Pakistan in Media

Opinionated Media Coverage

Talks between Zardari and Nawaz Sharif

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Nothing concrete was achieved at the talks held between President Asif Ali Zardari and PML-N Chief Mian Nawaz Sharif in Islamabad. There was no breakthrough on the NRO or any other decision that could be classified as significant. Some media reports suggest that the two men did little more than break bread together. But despite this, the dialogue is immensely significant. It has come at a time when rumour has been rife of change and possible military intervention. A meeting held recently between Mian Shahbaz Sharif and the army chief COAS fuelled talk of conspiracy and various scenarios were drawn up. Some at least watched and waited with bated breath. After all we are familiar with the way such things happen in our country. The Zardari-Nawaz meeting as such creates some sense of calm. It indicates that the two main political forces are not opposed to the idea of working together and sharing ideas on how this can happen. Indeed, the lack of discussion on the NRO is highly intriguing. Nawaz Sharif was expected to press for it to be repealed. That he did not apparently do so indicates he is keen to work with the president and perhaps also willing to let him and his key aides of the hook.

The issues brought up at the meeting included the 17th Amendment. The PML-N chief remains eager for this to be done away with, thus making it possible for him to again take charge as PM. An undoing of the clause would of course also reduce the powers held by the president and help restore the balance towards parliament. It appears that there has been a broad understanding, though possibly no firm commitment, that this will happen. Balochistan, militancy, the need for administrative reform and the need for political cooperation were also discussed. The many voices we hear criticizing politicians are once again describing this meeting as a failure. But it is perhaps unfair to do so. At this juncture, the ability of political parties to avoid falling into traps and to set democratic traditions has become paramount. Over the past few months we have been seeing how easy it is to stumble and fall, and repeat mistakes we have seen made on previous occasions. The indication that the political opposition is aware of the need to avoid this is welcome.
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posted @ 1:16 PM, ,

South Punjab and Taliban

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In a TV discussion, ex-Jama’at-e Islami chief Qazi Hussain Ahmad asserted that the terrorists who were killing innocent Pakistanis were not only not Muslims but that the killing was being done by three enemy states: the United States, India and Israel. In another TV discussion, Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah made the case that South Punjab was not the home of terrorism and that the territory of South Punjab was being exaggeratedly expanded by critics to include cities like Jhang.

Qazi Hussain Ahmad rounded off his scenario of a three-state attack on Pakistan by saying that the US wanted to destroy Pakistan’s nuclear programme because it did not want an Islamic state to possess the atom bomb and join the club of nuclear powers. The discussion did not pinpoint the identity of those who killed innocent Pakistanis, so we will not know what he thought of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), especially when it routinely announces ownership of the lethal suicide attacks being carried out in the country.

The JI line on the TTP is that they are own people determined to fight the Americans and that the government should talk to them instead of despatching troops into their territory. One can say that it has tactfully placed itself at the head of all the elements in Pakistan who embrace anti-Americanism and reject “conditional” American aid to Pakistan in these days of economic crisis, manifested each day by protesting state employees who have not received their salaries for months.

But one must note the reluctance on the part of JI leaders like Qazi Hussain Ahmad to define the Taliban as terrorists after alleging that those who kill are not Pakistanis but those paid to do the dirty work by the US-Indian-Israel combine. But in Indian-administered Kashmir, the Jama’at chief Mr Ali Gilani is prepared to concede that “the Taliban are defaming Islam by killing innocent people and destabilising Pakistan”.
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posted @ 12:58 PM, ,

Reopening of educational institutions

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LAHORE: Parents of students and members of civil society have expressed differing opinions on the Punjab Government’s decision to reopen educational institutions, with parents claiming the security crisis has not been averted and civil society demanding schools stay open in a symbol of defiance against the terror attacks.

Criticising the move to reopen government and private schools and colleges on Monday, parents of students claimed that no security measures were sufficient to completely prevent the threat of terror attacks against education institutions. They said that if the terrorists could stage attacks on military installations, they could easily bypass the security at educational institutions.
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posted @ 12:53 PM, ,

The long view of South Waziristan Operation

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No matter how successful the operation in South Waziristan, and no matter how hard and well the army fights (and it is doing both) the outcome is going to depend on political reform and the implementation of a string of promises and undertakings long-made and shortly neglected or forgotten. The military may be able to break the militants’ hold over the area but it is the civil administration that requires urgent reform if the whole process does not have to be re-done at some near-future date. The violence of both the militants and the army operations against them has undermined efforts aimed at economic development in the region; which was already a development desert before the current operation. A black economy in goods, drugs and weapons has flourished in the absence of inward investment that would provide an alternative livelihood to smuggling. There are no jobs that would attract a largely uneducated populace and it is little surprise that the militants find it easy to recruit and retain young men who see no future outside the possibly short but profitable life of jihad. The institutions of state are shored up by a grossly undemocratic and unrepresentative system run to their advantage by political agents and tribal maliks who are themselves increasingly dependant on the protection and patronage of the militants.

There has been some move forwards in that on 14th August 2009 President Zardari announced a reform package that if implemented in full would go some way to righting many wrongs and bringing opportunity to a part of Pakistan long denied it. Among other things it contained proposals to lift restrictions on political party activity, placed a restraining hand on the bureaucracy, particularly the arbitrary arrest and detention and collective punishments that were so often meted out; and excluded – at last – women and children from collective responsibility under the law. The government cannot in this case plead poverty as donors have given very considerable funding for development in FATA, but sadly much of this money is routed through unaccountable local institutions and disappears into the pockets of who knows who. To say that this is typical of the way we tend to manage these matters is a considerable understatement. There needs to be a recognition that those who are opposed to reform are not necessarily the gun-toting militants having an extended version of their own turf-wars played out for them, but the local elites, the civilian bureaucracies in all their various forms and, it has to be said, some elements of the military. All of these would lose both power and money if the people of FATA were to be granted their dues alongside the spread of constitutional and political rights to the area. Today we urge on our forces as they fight to bring the land back under the writ of the state, but if the land they win back is to be so incompetently and inequitably governed as it was before we committed lives and money to getting it back, then what was the point of the battle?
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posted @ 12:47 PM, ,

JI leader, kin held for Dera bus stand suicide attack

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DERA GHAZI KHAN: After nine months of a suicide attack on the general bus stand, the police arrested a former Taunsa Sharif Jamaat-e-Islami Ameer and his relative on Saturday night on charges of facilitating the mastermind in his visit to the Dhodak plant of the Oil and Gas Development Company Limited (OGDCL).

The police arrested JI former Tehsil Ameer Dr Naseemullah Qaisrani from his residence at Taunsa Sharif and Asif Khan from the Dhodak plant when he was on duty. Asif Khan is an employee of the OGDCL.

According to the police, Naseemullah Qaisrani and Ghulam Mustafa Qaisrani befriended during the Haj last year. Asif Khan had allegedly arranged a visit of alleged mastermind Ghulam Mustafa Qaisrani to the Dhodak plant before a suicide attack at the general bus stand on February 5, which left 28 people dead and over 50 injured.

The police had arrested Ghulam Mustafa Qaisrani in the last week of February and another accused, Qari Ismail Khalool, in the first week of March after the incident. The case is under trial in an anti-terrorism court. The families of both accused, Dr Naseemullah and Asif Khan, denied their involvement in any terrorist activity.
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posted @ 12:42 PM, ,

President Asif Zardari meets the PML-N Chief Nawaz Sharif today (Monday)

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LAHORE: When President Asif Zardari meets the PML-N Chief Nawaz Sharif today (Monday) (in Islamabad), this is the 11th time when the duo will be sitting across the table since Benazir Bhutto’s assassination in December 2007.

Sources in both the political camps told The News while Asif Zardari might seek Nawaz Sharif’s help during today’s meeting in getting the National Reconciliation Ordinance validated through the Parliament in November; the PML-N was likely to press the president for abolishing all ‘undemocratic’ clauses from the 17th Constitutional Amendment.

