Pakistan in Media

Opinionated Media Coverage

High treason charges against former president Pervez Musharraf

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Dawn, Pakistan, Friday, 31 Jul, 2009
ISLAMABAD, July 30: The Supreme Court ignored on Thursday a plea to order initiation of high treason charges against former president Pervez Musharraf for proclaiming emergency on Nov 3, 2007, as army chief.

Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, who is heading a 14-judge bench hearing challenges to the imposition of emergency, observed that this was not the responsibility of the court. The court would rather take a simple route to decide cases before it, instead of derailing the system.
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posted @ 11:43 AM, ,

Training of Suicide Bombers

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Dawn, Pakistan, Friday, 31 Jul, 2009
MINGORA, July 30: Four boys who were kidnapped by militants to be trained as suicide bombers have narrated harrowing tales of their ordeal in captivity.

They said militants had taken them by force from their villages to training camps in different parts of Matta where a large number of other boys were being trained as suicide bombers.

On Thursday, they were presented before a team of reporters here by security forces. Two of the boys were from Banr and the other two from Naway Kallay.
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posted @ 11:40 AM, ,

Taliban's Financial Resources

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The News International, Pakistan, Friday, July 31, 2009
War-fighting is an expensive business, and every bullet costs money. We have a defence budget and assorted parcels of aid to pay for the war against the Taliban we are currently engaged in; but the Taliban have to find other ways of paying for their armaments and materiel. Some of it they acquire by old-fashioned thievery but recent years have seen a much greater diversity and complexity in their funding arrangements. Richard Holbrooke speaking to journalists in the NATO headquarters in Brussels said that their most lucrative source of income was money donated by sympathisers outside of Pakistan and Afghanistan, and that it was a mistake to assume that the bulk of their income was derived from drug money. The money was coming from the Gulf States, including those to whom we are closely allied, but was coming from individuals and small organisations, not from the governments of Gulf States – a point Holbrooke was keen to emphasise given the sensitivity of what he was saying. It was also coming from Western Europe, where there is a large Muslim community many of whom are sympathetic to the Taliban cause. The manufacture and sale of illegal drugs still pulls in a significant sum -- $60-$100 million a year. It was Holbrooke's opinion (and he offered no supporting evidence) that the drug money funds local operations in the Pashtun tribal belt whilst the money raised elsewhere funded other operations.
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posted @ 11:36 AM, ,

Parliament's test of credibility

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The News International, Pakistan, Friday, July 31, 2009
ISLAMABAD: Parliament will have to pass a crucial test of credibility in the coming days as the Supreme Court judges have observed more than once while hearing the high-profile November 3 case that it was the duty of the legislature to examine the validity of ordinances issued by Pervez Musharraf. “More than one and a half years have passed and parliament hasn’t examined a single ordinance,” Justice Khalil-ur-Rehman Ramday remarked at one stage.

On the other hand, according to authoritative sources, Attorney General Latif Khosa is poised to argue before the 14-member bench that Article 270-AAA that gives “constitutional cover” to the November 3 action and the NRO is part of the Constitution.
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posted @ 11:29 AM, ,

Prosecution of Musharraf

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Dawn, Pakistan, Thursday, 30 Jul, 2009
REMEMBER them, anyone? What happened to the puppies he sported in the first weeks in power? Given our sudden desire for punishing Musharraf, he could now also be accused of first using them to offend the faithful and then abandoning them to their fate as he made off to London. Animal rights activists of civil society, please step forward.

The cacophony surrounding the demands to bring the former president-general to justice makes a spectacle of the way we do politics. Retribution, when it is a one-sided affair, is vendetta; and justice cannot be served by certain individuals in power bent on settling scores, albeit with a wrongdoer.
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posted @ 12:53 PM, ,

Pakistan, as it is

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Daily Times, Pakistan, Thursday, July 30, 2009
We may or may not wake up to this reality but the Saudis and the Qataris are aware of what’s in store for humanity in the coming decades. They want to buy fertile land in poor countries like Pakistan to feed their people when half the world would be dying of hunger

Recently, I thought of Thomas Robert Malthus because our President made the good old Reverend turn and squirm in his grave. A week or so ago, the President said in Karachi, “We are making plans for Pakistan that will have a population of 250 million in the future”. Try as you might, you would not be able to make a more catastrophic statement.
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posted @ 12:37 PM, ,

Another Deal with Taliban

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The News International, Pakistan, Thursday, July 30, 2009
Reports and comment in the foreign media are increasingly talking of the possibility of a deal being explored – or even done -- between the army and Baitullah Mehsud. The BBC, the Daily Telegraph, the Washington Post and the New York Times have in the last week carried reports alluding to the failure to capture Baitullah Mehsud, and it is not possible to dismiss these reports out-of-hand as mere idle gossip. The Telegraph is going so far as to claim that the delay in launching the all-out operation against Mehsud is to allow a deal to be made. The report says that the government wants him to promise that he will not attack government personnel and assets in the future – a promise that would rank alongside a solemn undertaking by all crocodiles never to eat another wildebeest. Military claims to have 'corralled his stronghold in South Waziristan' by blocking the four principal points of entry are unverifiable, and we have no idea if, or to what extent, Mehsud and his allies are being 'softened up' by the air force and artillery as is claimed by military spokespersons. What is clear is that a month after the go-ahead for an operation in the Waziristans there is very little sign of movement, and every single one of the men on the government's 'most wanted' list remains at large despite considerable prices on their heads.
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posted @ 12:28 PM, ,

Kargil

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Dawn, Pakistan, Monday, 27 Jul, 2009
THE ghosts of Kargil continue to haunt us, and will continue to do so, unless we get to know the truth. Surprisingly, nobody talks about it more than the two men responsible for the disaster — the prime minister and the army chief in 1999. We have heard their versions many times, and they keep repeating themselves. Pervez Musharraf says that Nawaz Sharif was “on board” all along and that he was briefed by the military high command beforehand. We have also seen some photographs showing the prime minister being briefed — with maps and all that — and Mr Sharif somewhere in Azad Kashmir. That proves nothing.
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posted @ 1:48 PM, ,

Libraries and Governance

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Daily Times, Pakistan, Monday, July 27, 2009
When I go to my rich friends’ houses, I see no books. A million-dollar household with a hundred thousand-dollar sports car outside has no books. Rich people who spend thousands of dollars on a dinner do not even spend a hundred dollars annually on books.

We have five polo grounds and three golf courses in Lahore; and one library in disrepair left to us by the colonial masters, and a ‘sort of’ bureaucratic library that we built in our sixty years. Says a lot about us, does it not?
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posted @ 1:44 PM, ,

Health Care in Rural Areas

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Daily Times, Pakistan, Monday, July 27, 2009
Under the present circumstances, most young physicians are unwilling to work in the smaller towns and villages except perhaps for a few who come from a locally influential family. And, income is definitely not the determining factor

Last week I said in this space that I did not think ‘universal health insurance’ was a good idea for the Punjab. Personally, I am all for universal health insurance when and if access to appropriate healthcare becomes universally available. But such insurance becomes meaningless if healthcare is not universally available.
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posted @ 1:36 PM, ,

India and Afghanistan supporting insurgency in Balochistan.

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The News International, Pakistan, Saturday, July 25, 2009
ISLAMABAD: Interior Minister Rehman Malik on Friday told the Senate that the Pakistan government had given proofs to the Indian and Afghan governments regarding their direct involvement in promoting insurgency in Balochistan.

“I myself in a meeting with Afghan President Hamid Karzai in Kabul provided him proofs regarding three training camps in Afghanistan where Baloch insurgents are being provided training,” he said while responding to a point of order in the Upper House of parliament.
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posted @ 12:40 AM, ,

Shumaila Rana resigns over credit card scandal

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The News International, Pakistan, Saturday, July 25, 2009
ISLAMABAD: MPA Shumaila Rana tendered her resignation from the Punjab Assembly on Friday on the demand of the PML-N investigation committee set up to probe the credit card scandal case.

The resignation was submitted to PML-N President Shahbaz Sharif and would now be submitted to the Punjab Assembly speaker.Shumaila, who was elected on reserved seat of the Punjab Assembly, is involved in stealing a credit card and making payment through it to a jewellery shop.
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posted @ 12:37 AM, ,

LG system transfered to provinces

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The News International, Pakistan, Friday, July 24, 2009
ISLAMABAD: President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani have directed the Law Ministry to finalise its recommendations regarding the local government structure with the consultation of provincial law ministries to transfer the local government system to the provinces from the federal government.

According to sources, the decision was taken a few days back during the meeting of the two and after detailed deliberations, Minister of State for Law Afzal Sindhu was directed to hold a meeting with all provincial law ministers to finalise the modus operandi in this regards.
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posted @ 11:31 PM, ,

Governors can’t recommend judges’ appointment: CJ

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The News International, Pakistan, Friday, July 24, 2009
ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry on Thursday observed the appointment of judges to the higher judiciary cannot be made merely on the recommendations of governors, as they lack information about judicial professionalism.

The chief justice was heading a 14-judge larger bench of the apex court hearing appeals regarding appointment of two judges of the Sindh High Court — Justice Bin Yamin and Justice Pir Ali Shah — who were not made permanent judges.
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posted @ 11:27 PM, ,

Complete strike will be observed, tomorrow in IHK

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The News International, Pakistan, Friday, July 24, 2009
SRINAGAR: In occupied Kashmir, complete strike will be observed, tomorrow, against the illegal detention of senior Kashmiri Hurriyet leader, Syed Ali Gilani under draconian Public Safety Act. Call for the strike has been given by the forum patronised by the senior leader.

