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pakistantoday.com.pk

rs22.00 vol ii no 178 27 pages islamabad — peshawar edition

Monthlong closure of Sindh CNG pumps on the cards KARACHI: The government is contemplating a monthlong closure of CNG stations in Sindh during the month of January, said Federal Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Dr Asim Hussain on Saturday. “The decision is not yet final and the proposal is still being deliberated upon,” he told journalists following a convention at the University of Karachi. The minister said the government was forced to make tough decisions due to unrealistic policies adopted by the previous government. “Acute shortage of natural gas and the energy crisis leave little options but to be pragmatic,” he said. inP

MULTAN: PML-N activists trying to stop Javed Hashmi from heading to Karachi to join Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf. online

sunday, 25 december, 2011 muharram-ul-haram 29, 1433

Govt can’t penalize Kayani, Pasha: Nisar opp leader says any decision before SC’s memo verdict to invite PMl-n, nation’s wrath g Slams Gilani for rant against military

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HasHmi joins PTi

imran says no secret deal behind Hashmi’s entry

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KARACHI

QAzI AsIf/AgeNcIes

Former senior leader of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Makhdoom Javed Hashmi on Saturday formally announced to join the Pakistan Tehreek-e Insaaf (PTI). Hashmi announced his decision in a press conference that was also attended by PTI Chairman Imran Khan, Vice Chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Jahangir Tareen, Dr Arif Alvi and others. Imran Khan warmly welcomed Hashmi’s move to join the PTI, saying with the

PMl-n’s Mehtab Abbasi, PPP’s Kahlid Kharal purportedly in line to Continued on page 04 join PTi ‘pti-sindhi nationalist talKs broKe down | page 04

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sTAff RePoRT

ML-N senior leader and Opposition leader in the National Assembly Nisar Ali Khan on Saturday said his party would resist any of the government’s moves that aimed at sending the army chief or the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) chief packing. “I warn the government against taking any step against Army Chief General Ashfaq Kayani and ISI chief Lt General Ahmed Shuja Pasha prior to Supreme Court’s decision in memo case,” he said while addressing a press conference. Asked whether he meant that the PML-N would resist any move to sack the army chief and DG ISI, he said, “Yes it is nearer to that…as the ‘memogate’ is currently in the apex court, if the government takes any action in desperation, not only the opposition but the entire nation will strongly stand up against it,” he said, adding that his apprehension over the ISI’s political wing would, however, still remain. Nisar demanded Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani retract his statement in the NA that questioned the security establishment over the presence of Osama bin Laden in the country, calling the remarks extremely “irresponsible” by a responsible per-

son. He advised Gilani to retract the statement and avoid pointing fingers at defence institutions instead of indirectly implementing the points that had been written in the “memo”. The opposition leader said the prime minister had repeatedly stated that all institutions, including the army and ISI, were in his control, but his remarks of state within the state were ironic. He said the prime minister had tried to divert attention from his government’s incompetence and malpractices and the remarks were actually a charge sheet that the foreign media and their governments were presenting time and again to malign Pakistan. “If the opposition or the public raise such questions, it can be justified, but the prime minister taking such swipes for political mileage is shocking,” Nisar said. “What services did the prime minister do to Pakistan by questioning the country’s defence institutions over the presence of Osama bin Laden in the country,” he asked. “Controlling the country’s armed forces and our nuclear assets are long shots … we will not even let any foreign power look at them [military and nuclear arsenal],” he warned. Alleging that a particular agency was pushing politicians towards the PTI, Nisar said Javed Hashmi joining Imran Khan’s party was a sad development. “There can be

two opinions even within a family. I am disappointed with the move,” he added. He said politics was not child’s play. “Imran’s revolution is like a bubble … The PML-N is not afraid of anybody quitting the party … those who are leaving the PML-N would have to pay the price for their decision,” he said, adding that he knew Imran Khan from school days, “but some things were unsuitable for revelation”. The opposition leader added that the PML-N wanted polls as early as possible.

Kayani Cautions government| page 02


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02 News Today’s

Sunday, 25 December, 2011

iSLAMABAD

NewS

shrines become centre of illegal activities

Us neared Taliban deal, but Karzai vetoed it: WP Angry syrians protest against blasts

Story on Page 08

Story on Page 10

foreiGN NewS

Quick look

Kayani cautions govt against military’s mockery

Story on Page 16

KARACHI: PTI Chairman Imran Khan speaks at a press conference to announce the entry of former PML-N leader Makhdoom Javed Hashmi in his party. Online

Message sent to Presidency in covert reconciliation efforts advises president, PM exercise restraint in their speeches

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ITH Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Ashfaq Kayani making it clear on Saturday that speculations about a military takeover were out of place and the prime minister subsequently welcoming the statement, tensions between the two sides has seemingly started decreasing, with some intermediaries chipping in for a truce to avoid any confrontation between Islamabad and Rawalpindi. The message the military leadership passed on to the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leadership through the mediators is to exercise restraint and not target the army if the government wants to diffuse the situation. Whether the message has been well taken or not, would, however, be clear on December 27 when President Asif Ali Zardari is expected to make a speech on the death anniversary of Benazir Bhutto. A well-placed source in the government told Pakistan Today that a number of people, including PML-Q President Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, real estate tycoon and a friend of the president Malik Riaz and others, who were trying to diffuse tensions between the govern-

ment and the military, had been told by the top army brass to ask President Zardari not to hit out at the army in his scheduled speech at Naudero. The source said the ambassadors of friendly countries, including Saudi Arabia, the UAE and others, were also active. The source said General Kayani in his meeting with Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and Pervaiz Elahi told them that the prime minister’s rant against the army was uncalled for and only fuelled the tension between the state institutions. The Chaudhrys called on the COAS in Rawalpindi after meeting President Zardari and Prime Minister Gilani on Friday. After meeting the COAS, Shujaat again met President Zardari to convince him not to take any step or say any provocative word against the army, as the government’s emotional outburst could take things to a point of no return. However, the source said some hawks in the PPP were advising President Zardari to adopt aggressive attitude against the generals, against the PML-Q leadership’s advice that asked Zardari to come out of the influence of his “idiot friends”. The source said Awami National Party (ANP) President Asfandyar Wali also advised Zardari not to use harsh words against the army. “Some

short-sighted PPP leaders are advising the president and the PM to continue pressurising the army, but the coalition partners are opposed to this approach,” the source said. He said the COAS also complained to the Chaudhrys that Gilani’s statement regarding presence of Osama bin Laden in the country was highly irresponsible and could excite enemies of the country to slap serious charges against the Pakistan Army and such a statement would never be tolerated in the future. Another source in the government said the prime minister might not take any action against Defence Secretary Lt General (r) Naeem Khalid Lodhi now in order to facilitate his coalition partners’ efforts for reconciliation between the government and military. A source in the PML-Q told Pakistan Today that in case the PPP did not exercise restrain, the party would quit the coalition. “The Chaudhrys assured General Kayani that if their efforts for reconciliation between the two sides failed and the PPP leadership continued targeting the army, they would disassociate themselves from Zardari and Gilani and opt to sit on opposition benches to express solidarity with the army,” the source said.

Gilani to hear defence secretary before deciding his fate ISLAMABAD MIAN AbRAR

Recent positive messaging between the top military and civilian leadership has helped normalise tensions between the two sides but the fate of Defence Secretary Lt General (r) Naeem Kahlid Lodhi hangs in the balance as Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani decides to summon and hear the retired general before taking any decision about him. A well-placed source told Pakistan Today on Saturday that Gilani had decided not to take any action without hearing the defence secretary and it was likely that the secretary would be summoned by the prime minister next week probably after the death anniversary of former PPP chairwoman Benazir Bhutto on December 27. When approached for comments, Lodhi said he had not received a show cause notice from the prime minister. The source said after the recent mes-

saging, it was understood that the memo controversy would also be left with the Parliamentary Committee on National Security which was fit to resolve the mystery behind memo. “Since the memo case is a political issue and not a question of law, the apex court may leave the probe matter with the parliamentary committee on national security on the basis that the politicians should resolve political matters,” the source said. The source said the controversy between military and civilian leadership of the country had triggered due to a sequence of press releases issued by the ISPR. “In a three-hour meeting between the prime minister and the army chief, future course of action had been decided. It was decided that the replies of army chief and director general of the inter-services intelligence (ISI) would be routed through the Defence Ministry. It was also decided that their

statements would be later sent to prime minister’s house and later would be submitted by the federation. However, this procedure was not adopted later,” said the source. The source said after the meeting, Gilani had briefed the media on the agreement reached between the two. However, later a press release issued by the ISPR said a telephonic conversation between the president and the army chief was only for one minute. This also played as a spoiler and the prime minister took it as offense. Later, the statement by the defence secretary about the jurisdiction of the Defence Ministry further tested Gilani’s nerves as it challenged the civilian authority. “Still, the last press release was also vague as the army chief reiterated commitment to democratic process but it was yet to be stated that army was under the prime minister,” asserted the source.

Ti asks FBR to provide tax details of Malik Riaz’s Rs 225b ISLAMABAD sTAff RePoRT

The Transparency International (TI) has sought details from the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) about whether Rs 225 billion internationally declared by Malik Riaz of Bahria Town were included in tax returns of fiscal year 2009–10 and what amount was of due taxes was collected. A letter addressed to FBR Chairman Salman Siddique by TI Adviser Syed Adil Gilani sent on December 24, 2011 said Malik Riaz, in an interview with CNN on August 31, 2010, had admitted having assets of Rs 225 billion or $3 billion. The TI had earlier requested the FBR chairman through a letter on September 4, 2010 to provide the information with regard to payment of government revenue against Rs 225 billion in assets admitted to be owned by Riaz. The information requested was on the total value of assets of Malik Riaz, as assessed by FBR in accordance with Income Tax Ordinance 2001, and tax collected. The letter

also asked that in case the assets of Rs 225 billion were not declared to the FBR in tax returns of fiscal year 2009-2010, had FBR taken action according to law to recover the revenue and charged penalty, if any, for evasion of taxes. The FBR did not respond to TI request for eight months, therefore, on April 29, 2011, a complaint was sent to Federal Tax Ombudsman against the FBR, requesting FTO to take action under the FTO Law. Consequently a reply from FBR was received on June 17, 2011 saying “This is to inform you that the information sought in respect of Malik Riaz Hussain of Bahria Town cannot be provided in view of Section 216 of the Income Tax Ordinance, 2011.” The TI letter said it did not understand why FBR was reluctant to perform its mandatory duty and avoiding collecting due taxes on the declared assets of Malik Riaz. The copies of the letter have been forwarded to the public accounts committee chairman, federal tax ombudsman, NAB chairman, Supreme Court registrar and the auditor general.


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Sunday, 25 December, 2011

ArtS & eNtertAiNMeNt

SPortS

‘Don’ sequel rakes in millions on day one

PoA plans to hold Asian beach, Youth games A desertion:

News 03

CoMMeNt PML(N) in a pickle

Know your enemy The first essential in war on terrorism

Humayun gauhar says: Digging their own grave?: The civilians at odds with the military.

M J Akbar says: Different strokes: On the president’s dash to Dubai

Today’s

Quick

sarmad bashir says: Don’t blame the PM: It’s not what he said, it’s why he did…

Story on Page 17

Story on Page 26

look

Articles on Page 12-13

Minister to brief PCNS on financial impact of souring ties with US ISLAMABAD sTAff RePoRT

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HE Parliamentary Committee on National Security (PCNS) on Saturday asked Finance Minister Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh to brief the committee members in the next meeting on financial repercussions of reviewing the terms of engagements and souring of ties with the United States and NATO forces. Defence Secretary Lt General (r)

federal cabinet meets in Karachi today KARACHI: Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani is scheduled to chair the first ever meeting of the federal cabinet in the provincial capital on Sunday. Although issues such as gas shortage in the country and devolution of subjects from the federal list to the provinces will be on the meeting’s agenda, burning political issues like the memo scandal and the civilian government’s strained relationship with the military are likely to dominate the meeting’s proceedings. The meeting will be held at the Governor’s House. sTAff RePoRT

MuMbai attacks

niA presents charge-sheet against Headley, 8 others New DeLHI oNLINe

Two years after his role in terror activities surfaced, India’s National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Saturday filed a charge sheet against alleged culprit David Headley, outlawed JuD founder Hafiz Saeed and two ISI officers for plotting terror attacks in India, including the 26/11 strikes, the Indian media reported. The charge sheet was filed in a special court in Patiala House in New Delhi, which also named 26/11 attacks alleged mastermind Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, Headley’s accomplice and Pakistani-Canadian Tahawwur Rana and Ilyas Kashmiri for waging war against the country and other relevant sections of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, official sources said. Sajid Malik, handler of Headley and Abdul Rehman Hashmi, former Pakistani army officer were also named in the charge sheet besides two officers, Major Iqbal and Major Samir Ali, believed to be working for Pakistan’s snooping agency, sources said. The charge sheet was filed three days after the Centre gave sanction to prosecute all the nine after being convinced of their role in planning terror strikes in India. The NIA had registered a case against 50year-old Pakistani-American Headley and Rana on November 12, 2009 and later on added other names after investigation by central security agencies showed some people’s involvement in terror activities against the country. Both Headley and Rana are at present in custody of US authorities and NIA has only got a limited access to Headley, who had entered into plea bargain with US authorities to escape a harsh sentence. 50year-old Rana was found guilty by the US court of terror activities in Denmark but

absolved of his role in the 26/11 strikes in Mumbai. The NIA, while registering a case against Rana and Headley under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and for conspiring to wage war against the country, had alleged that Headley had visited India “several times before 26/11 and once after” the Mumbai terror strikes, which left 166 people dead. Barring Headley and Rana, NIA has secured an Interpol Red Corner Notice against all the seven accused including Saeed and Lakhvi, who is said to be in a Pakistani jail facing trial for planning the 26/11 attack. Headley helped NIA identify voices of handlers giving instructions to the holed-up terrorists during the 60-hour carnage in Mumbai in November 2008. The handlers included Abu Hamza, the man who carried out the attack on the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore, and a key planner, instructor and handler. He also identified Sajid Majid, a top LeT terrorist, who asked the terrorists in Chabad House to ensure that none of the Israelis were left alive. Abdur Rehman retired in 2007 from the Pakistan Army as a Major. He worked closely with Lashkar-e-Taiba and coordinated the activities of Headley. He was arrested in 2009 in Pakistan on unspecified charges and later released. Major Iqbal was Headley’s handler who arranged funds and training in intelligence gathering. Iqbal gave him $25,000 in August 2006 to visit India. Another Pakistani Major Sameer Ali was also named by the Pakistani-American terrorist. The Interpol had on August 25, 2010 issued Red Corner notices to Saeed, Lakhvi and Abu Hamza. These were issued after a Mumbai court issued a non-bailable warrant against the two for their role in the Mumbai attacks.

Naeem Khalid Lodhi brief the committee on Pakistan’s military-to-military agreements with the US, NATO and ISAF forces on the war against terror. The committee members were also provided copies of all the nine agreements signed between Pakistan and the US on defence-related issues, said a source privy to the committee’s proceedings. “Now all the members of the committee would put forth their recommendations about formulating

new terms of engagements with NATO and ISAF which would later be presented to the joint sitting of the parliament for approval,” the source added. The source said that on December 30 the committee would hold two sessions, one each on the memo controversy and NATO attacks on Pakistani border posts. Later talking to the media, PCNS Chairman Mian Raza Rabbani said the defence secretary had presented his viewpoint on the nine agreements, which in-

cluded two agreements between the foreign ministries of the two countries while seven were military-related agreements. Rabbani added that the defence secretary had also briefed the committee on the preliminary report of Pentagon on the NATO attack. He said that prior to the briefing by the defence secretary, Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar had briefed on diplomatic relations and impact of the review of terms of engagements between both the countries.


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04 News Christians celebrate Christmas today ISLAMABAD AgeNcIes

Christians would celebrate Christmas on Sunday with religious zeal. Felicitating the Pakistani Christians on Christmas, President Asif Ali Zardari reiterated that the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) will continue to uphold the right of Christians and all minorities, to be treated as equal citizens of the state. Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani in his Christmas message reiterated the government’s commitment to ensure the rights of minorities as enshrined in the constitution.

Quaid’s 135th birthday today ISLAMABAD AgeNcIes

The nation will celebrate the 135th birth anniversary of founder of the nation Quaid-eAzam Muhammad Ali Jinnah with national spirit and enthusiasm today (Sunday). President Asif Ali Zardari said the Quaid-e-Azam had rejected any change by bullet and always favoured that it be done through ballot. Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani urged the nation to follow the ideals of Quaid-e-Azam and forge unity in their ranks to overcome the challenges facing Pakistan.

Chinese envoy meets civilian, military leaders ISLAMABAD sTAff RePoRT

Chinese State Councilor Dai Bingguo on Saturday met the country’s top civilian and military leaderships, with both sides vowing t strengthen their all-weather friendship. President Asif Ali Zardari told Bingguo that Pakistan-China strategic cooperative partnership was the cornerstone of Pakistan’s foreign policy and termed it critical for the development, peace and security of the region and the world. Zardari also conferred the country’s highest civil award on Bingguo for his efforts for global peace. COAS General Ashfaq Kayani and Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee Chairman General Khalid Shamim Wyne also separately met Bingguo at General Headquarters and discussed matters of mutual interest and the emerging geostrategic situation.

Sunday, 25 December, 2011

CJP dissatisfied with slow disposal of cases in anti-terrorism courts in Sindh

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expresses dissatisfaction over delay in submission of challans, frequent adjournments being sought and granted to prosecuting and defence counsels ISLAMABAD sTAff RePoRT

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HIEF Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry on Saturday expressed dissatisfaction over slow disposal of cases in the anti-terrorism courts in Sindh. According to a press release issued by the Supreme Court, the CJP chaired high level meeting at the Supreme Court Branch Registry in Karachi, held in connection with the performance of antiterrorism courts in the province and the role of prosecution and investigation agencies in quick disposal of the cases.

He expressed dissatisfaction over the slow disposal of cases in the anti-terrorism courts, the delay in submission of challans and the frequent adjournments being sought and granted to the prosecuting and defense counsels. The CJP observed that per the judgement in the Shaikh Liaqat Hussain case, the Supreme Court set up a mechanism to monitor the performance of the anti-terrorism courts to quickly decide such cases. The mechanism was meant to remove handicaps or irritants in the way of expeditious disposal of cases. The chief justice said terrorism also came up for consid-

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The court order had further stated that the law enforcement operations shall be carried out across the board and without any pressure or influence from any quarters. The Sindh High Court chief justice, who is the in charge of anti-terrorism courts, said there were 31,124 anti-terrorism cases pending before the 11 anti-terrorism courts in the province, of which some 323 cases were pending in Karachi alone. The judge incharge of antiterrorism courts assured the meeting that more ATC Judges had been appointed and these courts had become functional, the disposal figure would in-

‘PTi-Sindhi nationalist talks broke down over MQM’ ISLAMABAD ARIf TAJ

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf’s dialogue for a possible political cooperation with Sindhi nationalist parties was discontinued to seek rapprochement with the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) and evolve a future political understanding with it, following which the PML-N moved in to start dialogue with Sindh’s nationalist leaders, leaders of various nationalist parties told Pakistan Today on Saturday. Imran Khan wanted to have close cooperation with nationalist parties of Sindh to

divide the PPP’s vote bank in the province and he engaged some Sindhi nationalist parties into dialogue during the recent months. The Central Executive Committee of the PTI also placed it in its agenda to be discussed on November 13, after holding meetings with Sindh Tarraqi Passand Party in which both sides had reportedly agreed to work for the sovereignty of the provinces, restoration of true democracy in the country, strict enforcement of rule of law and social justice and elimination of corruption. The dialogue was discontinued on purpose by the PTI to evolve a good relation-

ship with the MQM, said Dr Dodo Mehari, general secretary of the Sindh United Party. “The dialogue has almost been terminated and the reason for that is the PTI does not want to offend the MQM because it is seeking to cultivate some sort of understanding in future with the party having majority in the urban parts of the province. Secondly, the PTI does not have any clear stance on the issue of provincial autonomy. All nationalist parties want to redefine the nature of relationship between the federation and the federating units which the PTI is reluctant to discuss,” Mehari

CiA suspends drone missile strikes in Pakistan: report LOS ANGeLeS AfP

The US Central Intelligence Agency has suspended drone missile strikes on gatherings of low-ranking militants in Pakistan due to tensions with the country, The Los Angeles Times reported. Citing unnamed current and former US officials, the

newspaper said late Friday the undeclared halt in CIA attacks is aimed at reversing a sharp erosion of trust between the two countries. The pause in the missile strikes comes amid an intensifying debate in the administration of US President Barack Obama over the future of the CIA’s covert drone war in Pakistan, the paper said.

Hashmi joins PTi cooperation of Javed Hashmi and Shah Mehmood Qureshi, PTI’s journey had become easy. “Javed Hashmi demands nothing; he has joined the PTI only after becoming inspired by its stance. The movement will benefit from Hashmi’s experience,” he added. Imran said he and Javed Hashmi joined hands in parliament against a military dictator. “Shah Mehmood Qureshi gave a boost to the party and after Hashmi’s joining, the tsunami of the party has become stronger. We have to change the system.” Imran said a revolution was in the offing in Pakistan. “A sign of that revolution is that people

eration before the five members bench in the suo motu case regarding law and order in Karachi and the court issued categorical directions to the provincial police as well as the DG, Rangers to apprehend the culprits and timely investigate the cases. He exhorted the security agencies to follow the directions given by the court in the Karachi violence case to the effect that there must not be any “no go area”, adding that if any such area was found, the police and Rangers shall take strong and decisive action to eliminate it, and if necessary, the Rangers DG shall personally lead the operation in such areas.

have started to join a political party that does not even a have a single seat in parliament. Politics of self interest are going to end. These people can go and join any party but they left power for their stance. Nobody came to join our party over differences with their parties, but they came to join us because of their point of view.” To a query about any “secret hand” backing his party, Imran said that “secret hand” was of Allah’s. Speaking on the occasion, Hashmi said Imran has taken a stand about his politics for 15 years. “Imran Khan was my favorite cricketer and now he has become a champion of politics in this country. He

came to meet me when I was in the jail. With the passage of time our points of view regarding politics became similar. I spoke in the National Assembly for the first time in 1993 regarding declaration of assets of politicians,” he said. Hashmi said when Imran “came to meet me, he said he had not come for any personal motive, but for Pakistan. I promised to think and consult. Since a year, I was observing the situation of the country. It was my desire t see a change. I was not annoyed with the [former] party. I accompanied Nawaz Sharif in Larkana. When we returned to Lahore, he first offered me to sit in the car before him.

The CIA has killed dozens of al Qaeda operatives and hundreds of low-ranking fighters there since the first Predator strike in 2004, but the program has infuriated many Pakistanis, the report noted. Some officials in the State Department and the National Security Council say many of the airstrikes are counterproductive, The Times said.

There is no issue between me and the PML-N. I am only saying that PTI’s momentum to bring a change in the country in much stronger compared to other parties”. Hashmi said PTI workers had been at the forefront of the movement for judiciary’s restoration. “I consulted my friends, informed party workers about my decision. My colleagues touched my feet asking me not to leave the party. I respect their sentiments, but we have to take a decision for a bigger purpose.” “To achieve that target I have decided to join the PTI. We will fight a war of principles. We need to protect Pakistan from the incompetent and looters. We have no vested interest, nor a desire to expand any business,” Hashmi added. To a question,

said, adding that the PML-N was now trying to make an alliance with the nationalist parties and Nawaz Sharif held a number of meeting with Sindhi nationalist leaders during the last few days in this regard. When Pakistan Today tried to contact PTI Secretary General Dr Arif Alvi and president of its Sindh Chapter, Naeemul Haq a number of times for their version, they did not attend the phone calls. When PTI Information Secretary Shafqat Mehmood was contacted, he said he did not know when the dialogue ha started and why had been terminated.

crease. In his presentation to the chief justice, the Sindh IG said during the five-month period, a total of 240 cases had been registered and 291 accused were arrested under the ATC law. The challans in respect of 130 cases had been submitted in the courts, he said. The meeting took notice of the reports to the effect that some influential accused persons, arrested by the Rangers and handed over to police for investigation, were given the benefit of being charged under Section 13-D of the Arms Ordinance 1965 (carrying arms without licence), carrying lesser sentence, even though the provisions of the

Musharraf, Kayani knew osama’s whereabouts: Ziauddin wASHINGTON INP

Pakistani military had harboured Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden with the knowledge of former president General (r) Pervez Musharraf, former General Ziauddin Butt has said. An article on the Jamestown Foundation website, which cited Butt, said that despite denials, evidence is emerging that “elements within the Pakistani military harboured Osama with the knowledge of Musharraf and Kayani”. Ziauddin Butt told a

Another petrol bomb looms IslAmAbAd: The federal government is likely to increase petroleum prices by Rs 5 per litre from January 1, sources in the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) said on Saturday. They said that in view of international prices, OGRA advised the government to increase oil prices. Sources said that no change was expected in the prices of kerosene oil. OGRA recommended the government to increase the price of high octane oil (HOBC) by Rs 5 per litre, high speed diesel oil (HSDO) by Rs 1.5 per litre and light speed diesel (LDO) by Rs 1.5 per litre. After the expected increase in prices, HOBC would be sold at Rs 111.72 per litre, HSDO at Rs 100.33, LDO at Rs 87.28 and kerosene oil would be sold at Rs 89.24 per litre. Petroleum prices would be determined on December 31. oNLINe

he said he had no differences with Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif. Shah Mehmood Qureshi also welcomed Javed Hashmi in the party. He said those joining the PTI were not thinking about their personal interests, but for a bigger cause of a strong and prosperous Pakistan. Talking to reporters at Karachi airport earlier, Hashmi said only time would tell if the PTI was a party of the establishment. Hashmi said his daughter Memoona Hashmi would also resign from parliament, while an MPA of his area, Shahid Mehmood, would also resign from his assembly membership. In Multan, PML-N workers led by provincial minister for Auqaf held a protest demonstration at Hussain Aghahi Chowk

ATC law were attracted because of which, such accused persons got released on bail by the courts. The chief justice of Pakistan directed that such leniency was unwarranted and against the law. The IGP reported that the allegation of showing partiality and favour to an accused namely Muhammad Salim alias Choto, disciplinary proceedings had been initiated by the government against SP Umar Khitab. The IG assured the CJP that police officers responsible for showing any favour, partiality or leniency due to political influence or otherwise would be proceeded against under the law.

against Hashmi’s decision and expressed strong resentment to the move. Hamza Shahbaz Sharif said it was Hashmi’s personal decision and the PML-N, being a popular party of the masses, would not be affected by someone’s leaving. Meanwhile, sources said senior PML-N leader and former Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chief minister Sardar Mehtab Khan Abbasi was also in line to join the Pakistan Tehreeke-Insaaf in the next few days. In a related development, PPP’s former information minister Khalid Kharal, one of the founder members of the party, is all set to join the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI), as he had had expressed inability to join the meeting of the PPP Federal Council in Naudero on December 27.

conference on Pakistani-US ties in October that according to his knowledge then director general of Intelligence Bureau, Brigadier (r) Ijaz Shah, had “kept Osama bin Laden in an Intelligence Bureau safe house in Abbottabad”. The retired general said in the same address that the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) had helped the CIA to track Osama down and kill him. To a query on whether the present army chief knew about it, Butt said yes, but later added: “(General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani) may have known - I do not know he might not have known.”

