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Volume XIII

Issue No. 10

TFC's Federal Surplus Property Program saving entities big bucks

48 Pages

Friday, March 09, 2012 | Rabi-us-Sani 16, 1433 A.H.

South Asian Chamber of Commerce 18th Gala Dinner Life Time Achievement Award of SACC for Joanne King Herring Community Service Award for Sheikh

From fire trucks to file folders, purchasers typically pay 10 percent of original cost AUSTIN, Texas: Call it the "Home Shopping Network" for government agencies. Where else can a county road department get a scoop loader for $12,000? Or a volunteer fire department purchase a fire hose assembly for $10? As cities, counties, school districts, institutions of higher education and public health care struggle trying to make ends meet and in many cases bridge multi-million-dollar budget shortfalls, many may be overlooking a great source for many of their needs - and at deeply discounted prices. Kristy Fierro and the Texas Facilities Commission's (TFC) Federal Surplus Property Program are Continued on page 21

Joanne King Herring receiving Lifetime Achievement Award by honorable Sheriff of Harris County Adrian Garcia and Attorney Nomaan Husain. Ash Shah, and Mustafa Tameez Muhammad giving a Community Service award to Muhammad Saeed Sheikh at SACC 18th Annual Gala Dinner 2012 at the prestigious Junior League.

HOUSTON, Texas: The South Asian Chamber of Commerce (SACC www.sacchouston.org) was estab-

HKCC and iEaran signed a MOU MOU was singned for promoting education and cultural ties between Karachi and Houston schools

lished in 1993 by Musa Dakri, Ghulam Bombayawala, and Koshy Thomas, on the model of the South

Over half of Americans back Obama's Koran apology

WASHINGTON: More than half of Americans support President Barack Obama's apology for U.S. troops burning copies of the Koran, an incident that triggered a spate of bloody protests and attacks on U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan. In a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Monday, 56 percent of those surveyed backed Obama, who has been criticized by U.S. Republican presidential candidates for apologizing to Afghan President Hamid Karzai. President of iEarn, Farah Kamal and President of Houston Karachi Sister City Association, Twenty-three percent disagreed. Muhammad Saeed Sheikh signing a MoU for promoting better coordination between While the spasm of violence that Karachi and Houston schools held at Turkish Center. erupted following the incident on a HOUSTON, Texas: At the City Hall Houston Academy of International NATO base in Afghanistan does not Houston, officials of the Houston Studies (HAIS), signed a memoran- appear to have significantly altered Americans' perspective on the war, 66 Karachi Sister City Association dum of Understanding (MoU), Continued on page 21 (HKSCA), iEARN Pakistan, and Continued on page 21

Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), that then Continued on page 21

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Houston region is now the most diverse in the U.S. The report from Rice says Latinos will become Houston's largest ethnic group within a few years The Houston metropolitan area is now the most ethnically diverse large metropolitan area in the country, with two suburbs - Pearland and Missouri City - leading the region in diversity. The findings come from a new report from Rice University based on an analysis of census data from 1990, 2000 and 2010. Report co-author Michael Emerson, a sociologist and co-director of the Kinder Institute for Urban Research at Rice, attributed the growth in diversity to a 1965 shift in immigration laws, which changed the way visas were granted. Before that change, immigration was dominated by people from Europe. Once the United States began Continued on page 21

Number of U.S. mosques up 74% since 2000 WASHINGTON: The number of Islamic places of worship in the United States soared 74% in the past decade. While protests against new mosques in New York, Tennessee and California made headlines, the overall number of mosques quietly rose from 1,209 in 2000 to 2,106 in 2010. And most of their leaders say American society is not hostile to Islam, according to a comprehensive census of U.S. mosques and survey of imams, mosque presidents and board members released Wednesday. "This is a very healthy community," said lead researcher and study author Ihsan Bagby, an associate professor of Islamic studies at the University of Kentucky. They're also very engaged: The

study finds "98% of mosque leaders say Muslims should be involved in American institutions and 91% agree that Muslims should be involved in politics." The study — The American Mosque 2011 — was sponsored by the Hartford Institute for Religion Research (Hartford Seminary), the Association of Statisticians of American Religious Bodies, as well as the nation's largest Islamic civic and religious groups, including the Islamic Society of North America and the Council on American-Islamic Relations. Muslims feared being "marginalized, demonized and isolated" after 9/11, said Safaa Zarzour, secretary general of the Islamic Society. But Continued on page 21


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EDITORIAL

PAKISTAN CHRONICLE • Friday, March 09, 2012

Memogate snowballs Not surprisingly the whole Memogate case has turned into a major question mark. Mansoor Ijaz, the main witness in the case, had been saying repeatedly that he would shock us all by the evidence he would present in the Supreme Court or to the Qazi Isa commission. Possibly damning evidence in the shape of a transcript of the May 2 Abbottabad operation log has been entered into the commission's record, and much of it has already appeared in the media and has been confirmed by Mansoor Ijaz as the data he has submitted to the commission. It appears that three power centers - the presidency, the army and the PAF - were involved on the night of May 2 in an internal fray over whether the US attack choppers should or should not be stopped. The presidency, if the transcript of the log is to be believed, had its way and the scrambled F-16 aircraft had to be recalled. These are life-and-death matters for a country's security. Were the bigwigs fighting amongst themselves while a US attack on a key target inside Pakistan was going on? Why did the entire security apparatus fail? Did the president use his veto, calling back the F-16s from challenging the intruders? Does the president enjoy such a veto in our security SOPs? Have not the security establishment and its professional and operational capabilities come under a dense cloud? Everyone was holding their breath to hear from the presidency, the army, the

PAF, the ISI and the Defense Ministry. The presidency and the ISPR have spoken - but the questions that should have been answered remain unanswered and the issue has now become much more sinister under a strong whiff in the air of a huge cover-up. It can be said that by only denying that President Zardari and General Kayani spoke on the night of May 2 - something which was not alleged or contained in the May 2 log transcript and by not contesting, confirming or commenting on all the other extremely sensitive but specific details, both the ISPR and the presidency have implicitly admitted what is contained in the log. This is a grave matter. Even if only some parts of the log may be true, the memorandum threatens to turn into a much bigger scandal. The Memogate commission it seems has entered the territory of the Abbottabad commission, which is in its closing stages. Both these judicial bodies must now work in concert to find the truth. The ISPR has restricted itself to the comment that it has already informed the Abbottabad commission about all the facts. If so - were these issues discussed and taken into account? Mansoor Ijaz had started by trying to prove Husain Haqqani wrong. Now he has brought the entire security establishment and the national security apparatus into question. Answers must be found quickly, transparently and to the satisfaction of a bewildered nation.

Senate elections After its good showing in the by-polls, the ruling PPP has triumphed in the Senate elections, winning 19 of the seats on offer. Its strength in the upper house has now climbed to 41 from the previous 27, taking account of retiring senators. This makes the PPP the largest party in the Senate by a fair margin in a house of 104. The next strongest, the PML-N, has boosted its strength to 14 after winning eight seats, ANP to 12 after seven seats accrued to it, MQM and JUI-F are now both at seven, PML-Q at five, BNP-Awami at four, PML-F and the National Party at one each, with the tally being rounded off by 12 independents. Two senators from Islamabad and four from FATA also join the reconstituted house. Of the 54 seats being contested, nine candidates were elected unopposed. The PPP-led coalition’s strength is now 70, with some support expected from independents. This is the two-thirds majority that gives the coalition the possibility of having enough strength in the upper house to ensure any constitutional amendments it may move will sail through the upper house. There can be no gainsaying the fact that the results represent a victory for the PPP and its allies, with the Senate opposition now fielding 22 members. The PPP-led coalition’s victory is made even sweeter if one recalls the air of uncertainty that surrounded the very holding of these elections for months. Rumours and speculations went so far as to assert that the government would be unseated before the Senate elections to prevent the PPP cashing in on a delayed victory on the basis of the 2008 election results. While both victors and runner ups can rightly give themselves a pat on the back for ensuring the conduct of the Senate elections, there are disturbing reports of shenanigans and anomalies. Vote buying has been alleged, and enormous sums of money quoted, but these things are notoriously difficult to pin down, let alone prove. If the allegations have even a grain of truth in them, they represent a blot on the fair face of democracy. We are of course accustomed to enor-

mous sums of money being spent in general elections, a factor that for all purposes has shut the general elections door on all but the vastly endowed with riches. The Senate represents, if there is any, hope that people of merit would be able to find their way to the house and correct the ‘lopsided’ concentration of the rich and famous in parliament. However, on the basis of this Senate election, that cannot be claimed with confidence, the choice along party lines and with seat adjustments between allied parties being the dominant characteristic of these polls. The unexpected victory of Mohsin Leghari, an independent candidate who had defied his party’s refusal to offer him a ticket, and the consequent defeat of veteran PPP worker Aslam Gill has set off a series of recriminations inside the ranks of the PPP. The disappointed PPP members’ wrath is directed at Babar Awan, who managed his own election but is being blamed for Gill’s defeat. The episode points to dark horses and shifting loyalties within every party, to which the PPP now appears not to be an exception. While seven general seats from Balochistan have had their results delayed because of objections, that conundrum will be resolved through a vote recount and the results should be available on March 5. It is unlikely that the final result from Balochistan will materially alter the shape of the house. The triumph of the ruling coalition should also be seen as the triumph of democracy, the nascent system finding new roots and strength, albeit in halting fashion and not without setbacks, criticism and introspection. Pakistan’s future lies in consolidating the democratic system rather than dwelling unnecessarily on the undoubted failings of the present ruling coalition. Democracy is about more than the present dispensation. It is about setting the rules of the political game along acceptable parameters and ensuring the all too frequent interruptions of the process in our history are not repeated.

Obama’s warning PRESIDENT Barack Obama tried to be evenhanded as he warned both Israel and Iran on the latter's nuclear question and said as "president of the United States I don't bluff". In remarks made to the Atlantic Monthly, published on Friday, he warned Israel that a premature attack on Iran would be counterproductive, for it would distract attract attention from Syria and enable Tehran to play victim. In fact, his remarks made it clear he did not rule out the possibility of America itself taking military action against Tehran. While asserting that he didn't go around "advertising" what his intentions were, he said both Tel Aviv and Tehran knew that the latter's "nuclear ambitions" were not acceptable to him. To achieve his aim, he said, he had various components, including sanctions and diplomacy - and "a military component". For record's sake, a warning to both Israel and Iran makes eminent diplomatic sense. Israel has been warning of a possible attack on Iran's nuclear facilities for a long time. If it does indeed choose to carry out its threat, it would

create serious problems for America in a region where it has vital economic and geopolitical interests. Besides, given the kind of relationship that exists between America and Israel, an attack by the latter would be regarded by the entire Muslim world as something that had American approval. The point to note, however, is that Israel is not likely to seek America's permission, as its track record shows. It did not bother to seek America's consent when its air blitz destroyed Iraq's nuclear plant, and it didn't care about America's reaction when it launched its invasion of Lebanon in 1982 and the so many raids on Gaza. As for not bluffing, Israel and its lobbyists will hardly pay attention to those words. The American president repeatedly warned Israel against continuing its settlement activity but the Jewish state treated it with contempt, and Mr Obama was forced to correct his call for a return to pre-1967 borders within 24 hours after Israel reacted angrily. Whether Iran is to be attacked or not will be decided by Tel Aviv, not Washington.

Enter the VHP ORIGINALLY, the mini-Lahore set-up in Chandigarh was to establish the ‘Pakistani feel’ for film director Kathryn Bigelow’s interpretation of the hunt for Osama bin Laden that led to his killing in Abbottabad last year. But the climax is more likely to provide some in Pakistan a feel of the India they are comfortable with. A report from Chandigarh says the basic ingredients were there: burka-clad women and a few Lahore number-plate rickshaws against the backdrop of signboards in Urdu. The report also records a claim by a rightwing Hindu leader about the presence of Pakistani flags on the set. A Pakistani flag flying in the streets of Chandigarh? How far is the coveted Lal Qila from there? This was too good an opportunity for hard-liners to not exploit. The activists of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad arrived in time to thwart the establishment of another Pakistan on Indian soil.

The camera crew was abused, the flags and Urdu signs were removed and in case anyone had missed the point a VHP leader proclaimed: “We strongly oppose this and we will not let them put Pakistani flags here and we will not let them shoot here. They have made Chandigarh like Pakistan….” Sitting in Pakistan at a safe distance from the VHP, the similarities between Chandigarh and Lahore are too many and too striking to be easily overlooked. The extremists in the two countries are like good friends helping each other along. This is hardly a justification. This is unfortunate and a fact. An act of extremism in one country is likely to beget two in the other. Hoping for an end to this mutually destructive process is difficult — even if it is not as impossible as wishing that directors such as Ms Bigelow were allowed to shoot on original location.

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OPINIONS

PAKISTAN CHRONICLE • Friday, March 09, 2012

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Asif Ezdi

The government's decision last week to phase out restrictions on Indian exports to Pakistan by the end of the year has predictably been welcomed by the Indian government, as well as by business organizations. India sees it as a vindication of its long-held position that the normalization of Pakistan-India relations can best be achieved by promoting closer economic and cultural ties between the two countries and through confidencebuilding measures-in effect by sidelining Kashmir. Indian Commerce Minister Anand Sharma restated this position in his remarks on the Pakistani decision. The strengthening of economic engagement between the two countries, he said, lies at the heart of building peace and stability in the region, and flourishing trade is the best confidence-building measure. Implicit in the Indian reaction is a sense of satisfaction, if not of triumph, at the fact that Pakistan has come closer to the Indian point of view. and has all but given up the traditional stand that real progress in normalization of bilateral relations is not possible without a resolution of the core issue of Kashmir. In their statements to the press, our foreign minister and information minister have attempted to set the Pakistani public at ease by asserting that the country's position on Kashmir was not being compromised. Hina Rabbani Khar said last Thursday that the move towards normalization of trade relations with India should in no way be construed as a "dilution of Pakistan's principled stances on the core issues, including the issue of Kashmir" which had hampered Pakistan-India relations for the last 60 years, and that Pakistan would continChris Cork

A lot got written last week in the days following the Oscar win by Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, and not all of it complimentary. There were the expected complaints that she had done us no favours by yet again washing our dirty linen in public; and the complaints that she had brought shame on herself and her faith by wearing a sleeveless dress to the awards ceremony – but there was an undertone as well. Hints and suggestions nods and winks all in the direction that somehow she was undeserving of the award, that she was tainted by the money which financed her work and that those who funded her compromised her editorial independence. That she was bought to further the agendas of others. I did not find that explicitly stated

MFN status for India ue to seek peaceful resolution of all issues with India. Significantly, Khar spoke not of a single "core issue" but of "core issues," in the plural. This in itself would be seen as "dilution" of Pakistan's position on Kashmir. She also said that the Quaid-e-Azam had desired normal trade relations with India but successive Pakistani governments after 1965 had done otherwise. This is an amazing argument. Khar clearly needs an elementary lesson in the history of Pakistan-India relations and of the Kashmir dispute. It is also significant that the decision to normalize trade relations with India has been accompanied by reports of moves to resume the backchannel dialogue on Kashmir started by Musharraf to pursue his "four-point plan" for a Kashmir settlement. The Times of India last month quoted a source close to the APHC as saying that the government's invitation to Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Syed Ali Shah Geelani, as well as Shabir Shah, was a move to shelve the Kashmir issue "for the time being." The newspaper carried this story under the title "Pakistan may junk Kashmir issue temporarily." The Pakistani foreign ministry duly denied the report as "misleading and farfetched." But the Indian government's reported willingness to issue a passport to Gilani to enable him to visit Pakistan indicates that the matter is being coordinated by Islamabad and Delhi. The short official statement on the cabinet's decision to liberalize trade with India also shows that the government is not being completely honest

with the people of Pakistan. It says that the decision to give trade concessions to India was "in line with the WTO trading arrangement." The suggestion is that Pakistan is somehow obliged as a member of the WTO to switch from a positive to a negative list of items for trade with India or to extend Most Favored Nation (MFN) status to that country. This is of course not true. The government statement concludes that after the negative list has been phased out at the end of the year, "the process of trade normalization between the two countries will be completed." What that means in plain language is that India will be given MFN status. But in order not to draw public attention to this fact, the government has been carefully avoiding the use of the term MFN. There is another reason why Delhi is rejoicing: Pakistan has unilaterally flung open the door to its $180-million market to Indian exporters practically without getting any reciprocal trade benefits from the Indian side. The Indians constantly remind us that they gave Pakistan MFN status 16 years ago, in 1996. But despite this act of generosity on their part, Pakistan's exports to India have remained stuck at a level of about $200-$350 million during the last five years. On the other hand, India's exports have risen during this period from $1.4 billion to $2.3 billion, although India does not enjoy MFN status. In other words, Pakistan's exports account for about 15 percent of the total trade, with MFN status, as against Indian exports of about 85 percent, without MFN status. India's share of exports in informal trade,

which is routed through third countries like the UAE, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka and is estimated to be about three times the formal trade, is believed to be even higher. The main reason why Pakistan's exports to India have remained low is that access to the Indian market is hampered by the existence of a host of non-tariff barriers (NTBs). Though not Pakistan-specific, they hit Pakistani exports especially hard because of the unhelpful attitude of Indian officials and agencies which implement them. During talks between the commerce secretaries held last year, the Indian side agreed to address Pakistan's concerns on NTBs. But it is doubtful that the three agreements signed by the two countries during Sharma's visit to Pakistan last month, ostensibly to deal with the issue of non-tariff barriers, will make any real difference. Since Pakistan has not linked the opening up of the Pakistani market to the lifting of NTBs, the Indian side will now have little incentive to bring down these barriers. The only thing about which there is certainty is that the measures taken by Pakistan for liberalization of trade with India will lead to a surge of imported Indian goods in the Pakistani market. The big question is whether our manufacturing sector will be able to cope with the challenge. The textiles, auto parts, electronics and pharmaceuticals industries, to name a few, could be hit severely. The ministries of industry and textiles have made known their concerns about the likely negative impact on our industry and the

The golden man anywhere, but it was certainly implied. So I went hunting for her work to see for myself what she did and how she did it – and discovered how difficult it was to view a complete piece, to watch one of her films end to end. There were clips aplenty, but the whole nine yards there seemed to be not. There will be good reason for this – she is a commercial filmmaker, this is how she earns her living, and it was apparent that not much of her living gets earned here in Pakistan. She sells her skills and her work like we all do, like I do, in the chancy and uncertain world of the freelancer. She expects, like I do, to be paid for her work and

freebies are not a part of the deal. Her work appears to have had considerable international exposure and she won her first award for it in 2003, so last week’s Oscar was no flash in the pan, she had been gathering honours for the best part of a decade. Of the 15 completed films I could find listed five were about Pakistan (there is a sixth currently listed as ‘in production’ on the lives of transgenders) – so it can hardly be said that she has singled us out for her attention to the exclusion of others. The rest of her oeuvre is truly international – the lives of Native American women in Canada, women in Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan, the illegal abor-

tion industry in the Philippines, the difficulties of being a Muslim in Sweden and the new apartheid suffered by Zimbabwean immigrants to South Africa. Obaid-Chinoy is an international voice, one of the few that we have which have made a positive name for themselves in the wider world. There are plenty whose praises we are unable to sing, from corrupt cricketers to A-list terrorists and a raft of dodgy politicians, but not many we can actually be proud of. So why the sometimes churlish response to her award? So why have we not seen her work widely aired in this country and why have none of the major TV channels

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accompanying loss of jobs. But their recommendations to substantially expand the negative list prepared by the commerce ministry and to stretch the phase-out over a five-year period have not been accepted by the government. Also brushed aside was the suggestion that the phase-out should not be automatic but should be linked to the removal of non-tariff barriers by India. The negative list originally prepared by the commerce ministry consisted of 636 items. The revised list, which has not yet been officially notified, consists of over 1,200 items, well below the number proposed by the ministries of industry and textiles. It will allow India to export 90 percent of the items to Pakistan as opposed to 17 percent at present. In moving to grant MFN status to India in such a hurry, the government has evidently been guided more by political rather than economic considerations. It is doubtful that Khar herself believes the claim that the decision to normalize trade relations with India does not "dilute" our stand on Kashmir. But our government has other worries on its mind than helping the Kashmiris win their rights. For Zardari, the important thing is that Washington is pleased with Pakistan's moves towards trade liberalization with India. The spokesperson of the State Department has described them as "very much part and parcel" of the US vision for the region. They fit in nicely with the "New Silk Road" project of the Obama administration, which aims at promoting regional economic integration of South and Central Asia under Indian leadership. The writer is a former member of the Pakistan Foreign Service. picked up the work that she won an Oscar for – ‘Saving face’ – had it dubbed into Urdu/Punjabi/Pashto/Sindhi – and broadcast nationwide? Because for that to happen we would have to acquire the capacity for critical introspection, to be able to look unflinchingly in the mirror at ourselves both individually and collectively and say ‘Yes, that is me/us and it is not very nice. How can I/we do that better/differently?’ The job of a filmmaker like Obaid-Chinoy is to mirror the imperfections, and it is not something we have ever been comfortable with. Her work will never be widely seen here because we cannot bear to see ourselves as we are. The writer is a British social worker settled in Pakistan.


