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Saturday, 15 March, 2014 Jamadi-ul-Awwal 13, 1435 Rs 17.00 Vol IV No 257 16 Pages lahore Edition







Saturday, 15 March, 2014

No more giviNg court the slip, geNeral! Special court iSSueS NoN-bailable arreSt warraNtS for pervez MuSharraf, orderS govt to produce hiM iN court oN March 31 ISLAMABAD STAFF REPORT


He special court on Friday issued non-bailable arrest warrants against former president General (r) Pervez Musharraf and ordered police to produce him on March 31, as he failed to appear before the court for his indictment despite repeated orders. A three-member bench of the special court (SC) constituted to try Musharraf for high treason heard the case. As the hearing started, Musharraf's coun-

sel Anwar Mansoor submitted a petition in the court requesting for the former president's exemption for one day from the hearing in which he was likely to be indicted. The lawyer said that background checks were being conducted of personnel deployed for Musharraf's security which could take six to eight weeks. He also contended that orders issued by the SC to summon Musharraf were unlawful, adding that the December 13 order was also unlawful. He requested the court to revisit the earlier order. Chief prosecutor Akram Sheikh said Musharraf's absence from the hearings was an attempt to disrupt the court proceedings.

Justice Faisal Arab, head of the threemember bench, remarked that if Musharraf did not appear for the hearing, his lawyer would be indicted instead, and that the lawyer should inform the court in 30 minutes if Musharraf was intending to appear before the court or not. The judge noted that in case the military dictator did not appear, charges would be read out to the lawyer. Upon this, Ahmad Raza Kasuri, another lawyer of Musharraf, argued that an accused cannot be indicted in absentia. Whereas Sheikh argued that Musharraf should be taken into custody so that the government could be responsible for his security. He said that Rs 200 million had already been spent on Musharraf’s security to date. The SC after hearing all the court pro-

ceedings issued the warrants and directed the interior secretary to ensure Musharraf's production and make necessary arrangements in this regard. "If he (Musharraf) fails to appear before the special court by March 31 he should be arrested and presented," the order stated. Musharraf’s legal team decided to challenge the court order in Supreme Court of Pakistan, stating that they were not satisfied with the ruling. The hearing of the case has been adjourned till March 20. The special court will indict Pervez Musharraf on his appearance in the high treason case for subverting the Constitution by issuing proclamation of emergency on November 3, 2007.

Nawaz ‘won’t allow blackmailing’ over Karachi operation pM SayS operatioN will coNtiNue uNtil objectiveS are achieved

directS iNterior MiNiStry to expedite blockiNg of illegal Mobile phoNe SiMS

liftS baN oN recruitMeNtS iN civil arMed forceS


Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Friday said that the federal government would not tolerate more killing in Karachi and said no one could blackmail him in this regard. Addressing a meeting on law and order situation in Karachi, he said the operation against criminals in Karachi would continue until their elimination. Nawaz directed the authorities concerned to shift Anti-Terrorism Courts (ATCs) to Malir Cantonment Karachi. Keeping in view the Islamabad District Courts terror incident, he issued these orders for protection of investigation officers, witnesses, prosecutors and judges. Nawaz also issued orders for lifting the ban on the recruitments in civil armed forces. The PM directed officials to provide commando training to police personnel. He added ‘Quick Response Force’ should be established and directed the Sindh government to contact the Interpol to arrest proclaimed offenders hiding abroad. The PM emphasised that recruitments in police should be purely on merit and without any favoritism. He also directed

KARACHI: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif presides over a high-level meeting on law and order at Governor House. INP

the Sindh government to expedite establishment of isolated high security prisons for terrorists. Nawaz directed the Interior Ministry to speed up blocking of illegal mobile SIMs and use biometric system for issuance of SIMs. He directed the Sindh government and Rangers to take action against land-mafia illegally grabbing state lands. He directed the interior minister and Sindh Home Department secretary to mon-

itor the ongoing operation. The federal government would provide all kind of assistance to the Sindh government for maintaining peace in the province, Nawaz added. He convened the follow up meeting in the upcoming week to review the security situation countrywide. earlier, the Sindh chief secretary, Rangers DG and additional inspector general briefed Nawaz on law and order situa-

No financial scam in 9 months makes Shahbaz a proud man LAHORE STAFF REPORT

Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has said that situation of the country has gradually improved during the nine months tenure of the present government and no financial scandal has surfaced during this period which is a big change from the past and a credit to the present leadership. Talking to a delegation of the APNS executive committee led by its president Sarmad Ali, Shahbaz said that he had always accepted criticism of media with an open heart and gives importance to press reports. He said that due to strenuous efforts of the government the economic situation is improving and friendly countries are ready to make investment and support Pakistan in national economy. Problems being faced by the newspaper industry were also discussed on the occasion and the chief minister directed authorities to constitute a joint committee

of APNS and Punjab government for their solution. APNS members informed the chief minister that distribution of advertisements of Punjab government is being made in an equitable manner and ads are being given to newspapers under a corruption-free culture. Shahbaz said that the PML-N government has made sincere and serious efforts for elimination of extremism and terrorism through dialogue. He said that government has initiated dialogue process with complete responsibility for the maintenance of law and order in the

country. He said that anti-Pakistan forces do not want stability in the country however the prime minister has made it clear that talks will be held under the constitution of Pakistan and there should be no doubt about it. He said that no country could make progress without achieving economic independence. “War is no solution to any problem and Pakistan desires good neighbourly relations with India,” he said, adding that Pakistan should make itself economically strong in order to resolve its outstanding disputes with India.


tion. The prime minister said that "We will also discuss coordination mechanism regarding border control, intelligence sharing and combating terrorism". On the occasion, the Sindh government assured the PM over implementation of the decisions of the meeting. Sindh Governor Ishratul ebad, Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah, Intelligence Bureau DG, Rangers DG and other high ups attended the meeting.

syed Fasih iqbal remembered LAHORE: Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors (CPNE) on Thursday held a condolence reference for former senator and famous journalist Syed Fasih Iqbal at Royal Palm Golf and Country Club. On the occasion, the council announced initiating Syed Fasih Iqbal Award and also demanded the government name an Islamabad road after Syed Fasih Iqbal. The sitting was presided over by The Nation Editor-in-Chief Majid Nizami while newspaper editors and owners including CPNE President Mujeebur Rehman Shami, Pakistan Today Editor Arif Nizami, former Balochistan caretaker CM Nawab Ghaus Bakhash Barozai, Jameel Athar, Mian Aamir Mehmood, Zia Shahid, Dr Jabbar Khatak, Ayaz Khan, Mehtab Khan Abbasi and Khushnood Ali Khan attended the sitting. CPNE President Mujeebur Rehman Shami said that the late Fasif Iqbal was a man of multiple qualities. “Wherever he went, he won the hearts of the people,” he said and added that he was voice of Balochistan in Pakistan and in the world he was voice of Pakistan. He said he could be said as father of journalism of Balochistan. He said, “I never met any person who has any problem with Syed Fasih Iqbal. He became president of CPNE and APNS many times.” Arif Nizami said that he had always seen Fasih Iqbal smiling. “Although, he was not Baloch, but he enjoyed the respect in Balochistan more than Baloch people,” he said. Jameel Athar said that Fasif Iqbal was pride of journalism and Pakistan. Other speakers also lauded the services of Fasih Iqbal rendered in the field of journalism and for Balochistan. STAFF REPORT

Saturday, 15 March, 2014


‘ex-talibaN brothers’ kill 20 iN twiN bombiNgs 11 killed iN bicycle boMbiNg Near a buS iN Quetta, Several iNjured

9 killed iN Suicide attack targetiNg a police arMoured perSoNNel carrier iN peShawar



WO bombings in Quetta and Peshawar killed at least 20 people and wounded dozens on Friday as the banned terrorist outfit, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan denied that it was involved in the fresh incidents of terrorism. The explosions underscored the country’s fragile security even as the government tries to negotiate a peace deal with Taliban terrorists in the country. In Quetta, the capital of Balochistan province, a bomb exploded near a bus, killing 10 people and wounding 37, said Dr Ali Mardan at a local hospital. Four were in critical condition, he said. The bomb, hidden on a bicycle, exploded when the bus drove by, police officer Abdur Razzak Cheema said. Two vehicles carrying army troops had just passed by, Cheema said. Witness Bakht Mohammad, 27, said he was going to a market in a rickshaw

QUETTA: Security personnel and rescue workers shift the injured to a hospital following a bombing on Friday which killed at least 10 people. INP

when the bomb went off. "I heard a big bang and then something hit, wounding my leg, back and both arms," he said. "I was bleeding and the driver started reciting verses from the Quran." Balochistan is home to separatists battling the state

and sectarian groups who often attack minority Shias. It is also believed to be home to many Afghan Taliban members. In Peshawar, a suicide attacker blew himself up near a police armoured vehicle about 20 kilometres south of the

talibaN ‘SpliNter group’ ahrarul hiNd claiMS reSpoNSibility for both attackS

city, killing nine people and wounding 43, police officer Safdar Khan said. One woman and a child were among the dead, he said. Police officer Mohammad Faisal said most of the dead were civilians, though the blast wounded many police officers. He said that police recently stepped up patrols in the area due to threats from militants from the nearby Khyber tribal region. The Pakistan Army has carried out several operations in Khyber in an effort to rid the area of militants. One of the injured police officers, Tahir Shah, said the blast was so powerful that he felt it even inside the targeted armoured vehicle. "I am still feeling deaf," he said. A 10-year-old boy, Bilal Khan, said he was selling popcorn on a cart in the bazaar when the attack took place. "My cart turned over, and I fell on the ground. Something hit me in the legs," he said. AHRARUL HIND CLAIMS RESPONSIBILITY: An increasingly active Taliban splinter group Ahrarul Hind or “Liberators of India” – a name


Taliban negotiators on Friday said the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) leadership was ready to hold direct talks with the government and condemned Friday’s terrorist incidents in Quetta and Peshawar calling them a conspiracy being hatched to derail the peace process. At least 20 people were killed and more than 80 others injured in two separate incidents of terrorism in the capitals of Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces on Friday. Following a meeting of two members of the Taliban's negotiating committee with Taliban Shura, Maulana Samiul Haq, head of the committee nominated by the TTP, expressed hope for full restoration of peace

referring to the whole of the subcontinent – claimed responsibility for both attacks. “We claim both Peshawar and Quetta attacks,” their chief, Umar Qasmi, told a foreign news agency. “We don't abide by these talks and will continue to stage attacks.” The TTP leadership immediately distanced itself from the Friday attacks. “The TTP strongly condemns the Peshawar and Quetta blasts,” said TTP spokesman Shahidullah Shahid. “We have no connection to these attacks because we are observing a ceasefire.” Ahrarul Hind, which splintered from the Pakistani Taliban just a month ago, had previously claimed responsibility for an attack in central Islamabad earlier this month when suicide bombers and gunmen killed 11 people including an additional district and sessions judge. Investigators believe that Qasmi, the leader of the group, is capable of drawing support from other militant outfits, including several linked to al Qaeda that have wreaked bloody havoc in the country over the last decade.

two New polio cases coNFirmed iN siNdh, Nwa

GOVT-TALIBAN DIRECT TALKS LIKELY IN TWO DAYS SaMiul haQ SayS talibaN Shura to coNSider reQueSt for exteNdiNg ceaSefire period


SayS boMbiNgS iN Quetta aNd peShawar aiMed at derailiNg peace proceSS

in the country. The meeting took place in Miramshah, the main town of troubled North Waziristan tribal agency bordering Afghanistan. It was attended by Sheikh Khalid Haqqani, Qari Shakeel, Azam Tariq, Shahidullah Shahid, Sajid Mohmand and Ahsanullah Ahsan. Maulana Yousuf Shah and Professor Ibrahim represented Taliban committee. It was decided to hold the direct talks in Azad Mandi area of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Bannu district. However, the Taliban leadership apprised their nominated negotiators of their reservations. Responding to Samiul Haq’s request of further extending the month-long ceasefire, Taliban leaders told the negotiators that a final decision in this regard would be made after a formal meeting of the Shura in coming days. Speaking to media representa-

tives in Akora Khattak, Haq said both members of the Taliban talks committee came back satisfied after the meeting. “The meeting (direct talks) is expected in a couple of days with the newly formed government committee,” he said. “We will facilitate the direct talks…… and results will be presented before the Parliament also.” The chief of his own faction of Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI-S), who is also known as “Father of Taliban” in the West, said their first priority will be to get freed imprisoned children and women as demanded by the Taliban leadership. He showed optimism regarding positive outcome of the direct talks saying members of the new government committee are experienced with regards to the tribal areas.

“Friday’s incidents in Quetta and Peshawar are part of a conspiracy being hatched to derail the peace process,” said the JUI-S chief. He said surgical operations conducted by the country’s armed forces had failed to obtain desired results in the past and only ended up in spreading havoc in the tribal areas. The TTP's position has spurred speculation that the central command is not fully in control of the many splinter groups operating under it, and reaching a peace deal with one of them would not stop the violence. Speaking on the occasion, Professor Ibrahim of Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) vowed to take the peace process to its logical conclusion. He said the Taliban had nothing to do with Friday’s terrorist incidents.

ISLAMABAD: At least two new cases of polio virus were reported in Sindh and North Waziristan on Friday. According to National Health Department, 10-month-old Sajid of Miranshah was confirmed to have been affected by polio virus as he was administered no vaccination. Meanwhile, another case was reported in Karachi where two-year-old Muzlfa of Baldia Town was confirmed to be a polio virus victim. After confirmation of new cases, the total number polio patients has reached 24 in North Waziristan, three in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and one in Sindh. Sindh anti-polio officials confirmed that the affected girl was not vaccinated against polio in a campaign carried out in February. They said another anti-polio drive will start in the last week of March. STAFF REPORT

From his Pakistan hideout, Uighur leader vows revenge on China turkeStaN iSlaMic party leader abdullah MaNSour SayS ‘fight agaiNSt chiNa iS our iSlaMic reSpoNSibility aNd we have to fulfil it’ DERA ISMAIL KHAN AGENCIES Entrenched in secret mountain bases on Pakistan's border with Afghanistan, Uighur fighters are gearing up for retribution against China to avenge the deaths of comrades in Beijing's crackdown on a separatist movement, their leader told a foreign news agency. China, Pakistan's only major ally in the region, has long urged Islamabad to weed out what it says are militants from its western region of Xinjiang, who are holed up in a lawless tribal belt, home to a lethal mix of militant groups, including the Taliban and al Qaeda. A mass stabbing at a train station in the Chinese city of Kunming two weeks ago, in which at least

29 people were killed, has put a new spotlight on the largely Muslim Uighur ethnic minority from Xinjiang, where Beijing says armed groups seek to establish an independent state called East Turkestan. Beijing has called the Kunming bloodshed a "terrorist attack" carried out by militants, and says separatists operate training camps across the rugged border which abuts Pakistan and Afghanistan. In a rare but brief interview, Abdullah Mansour, leader of the rebel Turkestan Islamic Party, said it was his holy duty to fight the Chinese. "The fight against China is our Islamic responsibility and we have to fulfill it," he said from an undisclosed location. "China is not only our enemy, but it is the enemy of all

Muslims ... We have plans for many attacks in China," he said, speaking in the Uighur language through an interpreter. "We have a message to China that East Turkestan people and other Muslims have woken up. They cannot suppress us and Islam any more. Muslims will take revenge." Mansour spoke on a crackly line using a mobile phone with an Afghan SIM card in a brief statement which gave the news agency no chance to ask about the Kunming attack. The separatists hide mainly in the troubled North Waziristan region, where they are treated by their Pakistani Taliban hosts as guests of honor, militant and Pakistani intelligence sources say. The Turkestan Islamic Party, which China equates with the East

Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM), keeps a low profile in Pakistan. Unlike the Taliban, it almost never posts videos promoting its activities or ideology. Its exact size is unknown and some experts dispute its ability to orchestrate attacks in China, or that is exists at all as a cohesive group. Getting hold of leaders such as Mansour is almost impossible and interviews are usually very brief and conducted from undisclosed locations through a Pashto-speaking translator. Pakistani intelligence sources say they number about 400 fighters, and are clustered around the remote Mir Ali area, sharing bases with other foreign insurgents, particularly Uzbeks, who speak a similar language. In Afghanistan, two security reports sent to expatriates working there this year warned of attacks on a Chinese hotel, Chinese companies and other targets in Kabul. There have been no attacks so far. Ac-


cording to Afghan Taliban sources, there are about 250 Uighur militants in Afghanistan's Nuristan and Kunar provinces. "They live here with us but are always concerned about their people and mission in China. They are nice people, good Muslims and the best fighters," a senior Taliban commander said. He added that Uighur militants were not fond of guns, and resorted mostly to knives and daggers. China has stepped up security in Xinjiang after a vehicle ploughed into tourists on the edge of Beijing's Tiananmen Square in October, killing the three people in the car and two bystanders. China labeled it a suicide attack by militants from the region. Mansour released a Uighur-language video weeks after the Tiananmen incident, calling it a "jihadi operation" by its holy warriors. "The Chinese militants in the tribal areas are mostly clerics and fighters. They

have their families here and are mostly focused on Afghanistan," said one Pakistani Taliban commander. Saifullah Mahsud, head of the Pakistani think tank FATA Research Center, which has extensive sources in Pakistan's tribal areas, agreed their power and capacity to carry out major attacks are exaggerated by China. "It's survival, basically. They can't go back," he said. "This is the only place where they are welcome." But attempts by Taliban insurgents to carve out new hideouts in northern areas of Pakistan near China's border have helped create a new corridor for Uighurs leading into their homeland. "In the last couple of years, Taliban militants have got nearer and nearer to the Chinese border," said Mahsud. "There has been a lot of movement there. Perhaps that gives them the logistical support that they require to cross over into China."


