Page 1



SUNdAy April 07, 2013






PG I 06

PG I 07



Vol, V, No. 353


TODAY’S WEATHER HIGH: 32 LOW: 17 A shower possible

Pages 12 I Price 10/-

Fate of over 100 parliamentarians hangs in balance TAHIR NIAZ AND HOMER BALOCH

ISLAMABAD: Over 100 former parliamentarians including some of the former federal ministers are facing criminal proceedings and disqualification for the next term, as they did not approach the HEC to get their degrees verified as deadline expired on Saturday. According to the Higher Education Commission, 109 former lawmakers did not approach the Commission to get their degrees verified. Of them, Azeem Daultana and Shahbaz Bhatti

had died during the tenure of the national assembly. Certificates of 80 exparliamentarians/MPAs have been declared as genuine by the concerned universities. The former members whose degrees have been found unverified/fake by the HEC include: Sardar Sanaullah Zehri, Abdul Raziq, Gulzar Khan, Abdur Rahim Mandokhail, Gul Naseeb, Mian Abdul Haq, Shahzada Muhyuddin, Bilal Rehman, Zafar Bhatani, Nalson Azeem, Faisal Saleh Hayat, Manzoor Wattoo, Imtiaz Safdar Warraich,

Mehbood Sultan, Rana Farooq Saeed Khan, Talat Iqbal Mahessar, Attiya Inayat Ullah, Begum Shehnaz Shaikh, Rukhsana Bangash, Capt (r) Rai Ghulam Mujtaba Kharral, Ch Bilal Asghar Warraich, Hamid Nasir Chattha, Nauman langriyal, Fauzia Arshad, Gulshan Ara, Liaqat Khan, Mudassar Qayyum, Mohsin Ali Qureshi, Pir Dilawar Shah, Syed Haider Shah, Nawaz Khan, Mehboobullah, Farhat Begum, Ilyas Chinioti, Makhdoom Iftikhar Hussain Gilani, Ahmad Ali Aulakh, Ch Asad Ullah, Awais Aslam Mandhana,

Nadeem Khadim, Ch Javed Ahmad, Yaqub Sheikh, Joyce Rufin Julius, Kamran Michel, Karam Dad Walha, Mahmooda Cheema, Makhdoom Muhammad Irtaza, Makhdoom Syed Ali Raza Shah, Asif Bashir Bhagat, Khalid Sargana, Khurram Nawab, Amir Ghani, Masood Lali, Sana Ulllah Khan Mastikhel, Saeed Akbar, Shaharyar Ali, Shahzad Cheema, Tariq Mehmood Sahi, Samina Wasim Butt, Najmi Saleem, Nargis Parveen Awan, Nawabzada Syed Shamas Haider, Parvaiz Rafiq, Rana Munawar Hussain alias Rana Munawar Ghous Khan,

Sardar Aman Ullah Dreshak, Yasmin Khan, Zaib Jaffer, Maiza Hameed, Khawaja Islam, Tayyaba Zamir, Faiza Asghar, Dr. Partab Singh, Dr. Nasrullah Baloch, Mir Haji Muhammad Hayat Khan Talpur, Mir Mehboob Ali, Amanullah Khan Masood, Askari Taqvi, Mrs. Rukia Khanum, Agha Irfan Karim, Muhammad Rahim, Mrs. Samina Raziq, Mrs. Nasreen Rehman Khetran, Zahoor Ahmad, Ateef Ur Rehman, Muhammad Alamgir Khalil, Sher Afghan Khan, Hafiz Akhtar Ali, Mufti Kifayatullah, Ziyad Akram Durrani,

Army to support civil admin

SNEAK PEEK mehek’s lawyer pins hopes on reversal of age decree

Troops only in Quetta, Karachi

The defense council for Zahra Mehek, one of the alleged murderers of two girls, including a minor, has decided in principal to drag the case to the high court level, a fresh appeal, the copy of which was seen by The Spokesman, has stated. Page 02

EcP receives 24,094 nomination papers The Election Commission of Pakistan has received 24,094 nomination papers for the general election 2013. Of them 7,364 are for the National Assembly and 16,730 for the provincial assemblies. Page 04

mumlikat will fight for women A graduate housewife has made history by becoming the first woman to be approved to run for election from PK27 constituency and as a third woman to fight election from NA-10 Mardan (II) constituency, who has a ray of hope to fight for women rights. Page 05

Islamists demand action against atheist bloggers Dhaka's business district Motijheel turned into a human sea by Saturday morning as tens of thousands of Islamists from across Bangladesh poured into the key commercial hub of the capital city to join a grand rally. Page 08

Oil sales improved 11pc in march on mom basis Country’s oil sales increased by 11 percent to around 1.5 million ton in March as compared from previous month of current fiscal year 2013. According to available statistics, furnace oil sales were above 700k tons, up 32% on month on month basis and 5% on year on year basis while High speed diesel HSD sales remained lower. Page 09

kareena to copy Sharon Stone’s hairstyle Kareena is known to experiment when it comes to her films. However, what Kareena hasn’t experimented with so far are her flowing locks. That is all set to change now as she, has apparently decided to chop off her hair for her next film opposite Emraan Hashmi. Page 10

Wasim requests BccI to allow Pakistan players in IPL Former Pakistan captain and pace legend Wasim Akram has requested the BCCI to allow Pakistan players to participate in the cash-rich Indian Premier League (IPL). Akram said that Pakistan players would only help add color to the Twenty20 tournament. Page 11

Qaser Wali Khan, Hayat Khan, Zamin Khan, Zakirullah Khan, Dr. Faiza Rasheed, Uzma Khan, Tabassum Younis Katozai, Waji-uz-Zaman, Shafi Muhammad, Tauqeer Fatima Bhutto, Ahmed Ali Khan Jalbani, Syed Sardar Ahmed, Raja Hanif Abbasi Advocate, Malik Muhammad Nawaz, Mrs. Neelam Jabbar Chaudhary, Muhammad Arqam Khan, Amina Ulfat, Imran Ashraf and Nadia Gabol. The SC is also taking up the case of fake degrees on April 8 (tomorrow). FIRs have already been lodged against 21 lawmakers who held fake degrees.

Caretaker interior minister warns of attacks on top leaders  Rules out delay in elections


LAHORE: 17 Pakistani citizens released from Indian jails, arrive in Pakistan through Wagah border. –ONLINE

EcP’s damage control measure

ROs refrained from ‘irrelevant’ quizzing 

Analysts say action late, damage done  500 ECP monitors to check rigging OUR STAFF REPORTER

ISLAMABAD: In a belated attempt to ward off criticism on the Returning Officers’ controversial questioning of candidates during scrutiny of nomination papers, the Election Commission of Pakistan Saturday directed the ROs to refrain from ‘irrelevant’ quizzing of the nominees. ECP’s Director General Sher Afgan told reporters here that the nature of questions being asked by returning officers has attracted severe criticism from media, rights activists and political parties. The quizzing was defended until Friday by ECP Secretary Ishtiaq Ahmed who said Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution required the candidates to have ample knowledge of Islam. Several candidates have had their nominations rejected on what are widely being viewed as flimsy grounds. Most prominent among those whose nominations were rejected is columnist Ayaz Amir. His nomination was rejected on the grounds that he wrote columns against the ideology of Pakistan and glorified the consumption of alcohol. Analysts believe that the latest ECP directive is a futile exercise as the scrutiny process will soon (tomorrow to be precise)

come to an end. “Damage has already been done. The latest move is a damage control exercise to deflect criticism primarily arising out of Ayaz Amir’s case,” renowned lawyer Intazar Mehdi said. “The scrutiny process had also exposed the degree of competence of the returning officers working under the judiciary.” Meanwhile, the ECP decided to give prisoners the right to vote in the upcoming general elections. The election commission asked for details of registered voters serving jail terms in different case. According to the ECP, prisoners will also be facilitated to cast votes for their candidates. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Election Commissioner Sonu Khan Baloch said that he had sought details about the registered voters languishing in jails. In addition, polling stations will be set up at the camps of internally-displaced people (IDPs) in KP. Meanwhile, the ECP has completed homework for deployment of 500 monitoring teams in order to stop rigging in the general elections. The monitoring teams would be deployed in those areas on priority base where there are complaints about rigging and the ECP has also selected different places to install security cameras to tackle any untoward situation during the polls.

Presidency denies any political activity

OUR STAFF REPORTER ISLAMABAD: Presidential spokesman Farhatullah Babar Saturday dismissed allegation of former chief minister Shahbaz Sharif that the Presidency was behind any move to declare him a loan defaulter. In a statement, he said the NAB was an independent institution under the law and was not under any obligation to take directions from the Presidency. “The Presidency has nothing to do with any information that NAB may or may not give to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) under the law. Any insinuation that seems to drag the Presidency into election related partisan issues is unfortunate and uncalled for. He said the Presidency is not involved in partisan political activity and its only interest and concern is that free and fair elections are held in a level playing field in which voters are able to elect who they wished to see as their representatives.

ISLAMABAD: Caretaker Interior Minister Malik Muhammad Habib Saturday said the army will be deployed only at the sensitive polling stations. Talking to reporters after meeting Director General Military Operations and chairing a meeting on law and order in Interior Ministry, Mr Habib said the army would be deployed at Hazara Town in Quetta and sensitive areas of Karachi. He said the deployment of the army at every polling station was a non-professional approach. He said if there was an incident on polling stations it would create a negative image of the army. He said the list of sensitive polling stations had not yet been received. About his meeting with DGMO, he said it was decided that the army would be ready as a quick response force during the elections in sensitive areas. “The DG Military Operations assured the caretaker interior minister that the civil administration would be given complete support during the elections.” Stating threats to major political leaders exist, the minister said the government would provide foolproof security to former prime ministers and chief ministers. He said the government will not tolerate security lapse in maintaining peace in the country. “Police and law-

enforcement agencies will be totally impartial during the election process,” he said, adding that all the law enforcing agencies would coordinate with each other to ensure law and order. Claiming that comprehensive security plan is ready, Habib said the security during elections is the top priority of the caretaker government. However, he said that security plan for Balochistan would be finalized after meeting the provincial government. Ruling out delay in election, Habib said the only mandate of the caretaker government is to hold elections on time. “The stance of politicians to delay elections is their personal opinion.” He said that no one would be allowed to hold weapons in polling stations, however, the meeting decided by allowing keeping weapons for self protection only in sensitive areas during elections. The Minister made it clear that Interior Ministry would remain alert 24 hours to cope with any situation. Regarding Passport Department, he said that an honest Director General would be appointed, who will ensure immediate release of passports to the people. He said that the Ministry is taking concrete steps to provide passports to the people well in time.

EcP office attacked in Noshki QUETTA: At least two people were wounded Saturday when unknown militants attacked a district Election Commission office in Noshki town. Two gunmen riding on a motorcycle lobbed a handheld bomb at the ECP office and fled the scene. The blast damaged the external portion of the office. Two people were injured in the blast, who were rushed to district hospital for medical treatment. This is the second attack on a local election commission office in the insurgency-hit province in the past two days, raising fears of a surge in violence leading up to general elections scheduled for May 11. On Thursday, unknown attackers had hurled a bomb at an Election Commission office in Kharan in a similar attack. –AGENCIES

A sigh of relief for some leaders 

Papers of Nawaz, Shahbaz, Imran, Sh Rashid, Faryal, Fazl, Ghinwa, Achakzai, Talal accepted  Hina not contesting polls


ISLAMABAD: Finally the mist of uncertainty created by nuisance remarks and judgments of the lower judicial officers involved in scrutiny of political players in the upcoming general elections seems to be subsiding as many of the big wigs edge past the monstrous Articles 62 and 63 on Saturday. Hope for political campaigns taking off is around the corner as many of the top names in country’s politics including Nawaz and Shahbaz Sharif, Sheikh Rashid, Imran Khan, Fazlur Rehman,

Faryala Talpur, Ghinwa Bhutto, Mehmood Achakzai and Talal Bugti got a go ahead from returning officers. Turning the NAB’s version about Sharifs or their political associates, the returning officers cleared Mian Nawaz Sharif and his brother Shahbaz Sharif to contest elections for National Assembly seats from Lahore, Sargodha and Jampur. The nomination papers of PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif for NA-68 Sargodha and of former Punjab chief minister Shahbaz Sharif for PP-247 Jampur were accepted. Decision on their other nominations will be made

today (Sunday). Awami Muslims League President Sheikh Rashid’s nomination papers for Rawalpindi’s NA-55 constituency were accepted after he submitted his bank statement in which he had shown an inflow of Rs 45 lakhs during the last week. After developing a political alliance with PTI, Sheikh Rashid withdrew his nomination papers in favour of Imran Khan from NA 56. In Dera Ismail Khan, JUI-f Chief Maualana Fazlur Rehman was exempted from appearing before the Returning Officers, whereas, his nomination papers

for NA-24 were accepted. PPP candidate Faryal Talpur’s nomination papers for NA-207 (Larkana) were also accepted. Similarly, Ghinwa Bhutto’s nomination papers were accepted for Karachi’s NA-250 constituency. It’s the same constituency from where former President Gen (Retd) Musharraf is also contesting. Nomination papers for Quetta’s NA-289 constituency submitted by PKMAP’s chairman Mehmood Achakzai and Jamhuri Wattan Party’s Talal Bugti were accepted. Former minister Sumsam Bukhari’s papers for Okara’s NA-

145 were also approved. However in an interesting development, former foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar was declared a defaulter on bank loans by the RO Muzaffargarh and directed her to present clearance certificate by Sunday. Sources claim that Hina has decided to withdraw her nomination papers and instead place her father from the same constituency because she believes that payment of defaults were not possible in one day. Hina is likely to place her name on the reserve seats from PPP quota, sources confirmed.


CDA’s Centre makes visitors stand under sky SALMAN ABBAS

ISLAMABAD: The Capital Development Authority’s lack of attention toward its machine readable Birth and Death Registration Centre has created a plethora of problems for the common citizens who come there for getting computerised birth and death certificates. There are neither proper sheds nor appropriate sitting arrangements. Inaugurated in October 2012 by CDA Syed Tahir Shahbaz, BDRC lacks proper facilities due

capital for whom getting birth and death certificates had always been a Herculean task but the negligence of the CDA towards providing some basic facilities at the center has virtually sabotaged the intention of the civic body. The project was initiated in collaboration with NADRA and Plan International (an international NGO) for implementation of Civil Registration and Management System. The citizens have demanded that the CDA chief ensure proper sitting arrangements outside the center and also to install sheds at the place.

people daily visit the BDRC but have to stand under the open sky. “I am standing here for last two hours in wait of my turn but cannot find any place to sit as only two small benches have been placed here which are not enough for more than hundred people,� said Mughees Raza, a 30-year-old man, who was standing outside the centre for receiving the birth certificate of a child. The main aim of the authority towards establishment of BDRC was to make it less cumbersome for the residents of the federal

to which the people have to wait in long queues even in scorching heat and also during rain. A large number of elderly people, including women, visit the Directorate of Municipal Administration which houses BDRC but the city’s prime agency has not made any proper sitting arrangements for the visitors. A CDA official told The Spokesman that BDRC receives around 180-200 birth registration applications per day, and another 20-30 death registration applications. The facts given by the official showed that average 150

People wait to collect birth and death certificates in CDA centre. STAFF PHOTO

Special pollen centre, allergy clinic set up at PIMS ISLAMABAaD: A special pollen counter and an allergy clinic have been set up in Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences to provide treatment to pollen allergy patients. The measures have been taken in the face of growing pollen allergy affectees due to change of climate. Separate emergency room has been allocated for the patients and ventilators have been installed outside the room in the corridors. The coldwaves have gripped the greenish sectors and pollen count is ascending day by day adding to the tally of patients. As many as 150 patients have been admitted in emergency room. PIMS administration has taken the step for establishment of allergy clinic and pollen counter on emergency basis to deal with the prevailing situation. Ventilators have been installed in the corridor on temporary basis to provide treatment facility to 8 to 10 patients at a time. ONLINE

Three-day polio campaign from 15th ISLAMABAD: The health department would start three-day polio campaign in Islamabad on 15th of April. In view of this, The Prime Minister Polio Monitoring and Coordination cell and inter provincial ministry has organized campaign to vaccinate the children under the age of 5 from this crippling disease. ONLINE

Chief of Party of USAID Enterpreneurs Project Suzi Slomback and other visitors taking interest in items displayed at Hand Embellish Fabrics Exhibition organised by USAID.  ONLINE

CDA to hire Rangers to get back plots from mafia ISLAMABAD: The Capital Development Authority has decided to hire the services of Punjab Rangers to get vacate its land from illegal occupants. Sources said CDA management has taken the decision to secure possession of its vacant plots from the illegal occupants in the light of Supreme Court orders. The CDA has started talks with Islamabad administration on this count. Development work in the sectors including F-12, F-13, F-14, G-12, D-12 and E-12 could not be undertaken being the vast tracts of land of these sectors under the occupation of land mafia. The occupants say that they are the legitimate owners of these plots and are living therein since the last several decades, therefore, they be allotted alternative plots in developed sectors otherwise they will not vacate them. CDA Member Estate Shaista Sohail said the civic authority has started consultation process with Islamabad administration through formal channels in this connection. The CDA has sent letter to ICT administration to seek services of Punjab Rangers but no reply has been received so far from ICT, she added. ONLINE

Zahra Mehek’s lawyer pins his hopes on reversal of age decree 

Appeal to overturn sessions court’s decision to be filed in IHC tomorrow


ISLAMABAD: The defense council for Zahra Mehek, one of the alleged murderers of two girls, including a minor, has decided in principal to drag the case to the high court level, a fresh appeal, the copy of which was seen by The Spokesman, has stated. The appeal challenging the Sessions Court’s decision about Mehek being an adult will be moved in Islamabad High Court on Monday. Meanwhile, the police are still waiting court orders to exhume the bodies Shahzadi Bibi and Sawera Hakim, the victims of Zahra Mehek and Ibrar Qazi. On the other hand, during the hearing on Saturday of the twin murders case in the Sessions Court, the prosecutor’s counsel Raja Rizwan Abbasi presented two more witnesses

against the two accused. The defense councils, advocates Hashmat Habeeb and Zulfiqar Ahmed Bhutta, did not appear. However, they submitted an application through their

representative, stating that the case would move further if the age of Zahra Mehek was verified through her birth certificate and educational documents. “The council will challenge the court’s orders declaring Mehek an adult through a medical examination,� the application stated. The court adjourned the case until Monday, April 8. Advocate Hashmat Habeeb later told The Spokesman, “The defense council has six evidences, including her NADRA record, her birth certificate and educational documents, to prove that the accused is a juvenile. These documents have also been attached with the fresh application. The court’s decision in which Mehek was declared an adult is strange. We will challenge the court’s decision in Islamabad High Court on Monday.� The prosecution’s lawyer Raja Rizwan

Abbasi said that the court has charged Zahra Mehek and Ibrar Qazi under sections 376 (for raping the victims) and 496-B (for having sexual relations before marriage) on his request. Earlier, the defense council had requested the court to treat the accused Zahra Mehek as a juvenile, but the application was challenged by the prosecutor which requested to declare the accused an adult and charge under two more charges for raping the diseased and having sexual relations before marriage. The court then by accepting the request of persecutor had ordered to examine the age of Zahra Mehek medically. The medical report conducted by a four member’s medical board of poly clinic hospital reported after her medical examination reported that the accused is not less than 20 years old.

USAID supports woman artisans to display works I SLAMABAD: A 10-day exhibition titled ‘Stitching and Chai’ showcasing hand embellished products by home-bound woman entrepreneurs opened at Nomad Art Gallery here on Saturday. The exhibition has been organized with the support from the United States Agency for International Development Entrepreneurs Project as part of US Government’s economic growth initiatives in Pakistan. USAID’s economic growth efforts are designed to mitigate the adverse effects of socio-economic conditions prevalent in marginalized communities, and women .who face barriers in economic participation. Funded by the American people and implemented by the Mennonite Economic Development Associates, this five-year project was launched in June 2009 to increase the incomes of 75,000 micro-entrepreneurs and small enterprise owners, with particular focus on women, through access to better markets,

higher productivity, and improved product quality. The exhibition showcases a range of handembroidered items from Bahawalpur, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and Sindh that have been social and cultural symbols of rural communities and passed on from generation. Embroideries and techniques such as aari, ahir, chikankari, and chundri, on exquisite kurtas, dupattas, stoles, tops, quilts, shawls, and life-style products such as bags, floor and throw cushions, lamp shades, mobile covers, and wall hangings, are the main features of this event. The Entrepreneurs Project specialist Angela Braid explained that exhibitions such as this, aid in improving marketing and product development abilities of female sales agents and women embellishers. Across the country, hundreds of thousands of home-based women are engaged in producing embellished handmade products and in most cases; this business is the only source of their income. ONLINE

A cyclist looking at the LCD installed on a vehicle as he rides his bicycle in sF-6. ONLINE

Islooites trek to Pindi to get a glimpse of the latest flick 

Once the federal capital could boast of a few cinema houses  Hopes of cinema lovers again rekindle as Centaurus plans opening up a cinema house soon


ISLAMABAD: In the American quiz television programme “Jeopardy�, one of the contestants was asked if they could name a capital city without an airport and a cinema. The contestant was clueless, but the residents of Islamabad can surely answer this question with a tinge of reluctant humiliation. Yes, to our own surprise we are the residents of a capital that is devoid of owning a single cinema house! Residents have been waiting in earnest for the 'soon-to-be-constructed' cineplexes in F-9 Park for years now.

