Pakistan in Media

Opinionated Media Coverage

The ‘failed state’ syndrome again

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Daily Times, Pakistan, Tuesday, June 30, 2009
An American journal has compiled a list of 177 states with a descending order of viability in the modern world; and Pakistan is in the top ten “failed states”. There is only a marginal improvement in status as the last time the list appeared Pakistan was 9th on it. The other “top-notchers” are: Somalia, Zimbabwe, Sudan, Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Iraq, Afghanistan, the Central African Republic and Guinea. The journal ranks states on the basis of the following factors: demographic pressure, refugees/internally displaced persons (IDPs), group grievance, uneven development, economic decline, de-legitimisation of the state, public service, human rights, factionalised elites and external intervention.
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posted @ 9:28 AM, ,

Army facing tough choice after NWA ambush

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The News International, Pakistan, Tuesday, June 30, 2009
PESHAWAR: The Army high command is required to make a tough choice whether to extend its military operation from South Waziristan to North Waziristan following the provocative attack by the Taliban militants on a military convoy in North Waziristan’s Madakhel area on Sunday despite the existence of a peace accord.

The priority for now is South Waziristan where the military campaign against the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) head Baitullah Mehsud is gaining momentum. Opening a new front when the armed forces are fighting on a number of fronts including Swat, Buner, Dir Lower, Bajaur, Mohmand, Darra Adamkhel, Orakzai and South Waziristan would over-stretch the military and mix-up its priorities. But the military cannot ignore the deadly ambush on the 250-member convoy in which a significant number of soldiers were killed and injured. A senior government official said such attacks could demoralise the troops if punitive measures aren’t undertaken.
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posted @ 9:26 AM, ,

PML-N, PML-Q MPAs come to blows in Punjab PA

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The News International, Pakistan, Tuesday, June 30, 2009
LAHORE: The Punjab Assembly on Monday witnessed complete mayhem after Prisons Minister Ch Abdul Ghafoor manhandled a woman legislator of the PML-Q for displaying a banner against the chief minister.

Ghafoor embarrassed the entire treasury after he manhandled two women parliamentarians as well as used abusive language against Bushra Nawaz Gardezi. He hit headlines after his encounter with customs officials at the Allama Iqbal International Airport last month.
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posted @ 9:22 AM, ,

Rethinking Punjab’s boundaries

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Dawn, Pakistan, Monday, 29 Jun, 2009
MAKHDOOM Javed Hashmi of the PML-N has lent his voice to what he calls the longstanding demand in southern Punjab for the division of the majority-population province. Such desires have also been expressed in Sindh, the Frontier and Balochistan from time to time, and resisted by Lahore and Islamabad.

The former PML-Q–led Punjab government went as far as to say that if Punjab were to be divided into more federating units, it would only be fair that other provinces also underwent a redrawing of their boundaries. The reasons may be based on a narrow reading of the ethnic map of Pakistan, but that’s not the whole picture. More than redrawing provincial boundaries, Pakistan needs to rethink them first.
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posted @ 10:09 AM, ,

An unfair deal

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Dawn, Pakistan, Monday, 29 Jun, 2009
AFTER a decade of delay, Islamabad and Tehran finally signed the Pakistan-Iran gas pipeline agreement and price accord in May and June in Tehran and Istanbul respectively.

The federal cabinet, without taking the matter to parliament or getting the consent of the government and people of Balochistan, agreed to allow the import of one billion cubic feet of gas from Iran at the rate of 80 per cent of the price of crude oil. However, Iran, desperate to export its gas and other energy resources to regional countries, held a detailed debate on the deal in its parliament.
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posted @ 10:07 AM, ,

The long wait in Kurram

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Daily Times, Pakistan, Monday, June 29, 2009
As Kurram Agency on the border with Afghanistan waits for the return of the writ of the Pakistani state for the past three years, the Taliban depredations in the guise of sectarianism continue around the headquarters of the Parachinar agency. At least 33 people were killed and 65 others injured in “sectarian clashes” in various parts of Kurram Agency on Friday night and Saturday. In the last 12 days, the casualty list includes 89 people dead and 175 injured.

The local population has virtually given up on Pakistan during the two years that have seen all roads going to Pakistan cut off and the federal government ditching them after promising to come to their help “within a fortnight”. The local administration, if it can be called that, “cooperates” with the Taliban in the interim and exposes the besieged Shia majority population of Parachinar. According to a local tribesman quoted in the press: “We have had over 700 young people martyred but have not allowed these militants to secure a toehold in upper Kurram. Now the influx of Taliban from Swat, Dir and other areas is worsening the situation”.
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posted @ 10:01 AM, ,

AI asks India to end torture in IHK

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Daily Times, Pakistan, Monday, June 29, 2009
ISLAMABAD: International human rights watchdog Amnesty International (AI) has said the Indian government must take immediate steps to end torture and other human rights violations in Indian-held Kashmir (IHK). In a letter to Indian Home Minister P Chidambaram, AI Asia Pacific Programme Director Sam Zarifi said AI continued to receive reports of torture and ill-treatment of individuals in custody in IHK. “I am writing to express AI’s concerns that torture and other cruel inhuman treatment or punishment are still inflicted widely throughout India,” Zarifi said, asking India to ratify the United Nations Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment. app
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posted @ 9:58 AM, ,

Pakistan tenth on ‘failed states’ list

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Daily Times, Pakistan, Monday, June 29, 2009
LAHORE: Pakistan, split down the middle with terrorist attacks and facing an economic crisis, remains among the top 10 failed states, according to an index prepared by the Foreign Policy Journal.

Placed ninth among all countries last year in terms of its overall achievement, Pakistan’s position has improved only by one notch - it is placed 10th in the index for 2009 published in the July-August issue of the journal.
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posted @ 9:55 AM, ,

War over water War over water

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The News International, Pakistan, Monnday, June 29, 2009
In a rare show of unity, parliamentarians from the PML-N and PML-Q put aside an often acrimonious rivalry to jointly oppose a proposal from the president that the water in the Taunsa-Punjnad canal be reduced or that it be closed to increase the flow of water to Sindh. This of course would cut down water to Punjab. The outcry against the suggestion is a familiar one. Disputes over water have in the past too locked provinces against each other. Indeed unresolved issues on this matter linger on. The titanic battle over the Kalabagh Dam – a project that has now been abandoned – was one example of how high feelings run. There have been fierce protests too in Sindh over the building of other waterways that would benefit Punjab but reduce flow in the Indus, affecting the southern province. The fierce onslaught launched by both factions of the PML brought a defensive response from the PPP. Raja Riaz, the leader of the opposition in the Punjab Assembly and also the provincial irrigation minister, vowed to resign if even ‘one per cent of water’ in the canal was reduced. The raising of the matter in the House indeed appeared to have caught the party, with which the president is still affiliated, rather off guard.
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posted @ 9:49 AM, ,

Uprising in Afghanistan if US prolongs its stay: Owais

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The News International, Pakistan, Monnday, June 29, 2009
LAHORE: NWFP Governor Owais Ghani on Sunday warned the US-led coalition in Afghanistan of an Afghan national uprising in case its forces prolonged their stay in the country, which never tolerated aliens for long.

Speaking at the Geo TV programme Jawabdeh, the governor was evasive when asked about the US forces’ unwillingness to share intelligence regarding the whereabouts of TTP leader Baitullah Mehsud and their failure to act against him.

When asked again to comment on anomalies in the US anti-terror policies in Pakistan, he said actions speak louder than words, before saying finally: “I would not comment.” He, however, made no bones about declaring that the US-led coalition had failed to control the Afghan area.
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posted @ 9:43 AM, ,

US to support Indo-Pak talks but refuses to mediate

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The News International, Pakistan, Monnday, June 29, 2009
WASHINGTON: The United States Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Robert O Blake has said the US will support dialogue between India and Pakistan to promote regional stability.

Briefing the US Congress he, however, made it clear that the US will leave it to both the countries to chalk out their own course of action in this regard. “India and Pakistan face common challenge and we will support continuing dialogue to find joint solutions to counter terrorism and to promote regional stability,” he said.
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posted @ 9:40 AM, ,

Will South Punjab be another Swat?

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Daily Times, Pakistan, Sunday, June 28, 2009
The interior minister, Rehman Malik, has told the Financial Times that “we suspect something similar to Swat may arise in South Punjab”. He says he has been sharing “information” with the Punjab government because jihadi militias like Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) and Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) hail from South Punjab and “perhaps all those terrorists who fled from Waziristan or Swat might have taken refuge in South Punjab”.
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posted @ 4:11 PM, ,

Acquitted again

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The News International, Pakistan, Sunday, June 28, 2009
The tide seems to be running in favour of the PML-N chief Mian Nawaz Sharif being able to contest elections. A bench of the LHC has now acquitted him in a case involving the purchase of a helicopter. Nawaz Sharif had been convicted in 2000, sentenced to a jail term and a hefty fee, for the acquisition of the aircraft, on the grounds that the funds used for this were not covered in his declared assets.

The ruling of course means that Sharif can contest polls. Both the president and the prime minister have been quick to congratulate him on this. The more harmonious political environment put in place after the long march that ended with the restoration of the chief justice of Pakistan persists. This is welcome. The fact that the head of a major party can take part in the electoral process is also important. It acts to strengthen our struggling democracy and offer up greater choice of leadership to people. There is another aspect to all this. The LHC has noted many loopholes and flaws in the 2000 decision by a trial court. It is not hard to see that this may have been politically motivated. We are all of course familiar with the mechanics of this. Similar accusations have surfaced in the past and indeed are also coming forward in the case involving the alleged hijacking of an aircraft by Nawaz Sharif in 1999.
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posted @ 11:58 AM, ,

India has never been a threat to Pakistan: Gen Kapoor

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The News International, Pakistan, Sunday, June 28, 2009
NEW DELHI: India Army chief General Deepak Kapoor claimed on Saturday that India had never been a threat to Pakistan.

