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Pakistan expects a “tough” final vs. Bangladesh

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Excitement builds of of Israelkillings ‘s Knesset: Harming al-Aqsa will lead toahead global jihad. Don’t blame Ahmad Islam Tibi formembers the Toulouse Bangladesh cricket final

Israel breaches the truce, keeps Gaza under fire, death toll rises

Murdered French paratroopers Imad Ibn Ziaten, Abel Chennouf, and Mohamed Legouade After a pre-dawn raid erupted into a firefight, 19 hours into the siege French riot police pressed Wednesday for the surrender of a hold-up gunman who is suspected in seven killings and claiming allegiance to al Qaeda. He admits to the killings and has agreed to surrender “late Wednesday evening,” according to the French prosecutor. A prosecutor said

magazine has some interesting analysis looking at how the drama in Toulouse may provide a boost to Nicolas Sarkozy ahead of the elections. Mohammed Merah a petty criminal a French national of Algerian origin and was arrested 15 times. Merah had been under French surveillance for years yet he was not arrested earlier. The French government has confirmed that Merah had been under surveillance by the security services, but say he did nothing to suggest he was “preparing criminal activity”. There are reports that Merah “twice tried and failed to join the French army”. It quotes the country’s defence ministry saying that Merah first tried to enlist at the In the early hours morning, age of 19 of inWednesday the northern city of just after few hours when Israel reached the man was planning to kill Lille in January 2008. He then an “understanding” with Gaza militants to join the Foreign Legion another soldier imminently. He to end tried four days of deadly clashes in the said the reasons for the alleged in Toulouse in 2010. hit the Al Gaza strip, Israeli airstrikes assassin also appear more still on till the WhaidiNegotiations orchard in Alwere Nafaq street. The Al Matbouli plastic wood was clearly. Mohammed Merah story store was for going to &publication also hit, and the building to has extensive acted “for the Palestinians and trying capture damage after a fire broke out following and against intervention by Mohammad Merah alive. the airstrike. Earlier have he was surrendering France and ban the burka.” He Eyewitnesses reported that 3 were reports also explained that he wanted housesafter also lunch. caught There fire, however, they suspect and wasnoarrested butbeen later “board to act this morning” were evacuated injuries have reported. effortsLe appeared theEgyptian reportstruce denied. Figaro targeting “a soldier out of his to stall, as both sides Molins said they saying were also reports home.” He also wanted to “kill willing to keep fighting. Israeli Warplanes two police officers identified that the suspected gunman bombed a timber workshop in Gaza City has talked about possible in the Toulouse area.” Merah at dawn on Wednesday. Localsa said that later lunched tonight.missiles Mohammed said he had Israeli surrender ‘F-16’ warplanes at the Suspect timber workshop, in the named aslocated Mohammed “always acted alone”. France’s tunnel Street in Gaza. The Israeli shelling Le Nouvel Observateur news Merah, 24

• Merah previously ‘broke out of Afghan prison’, Afghan government office in Kandahar denied he was ever arrested. • Gunman cornered and family arrested • Tense stand-off after three officers injured • Killer ‘sought revenge for deaths of Palestinian children’ • French Burka ban ‘inspired killings’ • Gunman ‘threatened to post shooting footage online’ Three police officers wounded in shoot-out during pre-dawn swoop in Toulouse to arrest suspects in Jewish school shooting.

Several buildings on fire following latest Israeli airstrike

‘Death of Palestinian boy raises Gaza death toll to 27’

resulted in a complete destruction and

flames of fire. The resident went in panic and shock as the explosion was so huge. No injuries were reported. There were no reports of injuries but that the incidence in the ranks of citizens due to the severity of the explosion. firefighters , rescue crews and ambulances were all rushed to the scene and gave a hand to the people there. Israeli artillery shelled the eastern areas of the Gaza Strip without reported injuries. The raid comes after twentyfour hours of truce declaration between the Palestinian resistance factions and Israel. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned that Israel would keep striking those trying to harm Israeli civilians and that Israel is “ready to broaden its in operation.” Gaza militants Killing ToulouseFrance insisted that Israel stop firing first and that itContinued promise to halton airstrikes guarantee page 4 >> Israel is unlikely to give.

Just how momentous is 2011 finalists India and Sri Bangladesh’s passage to the Lanka, and lost a close match Asia Cup final? Decide for to Pakistan. Excitement is yourself after taking a look at building across Bangladesh these figures. In nine previous ahead of cricket’s Asia Cup Asia Cup editions, Bangladesh final in which the host nation had played 29 matches and will be facing Pakistan. won two, against Hong Bangladesh has reached the Kong and UAE. Out of three final for the first time after A seven-year-old in terrorist operations in the coastal defeating Sri Lanka - the games this Palestinian time, theyboyhave the Gaza Strip has died from wounds territory this past weekend, Gaza news won two, against World Cup Continued page 4 >> the sustained during an IDF strike on portal Al Resalah on reported, raising


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South Asia Tribune I Thursday 22 March 2012

Boris Johnson 8points ahead over Ken Livingstone in race for London mayor London mayoral election survey by YouGov puts Johnson at 49%, Livingstone at 41% and Brian Paddick at just 5% Boris Johnson has widened his lead over Ken Livingstone in the battle to become the next mayor of London on 3 May, according to a YouGov poll published to mark the first day of the official election campaign. The Conservative mayoral candidate and incumbent mayor is eight percentage points ahead, up from a slender margin of just two percentage points in a previous YouGov poll five weeks ago, which cast the race as neck and neck. The positive rating for Johnson came on a day that his campaign tactics came under fire after it emerged his team had rerouted the official City Hall Twitter account, @ MayorofLondon to @BorisJohnson. Publisher Salah Bu Khamas (UAE) Sabha Khan (UK) UK Office 10 Courtenay Road, Wembley, Middlesex, HA9 7ND UK Phone: +44 20 8904 0619 Fax: +44 20 8181 7575 info@satribune.co.uk India Office Satya Infomedia Pvt. Ltd. C/O Satya Group. 1st Floor, Avenue Appt., Near Sheth. R. J. J. High School, Tithal Road, Valsad - 396001 Gujarat, India

The latest YouGov poll shows a drop in perceptions of Livingstone’s qualities, suggesting that the intensifying of Johnson’s campaign, in which he has repeatedly attacked Livingstone’s former mayoral record in negative contrast to his own, is beginning to pay dividends, at a time when the Labour candidate has been mired by criticisms over his personal tax arrangements. The survey of 1,227 Londoners puts Johnson at 54% to Livingstone’s 46% if voters had to choose between the two candidates at the election, which is fought under the supplementary vote system.

Norway children custody case

Parents deny rift, India to back off

United Arab Emirates Office S.K. Group of Companies P.O. Box 9021, Karama Dubai, United Arab Emirates Tel: +971 4 2659970, 3359929; Fax: +971 4 2659971, 3341609 www.sk-groupofcompanies.com Managing Editor & CEO Mohammad Shahid Khan Group Editorial Managers Gulzar Khan (India) Abdul Khalique (Pakistan) Editorial Board UK Frances Brunner FYI Tribune team Adrian Fellar Misbah Khan Reema Shah Rohma Khan Keziah-Ann Abakah Marketing & Sales Andrew Klugman (Manager) Art Department UK Ali Ansar (Art Director) Md. Reazul Islam

Johnson leads by 49% to Livingstone’s 41%. Brian Paddick, the Liberal Democrat mayoral candidate, who has stepped up his campaign in recent weeks, will be disappointed to see he has dropped to just 5%, down from 6% in the February poll. Livingstone has seen a decline in those who see him as a candidate who “sticks to what he believes in” (from 40% to 34%), and as someone in touch with the concerns of ordinary Londoners (down 5 percentage points from 37% to 32%. However, fewer respondents this time think Johnson is in touch with ordinary Londoners, down from 15% to just

The custody case of two children of a NRI couple living in Norway is turning into case of allegations, counter-allegations and denials. After reports that the children’s father Anurup Bhattacharya had accused his wife Sagarika of marital violence, he has denied the allegations and also blamed the media for distorting the facts. India says it has put on hold efforts to bring back the children of an Indian couple who were placed in foster care by Norwegian child services last May. “We would have carried on but

unfortunately it’s become a personal matter between husband and wife,” said junior foreign minister Preneet Kaur. The move follows media reports of “marital problems” between the parents. Child services say the parents failed to look after their children. The parents deny this. The couple, Anurup and Sagarika Bhattacharya, say “cultural differences” led to the situation. Indian diplomats have also put off a trip to Norway to monitor the court case for the custody of the children. “We are going to watch the situation. We have done the best we could do,” said Preneet Kaur. “Let us see what the court decides,” she added. The case is scheduled to come up from hearing on Friday in a local court in Norway, Thomas Bore Olsen, communication officer in the Child Welfare Department. Abhigyan (3) and Aishwarya (1) were taken away from their parents by the Stavanger Child Welfare Services last May on grounds of ‘emotional disconnect’ and has been since put in foster care.

13%. Anthony Wells, associate director of YouGov’s political research, said: “Our last poll came when Ken had been making the running with his pledge to cut fares. Since then Boris has campaigned more actively, while Ken has had a troubled month facing accusations over his personal tax affairs. “Consequently our figures show a significant shift towards Boris in who people think has the better record as mayor, and a drop in perceptions of Ken’s personal qualities. Boris starts the official race with a small lead, but there are six weeks still to go.” The two rivals hit the campaign trail on Tuesday, with Livingstone in Kilburn, pushing his promise of a 7% fares cut to Londoners. Johnson was out courting the vote in Bexley as he highlighted projects which will secure up to 200,000 jobs in the next four-year term. He said the coalition government’s agreement to hand him powers to invest £3bn in housing would allow him to create 104,000 jobs, while 32,300 would result from investment

in transport, 5,500 in redevelopment of the Greenwich Peninsula and Royal Docks and a further 59,500 through a variety of initiatives he is planning. “What we are trying to get over is that this is a historic choice for Londoners,” he said. “They can either go forward with a programme that invests in our city that keeps directing hard earned taxpayers’ cash at the transport housing investments that will take London forward or we can go back a wasteful and mismanaged approach to the government I’m afraid you saw under Ken Livingstone when huge sums were squandered on this of no conceivable benefit to London.” While the YouGov poll put tackling crime and improving transport at the top of people’s concerns, a separate survey conducted by Ipsos Mori for the BBC suggests jobs, growth and the economy are the issue of most concern to Londoners. The Ipsos Mori survey put Johnson and Livingstone at 27% each when it comes to who is most trusted with the economy.

Racist parents hound out Asian head teacher

Reading the plight of head teacher Sudhana Singh, you’d be forgiven in thinking what occurred at this local primary school was in America’s deep South during the 1960’s, not a quite suburb of Reading in the 21st century. Governors of Moorlands Primary School and Reading Borough Council have been branded a ‘disgrace’, for not dealing with what has been described as a ‘Playground mafia of racist parents’. Mrs Singh is suing the School Governors and the local authority for racial discrimination. After witnessing and hearing about extreme racist views held by some children and their parents, the head began a discussion about racism to help the children have a better understanding about what it means and how it can be dealt with. Shortly afterwards, some parents and some school governors began a petition to remove her from her post. Those supporting the Head were labelled ‘Paki lovers’ and were levelled with threats such as ‘if you don’t shut up, we’ll make you shut up’. Mrs. Singh started her career in South Africa in 1989 and emigrated to the UK in 2001 when she started teaching in Slough, Berkshire, where she rose to the position of deputy head. In September 2009, she took up the post of head teacher at Moorlands

Primary School in Tilehurst but continued to live in Slough. In July 2010, Mrs. Singh claimed she was forced to take ‘gardening leave’ and was made to feel that if she did not agree, she would be suspended. She suffered a miscarriage shortly after being sent on gardening leave. In her legal statement, she said, “I considered committing suicide on at least two occasions but received help from health professionals and my sister. Despite my determined and tenacious efforts to build relationships with the Governing Board, my constant request for help from the local authority, my passion to serve the children of Moorlands and my courage in facing up to the parents, my efforts were met with harassment, bullying and victimisation.” While on sick leave she claimed she was constantly contacted by both the Governing Body and the Local Authority with a view to ending her contract.


South Asia Tribune I Thursday 22 March 2012

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Unarmed protesters in Palestine attacked with Bullets, Rounds & … Military Dogs

March 16, 2012 It was yet another Friday where demonstrations get brutally attacked by Israel’s military in the occupied West Bank. In today’s demonstration in Kufr Qaddoum, Israeli soldiers released military hounds to attack unarmed Palestinian protesters. One dog bit a Palestinian activist and didn’t let go of his hand for several minutes, even when the dog’s handler ordered the dog to let go. The injured Palestinian, Ahmad Shtewi, was arrested by

Israeli soldiers even when he was clearly in need of immediate medical attention. Using trained dogs to attack unarmed Palestinian demonstrators, An Israeli army dog attacks a Palestinian protester during a demonstration against the expropriation of Palestinian land by Israel in the village of Kafr Qaddum, near Nablus in the occupied West Bank, on March 16, 2012. The Israeli soldiar is not contolling the dog

British judge tells Muslim juror ‘remove your veil’ She was ordered to stand down by judge because he wouldn’t be able to see her facial expressions

A British judge barred a Muslim woman from serving on a jury in London on Monday after she refused to remove her face veil, or niqab. Judge Aidan Marron QC said he needed to see her facial expressions and could not sit on an attempted murder trial unless she removed it, the Daily Mail reported. Before the woman was about to take the oath in the case, Judge Marron said: “I wonder whether I can address the lady who is veiled. Would you prefer not to remove your veil in this particular case?” The woman, who was wearing western clothing including a fitted grey jacket according to the newspaper, replied: “Yes.” Judge Marron then said: “I entirely understand that, but in this particular case it is desirable that your face is exposed, so I’m going to invite you to stand down. I hope you understand.” The report claims that a white male member of the jury pool was then sworn in in the woman’s place after she was told to stand down. But the ruling, which was the first

of its kind, drew criticism from a Muslim UK-based rights group. “This is totally unacceptable. I really can’t understand why facial expressions could have any impact on the judge, the judgment or anyone else in a trial. It has no relevance,” Massoud Shadjareh, chairman of the Islamic Human Rights Commission, told the newspaper. “I’m speechless that you can exclude someone on the basis of the way that they dress … It’s very worrying that a judge is being prejudiced against women wearing a veil.” The Daily Mail notes that UK guidelines state that “veils can be worn in court although senior judges should decide on a case-bycase basis.” The incident reminded many of when a Muslim female juror in Britain in 2007 was accused listening to a hidden stereo under her headscarf. But she was cleared of a contempt of court charge when the Attorney General’s office ruled there was insufficient evidence.

Bradford West by-election Bradford West by-election hustings

A number of organisations in Bradford will be hosting a by-election hustings on Wednesday 21st March. The event is a partnership between Bradford College students’ union, University of Bradford students’ union, Bradford Muslim women’s council and JUST West Yorkshire, who are all committed to promoting

their candidate in the Bradford West by-election on 29 March. Ratna Lachman, direcor of JUST West Yorkshire, said that public hustings were critically important to promoting political accountability. Selina Ullah, Director of the Bradford Muslim Women’s Council, spoke about how the hustings would give

founder Screaming Lord Sutch in 1999. He stood in the 2010 general election against Conservative Party leader David Cameron for the seat of Witney in Oxfordshire and in March 2011 he contested the Barnsley Central by-election. In addition Bradford-born Neil Craig is to stand for the Democratic

democracy. The organisations held their first election hustings before the 2010 general election, which led to the victory of Labour incumbent Marsha Singh. But having served as an MP for 15 years, Singh has been forced to step down, citing serious health problems. His resignation has triggered a byelection, with eight candidates hoping to get the votes on March 29. Former Respect MP George Galloway is strongly considering standing for an election in Bradford. He said Time for a new start in Bradford - Vote Respect on March 29th. Bradford Liberal Democrats have selected Jeanette Sunderland to be

muslim women an opportunity to engage in the political process. The partners involved in organising the event will go ahead with the event without the Labour and Conservative Party candidates as they are committed to an open democratic process in which voters exercise their choice on the basis of issues rather than blind political party allegiances. Two more people have announced their intention to contest the vacant Bradford West seat. Alan “Howling Laud” Hope, who is leader of the Official Monster Raving Loony Party, is to stand in the byelection later this month. Mr Hope was the party’s deputy chairman until the death of the

Nationalists, the party he cofounded. Mr Craig stood in Bradford West in the 2010 General Election and has also contested Bradford Council seats for the same party. He is a former member of the British National Party and has also stood in Council elections for the BNP. The Bradford West by-elections hustings will take place on the 21st of March, 2012 between 6.30 -8.30 pm at University of Bradford Students’ Union AMP Hall, Student Central Building, Longside Lane, Bradford BD7 1DP Participants and organisers of the event will be available for interviews between 5.30-6.30 p.m.


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South Asia Tribune I Thursday 22 March 2012 Continued from page 01 >>

EDITORIAL

The Return to Zion

Toulouse attacker the self-declared Al Qaeda was under surveillance, why French never arrested him? Is it another false flag! French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe declared that attacks on Jews in France are attacks on all French Citizen but what about attack on Palestinian? Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said extremists must stop using the Palestinian cause to justify their acts of violence. “It is time for these criminals to stop marketing their terrorist acts in the name of Palestine and to stop pretending to stand up for the rights of Palestinian children who only ask for a decent life,” the Palestinian premier said in a statement. The Toulouse shooting attack is outrageous and must be condemned in the strongest terms so doe’s recent attack of Israel which killed 25 Palestinians in Gaza during four days of violence earlier this month. “These acts are in total contradiction with the foundations of Islam,” said the head of the French Muslim Council, Mohammed Moussaoui. “France’s Muslims are offended by this claim of belonging to this religion.” France’s top Muslim leader said Wednesday that a besieged suspected Islamist who claims to have carried out a string of shootings to avenge Palestinian children had acted against Islam. France’s interior minister says a gunman suspected in a wave of killings has stopped talking to police, and that authorities have been monitoring him for years. The suspect is 24 years old, of French nationality and says “he belongs to al-Qaida,” Gueant told reporters. He said the suspect “wants to take revenge for Palestinian children” killed in the Middle East, and is angry at the French military for its operations abroad. The man was known to authorities for having spent time in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The shooting suspect is “talking a lot, claiming his jihadist convictions” and calling himself a “mujahedeen,” Gueant said. “He said he wants to avenge the deaths of Palestinians,” the minister said, adding that he is “less explicit” about killing French paratrooper. French school shooting suspect Mohamed Merah had been arrested for bomb making in the southern Afghan province of Kandahar in 2007 but escaped months later in a Taliban prison break . France’s domestic intelligence agency had “for years” tracked him. “He had for several years been tracked by the DCRI and its agents in Toulouse, but there was never anything to suggest that he was preparing a criminal act,” Gueant told journalists of the now besieged

suspect. On the other hand suddenly Zionist media is saying that Jewish life in France and Europe is not under question, it’s already history, and it is time for the Jews of France to come home. MK Yaakov Katz of the National Union Party wasn’t waiting for that Knesset session, and issued an immediate call for the Jews of France to immigrate to Israel. “There is no Jewish future in France,” insisted Katz. French Ambassador to Israel, Christophe Bigot told the Times of Israel that Katz’s call for mass emigration was “misplaced.” Dr. David Shapiro, an expert on anti-Semitism in France said “Attacks on Jews have been taking place for centures, and it was only a matter of time before the situation got worse,”. According to a poll conducted by The Israel Project More Than One Quarter of Jews in France Want to leave, they say a new survey of the 500,000-member French Jewish community, the second largest in the diaspora 26 percent of those surveyed said they have considered emigrating due to worsening French antiSemitism. According the poll, overall 78 % of French Jews blame radical Muslim youth in France for spreading anti-Semitism, while 76 percent also blame Israeli policy toward the Palestinians for hardening French government policy and contributing to anti-Semitism. Aliyah is the immigration of Jews to the Land of Israel (Eretz Yisrael). It is a basic tenet of Zionist ideology. According to Jewish scripts The Talmudic sages state that the Land of Israel is higher than all other lands. They Claim anyone “making aliyah,” or moving to Israel for the right reasons, is moving “up” in the world. It is the land in which the holy Patriarchs and Matriarchs lived. It is the land upon which the Holy Temples were built. And, with the advent of the Messianic era, it is the land where the Third Temple will soon be rebuilt. It is truly a holy and elevated place. The Messianic Era will be ushered in by a Jewish leader generally referred to as the Moshiach (messiah: Hebrew for “the anointed one”), a righteous scion of King David. He will rebuild the Holy Temple in Jerusalem and gather the Jewish people from all corners of the earth and return them to the Promised Land.

French police, shooting suspect continue standoff

The man Mohammad Merah is suspected of killing three soldiers and four Jewish people. The gunman accused of killing seven people on a gun rampage through France wanted to bring the nation “to its knees”, President Nicolas Sarkozy has said. Mr Sarkozy, speaking at a memorial service for three soldiers killed by the gunman last week, said the killer had failed to divide France. The killings took place in and around Toulouse in three separate incidents. Police surrounded Merah’s block of flats after two officers were shot at when they tried to get into his flat. Investigators say the suspect was identified through an email sent to his first victim about buying a scooter. The message, sent from the suspect’s brother’s account, set up an appointment at which the soldier was killed, on 11 March. Officials say he is heavily armed with a Kalashnikov highvelocity rifle, a mini-Uzi 9mm machine pistol, several handguns and possibly grenades. Police are hunting for accomplices and have detained his mother and brother and brother’s friend. His mother was taken to the scene in the hope that she could persuade him to surrender, but she told police that she had no influence over her son. Negotiators have been talking to Merah all morning, but Mr Gueant, who is at the scene, said he appeared to have no particular demands. French President Nicolas Sarkozy told Jewish community representatives the suspected Islamist gunman besieged in Toulouse had planned another attack, a Jewish leader said. Nicole Yardeni, head of the CRIF Jewish group in the MidiPyrenees region, said Mr Sarkozy had told them the shooter “already had a plan to kill again” and that “he planned to kill this morning”. A scooter dealer has explained how he played a key role in leading police to the alleged Toulouse gunman Mohammed Merah. the owner of the Yam 31 Yamaha dealership, said he had provided the name of the suspected killer. He said that when police showed him surveillance video footage of the attack on a Jewish school that killed three children and a teacher, he noticed the scooter used in the attack had been partially repainted white. A police source has confirmed the claim , telling that the suspect had “told investigators this morning that he had decided to kill a soldier in Toulouse on Wednesday morning and had already identified the victim”. The suspect has said he belonged to al-Qaeda and acted to “avenge Palestinian children”. According to reports the revelation that the Toulouse gunman claim he has links with al-Qaeda is likely to influence the French presidential election campaign, and could prove a gift for the far-Right National Front candidate Marine Le Pen. According to reports a security source who says Afghan intelligence officials passed details of Merah’s identity to their French counterparts following his arrest in 2007. Jawed Faisal, a spokesman for the Kandahar provincial governor, said:I can’t confirm it was the same person but there was someone in Kandahar prison with the name Mohammed Merah, who was famous as ‘the French guy’. His father and grandfather had Afghan names, and he

could pass as an Afghan. His father’s name was Mohammad Seddiq, grandfather was Mohammad Shah. Security Forces in Kandahar have never detained a French citizen named Mohammad Merah.”Are they suggesting they have arrested someone of that name - but not of that nationality? Christian Etelin, a lawyer who represented Merah in court in Toulouse on 24 February for driving without a license, has told French BFMTV that Merah knew he was under surveillance since returning from Afghanistan, but was “extremely discreet about his political views”. Etelin described Merah as “by no means rigid or fanatical”, and said he could never imagine him committing crimes of such “hardness and extremity … If you could say anything, it was that he was polite and courteous … quite sweet actually.” On the streets near the apartment block under siege, several young men gathered who claimed they knew the suspect from Les Izards, a mixed neighbourhood of Toulouse where he had grown up. A 25-year-old French man, whose parents were born in Algeria, said: “I grew up with him. I’m totally shocked and surprised, I can’t believe that he could do this. His mum was French of Algerian origin — she brought him up alone. He didn’t have a dad. This has absolutely nothing to do with Islam, or with us He said Merah had been imprisoned at 18 for bag snatching in the entrance hall of a bank in 2005. Even so, he added, Merah was not someone who you could call violent.