PML-N blames establishment for Hashmi’s resignation LAHORe oNLINe

Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah on Saturday blamed the establishment’s “stooges” for PML-N leader Javed Hashm’s resignation and joining the Pakistan Tehreeke-Insaaf. Sanaullah accused former Senator Tariq Chaudhry of acting on behalf of the establishment. Tariq had been staying at Hashmi’s residence in Multan for a few days and convinced him to quit the PML-N. He said Hashmi was unhappy after the party leadership did not make him parliamentary leader in the National Assembly. PMLN leader Senator Pervez Rashid said he was saddened by Hashmi’s decision and it broke many hearts. Opposition leader in the National Assembly Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said his party was not afraid of anyone’s departure and was ready for snap polls. He claimed that an agency was behind pushing the people towards the PTI. Sources said fifteen more MNAs and around 25 MPAs from the PML-N were also ready to join the PTI during the next two weeks.


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Sunday, 25 December, 2011

shrines become centre of illegal activities expensive energy

CDa asked to launch LED lights pilot project total cost estimated at around rs 6 billion and a failure can prove a heavy burden on the national exchequer g

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HE Central Development Working Party (CDWP) has asked the Capital Development Authority (CDA) to first launch a pilot project of street lights based upon Light Emitting Diode (LED) technology in the city to assess whether the new expensive technology will help achieve the objectives. An official source said the directives were given to the CDA, as there were some concerns in the official circles about the huge cost of the project. However, he said some of the influential people were interested to get the project as technology was readily available from China. The source said the LED lights consumed minimum

electricity, but it gave less light compared to conventional sources, due to which the CDWP had asked CDA to install it on trial basis. The official said the estimated cost of the project was over Rs 6 billion and it would cause a huge lose to the national exchequer, in case of a failure. He also said some high-ups of CDA also showed concern about the maintenance of LED light because the similar problem in other projects. “Currently, the CDA electrical maintenance wing has no technical staff to for the purpose,” he said. He said the CDA was paying an amount of around Rs 120 million per month on electricity bills and unable to disburse the overdue amount to the Islamabad Electric Supply Company (IESCO). “The IESCO has sev-

eral time disconnected power supply of the CDA due to huge overdue bill,” he said. The official said the cost for running and maintaining the streetlights had increased by 30 to 40 per cent in the last couple of years, and these figures did not include the salary of the 400 employees, who were part of the electrical maintenance wing. The non-development expenditure crossed Rs 6 billion while the authority earned only Rs2 billion through taxes, due to which the CDA is coping with severe financial crises. The official said the CDA plan not only included to replace the conventional lights with the LED lights but also plan to install the solar geezers in the government accommodations, Parliament House, President House and other major buildings of the city.

PAGe 08

bb MurDer case

FiA presents record of Saud Aziz and Khurram Shehzad’s cell phones RAwALPINDI sTAff RePoRT

The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) on Saturday presented record of the mobile phones of former city police officer (CPO) Saud Aziz and ex-SP Khurram Shehzad before the anti-terrorism court (ATC) in the Benazir Bhutto murder case. The hearing of the case was held in the court of ATC Judge Shahid Rafiq at Adiala Jail. FIA Forensic Expert Assistant Director Noman Ashraf Bodla produced record of the mobile phones of former CPO Saud Aziz to the court. The court adjourned hearing of the case till January 7. Similarly, four prosecution witnesses, including FIA Assistant Director Noman Ashraf Bodla, Pakistan Telecommunication Limited (PTCL) Director Internet Feroz Alam, Warid Telecom’s Usman Maftoon and Special Magistrate Rawalpindi Chaudhry Taufeeq recorded their statements before the court. FIA Prosecutor Chaudhry Zulfiqar, in his statement, said that he had taken complete data of mobile phones of the former CPO and ex-SP, which were provided to the investigators at the time of their arrest. PTCL Director Internet Feroz Alam, in his statement, told the court that on December 28, 2007, a telephonic conversation was held between one

Molvie Ameer and Baitullah Mehsood from the house of accused Rafaqat. During the conversation which continued for one minute and 13 seconds Malvie Ameer and Baitullah congratulated Rafaqat that the job had been done. Warid Telecom’s Usman Maftoon also confirmed that two out of three mobile numbers were registered in the name of the fathers of the two accused, Muhammad Rafaqat and Hassnain Gull. However, the third mobile number was registered in the name of one Riaz. He also told the court that the accused were in touch with their parents. Chaudhry Taufeeq, who was special magistrate Rawalpindi, said in his statement that he had written in the confessional statements of Muhammad Rafaqat, Hassnain Gull and Aitzaz Shah that the accused brought Bilal Saeed alias Bilal a suicide bomber from Waziristan to Rawalpindi while Hassnain Gull accommodated Bilal at his residence. Khurram Qureshi, counsel for accused Sher Zaman, raised objection when the prosecution presented Chaudhry Taufeeq, the magistrate, for recording his statement, saying that under the law the name of this witness was not mentioned in the list provided by the prosecution to the defence counsel, so the court should not record the statement of Chaudhry Taufeeq. On this, the judge observed that the statement of the witness should be recorded, however, the defence lawyers could cross-examine him on the next date of hearing. Qureshi told the media outside Adiala Jail that despite the lapse of four years, the trial was still at initial stages, adding only 11 out of 130150 witnesses appeared before the court to give their statements.


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06 Islamabad

Sunday, 25 December, 2011

Bahria University holds 8th convocation ISLAMABAD

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S many as 793 graduating students of Bahria University were awarded degrees at the varsity’s 8th convocation held here on Saturday. At least 17 gold medals and 15 silver medals were also awarded to outstanding students as recognition of their remarkable achievement in their respective academic programmes. Chief of the Naval staff Admiral Muhammad Asif Sandila, s the chief guest, conferred the degrees upon 793 graduating students in various disciplines, including BBA, BSE, BCE, BS, MS, MSC and BA. Felicitating the graduating students, Admiral Asif Sandila expressed his deep admiration for the strenuous hard work put in by them to stand successful today which has not only brought laurels for the university but also pride for their parents. The chief of naval staff advised the graduating students to refrain the fastcreeping charms of deceit and falsehood

and must follow the path of righteousness and truth for success in life. He appreciated the university’s role and efforts in seeking links and collaboration with foreign universities to bring about needed improvements in teaching and learning standards. He advised all concerned to emulate the best available to produce qualified graduates, fit enough to compete confidently in the domestic and international job markets. He also commended the steps being taken by the university management to provide financial support to deserving students in the

FrOM FilM tO selling Fish

Urdu play enthralls audience

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Khalid tanoli shares his experience, saying local industry fails to face the onslaught of western and indian productions ISLAMABAD MAHTAb bAsHIR

Art and artist - both in visual and performing genre - survives in Pakistan but at a very heavy price. Musicians, painters, singers or actors live in most difficult times, while the state institutions, meant to promote art and culture, ignore them. The art councils and other institutions remain indifferent to the issues of artists, many of them have passed away in abject poverty while others live in conditions that are not fit for a person, who is protecting and promoting rich cultural heritage of the country. The film industry in Pakistan has failed to be vibrant and some of the people attached to it are compelled to set up their own businesses at a small scale to earn their livelihood in the federal capital.

Khalid Tanoli is one of such artists, who brought laurels working for the films and television over the last two decades, but with the slump in the local industry, he is struggling to earn living, selling variety of fried fish at his small hut along the roadside at G9/2, opposite to the Fatima Jinnah Park (F9). Narrating his miserable story, 45-year-old Khalid Tanoli told Pakistan Today that he started his career in 1990 with a popular drama serial “Ajj Di Kahani” from Pakistan Television (PTV). Born in Abbottabad, but settled in Lahore, Tanoli said his professional career in film industry was over but he had been working with zeal on TV. “My ongoing television drama serials are “Amar Beil” and “Zindagi Aik Safar Hay” from ATV, while “Bus Aik Tera Intazar”, “Insaan” and Nai Nasal” were the forthcoming drama serials

to be telecasted from PTV,” he said, adding that he was also performing in underproduction “Jaago Magar Khamosh Raho” and “Bhaag Ali” and a feature film ‘Dil Da Jaani’, featuring Shan, Saima, and Sana. “I have worked with all the leading film and television stars. One of my current Punjabi drama serial is “Sohni Mahiwal” in which I am working along with Shafqat Cheema for Apna Channel.” Tanoli said he had played different roles from Peon to Police Officers, from Driver to Villain, and as a Jailer and Father in number of Urdu and Punjabi films- “Sher-e-Punjab”, “Dada Badmash”, “Mulla Muzaffar”, to name a few in which I appeared in these get-up. Settled in the federal capital for the last four years, Tanoli said because of poor scriptwriting, acting, production and Indian and Western cultural onslaught, Pakistani film Industry was pushed into a quagmire and almost finished. “It (film Industry) could never be revive again, because every quality movie is easily available on cable networks, and internet on different websites. Why should people bother to watch Pakistani movies that have nothing to impress audience,” Tanoli said, while inserting sticks into wooden stove. “Sangeeta Begum, Rao Qurban Ali, Pervez Rana, Anjum Pervez, Arshad Dar, Babar Kashmiri, Irdees Bhatti, and Ajab Gul are few of noted produced with whom I have worked,” Tanoli said. “I have worked with Yawar Hayat, Ayub Khawar, Tariq Ahmed, Abdul Aziz, and Yasin Malik on TV.”

form of need-based scholarships. Earlier, Bahria University Rector Vice Admiral (retired) Muhammad Haroon, in his speech, gave a brief account of various measures the university had taken for its expansion to introduce law classes, MS/M.Phil and PhD programmes, establish links with foreign universities of People’s Republic of China, Turkey, Australia, up-gradation of computer labs, multi-media facilities for all classrooms, foreign study tours by students to allow them international exposure and award of merit and need-based scholarships.

He blamed Indian soaps and films are also responsible to down Pakistani film industry. “But the flaws that caused industry’s decline are our own. Producers is also reluctant to take chances on his investment, said Tanoli, who has three school going children. “I have learnt fish frying techniques from one of my colleague producer while working in Lahore, and it clicked. Now, by the grace of Almighty, I am the only fry fish seller who has all range of fried fish in the federal capital.” “Rahu, Trout, Baam, Masheer, Mushka, Simon, and Surmai are the fish, I brought from Tarbela and Mangla Dams, and also from Kaghan and Naran while few fish I imported from Karachi,” Tanoli said. Talking about the rate of mouth watering fried fish served with sauce, Tanoli said the prices varied. Tanoli said he was looking for a better spot where he could set up his fish selling business to serve fried fish in a better ambience. “I have struggled and I am satisfied with my life.” he said. Tanoli requested the government that time was not over yet. “The government must do something now for the revival of film industry, for the sake of promotion of art and culture.” “I have worked with commitment and devotion for the promotion of art and culture and there are thousands of artists like me, who are looking forward government institutions to something for the welfare of artists - as they are the asset of the nation,” he said.

IslAmAbAd: Urdu play ‘Insha Ka Intizar’, directed and written by Anwer Jaffari, was presented by Tehreek-eNiswan, Karachi Production, before the packed hall audience at the PNCA Auditorium. This play was the 14th segment of the series of plays of National Drama Festival 2011, organized by Pakistan National Council of the Arts, Ministry of National Heritage and Integration. All the artistes performed well, especially classical dancer Sheema Kirmani who enthralled the audience. She thinks that Insha (Insha Allah) will solve all the problems and everything get right automatically without any struggle. In the meantime, another character enters the scene in the name of Manshwallah i.e. (martial law) who comes without any reason and starts ruling civilians, tortures innocent civilians and treats them like slaves. Basically, the story is based on military dictatorship (martial law), the behavior of army dictators with civilians. The massage conveyed by the play is that we should struggle to bring about a change because no change can be brought simply by waiting and saying Insha Allah. sTAff RePoRT


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Islamabad 07 Pak-India better ties in both states’ interest: ISSI talk Sunday, 25 December, 2011

PNCA, Lok Virsa celebrating Quaid’s birthday today ISLAMABAD

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HE Institute of Strategic Studies (ISSI) organised a public talk under its distinguished lecture series on ‘A Security Route to Cooperation: A New Blueprint for Pakistan-India Relations’ on its premises. ISSI Director General Ambassador (retd) Ashraf Jehangir Qazi, while welcoming the guests, highlighted the importance of the topic and said that maintaining good relations with India was in the vital interest of Pakistan. Though Pakistan was going through difficult times and facing multiple problems, this particular problem needed special attention, he said. Speaking on the occasion, renowned scholar, Dr Shireen Mazari said Pakistan-India peace process continued to be stalled despite a growing recognition that peace and regional cooperation were in the long-term interest of the

people of the region. “Track-two dialogues continued to focus on people-topeople contact as a means to move forward but, unfortunately, real conflicts that exist between Pakistan and India cannot be resolved simply through this methodology. Media initiatives such as ‘Aman Ki Asha’ reach out to people across the borders, but do not offer substantive solutions to the real conflicts,” she opined. She said, “Many foreign analysts cite EU model for Pakistan and India, but there is a need to understand the origins of the EU to proceed in the similar fashion. The underlying message from the EU model is that for effective and long-term peace and cooperation, Pakistan and India will have to move forward first in the sensitive security and contentious issues.” She also spoke about the model of the Good Friday Agreement between the British and Irish governments and between them and eight political parties. With the help of these two models, the

speaker put forward her recommendations to the security route to cooperation between Pakistan and India. Mazari said there had to be a breaking of the logjam on Kashmir. The indigenous nature of the struggle in Kashmir could not be denied. In this regard, she also mentioned a conference held in Delhi where some political parties along with some NGOs for the first time supported the Kashimiris’ right to self-determination. She was of the view that in the context of Kashmir, the Good Friday Agreement became very relevant as it recognised the right of the people to choose their own future through a referendum and the binding clause for both the states not only to accept the result of such a referendum but also allow the people the choice of periodic referendums in case they changed their mind. Dr Mazari further proposed confidence-building measures in the sensitive security issue areas, especially in the nuclear field. She viewed joint nuclear

power generation as one of the important routes to security cooperation as both the countries were overt nuclear powers and energy deficient. She also made a strong pitch for some kind of an agreement on nuclear restraint for a number of reasons. In addition to it, the list of nuclear facilities that both countries exchange at the end of every year should also be expanded, she opined. The presentation was followed by a vibrant question-answer session during which a number of guests raised certain issues that plagued the relationship between these two neighbours. At the end, the ISSI director general thanked Dr Mazari for presenting her views and recommendations which provided food for thought. He said India-Pakistan relationship would always be fragile. For Pakistan, it had become imperative to make such an environment in which it could negotiate with India without compromising on its principled stand.

2005 earthquake in aJk

0.3m students still study under open sky MUZAFFARABAD sTAff RePoRT

Six years on, around 300,000 students of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) are still forced to study under open sky due to slow progress of reconstruction process following the devastating earthquake that had wreaked havoc in northern Pakistan in year 2005. During 2005 earthquake around three thousands educational institutions were damaged in the state, out of which only 1,000 are reconstructed so far. The delay is badly affecting the youth as they are pursing their studies either in tents or under sky even in harsh winter. In his briefing to visiting group of journalists, State Earthquake Recon-

struction and Rehabilitation Agency (SERRA) Secretary Dr Asif Hussain on Friday said shortage of funds for reconstruction was badly affecting the education sector. “Of total 3,000 damaged educational institutions, we have reconstructed only 1000 schools, meaning that only 33 percent work has been completed,” he said. In the 2005 devastating earthquake that wrecked havoc in Pakistan and AJK, killing more than 50 thousands people in AJK and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and damaging thousands of buildings, the education sector of AJK suffered a lot as almost all of its buildings were damaged. 1,702 primary schools, 174 mosques-

cum schools, 570 middle school, 296 high secondary schools, 23 inter and 14 colleges besides six post graduate colleges and two campuses of AJK University were completely destroyed in the natural calamity. To a query, Dr Asif said donors contributed a lot for the reconstruction work as under the Earthquake Emergency Assistant Project (EEAP), funded by Asian Development Bank, 305 schools were reconstructed to the earthquake resistance standards; however, a lot of work needed to be done. It is relevant to note that the Asian Development Bank has accomplished various projects worth $I billion in the quake-hit areas. The ADB reconstructed 309 state of

Christmas gala at F/9 Park IslAmAbAd: The Capital Development Authority (CDA) Chairman Farkhand Iqbal on Saturday said the Christian community was playing a pivotal role in the development of the capital city and deserved laurels for their services. He said this while addressing a two-day colourful Christmas Gala “Colours of Islamabad Christmas Carnival”, organised by the CDA at Fatima Jinnah F-9 Park. The Christmas Gala participated by the families of the Christian as well as other communities living in different areas of the city, according to a press statement. The first ever Christian fam-

ily gala organised in the history of Islamabad comprised of different stalls, shops, food courts, game shows and play-rides for the children and other festivities designed specially for the Christmas. The site has also been decorated with the Christmas trees and Santa Claus. A large numbers of families and children visited the spot and lauded the efforts of CDA for organizing such a beautiful event. Farkhand Iqbal said the CDA had organised a number of programmes for the Christian community to commemorate their efforts for the development of Islamabad. “The Christian community around

the world, especially those living in Islamabad, on this happy occasion celebrated the birth of Jesus Christ. The practice of lighting up Christmas Tree on behalf of CDA began a couple of years ago and is being expended with every passing year to add more colours to the Christmas celebrations,” he said. He said Christmas trees had been litup in different areas of the federal capital in addition to a number of colourful

the art schools, 26 basic health units, 1 Rural Health Centre and two tehsil headquarter (THQ) and one district headquarter hospitals. It also funded the reconstruction of 872 kilometer road and eight RCC bridges, while it also contributed a major share for the construction of 42 steel bridges and damaged buildings of AJK electricity departments. All ADB funded projects have almost completed in AJK. Talking to Pakistan Today, Deputy Country Director PRM Asian Development Bank Nianshan Zhang said: “It’s very rewarding for me to see the fruit of projects. The ADB funded projects will play a significant role to pull the people out of sufferings of the earthquake.”

events, including this gala at F-9 Park. He reiterated the CDA had always taken pride for having the peaceful and hardworking community along in the journey of development and making Islamabad a model city. “The way the Christian employees of CDA have kept the city clean, especially during Eid-ul-Azha for the last many years is a remarkable achievement, which has always been appreciated not only by the locals but also by the foreign dignitaries living in the Federal Capital.” He said the salaries of the sanitation staff had been increased at par with the other employees working in the author-

Pakistan National Council of the Arts and National Institute of Folk and Traditional Heritage (Lok Virsa), Ministry of National Heritage and Integration, is all set to celebrate 135th birth anniversary of the founder of Pakistan, Quaid-eAzam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, (today) Sunday. To mark the day, the PNCA and Lok Virsa are creating a colourful float to pay homage to the father of the nation. The main theme of the float is unity, faith and discipline. This float will represent culture of all the provinces and federating units of Pakistan—Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh, Balochistan, Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan. The float will also display photographic representation of Quaid-e-Azam and his unique belongings. Folk dance groups like Dharees dance, Sammi dance and Khattak dance will perform all the way in front and back of the float. This unique cultural float will start on December 25 from Parade Avenue in front of the Parliament building at 11am and move along Blue Area up to Sector F-10 via Zero Point. The float, travelling along its prescribed route at around 4pm, will return to the Parade Avenue where special performances of folk artists will be arranged. A documentary on Quaid-e-Azam will be shown on a large screen inside the lobby of the PNCA. A large number of diplomats, highranking government officials, cultural personalities and general public are expected to attend. Pakistan National Museum of Ethnology, (Heritage Museum) and Pakistan Monument Museum at Shakarparian will also remain open for the general public from 10am to 7pm. In order to encourage maximum participation, a special 50 percent rebate on the entry ticket for Pakistani adults is being granted. Since December 25 also marks Christmas, a cake-cutting ceremony as well as erection of a beautiful Christmas tree in front of the Heritage Museum, Shakarparian, is also an integral part of the daylong programmes.

ity in addition to upgrading their Basic Pay Scales. The CDA has allotted a plot for church on which construction has commenced. Under the government policy of housing for the poor, the CDA has allotted plots to the Christian community in different sectors opened from time to time and also given them propriety rights in the existing slums. Out of the 10 registered slums, four have already been upgraded and development of the remaining is in progress. The CDA has also allotted 4000 plots to the dwellers and another 2,000 allotments are in the process under the Modern Urban Shelter Project Programme. sTAff RePoRT

a day of peace and love ISLAMABAD sTAff RePoRT

Christmas, the biggest religious festival of the Christian community, is being celebrated in the federal capital as well as all over the world today with due religious fervour. The day rekindles the memories of Jesus Christ, who through his message of love and compassion, changed the world in a very perceptible manner, and established sanctimonious values that still form the basis of civilised existence. Very few great men, before or after him, exerted such great influence on the course of history as did the architect of Christianity. In fact, the teachings of Christ had far reaching impacts which are acknowledged by all — regardless of religion and community. The day is celebrated in a joyous mood and it has assumed an almost universal character, being no longer confined to the Christians only. The growth and spread of Christianity across the world has elevated Christmas to a truly world festival. There is merry-making and celebration of almost every

conceivable kind. But the devotees have to bear in mind that the day marks the birth of the man whose mission, during his short but eventful life, was to promote peace, goodwill and compassion. Christ’s love for mankind is a source of great inspiration to not only his followers but to humanity in general. His message of peace is particularly relevant in the present day world embroiled in violence and bloodletting in many places. It is indeed time to pray for peace and stability to carry forward the mission initiated by the great man. The essential features of Christmas celebrations include exchange of gifts and cards, decorated Christmas trees and the arrival of the good old Santa Claus on the eve. However, local and regional traditions have enriched the day in various ways as Christianity has emerged as the major world religion. The day will be observed in Pakistan with the members of the Christian community enjoying every bit of it in their own colourful ways. Pakistan Today wishes them a very happy Christmas to Christian Community. Let the day bring joy and happiness to people all over the Pakistan!


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08 Islamabad

shrines become centre of illegal activities

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N a sheer contradiction of the teachings and philosophy of Sufis, shrines are fast becoming hub for unlawful activities due to the negligence of authorities concerned, as illegal occupants have become caretakers of some shrines, who are not even cognizant of the values and teachings of the respective saint whose tomb they are looking after. It has been learnt that some people who have become caretakers of the shrines even do not know the names of the saints on whom shrine they are serving. The shrine of Baba Sahheed Kahu on the Kashmir Highway is one of them, where officials never try to inspect what is going on. During a chat with Pakistan Today, the custodian, known as Baba, said he had been living at the shrine for last three years. But when this scribe asked him about the actual history and name of Baba Shaheed Kahu, he could just reply that it was a blessing of Allah and the Sufi saint, which made him able to serve at the shrine. “No one can live here without their permission,” he said, adding that he had been selected to ensure sanctity of the shrine. Baba has neither been appointed by any authority nor by the heirs of the Sufi saint. He has installed three to four boxes to collect money from the faithful and also made a separate room at the shrine to live. Does any government official know about the said Baba and whether the construction of room and fencing the area by grille is a legal action will remain a mystery until the concerned quarters get ready to fulfill their duty of keeping a check on shrines. Ali Shah, the son of Sufi saint Syed Asghar Shah whose shrine is also located on the Kashmir Highway, told Pakistan Today that spiritualism did not meant for using it for vested interests. “I have not made any room nor do any illegal construction on the shrine of my father because such practice will be against the teach-

ings of Sufi saints,” he said. He was of the view that the society could play its role to stop practices not allowed by Islam and Shariah. Many other shrines are also present in the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad, which has also become a safe haven for the drug addicts. The drug peddlers roam freely at the shrines and attract the innocent people towards different drugs like hashish and heroin. Talking to Pakistan Today, one of the faithful said that he had been visiting the shrine of Bari Imam for last many years and he always found many drug addicts sitting there without any fear of law enforcement agencies. He said while the government was taking steps against religious fundamentalists, it should also crack down on such ‘saints’ and drug peddlers, who were using

akcent live in islaMabaD

these holy places as cover for their illegal businesses. Another citizen said the drug peddlers were destroying the future generations, adding that these shrines were becoming breeding grounds for criminals. He urged the authorities to apprehend the fake saints, ‘pirs’ and ‘fakirs’ who used the shrines as covers for their crimes. He added that only pilgrims or visitors should be allowed to visit, but not to stay at the shrines. A CDA official, seeking anonymity, told Pakistan Today that most of the caretakers living at the shrines in the capital city had been enjoying good relations with influential people due to which the authorities seemed helpless to take any action against illegal constructions at the shrines.

an illustratiOn OF pakistan

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DAte: tUeSDAy DeC 27, 2011 6:00 PM VeNUe: iSLAMABAD

DAte: NoV 29 - DeC 25, 2011 VeNUe: iSLAMABAD

the band is set to visit Pakistan once again, this time to it's capital. Performing smashing hits like "that's My Name", "My Passion", "Stay with Me" & the new track " feelings on fire " they are sure to set the stage ablaze and make you sway.

