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rabi-us-Sani 30, 1434 I Islamabad/rawalpindi I Vol, V, No. 328 I

wEdNESdAy march 13, 2013


Pages 12 I Price 10/-

It was a religious hate crime. Period. MOHAMMED RIZWAN LAHORE: In the aftermath of Joseph Colony arson and vandalism, the place looks like a Palestinian settlement in Gaza or closer to home something like a Jalozai camp where the evicted Christians have been accommodate in large tent canopies provided by the Punjab government and NGOs of all shades and hues are ‘working’ in front of cameras. Just across the tent city, no less than 400 construction workers are busy raising the community virtually from the ashes. The deadline to contractors given by the Punjab Chief

Minister Shahbaz Sharif is March 16 and the compensation money – Rs 500,000 per household – has been delivered to the affectees. The latest from this land of ‘impure’, however, is a stunner. The police that acted with speed of light in registering the 295-C FIR against Savan Masih, has not so far arrested Shahid Imran, the man who accused Savan of blasphemy. Not arresting him is like ignoring the most critical piece of evidence that could clearly separate chafe from the wheat. Also if the accuser is arrested and his accusation turn out to be false, the

police is bound to register a Qazaf case against Shahid Imran. On the heels of this tragic incident, the media especially electronic kicked up such thick sheet of haze that it was almost impossible to find and reach to the truth. Opinions were flying like dirt and various showmen advanced their favourite themes pretending to tell the nation – the ultimate truth. The most favourite theory is – it was a case of land grabbing. Some say it has something to do with political score settling after scrap dealer market elections. The cocophny is intense.

But certainly not many in the media have been talking to the victims. These homeless people deny any involvement of land grabbers and also they deny any knowledge of fallout from trader market elections. They say, and that sounds closer to the truth if you walk that turf, it was a hatecrime triggered by bigotry and unleashed on the economically most downtrodden class of the society. The combination of local madressah students with Pathan labourers working in scrap market proved fatal for the wretched community. The media now, is trying to save the

so called ‘soft image’ by advancing and propagating theories of land-grab or trader election just to hide the ugly face of religious extremism. Now, a word on police. According to the SHO badami Bagh, who stands suspended after the Supreme Court took suo moto action and issued warning to police high-ups, it was the knee-jerk reaction of the police force and their political masters. The police was issued clear instructions not to ‘interfere’ fearing stronger backlash from the religious community who were bent upon ravaging the community. It was classic Punjab

police tactic to appease and pacify the religious sentiment. The arrest of Savan Masih the same night was also done on the instructions of police chiefs of the city who had got it cleared with political high-ups. “Now they are trembling and searching for a scapegoat. And they got that goat in the form of low-ranking police officers,” said Hafiz Majid, now suspended SHO Badami Bagh. The Investigation Officer on the case SI Rana Shabbir told The Spokesman that the accuser Imran Shahid is fugitive but there is a ‘talk by his family’ that he wanted to take back his accusation.

changes in nomination papers

SNEAK PEEK Vcs rue lack of education funding across country

SC puts weight behind ECP

The vice chancellors of universities across the country on Tuesday cobbled their thoughts together to bring reforms in the higher education sector. They also discussed the current funding situation during their executive committee meeting held in Islamabad. Page 02

Says Election Commission can amend forms  Calls for ensuring timely elections MASOOD REHMAN

Senate stops reappointment, extension of ombudsman The upper house of the parliament on Tuesday passed two legislative pieces, including “The Federal Ombudsmen Institutional Reforms Bill, 2013” and “The Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (Amendment) Bill, 2013”. Page 04

landi Kotal still suffers from terrible skin disease The disease of leishmaniasis has turned into an epidemic in Landi Kotal and the adjacent areas as thousands of local tribesmen, including a large number of children, have been infected by Leishmania, a parasite. The most affected areas of the region are Torkham, Gagra, Mulagori, Ashkhel and Walikhel, hospital sources said. Page 05

rabia and Shehzad Sheikh to star in lollywood’s Hijrat Super model Rabia Butt has now got the chance to flaunt her acting skills along with actor Shehzad Sheikh both playing lead roles in directorial debut of Farooq Mengal, entitled ‘Hijrat’. Rabia Butt is a known fashion model who has set many fashion runways on fire with her sensuous catwalk and appealing beauty. Film Hijrat portrays human rights issues in Pakistan and is a romantic flick. Page 10

Eight-century Galle Test draws Sri Lanka's Kumar Sangakkara completed his second century of the match before the opening Test against Bangladesh ended in a tame draw on the fifth and final day in Galle on Tuesday. Page 11

LAHORE: Victims of the Badami Bagh burning gather as many political personalities including Imran Khan visited Joseph Colony.