According to Kashmir media service, the spokesman of the forum in a statement issued in Srinagar took strong exception to the politics of revenge adopted by the occupation authorities. He said that arrest of the veteran leader was aimed at not only to keep him away from the public but also a design to cause further deterioration to his health.
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posted @ 11:23 PM, ,

Democracy's inclusion in curriculum

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Dawn, Pakistan,Thursday, 23 Jul, 2009
SINDH education minister Pir Mazharul Haq’s idea that courses on the benefits of democracy should be incorporated in the curriculum of schools is not unprecedented.

This idea has been occupying the minds of both educationists and politicians for many decades and the totalitarian regimes that we have had to face have caused the issue to be brought to the forefront.
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posted @ 1:32 PM, ,

India behind insurgency in Balochistan

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Dawn, Pakistan,Thursday, 23 Jul, 2009
FOR quite some time now, Pakistani officials have been both hinting and asserting that there is an Indian hand behind the insurgency in Balochistan. India, it is alleged, has been using its growing influence in Kabul to channel weapons and funds to separatists in Balochistan, besides funding a training camp in Kandahar for the likes of the Baloch Republican Army. India’s Research and Analysis Wing also stands accused of masterminding other terrorist acts in Pakistan, including deadly assaults on the Sri Lankan cricket team and a police academy in Lahore. New Delhi for its part has insisted, and not without reason, that it be provided with concrete evidence of Indian involvement. This has now been done, with the reported handing over of a dossier detailing instances of Indian interference in Pakistan. The evidence apparently includes pictures of some senior Baloch separatist leaders conferring with Indian operatives as well as details of safe houses run by RAW in Afghanistan. Proof of India’s involvement in terror financing in Pakistan has also been provided, it is said, as have the names of Indian agents who crossed the border to link up with militants on this side of Wagah.
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posted @ 1:28 PM, ,

Quack medical practitioners

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Dawn, Pakistan,Thursday, 23 Jul, 2009
FAKE and under-qualified medical practitioners are an inevitable menace in a country where the needs of a largely uneducated population are being addressed by an overstretched and inefficient public healthcare system. These quacks take advantage of the citizenry’s lack of awareness and exploit the need for medical aid. It is estimated that the number of fake medics across the country runs into hundreds of thousands. The ‘medicine’ they practise includes specialised fields such as dentistry, bone-setting and antenatal care. The state’s poor record in prosecuting such offenders means that the quacks routinely fleece citizens as well as endanger the lives of unsuspecting patients through medical malpractice.
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posted @ 1:25 PM, ,

Hillary Clinton's Visit to India

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Daily Times, Pakistan, Thursday, July 23, 2009
The only context in which Obama has mentioned India thus far was the need to resolve Kashmir so as to find a way out of the West’s troubles in Afghanistan. Talk of a strategic partnership between the two countries has all but disappeared

The long-awaited visit by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to India provided the usual public affirmation of “India being a vital partner of the US in building a stable international order.” But there was no mistaking that the thrill is gone. The cooling of the strategic partnership built by the Bush administration, which conferred on India de facto nuclear weapon state status, introduces new uncertainties in Asia. With the balance of power in Asia shifting amid talk of a G-2 between the economically hobbled US and the rising giant China, a loosening of the Indo-US bond could produce unpredictable consequences far beyond the Indian Ocean.
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posted @ 1:21 PM, ,

Neutralizing Taliban with Tribal Lashkars

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Daily Times, Pakistan, Thursday, July 23, 2009
Funnelling arms and pledging support to Pashtun tribesmen in one of the world’s most unstable and militarised regions is a recipe for blowback. Several decades ago, during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, Pakistani and American guns and money poured into the same tribal areas, spawning some of the very militants sought by Islamabad and Washington today.
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posted @ 11:58 AM, ,

Pakistan objects to US plan for Afghan war

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The News International, Pakistan, Thursday, July 23, 2009
ISLAMABAD: Pakistani officials have told the Obama administration that the Marines fighting the Taliban in southern Afghanistan will force militants across the border into Pakistan, with the potential to further inflame Balochistan, according to Pakistani intelligence officials.

Pakistan does not have enough troops to deploy to Balochistan to take on the Taliban without denuding its border with its archenemy, India, the officials said. Dialogue with the Taliban, not more fighting, is in Pakistan’s national interest, they said.
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posted @ 11:49 AM, ,

Musharraf loses Loyalists

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Qayyum advises former dictator to appear before court; ready to represent him if asked; CJ makes The News part of record.
The News International, Pakistan, Thursday, July 23, 2009
ISLAMABAD: Not even Malik Qayyum, once a great loyalist of Pervez Musharraf, picked up the courage to defend his former boss, who was verbally whipped in the Supreme Court on Wednesday. However, Qayyum showed the guts and nerve to be present all through Wednesday’s proceedings by the 14-member bench in the Nov 3, 2007 case.
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posted @ 11:44 AM, ,

Pervez Musharraf is now history

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The News International, Pakistan, Wednesday, July 22, 2009
ISLAMABAD: US special envoy to Pakistan and Afghanistan Richard Holbrooke Wednesday said President Pervez Musharraf is now history and that the US will not come to defend him.

Talking to media here, Holbrooke termed Pervez Musharraf’s case as Pakistan’s internal issue and added that the US respects Pakistan’s judiciary and free press.
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posted @ 7:47 PM, ,

Kasab Pleads Guilty in Mumbai Attacks

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The News International, Pakistan, Wednesday, July 22, 2009
MUMBAI: The lone surviving gunman in the Mumbai attacks on Tuesday described the indoctrination he received in Pakistan before being sent to India to kill as many people as possible, but the judge sealed the testimony.

The judge also deferred a decision on whether to accept Ajmal Kasab’s unexpected confession from the day before. Kasab caught prosecution and defence lawyers by surprise on Monday when he suddenly told the judge he wanted to plead guilty to the November attacks that left 166 people dead.
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posted @ 7:43 PM, ,

Countrywide demonstrations against loadshedding

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The News International, Pakistan, Wednesday, July 22, 2009
LAHORE: Protest demonstrations against unscheduled and long power outages across the country turned violent on Tuesday, claiming at least one life in Faisalabad.

In almost all major cities of the country, protesters took out rallies, blocked roads, torched Pepco offices, damaged public and private vehicles and set fire to properties to vent their anger on the government as well as Pepco authorities.
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posted @ 7:31 PM, ,

Corruption and NAB

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Dawn, Pakistan, Tuesday, 21 Jul, 2009
CORRUPTION in the public and private sectors has caused great damage by undermining the socio-political and economic fabric of society. History bears testimony to the fact that societies riddled with corruption implode and eventually slip into oblivion.

Despite the best efforts of successive governments in our country to control corruption it has permeated every aspect of public life.
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posted @ 12:44 AM, ,

Raids on madressahs

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Dawn, Pakistan, Tuesday, 21 Jul, 2009
THE demand by a group of ulema that the government should conduct raids on “all madressahs” serves to highlight the rising awareness in the nation of the threat to Pakistan from religious extremism. At a meeting held in Lahore on Sunday to observe the chehlum of Maulana Sarfraz Naeemi, the ulema suggested raids on madressahs to make sure that they did not have a terrorist agenda. Last week, we know how a blast flattened many homes in a village near Mian Channu, killing 12 people. It later transpired that the explosion occurred in the stockpile of arms and ammunition which a man running a seminary attached to his home had allegedly managed to store. The seminary taught the Holy Quran to the village’s boys and girls, and under its cover the man — who had gone to Afghanistan to acquire training and was known to the police — was said to be training suicide bombers. Reportedly he also wanted to assassinate the prime minister.
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posted @ 12:40 AM, ,

Government pocketing 24 to 30 per cent of oil prices

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Dawn, Pakistan, Tuesday, 21 Jul, 2009
THE pain being felt by people at the pump has a lot to do with the existing taxation on petroleum products. The oil-pricing formula made public on Sunday reveals that the government is pocketing 24 to 30 per cent of the price of each litre of kerosene oil, diesel and petrol. The cumulative taxes on petrol come to 50 per cent of its ex-refinery price, 39.49 per cent of the price of diesel and 36 per cent of the price of kerosene oil. As if this were not enough, refineries, oil-marketing companies and pump owners too are making windfall profits. According to the Rana Bhagwandas Judicial Commission report on oil pricing the government, refineries and OMCs have raked in billions of rupees since the adoption of market-determined oil prices almost a decade ago. It says the government revenues from the oil sector crossed Rs1tr between 2001 and 2008. The net profits of oil refineries and OMCs also recorded an unprecedented jump during this period, one more indication of how governments here protect the interests of big corporations.
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posted @ 12:36 AM, ,

Karachi Rains and KESC

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The News International, Pakistan, Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Cowardice is an indictable offence in the military – and can if proven can have terminal consequences. Perhaps sadly, a charge of cowardice cannot be levelled at those bodies and institutions that fail to live up to their public duty, or to satisfactorily give an account of themselves and their shortcomings in the court of public opinion. Were it possible to bring such a charge the Karachi Electrical Subtraction Company (KESC) would stand before us in the dock today – if, that is, anyone representative of it could be found who could actually be placed in the dock to hear the charges. At the time of writing on Monday afternoon there has been no statement from this cowardly and ostrich-like organisation which once again has failed millions of customers, brought the largest city in the land to its knees yet again and would apparently be unable to successfully give away free tickets to a test match played in the city it is supposed to supply power to.
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posted @ 12:27 AM, ,

Pakistan asks EU to deliver on Tokyo pledges

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The News International, Pakistan, Tuesday, July 21, 2009
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani on Monday called upon the European Union to render immediate assistance to Pakistan in capacity building for its law-enforcement agencies by imparting training and supply of much needed sophisticated weapon system to enable Pakistan eliminate militancy and terrorism from its soil.