Do you have a passion for photography? Are you the one whose click could change how we see things? what about using your passion for a greater cause? if yeS is the answer here’s your chance!

DAte AND tiMe: eVery friDAy 6:30-7:30PM VeNUe: KHAAS Art GALLery iSLAMABAD Capoeira is an Afro-Brazilian martial art that combines elements of dancing, ritual combat & music in a unique synthesis of self defense and rhythm.


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Sunday, 25 December, 2011

US neared Taliban deal, but Karzai vetoed it: WP wASHINGTON

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H E US had reached a tentative deal with the Taliban to allow, among other things, transfer of five Afghans from the Guantanamo Bay prison in lieu of their public renunciation of terrorism, but the agreement failed to take off because of Hamid Karzai’s objections, US media reported on Saturday. A report in the Washington Post has claimed that the deal was the closest the two parties came to genuine peace negotiations after nearly a year of talks, and was part of the Obama administration’s accelerated push towards bringing curtains down to the war in Afghanistan. The tentative accord, reached last month between the

US and Taliban negotiators would have called for the prisoners to be sent to house arrest in Qatar,

where the Taliban planned to open an office, and additional actions by both sides, the report said

PiA obtains two more aircraft on wet lease LAHORe IMRAN ADNAN

Instead of repairing its grounded aircraft, the national flag carrier has once again acquired two aircraft on wet lease to avert flight cancellations and delays. Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) obtained the aircraft along with cabin crew as members of various employees associations have refused to perform duty on leased aircraft, Pakistan Today learnt on Saturday. Sources in PIA said as many as 13 aircraft, out of the total 39, were grounded at various airports due to a shortage of spare parts. And instead of repairing its own fleet, the PIA had obtained two Airbus A320 narrow body aircraft on wet lease for Middle Eastern and domestic routes. They revealed that the Joint Action Committee of PIA Employees (JACPIAE) has refused to offer their services for the leased aircraft and asked the government and judiciary to take strict notice of corruption in the national flag carrier. They pointed out that the airline was

already passing through difficult times but the present management was busy in inking dubious agreements. They added that the airline was incurring heavy losses due to shortage of aircraft, but nobody was willing to bring back overhauled engines from foreign vendors. PIA had even made payments of millions of dollars for engines repairs. They said the PIA management was deliberately delaying flights to justify lease of aircraft as it did during Haj operations. However, PIA spokesman Syed Sultan Hasan denied that the airline acquired any aircraft on wet lease. He said PIA obtained aircraft on lease during Haj operation, but their lease had expired on December 15 and the aircraft had been returned. To a query, he tried to dispel the impression that around 13 aircraft were grounded. He said two or three aircrafts were on routine checkup and the maintenance schedule varied between seven and 30 days. Hasan said the PIA flight schedule had become normal after completion of the Haj operations and no more flights were being cancelled or delayed.

only elected rulers can achieve peace, stability: Asfandyar Party chief says ANP will not tolerate any move to derail democracy g

PeSHAwAR sTAff RePoRT

Reaffirming his party’s stance on democracy, peace and stability, Awami National Party President Asfandyar Wali Khan on Saturday said only democratically elected rulers could achieve such objectives. Addressing an ANP rally in Charsada, Asfandyar said, “The future of the country depends on democracy, peace and stability, which is also essential for reaching the goals of progress and prosperity,” adding, “The ANP will not tolerate any move to derail democracy.” He said, “Certain hidden hands are involved in hatching conspiracies against the government since day one.” However, he was hopeful that all such plots would fail. He claimed that the government would complete its tenure. Asfandyar said soon after coming into power, his government initiated steps for the return of peace. In this respect, despite opposition, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government offered reconciliation to Taliban, with releasing Maulana Soofi Mohammad. The

provincial government had inked agreements with the banned TTP Swat regarding promulgation of Nizam-e-Adal Regulations, however, the “Taliban have not only broken such agreements but have embarked on insurgency in Swat and its adjacent districts”. Asfandyar made it clear that his party was still firm on their offer of negotiation and reconciliation with the Taliban. “We are not insisting on laying down arms but for entering into a dialogue process, Taliban need to disown armed resistance.” He said dialogue could yield positive outcomes, adding that problems could not be resolved through guns and bullets but could be easily resolved with dialogues and arguments. Enumerating the achievements of the government, he said, “In particular we are jubilant over renaming of the province Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, resolving of NFC like pending issues and making successful the war on terror.” Chief Minister Amir Haider Khan Hoti announced allocation of funds for the execution of a number development schemes in Charsada.

quoting anonymous US and European officials. The deal was, however, derailed after Karzai balked at its terms, the paper said. “Right now, things have stopped... Everybody is taking a deep breath,” a senior administration official was quoted as saying. Contacts with the Taliban are expected to be reestablished early next year. The paper said the negotiations that came amid a rift with Pakistan, and economic and political pressures with war fatigue, reflect a marked change in the administration’s attitude over the past year. While US commanders say the Taliban’s interest in talks stems from their opponents’ gains on the battlefield, they also believe political accommodation now will better position them for future struggles after the US troops withdraw.

News 09 Complete blackout hits Swat swAt: For the last 63 years, ordinary people have been and are still being coerced in the worst possible and imaginable manner by the elite and ruling class. No doubt, words are deficient in describing the helplessness, which has become the fate of millions of people of Swat. WAPDA was showing no mercy for citizens, who had to endure inhuman hours of load shedding, rubbing salt on their wounds, which were not cured completely from terrorism and floods. The ones who were suffering the most were those whose livelihood depended on electricity-operated machines. Tailors were facing a nightmarish scenario to meet the deadlines of customers. Their work was baldy hampered due to prolonged durations of load shedding despite very cold winters, Pakistan Today has learnt. Load shedding was also badly affecting the mental health of people of Swat. Health experts said that frequent power outages make people angry and irksome. It affected their level of tolerance and made them touchy and flammable. It was a common practice that people nowadays in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa quarreled over petty issues. Strangely, the government was not intervening to resolve problems of the masses and save them from social, economic and mental torture of load shedding and price hike of other commodities. The provision of electricity was declared as a right of life by many landmark decisions of the superior judiciary, but the government, as well as ruling and opposition parties and rights groups were tightlipped over violation of this basic right of the poor and innocent citizens of Swat. Residents of Mingora complained that despite facing load shedding of 10 to 12 hours, they were suffering from gas load shedding of three to four hours after small intervals besides receiving exaggerated bills, which made no sense. HARooN sIRAJ


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10 News

Sunday, 25 December, 2011

troops kill 15 militants in clashes in orakzai, Parachinar ORAKZAI/PARACHINAR INP

Fighter jets attacked militant hideouts, killing 11 militants and injuring another eight in Upper Orakzai Agency on Saturday. Sources said the operation against militants had been intensified and that the jets attacked six militant hideouts in the Mamuzai, Sami Bazar and Mir Kaleem Khel areas of the tribal agency. The security officials said all of the six targeted militant hideouts were destroyed, adding that the areas attacked were once considered to be militant hubs. The officials said the security forces were proceeding to clear the remaining parts of the agency. Meanwhile, four insurgents and a security forces’ personnel were killed in clashes between the security forces and the insurgents in Kurram Agency on Saturday. Official sources said a security forces’ personnel was killed in central Kurram where a military operation was underway. The security forces retaliated, killing four insurgents on the spot. In yet another incident in Shahedi Saman area, one child and a woman fell prey to a landmine which exploded when the vehicle in which they were travelling hit the IED.

‘NtDC enhances transmission system per govt commitment’ IsLAMAbAD: Prime Minister Yousaf Raza gilani cutting a christmas cake alongwith state Minister for National Harmony Akram Masih gill and others at fatima church on saturday.

LAHORe APP

Any adventure against govt to damage democracy: Firdous LAHORe

F

sTAff RePoRT

E D E R A L Minister for Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan on Saturday said general election would be held on schedule and if any bloody game in the name of democracy was played, it would cause an irreparable loss to the democratic system in the country. Talking to reporters after inaugurating a new block of Anjuman Himyat-e-Islam Darul Shafqat, she said change should be brought only by the public vote. The minister said all the political parties would have to show political maturity to strengthen democracy. She made it clear that no unconstitutional step could destabilise the elected government and the govern-

Militants blow up another school in Khyber Agency bARA: Militants blew up another state-run primary school with explosives late on Friday. According to a Khasadar force official, unknown militants had planted explosives in a boys’ primary school located in Sultankhel area of Landikotal tehsil in Khyber Agency that exploded late at night. The blast destroyed the school’s two rooms, boundary wall and staff room. However, no causality or injury was reported. According to official sources, at least 63 educational institutions, including a private school, have been blown up by antiliteracy militants in various parts of Khyber Agency to date. INP

ment would complete its constitutional period. Firdous was of the view that all institutions had certain limits per the constitution and no problem would arise if all functioned within the limits. The minister said the country’s prevailing circumstances did not permit any adventurism. To a question, she said a high-power commission was conducting inquiry into the May 2 incident and it was better to wait for its finding rather making speculations. She added that Pakistan was facing challenges of literacy and poverty that could be addressed through quality education for all. The minister said non-governmental organisations were taking marvellous steps for educating orphans and poor children in the country. “The government cannot meet challenges of education alone and new

ring and king’s parties to come face-to-face in 2013 polls: awan KARACHI: Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) senior leader and former law minister Dr Babar Awan has said that ring and king’s parties would come face to face in the next general election. Talking to reporters at Karachi airport on Saturday, Awan said political parties were flexing muscles to make preparations for 2013 general election. He said the Senate election would be held in February 2012 and no one could prevent the polls. The PPP leader said those who feared defeat in Senate election were putting efforts to delay the election, but they would not succeed in their attempts to stop the PPP from becoming the single largest party in the Upper House. Babar claimed that surprises for the PML-N and for the country’s politics were expected in the days to come. Awan said there was no threat to democracy, as the people and parliament were united to defend it. INP programmes to educate poor and needy children will be started after consultation with NGOs,” Firdous said.

She announced Rs 500,000 for the establishment of a library and a dispensary in Darul Shafqat.

The National Transmission and Dispatch Company (NTDC) has established a new 220KV grid station in WAPDA Town, Lahore besides achieving an overall 85 percent work progress on another station of the same capacity on Ghazi Road that will help reduce load shedding duration in LESCO’s domain. Talking to APP on Friday, PEPCO/NTDC Managing Director Rasul Khan Mahsud said the NTDC was extending and improving the country’s power transmission system following an increase in electricity generation through new and upgraded projects in line with the democratic government’s commitment of ensuring optimum utilisation of all available resources to balance the power demand and supply mechanism. Mahsud said the Rs 1.862 billion project in Wapda Town grid station entails installation of three 160MVA (Mega Volt Ampere) transformers with controlling switchgears on both sides, four 220KV line bays and 220KV Lahore-Kot Lakhpat double circuit in and out transmission line. The Asian Development Bank (ADB)-funded project commenced on July 1, 2008 and now the grid station was operational and would soon be formally inaugurated, he said. Detailing the salient features of Ghazi Road grid station, Mahsud said for being closer to the Indian border, it would be the foremost and nearest available grid station for pole-to-pole power import, if Pakistan reached into an agreement with India for import of electricity.

lobbying starts to grab slot of Cii member g

Post’s salary, perks and privileges equivalent to that of a parliamentarian’s ISLAMABAD TAHIR NIAz

Hectic lobbying is underway to grab the slot of member Council of Islamic Ideology (CII), as its 11 out of 20 sitting members are going to retire in May next year after completing their three-year term. The post of the CII member is equivalent to that of a member of parliament in terms of status, salary and other perks and privileges. The parent ministry of the CII, Ministry of Religious Affairs, sends nominations to the prime minister for the appointment of the members of the CII, which is a constitutional body that advises the legislature whether or not a certain law is repugnant to Islam. The president appoints

the CII members on the recommendations of the prime minister. According to CII sources, Mufti Muhammad Siddique Hazarvi, Khawaja Sharif, Syed Ahmad Saeed Shah Gujrati, Dr Muhammad Idrees Soomro, Maulana Fazl Ali Haqqani, Maulana Abu-Al-Fateh Muhammad Yusuf, Dr Anwar Hussain Siddiqui, Prof Dr Sabeeha Qadri, Maulana Mufti Ghulam Mustafa Rizvi, Khawaja Shareef Muhammad Amir Koreja and Mrs Shahida Akhtar Ali were retiring on May 5, 2012. The sources said with politicians of different hues pushing their favourites to be included in the nomination list, the lobbying at the top government offices is gaining momentum with each passing day. Lobbying, including per-

sonal contacts and reference letters, is underway among various stakeholders in the capital, they added. They said the ministry would soon start processing the applications from potential candidates to be nominated as CII member. Meanwhile, the ministry would receive applications from candidates comprising the bio-data, academic qualification and experience in relevant field, the sources said. Under the constitution, the council comprises eight to twenty members, including the chairman. The government gives representation to all schools of thought in the council. Usually, it is ensured that all sects of Islam, including Ahl-e-Hadith, Shia and Ahl-e-Sunnat, are represented in the CII. An official in the CII, who did not

want to be named, underlined the need for appointing a “full time member” in the council who could oversee financial, administrative and research matters and assist the council chairman. “There had been precedence in the CII history of appointing a full time member, as in the case of Abdul Malik Irfani, who served the council during 1984 to 1987.” He said the members just came to attend the council meetings, adding they had little knowledge about the administrative and financial affairs. The official also stressed the need for the council having the mandate to initiate nominations for the selection of CII members, as its chairman was more in touch with religious scholars and in better position to judge the credentials of potential candidates.


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Sunday, 25 December, 2011

Editor’s mail 11

Many states within this state Nobody can disagree with what our PM stated when he said that there can be no state within a state. In a democracy, people elect a government to strictly provide good governance, act as custodians of the national exchequer, enforce rule of law, make decisions strictly on merit, provide equal opportunities, and provide security of life, property and fundamental rights. They do not elect a government to bring the state-owned rail, road and air transportation industries to an almost grinding halt, protect the corrupt, deprive the industry of energy, make appointments in violation of merit, patronise a culture of tax evasion, encourage creation of cartels and facilitate

Cracking down on quacks

large-scale illegal allotment or occupation of private and state lands by a mafia, while billions are transferred to foreign banks. The PM has to understand that a government functionary under oath must state facts, even if they differ from the distorted version authorised by the political government and its public office holders. The image of an elected constitutional office holder, such as a PM, is eroded when his selected crony is involved in a fraud of Rs630 Million and he himself is alleged to have sat in one such meeting at his official residence. An elected government fails in its duty when it appoints an ambassador who is prone

to fall prey to conflict of interests in another country. The army and its intelligence agencies have no authority to interfere in internal politics or indulge in real estate or other business, but this cannot stop our sensitive agencies to undertake surveillance to protect vital national interests in accordance with their specified role as defined in the constitution. If a government fails to protect the life of its citizens, as it has failed in Karachi and Balochistan, it loses its ethical and moral high ground to retain public office, because they have violated the oath of office, through which they occupied it in the first place.

Similarly, the security agencies have no unlimited powers to arrest citizens without judicial authorisation and due process of law, as has been happening in Balochistan. No elected or paid public office holder has the right to abuse his powers in violation of laws depriving a citizen of his fundamental rights, without due judicial process as defined in our constitution. A state within a state exists when other than the authorised tax collectors, a group is being allowed to extort money from citizens as is happening in full know of the state in Karachi and other cities and towns. MALIK TARIQ ALI Lahore

Punjab health department As a result of the last general elections, when a party different from the one at the centre started ruling Punjab, it was hoped that this province would be governed somewhat differently than the centre. But it has turned out to be a false hope because there seems to be little difference between the two rules in actual practice. Most importantly, the problem of corruption has escalated as much at the provincial level in Punjab as it has at the federal level. It is common knowledge that a lot of the district budget is clandestinely plundered by the local bureaucracy while sizable amounts are extorted directly from the common man as bribes through the discretionary powers bestowed on provincial officials. The money collected thus is divided into two portions: one is kept by the local officers for themselves while the other part is siphoned upwards. The Punjab Health Department is especially in a shambles because it has a hefty budget. The CM who is also the health minister has failed to take notice of public complaints against errant health officials. The tax-payers’ money is spent on the salaries and perks of the health workers but the tax-payers only get frustration in return. Let us hope and pray that some honest leaders appear as a result of the next elections who really care for the people and honestly want to pull them out of their miseries. GHULAM SARWAR Muzaffargarh

women rights Pakistan still is in a state where women are not being treated as they should be because majority of the people living in rural or urban areas still believe that a woman is amongst the prized possessions bestowed upon them by God. Due to this illogical fact, they tend to treat women as mere trade entity for forced marriages. They kill them, provide them no education and so on and so forth. Apart from all the issues and problems being faced by Pakistan, the equality and freedom of women is the one that needs attention if Pakistan aims at becoming a progressive and prosperous country. AROOSA SHAUQAT Lahore

storm coming? No NATO strikes, no drone attacks, no bomb blasts, no wicked statements by Clinton, no sudden visits by US hawks, no Karzai onslaught, no nothing – beware countrymen, its the lull before the storm that everyone has been warning us about.

Advice for imran Khan With each passing day, more and more people who were ministers in Musharraf’s government and were PML(Q) members are joining the PTI. The others are those who were defeated in the previous election and are hoping that the that the Imran ‘tsunami’ will help them to win seats in the next election. Imran is welcoming everybody and telling his young and long time associates and dedicated workers that PTI is an ocean having the capacity to accommodate all and that PTI is not an exclusive club. The question then is that how is change possible with those who don’t have any political principles and are only interested to be a part of government to enjoy the spoil of power. Going again his

We should be careful so as not to let our guard down become a victim of our own folly. TARIQ RANA Islamabad

own rhetoric, Imran Khan is forgetting that politicians now joining him are opportunist who have already been tested by the people. With exception of a few, most of them are supporters and associates of the establishment. They will not allow Imran Khan to change the status quo because they are born into families which assures them access to the corridors of power by birthright. They have party tickets because they have the requisite money to spend in the elections to buy a win. Imran promised that he will ask for heavyweight politicians to declare their assets. He should also ask them what public service have they done in their constituency and how they have used the development funds which they received from the government to spend in their constituency. Imran should learn a les-

son from Zulfikar Ali Bhuto who was the beloved leader of millions of people. He promised the people roti, kapra aur makaan and the people trusted him. But then he allowed feudal lords and opportunists to join the PPP. S T HUSSAIN Lahore

A man of integrity Air Marshal Noor Khan was a true warrior who always led the institutions he headed from the front and took them to the heights of glory and success. He was a shinning example of leadership, competence, integrity and earned the respect of all and sundry. May Allah grant his soul eternal peace! FASIHUL HAQUE KHAN Karachi

I dearly appreciate the federal minister for health’s plan to crackdown on quackery and eliminate and hope that he is rewarded here and hereafter for his sincere efforts. I would humbly like to point out a few things and make a few suggestions in this regard and hope that the minister will pay heed to them. Many matriculation dropouts are practicing as quacks these days and the poor and downtrodden form a large chunk of their victims. If qualified doctors are available in every town, the practice of quackery would automatically suffer and eventually die down. I’ll give the example of just one area: Badaami Bagh. This area comprises of Datanagar, Karamnagar, Siddiqia Colony, Hanif Park, Bengali Bagh and Ravi Chowk and it has a population of around 5 lac people. There is only one doctor, Muhammad Rafi, who opens his clinic during the morning while the rest of the qualified MBBS doctors operate for a little while at night. All day, quacks have their way with people. I would suggest that dispensers who are qualified or have an experience fo 1520 years be allowed to give allopathic first aid. These people are not a huge sum and they can provide infinitely better care than quacks. In backward areas these dispensers should be registered so that they can help people out. The anti-quackery campaign that has been started is appreciable but the minister should look into making local committees with the available doctors so they can monitor the area and ensure that quacks are not still at large. If doctors are too burdened, they can be aided by drug inspectors. If lady health workers that have the bare minimum qualifications can be handed the responsibility of not one but two lives simultaneously, why not give dispensers, homeopathic doctors, DMPS and other qualified medical personnel the official permission to conduct first aid. This might help in eliminating quackery. DR ABDUL-KHALIQ CHAUDHRY Lahore

Hope against hope Recently, a news item appeared in an English daily read: “Can IGP overhaul corruption riddled police?” No, it’s impossible, under the present circumstances anyway. It will be like attempting to change someone’s blood group or his genes; or making India shelve the ludicrous myth that Kashmir is its attootang. It will also be like hoping rather absurdly that our soulless rulers and their worthless cronies will ever sever their flirtatious romance with corruption and instead develop close relationship with honesty and justice. FAROOQ ZAMAN Lahore send your letters to: Letters to Editor, Pakistan Today, 4-Shaarey Fatima Jinnah, Lahore, Pakistan Fax: +92-42-36298302 E-mail: letters@pakistantoday.com.pk Letters may be edited for length and clarity. It would be appreciated if letters were addressed to Pakistan Today exclusively.

The civilians and the army

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he media was going bananas with all kinds of theories and scenarios. There was talk of some kind of move afoot to oust the elected president - either by impeachment or by using the incapacitation clause in the constitution. For the first, you need a two-thirds majority and for the second you need to establish that the president is incapacitated. There is no way that either of these conditions can be met. The unconstitutional method of a military coup is out of the question in the present environment, as denied by the COAS himself. The president is the driving force behind the political coalition that is the government in Pakistan and all are agreed that the change they want can only come through the ballot box. There is the rumour about a civil-military confrontation over the memo-gate affair. The media is going to great lengths to point

out that the military and the government are on a collision course. The reality is that the government asked the Pakistan ambassador to the US to resign so that the matter could be processed and a conclusion reached. The opposition took the matter to the Supreme Court while the government sent it to the Parliamentary Committee for Security. The matter is proceeding on both tracks. The army chief and the DG ISI have given written responses to the Supreme Court because the Supreme Court had directly asked them for their views. If the Parliamentary Committee asks them they will no doubt respond positively. Both the government and the military want the matter to reach conclusion because of the inherent implications. The Supreme Court is on record as having said in an earlier case that they will not act to derail the system.

There have been statements from responsible people asking for the resignation of the ISI chief because of the allegation made that he visited Arab capitals to solicit support for ousting the government. The methodology to do this has not been spelt out nor has anyone considered exactly how such support could be extended and to whom. The reason being given for the demand is that because the ambassador resigned therefore the ISI chief should also resign. The difference, of course, is that the memo was investigated and found to be a reality and that this was confirmed by a retired US general who also admitted being the courier. The investigations now being made may well exonerate the ambassador. The ISI has denied the allegation, called it baseless and sent a legal notice to the British

tabloid that made the allegation. The government may investigate the matter if it has any reason to doubt what has been stated. There has been the thought that there are plans afoot to disrupt the Senate elections due in March 2012. Beyond voicing suspicions, no one has spelt out exactly how this is to be achieved and by whom. If all are agreed that the 2013 elections are the only acceptable methodology for change then disruption of anything that is constitutional will be counter-productive. Neither the military nor the judiciary would want to interfere and the opposition even if it wants to has no means of doing so. Spreading anarchy and chaos is in no one’s interest. The military has often been seen as being soft on the US-Pak-

istan relationship. The US through several actions spaced over a period of time left no option for the military but to assert itself as there is no way it could accept being seen as weak domestically. The US may want to ponder over this before a point of no return is reached. Salala is an atrocity that has cast a long shadow and could wreck the process underway in Afghanistan. Pakistan's response has been calibrated to show strength without creating a situation that cannot be retrieved. The US-Pakistan relationship remains important for many reasons and it can be reviewed and rebuilt assuming that the US wants and needs this to happen. Waiting for Pakistan to come calling may not be the right course. The real problems for Pakistan are the state of the economy and its future, the situation in Balochistan and the dire and urgent need for governance that re-

sponds to the sufferings and grievances of the people. All three have implications for national security and would be the concern of every institution charged with the responsibility of securing the country against internal and external threats. The recent State Bank of Pakistan Report and the statement of a prominent Baloch nationalist leader have highlighted the dangers. The first requirement for steps to be taken to address these issues is political stability and it needs to be figured out how this can be brought about if there is no disagreement on fair and free elections as the only option. Spearhead Research is a private centre for research and consultancy on security, headed by Jehangir Karamat. Spearhead analyses are the result of a collaborative effort and not attributable to a single individual.