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OPINION

PAKISTAN CHRONICLE • Friday, March 09, 2012

Towards a nuclear police state? Praful Bidwai

Is the Manmohan Singh government doing to the anti-Koodankulam nuclear plant protesters what the Bush administration did to Iraq under Saddam Hussein - to invent an excuse for using military force? Going by the lengths to which Singh's ministers have gone in claiming that the agitators are acting at the behest of foreign NGOs, the answer is yes. The government's dirty-tricks departments are hell-bent on "finding" the equivalent of "proof" of the existence of "weapons of mass destruction" - evidence of diversion of funds to support and transport the agitators. Not a day passes without officially planted stories against the agitator. Singh has himself stooped to the abysmal level of invoking the "foreign hand" and charging that the Koodankulam plant is being blocked at this pre-commissioning stage by a handful of people connected to the US and Scandinavian NGOs who don't appreciate India's energy needs. Otherwise, he told Science magazine, "the thinking component" of the Indian people "certainly" favors nuclear power. The anti-plant movement at Koodankulam goes back to the 1980s. It picked up momentum when construction began in 2001. This has been richly documented in "Koodankulam Chronology" (dianuke.org and lokayat.org.in). The agitation has mobilized one lakh people from different walks of life in Southern Tamil Nadu and Kerala. The movement's latest phase began around Independence Day (August 15) with dharnas. There has been an uninterrupted relay hunger-strike since October 18, with hundreds, at times thousands, participating.

Such mobilizations cannot succeed with money alone, however big. No amount of juicy plots and spicy dialogues written by policemen and spies will convince anyone that the movement lacks deep roots, strong moral convictions and broad-based support reflecting the popular will. Those who level the "foreign hand" charge are driven by an obsession to make India's energy economy dependent on foreign reactors. They have tried to dilute the nuclear liability act under foreign suppliers' pressure. Yet, every citizen of the world has a legitimate concern about nuclear hazards, no matter where they originate. As a physicist put it, "a nuclear accident anywhere is a nuclear accident everywhere". Its effects cannot be limited in time or space. The fallout of Chernobyl (1986) can still be detected even on the South Pole. So can the radiation released by the Fukushima disaster. Fukushima caused a tectonic shift in people's perception of nuclear hazards the world over. Even in France, which gets three-fourths of its electricity from nuclear power, a well-regarded opinion poll says: "The confidence of the French people that government action will protect them from nuclear risks is severely damaged." Nuclear risks have climbed to the fourth-highest concern of the French, behind unemployment, the financial crisis, and social exclusion. Today, 55 percent of the French consider nuclear power risks "high". More than 80 percent "want the safety assessment of French nuclear facilities to take place," with involvement of "international experts". As for the allegation that "the think-

ing component" of the Indian population supports nuclear power, nothing could be more absurd. Any number of eminent thinkers and intellectuals have called for a moratorium on nuclear power expansion pending a broad-based audit of India's nuclear program and a safety review of all our nuclear installations by a high-powered committee composed of independent experts, social scientists, civil society organizations and representatives of actual or potential victims. They include eminent historians Romila Thapar and Mushirul Hasan, economists Amit Bhaduri and Deepak Nayyar, political scientists Rajeev Bhargav and Achin Vanaik, former ambassador to the UN Nirupam Sen, artists Krishan Khanna and Vivan Sundaram, writer Arundhati Roy, and scientists PM Bhargava and P Balaram, director of the prestigious Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. They were joined by former navy chief Admiral L Ramdas, former director of the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board A Gopalakrishnan, and by diverse civil society representatives, including Aruna Roy and Harsh Mander, both members of the government's own National Advisory Council. This shows an unprecedented fit between the intelligentsia's perceptions and public concerns about nuclear safety. Singh's cavalier dismissal of these concerns follows the same logic as his dogmatic assertion that the grave generic safety problems with nuclear power highlighted by Fukushima have already been resolved, and India can go ahead with its plans for a massive expansion in nuclear power generation. In fact, the global nuclear industry

hasn't even remotely come to terms with the causes and consequences of Fukushima, the world's first multi-reactor meltdown. The plant operator has failed to this day to bring the reactors under control. It doesn't even know the location of the molten fuel. It has just been disclosed that at the height of the Fukushima crisis, Japanese leaders did not know the actual extent of damage at the plant and secretly considered the possibility of evacuating Tokyo. An investigation by the Rebuild Japan Initiative Foundation vividly shows how "Japan teetered on the edge of an even larger nuclear crisis" than the one at the Fukushima plant. In India, it is only the most delusionprone people in the nuclear establishment who believe the nuclear program can be run safely with Russian reactors which are riddled with 31 design flaws (according to an official report), or the French company Areva's untested European pressurized reactors (EPR). The EPR has not passed safety tests anywhere, including Finland and France, which are building Western Europe's first nuclear reactors after Chernobyl. Their EPRs are over four years behind schedule, 95 percent over budget, and mired in nasty legal disputes. The French EPR may well be scrapped if the socialists win the coming elections. Yet, India is planning to install six of these huge, unwieldy, untested 1,650 MW reactors at Jaitapur on the ecologically fragile Konkan Coast in Maharashtra. Nuclear plants are also planned in Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh and Orissa, where they face stiff, determined and informed opposition.

These projects can only be pushed through with brute force and suppression of the liberties of lakhs of people, paving the way for a police state marked by secrecy. That's the horrendous price the imposition of nuclear power will inflict on the Indian democracy. Yet, if our policymakers want to resolve the power crisis, and promote a safe and climate-friendly energy economy, they should embrace the Renewable Energy Revolution sweeping the globe. Renewable Energy (RE) today accounts for one-fifth of the world's power capacity and delivers 18 percent of the global electricity as well as final energy consumption - in contrast to only two percent for nuclear power. Unlike nuclear reactors, which take 10-15 years to erect, RE facilities are installed in just months and can quickly relieve our power crisis. Globally, solar-photovoltaic (direct conversion of sunlight into electricity) is annually growing by 53 percent and wind power by 32 percent. Solar-thermal, biomass and tidal and geothermal energy is also growing rapidly. Developing countries are playing an important role in driving the renewables revolution. India can take the lead here. The number of nuclear reactors worldwide peaked at 444 in 2002 and is now down to under 400. More than 150 nuclear reactors are set to retire in the next two decades, and only about 60 are planned as replacements. It would be foolhardy to chase this declining, exhausted, outdated and unpopular source of energy and miss the renewables revolution. The writer, a former newspaper editor, is a researcher and peace and human-rights activist based in Delhi.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Post letters to Letters to the Editor, The Pakistan Chronicle, 6666 Harwin Dr. Houston, TX 77036 Phone: 713-914-0786; Fax: 713-914-0906 E-mail: pakistanchronicle@gmail.com Letters may be edited for length and clarity

Balochistan and state’s duty The recent congressional hearing on Balochistan and subsequent submission of the concurrent resolution in the US House of Representatives seeking ‘self-rule’ for the Baloch have been widely condemned by the Pakistani media and politicians, with the National Assembly passing a unanimous resolution condemning the hearing as a blatant, unacceptable interference in the internal affairs of Pakistan. But what is it that perennially ills Balochistan? The political and social bond between the state and the citizenry has to be mutual. The state has to fulfil its prime duties and fundamental responsibilities by ensuring the provision of basic human, social, political, civic, cultural and economic rights to its subjects. The citizens in return have to obey the authority of their state and abide by its laws and regulations as embodied in the constitution. The state by its very definition and nature has to guarantee the protection of fundamental rights for its whole body of citizens by ensuring that: a) No one shall be exposed to injury or death except under the authority of proper moral and legal system and procedure b) Every person has a right to his thoughts, opinions and beliefs. Everyone has the right to express him/her self so long as he/she remains within the limits prescribed by law. c) No person may be discriminated against or victimised because of race or colour. All persons are equal before the eye of law and are entitled to equal protection of law. d) No one shall be punished by the government or by its

allied agencies until and unless he has committed a cognisable crime as proved before the court of law e) The liberty and freedom of every citizen of state must be protected against the arbitrary arrest and punishment f) The political and civil liberty of every citizen must be safeguarded. Political scientists invariably maintain that without individual liberty, a person is a ‘slave’ and not a citizen. It is an undeniable reality that in case of Balochistan all the fundamental rights of individuals have been disregarded by the state itself, denting the loyalty of Balochistan’s citizens towards the central government and causing civil unrest and tumult in the province. ––– SAAD KHOSA

Brutal killings in Gilgit Baltistan KILLINGS of passengers on their way to Gilgit should serve as a wake-up call for the government to take this matter more seriously. Sectarian violence has a history of decades in GilgitBaltistan, yet nothing is done to combat the culture of intolerance. People in the otherwise peaceful Gilgit Baltistan are full of rage and anguish at this brutality. Sincere efforts need to be made to ensure that the murderers are punished, while longterm measures should also be taken to help create an environment of harmony between sects in Gilgit Baltistan, in particular, where such violence breaks out every three or four years, and in the entire country, in general.

––– SHAHANA SHAH

Time of darkness Sir: More than two decades ago I asked my Pakistan Studies teacher, Mrs Rehman, how can a democratic constitution ensure that the leader selected would work for the best interests of Pakistan. She replied with a smile, “Checks and balances.” Later she explained that the Constitution has a number of checks and balances to ensure that everyone does their job honestly and in the best interest of the country. Unfortunately in the current PPP-led government, the checks and balances system of our constitution has been removed. When a government officer holds two or more positions, then the check and balance system doesn’t work. Best example is the Punjab government, where the CM was holding more than 16 ministries including health, which caused many issues in Punjab, including dengue, fake flood camps, PIC hospital patient deaths, etc. There is no ‘one man show’ in democracy. Since 2008, the current government has been intent on destroying Pakistan. They have embezzled huge amounts, reduced government institutions to loss-making enterprises, thereby reducing their share prices and then buying them off (like they are doing with Bank of Khyber). Fake and low quality purchases with kickbacks in each and every institution have destroyed our economy. Thousands of foreign spies are roaming around in Peshawar with police escorts and worst of all a country that generates more then 20,000 MW power has been forced into load shedding of 10 hours since four years now. ––– SHAHRYAR KHAN BASEER

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PAKISTAN NEWS

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Seraiki province right of people: Gilani

Prime Minister, Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani unveils plaque to inaugurate the Benazir Bhutto Shaheed Modern Village during inauguration ceremony held at Sanawaan at Kot Addu.

India praises Pakistan’s efforts to normalise trade ties NEW DELHI: India on Thursday welcomed Pakistan’s decision to phase out major restrictions on Indian imports by the end of this year, a move to normalise trade ties between the two neighbours. India’s Foreign Minister S.M. Krishna thanked Pakistan for deciding to gradually scrap the “negative list” that prevents the export of hundreds of items from India.

“Pakistan is moving in the right direction in terms of bringing economic content into the political relationship,” Krishna told reporters in New Delhi. “This would certainly help strengthen our bilateral ties.” Islamabad has decided in principle to phase out the negative list between the two countries by December 31, 2012, which will complete the trade normalisation process.

India’s Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry, a trade body estimated that the move will increase cross-border trade to over $6 billion by 2014. Direct trade between India and Pakistan currently constitutes less than one per cent of their respective global trade. India exported goods worth $2.33 billion to Pakistan last year while its imports were $330 million.

MUZAFFARGARH: Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said on Sunday the people of Seraiki belt had the right to demand a separate province for themselves and that his party would help them achieve their goal. Addressing a ceremony at which keys of houses built under the Benazir Bhutto model village initiative were distributed among the flood-affected people of the area, Mr Gilani said the Seraiki belt had rejected PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif's proposal about creation of new administrative units in the country. He said that those who lived in the Seraiki belt were sober, kindhearted and soft-spoken people. "But this does not mean that they don't know what they want," he remarked. "They do not compromise on principles. They hold their ground like I do whenever problems arise." The prime minister said that south Punjab was a backward area, an area where there was a deep sense of deprivation. He addressed the gathering in Seraiki but also made a brief speech in English for the benefit of some foreign diplomats who were present on the occasion. Mr Gilani said Multan was once the capital of Sindh and the time had come for it to become the

main city of a new province. He said the People's Party was a party of principles that got mandate from across the country. The prime minister distributed allotment letters of 143 newly-built houses among women affected by floods. He said he felt pride in helping build a new model city, called Benazir Bhutto Basti. Addressing the public meeting‚ Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar said it was the prime minister's fourth visit to the area which showed how much importance he gave to the backward areas of the country. She paid tribute to the floodaffected people, who helped themselves by fully taking part in the rehabilitation process. On the issue of Seraiki province‚ Ms Khar said that like other promises made by the PPP‚ this one too would be realised soon. She said the creation of a new province would not only end the sense of deprivation among the people of the area, but would also make the country stronger. She said that most of the irrigation projects started in the area had been completed while 250 villages had been provided electricity. Information Minister Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan also spoke on the occasion and thanked the prime minister for visiting a far-flung and backward area of Muzaffargarh.

Fearless women: Sherry Rehman, Shehrbano Taseer feature on world women list Pakistan Ambassador to the US, Sherry Rehman and daughter of slain Punjab governor Shehrbano Taseer, have featured on The Daily Beast (Newsweek) list of 150 fearless women. The list, which does not offer any ranking, lists the likes of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatre, Saudi women rights activist Manal al-Sharif, Nobel Peace Prize winner Tawakkol Karman, and Oprah Winfrey. About Rehman, The Daily Beast wrote that she had “spent her entire career pushing for human rights and free speech in of the world’s most conservative countries.” It added that while she worked with slain former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto to author bills tackling honour killings and domestic violence. Her claim to the list – according to the Daily Beast, she braved death threats for trying to remove the death penalty in the con-

Sherry Rehman (R) and Shehrbano Taseer (L) feature in Newsweek's list of 150 fearless women.

troversial blasphemy law, even forced into a self-imposed house arrest. On Shehrbano Taseer, the Beast wrote that she had picked up the battle standard for a progressive and secular Pakistan after the murder of her father and Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer. She too, the Beast added, had been braving death threats, forging ahead unnerved with her mission to “eliminate the country’s strict blasphemy law, which are often invoked to execute religious minorities.” The list featured 52 women form the United States including Congresswoman Gabriel Giffords, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the US Army’s Female Engagement Team. Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords had been killed. This is incorrect. She received a bullet wound in the head, but has now recovered. The error is regretted.

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08 PAKISTAN NEWS

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ISPR, Presidency rebuff Ijaz’s allegations

Former Prime Minister & PML-N President Muhammad Nawaz Sharif holds joint press conference with Former PML-Q MNA Marvi Mamon who announce to join PML-N.

ISLAMABAD: Referring to the statement of Mansoor Ijaz, ISPR and the Presidency on Saturday said that there was no telephone conversation between President Asif Ali Zardari and the COAS Gen Ashfaq Pervez Kayani on the night between 1 and 2 May 2011. The ISPR spokesman further said that the Military leadership has briefed the Joint session of the Parliament as well as the Abbottabad commission on the subject matter and there is nothing more to add to it. Meanwhile, spokesperson to the president Farhatullah Babar

has also dismissed as “absolutely untrue and unfounded” some media reports about the president’s phone call to army chief at the night of May-2 raid on Osama Bin Laden. Ijaz during his testimony on Friday, when asked to name the individuals, referred to as two senior officers, who allegedly spoke on the night of the May 2 raid, while the operation in Abbottabad was in progress, replied “As far as I know it was Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Pervaiz Kayani and President Asif Ali Zardari.”

Seventy dead in NW Pakistan violence: official PESHAWAR: At least 55 people were killed Friday in violence in Pakistan’s troubled northwestern tribal region of Kyhber, which borders Afghanistan, local officials said. Twenty-two people were killed in a suicide attack targeting a mosque after Friday prayers in the Tirah valley, while at least 10 soldiers and 23 militants died in an earlier clash around 10 kilometres away (six miles). Fifteen militants were also killed when Pakistan fighter jets blitzed various suspected militant hideouts in the Orakzai Agency. Kyhber is a haven for militants linked to the Pakistani Taliban

and the threat of renewed fighting there between the army and insurgents prompted some 18,000 people to flee their homes in October last year. Local administration official Jamilur Rehman told AFP that the suicide blast killed at least 22 people and wounded more than 20 others, adding the toll may rise. “The bomber detonated himself near the gate of a mosque in Tirah valley of Khyber tribal region when people were returning from the prayers,” he said. The mosque is located in an area controlled by warlord Mangal Bagh, he said, adding that most

of the dead were from his Lashkar-i-Islam —a group widely linked to militants and criminal gangs. The attack and the toll was confirmed by Khyber administration chief Mutahir Zeb Khan. “It was a suicide attack. The bomber blew himself up at the entrance of the mosque when the worshippers were returning after the Friday prayers,” he said. ARMY-MILITANTS CLASH: Khan earlier said at least 10 Pakistani soldiers and 23 militants were killed in a gunfight in the Tirah valley. “At least 10 soldiers embraced martyrdom and three others were

wounded,” a senior security official told AFP, adding that the fighting lasted for nearly six hours. “All law enforcement agencies’ posts in the area were intact and the situation was stable,” the official said, blaming the Lashkar-iIslam group for attacking the outpost. Military officials in Peshawar confirmed the attack and casualties, but it was not possible to independently verify the official account of the incident as access to the area is restricted. ORAKZAI OPERATION Separately, fifteen militants were killed and 10 others wounded

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when Pakistan fighter jets blitzed various suspected militant hideouts in the Orakzai Agency. Five suspected hideouts were destroyed in the operation in Akhunkot and Balras areas, said official sources. PESHAWAR: Gunmen on motorbikes Friday shot dead an intelligence official in Peshawar, police said. Bashir Khan, a 38-year-old Intelligence Bureau inspector, was on his way to work on his motorcycle when gunmen also riding a motorbike shot him, senior police official Tahir Ayub. Ayub said it was not immediately clear who shot Khan.