Govt in a fix over Balochistan 

Talks on caretaker setups gain momentum


ISLAMABAD: The federal government seemed to be in a fix over the political situation in Balochistan as the Chief Minister Nawab Aslam Raisani has declined to step down. Sources said the situation in the province stands all the more complicated with the chief minister not willing to dissolve the assembly before the stipulated time if his government is not restored. The members of the Balochistan Assembly met here Tuesday with Khurshid Shah in the chair but to no avail, as the members demanded Raisani to resign from his office. The sources said Raisani insisted Balochistan assembly would complete its constitutional term, saying he will not move any advice to the governor for the dissolution of assembly prior to April 6. In face of resistance on part of Raisani, the sources said, the government is likely to get the Governor’s Rule in the province endorsed from the joint session of the Parliament to be called on March 14. In case the government did not come into action, the order of enforcing Governor’s Rule in the province would expire on March 14 and the Raisani government will automatically get restored. Meanwhile, efforts for setting up of caretaker setups, both at federal and provincial levels, gained momentum as former political adversaries group together to plan and implement. Punjab CM Shahbaz Sharif on Tuesday wrote a letter to Opp Leader Raja Riaz and

invited names for the caretaker setup. The PML-N has already warned that if Balochistan and Sindh failed to form neutral caretaker governments, then the Punjab would not dissolved Assembly on March 16, meaning elections for provincial and national assemblies may not be held on same day. Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah and opposition leader have started consultations for the formation of the caretaker government in the province. Sources said CM Shah and Governor Sindh Dr Ishrat Ul Ebad Khan met thrice during 12 hours, after which the chief minister sought the opposition leader in Sindh assembly Syed Sardar Ahmed to hand him names for the caretaker chief minister. There are reports that the new dispensation is expected to consist of ten ministers and two advisers, of which six ministries may come from MQM and remaining four from PPP. Advisers will be taken one each from PML-Q and PMLFunctional. The sources said the provincial caretaker government is likely to be announced on Friday. In KP, CM Hoti has contacted opposition leader Akram Khan Durrani for generating the process of caretaker setup for Province, which brings forth the names of Supreme Court’s Justice (Retd) Sardar Raza Khan, senatorcum- bureaucrat Shakeel Durrani, former I.G Abbas Khan, and former chief secretary Azam Khan.

Four cops gunned down in Karachi KARACHI: At least four police personnel were killed in separate attacks, apparently in a move to terrorise the major law enforcement agency of the port city of Karachi. According to reports, unidentified armed men sprayed bullets at a police mobile near the Nazimabad No 7, killing two policemen on the spot. According to SSP Central Amir Farooqui, the vehicle was targeted through modern weapons. An another incident which happened within an hour of the first attack, the unknown gunmen opened fire at two policemen in the Kala Pul area of the city, killing both of them on the spot. Governor Ishratul Ibad has ordered the IGP to submit a report on the killings within 24 hours. DIG West Shahid Hayat, however, refuted that the cops were targeted for being members of the police force. Hayat said the assassinated personnel were in plain clothes and the attack might be result of their personal enmity. “Had the police being the target, the cops roaming in the area in police uniform would have attacked” he held. Hayat further said both, though deployed in the DHA Police Station they were not on duty during the attack. –AGENCIES

ISLAMABAD: Giving a categorical to the Election go-ahead Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to ensure holding of free, fair and transparent general elections, the Supreme Court Tuesday observed that the Commission was fully authorized under the constitution to amend the nomination forms and also make other necessary changes. A three-member bench led by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, while hearing pleas seeking electoral forms, directed the ECP to ensure timely holding of the upcoming general elections. The court noted that it had already interpreted Article 218(3) of the Constitution in its June 8, 2012 judgment making it clear that the Election Commission was charged with the duty to 'organize' and 'conduct the election'. The court said the language of the Article implies that the Election Commission is responsible not only for conducting the election itself, but also for making all necessary arrangements for the said purpose, prior to the election day. It said by conferring such responsibility on the Election Commission, the constitution ensures that all activities both prior, on and subsequent to election day, that are carried out in anticipation thereof, adhere to standards of justness and fairness, are honest, in

accordance with law and free from corrupt practices. The court noted that it had also already observed in a case that election is a process which starts with the issuance of the election programme and consists of the various links and stages, as for example, filing of nomination papers, their scrutiny, the hearing of objections and the holding of actual polls. It said if any of these links is challenged it really tantamount to challenging the said process of election. It said it (court) had interpreted that the phrase 'conduct of the election' as having "wide import" and including all stages involved in the election process. The court made it clear that these observations subject all election related activities that take place between the commencement and the end of the election process to the jurisdiction conferred on the Election Commission under Article 218(3). “The Election Commission therefore has to test all election related activities that are carried out in the relevant period, both individually and collectively, against the standards enumerated therein”, the court ruled. The court said the Election Commission may also exercise its powers in anticipation of an ill that may have the effect of rendering the election unfair.

Ec mulls polls under new laws ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has started preparation of an ordinance pertaining to electoral reforms which would be sent to the caretaker prime minister for approval once the interim government is established as it looked firm to hold forthcoming general elections under new electoral reforms. According to ECP member Justice (retd) Riaz Kayani, an ordinance of electoral reforms is being prepared which would be sent to caretaker prime minister for approval soon after the establishment of interim government. Talking to media here on Tuesday, Riaz Kayani said on the advice of caretaker prime minister, the president would be bound to promulgate the ordinance within 15 days. He said the electoral reforms are necessary to ensure holding of free and fair elections. Kayani said if government failed to provide Rs 4 billion then it would be difficult to hold elections in time, adding that he doesn't expect the releasing of funds from the current government. However, he hoped that the caretaker government would issue the funds. –STAFF REPORT

Of much legislation and MPs venom at Fakhru Bhai PrESS GAllEry SAEED MINHAS

ISLAMABAD: With the first ever smooth transition of power insight, ruling and opposition members of the parliament alike are becoming restlessand besides trying to glean information about a caretaker premier from their moles, parliamentarians are more scared these days of the tone and tenor of Fakhru Bhai and his four comrades than anything else. Members in the Senate and NA are wondering what the Election Commission of Pakistan is really upto.