“India has never been a threat to Pakistan. India will be happy to see stability in Pakistan,” Kapoor said in Hyderabad when asked by media persons about call to India to reduce its forces on borders with Pakistan enabling it to deploy more troops on its western borders to fight Taliban.
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posted @ 11:56 AM, ,

Lobbying dollars flowing out at super speed

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The News International, Pakistan, Sunday, June 28, 2009
WASHINTGON: At least 11 big and small, known and unknown, lobbying companies have been hired by Pakistan and state-owned Pakistani organisations in the US, paying them hundreds of thousands of dollars every month, some of them having mysterious names and almost dubious credentials.

Although lobbying is a legal profession in Washington, the way it is conducted has earned it the nickname of “officially certified corruption” and what the Pakistan government, Pakistan Embassy and Pakistani organisations are doing may come close to this unofficial definition, analysts say.
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posted @ 11:53 AM, ,

Power protests

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Dawn, Pakistan, Saturday, 27 Jun, 2009
THE sporadic street protests in various towns and cities of Pakistan against frequent and prolonged power breakdowns are not surprising in the least. On Thursday consumers gave vent to their anger in Lahore and Layyah. Other places too have witnessed similar scenes. After all, life for ordinary citizens is anything but easy and there are limits to one’s tolerance. For those who cannot afford generators and UPS units the challenges are formidable. Given the heat and discomfort of the day and the darkness of the night, one can understand their frustration. But people also have to contend with other kinds of problems — losses in business, industrial productivity and in terms of education and healthcare. So dependent is national life on the supply of power that it is practically impossible to manage without electricity. To the frequent interruptions in power supply we can add the uncertainty of unscheduled loadshedding, breakdowns that take ages to repair and the problem of voltage fluctuation. In other words, power supply has become most unreliable, and has hit productivity and the national economy the hardest.
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posted @ 9:50 AM, ,

Budgeting education priorities

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Daily Times, Pakistan, Saturday, June 27, 2009
analysis: Abbas Rashid
The National Education Policy review process was initiated in January 2006 and it is now June 2009, which means that four budgets have been approved during this period but the process has yet to conclude with the announcement of the new education policy

The federal and provincial budgets for 2009-2010 have been presented and we are nowhere close to spending that minimum of 4 percent of GDP on education, recommended by UNESCO all those years ago. Actually, given the state of our education system, we would probably need to spend a whole lot more than that. The federal education budget for 2009-10 at Rs 56 billion, with a large chunk going to the Higher Education Commission (HEC), shows a 36 percent increase over the revised estimates of Rs 41 billion for 2008-09.
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posted @ 9:45 AM, ,

Our demands from the US

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Daily Times, Pakistan, Saturday, June 27, 2009
The US National Security Adviser, General (Retd) James L Jones, has met everyone who matters in Pakistan — President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani and Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Kayani. The atmospherics are reported to have been good and Pakistan’s leaders were able to put their demands on the table to the guest who went on to visit India next. If there was a meeting of the minds on the military operation going on against Baitullah Mehsud, there was also the insistence on the part of Pakistan on its old agenda vis-à-vis India.
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posted @ 9:40 AM, ,

Expanding war

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The News International, Pakistan, Saturday, June 27, 2009
The first targeted suicide bombing has killed two soldiers in Muzaffarabad. Till now, Azad Kashmir had not been caught up in the bitter war between militants and the military being fought in Pakistan. The attack on an army vehicle has dangerous implications. The Kashmir area has a sizeable military presence, given its disputed status with India. The potential for attack is immense. Such a development could also bring extremist forces still based in Kashmir into the conflict and thus make it even more complicated than it already is. The expansion of the war is something Pakistan must avoid at all costs. The militants have indeed used similar tactics in the past, by bringing the bloodshed into cities and towns across the country. They may be planning a similar strategy in Kashmir. There is indeed also growing desperation in the militant camp, given the onslaught of the military. The visit by General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani to South Waziristan underlines the determination to tackle the militants. What is important at this point is to work towards ending the war as soon as possible. This of course is easier said than done. The killings in Muzaffarabad demonstrate once more that we are dealing with a ruthless enemy. The Taliban must be prevented from succeeding in this. There is a need also to build opinion in Kashmir against terrorism and by doing so possibly prevent that region too stumbling into a war that has already taken a heavy toll on almost everyone who lives in this part of the world.
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posted @ 9:38 AM, ,

A square peg in a round hole

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The News International, Pakistan, Saturday, June 27, 2009
ISLAMABAD: Politicisation of the civil bureaucracy is at all-time high now, as the external influence in the bureaucratic affairs has reached an extent where the institution of civil services is about to crumble.

The bureaucracy is faced with such a sorry state of affairs that the MPs and politicians are openly recommending the postings and transfers of their favourites. The dilemma is that the Prime Minister’s Secretariat is found generous in forwarding such recommendations, which are illegal under the rules, to the Establishment Division and other concerned agencies for implementation.
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posted @ 9:34 AM, ,

‘Jiyala judges’ project fails

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The News International, Pakistan, Saturday, June 27, 2009
ISLAMABAD: The popular saying ‘old habits die hard’ truly fits in the case of the Punjab governor, who recently moved a list of seven ‘Jiyala lawyers’ to the chief justice of the Lahore High Court as ‘recommendations received in the Governor’s Secretariat’ for the slots of judges of the LHC.

The chief justice not only rejected the governor’s nominees but also expressed his displeasure over the violation of the Constitution because the summary for appointment of lawyers for the slots of judges had to be initiated from the office of the LHC chief justice, reports said.
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posted @ 9:25 AM, ,

Pakistan, India FMs meet in Italy

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The News International, Pakistan, Saturday, June 27, 2009
ISLAMABAD: The meeting in Trieste on the sidelines of the G-8 Outreach Meeting on Afghanistan, took place in a cordial atmosphere, says a press release issued from the office of the Foreign Office spokesman here.

Reciprocating the sentiment, the Indian foreign minister said India, too, had very positive sentiments for Pakistan. Qureshi expressed the need for constructive engagement and sustained dialogue to address common challenges and to resolve the outstanding issues, irritants and disputes, including problems of water, menace of regional and global terrorism and the unresolved dispute of Jammu and Kashmir. He said the process of dialogue between the leadership of the two countries will continue with the meeting between the prime ministers in Sharm el Sheikh.
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posted @ 9:20 AM, ,

Nawaz acquitted in ’copter case

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The News International, Pakistan, Saturday, June 27, 2009
RAWALPINDI: In a short order, the LHC bench announced: “To secure the ends of justice, we condone the delay in filing the appeal. The judgment of the trial court dated July 22, 2000, whereby Mian Nawaz Sharif had been convicted and sentenced is set aside on account of:

i) Lack of evidence connecting the appellant with the commission of offence charged.

ii) Gross illegalities and irregularities committed by the trial court in proceedings.

iii) Glaring lapses on the part of prosecution.

The appellant stands acquitted of all the charges.”
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posted @ 9:16 AM, ,

Too many pilots

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The News International, Pakistan, Friday, June 26, 2009
Just as too many cooks can spoil the broth, too many pilots could destroy PIA as well. According to a story in this publication, our national carrier has recently recruited no less than 80 new pilots who will now undergo training. This is despite the fact that 60 recruited in 2006 have still to fly, given the lack of vacancies. To make matters still worse, it is alleged the latest recruitment process had very little to do with merit. Candidates who scored over 90 per cent in the entry test claim they were rejected while others who did far worse were preferred. PIA's management has denied the charges – but the unpleasant odour of nepotism hangs heavy in the air. Over-recruitment and political appointment which ignore the need to favour ability over all else have been over the past few decades the bane of PIA. They have brought the airline down from its once proud place in the skies to a far lower level. Terrifying stories abound of poorly maintained aircraft, incompetent staff and a lack of accountability. The latest report simply adds to these. It is impossible to believe they are all without basis.
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posted @ 9:35 AM, ,

Kayani vows to reassert control over tribal belt

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The News International, Pakistan, Friday, June 26, 2009
RAWALPINDI: Chief of the Army Staff Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani on Thursday vowed to reassert government control in the lawless tribal belt.

A military statement said Gen Ashfaq Kayani spent the day in South Waziristan, where he met troops and commanders and held prayers for soldiers killed in fighting. On his arrival he was received by the Corps Commander. During the informal discussion with the troops, the COAS appreciated their performance and high morale. He also offered Fateha for the Shauhada of recent operations. He was also briefed in detail by the respective General Officer Commanding. The COAS stated that Pakistan Army is executing a deliberate ‘Campaign Plan’ to achieve the desired end and re-establish writ of the state while ensuring minimum loss to life and damage to property. He thanked the people for their whole-hearted support. He also paid rich tributes to the role of Pakistan Air Force in the ongoing operations. He appreciated the support of local tribes and urged them to use their full influence to rid the area of the terrorists.
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posted @ 9:26 AM, ,

No compromise on judges appointment

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The News International, Pakistan, Friday, June 26, 2009
However, the governorís recent recommendation of seven lawyers as desired future judges of the Lahore High Court, reportedly without the prior input or approval of the Lahore High Court chief justice, has caused consternation in judicial circles. Sources said the LHC chief justice did not appreciate the governor’s move which was being viewed as a breach of the Constitution.

Under the Constitution and as per the Supreme Court’s judgment in Al-Jihad case, it is the chief justice of a provincial high court who is authorised to recommend names amongst lawyers and sessions judges for their appointment as judges of the respective high court.
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posted @ 9:21 AM, ,

Kidney tourism again?