Saturday, 15 March, 2014

$1.5b From saudia, with love! officialS reveal it waS Saudi arabia that loaNed pakiStaN $1.5b to Shore up reServeS ISLAMABAD AGENCIES


He “friendly Muslim country” that a beaming Finance Minister Ishaq Dar had referred to during his press conference on Wednesday, was revealed to be Saudi Arabia, having loaned cash-strapped Pakistan $1.5 billion this week to shore up its reserves. Pakistan had last month sought Riyadh’s help to shore up its foreign exchange reserves and meet debt-service obligations and undertake large energy and infrastructure projects, Pakistani officials told a foreign wire agency. The cash injection boosted reserve figures and helped the rupee rise to a ninemonth high against the greenback of Rs97.40 from 105.40 against the dollar between March 4 and 12. This is the strongest rally of the rupee in 30 years. “On a personal guarantee of the prime minister, Saudi Arabia has given $1.5 billion, which has helped bail out the rupee,” a senior Pakistani gov-

ernment official close to the deal told the media outfit, requesting anonymity as he was not authorised to disclose the source and purpose of the funding. The governor of the Saudi central bank declined to comment, and officials gave no details of the loan terms. Another top official who is based in Lahore said the money went into an account known as the Pakistan Development Fund set up to channel money from “friendly countries” like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab emirates. “We have a promise of a total $3 billion, of which $1.5 billion has been received so far,” the second official said. “Most recently, we got $750 million from the Saudis.” Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has long enjoyed close relations with the Saudi royal family. After his second term as prime minister was ended by a military coup in 1999, he was sent into exile in Saudi Arabia. Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, the Saudi financier and member of the ruling House of Saud, had dubbed Nawaz as “Saudi Arabia’s man in Pakistan”. Ishaq Dar confirmed on Wednesday that $1.5 billion was received under the development fund but de-

clined to comment on the source. “Why do you want to expose our friends?” he told reporters. “The countries who have helped us don’t want us to disclose the source.” NEW FUND: Dar announced the creation of the new fund on February 18, the same day Saudi crown prince and deputy prime minister Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud concluded a three-day-visit to Pakistan. Pakistan’s new army chief, General Raheel Sharif, also met King Abdullah and top Saudi military commanders during a trip to the kingdom two weeks before the new account was set up. Other high-profile Saudi visitors to Pakistan this year have included Saudi Foreign Minister Saud Al Faisal and Prince Salman bin Sultan, the country’s deputy defence minister. According to the finance ministry, gross official reserves – including the latest injection of $1.5 billion – stood at $9.52 billion on March 11. A third loan tranche of $550 million from the International Monetary Fund, expected before the end of March, will push reserves close to $10 billion. Pakistan is expected to receive $150 million from the Islamic Development Bank in March, as well as $150-200 million under the Coalition Support Fund, reimburse-


ments for assistance in the US-led coalition’s Afghanistan war effort. Pakistan has delayed its launch of eurobonds worth $500 million to May and plans to raise billions of dollars in privatisation revenue by June. The government also expects to raise over $1 billion through the auction of spectrum licences. An increase in foreign investment and

Adjournment motion moved in Senate over $1.5b aid ppp SeNator warNS govt agaiNSt MiSadveNture iN Syria ISLAMABAD ONlINE

An adjournment motion was moved in the Senate on Friday to discuss whether the $1.5 billion bailout by an unnamed Muslim country was related to the change in the country's policy of neutrality over Syria. The motion was moved by PPP Senator Farhatullah Babar. In a statement, he said that the claim of national debts coming down by Rs 800 billion as a result of

saudi arabia baNs 50 baby Names DUBAI AGENCIES Saudi Arabia’s Interior Ministry has banned 50 given names including “foreign” names, names related to royalty and those it considers to be blasphemous. Saudis will no longer be able to give their children names such as Amir (prince), Linda or Abdul Nabi (Slave of the Prophet PBUH) after the civil affairs department at the ministry issued the list, according to Saudi news sites. It justified the ban by saying that the names either contradicted the culture or religion of the kingdom, or were foreign, or “inappropriate”. The names fit into at least three categories: those that offend perceived religious sensibilities, those that are affiliated to royalty and those that are of non-Arabic or non-Islamic origin. A number of other names appear that do not necessarily fit into any category and it is therefore unclear as to why they would have been banned. Names such as Abdul Naser and Binyamin are not found to be particularly offensive to Muslims. Binyamin is believed in Islam to be the son of Prophet Jacob (Yaqoub) and the full brother of Prophet Joseph, but it also happens to be the name of the Israeli prime minister. Abdul Naser, similarly, is the name of the famous Arab nationalist ruler of Egypt, who was at odds with Saudi Arabia. Names such as Abdul Nabi and Abdul Hussain, common among Shias and some Sunni Arabs, are controversial because of the multiple ways in which they can be interpreted. Abdul in Arabic means “worshipper of” or “slave of”, while Nabi means “prophet” and Rasool means “messenger”. Those who oppose such names argue that Abdul means “worshipper of’ and is therefore forbidden as only God can be worshipped. Most Muslim names with Abdul carry one of God’s 99 Islamic names. Abdul Rahman, for example, comes from the name Al Rahman. Another set of names that is banned includes those that have to do with royalty, especially titles such as Sumuw (highness), Malek (king) and Malika (Queen) and other royal terms such as Al Mamlaka (the kingdom). Some of the names on the list are not uncommon among Arabs, including Malak (angel), Amir (prince), Abdul Naser and Jibreel (Gabriel).

rupee rising in value against dollar following the $1.5 billion bailout was most welcome but, “we need to be reassured there is no quid pro quo and trade off with a critical area of our foreign policy”. Finance Minister Ishaq Dar said on Wednesday that a Muslim country had given Pakistan $1.5 billion towards ‘Pakistan Development Fund' but the donor country did not wish to be identified. “The secrecy raises questions. We need to know when was the Pakistan Development Fund set up and for what purpose and what happened to the fund set up sometime back by the Friends of Democratic Pakistan. We also need to know whether it is outright grant, or aid or loan and on what terms and conditions,” he said. There is no such thing as free lunch

and relations between countries were guided by their national interests and based on a quid pro quo. There are issues that cannot be shrugged off, he said. He said that Syria had the potential of becoming Afghanistan of the Middle east and warned against any misadventure by changing course disregarding the catastrophic experience in Afghanistan next door. It would be a mistake of monumental proportions if we allowed ourselves to be sucked into the web of regional power politics in the Middle east. He said that the alarm bells first rang by reports late last month that a Muslim country was in talks with Pakistan for supply of anti-aircraft and anti tank rockets to Syrian rebels.

3 more Thari children die, toll reaches 140 THARPARKAR ONlINE

The death toll of children from the drought-hit Thar region has risen to 140, as three more infants died on Friday. Two male children in Mithi Civil hospital, and one female in Islamkot hospital died during treatment, sources said. Rahila, born just four days ago, passed away in Islamkot due to lack of medical facilities, complained the family of the infant. Six months old Ramchand died upon reaching Mithi hospital, while two months old Asif expired on his way to the hospital. Mithi Hospital remains overcrowded with several patients

THARPARKAR: Famine-stricken Thari women wait for food ration at a relief camp on Friday. INP

lying uncared and unattended to on each bed. Meanwhile, the relief work by several political, religious and civil society

organisations continued in different drought-hit areas, however, providing relief in the remote areas still remains an uphill task.

investigators focus on foul play behind missing plane KUALA LAMPUR AGENCIES An investigation into the disappearance of a Malaysia Airlines jetliner is focusing more on a suspicion of foul play, as evidence suggests it was diverted hundreds of miles off course, sources familiar with the Malaysian probe said. In a far more detailed description of military radar plotting than has been publicly revealed, two sources told Reuters an unidentified aircraft that investigators suspect was missing Flight MH370 appeared to be following a commonly used navigational route when it was last spotted early on Saturday, northwest of Malaysia. That course - headed into the Andaman Sea and towards the Bay of Bengal in the Indian Ocean could only have been set deliberately, either by flying the Boeing 777-200ER jet manually or by programming the auto-pilot. A third investigative source said inquiries were

focusing more on the theory that someone who knew how to fly a plane deliberately diverted the flight hundreds of miles off its scheduled course from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. "What we can say is we are looking at sabotage, with hijack still on the cards," said the source, a senior Malaysian police official. One of the most baffling mysteries in the history of modern aviation remains unsolved after nearly a week. The latest radar evidence is consistent with the expansion of the search for the aircraft to the west of Malaysia. There has been no trace of the plane nor any sign of wreckage as the navies and military aircraft of more than a dozen countries scour the seas across Southeast Asia. Malaysian Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said he could not confirm the last heading of the plane or if investigators were focusing on sabotage.


remittances by overseas Pakistanis has also helped lift the rupee. Remittances increased by 11 per cent to $10.2 billion during the first eight months of this fiscal year. The finance ministry has also attributed the currency’s recovery to punitive action against exporters withholding export receipts abroad and warnings to foreign exchange speculators.

kabul irked at haphazard release oF aFghaN talibaN prisoNers iN pakistaN KABUL AGENCIES Afghanistan’s High Peace Council, set up to oversee peace talks with the Taliban, has had no formal meetings with any of the 46 Taliban prisoners released in neighbouring Pakistan, an official said on Friday, despite pleas to be present when they are freed. Pakistan began releasing small batches of Afghan Taliban prisoners in 2012 at the request of Kabul which wants to use the men as interlocutors to pursue peace talks with the insurgents, who are ramping up attacks as Nato troops withdraw and the country prepares for April 5 elections. The Afghans wanted a delegation present at each release. But they complained that Pakistan does not tell them before prisoners are freed, raising question about Pakistan’s sincerity in wanting to help bring an end to the war. Afghanistan has long accused Pakistan, which faces a Taliban insurgency of its own, of backing the hardline Afghan Taliban, in power from 1996 to 2001 and seeking to oust foreign forces and set up an Islamic state. The Afghan Taliban said on Monday the elections were being manipulated by the United States and threatened to attack anyone taking part. “We want all prisoners to be given into Afghan custody,” said a high-ranking member of the council. “Members of the High Peace Council should have a chance to see them and talk to them and say look, we have been asking for your release, now you have been released, it would be better for us to cooperate to bring peace and stability to Afghanistan.” Instead, Pakistan only informs the Afghans after the men are released, he said, speaking anonymously to avoid jeopardizing ongoing talks. The council had managed to establish informal contact through intermediaries with around 15 of the 46 freed prisoners, he said, but had had no direct meetings. Almost all were in Pakistan. The council had no idea where the other prisoners were, he said, but thought they were also in Pakistan. A Pakistani foreign office spokeswoman said Islamabad had set up at least one meeting but that other freed prisoners might be unwilling to meet the Afghans. “Some people are not ready for that,” said spokeswoman Tasnim Aslam. “Our position remains that we have released these people at the request of Afghanistan and the High Peace Council. We have facilitated their meeting. We will continue to do that… doubting Pakistan’s sincerity is not helpful.” She pointed out that Pakistan had arranged a November meeting between the council delegation and Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the former Taliban number two captured in the port city of Karachi seven years ago.


Saturday, 15 March, 2014

Blasphemy law use on rise, led by Pakistan: us group G WASHINGTON AGENCIES

ovERNMENTS around the world are increasingly invoking blasphemy laws, with Pakistan by far the country that jails the most citizens for allegedly attacking religion, a US report said Thursday. The US Commission on International Religious Freedom, a government advisory panel, voiced fear that the rise in laws banning blasphemy was leading to punishment of people who merely express different religious views or who have been falsely accused. The report found Pakistan used its controversial law at a level “incomparable” to anywhere else, listing 14 people on death row and 19 others serving life sentences for alleged blasphemy against Islam. Pakistan has never carried out the

death penalty for blasphemy, but the report charged that the law, and the lack of procedural safeguards, has contributed to an alarming number of mob attacks and vigilante violence against mi-

norities. Egypt has seen a rise in use of such laws since the 2011 overthrow of president Hosni Mubarak, the report said. Citing local activists, the report found blasphemy cases involved 63 people

The report found Pakistan used its controversial law at a level “incomparable” to anywhere else, listing 14 people on death row and 19 others serving life sentences for alleged blasphemy against Islam

Raped Muzaffargarh teen dies after setting self on fire






Pakistan and Britain have agreed to review the whole spectrum of enhanced strategic dialogue for further strengthening bilateral relations in different fields. The understanding came at a meeting between Advisor on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz and British Foreign Secretary William Hague in London. During the meeting‚ the two sides reviewed progress on bilateral commitments and discussed future plans to develop a deeper dialogue between the two countries‚ strengthening friendship and promoting mutual interests. Adviser Sartaj Aziz and Foreign Secretary William Hague discussed priority areas of the bilateral relationship including; renewing commitment to increase bilateral trade to £3 billion by 2015; promoting investments; enhancing Pakistan’s EU trade access recently secured with significant UK support; the UK’s commitment to stand alongside Pakistan to tackle militancy, terrorism and extremism while acknowledging the huge sacrifices the Pakistani nation has made. They also welcomed the positive contribution made by the British Pakistani community to further strengthen the relationship between the two countries. The two sides agreed to review the whole spectrum of the Enhanced Strategic Dialogue during Prime

Minister Nawaz Sharif’s forthcoming visit to the UK. After the meeting‚ Aziz said, “We have agreed to intensify efforts to achieve meaningful and mutually beneficial progress in a holistic manner under the framework of the Enhanced Strategic Dialogue.” Foreign Secretary William Hague said, “Pakistan and the UK share longstanding ties. I was pleased to have this opportunity to discuss plans to reframe the Enhanced Strategic Dialogue into a deeper and more focused agreement between our two countries, which

strengthens our partnership and promotes our mutual interests. This dialogue represents a continuing, long-term commitment by both countries to work together to create the conditions necessary for greater security and prosperity.” The dialogue was signed in 2011 and sets out the UK and Pakistan’s strategic partnership in five areas: trade and business relations; financial, macro-economic stabilisation and development cooperation; Education and health; consultations on defence and security; and cultural cooperation.

