unity government in Afghanistan, which is “really taking fraud, waste and abuse seriously,” and the new US ambassador can help turn things around.
“I would not have said that I’m optimistic a year ago,” Sopko said. “The current regime really understands the problem and is trying to address it.”
The special inspector general said he was told by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) people that he shouldn’t reveal some of the problems he and his staff have uncovered because the Afghans would get upset. This is a notion he rejects.
“The Afghans know when the road isn’t built, they know when the bridge falls down, they know when the school isn’t constructed the right way,” Sopko said. “The Afghans know what the problems are, it’s the US taxpayers and the Congress who don’t know.”


In the end, as with most things in Afghanistan, it is all about security. And that is why more than half of the appropriated money, about $60 billion, has been spent on improving the Afghan military and police force. If the Afghans can’t secure their own country, all that has been gained can quickly be lost.
“If the security situation were a lot better, then I would feel more comfortable about the potential success and, more importantly, the sustainability of all of the other programs — the schools, the clinics, the roads, the airports, all of the other stuff,” Sopko said.
“The big threat is if the Afghan government and the military loses control, the Taliban are going to come in like a whirlwind and punish the poor Afghan civil servants, the teachers, the women, the girls, who have been trying to change the reality in Afghanistan,” he added. “That is what is concerning me most. If we can’t sustain the gains we have made, then it’s the dirtiest trick we have played on the Afghans.”


Even though a lot of money has been wasted, things would be far worse if it weren’t for contractors and whistleblowers.
“The contractors come in and say: ‘You can’t believe what they are asking us to do. This is crazy but we gotta abide by the contract’,” Sopko said, adding that the majority of contractors “have been extremely responsible in responding to our request for information and then voluntarily coming forward with information.”
As for whistleblowers, Sopko is even more complimentary and the situation would be dire without them.
“God bless whistleblowers,” Sopko said. “If we didn’t have whistleblowers, the government would be 100 times worse than what it is right now.”

Pakistan supported, trained terror groups: Musharraf

Former Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf has admitted that Pakistan supported and trained groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) in 1990s to carry out militancy in Kashmir.
“In the 1990s, the freedom struggle began in Kashmir. At that time Lashkar-e-Taiba and 11 or 12 other organisations were formed. We supported them and trained them as they were fighting in Kashmir at the cost of their lives,” Mr. Musharraf said in an interview to Dunya News on Sunday.
The former army chief was responding to a question about action against LeT’s Hafiz Saeed and Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi.
He said people like Saeed and Lakhvi enjoyed the status of heroes at that time.
“The Kashmiri freedom fighters including Hafiz Saeed and Lakhvi were our heroes at that time. Later on, the religious militancy turned into terrorism. Now they (referring to militants in Pakistan) are killing their own people here and this should be controlled and stopped,” he said.
To a question whether Saeed and Lakhvi should also be “controlled and stopped”, Mr. Musharraf said, “No comments.”
He said that “religious militancy” was started by Pakistan which brought militants from all over the world to fight against Soviet forces.
He said in 1979 Pakistan was in favour of religious militancy.
“We trained Taliban and sent them to fight against Russia. Taliban, Haqqani, Osama Bin Laden and Zawahiri were our heroes then. Later they became villains,” he said, adding that people need to understand the whole environment at that time.

Christian Woman Burned Over 50% of Her Body in Pakistan After Refusing Marriage Proposal

According to details, a Pakistani Christian woman identified as Sonia Bibi was purportedly burnt by Latif Ahmed in Multan. 20-year-old victim, Sonia was set on fire when Latif Ahmed purposed her. Sonia refused his proposal and as a consequence, Latif Ahmed burnt her.

After the incident, Sonia was rushed to Nishtar Hospital in the city, while a doctor treating her told media that despite the fact that she is severely burnt, she is expected to survive.

As narrated by Sonia Bibi herself, that the culprit Latif Ahmed was her ex-boyfriend, who had set her ablaze as a consequence of her rejection of his marriage proposal. Moreover, Jamshaid Hayat- a local police official told the media that Latif Ahmed has been hooked by police while a first round of investigation has been conducted.

“Police arrested the man after recording the statement of Sonia Bibi in the presence of her parents. The girl told us that she was in love with Latif, whom she accused of dousing her in gasoline and setting her alight,” he said.

In addition to this, another police official Mukhtar Cheema stated that Sonia Bibi had earlier told him that she had rejected Latif Ahmed’s proposal. 

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Pakistan - Righting a colossal wrong

