KHI 23-12-2011_Layout 1 12/23/2011 1:56 AM Page 1
Pakistan is safe on economic front, says Dr Sheikh
A third of South Asians made to pay bribes: survey
Rulers raising hue and cry to blackmail Supreme Court: Imran
PROFIT | PAGE 01
rs15.00 vol ii no 176 22 pages Karachi edition
Friday, 23 december, 2011 muharram-ul-haram 27, 1433
‘i’M the boss’
There can be no state within a state: PM g
HE differences between the army and the government appeared to have reached a point of confrontation and alarm bells started ringing in the corridors of power as the normally soft-spoken and reconciliatory-in-approach Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani finally lost control over his patience on Thursday and hit out hard at the military establishment while asserting his authority as the chief executive of the
Gilani asserts his position as country’s top authority, tells military and ISI to fall in line Says conspiracies being hatched to send democratically elected govt packing
country, with a message to all that no one should be mistaken that state institutions were answerable to him. He started his day addressing as chief guest an exhibition of rare photographs of the Pakistan movement to mark the birth anniversary of Quaide-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah and instead of speaking on the subject, he made a fully-loaded extempore political speech to build his case as the head of a political government against Continued on page 23
‘n’, anp against undemoCratiC move | page 03
US enquiry does not satisfy military ISLAMABAD SHAIQ HUSSAIN
ISLAMABAD: Former ambassador to US Husain Haqqani is escorted out of the Supreme Court by security personnel after a meeting with his lawyer Asma Jehangir on Thursday. afp
If president wants immunity he has to claim it: SC ISLAMABAD MASOOD REHMAN
On the question of constitutional immunity to President Asif Ali Zardari, the Supreme Court made it clear on Thursday that immunity to anyone did not apply automatically as it ruled in clear terms that in order to benefit from this constitutional provision, the court had to be asked for it. “In a case wherein a high personality is involved, but claims to have constitutional immunity for submitting replies to the court, there is a legal principle which says that the court has to be asked for it,” Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry told Attorney General Maulvi Anwarul Haq during the hearing of the memo case. A nine-
member larger bench headed by Chaudhry is hearing the petitions. The chief justice had previously hinted on many occasions that immunity to the president under Article 248 of the constitution was still an undecided issue and anyone seeking it would have to come to the Supreme Court for a judgement. As the court continued proceedings into the memo case, a hapless Attorney General Maulvi Anwarul Haq told the bench that despite repeated attempts, he could not Continued on page 23
memogate: who says what | page 04 army wants zardari out but no Coup | page 24
Pakistan Army rejected on Thursday the findings of a US enquiry into the NATO air strikes against two border outposts in Momhand Agency in which 24 Pakistani soldiers were killed. In a late night response to the US military enquiry’s findings, which were announced earlier in the day by the US Defence Department, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said: “Pakistan Army does not agree with the findings of the US/NATO enquiry as being reported in the media.” “The enquiry report is short on facts. Detailed response will be given as and when the formal report is received,” it said in a brief statement. Earlier, the army had refrained from formally reacting to investigation’s findings. The US enquiry report states that both sides were to blame after a chain of misunderstandings led to a tragic result. Continued on page 23
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02 News Today’s
friday, 23 December, 2011
ARtS & EntERtAInMEnt
Sui Gas office stormed by angry citizens
Baghdad blasts kill 63 as political tensions rise
Veena akin to Saddam, Gaddafi, Laden: Rakhi
oStory on Page 10
Story on Page 14
Story on Page 16
Awan’s statements reflect PPP’s stance, Gilani tells SC ISLAMABAD STAFF REPORT
Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani on Thursday submitted with the Supreme Court that Babar Awan’s press conference held on December 1 was the stance of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP). The Attorney General of Pakistan the submitted reply on behalf of the prime minister on the Supreme Court’s direction regarding the government’s stance on Awan’s press conference in which he stated that “The prime minister has highest regards for the honourable judiciary and has been striving throughout his political life for independence of the judiciary. The first step performed by him as prime minister was to order the release of detained honourable judges and thereafter to restore them.” The statement said the prime minister was of the view that in the press conference, the stance of the party was expressed in historical perspective and was not at all intended to ridicule the judiciary. “The prime minister has instructed me to assure the court that his government believes in supremacy of constitution and rule of law and will always stand firmly for the same,” the attorney general said in the statement. The SC on December 19 had taken notice of a press conference held by former law minister Babar Awan on December 1 after the its order to form a one-member commission to probe the memo scandal.
Small electricity consumers spared fuel charges
Rulers raising hue and cry to blackmail SC: Imran
Domestic consumers using more than 350 units in a month, and industries to continue paying fuel adjustment duty g
LAHORE STAFF REPORT
HE Lahore High Court on Monday abolished the fuel adjustment duty for small consumers of electricity using up to 350 units in a month, and permitted the Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) to get fuel adjustment charges from industrial consumers, while vacating the stay order which was earlier granted on the matter. Justice Muhammad Khalid Mehmood Khan passed the order on about 700 identical petitions by domestic and industrial consumers against the fuel adjustment charges being added in the monthly electricity bills by WAPDA and its subsidiary bodies such as the Pakistan Electric Power Company (PEPCO) and the Lahore Electric Supply Company (LESCO). According to the order, only those domestic consumers using more than 350 units in a month will
have to bear the burden of fuel adjustment charges. On the other hand, there will be no relaxation for the industrial sector in the billing. Now that the court’s order has come, the industrial consumers who did not pay the fuel charges in the last few months due to the stay order by the LHC, will have to pay all the pending fuel adjustment charges to WAPDA. Khwaja Abdur Rahim, the counsel for WAPDA, justified the fuel adjustments charges to meet the electricity cost. While the petitioners’ counsel, Mian Mehmoodur Rasheed gave arguments against the fuel adjustment duty which, he asserted, was unlawfully imposed in the current bills as it was implemented from backdates to collect the fuel charges of the past months. About domestic consumers, he said the poor and middle class people were under great stress due to additional charge being added in the bills by WAPDA and that they were unable to pay the inflated bills due to general price hike
already affecting them badly. Initially, the court had restrained WAPDA from receiving fuel adjustment charges on a petition filed by Gulshan Spinning Mills and other industrial units against WAPDA and others, challenging the recovery of fuel adjustment charges for the past months by retrospective billing. However the court on Thursday vacated the stay and allowed WAPDA to collect the charges from industrial consumers while giving relief to small domestic consumers by fixing a limit for starting fuel charges. The petitioners for industrial units said they had paid electricity bills for the months of April and May, but respondents, including WAPDA, acting retrospectively added 20 percent amount as fuel adjustment charges for the months of April and May in the bill of October. The petitioners contended that the bills for the past months (April, May) had been paid, and that it had become a close and past transaction.
MULTAN: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan on Thursday accused the federal government of blackmailing the Supreme Court (SC) on the memogate scandal. He was talking to journalists at the residence of Murid Hussain Qureshi, brother of Shah Mehmood Qureshi on the occasion of his joining the PTI. Imran said that the rulers also staged a drama when the SC took the NRO issue. The PTI chairman said, “I ask the president and PM that what they have done and what change they have brought during the last four years”. ONLINE
Mukhtar peeved about his ministry’s reply in memo case ISLAMABAD: As the memo controversy is getting more perplexed with every passing moment and the prime minister’s emotional outbursts of Thursday have virtually pitched the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) government against the army, Defence Minister Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar has sought an explanation from Defence Secretary Lt General (r) Naeem Khalid Lodhi over the Defence Ministry’s reply submitted to the Supreme Court in the memo case. A reliable source told Pakistan Today that Mukhtar was angry over the reply sent by the secretary in which the ministry told the apex court that it had no control over army and intelligence operations. “Ahmed Mukhtar has asked the defence secretary to explain that with whose permission and approval he submitted such a reply to the apex court,” the source said, adding that the top government functionaries were of the view that the reply submitted by the defence secretary was not in line with the government’s policy vis-à-vis handling the memo case in the superior judiciary. The defence secretary had stated in his reply that the ministry had no control over operations of the army and Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and prayed that it should not be made answerable with regards to statements of Husain Haqqani and Mansoor Ijaz. The ministry had stated further that it was not in a position to submit any explanation of the reply on the army and ISI’s behalf. STAFF REPORT
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friday, 23 December, 2011
Pakistan come from behind to stun China
Déjà vu: The government in trouble.
ECP in the limelight: Be prepared for the elections.
Ejaz Haider says: Personal to the political: Defending Omar Waraich against the ISPR
Agha Akbar says: The real powers: Nobody should have a doubt as to who’s running the place.
Umair Javed says: On dynastic politics: Rural modes of rationality are no less rational than their urban
Story on Page 18
Articles on Page 12-13
SC moved to place Zardari’s name on ECL ISLAMABAD STAFF REPORT
A constitutional petition was filed with the Supreme Court on Thursday seeking the placement of President Asif Ali Zardari’s name on the Exit Control List (ECL).The petition was filed by former senator Azam Swati through his counsel Tariq Asad under Article 184(3), making the federation through the secretary of foreign affairs and Interior, President Asif Ali Zardari, Hussain Haqqani, Salman Farooqui, Mansoor Ijaz, chief of army staff through the military secretary and InterServices Intelligence director general respondents in the case. The petitioner submitted that it was reported by the New York Times quoting some Pakistani and Western officials last week that “President Asif Ali Zardari’s return to Pakistan from Dubai could be just a cameo appearance before his wife and former prime minister Benazir Bhutto’s death anniversary on December 27, 2011 and after that he would probably leave for a long convalescence in London or Dubai, he would probably leave for a long, perhaps permanent convalescence in London or Dubai”. He contended that the news had been reported by all newspapers of Pakistan. Being the head of the state, Zardari’s presence in Pakistan in the circumstances mentioned in the accompanying petition is very important, the petition prays. The petitioner submitted that the matter of memo scandal was very serious and the sovereignty of state was in grave danger. He said President Asif Ali Zardari was sick; his life was very precious for the nation, hence he needed rest and he could get the best treatment in Pakistan and if need be, a team of medical specialists may be called to Pakistan and the expenses so borne should not be more than the amount allotted for his foreign tours for the year 2012. The petitioner said Zardari’s presence was very important in the memo issue, as well as for the welfare of the state. He prayed that the name of Asif Ali Zardari, be placed on Exit Control List until a final adjudication of the case or a direction be issued in the form of Hussain Haqqani’s order so that he may not leave Pakistan without the permission of the court. The petitioner further prayed to call for the whole record of cell phones calls, SMS and BBM of all the responsible officials, particularly Salman Farooqui, Farahatullah Babar and Hussain Haqqani and constitute a high level commission of at least three persons of high repute and integrity to investigate the memo case sent. He further submitted that from the facts and laws, it transpired that executives/rulers had signed some secret deal over the integrity, security and sovereignty of the country in lieu of their personal gains. He further requested the court to direct the respondents to restrict the movements of Americans and all diplomats within diplomatic areas.
RAWALPINDI: Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani meets soldiers during a visit to the Kurram and Mohmand agencies on Thursday. OnLIne
‘N’, ANP against any undemocratic move g
Coalition members remain tightlipped ISLAMABAD MIAN ABRAR
S Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani finished his fiery speech in the National Assembly on Thursday, the Awami National Party’s Federal Railways Minister Ghulam Ahmed Bilour and National Assembly Opposition Leader Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan announced their parties’ support for the views expressed by Gilani, saying that both parties would oppose any undemocratic move against the elected government and parliament. However, interestingly, no member from other coalition partners such as the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PMLQ), Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), FATA or other smaller groups extended their support to the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP)-led government.
Speaking on a point of order, Bilour said his party fully supported the views of Gilani as parliament, judiciary, executive, and the media were four pillars of the democratic system. He said parliament was sovereign and was not answerable to any institution and all institutions were answerable to parliament. Reportedly, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan – who belongs to the PML-Nawaz (PML-N) – had already given his party’s assurance of support to Prime Minister Gilani on Wednesday during his quiet meeting with the premier at his chambers at Parliament House and both leaders had agreed to question the presence of Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad to make the government’s case strong. Speaking on a point of order, Nisar also assured that his party would not support any undemocratic step against the government. “Had we any intention to send the
democratic setup packing, we would have done that some three years back when Asif Ali Zardari had breached his promises made with the establishment and my party that he would not become president,” he said. The PML-N had categorically opposed any possibility of martial law in the country, he added. Nisar said further that the Defence Ministry’s statement that operational matters of the army and Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) did not fall under its ambit was frightening. “If both institutions are not under the Defence Ministry, whom do they fall under?” he asked. He said this situation should have been averted. He also criticised the prime minister for making illogical statements, advising the premier not to use the words ‘martial law’. He also criticised the government for not pressing for its writ on the security establishment, stating that when the ISI chief
President signs two women’s rights bills into law ISLAMABAD STAFF REPORT
On his first working day after suffering from an ailment that took him to Dubai for treatment, President Asif Ali Zardari on Thursday gave assent to two bills aimed at provisions for enhanced punishment to several offences against women. The first bill was the Criminal Law (Third Amendment) Bill of 2011, which was passed by the National Assembly on November 15 and by the Senate on De-
cember 12. Presidential Spokesman Farhatullah Babar said in a statement that the president signed both bills to coincide with the National Day for Working Women to highlight the government’s commitment to protecting women from abuse by raising the bar for crimes against them. While signing the bills, the president said that in line with the vision of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, the government would continue to empower women and the signing of the
bills into law was a manifestation of this policy. He said the signing of the new laws was an auspicious occasion as December 22 marked the National Working Women’s Day. The new law seeks to punish offences against women such as giving them in marriage in ‘Badal-e-sulah’, wanni or swara, depriving them from inheritance, forced marriage and marriage to the Holy Quran. A new chapter (XXA) containing three clauses has also been inserted in the code seeking to prohibit three of-
fences against women. The offences punishable with various terms of imprisonment and fine include depriving women from inheriting property, forced marriage and marriage to the Holy Quran. The presidential spokesman said the other bill that the president assented to was the Criminal Law (Second Amendment) Bill of 2011. This bill, he said, sought to provide punishment of 14 years to life imprisonment for crimes of disfiguring and defacing of human organs or body by a corrosive substance.
was summoned to the joint session of parliament after the US raid on Osama bin Laden’s hideout, the authoritative language of the army officer suggested that he had summoned the joint session to answer his queries, rather than the fact that parliament had summoned him to be answerable. He said such behaviour by the government had made the army officers think that they were above the law. “The words ‘martial law’ are a stigma to this country, our people, society and democratic system. We would not accept any undemocratic move. We have never sided with any general nor did we conspire against the government. Despite breach of accords by President Zardari, we did not become a part of any conspiracy against the government,” he added. He said since signing the Charter of Democracy, his party was firm in its commitment.
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friday, 23 December, 2011
Memogate: who says what Haqqani wants record of Pasha’s meeting with Mansoor ISLAMABAD
Memo not proper subject of proceedings under Article 184: Akbar
Pasha demands probe as deemed fit by court
Former ambassador to the US Husain Haqqani on Thursday denied authoring or authorising the controversial memo in his affidavit submitted with the Supreme Court. In his counter affidavit to DG ISI Ahmed Shuja Pasha’s affidavit, Haqqani sought the record of the meeting between Pasha and Mansoor Ijaz, saying the record of the said meeting and contents would be crucial for further investigation and to determine the motivation of this highly publicised controversy. In response to paragraph nine of the ISI DG’s affidavit in which Lt General Pasha said the memo issue must be enquired into in a manner best judged by the SC, Haqqani said that the deponent agreed that all such enquiries or investigations must be carried out strictly in accordance with the law and in accordance with due process. Replying to paragraph 3 of ISI DG’s affidavit in which Pasha gives details of his meeting with Mansoor Ijaz in London, Haqqani said the ready agreement of Mansoor Ijaz (who was previously blatantly criticised the ISI) was highly suspicious and his conditions of meeting the ISI DG equally mysterious. Haqqani said “according to Mansoor Ijaz himself, the so-called toppling of a democratic government was information that he passed on to me in an alleged blackberry message and I ignored it”. He said it was worthwhile to discover the investigation on this issue by the ISI DG, including investigation of other damaging articles written by Mansoor Ijaz.
Memo probe does not fall within scope of Article 184: Sethi
ISLAMABAD STAFF REPORT
Cabinet Secretary Nargis Sethi has said in her affidavit that the matter of probe into memo case was “not a proper subject matter of proceedings within the meaning and scope
of Article 184 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan”. She said the federal government, as well as the presidency, had already issued denial of the contents of the said article published on October 10, 2011 and it was a stance of the federation that the federal government (including the constitutional head of the state, constitutional chief executive of the country or any other component of the federal government) had neither conceptualised or initiated or in any manner anything to do with the alleged memo or the allegations or views expressed therein. “It is submitted that without prejudice to the foregoing submission, appropriate steps had already been taken by the competent authorities both on the executive side as well as the parliamentary forum,” she added. She said the parliamentary committee on national security had taken cognisance of the matter and was seized of the matter. She added that it was needless to state that the said committee was fully empowered to not only probe into the matter and record evidence, but also to ensure production of such evidence as it deemed necessary.
pTCL cuts off Railways’ connections LAHORE NASIR BUTT
After disconnections of electricity and gas facilities to several railway stations and residential colonies due to non-payment of outstanding dues, the Pakistan Telecommunication Corporation Limited (PTCL) on Thursday followed suit and suspended the outgoing call facility to Pakistan Railways (PR) Headquarters and the Lahore Division offices. The PTCL is demanding
clearance of pending bills of over Rs 1 million. After the suspension of calling facility, the PR head office and all Lahore Division offices have lost contact with the rest of the country. The outgoing call facility has also been withdrawn from the telephone lines used by the PR general manager (operations). When contacted, PR Public Relations Director Abdul Hameed Razi said the outstanding bills would be cleared by the next week.
However, he added that the suspension of the outgoing call facility had not affected train operations, as the PR had its own system for rail operation communication based on hotline and waves. He hoped that the calling facility would soon be restored at PR offices. Other PR officers also appeared relaxed even after the PTCL action. According to one officer, it had become a routine matter as outstanding dues would be cleared as was the case with electricity disconnection.
ISLAMABAD STAFF REPORT
Interior Secretary Khawaja Siddique Akbar has challenged the maintainability of the constitutional petition filed by PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif and others seeking probe into the memo issue, saying the said matter prima facie was not a proper subject matter of proceedings within the meaning and scope of Article 184. According to the affidavit submitted on Thursday, the secretary, while challenging the maintainability of the petition, said the parliamentary committee on national security has had taken cognisance and was seized of the matter. The secretary also mentioned in the affidavit the article published in Independent on December 13, 2011 saying that “With reference to the same source (Mr Mansoor Ijaz, Respondent), the daily Independent, UK on December 13, 2011 carried a story titled, “Pakistan’s Memogate”: was there ever going to be a coup?” He also attached a copy of the article with the affidavit. He further stated that the federal government, as well as the presidency had already issued denial of the contents of the article written by Mansoor Ijaz. Presenting the stance of the federation, he said the federal government (including the constitutional head of the state, the constitutional chief executive of the country or any other component of the federal government) had neither conceptualized nor initiated or in any manner had anything to do with the alleged memo or the allegations or views expressed in the article. He further stated that without prejudice to the foregoing submission, the competent authorities have already taken appropriate steps both on the executive side as well as the parliamentary forum. Referring to the cognizance taken by the parliamentary committee of the issue, the secretary said all the committees of parliament were a creation of the rules framed under the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan, 1973. He submitted all democratically elected political parties were represented in the said committee and it was, therefore, essential that the said committee should proceed with the probe to determine the issue and give its recommendations so that parliament, which had supremacy under the constitution as a representative body of the people of Pakistan, may consider and take appropriate actions and steps, if need be.