The cinema culture of the federal capital has suffered from an unfortunate curse since the inception of the first cinema in the 1960s. The so-called ‘burger’ kids of Islamabad now have to make the most dreaded journey all the way to Rawalpindi to watch the release of the latest flick. There was a time when Islamabad could boast of a few cinema houses but the last decade has only witnessed decadence in this area. The first cinema in town was opened in Melody back in 1966. It hosted the film hungry citizens of the capital well for a long time and its fitting location next to a food market provided the entertainment deprived masses

of the city a good location to spend their leisure time. However, unfortunately it has become a victim of sectarian and religious violence more than once; the previous occasion was when an angry mob burnt it down in 2003 just after it had been renovated. NAFDEC in Blue Area, set up in 1974, is also a name that movie lovers can still recall. It was a twin-cinema-house that exhibited both Pakistani films and international hits such as Jurassic Park and the Lost World back in the 1990s. “NAFDEC was one of the most posh cinemas in the country, and with its velvet carpets, it was one of the main attractions of


the city,� remarked a fond film-loving gentleman of Islamabad, who recalls the cinema culture in its heyday. The coffee served in the cafeteria there was also superb, as an elderly resident of the area recounts, “Sometimes we would just go there to sip a cup of coffee on a cold winter evening.� The cinema also exhibited some very exquisite movies that were chosen from the selection of movies shown at the Cannes International Film Festival in France. However, the corruption and breakdown that followed in most public sector ventures also saw its effects on this project and NAFDEC, too, saw a dismal

end in 2001 when the plaza was sold out. A giant shopping complex now stands in its place. Kohsar Cinema, a privately-owned enterprise which was situated in G-7, also came to a bitter end with the downfall of the local film industry. Not surprisingly the downfall of cinema houses and the local film industry happened almost simultaneously. Moreover, gradually as cable made its way into every household of the city, people lost the verve to go to a cinema. However, the hope of cinema lovers has been once again tingled by the news that Centaurus is soon opening up a cinema for the residents of the city.




Is this the start of Chaudharies downfall? enom Inc. This should not be held against me in a court of law aˇ I solemnly declare that these a˘e absolute lies, dirty whispers and wild speculation that I have heard while crawling in the dark power corridors of the creepy Capital. You will believe them aˆ your own risk Shh...If you have venom to spill please don’ˆ hesitate to share with ˙ˇ on our blog at


he prodigal scion of the Chaudharies of Gujrat continues to make headlines for his shady deals. The latest scandal is about his name appearing in the list of world’s top offshore illegal bank accounts. The news comes at a time when he and his family are all set to contest elections. Will he survive this once again? Moonis Elahi was purported as the next Punjab Chief Minister at one stage. Father Pervaiz Elahi, who was Punjab Chief Minister before he became deputy Prime Minister in the PPP government, was grooming Moonis as the heir of the family’s political largesse. Pervaiz Elahi was always protective of the prodigal son. No negative news could be published against Moonis while Pervaiz was the Chief Minister— such being the family’s hold on the media. Yet Moonis continued to surface in one scandal or another. His name cropped up when his staff beat a senior army officer in Lahore. Stories about his shenanigans continued to crop up intermittently. He was known to use the official plane for overnight escapades to Dubai with a media upstart who later became a relative. His name was heard in every scandal in the province while the father was in power. He was finally apprehended in the infamous NICL case where he was accused of receiving kickbacks of Rs 320 million for helped government buy his relative’s property at inflated price. He was jailed but then the Chaudharies made the move to join the government. This changed everything. The investigator, Zafar Qureshi was changed. The FIA not only obstructed the inquiry but also helped damage the prosecution case. All the eight witnesses backtracked from their sworn statements. The banks employees where the kickbacks money was deposited in the account of an alleged front

Moonis Elahi lands family in trouble once again


man changed their statements or withdrew from their stance. It was obvious that they had either been pressured or brought over. How else could Rs 320 million suddenly land in a fake account with no claimant to it? Even the Supreme Court was forced to acknowledge intense interference by the government. But the Chaudharies survived yet another crisis. They might be able to recover from the

latest scandal, which involves Moonis in an offshore account. The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, which is one of the top journalistic organizations, has accused him of being shareholder and director of Olive Groves Assets Ltd. (2006) in the British Virgin Islands. It says that Moonis Elahi denied that he owns

The rise and fall of Aitzaz Ahsan

HEC decisions to start new era in politics?



hey say nothing lasts forever in this world. This phrase applies fully to the corridors of power, where incumbency tends to taint one’s perception in the eyes of others. Power and popularity are cruel and fickle. The case of Aitzaz Ahsan aptly explains this phenomenon. Where once he was the darling of the nation, adorning posters everywhere and hogging the television screens throughout the country, he has now been relegated to a peripheral role in the playground of Pakistani politics, reduced to running errands for his wife. Yesterday he submitted his wife’s nomination papers for the reserved seats for women. While he himself is an incumbent senator, it is a far cry from the status he once used to enjoy, even before the Long March. It was widely believed, after the success of the Long March, that he would enjoy a frontline role in Pakistan Peoples’ Party (PPP). He had all the tools to do so; he was a darling of the masses; a renowned lawyer and Benazir’s close confidant, as well as being articulate and well spoken. He also had aspiration for the seat of the Presidency vacated by Pervez Musharraf. Alas! It was not to be. Asif Zardari had other plans and made the throne his own. Despite the party winning the most number of seats in the Parliament, Aitzaz Ahsan was relegated to the periphery of Pakistani politics. Rahman Malik and Qamar Zaman Kaira were the main faces of the PPP government as the Federal Interior and Information ministers respectively.

he final list submitted by the HEC regarding those former parliamentarians whose degrees were unverified/fake, includes the names of 109 members, with two of them having passed away. Many questions arise about the 107 living ex-parliamentarians who, according to the Supreme Court, will now be treated as having fake degrees. This, coupled with those whose degrees have already been declared fake, serves a damning indictment of the Pakistani democracy. This will likely change the face of Pakistani politics as the past practice of getting into parliament by any means necessary should be a thing of the past, in theory at least. It was probably far from their minds that they would have to face the consequences of forgery and lying under oath. That was not how Pakistani politics worked. This should serve as a wake-up call for aspiring parliamentarians. Actions may have consequences. PPP has a significant number of ministers in this list, most notably the head of their Punjab chapter, Manzoor Wattoo. Many considered the party’s stock to have plummeted significantly in Punjab. Having their Punjab chief declared ineligible for elections will surely serve their plans a huge blow and one wonders what their strategy for Punjab will be now, it will also dent their credibility elsewhere in the country. But Punjab is the key to forming a government and with Yusuf Raza Gillani not contesting elections, Raja Pervez Ashraf and Amin Fahim facing severe court cases, their chances in Punjab have most likely been dealt a severe blow, and hence their chances in the general elections too. Makhdoom Syed Faisal Saleh Hayat, Imtiaz Safdar and Warraich Hamid Nasir Chatta are just some of the other big names in the list. This also makes the decision to boycott the elections by Pakistan Tehrek-i-Insaf and Jamaat-iIslami seem like a good decision. They have come out of this process of degree verification with a clean slate since it only applies to those parliamentarians who entered the assembly in 2008 as the current hopefuls do not need to have a degree to contest elections. PTI and JI are contesting elections on the platform of change through politicians who are clean. All their rival parties have been represented in this list, thus giving their claims somewhat of a boost. Whatever the outcomes of this landmark incident, one thing is for sure; Pakistani politics has changed to some extent. Where this new direction leads the country is still to be determined but it will probably be towards a more fruitful destination.


or controls Olive Grove Assets Ltd. But he did not answer whether he had owned the firm in the past. ICIJ verified Elahi’s connection to the firm through the address listed for the politician in the corporate records, which is that of the Chaudhry family residence in Lahore. ICIJ says that government officials and their families and associates in Azerbaijan, Russia, Canada, Pakistan, the Philippines, Thailand, Mongolia and other countries have embraced the use of covert companies and bank accounts. The mega-rich use complex offshore structures to own mansions, yachts, art masterpieces and other assets, gaining tax advantages and anonymity not available to average people. Many of the world’s top’s banks – including UBS, Clariden and Deutsche Bank – have aggressively worked to provide their customers with secrecy-cloaked companies in the British Virgin Islands and other offshore hideaways. A well-paid industry of accountants, middlemen and other operatives has helped offshore patrons shroud their identities and business interests, providing shelter in many cases to money laundering or other misconduct. This may open another controversy for the family which also faces the issue of loan defaults. Many wonder if the Chaudharies, who are known to be the biggest survivors in the country, have been finally cornered. Whatever the case, things do not look good for them. Their electoral prospects have nose-dived as the majority of their party stalwarts have left them. PML (Q) has a chance to win only a handful of seats. The investigations might reopen if there is a government other than of the PPP. This scandal could not have at a worst time.

Moonis Elahi denied that he owns or controls Olive Grove Assets Ltd. But he did not answer whether he had owned the firm in the past. ICIJ verified Elahi’s connection to the firm through the address listed for the politician in the corporate records, which is that of the Chaudry family residence in Lahore. ICIJ says that government officials and their families and associates in Azerbaijan, Russia, Canada, Pakistan, the Philippines, Thailand, Mongolia and other countries have embraced the use of covert companies and bank accounts.



he picture shows Shah Mehmood Qureshi, the vice-chairman of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf, addressing a huge rally in Umerkot. He has submitted nomination papers for this constituency and is this rally is anything to go by, his prospects seem to be quite positive. Hot on the heels of the rally, he held a press conference with the influential Pir Pagara of Pakistan Muslim League Functional, where the latter declared he would support Qureshi in his election bid. This was a double boost as the Pir is supposed to have quite a large number of mureeds in these areas. While PML-F is not a very big player in Sindh politics, they still have a considerable influence in the


region. The endorsement of the Pir, added to the already visible support that Qureshi seems to enjoy, should be a boost to his chances in the upcoming elections, where he will be up against former Chief Minister Sindh Arbab Ghulam Rahim. It is believed that Arbab restored Umerkot’s status as a district to please the then Pir Pagaro, giving an insight into the influence of the Pir. The Pir’s endorsement, while independent of PTI and restricted to Shah Mehmood, should nevertheless boost the party’s profile in Sindh since Qureshi is the vice-chairman of the party and carries that tag with him.

Will Musharraf falll victim of Karma’s wrath? MUZAMMIL HUSSAIN SYED


General (R)Pervez Musharraf has to face the judiciary on numerous charges, the most serious being treason under article 6 of the constitution, at a time when the judiciary is the more strong and independent compared to the judiciary during his time in power. When he was the ‘monarch’, he had dictatorial powers and was virtually king of the land. General (R) Pervez Musharaf 's survival as political leader in Pakistan and the fate of his candidacy now lies in the hands of courts’ decisions. The interesting aspect to these proceedings lies in the fact that the majority of this judiciary consists of those judges against who were the victims of his campaign against the judiciary, which ultimately culminated in the Long Marchfor the restoration of judges. His candidacy has also been challenged in the petitions submitted to the court. The former military dictator has filed nomination papers to contest the general elections from four seats, namely Karachi, Islamabad, Chitral and Kasur. In the past he tried to mould the judiciary to his own liking, when he

was in power, but never completely succeeded. Now the situation has changed. He is unable to get results according his wishes as he is not in power and does not have the support from institutions such as the army and his former political allies, especially the Chaudharies of Gujrat. For the first time in the history of Pakistan, a dictator and former Army chief has to face the charges of treason on Monday, in front of judges who had been placed under house arrest on his orders after he had imposed emergency on November 3, 2007. These applications, six in number, have been moved from lawyers who were at the forefront during the judicial crises during Musharraf ’s time. These cases have great importance in the recent political scenario of Pakistan. The ball has started rolling and the former president faces one problem after the other. On Friday Muhammad Saleem, the Returning Officer in Kasur, rejected his nomination papers. A local lawyer Javed Kasuri had raised objections to Musharraf ’s candidature for NA-139 constituency, arguing that the former military dictator did not qualify to contest the elections under articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution. The Returning Officer (RO), after

According to the details, a petition was filed against Pervez Musharaf on Saturday by Abdul Hakeem Kundi former vice President Pakistan Bar Council through his lawyer Muhammad Ikraam Cohaudhry .

upholding the objections, rejected Musharraf’s nomination papers. This is not the end of this matter since this is a sub-judicious matter. Secretary Election Commission Ishtiaq Ahmed has said that the law allows Returning Officers to approve or reject the nomination papers of candidates after conducting scrutiny and no institution including Election Commission (EC) can interfere in it. A three-member bench of the apex

court, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, will hear the identical constitutional petitions filed against the former president Pervez Musharraf. According to the details, a petition was filed against Pervez Musharaf on Saturday by Abdul Hakeem Kundi former vice President Pakistan Bar Council through his lawyer Muhammad Ikraam Cohaudhry . One petition was filed in the

Supreme Court by former president of the Lahore High Court Bar Association (LHCBA), Rawalpindi Bench, Ahsanud-Din Sheikh, praying for directing the Federation to prosecute former President Pervez Musharraf under sections 2 and 3 of the High Treason (Punishment) Act 1973. Earlier, President LHCBA, Rawalpindi Bench, Taufiq Asif, and Maulvi Iqbal Haider filed the petitions under Article 184(3) of the

Constitution. The petitions stated that that Pervez Musharraf also blocked and obstructed access to justice by detaining the judges holding their offices constitutionally and by substituting them with those appointed unconstitutionally and invalidly. The petitioners recalled that it had been so held by the apex court in the judgment in the Sindh High Court Bar Association (SHCBA) case. The petitioners prayed to the apex court to direct the Federation to take Pervez Musharraf in custody. They contended that former president Pervez Musharraf by his acts and orders of Nov 3, 2007 and later, had assaulted the judiciary and tried to destroy this vital organ of the state, adding that he undermined, curtailed and negated the independence of the judiciary. These petitions have been filed in the middle of the bail period granted to Musharraf for the alleged murders of Benazir Bhutto and Nawab Akbar Bugti, along with the imprisonment of judges. He has been put on the Exit Control List by the interior ministry. The problems continue to knock at the ex-commando’s door, leaving him extremely vulnerable in the land where he was once king.

SUNDAY, APRIL 07, 2013

Aitzaz admits he is a Joru Ka Ghulam LAHORE: Veteran jurist and Pakistan People’s Party leader Senator Aitzaz Ahsan admitted to being a Joru Ka Gulam (submissive husband). Aitzaz Ahsan confided to media on Saturday while submitting nomination papers for his spouse for the reserved seats for women, that he had come to submit the nomination papers of his wife as he was a Joru Ka Ghulam. Ahsan, who seemed to be in good mood, corroborated his argument before smiling reporters that Imran Khan, Fazlur Rehman and even Shakespeare were also subservient to their wives. He, however, also said that religious questions should not be part of the scrutiny process. He said questions could rather be asked regarding the assets owned by candidates. Ahsan said action should be taken against the tax defaulters. ONLINE

ECP seeks postponement of PPSC examination MUZAMMIL HUSSAIN SYED

ISLAMABAD: The Chief Election Commissioner has issued directions for the postponement of some of the departmental examinations until the completion of the general election 2013. In this regard, Punjab Public Service Commission chairman has been asked to issue necessary directions for the postponement of the departmental examination and intimation

of the same to the ECP Secretariat for placing the same before the Election Commission of Pakistan. According to the details, the District & Sessions Judge/ District Returning Officer of Attock has intimated that the assistant commissioners of Attock, Fateh Jang and Pindigheb, who have been appointed as members of the monitoring teams for the elections, are appearing in departmental examination being conducted by the Punjab

Public Service Commission, from April 8 to 16, 2013. He has, therefore, requested that the PPSC may be asked for postponement of the said examination while the Provincial Election Commissioner of the Punjab has also endorsed the request. This matter has been considered at length by the Election Commission of Pakistan and it has observed that changing the horse in the middle of the stream is going to be extremely detrimental to the ongoing

electoral process and chief Election Commissioner has directed for postponement of the said departmental examination till completion of General Elections-2013. The Election Commission of Pakistan has appointed more than 400 monitoring teams across the country to monitor political activities in the general election. The members of the monitoring teams are district officers, judicial officers and other high ranked officers.

Judiciary can strike down unlawful moves: CJ

Inter exams across Punjab from May 15 RAWALPINDI: The annual intermediate and secondary school examination - FA, FSc - would start from 15th of May. Due to upcoming General Elections the annual Intermediate Examinations under Rawalpindi Board of Intermediate and Secondary would start from 15th of May instead of 5th May across Punjab. ONLINE

ECP to decide fate of Faisal Sakhi Butt today ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission has reserved the decision on the nomination papers of PPP’s candidate from NA-49 Islamabad–I, Faisal Sakhi Butt, which would be announced today (Sunday). According to sources, Advocate, Hanif H Rahi showed his stance before the Returning Officer of NA 48 and maintained that Faisal Sakhi Butt has not exposed his real worth of assets. Rahi claimed that when Butt submitted his papers the price of gold was 58,000 per carat while the candidate showed his gold asset worth of Rs 5 million, adding that the contestant could not fulfill Article 62 of the constitution. ONLINE

Nisar challenges HEC for not issuing clearance ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz Ch Nisar Ali Khan on Saturday filed a writ petition in the Supreme Court challenging the moves of the Higher Education Commission for not issuing degree clearance certificate, despite the court’s order. In the writ petition the PML-N leader had requested from the apex court to seek explanation from the HEC over not issuing degree approval certificate despite providing attested copies and including his name in the list of the 189 former parliamentarians for allegedly having fake degrees. He petitioner stated in the application that he had provided his degree for verification when a condition of B.A was set for the election contesting candidates in 2002. ONLINE

Degrees of Sh Waqas Akram, Yasir Raza fake ISLAM ABAD: The Higher Education Commission in a letter to the Election Commission of Pakistan has stated that the A-Level certificate of former Federal Minister Sheikh Waqas Akram and FA degree of former Punjab Assembly Member Yasir Raza are fake. The HEC had to complete the verification of degrees of 189 former parliamentarians by April 5. According to details sent by the HEC to the Election Commission, the degrees of 80 former parliamentarians were authentic. Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, Amer Muqam, Khursheed Shah, Afrasiyab Khattak are some of the former parliamentarians whose degrees were declared authentic. ONLINE

KARACHI: Saddar Electronics Market traders come out of their shops after a clash between two rival groups during a demonstration against SRO 280 issued by FBR. ONLINE

No politician can fit in articles 62, 63, says Malik 

Ex-interior minister says Nawaz, Shahbaz returned to country by breaching agreement inked with Musharraf  Claims ECP ignoring the issue LAH ORE: Former Federal Interior Minister and Senator Rehman Malik has said that no politician is entitled to contest the coming polls under the Article 62 and 63 of the constitution as no one can fit the description of Sadiq and Amin. He expressed these views in a news conference held in Pakistan People Party (PPP) secretariat here on Saturday. Malik claimed that the May 11 elections would be contested between the supporters of pro and anti-Taliban, adding that supporters of proTaliban belong to Lashkar-e-Jhangvi. He said that in 1985, the two articles of 62 and 63 were injected in the constitution of 1972, but no one is eligible under these two articles to contest the coming general election.

