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Year 1  Issue 33  Thursday, 01.03.12

‘Widow of 7/7 bomber’ hunted by Kenyan police over terror plot!

Is it another ID theft? “We do not know it is her (Ms Lewthwaite)... we know she has (several) identities ”: Kenyan police

(L) Samantha Lewthwaite pictured in 2005, and (R) photo from passport bearing the name of Natalie Faye Webb Kenyan police have issued a search warrant for Natalie Faye Webb, a British woman who appears to have entered the country with a forged South African passport.

A woman, thought to be the widow of one of the London 7/7 suicide bombers, is being hunted by Kenyan police over a suspected terror plot. Missing: Samantha Lewthwaite during her school days. Her family in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, say they have not seen her for several years The actual woman going by that name was found

to be the victim of identity theft. Natalie Faye Webb: Just a case of Identity Theft...? The 28-year-old Muslim convert, originally from Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire, is alleged to be using the alias Natalie Faye Webb and carrying a

forged South African passport. She is reportedly travelling with her three children. “The July 7th Truth Campaign” Jermaine Lindsay: Alleged to be responsible for the King’s Cross / Russell Square blast , His widow’s comments appeared in British press Jermaine Lindsay widow Samantha, cradling in her arms the newborn daughter that Jamal would never meet, said: “The killing of innocent British civilians by Jamal was something I could never comprehend because he was always a peaceful man who loved people,” she said. “He was so angry when he saw Muslim civilians being killed on the streets of Iraq, Bosnia, Palestine and Israel — and always said it was the innocent who suffered.”Source: The Times Peculiarly, in the days following the identification of the men as the suspected bombers, Samantha was adamant that her husband could not have been involved: “He wasn’t the sort of person who’d do this. I won’t believe it until I see proof,” “Samantha Lewthwaite, the wife of the Jamaican Continued on page 26 >>

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Sharmeen ObaidChinoy gets Pakistan its first Oscar A Pakistani short film on the tribulation and courage of victims of acid attacks won a historic trophy at the Academy Awards this year,

Pakistan. “All the women in Pakistan working for change, don’t give up on your dreams, this is for you,” she said.

making its co-director Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy the first from the country to win an Oscar. The film Saving Face by Daniel Junge and Chinoy -- the first ever Pakistani film to be nominated for the prestigious award -- won the Documentary (Short Subject). The film follows British plastic surgeon Dr Mohammad Jawad, who returns to his homeland to help victims of acid burns and performs reconstructive surgeries on survivors. It also follows the story of a woman as she fights to see that the perpetrators of the crime are imprisoned for life. Chinoy dedicated the award to the women of

The documentary was pitted against God Is the Bigger Elvis, a Rebecca Cammisa and Julie Anderson film about a mid-century starlet who chose the church over Hollywood, and The Barber of Birmingham, a Gail Dolgin and Robin Fryday film that follows the life of 85-year-old barber James Armstrong and the legacy of the civil rights movement. Other contenders were James Spione’s war film Incident in New Baghdad and The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom, a film that follows survivors of Japan’s 2011 earthquake and their struggle to recover from the catastrophic waves that crushed their homes and lives. Saving Face” Pakistan’s first Academy Award nomination The first face is the Pakistani filmmaker who is contending Continued on page 25 >>


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South Asia Tribune I Thursday 01 March 2012

Occupy London: What next?

With the Occupy London activists finally evicted from St Paul’s Cathedral, one analyst tells Channel 4 News this is “the end of the beginning, not the beginning of the end” for the group. Channel 4 News report. Occupy London first set up camp outside St Paul’s Cathedral in October 2011 after a police cordon prevented activists from settling at the London Stock Exchange. Four months on, Occupy London’s anticapitalist protesters have finally been evicted from the site. Police said 20 people were arrested in the “largely peaceful” operation in the early hours of Tuesday morning. The long-running court battle between the protesters and the City of London Corporation ended on January 18, when an appeal by Occupy London against their eviction was rejected by the appeal court. The City of London Corporation said in a statement: “We regret that it has come to this but the 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 Phone +91 2632 222209 / 222211 Fax: +91 2632 222212 Post Box No. 98 /108 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 Art Department UK Ali Ansar (Art Director) Md. Reazul Islam

high court judgment speaks for itself and the court of appeal has confirmed that judgment.” However, Occupy London spokesman John Sinha told Channel 4 News it is not the end of the movement. “I think the eviction has been very good for us. People and the media were beginning to forget about us and most people thought we’d already left St Pauls. The eviction hasn’t weakened our movement, it has made us stronger”, he said. What next?

An Occupy London campaigner, Spyro van Leemen, told Channel 4

News: “People are quite emotional that we’ve had to leave St Paul’s

because it’s a movement we’ve put a lot of work into.” After four months of protesting at such a high-profile location, what is next for the Occupy London group? The next major item on the agenda is the ultimatum the group has issued to McDonalds about the company’s work experience scheme, which Occupy says exploits unemployed people. The group says it will occupy one of the company’s stores in central London if it does not withdraw from the government scheme by 6pm on Wednesday, 29 February. It follows a similar protest on London’s Oxford Street on Saturday, in which Right To Work protesters successfully closed down a McDonalds. Tim Gee has visited many anticapitalist camps across the UK and is the author of “Counterpower”. He told Channel 4 News these sorts of smaller scale protests can be very effective.

Protest over World Bank bleak prediction for China

A one-man protest has disrupted a conference in China by the World Bank President Robert Zoellick. He thrust leaflets into the hand of Zoellick while saying “The World Bank report is poison to China.” Du Jianguo, who claims to be an economist, was angry over a World Bank prediction the country’s economy could run into trouble if it doesn’t cut down on state interference. “The World Bank calls on China to privatize our stateowned enterprises, they want to partition these big companies. But actually they are helping western companies get rid of their Chinese competitors,” he shouted before being ejected from the auditorium. The World Bank suggests fewer barriers for entry into the country’s market, in order to break up some state monopolies. It also recommends an increase in tax rates for state-owned firms. “So to reduce China’s global savings rate and also benefit the Chinese people, if a lot of those dividends (from state-owned enterprises) are sent back to provide social benefits for the Chinese people, you will have structural change and help support some of the social security systems,” said Zoellick. Experts agree China’s development may slow down. The country has been showing a steady growth for 30 years, being a safe source of global development. Economists

Barry Eichengreen of the University of California and Kwanho Shin of Korea University note that “China’s annual growth rate will begin to “downshift” by at least two percentage points starting around 2015”, WSJ reports. China’s downshift isn’t being helped by a general slowdown in

the West. “The Chinese economy is export driven and Europe and U.S. are almost broke so they won’t be buying all that stuff from China. And if it starts exporting much less, you will have slow growth,” said RT’s business editor Nick Pool.” And China is also huge debt

holder of US bonds, and the US will be printing money to lower the amount of debt. And it’s going to create political tension.” More on the prospects of China economic development and its role in the world financial institutions, such as the World Bank and IMF, watch this report.


South Asia Tribune I Thursday 01 March 2012

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‘It’s a sin’: Iran calls on treaty to ban nuclear weapons

Iran, who is suspected by many western nations of secretly developing weapons of mass destruction, has proposed a ban on nuclear weapons, calling their production or possession as “a great sin.” ¬“The production, possession, use or threat of use of nuclear weapons are illegitimate, futile, harmful, dangerous and prohibited as a great sin,” said Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi in a speech to the UNhosted Conference on Disarmament in Geneva on Tuesday. He said Iran does not see any glory, pride or power in nuclear weapons, but, “quite the opposite.” Salehi suggested a limited number of options for states worried about Iran’s peaceful nuclear program. “We have clearly stated time and time again that there are two alternatives in dealing with Iran’s peaceful nuclear program. One way is engagement, cooperation and interaction. The other is confrontation and conflict,”

he said. However, he stressed that Iran is “confident of the peaceful nature of its program,”“does not seek confrontation, nor does it want anything beyond its inalienable, legitimate rights.” Iran maintains that it is seeking peaceful cooperation with western countries, despite all allegations and sanctions. Salehi’s comments followed UN nuclear weapons inspectors’ two-day visit to Tehran last week. The IAEA’s ranking experts, however, remain adamant that Iran is not being sufficiently cooperative in regards to its nuclear program. That was the conclusion after the IAEA’s team was denied access to a key military site in Parchin. However, Iran’s envoy to the IAEA Ali Asghar Soltani said on Monday that “Iran is not ruling out access to any military sites, including Parchin.” He added that the group’s aim was “to discuss the reality and framework for our future work,” not to visit nuclear sites. Commenting on the agency’s visit, Salehi said he hopes the dialogue with the IAEA will continue. Moreover, Salehi accused the West of double standards for its support of Israel, the Middle East’s only state

outside the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty – and the region’s sole possessor of nuclear weapons. The IAEA suspects that Iran’s uranium enrichment program could lead to nuclear weapons production. Iran maintains that its activity is exclusively civilian. Iran Has Defensive Secrets for Rainy Days Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier

General Ahmad Vahidi underlined Iran’s preparedness to confront any possible aggression, and said enemies are not informed of Iran’s defense capabilities since the country has some top secret abilities for hard days. “The Islamic Republic of Iran has many hidden capabilities which are kept for rainy days,” Vahidi told FNA on Tuesday, adding, “We have not yet revealed all our capabilities.” Iran has repeatedly warned that its

Armed Forces are fully prepared to immediately deliver a crushing response to any offensive on the

billed as a make-or-break meeting. With good reason: the principal item on the agenda will be Iran’s nuclear

Iranian territory.

Israel faces resistance over Iran strike

programme and the prospects for war. As numerous leaks and public comments attest, Israel appears closer

Next week’s White House visit by Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, is already being

than ever to taking military action against Iran. The drumbeats for war are coming from many directions –

some of them eerily reminiscent of the build-up to the Iraq war. Earlier Tuesday, a U.S. intelligence official familiar with the discussions between top Israeli officials and Pentagon counterparts said that Israel indicated it would not warn the U.S. if they decide to launch a pre-emptive strike against Iranian nuclear facilities. EU Sanctions Impede Iran Oil Shipments to Asia A European Union oil embargo has started to impede the shipment of Iranian oil to Asia, the latest threat to Tehran’s hopes to find new outlets for its top export. Some Asian shippers say they won’t sail to Iran, and Japan’s largest tanker-fleet owner said it is assessing whether it will have to stop Iranian oil sailings, because of difficulty maintaining insurance coverage by associations that are subject to EU laws. Meanwhile, the use of locally insured Iranian vessels to ship crude is on the rise in Asia, said Abdolsamad Taghol, general manager of planning at NITC, Iran’s largest oil-tanker company. Iran said on Monday (20th) that European companies must pay compensation because of imposing oil sanctions on them. They do not respect the contracts already signed,

and warned that oil supplies could be cut to six countries in the European Union (EU). The managing director of the National Oil Company of Iran, Ahmad Ghalebani, said that European governments have passed resolutions prohibiting the purchase of oil from the Persian country, and they are responsible for violating contracts. Ghalebani recalled that Tehran used to export more than five thousand barrels of oil per day (bpd) to Europe, but the volume was reduced, especially after the EU bloc’s foreign ministers agreed, on January 23rd, for the blockade to come into force on July 1. On Sunday, the Iranian Minister of Petroleum, Rostam Qasemi, instructed CNPI to suspend oil exports to Britain and France, while Ghalebani today warned of the possibility of applying the same to Spain, Holland, Greece, Germany, Italy and Portugal.


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EDITORIAL

The secret hearings did pose a real danger to a country’s justice system Last week the Cabinet Office published the Justice and Security Green Paper online, which concerns extending the use of ‘closed material procedures’ (CMP) in civil law cases. Under the proposals, evidence against the Government would not be disclosed to claimants in court proceedings if the Secretary of State deemed the material to be of a sensitive nature. It is a fundamental principle of Britain’s open justice that citizens who appear before the courts should be able to know and to challenge the claims against them. The UK’s reputation as a “free and fair democracy” could be damaged by excessive use of secret court procedures that the government aims to introduce, Northampton shire police has warned. This cornerstone of civil liberty is now in grave jeopardy. For under deeply disturbing proposals, slipped out with little public comment, the Coalition plans a radical extension of the secret justice introduced by Labour to deal with foreign terrorist suspects. These powers cast a wide net for treating more and more people as ‘terror suspects’. Anti terror powers foster a racist culture of suspicion towards migrants and Muslims, treating them as suspect communities. So if ministers get their way, the Home Secretary will have the power to decree that any civil cases in which she deems the evidence to be ‘sensitive’ should be held behind closed doors. The victims of state security action, police shootings, deaths in custody are always the most powerless in society and almost always minorities – specially Muslims, Black or Irish - who are vulnerable both to racist assumptions about their behaviour and to extrajudicial punishments by police and other officials. The proposal comes after a number of actions were brought against intelligence agencies by former terrorist suspects, such as Binyam Mohammed, to the embarrassment of both government and the security services. Mohammed, an ex Guantanamo detainee and a British citizen, claims he was tortured while in custody, in the US amongst other places and accused the Britain of being complicit in this. Rather than disclosing intelligence related material to him and other former detainees, the British government paid him £1m in compensation. Apart from hearings over compensation claims by alleged

terrorists, these could include military inquests, inquiries into police shootings and medical negligence cases. Secret charges, secret evidence, secret judgments. Isn’t this the sort of ‘justice’ associated with totalitarian regimes through the ages? Among other organisations that have submitted critical responses are Amnesty International, the Committee on the Administration of Justice, Justice, Daily Mail and the Guardian. Yes, this paper understands the motive behind Ken Clarke’s Justice and Security Green Paper. An added complication is that some cases involve intelligence gathered by the U.S., which the American authorities require Britain not to disclose. But what is this country coming to, if the Coalition is prepared to compromise our ancient right to fair and open justice in order to please Washington? Like our lopsided extradition laws, isn’t this just one more example of British ministers’ abject readiness to kowtow to our ally? The truth is that Mr. Clarke’s plans are so glaringly open to abuse that they have no place in a civilised country’s legal system. In many cases, the Government itself is being sued. So how can it possibly be right that the Home Secretary, as a self-interested member of that Government, should have the power to decide that the hearing must take place in secret? Isn’t there a huge danger that she or her successors will declare evidence too sensitive for open court, when it is merely embarrassing to the authorities? The Equality and Human Rights Commission is damning in its rejection. “Closed material procedures are inherently unfair to the excluded party,” their response says. “The right to know the evidence given by the other side is such a fundamental principle of natural justice, it can never be fairer to adopt a closed material procedure in order to determine a claim, even if the alternative is that the claim will be struck out.” We should not sacrifice Britain’s open and transparent justice system simply to protect politicians and their officials from embarrassment.’ Should we be wary of governments invoking protection from terrorism as the basis on which to introduce measures that restrict individual freedoms?

South Asia Tribune I Thursday 01 March 2012

English Defence League formed up to stir hatred against Muslims Hundreds gather in Hyde as English Defence League protest passes off peacefully The English Defence League. Its members say its fighting to protect the UK from Muslim extremism, and is promoting English culture and traditions. Over the last few years we’ve reported on the growth of this street movement, and more often than not, its marches have ended in chaos and violence. Most Muslims in the UK believe the group is out to incite hatred against them. And as the EDL and right wing sentiment in the UK have grown, so too has opposition to them. “Unite Against Facism is a group which has taken on the English Defence League on a street level. Wherever the EDL turn up, the UAF is there holding a counter protest. Its critics say its stifling freedom of speech, while its supporters say its protecting the rights of minorities and represents the views of the majority.” And the activists accuse European governments and some quarters of the media of feeding into an atmosphere which has fostered the rise of the far right. Britain’s trade unions have added their voice to opposing the English Defence League and far right political organisations. They say communities

should unite to fight to improve their lot as a whole, rather than blaming minorities. But far right groups, including the EDL, also appear to be uniting under the banner of a new political force called ‘The British Freedom Party’, which could replace the British National Party as the traditional voice of the far right. It hasn’t contested any elections yet, but when it does, it will provide a real test of British public opinion. Police arrested eleven people for minor public order offences as a march by the English Defence League today passed off without major incident. About 600 people who had come from all over England marched through Hyde

in protest over the alleged attack on trainee baker Daniel Stringer-Prince. The 17-year-old suffered a fractured skull in an alleged attack by up to eight Asian men. His family pleaded with the EDL to abandon the march but it went ahead anyway. The march began shortly after 1pm when about 600 EDL supporters marched from the town’s train station to a car park, where they held a mini rally. The British National Party also had about 50 supporters in the town. Greater Manchester Police mounted a huge security operation with dozens of officers on the ground, on horse-back as well as India 99, the force helicopter, overhead, while dog handlers were also on hand.

Remove Your Google Browsing History … Before It’s Too Late Google’s new unified privacy policy will take effect on March 1. All the data Google automatically gathers about you, such as the sites you visit, will be dumped into one virtual bucket with your name on it. While you can’t opt out of the new approach without abandoning Google sites, you can erase your browsing history. “Search data can reveal particularly sensitive information about you, including facts about your location, interests, age, sexual orientation, religion, health concerns, and more,” warns the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a non-profit organization based in San Francisco and an advocate for online privacy. If you delete your Google Web History that includes the searches you’ve made and the sites you’ve visited, you’ll prevent Google from associating that data with information it has collected from other Google sites you use such as YouTube and Gmail. While no one knows exactly how Google would use your combined information, the policy changes have already prompted more than raised eyebrows. The Center for Digital Democracy today filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. It has asked the FTC to sue Google to stop the policy change and to fine the company. The FTC can impose fines up to $16,000 per day for each violation. In the meantime, the EFF recommends that Google users delete their Web history. Here’s how: 1. Go to Google.com and sign into your account. 2. Use the dropdown menu under your name in the upper

right-hand corner to access your settings. You’ll now be on your accounts overview page. 3. Find the section called Services and you’ll see a link to “View, enable, or disable web history.” Here you can remove all of your Web history or selected items. When you disable Web History it will remain turned off until you turn it back on. To get a detailed view of the information about you that Google keeps, go to “Products” from your accounts overview page. Click the button labeled “Dashboard.” You’ll see a listing of the Google products you use and links to edit your information.


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Bin Laden’s Abbottabad compound demolished Compound ‘to be razed to the ground’ to prevent it becoming a shrine for jihadists The security forces along with the local administration on Sunday completed demolishing the compound, where Osama bin Laden was killed claimed by US seals raid on May 2, 2011. According to residents, the demolition team conducted its work under heavy security which was started to raze the

compound Saturday night without giving prior notice. A large team of police and soldiers set up an outer cordon around the compound to keep spectators away. Since the May 2 incident, the compound was controlled by the security agencies and no one was

allowed to enter in the compound. On the other hand government officials neither confirming nor

denying the reports. According to The New York Times, heavy machinery operators broke through the tall perimeter wall of the 3,000 square-meter compound on Saturday night.

Hours later, they started to demolish the main house where bin Laden had lived with his family. A local official said the military handed control of the house to the district administration on Saturday afternoon and the demolition began secretly soon after that. Military personnel reportedly sealed off the area around the compound, keeping reporters away. The Pakistan military was criticised both at home and abroad after the May 2 raid, when the SEALs stormed the house and shot bin Laden in the head. The Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate, Lieutenant General Ahmed Shuja Pasha, in particular,

faced sharp scrutiny after it emerged that the mastermind of the 9/11 terror attacks had been hiding within a few hundred yards of the Pakistan Military Academy. Last October, Pasha had told the official inquiry team that his spies were unaware of bin Laden’s presence in Abbottabad. In Washington, American officials said Pakistan’s move came as a surprise for them. “The Pakistanis have been saying for a while that they wanted to do this, but the timing came as a complete surprise. The Pakistanis really don’t want to have all this attention around it,” he added.