ISLAMABAD STAFF REPORT
In his affidavit submitted in the Supreme Court on Thursday, ISI Director General Lt Gen Ahmad Shuja Pasha reiterated his stance that the memo issue must be enquired into a manner best judged by the Supreme Court. He said a piece published in the Financial Times on October 10, 2011, in which Mansoor Ijaz criticised the role of the ISI and suggested some actions against it, were baseless and unfounded. He said the piece said that a senior Pakistani official had been attempting to pass on a message to senior US leaders, indicating imminence of a military takeover in Pakistan. Pasha said no one could write such a piece so blatantly unless he had some evidence to support his assertions, “thus I tasked my sources to know about Mansoor Ijaz and find out if he would agree to share the information about the purported memorandum”. “It was confirmed to me by my sources that Mansoor Ijaz was ready to share the information but only with the ISI director general and also not in US or Pakistan”. Therefore, the meeting took place in London on October 22. He said Mansoor Ijaz briefed “me that our ambassador in Washington had gotten in touch with him and remained in communication about the contents and delivery of memo to the relevant US authorities”. He said Ijaz also showed him the proof of a large number of
messages sent through BlackBerry that had been exchanged between Haqqani and him regarding the document, which later came to be known as the memorandum. He said Ijaz explained to me in fair amount of details about the circumstances leading to the drafting of the memo and why it was delivered through him. “I told him that I could not believe him unless I saw his BlackBerry and computer myself to form an opinion that the messages were really exchanged between the two individuals.” “Having seen these means of communication used, I was satisfied that he had enough corroborative material to prove his version of the incident,” Pasha said. He said Ijaz insisted that he would present the details of the evidence himself before a commission or a court of law, if asked to do so. “I left London the next evening and reported my findings verbally to the chief of army staff,” he said. “I met the president on November 18 when this matter also came under discussion and I briefed him on what, according to my assessment, the facts were. I also suggested to him that the issue pertained to national security and should not be taken lightly”, the affidavit said. Pasha said he suggested the president ask the ambassador in Washington to verify or contradict the matter. He contradicted the allegations appeared in an article published in the Independent on December 13, which suggested that the ISI chief visited middle eastern countries to muster support for toppling the government. MANSOOR IJAZ’S AFFIDAVIT: In his affidavit, Mansoor Ijaz said he was willing to come to Pakistan and appear in front of the court to prove what he had said. He said he was willing to submit his electronic devices for forensic examination to competent, independent and unbiased examiners with the requisite knowledge and professional licences to conduct such examinations. He said he was willing to permit access required by a court-appointed investigator. “Haqqani told me on several occasions during the day-long communications we had on May 9, 2011 and May 10, 2011 that he had the ‘approval of the boss’,” Ijaz said.
Let parliamentary committee probe ‘memogate’: Bashir ISLAMABAD: Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir has submitted before the Supreme Court that the parliamentary committee on national security shall proceed with the probe into the “memogate” and come up with its recommendations so that parliament could take the necessary steps and actions. In his affidavit, the country’s top diplomat said appropriate steps had already been taken both on the executive side and the parliamentary forum to settle the memo issue. “That it is matter of record that the former ambassador of Pakistan to US has put in resignation on the call of the chief executive and its acceptance has been notified. The parliamentary committee on national security has taken cognizance and is seized of the matter,” the foreign secretary said. He said that it was needless to state that the said committee was fully empowered not only to probe into the matter and record evidence, but also to ensure production of such evidence “as it deems necessary and for this purpose all the powers of the civil court are available to the committee”. The foreign secretary contended that the government had already given directions to all concerned to assist the committee in any manner it deemed fit and proper. “It is, therefore, essential that the committee should proceed with the probe to determine the issue and give its recommendations so that the parliament which has supremacy under the constitution may consider and take appropriate actions and steps, if need be,” he said. He said it was a firm belief and resolve of the present government to safeguard, defend and protect the national integrity and sovereignty on all fronts and that resolve was manifested through the sacrifices made by the coalition partners in the government, including the ultimate sacrifice of Benazir Bhutto. STAFF REPORT
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friday, 23 December, 2011
feudal alert! Shah Mahmood’s coming to woo you Imran Khan et al arrive in city 06 SIndh aSSembLy SeSSIOn
Stop conversions to CNG now, demand lawmakers ■ House passes unanimous resolution calling for action against conversion of public transport vehicles to CnG; sale of expired and substandard gas kits KARACHI
HE Sindh Assembly on Thursday unanimously demanded the government to take action against conversion of public transport vehicles from fuel to CNG and sale of expired and substandard gas kits for vehicles in the market. The demand was made through a resolution moved by Pakistan Muslim League-Functional member Nusrat Saher Abbasi. It is pertinent to mention here that many lawmakers had earlier expressed concern over the recent incidents of gas cylinder blasts in public transport in a small town of Khairpur District and Gujranwala that have claimed several lives. The resolution stated: “This house resolves and recommends the Sindh government to approach the federal government to take exemplary action against conversion of public service vehicles from fuel to CNG, and sale of old and substandard CNG kits for vehicles which do not meet minimum quality control/safety parameters. Unauthorised
conversion became a major cause of explosion of CNG cylinders, claiming lives of several innocent persons.” The house deferred another resolution demanding imposition of ban under Section 144 on installation of CNG kits in public transport over the apprehension that transporters would stop their vehicles and commuters would suffer. Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM)’s member Bilquis Mukhtar had moved the resolution separately. Sindh Assembly Speaker Nisar Ahmed Khuhro, Senior Sindh Education and Literacy Minister Pir Mazharul Haq, Sindh Transport Minister Akhtar Jadoon and others had advised the member to postpone presenting the resolution. Khuhro told the MQM’s member that Interior Minister Rehman Malik has already taken notice of the situation, and Hydrocarbon Development Institute of Pakistan has given 10 days’ time to seek fitness certificates for public transport vehicles. He said the MQM member should wait for the outcome of the government’s measures, and her resolution could be passed later.
The house also passed a government bill for upgrading the Sindh Madrassatul Islam College to the status of university. The Sindh Madrassatul Islam University Bill-2011 was tabled by Haq. MQM’s Syed Sardar Ahmed welcomed the bill, and urged the government to ensure appointment of teachers on the basis of merit. The house also passed a resolution to mark the National Working Women’s Day. The resolution was moved by Sindh Women Development Minister Tauqeer Fatima Bhutto. Earlier, Sindh Food Minister Nawabzada Nadir Magsi informed the house that the provincial government would start fixing support prices of the agricultural produce, including wheat, in the coming year. During the question hour, the minister said under the 18th amendment, the fixing of support prices has been transferred to the provinces from the federal government. However, he added, the provincial government would fix support prices in consultation with other provinces so that the entire country is uniform in this regard.
pir pagara’s condition critical? KARACHI QAZI ASIF
The health of the Pakistan Muslim League-Functional (PML-F) chief and the spiritual leader of Hurs, Pir Pagara, has deteriorated and is very critical as he is treated at an intensive care unit of a private hospital in Karachi, Pakistan Today has learnt. Pagara was admitted to the hospital on November 24 due to some breathing problems. Sources told Pakistan Today that the condition of Pagara is critical and chances of his recovery are minimal. The hospital management has only said that Pagara’s condition is ‘critical’ but is not ready to divulge more details about his health on patient’s privacy, which the hospital is bound to follow. “Only the person who
brought Pir Pagara to the hospital and signed the admission card is allowed to visit the leader in the intensive care,” sourced said. “Even the relatives of Pagara are not being allowed inside.” “[Pagara] is on a ventilator,” the insiders said, but the private hospital did not confirm the state of the veteran politician. On December 4, President Asif Ali Zardari had appealed to his party workers to pray for the health of the PML-F chief, whose party is a coalition partner of the Pakistan People’s Party in the federal and provincial governments. During his recent visit to Karachi, Pakistan Muslim LeagueNawaz (PML-N) chief Nawaz Sharif also stated his desire to meet the spiritual leader of Hurs in the hospital, but he was not allowed to meet Pagara. Meanwhile, the PML-F is also not ready to tell anything about the health of Pagara.
SHC stays cutting of trees KARACHI APP
As the mercury dropped further on thursday, a group of boys sit around a bonfire, trying to keep themselves warm. OnLIne
A division bench of Sindh High Court (SHC) ordered status quo on Thursday in a petition against cutting of green trees along the Shahrah-e-Faisal. After initial hearing of the petition filed by Shakeel Ahmed, the SHC bench including Justice Maqbool Baqar and Justice Imam Bux Baloch issued notices to the respondents including Karachi Cantonment Executive Officer and Karachi Metropolitan Corporation for January 12, 2012 and ordered status quo. The petitioner had submitted that the respondents are cutting green trees planted along the main Shahrah-e-Faisal from Gora Qabaristan towards the main gate of Regent Plaza Hotel for advertising purposes and earning revenue at the expense of environment. He prayed that the court restrains the respondents from cutting the trees to maintain the environment in the area.
pnS mehRan aTTaCK
Third naval officer in court martial hearing KARACHI TARIQ HABIB
The court martial proceeding against the third serving officer of Pakistan Navy for alleged negligence in the Mehran naval base attack has been initiated while the hearings of two other officers have been completed, Pakistan Today has learnt. Reliable sources told Pakistan Today that Pakistan Navy had initiated court martial against its three serving officers for showing negligence, allowing terrorists to strike at the PNS Mehran. “Three officers are facing court martial including PNS
Mehran Commanding Officer Captain Israr, Naval Aviation Commander Commodore Raja Tahir and Mehran base Chief Security Officer Lieutenant Commander Abrar,” they said. “The tribunal started hearing the case of Commodore Tahir on Monday while the hearing of cases of other two officers, Israr and Abrar, has been completed,” the sources said. The navy has formed a fivemember tribunal, headed by a commodore, for hearing their cases. The court martial was recommended by a Pakistan Navy investigation board that was
formed a few days after the naval base attack. “It may take another month before the tribunal delivers the verdict of the court marshal proceedings,” the sources added. The officers under investigation have been questioned about their responsibilities and the lapse in the security system that allowed the attack on the Mehran base, the sources said. The investigation tribunal headed By Commander Tehseenullah had stated that due to the negligence of these three navy officers, the attack on the PNS Mehran was made possible. The sources also said the at-
tackers had come to the naval base from the side of Pakistan Air Force (PAF)’s Faisal Base. “But despite the passage of seven months, no investigation has been ordered by the air force authorities.” The Pakistan Navy is also trying to convince the air force officials to conduct an inquiry that will help them clear any confusion, the sources said. “As PNS Mehran is situated within the jurisdiction of PAF Faisal Base, some serving air force officers should also be held accountable for their negligence [in allowing the terrorists to infiltrate into the naval base].”
“However, since no investigation has been undertaken by the PAF high-ups, it is making
things difficult for the investigation tribunal,” the sources claimed.
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ImRan Khan eT aL aRRIVe In CITy
Feudal alert! Shah Mahmood’s coming to woo you ■ feudal class may wait until Senate elections on february 15 before deciding to join PPP, PtI or any other political party KARACHI
AKISTAN Tehreek-eInsaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan arrived in Karachi on Thursday, along with PTI Vice Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi, PTI Sindh President Naeemul Haq, and PTI central leaders Jehangir Tareen and Dr Arif Alvi. Talking to the media at the airport, Khan said his party’s public meeting in the metropolitan would be bigger than the one in Lahore, which would prove to be a milestone in the country’s politics. He said the people of Karachi would overcome the barriers of linguistic and sectarian politics on December 25, the day of PTI’s public gathering. “Pakistan’s future is connected with the PTI. The people of the country are looking towards our party for a change,” he added. He also said the party has decided to hold the public meeting in
front of the Quaid-e-Azam’s mausoleum, on the Shahrah-eQuaideen. FEUDAL CLASS: Qureshi is expected to meet with waderas and representatives of the elite of Sindh to woo them for bringing them into PTI’s fold. Some members of the province’s feudal class that are not a part of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) or the Pakistan Muslim Leagues-Nawaz, Functional or Quaid, headed by Sardar Ali Gauhar Maher of Ghotki District, have held meetings with those who are not happy with their parties and are looking for better opportunities. Some of them were preparing to join the PPP; however, following the memogate affair, they have changed their minds because they are unsure if the present government could survive as they do not want to go aboard a sinking ship. Another group has been mulling over joining the PTI, but it is uncertain of the possibility of the party’s
success in the future because many of the old politicians have been joining the PTI in Punjab. On the condition of anonymity, some members of the feudal class disclosed to Pakistan Today that they have received calls from “the powers that be” who have asked them to join the PTI and told them that “the party’s future would be decided later.” However, the feudal class of Sindh has not shown any signs that would suggest that it is prepared to take any sort of risk. According to sources, people of Sindh who are close to Qureshi have refused to join the PTI, and the only reason they had joined him on stage in Ghotki’s public meeting is because “he is our spiritual leader.” Those who had participated in the Ghotki meeting are not willing to participate in the Karachi meeting on Sunday. Sources said neither any major personality from the feudal class of Sindh would be attending PTI’s public meeting in Karachi nor would
anyone of them be making any announcements of joining the party. However, the sources added, if Qureshi were to approach the feudal class for joining the PTI, it would not refuse the proposal outright, but seek time for consultation. Someone from the inner circle of the feudal class said, “If they aren’t planning on joining the PTI, it does not mean that they are going to be a part of the PPP. They have decided to wait until February 15 to decide their political future.” The process of the Senate elections is scheduled to start on February 15, which would then decide the fate of President Asif Ali Zardari and the PPP government. Sources said if the PPP survives, the feudal class might join the Zardari-led party and not the PTI or any other political party. However, the sources added, if the elections deal the PPP government or Zardari an unfavourable hand, then the feudal class might join the PTI or any other political party.
‘Give us a chance, MQM will deliver’ ■ Altaf Hussain says MQM will not disappoint the people of southern Punjab KARACHI STAFF REPORT
Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) chief Altaf Hussain has asked the people of southern Punjab to test the MQM for once only, and they will not be disappointed. “The people of southern Punjab have been voting for various political parties for the past 64 years and none of them has resolved the problems of the oppressed people,” he said, while addressing a rally of MQM members, workers and sympathisers at the Sports Ground – the venue of MQM’s public gathering on December 23 in Multan. Hussain said the MQM does not only speak about empowering the people of the poor and middle class in the country, but it has practically demonstrated this by sending them into the corridors of power. “The MQM will free the 98 percent people from the shackles of the two percent privileged class and change the country according to the ideals of Quaid-i-Azam and Allama Iqbal.” The MQM chief said if the nation gives MQM an opportunity, its elected representatives would solve the problems being faced by poor people, students and the business community. He assured the people living in the Seraiki belt, Multan and Bahawalpur that only the MQM can give them their due rights. Hussain said the rally taken out by people living in Karachi’s affluent areas regarding the public meeting in Multan indicates that they are also with the MQM in its struggle.
A day after, CnG goes off again today ■ Gas stations in Sindh and Hub to remain closed for 24 hours from 9:00 am KARACHI STAFF REPORT
A large number of vehicles lines up at a CnG filling station near the Arts Council after resumption of supply to gas stations in the province. the CnG stations will shut down again for 24 hours, starting today from 9:00 am. OnLIne
After going off the pumps for the whole day on Wednesday, gas supply to the CNG stations in Sindh and Hub will again be shut down for 24 hours starting from 9:00 am today (Friday). In view of the continuing gas shortage due to increased winter load and in accordance with the recent Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) decision, the Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) has decided to suspend gas to the CNG stations from December 23 till Saturday 9:00 am. The decision to discontinue gas to the CNG stations on a periodic basis follows an extraordinarily low pressure situation that has badly affected overall gas supply in Sindh and Balochistan. A statement issued by the SSGC, it was stated that the gas company realises that as the customers face an adverse situation, the utility is taking all actions to ensure uninterrupted gas supply and a stable pressure.
Qaim reviews progress on development projects KARACHI STAFF REPORT
The provincial government has chalked out a special plan for redressing repair, renovation and development of the damaged infrastructure due to this year’s monsoon rains, said Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah on Thursday. He said this while presiding over a meeting held at the Chief Minister’s House to review the progress on various development schemes in the province. “Due to this year’s monsoon rains, the infrastructure was damaged but we have to rehabilitate the flood-affected areas for the facility of people,” the
chief minister said. He said the formalities regarding the release of funds under provincial government for development schemes have been simplified. “To complete the schemes within the stipulated time, the Planning and Development (P&D) and Finance departments have been directed to immediately release the required funds against the development schemes approved,” he added. “We have to provide relief to the people and the basic needs of masses are to be fulfilled at the earliest,” Shah said. Stressing upon the deputy commissioners of the province, the chief minister said that as project directors,
the deputy commissioners should go ahead in initiating and completing the development schemes in their respective districts. “At present, the developmental projects are part of provincial Annual Development Programme,” he added. He maintained that President Asif Ali Zardari is interested in progress, development and prosperity of Pakistan and has said that full emphasis should be made on achieving prompt results. Speaking at the meeting, the provincial Finance secretary informed the participants that an amount of Rs 7.5 billion has been released to the districts in the province and the directives of the chief minister will be followed
strictly. It was decided at the meeting that Sindh chief secretary will hold immediate meetings with the deputy commissioners for removal of hindrances in the development schemes, if any and the chief minister may also hold video conferencing with deputy commissioners on Friday (today). The meeting was also attended by Sindh Finance Minister Murad Ali Shah, Chief Secretary Raja Muhammad Abbas, P&D Additional Chief Secretary Israr Malik, Finance Secretary Naveed Kamran Baloch and Secretary to Chief Minister Dr Atta Muhammad Panhwar among other officers of the Finance and P&D departments.
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‘Wake up and take over! Before global warming does’ ■ Speakers at Climate Change Conference call on government to make policies to tackle impacts of climate change in the country KARACHI
HE need of the hour is to ensure policy planning and proper implementation to mitigate the adverse effects of climate change while pursuing an ambitious agenda to tackle climate change impacts on the country. This was observed at a day-long Climate Change Conference held on Thursday at the Makli Gymkhana in the coastal city of Thatta. The largest meeting of its kind in the coastal belt of Pakistan was organised by the Society for Conservation and Protection of Environment (SCOPE) in collaboration with Drynet Pakistan. The conference aimed at helping to mobilise a partnership on a national scale for implementation of a sustainable strategy on impacts of global warming. The conference on climate change delivered a breakthrough on the response of stakeholders to climate change and closed with the adoption of a number of demands that will strengthen global efforts to fight impacts of climate change. More than 150 participants at the meeting highlighted the continuous onslaughts of climate change in the form of recent cyclones, floods, heavy rains and flash floods that have affected millions of people along the coastal belt in Sindh. The conference was attended by a number of experts from civil society organisations, development sector
professionals, donor organisations, officials of government departments, UN organisations, research institutes and the media. The speakers at the conference were of the view that the poor and vulnerable people across Pakistan are facing grave challenges due to the disasters caused by global warming and that a result based strategy for climate change adaptation and preparedness must be formed and followed. Presenting the theme paper “Living with Climate Disaster: Impact of Climate Change Challenges and the Plight of the Poor, and adaptation strategies-with a Special Focus on coastal areas of Pakistan”, SCOPE Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Tanveer Arif said that climate change is expected to lead to worsening extreme weathers like heavy rainfalls, droughts, floods, air pollution and myriad of health problems. “The adverse effects of natural climate change factors should be mitigated that will reduce additional stress through climate change adaptation,” he added. Presenting ‘Impacts of Climate Change’, International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Dr Ghulam Qadir gave an account on the worldwide impact perspective, affirming that climate change is mainly anthropogenic (man made) and is one of the most serious threats humanity and environment have ever faced, which if not addressed will cause catastrophic effects to the planet’s ecosystems, biodiversity and infrastructure. Senior Adviser of Thardeep Rural Development Programme (TRDP), Zulfiqar Halepoto, was of the view that
civil society organisations have to play a greater role in advocacy and research on climate change impacts and disaster management in order to understand climate change affects and help prepare institutions and communities with the realistic coping mechanisms. “Preventive measures to reduce disaster risk are most effective when they involve participation at all levels, from the local community, through the provincial government, to the national, regional and international,” he added. Other speakers including World Wide Fund for Nature’s Nisar Panhwar, SDSC University-Jamshoro’s Prof Dr Pervez A Pathan and Sindh Coastal Authority’s Mustafa Sarwar Abbasi highlighted the loopholes in the policies and suggested many practical approaches to tackle with climate changes. The participants at the conference also took part in the discussion and the hosts issued a joint declaration of actions at the end, presented a set of demands for the government for meeting the desired results. The ‘Thatta Declaration’ on Climate Change Impacts and Adaptations in the Coastal Belt of Pakistan’ was finalised and adopted by the participants of the conference to be taken up by the government and all other institutions relevant in order to pave the way for adaptation of global warming strategy for the Sindh coastal areas. The conference participants also called for the provision of adequate financial, organisational and staff capacities to implement the recommendations contained in the declaration.