France’s Jews and Muslims united Tuesday to complain they were being used as pawns in a presidential election increasingly dominated by bitter disputes over national identity and ritual slaughter. “France’s problems are so major, as we are in a period of crisis, so how can the issue of kosher meat and halal meat be a major problem for France?” asked an exasperated Chief Rabbi of France, Gilles Bernheim. For its part, the French Council of the Muslim Faith (CFCM) slammed what it said was the use of Muslims as “scapegoats” in the election campaign in which halal slaughter of animals has become a hot-button issue. Sarkozy’s government has come under fire from Muslim groups for a series of measures implemented during his five-year rule that they believe unfairly stigmatised their community. These include a ban on wearing full-face veils such as the Islamic niqab and the burqa, moves which authorities say were aimed at protecting France’s secular tradition. France will vote in the first round of a presidential election on April 22, followed by a second-round run-off on May 6.

Pakistan expects a “tough” final vs. Bangladesh former world champions - in an emphatic manner in Dhaka on Tuesday. This will be the biggest game in the history of Bangladesh cricket. Officials say that all the tickets for the nearly 25,000 capacity stadium have been sold out. Senior Pakistan batsman Younis Khan paid respect to Bangladesh for its gutsy performances and expected a hard-fought final. Khan says Bangladesh’s teamwork is ``tremendous,’’ and the team has demonstrated a ``great strength’’ to chase any big total. The victory against Sri Lanka on Tuesday triggered spontaneous celebrations and street parties all across Dhaka

which went on into the early hours of Wednesday. Thousands of fans beat drums, played plastic trumpets, and sang and danced in the streets after the team’s victory - and the earlier win against India last week. India lost despite Sachin Tendulkar’s 100th international century in that match. ‘History-shaping event’ Bangladesh has never won any major international tournament and, if the team can beat Pakistan on Thursday, it will be a historic achievement. There is also a surge in the sale of Bangladeshi flags, which now adorn many buildings in Dhaka and especially those closer to the stadium in the Mirpur area of Dhaka.


South Asia Tribune I Thursday 22 March 2012

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When the money runs out: cases of HIV, TB, and malaria explode in Greece, ‘health system near collapse’

If you want to know how quickly a civilization unravels when the money runs out, you need look no further than Greece. It’s a sobering lesson for the U.S. and the rest of the Western world when the day of reckoning finally comes from too much borrowing and when sovereign

people could simply no longer afford private healthcare. The entire system is deteriorating.”The extraordinary increase in HIV/Aids among drug users, due largely to the suspension or cancellation of free needle exchange program, has been accompanied by a 52% increase in the general

in the community, including immigrants. It is now focusing on supporting the public health sector, providing emergency care in shelters for the homeless and improving the overall response to communicable diseases. Papadopoulos, who spent 17 years abroad with MSF and returned

trillion bond fund Pimco. Portugal will follow Greece to be the next eurozone country to falter, according the boss of the world’s largest private sector bond fund. Like Greece, it will need extra cash from Brussels to stop the country going bust, Pimco chief

chief investment officer of Pimco, said he expected Portugal’s first bailout package to be insufficient, prompting it to ask the EU and IMF for more money. “Then there will be a big debate about how to split the burden between the EU, creditors, the IMF and the

debt levels become unsustainable. Consider what I wrote in my book 2 years ago: “It took millennia to build civilizations on this planet but we will watch them unravel over the span of a few years.” GREECE - The incidence of HIV/ Aids among intravenous drug users in central Athens soared by 1,250% in the first 10 months of 2011 compared with the same period the previous year, according to the head of Médecins sans Frontières Greece, while malaria is becoming endemic in the south for the first time since the rule of the colonels. Reveka Papadopoulos said that following savage cuts to the national health service budget, including heavy job losses and a 40% reduction in funding for hospitals, Greek social services were “under very severe strain, if not in a state of breakdown. What we are seeing are very clear indicators of a system that cannot cope.” The heavy, horizontal and “blind” budget cuts coincided last year with a 24% increase in demand for hospital services, she said, “largely because

population. “We are also seeing transmission between mother and child for the first time in Greece,” she said. “This is something we are used to seeing in sub-Saharan Africa, not Europe. There has also been a sharp increase in cases of tuberculosis in the immigrant population, cases of Nile fever – leading to 35 deaths in 2010 – and the reappearance of endemic malaria in several parts of Greece, notably the south.” According to Papadopoulos, such sharp increases in communicable diseases are indicative of a system nearing breakdown. “The simple fact of the reappearance of malaria, with 100-odd cases in southern Greece last year and 20 to 30 more elsewhere, shows barriers to healthcare access have risen,” she said. “Malaria is treatable, it shouldn’t spread if the system is working.” MSF has been active in Greece for more than 20 years, but until now has largely confined its activities to emergency interventions after natural disasters such as earthquakes, and providing care to the most vulnerable groups

to her native Greece three years ago, sees hope among the rubble. “What keeps me going is an increasingly strong sense of solidarity among the Greek people,” she said. “Donations to MSF, for example, have of course gone down with the crisis, but donors keep giving, they remain active.” Portugal will be the next Greece, predicts Mohamed El-Erian

executive Mohamed El-Erian told the German magazine Der Spiegel. Asked whether he expected Portugal to have become the next Greece by the end of this year, he said: “Yes, unfortunately that will be the case.” Portugal’s economy is forecast to contract 3.3% this year as the government implements austerity measures under a €78bn

European Central Bank. And then financial markets will become nervous because they are worried about private sector participation,” he said. Pimco, with $1.36 trillion assets under management, is a division of German insurance group Allianz. El-Erian said this year would show whether the eurozone will fall apart or become

There’s a lot of money on the sidelines waiting for end to eurozone crisis, says boss of $1.3

(£65bn) bailout from the European Union and International Monetary Fund. El-Erian, who is also co-

a smaller but stronger entity, with the first option being “less likely but definitely not to be ruled out”.

Israel using Gaza as ‘guinea pig’ for Iran: Khaled Mashaal

Mashaal says, Palestinians want to save their territory from Israeli occupation following meetings with Erdogan, Gul in Turkey. Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal accused Israel of using the Gaza Strip as a “guinea pig” for testing its missiles capabilities amid simmering tensions with Iran Turkey’s English-language news portal Today’s Zaman reported Sunday. Mashaal said Hamas would continue to “fight against Israel in political, diplomatic and media fields.” Mashaal said on Sunday that Palestinian rockets were fired at Israel only after the IDF

attacked Palestinian targets in the Gaza Strip, and said “Hamas’ missile attacks from Gaza on Israel were selfdefense,” according to the report.

Hamas chief Khaled Mashaal had discussions with Turkish officials on Palestinian reconciliation efforts between rival Hamas and Fatah groups

on March 16. Speaking ahead of the meeting, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdo an said the talks would focus on “recent positive developments” in efforts to reconcile Hamas and Fatah. Foreign Minister Ahmet Davuto lu also joined the talks, which had not been scheduled in the itineraries delivered to the press, returning from Istanbul to join the meeting. A Hamas-Fatah reconciliation agreement was ceremoniously signed in Cairo last year with both factions agreeing on parliamentary and presidential elections within months.

In February 2012, Mashaal agreed to appoint Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas interim prime minister in a second bid to expedite elections. Mashaal faces internal opposition from Hamas leaders in Gaza, who are reluctant to hand over authority to Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas. Abbas would serve as the prime minister of any interim government. The head of the Hamas government in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh, was received with enthusiasm during a visit to Turkey in early January as part of his first regional tour.


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South Asia Tribune I Thursday 22 March 2012

Up to 20 US troops behind Kandahar bloodbath – Afghan probe

US Forces Raped Two Women in Kandahar Carnage: Probe Mission

On March 11, up to 20 US forces murdered 16 Afghan men, women, and nine children, aged two to 12. Children were massacred while they slept. Two women were also raped before soldiers killed them. Major media scoundrels whitewashed the crimes by shamelessly blaming one soldier to absolve others, and most of all, higher-ups responsible for permitting a culture that condones and encourages them. A transparent March 11 Pentagon Secretary of Defense Panetta statement said the following: “Today I spoke to President Karzai to offer my deepest condolences and profound regret for the tragic incident in Kandahar province that resulted in the loss of life and injuries to innocent Afghan civilians, including women and children.” “A full investigation is already underway. A suspect is in custody, and I gave President Karzai my assurances that we will bring those responsible to justice. We will spare no effort in getting the facts as quickly as possible, and we will hold any perpetrator who is responsible for

too grave to ignore, but just the latest in a systematic ongoing pattern wherever America shows up. Like others, this one included rape and murder. According to

He and President Karzai said multiple assailants were involved. They also stressed that US commanders stonewalled Afghan demands to interrogate those

In all US war theaters, slaughter, sadism, and other atrocities are institutionalized. Rape becomes a weapon of war. On June 19, 2008, the Security Council agreed,

Nor are a few “bad apples” alone involved. They’re widespread, tolerated, and sanctioned up to the highest government, military, and intelligence levels in all US

Pajhwok Afghan News: “A parliamentary probe team on Thursday said up to 20 American troops were involved in Sunday’s killing of 16 civilians in southern Kandahar province.” It spent two days interviewing surviving family members, witnesses, and tribal elders. They also gathered evidence where killings took place. Two groups of US soldiers were involved. Attacks occurred in separate villages one

responsible and hold them accountable locally. Surviving family members and witnesses said assailants had air support. Helicopters brought them in and remained overhead during the carnage. Kandahar Massacre Reflects Earlier Ones Analyst Rick Rozoff called the incident “particularly egregious” because of its “cold-blooded, calculated” nature. It evoked echoes of past ones like Vietnam’s

adopting Resolution 1820. It demanded an “immediate and complete halt to acts of sexual violence against civilians in conflict zones.” It said: “women and girls are particularly targeted by the use of sexual violence, including as a tactic of war to humiliate, dominate, instil fear in, disperse and/or forcibly relocate civilian members of a community or ethnic group.” These offenses also “constitute war crimes,

this violence fully accountable under the law.” “I condemn such violence and am shocked and saddened that a U.S. service member is alleged to be involved, clearly acting outside his chain of command. I told President Karzai that the American people share the outrage felt by President Karzai and his fellow citizens. This tragic incident does not reflect the commitment of the U.S. military to protect the Afghan people and help build a strong and stable Afghanistan.” “As we mourn today with the Afghan people, we are steadfast in our resolve to work hand in hand with our Afghan partners to accomplish the missions and goals on which we have been working together for so long.” “This terrible incident does not reflect our shared values or the progress we have made together. As I told President Karzai, I am fully committed to ensuring that our cooperation continues. It is essential to forging a more peaceful future for the citizens of both our nations.” Like similar Pentagon, White House, and other official statements, Panetta’s words ring hollow. They also reflected damage control cover-up, not only of a crime

and a half kilometers apart. “We are convinced that one soldier cannot kill so many people in two villages within one hour at the same time.” Most victims were women and children. Parliamentarian Hamidzai Lali demanded that the UN and international community ensure those responsible are prosecuted in Afghanistan. Lali said the Wolesi Jirga, Afghanistan’s lower House of the People, won’t stay silent until prosecutions occur, adding: “If the international community does not play its role in punishing the perpetrators, the Wolesi Jirga would declare foreign troops as occupying forces, like the Russians.” Soldiers Committed Rape and Murder On March 18, India’s Siasat Daily headlined, “US Forces raped two Afghan women,” saying: The Afghan probe team said US soldiers systematically went from house to house in two villages, raped two women before murdering them, and at least 14 others. Some victim bodies were then set ablaze. On March 17, Russia Today called the Kandahar massacre “preplanned” murder, according to Afghan Army Chief of Staff Lt. General Sher Mohammad Karimi.

My Lai, Iraq’s Haditha, and two Fallujah slaughter incidents in April/May 2004, then in genocidal numbers in November/ December. Survivors and witnesses confirmed industrial scale mass murder. Children saw parents shot. Adults lost spouses and children. Homes and stores were looted. Thousands of others were destroyed. A government committee found 26,000 houses damaged and another 3,000 completely demolished. They included 70 mosques, 50 schools, and Fallujah’s power plant. The city depended on it for electricity, 50% of its drinking water distribution, and 70% of its sewer system. Overall, indiscriminate slaughter, destruction, and environmental contamination occurred. It was followed by looting, mass arrests, torture, and deaths from ill treatment and disease. A cancer epidemic followed and numerous previously unknown or rarely seen illnesses, severe congenital malformations, and more. Since 2001, millions of Afghans and Iraqis died. Libya’s enduring its own nightmare. Syria and Iran are next. American wars show no mercy. Rape as a Weapon of War

crimes against humanity or a constitutive act with respect to genocide.” Former United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture Manifred Nowak said rape constitutes torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment used as a weapon of war to inflict greater pain and suffering. Author Slavenka Drakulic described it as “slow murder.” The Nuremberg Tribunal called it a crime against humanity. Nothing, however, stops it, and UN resolutions fall woefully short. The latest Afghan rape and multiple murder atrocity reflects countless others. It’s because US soldiers are trained to be violent in war theaters and show no mercy. Anything goes and does. Women and young girls are especially vulnerable. In May 2009, Britain’s Daily Telegraph said former US General Antonio Taguba said the Obama administration sought to suppress images of US soldiers raping and sodomizing Iraqi prisoners. He called photos he saw explosive, saying they “show torture, abuse, rape and every indecency. The mere description of these pictures is horrendous enough. Take my word for it.” These and similar incidents aren’t isolated.

war theaters. Victims are helpless targets, including young girls and boys sodomized with phosphorescent tubes, clubs, wire, and other implements to inflict pain. Instead of holding those responsible accountable, Obama suppressed their crimes. As a result, they continue. The latest Afghan victims represent a drop in the ocean. International and US law principles are ignored. Atrocities follow others repeatedly. Wars reflect more than hell. They manifest generations of condoned US barbarity. It’s been institutionalized to permit wanton rape, sodomy, torture, sadism, murder, and virtually all other imaginable atrocities with impunity. America the beautiful is an illusion only young children and fools believe. Ugly war theater wickedness reveals its true dark side. Its victims attest to how monstrous. The suspect in Sunday’s killings, said to be a 38-year-old sergeant with two children, is the most recent former Lewis-McChord resident whose behaviour during or after deployment has made headlines for the wrong reasons. Two years ago, after four of the base’s soldiers, led by Calvin Gibbs, were convicted of the deliberate “thrill killings” of three Afghan civilians, the forces newspaper Stars and Stripes called LewisMcChord: “The most troubled base in the military.” At Christmas, reporting on a rash of suicides – 62 since 2002 – along with soaring rates of domestic violence, drink-driving, murders, fights, robberies and drug overdoses there, the Los Angeles Times dubbed it: “A base on the brink.” The paper referred to a string of recent tragedies. They included an Iraq veteran who pleaded guilty to torture after water-boarding his seven-year-old foster child; another charged with torturing a daughter who refused to say her ABCs; and a husband who poured lighter fluid over his wife and set her on fire. A soldier also kidnapped, tortured, and raped two women, attaching one, via cables, to a car battery and a husband murdered his wife and left her body in a bin.


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South Asia Tribune I Thursday 22 March 2012

In America, TV watches you

7

CIA to spy on people through household items

With a growing number of ‘smart gadgets,’ spying on homes may start to become much easier. In fact, CIA Chief David Petraeus admitted that Americans were effectively bugging themselves and making it easy for spy agencies to peek in on their lives. ¬Speaking at a summit for In-Q-Tel, the CIA’s venture capital firm, Petraeus noted that new devices that link ‘dumb’ home appliances such as refrigerators, ovens and lighting systems to the Internet could “change our notion of secrecy.” “‘Transformational’ is an overused word, but I do believe it properly applies to these technologies, particularly to their effect on clandestine tradecraft,” Petraeus noted. “Items of interest will be located, identified, monitored, and remotely controlled through technologies such as radiofrequency identification, sensor networks, tiny embedded servers, and energy harvesters — all connected to the next-generation Internet using abundant, lowcost, and high-power computing,” Petraeus explained. “The latter now going to cloud computing, in many areas greater and greater supercomputing, and, ultimately, heading to quantum computing.” In the meantime, the biggest microchip company in the world, ARM, presented new processors that can be implanted into nearly any household appliance and connect it to the Internet so that the appliance could be remotely

controlled in tandem with other applications. The company described the concept as the “Internet of things.” And the National Security Agency is already building a gigantic supercomputer to process this gigantic amount of information. It’s a $2 billion Utah-based facility that can process yottabytes (a quadrillion

technology blog. It will be the centerpiece for the Global Information Grid and is set to go live in September 2013.

a recent report prepared by the MITRE Corporation, a Pentagon think tank. “As the sensors associated with the various

gigabytes) of data (A yottabyte is 1,000,000,000,000,000 GB) , according to the Gizmondo

Just how much information will be stored in these windowless cybertemples? A clue comes from

surveillance missions improve,” says the report, referring to a variety of technical collection methods,

“the data volumes are increasing with a projection that sensor data volume could potentially increase to the level of Yottabytes (1024 Bytes) by 2015.” Roughly equal to about a septillion (1,000,000,000 ,000,000,000,000,000) pages of text, numbers beyond Yottabytes haven’t yet been named. Once vacuumed up and stored in these near-infinite “libraries,” the data are then analyzed by powerful infoweapons, supercomputers running complex algorithmic programs, to determine who among us may be—or may one day become—a terrorist. In the NSA’s world of automated surveillance on steroids, every bit has a history and every keystroke tells a story. These latest announcements paint a somewhat Orwellian picture of the future, with TV’s spying on their viewers and beds recording the dreams of those sleeping in them. Perhaps this data would then be sent to the Utah supercomputer, which would assess the person’s pros and cons. And what if the computer uses statistics to decipher the likelihood that that person will commit a crime? A score could land you in jail – for a crime that had not yet happened. But even now we see how people are being arrested for posting online or clicking the wrong button in the privacy of their own home. A British teenager is set to appear in court on charges of racially aggravated assault after posting comments about six British soldiers killed in Afghanistan.

Portugal court stays cancellation of extradition of Abu Salem

India had given an assurance to Portugal that it would not slap any charge which invoked death penalty to Salem India has got a breather with the Constitutional Court of Portugal staying the order of its Supreme Court on violation of extradition agreement of underworld don Abu Salem by New Delhi by slapping new charges invoking death penalty. CBI sources said that the Constitutional Court, while admitting

India’s plea, stayed the order of the Supreme Court of Portugal. India in its plea had also mentioned the recent order of Supreme Court of India whereby it had stayed trial against Salem with regard to additional charges levelled against the underworld don. India had given an executive assurance to Portugal that it would not slap any charges which invoke death penalty to Salem and would not keep him behind bars for more than 25 years. Delhi and Mumbai Police, however, had

slapped charges which invoke death penalty against him leaving the government and the CBI red-faced. Later police wanted to withdraw the charges but the courts did not approve of it that led to long-standing legal battle which ended in Supreme Court in September 2010 that rejected the underworld don’s plea. Salem had filed a petition in the High Court in Lisbon alleging violation of Rule of Speciality after which a judgement was pronounced on September 19, last year, saying there had been breach of the Indian undertaking given to the Portuguese authorities.


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South Asia Tribune I Thursday 22 March 2012

Global March to Jerusalem GMJ’s Concept and Objectives

The historic day 30th March marks Palestine Land Day* in Palestinian national memory. This year aim is to mark it as an international event to

demonstrate solidarity with Palestinians and to protect Jerusalem. This will be achieved by organizing a Global March to Jerusalem or to the nearest point to it. The march will demand freedom for Jerusalem and its people and to put an end to the

Apartheid, ethnic cleansing and Judaisation policies affecting the people, land and sanctity of Jerusalem. By organising the March and its preceding and parallel activities we aim to highlight the cause of Jerusalem (the City of Peace) which is considered the key to peace and war in the region and the world. The march will confirm that the policies and practices of the racist Zionist state of Israel against Jerusalem and its people are a crime not only against Palestinians but against all humanity. The march will unite the efforts of Palestinians, Arabs, Muslims, Christians, Jews, and all citizens of conscience in the world to put an end to Israel’s disregard for international law through the continuing occupation of Jerusalem and the rest of Palestinian land. We aim to make this march a turning point in the nature of the confrontation, with the occupation having to face millions of protesters and demonstrators demanding Freedom for Palestine and its capitol Jerusalem. We will make a renewed true effort

towards ending the occupation through peaceful national movements inspired firstly by our convictions, secondly by the justice of our cause, and thirdly by the spirit of the Arab spring revolutions and the determination of young people who were able to overthrow dictatorships. Especially now that the nations have realized the magical effect of the people’s will to make the impossible possible. The advancing slogan, “the people demand,” has proved to be more effective than armies and weapons. * Palestine Land Day – a day celebrated by Palestinians on 30th March each year. The event marks the events of March, 1976, after the Israeli authorities confiscated thousands of dunums of private and public land in majority Palestinian areas, especially in the Galilee. Following these events the Arab masses inside Palestine declared a general strike, confronting the Israeli authorities for the first time since the occupation of Palestine in 1948. The Israeli response was militant and violent, as the Israeli troops, backed up

by tanks, entered Palestinian villages and reoccupied them, causing a number of martyrs and many wounded and detainees among the civilians. How will the GMJ take place? 1. Massive marches will be organised from Asia, Africa and Europe to and in neighbouring countries to Palestine (Jordan, Eygpt, Syria and Lebanon) and towards Jerusalem or to the nearest point possible

according to the circumstances of each country and through coordination between all groups and institutions of civil society taking part in the march, in coordination with the official and national bodies concerned. These marches will be composed mainly of the people of each country

and thousands of international solidarity participants traveling to these countries specifically to join the marches. 2. Massive marches organized in Palestine (the 1948 seizures, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip) towards Jerusalem or to the nearest point to it. Palestinian people from all factions and institutions will participate alongside international solidarity activists who are able to enter Palestine. 3. Mass protests to be organised in front of Israeli embassies in the capitals of different countries. 4. Mass demonstrations and protests to be organised in the main public squares in the big cities of the world, including the Arab and Muslim capitals and large cities, which can be initiated from the main mosques and churches in each city, where appropriate. 5. Transcontinental Rallies to be organised, from Europe, Africa and Asia, according to the conditions and possibilities of each region.