A teenage girl died on Friday after setting herself on fire after a court dropped charges against four men accused of raping her. The incident occurred in Muzaffargarh district where the horrific 2002 gang rape of Mukhtar Mai, an illiterate women, made headlines around the world. Amina Bibi, aged 18 according to police, doused herself with petrol and set herself alight on Thursday in front of a police station in the village of Beet Meer Hazar. News channels aired horrifying footage showing the self-immolation and desperate attempts by onlookers to put the flames out. Amina was taken to a nearby government-run hospital where the doctors tried to save her but she succumbed to her injuries early on Friday. She was allegedly assaulted by four men, including a family member, in early January and reported the incident to police. But a local court in Muzaffargarh dropped the case on Thursday following a police report which said she had not been raped, prompting Amina to take the desperate measure. "Nadir, the main accused in the case was a relative of the victim and they had a family dis-

Malaysian plane could have been hijacked to Pakistan: US media WALL STREET JOURNAL SAYS PLANE COULD HAVE TRAVELLED FOR ANOTHER 2,200 MILES TO PAKISTAN OR MONGOLIA WASHINGTON ONLINE The missing Malaysia Airline flight MH370 could have flown for an extra four hours after it lost contact with air traffic controllers and could had been hijacked and landed in Pakistan, according to American media reports. In another dramatic twist, aviation experts believe the plane flew for a total of five hours under radar. The possibility means the plane could

in 2011 and 2012 and disproportionately targeted the Christian minority. The US commission opposes blasphemy laws, saying they “protect beliefs over individuals.” “This trend of greater usage of blasphemy laws will surely lead to increased violations of the freedoms of religion and expression,” said Knox Thames, the commission's director of policy and research. “Governments will jail people, and extremists may kill others in the defense of undefined notions of religious sentiment,” he said, calling blasphemy laws “inherently problematic.” Blasphemy is a sensitive issue for many Muslims. In Islam images of the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) are forbidden. Pakistan in the past has urged the United Nations to make blasphemy an internationally recognized offense. The commission report also highlighted Bangladesh's arrests of three self-professed atheists last year and said Indonesia has arrested more than 120 people since 2003 for blasphemy, although they generally have not been prosecuted. While blasphemy cases took place mostly in the Islamic world, the commission noted that Russia last year enacted a blasphemy law after punk band Pussy Riot put on a performance critical of President vladimir Putin inside a cathedral. The report also pointed to Greece, where a man was arrested in 2012 for blasphemy after mocking a late orthodox monk on Facebook.

have travelled for another 2,200 miles to Pakistan or Mongolia, according to the Wall Street Journal. The plane could had been hijacked and taken to an unknown location – one of many theories as to what may have happened to the disappearing plane. The journal said it is not clear whether investigators have evidence of a hijacking – but they have not ruled the possibility out. US investigators are looking into the prospect and counterterrorism officials are investigating the idea that the plane’s transponders were turned off intentionally and the aircraft was diverted when an image appeared to show debris. It is based on data automatically downloaded and sent to the ground from the aircraft’s Rolls Royce engines

as part of a standard monitoring programme. The Boeing 777 jetliner vanished six days ago with 239 people on board. The Beijing-bound flight left Kuala Lumpur at 4.41pm GMT, but less than 50 minutes later it lost communication with air traffic control. But a senior Malaysia Airlines official told media that no such data relating to the potential extra flight time existed, while a second official said he was unaware of it too. A spokesperson for engine manufacturer Rolls-Royce had no immediate comment. Malaysia Airlines said previously the engines stopped transmitting monitoring signals when contact with the plane


was lost. The engines should transmit live data to the ground every 30 minutes. Hopes were raised when a Chinese state agency released satellite images of three pieces of large debris floating near the plane’s last recorded position in the South China Sea but found nothing.

pute," senior police official Chaudhry Asghar Ali told reporters. "The case was investigated twice and investigators discovered that the victim had not been raped." The Supreme Court on Friday demanded an explanation for the incident, ordering the provincial police chief and district police chief to appear in the court in person. The court ordered police to file a written report explaining how the case was investigated and why the accused men were cleared. The Punjab police chief's spokeswoman said an investigation team had been sent to the area to investigate. "We have sent an enquiry team to the area and have suspended the police officials who were investigating the case", Nabeela Ghazanfar, spokeswomen of the Punjab police chief said. The independent Human Rights Commission of Pakistan demanded the government take steps to ensure rapists are brought to justice. "Her sacrifice has exposed the ordeals that rape victims in the country face when they try to bring their tormentors to justice," the group said. "It is common knowledge that only the courageous rape victims in Pakistan take the matter to the police or court."

PML-N MNA AijAz ChAudhry disquALified over fAke degree ISLAMABAD: An election tribunal on Friday disqualified Aijaz Chaudhry, an MNA from the Pakistan Muslim League - Nawaz (PML-N), for possessing a bogus academic degree. Chaudhry was elected on NA-108 (Mandi Bahauddin) on a PMLN ticket. His rival candidate, Mumtaz Ahmad, had filed the appeal to seek his disqualification on the basis of a bogus graduation degree. In Dec 2013, the Lahore High Court (LHC) had restrained the tribunal from deciding on the appeal for Chaudhry’s disqualification. Chaudhry had challenged the tribunal’s proceedings and had pleaded that the matter of his degree had already been settled by the LHC, submitting that his rival had concealed the facts. STAFF REPORT













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A CITY LINES UP FOR GAS! LAHORE: The supply to Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) stations in Lahore region on Friday was restored after three months after the order of Lahore High Court (LHC). The supply to CNG stations had been suspended in December 2013 due to gas loadshedding. The LHC had ordered to ensure gas supply to the CNG stations for two days in a week. According to the new gas load management plan issued by the Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited, the CNG stations will supply gas for 48 hours. However, despite the announcement, most of the CNG stations in the city remained closed due to technical fault and absence of staff. Long queues of vehicles were seen at the CNG stations in the early hours of Friday while the citizens lauded the government for restoration of CNG. The citizens said that the routine life disturbed due to petrol prices and their budget would become balanced after restoration of CNG. STAFF REPORT

BOILER BLAST KILLS 4, INJURES 20 LAHORE: A boiler blast in a factory located in Quaid-e-Azam Industrial Estate left four people dead and injured 20 others. The injured were taken to Jinnah Hospital for medical assistance. Rescue teams, bomb disposal squad and police reached the area and the blast site was cordoned off. STAFF REPORT


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Saturday, 15 March, 2014

Nursing - the Punjabi style!

CAR THIEFS BUSTED; FOUR CARS, SIX BIKES SEIZED LAHORE: The police on Friday claimed to have arrested a seven-member gang including two women involved in carlifting besides recovering stolen vehicles and motorcycles. The police, on public complaint regarding a surge in car and motorcycle theft, widened its operation against the culprits across the city. During a crackdown, the police recovered four stolen cars and six motorcycles from the possession of the criminals. The nabbed culprits including Irum Javed, Samavia Javed, Aamir Ali, Naseer, Ashraf and Atif in the preliminary interrogation revealed that two members of the gang kept an eye on owner of the vehicle while the other three showed their skill with the car locks. The two female members of the gang later drove the stolen vehicles to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa where they were sold. A case has been registered against the detainees and investigation was in progress. STAFF REPORT

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urses had to pay a lot of price for daring to stage a protest for regularisation of their jobs as several of them were severely injured when police baton-charged to disperse them at the Charing Cross on Friday. Demoralised and saddened over the tragedy in which a pregnant woman had to be shifted to a local hospital in a critical condition, nurses at Ganga ram Hospital and Mayo Hospital boycotted their duties and poured in outside Punjab Assembly to join the protest. While the nurses chanted slogans demanding uplift in their service structure, police kept caning them to ‘keep their voices low’. The nurses were protesting for permanent jobs in government hospitals across Punjab and approval for their service structure. The police also arrested five nurses which were later released. Two of them were from Bahalwalpur while three of them were from city’s Mayo Hosptial. sumbal Mushtaq, a nurse, while talking to Pakistan Today expressed firm resolve to continue the protest until their demands were met. “I cannot understand what pleasure the government gets out of keeping us on our toes. We cannot work with a constant threat hanging on our heads. The government cannot just sack whoever they want and whenever they please,” she said. Another nurse, Anum shakeel, told this scribe that nurses had been protesting for eight days and the government had only responded in the form of violence. “They [police] did not even care that we are women and our children were also with us and just kept beating. They should have peacefully responded to our demands than resorting to using violence,” she said denouncing the police’s highhandedness. Nurse razia shakeeb said, “This is a weird government – it conducts peace talks with terrorists and subjects innocents to violence. I am utterly disappointed!” Moreover, the political leaders joined ranks with nurses protesting against the police highhandedness and government indifference towards their working conditions. several political figures reached the venue of protest soon after the news about police high-

handedness broke, leaving some nurses injured, two of them quite critically. PUNJAB GOVERNMENT TAKES NOTICE: In the meanwhile, while addressing a press conference with regard to police baton charge on nurses, Advisor to Punjab Chief Minister on Health Khwaja salman rafique said that Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad shahbaz sharif had ordered a judicial enquiry into the tragic incident of violence against nurses and assured that strict action would be taken as per law against the persons responsible of this incident. Health secretary Babar Hayat Tarar, Health DG Dr Zahid Pervez and Nursing DG were also present on the occasion. rafique, while rejecting the impression that a nurse had died of baton charge, said that it was decided during a high level meeting that no action would be taken against the nurses during their sit-in. He said that he along with health secretary, Health DG and Nursing DG were engaged in negotiations with the nurses and every effort was being made to convince them. rafique said that an enquiry will ascertain whether nurses violated the law first and tried to protest on The Mall or the police initiated the action prior to them breaking the law. He further said that 90 percent problems of nurses had already been resolved and all nurses working on ad-hoc basis were being given extension. He said that no nurse was removed from service. He disclosed that a summary has also been sent for regularisation of 810 nurses working on contractual basis. He said that assurance had also been given to the ad-hoc nurses qualified from private institutions to continue their service. replying to a question, rafique said that under the service rules, ad-hoc employees could not be regularised without Public service Commission. He said that Health Department had sent a requisition to Public service Commission for the recruitment of 1,450 nurses. Furthermore, he said that the nurses giving sit-in can be selected through Public service Commission and they will be given additional marks of experience in Public service Commission on the basis of which they will come on top of the merit list than fresh candidates. rafique said that the nurses giving sit-in rejected all offers and insisted upon acceptance of demand of direct regularisation.

This is a weird government – it conducts peace talks with terrorists and subjects innocents to violence. I am utterly disappointed!




Saturday, 15 March, 2014

The generous the khadim, the better the khidmat Chief minister says Punjab government taking measures for agriculture, to launch Khidmat Cards programme this month




uNJAB Chief Minister Muhammad shahbaz sharif has said the Punjab government is taking solid measures for progress and development of the agriculture sector. Talking to the media at the inauguration of agriculture exhibition sar sabz Pakistan at expo Center on Friday, he said smooth supply of electricity was essential for agriculture and other sectors, therefore, work was being carried out expeditiously on power projects under the leadership of Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz sharif. The chief minister said holding of the exhibition would help in development of the agriculture sector. He said Pakistan, especially Punjab, had to make a lot of progress in the agriculture sector by getting benefit from the modern research

in this sector. He said a substantial increase in exports could be made through value addition in rice, wheat and cotton. He said that there was a need to impart modern training to cultivators for value addition in agricultural items. KHIDMAT CARDS COMING YOUR WAY: The Punjab government has decided to launch the Punjab Khidmat Cards programme from the current month. under the first phase of the programme, monthly subsidy will be given to more than one million extremely low-income families up to June 2014 with a sum of rs 3 billion. It was decided in a high level meeting presided over by Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad shahbaz sharif to review progress of Punjab Khidmat Card programme on Friday. Addressing the meeting, the chief minister said improving the living standard of poor families was a duty of the state and

this responsibility will be discharged with a national spirit. He said the Khidmat Card programme was being started to reduce the economic burden of extremely lowincome families of society who will be provided direct monthly subsidy. CM GRIEVES DEATH OF RAPE VICTIM: Punjab Chief Minister shahbaz sharif on Friday expressed sorrow over the death of a gang raped victim in Muzaffargarh. earlier in Muzaffargarh, an 18-yearold female student committed the act of self-immolation in protest while demanding arrest of culprits who gangraped her in January this year but were later set free by a local court. The Punjab CM said that an exemplary punishment would be awarded to those officials who failed to provide justice to the girl adding that justice will be ensured to the affected family at any cost and every effort would be made to help the victimised family.

Kayseria, GarNier celebraTe sPriNG! LAHORE PRESS RELEASE

Premier designer textile house Kayseria collaborated with hair colour brand Garnier Colour Naturals to celebrate the Festivities of Lahore this Basant season with an exclusive screening of the Asia Cup Final, a fashion show and live music performances by sufi singer saieen Zahoor who performed his Coke studio season 6 ballad ‘rabba Ho’ among other

songs, Qurat-ul-Ain Balouch who performed ‘Humsafar’ and covers of iconic Pakistani anthems and Lahore’s favourite live act, Jimmy Khan; who regaled the audience with his original songs ‘Aisay Kaisay’ and ‘Nadiya’ and renditions of popular tracks from Coke studio Gigs, ‘Kir Kir’ and ‘Laili Jaan’. In celebration of this festive colourful season, Kayseria hosted an exclusive Fashion show which showcased their latest spring/summer

2014 collection featuring Pakistan’s leading models all styled with the Garnier Colour Naturals collection of nourishing hair colour. The event drew guests from all walks of life, including designers, celebrities and media personalities alike. Guests in attendance experienced the taste of Lahori Food Culture with a diversity of food stalls where savoury items such as gol gappay, toothi, kulfi, halwa puri, jalebi, laddu paithi and pop soda was readily available.