The prime minister was talking to European Union’s high representative and foreign policy chief Javier Solana, who called on him here at the Prime Minister House. Gilani also asked the European Union countries to deliver on their pledges made during the Friends of Democratic Pakistan ministerial meeting in Tokyo.
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posted @ 12:24 AM, ,

PML (Q) Party Elections

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The News International, Pakistan, Tuesday, July 21, 2009
ISLAMABAD: Amid loud slogans, the general council of the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) on Monday reposed confidence in Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and Mushahid Hussain Sayed by electing them unopposed for the third consecutive term as party’s president and secretary general, respectively.

The dissident group, led by Hamid Nasir Chattha, Salim Saifullah and Hamayun Akhtar Khan, had already boycotted the elections, dubbing them unconstitutional and unlawful. The dissent group had claimed that the Chaudhrys of Gujrat had lost the support of a majority of the parliamentarians, but senior PML-Q leaders countered their claim by saying that 38 MNAs and 15 senators were present during the election process.
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posted @ 12:20 AM, ,

Production capacity of all refineries plummetes to 40 per cent

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The News International, Pakistan, Tuesday, July 21, 2009
ISLAMABAD: The country is heading towards a catastrophe in terms of non-availability of POL products particularly upcountry, as the production capacity of all refineries has plummeted to just 40 per cent with some even running as low as 30 per cent capacity, The News has learnt.

“The situation has gone from bad to worse as the Pakistan State Oil is left with one-day stock of motor gasoline (petrol) and two to three days stock of high speed diesel (HSD) in the north of the country. The alarming situation has emerged in the wake of sharp decline in production by the Attock Refinery Limited (ARL),” a senior official at the petroleum ministry told The News.
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posted @ 12:13 AM, ,

Indo-US defence pact

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The News International, Pakistan, Tuesday, July 21, 2009
NEW DELHI: The United States and India said on Monday they had agreed on a defence pact that would be a major step towards allowing the sale of sophisticated US arms to the South Asian nation.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Delhi had also approved two sites for US companies to build nuclear power plants, offering American companies the first fruits of last year”s landmark US-India civil nuclear cooperation pact.
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posted @ 12:10 AM, ,

Unconstitutional acts of Pervez Musharraf

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The News International, Pakistan, Tuesday, July 21, 2009
ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court seemed set to correct monumental wrongs that followed the November 3, 2007, unconstitutional act of Pervez Musharraf, while adjudicating on different petitions that it took up on Monday.

The sense one had while sitting through the extraordinarily important proceedings, spanning three hours, was that Musharraf’s unconstitutional act will be under intense scrutiny, with strong prospects of its quashment, as the decision was not expected to simply resolving the issue of recommendations of the two additional judges of the Sindh High Court (SHC).
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posted @ 12:02 AM, ,

Media campaign against Pakistan

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Daily Times, Pakistan, Wednesday, July 08, 2009
NEW DELHI: The Indian government is preparing to launch a media campaign against Pakistan in the border areas of Indian-held Kashmir (IHK), India’s Junior Minister Information and Broadcasting CM Jatua said on Tuesday.

Speaking in the Lok Sabha, the junior minister said anti-India propaganda was being aired by Pakistan from across the Line of Control (LoC) in Azad Jammu and Kashmir. To counter this, the Indian government was considering increasing the coverage of All-India Radio and Doordarshan – the Indian state media – in the region, he said.

He said a special package had been approved for the Kashmir region in September 2007, whereby Doordarshan had provided direct-to-home TV sets to the IHK government. Jatua said the ministry had undertaken a motivational programme to sensitise people living along its international borders to check the spread of any anti-India sentiment.
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posted @ 8:14 PM, ,

Pakistan owes India Rs 300 crore

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Pakistan is yet to clear a pre- partition debt of Rs 300 crore to India, which has been carrying forward year after year in its Budget account as a "liability".

The Budget books refer to this Rs 300 crore as "amount due from Pakistan on account of share of pre-partition debt."
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posted @ 8:02 PM, ,

SC refuses to disclose cases in SJC

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The News International, Pakistan, Monday, July 20, 2009
ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court Registrar, Dr Faqir Hussain, has refused to disclose the names of judges of the superior courts and number of references pending disposal in the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC).

“With reference to your application dated 8.7.2009, I may inform you that due to the confidential nature of proceedings under Article 209 of the Constitution, your request for information of the cases has been declined,” the registrar said in a letter to this correspondent in response to a written request.
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posted @ 11:51 AM, ,

Terrorists of 9/11 in Pakistan

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The News International, Pakistan, Monday, July 20, 2009
NEW DELHI: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said perpetrators of the 9/11 terrorist attacks are in Pakistan.

Talking to reporters in Gurgaon near here, she said terrorism posed a threat to the world. She expressed the hope that Pakistan would bring the perpetrators of the Mumbai attacks to book.
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posted @ 11:48 AM, ,

Robbing the ordinary people via GST

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The News International, Pakistan, Monday, July 20, 2009
ISLAMABAD: The government’s oil pricing formula is fraught with glaring anomalies, which would result in literally robbing the ordinary people of their money.

The first anomaly is that instead of levying the 16 per cent GST on the basic import landing cost, the government is imposing the GST after first loading up all other charges, including the Inland Freight Equalisation Margin (IEFM), oil marking companies’ (OMCs) margins, dealers’ commission margins and huge petroleum levy. This has been done deliberately to beef up the revenue intake through an inflated GST.
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posted @ 11:45 AM, ,

Rain causes havoc in Karachi

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The News International, Pakistan, Monday, July 20, 2009
KARACHI: Thirty-five more people, including women and children, were killed while several others injured in rain-related incidents here on Sunday, raising the death toll to over 50 in two days.

The dead were mostly victims of drowning, electrocution and wall collapse. Over 140 mm of rain hit the city on Saturday and Sunday, damaging its infrastructure and bringing life to a virtual standstil in the metropolis.
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posted @ 11:42 AM, ,

Gilani wants to make history

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The News International, Pakistan, Monday, July 20, 2009
Says enough is enough; wants powerful parliament, active and effective cabinet; vows to take decisions on merit, not according to somebody’s wishes; says CoD to be implemented with PML-N’s help; rejects ban on SMS, e-mails

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani is now in an aggressive mood. He is serious about good governance. He has decided to reshuffle the federal cabinet only on merit, and not according to “somebody’s liking or disliking”.

He appears to be very confident after emerging victorious from Sharm el-Sheikh. His aggressive stance on the Indian interference in Balochistan came as a surprise to Manmohan Singh. Now his stance against the president’s interference in the day-to-day affairs of government could surprise Zardari in the coming days and weeks.
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posted @ 9:21 AM, ,

Indian interference in Balochistan

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The News International, Pakistan, Sunday, July 19, 2009
Responding to a question, the prime minister said the issue of Indian interference in Balochistan and other areas of Pakistan also figured during the talks and this was also reflected in the joint statement issued after the meeting. He said that he had mentioned about the information and evidence that Pakistan had in this connection.
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posted @ 8:02 PM, ,

Power tariff up by 22 per cent

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The News International, Pakistan, Sunday, July 19, 2009
ISLAMABAD: The government on Saturday announced for the first time publicly to increase power tariff by 22 per cent in three phases, which will be in real term standing at around 25 per cent with compound effect in current fiscal year to generate Rs 55 billion in line with an agreement struck with the WB and ADB.

“Yes, we will raise power tariff in the range of 10 per cent on October 1, 2009, 5 to 6 per cent on January 1, 2010 and 6 per cent on April 1, 2010 in line with the agreement with the World Bank and Asian Development Bank,” Additional Secretary, Ministry of Water and Power, Zarar Aslam, said while briefing reporters here on Saturday.
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posted @ 8:00 PM, ,

Unprecedented catastrophic downpours in Karachi

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The News International, Pakistan, Sunday, July 19, 2009
KARACHI: The clearance work for drainage of water accumulated on roads after the unprecedented catastrophic downpours in Karachi, is in progress on Sunday.

Owing to high tide, the nullah water backtracked, bringing drainage system to a virtual halt.

The city continued to witness power breakdowns, and death toll owing to different accidents and mishaps in the wake of heavy downpours reached 26.

The Meteorological Department said 207 mm of rain was recorded in 1977 while the city received 205 mm of rain at Masroor Base area.
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posted @ 7:56 PM, ,

Talibanisation of Southern Punjab

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Daily Times, Pakistan, Saturday, July 18, 2009
Southern Punjab, also known as the Seraiki belt, based on the local language, a distinct variation from the Punjabi spoken elsewhere, has always considered itself exploited by Northern Punjab; and with some justification

A few weeks ago, an individual called Zubair, alias Nek Muhammed, was arrested in Lahore and accused of being one of those involved in the attack on the Sri Lankan team. In the immediate aftermath of the incident, eyewitnesses had stated that some of the attackers spoke Pashto, apparently they also had local assistance. Since this boy belongs to the Punjab Taliban, affiliated with the banned Lashkar-e Jhangvi which is known to have links with Al Qaeda. This incident is of no particular significance, except to again highlight the fact that Southern Punjab has a significant portion of people under the influence of the Taliban.
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posted @ 11:22 AM, ,

US urges India to back Pakistan against militants

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The News International,Pakistan, Saturday, July 18, 2009
NEW DELHI: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged India on Friday to join Washington in supporting Pakistan’s fight against terrorism, but Delhi demanded results before it begins formal peace talks with its rival.