‘Global March to Jerusalem’ endorsed by Guardian approved ‘saxophonist’ Gilad Atzmon UK’s Palestine Solidarity Campaign has called a mass protest and rally, supported

by Stop the War, at the Israeli Embassy in London. Global March to Jerusalem: Supporting Event Mass Protest and Rally: Friday 30 March 5pm Israeli Embassy Kensington High Street, London

Iran attack would unleash hell –Lavrov Russia warns of catastrophic regional and global consequences in the event of a military attack on Iran. In an interview to an Afghan television network, which can also be found on his Ministry’s official website, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Monday that the Iranians still have time to persuade the International Atomic Energy Agency that their nuclear energy programme is strictly

peaceful, and the suspicions that it is not can be dissolved through negotiations. He also called attention to the fact that at the recent White House meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu President Barack Obama argued that diplomacy with Iran must be allowed to take its course. Mr Lavrov quoted the IAEA as saying it does not see a military component in Iran’s nuclear programme.


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Saarc international I Thursday 22 March 2012

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international

Thursday, 22.03.12

India, Pakistan among top arms buyers India is the world’s largest recipient of arms while South Korea is second and Pakistan and China are tied in third place, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (Sipri) says in a study. India is the world’s largest recipient of arms while South Korea is second and Pakistan and China are tied in third place, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (Sipri) says in a study on international arms transfers. The volume of world-wide arms transfers in 2007-11 was 24 per cent higher than in 2002-06 and the five largest arms importers in 2007-11 were all Asian states, a press communique said.

The data revealed that Asia and Oceania accounted for a whopping 44 per cent of global arms imports, followed by Europe 19 per cent, the Middle East 17 per cent, the Americas 11 per cent. Africa was the lowest with 9 per cent. India was the world’s largest recipient of arms, accounting for 10 per cent of global arms imports. The other large recipients of arms in 2007-11 were South Korea (6 per cent of arms transfers), Pakistan (5 per cent), China (5 per cent) and Singapore (4 per cent). Article continues below “Major Asian importing states are seeking to develop their own arms industries and decrease their reliance

on external sources of supply,” Pieter Wezeman, senior researcher with the Sipri Arms Transfers Programme, was quoted as saying. “A large share of arms deliveries is due to licensed production.” India’s neighbour China was the largest recipient of arms exports in 2002-06, but it fell to fourth place in 2007-11. Between 2002-06 and 2007-11, the volume of Chinese arms exports increased by 95 per cent and now China ranks as the sixth largest supplier of arms in the world. “While the volume of China’s arms exports is increasing, this is largely a result of Pakistan importing more arms from China,” Paul Holtom,

Indian politicians in latest porn scandal

Gujrat BJP MLAs deny charges, say they don’t watch porn at all

director of the Sipri Arms Transfers Programme, said. “China has not yet achieved a major breakthrough in any other significant market.” Impact of Arab Spring The study said that major suppliers continued to deliver weapons to countries affected by the events of the Arab Spring. Despite a review in 2011 of its arms transfer policies towards the region, the US remains a major supplier to both Tunisia and Egypt. In 2011, the US delivered 45 M-1A1 tanks to Egypt and agreed to deliver 125 more, the communique said.

India, China not spared from US sanctions on Iran oil

The speaker of an Indian state assembly ordered an inquiry on Wednesday into allegations that two politicians had viewed pornography during a sitting of the chamber.

Two BJP MLAs were caught watching pornographic content inside the Gujarat assembly, according to reports published in a Gujarati newspaper. The MLAs denied the charges were to malign their

image. Shankar Chaudhary said it is an attempt to malign his image. “The allegations of me watching porn in assembly is baseless. This is an attempt to politically Continued on page 31 >>

The United States exempted Japan and 10 EU nations from financial sanctions because they have significantly cut purchases of Iranian crude oil, but left Iran’s top customers China and India exposed to the possibility of such steps. The decision announced on Tuesday is a victory for the 11 countries, whose Continued on page 31 >>


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Saarc international I Thursday 22 March 2012

India to keep building Kudankulam

Jayalalithaa Govt Gives Go-ahead to Kudankulam Nuclear Plant

Tamiland’s government (India) decided to keep building Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) “Kudankulam”,which had been frozen due to the mass protests of local residents, Indian channel NDTV reports. The plant is being build with Russian Federation cooperation. Preparing for a showdown with the anti-Kudankulam agitators, the state government on Monday gave its nod to commission the plant. A decision to this effect was taken in the state Cabinet meeting chaired by chief minister J Jayalalithaa. The Cabinet accepted the report submitted by the state-appointed experts’ committee headed by former chairman of Atomic Energy Commission, MR Srinivasan, which said the plant is safe. With a view to placating the fishermen community and the People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE), the forum that is spearheading the agitation, the government also decided to allocate Rs 500 crore for carrying out various welfare schemes for the betterment of

the people in Kudankulam and nearby fishermen villages.

Police crack whip on anti-Kudankulam protest Meanwhile, heavy police

U.S. threatens sanctions with India over its ties with Iran

The Obama administration is threatening to impose sanctions on India over its continued economic ties with Iran amid disagreements between Washington and New Delhi over how much and how soon the latter is reducing oil imports from the (in U.S. eyes) pariah nation. India has “failed” to reduce its purchase of Iranian oil and if it doesn’t do so, President Barack Obama may be “forced” to impose sanction, unnamed administration officials were cited as telling Bloomberg wire service. A decision in this regard could come as early as June 28, they added, implicitly offering New Delhi a ten- week window to show a decline in Iranian oil imports. Indian officials have contested the U.S. assessment by insisting New Delhi is scaling down Iranian oil imports with more reduction in the pipeline, but that

concession has been offset by India’s commerce ministry’s well-publicized efforts to ramp up trade with Iran in other areas, a move that has not gone unnoticed by the powerful pro-Israeli lobby in U.S. The potent American Jewish Committee (AJC), which holds Israeli interests dear to its heart, raged against an Indian business delegation being shepherded to Iran by the Indian commerce ministry, pointing to it as an example of New Delhi’s perfidy at a time Israel is India’s close military and counter-terrorism partner. That prompted a strong rebuttal from the Indian embassy in Washington, accusing certain lobbies of presenting a “distorted picture of New Delhi’s foreign policy objectives and energy security needs” by selective use of data about its imports from Iran.

force with a battery of senior officials has been deployed

range DIG V Varadaraju and 12 superintendents of police, drawn from all over southern districts are camping at Kudankulam. Twelve police check posts have

in Kudankulam region since Sunday night. Tamil Nadu south zone IG Rajesh Das, Tirunelveli

been set up in the southern coastal belt and the level of preparedness for the show down with the agitating fishermen can

be gauged from the fact that each of these check posts is headed by an SP level official. While the Cabinet meeting was progressing in Chennai, police arrested nine persons from Kudankulam including S Sivasubramanian, one of the PMANE activists who met Jayalalithaa for talks in Chennai earlier this month. Following the arrests, the fishermen community gathered in large numbers at Idinthakarai village, where a relay fast has been going on for more than six months. SP Udayakumar, convenor of PMANE, has started a fast unto death demanding the release of the nine activists

How food imports drain rupee The ongoing rupee crunch in the country has brought to light Bhutan’s dependence on India for food. Food import from India exerts considerable pressure on the country’s rupee reserve. According to trade figures, Bhutan spends over Nu 5,000 million to import food products from India annually. In 2010, Bhutan’s total import value from India stood at Nu 29,338 million. This means that 17 percent of the total imports from India were food imports. Bhutan’s dependence on India for food has been increasing over the years although 64.4 percent of its population depends on agriculture. A study done by RNR Research Development Centre in Wengkhar, Mongar, in 2009 shows that 51 percent of the total rice consumption in 50 out of 69 gewogs in the six eastern dzongkhags was imported from India. Trade statistics show that in 2010, rice imports from India amounted to Nu 846.92 million,

up from Nu 721.70 million in 2009. Other food imports such as vegetables, edible oil, sugar and meat increased from Nu 3,692.7 million in 2009 to Nu 4,406.8 million in 2010. On the other hand, while the average household consumption of food items has been increasing, the agriculture sector has shown little growth over the years. The National Accounts Statistics of 2010 shows that the total consumption expenditure at 2010 prices amounted to Nu 44,682.30 million, which

accounted for about 65 percent of GDP. This is an increase of 17.42 percent from the previous year. The level of private household consumption expenditure grew by 23.09 percent to Nu 30,194.5 million in 2010 from Nu 23,202.21 million in 2009. The agriculture sector (proper), which constitutes growing crops, has seen minimal growth. Its average growth over three years recorded less than two percent a year. A senior official from Ministry of Agriculture and Forests, however, said that food security is a problem only for the urban population. “Our villages are selfsufficient,” he said. However, there is growing evidence that villagers are increasingly dependent on imported rice, vegetable oil and other food commodities. Asked why agriculture production has been decreasing over the years, he said it is due to growing rural to urban migration and human-wildlife conflict.


Saarc international I Thursday 22 March 2012

SAARC

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WEEKLY REVIEW OF AFGHANISTAN NEWS

Helicopter crash kills 12 NATO soldiers in Kabul A NATO-led International Security Assistance Force helicopter crashed into a house in capital Kabul on Friday. According to security forces, at least 10 people on board and 2 peole on the ground were killed following the incident. The helicopter crashed in Hussain Khel area at Bagrami district of capital Kabul around 10:00 am local time. NATO-led International Security Assistance Force following a press release said, Twelve International Security Assistance

Force service members died following a helicopter crash in Kabul province today.

At least 1,784 US military deaths in Afghanistan since 2001

ISAF confirmed the helicopter “went down” and said, Twelve International Security Assistance

Force service members died following a helicopter crash in Kabul province today.

The cause of the crash is under investigation, however initial reporting indicates there was no enemy activity in the area at the time of the crash, ISAF said. Kabul police chief Gen. Ayoub Salangi confirming the incident said, Afghan police and fire crew reached to the scene of the incident. Gen. salangi further added, at least 5 people who were killed during the incident were taken out from the wreckage. He also added, the victims were recongized as Turkish citizens.

Zahir Howaida, Afghan famous singer dies Afghan popular singer, Zahir Huwaida passed away in Germany at the age of 67 on 5th March Monday morning.

As of Tuesday, March 20, 2012, at least 1,784 members of the U.S. military had died in Afghanistan as a result of the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan in late 2001, according to an Associated Press count. The AP count is six more than the Defense Department’s tally, last updated Tuesday at 10 a.m. EDT, Washington post reported. At least 1,488 military service members have died in Afghanistan as a result of hostile action, according to the military’s numbers. Outside of Afghanistan, the department reports at least 109 more members of the U.S. military died in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Of those, 12 were the result of hostile action. The AP count of total OEF casualties outside of Afghanistan is two more than the department’s tally. The Defense Department also counts three military civilian deaths. Since the start of U.S. military operations in Afghanistan, 15,460 U.S. service members have been

wounded in hostile action, according to the Defense Department. The latest identifications reported by the military: — 2nd Lt. Clovis T. Ray, 34, of San Antonio, Texas; died Mar. 15 in Kunar province, Afghanistan of injuries suffered when insurgents attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device; assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii. —Spc. Daquane D. Rivers, 21, of Marianna, Fla.; died March 14, from injuries sustained in a noncombat-related incident in Paktika province, Afghanistan; assigned to 2nd Battalion, 28th Infantry Regiment, 172nd Infantry Brigade, Grafenwoehr, Germany. —Staff Sgt. Jesse J. Grindey, 30, of Hazel Green, Wis.; died March 12, in Kandahar province, Afghanistan; assigned to 287th Military Police Company, 97th Military Police Battalion, 89th Military Police Brigade, Fort Riley, Kan.

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Mohammad Zahir Howida born in 1946 in Kohistan Afghanistan has been an active singer since 1970s and his popularity peaked with the hit “Kamar Bareek-e-man” the renditions of which are sampled by Iranian and Tajik singers. Howida’s family moved to Kabul after Zahir’s birth and thereafter transferred to Mazar-e-Sharif, Northern city of Afghanistan. While in Mazar i Sharif, Zahir Howida entered the first grade at the Sultan Ghiassuddin Elementary school in 1953. The same year Zahir’s father died at the age of 33 leaving behind Zahir, his brother and widowed mom. The family moved to Kabul where Zahir attended 2nd grade at the renowned Sayed Jamaluddin Afghan elementary school famous for its arts and humanities courses. At the age of 13, Zahir’s family moved to Booksellers Avenue of Kabul and subsequently entered Isteqlal High School, earning the highest rank in his class. Zahir didn’t find school curriculum very interesting and often cut class to walk across the school to the public library and borrow books of his interest and read. Zahir spent years at home with a huge kettle of tea, scissor print cigarettes and books about social and political issues. His favorite author was Maxim Gorky and favorite subject was socialism and social democratic ideas. Upon graduating high school, Zahir attended Institute of Theatre and Arts of Kabul and joint the Kabul Armature Orchestra leaded by Fazel Ahmad Zekria Naynawaz along with his brother Kabir Howida, Rahim

Mehryar, Rahim Jahani and more. Zahir was a mandolin player and a backup singer for Akbar Ramish at the Isteqlal High school shows celebrating Afghanistan Day. Naynawaz encouraged Zahir to sing solo, but he didn’t find it suitable during the live show to sing at a short notice. Hamid Etemadi who had a great voice but did not sing in public since he was a member of the royal family encouraged Zahir to take his place at the Afghanistan Day show. Zahir was dragged on stage by Hamid and he sang his first song, but was faced with displeasure of the crowd. Moments later Zahir appeared in costume during a play and sang another song which delighted the audience and received an endurance of applause. At this orchestra Zahir showed immense talent as a vocalist and earned a scholarship to learn operatic and eastern classical music at Tchaikovsky institute in Moscow. Upon his return to Kabul, Zahir began his musical career which brought him overnight success.

He composed all his songs with exception of 4 songs which he often credits their original composers Ahmad Zahir and Mas’hoor Jamal. The songs Rasha dar dast baghban and Gar zolf preishanat are of Ahmad Zahir and Laili mah man shoda shaida and Ay mo telaie are composition of Mas’hoor Jamal. Zahir howida toured Tajikistan, Iran, USSR, Europe and Americas. His song “Kamar Bareek” became an instant hit in Iran where for years after many Iranian singers covered the song in concerts and Iranian National TV. Majority of Zahir Howida’s songs are political in nature and anti establishment. He often spoke out against the monarchy and the first president of Afghanistan Daud Khan. While all artists who wish to appear on National TV were authorized to sing in both Pashtu and Dari, Zahir refused to sing in Pashto claiming that whenever Ustad Awalmeer sings in Dari he will follow up with a song in Pashto.


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WEEKLY REVIEW OF BANGLADESH NEWS

PM renews her tirade in JS against Khaleda

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Tuesday in Parliament renewed her tirade against her arch rival Khaleda Zia for “taking money” from the Pakistan secret service ISI in 1991, saying it is a great shame for the nation. She also asked Khaleda, who left the House after delivering her speech, whether the opposition leader has any shame or regret for “taking money from the defeated force.” In her 49-minuts speech against Khaleda’s one hour 53 minutes lengthy speech, Hasina said the BNP chief chose the months of March and December for her street agitations as she did not like these months. “It is now clear why she did not like these months. It has also become clear in the Pakistani court,” she told the house amid cheers and thumping of desk by the treasury

bench members. Regarding BNP’s claim that Ziaur Rahman was the proclaimer of the Independence, the Prime Minister said as per verdict of the High Court it is now a settled issue. “He (Zia) can be just an announcer like numerous announcers in TV channels and radio stations,” she said, raising laughter among the members in the treasury bench. Hasina, however, welcomed the

opposition’s participation in the parliament but expressed her regret over the use of filthy words by opposition members vitiating the atmosphere of the House. “We appreciate their return though they have come to Parliament to protect their salaries and allowances,” she said wrapping up the general discussion on the President’s speech. The Prime Minister said her

BB governor for pursuing Islamic micro, SME financing, but with caution Dhaka: Bangladesh Bank governor Dr Atiur Rahman on Tuesday called upon the Islamic banks and the Islamic windows of conventional banks in the country to pursue vigorous promotion of Islamic micro and SME financing for faster poverty eradication with deeper and wider financial inclusion.

He, however, advised the banks to exercise utmost care in steering clear of money laundering, hundi, terrorist financing while entering into partnering engagements with Islamic MFIs and area agents in off-branch locations that may be active in different regions of

the country. The central bank governor was speaking as the chief guest at a seminar, titled ‘Islamic Micro Finance: An Instrument for Poverty Alleviation’, in the city. World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF) Foundation in Malaysia and SEACO Foundation in Bangladesh jointly arranged the seminar as part of their two-day fifth roundtable.

Hasina asks India to end Teesta deadlock Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina requests India to quickly resolve the deadlock over the sharing of Teesta river waters and reciprocate the steps taken by Dhaka for further improving the friendly ties between the two neighbours. “She (Hasina) urged New Delhi to quicken the process of signing a deal on the Teesta” when new Indian High Commissioner Pankaj Saran today met her at the premier’s office, prime minister’s press secretary Abul Kalam Azad told PTI. Acknowledging that “Bangladesh and India are now enjoying better relations than ever before”, Azad said the premier also urged India to “reciprocate the steps taken by Bangladesh” bettering further the friendly ties with New Delhi. She also sought stern actions against killing of Bangladeshi nationals along the border, the spokesman said. “She also asked India to ratify

the land boundary agreement in parliament,” he said. The premier’s comments came four days after Saran said New Delhi was working to solve the Teesta water sharing issue and to sign a treaty “on priority basis” as he presented his credentials to President Zillur Rahman. “The process of signing the pending Teesta Water Treaty is underway and it will be signed soon,” a presidential

palace spokesman quoted him as telling Rahman at that time. India was expected to sign a deal with Dhaka on the Teesta during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s Dhaka visit in September last year but Dhaka visibly refused to sign the proposed transit agreement after India backed out from signing the much-expected accord on sharing the common Teesta river water at that time.

government has ensured independence of the Anti-Corruption Commission and established the rule of law in the country. “We are working hard to establish Bangladesh as a self-respecting country in the comity of the nations,” she told the House. Hasina did not utter a single word about Khaldea Zia’s demand for elections under non-party caretaker government. Pointing to some allegations raised by some opposition members regarding her son Sajeeb Wajed Joy, Hasina said that she never taught her son to take bribe like what happened at Hawa Bhaban during the BNP’s rule. “I can feel the pain of the opposition; we are engaged in development activities. That is their problem,” she said.About some indecent remarks made recently by the opposition in parliament, Hasina, also the Leader of the House, said it was very much shameful for the nation as they were polluting the environment of Parliament. The Prime Minister said that after assuming power in 2009, her

government worked hard to erase the bad image of the country, and now Bangladesh is termed as the country of prosperity. “Now no one can say that Bangladesh is a land of militancy and terrorism,” she said adding that the government showed zero tolerance to terrorism and militancy. Hasina came down heavily on the opposition as they attempted to rig the elections scheduled to be held in 2006. “You (opposition party) included 1.23 crore fake voters in the voter list through making Justice MA Aziz as the chief election commissioner,” she said. Regarding Khaleda Zia’s two sons, Hasina said different countries across the world are convinced that her two sons were engaged in money laundering. Referring to the August 21 grenade attack at Bangabandhu Avenue where 24 Awami League leaders were killed, she said the then opposition party was not allowed to speak on that issue in the parliament as the “then BNP-Jamaat government was behind that grenade attack.”

Dhaka seeking transcript of Durrani testimony Foreign minister Dipu Moni on Monday said her ministry would seek transcript of the testimony given by the former chief of ISI that the Pakistani spy agency had funded BNP during 1991 general elections. “This has to be clear, but what we know is from a report ran by Khaleej Times,” she told a press briefing at the foreign office. She said former ISI chief Asad Durrani at a hearing on the spy agency’s mandate had given a testimony at the Pakistan Supreme Court in a case filed by Asghar Khan. Khaleej Times quoted the transcript of his testimony. When her attention was drawn to a news report generated from New Delhi, she said, “I only saw the report in Khaleej Times.” The BNP has refuted the allegation saying confession made by former ISI chief does not include anything about the intelligence organisation funding BNP. The former ISI chief was called by the Pakistan court on Wednesday last week for his statement on the allegation that the intelligence outfit has been involved in funding various national and international organisations for political purposes.

Indian edition of the British daily ‘Daily Mail’ reported that the former ISI chief had confessed that they gave money to BNP in 1991 during the period of a national election. According to reports carried by several Pakistani and Indian media ex-ISI chief Asad Durrani made the admission that his agency had funded main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) during 1991 general elections The Islamabad-based News International reported that the Supreme Court on Wednesday issued notices to Durrani in a decade-old pending case of retired Air Marshal Asghar Khan. “The admission came from no less than former ISI chief Asad Durrani during a Pakistan Supreme Court on Wednesday,” commented India Today as it carried a report on the issue.