These sources said that President Zardari might also seek Sharif’s support in changing the name of NWFP to ‘Pakhtoonkhwa’ in line with the wishes of the ANP Chief Asfandyar Wali. The PML-N has already opposed the change of name for NWFP.

This scribe also heard on the grapevine that the situation in Waziristan and its probable fall-out in the wake of the ongoing army operation in the mountains might also come under discussion along with the harsh conditions incorporated in the Kerry-Lugar Law.

These sources did not rule out the chances that Nawaz Sharif might also touch on former President Pervez Musharraf’s trial issue amidst an air of the ever-increasing mistrust between the leaders of the two largest political parties in the country.

It, however, remains to be seen what president agrees to offer in return to the PML-N for the validation of the NRO amidst reports that MQM is not very supportive towards this issue to the sheer dismay of Zardari.
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posted @ 12:27 PM, ,

Turkey and Pakistan pledge to fight terrorism together

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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and Turkey on Sunday decided to upgrade their comprehensive strategic partnership and intensify political, economic and trade cooperation, besides renewing their commitment to jointly counter terrorism.

“Our discussions were marked by unanimity of views on all issues of mutual interests and concerns and we reiterated our unwavering resolve to defeat this menace that continues to claim innocent lives,” said Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, while addressing a joint press conference with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the Prime Minister House here on Sunday after holding talks for almost 90 minutes, which included one-on-one meeting for 30 minutes.

“There is a commitment on both sides to create a joint platform to combat terrorism. The intelligence agencies of both countries have excellent cooperation and are sharing information,” said Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan.

The Turkish prime minister, who arrived here on Saturday night on a three-day visit, was accorded a warm welcome.Addressing the press conference, Gilani said the two sides had decided to establish a higher-level cooperation council, which would meet annually under the two prime ministers to steer the unique partnership between the two countries to even greater heights.
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posted @ 12:24 PM, ,

WildBlue Satellite Internet

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Use of internet has long become a necessity. Internet connects near and dear ones, friends and family, peers, business partners, buyers and sellers, and even strangers, the world over, with each other. Be it services or products or academic pursuits, use of internet is taken for granted. With increasing reliance on internet, you need to have a dependable internet service provider offering fast download and surfing speed. Internet services available these days are manual dial up, DSL, Cable and Satellite internet.

No one offers the internet services better than Wild Blue Satellite Internet. This is a service which has state of the art equipment with reliability and security in business relationship. The internet speed offered by them is thirty times faster than manual dial up. Their service is available all over contagious America covering rural areas where DSL and Cable services end. On manual dial up, you have to wait every now and then, between clicks, for the sites, videos and graphics to download, and the quality you get is not up to the mark. With Wild Blue Satellite Internet service, you can view more videos, better graphics and visit websites of even complex functionality. It is after getting the right connection that you will realize the difference in quality of download and as to how much time you have been wasting in waiting using manual dial up.

These days Wild Blue Satellite Internet are offering special deals suiting the requirements of all types of internet users. These deals are not only affordable but are also very cheap. The customer service is excellent and so is the website. They are only a click or a call away from you.

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posted @ 4:32 PM, ,

Madrassas and militancy

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It is important to monitor the political disposition of the faculty and administration of madrassas, their connections with local militant groups and, through them, with the Taliban

Madrassas or Islamic seminaries figure prominently in the discourse on Islamic extremism and militancy in Pakistan. This debate is highly polemical. The people associated with or sympathetic to madrassas describe them as neutral academic institutions devoted to teaching the Quran, the Sunnah and related religious matters. They project them as voluntary organisations engaged in national service, as these provide free food, shelter and education to students, invariably from the poor families, and argue that madrassas have nothing to do with extremism and militancy.

The other extreme perspective views the madrassa as the stronghold of religious extremism and militancy. Almost all of them have a religious-sectarian disposition and socialise children into a narrow religious worldview that inculcates intolerance and bigotry.

No doubt, most madrassas provide free education, food and shelter to a large number of students. These institutions cannot be viewed as neutral seats of learning. Some linkages can be identified between madrassa education and environment and militancy but other factors also contribute to religious extremism and militancy.
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posted @ 11:07 AM, ,

Power Politics

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Kerry-Lugar law’s Muridke clause alienates Army from; NRO-hit presidency; Zardari fall back on Nawaz; ready to give up 17th Amendment powers!

KARACHI: An intense, behind the scenes, strategic and decisive review of the current political situation has begun among major power players, both political and non-political, to quickly decide how to stabilise the situation, seriously threatened by impending questions about the fate of those who benefited from the infamous NRO and are now in top positions of the country.

After detailed background interviews and sessions with most of the stakeholders, it is now becoming clear that unless the present system is cleansed and the major irritants are removed, the desperately needed political stability and the required moral and political support for the on-going civil war-like situation would not be available. This may, and probably already is, seriously hampering the military-cum-security operations against the hit-and-run or hit-and-die terrorists roaming all over the country.

Although the apparent problem is the uncertainty about what would happen to the NRO in parliament and even if passed by a simple majority, what may happen if the Supreme Court strikes down the controversial law ab initio, the issue which is driving everyone crazy is the wide gulf that has emerged between the top civilian and military leadership on how to handle America and the war on terror, denials and clarifications notwithstanding.
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posted @ 10:59 PM, ,

Kerry-Lugar Bill: the army’s objections

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Does no one understand that they can only be strong if they enjoy the support of the people of Pakistan and, if they do, no army can ‘subvert the judicial and political processes’ in Pakistan?

Many analysts in Pakistan find nothing wrong with the Kerry-Lugar (K-L) Bill. Some feel that Pakistan is so desperately in need of assistance that the bill should be accepted at any cost — preconditions or consequences notwithstanding. The President is firmly behind it; the Prime Minister expressed concerned initially, but soon fell in line behind the president. The opposition seems to consider this a golden opportunity to take on the government on its continued submission to the United States at the cost of our sovereignty, and while prepared to tear the government apart on the issue, is carefully refraining from criticising the US.

However, surprisingly, the army, which has been at pains to establish the principle of civilian supremacy, has not only discussed the subject in its annual corps commanders’ conference, but has thereafter issued a public statement to the effect that it “has concerns...the details of which will be conveyed to the government...Pakistan is a sovereign state and has all the rights to analyse and respond to the threat in accordance with its own national interests...in the considered opinion of the forum, it is parliament that would deliberate on the issue to enable the government to develop a national response.”
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posted @ 12:47 AM, ,

Pakistan's response to Indian threats

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ISLAMABAD: Interior Minister Rehman Malik has said that his Indian counterpart Chidambaram should arrest the culprits of the Samjhota Express and Rajiv Gandhi’s killers instead of blaming Pakistan of being incapable of coping with terrorists.

Talking to newsmen he said on Wednesday: “If we talk about the composite dialogue, they should not consider it our weakness at all.” Responding to a question, he said India threatens to attack Pakistan after every three months, adding, “We are a nuclear state and not so weak; rather, we know how to retaliate.

“I ask the Indian prime minister that if they have any information about more Mumbai-like attacks they should share it with Pakistan and we will look into it and would get back in 48 hours. But if India does not share anything then they would be responsible for any incident,” he said.

“I have time and again said there is Indian involvement in Balochistan and we have evidence, which could be shared with India, if they agree to come and sit with us.” Malik said: “We have not received the 7th dossier so far; however, we have arrested all the seven accused of Mumbai attacks.”
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posted @ 5:35 PM, ,

US military aid to Pakistan with restrictions!

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WASHINGTON: The US Congress is getting ready to impose new restrictions on the military aid to Pakistan, including efforts to track where US military hardware given to Pakistan ends up with a warning that the US aid must not upset the “balance of power in the region”.

The new restrictions, crafted by US Senators Robert Menendez and Bob Crocker, are part of the US defence appropriations 2010, which were passed by the US House of representatives on October 8.

The measures lay out how Pakistan will get reimbursed out of a 1.6-billion-dollar fund for logistical and military support of US-led efforts to battle militants. The new proposed measure requires that the US secretaries of state and defence will certify that “whether such reimbursement is consistent with the national security interest of the United States and will not adversely impact the balance of power in the region.”

