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Britain’s far right to focus on anti-Islamic policy

The head of the English Defence League, Tommy Robinson, will be named deputy leader of the British Freedom party this week after proposing that the group adopt virulent anti-Islamic policies as its central strategy. Confirmation that Robinson is to be offered a political

platform within the BFP is contained in internal documents revealing that he has forwarded a number of “potential policy suggestions” that suggest the party will widen its attacks on Muslims. Anti-fascist campaign group Hope Not Hate made the claim on their website,

saying Lennon, who calls himself Tommy Robinson, had planned to announce the move at the forthcoming EDL rally in Luton on May 5. Hope Not Hate blogger Nick Lowles said: “Stephen Lennon is set to join the far right British Freedom Party (BFP) and immediately become its deputy leader. “The merging of the EDL into the BFP will change the face of the British far right.” Documents have been obtained containing the details of a meeting in Luton on Saturday 14 April, 2012, between the British Freedom Party Executive Committee, the leaders of the English Defence League and others which detail Tommy Robinson’s inclusion into the party leadership. The revelation also calls into question the English Defence League’s ongoing claim that they are not a racist organisation. The documents obtained by Hope not Hate and ‘EDL News’ contain the demands made by the EDL upon their joining with the BFP and are a clear contradiction of their repeated

statements. Demands included: Ban the Burqa / Niqab Stop the development of all new mosques Stop the development of all new madrassas (Islamic School) Outlaw all forms of Sharia, including Sharia courts, Sharia finance Focus on “non-Islamic” population, not “white/black” population Have a system in place to regulate all mosques & madrassas End to mass immigration, except for vital (highly qualified positions). Immigrants must undergo health check, have a sponsor, have sufficient funds to support them and their families and must be able to speak/write English. Creation of a website article to confirm that “potential donor donates £50k to British Freedom” to get funding started. Must stress potential. No mention of the initials “BFP” or the name “British Freedom Party” as too closely sounding to BNP. British Freedom should ensure they are only Continued on page 6 >>

Elections May 3rd

Far Right politics must be defeated There are many reasons for engaging within the local elections and referendums for Mayors on May 3rd, not least issues around; policing, housing, education, health and transport. But there is also another fundamental reason why every decent citizen must exercise their democratic right this Thursday: The vile politics of racial and religious hatred must be defeated at the ballot box. The anti-fascist campaigning

organisation Searchlight, have for many years monitored the Far Right groups, their individuals and their links to some of the most violent and hate filled organisations’ in the UK and around Europe. For example, they brilliantly exposed Gil Gould who is a leading campaigner for the English Defense League (EDL). Essex based Gil Gould who also posts as Mick Wittman on Facebook claimed he understood the motives of Breivik

but disagreed with his choice of victims. Gould wrote, ‘I understand why he did it but he picked on the wrong people, young brain washed kids was disgusting, if he had singled out the Muslim filth causing on the troubles he would most likely be seen as a hero.’ Another is David Jones. This Nazi sympathizer is standing in Calderdale. He has just been Continued on page 3 >>


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South Asia Tribune I Thursday 03 May 2012

Galloway may stand as Bradford Mayor

GEORGE Galloway has said he may stand as mayor for Bradford should the city vote Yes in Thursday’s referendum. The Bradford West MP, who only won the seat two months ago following a shock by-election victory, said his Respect Party are yet to short list candidates should the city chose a mayoral system. He also said Bradford-born party leader Salma Yaqoob was a possible candidate. Respect is hoping to take control of Bradford politics this year, there are 12 candidates standing in the council elections, and Mr Galloway is confident they will win enough seats to “hold the balance of power”. Labour is currently one seat away from a majority, but faces a challenge from Respect in its inner city strongholds. Six of the seats being contested by Respect are currently held by Labour . Mr Galloway said it is the city “with the most reason to vote Yes”.

Mr Galloway said he may well stand - the rules do not preclude sitting MP’s from campaigning - however he did admit he would prefer to find a suitable alternative. “Salma Yaqoob is one possibility, and

Bradford Mayoral Referendum Debate

The public meeting organised by JUST West Yorkshire in partnership with the Bradford Cathedral, the Common Good Network and the University of Bradford Student’s Union on the 30th of April 2012 highlighted the ambiguity

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

there are others within our ranks. Mr Galloway said that a mayor was also needed because of the “gulf” between the majority of the public and politicians.

that continues to hang in the public’s mind around the issue of an elected

Mayor. The failure of politicians in Bradford, Leeds and Wakefield to facilitate an informed debate on the pros and cons of an elected Mayor prior to the 3rd of May Mayoral Referendum, when voters will be casting a Yes or No vote, effectively undermines democracy and treats the electorate with contempt. Thus far the polarised nature of the debate cast in simplistic terms in which the No campaigners have raised the spectre of power hungry dictators accruing powers to themselves, plays to a version of ‘bogey’ politics that is not borne out in the majority of the cities that have opted for an elected mayor model. With the exception of Stoke and Doncaster, cities that have opted for an elected mayor have consistently performed well across a range of key indicators. Likewise the threats by the Yes campaigners that a NO vote will deprive West Yorkshire’s cities a portion of the bounty that the Prime Minister is waving as an inducement - membership of the Cabinet of Mayors; city deals that offer financial incentives and local freedoms and flexibilities to turn the economic fortunes of cities around – negates the huge strides that cities like

Manchester have taken to bring about massive economic regeneration. The recent independent report by the Warwick Commission on Elected Mayors and City Leadership that reviewed the performance of elected mayors nationally and internationally warns against taking a “binary approach as it allows both extremes to trade insults on the basis of precious little empirical evidence.” Judging from the outcome of the exit poll undertaken at the Bradford Mayoral Referendum debate meeting, the results appear to highlight an appetite for change. The total numbers casting for a NO vote for electing a mayor was 35.6% and 64.4% for a YES vote. The breakdown for party preferences for a Yes vote were as follows: • Independent Mayor 48.6% • Respect 31.4% • Other 8.6% • Conservatives 5.7% • Labour 5.7% • Green 0% • Liberal Democrats 0% Although the above results are not based on a scientific sample, Whatever the outcome of the Referendum on the 3rd of May, either way there is a crisis of democracy with trust in politicians and the political process being at its nadir. If the Referendum delivers a YES vote it is likely to do so not because there is a belief that it represents the best system but that it represents the least worse alternative.

Far-Right Provocation : Berlin Worried About ‘Muslim Cartoon Contest’

Xenophobic German Party Targets Muslims

Plans by a far-right group in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia to put anti-Islam caricatures depicting Prophet Mohammed (Peace be upon him) outside mosques to draw voters are worrying German politicians who accused it of carrying out a xenophobic hate campaign against German Muslims. “Pro NRW is committing spiritual arson,” Interior Minister in state Ralf Jäger told Die Welt on Sunday, April 29. “The party is consciously taking into account that Muslims will feel provoked and upset.” Controversy started when Pro-NRW, (short for the German state North Rhine-Westphalia), said it plans to run a ‘Muhammad cartoon contest’, referring to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). A cash prize was also designed for the “best” anti-Islamic caricature, named after Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard, who was responsible for the 2005 cartoons which provoked the anger of the Muslim world. “Pro NRW”, which has been categorized as an extremist right-wing group by the domestic intelligence agency, also intends to send activists to 25 mosques throughout the state in the runup to the election on May 13, staging protests in Cologne, Bonn, Düsseldorf, Aachen, Wuppertal

and Solingen. Pro NRW showed cartoons of Muhammad on Saturday at demonstrations in the cities of Essen and Gelsenkirchen.

Some 100 protestors attended the demonstrations, and they were outnumbered by hundreds of counter-demonstrators, reports said. “The so-called cartoon contest is deliberately aimed at provoking Muslims,” Jäger said. Xenophobia Trying to prevent protests, the interior minister condemned the campaign, expressing support for planned counter-demonstrations. “The authorities will exhaust all legal avenues to prevent a xenophobic hate campaign,” Jäger told Die Welt. “All democrats agree xenophobic incitement has

no place here,” he added. Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich warned of a possible confrontation between Muslims and right-wing extremists, saying it could have unforeseeable consequences for public safety. He told lawmakers that this deliberate provocation by Pro NRW would inflame tensions and lead to violent clashes. He added that German embassies and companies operating abroad might also be affected, similar to the protests in Muslim countries following the publication in 2005 of Danish cartoons. Germany is believed to be home to nearly 4 million Muslims, including 220,000 in Berlin alone. Turks make up an estimated two thirds of the Muslim minority. Germans have grown hostile to the Muslim presence recently, with a heated debate on the Muslim immigration into the country. A recent poll by the Munster University found that Germans view Muslims more negatively than their European neighbors. Germany’s daily Der Spiegel had warned last August that the country is becoming intolerant towards its Muslim minority. According to a 2010 nationwide poll by the research institute Infratest-dimap, more than one third of the respondents would prefer “a Germany without Islam.”


South Asia Tribune I Thursday 03 May 2012

Trade unionists, pensioners, students and activists are to take part in a number of protests and rallies to mark the annual May Day celebrations. Leaders of trade unions will address a rally in London’s Trafalgar Square against a backdrop of disputes in the public sector over jobs, pay and pensions. Tens of thousands of civil servants, lecturers, health workers, Ministry of Defence staff and Royal Fleet Auxiliary employees will take industrial action on May 10 in the bitter dispute over the Government’s controversial public sector reforms. May Day has been celebrated in London

public and private sector, the disabled and women mean we have to fight back and say there is a different way forward.” Campaigners continue to call for May 1 to be a public holiday. Anti-tax avoidance protesters are also planning demonstrations in central London, targeting areas including Tube stations. It is also celebrated unofficially in many other countries. Labour Day has its origins in the eighthour day movement, which advocated eight hours for work, eight hours for recreation, and eight hours for rest. The first May Day celebration in India

since the 1880s and Tuesday’s event in the capital will be supported by a wide variety of groups representing workers, students, pensioners and politicians. One of the organisers said: “Attacks on the NHS, education, pensions, the civil service, local government, jobs both

was organised in Madras by the Labour Kisan Party of Hindustan on May 1, 1923. Some records say it was also the first time the red flag was used in India. Today, May Day is a nationwide bank and public holiday in India. In Mahar-

Elections May 3rd

Continued from page 1 >> arrested for Election fraud but it beggars belief how such a blatant Nazi supporter could be allowed to participate in any UK election. Overall Searchlight claim that there are at least 137 people standing for the British National Party (BNP), 35 for the National Front (NF), 6 for the British Freedom Party (BFP), 5 for the Democratic Nationalists (DN) and one each for the British People’s Party (BPP) and England First Party (EFP). The biggest fear that many anti-fascist groups have in the run up to these elections is complacency. For example, in the GLA elections Far Right groups only need 5% of the vote to get an elected representative on to the GLA. This the BNP achieved last time round and they will be once again hoping that decent Londoners do not vote on May 3rd. Wherever the politics of hatred are standing, let’s make sure they are thoroughly democratically beaten. Boris Johnson admitted that he failed to engage enough with nearly 7.5 million Muslim Londoners. The admission came from Tory politician

at his meeting with representatives of more than 50 mosques at the Regents Park Mosque - Islamic Cultural Centre London. Sir Iqbal Sacranie criticised Boris Johnson for not engaging with British Muslim organisations, sidelining the key stakeholders, while engaging more with Jewish and Hindu communities. Johnson agreed in his reply that he could have done more to engage with the Muslim communities but said that the Olympics preparations and post-riots London kept him too busy to concentrate on other matters. But he promised that he will hold regular sessions with Muslims in the future and will hear and speak more with them. Vote Ken Livingstone for mayor of London: Galloway “There are some who don’t want you even to know that there is an election taking place, or who are encouraging the falsehoods that the result doesn’t really matter or that it is all something of a lighthearted personality contest,” said George Galloway, MP for Bradford West. “That’s not true. On the one side stands

NEWS

A celebration of global labour movements

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lumbia, protesters are orchestrating a massive country-wide demonstration on Tuesday, May 1, and their plans call for what could be the biggest event of its like in recent memory. In locales like New York City, San Francisco, California and at least 100 cities in between, thousands of demonstrators are expected to take to the streets on Tuesday for a national day of protest. Originating out of the Occupy Wall Street movement, what began as just a gathering of a few like-minded individuals in Lower Manhattan last year has spawned protests from coast to coast and in cities and countries across the world.

ashtra and Gujarat, it is officially called Maharashtra Day and Gujarat Day respectively, since it was on this day in 1960 that they attained statehood, after

feared that any further commemoration of Labour Day on May 1 could become an opportunity for the American labour movement to appropriate that day and

the old Bombay State became divided on linguistic lines. In the US and Canada, however, the official holiday for workers is Labour Day in September. After the Haymarket Massacre in Chicago on May 1, 1886, the then US President Grover Cleveland

align it with global labour movements. So the US government decided in 1887 to shift the Labour Day to the first working Monday of September. ‘General strike’ to hit the US on May First. In more than 100 cities from Washington State to the District of Co-

Now nearly seven months after OWS first took hold in New York’s Zuccotti Park, occupiers across the nation and even abroad will be assembling on May 1 for a massive general strike being advertised as “a day without the 99 percent.”

Boris Johnson – a Tory who campaigns to hand over money to the rich through tax cuts, someone who has supported every war over the last decade, someone who seeks out the company of bankers, rather than people like you.” Galloway says, “On the other is Ken Livingstone – a real Labour man who when he was mayor of London prioritised the people – especially the poorest people – not the millionaires. He has opposed unjust wars abroad and racism and discrimination at home.” “The right wing media think it is a mark of shame that Ken stands opposes the wave of hatred directed against ethnic minorities and Muslims,” Galloway added. “In fact it is a badge of honour. If Boris Johnson scrapes to victory on Thursday – perhaps because people forget to vote for Ken or don’t think the election is important – the same papers that bash the poor, the immigrants and the Muslims will be strengthened.” Bradford MP said there would be no point a few weeks later wishing you had voted for Ken. Galloway suggested to Ken that he needs to connect to his core, including the 750,000 Muslim voters in London. If they don’t vote, he’s

done for, but if they do, in numbers, he could win handsomely.” “We need to see a return of the colourful old Red Ken and less of the play-it-safe New Labour Ken. “I’ve known Ken for 30 years. You know that he is a man of principle, who won’t bend what he says to suit the powers that be. London needs him as the city faces an onslaught against the majority by those who don’t care about ever rising fares and prices – because they don’t live in the same world as the rest of us.” “So tell your family, friends and neighbours – vote Ken Livingstone for mayor of London on Thursday,” Galloway concluded. Don’t let the Tories get away with it On 3rd May Londoners face a choice between a Labour Mayor and a Tory Mayor.

• Hiked up bus, rail, Tube, tram and DLR fares • Introduced a ‘granny tax’ to fund a tax-cut for the rich • Hit young people and students, including scrapped the Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) • Cut funding for childcare • Allowed rip-off energy companies to hike up bills A Labour Mayor of London would: • Cut fares, saving the average farepayer £1,000 over four years • Reverse Boris Johnson’s police cuts • Create a £30-a-week London EMA for 16-19 year olds • Provide grants and loans for childcare • Offer Londoners cheaper electricity and heating through a London Energy Co-op • Oppose the granny tax paid for by the tax cut for the richest – and freeze Council Tax The central choice on Thursday is between a Conservative Party continuing to rip you off, or a Labour Party that will make you better off. Don’t let the Tories get away with it. Vote Labour in London on Thursday.

That choice is the simple, clear choice that matters on May 3rd. It’s a choice between a Conservative party that will carry on ripping off Londoners and a Labour party determined to make you better off. The Conservative Party has: • Pushed Britain back into recession


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EDITORIAL

“Islam is the Problem”: Boris

‘Do Not Vote Boris’

London Muslims Lets Do A Bradford And Ensure Ken Livingstone Is Elected Mayor It seems like Boris Johnson is always apologising to somebody. Boris Johnson admitted that he failed to engage enough with nearly 7.5 million Muslim Londoners. In April 2008, Boris insulted the British Black community for condoning an article which said that Black people had a lower IQ. Recently he upset the City’s Irish community, Again he had to take back his words and apologise. It’s not just locally, in September

The Muslim Vote Should Not Be Underestimated As the London Mayoral elections and local elections in parts of the country takes place on 3 May, how significant is the Muslim vote and should politicians be worried about how Muslims are encouraged to vote? Muslim communities across the UK and political parties alike are now realising the potential of the tactical Muslim vote. Political parties who are aiming

the Bradford West election but also the campaigns not to vote for Boris Johnson in the upcoming London Mayoral election.

2006, he had to apologise to a whole country after he linked Papua New Guinea to “cannibalism and chief killings”. Again Boris Johnson, apologised. In October 2004, Ken Bigley of Liverpool was beheaded after being held hostage in Iraq. This obviously was a very sad time for Mr Bigley’s family, but once again Mr Johnson put his foot in it, by writing an article in The Spectator saying that city of Liverpool was wallowing in ‘disproportionate’ grief. Mr Johnson was sent to Liverpool straight after his article was published, to explain himself. In 2005, Mr Johnson wrote an article in the wake of 7/7 claiming that “Islam is the problem”. I couldn’t find an apology for this. Boris Johnson admitted that he failed to engage enough with nearly 7.5 million Muslim Londoners. The admission came from Tory politician at his meeting with representatives of more than 50 mosques at the Regents Park Mosque - Islamic Cultural Centre London last month. Sir Iqbal Sacranie criticised Boris Johnson for not engaging with British Muslim organisations, sidelining the key stakeholders, while engaging more with Jews. Johnson agreed in his reply that he could have done more to engage with the Muslim communities but said that the Olympics preparations and postriots London kept him too busy to concentrate on other matters. But he promised that he will hold regular sessions with Muslims in the future and will hear and speak more with them. Thursday, Mr. Johnson will be running for London Mayor again, do you really want this man to represent your capital city?

for strongholds in constituencies where the Muslim vote can be crucial must now work extra hard to engage with Muslim communities and address the issues which are on the top of their agenda. Muslims represent 3% of Britain’s population. Even though this is a small percentage, there are 20 marginal constituencies with significant Muslim voting potential. In these constituencies, the Muslim vote can be crucial Muslims have always been strong supporters of the Labour party. However, in the 2010 general election, the Liberal Democrats managed to secure a large percentage of the Muslim vote away from Labour due to their rejection of the Iraq war and support for the Palestinian cause. George Galloway’s success in Bradford West also highlighted the distrust felt by the Muslim community towards political support for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. A study carried out by YouEelect on voting Muslim intentions showed that when it came to voting, 53% of Muslims viewed foreign policy as the biggest issue while 38% said Islamophobia and 35% felt domestic policy was a significant issue. Palestine, Iraq and Afghanistan were the three main areas of foreign policy which Muslims felt strongly about. In the past, Labour has always had been able to gather the Muslim vote on their side. As more and more Muslims are opening up their eyes to the political scene and as groups like MPACUK and Engage are encouraging this political participation, Muslim voters are thinking twice about where to place their vote. This is not only evident in the result in

on 29%, the totemic number that sunk Gordon Brown at the last general election. Labour at 40% should sweep up council seats north and south, easing some of those old 1997 fears about “southern discomfort”. The Lib Dems have done nothing, except give unquestioning support when they might have saved the Tories from themselves. The doubledipped economy showing no flicker of life is set to stand as this government’s tombstone. These elections come at the worst time for David Cameron, with one calamity after another in the six weeks since the budget. This is probably the worst government of my political lifetime – both brutal and bungling. Is Labour policy all that you would wish? Probably not – but an economy run by Ed Balls would stand a good chance of kick-starting growth, in a European movement against austerity slumponomics. Would Ed Miliband be a great leader? Quite good enough, compared with what we have. London, as elsewhere, should send the same message. Ignore the Boris and Ken worst character contest, and consider what matters: who respect Muslim issues more? who will run London best and most fairly? We have the records of both men. Ken’s plans for lower fares, more homes, more buses, cheaper electricity and a new EMA are called impossible, but so was his congestion charge. His record shows he gets things done. I’ll vote for him enthusiastically – and not just because he’s not a Tory but Livingstone said he would like to see Muslims depicted in a “better balance” and “It is the Muslims’ turn now. Don’t be divided.

Must vote Labour in Thursday’s elections

Voting Labour in these elections is an urgent necessity. Most people in Britain will be voting on Thursday. YouGov shows the Tories down

South Asia Tribune I Thursday 03 May 2012

No platform for Nazi BNP in London Ken Livingstone, Labour candidate for London mayor, pulled out of a radio hustings last week after the BBC insisted on including the British National Party (BNP) candidate.