Clinton arrived in Mumbai late on Friday at the start of a five-day visit designed to cement ties and dispel any doubts about US President Barack Obama’s commitment to India’s role as a rising global power.
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posted @ 11:19 AM, ,

Zardari Nawz Marathon Talks

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The News International,Pakistan, Saturday, July 18, 2009
Zardari, Nawaz agree to repeal 17th Amendment; PML-N Quaid wants PPP to consult legal experts on Musharraf’s trial; expresses concern over price-hike, drone attacks, Balochistan situation; seeks amendments to LGO; Zardari assures Nawaz of accommodating PML-N suggestions.

LAHORE: President Asif Ali Zardari and PML-N Quaid Nawaz Sharif, during their marathon meeting here on Friday, reached consensus on repealing the 17th Amendment, securing the reserved seats for women and the joint electorate in the light of an accord, reached between the two parties under the Charter of Democracy.

The PML-N leader reportedly also asked the president to improve the government’s performance or else growing public anger might pose a grave threat to democracy in the country. The two leaders, along with their close aides, had a lunch together at Nawaz Sharif’s Raiwind residence and discussed a number of issues of national and international significance.
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posted @ 11:15 AM, ,

More provinces and provincial autonomy

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Daily Times, Pakistan, Friday, July 17, 2009
Given that the creation of new provinces any time soon is not a viable option, Parliament should proceed with all due speed to devolve further powers from the Federation to the Provinces by deleting the Concurrent List of 47 subjects or at least most of this List

The issue of new provinces and provincial autonomy was also crucial and the 1973 Constitution originally envisaged these scenarios.
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posted @ 1:09 PM, ,

Pakistan Plants the Most Trees in a Day

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The News International, Pakistan, Friday, July 17, 2009
Pakistan managed to break India's record on Wednesday -- and found a place in the Guinness Book of World Records -- by planting the largest number of trees in a single day. The feat was achieved in a frenetic exercise in Keti Bundar, on the Indus Delta, where a staggering 541,176 saplings were planted in a single day by some 400 trained workers, amid much fanfare from officials of the Sindh forest department and environmentalists. It goes without saying that this is a welcome and positive initiative. Pakistan's once thriving mangrove forests along its coasts have been rapidly depleting due to a combination of factors, including the construction of dams and human intervention. Mangroves not only serve as a nursery for shrimps and other fish, which constitute one of the country's major exports, but also act as a natural barrier to calamities such as floods and tsunamis.
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posted @ 1:06 PM, ,

Pakistan, India Agree to Resume Dialogue Process

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The News International, Pakistan, Friday, July 17, 2009
SHARM EL-SHEIKH: Pakistan and India have agreed to de-link the composite dialogue between the two countries from terrorism. The dialogue process was stalled in November last in the wake of Mumbai attacks.

“It should not be linked to the composite dialogue process and these should not be bracketed.” This has been asserted in the joint statement issued here at Martim Hotel after three hours of talks between Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani and his Indian counterpart Dr Manmohan Singh.

Singh’s attention drawn to Indian hand in Balochistan insurgency; Delhi ready to discuss all issues, reviewing Pak dossier on Mumbai attacks; both countries to share information on terror threat.
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posted @ 1:00 PM, ,

SC Acquits Nawaz Sharif in Plane Hijacking Case

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The News International, Pakistan, Friday, July 17, 2009
ISLAMABAD: Supreme Court of Pakistan five-member bench unanimously acquitting Muslim League-N Quaid, Nawaz Sharif in about ten months old plane hijacking case has declared Sindh High Court (SHC)’s earlier decisions invalid.

Headed by Justice Tassaduq Hussain Jillani, the five-member SC bench consists of Justice Nasirul Mulk, Justice Ghulam Rabbani, Justice Mohammad Moosa K Leghari and Justice Sheikh Hakim Ali.

Earlier on June 18, the same bench had reserved the verdict after the counsels for both sides had concluded their arguments.

Nawaz was sentenced to life imprisonment twice by the Karachi Anti-Terrorism Court (APC) in April 2000, after the APC found him guilty of refusing to allow a commercial aircraft – carrying Gen (r) Pervez Musharraf, the army chief at that time, along with 200 other passengers – to land at the Quaid-e-Azam International Airport, Karachi on October 12, 1999.
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posted @ 12:55 PM, ,

Reassessing the Objectives Resolution

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Daily Times, Pakistan, Thursday, July 16, 2009
The pre-amble to the Constitution says that the minorities are to be allowed freely to profess and practice their religions. However, in the annexure inserted by Zia-ul-Haq’s Order 14 of 1985 the word ‘freely’ is missing

The government has recently set up a 27-member Parliamentary Committee to consider various amendments to the Constitution. This will have to be an exhaustive exercise given the key areas that need to be identified and looked into.
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posted @ 8:29 AM, ,

Settlement of Siachen

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Daily Times, Pakistan, Thursday, July 16, 2009
It is high time there was peaceful agreement about this absurd state of affairs. India and Pakistan should withdraw their troops by mutual arrangement and leave Siachen as it was before 1984 — militarily unoccupied and valueless to all but mountaineers

The Musharraf-Vajpayee summit of 2001 took place in Delhi on 14-16 July, and there is a meeting between Prime Ministers Yousaf Raza Gilani and Manmohan Singh in Egypt today, July 16. Perhaps there is something about July that encourages discussion, but it is regrettable that little of substance has emerged from India-Pakistan dialogue in that or any other month.
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posted @ 8:25 AM, ,

Karachi’s target-killings

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Daily Times, Pakistan, Thursday, July 16, 2009
The interior minister, Mr Rehman Malik, has decided to stay on in Karachi till the city’s target-killings come to an end. This may be an unrealistic undertaking because the killings may not stop as quickly as he thinks they should, and he may be required to be in Islamabad to face up to other crises of national security. But he is doubtless trying hard to overcome the problems of a country that has consistently been allowed to go in the wrong direction as far as state security is concerned. To put it briefly, its rulers, civil and military, have sought security from external threats at the cost of internal order.
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posted @ 8:19 AM, ,

Think before you speak

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The News International, Pakistan, Thursday, July 16, 2009
Politicians and civil servants who speak directly to the public should be fitted with a 'delay' mechanism that operates every time they go to open their mouths. The mechanism should have a neural linkage to the part of their brain which has a switch saying on one side 'nonsense' and on the other 'common sense'. The default position is 'neutral' – but rarely engaged. Three of our leading politicians would have benefited from the employment of this device in the last twenty-four hours. Firstly, the president.
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posted @ 8:15 AM, ,

PML-N team urges Shumaila Rana to resign

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The News International, Pakistan, Thursday, July 16, 2009
LAHORE: The Pakistan Muslim League has demanded resignation from its MPA Shumaila Rana due to her involvement in a theft case. An investigation team of the PML-N has urged Shumaila Rana to tender her resignation, as her scam has raised questions regarding the party’s credibility before the general public.

Meanwhile, Shumaila, after refusing to resign from the Punjab Assembly, has asked for a two-day time by stating that a conspiracy had been hatched against her to malign the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz as well as her character.

The PML-N investigation team has affirmed that if she was innocent, then she has to face the media to prove her innocence. The party’s central leader Zulfiqar Khosa has stated that the decision to seek resignation from Shumaila Rana was taken because of her failure to prove her innocence before the committee.
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posted @ 8:11 AM, ,

Al-Qaeda asks Pakistanis to join war against US

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The News International, Pakistan, Thursday, July 16, 2009
CAIRO: Al-Qaeda’s deputy leader called on the Pakistanis to join his group’s holy war against the United States in Pakistan and Afghanistan and warned they could face the destruction of both countries and provoke God’s wrath if they don’t.

Zawahri pointed his finger at “a clique of corrupt politicians and a junta of military officers who are fighting to remain on the American pay list by employing Pakistan’s entire military and all its resources in the American Crusade against Islam.”
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posted @ 8:08 AM, ,

MQM favours LB elections in Sindh

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The News International, Pakistan, Thursday, July 16, 2009
KARACHI: City Nazim Mustafa Kamal has said that the plan to appoint bureaucrats in the district governments has raised many questions. The situation of Sindh is very calm and peaceful, as compared to other provinces, so there is no reason to postpone the local bodies election here.

He was talking to Hamid Mir on phone in Geo News programme Capital Talk on Wednesday. He said that the Sindh situation was very conducive for local bodies elections. He also maintained that almost all the Nazims had political background.
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posted @ 8:05 AM, ,

Singh demands dismantling of ‘terror infrastructure

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The News International, Pakistan, Thursday, July 16, 2009
SHARM EL-SHEIKH: India’s prime minister said on Wednesday “the infrastructure of terrorism” must be dismantled, remarks clearly directed at rival Pakistan. Manmohan Singh is to meet Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on Thursday on the sidelines of a summit in Egypt of the Non-Aligned Movement. “The infrastructure of terrorism must be dismantled and there should be no safe haven for terrorists because they do not represent any cause, group or religion,” Singh said in his speech in the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh. “Terrorists and those who aid and abet them must be brought to justice,” he told presidents and others top officials from the 118-member Non-Aligned Movement.
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posted @ 8:01 AM, ,

Indo-Pak Talks

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The News International, Pakistan, Thursday, July 16, 2009
SHARM EL-SHEIKH: India has asked Pakistan to scrap the composite dialogue initiated about 15 years ago, urging a change in the format of talks between the two countries.

With the new proposal, New Delhi has hinted at removing the Sir Creek dispute from the agenda of talks and bringing about a change in the status of the Kashmir dispute. Highly-placed diplomatic sources told The News here on Wednesday that the talks between Pakistan and India had attained exceptionally crucial importance because the United States and its Western allies are keen to see a positive development in ties between the two countries in view of the war on terror.
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posted @ 7:56 AM, ,

20pc raise in power tariff

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The News International, Pakistan, Thursday, July 16, 2009
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan, the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank have agreed to increase power tariff by 17.5 to 20 per cent in phases. However, the tariff in real terms will go up to 24-25 per cent with compound effect, a senior official told The News.