08 COMMENT Musharraf’s sin He has to pay for what he did


ecember 24. He put in appearance only once, continuing to use security and illness as alibi. The court ordered full security for musharraf while it rejected the plea of ailment maintaining that the medical report submitted by doctors did not state anywhere that he could not appear before the court. musharraf’s continuous defiance of the court’s orders would have called into question the court’s authority if the non bailable warrants had not been issued. On Thursday one of musharraf’s lawyers again told the media that the army was upset over musharraf’s trial and the government and army were not on the same page over the issue. The remarks were meant to convey the message that there was no chance of the former military ruler’s conviction on account of his military background. musharraf has himself made the claim that he enjoyed popularity in the army and the ‘whole army’ was upset with the treason case. A number of developments have meanwhile given birth to disturbing questions. Why is the Armed Forces Institute of cardiology (AFIc) which is an army controlled institution continuing to harbour musharraf, a man dodging the court since December, despite having no life

Musharraf has been given another sixteen days to appear before the court failing which the arrest orders are to be executed on the morning of March 31. threatening or debilitating ailment? Why was the report about a possible attack on musharraf with all the lurid details made public? If an ISI officer had an indication regarding terrorists planning to attack musharraf, he should have secretly passed it on to the law enforcement agencies to enable them to provide adequate security to musharraf on his way to the court. What happened instead was that the report was made available to musharraf’s lawyers even before it reached media. musharraf’s lawyers used it to create sensation and employed it as an excuse for not producing musharraf in court. Despite the fact that the army’s attitude towards the treason case continues to be hotly debated on media the ISPr has maintained a mysterious silence on the issue. This has naturally provided grist for the rumour mills. many think the army needs to clarify its position on musharraf’s trial. musharraf has been given another sixteen days to appear before the court failing which the arrest orders are to be executed on the morning of march 31. The court has avoided issuing orders for his immediate arrest. One hopes this is the last concession to the man who is accused of high treason. In case he is allowed to get away with the offence, there would be no end to bonapartism.

Dedicated to the legacy of the late Hameed Nizami

Arif Nizami Editor

Aziz-ud-Din Ahmad Joint Editor Lahore – Ph: 042-36375963-5 Fax: 042-32535230 Karachi – Ph: 021-35381208-9 Fax: 021-35381208 Islamabad – Ph: 051-2204545 Web: Email:

Saturday, 15 March, 2014

Putin’s demonisers A dangerous ploy Andrew Levine


emOcrATS and republicans are at each other’s throats most of the time. There are many reasons why. Fundamental philosophical or ideological differences are not among them. This is not the accepted view. The conventional wisdom has it that they adhere to different philosophies — that Democrats are liberals and republicans are conservatives. maybe something like that was more or less true once upon a time. Nowadays, the contention rings hollow. For one thing, it gives Democrats and republicans too much credit. It also insults liberalism and conservatism. Lately, the idea that Vladimir Putin is one of the “bad guys” has also become conventional wisdom; on this, Democrats and republicans agree. This is remarkable — not just because it is their custom to disagree, but also because it wasn’t long ago that the opposite was the case. George W. bush looked Vladimir Putin in the eye, beheld his soul, and saw that it was good. Only unreconstructed cold Warriors gainsaid him. Now Hillary clinton, echoing the media consensus, likens Putin to Hitler. As every kindergartener knows, this is shorthand for evil incarnate. On this, she speaks for the entire political establishment. However real liberals and conservatives have no reason to demonize russia’s leader. Liberals should welcome him in under their capacious tent. conservatives should embrace him. Nevertheless, Democrats and republicans demonize him. Since philosophical differences don’t explain this, there must be some other reason. could it be because russia is the country Putin leads? Neither Americans nor europeans are genetically anti-russian, and neither are they disposed to denigrate russian culture. but their political and economic elites are sensitive to any and all suggestions that the economic system from which they benefit is not, as it were, a blessing unto the nations. This makes russia a problem for them inasmuch as, even today, the conventional wisdom has it that russia’s relation to capitalism is problematic. Ironically, conservatism’s is too. Liberalism’s is not. Indeed, liberalism has been joined to capitalism from Day One. Intimations of both emerged in the Netherlands and england as early as the sixteenth century, and the two developed almost in tandem — joined, before long, by capitalist centers in Western europe and North America. early liberalism was, in effect, capitalism’s justifying theory. Political philosophers have been advancing views of what liberalism is ever since, and liberal politics has assumed a wide variety of forms. Still, in all its varieties, there is a common core. As the name suggests, it has to do with liberty or freedom. more precisely, it has to do with distinctively liberal views of this core value. The conception of liberty to which liberals are most wedded, historically and conceptually, is individualistic and negative; individuals are free to the extent that they are free from coercive interferences. This understanding sometimes melded into more positive conceptions, according to which individuals are free to the extent that they are able to do the things they want to do, and it has lately been joined to less individualistic understandings derived from seventeenth and eighteenth century (small-r) republican political theory. The idea has also lent itself to a wide range of philosophical elaborations, bearing on notions of equality and justice and on other deep problems of moral philosophy. but as a political doctrine, liberalism’s underlying emphases have remained fairly steady over the years: its

focus is and always has been to minimize coercive, state interferences. Liberalism is therefore a theory of limited government. In earlier times, it opposed absolutist theories according to which the sovereign’s power is in principle unlimited. It won that battle long ago. It is therefore fair to say that except for a handful of unreconstructed devotees of defunct illiberal ideologies, everyone is a liberal nowadays. conservatives are liberals too. many factors combined to turn liberalism into a philosophy of tolerance. The devastation brought on by the wars of religion that followed the Protestant reformation was perhaps the most important. The shift in emphasis has been so profound and its consequences so farreaching that hardly anyone these days, outside libertarian circles, still thinks that economic and political liberties comprise a seamless web. Indeed, mainstream liberals generally favor regulated markets and restrictions on property rights. but, for them, these are only secondary concerns. Their main interest lies in defending such rights and liberties as are elaborated in, say, the American constitution’s Bill of Rights and in The Declaration of the Rights of Man. If only to make their lives easier, political officials are constantly tempted to run roughshod over these protections. but where the rule of law is maintained, there are limits to how far they can go. This is true in russia, it is true throughout the eU, and it is true in the United States as well. Is Putin qualitatively worse than ordinary leaders of liberal states? Is he worse than Obama? The answer is of course, or so we are told. After all, how could a graduate of the Harvard Law School and a teacher of constitutional law at the University of chicago be less liberal than a former official of the KGb? but when the final reckoning comes, the obvious answer may not seem obvious anymore. What has Putin done that is worse, from a liberal point of view, than putting the entire planet under 24/7 surveillance? Has he ordered assassinations without any semblance of due process, the way Obama has? Has he deported some two million people? Has he protected kidnappers and torturers? And then there is the edward Snowden question, where the views of Obama et. al. on transparency and press freedom stand revealed, and where Putin has been on the side of the angels. Then there are the conservatives. At its most fundamental level, conservatism is a frame of mind that accords a high priority to conserving things as they are. In much the way that liberals accord pride of place to the absence of state interference, conservatives value stability and order above all. They are therefore change-averse, and they are especially loath to tamper with fundamental institutional arrangements. change is disruptive; the more radical the change, the more disruptive it is likely to be. No doubt, this temperament is more widespread in republican than Democratic ranks. but as a full-fledged political philosophy, conservatism hardly exists in our political culture. How could it when what we have to conserve is inherently destabilizing! Since the dawn of the christian era, conservative thinkers throughout christendom have drawn upon theological notions, like the doctrine of Original Sin, that imply support for institutions that maintain order through political and moral coercion. because many of the first settlers in british North America were religious refugees, this strain of conservative thought has been a presence on the American scene from the time the first europeans arrived. but the situation evolved, and pre-enlightened ways of thinking waned. Indeed, the republic established in


the aftermath of our War of Independence was liberal from birth, and its founding principles were those of the enlightenment. This is one reason why strains of thought that have anti-liberal implications have had a hard time taking hold. Another is that we have no feudal past and therefore no historical memory of non-capitalist ways of life that enhance stability and order. capitalism, after all, is a revolutionary economic system; it overthrows and reconstructs everything it encounters. As The Communist Manifesto famously proclaimed, under its aegis, “all that is solid melts into air.” conservatives today, real ones, live in capitalist societies and therefore accommodate to its destabilizing consequences. but the tension can never be entirely overcome. This is why our conservatives are, at best, only risible facsimiles of the genuine article. Nevertheless, nearly all republicans and alarmingly many Democrats call themselves “conservatives.” but is this not what Putin is accused of by those who call him a dictator? And, for that matter, are not the conceptions of the good that Putin is charged with wanting to promote basically the same as the ones his demonizers uphold? To hear republicans and Democrats tell it, Putin is running the show for reactionary russian clerics – either for opportunistic reasons or because he believes their gobbledegook or both. but why is that a problem for American politicians, especially for the self-styled conservatives among them? Apart from theological niceties of no political significance, our home grown theocrats are on the same page. real conservatives should therefore embrace Putin, not vilify him; and not just for his purported pre-enlightenment sympathies. being pessimists about human nature, real conservatives tend to favor authoritarian political styles and hardheaded, realist diplomacy. They like strong leaders, and despise floundering, clueless moralizers – like the ones now making foreign policy in the United States. They have a point: liberal internationalists – humanitarian interventionists especially – are more dangerous. but, then, why demonize Putin for being the kind of leader real conservatives admire? It was telling that one of the less fatuous attendees at the recently concluded conservative Political Action conference (cPAc) in Washington effectively, though grudgingly, agreed. rudolph Giuliani took his turn disparaging Obama by praising Putin’s leadership. Instead of muddling along like Obama from one situation to another, Putin, Giuliani pointed out, knows where he is going. Like other great conservative leaders of the past – charles de Gaulle comes immediately to mind – Putin approaches politics and diplomacy like a game of chess, envisioning the larger situation and anticipating the right move several steps ahead. And so, when it suits his purpose, he will bail Obama out, as he did when he had backed himself into a corner from which, without Putin’s intervention, he would have gotten the United States bogged down in Syria’s civil war – to the detriment of everyone involved. Or, when doing so is in his interest, he can prevail over the American presi-

dent, notwithstanding the fact that the United States has a stronger hand to play. Under the true conservative tent, there is evidently still room for a kind of greatness that is lacking in the liberal wing of the larger liberal fold. Greatness, but not goodness. On this, as on almost everything else, George W. bush was wrong. Hillary clinton is wrong too. Putin is the closest approximation the world now has to the great conservative leaders of the past. conservatives should appreciate this about him. but the gap between real conservatives and the self-styled ones around us is extreme; they might as well be different species. Still, though, the question remains: why is Putin demonized? I would venture that the fact that Putin is the leader of russia has more than a little to do with it. even in what Gore Vidal aptly called the United States of Amnesia, it registers at some level that, a century ago, russians moved history forward; that they broke free from the capitalist system. The communists who led the russian revolution then went on to organize and oversee the construction of a historically unprecedented, ostensibly socialist, order. It was a valiant effort – undertaken in an economically backward country and in the face of the relentless opposition of far stronger enemies. Tragically, what they concocted turned out to be a mixed blessing at best. Seven decades later, it all fell apart. but communism – in russia, and then in eastern europe and china — was a living presence throughout much of the twentieth century; its effects on politics and reflections on politics were profound. even in a country and at a time when republican-leaning states and regions are described as “red,” the memory of communism lingers at some level. Putin is no less pro-capitalist than anyone else in the liberal fold, and he is as fine a conservative leader as one can be in today’s world. The east –the russian part as much as the chinese – is no longer even remotely red (except perhaps in the sense that republicans are), but the memory persists in our collective consciousness. And so, when a russian leader becomes an obstacle in America’s way, the empire strikes back. Step one is to vilify the leader. And if there is anything our foreign policy establishment and our compliant corporate media are good at, vilification tops the list. Demonizing Putin may be useful in the short run to the empire’s “bipartisan” stewards. but, they are dealing with someone more formidable than themselves, and they are getting in over their heads. It is a cynical and dangerous ploy from which incalculable harm could follow.

The east –the Russian part as much as the Chinese – is no longer even remotely red (except perhaps in the sense that Republicans are), but the memory persists in our collective consciousness.

Andrew Levine is a Senior Scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies, the author most recently of THE AMERICAN IDEOLOGY (Routledge) and POLITICAL KEY WORDS (Blackwell) as well as of many other books and articles in political philosophy. His most recent book is In Bad Faith: What’s Wrong With the Opium of the People. He was a Professor (philosophy) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Research Professor (philosophy) at the University of Maryland-College Park. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press).


Saturday, 15 March, 2014



michAel KugelmAn

T’S hard to catch a break in Pakistan. Extremist violence is widespread, earthquakes and flooding are routine, and polio remains endemic. No nation has a higher infant mortality rate, and only a few have more cases of tuberculosis. Nearly half the country’s 180 million people lack access to safe water, and many Pakistanis have experienced power outages of up to 20 hours per day. Given such stresses, it’s not surprising that up to 16 percent of the country suffers from mental illness. And now comes the latest scourge: Famine. In recent days, media reports have revealed that dozens of people—many of them children—have died from malnutrition over the last three months in the bonedry desert region of Thar, in the southern province of Sindh. And yet things could soon get much worse. A recent UNICEF report, noting that drought has “devastated”

crops and livestock and that “hundreds of thousands” of people have fled, warns of a possible “massive humanitarian crisis” in Thar. Ominously, almost 3 million people “risk starvation” across Pakistan. Many Pakistani press accounts—and numerous Pakistani politicians—depict the Thar tragedy as a catastrophic case of negligence by Sindh’s provincial government. They fault local officials for taking too long to get food assistance to those in need late last year when drought conditions first began to set in. And they single out authorities for failing to transfer sick children in remote areas to better hospitals. Yet the Thar famine also reflects another type of failure: that of democracy. In recent years, Pakistan—a country ruled by the military for about half its existence— has made remarkable democratic progress. With successive free elections, civilian rule is firmly in place. Pakistan’s mighty military has mellowed. Constitutional amendments have decentralized power. The Supreme Court is increasingly targeting powerful people and institutions. And private media outlets have rapidly proliferated. However, there are limits to this progress. The most commonly cited obstacles to deeper democratization are the military, which continues to exert heavy influence over politics; a lack of pluralism and tolerance, which contributes to the deplorable plight of religious minorities; and the country’s abysmal law enforcement, which enables militants to operate with impunity.