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WEEKLY REVIEW OF BHUTAN NEWS

India will be a superpower A platform for in future: Bhutan general female leaders

“We are proud to be associated with India, which has the third largest army in the world. It has all the right features to become a superpower in future,” General Batoo Tshering, Chief Operations Officer of the Royal Bhutan Army told reporters after the passing

out parade at the Officers Training Academy (OTA) on Saturday. The Bhutanese Army chief, who is on a five-day visit to strengthen defence ties between the nations, also praised OTA for training

women cadets. Speaking to media persons, Lt Gen Sunil Jog, SM, VSM and Commandant of OTA, said, “The cadets have gone through 49 weeks of intensive training and have achieved everything in a fantastic way. We are all very proud of them and

wish them luck wherever they have been posted.” On a query regarding infrastructure, he said, “OTA currently trains 500 cadets. We will soon get latest training facilities and

accommodation for 750 cadets. We have already written to the government of India.” The passing out parade was marked by pride and emotions, as 284 cadets were inducted into the Indian Army on Saturday on completion of 11-months of gruelling training. “It was my ambition to serve the country. My father was a great source of inspiration to me. I feel so proud and honoured,” said Rajalakshmi of Tuticorin, who was one of the five cadets representing Tamil Nadu. The event was also memorable for 16 foreign cadets, fifteen from Afghanistan and one from Lesotho who underwent training at OTA. Speaking to DC after the ceremony, Farhad Dilshad from Afghanistan said: “The experience in India was amazing. The culture here is not very different from that in Afghanistan. During the training period, we got to learn the ways of the Army. I hope the good relations between the two nations continue.”

Towards more effective participation in governance by women. Some 66 women representatives share their experiences. Balancing family time, household responsibilities and work, and not being taken seriously enough when they try to resolve community disputes, were two major challenges elected women representatives said they face today, six months after they were elected into local government. The elected women representatives of the national and local governments shared their political experiences, specifically challenges they faced prior to elections, and while fulfilling their new obligations, at a workshop being held in Paro, yesterday. Of the 101 elected women representatives in the country, 66 are attending the national consultation

workshop, jointly organised by the national commission of women and children (NCWC), and the department of local governance. “This is a historic moment,” said NCWC executive director, Phintsho Choeden, pointing out that the workshop should result in more effective participation in governance by women. She said the workshop has three objectives. One is to provide the elected women representatives with a platform, where they can meet and get to know each other. She added that it also provides them with an opportunity to reflect on their experiences so far, and to identify challenges, solutions, and provide feedback on what additional support they require to function more effectively.

Votes from the United States

Unlike in the past, more than a thousand or so Bhutanese, living and working in the United States, will take part in the country’s electoral process, starting with sending in votes for the second parliamentary elections next year. This is being made possible through the election commission’s decision to extend the postal ballot facility to Bhutanese living in the US. Chief election commissioner Dasho Kunzang Wangdi said this was the result of the commitment prime minister made during one of his visits as the head of the government. In September 2010, Prime Minister Jigmi Y Thinley told those living in New York that the government would consider renewing their citizenship identity cards without having to come to Bhutan in person, and also to facilitate postal ballots, among others. “We thought we could make an accommodation to that, since there was a sizeable group,” Dasho Kunzang Wangdi said. He said that came under the election Act’s provision, which says the commission could consider case by case on who could vote through post. “Just now it’s those in the United

States but, if Bhutanese from other places apply, giving valid reasons, we’ll extend the service, based on the application,” he said. Welcoming the news, Aum Tshering from Wangduephodrang, who has lived in New York for the last seven years, through an email interview, said they were well updated with political developments in the country through relatives and the media. “But we could never partake in our country’s democratic process,” she said, adding the least they could do was make their votes count, but that was not obtainable. According to election rules, only those diplomats and persons working in Bhutanese embassies abroad,

persons residing outside Bhutan on special government duty, their dependents and spouses, armed forces, civil servants and students and trainees were entitled to vote through postal ballots. During the local government elections, however, postal ballots were also made available to spouses and direct dependents of civil servants. “After the first parliamentary elections, there were issues where civil servants, while they could vote by post, had to travel to the villages to drop their wives and children,” Dasho Kunzang Wangdi said. “Through the Parliament, we made the decision.” Meanwhile, many private individuals

said they should be entitled to the postal ballot facility, since it required closing their businesses for days. “Unlike civil servants, for us, every hour makes a difference to our income,” a stationery shop owner in Thimphu Pema Tashi said, adding, during the last parliamentary election, he closed his shop for more than a week. A grocery shop owner at the capital’s vegetable market, Lhundrup Tshering said, making postal ballot available to everyone would encourage more people to vote. “Voting is not compulsory, so even such facilities should be kept optional to all,” he said. But those, who could avail postal ballot, said the procedures involved were least friendly. A voter was first required to register with the commission, then apply to the returning officer, and then cast a vote by post. In the last National

Council election, more than 12,000 votes were rejected, owing to some error in the detail voters provided. Election commission officials, however, argued that was the simplest process they could offer. “We can’t make it too simple that in itself becomes difficult,” Dasho Kunzang Wangdi said, adding at every stage, secrecy was involved and they had to ensure it. He said, wherever possible, they simplified it, like doing away with the requirement of an individual from same constituency having to be witness. “Any Bhutanese can be a witness now,” he said. He said, while the commission encouraged people to go and vote in person, and made postal ballots available to only those, who required to be on election duty, among others, postal ballot was not the finest of the practice. “Big election systems hardly take interest in postal ballots, since it often becomes an issue of questioning the election itself,” he said, adding a little investment, to ensure a competent representative was elected that would make a huge impact, was the least one could do.


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WEEKLY REVIEW OF INDIA NEWS

India banks on indirect tax hike

Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Friday sought to tap indirect taxes, especially service tax, to rake in an additional Rs. 45,940 crore into his kitty. In a “pragmatic and domestic growth-oriented” budgetary exercise aimed at shoring up investor confidence and investment, Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Friday sought to tap indirect taxes, especially service tax, to rake in an additional Rs. 45,940 crore into his kitty. Presenting the budget for 201213 in Parliament, Mr. Mukherjee provided a token relief to individual taxpayers that will cost the exchequer Rs. 4,500 crore as a cushion from high inflation during most of the current fiscal, while raising both excise duty and service tax across the board from 10 per cent to near the precrisis level of 12 per cent as a step towards seamless transition to the proposed Goods and Services Tax (GST) when implemented. As a consequence, even as prices of all non-oil goods are set to go up and are feared to add to the inflationary pressure, Finance Ministry officials sought to downplay the impact saying that the burden in the near term would get subsequently absorbed over a period of time. With services accounting for more than one half of the country’s GDP (gross domestic product) but not having a fair share in the overall revenue mop-up, the Finance Minister widened the service tax net to all services, barring 17 on the negative list. In all, he has sought to raise an additional Rs. 27,280 crore through customs and Central excise levies and

Rs. 18,660 crore through service tax. As had been expected, Mr. Mukherjee left the corporate tax rate untouched, chose not to tweak the peak customs duty and provided a slew of tax concessions to key infrastructure segments such as power, airlines, road and bridges and hospitals, coldchain facility as also “affordable” housing. The net effect of the imposts would be that while mobile phones, branded silver jewellery, branded garments, imported LCD and LED TV panels (of over 20 inch), among others, would turn cheaper, others such as twowheelers, cars, refrigerators, airconditioners, washing machines, watches, imported bicycles, gold, unbranded metal jewellery, soaps, air travel and “demerit” items like cigarettes, bidis, pan masala and chewing tobacco would cost more. As for personal I-T, Mr. Mukherjee chose to extend the relief that was proposed in the Direct Taxes Code (DTC) for the salaried class by raising the exemption limit from the current Rs. 1.8 lakh to Rs. 2 lakh. At the threshold stage, it would mean a total relief of about Rs. 2,000. Alongside, the upper limit of the 20 per cent tax slab is proposed to be raised from Rs. 8 lakh to Rs. 10 lakh while those with income above Rs. 10 lakh will continue to pay 30 per cent tax. A deduction of up to Rs 10,000 has also been allowed for tax payers for interest from saving bank accounts. Thus, those earning up to Rs. 5 lakh and getting interest from saving bank accounts up to Rs. 10,000 will not be required to file I-T returns.

H1 Pak-India trade stands at $527.6mn

ISLAMABAD: The value of trade between Pakistan and India stood at $ 527.6 million during the first half of FY12. In a written reply to a question, Federal Minister for Commerce Makhdoom Amin Fahim Friday told the National Assembly that Pakistan’s export to India from July-October 2011-12 stood at $ 93.6 million while import from India during the same period stood at $ 434 million. The ministry is taking necessary measures to narrow the trade gap between Pakistan and India, he added. In this regard, he said during his visit to India, on the request of Pakistan, during the 6th round of talks between the Commerce Secretariats, the Indian side agreed that a delegation comprising various regulatory bodies would visit Lahore and Karachi in the first quarter of 2012 to provide necessary outreach, so that the businessmen in Pakistan are better informed about the regulations.

To attract more retail investors into the capital market, the Finance Minister reduced the Securities Transaction Tax (STT) by 20 per cent from 0.125 per cent to 0.1 per cent and also extended

an income tax deduction of 50 per cent to new retail investors with income below Rs. 10 lakh who invest up to Rs. 50,000 directly in equities. To support the ailing civil aviation sector, Mr. Mukherjee proposed

to fully exempt from basic customs duty imports of parts of aircraft and testing equipment and allowed the national carrier to go in for external commercial borrowings (ECBs) of up to $1 billion. In keeping with the inflation level, he also hiked the duty-free baggage allowance for air travellers from Rs. 25,000 to Rs. 35,000 and for children (up to 10 years) from Rs. 12,000 to Rs. 15,000. To get past the adverse court verdict in the Vodafone tax case on sale of capital assets in India outside the country, the government sought to amend the Income Tax Act retrospectively from 1962 to bring even 50-yearold deals under the scanner. Also, to tackle the black money menace, the budget proposed relevant amendments in the law

to compulsorily report assets and revenue held abroad and allowing for reopening of assessments up to 16 years in such cases. As per the proposals, gross tax receipts for 2012-13 are estimated at Rs. 10,77,612 crore, marking an increase of 15.6 per cent over the budget estimates (BE) and 19.5 per cent over the revised estimates (RE) for 2011-12. Total expenditure for the new fiscal is pegged at Rs. 14,90,925 crore, of which Plan expenditure is set at Rs. 5,21,025 crore and non-Plan expenditure, Rs. 9,69,900 crore. During the current fiscal year, the net effect of lower-than-targeted tax receipts, low disinvestment proceeds coupled with higher spending, mainly on subsidies for oil, food and fertilizer, has hiked the fiscal deficit to 5.9 per cent of the GDP in RE for 2011-12.


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COMMENT

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Hezbollah, Mossad And Lodhi Colony Is a Delhi journalist’s arrest in the Israeli car attack a case of community bashing? Iranian Media • His arrest is a “Zionist interference” to derail India-Iran ties • Arrested under pressure from Israeli spy agency Mossad • Is being mentally tortured, protests on in India to free him *** Israeli Media • Kazmi’s arrest has been hailed as a “breakthrough” in the case • His visits to Iran and Syria have been played up, described as an “Indian of Iranian origin” • Accused of being in touch with Lebanon’s Hezbollah *** Like any other Class XII student across the country, Turab Kazmi ought to have been busy with his board exams this time of the year. Instead, he finds himself defending his father and trying to clear his name of the several damning charges thrown at him by the police and the media. “It really hurts to see someone who has spent over 25 years trying to report the truth and not worry about his family being accused and framed this way,” he says, seated in his father’s office-cum-residence in central Delhi. A bag with an Air Arabia tag and an Iranian Press TV logo in the small room tell the story of senior freelance journalist Syed Mohammed Ahmed Kazmi’s close professional engagement with West Asia. A fluent Arabic and Persian speaker, a well-known critic of Israel and a government-accredited journalist for over two decades, Kazmi had covered the 2003 attack

on Iraq and was a regular freelance contributor to Iran’s Radio Tehran. But on March 6, after reading out the morning news bulletin on DD Urdu, he found himself in the news when he was arrested by the Delhi police on suspicions of having helped three Iranian nationals execute a bomb blast in the capital on February 13. The blast had injured the wife of an Israeli diplomat and her driver. Back home, like on any other day, Turab was waiting for his father to come for mid-day prayers and lunch but he didn’t. The family panicked after

his phone remained unreachable and frantic calls to colleagues and friends

yielded no information. It was only at 9.30 pm, when plainclothesmen from the police walked into their house for

Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, Kazmi has been remanded to a 20-

day police custody. The uapa allows prolonged custody of a suspect unlike under IPC rules which says the order

recovered from Kazmi’s residence a photo of him with the suspected bomber. Kazmi’s son Shauzab with family at the India Gate rally. (Photograph by Sanjay Rawat) The slander started on day one of his arrest with many channels describing him as an “Iranian national”. “They pulled that detail only after I called and complained,” says Shauzab (the Kazmis are originally from Meerut). Reacting to the smear campaign, the Delhi Union of Journalists (DUJ) finally had to issue an official statement, asking journalists to cross-check allegations with the Kazmi family. DUJ general secretary

Syed Kazmi arrest raises questions on authenticity of probe Delhi police have so far not revealed any substantive evidence. All they have is a theory a search that they realised he had been arrested. “They still didn’t give any information but took away a laptop and a desktop, my father’s PIB card, passport and other documents; even my mother’s mobile phone,” says Turab. His elder brother then went to the nearby Lodhi Colony police station, where he was told that Kazmi

has to be renewed every few days in court. “With this long custody, we fear the police will torture him to extract a confession,” says Turab. The brothers allege that their father is already being grilled mentally. “He is not being allowed to sleep, is given salty food to eat, and is even being denied drinking water. The police threatened

Sr was being held at the neighbouring special branch office. “I waited there till 2.30 am to see him. That’s when I learnt he had been picked up at 11.30 am the day before,” says Shauzab. Vijay Agarwal, the Kazmis’ lawyer, claims the police did not even follow established procedure in his arrest. “Kazmi was arrested at 11.30 am, they’ve shown the time as 8.30 pm,” he says. The ‘delay’ was obviously so that they could hold onto him longer before presenting him in court. (Detainees must be produced in court within 24 hours of arrest.) Held under the severe

him saying they will ruin our careers,” adds Shauzab. The Kazmis have now approached the court complaining that foreign agencies are questioning their father and asking that his 20-day custody be brought to an end. It hasn’t helped that ever since his arrest, many ‘stories’ have been floating around in the media. While a leading English daily claimed his number was on the caller list of one of the Bangkok bombers, another made a counter-claim the next day that the story was incorrect. His sons also refute allegations that the police

S.K. Pande says “Kazmi was clearly subjected to a ‘trial by media’ as happened in the Iftikhar Gilani case. The media’s responsibility should be to question events without adding to the existing tensions”. But there was worse in store. On March 13, a Hindi paper claimed Kazmi was riding the motorcycle with the bomber on pillion during the attack. Son Turab is amazed by the duplicity, “I actually have a photograph of him outside the Congress HQ at a protest meet taking place there during the time of the attack.” The protest was against the alleged encroachment of prime land under a shrine next to Kazmi’s residence and a resultant police lathicharge in January when worshippers tried to force their way. (In fact, some have linked the arrest to the incident since Kazmi has been a vocal critic of the police action and landgrab.) Meanwhile, Delhi police commissioner B.K. Gupta, addressing the media on Friday, reiterated that Kazmi’s arrest had helped unravel the conspiracy. “He was instrumental in getting the Israeli embassy and surrounding areas recced by the suspected persons of Iranian origin. He has been arrested as a facilitator,” said Gupta. “Investigations revealed that he has been in contact with the suspects

for some time. It was also found the Kazmis have been receiving foreign remittances regularly. His wife received Rs 18,78,500 and Kazmi Rs 3,80,000. The couple have not been able to explain the source of the money.” The Enforcement Directorate and Financial Investigation Unit have now been asked to probe the money trail. Shauzab, though, refuted the allegations and claimed his mother has only around Rs 2,000 in her account and demanded that any evidence to the contrary be made public. Reacting to police claims that Kazmi was in touch with the Iranian suspects, Shauzab said his father was in regular touch with many Iranians for professional reasons. Turab also says the moped the police claimed was used for the recce “was so old it wouldn’t even start; they had to tow it away”. The police commissioner refuted this also. In a related development, the Iranian ambassador was called by the mea on Friday and briefed about the developments. Senior journalist Saeed Naqvi, who’s worked with Kazmi and has been arguing publicly for him, says, “He was arrested to please those pressuring the government to create a link between Iran and the attack. Muslim and Urdu journalists leave a bad odour these days.” He says it’s part of a larger campaign against journalists who seek to challenge the “global information order”, especially about unfolding events in West Asia. “For example, when the Israelis killed off Iranian nuclear scientists, the debate in the US media was not about whether this was right or wrong but about whether it helped retard Iran’s nuclear programme. Clearly, there are two sets of rules working here.” A situation which, as each day passes, seems more and more plausible. For on March 11, the police raided another senior journalist’s flat in New Delhi. John Cherian, who travelled with Kazmi to Syria in February and is also known for his strident anti-Israel views, found the police in his flat on suspicions that he had concealed smack. The police later apologised for mistaking his flat (No. 107) for flat No. 160, the excuse being that the two sound “similar in Hindi”. Unlike the pat ending in this case, Kazmi’s story is yet to unravel itself fully. Published in Out Look India .com By Debarshi Dasgupta and Chandrani Banerjee


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South Asia Tribune I Thursday 22 March 2012

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Who will win Final?

Who Will Herald Regional Supremacy?

Bangladesh beat Sri Lanka to face Pakistan in Asia Cup final Mixed emotions in Pakistan after India’s exit from Asia Cup It will be Bangladesh versus Pakistan final in the Asia Cup 2012 as the hosts registered their second big win in a row upstaging Sri Lanka by five wickets in front of a jam packed vociferous crowd and a proud Bangladesh Prime Minisher, Sheikh Haseena at the Sher-eBangla stadium, Mirpur on Tuesday. Mushfiqur Rahim's men introduced a new Bangladesh to world cricket by reaching the final of the Asia Cup after beating Sri Lanka i n t h e must-win game at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur yesterday. One can easily say that it's a beginning of a new era for Bangladesh cricket. Without any doubt, Bangladesh played as a true unit because one could not single out 2-3 players behind the success but rather a number of players came to show their characteristics, which is something new for Bangladesh cricket. Tamim Iqbal and Shakib Al Hasan smashed brisk halfcenturies as Bangladesh qualified for the Asia Cup final to face Pakistan with a remarkable five-wicket victory over Sri Lanka in Dhaka on Tuesday. Tamim celebrated his 23rd birthday with a 57-ball 59 and Shakib hit a 46-ball 56 as the hosts achieved the rain revised target of 212 with 17 balls to spare in the day-night match, watched by Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. Bangladesh’s victory — only their third over Sri Lanka in 30 oneday internationals — sees them through to meet Pakistan in the final on Thursday. Pakistan topped the league with nine points from three matches, followed by Bangladesh (8/3), India (8/3) and Sri Lanka (0/3). The hosts made it to the final as they beat India in the league match. The Chairman of Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), Zaka Ashraf is optimistic about his team’s chances in the on-going Asia Cup 2012 in Bangladesh but admitted that the Pakistan team is struggling

in the batting department. Pakistan won their first match against Bangladesh but there was a lot to be desired regarding their performance. If the Green Shirts repeat the same mistakes against Sri Lanka and India, then they will surely be punished. “Bangladesh, Bangladesh,” cries rent the air. Mexican waves were discarded in the collective urge to stand up and applaud. The crowd was on its feet and the host made another confident step towards gaining respect for its cricketing ability. Egged by boisterous fans and a beaming Prime Minister Sheikh

Hasina, Bangladesh registered a five-wicket victory over Sri Lanka in the Asia Cup match at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium, and with that, M.S. Dhoni's men were forced to advance their return tickets to India. Pakistan cricket team's fans and former players on Tuesday showed mixed emotions after Bangladesh ousted India from the Asia Cup with a shocking five-wicket win over Sri Lanka in the last league match of the tournament. "This is very disappointing. We wanted India in the final. We were hoping that we could avenge our recent defeats to them in this final," cricket enthusiast and banker, Mehmood Arif said. Since India outclassed their team two days back Pakistani cricket fans, former players and experts have highlighted the fact that they had the capacity to avenge the defeat in the final. India would have joined Pakistan in the final if Bangladesh had lost to Sri Lanka. "What would have been an explosive final will now not be the same without India. All of us wanted to play India in the final because it has been a long time since we defeated them in a big match," student

Zeeshan said. Pakistan lost to India in the World Cup semifinal last year in Mohali and were thrashed in the Asia Cup on Sunday despite making 329 runs. Beautician Maham Syed, an ardent cricket fan who watched the Bangladesh-Sri Lanka match, said she had prayed for a Sri Lankan victory. "Without India there wouldn't be much fun in the final. After Sunday's defeat the final was our chance to get even with them. But that chance is gone now," she said. But cricket writer, Saad Shafqat said whatever the public emotions the fact remained that Bangladesh deserved credit for their performance in the tournament. "I think they have matured as a team and now they have more self belief in themselves. All this India talk is fine but Pakistan will need to be careful in the final," he said. Former Pakistan captain, Rashid Latif said Mushfiqur Rahim's team had clearly benefited a lot from the Bangladesh Premier League. "The BPL has made their top players more mature and responsible and they now have the confidence to chase even big totals. They will be dangerous opponents in the final although I would say Pakistan are favourites to lift the cup," he said. Ironically Pakistan's last Asia Cup title win came in Dhaka in 2000. Former Test pacer, Jalaluddin said it was understood why people were disappointed. "Sunday's defeat was a shock to everyone. Everyone saw the final as a chance for our team to redeem themselves against the Indians but this is not going to happen in this tournament," he said. He said Bangladesh had even given a tough time to Pakistan in the league match so the final should be an interesting one. "They have the batting firepower and disciplined bowling while their fielding is very sharp in

this competition. I don't think the final will be one sided," he said. Misbah-ul-Haq's tenure as captain of the Pakistan one-day and T20 squads is likely to come to an end after the ongoing Asia Cup tournament in Bangladesh, with Shahid Afridi and Mohammad Hafeez's names being floated as replacements. Well-informed sources in the Pakistan Cricket Board and close to the national selection committee said on Tuesday that regardless of whether Pakistan win or lose in the Asia Cup final, Misbah would not be retained as captain of the ODI and T20 squads after the tournament.