“We held the constitution as well as judiciary in high esteem during our five-year tenure and

will respect them in future also. No political personality was jailed,” Rehman Malik added. Talking about Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, Malik claimed that he inked a 10-year agreement with Pervez Musharraf and went abroad but returned home after breaching the agreement. However, the Election Commission of Pakistan should declare the chief of the PML-N ineligible as he transgressed the agreement and democratic norms. “But the ECP is neglecting the issue,” Malik claimed. Talking to media here on Saturday, he said the Sharif brothers had struck a deal with Pervez Musharraf for not returning back to the country for 10 years and no denial was given when the deal became public. ONLINE

Non distribution of free text books irks students, parents

EU envoy, Nizami discuss elections

RAWALPINDI: Teachers organisations, students and their parents have voiced strong protest against non distribution of free books to the students despite commencement of new academic year in all government schools of district Rawalpindi. Parents of the students said that new academic year has started but their children still stand deprived of the books to be distributed by the Punjab government free of cost to the students of class 1 to 10. Election duties will be assigned to the teachers by the end of April and summer vacations will start two weeks after the general elections, they added. Due to non distribution of books the students of all the government schools will have to suffer heavily in terms of studies and they will have to pass through this agony until September. Punjab SES Teachers Association president Chaudhry Yasin said the government was to distribute books from April 1 but this job remains still a distant dream. Inordinate delay being shown by the respective quarters has rendered educational activities paralyzed in all the state run schools. ONLINE

LAHORE: European Union Ambassador in Pakistan Lars-Gunnar Wigemark on Saturday called on caretaker Minister for Information and Broadcasting Arif Nizami and discussed government’s initiatives for holding fair election and facilitation of visas. Lars-Gunnar said the people of Pakistan should be proud of democracy in the country. He said the European Union (EU) had observed the 2008 elections and given a number of recommendations to improve the electoral system. He said Pakistan was on its way to consolidate democracy and added that Pakistan was a pillar of democracy in the region. “The European Union has been invited by the ECP to observe elections and it would be done in an impartial way,” he added. Gunnar said that they fully supported the democratic process, adding that the media could play a tremendous role in fair and free elections. He said the ECP was playing its role according to the constitution. “EU chief observer Michael Gahler is arriving tomorrow and will meet the caretaker PM besides all political stakeholders,” he added. He said that the member of the EU observation mission would be 110, adding that they would follow the role of the media and the election campaign and afterwards the counting of votes would be made according to a certain methodology and international standards. ONLINE

TANDO ADAM KHAN: Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry has said that the judiciary has the constitutional power to disqualify any such move which has been made by exceeding the constitutional limits. The chief justice expressed these views while addressing the lawyers at a reception hosted in his honour by the District Bar Association Matiari at Matiari. The CJ said no development in the society could be made possible without the supremacy of law and constitution. He said the independent judiciary without any discrimination as well as utilisation of discretionary powers with proper check were essential for supremacy of law. The CJP said the Constitution of Pakistan has clearly defined the basic structure and area of implementation of the important institutions of the state including executive, legislature and judiciary. Under trichotomy of power, he said, these three basic pillars are authorised to exercise their powers under the set limitations, and added that the constitution granted no permission to any institution to interfere into the affairs and powers of other institution. Besides definition and implementation of law, he said the Constitution granted authority to judiciary to settle the issues between the governments as well as between the government and the people. The constitution has granted powers of judicial review of the affairs of other institutions under Articles 184 and 199, he said. “If any government institution or person involved in constitutional violation, it could be challenged in the court,” CJP said. The chief justice, however, made it clear that the judiciary could not discharge its responsibility in effective manner without the support of able and devoted bar. The judges and lawyers are the important parts of the system of justice and their dedicated efforts could lay the foundation of strong and trusted system of justice. He said the members of the bar have great responsibilities for ensuring justice and the protection of fundamental rights of the people. ONLINE

KARACHI: Rangers checking the people during the Search Operation at Shireen Jinnah Colony.ONLINE

Malala a symbol of hope, says UN chief

KARACHI: Workers are laying brickwork in Fareer Hall Park.ONLINE

ISL AM ABAD: United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon has described Pakistani rights activist Malala Yousufzai "a symbol of hope, a daughter of the United Nations." Pakistani rights activist Malala Yousufzai has expressed hope about becoming a leader to serve the world, during a video conversation with United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon who described the 14year-old as a "symbol of hope". "I can walk. I can talk. I can do anything," Yousufzai told the UN chief in an online video conversation on Friday. Ban said the young girl, who was attacked by the

Taliban last year for opposing restrictions on girls' education, is "a symbol of hope, a daughter of the United Nations." "The UN will always be with you and with people like you," he told Malala. "If we educate a woman, we educate a family, a community and a country," Ban said. Yousufzai told Ban that she wants to be a leader and "to serve this whole world." She added that she volunteered herself to work for the rights of girls and the rights of all people. Ban told Yousufzai that he was "deeply impressed" and looked forward to meeting her. ONLINE

SUNDAY, APRIL 07, 2013

Salima wants If Faisal Karim Kundi withdraws... ancient sites preserved

NA›24 may see Waqar, Fazl as major

LAHORE: Punjab Minister for Health and Archaeology Salima Hashmi on Saturday said that tourism can be promoted by preservation of archaeological and ancient heritages in the country. Presiding meeting of the seems tilting in favour of the JUI nomination papers from two Archaeology Department, DERA ISMAIL KHAN: supremo due to multiplicity of the Salima stressed the need for Announcement by actress›turnedconstituencies but he is not finding candidates. PPP s Mazhar Jamil has conservation and politician Musarrat Shaheen tocourage to launch outpaced Maulana Lutfur Rehman of his election campaign. preservation of the contest general election against the PPP in PK›64 city one due to This fragile position has forced Faisal residence of great writer of Ulem›e›Islam›F chief Fazlur Jamiat internal Ahmad strife in the ranks of JU Urdu literature SaadatRehman in NA›24 has earned theKundi to retreat and his brother Kundi to go ahead. Faisal KundiInisPK›65, JUI›F has withdrawn its Hassan Minto in Lakshmi media focus clouding graphic picture embroiled in the negotiations candidate centering in favour of defecting f building. She emphasised of the possible encounter. MPAthe of PPP Samiullah Alizai and on his withdrawal from NA›24 in that there was a need to As many as 41 candidates including favour of Senator Waqar Ahmad.decided to support him as establish institutionsFazlur for Rehman, former privatization independent candidate. No Sources said PPP provincial president study, training and research minister Senator Waqar Ahmad Khan, candidate seems to be Anwar Saifullah Khan has shownnoteworthy his in the subject of former National Assembly deputy archaeology to train speaker Faisal Karim Kundi andwillingness to take forward contesting polls against Alizai. I Parwa, Sanaullah Miankhel is professionals. Musarrat Shaheen have filed reconciliatory process between66Faisal election against JUI›F and Waqar and he is engaged incontesting flurry She wished for the nomination papers from NA›24 having of the meetings to bring both the candidate sides to Lutfur Rehman while the outstanding and highlyregistered votes of 541284. But former is enjoying support of Sena a workable formula. qualified archaeologists tocontestants are Fazlur Rehman real Waqar Ahmad. A neck to neck contes If Faisal withdraws then Senator conserve the antiquities and and Senator Waqar Ahmad. is likely to take place in this will emerge as the strongest historic buildings. She The said politics in Dera Ismail Waqar Khan and constituency. candidate that this great work cannot other Seraiki belt is revolving around of the PPP against Fazlur Waqar group is backing independen be carried out in its the trueissue of Seraiki province.Rehman. All theMian Khel group has already candidate Fatehullah Miankhel agai announce to support Waqar while letter and spirit by the political parties including religio›political Makhdoom group has also forgedJUI›F›backed candidate Israrullah ordinary archaeologists. parties are poised to devise their policy Gandapur contacts with the senator following thein PK›67 Kalachi. The Punjab Archaeology aimed at creation of Seraiki province sacking issue has paved forging of electoral alliance teachers by Director General Dr Ismat besides mitigating the sense of way for the victory of Fatehullah independent candidate Javed Akbar Tahira, briefed the minister deprivation among the area people. pundits The position of independ about the steps taken for Faisal Kundi who was electedwith as Fazlur Rehman. Political Miankhel. candidate predict defeat of Fazlur Rehman in NA› Javed Akbar looks strong the preservation of these the member of the National DERA GHAZI KHAN: A police official burning recovered drugs and alcohol at Sakhi than Makhdoom Zahid Murid Kazim, 24 in case of one›to›one encounter. Assembly on PPP ticket by defeating candidate in PK›68 Paharpur. M PPP, Fazlur Rehman with a big marginInofNA›25, Ahmad Kundi of theANP Kazim is facing stiff resistance f 40000 votes in 2008 general Dawar Kundi of the PTI and defecting Seraiki MPA of JUI›F Qadir Bhatti are nationalists being the tic elections is facing a popular former revulsion holder of ANP. Independent candida and wrath of the electorates. the main contenders against Fazlur Habibullah Kundi is dominating the Although Kundi has filed his Rehman. But the balance of support Abdur rAzzAq tried my best to become a teacher but because of massive corruption in all government institutions I could not get PESHAWAR: A graduate housewife job and that is the reason behind my has made history by becoming the in elections to eradicate first woman to be approved to participation run corruption from the state, she said, for election from PK›27 constituency and as a third woman to fight adding, I have passion in my heart and I hope that people will support election from NA›10 Mardan (II) Our stAff repOrter rAshid Ali the present system promotes feudalism constituency, who has a ray ofme. hope During an exclusive interview, she and capitalism in the country. About a to fight for women rights. told The Spokesman said that her blank box on the ballot paper, he said Mumlikat Bashir, 32, may have little ATTOCK: A veteran ATTOCK: Tehrik›e›Istiqlal Pakistan (TIP) enthusiasm was to educate girls and chance of winning, but her step politician and senior President Rehmat Khan Wardag has this would bring no positive change an women and serve them. "I know I am there towards participation in forthcoming Pakistan People s Party asked the caretaker government and the seems a malafide intention behin the only the introduction of this box. general election is an intrusting move woman to contest election leader Sardar Shah Nawaz Election Commission of Pakistan to rupees each day and summed almost from He criticised Pakistan Tehrik›e›Insa as any political party of NA›10 andPK›27 PK› and NA›10 constituencies hailing from Khunda area, ensure free, fair and transparent elections 40,000 rupees which were her assets, but I am hopeful that I will win Chairman Imran Khan for changing his 27 constituencies have not allotted and his supporters on according to the Constitution. adding money announced to Talking to The Spokesman, he said people s hearts and minds as well as that she would use such stance party’s tickets to female candidates. Saturday that on different issues time›to›tim hershe election campaign. she said. She saidfor that Karachi, Imran opposes Kalabagh Dam bu Her papers have been approved elections, for support Pakistan Tehrik›e› those politicians or lawmakers cheated Mumlikat her and her husband, 35›year› in Mianwali, the PTI chief delivered h both constancies and she will belongs contest to an educated family and Insaaf candidate Malikthe people and were involved in loot and old Bashir Muhammad, have a short in favour of the dam. the elections independently. family was supporting her. Sohail Khan for NA›58 plunder must be punished without speech any manifesto Mumlikat said that despite the fragilepledging to solve the To another question, he said that th Though it will be a tough competition during the general discrimination. He also suggested that no problems of people in their locality, law and order in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, would be no positive change in the soc for Mumlikat, because former National politician be given important portfolios for her girls and women, struggle till the complete elimination of feuda Assembly member Maulana Qasim she and went door›to›door on foot educate The for PPP may face a hard more than twice. election campaign to convince women the rights and to provide free capitalism, loot and plunder. former Khyber Pakhtunkhwa minister time in the constituency To a question, Wardag also opined that health women voters. She said that she has facilities to poor people. Fazle Rabbani will contest election from afterShe the announcement of appealed the government to provide NA›10 and PK›27 constituenciesnever been threatened but the veteran politician s her security and asked philanthropists acknowledges she cannot campaign respectively and it has been observed open support to the PTI and she nongovernment organisations, publicly. For the last 10 years, that both have strong positions. candidate. Sardar Shah for women rights, to support that she was keepingworking 10 "I am an educated woman and mentioned I Nawaz announced his support during a corner meeting at his residence. Besides Malik Sohail Khan, Malik Safdar Abbas, Malik Mumraiz Khan, Abdul Papers of ex-minister, Waheed Khan, Malik Nadeem and other two others accepted notables were also present on the occasion. BAHAWALPUR: Nomination papers KARACHI: Pakistan Muslim It is to be noted that Shah in respect of three candidates League›Functional President Pir Christians demand Nawaz has an influential including Syed Riaz Hussain Pirzada, Sibghatullah Rashidi popularly political personality in the from NA›186, Muhammad Kazim Ali known as Pir Pagara demanded dual voting right area and certainly his Pirzada, from PP›273 and Chaudhry extension in the election time and Muhammad Afzal from PP›274 have argued that the Election LARKANA: Several Christian support will prove a great advantage to the Tehrik›e› been accepted. Former federal Commission of Pakistan was given parties have joined hands with Insaaf candidate to win the minister and PML›N candidate for short the span of time for scrutiny. the Pakistan Christian Congress general election for the National Assembly Riaz Pirzada has Addressing a press conference and announced to boycott of MULTAN: Visitors taking interest in lawn displayed during a lawn launc reiterated his resolve to serve along the with Pakistan Tehrik›e›Insaaf general elections. The leaders masses if elected again. Following Vice President Shah Mehmood of Christian National Movement acceptance of his nomination papers, Qureshi here on Saturday, he Pakistan said and Masiha Millat Party he said they were taking part in that the instead of questioning the have rejected selection system election on the basis of their number of wives and sister inand laws, demanded dual voting right regarding suspension of polio driv performance. We have once again the returning officers shouldto enable elections on reserved KARACHI: Pakistan Islamic Medical Gaddap area due to security reason presented ourselves before the capture the thieves in Sindh seats. who They were also Association (PIMA) President Dr and directed additional inspector people for accountability. No one have is looted the national wealth. demanding election on reserved Ahmad Salman Ghauri on Saturday general to submit detailed report. better judge than the people, hePir Pagara said that money and seats for minorities and women said that Pakistan still holding top He ordered the additional inspect said. The scale at which PML›N has stick would be used in Sindh in the parliament instead of position among those countries where general to submit report of last y executed development works in during the general elections.selection PPP by Muslim political masses are badly affected with terrorist attack on polio vaccinat Punjab, they were sure that this government is still in power groups. in PCC President Dr Nazir diseases like TB, polio and malaria. including details of proceedings o party would achieve thumping victory Sindh. The chief secretary was S Bhatti said in a statementTalking with reporters on World s and arrest of terrorists. He said in the upcoming polls, he hoped. changed in Punjab, but no such that they would evolve strategy Health Day, he mentioned that the security step was taken in Sindh, he on said. April 10 for boycottingdepartments concerned failed to avoiding World of polio teams should be fulfillwine and exercise. The ONLINE ensured, We will support Shah Mahmoodelections. The Christian responsibilities to control the Health Organisation reported that in all police stations shoul diseases, Qureshi in Sindh. I believe in Congress with its allied parties as it has become the sole dutyPakistan of the people were showing follow security plan otherwise indiscriminate strict action would federation, he said. would announced dates whenprovincial government to provide carelessness about their health as Man throws acid on wife, taken against relevant supervisory About any possible delay in first pamphlet would be spent $59the on health while Indians health facilities to the masses after children in Karachi officer, elections, former Foreign Affairs distributed to aware Christian spent $132 per head and Sri Lanka 148 he added. 18th Amendment. He said that after the advertisem minister Shah Mehmood Qureshivoters. Ghauri said that high blood respectively. pressure KARACHI: A man on Saturday ONLINE polio drive, DPO would ensure said that the chief justice of General causes heart attack but it can On be the other hand, Inspectorof morning committed a heinous crime has already said that tolerated any and constitution is very by adopting safety precautions of Sindh Police Shahid Nadeem security Baloch of vaccinators immediatel avoided after he threw acid on his wife Pakistan and SHO should also be bound to keep not beso it must be followed. has taken notice of news reports diet, three children in Nusrat Bhutto unconstitutional step would clear ONLINE as least use of salt, balanced Colony. According to police, Anwar Ali threw acid on his family members after a quarrel with his wife over some issue. The burnt wife and children were shifted to Civil Hospital where doctors termed their condition as critical. Police has started search for the culprit who fled. ONLINE justice case to get their client off chief the hook in in the bench. The s In 18th amendment, it was rest with the federal government. ISLAMABAD: Majority of legal and the atreason case being heard would from be adopted that the CJP can mentioned abets (retd) Wajihud Din said constitutional experts has called for too that whosoever Justice Monday. of The Supreme Court hadhear the case in which he himself resolution calling for registration lawbreakers be also prosecuted, she prosecution of former president and 50 exam centres sensitive involved as it was not correct. constituted a three›member bench under Article 6 of the constitution said. She went on to say thatcase a former former army chief Pervez Musharraf Allegations have been leveled against alreadyby Chief Justice of Pakistan dictator took all the decisions alonePervez Musharraf has headed under the Article 6 of the constitution KARACHI: A total of 50 out of 223 against the former president that Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry and he did not consult anyonebeen elsetabled in Senate as he has examination centers have been for abrogating constitution twice. abrogated the constitution and ke to two hear treason charges against the the constitution for durings power. She pointed outabrogated that Reacting to reports on Musharraf declared sensitive across the city. the superior court judges includi former president. times and whenever he was present cases against him were pending in the return and participation in the Controller Noman Ahsan said that Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry confine Pakistan he be tried under The the petition was filed by Rawalpindi courts. If charge of abetmentinwith elections, Justice (retd) Nasira Javed these sensitive examination centres their homes. Due to these charges High Asif, constitution. How a person can be Court Bar President Taufiq him was proved against anyone, he were located in Landhi, Malir, Iqbal said that the person who the CJP cannot sit on any bench in which it is prayed that Musharraf Sadiq and Amin who takes oath as under abrogated constitution twice would shouldalso be liable to be tried Baldia, SITE and others and should be tried under Articlehearing 6 forthese cases, it said. The army officer and then takes over high treason charges, she remarked. 6. arrangements would be made to be proceeded against under Article Sources plan to submit their powers de›seating democratic abrogating the constitution. lawyers (retd) Saeeduz Zaman Itno is laid down in clear termsJustice in Article provide security. He stated that said that to the court when the government, he questioned. close to Musharraf s lawyers objections Siddiqui said that former president 6 that case of high treason be examination centre would be the counsels have prepared court would issue summon notices On the other hand, counsel of registered against the personcan whobe tried under high treason changed, setting aside all Musharraf objections against the sitting of the or seeks written respon Pervez Musharraf have prepared their apprehensions by students and abrogates the constitution. (punishment) act and such powers

<Musarrat may also get


share from 541284

Mumlikat will fight for

PPP may face Tehrik›e›Istiqlal hard time fair, transparent in NA›58

deman elect

Pagara demands extension in poll time

Masses still facing TB, polio

Experts call for Musharraf s trial under

<Former president s counsel prepare case to get their client off the hook in treas



Chief Editor: Huma Ali Executive Editor: Atif Mateen Resident Editor: Saeed Minhas Consulting Editors: Jalees Hazir Samina Choonara Block 11, G-6/1, Aabpara, Islamabad Telephone: 051 260 7153-4 Fax: 051 260 7498

Redefine terms People of Pakistan are looking towards the Election Commission of Pakistan and Judiciary for holding free and fair elections. But some returning officers have been asking intrusive questions from the candidates, for which the ECP has drawn flak from almost all political parties, media and intellectuals. Article 62, enshrined in the original 1973 Constitution of Pakistan unanimously passed by all the political and religious parties in the National Assembly referred to qualifications of becoming a member of the Parliament such as age limit and being a citizen of Pakistan and registered as a voter. During the Zia era, controversial additions were made to the Article requiring the candidate to have a good character and not to be known as one who violates Islamic injunctions. The candidate is required to have adequate knowledge of Islamic teachings and practice, to be sagacious and righteous and to have not opposed the ideology of Pakistan. Given the diversity of opinion on what makes a good Muslim, and what is the ideology of Pakistan, how could a public official be given the right to pass judgment on such matters? A petition was filed in the Lahore High Court (LHC) on 2 April for strictly implementing Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution. Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah in an interim order stopped Returning Officers (RO) from asking irrelevant questions during the scrutiny of nomination papers of candidates, adding it was tarnishing the image of the judiciary. Meanwhile, the Election Commission of Pakistan has also directed the ROs to refrain from “irrelevant” quizzing of the nominees. If such criteria are to be applied, perhaps one should start with the members of the caretaker government? In the Punjab caretaker cabinet, for instance, one minister received an award from Bangladesh for condemning Pakistan military for rape and murder in the then East Pakistan, while the chief minister was involved in the Balochistan insurgency in the 1970s, and had dubbed Pakistan as a failed state in an article published in the 1990s. Both have been honoured, whereas a liberal writer Ayaz Amir’s nomination papers were rejected for questioning the “ideology of Pakistan” in his articles. From the Lucknow Pact of 1916 to the Cabinet Mission of 1946, Quaid-e-Azam had tried to protect the rights of Muslims within the framework of India. It was only when the Congress refused to agree to the protective measures sought by the Muslim League that the Quaid decided to demand a separate homeland for the Muslims. On 11 August 1947, Quaid-e-Azam addressed the Constituent Assembly and clearly said, ‘You may belong to any religion or caste or creed. That has nothing to do with the business of the State’. Article 62 in the present form appears to be in contradiction of the fundamental rights for which the Quaid stood for. Instead of wasting their energies in determining whether the candidates are “good Muslims” or “patriotic Pakistanis”, the ROs should focus on ensuring that the candidates are not defaulters, tax evaders or criminals who have been convicted in a court of law.