Smart ones amongst them are still pushing legislative business of interest through both the houses. There have been more than two dozen bills passed alone in the last two sessions of both the houses as compared to only half a dozen in the past one year. Following Chaudhry Nisar, Farooq Naek and others in the almost out National Assembly, senators —those too from People’s Party — hurled venom at Justice Fakhuruddin Ibrahim and his “Char Piyarey” for criticizing parliamentarians. As Jahangir 'Baddarrr' (the way he pronounces his own name in pure Lahori accent) was

informing the Upper House that quiet diplomacy had begun between chief ministers, People’s Party and Election Commission to ensure dissolution of all assemblies on the same day, People’s Party senators just pounced on ECP for berating members of Parliament and even the president. Saeed Ghani then tried to move an Adjournment Motion in the House against the Election Commission for breaching the privilege of the parliament by ordering the printing of newly proposed nomination papers without even waiting for the consent of the president. Though the motion was

opposed by the leader of House in the Senate (Baddarrr), members from all sides went on to discuss the matter for well over an hour to convey to Fakhru Bhai that he too could be called into question if he did not stop calling legislators thieves and plunderers. Maula Bux Chandio, another People’s Party minister, went a step further to defend Mr. President by suggesting to Fakhru Bhai that if the ECP could say that approval from the government was just a formality, "we can also say that the oath we take from the president is a formality too. By saying this, the ECP violates the Constitution.”

Others, who could no longer have their potential voters hired in government departments just before the elections, called the ECP a hijacker of the constitution. Then the issue of backdoor channels resurfaced in the House. Backdoor channels have not only sprung open for the ECP, provincial and federal governments, there were other gates which have never shut in Pakistan’s treacherous parliamentary history. What Baddarrr forgot to mention was his latest call on Hina Rabbani Khar. What Baddarrr also missed were the hectic and somewhat sweaty details of goings on between Khursheed Shah, deposed

chief minister of Balochistan Nawab Raisani, Balochistan Governor Nawab Magsi and some of the core members of the president’s team at Khursheed Shah’s house. The question of calling a joint session to extend the Governor’s Rule in Baluchistan was also discussed, as well as the fear that restoring Raisani might bring the sit-in forces back to Quetta. Gone are the days when Baddarrr used to be the first guy to know all this all through Naheed Baaji and also gone are the days when he was the one who used to do such wheeling and dealings on behalf of Late Benazir Bhutto.


500,000 saplings to be planted during federal campaign OUR STAFF REPORTER

ISLAMABAD: In an effort to preserve the green character of the federal capital, the Capital Development Authority kicked off Spring Tree Plantation Campaign on Tuesday, during which 500,000 saplings will be planted across Islamabad. CDA Chairman Tahir Shahbaz formally inaugurated the campaign by sapling a plant at the green belt between E-10 and E-11 sectors. CDA Board members, officers and officials,

environmentalists, children from different educational institutions, special children, representatives from NGOs, police officials and people from all walks of life were the participants of the colourful event. Speaking on the occasion, Tahir Shahbaz said that the tree plantation was their national as well as religious responsibility as deforestation has increased the demand of tree plantation on huge level to meet the required green cover for the better environment. He said that the participation of the children

highlights the importance of the event as they were the true catalyst of change who would reinforce efforts of the stakeholders for the conservation of the environment and further beautifying it. The CDA chairman said that strict monitoring should be carried out to ensure maximum survival of the planted saplings. He said that the protection of the saplings during this drive should be taken as challenge by both CDA and the residents of the capital city, so that this drive could be turned into a success. “Today’s green

Islamabad is the outcome of laborious and consistent efforts of CDA employees, which they made during the successive regimes by planting, protecting and nourishing the trees,” he said. Shahbaz said that the authority was focusing on planting the indigenous species, especially fruit and flowering trees including Chir, Pine, Kachnar, Amaltas, Dhreak, Jacaranda, Olive, Jaman and apple etc. The CDA chairman was apprised by CDA Environment Member Dr Kazim Niaz that the

environment wing was working hard to increase the green cover and preserve the green character of the federal capital, adding that about 500,000 saplings would be planted in urban and regional areas during the spring campaign About 165,000 saplings would be planted in urban areas including green belts, avenues, parks, whereas 355,000 saplings would be planted in Margalla Hills National Park area and Simly catchment area. In door to door campaign, CDA would distribute 20,000 fruit plants among the

Jalib still alive with his fans

Dengue campaign in rural areas next week


I SLAMABAD: The District Administration of Islamabad has decided to launch a dengue prevention campaign in remote areas of federal capital from next Monday. Deputy Commissioner Islamabad Amir Ali Ahmed while chairing a special meeting reviewed the arrangements for the campaign, which would continue for a week. During the campaign immediate action would be taken at high risk areas and the locals would be briefed on the preventive measures of the deadly virus. ONLINE

Lack of parking facilities capital’s main problem I SL AM ABAD: Parking facilities in the commercial areas of the federal capital have always been a matter of concern but the phenomena is heading for a point of no return. Lack of parking facilities in the commercial areas of Karachi Company, Peshawar Morr, Jinnah Super, Blue Area, Aabpara and Melody are becoming problematic for the commuters by the day. People who come for shopping in these areas have to wait for hours to park their vehicles. The largest commercial markets of Karachi Company, Peshawar Morr, Blue Area, Melody and Jinnah Super lack appropriate parking places for cars and other four-wheelers because the parking slots in these areas are always packed with motorbikes. This also creates many troubles for the pedestrians. ONLINE