Livingstone said, “I have long held to the belief in no platform for the far right. The far right want to destroy our democracy and stand for the elimination of our basic rights.

pear with the Nazis he scuppered the BBC’s plans to give the BNP a platform. Unite Against Fascism launched its London campaign against the BNP on Tuesday of last week. Trade union activists from the NUT, PCS and RMT gathered outside King’s Cross station to hand out leaflets urging a vote against the fascists. Candidates for the London Assembly need to pass a 5 percent threshold before they have a chance of winning a seat. In 2008 the BNP polled 5.3 percent and took one seat on the assembly. Every vote against the BNP in Lon-

“They cannot be treated as a legitimate part of politics. I will not share a platform with the BNP and it is a point of principle to me that I never will do.” His refusal to appear prompted other mayoral candidates to pull out too—first the Greens’ Jenny Jones, then Tory Boris Johnson and then Liberal Democrats’ Brian Paddick. Livingstone’s stance demonstrates how effective the “no platform” policy can be. By refusing to ap-

don helps keep the Nazis out. Christine Blower, general secretary of the NUT teachers’ union, was one of those handing out the anti BNP leaflets—which were produced jointly by UAF and NUT. She told Socialist Worker, “The NUT has a political fund exactly because it lets us campaign against racist and fascist parties. “NUT members will be on the streets in large numbers during these elections to say we cannot have fascists in our town halls.”

Pakistan tipped off US on bin Laden: report

“The lead and the information actually came from us,” an unnamed senior official with Pakistan’s InterServices Intelligence Directorate (ISI) told The Post. The al Qaeda founder and 9/11 mastermind was killed on May 2 last year in a secret US Navy SEAL operation in a walled-off compound in the Pakistani garrison town of Abbottabad, north of the Pakistani capital. Washington and Islamabad are now working to repair their relationship, which was badly damaged by the revelation that the world’s most wanted man was living a stone’s throw from Pakistan’s elite military academy. “Any hit on al Qaeda anywhere in the world has happened with our help,” The Post quotes one of the Pakistani intelligence officials as saying. The other official, who said he had

been intimately involved in the hunt for senior al Qaeda operatives, including bin Laden, said the ISI provided the CIA with a cellphone number that eventually led to an al Qaeda courier using the nom de guerre of Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti, the paper said. The officials said that in November 2010, they turned over the number to the CIA, along with information that it had last been detected in Abbottabad, the report said.


South Asia Tribune I Thursday 03 May 2012

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“and Now Muslims as Scapegoats”

Muslim students condemn ‘divisive and irresponsible’ university alcohol ban

Two Islamic societies at London Metropolitan University in Aldgate have demanded an apology from their vice chancellor for making “undemocratic, ill devised and misleading remarks” in support of a student drinking ban. In their letter the university’s two Islamic groups said: “Your comments clearly showed the alcohol ban you proposed is based on gross generalisation about the views of Muslim students. “There has never been a demand for an alcohol ban on campus from Muslim or non-Muslim students. “We find your argument to ban alcohol on religious grounds baseless, divisive and irresponsible. They accused Vice Chancellor Professor Malcolm Gillies of “immorally” using them as “scapegoats” in order to justify a decision not to renew a costly lease for the student bar. Their comments, issued on behalf of the LMU Islamic Society and Shia Muslim Society, follow a suggestion from Prof Gillies that he was considering banning the sale of alcohol from parts of the university’s two campuses. This, he said, was an issue of “cultural sensitivity” resulting from a “high percentage” of students considering drinking “immoral”. Earlier this month, he said: “There are students who do come from a

tradition that stays alcohol is evil and they need to feel that they have a place at London Metropolitan University. “They don’t have to feel that this is an alcoholic environment, we are an educational environment, we are not seeking to push particular cultural or gastronomic values, we meet the needs of our students as they actually are.” In an open letter, students have

now reprimanded Prof Gillies for failing to consult all students on any proposed alcohol ban and have demanded a retraction and an apology for his comments. They said: “There has never been a demand for an alcohol ban on campus from Muslim or nonMuslim students. “The Muslim population at London Met stands at approximately 20 per cent, so assuming all Muslims at the campus were in favour of the ban, this could not be imposed as it would go against the fundamental principal of democracy.”

They said the argument to ban alcohol on religious grounds had led to anti-Muslim feeling on campus and across the country and claimed it had led to confrontations in the student union. “It is only a matter of time before a Muslim student is physically assaulted,” they said. “We find your argument to ban

who have already capitalised upon this and added it to their campaign against minority groups.” The societies added they believed the cultural issues were being used as an excuse to justify a potentially unpopular decision not to renew the bar’s lease. They said: “To use Muslim students to justify cuts is not acceptable and

alcohol on religious grounds baseless, divisive and irresponsible and we are concerned about the welfare of the students. “Such an unreasonable proposal which clearly many non-Muslims view as an attack by Muslims against their way of life, is absolutely of no benefit to the Muslim students and the wider Muslim community at all. “In fact it demonises them even more and it will be used as baseless evidence to show how Britain is becoming a ‘shariastate’, particularly by far right groups such as the EDL

certainly immoral. “If the university finds that running the bars is not economically viable then you should put forward a ‘business case’ and not a ‘religious case’ to justify the closure of bars and the creation of an alcohol-free campus. “Your undemocratic, ill devised and misleading remarks have caused tension within the university campus and in the wider society; therefore we demand a retraction of your comments and an unreserved apology.”

A spokeswoman from London Metropolitan University said Prof Gillies now plans to meet with members of the societies. She said: “As a university with students drawn from a very wide range of cultures, ethnicities and religions, we recognise the different student experiences that we need to cater for at the University. “London Met has no plans to implement a ‘blanket ban’ on alcohol across its campuses, rather it is about the very practical realities of a student life that may involve going to class in the morning and needing a place to work later in the day.” In an email to students last week Vice-Chancellor Gillies said: “My concern as your vice-chancellor is to create a supportive environment for all students. If we admit you as a student you need to feel that your views and beliefs are respected, and that you can concentrate on your studies.” Farooq Murad, Muslim Council of Britain secretary general, said that thousands of Muslims attended university and as far as he was aware there had never been a demand for an alcohol ban on campuses. He said: “There has always been a balance between social life and studying. We believe university authorities should be able to decide what works best for them in managing their campus space.

Flood fears after heavy rainfall

Flood warnings are issued in southern England and Wales after a night of heavy rain. But the hosepipe ban remains despite the wettest April on record.

The Environment Agency has issued 35 flood warnings across England and Wales, and 120 less serious flood alerts, which indicate areas where flooding is possible. Only the north west of England will not be affected. The River Severn looks set to peak in Gloucestershire on Wednesday and people have been cautioned to stay away from swollen rivers. Somerset, Dorset and Devon are particularly vulnerable to flooding, says the Environment Agency (EA), but the threat of major flooding is starting to recede. More than 20mm of rain fell in the space of 12 hours in some regions, and more downpours are expected on Tuesday, which will increase pressure on already saturated rivers. “River flows are high after this weekend’s rainfall and we are keeping a close watch on river levels as well

as checking defences and clearing any potential blockages to reduce the risk of flooding,” said the EA in a statement.

easterly winds across the Midlands and parts of Wales. ellow warnings for heavy downpours have also been issued in the south and east of Eng-

Gloucestershire County Council said some roads were closed, including one in Cinderford which was shut after the road collapsed, and a number of minor routes in Tewkesbury which were under water. Drivers have been warned to take care, and although rain is expected to reduce as the day goes on, the Met Office warned of strong north

land, southern Wales, London and the Midlands. Flooding and drought? This April has been the wettest since records began (in 1910), according to provisional figures from the Met Office [see graphic], but the heavy downpours are not the right conditions to relieve the country’s

drought, says Weather Presenter Liam Dutton: “The key to explaining why there are flood warnings in a drought lies in the speed at which

surface water sources respond to rainfall.” Read more here. Thames Water warned its 8.8 million customers that a hosepipe ban will remain in place despite heavy downpours. The UK’s biggest water company said that this month’s rain did not make up for a shortfall caused by below-average rainfall in 20 of the previous 25 months. “It took the two driest years since records began for us to get into this drought, and one wet month, even one as wet as April, will not be enough to get us out of it,” said Richard Aylard, director of sustainability and external affairs for Thames Water. The Met Office issued an amber warning of severe rain and storms in south west England. Yellow warnings for heavy downpours are also in place for the south and east of England, southern Wales, London and the Midlands.


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South Asia Tribune I Thursday 03 May 2012

Hidden crisis in Saudi Arabia

Since March last year, a hidden movement has gathered pace in the oil-rich kingdom of Saudi Arabia. For the first time in decades, ordinary citizens in large numbers

This week Saudi protesters have held anti-regime demonstrations in several towns in the Qatif region of the oil-rich Eastern Province. Demonstrators took to the

only just found out about four of these men gives us real concern that there are others swept up in arrests around the time of last year’s demonstrations who we are

are demanding reform in public in the Arab monarchy. This is considered phenomenal because no public gatherings of any kind are allowed in Saudi Arabia. It all began early last year when the “Islamic Awakening” started. Activists inspired by the revolutions taking place in Tunisia and Egypt decided to start a movement of their own. Saudi Arabia Protests also known as Hunayn Revolution started in January 2011. The protests were triggered by Self-immolation and some minor demonstrations in a few cities. On the 29th of January 2011, hundreds of Saudis protested over poor infrastructure in Jeddah after a flood took place in the Kingdom. In January 2011, protesters took to the streets, demonstrating against the government corruption. The protests were not organized at first and happened sporadically in different cities including the capital Riyadh and the main western port city of Jeddah. But, in February things changed. Activists, using the social site Facebook, called for nationwide mass rallies on March 11 dubbing it the “Day of Rage.” In Riyadh, only one person showed up as the Saudi government had the whole capital on lock down. His name was Khaled al-Johani. He was detained since then and became

streets on Friday 27Tth April evening. Saudi protesters have been holding demonstrations on an almost regular basis in Eastern Province,

yet to find out about.” At around the same time frame, the protests of another front became known. In the oil-rich Eastern Province, thousands of people-

mainly in Qatif and Awamiyah, calling for the release of all political prisoners, freedom of expression and assembly, and an end to widespread discrimination.

-mainly from the minority Shia sect of Islam---began to come to the streets, calling for equal representation in key offices, reform, and the release of the prisoners. As

called for the Saudi government to withdraw its troops from the tiny Persian Gulf kingdom. When the Saudi government started to feel the pinch, its security forces opened life fire on the protesters, killing several in different incidents. Since then, the protesters began to rally on an almost daily basis. The government in Riyadh blames the unrest on what it calls foreign agents-an indirect reference to Iran--- trying to stir up the unrest, the same excuse it used before invading and occupying Bahrain. The leader of the group Sheikh Ali Salman criticized Riyadh’s allegations during a Friday mass rally outside the capital Manama a few weeks ago. Salman said “Saudi Arabia’s occupation of Bahrain only makes the situation worse.” He went on to say “Iran has nothing to do with the revolution in Bahrain.” Human Rights Watch reported a while back that more than 160 people calling for reform have been arrested in Saudi Arabia since January of 2011. The Saudibased Human Rights First Society reported that the detainees have been subjected to torture---mental and physical. Surprisingly in a theocratic strict monarchy, women are not sitting back from the reform movement.

Human rights group Amnesty International later learned that four others had also been arrested

their movement began to grow and infuriated by their government’s decision to send hundreds of

Last summer, female activists organized a campaign calling on all women drivers to take behind the

place on June 17 and infuriated the government. At least 70 women have been arrested in that month alone for driving. A few weeks ago in the southern tourist city of Abha, hundreds of women protesters staged a sit-in at their university, protesting against injustice and inequality. They were brutally attacked by the moral police. Over 50 of the women were injured and taken to a hospital. The incident sparked outrage across the country with male and female students taking to the streets in Abha, Riyadh and the holy city of Medina. Saudi citizens for the first time are showing their anger at the government and asking for change. Riyadh knows this very well. Therefore its actions of playing the counter-revolution party in the region also aim to illustrate the horror of a revolution in their country. The governmentcontrolled media only cover the negative aspects of the prodemocracy movements sweeping the Arab world. This comes while Saudi Arabia is playing a key role in containing the uprising and helping Arab regimes suppress the revolutions in their countries. It seems evident that as the US and its western allies continue to turn a blind eye on the main violators of human rights in the Middle East and one of many in the world; the Riyadh government will only feel more confident to do as it wants and what it sees is right. Apparently no western country wants to upset one of its biggest weapons customer and oil providers in the region. It’s clear that the winds of change are right on the borders of Saudi Arabia. With the ongoing revolutions in Yemen and Bahrain and the uprising movement in Jordan, the Saudis abroad and inside the Arab kingdom are watching closely as the

known on twitter and Facebook as the “only brave man in Saudi Arabia.”

on the same day. In a frightening statement, the London-based group said “the fact that we have

military vehicles to Bahrain to help the regime crackdown on pro-democracy protesters, they

wheel and violate a Saudi law which prohibits women from driving vehicles. The main event took

fate of their freedom might depend on the outcome of those revolutions happening around them.

Britain’s far right to focus on anti-Islamic policy

<< Continued from page 1 ever referred to as “British Freedom”. “Party” word must be dropped from everywhere. Leave the European Union. Promote Christian values.

Ban polygamy. These demands are conclusive evidence that the EDL is not only focused against ‘extremist Islam’ but on all Muslim people and practices. Last week a report by Amnesty International warned of the rise of extremist political movements targeting Muslim practices in

Europe, a development evidenced by the surprisingly strong showing of support for the French Front National, the far-right party led by Marine Le Pen, in France’s presidential election. It also said that European laws on what girls and women could wear on their heads were encouraging discrimination against Muslims.


South Asia Tribune I Thursday 03 May 2012

Saudi recalls ambassador, shuts embassy in Egypt

Saudi Arabia said on Saturday it had recalled its ambassador from Egypt for “consultation” and would close its embassy and consulates in the Arab nation. State news agency SPA said the reason behind the diplomatic move was “unjustified protests” in Egypt and attempts to storm the Saudi embassy and consulates which “threatened the safety of its employees”.

Egyptians have protested outside the embassy over the arrest of an Egyptian lawyer and human rights activist in the kingdom. Egyptian activists had said the lawyer was arrested for insulting King Abdullah after filing a complaint against Saudi Arabia for its treatment of Egyptian citizens in Saudi prisons. Saudi Arabia said he was arrested in possession of drugs.

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Outrage as Egyptian lawyer sentenced to 20 lashes in Saudi Arabia

Hundreds of Egyptians protested outside the Saudi Embassy on Tuesday demanding the release of an Egyptian human rights lawyer detained in Saudi Arabia for allegedly insulting the kingdom’s monarch. Egypt’s National Council for Human Rights (NCHR) has called on the ruling military council to open negotiations with Saudi Arabian authorities in an effort to secure the release of detained Egyptian lawyer Ahmed El-Gazawi. The Saudi Embassy in a statement said Al Gazawi has not been convicted or sentenced in any case. Instead they said he was being questioned by authorities after airport officials found more than 20,000 anti-anxiety pills hidden inside his luggage. It also said he was not wearing pilgrims’ clothes, which they said indicated he was not making a religious pilgrimage as his family maintains.

The demonstrators called for the expulsion of the Saudi ambassador in Cairo. Anti-Saudi sentiment has flared in recent years following reports of Egyptian nationals being mistreated in the kingdom or experiencing a miscarriage of justice in a Saudi court. In this incident, a prominent Egyptian human rights lawyer was arrested upon his April 17 arrival in the Saudi port of Jeddah, Al Gazawi’s sister told an Egyptian television channel Monday.

Al Gazawi flew to Jeddah on his way to perform a minor pilgrimage, called umrah, to Islam’s holy shrines in the Saudi cities of Makkah and Madinah, said Shereen Al Gazawi. The fact that he was arrested on his way to perform a religious rite further enflamed Egyptian sentiment. Al Gazawi’s sister said he had been convicted in absentia and sentenced to a year in prison and 20 lashes by a Saudi court for insulting the king. However he was not notified of the court’s ruling ahead of his Saudi trip. Al Gazawi had earlier filed a lawsuit in Egypt against King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz over the alleged arbitrary detention of hundreds of Egyptians. A partner at Al Gazawi’s law firm, Mohammad Nabeel, said in recent years they have filed lawsuits concerning 34 cases of Egyptians held in Saudi detention without a stated reason or legal recourse.

Drone strikes: Pakistan may boycott Chicago summit

Egyptians protest lawyer’s arrest in Saudi Arabia

Saudi Embassy says Al Gazawi has not been convicted or sentenced in any case Prominent Egyptian human rights lawyer was arrested upon his April 17 arrival in the Saudi port of Jiddah, el-Gezawi’s sister told an Egyptian television channel Monday. El-Gezawi flew to Jiddah on his way to perform a minor pilgrimage, called umrah, to Islam’s holy shrines in the Saudi cities of Mecca and Medina, said Shereen el-Gezawi. The fact that he was arrested on his way to perform a religious rite further enflamed Egyptian sentiment.

El-Gezawi’s sister said he had been convicted in absentia and sentenced to a year in prison and 20 lashes by a Saudi court for insulting the king. However he was not notified of the court’s ruling ahead of his Saudi trip. El-Gezawi had earlier filed a lawsuit in Egypt against King Abdullah over the alleged arbitrary detention of hundreds of Egyptians. A partner at el-Gezawi’s law firm, Mohammed Nabil, said in recent years they have filed lawsuits concerning 34 cases of Egyptians held in Saudi detention without a stated reason or legal recourse.

Pakistan may boycott the upcoming NATO summit in Chicago and delay its decision to reopen NATO supply routes in retaliation for the latest US drone attack in North Waziristan Agency, officials said. This was the first such attack since parliament last month approved new guidelines on relations with the United States, which included a call for an end to drone strikes in Pakistani territory. A statement issued by the Foreign Office denounced the latest strike as “a violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty”. “Such attacks are in total contravention of international law and established norms of interstate relations,” it added. The matter would be taken up through diplomatic channels both in Islamabad and Washington. A senior government official told The Express Tribune that Pakistan was contemplating a number of options to convey a strong message on drone strikes to the US. One such option includes pulling out of the Chicago summit scheduled

for May. It was, however, not clear whether Islamabad was formally invited to the gathering of nearly 50 heads of states and governments. US Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Marc Grossman did request the Pakistani leadership during his recent trip to attend the summit, said the official. “The latest drone attack clearly is an attempt to discredit democracy in Pakistan,” added the official, who was part of recent negotiations between Islamabad and Washington. Abandoned school targeted The latest strike took place in Miranshah, the main town in

North Waziristan, on Sunday. The drone fired two missiles targeting an abandoned girls’ high school building used by militants, officials said. The school which is located in Qari Masjid village was abandoned by schoolchildren due militancy in the area. “The building had been taken over by militants,” a local resident said. An official from the area confirmed that three people have been killed and two wounded. “However, there are reports that there might be six suspected militants killed,” he added. Another security official said the compound was used mainly by Uzbek and Tajik militants.

Ninety-Six Break-Ins Solved : German Police Identify Burglar by His Earprints Criminals beware -- don’t leave earprints. They are as useful to the police as finger prints. A burglar in Germany made the mistake of pressing his ear to front doors to check if anyone was home. The unique prints have allowed the police to pin 96

burglaries on him. Police in Germany said on Sunday they had solved a series of 96 burglaries by identifying the culprit using the earprints he had left at the scenes while listening at doors. The 33-year old man from Macedonia was arrested and temporar-

ily held in custody last December after committing a burglary in Kiel, police in Hamburg said in a statement. He has now been linked to the burglaries in Hamburg, some 90 kilometers south of Kiel, through matches of DNA, fingerprints and earprints that were taken off him.

He had stolen jewellery, cash and electronic equipment worth a total of €500,000 ($660,000). “Earprints are of similar value as fingerprints in terms of evidence,” police said. “The Macedonian was proven to have left the 96 earprints and other evidence at the crime scenes.”


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South Asia Tribune I Thursday 03 May 2012

Iran goes nuclear: first nuclear plant comes on-line adding 940 MW to grid

Iran’s first nuclear power plant was connected at almost full capacity to the national power grid on April 28, the Islamic Republic News Agency reported, citing Fereydoun Abbasi-Davani, who heads the Iranian Atomic Energy Organization. The 1,000-megawatt Bushehr plant cost around $1bn, Bushehr I and II were begun by Siemens is generating 940 megawatts, Abbasi-Davani said, according to the official IRNA report.

US jets in UAE imperil regional security but no threat to Iran Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said Tuesday that the recent deployment of U.S. F-22 Raptors in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is against the regional security. Addressing reporters in his weekly briefing, Mehmanparast said the presence of foreign forces in the region and deployment of their arsenal in their regional

bases will endanger the security of the region. He called on the litoral states of the Persian Gulf not to provide any base for non-regional forces. If the litoral states of the Persian Gulf work together to provide security for the whole region, it would be “helpful,” said the Iranian spokesman. Any kind of dependence on foreign forces would be against the interest of the countries which make use of it, he added. An Iranian lawmaker says deployment of US F-22 Raptor stealth fighters at an airbase in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is nothing new and cannot be considered a threat to the Islamic Republic.