The bill also says Pentagon must certify that Islamabad is waging a “concerted” fight against Al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and other fighters before it can receive the money. The measure directs Pentagon to track how Pakistan uses military hardware it receives in order “to prohibit the re-transfer of such defence articles and defence services without the consent of the United States.”
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posted @ 5:32 PM, ,

Politics of Kerry-Lugar Bill

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Vice President Joe Biden has proposed the idea of “Pakistan First”, according to which the road to victory in Afghanistan lies through the targeting of the Taliban in Pakistan rather than those in Afghanistan

Pakistan is in the eye of storm because of the Kerry-Lugar Bill. Initially, the government took the view that the aid bill was the best thing that ever happened to Pakistan and the Interior Minister reportedly tried to get the federal cabinet adopt a resolution lauding it.

The opponents of the bill, especially the army, took a different view. The army believed that some of its clauses posed a threat to Pakistan’s security and expressed its reservations through the media. The government not only utterly disagreed with the assessment but was also not pleased with the army’s use of a public forum to express it.
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posted @ 7:29 PM, ,

Iran's possible cross-border military operation into Pakistan

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TEHRAN: An Iranian member of parliament on Monday raised the prospect of a possible cross-border military operation into Pakistan against the terrorist group blamed for a deadly attack on the elite Revolutionary Guards. Iran has in the past alleged that members of the Jundallah group, which state media said claimed Sunday’s suicide bombing in Iran, have been operating from Pakistan. “There is unanimity about the Revolutionary Guards and the security forces engaging in operations in any place they would deem necessary,” ISNA news agency quoted MP Payman Forouzesh as saying, appearing to refer to agreement on the issue among lawmakers. reuters

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posted @ 4:10 PM, ,

Military Operation in South Waziristan

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The News, Pakistan, Tuesday, October 20, 2009
The tides of war now wash across Waziristan. Operation Rah-e-Nijat is underway and the first battlefield reports are coming in along with claims and counterclaims from both sides. This is a complex conflict, not a simple case of 'baddies' versus 'goodies'. The patchwork of tribal allegiances and rivalries is going to colour and influence the outcome of the wider battle. The Ahmedzai Wazir tribe has been able to convince Taliban leader Maulvi Nazir to stay neutral and not to throw in his lot with Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan's new leader Hakimullah Mehsud. This is an important move as he controls Wana and southern areas of the Agency, but his neutrality came at a price. The NWFP government has agreed to several demands made by the Ahmedzai Wazirs, including the reopening of blockaded roads and the launch of several high-value development schemes in their areas. Deals with tribal groups in this area are notorious for their fragility, but for now we have to accept the neutrality of the Ahmedzai Wazirs at face value. Clearly they have no wish to jeopardize their own considerable vested interests, and watching from a position of armed neutrality from the sidelines allows them the luxury of watching their rivals suffer at no cost to themselves. From the military perspective it means they can lower their concerns about their southern flank if the deal with the Ahmedzai Wazirs holds, and they will be seeking something similar with Hafiz Gul Bahadar in the North Waziristan Agency.

After twenty-four hours of fierce fighting the army are saying that sixty Taliban have been killed (but have not offered a shred of evidence to support this) for the loss of five of our own men plus eleven wounded. We are beginning to get an insight into just how well-armed the Taliban are, as on Sunday the air force is said to have destroyed six anti-aircraft guns being used by them. These would present little or no threat to jet aircraft, but could be extremely effective against slow-moving helicopters. A check post has been established in Mandana and our forces now control Nawaz Kot. For their part the Taliban are issuing statements that they are pushing our troops back to their bases and inflicting heavy casualties on them. There is nothing to support their claims and we have no reason to believe them. These are early days in an operation that could last months. Not only is the conflict complex but so is the terrain. As we have seen in Swat, it is one thing to take the ground, another to hold it. And putting it all back together post-conflict in a place where the writ of the state has never been more than diaphanous is going to make Swat look like a walk in the park by comparison.

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posted @ 4:00 PM, ,

Pakistan accused over bomb in Iran

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The News, Pakistan, Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Even as Pakistan continues to face accusations from India of having harboured on its soil terrorists who played a part in the attacks in Mumbai, similar accusations have come in from another neighbour. Iran claims that there was involvement of agents based in Pakistan with elements inside Iran in the suicide bombing on Sunday in the town of Pisheen, near the Pak-Iran border, which killed seven members of the Revolutionary Guard in Iran and 42 other people. The use of a suicide 'belt' laden with explosives reminds many of attacks in Pakistan. But this is of course not enough to pin any theory on. The tactics of terrorism are learnt quickly and any group can mimic strategies seen elsewhere.

Our envoy in Tehran, summoned by the Iranian foreign ministry, has acted correctly in extending assurances that all efforts will be made to secure borders and track down anyone who may be involved. But Islamabad needs also to keep in mind that the new charges from Iran will add to the perceptions that we are a nation unable to control the militancy that has sprung up in our midst. The continued turmoil in Balochistan of course adds to the problem. This is an issue we need to bring under check. Terrorism needs to be thwarted. Otherwise we will continue to face embarrassing accusations and a consequent increase in tensions in the region.

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posted @ 3:56 PM, ,

Iran urges Pakistan to ‘confront’ bombers

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TEHRAN: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Monday urged his Pakistani counterpart to confront a Sunni rebel group which Tehran says is behind the bombing on the Revolutionary Guards that killed dozens.

“Iran and Pakistan have a brotherly relationship but the presence of terrorist elements in Pakistan is not justifiable,” Ahmadinejad told Asif Ali Zardari during a telephone call received from the Pakistan leader, Iran’s official IRNA news agency said.

“The Pakistani government should help to quickly arrest these criminals so they can be punished,” the Iranian president said, adding: “The criminal terrorists must be seriously confronted by setting up a bilateral timetable.”
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posted @ 3:50 PM, ,

Cellular Security

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Given the security situation in the country (and also reported abuse of communication systems and channels), everyone must be cautious. It is possibility that someone might have got a SIM (Subscriber Identity Module) against your ID (CINC). I suggest you check and find out the total number of SIM(s) registered against their respective CNIC number with each mobile operator.

Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has developed a SIM (Subscriber Identity Module) information system to address associated risks on security and to ensure subscription regulations in cellular sector. {Thanks Light Within}

posted @ 5:46 PM, ,

Text of the Kerry-Lugar Bill

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WASHINGTON: The following is the text of the Kerry-Lugar Bill passed by the Senate on Thursday, Sept 24, 2009. It will now go to the House of Representatives and if passed without amendments, will be sent to President Barack Obama for signing into law:

S.1707

Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act of 2009 (Engrossed as Agreed to or Passed by Senate)

SEC. 203. LIMITATIONS ON CERTAIN ASSISTANCE.

(a) Limitation on Security-related Assistance: For fiscal years 2011 through 2014, no security-related assistance may be provided to Pakistan in a fiscal year until the Secretary of State, under the direction of the President, makes the certification required under subsection (c) for such fiscal year.

(b) Limitation on Arms Transfers: For fiscal years 2012 through 2014, no letter of offer to sell major defence equipment to Pakistan may be issued pursuant to the Arms Export Control Act (22 USC 2751 et seq.) and no license to export major defence equipment to Pakistan may be issued pursuant to such Act in a fiscal year until the Secretary of State, under the direction of the President, makes the certification required under subsection (c) for such fiscal year.