“President Asif Zardari allowed the government to recover Rs55 billion through increase in power tariff in phases. And we have intimated the IMF and the World Bank about the decision of the president of Pakistan,” Asif Bajwa, spokesman and Additional Secretary of the Ministry of Finance told The News.
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posted @ 7:52 AM, ,

Punjab Govt Withdraws Case Against Hafiz Saeed

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The News International, Pakistan, Wednesday, July 15, 2009
ISLAMABAD: The Punjab government’s abrupt decision to dissociate itself from the Hafiz Mohammad Saeed case in the Supreme Court was meant to protest federal authorities’ inability to come out with evidence against the outlawed Jamaatud Daawa (JuD) chief in order to put him under preventive detention, it is reliably learnt.

The provincial move, taken in desperation, worked and the federal government promptly acted and showed whole-hearted willingness to defend the appeal against Hafiz Saeed’s release by the Lahore High Court (LHC).

However, Attorney General Latif Khosa tried to play down the Punjab government’s option. “It was the result of some misunderstanding and lack of communication between us,” he told The News.
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posted @ 1:56 PM, ,

Polluting Environment

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Dawn, Pakistan, Monday, 13 Jul, 2009
SO rapid is the rate of degradation that slow poisoning may no longer be an accurate description. As speakers at a workshop pointed out last week, irrational use of chemicals in both rural and urban settings is killing the environment as well as the people of Pakistan. Agriculture is a major culprit, with run-off from farms that rely heavily on chemical fertilisers and pesticides polluting waterways and contaminating groundwater aquifers. Polluted water not only harms human health and biodiversity but also affects agricultural productivity — which, ironically, is what pesticides and other chemicals are meant to boost. Pesticides comprise an overwhelming majority of deadly toxins classified as ‘persistent organic pollutants’, which accumulate in body tissue over time. Despite international restrictions, some of these pesticides are still used in Pakistan and have entered the food chain.
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posted @ 8:52 AM, ,

Judiciary Vs Executive

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Daily Times, Pakistan, Monday, July 13, 2009
The judiciary must eschew the temptation of stepping into the territory of the government or parliament despite the fact that the executive and the legislative organs seem to be doing a bad job

On July 7, the Supreme Court temporarily suspended the carbon surcharge on petroleum products imposed by the Finance Act 2009, pending final decision on the petitions that have challenged the surcharge.
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posted @ 8:45 AM, ,

PM Takes National Leadership into Confidence

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The News International, Pakistan, Monday, July 13, 2009
ISLAMABAD: Setting a new precedent of democratic culture, Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani on Sunday initiated a process of taking the national leadership into confidence before his scheduled meeting with his Indian counterpart at Sharm el-Sheikh in Egypt.

On Sunday, Gilani made a telephone call to PML-N Quaid Mian Nawaz Sharif, PML-Q President Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, Secretary General Jamaat-e-Islami Liaquat Baloch, ANP President Asfandyar Wali Khan, PML-F chief Pir Pagara, Governor Sindh Dr Ishratul Ibad Khan, parliamentary leader of Fata Munir Orakzai, PKMAP chief Mehmood Khan Achakzai, parliamentary leader of the MQM Dr Farooq Sattar and Secretary General JUI-F Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri.
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posted @ 8:42 AM, ,

IDPs' Journey Back Home Begins Today

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The News International, Pakistan, Monday, July 13, 2009
PESHAWAR: Spending more than two months in camps after the commencement of the military operation in Malakand Division, over two million internally displaced persons (IDPs) are set to return home from today (Monday).

The convoys of the IDPs would be streaming in the beautiful valley amid tight security arrangements, backed by military gunship helicopters. The security is aimed at avoiding any untoward incident during the IDPs’.
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posted @ 8:38 AM, ,

PM Concedes Present System a Hotchpotch

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The News International, Pakistan, Monday, July 13, 2009
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani on Sunday conceded that the present governance system in the country was a hotchpotch and said that it was neither parliamentary nor presidential.

“The system in the country is a hotchpotch as neither is it parliamentary nor presidential. Therefore, reforms are being introduced to restore the 1973 Constitution, which has a parliamentary system,” he said while responding to a query of a gold medallist at the seventh convocation of the International Islamic University here on Sunday at the Convention Centre. The prime minister had invited the gold medallists to put one question each to him.
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posted @ 8:34 AM, ,

Indian Prosperity in Peace with Neighbours

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Dawn, Pakistan, Sunday, 12 Jul, 2009
Lastly, it is widely recognised that unless India has peaceful, friendly and prosperous neighbours its ambitions to become a global economic power could be thwarted. As the biggest country in South Asia, it is in India’s self-interest to promote regional stability, expand cooperation in trade, investment, access to technology etc. and to remove irritants in relations with others, and be ready to resolve outstanding disputes. The arrogant and patronising attitude towards its neighbouring countries has to give way to more understanding and empathy.

India’s economic aspirations to become a rich country within a generation are ambitious. The challenges facing the country are multiple but peace with its neighbours and prosperity in these countries are essential to achieving this goal.
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posted @ 1:26 PM, ,

Sex Workers

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Dawn, Pakistan, Sunday, 12 Jul, 2009
ILLEGAL though their trade may be, it must be recognised that sex workers often pay with their lives to earn a livelihood. Last week’s efforts to address the health hazards of their occupation may have taken a long time coming, but must be lauded as a significant step. The United Nations Population Fund reportedly set up a three-day training session for sex workers with the collaboration of the National Aids Control Programme to generate sexual health awareness in the community through ‘skill building and implementation of strategies’. Disturbing figures thrown up by surveys in 2007 revealed that an alarming 80 per cent of these workers have either been abused or suffer from disease. The reasons remain age-old: illiteracy, biological constitution, male domination, poor hygienic conditions in red-light localities, negligible health facilities, and most importantly, the absence of a say in safe-sex practices.
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posted @ 1:22 PM, ,

Indian Held Kashmir Omar Abdullah

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Daily Times, Pakistan, Sunday, July 12, 2009
All these eruptions are manifestations of political and administrative failure in Kashmir. Suddenly, all the promise reposed in Omar Abdullah appears to have dissipated in the space of a monthc

With Shopian, Kupwara and Baramula blowing up in our faces in Kashmir, two broad attitudes dictate themselves: (a) this sort of thing keeps happening in Kashmir; and (b) we have to start putting our house in order because Kashmir will acquire a profile after Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s visit, even though the “K” word will be shrouded in confidentiality.
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posted @ 1:18 PM, ,

ISI Chief Involved in Indo-Pak Talks

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Daily Times, Pakistan, Sunday, July 12, 2009
NEW DELHI: Stating that he had not “given up” despite difficulties in dealing with Pakistan, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh disclosed that representatives of both countries, including the ISI chief, had been involved in recent discussions.

Singh said that after the meeting between him and President Zardari in Russia there had been discussions between the high commissioners of both countries, the ISI chief and the Foreign Office.

Clamping down: India has demanded Pakistan apprehend the groups that it blames for the Mumbai attacks, and that it dismantle infrastructures supporting groups like the Lashkar-e-Tayyaba. “If they do that, we are willing to go half the distance to normalise relations,” Singh said. Singh said he had appealed to leaders at the G8 and G5 summits to exert pressure on Pakistan in this regard.

Singh said he had not meant to hurt Zardari’s feelings when he had told him in the media’s presence that “my mandate is limited to telling you that Pakistan’s territory must not be allowed to be used for terrorism against India”. “I simply forgot that the media was present there,” he said.
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posted @ 10:58 AM, ,

US-Indo-Pak Relations

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The News International, Pakistan, Sunday, July 12, 2009
The complexity of the relationship between America and the countries of the sub-continent almost defies analysis. As a nation we are heavily dependent on American aid and support in a host of ways from military to civil, from equipment and intelligence to governance and livestock breeding. Karachi was recently plastered with signs in Urdu and English erected by a political party saying ‘Go America, go’. A poll by WorldPublicOpinion.org in the last week reveals that there has been a significant shift in public opinion opposed to the Taliban and Al-Qaeda but that Pakistanis do not trust president Obama and his administration. Seventy per cent of those polled were sympathetic to government actions in Swat and elsewhere but a large majority was opposed to the US-led war in Afghanistan. We mostly welcome the aid – indeed it is a truism that we would find it difficult to survive without it – but have little trust in the motives of the hand that delivers it.

The most recent wrinkle in the love/hate relationship between the superpower and the suppliant concerns the reshaping of Americas relationship with India – and Pakistan. The normally torpid realms of foreign affairs where matters and change proceed at a slow crawl, are – comparatively speaking – moving at a brisk trot. America is casting off the skin of the Bush era and a new skin with a slightly – but not radically – different pattern is emerging. America needs both countries to be ‘on side’ but for widely differing (yet interlocking) reasons. India is an emerging regional superpower which America sees as a counterweight to a bullish China. Pakistan and Afghanistan are of crucial strategic importance to America and both have deep inherent instabilities as well as an assortment of wars and insurgencies being fought within their collective borders. India is currently concerned that American aid will be turned from ploughshare into sword. The US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia, Robert Blake, has moved swiftly to counteract Indian fears that the aid that is coming to Pakistan will be diverted into the hands of extremists or used to boost our military assets in such a way as to threaten India. Blake said … “The new focus in terms of our relationship with Pakistan is to dramatically increase economic assistance to Pakistan to help that country overcome some of its economic challenges and to extend the writ of the government to other parts of Pakistan. And all of those things should be very much in India’s interest as well.”
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posted @ 10:53 AM, ,

Bureaucrats to Rule Local Governments

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The News International, Pakistan, Sunday, July 12, 2009
The recent decision to dissolve the local governments across the country three months before the end of their terms remains a questionable one. Compounding the perplexing nature of the decision is the indefinite delay in the elections for a new setup due to an adverse security situation in the country, which cannot be expected to improve in the near future. In effect, this means that the administrators that the provincial governments will appoint to replace nazims and councillors will run the show for an extended time period, thereby heralding a return of the commissioner system of yesteryear. There are plenty of drawbacks to such a move.