A US Air Force spokeswoman confirmed the presence of the aircraft — the most advanced fighters in the US arsenal — in the general region, while a Pentagon spokesman, Captain John Kirby, described it as “a very nor-

mal deployment.”The dispatch of the F-22s, though, comes at a moment of high tension in the Gulf. The United States is leading

its allies in a showdown with Iran over its controversial nuclear programme. According to

posed of a mix of older F-15s and ultra-modern F-22 aircraft are in hangars at the United Arab

Wired magazine, the Pentagon has gradually been assembling an air-to-air fighting team com-

Emirates’ Al Dafra Air Base, just a short hop over the Persian Gulf from Iran’s southern border, the

trade publication Aviation Week reported. The fighters join a growing naval armada that includes Navy carriers, submarines, cruisers and destroyers, plus patrol boats and minesweepers enhanced with the latest close-in weaponry, the technology magazine recently reported. While the issue is currently the subject of talks, the next round of which will take place in Baghdad on May 23, Israel and the United States have both warned that military action remains an option should diplomacy fail. Iran has hit back, saying it could close the strategic Strait of Hormuz at the entrance to the Gulf to oil tanker traffic if it is threatened. At the same time, Tehran has criticised UAE neighbour Saudi Arabia over its pledge to pump more oil at a time when Iranian oil exports are being cut by Western sanctions. And Iran and the UAE have been locked in a simmering row over ownership of three islands in the Gulf that both countries claim. Washington has sided with the UAE in that dispute. In December, the United States announced a $3.48 billion arms sale to the UAE for missile defence batteries and radars. Two US aircraft carriers and their escort ships are currently in the Gulf. Mehmanparast said in his briefing: “Regional countries should resort to collective cooperation to ensure their security. Seeking foreign countries or their equipment not only will not provide security but will endanger the region’s security.” Vahadi likewise said Gulf countries should cooperate on security, and was quoted as saying: “The presence of foreign forces in the region will only complicate the situation further and lead to insecurity.”


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Saarc international I Thursday 03 May 2012

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

Thursday, 03.05.12

international

Assam boat tragedy: 108 killed, over 250 missing

In one of the worst boat tragedies in Assam, 103 people, including women and children, drowned and over 100 went missing. When a packed steamer carrying over 300 passengers sank in the Brahmaputra river after being caught in a severe storm midstream in this district on Monday. National Disaster Relief Force head Alok Jha said the bodies of 103 victims, including women and children, were recovered by the BSF and the NDRF personnel near Jaleswar. Deputy commissioner Kumud Chandra Kalita said about 25 people swam to safety after the double-decked ferry with over 300 people onboard was crossing the river from Dhubrighat when it capsized in the storm at 4.20pm. The bodies of the victims were kept at the Dhubri civil hospital, he said, adding the fate of the remaining passengers was not immediately known. The steamer had left Dhubri ferry ghat for Medartary in south bank of the district in the evening and capsized because of the impact of the storm. The Army, BSF’s water wing, National Disaster Force and police armed with mechanised boats have

Under U.S. Pressure, India to Cut Iran Imports

India’s top two importers of crude oil from Iran will reduce shipments from the Persian Gulf nation by at least 15% this financial year, the latest sign that New Delhi is playing ball with Washington’s efforts to shut-down Iran oil trade despite public pronouncement from Indian officials that they will continue to buy from Tehran. The government has asked stateowned Mangalore Refinery & Petrochemicals Ltd. and Essar Oil Ltd., a private company, to cut their imports in the year through March 2013 due to demands from the U.S., said two people with direct knowledge of the matter. “Definitely, there is a lot of pressure from the U.S.,” one of the people said. A spokesman

launched a massive rescue operation in the river but darkness, bad weather and strong current hampered search for possible survivors or the dead. President Pratibha Patil expressed grief over the loss of life while Prime Minister Manmohan Singh assured the state government of all help for relief and fund for families of the deceased. Singh spoke to chief minister Tarun Gogoi to convey his condolences. Gogoi has ordered an inquiry and asked the district administration to look after the survivors. In another boat capsize, 12 people were missing when a boat sank in the same river at Jaleswar, officials said. The district administration has issued a red alert in view of the storm. “The storm has resulted in the tragedies and we are taking all measures,” Kalita said.

for India’s oil ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The Obama administration made a renewed push late last year to strangle Iran’s oil trade in a bid to get Tehran to give up its nuclear program. Tehran says the program is for peaceful purposes. The European Union at the start of the year agreed to ban all oil imports from Iran from July 1. Other Asian importers such as China, Japan and South Korea also have trimmed imports in the first quarter of 2012. Indian officials, though, riled the U.S. by saying the country, which imports 80% of its crude and relies on Tehran for around a tenth of its Continued on page 15 >>

Govt, military played role in bin Laden’s capture: Mukhtar Defence Minister Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar on Wednesday said government of Pakistan and armed forces played a vital role in capturing former al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden through a mobile phone’s chip/SIM, report . Speaking during an exclusive interview to the British Broadcasting Channel’s (BBC) Urdu Service, the defence minister claimed that it was Pakistan’s armed forces which had weakened the al Qaeda’s terrorist network. He revealed that the former al

Qaeda chief was hunted down through a mobile phone’s SIM/chip which was found ‘fortuitously.’ Mukhtar also revealed that Pakistan was bound by a contract with the United States to hand over all Arabic and English data Continued on page 10 >>


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Saarc international I Thursday 03 May 2012

UK LAWYERS COMMITTEE FOR HUMAN RIGHTS AND JUSTICE IN PAKISTAN OPEN LETTER TO REHMAN MALIK INTERIOR MINISTER OF PAKISTAN 6 King’s Bench Walk Temple London EC4Y 7DR 30 April 2012

Today is the fourth day of the operation in Lyari involving thousands of police. The people of Lyari are suffering as a result of this. There is no electricity or water and food shortages are widespread. The police action is forcing the residents to flee their homes. Political opponents of the president’s stepbrother, Tappi, such as Habib Jan Baloch and former leaders of Aman Committee are being targeted under the cover of an operation against

criminal elements. They are also being punished because they met Syed Ghous Ali Shah and intended to invite PML (N) leaders to address the people of Lyari. We are extremely concerned that this police operation is being led by SSP CID, Mr Chowdhry Aslam, a police officer well known for killing people and pretending that such killings were the result of ‘encounters’. We fail to understand why the CID chief has been chosen in this case because normally such operations are conducted under the guidance of uniformed police officers. We find it horrifying that your government has authorised the police conducting the operation to produce Habib Jan Baloch and other leaders of Aman Committee ‘live or dead’ and it is reported that head money

is also being offered by your government. This is clearly an incitement to murder. You well know that Habib Jan is a British citizen of dual nationality, a dedicated worker of PPP since his young age. He was selected by Shaheed BB to contest election in Lyari. He is also the chairman of Friends of Lyari International, an organisation formed in London to assist the poor and disadvantaged people of Lyari. Everybody who knows Habib Jan will testify that he is not a violent man and to label him as a terrorist or gangster is abhorrent. We have information which suggests that the cases filed against him and others are politically motivated and fabricated by Tappi and the aforesaid CID officer. Our information further suggests that it is not the chief minister, but Tappi, an unelected person, who is

running this operation. The aim for Tappi is to gain political control of Lyari and Habib Jan and others are formidable obstacles. We repeat our concern regarding your announcement authorising the police to produce ‘live or dead’ Habib Jan, Uzair Jan, Zaffar Baloch, Shahid Rahman and others. We wish to remind you that under English law conspiring or soliciting to commit murder or committing murder or manslaughter abroad by a British subject are offences which can be tried in the United Kingdom (sec 4 and 9 of The Offences against the Person Act 1861). A person killed as a result of such incitement does not have to be a British subject. If Habib Jan or any of the other named individuals (who may not be British subjects) is killed as a result of your government’s

action, you, as British subject shall be answerable to British courts and shall be prosecubpd in this country. The case of Habib Jan is of course more serious because any harm tcp him as a result of your instruction to produce him dead or alive will be taken very serio0sly by British courts because both of you are British nationals. We are sending a copy of this letter to Teresa May, the British Home Secretary requesting her to remind you of your responsibilities as a British citizen. After all, you have taken an oath of allegiance to the Crorn and you are expected to follow the laws of this country. Sibghat Kadri QC

South Asia fares badly on adolescent girls health

South Asia as a whole fared badly on the body mass index level with India, Bangladesh and Nepal having 47 %, 35% and 26% underweight adolescent girls respectively, according to the UNICEF Global Report card on Adolescents 2012. India’s demographic dividend might get negated with about half of adolescent girls reported unhealthy. According to the UNICEF Global Report card on Adolescents 2012 47% of adolescent girls aged 15–19 in India were underweight with a body mass index of less than the prescribed level of 18.5. The south Asia region as a whole fared badly on the body mass index level with Bangladesh and Nepal having 35% and 26% underweight adolescent girls respectively. The global report listed India as a prime destination for adolescent girls to bear children. It found out that 22% of women aged 20-24 years gave birth before the

age of 18 in India. The UNICEF report said India, Bangladesh, and Niger accounted for one in every three of the world’s adolescent births. 40% of women in Bangladesh conceived before the age of 18 years followed by Nepal at 23% and Pakistan at 10% respectively. Highlighting the causes, Dr Meenakshi Banerjee, consultant gynecology at Max Hospital, Saket said, “Poverty and lack of proper education are the main reasons behind such situation. Some communities in India still go for early marriages which results in early pregnancy.” This, she added, resulted in further worsening of the health of the adolescents. Globally, each year around 16 million girls aged 15– 19 gave birth, accounting for around 11% of all births. Countries of Latin America and the Caribbean and sub-Saharan Africa had the highest proportion of adolescent births. In both these regions, around one

Chairman, UK Lawyer’s Committee for Human Rights and Justice in Pakistan

in five babies was born to an adolescent mother. On sexual behavior among adolescents, UNICEF found that girls were more likely than boys to have sex before age 15. Eight percent of adolescent girls in South Asia had sex before the age of 15. In India, 8% of adolescent girls had sex before the age 15 and 3% of adolescent males had sex before age 15. The south Asia average too was around the same lines. The highest overall rate for sex under age 15 is 17% among Latin American and the Caribbean. Brazil observed 33% adolescent girls to have experienced sex under the age of 15 and Haiti observed 42% adolescent boys to have experienced sex under the age of 15. On violence against women as wives, the UNICEF report found out that 57% of adolescent male in India supported wife beating while 53% of female adolescent too supported wife beating.

Continued from page 9 >>

Govt, military played role in bin Laden’s capture: Mukhtar found amid search for the al Qaeda chief. Similarly the US was to provide all Urdu data to Pakistan for intelligence sharing purposes. The defence minister also said that the armed forces were currently looking into material recovered from the compound in Abbottabad, where bin Laden was captured and eventually killed by the US forces. Moreover, the minister said that Dr Shakeel should inform the Pakistan government rather than the US.


Saarc international I Thursday 03 May 2012

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WEEKLY REVIEW OF AFGHANISTAN NEWS

Taliban announce ‘spring offensive’ across Afghanistan A Taliban suicide attack on a fortified housing compound for foreign workers killed at least seven people as they launched their annual “spring offensive” just hours after Barack Obama had visited the Afghan capital. A spokesman for the Taliban movement claimed responsibility for the attack on a “military base”, saying Mr Obama was “not welcome” in Afghanistan. Gen Carsten Jacobson, spokesman for the Nato-led coalition said: “This is another desperate attack by the Taliban, but again another noteworthy performance by Afghan Security Forces for taking the lead in putting down another desperate attack by insurgents.” Mark Sedwill, Britain’s special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, added: “Another

a campaign-style speech to Americans declaring that the decade-long Afghan military intervention was winding down and a new chapter of relations was beginning. The Taliban militia announced their “spring

“foreign invaders, their advisors, their contractors, all those who help them militarily and in intelligence”, the militants said on their website. “Al-Farouq spring offensive will be launched on May 3 all over Afghanistan,” the militant group said. The militia said the code name came from Islam’s second caliph, Omar Al-Farouq known for his military advances in Asia and the Arab world during the 7th century. The announcement comes hours after Taliban insurgents armed with guns, suicide vests and a bomb-laden car attacked a heavily fortified compound used by Westerners in Kabul, killing seven people and wounding more than a dozen. The militants claimed the attack in defiance of US President Barack Obama’s call that the

Taliban attack today. As always, they kill Afghan civilians not foreign troops.” Mr Obama had used his visit to deliver

offensive” would begin across Afghanistan on Thursday. Code-named Al-Farouq, the primary targets of the offensive would be

war was ending during a visit to Afghanistan on the first anniversary of Osama bin Laden’s death on Wednesday.

Munter defends move to talk to Taliban

Justifying Washington’s support for bringing the Taliban into the peace talks, US Ambassador Cameron Munter said that the Afghanistan situation could not be solved by keeping Afghans out of talks. Talking to media at the second

annual dinner of the American Business Forum (ABF) at Royal Palm Golf and Country Club on Saturday, Ambassador Munter said that Afghanistan’s issues could be resolved only by the Afghan leadership – and the US and Pakistan were only supporting them in the effort to get out of the ongoing crisis. To a question about the nonimplementation of promised Reconstruction Opportunity Zones (ROZs) in the tribal areas, the ambassador said, “I admit this is a failure.” He said that though there was a misconception between Pakistan and US, it can be overcome

through negotiations, people-topeople contacts and enhancing economic ties. He said that many senior Americans are coming to Pakistan for re-engagement on the economic and security fronts. On Hafiz Saeed, Ambassador Munter clarified that the US had not announced a bounty for the Lashkar-e-Taiba chief, but had, under the Right to Justice programme, offered rewards for information leading to the capture of anyone involved in terror activities and those on the United Nations’ list of declared terrorists. He also said that Hafiz Saeed was a probable suspect of the Mumbai terror attack. On this note, the ambassador said that, though the Pakistani media was doing a “wonderful” job, it had, in this case, misreported the facts. Earlier, addressing the gathering as chief guest of the ceremony, the ambassador said that US is firmly committed to its partnership with Pakistan – a relationship that, he said, is built on a foundation of mutual interests, respect and trust. An important element of that relationship is trade, rather than aid, he added. An MoU was also signed for collaboration between USAID and ABF.

Twittelligence: Killing the notion of secrecy

Afghanistan’s Twitter users were chattering about Barack Obama’s unannounced visit several hours before his plane touched down. Apparently, the notion of secrecy is thinning down along with privacy with the advancement of technology. ¬The first to suggest that the US president would be in Kabul was Afghanistan’s TOLOnews, the leading TV news station. The tweet became as the first crack in the veil of secrecy surrounding Obama’s visit. While major news agencies, which were aware of the trip, remained silent, and American and Afghan officials were busy denying Obama’s arrival, the Twittersphere was abuzz with rumors. “The embassy says Obama is not in Kabul? They are probably being sly, and he is at a military base outside of the capital or has already left the country!” was the speculative tone of the tweets. Official confirmation that the American leader is indeed in Afghanistan came late at night local time.

Afghan Taliban deny new talks with US

Afghanistan’s Taliban insurgents on Sunday denied that they had resumed talks with the United States, while the Afghan government insisted that the peace process was “on track”. The Taliban, who last month broke off contacts with the US in Qatar, said they would not resume talks “until the Americans take constructive steps and fulfil promises which were agreed upon for confidence building”. Among the confidence building measures proposed is the release of five Taliban leaders held at the US military prison in Guantanamo Bay. The statement, posted on the Taliban website, came just days after the US, Afghanistan and Pakistan agreed at a meeting in Islamabad to look at ways to provide safe passage to Taliban who are willing to join the peace process. That move was also rejected by the hardline Islamists, who said it was aimed at facilitating militants “kowtowing to US demands in the name of supposed reconciliation talks”. “The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, hereby, strongly denounce such foul and horrendous rift-creating attempts,” the Taliban said in a

separate statement by spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid. But in Kabul on Sunday, the Afghan government said progress was being made in efforts to negotiate an end to the decade-long war. “The peace process is still on track with the Taliban and also efforts are underway by the Afghan government for setting up a Taliban address in the Gulf state of Qatar,” foreign ministry spokesman Janan Mosazai told a news conference. The Taliban, however, have always dismissed the idea of talks with the Afghan government, describing it as a puppet of the Americans. For its part, Washington has

consistently said that any talks with the Taliban to end the war could only take place with the agreement of the Afghan government, which eventually should lead the process. Mosazai said the idea of safe passage aimed to provide “a guarantee to Taliban leaders and officials to safely approach the Afghan government or to travel from one country to another country to engage in direct negotiations with the Afghan government”. Senior Taliban leaders operate from bases within neighbouring Pakistan, which the Afghan government accuses of supporting the militants.


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WEEKLY REVIEW OF BANGLADESH NEWS

BNP threatens ‘tougher agitation’

Minutes after the end of Sunday’s countrywide daylong shutdown, the opposition BNP issued a threat to enforce tougher movement from Tuesday if missing BNP leader M Ilias Ali does not return by Monday. “The government has failed to find Ilias Ali until now. They are playing a new game by not returning Ilias,” acting secretarygeneral Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir said at a press briefing at the party’s Naya Paltan headquarters in the capital. “I would like to make it clear to the government that tougher agitation programme will be enforced if Ilias is not returned by Monday.” Asked when the fresh programmes would be announced, he said, “All at a suitable time.” Bombs hit Bangladesh capital amid strike Ridiculing strict security measures during the opposition-sponsored shutdown, two hand bombs exploded inside the Secretariat on Sunday. There have been no reports of casualties. The bombs exploded around 3:45pm near Gate-2 of the seat of the government,

next to Building 8 which houses the home ministry. Two unidentified youths riding a motorcycle hurled the bombs right in front of lawenforcers on guard and sped away, Dhaka Metropolitan Police’s deputy commissioner of Ramna zone Syed Nurul Islam told bdnews24.com One of the bombs exploded on the boundary wall near Zero Point, while the other went off in the parking lot near the cars of the home minister and the state minister for home. It fell on the window of Ansar official Ashish Kumar Rai’s car, DC Nurul Islam added. A team from the bomb squad of DMP’s Detective Branch visited the blast site. The team leader, Sanowar Hossain, told journalists that even though both the bombs were crudely made, they were ‘quite powerful’. “However, they did not have any shrapnel inside which is why the sound of the blast was so loud.” “The bombs were thrown from 12 feet away and those involved appear to be very skilled.” The incident occurred in presence

of hundreds of policemen who were ‘dumbfounded’ by the attack. Prime minister Sheikh Hasina attended a programme at the Osmani Memorial Auditorium in the morning and was at the Secretariat until 1pm. The security was heightened in the area due to her presence, which failed to ward off the attackers. The officials at the Secretariat were frightened by the blast and many were seen leaving early. A group of activists of the ruling party’s student and youth wings, Chhatra League and Juba League, went to the spot from the Awami League office on Bangabandhu Avenue immediately after the incident and carried out a search for the perpetrators. The BNP-led 18-Party Alliance is enforcing the daylong general strike across the country on Sunday. The party announced the programme on Saturday afternoon to continue putting pressure on the government to get M Ilias Ali back as the opposition accuses government agencies of ‘abducting’ him from a Dhaka street on Apr 18.

Bangladesh hopeful of inking Teesta water accord with India

Stressing that people of Bangladesh wanted the Teesta water sharing accord signed with India, Bangladesh Foreign Minister Dipu Moni hopes that the pact will be inked, saying the two countries were continuing discussions on the issue. “We are hopeful that the Teesta water sharing accord will be signed. The two countries have continued the bilateral relation and communication that is needed for the accord to see the light of the day,” Moni told media persons on the sidelines of a programme in Kolkata. The visiting foreign minister said there exists a deep bond between the two neighbours, to queries

whether the failure to sign the Teesta accord would adversely hit bilateral ties. “The relations between the two countries are deep, and there is a deep bonding between the two nations. And the dialogues and agreements between India and Bangladesh take place on the basis of the bond between us”. “Water is an important issue. And the people of Bangladesh want the Teesta accord to be signed,” she said. The Teesta treaty was proposed to be signed during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh‘s trip to Dhaka last year. However, the singing was scrapped following West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee‘s last minute opposition to the quantum of water to be shared with Bangladesh. Moni said India-Bangladesh ties were now at their best. “The relations between us is just like that which existed in 1971 when the Indian brothers and sisters helped the brothers and sisters of Bangladesh.” On whether Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will meet Banerjee to dicuss the issue, she said: “No such meeting is scheduled now.”