(c) Certification: The certification required by this subsection is a certification by the Secretary of State, under the direction of the President, to the appropriate congressional committees that: (1) the Government of Pakistan is continuing to cooperate with the United States in efforts to dismantle supplier networks relating to the acquisition of nuclear weapons-related materials, such as providing relevant information from or direct access to Pakistani nationals associated with such networks;

(2) the Government of Pakistan during the preceding fiscal year has demonstrated a sustained commitment to and is making significant efforts towards combating terrorist groups, consistent with the purposes of assistance described in section 201, including taking into account the extent to which the Government of Pakistan has made progress on matters such as (A) ceasing support, including by any elements within the Pakistan military or its intelligence agency, to extremist and terrorist groups, particularly to any group that has conducted attacks against the United States or coalition forces in Afghanistan, or against the territory or people of neighbouring countries; (B) preventing al-Qaeda, the Taliban and associated terrorist groups, such as Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed, from operating in the territory of Pakistan, including carrying out cross-border attacks into neighbouring countries, closing terrorist camps in the Fata, dismantling terrorist bases of operations in other parts of the country, including Quetta and Muridke, and taking action when provided with intelligence about high-level terrorist targets; and (C) strengthening counterterrorism and anti-money laundering laws; and (3) the security forces of Pakistan are not materially and substantially subverting the political or judicial processes of Pakistan.

(d) Certain Payments: (1) IN GENERAL- Subject to paragraph (2), none of the funds appropriated for security-related assistance for fiscal years 2010 through 2014, or any amounts appropriated to the Pakistan Counterinsurgency Capability Fund established under the Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2009 (Public Law 111-32), may be obligated or expended to make payments relating to (A) the Letter of Offer and Acceptance PK-D-YAD signed between the Governments of the United States of America and Pakistan on September 30, 2006; (B) the Letter of Offer and Acceptance PK-D-NAP signed between the Governments of the United States of America and Pakistan on September 30, 2006; and C) the Letter of Offer and Acceptance PK-D-SAF signed between the Governments of the United States of America and Pakistan on September 30, 2006.

(2) EXCEPTION: Funds appropriated for security-related assistance for fiscal years 2010 through 2014 may be used for construction and related activities carried out pursuant to the Letters of Offer and Acceptance described in paragraph (1).

(e) Waiver: (1) IN GENERAL - The Secretary of State, under the direction of the President, may waive the limitations contained in subsections (a), (b), and (d) for a fiscal year if the Secretary of State determines that is important to the national security interests of the United States to do so.

(2) PRIOR NOTICE OF WAIVER: The Secretary of State, under the direction of the President, may not exercise the authority of paragraph (1) until seven days after the Secretary of State provides to the appropriate congressional committees a written notice of the intent to issue to waiver and the reasons therefore. The notice may be submitted in classified or unclassified form, as necessary.

(f) Appropriate Congressional Committees Defined: In this section, the term `appropriate congressional committees’ means (1) the Committee on Foreign Affairs, the Committee on Armed Services, the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence of the House of Representatives; and (2) the Committee on Foreign Relations, the Committee on Armed Services, and the Select Committee on Intelligence of the Senate.

SEC. 204. PAKISTAN COUNTERINSURGENCY CAPABILITY FUND.

(a) For Fiscal Year 2010: (1) IN GENERAL - For fiscal year 2010, the Department of State’s Pakistan Counterinsurgency Capability Fund established under the Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2009 (Public Law 111-32), hereinafter in this section referred to as the `Fund’, shall consist of the following: (A) Amounts appropriated to carry out this subsection (which may not include any amounts appropriated to carry out title I of this Act).

(B) Amounts otherwise available to the Secretary of State to carry out this subsection.

(2) PURPOSES OF FUND: Amounts in the Fund made available to carry out this subsection for any fiscal year are authorised to be used by the Secretary of State, with the concurrence of the Secretary of Defence, to build and maintain the counterinsurgency capability of Pakistan under the same terms and conditions (except as otherwise provided in this subsection) that are applicable to amounts made available under the Fund for fiscal year 2009.

(3) TRANSFER AUTHORITY: (A) IN GENERAL - The Secretary of State is authorised to transfer amounts in the fund made available to carry out this subsection for any fiscal year to the Department of Defence’s Pakistan Counterinsurgency Fund established under the Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2009 (Public Law 111-32) and such amounts may be transferred back to the Fund if the Secretary of Defence, with the concurrence of the Secretary of State, determines that such amounts are not needed for the purposes for which initially transferred.

(B) TREATMENT OF TRANSFERRED FUNDS: Subject to subsections (d) and (e) of section 203, transfers from the Fund under the authority of subparagraph (A) shall be merged with and be available for the same purposes and for the same time period as amounts in the Department of Defence’s Pakistan Counterinsurgency Fund.

(C) RELATION TO OTHER AUTHORITIES: The authority to provide assistance under this subsection is in addition to any other authority to provide assistance to foreign countries.

(D) NOTIFICATION: The Secretary of State shall, not less than 15 days prior to making transfers from the Fund under subparagraph (A), notify the appropriate congressional committees in writing of the details of any such transfer.

(b) Submission of Notifications: Any notification required by this section may be submitted in classified or unclassified form, as necessary.

(c) Appropriate Congressional Committees Defined: In this section, the term `appropriate congressional committees’ means (1) the Committee on Appropriations, the Committee on Armed Services, and the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives; and (2) the Committee on Appropriations, the Committee on Armed Services, and the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate.

SEC. 205. REQUIREMENTS FOR CIVILIAN CONTROL OF CERTAIN ASSISTANCE

(a) Requirements: (1) IN GENERAL - For fiscal years 2010 through 2014, any direct cash security-related assistance or non-assistance payments by the United States to the Government of Pakistan may only be provided or made to civilian authorities of a civilian government of Pakistan.

(2) DOCUMENTATION: For fiscal years 2010 through 2014, the Secretary of State, in coordination with the Secretary of Defence, shall ensure that civilian authorities of a civilian government of Pakistan have received a copy of final documentation provided to the United States related to non-assistance payments provided or made to the Government of Pakistan.

(b) Waiver: 1) SECURITY-RELATED ASSISTANCE: The Secretary of State, in consultation with the Secretary of Defence, may waive the requirements of subsection (a) with respect to security-related assistance described in subsection (a) funded from accounts within budget function 150 (International Affairs) if the Secretary of State certifies to the appropriate congressional committees that the waiver is important to the national security interest of the United States.

(2) NON-ASSISTANCE PAYMENTS: The Secretary of Defence, in consultation with the Secretary of State, may waive the requirements of subsection (a) with respect to non-assistance payments described in subsection (a) funded from accounts within budget function 050 (National Defence) if the Secretary of Defense certifies to the appropriate congressional committees that the waiver is important to the national security interest of the United States.

(c) Application to Certain Activities- Nothing in this section shall apply with respect to (1) any activities subject to reporting requirements under title V of the National Security Act of 1947 (50 U.S.C. 413 et seq.); (2) any assistance to promote democratic elections or public participation in democratic processes; (3) any assistance or payments if the Secretary of State determines and certifies to the appropriate congressional committees that subsequent to the termination of assistance or payments a democratically elected government has taken office; (4) any assistance or payments made pursuant to section 1208 of the Ronald W. Reagan National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2005 (Public Law 108-375; 118 Stat. 2086), as amended; (5) any payments made pursuant to the Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement between the Department of Defense of the United States of America and the Ministry of Defense of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan; and (6) any assistance or payments made pursuant to section 943 of the Duncan Hunter National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2009 (Public Law 110-417; 122 Stat. 4578).

(d) Definitions- In this section (1) the term `appropriate congressional committees’ means the Committees on Appropriations, Armed Services, and Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives and the Committees on Appropriations, Armed Services, and Foreign Relations of the Senate; and (2) the term ‘civilian government of Pakistan’ does not include any government of Pakistan whose duly elected head of government is deposed by military coup or decree.

TITLE III—STRATEGY, ACCOUNTABILITY, MONITORING, AND OTHER PROVISIONS SEC. 301. STRATEGY REPORTS.

(a) Pakistan Assistance Strategy Report- Not later than 45 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary of State shall submit to the appropriate congressional committees a report describing United States policy and strategy with respect to assistance to Pakistan under this Act. The report shall include the following: (1) A description of the principal objectives of United States assistance to Pakistan to be provided under title I of this Act.

(2) A general description of the specific programs, projects, and activities designed to achieve the purposes of section 101 and the respective funding levels for such programs, projects, and activities for fiscal years 2010 through 2014.

(3) A plan for program monitoring, operations research, and impact evaluation research for assistance authorized under title I of this Act.