The Thatta Declaration Key demands: 1. Place greater focus on the capacities of the institutions linked to climate change, mitigating and adapting to the impacts of climate change, and improve integrating contributions into national and international climate strategies and policies. 2. Establish adequate legislative, administrative and institutional frameworks at national and/or provincial level for climate change adaptation, equip these with appropriate competences, and provide adequate funding and staff for the administration of related initiatives and their functions. 3. Ensure mainstreaming of disaster risk reduction. 4. Role and response of stakeholders in the natural disasters to be made public and an accountability mechanism ensured. 5. In view of floods, effectiveness of District Disaster Management Authorities (DDMAs) to be enhanced and compulsory training of departments ensured at district levels. 6. System for information and communication on health, education and productive and basic infrastructure at district levels should be strengthened. 7. Community-based approaches to disaster risk management should be addressed and strengthened. 8. Civil society organisations should integrate their programmes regarding climate change and strategise collectively. 9. Relevant organisations and individuals should form a multi-sector electronic “Network on Climate Change and Disaster” to strengthen debate, bridge communication gaps and combine efforts on climate change mitigation and adaptation.
nafees Siddiqui quits PPP
KARACHI STAFF REPORT
Motorists are stuck in a massive traffic jam near the Hotel Metropole. OnLIne
Senior leader of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), Nafees Siddiqui, quit the party on Thursday, citing the government’s failure in apprehending the murderers of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto despite being in power for almost four years now. Speaking at a press conference at his residence, Siddiqui said the people of the Sindh as well as the PPP workers are disappointed with the party’s performance in the government. “The party is neither following the mission of Benazir Bhutto nor have arrested the slain leader’s murderers,” he said. “It has lost the mandate of people and, therefore, it should go for fresh elections.” He said that he had not yet decided to form his own party or join any other, and will take a decision about his political future after consulting with his friends in the lawyers’ and journalists’ communities. For the past two years, Siddiqui has not been active in the PPP after the party’s leadership did not consider him for allotment of a Senate ticket.
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Troubled people turn to exorcism for help ■ Pakistanis are beset by many problems; the government offers little relief; many people think their suffering is inflicted by evil spirits and only Sufi saints can help
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girl in a long black shirt screams incoherently, banging her head against a wall at a Sufi shrine in Karachi. Sania Haneef’s family says she is possessed by a demon. Doctors could not help, so they brought the college student, kicking and screaming, to be exorcised by the spirit of a saint. The West mostly associates Pakistan with Taliban militants who force women to cover from head to toe, blow up girls’ schools and carry out suicide bombings. But Islam in the South Asian nation of 180 million is far more diverse. Many flock to shrines like the one where Haneef’s relatives seek solace in the Sufi strand of Islam abhorred by militants and considered more liberal in its philosophy than other branches followed by Shias and Sunnis. “Sania has been possessed since she was six years old,” her brother, Muhammad, said, describing how an evil spirit, known as a jinn, would speak through her in a man’s voice. “The shrine has captured the spirit. Sania will be cured soon. None of us is leaving until that happens.” Pakistanis are beset by problems – violence, crippling power cuts, poverty and dilapidated hospitals are
but a few. The government, seen as inept and corrupt, offers little relief. Many people think their suffering is inflicted by evil spirits intent on destroying marriage prospects, businesses and health, and that only Sufi saints can help. But that’s a risky belief in Pakistan. Militants, including al Qaedalinked Taliban, have over the years bombed Sufi shrines which they consider heretical. During an annual celebration this year at one in Dera Ghazi Khan, the Taliban dispatched suicide bombers who killed 41 people. A double suicide bombing in 2010 at Pakistan’s most important Sufi shrine, in Lahore, killed about 42 people. But fears of possession, and life’s many challenges, keep driving people back to the shrines. Sufism is a mystical form of Islam which adheres closely to the traditions of Islam but also reflects secularism and universalism in spiritual matters. It is especially strong in Sindh, where Pakistan’s biggest city and commercial hub of Karachi is located. ‘JINNS HAVE SEX WITH US’: “The whole concept of jinns, which previously would have been a belief in some other kind of spirit, has been converted into Islamic parlance,” said Ali Khan, an anthropologist at the Lahore University of
Management Sciences. Self-proclaimed exorcists thrive on these beliefs. They claim special powers from God which enable them to help people cope with everything, from domestic disturbances to infertility and impotence. Some even say they can help people find love. In a dimly lit shack just outside a shrine, Syed Aliuddin, wearing a white robe and silk cap set with a green stone resembling an emerald, listens to people lament. One man, an electrician, complains his wife is disobedient. In a carefully rehearsed ritual, the exorcist with a white beard writes prayers on strips of paper and douses them in water. Customers then drink it, believing his promise that it only takes 10 minutes to take effect. Aliuddin says he can fight 18,000 types of evil spirits made from fire. Like others in his trade, he is keeping pace with the information age, running his own website and offering consultations by e-mail and mobile phone. “Some possess bodies out of jealousy, others out of love, some have other motives,” said Aliuddin, who charges between Rs 50 and Rs 250 a session, which last up to 30 minutes. “Jinns swim inside us when they possess us, feed on us, have sex with each other and with us.” The more serious the issue, the
more radical the cure. Jamila Bibi turned to the Abdullah Shah Ashabi shrine in the ancient, dusty town of Thatta. Her son, Muhammad, began having violent fits four months ago. The 18-year-old is chained by his ankle to a wall. He sits silently, staring at others who are chained or are praying. “We want him to be close to the spirit of the saint. We have had to chain him so he doesn’t hit other people,” she said. In a country where a heavy stigma is attached to mental illness, and the state spends little on health, many see spiritual healing as the only option. “This is more about a lack of education and awareness, rather than access to medical facilities. It’s a desperate attempt to seek hope,” said psychologist Rizwan Taj. Nearby, Rahim Yar, who suffers from memory loss and extreme physical weakness, starts screaming. He has been at the shrine, which has marble floors and surrounds a domed tomb of a Sufi saint, for four years. “The jinn inside me says he needs to take me to India, to a temple where people are sacrificed,” Rahim said. “He says he will not leave me and I must be sacrificed.” Additional reporting by Qasim Nauman and Imtiaz Shah in Karachi.
CASE OF DARA SHIKOH
INSTALLATION ART ON DECEMBER 23 AT 07:00 PM VENUE: T2F 2.0
STORYTELLING ON DECEMBER 25 AT 12:30 PM VENUE: T2F 2.0
LECTURE ON DECEMBER 28 AT 07:00 PM VENUE: T2F 2.0
‘Third Worlds: Third Ward/Karachi’ on December 23 at The 2nd Floor. Call 35389033 for more information.
‘Kahaani Time with Sania Saeed’ on December 25 at The 2nd Floor. Call 35389033 for more information.
Dr Munis Faruqui’s ‘New Perspectives on the Mughals: The Case of Dara Shikoh’ at The 2nd Floor. Call 35389033 for more information.
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Govt to ensure ministers’ presence during Question Hour ISLAMABAD STAFF REPORT
After repeated complaints by the opposition and treasury parliamentarians over the absence of concerned ministers and secretaries during the Question Hour in the House, the government on Thursday gave assurance to the PML-N that the ministers and the concerned secretaries would remain present during the Question Hour on their Rota days and while their legislative business was being taken up in the House. A meeting of the members of the treasury and opposition benches was held in the Parliament House, with National Assembly Speaker Fehmida Mirza in the chair, to sort out the issues confronting the House vis-à-vis the proceedings. Leader of the Opposition Nisar Ali Khan, National Assembly Deputy Speaker Faisal Karim Kundi, Minster for Religious Affairs Khursheed Shah, Minister for Water and Power Naveed Qamar, MNAs Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, Nawab Yousaf Talpur, Barjees Tahir, Rana Tanvir Ahmad Khan, Sheikh Aftab Ahmad and Tariq Fazal attended the meeting. After a thorough discussion, broader outlines were agreed between the treasury and opposition benches to uphold the supremacy of parliament, to make its proceedings, meaningful and productive. It was decided that all the issues of urgent public interest would be taken up in the Business Advisory Committee at the commencement of the each session of the National Assembly and its decision would be conveyed to all the members of the parliamentary parties for strict adherence. It was also decided that the attendance of the members would be the responsibility of the chief whips of the respective parliamentary parties especially during the Question Hour and other important parliamentary debates. Both parties had a consensus that the ministers and the secretaries concerned would remain present during the Question Hour on their Rota days and while their legislative business was being taken up in the House.
Gilani regrets wrong information about assistance to Hashmi ISLAMABAD STAFF REPORT
Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani on Thursday regretted the mistake of giving erroneous information by the ministry about government’s spending on treatment of PML-N leader Makhdoom Javed Hashmi. Speaking in the National Assembly, the prime minister said the government had not given any fund to Hashmi for his treatment and the information provided to the National Assembly by the ministry concerned was a mistake. Hashmi, on a point of order, had demanded that the government should tender apology over giving wrong information to the House about £30,000 the government spent on his treatment.
KARACHI: Civil society activists hold a demonstration against ‘Lotacracy’ outside Karachi Press Club on Thursday. Inp
‘Performance of parliament evaluated at 44% by MPs’ Law minister says repeated interventions in democracy responsible for stunted growth of democratic institutions
ISLAMABAD STAFF REPORT
ERFORMANCE of the parliament of Pakistan was evaluated at 44 percent in an evaluation by parliamentarians and others, the Pakistan Institute Legislative Development and Transparency (PILDAT) said on Thursday. The performance evaluation was facilitated by PILDAT using an international framework on evaluating performance of parliament, developed by International Parliamentary Union. The evaluation scores were shared by PILDAT in a roundtable discussion on performance of parliament. Federal Minister for Law Maula Buksh Chandio, who was the chief guest at the roundtable, believed that repeated military interventions were responsible for stunted growth of democratic institutions. Chandio said the performance of parliament reflected combined performance of the treasury and opposition benches. “The PPP is proud of the fact that for the first time, the chairmanship of PAC and other standing committees was given to the opposition members.
Parliament’s biggest achievement is to have revived the 1973 constitution in its original shape. The 18th Amendment has strengthened the federation through giving powers to the provinces. The defence budget was presented in greater detail,” he said, admitting that peoples’ problems remained but could only be addressed through an uninterrupted system of democracy. The transparency and accessibility of the National Assembly scored the highest, 54 percent on the PILDAT score card on the performance of parliament. Two aspects of the performance of the Senate, namely the transparency and accessibility of the Senate and representativeness of the Senate scored the highest, 53 percent. The weakest aspect of the National Assembly’s performance was evaluated to be effectiveness its involvement in foreign policy, which got a score of 33 percent. Similarly, the weakest aspect of the performance of the Senate was also its involvement in foreign policy, which got a score of 34 percent. The evaluators included five senators and 11 MNAs, while 15 others included journalists covering the proceedings of parliament, analysts and
other citizens and one representative of the parliamentary staff. Senator Syed Nayyer Hussain Bokhari, leader of the house in Senate, believed that after devolution, the legislative business was far less at the federal level as many ministries had been devolved to the provinces. He said political forces believed in law and all constitutional departments had to work in their ambit. Zahid Hamid appreciated PILDAT on behalf of the leader of opposition in National Assembly for compiling a comprehensive report. He said that the significance and magnitude of success of Public Accounts Committee was not highlighted as it should have been in the report. He said the PAC recovered Rs 115.3 billion in three years. Syed Zafar Ali Shah believed that while evaluating parliament, its powers should be kept in mind. For instance, resolutions of parliament were not legally binding on the executive. Syed Aftab Shaban Merani said the beauty of democracy was that all citizens could agree to disagree. Humayun Saifullah Khan believed that a true federation should not have a concurrent list. Fiscal deficit should be defined as a certain ratio of GDP instead of “prudent limits”.
Infant burnt to death in candle accident during blackout SIALKOT ARIF MEHMOOD SHEIKH
An infant was burnt to death when the room caught fire from a candle during a power outage in Daska city’s congested Islampura area on Thursday morning. The one-and-a-half-year old Ali Hassan was asleep when his mother lit a candle in the room for her husband Barkat Ali to get ready for work. She got busy in other chores and then left the house to drop her children to a local school. Meanwhile, the candle, which was placed on a table, fell and rolled down to the bed on which the infant was sleeping. The bed caught fire in no time and suffocating smoke filled the room, while the child was burnt to death. Locals called the fire fighters, who extinguished the fire and pulled out the charred body of the unfortunate child. Her mother lost her consciousness after seeing her son’s body. The aggrieved family has announced to go to the Lahore High Court (LHC) against the Gujranwala Electric Power Company (GEPCO) in Daska. Talking to reporters, the weeping father of the child said the tragedy could not have occurred if there was no load shedding. He said the child’s family had every right to protest and go to the LHC against GEPCO-Daska in this regard.
Govt to issue special cards to families below poverty line, NA told g
Card distributed through BISP to give recipients immunity from sales tax, electricity bills ISLAMABAD STAFF REPORT
Minister for Religious Affairs Syed Khursheed Shah on Thursday informed the National Assembly that the government would soon issue special cards through BISP to people living below the poverty line, which would give them immunity from sales tax and electricity bills. “These special cards will be issued through BISP to facilitate the people living below the poverty line. The government is already providing health and life insurance to the people linked with the BISP,” he said while responding to a query in the question hour. The minister said relatives of 129 deceased who were on BISP record had re-
ceived Rs 100,000 each. Responding on behalf of the minister incharge of the Cabinet Division, Shah said post masters or postmen were getting Rs 500 as bribe from people to give them their Rs 2,000 of BISP, while huge bribes were being offered for transfers and postings in post offices for this corruption. He said the BISP had closed this system and now the amount was being provided through banks. He said a survey was being conducted across the country to find out the families living below the poverty line, middle class and upper class. He said the survey in some of the area was halted due to security reasons, however, it would be completed by March 2012. Giving statement on reported privatisation of WAPDA, the minister said
the government had no intension to privatise WAPDA. “This parliament has removed all black laws made by dictators against labourers and gave them privileges … some people are conspiring to bring labourers on to roads,” he said. Responding to a question regarding inflation and substandard food items available in restaurants along the motorway, Parliamentary Secretary for Communication Saeed Iqbal said the matter could only be resolved if powers were given to directors and assistant directors of motorway and the ministry would soon discuss it with the prime minister. To another question regarding liver diseases and liver transplantation in Islamabad, Minister for Communication Arbab Alamgir said on behalf of the minister in-
charge of the capital administration that a ward in Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences had been reserved for the purpose, while an intensive care unit (ICU) had also been established. He said the first liver transplant operation in the country would be carried out in a couple of months. Parliamentary Secretary Nawab Liaqat Ali Khan informed the House that the Ministry of National Food Security and Research had nothing to do with the supply of fertilizers, however, it used to inform the concerned ministry about the total demand of fertilizer. He claimed there was no shortage of urea fertilizer in the country at present. He further said the ministry had no plan to introduce organic farming system in the country, however, Pakistan Agriculture Re-
search Council (PARC) had tested it on micro level. He added that the system was not applicable in Pakistan due to certain reasons, such as farmers having to leave their land uncultivated for five years. Minister for Information Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan said an amount of Rs 3,09,20,43,836 (Rs 3.921 billion) had been paid to various newspapers/periodicals against advertisement charges from July 2010 to November 2011. “The advertisement agencies are required to arrange the payments to the newspapers within 90 days of the publication of an advertisement,” she said in a written reply. She said the Press Information Department (PID) used to verify the advertisement bills soon after they were received from the concerned advertising agencies.
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A third of south Asians made to pay bribes: survey g
transparency International survey finds 62% of south Asians believed corruption had got worse over past three years, with Indians, Pakistanis most pessimistic KATHMANDU AFP
ORE than one in three south Asians say they were forced to bribe officials in the last year, mainly for services they were legally entitled to, an international anti-graft watchdog said on Thursday. A survey released by Berlin-based Transparency International in the Nepalese capital Kathmandu showed bribery has become so endemic that the region is second only to sub-Saharan Africa as the corruption hotspot of the world. The watchdog surveyed 7,800 people in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka and the Maldives, finding 40 per-
former PHC chief justice Syed Ibn Ali joins AnP
cent had paid backhanders over the last 12 months to public servants, with police being the largest recipients. Two thirds of Indians, Bangladeshis and Pakistanis who dealt with the police last year said they had paid bribes to corrupt officers. “With bribery such a big part of life for south Asians, you can see why so many people are angry at their governments for not tackling corruption,” said Rukshana Nanayakkara, senior programme coordinator for the watchdog’s south Asia region. “People are sick of paying bribes to get on with their daily lives, and they are sick of the sleaze and undue influence of public servants.”
The survey, entitled “Daily Lives and Corruption: Public Opinion in South Asia” found 62 percent of south Asians believed corruption had got worse over the past three years, with Indians and Pakistanis the most pessimistic. More than 80 percent, however, said they were willing to take action to end corruption. “Governments beware. People think corruption is on the rise and are willing to take action against it,” said Nanayakkara. “In 2011, popular protests have sent a strong message to governments. They must respect the voice of their people and encourage citizen engagement.” Some of the largest demonstrations
were in India, where millions took to the streets of cities across the country in August in support of an anti-corruption campaign by veteran activist Anna Hazare. The six countries lag between 86th and 154th in Transparency International’s annual Corruption Perceptions Index of 186 nations, in which the least corrupt countries are ranked highest. According to the survey, the country most plagued by bribery is Bangladesh, where 66 percent report paying bribes to public institutions, mostly just to gain access to services to which they are already entitled. In India, where the figure was 54 percent, a majority thought their govern-
Sui Gas office stormed by angry citizens
ment wasn’t doing enough to fight corruption that permeates all levels of society — requiring bribes for anything from getting a birth certificate to tenders for infrastructure projects. “People realise that there is a complete lack of political will to check corruption in India... there is corruption at every level,” said Anupama Jha, executive director of Transparency International in India. “This report clearly affirms what the people of the country feel (about) politicians, the police and the legislature – that the people in India have completely lost faith, which is a cultural concern. “Yet I feel that if people join hands, the way it is happening in India, things can change,” Jha said.
PML-n lawmakers want ‘personal physician’ fired
PESHAWAR STAFF REPORT
Prominent political and social figure from Kohat, former Peshawar High Court chief justice (r) Syed Ibn Ali on Thursday announced resignation from the Pakistan People’s Party and association to the Awami National Party in the presence of ANP provincial President Afraseyab Khattak and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Amir Haider Khan Hoti at the CM’s House. Justice (r) Ali termed his inclusion in the “caravan of Bacha Khan and Wali Khan” a good omen for the Pakhtuns, adding that the current state of the region demanded unity among Pakhtuns. The chief minister said the ANP was the real representative party of the Pakhtuns, adding that Justice (r) Ali’s life was open and spotless. Paying tribute to Justice (r) Ali on his services for unity among Muslims, Hoti said Islamic brotherhood and religious harmony flourished in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa particularly in southern districts. He said external elements tried to sow the seeds of dissent, adding that these evil designs could be thwarted through collective efforts. He said anti-state elements were trying different excuses for tarnishing the unity among the people and were aiming to wreak havoc and devastation, adding that there was no room for their conspiracies.
Governor urges protection of children’s rights PESHAWAR STAFF REPORT
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Governor Barrister Masood Kausar has stressed the need for making vigorous efforts at every level to protect the rights of children and ensure their welfare. Addressing the inaugural of a one-day conference on children’s rights on Thursday, the governor said that consistent struggle with utmost political will and commitment was required to ensure that children’s rights were protected. The Society for Protection of Rights of the Child – a non-government organisation in Peshawar – organised the conference. The governor said that terrorism and militancy had severely affected the educational and health institutions in the province and the tribal belt. He praised the NGO for facilitating meaningful coordination between government departments and the civil society over the issue of children’s rights. Provincial Minister for Social Welfare and Women Development Sitara Ayaz and Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation Country Director Andre Huber also addressed the ceremony attended by a number of government officials and representatives of the civil society.