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Dawn, Pakistan, Thursday, 25 Jun, 2009
MANY will be relieved at the Supreme Court’s decision to look into reports about the organ trade in Pakistan. An ordinance banning the sale of human organs had been promulgated in 2007 under instructions from the apex court. The law, when it was enacted, had been hailed by the medical community, civil society and international health agencies that had been disturbed by the scam which reflected poorly on the medical profession in Pakistan. Hence reports that the practice of yesteryear was resurfacing gave rise to the fear that the law would be flouted with impunity and then pushed into oblivion. What is worrying is that challenging the idea of human organs being put on sale is not easily surmountable in our part of the world where the value of human life and dignity is often trumped by avarice. True, those who buy a kidney do so because they need it for their own health. But using the chequebook to bypass the law at the expense of another, poorer person is abhorrent.
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posted @ 4:54 PM, ,

Nasty Realism

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Daily Times, Pakistan, Thursday, June 25, 2009
insight: Ejaz Haider
If and when India and Pakistan go into yet another round of talks, they are likely to talk-talk without really walking the talk. India doesn’t have any incentive to go beyond this and Pakistan will settle for nothing less than something substantive. These are conflicting goals

The meeting between President Asif Ali Zardari and India’s Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit in the Russian city of Yekaterinburg and the decision to let the foreign secretaries meet has rekindled hopes that the two states may resume the dialogue that got stalled after the Mumbai attacks.
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posted @ 4:13 PM, ,

Thousands protest in IHK over women’s rape, murder

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Daily Times, Pakistan, Thursday, June 25, 2009
SRINAGAR: Thousands of people in Indian-held Kashmir (IHK) defied a ban on protest marches on Wednesday with a fresh demonstration over the alleged rape and murder of two young women by troops.
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posted @ 4:06 PM, ,

‘India has most local terrorist organisations’

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Daily Times, Pakistan, Thursday, June 25, 2009
NEW DELHI: India has the largest number of indigenous terror organisations in the world, the Times of India has reported.

It said the Home Ministry has designated the CPI (Maoist) as the 34th terrorist organisation under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. Of the 34 organisations, seven are transnational groups. National Liberation Council of Meghalaya, Kanglei Yaol Kanba Lup of Manipur and Akhil Bharat Nepali Ekta Samaj, which though virtually unheard of, are considered deadly enough by the government to be designated as terrorist organisations, the daily said.
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posted @ 4:03 PM, ,

‘Jihadists’ helping IDPs in camps, host communities

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Daily Times, Pakistan, Thursday, June 25, 2009
* Washington-based aid group says militants and other ‘political actors’ are ‘filling vacuum created by slow pace of help’ to gain support

ISLAMABAD: Inadequate assistance is allowing militant groups to operate in camps and communities housing hundreds of thousands of internally displaced persons (IDPs) of Swat, an aid group said on Wednesday.
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posted @ 4:00 PM, ,

India plans troop cut in IHK

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Daily Times, Pakistan, Thursday, June 25, 2009
NEW DELHI: Following massive anti-government protests across the IHK, and intense pressure from the US government, sources have claimed the home ministry is working on a plan to thin the army presence in IHK. While the army wants to defer any decision on the matter until September, the issue would likely be discussed at the meeting of the top commanders of the army, the navy and the air force.
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posted @ 3:50 PM, ,

PML-N objects to committee mandate

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Daily Times, Pakistan, Thursday, June 25, 2009
ISLAMABAD: The parliamentary committee on constitutional reforms has suffered its first setback without a single meeting, with the PML-N demanding a change in its nomenclature, and a limiting of its mandate. Speaking on a point of order, PML-N Information Secretary Ahsan Iqbal said the committee should be restricted to working only on repealing the 17th amendment.
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posted @ 3:43 PM, ,

Selling the war

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The News International, Thursday, June 25, 2009
While the showing of photographs of 54 dead militants by the ISPR director-general is a welcome step in that it helps remove some of the questions that are increasingly cropping up surrounding the death toll inflicted by the military operation on the militants in Malakand and Swat, it would be fair to say that an information and credibility gap has opened up on this very sensitive matter. If the general public is to continue supporting this war of ours then they need to know a lot more about it than the currently is the case. There is no independent verification of the death toll or even of the injuries inflicted upon the Taliban and in the context of the recent and not-too-recent past where official claims were often found to be otherwise, leaving the general public rightly sceptical, it would be in the fitness of things for more such information to be passed on to the public and the media. Also, and one needs to say this, slightly paradoxically, people in the UK may be better informed about out war than we are, courtesy of a recent investigative programme on the BBC's flagship Panorama show. The BBC team were given access that out own media personnel have yet to get, and were able to spend time on an active frontline. Their report makes compelling viewing and raises questions which are just beginning to be addressed by those who brief our media every day. We wonder why the same access is not being offered to local news and media organizations.
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posted @ 3:39 PM, ,

NA passes federal budget

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The News International, Thursday, June 25, 2009
ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly on Thursday passed the Rs 2.9 trillion federal budget for the year 2009-10 after the passage of finance bill.

All the amendments by the government in the bill presented by Minister of State for Finance Hina Rabbani Khar were passed by the house.

The budget, presented in the National Assembly on the 13th of this month would be effective from July 1st.

The budget focuses on achieving the goal of sustainable economic growth and ensuring welfare of the people on equitable basis.
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posted @ 3:22 PM, ,

Six PAF men face death, 51 jailed for contacts with terrorists

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The News International, Pakistan, Thursday, June 25, 2009
ISLAMABAD: Fifty-seven men of Pakistan Air Force (PAF) ranging from chief technicians to officers were arrested over their alleged contacts with terrorists and involvement in anti-state activities. According to reports, the arrests were made during the last one and a half to two years after conducting an inquiry.

Sources disclosed that six officials were sentenced to death. Among them were Khalid Mehmood, Senior Technician Karam Din, Technician Nawazish, Niaz and Nasrullah while 24 were arrested and dismissed from service for opposing the policies of then President Pervez Musharraf. The PAF men, allegedly found involved in having contacts with terrorists, were given strict punishments.
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posted @ 10:08 AM, ,

U.S. Senate okays bill to triple aid to Pakistan

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The News International, Pakistan, Thursday, June 25, 2009
WASHINGTON: The Senate on Wednesday approved tripling U.S. aid to Pakistan to about $1.5 billion a year for each of the next five years, part of an American plan to fight extremism with economic development.

The $1.5 billion in annual funding includes money for Pakistani schools, the judicial system, parliament and law enforcement agencies.

"This legislation marks an important step toward sustained economic and political cooperation with Pakistan," said Senator Richard Lugar, the senior Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
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posted @ 9:52 AM, ,

The price of flexibility

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Dawn, Pakistan, Wednesday, 24 Jun, 2009
Everyone says that this time Pakistan’s crackdown is different. Islamabad, Rawalpindi, the ISI and everyone else finally gets it: jihadis do not make for good neighbours. The Pakistan Army is clearing Taliban territories; militants are fleeing from their ‘entrenched’ positions to avoid the rain of artillery shells; and Rawalpindi is gearing up for the last showdown in Waziristan. Until the next one, that is.

At a time when Islamabad is insisting louder than ever that it has always been honest and sincere in its counterterrorism efforts since 9/11, other wheels are squeaking differently. Former President Musharraf told Fareed Zakaria in May that “of course” Islamabad has contact with the Taliban. “After all,” he continued, “the KGB had contacts in CIA. CIA had contacts in KGB. That is how you have ingress into each other, and that is how you can manipulate things in your favour.” Fair enough. But if today’s state of affairs is how one might describe “in your favour”, then what does a bad day look like?
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posted @ 8:33 AM, ,

Conflict in Balochistan

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Dawn, Pakistan, Wednesday, 24 Jun, 2009
BALOCHISTAN is simmering. A low-grade insurgency has gradually been gaining strength and the law-enforcement agencies are finding it difficult to check the violence that now erupts with unfailing regularity in the province. Last Friday, a judge and his aide were killed. The same day a bomb blast in Dera Murad Jamali injured a number of people while two were wounded in a grenade attack in Quetta. There have been more incidents of violence since then. In May the police disclosed that since the beginning of 2009, more than 200 incidents of shooting, bomb blasts, grenade attacks and abductions had taken place. More than 150 people had died while approximately 400 were injured. Add to this the toll of the last one month — over 20 deaths and at least 125 injured — and the picture is one of war.
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posted @ 8:30 AM, ,

Waziristan uncertainty

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Dawn, Pakistan, Wednesday, 24 Jun, 2009
QARI Zainuddin, a militant commander and rival of Baitullah Mehsud, has been assassinated by his bodyguard in Medina Colony in D.I. Khan. According to Qari Misbahuddin, the younger brother of Qari Zainuddin, the guard, Gulbuddin Mehsud, had been working with the family for six years and was one of the most trusted employees in the family’s pay. However, on Tuesday morning after Qari Zainuddin and Baaz Muhammad, a close aide of Zainuddin’s, retired to their living quarters after morning prayers Misbahuddin opened fire on the two men, killing Zainuddin and injuring Baaz Muhammad. The FIR registered by Baaz Muhammad alleges that the killer acted on behalf of Baitullah Mehsud. That is possible. In recent days, Qari Zainuddin had come out publicly against Baitullah and accused him, among other things, of having links with India and Israel and “working against Islam”. This against the backdrop of an impending military operation in South Waziristan Agency, Operation Rah-i-Nijaat, targeted against Baitullah.
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posted @ 8:25 AM, ,

Is speedy justice possible?