Broken roads a serious threat to motorists I SLAMABAD: Several roads of the federal capital,which have been broken or are deteriorating owing to heavy traffic, are causing serious troubles for motorists. The roads in question are said to have developed potholes, which pose a serious threat to small vehicles and their drivers. The main IJ Principal Road from Pirwadhai Chowk to Faizabad is one of such roads where potholes have popped up owing to frequently plying heavy traffic. Likewise, the road from Sector I-11 to 7Up Chowk is also in an ugly shape, and gives the look of an under-construction thoroughfare at various places. "The condition of the road near the Islamabad Railway Station is very bad, where many vehicles have met with accidents merely due to potholes and bumpy sections," said Talha Nadeem, a resident of I-10/2, who uses this road to get to his office in the Blue Area every day. ONLINE

Illegal cattle pens pose health hazards I SL AM ABAD: Mushrooming cattle pens in Gulzar Qaid have become a source of perpetual nuisance for the residents. Every where illegal cattle pens are operating in the area and urination by the buffaloes and cows and waste have turned the area into breeding ground of mosquitoes, said Ajmal Khan a retired government employee. Every night of our life turns into sleepless night as mosquitoes continue to zoom in all the rooms and bite us, said Muhammad Sharif a resident. We are facing the fear of spread of dengue fever, he added. ONLINE

residents of G-6, G-7, I-9 and I-10 sectors. He said that the CDA would not only provide saplings but also provide assistance in their plantation. To boost efforts for raising awareness to highlight the importance of trees and conservation of environment, CDA also organised walk from F-11/3 to E-11/4, the planting site. The CDA chairman led the walk, participated by students, representatives of NGOs, traders, special children, civil society, citizens committees, environmentalists and others.

ISLAMABAD: People travelling on donkeys and animal-driven carts in a village near the federal capital as a motorist drives by in an SUV. ONLINE

VCs rue lack of education funding across country 

Meeting urges government to implement Senate Committee of Education and Training’s decisions


ISLAM ABAD: The vice chancellors of universities across the country on Tuesday cobbled their thoughts together to bring reforms in the higher education sector. They also discussed the current funding situation during their executive committee meeting held in Islamabad. Those who attended the meeting included HEC Chairman Dr. Javed Leghari, Quaid-iAzam Universit VC Professor Dr. Muhammad Masoom Yasinzai, Balochistan University of Information Technology VC Engineer Dr. Ahmed Farooq Bazai, Sardar Bahadur Khan Women’s University VC Sultana Baloch, Karakoram International University VC Professor Dr. Najma Najam, Kohat University

of Sciences and Technology VC Nasir Jamal Khattak and University of Haripur VC Dr. Nasser Ali Khan. It was discussed in the committee meeting that various development projects in the universities are delayed due to lack of funding. According to the committee members that due to the current funding situation, the universities will be turned like the private sector schools where the parents do not prefer to admit their children. They suggested that the government should implement the decisions made at a Senate Standing Committee of Education and Training meeting regarding the issue of funds. The committee agreed to formulate unified policies regarding the performances of vice chancellors and heads of higher education

institutes by discussing that likewise the faculty members, the vice chancellors should also have a proper policy regarding their evaluation. According to the committee’s suggestion, policy guidelines would also be prepared to support and facilitate the disabled students for their higher education, which would be in conformity with the national policy with special emphasis over prevention of separate quota or reserved seats, fee concessions and provisions of supporting material like books. The policy would be forwarded to all public and private sector institutions for implementation. The committee also discussed the preservation of Federal Quota Policy 2012 for admissions in federal universities, and recommended that the universities implement it as according to the policy.

Everyone can’t buy education OUR STAFF REPORTER

I SL AMABAD. Approximately 45 million people in the country live below the ‘poverty line’ and thus 90 million people may not have the ‘purchasing power’ to buy education. It was consensus at a day-long national conference held in the federal capital. The event was organised by the Pakistan Coalition for Education and entitled “Privatisation of Education: National Scenario”. Such statistics present an alarming situation and highlight the essential and dire need of state sponsored education throughout the country. The right to education is considered to be a basic civil liberty across the globe and the responsibility of ensuring this right undoubtedly lies with the state. The panel of speakers at the conference consisted of many

eminent educationists, bureaucrats and politicians, many of whom had held important posts in the past. The perils associated with commercializing education were observed by most speakers. Aziz Kabbani, Director Education Foundation, emphasized that a child ‘cannot become a means to an end’ and that the stigma attached to public schools is unwarranted.He lamented the commercialization of parenting and education and said that studies carried out in the West have also shown that privatisation in the education sector has resulted in depriving the child of his rights; parents are expected to act as ‘risk managers’ which presents a sad state of affairs. The speakers however highlighted considerations for a Public-Private partnership in this regard. It was argued that public welfare must be the state’s foremost consideration

however a context specific partnership could be devised suited to the needs of the region. Towards the end of the seminar Mr Arshad Nafees Khan presented the concluding views; outlining feasible low cost private schooling plans, encouraging microfinance and local entrepreneurs to support the education sector of Pakistan. Zehra Arshad, National Coordinator of PCE presenting the closing remarks stated that the government should not hide from its responsibilities by promoting privatization. The state should be a provider of education rather than a facilitator. As the preference for private school education becomes more widespread in Pakistan, the debate on the relative merits of public and private education in the country has gained increasing relevance and importance to headbut the thorny issue.