(4) A description of the role to be played by Pakistani national, regional, and local officials and members of Pakistani civil society and local private sector, civic, religious, and tribal leaders in helping to identify and implement programs and projects for which assistance is to be provided under this Act, and of consultations with such representatives in developing the strategy.

(5) A description of the steps taken, or to be taken, to ensure assistance provided under this Act is not awarded to individuals or entities affiliated with terrorist organizations.

(6) A projection of the levels of assistance to be provided to Pakistan under this Act, broken down into the following categories as described in the annual `Report on the Criteria and Methodology for Determining the Eligibility of Candidate Countries for Millennium Challenge Account Assistance’: (A) Civil liberties. (B) Political rights. (C) Voice and accountability. (D) Government effectiveness. (E) Rule of law. (F) Control of corruption. (G) Immunization rates. (H) Public expenditure on health. (I) Girls’ primary education completion rate. (J) Public expenditure on primary education. (K) Natural resource management. (L) Business start-up. (M) Land rights and access. (N) Trade policy. (O) Regulatory quality. (P) Inflation control. (Q) Fiscal policy.

(7) An analysis for the suitable replacement for existing Pakistani helicopters, including recommendations for sustainment and training.

(b) Comprehensive Regional Strategy Report: (1) SENSE OF CONGRESS: It is the sense of Congress that the achievement of United States national security goals to eliminate terrorist threats and close safe havens in Pakistan requires the development of a comprehensive plan that utilizes all elements of national power, including in coordination and cooperation with other concerned governments, and that it is critical to Pakistan’s long-term prosperity and security to strengthen regional relationships among India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan.

(2) COMPREHENSIVE REGIONAL SECURITY STRATEGY: The President shall develop a comprehensive interagency regional security strategy to eliminate terrorist threats and close safe havens in Pakistan, including by working with the Government of Pakistan and other relevant governments and organizations in the region and elsewhere, as appropriate, to best implement effective counterinsurgency and counterterrorism efforts in and near the border areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan, including the FATA, the NWFP, parts of Balochistan, and parts of Punjab.

(3) REPORT: (A) IN GENERAL- Not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the President shall submit to the appropriate congressional committees a report on the comprehensive regional security strategy required under paragraph (2).

(B) CONTENTS- The report shall include a copy of the comprehensive regional security strategy, including specifications of goals, and proposed timelines and budgets for implementation of the strategy.

(C) APPROPRIATE CONGRESSIONAL COMMITTEES DEFINED: In this paragraph, the term `appropriate congressional committees’ means (i) the Committee on Appropriations, the Committee on Armed Services, the Committee on Foreign Affairs, and the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence of the House of Representatives; and (ii) the Committee on Appropriations, the Committee on Armed Services, the Committee on Foreign Relations, and the Select Committee on Intelligence of the Senate.

(c) Security-related Assistance Plan- Not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of State shall submit to the appropriate congressional committees a plan for the proposed use of amounts authorized for security-related assistance for each of the fiscal years 2010 through 2014. Such plan shall include an assessment of how the use of such amounts complements or otherwise is related to amounts described in section 204.

SEC. 302. MONITORING REPORTS.

(a) Semi-Annual Monitoring Report- Not later than 180 days after the submission of the Pakistan Assistance Strategy Report pursuant to section 301(a), and every 180 days thereafter through September 30, 2014, the Secretary of State, in consultation with the Secretary of Defense, shall submit to the appropriate congressional committees a report that describes the assistance provided under this Act during the preceding 180-day period. The report shall include—

(1) a description of all assistance by program, project, and activity, as well as by geographic area, provided pursuant to title I of this Act during the period covered by the report, including the amount of assistance provided for each program or project, and with respect to the first report a description of all amounts made available for assistance to Pakistan during fiscal year 2009, including a description of each program, project, and activity for which funds were made available; (2) a list of persons or entities from the United States or other countries that have received funds in excess of $100,000 to conduct projects under title I of this Act during the period covered by the report, which may be included in a classified annex, if necessary to avoid a security risk, and a justification for the classification; (3) with respect to the plan described in section 301(a)(3), updates to such plan and a description of best practices to improve the impact of the assistance authorized under title I of this Act; (4) an assessment of the effectiveness of assistance provided under title I of this Act during the period covered by the report in achieving desired objectives and outcomes as guided by the plan described in section 301(a)(3), and as updated pursuant to paragraph (3) of this subsection, including a systematic, qualitative, and where possible, quantitative basis for assessing whether desired outcomes are achieved and a timeline for completion of each project and program; (5) a description of any shortfall in United States financial, physical, technical, or human resources that hinder the effective use and monitoring of such funds; (6) a description of any negative impact, including the absorptive capacity of the region for which the resources are intended, of United States bilateral or multilateral assistance and recommendations for modification of funding, if any; (7) any incidents or reports of waste, fraud, and abuse of expenditures under title I of this Act; (8) the amount of funds authorized to be appropriated pursuant to section 102 that were used during the reporting period for administrative expenses or for audits and program reviews pursuant to the authority under sections 101(c)(2) and 103; (9) a description of the expenditures made from any Chief of Mission Fund established pursuant to section 101(c)(5) during the period covered by the report, the purposes for which such expenditures were made, and a list of the recipients of any expenditures from the Chief of Mission Fund in excess of $100,000; (10) an accounting of assistance provided to Pakistan under title I of this Act, broken down into the categories set forth in section 301(a)(6); (11) an evaluation of efforts undertaken by the Government of Pakistan to (A) disrupt, dismantle, and defeat al Qaeda, the Taliban, and other extremist and terrorist groups in the FATA and settled areas; (B) eliminate the safe havens of such forces in Pakistan; (C) close terrorist camps, including those of Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed; (D) cease all support for extremist and terrorist groups; (E) prevent attacks into neighbouring countries; (F) increase oversight over curriculum in Madrassas, including closing Madrassas with direct links to the Taliban or other extremist and terrorist groups; and (G) improve counterterrorism financing and anti-money laundering laws, apply for observer status for the Financial Action Task Force, and take steps to adhere to the United Nations International Convention for the Suppression of Financing of Terrorism; (12) a detailed description of Pakistan’s efforts to prevent proliferation of nuclear-related material and expertise; (13) an assessment of whether assistance provided to Pakistan has directly or indirectly aided the expansion of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program, whether by the diversion of United States assistance or the reallocation of Pakistan’s financial resources that would otherwise be spent for programs and activities unrelated to its nuclear weapons program; (14) a detailed description of the extent to which funds obligated and expended pursuant to section 202(b) meet the requirements of such section; and (15) an assessment of the extent to which the Government of Pakistan exercises effective civilian control of the military, including a description of the extent to which civilian executive leaders and parliament exercise oversight and approval of military budgets, the chain of command, the process of promotion for senior military leaders, civilian involvement in strategic guidance and planning, and military involvement in civil administration.

(b) Government Accountability Office Reports:

(1) PAKISTAN ASSISTANCE STRATEGY REPORT: Not later than one year after the submission of the Pakistan Assistance Strategy Report pursuant to section 301(a), the Comptroller General of the United States shall submit to the appropriate congressional committees a report that contains (A) a review of, and comments addressing, the Pakistan Assistance Strategy Report; (B) recommendations relating to any additional actions the Comptroller General believes could help improve the efficiency and effectiveness of United States efforts to meet the objectives of this Act; (C) a detailed description of the expenditures made by Pakistan pursuant to grant assistance under section 23 of the Arms Export Control Act (22 USC.
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posted @ 5:09 PM, ,

Taliban vs India

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With the Americans refusing to take sides in any part of the conflict that doesn’t suit their own national interests, little incentive remains for the Pakistanis to construct a strategy that would leave them without options after American withdrawal.