Benazir and Zardari killed Bhutto Anti-people governments formed by PPP after his death, have proven to be the final nail in the coffin of Bhutto. They eliminated everything that Zia during his 11-year reign failed to subvert. Not Zia, but PPP’s top leadership killed Bhutto TAHIR MALIK Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto was hanged on 4 April 1979. His mistrial and death at the hands of a brutal dictator initiated a debate in Pakistan. Had General Zia and his army successfully vandalised Bhutto’s ideology, burying all that he stood for? Or had Bhutto survived his hanging in the sense that his vision remained alive? Bhutto gave hope to his countrymen. He made them realise that power belongs to the people. Those who appreciated his contribution to Pakistani society believed that as long as this ideology survives, Bhutto will remain alive. However, 34 years after his death, this debate no more exists. The anti-people governments formed by PPP and its leadership after his death, have proven to be the final nail in the coffin of Bhutto. The post Bhutto PPP governments eliminated everything that Zia during his 11year reign failed to subvert. Not Zia, but PPP’s top leadership (Benazir and Zardari) killed Bhutto; the Bhutto who lived in the minds and souls of hundreds of thousands of Pakistanis who saw in him the messiah who helped them become the rulers of the State. Zia, after dismantling the constitution and sending Bhutto to the gallows, miserably failed to ensure the demise of Bhutto’s ideology let alone winning the hearts and minds of people. The dictator could not understand that killing Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto would not serve his purpose and Bhutto in the hearts and minds of millions of Pakistanis would never die. He failed to understand that the legacy of Bhutto would never die as long as people’s aspirations remain linked to democracy and social justice. Zia physically killed Bhutto, harassed and terrorised his party and supporters, propped up proxies to erode the popular appeal of PPP, introduced a theocratic and barbaric code of governance in the garb of Islamisation, participated in the Afghan Jihad, empowered the mafias and encouraged the mullah but all his efforts proved

futile and Bhutto lived on. During Zia’s dark days, anyone who aspired to be a democrat, believed that sovereignty belongs to the people and abhorred the idea of ruling the masses through the GHQ and non-state actors – was a Bhutto. Since the inception of PPP in 1967, Bhutto’s vision to ensure the sovereignty of masses remained insurmountable, even Zia’s 11 years did not make any dent. It was a flood of Bhuttos who warmly welcomed his heir Benazir in 1986, elected her as Prime Minister and made history. The common man, due to his association with Bhutto, remained affiliated with the Pakistan Peoples Party and its leadership i.e. Benazir and now Zardari.

negating everything that her father stood for. Ishaq Khan was the one who, on 4 July 1977 as defence minister, informed Zia about the successful dialogue between Bhutto and Pakistan National Alliance. Had Zia not imposed Martial Law on 5 July 1977, the democratic process would have continued. Nevertheless, Benazir took oath from someone who had played a pivotal role in dismantling the Bhutto regime. She also awarded tamgha-ejamhooriat to General Baig. Both Khan and Baig conspired against Benazir in 1990 and gave way to Nawaz Sharif as the next PM. Benazir’s political vision can be gauged by her dependence on those who created the IJI and sponsored it through taxpayers’

Had Zia not imposed Martial Law on 5 July 1977, the democratic process would have continued. Nevertheless, Benazir took oath from someone who had played a pivotal role in dismantling the Bhutto regime. She also awarded tamgha-e-jamhooriat to General Baig. Both Khan and Baig conspired against Benazir in 1990 and gave way to Nawaz Sharif as the next PM However, the post Bhutto PPP failed to cater to the demands and needs of democracy and failed to come up to the expectations of this huge constituency. Bhutto was actually tortured and murdered in slow motion by the leaders of his orphaned party, those who displayed his portraits everywhere and championed his cause most vociferously. The long protracted murder of Bhutto began in November 1988 when Benazir was sworn in as the first woman Prime Minister of a Muslim country. She took oath from President Ishaq Khan and became a part of the pseudo democratic government created by him and the then Army Chief General Mirza Aslam Baig,

money to counter PPP. Ironically, she did it in the name of Bhutto who preferred death over compromise with Zia. Benazir’s first failure led her to believe that it was necessary to have a good relationship with the establishment and the army to remain in power. She, instead of relying on people, relied on powerful lobbies for ensuring her entry in the corridors of power. Bhutto’s close associates like Dr. Mubashar Hasan, Malik Miraj Muhammad, Mustafa Khar, Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi, HanifRamay, Hafizuddin Pirzada, baba-e-socialism Sheikh Rasheed and several others had no role in Benazir’s PPP. Instead, she appointed former DG ISI Gen

(retd.) Durrani as ambassador of Pakistan in Germany. In 1993, as a result of the tussle between Nawaz Sharif and the establishment, Benazir was again sworn in as prime minister. She then spent state resources on missile technology and Agosta submarines for Pak Navy, and broke all records in raising the defence budget. Thus, Bhutto’s heir kept torturing Bhutto to a slow death. Any significant projects of social welfare, health, education and infrastructure were seldom witnessed during the post Bhutto PPP governments. People starved, remained homeless and without clothes and the slogan of “Roti, Kaprra aur Makaan” was confined to decorate the party manifesto. Sovereignty no more belonged to the people. In short, Bhutto’s PPP was replaced by the legacy of Mr 10 percent. After her death, Zardari became the Chairman of PPP, as per her will. The party was undemocratically bestowed to Benazir’s widower. Some say, BB’s will was fake. But no one within the party rose to criticise it, which was another failure of BB who never provided an environment conducive to the expression of difference of opinion. The final nail in the coffin of Bhutto’s populist party was Asif Ali Zardari’s politics of reconciliation. Zardari’s apolitical and amoral jor tor with political parties, coalitions and compromises finally hanged Bhutto. Today, Pakistan is living under threat, fear, hopelessness, bigotry, extremism, intolerance, poverty, corruption and bad governance. For the first time in its history, the PPP is facing difficulties finding candidates in Lahore to contest general elections. History has proven that Gen. Zia, Gen. Baig, Gen. HameedGul, Gen. Chishti, Nawaz Sharif, Ijaz-ul-Haq, Maudoodi and powerful institutions like the ISI failed over and over again to kill Bhutto. However, PPP’s arrow with a bow in Benazir and Zardari’s hands killed him. Finally, Bhutto is dead! THE WRITER IS AN INDEPENDENT JOURNALIST

Corporate evil creeps up unobserved PROF. RODNEY SHAKESPEARE Evil creeps up unobserved. Its plans are conceived in secret; the first furtive moves are made, and then it is ready to attack. Unless we turn to spot it approaching we can be quickly overwhelmed. The latest approach of evil might not seem much - apparently, just some boring trade agreement. But, in reality, it is Evil Incarnate. It’s called the Trans-Pacific Partnership and if you thought the World Trade Organization (which forced the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act) and the North American Free Trade Agreement are bad then the TPP is awful! The TPP has gone through sixteen rounds of super-surreptitious negotiations. Six hundred lobbyists from the big international corporations have been “advising” and anybody with a brain knows what that means. The TPP is intended to (finally) undermine democracy by handing power to the global financial elite and the big corporations. The key mechanism will be the transfer of power from sovereign nations to so-called “trade tribunals” whose purpose is to make national laws subservient to corporate interests. These trade tribunals will do what they like: no government or electorate will be able to

What is there to celebrate? What is there to celebrate except that the ostensibly democratic government, for the first time in the history of this country, has completed its five-year term? The rest has been nothing but half a decade of mess in almost every area of governance.

The TPP is intended to undermine democracy by handing power to the global financial elite and the big corporations. The key mechanism will be the transfer of power from sovereign nations to so-called “trade tribunals” whose purpose is to make national laws subservient to corporate interests influence them. As a result of the TPP, big finance will be completely deregulated (heaven help us!); jobs will be destroyed; wages will be slashed; and health care will be only for the rich. There will be no cheap medicines for the poor of the world. In a recent letter, Doctors Without Borders wrote that the TPP will be ‘the most harmful trade deal ever for access to medicines in developing countries.’ If TPP gets through, environmental issues will be ignored and there will be genetically manipulated Frankenstein organisms. USA dairy farmers are saying that their industry will be devastated. Moreover, the internet will be censored; and individuals (plus their towns, cities and governments) will be controlled by being put into ever-lasting debt. On top of that, cunning as ever, the TPP specifically bans any attempt to reform the main cause of our present troubles which is the corrupt banking system. It does this by outlawing public banks and the issuance of interest-free loans for things like public

Without any ambiguity, the completion of its five-year tenure is a landmark achievement for the preceding government and having done so it has received appreciation from a cross-section of people and powers that matter within the country. Even some democratic governments of the West such as the United States, Great Britain, etc eulogised this positive development and declared it as a good omen for democracy in Pakistan. However, the question that arises is can the past government be categorised as a successful democratic government just because it completed its prescribed term? No, it cannot. It is a universal fact that success or failure of any government is reflected in its good or bad governance. If looked at from the point of view of this definition, very little could be listed as positive that the previous government has done for the wellbeing of this nation. For the first time in the history of this country, it

capital projects (such as bridges, roads, hospitals, airports, water and sewage works constructed at one third of the usual cost). Intent on maintaining the vicious grip of usury, the TPP enshrines the existing model of international finance which has led to the Cyprus crisis, the Italian crisis, the Spanish crisis, the Greek crisis, the Portuguese crisis etc. One aspect of this is the inability of governments to control capital flows until the point when the bankers collapse the economy and there is the Cyprus situation in which money movements are frozen, customers’ money is confiscated, and an economic and social catastrophe is inevitable. The TPP is determined to do this everywhere it can so that it can buy up assets on the cheap and turn whole populations into impoverished debt-peons who will do anything not to starve. The TPP elite want endless wealth for themselves and, even more so, they want power, power over weakened, humiliated human beings. At present, the TPP only consists of the

has had the opportunity to enjoy the fruits of power for five long years. Had it worked wholeheartedly and sincerely for the benefit of this country and its people it would have had all the justification in the world to celebrate its success in a befitting manner. Unfortunately, however, the situation has been absolutely contrary to this. Today’s Pakistan, as known to all and sundry within the country and abroad, has become a country where corruption is rampant, law and order has gone haywire, the state has bitterly failed to provide its people the basic amenities of life like food, clothing, shelter, education and health, the state has completely failed to provide security to its people, the economy is on the verge of total collapse, galloping inflation is ruthlessly cutting through the purse of people belonging to every stratum of the society, massive flight of both human and financial capital has become the order of the day; human

USA (of course), Australia, Brunei, Chile, Canada, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam. But the international financial elite are rushing to involve as many other countries as they can. Inside the USA, President Obama, who is completely controlled by the big corporations and Zionism, is moving, with other countries, to “fast-track” the TPP so that even the USA Congress will have no say. He is doing this at a time when the USA has fifty million people on food stamps (the number increases each week) and 23% unemployed. Those figures will be doubled if the TPP is implemented. And remember this. The global financial elite are rapidly acquiring the technology by which they can control any individual whom they view as politically independent or obstreperous. That means many of the independently-minded people and activists who read this article. The TPP will do it in a simple way. One day, the activists will suddenly find that the money they thought they had in the bank has become

rights are being blatantly violated; the rule of law is being audaciously desecrated by those at the helm, the downtrodden masses are becoming poorer and the opulent rulers of the country are becoming richer by the day. In short, all that should not have happened is brazenly happening in this country today. Thanks to successive governments, democratic and dictatorial, that ruled this country for over six decades. The picture is not optimistic at all. It is, in fact, gloomy and extremely disappointing. Under the circumstances, there is not much to celebrate but plenteous for the downtrodden masses of Pakistan to grumble and express concern about. M FAZAL ELAHI ISLAMABAD

Shahbaz Sharif’s antics Shahbaz Sharif lashed out against the NAB and its chairman. He

unobtainable. It will be rather like the experience of thousands of Cypriots except that, unannounced, with no warning, it will happen in an instant. Moreover, unlike the Cypriots who still like to believe that their experience is not permanent, the activists will find themselves without money, or at least without bank money, forever. They will be sacked from their jobs and notice drones circling overhead. (Obama has said that the 30,000 drones coming in the USA will not be armed but if you believe that you will believe anything). However, all is not yet lost. The danger can be understood and effective action taken. Japan has not yet joined the TPP because at election time the people found out about the TPP and, quite rightly, were furious. Well done, Japan! But the West and the Middle East are asleep. They had better wake up or it will be too late.

alleged that NWB has lied and that they have not defaulted on loans. The State Bank has cleared them. He said a group of four has hatched this conspiracy against them. He declined to tell the names of the group members. He has lied in the press conference, and has raised hue and cry against the Accountability Organisation. Both these brothers were defaulters of billions of rupees worth of bank loans. They have Zardari phobia, and always attack him for no good reason or cause. President Zardari is not responsible for their crimes. They are compulsive liars. They ditched their party PML (N) to save their lives. They entered into agreement with their archenemy, and took refuge in the safe havens of Saudi Arabia. When they came back, they lied about the agreement. Finally they confessed the presence of agreement. They are shameless bigoted hypocrites;


they stand exposed before the people. They have exacerbated the politics of Pakistan. They are masters of conspiracy theories. They suffer from Conspiracy Syndrome. They should be disqualified under article 62 and 63 of the constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan. They have done enough damage to Pakistan. If they are allowed to contest elections, while Pervaiz Musharraf 's nomination papers have been rejected, it will be the defeat of the democratic process of elections. It will be a blemish for the fair, free and transparent elections. JAVAID BASHIR LAHORE Please email your letters to or post them to our address in Islamabad.


View from the US throughout election season, which to most folks must be welcome relief. It does not appear that today’s electorate is worried about any GHQ interference - not a single major politician has issued the customary warnings of the “establishment ATHAR MIAN waiting in the wings to strike back”. The story of our forcibly retired, but Already it seems that Pakistanis are reappeared, commando chief feeling withdrawal symptoms from executive, isn’t gaining much public the recent feverish pitch of election campaigning. We hear the same old, traction either, even with his name put on the ECL and Kasur candidacy loud slogans about anti-corruption disqualification. It’s been a sad turn of drives, now immortalised in a huge events for our effusive self-appointed body of jokes especially targeting savior to have volunteered himself in Shahbaz Sharif, the recent Punjab the true political line of fire and yet no Chief Minister. One of them talks one is paying attention. Public about Sharif firing a sleepy-looking memories are short, this shows. His person from a clerical job at the pre-arrival tweet with his exercise revenue office. The man protests picture, much ballyhooed by the that he is not even an employee of any kind, actually a poor, “berozgar” Western press (calling Musharraf the most popular Pakistani president in finding it hard to keep physically the West), mostly got negative one active from the hunger he suffers. Sharif thinks for a moment and then liner replies like, ‘You are not Imran Khan’, ‘Sharam karo, buddhay orders his staff to take away the bahadur’, and the oft-repeated, ‘real man’s pension as well. gross’ by teens and women. Then there is the same old horse So this election season now looks trading game whereby various parties like temporarily stalled, and in need try to somehow lock up their of new injection of excitement. One candidates for fear of them crossing over, an art perfected by both Benazir source of a turn in fortunes could Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif during their simply be disqualification of a major figure within the traditional leading first office terms when most of their parties, the PPP or PML-N. Another parliamentarians were simply house might be a media leak of a supposed arrested in lush hill station avenues alliance between the Chaudry-led before critical votes. And let’s not PML faction, PPP and PTI for forget in passing the various forced, Punjab governance. Or a dreaded mostly fake, internal party elections, assassination attempt on a major in the wake of Imran Khan’s own figure, even a prominent judge. For energetic PTI elections, which have now, the public seems too jaded and generated headlines and grist for the the media not adventurous enough to rumor mills about how Khan would balance the induction of young blood engage in such speculation. And the all important Washington against the party faithful. scene is preoccupied with North Of course there is the new twist of Korea. Pakistan itself was forgotten, the interim government run by retired judges and the Supreme Court except for a brief meeting between Gen. Kayani and the US Secretary of ordering many disqualifications by State.There has been keen interest in invoking a traditionally ignored Imran Khan’s candidacy, the only constitutional clause about exciting development in Pakistani candidates’ character and suitability. politics recently, but no pundit, policy A few stalwarts have fallen wonk or major figure in the Beltway unexpectedly from various parties, has made any comments. Such including a journalist, ironically a statements could turn out to be member of the conservative party, wishful thinking anyway given the PML-N, who favoured alcohol and placid momentum of Pakistani criticised Islam itself regularly in his columns. Or those disqualified owing elections, and the lack of clarity on candidate disqualifications. Moreover to fake degrees, or excessive water there is no reliable polling usage. Such steps have not only mechanism available, something that generated largely positive Western Western analysts and reporters very media coverage but also curiosity about the volatile politics of Pakistan. much rely upon. Any silver lining in the clouds engulfing Pakistan is thus Judging from Google Trends for not apparent yet. Pakistan over the last week, local This might thus continue for interest in political chatter has sometime, as the interim government dropped off considerably about from seems to be fair-minded in its its peak last week, just as global elections preparation and media coverage has perked up. The disqualifications, and both major international reaction is figures, Zardari and Sharif, are silent, understandably delayed as there was scant initial interest in Pakistan or its awaiting any opportunity that could lend them the upper hand, perhaps a elections, with the focus more on the much hoped for signal from US’ Afghan exit strategy (Kerry’s Washington or the Gulf. tours) or the North Korea stand-off. But then again, Pakistan is known The break in local excitement is for sudden turns. There might just interesting. People in Pakistan be a Washington statement issued probably have been saturated by media sensationalism while reverting indirectly anointing a certain horse in the race. Perhaps one was already attention to their own miserable mentioned in Amman. But most daily circumstance and finding no likely, there is a dark horse lurking solace. Few seem to believe in any who might be guided to the waters; meaningful post-election change however it might refuse to drink. As except some energy generated by the Chinese say, may you live in Imran Khan’s political rallies. Perhaps they have been turned off by interesting times. the bickering within PTI and are THE AUTHOR IS A SILICON VALLEY now waiting for Khan’s magic to advance the party along. ENTREPRENEUR WITH AN MS AND The military has been invisible MBA FROM COLUMBIA

Elections and the emerging middle class Until now, the middle class was not in a position to challenge the control of feudal lords on political power and compete with them independently. The politics of PTI has changed all that


would revolt against Gillani and contest the election against the Gillani group. But now Ahmad Once upon a time the feudal elites Hasan is not only contesting were owners of constituencies of election against Gillanis of Multan Pakistan. Now, the times are changing and we are seeing the new but he says that the victory of Gillanis was due to his popularity emerging middle class, particularly among the masses of that in Punjab and Khyber constituency. Some days ago, Syed Pakhtunkhawa, challenging the Yousaf Raza Gillani tried to hold a ownership of feudal lords over big show of his supporters in election constituencies. Ahmad Hasan’s constituency. This Until now, the middle class was effort itself shows the weakness of not in a position to challenge the Gillanis as compared to the strength control of feudal lords on political of Ahmad Hasan. power and compete with them Another successful story came independently. Men from the from District Muzzafargarh where middle class just offered their Dasti defeated the traditional services for these feudal lords and politics of feudal lords including only a few were lucky enough to be Khars, Nawabzadas, Qureshis, awarded tickets for provincial Gurmanis and Dogars. Jamshed assemblies. Dasti is in jail but his covering Mr Imran Dhool who is my close candidate Javed Dasti is in the friend and is in politics from student days comes from the middle election arena and this panel in NA 177 & 178 comprising candidates class. He tells me that he was never from the emerging middle class and considered a candidate for the provincial assembly by the group led the new wealthy class, has a good by a feudal lord and dominating the chance of winning. We can see various candidates of politics of district Khanewal. He the emerging middle class was nominated as a candidate of contesting provincial assembly seats that group in a by-election and from all over southern Punjab. And remained an MPA for six months but was barred from doing anything now it is impossible for feudal lords without the permission of the feudal to keep their hold on the lord of that group. Imran Dhool told constituencies in the region. All feudal lords are forced to choose me that he felt that time has candidates from the middle class for changed and that he should now contest the elections independently. provincial seats but now they are facing difficulty due to the revolt of So he quit that feudal group and joined the PTI. Now Imran Dhool is these candidates who are not ready to bow in front of them anymore. contesting from PP214. Actually, it is the PTI that has Another example is of Ahmad provided space in the arena of Hasan from Multan who always politics for such candidates who are contested the election for a new in electoral politics but have a provincial assembly seat under the patronage of former Prime Minister passion to change the status quo. Mr Ahtesham is a young man who is Syed Yousaf Raza Gillani. Nobody thought that one day Ahmad Hasan organising the PTI in PP214. He is

the best example of individuals from the middle class who started to challenge the status quo and won the confidence of a majority of youth. My friend Imran Dhool who has spent almost his entire political life in traditional political groups led by feudal elites admits that the young generation has changed the political scene of his constituency. Munwar Munj is contesting election from a rural cum urban seat of district Faisalabad and has a huge following among the young generation in his constituency. He tells me that women, girls, students and young people are rejecting the orders of heads of their families and chaudhries of their caste who ask them to cast their votes in favour of traditional candidates and pro status quo politicians. Imran Khan is their hero and they all hate politics of quotas, bribes and favouritism. Rao Noshad, president of Insaf Students Federation of a district, who is very popular among students of colleges in that district, tells me that he had no interest in politics until he attended a seminar in Lahore where Imran Khan made a speech. His ideas changed completely after listening to Imran Khan and he became a PTI activist. I see Rao Noshad, Rana Umair and dozens of other young activists who daily go out in the streets of wards of their city and in villages and receive warm acceptance for their slogans and ideas from the masses. This is a very important change which is happening in every town, particularly in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhawa, and the old political culture is giving way to a new culture of politics. I think one big reason why young