ISLAMABAD: It has been exactly 20 years since revolutionary Urdu poet Habib Jalib passed away on March 12, 1993. However, his poetry remains alive with his fans and followers across Pakistan. Jalib, born in 1928 in Hoshiarpur (now in India), migrated to Pakistan after the 1947 partition of the subcontinent. He started his career by working at an Urdu newspaper and soon gathered countrywide attention through his trenchant poetry which was progressive and leftist in orientation. The late poet believed in the Marxist Leninist model of the state and this reflected to a great extent in his work. However, his foremost subject in poetry remained the suffering and agony of the downtrodden in society. He was highly critical of the military dictatorship of General Ayub Khan and advocated for a democratic state in which the rights of the people were safeguarded. Jalib was also imprisoned twice for his views and opinions which caught immense attention and applause in many circles. His fearlessness in the face of the oppressor will remain praiseworthy and inspirational for generations to come. Pakistan Academy of Letters Chairman Abdul Hameed said that Habib Jalib, who enjoy the status of being the true spokesman of people’s expectations and feelings, undoubtedly holds an unparalleled status in Urdu literature. Meanwhile, an evening titled “Shaam-e-Sukhan” was arranged at Kuch Khaas for all theatre and literature lovers. The event opened with a recital of some of the most loved and well-known versus of the late Habib Jalib that highlighted the poet’s resilient spirit in the face of oppression and injustice. The prose included both satire and humor. The evening also featured classical melodies played live on the tabla and sitar. Sajawal Khan, a young and famous table player from the Punjab Gharana played some classical melodies that were thoroughly applauded by the audience. The event was organised by Theatre Walay in collaboration with the Kuch Khaas. The Theatre Walay is a company consisting of amateur artists, including directors, writers, actors, graphic artists, set designers and technicians who have been performing plays since 2005.

Judge detaches himself from NRO bench STAFF REPORTER

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Tuesday adjourned for indefinite period hearing of the National Reconciliation Ordinance implementation case after Justice Nasirul Mulk withdrew himself from the bench. The bench headed by Justice Nasirul Mulk and comprising Justice Ather Saeed and Justice Amir Hani Muslim was hearing a case pertaining to implementation of apex court’s verdict in the NRO case. During the hearing, Justice Nasirul Mulk decided to detach himself from the case saying that he had announced a verdict in Peshawar High Court on the same point. He said he had given a judgment in the case against Adnan Khawaj and Ahmd Riaz Sheikh. He justified that the aforesaid verdict was proving a hurdle in his way and that was why he had decided to detach him from the bench. He requested the court to refer the matter to the chief justice to refer the matter to any other bench for further hearing. Before his withdrawal from the bench, the bench rejected a plea of former attorney general Malik Qayyum seeking removal of his name from the NRO implement case. Malik Qayyum’s lawyer Waseem Sajjad said that the issue regarding petition for review had come to an end.

It’s a free-for-all in Capital Development Authority SALMAN ABBAS

ISLAMABAD: Non-Teaching Staff at a sit-in for their demands outside National Press Club. ONLINE

ISLAMABAD: Fear of losing powers after few days has compelled some of the lawmakers to use different tools for getting their legal and even illegal work done. Same was noticed during the parliamentary meetings on cabinet secretariat held recently in which lawmakers urged the city managers to even take some unjustified steps just to assist some blue-eyed personalities. Sources in the CDA told The Spokesman that political personalities seems active in taking rounds of CDA offices nowadays for getting their different works done. The official said that the best tool for some

lawmakers who wants to get some illegal favours from the CDA was either sending a tout mafia’s to senior CDA officials or by putting the civic body officials under pressure during the parliamentary committee meetings. On March 4, the Senate Standing Committee on Cabinet Secretariat forced the city managers to issue a no-objection certificate (NoC) to a private housing society for the development of land, despite the fact that the society does not control the required amount of the land. In a said meeting, Senator Kalsoom Perveen ignored all the violations of private society and also given warnings to CDA Planning and Design Member Mustafain Kazmi when he


informed the committee that the management of the housing society had submitted a layout plan for the development of a housing scheme on an area of 2,600 kanals, while it only holds possession of 1,900 kanals. He had said that the society not only faces shortage of 700 kanals, but has yet to submit the engineering design and environmental protection certificate for phase-II. Performance of NA subcommittee which was formed to resolve the issues pertaining to illegal Afghan Basti in Sector I/11 is also in front of all as no one can even demolish a single house in the illegal settlement. The sources said that the failure of the committee showed that it might also be a political trick to put the city

managers under pressure and get works done. On March 6, National Assembly Standing Committee on Cabinet Secretariat asked the CDA chairman to give the timeframe for allotment of industrial plot to an individual in Sector I/11 despite the fact that the industrial plot can only be sold out through open auction under the Land Disposal Policy 2005. During the meeting, MNA Dewan Bukhari while criticising the civic body for its reluctant in allotting plot to the individual said to the CDA chief that he would not be the MNA after March 16. Despite repeated attempts made by this correspondent, Senator Kalsoom and MNA Dewan Bukhari were not available for their comments.