As Pakistan was rocked by bomb blasts, from Lahore to Peshawar to Kohat, Hakimullah Mehsud, the new leader of the Pakistani Taliban, issued a statement threatening to dispatch Islamic militants to India once an Islamic state had been established in Pakistan. In his statement Hakimullah said: “We want an Islamic state, if we get that then we will go to the borders and fight the Indians.”
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posted @ 4:40 PM, ,

Power politics in AJK

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The News International, Pakistan, Saturday, October 17, 2009
The Azad Kashmir Legislative Assembly is to vote in its third prime minister, after Sardar Yaqoob ended his nine-month stint in power by resigning hours ahead of a vote of no confidence. The architect behind the vote is said to be former AJK prime minister Atiq Ahmed Khan, who was toppled in an almost identical fashion in January this year. Even the charges mentioned in the no-confidence motion – corruption, mismanagement, misuse of power – are virtually unchanged. The coalition headed by Sardar Yaqoob, himself an independent candidate, consisting of a disgruntled faction of the Muslim Conference, the PPP in AJK, the MQM and other miniscule groups, had always lacked stability. This indeed has been the story of legislative politics in AJK since the 1970s, when elections were introduced in the territory. But what is disturbing is that since that time, events in Muzaffarabad have consistently been manipulated from outside. This time too, Atiq Ahmed Khan is said to have held various meetings in Murree before going ahead with his no confidence plan. There is conjecture too that Sardar Yaqoob was advised to step down, after discovering he had lost assembly support.

We do not yet know what the principal purpose behind these moves may be. In the context of the wider political situation in Pakistan, it is possibly significant that Atiq Ahmed Khan turned down a request from President Zardari to avoid seeking a no- confidence vote. But beyond all this, it is unfortunate that the people of AJK have not been granted the autonomy of choice that Pakistan avers should be their right. In the territory feelings run high against intervention from forces in Pakistan. People have repeatedly been denied their right to move ahead with decisions and the political structure remains weak. All this works against the interests of the people of Kashmir who once again see political turmoil.

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posted @ 4:30 PM, ,

AJK PM resigns

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The Prime Minister of Azad Jammu & Kashmir, Sardar Yaqoob Khan, has stepped down after losing support, but says he has resigned “to avoid a political controversy in the Legislative Assembly”. But he has hinted at horse-trading which he thinks will be discouraged by his resignation. He mercifully did not dissolve the assembly, thus sparing a new election during a season where everyone is scared of holding elections.

Sardar Sahib had put together his patchwork government after ousting Sardar Atique Ahmed’s Muslim Conference government in January. And Muslim Conference had been in power since July 2001 when the government of the AJK People’s Party was toppled after powerful jihadi organisations had accused it of being sharabi (addicted to alcohol) and of taking graft. Sardar Yaqoob had done the same sort of thing to Sardar Atique in January, accusing the Muslim Conference of graft and proving his point by plucking its members out of the house majority.

Sardar Atique had left in a huff in January, accusing the PPP in Islamabad of stage-managing his ouster. Now it seems the members who had deserted him have sniffed the air once again for change in Islamabad and decided to switch horses in the middle of the race. The PPP in Islamabad is projected by the media as being on the back-foot with the army. That is enough to undermine political conviction in a “frontline” region with a Constitution that vests authority not in parliament but a ministry in Islamabad.

AJK has remained unstable because of jihad. If a government becomes too innovative in policy it is shown the door. Sardar Atique in January had endorsed the victory of the National Conference on the Indian side and had agreed with its rejection of jihad. But Sardar Farooq’s government that replaced his was a patchwork of dissidents and couldn’t last; the AJKPP had walked off crying foul. With a thin plank of support to walk, Sardar Farooq was expected to fall, which he has.
Daily Times, Pakistan, Friday, October 16, 2009

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posted @ 6:06 PM, ,

Kerry-Lugar Bill as a zero-sum game!

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ISLAMABAD: The opposition in the National Assembly Thursday described the Kerry-Lugar Bill as a zero-sum game while rejecting the explanatory statement from the United States describing it a ‘latest charade’ that was termed by the foreign minister ‘Historic’.

The legislators started to lose interest in the debate on the Kerry-Lugar Bill as it continued for a week in the National Assembly and they found it was aimless practice for them.Ayaz Amir described the explanatory statement attached with the Kerry-Lugar Bill as the ‘latest Charade’ from the United States.

But at the same time, the treasury benches defended it as the PPP Information Secretary Fauzia Wahab said some forces in the country were expressing their displeasure as the aid was coming for the democratic government.

Ayaz Amir, who is key opposition speaker on Thursday debate on Kerry Lugar Bill, described the bill as zero sum game.He rejected the explanatory statement saying that it had not any worth and added, “It was not historic document as described by the foreign minister as its value is less than the Rs20 stamp paper.”
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posted @ 6:01 PM, ,

Obama signs Kerry-Lugar Bill into law

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WASHINGTON: A day after the US Congress attached an explanatory statement to the Kerry-Lugar Bill to clarify its intent, the US president signed the Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act of 2009 here on Thursday.

President Obama signed the bill into law at the White House at 9:15 am.“This law is the tangible manifestation of broad support for Pakistan in the US, as evidenced by its bipartisan, bicameral, unanimous passage in Congress,” White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said in a statement.

The statement said that the United States wanted to engage Pakistan on the basis of strategic partnership, “grounded in support for Pakistan’s democratic institutions and the Pakistani people.”

“And this act formalises that partnership, based on a shared commitment to improving the living conditions of the people of Pakistan through sustainable economic development, strengthening democracy, rule of law and combating extremism that threatens Pakistan and the United States,” Gibbs added.
Source: The News International, Pakistan, Friday, October 16, 2009

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posted @ 5:53 PM, ,

Lahore under terrorists' attacks

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The simultaneous attacks by up to 20 terrorists on three separate targets in Lahore Thursday morning have added to the mayhem caused by militants who have struck repeatedly over the last week. At least 17 people, among them five militants, were reported dead. The toll is expected to rise as the chaos created by the multiple attacks clears and a more complete picture emerges. We are fortunate there was not greater carnage. Media reports immediately after the siege -- that began just after 9 am was ended between two and four hours later at various places -- spoke of unexploded grenades and suicide jackets being discovered. The terrorists had also evidently planned for a long siege. The fact that they failed must count as some kind of success. It seems apparent the militants will make more such attempts in the future. This is something that we must focus on.

The attacks in Lahore took place despite warnings from intelligence agencies that this would happen. Some of these warnings had appeared in the media. The Punjab government had spoken openly of them and had cited the security threat as a reason to delay by-polls. If we are unable to stop the militants despite such precise intelligence, there is quite obviously something that is very wrong. We need to find out where these oversights or lapses or negligence are occurring and why. In times of war there can be no room for mistakes, especially ones that lead to death and destruction on this scale. Worse still are the reports that at the Bedian Elite Force Training Centre, the militants, who reportedly included three women, may simply have climbed in over a back wall and taken up positions. A number of the militants are said also to have escaped, possibly by fleeing into the fields around. No one quite seems to know what has become of the terrorists who were not killed by the military operation staged at Bedian. The tactics used by the highly organized militants were an obvious replication of what we saw just days ago at GHQ. Three buildings belonging to the security apparatus were picked out and moved on almost simultaneously. The FIA building at Mozang, the police academy at Manawan and the sprawling Elite Force Training Centre at Bedian Road were obviously selected on the basis that they housed the personnel entrusted with the task of battling militancy. The Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan has quickly claimed responsibility and the Lahore attack may have been a part of its bid to warn against an operation in South Waziristan. Police believe Punjab-based groups may have aided the TTP. The same partnership could be used again to stage more coordinated attacks. We do not yet know if a suicide bombing in Kohat that killed at least ten people was linked to the Lahore incidents. But the mere thought of strikes at the same time in different cities is terrifying. The war in our tribal areas has once more forced its way into our cities. There is a possibility that rival Taliban groups are engaged in an attempt to demonstrate superiority. It is possible too that the daring assaults are an act of desperation by a militia that faces defeat. But whatever the truth may be, the government must assess why authorities have repeatedly failed to pre-empt the strikes despite the existence of intelligence and why terrorists from the northwest have faced few problems in moving into fortified cities. For all the claims of our interior minister of having 'foiled' the militants, the fact is that bodies today again lie in morgue and the injured crowd hospital wards. We must find out why it has occurred and come up with ways to stop the other bombers who even now may be chalking up their plans and detecting security weaknesses they can exploit.
Source: The News International, Pakistan, Friday, October 16, 2009

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posted @ 11:56 AM, ,

Nishat Group brought $ 1 bn

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RAWALPINDI: Mian Mohammad Mansha, Chairman Nishat Group of Companies, has said that he has brought $1 billion to Pakistan from abroad through the private sector and could bring $1.5 billion a year, equal to US aid in Kerry-Lugar Bill.