Yet the tragedy in Thar underscores a more insidious and underreported threat to democracy: Astounding manifestations of land inequality. In Sindh, a paltry 0.05 percent of households hold more than five acres of land (the figure is similar in Punjab, Pakistan’s most populous province). In the nation as a whole, 2 percent of households own nearly 50 percent of land, while 5 percent of agricultural households own nearly two thirds of Pakistan’s farmland. This means that the majority of the population holds little to no land. Without land, it’s difficult to access food and water (and it’s also difficult to earn a livelihood; landless Pakistanis make up 70 percent of the country’s rural poor). Most Pakistanis must depend on a tiny, wealthy landowning minority for access to these natural resources. These resources, and the land that holds them, are becoming increasingly precious. According to one alarming estimate, Pakistan loses three acres of good agricultural land every 20 minutes. In Thar, land and natural resources are further imperiled by Islamabad’s plan to tap into the region’s vast coalfields to ease the country’s severe energy crisis. Officials insist there will be no deleterious impacts on local communities, but there’s good reason to fear that such exploitation could cause environmental distress and displacement, and deprive an impoverished region of a critical natural resource. These are very real problems in equally dry and poor Baluchistan, a

province long subjected to intensive natural resource extractions by Islamabad and large corporations. Such conditions have helped fuel a long-running separatist insurgency. In effect, millions of Pakistanis have neither the land to grow food nor the money to buy it. And yet little is done to help them. Landed rural elites—the essence of vested interests in Pakistan—seemingly spend more time blocking critical agricultural reforms (including those that would increase the tax base) than addressing the plight of the landless. They have also been accused of siphoning off irrigation water flows from poor farmers, and of diverting floodwaters away from their crops and into more vulnerable communities. What’s particularly troubling about all this is that these wealthy landowners are often politically connected, or politicians themselves (Sindh’s landed rural elite is a strong base of support for the Pakistan People’s Party, or PPP, which runs the Sindh government). Consider the strikingly blasé reactions of local officials to current conditions in Thar. Apparently unmoved by (or oblivious to) UNICEF’s warnings of a massive crisis, PPP leaders have described events of recent days as “normal” and “nothing new.” Sindh’s advocate general, speaking Monday at a hearing convened by Pakistan’s Supreme Court, expressed regret, but also appeared to lay the blame on parents for not taking their kids to the hospital. Perhaps most egregious of all, after federal officials toured affected areas this

week, Sindh’s government hosted a lavish buffet lunch featuring fried fish and biryani —“an act of such monumental stupidity and insensitivity,” according to one Pakistani editorial, “that it beggars belief.” Call this heartlessness, or call it apathy. Many Pakistanis call it feudalism— the embodiment of a system in which imperious landed elites lord over their hapless subjects. One thing you can’t call it, however, is democracy. Yes, it’s an imperfect institution—but surely it doesn’t sanction such vast disparities in land ownership, or the type of leadership that seems unmoved by the humanitarian crises spawned by those disparities. The takeaway here is that in Thar, people are dying because of deeply entrenched inequalities that make them profoundly food insecure and hyper-vulnerable to calamities—like drought and disease—that more fortunate people elsewhere can withstand and survive. Ultimately, the dead and dying of Thar—just like slaughtered Shia Muslims, the military’s large political footprint, and state sponsorship of militancy—underscore the fact that despite considerable achievements in recent years, democracy in Pakistan remains a work in progress. Michael Kugelman is the senior program associate for South Asia at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, DC. He can be reached at michael.kugelman[@]


Taliban and like-minded jihadis are becoming more united in their determination to impose their brand of sharia on both Afghanistan and Pakistan, with the help of their international mentors under the banner of al-Qaeda. While the terrorists are racing ahead with this unity of purpose, the governments of Afghanistan and Pakistan are divided when it comes to tackling the growing extremism. Islamabad is busy pursuing talks, while in Afghanistan “insider attacks’” are on the rise because the Taliban have managed to get members recruited by the Afghan security forces. The recent increase in the so-called green-on-blue attacks forced Coalition partners to suspend training of Afghan security forces. South Asia, heir to the great Indus Valley Civilization, is reeling after three decades of war. The ongoing war in Afghanistan has already spread east, and extremists regularly operate across the Durand Line that separates Afghanistan and Pakistan. The security situation in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) is the worst in decades, with the Taliban in effective control. The adjoining Khyber Pukhtunkhwa (KP) has seen its worst violence since the Afghan war began in 1979. Tens of thousands have been killed in attacks in these northwest Pakistan regions in recent years. Kashmir is a disputed region surrounded by Pakistan, India and China, and is the main source of the Indo-Pakistan proxy war in Afghanistan. Some of the current jihadi groups were trained in Kashmir and are now operating from Pakistan’s Punjab province. The deadly Mumbai Hotel attacks were carried out by one such group (Lashkar-e-Taiba) in 2008. The ultimate goal of these groups appears to be establishing an Islamic Caliphate, stretching from east Africa to southeast Asia, somewhat along the lines of the one present in the 8th century at the peak of Muslim ascendancy. Pakistani terrorists currently operate under various names: Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP), Tehreek-e-Nafaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi (TNSM), Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), Harkat-ul Mujahideen (HuM), Lashkare-Taiba (LeT), and many others. Besides the local, home-grown terrorists, there are a large number of fighters (mainly Uzbeks and Chechens) from Central Asia and Arab countries who are now permanently settled in FATA. They were part of the mujahedeen groups who fought against the Russians in Afghanistan. New terror groups are surfacing on a regular basis to claim responsibility for the almost daily attacks on either side of the Durand Line. One such group, Ahrar-ul-Hind (AuH) was responsible for the recent brazen court attack in the capital Islamabad, in which a senior judge was killed along with many others. Irrespective of the number of characters in their names, they are united in their short term goal of imposing Islamic Shariah in south Asia. Political ResPonse in Pakistan Religio-political parties in Pakistan such as Jamat-e-Islami (JI) and Jamiat-ul-Ulemai Islam (JUI) are staunch supporters of the Taliban. Though both JI and JUI enjoy little electoral support, they nonetheless have superior street power compared to the mainstream parties. Another mainstream political party, the rising Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) led by former cricket star

Imran Khan, is openly supporting the Taliban and is lobbying to open a Taliban office in KP. These three parties are the main source of oxygen and breathing space much needed by the Taliban and other terrorist groups. A NATO supply route was effectively blocked by PTI workers for several months before it was declared illegal by a high court in KP. After every terror attack, the leaders of these parties waste no time in telling their followers that a “foreign hand” (usually, the CIA, Mossad or India’s Research and Analysis Wing) was involved in these attacks in an attempt to sabotage the “peace process. The political party of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif strongly believes that the Taliban can be brought into mainstream politics through negotiation. The current piecemeal approach of both Islamabad and Kabul is to buy as much time as possible before the murky waters of 2014 become more transparent. Islamabad and Rawalpindi are meanwhile weighing their options to determine which Taliban groups to support and which ones to put on the chopping board. This approach will not succeed. The first round of “peace talks” between the Taliban and the Pakistani government failed miserably, as the attacks on civilians and military personnel could not be stopped. On the contrary, the Taliban have stepped up their efforts to dismantle state structures, and are increasingly bold on either side of the Durand Line. Pakistan’s interior minister recently announced the country’s first ever “security policy,” which states that after every terror attack Pakistani forces will bomb militant headquarters in FATA. Strikes on a few locations will create more misery for the local populations and add to the hundreds of thousands of internally displaced. inteRnational scenaRio The two economic giants India and China are anxiously watching the events unfolding in their backyards. China has clearly indicated that it will not tolerate a Taliban takeover in Afghanistan. China is facing its own terrorist threat in its west, and it has blamed the Muslim separatists for the recent knife attack in Kunming. India is more concerned about its own homegrown terrorist groups, although the increasing Talibanization of Pakistan could severely cripple its economy. This creeping Talibanization cannot be contained within Afghanistan and Pakistan; it is bound to spill over into India and China, at least. However, the developing situation in Ukraine could have a game-changing effect in South Asia. For one thing, Ukraine might be a bigger fish for NATO to catch than Afghanistan. For another, note the recent statement by the Pan-Islamist Jihadi group Hizb ut Tahrir: “The situation in Ukraine will not stabilize unless the Khilafah state is established for the Muslims.” A complete U.S. and NATO troop withdrawal (the zero option) would be chilling for progressive and liberal minority forces in both Pakistan and Afghanistan. Certainly, the upcoming Afghan elections and the NATO withdrawal will determine the security scenario in South Asia. In the complete absence of international forces, the Taliban can have a field day with those participating in the electoral process. Turnouts in the past have been extremely low and another low turnout this time will raise questions about the results. The credibility of the Afghan government has eroded over time and the political process is in danger of being overtaken by chaos and violence. The mushroom growth of terror outfits represents an existential threat to the territorial integrity of South Asian nations. Islamabad and Kabul are going to need to take their efforts to another level.

Asim Yousafzai PhD is a geo-political analyst at the University of Maryland.

protests persist

Christian sCienCe Monitor So many recent mass protests – those in Ukraine, India, Brazil, Tunisia – have been spontaneous and largely leaderless. Crowds unite around an ideal, say, honest government. They assemble by word of mouth and, increasingly, social media. The protests in Turkey this week, which continue those of last summer in Istanbul’s Gezi Park, are no different. No wonder Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan wants to ban Facebook and YouTube even as he searches for some leader to attack. Turkey’s protests may seem like an outburst of anger. This week’s demonstrations in many cities began because of news Tuesday of the death of an innocent teen boy injured by police during last June’s mass protests. But they really reveal the wisdom of an educated middle class that ties its prosperity to individual freedoms. It rejects the creeping autocracy of the ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP. To his credit, Mr. Erdogan has more than doubled the size of Turkey’s economy since he was elected in 2002. For the first time, Turkey has a majority of its people in the middle class. These Turks look more to each other than oldfashioned politicians to define their

future. The result is a grass-roots movement loosely focused on issues such as justice, trust, and transparency. Erdogan and the AKP could still handily win upcoming key elections, such as a March 30 vote for local government. But his fierce reaction to the protests and to reports of corruption have fractured his conservative coalition. A key political ally, a religious movement led by influential Islamic cleric Fethullah Gülen, has turned against him. To stay in power, Erdogan has taken control of the judiciary in the face of the corruption allegations. He has tried to restrict content on the Internet. In his effort to suppress the military’s influence over politics, he has put innocent people in jail. Like many leaders, Erdogan may see democracy as simply winning votes and imposing majority rule. He has poured billions into impressive tunnels and trains. But President Abdullah Gül, whose position is largely symbolic, has pointedly said, “Democracy is not just winning elections.” It is also about honoring the right to assembly, freedom of speech, clean governance, and minority rights. When protesters gather in countries like Turkey these days, they rally around such ideals. Leaders who follow these ideals are usually the best kind.


Saturday, 15 March, 2014


RIMe Minister Nawaz Sharif has reiterated his commitment to restoring peace and security to the satisfaction of every citizen and attracting foreign investment in the country, especially in Karachi. “Maintaining better law and order in the country, especially in Karachi, is vital for the country’s economic prosperity and development,” the prime minister said while addressing exports Trophy Awards ceremony hosted by Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) on Friday. He regretted that foreign businessmen hesitated to visit Pakistan, particularly Karachi, however, he appreciated the high spirits of the business community who were working hard for the prosperity and development of the country. “We are trying our best to provide a levelplaying field to the business community in Karachi,” the PM said. Sharif said Karachi was heart of the country and after taking over as the prime minister, he had initiated interaction with all stakeholders including the main political parties and the business community. He said this resulted in a consensus that a well-planned and across-the-board operation was unavoidable to purge the city of crimes mainly terrorism and kidnapping for ransom. He expressed satisfaction that the operation was going in the right direction. However, he said the federal and Sindh governments still had a lot to do on this account to achieve the desired results. every individual should play his role for the peace, prosperity and development of the country, he added. He said:


“We are here today to discuss the law and order situation”. Prime Minister Sharif said the country was facing many social and economic challenges that would be resolved through joint efforts, hard work and commitment. He said as a result of his government’s initiatives and remedial steps, load-shedding of electricity had visibly reduced in the country. After paying the amount of circular debt, the power supply was improving and 1400 MW electricity had been added to the national grid, he said. The premier said more electricity would be added into the system with execution of various small power projects in the country. Sharif said he had already inaugurated the construction work of two nuclear power plants of 2200 MW here at the coastal belt. Three more such projects of 1100 MW each were in pipeline, he added. At Port Qasim, two coal-fired power plants of 600 MW each were being set up, he said, adding work on 10 power projects at Gadani would start soon. He said China had decided to set up 10 coal-fired

power plants in Thar and these would be mine-mouth projects. Sharif sought the cooperation and support of the Sindh government in overcoming energy crisis in the country. “We are working on 25-year energy plan for the country,” he said. “In last 65 years of the country’s history, only 17,000MW power plants were placed in whereas we have planned to add 21,000MW electricity to the national gird in next eight years.” He said his government was taking aggressive steps to revive and strengthen the public sector organisations, which were operating in loss, like Pakistan International Airlines (PIA). He said the government had the resolve that PIA would not only be transformed into a profitable organisation but also made one of the best airlines in the world. This would be ensured by inducting more aircraft to its fleet and ensuring best service to the passengers, he added. He said PIA had a competent staff, however, it needed to be exploited properly. For this purpose, he said, very honest and competent person Captain Adeem had been

appointed as its head. “We want to run PIA on international standards,” he said. The prime minister said that work on Lahore-Karachi Motorway would start soon. He would also convene a meeting of the economic Advisory Council to discus the issues being faced by them and try to find their solution, he added. “My desire is that all your issues are resolved at the earliest. You won’t have to wait much for the relief,” he remarked. The prime minister said he wanted the economic Advisory Council to meet every three months so that it could deliver and prove to be an efficient platform for resolving the trade and industry problems. He said his government had been trying to formulate practical, sustainable and result-oriented policies to ensure economic prosperity and development in the country. earlier, the prime minister distributed trophies and medals among the winners of KCCI exports Trophy Awards and launched the 11th ‘My Karachi’ international trade exhibition to be hosted by KCCI in June.

IMF wants flexible exchange rate for Pakistan Rupee appreciated by 9.5pc after hitting Nov 28’s lowest Rs 110.10 IMF says appreciation pressure reflects improving current account prospects KARACHI: The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has suggested a flexible exchange rate for Pakistan as the Rupee dramatically appreciated against the US dollar by 9.5 percent to Rs 99.70 on the interbank market as of Thursday after depreciating to a historic Rs 110.10 level on November 28 last year. “On the issue of Pakistan's exchange rate, I can say that we firmly believe that Pakistan is best served by a flexible exchange rate,” Gerry Rice, a director at IMF’s communications department, told a briefing he held in Washington Thursday while responding to an online question from Pakistan. Friday saw the improving dollar trading at Rs 101 and Rs 98.52 on the kerb and interbank markets, respectively. For Monday the central bank has notified Rs 99.38 as the interbank exchange rate. A “webcast” of the press briefing on IMF’s website quoted Rice as viewing that a flexible exchange rate would allow the rupee to find a market-based equilibrium. His statement came in response to a query that if the Fund, the largest multilateral lender to Pakistan, deemed the current value of the rupee as real against the dollar. “Is it overvalued, undervalued,” the questioner asked. In his brief but positive reply Rice said the recent appreciation pressure seemed to reflect Pakistan’s improving current account prospects and better capital inflows. “Both welcome developments,” he added. With the country’s current account deficit widening beyond $ 2 billion during July-June FY14 compared to last year’s $ 441 million gap, the economic managers in the resourceconstrained Pakistan are foreseeing more inflows from bilateral and multilateral foreign funders in the months ahead. Finance Minister Ishaq Dar has attracted immense appreciation for materializing his boastful pledge of bringing the dollar back to Rs 98 level through arresting further reduction in the country’s depleted foreign exchange reserves. “The $ 1.5 billion Inflow from Saudi Arabia is the major factor behind this sudden appreciation in rupee,” views InvestCap analyst Abdul Azeem. STAFF REPORT

Chinese to build $1.2b economic corridor at Gwadar port KARACHI: Federal Minister for Ports and Shipping Kamran Michael has said that the Chinese investors will invest at least $ 1.20 billion to establish an economic corridor for the development of Gwadar Port. Senator Michael said this during a meeting that he chaired at his ministerial secretariat in the federal capital, according to a statement issued by the ministry on Friday. To this effect, the federal minister said, different agreements had already been signed with the Chinese investors who would be investing the said amount over next two to three years. "The money would be spent on the development of Gwadar Port," he added. Reflecting on the serious attitude of present government towards Gwadar Port's development, Michael said his government was serious in their motives to see the deep-sea port and its surrounding area develop. Unveiling more details, the federal minister said the approval of prime minister had already been secured under which the Gwadar Airport and road infrastructure would be upgraded and would be brought at par with latest international facilities. Similarly, the development of hospital, school and vocational training institutes would be made at Gwadar, he added. More berths at Gwadar Port would also be established at which the internationally acclaimed companies would bring in investments, he said. STAFF REPORT

CORPORATE CORNER volunteer campaign-Earth Hour, throughout Pakistan. The campaign started with a school outreach program and awareness drive at Lucky Cement Pezu Plant in KPK province. The activities were led by cricket sensation Shoaib Akhtar who spoke to the KPK audience about the importance of saving electricity. This is the 3rd consecutive year of Lucky Cement’s support to the world's largest volunteer campaign Earth Hour in Pakistan. PRESS RELEASE