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12 Comment A desertion PML(N) in a pickle

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he decision by Makhdum Javed Hashmi to join the PTI along with daughter and MNA Maimuna Hashmi is yet another reflection of the sad state of affairs prevailing in the PML(N). Hashmi was the most prominent PML(N) leader who stood by Nawaz Sharif steadfastly and continued to criticise Musharraf, braving threats and incarceration. That Hashmi remained tight-lipped regarding why he was leaving the party would raise questions all the more so after his remark that he had no complaints against the leadership. In any case, departure is a reflection of the party leadership’s failure to keep internal differences within manageable limits. While the PML(N) has declared that it wants the government to go, the party remains badly divided over the question of tactics. Fearful of the army using any agitation as an excuse to take over, Nawaz has stopped short of giving a call for the overthrow of the government. After taking the memo case to the SC which is seen by the PPP as an attempt to derail democracy, Nawaz is on the defensive over the memo affair. He now says that the elections could be held after the Senate polls in March. He has also stressed the need to put what he calls the genie of army and ISI back into the bottle. An altogether different stand is taken by the party hard liners. Shahbaz has condemned Gilani’s remarks about the army maintaining that the prime minister had violated his oath. Khwaja Saad Rafique has demanded that the party’s legislators resign from the NA to force the government to hold elections. Unless the PML(N) leadership is able to resolve the issues, Javed Hashmi might not be last party leader to abandon it. The departure of PML(N)’s stalwart from Multan has further weakened the party in the Seraiki area. Any further desertion from Punjab would make its electoral prospects grim. With PTI making advances, the PPP too is likely to find itself in a similar situation in Punjab. The PPP-led government would not last long if the offstage players were to manage to affect desertions from the alliance. The only way the two parties can face the challenge is by joining hands. This does not seem possible in the presence of the differences within the PML(N).

Know your enemy the first essential in war on terrorism

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nowing your enemy in a war is winning the war. Sun Tzu said it centuries ago but an understanding of the enemy is precisely what we lack in our fight against terrorism. We don’t know what it is capable of and what its strategy is. What we do know is that it is an enemy we cannot make peace with from a weaker position. Otherwise, it will keep coming after us. As a matter of fact, we have witnessed this behaviour more than once in our bid to negotiate peace with them. Two recent attacks have driven this point home. As many as 20 FC personnel were abducted while one lost his life during an attack in Tank while nine were killed in a suicide attack in Bannu. If the government was a bit shaky about controlling these terrorists during their most active (read violent) days, it has now lost its touch with reality totally. Instead of squeezing them out by limiting the room the terrorists have, our security paradigm shifted its focus to matters more immediate in nature, particularly the equation with the US. It started going downhill with the Raymond Davis affair and was worsened by the OBL raid that burst open the widening gap between the US and Pakistan. It showed the chasms in intelligence sharing and differences on how to hunt down Al-Qaeda leaders and whatever remnants are left of its second tier leadership, along with its foot soldiers. Particularly, after the 26 November Nato attack, facing stiff resistance from the civil and military leadership of Pakistan, the US has suspended its drone attacks campaign in the Waziristans, allowing an opportunity to the terrorists to regroup and launch offensives against FC personnel and other security apparatus present there. Howsoever we look at the situation, the cooperation between the US and Pakistan on intelligence sharing and hunting down terrorists needs to reboot albeit with certain checks so as to avoid any incident that causes further cracks in this thin ice of a relationship. If these terrorists, who so often renegade on their promises of a truce – TTP spokesman Asmatullah Shaheen had once announced reconciliation with the government, are not taken head on with a well-rounded long term policy, no one can predict when peace will visit these shores.

Dedicated to the legacy of the late Hameed Nizami

Arif Nizami Editor

Lahore – Ph: 042-36298305-10 Fax: 042-36298302 Karachi – Ph: 021-34330811-3 Fax: 021-34330900 Islamabad – Ph: 051-2287414-6 Fax: 051-2287417 Web: www.pakistantoday.com.pk Email: editorial@pakistantoday.com.pk

Sunday, 25 December, 2011

Digging their own grave? The civilians at odds with the military

By Humayun Gauhar

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n the face of it, the army doesn’t have to do a coup to topple this government. All that is needed is for its coalition partners to desert. So what is Prime Minister Gilani going on about? Did he feel a sudden need to proclaim his impotence, admit his incompetence? Or is it the usual desire to commit political suicide? Is he preparing the ground for his own coup against the army, as another tried before him? Or is he preparing the ground for life after power as a political martyr? So angry has the military become at being made scapegoats that it is, figuratively for now, up in arms. Dread the day when they start saying it with real arms. To be sure, militaries and civilian administrations have often been at odds over perceptions and policy. The US administration, the Pentagon and Congress are on different pages about Afghanistan. With the passing of the ‘National Defense Authorization Act’, the Pentagon has silently taken over without anyone realising it. No need for military coups when constitutional coups can do the trick. Now do you understand what I have been saying for years, that it is the politicians that prepare the ground for army intervention? You are seeing that unfold before your eyes again today. Don’t forget this time. But would the army want to take over the mind-blowing mess that this incompetent government has taken just four years to craft? Not if it can help it. Not if it has any sense. Not surprisingly, the army chief made a mature response to the mind-boggling speech of the prime minister last Thursday, saying that the army had no intention of intervening. So what is all the noise about? For one thing, this “we have no intention of intervening” jazz we have heard before when the three service chiefs gave such an assurance in writing during the riots against Z A Bhutto in 1977. Not long after Bhutto’s handpicked army chief General Zia-ul-Haq took over. Two years later, the appointee hanged the appointer. That’s how the cookie crumbles in this country. For another, the problem with this ‘inhouse change’ scenario is that the next coalition government would inevitably have Nawaz Sharif calling the shots and he is the last person either our or the US establishment wants. They don’t trust him because they think, not totally incorrectly, that he is unpredictable. You never know with him. Worse, they more than suspect that he is a closet Taliban sympathiser and, thus, cannot be risked. So there may well not be an ‘in-house change’, but Gilani had better watch it, unless he himself thinks its over

and he should make his place in history. Desperation makes people do desperate things. When Gilani thundered in the National Assembly that the army is a “state within a state”, he didn’t realise that he was making a spectacle of himself because he didn’t see the contradiction in terms: the army is part of the government, under the prime minister and the ministry of defence and answerable to parliament. If it has gone out of control, whose fault is it? Who is required to keep it under control? The chief executive and parliament, no? By saying what he did, Gilani admitted his failure to discharge his constitutional duties. Now the air is pregnant with possibilities. Will the army and ISI chiefs be sacked? Will they act before they are? Will the politicians gang up together for the first time? Where does that traditional legitimiser of constitutional deviations, the Supreme Court, stand today? How will allies react, how will our traditional master America? If functionaries are not under the government’s constitutional command, it is normal to replace them. Ah! But therein lies the rub. It’s not easy to pass the buck for the current mess exclusively on to one of the government’s own organs thinking that it might mask its own horrible governance and corruption. Sadly, the public perception of the PM’s honesty and competence is not an epitome of probity. So when, instead of discharging his constitutional duty of removing the “state within a state” the prime minister decides to bleat on about it in parliament, he only proclaims his government’s impotence and makes a sorry sight of himself. Has this just dawned on him after four years? Why did he not act earlier? Or has the army only just become a “state within a state”? What conclusions is one to draw then? That Gilani is reacting to intelligence that the army is about to act? Many a government has bitten the dust because it placed too much trust in intelligence. Is he preparing the public mind for action by the government? Or is he preparing the ground for his role after losing power and becoming a political martyr? One cannot be sure and no one knows what the future holds. So don’t blame Pakistanis for being on tenterhooks. Any normal person would. Gilani cannot be sure that the army will

not ‘react badly’ to its chief being humiliated. Nawaz Sharif had once caused an army chief to resign, which the army never forgot. Sharif tried it again and committed political suicide. The point is: in any normal country that is run constitutionally, sacking an army chief would be done according to laid down procedure. Follow the procedure and woe to anyone who ‘reacts badly’. It is none of their business. Sharif sacked his army chief by breaking procedure, as the Supreme Court later found. Take action, sure, but don’t be an imbecile. Follow the constitution. Gilani’s problem is that the people have little love lost for him and his government, so bad has their performance been, is reeking not just of incompetence but mal-intent as well. So bad is our condition that virtually everyone from any station in life is praying for the government’s demise. Chances of people coming out on the streets in this government’s support are limited. And in all this talk about following the constitution, let’s not forget that the spirit of the constitution is already being flouted by the president exercising power beyond the constitutional limits placed on him and by his continuing to hold party office when he is required to be politically neutral. So who is calling the kettle black? I have been thinking and learning and have come to the conclusion that the political process, such as it is, has to be allowed to run its course, that parliaments, presidents and governments must complete their terms and only change constitutionally. Else we the people will never learn. My conclusion has nothing to do with ‘liberalism’, fake democracy or West aping. It has to do with learning from history’s evolutionary processes and its political and social forces. Abort or divert them and the pain lasts longer because you end up slowing evolution. The seeds of self-healing and self-destruction are inherent in every organism and nations are political organisms at the very least. Allow the system to selfheal or self-destruct so that we can naturally arrive at a social contract that gives us something better. The writer is a political analyst. He can be contacted at humayun.gauhar786@gmail.com

Regional Press

No danger to democracy Daily Khabroona

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akistan, unfortunately, has undergone on four such occasions wherein dictatorship was imposed on it instead of having a functional democracy. Nothing could match the losses to the country and democracy sustained during these times. The result is obvious; the democracy in the country is without much maturity which is not as much helpful in solving the problems of masses as was expected of it. Yet, the incumbent government has the honour of moving ahead with this system of democracy throughout the four years of it tenure and has not allowed any other system to find its way so far in the country. It was acknowledged by General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani in his talks the other day when he said that there was no danger

to democracy in the country, adding that there was no basis to the rumours that the army might takeover the government. It also reveals that there is no cold war between the army and the government. It is a step in the right direction in the larger interest of the country. That every institution of the country works within its allotted sphere with the goal of taking the country towards progress and prosperity. It goes without saying that it is only through democratic system that a country could move towards development, be that economy or any other field, including an intellectual progress and the prevalence of a tolerant society. Against the democratic system, there should not be any further movement or progress. – Translated from the original Pashto by Abdur Rauf Khattak


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Sunday, 25 December, 2011

Different strokes on the president’s dash to Dubai

Third eye By M J Akbar

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ear Doctor Dubai: You are a very busy man, Doc, as anyone who commands the sole confidence of the President of Pakistan must surely be, so I hesitate to waste your time over a niggle. But this niggle just won’t go away. On December 6, President Asif Ali Zardari unexpectedly left his country ostensibly in search of your care in Dubai. Zardari returned to Pakistan on December 19 amid intense speculation that he would disappear again, this time for a more generous absence. It seems, therefore, that the fate of a nation hangs on a niggle. Doc, all you have told us is that Zardari had “stroke-like symptoms”. This carefully mysterious formulation has left us a trifle confused and a bit thirsty for more information. Every stroke may have stroke-like symptoms, but every symptom does not, it seems, owe its origin to a stroke. So, Doc, was it a stroke or not a stroke? If it was a stroke, where did it strike? If it was merely “stroke-like” then you could perhaps let us know what it was like. Please don’t take this personally, Doc. But was there anything specific in those “symptoms” that required treatment in Dubai and only from your capable hands and doubtless brilliant mind? Are there no doctors in Islamabad, or Lahore, or Karachi, capable of dealing with dislikeable symptoms? One asks because nasty wags in Pakistan and despicable rumour-mongers in India are thoughtlessly spreading the idea that the President of Pakistan does not trust any hospital in Pakistan, and is terrified of being poisoned or some such. This cannot be true, of course, for if a president cannot trust his own people, then he has no right to continue in office. But loathsome western journalists have even reported that Zardari was “recuperating at his home in

Dubai” after, apparently, you sorted out those malicious symptoms. If Islamabad isn’t safe even for some much-needed recuperation by its president, then you are up a creek without a paddle, isn’t it? Your medical knowledge is vast, Doc, so perhaps you could enlighten us on this one, without, I hope, violating the Hippocratic oath. Is it possible for a president to get a stroke from a memorandum? I am referring of course to the memo passed on to the Pentagon by a PakistaniAmerican businessman Mansoor Ijaz, allegedly on behalf of President Zardari’s ambassador to Washington Hussain Haqqani, begging American generals to avert a possible coup in Islamabad. Haqqani, predictably, denied authorship but the memo was so toxic that Haqqani has disappeared into a coma. His resignation on November 22 did nothing to impede the rampaging infection of the

Very smart: the memo was a failure, but its intentions were treasonable. If the Supreme Court after due process can find someone higher up the civilian command chain guilty, then Zardari is pincered. This would, in effect, become the most legitimate coup in Pakistan’s history. Kayani could recover his own, and the army’s, prestige by refusing to occupy the consequent vacant space, and letting a general election find the next president and prime minister. Zardari recognises a crossroads by instinct. On the night of Friday the 16th, Kayani had a three-hour meeting with Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, an unusually long chat for peacetime palavers. Within 48 hours, Zardari was back to his residence in Pakistan from his home in Dubai. Never imagine that a scapegoat cannot hear the sound of sharpening knives; indeed, the fever of his imagination raises decibels.

zardari ran but could not hide. His government fired shots in the air, insisting that parliament, press, and its friends in Lahore and across the world would never tolerate another coup. general Ashfaq Parvez Kayani was not particularly impressed by bluster. memo. Haqqani is not a diplomat, by profession or temperament; he was and is star yes-man in the Zardari court. His appointment to Washington was a grace-and-favour gift from Zardari. Add two and two and you get the contemporary Pakistan crisis. Zardari ran but could not hide. His government fired shots in the air, insisting that parliament, press, and its friends in Lahore and across the world would never tolerate another coup. General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani was not particularly impressed by bluster. Instead, the army chief showed that his grasp of politics and the comparative power of his country’s institutions was more astute than civilians had bargained for. The army petitioned the Supreme Court to investigate the origins of memo which “unsuccessfully attempted to lower the morale of the Pakistan Army”.

When a military-political commentator like Lt Gen Talat Masood (retired) states deadpan that civilian and military leaderships are on a collision course, Zardari doesn’t need any advice on who will be in the middle of that collision. At the age of 56, a hospital bed in Dubai, with recuperation facilities nearby, must be immensely preferable to years in a damp Attock prison, even if it is on the banks of a brisk Indus within breathtaking view of the Himalayas. So you see, Doc, how vital those “stroke-like symptoms” are? Do reply when you find a minute. The columnist is editor of The Sunday Guardian, published from Delhi, India on Sunday, published from London and Editorial Director, India Today and Headlines Today.

Comment 13

Don’t blame the PM It’s not what he said, it’s why he did…

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ritics blame Prime Minister Gilani for opening a new front unnecessarily and subject him to scathing criticism for adopting a ‘humiliating tone’ against the military establishment by referring to the conspiracies being hatched to pack up the elected government. The media hacks believe that it was part of the well thought-out strategy devised by the PPP leadership to resist an independent enquiry being conducted into Memogate. There’s no doubt that tensions between the civilian leadership and the generals started rising over the memo that accused the army of plotting a coup after the killing of Osama bin Laden in the US Navy SEALs’ raids. The situation forced Pakistan’s Ambassador to the US Hussain Haqqani to return home and resign on the charges of drafting an unsigned memo seeking Washington’s support for preventing a possible military takeover in the country. No matter Haqqani is known for his aversion to the Inter Services Intelligence Agency because of its covert backing of the militants operating in the restive tribal region. But the military establishment did not object to his posting as ambassador to the United States because it understood the fact that his pro-American leanings would not only strengthen ties between the two countries but also ensure uninterrupted flow of military aid to Pakistan. The situation changed dramatically shortly after Pakistani-American businessman Mansoor Ijaz kicked up a controversy by writing about the memo in The FiBy Sarmad Bashir nancial Times on October 10, wherein he had detailed his role in President Zardari's purported effort to reach out to the US administration to prevent the army from dismantling the democratic process. Even though the Army Chief and the DG ISI have lent credence to the memo’s veracity, the more details that emerge about the scandal, the more it exposes a deep-rooted malaise. It was against this backdrop that Haqqani was recalled and asked to resign. Not just that, he was forbidden to leave the country without having been heard. And if this action was taken only on the basis of Mansoor Ijaz’s write-up then one would keep wondering why another report by the same unsavoury character about Lt Gen Ahmad Shuja Pasha’s alleged trip to Arab countries for soliciting their support

Politics bazaar

for Zardari’s ouster went unnoticed? And why Messrs Nawaz Sharif and Imran Khan are keeping mum on this issue? The government’s anxiety over Memogate was highlighted by the PM’s hard-hitting speech in the National Assembly. The otherwise mild-mannered Gilani, who has been advising the opposition hawks against driving a wedge between the state institutions or joining the move launched by some quarters to deliberately run down the armed forces particularly the army, trained his guns at those conspiring to destabilise the system. Asserting his authority as the chief executive, he sounded a warning: There can’t be state within the state. This was a clear reference to army and ISI’s interference in government affairs. The PM was well within his right to know about those responsible for allowing Osama bin Laden to live in Pakistan for the last six years, especially when the Abbottabad Commission set up by the government to probe the US Navy SEALs raids suddenly shifted its focus to enquire about the details of visas issued by the Pakistan Embassy in Washington. The question certainly perturbs the security establishment as it will be required to do a lot of explaining about its being caught off guard during May 2 air strikes at the OBL’s hideout and subsequently in the event of Mohmand Agency’s Salala checkpost. There’s no doubt that Mr Gilani indirectly targeted the Inter Services Intelligence while making a strong assertion of parliamentary sovereignty. But his political rivals described his address as a declaration of war against the army. Punjab Chief Minister Mian Shahbaz Sharif, who hardly leaves an opportunity to appease the sacred saviours, went to the extent of accusing the PM of violating oath of his office by maligning the military establishment. Maybe Mian Shahbaz would not like to be reminded of his abrupt dash to Washington in 1999 to warn of what the then Muslim League government feared was a brewing military coup. Bruce Riedel, a former CIA and White House official who chaired President Barack Obama’s 2009 review of US policy on the region, recalled in his recent interview with Reuters: “It was an entire day spent at the Willard Hotel listening to Shahbaz talk about their fears that a military coup was coming and asking for American help to prevent it,” Now that General Kayani has ruled out the possibility of a military takeover, those expecting a showdown between the army and the elected government must have been hugely disappointed. It is time the military apologists stopped fanning the socalled memo issue. The writer is Executive Editor, Pakistan Today


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14 Comment

Sunday, 25 December, 2011

Two migrants, two religions, one city Learning to live and let live

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his week I met two migrants from the eastern state of Jharkhand; both have made Delhi beautiful in their own ways. It was 5.25 am. The sky was still black. It was freezing. Holding the microphone close to his lips, he opened his mouth to recite the azaan, and… time stopped. I was in Jamat Khana, a mosque built on one corner of the sufi shrine of Hazrat Nizamuddin Dargah. I was watching Muhammed Iftikhar, a 21year-old Quran teacher, call the faithful to perform fajr. Iftikhar’s head was shielded from the cold by a white cap and a blackand-white kifayah. His eyes were closed, as a soft, lyrical sound emerged from him. Allahu Akbar [God is great] Lifting his palms to his ears, the bearded young man repeated the words. By Mayank Austen Soofi Each morning, Muslims across the world wake up to a similar holy cry from their neighbourhood mosques. Most muezzins simply produce a perfunctory call; a few create magic through soulful lonely tunes. Iftikhar’s voice, as I later discovered, was unremarkable in conversation, but that moment it transcended to an extraordinarily tenderness. Ash-hadu al La ilaha illallah [I bear witness that there is none worthy of being worshipped except God] The sensations of these word-sounds appeared to crystallise in the cold air, the next moment they vanished, constantly being replenished. Ash-hadu anna Muhammadar rasoolullah [I bear witness that Muhammad is the Apostle of God] After concluding the call, Iftikhar sat down on the

Delhi calling

carpet. The mosque was commissioned by one of the sons of Sultan Allaudin Khilji in the 14th century. Its entrance opens to Hazrat Nizamuddin’s tomb. “I live in this mosque and sleep in the hujra there,” Iftikhar said, pointing to a door adjacent to the wall that faces Mecca. “I teach the Holy Quran to children.” Two elderly people entered for prayer. They were draped in thick quilts. Iftikhar blushed as I congratulated him on the melodious style of his azaan. “I learned it from Maulana Siddiq, my ustad (master).” Iftikhar’s father is a maulvi (priest) in Jamshedpur, an industrial town in Jharkhand. Eight years ago, his parents sent him for studies to a madrassah in Hapur, a town 60km from Delhi. After he memorised the Quran and became a hafiz, Iftikhar came to Delhi. “It is an honour to lead the call to prayer.” Another man entered the mosque; he was wearing flannel trousers and a leather jacket. “I have to do other things in life too,” Iftikhar said, “I want to marry. But first, I wish to return to Jamshedpur. Although I frequently talk to my parents on the phone, I miss them desperately, especially my three brothers and my only sister.” Perhaps because it is cold, only a few people have gathered to pray in the mosque. Getting up to join them, Iftikhar said, “One day I will go back to my watan (country).” I asked, “What will you do there?” He thought for a moment, and then turning towards Mecca, his voice fading, as if he is talking to himself, he said, “I’ll start a karobaar (business).” The same day I met another person from Jharkhand who left her watan to make a living in Delhi. A third generation Catholic Christian, Anima Dungdung lives in the servants’ quarter of a formidable-looking bungalow in Nizamuddin West. Ms Dungdung was making plans for Christmas. No, she was not baking a

cake on Christmas eve. No, don’t doubt her skills. After working for 30 years in expat households, her apple pies are as light and buttery as the one they make in New England, but she said, “Christmas cake is a angrez thing. Back in my village near Ranchi, no one knows how to make a cake.” Instead, Ms Dungdung’s husband, employed as a cook in the same bungalow, swears by her irsa roti, the traditional Christmassy dish of deep fried dumplings made of rice-flour. Her two children have a weakness for dubni roti, the equivalent of Christmas cake in Jharkhand. But Ms Dungdung, who cooks delicious pasta and steaks, has never made dubni for her employers. “They never asked for it,” she said. Delhi has a large population of Christians from places like Chhota Nagpur, a plateau which covers a large expanse of states like Jharkhand, Bihar, Orissa and Chhattisgarh. Many of these people work as domestic helps in the city’s posh localities. Christmas for people from this belt is not about carols, but bhajans (Hindustyle devotional songs); not cakes but irsa roti; not grape wines, but rice liquor; not midnight mass, but meesa puja. In the meesa puja, the bhajans are sung in languages like Khariya, Sadhsi and Munda. “Christmas is more exciting in the village,” Ms Dungdung said. “In Delhi, we return home after the midnight mass but there we dance till morning.” The fervour reaches its climax during the Christmas day when the village’s young people gather together, collect food from each household and go to the riverside to have a picnic. “In the village, we make music with dholak, nagadas and manda,” said Gilbert, Ms Dungdung’s 18-yearold son who is learning a computer programming language and is also an altar boy in the church. “But here we dance to Christmas songs played by decks and DJs.” Ms Dungdung added, “It’s not even half the fun.” In Orissa, a state neighbouring

Jharkhand, there have been attacks on Christians by Hindu fundamentalists in the past few years, but Ms Dungdung’s village has remained safe. “We never faced discrimination anywhere,” she said. The exception being the servants’ quarter in Nizamuddin West where the Dungdungs live. Her Hindu neighbour, a domestic in the same bungalow, often objects, saying, “We eat anything and everything.” This has lead to squabbles that led Mr Kapur, the bungalow’s sahib, to scold them for fighting like “jhuggi people.”

On Christmas eve, at the Church of Our Lady of Help in Okhla, south Delhi, Ms Dungdung plans to “pray God to give me strength to forgive my neighbour.” This prayer should be made compulsory for Indians and Pakistanis. Mayank Austen Soofi lives in a library. He has one website and four blogs. The website address: thedelhiwalla.com. The blogs: Pakistan Paindabad, Ruined By Reading, Reading Arundhati Roy and Mayank Austen Soofi Photos.