PAKISTAN NEWS

PAKISTAN CHRONICLE • Friday, March 09, 2012

Pakistan can support Afghan govt in Taliban talks: Khar MULTAN: Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar has stated that Pakistan could help the Afghan government in talks with the Taliban. Khar said on Monday that stability in the regions was in the interest of Pakistan. "The situation in the region cannot improve without improving relations with neighbors." The Foreign Minister when asked about NATO supplies said that their aerial passage had never been blocked. Khar once again pointed out that the decision to reopen the supply route would be made by

Parliament. "I had informed US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton that the NATO supply route issue would be decided by Parliament," Khar said. Relations between the US and Pakistan have been troubled following the NATO attack on a Pakistani check post and may deteriorate further over Islamabad's pipeline project with Tehran. Khar has already emphasized that project would be completed irrespective of external pressure and on Monday said that work on it was continuing.

9

More cases of kidnapping reported in Balochistan QUETTA: The incidents of kidnapping for ransom and other heinous crimes in Balochistan have been increased; Local TV Channel reports on Monday that in the past three months, 53 people have been kidnapped from only three districts. Interior ministry of Balochistan revealed that in the districts of Sibbi, Makran and

Qalaat, 42 people have been recovered out of 53 kidnapped while the other are still in the custody of the kidnappers. Nineteen people have been arrested for the alleged kidnapping and other related charges. Earlier this week the government official revealed that 23 members of the Hindu community were kidnapped from the province

over a period of several months. The rise in kidnapping had forced the Hindu community to migrate from Balochistan to other parts of the country. Provincial Home Secretary Naseebullah Bazai informed Local TV Channel on Saturday that 70 people were kidnapped from the Quetta Division alone during the last three months.

Baba Zaman demands Hazara province without delay KARACHI: Tehrik Hazara Sooba (THS) leader Baba Haider Zaman said on Sunday the government must create a Hazara province without delay if it really wants to protect federation. Addressing a public meeting near the Quaid's mausoleum, the THS leader cautioned the federal government against going back on its commitment of carving out a new province where people so desired. Mr Zaman warned that a civil disobedience movement would be launched in the area if the Hazara province was not created soon. Criticizing the prime minister, he regretted that Yousuf Raza Gilani had

Supporters of Tehrik Hazara Sooba gather near the Quaid's mausoleum in Karachi.

backed calls for making a Seraiki province in southern Punjab but he had failed to demonstrate the same support for Hazara people's demand. He said the prime minister had proved that his support for the Seraiki province was based on political realities, and not in response to the Seraiki people's demands, otherwise he would have also backed calls for the Hazara province. Mr Zaman said that people of Hazara had been demanding a separate province for decades, adding that their voice could not be suppressed or ignored any longer and the government would have to create a new province. He said Hazara people had been

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'suppressed' for long but now they had awakened and with the support of other democratic forces they would soon get their own province where they would make decisions about their future themselves. Mr Zaman appreciated the support extended to them by the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, adding the MQM had proved that it is a national party which believes in democratic principles and supports demands of people no matter where they live. THS leaders Fida Hussain, Sardar Iqbal, Engineer Sultan and Sardar Gohar Zaman also addressed the rally.


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Dr Shakeel Afridi's residence sealed in Peshawar PESHAWAR: The residence of Dr Shakeel Afridi, who is arrested over treason charges, has been sealed due to law and order concerns. Non-payment of utility bills has also forced the Sui Northern Gas Pipeline Limited (SNGPL), Peshawar Electricity Supply Company (PESCO), and Peshawar

Development Authority (PDA) to cut the connections to Afridi's residence, based in Hayatabad's Sector E Phase 3, while telephone lines have also been cut over the issue. The family of the arrested doctor is said to have relocated itself to an unidentified destination, and the Hayatabad residence has been reported to be vacant since May.

Children wear traditional dresses participate in rally to mark the Baloch Cultural Day in Larkana.

Tough US warning on Iran gas pipeline WASHINGTON: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned on Wednesday that the Iran gas pipeline project was "inexplicable" and could invoke US sanctions that would further 'undermine' Pakistan's 'already shaky' economy. Earlier, Congressman John Lewis, a Georgia Democrat, drew Secretary Clinton's attention to the Pakistan-Iran gas pipeline project during a congressional debate, reminding her that the State Department's proposed budget for 2013 included roughly $1 billion to help Pakistan address its energy challenges.

He noted that the money was meant specifically for dealing with a proposed pipeline between Iran and Pakistan. "I'd be very interested in knowing the position of the United States concerning the development of that pipeline. Where will we be going from here?" asked the congressman. Secretary Clinton replied: "First, we recognize that Pakistan has significant energy requirements, and for the last three years we've been working to help them upgrade their existing energy infrastructure, to look at potential new sources of energy."

She said: "The proposed Pakistan-Iran pipeline, however, if built, could raise serious concerns under the Iran Sanctions Act. We have made that absolutely clear. We have raised this issue with the government of Pakistan." She said the US was encouraging Pakistan to seek alternatives because of the nuclear dispute with Iran. "As we are ratcheting up pressure on Iran, it seems somewhat inexplicable that Pakistan would be trying to negotiate a pipeline," the secretary said. "And there is an alternative that we do strongly support - the Turkmenistan-

Afghanistan-Pakistan-India pipeline." The United States believed that it was a better alternative both in terms of predictability and to avoid doing business with Iran, she said. "Now, if and when this pipeline goes beyond just talk, then we will address it consistent with US law and policies," she warned. "So if we see a pipeline proposal take an additional step that it would likely become a reality, do you have specific things in mind that will involve American response to that Pakistan pipeline deal?" the congressman asked.

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"We believe that actually beginning the construction of such a pipeline either as an Iranian project or as a joint project would violate our Iran sanctions law. So, we all know what the consequences of that are, and it would be particularly damaging to Pakistan because their economy is already quite shaky," Secretary Clinton warned. "This additional pressure that the United States would be compelled to apply would further undermine their economic status." The United States, she said, has been very clear in pointing out the consequences of pursuing such a pipeline.


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PAKISTAN CHRONICLE • Friday, March 09, 2012

Pakistan Taliban 'number two sacked': spokesman

Women look flowers arrangements at a stall during a ceremony in connection of spring season held at Jinnah University for Women in Karachi.

Unforgiving president: Zardari spurns ex-PPP Musharraf cronies ISLAMABAD: Chief of his own faction of the Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) Nawaz Sharif may be willing to accept leaders from Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) who were loyal to former president Pervez Musharraf, but President Asif Ali Zardari has not proved to be so forgiving. President Zardari is unlikely to accept within the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) folds close to two dozen leading politicians who had switched loyalties to the former military dictator in the 2002 general elections, his associates said. "Having the dissidents back in the PPP doesn't seem possible. Zardari Sahib is not interested in them," said a party official on Sunday. Sharif, who is the head of the main opposition, was specifically asked at a news conference in Lahore about the possibility of having PML-Q chief Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and his associates back in his party. The PML-Q later helped Musharraf get elected as president from the assemblies. Almost two dozen PPP leaders also jumped onto

Musharraf's bandwagon after the 2002 polls, hoping to avoid court cases against former PPP leader and premier Benazir Bhutto, who was also in exile at the time. Former ministers Sher Afghan Khan Niazi, Raza Hayat Hiraj, Faisal Saleh Hayat, Aftab Khan Sherpao and Rao Sikandar Iqbal were prominent among those who formed what they named the Patriot faction of the PPP. They later merged their group with the Chaudhrys' party when Musharraf 'unified' all his supporters in one party. Most of these Patriots are still considered to have strong political leverage with strong chances of winning elections because they do not need affiliation with any party to convince voters. In most cases, their voters are in rural and semiurban constituencies. Individuals close to President Zardari said no efforts were being made on any level to lure them back into the PPP, although the party is desperately looking for candidates who can ensure victory in the upcoming general elections - which are sched-

uled for early 2013 but might be held later this year. When contacted, PPP spokesperson MNA Qamar Zaman Kaira remained vague, saying the doors of the party were open for anybody who wanted to join or rejoin. But when pressed as to whether the party would not hesitate to accept Patriots, he said: "Well, about this particular thing, I won't say anything. I will have to contact the leadership of my party."

PESHAWAR: The number two commander in Pakistan's nebulous, umbrella Taliban movement has been sacked as deputy chief but will remain within the organization, a spokesman said Monday. Maulvi Faqir Mohammad is the Taliban's commander in Bajaur, one of Pakistan's seven districts in the tribal belt on the Afghan border and one that has seen a recent lull in fighting between the Taliban and Pakistani soldiers. He was sacked on Sunday at a meeting presided over by Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) chief Hakimullah Mehsud at a secret location in Pakistan's northwestern tribal belt, spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan told AFP by telephone. "A shura (council) meeting

was held on Sunday and it decided to remove Maulvi Faqir Mohammad from the position of deputy chief of TTP," he said, adding that Mohammad would continue to serve the group as an ordinary member. Ehsan gave no reason for the removal. Neither was a successor announced. The TTP is a loose confederation of militant commanders founded and run by Baitullah Mehsud until his death in a US drone strike in August 2009. His killing sparked a bitter succession battle won by Hakimullah Mehsud. A source close to the Taliban told AFP on condition of anonymity that the Bajaur commander fell out of favor with Mehsud over his alleged support for peace talks with the Pakistani government.

Mohammad also had sympathies with Mehsud's biggest rival within the TTP, Wali-ur Rehman, the source added. Northwestern Pakistan, particularly the main city of Peshawar, has seen a recent increase in suicide and gun attacks blamed on Taliban. Mullah Omar, the supreme leader of the Afghan Taliban, reportedly asked his Pakistani counterparts to stop attacks within Pakistan, considered vital in any peace process in Afghanistan. The only TTP commander who refused to comply was Mehsud, an Afghan Taliban member recently told AFP. Young and impetuous, the TTP leader has reputedly said there will be no end to attacks until Washington stops drone strikes.

University of Engineering and Technology (NED) students are present on the occasion of their Annual Convocation Day ceremony held in Karachi.

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PAKISTAN NEWS 13

PAKISTAN CHRONICLE • Friday, March 09, 2012

Shahbaz elected PML-N Punjab president LAHORE: Pakistan Muslim LeagueNawaz on Monday elected Shahbaz Sharif as a president of its Punjab chapter, Local TV Channel reported. "I don't find myself capable enough for the job, but I will try my best to perform my job in best possible way," Sharif said after he was elected for the post. The meeting of general council of the party was held here during which party officials were selected. A five-member committee presided

by Ghaus Ali Shah announced the results. The party chief Nawaz Shairf while addressing the gathering said that the change is coming soon. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani congratulated Sharif on his unopposed election as the President of Pakistan Muslim League (N), Punjab. Gilani in a message expressed best wishes for Sharif and hoped that he would continue making efforts for the strengthening of democracy.

Fine arts students busy in painting on wall at a street during fine art demonstration sponsored by Master Paints at Edgerton road in Lahore.

Nawaz strictly opposes Pasha's extension

Women look flowers during Flowers Show held at Karachi Zoo.

LAHORE: Nawaz Sharif, the chief of Pakistan Muslim League-N, has opposed a possible extension of the director general of the Inter-Services Intelligence, Lt-General Ahmed Shuja Pasha, Local TV Channel reported on Monday. Already on a year-long extension given in March last year after reaching retirement age, General Pasha's second 'tenure' is supposed to come to an end on March 18. However, sources in the government say that he is likely to get another two years in office as the country faces serious internal and external security challenges.

The decision is likely to be announced before March 18. Sharif who was visiting the family of martyr Colonel Sheraz here, told journalist that he would oppose the move. The former prime minister advised the generals to stay away from politics. Stature of the armed forces would increase if it limits itself to defending the borders of the country, he added. While talking of carving out new provinces, the PML-N chief said that the government needs to work sensibly on the matter.

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PAKISTAN CHRONICLE • Friday, March 09, 2012

Commission directs Haqqani to respond within 10 days ISLAMABAD: The memo commission on Friday directed former ambassador to US Hussain Haqqani to respond within 10 days to the documentary evidences provided by Mansor Ijaz against him, DawnNews reported. The commission formed by the Supreme Court to investigate the memogate scandal continued recording US businessman Mansoor Ijaz's testimony today at Pakistan's High Commission in London via video link. The Chief Justice of the Balochistan High Court, Justice Faiz Essa is heading the Memo Commission while Chief Justice Sindh High Court Mushir Alam and Chief Justice of Islamabad High Court, Hameed-ur-Rehman are the other two members of the commission.. The commission fixed March 15-18 for Haqqani's counsel to cross-examine Ijaz. Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N)'s counsel from Balochistan

Salahuddin Maingal and party chief Nawaz Sharif's counsel Mustafa Ramday completed their arguments today. The commission cautioned Haqqani that his family can be called in if he avoided providing pin code of his mobile phone. The commission, by proving written order of Thursday's proceedings to his counsel, directed Haqqani to respond to evidences against him before recording his statement. Haqqani is bound to appear before the commission on a four-day notice, it added. Ijaz told the commission that he has close terms with Gen James Jones. However, Gen Jones also tried to convince him for not revealing about the memo, he told. Ijaz, however, refused to disclose his discussion with Gen Jones about memo and President Asif Ali Zardari. Further proceedings were adjourned to March 15.

KARACHI: Student paints a star on face during Students’ Week at Women University Nazimabad.

A child wears traditional jewelry is present during Tehreek-e-Sobaye Hazara meeting held at Jinnah Bagh in Karachi.

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COMMUNITY PHOTOS 15

Pictorial Highlights of Signing Ceremony of Memorandum of Understanding for promoting better coordination between Karachi and Houston schools held at Turkish Center. The event was organized by “Houston Karachi sister City Association.” President of Houston Karachi Sister City Association Muhammad Saeed Sheikh, Executive Director iEARN Pakistan Farah Kamal were also present on the occasion.

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16 PAKISTAN NEWS

PAKISTAN CHRONICLE • Friday, March 09, 2012

Pakistani Sunni Muslim activists from Ahle Sunnat Wal-Jmmat set fire to an effigy of the US President Barack Obama during a protest in the northwestern town of Kohat on March 4, 2012, over last months burning of Korans in Afghanistan.Pakistani Sunni Muslim activists from Ahle Sunnat Wal-Jmmat set fire to an effigy of the US President Barack Obama during a protest in the northwestern town of Kohat on March 4, 2012, over last months burning of Korans in Afghanistan.

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PAKISTAN NEWS 17

PAKISTAN CHRONICLE • Friday, March 09, 2012

Pakistan test fires shortrange ballistic missile ISLAMABAD: Pakistan said on Monday it had successfully test fired a short-range ballistic missile capable of carrying atomic warheads. The Hatf II (Abdali) has a range of 180 kilometers (113 miles) and carries nuclear as well as conventional warheads with "high accuracy", the military said in a statement. "It provides an operational level capability to Pakistan's strategic forces, additional to the strategic and tactical level capability which Pakistan already possesses," the statement said. South Asian rivals India and Pakistan - which have fought three wars since independence from Britain in 1947 - have routinely car-

ried out missile tests since both demonstrated nuclear weapons capability in 1998. Pakistan's arsenal includes short, medium- and long-range missiles named after Muslim conquerors. The neighbors were on the brink of nuclear conflict in 2002 over the disputed territory of Kashmir, but a slow-moving peace dialogue resumed last March after a three-year suspension following the November 2008 Mumbai attacks. India and the United States blamed the attacks on Pakistani militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba and Islamabad later admitted that the assault was at least partly planned in Pakistan.

Slapping victim pardons Waheeda Shah KARACHI: Habiba Memon, an assistant presiding officer, who was slapped by Pakistan People's Party candidate Waheeda Shah Bukhari during recently held by-polls announced to pardon her aggressor, during the recent by-election in Tando Mohammad Khan. The incident took place last week during by-election at Polling Station No 16, Tando Mohammad Khan. The Supreme Court on Friday had refused to accept an unconditional apology from Ms Shah while hearing a suo motu notice of the incident.

The court had also criticized the Election Commission and Sindh police for their failure to act promptly against the PPP candidate. Memon submitted her written statement before the Election Commission here on Saturday, saying she has decided to pardon Ms Shah. Talking to the media, Memon said the PPP candidate had visited her house to offer an apology, upon which she decided to forgive her. Memon also said that she was under no pressure to accept the apology and neither was she offered anything in return.

NEW YORK: Pakistan Goodwill Ambassador and leader of Pakistan delegation, Ms. Fiza Batool Gilani shaking hand with her Turkish Counterpart, Ms. Askin Asan Deputy Minister for Family & Social Policy at UN Headquarters.

US obstructed data verification: Ijaz ISLAMABAD: Pakistani-American businessman Mansoor Ijaz, the central character in the memo case, said on Friday that the US administration had blocked the validation of his BlackBerry set that he had used for chatting with former ambassador Husain Haqqani. He was replying to a question asked by PML-N lawmaker's counsel Salahuddin Mengal during crossexamination before the commission headed by Balochistan High Court Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa investigating a purported memorandum delivered to former US military chief Admiral Mike Mullen. Mr Ijaz said a US government

agency he had approached refused, under the influence of the administration, to validate the handset and verify its contents. He said some friends tried to persuade him at the behest of Mr Haqqani and the Pakistani government to avoid the investigation. He declined to disclose their names, but said an American lobbyist and strategist, Harlen Ullman, had become his vocal critic after the memo issue came under the spotlight. He alleged that the lobbyist had played a role in the release of Mr Haqqani from "house arrest". Mr Ijaz told the commission that he had remained in touch with Inter-

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Services Intelligence (ISI) chief LtGen Ahmed Shuja Pasha for quite some time after their meeting held on Oct 22 last year. During their communication by phone and emails, he had sent to Lt-Gen Pasha BBM (BlackBerry message) screenshots related to the memorandum and discussed matters about his security during his visit to Pakistan for recording his testimony. While Mr Ijaz was replying to a question by Mustafa Ramday, counsel for PML-N chief Mian Nawaz Sharif, regarding his communication with Gen Pasha, the video conferencing link went down and remained so for half an hour.