Osama’s Abbottabad den to be recreated in India

Kathryn Bigelow’s Osama Bin Laden movie to be filmed in India There were disagreements about the details – one said Rajasthan, another said Punjab – but the Indian media was in agreement yesterday that movie director Kathryn Bigelow is poised to film parts of her new movie about Osama Bin Laden in India, rather than in Pakistan. A flurry of reports said security concerns had led the director and her team to decide that filming inside Pakistan was unsafe. Instead they will recreate the al-Qa’ida leader’s Abbottabad compound, where he spent more than five years living a mile from a Pakistani military academy, in northern India, where the landscapes are not dissimilar. Last night there was no word from the camp of Oscar-winner Ms Bigelow, who is to cast Kyle Chandler, Jessica Chastain, Joel Edgerton, Mark Strong and Édgar Ramírez in the film, due to be released later in the year. It appears the reports were at least partly based on an interview Ms Chastain, who appeared in the films

The Help and The Debt, recently gave to a Hollywood news website, JustJared. In the interview, she said she had been working on Ms Bigelow’s movie in Jordan and has just returned and as a result was suffering from jetlag. “After the Oscars, I go to India to shoot more of the exteriors for the film,” she said. “The script is so incredible but they’re keeping it really quiet. Even my manager and agents haven’t read it.” In India, the Mail Today newspaper quoted an anonymous film industry source in Mumbai as saying: “Bigelow wanted a backdrop that resembles Abbottabad. Since shooting in Pakistan is out of question, so she

seems to have settled on India. Most probably, filming will be done in parts of Rajasthan in March.” The source added “The team did a recce of western Punjab and Rajasthan over several weeks. They seem to prefer Rajasthan.” If the reports are true, it will not be the first time that Indian backdrops have been called upon to stand in for those across the border. When Michael Winterbottom was filming his 2007 movie A Mighty Heart, about the murder of journalist Daniel Pearl, parts were shot in the Indian cities of Mumbai and Pune. Sections were also filmed in Karachi, the city where Mr Pearl was kidnapped and murdered in 2002.

If filming does indeed proceed in India it will be a boost to the country after several other major projects were stopped. Recently, Indian railways blocked a plan by the James Bond movie franchise to film part of a forthcoming film starring Daniel Craig in India. Before that, a proposal to shoot sections of the Batman film The Dark Knight Rises was also stopped.

Reports in the film industry media say that Ms Bigelow, who won a best director Oscar for her 2008 film The Hurt Locker, has so far refrained from announcing who will play what role in the film. There has, understandably, been intense speculation about who will get to play the al-Qa’ida leader, though other reports have suggested that the Bin Laden character may not actually appear in the movie.


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South Asia Tribune I Thursday 01 March 2012

Racism: Man Not Allowed to Board Plane Until He Apologised for his remark on Hijab

The creator of the popular children’s character Fireman Sam was accused of racism after making a remark on Burqa at Gatwick airport. Dave Jones commented on a woman with her face covered by a hijab, as she had walked through security controls. As he placed his scarf and other items into a tray to pass through an X-ray scanner, he quipped to an official: ‘If I was wearing this scarf over my face, I wonder what would happen.’ To his astonishment, he was met on the other side of the barrier by

officials who detained him for an hour in an attempt to force him to apologise and the police were called. The quip proved to be a mistake. After passing through the gates, he was confronted by staff and accused

of racism. As his daughters, who had passed through security, waited in the departure lounge wondering where he was, he was subjected to a one hour stand-off as officials asked him to apologise.

Despite making a remark he said “I feel that my rights as an individual have been violated. What I underwent amounts to intimidation and detention. I was humiliated and degraded in full public view. “I am a 67-year-old pensioner and

have lived my life within the law. I do not have even one point on my driving licence.” He said that when he made his initial remark the security guard had appeared to agree with him, saying: “I know what you mean, but we have our rules, and you aren’t allowed to say that.” The matter was only resolved when Mr Jones agreed his remarks ‘could’ have been regarded as offensive. A Gatwick Airport spokesman said: ‘Our security team are looking at what happened. The matter was dealt with and the passenger made his journey.’

Azzam Tamimi to speak on London campus

The British Pakistan Foundation hosted a successful Ladies Tea at the House of Lords Cholmondeley Terrace. Speakers included Ahmereen Reza Trustee of BPF, Suniya Qureshi the Executive Director of BPF and key note speaker Baroness Sayeeda Warsi.The afternoon event was a celebration of the contribution of women from the UK Pakistani Diaspora from a cross section of industries both public and private and aknowledgment of the wealth of human capital which Pakistan has to offer. 8th March marks the International Women’s day, 2012 Olympics and HRH the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, are all aspects of celebrating female empowerment in modern day Britian.

Baroness Warsi, gave an inspirational speech on her journey into politics, the challenges as a Pakistani Muslim woman and the range of opportunties which are now available to our talented British Pakistani youth. She reiterated that power comes with great responsibility and as thought leaders we were all here to make a difference to our next generation. The guests included senior partners from KPMG, Deloitte and CPS; women from all sectors including the NGO community came together for an informal networking, meet and greet opportunity with Baroness Warsi and the BPF Executive team. BPF intends to host more of such events with the support of our corporate associates throughout 2012.

‘Azzam Tamimi, a supporter of Hamas, is to deliver a speech at Queen Mary University (QMU) at an event hosted by the university’s Palestine Solidarity Society on 28 February. Dr Azzam Tamimi is the director of the Institute of Islamic Political Thought (IIPT), London. He has been visiting professor at Kyoto University (2004) and Nagoya University (2006). He has published several books, the most recent of which was on Islam and democracy, Rachid Ghannouchi, Democrat within Islamism (Oxford University Press, New York, 2001). He also co-edited Islam and Secularism in the Middle East (Hurst, London and NY University Press, New York, 2000). Another book, Hamas, the Unwritten Chapters, is due in summer 2006. He writes and lectures on issues related to Islamic political thought and Middle Eastern politics. He is a regular commentator on the Arabic satellite channel al-Jazeera and makes frequent appearances on a number of other channels, both English and Arabic. In 2004 he told the BBC: “You see, sacrificing myself for Palestine is a noble cause. It is the straight way to

pleasing my God and I would do it if I had the opportunity.” Tamimi is scheduled to speak along with Baroness Tonge and ultra-leftist Professor Haim Bresheeth, an Israeli academic, both of whom are known for their hate of Israel. Queen Mary’s principal, Professor Simon Gaskell, said that freedom of expression was at the heart of the university’s ethos”. “We neither endorse nor deny the views expressed,” he said. “We are implicitly attributing to our university community the intelligence and powers of discrimination to judge for themselves the merits or otherwise of opinions and beliefs presented to them.”

Migrant kids sell sex for shelter in UK

The British charity the Children’s Society has warned that vulnerable refugee, asylum-seeking and migrant kids and youths are forced into prostitution in the UK to earn shelter and food. The charity revealed that some young people suffered from mental health problems and even attempted suicides, while others had been forced into “sexual relationships” in exchange for shelter or food, the daily Morning Star reported. The charity’s policy director Enver Solomon slammed the government’s

immigration policy as the main cause of this shocking rise in destitution and child abuse. “We estimate that thousands of children exist in the shadows of

our communities, having their lives damaged by an approach that irresponsibly prioritises immigration control above the best interests of children,” he said.

Refugee families with very young children are living in severe deprivation for long periods of times - in some cases for years - because of draconian immigration rules

that denies them access to work or welfare support, the charity said. The charity also said it had seen a “noticeable rise” in the number of children and young people seeking its help. Solomon demanded that the government urgently review available support so that children and young people seeking protection are not forced to live in absolute poverty and despair. “Often having fled danger in their country of birth, they are exposed to great dangers in this country because they lack a sufficient safety net,” he noted.


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Secret £14million Bible in which ‘Jesus predicts coming of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) unearthed in Turkey • Vatican ‘wants to see’ 1,500-year-old ancient script • Has been hidden by Turkish state for 12 years • Handwritten in gold-lettered Aramaic A 1,500-year-old Bible in which Jesus is believed to have foretold the coming of the Prophet Mohammed to Earth has attracted attention from the Vatican this week. Pope Benedict XVI has reportedly requested to see the book, which has been hidden in Turkey for the last 12 years, according to the Daily Mail. The text, reportedly worth $22 million, is said to contain Jesus’ prediction of the Prophet’s coming but was suppressed by the Christian Church for years for its strong resemblance to the Islamic view of Jesus, Turkish culture and tourism minister Ertugrul Gunay told the newspaper. “In line with Islamic belief, the Gospel treats Jesus as a human being and not a God. It rejects the ideas of the Holy Trinity and the Crucifixion and reveals that Jesus predicted the coming of the Prophet Mohammed,”

the newspaper reported. “In one version of the gospel, he is said to have told a priest: ‘How shall the Messiah be called? Mohammed is his blessed name.’ “And in another, Jesus denied being the Messiah, claiming that he or she would be Ishmaelite, the term used for an Arab,” the newspaper added. According to the report, Muslims claim the text, which many say is the Gospel of Barnabas, is an addition to the original gospels of Mark, Matthew, Luke and John. St. Barnabas is traditionally identified

as the founder of the Cypriot Church, an early Christian later named an apostle. Gunay said the Vatican has officially requested to see the book, which Turkey had discovered during a police anti-smuggling operation in 2000. The gang was reportedly convicted of smuggling various items seized during the operation, including the Bible, and all the artifacts were kept in a safe at an Ankara courthouse. It remained closely guarded by authorities before being handed over

15th anniversary event To all those who attended OBV’s 15th anniversary event at the United States Embassy in London last week, thank you for making it an unforgettable evening.

party needed to do more in order to increase BME representation at high office. He outlined a number of programmes that he hoped would get them there.

our integrity intact, but with still much work to do’. Head of Equality and Human Rights Commission Trevor Phillips told the audience that ‘whilst it

Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, Labour leader Ed Miliband, BV’s Jyoti Bhojani, Keith Vaz MP, Merlene Carrington, Rhona Asmah, Arita Pecaka and Francine Fernandes attended His Excellency the Ambassador Louis Susman opened the proceedings with the remarks, ‘this Embassy is honoured to be a friend and collaborator with Operation Black Vote’. The political parties sent their big guns to represent them. Labour leader Ed Miliband spoke passionately of his involvement with the organisation, stating that in regards to the shadowing scheme, OBV is quietly transforming our elected institutions. The Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander stated that OBV was a constant and positive reminder that their

Baroness Sayeeda Warsi informed the 200-strong audience that her involvement with the organisation went back to the very early days back in 1996. ‘We launched OBV up in

Batley’, she said, ‘then pounded the streets registering our communities to vote. We’ve all come a long way,

was right to enjoy the evening and celebrate in OBV’s multitude of successes, If we don’t financially support it, it might not be around to continue the important work that it does’. Co-founder and first Chair Lee Jasper said the ‘work of OBV had in so many ways transformed our society, and it will continue to do so’. It was indeed a special evening. I want to thank the team, all those who attended, those who wanted to attend, and above all everyone that has made OBV the organisation that it is today. Simon Woolley

to the Ankara Ethnography Museum where it will soon be put on show. A photocopy of a single page from the leather-bound, gold-lettered book, penned in Jesus’ native Aramaic language is reportedly worth about $2.4 million. But skepticism over the authenticity of the ancient handwritten manuscript has arisen. Protestant pastor İhsan Özbek has said this version of the book is said to come from the fifth or sixth century, while St. Barnabas had lived in the first century as one of the Apostles of Jesus. “The copy in Ankara might have been written by one of the followers of St.

Barnabas,” he told the Today Zaman newspaper. “Since there is around 500 years in between St. Barnabas and the writing of the Bible copy, Muslims may be disappointed to see that this copy does not include things they would like to see … It might have no relation with the content of the Gospel of Barnabas,” Özbek added. But suspicions could soon be laid to rest. The real age of the Bible could soon be determined by a scientific scan, theology professor Ömer Faruk Harman told the Daily Mail, possibly clarifying whether it was written by St. Barnabas or a follower of his.

UK plans European Court of Human Rights reform The British government is calling for the European Convention on Human Rights to be substantially rewritten so that judicial powers are wrestled back from Strasbourg, according to documents leaked to UK and French media outlets. The UK government is calling for the European Convention on Human Rights to be substantially rewritten so that judicial powers are wrestled back from Strasbourg, leaked documents have revealed. Amid a growing backlash against the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), the UK has prepared a detailed paper outlining plans for the court whilst London holds the six-month presidency of the Council of Europe, which set the court up. The document, entitled “High Level Conference on the Future of the European Court of Human Rights,” will form the basis for negotiations with other countries ahead of an April summit in Brighton at the end of the UK’s term of office, and was leaked to the BBC and French newspaper Le Monde. It was circulated to the other 46 member states of the Council of Europe, and has been prepared amid repeated criticism of the ECHR and attacks on European judges and their judgements, The Guardian reports. According to The Daily Telegraph, the UK government hopes in future to avoid

politically embarrassing judgements from the Strasbourg-based court, such as its refusal to permit the deportation of the radical Islamist cleric Abu Qatada to Jordan. Many MPs and voters oppose such decisions, as well as other rulings giving prisoners the right to vote, and London is under pressure to act to curb the court’s powers. The draft paper’s controversial proposals, which are geared towards cutting the backlog of cases waiting to be heard by the court and empowering national judges, will require the unanimous agreement of the 46 other countries in Brighton if they are to enter into force. According to the BBC, the paper calls for the redrafting of the European Convention to include the principles of “subsidiarity,” meaning that decisions should be taken at the lowest levels possible, and “margin of appreciation,” meaning that national governments should have greater discretion in applying the court’s judgements. The draft also says the Strasbourg court should not be allowed to examine cases that are “identical in substance to a claim that has been considered by a national court,” except where the national court has “manifestly made an error” or the case “raises a serious question” regarding the convention’s interpretation or application.


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South Asia Tribune I Thursday 01 March 2012

Ten Years after Gujarat riot: Memorial to a genocide

The 2002 Gujarat riots changed the 
lives of thousands of people On February 27, 2002, Gujarat changed for the worse. The S6 coach of the Sabarmati Express caught fire at Godhra, killing 59 people, mostly kar sevaks returning from Ayodhya. The communal riots that followed affected at least 16 of the state’s 25 districts and claimed over 1,000 lives, mostly Muslims. Many were rendered homeless. Modi government was accused of deliberate negligence towards the minority community during the riots. Even the Nanavati Commission appointed by the state government to enquire into the post-Godhra riots has not submitted its report. Activists have also accused Modi of subverting justice and protecting perpetrators of the riots. While probe in the Godhra carnage moved rapidly, investigations into the riot cases

where 30 people were killed in two separate cases, and Prantij where four persons, including three British nationals, were killed.

have been slow, they allege. So far In the riot case, 11 people got death punishment and 20 others

The accused include several politicians. MLA Maya Kodnani is an accused in Naroda Patiya and Naroda Gam cases, former VHP

given life imprisonment by a trial court. However, as things stand today, only a handful of riot cases were dealt properly. In 2008, the Supreme Court appointed a Special Investigation Team (SIT) headed by former CBI chief RK Raghavan to investigate major cases. The cases included the Gulberg society and Naroda Patiya cases in which 95 persons were killed, Naroda Gam case in which 11 people were killed, Dipda Darwaja case in which 11 people were killed, Ode

leaders Jaydeep Patel and Babu Bajrangi in Naroda Gam, and Prahlad Gosa, former BJP MLA, in Dipda Darwaja case. However,

claims to have attended. Modi has, however, denied the allegation. So far, two commissions have arrived at different conclusions. The UC Banerjee Commission, appointed

No looking back for Gujarat, says Modi On the eve of a decade of the Godhra train carnage and the subsequent communal riots, Chief Minister

no one has been sentenced and the trial is still on. In September last year, suspended IPS cop Sanjiv Bhatt alleged that

by the then railway minister Lalu Prasad, said the fire in the S-6 coach was accidental. The Nanavati

Narendra Modi dared Gujaratbashers to try disrupting the peace and bonhomie experienced in the

Modi gave directions to the police and other officers “to allow Hindus vent out their anger” at a meeting on February 27, 2002 which he

Commission in the first part of its report said the Godhra carnage was pre-planned.

State in the last 10 years. Dedicating to the people the new ultra-modern and high-tech central

jail in Surat, Mr. Modi said that for the last 10 years a “handful of Gujarat-bashers” had left no stone unturned to defame Gujarat and disrupt peace, communal harmony and sense of brotherhood being witnessed in the State. Gujarat had moved ahead on the path of development and progress, which was wedded to unity, harmony and brotherhood among all the communities and there would be no looking back, the Chief Minister asserted.


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Work displayed in saarc int. are a review of southasianmedia.net. The information on this page is for information purposes only. The South Asia Tribune and SAARC International Ltd. assume no liability for any inaccurate, delayed, or incomplete information, nor for any actions taken in reliance thereon. The full story can be viewed at www.southasianmedia.net

international

Thursday, 01.03.12

Pakistan decides to normalise trade with India by year’s end The government says it will normalise trade with neighbouring India by the end of 2012. The Cabinet made the decision in a meeting Tuesday presided over by Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, unanimously approving the phasing out by December 2012 of a ‘negative list’ of trade items between Pakistan and India. A government statement says Pakistan would phase out restrictions on all imports from India by December 2012, part of a commitment it made last year to liberalise trade with New Delhi. It says “after that, the process of trade normalization between the two countries would be completed.” Pakistan’s moves to liberalize trade with India have triggered opposition by Islamist parties and some domestic trade groups worried about greater competition. But the decision indicates Islamabad’s resolve to push ahead with

the normalization. A breakthrough in the trade part of the peace talks occurred in the fall when India dropped its objections to a European Union plan for Brussels to temporarily reduce tariffs on textile imports from Pakistan as a way to help Pakistan’s moribund economy. Pakistan reciprocated by saying it would grant MFN status to India. But

that caused a backlash among some conservative elements in Pakistan, and Islamabad appears to have moved to a more-cautious approach of waiting until next year to change the status. Even when Pakistan’s negative list is dropped, both countries will continue to protect certain kinds of sensitive products from trade with each other, such as staple foods and items pertaining to national

security, including defense equipment. Trade delegations have been traveling back and forth to improve ties. Wednesday’s announcement comes only weeks after Indian Commerce Minister Anand Sharma traveled to Pakistan with a group of Indian businessmen. While two-way trade between India and Pakistan stood at $2.7 billion in the year through March 2011, up 50% from the previous year, it still remains a trickle compared with India’s trade with China, which stands at more than $60 billion annually. Trade talks resumed last year after India agreed to keep commerce separate from discussions on thornier issues like Pakistan’s handling of terror suspects and the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir. Naysayers say that progress on trade is fine but relations won’t truly improve until the Kashmir issue is settled.

Indian economic Passports of two Pakistani players growth slips to 6.1% confiscated then later returned by the Bangladesh Authorities

Bangladesh police quizzes Pakistan man over fixing

A sharp fall off in India’s economic growth to 6.1 per cent in the quarter to the end of December, the slowest in three years, has triggered fears of a prolonged

decline unless emergency steps are taken this month report the financial times. Continued on page 26 >>

Police have questioned a Pakistani national detained for allegedly attempting to fix or influence a match in the Twenty20 Bangladesh Premier League. Mirpur Police official Munshi Mosharraf said on Wednesday that Sajid Khan, 36, was detained by Bangladesh Cricket Board security officials on Sunday while attempting to access the players’ zone during a game between the Chittagong Kings and the Barisal

Burners at Dhaka’s Mirpur Shere-Bangla National Stadium. Mosharraf said a case has been

filed against Khan on charges of attempting to “make money by Continued on page 26 >>


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Chandra Bahadur Dangi is world’s shortest living man: Guinness World Records 72-year-old Nepalese man also shortest man Guiness has ever verified A 72-year-old man from a remote valley in southwestern Nepal has been confirmed as the world’s shortest man by Guinness World Records officials. Chandra Bahadur Dangi stands at just 54.6cm (21.5 inches) tall - dimensions carefully measured by officials. His height is 5.3cm shorter than Filipino Junrey Balawing, the previous holder of the “world’s shortest man” title. He is also more than 2cm shorter than India’s Gul Mohammed - meaning that Dangi is the shortest human adult ever documented. Mr Mohammed, the previous holder of that title, measured 57cm. He died in 1997 aged 40. Until now, Chandra’s stature has been a burden; he is acutely aware of the difficulties of fitting into an average-sized world and is disappointed at having missed out on the chance to find a wife. He is hopeful, though, that his new title will see a change in his fortunes. Guinness World Records “I’m continually amazed that this record keeps getting broken,” Guinness World Records editorin-chief Craig Glenday said, in the Nepali capital Kathmandu. “Just when you think it’s

researchers studying the Dangi people. In his first interview with Western media earlier this month, he said the recognition at the end of his life would be some compensation for years of hardship.

impossible for the record to get any smaller, Mr Dangi comes along and astonishes us all. “What I find equally remarkable is his age - if he really is 72, he is by far the oldest person to be awarded the shortest-man record in Guinness World Record’s 57year history.” Mr Dangi, who weighs 12kg (26.5lbs), was brought to the

Dangi measures up Mr Dangi, who was orphaned at 12, said relatives used to display him at freak shows to make money for themselves. He said he had never experienced romance or found his soulmate. “Until now, Chandra’s stature has been a burden. He is acutely aware of the difficulties of fitting into an averagesized world and is attention of the world only three weeks after he was discovered by

disappointed at having missed out on the chance to find a wife,” Guinness World Records

said on Sunday. “He is hopeful, though, that his new title will see a change in his fortunes.” The cause of his stunted growth remains a mystery although many holders of the world’s shortest man crown have suffered from primordial dwarfism. Mr Dangi earns a sparse living weaving jute headbands and has only ever left his village in povertystricken Dang district, 220 miles from Kathmandu, a handful of times. Guinness World Records quoted Mr Dangi, who visited Kathmandu for the first time to be measured, as saying he was too old for marriage but would still like to travel. “I want to visit foreign countries and meet people from around the world,” Mr Dangi said. Another Nepali, Khagendra Thapa Magar, claimed the title in 2010 after being measured at 67cm. Mr Magar’s stint as the world’s shortest man saw him travel to more than a dozen countries and make television appearances in Europe and the United States. He was also the official face of Nepal’s tourism campaign, which featured him as the smallest man in a country that is home to the world’s highest peak, Mount Everest.