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Dawn, Pakistan, Wednesday, 24 Jun, 2009
THE much-needed National Judicial Policy came into force on June 1. Its avowed goals are to initially reduce and ultimately eliminate backlogs in both the superior and subordinate courts, and to fix a time frame for the disposal of civil and criminal cases. Criminal cases are to be given priority. Over 1.7 million civil and criminal cases are pending trial in the country’s superior and subordinate courts. Most criminal prosecutions are pursued in the lower courts where only 1,750 understaffed and overworked judges grapple with a staggering 1.5 million criminal and civil cases. Some cases have been dragging on for over a decade. Many disenchanted complainants are left with no vigour or discernible interest in the outcome of such dawdling trials.
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posted @ 8:22 AM, ,

Baitullah Mehsud and America

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Daily Times, Pakistan, Wednesday, June 24, 2009
As Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) comes under pressure from the military operations launched in its stronghold, deserters from its rank and file are making revelations that belie some of the sacred beliefs the media has allowed to become common “analytical” currency. One big diversion from the truth is the “discovery” that Baitullah Mehsud, the leader of the TTP, is an agent of the United States and India wreaking havoc in Pakistan to fulfil the US design to establish the hegemony of India in South Asia and to facilitate the elimination by the US of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal.
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posted @ 8:12 AM, ,

Strained hosts? (of IDPs)

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One of the most unusual features of the displacement in Pakistan that has been described by the UN as the most rapid, and the most massive, ever seen, has been the generosity extended to the IDPs by ordinary people. Villagers in Mardan district and elsewhere have contributed what they could from their own often meagre reserves, people everywhere have handed over donations in cash and kind, and many people have opened homes to the IDPs. In some cases these people are relatives, but in others they are total strangers. According to humanitarian agencies working for the IDPs, over 3.7 million remain based outside camps. According to the UN, a number of these live in cramped, congested conditions with almost no access to help. While hubs to distribute aid have been set up to cater to IDPs out camps, these are insufficient to meet all needs. Indeed the UK-based Islamic Relief NGO has warned of an outbreak of diarrhoea in some communities due to overcrowding and poor sanitation.
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posted @ 8:09 AM, ,

India issues warrants for Hafiz Saeed, Lakhvi

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The News International, Pakistan, Wednesday, June 24, 2009
MUMBAI: An Indian court issued arrest warrants on Tuesday for 22 Pakistani nationals accused of masterminding last year’s deadly Mumbai terrorist attacks, including the founder of a militant group recently freed by a Pakistani court.

Among those sought for arrest were Hafiz Mohammed Saeed, founder of the Lashkar-e-Taiba, which India blames for the launching attacks — and Zaki-ur-Rahman Lakhvi and Zarar Shah, two leaders of the group.
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posted @ 8:05 AM, ,

Fehmida unveils special committee of parliament

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The News International, Pakistan, Wednesday, June 24, 2009
ISLAMABAD: National Assembly Speaker Dr Fehmida Mirza on Tuesday unveiled the 27-member Special Committee of Parliament on Constitutional Reforms.

Addressing a press conference at the Parliament House here, she said the body had been announced after consulting all the parliamentary leaders of the 15 political parties having representation in both houses of parliament.

The committee would finalise the recommendations of political parties for constitutional reforms, including repeal of the 17th Amendment, under the scope of the Charter of Democracy, the speaker said.
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posted @ 7:59 AM, ,

Maleeha appointed Wilson Centre public policy scholar

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The News International, Pakistan, Wednesday, June 24, 2009
WASHINGTON: The Woodrow Wilson International Centre for Scholars, in collaboration with the Fellowship Fund for Pakistan (FFFP), a charitable trust based in Karachi, on Tuesday announced the appointment of Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi as a Wilson Centre Public Policy Scholar.

Lodhi will spend nine months in residence at the Wilson Centre, beginning in September 2009, carrying out research for a book looking at the internal and external challenges Pakistan has faced since 2001.
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posted @ 7:56 AM, ,

Trial of Shaukat, Shujaat, Mushahid sought for Bugti’s murder

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The News International, Pakistan, Wednesday, June 24, 2009
For the first time since the killing of Nawab Akbar Bugti in a military operation, Talal Akbar Bugti and Nawab Aali Bugti, son and grandson of Nawab Akbar Bugti respectively, have alleged that Shaukat Aziz, PML-Q President Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and PML-Q Secretary General Mushahid Hussain Sayed are the real killers of the 22nd chieftain of the Bugti tribe. They have demanded of the government to seek repatriation of Shaukat Aziz to Pakistan through Interpol and put him and the two top PML-Q leaders on trial.
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posted @ 7:53 AM, ,

Kaira speaks of code of conduct for media

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The News International, Pakistan, Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Islamabad: The government looks all set to prepare a code of conduct for the electronic media. Recently, the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) has hired a firm to monitor the television channels so that Pemra laws could be implemented and the code of conduct for advertising could be followed and the contents of the television channels monitored.
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posted @ 7:51 AM, ,

SC seeks details about provision of electricity

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The News International, Pakistan, Wednesday, June 24, 2009
The column pointed out that farmhouses were allotted to provide vegetables and fruits to the citizens of Islamabad but many marvellous bungalows had been constructed on the land in violation of CDA laws.

Electricity connection for agricultural purpose at plot No C-l(B), Park Road, Chak Shahzad owned by former president Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf was installed in Dec 2003 after the payment of full cost of material, including cost of 25 kVA transformer and other accessories amounting to Rs75,579 for an applied load of 20 HP motor.
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posted @ 7:44 AM, ,

80 die as drones hit Baitullah’s hideouts

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The News International, Pakistan, Wednesday, June 24, 2009 PESHAWAR/WANA: About 80 people, including a senior commander of the Baitullah Mehsud-led militants, Khwaz Wali Mehsud, were killed and several others sustained injuries in two separate attacks by US spy planes on a suspected militant hideout and funeral prayers at Lattaka village of Ladha tehsil in South Waziristan Agency on Tuesday, private TV channels reported.

However, militant sources said the death toll in the two drone attacks was around 70-80.A US drone on Tuesday morning fired three missiles at a suspected militant hideout at Lattaka village, killing six militants, including senior Taliban commander Khwaz Ali. Khwaz Ali was said to be one of Baitullah Mehsud’s close and trusted commanders.
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posted @ 7:39 AM, ,

Principal gunned down in Quetta

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The News International, Pakistan, Wednesday, June 24, 2009
QUETTA: Barely a day after the killing of two men, the principal of the Government Commerce College was gunned dead by two men riding a motorcycle here on Tuesday.

The provincial capital, plagued by both sectarian violence and insurgent attacks, remained paralysed as shops and markets observed a strike to protest Monday’s killings. Professor Amanat Ali was ambushed while travelling to his college. He was taken to the Civil Hospital in critical condition where doctors pronounced him dead. In the meantime, a large number of students of his college reached the hospital and protested against the killing. They also chanted slogans against the government. Later, the body of the principal was dispatched to Lahore for burial.
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posted @ 7:36 AM, ,

TTP chief’s rival Qari Zainuddin killed

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The News International, Pakistan, Wednesday, June 24, 2009
PESHAWAR: A tribal leader and top rival to Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) chief Baitullah Mehsud was shot dead in Dera Ismail Khan on Tuesday, police said.

Qari Zainuddin, a young rising militant leader who was increasingly critical of his clansman Mehsud’s use of suicide bombings targeting civilians, was killed at a house in DI Khan.The assassination comes a week after the Army said it was extending a northwest offensive against the militants to the lawless tribal belt along the Afghan border — a campaign Zainuddin told the local media he would support.
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posted @ 7:32 AM, ,

Balochistan’s poverty

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Dawn, Pakistan, Tuesday, 23 Jun, 2009
BALOCHISTAN’S budget for 2009-10 is a reminder of the province’s deep-rooted economic and political problems. Facing the challenges of growing political violence and rising poverty, Quetta is in dire need of permanent sources of funds for development. Though the provincial government will spend Rs18.5bn on development next year, the amount is not nearly enough to build a durable economic infrastructure or to provide quality public services like education, healthcare, drinking water, roads, etc to the population of the province. Given its vast size, sparsely scattered population and difficult terrain, Balochistan must spend a lot more on its development than the rest of the country. For example, a road 500km long in Punjab would link scores of villages, towns and cities and connect hundreds of thousands of people if not millions. The same length of road in Balochistan would cost more and hardly connect a couple of villages and a few hundred people.
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posted @ 9:56 AM, ,

Budget in tough times

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Dawn, Pakistan, Tuesday, 23 Jun, 2009
There is a reason why I have begun this article on the budget with a reference to the ongoing struggle between the state and non-state actors and why I said that extremism is not the only problem the country faces. There is also the problem of an economy that has suffered perhaps the most severe shock in the country’s history.
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posted @ 9:51 AM, ,

Mureed's murder

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The News International, Pakistan, Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Another Baloch nationalist leader has died mysteriously. Mureed Bugti, a close aide of Brahamdagh Bugti and a member of the Central Executive Committee of the fiercely nationalist Baloch Republican Party, was killed, along with his host, at a village near Hala in Sindh. No obvious motive has emerged. In much of the mainstream press, the news made only a minor splash. In many Balochi language newspapers and on websites run by nationalist groups – most of them accessible only through proxy servers – the death of the 48-year-old leader is headline material. It is being linked to the gory murder of three nationalist leaders earlier this year or to the killing of Balaach Marri sometime before that. Where then are we headed in Balochistan? It is hard to say what the facts behind each of these deaths are. Many different versions have surfaced. But in the situation that prevails today in the federation's largest province, perceptions are in many ways more significant than the truth. And the perception of many, perhaps most, of the Baloch people is that state forces are involved in the murders. This fits in with the notion that the centre is an enemy of Balochistan and its people and has never dealt with them justly.
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posted @ 9:42 AM, ,

Indo-Pak foreign secretaries to meet before NAM summit

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The News International, Pakistan, Tuesday, June 23, 2009
ISLAMABAD: Hectic efforts are continuing for setting up a date and venue for a meeting between Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir and his Indian counterpart Shivshankar Menon before the six-day Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, starting on July 11.
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posted @ 9:39 AM, ,

Top Obama aide to visit Pakistan, Afghanistan, India

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The News International, Pakistan, Tuesday, June 23, 2009
WASHINGTON: President Barack Obama’s top security adviser James Jones will visit Afghanistan and Pakistan to monitor implementation of the new US war plan, a US official said on Monday.