HRW asks govt to launch probe into disappearance cases

New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) on Friday asked the Bangladesh government to immediately conduct independent and impartial investigation into the growing number of cases where opposition members and political activists have vanished without trace. The most recent episode on April 17, 2012 involved Ilias Ali, secretary of the Sylhet Division of the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), the HRW said in a web post. Ali’s case is part of an alarming rise in such incidents, including those of opposition members and political activists. The Human Rights Watch recently expressed concern over the April 4 abduction and subsequent death of Aminul Islam, a prominent labor rights activist. Ain-O-Sailash Kendra, a leading human rights group in Bangladesh, has documented the disappearance of least 22 people in 2012 alone. According to Odhikar, another Dhakabased human rights group, more than 50 people have disappeared since 2010. “The rise in disappearances, particularly of opposition members and activists, requires a credible

and independent investigation,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “The government has taken no serious steps to ensure such an investigation of these disappearances nor to prevent them in the first place.” Ali and his driver, Ansar Ali, have both vanished. The police found Ali’s abandoned car and mobile phone in a parking lot near

Sheikh Hasina called on the police to investigate Ali’s disappearance, but also said that she believed Ali and his driver were “hiding” at his party’s orders to create a situation that would allow the opposition to blame the government. He said Human Rights Watch has long documented abductions and killings by Bangladeshi security

his house in Banani in central Dhaka at around midnight on April 17. There has been no sign of Ali or his driver since then. Adams said that Prime Minister

forces, especially the Rapid Action Battalion (Rab). In its World Report 2012, Human Rights Watch noted that although the number of Rab killings had dropped following

domestic and international criticism, there had been a sharp increase in enforced disappearances, with persons disappearing after last being seen in the custody of security agencies leading to concerns that security agencies have replaced one form of abuse with another. Bangladeshi authorities routinely refuse to confirm the detention or fate of those persons who disappear after being seen in their custody. Under international law, an enforced disappearance is any form of deprivation of liberty by agents of the state or by persons or groups of persons acting with the authorization, support, or acquiescence of the state, followed by a refusal to acknowledge the deprivation of liberty or by concealment of the fate or whereabouts of the disappeared person, he said. Adams said Home Minister Shahara Khatun, speaking in January, dismissed Human Rights Watch’s allegations of possible security force involvement in abuses and laid the entire blame for disappearances on criminal elements. “The government of Sheikh Hasina has made repeated promises to

end abuses and ensure justice and accountability,” Adams said. “But in spite of these public pledges, the government consistently dismisses or ignores evidence of abuses by the security forces. This is why an independent investigation into all cases of disappearances is urgently required.” Human Rights Watch further expressed concern about apparent excessive use of force by the security forces against protesters throughout Bangladesh during a general strike called by the BNP to protest Ali’s disappearance. Since April 21, two protesters, Monwar Miya and another who is yet to be identified, have been killed in clashes between protesters and security forces. It said thousands more protesters have reportedly been injured and about one thousand have been arrested. Human Rights Watch called on the government to ensure a full and effective investigation into the two deaths, and ensure security forces only use the minimum necessary force to deal with violent crimes, as set out in the UN Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials.


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WEEKLY REVIEW OF BHUTAN NEWS

Bhutan seeks to use Bangladesh sea, air, land ports

Bhutan wants to use the seaports and airports of Bangladesh along with five new land customs (LC) stations under a proposed Protocol on Transit between Bangladesh and Bhutan, official sources said. Bhutan has recently sent the draft Protocol on Transit to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) ahead of the Commerce Secretary-level meeting between the two South Asian countries, scheduled to be held in Thimphu on May 9 next. “Bhutan is eager to strike a deal with Bangladesh to use our seaports and airports under a proposed protocol on transit,” a high official at the MoFA told the FE on Sunday. He said as the issue was related to the function of the Ministry of Commerce (MoC), the draft protocol would soon be sent to MoC, with the specific observations of MoFA, for consideration. Currently, export and import between Bangladesh and Bhutan take place through two LC stations - Burimari and Tamabil. As per its proposal, Bhutan

has sought seven LC stations including the existing two for export, import and transit purposes. The proposed new stations are Moghalhat, Noonkhawa, Nakugaon, Haluaghat and Banglabandha. Bhutan, in the protocol, has also sought to use the country’s Chittagong seaport, Chittagong airport, Mongla seaport and Dhaka Hazrat Shahjalal International airport for transit purpose, according to the draft

protocol on transit between Bangladesh and Bhutan, a copy of which has been obtained by the FE. Bangladesh and Bhutan earlier signed a transit agreement in 1980, but it did not come into effect fully, as India failed to reach an agreement on giving Bhutan a corridor and to allow it to use a strip of the Indian territory. Besides, the lack of any operation modality, the transit agreement

between the countries could not come into full operation, a trade official said. Officials at the MoC said the issue of providing transit facilities to South Asian regional countries including India, Nepal and Bhutan would be finalised under a comprehensive formula as suggested by the Core Committee on Transit. “We are yet to get the go-ahead from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) on initiating negotiations with interested countries for striking transit agreements,” a senior trade official said. He said the report of the Core Committee on Transit had been submitted to PMO about three months back. However, the trade official

said Bangladesh delegation at the forthcoming Commerce Secretary-level meeting would show its positive attitude towards transit between Bangladesh and Bhutan. Commerce Secretary Ghulam Hossain will lead a six-member delegation at the talks. The last Commerce Secretarylevel meeting between the two countries was held in August 2008 in Dhaka. Officials at the Ministry of Commerce (MoC) said the agenda for the trade talks was yet to be finalised. However, they hinted that increasing trade volume between the two countries as well as facilitating bilateral business through establishing connectivity would get top priority at the meeting. Bangladesh exports to Bhutan items like ready-made garments, pharmaceuticals, melamine, toilet soap, dry food, fruit juice and mineral water. On the other hand, Bhutan exports products like fresh fruits, paper and paper boards, crushed stones, coffee and spices to Bangladesh.

Bhutan: Inflation climbs to Bhutan India to update 9.4 percent in first quarter air service agreement

The price of goods and services in the first quarter of this year, ending March 31, has increased by 9.4 percent, compared with the same period last year according to the National Statistical Bureau’s consumer price index. Changes in average retail price of 363 consumer goods and services purchased by Bhutanese households in the 23 urban centres and townships in the country are captured to produce the quarterly price index. According to the latest CPI bulletin, price of food items went up by more than 11 percent, and non-food products by more than eight percent, compared to the same period last year. Food and non alcoholic beverages were up by more than 10 percent, alcoholic beverages and narcotic products by just under 28 percent, clothing and footwear by close to 14 percent, household maintenance and services by around 19 percent, fuels by around six percent, and transportation and transport services by around 9.5

percent. At the sub group level, the price of doma and pani, which is classified as a narcotic, went up by almost 48 percent, Bhutanese and imported spices by more than 24 percent, domestically produced alcohol by 25 percent, and vegetables by more than 13 percent. The overall price movement in the first three months of this year increased by three percent, compared with the previous quarter (October, November, December), where price increases were less than two percent. In the food group, the price of fruits saw the highest increases, by more than 32 percent from the previous quarter, largely as a result of the end

of the fruit season in Bhutan, and the arrival of imported fruits, the CPI bulletin says. The purchasing power of the ngultrum (PPN), as measured by the CPI, was recorded at 59 chhetrum for the first quarter ending March. This means Nu 100 in the first quarter of 2012 was worth only Nu 59 at 2003 prices, which is used as the base year to measure price changes. NSB officials said that only a few aspects of the inflationary trends that set in after the central bank began rationing the Indian Rupee were captured in the first quarter bulletin. This is because change in prices is normally captured on a monthly basis.

The information and communications ministry (MoIC) will meet their Indian counterparts to update the air service agreement between Bhutan and India . A bilateral air service agreement is an agreement between two countries to allow international commercial

the frequency of flights between Bhutan and India, and allowing Bhutanese airlines to fly onwards to other destinations after making a stop in India, such as Singapore will be discussed. With Bhutan Airlines scheduled to begin international operations in

air transport between the two territories. An air service agreement also includes specifics such as how many flights are permitted in a given period. MoIC secretary Dasho Kinley Dorji said that issues such as increasing

September, MoIC will also seek to include the designation of the private airline as a Bhutanese operator. The bilateral air service agreement between the two countries was last updated in 2008 under a memorandum of understanding.


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WEEKLY REVIEW OF INDIA NEWS

India to host investors’ meet on Afghanistan India will get more intimately involved in Afghanistan’s stabilisation process by hosting a conference of regional investors. Unlike the other conferences that take place around the world, examining the political, security and aid aspects of the post-2014 scenario, when the largely Western forces will have stopped their military operations, this conference will look at the investment opportunities in Afghanistan. Announcing this at a press conference with Afghanistan Foreign Minister Zalmai Rassoul, External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna said Indian assistance to Afghanistan was neither “transitory, nor in transition.” India, Pakistan and China will have a substantial economic stake in Afghanistan in the coming years. Kabul is poised to earn $500 million a year in transit fees from a pipeline originating from Turkmenistan and supplying gas to Pakistan and Afghanistan. India has won the Hajigak iron ore mine, which officials say is the “jewel”

of Afghanistan’s mining sector. After winning three of four blocks on offer, it is looking at six petroleum blocks in northern Afghanistan and copper mines in four different parts of the country. China has won the lucrative Aenak copper mine, but faces the same problem as India and Pakistan: some regions are plagued by conflict and the others are placid. Mr. Krishna and Mr. Rassoul were speaking to journalists after chairing the first meeting of the Indo-Afghan Partnership Council, which was

Ban Ki-moon praised India for achieving many of its MDG ahead of schedule even as he sought to rope in the Indian private sector towards achieving the social goals that were set in 2000 and have to be achieved by 2015. Ban, who flew into Mumbai yesterday morning, attended a dinner party hosted by Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani at the latter’s residence, Antilla, last evening in Mumbai where he met the cream of Indian business. Earlier in the day, he met chief minister Prithviraj Chavan, health minister Suresh Shetty, and other officers from the health department, where he lauded India for cutting down its maternal mortality and infant mortality. “He said that India had already achieved the target set for 2015,” Chavan said. But there remain some concerns vis-à-vis India, the primary one

being its skewed sex ratio. Chavan said he asked the UN secretary general to let India know of any country that has successfully curbed a skewed sex ratio. “Any best practices elsewhere we are willing to adopt,” Chavan added. The CM said the state officials informed him about some schemes that India has adopted to improve healthcare such as the Janini Suraksha Yojana for poor pregnant women, the Rajiv Gandhi Jivandayi Yojana which provides healthcare to the poor, and Matrutva Anudaan Yojana, aimed at the poor tribal belts. Ban also praised India for raising its budgetary allocation for health, which now stood at 2.5% of the GDP, and Maharashtra, which had allocated 3.8% of the GSDP for health.“The visit is to recognise the progress that India’s society, government, and private sector have made together in improving maternal and children healthcare,” said Eri Kaneko, associate spokesperson for the secretary general. A state official also said that seeking the help of the private sector was a part of the UN’s strategy and did not in any way reflect a disappointment with the Indian government’s efforts in ensuring better healthcare for all its citizens.

Ban Ki-moon impressed by India

envisaged in the strategic partnership agreement Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Afghan President Hamid Karzai signed seven months ago. The Partnership Council, to be chaired by the Foreign Ministers, will have four working groups to flesh out the aims expressed in the strategic partnership agreement: capacity-building in the security, education and civil society sectors and scouting for opportunities

in the hydrocarbon and mineral sectors. One of the working groups, on political and security consultations, also held its maiden meeting. The three other groups will meet in due course. Mr. Krishna said India would continue to partner Afghanistan to make sure that it would be a source of regional stability and did not become a target for extremist forces. “Afghanistan’s defence of its own territory is of extreme importance to us. Our security is entwined with the stability and security of Afghanistan.” He also underlined the need to adhere to the ‘red lines’ in the reintegration process. “These red lines for reintegration are crucial in the common endeavour to prevent Afghanistan from sliding back to [being] a safe haven for terrorists and extremist groups, and to preserve the gains made by the international community in [the] past decade.”

Online visa application facility extended to 8 more cities abroad India has extended integrated online visa application system, which offers secure and hassle-free travel documents to foreigners, to eight more overseas destinations. Now, the facility is available at 60 Indian missions abroad. The facility, under the Immigration, Visa and Foreigners Registration and Tracking (IVFRT) system, had been made operational at Indian missions at Perth in Australia, Houston and Chicago in the United States, Tehran in Iran, Cairo in Egypt, Taipei in Taiwan and Bangkok and Chiang Mai in Thailand. The other destinations where this facility is currently available are at New York, San Francisco, Hong Kong, Washington and at Indian missions in Pakistan, Bangladesh and the United Kingdom.


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Lyari operation enters fifth day as residents relocate to safer areas

Karachi’s Baloch residents storm out to support Lyari brethren Anger and frustration run high among the Baloch residents of Karachi against the operation in Lyari. There were two violent protests at Mauripur Road and in front of the press club. Early on Monday morning, hundreds of people walked through the streets of Nayabad and Khadda Market and then blocked the road from ICI Bridge to Shershah for over three hours. They also pelted passing vehicles with stones. Despite several claims by police officials, security forces in Lyari have not been able to progress farther than Cheel Chowk, as the ‘Grand Operation’ entered its fifth day. Clashes between law-enforcement agencies and heavily armed criminals continued on Tuesday, as miscreants resorted to the use of hand-grenades and rocket propelled grenades (RPGs) in addition to using sophisticated automatic weapons against security forces. Authorities had installed jammers on Monday night to block cellular access in the area. The move was viewed as a failure as the criminals were reported to be using walkietalkies to communicate with each other. It was disclosed that the criminals are in possession of more than a hundred sets of walkie-talkies. In reports on Tuesday, a policeman identified as Tufail was killed during clashes near Cheel Chowk, while two more people were killed

when police came under heavy gunfire and rocket attacks while progressing deeper into the areas near Cheel Chowk and Baghdadi colony. Ten people were injured when a mini rocket propelled grenade landed on the upper story of a hotel in Lea Market. Police shifted the injured to a near-by hospital for treatment. During the past four days, more

fighting as they relocate from the violence-ridden area. At the entry and exit points of Lyari , people were seen waiting in their cars for their relatives, desperate to flee the fighting in one of the oldest localities in the port city of Karachi. Approximately 150 families from neighbourhoods affected by the operation –including Agra Taj Colony, Afshani Gali, Shah Abdul

the previous day. The police tried to disperse the protesters with tear gas but they remerged in clusters from Niazi Chowk and other streets. They also beat up the passengers and looted them. The hide-and-seek with the police continued till the evening. In the afternoon, the Baloch residents from the outskirts of Malir and Baldia, and other parts of the city, made their way to the

camp outside the press club and burnt pictures of President Asif Ali Zardari, Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah, MNA Faryal Talpur and Bilawal Bhutto Zardari after beating them with shoes. The people came from Malir, Dalmia, Razaqabad, Jumma Goth, Jam Kunda, Saleh Muhammad Goth and other areas. They chanted slogans against the government and described the operation as genocide of the Baloch people by Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) government in collaboration with its coalition partner, Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM). Support from rural Sindh The Lyari operation has also caused ripples around Sindh and elicited a protest movement across the province by the people and nationalist parties. The people of Shaheed Benazirabad,

than 20 people, as well as six security personnel, have lost their lives in the aggressive operation. Meanwhile, hundreds of Lyari residents continued to flee the

Latif Road, Ghas Mandi, Gul Mohammad Lane, Aath Chowk, Cheel Chowk, and other parts of Lyari – were reported to have relocated to safer parts of the city

press club stuffed in more than six buses and motorcycles. Young men wearing shalwar qameez and with their faces covered attacked other protesters who had set up

Sanghar, Mirpurkhas, Tandojam and other districts protested against the operation and members of nationalist parties observed hunger strikes on Monday.

Under U.S. Pressure, India to Cut Iran Imports Continued from page 9 >> total imports, needed to continue to buy Iranian oil to meet its needs. The country agreed with Iran in February to pay for almost half of its oil imports from Tehran in Indian rupees as a way to get around U.S. sanctions that made getting hold of the U.S. dollar for transactions near impossible. And in March an Indian trade group visited Iran to drum up business for Indian exports. Iran is looking at ways of buying more goods from India, which it can pay for with the rupees it gets from selling its oil. Despite this, India has been forced to reduce its purchases anyway as local refiners have found it hard to get U.S. dollar financing, shipping and insurance for Iranian oil due to U.S. pressure, Indian officials say. Crude imports from Iran fell to 18.5 million tons in the year ended March 31, 2011, from 21.8 million tons in the year ended March 31, 2009, according to government data. India is yet to announce official data for crude oil imports from Iran in the just-ended financial year, but officials put the figure around 14 million tons. New Delhi, a U.S. ally, also may have been wary of confronting Washington over an issue on which the Obama administration has made a concerted push in recent

months. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton earlier this year told U.S. Congress that India was cooperating on squeezing Iran much more than the nation’s public statements on the issue conveyed. In December 2010, for instance, India’s central bank barred Iran-related payments from being processed through the Asian Clearing Union, a regional clearing house that the U.S. said was opaque and could be used by Tehran to finance its alleged nuclear-weapons program. The reductions in crude imports from Iran, though, seem to reflect that India has no choice. “There’s been an attempt to diversify our purchases. Things have become very complicated,” Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai said in a recent interview. The U.S. has given countries until June 28 to significantly cut their purchases of Iranian crude oil or face sanctions. The Obama administration said last month that it wouldn’t impose sanctions against Japan and the EU after they moved quickly to cut Iranian imports. The U.S. State Department said 12 other countries, including South Korea, India and China, remained at risk of sanctions due to continued purchases of Iranian oil. India’s Foreign Minister S. M. Krishna last week said the U.S. hasn’t threatened to impose sanctions against India

and that the nation’s crude imports from Iran are guided by its energy-security needs. Indian media reports last month quoted Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee as saying India was currently buying about 14 million tons of crude from Iran. India has been looking at increasing its crude imports from Saudi Arabia, reports said. A sign of the difficulty of India’s position with Iran emerged Wednesday, when food ministry officials in New Delhi indicated a plan for Tehran to import up to three million metric tons of wheat is facing obstacles. Iran is looking for Indian commodities to buy so it can put the rupees it receives for oil sales to use. But Tehran is saying it will only buy Indian wheat that is completely free from a fungal disease. Indian officials say the fungus is commonly found in small traces in many countries’ wheat supplies and the demand is likely an attempt by Iran to drive down the price. “We have asked them whether wheat supply from other countries is entirely free from disease,” said an Indian food ministry official. Pakistani newspapers Wednesday also reported disagreements between Iran and Pakistan over the price Tehran was willing to pay for wheat in return for oil.


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Residents flee Pakistan Karachi ‘war zone’

Baloch solidarity: ‘Ek Lyari sab per bhari’, chant protesters

Police operation in Lyari intensified From UK TO Pakistan Joint call to end operation: Political parties, activists and Baloch protest

On the fifth day of the Lyari operation, the Sindh government invited all gangs involved in the Lyari violence to the table for negotiations if they agreed to surrender and lay down arms. The In charge of the so called operation CID SSP Ch Aslam who is known for his Mafia like style claimed today that the operation will be finalized tonight on Wednesday as its only 20% remain. As the police and resistance forces in Lyari continued to face off for the fifth consecutive day in Chakiwara, members of civil society and political parties voiced their protest against the operation and sent food for the hemmed in neighbourhood. The operation has claimed 33 lives so far, including six policemen. Over 60 people have been injured as a result of the operation. To add to the Sindh Government’s losses, the operation is proving to be a financial burden too, with daily costs running into hundreds of thousands of rupees. According to estimates, bullets worth Rs 5 million have been used, so far. For the operation, around 2,000 personnel have been deployed around Lee Market, Cheel Chowk and other surrounding areas. In order to keep the personnel fed, the per meal menu includes biryani with juice, qorma and roti with juice, or aloo gosht and roti with juice, at an approximate daily cost of Rs0.4 million. Trading activities have been badly affected since the operation against criminals started in the Lyari Town with the businessmen claiming losses worth over Rs 10 billion during the last eight

days. Some reports suggest The main objective of this operation is to either arrest or kill the Peoples Amn Committee PAC’s leadership and its operational structure and eliminate some dens. On Tuesday, the home department issued a notification for head money placed on Lyari gangsters. An amount of Rs3 million was set for Uzair Baloch, Baba Ladla, Zaman Mehsud and Ilyas Pappu, while Rs1.5 million was announced for Rashid Rekha.