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Pakistan leads in South Asian journalist fatalities

Pakistan’s Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and the tribal areas had the highest number of journalist fatalities in South Asia in 2011, according to the South Asian Free Media Association. “Seventeen journalists were killed in different incidents in the Saarc region, of which 10 belonged to this area,” Shamim Shahid, president of Safma’s Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa chapter, told a seminar at the Peshawar Press Club on Friday. Shahid, a senior journalist himself, said that due to security concerns, journalists were forced to leave their hometowns and had become internally-displaced persons in their own country. He urged all stakeholders to work towards restoring peace to the troubled region. Senior Provincial Minister Bashir Ahmed Bilour, who is also minister for local government, paid homage to journalists who had sacrificed in the line of duty and claimed that the government had been able to overcome 40% of terrorist activities in the province. Calling it a conflict imposed by “others”, Bilour said that journalists had worked closely with the government as it embarked on an anti-terrorism campaign. Bilour reiterated the government’s

stance that it was open to resolving issues through dialogue if militants threw their arms. He said that peace in Afghanistan is crucial to bring peace in the province and tribal areas, as well as the South Asian region. Idrees Kamal, convener of Amn Tehrik, said that media, civil society and the people should extend their support to the government in fighting terrorism. Press club president Saiful Islam Saifi and Khyber Union of Journalists president Arshad Aziz Malik also spoke at the occasion, cautioning journalists to remain careful and alert at work. They highlighted that journalists should be provided with social security services such as life

and health insurance. The Safma and the MCP on Friday issued a report, South Asia Media Monitor 2012, repeating what international watchdogs have already said about Pakistan — the most dangerous place for journalists for the third consecutive year. The report was issued in the light of the conferences held in the capital city of the four provinces. The President Safma Karachi chapter Amir Mehmood along with the President Karachi Press Club (KPC) Tahir Hasan Khan, President Karachi Union of Journalists GM Jamali and President Association of TV Journalists Faisal Aziz read out the summary of the report before the

media representatives at the KPC. The executive summary of the report of the judicial commission on the murder of the late journalist Saleem Shahzad, and the observations of the Media Commission Pakistan (MCP) and the South Asian Free Media Association (Safma) on the issue were included in the report. The MCP and the Safma demanded the implementation of the recommendations of the commission. They also supported the commission in its call to parliament and the armed forces to take measures to help smooth relations between the media persons, citizens and the security agencies.

They also demanded the press clubs and media organisations be supported by the provincial governments under the scrutiny of the Federal Information Ministry. They said reporting had become “harder” and more “dangerous” than ever. Lack of training in covering conflict-ridden territories and lack of awareness about safety measures made the job difficult for reporters. Hence, the report also carried international and national safety guidelines for journalists. Adding to these recommendations, the president KPC suggested that a commission like the National Media Commission be formed in the province of Sindh and all the media bodies be taken on board. Furthermore, he emphasised the message should be conveyed that the media was backed by the civil society and did not stand alone. The president Safma, reading out the report, said the journalists should be provided risk and life insurance coverage by both the government and the employers. Urging the state actors to follow a code of conduct that ensured respect for freedom of expression, the report also stressed that the media should be ethical in reporting critical stories.

Trivedi’s resignation under DANCE YOUR SOCKS OFF... FOR CHARITY! And Help Empower Women in Pakistan PM’s consideration: Pranab

Railway minister Dinesh Trivedi’s resignation is under consideration of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, finance minister Pranab Mukherjee told the Lok Sabha on Monday. Responding to a brief impromptu discussion on the issue, Mukherjee, who is the Leader of the House, said Trivedi has sent his resignation to the Prime Minister last evening and it was being considered. “The Prime Minister has received last night the resignation letter from Dinesh Trivedi. It is under consideration of the Prime Minister,” he said. He also said as per the procedure the letter has to be forwarded to the President, who then takes a decision as per the advice of the Prime Minister. “As soon as a decision will be taken, the House will be informed of it,” he said. To Opposition leaders’ claims that the House had been kept in the dark, Mukherjee said on Friday the Prime Minister had received a communication

from Trinamool Congress chairperson Mamata Banerjee and Trivedi had not resigned then. Mukherjee pointed out that after the presentation of the Union Budget the Lok Sabha was adjourned till Monday. He said the government has informed the House of the developments at the earliest opportunity available. Earlier, Speaker Meira Kumar disallowed notices given by Yashwant Sinha (BJP), Basudeb Acharia (CPI-M) and Gurudas Dasgupta (CPI) for suspension of Question Hour to discuss the issue. Dasgupta had given a notice for suspension of Question Hour, but the Speaker pointed out that it can be allowed only when there was a Motion being discussed in the House. She, however, allowed the three members to make brief submissions. Raising the Trivedi issue, BJP leader Yashwant Sinha said the nation was staring at a grave constitutional crisis and Parliament is completely unaware of it. “What is happening to the railway minister? Has he resigned? Has the Prime Minister sent his resignation to the President,” Sinha asked. Trivedi, who had to resign as railway minister after incurring the wrath of his party Trinamool Congress for raising passenger rail fares, was sitting in the fourth row as the leaders spoke.

If you love Bhangra, then this is your chance to dance your socks off... all in the name of two very good causes! Suniya Qureshi, campaign ambassador for the Hashoo Foundation’s 500 for 500 Appeal and Executive Director of the British Pakistan Foundation is organising the charity fundraiser on 31st March to help raise money for both of these very important causes. The event offers families an evening of unadulterated bhangra music and giddha dancing, with a special PA by star of the Channel 4 series The Family, Jeet Grewal, who will perform his hit recent hit track ‘Vilayati Jugni’ from his brand new album. The Bhangrathon will take place at Shiraz Mirza Trust, Manor Park Hall in New Malden on Saturday 31st March. Tickets, which include kebab and soft drinks are £25 each. All profits from the event will be shared between The 500 for 500 Appeal and British Pakistan Foundation. The Hashoo Foundation’s 500 for 500 Appeal aims to invite and engage 500 women from the UK to join hands with 500 women in the Northern areas of Pakistan, through the Foundation’s award-winning Plan Bee project. The British Pakistan Foundation is dedicated to improving the social and economic condition of the people of Pakistan. The organisation aims to encourage and support philanthropy amongst the British Pakistani community, and to collectively use its intellectual capital to improve and change Pakistan forever. Suniya Qureshi, the driving force behind the charity Bhangrathon says: “This is a small but fun way of engaging the community and

increasing awareness of the valuable work that both Hashoo Foundation and BPF do in Pakistan. As a campaign ambassador for the 500 for 500 Appeal, I love the idea that every £250 we raise actually helps one woman and her family directly. It is quantifiable, and I have met some of the women who have directly benefitted from these donations – it really puts our lives into perspective.” Plan Bee, which won the BBC World Challenge in 2008, is Hashoo’s innovative project that provides women in the Northern region of Pakistan with the opportunity to become beekeepers. It is based on a system of social barter, designed to promote social change, whereby Hashoo Foundation agrees to provide hives, training and then to link them to the lucrative markets to sell their honey in Pakistan, provided that the families agree to send their children to quality schools, have regular health check-ups and improve nutrition at home. Every £250 raised will provide each woman with: • 3 beehives to start her business • Access to Hashoo Foundation’s mentor and training facilities • Access to HF’s commercial network to allow the women to sell their honey Sarah Hashwani, chair of the Hashoo Foundation launched the UK chapter in October of last year, with the 500 for 500 Appeal being its first major fund-raising initiative in the UK. She adds: “I am a great Bhangra fan, and it is true that music really unites communities. I love the idea of dancing all night to some great artists, whilst at the same time knowing it is all for two great causes. I have been amazed and delighted by the number of different fundraising initiatives that are being developed by women in the UK to help empower these women in the remotest areas of Pakistan.” Tickets are available through exclusive online ticket partner www. chilltickets.com


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Saudi Arabia and the Rise of the Wahhabi Threat

Destroy all churches in Gulf, says Saudi Grand Mufti

The Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia has said it is “necessary to destroy all the churches of the region,” following Kuwait’s moves to ban their construction. Speaking to a delegation in Kuwait, Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah, stressed that since the tiny Gulf state was a part of the Arabian Peninsula, it was necessary to destroy all of the churches in the country, Arabic media have reported. Old Dutch Church in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia Saudi Arabia’s top cleric made the comment in view of an ageold rule that only Islam can be practiced in the region. The Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia is the highest official of religious law in the Sunni Muslim kingdom. He is also the head of the Supreme Council of Ulema (Islamic scholars) and of the Standing Committee for Scientific Research and Issuing of Fatwas. A Kuwaiti parliamentarian said last month he wanted to ban the construction of churches and

non-Islamic places of worship in the Gulf state. MP Osama Al-Munawer

Islamic places of worship should be banned. Fellow MP, Mohammad Hayef

The country’s Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs recently granted a licence for the

announced on Twitter he planned to submit a draft law calling for the removal of all churches in the country. He later clarified that existing churches should remain but the construction of new non-

supported the draft law. “Kuwait already has an excessive number of churches compared to the country’s Christian minority”, he was quoted as saying by the Kuwait Times newspaper.

construction of a new church, which Hayef described as “an error”. SAUDI ARABIA America’s special ‘friend’. The Kingdom has established

more than 1,359 mosques abroad at a cost of SR 820 million. King Fahd also established a number of scholarships and academic chairs in foreign prominent universities and colleges. Outside the Arab Islamic world there is a number of Islamic research institutes supported by the Kingdom; amongst these are the American University of Colorado, the American University in Washington, the Arab World Institute, Paris, France which receives considerable Saudi contribution to its annual budget, the Duke University, North Carolina, the Howard University, Washington, the Institute of the History of Arab and Islamic Science, Frankfurt, Germany, the John Hopkins University, Maryland, the Middle East Institute, in Washington, the Shaw University, in North Carolina, and the Syracuse University, in New York. No Christian churches are allowed. The open practice of Christianity is punishable by death.

Saudi Arabia and the Rise of the Wahhabi Threat

Al-Qaeda represents Wahhabism in its purest form – a violent fundamentalist doctrine that rejects all non-Wahhabi Islam, especially the spiritual forms of Islam. Wahhabism is an expansionist sect intolerant of Shi‘ite Islam, Judaism, Christianity, and Hinduism; in fact, Wahhabists seek to challenge and destroy these faiths. The Saudi-Wahhabi threat must not be underestimated; it requires our grave attention. A History of Violence Contrary to prevalent Western beliefs, Wahhabism is not an old Islamic tradition and the House of Saud does not enjoy a credible historic claim to rule over Arabia. Indeed, Wahhabism emerged only 250 years ago under the guidance of an obscure fanatic known as Muhammad Ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab who later formed an alliance with a group of desert bandits, the Sauds. From the time they established their covenant to the creation of the modern Saudi state, the SaudiWahhabi movement spread across the peninsula brutally defeating and enslaving non-Wahhabi elements. A substantial body of nineteenth century scholarship does exist to confirm the bloody rise of the SaudiWahhabi state. Thomas Hope, a British author, wrote extensively

about the Wahhabi spread from his travels throughout the Middle East. In his novel Anastasius, he described Wahhabi agents in words that will be strikingly familiar to modern readers: as extremist puritans bent on dominating the Muslim world by adopting tactics reminiscent of AlQaeda’s calculated savagery. The theological and political pact between the Saud clan and the Wahhabists resulted in the fall of Mecca for the second and last time in 1924, solidifying their grip on power. After the conquest of Mecca, the vast oil wealth of the kingdom would be used to export a radical Wahhabist ideology across the globe. Nerve Center of Islamic Extremism

Even after September 11, the Wahhabi bureaucracy in Saudi Arabia continues to foster religious

extremism. When bombs go off in Israel, Kenya, Indonesia, and elsewhere, Saudi Arabia is still the main source of the terrorist money. The kingdom is an unwavering nerve center of ideological indoctrination, incitement, and terrorist financing. From time to time, the Saudi elite attempts to confuse Western opinion by claiming that it too is the target of Islamic terror, a rather hollow gesture to hide its complicity in terrorism. Saudi Arabia, being a police state, the monarchy long ago could have ridded itself of extremist elements. But the sobering reality is that international terrorist groups such as Al-Qaeda are directly impelled by Saudi clerics. To

recover their credibility in the eyes of more reactionary factions after years of excess, the Saudi family has embarked on an ambitious global campaign to support incubators of violence and extremism from Algeria to the Philippines. In sum, Al-Qaeda would not exist absent Saudi money and membership. False Arguments Washington needs to end its delusion that the Saudi royal family is a moderating force within Saudi politics when the reality is that it has produced a well-funded launch pad for a fascist ideology. Unfortunately, there is no shortage of Saudi Continued on page 31 >>


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WEEKLY REVIEW OF PAKISTAN NEWS

Pakistan seeks unconditional apology on Nato killings

Pakistani lawmakers have opened a debate on the terms of the nation’s re-engagement with the United States after ties were all but severed following deadly American air-strikes on Pakistani troops in November. Pakistan’s Parliament on Tuesday sought to carve out a role for itself in matters of national security by recommending that all agreements with other countries, including use of bases or airspace by foreign forces, be put to parliamentary scrutiny, and seeking to do away with verbal agreements that have allowed the U.S. to undertake drone attacks inside the country in violation of national sovereignty. These were among the 40 recommendations made by the Parliamentary Committee on National Security (PCNS) as part of the effort to revise the terms of engagement with the U.S. The committee was tasked with this job after the November 26, 2011 NATO

attack on the Salala checkpost along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border that left 26 Pakistani soldiers dead. The attack resulted in Islamabad closing down land transit facilities for goods and supplies to the international forces in Afghanistan and expelling the U.S. from the Shamsi airbase in Balochistan. The report was tabled during a joint sitting of Parliament. Repeating the demand for an unconditional apology from the U.S. and the cessation of drone strikes inside Pakistan, the committee said there should be no hot pursuit or boots on Pakistani territory and the activity of foreign private security contractors must be transparent and subject to Pakistani law. To avoid recurrence of a Salala-like incident — particularly since NATO had suggested they had been lured into firing on the military outposts by terrorists who use the uncertainty of the Pakistan-Afghanistan border

to their advantage — the PCNS has asked the Defence Ministry/Pakistan Air Force and the U.S./NATO to draft new flying rules for those areas. The committee has also called for a thorough revision of the terms and conditions by which NATO supplies transit through Pakistan, adding that such goods should be subject to Pakistani scrutiny. No verbal agreement will be made with any foreign country or institution by the government or its institutions. And if any exist, they will lapse three months after the recommendations come into effect unless put on paper, said the committee. Besides recommending that all agreements including military cooperation and logistics be put to parliamentary scrutiny, the PCNS has suggested that 50 per cent of the NATO supplies be transported by Pakistan Railways which is currently in financial dire straits. The recommendations also include a demand for a civil nuclear deal with the U.S. like the one Washington has signed with New Delhi — which, according to the committee, has altered the strategic balance in the region — and a reiteration of Pakistan’s stated position on Kashmir.

Commission directs Husain Haqqani to appear on March 26 Memo Commission has given Haqqani till 10pm Wednesday to file his reply. The Memo Commission constituted, pursuant to the order of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, that Mansoor Ijaz has concluded his evidence and that Husain Haqqani has not carried out the admission or denial of documents. The commission observed that Haqqani has repeatedly been indulged to comply and granted him three opportunities to complete the exercise, said a press release issued on Tuesday. However, in the interest of justice, a fourth and last opportunity was granted to Haqqani to complete the admission and denial of all documents, to be produced by 5 p.m. London time (10 p.m. Pakistan time) on Wednesday, March 21, 2012. In case of a failure to comply by the said date and time, it will be presumed that its is an admission by Haqqani.

The Commission further observed that Haqqani said before the Supreme Court he would return to Pakistan on four days notice and appear before the Commission to record his evidence. The Commission directed that the recording of Haqqani’s evidence will commence on Monday, March 26, 2012 at 9:00 a.m. (Pakistan time) at the premises of the Islamabad High Court. In case Haqqani has any security concerns, it shall be conveyed to the Attorney General who is directed to ensure that he is provided with complete security.

Aitzaz owns up to ‘Defiant’ Gilani expresses PM’s no-letter reply no-trust in SC bench

Barrister Aitzaz says PM’s reply to SC has mainly been written under his advice as lawyer. Speaking in Dunya News programme ‘CrossFire’, Aitzaz however said that he would not reveal exact details regarding the matter, yet his advice as counsel for the PM in the contempt case had be overriding. He also said that he is a PPP Jiala (activist) in politics, but a lawyer in the courtroom. He justified that he is an emotional political worker on political platform but so far as the courtroom is concerned, he

acts purely as a lawyer. He said that he had played an important role for reinstatement of judges during lawyers’ movement and had urged President Zardari to restore judges on a priority base. After reinstatement of judges, he has neither tried to seek any relief from the court, nor requested any judge to confer any special endowment on him. To a question regarding impartiality, he said that he is counsel for Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani and would stand by him through the trial. In the end, Aitzaz insisted that all must accept despite any or no prejudices that the President as head of state enjoys immunity. He also said that the government has not sought an change or review of the NRO verdict, but has only sought delay in the implementation which, he said, is permissible under the law.

He expressed confidence in the Supreme Court but he was of the view that Justice Asif Saeed Khosa announced a onesided decision.In his rejoinder submitted to the SC Registrar, PM Gilani once again refused to write the Swiss letter. While commenting on his rejoinder, Justice (r) Wajihuddin said the PM has once again committed

contempt of court. In his written reply, PM Gilani told the Supreme Court that letter cannot be written to the Swiss authorities to re-open graft cases against President Zardari due to multiple reasons – the integrity of Pakistan being one reason. PM Gilani asserted that the President of the State cannot be made to appear before

any foreign magistrate. The 24page rejoinder was submitted by an assistant to Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan, counsel for the prime minister.The prime minister, in his reply, instead prayed to the court to refer the matter to the parliament, as it had done in the 18th Amendment case. The PM said the court should show patience and let the people decide the matter (in elections). How could the President of Pakistan be made to appear before a foreign magistrate, asked the PM. It also said court should use its option number six of January 10 verdict to refer the matter to the parliament. Meanwhile, Aitzaz Ahsan hoped the court would consider the prime minister’s answer. The PM also said in his answer submitted to the court that the decision not a to write a letter to the Swiss official was in accordance with the law.


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WEEKLY REVIEW OF MALDIVE NEWS

Nasheed’s Govt neglected Villi-Male: Waheed President Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan Manik said yesterday that during the past three years, VilliMale had been very much neglected by former President Mohamed Nasheed’s government. Addressing the residents of VilliMale during his first visit to the island after assuming office, President Waheed noted that Nasheed’s administration “had not done one thing for the people of Villingili.” “Everywhere I look, I see places are decaying due to lack of maintenance. Buildings are decaying. Harbours are eroding. This is the truth faced with us today,” Waheed said. “Why has this come to pass? This has happened because of lack of support of some people’s beliefs. Because we don’t stand behind some people’s beliefs. What is that belief? Its yellow belief.” Countering claims by the opposition that the present government was taking the country backwards and the new cabinet members were of old principles. “You have just seen two members of our cabinet. Health Minister Dr Mohamed Jamsheed and Youth Minister Mohamed Hussain Shareef addressing everyone here. Are they

both old? You will see youth from our midst with conventional thinking. People who have the capacity and the knowledge to do what needs to be done. They don’t come up to this podium and make empty promises. They wouldn’t say they will do this for you or this is how something is at present. They will only say that they will rectify the issues faced by the people,” stressed the President during a meeting held at the VilliMale Muhuyiddin School. President Waheed expressed confidence that the government would fulfill the needs of the people. He also assured that his administration would attain the development goals undertaken for the benefit of the people equally and

without prejudice, discounting any political affiliations. “We would not only grant housing units to people in yellow. We would make sure that the housing units are given to the people who are in most need of them,” Waheed added. President revealed that when he visited the island’s youth centre it appeared as a warehouse, which has withered and the equipment had decayed. “Our Youth Minister just assured that he would repair the youth centre. By the grace of Allah we will complete the renovations before the coming month of Ramadan,” Waheed assured. Waheed also revealed that he would establish a State Trading

Organization (STO) store in VilliMale. “I can recall during my visit here 3 or 4 years ago that a board put up had indicated that land would be issued to the people for their various business purposes. That promise was made during an election campaign. Today when I came here the area remains as it was and even the tent that had been put up there is also missing. I assure you that land from that area will be allocated to the residents of this island. We stand with the people, that includes the people who are outside on the street,” Waheed said, referring to the people who had gathered in protest when the meeting was ongoing. President Waheed also revealed his government’s desire to work with unity and take the country to a safe and peaceful shore with the involvement of everyone. “With the grace of Allah we will put

an end to the unacceptable street protests and restore peace and harmony in the nation in the coming 6 months to 1 year,” Waheed added. President also stressed of the need to change the beliefs of some to destruct and burn down public and private property. He also called on everyone to work together and to put the interest of the nation first ahead of political colors or views. Speaking in this regard, the President noted that to attain the democracy we want, and achieve our developmental goals, we need to establish a harmonious environment, and provide an essential level of education and discipline for our children. In addition to the Youth and Health Ministers, Villi-Maafannu MP Mohamed Nihan Hussain and Villi-Male Council Member Ahmed “Fly” Hameed also addressed the gathering.

Elections Commission employees strike

Maldives protests greet opening of Parliament The new president of the Maldives addressed lawmakers and opened Parliament amid vehement protests by the opposition on Monday, nearly six weeks after he took office in a contentious power transfer that his predecessor has called a coup. Authorities used tear gas earlier in the day as several hundred demonstrators blocked roads and shouted slogans calling for the resignation of President Mohammed Waheed Hassan. Hassan was prevented from opening Parliament on March 1 amid protests by opposition lawmakers. Hassan was vice-president when he replaced President Mohamed Nasheed last month after his predecessor resigned following weeks of public protests and a loss of support from the military and police. Nasheed later claimed that he was forced to resign at gunpoint in what he called a coup. He demanded that Hassan resign

immediately and call fresh elections. Hassan says the power transfer was constitutional. Television footage on Monday showed security staff in the Parliament building forcibly removing four opposition lawmakers as they were trying to stop Hassan from making his opening speech. A fire raged at a market close to the street demonstrations, and military personnel and firefighters doused it. It was unclear how the fire started. After a few hours’ delay, Hassan made his speech in which he called for national unity. However,

street protests continued. In Monday’s speech, Hassan said the Maldives’ constitution does not allow a presidential election before July 2013 and an early election would require constitutional amendment. “I will do everything in my power to bring together all the political leaders, to hold discussions on the matter,” he said. The Maldives, an Indian Ocean archipelago that is home to 300,000 people and known for its luxury resorts, introduced democratic elections after 30 years of autocratic rule ended in 2008.