Pakistan ministry proposes 1,297-item India negative list Pakistan’s Ministry of Industries has finalised 1,297 items for the negative list, ie the remaining 5,511 lines will be opened for imports at MFN Plus (Safta Tariffs) as compared to the positive list where 1,936 items are allowed to be imported from India. Pakistan’s Ministry of Industries (MoI) has finalised 1,297 items to be put on the negative list, ie the remaining 5,511 lines will be opened for imports at MFN Plus (Safta Tariffs) as compared to the current positive list where 1,936 items are allowed to be imported from India. 3,575 lines will be opened in one go. In a letter to the Secretary Ministry of Commerce, MoI Secretary has said that MoI had used the following parameters while preparing the negative list. (a) industrial sector input, (b) production data analysis, (c) Pakistan’s imports from world, (d) Pakistan’s exports to world, (e)

Indian exports to world, (f) Tariff Lines (TLs), already in positive list but requested by industry to be placed in negative list, have not been analysed as per principle decision of MoC. (g) The TLs that are included in Safta sensitive list have been recommended for the negative list for the very sensitive/emerging

sectors. (h) The items having five percent tariff have generally not been included as the industry has requested to allow raw material to be imported from India to cut down on input costs. (i) Special emphasis has been placed on the sensitive sectors of Pakistan during analysis such as

chemicals, paper, footwear, iron and steel, auto sector, electronics, cutlery, sports, surgical, furniture, pharmaceutical etc. The letter dated February 24 pointed out that MoI has kept in view the constraints faced by the local industry in the absence of a ‘flat field’ by manufacturers on both sides of the border while preparing the negative list. The ‘flatness’ is missing in terms of energy and access to credit to mention only two factors. Numerous industrial zones in India offer concessions to promote industry let alone our cases where the absence of round the clock supply of electricity and gas is open knowledge. MoI maintained that the production capacities remain unutilised across the board increasing the production costs for the majority of those SMEs who do not have resources to set up captive power plants. The Ministry recommended following phase out plan for

liberalisation of trade with India: (a) The negative list should be phased out over a period of five years having a staggered approach. (b) A year wise percentage reduction plan may be followed starting with 25 percent in the third and fourth year each and the remaining 50 percent in the fifth year. (c) The phasing out should be linked to proportionate measures by India towards reduction of NTBs etc. In case India fails to remove the trade barriers as committed for a given duration, phasing out should not be allowed for that year/ period. (d) Phasing out of each level will be carried out after in depth consultation with the MoI and other stakeholders. (e) The phasing out in each year is not be automatically allowed but should be weighed against similar commensurate measures by India.


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WEEKLY REVIEW OF AFGHANISTAN NEWS

Obama apologizes to Afghanistan War-displaced Afghans in critical condition: Amnesty for Quran burning

Afghan rage over the burning of Qurans by NATO troops continued Thursday even after a President Obama apologized for the “error.” Afghanistan erupted in violent demonstrations after the troops burned the Islamic religious material last week. Two American troops were killed Thursday by a man wearing an Afghan National Army uniform, a U.S. official said, asking not to be named discussing casualties. The gunman is thought to have been acting in conjunction with a protest outside the base, the official said. In a letter delivered to Afghan President Hamid Karzai, Obama called the act “inadvertent,” Karzai’s office and National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor said Thursday. “We will take the appropriate steps to avoid any recurrence, including holding accountable those responsible,” Obama said in the letter delivered by Ryan Crocker, the U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan. Karzai said that he had appointed a team composed of Muslim legal scholars from the Ulemma Council and Ministry of Haj to travel to Bagram and investigate. Obama’s apology brought this rejoinder from GOP presidential

candidate Newt Gingrich: “The president apologized for the burning, but I haven’t seen the president demand that the government of Afghanistan apologize for the killing of two young Americans.” White House apologizes for Quran burning The protest and shootings came as the Taliban called on Muslims to attack NATO military bases and convoys and to kill soldiers following the admission that NATO troops had incinerated the books at Bagram Airfield. Afghan officials investigating urged Afghans to “exercise self-restraint” and “avoid resorting to protests and demonstrations that may provide ground for the enemy to take advantage of the situation.” The investigators called the burning “insulting and shameful,” saying NATO officials had promised to bring

the “perpetrators of the crime ... to justice as soon as possible.” “As the situation is still under investigation, it would be premature to speculate on any potential outcomes,” said NATO International Security Assistance Force spokesman Lt. Col. Jimmie Cummings. “Any disciplinary action, if deemed warranted, will be taken by U.S. authorities after a thorough review of the facts pursuant to all law and regulation and in accordance with due process.” Muslims believe the Quran is the word of God, so holy that people should wash their hands before even touching the sacred book. Desecrating the Quran is seen as an act of intolerance and bigotry. At least two demonstrators also were killed in the exchange of gunfire near the base where the two Americans died, said Haji Mohammad Hassan, chief of Khugyani district in eastern Nangarhar province. Two U.S. soldiers and seven demonstrators were injured in the clash, too, he said. “We don’t know who started the shooting first and what kind of guns were used, but we have started our investigation to find out the details of the incident,” Hassan told CNN.

Amnesty International expressed concerns for thousands of wardisplaced Afghans in the country and warned they are being threatened by serious winter. According to a report prepared by the Amnesty International, 500,000 Afghans are facing critical issues including winter cold and poverty and criticized the Afghan government and international doners for being reckless towards the issue. The report further added, at least 28 kids lost their lives due to winter cold, in camps based in the outskirts of capital Kabul. This comes as the Afghan government officials announced at least 40 people were killed due to winter across the country. Horia Masdiq a composer of the report in Amnesty International said, thousands of people are being threatened by hunger and winter freeze, but the Afghan government

remains reckless towards the issue and even creates barriers to provide them with the winter aid. She also said, local authorities are limiting the aid for the displaced Afghans to demonstrate as if the individuals are leaving the areas shortly. This is a potential but a horrible crisis. In the meantime Afghan Refugees Affairs Ministry denied the allegations. Islamuddin Jurat a spokesman for the Afghan Refugees Ministry said, the ministry is struggling to create better living opportunities for the displaced Afghans in their local areas or other areas of the country. According to Amnesty International, more 35,000 Afghans are living in 30 different camps in capital Kabul and are facing various critical issues. Majority of the displaced Afghans have been forced to leave their areas and settle in camps due to growing violence in their original regions.

Afghanistan Quran protests spread to Pakistan, India

Hundreds of activists took to the streets on Friday as the protests over desecration of Holy Quran at the Nato military base in Afghanistan spread to Malaysia, Indonesia and India. Holding banners inscribed with several anti-US slogans including ‘Damn You US Army’, and ‘Quran Our Soul, You Burnt Our Soul’, protesters gathered at public places to express their anger at the desecration of Holy Quran at the Bagram military base. Up to 300 people blocked the GT Road in Peshawar, stomped on and set fire to the US flag, and kicked the dummy representing America and beat it with sticks while it was burning. “The ugly face of America has been revealed with the desecration of Holy Quran,” a banner read. The Foreign Ministry strongly condemned the desecration, stressing that ‘utterly irresponsible and reprehensible things’ do not

happen again. “On behalf of the government and the people of Pakistan, we

condemn in strongest possible terms the desecration of Holy Quran in Afghanistan,” spokesman

Abdul Basit told reporters. In Islamabad, the general secretary of the Jamiat Ulema-e-

Islam (JUI) told the crowd that the Islamic world should review its relations with the United States. “We will not allow Americans to ridicule our religion and our Holy Quran,” Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri told the crowd, asking the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) to convene a special session to condemn the incident. In Karachi, hundreds of activists of Jamaatud Dawa chanted ‘Death to America’. “There is just one remedy for America — Jihad and only Jihad,” the crowd shouted. “Death to America, death to America’s friends,” echoed slogans. “We do not accept Obama’s apology. The Muslims do not accept his apology, as it is nothing but a farce,” said Naveed Qamar, the head of JuD in Karachi. “The Americans are deliberately provoking us through shameless sins,” he added.


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WEEKLY REVIEW OF BANGLADESH NEWS

Bangladesh needs 1.5m new jobs a year Bangladesh needs up to 1.5 million new jobs each year for the next 20 years to accelerate economic growth, says the World Bank. Bangladesh along with other South Asian nations has seen steady job growth and a substantial decrease in poverty over the past three decades, according to a WB report. The WB yesterday launched the report styled “More and Better Jobs in South Asia” at Brac Centre in Dhaka. “Accelerating growth in per capita income has added nearly 1.2 million new jobs every year and improved job quality between 2000 and 2010 in the country,” the report says. But the country could have generated more jobs for the working age population if the top five issues had been addressed properly, the report suggests. The top five constraints, being faced by the urban firms, are lack of electricity, political instability, corruption, lack of access to land and complicated tax administration, it adds. It says power outage is estimated

to cost Bangladesh about $1 billion a year, reducing GDP growth by about 0.5 percent. Unreliability of power supply and frequency of power outage cause firms to lose production and incur high costs of self-generation, it observes. According to the report, political instability is higher in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Nepal than in other countries with similar level of per capita GDP. Firms in Bangladesh report a very high prevalence of bribe payment in absolute and relative terms, it adds. More than half of firms in Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan are to pay bribe during tax

Pro-BNP panel dominates Dhaka Bar polls

BNP-Jamaat backed Jatiyatabadi Ainjibi Oikya Parishad (Blue Panel) bagged most of the posts in Dhaka Bar Association elections 20122013. The blue panel won 15 posts while the Awami League backed Sammilita Ainjibi Samannay Parishad (white panel) secured the remaining 10 including general secretary, senior vice-president and vice president, according to the results announced on Friday morning. The election was held on February 22 and 23 where some 6,951 voters cast their votes among the total of 12,051 voters. Md Borhan Uddin was elected president from Blue panel by defeating his rival Kazi Najibullah Hiru. Borhan bagged 3,466 votes while Hiru got 3,349 votes. Mohammad Ali Hossain was elected general secretary from white panel with 4,047 votes and defeated his close contester Khorshed Mia Alam who got 2,828 votes. From the BNP-Jamaat backed panel, Mohammad Mohsin was elected treasurer, Md Shoayeb Mia library secretary, and Syeda Shahin Ara Laili cultural secretary and Md Ershadul Alam Jorge office secretary. From Awami League backed panel, Khandaker Abul Kashem was elected senior vice-president, Md Abdur Razzak Mia vice president, and Motiur Rahman Bhuiyan senior general secretary and Md Moeen Uddin assistant general secretary.

inspections as the tax system in these countries is complicated, the report says, adding, this leads to high costs of compliance and opportunities for corruption. It further says South Asia will be the largest contributor to the global workforce over the next two decades. Economic growth, which has been second only to East Asia, needs to be sustained to create more and better jobs and reduce poverty. The demographic transition will result in more than 350 million people entering the working age population over the next two decades. The South Asian region will need to add between 1-1.2 million

additional jobs every month for the next 20 years, equivalent to about 40 percent of the increase in the global labour force. Ellen Goldstein, country director, World Bank Bangladesh, said “The challenge for Bangladesh is to create jobs of higher quality. “Investing in education, health and nutrition, and infrastructure, along with a renewed thrust to economic reforms would help in creating more and better jobs for Bangladesh,” said Goldstein. “It’s not only the quantity of jobs but the quality of the jobs being created in the region that is relevant,” said Kalpana Kochhar, chief economist for the WB South Asia Region.

“There has not been much change in the composition of employment, that is between casual labourers, the self-employed and regular and salaried wage earners, but there has been an increase in real wages and poverty reduction within these categories. However, the share of wage employment and high-end self-employment are stagnant,” said Kochhar. Wage workers in Bangladesh have seen their wages adjusted for price increases rise by nearly 2 percent a year. Poverty rates among the selfemployed have fallen. While quality of jobs has improved, little upward mobility has seen across the three broad employment types -- the self-employed, casual labourers, and regular wage or salaried earners. The report suggests that among other things, sustained attention to electricity, and education, and encashing the demographic dividend can make an important difference. Education is the key to labour mobility, it adds.

Bangladesh says India ties are on ‘right track’ Indo-Bangla ties are on the “right track” as there is political will and courage in both countries now to step up bilateral relations, Bangladesh Foreign Minister Dipu Moni has said. “Bangladesh and India have excellent relations... We have good report card for the last three years,” she told a dialogue on Indo-Bangla relations here yesterday. The minister said the Indo-Bangla relations were in a “transformational phase due to political will of the top leadership”. “Earlier there was no political will but now we have political will, courage and vision to boost the relationship,” she said.

“The leadership of both countries have the courage to make the effort to attain their goals... We have to work together and should not be discouraged over what we have not been able to achieve,” she said. Moni, however, admitted that “not all has

been achieved” as some agreements and understandings over the past three years have not been fully implemented. “But we have to work together and should not be discouraged over what we have not been able to achieve,” Moni said. She said that detractors must not be allowed to hinder the progress in bilateral ties. Her comments came as foreign relation analysts and former diplomats suggested continued cooperation between the two neighbours for the early implementation of agreements and understanding reached between the two countries in the past three years.

Raise voice against move to protect war criminals Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday urged the Sector Commanders’ Forum (SCF) to mobilise public opinion against the “opposition’s move” to protect the war criminals. She made the call when an SCF delegation led by Maj Gen (retd) KM Safiullah met her at the Prime Minister’s Office in the morning. Hasina told the delegation that the trial of war criminals has begun and it will surely be held as their trial has turned into a people’s demand, Prime Minister’s Press Secretary Abul Kalam Azad briefed reporters after the meeting. Strongly criticising the BNP’s “illogical

programmes”, Hasina asked the opposition leader to refrain from any attempt to protect the war criminals in the name of movement. “No one will be able to protect the war criminals as it is the electoral pledge of the Awami League to try those who had committed crimes against humanity during 1971,” said Azad quoting the prime minister. Hasina asked the SCF leaders to be vigilant against any conspiracy to hinder the trial, he added. Prime Minister’s Energy Adviser Tawfiqe-Elahi Chowdhury and State Minister for Liberation War Affairs Capt (retd) AB Tajul Islam were present.


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WEEKLY REVIEW OF BHUTAN NEWS

Constitutional condition confusion Just about a year until the next general election and Parliament members are beginning to find flaws in the provision dealing with elections in the Constitution. Section 5, article 24 of the Constitution has created confusion among parliamentarians, who went on to seek the election commission’s clarification on the provision. That came in the form of a notification that cited provisions on elections from both the Constitution and the election Acts. But that did not help quell agitations brewing in the minds of parliamentarians. The provision on elections in the Constitution, while clearly specifying Parliament would ensure that the election commission conducted elections for the National Assembly and local governments, so as to be reconstituted within 90 days after its dissolution, it failed to do the same for the National

Council. It states: “Provided that, in the case of the National Council, elections shall be held so that it is reconstituted ‘on the date of expiry’ of the term.” That, council members said, only meant that “if the council was dissolved today, it had to be reconstituted tomorrow itself”.

But that, he added, left bigger questions of when the council would have to be dissolved, and should it stand so, how an immediate reconstitution was possible. Chief election commissioner Dasho Kunzang Wangdi agreed with the council members’ understanding that, on expiry of term of the council members today, a new one

had to begin functioning the very next day. He said the provisions on elections both in the Constitution and the election Act (sections 187 and 192) were self-explanatory, and that clarifying or specifying further at this point would only create more confusion. “Fixing schedule and date on how early or how late Parliament members should be dissolved will take time,” he said. A few Parliament members, with Speaker Jigme Tshultim leading them, met the chief election commissioner to sort out the issue. “We have to write to them and we’ve also agreed to meet further to discuss the issue,” Tshogpon Jigme Tshultim said. He said their issue with the election commission officials was particularly pertaining to the notification requiring Parliament members’ resignation.

“Our interpretation of the provisions relating to elections in the Constitution is different,” he said, adding the election commission’s interpretation was not in keeping with the provisions of the Constitution vis-à-vis the election. “We shouldn’t go against the Constitutional provisions,” he said. “We kick-started the whole process (democracy) bearing that in mind.” He said the prime minister could advise His Majesty on the necessity to dissolve Parliament, or its members’ resignation for the next general election. “But that is not the best option,” he said. National Council election began between December 2007 and January 2008, while that of National Assembly’s began on March 24, 2008.

The Bhutanese, country’s first broadsheet paper, launches today Bhutan’s first broadsheet newspaper The Bhutanese will be launched Friday morning in a simple function at the Chubachu office on the auspicious occasion of His Majesty the King’s birthday. The newspaper though planned as a daily newspaper had to launch as a bi-weekly after a recent and substantial increase in printing costs by the printer ‘Kuensel Corporation’ compared to their earlier quoted rates. The new rates for printing the paper nearly double of the initial quote. Kuensel’s printing department however cited increase in raw materials costs and a cost revaluation exercise as reasons for the increase. The Bhutanese CEO Tenzing Lamsang said, “This is only a temporary setback in our aim to be a daily paper. For now we will have to launch as a bi-weekly as we make some adjustments to our plans given the higher costs and then go daily very soon. However, if the prices come down we are ready to go daily even tomorrow.” The Bhutanese is different

from the other papers in being the first broadsheet paper in Bhutan moving away from the tabloid size that Bhutanese newspapers generally prefer. “The broadsheet is in line with the size of most international newspapers. It has its inherent advantages in allowing the paper to be more flexible in placing stories, pictures and advertisements. However, the main motive is to give our readers the feel of a real paper,” said Tenzing Lamsang. The Bhutanese was designed by a team of professional newspaper designers including font experts who has worked on several international projects. The fonts used for the newspaper has been bought exclusively to give our readers a unique and fresh reading experience. The Bhutanese newspaper has 35 employees comprising 15 journalists. The paper has started with an investment of more than Nu 3.5 million. The two owners of the paper are the CEO, Tenzing Lamsang and a private businessman Singye Namgyel.

The CEO, Tenzing Lamsang started his career as a reporter with the Indian Express in New Delhi. He was also the chief reporter of Kuensel and last October resigned as the news editor of Business Bhutan. The paper is entering a market that many feel is already saturated with 10 existing papers of which seven are English and three are in Dzongkha. This is also in the context of a limited advertisement pie. “We feel that there is always a market for a good quality paper and moreover ‘The Bhutanese’ has not been planned as a short term paper but rather a long term venture dedicated to serious and good journalism,” said Tenzing Lamsang. The project planning started in October 2011 going through a detailed and comprehensive licensing process from Bhutan InfoComm and Media Authority. After receiving the in principle letter of approval from BICMA on December 14, 2011, the paper hired its team of 35 employees from 520 plus applicants mainly for the marketing and editorial posts. The entire team was then put through a vigorous training process. The paper was in the final stages of getting the final license in mid January when a letter from the cabinet secretariat asking that new media licenses should be kept pending leading to some delay and affected the preparation activities of the paper.

Dr. Avtar Lit

CEO, Litt Corporation Ltd

Asif Ghazali Kismat Radio

• Tune in on 1035 AM in Greater London • DAB Digital Radio in West Yorkshire • Nationally on Sky 0173 • Listen live at www.kismatradio.com Launched in February 2005, Kismat Radio is the UK’s only 24 hour Asian talk radio station. We provide the UK’s Asian community with a platform for discussion and debate on all sorts of issues. We bring educational and informative programming specifically tailored to the needs of the Asian community, as well as playing the best range of music for the discerning listener. Our listeners know and trust the Kismat name and brand, which gives us a loyal, involved, and growing audience.