Mohmand, Memogate and the Mullah It’s all interconnected

By Arif Ansar

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hile some see no link between the Mohmand incident and the Memogate affair, it would be unwise to think so. This line of reasoning would also suggest that there is no connection between US withdrawal from Afghanistan and Pakistan’s domestic politics. While some Pakistani politicians may be oblivious to this fact, its establishment and Western powers are not. Public mood in Pakistan has been shifting away from its partnership with the US in the war against terror. Similarly, opinion in US is moving towards political reconciliation and managing the role of Pakistan after it withdraws from Afghanistan. Moreover, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have caused many in Pakistan to move to the right, and ultimately this segment would have a role in the

emerging political dispensation. The position of the US on Afghan Taliban has been evolving since the start of the conflict. As Mullah Omar refused to hand over Osama bin Laden after 9/11, America declared that the supporters of its enemies are also its rivals. More recently, the US has stated that for reconciliation to occur, Taliban will have to distance itself from Al-Qaeda. However, this position also maintained that some of the Taliban groups, such as the Haqqani network, are too closely linked with Al-Qaeda, ideologically and operationally, to be reconciled with. As the Arab Spring got underway at the beginning of the year, PoliTact had pointed out that US would exert maximum stress in the AfPak region, as this is where Al-Qaeda (AQ) Central was believed to be. And, NATO wanted to prevent AQ leadership to be able to exploit the chaos that is developing in Middle East. The elimination of Osama and other top leaders of AQ is believed to have weakened the organisation, Additionally, due to pressure from the drones, what is left of AQ has reportedly moved to Yemen and the Horn of Africa. Thus, if Taliban were finding it hard to disassociate from Al-Qaeda, US pressure has made the task of reconciliation easier for the Taliban. Meanwhile, the US also pushed Pakistan to act against

the Haqqani network. Frustrated by the stalemate, US drones started targeting the Good Taliban in FATA. However, this occurred at the expense of US-Pakistan relations. Now that the original intent of decimating AQ has been achieved, and with election year approaching fast in the US, Vice President Joe Biden has declared, "Look, the Taliban per se are not

unpredictable younger leaders. Nonetheless, the hardliners in the US would like to go after Taliban, now that Osama has been dealt with. Thus, the chances of more Mohmand style attacks are still there, and this perhaps is one of the reasons US has not apologised for the incident. However, PoliTact believes that President Obama had strategically tended to the hardliners earlier, when as a

The essential challenge for the Us at this point is if the Afghan Taliban cannot be defeated militarily, and Pakistan’s Army would not be any more forthcoming in this regard, how would it manage the influence and role of Pakistan in Afghanistan? This is where the domestic politics of Pakistan gets introduced in the equation. our enemy. That's critical," he told Newsweek. Joe Biden’s comment would have come as a relief to Pakistan that feels that the established Taliban leaders are more amenable to compromise after years of war, and their elimination would mean the emergence of more obscure and

result of the Afghan review in 2009, he had decided on the surge in troop levels in Afghanistan. Now, he is more likely to follow the political route. The essential challenge for the US at this point is if the Afghan Taliban cannot be defeated militarily, and Pakistan’s Army would

not be any more forthcoming in this regard, how would it manage the influence and role of Pakistan in Afghanistan? This is where the domestic politics of Pakistan gets introduced in the equation. The first time in history, it’s the military-to-military relations between the US and Pakistan that are not going well. As these relations have diverged, US reliance on the PPP government has increased, as it relates to the war on terror and Afghanistan. At the same time, as the civilian government became increasingly unpopular due to poor governance and corruption, it has tried to identify too closely with the goals of US. And, it’s these dynamics that have given birth to the Memogate fiasco. This is not much different than what President Musharraf did previously; in order to prolong his rule, he portrayed himself as the best bet for the West against the extremists. One would think that Pakistan’s leaders would have learned the lesson by now, especially in the wake of the Arab Spring. The foreign entities cannot save governments that are hugely unpopular locally and have scarce ability to deliver. Earlier this year, PoliTact conducted interviews with a sampling of Pakistani politicians and scholars, and asked them about the connection between the events of the Middle East to that in Pakistan. Most of them believed there

was no relationship, as Pakistan already had a democratic set-up. However, the current situation indicates what matters most is not if there is an authoritarian or a democratic leader in power, but if they enjoy popular support. Moreover, it’s not foreign but local sympathy that ultimately saves governments, and the lesson does not get any elementary than this. In the emerging political scenario of Pakistan, those politicians would perform well that harness the public sentiment resulting from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and focuses their efforts towards providing public relief. The recent election results in Tunisia and Egypt reveal that the Islamists are resurgent. In this context, the gathering of 44 right wing entities and personalities last Sunday in Lahore, under the banner of the Difaa-i-Pakistan Council (Pakistan Defence Council), is an intriguing development. Managing this trend in Pakistan, and in other places, would mean tempering the religious hardliners with the moderate Islamists. Short of going to war, this is perhaps the best outcome the US can expect in Pakistan, and from its establishment, in Afghanistan. The writer is the chief analyst for PoliTact (www.PoliTact.com and http:twitter.com/politact) and can be reached at aansar@politact.com.


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15 Foreign News

Sunday, 25 December, 2011

Tens of thousands protest against Putin Kremlin panel urges new polls, firing of election chief g

CAIRO AfP

MOSCOw AfP

ROUND 120,000 people on Saturday attended a rally to protest against the alleged rigging of parliamentary polls in a new challenge to Russian strongman Vladimir Putin’s authority, organisers said, as a protest leader vowed to bring one million out on the streets for the next demonstration. “120,000 people have come,” Russian politician Vladimir Ryzhkov who organised the protest, said. “Next time, we will bring one million people onto the streets of Moscow,” blogger Alexei Navalny, who has emerged as a figurehead of the protest movement, said in a speech. Clutching white balloons and banners with the slogan “For Free Elections”, the protestors thronged Sakharov Avenue in Moscow, symbolically named after the Nobel-winning dissdent Andrei Sakharov who for years defied the USSR. Incensed by claims of wholesale violations in the polls that handed a reduced majority to Putin’s United Russia, tens of thousands of people already took to the streets across Russia on December 10. These

‘Britain won’t negotiate Falklands sovereignty’ LONDON AfP

Britain would “never” negotiate the sovereignty of the Falklands against its citizens’ wishes, Prime Minister David Cameron said in a Christmas message to the islands claimed by Argentina. “We will always maintain our commitment to you on any question of sovereignty. Your right to self-determination is the cornerstone of our policy,” he said. “We will never negotiate on the sovereignty of the Falkland Islands unless you, the Falkland Islanders, so wish. No democracy could ever do otherwise.” The Falklands, internally self-governing islands in the south Atlantic some 400 nautical miles from Argentina which claims them as part of its territory, have been held by Britain since 1833. On Friday, British Foreign Secretary William Hague asked Uruguay to let British ships dock at Uruguayan ports. The request comes days after the South American trading bloc Mercosur - which includes Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay - agreed Tuesday to close its ports to ships flying the Falkland flag. In his message published by the BBC, Cameron criticised Argentina’s “unjustified” attempts to disrupt shipping. “We want to work with Argentina on those issues. But the Argentine government has continued to make statements which challenge your right to self-determination, and we can never accept that,” he wrote. Diplomatic friction between Argentina and Britain has intensified since 2010, when London authorised oil prospecting around the islands.

egypt’s islamists sweep second round of elections

MoscoW: Protesters, activists of nationalist groups, carry the Russian empire’s black-yellow-white flag as they clash on saturday with security during a rally against the recent parliamentary elections. AFP protests are the biggest show of public anger in Russia since the chaotic 1990s and the first sign of a growing challenge to Putin’s 12year domination of the country. The protests have put pressure on Putin to implement radical changes in Russia’s tightly-controlled political system as he plans to return to the presidency in March elections after his four year stint as prime minister. Former Russian finance minister Alexei Kudrin for the first time joined the

opposition protest in Moscow and called for new elections to replace this month’s disputed polls. “We need to have early elections, adopt new laws about elections, and register those parties that were not registered,” Kudrin, who held his post for over a decade before falling out with the Kremlin this year, told the Interfax news agency. In an unexpected boost to the protestors, an advisory Kremlin rights panel said in a statement that the new

parliament had been discredited by the accusations of fraud and fresh elections should be called. “This discredits the electoral system and the lower house of parliament and... creates a real threat to the Russian state,” it said in a statement, calling for the resignation of election commission chief Vladimir Churov. It said that new election laws should be put in place “with the aim of then calling snap elections” to replace the current parliament.

ussr collapse: 20 years on g

‘20 years of independence became a very heavy burden for many ex-Soviet states’ MOSCOw AfP

The cataclysmic collapse 20 years ago of the Soviet Union, an empire which bound republics from Europe to Asia for seven decades, unleashed conflict, instability and poverty that are still felt today. After a year of protests and economic misery, Mikhail Gorbachev on December 25, 1991 resigned as president of a state that had already ceased to exist as its republics broke away. That night, the red flag was taken down from the Kremlin. It was the end of one of the most extraordinary empires in world history, which had defeated Nazi Germany and put the first man in space but had also caused the deaths of millions under a succession of tyrannical leaders. The disintegration of the USSR left most of its 15 republics independent for the first time in their history, facing the challenge of founding a national identity and sustainable economy that many have yet to resolve. Russia, deprived of an empire for the first time in modern times, struggled to adapt to its new status as an individual state and craved the superpower status it lost with the end of the Cold War. Two decades after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the country has this December seen its first wave of significant popular protests in years as tens of thousands took to the streets to protest the results of parliamentary polls. Nostalgia for the Soviet Union has remained strong: a recent poll by the independent Levada centre showed 53 percent of Russians regretted the fall of the USSR, although this is down from a figure of 75 percent in 2000. Strongman leader Vladimir Putin has made clear his sorrow over its end, saying this month the last USSR leaders should have “consistently, fearlessly and steadfastly ... fought for the territorial integrity of our country.” No otHER optIoN: The death knell

of the Soviet Union sounded on a frosty evening on December 8, 1991 when the president of the Russian part of the federation, Boris Yeltsin, agreed with his Belarussian and Ukrainian counterparts to replace the USSR with a commonwealth that would not be a state. Gorbachev complained angrily, but within days had no option, and resigned from his post on December 25, 1991. The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics ceased to exist in international law on December 31, 1991. Given the scale of the event, the end of the Soviet Union passed remarkably peacefully. But the years after its demise saw conflicts erupt and hundreds of thousands killed as successor states and separatist movements fought over the new borders. Civil war tore through Tajikistan, Armenia and Azerbaijan waged a horrific conflict over the region of Nagorno-Karabakh, the Kremlin fought two campaigns against separatists in Chechnya, and Georgia sought to quell secessionists in Abkhazia. Every one of these conflicts is in many ways still unresolved - Islamists pose a threat to Tajikistan’s stability, the status of Nagorno-Karabakh is unresolved amid fears of a new conflict and Russia’s Caucasus is beset by attacks from insurgents. In the most recent post-Soviet conflict, Russia repelled an attempt in August 2008 by Georgian forces to retake its rebel region of South Ossetia, leaving an uneasy truce in place. “Twenty years of independence became a very heavy burden for many ex-Soviet states,” said Andrei Ryabov of the Carnegie Centre in Moscow. ‘A NEw UssR?’ For Russia, always the centre of the USSR since its inception, the collapse of the empire was hard to swallow. Attempts at liberal Western-style reforms in the Yeltsin era were deeply unpopular and the country looked back to the past when ex-KGB agent Putin came to power. Only now, after 12 years of rule that resembled the authoritarian control of a Soviet leader, has Putin’s authority been challenged by an outburst of protests accusing the authorities of rigging parliamentary elections. Twenty years after the fall of the USSR, Russia in 2011 made possibly the boldest attempt to re-forge the bonds broken by the fall, a Putin-backed “Eurasian Union” that resembles an EU for ex-Soviet states. Ukraine, politically and linguistically divided between its west which scorns Russia and the east that fondly remembers Soviet rule, faces a historic choice between EU membership and re-aligning itself with Moscow. Poverty still mires life in states like Moldova and Tajikistan at the opposite ends of the former USSR where many have left for Moscow in search of work. Central Asia is ruled by strongmen leaders, some of whom have not budged from their posts since 1991 and are prepared to take the toughest measures against the risk of a surge in Islamism in their Muslim but secular states, while Kazakhstan on December 16 endured its worst bloodshed since the fall of the Soviet Union when 15 people were killed in clashes between police and striking oil workers, a stark sign of the dangers of unsolved social tensions.

Egypt’s main Islamist parties won 65 percent of votes for party lists in the second round of a historic election for a new parliament after Hosni Mubarak’s ouster, the electoral committee said Saturday. The leading Islamist Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) won 40 out of 60 seats in the runoff for the second round of the three-stage elections, according to both the party and the official Al-Ahram newspaper. The ultra-conservative Salafi Al-Nur party won 13 seats, Al-Ahram reported. In Egypt’s complex electoral system, voters cast ballots for party lists, which will compose two thirds of parliament, and direct votes for individual candidates for the remaining third. Most individual races go into runoffs. Islamists have dominated the elections, which opened on November 28, the first since an uprising ousted president Mubarak in February. The second round began on December 14, and the third is due to start on January 3. The FJP won 32 individual seats in the first round of the vote, with four others going to allies, and 36 percent of the party list vote, followed by Al-Nur’s 24 percent. The remaining votes were split among various liberal and secular parties.

Cuba to pardon nearly 3,000 prisoners HAVANA AfP

Cuban President Raul Castro has unveiled plans to pardon some 3,000 prisoners for “humanitarian reasons,” a group amnesty of unprecedented size, and “gradually” reform onerous laws restricting foreign travel. The pardons include 86 foreign nationals from 25 countries, and will take place “in the coming days,” Castro said in a closing address to the National Assembly Friday. However US contractor Alan Gross, jailed in Cuba for espionage, will not be among those released, top foreign ministry official Josefina Vidal said. Gross - a State Department contractor arrested in December 2009 for delivering laptops and communications gear to Cuba’s small Jewish community - “will not be on the list” of foreigners to be pardoned, the official said. Castro said factors that played into the pardon decision included requests from the Catholic Church and various Protestant churches, and the visit of Pope Benedict XVI in 2012. The pardon is the largest ever under the communist regime, much larger that the 299 prisoners released ahead of the visit of the late pope John Paul II in January 1998.

South China town unrest cools after dialogue BeIJING AfP

Tenuous calm returned Saturday to a south China town that was the scene of violent clashes between police and protestors this week, after local residents said officials had agreed to a dialogue. Locals of Haimen township who had blocked a highway for a fourth day on Friday to protest a planned power plant expansion - throwing bricks and getting hit by police tear gas - said the peace could be temporary. “It is quiet today so far, but I don’t know if this will last this afternoon,” a travel agent who gave only his surname, Lin, said. A highway toll gate where the clashes had flared was reopened Saturday and no protests were seen nearby, the official Xinhua news agency said. Haimen residents had complained that the coal-fired power plant was behind a rise in the number of local cancer patients, environmental pollution and a drop in the local fishermen’s catch, Xinhua said. The crowd dispersed after government officials promised to release detained villagers. State-run local television on Friday night broadcast a message from Shantou Communist Party officials promising at least a temporary stop to plans to expand the plant, which is owned by state-run Huaneng Power, Lin said.


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15 Foreign News

Sunday, 25 December, 2011

Tens of thousands protest against Putin Kremlin panel urges new polls, firing of election chief g

CAIRO AfP

MOSCOw AfP

ROUND 120,000 people on Saturday attended a rally to protest against the alleged rigging of parliamentary polls in a new challenge to Russian strongman Vladimir Putin’s authority, organisers said, as a protest leader vowed to bring one million out on the streets for the next demonstration. “120,000 people have come,” Russian politician Vladimir Ryzhkov who organised the protest, said. “Next time, we will bring one million people onto the streets of Moscow,” blogger Alexei Navalny, who has emerged as a figurehead of the protest movement, said in a speech. Clutching white balloons and banners with the slogan “For Free Elections”, the protestors thronged Sakharov Avenue in Moscow, symbolically named after the Nobel-winning dissdent Andrei Sakharov who for years defied the USSR. Incensed by claims of wholesale violations in the polls that handed a reduced majority to Putin’s United Russia, tens of thousands of people already took to the streets across Russia on December 10. These

‘Britain won’t negotiate Falklands sovereignty’ LONDON AfP

Britain would “never” negotiate the sovereignty of the Falklands against its citizens’ wishes, Prime Minister David Cameron said in a Christmas message to the islands claimed by Argentina. “We will always maintain our commitment to you on any question of sovereignty. Your right to self-determination is the cornerstone of our policy,” he said. “We will never negotiate on the sovereignty of the Falkland Islands unless you, the Falkland Islanders, so wish. No democracy could ever do otherwise.” The Falklands, internally self-governing islands in the south Atlantic some 400 nautical miles from Argentina which claims them as part of its territory, have been held by Britain since 1833. On Friday, British Foreign Secretary William Hague asked Uruguay to let British ships dock at Uruguayan ports. The request comes days after the South American trading bloc Mercosur - which includes Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay - agreed Tuesday to close its ports to ships flying the Falkland flag. In his message published by the BBC, Cameron criticised Argentina’s “unjustified” attempts to disrupt shipping. “We want to work with Argentina on those issues. But the Argentine government has continued to make statements which challenge your right to self-determination, and we can never accept that,” he wrote. Diplomatic friction between Argentina and Britain has intensified since 2010, when London authorised oil prospecting around the islands.

egypt’s islamists sweep second round of elections

MoscoW: Protesters, activists of nationalist groups, carry the Russian empire’s black-yellow-white flag as they clash on saturday with security during a rally against the recent parliamentary elections. AFP protests are the biggest show of public anger in Russia since the chaotic 1990s and the first sign of a growing challenge to Putin’s 12year domination of the country. The protests have put pressure on Putin to implement radical changes in Russia’s tightly-controlled political system as he plans to return to the presidency in March elections after his four year stint as prime minister. Former Russian finance minister Alexei Kudrin for the first time joined the

opposition protest in Moscow and called for new elections to replace this month’s disputed polls. “We need to have early elections, adopt new laws about elections, and register those parties that were not registered,” Kudrin, who held his post for over a decade before falling out with the Kremlin this year, told the Interfax news agency. In an unexpected boost to the protestors, an advisory Kremlin rights panel said in a statement that the new

parliament had been discredited by the accusations of fraud and fresh elections should be called. “This discredits the electoral system and the lower house of parliament and... creates a real threat to the Russian state,” it said in a statement, calling for the resignation of election commission chief Vladimir Churov. It said that new election laws should be put in place “with the aim of then calling snap elections” to replace the current parliament.

ussr collapse: 20 years on g

‘20 years of independence became a very heavy burden for many ex-Soviet states’ MOSCOw AfP

The cataclysmic collapse 20 years ago of the Soviet Union, an empire which bound republics from Europe to Asia for seven decades, unleashed conflict, instability and poverty that are still felt today. After a year of protests and economic misery, Mikhail Gorbachev on December 25, 1991 resigned as president of a state that had already ceased to exist as its republics broke away. That night, the red flag was taken down from the Kremlin. It was the end of one of the most extraordinary empires in world history, which had defeated Nazi Germany and put the first man in space but had also caused the deaths of millions under a succession of tyrannical leaders. The disintegration of the USSR left most of its 15 republics independent for the first time in their history, facing the challenge of founding a national identity and sustainable economy that many have yet to resolve. Russia, deprived of an empire for the first time in modern times, struggled to adapt to its new status as an individual state and craved the superpower status it lost with the end of the Cold War. Two decades after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the country has this December seen its first wave of significant popular protests in years as tens of thousands took to the streets to protest the results of parliamentary polls. Nostalgia for the Soviet Union has remained strong: a recent poll by the independent Levada centre showed 53 percent of Russians regretted the fall of the USSR, although this is down from a figure of 75 percent in 2000. Strongman leader Vladimir Putin has made clear his sorrow over its end, saying this month the last USSR leaders should have “consistently, fearlessly and steadfastly ... fought for the territorial integrity of our country.” No otHER optIoN: The death knell

of the Soviet Union sounded on a frosty evening on December 8, 1991 when the president of the Russian part of the federation, Boris Yeltsin, agreed with his Belarussian and Ukrainian counterparts to replace the USSR with a commonwealth that would not be a state. Gorbachev complained angrily, but within days had no option, and resigned from his post on December 25, 1991. The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics ceased to exist in international law on December 31, 1991. Given the scale of the event, the end of the Soviet Union passed remarkably peacefully. But the years after its demise saw conflicts erupt and hundreds of thousands killed as successor states and separatist movements fought over the new borders. Civil war tore through Tajikistan, Armenia and Azerbaijan waged a horrific conflict over the region of Nagorno-Karabakh, the Kremlin fought two campaigns against separatists in Chechnya, and Georgia sought to quell secessionists in Abkhazia. Every one of these conflicts is in many ways still unresolved - Islamists pose a threat to Tajikistan’s stability, the status of Nagorno-Karabakh is unresolved amid fears of a new conflict and Russia’s Caucasus is beset by attacks from insurgents. In the most recent post-Soviet conflict, Russia repelled an attempt in August 2008 by Georgian forces to retake its rebel region of South Ossetia, leaving an uneasy truce in place. “Twenty years of independence became a very heavy burden for many ex-Soviet states,” said Andrei Ryabov of the Carnegie Centre in Moscow. ‘A NEw UssR?’ For Russia, always the centre of the USSR since its inception, the collapse of the empire was hard to swallow. Attempts at liberal Western-style reforms in the Yeltsin era were deeply unpopular and the country looked back to the past when ex-KGB agent Putin came to power. Only now, after 12 years of rule that resembled the authoritarian control of a Soviet leader, has Putin’s authority been challenged by an outburst of protests accusing the authorities of rigging parliamentary elections. Twenty years after the fall of the USSR, Russia in 2011 made possibly the boldest attempt to re-forge the bonds broken by the fall, a Putin-backed “Eurasian Union” that resembles an EU for ex-Soviet states. Ukraine, politically and linguistically divided between its west which scorns Russia and the east that fondly remembers Soviet rule, faces a historic choice between EU membership and re-aligning itself with Moscow. Poverty still mires life in states like Moldova and Tajikistan at the opposite ends of the former USSR where many have left for Moscow in search of work. Central Asia is ruled by strongmen leaders, some of whom have not budged from their posts since 1991 and are prepared to take the toughest measures against the risk of a surge in Islamism in their Muslim but secular states, while Kazakhstan on December 16 endured its worst bloodshed since the fall of the Soviet Union when 15 people were killed in clashes between police and striking oil workers, a stark sign of the dangers of unsolved social tensions.

Egypt’s main Islamist parties won 65 percent of votes for party lists in the second round of a historic election for a new parliament after Hosni Mubarak’s ouster, the electoral committee said Saturday. The leading Islamist Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) won 40 out of 60 seats in the runoff for the second round of the three-stage elections, according to both the party and the official Al-Ahram newspaper. The ultra-conservative Salafi Al-Nur party won 13 seats, Al-Ahram reported. In Egypt’s complex electoral system, voters cast ballots for party lists, which will compose two thirds of parliament, and direct votes for individual candidates for the remaining third. Most individual races go into runoffs. Islamists have dominated the elections, which opened on November 28, the first since an uprising ousted president Mubarak in February. The second round began on December 14, and the third is due to start on January 3. The FJP won 32 individual seats in the first round of the vote, with four others going to allies, and 36 percent of the party list vote, followed by Al-Nur’s 24 percent. The remaining votes were split among various liberal and secular parties.

Cuba to pardon nearly 3,000 prisoners HAVANA AfP

Cuban President Raul Castro has unveiled plans to pardon some 3,000 prisoners for “humanitarian reasons,” a group amnesty of unprecedented size, and “gradually” reform onerous laws restricting foreign travel. The pardons include 86 foreign nationals from 25 countries, and will take place “in the coming days,” Castro said in a closing address to the National Assembly Friday. However US contractor Alan Gross, jailed in Cuba for espionage, will not be among those released, top foreign ministry official Josefina Vidal said. Gross - a State Department contractor arrested in December 2009 for delivering laptops and communications gear to Cuba’s small Jewish community - “will not be on the list” of foreigners to be pardoned, the official said. Castro said factors that played into the pardon decision included requests from the Catholic Church and various Protestant churches, and the visit of Pope Benedict XVI in 2012. The pardon is the largest ever under the communist regime, much larger that the 299 prisoners released ahead of the visit of the late pope John Paul II in January 1998.

South China town unrest cools after dialogue BeIJING AfP

Tenuous calm returned Saturday to a south China town that was the scene of violent clashes between police and protestors this week, after local residents said officials had agreed to a dialogue. Locals of Haimen township who had blocked a highway for a fourth day on Friday to protest a planned power plant expansion - throwing bricks and getting hit by police tear gas - said the peace could be temporary. “It is quiet today so far, but I don’t know if this will last this afternoon,” a travel agent who gave only his surname, Lin, said. A highway toll gate where the clashes had flared was reopened Saturday and no protests were seen nearby, the official Xinhua news agency said. Haimen residents had complained that the coal-fired power plant was behind a rise in the number of local cancer patients, environmental pollution and a drop in the local fishermen’s catch, Xinhua said. The crowd dispersed after government officials promised to release detained villagers. State-run local television on Friday night broadcast a message from Shantou Communist Party officials promising at least a temporary stop to plans to expand the plant, which is owned by state-run Huaneng Power, Lin said.