LAHORE: WorldCall Telecom CEO Babar Ali Syed and Walter Pakistan President Imran Afzal signing an agreement. PR

World Call Telecom Limited signs Walter Pakistan as communication partners LAHORE: World Call Telecom Limited, an Oman Telecommunication Company (Omantel), has appointed Walter Pakistan (A division of WPP Marketing Communication) as its communication partners to handle its consolidated marketing communication, following an agreement signing on the 19th of Feb 2014. The agreement signing was done at WTL head office in Lahore and was attended by executive from both WorldCall and Walter. CEO WorldCall Telecom. PRESS RELEASE

Lucky Cement celebrates Earth Hour in KPK with Shoaib Akhtar KARACHI: Lucky Cement Limited (LCL), joined hands with WWF Pakistan in hosting world’s largest

barriers to opportunities and helping people in need reach their fullest potential. PRESS RELEASE

Wah Nobel Group signs MoU with Gezhouba Explosives Company

Three Pakistanis selected to World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leaders program KARACHI: Three Pakistanis have been selected for the World Economic Forum’s, Young Global Leaders program (YGLs). The YGL’s from Pakistan are Ali Jehangir Siddiqui, CEO of Mahvash& Jahangir Siddiqui Foundation, Sabeen Mahmud, Founder of T2F and Mosharraf Zaidi, Founder of AlifAilaan. These leaders have been recognized for their outstanding work in their respective fields of promoting social change to eliminate the existing

Dubai Islamic Bank Pakistan inaugurates Islamia College Branch

ISLAMABAD: An MoU has been inked between Wah Nobel Group of Companies and Gezhouba Explosives Co. Ltd, China to setup an Explosives Factory through a joint venture for mining, energy engineering, infrastructure construction and urban control blasting. Kawaja Muhammad Asif, Federal Minister for Defence and Water and Power was the Chief Guest of the Ceremony. Rana Tanvir Hussain, Federal Minister for Defence Production and Federal Secretary for Ministry of Defence Production were also present on this occasion. PRESS RELEASE

PTCL launches Corporate SMS service KARACHI: Mobilink Foundation receives the Shaukat Khanum Social Responsibility Award 2013 second year in a row. PR

management system which manages SMS campaigns and offers built-in controls to send web to phone messages to any mobile operator in the country. This service is being offered through a simple to use web based interface enabling corporate customers to log-in from any internet enabled device (computer/laptop/smart phone/tablet) and communicate instantly with individuals or groups via bulk text messaging. PRESS RELEASE

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL) has launched an exclusive Corporate SMS Service, first-of-its kind in Pakistan. The service is a complete bulk SMS

KARACHI: Dubai Islamic Bank Pakistan Limited (DIBPL) inaugurated its Islamia College Branch in Karachi. The branch was inaugurated by the Head of Consumer Banking of DIBPL Mr. Khawaja Asif. The Head of Distribution Mr. Naveed Malik and senior management were also present at the occasion. The inaugural ceremony was also attended by existing and potential customers of the Bank. The Khawaja Asif said that he is very pleased to inaugurate branch this year and confirmed Dubai Islamic Bank’s commitment to the long term prosperity of Pakistan by opening opportunities of Islamic Banking nationwide. PRESS RELEASE


Saturday, 15 March, 2014





Try something healthy and new today -- maybe a long walk up a staircase, maybe a shot of wheatgrass juice or maybe just a long, quiet meditation session. Your energy will thank you later!

Your sentimental side is engaged with the world today -- so make sure that you're showing your attachment to those you care about most. Your great energy makes you a joy to behold.

Think through today's big project or issue all the way -- otherwise, you might not be able to make much progress. Calculate all variables to the very last decimal place for extra points!




You have all kinds of great mental energy today -- so make the most of it and make plans for the future. Go as far out as you think you can see, because your foresight is legendary now.

Budgetary matters are all-important today -- so look over your spreadsheets. If you don't actually have a budget, now is a great time to get started, thanks to some very practical mental energy.

Things seem to make more sense today -- so roll with it and enjoy. The good part is that your certainty doesn't feel like bossiness or fundamentalism, and others are more willing to follow along.




Details start to crowd each other out and make your life a little harder to deal with -- but you can find a way to handle them if you try. Slow down and let yourself fully absorb every little thing.

It's the little stuff that really adds up today -- so focus on the details and make sure that you're happy with the way they all line up. Your energy is best for small-scale projects anyway.

You butt heads with your boss, teacher or some other authority figure who's not willing to listen to reason. They're likely to come out ahead, but you may be able to claim a small victory.







Your productivity is sky-high today, so make sure that you're working on something meaningful. It could be a good time for you to try something a bit more challenging while you're at it.

You need to deal with something quiet and personal today -even though you may rather focus on almost anything else. It's a really good day for meditation or therapy, if those options are open to you.

Just push yourself today -- even if you're low-energy or in a bad mood, you can still get quite a lot done. Don't worry about what remains to be done or how much you don't know yet.





How to play fill in all the squares in the grid so that each row, column and each of the squares contains all the digits. the object is to insert the numbers in the boxes to satisfy only one condition: each row, column and 3x3 box must contain the digits 1 through 9 exactly once.

oceans olive penchant prince risks schools sinner soil suppression tornado vacate vents version voyage weapon yonder

Today’s soluTions

pHaNtom sacRIFIcE

cHEss white tO PLAY AND MAte iN five MOves 8


7 6 5 4 3 2








chess solution


1.bxd5+ cxd5 2.Nxd7 Qxd7 3.Nxd5 Kh8 4.Rc7 Qd8 5.Rxe7 *


sudoku solution

1 stitched (4) 2 designed to prevent sliding (3-4) 3 city on the seine (5) 4 pre-decimal coin (8) 5 looked after (5,4,2) 6 karate, kendo etc (7,4) 10 premature (8) 12 australian marsupial (7) 15 workers' organisation (5) 17 potter's material (4)

amuse armor bleach cabins camel child coats cruise enjoy fakes fantasy fright frond glide holiday locate

crossword solution

5 abstinence from alcohol (11) 7 protective body covering (4) 8 indoor footwear (8) 9 hormone — nil in us (anag) (7) 11 proverbially slow-moving mollusc (5) 13 sweat (anag) (5) 14 knee bone (7) 16 situated at the end (8) 17 irish city or county (4) 18 very lively and cheerful (4,2,5)

woRd sEaRcH


Saturday, 15 March, 2014


Second-hand smoke linked with miscarriages, stillbirths P

reGnAnT women who have been exposed to high levels of secondhand smoke have a higher rate of miscarriages, stillbirths and fetal deaths, a new study suggests. “We often think of the diseases that secondhand smoke causes as diseases of older people,” epidemiologist Andrew Hyland told a foreign news agency. “The results of this study show that secondhand smoke can affect even unborn babies.” Hyland led the study at the roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, new York. He and his colleagues found the pregnancy risks associated with women’s secondhand smoke exposure were almost as high as the risks related to their own cigarette smoking. The study was the first to investigate the effects of secondhand smoke using quantified, lifetime exposure levels. The analysis arms clinicians like Dr. Maurice Druzin, from Stanford University Medical Center in California, with facts to try to persuade expectant fathers and others living with pregnant

women to refrain from smoking at home. “This is excellent ammunition for us to emphasize what we’ve known for a long time, but now we’ve got data to support it,” Druzin, who was not involved in the study, told the news agency. “This is the first study that shows that secondhand smoke has the same effect as being a primary smoker,” he said. “That is a game changer.” Hyland’s team used data from a study of 80,762 women between the ages of 50 and 79 years old. researchers asked the women about their own smoking and the amount of secondhand smoke they were exposed to as children and adults, as well as about their history of pregnancy problems. Among women who never smoked themselves, the chances of having a stillbirth were 22 percent higher for those who were exposed to any tobacco smoke than for unexposed women. That was after the researchers took into account other potential contributors, including women’s weight, education and alcohol drinking. For women who were exposed

Man who woke up in morgue finally dead, for sure

to the highest lifelong levels of second-hand smoke, the risk of having a stillbirth was even greater - 55 percent higher than among unexposed women. The researchers defined the highest level of exposure to secondhand smoke as at least 10 years of exposure during childhood, at least 20 years during adulthood and at least 10 years in the workplace. At that level, a woman’s risk of a tubal ectopic pregnancy was 61 percent higher than among unex-

posed women, and her risk of a miscarriage was 17 percent higher. “We’re not talking about an elevated risk of a rare event,” Hyland said of the miscarriage finding. “We’re talking about something that happens all the time.” nearly one third of women in the study reported at least one miscarriage, 4.4 percent reported at least one stillbirth and 2.5 percent reported at least one tubal ectopic pregnancy, according to findings published in Tobacco Control.

ectopic pregnancy occurs when a fertilized egg attaches outside the uterus, usually in one of the fallopian tubes. Tubal pregnancies are the leading cause of maternal death during the first trimester of pregnancy, according to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. researchers cannot draw firm conclusions about cause and effect from observational studies, like the current one. But the study results point to the benefits of minimizing exposure to second-hand smoke, Hyland said. “There’s a biological plausibility that second-hand smoke could have an impact on these reproductive outcomes not only during the reproductive years but throughout the lifetime of a woman,” he said. “The take-home message is these never-smoking women who had the highest levels of exposure to second-hand smoke had the highest risks,” he said. “These risks were generally comparable to the risks for women who ever actively smoked.” Prior research firmly established that smoking during pregnancy is associated with a higher

risk of fetal death, the authors write. Smoking during pregnancy also has been linked to infertility, premature birth, low birth weight, birth defects and sudden infant death syndrome, they add. The American Cancer Society estimates that 10 to 15 percent of women smoke during pregnancy and that as many as 5 percent of infant deaths could be prevented if pregnant women did not smoke. Tobacco researcher Stanton Glantz said that the current study adds to a growing body of research suggesting that second-hand smoke is linked to nearly as many health problems as active smoking. “The interesting thing is that the passive smoking risks weren’t terribly different from the active smoking risks,” said Glantz, from the University of California, San Francisco. He was not involved in the new study. “even second-hand smoke is giving you enough exposure to trigger these bad reproductive effects,” he said. “If people want to smoke, they should go outdoors, away from other living things.” AGENCIES

WHAT MAKES EXTROVERTS HAPPIER? Researchers say a more active ‘desire system’ than introverts makes them seek out rewarding activities extroverts are happier than introverts because of a more effective ‘desire’ system’, researchers have discovered. Previous theories had claimed the effect was caused by a more effective pleasure system - but that has now been discounted. To make their discovery, researchers analysed over 1,300 people, tracking their response to 14,000 activities. ‘extroverts, because of their active nature, are more likely to seek and spend more time on rewarding activities,’ the researchers said in the journal. ‘When they do so, they also experience a higher boost in momentary happiness as compared to their introverted counterparts. ‘This partly explains the direct relationship between extraversion

and momentary happiness.’ Their first finding was that extraverts reported more happiness than introverts during what the researchers defined as ‘rewarding’ activities that take effort - such as sports and exercise, and financially rewarding work tasks. In contrast, they found there was no difference in extraverts’ and introverts’ happiness during merely low effort, low importance ‘pleasurable, hedonic’ activities, such as watching TV, listening to music, relaxing, and shopping. However, one exception to this pattern was reading – surprisingly perhaps, extroverts appeared to derive more enjoyment from this activity than introverts. The researchers say this could be because read-

ing isn’t always just for pleasure, but can also be completed in pursuit of a reward, such as to pass a course. ‘Multilevel results confirm that extroverts (versus introverts) experience a higher boost in momentary happiness when spending time on rewarding – but not pleasurable – activities, especially when rewarding activities are executed with others. ‘These processes partly explain why extroverts are happier in the moment.’ The researchers also said extroverts experience a bigger happiness boost than introverts when they perform rewarding activities with other people, rather than alone - and say they tend to have more social contact during their daily activities. VIA DAILY MAIL

MISSISSIPPI: After what one can only hope were extensive checks, a coroner in Mississippi says a man who woke up in a body bag two weeks ago is now definitely dead. Walter Williams, a 78-year-old farmer, died peacefully at home and his nephew says he jokingly told the coroner “to be sure this time” reported a TV channel. Relatives describe the extra time Williams had with his large family after a mortician spotted his moving as a gift from God. He leaves 11 children, 15 grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren. “We’re at peace, we know he has fought a good fight, “ his daughter says. “ His sister was able to make it into town, and he got to see his last grandchild, and all of his grandkids. That was a blessing.” But while family members are happy to call Williams’ revival a blessing, doctors are looking for a medical explanation. Hospital officials believe very low blood sugar combined with medication may have made it very difficult to find a pulse the first time he was pronounced dead. NEWSER

Sick man lives with dead wife for days JOHNSTON, RI: Authorities in Rhode Island, USA say a 71-year-old man with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia had lived with his dead wife’s body for at least two days before officials entered the home this week. Police in Johnston say the man’s 67-year-old wife died a few days ago and he wasn’t aware that she had passed. Authorities say there were no signs of foul play. Authorities say the man called the Fire Department and the officials found the woman’s body and a dead dog. The home was condemned because of what authorities called deplorable living conditions. The man was taken to a hospital for an evaluation and officials were trying to contact his family. The medical examiner’s office is investigating how the woman died. AGENCIES

GOOGLE TRANSLATES HANDWRITING App update lets you draw symbols and foreign alphabets in 13 new languages Visiting a country when you don’t speak the language is tricky enough, let alone when that country uses a different alphabet. To tackle this problem, Google has updated its Translate app to recognise handwriting written in 13 new languages including Arabic, Bosnian, Cebuano, Gujarati, Hmong, Kannada, Maltese, Mongolian, Persian, Punjabi, Somali, Tamil, and Telugu. People visiting other countries can use the update to translate phrases into another language, or they can write the symbols they see on signs and menus, for example, to see an automatic translation. Google first added handwriting support to its Translate app on Android in January 2012. In July, this tool was added to the Google Translate homepage, and in September last year it was added

to the iPhone and iPad app. This brings the total number of supported handwritten languages to 58, although Google can translate a total of 80 languages using text,


photo and voice input. If a language can be translated using handwriting a symbol will appear in the bottom right of the input box that looks like a squiggle. Text input is set as de-

fault, but pressing the squiggle opens up a virtual notepad that users can draw and write on. To make the handwriting box bigger or smaller, touch and hold the drag icon and drag it up or down on the screen. There is also the option to translate via voice. Although international keyboards support a number of foreign alphabets, symbols associated with these languages are simpler when written manually. In a blogpost, Google said: ‘Our goal is to break down the language barrier, all the time, everywhere. ‘By adding handwriting input directly into our app we hope to help you get translation done even more quickly and easily. ‘Sometimes you don’t know how to say what you want translated, sometimes you can’t type it, and sometimes it’s easier just to write it.’ ONLINE

Saturday, 15 March, 2014


Pakistani film ‘Dunya’ featuring eunuchs hits theatres LAHORE STAFF REPORT

The long awaited Punjabi feature film ‘Dunya’ has been released all over Pakistan. The film’s star cast includes Maumar Rana, Saima Khan, Rambo, Nargis and Shafqat Cheema. In spite of all the super stars presence in the film, it is expected that the limelight will be the real life eunuch who have performed in the movie

for the very first time. The director of film is Shahid Rana who has high hopes from his film. The media’s portrayal of khwaja siras (transgender individuals) is often negative. In the film industry, such a character is either the subject of a joke or frowned upon and given limited roles, says the distinguished director, who is making a comeback after five years. Seventy members of the

I do not try to fIt back Into socIety: scarlett

transgender community are acting alongside the film industry’s prominent stars. With this film, for the first time, Pakistan’s favourite villain Shafqat Cheema will be playing a positive role in a Punjabi film — the role of a guru Khwaja Sira. In the movie, Moammar Rana works as a doctor in a village where he meets Saima. Rambo, who plays Saima’s brother, is the sole-breadwinner for their family.