Bilawal Bhutto Zardari went abroad due to his differences with his father and aunt was their policy of denial and negation of the new emerging culture in politics of Pakistan where the young generation is rejecting the policy of political bribe and of selling the conscience of young persons. Alas! Bilawal could not stand up to his father. He made a horrible speech on 4 April in Naudero and lost his credibility in the eyes of the young generation. In my view, the political understanding of young leaders talking about change and building of “New Pakistan” is more sound than Hamza prince of Mian Shahbaz Sharif, Bilwal of Asif Ali Zardari and Monis Elahi of Parvaiz Elahi because these guys are not reading the reality written on the wall and they don’t have their fingers on the pulse of masses. They ignore the aspirations of common people of this country. In my view they are consciously unconscious. The PPP lost its ground in Punjab particularly due to this consciously unconscious behavior. One prominent leader of PPP not allowing me to reveal his name and position said to me, ‘Where are Manzoor Wattoo, Malik Riaz and others who presented themselves as Platos of politics? Where is their ability of jor tor in Punjab where PPP will be biggest loser after Muslim League Q in coming election?’ As an urdu poet said: “Hoye Tum Dost Jis Key Dushman Us Ka Asmann Kiyon Hu” THE WRITER IS A FREELANCE COLUMNIST

This is what democracy could look like MURRAY DOBBIN One of the many things that Hugo Chavez, the charismatic and revolutionary president of Venezuela, contributed to the world was his demonstration for people everywhere the difference between democracy and liberal democracy. Chavez’s hyperbolic style, his tweaking the tail of the Imperial tiger and his willingness to be just as ruthless as his U.S.backed opponents, gave Western leaders and journalists lots of ammunition to demonize him. But what really made them all crazy was precisely the fact that he took liberal democracy — the term applied to a political system designed to manage capitalism in the interests of the wealthy and corporations — and turned it into genuine democracy. It highlighted for those struggling for social justice that liberal democracy is an oxymoron — liberalism being the principle that capitalism (inequality) rules and democracy being its opposite: equality. As witnessed by the outrageous levels of inequality now characterizing Canada, you can have one or the other but not both. Nothing threatens leaders of the Western powers, especially the U.S., like good examples of real democracy and they will do anything to destroy them, demonize them or threaten any other country that dares think about emulating them. No example is too small to destroy, as was witnessed by the 1983 U.S. invasion of Grenada (population 110,000). The strategy was called “destroy the dream” — which explains, perhaps, why U.S. troops totally destroyed a rural, allwomen jam-making co-operative. In the 1980s it wasNicaragua. There they forced the Sandinista government to change its system of electoral democracy from a constituent assembly (made up of elected representatives from all sectors of society) to a multi-party

Chavez shamed the US at its own game by winning more democratic elections than any Western leader in the past century. Since coming to power in 1999, he won 15 of 16 elections and referenda system that the elites could control. The result: the Sandinistas lost. The U.S. and its imperial junior partners like Canada have always had some excuse, however transparent, to crush good examples in the past. But Chavez shamed them at their own game, winning more democratic elections than any Western leader in the past century. Since coming to power in 1999, he won 15 of 16 elections and referenda, defeating his opponents by a margin of 10-20 percentage points, landslides by our own standards. And he did it through elections that were determined by Western observer groups to be perhaps the most fair on the planet. Former U.S. president Jimmy Carter, representing one of the most respected observer groups, claimed that Venezuela’s electoral system was “the best in the world.” None of this matters to politicians dedicated to global corporate dominance. Henry Kissinger’s infamous justification of U.S. support of the fascist coup in Chile was brutal and unapologetic: “I don’t see why we have to let a country go Marxist just because its people are irresponsible.” It is only the most chilling expression of capitalist elite’s contempt for any democracy that takes equality seriously. Stephen Harper has an identical mentality. As a result of Chavez’s death, said Harper, “… I hope the people of Venezuela can now build for themselves a better, brighter future based on the principles of freedom, democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights.” This would be laughable if weren’t sinister. Harper no doubt knows all about the incredible social progress achieved under Chavez’s government. But for Harper, democracy is clearly not about the

substance of what it delivers. When he talks about freedom it is freedom of the wealthy to do as they please; and the rule of law means the laws that protect corporate privileges. As for democracy, it is risible that Harper has the gall to even utter the word given his record. Just what did Chavez accomplish in his 14 years in power? There are far too many examples to list here, but according to Latin American researcher and journalist Salim Lamrani in 50 Truths about Hugo Chavez and the Bolivarian Revolution, here are some of the more notable. “In December 2005, UNESCO said that Venezuela had eradicated illiteracy. “The number of children attending school increased from 6 million in 1998 to 13 million in 2011 and the enrolment rate is now 93.2 per cent. “The rate of secondary school enrolment rose from 53.6 per cent in 2000 to 73.3 per cent in 2011; the number of tertiary students increased from 895,000 in 2000 to 2.3 million in 2011, assisted by the creation of new universities. “Between 2005 and 2012, 7,873 new medical centers were created in Venezuela. The number of doctors increased from 20 per 100,000 population in 1999 to 80 per 100,000 in 2010. “Infant mortality rate fell from 19.1 per thousand in 1999 to 10 per thousand in 2012, a reduction of 49 per cent. “From 1999 to 2011, the poverty rate decreased from 42.8 per cent to 26.5 per cent and the rate of extreme poverty fell from 16.6 per cent in 1999 to 7 per cent in 2011. “In the rankings of the Human Development Index (HDI) of the United Nations Program for Development (UNDP), Venezuelajumped from

83 in 2000 to 73 in 2011, and entered into the category of Nations with ‘High HDI’. “Since 1999, 700,000 homes have been built in Venezuela. “Since 1999, the government provided / returned more than one million hectares of land to Aboriginal people. Land reform enabled tens of thousands of farmers to own their land. In total, Venezuela distributed more than 3 million hectares. “Five million children now receive free meals through the School Feeding Programme. The figure was 250,000 in 1999. The malnutrition rate fell from 21 per cent in 1998 to less than 3 per cent in 2012. “The unemployment rate fell from 15.2 per cent in 1998 to 6.4 per cent in 2012, with the creation of more than 4 million jobs.” As for that core meaning of democracy — equality — according to the UNDP “… Venezuela is the country in the region with the least inequality.” Equality apparently matters as, according to the 2012 World Happiness Report put out by the Earth Institute at Columbia University, Venezuela is the second happiest country in Latin America, after Costa Rica, and the nineteenth in the world beating out Germany, France, Italy, Japan and Spain. Harper and other Western leaders’ reaction to Chavez and his legacy is an important revelation regarding their visceral hostility to using state power in the interests of the poor. They cannot hide their contempt and their media cheerleaders go along with them — with the term “dictator” and “strongman” still being used routinely to describe Chavez (while no such term was ever used to describe George Bush

who took power illegally). But if they simply ignore the stunning social progress made under Chavez, it is his other accomplishments that have them worried. Chavez’s foreign policy has severely weakened the grip that the U.S. and institutions like the IMF and World Bank had on the region. This legacy goes well beyond Venezuela’s borders and threatens the centuries-long domination of giant corporations and finance capital. In 2011, Chavez was instrumental in creating of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) which brings together the 33 nations of the region — making the Organization of American States, the decades-old tool of U.S. political domination, almost irrelevant. On the trade front, in 2004 Chavez created the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas (ALBA) with Cubaestablishing the basis for an alliance (now with eight members) based on co-operation and reciprocity. Its explicit aim is “combating poverty and social exclusion” and again challenges the historic domination of the region by the U.S. The question remains what effect Chavez’s death will have both on the future of Venezuela and the region. Now that the U.S. has extricated itself from two Middle East wars, it will turn its attention once again to its “backyard.” The empire will strike back. But the “good examples” (and there are many in Latin America including Bolivia and Ecuador) are robust and inspiring. Short of a return to concerted covert action or military intervention, the Latin American spring seems secure. Viva Chavez! (COUNTERPUNCH)

SUNDAY, APRIL 07, 2013

Islamists demand action against atheist bloggers

China closes live poultry markets on bird flu fear SHANGHAI: Chinese officials have found traces of a new bird flu virus in more areas inShanghai and in the nearby city of Hangzhou, news reports said on Saturday, as authoritiesslaughtered birds to stop the spread of the virus that has killed six people. State-run Xinhua news agency said authorities planned to cull birds at two live poultry markets in Shanghai and another in Hangzhou after samples of the H7N9 virus were detected in birds at the three sites. More than 20,000 birds have been culled at another Shanghai market where traces of the virus were found this week. –AGENCIES

DHAKA: Dhaka's business district Motijheel turned into a human sea by Saturday morning as tens of thousands of Islamists from across Bangladesh poured into the key commercial hub of the capital city to join a grand rally. Since Saturday morning, the Islamists under the banner of Hefazat-e-Islam in processions kept marching towards the rally venue, defying blockades and hartal amid a tense situation. Hefajat-e-Islam, a group of nonpolitical Islamic scholars, started the rally at 10 a.m. local time to demand action against the "atheists and blasphemous bloggers" of the Bangladesh's Shahbag movement. The group has called the long march

apparently to gear up the ongoing campaign against the Shahbagh movement demanding capital punishment for war criminals and a ban on Bangladesh Jamaat-e- Islami party, many top leaders of which allegedly committed crimes against humanity during the country's ninemonth liberation war in 1971. The Islamists have been staging the daylong rally to raise voice on their 13-point demands including punishment of the bloggers for "defaming" Islam and its holy prophet Muhammad. Tension has been heightening over the standoff between Hefajat and the pro-hartal organizations and Shahbagh supporters opposing the

Although the bloggers, some of whom reportedly spearheaded Bangladesh's Shahbag Square movement, have already denied the blasphemy allegations brought against them, the group allegedly backed by Bangladesh-Jamaate-Islami party has continued their movement. In protest at the long march by the group Hiafzat-e Islam, Shahbag protesters enforced nationwide blockades of road, rail and water transports from 6 p.m. local time on Friday to 4 p.m. Saturday. In an apparent move to keep the Islamists refrain from their march, dozens of organizations, loyal to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's ruling Bangladesh Awami League (AL) party, have also called a 27-hour hartal starting at 3:00 p.m. on Friday. The left

Islamists' long march program. The leaders of the Islamists group claimed Friday that at least 100,000 of their activists reached Dhaka to join the rally. Many Hefajat activists arrived in Dhaka before Friday morning as they feared obstructions at the fag end from various quarters to foil their long march, Mijanur Rahman Sayeed, coordinator of the rally, had told reporters earlier. Dhaka remained virtually cut off from the rest of the country since Friday morning ahead of the Islamists' long march towards the capital city. Long-distance buses plying between Dhaka and outflying Bangladesh places also stayed off the roads also Saturday.

7.2 magnitude quake hits Indonesia

Suicider kills 25 at Baghdad political rally

SYDNEY: A 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck eastern Indonesia's mountainous West Papua province on Saturday but there were no immediate reports of casualties or damage. The quake hit 256 km (159 miles) east of Enarotali and was 58 km (36 miles) deep, the US Geological Survey said. An Indonesian meteorological survey official said the quake struck on land and there was no danger of a tsunami off the thinly populated province, formerly called Irian Jaya, in Indonesia's far east. –AGENCIES

No deal in sight on final day of Iran nuclear talks ALMATY: Six world powers and Iran met for a second day on Saturday with scant hope of striking a breakthrough deal to ease concern that Tehran may be trying to develop nuclear weaponscapability, a dispute that could escalate into a new Middle East war. Negotiators failed to narrow their differences when the two-day meeting began on Friday, which followed a round of talks in February, also in Kazakhstan's commercial hub, Almaty. The final day of negotiations was unlikely to achieve more than a willingness to keep talking. –AGENCIES

Embassies staying put in N Korea despite tension S EOU L : Staff at embassies in North Korea appeared to be remaining in place on Saturday despite an appeal by authorities in Pyongyang for diplomats to consider leaving because of heightened tension after weeks of bellicose exchanges. North Korean authorities told diplomatic missions they could not guarantee their safety from next Wednesday - after declaring that conflict was inevitable amid joint US-South Korean military exercises due to last until the end of the month. –AGENCIES

Tammam Salam named new Lebanese PM BEIRUT: Tammam Salam, a former culture minister, is named Lebanon's new prime minister on Saturday after a two-day parliamentary consultation. Salam won almost unanimous support to head a new government, as LBCI television reported that he garnered 124 votes from 128 lawmakers to assume the position. The official naming was announced by the presidential office after the consultation that President Michel Suleiman held at the Baabda Palace ended Saturday noon. –AGENCIES

parties in Bangladesh have lent their support to the strike. Against this backdrop, fears of a new cycle of violence have raised in the already political crisis ridden South Asian nation surrounding the Islamists' rally and pro-liberation organizations. Islamists say they also demand restoration of the phrase " Absolute faith and trust in the Almighty Allah" in the constitution, enactment of a blasphemy law and punishment of " atheist bloggers". The Hefajat leaders had earlier threatened to enforce a non- stop hartal from Sunday, if its program was obstructed and the hartal called by the 24 proliberation organizations was not withdrawn by Friday. –AGENCIES

DHAKA: Tens of thousands of Islamists under the banner of Hefazat-e-Islam from across Bangladesh poured into the key commercial hub of the capital city to join a grand rally, demanding action against the "atheists and blasphemous bloggers" of the Bangladesh's Shahbag movement. –WIRE SERVICE

Toll touches 72 in Thane building collapse MUMBAI: The death toll from a collapsed building inIndia's financial center Mumbai rose to 72 on Saturday, as an injured woman trapped for 36 hours was freed from the rubble of the illegal and halfconstructed building. Rescue workers using cranes and bulldozers continued to search through the wreck of twisted steel and concrete after the seven-storey building collapsed "like a pack of cards" on Thursday evening, officials and witnesses said. A shortage of cheap homes in Asia's third-largest economy has led to a rise in illegal construction by developers who use substandard materials and shoddy methods in order to offer rock-bottom rents to low-paid workers. "The building collapsed like a pack of cards within three to four seconds," said Ramlal, a resident. "It just tilted a bit and collapsed," he said. Residents said laborers paying rent of around $5 a day had lived in the building. The building, which was in a forested area in the city of Thane, had been made using poor materials and without proper approvals, said Sandeep Malvi, a spokesman for licensing authority the Thane Municipal Corporation. He said 72 people had been killed and 36 injured had been admitted into local hospitals. "There may still be more bodies inside," Malvi added. "The rescue is still going on." As the sun rose on Saturday, around 100 workers from the national disaster relief agency continued to use jackhammers and other equipment to cut through the pile of metal and concrete. The woman dragged from the building on Saturday was found after workers heard her voice and used camera equipment to pinpoint her location under the rubble. A

10-month old infant was pulled from the debris on Friday. The Deputy Municipal Commissioner of the area has been suspended following the collapse, which the state chief minister said was due to the building being built illegally, local media reported. Police said they were searching for the builders and would charge them with culpable homicide in connection with the disaster. "Unauthorized constructions are a product of unavailability of affordable housing," said Lalit Kumar Jain, president of the Confederation of Real Estate Developers of India. A sharp rise in property prices in densely populated Mumbai over the past five years has put housing out of reach for tens of thousands of lower earners, many of whom moved to the city in search of jobs, and who now sleep on the streets or in slums. –AGENCIES

Two developers arrested for building collapse THANE: Two developers involved in construction of an illegal building which collapsed in Thane district on Thursday claiming 72 lives, were today arrested. “Builders Jamil Qureshi and Salim Shaikh were arrested from their hideouts today,” Thane Police Commissioner K P Raghuvanshi told PTI. Qureshi was nabbed from Uttar Pradesh, while Shaikh was apprehended from Thane, he said. Police had registered a case of culpable homicide not amounting to murder against the builders, who were on the run since the incident. –AGENCIES

Syrian airstrike kills 5 in Aleppo BEIRUT: A Syrian government airstrike on a heavily contested neighborhood in the northern city of Aleppo killed at least five people Saturday, while regime forces battled rebels in a town outside the capital of Damascus, activists said. Aleppo and Damascus — Syria's two largest cities — are two of the key fronts in civil war betweenPresident Bashar Assad and the rebels trying to overthrow his regime. Opposition fighters have managed to seize control of several neighborhoods in Aleppo since storming the city last summer, while the regime has largely kept the rebels at bay so far in Damascus, although opposition fighters have captured several suburbs of the capital and look increasingly capable of threatening the heart of the city — and Assad's power. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the air raid Saturday hit Aleppo's Sheikh Maqsoud neighborhood, which rebels seized parts of last weekend after days of heavy fighting with regime troops. Both sides are eager to control the strategic district, which is predominantly inhabited by minority Kurds. –AGENCIES

BAGHDAD: A coordinated suicide attack at an open-air election campaign meeting in central Iraq has killed 25 people, the latest in a spike in unrest two weeks before provincial polls. The assault raises further questions over the credibility of the election, Iraq's first since 2010, and comes some 10 years after the United States-led invasion that ousted Saddam Hussein and aimed to usher in a stable democracy but instead unleashed brutal violence which continues to plague the country. Supporters of Muthanna Ahmed Abdulwahid, a Sunni Arab candidate for the Azimun Ala alBina (Determined to Build) party, a small local list, had been gathered at around lunchtime in the restive city of Baquba, 60 kilometres north of Baghdad. As they were meeting, a militant threw a grenade before a suicide bomber then blew himself up, a police colonel and a medic at Baquba hospital said. At least 25 people were killed and 60 others were wounded, the officials said, though Mr Abdulwahid appeared to have been unharmed. Diyala province, of which Baquba is the capital, is among Iraq's most violent - 560 people were killed there last year, according to Britain-based NGO Iraq Body Count, which said it suffered the highest per capita rate of civilian deaths in the country. Iraq has been plagued by attacks against election candidates ahead of provincial council polls due on April 20, with 12 hopefuls killed already. Diplomats have also raised

concerns over a government decision to postpone elections in two provinces which, combined with the fact that four were never slated to vote, means that just 12 of Iraq's 18 provinces will cast ballots. The polls will be the latest in Iraq since a March 2010 parliamentary election, and the first since the withdrawal of US forces at the end of 2011. They come with the country mired in a political crisis that has pitted prime minister Nuri al-Maliki against several of his erstwhile national unity cabinet partners, and amid more than three months of anti-government protests by the Sunni Arab minority. Also on Saturday, a civilian was killed and two anti-Qaeda militiamen were wounded in a bomb blast northwest of Baghdad, and security forces found the body of a policeman who had been kidnapped near the capital a day earlier. Violence has spiked markedly ahead of the provincial elections, with 271 people killed in March, the highest such figure since August. A health official and police officer who provided details about the attack spoke anonymously because they weren't authorized to speak to media. The police officer said al-Jourani, who was injured in the attack, had not requested any extra security for the political event. Eyewitness Ahmad al-Hadlouj, a 34-year-old who was wounded in the blast, said hundreds of people had gathered in the side street for the rally. His father, a member of the candidate's political bloc, was also wounded. –AGENCIES

Blast kills 5 ISAF service members in Afghanistan KABUL: A blast killed five service members of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan on Saturday, a statement of the alliance released here said. "Three International Security Assistance Force service members and two coalition civilians died following an improvised explosive device attack in southern Afghanistan today," the statement added. However, it did not identify exact place of the incident and the nationalities of the victims, saying it is ISAF policy to defer casualty identification procedures to the relevant national authorities. More than 30 NATOled forces service members with 20 of them Americans have been killed in Afghanistan so far this year. –AGENCIES