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Saarc international I Thursday 01 March 2012

WEEKLY REVIEW OF INDIA NEWS

All-India trade unions strike Sonia Gandhi goes abroad for medical checks hits banking, transport services Millions of workers of all political hues have gone on strike across India on Tuesday to express their anger at soaring prices and to back demands for improved rights for employees, trade unions and political activists said. The strike, which includes workers from state-run phone companies, bus drivers and postal workers, is a new headache for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s government as it grapples with weakening economic growth and faces elections in several states.

Workers linked to the ruling Congress party have also joined the protest and have promised further action if their demands are not met. The protests are not expected to significantly affect banks and financial markets in Asia’s third-largest economy, but traders said there could be some volatility in the bond market if volumes are lower than normal. “Volumes could be lower, but settlement should happen,” said a senior dealer at a state-run bank. The strikers have a long list of demands. Among them, they want the government to take measures to contain inflation, provide universal social security cover for workers in the vast unorganised labour sector, and to stop selling stakes in state-run companies. “We will have to think about our future course of action if the government does not come forward with proposals on how it will react to our demands,” G. Sanjeeva Reddy, president of the Indian National Trade Union Congress, the ruling party’s trade union, said. Hit by high interest rates, stubborn inflation and a stuttering reform agenda, India’s economy is expected to grow by about 7% in the fiscal year ending March, compared with earlier expectations of about 9% growth. Singh’s government has faced a slew of protests since winning a second term in 2009, denting the Congress party’s image as a defender of the poor. The party is currently fighting five state elections, including one in Uttar

Pradesh, the country’s most populous state. Tuesday’s strike will be the 14th general strike since India opened up its economy with major reforms in 1991. Strike hits normal life in Kerala Normal life was disrupted in Kerala on Tuesday due to the country-wide strike called by central trade unions to protest the “anti-labour” policies of the UPA government. Buses kept off the roads and shops were closed in the state. The strike

also affected functioning of banks and offices as pro-Left unions in the state sector also joined the protest against the “neo-liberal economic and labour policies” pursued by the UPA Government at the Centre. The Congress-led UDF Government in the state has enforced ‘dies non’ (no work-no pay) order against the strike in government offices. Early reports from across the state said in most places the mobility of people was hit as the impact of the strike was near total in the transport sector with buses, taxis and autorickshaws keeping off the road. The rail traffic, however, was not affected and no blockade was reported from anywhere in the early hours. There was no disruption in electricity or water supply and the health sector exempted from the strike. Normal life unaffected by strike in Kolkata Normal life on Tuesday remained largely unaffected in Kolkata due to the general strike called to protest “antilabour” policies of the government, with chief minister Mamata Banerjee warning state government employees that absence from duty will be treated as a break in service. State government-run buses, taxis, trams, trains and Metro rail services were normal though private buses were plying in fewer number. Flight operations from NSC Bose international airport here were normal. All morning flights of Air-India and other private airlines left Kolkata

airport as schedule, sources said. “Everything has been normal so far. Things are going on well. Tight security arrangements are in place with 400 police pickets set up in various parts of the city,” City police commissioner R K Pachnanda said. Railway sources said the train services in Howrah, Asansol and Malda division of Eastern Railway are normal. Major unions have called a countrywide strike to protest the “anti-labour” policies of the government, rising prices and disinvestment of PSUs. Peaceful start to strike in Maharashtra Employees of banks, insurance companies, central government and local bodies as well as workers in several private industries joined a 24hour all India strike of various trade unions in Maharashtra on Tuesday.

Sonia Gandhi, the head of India’s ruling Congress party, has travelled abroad for routine medical checks six months after undergoing surgery in the US, a spokesman for the party said on Tuesday. She would return in four to five days. Mrs Gandhi will return in four to five days, said Janardan Dwivedi. The Congress party has never disclosed the condition of Mrs Gandhi, 65. Some media reports said she had received treatment at New York’s Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. During her absence last year, she devolved part of her responsibilities to her son, Rahul, increasing speculation that he may soon take over from his mother as party leader and, eventually, take over as prime minister from Manmohan

Singh. Mrs Gandhi, who was born in Italy, stayed out of the political limelight for several months after her surgery last August, a time when her party was grappling with corruption scandals and an ill-fated attempt to implement landmark reforms in India’s retail sector.


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Pakistan barter deal with Tehran in the offing

Sitting over a huge surplus wheat stock and having increased support price to encourage more production and votes, Pakistan has found an opportunity to export one million tons of wheat to Iran, and that too under a barter trade deal. The two sides agreed on Friday during a meeting between Water and Power Minister Syed Naveed Qamar and visiting Iranian Deputy Commerce Minister Abbas Ghohadi that Tehran would import not only one million tons of wheat but also 200,000 tons of rice to promote barter trade relations. Tehran is also expected to import sugar from Islamabad. In return, Pakistan will import fertiliser and iron ore for staterun Pakistan Steel Mills, which is suffering from huge financial losses because of extreme shortage of raw material and other problems. Despite rains and floods for two consecutive years, Pakistan’s major crops — wheat, sugarcane and rice — have yielded a bumper output and now supply exceeds demand. Pakistan has been looking for export avenues to offload surplus stocks to reduce maintenance cost and pay off interest to the central bank, but with limited success owing extremely low international prices. The decision came in the wake of the meeting last week between

President Asif Ali Zardari and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Islamabad in which the two leaders decided to raise bilateral trade to $10 billion a year through the

shortage during outgoing crop season and was forced to import more than half of its domestic requirement mainly because of massive gas shortfalls. The Pakistan

According to a press release, Mr Abbas Ghohadi said that Pakistani rice was very popular in Iran and it was used during every festival and on special occasions. He said

barter trade. Pakistan had assured the Iranian side that it would also fast track implementation of gas and electricity import projects from Iran. Mr Naveed Qamar was assisted by the chairman of Trading Corporation of Pakistan (TCP) and the Managing Director of Pakistan Agricultural Storage and Services Corporation (Passco). They were directed to hold separate talks with the Iranian deputy minister and his aides to work out modalities for the export of rice and wheat and import of fertiliser and iron ore. Pakistan has faced a big fertiliser

Steel Mills’s production capacity had also plummeted to less than 20 per cent in recent months mainly because of shortage of iron ore and other raw materials as international prices have increased. Mr Qamar and Mr Abbas Ghohadi also agreed that Passco would present samples of wheat and negotiate the price for its exports. Passco would also be responsible for export of wheat and sugar while TCP would deal with import or fertiliser and iron ore. The two sides expressed the hope that export of wheat would start within two months.

the delegation wanted to visit the storage facilities of wheat in the country to examine its quality and specifications and assured of facilitating wheat exports through simplified administrative procedures for better trade relations. Officials said that more than five million tons of wheat was currently lying in official stores and open places mostly in Punjab and with Passco. The recent increase in support price for wheat by about 10 per cent to Rs1050 per ton announced by the federal government to win over farmers ahead of elections was also expected to yield higher

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output even though Punjab would financially suffer because of huge involvement of subsidy and central bank overdraft. Punjab’s attempts to offload its surplus stock to pay off banking loans had been badly affected due to substantial sales by Russia and Australia at much lower rates as compared with Pakistan prices. Two recent deals by Russia with Egypt and Iran had brought down prices to less than $225 per ton compared with $350 per ton at which Islamabad exported about 1.7 million tons of wheat and 1.3 million tons of wheat products. Over the last three years, Pakistan has become a net wheat exporter after decades of relying on wheat imports, mainly because of increase in support prices from about Rs650 in 2008 to Rs1050 per ton this season. Even though Islamabad’s wheat prices are still higher than those in the international market, both Iran and Pakistan would benefit from the deal through lower transportation cost. The government hopes to harvest more than 25 million tons of wheat this season while domestic consumption stood at 22 million tons. Mainly because of support price, the government was forced last year to inject over Rs400 billion into commodity operations.

Lobbying efforts: Baloch nationalist parties may boycott next polls The next general elections may be boycotted by all Baloch nationalist parties as pressure builds from separatist groups to abandon parliamentary politics. “There is a big question mark on whether nationalist groups of Balochistan will participate in the elections,” Senator Shahid Hassan Bugti of the Jamhoori Wattan Party (JWP) told The Express Tribune. “It does not matter whether nationalist politicians agree with the ideology and demands of the separatists. The fact is they have sympathies for those in the mountains,” said Bugti, whose party also boycotted the 2008 polls. “Personally, I am disappointed by the way nationalist parties in parliament are being dealt with,” he said, echoing the sentiments of other Baloch parliamentarians. His comments came after a

resolution in the US House of Representatives seeking liberation for Balochistan put the

unrest in Balochistan can be ended politically. However, there has so far been no breakthrough

volatile province in the limelight again. The government has announced it will hold an all parties conference to explore how the

in the government’s efforts to lure nationalist leaders to the negotiating table. Experts fear the sense of alienation among ordinary Baloch can

aggravate if nationalists decide to abandon parliamentary politics, a move that will surely give a boost to the separatist struggle. “Demands for separatism will increase if political parties in the parliament decide to quit. Although there was widespread boycott last time, they never tried to alienate themselves from mainstream politics,” said Zafarullah Khan, a political analyst based in Islamabad. Affirmative steps are needed to save the country’s energy heartlands from drifting further into chaos, he added. “It is important that all Baloch nationalist parties participate in the upcoming elections. It actually makes their case stronger if they win. Remember Awami League sweeping across East Pakistan in 1970,” said political analyst Harris Khalique. Bugti said that even if Baloch

nationalists participate in the coming elections it will not bring any change to the situation on ground. Although he did not explicitly admit that separatists were lobbying to convince nationalists to stay away from Islamabad’s politics, some other leaders said they are doing it with all means. “They (separatists) are doing their best to keep us away from election. They are using their connections within the tribes and in some cases even threatening people,” said a member of the Balochistan Nationalist PartyMengal. The BNP (Mengal) leader, who did not wish to be named, said Akhtar had promised separatist groups that he would never take any decision that could hurt the struggle for the rights of the Baloch. “He will stand by his word,” he added.


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South Asia Tribune I Thursday 01 March 2012

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South Asia Tribune I Thursday 01 March 2012

Indian Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar on Pakistan visit Meira Kumar amazed at Pakistanis’ love for Indians Indian Lok Sabha Speaker says she is pleasantly shocked

Describing Lahore as the “heaven on earth”, Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar has said she was “pleasantly shocked” by the love that the Pakistani people have for their Indian counterparts. “I am pleasantly shocked to see the love that Pakistanis have for Indians,” Kumar said during an interaction with the media in Lahore. “I have been given a lot of love here,” she said before leaving for India this afternoon. She said she would never forget the love she received in Pakistan. Kumar said she had felt as if her five-day trip

issues through dialogue,” she said. Kumar visited the Minar-e-Pakistan accompanied by Asma Arbab Alamgir and MPAs and recorded her comments in the visitors’ book.

had gone by in “five seconds”. Kumar praised residents of Lahore for their love for Indians and prayed for cordial relations and peace between India and Pakistan. “There should be a relationship of peace and friendship between the two countries. Both

The occasion provided many artistically tasteful moments to the Indian parliamentary delegation and other participants. The lyrical session was initiated when Meira Kumar recited a couplet by Ada Jafferi. The chief minister rose up to the challenge and recited a couplet of Ibn-e-Insha to lend force

common enemies of Pakistan and India: Aman Milay Teray Bachon Ko Aur Insaaf Milay Chandi Jaisa Doodh Milay Aur Pani Saaf Milay When Meira Kumar read the poem of an Indian poet which related to peace, the Chief Minister recited the following couplet in response: Mo’jaza koi to ab sho’ala guftar karay Kia zaroori hay har ik faisala talwar karay In response to some verses read by the Indian guest, the CM won applause for saying. ik Shajar Payar Ka Aisa Bhi Lagaya Jaay Jis Ka Hamsaaey Kay Aangan Mein Bhi Saya Jaay He also recited the famous verses of Hafeez Hushyarpuri in context of the Indo-Pak relations. Dilon Ki Uljhanain Barhti Rahain Gi Agar Kuch Mashwarey Bahum Na Hon Gay At the end, Shahbaz Sharif recited the following beautiful couplet of Atta-ul-Haq Qasmi. Khushbowon Ka ik Nagar Abad Hona Chahiay Is Nizam-e-Zar Ko Ab Barbad Hona Chahiay Khuwaishon Ko Khubsoorat Shakal Denay Kay Liyay Khuwaishon ki Qaid Say Azad Hona Chahiay Zulm Bachey Jan Raha Hai Kocha-o-Bazaar Main Adal Ko Bhi Ab Sahib-e-Aulad Hona Chahiay Speaking at the occasion, speaker Indian Lok Sabha Meira Kumar said that she was greatly impressed with the revolutionary thoughts and poetic taste of the CM Shahbaz Sharif and hoped that the dialogue process will continue in the future. She appreciated Daanish School system terming it a great service for the poor. The Indian legislators particularly appreciated

countries should resolve their outstanding

to his point that poverty and ignorance are

the role of Sharif family for the promotion of

She lauded the hospitality of the people of Pakistan and said that all issues between the two countries would be resolved through dialogue. The luncheon hosted by Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif in honour of Indian Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar was turned into a poetic contest when both leaders started to correspond in poetic versus.

democracy in Pakistan and said that Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif have rendered commendable services for strengthening the system. Expressing her good wishes for the progress and well-being of Pakistan and its people, Kumar said her visit was a historic occasion as it was the first by a Lok Sabha Speaker. Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif hosted

a luncheon in honour of Kumar and the parliamentary delegation that accompanied her. Sharif said: “Both Pakistan and India should fight poverty and unemployment as these are the common problems of the people across the borders”. Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar, who led a 17-member Indian Parliamentary delegation to Pakistan, said she was “pleasantly shocked” to see the love of Pakistanis for Indians, and prayed for cordial relations between the two countries. The delegation visited Lahore and Islamabad, the Associated Press of Pakistan (APP)

reported. Meira Kumar Friday visited the Minar-ePakistan in Lahore accompanied by members of the Punjab Provincial Assembly, and wrote a message of good wishes in the visitors’ book. Expressing progress and well-being for Pakistan and its people, the Lok Sabha Speaker

said it was a historical occasion for her as she was the first Indian Parliament Speaker to visit

Pakistan, the Dawn News reported. She said Indians wanted “friendly relations” with the Pakistani people. The Indian delegation comprised members

a meeting with Assembly Speaker Rana Muhammad Iqbal, who later hosted a luncheon in the honour of the visiting team. She later visited the Data Darbar Sufi shrine as well as the memorial to Maharaja Ranjit Singh. Fehmida Mirza, Speaker of the National

Speaker Lok Sabha, India, Meira Kumar arrived here Tuesday on a five-day state visit to Pakistan along with a seven-member parliamentary delegation, comprising members of the Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha. Meira Kumar has come to Pakistan on the

of various political parties and “all of us have come here with the message of peace and love,” the Lok Sabha Speaker said. The delegation visited the Punjab Provincial Assembly in Lahore and witnessed for some time its proceedings. Meira Kumar also held

Assembly -- the Lower House of the Pakistani Parliament -- termed the visit of Meira Kumar “fruitful”. Mirza said that through Parliamentary diplomacy, both countries have to target issues like health, education and poverty.

invitation of Speaker National Assembly Dr. Fehmida Mirza. The visit is the first-ever official visit by an Indian Speaker after a long period. The deligation was received at the airport by Special Assistant to the Prime Minister, Shahnaz Wazir Ali, Indian High Commissioner to Pakistan,Sharat Sabharwal, Secretary National Assembly, Karamat Hussain Niazi and other senior officials of the National Assembly. The visit is aimed to forge better ties and future cooperation between the two parliaments. It also carries a special significance for both Pakistan and India who currently have women speakers in their Parliament’s lower house. During her visit, Speaker Lok Sabha besides meeting with President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Syed Yusuaf Raza Gilani will also meet Chairman Senate Farooq H. Naik


NEWS

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Saarc international I Thursday 01 March 2012

Nigeria’s Boko Haram sect claims deadly church bombing & Attack Kano Mosque Killing 5 Persons •Red alert• Govt imposes 24-hr curfew • 12 confirmed dead, five injured

Angry worshippers at the headquarters of Church Of Christ In Nations (COCIN) in Jos on Sunday killed one of the two suspected bearers of the explosives that hit the Church in the morning. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the bomber and one other, who both wore army camouflage, drove into the Church and beat the security before hitting the building. NAN correspondent, who was at the scene, reports that the suspect appeared to be in his early 30s. The suspect, who wore a neatly carved moustache, looked well-fed. But probably afraid of dying, the bomb carrier jumped out of the vehicle just before the blast went off and attempted to run but could not move as he was affected by the blast. The angry worshipers, however, descended on him and clubbed him to death. An eyewitness and a worshipper in the Church, Joyce Dalyop, told reporters that there were arguments among the worshipers over what to do with the bomber before he was finally killed.

Another report TEN people have lost their lives following an overnight attack on the Gombe Divisional Police station by gunmen suspected

yesterday evening. Five people died instantly and some people were injured after a brazen attack was carried out on the mosque

shooting indiscriminately according to police authorities in the state. The state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Orubebe Ebikeme, who confirmed this in a telephone interview with our correspondent in Gombe, said the situation is under control although no arrests have been made. Ebikeme also said that two policemen, two civilians and a soldier sustained injuries in the attack and are now receiving treatment. Our correspondent, who visited the scene of the incident, said that the station was badly damaged with its roof completely blown off while 10 vehicles parked at the premises were

to be members of the Boko Haram sect. Islamists militants from Boko Haram sect killed five persons at a mosque in the center of Kano city

as muslim faithfuls were observing evening prayers. An unspecified number of gunmen arrived on motorbikes and began

razed. Meanwhile, a 24-hour curfew has been imposed on Gombe metropolis, while soldiers and policemen have mounted roadblocks to ensure strict

compliance with the directive. The Permanent Secretary to the Governor on Media Affairs, Alhaji Adamu Musa Kumo, who confirmed this, said the measure is aimed at preventing further loss of life and property. Tragedy also struck yesterday, in Kaduna, as suspected members of the sect killed one policeman and injured one other person. According to one Sunday Abutu, who witnessed the scene, the policeman had gone to repair his motorcycle at a workshop along Samaru Road when the gunmen arrived. He said the men, numbering about five, engaged the policeman in a mock conversation, pushed him down and collected his gun. “He was trying to get to his feet when the one with the gun shot him and killed him instantly.” he said. The Kaduna State Police PRO, Aminu Lawan, confirmed the incident saying, “Yes. He was a police man attached to our mobile unit along Sabo road.” He however refused to disclose the name of the deceased.

Extradition treaty with Dhaka ‘at final stage’

India and Bangladesh will soon sign an extradition treaty with both the countries on Friday finalising the finer details of the agreement which will allow easy deportation of each other’s wanted persons. India and Bangladesh will soon sign an extradition treaty with both the countries on Friday finalising the finer details of the agreement which will allow easy deportation of each other’s terrorists/criminals without being trapped in lengthy legal process like the one witnessed by New Delhi in the case of Ulfa militant Anup Chetia. Both the countries also discussed the mechanism to move towards a liberal visa regime which both New Delhi and Dhaka think would be a key step in minimizing the scope of illegal immigration from Bangladesh to India. The matters were discussed during the home minister-level talks where Bangladeshi home minister Shahara Khatun said her country did not harbour any anti-India terrorist on its soil. At a joint press conference here with her counterpart P Chidambaram, Khatun said like India, her country too

was a victim of terrorism and would do everything to eradicate the menace from its soil. “Bangladesh will not tolerate any antiIndia activity on its soil. We have not allowed in the past, nor will we do in the future. Both countries are victims of terrorism. So, there is no question of harbouring anyone,” she said when asked about terrorists, who carried out heinous acts in India, having links with Bangladesh. Asked when the extradition treaty between the two countries would be signed, Khatun said the issue was discussed threadbare at the meeting and hoped that it would be concluded in the “near future”. Chidambaram

said the extradition pact was in the final stages of consideration by the Bangladesh government and “I think it is moving forward”. Describing the bilateral meeting as extremely cordial and fruitful, Chidambaram said the IndiaBangladesh relation has reached a new high. Asked about the problem of illegal migration from Bangladesh, Chidambaram said it was no longer a big issue as in 2011 India had given visas to 5 lakh Bangladeshi nationals to travel here and therefore there was no reason for any Bangladeshi to cross over illegally. “But I do admit that some crossings take place. We have to strengthen

the border management. We have identified the border outposts which are vulnerable and both sides will strengthen border management in these BoPs,” he said. Referring to Bangladesh’s concern on firing by BSF along international border, Chidambaram said there was “dramatic decline” in such incidents in last few months and the government of India has taken steps to ensure that no such incident take place in future. Khatun said she was satisfied with the prompt action taken by the Indian government in recent border incidents and hoped that New Delhi would be able to solve other issues related to border enclaves and hand over those persons who were involved in the assassination of Bangladesh’s first premierSheikh Mujibur Rehman and now allegedly hiding in India. Chidambaram said Bangladesh had given the names of some persons who were believed to have been part of the conspiracy to assassinate Rehman some time ago and efforts were on to trace them. “Efforts are being made by the government of West Bengal to trace

them. If we trace those people, and if we identify those people, I think there are legal ways to send them to Bangladesh. Sending them to Bangladesh is not a problem. Problem is tracing them and identifying them,” he said. Times View There has been a significant improvement in India’s ties with Bangladesh in recent years and these agreements are a further confirmation of that trend. However, some ticklish issues like the sharing of Teesta waters and the proposed exchange of enclaves in each other’s territory still remain. In international relations, as in international sport, momentum is a precious commodity. In the case of Indo-Bangladesh ties it is even more so, given how rarely there has been any momentum in the right direction. Both governments must ensure that this opportunity to cement the ties by getting over of the remaining issues is not lost. For the UPA that also means getting Mamata Banerjee on board, which could be difficult but the potential benefits are well worth the effort.