A rash of bills continues in National Assembly Kasuri brushes aside US ‘sanctions’ LAHORE: Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf central leader and former federal minister Khurshid Mahmood Kasuri has said that Pakistan should not be scared of US threats of sanctions and complete its gas project as these curbs would not hurt Pakistan’s interests. He was talking to the media at a local hotel here on Tuesday. Ijaz Ahmed Chaudhry, Dr Yasmeen Rashid, Shabbir Sayyal, Rai Azizullah and Dr Atid-ud-Din were also present on the occasion. During the press conference, PTI South Punjab presdeident Noor Muhammad Bhabha, North Punjab president Sadaqat Ali Abbasi, General Secretary Hina Manzoor, West Punjab president Rai Hassan Nawaz and general secretary Faizullah jointly nominated Ijaz Ahmed and Dr Yasmeen Rashid respectively for president and general secretary slots in the coming provincial level party elections. Khurshid Kasuri said only the UN’s sanctions could hurt Pakistan’s interests. He said the party leaders and workers were striving for changing the fate of Pakistan under the leadership of Imran Khan. He said the PTI would clean sweep in coming general elections. Speaking on the occasion, Ijaz Ahmed and Dr Yasmeen Rashid said that Imran Khan has made a history by conducting intraparty elections. They said Imran Khan would administer oath from more than 80,000 PTI office-bearers at Minar-e-Pakistan on March 23. They said the PTI has become the largest popular political entity in Pakistan as it had registered more than 10 million members. STAFF REPORT

General election on May 8, says Manzoor Wassan KARAC HI: Provincial Minister for Jails, Minerals and Natural Resources, Manzoor Wassan has maintained that assemblies will be dissolved on March 16 and the new elections would be held on May 08. He expressed these views while addressing a public gathering in Khairpur district here on Tuesday. He said that agreements regarding Gawadar port and Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline are of international importance in nature. ONLINE

Lawyers boycott over Badami Bagh incident LAHORE: Lawyers have boycotted the courts’ proceedings while showing solidarity with Christian community over Badhami Bagh incident in which dozens of houses were set on fire on Saturday by miscreants who had lust for the land under the curtain of blasphemous allegations. Following the Badami Bagh mayhem, the Punjab Bar Association appealed the lawyers throughout the province to go on strike while sympathizing with Christian people who were victimized by criminals. ONLINE

Graduation Day at AM Anglo Montessori RAWALPINDI: A scintillating ceremony was held to mark the Graduation Day at the AM Anglo Montessori, School & College where the prep class promoted in class one in school section. The graduates in gowns and caps, smiling enchantingly had glowing faces and from the stage absorbed with thankfulness, the love radiating from the eyes of the parents. Mahpara Amiruddin, the Montessori incharge, thanked the parents for the excellent display of appreciation for the proud young graduates. She highlighted various activities that these toddlers underwent starting from the playgroup, the necessary educational standard and character development imparted to them. She said that the AM-Anglo was the first Montessori in Rawalpindi about 23 years ago and today the institution is a college and having a new girls campus. The administration thanked the parents for their cooperation and the Montessori staff for their devotion, dedication and wisdom. PR


ISLAMABAD: As the Election Commission of Pakistan is getting stricter on the potential candidates for the upcoming general elections with each passing day ahead of the general elections, the parliament seemed to have decided to facilitate them by all possible means as the National Assembly Tuesday unanimously passed a bill to exempt electoral candidates from personally appearing before returning officers at the time of filing nomination papers. The law would help all those sitting in jails prior to conviction and abroad in self-exile as they would be able to file their nomination papers through their proposer, seconder or by a

nominee. The law would also serve as a sigh of relief for those under security threat and have already limited their movement in public. The house passed “The Representation of Peoples (Amendment) Bill, 2013� to amend the Peoples Act, 1976. It was moved by Zahid Hamid of the PML-N but all the parties supported the same. The new law would undo the amendment in the Representation of People Act, 1976 made by former President Gen (Retd) Pervez Musharraf apparently to block former PPP head Benazir Bhutto and PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif, who were in selfexile at the time, from contesting 2008 general elections. “With this amendment in the ROPA 1976, the act will be restored to its previous

position enabling the candidates to avoid coming to the returning officer if there is any threat or other reason. Meanwhile, the house unanimously passed a bill for prohibition of corporal punishment against children. Moved by Dr. Attiya Inayatullah from the PML-Q, the bill said that “Any person who is guilty of inflicting corporal punishment on a child shall be punishable with imprisonment extending up to a maximum of one year or fine up to fifty thousand rupees or both�. The house passed another piece of legislation introduced by Dr. Attiya Inayatullah that deals with reproductive health care and rights bill in order to promote reproductive health care rights and provide

reproductive healthcare in accordance with the Constitution and International commitments made by the government under the convention on Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, and those to which Pakistan is a Sate party. Four bills were also introduced in the National Assembly. The bills included “The Islamabad Capital Territory Local Government Bill, 2013� provides for establishment of empowered local governments in Islamabad Capital Territory. It was moved by Shaikh Salahuddin. “The Legal Practitioners and Bar Council (Amendment) Bill, 2013� provides to amend the Legal Practitioners and Bar Councils Act, 1973. It was moved by Naseer Bhutta.