Turkey’s unsustainable politics in the Middle East ‘Confused’ may be an appropriate term to describe Turkey’s current foreign policy in the Middle East and Israel in particular. The source of that confusion – aside from the appalling violence in Syria and earlier in Libya – is Turkey’s own mistakes RAMZY BAROUD

HE Turkish government’s inconsistency regarding Israel highlights earlier discrepancy in other political contexts. There was a time when Turkey’s top foreign policy priority included reaching out diplomatically to Arab and Muslim countries. Then, we spoke of a paradigm shift, whereby Ankara was repositioning its political center, reflecting perhaps economic necessity, but also cultural shifts within its own society. It seemed that the East vs. West debate was skillfully being resolved by politicians of the Justice and Development Party (AKP). Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, along with Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, appeared to have obtained a magical nonconfrontational approach to Turkey’s historic political alignment. ‘The Zero Problems’ policy allowed Turkey to brand itself as a bridge between two worlds. The country’s economic growth


and strategic import to various geopolitical spheres allowed it to escape whatever price meted out by Washington and its European allies as a reprimand for its bold political moves – including Erdogan’s unprecedented challenge of Israel. Indeed, there was a link between the growing influence of Turkey among Arab and Islamic countries and Turkey’s challenge to Israel’s violent behavior in Palestine and Lebanon, and its rattling against Syria and Iran. Turkey’s return to its political roots was unmistakable, yet interestingly, was not met by too strong an American response. Washington couldn’t simply isolate Ankara and the latter shrewdly advanced its own power and influence with that knowledge in mind. Even the bizarre anti-Turkish statements by Israeli officials sounded more like incoherent rants than actual foreign policy. Political arrogance and US-financed military strength are two pillars by which Israel maintains its clout in the region. The first was childishly applied when then Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon publicly

snubbed Turkey’s Ambassador Ahmet Oguz Celikkol in January 2010 by placing him on a lower sofa, then asked Israeli journalists to take note of the insult. The second came in May 2010 when Israeli commandos descended on the Turkish ship Mavi Marmara, carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza, and killed nine Turkish citizens in cold blood. ‘Idiocy’ is how Israeli columnist Uri Avnery described Israel’s behavior towards Turkey, which was once one of Israel’s most vital allies. But idiocy has little to do with it and Turkey knew that well. Israel wished to send strong messages to the Turks, that its strategic and political maneuvering was of no use here and that Israel would continue to reign supreme in the face of Erdogan’s ambitious policies. The real ‘idiocy’ was Israel’s miscalculations, which failed to take into account that such behavior could only speed up Turkey’s political transformation. The fact that the US was losing its once unchallenged grip over the fate of the Middle East had also contributed to Turkey’s sudden rise as a country with

far-reaching ties and long-term political vision. Erdogan quickly rose to prominence. His responses to Israel’s provocations and to what was essentially a declaration of war came in the form of strong words and measured actions. He conditioned any rapprochement with Israel on a clear apology over its transgressions, compensations to the victims and the families of the dead, and ending the siege on Gaza. The last condition further highlighted Turkey’s new political priorities. As far as Turkey’s regional ascendency was concerned, it mattered little whether Israel apologized. Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was losing favor, even with his own allies in Washington. And unlike Washington, under the thumb of the pro-Israeli lobby, Ankara was a country with independent foreign policy. Erdogan’s victory speech in June 2011 attempted to paint a new picture of reality, future prospects and Turkey’s proposed role in all of this. “I greet with affection the peoples of Baghdad,

Damascus, Beirut, Amman, Cairo, Tunis, Sarajevo, Skopje, Baku, Nicosia and all other friends and brother peoples who are following the news out of Turkey with great excitement,” Erdogan said. “Today, the Middle East, the Caucasus and the Balkans have won as much as Turkey.” But that ‘win’ was short-lived. The euphoria of change created many blind spots, one of which is that conflicts of sectarian and ethnic nature – as in Syria – don’t get resolved overnight; that foreign military intervention, direct or by proxy, can only espouse protracted conflict. Indeed, it was in Syria that Turkey’s vision truly fumbled. It was obvious that many were salivating over the outcome of a Syrian war between a brutal regime and a self-serving, divided opposition, each faction espousing one foreign agenda or another. Suddenly, Turkey’s regional and global ambitions of justice and morality grew ever more provisional because of fear of chaos spilling over to its border areas, the tragic rise of the number of Syrian refugees at Turkey’s

borders and the fear of a strong Kurdish presence in northern Syria. Netanyahu’s apology read. No commitment regarding Gaza was made. Erdogan’s office responded: “Erdogan told Binyamin Netanyahu that he valued centuries-long strong friendship and cooperation between the Turkish and Jewish nations.” According to Netanyahu, the apology over the ‘operational mistakes’ had everything to do with the need to share intelligence over Syria between both of the countries’ militaries. To balance out Turkey’s hurried retreat to its old political foreign policy, Erdogan is reportedly planning to visit Gaza in April. “We will take on a more effective role. We will call, as we have, for rights in our region, for justice, for the rule of law, for freedom and democracy,” were the resounded words of Erdogan following his party’s elections victory last year. It is likely that Ankara will try to maintain a balanced position, but, as Erdogan himself knows, in issues of morality and justice, middle stances are simply untenable. (counterpunch)


‘Green’ car maker Fisker fires 75 percent of workforce DETROIT: Fisker Automotive, the struggling government-backed hybrid sports car maker, on Friday terminated most of its rank-and-file employees in what sources said was a last-ditch effort to conserve cash and stave off a potential bankruptcy filing. Fisker, which raised $1.2 billion from investors and tapped nearly $200 million in government loans, has "at least" $30 million in cash on hand, according to a source familiar with the company's finances. About 160 workers were fired at a Friday morning meeting at Fisker's Anaheim, California, headquarters, according to a source who attended the meeting. They were told that the company could not afford to give them severance payments. Fisker confirmed in a statement that it let go about 75 percent of its workforce but did not specify the number of workers affected. It called the move "a necessary strategic step in our efforts to maximize the value of Fisker's core assets." "Unfortunately we have reached a point where a significant reduction in our workforce has become necessary," Fisker said, adding that it was still searching for a strategic partner. –AGENCIES

Oil sales improved 11pc in March on MoM basis 

Sales touch 1.5 million tonne mark

ISLAMABAD: Country’s oil sales increased by 11 percent to around 1.5 million ton in March as compared from previous month of current fiscal year 2013. According to available statistics, furnace oil sales were above 700k tons, up 32% on month on month basis and 5% on year on year basis while High speed diesel HSD sales remained lower. Product sales would likely stand around 470 k tons which is down 4% from February while 20% from last march. Higher prices along with restricted economic activity stands as the major factor

behind reduced HSD consumption in the country. Petrol sales remained around 260k tons, down 4% from previous month, but are up around 8% from March 2012. Among the individual companies, PSO sales are likely to stand around 9.0 million tons in 9 M FY13 which is down by 1% from last year sales. Furnace oil that contributes above 50% company sales are down 5% largely on account notorious debt. In March company sales were around 980k tons which is up 19% from previous month while is down 9% from March 2012

source maintained. Shell sales were down 3% largely on the back of reduced HSD sales (down 15%) while APL sales are up to 3%. However, APL sales are largely driven by higher FO sales while its petrol sales are stagnant and HSD sales are down 13%. Where volume has remained stagnant government in the last oil price revision improved OMCs and dealer margins on diesel and Petrol. OMCs margin on diesel increased Rs 0.1 per liter while Rs 0.46 were raised on petrol. We estimate the increased margin will have an annualized earning impact of Rs

2.5 per share on PSO and Rs 1.5 per share on APL. For shell (not under coverage) the improved margins will yield an improve earning of Rs 2.5 per share. It is said that recent increase in margins of diesel and petrol add positive variance to sector’s profitability but presence of circular debt along with muted volumetric growth will continue to be a drag on sector’ s earnings. Going forward increase in electricity tariff holds the key to changing fortune of the sector. at present we maintain market weight stance on the sector with hold on PSO and APL. –ONLINE

samsung marketing blitz stirs innovation debate SEOUL: Samsung Electronics is spending more on marketing than R&D for the first time in at least three years, prompting some pundits to warn that the IT giant is sacrificing innovation at a time when the market is teeming with ever smarter gadgets. The South Korean firm, which warned on Friday it will not post record quarterly earnings for the first time since 2011, looks set to spend big bucks on marketing upcoming mobile devices, including the Galaxy S4 smartphone, to convert more iPhone and iPad users loyal to arch rival Apple Inc. While the new Galaxy smartphone, unveiled to much fanfare in New York last month, will boast a motion-detecting technology that stops and starts videos depending on whether someone is looking at the screen, and flip between songs and photos at the wave of a hand, industry watchers say the device would not overturn an industry that lives and dies by innovation. "(Samsung) lagged behind in creating a new category. Apple created a new category with tablets. We are waiting to see something like that happen from Samsung," said Rachel Lashford, an analyst at research firm Canalys in Singapore. Samsung spent a record 13 trillion won ($11.6 billion) on marketing last year. –AGENCIES

italy to pay 40b euros of state debt to companies ROME: Italy's caretaker cabinet said on Saturday it would pay 40 billion euros ($52 billion) of the state's debts to private companies over the next 12 months, while vowing to stick within the European Union's deficit limit. The government approved a decree intended to provide vital liquidity to cashstrapped firms and help tackle a deep recession in the euro zone's third-largest economy. But industry groups said it would still be difficult for businesses to claim their money despite the measures. The massive backlog of bills owed by Italy's public administration has been a longstanding source of complaint by companies struggling to raise credit from banks facing increasingly tight credit conditions themselves. Prime Minister Mario Monti said on Saturday that delayed payments to state supplier companies was "an unacceptable situation that has been accepted for a long time". Monti, who continues to lead a caretaker government after Italy's inconclusive February election, has been in talks with the European Commission, which is concerned about the impact the decree will have on Italy's deficit and its massive public debt. The measures were originally due to be approved on Wednesday but were delayed due to doubts over how they would be funded. –AGENCIES

NEW YORK: Jobseekers stand in line around the block to attend the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. career fair held by the New York State department of Labor.

IDB approves $617m for uplift projects in member countries JEDDAH: The Islamic Development Bank (IDB) has approved US$ 617 million for financial assistance for development projects in different member countries. This amount would be disbursed in the areas of education (US$ 174 million for Indonesia), electricity (US$ 319.6 million for Iran, Uganda and Bangladesh), agriculture (US$ 80 million for Morocco), sanitation (US$ 15 million in the Republic of the Maldives) and health (US$ 10 million for Mozambique). The Board Members concurred to raise IDB’s participation in the capital of the Istanbul-based “Kuwait Turkish

Participation Bank Inc.” by nearly US$ 18 million to stand at US$ 65 million. The approvals also included US$ 750,000 as grants under IDB’s Waqf Fund for educational projects for four Muslim communities in non-member countries namely in Botswana, Nepal, Thailand and Fiji. The Board took note of technical assistance grants of US$ 450,000 approved by the President to Afghanistan for the education sector and to ASEAN (which includes three IDB member countries Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia and Malaysia - in its membership) for the fishing sector.

Disconnect connections of private sector defaulters, ministry tells DISCOs SAHTAK BALOCH ISLAM ABAD: The Ministry of Water & Power while acting upon the advice of National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has now directed the power distributing companies (Discos) to disconnect connections of private sector defaulters, sources said on Saturday. Less than two weeks before the completion of five years constitutional term, the PPP-led farmer coalition government in first week of March swung into action and decided to refer chronic private sector defaulters to the NAB in order to ensure fast recovery of electricity dues which are exceeding to Rs102billions pending from 2lac and 35thousand private defaulters.

In inter ministerial meeting held under Finance Minister Saleem Mandviwalla, it was resolved that by referring cases to the bureau (NAB) a rapid recovery proceeding would start from the defaulters. The NAB had given April 5 as deadline to the power distributing companies (Discos) to disconnect power connections of these defaulters who have not paid their dues but are receiving electricity. The sources also said that with the end to the NAB’s deadline, Discos have constituted different teams to disconnect connections of 2lac and 35thousand private defaulters of electricity bills. Earlier, NAB in a letter to the ministry advised to disconnect connections otherwise Discos official would face criminal proceeding.

Bearing in mind the success of IDB’s medium term note program and the rising financing needs in its member countries, the Board agreed to raise the size of IDB’s Sukuk program from US$ 6.5 billion to US$ 10 billion. It is worth mentioning that IDB’s cumulative Sukuk issuance since August 2003 is expected to reach US$ 7 billion by the end of 1434H (November 2013). The meeting also reviewed the ongoing arrangements for the 38th Annual Meeting of IDB Board of Governors, at the level of ministers of finance, economy and planning of the 56 member countries, slated for 21-22 May, 2013, in Dushanbe, Tajikistan.

Weak job gains hurt economic outlook WASHINGTON: American employers hired at the weakest pace in nine months in March, a sign tax hikes that kicked in early this year as part of Washington's austerity drive could be stealing momentum from the economy. Payrolls expanded by just 88,000 last month outside the farming sector, the Labor Department said on Friday. That was well below market expectations for a 200,000 increase and fell short of even the most pessimistic forecast in a Reuters poll. The jobless rate ticked a tenth of a point lower to 7.6 percent largely due to people dropping out of the work force. "The U.S. economy just hit a major speed bump," said Marcus Bullus, trading director at MB Capital in London. Some of the weakness appeared due to higher tax rates that took effect in January. While recent reports have pointed to relatively buoyant retail sales in January and February, Friday's data showed retailers actually cut staff in March by 24,100, making it the hardest-hit sector last month. –AGENCIES


Earnings next hurdle for bulls as rally slows RODRIGO CAMPOS he stock market's robust rally was slowing even before Friday's jobs report, but the red flag sent up by the weak payrolls data makes the path to more gains less secure. It means the bulls will have to look to earnings for a way to keep the rally going. The S&P 500 hit an all-time closing high on Tuesday, but lately defensive stocks have been leading the charge, and notable growth indexes are slipping. This rotation has many thinking the long-awaited market correction is nigh. A 3 percent decline in the Russell 2000 index .RUT this week seemed to be a confirmation of the trend. "Momentum I think has been slowing a bit, and it would be interesting to see if this is just a one-session sell-off," said Bruce Zaro, chief technical strategist at Delta Global Asset Management in Boston, about Friday's decline. In the first quarter, the benchmark's healthcare index .SPXHC added 15.2 percent and utilities .SPLRCU gained 11.8 percent, besting the broad S&P 500's 10 percent gain. The transition into defensive stocks may respond to investors' taking into account the effect of higher payroll taxes this year and the $85 billion in government spending cuts that started to trickle at the beginning of the year. The shift is "a rotation into sectors less affected by a short-term slowdown in the consumer," said Eric Kuby, chief investment officer at North Star Investment Management Corp in Chicago. Earnings season starts in earnest next week, with the highlight coming from JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N) and Wells Fargo & Co (WFC.N) on Friday. Details on Wells Fargo's earnings will be dissected for clues on the health of the housing market. Overall, S&P 500 earnings are expected to have risen 1.5 percent last quarter, down from a 4.3 percent gain expected at the start of the year, according to Thomson Reuters data. Investors "are really waiting for the earnings season on balance to disappoint," said Zaro. Companies have caught up on the lowered expectations, and negative outlooks have been predominant ahead of earnings season. In fact, the negative-to-positive guidance ratio from S&P 500 companies is at its highest since the third quarter of 2001, according to Thomson Reuters data. At 4.7, the ratio is the sixth-highest among 69 readings dating to 1996. "Companies understand that since the economy is weak there's no reason to be a hero and give guidance you can't beat," said Nicholas Colas, chief market strategist at the ConvergEx Group in New York. F5 Networks (FFIV.O) was the latest and one of the most dramatic examples of lowered earnings expectations. The network equipment maker partly blamed lower government sales for its profit warning late on Thursday, which erased almost a fifth of its market value on Friday. In past quarters, revenue beats have taken the focus off the bottom line as investors were expecting the stronger economy to translate into more sales, but that may not be the case this time around. "At this point earnings are going to be perhaps more important than revenues only because we know Q1 was only a so-so quarter for the economy," said Colas. "It's not going to be a surprise if revenues are a little bit light. Where we really have to make sure the numbers work is at the earnings level." The Federal Reserve could be next week's wild card. Indications of renewed support for loose monetary policy - or the slightest hint in the direction of tightening - have triggered wild moves in the market. The minutes of the March FOMC meeting are due on Wednesday and market participants will look for insight into the debate regarding the amount and duration of bond purchases the U.S. central bank is executing monthly.



stocks, Us dollar fall NEW YORK: Major stock markets tumbled and the dollar fell on Friday, after a weaker-than-expected jobs report added to fears the U.S. economic recovery may be losing steam, driving a bid for safety that boosted prices of U.S. Treasury securities and gold Brent crude oil fell to an eight-month low as the bleak U.S. jobs data dimmed the outlook for fuel demand in the world's largest oil consumer. U.S. employers hired at the slowest pace in nine months in March, adding just 88,000 nonfarm jobs, the Labor Department said, below an expected 200,000. The jobless rate ticked a tenth of a point lower to 7.6 percent, but the drop was largely due to people dropping out of the work force. "The report will fuel concerns about another spring swoon for the economy, the adverse impact of Congressional dysfunction, and more generally, the weak underlying dynamism of the economy," said Mohamed ElErian, co-chief investment officer at Pacific Investment Management Company. The report followed a string of disappointing data this week on activity in the U.S. manufacturing and services sectors and on private-sector hiring, raising concern the recent rally in equities has outrun economic fundamentals. Japanese shares climbed to near a five-year high overnight, with the market in Tokyo closing before the U.S. jobs data was announced, a day after the Bank of Japan took bold monetary easing measures to fight deflation. Tokyo's Nikkei stock average .N225 jumped 4.7 percent, topping 13,000 points for the first time since August 2008. The yen sank to its weakest level in more than 3-1/2 years against the dollar, and benchmark 10-year Japanese government bond yields fell to a record low of 0.315 percent. The yen, down 3.5 percent this week against the dollar, posted its worst week since December 2009. Against the euro, the yen saw its largest weekly loss since November 2008, down about 5 percent. –AGENCIES

S&P posts 2013's worst weekly drop on jobs data NEW YORK: Stocks ended their worst week this year with losses on Friday after a weaker-thanexpected jobs report undermined confidence in the economy and first-quarter earnings growth. The jobs data, which showed employers hired at the slowest pace in nine months, was the latest in a series of disappointing economic reports. Companies begin to report quarterly earnings next week, which is likely to be another concern for investors in light of recent economic data. Analysts' estimates for earnings growth in the first quarter have fallen since late last year, according to Thomson Reuters data. "I think earnings season could be less than stellar again. Given market performance to date, we could see

some softness in the market because we've generated some healthy returns already," said Natalie Trunow, chief investment officer of equities at Calvert Investment Management, which has about $13 billion in assets. Stocks had been rallying on the Fed's promise to keep providing stimulus and on mostly improving U.S. economic data. The S&P 500 is up 8.9 percent since the start of the year. The S&P 500 was down 1 percent for the week. All but three of the S&P 500's 10 industry sectors posted declines. The government's job report showed 88,000 jobs were added in March, less than half economists' average forecast of 200,000. The unemployment rate dipped to 7.6 percent

from 7.7 percent, largely due to people dropping out of the work force. Among recent weak data, a report Monday showed U.S. factory activity grew at the slowest rate in three months in March. The S&P's biggest percentage decliner was network gear maker F5 Networks Inc (FFIV.O), which dropped 19 percent to $73.21 a day after forecasting quarterly earnings and revenue well below Wall Street's expectations. The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI was down 40.86 points, or 0.28 percent, at 14,565.25. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index .SPX was down 6.70 points, or 0.43 percent, at 1,553.28. The Nasdaq Composite Index .IXIC was down 21.12 points, or 0.66 percent,

at 3,203.86. For the week, the Dow declined 0.1 percent while the Nasdaq dropped 1.9 percent. The Russell 2000 index .TOY fell 3 percent for the week, its worst weekly decline since June. Several of F5's competitors were also sharply lower, with Juniper Networks (JNPR.N) off 3.1 percent at $17.55 and Citrix Systems (CTXS.O) down 1.2 percent at $68.90. Airline stocks were hit after J.P Morgan Securities cut its revenue expectations for U.S. airlines by 2 percent to 3 percent for 2013 and 2014 and said it expects monthly revenue per available seat mile to turn negative for some airlines, partly due to the federal government's automatic spending cuts. Delta Airlines Inc (DAL.N) fell 2.4 percent to

