Friday, March 17, 2017

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Video Report - US: Painkiller addiction turning into crisis

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Hillary Clinton 'ready to come out of the woods' and rejoin public life

Hillary Clinton says she’s “ready to come out of the woods” and help Americans find common ground.
Clinton’s gradual return to the public spotlight following her presidential election loss continued with a St Patrick’s Day speech in her late father’s Pennsylvania hometown. “I’m like a lot of my friends right now, I have a hard time watching the news,” Clinton told an Irish women’s group.
But she urged a divided country to work together to solve problems, recalling how, as first lady, she met with female leaders working to bring peace to Northern Ireland.
“What can we do to try to bring people together and to try to find that common ground, even higher ground, sister, so that we listen to each other again and we know that we can make a difference? I’m not sure it will come out of Washington yet, but I think it can come out of Scranton. Let’s find ways to do that,” she told the Society of Irish Women.
“I am ready to come out of the woods and to help shine a light on what is already happening around kitchen tables, at dinners like this, to help draw strength that will enable everybody to keep going,” said Clinton, who was spotted taking a walk in the woods around her hometown of Chappaqua, New York, two days after losing the election to Donald Trump.
Friday night’s speech is one of several she is to deliver in the coming months, including a 26 May commencement address at her alma mater, Wellesley College in Massachusetts. The Democrat also is working on a book of personal essays that will include some reflections on her loss to Donald Trump. Clinton was received warmly in Scranton, where her grandfather worked in a lace mill. Her father left Scranton for Chicago in search of work during the Great Depression, but returned often. Hillary Clinton spent summers at the family’s cottage on nearby Lake Winola.
She fondly recalled watching movies stretched across a bedsheet in a neighbor’s yard, and told of how the cottage had a toilet but no shower or tub.
“Don’t tell anybody this, but we’d go down to the lake,” she quipped.

Video Report - Trump owes Obama an apology over bogus wiretap claims

Bilawal Bhutto Speech @MediaCellPPP @BBhuttoZardari #ChairmanPPP #BilawalBhutto #OnlineAmbulance