UK Lawyers Committee for Human rights and justice in Pakistan held a press on conference in London Tuesday and offered options for solution for the crises. Barrister Sibghat Kadri QC a renowned Lawyer and Lord Nazir Ahmed asked Pakistan Government to immediately stop so called operation and political victimization in Lyari. As state-sponsored oppression is creating anarchy and its one sided. They disclosed that Step brother of President Zardari is supervising the operation. The situation has also been complicated because step brother of zardari, Owais Muzafar ‘Tappi’ is in charge. Sindh Home Minister Manzoor Wassan was sidelined and the IG Police was brought out as the public face. Sibghat Kadri also wrote an open letter to Interior Minister of Pakistan and warned him if due to his personal vengeance any leader of the Friends of Lyari got killed due to head money , they will prosecute Rehman Malik in UK. They claim a leader of Friends of Lyari Habib Jan who is British Citizen is under grave threat by Rehman Malik, who is also a UK resident and he is behind this operation and he involved Habib jan’s name into false cases and

now after head money any one of them got killed by Pakistani forces then Rehman malik will be prosecuted in Britain. Sibghat Kadri and Lord Nazri pleaded to the Chief Justice to take Sou Moto and Army Chief to intervened. At the press conference they offered if Army take control of the situation they will make it sure the friends of Lyari will surrender in peace. In Pakistan members of civil society and political parties voiced their protest against the operation. “This operation is meant to create hurdles for the City Alliance of political and religious parties,” said Dr Hasan Raza Memon of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) at a press conference on Tuesday. “It is being conducted to make one ally happy but will lead to ethnic clashes in different parts of Pakistan.” The joint action committee of over 20 different non-governmental organisations appealed to the government to immediately end the operation, saying that “thousands of innocent people were stuck without food, medicine, power, water and basic necessities of life”. The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s (PML-N) youth wing, led by Asif Khan, organised a rally in which MNA Nabeel Gabol was excoriated. The former city Nazim and president of the alKhidmat Foundation, Niamatullah Khan, accused the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) of using state-sponsored oppression to crush an uprising among its former armed loyalists. He was speaking at the Jamaat-eIslami (JI) press conference. “They can’t afford to lose Lyari’s provincial and national assembly seats so they have turned the area into a battlefield,” alleged Khan. Continued on page 30 >>

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SC transfers to itself the case of Rajiv Gandhi killers Case listed for hearing on July 10

The supreme court on Tuesday decided to adjudicate itself the pleas of Rajiv Gandhi killers against their death penalty due to the delay of over 11 years in deciding their mercy petitions by the President. A bench headed by Justice G S Singhvi directed that their petitions, pending with the Madras High Court, be sent to it and listed the case for hearing on July 10. The court passed the order on a petition by one L K Venkat seeking transfer of their pleas out of Tamil Nadu on his fears that the free and fair hearings would not possible in the state due to the surcharged atmosphere, favouring the death row convicts. The Tamil Nadu government earlier on October 10, 2011 had opposed the plea to shift the case out of the Madras High Court denying the allegations that the atmosphere in the state was too “vitiated and surcharged” to hold a free and fair hearing in the case Senior counsel Ram Jethmalani, appearing for the three death row convicts - Santhan, Murugan and Perarivalan alias Arivu, too had opposed the transfer plea on the

ground that Article 139A (relating to transfer of certain cases) gives power only to the Attorney General of India or the aggrieved parties to file a petition for transfer. Venkat’s counsel had, however,

submitted that a free and fair hearing of the proceedings cannot be held in the Madras High Court owing to the “surcharged, hostile and vitiated” atmosphere prevailing there. On a petition by the three death row convicts, the Madras High Court had earlier stayed their hanging and had issued notices to the Centre and the Tamil Nadu government. The three convicts had challenged before the high court, the sentence despite the same having been upheld earlier by the apex court and

the President having rejected their mercy pleas subsequently. Venkat subsequently had moved the apex court seeking transfer of their appeals out of the state high court and the apex court had issued notices on his petition to the state. Venkat had alleged in his plea that

the convicts’ appeals challenging their death sentences cannot be heard in a free and fair atmosphere in the state as several supporters of the banned LLTE were interfering with the functioning of the judiciary by raising slogans in support of the convicts.

Venkat had told the apex court that on August 30 when the Madras High Court took up the convicts’ appeals for hearing, about 5,000 people had gathered in the court premises and had disturbed its proceedings. He had alleged that soon after the high court stayed the executions, people raised slogans in joy inside and outside the courtroom. The transfer petition has alleged that the state government, besides various political leaders, were also directly or indirectly supporting the cause of the convicts. In their plea to the high court, the three death row convicts had challenged their sentence saying that the 11-year delay in deciding their mercy plea was inhuman. Their main contention was that the delay in disposal of the mercy petitions by 11 years and four months made the execution of the death sentence “unduly harsh and excessive,” amounting to violation of their right to life under Article 21 of the Constitution. On the trio’s plea, the high court had stayed their execution slated for September 9.

Taliban threat from Af-Pak real, warns Air chief marshal Browne

Increasing Talibanisation of Pakistan and shifting of terror focus from Af-Pak region would pose a serious security threat to India in the next two years, Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal N A K Browne said here Saturday. “If the American troops and the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) withdraw from Afghanistan as planned, 2013-14 are going to be crucial watershed years for India as far as the security of our western border is concerned,” Browne hinted. Noting that the emergence of Pakistani Taliban and Punjabi Taliban would pose a real threat to India, Browne said if the situation in the Af-Pak region deteriorated after the allied forces withdraw, these (Taliban) elements may shift close to the Wagah border. “Our fear is that we may have these forces very close to the Wagah border to deal with because the focal point of al-Qaida and

Taliban has dramatically shifted very fast from Afghanistan to Af-Pak border and North West Frontier Province to the heart of Pakistan,” Browne said delivering the sixth Air Chief Marshal L M Katre Memorial Lecture at the HAL convention centre here. Referring to the terror outfit Jamaat-ud-Dawah founder Hafiz Muhammad Saeed’s speech at a seminar in Peshwar last week, the Air Chief said the game-

plan of Taliban forces and terror elements in Af-Pak region was to target Kashmir after “liberating” Kabul from allied forces.

“It is Kabul now we are dealing with. The moment we resolve that, we will take over the next phase to liberate Kashmir from Jammu & Kashmir state,” Browne quoted Saeed as saying. Admitting that unresolved borders with Pakistan and China were a baggage from the past, Browne said as a security concern, the convoluted borders were a point of friction with both the neighbouring countries who also collude in sharing

conventional and missile technology to develop nuclear and conventional weapons. “I can’t think of any other model in the world where you are dealing with this kind of situation with two nuclear powered neighbouring countries having border issues with us as a common cause for point of friction,” Browne told a gathering of about 500 members from the aeronautical community and air force families. The Air Force Association (Karnataka branch) organises every year the Lakshman Madhav Katre Memorial Lecture in memory of the former air chief (1984-85) who was also chairman of the defence behemoth Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) in 1983. HAL chairman R K Tyagi and Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) director P S Krishnan also spoke on the occasion.


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‘India, US poised for $8bn defence deals’

As India emerges as the third largest market for US foreign military sales (FMS), the new US ambassador to India, Nancy Powell, said on Friday that the two countries are poised to sign an additional $8 billion deal in direct commercial and foreign military Powell said that US-India partnership has experienced one of the highest growth rates in the Pacific. “With the C-17 and C-130J sale, we have more than doubled our total foreign military sales and posted sales making India the third largest FMS market for 2011,”’ she said, addressing the 20th annual

general meeting of the American Chamber of Commerce. Powell did not go into the specifics of the deals likely to be signed in what was her first public speech in India. “As we share more common equipment, our bilateral defense ties will become stronger. India will be able to assume a larger leadership role in the region and effectively respond to security concerns and humanitarian relief operations,’’ she added. She said equipment sales are critical to India’s military modernization. According to Powell, that Obama recently called for reforms to US export control system will create

a more streamlined approach to secure trade. “This new approach will help US exporters to be more competitive and reliable suppliers of innovative technologies. We in turn expect India to sign up to and adhere to appropriate

international regimes,’’ she said. She described as another recent success story Boeing and Air India completing the most publicized aviation deal in recent history. “Air India’s purchase of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft

will be a significant boost for US jobs and exports and the Indian aviation sector. The fuel-efficient Dreamliners are a key component of Air India’s restructuring plan as India positions itself to become a global aviation hub,’’ she said.

Khalil Dale was ‘gentle, kind and loving’ say family Family and friends of Khalil Dale, the British aid worker killed in Pakistan, paid tribute to him, describing him as “amongst the most gentle, most kind and most loving person we have ever known”.

The foreign secretary condemned Khalil Dale's killing as "senseless and cruel" 'We don't pay ransoms': Red Cross confirms it had contact with kidnappers who executed British doctor but refused to hand over cash for his freedom The Red Cross bosses of slaughtered doctor Khalil Dale have confirmed they had contact with his kidnappers and refused to pay a ransom to free him. The family of murdered British aid worker Khalil Dale have said they are "shocked and saddened beyond comprehension" following his death.

Mr Dale, 60, was kidnapped in Quetta, Pakistan, in January and his body was found in the town on Sunday. Mr Dale, a 60-year-old Muslim convert, was taken hostage by suspected pro-Taliban fighters in one of the most troubled regions of the country. He was managing a health programme in Quetta, Baluchistan, and had previously been awarded an MBE for his humanitarian work. His remains were found beside a road outside the city wrapped tightly in cellophane inside a plastic bag. An unsigned note said he had been killed because a ransom had not been paid and that a video would soon be released of his execution.

It is understood that his captors demanded $30 million (£18.4 million)

from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

Hamid Shakeel, the Quetta police chief said the method by which he was killed indicated the involvement of the Pakistan Taliban. In a statement his family spoke of the "senseless and brutal way in which our beloved Khalil was murdered". The UK government and the International Committee of the Red Cross have said every effort was made to free him. The family statement came from Mr Dale's brother Ian, his friends Zia and Dora and fiancee Anne. It said: "During Khalil's abduction and following his death, there has been an overwhelming flood of support, kindness and love from all cor-

ners of the globe, and we are very humbled and grateful for this empathy and solidarity. "In particular, we wish to thank the Red Cross and Red Crescent family across the world for their support and for their focus throughout on Khalil's safe release. "We have been with them throughout this ordeal, and we know they share our grief." British PM 'deeply saddened' by murder of aid worker in Pakistan Prime Minister David Cameron has called the killing of a kidnapped British Red Cross worker a "shocking and merciless act." Khalil Dale was found dead in Quetta, Pakistan on Sunday, four months after he was abducted by armed men Prime Minister David Cameron said: "I was deeply saddened to hear about the brutal murder of Khalil Dale - a man who was killed whilst providing humanitarian support to others. This was a shocking and merciless act, carried out by people with no respect for human life and the rule of law.


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WEEKLY REVIEW OF PAKISTAN NEWS

No PPP premier will write letter: Gilani

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani asserted on Sunday that no premier belonging to the PPP would write a letter to Swiss authorities to reopen graft cases against President Asif Ali Zardari. “We will not budge from our constitutional stance, come what may,” he said while talking to a group of lawyers at his residence here. The prime minister termed PML-N an ‘opportunist’ party and said its president (Nawaz Sharif) was trying to confuse the people over the Supreme Court’s verdict in the contempt of court case.

“Mr Sharif appears to be confused. Therefore, he is trying to confuse the public over the court’s decision in my case,” Mr Gilani said. Punjab PPP Information Secretary Raja Amir, who was present on the occasion, told Dawn that the prime minister was displeased with the PML-N’s efforts to indulge in political point scoring on the Supreme Court’s verdict. “I am utterly disappointed with the PML-N for what it has been doing after the court’s verdict. The PML-N is misleading the people, but we will not let it succeed. We

have always taken the PML-N along and accommodated it, but it always

stabbed us in our back whenever it got an opportunity,” the prime minister was quoted as saying. Mr Gilani further said that the Sharifs wanted one law for themselves and another for others. He asked them to wait till the completion of the necessary legal procedure. “The PML-N should stop holding its own court,” he advised its leadership.He said the PPP, through constitutional amendments, had lifted the condition of becoming prime minister for the third time, primarily as desired by Mr Nawaz Sharif. “I will not resign on anybody’s wish.

WB approves $550 million for education, gas supply in Pakistan

The World Bank’s Board of Directors on Thursday approved two projects totalling $550 million aimed at supporting Pakistan’s efforts to strengthen education and natural gas sectors, which are critical to Pakistan’s growth and development. The $350 million Second Punjab Education Sector Project will support the Punjab government’s education sector reform programmeme which is designed to increase child school participation and student achievement. The $200 million Natural Gas Efficiency Project aims at enhancing the supply of natural gas by reducing physical and commercial losses in the pipeline system. Significant shortfalls persist in both school participation and student

achievement in Punjab. To address these challenges, the Punjab government is implementing the Punjab Education Sector Reform Programme (PESRP), which aims at improving schooling outcome through institutional development and strengthening, improved monitoring and enhanced governance and accountability. The WB has supported this programme since 2008. During this time, the reform programme has put in place and strengthened

Shahzain Bugti surrenders to authorities

Provincial president of the Jamhoori Watan Party (JWP) Shahzain Bugti surrendered to authorities in Quetta on Saturday, DawnNews reported. Bugti surrendered along with his 26 guards with whom he had been implicated in an illegal arms possession case in Dec 2010. Speaking to media representatives prior to surrendering to authorities, Bugti said that although he had been implicated in a bogus case, he was prepared to face

the courts. The JWP’s provincial president further said that he was being arrested but those responsible for the killing of Akbar Bugti were not being punished. The case stems from Bugti’s arrest of Dec 22, 2010. Security forces had arrested Bugti along with 26 of his personal guards and had recovered a huge quantity of illegal arms and ammunition when the JWP leader was driving with his convoy from the town of Chaman.

important initiatives. Over 850,000 additional students - more than half of them girls – are now enrolled in low cost private schools supported under government subsidies tied to minimum school quality standards; some 400,000 female students receive quarterly stipends tied to school attendance; and free textbooks are provided to all students in public schools. The new results-based project will build on these achievements and support the second phase of the

reform programme over the period 2012-2015. “With a target school-aged population of over 12 million children, 30 percent of who remain out of school and with relatively low levels of learning, continuation of our support to the government’s reform programme is critical,” said Rachid Benmessaoud, World Bank country director for Pakistan. “The second phase of the programme aims to take the next evolutionary step and zero in on improving service delivery performance at the school level. A key focus will be improving teacher quality and performance, which is critical for better school quality, and, thereby helping retain students in school and attract new children to school.”

I will not succumb to any pressure,” Mr Gilani said, adding that only the parliament could decide if he would continue to serve as the prime minister. Raja Amir said that the prime minister had told lawyers that he had received more congratulatory messages after the Supreme Court judgment than when he was elected the prime minister. Federal Law Minister Farooq H. Naek also called on the prime minister at his residence here and discussed some legal matters with regard to his conviction.

Warrants issued for arrest of Habib Jan, Uzair Baloch and others

As the Grand Operation in Lyari entered its third day on Sunday, the Sindh Home Ministry issued warrants for arrest of 8 people including the outlawed People’s Amn Committee chief Uzair Baloch, DawnNews reported. Other members of the banned organization against whom the warrants were issued include Habib Jan Baloch, Taj Mohammad aka Taju, Noor Mohammad alias Baba Ladla. Law enforcement Agencies have been directed to capture the men dead or alive. In this regard the police have prepared to conduct raids at various hideouts of the blacklisted People’s Amn Committee and all routes leading to Afshan Gali and Gabol Park have been sealed. Moreover, the Central Investigation Department’s (CID) Operation and Investigation departments have been ordered to report in Lyari as well.

US says no exclusive bounty for Hafiz Saeed

US Ambassador to Pakistan Cameron P Munter has blamed the Pakistani media for “misreporting the issue of Hafiz Saeed” and said the US government did not announce any bounty “specifically” for the Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) chief. “Pakistani media is very active and responsible but it misreported the issue of Hafiz Saeed. Though Hafiz Saeed is a suspected accused of the Mumbai terror attacks, the US government didn’t place any bounty/head money for him,” the US diplomat said. Munter was replying to media queries after addressing the annual

dinner of the American Business Forum (ABF) at the Royal Palm Golf and Country Club here on Saturday. He said the reward was based on information received that could lead to arrest or conviction of any UN declared terrorist (not specifically Hafiz Saeed) of any country, the

Dawn newspaper reported on Sunday. On Afghan peace efforts, the US envoy said a trilateral meeting of Pakistan, US and Afghanistan was recently held in Islamabad to discuss the situation. “Though the role of Pakistan and US is to assist the process of dialogue, Afghanistan itself has to make a solution to this issue finally,” he added. Hafiz Saeed, founder of the Lashkare-Toiba militant group, is accused of masterminding the Mumbai terror attacks in 2008 that resulted in the deaths of 166 people.


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WEEKLY REVIEW OF MALDIVE NEWS

‘Maldives govt doesn’t intend to arrest Nasheed’

Maldives new government is not inclined to pursuing politics of revenge and does not intend to arrest ousted president Mohamed Nasheed, the country’s new Vice President, Mohamed Waheed Deen, said on Monday. Speaking at a press conference, a day after delivering his maiden address to a nation in political turmoil, Deen said he had assumed the office to “bail water out of a sinking boat”. Deen used his first address to list development and socio-economic requirements as his government’s frontal priorities. Answering questions from the media today, he said the current government does not intend to take revenge on any particular person. “The current government will not take revenge on anyone. I can say with confidence that President Waheed (Hassan) has no such plan, and neither do I,” said Deen, who was also part of the former administration of Maumoon Abdul Gayoom. When asked if the government might arrest Mohamed Nasheed, Deen said the government is not interested in sending the former president to prison: “The

government isn’t trying to send Nasheed to prison. We won’t do that in the future either. It’s not something we want to do,” he

said. Deen said earlier too he had joined former president Gayoom’s

administration with an aim to lift it out of a crisis. “People said when I joined Gayoom’s administration, that I had just got on-board a sinking ship. I told them, I went onboard to bail out the boat. Once again I am onboard to bail out the boat, and I will bail with all my might,” he said. In his address to the nation yesterday, Deen said development and civilisation in the country should be informed by Islamic values and customs. He said all leaders of the country must strive to preserve the Islamic faith in the people, for “Islam is the most civilised religion”. He called for a deep reflection on the deteriorating social conditions of the Maldives. “The political situation will not improve, unless the socioeconomic situation improves,” he said, pointing out that a lot of development work needed to be done. He stressed the importance of education and proposed longterm education loans in the country, besides empowering sports associations to build future leaders.

Bill submitted to Parliament to withdraw Maldives from the Commonwealth

A bill to withdraw the membership of the Maldives from the Commonwealth has been submitted to the Parliament by Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) and Dhivehi Qaumee Party (DQP). The bill was submitted on behalf of PPM by Gemanafushi constituency MP Ahmed Ilham while Vilufushi constituency MP Riyaz Rasheed represented DQP. Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) had issued a warning to take stronger measures against the Maldives if the composition of the National Enquiry Commission established to investigate the events that led to the change in Government is not revised. Speaking to the press after submitting the bill to the Parliament Riyaz explained that the action was taken as the Commonwealth was attempting to protect the interests of one party

without determining the reality of the situation. Riyaz further detailed that the principles of the Commonwealth was to act in accordance with the laws of a nation in question and accused the organization of violating its principles. Ilham said that he did not believe that withdrawing from the Commonwealth was the best option but stressed that the decision to submit the bill was taken in consideration of the issues that the country might have to face in future. The bill stipulates that the from 60 days of the ratification of the bill, Maldives would be withdrawn from the Commonwealth. In addition, once the Maldives withdraws from the Commonwealth and wishes to rejoin later, it can only be done after authorization from a law passed by the Parliament.

nations. Gayoom further noted that though the advocating for the rights of smaller nations was facilitated in the Commonwealth, “the Commonwealth was different to what it had been previously.” “Commonwealth had encouraged and offered assistance to nations that had gained independence at the time. However, the times are very much different now. The policies of the Commonwealth are very much different these days. When we had joined the Commonwealth

it had given precedence to smaller nations,” he detailed. He also highlighted that the Commonwealth had been an organization that had facilitated and assisted smaller nations in gaining independence and sovereignty. “However, the actions of the Commonwealth have changed since then, to a point where we now have to have a rethink about the whole situation. That’s how much the world has changed now. At present the smaller nations have been subject to the influence of larger and established nations. Such influence have now even spread into these organizations as well. So the present Commonwealth is not the same organization it was before,” said Gayoom criticizing the changes that have to come to pass in the Commonwealth. Gayoom also accused that the Commonwealth that had been originally advocating for the rights of smaller nations, had now become very much influenced by larger and more powerful nations.