$14.39 and United Continental Holdings (UAL.N) was off 0.1 percent at $29.27. S&P 500 earnings are expected to have risen just 1.6 percent in the first quarter from a year ago, according to Thomson Reuters data, down from a 4.3 percent forecast in January. Earnings grew 6.3 percent in the fourthquarter, which was better than a late projection by analysts. Volume was roughly 6.4 billion shares traded on the New York Stock Exchange, the Nasdaq and the NYSE MKT, compared with the average daily closing volume of about 6.36 billion this year. Decliners outpaced advancers on the NYSE by about 15 to 14 and on the Nasdaq by roughly 5 to 3. –AGENCIES


Kanye, Pharrell team up with fashion label

I have miles to go before I sleep: Ranbir

LONDON: Stars including Kanye West and Pharrell Williams will put their artistic talents to the test to design a limited edition collection for Japanese clothing company Bathing Ape`s 20th anniversary. The hiphop stars are among 20 artists taking part in the project and each collaborator has created their own interpretation of the label`s signature Ape Head image which will be printed on canvases and Tshirts, reported Contactmusic. The initial collection will be exhibited at the Garden Gallery Tsutaya in Tokyo, Japan for three days from April 27 before being rolled out alongside promotional products across stores worldwide. Bathing Ape was founded by Japanese Dj-Producer Nigo, who is also a co-owner of the Billionaire Boys Club clothing line with Williams. -SHOWBIZ DESK

Mumbai: He is on the wish-list of some of the top directors in Bollywood, thanks to his performance in Rockstar and Barfi but Ranbir Kapoor says he is not satisfied with his work in the industry so far. "Now, there is a constant search inside me to find my characters, find the right emotions and do my job honestly and truly. I am not even two per cent happy with what I have done so far. This thought of 'Miles to go before I sleep' stays with me," Ranbir told PTI quoting Robert Frost's poem. The 30-year-old actor has been shooting back-to-back films and shares a special bond with his directors Imtiaz Ali, Anurag Basu and Ayaan Mukherjee. Basu, who is re-teaming with the actor for his biopic on Kishore Kumar, calls the actor "very special" and someone, who is not too much in love with himself. While Imtiaz says he was attracted to Ranbir's vulnerability while casting him for Rockstar. -SHOWBIZ DESK

Matthew McConaughey to work in Interstellar LOS ANGELES: Hollywood actor Matthew McConaughey will star in Christopher Nolan's new sci-fi film “Interstellar", reports The time-travelling movie is said to be inspired by the scientific theories of relativity expert Kip S. Thorne, a theoretical physicist, gravitational physicist and astrophysicist at Caltech, the California Institute of Technology, reports The movie's plot will centre around a group of space explorers who travel through a wormhole in a bid to put the scientific theories to the test. McConaughey will play the hero, a man called Cooper. The script has been penned by Nolan's younger brother, Jonathan, but little is known about "The Dark Knight Rises" director, Nolan's new film. "Interstellar" has been set up at Paramount Pictures, but the feature will work in conjunction with Warner Bros, the company with which Nolan made all three of his "Batman" movies, as well as "Inception" and "Insomnia". In recent months, McConaughey has stepped away from romantic comedies and made a name for himself with gritty roles, including in films like "Killer Joe" and upcoming drama "Dallas Buyers Club". -SHOWBIZ DESK

Kareena to copy Sharon Stone’s hairstyle SHOWBIZ DESK MUMBAI: Kareena Kapoor is known to experiment when it comes to her films. Whether it’s playing a prostitute in Talaash or a village belle in Omkara, the actor has never been afraid to move away from her usual glamorous image. However, what Kareena hasn’t experimented with so far are her flowing locks. That is all set to change now, as Kareena, for her next film opposite Emraan Hashmi, has apparently decided to chop off her hair, reveals a source close to the star. “She will don a short hairstyle, just like Hollywood actor Sharon Stone’s, and will cut her tresses really short to achieve this look. Much to everyone’s surprise, when the look was discussed, Kareena was game for it instantly.” Bollywood act, resses are not known to part with their tresses, with some exceptions such as Kajol in Dushman, Tabu in Hu Tu Tu and Preity Zinta in Lakshya. The makers will only be hoping that this new look will add to the novelty factor of the film, as this is also the first time that Emraan and Kareena are pairing up. The source says, “Kareena is extremely excited about this venture with Emraan. The role will surprise her fans as it’s extremely experimental.”

Band Alabama back on road, 10 years after saying goodbye SHOWBIZ DESK

Madonna, Meryl on Manish Malhotra’s wish-list

MUMBAI: From Aishwarya Rai, Priyanka Chopra to Katrina Kaif and Anushka Sharma, he has styled almost all Bollywood beauties. But it is `Queen of Pop` Madonna, multiple Oscar-winner Meryl Streep and Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton, whom designer Manish Malhotra wants to dress up next. "In my 23 years of career, I have dressed up almost all the beautiful girls and top stars, but there are stars with whom I want to work. I would love to design for Madonna. I saw her performance in Abu Dhabi a couple of months ago, and she has always fascinated me not just with music, but the way she looks every time," Malhotra said. "I am also a huge fan of Meryl Streep and Kate Middleton and I would love to design for both of them," he added. The designer staged a fashion show, celebrating hundred years of cinema, on the second day of the ongoing Times of India Film Awards (TOIFA) here Friday. Five Bollywood beauties - Urmila Mtaondkar, Raveena Tandon, Neha Dhupia, Nargis Fakhri and Sonal Chauhan, walked the ramp in his creations. However, Malphotra maintained that his clothes are his showstoppers. "The theme is hundred years of Indian cinema, so I have used lot of Indian textures, and Kashmiri hand embroidery. I have been promoting Indian handicrafts through my collections and I honestly feel that my work is my showstopper," he said. -SHOWBIZ DESK

NASHVILLE: Ten years after embarking on a lengthy "Farewell Tour," country music band Alabama was back on the road to mark 40 years in the business. While the 2003 tour packed arenas across the United States, the crossover southern rock and country band will play in smaller venues this time, as well as taking to the seas for the first time on a fourday Caribbean cruise. "I just thought it would be a shame if we didn't make some kind of an effort to celebrate the 40th year of starting at The Bowery, and what we do best is sing," singer Randy Owen told. "It's a historical thing as far as our band goes. All of us are still together, still alive. We are so blessed to still be able to get on that stage and play. We're going to have fun," Owen, 63, said. The group, consisting of cousins Owen, Jeff Cook and Teddy Gentry, got their first major gig in the South Carolina town of Myrtle Beach in 1973 as the house band at a small club called The

Bowery. Loyal fans were packing that club by summer's end, having no idea this bar band would go on to sell 73 million albums in the 1980s and 1990s and have more than 40 No. 1 singles, including "Love in the First Degree," "Dixieland Delight," and "Feels So Right." After a free show for some 200 fans at The Bowery on Thursday night, the 16-city "Back to The Bowery" tour officially kicks off on Friday at the Alabama Theatre

Shahood Alvi faces fierce attitude by students KARACHI: Famous actor Shahood Alvi, known for his negative role in drama serial “Bol Meri Machli” is amongst mostly hated characters. Recently, while visiting Karachi University, Shahood Alvi faced very fierce attitude by students there. Drama artist Shahood Alvi made a visit to University of Karachi to interact with students there. During questions and answers session regarding his negative role in drama Bol Meri Machli, he failed to satisfy university girls. In meantime few girls hurled eggs and shoes on him, which was too insulting and disappointing for the actor, and he kept on convincing them that the role is truly opposite to his real life. In a recent interview, Shahood Alvi said, “I tried to ensure those girls that the role has no link with my real life”. The girls did not believe him and followed him till car parking and also damaged his car. -SHOWBIZ DESK

named after the band also in Myrtle Beach. The band is also joining the latest trend of short themed-cruises that feature musicians, dancers, Broadway stars and other celebrities who sail with fans for several days of concerts, lessons and autograph signings. The Alabama & Friends Festival at Sea leaves from Miami in October for the Bahamas on Norwegian Cruise Line's Norwegian Pearl ship.

SRK to perform at TOIFA despite injury MUMBAI: Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan is nursing a shoulder injury that he suffered on the sets of his upcoming film 'Chennai Express' but that will not deter him to perform at the debut Times of India Film Awards. Shah Rukh's performance is one of the most anticipated segments and the 47-year-old actor is planning to entertain his numerous fans despite the injury. "I have been shooting for 14 days non-stop and on top of it I hurt myself. My shoulder is hurting a bit," SRK told in an interview. When asked whether it was the old injury, he said, "It is a new injury. The old one is fine but for this one I may have to go for a surgery later. I have to perform so it is a bit of a drag but I will try to avoid the right hand movement during the dance as much as I can. It has been a hectic few weeks for the actor as he has been juggling different things back home including the opening ceremony of IPL, where he performed with actress Deepika Padukone and international rapper Pitbull. "I did the IPL ceremony and then there was the match. I flew in after dropping the kids because wife had left already for TOIFA. Yes, it has been hectic but that is how I live. -SHOWBIZ DESK

Selena had mini breakdown LONDON: Selena Gomez has revealed that the strain of being in the limelight during the making of 'Spring Breakers' caused her to have a breakdown on the set. The 20-year-old actress told Fox News that the attention brought about by her donning a bikini on the set and the constant party scenes ended up as a stressful ordeal. The former Disney star also admitted that being stared at by admirers whilst wearing her skimpy outfits could be intimidating at times, though she knew at heart that they were super safe. -SHOWBIZ DESK

MOvIe RevIew

SHOWBIZ DESK his film will make you rethink your concept of an emergency helpline service operator as a disembodied person. It will also replenish your faith in Halle Berry's ability to lift that person into a cop/detective/hero with a heart. Almost. For, just before the home stretch, The Call takes a diversion into the bizarre and, then frankly, cringe-worthy exploitation as an undressed Breslin, all of 16 years old, is put through extended and gratuitous torture at the hands of an over-the-top mad man.


Berry is Jordan, a 911 emergency service operator with the LAPD Communications Division. At "the hive" in the division, she is among the many receiving calls ranging from a bat in the house to a burglar, with reassuring calm and efficiency. One day, however, that confidence is shaken when a girl calling 911 is raped and dies at the hands of a kidnapper because of a minor wrong move made by Jordan. Blaming herself, she gets off the job, and six months later, we see her working in the training division. While she is taking her group of rookies around the hive, a phone rings. Kelsey (Breslin) calls in to say

she has been kidnapped and put in the boot of a trunk. As the hysterical girl cries she is going to be killed, the probationer at the other end fumbles in her response. Jordan takes her place instinctively. A major part of

the film now involves Kelsey in the trunk and Jordan on the phone. Director Anderson handles this well, cutting from one to the other, throwing up ingenuous solutions and then taking these away, building

the tension as Jordan tries her best to rescue Kelsey and is thwarted. Meanwhile, her kidnapper (Eklund) is inevitably speeding Kelsey away to a Silence of the Lamb-esque hole. It's amazing what all Kelsey

manages to do with the things she finds in a car trunk. And it's interesting how the film captures her there, cramped, in half-light, terrified and, by turns, hopeful. The violence that Anderson appears to take great pleasure in comes as a disconcerting surprise. The kidnapper, who we learn is Michael -- a family man with kids, and with a sister obsession is shown to kill two men. He mauls the first one with a shovel and later stabs him with a screwdriver, while he sets the second one on fire. The camera doesn't just linger on them and Eklund's sweaty, crazed expression but also freezes at the most extreme moments of a particularly violent episode. Even that can be forgiven as Anderson's attempt to capture Michael's lapses of sanity. What can't be is how he leads Jordan to her own depature from reasonable behaviour. And that after having reinforced our faith in authorities holding "our lives in their hands".


USA pull level against Serbia in Davis Cup opener BOI SE: Novak Djokovic got Serbia off to a hot start, but American Sam Querrey's gritty victory over Viktor Troicki saw the United States pull level on the opening day of their Davis Cup World Group quarterfinal tie. World No. 1 Djokovic beat big-serving John Isner in straight sets in the first singles match, recovering from an early break in the first set en route to a 7-6 (7/5), 6-2, 7-5 triumph. The Serbian player saved the only break point he faced in the third set -- in the second game -- and broke Isner at love for a 6-5 advantage. He served out the match with a love game, wrapping it up in two hours with a backhand winner that sent him dancing over to celebrate with his teammates. Isner had made a quick start, breaking Djokovic for a 2-1 lead in the first set and holding for 3-1. But Djokovic found his rhythm on the indoor hard court in the Taco Bell Arena in Boise, which sits at an altitude of about 800 meters (2,600 feet), and broke back to level the set at 3-3. Djokovic delivered a secondserve ace to take a 4-1 lead in the tiebreaker and claimed the first set on his third set point when Isner knocked a backhand long. "These kinds of matches are very intense and there is a lot at stake," Djokovic said. "You're playing for your country. You get more involved with the emotions and you really want to start well. You want to bring the first point to Serbia. The Serbian applied the pressure early in the second set, breaking Isner in the third game and widening the gap with another break in the seventh. Tasked with getting the best-offive tie back on terms, Querrey

Kazakhstan keep hopes alive in Davis Cup

Hewitt helps Australia take edge over Uzbekistan

AL MATY: Andrey Golubev and Yuriy Schukin defeated Czech pair Jan Hajek and Radek Stepanek in Saturday's doubles in Astana to keep Kazakhstan's hopes of reaching the Davis Cup semi-finals alive. The hosts won 7-6 (7/2), 6-4, 6-3 in two hours 20 minutes to make it 2-1 in their quarterfinal encounter against the tournament holders. Hajek and Stepanek lost the opening set in a tiebreak after both pairs had exchanged breaks. The decisive moment in the second set arrived in the ninth game when Golubev and Schukin broke Stepanek's serve to take a twoset lead. The match was already almost two hours old heading into the third set, but the Czechs' resistance could not last much longer. The tie will now be decided on Sunday. –AGENCIES

TASHKENT: Former world number one Lleyton Hewitt inspired Australia to a five-set doubles victory to take the edge over Uzbekistan in the Davis Cup Asia-Oceania Group one second round tie in Namangan on Saturday. Hewitt, rested from Friday's opening singles, partnered Matthew Ebden to battle out a 7-5, 6-7 (4/7), 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 win over the Uzbek pairing of Denis Istomin and Farrukh Dustov. The hardfought win gave the 28-time Davis Cup winners Australia a 2-1-edge heading into Sunday's two reverse singles to decide the tie on clay. The winner of the tie advances to September's World Group playoffs as Australia bid to return to the competition's top tier for the first time since 2007. Hewitt, the former Wimbledon and US Open champion, was playing with Ebden for the first time. –AGENCIES

started strong, winning the first set and going up an early break in the second. But he let that advantage slip away and after dropping the second and third sets had to dig deep for a 7-6 (7/1), 3-6, 4-6, 6-1, 64 victory. It was just the second five-set match victory of Querrey's career, and he finished it in style, breaking for a 5-4 lead in the fifth set and serving it out with a love game. Serbian captain Bogdan Obradovic had called on Troicki for singles duty after world No. 10

Janko Tipsarevic opted out of the tie. The winner will take on the victor of the quarterfinal tie between Canada and Italy in Vancouver. Serbia's run to the 2010 Davis Cup title included a victory in their only other meeting with the United States, who have lifted the trophy 32 times. US captain Jim Courier has a formidable weapon at his disposal for Saturday's doubles, when he'll send Bob and Mike Bryan against Nenad Zimonjic and Ilija Bozoljac. –AGENCIES

India drops heroin-tainted Vijender from squad NEW DELHI: India's Olympic bronzemedallist boxer Vijender Singh will not take part in two upcoming events following police accusations that he consumed heroin, a top official said on Saturday. Vijender will not be selected in the Indian squad for tournaments in Cyprus and Cuba that serve as a prelude to the world championships in Almaty, Kazakhstan in October, the official said. Vijender, who won a bronze at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, was accused by Punjab Police of taking heroin 12 times as they investigated his links to an alleged dealer in a $24 million drug haul last month. Indian Amateur Boxing Federation (IABF) president Abhishek Matoria said Vijender was not considered for two events after he failed to attend selection trials in the northern town of Punjab. "He is an Olympic hero," Matoria told reporters. "But at the moment his training has taken a blow because of the drug controversy. "I have been in constant touch with Vijender and he has assured me that he is not involved in the scandal. He has told me that he will come out clean. "As far as we are concerned, Vijender is very much a part of the Indian boxing fraternity." The boxer, himself a police officer in the neighbouring state of Haryana, was linked to the haul after a car belonging to his wife was found outside the residence of the drug dealer near Chandigarh. The 27-yearold has strongly denied any link to the accused dealer and has slammed as "ridiculous" the allegations against him. Vijender has not been seen in public for the past few weeks, but on Wednesday he provided blood and urine samples to the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) on the advice of the sports ministry. –AGENCIES

Wasim requests BCCI to allow Pakistan players in IPL OUR STAFF REPORTER

LAHORE: Former Pakistan captain and pace legend Wasim Akram has requested the Indian cricket board (BCCI) to allow Pakistan players to participate in the cash-rich Indian Premier League (IPL). Akram said that Pakistan players would only help add color to the Twenty20 tournament. “I have always been a great believer that sports and politics should be kept apart and if our players take part in the IPL it will only raise the bar of the event,” said Akram, who was the bowling consultant of current IP champions Kolkata Knight Riders. Pakistan cricketers have not been allowed to take part in the lucrative IPL after the first edition due to varied reasons but mainly because of the diplomatic tensions between the two countries. Although Pakistan umpires, commentators and coaches will feature in the ongoing sixth edition of the IPL but no cricketer has been invited for the event. Akram feels that since Pakistan bowlers are better than India's, it will only benefit the IPL. Although Pakistan team toured India for a short ODI series in December last year but the BCCI still didn't clear the way for the players from the neighbouring country to participate in the IPL. Last year the BCCI,

however, for the first time allowed a Pakistan team to take part in the Champions League Twenty20 held in South Africa. Akram also confirmed that he had signed an agreement with the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and as per the contract he would help in producing more pace bowlers for the country. Akram has also entered into a partnership with a leading cellular company, Ufone to hold trials and search for raw pacers throughout the country. But he said he would be holding a 10-day specialised camp for the Pakistan team pacers and upcoming youngsters performing in domestic cricket in Karachi later this month. “I am happy that now I will be able to play some role in Pakistan cricket because I want to give back what Pakistan cricket has given me. I want young bowlers to take advantage of my expertise and experience,” Akram said. The former captain also said that he would be working in tandem with the national team bowling coach Muhammad Akram during Pakistan's training camp in Abbottabad ahead of the ICC Champions Trophy in England in June.