چئیرمین سینیٹ کی وفاقی حکومت کو سعودی پولیس کی تحویل میں پاکستانی خواجہ سرا کی موت کے بارے میں سینیٹ میں وٖضاحت کی ہدایت

چیئرمین سینیٹ میاں رضا ربانی نے نے حکومت سے کہا ہے کہ وہ اس ماہ کے اوائل میں ایک پاکستانی خواجہ سرا کی مبینہ طور پر سعودی پولیس کی تحویل میں موت کے بارے سینیٹ میں وضاحت کریں۔ عوامی اہمیت کے نکتے پر سینیٹر فرحت اللہ بابر نے یہ مسئلہ سینیٹ میں اٹھایا اور کہا کہ یہ خواجہ سرا کے پی کے علاقے سوات سے تعلق رکھتا تھا اور اس کا خاندان سعودی پولیس کی تحویل میں موت پر سراپا احتجاج ہے۔ انہوں نے کہا کہ اس بارے میں رپورٹ چند روز قبل آئی تھیں لیکن انہوں نے یہ مسئلہ اس لئے نہیں اٹھایا کہ وہ مزید معلومات حاصل کر رہے تھے۔ انہوں نے کہا کہ یہ ایک انتہائی سنجیدہ معاملہ ہے جس کا تعلق پاکستانی شہری کے بنیادی حق زندگی سے ہے اور حکومت کو یہ مسئلہ کم از کم رسمی طور پر سعودی حکومت کے سامنے اٹھانا چاہیے اور حقائق معلوم کرنے چاہئیں۔ ان رپورٹس کا نوٹس نہ لینا حکومت کی جانب سے اپنی ذمہ داری کا فرض نہ نبھانا ہے۔ انہوں نے کہا کہ اس معاملے کو سینیٹ کی انسانی حقوق کی کمیٹی یا خارجہ امور کی کمیٹی کے حوالے کرنا چاہیے۔ انہوں نے کہا کہ گزشہ ماہ کے آخر میں رپورٹس کے مطابق 35پاکستانی خواجہ سراﺅں کو گرفتار کیا گیا تھا جن میں سے 29 کو رہا کر دیا گیا جبکہ باقی ابھی تک جیلوں میں ہیں۔ انہوں نے کہا کہ کسی بھی غیرملی قانون کا احترام کرنا ہمارا فرض ہے لیکن ہمارا یہ بھی فرض ہے کہ ایسے معاملات سعودی حکومت کے ساتھ اٹھانے چاہئیں اور اس بات کو یقینی بنانا چاہیے کہ کسی بھی پاکستانی شہری کو اس کے زندگی کے حق سے محروم نہیں کیا جا سکتا۔ سینیٹ کے چیئرمین رضا ربانی نے ہدایت کی کہ سینیٹر فرحت اللہ بابر کی لفظ بہ لفظ تقریر کو دفتر خارجہ ارسال کیا جائے اور ہدایت کی کہ منگل کے روز اس معاملے کی سینیٹ میں وضاحت کی جائے۔ سینیٹر فرحت اللہ بابر نے پاکستان افغانستان بارڈر کے سابقہ سات ہفتوں سے بند ہونے کا بھی سوال اٹھایا اور کہا کہ یہ غیر منطقی ہے اور اس سے کے پی کے تاجر معاشی نقصان کا شکار ہو رہے ہیں۔ انہوں نے کہا کہ انہیں یہ منطق سمجھ نہیں آتی کہ سرحد اس وجہ سے بند کی گئی ہے کہ عسکریت پسند طورخم بارڈ ر سے آ رہے ہیں۔ انہوں نے کہا کہ تقریباً 260 مقامات ایسے ہیں جہاں سے لوگ آتے جاتے ہیں تو پھر عسکریت پسند کیوں کسی چیک پوسٹ سے گزرانے کا انتخاب کریں گے؟ انہوں نے کہا کہ یہ بات حیران کن ہے کہ جس وقت یہ بارڈر سیل کیا گہا اس وقت اس ایکو کانفرنس میں وزیراعظم تجارت اور تعلقات بڑھانے کی اپیل کر رہے تھے۔ یہ بات ظاہر کرتی ہے کہ کسی جگہ رابطہ سنجیدہ طور پر منقطع ہے۔ ہم یہ دعویٰ کرتے ہیں کہ ریاست کے ادارے ایک صفحے پر ہیں لیکن ادارے ایک کتاب پر نہیں لگتے چہ جائیکہ کہ ایک صفحے پر ہوں۔ انہوں نے افغان پالیسی پر نظرثانی کا مطالبہ بھی