We have no basis for Commonwealth membership

Former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom said that though the Maldives was a member of the Commonwealth, in reality the country had no basis for its membership. Speaking during the commemoration of the passing away of former Foreign Minister Fathulla Jameel, Friday highlighting the efforts of Fathulla to gain membership of Commonwealth for the Maldives, Gayoom noted that most of the States included in the Commonwealth had been former British colonies. However, as the Maldives was never a British colony but had been under the protection of the British, Maldives had no basis to be a member of the Commonwealth. Gayoom further stressed that unlike neighbors Sri Lanka, India and Pakistan, the British had never ruled in the Maldives. He highlighted that even when the Maldives was under the protection of the British, there was never a British ruler stationed in the Maldives unlike in countries like India and Sri

Lanka. “We were under the protection of the British. That’s a different situation altogether. There wasn’t a British ruler in the form of a Governor General or a Governor in the Maldives. The leader of the nation had been a Maldivian even during that time. Hence Maldives really have no basis to become a member of the Commonwealth as the member States of the Commonwealth include nations that had been subject to British rule,” Gayoom said. The former President had made the claims in relation to the Commonwealth, after the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) had warned stronger measures against the Maldives if the composition of the National Enquiry Commission established to probe the circumstances surrounding the transfer of power on February 7 was not revised. Following the warning by CMAG, some pro-government legislators of the Maldives Parliament had even called for the country to

withdraw its membership from the Commonwealth. Gayoom revealed that though the member States of the Commonwealth included nations that had been formerly under British rule, he had requested membership for the Maldives in 1982 as the organization was renowned for its assistance for smaller nations. He highlighted that even at present the majority of the members of the Commonwealth were small nations and claimed that 27 out of the total of 54 member states were small


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WEEKLY REVIEW OF NEPAL NEWS

Nepal’s ‘magic’ surgeon brings light back to poor Dressed in his hospital scrubs, Sanduk Ruit looks into the eyes of a patient through a microscope hanging over an operating table. He makes two tiny holes in one eye, takes out a jelly-like mass of natural lens and replaces it with an artificial one that fits snugly into the patient’s eye, all in about five minutes, deftly moving his fingers clad in thin white gloves. The patient is then moved away swiftly, without any stitches, and Ruit repeats the process to remove cataracts — a leading cause of blindness in Nepal — from the eyes of another person. The simple operation pioneered by Ruit, a Nepali national, at the Tilganga Eye Centre in Kathmandu has benefited tens of thousands of people in Nepal and other countries in Asia and Africa, where surgical teams from the centre provide much needed care in field camps. “We are trying to set up a model of

how you can conduct a very high quality prevention of blindness programme at low cost and make it sustainable,” said Ruit, the centre’s founder and medical director. “If you can do it in Nepal it can be done anywhere in the world.” Ruit said an estimated 20 million people were blind from cataracts globally. Another 60 million are at various stages of blindness, many of them in developing countries and unable to afford expensive surgery to restore their sight.

Ruit and his team of doctors at the centre have developed a simple surgical technique involving little equipment and instruments that can be used manually. No stitches are needed, and the technique can be used on a simple table in field camps. Low cost acrylic lenses are produced at the centre’s laboratory by workers wearing bio-safe masks, helping bring the cost down to $4 per lens from more than $100 apiece for the imported kind used previously.

Japan to give Nepal $3m to develop food production

Japan’s foreign minister has met Nepal’s top officials in Katmandu and agreed to give the Himalayan nation money to develop food production. Koichiro Gemba met Nepal’s President Rambaran Yadav, Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai and Foreign Minister Narayankaji Shrestha on Sunday before

leaving for the Indian capital, New Delhi. Japanese officials signed an agreement to provide Nepal with 250 million yen ($3 million) that will be used to buy fertilizers to boost food production and computer equipment for the country’s election commission. Japan is one of Nepal’s largest donor nations.

‘Statute primary‚ change of guard secondary’

The coalition partners — UCPNMaoist and United Democratic Madhesi Front(UDMF) —decided on Monday to concentrate on the statute-drafting process, the immediate need of hour, rather than being vexed by the issue of forming a national consensus government. In the meeting which was convened at the Prime Minister’s official residence in Balwatar, Maoists and Terai-based parties vowed to keep the alliance firm and at the same time exhibit maximum flexibility on the concerns shown by two big opposition parties over the change of guard. “We are not obstacle to the unity government but this is not a favorable time,” Madhesi leaders were heard saying so emerging

from today’s meeting. The meeting of ruling coalition partners was called to form a common stance over the issue of change of guard, brought in by oppositions citing the cause of the timely statute during Sunday’s meet over the issue of federating country and the forms of governance. Weighing NC and the UML’s desire to form a national unity government (at this stage when only 28 days are left to meet the deadline to promulgate a new constitution) as an attempt to hinder the progress achieved in statute drafting process, the partners also decided to focus on resolving the thorny issues --federalism and forms of governance—troubling the statute drafting process.

Maoists propose 10 states, one centrally-run zone

Amid differing positions of the three major parties on number of federal states in the new setup, the UCPN (Maoist) on Thursday proposed a 10state federal model based primarily on ethnic identity. The Maoists propose to keep Chitwan district as a centrally-administered zone. The proposal has, however, largely failed to impress the Nepali Congress (NC) and CPN-UML, which are averse to the idea of ethnicity-based federal states. These two parties have alleged that the proposal goes against the understanding reached at Hattiban Resort to limit the number of federal states to between 6 and 8. According to UML leader Surendra Pandey, Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal floated the 10-state model during a meeting of the three major parties and the United Democratic Madhesi Front (UDMF) held at the Constituent Assembly (CA) building at New Baneshwor, Thursday afternoon.

The proposed federal states include Limbuwan-Mechi, Kirant-Koshi, Tamsaling-Indrawati, Newa-Bagmati, Tamuwan-Gandaki, MagaratDhaulagiri, Karnali, Seti-Mahakali, Tharuwan-Lumbini and MadhesBirat. “We have proposed a federal model based on the reports of the CA´s thematic committee on state restructuring and State Restructuring Commission and the demands coming in from various quarters to ensure ethnic identity,” said Maoist leader Post Bahadur Bogati. The Maoists propose to keep Dhankuta, Terhathum, the hill area of Morang, part of Sankhuwasabha

and Dharan in the Limbuwan-Mechi federal state. Likewise, the Limbuwan region including areas lying from east of the Likhu River to the Arun River have been proposed for Kirant-Koshi. While the Tamsaling-Indrawati federal state covers areas west from Ramechhap to the Budhi Gandaki, Newa-Bagmati will have Kathmandu Valley and Banepa and Dhulikhel. The Maoist proposal keeps areas between Gorkha and the Kali Gandaki except the southern part of Tanahu in Tamuwan-Gandak, areas from the southern belt of Syangja to the west of Kali Gandaki and stretching up to Rukum district in Magarat-

Dhaulagiri, and Bheri and Karnali zones in Karnali federal state. Likewise, the Maoist proposal keeps Kanchanpur, the hill areas of Kailai and the entire northern part of Seti and Mahakali zones in Seti-Mahakali federal state, areas lying between Kanchanpur and Nawalparasi in Tharuwan-Lumbini state and all tarai districts east of Chitwan except the northern hills of Morang in MadhesBirat. Talking to media after the meeting, NC leader Dr Ram Sharan Mahat said the Maoist proposal mocks the very idea of federalism. “Though the proposal takes into account the identity of some ethnic groups, it utterly fails to take into account the economic viability of the federal states,” he said. “If we are to go for federal states based on ethnic identity, there could be more than 25 states.” Dr Mahat said special consideration should be given to inter-relations between ethnicity and the economic aspect. “It seems the Maoists are not

aware that the federal states would have to run on revenue collected from within their respective boundaries. The proposal is not acceptable,” he said. Party leaders are to sit again for talks Friday afternoon after holding bilateral and trilateral meetings among the parties from morning. “We have decided to undertake necessary homework and discussions within the party before sitting for further talks with the Maoists Friday,” said NC CWC member Pushpa Bhusal. UML leader Bhim Rawal, who is closely involved in inter-party negotiations, said the proposal is against the understanding reached at Hattiban Resort to have 6 to 8 states based on economic viability and identity. Rawal alleged that the Maoists have backtracked by proposing 10 federal states, and almost all based on ethnic identity. The UML is scheduled to hold internal discussions to decide an official party stance on the Maoist proposal.


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WEEKLY REVIEW OF SRILANKA NEWS

International conspiracies will be resoundingly defeated

President Rajapaksa stressed that he will not permit int’l conspirators to create disputes & destabilize the country, under any circumstances. He said Lanka is one of the oldest democracies in Asia & honours all kinds of democratic norms & practices. “We will never deny the people’s right to change governments through Universal Adult Franchise,” he said. President Rajapaksa was addressing the May Day rally of the United People’s Freedom Alliance at the Colombo Municipal Council grounds yesterday. Thousands of people irrespective of political and other differences

kept streaming in from Campbell Park, Borella, from where the rally commenced yesterday noon. President Rajapaksa said that the working masses in Sri Lanka are so intelligent they would not fall prey to certain segments trying to destabilize the country. He said certain individuals were trying to destabilize the country by using the working masses as a cat’s paw but the masses did not fall prey to their designs. Some such individuals do not have a country or a particular name but some countries are in the process of inciting them, he said. The President stressed the importance of increasing

the country’s productivity as ‘imperialists are operating in various forms to acquire national assets’. The President said imperialists are still under the impression that countries like Sri Lanka are their colonies and it was for this reason that ‘they exert more pressure on us’. He said that the government led by him reacquired state ventures, including national carrier SriLankan Airlines which were privatized by previous governments , He said that productivity of state ventures has to be uplifted as imperialists are awaiting their collapse to acquire them. The President emphasized that what the government, the working community and the country at large have gained should be protected from these imperialists. “The country was deprived of the GSP facility and the Opposition thought that the government was on the verge of being overthrown by the working masses.’ ‘But that did not happen’, the President added. President Rajapaksa said that the members of the working class worked harder and effectively tackled the challenge facing the country.

Sri Lanka Opposition Leader calls for a homegrown solution to resolve national issue

Leader of Sri Lanka’s Opposition and United National Party (UNP) Ranil Wickremasinghe says the country and the people are in need of an early political settlement that would address the needs of all communities. Addressing the UNP’s joint May Day rally held with the major Tamil party Tamil national Alliance (TNA) at the St. Roche’s Ground in Jaffna yesterday, Wickremasinghe said a homegrown solution needed to be formulated to resolve the national issue. He added that the solution should be formulated before the end of term of the current parliament. A joint procession commenced from the Nallur Kovil in Gurunagar and proceeded to the St. Roche’s Ground where the rally was held. The joint rally commenced with the leaders of the two opposition parties hoisting the national flag. Speaking to the massive crows, Wickremasinghe said the war is over and the people have suffered enough and are in need of a solution to their problems. According to Wickremasinghe, it is the government’s failure to resolve the national issue that had resulted in UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) passing a resolution calling on the government to find a political solution in line with the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) recommendations.

However, the Opposition Leader added that Sri Lanka should not allow the matter to be internationalized. The Opposition Leader said that if sincerity of purpose was shown, the UNP would consider participating in the Parliamentary Select Committee set up by the Sri Lankan President to reach a solution to the national issue. TNA leader R. Sampanthan addressing the rally said all Tamil parties are committed to devolution within a united Sri Lanka and his party is willing to work with the government to resolve the ethnic issue. However, he said the government should not waste time. UNP Parliamentarians Tissa Attanayake, Ravi Karunanayaka, John Amaratunga, Gamini Jayawickrama Perera, Mrs. Vijayakala Maheswaran and K.Velayutham, TNA’s Mavai Senathiraja, DPF leader Mano Ganesan, and New Sihala Urumaya leader Sarath Manamendra also participated in the event.

Sri Lanka - Korea ties reach new heights

Sri Lanka and South Korea considably strengthened inter-parliamentary co-operation as an essence in further promoting close bonds of friendship between the two countries. “Both parties acknowledged the vibrant multifaceted bilateral partnership built over the years since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1977 and agreed to reinforce the institutional framework for co-operation by setting up a mechanism for regular bilateral policy consultations at official level,” the External Affairs Ministry said in a release yesterday following President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s successful state visit to South Korea. On arrival at the Seoul National Airport, the President and the Sri Lanka delegation were received by high-level officials of the Korean government and was accorded a ceremonial welcome by the South Korean military with 21 gun salutes. President Lee and First Lady Kim received President Rajapaksa and First Lady Shiranthi Rajapaksa at Blue House, the official residence of the

Korean President on April 24 morning. President Rajapaksa was invited by his South Korean counterpart to witness the Republic of Korea tri - service guard of honour. Summit talks were held thereafter marked by friendship, mutual respect and understanding. The thrust of the talks was on invigorating the dynamic economic partnership between the two countries which saw the signing of three Memoranda of Understanding on the sectors of Economic and Technical Co-operation, Information Technology and Power and Energy. The MoUs would ensure greater involvement by the Republic of Korea government in the development of the ICT sector in Sri Lanka and in pursuing an economically viable partnership with Sri Lanka in the power generation sector. The Korean government also pledged to renew the Economic Development Co-operation Fund for 2013 to 2015 providing US $ 200 million as financial and technical assistance

for the country’s socio - economic development efforts. The Korean President also agreed to

growth. The bilateral talks surveyed the attractiveness and the competitiveness

favourably consider Sri Lanka’s request to enhance the quantum of development assistance so far extended. President Lee commended the successful leadership given by President Rajapaksa, in eradicating the forces of terrorism that plagued the country for nearly three decades and bringing peace and stability to the nation which brought with it a conducive environment for economic

of Sri Lanka’s current investment climate and President Lee, registered the keen interest of Korean entrepreneurs and corporate sector to engage in a deeper and broader bilateral economic partnership to help chart the future course of business and trade interactions between the two countries. The Korean President also acknowledged the contribution made

by the Sri Lanka expat labour force to the Korean economy and informed of their desire to increase the current quota given to Sri Lanka. President Rajapaksa, in response sought the assistance of competent teachers in the education centers being established to enhance Korean language skills which would provide a competitive advantage for the Sri Lanka labour force to enter the Korean job market. He encouraged a wider representation of the Korean business community in the trade and investment activities in Sri Lanka, with particular reference to the new thrust areas of information communication technology, nanotechnology, pharmaceuticals and international arbitration sectors that have now opened up. On the sidelines of the official visit, President Rajapaksa met CEOs of corporate giants such as Samsung, Hyundai, Keangnam, Lotte and Hanjin. These corporate leaders expressed a keen interest in establishing a wider in-depth partnership with Sri Lanka.


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BUSINESS

Saarc international I Thursday 03 May 2012

India, Japan to hold first economic dialogue

India and Japan will hold their first economic dialogue and sixth strategic talks on Monday to impart a renewed momentum to burgeoning multi-faceted ties and to resolve issues for starting civil nuclear cooperation between them. External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna will co-chair the two dialogues with his Japanese counterpart Koichiro Gemba, who began a two-day visit to New Delhi Sunday evening. The strategic dialogue will encompass a range of bilateral and global issues, including the prospects of civil nuclear cooperation, maritime security and the evolving East Asia regional security architecture. “In the strategic dialogue, the two sides will review all aspects of the bilateral strategic and global partnership and discuss regional and international issues of mutual interest,” said the External Affairs Ministry ahead of the talks. During his visit to India December

last year, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda allayed New Delhi’s apprehensions regarding nuclear cooperation in the wake of the Fukushima disaster and indicated that the two countries will go ahead with negotiations after taking into consideration the

safety aspects. “We shall proceed

with

the

India on priority list but low on investment front: Lakshmi Mittal

With his steel projects making little progress in India, steel tycoon Lakshmi N Mittal on Sunday said the nation remains on priority list for his company, ArcelorMittal, but may have slipped low down on its investment list with focus shifting to projects in Canada and Brazil. “India is clearly on our priority list but it may be very low in our

investment list. It depends on progress of the project, how we see things in 5 years,” Mittal, Chairman of ArcelorMittal, the world’s biggest steel, said here. ArcelorMittal has so far been able to acquire only 1,800 acres out of 2,800 acres of land required for its proposed Rs 30,000 crore, 6 million tonnes a year Karnataka steel project. Its plans to build two mega steel mills of 12 million tonne capacity each in Jharkhand and Odisha, too, haven’t seen much progress. If projects don’t make progress,

investment will slow down, he said. “If a project is not making progress, we will not be investing. We have a very rigorous capital allocation system in the company,” Mittal said. ArcelorMittal, he said, had emerging markets like India on top of its priority list “but when it comes to investment, if we do not see progress, it goes down in the list of allocation”. Mittal, however, is not giving up on Indian investments yet. “I am not giving up now. No, I am not giving up. “I am little bit concerned. I feel bad. My country is not making progress. We cannot never ignore India, the future is here,” he said. ArcelorMittal, he said, was investing in brownfield expansion in steel and mining in Canda, Liberia and Brazil. Asked about the progress of the three projects, Mittal said the status has less meaning because all approvals need to come in symphony for a project to take off. “My people are spending so much here. We have an office. They have to be worried. Because if they don’t get approval, capital allocation will not come from the group,” he said. Mittal said in the absence of approvals for his projects, the company would be investing in nations like Canada, Liberia and Brazil.

negotiations on the [civil nuclear] agreement after giving due consideration to nuclear safety,

India will, however, have to address Japan’s non-proliferation concerns anew to pursue a bilateral civil nuclear deal for which three rounds of negotiations have been held. Many senior ministers and officials from both India and Japan will participate in the ministeriallevel economic dialogue, a new

nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation,” Noda had said at a joint press conference with Dr. Manmohan Singh after the talks.

initiative that enjoys the backing of the prime ministers of the two countries. Commerce and Industry Minister

Anand Sharma and Japan’s Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Yukio Edano will participate in the economic dialogue. The two sides will also hold a separate energy dialogue, to be led by Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia from the Indian side, to explore ways to enhance cooperation in renewable energy and clean coal technologies. The economic dialogue is aimed at imparting “strategic and longterm policy orientation to their bilateral economic engagement and to coordinate economic issues of cross-cutting nature, including infrastructure development and financing.” The dialogue will focus on expanding trade and investment which got a big boost after the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement came into force Aug 1 last year. Bilateral trade is currently around $15 billion, with both sides setting a target of $25 billion by 2014.

Tap potential in Pakistan, India tells it exporters Officials of the Department of Commerce will meet exporters in various cities across the country and brief them on the new business opportunities available as a result of Pakistan pruning the list of negative items. Announcing this at a meeting organised here on Friday by the Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO), Commerce Secretary Rahul Khullar said the officers would start touring the country after the ongoing session of Parliament. Joint Secretary in the Department Arvind Mehta and couple of other colleagues would be coming to Chennai and other places in South India, he added. Apart from highlighting the potential of the new opportunities, the exercise was aimed at dispelling the belief that trade normalisation between the two countries was only for Punjab. “Please do not get misled that Punjab of this side will integrate with Punjab of that side… if they can trade [with Pakistan] you [exporters across the country] can as well,” he said. When a participant, during the interactive session, pointed out that Pakistan had brought almost all engineering items under the negative list, Mr. Khullar urged the exporters to see the potential in making use of the opportunities. Up till February 29, Pakistan had a positive list of less than 1,000 items and a negative list of 8,000 items. “Think of the reduction [subsequently in the negative list] to 1,200… it is the first big change,” he said. Keeping things on negative list would not help as the items would still find their way into Pakistan through Dubai, he said. The authorities in Pakistan

were aware of this and the negative list was expected to go by end of the year. “We are trying our level best that the negative list is dismantled,” he added. On abolition of deemed export drawback benefits for power projects, he said it followed abuse of the provisions by non-mega power projects. There was no question of restoring the benefits until the issue was resolved. Exporters raised various issues, including the impact of the Budget announcement to levy service tax on a basis of negative list and the need to provide interest subvention for exports. While urging exporters to submit their representations early, as the Foreign Trade Policy Supplement would be announced next month end, Mr. Khullar assured them that issues concerning other departments would be taken up with them. FIEO President Rafeeque Ahmed said the slowdown in emerging and developing economies was of great concern as the exporters were consciously moving away from advance economies.


ENTERTAINMENT

Saarc international I Thursday 03 May 2012

John Abraham to marry Priya Runchal this year Actor-turned-producer John Abraham has decided to settle down in life and finally say goodbye to bachelorhood. He would soon tie the knot with his girlfriend for a year, Priya Runchal. There were rumours that the two got married in Los Angeles a few months ago, however, that is not the case, reports an Indian daily. Their love story took off last

John and Priya have been seeing each other for almost a year now

year in April. Incidentally Priya was a regular in the gymnasium where both Bipasha Basu and John used to work out together. John and Bipasha split after eight years of romance and only then Priya made an entry in the story. John has been shielding Priya

from the media glare for a very long time and never spoke openly about her until now. They hardly made public appearances bar one event when the two attended a book launch by John’s cousin sister. The entire Abraham household was present at the event and by the look of it Priya was very much at home. The family did everything possible to make her feel comfortable. Though the date hasn’t been fixed yet it could be in a week or a few months. “I know it will be this year, but I don’t know when. It could be in a few months or a few weeks. I am a very impulsive guy. So I might decide to get married next week! It’s possible that our wedding may have just 10 people, if we include close family,” said John.