ISLAMABAD STAFF REPORT
GUJRANWALA STAFF REPORT
The Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) faced the wrath of the public on Thursday, as local residents broke into its main office at Haidery Road and broke windows of the office. Angry masses broke the main door of the office and damaged the prem-
ises. Among the protesters were women and children who were chanting slogans against the government for unscheduled load shedding of gas. Muhammad Ali, talking to Pakistan Today, said that they were unable to feed their children due to gas load shedding and children went to school without breakfast. He said that due to poor economic conditions of the coun-
try, a person could only earn the meals of his children and the government was adding to the problems of the masses. Ali said that the government was formed to ensure provision of basic rights to the masses but it was snatching the rights of the masses. He warned that if gas load shedding was not controlled then citizens would burn the SNGPL office.
na forms body to probe threats to journalist ISLAMABAD STAFF REPORT
The National Assembly (NA) on Thursday unanimously resolved to form a bipartisan committee consisting of members from both the treasury and opposition benches headed by the opposition leader or his nominee to probe threatening messages sent to TV anchor Hamid Mir. After nominations by political parties, names of members of the committee would be finalised. Prime Minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani also supported formation of a commission to probe the threats. Federal Religious Affairs Minister Syed Khurshid Ahmed Shah moved a motion for formation of the committee, which was passed unanimously. The committee would submit its report within 15 days and federal ministers would be a part of the committee, he added. Earlier, raising the issue on a point of order, Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) MNA Nadeem Afzal Gondal said that despite a democratic set-up in the country, journalists were receiv-
ing life threats for speaking the truth. He expressed concern over threats to Mir and demanded an inquiry by parliament into the matter. Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) MNA Javed Hashmi supported the idea and said that it was a very important issue, as such incidents earned a bad name for the country. Several journalists lost their lives in the recent past but no inquiry was conducted, he added. Hashmi demanded the government to ensure safety of Mir and his family. Opposition Leader Chaudhry Nisar Ali said that the opposition had raised the issue several times in the House. He said that if the government had probed into maltreatment against journalist Umar Cheema and culprits involved in that incident had been taken to task, this incident would not have been happened. Nisar said that the media was an important tool of an independent parliament to convey its messages to the public. He agreed to the proposal of Khurshid that the opposition should accept chairmanship of the proposed committee to probe threats to Mir. The op-
position leader said that some nine months ago, he had also received threats and after investigation by the Punjab government, it was revealed that some people of intelligence agencies were involved in it. Khurshid agreed with the notion of Nisar and said that it was regrettable that in a democratic and parliamentary system, journalists were being harassed and threatened for speaking the truth, he added. PPP MNA Syed Samsam Bokhari also voiced concern and said that journalists were receiving threatening messages. He said if parliamentarians did not support journalists in this hour, it would mean that they were not supporting democracy. Federal minister Riaz Hussain Pirzada also demanded that those people behind the matter be brought to justice. MQM’s Abdul Qadir Khanzada also condemned the incident. PPP MNA Khattumal Jeevan said that MPs from minorities were also receiving threatening messages and being asked to resign or be prepared to face the music.
Petroleum Minister Dr Asim Hussain on Thursday said the Explosive Act 1862 was not fit to check the incidents of explosion of CNG cylinders in public transport as neither the capacity in the relevant department nor the rules were appropriate to control such accidents. The minister made this statement in response to concerns expressed by PML-N members through a calling-attention notice regarding an increase in the incidents of explosion of LPG and CNG cylinder fitted in the public transport vehicles. He feared that if urgent steps were not taken, such explosion could also take place at the CNG stations. Earlier, while raising the issue of low gas pressure, a number of PML-N legislators criticised gas load shedding plan for domestic consumers, saying that the PPP-led government was not serious in resolving the issue. Nisar Ali Khan said the petroleum minister was the cause of the failure of the ministry. “Is appointing your personal physician as petroleum minister a service to the nation? Why doesn’t the minister accept his failure? During former president Pervez Musharraf’s regime there was no gas load shedding…. this situation is due to the failed governance of the PPP regime,” he said. He questioned the role of the minister, arguing that if he thought the CNG sector was proving a disaster for gas sector, why did he issue thousands of licences for new CNG stations.
Kayani visits Kurram, Mohmand Agencies ISLAMABAD STAFF REPORT
Chief of Army Staff (COAS), General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani visited Kurram and Mohmand Agencies on Thursday. “The General was briefed about the ongoing Operation Koh-i-Sufaid aimed at clearance of miscreants’ pockets of resistance,” said an ISPR statement. Later, the COAS also visited Bhoidag Sector in Mohmand Agency, where he was briefed about the units deployed along Pak-Afghan border. During interaction with troops at both places, COAS appreciated the firm resolve and supreme sacrifices being offered by the Army for the security of Motherland.
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friday, 23 December, 2011
Editor’s mail 11 overcrowded vehicles
Democratic options Dr Hasan Askari in his recent article "Will democracy survive?" has analysed current political situation keeping in view the moves by certain political parties who desperately want Zardari's downfall. There is no doubt that ever since this government came into power, it has faced tough opposition, including from media where famous anchors would give deadlines of their downfall, at times so sure if they were part of the fate deciders, but every time the government emerged more stronger than before. The classic example of rumours floated and debated after the sudden departure of President Zardari to Dubai and the resultant confusion that prevailed shall keep haunting us for a long time. Bad governance, coupled with massive corruption charges and systematic collapse of major institutions of Pakistan, was not enough to pull down the govern-
ment but the memo issue certainly has created tremors in PPP high command, including President Zardari. The PML(N), on one hand, is not ready to be part of dislodging the government but on the other hand continues its pressure on PPP openly and wants everything constitutionally before the Senate elections. What a logic? There is no possibility of government falling before Senate elections due to coalition and silent partners. The writer has correctly summed up that opposition parties, including the PTI, cannot bring change other than through constitutional means but have no representation in the assemblies leaving entire burden on PML(N). The PML(N) is on a weaker wicket because Imran Khan is pulling huge crowd in public meetings and his target is Nawaz Sharif. How unfortunate! Both
have missed the chance and the only beneficiary will be PPP. As things stand, the memo issue most probably will meet the same fate as that of NRO. The PPP is not going to take it lightly and God forbid if they are forced out of throne, they will again be winners as sympathy vote will be on their side. With the writer's analysis that military has three options, I disagree. In fact they are short of options and the only option is to stay away from dirty politics and let people decide what is good or bad for them. Political parties otherwise do not want any interference from army and all are united on this point. The only option is invoking of Article 190 of the Constitution to seek military help, but the problem is that military will have to take permission from Ministry of Defence. Direct intervention by army has already
been sealed by the apex court. Any military adventure in any shape will draw sanctions from the US and that can lend us into deep trouble, especially when the war on terror is still going on. The problem with our politicians, especially the opposition parties, is that they want everything to be done by the Supreme Court and that may not be possible. The only option left is let the train of democracy move forward, true we have suffered a lot in this era of democracy but the nation’s survival still lies in more democracy. But then again, in the words of Thomas Jefferson, "A democracy is nothing more than a mob rule, where fifty-one percent of the people may take away the rights of the other forty-nine." What a tragedy. MUKHTAR AHMED Karachi
Misplaced focus Skimming through the stock of dailies, I was amazed at the naivety of people of the Land of the Pure. Is it true that we have given a bunch of conspiracy theories precedence over our daily troubles? At first I thought it was just me but when I asked one of my fellows as to what he thinks is the biggest trouble Pakistan is going through, the answer was ‘ Dude, you kidding me? Of course, it’s the memo issue and the showdown of government’. It is times like these when I think that Imran Khan would have to do a lot more than his ‘jalsas’ to put some sense into us people. Why is it that the media keeps on grappling with the slightest possibility of our present government coming to an end when instead we have millions whose lives are endangered due to the recent floods in Sindh? Why is it that we have less talk about poverty, education, intolerance, corruption, energy crisis, extremism, Balochistan issue than about the President suffering from God knows what? Apparently we direly need a revision of our ‘priority list’ when it comes to the problems we face today. ANEEQ AHMED SIDDIQUI LUMS, Lahore
Hike in power rates It has been reported that power rates would be increased to Rs 15 per unit from 5 PM to 10 PM, which hours are of peak use during winter. This would amount to a virtual 15 percent increase over the maximum rates of Rs 13 being charged at present over 1000 units per month. It appears the new hike in power rates is being applied in a stealthy manner over and above the other increases in vogue at present. The people are already groaning under the ever-increasing power rates and the latest camouflaged manner of hike in power rates would break the proverbial camel’s back by placing not a straw but a beam over it. The authorities have no perception of the miseries being faced by the masses over the high power tariff because they themselves have to pay no power bills due to official perks. The failure to build a mega dam in time would come to haunt our politicians who cannot see beyond their vested interests to the dismay of our 180 million people. DR MUHAMMAD YAQOOB BHATTI Lahore
Stop the blame game It seems that the politics of Pakistan has become a blame game. Politicians are levelling allegations against each other. Their main objective is to achieve power. They have no concern with masses’ issues like loadshedding, price hike, unemployment and law and order situation. I appeal to the politicians to do something for the masses. Instead of this blame game, sit together and make long term policies to get rid of the prevailing crisis. Revise foreign policy. Don’t come to the masses for vote without solutions to the issues. TARIQ HUSSAIN KHAN Karachi
Despite witnessing severe road accidents that have been occurring due to overloading of public transport vehicles, the risky practice is still going on across the country. There never goes by a day when we do not see pictures of overloaded buses, rickshaws, wagons and other means of public transport in the press. The painful memories of killing of young school boys travelling on the rooftop of a crowded bus under the Ferozepur Road underpass in Lahore and later the unfortunate school bus crash in Kallar Kahar are quite fresh in our minds. Even then neither the relevant traffic control authorities have done anything in this regard nor do the families of commuters discourage them to travel in dangerous circumstances. The root cause of this problem is in fact the insufficient number of public transport vehicles across the country. People have no choice but to travel in overcrowded public transport vehicles putting their lives at risk. The government has to realise the severity of this issue and improve the public transport system by providing more vehicles and strictly putting traffic rules and regulations in place. MUHAMMAD MUSSAB AQEEL Karachi
Resistance on reforms While promises and claims are made by every incumbent administration regarding improvement in security apparatus and converting police into a more citizen-friendly institution, on the ground little has changed over the years. The police are still governed by the colonial Police Act 1861 and any effort towards reforms in this department has not only been met with disinterest but also great amount of resistance. There have been continuous calls both from within the police and the community for the reforms to be initiated but it seems that the administration and the legislature either do not comprehend the severity of the issue or are somehow deliberately ignoring it. YASIR HAMEED Islamabad
Who needs clean air? Only recently the world leaders have agreed to take measures to control climate change in a conference in Durban. But what goes on on the ground is a real cause of concern. Many industries don’t even bother to place checks on their waste and air pollution. Our environment has been seriously damaged while
PtI’s opportunists Everyday dozens of electables are joining Imran Khan. While some of them believe in him, few are only joining because they stand to benefit from his rising popularity. There is a whole history for these turncoats. They have been part of every sitting government, be it military junta, a caretaker or elected civil governments. There is no doubt that educated and talented men, like Jehangir Tareen, Ishaque Khan and others, will be an asset for Imran Khan, but there are many who will damage his party with their unethical practices. While it makes sense not to filter the credentials of the crowd joining PTI at this moment, it should be done near or after the election. We must remember what happened in the post-1940 era, when Quaid-eAzam as a consequence of Jinnah–Sikan-
the government, busy in ensuring its survival, seems to lack any will to control this bulging problem. SEHAR SAFDAR Lahore
der understanding reached in 1937, inducted the Muslim electable members of former Zamaidara Party, renamed as Unionist Party, a coalition of Hindu, Sikh and Muslim landowners. According to commitment by Sikandar, Muslim members of the Unionist Party were to constitute a Muslim League Party in Punjab Legislature, but this never happened and instead they dominated the provincial parliamentary boards tasked with distribution of tickets. Out of three Muslim elected premiers of Punjab, Bengal and Assam, who publicly announced decision to merge with Jinnah’s All India Muslim League, it was only the Unionist from Punjab, who did not do so. The Unionist Party continued to function as a separate parliamentary group in the Punjab Legislature till Sikandar Hayat’s death in Dec 1942 and even after that till 1944, when Khizr
“The Nato attack that killed 26 Pakistani soldiers was not intentional”, says USA. Mini 9/11s that happen in other countries have got nothing to do with America. Z A KAZMI Karachi
The Supreme Court has ordered the Election Commission of Pakistan to prepare voters lists by February 23, 2012, no more excuses or extension requests will be entertained. During the proceedings, it was enquired by the court that if the polls are held in March 2012, would they be held on per-existing voter lists which have been challenged by several political leaders. No one shall question the necessity for verification and updating of existing voter lists to remove bogus votes. But from where this March 2012 deadline has come? I understand Senate elections will be held in March, but that has nothing to do with general elections for which updated voter lists are required. Is this the month of March which is being forecasted for last three years? Theoretically speaking, general elections are due to be held by March 2013. But you know intoxication of success of a previously held million march can eat a whole year, no issue. Is the cat now out of the bag? MASOOD KHAN Jubail, Saudi Arab
present on both sides of the border pose no threat to anyone, thus the need to ‘fight and talk’ simultaneously with the Taliban has lost its appeal. And the fact that the Americans have backed an Afghan led deal with the Taliban for stopping attacks on schools in Afghanistan on the condition of allowing Taliban selected and approved curriculum and teachers is just one indicator of a great shift in the American policy. The decision to transfer Taliban prisoners from Guantanamo Bay prison to Afghanistan and the US blessings provided to talks between Afghan officials and Taliban further exemplifies this rapidly shifting US perspective and ambitions. Does this mean that where once it
was considered "critical" that the US forces continue to "aggressively" carry out the surge strategy of degrading the capability of the Taliban, is not critical anymore? That finally the US has come towards a political solution to the insurgency after exhausting all other possible alternative strategies? If that is the case then does it mean that Pakistan and all the allegations levelled against it will be cleared? Or doesn’t that apply to Pakistan? Will our government, military and its spy agency be subjected to the same treatment despite this renewed US position on the insurgency and insurgents? DR NIDA SHAMI Ontario, Canada
Hayat was expelled from the League in 1944. History is testimony to the damage done to Muslim League and its impact on politics of Pakistan in post-independence era. Politics in Pakistan has suffered because of the domination by these remnants of Raj. While the Quaid had decided to weed out these opportunists who had no commitment to Pakistan, he did not live long enough to do so. MALIK TARIQ ALI Lahore
Revising enemy list The recent statement issued by Joe Biden, the US Vice-President in which he clearly differentiates between the enemy and the non-enemies in the long war may have taken a decade too long to come, but surely serves to provide clarity to the US objectives that had been hitherto quite ambiguous. So, the real enemy was and still is AlQaeda that had threatened the American peace and brought war into the Afghan territory. That Taliban had never been the driving force behind this war and that to eliminate them or their government was never on the US agenda can be interpreted as the American declaration of triumph in Afghanistan which was made possible by the capture and killing of OBL after which Al-Qaeda has lost its
potency and reach. The American officials may not have issued any direct statement that had translated the Taliban as the enemy, but the objective of controlling, curbing and reversing the Taliban momentum in Afghanistan contradicts the claims. Similarly, Pakistan has been termed as playing a duplicitous role in the insurgency just because it had had enough of launching operation after operation against the Pakistani chapter of the Taliban and had finally wanted a peacefully negotiated settlement of the endless insurgency on its soil. If the Afghan Taliban are not “enemies per se” then surely the TTP, Punjabi Taliban, Haqqani network etc are not enemies and the sanctuaries that are
Send your letters to: Letters to Editor, Pakistan Today, 4-Shaarey Fatima Jinnah, Lahore, Pakistan. Fax: +92-42-36298302. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Letters should be addressed to Pakistan Today exclusively.
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12 comment Déjà vu the curse of interesting times
he prime minister is a mild-mannered man. Even his worst detractors – and there are many – admit to the effortless diplomacy and cool he employs, especially in public interaction. When it came to dealing with wayward coalition members or even the opposition (the PML(N) in particular) he is said to have been the ‘good cop’. No feathers ruffled, visibly, at what could be called this government’s worst hour before the memo crisis: the PML-N’s long march and the subsequent restoration of the apex judiciary. That very same prime minister isn’t his collected self anymore. As his address at a public function in Islamabad and his speech in parliament yesterday served to show, there is definitely a storm brewing. “Let me make clear to you today that there are intrigues, conspiracies afoot to pack up the elected government,” he said. The Abbottabad commission was set up, he pointed out, to look into the security lapse that led to Osama Bin Laden hiding in the country. It is asking, instead, about the visas that Hussain Haqqani issued as ambassador; a clear obfuscation of the issue. No points for guessing the direction the premier’s guns are pointing at here. Are the odds stacked up against the government? Of its allies, neither the MQM nor the PML(Q) are all too dependable, specially when it comes to the military. Counter-intuitively, its only bulwark was the opposition’s PML(N), whose leadership has continually reiterated its strict adherence to the democratic process. That has fallen into question after the same leadership filed the memo petition in the Supreme Court. All eyes are on the apex court. A loaded line of the premier’s in the national assembly today: the parliament is supreme and all institutions of the executive, according to the constitution, come under the elected government. The context: his defence ministry submitted to the Supreme Court during the memo case hearings that it has no control over the operations of the army or the ISI. What possible interpretation of the constitution can have a state of affairs like that is for the court to decide. What exactly is the mood of the court on the constitutionally stipulated principle of civil supremacy over the military?
ECP in the limelight told off by the SC
wo issues have brought the Election Commission into the limelight: its decision to cancel the membership of parliamentarians with dual nationality and its failure to finalise the task assigned to it of preparing genuine electoral rolls. Despite Clause 1(C) of Article 63 of the Constitution clearly stating that a person stands disqualified from the membership of parliament if he acquires the citizenship of a foreign state, political exigencies have stood in the way of the implementation of the article in letter and spirit. Two foreign nationals of Pakistani origin were appointed prime ministers by the establishment while there are still about three score parliamentarians with dual nationality in various legislatures. Under the existing laws, the ECP cannot force any candidate to reveal the details of his citizenship. Thus, the Commission can take action against such MPs only if their case is referred to it by the presiding officers of the assemblies or by the superior judiciary. With the NA yet to decide the fate of the bill introduced a few days back in the NA by the PML(N) to remove the lacuna, it is yet not sure if the government would provide support to the ECP. The ECP has been reprimanded by the SC for showing laxity in the preparation of mistake-free electoral rolls. The CJ pointed out that in response to Benazir Bhutto’s petition in 2007, the ECP was directed to complete the preparation of transparent electoral rolls within one month. Taking up a petition by Imran Khan, the apex court has directed the ECP to complete the task by February 23, 2012, instead of June 2012. One agrees with the court that with 37 million bogus voters (44 percent of the total), the fairness of the elections would be widely questioned. Had the court acted with similar alacrity four years back, requiring the ECP to submit fortnightly reports on the progress of the preparation of new electoral rolls, the task would have been completed by now. Taking note of the fact that the ECP lacked financial autonomy and was short of funds, the court could have ordered the government to provide it special funds for the purpose.
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Arif Nizami Editor
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friday, 23 December, 2011
personal to the political Can the army defend this country from itself?