Actress Scarlett Johansson says a celebrity must never try to fit back into society after reaching stardom as it changes a person’s life. The 29-year-old actress said she understands that the lack of privacy comes as a part of her job, reported US magazine. “I see some young actors and young celebrities today desperately trying to fit back into society, which I totally understand,” Johansson said. “But really, once you accept your fate as someone who’s a recognisable person, who’s no longer anonymous, I think you have a much easier time fitting in than if you are constantly trying to be ‘normal’,” she added.

penned the script for Dunya. A series of mishaps lands Rambo behind bars, where Shafqat Cheema introduces him to the world of dancing in Heera Mandi and also plays the role of a mentor who gets Rambo on his feet. Although it seems that Dunya is going to be a film that touches upon some serious themes, Rana clarifies that it will still be entertaining.



When his sister is ready for marriage, he leaves the village for the city to earn money for her dowry. His struggle begins when he arrives in the city and his horse is stolen outside of Data Sahib’s durbar. “In the film, Rambo dances to make money for Saima’s dowry, but the result is that no one is willing to marry his sister,” says veteran screenwriter and lyricist Abdullah Chilli, who has

AKISTANI drama actress Sajal Ali said that she never dreamed of the success and appreciation she received in Pakistan’s nascent drama industry. Sajal Ali revealed that she was overwhelmed by her reception in the showbiz industry. The ‘Sitamgar’ actress still feels that her desired goal and position in the industry is still quite far away and she is working hard to achieve it. In an interview, the 20 year old actress said that offers to work in dramas are many in number but her priority is

good work and feels fortunate to get good and challenging roles in the early stages of her career. Sajal made her screen debut with the 2011 with serial Mehmoodabad Ki Malkain. She then appeared in serials such as Mastana Mahi (2012), Mohabbat Jaye Bhar Mein (2012), Ahmed Habib Ki Betiyan (2012), Sitamgar (2012), Chandni (2012), Meri Ladli (2012), Quddusi Sahab Ki Bewah (2013), Nanhi (2013), Sannata (2013) and Aasmanon Pay Likha (2013) and is amongst one of the most popular new comers in drama industry of Pakistan.

SUNNY CAN’T ENTER NEWS DESK It was a never-ending wait for Sunny Leone fans in Lucknow, who had bought entry tickets to Blue The Lounge, a watering hole on Sapru Marg, where the actress was supposed to make an appearance on Wednesday night for the promotion of her upcoming film Ragini MMS 2. "We can't let Sunny enter the lounge," said sub-inspector Dheeraj Singh, incharge, Saharaganj Police outpost, who was present at the site to ensure that the actress does not even step out of her car. Therefore, no party can be organised where a celebrity is being called without the permission of the DM. We have got orders to not let Sunny enter the party venue," he said, adding, "Also, people are consuming alcohol inside and what if something goes wrong with the celebrity? We can't take a risk." So, why did the lounge management not take the requisite permissions before inviting a celebrity? We have just rented out this place to an event management company and have given them an NOC for the party. That's it! We can't do anything if the event manager has not taken necessary permissions," said the lounge manager. Sunny's husband, Daniel Weber, who stepped out of the car to understand why Sunny Leone was not being allowed entry into the lounge, later said, “We were told at the venue by police officials that the event manager has not taken the DM's permission and so, Sunny can't enter the lounge and we came back.”

even kajol's curIous about cousIn ranI's weddIng


It feels bad to be famous rIght now: nIcolas cage

NEWS DESK Oscar-winner Nicolas Cage feels that people nowadays make constant effort to appear famous without achieving anything substantial in life. The 50-year-old actor wanted to work in the movies ever since he saw Hollywood icon James Dean in Eden on the big screen, reported US magazine. “(Watching him) It blew my mind. I was like, ‘That’s what I want to do’. This was before everyone had a thing called a smartphone, and before the advent of being famous for famous’s sake,” Cage said. ”I’m not complaining, but it really feels bad to be famous right now,” he added. The ‘Ghost Rider’ star feels that movie reviews these days talk more about the personal lives of the casts than the film. ”Now even the art of film criticism… the critic who reviewed ‘Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans’ incorporated how many homes I bought or sold into the review,” he said. “What has Lindsay Lohan’s personal life have to do with her performance in ‘The Canyons’? It should always be about the work itself,” he added.

nawaz replaces farhan In srk's fIlm

AGENCIES Ever since it was reported that Farhan Akhtar had opted out of Rahul Dholakia's Raees, speculations have been rife about who would replace the actor. Mirror has learnt that it will probably be Nawazuddin Siddiqui who is in advanced talks with the production company, Excel Entertainment. The film stars Shah Rukh Khan in the lead role as a local don. According to a source close to the development, Nawaz would be an apt choice to play the cop as it is a performance-oriented role. "That's the reason Farhan was drawn to it as soon as he heard the script. But with Shah Rukh's injuries the shoot of Raees got pushed forward. Zoya's (Akhtar) Dil Dhadakne Do also got delayed and eventually Farhan's dates for Raees were clashing with those that he had allotted to Bijoy Nambiar's film for Vinod Chopra.

NEWS DESK For long, actress Rani Mukerji has been hounded by questions about her marriage and especially about rumours of her wedding with filmmaker Aditya Chopra. The latest curious case to join the bandwagon is her cousin and actress Kajol. During the rapid fire round on Karan Johar's "Koffee With Karan", the filmmaker asked Kajol to answer - "If you were to ask the following people one thing what would you ask?" When he took Rani's name, she said: "When are you getting married, even I would like to know." Quick-witted Karan then immediately asked Kajol what she would like to ask Aditya Chopra. To that, she said: "Same question." The "Koffee With Karan" episode featuring Kajol, will be aired Sunday.

Alia Bhatt too young for Ranbir: Imtiaz Ali NEWS DESK She got rave reviews in what was just her second film. And Imtiaz Ali, who directed Highway, too, only had words of praise for his main protagonist, Alia Bhatt. Ranbir Kapoor, Alia Bhatt and Imtiaz Ali enjoy each other's company while promoting Highway. But even though she found herself in Highway thanks to Ranbir Kapoor ("Ranbir insisted that I should meet Alia once — not for any particular project but generally," Imtiaz had told us in an

earlier interview), we’ve learnt that he wanted her in a different film. A source close to the production tells us that Ranbir had recommended the actress for his own film, Window Seat. But apparently Imtiaz found Alia "too young" for the role. Imtiaz confirms this and says, "Ranbir has always believed that Alia has a lot of potential as an actor. So he had suggested her name, and asked if she fits the role. But she is too young for the part." It’s interesting to note that Imtiaz, instead, cast Alia in Highway, for which he’d initially


wanted an older actress. After the film released, Ranbir was apparently so impressed with Alia’s work that he called to congratulate her. On her part, the actress too has always been open about her admiration for Ranbir. During the promotions of her debut film, Student of the Year (2012), she had said that "I have always loved Ranbir… He is my biggest crush and he will always remain my biggest crush." Ranbir’s film with Imtiaz, which goes on floors later this year, will have Deepika Padukone as the lead actress.


Saturday, 15 March, 2014

Dhoni not worrieD over lack of t20 preparation i

sports desk

T is ironic that the country with the most lucrative T20 tournament in the world, india, have played only five T20 internationals since the last World T20 in 2012. Four of those were played towards the end of that year and only one in 2013, in contrast to other teams like England and West indies that have already played three-match T20 series in the build-up to the upcoming World T20 in Bangladesh. Despite the lack of practice in this format, india captain MS Dhoni was confident that the experience gained by the players in the iPL was sufficient for them to compete as a unit. "Most of the teams, if you see, don't play a lot of T20s," Dhoni said in Dhaka in his first press conference ahead of the tournament. "Especially with the kind of schedule we have, i don't think we'll be able to accommodate more than one or two T20s

[per series]. That is something that i will always face. "at the same time, we have got the iPL where we have played with the best players and the standard there is as high as international standards so that really amounts to the experience we need." Since winning the inaugural World T20 in 2007, india have failed to make the semifinals in each of the next three editions. in 2012, despite losing just one out their five games, india failed to make the final four because they fell short on the net run rate. Dhoni said their experience was an example of how no team can afford to lose even a single game, for it could affect their chances of qualifying. india are placed in a tough group, with Pakistan, australia and West indies. "Our group is quite a competitive one so all the matches will be important," Dhoni said. "Especially when you consider our performance in the last edition of the World T20 where we exited from the tournament after losing just one game. We have a couple

of warm-up games before our first game so we'll be looking towards using those warmups to sort out our team's balance." india's performances away from home have slipped since beating Zimbabwe 5-0 last year. india failed to win a single game on their tours of South africa and new Zealand and failed to make the final of the asia cup that concluded recently in Bangladesh. Dhoni admitted that their performances in the away Tests and ODis were below par, but was confident that none of it would affect their showing in the upcoming T20s. "i think we have had to endure tough times recently but even in these situations it's not like we hadn't played good cricket," he said. "if you look at our Test performances away from home since 2011 you will see that our displays haven't been up to the mark. in the last two away series [against South africa and new Zealand] we have shown that we have talent though we lost both the series. So i think we are on the way

up, and that's where you want to be. There is always pressure." Dhoni missed the asia cup due to a side strain and he said the short break after the hectic traveling did him good. "For me,

the positive side was to get a bit of rest. i was at home with no work. it was something that i would appreciate. You don't want to get injured and miss a series. So overall, a good 10-12 days off."


PAKISTAN’S BLIND FIND ACCEPTANCE THROUGH CRICKET acking government support, blind people in pakistan are carving out a space for themselves in international sport. Pakistan’s blind cricket captain Zeeshan abbasi was once a shy and awkward child who relied on his family and friends to get by in a country where disability is a major stigma. growing up in the mountainous northern ayubia district, his earliest memories are of clutching his mother’s hand as they climbed a winding path to a school where he was never fully accepted. But having recently led his team to the final of the World cup and triumph in a series over india, he credits cricket with turning his life around. “if i didn’t play cricket, i would not have enjoyed this status as a national celebrity. My blind friends are unable to do anything and have become a burden for their families,” the 30-year-old said. Pakistan is home to almost two million blind people, according to the Fred Hollows Foundation, with more than half afflicted due to preventable diseases like cataracts. They are often forced to deal with societal taboos surrounding disability and have little in the way of government facilities to aid them in public spaces. neglected by their families, their education and personality development suffers.


abbasi recalls how as a child he was punished for not being able to keep up at his first school. “My teachers did not know how to teach me,” he says. Realizing the youngster’s difficulties, his uncle arranged his admission in a school for blind children in the city of Rawalpindi, where he was introduced to cricket. “i started playing at the age of 10. Later, myself and a group of friends founded the first ever islamabad blind cricket club. We used to spend our pocket money to buy the cricket gear,” he recalls. Even then abbasi initially faced opposition by his family. “i was beaten by my parents several times for playing cricket because they thought i was wasting my time and i should study for a better future,” he said. “Once while practicing with normal cricketers, the ball struck my left eye and i lost the little sight i had,” he said, adding his right arm was fractured six times while playing. abbasi persevered, finally making his debut as an 18-year-old against South africa in 2000 and later becoming captain in 2011. For newcomers to the sport, understanding how players without sight can hold a competitive game can be confusing. a blind cricket team comprises a maximum of four partially sighted players, three par-

tially blind players, and a minimum of four totally blind players. a white ball made of hard plastic and filled with small ball bearings is used so that the batsman can hear it coming. contrary to normal cricket, in the blind format bowlers deliver a ball under the arm and the batsman sweeps it after judging its direction by hearing the ball bearings. The wicketkeeper directs fielders about the direction of the ball and he runs behind it to catch it. abbasi’s 2000 debut came as Pakistan was beginning to establish itself as the format’s foremost team. With two World cup victories under their belts they also regularly play india, in contrast to their able-bodied counterparts whose ties are hobbled by ongoing political tensions. Members of a blind team form a particularly close bond as they are forced to fully rely on each other. “We have to take along every player in blind cricket. This is how blind cricket works. So we have to trust each other in the game,” abbasi said as his team worked out in a practice session in Lahore. Pakistan coach abdul Razzaq said the blind cricketers are an extremely fit bunch. “Blind players have a good mobility and run behind the ball. The player chasing a ball has

no fear of colliding with others because he knows there is nothing between him and the ball up to 45-50 yards,” he said. Tahir ali, project manager for the Pakistan Foundation Fighting Blindness, said the government has a long way to go to provide a basic quality of life for people of all disabilities, particularly the blind, among whom unemployment is especially high. “But these blind children are always very talented. They are very strong in cricket … the government should support them, arrange sponsorship and regular scholarships for them,” he said. a victory over the visiting indian side in the three Twenty20 and as many ODi matches series meanwhile has lifted the team to new levels of confidence. For abbasi, the game has also brought respect inside the family. “i travel abroad to play cricket and help my family through the money i earn from the game. My father and uncle have died and now my family realizes that the game is paying me back. i travel in cars comfortably now, otherwise walking on roads with open mainholes and boarding buses is a difficult task for a blind person in Pakistan. nobody understands the meaning of a white cane over here,” abbasi said with a smile. COURTESY NEWSWEEK PAKISTAN


The Pakistan Cricket Board on Friday announced the final itinerary for its 'home' series against Australia in the United Arab Emirates in October. A PCB official said that the series had been finalised after consultations with Cricket Australia who have agreed to play in the UAE. "We have no option right now but to host our home series at neutral venues and the UAE is the most cost effective for us," the official stated. No Test team has visited Pakistan since March, 2009 when militants attacked the Sri Lankan team bus in Lahore in which six policemen and a van driver were killed and some of the visiting players wounded. The official said that apart from Australia the PCB will also be hosting the New Zealand and Zimbabwe teams for a Test and one-day series each in the UAE before the World Cup in 2015. The series against Australia includes two Tests, three oneday internationals and a T20 match. Australia will also play a four-day tour match against the Pakistan A side in Sharjah during the series from October 13 onwards. The series starts with a T20 match in Dubai and will be followed by the ODIs and Test matches. Australia have not played in Pakistan since 1998. Oct 3- T20 international in Dubai Oct 5- 1st ODI in Abu Dhabi Oct 8- 2nd ODI in Sharjah Oct 10- 3rd ODI in Dubai Oct 20-24-1st Test in Dubai Oct 28 to Nov 1-2nd Test in Abu Dhabi.