BOISE: Novak Djokovic hits a return to John Isner during their Davis Cup quarterfinal match on Saturday. –AGENCIES


Brazil opens third World Cup stadium, nine to go BRASILIA: Brazil President Dilma Rousseff inaugurated the third of 12 stadiums that will host the 2014 World Cup, delivering the 50,000-seat Arena Fonte Nova three months after the original deadline set by FIFA. The brand-new stadium built at a cost of $296.58m will be one of six used for the June 15-30 Confederations Cup, an eightnation dress rehearsal for the World Cup. Delays forced world soccer's governing body FIFA to extend the deadline for the first batch of stadiums until April 15. Preparations for the soccer tournament, and the Olympic Games in 2016, are behind schedule, raising doubts about the country's ability to organise the two global events that will draw hundreds of thousands of visitors. Brazilian authorities, keen to avoid an international embarrassment, have doubled efforts to ready the stadiums and are optimistic they will be delivered on time for the June 15-30 warm up event. The Fonte Nova stadium was demolished and rebuilt from scratch after seven fans died when part of the terracing collapsed during a game in 2007. It will host three Confederations Cup games Nigeria v Uruguay on June 20, Italy v Brazil on June 22 and the third-place play off. Police fired tear gas to quell a riot that broke out last week when tickets went on sale at the Salvador stadium, and several fans were hurt in the incidents. The Arena Pernambuco stadium will be inaugurated on April 14 and the Mane Garrincha National Stadium in Brasilia will open a week later, less than two months before the Confederations Cup kicks off there on June 15 with Brazil facing Japan. To standardise names and make it easier for foreign fans buying tickets, FIFA will shorten its name to National Stadium Brasilia, dropping the name of the soccer great Mane Garrincha, star of Brazil's 1962 World Cup victory, a city official said. –AGENCIES

India drops Sehwag from Champions Trophy squad NEW DELHI: India's selectors on Saturday left out dashing batsman Virender Sehwag from a 30-man preliminary squad for the Champions Trophy in England in June. Seasoned off-spinner Harbhajan Singh and veteran seamer Zaheer Khan were also missing from the list, which has to be shortened to 15 players a month before the one-day tournament opens on June 5. Sehwag's 219 against the West Indies in December 2011 is the highest individual score in one-day internationals and he is only the second batsman to score a double-century in the shorter format after compatriot Sachin Tendulkar. But he was dropped due to recent poor form. The 34year-old, who has scored 8,273 runs in 251 ODIs with 15 centuries, was also been left out of the last two Tests in the recent series against Australia, which India won 4-0. Harbhajan, 32, last played an ODI two years ago in the West Indies, while Zaheer, 34, missed the entire Australian series due to a calf injury. Uncapped off-spinner Parvez Rasool, 24, was included in the squad, making him the first cricketer from Jammu and Kashmir to join the senior ranks. India are drawn with

South Africa, Pakistan and the West Indies in group B of the Champions Trophy, from which the top two will qualify for the semifinals. The other group comprises England, Australia, New Zealand and Sri Lanka. India's 30-man preliminary squad: Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Murali Vijay, Shikhar Dhawan, Gautam Gambhir, Unmukt Chand, Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, Rohit Sharma, Manoj Tiwary, Ajinkya Rahane, Ambati Rayudu, Kedar Jadhav, Wriddhiman Saha, Dinesh Karthik, Ravichandran Ashwin, Amit Mishra, Ravindra Jadeja, Jalaj Saxena, Parvez Rasool, Ishant Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ashok Dinda, Umesh Yadav, Shami Ahmed, Irfan Pathan, Vinay Kumar, Praveen Kumar, Ishwar Pandey, Sidharth Kaul. –AGENCIES

WTA Family Circle Cup Tennis Tournament

Williams sisters book semifinal showdown CHARLESTON: Serena and Venus Williams pulled double-duty on Friday, winning two matches apiece at the rain-disrupted WTA claycourt event in Charleston to book a semifinal showdown. The Williams sisters will face each other across the net for the first time since 2009. Both played twice on Friday, after a lengthy rain delay on Thursday saw four third-round matches postponed. Top seed and defending champion Serena defeated American Mallory Burdette 6-4, 62 in the third round, then returned to beat sixth-seeded Czech Lucie Safarova 6-4, 6-1 in a rematch of last year's final here. Williams rallied from a 2-4 deficit in the opening set, winning the last four games to finish off the frame and giving Safarova little opportunity in the second. Venus Williams, seeded fifth, beat American Varvara Lepchenko 6-2, 4-6, 6-2 to reach the quarterfinals, and followed up with a 6-4, 64 victory over Madison Keys. Although the scoreline against Keys looked more routine, Williams had to rally from an early break down in each set. Serena Williams said seeing her older sister come through both of her matches motivated her. "I figured if she can win two matches, I have no excuse not to win my two matches," Serena said. "It's actually not that bad to play two matches in one day -- it's not ideal, but I

play doubles all the time, and so I looked at it like, 'OK, I play singles and I play with Venus in doubles the same day.' So really that's how I looked at it." The Williams sisters haven't played each other since Serena triumphed over Venus in the final of the WTA Tour Championships at Doha in 2009. Serena beat her older sister in the Wimbledon final earlier that year. They last met on clay in the 2002 French Open final won by Serena, who leads their career head-to-head 13-10. "It definitely feels like a long time ago," Serena said. "But Venus is the toughest opponent I've ever played. "I think she's beaten me the most out of any player. I know her game and she knows my game. I think it'll be a great match tomorrow." Ninth-seeded Serbian Jelena Jankovic also secured a semi-final berth, with a 6-2, 6-1 victory over Canadian Eugenie Bouchard. Jankovic's victory was her 500th career match wins, a statistic she wasn't aware of until after the contest. "I had no idea how many wins I had," she said. "But it's pretty nice. It's a great achievement to get my 500th win, and hopefully I can have many more." Jankovic next faces Switzerland's Stefanie Voegele, who beat second-seeded Dane Caroline Wozniacki 3-6, 6-4, 6-3. Wozniacki was up a break at 3-2 in the third set but lost the last four games. –AGENCIES

Sizzling Tiger seeks end to major drought at Masters Golf WASHINGTON: Tiger Woods has not won a major title since 2008 but he enters the 77th Masters as the player to beat after three triumphs in as many months and form to rival his glory days. The 14-time major champion, chasing the all-time record of 18 majors won by Jack Nicklaus, has won at Torrey Pines, Doral and Bay Hill and reclaimed the World No. 1 ranking that he had not held since October 2010. "It shows that my game is consistent. It's at a high level," Woods said. "It is getting the little things out of each round. You have got to grind it out and get those rounds in and that's something I've done." More than that, Woods has been confident and impressive with the putter in his victories, something that will be vital over the undulating greens of Augusta National when the year's first major championship tees off on Thursday. "The three events that I've

won, I've putted well. I've made my share of putts, especially some really key putts," Woods said. The last time Woods won back-to-back events just ahead of Augusta, as he did last month at Doral and Bay Hill, was in 2001 when he won Bay Hill and the Players Championship before completing the "Tiger Slam" of four major triumphs in a row at the Masters. Woods has won 77 career PGA titles, five shy of tying the late Sam Snead's all-time record, and shown flashes of the form that allowed him to dominate the sport for nearly a decade. "I know I can play this game at a high level," Woods said. "I know I can be where I'm contending in every event, contending in major championships and being consistent day-in and day-out." Woods has changed much about his game and his life since his 2008 US Open triumph and the epic sex scandal that erupted in late 2009. He divorced Elin Nordegren and

now dates US ski star Lindsey Vonn. He split with caddie Steve Williams in 2011 and Joe LaCava is now his bagman. He split with coach Hank Haney in 2010 and Sean Foley has helped rebuild Woods's swing. There's a new Team Tiger trying for major

victories in the shadow of past glory even as Woods seeks his fifth Masters title, his first since 2005, and his first major triumph since the 2008 US Open. "I don't want to become as good as I once was," Woods said. "I want to become better."


Woods shared fourth at the 2010 and 2011 Masters while fighting injury and emotional turmoil but only managed a share of 40th last year while working on his swing. He admitted his game was not where he wanted in any of those starts. Woods has won 52 of 55 events when he leads after 54 holes, including 21 of his past 22, but he has never won a major when trailing after three rounds. That puts a familiar pressure on veterans like Steve Stricker. "His attitude and his belief in himself again looks very similar to when he was in the early 2000s," Stricker said. "He just seems in a better place mentally. He seems to be having fun, seems to have a lot of confidence." Woods has a host of rivals to challenge him, with World No. 2 Rory McIlroy playing two weeks in a row before the Masters to try to work his game into form as he hunts for the third major title of his young career. "I'm excited about my game and excited about how I'm

hitting the ball," McIlroy said after the Houston Open. "My short game is sharp and putted it pretty nice. If I can limit the sloppy mistakes I'll be fine." England's World No. 3 Justin Rose, who like Woods works with Foley, has risen himself and watched Woods climb back from 58th in the world to the top ranking. "I feel like I have had an inner look at what has gone on behind the scenes. I've seen how hard he has worked," Rose said. "He got outside the top 50 in the world and to get back from there to number one... it has been an uphill climb." Brandt Snedeker, who won at Pebble Beach and finished second at Torrey Pines, likes his chances for a major breakthrough at Augusta as well. "I've gone there in the past thinking I could contend," he said. "This year I'm going knowing I can contend, knowing that winning is not a far-fetched idea. It's very much a reality. I go in with a ton of confidence." –AGENCIES



APRIL 07, 2013

US reluctance to share roadmap increasing mistrust SAEED MINHAS ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and America is trying hard to find a common ground on multiple issues concerning Afghanistan but is learnt to have failed in reaching a consensus on sharing and shouldering a post 2014 war torn country. Informed sources revealed that US military establishment is pressing upon the Pakistani military establishment to help them in reaching a deal with insurgent Taliban in Afghanistan but is

finding the Pakistani side a bit reluctant on this issue. “It’s not that we don’t want to help them but the matter that is more serious is that Pentagon is not ready to trust us and share their real plans,” revealed a senior military strategist observing these talks. Latest in this regard is the visit of General Lloyd J. Austin III, Commander of U.S. Central Command to Pakistan who spent two days to persuade Pakistani military establishment in coming to terms with a

US plan. The plan according to Pakistani strategists seems to be to keep at least 30,000 troops in Afghanistan even after 2014 provided Pakistan behaves as per the dictates of Pentagon. General Lloyd, however, believes in a statement issued by the US Embassy in Pakistan that discussions with Pakistani military establishment were very fruitful but Pakistani strategists claim otherwise. General Lloyd said “We had a good meeting and a candid discussion. Pakistan’s senior military

leaders clearly understand their country’s important and unique role in promoting security and stability in Afghanistan and throughout the region as a whole. I am most grateful for their hospitality and look forward to our continued collaboration.” The statement reads that US Central Command General departed Pakistan on Saturday after a series of meetings with senior Pakistani military leaders. While here, General Austin discussed with Chief of Army Staff General

Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, Secretary of Defense, Lt Gen (Retd.) Asif Yasin Malik and other senior military officials a broad range of common security issues, to include militant network activities and measures to improve cross-border cooperation with ISAF forces. General Austin also acknowledged the sacrifices made by Pakistani security forces and the terrible losses Pakistanis have suffered due to terrorism and violent extremism.

He reaffirmed the importance of the U.S.-Pakistani security relationship to ongoing Lloyd to continue to meet periodically to further common objectives and to strengthen cooperation between the two militaries. Yet Pakistani establishment believes that without drawing a mutually agreed roadmap for the post 2014, trust cannot be restored fully between the two ‘strategic partners’, commented a senior military official.

Skipper cleared from two NA seats Unscheduled power outages to end from monday

Imran questions Nawaz silence on Musharraf

LAHORE: Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) has decided to stop unscheduled power load shedding across the country from Monday. The decision was made at a meeting chaired by WAPDA Chairman Syed Raghib Ali. Power distribution companies will prepare load shedding schedule for 15 days from Sunday. It was decided to establish a special cell at WAPDA House in Lahore to monitor the loadshedding. The meeting also took various decisions to improve the power supply situation in the country .It was also decided to provide additional fuel to the power plants. –AGENCIES



2 kidnappers killed in karachi encounter KARACHI: Two kidnappers were killed when police raided Ittehad Town area in Baldia Town and recovered a kidnapped child. SSP Niaz Khoso told reporters that a six-year-old child had been abducted on March 22 and the kidnappers had demanded Rs 20 million ransom. Police raided the Ittehad Town area and after exchanging fire with the accused, recovered the child while killing two kidnappers on the spot. Two other accused managed to escape from the site while the security forces have cordoned off the area and search was on for them. Two Kalashnikovs and a pistol were also recovered from the kidnappers who were killed in the encounter. Both were the members of banned Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, the SSP informed. –ONLINE

6.4 magnitude quake rocks parts of kP ISLAMABAD: An earthquake measuring 6.4 on Richter Scale rocked Swat, Kohat Chitral, Bunair, Shangla and other areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on Saturday morning. The epicenter of the quake was stated to be in border area between Afghanistan and Tajikistan. Panic spread in the areas after the quake and people came out of their houses. No casualty was reported yet from the areas where the tremours was felt. –ONLINE

Predicts 1992-like world cup win Sh Rashid withdraws in Imran’s favour

BANNU: A large number of tribesmen from Bakakhel, Takhtikhel and Wanrikhel tribe taking part in a grand jirga in Bannu. –ONLINE

HRCP smells a rat in scrutiny 

Sees systematic sabotage of democratic process  Wants end to humiliation by ROs


sabotage of the democratic process to make the will of the people completely irrelevant,” read the statement. The statement also likened the recent events in the electoral process to the ‘agenda’ of former military ruler Ziaul Haq. “This deliberate and planned abuse of the process appears to be a bid to complete Ziaul Haq’s agenda to accommodate extremism into mainstream politics and to thrust theocratic rule down people’s throats,” said the statement. The HRCP called on other political leaders as well as the civil society to also freely express their opinions regarding the scrutiny process. “HRCP calls upon the political parties and the civil society to vigilantly guard against these latest attempts to liquidate democracy in Pakistan and resolutely reject any and all bids to delay elections under any pretext or to introduce unrepresentative rule,” it said. “[The] HRCP also calls upon all political leadership to express their opinion openly on this devious plan of enforcing selective rule of a few socalled angels on Pakistan’s fate. The sole voice denouncing such tendency has come from the head of only one political party. Others too need to shed their fear and speak up at this critical moment.” It also called on the Election Commission to intervene and stop “the asymmetric warfare on the electoral process.”

ATC summons investigator in Mumbai case OUR STAFF REPORTER

RAWALPINDI: An AntiTerrorism Court (ATC) conducting the trial of seven men charged with involvement in the Mumbai attacks Saturday issued summons to a senior investigator even as six prosecution witnesses failed to appear before the judge. Judge Chaudhry Habibur-Rehman, who is conducting the trial behind closed doors at Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi for security reasons, issued the summons for Altaf Hussain, a Karachibased Additional Director of the Federal Investigation Agency. Prosecutors described Hussain as an "important witness" in the case against the seven accused, including Lashkare-Taiba commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi. He was directed to appear in court at the next hearing on April 13. Ali said six private witnesses, who were scheduled to appear in court to testify against the accused, could not reach Rawalpindi because of the "law and order situation in Karachi". All six witnesses are residents of Karachi. He said Pakistani authorities were still awaiting a response from India regarding a Pakistani judicial commission's visit to Mumbai to interview four key witnesses. "We have received no reply from India so far," Ali said.

KARACH I/I SL AM ABAD: Predicting his party’s win, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan Saturday said his party prepared for the upcoming elections. Imran said just like 1992 World Cup, an unknown party will sweep the May 11 polls. “That party will be the PTI,” he boasted while talking to media at the airport. Khan said that the deployment of the Army at polling stations was critical for security during the coming election. He said that the democratic process would fail if the people are unable to cast votes due to security concerns. He said the PTI is the only party that has given the youth an opportunity to lead the country. About fights within the party over tickets, Imran clarified that no ticket has been issued as yet, therefore, there is no basis for complaints. He also took this opportunity to question Nawaz Sharif ’s silence over Pervez Musharraf ’s arrival in Pakistan, saying that his silence makes it seem Musharraf has not returned. Saying that change in Pakistan could only

come through elections, Imran also ruled out alliance with any political party during the elections. Regarding seat adjustment with other parties, Khan said negotiations were underway with some like-minded parties. Khan said he does not know whether the general elections will take place, however, PTI has completed all arrangements for the elections. The nomination papers of Imran Khan from NA-122 (Lahore) and NA-56 (Rawalpindi) have been accepted. Awami Muslim League leader Sheikh Rashid Ahmed has withdrawn his nomination papers in support of Khan for the NA-56 seat. Khan has assured Rashid for his support for the latter in NA-55 and has also promised to visit the constituency for the election campaign. The PTI chief is also expected to address a public gathering in NA-55. Hanif Abbasi of PML-N is expected to be Khan’s main contender for the seat. Imran had filed nomination papers in six constituencies including NA-1 (Peshawar), NA-56 (Rawalpindi), NA-71 (Mianwali) and NA-122 and 125 (Lahore).

SRINAGAR: A young British woman holidaying in Held Kashmir was found dead in a pool of blood on a houseboat on Saturday, police said after arresting a Dutch man on suspicion of her murder. The 43-year-old Dutch national was taken into custody as he tried to flee the scenic Kashmir valley in the foothills of the Himalayas, police superintendent Tahir Sajjad said. "We walked into a pool of blood in her room," Sajjad said. "We found a sharp-edged knife close to her body. The young lady had multiple stab wounds." The attacker broke the latch on the cabin door of the 24-yearold British tourist who had been staying in the houseboat on the picturesque Dal Lake in the Indian Kashmir city of Srinagar for two months, police said. Police were investigating whether the victim had been sexually assaulted in the incident. –AGENCIES

LAHORE: Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) Saturday expressed serious concerns over what it terms the systematic attempts to exclude candidates from elections and to sabotage people’s ability to elect candidates of their choice or to hold them to account. “It is manifestly clear now that the latest process of scrutiny of candidates is a witch-hunt aimed at harassing and humiliating candidates,” the Executive council of the Commission said in a statement on Saturday. “It undermines the essence of what democracy entails and shows a complete lack of faith in the people’s right and ability to choose their representatives.” Several candidates for the coming general elections, scheduled for May 11, have complained of being bombarded with inappropriate and provoking questions during scrutiny of candidacy paper, with some queries relating to religious text and others to personal issues. For the second time this week, the HRCP slammed the conduct of the returning officers (ROs) in the scrutiny process of nomination papers of electoral candidates. “The completely arbitrary barring of candidates by returning officers at this scale cannot be without instructions and encouragement to take this tack. HRCP sees a clear and systematic

Raisani not contesting polls

Iran nuclear talks end without agreement

British woman killed in Held kashmir

Q UE T TA: Former Chief Minister Balochistan Nawab Aslam Raisani on Saturday decided not to contest the upcoming general elections in the country. “I would remain in politics but I would not become part of assembly,” he told reporters. Raisani said he did not submit his nomination papers deliberately. The former Chief Minister also expressed concern over what he called “irrelevant” questions by Returning Officers. “In such this situation I cannot become part of the legislature,” he added. Nawab Raisani, who is also a strong tribal chieftain, stated that the people of his constituency have always supported and voted for him. “People cannot be distanced from me,” he said. –AGENCIES

Musharraf ’s woes continue to increase I SLAM ABAD: Former dictator General (retd) Pervez Musharraf woes continue to increase Saturday as his nomination papers were challenged from Karachi and Islamabad. Moreover, another petition was filed in the Supreme Court seeking proceedings against him under Article 6 for illegally placing judges of the superior courts under house arrest. This is the second petition calling to begin treason proceedings against the former president in as many days. Filed by Abdul Hakeem Khan, former vice-chairman of the Pakistan Bar Council, the petition accused Musharraf of employing terror tactics through the state’s apparatus on May 12, 2007. It said Musharraf ’s action against Chief Justice Iftikhar was declared void by the Supreme Court on July 20, 2007, adding that the former ruler again

imposed martial law in the country through his November 3, 2007 emergency order. The petition, which makes Musharraf as well as the federal government (via the law ministry) parties in the case, added that the former president also subverted the Constitution in 1999 by ousting the government of then premier Nawaz Sharif. Former Karachi nazim Niamatullah Khan filed an objection statement to the Returning Officer (RO) at the city court over the nomination papers of Pervez Musharraf who is hoping to contest from NA-250 in the coming general election. Speaking to reporters, Niamatullah said: “We are objecting over the fact that Musharraf violated the Constitution twice during his rule, sacked the chief justice and is answerable in the Bugti murder case and the Lal Masjid operation. How can such a man contest in the election?” –AGENCIES

EU says positions remain far apart  Tehran seeks CBMs from world powers

AL M ATY, K azakh s t an: Iran and six world powers failed to reach agreement Saturday on an approach to reducing fears that Tehran might use its nuclear technology to make weapons, with the EU's foreign policy chief declaring that the two sides "remain far apart on substance." Expectations that the negotiations were making progress rose as an afternoon session was extended into the evening. But comments by the two sides made clear that they failed to make enough headway to qualify the meeting as a success.

"What matters in the end is substance, and ... we are still a considerable distance apart," Catherine Ashton, the European Union's head of foreign policy, told reporters at the end of the two-day talks. Ashton said negotiators would now consult with their capitals. She made no mention of plans for a new meeting – another sign that the gap dividing the two sides remains substantial. Chief Iranian negotiator Saeed Jalili spoke of "some distance between the positions of the two sides." He suggested Iran was ready

to discuss meeting a key demand of the other side – cutting back its highest-grade uranium enrichment production and stockpile – but only if the six reciprocated with concessions far greater than they are now willing to make. Iran's 20 percent enriched uranium is just a step away from weapons-grade uranium. Stopping its production and shipping out most of it would keep Iran's supply below the amount needed for further processing into a weapon. The six – the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany – say the Islamic Republic

must meet its demand on 20 percent uranium, and make that move first, to build confidence that its nuclear program is peaceful. But Iran wants greater rewards for any concessions that the six are ready to give. They have offered to lift sanctions on Iran's gold transactions and petrochemical trade. But Tehran wants much more substantial sanctions relief. It seeks an end to international penalties crippling its oil trade and financial transactions. Jalili questioned that it was up to Iran to make the first step, saying it was up to the six powers to

Published by Ahmad Waleed from Yasmeen Majeed Printing Press 69 Cricket Stadium Rawalpindi.

demonstrate their "willingness and sincerity." He urged them to "take appropriate confidencebuilding steps in the future" – shorthand for Iran's request to lift major sanctions and offer other concessions. The talks already seemed to run into trouble shortly after they began Friday with a Western diplomat saying Iran's response to the offer from the group fell short of what the six wanted and instead amounted to a "reworking" of proposals it made last year at negotiations that broke up in disagreement. –AGENCIES

The spokesman  

of the people 07-04-2013