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Sunday, 25 December, 2011

Foreign News 16

Monitors meet top Syrian diplomat after bombings g Muslim Brotherhood denies Syrian bombing claim g UN Council condemns attacks, deadlocked on resolution g Bodies found with torture marks g

NICOSIA/ OTTAwA

T

AgeNcIes

HOUSANDS of people turned out on Saturday for prayers in memory of the 44 people killed by suicide bombers in the capital as charge and counter-charge swirled over who was behind the attacks. Mourners prayed before flagdraped coffins, while a crowd outside waved portraits of embattled President Bashar al-Assad and banners of the ruling Baath party as police stood watch. Religious Affairs Minister Abdel Sattar al-Sayyed read out a statement from Christian and Muslim religious leaders “denouncing the criminal attacks on Friday... and the murder, destruction and sabotage “that are part of a “dangerous plot against Syria.” Arab League monitors were to meet Syria’s top diplomat on Saturday, a day after suicide bombers killed 44 people in attacks Damascus blamed on Al-Qaeda but the opposition said were the regime’s work. The bombings, the first against the powerful security services in the heart of the capital since an uprising against President Bashar al-Assad began in March, came a day after the arrival of an advance group of monitors. “On the first day after the arrival of the Arab observers, this is the gift we get from the terrorists and Al-Qaeda, but we are going to do all we can to facilitate the Arab League mission,” said Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Meqdad.The

delegates are in the country to pave the way for the arrival of a team of Arab League observers tasked with overseeing an end to the bloodshed, and will hold talks with Foreign Minister Walid Muallem. Muallem has said he expects the observers to vindicate his government’s contention the unrest is the work of “armed terrorists,” not overwhelmingly peaceful protesters as maintained by Western powers and human rights watchdogs. Asked by reporters to comment on suggestions the bombings had been engineered by the regime itself, Meqdad shot back: “Anyone who makes such allegations is a criminal.” But the opposition Syrian National Council said in a statement that: “The Syrian regime, alone, bears all the direct responsibility for the two terrorist explosions.” The regime wanted to create the impression “that it faces danger coming from abroad and not a popular revolution demanding freedom and dignity,” it added. The UN Security Council condemned suicide attacks in the Syrian capital but remained deadlocked on a full resolution on the crisis with the Russian and US ambassadors trading personal barbs. With world powers arguing about details of a UN resolution on Syria, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for an immediate end to the bloodshed and urged the Syrian government to implement a peace plan proposed by the Arab League. European and US officials want the UN Security Council to impose an arms embargo and other sanctions

romney calls iran leaders ‘evil’ wAsHINGtoN: Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, in an interview published late Friday, called the Iranian leadership “evil” and said he would consider decapitating the Tehran regime if elected. “I see Iran’s leadership as evil,” the former Massachusetts governor told The Wall Street Journal. “I see Iran as intent on building, once again, an evil empire based upon the resources of the Middle East.” Romney said he disagreed with President Barack Obama when he says the United States has shared interests with all the world’s people. “There are people who are evil,” he argued. “There are people who have as their intent the subjugation and repression of other people; they are evil. America is good.” Romney said he did not have access to secret government intelligence and, therefore, could not make a decision now about the course he would pursue to stop Iran’s alleged nuclear ambitions. But he said “the range includes something of a blockade nature, to something of a surgical strike nature, to something of a decapitate-the-regime nature, to eliminate the military threat of Iran altogether.” AFP

on Syria’s government because of its nine-month-old crackdown on protesters Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird, meanwhile, announced the freezing of assets of more Syrians loyal to President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, as well as a beefed-up trade ban. The new measures prohibit all imports, with the exception of food, from Syria, as well as all new investment in Syria, and the export to Syria of equipment, including software, for the monitoring of telephone and Internet communications. Meanwhile, Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood Spokesman Zuhair Salem, denied Saturday an Internet claim of responsibility by the group for suicide bombings in Damascus, saying it was on a fake website created by the regime. Salem, speaking from London, said the claim was “completely fabricated under our name on the Internet.” It was “completely orchestrated by the regime, just as the attacks were,” he added. Earlier, a website purporting to be that of the Muslim Brotherhood, claimed that four suicide bombers had carried out the Friday bombings, in which 44 died and 166 were hurt, and threatened more attacks. Moreover, the bodies of four civilians who had been arrested were found Saturday with signs of torture in restive Homs province, activists said, urging the visiting Arab League team to document the cases. They demanded that the Arab League “immediately head to the town of Hula to document this flagrant violation of human rights which is just the tip of the iceberg of what is going on in Syria.”

DAMAscUs: syrian mourners saturday shout slogans during the mass funeral of 44 people killed in twin suicide bombings which targeted intelligence agency compounds at the omayyad Mosque. AFP

Ruling party official shot dead in indian Kashmir SRINAGAR AfP

Suspected militants Saturday shot dead an official of the ruling party in Indian-ruled Kashmir, police said, days after rebels made a failed bid on the life of a senior government minister. Bashir Ahmed was killed the main city of Srinagar, a police officer

said, asking not to be named. “He was shot in the head and died before he could be taken to a hospital,” he said, blaming anti-India rebels for the daylight killing. No rebel group has claimed responsibility so far. The killing came days after suspected rebels killed a policeman in an attack on December 11 on senior minister Ali Mo-

hammed Sagar, who escaped uninjured. Like Sagar, Ahmed was also associated with the ruling National Conference. Militants who oppose Indian rule in Kashmir have in the past killed ministers and pro-India politicians. Kashmir has been hit by an insurgency since 1989 that has left more than 47,000 people dead by official count.

KABUL AfP

An explosion at a coal mine in northern Afghanistan has killed 11 people, an official said Saturday. The miners, who were all working at the site without government permission, died after an explosion triggered a collapse at the mine in Baghlan province on Friday night, said the provincial governor’s spokesman Mahmood Haqmal. “Late on Friday a number of local people were digging at a coal mine in the Chenarak area of Nehrin district when an explosion killed 11 workers,” he said. Police are at the scene working to recover the bodies. Afghanistan is believed to have mineral reserves worth as much as $3 trillion which could theoretically generate billions of dollars in tax revenue for the troubled country. But exploitation of these resources faces massive hurdles due to ongoing instability after 30 years of war in the country, woeful infrastructure, and endemic corruption.

Kim Jong-Un hailed as ‘supreme commander’

Congolese opp leader takes ‘presidential oath’ KINsHAsA: Democratic Republic of Congo opposition chief Etienne Tshisekedi, who rejects Joseph Kabila’s re-election as president, had himself “sworn in” at his home Friday as police clashed with his supporters. Tshisekedi, 79, who came second in the November 28 poll, defied a police ban on his “inauguration”, which had been planned for a football stadium in the capital where police fired teargas to prevent the planned ceremony. The event was moved to Tshisekedi’s Kinshasa home, where police also used tear gas on supporters and officials of his Union for Democracy and Social Progress gathered outside. Kabila, who has been in power since January 2001, was officially sworn-in at a ceremony in Kinshasa on Tuesday. AFP

Afghan coal mine explosion kills 11

sRINAgAR: Relatives of ruling National conference worker bashir Ahmed Dar, who was shot dead by suspected militants, grieve as Kashmiris carry the coffin during a funeral procession on saturday. AFP

sEoUl: North Korea’s ruling party Saturday hailed the son of late leader Kim Jong-Il as “supreme commander” of the military, in the latest sign that the untested successor is tightening his grip on power. Experts said the move indicated that Pyongyang would maintain its Songun (military-first) policy, blamed for the deaths of thousands of people to starvation as the isolated regime diverts resources to its armed forces. “We will uphold Comrade Kim Jong-Un as our supreme commander and general and we will bring the Songun revolution to a completion,” the Rodong Sinmun, the mouthpiece of the ruling communist party, said in an editorial. The newspaper urged Jong-Un, Kim’s youngest son, to lead North Korea to “eternal victory”. It is the first time that the North’s official media has used the title supreme commander - a post previously held by his father - for the new leader, already a four-star general despite only being in his late 20s. AFP


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17

Sunday, 25 December, 2011

So alike yet so different Kate and Diana share the same style, says designer Elizabeth Emanuel, but the two young royals are very contrasting women

in limElighT

toKyo: People take pictures of ice statues of Nisse, a model of Norwegian Santa Claus, at a hotel on Chiristmas eve. MUMbAI: Hrithik Roshan, Priyanka chopra and sanjay Dutt pose during a press conference to promote their upcoming film ‘Agneepath’.

LONDON

W

MAIL

HAT could be more appropriate? The Duchess of Cambridge causes a stir on Monday night by appearing in a daring, strapless black dress at an awards ceremony with Prince William. In the same week, it’s revealed another black dress worn by another beautiful royal bride, which caused an even greater sensation, will go on display at Kensington Palace for the first time next year. I’m talking about the strapless floor-length black gown which the late Princess of Wales wore on her first-ever public engagement in March 1981 with her new fiancé, Prince Charles. It was daring. It was sexy. It showcased her slender figure and, in the flash of a hundred camera

Los ANgeLes: contestant Drew Ryniewicz poses at fox Television's ‘The X factor’ season finale.

bulbs, it catapulted the timid 19-year-old nursery school teacher into the limelight. Within months, she was the most photographed woman in the world. Before then, she had only ever been seen in clothes that were either girly or a little boring – definitely nothing sexy. I designed that dress with my then husband, David. And looking at photos of Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, this week, I couldn’t help but be overwhelmed by memories of the young woman I knew all those years ago - the woman who would have been Kate’s mother-in-law. Did Kate - who happily wears Diana’s engagement ring - pick that particular dress to draw comparisons? I’m certain not. But many of us who recall that earlier dress can’t help but make them. Two royal women, two unwitting fashion leaders, two daring black dresses. The parallels are uncanny. Yet, the two women have led two very different lives.

Aamir wants to

KUALA LUMPUr: Miss tourism international 2011 pageant from Bolivia, fabiana Beatriz Barrero Suarez, displays a creation by a Malaysian designer during the international Batik fashion.

‘Don’ sequel

romance wife Kiran rakes in millions on on screen

day one

MUMbAI: Actor-producer Aamir Khan feels his director wife Kiran rao is a fantastic actress and said he would love to direct her in a film, after his plan to romance her onscreen in ‘Dhobi Ghat’, failed to materialise. “i would love to direct her. She is better actor than me. i hope we get to see her on indian screen in a film or a theatre or play. i have told her so many times she is very talented and she must act,” Aamir told reporters. the remarks came in as Kiran’s way of narrating a character from her last film, ‘Dhobi Ghat’, caught Aamir’s attention so much that he wanted her to enact the role. “its true that i wanted Kiran to play the role of yasmin in ‘Dhobi Ghat’. i think Kirti has done a wonderful and amazing job and i don’t want to take away that from her. But i wanted Kiran to play the role played by Kirti,” Aamir said. “i would have loved to fall in love with her again on screen, what Arun (Aamir’s character) did in the film. But my wife is not romantic,” he chuckled. Kiran, on her part, said, “i used to act in college and school days. But i have not thought of acting. i am not particularly interested about acting in films, i want to make films. i would love to do theatre.” AgeNcIes

NeW DeLHI: Looks like it is going to be a good year for Bollywood. Shah rukh Khan’s latest offering ‘Don 2’ raked in 150 million indian rupees on its opening day with trade pundits predicting the figures to go up as it is a Christmas weekend. the year has seen some astounding box office collection for several films. while ‘Bodyguard’ is leading the pack by garnering approximately 890 million in the first five days, SrK’s other film ‘ra.one’ is fourth in the list with a collection of 803 million in first five days. Although the collection of ‘Don 2’ on its first day is lower than these two hits, Sanjeev Lamba, chief executive officer at reliance entertainment, felt it was due to a working friday. even though critics have stated that the film borrows from several Hollywood classics, the film is being lauded for its action sequences and SrK’s performance. zeeNeWs

Talent short-changed for glamour in Bollywood


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18 Sensenbrenner says Michelle Obama

has a ‘big butt’… really? wASHINGTON TIMe

BHUBANeSwAr: 560 indian odissi dancers preform to try and get into the Guinness Book of world records.

LoS ANGeLeS: Contestant and winner Melanie Amaro and Judge Simon Cowell pose at fox television's ‘the X factor’ Season finale.

W

HEN a 17term Republican congressman and former chair of the House Judiciary Committee says the First Lady has a “big butt”, there’s only one way to respond. So with apologies to Seth Myers (and Amy Poehler). Really, Jim Sensenbrenner? Really?! While speaking to a constituent – and one who has just expressed her admiration for Michelle Obama to you, no less – you decide it’s appropriate to slag the First Lady’s healthy eating initiative by saying she has “a big butt”? And then when it becomes clear that your impolitic remark might get you in some hot water, you repeat it loudly on the phone in an airport lounge and insist that you stand by your characterisation? I mean, really. Have you seen Michelle Obama’s arms? We should all be so lucky to be half as fit and toned as she is. The relative size of some of her body parts has nothing to do with her health. One of the biggest myths about health and body size is that you have to be rail-thin to be healthy. And, conversely, that all skinny people are healthy. Allow me to provide a personal example. I am slim, slightly underweight, in fact, with a rather small posterior. I also have atrocious eating habits. I may or may not

have consumed two cookies, some marshmallows, and half a box of yogurt-covered raisins for breakfast. I eat far too much bacon, red meat, and potato products. And I have the high cholesterol to show for it. I am working on reforming my eating habits, but if I do not, my health will surely suffer, no matter

what my weight or body shape. And, really? You have a problem with the First Lady’s emphasis on healthy eating? Are you aware that the Centers for Disease Control estimate that obesity in the United States results in nearly $150 billion each year in direct medical costs? Even if you think that concern

about what we eat is liberal health nut nonsense, surely the economic consequences of unhealthy eating should alarm you. But really? Your spokeswoman explained your remarks to FishbowlDC by saying that “He doesn’t think the government should be telling Americans what to eat.” There is, of course, no law preventing Americans from stuffing their faces with sour cream Pringles (they are tasty) every day if they so choose. And Mrs Obama does not sneak into homes in the middle of the night to police the contents of refrigerators. Even so, the U.S. government has a long history of trying to tell Americans what to eat. Really? Going after the First Lady of the United States for her body shape? You know that’s Rush Limbaugh territory, right? Have some dignity, congressman. And, really? Commenting on a woman’s weight? Did your wife slap you upside the head when you got home? Did you miss that part of Being a Sentient Male 101? And, really. The first African-American first lady and you remark on the size of her tush? What, you decided her hair and skin-tone were off-limits? Michelle Obama is smart and accomplished and yet has spent her three years in the White House being America’s Mom in large part so critics like you don’t go after her and her “radical” influence. I have one word for you, congressman: R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Really.

Pattinson on X-mas gift spree for Stewart LOS ANGeLeS AgeNcIes

coLoMbo: A sri Lankan model displays a creation by local designer Lulu.

MUMbAI: the indian film industry has always had double standards. Acting or talent is not the criteria for doling out an actor’s pay check. that is why Naseeruddin Shah never got the crores that Jeetendra or Vinod Khanna did; Shabana Azmi and Smita Patil were always paid far lesser than Hema Malini and rekha. A trade analyst says, “Bollywood has fallen into the trap of labelling its actors saleable and available. the glamour girls or the superboys, who usually score more in the looks department, have always overshadowed true talent. Stars have always been paid more, while actors have often had to fight to get what is rightfully due to them.” take the latest case of Vidya Balan. A powerhouse performer, Vidya has repeatedly proven her mettle in ‘Parineeta’, ‘Paa’, ‘ishqiya’ and, now, ‘the Dirty Picture’. what’s more, Vidya has done it all by herself. She has no Khan or Kapoor by her side. taran Adarsh says, “in a business where you are only as good as the numbers you generate, Vidya has proved that she is bigger than all the existing girls. However, i think she hasn’t got her due because she is not good with her Pr and doesn’t brag about being in the 60 to 80 million indian rupees bracket like other girls do. Vidya lets her work do the talking.” ToI

Actor Robert Pattinson went on a shopping spree to buy Christmas presents for girlfriend Kristen Stewart. The 25-year-old visited unique vintage furniture and accessories store TINI Wednesday, where he selected few items to gift to his lady love, reports contactmusic.com. “Rob stayed for a little over an hour picking out Christmas gifts for

his girlfriend Kristen Stewart. Rob’s been at TINI’s before, he seems to get a real kick out of all the unique items,” said a source. “He kept asking his friend, ‘Do you think Kristen would like this?’ He ended up getting an oversized vintage letter R made out of metal ($115), an antique wooden radio ($395), a movie poster for the film ‘I A Woman’ ($75), and a vintage Hollywood headboard for a king-size bed ($285),” the source added.

Woman makes fake bomb threat to

stop husband flying

he was having marital problems, the torrance Daily Breeze revealed. She has now been charged with providing false and misleading information. fBi Special Agent David Gates said that woolfolk broke down in tears after authorities replayed her conversation with the Airtran operator. “She stated that she was not thinking, she did not want to hurt anyone and did not want to cause harm,” the Daily Mail quoted Gates as writing in an affidavit. AgeNcIes

caught up in Twitter spat with christians LONDON MAIL

Ricky Gervais has provoked the rage of fundamentalist Christians after getting into a row about God on Twitter. The spat began when a user called GodsWordIsLaw tweeted: “Thank God for Christopher Hitchens’ death.” The writer and committed atheist had died a day earlier. Gervais replied with a sarcastic “Perfect”, adding: “This is in the world at the moment people. Can we change it a bit?” – suggesting that intolerance was rife and that people should adopt a less extreme stance. The seemingly innocuous comment was met with a barrage of abuse from GodsWordIsLaw, who wrote: “Atheism is poison, may God have mercy on your soul before he dropkicks you into HELL.” He added: “Ultimately it will lead to your eternal damnation. Enjoy this life because it goes fast. Next one is for ever.” The fundamentalist’s attention was then drawn to the cover of the September/October 2011 edition of New Humanist magazine, which featured Gervais in a Christ-like pose with a microphone stand and the word atheist across his chest. The tweeter was so angry that he filmed himself burning a copy of the magazine – the kind of treatment usually reserved for the American flag by radical Muslims in the Middle East. He uploaded the video to YouTube, where it has been viewed more than 300 times. Others then joined in the abuse. Over eight days, the writer and star of The Office was branded “as evil as they get” and accused of using his celebrity to “indoctrinate thousands of lost souls into a Godless life”.

mel gibson, wife Robyn officially

end marriage after

to mistress

LoNDoN: A US woman reportedly called in a bomb threat to stop her husband from getting on a plane, which she believed he was taking to go meet his mistress. According to the fBi, in a last ditch attempt to save her marriage of 30 years, Johnna woolfolk called Airtran Airways on Nov 27 and said her husband was carrying a bomb. But her romantic gesture didn’t quite work out like the movies. woolfolk’s husband, who was intercepted at the airport, explained that

Ricky gervais

30 years LoNDoN: Mel Gibson and his wife robyn have officially split, after their divorce was finalised ending their three-decade marriage. the former Mrs Gibson, whose name is being restored to robyn Moore, had been married to the ‘Braveheart’ star since his acting heydays and his more recent public downfall, the Mirror reported. the judgment entered by Los Angeles Superior Court judge Mark Juhas keeps virtually all details of the pair’s split confidential. Neither Gibson nor his ex-wife attended the proceedings. it does not indicate an official date for the former couple’s separation. Moore did not list a date in her April 2009 divorce filing, but Gibson indicated they had been living apart since 2006. the couple had seven children together, but only their 12-year-old son is a minor and subject to a custody agreement. Lawyers handling the divorce have worked for months to reach a settlement in the case and records show that Moore signed the final judgment last week, while Gibson signed it on wednesday. AgeNcIes


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Sunday, 25 December, 2011

FAISALABAD

P

AfP

AKISTAN on Saturday emerged victorious in a four-match series with China, the first international hockey in the troubled country since 2004. Pakistan notched up a 3-1 victory after taking the first two meetings in the port city Karachi earlier this week by 30 and 5-3. Their final match will be played in Lahore on Sunday, but Saturday's win gives Pakistan the series' title. Before a home crowd in the city of Faisalabad, Pakistani forward Ali Shan struck in the second minute of the match, scoring a field goal to give the hosts an early lead in the series' third encounter.


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Sunday, 25 December, 2011

2011 Year-ender

Another season of glorious feats of human endeavour SportS thiS Week ALI AKBAR

A

S the sporting year draws to a close, we attempt to look back on the highlights of yet another season of glorious feats of human endeavour, both in team as well as in individual sport. In cricket, 2011 marked the ascendancy of England as the best team in the sport. Their comprehensive 3-1 shellacking of Australia in the Ashes series marked them as one of the best ever teams that England has had. The first Test was drawn with the two sides splitting the next two before England drew comfortably away in the fourth and fifth Tests. England had also won the 2009 Ashes in England by two Tests to one. pAKIstAN ENCoURAGING There were some encouraging performances for Pakistan. They drew the Test series with the West Indies and defeated Sri Lanka in the Tests played in the UAE. They then blitzed the hapless Bangladesh team, winning all matches comprehensively. Pakistan’s bowling attack, especially the spinners, are proving to be match winners. The batting, anchored by skipper Misbah ul Haq and Younus Khan is looking increasingly stable. In 2012, they should be challenging for the top positions. In another important series, the Sri Lankans are finding the South African pace attack more than a handful. In the first set, the pace trio of Vernon Philander, Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel were simply too good on a green wicket. Philander is rapidly emerging as the find of the year, his bowling statistics bordering on the phenomenal. He already has four five wicket hauls in his first few Tests at an average of less than fifteen. Steyn swung the ball both ways at express pace while Morkel banged the ball down from a height. India are due to take on Australia in the Boxing Day Test at Melbourne. In the summer India had been whitewashed by England in the seaming English conditions. India are feeling the absence of star pacer Zaheer Khan and are likely to struggle with the bat against the young Australian pacers. bACK IN tHE CHAmpIoNs, pAKIstAN CRAsH Pakistan crashed out of the Champions’ Trophy hockey event, losing all their group matches and finishing at the bottom. Ever since the artificial turfs squeezed the artistry out of the sport and turned into an athletic and power spectacle, the sub-continental teams have struggled against the faster and stronger Europeans and Australians. The sport has become more of a niche sport in Pakistan as compared to cricket which is richly sponsored.

tIGER stIll IN tHE woods In golf, Charl Schwartzel won the Augusta Masters on the 50th anniversary of compatriot Gary Player’s first Masters win. Unheralded Irishman Darren Clarke won the British Open while Rory McIlroy atoned for his stunning collapse at Augusta by taking the US Open for his first major, surely the first of many. Tiger Woods continued the struggle with his game and his internal demons and eventually won a title late in the season although he was not a force in the Majors. It wAs bEtwEEN

ever has. He will be looking with optimism at 2012. Although past thirty, his effortless style is the reason for his longevity.

djoKovIC & FEdERER Novak Djokovic fashioned one of the greatest seasons in tennis by winning the three of the four Grand Slam events. Only Roger Federer was there to spoil what was till then an unbeaten season, at the French Open. He then saved two match points to beat Federer and Nadal in a nervy final at the US Open. Federer finished the year strongly by winning the Swiss Open, Bercy in Paris and the yearend Masters in London. This was an improved version of Federer and it seems that the challenges posed by Djokovic and Nadal are making him reach deeper down and play better than he

CzECH stAR In women’s tennis, Petra Kvitova became yet another star from a country that has among others given us Navratilova and Novotna. A strapping six foot tall youngster, Kvitova has the technique, power and lack of fear that has enabled her to overpower her challengers, including the underperforming Caroline Wozniacki who continues to be number one without having won a major. Considering her lack of winning shots, she can only hope to win one if

the draw opens up for her. All blACKs tRIUmpH The 7th Rugby World Cup was won by hosts New Zealand, who defeated France 8–7 in a closely fought final. South Africa, the defending champions, were eliminated by Australia 11–9 in the quarter-finals. China continued their domination of table tennis by winning everything on offer at the World Table Tennis Championships. The Chinese were winners and finalists in all events played and underlined their supremacy over the Europeans. bolt’s sHoCK ANd AwE In the 1 3 t h IAAF World Championships in Athletics Daegu, South Korea, the United States topped the medal positions. The shock of the event was the disqualification of the odds-on favourite in the 100 meters, Jamaica’s Usain Bolt due to the controversial change in the starting rules in which an athlete is defaulted on his first false start. Bolt then won the 200 meters in an astonishing 19.4 seconds and his relay team set the world record in the 4x100 relay. In boxing, England’s Amir Khan suffered a shock defeat

to American Lamont Peterson who took the WBA and IBF light-welterweight titles from the Bolton fighter with a controversial, splitdecision victory. Amir was docked two penalty points and these proved to be the difference in a bitterly contested decision. Amir’s subsequent protest against the decision was turned down. This was Amir’s second loss in professional boxing and he is now considering moving up to the welterweight division from next year. Amir’s family hails from a village on the outskirts of Rawalpindi and because of this he has a large following in Pakistan. In Major League baseball, the St.Louis Cardinals won Major League Baseball's best-of-seven championship final four games to three to take their second World Series in five years after trailing the series 3-2 heading back to St. Louis for game six. The Rangers were twice within an out of taking the Championships in the sixth game but some heroics by David Freese for St. Louis in the epic game-six victory, had a tworun double in the first inning for the Cardinals in the decider.