Firstly, while it is not yet clear what the profile of the incoming administrators will be – whether they are from the bureaucracy, which is most likely, or otherwise – what we do know is that none of them will be elected. This is a questionable move given that their predecessors were elected representatives, whose legal tenure would have run up until October. This strategy is at odds with the current government’s stated democratic agenda. Handing over power to the bureaucracy, or any other unelected representatives, who are generally unaccountable, that too at the expense of elected figures, is clearly not the ideal way to go. The party-less local government system, which was introduced during the reign of Gen (r) Pervez Musharraf, had its share of detractors on the political front, particularly once the new Pakistan People’s Party-led came to power. Whatever its shortcomings, on the ground, particularly in the urban centres of Sindh, the system was viewed as a democratic success.
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posted @ 10:50 AM, ,

Full Nuclear Trade with India Banned by G8

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The News International, Pakistan, Sunday, July 12, 2009
NEW DELHI: Less than a year after the Nuclear Suppliers Group waived its export rules to allow the sale of nuclear equipment, fuel and technology to India, the United States has persuaded the G8 to ban the transfer of enrichment and reprocessing (ENR) items to countries which have not signed the NPT, including India.

Indian daily The Hindu reports that the move, which effectively negates the promise of “full” civil nuclear cooperation lying at the heart of the 2005 India-US nuclear agreement, took the Indian establishment by surprise with officials unaware that the G8 was even adopting such a measure at L’Aquila, Italy. That this was done at a summit in which Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was an invited guest is likely to add insult to injury when the full implications of the latest decision fully sink in.
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posted @ 10:32 AM, ,

Rape Murder Probe Points to Policemen

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The News International, Pakistan, Saturday, July 11, 2009
HELD SRINAGAR: A judicial probe into the alleged rape and murder of two Kashmiri women, which triggered massive protests across the disputed Himalayan region, points to the involvement of Indian police, an official said on Friday.

Anti-India protests have raged across the Kashmir valley since the bodies of two Muslim women were found on May 29 in Shopian town, about 60 km south of Srinagar. Four protesters have died and hundreds have been injured. Locals say the two women, aged 17 and 22, were abducted, raped and killed by security forces. Authorities confirmed that the women were raped and ordered an investigation. “The involvement of some agency of the Jammu and Kashmir police in the present incident cannot be completely ruled out,” Abdul Rahim Rather, the state’s financial minister said, citing the Commission of Inquiry’s report on Friday.
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posted @ 9:06 AM, ,

International mediation on Balochistan

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The News International, Pakistan, Saturday, July 11, 2009
LONDON: The UK-based self-exiled Khan of Kalat has said that without international mediation he would not become part of any talks to address the security-related and economic problems of Balochistan.

Mir Suleman Daud Baloch, who is awaiting a decision on his asylum application from the House of Lords, plans to move the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on the status of Kalat, which became part of Pakistan under an agreement signed on March 27, 1948, between Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah and the then Khan of Kalat Mir Ahmad Yar Khan.
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posted @ 9:02 AM, ,

PDL Ordinance to Please IMF

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The News International, Pakistan, Saturday, July 11, 2009
ISLAMABAD: The ‘tough negotiations’ going on between Pakistan and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) forced the government to hurriedly promulgate the PDL Ordinance to save the $7.6 billion loan programme from falling apart.

Pakistan and the IMF are currently holding talks on the budgetary measures for 2009-10. The suspension of carbon surcharge by the Supreme Court (SC) put the economic team, led by Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance Shaukat Tarin, in a very “awkward situation”, as they were not in a position to convince the IMF over another revenue shortfall of Rs 122 billion in case the carbon tax was withdrawn.
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posted @ 8:56 AM, ,

Re-emergence of vendetta between Muttahida and Haqiqi

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Dawn, Pakistan, Friday, 10 Jul, 2009
THE report by the Sindh Chapter of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan on politically motivated murders in Karachi should worry every citizen, for it constitutes an indictment of the country’s politicians and gives a fair indication of the kind of violence-prone society we have become. In fact, going by the statistics, there is a menacing rise in the level of political violence. According to the HRCP report, the 100 fatalities during the first six months of this year are up from 74 deaths during the corresponding period last year. The 17-year vendetta between Muttahida and Haqiqi has re-emerged with greater ferocity and accounts for 66 of the 100 deaths. While this should surprise no one, given the two groups’ track record and the bitter differences over extortion rackets typical of the underworld, a number of other political parties, too, were involved in murders, kidnappings and ‘executions’.
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posted @ 9:58 AM, ,

Technical Knockout of Local Governments

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Daily Times, Pakistan, Friday, July 10, 2009
After a meeting with heads or representatives of Sindh, Balochistan, the NWFP, Azad Jammu & Kashmir, the Northern Areas and Punjab, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani announced Wednesday that the Local Government elections, due in the current year, stood postponed till further decision in this regard by the provinces. Meanwhile, the local bodies (LBs) would be run by administrators appointed by the provincial governments from out of the state bureaucracy. (Local government elections are held every four years and the last ones were held in August 2005.)
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posted @ 9:45 AM, ,

Pakistan 25th country spending most on defence

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Daily Times, Pakistan, Friday, July 10, 2009
LAHORE: Pakistan is among the top 25 largest military spenders in the world, according to a report by US-based think tank Foreign Policy in Focus, a private TV channel reported on Thursday. The report said Pakistan has one of the largest and most sophisticated militaries in the world. Its army is as large as the US army, it said. On top of the billions of dollars of weapons provided to Pervez Musharraf’s regime, Washington has promised another $3 billion a year in military assistance over the next five years.
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posted @ 9:40 AM, ,

Taliban and Al Qaeda might Join Jundallah

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Daily Times, Pakistan, Friday, July 10, 2009
ISLAMABAD: In the wake of renewed attacks by the Pakistan military and the United States, the Taliban and Al Qaeda might join Jundallah, a group that has staged attacks on Iran and strained Iranian-Pakistani relations, military specialists told Washington Times on Thursday.

Ashraf Ali, a Peshawar-based specialist on the Taliban,
told the paper that given Jundallah’s historical connections with Al Qaeda and the Taliban, the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, led by Baitullah Mehsud, might seek refuge in Balochistan or join the ranks of Jundallah.
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posted @ 9:33 AM, ,

SC Vs Govt

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The News International, Pakistan, Friday, July 10, 2009
In a flurry of activity the government, by issuing a Presidential Ordinance (The Petroleum Development Levy Ordinance 2009) has trumped the decision by the Supreme Court to suspend the carbon surcharge subject to review. Petrol and diesel prices rose by 10 and 14 rupees respectively amid confusion on the forecourts of the nations' filling stations. The Supreme Court, sitting on Thursday morning decided to adjourn its hearing on the matter for four weeks – the Presidential Ordinance runs for 120 days, or a little over seventeen weeks - and the bizarre world of political life in Pakistan lurches another couple of steps along the broken road. Commentators and analysts were quickly at work, and mostly of the opinion that the government had done itself no favours - the Supreme Court may have overreached itself by trying to determine policy rather than ruling on its legitimacy; and the chief justice, whether he was right or wrong (in law) in his ruling had caught the zeitgeist and with it popular support. Government was quickly portrayed as 'ruling by ordinance' via a tight feudal cabal centred on the presidency. The government was also being perceived as having driven a coach-and-horses through parliament and it's function as the apex legislative body and the opposition; in the form of the PML-N, was crying 'foul' despite having voted for the budget alongside the government on the 26th June.
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posted @ 9:29 AM, ,

Corruption Impeding Investment

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The News International, Pakistan, Friday, July 10, 2009
ISLAMABAD: The World Bank finds corruption a serious and growing obstacle to the investment climate in Pakistan besides expressing dissatisfaction over the issue of governance in the country.

In its 128-page draft report on Pakistan’s Investment Climate dated March 16, 2009, the WB said that corruption is largely associated with business-government interface and reveals that the menace is more widespread here as compared to other countries though the bribe rates here are lower. Referring to a survey conducted for the formulation of the draft report, the Bank says that results show that perceptions about corruption in Pakistan are based on actual experiences with paying bribes by the investing firms. It reveals that the firms making investment in Pakistan have to pay bribes even to get water, telephone and electricity connections.
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posted @ 9:26 AM, ,

PML(N) Challenges Price Hike of Fuel

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The News International, Pakistan, Friday, July 10, 2009
The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) is set to challenge the imposition of the Petroleum Development Levy in the Supreme Court today (Friday) to counter the second move of the government to increase the prices of petroleum products through a presidential ordinance.

PML-N spokesperson Siddiqul Farooq would file a petition in the apex court under Article 184 (3) of the Constitution through his counsel Muhammad Ikram Chaudhry, senior advocate of the Supreme Court.

Engineer Iqbal Zafar Jhagra had challenged the recent increase in the prices of petroleum products and the case is pending before the court. The court has already suspended the imposition of Carbon Tax, levied by the government
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posted @ 9:21 AM, ,

PM Announces Return Date of IDPs

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The News International, Pakistan, Friday, July 10, 2009
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on Thursday announced that the return of internally displaced persons (IDPs) to Swat and Malakand would start from Monday (July 13).