Jones, who will also visit India, will meet local officials, US diplomats, military personnel and representatives of foreign nations battling alongside US troops in the Afghan war coalition. “At the request of the president, national security adviser Jim Jones is traveling to Afghanistan and Pakistan to follow-up on the implementation of our new, comprehensive strategy,” said National Security Council spokesman Mike Hammer.
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posted @ 9:37 AM, ,

Will Zardari protect Musharraf’s legal eagles?

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The News International, Pakistan, Tuesday, June 23, 2009
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Gilani’s government appears hell-bent upon keeping under wraps the hefty fees paid from the taxpayers’ money to the Pirzadas, Bukharis, Qayyums of this world during the tenure of the ousted dictator, Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf.

It is unclear for the moment whether this overzealous attempt of maintaining the cloak of secrecy is due to the stakes of someone mighty in the current ruling dispensation or is it the consequence of deliberate and sinister bureaucratic foul-play linked with this issue. Whatever the underlying cause, the fact is: the government is steadfastly resisting a formal request to unveil the identity of all those lawyers who made fortunes during Musharraf’s tenure.
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posted @ 9:35 AM, ,

Troops face tough resistance in SWA

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The News International, Pakistan, Tuesday, June 23, 2009
xPESHAWAR/WANA/MIRAMSHAH: Security forces were still facing tough resistance from the militants led by Baitullah Mehsud to secure the important Wana-Jandola road in South Waziristan Agency (SWA), where 15 people, four of them tribesmen, were killed in bombing by warplanes and gunship helicopters on Monday.

Also, situation remained tense in the adjoining North Waziristan Agency (NWA) after terrorist attacks on a military camp and a convoy of security forces by unknown people, causing injuries to three soldiers.
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posted @ 9:27 AM, ,

Taliban on their last legs in Swat

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The News International, Pakistan, Tuesday, June 23, 2009
ISLAMABAD: Security forces are in the final phase of eliminating terrorist hideouts and camps in Swat, Director-General ISPR Maj-Gen Athar Abbas said on Monday.

Addressing a press briefing here, Athar Abbas said: “In the north, Biha Valley — the last stronghold of terrorists — has been fully secured and in the west, Shamozai area is being cleared. Search operations are being carried out in the secured areas to ensure that they are safe for the return of the internally displaced persons (IDPs).”
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posted @ 9:24 AM, ,

Teaching: drastic reforms needed

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Dawn, Pakistan, Monday, 22 Jun, 2009
There is a consensus that teacher education can play a major role in enhancing the quality of education as meaningful change is only possible through drastic reforms in teaching and learning — for instance, professionally developed and trained teachers promise an enriched classroom experience. Apparently there are tutor education courses but interestingly, these courses work on various, and at times competing, assumptions about all that comprises a model educator.

A simple, straightforward criterion for most school managements is that the best teacher is one who produces the best results. Based on this simplistic principle, the best school is, therefore, one that serves up the maximum number of ‘A’ grades.
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posted @ 11:57 AM, ,

Iran’s post-election problems

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Daily Times, Pakistan, Monday, June 22, 2009
The view in Pakistan is that Iran’s post-election unrest should not be overblown as some kind of terminal crisis, and if there is a problem it is a passing contradiction within the clerical hierarchy. Discussions on TV channels have decried the tendency in the Western media to look at the protests in the streets of some cities as the harbinger of a new order in the country that will radically change the map of Middle Eastern politics in favour of the United States. Mercifully, the White House has reined in adverse comment to allow the events in Iran to unfold to their logical conclusion.
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posted @ 11:55 AM, ,

PPP diehards donate blood on BB’s birthday

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Daily Times, Pakistan, Monday, June 22, 2009
KARACHI: On an appeal made by President Asif Ali Zardari, thousands of PPP donated blood for the Pakistan Army on the 56th birth anniversary of PPP’s slain chairwoman Benazir Bhutto, on Sunday.
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posted @ 11:53 AM, ,

Can Pakistan take on the Lashkar-e-Tayyaba?

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Daily Times, Pakistan, Monday, June 22, 2009
LONDON: If Pakistan’s battle against the Taliban seems difficult, a much tougher challenge lies ahead: deciding what to do about the banned Lashkar-e-Tayyaba (LT).

Security experts from the United States and India believe the Pakistan Army and its Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency could shut down the group accused of carrying out the Mumbai attacks – if they choose to do so.
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posted @ 11:49 AM, ,

Empty pockets

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The News International, Monday, June 22, 2009
A press release issued by the NWFP information department says that the number of people displaced by the fighting in Swat and elsewhere has now reached 3.8 million. About 150 thousand are in camps and the rest – by far the majority – are living with relatives or in makeshift accommodation. The operation currently under way in Bannu is producing its own crop of IDPs and if the military moves on Waziristan then we may expect another half-million to gravitate towards Peshawar and the area immediately surrounding it. Describing this as a human catastrophe does no justice to the scale of the problem faced by the government, provincial and federal, and the national and international agencies that are struggling to provide relief services. Overwhelmed by the magnitude of the disaster, aid agencies now face what is being described as the worst funding-shortfall for any major disaster in the last ten years. Simply, they are running out of money and unless their pockets are refilled soon they are going to grind to a halt.
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posted @ 11:43 AM, ,

Battling on

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The News International, Monday, June 22, 2009
The multi-faceted war against the Taliban develops new faces – and fronts – almost daily. The big guns have finally opened up on South Waziristan, reputedly the ‘hideout’ of Baitullah Mehsud – though whether he is there or elsewhere nobody seems to know for sure. F-16 fighters have been used in a ground-attack role (for which they are less than ideal) to bomb three suspected Taliban training facilities in South Waziristan, killing or wounding several insurgents. In other unidentified parts of South Waziristan the Taliban fired on our troops starting a firefight that went on for several hours. Nobody was able to say how many Taliban were killed or wounded. Reportedly, troop deployments into South Waziristan have now been completed and all roads that may be used to escape from the area have been blocked by the army. Probably. Our elderly helicopter gunships (a model no longer in production for which genuine spares are difficult to source) have attacked Kund Serai, Wara and Serwekai and troops have fired rockets at unspecified targets from Tanai Fort as well as having dug in on the heights in Madijan. The Jandola-Wana road which has been held by the Taliban for the last three years ‘is to be secured’ (as in it is not yet secured and we will probably have to fight for it) and all-in-all it looks to have been a busy day for the military.
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posted @ 11:38 AM, ,

Why this win is like no other!

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The News International, Monday, June 22, 2009
Comment By Mohammad Malick
Nobody cared about suicide bombers, Taliban were pass, drones could go drown in the Atlantic, life was but cricket being measured not in days or hours but in six-ball overs. A nation that has developed a psyche of commonness through shared grief and fear was, for one amazing evening brought closer by joy and unbridled passion. There were no political differences, no acrimony over this fiqh or that, no Deobandi vs Barelvi diatribe. It was just one people praying together for one objective, and then celebrating together as one.

The world cup victory underlines the importance of creating occasions of shared mirth, instead of allowing the people to slip into a collective depressive coma sired by an endless stream of bad news and frustrating events. The government must build up on this God-given opportunity to transform the national mood by encouraging and fostering activities aimed at community participation.
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posted @ 11:33 AM, ,

Pakistan win Twenty20 World Cup

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LONDON: Pakistan on Sunday celebrated one of their greatest cricketing moments when Younis Khan lifted the World Twenty20 trophy at Lord’s after marching to an eight-wicket triumph over Sri Lanka in the final. Shahid Afridi hit a career-best 54 off 40 balls, playing the lead role in an unbeaten third wicket stand of 76 with Shoaib Malik to hand Pakistan a dream victory — their best on the cricket field since the 1992 World Cup win.

“In such hard times back home, we needed a win like this,” Younis told a crowded press conference after his team completed a fairytale run in the tournament.
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posted @ 11:29 AM, ,

Taliban gains money, al-Qaida finances recovering

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Sunday, June 21, 2009
PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AP) — As the Taliban gains power in Afghanistan and Pakistan, its money is coming mostly from extortion, crime and drugs, the AP found in an investigation into the financial network of militants in the region. However, funding for the broader-based al-Qaida appears to be more diverse, including money from new recruits, increasingly large donations from sympathizers and Islamic charities, and a cut of profits from honey dealers in Yemen and Pakistan who belong to the same Wahabi sect of Islam.

"With respect to the Taliban, the narco dollars are a major if not majority of their funding sources, and I think add in there as well extortion and kidnapping," said Juan Carlos, a former U.S. National Security Council adviser on terrorism who now works at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. "With al-Qaida I think it is a mixed bag. They draw benefits from the Taliban but they are not relying wholesale on narcotics. They still rely on sympathetic donors and to a certain extent charities."
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posted @ 11:21 AM, ,

Taliban sway to blame for poor India-Pakistan ties, says BJP

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Sunday, Jun 21, 2009
NEW DELHI: It has now become apparent to the international community that the growing influence of the Taliban and radicalisation of Pakistan’s internal politics, and not Jammu and Kashmir, are the reasons for poor New Delhi-Islamabad relations, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) said here on Saturday.

Speaking on foreign policy issues, party president Rajnath Singh said as long as the army in Pakistan did not accept working under a democratic civilian government, resolution of its internal problems would not be possible. He said the “myth” that India-Pakistan relations were linked to the issue of Kashmir was recently exploded, as attention now turned to the growing influence of the Taliban in Pakistan.
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posted @ 11:19 AM, ,

Chilean diplomat to head Bhutto probe

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UNITED NATIONS, June 20 (UPI) -- A Chilean diplomat is to lead a investigation into the assassination of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, the United Nations said Saturday.