By Ejaz Haider
December 21, 2011 InterServices Press Release No PR301/2011-ISPR reads: “An article was published in the daily, [sic] Independent, [sic] UK on 13 December 2011, [sic] in which Mr Omar Waraich has made false assertions regarding DG ISI’s visits to Arab countries [sic]. It has been said that the DG met senior Arab leaders and asked permission for a military coup in Pakistan. The story has been publish [sic] without verification at any level. “It is clarified that DG ISI did not meet any Arab leader between 1-9 May 2011 as mentioned in the article. DG ISI’s other visits to Kingdom of Saudi Arabia [sic] and UAE [sic] only, prior to or after this period, were part of routine intelligence sharing activity, during which he interacted with his counterparts only. Contents [sic] of the article are strongly and categorically denied. A legal notice is being served to [sic] the newspaper to retract the story and apologise.” If the genesis and purport of this PR were not serious and malignant, I would have poked fun at its terrible drafting, asked the ISPR to hire a good sub and moved on. Unfortunately, the issue is vital to me at two levels, personal and analytical. Personal because Omar Waraich, the reporter who has been falsely and gratuitously attacked by the ISPR-PR, is a friend and a fine professional and I take my friendships and enmities seriously. The second level, the analytical, is important to me because I have always argued that the civil-military imbalance in Pakistan is the biggest security threat to this country. And I have argued this as a realist, not some softie lib-lab. It is not every day that the personal and the analytical become part of a continuum as they have in this case. That being so, let me begin with the personal and move from the specific to the general. What is Omar being accused of: false assertions? And pray, what did Omar say: that Mansoor Ijaz, the current darling of the army-ISI combine, told him that a senior [US] intel source confirmed to Ijaz that “Pasha had traveled to a few of the Arab countries to talk about what would be necessary to do in the event they had to remove Zardari from power and so forth”? And why did Ijaz need to consult a US intel source? Because Ijaz felt the measure was necessary “to make sure that there was nothing we
were doing that was against US interests”. And what did “we were doing” mean? In Ijaz’ words, “to make sure that a senior person that I know in US intelligence would have had the opportunity to review what was about to sent over”. What was being sent over? The memo, thank you. Please note that what is being said here is what Mansoor Ijaz told Omar Waraich in an interview from London over the telephone. None of this constitutes Omar’s “assertions”. If these assertions are false, as the ISPR-PR makes them out to be, the falsehood belongs squarely to Ijaz, not, I repeat not, Omar Waraich. But wait. Let’s go back to the BBM exchange which makes the basis of the current crisis. In a message on May 10 Ijaz writes: “I was just informed by senior US intel that GD-SII Mr P asked for, and received permission, from senior Arab leaders a few days ago to sack Z. For what its [sic] worth.” Omar got on to the story from this message. He called and spoke with Ijaz, recorded the interview and wrote the story. And after reproducing what Ijaz said to him his own analysis was that what was being said was unlikely, that no such thing happened and there was no danger of any coup. In fact, as Omar’s story put it: “Did he [Ijaz] find the information credible? ‘Of course I thought it was credible,’ Ijaz replied, slightly exasperated by the question.” So, why this ISPR attack on Omar? It would stretch credulity to think that the army-ISI combine cannot get this fact which is plain and simple. There are two reasons why they have decided to shoot the messenger: one, the government has annexed Omar’s blog piece with its reply to the petitions on the memo (there’s also a separate petition asking for the removal of the DG-ISI); two, the army-ISI combine cannot accuse Ijaz of making false assertions because you can’t say he has blatantly lied
about this matter while being truthful about everything else related to the memo. To wiggle out of this and put something on the record to be presented before the court, they have decided to attack Omar and The Independent. This is as good a strategy as Huckleberry Finn would come up with after a 10minute reading of Sun Tzu. But let’s move to the general. What happens after this calumnious attack on Omar? Would the civil-military faultline disappear? Let’s also assume the army manages to get rid of the current government by acting as a force-multiplier in combination with sections of the media, the judiciary and the political “tsunami” that’s about to engulf Pakistan. Would the structural problems that keep begetting us these crises disappear? The answer to these and many more questions is a big no. Let me also assume something else, i.e., the memo actually happened. The question is: why? Why does something like this not happen in India? The army can either take a snapshot view of this event and cry foul or – in the most unlikely event –do some honest soul-searching and take a longitudinal view of the situation and its own role. So fed up are the civilians with the army – if this memo happened the way it’s said to have – that they are prepared to compromise the country’s security, if required, to put the army down. That is the biggest security threat to Pakistan. The army claims to defend Pakistan. The question is: can it defend this country from itself? Attacking reporters, who do an honest job, or hanging someone or getting rid of this or that government will solve absolutely nothing. The writer is Executive Director of Jinnah Institute. The views expressed are his own and do not necessarily reflect JI’s policy
time for unity Daily Khabroona
akistan is faced with an unstable law and order situation due to the menace of terrorism but the tug of war in the power echelons of the country has made the political situation unstable as well. The situation has brought the country to a precarious condition where questions about its integrity and safety are being raised. At this juncture, unity within the nation is of utmost importance as bitterness and the airing of hatred for one another would create further challenges for the country. Whatever struggle and action the Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani may resort to for the political and national unity of the country will not bear fruit until the opposition parties do not show sincerity of purpose and work for the greater interest of the nation rather than pushing their partisan agendas at this critical time. The onus is on every political party and other forces to show unity of purpose in not only thwarting foreign hands involved in the affairs of the country but also work for lasting
peace in the region; there can be no other way to get out of the myriad crises engulfing us at this moment. Still, there is time. Political forces in the country should learn lessons from the country’s history and then play their due role in the currently prevalent conditions. Bitter relationships and incessant blame games will only worsen the situation, maybe to a degree that it will be almost out of control. Internal instability will only be helpful to foreign conspirators and alien forces that are desirous of destabilising Pakistan and using that to their own advantage. The general elections are not far off and every political and religious party gearing up for them and aiming for a successful stand at the upcoming polls. They are coming up with new promises to present to the nation but the electorate is much the wiser now and will not be easily hoodwinked with hollow slogans this time around. The masses want a leadership that will take tangible steps to combat the people’s problems, not the least of which is Pakistan’s law and order situation. – Translated from the original Pashto by Abdur Rauf Khattak
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The real powers
On dynastic politics
Hell hath no fury like the establishment scorned
Not as simple as it seems
Jottings By Agha Akbar
he battle lines have been drawn. All the usual suspects of the ultra right are in the corner that they were supposed to be: none missing from the lineup, with the motley crowd rather curiously named as Defence of Pakistan Conference in the forefront. The vultures are circling. The ganging up seems almost complete. The dog has been given its bad name (in this particular case it’s treason through the ‘Memogate’) and preparations for its hanging are afoot. Another political government is being made to pack up – by hook or by crook, mostly by the latter. There are no constitutional means to chuck the government or President Zardari out, but when has the letter or spirit of that cursed document ever been a concern for the powersthat-be. From its bewildered status after the multiple cataclysmic shocks in May, in all of seven months, Pakistan Army stands resurrected and back to where it has always belonged in this country – the master of all it surveys. And for the source of its ire, its wrath knows no bounds. For its part, the PPP too has made it manifest. It will not go without a whimper. The PM’s ominous statement illustrates this amply: “the conspiracies were being hatched…” but that he and his party will “fight for the rights of the people”. His assertion, “there cannot be a state within a state” also implied the overpowering presence of one, which was again plainly enunciated in the federal defence ministry’s written statement to the Supreme Court: “No control over the Army or the ISI”. If the foreign office were asked who directs policy, we know what the answer would be. And this does not quite begin to describe the power of the ‘real’ powers. It may not be intentional (though that is something the PPP thinks and Babar Awan makes it a point to rub in that it’s a stab in the back of democracy) but by taking his petition to the SC, Nawaz Sharif has lent it the credibility of his status to force a commission to probe Memogate. And that is exactly what the establishment desired, and may not have found such a beyond-reproach option to carry it with such aplomb. In doing so he may get Zardari or he may still not, but even if he does, it would only be a pyrrhic victory. For one he is not likely to reap a huge political dividend out of it. Even with
Zardari gone, Imran Khan would remain a threat for he is the new flavour, the new preference of the same entities that once launched him. And, to Nawaz Sharif’s chagrin, the PTI herd would continue to prosper in the Punjab and KP. And perhaps the most precious attribute that endeared Nawaz Sharif even to those who did not back his politics was his sustained and staunch anti-establishment stance. The perception emanating from his petition, that he has provided a shoulder to the establishment has dented that aura. (This though must be said that the anti-establishment stand was only his and not his party’s, with the so-called talented younger sibling having as much empathy for the men in uniform as any toady of Rawalpindi. Abbaji may have passed away years ago, but his inculcation, of course, still influences the Khadim-i-Aala and others in the PML-N). There are legitimate questions on the memo, but before that there are many unanswered ones on the capture and killing of OBL. It now seems that the Commission investigating the latter is focussing on the visas issued to the US spooks by our man in Washington. That is all good, and apparently Hussain Haqqani has provided an adequate reply to that. Amid all this hoopla, nobody is asking the critical question: “who gave the Pakistan visa to OBL?” Other than the US sally in Abbottabad and how it eluded our armed forces that is the critical question, and one is positive the Commission will not wilt in finding a credible answer to that. In his rejoinder to the SC, Nawaz Sharif asserts: “If the allegations levelled by Mansoor Ijaz are even half true, the very foundations of the country were under a serious threat”. In a similar rejoinder, the army chief says: “The memo episode has an impact on national security and lowers the morale of the Pakistan army, whose young officers and soldiers are laying down their lives for the security and defence of territorial integrity and political independence and sovereignty of Pakistan”. So while the words of both honourable men, Nawaz Sharif and the army chief, may be different, the essence is the same. May one ask, how a memo that was consigned to the bin by its recipient could be a threat to our national security? If our national security is that fragile, then, memo or no memo, our goose is cooked. What did more damage to the morale of our beloved jawans, the Memogate and Hussain Haqqani’s shenanigans or the OBL capture and killing? The gut feeling is that Asif Zardari and the PPP are in a spot, this time for real. Even if they survived by the skin of their teeth, the hold on the scruff of their necks will remain relentless, to borrow a most succinct expression from a celebrated analyst’s narration on his late night show. The writer is Sports and Magazines Editor, Pakistan Today.
reliance on family-based patronage systems and dynastic tendencies ensures that the nature of our democratic process comes into question from time to time. When people aren't talking about governance and corruption, they talk about 'the same old tried, tested, and failed faces'. The important point often raised is that substantive democracy is premised on rational, free-market type principles. You vote for someone based on what you know about them and what you think they are offering. It's, on paper, the outcome of a perfectly objective decision making process. Very much like buying toothpaste. Except that's not how people vote. Even in countries where such ideas were historically developed. The issue of substantive vs procedural democracy remains a key sticking point on our political landscape. One of the quintessential urban critiques of our political system is that a vast majority of people are born into straitjackets, which prevent them from casting a free and objective vote. An urban perception of rural reality entails the following: birth in a certain social class means deference to the local big-wigs, it means participating in what we call a biraderi complete with attached obligations. Intuitively, we believe that those guys don't know the concept of informed choice-making, which is why they keep sending their 'mai-baaps' back to parliament. The problem becomes, well, more problematic when this dichotomy between urban and rural rationality is drawn up. Rural rationality is equated with irrationality, principally because it appears to be the result of traditional/primordial influences. I think equating urban rationality with objective freedom is a consequence of the high premium the world places on knowledge and education. Which is By Umair Javed why the simplest urban critique of our current democracy starts off from the presence of pervasive illiteracy. I find it amusing at one level that the free-unfree dichotomy fails to take into account the kinds of straitjackets that the peddlers of this distinction, i.e. the middle class (and above) urbanites, are born into as well. Anyways, I digress. The thing I wanted to look at was dynasticism and the presence of traditional authority in the Pakistani political system. As things stand, we have two kinds of gene-based politics operating in the country: one is at the local level, where the son of a big-wig is accepted as the next big-wig by common folks. The second one is at the level of national politics, where political parties are conferred upon heirs – like a bow-tied car given to newly married daughters by their dads. Both are clear violations of objective rational politics. One of the reasons why we see the persistence of traditional forms of authority in this region is because that's exactly what the British wanted when they came here as colonising saviours. After 1857, the Brits were quite keen on ensuring
that 'local institutions' were preserved, that the natural order of things not be disturbed, so as to make sure that another 1857 doesn't happen. Anthropologists spent days observing 'quintessential village life' and came up with complicated manuals on the role of a Tarkhaan, and the role of a Chaudhry. Ultimately, the champions of impersonal legal-rational rule created a legal system that not only preserved traditional modes of authority, but also backed it up with the coercive apparatus that a modern state has. What our history shows is that characteristics of an agrarian, decentralised society became legal principals under colonialism. What happened then, happened. Can't really do much about that. What we should be asking is have we actually not progressed at all since independence? The answer is of course we have. Within two generations people have gone from being wage labourers on a piece of land to proper middle class members of urban society. Similarly, the notion of an all-encompassing traditional leader has progressively broken down, and will continue to do so as urbanisation grows. Based on the fieldwork conducted by Ali Cheema in Sargodha, it was apparent that villages make cost-benefit calculations before backing particular candidates in elections. These calculations result in the creation of voting blocks that to the distant observer seem like a herd of peasants voting to appease their feudal overlord. All that aside, perhaps the most pressing argument is that if tradition was the dictating principle of politics in this country, we would have seen absolutely no new faces in our assemblies over the last 64 years. While inter-generational incumbency is still high, it is by no means absolute, and we've seen a new class of politicians emerge over the last 30 years (the Saad Rafiques and MQM sorts). The other thing to look at is the lack of internal democracy in political parties. There are two ways of looking at it: one is that cult of personalities are intrinsic to our society. That till such time we have Pakistan, we'll have Bilawals and Hamzas. Or the other way to look at it is that cult of personalities arise out of the social capital that every individual and group possesses. People have social capital, which is basically their influence, their charisma, and the connections they have with the rest of society. The simplest example of this is that tish-tosh private schools interview parents before admitting children. I'd like to see the legal-rational precedence for such behaviour – which, by the way, is pervasive in Pakistan and across the 'modern' west. Bilawal inheriting the PPP after his mother's death is, unfortunately, not in line with principles of substantive democracy. But it does make sense when you consider the amount of social capital the Bhutto family has in this country. In fact, looking at it that way, it makes perfect sense why the PPP would want a Bhutto to lead the party. Does that mean we're stuck in the 15th century, when people would just be anointed as leaders? No, of course it doesn't. Cults develop in modern contexts as well (think Altaf and the Karachi middle class). At the same time, it should also be remembered that till such time society orders itself into groups (based on whatever principle: class, religion, ethnicity), some people will command a following purely based on their group association (in this case lineage). I'll conclude with a small remark on impersonal political rationality: it doesn't exist.
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Baghdad blasts kill 63 as political tensions rise BAGHDAD
series of bombings hit Baghdad on Thursday, killing at least 63 people in the first big assault attack on Iraq's capital since a sectarian crisis erupted within its government just days after the U.S. troop withdrawal. The apparently coordinated bombings were the first sign of a violent backlash against Shia Muslim Prime Minister Nuri alMaliki's move to sideline two Sunni Muslim rivals, raising the risk of a relapse into the sort of sectarian bloodletting that drove Iraq to the brink of civil war a few years ago. In total at least 63 people were killed and 194 were wounded in more than ten explosions across Baghdad, security and police sources said. Most of the targeted districts were Shia. Iraqi officials quickly branded the attacks a political message
sent during the current crisis. "The timing of these crimes and the places where they were carried out confirm to all... the political nature of the targets," Maliki said in a statement. Two roadside bombs struck the southwestern Amil district, while a car bomb blew up in a Shia neighborhood in Doura in the south. More bombs ripped into the central Alawi area, Shaab and Shula in the north, all mainly Shia areas, and a roadside bomb killed one and wounded five near the Sunni neighborhood of Adhamiya. Iraq is still fighting a stubborn, lower-grade insurgency with Sunni Islamists tied to al Qaeda and Shia militias, who U.S. officials say are backed by Iran, staging daily attacks. The last few thousand American troops left Iraq over the weekend, nearly nine years after the invasion that toppled Sunni dictator Saddam Hussein. Many Iraqis had said they feared a return to sectarian violence without a U.S.
military buffer. Just days after the withdrawal, Iraq's fragile power-sharing government is grappling with its worst turmoil since its formation a year ago. Shia, Sunni and Kurdish blocs share out government posts in a unwieldy system that has been impaired by political infighting since it began. This week, Maliki called for the arrest of Sunni Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi on charges he organized assassinations and bombings, and he asked parliament to fire his Sunni deputy Saleh al-Mutlaq after he likened Maliki to Saddam. Hashemi, who has denied the accusations, has taken refuge in Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdish region where he is unlikely to be handed over to the Shia-led government in Baghdad. The moves against the senior Sunni leaders have fanned sectarian fires anew because Sunnis fear the prime minister wants to consolidate Shia domination over the country.
BAGHDAD: A burnt vehicle is seen after a bomb attack took place in Bayaa district. A spate of bombings hit Baghdad on Thursday, killing at least 63 people. ReUTeRS Iraq's Sunni minority have felt marginalised since the rise of the Shia majority in Iraq after the 2003 invasion. Many Sunnis feel they have been shunted aside in
the power-sharing agreement that Washington touts as a young democracy. Thursday's attacks were the first major assault in Baghdad
since November, when three bombs exploded in a commercial district and another blast hit the city's western outskirts on Saturday, killing at least 13 people.
Rough ride for anti-corruption bill in Indian parliament
Egyptian PM urges unity for sake of economy CAIRO AFP
Prime Minister Kamal al-Ganzouri called on Egyptians Thursday to set aside their political differences for the sake of the economy, warning that the country's finances were deteriorating alarmingly. The military-appointed prime minister told a press conference that much of the aid promised by donor countries had yet to arrive, while the country suffered an outflow of $9 billion in the past few months. "Only a billion has arrived" out of $10.5 billion pledged by Arab countries, he said. "The G8 met and decided on $35 billion for Egypt and Tunisia," he added referring to the developed nations' club. "Nothing has arrived yet. "$9 billion left Egypt in the past few months," he added, while investors continued to avoid projects in the country after the uprising that ousted president Hosni Mubarak. "Doesn't that demand of Egypt and its people to sit down and talk?" he asked. "Isn't it useful to sit down and push forward the economy a little?" Voters went to the polls again on Thursday in run-offs for the second stage of staggered parliamentary elections, a landmark vote that has been overshadowed by the protest deaths. Foreign reserves in Egypt have fallen from $36 billion at the beginning of the year to $20 billion now. By February, they are projected to fall to $15 billion, a level at which it will become difficult to pay for imports such as wheat, analysts say.
PARIS: Turkish protesters take part in a rally outside the French National Assembly on Thursday as the French parliament approved the Armenian genocide bill. afp
French MPs defy Turkey by approving Armenian genocide bill g
turkey recalls french envoy after genocide bill PARIS/ANKARA AGENCIES
France put at risk its ties with Turkey, a key NATO ally and one of Europe's fastest growing economies, on Thursday, when France's lower house of parliament approved a bill on Thursday that would make it criminal offence to deny genocide. The bill has triggered outrage in Turkey as it would include the 1915 mass killing of Armenians in Ottomon Turkey. The bill will next be put to the Senate, or upper house, for debate in 2012, with its backers hoping that it will be adopted before parliament takes a break at the end of February ahead of presidential elections. Turkey, meanwhile, has recalled its ambassador to France in reatliation, a Turkish official said. The bill has triggered outrage in regional powerhouse Turkey as it
would include the 1915 mass killing of Armenians in Ottoman Turkey. Turkey has threatened further diplomatic and trade sanctions, accusing President Nicolas Sarkozy's rightwing UMP party of pandering to France's large Armenian community ahead of elections next year. France wants to work closely with Turkey on dealing with the Iranian nuclear stand-off and the crisis in Syria, as well as tap into its large market, and the effects of a breakdown in relations could be major. But ruling party lawmakers are determined to pass a bill that would make it a crime to deny the centuryold deaths of hundreds of thousands of Armenians at the hands of Turkish Ottoman forces amounted to a genocide. The debate began Thursday under tight security, after around 4,000 Turkish expatriates living in France gathered outside parliament to protest the vote and to denounce the dark pe-
riods in France's own history. "I'm astonished that at the moment when Turkey is knocking on the door of the European Union, this great country is inciting its nationals to protest in France," declared Valerie Boyer, the UMP lawmaker sponsoring the bill. The official line from Sarkozy's government is that the genocide law is an idea of parliament. On Thursday it defended the right of lawmakers to vote on the issue, without specifically endorsing it. But the government made sure there was time on the parliamentary calendar to vote on the issue, and it is largely supported by members of Sarkozy's UMP. Turkey has said it blames the French "executive". According to the satirical weekly Le Canard Enchaine, France's Foreign Minister Alain Juppe is furious about the "stupid" bill, arguing that it will provoke a damaging rift with Ankara for purely political ends.
France is home to around 500,000 citizens of Armenian descent and they are seen as a key source of support for Sarkozy and the UMP ahead of presidential and legislative elections in April and June nest year. Armenians say up to 1.5 million of their forebears were killed during World War I by the forces of Turkey's former Ottoman Empire. Turkey disputes the figure, arguing that only 500,000 died, and denies that it was a genocide, ascribing the toll to the fighting and accusing the Armenians of siding with Russian invaders. Turkey has branded the French law an attack on freedom of expression and historical inquiry, and its ruling and opposition parties jointly denounced it as a "grave, unacceptable and historic mistake." The French law would impose a 45,000 euro fine and a year in prison for anyone in France who denies the genocide.