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Sunday, 25 December, 2011

Scrumptious prospects lie ahead Foretasting the NBA Season and the Australia-India Test Series All BASeS Covered KUNwAR KHULDUNe SHAHID

T

HE festive season has kicked off and a couple of mouthwatering prospects are on the horizon. The NBA season, after a continuum of procrastination, will start today and India’s tour Down Under is set to commence tomorrow. Here’s a look ahead to the action. EAstERN CoNFERENCE pREvIEw The holy trinity of LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh gear up for another tilt at the NBA ring, as Miami Heat are the resounding favourites to top the Eastern Conference. Heat have the star power, title winning experience and the apt mélange of defense and attack to be the frontrunners in the East. Shane Bettier has also been added to the squad, to come off the bench and bring his reliable shooting to the fore. A healthier Mike Miller would also be beneficial for last year’s NBA finalists. Then there are Chicago Bulls, lead by the MVP of a year ago Derrick Rose. Bulls replaced Keith Bogans with Richard Hamilton at shooting guard and have had time to blend in Carlos Boozer as well, to challenge Miami as the top dogs. Then there is Superman Dwight Howard and his Orland Magic as possibly the third best team on paper in the East. But of course Magic’s season hinges on their talisman staying or absconding. Without Howard, Magic would struggle to even make the playoffs. Boston Celtics are another powerhouse in the East, but with an aging squad they’d obviously be the ones most affected by a tight schedule, due to a

Dallas Mavericks still the team to beat in the west ble of talent and with most of their brigade adding another season of experience under their belt, they would be optimistic about playoff qualification as well. Also, with veteran forward David West now within their ranks, Pacers might do better than most expect. New Jersey Nets are historically one of the leading sides in the East, but are on a downward spiral

James and wade would be vying to go one step further this year compressed season. Season ending injury to Jeff Green also connotes that the leviathan from Boston would be relying on Jermaine O’Neal – who has been justly accused of being made of glass. New York Knicks have added a lot of front court dexterity owing to the addition of Tyson Chandler, but the question marks over the backcourt still exist. And hence, Baron Davis could prove to be the decisive factor between New York standing toe to toe with the big boys in the Conference and being rolled over by them. Milwaukee Bucks is one team that has been earmarked as having the TNT to improve on their showings from last year. However, they need Andrew Bogut and Brandon Jennings to step up to the plate and also gel in nicely as an insideout duo. Bucks could also make do with Stephen Jackson dishing in his share in the offense. Like Milwaukee, Philadelphia 76ers is another team that is brimming with youth and hence is upbeat about the prospects this season. Atlanta Hawks have failed to make major signings in the offseason and hence they would continue to rely on Jeff Teague for impetus this season. Indiana Pacers have a decent ensem-

off-late. They have lost center Brook Lopez for a couple of months, but with Dwight Howard being constantly linked with the Nets everything can change. And again, Nets’ entire campaign is centered round the prospect of Howard joining Deron Williams. Detroit Pistons, one of the heavyweights of the East not too long ago, Charlotte Bobcats and Toronto Raptors are the underdogs this season and would be vying to punch above their weight in their quest for playoff qualification. Washington Wizards and Cleveland Cavaliers meanwhile, are being forecasted to end up at the bottom of the pile, and with a gargantuan LeBron James shaped hole in the Cavaliers lineup far from being filled – one does sense the raison d'être behind the claim. wEstERN CoNFERENCE pREvIEw Defending Champions Dallas Mavericks continue to be the benchmark for the rest of the league. Dallas might have lost the ever dependable Tyson Chandler, but the acquisition of Lamar Odom more than shores up that void. Vince Carter and the returning Roddy Beaubois should solidify the backcourt. Following the Mavericks are two Los Angeles sides, and with Chris Paul being

traded around between the franchises from Los Angeles – there is spice in the city rivalry this year round. However, Lakers do have the edge by dint of their experience, but they do need to deal with the injury to Kobe Bryant first. Oklahoma City Thunder have a rejuvenated side this year and they are being prognosticated to seize one of the playoff spots with the home advantage. The old warhorses of Saint Antonio Spurs might just have enough legs for one final surge to the playoffs this year. And even though Tim Duncan isn’t getting any younger, Gregg Poppovich and his support staff have it in them to rally their troops for another noteworthy run this year. Denver Nuggets might be dealing with the loss of a trio of players to China, but they have enough quality and more importantly sufficient depth to rotate their players around for a lucrative campaign this year. If J.R Smith and Tyson Chandler return early from their injuries, Nuggets could exceed most expectations. Even though the Memphis Grizzlies nearly made it all the way to the Finals a year ago, their run of the mill performances in the regular season sees them being overlooked as being realistic top four contenders. Even with Rudy Gay in the squad Grizzlies don’t have enough strength and depth to counter injuries – especially in the frontcourt. Portland Trail Blazers might just be the best of the remaining lot, but like the Grizzlies they do have a small pool of options upfront. The remaining sides, Golden State Warriors, Phoenix Suns, Utah Jazz, New Orleans Hornets and Minnesota Tim-

ricky Ponting needs to silence his critics

berwolves are all being predicted to struggle this year; and there is a wide gamut of reasons, ranging from loss of impact players to downright incompetence in the starting five. Sacramento Kings are being touted to finish at rock bottom, but if their prodigies Tyreke Evans and DeMarcus Cousins perform in the clutch and with consistency as

Kobe Bryant’s injury a concern for Lakers well, the Kings might compete with the teams around them, even if they don’t have enough of an arsenal to pose a threat to the playoff positions. Minnesota again, could do well with Derrick Williams, Ricky Rubio and Kevin Love delivering regularly and in turn they could upset the forecasts as well. AUstRAlIA-INdIA sERIEs pREvIEw It is a unanimous consensus among the cricketing pundits that India’s tour

Down Under this year is their best chance of righting their wrongs in Australia and finally conjuring up a series triumph. An appalling stat that divulges everything is that since 1947 India has played 36 tests in Australia and have ended up on the winning side in only five of them. And now with Australians bracing themselves for a plunge into mediocrity – or so it seems – Dhoni and his side have the ideal opportunity to pounce. The media is regularly castigating Ricky Ponting and Michael Hussey for their recent no-shows and with a clutch series on the horizon, this could be their last chance – especially for Ponting – to step up or be ready for the axe. It would be a criminal understatement to say that the Australian bowling attack lacks the firepower of their halcyon days and then there is Brad Haddin’s incompetent wicket-keeping to round off an aura of gloom for Australia. India, au contraire, are on a decent run off late and even though their batting lineup customarily struggles in the bouncy conditions Down Under, the fact that most of their senior batsmen would be touring Australia for the very last time connotes that they would be vying to leave an imprint before they bid adieu. Downing Australia in Australia has long been considered as one of the stiffest tasks in the sport, and even though the strenuousness of the task is considerably less this season, a win Down Under would cap off the a remarkable year for India after their World Cup triumph. Tendulkar and Dravid enter the series top of the pile on the All-time list of top run getters in tests, and with Laxman habitually being up for it against Australia and Sehwag, Gambhir and Kohli on song; the Indian batting should have too much for the Australian bowlers. Australia, on the other hand, need their out of form seniors to step up and would be relying on Test rookies like Ed Cowan, Dave Warner, Dan Christian and Shaun Marsh to provide the runs. But again, the batting might well have its fair share of inexperience; nonetheless it’s the bowling that has the question mark, of bowling out a formidable Indian lineup twice in five days, looming over their heads. When Peter Siddle and James Pattinson are your vanguards in attack you know that a massive struggle lies ahead. The rest of the bowling is pretty inexperienced and might find the task of dealing with the likes of Sehwag and Tendulkar too menacing to deal with. However, while Indians might be edging out the betting odds and the Indian media might be going nuts over their side, India have their own concerns in the bowling lineup to deal with. Indian pace attack isn’t exactly an assortment of peril itself, and India’s reliance on Zaheer Khan – who has made a second home on the treatment table recently – could again prove costly. This tour is an intriguing moment in the sport as the directions, of a side contending for global supremacy and a side dealing with a looming decline, are destined to shape up.


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Sunday, 25 December, 2011

Pakistan clinch China series P FAISALABAD AfP

AKISTAN on Saturday emerged victorious in a fourmatch series with China, the first international hockey in the troubled country since 2004. Pakistan notched up a 3-1 victory after taking the first two meetings in the port city Karachi earlier this week by 30 and 5-3. Their final match will be played in Lahore on Sunday, but Saturday's win gives Pakistan the series' title. Before a home crowd in the city of Faisalabad, Pakistani forward Ali Shan struck in the second minute of the match, scoring a field goal to give the hosts an early lead in the series' third encounter. Vice-captain Shakeel Abbasi doubled Pakistan's lead with another field goal in the 21st minute. Chinese Liu Yixian converted a penalty corner in the 61st minute to give the visitors their only goal of the match. Pakistan's Waqas Sharif drew another field goal in the 64th minute to help his side cap their victory. A campaign of Taliban and Al-Qaeda linked attacks across Pakistan, including an attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in 2009, made Pakistan a virtual "no go" zone for international sport. Pakistan, which last hosted an international hockey game seven years ago, hopes the Chinese tour will help convince other foreign teams to visit. The country is also working to resume a bilateral hockey series with archrivals India, after they were suspended following the Mumbai attacks in 2008.

fAiSALABAD: Pakistani hockey goalkeeper imran Shah (C) stops an attempt by China during the third field hockey match between Pakistan and China. AFP

Pakistan-Bangladesh Test series averages

Younus, Rehman claim top honours StAtS Corner S. PeRVeZ QAISeR Younus Khan scored the highest number of runs while Abdur Rehman claimed the highest number of wickets in the just concluded two Test match series between Pakistan and Bangladesh in Bangladesh which the former won 2-0. The Pakistani batsman scored 265 runs at an average of 265.00 and a strike rate of 62.50 with one double century in three innings of two matches. He hit 22 fours and four sixes in this series. Shakib Al Hasan took the number one position for Bangladesh. The lefthand middle order batsman scored 209 runs at 52.25 and at a strike rate of 60.23 with one century and one fifty in four innings of two matches. He hit 25 fours in four innings. Abdur Rehman, who recorded his best bowling on the final day of the second Test match, took the first sport among the bowlers. The slow left-arm orthodox bowler claimed 11 wickets at an average of 19.45 and an economy rate of 2.59 in four innings of two matches. Shakib Al Hasan was the most successful bowler for the hosts. The slow left-arm orthodox bowler claimed seven wickets at an average of 35.71 and an economy rate of 2.69 in three innings of two matches. Five centuries were scored in the series, four from Pakistan and one from Bangladesh. Younus Khan (200 not out), Mohammed Hafeez (143), Taufeeq Umar (130) and Asad Shafiq (104) made hundreds for Pakistan while Shakib Al Hasan (144) scored the lone century for the hosts. Just one bowler, Bangladesh's Shakib Al Hasan, claimed a five-wicket haul in this series. He did the same in Pakistan's first innings in the second Test match. Pakistan have won the Test series against Bangladesh for the fourth time. They have won all eight matches against Bangladesh.

Samir matches academic achievements with tennis glory LAHORe sTAff RePoRT

ToP sIX bATsMeN IN THe seRIes bAtsmAN Younus Khan (Pakistan) Shakib Al Hasan (Bangaldesh) Mohammad Hafeez (Pakistan) Taufeeq Umar (Pakistan) Asad Shafiq (Pakistan) Mushfiqur Rahim (Bangladesh)

m 2 2 2 2 2 2

I 3 4 3 2 4

m 2 2 2 2 2 2

ovERs 82.2 59.3 90.3 67 92.4 74.5

No 2 -

RUNs 265 209 204 194 146 146

AvG 265.00 52.25 68.00 64.66 73.00 36.50

Hs 200* 144 143 130 104 52

s/R 62.50 60.23 66.66 44.39 43.45 42.31

100 1 1 1 1 1 -

50 1 1 1

ToP sIX boWLeRs IN seRIes bowlER Abdur Rehman (Pakistan) Aizaz Cheema (Pakistan) Saeed Ajmal (Pakistan) Umar Gul (Pakistan) Shakib Al Hasan (Bangladesh) Elias Sunny (Bangladesh)

RUNs 214 209 233 214 250 225

wKts 11 9 9 7 7 5

AvG 19.45 23.22 25.88 30.57 35.71 45.00

R/o 2.59 3.51 2.57 3.19 2.69 3.00

5wI -

bEst 4-51 3-73 3-40 3-102 6-82 3-123

Pakistan’s upcoming tennis star Samir Iftikhar, who is currently at University of New Mexico USA on Tennis Scholarship, has achieved 3.75 GPR out of 4 (A average) in his first Semester at the University. According to reports received here, University coach Alan Aldis through an e-mail message praised the Pakistani youngster and congratulated his father and former Davis Cup player Tayyab Iftikhar for his brilliant performance in the examinations. He informed him that Samir is training very hard with the tennis team and has shown a lot of improvement and the University will encourage him to play for Pakistan in the Davis Cup ties and other national events in the future. Samir is currently in London on holidays and will join the University in January 2012 for highly competitive NCAA Division 1 season. He said: ”The UNM has world class Tennis Facilities and am very impressed with the professionalism and tennis training of US coaches which is really helping my game. I am proud to play for Pakistan and will be available when ever I am needed by PTF.” He further said that he wants to focus on his game and education without financial worries and hoped that Chief Minister Mian Shabaz Sharif and the head of other provinces will urgently look into his appeal for financial help after his current academic achievement.


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Sunday, 25 December, 2011

Tennis review

2011: A YeAR OF DJOKOvIC ENNIS enjoyed a year to remember as Novak Djokovic swept all before him en route to a recordbreaking year on the ATP Tour, while on the women's side, variety was the spice of life as four different players tasted Grand Slam glory. plAyER oF tHE yEAR - NovAK djoKovIC The 2011 season will forever be remembered as the 'Year of the Djoker'. Boy spectacularly turned man as Serbian sensation Djokovic set new standards and smashed all kinds of records to claim the world number one ranking for the first time in his burgeoning career. Djokovic became only the sixth man in Open era history to win at least three majors in a single season, only the French Open title eluding him during a remarkable campaign. The Serb was simply untouchable at the start of the year, winning 43 consecutive matches before tasting defeat for the first time in the semi-finals at Roland Garros. He swept Britain's Andy Murray aside to claim his second Australian Open title in Melbourne in January

Czech left-hander finished it as No.2 after a breakthrough year which brought six singles titles - Wimbledon and the WTA Championships included. The 21-year-old won her first tournament of the year in Brisbane and clinched the season-ending event in Istanbul. In between, she took four more titles, peaking in June with her first Grand Slam at Wimbledon. At SW19, with her swinging left-handed serve and powerful groundstokes perfectly suited to the All England Club grass, Kvitova ousted five seeds - including former champion Maria Sharapova in the final - to lift the famous Venus Rosewater Dish. RIsING stAR - mIlos RAoNIC 2011 was quite a year for 20year-old Canadian Raonic, who shot up from 156 in the world rankings to a career-high 25 before ending as the world No.31. Gathering a reputation as one of the biggest servers on tour, Raonic set a new tournament record of 129 aces during his run to the final of the Regions Morgan Keegan Championships in Memphis. After qualifying for the Australian Open at the start of the year, Raonic became the first Canadian in 10 years to reach the third round of a Grand Slam and he then eliminated world No.10 Mikhail

and four successive Masters crowns swiftly followed to leave the rest of the world in a state of awe. Even the 'King of Clay' Rafael Nadal was schooled on his beloved surface, the Spaniard suffering defeats after taking the opening sets at Indian Wells and Miami, before being handed claycourt lessons in Madrid and Rome. Djokovic finished the season with a staggering 70-6 record, with fatigue eventually telling in the latter stages of the campaign. most ImpRovEd plAyER - pEtRA KvItovA Move aside Venus and Serena, there's a new girl in town. That girl is Petra Kvitova. Starting the 2011 season as the world number 34, the

Youzhny in four sets to become the first qualifier to make the fourth round since 1999. His run was eventually stopped by David Ferrer, however Raonic built on his strong start to the season by capturing his first ATP World Tour title in San Jose with victory over Fernando Verdasco. He made his Davis Cup debut in March and is certainly a player to keep an eye on in 2012. momENt oF 2011 - djoKovIC wINs wImblEdoN Smarting from his first defeat of the season to Roger Federer at the French Open, Djokovic arrived at Wimbledon looking to achieve what he had failed to do in six previous visits - lift the fa-

Comment JOe DRABBLe

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mous trophy. This looked his best chance to do so and, after grasscourt supremo Federer had fallen to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in a quarter-final classic, the door opened for the Serb, who in turn became the first world number one not named Federer or Nadal since 2004. Former champion Nadal, who defeated Andy Murray in yet another Grand Slam semi-final, stood in Djokovic's way in the final, however the Serb produced a stunning grass-court display to prevail 6-4 6-1 1-6 6-3. In doing so he became the first Serbian man to win Wimbledon and the emotion in his celebrations showed just how much it meant to him. bEst mAtCH - NovAK djoKovIC v FEdERER (Us opEN sEmI-FINAl) Plenty of candidates in this category as always but Djokovic's come-from-behind victory over Federer at Flushing Meadows was something very, very special. Having fallen two sets down to the Swiss star, few gave Djokovic a prayer of coming back, despite his stunning start to the season. But, with a final date against Nadal up for grabs, Djokovic drew upon all his mental strength to record a sensational 6-7 4-6 6-3 6-2 7-5 victory. The fifth set had been of brilliant quality until the eighth game, when Federer broke Djokovic to take a 5-3 advantage. With two match points on his racquet, Federer seemed to fold when Djokovic ripped a forehand return winner cross-court to save the first. Djokovic would go on to break and win the next three games as well to close out the comeback victory. Simply sensational viewing. low poINt HEAltH CoNCERNs The William sisters were conspicuous by their absence in 2011 and Serena, who returned to the tour in June after a serious foot injury and then a pulmonary embolism, quickly re-announced herself with titles at Stanford and Toronto and a final run at the US Open. For Venus, 2011 was even worse. The seven-time major winner was plagued by abdominal injury, featuring in only four events and losing early in all of them. Then came the announcement that Venus was suffering from the autoimmune virus, Sjogren's Syndrome. Venus ended the year ranked outside of the world top 100 for the first time since 1997. On the men's side, Robin Soderling missed the second half of the season with mononucleosis. The Swede dropped from world number five to 13 as a result of the illness and he also confirmed his absence from the upcoming Australian Open due to the problem.

CoNtRovERsy sERENA's stRop pARt II There seems to be something about playing in New York that turns Serena Williams into a very unpleasant human being. After threatening a line-judge at Flushing Meadows in 2010, the American superstar turned her anger on the umpire in 2011. Serena branded chair official Eva Asderaki a 'hater and a loser' after the three-time champion was penalised for "intentional hindrance" during her final with Sam Stosur. Williams was so incensed at the change of ends that she warned Asderaki "don't even look at me" and her actions later landed her in hot water with the authorities as she was fined $2,000. Australian Stosur put the distractions behind her to win her maiden Grand Slam title 62 6-3 on Arthur Ashe. yEAR to REmEmbER - spAIN King of Clay Nadal reinforced his status as the master of the red dirt yet again in leading Spain to Davis Cup glory for a third time in four years. The world number two came from a set behind to record a 20th successive singles win in the competition and secure his country their fifth Davis Cup title, with a 1-6 6-4 6-1 7-6 (7-0) win over Juan Martin del Potro in Seville sinking Argentina 3-1. It was the perfect remedy for a disappointing campaign for Nadal, who lost his world number one status and six finals to Djokovic, ensuring it was his nation that knocked the Serb's off their perch at the top of the game. Spain's glory was in stark contrast to Argentina's misery as they endured a fourth loss in as many Davis Cup finals, with an inconsolable Del Potro showered with sympathy after losing out in an epic five-setter with David Ferrer before failing to resist Nadal's comeback.

Control Ponting if you want to control Australia eXPeRT coMMeNT

KAPiL DeV

Ricky Ponting is the most important player. He is an experienced player and if India can control him then we can control Australia. Remember experience always comes in handy in the long run. He has scored enough runs against us and is due for a big score. This time India has a better chance to win the Test series in Australia, there is no doubt about that. Australia were on top of the world cricket for 15 years. But now it is not the same team without Glenn McGrath, Shane Warne, Adam Gilchrist and Matthew Hayden. We still have Sachin, Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman and

Virender Sehwag. Then there are young talented fast bowlers and spinners. We are getting strong everyday. We, therefore, have a better chance than ever before. Earlier that was not the case because we were no match for Australia. Australia dominated world cricket and always bounced back. But this time we can go there thinking of not drawing but with a view to win the series. Sachin has served Indian cricket so enormously that at this stage this talk of this 100th hundred is not important. If India can win the series, Sachin's 100th hundred will be taken care of.

yEAR to FoRGEt Us opEN oRGANIsERs When play did get under way at Flushing Meadows, it was truly unforgettable. However it was the getting started, which was the problem. Heavy rain for the third year running wreaked havoc with this year's event and organisers now face increasing pressure from fans and players alike for a roof to be erected on Arthur Ashe court. The men's final was yet again played on a Monday and officials made a number of glaring calls throughout the tournament - deeming courts dry enough to play when the players thought otherwise. The US Open is the only Grand Slam tournament without a roof on the main show court but the climate suggests that fact needs changing. tAlKING poINt plAyER stRIKE British number one Andy Murray was among the leading players

who threatened strike action unless changes were made to the sport's exhausting calendar. Strike talks gathered pace after the US Open following a number of high-profile retirements from the American slam. A meeting was scheduled between the players and ATP Tour organisers later in the year in Shanghai, however nothing materialised. Federer later described plans to strike as "nonsense", however it is clear that a number of players are not happy with the current schedule and it will be interesting to see if any changes are made in 2012 and beyond. bEst CElEbRAtIoN - ANdREA pEtKovIC Andrea Petkovic wins the award for the best celebrator/dancer on the circuit. Her 'Petko-Dance' ritual at the end of every victorious match certainly caught on with fans across the globe in 2011. The robot-like jig first came about after a bet with her coach and, despite her best efforts to shake it off, the crowd pressure continues to prove too strong. FoNd FAREwEll jUstINE HENIN Former world No 1 Justine Henin was forced to admit defeat in her attempt to beat a chronic elbow problem at the start of 2011. The Belgian seven-time Grand Slam champion retired for the second time after a disappointing thirdround defeat to Svetlana Kuznetsova at the Australian Open. The former world number one leaves the sport with four French Open titles, one Australian Open and two US Opens to her name and will forever be remembered as having one of the most eye-catching one-handed backhands in the game.

this is india’s best chance Tendulkar always looks in good form. Using heavy bats on flatter wickets are fine but when the wickets have got a bit Comment of a pace and bounce, then I don't think KIM HUGHeS heavier bats are a wise thing. I think lighter bats in Australia where you play more horizontal shots are a better option. You would think in four Tests, Tendulkar will get an opportunity (to score a century). We produce good wickets in Australia for the batsmen and I would have thought Tendulkar will certainly get one hundred in one of those four Test matches. I think Sehwag is biggest danger for Australia because he gets India off to such a good positive start and he likes playing well on our true wickets. Sehwag have always done well in Australia. India's batting is far superior to Australia's. Sachin Tendulkar is still playing marvelously well, Rahul Dravid is in fantastic form, and (VVS) Laxman and (Virender)," said the 57-year-old.


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Comment J.K wALI

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OR nearly half a decade, football followers have been accustomed to hearing the phrase “Ryan Giggs has rolled back the years”. Giggs, however, has been so regular in taking us all down the memory lane that it hardly comes as a surprise anymore – 38 years young, and the Welshman still has a huge part to play for Manchester United. Although Giggs might be ‘rolling back the years’ in terms of his influence in United’s play, his own game has been totally revamped from what it was in his heyday. Mind you, this is not the first time Giggs has remodeled his play. He has regularly evolved from being the blazing winger in the early 90s, to the more all-round left sided midfielder – occasionally the second striker – in and around the turn of the millennium, modifying himself into playing in the hole and playing deeper and deeper as mileage in the legs gave way to unparalleled experience and know how. Giggs’ performance sitting deep in midfield in United’s 5-0 win over Fulham was another fine-tuning of his game as he orchestrated the play from a deeper role in a masterful performance. Manchester United’s most capped player also scored a goal that sustained his remarkable run of scoring in every season since the inception of 'English Premier League' in 1992. Meanwhile in the Chelsea camp – Manchester United’s foremost rivals over the past five years before Manchester City’s recent renaissance – there is discontent of varying proportions. During Chelsea’s 1-1 draw against Tottenham Hotspur at White

Hart Lane, it was surprising to note that Andre Villas-Boas didn’t ask Frank Lampard to come off the bench, especially since Tottenham’s supremacy in midfield was there for all to see. When Chelsea toppled City at Stamford Bridge recently, it was Lampard’s introduction into the game that tilted the balance in the home side’s favour. Although the fact that City were a man

down was obviously critical, however, before Lampard came on Chelsea weren’t able to capitalise on their numerical supremacy. Even though the “courage” required in beating the keeper in a dead ball situation from 12 yards out is something that this scribe has never managed to comprehend, nonetheless it was Lampard’s telling pass to Sturridge that set up the penalty – and

in turn, the winning goal. Following the City triumph Lampard has been quite unequivocal in displaying his hard feelings with regards to being a non-regular off-late. In fact, if transfer rumours are anything to go by, Jose Mourinho is interested in capitalising on the Englishman’s discontent by offering him a lifeline at Madrid. However, with everything said and done, the

question that one has to ask Lampard is that at 33, would playing week-in week-out be a prudent idea for either the club or the player? Lampard’s fitness in unquestionable and he has been known to be injury proof and has had record breaking consecutive appearances. However, if Giggs had been played by Sir Alex Ferguson every week five seasons or so ago, would that have resulted in a better outcome for United or indeed the man himself? 2006 onwards Sir Alex has been very selective in deploying the Welshman and the trophy-laden years that have followed, coupled with Giggs playing a significant role, have meant that the Scotsman’s approach has been vindicated. Villas-Boas might be half the age of Sir Alex Ferguson, but he realises just as well that Lampard must be used selectively and that would not only prolong the midfielder’s career, he would continue to be an asset for the London club for years to come. Lampard should appreciate this intent, and acknowledge the fact that the days of him marauding into the opposition’s penalty area and poaching goals thrice a week are well and truly past him. He could also prolong his career by modifying his game and by looking to influence matters from deep in midfield, since he might not have the legs to showcase a box-to-box performance every now and then. Lampard is already acknowledged as a legend at Stamford Bridge, but if he can display adaptability and wholeheartedly contributes his experience to the Chelsea cause as they navigate their transitory phase – something that Giggs did for United during 2005-2007 – he could enjoy the uppermost veneration at Chelsea, like Ryan Giggs does at Manchester United.