Elections Commission (EC) staff took part in a strike and put forward demands today. The commission staff gathered in their meeting room today after commission members refused to accept their demands put forward by the staff in the discussions held this afternoon. The main concerns of the staff were their doubts about the integrity of some EC members, their constant state of being in fear of the members, their work not being appreciated by the members, posing baseless accusations at the staff and members illegally bringing their own agendas in to the commission’s work. The staff also demanded a fair living allowance remuneration package as that of the civil servants. The strike started at 2pm this afternoon and was continued till 4pm this evening. EC staff stated that they would

continue their strike even tomorrow until the demands are met. The staff also put forward a motion which pleads three members to resign from EC if the demands would not be met. The three members are Mohamed Faroog, Ali Mohamed Manik and Ibrahim “Ogaru” Waheed. EC President Fuad Thaufeeg, his Deputy Ahmed Fayaz Hussain and Mohamed Faroog met with the staff today. Fayaz said that he was not aware of the other grievances except the issue with the living allowances until today’s strike, and that he was trying to resolve the matter amicably. “We have never told them that the living allowances would not be given, we have always said that we will work to find a way within the system to provide them with a better remuneration package” Fayaz said.


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WEEKLY REVIEW OF NEPAL NEWS

WAR-ERA CRIMES : UN report to sound alarm bell against Nepal’s blanket amnesty

In a new report to be presented this week in Geneva, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay has alarmed the UN and the international community that Nepal could go for blanket amnesty for all conflict-era crimes. The report warns that such a move would place Nepal in contravention of the international treaty obligations. Navi is scheduled to present the report to the 19th session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva on Wednesday. The 18-page annual report prepared by her Kathmandubased office urges Nepal’s political parties to ensure that the proposed bills on transitional justice mechanisms comply with the international standards. The two bills on Truth and Reconciliation Commission and Commission of Inquiry on Disappearances have been pending in the LegislatureParliament for over two years. Of all her concerns raised in the report, the most serious one is over a gentleman’s agreement among top leaders of the major political parties to grant amnesty for serious

violations of international human rights and humanitarian law. Though Pillay does not mention any specific document to base her concern, she refers to Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai’s public statements in support of amnesty and the understanding reached in December among top leaders on removing some clauses in the bills that speak of prosecuting serious crimes. Political agreements made towards the end of 2011, the report reads, raised serious concerns that the transitional justice commissions

would serve as amnesty mechanisms. “These concerns were exacerbated by public statements from the Prime Minister emphasising reconciliation rather than justice and prosecutions.” The report, which is the final document to be presented and discussed at the Council, has seven recommendations, including on amnesty issues to the government of Nepal and the political parties. Human rights defenders say the report will have serious implications on Nepal’s standing among the international community, as it will draw the world’s attention towards the darker side of Nepal’s peace process. “The serious concerns expressed in the report could be understood as an official statement that the Nepali state itself is becoming a perpetrator,” said former member of the National Human Rights Commission and Chairman of Accountability Watch Committee Sushil Pyakurel. “If Nepal continues to ignore the call from the international community, it will have serious implications on foreign aid.”

Maoist ‘princeling’ bows to public pressure, rejects state money There was a huge public outrage for the last two days over government decision to provide aid to the Maoist Everest expedition team. Following widespread criticism from different quarters the LumbiniSagarmatha Peace Mission 2012, which also includes Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal’s son Prakash, has decided not to accept government Rs 20 million aid to finance its Mount Everest expedition. There was a huge public outrage for the last two days over government decision to provide aid to the Maoist Everest expedition team. Addressing a press meet at the party headquarters on Sunday, the 11-member team led by Maoist Central Committee member Krishna KC tried to give a spin to the Everest saga when they said they wanted the money be spent for war victims. “We want to clarify that we are not rejecting financial support just because of the protest of sister organisations of CPN-UML and Nepali Congress. Rather, it is the respect towards the sentiments of general people,” said Prakash. He, however, insisted that his team will not give up the mission and urged all the Nepali citizens to donate Re 1 to generate Rs 30 million needed to complete their

expedition. “We will organise campaigns requesting people to support our initiative voluntarily as our trip is not for fun and entertainment,” he added. Team leader KC said their trip will start as scheduled and will leave for the base camp on March 29. “We will prove our commitment by conquering Everest for the sake of peace and constitution,” said KC. The protesters claimed that the government aid to the team was Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai’s move to appease Dahal. Meanwhile, ruling coalition partner Madhesi Janadhikar Forum-Loktantrik on Sunday decided to roll back its support to provide Rs 20 million from the state coffers to finance the Maoist Everest expedition team.

Doubts Raised Over China Hydro Project in Nepal China Three Gorges Corp. said it might shelve its proposed $1.6-billion hydroelectric power project in Nepal amid a parliamentary probe in the South Asian nation into whether the project was properly awarded, a Nepal government spokesman said Monday. If the project falls through, it would be a big setback for Nepal’s ambition to harness huge untapped hydroelectric power from its Himalayan rivers and streams. It would also add to the setbacks faced by Chinese power companies in the region. China Three Gorges “sent a letter to the government on Friday saying if things are not moving and the dilemma continues, we can mutually agree to pull out of the project,” said Arjun Kumar Karki, joint secretary in the policy and foreign coordination section of Nepal’s Ministry of Energy. “But we see it as our priority project and we are committed to it.” He said the Nepali government is planning to communicate this in its written reply to the Chinese company in the next few days. A China Three Gorges official said it is up to Nepal’s government to decide whether to proceed with the project. The brouhaha stems from a probe by a committee on natural resources in Nepal’s Constituent Assembly, which

is its parliament. For more than a week, the committee has been looking into whether “proper procedures were

she said. Mr. Karki at the energy ministry said the government had the power under

followed by the government while granting the license to the Chinese company for the power project,” said Shanta Chaudhary, the committee’s head. Members of the committee had voiced concerns that the government granted the project to the Chinese company hastily, without inviting international competitive bidding as has been the general practice in the past, she said. Ms. Chaudhary said her committee will submit its report to the parliament within a week. “If we find any irregularity, we will simply ask both sides to follow the proper procedures,”

the country’s water-resources law to grant hydropower projects to any company without a bidding process. “We are hopeful of a positive decision from the parliamentary committee,” he said. Some 40% of Nepalis don’t have access to electricity, according to the government, so the nation has been trying to foster new power projects. Some of its cities are without power for 14 hours a day. On Feb. 29, China Three Gorges and the Nepali government signed a memorandum of understanding for the construction of a 750-megawatt

hydroelectric dam and power project on the Seti River in northwestern Nepal. They agreed on a publicprivate partnership called West Seti Hydropower Development Ltd. in which Nepal’s state power utility will hold 25% and the Chinese company the rest. The Nepali government said all the estimated $1.6 billion cost will come through the company and in the form of a loan from China’s Exim Bank. The government said the annual 3.33 billion units of energy the project is expected to supply after its completion in 2019 will be for Nepal’s internal energy consumption. If the project is shelved, or significantly delayed, it will add to similar frustrations of Chinese power companies in South and Southeast Asia. Last year, the government of Myanmar halted a $3.6 billion hydroelectric-dam project run by China Power Investment Corp., referring to environmental and human-rights concerns. Earlier this month, China Power said it hoped to resume the project after addressing those concerns. The Nepali government has sought foreign investment in its hydropower industry, which many Nepalis believe can put their poor country on the

path toward economic prosperity through the sale of surplus energy to its neighbors, India and China. But many power projects have stalled due to the country’s prolonged political instability. It has been governed under an interim constitution since 2007 and the Constituent Assembly that Nepalis elected in 2008 has failed repeatedly to meet deadlines to give the nation a new constitution and to complete the peace process with the former Maoist rebels who now lead the national coalition government. Politicians now have a nonextendable deadline of May 28 to deliver a new constitution and conclude the peace process. A number of hydropower projects in which Indian companies hold significant stakes also have failed to take off due to politically motivated protests by local residents who tend to view Indian investments as against national interest. Nepal’s Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai, a Maoist ideologue, recently sought to reassure Indian investors that their investments in hydropower would be protected. In the past fiscal year that ended July 15, Nepal’s economy grew by 3.5%, the slowest rate of the past four years, according to Nepal’s central bank.


SAARC

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WEEKLY REVIEW OF SRILANKA NEWS

We are stakeholders in country’s future Lanka is a peaceful & stable nation in the Asian region. All of us are stakeholders in this country’s future, & we have an opportunity to build on foundation of peace to take Lanka to next level, Defence and Urban Development Ministry Secretary said. “We need to move beyond our usual comfort zones, to contribute effectively to this national cause. We must look afresh at our strengths and opportunities,” Defence and Urban Development Ministry Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa added. “We must realize that there is great potential in Sri Lanka for its future growth. Sri Lanka is an attractive destination for foreign investments and tourist arrivals are also increasing constantly,” Secretary Rajapaksa said. Domestic industries, service sector

and agriculture sector in Sri Lanka also have the scope to grow much further. Because of that we must go beyond traditional boundaries and commit to achieving our shared destiny as a nation in individually or cooperatively without any matter”, he added.

The Defence Secretary was addressing the Seventh Annual Conference of the MBA Alumni Association of Colombo University at the Cinnamon Lake Side Hotel,yesterday under the theme of “Beyond Traditional Boundaries”. “Commitment is one of the most important factors in any undertaking. The humanitarian operation that liberated Sri Lanka from terrorism is a good example for committed leadership which is leading to success. President Mahinda Rajapaksa, my self as the Defence Secretary,the Commanders and the Senior Officers of the Armed Services were fully committed to eradicating the terrorism from the country. The actions and words of each of these individuals constantly underscored their commitment. This was critical to long term success.”,the Defence Secretary said.

During the last stages of the war certain western governments with vested interests tried to intervene and halt the progress of the military. But the President, as Commander of Chief was the only person who could call and end to the war and through that incident any one can see the the commitment of his leadership. Commitment, motivation,focus, positive thinking, clear mission, proper planning, proper management, supervision and delegation of responsibilities are the most important strategies of the leadership and appoint correct person to correct place is also helps to achieve the targets. Without proper guidance, a clear mandate and all above strategies no one can achieve their targets,he explained. Sri Lanka was at a critical time in its history. With the defeat of terrorism

the development activities has taken place. The government will do everything to create an environment conducive for economic development. This time is right for Sri Lanka to attain its rightful place in the world after a three decades of war,he further stated. MBA Alumni Association of Colombo University Chairperson Pubudu de Zoysa,Sri Lanka and Maldives International Finance Corporation Country Manager Adam Sack,Sampath Bank Managing Director Aravinda Perera,Browns Group of Companies CEO and Group Managing Director Murali Prekash,Maliban Biscuit Manufactories Sales and Marketing CEO Ravi Jayawardena, Prime Land Group Chairman B.Premalal, Derana TV Chairman Laksiri Wickramage and a number of distinguished guests also participated.

Below The Poverty Line

Sri Lanka has courage to take on challenges - President

big help,’ Wijeykumari pleads. She says that only the family’s straitened financial circumstances has induced them to use the dismal facilities. The smell is awful, particularly on rainy days, she says. Her house, and most of the others in the vicinity, does have electricity. The roads too have been tarred, after the recent elections. There had been promises of fixing the toilets too, but these never came to fruition, the residents complained. Yet this group is relatively fortunate. At least they have electricity. Saraswathi and Sandrasekara do not. They do have access to water, but their six children have to study by lamplight. This too is difficult with fuel going up in price. Saraswathi has a look of resignation on her face as she stands in the doorway, shrouded in darkness despite the scorching sun. ‘This is my life,’ husband Sandrasekara says. He sharpens knives and scissors. Sometimes he makes Rs. 100, sometimes more. ‘The toilets are not enough for all the families’ Sandrasekara says. Their children, who attend St. Anthonys, are continually late for school because of the long queues.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday stressed that Sri Lanka has the courage to face challenges posed by external forces. He reiterated that Sri Lanka does not require an imported solution to solve the country’s internal issues. He stressed that Sri Lanka is capable of solving its issues through peaceful dialogue with all parties concerned. The President said that the time has come for Sri Lanka to shed petty differences and join hands for the sake of the country. He was of the view that any problems in the country can be solved through peaceful negotiations. The President was speaking at a ceremony at Temple Trees to present land deeds to over 2,000 beneficiaries under the one million housing project of the Janasevana programme. Construction, Engineering Services, Housing and Common Amenities Ministry is implementing the project. He said that Sri Lanka has arrived at a stage where the country’s problems can be solved by the people itself through negotiation without external assistance. “Sri Lanka does not need any imported solution for the country’s issues. The people should join hands to meet the challenges of theexternal forces,” he said. “In order to provide shelter for homeless, the government launched the ‘Janasevana’ housing programme, which aims to construct one million houses within six years. The Construction, Engineering Services, Housing and Common Amenities Ministry was assigned for this task which is in full swing now” the President added.

The Madampitiya dump looms overhead , A curious child from the area, Saraswathi, who has no electricity, Swarna, wishing for a cleaner environment, The toilets shared by 500 families and Dismal sanitary conditions at Mahawatte The houses in 87 Mahawatte, Mattakkuliya (formerly known as Andrewwatte) are overshadowed by what looks like a huge mountain in the distance. Closer examination reveals that this mountain is made up entirely of garbage, now overgrown with grass. The Madampitiya dump is no longer used, but it still looms over the shanties ominously. There are at least 500 wood houses here, and an estimated 3000 people. A woman passes by, carrying two buckets filled with water. She is heading from a concrete structure, tucked away in a maze of concrete bylanes. Here, there are around eight toilets, with broken doors. These toilets serve the entire Mahawatte community. On one side, there are piles of refuse, excrement and garbage. A single white crane perches on top of this mess, bizarrely. And the Madampitiya dump is visible. Nearby is a small stream, eventually ending in the canal. The water is stagnant and filled with garbage too. Here, thousands of people must queue up daily to perform their ablutions. Fathima Riyaz, one of the residents, says that there are only five toilets which actually work. Some of them are broken and falling into disrepair, she says. In the morning, there is usually a huge crowd to use the toilets, so that children in the settlement are invariably late for school. The situation is exacerbated when there are heavy rains, as the whole area goes underwater, she said. ‘Please, fix the toilets. It would be such a

Often, they are scolded and sent out of class or given extra work because they are late. All of this is said with resignation, for the families here do not know what they can do to fix the situation, except make sure their children wake up as early as possible. However this makes little difference. Each family has at least two children, and so the early morning crowd remains a constant. Rising fuel prices have affected every consumer, but none more than Saraswathi and Sandrasekara. They cannot afford electricity, and even kerosene for the lamps is becoming more expensive. At the moment, their children cannot study in the evenings, with no light to see their books by. ‘It is very difficult to survive,’ Sandrasekara says. There is another problem. Swarna next door pulls her skirt up to reveal hundreds of scars from scratching mosquito bites. Not only does the rain flood, sometimes coming into people’s homes and making moving around the settlement difficult, but it also brings the risk of disease.


BUSINESS

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Saarc international I Thursday 22 March 2012

Tens of millions more people on the verge of extreme poverty in South Asia

Food subsidies targeted at the very poorest in the region would help them cope with still-high prices, says a new report by the Asian Development Bank (ADB). A spike in the cost of food staples like rice and wheat could push tens of millions more people into extreme poverty in South Asia but food subsidies targeted at the very poorest in the region would help them cope with stillhigh prices, says a new report by the Asian Development Bank (ADB). South Asia’s high population growth rates and the high number of people already living on or close to the extreme poverty line of $1.25 a day mean it is one of the most vulnerable regions in the world to food price shocks. Spending on food already accounts for half the total budget of low-income households. “Subsidizing the cost of a basic meal for the poorest and most vulnerable in places like India

means the help goes to those who need it the most without putting an excessive burden on government finances,” said Hiranya Mukhopadhyay, an economist in ADB’s South Asia Department and an author of the report. The study says that a 10% rise in prices could push almost 30 million more Indians and nearly 4 million more Bangladeshis into extreme poverty. Pakistan is also at risk, with the same price leap causing an additional 3.5 million more people to drop to or below the $1.25-a-day income mark. Nepal and Sri Lanka would be less affected, although a further surge in wheat prices would be especially painful for Sri Lanka, which is completely dependent on imports of the staple and has already seen prices hit historical highs in recent years. The report – Food Price Escalation in South Asia – A Serious and Growing Concern - notes that after peaks in

2008 and 2011, prices of key food commodities have eased somewhat, although the rate of decline has been slower in South Asia than the international average. In addition, the region suffers from higher overall food inflation rates than the rest of developing Asia, with food making up a bigger share of items measured by the consumer price index.

Short-term weather shocks and costlier oil account for some of the past price upside but the study says rapid population growth, changing food consumption patterns linked to higher incomes, and stagnating agricultural output are more critical factors driving rising food demand and inflation. Although governments in the region have taken steps to

counter higher prices, some measures may not be helpful to neighboring countries. India’s temporary food export restrictions, for example, could have had adverse impact on prices in neighboring countries, as India is the world’s second largest rice producer. Long term, governments must step up support for agricultural research to spark another “green revolution” to lift output and help develop crops more resistant to weather extremes. More investment in infrastructure, such as irrigation systems and farm-to-market roads to improve distribution and reduce post harvest losses is also essential. Strengthening home-grown initiatives such as the food bank established in 2008 by the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation may also help to smooth out price volatility and improve food security in the South Asian region during times of shortage, the report says.

Dhaka likely to trim its SAFTA sensitive list Indian court upholds

ruling on Vodafone

Bangladesh might further trim its sensitive list of products under the South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA) accord, trade officials have said. Since January this year Bangladesh has had 987 products on the sensitive list for the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and 993 goods for non-LDCs which will be subjected to tariff payment. “From the next month we will start consultations with the stakeholders to select the items which could be taken out from the sensitive list,” a senior official of the Ministry of Commerce (MoC) told the FE Thursday. He said SAFTA was formed on January 6, 2004 with the objective of gradual elimination of most tariff and other trade barriers on products and services among the member countries -- Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka. “Many of the member countries have already downsized their sensitive lists. India has reduced it to 25 items for LDCs and 695 for non-LDCs. So

we need to be more open,” the official said. According to the latest statistics, Afghanistan’s sensitive list comprises 858 products for both the LDCs and non-LDCs, Bhutan has 150 items on the list, the Maldives has 152, Pakistan 936, Nepal 998 for the LDCs and 1,036 for the non-LDCs, and Sri Lanka has 845 for LDCs and 906 for non-LDCs. An MoC official said the Maldives is insisting on 100 per cent reduction of the sensitive list by 2012 to make the regional bloc a free trade area. He said during a meeting last year before the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) summit, the Maldives officials tried to convince the member countries to incorporate it in the Addu Declaration. He said India supported the proposal. Talking to the FE Friday, Executive Director of the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) Dr Mustafizur Rahman said SAFTA member countries have agreed to cut down their sensitive lists periodically. “Since India has slashed the list

drastically for the LDCs, there is pressure for other members to shorten theirs,” he said adding that Bangladesh, as an LDC, will get the chance to reduce the number of items slowly. Mr Rahman said Bangladesh has to consider three factors -- revenue implications, impact on domestic industry, and farming sector -- before selecting the products to bring out of the list. “A priority list has to be prepared first which in any way won’t be given tariff preference to any countries. Those which will get less priority in the list can be brought out from the sensitive list in phases,” he suggested. Chief Executive Officer of PRAN-RFL Group Amjad Khan Chowdhury, also president of Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI), told the FE Friday that in this free market economy everything had to be open for all. “Among the SAARC members, none but India matters to us in bilateral trade. So, I prefer free trade with India,” he said.

India’s Supreme Court has dismissed an appeal by New Delhi seeking to overturn its final ruling in Vodafone’s $2.9bn tax dispute with the Indian government. In January the Court ruled in favour of the UK-listed telecoms group, following a long-running dispute with tax authorities over capital gains tax relating to its 2007 purchase of Hutchison Essar, an Indian mobile company. Following the ruling, the Indian government filed a “review petition” asking the court to reconsider its decision, although at the time legal experts said the petition was largely symbolic and had little chance of success. The expected dismissal on Tuesday also lay behind the decision of India’s government last Friday to amend the nation’s laws to allow similar crossborder deals to be taxed. The Supreme Court had ruled in favour of Vodafone saying that Indian tax officials did not have jurisdiction over a deal between two global companies even if assets involved in that deal were located in India. A apex court in its Jan 20 judgment had set aside an earlier Bombay high court order that had upheld the tax demand by income tax authorities on account of the said acquisition. The Finance Ministry in its review petition had said that apex court had erred the January 20 judgment for saying

that the transaction between Vodafone Plc and Hong Kong-based Hutchison was a bonafide FDI investment in the country. The review petition had contended that in the said transaction there was no inflow of the foreign investment in the country. Vodafone had appealed against the 2008 high court verdict, arguing that India could not impose taxes because the transaction was made between nonIndian companies outside the country. The deal was between Vodafone International Holdings BV, a Dutch subsidiary of the British firm and CGP Investments, a Cayman Islands company which held the Indian telecom assets of Hutchison. Significantly, Tuesday’s ruling by the Supreme Court came just four days after the Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee proposed in the federal budget retrospective amendments to the 1962 Income Tax Act, which empower the taxman to examine offshore merger and acquisition deals.


ENTERTAINMENT

Saarc international I Thursday 22 March 2012

Housefull 2 will see the everversatile and talented Akshay Kumar return to form in this smash-hit family entertainer as he reprises the role of ‘Arush Jolly’, a comedic, and at times completely hopeless figure, whose clumsy antics create hysterical and unpredictable results. He is joined by a medley of stars including his leading lady in the film Asin who performs the role of the vibrant ‘Sandy Henna’, the sultry Jacqueline Fernandez, comedy king-pin Riteish Deshmukh, and John

Bollywood Sensation Akshay Kumar Has His Hands Full With Action Comedy Film of the Year Housefull 2 Releasing 5th April 2012

When it comes to action films with a quirky, entertaining and ribtickling comedy twist, Bollywood superstar Akshay Kumar is the perfect strongman with a soft comic centre. The high-kicking, all action hero of mega cinematic hits such as Singh Is Kinng, Welcome, Namastey London, De Dana Dhan and Desi Boyz, is set to entertain audiences once more in Housefull 2: The Dirty Dozen, a comedy of errors which releases nationwide in cinemas on 5th April 2012. After the roaring success of Heyy Baby and Housefull, Akshay Kumar teams up once again with director Sajid Khan to make it a hat trick of film success with Housefull 2. Always the crowd pleaser, Sajid Khan’s latest film promises a cinema-going action adventure experience that is packed with high-jinx, high kicks and high laughs, all sprinkled with a generous helping of tasty ‘Bollywood Masala’.