18 PAKISTAN NEWS

PAKISTAN CHRONICLE • Friday, March 09, 2012

Don’t deprive Pakistani prisoners of rights, dignity: Indian SC LAHORE: The Indian Supreme Court (SC) said on Tuesday that Pakistani nationals languishing in Indian jails long after completing their jail sentences could not be deprived of their dignity and rights, and can no longer be considered prisoners, IANS reported. Justice RM Lodha and Justice HR Gokhale observed this after the Indian government told the court that 37 Pakistani nationals who had completed their jail sentences in 2007, 2008 and 2009 were still incarcerated because "Pakistani authorities have not so far confirmed their nationality", according to IANS. It said the court also ordered treatment of 21 Pakistani nationals who were stated to be mentally challenged. "The 21 people who are mentally challenged have to be given proper medical and health assistance in suitable government hospital or in the hospitals or clinics run by NGOs," IANS quoted the court saying in its order. "It will suffice to say that these 37 people must be released formally from the jails and having regard to national security, may be kept at an appropriate place with movement restricted pending their repatriation/deportation," the court ordered. Saying that whatever may be the reason for delay in their repatriation, the court said, "We don't even have a slightest doubt that their continued imprisonment is uncalled for." Directing the government to shift these prisoners to some other place or detention centre where they can have some restricted mobility, the court in its order said, "In no way these 37 Pakistanis can be treated as prisoners once they have

served their sentences." "It is true that until their nationality is confirmed, they can't be repatriated and have to be asked to remain here. During this time they can't be deprived of their human rights and human dignity," IANS quoted Justice Lodha as saying. The order, according to the news agency, said it was "indeed unfortunate" that these 37 Pakistani prisoners who have completed their sentences and are not required by India under its law are in jail because their nationality has not been confirmed. The court noted that these prisoners were granted consular access to the Pakistani High Commission just a few months before their actual release, IANS reported.

Models wear traditional dresses perform on stage on the occasion of Culture Revival of Khyber-Pakhtoonkhawa arranged by Directorate of Culture held in Peshawar.

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PAKISTAN NEWS 19

PAKISTAN CHRONICLE • Friday, March 09, 2012

HYDERABAD: Members of Labour party sindh hold a protest in favor of Balochistan peoples outside press club.

Special forces working in India to contain LeT: US WASHINGTON: The United States had its special forces in India and was working with the Indians to contain Lashkar-eTaiba, a senior American military official told a congressional panel. In his testimony before the House Armed Services Committee, US Pacific Commander Admiral Robert Willard defined LeT as a “very dangerous” security threat to the entire South Asian region. The Indian government, however, has rejected the claim that US Special Forces were based in India, although they did not deny the admiral’s other claim that the two countries were working together to con-

tain LeT. “We have currently special forces assist teams — Pacific assist teams is the term — laid down in Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Maldives, as well as India,” Admiral Willard told the House committee. “And we’re working very closely with India with regard to their counter-terrorism capabilities and in particular on the maritime domain but also government to government, not necessarily DOD but other agencies assisting them in terms of their internal counter-terror and counter-insurgency challenges.” Earlier, Congressman Joe Wilson, a South Carolina Republican, described LeT as “a

joint enemy” of India and Pakistan, which led the “murderous assault” on Mumbai in 2008. “What efforts are being made to counteract that level of terrorism?” he asked. “Lashkar-e-Taiba is very dangerous, Pakistanibased, and a lot of international design in terms of their aspirations. So it’s a very important threat, and we’re working very closely with the nations in the region to help contain it,” Admiral Willard said. In New Delhi, a spokesman for the Indian Defence Ministry told reporters on Friday that Admiral Willard’s claim that US special forces teams were based in India was “factually incorrect”.

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20

CONTINUATIONS

PAKISTAN CHRONICLE • Friday, March 09, 2012

HKCC and iEaran signed a MOU Continued from page 21 by Houston Sister City Association President Ellen Goldberg. “This is part of our ongoing endeavors during my tenure as the President of the Houston Karachi Sister City Association, to fulfill the goals and objectives of our Sister City Association, of promotion of cultural, educational, and economic relationship between the two very important cities of the world, Houston & Karachi,” said Muhammad Saeed Sheikh, at the ceremony of signing the MoU. For this undertaking, Executive Director iEARN Pakistan Farah Shafi Kamal & Manager of IEARN Pakistan Shahrukh Moghul came all the way from Pakistan; and Ms. Kamal signed the MoU on behalf of the schools in Pakistan. Other signatories were Muhammad Saeed Sheikh of HKSCA and Principal of HAIS Melissa Jacobs Thibaut. This agreement will tie Habib Boys and Girls schools of Karachi and Houston Academy of International Studies to be able to work on joint projects using modern technology. This will encourage students and teachers from both cities to travel each other’s country

to work on joint projects in better and coordinated way. It will help increase the standard of learning and teaching. Addressing the on the occasion, Farah Kamal informed that iEARN (International Education and Resource Network) started in 1988 from Spain, and is made up of over 30,000 schools and youth organizations in more than 130 countries. iEARN empowers teachers and young people to work together online using the Internet and other new communications technologies. Over 2,000,000 students each day are engaged in collaborative project work worldwide. Farah Kamal of iEARN and Muhammad Saeed Sheikh of HKSCA informed that the Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) Program provides scholarships to high school students from countries with significant Muslim populations to spend up to one academic year in the United States. During the program, YES students live with American host families and are enrolled in accredited U.S. high schools. They informed that using the resources, both iEARN and HKSCA will try their utmost to arrange one week to one year teachers and students exchange programs though the scholar-

ships given by YES and similar programs. Private Philanthropists can also consider to contribute for this most important teachers and students exchange initiative and can call Muhammad Saeed Sheikh for more information (Cell: 1-281-948-1840). HKSCA President Mohammad Saeed Sheikh thanked CEO of Midland Energy, Javed Anwar for sponsoring the tour of the delegation from Pakistan. MoU signing ceremony was also attended by Houston’s Mayor representative Council Liaison William Paul Thomas, Councilman Andrew Burks’s Chief of Staff Sandra Stretchen, Mayor’s Office of International Affairs City of Houston Terence O’Neill, Mayors Office of Education Initiative Mark Cueva, and the Dean of Administration of the Houston Institute of International Studies Kate Devaney. The ceremony was as well attended by Cristal Montinez, Nurgis Fatima, Zaki Mirza, Rauf Khan, Mariam Issa, Matloob Khan, Zafar Khan, and other community leaders and notables. Later Farah Shafi Kamal and visiting delegation was given a tour of the school campus.

Number of U.S. mosques up 74% since 2000 Continued from page 21 because it is a separate religion. •Most mosque leaders (87%) say "radicalism and extremism" are not increasing among Muslim youth, "in their own experience." They say the greater challenge is "attracting and keeping them close to the mosque." All religious groups should be worried about losing their youth, said David Roozen, who directs the Hartford Institute, which overseas an every-decade look at the growth and health of U.S. religious congregations, Faith Communities Today. Islam will continue to grow, he said, and the old summation of American religion -- Protestant, Catholic, Jew — may soon be revised. But it won't be Protestant, Catholic Muslim, Roozen said. "The fastest growing group of all is those with no religion," Roozen said. Although the study does not claim to say how many Muslims are in the USA, Bagby estimates there are 2.6 million "mosque participants" — people who have attended prayers for Eid (a major holy day) or Friday prayers or were considered participants by the mosque leader survey. Bagby says he reached the number by taking mosque attendance reported

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by the leadership and multiplying the average number of attendees by the number of mosques. Bagby's report concludes, "If there are 2.6 million Muslims who pray the Eid prayer, then the total Muslim population should be closer to estimates (by Bagby) of up to 7 million." No other survey projects even 3 million Muslims in the USA. For example, a 2010 survey on global Muslim population by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life found there were 2.6 million Muslims, including adults and children, in the country. And a 2011 survey by the same research group found 2.75 million Muslims, including 1.8 million adults. Bagby disputes other studies, saying they underestimate because they are based on random phone interviews and many Muslims, particularly immigrants, will not discuss their religion with a stranger on the phone. However, the Pew research, which included phone interviews in four languages, also synthesized data from the Census Bureau and immigration authorities. Pew used country-of-birth information with data from surveys on the percentage of people from each country, or group of countries, who belong to various faiths.


CONTINUATIONS 21

PAKISTAN CHRONICLE • March 09, 2012

TFC's Federal Surplus Property Program saving entities big bucks Continued from front page trying to change that. Fierro is assistant director of the program that serves municipalities, cities, counties, all state agencies, public health organizations, volunteer fire departments, providers of assistance to the homeless and some small businesses. What the program offers is a wide variety of federal surplus property - property the federal government no longer uses or needs. The cost of the items "varies by asset," said Fierro. Because the program is a cost-recovery program at TFC, it charges a fee for purchase of the donated federal property. The end cost to the buyer is typically 10 percent of what the federal government originally paid for the items. So if the federal government bought a desk for $1,000 new, after it reaches the Texas Federal Surplus Property Program in Texas, the buyer will usually pay around $100 for it. The Texas program, although headquartered in Austin, has warehouses in Fort Worth and San Antonio where the items are stored. Buyers have three options for selecting the items they want to purchase. Here’s how it works… Eligible buyers can visit the federal General Services Administration (GSA) Web site to view the inventory of items there that the federal government no longer needs. A call then is placed to Fierro’s program, which will in turn contact GSA to see if that item is available and then request it. However, a request does not guarantee delivery. Fierro said allocation of surplus property from the federal program varies by state. The allocations are based on historical data of what has been previously awarded to the state, information regarding what has been needed in the past and what’s available. Additionally, the Texas program has “screeners” (or “shoppers”) who watch the GSA site daily, looking for items. They often “shop” for items that historically have been requested

often through the state program and try to make them available in their warehouses. The determination of whether a state will receive the property requested can be “based on the volume of property each state has received in the past,” said Fierro. It can also be based on the need for specific property. For instance, during a disaster, if heavy equipment is available and it is needed in a particular area, that will be taken into consideration when deciding where to allocate those items. “If Alabama has had tornadoes or we’re (Texas) in a hurricane, the allocation of more property will come to us,” said Fierro. Another purchasing option is that eligible buyers can visit the TFC Web site and view all the items in inventory at the two state warehouses and request items there. The warehouses collectively include millions of dollars worth of federal surplus property. And finally, eligible buyers can visit the two Texas warehouses and select in-person the items from the inventory there. Fierro said volunteer fire departments have purchased fire truck and fire fighting equipment, while groups that serve the homeless have purchased Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) trailers like those used in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina and have since been retired. Museums request aircraft to display, while universities request them for flight training programs. Boy Scout troops have purchased camping gear. And many entities purchase office furniture and office supplies that can include everything from usable toner cartridges to laptop cases. “Anything that a community can benefit from, we’ll try to get it,” said Fierro. "There’s a wealth of great property that's available." Certain small businesses can also apply to purchase equipment, such as a construction company looking for used backhoes, road graders or heavy equipment. However, they must be registered with their local Small Business

Administration (SBA) office and they will only be able to make purchases for eight years after they originally registered with the SBA. Fierro said cities and counties are automatically eligible to participate in the program. Would-be purchasers must fill out an application to become part of the program. Once an account is created, if an entity purchases an item, the entity will be invoiced for the cost, and will have 30 days from the time the invoice is received to pay the bill. Probably the only drawback to the program is that if a buyer locates an item and it ends up in the state’s warehouse ready for purchase, the buyer will have to travel to the warehouse in either Fort Worth or San Antonio to pick it up. For those interested in the program, two representatives of the Texas Federal Surplus Property Program – Lisa Hardin and Megan Sorley - will be presenting information on the program at the following upcoming events: West Texas County Judges and Commissioners Association Annual Conference & Business Meeting in Odessa, April 23-25, MCM Grande Hotel and FUNDome, 6201 E Business 20, Odessa. For more information, contact Swisher County Judge Harold Keeter at 806-9953504. North & East Texas County Judges and Commissioners Association Annual Conference & Business Meeting in Galveston. May 20-23, Moody Gardens Hotel, 7 Hope Boulevard, Galveston. For more information, contact the TAC Judicial Education Department at 800-456-5974 and ask for Michele Mund or Michele Ewerz, or contact Polk County Judge John Thompson at 936-327-6813. South Texas County Judges and Commissioners Association Annual Conference & Business Meeting in San Antonio, June 18-21, Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort and Spa, 9800 Hyatt Resort Drive, San Antonio. For more information, contact Webb County Commissioner Jerry Garza at 956523-4625.

Life Time Achievement Award of SACC for Joanne King Herring Community Service Award for Sheikh Continued from front page comprised seven countries and now comprises of eight member states (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri-Lanka). SACC celebrated their Grand 18th Annual Gala Dinner 2012 at the prestigious Junior League this past Thursday. Theme of the event was the book of Joanne King Herring, “Diplomacy and Diamond”. Mistress of Ceremonies was Sonia Azad, News Reporter of Local Houston ABC Channel 13. Program started with the national Anthem of USA fervently sung by Karim Farishta. SACC 2012 Co-Chairs Mustafa Tameez and Ash Shah welcomed all the guests. President of SACC Nomaan Husain presented a short report of year 2011, mentioning the regular featured learning and guidance program called the Chai Exchange with colleges & universities; and SACC Mixer to assist young professionals to start their careers & businesses. Following the dinner, several outstanding personalities of the community received plaques and memorabilia of recognition for their outstanding performances: They included Outstanding Businessman Asset Adviser Nasir Ali,

Houston region is now the most diverse in the U.S.

Continued from front page granting equal numbers of visas to every country, immigrants from Latin America, Asia and Africa became dominant. The report found that Pearland and Missouri City have surpassed Houston as the most diverse in the region. The report produced by the Kinder Institute and the Hobby Center for the Study of Texas also found: The city of Houston remained more segregated than other areas of the metropolitan area. Segregation among AfricanAmericans and Latinos has declined the most rapidly. According to the analysis, the percentage of metropolitan area residents who are Anglo dropped to 40 percent by 2010, down from almost 58 percent in Afghan Interior Ministry, one of a 1990. spate of so-called 'insider' attacks on NATO forces since the Koran burnings took place. The Koran burnings could be behind the death of up to six American soldiers. Continued from front page On Monday, a suicide bomber the new study shows they have killed at least two civilians at the "kept their eyes on the prize — gates of the base where the Korans becoming part of mainstream were burned. The Taliban said the America." attack was an act of 'revenge. Major findings include: Underlying the debate over •States with the most mosques are Obama's apology are even larger New York (257), California (246) and questions about the future of U.S. Texas (166). involvement in Afghanistan, where •Most mosques are in cities, but over 10 years after the Taliban government was toppled the militant group remains a potent enemy. Obama plans to pull all of the 33,000 troops he deployed in 200910, credited with turning around the long-neglected campaign in Continued from front page Afghanistan, by this fall, leaving according to which Habib Girls around 68,000 U.S. troops. Most School & Habib Public Boys School foreign combat troops are due to in Karachi are going to be linked with withdraw by the end of 2014. HAIS via Skype and other latest tech-

Over half of Americans back Obama's Koran apology Continued from front page percent of those polled also said Washington should bring its troops home immediately. Obama's formal apology and the debate that decision created have underscored the delicate course the president must tread in his campaign for re-election in November. Afghanistan and other foreign policy issues are sure to take a backseat to the economy in the campaign but Obama is loath to give Republicans more ammunition in the crucial months before the elections. The poll, conducted from March 2 to March 5, showed that far more Democrats supported Obama's apology, with 76 percent of them saying Obama made the right decision. Only 37 percent of Republicans backed the apology, and almost half said Obama was not right to do so. Some 53 percent of independents supported the apology.

In keeping with calls from Capitol Hill, Democrats surveyed professed even less support than Republicans for a continued U.S. presence in Afghanistan. Some 76 percent of Democrats said U.S. troops should be withdrawn immediately, compared with 53 percent of Republicans. Seventy percent of independents favored an immediate withdrawal. The poll included 1,143 Americans interviewed online. The poll had a credibility interval of 3.4 percentage points. Obama cannot allow the outcry over the Koran incident and other NATO missteps to undermine tentative security gains, weakening his ability to point to a series of security successes such as the killing of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, or worsen tensions with the mercurial Karzai government. His decision received extra scrutiny when, several days later, two U.S. officers were shot dead by an Afghan inside the

Outstanding Businesswoman (owner of 50+ Subways) Renu Aggarwal, Outstanding Young Entrepreneur Mashnoon Ahmed of Netbrands Group, Outstanding Community Service (for assisting people of Sindh Floods Pakistan 2011) Muhammad Saeed Sheikh, Outstanding Local Community Organization Raindrop Turkish House, and Outstanding International Community Organization The Citizens Foundation (TCF). Most coveted Lifetime Achievement Award was bestowed upon Joanne King Herring, who has just finished writing her book “Diplomacy and Diamonds”. She was introduced by Honorable Sheriff of Harris County Adrian Garcia. Julia Roberts played Joanne King Herring part in “Charlie Wilson War”. She mentioned several humorous incidents of the past in the making of this movie, and also the role she played during General Zia-ul-Haq time in the war against USSR (she was Honorary Consul General of Pakistan in Houston at that time). After Shenila Naseem, Gala CoChair, conveyed her final remarks and vote of thanks, hundreds of participants purchased the personally signed books of Joanne King Herring.

Anglos make up 48.9 percent of the population in New York. The percentage of Latinos in the Houston area increased to about 40 percent by 2010, up from 20 percent in 1990. The report says that Latinos will become the region's largest ethnic group within a few years. The percentage of Asians has almost doubled over the past 20 years to 6.5 percent, up from 3.4 percent in 1990. The percentage of AfricanAmericans has barely budged - 16.8 percent in 2010, down slightly from 17.5 percent in 1990. Within the five-county area Brazoria, Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris, and Montgomery - Fort Bend County is the most diverse, according to the report. Montgomery County is the least diverse with Anglos accounting for 71 percent of residents.

Number of U.S. mosques up 74% since 2000 28% were in suburban sites in 2010, up from 16% in 2000. •Mosques are ethnically diverse. The major participants are South Asians, Arabs and African Americans, with growing numbers of new immigrants including Somalis, West Africans and Iraqis. The study did not include Nation of Islam mosques Continued on page 20

HKCC and iEaran signed a MOU

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nologies, to work on programs & projects related to culture, education, economic empowerment, and coordination. This signing was witnessed Continued on page 20


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PAKISTAN CHRONICLE • Friday, March 09, 2012

COMMUNITY PHOTOS 23

Pictorial Highlights of annual dinner of South Asian Chamber of Commerce (SACC).

Former State Minister of Pakistan for Religious Affairs and an anchor person of popular TV program Aalim Online, Dr. Aamir Liaquat Hussain addressing to the audience in a Mehfil-e-Naat held at local Hotel in Dallas.