Heraldo Munoz, Chile's U.N. ambassador, is to lead the independent commission established at Pakistan's request, the U.N. News Service reported. The fact-finding commission plans to begin work July 1 and submit its report six months later.
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posted @ 11:11 AM, ,

Recalling Shaheed Benazir- Pledging to root out militancy

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Daily Times, Pakistan, Sunday, June 21, 2009
When Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto was assassinated on December 27, 2007 she was not even 55 years old. Yet when one reflects on how she inspired a generation during her short life one cannot but marvel at it.

Today the party workers celebrate the life she lived, more than mourn her death.

She has entered into the pantheon of history and stands with other towering personalities who shaped the course of history by inspiring a generation through leadership and personal example.
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posted @ 10:00 AM, ,

MQM and Haqiqi men gunned down

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Daily Times, Pakistan, Sunday, June 21, 2009
KARACHI: Political target killings are once again on the rise in the city, as unidentified gunmen killed three political workers belonging to the Mohajir Qaumi Movement-Haqiqi (MQM-H) and Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM).
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posted @ 9:57 AM, ,

Battle for the crown-T20 World Cup Final

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The News International, Pakistan, Sunday, June 21, 2009
Across the country, there is a new bounce in steps, a distinct lifting of spirits. Pakistan's rather unexpected semi-final triumph over South Africa in the T20 competition in London has set up what promises to be a thrilling contest with the Sri Lankans. More predictably, the Sri Lankans defeated the still flamboyant but erratic West Indies in their semi-final tie.
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posted @ 9:49 AM, ,

Dirty deals? Investigation of Murder of French Engineers

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The News International, Pakistan, Sunday, June 21, 2009
French investigators and the relatives of the victims seem confident about the dirty deals theory. They claim to have compiled some evidence that suggests that the attack was carried out to punish the French for stopping commission payments. These ended in 1995, after French President Jacques Chirac assumed office. The recipient of the payments on the Pakistan end of the line is stated to have been a certain Asif Ali Zardari, at the time a minister in his wife's second government. Rogue elements in the intelligence agencies are thought to have been involved in the attack, deliberately disguising it to look like the doing of militants.
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posted @ 9:46 AM, ,

Why does Zainuddin want to kill Baitullah?

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The News International, Pakistan, Sunday, June 21, 2009
ISLAMABAD: The sudden projection and tall claims of an anti-Baitullah Mehsud militant leader from South Waziristan, Qari Zainuddin Mehsud, have created many questions in the diplomatic circles of Islamabad.

In interviews to various media organisations on Thursday, Qari Zainuddin and his deputy Haji Turkistan had alleged that Baitullah was an American and Indian agent, he had killed Benazir Bhutto and that the real Jihad was going on in Afghanistan, not in Pakistan.

Many diplomats contacted Foreign Office and Interior Ministry officials as well as media persons, seeking answers to their questions. Some Western diplomats were particularly confused over the claim that Baitullah was an American agent and that he had killed Benazir Bhutto. These diplomats were asking a question that if Baitullah was involved in the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, does that mean that the American authorities were also involved in the conspiracy.
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posted @ 9:36 AM, ,

Pakistan will win war against extremists: Obama

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The News International, Pakistan, Sunday, June 21, 2009
RAWALPINDI: US President Barrack Hussain Obama has ruled out sending American troops to Pakistan to hunt down top al-Qaeda leadership and expressed confidence that the Pakistani government and military would win war against extremists.

In an interview, the American president also expressed confidence in the Pakistani government ability to safeguard the nuclear weapons. “I have confidence that the Pakistani government has safeguarded its nuclear arsenal. It’s Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal.”
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posted @ 9:32 AM, ,

Fierce fighting in S Waziristan 22 militants, six soldiers killed in operation

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The News International, Pakistan, Sunday, June 21, 2009
PESHAWAR/WANA: Twenty-two suspected militants and six soldiers were reportedly killed in a daylong military action against the Baitullah Mehsud-led Taliban in the South Waziristan Agency (SWA) on Saturday as the troops cleared a portion of the Wana-Jandola Road.

Two fighter planes and a couple of gunship helicopters pounded the positions of the militants, who had occupied hilltops and blocked the Wana-Jandola Road between Tanai and Serwakai towns.
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posted @ 9:29 AM, ,

Clashes in Tehran

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The News International, Pakistan, Sunday, June 21, 2009
TEHRAN: Opposition leader Mirhossein Mousavi said he was “ready for martyrdom”, according to an ally, in leading protests that have shaken the Islamic Republic and brought warnings of bloodshed from Iran’s Supreme Leader.

Mousavi also called on Saturday for a national strike if he is arrested, a witness said. As darkness fell, rooftop cries of Allahu Akbar (God is greatest) sounded out across northern Tehran for nearly an hour, an echo of tactics used in the 1979 Islamic revolution against the Shah.

In an act fraught with symbolic significance, a suicide bomber blew himself up at the mausoleum of the father of Iran’s Islamic revolution, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, while unrest continued across Tehran in defiance of a ban on demonstrations.
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posted @ 9:25 AM, ,

The Taliban Diaries

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Daily Times, Pakistan, Saturday, June 20, 2009
COMMENT: Shaukat Qadir
These diaries contain instructions, in exquisite detail, on how to make explosive devices, many with the most innocuous components like sugar, cooking oil (ghee), aluminium, Vaseline, coffee, charcoal, salt and even black seed.

A not very well known fact is that during the Swat operations, security forces captured the diaries of some Taliban leaders, including Muslim Khan, the spokesman for the warlord Fazlullah. I managed to lay my hands on some of them, including a diary of someone who styles himself as ‘Khalid bin Al Walid’, an obvious pseudonym.
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posted @ 9:50 AM, ,

The Kingdom in Pakistan

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Daily Times, Pakistan, Saturday, June 20, 2009
COMMENT: Saleem H Ali
During my last visit to Lahore when I interviewed various progressive scholars, they also expressed the strongest concern about America’s unflinching support for Saudi Arabia’s policies, which made them more suspicious of the West’s resolve in tackling extremism.

The assassination of Dr Sarfraz Naeemi at a prominent madrassa in Lahore marks a turning point in Pakistan’s civil strife. The Taliban profess to be “pure” Sunni Muslims, and have targeted Shia mosques and seminaries many times before. However, Maulana Naeemi is the first notable Sunni scholar to be murdered by the Taliban.
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posted @ 9:43 AM, ,

Droning on

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The News International, Pakistan, Saturday, June 20, 2009
The US policy of targeted drone attacks continues. Twelve people have been killed in a strike on the compound of a Taliban commander in South Waziristan. The strikes are obviously based on sound intelligence. But this cannot detract from the fact that the innocent too die; there is no tally of the women and children killed since the drones first flew over our skies – but without doubt the figure runs to scores. There had in recent months been some suggestion that the US may reconsider its drone policy. Pakistan has requested that it be provided with pilotless planes to take charge of the strike policy itself.
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posted @ 9:38 AM, ,

No Taliban brass

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The News International, Pakistan, Saturday, June 20, 2009
Daily updates from military spokesmen tell us of casualties on both sides and the location of some operations in the preceding twenty-four hours. They are never accompanied by contemporary footage, a map or any supporting documentation – NIC of some of the dead Taliban for instance. We are now 54 days into the Swat battle, with Dir and Buner still active combat zones and Waziristan moving into the foreground as the site of a major engagement. We are told that at least 1,400 militants have been killed alongside 120 of our own soldiers. There is never mention of civilian casualties – the 'collateral damage' – despite ample anecdotal evidence from IDPs that civilians have died as a result of the actions of our army. No independent verification of the figures delivered daily has been made, and the media – apart from some carefully choreographed reports from Mingora – are excluded from the battle. The numbers of Taliban dead seem improbably high given that they fight in less-than-platoon sized units and are highly mobile. 'Hideouts' are reportedly 'cleared out' everyday – but have we ever seen a picture of one of these 'hideouts' immediately after it was 'cleared'? Does nobody in the military have access to a camera?
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posted @ 9:36 AM, ,

11 militants die in Dir Upper

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The News International, Pakistan, Saturday, June 20, 2009
PESHAWAR: Eleven Taliban combatants were killed in Doog Darra area of Dir Upper by armed villagers and artillery shelling by security forces as the militants started fleeing the area after giving up resistance.

Also, the Chitral police arrested 10 fleeing militants, including an Afghan national, who was in an injured condition, when they sneaked into the district to escape the villagersí onslaught. The armed villagers have ringed the Taliban militants, led by Afghan commander Amir Khitab, since June 6 in the mountains in Doog Darra area.
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posted @ 9:32 AM, ,

Baitullah’s hideouts bombed

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The News International, Pakistan, Saturday, June 20, 2009
WANA/TANK: Amid reports of Nato’s assistance in military offensive against Baitullah Mehsud-led Taliban, Pakistani warplanes and gunship choppers on Friday continued pounding suspected hideouts of the militants in South Waziristan Agency (SWA), killing six militants.

Sources told The News that two jet fighters of the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) and the Pakistan Army’s two gunship choppers bombed the suspected hideouts of TTP chief Baitullah Mehsud in Barwand, Madejan, Serwakai and adjoining areas.
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posted @ 9:29 AM, ,

India conducts another ballistic missile test

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The News International, Pakistan, Saturday, June 20, 2009
NEW DELHI: India on Friday successfully launched a ballistic missile in the second such trial of the nuclear-capable weapon in a month, the defence ministry said. The Agni-II missile blasted off from a testing site in eastern India and ìachieved all its flight parameters,î a senior ministry official told AFP. “It was a user trial conducted by the army and defence scientists,” he said of the rocket, which the military says is capable of hitting targets deep inside China. The test was the second since May 19 when a similar 2,500-kilometre range Agni-II was fired from the same site, hitting a pre-designated target in the Bay of Bengal.
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posted @ 9:26 AM, ,

US Congress okays $1.4 bn for Pakistan

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The News International, Pakistan, Saturday, June 20, 2009
WASHINGTON: The US Congress approved $1.4 billion in economic and security assistance for Pakistan, as the Senate overwhelmingly passed a $106 billion war supplemental bill on Thursday, giving the Obama administration the urgently-needed $225 million as relief assistance for displaced persons of the tribal areas.