“The Special Support Group has been asked to prepare the schedule for the return of IDPs and all-out measures would be adopted for their safe return to their homes. The Army will remain in these areas to keep an eye on the terrorists,” he said while addressing a press conference at the Prime Minister House.
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posted @ 9:16 AM, ,

Quota for the disabled

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Dawn, Pakistan, Thursday, 09 Jul, 2009
IN a country where employment and economic opportunities are a struggle for most people, the plight of disabled people is often neglected. These citizens face discrimination from society at large, where the lack education combined with low levels of awareness about disabilities leads to the handicapped being viewed with anything from derision to fear. Meanwhile, the support offered by the state and its institutions is minimal. Consider that the chief justice of the Lahore High Court recently took suo motu notice of the fact that disabled people were not being appointed to posts in federal and provincial government departments, although a two per cent job quota had been fixed from them. Subsequently, the deputy attorney general informed the court that 800 vacancies in various departments would be filled “soon” against the quota for the disabled, while just over 1,300 people had already been appointed. Meanwhile, the Punjab Social Welfare director stated that committees had been formed for the recruitment of disabled people in 31 districts of the province, and that such committees would soon be formed in the remaining districts.
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posted @ 9:44 AM, ,

Drone attacks kill 48 militants

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The News International, Thursday, July 09, 2009
PESHAWAR/WANA: Forty-eight militants were killed and several others injured in two separate attacks by US spy planes in the troubled South Waziristan Agency (SWA) on Wednesday. However, some reports quoting officials of law-enforcement agencies and political administration put the death toll in the two attacks at 58.

According to sources, besides the tribal militants, the dead also included four Arabs and seven Uzbeks.It was the deadliest attack for the Baitullah Mehsud-led militants after June 23 in which 80 people, mostly militants, were killed in two attacks on a training camp and funeral ceremony of Taliban commander Khwaz Wali Mehsud near Makeen.
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posted @ 9:41 AM, ,

Local govts dissolved.

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The News International, Thursday, July 09, 2009
ISLAMABAD: In a major policy decision taken with the consensus of the provinces on Wednesday, Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani announced dissolving the local governments throughout the country and postponed local bodies elections till improvement in the law and order situation.

The decision would mean an effective return to the old ways of bureaucratic bigwigs lording over the masses, who would once again have no influence or say in the management of matters at the grassroots level.

The prime minister said non-political administrators would replace elected Nazims from August. He also revived the executive magistracy system in the country.
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posted @ 9:37 AM, ,

Shortage of Afghan forces, civilian experts

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The News International, Thursday, July 09, 2009
WASHINGTON: The commander of US Marines in southern Afghanistan said Wednesday there was an urgent need for more Afghan security forces as well as civilian experts to back up a major offensive against Taliban insurgents.

"I'm not going to sugarcoat it. The fact of the matter is we don't have enough Afghan forces, and I'd like more," Brigadier General Larry Nicholson told reporters in a teleconference.

"Imagine if I had 4,000 Marines with 4,000 Afghan forces. I mean, it would not even be comparable to even the relative success that we've had over these first seven days," the general said from Camp Leatherneck, a Marine base in Helmand province.

He said that the US military and Kabul government were working to deploy more Afghan forces to the south while expanding the country's army and police forces.
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posted @ 9:32 AM, ,

President Ordinance Issued to Raise PoL Prices

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The News International, Thursday, July 09, 2009
ISLAMABAD: The petroleum product prices have been inflated again through president ordinance as the Petroleum Development Levy has been imposed on petroleum products with immediate effect, Geo news said early on Thursday.

Now, Rs.10 on petrol and Rs.8 have been raised on diesel.

The ordinance has been named as Petroleum Development Levy Ordinance 2009 which president signed early in the morning.

The president signed the written advice from Prime Minister to raise petroleum prices through president ordinance while their copies have been sent to Ministry of Petroleum and Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA).

It is pertinent to mention that Supreme Court (SC) suspended the carbon tax surcharge on petroleum products through its ruling on Tuesday.
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posted @ 9:26 AM, ,

Blatant Disinformation by Electronic Media

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Dawn, Pakistan, Wednesday, July 08, 2009
Particularly on the electronic media, too many have, for too long, got away unchallenged spreading what, on the face of it, is little more than blatant disinformation

For the past few weeks I have, using specific examples, focused on the irrational streak that pervades much of our media. Warming to my theme, I see no reason not to continue with that effort this week also.

Some might consider such an exercise as being unnecessarily judgemental. After all, might not what I consider as ‘biased’ or ‘irrational’ be considered as very proper and perfectly rational by others? Also, when the ‘facts’ of a particular situation are not wholly clear or fully known, is it not normal that different people will often, with complete honesty, draw radically different conclusions?

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posted @ 9:45 AM, ,

Violent Anti-Muslim Sentiment in Britain

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The News International, Pakistan, Wednesday, July 08, 2009
There are worrying indications in British society that a violent anti-Muslim sentiment has now developed to the point at which attacks on Muslim-owned properties and institutions are imminent. There have been arrests in the last few days of 32 men across the UK and the recovery of arms and ammunition that included rocket-launchers, hand grenades and explosives as well as a quantity of handguns and automatic rifles. Not since the days of the IRA has such a large cache of illegal weaponry been obtained with the intent of use by a domestic terrorist group. Many of those arrested appear to belong to the far-right British Nationalist Party (BNP) which has a decades-long history of racist and anti-Semitic activity. British parliamentarian Muhammad Sarwar praised the police and other law-enforcement agencies for their timely action. Much to their credit the police moved in protection of minority ethnic and religious groups (Muslims were not the only targets) and a tragedy has been averted.
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posted @ 9:24 AM, ,

Carbon Surcharge Suspended by Supreme Court

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The News International, Pakistan, Wednesday, July 08, 2009
ISLAMABAD: The government was made to fret over the fiscal impact while the masses went into a celebratory mode hoping for a permanent relief when the Supreme Court in its interim order on Tuesday suspended the imposition of carbon tax on petroleum products and directed the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) to issue a notification by Wednesday, suspending the tax till the final decision on the petitions.
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posted @ 9:16 AM, ,

Gross Misuse of Free of Cost Fuel

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The News International, Pakistan, Tuesday, July 07, 2009
ISLAMABAD: The government is spending millions every month from the taxpayers’ money merely on the petrol facility of federal ministers amid reports of gross misuse of free of cost provision of fuel by those who are affluent but still involved in this petty corruption.

A finance ministry source, while revealing that a federal minister consumed almost Rs 70,000 petrol in just one month, said that the government provides unlimited petrol facility to federal ministers for just one staff car provided to them but they are misusing the facility for other vehicles too.

The source said that in addition to the misuse of the ministers’ fuel facility, the staff of these political masters also get free fuel for the unauthorised vehicles provided to them. None of the ministerial staff, including the private secretary (PS), is authorised under the law to have official vehicles, but, in most of the cases, the senior staff of the federal ministers is illegally provided official conveyance and free petrol.
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posted @ 7:52 AM, ,

Resolving War on Terror

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The News International, Pakistan, Tuesday, July 07, 2009
The issue of militancy and the Taliban continues to be framed erroneously — most recently as a variant of the “with us or against us” choice: either one supports the military operation in Swat and Fata or one is supportive of the Taliban. Just as the Bush choice has been largely responsible for the chaos and radicalisation in the Muslim world, so the Pakistani variant doing the rounds currently misses the real issue. After all, there is and always has been a consensus in Pakistan that militant extremism should be crushed and the writ of the state and government established.

The disagreement is over how to go about achieving this objective. Should there be an attempt to go to the root causes of militancy and then to resolve the issue through a multi-pronged strategy including dialogue backed by state power as well as policies to bring in the marginalised population by giving them a viable stake in the system? Or does the solution lie in simply unleashing indiscriminate military force to establish the writ of the state while the roots of the problem continue to fester?
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posted @ 7:47 AM, ,

Doing Away with the 17th Amendment and 58-2(b)

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The News International, Pakistan, Tuesday, July 07, 2009
ISLAMABAD: President Asif Ali Zardari has agreed to repeal the controversial 17th Amendment and reform the Constitution in line with the Charter of Democracy (CoD).

Generally seen as the main stumbling block in the implementation of the CoD and purging the 1973 Constitution of distortions, Zardari on Monday clearly told his party’s top decision-making body — the CEC — he was willing to fulfil the commitments made by Benazir Bhutto. “There is a need to undo the 17th Amendment and 58-2(b) and reform the Constitution in the light of the Charter of Democracy,” he said while addressing the PPP’s Central Executive Committee (CEC), which met here at the Presidency.
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posted @ 7:43 AM, ,

Proxy Forces to be Chased by Military

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The News International, Pakistan, Tuesday, July 07, 2009
RAWALPINDI: Zardari said in an interview with The Daily Telegraph that operations would in the future target the figures who were the military’s “strategic assets”.“I don’t think anybody in the establishment supports them any more,” he said. “I think everybody has become wiser than this,” he added.

“Military operations are all across the board against any insurgent, whether in Karachi, Lahore or whether he is in any part of Pakistan,” said Zardari. “My problem is terror. I have focused myself on terror. The PPP has focused itself against the extremist mindset. Terror is a regional problem, it cuts across borders. “I would love to be remembered for creating a Pakistan where militancy — I know it can’t totally be diminished — is defeated.”
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posted @ 7:37 AM, ,

Supreme Court directs government not to increase power tariff

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The News International, Pakistan, Tuesday, July 07, 2009
ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Monday directed the government not to increase power tariff until the case against increase in electricity rates was pending before the court.