The Indian government submitted two key bills to parliament Thursday, including anti-corruption legislation that risks triggering a repeat of mass protests that rocked the country in August. The proposed law would create a powerful new ombudsman, or "Lokpal", tasked with probing and prosecuting senior politicians and civil servants suspected of graft. An original draft -- deemed too weak by its critics -- saw millions of people take to the streets of cities across India four months ago to denounce the corruption that permeates all levels of Indian society. Leaders of the Hazare campaign slammed the new version tabled on Thursday, saying it was even weaker than the previous effort. "The bill seeks to promote corruption and protect the corrupt," said top Hazare aide, Arvind Kejriwal. The main points of contention focus on the ambit of the ombudsman's office and its powers of investigation. The government bill offers only limited jurisdiction over the prime minister and requires the ombudsman to put any criminal probes in the hands of the governmentcontrolled Criminal Bureau of Investigation (CBI). Hazare and a number of opposition parties want the ombudsman to control any CBI investigations. "Under this bill, the lokpal will be a puppet of the government. The government should recall the bill and redraft it," Kejriwal said. Another bill submitted Thursday aims to provide subsidised food to hundreds of millions of people -- a populist but hugely costly project that will strain treasury finances.
Spain's economic rescue squad takes power MADRID: Spain swore in a new conservative government Thursday, hailed as an economic rescue squad to roll out urgent reforms. Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy named 13 loyal disciples to his cabinet, with a former executive of the ruined US bank Lehman Brothers, Luis de Guindos, in the key post of economy minister. The 13 swore loyalty to King Juan Carlos in a televised ceremony at his Zarzuela palace on Thursday morning and were then due to disperse to their new ministries. De Guindos and the other ministers, with notable backgrounds in economic and European affairs, must spearhead efforts to get five million unemployed back to work and reassure investors that Spain is not a weak link in the eurozone. The government team Mariano Rajoy has chosen is consistent with Spain's urgent needs: employment and the need to generate international confidence in the midst of this dramatic panorama. AFP
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US must mull all options on Iran: Bill Clinton
Foreign News 15
A third of all South Asians made to pay bribes
Former US president Bill Clinton said in a television interview that President Barack Obama should not rule out military action on Iran, but there might be other ways "to skin the cat." Clinton also said a recent report by UN inspectors showed that Tehran's efforts to obtain a nuclear weapon "seemed to be pretty far along the road," and amounted to what "was the biggest unkept secret in the world." "I mean, when you ask yourself what are your options here, I do not believe the president should take any military option off the table," Clinton told Fox News host Bill O'Reilly's "The O'Reilly Factor" show, according to an excerpt. "But there may be more than one way to skin the cat," said former president Clinton, noting that a virus last year in systems at its nuclear facilities had pretty much "gummed up their computer capacity." Iran announced Tuesday that it had moved most of its government websites from foreign-based hosts to domestic providers to protect itself from cyber attacks. The Pentagon on Tuesday moved to play down remarks from US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta that suggested Iran's nuclear program was more advanced than previously thought and could be realized in "sometime in around a year."
ATHENS: A policeman is seen in flames as he tries to escape after a petrol bomb was thrown at him during riots outside the parliament on February 23, 2011. Greece was hit with general strikes against austerity measures, as the country grappled with debt. afp
Medvedev unveils Russian reforms g
warns ‘extremists’ while appointing Putin’s ally as Kremlin chief of staff MOSCOW
RESIDENT Dmitry Medvedev on Thursday warned that "provocateurs and extremists" were seeking to stir unrest in Russia, as he unveiled a drive for political reform in response to a recent outburst of protests, while appointing Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov as Kremlin chief of staff on Thursday, giving Vladimir Putin's close ally one of the most powerful jobs in Russia ahead of his expected return to the presidency next year. Ivanov, a former KGB spy who is seen as one of Putin's closest friends, is currently responsible for domestic military and technology policy. A decree on
his appointment appeared on the Kremlin website. Two days ahead of a new mass rally accusing the authorities of rigging parliamentary elections, Medvedev proposed a range of political reforms including the resumption of direct elections of local governors. But in his last state-of-the-nation address before his expected handover of the Kremlin to Vladimir Putin next year, Medvedev also warned that Russia would not allow its biggest protest wave in years to destabilise the country. "Attempts to manipulate Russian citizens, lead them astray and incite strife in society are unacceptable," Medvedev told both houses of parliament. "Russia needs democracy and not chaos." "We will not allow provocateurs and extremists to drag society into their
schemes," Medvedev said, adding: "We will not allow interference from outside in our internal affairs." Medvedev's address came after December 4 parliamentary elections showed an unexpectedly sharp dip in support for the ruling party and were followed by mass protests against vote-rigging. Almost 40,000 people have vowed to attend a new protest in Moscow on Saturday. But in a clear attempt to show the protestors that he was serious about democratic development in Russia, he announced reforms that appeared aimed at breathing new life into its political system. Crucially, he proposed the resumption of elections for Russia's regional governors, whose abolition by Putin in 2004 has long been seen by analysts as one of modern Russia's greatest demo-
South Korea not hostile to north: president Lee g
South Korean spy chief under fire over Kim's death
cratic shortcomings. Under the current system, the Kremlin chooses new governors from a shortlist presented by the ruling party. The appointment is then rubber-stamped by the local parliament. "I propose a comprehensive reform of our political system," Medvedev said. "I would like to say that I hear those who are talking about political changes, and I understand them." He also proposed a cut in the signatures required for a candidate to register for presidential elections from the current two million to 300,000 for candidates from parliamentary parties and 100,000 for those not represented in parliament. The president said Russia should create a "public television" where neither the state nor the private owner has the ultimate influence.
South Korea's conciliatory gestures to North Korea following the death of Kim Jong-Il are intended to show it is not hostile towards its neighbour, President Lee Myung-Bak said Thursday. Lee, who is often reviled by Pyongyang as a "traitor", also expressed hope the communist state would regain stability as soon as possible, according to his office. South Korea has made a series of conciliatory gestures, sending its sympathies to the North Korean people for the death and scrapping a plan to display Christmas lights near their shared border. The communist North had denounced the lights plan as "psychological warfare" by its capitalist neighbour. "We have taken such measures basically to show we are not hostile towards North Korea," Lee told a meeting of political leaders. Meanwhile, South Korea's
spy chief has come under fire for questioning North Korea's account of leader Kim Jong-Il's death, as well as failing to learn about his demise before it was officially announced. The North said Monday that the 69year-old Kim had died of a heart attack two days previously while on a train during one of his "field guidance" tours, portraying him as a martyr to duty despite the bitter cold. But National Intelligence Service (NIS) Chief Won Sei-Hoon questioned that version of events, telling a closed parliamentary session Tuesday that Kim's train was spotted stationary at a Pyongyang station at the time of his death. He said the train had not moved on Friday or Saturday. Opposition legislators and some ruling party MPs called for a shake-up of security and foreign posts, after Pyongyang's bombshell announcement Monday took Seoul by surprise.
fatah, Hamas leaders debate PLo reform CAIRO: Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas and Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal were on Thursday to discuss reforming the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) in a bid to allow the Islamist movement to join. The two men began meeting in Cairo at around midday (1000 GMT) for talks marking the culmination of three days of discussions between Hamas, Fatah and the other 13 Palestinian factions aimed at thrashing out a stalled unity deal. Islamic Jihad is also hoping to join the PLO and the group's leader, Ramadan Shallah, will attend the talks along with all the other faction heads, members of the PLO Executive Committee and the speaker of the Palestinian National Council (PNC), Selim Zaanoun. Fatah delegation chief Azzam al-Ahmed said the meeting would look at the possibility of setting up a new PLO leadership body which would be "the first concrete application of the Cairo agreement, of the reconciliation and of the partnership between all the political forces". AFP
Arab observers head to Syria g
At least 21 killed in clashes between defectors and regular troops BEIRUT REUTERS
KATHMANDU: More than one in three south Asians say they were forced to bribe officials in the last year, mainly for services they were legally entitled to, an international anti-graft watchdog said Thursday. A survey released by Berlin-based Transparency International in the Nepalese capital Kathmandu showed bribery has become so endemic that the region is second only to sub-Saharan Africa as the corruption hotspot of the world. The watchdog surveyed 7,800 people in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka and the Maldives, finding 40 percent had paid backhanders over the last 12 months to public servants, with police being the largest recipients. Two thirds of Indians, Bangladeshis and Pakistanis who dealt with the police last year said they had paid bribes to corrupt officers. "With bribery such a big part of life for south Asians, you can see why so many people are angry at their governments for not tackling corruption," said Rukshana Nanayakkara, senior programme coordinator for the watchdog's south Asia region. "People are sick of paying bribes to get on with their daily lives, and they are sick of the sleaze and undue influence of public servants." The survey, entitled "Daily Lives and Corruption: Public Opinion in South Asia" found 62 percent of south Asians believed corruption had got worse over the past three years, with Indians and Pakistanis the most pessimistic. More than 80 percent, however, said they were willing to take action to end corruption. AFP
Syrian troops on Thursday pursued an offensive in a region where activists reported the deadliest assault in a ninemonth-old crackdown on unrest, as the vanguard of an Arab League team set to monitor compliance with a peace plan headed for Damascus. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least 21 people were killed in various incidents in Homs and Idlib, including gunfire during a raid on a village by the army and security forces on Thursday, while soldiers backed by tanks and armored troop carriers swept into the town of Khan Sheikhoun. Thursday's violence shortly before the expected arrival in Damascus of Arab League officials to prepare for a monitoring mission tasked with ensuring Assad makes good on his commitment to a League plan to end the bloodshed.
The plan entails a withdrawal of troops from the streets, release of prisoners and dialogue with the opposition. Arab League sources have said the advance team, led by top League official Samir Seif al-Yazal, would comprise about 10 people, including financial, administrative and legal experts to ensure monitors have free access across Syria. The main group of around 150 observers is to arrive by the end of December. Syria stalled for six weeks before signing a protocol on Monday to admit the monitors. ARAB PEACE MONITORS: The SNC demanded "an emergency U.N. Security Council session to discuss the (Assad) regime's massacres in Jabal al-Zawiyah, Idlib and Homs, in particular" and called for "safe zones" to be set up under international protection. It also said those regions should be declared disaster areas and urged
the International Red Crescent and other relief organizations to provide humanitarian aid. Syrian officials say over 1,000 prisoners have been freed since the plan was agreed six weeks ago and that the army has pulled out of cities. The government promised a parliamentary election early next year as well as constitutional reform which might loosen the ruling Baath Party's grip on power. Syrian pro-democracy activists are deeply skeptical about Assad's commitment to the plan. If implemented, it could embolden demonstrators demanding an end to his 11-year rule, which followed three decades of domination by his father. Assad is from Syria's minority Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shi'ite Islam, and Alawites hold many senior posts in the army that he has deployed to crush the protests mounted mainly by members of the country's Sunni Muslim majority.
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LAhore: Models present creations by Pakistani designers on day four of the PFDC L'oreal Paris Bridal Week. PhotogrAPherS: irFAN Ch & FAiSAL FArooqi Nida Azwer
No good offers for
Veena akin to ‘dhak-dhak girl’ Madhuri Saddam, Gaddafi, Bin Laden: Rakhi LONDON: Rakhi Sawant hit out at Pakistani actress veena Malik, slamming her ‘disappearance’ and comparing her to fallen dictators Saddam Hussein and Colonel Gaddafi. Malik was thoroughly criticised in her home country recently, and reportedly even received death threats, after she appeared on the cover of the Indian fHM magazine ostensibly nude, with an ISI tattoo on her arm. fears grew for her safety after she was reported missing by her manager on Saturday, but she was later found resting in a hotel. following the drama, Rakhi Sawant ranted against her, apart from comparing her to various dictators. “Saddam Hussein was found hiding in a little bunker in Iraq by American troops,” the Mirror quoted Sawant as saying. “osama Bin Laden was found hiding in a house compound in Pakistan by American forces. Muammar Gaddafi was captured by rebel militia while hiding in a drain underneath a road in Libya. And Pakistani starlet veena Malik was found by the Indian media hiding in a suburban hotel in Mumbai.” AGENCIES
MUMBAI: new year’s Eve performances at big parties are huge opportunities for actresses to make mega bucks. Especially for those who aren’t great dancers. Every year, the likes of Kareena Kapoor, Katrina Kaif and Bipasha Basu are offered obscene amounts of money amounting to a few lakhs a minute - to perform at five star hotel
bashes. It seems Madhuri Dixit, who recently shifted base back to Mumbai, wanted to explore this opportunity too. It is learnt that her manager met up with a few organisers and even sent out feelers to a leading event management company about the same. However, Mads’ enthusiasm to dance on a medley of her hits wasn’t received well, as these performances are not about old Bollywood numbers or the Saroj Khan school of dance, but more about sex appeal. A source reveals, “It was an awkward situation for the organisers. they didn’t want to upset her so they simply said that the money wasn’t working out.” An insider admits, “Madhuri is keen to perform at an exclusive event for new year’s eve. She had the whole performance planned out and was willing to negotiate on the moolah, but the response she received wasn’t enthusiastic. the offers she did get though weren’t exciting enough, so she rejected them.” AGENCIES
CoverGirl pulls ‘enhanced’ Taylor Swift mascara ad
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AKISTANI starlet Veena Malik, who has stirred a storm in Pakistan by posing nude for a magazine cover, is now facing the whip of Indian Muslim bodies as well. The All India Muslim Tyohar (Festivals) Committee in Bhopal issued a ‘fatwa’ on Wednesday against the actress for showing disrespect towards the sacred institution of Nikaah (marriage) by singing a contract with a channel for a wedding on National TV. Her nude photographs too have outraged the community that forced her father back home to disown her for shaming him. Majlis-e-Shura, a 70member supreme body of the All India Muslim Tyohar Committee, in Bhopal, was receiving complaints from all corners and was urged to take stringent action against her. Ausaf Shahmiri Khurram, chairman of the Majlis-e-Shura, said, “We were getting complaints from concerned community members who said that the activities of this Pakistani female actor was sending a wrong message to our teenagers, especially girls. The complaints said that there were offensive photographs of this woman all over the internet and that she was going to have a ‘Swayamvar’ on television. Islam has a certain procedure for a Nikaah. We do not have Swayamvar.” The fatwa means that Veena will be socially boycotted. “She has been ex-communicated and no member of the community will entertain her from now onwards,” Khurram said. Calling her a disgrace to Islam, Khurram said, “The extreme step has been taken because the woman has openly revolted against the tenets of Islam and Prophet Mohammad. You are a Muslim only if you follow the rules of the religion. She has made a laughing stock of the community. The social boycott became necessary to stop our community girls from following her example.”
‘Amrika Chalo’: Indian Muslim body issues social comic take on
boycott fatwa on Veena Malik
pakistani filmmaker wins ‘outstanding’ award in asian festival LAHORE STAFF REPORT
Filmmaker Shah Zaman Baloch has been one of the two South Asians to win an award in the Busan International Film Festival whose results were announced in December 2011. The winner of the other award was Ridhesh Sejpal (India). In an interview with Pakistan Today, Baloch said that he was “proud and extremely happy” to win an Outstanding Performance Award for the category of Cinematographer. He was working
WASHINGTON: A mascara ad featuring taylor Swift has been pulled from US magazines following a complaint that it had been digitally altered to enhance the looks of the chart-topping country music star. the national Advertising Division (nAD) of the Council of Better Business Bureaus Claims said Proctor and Gamble, maker of CoverGirl cosmetics, “discontinued the advertisement in question” after it challenged its claims. “the advertising at issue featured a celebrity looking up to highlight her long eyelashes,” it said in a statement tuesday, referring to Swift, 22, a clean-living role model for many young American women. “Beneath was the disclaimer, ‘lashes enhanced in post-production,’” it added. the division, a selfregulatory forum for the ad industry, had questioned CoverGirl’s claim that its natureLuxe Mousse Mascara doubled the volume of bare lashes and that it was 20 percent lighter than “the most expensive mascara”. AGENCIES
with a team in a film called Keepers. “In all there were about 24 film makers who took part in this film festival,” said Baloch. “We had to make a film together divided into teams, and there were categories for awards out of which I won from Cinematographer.” Baloch received around 5,000USD for his award which could be for personal use or for taking another course. The course which is held annually in South Korea and is one of the most significant film festivals in Asia aims to introduce new films and first time directors.
Grammys to honour late Steve Jobs for
contribution to music LOS ANGELES: the Grammys will pay special tribute to late Apple founder Steve Jobs, Brazil’s tom Jobim - of [Girl from Ipanema’ fame - and US singer Diana Ross at the upcoming awards show, the organisation announced wednesday. the Apple co-founder and mind behind the wildly popular iPod, iPad and iPhone died in october after battling pancreatic cancer. Jobs, a trustees Award honouree, will be remembered as having helped “create products and technology that transformed the way we consume music, tv, movies, and books,” a statement from the national Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences said. Lifetime Achievement Awards will be given to the Allman Brothers Band, country crooner Glen Campbell, Antonio Carlos Jobim, country star George Jones, soul stars the Memphis Horns, Ross and rap trailblazer Gil Scott-Heron, at the 54th edition of the awards fete. AGENCIES
Pak-US ties LAHORE STAFF REPORT
Ajoka opened its new play ‘Amrika Chalo’ (‘Destination America’) at Al Hamra on Thursday evening much to the delight of theatre lovers. After a long time Ajoka has performed a new play which was a refreshing change in the theatre scene in the city. The play, written and directed by Shahid Nadeem, was a hit and was termed a “serious comedy”. Amrika Chalo is a satirical response to the lovehate relationship between Pakistan and the US dilemma. Pakistanis will always hate US policies but when it comes down to the real question many would opt for settling down in the US. Meanwhile, the list for hating America is long and unending: military interventions, “do more” demands, drone attacks, etc. But the play did not end up being a poltical statement about international politics or US-Pak relations. Instead, it is a light-hearted, self-critical view of double standards and hypocrisy on both sides.
Ali Abbas displays work at Ejaz Art Gallery LAHORE STAFF REPORT
Ali Abbas opened his exhibition of sketches in sepia, colour, and black and white at the Ejaz Art Gallery at 5:30 pm on Thursday. The exhibition was visited by many including the artist himself who is from Karachi. Abbas has opened an exhibition previously also on the same lines, however this collection is slightly different where shades are concerned, said Zarah David from Ejaz Art, also an artist herself. The series is a collection of drawings and paintings of rural life, especially based on the artists own childhood spent in a rural village of Sindh. His art works were appreciated by many people who came to view them.
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friday, 23 December, 2011
Kvitova named Czech Athlete of the year Page 20
India may try to sabotage BD tour: Zaheer
Pakistan come from behind to stun China
I should have spoken to ICC, says Zulqarnain
Pakistan’s former Test captain Zaheer Abbas fears that the Indian Cricket Board might try to sabotage plans by Bangladesh to send their team here next year in April. Zaheer, who married an Indian national, said the Pakistan Cricket Board should never rule out the possibility of the Indians exerting influence over Bangladesh when the time came to making the final decision. PCB Chairman Zaka Ashraf recently met his Bangladesh board counterpart Mostafa Kamal after which it was announced by the BCB that it would be sending its team to Pakistan next year subject to clearance by a security delegation that will visit Pakistan in January. The BCB apparently accepted Pakistan’s invitation after the PCB agreed to not field a candidate for the post of vicepresident and President of the ICC. According to ICC regulations, Pakistan and Bangladesh have to nominate a joint candidate for the post by December 31. The PCB has agreed to accept Mostafa Kamal as joint candidate for the ICC positions. "I think there’s a possibility of undue Indian influence over the Bangladesh Cricket Board, which is worrying,” Zaheer reported to have said. "Bangladesh may end up backing out of the tour because of this influence after obtaining PCB’s support over the ICC presidency," the former captain cautioned. Former captain Rashid Latif has also voiced concerns that it will be interesting to see if Bangladesh keep their part of the bargain when the time comes. "Let us see what happens. There is no doubt we need to have an international team playing in Pakistan soon. But we have to see if the Bangladesh board meet their commitment because the joint candidate’s name will be sent to the ICC by December 31," Latif said.