The chairman of Nishat Group of Companies, which comprises Muslim Commercial Bank, Adamjee Insurance, DG Khan Cement and Nishat Textile, was speaking at Tezi Mandi programme of the Geo News.

Mohammad Mansha said, “We have been talking about American $1.5 billion a year, but no one was speaking about $1 billion, which we brought to Pakistan through private sector.” He said.
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posted @ 4:39 PM, ,

Attack on GHQ

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RAWALPINDI: Army commandos stormed the besieged security building of the General Headquarters (GHQ) in the wee hours of Sunday and rescued 44 men taken hostage by five terrorists on Saturday.

Four militants were killed in the process and a top terrorist was arrested in a critically injured condition. Two commandos and three hostages were also killed during the rescue operation. Some 42 military and civilian employees of a section of the GHQ, who were taken hostage at about 11:40 am on Saturday, were freed at 6:03 am on Sunday, but the search and clearance operation continued till 9:30 am, security sources said.

Earlier, nine captives, including two officers, managed to escape from the besieged building under cover of darkness and joined the troops, who were planning to storm the building and provided useful information about the exact location of the terrorists, the sources said.
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posted @ 4:02 PM, ,

Thatta Kedona Radio Station Project

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Thatta Kedona Radio Station project is coming of age. Two rooms have been constructed and new solar units have already been installed in them. Computer and MP3 recorders for the Radio Station.

In addition to infrastructure including building, electrification and hardware, special some software is also required for streaming for high speed traffic to run the Internet radio. When commissioned, this will be another ‘first’ in Pakistan.

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posted @ 4:22 PM, ,

SC serves contempt notices on 60 high court judges

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ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Wednesday served contempt of court notices on 60 high court judges belonging to Lahore, Peshawar and Sindh High Courts who violated the apex court’s order of November 3, 2007, restraining the judges of the higher judiciary from taking oath under the Provisional Constitution Order (PCO), promulgated by former military dictator General (retd) Pervez Musharraf.

Those judges who received contempt of court notices, included 26 judges of the Lahore High Court (LHC), 20 judges of the Sindh High Court (SHC) and 14 judges of the Peshawar High Court (PHC). Iftikhar Hussain Chaudhry, former chief justice of the Lahore High Court (LHC), is also in the list.
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posted @ 10:31 AM, ,

Differences surface between civil and military leadership

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ISLAMABAD: The differences surfaced between civil and military leadership of the country on Kerry-Lugar Bill have shaken the national scenario and triggered series of consultations among presidency and government leadership.

US President Barack Obama postponed signing of bill keeping in view Pakistan’s domestic situation.

Political analysts said military, opposition and government allies expressing reservations about Kerry-Lugar Bill. Senior analyst Kamran Khan said top leadership have evidences that some elements within the government of Pakistan deputed some people to convince key members of US Congress to include clauses in Kerry-Lugar Bill against Pakistan Army and Pakistan’s nuclear program.
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posted @ 10:26 AM, ,

Use of US Funds

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As the Obama Administration focuses more on the social sectors of the Pakistani economy and separates its aid to Pakistan under the Kerry-Lugar Bill from assistance to the Pakistan Army, new information about how the old US funds were utilised by the Musharraf regime has come to light. The revelation is that the army was not given all the aid meant for increasing its capacity to fight terrorism, but that most of it was diverted by the Musharraf regime to prop up the civilian government.

A couple of retired generals have decided to speak out. General Mahmud Durrani (Retd), who was Pakistan’s ambassador to the US under General Musharraf, says: “It went to things like subsidies, which is why everything looked hunky-dory. The military was financing the war on terror out of its own budget.” And how was this made possible? By the fact that General Musharraf was both army chief and de facto “ruling” president of Pakistan.
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posted @ 5:32 PM, ,

Calls for repealing blasphemy laws

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ISLAMABAD: Former information minister Sherry Rehman and MNA Jameela Gilani called for repealing the blasphemy laws on Tuesday, as Sahibzada Fazl Karim said he would resist any move to do so. Speaking on a point of order, Sherry said the blasphemy laws should be reviewed as they were being misused. She said she wanted the laws to be repealed to reassure “our friends who have reservations”. The Awami National Party’s Jameela Gilani said her party also favoured repealing the blasphemy laws. “We are against all laws introduced by dictators,” she said. Akram Masih Gill also complained of the Christian community being targeted under the blasphemy laws. Taking notice of these remarks, Sahibzada Fazl Karim said his party was against any change in the laws to appease the West. “We will not allow it,” he added. zulfiqar ghuman
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posted @ 5:27 PM, ,

Indian reservations over aid bill

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NEW YORK: While the Pakistani media and many politicians are going ballistic about how the Kerry- Lugar bill impairs Pakistan’s sovereignty do they have any idea how angry the Indians are?

According to Indian Foreign Minister SM Krishna “New Delhi was concerned as former Pakistan president Parvez Musharraf had himself disclosed that his country had diverted some aid—which the US gives the South Asian nation as funding for the war on terror—to bolster defences against India.”

According to a former Indian intelligence chief, “Despite India’s constant protests regarding the misuse of American aid by Pakistan, US President Barack Obama recently urged “sustained and expanded” support for Pakistan at an international meeting. The objective ostensibly was to “strengthen” Pakistan to defeat terrorism.” Mr Obama said, “The violent extremists within Pakistan pose a threat to the region, to the United States, and to the world. Above all, they threaten the security of the Pakistani people.” This, in spite of former Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf’s candid admission that under his regime Pakistan had misused US military aid to arm itself against India.
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posted @ 5:23 PM, ,

Anger over degrading language in Kerry-Lugar Bill

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KARACHI: As anger mounts over the degrading language and observations in the Kerry-Lugar Bill on Pakistan’s military services and intelligence agencies, the Army conveyed its part of protest to the United States when Commander of International Forces in Afghanistan General Stanley McChrystal met Army chief General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani at the GHQ on Tuesday, informed officials said.

These officials said that General Kayani told General McChrystal that like the Pakistani people, the military and intelligence services were furious at the observations made on Pakistan’s security establishment in the Kerry-Lugar Bill. Kayani also protested over the controversial statements made by some US officials in recent days.

“General McChrystal returned from the GHQ with an unambiguous message that the terms set in the Kerry-Lugar Bill on the national security interests of Pakistan are insulting and are unacceptable in their present formulation,” according to an official familiar with the content of the meeting.
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posted @ 5:18 PM, ,

Pakistan may reject the Kerry-Lugar Bill

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ISLAMABAD: The government is gently moving in a direction where it may reject the Kerry-Lugar Bill in its present shape. The rejection will be accompanied by a request to the US Congress and the Obama administration for an understanding of Pakistan’s sovereignty and its right to decide issues of national security and foreign policy, according to several senior Pakistani officials and an important federal cabinet minister. The sources spoke to this correspondent on condition of anonymity.

“I’ll be very very surprised if Pakistan accepts the Kerry-Lugar Bill with its present formulations because the nation wouldn’t allow a trade-off between sovereignty and US aid,” said an important federal cabinet member, reflecting the prevailing sense in government circles on the issue.
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posted @ 9:58 PM, ,

Kerry Lugar Bill

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The Dawn, Monday, 05 Oct, 2009 writes,

There is then the finance minister who laments that terror has cost Pakistan $35bn, but that Pakistan would spare no effort or resources to combat this existential threat to its territorial integrity and values.