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Hairstyles of the Rich and Famous – Internationally Renowned Celebrity Hairdresser Asgar on his Brush with the Glitterati

From supermodel Cindy Crawford to Bollywood supremo and one of the world’s most beautiful women Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, the

years. A regular on red carpets around the world, Asgar’s hair creations have been showcased at glittering premieres, showbiz events and Awards ceremonies, and he is sought after by the top names in the film, Royal and fashion fraternities. Asgar’s distinguished celebrity clientele includes supermodels Cindy Crawford and Twiggy as well as Bollywood A List stars Karisma Kapoor, Deepika Padukone, Hrithik Roshan and legend Rekha. He is also pivotal in the styling of business moguls, ultra-high net

No Imitators For The Original Super Group RDB As They Get Ready To Rock Pakistan In True Bhangra Style Bhangra’s original and best international super group RDB is exclusively set to rock the Urban Asian music scene as they plan their next series of headline gigs in the new music hotspot of the world - Pakistan. Surj, from RDB said: “We are so excited and thrilled to include Pakistan in our next series of performances. We love the country and the fans there are so pumped up whenever they hear our songs – it’s great.” The three brothers, Surj, Manj and Kully, from Bradford in the UK have blazed a trail in Urban-fusion Bhangra music since they emerged on the scene over a decade ago, and have set the stage for others to follow. RDB have not only pioneered their unique form of Punjabi

infused Dance and R‘n’B hit songs, they have also led the way as hit-making producers to develop other artists’ talent. RDB has been responsible for some of the biggest international

and Bollywood hits, and have been pivotal in both performing and producing for several Bollywood A list films, including Akshay Kumar starrer Speedy Singhs, for which they created the lyrics, music and production arrangement, together with Grammy Award winner Ludacris,

for “Shera Di Kaum”. Their other leading collaborations include tracks with music heavyweights Snoop Dogg, Elephant Man and Public Enemy. Other Bollywood include Singh hits is Kinng, Kambakkht Ishq, and chart-buster Aloo Chaat. Often imitated in musical style and image by several ‘wannabes’, RDB remain the Asian music world’s true originators of Bhangra, both in the UK and internationally, with a worldwide fan base. With their eagerly awaited new album Worldwide, a pure feel-good collection of dance and Bhangra hits, about to release and a series of sold-out gigs in Pakistan on the horizon, RDB are set to seal their position at the very top of the musical summit.

name Asgar is synonymous with cutting edge and attention grabbing hairstyles. The UK based hair maestro has worked his magic on scores of celebrities and dignitaries the world over, making the front covers of several leading fashion magazines and item publications with his showstopping and inspirational coiffures. As well as having styled top models for the front covers of high-end fashion magazines such as Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar, Asgar’s work has also graced the fashion and style sections of national newspapers such as The Observer, The Times, The Independent and The Daily Mail. Imparting his words of wisdom on good hair care, Asgar has also been a regular columnist for the UK’s leading national newspaper targeting the South Asian Diaspora Eastern Eye since 2005. Asgar has appeared on several top TV and radio shows, including the BBC’s Clothes Show and the Asian TV Breakfast for three

worth individuals and royalty such as members of the Sultan of Brunei’s household. Asgar is famed for the headline grabbing hairstyle he created for Bollywood heartthrob Hrithik Roshan, which has been the inspiration for Hrithik Roshan’s wax work figure at London’s prestigious Madame Tussauds.


NEWS

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South Asia Tribune I Thursday 03 May 2012

Re-writing the rules for the global security business to become the number one global security brand worth US$ 10 billion by 2020

Dr. Diwan Rahul (Richie) Nanda, Global Chairman, TOPSGRUP 8 customers is today under Dr. Diwan Rahul Nanda’s dynamic vision, India’s largest security group with revenues in excess of £150 million, 93000 employees, 120 offices and approximately 8000 customers. Dr. Diwan Rahul Nanda took over the reins of TOPSGRUP at the age of 22, when security was treated as expenditure and the Indian security industry was in its nascent stages, re-writing the

As the Global Chairman of TOPSGRUP, India’s most preferred security solutions brand and the first Indian MNC to acquire Great Britain’s leading security company ‘The Shield Guarding Company Limited’, Dr. Diwan Rahul Nanda, is by far acknowledged as the pioneer and the most prominent spokesperson of this burgeoning industry. What started off as a sick company with revenues of £30,000 pa and

rules for the security business not only for TOPSGRUP, but for the entire Indian Security Industry at large. The multi award-winning TOPSGRUP has also embarked on a global leadership mission with a vision to become the number one brand in the global security space and a US$ 10 billion security group by 2020. As part of the company’s international strategy, TOPSGRUP acquired Great Britain’s 10th largest security group ‘The Shield Guarding Company Limited’ which employs just under 3000 employees and operates out of 7 offices in United Kingdom, solidifying its marketplace in the West. Aside from its business endeavours, under Dr Diwan Rahul Nanda’s leadership TOPSGRUP is committed to paying back to the society: from adopting and educating hundreds

of desolate girls in India, to forming an Education Trust for educating children of terrorism victims to launching India’s first private Emergency Response Service called TOPSLINE 1252 to supporting charities within United Kingdom. Dr. Diwan Rahul Nanda, has won 25 awards including the Udyog Ratna Award, the Frost and Sullivan Business Excellence Award, the Brand Leadership Awards, the Best Security Company Award in India and United Kingdom. The Advertising & Marketing Magazine (A&M 2001) recognized TOPSGRUP as the NUMBER ONE brand in the Indian security industry. TOPSGRUP in the past many years has won every national and international award for business excellence and innovation. Some of the awards include the ‘2nd National Security Today Award

for the Best Security Personality of the Year 2007’, Frost, and Sullivan Award for the Best Manned Guarding Company (2008), amongst others. Most recently, Dr. Diwan Rahul Nanda has been conferred with “Brand Leadership Award” at the CMO Asia awards for excellence in Branding and Marketing, held in Singapore. He was also nominated for UK Trade & Investment India Business Awards (2009) in the Young Business Leader category. Also, TOPSGRUP’s The Shield Guarding Company (UK) won the prestigious ‘Security Guarding Company of the Year’ Award at the Security Excellence Awards 2009 (UK) in London. Dr. Diwan Rahul Nanda recently relocated the headquarters of TOPSGRUP to London to help leverage the company’s reach to areas such as North America, Africa and Europe.

I’m not joining politics: Sachin Tendulkar Will remain a sportsman all my life

Putting to rest all speculation about his joining politics following his nomination to the Rajya Sabha, Sachin Tendulkar on Tuesday said he was not quiting cricket to join politics and will always remain a sportsman. Speaking for the first time after he was nominated for a Rajya Sabha seat, Tendulkar acknowledged that the honour bestowed on him was for his contribution to the field of cricket. “I am not a politician. I am a sportsman and will always remain one. I am not going to enter politics giving up cricket, which is my life. I will continue to play cricket,” he said during a felicitation function by a private firm here. Tendulkar said many eminent persons, including melody queen Lata Mangeshkar and actor Prithviraj Kapoor too, had been nominated by the President for their contribution in their respective fields. “Cricket is my expertise. I would like to contribute to that field. I am a sportsman and I will always be a sportsman,” he said. Replying to a question on his

scoring the 100th international hundred, Sachin said winning the World Cup was his most cherished dream, for which, he waited for close to 22 years. “John Wright (the then coach) had told me in 2003 that I could become the first player to score

hundred centuries. One has to keep chasing dreams till they come true,” said Tendulkar. “Sometimes, success is waiting round the corner and one should

always think of taking that extra step to achieve it,” he said. Recalling the wild celebrations in the country when India won the World Cup last year, Tendulkar said, “Outside the stadium, my

driver told me that fans are dancing on my car. I told him not to stop them. I did not worry about the dents to the car. The Cup

had brought the whole country together and it was the greatest day of my life.” On his handling pressure situations, Tendulkar said, “While batting, it is important to concentrate on the present moment without thinking of the problems faced in the past. You have half a second to react while facing the next ball. One has to keep the mind blank and heart rate down to make the right decision.” He told the audience that their good wishes were important for him to keep going. “I am passionate about cricket. Cricket is my life. Keep praying for me so that I can derive strength from them. I pray to God to guide me in making right decisions,” he said, hinting that he has no intentions of retirement at this juncture of his career. Stressing the importance of positive thinking, Tendulkar described the 2003 World Cup tie against Pakistan as his “biggest match”. Pairing with Sehwag at the top of batting order, he put Pakistan on the backfoot before getting run-out on 98.

On his ability in handling success and failure, he said, “This mind training has come to me from my family. When I used to play school and club cricket, there was an unwritten rule not to discuss the performance and get ready for next match. “It was a simple formula. Whatever has happened, cannot be changed, be it success or failure. The only celebration at home if I did well, was offering of a sweet to God by my mother.” Asked why he does not publicise his charities, Tendulkar said, “I have been supporting deprived children by sponsoring their education through ‘Apanalaya Centre’ for many years. But this is for my personal satisfaction and I do not need any publicity.” He appealed to the people to experience the “joy of giving” as even small things contributed to the needy could prove precious to many unfortunate individuals. Tendulkar also extended his greetings to the Maharashtrians on the occasion of the Maharashtra Day by shouting “Jai Maharashtra”.


South Asia Tribune I Thursday 03 May 2012

COMMENT

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Sach a nomination! But isn’t it a no ball, Madam President?

Rohit bansal

Bansal is CEO of India Strategy Group, Hammurabi & Solomon Consulting, an HBS alum, and a student of Indian governance As the nation celebrates a Rajya Sabha nomination for the master blaster, a kill-joy writes a letter to president Pratibha Patil, reminding her of the constitution. A postscript asks Sachin to get back and ask his friend Mukesh Ambani Dear Madam President: Sorry to be a kill joy, but pray take a look at what the eligibility criteria for your nominated members to the Rajya Sabha says? While you have the best legal brains available to you, we mere mortals only have Google! So, what pops up there is your election commission website. The FAQ seems instructive enough:

“Article 80 (3) of the constitution of India provides that the members to be nominated by the president to Rajya Sabha should have special knowledge or practical experience in matters like literature, science, art and social service.” Have you granted him nomination for literature, the body of evidence being his one-off signed columns or even digital ‘literature’ such as sound bytes he gives to Ravi Shastri after yet another blitzkrieg? Or does Sachin qualify for “special knowledge” and/or “practical experience” in the “science/art” of batting? There are others who won’t grudge him the Rajya Sabha nomination for the “social service” involved in lifting the morale of a nation reeling under your government. But all said, it would be extremely instructive to know what went in your mind when you endorsed the recommendation from 10 Janpath. Since it’s Sachin, a disclaimer is warranted. Your humble writer is a fan of his batting like everyone else in the country. He is just as eminent (perhaps more) than many of the past and present alumni of the nominated club, say, Hema Malini, who was nominated under this category but rather than recede from active politics, freely

attended BJP rallies for which she was rewarded with membership of the party’s national executive. I wouldn’t even go near other examples like Dara Singh. “Science” and/or “practical experience” of kushti, right? It’s a technicality that this column is pointing to. This is as much to Sachin, who remains a role of propriety and grace, the

whether they remain correct before the constitution. A simple way could have been to move an amendment, which you would have signed gladly. A process, no doubt less cumbersome than a change in the constitution, was followed regarding the criteria for Bharat Ratna. But if the treasury benches had moved a bill for inserting

occasional Ferrari exemption notwithstanding. We didn’t expect him to nitpick about constitutional niceties. Or even lobby for a nomination. It was, perhaps, for elder statesmen, desperate as they are for credibility with younger India, to think

sports in Article 80(3) the cat would have been out of the bag, and the surprise factor forfeited. Some would ask how actress Rekha is any better qualified than Sachin. So, if Rekha, why not Sachin? It’s a pertinent point worth answering in 140 characters. Rekha and Sachin

may pack just as little towards law making, she has at least your constitution by her side. That she conforms to the laid out criteria, it’s really your discretion thereafter vis-à-vis, say, Zeenat Aman or any other heroines who worked with Mr Bachchan! I hope an RTI application seeking to know how you satisfied yourself (or didn’t) would tell us more. A cricket-baiter judge like Justice Katju may even admit a public interest litigation. Of course, by then the sound bite soldiers may have to trudge to your humble home coming up in Pune! Note to Sachin: Sir, I agree that you are above the law. So, I can only point you towards your friend Mukesh Ambani. He may confirm that Dhirubhai, his father, was once asked why he didn’t run for parliament. Legend has it that Dhirubhai smiled and his reply was, “Why be a member of a club you could own?” Despite this domain knowledge and earthy wisdom, Anil Ambani, unlike Mukesh, succumbed to the temptation of being MP. The resultant fall to being just one among 800 others doesn’t bear repetition. Anil had Amar Singh to string him into this. Who strung you? Sad to see god and his proud wife driving down to thank Sonia-ji!

A little lesson in democracy – from Pakistan

It reaffirms judiciary’s powers when in India rulers are out to gag it Trithesh Nandan It’s a sign of the times that a struggling democracy like Pakistan too can offer a lesson or two to the largest and well-established one like India. The supreme court convicted prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani of contempt of court on Thursday. Gilani was found guilty because he refused the court order to write to the Swiss authorities to reopen graft cases against president Asif

Ali Zardari. It was the first time in the history of Pakistan that a prime minister appeared before the court and was convicted of contempt. For a limping democracy, Pakistan seems to have arrived with this verdict. In the 65 years of its existence, the governance pendulum in Pakistan has always swung towards dictators, military rulers, spymasters and army generals while elected governments have usually been at the receiving end and the judiciary hardly has a place in it. Only a few years back, chief justice Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhary was thrown out by the then president Pervez Musharraf. But that probably tilted the scales, a civil society movement was born in

support of the chief justice, and the protests snowballed, culminating with Musharraf’s resignation, parliamentary elections (after

prime minister, merely by the fact of being a prime minister, does not enjoy any immunity. How does India fare on this count? A

It was the first time in the history of Pakistan that a prime minister appeared before the court and was convicted of contempt. For a limping democracy, Pakistan seems to have arrived with this verdict. which Gilani was elected prime minister) and of course justice Chaudhary back at the helm. Thursday’s verdict shows that all are indeed equal before the law. A

move is afoot that would make the Thursday verdict impossible in India. India has always prided itself on being a robust and functional

democracy. Its biggest achievement after independence was building a democratic setup. However, that setup is now weakening. A case in point is the Judicial Standards and Accountability Bill, 2011 (passed by the Lok Sabha and now before the upper house). Among other things, it places restrictions on what judges can and cannot comment. In a chapter dealing with “judicial standards to be followed by judges”, the bill says, “No judge shall make unwarranted comments against (the) conduct of any constitutional or statutory authority or statutory bodies or statutory institutions or any chairperson or member or officer thereof…” Pakistan has shown the way. Will India follow?


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South Asia Tribune I Thursday 03 May 2012

Getting to Know the Prophet’s Companions Salman Al-Farisi: Long Search for Truth By Abdul Wahid Hamid The blessed Companion of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him), Salman alFarisi (may Allah be pleased with him) narrates his journey to Islam as follows: “I grew up in the town of Isfahan in Persia, in the village of Jayyan. My father was the chief of the village. He was the richest person there and had the biggest house. Since I was a child, my father loved me, more than he loved any other. As time went by, his love for me became so strong and overpowering that he feared to lose me or have anything happen to me. Thus, he kept me at home, a veritable prisoner, in the same way that young girls were kept. Searching for the Right Faith I became devoted to the Zoroastrian religion so much so that I attained the position of custodian of the fire that we worshipped. My duty was to see that the flames of the fire remained burning and that it did not go out for a single hour, day or night. My father had a vast estate that yielded an abundant supply of crops. He himself looked after the estate and the harvest. One day he was very busy with his duties as chief of the village and he said to me, ‘My son, as you see, I am too busy to go out to the estate now. Go and look after matters there for me today.’ On my way to the estate, I passed a Christian church, and the voices at prayer attracted my attention. I did not know anything about Christianity or about the followers of any other religion during the time that my father kept me in the house away from people. When I heard the voices of the Christians, I entered the church to see what they were doing. I was impressed by their manner of praying and felt drawn to their religion. ‘By God,’ I said, ‘this is better than ours. I shall not leave them until the sun sets.’ I asked and was told that the Christian religion originated in the Levant (greater Syria). I did not go to my father’s estate that day, and at night, I returned home. My father met me and asked what I had done. I told him about my meeting with the Christians and how I was impressed by their religion. He was dismayed and said, ‘My son, there is nothing good in that religion. Your religion and the religion of your forefathers is better.’ ‘No, their religion is better than ours,’ I insisted. My father became upset and afraid that I would leave our religion. So he

kept me locked up in the house and put a chain on my feet. I managed however to send a message to the Christians asking them to inform me of any caravan going to Syria. Before long they got in touch with me and told me that a caravan was headed for Syria. I managed to unfetter myself and in disguise accompanied the caravan to Syria. There, I asked who was the leading person in the Christian religion and was directed to the bishop of the church. I went up to him and

and final Prophet in the land of the Arabs who would have a reputation for strict honesty, and who would accept a gift but would never consume charity for himself. Salman continues his story: At that time the Prophet was inviting his people in Mecca to Islam, but I did not hear anything about him then because of the harsh obligations that slavery imposed upon me.”

said, ‘I want to become a Christian and would like to attach myself to your service, to learn from you, and to pray with you.’

Kalb tribe passed through Ammuriyah, and I asked them to take me with them to the land of the Arabs in return for whatever money I had. They agreed and I paid them. When we reached Wadi al-Qura (a place between Medina and Syria), they broke their agreement and sold me to a Jew. I worked as a servant for him, but eventually he sold me to a nephew of his belonging to the tribe of Banu Qurayzah. This nephew took me with him to Yathrib (Medinah), the city of palm groves, which is how the Christian at Ammuriyah had described it. When the Prophet reached Yathrib after his hijrah from Makkah, I was in fact at the top of a palm tree belonging to my master doing some work. My master was sitting under the tree. A nephew of his came up and said: ‘May God declare war on Aws and Khazraj (the two main Arab tribes of Medina). By God, they are now gathering at Quba to meet a man who has today come from Mecca and who claims he is a Prophet.’ I felt hot flushes as soon as I heard these words, and I began to shiver so violently that I was afraid that I might fall on my master. I quickly got down from the tree and said to my master’s nephew, ‘What did you say? Repeat the news for me.’ My master was very angry and gave me a terrible blow. ‘What does this matter to you? Go back to what you were doing,’ he shouted. That evening, I took some dates that I had gathered and went to the place

The bishop agreed and I entered the church in his service. I soon found out, however, that the man was corrupt. He would order his followers to give money in charity while offering the promise of blessings to them. When they gave anything to spend in the way of God, however, he would hoard it for himself and not give anything to the poor or needy. In this way he amassed a vast quantity of gold. When the bishop died and the Christians gathered to bury him, I told them of his corrupt practices and, at their request, showed them where he kept their donations. When they saw the large jars filled with gold and silver they said, ‘By God, we shall not bury him.’ They nailed him on a cross and threw stones at him. I continued in the service of the person who replaced him. The new bishop was an ascetic who longed for the Hereafter and engaged in worship day and night. I was greatly devoted to him and spent a long time in his company.” The Final Prophet in the Land of the Arabs After his death, Salman attached himself to various Christian religious figures in Mosul, Nisibis and elsewhere. The last of these told Salman about the appearance of a new

A group of Arab leaders from the

where the Prophet had alighted. I went up to him and said, ‘I have heard that you are a righteous man and that you have companions with you who are strangers and are in need. Here is something from me as charity. I see that you are more deserving of it than others.’ The Prophet ordered his companions to eat but he himself did not eat of it. I gathered some more dates and when the Prophet left Quba for Medina, I went to him and said, ‘I noticed that you did not eat of the charity that I

The man persisted and said, “I know the type of house that would suit you.” “Describe it to me,” said Salman. “I shall build you a house which if you stand up in it, its roof will hurt your head and if you stretch your legs, the wall will hurt them.” Later, as a governor of Ctesiphon, near Baghdad, Salman received a stipend of five thousand gold coins. This he would distribute in charity. He lived from the work of his own hands. When people came to Ctesiphon and

gave. This, however, is a gift for you.’ Of this gift of dates, both he and his companions ate.”

saw him working in the palm groves, they would say, “You are the governor here: your sustenance is guaranteed and yet you do this work!” “I like to eat from the work of my own hands,” he would reply. As a scholar, Salman was noted for his vast knowledge and wisdom. Ali said of him that he was like Luqman the Wise; while Kaab al-Ahbar said, “Salman is filled with knowledge and wisdom – an ocean that does not dry up.” Salman had knowledge of both the Christian scriptures and the Quran, in addition to his earlier knowledge of the Zoroastrian religion. Salman, in fact, translated parts of the Quran into Persian during the lifetime of the Prophet. He was thus the first person to translate the Quran into a foreign language. Salman, because of the influential household in which he grew up, might easily have been a major figure in the sprawling Persian empire of his time. His search for truth however led him to renounce his comfortable and affluent life and even to suffer the indignities of slavery even before the Prophet had appeared. According to the most reliable account, he died in Ctesiphon during the caliphate of Uthman, in the thirty-fifth year after the hegira (migration of the Muslims to Median). May Allah be well pleased with him. This narrationwas taken from Abdul Wahid Hamid’s “The Companions of the Prophet” with a few minor changes.