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Blessing of God that I am out of the Dirty Political Arena: Dr. Aamir Liaquat Hussain

Former State Minister of Pakistan for Religious Affairs and an anchor person of popular TV program Aalim Online, Dr. Aamir Liaquat Hussain (C) in a group photograph with President of PAGH, Mr. Tasleem Siddique (R) and Finance Secretary (L)at the Pakistan Center Houston.

HOUSTON, Texas: This past Saturday evening, large numbers of people were mesmerized, at the

Pakistan Center Houston, by tremendous presentation of Hamd (Praise of Continued on page 42

Falcon Cricket Club of Dallas hosted an elegant award ceremony for outstanding performances By Raja Zahid A Khanzada

People at Falcon Cricket Club of Dallas award ceremony for outstanding performances.

DALLAS: Falcon Cricket Club of Dallas hosted an elegant award ceremony for outstanding performances. The event was attended by a large number of community members Continued on page 42

Friday, March 09, 2012

Senior Community Miss Syeda Ada selected activist, Khalil Jilani as Stated Finalist in passed away the National American Miss Texas Pageant By Staff reporter HOUSTON: Senior Community activist, Khalil Jilani was laid to rest in the presence of large numbers of people including family and relatives at Alameda graveyard in Houston. He dies after prolonged illness at age 68 and left 2 sons and 3 Continued on page 42

Renowned Businessman Muhammad Amir Alvi died of Brain By Staff Reporter

HOUSTON: Renowned Businessman Muhammad Amir Alvi passed away in Houston at age 82 Brain Hemorrhage. He was living in United States for past 22 years, he left 4 daughter and 3 sons and widow. Continued on page 42

By our Correspondent

HOUSTON: Miss Syeda Ada, age 18, has been chosen as state finalist in the National American Miss Texas Pageant. The Pageant will be held at the Intercontinental Galleria, The willer of the Pageant will receive a $ 1000 cash award, the official crown and banner, and air transportation to compete in Continued on page 42

Beautiful Mehfil e Milad held in Dallas By Raja Zahid Khanzada Dallas: Beautiful Mehfil-e-Milad held at King Zabiha Halal Meat Market located at Irving in connection with the birth anniversary of Holy Prophet (PBUH).

Market was decorated beautifully to make it appear as per the significance of the ceremony. Qari Sadaqat Hussain enlighten the hearts and souls of the audience Continued on page 42


26 COMMUNITY PHOTOS

PAKISTAN CHRONICLE • Friday, March 09, 2012

Mehfil-e-Milad held at King Zabiha Halal Meat Market located at Irving in connection with the birth anniversary of Holy Prophet (PBUH).

Falcon Cricket Club of Dallas hosted an elegant award ceremony for outstanding performances. distributed awards and trophies as recognition of high performances of players,Zahid Khanzada recived shield award for his support and coverage in the Media Pakistan’s famous cricketer Asif Mujtaba, Mansoor Ahmad distriburte the award

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NATIONAL NEWS 27

PAKISTAN CHRONICLE • Friday, March 09, 2012

Mayor Parker getting political pushback on gay marriage support

US President Barack Obama carries an umbrella as he walks across the South Lawn upon return to the White House in Washington.

Obama: ‘Loose talk’ plays into Iran hands WASHINGTON: President Barack Obama says he doesn’t want war but insists he would attack Iran if that was the only option left to stop that nation from getting a nuclear weapon. "Loose talk of war" only plays into Iran’s hands, Obama said Sunday. On Monday, he will try to persuade Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to slow quickening pressure among many in his hawkish government to attack Iran’s disputed nuclear development sites. Obama is trying to avert an Israeli strike that could come this spring, and which the United States sees as dangerously premature. The president is expected to tell Netanyahu in private at the White House that although the U.S. is committed to Israel’s security it does not want to be dragged into another war. Obama is unlikely to spell out U.S. "red lines" that would trigger a military response, despite Israeli pressure to do so. U.S. officials believe that while Tehran has the capability to build a nuclear weapon, it has not yet decided to do so. They want to give sanctions time to pressure Iran to give up any military nuclear ambitions. Israel says the threat is too great to wait and many officials there are advocating a pre-emptive strike. Obama did not directly call on Israel to stand down, and made a point of saying Israel should always have the right to defend itself as it sees fit. That was the part of Obama’s speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee that Netanyahu said he liked best. Speaking to reporters in Canada ahead of his arrival in the U.S., Netanyahu made no reference to the sanctions and diplomacy Obama emphasized. Obama is unlikely to persuade Netanyahu that economic sanctions and diplomacy are enough to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, and he is unlikely to win any new concessions from Netanyahu on peace talks, the issue that drew bad blood between the two men in previous meetings and led the Israeli leader to publicly scold Obama last year. Netanyahu has not publicly backed a military strike, but his government spurned arguments from top U.S. national security leaders that a preemptive attack would fail. "Now is not the time for bluster," Obama said. "Now

is the time to let our increased pressure sink in." Israeli President Shimon Peres, who had a meeting with Obama Sunday, said he "came out with the feeling that the man is determined to prevent Iran from attaining nuclear weapons." Netanyahu was more subdued in reacting to Obama’s comments Sunday, saying, "more than everything, I value his statement that Israel must be able to protect itself from all threats." Obama framed military force as a last resort, not the next option at a time when sanctions are squeezing Iran. He said just the talk of war has driven up the price of oil to the benefit of Iran. Although Israel says it hasn’t decided whether to strike, it has signaled readiness to do so within the next several months. The top U.S. military officer recently called a unilateral strike "imprudent," a mild catchall for the chain-reaction of oil price hikes, Iranian retaliation, terror strikes and a possible wider Mideast war that U.S. officials fear could flow from an Israeli strike. Israel says a nuclear-armed Iran would be a threat to its existence. It cites Iranian leaders’ repeated calls for Israel’s destruction, support for anti-Israel militant groups and its arsenal of ballistic missiles that are already capable of striking Israel. Israel also fears a nuclear Iran would touch off an atomic weapons race in a region hostile to Israel’s existence. Addressing the powerful pro-Israel lobby, Obama delivered messages to multiple political audiences: Israel, Iran, Jewish voters, a restless Congress, a wary international community and three Republican presidential contenders who will speak to the same group Tuesday. At the core was his assertion that the United States will never settle for containing a nuclear-armed Iran or fail to defend Israel. The head of the U.N. nuclear agency said Monday his organization has "serious concerns" that Iran may be hiding secret atomic weapons work, as he acknowledged failure in his latest attempt to probe such suspicions and listed recent atomic advances by Iran. "The agency continues to have serious concerns regarding possible military dimensions to Iran’s nuclear program," International Atomic Energy Agency chief Yukiya Amano said in Vienna.

Mayor Annise Parker's determination to be known as a competent leader who happens to be lesbian is being challenged by political opponents promulgating the idea that she's becoming a gay activist to the detriment of the city. In the first two months of her second term, Parker helped deliver a call by mayors nationwide for the legalization of same-sex marriage, proclaimed Valentine's Day as Freedom to Marry Day in Houston and said on cable radio that President Barack Obama needs to "evolve" toward support of marriage equality. Emboldened by Parker's poor showing in November in which she barely avoided a runoff and by the victories by two opponents of gay marriage who became the first challengers to unseat City Council incumbents in 12 years, social conservatives have gone on the attack. They accuse Parker of reneging on a campaign promise to put the city first and social issues advocacy second, and they charge her with violating the Texas Constitution by advocating for a change to it. "What they're saying is, 'We smell blood,'" said Rice University political science professor Bob Stein, whose wife previously served as Parker's agenda director. Pastor Steve Riggle of Grace Community Church, site of next month's county Republican Party convention, sent a letter to Parker late last month calling for her to resign if she will not stand down on gay marriage. He spent nearly an hour Sunday expounding on his feelings during his 10 a.m. sermon to roughly 3,000 congregants. "Respectfully, if you cannot uphold the Texas Constitution, then you should do the honorable thing and step down," Riggle told his congregation, who responded with the first of numerous ovations. "When you speak for us as the mayor of Houston, when the people of Houston have overwhelmingly

expressed their will and you speak about this issue without their expressed will, I do have a problem with that," he continued. Voters spoke in 2005 County GOP Chairman Jared Woodfill has sent an email blast asking party members to contact Parker and tell her to support traditional marriage. Even some Parker supporters privately have said that her recent public statements, given her November showing, are not good politics. Voters in the city of Houston supported the state constitutional amendment barring gay marriage by a nearly two-to-one margin in 2005. Others say Parker has not changed. Only the timing of her opponents' attacks has - shortly after inauguration instead of in the run-up to an election. "Politics is a risk," said county Democratic Party Chairman Lane Lewis, and Parker does not make statements merely to raise her profile. "When she acts on things, my experience with her over the last 20 years is that she does things for the purpose of bettering government and bettering its citizens." Woodfill has pushed the message that Parker is violating the Constitution by calling for legalization of same-sex marriage in direct contradiction of the will of the voters. Doing so in Washington, D.C., at the U.S. Conference of Mayors indicates misplaced priorities, he said. "She needs to be in Houston doing her job balancing the budget," Woodfill said. "I think the people will remember it when they go to the voting booth in 2013." Though Parker spoke at the mayors' news conference, she has played down any leadership role in the nationwide campaign. "This is mayors standing up and saying, 'We believe this is the right thing to do.' It's not going to impact any of the duties I have down here," Parker said. "There's no political calculation involved."

Steve Crabb (L) and Samuel Goben help to salvage items at the tornado-damaged home of Linda Branlet in Harrisburg, Illinois.

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28 NATIONAL/LOCAL

PAKISTAN CHRONICLE • Friday, March 09, 2012

Many Texas congressional leaders got richer during the recession

US Vice President Joe Biden (C) smiles with Arturo Sarukhan (L) the ambassador of Mexico in the US and Mexico's deputy secretary for North America Julian Ventura (R) on arrival at the presidential hangar in Mexico City.

'Silent epidemic' of dental disease threatens poor kids' health Every time Dr. Martee Engel treats a young patient whose teeth have brown or white chalky spots, she's reminded of an acute problem affecting children particularly poor children. Engel sees more than her share of early childhood tooth decay as dental director at Denver Harbor Clinic in northeast Houston. The clinic treats mostly poor children who are twice as likely as more affluent children to have untreated tooth decay, studies show. While overall oral health care for adults and children has improved, tooth decay continues to be the most common chronic disease among children. It can have serious social and health consequences when untreated and, in rare cases, can be fatal. "The children with the highest need are the poor," said Engel, a pediatric dentist for 20 years. "Their tooth decay occurs more rapidly and is more pervasive." A surgeon general report in 2000 called the problem a "silent epidemic." It estimated that children lose more than 51 million school hours because of toothaches. Children whose families are below the federal poverty line suffer 12 times more restricted activity and loss of school hours than other children, the report said. Texas has done a better job than most states in improving access to dental care during the past decade, according to a study by the Pew Center. Texas was one of nine states to receive a B for meeting national benchmarks. In 2007, the state added $258 million to Medicaid to increase dental reimbursement rates on average by 50 percent, which has increased dentist participation. The action was part of a settlement of a classaction lawsuit. But even with more access through Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program, use of benefits remains low. Only 60 percent of the 3.3 million Texas children enrolled use their dental benefits, according to state officials. Figures in most other states are lower. Waiting for weeks Health policy analyst Julia Paradise said more

dentists, especially pediatric dentists, must participate in public insurance programs to fill the gaps. The need is greatest in rural areas and inner-city communities, she said. "Coverage is not the same as access," said Paradise, an analyst with the nonprofit Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. "It gets you to the door, but the door has to open." In Houston, community health clinics, such as the Denver Harbor Clinic, are picking up the slack. They accept public insurance and provide free or discounted services, but the need is so great that families sometimes wait weeks to see a dentist. Many parents don't come back or don't show up for scheduled appointments because they can't afford to miss work or can't arrange transportation, Engel said. By the time many poor children get to a dentist, they often need complex work that's sometimes expensive. One of Engel's worst cases involved a 4-year-old boy with an abscess on his baby teeth. He showed up at the Denver Harbor medical clinic with a swollen face, complaining of pain and not being able to sleep. He was referred to Engel at the dental clinic next door. The boy was so infected that Engel had to first treat him with antibiotics. She told his parents to bring him back in four days to have his teeth removed, but he never returned. The clinic searched for his homeless family and found them two weeks later so that Engel could remove his teeth. The family likely didn't return because they couldn't afford the procedure, Engel said. Had the family continued to delay care, the boy probably would have landed in a hospital emergency room for treatment, which is common, she said. Tooth decay is caused by bacterial infection that can spread if untreated. Dental disease has been linked to cardiovascular conditions, diabetes, and strokes. In 2007, a 12-year-old Maryland boy died when a tooth infection spread to his brain. His family had recently lost its Medicaid benefits. A tooth extraction would have saved his life, dentists said.

WASHINGTON - Even in a flailing economy, many Texans in Congress have seen their personal net worth swell - and 17 of the state's 34 representatives on Capitol Hill have emerged from the recession with money in the millions. "It's to be expected that members of Congress would see their holdings recover more quickly than ordinary Americans," says Cal Jillson, a political scientist at Southern Methodist University. "They arrive in Congress better educated and wealthier than their constituents - and with established careers." The median change was a 25 percent gain in delegation members' net worth over the latest four-year period - a far better performance than the 11 percent loss in value suffered by financial holdings tracked by Standard and Poor's 500 Index. Of the U.S. senators and Congress members who represent the greater Houston area, 8 of 11 showed increases in personal wealth. The exceptions are Republican Sen.Kay Bailey Hutchison, whose net worth dropped by 33 percent since the end of 2006 to an estimated $5.2 million at the end of 2010; U.S. Rep. Pete Olson, R-Sugar Land, whose net worth dropped 21 percent to $1.4 million; and U.S. Rep. Gene Green, a Houston Democrat who slipped 20 percent from $656,004 to an estimated $522,503. Four Houston-area House members made the millionaire's cut: Republican Michael McCaul, with an estimated $380 million; Democrat Al Green, with an estimated $4.5 million; Republican Ron Paul, with an estimated $3.6 million; and Olson. McCaul's holdings make him the second wealthiest member of Congress, in large part due to the financial status of his wife, Linda Mays McCaul, who received money transfers from her father, Clear Channel Communications Chairman Lowry Mays. McCaul's estimated net worth grew from almost $47 million in 2007 to $380 million in 2010. Data from center "A lot of members are wealthy to start with and wealthy people are more likely to have a financial adviser looking over their assets to ensure that they take advantage of opportunities," says Sheila Krumholz, executive director of the Center for Responsive Politics and who has tracked tracks lawmakers' finances. Past studies by Georgia State scholar Alan Ziobrowski found lawmakers' portfolios often outperform constituents' holdings. Members of the House and Senate earn a federal salary of $174,000 a year. But congressional financial disclosure forms ask members to list individual assets in broad ranges in a format that makes it impossible to calculate members' precise net worth. What they report varies

from year to year and may not include assets such as personal residences or small checking accounts. The Houston Chronicle drew upon data compiled by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics (www.opensecrets.org) to show changes in members' estimated net worth based upon the average value of listed assets and liabilities for the four year period through 2010. The 18-month recession stretched from December 2007 until June 2009. Lee shifts investments "People who run for Congress tend to be ambitious hard-chargers who are determined to do well in everything they do," says Larry Sabato, a scholar at University of Virginia. "It would be a surprise if a member of Congress weren't doing better than average." Republican Sen. John Cornyn, a secondterm senator from San Antonio who served as state attorney general and a state supreme court judge, had his estimated personal net worth grow from $251,505 in 2006 to $392,506 in 2010. The legendary GOP fundraiser ranks 88th in the so-called Senate Millionaires' Club. Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, a Democrat representing a downtown Houston district, boosted her estimated net worth over the four years from $175,505 to $935,005, with investments shifting from insurance to commercial banking. Several Houston-area House members steered through the recession with minimal impact. Republican Kevin Brady, who represents The Woodlands and is a member of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, reported his net worth growing from an estimated $541,000 to $551,515 over the period. Some have pensions Past public service in Texas - and the pension that goes with it - helped cushion many members. Both senators and seven of the nine area House members built up pension benefits in previous posts. The reported net worth of Houston Republican John Culberson remained at $337,501. He listed two stable assets: his state pension service in the Texas Legislature and his home, each worth up to $250,000. Contributing to Al Green's largely stable estimated net worth of $4.5 million, for example, was a pension worth between $1 million and $5 million from more than two decades as a Justice of the Peace in Texas. Republican Ted Poe's pension as a criminal court judge and prosecutor, coupled with financial holdings such as real estate worth up to $100,000 and paying off some liabilities, contributed to an estimated net worth that grew from $11,505 in 2006 to $136,507 in 2010.

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LOCAL NEWS 29

PAKISTAN CHRONICLE • Friday, March 09, 2012

Preacher launches new church DALLAS: Less than one month after resigning form St. Luke Community United Methodist Church in Dallas, the Rev. Tyrone Gordon — accused of coercing young men into "engaging in sexual acts and relationships" — launched a new, unaffiliated church Sunday morning inside the ballroom of the Radisson Hotel in North Dallas. Transforming Life Christian Fellowship held a two-hour consecration service, with almost 200 parishioners in attendance, but no reporters. "NO PRESS OR CAMERA'S [sic] ALLOWED" said signs posted on the door of the ballroom where the service was taking place, so while we have no recording of what happened inside, church member Darryl Evans said the sermon was touching. "It's both a new beginning and a healing, and it was real positive," he said. Gordon, who declined to speak on

Rev. Tyrone Gordon, seen here in a file photo, launched a new church on Sunday.

camera, is now facing a second lawsuit, filed by a former youth choir director, alleging sexual misconduct. Gordon resigned from St. Luke on February 15. The most recent legal action filed March on 2, targets Gordon, St. Luke, and the North Texas Conference that supervised the minis-

ter while in the pulpit. Allegations include failure to conduct adequate background checks and untimely intervention once complaints about Tyrone Gordon had surfaced. News 8 asked parishioners if Gordon addressed his challenges during the service and if he was glad to

Rev. Tyrone Gordon held services for his new church at a North Dallas hotel.

see members of the congregation who were sticking by his side. "I'm sure he's very happy and appreciative," Robert Trigg said. In Sunday's service, Rev. Gordon asked for prayer, preached how struggle reveals who your real friends are, and how God can turn bad into good.

Gordon's attorney denies all allegations of sexual misconduct and those who continue to follow him, like Veetris Edwards, agrees. "I don't believe anything negative about him, so that's the reason I'm here... everybody has to be forgiven," Edwards said.

HCSO: Houston woman threatened to kill district court judge HOUSTON – A Houston woman is facing charges after investigators say she threatened to kill the judge who denied her divorce petition. Julia Taylor, 47, is charged with retaliation. According to court documents, Taylor sent more than 10 texts to her attorney, threatening to harm District Court Judge Bonnie Hellums. Judge Hellums told investigators that she’s known Taylor for more than two years, and that Taylor has filed multiple frivolous petitions in her court. Most recently, Hellums said she denied Taylor’s request for financial support

for her ex-husband, denied her ability to proceed with the lawsuit and imposed sanctions against Taylor. On February 29 and March 1, investigators said Taylor started texting her attorney, talking about the judge. In one of the texts, Taylor reportedly said Hellums needed to change her mind "before she ends up with blood on her hands." In another text, investigators said Taylor claimed to have hired a hit man. "FOUND A HITMAN, TIME’S A TICKIN.