Population census exposes Pakistan's harsh realities

Pakistan is holding its first census in nearly two decades amid tight security. The process is crucial for redrawing the political map of a country grappling with a weak economy and bitter divisions over resources.
Pakistan's previous national population census was held in 1998, after being delayed for seven years. Now, after 19 years, the South Asian country is holding its sixth census since its independence from British rule in 1947. The authorities attribute the delays to a lack of funding and administrative inefficiencies, but the real reasons are far more complicated. 

A proper census would mean a redistribution of resources among the country's four provinces and the tribal regions governed by Islamabad. Since Pakistan's independence, the smaller provinces - Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh - have complained of not getting their rightful share as the most populous province, Punjab, has dominated the economic and political spheres.
A new census could initiate a reorganization of electoral constituencies, the redistribution of wealth among the provinces, districts and cities, as well as greater autonomy for the politically marginalized ethnic communities.
Also, the 2017 census will shed light on the state of religious and ethnic minorities that have faced discrimination from the government for the past few decades.
The first phase of the census - a weeks-long process - kicked off on March 15 and will end on April 15, whereas the second will last from April 25 to May 25. The final results are expected by the end of July.
According to the local English newspaper "Dawn," around 118,000 "enumerators" in 63 districts began the 70-day data-gathering campaign on Wednesday, March 15, amid tight security.
"The security officials, including 200,000 military personnel, will be present to protect census teams but also to ensure households can enter data without being intimidated," said Dawn.
"It's a very hectic process, but we are ready for it," Nadeem Ehsan, a census official in the northwestern city of Peshawar, told the AFP news agency. "We had some reservations about security initially, but we were assured about it by the government," he added.
Rapid urbanization
While Bangladesh and India have held regular censuses every ten years for many decades, Pakistan's failure, or a lack of will to do the same, has pushed the Islamic country into a deep administrative crisis.
The census is crucial for a judicious distribution of resources, tax collection, representation in parliament, electoral processes, and dealing with governance issues - including growing urbanization and evaluation of resources for infrastructure development. All of this has been arbitrarily or inaccurately done in Pakistan since the last population census in 1998. Experts say this has resulted in a chaotic situation in the country with numerous conflicts surfacing and taking root.
For example, experts believe that urbanization is posing a great challenge to the country, and without a census, policymakers cannot tackle the issue. According to the 1998 census, the majority of people in Pakistan live in the countryside, with only one-third of the country's estimated 188 million inhabitants currently residing in cities.
But things have changed rapidly in Pakistan, with urbanization increasing at an annual rate of 3 percent - the fastest pace in South Asia. The United Nations Population Division estimates that by 2025 nearly half the country's population will live in urban areas.
Urbanization is also having an effect on Pakistan's volatile security situation, says Michael Kugelman, an expert at the Washington-based Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars.
"Among those migrating to cities from rural areas are militants displaced by fighting and military offensives in the tribal areas. Cities like Peshawar - site of the horrific school massacre on December 16, 2014 - and Karachi - where an airport was attacked earlier that year - have had a rapid growth of Pakistani Taliban entrants, and both cities have suffered attacks by the group in recent months," Kugelman told DW in an interview.
"Another issue is land conflict. Much of Karachi's urban violence can be attributed to battles for precious land (often seized for speculative purposes). With more people in the city, there will be more people scrambling for less land. As land becomes more precious, the stakes will be higher and hence battles for the land could become bloodier," the expert added.
Afghan immigrants
A major concern about the 2017 census raised by Sindh, Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is related to internal migration. It is also unclear how the government aims to tackle the issue of internally displaced tribal people (IDPs). Will IDPs be counted in their native areas or where they are living at present?
The ongoing military operations in the tribal areas have triggered massive migration from these regions to the cities. The authorities say that among them are also Afghan militants, whom some political parties want to exclude from the ongoing census.
Millions of Afghans have poured into Pakistan since the 1980s due to a protracted conflict in their country. The second generation of these Afghan migrants has been born and brought up in Pakistan and possesses the country's national identity cards. Islamabad is in the process of repatriating these people to Afghanistan, but it is unclear how the 2017 census will determine their status.
The dispute over Afghan immigrants relates as much to the security issue as to demographic politics. Millions of Afghans have settled in Pakistani cities, such as Peshawar, Quetta and Karachi. That has changed the demography of these areas. While the Pashtun-speaking political parties and religious groups support Afghan immigrants, many mainstream groups want them deported to increase their political influence in these cities.
Last week, the Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM), a Karachi-based political party, demanded in parliament that all Afghan immigrants living in Pakistan be deported to Afghanistan before the census.
The MQM parliamentarians said in their resolution that there are some 2.5 million Afghan immigrants living in the country who have become a "burden on Pakistan's economy." They also said that the immigrants pose a risk to Pakistan's security.
"In the past few decades, millions of people have migrated to Pakistan from Afghanistan as well as Bangladesh. This has overburdened our cities and changed their demography," Mazhar Abbas, a senior Pakistani journalist, told DW.
Is a free and fair census even possible?
Experts worry that the rapidly expanding population could exacerbate a range of problems in Pakistan. The South Asian country has to deal with huge population increases, whereas its water resources and housing are already hard pressed. Experts say that the working age population will increase by 70 million in the next 20 years, which seems almost unmanageable for authorities.
It is hard to imagine how Pakistan can address its daunting development challenges from education to electricity generation, as well as solve its numerous political conflicts and militancy, if it continues to pay scant attention to the crucial issue of population growth.
The 2017 census can at least provide the necessary statistics with which the authorities can begin to address these problems. But the clash of political interests among provinces and different ethnicities, as well as the corruption in government departments and ministries would hardly allow a fair population census in the country. Experts say the census counting is likely to be manipulated to suit the interests of Pakistan's powerful groups - both civilian and military – and will continue to impede the progress of the country.

Breaking News: 2 FC personnel martyred, 6 terrorists killed in attack on checkpost from Afghanistan: ISPR

Two officials of the Frontier Corps were martyred in an attempted terrorist attack on an FC checkpost in Khyber Agency early Friday morning, Geo News reported.
Pakistan Army effectively responded to the aggression and killed six terrorists in retaliatory fire, the military’s media wing Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said in a statement. 
Two FC personnel embraced martyrdom in the cross-border attack, ISPR said.
The attack was carried out from across the Pakistan-Afghanistan border on an FC checkpost located in Charsadda tehsil of Shabqadar, the ISPR statement said.
Pakistan sealed the Torkham and Chaman crossings last month, after a blitz of bombings in the country which killed over a 100 people in 10 days.