The whopping funding bill, primarily meant for Afghanistan and Iraq wars, had faced a stiff resistance in the US House of Representatives, getting through with a narrow vote earlier this week.
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posted @ 9:22 AM, ,

French probe gives Karachi killings a new twist

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The News International, Pakistan, Saturday, June 20, 2009
CHERBOURG, France: A probe into the 2002 killing of 11 French engineers in Pakistan is focusing on France’s failure to pay a commission for the sale of submarines to Pakistan, a lawyer for the victims’ families said on Thursday.

Magali Drouet, the daughter of one of the men killed, quoted one of the anti-terrorist judges, Marc Trevidic, as telling the families that this theory was ‘cruelly logical’. She added according to this scenario, the attack was carried out because the special payments were not made by France to Asif Ali Zardari, who is now Pakistan’s president but was a minister at the time.
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posted @ 9:16 AM, ,

Child-trafficking train missing on tracks!

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The News International, Pakistan, Saturday, June 20, 2009
LAHORE: The Punjab Police and railway authorities launched a search of trains on Friday night after a boy claimed he had jumped from a moving goods train near Sama Satta while being smuggled to some unknown city along with dozens of other boys.

The nine-year-old boy, later identified as Noshad, said he jumped from a moving goods train at Kalanch Wala near Samma Satta railway station, according to the area police. Police sources say that if they believe the boyís story, a big human smuggling network might be at work in the country in connivance with the railway officials.
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posted @ 9:12 AM, ,

19 militants killed in Bajaur, Buner

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The News International, Pakistan, Saturday, June 20, 2009
KHAR/PESHAWAR/GHALLANAI: Security forces on Friday killed 15 more militants and injured seven others in a shootout in the Charmang area of Bajaur Agency, while 47 wanted persons surrendered to the authorities in neighbouring Mohmand Agency.

Also, security forces killed four militants in Buner district as troops consolidated their positions in the Swat Valley, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said. Sources said that the militants attacked security forces’ patrolling party near the Pak-Afghan border in the Charmang area of Nawagai Tehsil in Bajaur Agency, killing two soldiers and injuring three others.
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posted @ 9:08 AM, ,

The other Islamist threat in Pakistan

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The Boston Globe, June 17, 2009
THE DANGER of an Islamist takeover of Pakistan is real. But it does not come from the Taliban guerrillas now battling the Pakistan Army in the Swat borderlands. It comes from a proliferating network of heavily armed Islamist militias in the Punjab heartland and major cities directed by Lashkar-e-Taiba, a close ally of Al Qaeda, which staged the terrorist attack last November in Mumbai, India.
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posted @ 11:20 AM, ,

Wheels within wheels

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Dawn, Pakistan, Friday, 19 Jun, 2009
SOW the wind and reap the whirlwind. The full ramifications of the dangerous game played by Pakistan’s security establishment over the past few decades are now being felt where they hurt the most: at home, on our own turf. Misguided policies of strategic depth in Afghanistan created a cadre of highly trained and motivated militants who are now beyond the control of their original keepers. Perhaps equally disastrously, Pakistan’s policy of turning more than a blind eye to sectarian and ‘jihadi’ outfits that looked eastward rather than across the Durand Line produced a breed of fighters that has now been deprived of a cause. Their guns, as we speak, are trained inwards and terrorism within the borders of Pakistan is the curse of the day. The ‘jihadis’ of the 1990s are today’s terrorists, harbouring a serious grudge against a state that seemingly jettisoned them after joining the ‘enemy’ camp. What once came across as a symbiotic relationship turned adversarial soon after 9/11, possibly under duress. Our very own militants, it seems, have come home to roost.
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posted @ 11:14 AM, ,

Aid, not trade

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Daily Times, Friday, June 19, 2009
The EU, at the first summit between member states and Pakistan in Brussels, ignored President Zardari's call for trade concessions but extended 20 million Euros in aid for the IDPs. There was also an agreement to seek further funds for Pakistan's displaced people. The EU offer falls short of what Pakistan had hoped for – tariff concessions on Pakistani imports – but it does help bring in more resources for the millions of IDPs.
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posted @ 11:08 AM, ,

SC rejects plea challenging educational degrees of 68 MPs

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The News International, Pakistan, Friday, June 19, 2009
The five-member bench, headed by Justice Tassaduq Hussain Jillani and comprising Justice Nasirul Mulk, Justice Mohammad Moosa K Leghari, Justice Sheikh Hakim Ali and Justice Ghulam Rabbani, was hearing a constitutional petition challenging the educational degrees of MMA legislators.

Appearing on a notice, Qari Abdur Rashid advocate and counsel for the respondents submitted that as his clients had completed their tenure; therefore, there was no need to hear the case on merit.
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posted @ 10:01 AM, ,

Finance didn’t even discuss carbon tax with Petroleum

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The News International, Pakistan, Friday, June 19, 2009
ISLAMABAD: The Petroleum and Natural Resources Ministry has expressed its reservations over the imposition of carbon surcharge on motor gasoline, diesel and other POL products in the new federal budget, without taking it into confidence, it is learnt.

“The ministry has written a letter to the Finance Division, noting its reservations,” an informed official told The News. He said that the Petroleum Ministry was in the dark about the imposition of the carbon surcharge and its mechanism, and abolition of the Petroleum Development Levy (PDL).
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posted @ 9:58 AM, ,

PPP, PML-N resort to accusations, mud-slinging

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The News International, Pakistan, Friday, June 19, 2009
PML-N’s Khwaja Asif’s remarks against President Zardari triggered strong protest from the PPP legislators who in turn targeted the PML-N leadership. The speaker had to expunge remarks against the president.

Khwaja Asif accused President Zardari of bringing back politics of confrontation, saying the advocate-general of Sindh has presented the pardon documents in the court on the instructions of President Zardari. “If they continue character assassination of our leadership then we will also tell the people how Farooq H Naek brought the NRO before us to give indemnity to Gen Musharraf,” he added. He said the president lacks credibility and no body trusts him.
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posted @ 9:54 AM, ,

Afridi lifts Pakistan into World T20 final

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The News International, Pakistan, Friday, June 19, 2009
NOTTINGHAM: Shahid Afridi shone with bat and ball as Pakistan dumped South Africa by seven runs to storm into the World Twenty20 final here on Thursday.

The maverick batsman smashed 51 from 34 balls and then grabbed 2-16 with his leg-spin as Pakistan successfully defended 149-4 to restrict the favoured Proteas to 142-5 before a sell-out crowd at Trent Bridge.
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posted @ 9:51 AM, ,

Peshawar airport reopens today

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The News International, Pakistan, Friday, June 19, 2009
PESHAWAR: The Peshawar International Airport would resume flight operations from Friday and all domestic and international flights would continue to operate according to the previous schedule, Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) officials said on Thursday night.

The Defence Ministry had ordered the suspension of all domestic and international flights to and from Peshawar Airport on Wednesday afternoon. Authorities had cited some technical fault for the suspension of the flight operation but sources said the decision was taken due to security concerns.
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posted @ 9:49 AM, ,

Drone attack kills 12 in SWA

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The News International, Pakistan, Friday, June 19, 2009
WANA: Twelve persons were killed and 10 others sustained injuries when the US spy planes attacked two suspected training centres of a Taliban commander in Sholam and Raghzai areas, eight kilometres west of Rustam Adda in South Waziristan Agency (SWA) on Thursday.

Elders and officials of the political administration told The News the drones fired five missiles at the two compounds of a local Taliban commander Malang Wazir and his men in Sholam and Raghzai areas, killing 12 people and injuring 10 others. The attacks, carried out at about 12 noon, also reduced to ashes the suspected militant training centres.
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posted @ 9:41 AM, ,

Senators demand probe into KESC affairs

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The News International, Pakistan, Friday, June 19, 2009
ISLAMABAD: Deputy Chairman Senate Jan Muhammad Jamali on Thursday asked the government to investigate into the affairs of Karachi Electric Supply Company (KESC) and depute Rangers at its offices.

“The worst power breakdown in Karachi and some parts of interior Sindh might be an attempt to destabilise the government. KESC is enemy within,” said Jan Jamali while taking serious notice of the electricity failure in Karachi.
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posted @ 9:34 AM, ,

Desertification and its fallout

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Dawn, Pakistan, Thursday, 18 Jun, 2009
Here’s what the government’s Sustainable Land Management Project has to say: the livelihoods of two-thirds of the population are linked to arid or semi-arid areas, which comprise nearly 80 per cent of the country’s total land mass. And according to other environment ministry estimates, 38 per cent of Pakistan’s irrigated land has been lost to waterlogging while soil productivity has diminished elsewhere because of higher salinity and sodicity levels.
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posted @ 10:02 AM, ,

The message from Yekaterinburg

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Daily Times, Pakistan, Thursday, June 18, 2009
Before the 9th summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), India’s official line on Pakistan was: do something about terrorism first and then expect the resumption of dialogue with India. The message on Tuesday from Yekaterinburg was that the “primary issue of terrorism will be discussed by the foreign secretaries of the two countries before the leaders of the two countries meet again in mid-July on the sidelines of an international conference in Sharm-el-Sheikh, Egypt”.
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posted @ 9:54 AM, ,

I’ll quit if agri tax not imposed: Tareen hints at amending finance bill

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Daily Times, Pakistan, Thursday, June 18, 2009
ISLAMABAD: Finance Adviser Shaukat Tareen on Wednesday hinted at amendments to the Finance Bill to remove the business community’s concerns relating to the 2009-10 budget.