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US Officers Among Dozens Killed Over Quran Burning in Afghanistan Seven Americans wounded in attack on NATO base in Afghanistan

American casualties in Afghan protests mount: Six advisers hurt in grenade attack as Kabul hunts for policeman who killed senior officers • Six American military advisers injured in Kunduz • Two unnamed US military advisers ranked colonel and major shot in the head at Interior

and two Afghans dead. The top American diplomat in the country said the spike in tensions between the U.S. and Afghanistan caused by the burnings, including the killing of two American military advisers Saturday at an Afghan ministry, would not diminish Washington’s commitment to the region.

Sarwar Hussaini confirmed the casualties. A NATO spokesman said that an explosion occurred outside the base, but that the grenades did not breach its defenses. “Initial reports indicate that there were no ISAF service member fatalities,” said Navy Lt. Cmdr. Brian Badura, referring

victims have not been released. The main suspect in the shooting is an Afghan man who worked as a driver for an office on the same floor as the advisers, Interior Ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqi. He did not provide further details about the man or his possible motive. The Taliban claimed that

the people of Afghanistan are angry over the burning of the holy Quran.” Members of the international military coalition described the removal of advisers as a temporary security measure, stressing that they did not expect it to affect partnerships with the Afghans that are key to preparing

Ministry. The killer is still on the loose • Taliban claim responsibility for the deaths in retaliation for burning of Qurans • International advisers pulled from Afghan ministries • Death toll reaches 28 since protests began on Tuesday

“Tensions are running very high here and I think we need to let things calm down, return to a more normal atmosphere, and then get on with business,” Ambassador Ryan Crocker told CNN’s “State of the Union.” Sunday’s violence was the latest in six days of riots across the country by Afghans furious at the way some Qurans at an American base outside of Kabul were disposed of in a burn pit. The incident has swiftly spiraled out of control leaving dozens of people dead, including four U.S. troops killed by their Afghan counterparts. Afghan authorities have launched a manhunt across the country for a driver they suspect in the killing of two U.S. military advisers who were shot to death at an Afghan ministry a day earlier. International advisers working at Afghan ministries were recalled out of fears of another attack. In Kunduz province, thousands of demonstrators started out protesting peacefully but then the group turned violent as they tried to enter the district’s largest city, said Amanuddin Quriashi, district administrator. People in the crowd fired on police and threw grenades at a U.S. base on the city outskirts, he said. Seven NATO troops were wounded and one protester was killed when troops fired out from the U.S. base, Quriashi said. Another demonstrator was killed by Afghan police, he added. Provincial police spokesman

to NATO’s International Security Assistance Force. He declined to comment on whether there were any wounded. More than 30 people have been killed in clashes since it emerged Tuesday that copies of the Muslim holy book and other religious materials had been thrown into a fire pit used to burn garbage at Bagram Air Field, a large U.S. base north of Kabul. The death toll from days of unrest includes four U.S. soldiers _ two killed last week by an Afghan soldier, and two military advisers shot Saturday at the Interior Ministry. NATO and the British government recalled their international advisers from Afghan ministries in the capital late Saturday after the two advisers _ a lieutenant colonel and a major _ were found dead in their office, shot in the back of the head. The names of the

the shooter was one of their sympathizers and that an accomplice had helped him get into the compound to kill the Americans in retaliation for the Quran burnings. President Barack Obama and other U.S. officials have apologized for the burnings, which they said were a mistake. But their apologies have failed to quell the anger of Afghans, who see the Quran burnings as an illustration of what they perceive as foreign disrespect for their culture and religion. Afghan President Hamid Karzai renewed his calls for calm in a televised address to the nation. “Now is the time to return to calm and not let our enemies use this situation,” he said. He added that the unprecedented recall of NATO staff was understandable, saying that “it is a temporary step at a time when

the country’s security forces to take on more responsibility as international troops draw down. “We continue to move forward and stand by our Afghan partners in this campaign. We will not let this divide the coalition,” said Lt. Col. Jimmie Cummings, a spokesman for the international force. The NATO recall affects advisers numbered “in the low hundreds,” Cummings said. Catherine Arnold, a spokeswoman for the British Embassy, said London pulled its advisers “as a temporary measure.” She declined to say how many people were affected by the decision. The U.S. government had already ordered its government advisers to stay inside the secure embassy compound earlier in the week out of fear of retribution, said Gavin Sundwall, a U.S. Embassy spokesman.

The two US Nato officers who were killed on Saturday at the Afghan Interior Ministry were shot following a dispute with an Afghan colleague over the recent Koran burning incident, an official source told reporters.Earlier, the Afghan interior minister said that one of the ministry’s employees is suspected of committing the murders. The police are searching for the suspect, who has fled. Seven U.S. military trainers were wounded on Sunday when protesters in Kunduz in northern Afghanistan threw a grenade at their base, provincial police chief Samihullah Qatra told reporters. NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) confirmed there had been an explosion outside one of its bases in northern Afghanistan, but declined to comment on casualties. Protesters angry over Quran burnings by American troops lobbed grenades at a U.S. base in northern Afghanistan and clashed with police and troops in a day of violence that left seven international troops wounded


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Saarc international I Thursday 01 March 2012

WEEKLY REVIEW OF PAKISTAN NEWS

Contempt case: PM, Aitzaz mull writing letter to Swiss govt

In spite of the Supreme Court coming down hard on the PM for not writing a letter to the Swiss authorities to reopen money-laundering charges against President Asif Ali Zardari, the government is no closer to deciding whether it should submit letter or not The apex court indicted Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani earlier this month for failing to abide by its earlier orders that the government must approach Swiss prosecutors for reopening the cases against the president. “Monday evening is important to us,” Gilani’s counsel Aitzaz Ahsan told The Express Tribune on Sunday, adding, “We have yet to prepare our reply for the apex court.” Ahsan will likely meet the premier today (Monday) and discuss matters related to his contempt of court

case, officials engaged in preparing arguments said. The final decision as to whether a letter should be submitted, however, will be taken by the president himself, the officials added. “The prime minister will obey his (the president’s) order in this regard.” Ahsan, who will submit his evidence in the contempt case

Pakistan plans system to filter and block websites Pakistan has floated a request for proposal for a system to filter and block websites, some months after curbing the use of encryption on the Internet, and toying with the idea of filtering and blocking SMS (short

message service) messages in the country. With the country scheduled to hold elections in 2013, the Internet is likely to be a key casualty, said Shahzad Ahmad, country coordinator for Bytes for All, Pakistan, via email on Sunday. Bytes for All is a human rights organization focused on Internet freedom. The proposed National URL Filtering and Blocking System should be capable of URL (uniform resource locator) filtering and blocking, from domain level to sub-folder, file levels and file types, and each hardware box in the modular architecture should be able to handle a block list of up to 50 million URLs with processing delay of not more than 1 milliseconds, according to the

RFP posted on its website by the National ICT R&D Fund of the country’s ministry of information technology. The government of Pakistan has repeatedly exhibited an obsession to lock up the country’s cyberspace at every given chance, Bytes for All said in a statement Friday. The government’s reasons for putting curbs on the Internet usually revolve around excuses such as upholding national security, the war on terror, and religious morality, it added. Pakistan has increasingly used the country’s Telecommunications (Re-organization) Act to justify a series of decrees that have been expressly in violation of freedom of expression and other human rights, according to Article 19, an anti-censorship group in London. The Act has been cited by the government as the legal basis for numerous violations of freedom of expression, including the blocking of web pages, filtering of communications systems based on keywords, the stopping of Internet services using encryption, and the ordering of mass surveillance of communications systems, Article 19 said in a recent report.

today, is to stick to the stance that the premier did not write the letter to the Swiss government on the advice of the minister for Law and Justice. Both the secretary and the minister of law and justice sent different summaries to the Prime Minister’s office advising him “not to write the letter to prosecutors in Switzerland”. These summaries are

being submitted to the Registrar office in the apex court today. A seven-member judge bench of the apex court will resume hearing on Tuesday. Under SC rules, it is the duty of the attorney general of Pakistan (AGP) to assist the court in case proceedings. “Nobody can influence me on either side. I will perform my duty strictly in accordance with laws,” Attorney General Maulvi Anwarul Haq said. The government’s legal team is also considering buying more time, around four to five days, to conclude its arguments before the larger bench, officials said on Sunday. Tuesday’s hearing will not be enough to conclude the arguments in this case, they added. The arguments of the defence counsel will be based on the documents being filed with the

office of the SC Registrar, Dr Faqir Hussain. The apex court will then examine these documents submitted on behalf of the counsel during the February 28 hearing. If the office accepts the documents, Ahsan will be able to kick off his arguments in court, stated the officials. Legal experts, who did not want to come on the record regarding the prime minister’s decision to not write the letter, told The Express Tribune that regardless of the law minister advising the prime minister, the ultimate responsibility lay with the premier himself as the chief executive of government. Last week, the AGP submitted four volumes of documentary evidence before the larger bench in the prime minister’s contempt of court case. The evidence included the court’s judgments in the NRO case.

Pakistan urges Afghan Taliban to enter peace talks Pakistan urges leaders of the Afghan Taliban movement to enter direct peace negotiations with Kabul, a possible sign that Islamabad is stepping up support for reconciliation in neighboring Afghanistan. Both Afghan and U.S. officials have long accused Pakistan of using militant groups as proxies in Afghanistan to counter the influence of rival India, allegations Islamabad denies. Regional power Pakistan is critical to efforts to bring the Afghan Taliban to the negotiating table because of its historical ties to the group. Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani said in a statement that Pakistan was “prepared to do whatever it takes” to help the Afghan reconciliation process succeed. He called on Hizb-i-Islami -- one of Afghanistan’s most notorious insurgent factions -- and other militant groups to negotiate peace. The United States is attempting to stabilize the country before foreign combat troops withdraw at the end of 2014. The Afghan government has established some contacts with the Taliban, who have made a strong comeback after being toppled by a U.S. invasion in 2001, but there are no signs that full-fledged peace talks will happen anytime soon. U.S. diplomats have also been seeking to broaden exploratory talks that began clandestinely in Germany in

late 2010 after the Taliban offered to open a representative office in the Gulf emirate of Qatar, prompting demands for inclusion from Kabul. Afghan President Hamid Karzai has frequently urged Pakistan to advance the peace process. “IT’S IMPORTANT” Rahimullah Yusufzai, an expert on regional affairs, said Gilani’s comments marked a shift in Pakistani policy. “It’s important because I am hearing this for the first time, that the Pakistani prime minister or somebody that important is urging the Taliban ... to talk directly to the Afghan government,” he said. Afghan officials are holding talks with the Afghan Taliban in Pakistan, the head of a provincial peace council in the insurgency’s heartland Kandahar said on Tuesday. Kandahar peace council head Ata

Mohammad Ahmadi told Reuters the officials had been meeting for “some time” with mid-level Taliban commanders in the southwest Pakistani city of Quetta, where the leadership of the militant group is said to be based. It is unlikely that any meetings between Afghan officials and Taliban commanders could take place in Quetta without the knowledge of Pakistan’s pervasive intelligence agencies. Pakistan may have stepped up its cooperation with the Afghan government by allowing the meetings in Quetta. Afghanistan is known to want access to Taliban leaders belonging to the so-called Quetta Shura, or council, named after the city where they are believed to be based. Kabul believes they would be the decision makers in any substantive peace negotiations aimed at ending the war now in its eleventh year.


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WEEKLY REVIEW OF MALDIVE NEWS

Queen fears for ‘Mandela of Maldives’ India hastens to damp down tensions in the Maldives

Feuding leaders agree to talks as Delhi worries about the threat of Chinese influence It took a high-ranking Indian diplomat, foreign secretary Ranjan Mathai, dispatched by Delhi, to soothe the political tension in the Maldives. On 16 February, Mathai announced the start of talks agreed by the two sides whose standoff threatened to tip the country into chaos: former president Mohamed Nasheed, forced to resign on 7 February by a police mutiny; and his successor, former vice-president Mohammed Waheed Hassan. Mathai’s intervention is significant; a crisis in the Maldives is one of India’s nightmares and it is making full use of its diplomatic resources to restore calm. For a decade China has been busy in the Indian Ocean, a crucial transit zone for maritime trade between eastern Asia and the Middle East. Few fixtures are more firmly rooted in the Queen’s diary than Commonwealth Day, which is marked with a Westminster Abbey service on the second Monday in March. But in this, her Diamond Jubilee year, the Sovereign has less cause for celebration than usual as she prepares for next month’s gettogether. For one of her favourite young leaders has

been ousted in a coup. And the Commonwealth is agonising over the vexed question of what to do about it. It is less than a month since Mohamed Nasheed,

the go-ahead, British-educated journalist who earned the sobriquet ‘Mandela of the Maldives’ after he turned the islands from a dictatorship to a fledgling democracy, was toppled in a power grab backed by the security forces. A warrant is now out for his arrest. Indian foreign secretary Ranjan Mathai is in the Maldives as a follow up to his visit on the 15th of this month to mediate a peaceful resolution to the political standoff in the country. An official from the Indian High Commission confirmed that Mathai was in the country to assess the developments of the agreement reached between the relevant stakeholders in the Maldives during his last visit.

Foreign secretary Mathai is not scheduled to issue a press statement pertaining to the visit, the official added. During a press conference held after the conclusion of Mathai’s last visit, he had announced that all the parties concerned had agreed that in the interests of national reconciliation and to encourage harmony between the people, the government of national unity would hold discussions with all relevant parties to conduct elections by an early date. He had also said that the process of preparation and discussion between the relevant stakeholders to hold the election would take place before the Parliament convenes on March 1st. However, despite Mathai’s announcement former President Mohamed Nasheed’s Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) is yet to commit to the national unity government proposed by his successor President Dr. Mohamed Waheed Hassan Manik. Although the all party roadmap discussions have commenced after the initial absence of MDP, an agreement of an early election date seems to be remote as only a day remains before the Parliament reconvenes.

800 new members join MDP from Addu

Maldivian Democratic Party’s (MDP) Addu office has revealed that 800 people from Addu has newly joined the party after the premature end to former President Mohamed Nasheed’s presidency on the 7th of this month. MDP Addu Secretary General Ahmed Shareef said that the 800 new members were all from Hithadhoo and their membership forms have been handed over to party President Dr. Ibrahim Didi during the rally held in Addu on Thursday night. Adhaalath Party’s (AP) Addu Secretary General Ali Salim Rasheed is amongst the members who joined MDP. He had also made an address in Thursday night’s rally held during Nasheed’s visit to Addu. Salim said that his decision to switch sides was down to the fact that AP had been bought off, original direction of the party had

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gone astray and the leaders had lost their sincerity. Shareef added that more people were still joining MDP and the party had received great reception and support in Addu. On that note, Shareef said that new memberships were being processed in MDP Hithadhoo

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camp and in MDP offices located in various other islands. “The support for this party is increasing with each passing day. We have opened the opportunity for everyone who wishes to join the party,” he said. “We have also intensified our efforts to recruit more members to this party.” The recently ousted MDP has the most number of members out of the 15 registered political parties of the country.

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Saarc international I Thursday 01 March 2012

WEEKLY REVIEW OF NEPAL NEWS

Three killed as bomb goes off in heart of Kathmandu

Three persons were killed and seven others injured when a powerful bomb went off some 300 metres away from Singha Durbar, the country’s administrative hub, here on Monday. The explosion outside the Nepal Oil Corporation’s (NOC) central office at Babarmahal occurred at around 1:11pm, killing two men on the spot. The third died at Bir Hospital. Though some callers identifying themselves as “representatives” of a lesser known underground outfit, the Samyukta Jatiya Mukti MorchaBishwokranti (SJMM), claimed responsibility, a statement issued by the same organisation later rubbished the claims. According to the police in Dhading, the SJMM had detonated a bomb at the Ncell mobile phone tower in the district on February 25. Police identified two of the dead in Monday’s blast as Krishna Bahadur Tamang and Man Bahadur Tamang of Baireni, Dhading. The identity of the third victim was yet to be ascertained. The explosion is believed to be the

second most powerful after the 2009 bombing of the Assumption Catholic Church at Dhobighat in Lalitpur when three persons were killed and several

Som Bahadur Tamang, 35; Raghu Nath Khadka, 45, of Bhaktapur and Bishnu Pulara of Dhangadi, Kailali, Man Bahadur Kunwar and

others were injured. Though the church bombing case was solved after about a year with the arrest of Nepal Defence Army Chief Ram Prasad Mainali, three other blast cases after the incident are still unsolved. The injured in Monday’s blast have been identified as Basu Shrestha, 20, of Lubhu, Lalitpur; Lal Bahadur Tamang, 65 of Baireni, Dhading;

Bhim Bahadur Kunwar of Accham, and Som Bahadur Tamang of Bara district. Som Bahadur, who was critically injured, was undergoing an operation at Bir Hospital till late in the evening on Monday. Dr DP Singh, the head of the emergency department at the hospital, said three of the injured have been admitted, while others are being discharged.

“I lost my son and a neighbour. Fate robbed everything from me,” said an injured Lal Bahadur Tamang, the father of Krishna and the neighbour of Man Bahadur. “We have already found clues. Our preliminary investigation shows an improvised explosive device of around 6 volts was used. We will conclude the investigation as soon as possible,” SP Rajendra Shrestha told mediapersons at the site. Home Minister Bijaya Kumar Gachhadar reached the site at 2.45 pm and left for Bir Hospital after five minutes. After visiting the injured, Gachhadar announced a relief package for the families of the dead and free treatment for the injured. He condemned the blast, saying it was a threat not only to security, but the entire government. In a press meet, Home Ministry Spokesperson Shanker Koirala said the government has formed a fourmember investigation committee chaired by DIG Upendra Kanta Aryal, the head of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CIB).

“It is understood that the Sumyukta Jatiya Mukti Morcha-Bishwokranti carried out the attack. Such bombs were used during the Maoist insurgency,” Koirala said, adding that the government will strengthen the security mechanism to avoid such incidents in the future. Shyam Kaji Maharjan, a witness, said police reached the site a few minutes after they were informed. “We were not in the condition to wait for ambulances. The first thing that came to our mind was how we could help the survivors. Though the police hesitated at first, we put them in the police van and off to the hospital,” he said. The explosion at the NOC office comes three days after the stateowned oil monopoly hiked the prices of petroleum products. A meeting of the Public Accounts Committee on the fuel price hike was reportedly underway when the explosion took place. The CPN-UML denounced the attack as “cowardly and terrorising.”