Liverpool siege mentality misguided over Suarez’s abuse Comment PAUL HAywARD

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OWHERE in the tide of indignation and Liverpudlian love for Luis Suárez has the most important point been conceded. As the wagons circle ever tighter around Anfield there is still no acknowledgement that Suárez used terminology against Manchester United’s Patrice Evra that deserves no place in a civil society. Liverpool and their extended family of fans have fought some stirring campaigns down the years. But this is not one of them. The increasingly melodramatic defence of Suárez omits one crucial qualification. “Negro” — assuming that was the insult — is no way to refer to a fellow citizen, even if you do come from Uruguay, and Liverpool ought to have told him so, while conceding that an offence did indeed take place. With that concession they could have wrapped their arms around him in the old Anfield spirit of solidarity, and forgiveness. The rest of the country might

not have applauded it, but at least they could say they supported football’s basic principle of excluding language that attempts to demean people on the basis of the colour of their skin. As a middle-aged American, the club’s main owner, John W Henry, lived through a time when pigmentation could be a matter of life and death in many southern states. So there is no need here to recite the reasons why pejorative terms for black people arouse extra sensitivities. Suárez’s intent is not the point. Nor is his character. The offence was the “insulting words” he used, and confessed to, in a roundabout way, with his plea of cultural mitigation. To spend three years in Amsterdam with Ajax and not know that the term “negro” is unacceptable in Europe suggests a tin ear at best. Again, though,

such ruminations are a sideshow. An offence was committed but Liverpool have chosen not to face that fact, finding refuge instead in team statements and T-shirts that are in danger of propelling Suárez towards some kind of sainthood. “A lovely guy,” is how Pepe Reina, the goalkeeper, described his beleaguered team-mate on Thursday. Here we see the confusion, for perceived loveliness is no defence when the laws of the game have been transgressed. If Reina had said, “Luis shouldn’t have called Patrice that, but we don’t believe he is a racist and we will stand by him”, there would at least be a recognition that a

black footballer is entitled to protection from skinbased humiliation. You can see how it develops. A club’s PR strategy starts out as support and ends up as unconditional empathy. The first sign of trouble was Liverpool’s post-verdict statement: “We find it extraordinary that Luis can be found guilty on the word of Patrice Evra alone.” So Suárez did not employ a plea of cultural mitigation on the basis that “negro” is not an insult in Uruguay – no worse than calling Dirk Kuyt "blondie”? This, we need to know, because there is no suggestion that Suárez denies using any kind of race-based language. If he admits calling Evra “negro”, then he has not been found guilty solely on Evra’s testimony alone, as the Liverpool statement claims. Nor are the attacks on Evra’s “credibility” edifying. There are young Liverpool fans who will call you a “scumbag” on Twitter for even trying to unravel this issue. Equally there will be people on the Kop who feel uneasy about their club’s unqualified support for Suárez, especially as Liverpool fight so hard against discrimination.


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C r i C k e t, C o a C h i n g and camaraderie

eXPeRT coMMeNT

DeAN JoNeS

Key to taming the

Big Four

i

f AUStrALiA wants to win this test series against india, it will have to keep the big four indian batsmen quiet. it will be interesting to see what strategies and tactics our young quicks employ against this strong batting line-up. the variety offered by Mitchell Starc is vital against this quality batting. i think a left-hander who can swing the ball back into the stumps is a wonderful asset and can add variety to this Australian attack for Michael Clarke. Basically, indian batsmen love hitting boundaries. they don't like running, as a rule, with 50 per cent of their score made in boundaries. So if the Australian bowlers can dry up their boundaries, they will be more successful. Here are some of my thoughts on how to dismiss the four great indian batsmen.

VIReNDeR seHWAg TEST RECORD Runs: 7980. Ave: 52. 100s: 22 At the MCG: Runs: 206. Ave: 103 PAst 5 tests: Runs: 286. Ave: 32 ' VirU'' is my favourite player in the world to watch. He is so strong from third man to mid-off. No one in the world has been stronger through these areas. if you don't control him, the game is gone. He gets his runs so quickly and changes the momentum of the match. i will not forget his 195 at the MCG on his last outing. the best way to bowl to him is to keep him quiet. He hates taking singles, loves hitting boundaries. Just keep him bored. Bowl wide of the crease and at the stumps. Make him hit the ball through the leg side. when the quicks bounce him, it must be over middle stump and give him no room to free up his arms. i also believe he struggles a little with left-handers swinging the ball back into him. Clarke could think about opening with Starc. Having a third man is not a defensive tactic for Sehwag. He likes to ramp short deliveries down to third man instead of hooking and pulling. trust me, if you bowl wide to him, he will make a hundred before lunch. So i would instruct the bowlers to bowl wide of the crease and get the ball to nip back into him. Best line is over the off and middle stumps. the very first few balls delivered to him are so important because he will go hard straight away and you can pick him up cheaply - he has made a pair recently. Also, he uses the best bats i have seen. A forward point 15 metres from the bat is a good option.

sAcHIN TeNDULKAR

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MUHAMMAD BUTT

HERE was an element of surprise when the second and final Test between Pakistan and Bangladesh stretched to the fifth day but just when the Bangladeshi faithful were becoming confident of snatching a deserving draw, Pakistan inevitably struck through their trusted spinners and the rest became a mere formality. No disrespect to the Bangladeshis but the whole series itself turned out to be a formality as Pakistan whitewashed their opponents across all formats. Younus Khan won the Man of the Series award courtesy his double hundred in the first test but it would be unfair to single out any one player for praise as everyone at one point or another put their hand up and performed. In doing so, the players ensured that the winning momentum continued ahead of our toughest challenge which will come in the shape of the touring England party. For Bangladesh, the positives were few and far in between; the emergence of Nasir Hossain suggests there is light at the end of the tunnel but they need a few more like him to become competitive. While on-field activity continued to border on the lacklustre, the main talking points emerged from the off-field incidents. The PCB coach hunt committee, during the course of the series stated that

they had decided on its choice for head coach and specialised coaches but would make the announcement after the Bangladesh tour. Dav Whatmore was being tipped as the man to get the head coaching role but Zaka Ashraf, the PCB chairman, announced on December 19 that the committee had not settled on the new coaching staff therefore Mohsin Khan would continue in his interim role as coach. Ejaz Butt may have left the building but confusion still reigns supreme; it was only two weeks ago that Col. Naushad Ali, a member of the said committee and assistant manager of the team had said, “The person we have picked as head coach is very well suited to Pakistan,". "He is the one who suits the temperament of Pakistan cricket and [that] of its team." Mohsin Khan, the current interim coach, has also expressed his interest for the position of head coach and this coupled with Col. Naushad’s glaring conflict of interest, one gets the feeling that there is something fishy going on behind the scenes. Reports have emerged that there is both, a pro and anti Mohsin lobby at work. One can only imagine what transpired in those two weeks that forced to committee to back track on their word but given the history, chances are that Pakistan cricket will once again suffer at the hands of people who continue to put their own interests before that of the team. On a brighter note, Bangladesh has agreed to tour Pakistan in April 2012, subject to a security inspection. In a classic case of ‘you scratch my back, I scratch

yours’ Bangladesh agreed to tour Pakistan and in turn, the PCB, amongst other fringe benefits, gave their vote of confidence to Mustafa Kamal for the role of ICC President. Zaka Ashraf, who after taking over had stated that bringing cricket back to Pakistan and reconciling with the cricketing boards-who had become disenchanted during Ejaz Butts tenure-was at the forefront of his plans seems to be making good on his promise. The Sri Lankan Cricket Board has always been a ‘friend’ of PCB and after this strengthening of ties with the Bangladesh Cricket Board, PCB has consolidated its position amongst the Asian bloc. This is likely to give Pakistan much needed leverage when it negotiates with the other cricketing boards and especially the BCCI who have in the recent past tried to marginalise and ostracise Pakistan cricket. The repercussions are not just restricted within the sub-continent; if Bangladesh’s tour goes ahead and according to plan, PCB can then look to invite other teams and make sure that cricket is well and truly back in Pakistan. These are happy times for Pakistan cricket but this is only the beginning and a lot of hard work needs to be put in, both on and off the field to ensure that this successful period continues. Zaka Ashraf has rightfully stated that it is not his job to identify the next coach of Pakistan and that a committee has been formed for this specific matter but it might be best if he were to look into the matter and find out what’s taking the committee so long?

TEST RECORD Runs: 15,183. Ave: 56. 100s: 51 At the MCG: Runs: 344. Ave: 43 PAst 5 tests: Runs: 373. Ave: 41 How do you bowl to a guy like Sachin? He possesses the greatest defence since Bradman. even though Sachin has every shot in the book, he bases his game around his wonderful defence. Does anyone play the forward and back defence better than the Little Master? He is a great watcher of the ball. He watches ' length'' better than anyone in the game. How do you find a weakness in Sachin's game? it is like trying to find a weakness in the Sistine Chapel or the Mona Lisa. But we will try. History shows tendulkar struggles a little with bowlers who get close to the stumps and who can swing the ball away from him. Clarke needs to set a straight field and try to entice the great man to play square into point and to square leg. Bowlers such as James Pattinson, who can swing the ball away, might worry him. Do not sledge him! Don't even give him any ugly stares if you pass the edge of the bat. it will only be bad news. Can you believe he needs one more hundred to make 100 centuries in international cricket? He is an unbelievable player but he is human and he will give you a chance. this will be the last time you will see him in a test match in Australia, so make an effort to watch him bat.

RAHUL DRAVID TEST RECORD Runs: 13,094. Ave: 53. 100s: 36 At the MCG: Runs: 185. Ave: 31 PAst 5 tests: Runs: 518. Ave: 65 LiKe Sachin, Dravid bases his game on defence. His nickname is the wall and he is such a cricket traditionalist he will want to make a hundred on this famous ground. Dravid has made five centuries in his past 10 tests and is in imperious form. where do you bowl to him? He is strong in every facet of the game. Dravid is such a wonderful technician and a great watcher of the ball, it is hard to find a weakness to knock him over but bowlers must remain patient. Australia possesses quicks who can bowl faster than 145km/h. Go after him! He is approaching 39 in January, so bowl fast and straight to him. Again, bowling well to him early in his innings is so important. Historically, Dravid doesn't get his runs fast, so keeping things quiet puts pressure on his batting partner. Like Sachin, this will be the last time you see this great player, so make an effort to get your children to watch him play.

V.V.s LAXMAN TEST RECORD Runs: 8626. Ave: 47. 100s: 17 At the MCG: Runs: 111. Ave: 19 PAst 5 tests: Runs: 356. Ave: 51 A QUALity batsman who loves playing against the Australians. He is such a different player to the other three. Laxman loves hitting the ball square, so bowling the proper length is paramount. full and straight to him with swinging deliveries is the way to go. He is a very wristy type of player. He has a strong bottom hand and plays the ball very late. i don't think he likes the bounce that much, so trying to get him cutting with two gullies may be a good play for him. Laxman has scored only one hundred in his past 27 tests, so there will be a bit of pressure on him if the indian batting doesn't fire. i do not envy bowling to these great players. i haven't even mentioned Gautam Gambhir, M.S. Dhoni and Virat Kohli, who have 14 test centuries between them. But as a past batsman, i love watching the big four the most. All have wonderful records, all are different in their own way. However, history tells me batsmen do not like facing three bowlers faster than 145km/h when they are 34 or older. these great batsmen will offer chances to the Australians. it is just a matter of whether the Australian fielding is up to it.


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India won’t influence Bangladesh’s tour to Pakistan, says PCB LAHORe

T

sTAff RePoRT

HE Pakistan Cricket Board Saturday dispelled the impression that India would influence the halt of planned Bangladesh cricket team’s tour to Pakistan next year. An official of the PCB dispelled fears expressed by former captains Zaheer Abbas and Rashid Latif that the BCCI could influence the BCB to not tour Pakistan next year although the PCB had agreed to let Bangladesh nominate a candidate for the post of vice-president in the ICC. "Let's not forget that both the Chairmen of the Pakistan and Bangladesh cricket boards signed and issued a joint press release after talks in Dhaka in which it was outlined that Bangladesh would send its team to Pakistan next year but before that it would also send a security delegation to Pakistan to assess the security situation and arrangements

Pakistan will test world’s best england: manager LAHORe sTAff RePoRT

Pakistan series will not be easy for England in the UAE, said manager Pakistan cricket team Naveed Akram Cheema. Pakistan will play three Tests, three Twenty20s and four One-Day Internationals against England in the UAE from January 17 onwards. “Surely its going to be a tough series for Pakistan but England should not feel that they would go away with easily. In the current form Pakistan will be a hard nut to crack,” said Cheema. “The team has gelled like a wellknit unit under Misbahul Haq and England should see tough time in store in the UAE,” he added. He further stated that the team will assemble in the first week of January at Lahore and after a brief conditioning camp will leave for UAE. “The team will start its conditioning camp on January 4 and it will terminate on January 7. The following day will be rest for the players and on January 9 the team will set off to UAE, opening the series with test matches,” he added.

Sialkot Hyderabad advance in Pepsi PCB Cricket LAHORe sTAff RePoRT

Another three matches were decided in pool B of the PCB-Pepsi Cricket Stars U16 One Day Tournament at three different venues of the city. Sialkot, Hyderabad and Quetta sneaked past their rivals. Sialkot beat Faisalabad by 91 runs, Hyderabad beat Multab by 17 runs and Quetta moved past Karachi by two wickets. scoRes: At LCCA cricket ground, Sialkot U-16 – 231 in 45 overs: (Umer Javed 46, 86 balls, 4x4s, M zahid 35, 24 balls, 2x4s, Abdul rehman 34, 39 balls, 4x4s, Akram Butt 28*, 21 balls, 2x4s, 1x6, Muhammad Usman 4-45, Shabih-ul-Hasan 353) v– faisalabad U-16 – 140 in 37.5 overs: (Ashar Manzoor 63, 69 balls, 7x4s, 1x6, Atiq-ur-rehman 21, 43 balls, 3x4s, Sharaiz Khan 19, 58 balls, irfan elahi 3-21, waqas ilyas 3-22, rehmat Ali 2-4), result: Sialkot U-16 won by 91 runs, toss: Sialkot U-16: Umpires: Sohail Manzoor & tasadduq Jamal; official Scorer: Syed Najam-us-Saeed. At ittefaq Cricket Ground, Hyderabad U-16 – 164 in 44 overs: (Hamesh Kumar 40, 40 balls, 7x4s, raheel Meo 30, 38 balls, 3x4s, wali Muhammad 21, 31 balls, 1x4, Daniyal rajput 19, 39 balls, 1x4, Saqib-ul-Hasan 3-27, imran rafiq 2-22, Junaid zawar 2-42, Muhammad Awais 2-1) v Multan U-16 – 147 in 42.2 overs: (farhan Sarfraz 65, 98 balls, 5x4s, Ameer Hamza 26, 29 balls, 2x4s, 1x6wali M 3-23, Ubaid Ullah Khan 2-35).

for their team," PCB’s Chief Operating Officer, Subhan Ahmad said. He pointed out that the Bangladesh

board had shown great cooperation and support in realising the urgency of Pakistan once again hosting international matches at home. "The discussions the PCB Chairman had with his Bangladesh board counterpart were productive and Bangladesh wants to support Pakistan by sending its team to Pakistan next year for the scheduled series," he added. Zaheer and Rashid both expressed fears that while the PCB has conceded its right to nominate a joint candidate for the ICC position with Bangladesh in the hope that they will tour Pakistan next year, one can't rule out the fact that the Indian board might try to influence and pressurise the Bangladesh board to not tour Pakistan. Both the former captains pointed out that the present Indian board set up had not been very supportive to Pakistan cricket in the last two years and did nothing to indicate they wanted to see Pakistan cricket flourish.

The PCB official said that as far as the Indian board was concerned he couldn't comment on their stance but insisted as far as Pakistan and Bangladesh relations were concerned they were definitely very positive. "Both Zaka Ashraf and Mostafa Kamal addressed a joint press conference and issued the statement about the Bangladesh team wanting to tour Pakistan and I don't think one can question the commitment of the Bangladesh board in all this," Subhan said. The official said that the tour was subject to clearance from the security delegation that will visit Pakistan next month. He said the ICC would get involved in the security assessment procedure for the planned tour at a later stage. Meanwhile, the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) President Mustafa Kamal has stressed the need of support from Pakistan in developing their game as they prepare to tour Pakistan next year.

Whatmore due in January LAHORe

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The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) officials will meet Dav Whatmore in January to finalise a coaching contract. The former Australian player will reach Pakistan in 2012 and is likely to take charge of the team after the England series. “We are in discussions with [Dev] Whatmore," Subhan Ahmed, the PCB's chief operating officer was quoted by cricinfo. "In fact, we have called him next month to negotiate and hope to reach a final agreement with him.” Earlier, the PCB chairman Zaka Ashraf had stated, “We have yet to take a decision on the appointment of the new coaching staff. It is not my call to name a coach as I have appointed an expert team of former Test cricketers to decide. I have told them to find the best candidate.” Pakistan have been without a regular coach since Waqar Younis’ resignation this year following the Zimbabwean tour. The legendary fast bowler did a terrific job for his side and held

everyone together despite a lot of controversies in 2010. He left the team on a high note, whitewashing Zimbabwe in all three formats of the game. Since Waqar’s exit, Pakistan’s chief selector Mohsin Hasan Khan has been given charge of the team as an interim

coach. He has shown interest in becoming a regular, but the PCB wants an experienced person to handle the responsibility. This is why Whatmore seems to be the most ideal candidate to become the head coach of Pakistan. He is considered to be the mastermind behind Sri Lanka’s World Cup victory in 1996 and also took the challenge of working for Bangladesh, team which beat India in the group stages of the ICC World Cup in 2007. However, the 57-year-old did not coach any international side after that and is currently associated with the Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR). Other than Whatmore, the cricket authorities in Pakistan are also looking to hire a foreign fielding coach. Julian Fountain is the likely candidate for that role and has been involved with the Men in Green in the past as well in 2001 and 2007. If he comes to an agreement with the PCB, he will join the team during the Pak-Eng series in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Aqeel Khan win UBL tennis title KARACHI sTAff RePoRT

Aqeel Khan won the men’s finals of the UBL International Hard Court Tennis Championship at the Karachi Gymkhana courts beating Mohammad Abid Mushtaq. This added to his previous victories in the Tournament as he has triple-crown: men’s singles, men’s doubles and mixed doubles. Present on the occasion were President UBL Atif R. Bokhari besides other senior management. The guest of honor was Aisam-Ul Haq Qureshi with his newly wedded wife Faha Akmal. President UBL Atif Bokhari and Aisam Ul Haq gave trophies to the winners of the week long event and the highlight of the day was the exhibition match played by Aisam UI Haq. Speaking on the occasion, President UBL Atif Bokhari said: “UBL is proud to promote the game of tennis in Pakistan which has so far not seen the right projection. We hope to make this an annual affair.” The championship received a lot of attention with 250 entries coming for the events played included men’s singles, men’s doubles, ladies single, mixed doubles, veterans above 45, junior under 18 and boys under 14. The tournament was also played by players from Sri Lanka. The visiting Sri Lankan team comprised of five players who participated in the event. Co-sponsors of the event were Candyland, Dairy Fresh and Q Mobile.

KArACHi: Aisam-Ul Haq Qureshi and his wife faha Akmal watch the final. PR

POA plans to hold Asian Beach, Youth Games LAHORe sTAff RePoRT

The Pakistan Olympics Association general council will constitute a sports commission on holding of the Asian Beach and Youth Games in Pakistan. Addressing a press conference here at a local hotel, Lt Gen (retd) Arif Hasan said that the commission will be headed by Aqil Shah. Giving some details of the Saturday’s meeting, Arif said that after going through the details of the last meeting, the Pakistan team’s participation in 4th Commonwealth Youth Games held at Isle in September and the 1st South Asian Beach games held at Sri Lanka in October and generally speaking the performance of the team was okay. Arif, however, did not use the word satisfactory so for everyone present in the general council meeting the Pakistan team’s participation was just ‘ok’. Then came the consideration and approval of Pakistan’ participation in the 3rd Asian Beach Games in China in June 2012 and the 30th Olympics in London. “Hockey is the only sport that has qualified for the London Olympics while Pakistan’s participation on wild card in athletics, swimming and shooting etc are yet to be finalised by the International Olympics Committee,” he main-

tained. An interesting thing to note here is that despite ardent efforts as claimed by several sports federations, Pakistan is still fancying wild card entries. Even the POA, at least eight years old, has failed to get the best out of stakeholders. Over the years what the Pakistan sports has seen is rapid decline in every field and sports are no exception. Arif also mentioned the formation of the POA Code of Ethics in line with the IOC principles. “Shaukat Javed had been working on to formulate the codes but the final approval will be given by the general body. We would first send the Ethics to the IOC for their suggestions and then put it before the general

council for decision,” he maintained. “Then we have a marketing plan and the development of a new website is underway to get sponsorship with a plan in which the federations and the POA will work together to get the money required for the uplift and betterment of sports,” he added. He also announced his plan of shifting the POA office from Temple Road Lahore while the website would have the comprehensive sports calendar including the national, provincial and other games. He also an-

nounced a plan to hold games of different sports at national level first and then at the Asian level. “Aqil Shah as the head of the Sports Commission will coordinate will all the stake holders and also tie up with the federal and as well the Sindh government to give the details of the holding the Beach Games at least at the Asia level and plan out the initiation of the Youth Indoor Games. We want to give more emphasis on youth and first hold an event at national level and then move on at the Asian level,” he maintained. He further said that they also plan to hold the Women Games. “We have been participating in 50 percent international events as compared to other countries and the Sports Commission will work on infrastructure and other facilities taking lead from KPK which sanctioned Rs two billion for sports in the province. On a question on the POA elections, Arif said that he was one of the candidates and democratic process will be followed with the general council being the sole authority on decision making. He further hinted at the holding of the Inter-provincial Games’ cut off date by the end of the year and added that decision would be finalsied with the consent of the host province while the National Games will be held in time.


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Sunday, 25 December, 2011

Rumour-mongering to end in March: PM g

Prime minister reciprocates CoAS’s support to democratic process g says Gen Kayani’s statement ‘extremely well taken in the democratic circles’ ISLAMABAD

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UMOUR-mongering will end in March next year, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani said on Saturday, as a source told Pakistan Today that the PPP leadership was expected to announce early polls after the Senate elections in March. Meanwhile, tempers if not lowered, did not further rise as Gilani reciprocated Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Ashfaq Kayani’s support to the democratic process, saying the statement was “extremely well taken in the democratic circles”. The prime minister made these remarks while talking to reporters after addressing a function held in connection with Christmas celebrations in Fatima Church. The COAS had on Friday dismissed rumours of a military takeover as false. “The clarification [from the COAS on Friday] is extremely well taken in the democratic circles,” Gilani said, adding that it would “definitely improve the situation”. Asked whether any action would be taken against the defence secretary, Gilani said, “No one would be replaced unheard.” Responding to another question about his outburst on Thursday, Gilani said, “Golden words are never repeated.” Asked to comment on PML-N leader Javed Hashmi’s joining the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf, he said, “I wish Javed Hashmi well.” However, Gilani taunted Imran Khan by saying that Khan should give some tips to the government so it could use them to change the destiny of the people. Asked whether the rift between the civil-

ian and military leadership would have a negative impact on the country’s stance on the NATO attack, Gilani said one statement should not be taken as a standoff. “You are stuck on one statement while we have been fighting shoulder-to-shoulder on all issues, including terrorism, Pakistan-US relations and Kashmir. During this period, we tried to remain on the same page,” Gilani said. He said following the NATO attack on Pakistani posts, the Defence Committee of the Cabinet (DCC) had taken unanimous decisions on suspension of supplies to NATO, boycott of Bonn conference, evacuation of Shamsi airbase and new terms of engagement despite reservations on some issues. “Including new terms of engagement, all decisions will be made in parliament,” he said, adding that “we will not do anything and would not keep things hidden from people and whatever is to be done will come in the open”. The prime minister said the Parliamentary Committee on National Security would give recommendations on the future course of engagements with the NATO-ISAF and the US. To queries on gas and power load shedding and public protests, Gilani said there was no question of load management when there was a deficiency of gas in the country. To another question, he said the 18th Amendment was passed through parliament after thorough discussion and debate, adding that the PPP government was taking care of the needs of the minorities and it was doing more than was being done anywhere in the world. “The Ministry of National Harmony will take care of the issues of minorities,” he said.

Suicide bomber kills six fC men in Bannu PeSHAwAR sTAff RePoRT

At least six security personnel were killed and 17 others injured in a suicide attack on a Frontier Corps camp along the KohatPeshawar Road in Bannu district on Saturday. As a result, various portions of the camp and adjacent houses and buildings were destroyed. Officials said the suicide bomber drove an explosives-laden vehicle into the rear wall of the Tauchi Scouts (FC) camp when the occupants were busy in offering morning prayers.Soon after the attack, heavy contingents of Frontier Corps rushed to and cordoned off the site. They shifted the bodies and the injured to the Bannu Combined Military Hospital.The officials have so far confirmed seven casualties, but locals said rescue activities were in progress and the toll could rise. Meanwhile, a soldier of the security forces was killed and several others injured when militants attacked a checkpost in Kata Saray area of Central Kurram. Officials said four militants were shot dead in retaliatory action. Two people were killed and six others injured when a passenger van hit a land mine near Hangu.

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Won’t allow parliament, judiciary to be ruined: nawaz PML-N president says it would have been nice had Hashmi said goodbye before leaving party

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Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz President Nawaz Sharif on Saturday said he would not allow anyone to destroy the judiciary, the constitution, law or parliament. Addressing students at University of Engineering and Technology Lahore, Nawaz asked the government to give more attention to the difficulties facing the common man and to the development of the country. He said he had never surrendered to anyone and had always talked about what was in the interest of the country. He asked the students to pledge that they would live with honour and respect. He said despite strong opposition, he had decided to carry out nuclear tests because he wanted a sovereign and independent Pakistan.

Published by Arif Nizami for Nawa Media Corporation (Pvt) Ltd. Printed by Ghulam Akbar, AA & NHT Group, Plot 24, Shalimar Road, Lilly Market, Soan Garden, Islamabad.

He said his government was working for Pakistan’s economic development when overthrown by a dictator. “The country was doing well during the PML-N’s time, we were better than many other countries… now Pakistan’s growth rate is 2 percent while India stands on mighty 7,” he said. GoodbyE: Talking about Javed Hashmi after his decision to leave the PML-N, Nawaz praised Hashmi for his services to Pakistan and the party. He said Hashmi had run the party very well in his absence, adding however that “it would have been good if Hashmi had said goodbye before leaving”. Nawaz wished him well in the future. Later, Nawaz applauded Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif on his efforts in looking after the province. Nawaz said special loans would be given to students to start their own businesses.


E-paper PakistanToday ISB 25th December, 2011