Out of favour Pakistan wicketkeeper Zulqarnain Haider still believes that he was right in abandoning the team last year. He said he had no regrets over his conduct during the 2010 series against South Africa in the United Arab Emirates, but admitted that he could have tackled the situation in a better manner. "I still stand by my decision to leave the team in UAE. This was done for the betterment of Pakistani cricket," PakPassion quoted Haider, as saying. "In retrospect, I think I should have spoken to the ICC and this is what I will do should a situation similar to the one in Dubai arise again. Pakistani cricket is getting better due to the strict security policies of Zaka Ashraf and hopefully these problems [corruption] will be reduced or disappear completely," he added. Haider had fled from his team's hotel in Dubai after allegedly receiving security threats from bookmakers just before the fifth and final One Day International between Pakistan and South Africa. The Pakistan Cricket Board, however, imposed a fine and reprimanded him for making false accusations after conducting a probe into the issue. Haider is now looking forward to comeback in the international cricket after giving a spectacular performance in the ongoing Quaid-e-Azam Trophy. "I am the best domestic wicket keeper at the moment, I am hoping that the new Chairman of PCB, Mr. Zaka Ashraf, will take note of my performances in domestic cricket. I am aware that the Board and selectors have their eyes on the best performers. So I am hoping that they will pay attention to my performance this season as well," Haider said.
KARACHI: Liu Xiantang (R) of China and Muhammad Rizwan of Pakistan fight for ball during the second hockey match. afp KARACHI
AKISTAN came from two goals down to beat a much improved China 5-3, taking 2-0 lea in a four-match series that marks the first international hockey series in the country for seven years. Forwards Waqas Sharif and Haseem Khan hit two goals each with Ali Shah netting once to lead Pakistan's fightback after China dominated initial play with two goals by the 11th minute. China struck in the third minute when striker Dong Yang scored off the first penalty corner, going under the feet of Pakistani goalkeeper Salman Akbar, who had a miserable match. Liu Xiang Tang doubled the lead in the 11th minute when he sneaked past Pakistan's defence to score a field goal, much to the shock of Pakistan. Awoken by their rivals' sudden surge, Pakistan struck three times within the next 14 minutes as Khan (14
and 28 minutes) and Waqas Sharif (23 minutes) put Pakistan ahead with 3-2. Yang pulled one back in the 54th minute in a slick move from the forward line before Sharif ended the score with another field goal in the 56th minute. Pakistan won the first match 3-0 on Wednesday in Karachi, in the first international hockey hosted by Pakistan in seven years. The remaining two matches will be played in Faisalabad on Saturday and Lahore on Sunday. Pakistan, who last hosted an international hockey game in 2004, hopes the Chinese tour will help convince other foreign teams to visit. Dr. Ishrat-ul-Ibad, Sindh Governor, who was the chief guest of the match, announced the laying of a new blue astro-turf at Hockey Club of Pakistan Stadium here as the latest development in international hockey. He made the announcement after meeting Pakistan and Chinese hockey teams at the conclusion of second hockey test at HCP. "Sindh Government
will be providing funding for the new turf at HCP replacing the current green turf which was laid here in 2004," he told reporters. He said Pakistan and China are old friends and visit of the Chinese team to this country will further strengthen the friendship and brotherly ties. He said playing of Chinese team in Pakistan will bolster the sports and help in the revival of international sporting activities here. Sindh Governor said it was heartening to see sports and hockey activities in Pakistan. He complimented Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) in their effort to promote hockey and develop the infrastructure. Sindh Sports Minister Dr. Muhammad Ali hailed the announcement o the Governor on lying of a new blue turf in the stadium. "The laying of new turf will boost the game of hockey and increase activities," Dr. Shah said. The third match of the series will be played at Faisalabad Hockey Stadium, Faisalabad, on December 24 at 1400 hours.
Inzamam, not Tendulkar close to Bradman MELBOURNE
Australian great Sir Don Bradman himself declared that Sachin Tendulkar reminded him of his own batting style but former English cricketer Tony Shillinglaw chooses to disagree. He has argued through a study that technique wise both the players are as different as chalk and cheese. Shillinglaw, who is a coach now, has conducted an extensive biomechanical study of Bradman's technique and claims that actually it is Pakistan's Inzamam-ul Haq, who comes close to Bradman's batting style. Shillinglaw says that the only striking similarity between Bradman and Tendulkar is that both the players are good watchers of the ball but the Indian is actually confined by orthodoxy. "It's almost become a myth that if you're watching Tendulkar, you're watching Bradman. Well, there is very little comparison when you do so. Tendulkar is basically textbook, whereas Bradman used a rotary method in preparing to hit the ball," Shillinglaw was quoted as saying in 'Sydney Morning Herald'. "What you get with that is it becomes just a human instinct to react to the ball,
Pietersen commits to Surrey
and in the end that's the basis of Bradman's method. It's a circular motion. He didn't learn to bat, he learned to control the ball." Bradman had said in an interview in 1996 that after being struck by
Tendulkar's technique, he had asked his wife to look at the Indian's batting style and she also agreed that there were similarities. Shillinglaw, who analysed Bradman at length and had scientists at
Liverpool's John Moores University recreate his strokes, accepts there are some facets of Bradman's batting that resonate in Tendulkar. But, technically, he says, they are very different.
England star Kevin Pietersen has committed his future to Surrey for as long as he remains an international player, it was confirmed on Thursday. Pietersen is currently a centrally contracted player with England and has no fixed term for his county career at Surrey. However Surrey announced in a statement that Pietersen, 31, had pledged to remain with the county for the duration of his central contract with England, which is reviewed every 12 months. "England batsman Kevin Pietersen has extended his contract with Surrey County Cricket Club until the end of his central contract with England," Surrey said in a statement. Pietersen joined Surrey on loan in 2010 after a spell at Hampshire before agreeing a one-year deal for 2011. "Surrey is a fantastic club and I have been really impressed with the environment and work ethic in place," Pietersen said. "Their recent success is well deserved and I look forward to working with them in 2012."
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Imran praises forwards for turnaround KARACHI
APTAIN Muhammad Imran was elated with his forwards’ firepower as they blasted five goals in Pakistan's 5-3 win over fighting Chinese team in the second hockey test at Hockey Club of Pakistan on Thursday. "Our forwards were at their best and they showed their true potential," Imran told reporters after the match here. Both Haseem Khan and Waqas Sharif were outstanding in the field contributing spectacular field goals. Ali Shan contributed the other goal also with field effort. "The team needed consistency and we working on our mistakes. This four-match test series will help us prepare and build the team for London Olympics," he maintained. "The coming Azlan Shah Cup and then long European trip and appearance of in four-nation event in England will help us prepare well for Olympics," full-back Muhammad Imran said. He said China is good team and they really came back and gained a 2-0 lead. But thanks to our forwards and team effort Pakistan came from behind to win. Responding to a question about replacing Salman Akhar with young goalkeeper Imran Shah, he said team was trying of different combinations to pick the best lot for London Olympics. "We played well in the first 15 minutes and scored two goals. But as you know Pakistan is top team and the came back strongly to emerge winners," China Captain Song Yi
KARACHI STAFF REPORT
ISLAMABAD: Players stand in queue during the opening ceremony of the Shaheed Benzair Bhutto International Boxing tournament at Pakistan Sports Complex. OnLIne commented. "Our boys showed good rhythm and we are happy that we were able to score three goals," he said. "We hope to further improve in coming test matches and may be able to offer some challenge," he
said. The Chinese side is preparing for 2012 London Olympic qualifier being staged in Japan early next year. "We are hoping to join Pakistan in London Olympics with good show in Japan,"
sports in brief Michel resigns nathiagali Cycle Race from today from Equatorial Guinea post again LIBREVILLE AFP
Henri Michel has resigned as coach of Equatorial Guinea for the second time in recent months due to "repeat interference" in his job, insiders close to the Frenchman said late Wednesday. The news will come as a blow to the African minnows, who will co-host the three-week African Cup of Nations with Gabon beginning on January 21 and were competing in the competition for the first time. Michel, the former coach of France, Morocco, Cameroon and Ivory Coast, first announced his resignation in October after complaining of "external interference". He made an about-turn barely a week later, pledging to honour his contract until the end of the tournament after being given guarantees he would be left to his own devices. Michel took up the post in January 2011 after replacing Paraguayan Carlos Lobo Diarte and was given the task of leading Equatorial Guinea -- ranked 155th in the world and 41st among African nations by FIFA -- past the tournament's first round.
Karachi Kings, Gym veterans match tomorrow
PESHAWAR: The 32km third edition of the King of Mountains Abbottabad to Nathiagali Cycle Race will commence from Abbottabad Education Board premises on Friday (Dec 23) under the aegis of the Khyber PK Cycling Association, President Khyber PK Cycling Association, Syed Azhar Ali said. Teams from Army, Railways, Sui Southern Gas, WAPDA, Islamabad, FATA, Punjab. Sindh, Balochistan, and host Khyber PK have arrived and they too expected Afghanistan on special invitation but they could not make it because of their internal association problem. The Abbottabad to Nathiagali Race will be followed by the Champion of Hill race to be paddled off from Islamabad to Murree on December 25. APP
Subh-e-nau tennis from Sunday ISLAMABAD: The seven day Subh-e-Nau National Hard Court Tennis Championship will be played at CDGK Sports Complex Tennis Courts, Kashmir road from Sunday. Mrs. Shahida Kausar Farooq, Chairperson Subh-e-Nau (SN), said in a statement on Thursday that this is a feature tournament which SN hosts every year. "The tournament will feature players in five different categories including men's singles, ladies singles, men's doubles, boys' under-18 and boys' juniors' under-14. She said that we expect a good show for our tournament as most of players from whole country. Finals of the tournament will be played on December 31. APP
Mayweather sentenced to 90 days LAS VEGAS: Unbeaten American boxing champion Floyd Mayweather has been sentenced to three months in jail Wednesday after pleading guilty to domestic violence and harassment charges. Las Vegas judge Melissa Saragosa also ordered May-
modest Song Yi through an interpreter. Chinese and Pakistan teams will leave for Faisalabad on Friday for the third test to played there on Saturday and final test will be staged at Lahore on Sunday.
weather to complete 100 hours of community service and gave him a $2,500 fine. The plea means the 34-year-old boxer will not go to trial on charges he hit his ex-girlfriend and threatened two of their children during an argument at her home 15 months ago. Mayweather, who is in line for a possible fight with Filipino superstar Manny Pacquiao, is the current World Boxing Council welterweight champ and has a record of 42 wins. AFP
Peshawar clinch Girls Athletics PESHAWAR: Peshawar recorded 32 points and won the overall trophy while both Farukh of Hazara and Sumbal of Mardan were declared joint best athletes in the Higher Education Department Inter-Girls Athletics Championship here at Qayyum Sports Complex on Thursday. Director Higher Education Ghulam Qasim Marwat was the chief guest on this occasion who formally inaugurated the event in which a total of 44 colleges in four different zones took part. One team each qualified for the final round of Athletics event held here. The athletes of the seven zones comprising Peshawar zone, Mardan Zone, Malakand Zone, Hazara Zone, Kohat Zone and Dera Ismail Khan Zone took part in the Championship. It was the second occasion that the Directorate of Higher Education organizing the event. APP
LCCA Super Cricket League LAHORE: Tauseef Club advanced in the LCCA Super Cricket League when they beat Servis Colts by four wickets in exciting match at Wahdat Colony ground on Wednesday. Fine batting by M Waqas Khan, Shehzad Muhayuddin and equally good bowling by Sheraz Baig were the main feature of the match. Tauseef Club has already won the match against Lucky Star Club and New Union Club. STAFF REPORT
Benazir Bhutto Boxing gets underway ISLAMABAD APP
KARACHI: Chinese hockey team with Sindh Governor Dr Ishratul Ibad and PHf president Qasim Zia. OnLIne
The second Shaheed Benazir Bhutto International Boxing Championship began here at the Liaquat Gymnasium of Pakistan Sports Complex. The tournament is a continuation of mega sporting event held 2010 in Karachi being organised under the supervision of the Pakistan Boxing Federation (PBF) in collaboration with the International Boxing Association (AIBA) and the Asian Boxing Confederation. PBF president Doda Khan said that their focus was to rejuvenate sports in the youth of Pakistan. The event stared with countries entering the halls with their flags. More than a 100 boxers from all over the world were at the opening ceremony. JAL, the official band of this event, performed well. The event included a large audience from sporting community of Pakistan. Director General Pakistan Sports Board, Amir Hamza Gilani who inaugurated the event said: "We intend to send a message of peace to international community and promote boxing in Pakistan as it has already earned the highest number of medals in sports for Pakistan.”
The Pakistan Veterans Cricket Association is organising the third Super Veterans (over 60 years) T20 cricket match on Sunday. This will be the third match to be officially played between the two teams of over 60 years. This match will be played under ICC T20 rules (with the exception of each team comprising 12 players) by teams of Karachi Gymkhana and Karachi Kings of over-60 cricketers at the Karachi Gymkhana Cricket Ground on Sunday, December 25, at 11:00 am. Chairman PVCA Fawad Ijaz Khan has announced the names of Karachi Kings Super Veterans and Karachi Gymkhana teams for the match. Karachi Gymkhana will be led by former Test captain Zaheer Abbas and Karachi Kings by former Test cricketer Sadiq Muhammad. Former Test cricketer Waqar Hassan will be the chief guest and will distribute prizes at the conclusion of the match at 4:00 p.m. Qamar Ahmed will be match referee and umpires will be Riazuddin and Mehboob Shah. The teams are: Karachi Gymkhana: Zaheer Abbas (captain), Masroor Mirza (vice captain), Islahuddin Siddiqui, Jamil Gul, Dr. Faiz Muhammad Khan, Mian Muhammad Sharif, Altaf Agha, Mir Haider Ali Talpur, Akber Mahmood , Akbar Pesnani, Iqbal Agha, Muzaffar Alam and Akhtar Shah. Karachi Kings: Sadiq Muhammad (captain), Brig (retd) Salahuddin (vice captain), Lt. Gen (retd) Tariq Waseem Ghazi, Salim Ullah, Asad Ashraf Malik, Mutaqqi Hussian, Fasihullah Siddiqui, Rafiq Allah Rakhah, Dr. Nizamuddin, Ajmal Nazir, Nasir Shah, Ikram Ullah, and Dr. Sabih Nasr.
Jazz celebrates the success of Pakistan Cricket in 2011 LAHORE STAFF REPORT
Mobilink Jazz management felicitated Pakistan cricket team on their exceptional performance throughout the year 2011. The team overcame a host of on-field and off-field troubles to succeed across all formats throughout the year, culminating with the clean sweep of the Bangladesh series. Team Green ended the year 2011 as the most successful ODI team of the year, having won 24 of their 32 matches in the year, with the highlight being their incredible run in the World Cup. Pakistan’s Test series wins over Sri Lanka and Bangladesh also saw the team rise on the ICC Test rankings to the fifth spot, which is the team’s best ranking since March 2009. There were a number of notable performers in 2011, with the most prominent of these being Saeed Ajmal and Mohammad Hafeez. Other highlights of the year included Shahid Afridi’s match winning performances and the astute and commendable leadership of Misbah ul Haq. Moied Javeed, Mobilink’s Director Marketing (Jazz) said: “Pakistan’s cricket team has performed exceptionally well in 2011 and Jazz takes pride in bringing this cricket to the people of Pakistan.” Mobilink has a long standing commitment to the game of cricket in Pakistan and is also the official cellular service partner for the Pakistan Cricket Board. Jazz has been at the forefront of promoting cricket in Pakistan, having previously contributed towards strengthening Pakistan’s domestic cricket infrastructure as well as developing cricket stars for the future through talent hunt activities in partnership with the PCB.
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Kvitova named Czech Athlete of year PRAGUE AFP
Reigning Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, the world number two in the WTA tennis rankings, won the Czech Athlete of the Year prize at a ceremony on Wednesday. Kvitova beat mountain biker Jaroslav Kulhavy, the 2011 world and European champion and World Cup winner, and speed-skating world champion Martina Sablikova for the prize. The 21year-old Kvitova also led the Czech women's tennis team to the Team of the Year prize after clinching the Fed Cup trophy following a 3-2 win over Russia in Moscow in November.
Moin’s journey from US close to a glorious finish LAHORE
OIN Khan, a Pakistani American, on a mission to reduce the widening gap between the two countries, has entered the Pakistan territory from Iran and in the next couple of days he will reach Lahore, the place of his destiny. On June 10, 2011, Moin picked all his stuff and started a journey from San Francisco, United States, on a bike, to Lahore. He wanted to portray the soft image of Pakistan, to project to the world that Pakistanis are peace loving people. Pakistanis the world over are seen and treated with suspicion due to the negative news that filters through the world media about our country. “My journey across three continents and 20 countries has been to dispel this negative image of our country and to bridge the gap that resides both within the minds of people abroad and those within Pakistan who view the rest of the world with a negative mindset. I have met some incredible people of all nationalities, ethnicities and religions who have showered great kindnesses upon this complete stranger and amassed a treasure trove of stories and anecdotes from my travels that I have been sharing with thousands of people across the world and in Pakistan.” “As a Pakistani, I was deeply disturbed by the fact that after having been shown cooperation and extraordinary kindnesses by governments
and people of over 20 countries, the Pakistan customs at the Iran/Pak border (Taftan) restricted the entry of my bike into Pakistan. But after a couple of hours, thanks to my supporters I have finally arrived at my destination, Pakistan,” said Moin on his Facebook page. “Tehran was actually pretty fun. Ate a week’s food in two days. Met some strangers, went to their house, had dinners and made the two month old cry,” he added.
Ushna goes down fighting in Djibouti semis LAHORE STAFF REPORT
Pakistan’s national champion Ushna Suhail lost her doubles semi-finals of the International Tennis Tournament, Women’s Circuit, at Djibouti, Africa. Ushna participated in her first International Tennis Tournament, in Djibouti, Africa. In the semifinals of doubles, Ushna and her partner Aashmitha from India played against the second seeds Poojashree of India and Alexandra Romanova of Russia. In the first set, both sides fought well but Ushna and her partner were over powered by their opponents and reached a score of 6-3. In the second set, the Indo-Pak pair were 0-2 down but came back to make it even at 2-2. From there on, both sides played aggressive tennis at the net and baseline. Most of the games ended in deuce but the well-experienced second seeds won the set and the match by 6-3 and 6-2.
Army, wAPDA play goalless draw LAHORE STAFF REPORT
Army and WAPDA played a goalless draw in the 8th Pakistan Premier Football League on Thursday. Both Army and WAPDA playing at the Jinnah Football Stadium, Islamabad, did not get any breakthroughs but they managed to get a point each for the drawn game.
Australian player Shane warne (R rear) and fiancee Liz Hurley (L rear) stand with warne's children Summer (L), Jackson (2/L), Brooke (R) and Hurley's son Damien (2/R) at the unveiling of a statue of warne outside the MCG. afp
Warne unveils weighty likeness MELBOURNE AFP
EWLY-SVELTE Australian legspin legend Shane Warne joked that a hefty bronze statue of him unveiled at the Melbourne Cricket Ground Thursday was a "lifelike" memento of his time in Test cricket. "It's 300 kilos that statue, it's pretty lifelike for when I played," said Warne, who drastically slimmed down after he began dating his now-fiancee Liz Hurley. "It's a great honour, it's a bit weird seeing yourself up there, but I'm very proud." The statue depicts Warne in his pomp -- with earring, dated hairstyle and paunch -- and he joins 10 other Australian sporting greats including cricketers Don Bradman and Dennis Lillee who have been immortalised outside the MCG. Warne, 42, reminisced about his best moments at the ground, including his breakthrough 7-52 to beat the West Indies in 1992-93, his hat-trick against England in 1994 and his 700th Test wicket in 2006. Hurley and Warne's children were on hand to witness him unveiling the statue with the help of Mark Taylor, capatin for much of the spinner's Test career. "I'm glad we sat for there for about four hours measuring between my nose and my ears, so thank you very much," Warne joked with sculptor Louis Laumen. Rated one of the five best cricketers of the 20th century by cricket bible Wisden, Warne took a pioneering 708 Test wickets in a 145-Test career that made him the scourge of batsmen worldwide. He bowed out of professional cricket with the Indian Premier League's Rajasthan Royals in May, only to announce his comeback last month with the Melbourne Stars in Australia's Twenty20 Big Bash League. Known as much for his off-field antics as his prodigious cricket talent, the formerly chubby smoker has always been sensitive about his weight. Warne recently shed 12 kilogrammes (26lbs) after swapping alcohol and fast food for water and health shakes.