Indian PM to arrive in Nepal ‘very soon’ Hetauda only 4 hours Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will be arriving in Nepal ‘very soon’, several sources confirm. Although the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Indian Embassy in Kathmandu have kept mum, the visit is most likely in late March or early April. Although the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Indian Embassy in Kathmandu have kept mum, the visit — of two to three days — is most likely in late March or early April. Both the countries have even postponed a meeting of joint commission of their foreign ministers slated in Kathmandu for March first week so as to ensure and make Indian Prime Minister Singh’s visit a success at an early date, added sources. “We are in a rush for the preparation of the visit,” said a senior government official. Another source told THT that the only possible threat to the possible visit is whether the incumbent government will be in place or not till then. In a brief conversation with this daily, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs Narayan Kaji Shrestha said the Indian prime

from Kathmandu now

minister’s visit was very much on cards as per an invitation extended during Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai’s visit to India and that he wished to make it happen at the earliest date. During Deputy PM and Home Minister Bijaya Kumar Gachhadar’s visit to New Delhi in January, Singh had reiterated his desire to visit Nepal ‘soon’. Earlier Indian Ambassador to Nepal Jayant Prasad had told journalists that Indian Prime Minister Singh would visit Nepal at an early but convenient date and both the governments were doing the groundwork to make the visit

successful. If Singh arrives in Kathmandu anytime now, he will be the first Indian prime minister to pay an official visit to Nepal since IK Gujral came here in 1997. Atal Bihari Vajpayee though was in Nepal in January 2002, it was not an official visit as he was here to take part in the 11th SAARC summit. Sources said DPM Shrestha, is likely to embark on a New Delhi trip soon to lay foundation for the visit of the Indian prime minister. However, his trip to Delhi will depend on his health, as he is currently recovering after a surgery.

Tiring and bumpy rides to Hetauda from Kathmandu via Kulekhani are a thing of the past now. A 26-km stretch of road from Dakshinkali to Kulekhani came into operation this week, making the road smooth and risk-free. As of now, the Hetauda-KulekhaniKathmandu road is the only alterative to the busiest Prithivi Highway to reach the southern plains from Kathmandu. It will lose the shortcut-road title once the much-hyped fast-tracks from Kathmandu to Nijgad and other proposed routes like a shuttle tunnel and another fast-track from Hetauda to Sisneri come into service. With the repair, the five-hour journey from the Capital to Hetauda has been shortened by more than one hour. Another part of the stretch—Hetauda to Kulekhani (around 25 km)—had been already blacktopped. Joint-secretary at the Ministry of Physical Planning and Works (MoPPW) Ramesh Raj Bista and officials from the Department of Roads (DoR) and the Indian Embassy surveyed the condition of the repaired road as they drove out of Kathmandu to Hetauda. “Now the road is very smooth,” said one of the officials. The road was blacktopped with Indian assistance of Rs 90 million. “We have

also requested India to assist in the other sections of this road, to which India is positive,” said the official. More than 1,000 medium and small vehicles ply this route every day, of which, more than 500 are Tata Sumos, a popular public carrier. Meanwhile, the government has also proposed construction of the 92-km Kanti Lok Path, another shortest road to connect Kathmandu with Hetauda and Birgunj. “The increasing population in Kathmandu and the need for a faster and reliable link to speed up economic development in the Valley demand urgent need to redevelop and upgrade Kanti Lok Path to make it a reliable alternative to connect Kathmandu with Hetauda and facilitate import and export from India,” the DoR website says.


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WEEKLY REVIEW OF SRILANKA NEWS

Sri Lanka resists UN resolution against alleged war crimes Britain and US seek accountability for civilian deaths, but the island says this would set back reconciliation efforts reported the Independent.

Britain and the US are preparing for a bitter showdown with Sri Lanka as the two countries engage in a major effort to pass an international resolution rebuking Colombo over alleged war crimes said to have been committed during military operations against ethnic rebels. A resolution calling upon Sri Lanka to fully investigate who was responsible for the deaths of thousands of Tamil civilians and to establish genuine reconciliation is to be tabled during a meeting of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHCR), which opens tomorrow. At the same time, Sri Lanka is assiduously working to block any such measure. “Many thousands of Sri Lankan civilians died or suffered other violations in the final weeks of the long-running civil war in 2009. There has been no complete accounting of those deaths or other violations and no pursuit of accountability for them,” Eileen Donahoe, the US ambassador to the UNHCR in Geneva, said in a statement this week. “We believe that real reconciliation must be based on accountability, not impunity.” The move to pass the resolution follows the findings of a UN-appointed panel which last year said there were “credible allegations” both the Sri Lankan army and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) were responsible for war crimes in the final stages of the decades-long civil war. The panel suggested tens of thousands of civilians lost their lives in the last

days and weeks of the combat and that Sri Lankan troops fired into a supposed “no fire zone”. While Sri Lanka rejected the report, it constituted its own internal investigation, the Lessons Learned and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC). This report - which found the armed forces had not acted inappropriately was rejected by the UN and criticised by human rights groups. The US, which has welcomed some of the LLRC’s recommendations, says it fails to deal with the issue of accountability. “There cannot be impunity for large-scale civilian casualties, and that if there is to be

real reconciliation it must be based on an accounting of the truth and serious implementation of changes,” said Ms Donahoe. Sri Lanka has dismissed the US claims and a large team of officials,

praised the government in Colombo for its treatment of refugees. Western diplomats in South Asia and Geneva said the wording of the resolution was still being worked out but that it is likely to be modest, given

has shifted and that the Sri Lankan government can no longer turn a bind eye to war crimes and crimes against humanity without becoming a pariah.” The Sri Lankan authorities insist a

headed by foreign minister GL Peiris, is lobbying countries to oppose any resolution, saying such a move would damage ongoing reconciliation efforts. A government spokesman, Susil Premajayantha, said rallies would be held across Sri Lanka in opposition to the move. “We will organise demonstrations to show that the people of this country are with the government. They are against the Western forces,” he told reporters. “We have lobbied member countries [of the UNHRC] and the feedback that we have is very positive. We will be able to block any resolution against us.” An earlier attempt to pass a resolution against Sri Lanka in 2009 failed, largely because of the decision by India, Pakistan and other nations to adopt a different document that

the desire to have secure the support of as many of the 47 UNHCR member countries as possible. “No-one wants to see the resolution defeated,” said one Western diplomat, who asked not be identified. It is unlikely the phrase “war crimes” will appear, though there could be a demand for Sri Lanka to report back to the council. The role of India at the meeting could be crucial. A spokesman for India’s foreign ministry said no decision had yet been taken on whether Delhi will support the resolution. Campaigners claim that given the sensitivity of the issue, even a modest resolution would mark a success. Fred Carver of the Sri Lanka Campaign for Peace and Justice, said: “If successful, this motion will show the opinion of the world, and in particular the opinion of nations in the global south,

number of recommendations made by the LLRC have already been put in place. Earlier this month, the army said it had established a panel to investigate whether soldiers were responsible for civilian deaths. The army has always insisted it adopted a zero civilian casualty policy and for some time claimed no civilians had been killed. Prof Rajiva Wijesinha, an MP and an adviser on reconciliation to President Mahinda Rajapaksa said he had recommended the establishment of a ministry dedicated to reconciliation. He added: “Unfortunately we are hopeless about letting the world know what we are doing.” Britain will support the resolution but will not sponsor the measure. The US is currently looking for a co-sponsor, ideally a nation from the developing world.

Tamils ‘Face Torture After UK Deportation’ UK ‘to deport 100 Tamils’ as Sri Lanka fights UN resolution

A plane chartered by the British government is to deport about 100 Tamil asylum seekers to Sri Lanka, according to a human rights charity. Human Rights Watch claims the aircraft will fly the Tamils back to the country where they could face interrogation and torture. It claims at least eight similar flights

have flown Tamils back to Colombo in recent months, and several of those deported have gone on to face serious abuse by Sri Lankan army forces. The charity says that one Tamil alleged that during interrogation he was beaten with batons and burned with cigarettes, and had kerosene poured over his head.

It details allegations by other Tamils, some of whom claim to have been subjected to gang rape by security forces. “The British government has an international legal obligation not to deport people who have a credible fear of torture upon return,” said Brad Adams of Human Rights Watch. “Convincing reports of arbitrary arrests and torture demand that the UK government suspend returns of rejected Tamil asylum seekers to Sri Lanka until it can fairly and thoroughly assess their individual claims based on up-to-date human rights information on Sri Lanka.” Deportation flights have continued despite an MP last year accusing the government of “painting targets on the backs” of Sri Lankan returnees.

Shangri-La hotels enters local hospitality industry

The ground breaking ceremony of the much awaited Shangri-La hotel, Colombo, took place yesterday in the presence of Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa and a large number of foreign and local dignitaries. The Shangri-La hotel Colombo with 661 rooms will be opened in mid 2015 and the property will be fully integrated into the local community from the very beginning, offering employment opportunities and infrastructural support. In 2010, Hong -Kong based leisure group ,Shangri - La hotels and resorts announced the purchase of 10 acres of government owned land facing the Galle Face Green promenade. “The Shangri-La hotel entry into Sri Lanka will change the entire paradigm

of the local hospitality industry while making Sri Lanka a preferred tourism destination among high end international holiday makers. In addition, the foundation laying ceremony of Shangri -La Hambantota Resort and Spa will take place today and this would be a 315 room city hotel built on approximately 145 acres of land in Hambantota .


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India-Pakistan trade may touch $10 b by 2015: PHD chamber

Bilateral commerce between India and Pakistan may touch USD 10 billion by 2015, if trade and investment barriers are removed, Progress Harmony Development chamber has said. The two sides have been making efforts to strengthen the economic relations. In 2010-11, the bilateral trade between the two countries stood at USD 2.7 billion, with the trade balance heavily in the favour of India, it said. “The potential gains from the increased bilateral co- operation between India and Pakistan are immense. Constraints on issuing of visas, cumbersome payments and customs procedures limit the scope

for trade,” PHD Chamber President Sandip Somany said. India’s top export items to Pakistan include sugar, cotton, man-made

filaments and chemicals, while its imports comprise mineral fuels and organic chemicals. The chamber, further said, Pakistan

India seeks up to 5 MT Saudi crude oil

India sought up to five million tonnes of additional crude from Saudi Arabia with a view to make up for lost supplies as New Delhi is looking at paring its oil purchase from Iran in the face of US and EU sanctions against Teheran.

“We asked them to supply more oil to us...we asked them that they should try and organize four-five million tonnes oil more each passing year,” oil minister S Jaipal Reddy said after talks with visiting Saudi deputy oil minister Abdul

Aziz Bin Salman bin Abdulaziz. The additional supplies would essentially help ONGC’s refining arm, MRPL, which is the biggest Indian buyer of Iranian crude, to “diversify” its sources. MRPL buys over seven million tonnes of crude from Iran. But officials said the additional supplies were being sought to feed the expanding refining capacity. The statement was to avoid upsetting Iran in view of the long bilateral ties. “Our relationship with Saudi Arabia are purely bilateral. It is our single biggest supplier. It has no relationship to our relationship with any other country in the world, including Iran,” Reddy said.

Iran to give $250m for gas pipeline project: Petroleum minister Iran has agreed to export 80,000 barrels of crude oil per year to Pakistan and has also agreed to provide $250 million for the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project, revealed Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Dr Asim Hussain on Tuesday. In a special parliamentary committee meeting, Hussain told the committee members that Pakistan had asked for $500 million but Iran agreed to only $250 million. He added that a Pakistani delegation will visit Iran in mid-March in connection with the project. The delegation will finalise the deal. The tender for the Pak-Iran gas pipeline will be issued on Monday or Tuesday, he further added. The United States has been pressurising Pakistan to

not go ahead with the deal because of its sanctions of Iran, however, Pakistan insisted on continuing with it. Russia has also asked Pakistan to award a $1.2 billion pipeline-laying contract to its energy giant Gazprom without going into bidding process.

has not yet reciprocated Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status for India and maintains a narrow list of tradable items that India may export to Pakistan. Full liberalisation of trade by placing items on a ‘negative’ list rather than having only a ‘positive’ list would boost the bilateral trade, it said. At present, the ‘positive list’ agreed upon by the two sides contains over 1,900 items that can be traded. The ‘negative list’ would include items that cannot be traded. The two sides have been making efforts to strengthen the economic relations. During the recent visit of Commerce

and Industry Minister Anand Sharma to Pakistan, Islamabad has assured New Delhi to grant MFN status by end of this year. PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry, established in 1905, is a proactive and dynamic multiState apex organisation working at the grass-root level and with strong national and international linkages. The Chamber acts as a catalyst in the promotion of industry, trade and entrepreneurship. PHD Chamber, through its researchbased policy advocacy role, positively impacts the economic growth and development of the nation.

Dhaka sits with Delhi today on Nepal hydropower plant

Bangladesh is expected to propose setting up of a joint-venture hydropower plant in north-eastern region of India in a Joint Steering Committee (JSC) meeting on power sector cooperation in New Delhi today. If India agrees in principle to Bangladesh’s proposal, then other steps will be taken in this regard including choosing a site for the plant, from which Bangladesh could import electricity to meet its growing demand, a senior official of the Bangladesh foreign ministry told The Daily Star yesterday. Dhaka is also likely to come up with a proposal to import power from Nepal and Bhutan through Indian territories. Bangladesh was keen on getting power from the gas-based Palatana power project in neighbouring Tripura state, for which Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, during her visit to Agartala earlier this year, had even expressed her government’s interest to buy a stake. But sources said the deals for sale of power from Palatana project had been firmed up even before Bangladesh made the offer. Senior officials from Bangladesh and India will sit here today in a meeting of the Joint Working Group (JWG) on power sector cooperation, to do

the groundwork for tomorrow’s JSC meeting headed by power secretaries of the two countries. Both sides will also review the progress in implementation of the deals inked between the two countries on power sector at the JWG meeting, said the foreign ministry official, who is already in New Delhi in connection with the meeting. The two meetings are follow-up actions by the two sides in the light of the Joint Communique issued after Hasina’s visit to New Delhi in January, 2010, in which concrete bilateral cooperation in power sector was an important component. This is the first time the two countries have moved in to diversify their cooperation in power sector. So far, Bangladesh and India have signed a number of deals including import of 250 megawatt power by Bangladesh and setting up of a 1,320MW coal-fired joint-venture power plant in Khulna. A final deal on the Khulna plant was signed in Dhaka last month between Bangladesh’s state-owned Power Development Board and India’s state-owned National Thermal Power Corporation.


Saarc international I Thursday 01 March 2012

ENTERTAINMENT

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ALL IN GOOD TIME STARS SHINE AT FILM FESTIVALS The stars of Ayub Khan Din’s new offering ‘All in Good Time’ have been dazzling audiences at the Glasgow and Dublin Film Festivals. Over the past two weeks, Amara Karan, Reece Ritchie and Meera

Syal have been busy introducing cinema-goers to the hugely warm hearted, comic tale adapted for the big screen from the Olivier award winning play Rafta Rafta. Centred around a close knit, larger

than life British Asian family living in present day Bolton, ‘All in Good Time’ stars Reece Ritchie (The Lovely Bones) and Amara Karan (The Darjeeling Limited) as Atul Dutt and his young bride Vina, for whom the first taste of

married life is proving far from straightforward. Amara says of the response from the festivals: “The Glasgow audience was the first to see the film in all its glory. We couldn’t have asked for a

warmer reception and reaction to the film.” Reece, who plays the young and rather frustrated groom, adds: “It was really encouraging to meet audiences and get their feedback. They completely got the cultural idiosyncrasies and humour, but also loved the sensitivity that Ayub always manages to pull out of the bag.” Harish Patel (Run Fat Boy Run) and Meera Syal (Anita and Me) reprise their roles from the original play as Atul’s parents, Eeshwar and Lopa. Meera Syal says of the film: Principally, it’s a family comedy. What is great about Ayub’s writing is he can turn on a sixpence, so you can be hilariously laughing one minute but then suddenly you’re into something very real and dark and moving about family life.” All In Good Time is directed by Nigel Cole (Calendar Girls, Made In Dagenham) and produced by Oscar nominated Andy Harries (The Queen) and Suzanne Mackie (Calendar Girls, Kinky Boots). The film is scheduled for release in May and is set to follow in the footsteps of Ayub Khan Din’s previous successes East is East and West is West.

Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy gets Pakistan its first Oscar

Continued from page 1 >> for the Oscar, the second is the internationally acclaimed BritishPakistani plastic surgeon who traveled to his motherland to heal victims of acid attacks, and last but not the least is of the heroic survivors of acid attacks who are struggling to deal with the consequences of their disfigurement. ‘Saving Face’ tells the story of a BritishPakistani plastic surgeon, Dr. Muhammad Jawad, who traveled to Pakistan to treat acid attack victims. Jawad has made several trips to Pakistan with surgical teams to work with the victims. He also organized a major medical relief effort to help earthquake survivors in Pakistan in 2005. In 2008, he received widespread public and international media attention when he performed his pioneering treatment on British model and television presenter Katie Piper, whose ex-boyfriend threw acid on her face.

Central characters of this documentary are two women, Zakia and Rukhsana, from southern Punjab who survived acid attacks and have been fighting for justice ever since. Instead of only portraying the misery of the victims, the film focuses on the vigor with which they endure the process of emotional and physical healing. Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy is the first Pakistani filmmaker to win an Oscar nomination for co-directing this film with Daniel Junge. Obaid-Chinoy previously won an Emmy award for her film Pakistan’s Taliban Generation. This film was also the recipient of the Alfred Dupont Award and the Association for International Broadcasting Award.

Press Club Award, the American Women in Radio and Television Award, the Cine Golden Eagle Award and the Banff Rockie Award. Above all, this documentary, along with its accolades, is truly a testimony of the devotion and fervor with which Sharmeen, Dr. Jawad, Zakia and Rukhsana are pursuing their individual goals. Saving Face brings together the hard work and creativity of an ambitious documentarian, the dedication of a passionate doctor, and determination of valiant victims of acid attacks. The film also emerges as a face-saver for Pakistan, amid growing negative perceptions about the country worldwide.

Obaid-Chinoy is the first non-American to receive the Livingston Award for best international reporting. In 2007, she received the broadcast journalist of the year award in the UK from One World Media for her work in a series of documentary films. For her work on other films, she also received the Overseas

The Oscar nod for Saving Face recognizes of a Pakistani filmmaker and sends message to all the ambitious Pakistanis and the world that hard work pays off, no matter where you live and your passion to prevail over the crisis can take you places whether you are a filmmaker, a doctor or a survivor.

OMG…

Manchester Duo Rock The Urban Charts Single already at number 2! World famous dynamic MC duo Metz and Trix are back with their new single ‘OMG’ which has already, in its early stages, been labeled as a guaranteed dance floor smasher that is fresh, relevant and on the pulse. ‘OMG’ marks a return to the studio for the boys to collaborate with pioneering urban music DJ/ Producer Surinder Rattan. The feel good Dirty Dutch house track has been described as a euphoric pop song with street-smart savvy lyrics. ‘OMG’ received its first TV play as part of BBC Asian Network’s Summer of Mela’s, which was aired for a week on BBC Red Button in September and received approx 1 million views. (http:// www.bbc.co.uk/asiannetwork/ events/melas/2011/ 6:30mins in) Originally featured on BBC Radio One’s website home page w/c 19th September 2011 (http:// www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/ p00klgjc ), the single is shaping up to be a massive radio hit with the likes of BBC Asian Network, BBC Radio 1, 1Xtra and Capital Radio all showing huge interest and championing the single in this early stage of 2012. The song has received a massive

response since New Year’s Eve when Radio 1’s Nihal played it live at the London Eye celebrations and a global audience of millions worldwide either side of the midnight hour. The main club mix of the track is also supported with a Dubstep Remix which has also been identified as ‘HOT FOR 2012’ as part of Radio 1’s Specialist Takeover and received Daytime Radio 1 play by Huw Stephens who succinctly highlighted his thoughts on the track through his twitter account as ‘a banger’. The song successfully entered the Official Music Week UK & Europe Urban Chart as a new entry at No.22 for W/C Mon 30/01/12 rising to Number 20 the week after. Subsequently, Sacha Brooks played it across the Capital FM Network. After continued support from 1xtra and Radio 1 it rose further to No. 11 and then the week after breaking into the Top 10 to No. 9 in the charts and is still gathering a huge amount of hype. W/C Mon 27/02/12 OMG has officially been announced at No. 2 in the charts, 1 place behind Will I AM, Mick Jagger and Jennifer Lopez’s hit T.H.E (The Hardest Ever).