Abraham in a role as you’ve never seen him before! Bollywood item queen Malaika Arora Khan brings the house down with a smoldering song performance – ‘Anarkali Disco Chali ¬ - which is set to be the ‘item song’ of 2012. The all-star film also features a bevy of uber famous names of yesteryear, including legendary brothers Rishi and Randhir Kapoor, Boman Irani, Johnny Lever and the dancing genius of ace groover Mithun Chakraborty. 2012 will be the year of the Kumar, as celluloid superstar Akshay is set to top box office ratings once again with a string of hit films, starting with Housefull 2, and other starrers such as Rowdy Rathore, Joker, Khiladi 786, Special Chabbis and Once Upon A Time in Mumbai. Find your space quickly as Housefull 2: The Dirty Dozen packs out cinema screens in UK and worldwide on 5th April 2012.

The Asian Awards Get Underway

Radio 1 and BBC Asian Network DJ, Nihal Athanayake has been integral in championing Asian music and the newly expanded programme encouraged him to explore the industry from a different angle. “I’ve been embedded in Asian music for a long time and I’ve been able to bring my personal knowledge to The Asian Awards judging process, but with nominees from China, Korea and Japan I’ve been more reliant on facts, figures and fellow judges about their impact, and this had made the process challenging in a positive way and broadened out the scope of the awards which can only be a good thing.” Rishi Rich, the Creative Director of Rishi Rich Productions who discovered last year’s winner of Outstanding Achievement in Music, Jay Sean, said it was interesting

to educate a mixed panel and be educated by different perspectives. “I was looking for an artist that has had an impact on society and has a story to tell; not just someone on the radio or in a film at the moment. Every legendary artist has a story that shows in their work and you can always tell the difference between a real artist with real issues and the ones just in it for the money.” In two short years The Asian

Awards has established itself as one of the world’s most prestigious events honouring outstanding figures from the South Asian community and this expansion now gives the awards unparalleled global appeal. Founders Paul Sagoo, of consultancy Lemon Group and Caroline Jackson Levy, CEO of UBM Awards and Partnerships, both feel the expansion is a significant step forward for the program. “This geographical expansion means that the Asian Awards can now truly live up to its name and celebrate global Asian achievement on an even grander scale,” said Jackson Levy. “We had always planned to recognise the achievements from the global Asian community and this is an exciting time for The Asian Awards.” adds Sagoo.

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Sonam Kapoor, Riteish Deshmukh bowled over by ISHAQZAADE trailer

The first official trailer of Yash Raj Films’ much-awaited ISHAQZAADE is finally out. The film, which marks the debut of filmmaker Boney Kapoor’s son and Sonam Kapoor’s cousin Arjun opposite actor

Priyanka Chopra’s cousin Parineeti, has already generated a great deal of buzz on the microblogging portals. The film narrates the story of

two people, ‘’Born to hate, but destined to love’, and follows how their ‘turbulent journey unfolds in the often unrealistic and daunting political confines of rural India’’, a statement from YRF said on Sunday. The film is written and directed by Habib Faisal of DO DOONI CHAAR fame, who has also written films like BAND BAAJA BAARAAT. Amit Trivedi will compose the music for the film, while Rekha and Chinni Prakash will choreograph it. Sonam Kapoor tweeted, ‘’My brother arjuns trailer of ishaq-zaade comes out in a few minutes. Its gonna be brilliant. Congrats parineeti’’. Riteish Deshmukh tweeted, ‘’Blown away by A r j u n Kapoor & Parineeti Chopra just saw da promo of Issakzade - way to go guys.’’ Uday Chopra tweeted, ‘’One of the awesomest trailers from YRF, even if I say so myself check out Arjun Kapoor Parineeti Chopra in Ishaqzaade’’ Kamaal R Khan tweeted, ‘’All the very best to Arjun Kapoor and Ishaqzade team. Mind blowing promo.’’

NRI filmmaker Deepa Mehta wins highest civilian honour in Canada

By her own admission celebrated NRI filmmaker Deepa Mehta is a full-fledged Delhi girl. But Canada has been her second home for nearly 30 years now. That’s the country all her acclaimed films from Sam & Me in 1991 to the unreleased Midnight’s Children have been conceived. Some of her works have also beeen funded by the Canadian government. Yet it comes as a huge surprise to know that Deepa is the recipient of 2012’s Canadian Governer-General Performing Artrs Award (GGPAA) for Lifetime Artistic Achievement. Deepa is the first Indian to be given what would be considered the Canadian equivalent of the Padma Vibhushan. She shares the honour

for 2012 with some of the most renowned global artistic icons: Concert pianist Janina Fialkowska, Dancer-choreographer Paul-Andre Fortier, Theatre director Denis Marleu, the rock band Rush and writercomedian Mary Walsh. Citing the reasons for Deepa being included among these luminaries of Canada the awards committee said, “In a career spanning 30 years she has consistently broken new ground, tackling such controversial issues as intolerance, cultural discrimination and domestic violence. She’s an artiste of uncompromising integrity whose exceptional creative achievement is matched by human rights and social issues.”


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RELIGION

South Asia Tribune I Thursday 22 March 2012

The Life of Hazrat Owais Qarni (Razi Allah Anhu)

Hazrat Owais Qarni was born in the village of “Qaran” in Yemen. River “showor” flowed through the city of Zubaida, the affluent metropolis where traders from all around gathered for business and travel. Owais Qarni’s father Abdullah, was a very religious and god-fearing person and wanted to bring up his son in the strict principles of Islam. He passed away leaving Owais Razi Allah Anhu an orphan at a young age. The family was so poor that there was no

Owais Qarni (Razi Allah Anhu) could never meet Rasullullah ( ), primarily because he used to take care of his sick mother. She would not allow him to go anywhere. After the battle of Uhud, when Owais Qarni came to know that the Prophet had lost a few teeth during the encounter, he broke all his teeth one by one till none was left - as he did not know exactly how many or which ones were lost by the Prophet ( ). Such was the bondage of divine love between the two men,

had left. When he was told that the Prophet had just left for a nearby mosque, he only smiled, cried for a while and then left. Years after the Prophet ‘s demise, on repeated requests from Khalifa Hazrat Umar (Razi Allah Anhu), Owais Qarni (Razi Allah Anhu) visited Madina where his most admired lay buried. He asked Umar Razi Allah Anhu to come just outside the border of Madina to meet him. Umar Razi Allah Anhu did what the great saint had bid, but asked why he ordered

lover of Allah and his Prophet . But it illustrated the pedestal of mothers. Serving them would take precedence over visiting even the Prophet .Hazrat Owais Qarni Razi Allah Anhu used to avoid meeting people who called on him, observing that the Day of Judgement was near and he could not afford to waste his time in earthly gossips. Qarni taught: = He who recognises God as a friend makes friendship with no other creature= Consider the Quran like Khidr,

Owaiz Qarni Razi Allah Anhu. What an honour conferred that would not be in the fortunes of the most fortunate ! When they reached they found him in a forest, deeply engaged in prayers. They decided not to disturb him and had to wait for two long days when he raised his head from ‘Sejda’ (state of prostration) They heard him beg mercy of Allah for the mankind and they also heard him complain why He had created such short days that passed into nights before he could finish his

money to send him to Maktab or a teacher. The miracle here is that Hazrat Rasule Karim ( ) became the spiritual guardian of this child and though they never met,Rasullullah ( ) guided him at all times - such was their bondage. This is the reason why Rasullullah ( ) would often look toward Yemen, and say : “I am getting the beautiful fragrance Allah’s blessings in the breeze. It is for Owais Qarni.” Hazrat

who never met each other. Once he went to Madina but failed to meet his most loved guardian. It is on record that on that day the Prophet ( ) suddenly left home to say prayers in the mosque, leaving hurried instructions that a great saint was coming to visit him shortly and that it was predestined that they shall never meet in this world. Owais Qarni ( ) knocked the Prophet ‘s door minutes after the Prophet

him to meet him outside Madina? Owais Qarni Razi Allah Anhu said, “Omar, how can you walk so close over the soil under which lay buried the body of Muhammad ? I cannot even set my foot on the city where he lies buried.” Such was the depth of his love for the Prophet . At last, only after the passing away of his mother, he could pay respects to Rasullullah ‘s holy grave. Such was pre-ordained for the greatest

thy guide, in the path and never forget death. Pray regularly and always.= Remember night is meant for worship not sleep. Just before the Prophet left the world, he left his “Kherqa” (wearing clothes) for Hazrat Owaiz Qarni Razi Allah Anhu. He entrusted two of his greatest disciples - Hazrat Omar Faruk (Razi Allah Anhu) and Hazrat Ali Karmullah (Razi Allah Anhu) to personally carry the farewill gifts to

first morning ‘ruku’ (bowing) and why He had so thriftily designed the length of nights that the sun would rise before he could complete his first evening ‘sejda’. Such was the awesome intensity of his submission to Allah.This is Hazrat Owais Qarni (Razi Allah Anhu). Great is his life, greater are his spiritual attainments and this is the life of the greatest lover of Rasullullah ( ) that ever lived on earth.

Benayaaz; Fusing East & West… ‘Dil Ki Mehfil’

South Asian born music artist and producer ‘Adi’ introduces not only a new album but delivers what some Indian media have heralded a new concept! His new Hindi album ‘Benayaaz’ literally means the unknown, the enigma or even the formless. Benayaaz tracks and accompanying videos have been single-handedly produced and directed by Adi. Now based in the UK and working as a full-time psychiatrist, his interest in music has provided an antidote for the demands of such a high-powered role. He has embraced his musical flair to write both the music and lyrics, produce and direct an album to contribute to the Asian music industry, in which he has identified scope for creativity and inventiveness.

Adi

composed

and created the music in his home studio. In addition he has acted, edited and directed a video for ‘Dil Ki Mehfil’ receiving many positive reviews on YouTube. Adi says of his idea: “Benayaaz is an exciting and innovative musical journey encompassing a fusion between eastern and western culture and it’s appealing to all ages. I feel the music is eclectic, creative, mystic, haunting and romantic. The lyrics are heartfelt and originating from raw human emotions”. The musical flair range from techno beats and Arabic melodies through to sufi themes. Adi is the main vocalist and has employed the vocal talents of

Sethu, Poornima, Nikita and Laura. Benayaaz is his second album. His first album Chin Chinna is in the South Indian language Kannada was released in Bangalore, India in February 2010. The album was well received by media and consumers alike. Get more on Adi and Benayaaz at www.musicadi.


South Asia Tribune I Thursday 22 March 2012

COMMENT and glucose. Red Bull sugar-free also contains aspartame, acesulfame K, and sucralose in place of sucrose and glucose. Red Bull GmbH also manufactures Red Bull Cola, containing the coca leaf, which has sparked a controversy in Germany regarding minute traces of cocaine. In a response regarding Taurine if it s suitable for Vegetarian or is it Halal they say the Taurine that is contained in Red Bull is synthetically produced and contains no animal extracts or derivatives, therefore it is suitable for consumption by vegetarians and vegans as well as being certified as Halal and Kosher by the relevant federations.

Controversy

2008: study shows that Red Bull consumption even up to one can has negative impact on blood coagulation and raised cardiovascular risks. 2009: was said that traces of cocaine were found in it. 2011: Chechnya said energy drinks like Red Bull are un-Islamic and imposes sales ban but only for those under 18. Countries like France, Norway, Denmark has banned the drink for some time, 2012: Red Bull withdraws Jesus ad after Muslims & Christian, outcry in South Africa Red Bull has dropped an advertisement in South Africa after Catholic bishops called on worshippers to boycott the energy drink after a TV advertisement showed a cartoon Jesus walking on water amid suggestions it had “given him wings”. Energy-drink maker Red Bull said Wednesday it has dropped an advertisement in South Africa after an outcry from both Christians and Muslims for its portrayal of Jesus Christ walking on water. In a statement, the drinks maker said its humorous advertising always looks at “well-known themes.” “It is never our intention to hurt anyone’s feelings,” it said. It said the ad, aired on Tuesday, was scrapped Wednesday, and Red Bull regretted it had caused such strong feelings in religious communities.

South Africa’s Roman Catholic bishops urged Christians not to drink Red Bull in traditional fasting for Lent ahead of Easter celebrations next month, stopping short of calling for a full commercial boycott. The television cartoon implies Jesus walked on water because he had been invigorated by a miraculous energy drink and knew where there were hidden rocks to tread on. The 30-second animated TV spot features Jesus walking on water. His companions ask him how he is managing it, whether he’s had a Red Bull or if it’s another miracle, to which Jesus responds that it is no miracle and that you “simply have to know where the stepping stones are”. The brand received a number of complaints from both Christians and Muslims in South Africa. South Africa’s Muslim Judicial Council on Wednesday warned of consequences of “secular extremism” against any religious faith. It said any “insult and satire” of Jesus targeted “the very foundation of Islamic theology.” Christ is a revered prophet in Islam. In a message to Cardinal Wilfrid Napier, head of the Southern Africa Roman Catholic Bishops

Conference, the Muslim council said the ad was hurtful to Christianity, Islam and religion as a whole. “We wish that our voices can be united to make clear to any secular extremist that any attack or defacement of religious symbols and sacred spaces is not acceptable,” the council said.

Cardinal Napier earlier called on Catholic worshippers to donate to charities any money they saved on Red Bull during Lent. In a statement, the drinks maker said its humorous advertising always looks at “wellknown themes.” “It is never our intention to hurt anyone’s feelings,” it said. It said the ad, aired on Tuesday, was scrapped Wednesday, and Red Bull regretted it had caused such strong feelings in religious communities. “There is a need for a new sensitivity toward people’s beliefs,” said Chris Townsend, an official of the Bishops Conference in South Africa. “As on this occasion, people become very deeply offended,” Townsend said. Red Bull contains taurine (from which it gets its name), glucuronolactone, sucrose,

The wikipedia information relates to Taurine in general and the majority of the information (particularly about where it comes from) does not apply to the Taurine in Red Bull. In America, Red Bull is sold in supermarkets across the country and is mostly consumed by children. Health Concerns over the Red Bull Energy Drink were fuelled January 2011 after Europe’s highest court upheld a French ban of the product. The Fizzy drink has been linked to several deaths and some experts have criticized its high levels of caffeine and other stimulants. Red bull is Britain’s best-selling energy drink, with 213 million cans consumed in 2010. It has been dubbed the ‘clubbers’ drink, and it is often mixed with vodka. The popular adverts claiming the Red Bull ‘gives you wings’ have led to the brand being described as ‘the Porsche of soft drinks. Red Bull gives you.... increased risk of heart disease, say scientists Red Bull has been subject to bans in France, Denmark, and Norway for several years, but they have been lifted afterwards, and the energy drink was re-legalized in those countries. The French ban began in 1996 due to concerns about taurine, a substance prohibited in several other countries. This meant the drink could not be sold as-is in France. Instead, a different recipe that didn’t contain the ingredient was

27 introduced. The ban was challenged by the European Commission and partially upheld by the European Court of Justice in 2004, before the French food safety agency relented in 2008 after being unable to prove definitively the existence of any health risk, taurine-related or not. The drink had been banned in France for twelve years due to health authorities’ concerns about unknown consequences of the ingredient

taurine, a chemical forbidden in several countries. Until now a modified version of the drink, containing caffeine but not taurine, was on sale in France. Red Bull was banned in Norway, Uruguay and Denmark because of health fears, but the company last year sold 3.5 billion cans and bottles in 143 countries. In Britain alone, it has sales of £271 million a year, with much of the cash spent in bars and clubs were it is a popular mixer with vodka and other spirits. Previous studies have warned the stimulant effect of Red Bull can mask some of the tell-tale signs of drunkenness - putting revellers at risk of injury and attack because they do not realise how intoxicated they are. Mean while

Billionaire creator of Red Bull dies aged 89 Chaleo Yoovidhya, the Thai billionaire who created the Red Bull energy drink three decades ago, has died aged 89. Chaleo founded TC Pharmaceuticals in the 1970s, which formulated an energy drink prototype called Krathing Daeng, or Red Bull in English. It was popular among Thai truck drivers and labourers and went on to become a global brand. Forbes magazine ranked Chaleo among the richest men in the world, with assets worth several billion pounds.


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Why Are Millions Of Americans Preparing For Doomsday? By Michael Snyder

All over America, there are millions of Americans that are quietly preparing for doomsday. They are turning spare rooms into long-term food storage pantries, they are planting survival gardens, they are converting their homes over to alternative sources of energy, they are taking self-defense courses and they are

stocking up on just about anything you can imagine. They are called "preppers", and their numbers have absolutely exploded in recent years. In fact, you might be living next door to one and never even realize it. According to a recent UK Daily Mail article, there are approximately 3 million preppers in the United States today. Others believe that the true number is significantly higher than that. This movement has become so popular that there are now even television shows being done about preppers. The most popular is probably "Doomsday Preppers" on the National Geographic Channel. This movement is still growing and is not going to go away any time soon. In fact, as the world continues to become even more unstable it is likely that a lot more Americans will find themselves becoming preppers in the years ahead. So what exactly are all these people so concerned about? Exactly why are there millions of Americans that are feverishly preparing for doomsday? Well, the truth is that you will never find two preppers that are exactly alike. Some are deeply concerned about the potential for natural disasters and believe that we are now entering into a time when there will be catastrophic earth changes. Other preppers believe that terrorism is the most significant threat to our way of life. Killer pandemics, an EMP

attack, World War III, martial law, solar megastorms, asteroid strikes and societal chaos are some of the other things that some preppers are worried about. Of course an economic collapse is one of the biggest concerns for preppers, and without a doubt the U.S. economy is deeply troubled. A collapse of the financial system would change all of our lives permanently. But it isn't just preppers that are

South Asia Tribune I Thursday 22 March 2012

following is what one Australian blogger experienced while staying in the Superdome during Hurricane Katrina.... Last night was horrendous. I heard shouting, and drinks machines being smashed. There’s no sanitation and it’s so smelly. My hair is greasy and I feel a wreck. There are crack alleys among the maze of corridors. The lights are broken in the loos which, as

Shelby tugged at a reporter's arm. "I have a handicapped daughter," she said. "She's over there with her wheelchair. She's hot. We don't have any water. I'm afraid she's going to have a seizure." Others crowded around. "I've been in the food line twice, and every time I get to the front they tell me they don't have any left," said Juanita McFerrin, 80. Later on in that same article, we are

In the event of a catastrophe, do you think that most Americans will be‌ Obviously there are a whole lot of people out there that feel as though we are heading for some really bad stuff. So if hard times are coming,

well as being disgusting, have become dangerous, so we now only go as a big group. More people are arriving, and the dome is like a refugee camp. I see

told that there were fights, rapes and at least one suicide in the Superdome during that time.... It got worse. Ms. Rousell recalled hearing a loud bang Tuesday afternoon as the body of a man slapped the concrete at the edge of the football field in a fatal suicidal plunge, after he apparently learned that his home had been destroyed. Others told of fights that broke out in food lines, and of a husband and wife who slugged each other in a wild argument. Several residents said they had heard of children being raped, though it was not clear whether

why not prepare for them? After all, none of us want to end up like the poor people of New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Large numbers of people were herded into the Superdome and food and water ran out really fast. There was rampant looting of stores and people were shooting each other in the streets. It was mass chaos. The

two soldiers carrying a corpse and we hear there are more dead in the basement. As an article in the New York Times from that time period detailed, food and water were in very short supply and those cramped into the Superdome were rapidly becoming impatient.... Desperation was in the air. Danielle

concerned about these things. A recent survey conducted by National Geographic asked Americans the following question.... "Which of the following, if any, do you think might happen in the United States in the next 25 years? Please choose all that apply."

These were the results....

anyone reported such incidents to the authorities, and no officials could be found who could confirm the accounts. To get an even better idea of what life in New Orleans was like in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, just check out this video. Within just a few days food, water and supplies

started pouring into New Orleans and things started slowly getting back to normal, but imagine what things would look like in this country if we had to deal with a national disaster that stretched on for months or even years? Many preppers are not taking any chances. Many are absolutely determined to be able to take care of their families and friends no matter what the years ahead may bring. ABC News recently profiled one prepper named Tim Ralston.... Tim Ralston, a married father of two from Arizona, is one such "prepper." "There's a lot of different things that could happen," Ralston said. "For me, I look at prepping as kind of like insurance. You have car insurance, health insurance, life insurance." Call it Apocalypse insurance. Ralston turned his family's two-car garage into a staging area. Inside is a trailer, which he keeps packed and ready to go at all times, stockpiles of freezedried food, including cartons of canned chicken with a shelf life of 15 years, survival gear, such as a system for purifying polluted water, first aid kits and lots of weapons and ammunition. His son has his own AK-47. Some preppers are going to the extreme and are spending huge amounts of money on their prepping. CNN recently profiled one Australian prepper that has spent about $350,000 preparing for doomsday.... Bast has spent about $5,000 on stockpiles of food and water, and

$11,000 on equipment including gas cookers, generators, batteries, water purifiers and solar power. He also purchased roughly an acre of land that's a 75-minute drive from Melbourne and 1,500 feet above sea level (in order to stay high and dry in case of a flood or tsunami). He has built a house there, as well as a Continued on page 30 >>


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South Asia Tribune I Thursday 22 March 2012

29

Azhar Ahmed – charged with treason over Facebook comments?

Comments about the army on a Yorkshire teenager’s Facebook page seem to be too much for the new ‘total policing’ state. Azhar Ahmed is the latest victim of a concerted effort to redefine racism as “anything that could conceivably offend white people”. Ahmed is being prosecuted by police over a statement that appeared on his Facebook page. The police say it is a “racially aggravated public order offence”.

from Ravensthorpe near Dewsbury, was bailed to an undisclosed address after entering his denial and confirming his name and address. He will stand trail at Huddersfield magistrates court on 3 July.

so on. We’ll come back to this. A spokesperson for Yorkshire police said: “He didn’t make his point very well and that is why he has landed himself in bother.” So, the penalty for not making a point “very well” is prosecution and potentially a sentence of up to six months in prison. The suggestion, though, is that aside from being “racially aggravated” this statement constitutes an incitement to disorder. Of course, it is considerably more even-tempered than some sentiments I have expressed myself in the past, though I won’t suffer arrest or prosecution for it. Teenager denies posting offensive Facebook message about dead soldiers Far-right protesters stage noisy demonstration as Azhar Ahmed, 19, appears at Dewsbury magistrates court

Look at the statement. There is not a hint of racism in it. To make it racist, one would have to assume that the troops were not just exclusively white, but somehow the bearer of whiteness in its essence.