LET JUDGE HELLUMS KNOW THAT WHAT GOES AROUND IS FIXIN TO COME AROUND AND IT’S HER FAULT 4 NOT MAKING THIS RIGHT," the text read. Investigators said Taylor claimed she and her children had been wronged by the judge. "You want a terroristic threat YOU ALL JUST GOT ONE! **** ALL OF YOU," another text read. The attorney said Taylor told him to print out the texts and show them to the judge. Charges were filed on March 1, 2012.

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30 NATIONAL NEWS

PAKISTAN CHRONICLE • Friday, March 09, 2012

Will Texas be a player or party pooper in GOP presidential politics? HOUSTON: Texas missed a big chance to play a major role in selecting the 2012 Republican presidential candidate. But the state could still become a kingmaker. Or not. That’s just one of the confusing consequences of the confusing political fallout from the state’s prolonged fight over redistricting. Voters won’t receive their registration cards until next month, Harris County taxpayers will have to fork over an estimated $80,000 in extra expenses and turnout will almost certainly be low. "It’s been a lot of work," said Stan Stanart, the Harris County clerk, whose staff is now drilling down into the details of new precinct maps for the upcoming election. Remember all those nasty commercials airing on Houston television back during the primary season of 2008, when Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton fought it out for the Democratic presidential nomination? Both Obama and Clinton spent a lot of time and money courting Texas voters because their unexpectedly long primary fight made this state an important player in that year’s presidential politics. Flash forward to 2012. Unlike Obama, Mitt Romney has not held a rally in the Toyota Center. Unlike Clinton, Rick Santorum has not saturated the airwaves with television commercials. Unlike 2008, Texas doesn’t matter – yet. On Super Tuesday next week, voters in 10 states will cast ballots in presidential primaries. Texas would have been one of them, but the prolonged fight over redistricting delayed the state’s primary until late May.

But if the campaign for the Republican nomination drags on another couple of months, it’s possible Texas could still play a huge role in the contest. As the nation’s second most populous state, it could become a prize for the GOP presidential candidates. "Texas is one of the largest troves of delegates," said Bob Stein, the Rice University professor and KHOU political analyst. The late primaries would play to the strengths of especially conservative candidates, Stein predicts.The primary date, May 29, is the day after the Memorial Day weekend and the runoff date is July 31. Both dates are likely to severely diminish voter turnout, according to Stein. "It’s not inconceivable that the Republicans will have a low turnout, very conservative turnout," Stein says. "They will nominate not only more conservative candidates, but in some cases they may actually defeat incumbents." Another curious impact of the late primaries: Voting officials throughout the state will ask school districts to reopen buildings closed for the summer vacation. In Harris County, that’s expected to cost taxpayers about $80,000. "Our schools are closed," Stanart said. "They’ll let us use the facilities, but they want us to pay for the air conditioning. They want us to pay for the janitorial services and whoever has to be there to open and close the schools." And yet, for all the trouble, comparatively few Texans are expected to cast ballots in the strange summer primary season of 2012.

Online petition drive launched for education funding AUSTIN, Texas -- A new push is underway at the State Capitol to get more money into Texas schools. Educators and parents gathered Wednesday morning on the South Steps to kick off an online petition. They want as many signatures as possible to go out to lawmakers to show them what changes they want to be made. Some lawmakers are already on board. They joined in the announcement on Wednesday. The group Save Texas Schools formed during the Legislative session last year as lawmakers struggled with deep cuts to public education. The session ended with lawmakers approving nearly $5.5 billion in cuts. Now Save Texas Schools is rallying again, hoping to change the minds of lawmakers before their next session. Many will be up for re-election at that point; giving voters a new power over who will make the decisions. “We’ve got primaries and elections coming up and we want candidates, we want legislators to say we will support public schools. We’re going to restore the cuts,” said Chairman of Save Texas Schools Allen

Weeks. Weeks and those who stand beside him want leaders in the capitol to restore education. A web survey released by Texas AFT found that among 241 Texas superintendents, more than 30,000 positions in districts statewide were slashed, including teachers. The impact trickled down district wide. “The classes are very overcrowded. We’ve got schools around the state shutting down,” said concerned parent Susan Moffat. Organizers at Save Texas Schools say Texas is now ranked 44th in the nation when it comes to the amount of money paid for each student. In their petition they are asking lawmakers to: Make public education a top priority. Restore all school funding cuts made by the 2011 legislature. Revise school finance laws. Fix the structural deficit to avoid further cuts to education. Re-evaluate standardized testing. The group will rally again at the State Capitol on March 24.

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LOCAL NEWS 31

PAKISTAN CHRONICLE • Friday, March 09, 2012

Gun sales boom across Texas in expectation of Obama re-election FORT WORTH, Texas -- Gun sales are booming across Texas, and some buyers say their growing belief that President Barack Obama’s re-election is inevitable is fueling their race to bear more arms. Fort Worth gun shop owner DeWayne Irwin tells the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that the rush is similar to one seen shortly after the president’s 2008 election.

Book author Alan Korwin tells the Star-Telegram that some are worried that Obama’s re-election would embolden a major gun control push. Korwin has written nine books on gun laws and operates a gun laws website. Korwin says people worry that if Obama wins “he will go after firearms in a way we have never seen before.”

Thousands cheer new Trinity River bridge Steve Crabb (L) and Samuel Goben help to salvage items at the tornado-damaged home of Linda Branlet in Harrisburg, Illinois.

HIV on the rise among Dallas African American women

On the outside, 16-year-old Brianna Lamar is just like other teenagers. On the inside, she is not. "I have HIV," Brianna said. "I was born with it."

DALLAS - There's music, texting, studying. On the outside, 16-year-old Brianna Lamar is just like other teenagers. On the inside, she is not. "I have HIV," Brianna said. "I was born with it." "For me to be as young as I am, and speak about it," she adds, "I realize that it does shock a lot of people." What may be even more shocking, is Brianna isn't the only teenager in Dallas County infected with the virus that causes AIDS. "The new numbers we're seeing

in the 13-to-18 age group, that number is staggering," said Dallas County Health Department Director Zach Thompson. Thompson said Dallas County leads the state in the number of new HIV infections. Twenty-five percent of new HIV cases in the county are in the 13-to-24 age group. About 40 percent of all new cases are African American and female. "We were just as alarmed in the 80's when we saw the infection rate among white gay males," Thompson said. "We should have the same intensity now as it relates to African

American females. And I don't see that intensity." Brianna says she talks openly with friends about her grueling daily cocktail of HIV medication, and about safe sex. But she says no school adult has ever talked to her about the latter. "There's no sex ed," Brianna said. "They don't tell you what part should go where, what can happen to this part if this happens - there's none of that. "There should be," she said emphatically. Talking about safe sex and HIV is what's most important to Brianna and her grandmother, Freddie Easley. "Because it's deadly," Easley said. "And because it's out there. And because we need to teach little Johnnie that there's something he can do, so he won't contract this disease." Easley has raised her granddaughter since she was born with HIV. Brianna's mother and father both died of AIDS. And while Freddie Easley is proud of her granddaughter, neither of them want anyone else to be like her.

The distinctive span of the new Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge glistened as the sun rose on a day of celebrations,

DALLAS: After a decade of waiting, the Margaret Hunt Hill bridge is now a reality, as people from around the world gather in Dallas to celebrate the newest icon of the city's eclectic skyline. It is also the city's first new span over the Trinity River in decades. The bridge may just look like an arch from afar, but get anywhere near it — especially under it — and you will see pure art — a vision realized after years of planning. The project cost $182 million. World famous architect Santiago Calatrava designed the bridge, and we'll see his mark in the future, too. Thousands of people took the opportunity to get an up-close look at their new bridge on Saturday, including the man who designed it. Calatrava told News 8 he'd like to keep working for Dallas. Originally, he was to design two other complimentary bridge sover the Trinity River, but rising costs and other delays have scaled down the project — and Calatrava's role. He still has a hand in designing the

Austin leaders approve disposable bag ban .AUSTIN, Texas -- The Austin City Council has approved a ban on disposable plastic and paper bags at checkout counters for retailers. The ban approved early Friday takes effect next March. Reusable bags that are allowed include those made of cloth, durable materials or thicker paper and plastic bags with handles. The ban has exemptions, including singleuse bags for newspapers, bulk foods and carry-

out items from restaurants. Charitable groups relying on single-use bags to distribute food and other assistance are also exempt. Supporters of the disposable bag ban raised trash and other environmental concerns. Leaders of the Texas Retailers Association and other critics have said they fear the bag ban will affect business. Austin city officials plan to spend $2 million on an education campaign about the ban.

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second bridge, which will replace the current Interstate 30 span and will include its own signature arch. Our first look at plans for the I-30 bridge are expected to be unveiled next week. But plans for the third bridge, for Interstate 35E, are not yet final, and city leaders say it's unlikely the city can afford another Calatrava design. That is disappointing to the Spanish architect, who said he'd like to design the third and finish the vision that was hatched nearly 15 years ago. "It is necessary, I think, to do at least a third piece, who will, of course, complement," Calatrava said. "They have to be like sisters speaking with each other." No architect or design has been selected for the third span, although the state says it does have the $818 million needed to build the next two bridges. Construction on the second bridge could start as early as next year, but the fact remains that the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge is not yet ready for vehicles. That should come before the end of the month.


32 SCIENCE/TECHNOLOGY

PAKISTAN CHRONICLE • Friday, March 09, 2012

Scientists see red on Nasa cuts of Mars missions WASHINGTON: Nasa said Monday it is not giving up on Mars, but it will have to get there later and at a lower price. President Barack Obama's annoucned this month budget canceled joint US-European robotic missions to Mars in 2016 and 2018. Now top science officials say they are scrambling to come up with a plan by the end of the summer for a cut-rate journey to the red planet in 2018. Nasa sciences chief John Grunsfeld said he thinks there is a better than even chance that Nasa will not miss the 2018 opportunity. That is when Mars passes closest to Earth, which happens only once every 15 years. It offers a chance at fuel cost-savings and the ability to send up more equipment. Agency officials who met with upset scientists on Monday seemed intent

on salvaging a program that took some of the deepest science spending hits in the president's budget. Until this month, Nasa had been ramping up its Martian ambitions. Meanwhile, in the middle of this year, the most high-tech rover ever, Curiosity, will land near the Martian equator in search of the chemical building blocks of life. The more scientists study Mars, the closer they get to answering whether microbial life once existed there, a clue to the ultimate question: Are we alone? Two years ago, President Barack Obama stood at Kennedy Space Center and said it was more of a priority than going to the moon. He wanted astronauts there by the mid2030s. But the two coming missions were then canceled along with the most ambitious Mars flight yet planned,

Nighttime view from the International Space Station shows the Atlantic coast of the United States in this NASA handout image dated February 6, 2012. Metropolitan areas from the Virginia/Maryland/Washington, D.C. area are visible in the image that spans almost to Rhode Island.

which the National Academy of Sciences endorsed as the No. 1 solar system priority. That was a plan to grab Martian rocks and soil and bring them back to Earth. Now that is "not an option" given the current budget, Grunsfeld said. Mars researcher Steve Squyres of Cornell University, who headed the national academy panel, said if Nasa could not make progress on a Mars sample return, the space agency should think about moving on to the next priorities, such as visiting Jupiter's moon Europa. "We're really at a crossroads," Nasa planetary sciences chief Jim Green said. Nasa said it does not quite know what a reconfigured 2018 mission would look like, but it

would be cost-capped at $700 million and it will not be landing. If it is lucky, it may orbit Mars. After Curiosity lands in August, the next Nasa Mars surface mission probably is close to a decade away, Grunsfeld said. To scientists, the message from the White House seems simple: Bye-bye, Mars. If Obama's budget sails through as outlined, "in essence, it is the end of the Mars program," said Phil Christensen, a Mars researcher at Arizona State University. It is like "we've just flown Apollo 10 and now we're going to cancel the Apollo program when we're one step from landing," he said.

Appointment.

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PAKISTAN CHRONICLE • Friday, March 09, 2012

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34 NATIONAL

PAKISTAN CHRONICLE • Friday, March 09, 2012

Texans among 29 arrested in massive international counterfeit ring NEWARK, N.J. -- Federal officials in New Jersey have announced charges against 29 people in what they say is a massive international counterfeit goods operation. New Jersey’s U.S. attorney, Paul Fishman, says parallel international investigations resulted in arrests in New Jersey, Texas, New York and the Philippines, which are ongoing. The arrests were announced Thursday. Fishman says defendants in the alleged rings attempted to smuggle

$325 million in counterfeit goods from China through the Port Newark-Elizabeth Marine Terminal in Elizabeth. In addition to trafficking in counterfeit sneakers, boots, handbags and other items, authorities say the two overlapping criminal enterprises also trafficked in counterfeit cigarettes and crystal meth. Fishman says the groups took counterfeit goods manufactured in China and shipped them to the U.S. for sale to wholesale and retail outlets.

US President Barack Obama speaks during the AIPAC Policy Conference at the Washington Convention Center in Washington, DC.

New tools tackle chronic pain Judy Franklin tried surgery, physical therapy, nerve-blocking injections and a variety of medications to deal with chronic back pain over the past 30 years. Nothing worked for long. Late last month doctors implanted a spinal cord stimulator in the Pasadena resident's lower back. The device sends a low-voltage dose of electricity to the spinal nerves to stop pain signals from reaching the brain. "I'm not going to say it's a cure-all," the 70year-old said last week. "But it's working fairly well." New technologies and a better understanding of the biology of pain are changing the way doctors treat chronic pain from car accidents, surgeries,

nerve damage, arthritis and dozens of other causes. Medication remains a front-line therapy, but concerns about addiction, overdose deaths and the proliferation of storefront pain clinics have made some doctors wary of prescribing the most powerful drugs. Doctors now consider chronic pain a disease and don't expect patients to suffer without help, said Dr. Ahmed Sewielam, chief of physical medicine and rehabilitation at the Kelsey-Seybold Clinic. "My fear is that those days are going to come back because doctors are afraid of writing those prescriptions," he said. Growing awareness of the risks of medication has helped to propel injections, implanted drug

pumps and spinal cord stimulators into the mainstream, along with complementary treatments such as acupuncture and cognitive therapy. They are less subject to abuse but often more expensive, at least in the short-term. Drugs approved for other uses, including antidepressants and anti-seizure medications, can help, too, Sewielam said. But nothing works for everyone. "Chronic pain is a horrible condition with no good answers," said Dr. Richard Simpson, the Houston neurosurgeon who treated Franklin. Chronic pain increasingly is viewed as a public health problem, affecting 116 million adults and costing the country as much as $365 billion a year in medical costs and lost productivity and wages.

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PAKISTAN CHRONICLE • Friday, March 09, 2012

ADVERTISEMENT 35

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36 ENTERTAINMENT

PAKISTAN CHRONICLE • Friday, March 09, 2012

Katrina Kaif keeps ‘rock star’ waiting!

Actresses Ginnifer Goodwin (L) and Jennifer Morrison attend The Paley Center For Media's PaleyFest 2012 Honoring "Once Upon A Time" at the Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills, California.

Bipasha blames Madhavan for film's failure

With three kingly Khans in tow, we're sure Katrina is busy as a bee (Queen Bee, perhaps?). But little does she know that she has other B-Town boys pining for her attention. Jaise apna desi 'rockstar', Ali Zafar. When they were working together on Mere Brother Ki Dulhan, Ali and Katrina had a pact that she would sing for one of his albums if the film turns out to be a hit. Recently, when we asked Ali about it, he said, "Well, we said we'll do it if the film is a hit, but it went on to become a superhit! I'm just waiting to hear from Katrina, it'll be really exciting to do this." Hmm, we think the lovely lady should take some time and revisit this musical deal. And just to remind you, Ali... there's another lovely lady, Priyanka, who's making a musical debut this year. Music to your ears?

Ironically she was raving about their pairing before the release of 'Jodi Breakers' They say failure makes everyone spiteful. Bengali beauty Bipasha Basu is no exception. After the disastrous performance of her latest movie ‘Jodi Breakers’ at the BO the 33-year-old actress is apparently blaming her co-star R. Madhavan for it. The makers allegedly want a sequel to the film but Bips would have none of it. This news comes as a surprise to insiders who insist that when the script of the movie was narrated to Bips she insisted that R Madhavan be cast as the leading hero in the movie. Also, Bips went onto tell everyone around her that R. Madhavan had all the qualities in him to be her Mr Right. During promotions, she was seen with Maddy at all events. However, the movie, which released last week was not only panned by critics but was a big flop at the box office too. It seems like the poor BO performance has changed the ‘Players’ actress’ opinion of the South Indian actor. Rumour has it that Bips no longer wants to work with Maddy again and that she has also demanded that the makers of ‘Jodi Breakers’ drop him from the lead role if she is to feature in it. Maybe someone should ask the dusky star who will take the blame for flops like ‘Lamhaa’ ‘Aakrosh’ ‘Dum Maro Dum’ and ‘Players!’ Actress Gillian Jacobs attends The Paley Center For Media's PaleyFest 2012 Honoring "Community" at the Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills, California.

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PAKISTAN CHRONICLE • Friday, March 09, 2012

COMMUNITY PHOTOS 37 Pictorial Highlights of Mehfil-e-Milad held by PAGH at Pakistan Center, Former State Minister of Pakistan for Religious Affairs and an anchor person of popular TV program Aalim Online, Dr. Aamir Liaquat Hussain addressing to the audience and Tasleem Siddique and Khalid Khan were also present on the occasion. Photos by: Pakistan Chronicle

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38 ENTERTAINMENT

PAKISTAN CHRONICLE • Friday, March 09, 2012

Veena Malik is now a super model Her co-star in her new film is none other than ex beau Ashmit Patel fter Kareena Kapoor's ‘Heroine’ now it’s time to check out the super model. And would you believe it, it’s Veena Malik who it seems, has decided that what Bebo can do on screen, she can do better! Veena has been signed up for a film titled ‘Super Model’ which, as the name suggests will have lots of masala tracing the life of a model. The interesting bit is that her co-star in the film is Ashmit Patel, her on-off beau with whom she had been linked during her appearance in ‘Bigg Boss’. The director Navin Batra says Veena was the apt choice for the film as her life as a celebrity has also gone through many phases and seen many controversies. The film will be shot in the beautiful sceneries of Fiji, Australia. Will the stunning locales and bold subject re-kindle the VeenaAshmit affair remains to be seen. More importantly, is anyone interested in watching them?

A

TV personality Cat Deeley attends Escape to Total Rewards at Hollywood & Highland Center on March 1, 2012 in Hollywood, California.