Finally, a judgment on blasphemy law

Necessary amendments were not introduced in the defective blasphemy law because of the spinelessness of successive administrations. Despite repeated demands by human rights groups, the elected governments would not do the job fearing that religious parties would use this to stir up a hornet’s nest. Musharraf, who called himself a moderate and wanted to be considered a liberal, was best suited to bring the necessary changes as being a usurper he was accountable to none. He also enjoyed the full support of the army and the ISI. Exigencies of power politics, however, led him to seek allies in the religious parties who were deadly opposed to any modification in the law. The failing on the part of the civil and military governments has caused a lot of suffering to hundreds of innocent people who were wrongly indicted, and their families.
The critics of the law who maintained that it was used to settle scores with enemies, grab other people’s properties and has promoted religious intolerance and lawlessness are vindicated by the Supreme Court judgment. The court has further maintained that allowing individuals to pass judgments on others and then implement these judgments themselves is tantamount to promoting vigilantism. The rule of law requires lodging complaints with the police and allowing the courts to judge the case on the basis of evidence. The court ordered the Inspector General of Police, Punjab, to ensure that cases registered under the blasphemy law are entrusted to a team of at least two gazzetted Investigating Officers (IOs), preferably those conversant with the Islamic jurisprudence. They should seek the help of a scholar of known reputation and integrity if needed.
The government has to pick up courage to introduce the necessary amendments in blasphemy law. It has to take firm action against those who instigate people to indulge in lawlessness. The government should also review all constitutional amendments which militate against the basic rights of the citizens.

Pakistan - Blasphemy reform

The detailed judgement of the landmark Mumtaz Qadri case has been issued by the Supreme Court (SC) three weeks after the verdict upholding Qadri’s conviction for murder and reinstating terrorism charges for assassinating Governor Salmaan Taseer was announced. The 39-page judgement, penned by Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, is a significant document and in more ways than one reinforces the widespread impression in the aftermath of the verdict that this case can be a harbinger of positive change and a fitting legacy for Governer Taseer, who gave his life for the cause being spearheaded in this judgement. While the short order made it clear that the SC had ruled that raising objections about the misuse and flaws of the existing blasphemy law, as Governer Taseer had done, was not an act of blasphemy itself, the detailed judgement goes further and shows Justice Khosa and his fellow judges taking a proactive stance in calling for said reform in a striking show of principled bravery. The honourable justices recognise the extreme potential for abuse inherent in the way this law has been framed and note the various instances where false accusations were employed to realise nefarious personal vendettas. 

The judgement holds that a false accusation of blasphemy is as abhorrent as actual blasphemy and has called for procedural safeguards to be introduced that improve investigations of such cases and ensure innocent people are not arrested, tried and put at risk of mob violence. The judgement recognises that laws need to be evolved with the changing times and emerging challenges and the blasphemy law is no different in needing improvements to its definitions, amendments and safeguards. The judgement also takes note of woefully incompetent police investigations in these matters and has called for a change in the protocols used and retraining of Investigating Officers (IO) in matters pertaining to blasphemy. Noting the scourge of extra-judicial murders of those accused of blasphemy, the judgement thoroughly condemns actors like Qadri who take the law into their own hands instead of letting the law run its course.

This is a thoroughly welcome and bold judgement that has taken the cause of blasphemy reform forward by leaps and bounds. After the brutal silencing of Governer Taseer and the hero worship of his killer, many opponents of the law and champions of its reform were wary of making their stances public and a climate of fear and foreboding was prevalent. There is bound to be strenuous opposition to the reform of this law by the forces of religious intolerance and this makes the firm stance of the SC even more commendable. With this declaration by the highest court in the land, the advocates of tolerance and rationality will be emboldened in the struggle for the country’s soul and to ensure that the reforms demanded in this judgement are followed through.

چیئرمین پیپلز پارٹی بلاول بھٹو کی جانب سے زلزلہ متاثرین کیلئے امدادی سامان روانہ

پاکستان پیپلز پارٹی کے چیئرمین بلاول بھٹو زرداری کی جانب سے زلزلہ متاثرین کی امداد کیلئے امدادی سامان جس میں خیمے، کمبل اور سردی سے بچاؤ کیلئے اشیاء شامل ہیں جمعرات کودو ٹرکوں کے ذریعے بلاول چورنگی کراچی سے روانہ کر دیا گیا ہے۔ امدادی سامان کی روانگی کے موقعے پر پی پی کراچی ڈویژن کے صدر نجمی عالم ، پی پی سندھ کے سیکریٹری اطلاعات وقار مہدی ، وزیر اعلیٰ سندھ کے معاون خصوصی راشد ربانی ، وزیر اعلیٰ سندھ کے کوآرڈینٹر صدیق ابو بھائی، خالد لطیف ، تیمور سیال ، مشتاق مٹو، قادر کھوکھر، شوکت گلگتی اور دیگر شامل تھے۔ درین اثنا زلزلہ متاثرین کی امداد کیلئے امدادی کمپ کراچی اور اندرون سندھ کے تمام اضلاع میں قائم کردیے گئے ہیں جہاں عوام بڑی تعداد میں پہنچ کر متاثرین کیلئے امدادی اشیاء جمع کر رہے ہیں،جوکہ جلد زلزلے سے متاثرہ علاقوں کو روانہ کردی جائیں

#BBZVisitsEarthquakeVictims: Bilawal Bhutto visits Peshawar’s LRH, meets quake victims

Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has visited Peshawar’s Lady Reading Hospital on today (Thursday) afternoon amid loud political cheering by party workers.
The chairman has arrived in Peshawar and visit Lady Reading Hospital to meet quake sufferers. He will also monitor rescue activities.
According to details, Chief Minister Sindh Qaim Ali Shah, vice president PPP Senator Sherry Rehman and other prominent political leaders have also accompanied him.
Moreover, the PPP chairman has also held a press conference at the residence of the party’s provincial General Secretary Humayun Khan.