A three-member bench of the apex court, comprising Chief Justice (CJ) Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Justice Chaudhry Ijaz Ahmed and Justice Mahmood Akhtar Shahid Siddiqui, gave this direction while hearing a suo moto on the proposed raise in electricity tariff.
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posted @ 7:32 AM, ,

US troops granted route to Afghanistan by Russia

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The News International, Pakistan, Tuesday, July 07, 2009
Obama, Medvedev agree to reduce N-arm stockpiles
MOSCOW: Visiting US President Barack Obama and Kremlin leader Dmitry Medvedev agreed a target for cuts in nuclear arms and a deal to let US troops fly across Russia at the start of a trip intended to mend strained ties.

At a cordial, formal news conference in the Kremlin’s vast, gilded St Andrew’s Hall, the two leaders spoke of their resolve to put differences behind them and focus on cooperating to solve global problems such as the spread of nuclear weapons.

Both mentioned the issues that still divide them — Russia’s opposition to Washington’s plans for a missile defence shield in central Europe and US insistence on Georgia’s territorial integrity — but stressed the positives in public.
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posted @ 7:24 AM, ,

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Dawn, Pakistan, Monday, 06 Jul, 2009
IN the times we live in, human capital has emerged as the most significant and decisive factor in a country’s progress. One can safely say that most developed countries owe their rise to their educated and skilled manpower.

Interestingly, countries replete with natural resources and other assets are lagging behind primarily because of a dearth of trained human capital. Pakistan has an inherent advantage as it has a larger younger population whose strengths and skills can be tapped for national development in order to be turned into real human capital.
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posted @ 11:19 AM, ,

Pakistan and Somalia

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Dawn, Pakistan, Monday, 06 Jul, 2009
The fact is, both Pakistan and Somalia should realise that propping up Sufism as a counter to spreading militancy is a dangerous gamble. It breeds a culture of coercion, in which one interpretation of Islam is imposed on all citizens. Moreover, deepening the spiral of religious warfare will only result in years more of bloodshed and instability.

True democracies are invested in promoting the freedom to practise whichever religion, and however, a person chooses. Learning from Somalia, Pakistan should be making every effort to minimise the space given to religion in the public sphere.
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posted @ 11:14 AM, ,

Challenges of War on Terror

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Dawn, Pakistan, Monday, 06 Jul, 2009
THERE are four major actors on the political stage of Pakistan as far as the war against terror is concerned: Washington, the Pakistan Army, the Taliban and proto-Taliban groups, and the civilian ruling set-up including the PPP-led government in Islamabad and the ANP-led government in Peshawar.

Washington is the ultimate guardian of the status quo in terms of the nation-state system and the global economic structure. After 9/11, Washington adopted a two-pronged strategy. In Afghanistan — a state without a credible institutional apparatus at the national level to guarantee its own writ beyond Kabul — the US relied on Nato forces. In Pakistan, which has a meaningful strategic and diplomatic presence in the region and a viable state structure, the US has operated indirectly via the national security apparatus.
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posted @ 9:52 AM, ,

Roads of Lahore and Monsoon

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Dawn, Pakistan, Monday, 06 Jul, 2009
Wasn’t it supposed to be different this time round? Hadn’t Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif promised the residents of Lahore a trouble-free monsoon last time they had their roads submerged and drainage choked? Weren’t the city government departments warned by him that they would be answerable for any inconvenience that the rains might cause to the people? The way things stand today, it is highly likely that in the coming weeks we will once again see the chief minister wading in knee-deep water and admonishing the authorities for their inefficiency. But this will hardly fix the problem, nor will any piecemeal approach that aims at building a drain here and a pumping station there. Lahore requires a new rainwater drainage system — not just in a couple of localities but across the entire length and breadth of the city. Any measure short of that will not resolve the problem.
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posted @ 9:47 AM, ,

Plight of Women

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Dawn, Pakistan, Monday, 06 Jul, 2009
A MONITORING exercise conducted by the law firm AGHS shows that from April to June this year, 122 cases of women being burnt were reported in Lahore. Of them, 21 women had acid burns while the rest were injured by direct exposure to flames. Forty victims died. Disturbingly, the figures have doubled as compared to the first quarter of the year. These cases constitute merely the tip of the frightening iceberg of violence against Pakistan’s women. The figures reported above apply to Lahore but are unlikely to be lower in other parts of the country. Indeed, one wonders how many cases go unreported. The forms of coercion range from emotional and economic abuse to gross violations of constitutional and human rights, including rape, burning and being handed over as settlement in disputes. Last year, at least two women were believed to have been buried alive in Balochistan. That a sitting parliamentarian defended the act as a ‘tribal custom’ reflects just how endemic violence against women has become in the country.
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posted @ 9:45 AM, ,

PML(Q) Split

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Daily Times, Pakistan, Monday, July 06, 2009
The PMLQ could be taking its final difficult breath as its top leadership bifurcates in the days preceding party elections. The Chaudhry clan led by Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain is being challenged by Messrs Salim Saifullah and Humayun Akhtar Khan who have a group of important party stalwarts backing them. Both don’t want the Chaudhrys leading the party and want them to step down for the next election which they have already denounced as organised with suspicious haste.
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posted @ 9:39 AM, ,

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Daily Times, Pakistan, Monday, July 06, 2009
SRINAGAR: Three suspected militants and an Indian soldier were killed in two separate gun battles in Indian-held Kashmir (IHK), police said on Sunday.

The overnight gun battles took place during “cordon and search” operations launched by the Indian army and backed by counter-insurgency police in the districts of Kupwara and Rajouri.
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posted @ 9:36 AM, ,

Plan to bomb mosques in Britain Foiled

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Daily Times, Pakistan, Monday, July 06, 2009
LAHORE: British police have foiled a plan to attack mosques in different parts of Britain and arrested 32 Caucasian men in raids in London, a private TV channel reported.

According to the channel, the men in custody had accumulated rocket-launchers, hand grenades and explosives for the attacks. The channel quoted its sources as saying that London police raided 20 different places and investigated various people, arresting 32. Membership cards of the radical British National Party (BNP) and hate literature were also seized in the raids.
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posted @ 9:30 AM, ,

IDPs from Waziristan

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The News International, Pakistan, Monday, July 06, 2009
According to media accounts, some 40,000 people have already been displaced from North and South Waziristan – in anticipation of a full scale operation there. Indeed, this process adds to the displacements that have been taking place from the area since 2002, when the military first entered it.

A fresh influx of IDPs from Waziristan would greatly add to the problems already being faced at IDP camps. Despite improved facilities at them, the situation of IDPs at them remains bleak. There is a lack of sanitation, of proper housing and of sufficient medications. A senior WHO official has warned this could lead to a major crisis in the weeks ahead, especially as the monsoon hits adding to the risk of all kinds of disease. We need to think ahead. If mass displacements do indeed take place in Waziristan, provisions need to be made for people coming down. Further on, we must also consider the future of Waziristan and ponder what can be done to bring it back to normalcy.
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posted @ 9:24 AM, ,

State Gifts and Musharraf

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The News International, Pakistan, Monday, July 06, 2009
ISLAMABAD: Part-1 of this report published on Sunday revealed the generosity of the ruling Saudi royalty but that does not by any means suggest that it was the end of former president Pervez Musharraf’s official gifts binge. But the dilemma here is what gifts to list and what to ignore due to space constraints because some items tell us of the criminal undervaluing of valuable national property while there are others that reveal the paucity of character of our self-proclaimed statesmen. An attempt, therefore, has been made to identify a few of both categories, which have one characteristic in common: they expose the pettiness of those involved in national plunder.
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posted @ 9:21 AM, ,

Hizb-ut-Tahrir Plans Bloodless Coup and Caliphate in Pakistan

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The News International, Pakistan, Monday, July 06, 2009
LONDON: A UK-based fundamentalist group has hatched a plot to overthrow Pakistan’s government through a “bloodless coup” and establish a “caliphate” in which Islamic laws will be rigorously enforced, a media report said.

Followers of the Hizb-ut-Tahrir, which is banned in Pakistan, aim for a “bloodless military coup” and creation of the caliphate in Islamabad, The Sunday Times reported. Members of the group, which describes itself as “the Liberation Party in Britain”, claim they had targeted the UK as a base from which to spread Islamic rule across the world. The report said a dozen British Hizb-ut-Tahrir activists are currently based in Lahore and Karachi, or keep travelling between the UK and Pakistan, and there are many more.
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posted @ 9:14 AM, ,

Constitutional anomalies

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Dawn, Pakistan, Sunday, 05 Jul, 2009
TODAY Pakistan stands on the brink of constitutional anarchy. Some forces want a new constitution; others champion the restoration of the constitutional order existing before Oct 12, 1999 or a confederal constitution. Our constitutional chaos is the result of the unscrupulous constitutional manipulations of Gen Ziaul Haq.
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posted @ 9:53 AM, ,

Cost of flouting principles

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Dawn, Pakistan, Sunday, 05 Jul, 2009
IN the everlasting public debate on constitutional matters, opinions differ on the division of powers between the president and the prime minister. But all sections of civil society appear to agree that civil servants of all vocations, police included, should be neutral, the judges independent and soldiers not meddling in politics.
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posted @ 9:50 AM, ,

Kargil and Clinton

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The News International, Pakistan, Sunday, July 05, 2009
Ten years ago, the fierce skirmish over Kargil, the strategically important piece of territory disputed between India and Pakistan came to an end. The war, which started as the Pakistan Army came close to cutting off key routes in Kashmir, quickly turned as India responded with unexpected force. The crisis between the two nuclear-armed nations brought on the spectre of the possible use of such weapons or of still further acceleration in the fighting to open-up an all-out war between the two neighbouring countries. Some say the US played up the nuclear threat to force Pakistan to bow down; others say the threat was real.
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posted @ 9:43 AM, ,


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