Baby time in Bollywood

Kareena to do an item number in ‘Dabangg 2’? The makers feel having Bebo in the film will make it bigger and better

t looks like there is a baby boom in Bollywood now. Beti B continues to make news while recently Lara Dutta became the proud mother of a little angel. Now, it’s the turn of Celina Jaitley to await the delivery of her twins. The light-eyed ���No Entry actress’ who is married to restaurateur Peter Haag is currently feeding them healthy food by cooking and eating all her favourite dishes! As she reveals, “We decided to have our babies in Dubai at a prestigious hospital known for its services. Will keep you posted on D-day.” Another couple who are over the moon about their new born baby Giann is Bollywood’s leading choreographer Ganesh Hegde and his wife Sunayna. Ganesh gushes, “Giaan's sweet smile, his tiny hands, and the cute faces he makes give me the most soothing and peaceful feeling.” The little one was born on February 24 and the new parents admit that they now know why millions of parents love their children selflessly; they can’t quite get over the fact that they’re actually parents themselves! And for all those fantastic steps Ganesh teaches stars, he grins that his baby is now teaching him other lessons in life!

I

With Dabangg becoming one of the biggest blockbusters of all time, the buzz around ‘Dabangg 2’ is getting stronger and bigger by the day. Reports suggest the makers have approached Kareena Kapoor for an item number in the sequel replacing Malaika Arora Khan who made ‘Munni Badnaam’ such a huge hit in the original. Apparently, the producers feel that having Kareena in the song would make the film more attractive. Malaika, in most probability, would be restricted to only being the producer. Earlier it was speculated that Amrita Arora would join her sister Malaika for an item song. But as of now it seems the only common thing to the sequel’s item number seems to be Salman Khan. Industry insiders insist that the Salman Khan-Kareena Kapoor pairing in ‘Bodyguard’ was much-liked and so the actress was the right choice. Also Kareena hasn't done an item song since ‘Don’ where she danced to the remixed version of ‘Yeh Mera Dil’. Either of the composers from the original, Lalit Pandit or SajidWajid would be composing the song.

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PAKISTAN CHRONICLE • Friday, March 09, 2012

IMMIGRATION 39

LEGAL CORNER T

his article will be a weekly feature courtesy of the Law Office of Rehan Alimohammad, PC (see detailed ad on p. 32 of main section) to inform the community about the latest in U.S. Law. You can subscribe to our e-newsletter to stay current on the latest legal developments by e-mailing us at newsletter@attorneyrehan.com. You can visit our website at www.attorneyrehan.com or call our offices at (281) 340-2074 or 800-814-3920 for more information

Article #282 Naturalization Q & A As always, you should consult with an attorney regarding your individual case. Q: What are the requirements for Naturalization? A: There are exceptions and waivers that a person may be eligible for, but the main requirements include the following: 1)Good Moral Character, 2)18 years old or older, 3)a Permanent Resident for 3 or 5 years (discussed below), 4)Physical Presence, 5)Continuous Residence, 6)English and Civics, 7)Reside in the District of filing. Q: How long do I have to be a Permanent Resident? A: For 5 years, unless you are married to a U.S. Citizen for more than 3 years (your spouse has to be a Citizen for at least 3 years), and then it is 3 years. This date is calculated from the date on your green card. Q: What is Good Moral Character? A: The law really does not define what is "good moral character" but does define what is NOT "good moral character". It includes people who are habitual drunkards, those jailed for 180 days or more, aggravated felons. Note that "good moral character" is required during the proper time period. In other words, the standard applicant needs to be a Permanent Resident for 5 years. So, the INS/DHS looks back only 5 years to determine good moral character. However, serious crimes have no time limit. For example, if you murdered someone 10 years ago, you will never meet the good moral character requirement. If you have a criminal issue in your past, and wish to file for naturalization, you should definitely consult an attorney. Q: What is the Physical Presence requirement? A: "Physical Presence" means that you have actually been in the U.S. Most applicants must be "physically present" in the U.S. for at least half of the total required period. So, if you are not married to a U.S. Citizen, and need 5 years of permanent residence, then you need to be in the U.S. for at least 2 ½ years. If you only need 3 years of permanent residence, then you need to be in the U.S. for 1 ½ years. There are some exceptions to this requirement for Religious missionaries or U.S. Armed forces. Q: What is the Continuous Residence requirement? A: "Continuous Residence" means that you have not left the U.S. for a long period of time during one trip. For most applicants (not married to a U.S. citizen), you need 5 years of continuous residence. If you are outside of the U.S. for more than 1 year, your continuous residence is interrupted. There are, of course, exceptions to this. Q: When can I file for naturalization? A: By law, you can apply no more than 90 days before your Permanent Residence requirements are met. Thus, if you are required to have 5 years of permanent resi-

dency, you can file after 4 years and 9 months. Q: What are the exceptions to the English requirement? A: There are 4 main exceptions: 1)age 50 or over and a Permanent Resident for at least 20 years-take test in language of your choice, 2)age 55 or over and a Permanent Resident for at least 15 years-take test in language of your choice, 3)age 65 or older and Permanent Resident of at least 20 years-get an easier test in language of your choice, 4)have a physical or developmental disability or mental impairment-need a doctor's letter and need to file a separate form. Q: What if I don't pass the English and Civics Test? A: You are usually given a second chance to pass the test within 90 days after the first exam. Q: If I get naturalized, what about my child? A: The Child Citizenship Act (CCA) says that if one parent is a U.S. citizen by birth or naturalization, and the child is under 18, is a Permanent Resident, and is in the U.S. with the parent, they automatically become a citizen. Note: this law only applies if you met these requirements after February 27, 2001. Thus, if the child turned 18 before that date, this law does not apply. While the child becomes a citizen automatically, you get no proof of this unless you file for the appropriate paperwork. This law is somewhat complicated, so it is best to talk to an Attorney. Q: Can I be a citizen of more than one country? A: The U.S. allows dual citizenship, but each country has its own rule on this. Q: What if I filed for naturalization several years ago, but it is still pending. A: Qualified attorneys can file what is called a "Writ of Mandamus" forcing the INS/DHS to complete the processing of naturalization if they have unnecessary delayed its processing. If you are interested in this you can call our office at 281-340-2074. Q: What if my application was denied? A: You can appeal the decision within a certain period of time or you can re-file. Q: How long does it take to get an appointment notice for the oath once the interview is over? A: Due to security checks by the FBI, this time can vary from 1 month to 1 year. It now affects many cases regardless of whether the applicant is a male or female or their country of origin. Reminder: Our office will be providing an article weekly in this section. Next Week topic: Various U.S. Immigration Topics Disclaimer: This article is not meant as specific advice regarding a person's individual case. An attorney should be consulted. This article does not create an AttorneyClient relationship.

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40 BUSINESS

PAKISTAN CHRONICLE • Friday, March 09, 2012

Flying car to make its public debut at New York auto show

Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg delivers a keynote address at Facebook's "fMC" global event for marketers in New York City.

US factory orders fell 1 percent in January WASHINGTON: U.S. factory orders fell in January by the most in 15 months after businesses sharply reduced orders for machinery and equipment. The decrease was largely expected after a tax cut expired at the end of last year. Even with the decline, orders have gradually been climbing back to near pre-recession levels. The Commerce Department said Monday that factory orders fell 1 percent in January. That lowered overall demand for factory goods to $462.6 billion, or 37.7 percent above the recession low hit in March 2009. Demand is now just 4.6 percent below the peak set in June 2008. A key reason for the decline in January was a drop in demand for socalled core capital goods, which are considered a proxy for business investment. Those orders fell 3.9 per-

cent, the biggest decline in a year. But most economists noted that it followed a big increase in December, the final month businesses could take advantage of a one-year investment tax break. "Factory orders fell in January in the typical pattern of declines in the first month of the quarter," said Steven Wood, chief economist at Insight Economics. "Nevertheless, new orders have been on a rising trend since March 2009 although they remain below their pre-recession peak." The factory orders report includes an updated estimate on durable goods orders and a fresh look at demand for food, gasoline, paper and other nondurable product. Orders for non-durable goods rose 1.3 percent. Orders to petroleum refineries increased 3.3 percent, reflecting higher energy prices.

Job creation driving highway bills in Congress WASHINGTON: Congressional leaders are pitching expensive transportation bills as job generators. But do they really create more jobs? The answer from a lot of economists is not really. The effect of the bills would be to shift spending that was creating jobs elsewhere in the economy to transportation, where the money can create a different set of jobs, but not necessarily an increase in the overall number. Alice Rivlin, a former director of the White House Office of Management and Budget under President Bill Clinton, says money spent on transportation infrastructure should be viewed as investments in future productivity growth. She said it will also create jobs, but not necessarily more jobs than the same money spent in other ways. But that hasn't diminished the job claims being made in Congress.

US service firms grow at fastest pace in a year WASHINGTON: U.S. service companies expanded in February at the fastest pace in a year, helped by a rise in new orders and job growth. The Institute for Supply Management said Monday that its index of non-manufacturing activity rose to 57.3, up from January's 56.8 and the third straight increase. Any reading above 50 indicates expansion. Expansion in the service sector coincides with the lowest unemployment in three years, five straight months of solid to strong job growth and rising consumer confidence. The trade group of purchasing managers surveys roughly 90 percent

of U.S. companies in all sectors outside of manufacturing. That includes retail, construction, financial services, health care, and hotels. Fourteen of the 18 industries that the survey tracks expanded in February. Real estate, rental and leasing, transportation and warehousing, construction, hotels and restaurants and information technology firms were among those that reported growth. Anthony Nieves, chairman of the ISM's survey committee, said that most of the comments from the group's members "reflect a growing level of optimism about business con-

ditions and the overall economy." Companies expressed concerns about inflation and rising gas prices, Nieves said. A measure of prices paid by service firms jumped to the highest level in 11 months. Still, the overall reading for the sector was the best since February 2011. "February seems to be off to a strong start for the economy," John Ryding, an economist at RDQ Economics, said in a note to clients. "The pickup in order growth was particularly encouraging," he added, because it indicates that growth will likely continue.

NEW YORK: The flying car, developed by Massachusettes-based company Terrafugia, will make its first public appearance at the New York International Auto show here in April. The car, technically called the 'Transition Roadable Aircraft', has foldable wings, which tuck in when it is on the road. It converts into a flying machine within 30 seconds. With a full tank, the car can fly for 460 miles at the speed of 110 miles per hour. Terrafugia has said it expects the Transition to be ready for sale by the end of the year. It is expected to sell for USD 279,000 and about 100 of the aircraft/car have already been booked. Terrafugia COO Anna Mracek Dietrich said the company selected the New York auto show for the car's public debut since it is a "venue from

which we can show the first practical street-legal airplane to the world while meeting the people who will be part of its commercial success in the years to come. New York is the perfect place to accomplish all of this." The 2012 New York International Auto Show will be held from April 6 through the 15th. The company will present the car's latest production prototype as well as share details of the future plans for the flying car. The public will get up-close and personal with the vehicle, witness wing-folding demonstrations and meet some of the staff behind the design. Terrafugia, an aerospace company, was founded by pilots and engineers from the Massachusettes Institute of Technology.

Annual US pet spending passes $50 billion mark LOS ANGELES: Americans spent $50.96 billion on their pets in 2011. That's an all-time high and the first time in history more than $50 billion has gone to the dogs, cats, canaries, guppies and the like, the American Pet Products Association said in a report issued Thursday. Food and vet costs accounted for about 65 percent of the spending. But it was a service category — one that includes grooming, boarding, pet hotels, pet-sitting and day care — that grew more than any other, surging 7.9 percent from $3.51 billion in 2010 to $3.79 billion in 2011. APPA President Bob Vetere said 2012 should be another banner year for services, predicting it would grow 8.4 percent to an estimated $4.11 billion in 2012. Owners are taking care of their pets, said Dr. Jessica Vogelsang, a San Diego veterinarian and author of pawcurious.com. "They are planning ahead. When they go on vacation, they want to make sure their pets are well cared for," she said. Spending in 2011 was up 5.3 percent from 2010, when it totaled $48.35 billion, Vetere said. He estimated 2012 sales would total $53 billion. In 2011, people spent $19.85 billion on food, $13.41 billion on vet care, $11.77 billion on supplies and over-thecounter medicines, $3.79 billion on other services and $2.14 billion on live animal purchases. In 2010, they spent $18.76 billion on food, $13.01 billion on vet care, $10.94 billion on supplies and overthe-counter medicines, $3.51 billion on other services and $2.13 billion on live animal purchases. Food sales did slow

down, Vetere said, even though the 5.8 percent growth exceeded projections of 4.1 percent growth. APPA numbers indicate that animal sales and adoptions are flattening out and the number of people who switched over to high-end food products is topping out. Pet ownership is becoming less of an impulse decision, Vogelsang said. "I am seeing a lot of people saying, 'This isn't the time for us.' People are more interested in pets than ever before but they are taking their time, once they make the commitment, to do it right." "I don't think this is a bad thing. I am proud of the owners," she said. Pet insurance is another area that is expected to grow briskly, Vetere said. Included in the veterinary care category, insurance was estimated to be $450 million in 2011 and expected to grow to more than $500 million in 2012. "Insurance makes such a difference in the health of an animal," Vogelsang said. "I can't tell you how many times I have had a pet come in and the only reason (the owners) were able to afford catastrophic care is because they had insurance. It's literally a life-saver and I'm really glad people are embracing the concept," the veterinarian said. The pet industry is also a major attraction for entrepreneurs and investors looking for creative and innovative products, Vetere said. Vogelsang believes the trend is toward "very specific items geared to the specific needs of pets. We are seeing a lot of puzzle feeders for dogs — not just toys but ones that are geared toward the mental needs of the animal. Then there are bionic toys for destructive chewers, a lot of very niche items," she said.

Newest social media site, ‘Pinterest’ hits it big HOUSTON: Move over Facebook and Twitter, there’s a new social media site taking over. It’s called “Pinterest,” and it’s become a way for folks with common interests to connect. It’s also boosting some local businesses. Pictures and images is what Pinterest is all about. Unlike Facebook, where you have status updates and post information

about yourself, Pinterest is more like an online scrapbook or pin board, where you virtually “pin” up new images (from your own pictures or pictures from websites) or “re-pin” images from other people’s Pinterest boards. “I just couldn’t put it away and then I got addicted,” Ling Wang confesses. Wang is a Pinterest pro, and she showed us how it’s

done. “So basically, it’s like a onestop shop,” Wang said. On topics like recipes, travel, wedding planning, etc. The site is a hit with brides-to-be, with a wealth of wedding inspiration from flowers, to cakes, to the dress. But if you think Pinterest is just for fun; think again. Wang is

also a 23-year-old photographer with a booming business, thanks to Pinterest. “People are identifying me more as a photographer because of Pinterest,” Wang says. It’s giving her exposure by directing folks to her website and helping her direct each of her shoots. “I just go to a couple of websites grab a couple of pictures, put it on the board,” she explained.

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For Wang, Pinterest helps her turn an idea into a reality. It could be the latest social media craze or the boost your company needs. “With Pinterest, it’s not about who you know, but rather the ideas,” Wang explained. Pinterest is now the top driver of retail traffic. It’s an idea that seems to sticking.


PAKISTAN CHRONICLE • Friday, March 09, 2012

COMMUNITY PHOTOS

Pictorial Highlights of Mehfil-e-Giarveen Sharif held at Makkah Masjid Dairy Ashford

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41


42 NEW & CONTINUATION

PAKISTAN CHRONICLE • Friday, March 09, 2012

Miss Syeda Ada selected as Stated Finalist in the National American Miss Texas Pageant Continued from page 25 thenational Pageant at Disney land in California, The Pageant Program is based on inner beauty well as Poise and presentation. The Pageant also

seeks to recognize the accomplishment of each girl while encouraging her to set goals for the future. "I am glad to be competing for the title of Miss Teen Texas, I would

like to encourage young girls to believe in themselves and Participate in Pageants as well, because with enough will power and Perseverance, One can achieve almost anything."

Renowned Businessman Muhammad Amir Alvi died of Brain Continued from page 25 His namaz-e-janaza (Funeral Prayers) was held at Almeada graveyard which was attended by the large number of community members. MQM Houston unit members, expressed their deep sorrow and grief over the sad demise of Amir

Alvi May Allah rest the departed soul of the deceased in peace and comfort and give strength to the family members and relatives to handle this great loss. Community members are requested to pray Duae-Mughfirat for departed soul.

Beautiful Mehfil e Milad held in Dallas Continued from page 25 by reciting short verses of Quran. Besides the soulful rendition by the Naat Khawans, Qari Sadaqat Hussain, Qari Bilal Ahmed, Ghulam Ghaginda, Imtiaz Jan,

Chaudhary Zaman, Saeed Patel and Qazi Mujeeb, the reverence in eyes and bent heads made the Mehfil more spiritual and a source of inspiration. At the end of mehfil, every one recited darood together and prayed.

Falcon Cricket Club of Dallas hosted an elegant award ceremony for outstanding performances Continued from page 25 from various walks of life. Services of Falcon Club in promotion of Cricket in America, was highlighted during the ceremony. The ceremony started with Tilawat e Quran by decorated and famous visiting Qari and Naat Khwan from Pakistan, Qari Sadaqat Hussain. Stage Secretary duties were performed by Falcons popular Mujeeb Khalil . Established business personality Tabussum Mumtaz, Pakistan’s famous cricketer Asif Mujtaba, Mansoor Ahmad and North Texas Cricket Association President Syed ShahNawaz distributed awards and trophies as recognition of high performances of players. Clubs founding member Mujib Khali highlighted the activities of Falcon Club and said that this club has provided a platform for healthy activities for youth, by which the

club is not only promoting the sports of cricket but are also providing a forum for socializing and welfare of community. Falcon cricket club presented a shield award to Mr.Raja Zahid Khanzada resident Edatior of Pakistan Chronical and Pakistan Journal over his support and coverage for such healthy activity. Ckub’s President Abdul Jalil while thanking the audience, stressed on youth to come forward and play their role in promotion of cricket in America. He said Falcon Club will always be supportive . Recipient of trophies and Awards includes, Captain Safaraz Beg, Javaid Alam, Dr. Nadeem Iqbal, Abdul Lateef, Raja Shoaib, Jawwad Mohammad, Mahtab Raja, Ahmed Janjua, Ghadeer. Azeer Mansoor, Zeb Khalid, Abbas Safdar, Zahid Mahmood, Javed Alam, Azan Sarfaraz, and Shiekh Yousuf.

It was pledged that teachings of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) would be followed to acquire the welfare and success in one's life. Mehfil organizer, Khawar Abbas thanked to the participants for attending the Mehfil.

Senior Community activist, Khalil Jilani passed away Continued from page 25 daughters. His namaz-e-janaza (Funeral Prayers) was held at Al-Noor Masjid after Zohar prayers which was attended by the large number of community members, renowned Islamic Scholar, Mufti Qamar-ul-Hassan led the funeral prayer. Khalil Jilani moved from Malir, Karachi and had been living in the United States for 30 years and He was very well known for his Unconditional community services. On the sad demise of Khalil Jilani, MQM Houston unit menbers, Masroor Khan, Zaheer Ahmed, Muhammad Ahmed, Tariq Khan, Tasleem Siddique, Ghulam Bombay Wala, Jamsheed Warsi, Khalid expressed their deep sorrow and grief. May Allah rest the departed soul of the deceased in peace and comfort and give strength to the family members and relatives to handle this great loss. Community members are requested to pray Dua-e-Mughfirat for departed soul.