Mushahid vows to act as a bridge between military and mufti OUR STAFF REPORTER

KARACHI: Laborers dismantling damaged and weak portions of the bomb-stricken flats in Abbas Town. ONLINE

Senate stops reappointment, extension of ombudsman 

President to appoint acting ombudsman to be entitled to all privileges as admissible to ombudsman


ISLAMABAD: The upper house of the parliament on Tuesday passed two legislative pieces, including “The Federal Ombudsmen Institutional Reforms Bill, 2013� and “The Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (Amendment) Bill, 2013�. Senator Farooq H. Naek laid the first bill, regarding institutional reforms for standardising and harmonising the laws relating to the federal ombudsman’s institution, before the house. It was passed unanimously. As keeping into consideration the deficiencies and lacunae, the legislators felt the need for amendments to improve the working of the ombudsman’s offices. According to the bill’s objectives and reasons, the ombudsman would hold office for a period of four years and not be eligible for any job tenure extension or reappointment as the ombudsman under any circumstances. But the new bill allows the ombudsman to continue holding his office after the expiry of his tenure until his successor enters upon the office. It further maintained that at any time when

Parties asked to submit candidates for reserved seats STAFF REPORT

I S L AM ABA D: Election The Commission of Pakistan on Tuesday asked the political parties contesting the upcoming general elections to file separate lists of their candidates in order of priority for the seats reserved for women and non-Muslims in the National Assembly and the provincial assemblies with the respective Returning Officers by the date to be fixed for filing nomination papers. The ECP also appointed the Returning Officers for the seats reserved for Women and Non-Muslims in the National and Provincial Assemblies for General Elections-2013.

the office of the ombudsman is vacant or unable to perform his functions due to any cause, the president of the country would appoint an acting ombudsman, who would perform functions and exercise powers and be entitled to all privileges as admissible to the ombudsman. Till the time the acting ombudsman is appointed the office of the federal ombudsman would act as ombudsman and in case the federal ombudsman is absent or unable to perform functions of his office, the federal tax ombudsman would act as the federal ombudsman, in addition to his own duties. Regarding the removal of the ombudsman, the bill maintained, “An ombudsman may be removed from office through Supreme Judicial Council on the grounds of being incapable of properly performing duties of his office by reason of physical or mental incapacity or found to have been guilty of misconduct.� Once the bill turns into law, the ombudsman would not be allowed to hold any office of profit in the service of Pakistan other than a judicial or quasi-judicial office, before the expiry of two years after he ceased to hold

office even no to be granted to participate in political activities etc. The second bill aims at regulating the domestic capital market and safeguarding the interest of investors. It has already been passed by the National Assembly. After signatures of the president, it will become Act of the Parliament. The bill was introduced by Finance Minister Saleem Mandiwala. It says that the proposed amendments in the bill will remove certain practical difficulties experienced in protecting the enforcement and other related actions of the Commission and to ensure their continuity and effectiveness in connection with regulating the capital market and safeguarding the interest of investors. The bill further maintained that at the end of the cumulative period of five years, in case of the Term A Commissioners, or six years, in case of Term B Commissioners, the relevant number of commissioners would cease to hold office or any vacancy in SECP arising would in each case be filled by the appointment of the requisite number of qualified person as commissioners, each for a term of three years starting from the date of appointment.

ISLAMABAD: Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed, while hinting at redefining the national security paradigm of the nation, has vowed to play the role of a bridge between military and mufti. In a meeting with European Union’s defence attaches headed by Mr. Pierre Mayaudon, DHM, European delegation at the Parliament House, the chairman of the Senate Defence Committee observed, “The fear of strong and powerful has gone due to a free media, independent judiciary, vibrant civil society and a dynamic parliament.� He further said that the parliament is playing an assertive role keeping in view the emerging realities at national, regional and global level and the committee is revisiting the defence paradigm in light of the new realities. “A new and comprehensive defence policy strategy document will be prepared after seeking proposals and recommendations from all the stake holders,� said Mushahid. “The national security, in view of the changed scenario, needs broader definition.� He informed the delegation about the changed and expended role of the Parliament particularly mentioning the stand taken by the Parliament on Salala incident. He stated that the Parliament took a unanimous decision to redefine terms of engagement with United State and NATO and unanimously approved recommendations in this regard. He remarked that media is playing active role in shaping public opinion and citizen activism is being witnessed resulting in national cohesion on new issues. He said that contours of defence now include climate change, cyber warfare, terrorism, extremism which require comprehensive policies. He said that terrorism is a common enemy and a collective approach is direly needed to get rid of the menace and ensure regional and global peace. He said that we are facing the fallout of developments in the region. He hoped to build a good relationship with regional players since their destiny is intertwined. Mushahid briefed the defence attaches about the steps taken by the Committee and reiterated that the committee would act as bridge between khaki and mufti. Public hearings on core issues related to national security have been organized and seminars were being arranged to seek guidance from experts and scholars in different fields to finalize a comprehensive defence strategy document.

IHC seeks comment from top secretaries SALMAN ABBAS

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court on Tuesday sought comments from principal secretary to prime minister and secretary establishment on a contempt of court petition filed against them by a PAK-PWD official over delay in his promotion. Chief Justice Muhammad Anwar Khan Kasi was hearing the case filed by Superintending Engineer SM Zohair Khalid, who has cited the PM, Principal Secretary Ayub Qazi and Usman Taimoor Azmat as respondents. The counsel for the petitioner contended that his client was recommended for the post of chief engineer. “But the minister concerned only promoted Attul Haq whereas withheld the promotion of his client,� said the counsel. On June 24, 2011, the court directed the respondents to process the case of Zohair in accordance with law after which the H&W secretary moved a summary to the PM for seeking his approval on the recommendation of CSB regarding promotion of petitioner, contended the counsel.