To advertise call 020 8904 0619


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Is it another ID theft? Continued from page 01 >>

suspect, told The Sun newspaper she refused to believe her husband was among the bombers “until they have his DNA.”Source: International Herald Tribune Ms Lewthwaite said she believed her husband’s mind had been poisoned by visits to radical mosques in London, Luton and the north. Reported Sky 2005. An official in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi confirmed that a warrant has been issued for a woman using several identities, one of which is Samantha Lewthwaite - the name of the woman married to King’s Cross bomber Jermaine Lindsay. Scotland Yard said it had recently sent a team of officers to Kenya to assist investigators with a terrorism-related incident. It refused to discuss the extent of its involvement in the operation. Scotland Yard refused to confirm if it was trying to trace Lewthwaite but that it was continuing to work with the Kenyan authorities. A police spokesman in Nairobi said: “We do not know it is her (Ms Lewthwaite)... we know she has (several) identities.” Al-Shabaab: the Somali militant group recruiting young Britons to its ranks Intelligence agencies say young extremists are travelling to training camps in Somalia as they once did in Afghanistan Why al-Qa’eda seems to prefer South African passports An article written by Anneli Botha, International Crime in Africa Programme, explained that the integrity of South African passports is again in the spotlight. Indeed, South African passports have been in the news for all the wrong reasons in recent years. Known double agent Haroon Rashid Aswat, a UK citizen, was arrested in Zambia on 20 July 2005. Prior to his arrest had lived in Johannesburg for five months. What raised concern was that the four suicide bombers responsible for the 7/7 bombings in London called Aswat 20 times on his South African cell phone. Authorities in the United States also wanted Aswat for setting up an Oregon training camp in 1999. At the time of his arrest he was traveling on a South African passport. American Terrorism Expert John Loftus revealed that Haroon Rashid Aswat, the suspect wanted by British Police for ‘masterminding’ the July 7th London bombings and July 21st attempted bombings is in fact an asset of MI6, the British Secret Service. According to Loftus, Aswat has been under the protection of MI6 for many years.” Why do the world’s most dangerous terrorists prefer South African passports,

and how do they obtain them so readily? South African officials, as early as 2004, have acknowledged that al-Qa’eda militants and other terrorists travelling through Europe have obtained South African passports. Barry Gilder, the then Director General of the Department of Home Affairs, and also a former Deputy Director in the National Intelligence Agency, in July 2004 confirmed that authorities came across a number of instances in which South African passports were found in the hands of al-Qa’eda suspects or their associates in Europe. At that time crime syndicates sold South African identity documents and passports for as little as R500. To make matters worse, authorities in the United Kingdom found boxes of authentic South African passports in a raid during that same period. In addition to above, a number of international security experts also raised concern that South Africa is being used as a transit to Somalia. While authorities might scrutinize the flight arrangements of young men travelling into Kenya, similar questions will not be raised when transiting through South Africa. The value of the South African passport to terrorist operatives is easy to understand. There are three possible ways to acquire an illegal South African passport: • Altered passports. Using stolen and lost passports, a counterfeiter inserts the false identity. • Blank passports or passports containing no personal details. Biometric passports contain a chip that replicates the data printed on the document. • Legal passport obtained through corrupt means. These documents do not give any indication that it is a false document. Bribing officials to get hold of blank documents is one thing, but bribing officials at Home Affairs to issue a passport with incorrect information is far more serious. The US and British intelligence agencies are increasingly concerned about al-Shabaab developing links with other al-Qaida affiliates, particularly Aqap (al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula), and spreading Islamist-inspired

Continued from page 9 >>

Indian economic growth slips to 6.1% A slowdown in manufacturing and mining has accelerated the shift of Asia’s third-largest economy to lower growth after a failed push to hit double digits. A collapse in investment has also increased expectations that the Reserve Bank of India may cut benchmark lending rates at its next policy review meeting on March 15. Rajiv Kumar, the director-general of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, said that Wednesday’s “sobering” gross domestic product data put an official target of 6.9 per cent growth for the full fiscal year out of reach and a bounce back next year in doubt. Economic growth slowed to its weakest annual pace in almost three years in the three months to December, as high interest rates and rising input costs constrained investment and manufacturing. Gross domestic product rose 6.1% in October to December compared with a year earlier, a lower than expected increase, figures from the federal statistics office showed. That marked a sharp pullback from 6.9% growth in July to September and was the seventh successive quarterly slowdown, providing a gloomy backdrop for a central bank policy meeting and federal budget, both due in just over two weeks. The median forecast of economists in a poll was for GDP to rise 6.4%. The outcome

NEWS

of 6.1% was the weakest in 11 quarters. The yield on India’s benchmark 10-year government bond rose 1 basis point to 8.2% after the data. Shares and the rupee were little changed. Growth in Asian economies is expected to slow down further in the first quarter of calendar 2012, suggesting that India may feel more economic pain in the months ahead. China’s January to March growth is forecast to drop for the fifth straight quarter. Unlike most other Asian economies, India has struggled to beat down inflation, so the central bank has kept interest rates at a three-year high since October while policymakers elsewhere in the region were cutting rates. India has also suffered a longer-term steady decline in growth owing to a lack of economic reform that resulted in weak investment. Average growth of 9.5% in the three years to 2007/08 slowed to 8.4% in the past two fiscal years and is widely expected to ease to about 7% in the current financial year ending March. The Reserve Bank of India, which has asked the government to cut fiscal deficits to help rein in inflation, signalled last month it was ready to cut interest rates to try to stimulate the economy. Consumer prices rose 7.65% in the year to January. That was higher than wholesale

inflation but suggested some moderation in price pressures which could give the central bank room to cut interest rates. Still, rising oil prices are emerging as a concern for the RBI while finance minister Pranab Mukherjee, faced with a burgeoning fiscal deficit due in part to a huge subsidy bill, is not in a strong position to announce major stimulus measures. The central bank will release the outcome of its policy review on March 15, a day before the government announces it budget. Economists point to government policy paralysis, stubborn inflation and high interest rates as major reasons for the slowdown in investment. Wednesday’s data showed manufacturing barely grew at just 0.4% in the December quarter from a year earlier. Annual car sales are likely to drop for the first time since 2002 in the year to March after January sales fell short of expectations. The farm sector grew 2.7% from a year earlier, the data showed. Economists said growth may languish below 7% in coming quarters as well, particularly if crude oil prices stay high. India imports nearly 80% of its oil needs, and oil accounts for nearly a third of the country’s imports. The central bank ran a 20-month interest rate tightening cycle until October to try to rein in inflation. Economists generally expect the RBI to cut its main policy rate by 100 basis points in 2012 from the current 8.5%.

South Asia Tribune I Thursday 01 March 2012

extremism to west Africa, including Nigeria, where some militants have declared links with al-Qaida. A former U.S. Army soldier and recent convert to Islam was charged today with attempting to join an al Qaeda-linked terrorist group in Somalia. The indictment of Craig Baxam, 24, comes just days after the Kenyan and British governments announced they were seeking several British citizens who had allegedly joined the same terror group, al Shabaab, and plotted attacks in Kenya. Baxam, who appeared in federal court in Maryland, faces a charge of attempting to provide material support to a terrorist group. Authorities alleged that Baxam flew to Kenya with the intention of crossing into Somalia to join al Shabaab, which has been responsible for terror attacks in Somalia, Kenya and Uganda. Last week, the British government warned of al Shabaab attacks inside Kenya, and Kenyan authorities announced that they had arrested suspected terrorists and issued arrest warrants for others. One of those wanted for suspected ties to terrorism is a British mother of three who converted to Islam. Kenyan police issued an arrest warrant on January 4 for 26-year-old Natalie Faye Webb, alleging that Webb had links to known Shabaab terrorists. Kenyan police provided Kenyan media with a South African passport that they said Webb had used to enter the country in 2011. According to London’s Sunday Times, U.K. citizen and Muslim convert Jermaine Grant was arrested in Mombasa, Kenya by Kenyan police. He was reportedly radicalized in the same U.K. prison as convicted “shoe bomber” Richard Reid. Bomb-making materials were allegedly found at Grant’s home when he was arrested. A decidedly military agenda was set on the eve of last Thursday’s international conference on Somalia, where world leaders have vowed to address the country’s problems — from poverty to piracy. But it is conquering the Shabab, the Somalia-based militant group that has been fighting the country’s Transitional Federal Government and outside forces, that appears to be the conference’s main focus. “There is a terrorist threat that is current today, and if we are not careful, could get worse,” British Prime Minister David Cameron told BBC’s Somali service last Wednesday. The Guardian newspaper reported this week that Britain and other European nations have considered launching airstrikes against the Shabab, which controls much of the country’s south.

Bangladesh police quizzes Pakistan man over fixing

using mobile phone and through cheating tied to BPL affairs.” He said Khan was handed over to police by the cricket board and was later taken away by detectives. “We believe he will be brought back to us after the questioning is over,” said Mosharraf. The Pakistan Cricket Board is aware of the case and has been in contact with its counterparts in Bangladesh. In another development, the passports of two Pakistani players, Nasir Jamshed and Rana Naved, have apparently been confiscated by the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) authorities. A record number of Pakistani players are participating in the lucrative Twenty20 league with Nasir playing for the Chittagong Kings and Rana turning out for the Dhaka Gladiators. Other Pakistani players Shahid Afridi, Saeed Ajmal, Mohammad Hafeez and two juniors, Hammad Azam and Ovais Zia, would be reaching the capital city on Tuesday for the semifinals of the league. All the players obtained requisite permission from the PCB to participate in the league. Meanwhile, Nasir a discarded Pakistan opener told ‘Samaa’ news channel from Dhaka that he had been questioned by authorities over his phone number, which they obtained from Sajid. “It is nothing serious. I have many friends and if a friend of mine has given my number to someone there is nothing I can do. Authorities called me to make some inquiries and I co-operated fully with them. I am hopeful that I will be returning home as soon as the league gets over,” said Nasir. He insisted that he was not involved in any illegal activity and had no links with the arrested man. The Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) authorities have returned the passports of two Pakistani players Nasir Jamshed and Rana Naved-ul-Hasan, the latest development was due to approach by Pakistan Cricket Board to its Bangladeshi counterparts to resolve the issue.


South Asia Tribune I Thursday 01 March 2012

COMMENT

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Two People, One Hummus

By Gilad Atzmon A talk given in Toronto at The Islamic Society of York, Canada 24.2.12 I was asked to talk to you today about the on-going dispute within our ranks between those who support the One State Solution for the Israeli Palestinian conflict, and those who advocate Two States for the two people. Interestingly enough, this is a topic I hardly comment on, and not because I am short of vision, opinion or ideas, but rather because I do believe that the fate of the people in Palestine and Israel should be decided by the Israelis and the Palestinians themselves. I, for instance, fail to see what qualifies a NYC Jewish academic or activist to determine how people should live in Palestine or anywhere else. Furthermore, I have never seen a Palestinian trying to advise Western solidarity activists how to run their life. I argue then, that our ‘interventionist’ enthusiasm to preach to others on how they should live is actually slightly pretentious. But the subject is obviously deeper: in spite of the fact Israel is an organic sovereign State -- it is already recognised as a one State by the nations, it has a single sewage system, one electric grid, one pre-dial international code -- many Western world leaders insist that it should actually be divided into two. But don’t you think that it is pretty unusual for the ‘international community’ to blindly follow the Zionist ideology and draw a racially inspired line between the two people on the land? So, rather than entering an endless and futile debate here, I propose that we should begin from a point at which we all agree: I presume that we all accept that Israel is currently a one State, yet it is dominated politically and spiritually by an ethnocentric discriminatory political system. Israel defines itself as the Jewish State and the practical meaning of it is pretty devastating. It is racially driven. Israeli laws favour the Jewish population over the indigenous people of the land. Israel is impervious to universal and ethical thoughts. It is basically set to serve one tribe at the expense of the people of the land. I would insist that in order to tackle any subject to do with Israel/ Palestine conflict resolution we must first understand; what is Israel is all about? Surely, we must ask what the Jewish nature of Israel entails. We should, once and for all, grasp the relationship between Zionism and Jewishness. Zionism presented itself initially as a Utopian promise to bring to life a new ‘authentic ethical and civilised Jew’; it promised to make Jews into ‘people like all other people’. But the Israeli reality has proved to be the complete

opposite of that aspiration. Zionism has totally failed. The Israelis have been proven to be the most unethical collective in the history of the Jews. One may wonder, why, where and when did it all go so wrong? Why did Zionism fail? If Zionism was a unique moment of Jewish reawakening and self-reflection, then why didn’t it provide on its promises? I believe that the answer is devastating. Zionism was doomed from its very beginning, for in spite of its pseudosecularist agenda, it was entangled with a quasi-religious ideology, and inevitably, it transformed the Bible into a land registry, and turned God into an estate agent. It was the Jewishness of the Jewish State then, that prevailed over the early Zionist utopia. It is the Jewishness in Israel that has lead to ethnic cleansing, segregation, isolation, and ultimately , the resurrection of the European ghetto walls. In order to contemplate a prospect of a peaceful future then, we must be able to understand the complicated relationship between Jews, Zionism, Israel and Jewishness, and we have to ask whether there is any lucid vision of peace within the Jewish ideological and cultural discourse. But are we even allowed to ask these questions? I say certainly yes, we must -- after all, Israel openly, consciously and even proudly defines itself as the Jewish State. Its air-planes drop bombs on densely populated Palestinian neighbourhoods whilst decorated with Jewish symbols. Surely then, we are entitled to ask what Jewishness means and what is its role within the Jewish psyche and spirit. In my book The Wandering Who I have attempted to untangle this knot. I have tried to understand what is Jewish identity politics all about? I have exposed the continuum between Zionism, Jewish anti-Zionism and some elements within the left. In the book I try to find out, what is the meaning of Jewishness and how is it related to Jewish politics and Jewish political power? In the last few pages of the book I elaborate on a fictitious peace scenario in which an imaginary Israeli Prime Minister who grasps, pretty much out

of the blue, that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can be resolved with just a single statement. In a press conference, the imaginary Israel PM announces to the world and his/her people: ‘Israel realises its unique circumstances and its responsibility for world peace. Israel calls the Palestinian people to return to their homes. The Jewish state is to become a state of its citizens, where all people enjoy full equal rights’. Though shocked by the sudden Israeli move, political analysts around the world would be quick to realise that, considering Israel is the representative of world Jewry, such a simple Israeli peaceful initiative won’t just resolve the conflict in the Middle East, it would also bring to an end to two millennia of mutual suspicion and resentfulness between Christians and Jews. Some right-wing Israeli academics, ideologists and politicians join the revolutionary initiative and declare that such a heroic unilateral Israeli act could be the one and only total and comprehensive fulfilment of the Zionist dream, for not only have Jews returned to their alleged historical home, they also

bring peace about, he or she must be de-Zionised first. As things stand, the Jewish State is categorically unable to lead its people into reconciliation. It lacks the necessary ingredients needed to think in terms of harmony and reconciliation -- at present, Israel can only think in terms of Shalom , a term which, in reality, only means ‘peace and security for the Jews’. But what about world Jewry; can they push their Israeli brothers towards a reconciliation? I don’t actually think that they can. I recently came across some devastating statistics gathered by the Institute for Jewish Policy Research (JPR). The poll studied ‘The attitudes of Jews in Britain towards Israel’. It revealed that “the vast majority of (British Jewish) respondents exhibit strong personal support for, and affinity with, Israel: 95% have visited the country; 90% see it as the “ancestral homeland” of the Jewish people, and 86% feel that Jews have a special responsibility for its survival.” Though some Jewish ‘progressive’ voices insist to tell us that Diaspora Jews are drifting away from Israel and Zionism, the JPR report reveals the

have managed, at last, to love their neighbours and be loved in return. But don’t hold your breath -- as much as such an idea is thrilling, we shouldn’t expect it to happen any time soon, for Israel is not an ordinary state and such a scenario doesn’t fit into its Jewish ethno-centric ideology that is driven by exclusiveness, exceptionalism, racial supremacy and a deep inherent inclination toward segregation. The meaning of it is very concerning. For Israel and Israelis to fulfil the initial Zionist promise and become ‘people like other people’, all traces of ideological superiority must be suppressed first. For the Jewish state to lead a peace initiative, Israel must be de-Zionised – it should first stop being the Jewish State. Similarly, in order for an imaginary Israeli PM to

complete opposite -- Nine out of ten British Jews feel close affinity towards a war criminal, ethnic cleanser, racist discriminatory state. But what about the one out of ten Jew who openly opposes Israel? Is he or she going to speak out and help us to get the message of peace across? I am not so sure either. It is more likely that he or she are going to do anything they can to prevent us from talking about Jewishness and the fact that 90% of their brothers identify with the Jewish state. Ahead of my Toronto appearance, the organisers of tonight’s event were subject to endless harassment by various Jewish ‘anti’ Zionist organisations and individuals. Like their Zionist brothers most Jewish anti Zionist are largely concerned with Jewish tribal matters-- they will fight anti

Semitism, ‘Holocaust denial’ or any attempt to understand Jewishness from a universal perspective. Yet, as the JPR poll reveals, they will achieve very little within their respective communities. But the situation may not be totally grim. I am actually slightly optimistic. For more than a while I am convinced that the only people who can bring peace about are actually the Palestinians, because Palestine, against all odds and in spite of the endless suffering, humiliation and oppression, is still an ethically-driven ecumenical society. So what do we do for the time being -- should we fight for one state or two states? I guess that you gather by now that I am a strong supporter of a one State. I would love to see Israel being transformed into a state of its citizens. I would also openly admit that I do realise that this State won’t be a Jewish State. It will be Palestine. It is about time to say it openly--Israel belongs to the past. And yet, I contend that it is the facts on the ground that would determine the future of the region. And what we see on the ground maybe encouraging. In spite of the, pain, animosity and distrust between the two people, there is one principle both Israelis and Palestinian would agree upon, namely “Two People, One Hummus”. It may sound frivolous, banal or trivial to say that, but it is actually far more profound than just a culinary suggestion. Israelis are gradually becoming the minority on the land. As I once heard Palestinian Ambassador to Britain Manuel Hassassian commenting, ‘Israel has many lethal bombs, the Palestinians have only one bomb, the demographic one’. Interestingly enough, when Israelis want to feel authentic, they do not speak in Yiddish or Aramaic, they actually swear in Arabic and eat hummus. The meaning of it is simple, deep in their hearts the Israelis know that Palestine is the land and Israel is just a state. When Israelis want to bond with the Zion they actually plagiarise the indigenous people of the land, for deep inside the Israeli knows that the sky, the sea, Al Quds, Mount Olive, the Sea of Galilee, the Wailing Wall, the Arabic language and the Hummus belong to the land. They also grasp that oppression, exceptionalism, supremacy belong to the State -- their own Jewish State. ‘Two People one Hummus’ is my image of peace and reconciliation. The Land will Stay forever -- the failing Jewish State is already subject to historical research. The two people will dine together -- and they won’t just share the hummus: they may even share the pita bread between them. Gilad Atzmon’s New Book: The Wandering Who? A Study Of Jewish Identity Politics


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SPECIAL FEATURE

South Asia Tribune I Thursday 01 March 2012

MI5 would not even know if the somalis it was watching had already been recruited by MI6 The headline may surprise you, but it’s a fact. Again and again, people have been arrested and questioned by Special Branch on behalf of MI5, and they have said, look, I work for MI6, ring so-and-so and ask them, and the SB have done so, and Six have said, um, yes, actually, he does. This is reported in the press without comment – RB

UK Muslims recruited to fight in Somalia Dozens of radicalised British Muslims are being trained by militant Islamists to fight in a holy war in Somalia. Up to 50 British volunteers, including white Christian converts and BritishSomali men, have been recruited to fight for Al-Shabaab, which pledged its allegiance to al-Qaeda in 2010. Intelligence experts believe the British volunteers form the core of an international force of foreign fighters drawn from the US, Canada, Europe and East Africa. Government officials now fear that the failed state is rapidly becoming a recruiting ground for British Jihadists, in much the same way as Afghanistan was in the 1990s. MI5 already ranks Somalia as one of the top three countries in the world, alongside Yemen and Pakistan, that poses a potential terrorist threat to Britain. The Security Service fears that British volunteers who survive the bloody civil war may return home as hardened terrorists eager to launch attacks against the UK. The warning comes ahead of an international summit to be hosted by PM Cameron next week on the future of Somalia, a country he recently described as “a failed state that directly threatens British interests.” Al-Shabaab has managed to generate tens of thousands of pounds in funding through the UKbased Somali population, which is estimated at 250,000. Some British Somalis willingly donate to it. In addition, a proportion of the cash sent back to extended families in the country is syphoned off by it. The group is now using the same connections to recruit young men from the Somali diaspora in the UK, as well as British Muslims. Last month one of those volunteers, Bilal al-Berjawi, was killed when missiles fired from a US drone hit his vehicle outside Mogadishu. At 27, Berjawi was already an Afghanistan veteran and a seasoned al-Shabaab commander. The group has already carried out a number of cross-border attacks in Kenya, and questions remain as to whether it has the aspirations and capability to export terror to Britain and the west. One expert said: Somalia poses a significant potential threat to the UK. It is regarded as a dog which has barked but not yet bitten. These people are no mugs. Somalia is awash with weapons and there are some very tasty fighters out there