Blessing of God that I am out of the Dirty Political Arena: Dr. Aamir Liaquat Hussain Continued from page 25 Allah SWT), and Naats (Praise of Messenger Muhammad Peace Be Upon him) by Aalim Online Fame Dr. Aamir Liaquat Hussain, who is also former member of Pakistani parliament. In his unique and appealing oration, Dr. Aamir Liaquat Hussain first used to explain why he was going to present a particular Hamd & then beautifully read that Hamd; and then first explaining why he is going to read a specific Naat and then presenting that Naat, made it one of the most memorable evenings of Houston. Before his Naats, he used to paint the picture of historical and spiritual significance of the verses of Naat, which was quite enchanting. He himself said this is one of the most unforgettable of all of his performances. This program was organized by the Pakistani American Association of Greater Houston (PAAGH). All the office bearers of PAAGH including President Taslim Siddiqui and Vice President Attique Ahmed were present. Special plaque to recognize the services of Dr. Aamir Liaquat Hussain was given to him by PAAGH. Dr. Aamir Liaquat Hussain stressed that back-biting and slandering has become norms of the Muslim societies, especially Pakistanis, and that one of the reasons of falling standards of our communities & societies is this social ill, for which there is so much prohibition in Islam. He also related to several slanders that he has faced, including that he has fake PhD degree (which he denied and said he has studied medicine from Liaquat Medical College); and lately the slanderous video clippings. He said

these things are totally untrue and said those people, who do these things are themselves losing since according to an authentic saying of Messenger Muhammad (PBUh), all the good things of slandering people will be given to the person being slandered on the day of reckoning and much more. Another slander he mentioned is that people associate him with Shia Mudhab. He said he has invited scholars of Sunni and Shia Mudhaib to create harmony and understanding among the sects; and in doing this, it clearly shows I have nothing against Shia people; but that does not mean people should spread the untrue things like Aami is Shia. Dr. Aamir Liaquat Hussain said saving families from divorces is very important and men have to be very kind with their wives; and not show uncalled for manhood: Showing strength on the weak women is not manhood at all. Dr. Aamir Liaquat Hussain added one of the biggest blessings of God upon him is that Allah SWT has brought him out of the jungles of the dirty political arena. Dr. Aamir Liaquat mother passed away in 2005 and is buried according to her wish in the premises of mausoleum of Hazrat Abdullah Shah Ghazi in Karachi. In her name, he has set up a "Mehmooda Sultana Foundation Trust", whose objective is to address the grievances of deserving people and to extend financial aid to the needy persons. Much funds were collected during this program at the Pakistan Center, and more are being collected by PAAGH. For more information, one can call 1-281-236-7597.

President of iEarn, Farah Kamal and President of Houston Karachi Sister City Association, Muhammad Saeed Sheikh signing a MoU for promoting better coordination between Karachi and Houston schools held at Turkish Center.

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INTERNATIONAL 43

PAKISTAN CHRONICLE • Friday, March 09, 2012

Australian state toughens law for Muslim veils

Ahmadinejad rivals cement lead in Iran parliament

CANBERRA: Muslim women in Australia's most populous state will have to remove veils to have their signatures officially witnessed under the latest laws giving New South Wales officials authority to look under religious face coverings. New South Wales state Attorney General Greg Smith said in a statement on Monday that beginning April 30, officials such as justices of the peace and lawyers who witness statutory declarations or affidavits without making identity checks will be fined 220 Australian dollars ($236). "If a person is wearing a face covering, an authorized witness should politely and respectfully ask them to show their face," Smith said. The government on Monday began an information campaign to ensure the public and officials were aware of the new penalties before they came into force. The laws are a response to a court case last year in which a Sydney woman was convicted of falsely claiming that a traffic policeman had attempted to remove her niqab — a veil that reveals only the eyes. A judge overturned the conviction because the official who witnessed the false claim did not look under the veil of the person who made it, so the judge was not certain that the defendant was responsible. The latest laws were passed Dec. 23 by the state parliament. They follow New South Wales laws passed last year that introduced a AU$5,500 ($5,900) fine and a 12-month prison sentence for anyone who refuses to remove face coverings when requested to do so by police. Ikebal Patel, president of the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils an advocate for Australian Muslims, said while some Muslims regarded the laws as a knee-jerk reaction to the court case, the majority did not object. "I don't object as long as the laws are enforced with respect and sensitivity," Patel said. Patel said he was also a justice of the peace and would never witness a document without seeking proof of the author's identity. He said Muslim women can find female justices of the peace working at most post offices. Women who object to showing policemen their faces have an option of being taken to a police station where their identities can be confirmed by a female official.

TEHRAN: Conservative rivals of Iran’s president have claimed control of parliament with more than twothirds of the seats decided from elections handing the ruling Islamic establishment near seamless control in the escalating nuclear standoff with the West. The outcome also puts an emphatic stamp on President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s political tumble after he dared to challenge Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei over his power to direct key government affairs such as foreign policy and intelligence. Ahmadinejad, once considered a favored son of Iran’s theocracy, is left politically weakened moving into his final 18 months in office and could become the first president to be questioned by a hostile parliament since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Although the 290-seat parliament holds little control over policy matters such as Iran’s nuclear program, the win by hard-liners looked to reinforce Iran’s stiff rejection of Western pressure to stop its uranium enrichment program. The West believes Iran is trying to build nuclear weapons. Iran denies that and says its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes. Speaking in Washington Sunday, President Barack Obama warned that the US would not hesitate to use military force to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, but he called for restraint. “’Now is the time to let our increased pressure sink in, and to sustain the broad international coalition that we have built,” he told a pro-Israel lobby. In Iran, hard-liners were claiming victory in the parliamentary elections, though vote-counting continues.

Britain's Prince Harry stands next to children during a tour of Harbour Island in Nassau

Biotechnology is vital for food, social, economic security: experts ISLAMABAD: International biotechnology experts have stressed that the development of agriculture sector is important for food, social and economic security of developing countries while the options of using biotech crops can create a useful impact on farmers’ lives, who may achieve both the objectives of food security and economic development for their country. It was said by International Services for the acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA) experts Dr Mariechel J Navarro and Rhodora R Aldemita while addressing an international workshop on ‘International Perspective about the Future of Biotech Crops’ here at a hotel on Friday. The workshop was organised by Agriculture Journalists Association (AJA) to explain the needs and importance of biotechnology among the opinion makers. The members of AJA Lahore and capital’s agriculture journalists attended the event. Aldemita shared the history, needs and growth of biotech crops. She told the audience that due to mega influx in human population use of new technology has become the need of hour and only technological development can prevent the world especially developing countries from food insecurity. While talking about the application of biotech crops she mentioned that 29 countries are currently using biotech crops and getting sustainable growth in their agriculture sector. She highlighted Brazil as the most successful developing country using biotech crops where 83 percent of soya and 65 percent of maize were being produced through biotech-

nology. She described the myths and realities of genetically modified crops as well and revealed the facts regarding food ingestion, horizontal gene flow, gene transfer to human causing disease, gene flow to weeds, cross pollination, effect on non-target organism, loss of biodiversity and safety of water soil and air. Dr Navarro from Philippine presented the test case of biotech crops’ adoption in her own country and explained the role of media in the promotion of new technology. She described the role of Philippine’s media regarding biotech crops and revealed that fact of effective communication is the most important tool in capacity building. To meet the challenges being faced by today’s agriculture in developing countries like Philippine and Pakistan, biotech crops offer a sustainable solution and there is a dire need of commercialising the crops to counter food insecurity. While responding to different questions, ISAAA experts explained that biotech crops can bring huge deduction in the expenses and farmers can achieve healthy production by using less labour than organic crops. Experts said that farmers should be the decisive authority to choose best suited option for sustainable production but should be educated regarding new technologies to decide. The experts were of the view that adopting biotechnology was optional, neither the government nor any company can force any farmer to use it. The farmers have to decide to increase their yields, source of earning or to continue on old conventional method of farming.

UN says 2011 disasters were costliest ever UNITED NATIONS: The economic cost of disasters in 2011 was the highest in history — costing at least $380 billion, mainly due to earthquakes in Japan and New Zealand, a U.N. envoy said Monday. Margareta Wahlstrom, the secretarygeneral's special representative for disaster risk reduction, said the figure was two-thirds higher than the previous record in 2005 when Hurricane Katrina struck the southern United States. In addition to the earthquakes, Wahlstrom said major floods in Thailand and other countries caused extensive damage. "The main message is that this is an increasing — very rapidly increasing trend with increasing economic losses," Wahlstrom said. Despite the rising costs, she said, deaths from disasters are proportionally declining because countries are getting much better at instituting early warning systems and preparedness measures.

China cuts 2012 growth target to 8-year low of 7.5% BEIJING: Chinese PM Wen Jiabao cut his nation's 2012 growth target to an eight-year low of 7.5% and made boosting consumer demand the year's first priority as Beijing looks to wean the economy off its reliance on external demand and foreign capital. He lowered the target from a longstanding annual goal of 8%, a move investors anticipated so that Beijing has some economic leeway to rebalance the economy and defuse price pressures in the run up to a leadership change later this year. Lower growth will allow Beijing to reform key price controls without causing an inflation spike, so monetary policy can stay broadly expansionary to ensure a steady flow of credit to the small and medium-sized firms the government wants to encourage. "We aim to promote steady and robust economic development, keep prices stable, and guard against finan-

cial risks by keeping the total money and credit supply at an appropriate level, and taking a cautious and flexible approach," Wen said in his annual work report to the National People's Congress (NPC), China's annual parliamentary session. The premier named "expanding consumer demand" as his first priority for 2012, when the ruling Communist Party must also navigate a leadership handover that will send Wen and President Hu Jintao into retirement in 2013. "We will improve policies that encourage consumption," Wen told nearly 3,000 delegates of the Communist Party-controlled legislature, gathered under the harsh lights and high ceilings of the Great Hall of the People. "We will vigorously adjust income distribution, increase the incomes of low- and middle-income groups, and enhance people's ability to consume," said Wen.

Denmark's Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt arrives at a European Union leaders summit in Brussels

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Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin (C) casts his vote on an electronic ballot box in a polling station in Moscow.

Japan cleans up radiation zone, unsure of success FUKUSHIMA, Japan: Workers in rubber boots chip at the frozen ground, scraping until they've removed the top 2 inches (5 centimeters) of radioactive soil from the yard of a single home. Total amount of waste gathered: roughly 60 tons. One down, tens of thousands to go. And since wind and rain spread radiation easily, even this yard may need to be dug up again. The work is part of a monumental task: a costly and uncertain effort by Japan to try to make radiation-contaminated communities inhabitable again. Some contractors are experimenting with chemicals; others stick with shovels and high-pressure water. One government expert says it's mostly trial and error. The radiation leak has slowed considerably at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant, nearly one year after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami sent three of its reactors into meltdown. Work continues toward a permanent shutdown, but the Japanese government declared the plant stable in December, setting the stage for the next phase: decontaminating the area so that at least some of the 100,000 evacuated residents can return. Experts leading the government-funded project cannot guarantee success. They say there's no prior model for what they're trying to do. Even if they succeed, they're creating another problem they don't yet know how to solve: where to dump all the radioactive soil and debris they haul away. The government has budgeted $14 billion (1.15 trillion yen) through March 2014 for the cleanup, which could take decades. The uncertainty plays out at many levels. One of the workers at the house with the frozen ground

said they weren't sure how to measure 2 inches (5 centimeters) from the uneven ground or what to do with the snow on top of it. "We often encounter situations that are not in the manual and wonder if we are doing the right thing," Takahiro Watanabe said as they wrapped up on a chilly February day. "Just to be safe, we packed the snow into the bags." The 60 tons of radioactive waste sat in 60 waterproof bags, waiting to be carted away from the house in Fukushima city's Onami district. Some 40 miles (60 kilometers) from the nuclear plant, the neighborhood is a "hot spot" — an area with high radiation readings that is outside the 20-kilometer (12-mile) ring that has remained closed since the early days of the crisis. Residents of hot spots were encouraged, but not ordered, to leave, and some, including the residents of the house that was decontaminated, have not moved out. In the fading late afternoon light, Watanabe took a dosimeter in his bare hand and placed it on the ground, now covered with a fresh layer of replacement soil. It read 0.24 microsieverts per hour — close to the target level of 0.2 and about one-fifth of what it had been before. "Looks like it has come down a bit," he said. But for how long? With so much radiation in the area, workers probably will have to return to redo this neighborhood. And areas where children gather, such as parks, schools and playgrounds, will be held to an even stricter standard than homes and offices. "You have to keep cleaning up," said Toshiaki Kusano, Fukushima city's top crisis management official. The city has a five-year decontamination plan, which he said could be extended.

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Cricket: Intikhab hopes Whatmore will enhance team’s performance

Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) president Mustafa Kamal (R) along with Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Zaka Ashraf (L) addresses a press conference in Lahore.

Brazil will stage unforgettable World Cup: CBF Brazil will stage an impeccable and unforgettable World Cup in 2014 despite sluggish preparations and disagreements between the government and FIFA, the head of the country’s football confederation (CBF) Ricardo Teixeira said. CBF president Teixeira’s comments came after the government said on Saturday it would no longer deal with FIFA secretary-general Jerome Valcke, who had said 2014 organisers needed “a kick up the backside”. Valcke’s comments marked a further escalation of a dispute that has simmered for years as stadiums, hotels, roads and other basic infrastructure for the 2014 Cup run badly behind schedule. “FIFA’s concerns in relation to the preparations for any World Cup are natural and legitimate,” said Teixeira in a statement. “But the organisation can relax because Brazil and its people have the competence and integrity to organise an impeccable, unforgettable World Cup.” Brazil’s Congress has angered FIFA by dragging its feet over legislation which needs to be passed for the World Cup, including a law that would overturn a ban

on the sale of alcohol at games. Politicians also want to protect discounts for students and old-age pensioners which are guaranteed under Brazilian law but could be overturned by the proposed World Cup bill. Valcke said Brazil should have passed the bill in 2007 as part of guarantees given by the government for being awarded the tournament. “It could seem some aspects of the World Cup organisation are progressing slowly. But in every democratic process, the discussions should be ample and take the interests of the public into account,” added Teixeira. “Brazil doesn’t have a single owner, it’s a solid democracy which is recognised worldwide.” NINE TITLES Head of both the CBF and the local organising committee, Teixeira said there was no chance of Brazil losing the tournament, which was earmarked for South America under FIFA’s short-lived rotation system. “The 2014 World Cup will take place in Brazil and not by accident,” said Teixeira.

Cricket: Runako Morton killed in car crash LONDON: The West Indies Cricket Board on Monday paid tribute to Runako Morton, after the former Test and one-day batsman was killed in a car accident. "Our deepest condolences to Runako Morton's family. Such devastating and tragic news," the board said on its official Twitter account, after the 33year-old's death was announced. Morton, who played 15 Tests for the West Indies, scoring 573 runs at an average of 22.03, died when he lost control of his car and careered off the road in Trinidad on Sunday, according to the Trinidad Express newspaper's web site. His last appearance for his country came against Australia in a Twenty20 international in 2010.Morton's career was blotted by disciplinary breaches. He was expelled from the West Indian Academy in July 2001, and a year later was called up to the injury-plagued West Indies squad as a replacement for Marlon Samuels. He pulled out of the ICC Champions Trophy in September 2002, after lying about the death of his grandmother. His career slipped further when he was arrested (though released without charge) in January 2004, following a stabbing incident.

KARACHI: Pakistan hopes new cricket coach, Australia's Dav Whatmore, can find a magic formula to transform the country's talented players into a team that enjoys sustained, match-winning success. The team's peaks and troughs are infamous. Last month's Test whitewash of England was followed by a flop in the limited overs series, losing 4-0 in the one-day games and 2-1 in the Twenty20s. Frequent changes in the Pakistan Cricket Board and sackings of captains and coaches have halted progress. But Sunday's appointment of Whatmore -- who guided Sri Lanka to World Cup victory in 1996 -- could change all that. Former captain and ex-coach Intikhab Alam is pinning his hopes on Whatmore. "I think the missing 'more' in Pakistan cricket will be achieved through Whatmore," Alam told AFP. "With his perfect record in the past I hope he will enhance the team's performance, though it will take some time." The 57-year-old, who played seven Tests and one limited over international for Australia, also guided Bangladesh to the second round of the 2007 World Cup in the Caribbean where they beat giants India. Alam said a lot will depend on the players, some of whom resisted Whatmore's appointment in 2007 when an inexperienced Geoff Lawson was chosen instead. "It is the coach's responsibility to bring more consistency, which is missing, but at the end of the day it is important play-

ers also do their best and listen to the coach," said Alam. Pakistan has also signed Julian Fountain as fielding coach, which Alam believes will help in their weakest area. "Fountain comes with rich experience and has served England, the West Indies and Bangladesh so I hope with him around, much-needed improvement in fielding will also come about," said Alam, coach of Pakistan's World Cupwinning team in 1992. Another former captain, Aamir Sohail, also believes Whatmore can help the team overcome recent mistakes, even if the challenge is huge. "I wish him the best of luck in his endeavours and hope that he will take notice of our recent mistakes in one-day cricket," said Sohail. "When you take responsibility in international cricket you are bound to face pressure but you need to be objective and I hope everyone rallies behind him in support to achieve the targets," he said. Whatmore himself on Sunday acknowledged the enormity of the task ahead. "We want to be consistent. We don't want peaks and troughs," Whatmore said. "We want the team to be at a good level for a long period. When we're brilliant there will be peaks, but we want to still perform and win games when we're not brilliant. "We want to eliminate the bad performances. But you can't do that by focusing on the result. You have to focus on the process."

Pakistani women run in a half marathon race in connection with the Punjab Sports Festival in Lahore.

Cuban hurdles star Robles out of worlds

Chris Cairns arrives at the high court, London.

Cuba's 110 metres hurdles Olympic champion and world record holder Dayron Robles will miss the upcoming world indoor championships in Turkey after injuring himself in training in Spain, the Cuban Athletics Federation said on Monday. Robles suffered the injury hitting a hurdle and will be unable to defend his 60m crown. "Robles is suffering lower back

pain and we don't want to take any risks, as the injury could worsen," said Cuban athletics commissioner Aurelio Romero, quoted speaking from Spain by Radio Habana Cuba. He believed that "there is little time" to allow Robles to consider starting in Turkey with the championship curtain going up on Friday. Instead, the 25-year-old star will return home to concentrate on get-

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ting ready for this year's main target - the London Olympics. "We are in an Olympic year and don't want to risk anything as he is one of our hopes for London," Romero said. Robles's best time over 60m hurdles this season was 7.50sec, coming in on that occasion behind arch rival Liu Xiang of China, who clocked 7.41, in Birmingham in England.


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9th March 2012