The strict honesty of the Prophet was one of the characteristics that led Salman to believe in him and accept Islam. Salman was released from slavery by the Prophet who paid his Jewish slave-owner a stipulated price and who himself planted an agreed number of date palms to secure his manumission. After accepting Islam, Salman would say when asked whose son he was, “I am Salman, the son of Islam from the children of Adam.” A Leading Companion Salman became known as “Salman the Good.” He was a scholar who lived a rough and ascetic life. He had one cloak that he wore and upon which he slept. He would not seek the shelter of a roof, but stayed under a tree or against a wall. A man once said to him, “Shall I not build you a house in which to live?” Salman was to play an important role in the struggles of the nascent Muslim state. At the “battle of the trench,” he proved to be an excellent innovator in military strategy. He suggested digging a ditch around Medina to keep the pagan army at bay. When Abu Sufyan, the leader of the Meccan pagans, saw the ditch, he said, “This stratagem has not been employed by the Arabs before.” “I have no need of a house,” he replied.


South Asia Tribune I Thursday 03 May 2012

NEWS

Pentagon encircles Iran: Victory would take 3 weeks

As the US beefs up its military presence in the Persian Gulf region, Pentagon strategists estimate that they would need less than a month to defeat Iranian forces should a military conflict take place. US Central Command (CENTCOM) believes it can destroy or significantly degrade Iran’s conventional armed forces in about three weeks using air and sea strikes, a defense source told The Washington Post. “We plan for any eventuality we can and provide options to the president,” Army Lt. Col. T.G. Taylor, a spokesman at CENTCOM told the newspaper. “We take our guidance from the secretary of defense and from our civilian bosses in [Washington] DC. So any kind of guidance they give us, that’s what we go off of [sic].”

The American military has been building up its presence in the region amid rising tension in the area. The US Navy currently has two aircraft carriers deployed near Iran and is upgrading mine-detection and removal capabilities. The US Air Force recently dispatched a number of F-22 Raptor strike fighters to a base in the United Arab Emirates. The move caused backlash from Tehran, which said Wednesday it threatened regional stability. Deploying a “floating base” in the Persian Gulf – a converted transport ship that would serve as a semi-stationary base of operations for the US military – is also on the table. USS Ponce is expected to host mine-sweeping helicopters, speed boats and probably commando teams.

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The Pentagon has also intensified training of elite troops of its allies in the region. The members of the Joint Special Operations Task Force-Gulf Cooperation Council commando team, who serve as instructors, may be ordered to go into the field as well, should such a need arise. The measures are taken as contingency for possible attack by Iran on US troops or blocking of the Strait of Hormuz, the vital oil transit route, the US says. CENTCOM says there are about 125,000 US troops in close proximity to Iran. The majority of them – 90,000 – are deployed in or around Afghanistan. Some 20,000 soldiers are ashore elsewhere in the Near East region; and a variable 15,000 to 20,000 serve on naval vessels.

India, Pakistan home officials Eurozone unemployment likely to meet May-end rate hits record high of 10.9

The Home Secretaries of India and Pakistan are likely to hold bilateral talks on May 24 and 25 in Islamabad where a liberalised visa regime for the two countries is expected to be approved. A formal communication accepting the invitation of Pakistan for the Home Secretary-level dialogue will be sent in a day or two, official sources said. Islamabad has offered to host the meeting anytime between May 23 and 27 and New Delhi is likely to give its consent for May 24-25 talks. Earlier, Pakistan had suggested April 16 as the possible date for the Home Secretary-level talks to be held in Islamabad but the date clashed with the crucial meeting of the Chief Ministers which is being hosted by the Home Ministry. Subsequently, New Delhi sought the fresh date for the meeting after May 22 when the budget session of Parliament comes to an end. During the talks, an agreement to liberalise the visa procedures for the benefit of people from either country is expected to be signed. The Union Cabinet gave its nod

for signing the pact which include multi-entry non-police reporting visas for businessmen, allowing them to visit five cities instead of three as at present. The other provisions include exempting elderly people from police reporting, allowing common people from either country to visit three earmarked cities. The bilateral meeting will be held amid renewed engagements between India and Pakistan. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh hosted

a lunch for Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari on April 8 when he was here on a “private visit”. Last month, Singh met Pakistan Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani on the sidelines of the Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul. This will be the first meeting between Home Secretary R K Singh and his Pakistani counterpart K Siddique Akbar. Their predecessors Gopal K Pillai and Qamar Zaman Chaudhary, had met in March 2011 in New Delhi.

Indian-American appointed to key Pentagon post Indian-American Vikram Singh has been appointed to a key Pentagon position to look after entire South and Southeast Asia. Acting Under Secretary of Defense for Policy James Miller announced to his staff last Friday that Vikram Singh is the new deputy assistant secretary of defense for South and Southeast Asia (SSEA). Mr. Singh previously served as special assistant, Office of the Under Secretary of

Defense (Policy), it said. Singh is already hitting the ground

running. This week he is leading the U.S. delegation to the ASEAN defense senior officials meeting (ADSOM+) in Cambodia. Mr. Singh was a close associate of late Richard Holbrooke, the Special US Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan. He replaces Robert Scher, who has now been assigned as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defence for Plans.

Record high unemployment for the 17 countries that use the euro is set to increase the pressure on Europe’s leaders to switch from a focus on austerity to a pro-growth strategy to stop the region from moving deeper into recession. Unemployment across the 17-member eurozone rose by 169,000 in March, official figures showed Wednesday, taking the rate up to 10.9 percent in March — its highest level since the euro was launched in 1999. Unemployment in the eurozone rose to 10.9% in March, equalling the record high of 15 years ago, data showed on Wednesday, driven by rises in Italy and Spain. The jobless rate in the 17 nations using the single currency increased by 0.1 percentage point from February, as expected by economists polled by Reuters. The unemployment rate was also 10.9% in February, March and April 1997. It has never risen above that in data stretching back to the start of 1995. Meanwhile, eurozone factories sank further into decline last month, but manufacturers in Asia upped their tempo to meet growing demand from the United States and China, exposing a widening gulf between Europe and the rest of the world. Worryingly for European policymakers, a downturn that is hitting Italy and Spain hard, now appears to be taking

root among core members France and Germany. The data hit the euro and dented optimism following a similar survey on Tuesday that showed the pace of growth in U.S. manufacturing picked up much more than expected. “The numbers coming out of the eurozone give no cause for comfort. The China economy is holding up, but the debt crisis in Europe is weighing on growth and its rippling across the world,” said Peter Dixon at Commerzbank. This weekend, as Greece and France head to the polls, there are hopes — certainly among the ranks of the 17.4 million people unemployed in the eurozone — that there may be a change of strategy in Europe over how to deal with the two-year debt crisis that’s already seen three countries bailed out and raised the specter of the break-up of the single currency. “With the potential changing of political leaders, coupled with confirmation that nearly half of the eurozone is officially in recession, the strategy of continuing austerity is being widely challenged,” said Gary Jenkins, managing director of Swordfish Research. The unemployment rate across the wider 27-country European Union, which includes non-euro members like Britain and Poland, was 10.2 percent, unchanged from February but still higher than the 9.4 percent recorded a year before.


NEWS

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South Asia Tribune I Thursday 03 May 2012

UK food retailer ban outrages Tel Aviv

Britain’s fifth-largest food retailers’ boycott on products from Israeli settlements has outraged officials in Tel Aviv who say the ban will have damaging impact on the whole Israeli products. Britain’s Cooperative Group, which is one of the biggest retailers across Europe, announced on Sunday that it will “no longer engage with any supplier of produce known to be sourcing from the Israeli settlements.” Israeli regime’s foreign ministry has criticized the move saying it is targeted at the entire occupied territories rather than the settlements. “They say they are targeting settlement products, but in fact they are targeting everything that is Israeli,” foreign ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor told reporters. “The settlements are a pretext. The

boycott, divestment and sanctions movement boycotts everything that is Israeli,” he added. The Cooperative Group first halted purchases from the settlements in 2009, but the new ban will affect four major companies, which bring in products from the settlements. The ban will leave a £350,000 black hole in the sales of the suppliers Agrexco, Arava Export Growers and Adafresh as well as

Israeli regime’s largest agricultural export company, Mehadrin. Pro-Palestinian activists have welcomed the move as a slap in the face of the Israeli regime. “Israeli agricultural export companies like Mehadrin profit from and are directly involved in the ongoing colonisation of occupied Palestinian land and theft of our water,” said a spokesman for the Palestinian Union of Agricultural Work Committees. “Trade with such companies constitutes a major form of support for Israel’s apartheid regime over the Palestinian people, so we warmly welcome this principled decision by the Co-Operative,” the spokesman added. The Palestinian Union of Agricultural Work Committees also called on other major European retailers to follow the Cooperative Group’s example.

Residents flee Pakistan Karachi ‘war zone’ Continued from page 01 >> people will migrate.” According to JI’s Mohammad Hussain Mehanti, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) played a role in the worsening situation. “We want to ask the MQM if they would support a similar operation in other areas of the city where the crime rate is far higher than in Lyari.” Baloch protesters People from different parts of Lyari, especially Chakiwara and its adjacent areas, tried to come out to hold a rally outside the Karachi Press Club but according to Sania Naz Baloch, they were not allowed by the lawenforcement agencies. “About 200 people still managed to come out,” she said. “All democratic rights are being crushed and our generation is being compelled to take up weapons instead of acquiring education.” Sania accused the police of killing six people in a house in Mulla Hotel Gali. “No one has taken those bodies who I think belong to one family,” she told The Express Tribune. “The government has stopped Edhi ambulances from entering. The situation is deplorable and the media don’t even have access to the worst-affected areas.” Several big and small protests were held at Maripur, Old Golimar, Pak Colony, Malir, Gadap and Baloch Colony, causing a massive traffic jam. The protesters in Baloch Colony, a majority of them women and children, blocked the road and hurled stones at passing vehicles which broke the windows. A large number of Baloch residents from Gadap, Malir and Quaidabad marched towards Lyari and set two vehicles on fire on their way. Relief for Lyari people – or not The police stopped workers of Saylani Welfare Trust at Cheel Chowk. “They

[the police] did not allow us to provide cooked food, milk and drinking water but we reached the tense areas with local help,” said the welfare’s Amir Iqbal Madni. “Hundreds of people gathered but the police opened fire. Our workers

Orangi Town, Lines Area, Surjani and Korangi are filled with gangsters and target killers. Why can’t they conduct operations in these places?” Scores of people of almost all ages from Katti Pahari and Qasba Colony blocked

among the people who were leaving a mosque and in the streets of MPR colony. Many people joined the protest and they marched to the Katti Pahari Road and blocked it for traffic. “We are shouting slogans for Baloch.

of ‘Baloch and Pakhtun bhai bhai’, ‘Balochoun ki Nasal Kashi Band karo’ (stop Baloch genocide). A young man, Saud, held a banner printed with slogans against the chief minister and MNA Nabeel Gabol. “We understand

were scared but managed to distribute food.” The government set up relief camps in five districts to distribute 20,000 packets of rations among families which have been displaced. The rehabilitations minister, Haji Muzaffar Ali Shujra, dismissed the impression that the operation was targeted against the Baloch. ANP jumps into the fray A leader of Awami National Party in Qasba Colony, Badshah Khan, arranged a protest independently to support the people of Lyari. “Our leadership is silent on the operation but the residents of Katti Pahari and Qasba Colony are doing it ourselves. The Baloch people are our brothers and we are concerned about them.” Khan told the reporters that their party had always demanded an indiscriminate military operation against criminals and military trial. “We condemn the operation specifically conducted against a specific ethnicity,” he said. “Lyari is not the only place where criminals are hiding. Lalukhet No. 10, North Karachi,

the main road on Tuesday evening to protest against the Lyari operation. A few young men began to beat and electric pole with a stick as they shouted, “Come join us in the protest. Show your solidarity with our Baloch brothers.” They distributed hand-written banners, placards and white flags

They too are human like the rest of the people in Karachi and they have been treated inhumanly,” said 48-yearold Mian Gul. “Hundreds of women and children are suffering because of the one-sided operation which was launched to make a certain party happy.” The protesters were shouting slogans

the pain and suffering of the people of Lyari because we face such operations at least once a month,” he said. “Our children scream of hunger and our women become mentally ill because of violence. Today police and other security forces are busy in Lyari but they will be sent to Qasba and Katti Pahari later on.”


South Asia Tribune I Thursday 03 May 2012

NEWS 31 England professionals demand IPL-style T20

Misbah to stay on as Pakistan captain Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chairman Zaka Ashraf has reiterated that he has no plans of changing Misbah-ul-Haq as the captain of the national team. “We have not decided about the selection of the captain,” a local newspaper quoted him, as saying.

Ashraf’s statement comes after speculation in the media that the PCB may opt for three different captains for Tests, ODIs and T20s. Misbah too has had to fend off questions from the media and most recently said: “I don’t want to just play Test cricket. I want to lead the team at the World Twenty20 as well but obviously that’s up to the selectors. As far as people calling my batting too defensive is concerned, I play according to

the situation. I’m the captain and I have an added responsibility.” “When I made my debut, people called me old and said I have little future in the game. But I’ve been able to prove them wrong with my performances. Now I’m confident of doing the same,” the 38-year-old added. Comments from new coach Dav Whatmore and former captain Younis Khan last week, have added to the buzz circling the PCB headquarters. Khan reportedly expressed a desire to the lead the team again if offered the role while Whatmore had backed another former captain, Shoaib Malik, to lead Pakistan in T20s on the back of his recent title-winning performance in the Super Eight T20 Championship held in Rawalpindi. Pakistan’s selection committee is set to announce the squad for the upcoming tour of Sri Lanka in a few days, and if tradition is to go by, there maybe a few surprises in the offing, despite Ashraf’s remarks.

Pakistan cricket team to tour Sri Lanka next month

Pakistan will tour Sri Lanka next month for three Tests, five one-day internationals and two Twenty20 games, Sri Lanka Cricket said on Monday. The Pakistanis will kick off the six-week tour with two Twenty20 matches in the southern port town of Hambantota on June 1 and June 3. The first two one-day internationals will be played in Pallekele on June 7 and June 9, followed by the remaining three at the Premadasa stadium in Colombo on June 13, 16 and 18. The three back-to-back Tests will be held in Galle (June 22-26), the Sinhalese sports club in Colombo (June 30-July 4) and Pallekele (July 8-12). Pakistan last toured Sri Lanka in 2009

where they lost the Test series 2-0. The two sides met in the United Arab Emirates last year where Pakistan won both the Test and one-day series and also clinched the lone Twenty20 international. Tour itinerary: June 1: First Twenty20 international, Hambantota June 3: Second Twenty20 international, Hambantota June 7: First one-dayer, Pallekele June 9: Second one-dayer, Pallekele June 13: Third one-dayer, Colombo June 16: Fourth one-dayer, Colombo June 18: Fifth one-dayer, Colombo June 22-26: First Test, Galle June 30-July 4: Second Test, Colombo July 8-12: Third Test, Pallekele.

Continued from page 32 >> But the desire for a high-profile T20 tournament comes alongside a desire to protect the integrity of the 16-match twodivisional championship. The report concludes: “The county championship remains the priority, and this is a competition which must have full fixture symmetry and integrity. This is regarded by the players as more important than creating space in the schedule to allow our teams to compete in the Champions League, and this in turn is a higher priority than achieving further reductions in the amount of cricket played in the domestic season. As many as 91% of players regarded the championship, often derided for its low crowds, as the most important tournament, with a similar number, 87%, placing the Friends Life T20 as the second most important competition. CB40 came a distant third with the PCA calling for a “fundamental review” of how much 40 or 50-over cricket is played by the counties. The players’ views, which preliminary soundings conducted by ESPNcricinfo also suggest are shared

by the bulk of spectators, place further pressure on the ECB to accept that the Morgan Report’s solutions to the game’s ills are not supported either by those who play or watch. The exhaustive review, conducted by David Morgan, a former ECB chairman, was shelved by the ECB in March as the board decided instead to conduct further research throughout the 2012 season into the future of professional cricket in England. Growing opposition to Morgan’s recommendations, which included a reduction in Championship matches from 16 to 14, a return to 50-over cricket and 14 T20 matches, left the ECB board unable immediately to adopt a report that many senior officials still want to see become reality. Morgan’s proposal to play T20 cricket across much of the summer, on nights preferred by individual counties, was opposed by 77% of players polled who wanted the group stages to be played in a single block. The PCA research was carried out online and involved 277 registered professionals, a response rate of approximately 70%.

Punjab CM offers 20 acres land to Yuvraj Singh for sports academy Continued from page 32 >>

academy near Chandigarh to impart training to the budding players in cricket, hockey, golf and tennis. The Chief Minister asked his Principal Secretary to finalise the modalities for the

allotment of requisite land. Badal told Yuvraj that the state government had already set up a sports school at Ghudha in Bathinda district to impart quality education and sports training to our youth to enable them to exhibit their talent at national as well as international tournaments.

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South Asia Tribune I Thursday 03 May 2012

Punjab CM offers 20 acres land to Yuvraj Singh for sports academy Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on Wednesday offered to allot 20 acres of land near Chandigarh to star cricketer Yuvraj Singh for setting up a sports academy. Yuvraj, who is recovering after undergoing treatment for a rare germ cell cancer, was accompanied by his mother Shabnam Singh

when he called on Badal at his residence, an official spokesman said. Badal wished him speedy recovery and best of health. Badal appreciated the proposal put forth by Yuvraj to establish state-of-the-art sports Continued on page 31 >>

SAT

Sports

England professionals demand IPL-style T20 England’s professional cricketers have overwhelmingly rejected the findings of the Morgan Report into the future of the firstclass game and have called for the introduction of a high-profile Twenty20 tournament that can bear comparison with IPL. The survey, conducted by the Professional Cricketers’ Association (PCA), reveals in detail for the first time the strength of opposition to the proposed shake-up. The players show almost universal support for the retention of the 16match Championship and calls for T20 to become a highly promoted tournament in the middle of the season - in the manner of the IPL - to maximise the chances of attracting some of the world’s best players. The PCA report concludes that the English game must: “Establish a high quality T20 competition which draws on experience from other T20 events worldwide, and balances the requirement for shortterm financial return for the counties with the need to establish a sustainable T20 income stream. “For that, we need a competition which has the potential to attract the best overseas players and maximises overseas broadcast interest. A significant increase in the prize money at stake is a critical element of that. “The T20 competition has a crucial role to play, both from a cricketing perspective, and for county finances. From the point of view of the players, the limitations on their ability to play a full part in the IPL because of the overlap with the start of our season... make it critical that our own T20 competition delivers adequate compensation in terms of excitement and reward. Continued on page 31 >>

Asif to be released from UK jail on 5th Pakistan’s former paceman Mohammad Asif is expected to be released from a British prison on May 5 after completing half his one-year sentence for spot-fixing during the 2010 Lord’s Test against England, a friend and cricket coach said Tuesday. Banned Pakistan pacer, Mohammad Asif will be released from prison on May 5 after completing his jail term in the United Kingdom. Asif will decide when he plans to return to Pakistan after being released from prison, said his lawyer Ravi Gill. “Asif will complete his jail term on May 5 and all formalities have been completed for his release,” said Gill. Asif and Pakistan teammates, Mohammad Aamir and Salman Butt were given different jail terms by a crown court in London last

year in October for being involved in spot-fixing during Pakistan’s tour to England in 2010. They are also serving a five year ban by the anti-corruption tribunal of the International Cricket Council imposed in February 2011 for the same offence. Continue reading below Aamir, the youngest of the three, returned home in March after completing a six months jail term in a youth detention centre in the UK and he has also decided against appealing against the five year ban imposed on him by the ICC. “We have heard Asif is being released this week. Whenever he returns to Pakistan, the terms and conditions of the ICC ban will remain on him and he will not be allowed to take part in any cricket related activity

but had their appeals rejected by the Lord Chief Justice. Aamir since returning home has been kept away from all cricket activities and the board has not even allowed him to use the facilities at the National cricket academy in Lahore. A family member of Asif said they wanted him to return home as soon as he was released as they were dying to meet him.

in Pakistan,” an official of the board said. Asif, 29, who took 106 wickets in 23 tests and another 36 wickets in 48 one-day internationals, was

jailed for 12 months by the crown court while Butt was given a 30month sentence. All three had appealed against their sentences

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