Pakistan - Haqqani and Abbottabad

WHATEVER we may think or say about Husain Haqqani — and his role, statements and explanations — he was not primarily responsible for the US assault in Abbottabad on the night of May 1 and 2, 2011. The final decisions with regard to the fateful incident were not his to make. Whatever he did or did not do he claims he did not exceed his authorisation and instructions. He denies he had anything to do with the planning and execution of the assault, and despite widely held and deep-rooted reservations about his conduct as ambassador in Washington (which may or may not be justified), nothing has surfaced that contradicts his denials.
However, his recent statements do raise questions. In a recent article in the Washington Post Haqqani states “the relationships I forged with members of Obama’s campaign team ... eventually enabled the US to discover and eliminate Bin Laden without depending on Pakistan’s intelligence service or military which were suspected of sympathy toward Islamic militants”. This language, without explicitly saying so, strongly suggests, whether intentionally or not, an active and purposeful interaction with US security officials which enabled the discovery and elimination of OBL “without depending on Pakistan’s intelligence service or military”.
This interpretation of Haqqani’s own statement is neither far-fetched nor unreasonable. But equally Haqqani’s article is not a confession. He goes on to say in the article that ”friends I made from the Obama campaign were able to ask, three years later, as National Security Council officials, for help in stationing US Special Operations and intelligence personnel on the ground in Pakistan. I brought the request directly to Pakistan’s civilian leaders, who approved“… and these locally stationed Americans proved invaluable when Obama decided to carry out the operation without notifying Pakistan. Once again, while not explicitly saying so, there is here an even stronger suggestion of an active role and a sense of pride in achieving a shared objective.
Our leaders are focusing on the person of Haqqani rather than the real tragedy of Abbottabad itself. So? Pakistan was under an international obligation to cooperate in the apprehension of OBL. An elected government apparently decided to act upon this obligation. The leaders of this government instructed their ambassador in Washington accordingly. They also sent specific instructions to enable the ambassador to facilitate the rapid issue of necessary visas to US Special Operations and intelligence personnel — who obviously disguised their real identities in their visa applications — and who proved “invaluable” when the time for action came. What is wrong or illegal about this? And if there was anything, who should be held responsible: the subordinate and active ambassador or the elected leaders who gave him instructions while allegedly keeping the military and intelligence out of the loop?
But, then, why not stand up and say so — publicly as well as in testimony to the Abbottabad Inquiry Commission? In fact the president, the prime minister and the COAS declined to meet with the Commission. Haqqani who did meet with the commission has always publicly criticised the US attack on Abbottabad and has similarly denied all prior knowledge of or involvement with the attack. Despite some possible misstatements to the commission regarding the issue of visas there has been no proof of his involvement until the suggestions he has himself made in his recent article. Why is he simultaneously denying any purposeful involvement with the US assault on Pakistan and strongly suggesting the contrary in his recent article in the Washington Post?
Whatever conclusions one may draw about the consistency and purpose of his statements and the credibility of his behaviour as Pakistan’s ambassador in Washington, they do not add up to treachery. He was, at most, a willing instrument of his political superiors. Unfortunately that is what politically appointed ambassadors are now expected to be. Nevertheless, in embellishing his personal role — for reasons one can only speculate about — while distancing himself from any responsibility for what occurred, Haqqani has effectively pointed a finger towards his civilian leaders at the time. No wonder, they are denouncing him and calling for another commission of inquiry!
Our media and political leaders, however, are concentrating on the person of Haqqani rather than the real tragedy of Abbottabad itself. This is a measure of their immaturity and irresponsibility which ensure their continuing irrelevance for the suffering people of Pakistan. In 2013, Pildat (Pakistan Institute of Legislative Development and Transparency) noted a leaked interim draft of the Abbottabad Commission concluded that the Abbottabad assault was the “result of inadequate threat assessments, narrow scenario planning and insufficient consideration of available policy options. If the institutions and whole system of governance were ‘dysfunctional’ they were so because of irresponsible governance over a sustained period, including incorrect priorities and acts of commission and omission by individuals who had de jure or de facto policymaking powers”.
Pildat further noted that according to the draft report the “government’s response before, during and after May 2 appears in large part to be a story of complacency, ignorance, negligence, incompetence, irresponsibility, and possibly worse at various levels inside and outside government. Institutions either failed to discharge responsibilities that legally were theirs or they assumed responsibility for tasks that legally were not part of their duties, and for which they were not trained. This reflected the course of civil-military relations and the power balance between them.” The leaked draft also observed the ISI had “become more political and less professional”. Because of a lack of consensus in the Abbottabad Commission the final report submitted to the then prime minister comprised a main report and a dissenting report. Very irresponsibly, the government has not presented the full report to parliament or made it public despite a unanimous resolution of the Senate and National Assembly.
The Commission of Inquiry Act of 1956, moreover, is expected to be replaced by a new act which will require the government to make such reports public within 30 days of submission. The prime minister, accordingly, should now release the main and dissenting report without further delay. This matter, and not hounding Haqqani, should be our urgent priority.