Aqeel crushes Thangarjah in UBL Tennis KARACHI STAFF REPORT
Syed Zohair Raza and Adil Kohari stormed into the final of the Junior U-18 event by beating their respective opponents in the semi-finals of UBL International Hard Court Tennis Championship at Karachi Gymkhana courts. The third seed and coming tennis star from Karachi Syed Zohair Raza registered the major up set of the tournament when he eliminated top seed Muhammad Muddasir of Multan without conceding a single game in both sets at 6-0, 6-0 by displaying powerful service, excellent combination of vollies and a numbers of winners from the base line. Muddasir made a number of unforced errors and most of his
returns went out or in the nets. Syed Zohair moved to the final where he will face second seed Adil Kohari who won the best match of the tournament against Ahmed Chaurdary in thrilling three set match. Both the players displayed quality tennis and were appreciated for their good shots. The match lasted two hours and 20 mins. Top seed Syed Nofil Kaleem, an upcoming player from Islamabad, won the under-14 title when he eliminated Dawar Rehan of Karachi in straight sets 6-3, 6-1. Nofil, who is member of Pakistan under-14 team which will participate in the ATF under-14 championship at Qatar from December 24, played outstanding tennis in the final. He won the first set 6-3 breaking the game of
Dawar. He kept the same pressure in the second set and won the set at 6-1 by breaking 4th and 5th game of the set. Nofil is ranked 41st in Asia. In the men’s singles event, M Mushtaq Abid from Lahore caused a major upset when he outplayed second seed Yasir Khan of Karachi in a well contested match. Abid beat the 1st seed 6-3. In the final set Abid displayed world class tennis and did not allow Yasir to settle down throughout the set with his powerful service and cross court and down-the-line shoots. He won the final set easily at 6-1. He will face top seed Aqeel Khan in the final on 24th at 2pm. In the second semi-final, top seed Aqeel Khan beat Thangrajah Dinsehkant (SRI) in straight sets 6-1, 6-2.
RESULTS Men’s singles–semi-final matches: Aqeel Khan beat Thangarjah Dinsehkant (SRI) 6-1, 6-2. M. Abid Mushtaq beat Yasir Khan 6-3, 3-6, 6-1. Junior U-18 singles–semi-finals matches: Syed Zohair Raza beat Muhammmad Muddasir, 6-0, 6-0. Adil Kohari beat Ahmed Chaudhary 2-6,6-4.7-5. Boys U-14 singles–final: Syed Nofil Kaleem beat Dawar Rehan 6-3, 6-1. Men’s doubles–semi-final matches: Ladies single semi-final matches: Maheen Dada beat Hania Naveed 6-1, 6-1. Saba Aziz beat Hasindhi Lokuge 6-1, 6-2.
KHI 23-12-2011_Layout 1 12/23/2011 1:58 AM Page 21
friday, 23 December, 2011
Five-star United stay in race LONDON AFP
ANCHESTER City maintained their two-point lead at the top of the Premier League with a 3-0 defeat of Stoke as rivals Manchester United destroyed Fulham 5-0 to stay in touch. City ensured they will lead the top-flight at Christmas for the first time since 1929 after wrapping up all three points courtesy of two goals from Sergio Aguero either side of a long-range strike from Adam Johnson. "We are happy but as I said three days ago it's important to stay top at the end of the season," City manager Roberto Mancini said. "But for our supporters I think it's a good Christmas. If we want to win the championship we should get 90 points because Manchester United keep winning." Manchester United enjoyed a similarly routine stroll at Craven Cottage, crushing Fulham to stay in second place. Danny Welbeck fired United ahead on five minutes, the England striker sweeping in Nani's low cross after the Portuguese winger took flight on a solo run down the right wing. Nani doubled the lead on 28 minutes before Ryan Giggs scored the 19,999th goal in Premier League history to make it 3-0 just before half-time as United piled on the agony for the Cottagers. A 35-yard wonder strike from Wayne Rooney made it 4-0 before Dimitar Berbatov completed the scoring with a cheeky
LonDon: Manchester United's Antonio valencia (L) vies with fulham's striker Moussa Dembele (R) during the English Premier League football match. afp back-heeled fifth. Sir Alex Ferguson described United's victory as "one of our best performances of the season." "It's not an easy place to come to. But tonight the players were right on song," Ferguson said. Fifth-placed Arsenal meanwhile went level on points with fourthplaced Chelsea after a last-gasp 2-1 win over Aston Villa. Arsenal captain Robin van Persie shot the Gunners ahead from the penalty spot on 17 minutes after Ciaran
pSG top as montpellier slip-up
Beckham could sign PSG contract in Doha PARIS AFP
David Beckham is expected to attend next month's Qatar ATP Open in Doha where he could sign for the Qatari-backed French league leaders Paris Saint Germain. The 36-year-old's presence at the January 2-8 ATP tournament was suggested to AFP by a source close to Qatar Sports Investments (QSI), PSG's majority shareholder on Thursday. The president of the Qatar Tennis Federation, Nasser Al-Khelaifi, is also head of QSI. French newspapers on Wednesday had trumpeted Beckham's imminent arrival at PSG. Reports indicate he will sign a lucrative 5 million euro deal in early January.
Clark pulled down Theo Walcott. But Villa came back strongly in the second half and Marc Albrighton's 54th minute strike -- the 20,000th goal in Premier League history -- got Alex McLeish's side back on level terms. Yet just as it looked as if Arsenal would be forced to settle for a draw, Yossi Benayoun headed in van Persie's corner on 87 minutes to clinch all three points for the Londoners to make it eight wins from their
last 10 games. At the DW Stadium, a defiant Liverpool side rallied around embattled striker Luis Suarez but the Merseysiders were held to a frustrating 0-0 draw by Wigan. Suarez, banned for eight matches on Tuesday after being found guilty of racially abusing Manchester United's Patrice Evra, lined up for Liverpool but was unable to break the deadlock as the Reds were left ruing a missed penalty. Wigan goalkeeper Ali Al-Habsi was the hero for the Latics, saving Charlie Adam's spot-kick to help earn Roberto Martinez' side a precious point. It was a disappointing result for Kenny Dalglish's team, who had warmed up wearing "Suarez 7" shirts in a show of support for the Uruguayan. At St James Park, Newcastle's Senegalese striker Demba Ba maintained his phenomenal Premier League goalscoring record but it was not enough to prevent the Magpies crashing to a 3-2 defeat against West Brom. The Baggies went ahead on 20 minutes, Peter Odemwingie supplying a cool finish after a defencesplitting through ball from Chris Brunt. Newcastle got back on level terms in the 34th minute, Ba grabbing his 12th of the season with a curling free-kick. West Brom were back in front on the stroke of halftime however, Gareth McAuley nodding in from close range. Ba looked to have earned a point for Newcastle with his second on 81 minutes but West Brom's Austrian midfielder Paul Scharner snatched victory with an 85th-minute winner.
Montpellier ended the first half of the season on a low note with a 4-2 loss at Evian on Wednesday in a result that let Paris Saint Germain claim the kudos of going into the recess as 'winter champions'. On the day that Qatari-backed PSG were reported in the local media to have secured the services of David Beckham in the January transfer window the capital-side eked out a 1-0 win at Saint Etienne. Mathieu Bodmer helped PSG into an ultimately decisive 32nd minute lead when in a goalmouth scramble his header hit the left post with Saint Etienne goalkeeper Stephan Ruffier fumbling in vain to stop the ball crossing his line. Ruffier was 'awarded' an own goal for his trouble as PSG secured the luxury of looking down on their rivals at Christmas for the first time since 1996-97. The hard earned result lifted them up to 40 points, three clear of the surprise packages of the campaign so far, Montpellier. Despite losing some of their edge, this Evian reverse came on the back
of defeat to Valenciennes and a 1-1 draw with Toulouse, the Provencal side have won 11 and drawn four to sit second heading into 2012. Defending champions Lille ended the first half of their title defence with a 4-4 stalemate against strugglers Nice to leave the northern side four points off the pace in third. Former serial champions Lyon are one point back in fourth after coming unstuck 1-0 at midtable Valenciennes. Rennes, 1-0 winners over Bordeaux, are fourth, with Marseille, who had such a wretched start to their campaign, having broken into the top five on Tuesday with a 3-1 victory at Nancy. At home, Montpellier twice gave away the lead against resilient oppsoition in the shape of promoted side Evian. After a scoreless first half Younes Belhanda put the hosts in control two minutes after the break, only for Cedric Barbosa to level for Evian five minutes later. France international Olivier Giroud had Montpellier back in front immediately after but goals from Saber Khlifa, Cedric Cambon and Brice Dja Djedje in the space of just six minutes did it for Montpellier. For Giroud that took his tally up to 13 for the campaign, one more than his haul over all of last season. But that was scant consoliation for him. "It was a mass drowning, there were too many defensive errors, we couldn't hope for better this evening," he said. "We're frustrated because we led twice and we weren't able to control the match."
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England captain terry fighting for career
England football captain John Terry faces the "battle of his life" after prosecutors said he would face criminal charges over claims he racially abused QPR defender Anton Ferdinand, Britain's press said Thursday. Wednesday's announcement, which came a day after Liverpool striker Luis Suarez was banned for eight matches for racially abusing Manchester United defender Patrice Evra, proves, however, that British football is taking a lead in dealing with racism, Fleet Street agreed. "In the age of the celebrity footballer, few players have commanded more coverage... than John Terry," said the Independent's Sam Wallace. "But the charges laid against him yesterday by the Crown Prosecution Service represent the battle of his life." All newspapers were in agreement that Terry would never captain England again if found guilty, and Wallace also suggested it would dash his long-term dream of managing Chelsea, his domestic club. Popular tabloid The Sun said the ruling was a "nightmare" for the Football Association (FA), particularly if the matter is adjourned when Terry appears in court on February 1, four weeks before England play the Netherlands in a friendly match.
Offbeat sporting moments in 2011 PARIS AFP
From the malign to the ridiculous, the madcap to the simply weird - there was no shortage of offbeat moments in world sport in 2011, from fining a coach not money but pigs for misdemeanours to eccentric Englishmen playing cricket in the sea. HERE'S A SUMMARy OF STRANGE SPORTING HIGHLIGHTS OF THE PAST 12 MONTHS.
CRICKET CRICKETERS' DAMP DESIGNS their test counterparts are no longer all at sea, having claimed the Ashes. But a flotilla of eccentric Englishmen took to the waves to contest one of the silliest fixtures of all - playing cricket under water. the annual match takes place on Bramble Bank, a tiny patch of sand that emerges for 30 minutes at the year's lowest tide in the Solent, separating the south coast of mainland England from the Isle of wight. Every September, the Royal Southern yacht Club meet the Island Sailing Club, using a few square metres of soggy sand several nautical miles away from dry land. "the fact is, this is total nonsense, and total nonsense is extremely enjoyable," said umpire Philip Gage of the seven overs a side contest. Batting for the Royal Southern was Sir Robin KnoxJohnston, the first man to circumnavigate the globe non-stop single-handed. He scored a duck, noting "the key to the bowling is to pitch it just at the edge of a puddle."
FOOTBALL SIMPLy THE BEST? yES, PRIME MINISTER Such is the financial might of the football world these days it' only natural the sport should attract the rich and the powerful. But the sycophancy which can follow reached new heights in Bulgaria,
where prime minister Boiko Borisov was nominated the country's best player. Borisov does have some affinity for the beautiful game - he occasionally turns out for third-division side vitosha Bistritsa. But he was never a Hristo Stoichkov and admitted his nomination ahead of the likes of Manchester United striker Dimitar Berbatov was a bit over the top. Borisov said: "this vote does not show Borisov is the best footballer but that Bulgarian football needs reforming and to be run differently." yes, prime minister
RUGBy UNION PIGGING OUT England players who step out of line at major tournaments 'merely' suffer a tabloid lynching and, as Mike tindall knows to his cost, can pick up a fine for their trouble. Samoan manager Mathew vaea didn't have to dig into his pocket after the world Cup in new Zealand after allegations of misconduct. Instead he was symbolically fined ... 100 pigs by his home village. Leaders in the Pacific island nation's Leauva'a village ordered vaea to pay 100 sows for tarnishing the chiefly title of "tuala" earlier bestowed on him after the team failed to reach the quarter-finals. Instead of taking piggies to market vaea handed over 2,000 Samoan tala (840 dollars) equivalent to their value.
ATHLETICS IT'S NOT A RECORD; IT'S A GIRL Amber Miller took a modest 6hr 23min to finish the Chicago Marathon - then gave birth the same evening to a baby girl. the 27-year-old had her doctor's permission to compete in her eighth marathon, despite being 39 weeks pregnant. 'It was the longest day of my life," Miller told the Chicago tribune, adding that the race had been easier than labour.
NEVER TOO yOUNG - OR OLD An eight-year-old Malaysian girl became the youngest athlete to win Southeast Asian Games gold when she won the water skiing tricks event. Aaliyah yoong Hanifah saw off all-comers and boasted afterwards: "I was confident all the way," even though she almost lost her balance in the opening round. If you're never too young, you're never too old either. Ask 76-year-old Singaporean grandmother, Lai Chun ng, who bagged two silver medals in bridge -- the oldest person to make the podium.
ANy BIDDERS? A British athlete is so desperate to obtain sponsorship for the London Games he put himself up for auction on online giant eBay. the eventual winner will earn the right to emblazon his or her brand or logo on sprinter James Ellington's kit at training and press events before and after next year's olympics. "Currently I have no commercial sponsorship so we looked at different ways to get myself out there and gathering interest from outside companies," the 26-year-old explained. for a reserve price of 30,000 pounds (35,000 dollars), his shirt space is yours.
FADING MEMORIES Memories fade but if you win a medal nothing can take the shine off your moment in history. Unless maybe you won a medal at the Pan American Games in Mexico. Several athletes complained their medals started to fade almost as soon as they had left the podium. "the day they gave me my medal, it was shiny and perfect, but several days later it started losing its shine and now it looks oxidized, like old metal," Mexican pole vaulter Giovanni Lanaro, who won a bronze, said. "It's an embarrassment for us as organisers, for all Mexicans, that this has happened," felipe Munoz, the committee's president, said of the medals produced by the centuries-old Casa de Moneda at a cost of nine million pesos (660,000 dollars).
DoHA: Qatarâ€™s targuy Alban (R) rebounds Jordanâ€™s Rasheim wright (R) during their men's basketball final match at the Arab Games. Qatar won 78-70 against Jordan to win the gold medal. afp
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friday, 23 December, 2011
Army wants Zardari out but no coup g
Reuters’ military source says ‘anything that has to be done has to be done by SC’ ISLAMABAD
HE Pakistan Army is fed up with President Asif Ali Zardari and wants him out of office, but through legal means and without a repeat of the coups that are a hallmark of the country’s 64 years of independence, military sources said. Tensions are rising between Pakistan’s civilian leaders and its generals over a memo that accused the army of plotting a coup after the US raid that killed Osama bin Laden in May. “Who isn’t fed up with Zardari? It’s not just the opposition and the man on the street but people within the government too,” said one military source who asked not to be named. “But there has to be a proper way. No action is being planned by the army. Even if we tried, it would be very unpopular and not just with the government and the opposition but most Pakista-
ISLAMABAD: President Asif Ali Zardari discusses the political situation of the country with Prime Minister yousaf Raza Gilani at the Presidency on Thursday. nis too.” The Pakistani military spokesman declined comment. The military, which determines security and foreign policy, dismisses any suggestion that it might stage a coup but analysts say intervention could not be ruled out in the event of chaos. In the past the army has asked Pakistani civilian leaders to resign and influenced judicial pro-
ceedings against them. At one point, army chief General Ashfaq Kayani hinted to the US ambassador to Islamabad that he might have to persuade Zardari to step down because of political turmoil, according to a 2009 cable released by WikiLeaks. But luckily for Zardari, it seemed the army concluded he was a better option than other leaders it distrusted even more.
Saudi Arabia, which has considerable influence in Pakistan because of its economic support, has expressed concern over the friction between the army and the government. “Pakistan is a big and important country and it is important that any potential tensions are eliminated through diplomatic means,” a Saudi source told Reuters, requesting anonymity.
pakistan to discuss Cbms with India on 26th ISLAMABAD STAFF REPORT
Pakistan said on Thursday it would hold expert level talks on conventional and nuclear confidence-building measures (CBMs) with India here on December 26-27. “As part of the resumed dialogue process between Pakistan and India, the fifth round of expert level talks on Conventional Confidence Building Measures, and the sixth round of expert level talks on Nuclear Confidence Building Measures, will be held in Islamabad on 26 and 27 December 2011, respectively,” Foreign Office Spokesman Abdul Basit told reporters at his weekly press briefing. He said Foreign Ministry Additional Secretary (UN & EC) Munawar Saeed Bhatti would head the Pakistan delegation for both expert groups. On the Indian side, Ministry of External Affairs Director General (Disarmament & International Security Affairs) D Bala Verma would lead the nuclear CBMs group, while Joint Secretary
(PAI) Yashwant K Sinha would head the conventional CBMs group, he added. “The foreign secretaries of the two countries met in Islamabad in June 2011 where both sides, inter alia, agreed to reconvene the two expert groups. These expert groups last met in New Delhi in October 2007,” Basit said. When his attention was drawn to the statement by the head of a visiting 22-member Afghan delegation that they had serious reservations about contacts between the Taliban and the US in Qatar, he said: “I can see their point but as far as Pakistan is concerned we are convinced that peace and stability in Afghanistan will remain elusive without genuine reconciliation and, then, it is for Afghans themselves to steer this process and lead it to its logical conclusion. To this end, the people of Afghanistan can always count on Pakistan’s support.” On US Vice President Joe Biden’s statement that the Taliban were not enemies of the United States, he said: “Vice President Joe Biden has made an important statement and at this stage I have no comment to offer.”
Haqqani meets lawyer on SC orders ‘amid tight security’ ISLAMABAD STAFF REPORT/APP
In compliance with the orders of the Supreme Court, former ambassador to the US Husain Haqqani was brought to the court under a tight security cover on Thursday to meet his lawyer Asma Jahangir to submit his rejoinder. During the hearing of the memo case, when the SC inquired Asma about the rejoinder of his client, she said she was facing difficulties in contacting him. She told the court that she was not being allowed to meet Haqqani on the pretext of security reasons. To a court query, she said Haqqani was being kept under tight security. “It is a violation of human rights,” the chief justice noted and directed Attorney General Maulvi Anwarul Haq to immediately arrange Asma’s meeting with her client. “Don’t worry, nobody will dare touch your client,” the chief justice told Asma. “Gone are the days when people were kept in illegal custody,” Justice Jawwad S Khawaja remarked. Therefore, complying with the SC orders, Haqqani was brought to the SC in a bulletproof car under tight security cover through the public entry gate at 1pm. When he reached the premises, he was not allowed to talk to reporters and was escorted by plainclothesmen to the attorney
general’s office, where he met Asma. The attorney general was present in the meeting, which continued from 1:15pm to 4:40pm. Upon reaching the SC, Haqqani, who seemed to be very nervous and weak, made a victory sign to the reporters. ASMA CALLS MEMO ‘HIGHLy POLITICISED’: Meanwhile, Asma Jahangir has said that the memogate issue was “highly politicised”, but the people were enlightened enough to realise it. Talking to journalists at the Supreme Court after holding a meeting with Haqqani, she said the whole nation knew well who leaked the issue. She criticised the memo, saying it had no sanctity and that it had come from Mansoor Ijaz, who had been writing articles against Pakistan. Referring to the former envoy’s stance, Asma said Haqqani had rejected claims about his links with Ijaz, the main character behind the controversy. She said her client had also rejected the claims that the president and the prime minister were linked with the memo. About Haqqani’s resignation, she said the former ambassador had agreed to resign because he had been made a controversial figure due to media hype and would not be able to discharge his duties as an effective envoy. She said that they were not against a probe but only wanted to convey to the Supreme Court that the due course should be adopted.
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One of the military sources suggested that no direct action would be needed against the government because it had already made so many mistakes. “If the government is digging its own grave, we are not going to look for spades,” the source said. “We want anyone involved, be they in government or elsewhere, to be punished. But it is not for us to do anything. If the army moves to do anything it would have national as well as international repercussions,” said another military source. “So that is not likely. Anything that has to be done has to be done by the Supreme Court.” Officials from Zardari’s ruling party have played down friction with the military and say they don’t fear a coup. But they fear that some judges in the increasingly aggressive SC dislike Zardari and could move against him. “I am not bothered about the army. I think they are acting very sensibly and would not derail the system at the moment,” a senior ruling party leader told Reuters. “The worry probably would be what the SC does. They look in a mood to manipulate things.” The government’s anxiety over memogate was highlighted in comments made by Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani on Thursday.