Mr. Zardari asked the world to give Pakistan $ 100 bn as compensation for war on terror and his finance minister puts the estimate to be around $ 35 bn. The two need to reconcile the estimates with each other. Irrespective of the two estimates, the much hyped about Kerry Lugar Bill of $ 1.5 bn is but pea nuts, and has so many conditions attached to it. If Pakistan can live without the remaining billion dollars in double digits, it should refuse this American aid and learn to live hungry but with pride.

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posted @ 8:40 PM, ,

Military Operation in South Waziristan

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‘If we don’t take the battle to them, they will bring the battle to us,’ a senior military official said of the militants. ‘The epicentre of the behemoth called the Taliban lies in South Waziristan, and this is where we will be fighting the toughest of all battles.’

For three months, the military has been drawing up plans, holding in-depth deliberations and carrying out studies on past expeditions to make what seems to be the last grand stand against Pakistani Taliban in the Mehsud heartland a success.

‘We are ready. The environment is ready,’ the senior officer said. But military officials also admit Waziristan will not be an easy battle. ‘It will not be a walkover. This is going to be casualty-intensive hard fighting. The nation will have to bear the pain,’ said another officer.
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posted @ 6:50 PM, ,

China's 60th anniversary

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BEIJING: China on its 60th anniversary of its founding has displayed its military muscle but with a soft message of reassurance and continuation of reconciliation domestically as well across its frontiers.

It was an expression of resolve to continue the policies of the last three decades of reforms with an added commitment. Proud but self-possessed Chinese President Hu Jintao wearing socialist era’s Mao jacket said on Thursday that the Chinese people were confident and capable of building their own country and making due contribution to the world.

China will stick to an independent foreign policy of peace to promote lasting peace and common prosperity of the world, Chinese President Hu Jintao said. The Chinese president said that his country will pursue the path of peaceful development and cultivate friendly relations and cooperation with all countries on the basis of the Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence, which are mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, mutual non-aggression, non-interference in each other’s internal affairs, equality and mutual benefits and peaceful co-existence.
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posted @ 6:30 PM, ,

Major eartgquake in Indonesia

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Friday, October 02, 2009
PADANG, Indonesia: Indonesia said on Thursday it feared thousands had died in a major earthquake as exhausted rescue workers clawed through mountains of rubble with their bare hands in a race to find survivors. The first rescue flights laden with food, medicine and body bags arrived in the devastated region on Sumatra island as another powerful quake struck further south, causing more injuries and sparking panic. “The latest figures we have suggest the death toll has risen already to 1,100,” UN humanitarian chief John Holmes told a press briefing at the United Nations.
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posted @ 6:28 PM, ,

German Model

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What are those values? A social market economy, rather than unbridled market capitalism; an export economy built on a large and technically innovative manufacturing base; a large network of small and medium sized enterprise, often family-owned, that is open to the global economy; a sense of environmental responsibility; and a suspicion of financially driven Anglo-Saxon style globalisation and corporate capitalism. Indeed the sense that Germany had the opportunity to show off the unique strengths of the “German model” was a key to Merkel’s appeal, and she repeatedly noted what a tough line she had taken against the position of banks.
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posted @ 7:25 PM, ,

Conventional Architecture

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Concept of shifting to mud architecture is creating waves in Pakistan. It is heartening to know that a lot is happening to convert this concept in to a reality in the form of proposed Mud Village, Peerzada Festival Area, Lahore. Read the latest story at Light Within.

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posted @ 7:21 PM, ,

United States focuses on Quetta

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The US ambassador to Pakistan, Anne W Patterson, has told the Washington Post that “the United States has now turned its focus to Quetta”, claiming that the area has now become a major Taliban base from where “Mullah Omar and his commanders plan and launch cross-border strikes into Afghanistan”. The US-NATO commander in Afghanistan, General Stanley A McChrystal, has also raised the matter of the “Quetta shura” as a major command centre for the Taliban bombings and attacks inside Afghanistan in his initial assessment to US President Barack Obama. As if to complete the message, a newspaper in London has hinted that the US could be making ready for drone attacks in Balochistan too.

The military spokesman in Pakistan says there are no Taliban in Balochistan. DG-ISPR Major-General Athar Abbas also says that the names given to Pakistan by Afghanistan under the so-called rubric “Quetta shura” are of Taliban commanders that have mostly been taken out while some are in Afghanistan: “Six to 10 of them have been killed, two are in Afghanistan, and two are insignificant. When people call Mullah Omar the mayor of Quetta it is incorrect”.

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posted @ 7:17 PM, ,

US approves $ 1.5 bn aid to Pakistan

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WASHINGTON: The US Congress on Wednesday approved tripling non-military aid to Pakistan to help fight extremism in the country, sending the measure to President Barack Obama for signing into law.

Final action on the legislation came as the House of Representatives approved it. The legislation authorises $1.5 billion a year for the next five years as part of a bid to build a new relationship with Pakistan that no longer focuses largely on military ties, but also on Pakistan’s social and economic development.

The bill also stipulates that US military aid will cease if Pakistan does not help fight “terrorists,” including Taliban insurgents and al Qaeda followers. “We can’t allow al Qaeda or any other terrorist group that threatens our national security interests to operate with impunity in the tribal regions or any other part of Pakistan,” said the bill’s sponsor, Democratic Representative Howard Berman. “Nor can we permit the Pakistani state — and its nuclear arsenal — to be taken over by the Taliban,” he added.

To keep military aid flowing, Pakistan must also cooperate to dismantle nuclear supplier networks, the bill said. Islamabad could do this by offering “relevant information from or direct

access to Pakistani nationals associated with such networks,” it said, referring to nuclear scientist AQ Khan.

“Both governments — the Chinese and the Pakistanis — plot and manoeuvre against our interests all the time,” said Representative Dana Rohrbacher, a Republican. “The threat of radical Islam is real, but it’s not going to be solved by us being irresponsible” with billions in taxpayer money, he said.

The assistance, which must be approved by congressional appropriators annually from 2010 to 2014, is intended to fund a range of projects, including Pakistani schools and roads, agricultural development, energy generation, water resource management and the judicial system.

The bill was approved by the Senate last week. Passage followed lengthy negotiations among lawmakers and the administration over what conditions to place on Pakistan, where officials had urged no strings be attached.
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posted @ 5:12 PM, ,

NRO stands invalid since February 5, 2008

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The apex court did not agree with the perception that the benefits drawn from the NRO are past and closed transactions.It instead judged: “Under Article 89 of the Constitution, an ordinance issued by the president if not so laid before the National Assembly, or both Houses of Parliament, stands repealed on expiration of four months from its promulgation.”

Under this judgment, the NRO stands invalid since February 5, 2008, when it completed its 120-day constitutional life. The NRO was enforced on Oct 6, 2007, and within 120 days had to be passed by parliament as a bill or re-issued as an ordinance, which it was not.
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posted @ 5:08 PM, ,

Watching TV the best way

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TV has become such a household necessity that it won't be wrong to call it a unique family member. You must make the best out of it. This is only possible if you have your TV connected via the best Satellite Television Service Provider. Gone are the days of dish and cable which restrict your choices, you should opt for the best satellite service provider i.e DirectTV Satellite. Great features of Direct TV Programming include high definition channels, exclusive sports programming, programming cell phone options, premium entertainment channels and much more. If you sign up for Direct TV now with NFL Sunday ticket for five months, you get premier packages free for five months. Direct TV provides TV services many time more than what you can get via Cable or Dish. They have deals, offers and Direct TV Packages for everyone at home or in business. You can select the package of your choice or combine packages to get additional discounts or opt for DIRECTV Specials..

To get the connection all you need to do is to contact Direct Star TV who are the largest dealers of Direct TV. They are at your beck and call ever ready to provide the best possible customer service which includes free installation. Highly trained and experienced staff will assist and guide you choose the right packages for you and your family. The web site is user friendly and provides you with all the details in a very simple way. The explanations are comprehensive. Upgrade your TV connection today and you would realize as to what all you have been missing to date and also how much you could have saved.

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posted @ 11:18 AM, ,


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