“I will hold a meeting with industrialists in the next two days to get feedback to finalise the amendments,” Tareen informed the Senate Standing Committee on Finance.

The finance adviser added the agriculture sector must be brought under the tax net in 2010-11, saying he would resign if he was not able to achieve that.
Source

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posted @ 9:50 AM, ,

President Zardari seeks ‘trade, not aid’: EU offers $90m aid, but no trade

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Daily Times, Pakistan, Thursday, June 18, 2009
EU to provide 20 million euros to help IDPs
EU executive to ask member states to provide additional 45 million euros *
EU, Pakistan reaffirm commitment to cooperate in terror fight

BRUSSELS: The European Union pledged aid on Wednesday to internally displaced Pakistanis from Swat, but denied Islamabad the trade breaks it says will help win the struggle.
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posted @ 9:41 AM, ,

Illegal seminaries in capital face closure

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The News International, Pakistan, Thursday, June 18, 2009
ISLAMABAD: The government has decided to close down all seminaries working illegally in different parts of the federal capital. The Capital Development Authority (CDA) has issued notice to one such institution in a posh sector of the city, The News learnt here on Monday.

“There are 260 madaris (seminaries) in the Islamabad Capital Territory and around 15 of them are operating illegally,” an official of the CDA told The News requesting anonymity. “Some of the illegal religious schools are involved in spreading hatred against the army and the government and promoting extremism during Friday sermons,” he added.
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posted @ 9:38 AM, ,

Peshawar airport closed

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The News International, Pakistan, Thursday, June 18, 2009
PESHAWAR: The Ministry of Defence on Wednesday afternoon suspended all domestic and international flights for and from Peshawar indefinitely.

Sources told The News that the Peshawar Airport was closed due to security concerns. However, Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) Peshawar Station Manager Saeed Khan told this correspondent that the airport had been closed due to some technical fault.
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posted @ 9:35 AM, ,

Baitullah is US agent, claims former close aide

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The News International, Pakistan, Thursday, June 18, 2009
RAWALPINDI: Haji Turkistan Betani, a former close aide of Baitullah Mahsud, has claimed that assassination of Benazir Bhutto was plotted by Baitullah.

Talking to Sana Bucha in Crisis Cell programme of Geo News, Haji Turkistan said that he was with Baitullah, who had stated that he had sent two persons to Rawalpindi for assassinating Benazir Bhutto. He also revealed that Baitullah is an American agent and this is the reason he has not been targeted by the US drones.
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posted @ 9:32 AM, ,

Hillary hails resumption of Indo-Pak dialogue

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The News International, Pakistan, Thursday, June 18, 2009
WASHINGTON: “Of course, we believe that India and Pakistan actually face a number of common challenges, and we welcome a dialogue between them,” she said, addressing a meeting of the US-India Business Council.

“As we have said before, the pace, scope and character of that dialogue is something that Indian and Pakistani leaders will decide on their own terms and in their own time,” she said.
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posted @ 9:28 AM, ,

Sri Lankan team attack suspect held

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The News International, Pakistan, Thursday, June 18, 2009
LAHORE: The police here on Wednesday claimed to have arrested a man involved in the attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team, besides unearthing a network of the Punjabi Taliban Tehrik.

Addressing a press conference at the Qila Gujjar Singh police lines, Capital City Police Chief Pervez Rathore said the terrorists had planned to hold the cricketers hostage during the March 3 attack. He said the arrested suspect, M Zubair alias Naik Muhammad of Dera Ghazi Khan, was a member of a banned militant group.
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posted @ 9:25 AM, ,

Special Hajj quota abolished

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The News International, Pakistan, Thursday, June 18, 2009
ISLAMABAD: The Cabinet on Wednesday approved new Hajj Policy while abolishing all sorts of special Hajj quotas and decided that 159,000 Pakistanis would be chosen for Hajj through open balloting.
The prime minister had a Hajj quota of 300 persons in the overall quota of 7,630 persons.
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posted @ 9:21 AM, ,

Massive power breakdown hits Karachi

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The News International, Pakistan, Thursday, June 18, 2009
KARACHI: Almost the entire city was deprived of electricity on Wednesday evening after a power crisis of horrendous proportions hit power generation, transmission, and distribution systems of the Karachi Electric Supply Company.
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posted @ 9:17 AM, ,

Tribesmen on their own

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By Syed Irfan Ashraf
Dawn, Pakistan, Wednesday, 17 Jun, 2009
OVER 2,500 villagers are up in arms against 200 dreaded Taliban militants in the inaccessible mountain terrain of Dhog Dara, 25 kilometres northwest of Dir in Upper Dir.

Local tribesmen have encircled the Taliban militants for the last fortnight or so, and are locked in fierce fighting to which there appears to be no end in sight — unless the state steps in to overpower or flush out the militants.
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posted @ 11:35 AM, ,

Misplaced sympathies

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Daily Times, Wednesday, June 17, 2009
ANALYSIS: Ijaz Hussain
The fact of the matter is that given their obscurantist outlook and fascist ideology, the Taliban are an infinitely greater threat to Pakistan than America. But that is not so for Imran Khan

Imran Khan, chairman of the Pakistan Tehreek-e Insaf, is a vocal and relentless opponent of the ongoing military operation in Malakand. He believes that, lured by dollars, the Pakistani government has undertaken the operation in pursuance of the American agenda. In his opinion, the solution to the ongoing strife lies in the termination of military operations, withdrawal of security forces from the troubled areas and seeking a political settlement with the Taliban.
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posted @ 10:54 AM, ,

Dialogue with India: old or new?

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Daily Times, Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Speaking at a Pugwash conference in Islamabad on Monday, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani stressed the importance of resuming the dialogue between Pakistan and India “to address issues that have for long been the reason for tensions between the two countries”. He has referred to issues of “long” gestation and therefore desires a return to the Indo-Pak composite dialogue that started in 2004 and stopped in 2007 without resolving the deeply buried issues to which he alluded.
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posted @ 10:49 AM, ,

Supreme Court orders survey of eunuchs across country

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Daily Times, Wednesday, June 17, 2009

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday directed social welfare secretaries of all four provinces to conduct a survey for documenting the record of eunuchs across the country.
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posted @ 10:44 AM, ,

Baloch female militants bomb Quetta shop

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Daily Times, Wednesday, June 17, 2009
QUETTA: Two shops were destroyed and a shop owner injured when the women’s wing of the Baloch Republican Army (BRA) bombed a shop on the Mezan Chowk here on Tuesday.
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posted @ 10:37 AM, ,

The 'grey' prisoner

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The News International, Pakistan
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
The FIA has approached America's FBI to be permitted access to Dr Aafia Siddiqui, on the basis that she is a Pakistani citizen and that questioning her could help unravel some of the mysteries of terrorism in the country. Certainly, the case of Dr Siddiqui remains just as covered in mist as it was in 2008, when she was traced after a UK journalist claimed she had been held at Bagram Jail. There are still no clear answers as to how she got here, after being taken away from Karachi in 2003. Her son, Ahmed, has described how he was blindfolded and chained by US officials while being shifted from one place to another. The boy, not yet a teenager at the time, also says he attended school for barely a month through these years.
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posted @ 10:28 AM, ,

Trouble in Tehran

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The News International, Pakistan
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
There is growing speculation that the unthinkable could happen in Iran. In the aftermath of hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's re-election in a poll which many in Iran think was rigged, the country's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei himself seems to be facing more and more heat – not least after the deaths of several people during a rally on June 15 were reported by the Iranian media on June 16. There are those who believe he may even be ousted – in a series of events as startling as those of 1979 when the Shah was toppled in the revolution that converted Iran into an Islamic state – and they point to a message by the sidelined, one-time successor of Ayatollah Khomeini, the Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, to the youth of the country to "pursue peaceful protest".
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posted @ 10:25 AM, ,

US Senate panel clears Pakistan aid boost

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The News International, Pakistan
Wednesday, June 17, 2009

WASHINGTON: A US Senate committee on Tuesday gave the green light to triple non-military aid to Pakistan, hoping to bring stability to a country that is a key priority for President Barack Obama.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted unanimously 16-0 in favour of the bill, which triples non-military aid to Pakistan to 7.5 billion dollars over five years. The bill now goes on to the full Senate.
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posted @ 10:20 AM, ,

Zardari, Singh agree on secretary level talks

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The News International, Pakistan
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
YEKATERINBURG, Russia: The eight-month-long Pakistan-India stalled peace process got a fresh lease of life as President Asif Ali Zardari and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan met here on Tuesday on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO).

The two sides agreed for their foreign secretaries to meet on “mutually-convenient dates” to be followed by another meeting of the two leaders on the sidelines of the Non-Aligned Movement Summit in Egypt in July.
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posted @ 10:16 AM, ,

FIR registered against Drug Smuggling

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The News International, Pakistan
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
KARACHI: Police registered a case after arresting a sub-travel agent’s son for smuggling heroine through fraud and deceit using Pakistanis arrested in Saudi Arabia.

According to police, Raees Ahmed submitted an application stating that a sub-travel agent Sarwat Hussain, his wife Shfia and son Syed Faraz living in Korangi gave heroine hidden in Ahram and sandals to a family going for performing Umrah after which the family was arrested in Saudi Arabia.
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posted @ 10:08 AM, ,

Russia, Afghanistan, Pakistan pledge Taliban fight

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Mon Jun 15, 2009
YEKATERINBURG, Russia (Reuters) - Russia, Pakistan and Afghanistan called for stronger regional cooperation in fighting the Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan.

U.S. President Barack Obama has made better international cooperation on Afghanistan an important element of his plan to defeat the Taliban in Afghanistan where violence is at its worst level since U.S.-led forces toppled the Islamists in 2001.
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posted @ 10:03 AM, ,


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