Saturday, 15 March, 2014

Djokovic, jankovic win at inDian wells


sport desk

acing an opponent he had never seen play, novak Djokovic relied on some old-fashioned word of mouth. asking around the locker room and getting some intel from his coach, Djokovic went out and beat alejandro gonzalez 6-1, 3-6, 6-1 on Tuesday, ending the colombian's surprising run to the third round at the BnP Paribas Open. "it took me a little bit to get used to it," Djokovic said. "You've got new faces and new players who are able to challenge the top guys, and this is good for the sport. it also makes us work harder and improve trying to get our game to a high level because the guys are coming up." Djokovic, a two-time champion at indian Wells, earned the only two breaks of the third set, including a seven-deuce game that he closed out with a clever backhand drop volley. John isner, the lone american remaining in the men's draw, defeated Lu Yenhsun of Taiwan 6-4, 6-3 to reach the fourth round. isner fired 13 aces, hit 32 winners and gained a break in each set. Lu managed just nine winners and never held a break point against isner. "i'm feeling pretty confident out there. i'm moving pretty well for me, which helps," isner said. "Moving freely and not thinking too much. Everything feels good. Have a clear mind out there." Top-seeded Li na defeated aleksan-


dra Wozniak of canada 6-1, 6-4, setting up a quarterfinal against Dominika cibulkova of Slovakia that will be a rematch of the australian Open final, which Li won in straight sets. Li rallied from an 0-3 deficit in the second set, winning six of the final seven games. The last game went to deuce 10 times before Li won on her 11th match point when Wozniak's backhand sailed long. "i can only say, 'Welcome to the crazy women's tennis tour,'" Li said about the last game. gonzalez had never won an aTP Tour match in six tries before indian Wells. He won third-set tiebreakers in his first two matches here before keeping the world's second-ranked man on the court for just

over 1½ hours. "i just had a big loss of concentration and allowed him to win the second set for no reason," Djokovic said. "Bounced back better in the third, but i obviously cannot allow myself to have these particular concentration lapses in the match at this level." Djokovic had 28 winners to 11 for gonzalez, who also had 23 unforced errors in his first Masters 1000 event. Djokovic next plays 24th-seeded Marin cilic of croatia, who beat 16thseeded Tommy Robredo 6-4, 6-3. The Serb is the highest remaining seed left after top-seeded Rafael nadal was upset by alexandr Dolgopolov a day earlier. Jelena Jankovic routed caroline Wozniacki 6-3, 6-1 to reach the quarterfinals in

I’M HAPPY AT UNITED: VAN PERSIE sports desk There have been widespread reports of Van Persie's desire to leave the Red Devils in recent weeks, but in an extensive interview published on the club's official website, the Dutchman says he has no problems with his team-mates or coaches. “i don’t mind if my performances get dissected and people criticise what i’ve done on the pitch,” he said. “They can talk about my game 24/7 for all i care… and a lot of those opinions and criticisms may actually be right. So i don’t mind that. “What i need to address are the situations

Centurion AgENCIES

george Bailey joked he had "no particular reason," for choosing to put South africa in to bat in the final match of this tour, but there was an obvious one. With wet weather hanging around, Bailey knows, "there is an advantage batting second." australia will do so without David Warner, who they rested for this game given the fine form he is in. Shane Watson will open the batting with aaron Finch, with cameron White in at no.3. The other change to the visiting Xi saw Moises Henriques replace Dan christian. South africa also had two changes in their lineup. aB de Villiers returned in place of Farhaan Behardien and a specialist spinner, imran Tahir, was brought in in kyle abbott's place. abbott has not been included in the World T20 squad and despite his decent showing in Durban, South africa chose to field a side that will likely resemble the one they deploy in the tournament in Bangladesh. Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel are both recovering from injury and were not considered for selection. This is the last competitive outing for both teams before that event and could be the only full match they get in in this series. The first match was washed out and the second one, which australia one, shortened to seven-overs-a-side. The gloomy weather did not dampen preparations. The outfield looked in good condition and the pitch, which was prepared under a tent, ready for play. it also did not keep the South african fans away. SuperSport Park was sold out for the fixture. SOUTh AfRICA: 1 hashim Amla, 2 Quinton de Kock (wk), 3 faf du Plessis (capt), 4 AB de Villiers, 5 JP Duminy, 6 David Miller, 7 Albie Morkel, 8 Wayne Parnell, 9 Beuran hendricks, 10 Lonwabo Tsotsobe, 11 Imran Tahir AUSTRALIA: 1 Shane Watson, 2 Aaron finch, 3 Cameron White, 4 glenn Maxwell, 5 george Bailey (capt), 6 Brad hodge, 7 Brad haddin (wk), 8 Moises henriques, 9 Mitchell Starc, 10 Nathan Coulter-Nile, 11 Brad hogg

a matchup of former tournament champions and no. 1-ranked players. Jankovic next plays second-seeded agnieszka Radwanska, who beat 22ndseeded alize cornet 7-5, 6-3. Jankovic made the quarterfinals for the first time since winning the indian Wells title in 2010, when she beat Wozniacki. The Dane won the title in 2011 and lost to Maria Sharapova in last year's final. But she offered little resistance against Jankovic, who raced to a 5-0 lead in the second set before Wozniacki held at 40love to avoid getting shut out in front of her fiance, golfer Rory Mcilroy. "i kind of found my way, found my rhythm, and i was striking the ball very well out there and took control of the points," Jankovic said. "i just did not let her play what she plays. That was very important." Jankovic was the world's top-ranked player in 2008. Wozniacki reached the top spot in 2010; she's now no. 12. Jankovic, who is ranked eighth, was the first top-10 player Wozniacki has faced so far this year. Jankovic ended a five-match skid against Wozniacki, with the Serb having recovered from a back problem that occurred in her match two nights earlier. Jankovic didn't hit on Monday and felt too stiff to put her shoes on. "i went on court today not knowing how i was going to feel, if i was going to be limited with my movement or if i was going to play my game," she said. "But i did and i was surprised."

when people are taking it upon themselves to think for me, make assumptions, or interpret things as if they are me. Last time i checked my head was still attached to my body, so i’m the only one who knows exactly what i’m feeling and that is not what i or the fans have been reading. “The truth is i’m very happy here at this club. i signed for four years and i’d be delighted to stay even longer, beyond the next two years i have left on my contract. This is how i feel, although it’s not what has been suggested in the media. “i’m very happy with my team-mates and i’m very happy with my manager and his staff. The sessions we have on the training ground are fantastic and i’m learning a lot from them every day. i’ve been a professional footballer for 12 years now and there’s no doubt i’m learning new things and progressing with David Moyes. “Like i said, talk about my performances or talk about a tackle that was too late. i don’t mind. But it goes too far when people start suggesting, amongst other things, that i have a bad understanding with the manager. That’s not true at all. “Over the last few years i’ve started to look more closely at the way coaches work to learn from them – not just here at the club but with the international team as well. i’ve worked with some brilliant coaches and i’ve taken a real interest in all the methods they use and the choices they make. “i can tell you that Moyes’ sessions and the things he says in his team meetings are spot-on. i really enjoy working under him and i’m absolutely convinced things will pick up and we’ll turn it around.


BAYERN MUNICH’S HOENESS ACCEPTS JAIL TERM, RESIGNS FROM CLU sports desk FC Bayern Munich’s Uli Hoeness won’t appeal his tax evasion conviction and 3 1/2 year prison sentence and will step down from the offices he holds at the club, according to a statement on its website. Hoeness will resign as president of the soccer club and head of the supervisory board of Bayern Munich AG, the German champion’s commercial arm. He is taking the step to prevent the club from being damaged, Hoeness said in the statement. “This corresponds to my understanding of integrity, decorum and personal responsibility,” he said in the statement. “Evading tax was the biggest mistake of my life. I accept the consequences of this mistake.” The move comes one day after a Munich court convicted him of evading 28.5 million euros ($39.6 million) in tax. The case tainted the club’s main sponsors, Adidas AG (ADS), Deutsche Telekom (DTE) AG, Allianz SE (ALV) and Audi AG, a unit of Volkswagen AG. (VOW) The chief executive officers of four of the five companies, excluding Allianz, sit on the soccer club’s supervisory board. “I have a great deal of respect for his decision to accept the verdict,” Angela Merkel, Germany’s chancellor, said at a news conference with business association leaders today. Munich prosecutors will decide within the one-week deadline whether to appeal, their spokesman Ken Heidenreich said in an interview. HITLER JAIL: Hoeness is likely to serve his term in the Bavarian prison at Landsberg am Lech, where Adolf Hitler was incarcerated in the 1920s for attempting to overthrow the government. The soccer icon will only have to start his sentence after the possible appeals proceedings are over, Heidenreich said. If prosecutors, who sought a longer sentence, decide not to appeal, they will order him to report to prison after they receive the written judgment from the Munich court, according to Heidenreich. The court has seven weeks to write it up. Once in prison, Hoeness can ask to be allowed to work outside the prison during the day.

ROGER FEDERER SAYS ‘NO’ TO ON-COURT COACHES sports desk Former world no. 1 Roger Federer had a simple message for those advocates of revamping tennis by allowing on-court coaches -- he hopes he will have retired if it ever happens. On-court discussion with coaches is currently banned at aTP Tour events, but female players are allowed to call for a coach under certain circumstances. Federer warned against rules changes in tennis following an effortless 7-5 6-1 quarterfinal victory over South africa's kevin anderson at the indian Wells Masters -- a win that will see the Swiss star return to the top five of the world rankings. "if it does happen, it's hopefully after i'm done playing," the 17-time grand slam champion told reporters after the match. "i really don't think it's necessary. i don't think it's fair, maybe, because not everybody can afford a coach's just not right." Federer's comments came after a coaching call appeared to not have quite the required effect in one of the day's two women's quarterfinals. italian Flavia Pennetta was one set up against american starlet Sloane Stephens, and leading 5-4 in the second set, when

she called for her coach. The italian proceeded to lose the following three games, and the set, before rallying to take the match 6-4 5-7 6-4. The rules, introduced in 2009, allow for discussion at one changeover each set, and in between sets. Federer -- once also a vocal opponent of the Hawkeye ball-tracking review system -- defended the sport as a one-on-one battleground.


"it's cool to figure it out yourself," added the 32-year-old. "You can look over to your coach for comfort and support, but other than that, i think tennis should be one of those unique sports where you don't get coaching." in little over an hour under the floodlights, Federer completed his 10th successive victory following his win at the Dubai Open earlier this month.

arriving at the tournament ranked no. 8, Federer will re-enter the world's top five next week, a position he occupied for more than a decade, before dropping out in august 2013. Federer has not dropped a set this tournament and is looking for his fifth indian Wells title as he heads into a semifinal clash with alexandr Dolgopolov, who secured a 6-3 6-4 win over canada's Milos Raonic. Ukrainian Dolgopolov knocked out world no. 1 Rafael nadal in the third round and he was in bullish mood ahead of his first semifinal at an aTP World Tour Masters 1000 event. "i played good for three weeks," said the world no. 31. "i'm confident enough to come out and play good tennis. Then, who knows? i beat a lot of good players around here, so i wouldn't see why not win more matches." in the women's draw, Pennetta will meet top-seed Li na in the semifinals after china's world no.2 triumphed in a competitive match against Slovakian Dominika cibulkova. na lost her opening service game, and appeared shaky, but eventually rallied to record a 6-3 4-6 6-3 victory in two hours and 36 minutes.

SPORTS Saturday, 15 March, 2014


ISLAMABAD agencies

akistan all-rounder shahid afridi on Friday sought to bat away controversy over comments he made about women's cricket, saying he had been quoted out of context. the big-hitting 34-year-old came under fire this week after tV interview footage circulated of him commenting on women's cooking skills in response to a question about women's cricket. afridi insisted his remarks had been taken out of context by people who wanted to bring him down after his recent heroics in the asia Cup. Earlier this month, afridi hit last-over sixes to help Pakistan beat arch-rivals india by one wicket and then smashed a 25-ball 59 to help chase down a 327-run target against hosts Bangladesh. “i am shocked to listen all the stuff and read some on the social media,” afridi told a foreign media outfit. “it was a five-month old interview and my half answer was put on the net,


which i feel is an attempt to malign my popularity.” afridi said he had always backed the women's game. “i have been a big supporter of women's cricket and if you ask our women players they will let you know how i tried to get sponsorship for them,” he said. “there are a few people who are

jealous of my popularity and they try to find something controversial against me. “a big number of my fans are female and i have always respected them and tried to accommodate them whenever they want support.” in the footage, taken from an interview with aRY news channel in October last year, afridi is asked whether he

PAKISTAN BEST LIMITED-OVERS SIDE Shahid Afridi has rated Pakistan as the best limited-overs outfit in the world, but wanted his side to improve their fielding. Afridi is currently undergoing a week-long rehabilitation after suffering a strain during the Asia Cup, but was confident of recovering in time for the World T20 starting next week. "I can't see a better [limited-overs] combination in the world than Pakistan because our bowling is good, batting is good but the only mistake we are doing that's in fielding and fielding is the most essential thing in limited-overs cricket," Afridi said at the National Cricket Academy in Lahore. Pakistan's team is set to leave for the World T20 in Bangladesh on Thursday, but Afridi is expected to join them early next week. "I am recovering well. I am sure I will play at least one warm-up match." Pakistan's warm-up matches are on next Monday and Wednesday, after which they open their campaign in a highprofile match against India. "We will do our best, all will join in that effort in the India match. We won the last match against India and I think that will give us benefit." agencies

thinks Pakistani women should play cricket. “Our women have great taste in their hands and they cook very tasty food,” he replied. Former international women's player kainat imtiaz gave the star her backing. “He (afridi) has always been a great supporter of women's cricket and whenever we used to cross paths in the national academy in Lahore he helped us and encouraged us,” she said. But once the clips of the interview went viral on social media, there were strong reactions from women's organisations and analysts, condemning afridi for relegating women to the kitchen. activist Mahnaz Rehman said the remarks represented a typical attitude in Pakistan, which remains a patriarchal and at times misogynist country. “it will take years to change our men. Men display and get their abilities recognised at all levels but when women do this they discourage them,” said Rehman, regional director of aurat Foundation. “it will stop women's progress and a celebrity like afridi should not give such remarks.”

Published by Arif Nizami at Qandeel Printing Press, 4 Queens Road, Lahore.


Pakistan will miss irfan in world t20 Pakistan fast bowler Mohammad Irfan may head to Australia for a hip surgery if he fails to show enough progress from his ongoing rehabilitation program at the National Cricket Academy in Lahore, thereby putting his international return in doubt. "There are two fractures in his Ischium bone," Dr Sohail Saleem, the PCB doctor said. "Since he has an extraordinary build, his bones are bigger and that is why it is taking him more time to recover. He may be sent to Australia for a surgery if needed but at the moment he needs two to three weeks of rehabilitation before we decide if he still requires a surgery." Irfan, 31, who last played in the series against South Africa in the UAE in November, had suffered a hairline fracture on his hip during the second T20 of that series and was ruled out for six weeks. He missed the subsequent series against Sri Lanka and underwent an extensive rehabilitation. He returned to competitive cricket during the domestic Twenty20 Cup in Rawalpindi where he aggravated his injury and was immediately sent for a medical assessment. "We are following his case on a daily basis and we have to get him ready for international cricket," Saleem said. "We are assessing his progress and his reports will also be sent to Australia for a second opinion so I can't give a precise time but he will be fine and will be playing international cricket again." Irfan wasn't picked for the recently concluded Asia Cup and the upcoming World T20 in Bangladesh. Pakistan's next international assignment will be in UAE against Australia in October. Irfan said he was determined to make a comeback to the national side. "My passion for the game is still high but these fitness issues are the hurdles," Irfan said in an interview with a foreign website. "I knew with my height I will struggle but I have improved immensely since my debut in 2010. I can't say much about my medical condition but as the doctors suggested I will be fine in the next three months." Irfan's fitness has been a talking point since he made his debut in 2010 and he played his longest international streak in the UAE. He bowled 65.5 overs in two Tests against South Africa and 13 overs in a game against UAE. In the last four years, he has played four Tests, 27 one-day internationals and seven T20s. agencies

E paper 15th march (lhr)