(sic – RB). If anyone can survive for three years on the front line, as some have, they have the potential to become very accomplished international terrorists. Young British and western Muslims are regarded as highly prized assets by Al-Shabaab. Most are educated, computer literate, can drive, have access to hard currency and will have connections in the west. Even a little money goes a long way in

It is understood that MI5 and the police have been contacted by concerned parents of young Muslim men whom they suspect of being recruited by Al-Shabaab. It is understood that in some cases officials have made direct contact with individuals and explained the reality of life in Somalia. Another British Somali volunteer is believed to be masterminding al-Shabaab’s new Twitter feed,

Somali community live. Although experts believe that it currently lacks the capability to launch an attack in the UK, al-Shabaab has a history of attacking sporting events. In 2010, it was blamed for a bomb attack in Uganda that killed 76 people watching a World Cup, mounted as revenge for Uganda contributing troops to the African Union force in Somalia. The role of Somalia as a potential breeding ground for terrorists is one of the driving reasons behind next week’s summit, which will

Ahmed dropped out of a business studies course at Oxford Brookes University to serve as a volunteer with al-Shabaab, flying first to Kenya and then crossing into Somalia by foot on bush tracks. He then detonated a suicide bomb at a checkpoint manned by Ethiopian Army troops, killing 20 soldiers. In a martyrdom video shot before his death, he issued a call to fellow British Somalis to follow his example, delivered in a soft, earnest, English accent. Speaking against the backdrop of a black and white al-Shabaab banner, he said: I advise you to migrate to Somalia and wage war against your enemies. Death in honour is better than life in humiliation. Last month Shabaaz Hussein pleaded guilty to sending £10,000 for terror training in Somalia. Woolwich Crown Court was told that he had transferred cash to three British friends engaged in terrorist activities in Somalia, named as Muhammed Jahangir, Tufual Ahmed, and Mohammed Shahim. Abdirhman Haji Abdallah said he believed his son had been brainwashed into fighting a holy war. Ramzi Mohammed and Yassin Omar were also part of the team that carried out the failed Jul 21 bombings in London in 2005. A Whitehall source said:

The government is particularly concerned about the possibility of terrorism during this summer’s London Olympics, much of which will take place in districts where large numbers of Britain’s Somali community live. Preacher ‘Abd al-Qadir Mu’min, former resident of Britain Somalia. So if a teenager arrives and he is not regarded as front-line material, then he will have other uses. But some will inevitably end up as cannon fodder on the front line. Some arrive and within a matter of days, with virtually no training, find themselves on the front line. If they are lucky, they might last a couple of days. Many young Muslims go on the global Jihad ticket without really knowing what they are getting themselves into.

posting updates on the group’s military campaigns against Western-backed African Union forces in Mogadishu. Kataib Media, al-Shabaab’s official television channel, conducts “embedded” reports with militiamen which are then posted on Jihadist websites and on YouTube. The government is particularly concerned about the possibility of terrorism during this summer’s London Olympics, much of which will take place in districts where large numbers of Britain’s

be attended by African and Middle Eastern heads of state as well as US Sec State Clinton. Cameron hopes the conference will restart years of stalled and failed diplomatic initiatives and will build up political momentum to create a Somali government to replace the quarrelsome and ineffective Transitional Federal Government, which has been in place since 2004. Other British Somalis have also been involved in a number of terror-related incidents in connection with alShabaab. In 2007, Ahmed Hussein

All MI5, the police and their equivalents overseas can do is seek to counter the threats from violent extremists connected to Somalia. But a long-term solution to this terrorist threat can only come from finding ways to tackle the whole range of Somalia’s problems. This week’s international conference will focus on the underlying causes of Somalia’s instability. Sean Rayment, Colin Freeman, The Daily Telegraph, published Feb 18 2012


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South Asia Tribune I Thursday 01 March 2012

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When would the Muslims make and alliance with Rum, Is Rum the Rome in Italy? Question: When Israel Wages Her Big Wars Would That Be The Time When Muslim Will Make An Alliance With Rum? Is This Rome, Italy? “Nabi Muhammad (SA) has prophesised that ‘You will make an alliance with Rum’. Indeed there is a... Surah of the Qur’an which is entitled Surah ArRum. And in that Surah, in the first Ayah, Allah speaks about Rum being defeated. If you believe that Allah (SWT) was referring to a city in Italy then you should buy a one way ticket to Disneyland. When the Qur’an says that Rum has been defeated, was referring to a city in Italy called Rome? Oh come one, what kind of scholarship is that? And when the Qur’an refers to Rum you translate it as Romans? Is that the correct translation, Romans? Rum in the Qur’an is easy to identify. It is the ‘Eastern Orthodox Christian Church’; which had established the Byzantine Empire with Constantinople as its capital... Prophet (SA) said ‘You will make an alliance with Rum’. The Byzantine Empire has disappeared today, but the ‘Eastern Orthodox Christian Church’ has not. If we want to find Rum, where is the ‘Eastern Orthodox Christian Church’ today? Answer, the headquarters is now in Russia. If I am wrong I invite you to correct me. And so when the Prophet (SA) said, ‘You will make an alliance with Rum’, my answer is its going to be an alliance with Russia. ..” Can Muslims Vote in Elections of the Modern Secular State? What is the legitimacy of the modern secular state when judged according to the religion of Islam? Is it Halal (permissible) or Haram (prohibited) for Muslims to vote in elections of the modern secular state? This essay attempts to answer those questions. A US-based Egyptian Islamic scholar declared in a widely circulated Fatwa (legal opinion) that it is Wajib (compulsory) for Muslims to vote in elections of the modern secular state such as USA. The preposterous implication of that Fatwa would be such that if Muslims were to refrain from voting in such elections they would have committed a sin! On the other hand the outstanding Pakistani Islamic scholar, Dr. Israr Ahmad, has categorically declared that it is Haram for a Muslim to participate in the electoral politics of the modern secular state (i.e., the state which is established on the basis of a secular

constitution). He has prohibited all members of Tanzeem-e-Islami, the Jama’at (community) of which he is the Amir (leader), from voting in

Shiekh Imran Hossein

Tribune Comment elections of the secular state. He also disclosed that Maulana Maududi (rahimahullah), who took a stand in favor of participating in electoral politics, subsequently changed his position before his death and opposed such participation. How Does Dajjal

Communicate And Give Orders To His Followers From Another Dimension of Time? “At the very end of the Qur’an Allah warns us about ... ‘Allazee Yuwaswisu Fee Soodurinnas. Min-alJinnati Wannas.’ (Who whispers into the hearts of men. From among the Jinn and the men) It is inspiring or putting thoughts and ideas into the heart and as a consequence these people believe that these are their own thoughts. He (Dajjal) does this (communicates to his followers) through Shayatin. Shayatin is plural of Shaitan (Satan). Prophet (SA) said that the Shayatin are going to be raised with Dajjal. This Hadith is in Kanzul Ummal. And these Shayatin are going to do something very interesting. They are going to take forms of human beings who died.... From this Hadith we know the link with Dajjal and Shayatin.” What is Your Problem With

Harun Yahya? “I want to direct attention to one book of his entitled ‘Imam Al-Mahdi

is an end of history, in which Jews, Christians and Muslims will all believe in Nabi Isa (A) and as a consequence will

& The End Times’. And when I read that book I was profoundly disturbed. Because he expressed views in that book which appears to me views that could also come from the Israeli Mossad. When Isa (A) returns, the Qur’an tells us the Jews & Christians (The Ahlul Kitab) would have to believe in him. According to Harun Yahya, there

become a fraternity, a brotherhood, all living together with fraternal feelings for each other. And he continues to argue; ‘if that is what is going to happen at that time, then should we not reach out to Jews & Christians to build that fraternity now?’ ...This is not what Prophet (SA) told us. And this is not the proper interpretation of the Qur’an. This is False. This is deceptive.”

Kohli masterpiece leads India to huge win Continued from page 32 >> helped generate the momentum for his side with 39 off 30 balls, may not have yet played his last game in Australia. Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag (30 off 15) smashed 50 off just 33 balls to have the smattering of Indian fans in Hobart believing a miracle was possible. They were right and the 3467 at Bellerive will go home knowing they witnessed something special. On a drama-filled evening, a power failure that rubbed out one of Bellerive’s light towers, the scoreboard and the Nine Network’s broadcast equipment, delayed play between innings for nearly an hour. It was India who had looked out of energy earlier though, a lethargic effort in the field allowing Sri Lanka to make 4-320. Opener Tillakaratne Dilshan cracked an unbeaten

160 from 165 balls and Kumar Sangakkara 105 from 87, the pair putting on a record secondwicket ODI partnership for Sri Lanka of 200. Their 200 was also the biggest partnership in ODIs at Bellerive, while Dilshan equalled his highest score with the second biggest at the venue after Adam Gilchrist’s 172. India hopes faded when Sehwag spooned an attempted swat to Dilshan at mid-off and, when Tendulkar trudged off to a standing ovation after he was lbw to Malinga, it was 2-86. Gambhir and Kohli’s 100 partnership came off 94 balls before Gambhir was run out by Lahiru Thirimanne at 3-201. There was no let-up with Kohli and Suresh Raina putting on 50 in 24 balls and 100 in 45. Kohli said he never doubted his side could reach the target. “Obviously if you start to get those kinds of

thoughts in your mind you’re not going to be able to achieve it,” he said. “If you need 100 off the last 10 in a Twenty20 game it’s very gettable so we took it as two Twenty20 games - get 120-130 runs in the first 20 and then go for it later on.” He said India would take the same nothing-to-lose attitude into the finals, if they make it there. “We’re going to think each game is the last for us,” he said. “We’re going to think of every game as a do-or-die for us if we reach the finals. “We’re going to be as expressive.” Sri Lanka skipper Mahela Jayawardene said his side could bounce back on Friday against Australia, who they beaten twice already in the tournament. “We’ve put ourselves in a situation that it’s in our control,” he said. “So if we’re hungry enough to play in the finals we should beat Australia, simple as that.”


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South Asia Tribune I Thursday 01 March 2012

Wyoming state legislators prepare for what amounts to ‘doomsday’

CHEYENNE, WY — United State representatives on Friday advanced legislation to launch a study into what Wyoming should do in the event of a complete economic or political collapse in the United States. House Bill 85 passed on first reading by a voice vote. It would create a staterun government continuity task force, which would study and prepare Wyoming for potential catastrophes, from disruptions in food and energy supplies to a complete meltdown of the federal government. The task force would look at the feasibility of Wyoming issuing its own alternative currency, if needed. And House members approved an amendment Friday by state Rep. Kermit Brown, R-Laramie, to have the task force also examine conditions under which Wyoming would need to implement its own military draft, raise a standing army, and acquire strike aircraft and an aircraft carrier. The bill’s sponsor, state Rep. David Miller, R-Riverton, has said he doesn’t anticipate any major crises hitting America anytime

soon. But with the national debt exceeding $15 trillion and protest movements growing around the country, Miller said Wyoming

protected should any unexpected emergency hit the U.S. Several House members spoke in favor of the legislation, saying there was no

here and say that this country is in good shape, that the world is stable and in good shape — because that is clearly not the case,”

nothing bad’s going to happen, and that we have no obligation to the citizens of the state of Wyoming to at least have the discussion, is not healthy.” Wyoming’s Department of Homeland Security already has a statewide crisis management plan, but it doesn’t cover what the state should do in the event of an extreme nationwide political or economic collapse. In recent years, lawmakers in at least six states have introduced legislation to create a state currency, all unsuccessfully. University of Wyoming political science professor Jim King said the potential for a complete

— which has a comparatively good economy and sound state finances — needs to make sure it’s

harm in preparing for the worst. “I don’t think there’s anyone in this room today what would come up

state Rep. Lorraine Quarberg, R-Thermopolis, said. “To put your head in the sand and think that

unraveling of the U.S. government and economy is “astronomically remote” in the foreseeable future.

UK must stop removals of Tamils to Sri Lanka after damning new evidence of torture on return Freedom from Torture today called on the UK government to stop all forcible removals of Tamils to Sri Lanka after damning evidence from Human Rights Watch that a number of individuals who were recently removed by the UK were detained and tortured on return. Keith Best, Chief Executive of Freedom from Torture said: “With 100 people due to be removed to Sri Lanka on a charter flight this Tuesday 28th February, it is imperative that government ministers move as swiftly as possible to suspend removals and prevent these individuals being returned to a demonstrable risk of torture on return. This flight must not leave British soil. This new evidence is the ‘smoking gun’ that proves that Tamils forcibly removed from the UK have come to serious harm on return. Some of the cases highlighted were refused asylum in the UK: the UK asylum system has clearly failed these people and decision-making by the UK Border Agency in individual cases cannot be relied upon to prevent future cases of torture on return.” Human Rights Watch has

documented eight recent cases in which people forcibly returned to Sri Lanka have been subjected to torture, including refused asylum seekers removed from the UK on charter flights in 2011. Medical evidence supporting their claims has been obtained.

Keith Best said: “The treatment of individuals in these cases is consistent with the evidence of ongoing torture in Sri Lanka forensically documented by Freedom from Torture and presented to the Committee Against Torture in November 2011. The torture techniques identified – beating, burning, suspension, asphyxiation techniques, rape – and the fact that many of those detained say they only escaped through the payment of bribes are

a chilling reminder that torture continues to be perpetrated by both the army and police with stark impunity in Sri Lanka, despite the government’s protestations to the Committee Against Torture of a ‘zero tolerance’ policy.” Freedom from Torture continues to receive a steady flow of referrals for Tamil asylum seekers in the UK who have been tortured recently in Sri Lanka. One man who has just arrived in the UK was forcibly conscripted to the LTTE during the civil war; he was detained in November 2011 and tortured by both police officers in the Criminal Investigation Department and members of the army for several weeks before escaping on payment of a bribe. Freedom from Torture had previously called on the UK government to update guidance for decision-makers within the asylum system and ensure robust monitoring of returnees in Sri

Lanka to ensure safety. In light of this new evidence, the organisation is now calling for a full suspension of forced returns of Tamils to Sri Lanka. Keith Best said: “Enough is enough, it is clearly not safe for Tamils to be returned. Not only should the UK government suspend removals while a clear risk of torture remains, it should also take the opportunity of the upcoming Human Rights Council session which opens in Geneva on Monday to push for robust action on the international stage to hold those in Sri Lanka to account for serious abuses during and after the civil war. Sri Lanka has clearly failed to end this cycle of impunity and torture.” Freedom from Torture raised the alarm this week with Foreign Office Minister Alistair Burt after discovering that Tamils being returned on ordinary passenger

flights are at even greater risk of detention and torture. Whilst those on the charter flights are met on arrival by British High Commission officials and given a small assistance package to pay for onward travel within Sri Lanka, those removed on regular flights have been left to fend for themselves. It is unclear how many people have been affected because forced returns on ordinary flights take place out of the media glare. During a parliamentary debate about these issues on Wednesday, the Minister publicly acknowledged this discrepancy and told MPs that he had now asked his colleagues at the British High Commission in Sri Lanka to ensure the same reception package for all those being returned, including being met at the airport “where practicable”, regardless of whether they are placed on ordinary or charter flights. The recent evidence from Human Rights Watch resoundingly proves that even these modest safeguards are woefully inadequate if the UK is to meet its international legal obligations not to return people to a real risk of torture.


South Asia Tribune I Thursday 01 March 2012

BACKING FOR PAKISTANINDIA TIES Continued from page 32 >> Singh said that it (cricket) is a great way to go and if both the governments feel it’s a great way then we should go that way. “PCB chairman has written letters to the Indian Board and when I was in India (last year) I noticed a great deal of keenness on the part of India and the International Cricket Council (ICC) to revive this brand of cricket. “Let me clearly articulate that the Pakistan government not only supports but also pushes that international cricket should be played among all countries.” Khar acknowledged that Pakistan prime minister Yousuf Raza Gillani, who attended the World

Cup semi-final in Mohali on Singh’s invitation in March last year, also wants Indo-Pak cricket to be revived. “Our prime minister has always talked about the resumption and India is also very enthusiastic. The only problem is scheduling and that is why there have been problems but cricket plays a huge role in bringing people of both the countries together so it should be played,” he added. “We have always believed in cricket diplomacy and there is a harmony in cultures of both the countries. We both are good at cricket and people on both sides love the game. People in Pakistan are bound by cricket and we need that unity at the moment.”

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NEWS

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Tendulkar should quit ODIs, says Akram Continued from page 32 >> Akram, who has represented Pakistan in 356 ODIs and 104 Tests, has 502 and 414 wickets to his credit in ODIs and Tests respectively, feels that Tendulkar should not think about his 100th international hundred and concentrateon the longer version of the game as centuries would continue to flow from his blade. “Tendulkar should take a call on himself. Hundreds will still come by for Tendulkar in the longest format of the game and he should not worry about that,” Akram was quoted as saying by a sports website. He has also criticized Dhoni for giving lame excuses about losing the toss playing a crucial role in India’s misery. “Dhoni is making a lame excuse,” said Akram while lambasting India’s meek surrender to Australia in their previous game at Sydney. Akram further expressed his displeasure with the Indian top order, for failing continously in the series. India surrendered meekly to Australia as they were bundled out for 162 while chasing a total of 252. Indian top order - Gautam Gambhir, Virender Sehwag and Tendulkar have managed only one half-century opening partnership in the tournament so far which in turn gives cue about the top order collapse.

“The Indian batsmen have made a mockery of themselves. The top-order is not willing to stay at the crease. Sehwag and Tendulkar have been getting out in the first few overs. How can you chase a target like this?” asked Akram. He further criticised the team’s think tank for not using a proper plan, as they leaked too many runs, as he feels Umesh Yadav, is the only one who has generated pace on bouncy Australian tracks. “Only Umesh Yadav has generated enough pace on bouncy Australian wickets. Irfan Pathan and Praveen Kumar have even failed to get a good carry. The Indians have failed to plan and strategise. It’s too late on this tour but they should certainly look ahead now,” Akram said

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South Asia Tribune I Thursday 01 March 2012

Tendulkar should quit ODIs, says Akram Former Pakistan captain Wasim Akram expressed his views on Sachin Tendulkar as he has said, the cricketing legend should quit from one day internationals to make things easier for the selectors. He further stressed on the dilemma of selectors as he said, the selection committee might not

‘dare’ to drop him despite his bad form. “I feel Tendulkar should leave one-dayers and concentrate on Test cricket in order to make things easy for the selectors. The Indian selectors can never dare to drop Tendulkar even if he goes on performing badly,” said Akram. Continued on page 31 >>

SAT

Sports

BACKING FOR PAKISTAN-INDIA TIES

Pakistan foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar has called for the resumption of cricket ties with archrivals India. India stalled all bilateral cricketing relations with Pakistan following terrorist attacks on their commercial hub, Mumbai, in November 2008, which

Delhi blamed on militants based across the border. Despite both countries scheduled to play against each other in 2012 under the ICC Future Tours Programme, India’s hectic schedule has been the main hurdle in the revival of the ties. Pakistan last toured India in 2007, while India

featured in the Asia Cup hosted by their neighbours in 2008. “Pakistan pushes for cricket ties with every country, especially with India,” insisted Khar. “I remember that prime minister Manmohan Continued on page 31 >>

Kohli masterpiece leads India to huge win A brilliant unbeaten innings of 133 from just 86 balls from Virat Kohli helps India chase down a target of 321 inside 40 overs against Sri Lanka and earn the bonus point they need to keep their tri-series campaign alive. Century from Virat Kohli earns India a bonus-point win over Sri Lanka to keep finals hopes alive India have blasted their way to 3-321 in 36.4 overs for a stunning bonus-point win over Sri Lanka to prolong their Australian tour until at least Friday. Needing to reach the improbable

target from 40 overs to earn a bonus point win at Bellerive and keep their tournament alive,

Virat Kohli smashed 133 off 86 balls to lead the Indians to the most extraordinary run-chase

witnessed on Australian soil. Kohli, who hit 16 fours and two sixes, put on 115 with Gautam Gambhir (63 off 64) and 120 with Suresh Raina to blow Sri Lanka’s attack away. In an incredible 35th over, Kohli took 24 off Sri Lanka pace spearhead Lasith Malinga (1-96) to erase any doubt that India would reach the target within the 40 overs. The Indians’ next assignment will be the couch on Friday, when they will hope to watch Australia beat the Sri Lankans so they can

progress to play the home side in the best-of-three final series. India may yet salvage something from a horror tour while batting great Sachin Tendulkar, who Continued on page 29 >>

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