Maybe they are in this day and age; maybe it is through imperialist action and its effects both domestically and internationally that whiteness is produced. But the second assumption one would have to make is that white people are the victims of racist oppression by black people, Muslims and

Azhar Ahmed, 19, is alleged to have posted the comments on his profile page and has been charged with a racially aggravated public order offence, West Yorkshire Police said. Ahmed, who was arrested on Friday and charged over the weekend, will appear before Dewsbury Magistrates. He has been bailed to an address outside the county. The six were killed by an IED in Lashkar Gah on March 6, in the deadliest single attack on British forces in Afghanistan since 2001. Sergeant Nigel Coupe, 33, of 1st Battalion The

Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment, was killed alongside Corporal Jake Hartley, 20, Private Anthony Frampton, 20, Private Christopher Kershaw, 19, Private Daniel Wade, 20, and Private Daniel

Azhar Ahmed has denied posting a grossly offensive message on Facebook about the deaths in Afghanistan of six British soldiers whose bodies are due to return to the UK on Tuesday. Azhar Ahmed, 19, appeared briefly at Dewsbury magistrates court in West Yorkshire, which was

guarded by a heavy police presence as some 40 farright demonstrators shouted abuse outside. A racially aggravated public order charge was withdrawn and replaced with the new accusation under the 2003 Communications Act. Ahmed,

Wilford, 21, all of 3rd Battalion the Yorkshire Regiment. It took the number of UK troops who have died since the Afghanistan campaign began in 2001 to 404.

UK: The real ‘two-tier

system’ in operation

This demonstration outside Dewsbury Magistrates’ Court tomorrow has been organised by the Yorkshire Division of the English Defence League in protest against Azhar Ahmed, the young man charged with a “racially aggravated public order offence” over a Facebook comment which, while arguably “threatening, abusive or insulting”, involved no actual racial element at all. (The EDL held a small demonstration against Ahmed in Dewsbury on Saturday which resulted in two of their members being arrested for causing criminal damage.) Here, for comparison, is a selection of comments from the EDL’s Facebook page advertising tomorrow’s protest against Ahmed, some of which were posted a week ago, with no attempt by the EDL admins to delete them:

The charge against Ahmed has been brought by West Yorkshire Police whose chief constable, Norman Bettison, heads a special unit that monitors the internet for signs of violent extremism. Bettison recently told the Yorkshire Post that messages posted on the internet by the EDL rarely warranted prosecution as they are merely “inappropriate, brash or insensitive”. All you can say is that if Bettison and his staff haven’t found any more serious internet activity by the EDL than that, then they can’t have been looking very hard. The EDL regularly work themselves up into a state of indigation over what they claim is a “twotier system” when it comes to the application of British justice. By that, of course, they mean that the law discriminates in favour of Muslims against non-Muslims. In reality, as we see here, there are indeed double standards but they are precisely the reverse of what the EDL claims. A young Muslim is prosecuted for posting an abusive comment about British soldiers killing civilians in Afghanistan, but EDL supporters are allowed to post death threats against him in response without the police bringing any charges at all. This is the real “two-tier system” in operation.

Worries over Iranian Jews if Israel attacks

“No matter who dares to attack our country, we will stand against the threats like other Iranian people, “Iranian Jews

In this picture taken on Thursday, Feb. 16, 2012, Iranian Jews talk at the courtyard of the shrine of biblical prophet Daniel, in the city of Susa, some 450 miles ( 750 kilometers) southwest of the capital Tehran, Iran. All but lost amid the heated talk about a possible Israeli attack on

Iran’s suspect nuclear program are the thousands of Jews who live in the Islamic Republic and could be caught in the middle. Although Iran has a history of treating its Jewish minority fairly well, some Iranian Jews who have emigrated to Israel worry that an Israeli attack could expose family and friends still in Iran to retaliation. The level of worry among Jews in Iran themselves is harder to measure. At a tomb in southern Iran said to be the grave of the biblical prophet Daniel — a popular pilgrimage site for Iranian Jews — those visiting on a recent day were reluctant to talk about politics or the rising tensions between Iran and Israel, preferring to talk about their visit. “I prayed for peace in the world. I asked for health and blessing for all people, I prayed for all,” said Erieh Dina, after she recited prayers in Hebrew next to her husband in front of the grave.

The rising crisis illustrates the uneasy situation of Iran’s Jews, the largest community in the Middle East outside of Israel and Turkey. There are an estimated 250,000 Jews of Iranian descent in Israel, after two major waves of emigration following Israel’s founding in 1948 and the Islamic Revolution in 1979. Before the revolution they numbered around 100,000. “No matter who dares to attack our country, we will stand against the threats like other Iranian people,” the current Jewish lawmaker in the Iranian parliament, Siamak Merehsedq, told reporters in Tehran. “The Iranian Jewish community will stand by their compatriots under any circumstance, forever.” The ornate tomb of Daniel in Susa, 450 miles (750 kilometers) southwest of the capital Tehran, is cited by Iranians as an example of the historic bonds of Jews and Muslims in the country.


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South Asia Tribune I Thursday 22 March 2012

Amir: I was tricked into spot-fixing

DISGRACED Pakistan cricketer Mohammad Amir has poured his heart out for the first time about his role in the Lord’s spot-fixing scandal. Reported The Sun. The teen sensation, who was released from prison on February 1 after serving half of a six month sentence for the 2010 scam that rocked cricket, revealed how he: • Was BLACKMAILED by crooked fixer Mazhar Majeed and captain Salman Butt into bowling the infamous no-balls at the Home of Cricket. • Felt HORRIBLE when delivering their corrupt plot and was forced to take the cash. • Reacted like he’d been SHOT when the conspiracy was exposed. • Was STUPID to not report his fellow conspirators to the International Cricket Council. • Pleaded not guilty when charged by the ICC due to PANIC and FEAR. • Was RELIEVED to finally admit his guilt when the matter went to court. Just over eighteen months ago Amir was simply the tearaway fast bowler who had become the youngest cricketer to take 50 Tests wickets since making his debut as a 17-yearold in 2009. But on Sunday August 29 the following year, the News Of The World exposed him — along with ringleading captain Salman Butt and fellow bowler Mohammad Asif — for sending down no-balls to order

during the final Test with England. Now 19 and with the other three conspirators still behind bars, the youngster sits outcast from the world game as he serves a five-year global ban. Amir told Sky Sports: “When I pleaded guilty I said I was sorry and I am going to say sorry again. “I am also aware that as a result of what’s happened, cricket has been harmed. The sport suffered. Amir explained how he was conned into playing along with the scam after originally being pestered on text message by a shady friend of Butt known simply as “Ali”.

Why Are Millions Of Americans Preparing For Doomsday? Continued from page 28 >> bunker to serve as his "safe spot" in the event of an emergency. Together, the land, buildings and bunker have cost him a total of about $330,000. He's also spent $10,000 on an 8-year old Toyota HiLux pickup truck to drive to his safe spot. But the truth is that prepping does not have to be expensive. The key is to start by focusing on the five basics.... 1) Food 2) Water 3) Shelter 4) Energy 5) Self-Defense There are some practical things that just about anyone can do even if you don't have a lot of money. For example, when you go to the store try to pick up a few extra items that are on sale and add them to your supplies. If you rotate your food supplies, they won't go bad. In addition, just about anyone can plant a garden. Often fruits and vegetables are some of the most expensive items at the grocery store, and so growing a garden can end up saving you a lot of money. Get educated. There are dozens of prepper websites out there where you can get an education in prepping for free. The following are a few examples of some of the excellent prepper websites

that are out there today.... *Survival Blog *American Preppers Network *The Survival Mom *SHTFPlan.com *Prepper Website *Survival 4 Christians *Backdoor Survival *Off Grid Survival The truth is that our world is becoming increasingly unstable in a whole bunch of different ways and we all need to learn how to prepare for the difficult years ahead. As the economy continues to fall apart, America is going to become a very heartless place. You don't want to be caught in the middle of societal chaos without a plan. None of us should be relying on the government to save us when things hit the fan. We all saw what happened after Hurricane Katrina. Those that were depending on the government were deeply disappointed. We should all try to become as independent of the system as we can, because the system is failing. In the years ahead there might not be anybody to help you and your family, so you need to be working hard right now to ensure that you and your family will be taken care of. Yes, as you may have guessed by now, I am a prepper too. My wife and I moved to an entirely different state and totally changed our lifestyle to prepare for what is coming. Hopefully this article will inspire many more Americans to prepare for what is coming. A great economic collapse is on the horizon and time is rapidly running out.

Before the Lord’s match business manager Majeed and Butt convinced the then naïve youngster he was being investigated for these text exchanges and only by bowling the no-balls would they help it go away. Amir revealed: “I was panicking so much it didn’t even occur to me how ridiculous it was. “I knew that it was cheating cricket. It was a really horrible feeling. “Then I thought on the other hand that are being kind to me and helping me. “I thought that they are saving me and if I don’t do it, it might become a problem for me.

“Everyone thinks that I did it for money. I want to clarify that is not the case.” Amir insists he was only aware cash was involved when agent Majeed visited his hotel room during the Test and thrust £1,500 of the New of The World’s marked cash into his hands. When the police searched his room on the Saturday night, Amir originally thought it was over the texts from mysterious Ali and he hurriedly sent another asking him to delete the exchanges. But when the story hit the news stands on the Sunday morning,

the paceman knew he had been hoodwinked by his corruptors. He said: “One day I was on top of the world, and the next I’d come crashing down. “It was as if someone had shot me and that I simply didn’t exist anymore — that I was dead. That’s how I was feeling then.” Amir regrets pleading not guilty when the ICC investigated the matter and handed out suspensions to himself, Butt and Asif at a hearing in Doha, Qatar, last year. But when the case when to Southwark Crown Court last year, he knew the game was up and admitted to his role in the devilish pact. He said: “When I was at the ICC hearing I was secretly beating myself up from within, thinking ‘I’m telling lies’. “So when I came to England (for the trial) I decided I would tell the truth. “When I pleaded guilty in court I had this profound feeling of relief.” Amir, who is not eligible to play cricket again until September 2015, added: “I deserved to be punished. “If you’ve done something wrong then you must receive some sort of punishment. “I want to stress this point. Today it’s me in this situation — tomorrow it could well be someone else.” Mohammad Amir was speaking to Sky Sports and received no fee for his interview. Reported The Sun.

Dubai man quits job to see IndoPak cricket after leave rejected Pakistani Zaman Khan, known as ‘Uncle Twenty20’, became face of UAE cricket during recent international matches played here Cricket fever is running high in the subcontinent as mother of all matches – India vs Pakistan - played Sunday. Indian and Pakistanis across the globe will be glued to their TV sets t to watch the high-adrenaline Asia Cup game live from Mirpur, Bangladesh. The fever could be gauged from the fact that an Indian cricket aficionado cycled all the way from Kolkata (India) to Mirpur to support his national cricket team. Across the border in Pakistan, another cricket buff even went a step further. The Dubai-based Zaman Khan, popularly known as Uncle Twenty20, has resigned his job after he was refused leave to watch the high-adrenaline match in Bangladesh. “My leave application was refused so I decided to quit and go back to the country to watch and support my team. I just cancelled the visa and returned home after my employer rejected my leave application,” Uncle Twenty20 told Pakistani television channels. The 54-year-old is a chauffeur in Dubai and has not missed a single match ever since Pakistan was forced to play in UAE due to security fears back home. Zaman recently said in an interview that it’s his dream to

watch a game of cricket between Pakistan and India. “Maybe in the near future I will get a chance to watch Pakistan play India, because that is what the crowd enjoys the most and slogans come from the core of the heart,” he said in February this year. Zaman didn’t get holiday time to attend the World Cup semi-final between the arch-rivals last year, but now he’s determined to watch the game even if it costs him his job. Zaman Khan has fast become the face of cricket in the UAE during international matches as he waves a green and white Pakistan flag to make his country’s players feel at home away from home. On the grounds, Zaman drives the fans crazy, chanting slogans for his players. His big moustache he grows every time a match approaches make him recognisable in every stand he sits. “It is great fun,” Zaman said. “I love watching cricket and people around me love my attire, the flag, my moustache and my slogans, so I am happy to have this double enjoyment watching cricket and getting popular.” Zaman is second most popular face of cricket after his countrymen Sufi Abdul Jalil - famous as Chacha (Uncle) Cricket.


South Asia Tribune I Thursday 22 March 2012

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Continued from page 09 >>

politicians in latest porn scandal India, China not spared from US sanctions on Iran oil Indian malign me. The assembly attention of the assembly speaker in a

banks have been given a six-month reprieve from the threat of being cut off from the US financial system under new sanctions designed to pressure Iran over its nuclear program. The list did not, however, include China and India, Iran’s top two crude oil importers, nor US allies South Korea and Turkey, which are among the top-10 consumers of Iranian oil. Japanese finance minister Jun Azumi welcomed the decision and said Japan would continue to cut its imports of Iranian oil at a set rate in the future. While China and India and others remain exposed to the possible financial sanctions if they do not significantly cut Iranian imports, US law gives President Barack Obama the ability to waive such steps if this is in the national interest. Japanese cuts may be key The United States has gradually tightened sanctions due to Iran’s failure to answer questions about its nuclear program, which Washington and its allies suspect is a cover to develop nuclear weapons. Iran says it is solely to generate power. World oil prices have surged in recent weeks on concerns about tensions with Iran - including the possibility that Israel will launch an attack on Iranian nuclear facilities - and on worries

sanctions would reduce supplies to an already tight global market. Crude prices have risen to more than $125 barrel on the supply squeeze but on Tuesday dropped nearly $1.50 to $124.25 in London after Saudi Arabia assured markets that it was ready to increase exports to meet any shortfall from Iran. Mark Dubowitz, an advocate for tougher sanctions on Iran and the head of the Foundation for Defence of Democracies, said Japan’s example was likely to be significant. “The key number will be what Japan agreed to,” he said. China, Iran’s top trade partner and crude buyer, slashed Iranian crude imports by more than half in the first quarter of 2012 as China’s largest refiner Sinopec put pressure on Iran’s state oil company to give it better terms on crude sales. Those cuts, if averaged out over the full year, amount to a reduction of around 14% of the volume China imported on contract in 2011. It is as yet unclear if this is a large enough cut for China to avoid pressure from the United States to cut more. All 27 EU nations have agreed to an embargo on Iranian crude purchases by banning new imports from Jan. 23 and phasing out existing contracts by

Saudi Arabia and the Rise of the Wahhabi Threat

Continued from page 19 >>

apologists. The so-called specialists and academics continue to argue that Islamic terror is the consequence of Islam enduring Western humiliation. But in fact, Saudi Arabia has never been subjugated by the West, instead it has only been cuddled and bribed to ridiculous extremes. And in turn the West has received a torrent of violence and hateful venom. Equally as erroneous is the contention that an accommodation of nonWahhabi religions is somehow a break with traditional Islam. This absurd notion is blatantly untrue. Qatar, another Wahhabi state, has actually authorized the establishment of churches. Also, neighboring Bahrain contains thriving Christian, Jewish, and Hindu communities. One can even find a Hindu temple in Oman. The Future After decades of theocratic oppression, the vast majority of the Saudi people are restive for the following reasons: 1.) The Shiite minority in the southern and eastern provinces are tired of the violent persecution they have suffered at the hands of the Wahhabist clergy. 2.) The young people of Saudi Arabia want to live in a modern society where they can utilize their enterprising talents and energies to build a prosperous future. 3.) Lastly, non-Wahhabi scholars are already calling on the royal family to reject the officially sanctioned

intolerant state religion and replace it with pluralistic Ottoman-Islamic traditions. Remarkably, thousands of young people are turning to Sufism as an expression of protest against the entrenched religious establishment. The transition to a reasonably open Malaysian parliamentary model from its current medieval state need not be catastrophic. The Saudi monarchy could remain as a symbolic body with power concentrated in a representative legislature. Indeed, the position that a more strict Islamic system might emerge if the House of Saud is brushed aside is ludicrous. Proponents of this view often cite the emergence of an Iranianstyle regime as a possible consequence. However, this is a specious historical analogy since the Iranian people never experienced the harsh strictures of Islamic law prior to the ascension of the Islamic Republic. The people of Saudi Arabia know this repression all too well and they are dead tired of it. Conclusion Saudi Arabia and its militant Islamic doctrines constitute a clear and present danger to the United States and the international community. The U.S. should demand a full accounting of Saudi complicity in the September 11th terrorist attacks. We should no longer accept the status quo and forcefully pressure the kingdom to cut its ties to terrorism. This summary account was written by Zachary Constantino, a research assistant at the Middle East Forum.

July 1. A US official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said exemptions were only granted to 10 of the 27 because the others “did not import Iranian crude in 2011.” Under the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act, Obama has the ability to impose financial sanctions on foreign banks that carry out financial transactions with Iran’s central bank “for the purchase of petroleum or petroleum products from Iran” if several conditions are met. The penalties include effectively cutting off a foreign bank from the US financial system. However, the law gives Obama an explicit exemption under which he can choose not to apply sanctions if he determines that the country with primary jurisdiction over the bank has “significantly reduced” its volume of crude oil purchases.

proceedings are recorded in CCTV. I request the Opposition to check the CCTV footage. All the allegations against me are baseless. I am not the person who watches porn at all.” Jetha Bharwad also said that the allegations were baseless and wrong. “I will resign if found guilty. Mediapersons are showing the correct thing. You should be truthful. We have not done anything wrong. We are very hurt. Opposition party is targeting us. We are ready to face an enquiry. We will resign if found guilty.” According to Gujarat Samachar, its reporter saw the MLAs watching pornographic content inside the house on a tablet and complained to the speaker. The speaker summoned them and asked to stop. “We were sitting in the reporters’ gallery in the house and could see two MLAs Shanker Chaudhary and Jetha Bharwad were surfing porn photographs Then I brought it to the

chit and then he called the MLAs and asked them to switch off the iPad,” said Gujarat Samachar reporter Janak Purohit. According to Purohit, the MLAs were watching the photographs when the assembly was discussing the budgetary demands of the revenue department. The politicians, Shankar Chaudhary and Jetha Bharwad, were watching an “obscene” video clip on a tablet computer during a session, Purohit told a local television station. He complained to the speaker who ordered an inquiry and asked for the computer to be sent for forensic investigation. “Taking into consideration the seriousness of the issue ... an inquiry committee ... will probe the matter,” speaker Ganpat Vasava told the assembly. Congress stalled proceedings of the house for an hour over the issue.

The city of Dubai is built on foundations that are steeped in history and tradition. From the evocative Dubai Museum to the spectacular Jumeirah Mosque, and from the breathtaking Bastakiya to the imperious Heritage Village. There are many mysteries waiting to be unravelled. Explore Dubai at your pace and relive great traditions from day gone by.

DEFINITELYDUBAI.COM


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South Asia Tribune I Thursday 22 March 2012

India batsman Yuvraj Singh discharged from hospital

India’s World Cup cricket hero Yuvraj Singh announced on Sunday he has been discharged from hospital after undergoing chemotherapy for a cancerous tumour. “3rd chemo cycles over, back from hospital n I am free.... Can’t wait to be back home,” the 30-year-old said via Twitter from the United States, where he has been receiving treatment. Left-handed Yuvraj, named man of

the tournament after India’s World Cup triumph at home last April, was diagnosed with a rare condition, mediastinal seminoma - a malignant tumour between his lungs - soon after the event. Thousands of well-wishers, including US cycling great Lance Armstrong, have sent messages to the player, who is known for his aggressive batting and disciplined spin bowling.

SAT

Sports

Sachin Tendulkar finally scores his 100th international century but India lose to Bangladesh in Asia Cup

Sachin Tendulkar made history with his 100th international century but India failed to stop Bangladesh from registering an upset five-wicket win in the Asia Cup tournament in Dhaka on Friday. Tendulkar, who now has 51 hundreds in Tests and 49 in oneday internationals, cracked one six and 12 fours in his 147-ball 114 to help his team post a challenging 5-289. The memorable moment came in the 44th over when Tendulkar turned left-arm spinner Shakib Al Hasan to square-leg for a single to become the first batsman to score a century of centuries. But Bangladesh batted remarkably well to achieve the stiff target with four balls to spare in the day-night match for only their third win over

India in 24 one-dayers and keep alive their hopes of reaching the final. “It’s a huge moment for us,” said Bangladesh captain Mushfiqur Rahim, adding: “It was a great (win) and thanks to the crowd.” Opener Tamim Iqbal (70) and Jahurul Islam (53) put on 113 for the second wicket before man-ofthe-match Shakib (49) and Nasir Hossain (54) plundered 68 off just eight overs. Bangladesh needed 46 runs in the last five overs with six wickets in hand, but Rahim (46 not out off 25 balls) eased the pressure by smashing three sixes. Shakib hit two sixes and five fours in his 31-ball knock at a crucial stage. Pakistan have two wins in as many matches, while India and Bangladesh have one victory each

after two games. Sri Lanka have lost both of their matches. “They played better cricket throughout. Bangladesh can play really well on their day and they used the conditions well,” said India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni. “We have been waiting for a long time for Sachin to get this (hundred).” The 100th-ton celebrations were subdued as Tendulkar removed his helmet, raised his bat and looked at the sky, before being congratulated by non-striker Suresh Raina and Bangladeshi fielders. “I’m glad that finally I got it (the century) here,” said Tendulkar. “It’s been a tough journey, especially when you know you are batting well. I batted well in Australia and England and again

in Mumbai I got so close to the hundred, but somehow it was just not happening. “I’m a human being and I’ve emotions. I was frustrated when it was not happening. I don’t play for milestones. I play cricket and want to enjoy it. You guys write about the milestones. The 100th hundred was the toughest one. “It was a testing time, so I thank God for whatever comes my way.” Tendulkar, who turns 39 next month, already holds four major batting records -- most runs and centuries in both Tests and one-day internationals. Timing and placement marked Tendulkar’s knock. He put on 148 for the second wicket with Virat Kohli (66) and 86 for the third with Raina (51).

He was dismissed in the 47th over, caught behind while attempting to drive paceman Mashrafe Mortaza and returned to the pavilion to a standing ovation from 20,000 fans at the Sher-e-Bangla stadium. Tendulkar was at his aggressive best at the start, fluently driving paceman Shafiul Islam through the covers and then hitting Mortaza for two boundaries. His next two scoring strokes were also fours.

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