LAHORE: Folk artists from Jacobabad perform at the Gypsy Mela at Children’s Complex. ONLINE

Scholars call for interfaith peace, harmony OUR STAFF REPORTER

RAWALPINDI: Graduation Day ceremony at AM Anglo Montessori School and College.

LAHORE: Peace and Harmony Network Pakistan, an association of scholars and representatives from different religions, on Tuesday called for interfaith peace and religious harmony in greater interests and asked the federal and provincial governments to expose faces of those behind the gruesome incident of religious intolerance in Punjab. Addressing a press conference at the Lahore Press Club, PHNP Chairperson Allama Pir Muhammad Zubair Abid, Secretary General

Javaid William, Maulana Abdul Wahab Roprri, NCJP National Director Emmanuel Yousaf, Dr Majeed Able and Taranjeet Singh condemned the mob attack on Christians in the Joseph Colony and called it a disservice to the religion and humanity as well. Allama Zubair Abid urged Muslims to give special care to all religious minorities in line with the teachings of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him). “We have to remember in our mind that Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) showed compassion towards

followers of other religions and took well care of neighbours,� he explained, and said that the Joseph Colony incident was clearly against the teachings of Islam. Javaid William appreciated the Punjab government for ordering a judicial inquiry into the incident and trial of the arsonists in the antiterrorism courts. To a question, the PHNP secretary general said that he would condemn the person who did blasphemy a million times, but there was no justification to punish 180 Christian families for an individual’s act. To another question, he said that

violent and destructive response cannot be justified in any circumstances. William pointed out that there was a need to find a legal framework to prevent actions that offend religious sentiments, incite violence or acts of violence and intolerance. On the occasion, he also condemned burning of the Holy Bible in the Christian houses, attacked by the violent mob. He said that there was a need to take steps to combat hatred and discrimination, and to promote coexistence among different religions and faiths to establish a harmonious society.


Seasonal labourers – wheat for survival (IV)

They get just 5 percent of per acre yield after two months of hard labour A causal worker says he hasn’t been paid last year’s wages yet


BAHAWALPUR: For labourers, the basic theme of involvement in wheat harvesting is to secure the basic food item for the entire year. There are so many crops where labour is involved but the wheat harvesting season is something different. It has been seen that the labourer also get the sufficient husk for their animals. The rate for their labour is different in various areas. In south Punjab, especially interior, the rate is very low. The farmer set a formula for the payment and majority of them give 50 kg to 70 kg per acre for cutting and threshing. In the local market, the wheat price is currently Rs 1,050 to Rs 1,100. It means the worker (or workers) will get around Rs 1,375 to Rs 1,890 for the whole process. If a healthy man does the job alone, then he will complete an acre in seven to eight days. If we go according to the daily wages at the rate of Rs 350 per day, a labourer can earn Rs 2,450 to Rs 2,800. But the case is quite opposite

Two drown as boat capsizes in Kandhkot KANDHKOT: Two people drowned while 3 were rescued when their boat capsized while fishing behind Lake View Park in the murky waters early Tuesday morning. As per details, five people were fishing when their boat capsized. Rescue workers managed to rescue three people while 2 drowned which included 35-year-old Fazil Sabzoi and 10-year-old Salah Majid Sabzoi. The two are said to be cousins. The dead body of 10 year old Salah has not been retrieved yet. –ONLINE

Snow Festival begins in Malam Jabba tomorrow RAWALPINDI: A-four day Swat Snow Festival 2013 will be held from tomorrow (March 14) at the famous skiing resort of Malam Jabba. According to ISPR, after the operation in Swat, the skiing resort has been rebuilt while the hotel adjacent to it will also be made functional in the next few months. The event includes skiing, gliding, snow trekking and Tobogganing. A large number of people from all walks of life from all over the country are expected to attend this festival. On the occasion, special skiing and gliding coaching-classes will be arranged for school and university students. Located nearly 40 km away from Saidu Sharif, Malam Jabba is an ideal spot for a family picnic during the summer season due to its lush green pastures and thick pine forests. –ONLINE

Edhi appeals to Zardari, Obama for Aafia's release KARACHI: Noted human rights activist Abdul Sattar Edhi on Tuesday visited the "10 years-10 days" camp at Karachi Press Club in connection to raise the issue of Dr Aafia Siddiqui on the completion of her first 10 years in the American imprisonment. Writing comments in the guest book on the occasion, he said: "I appeal to the US government to release Dr Aafia on humanitarian grounds.” “If any imprisonment is necessary he should be put in jail instead of Dr Aafia.” Edhi appealed to President Asif Ali Zardari and US President Obama to release Aafia. He said when the children of the nation show such a commitment, the future of the nation would be bright. He hoped that Dr Aafia would soon return home. –ONLINE

here, as usually the whole family participate in the process and hence a five-member family complete the one acre in two days. The simple calculation shows that these seasonal labourers earn much less than other casual labourers. “The farmer never gives the payment according the hard work, but we are bound to follow the ‘set principles’ as we need this season for the rest of the year,” says Maqbool Bhatti. Bhatti wants increase in wages or share. He explains his point, saying the majority of landlords give 18th or 20th part of the total per acre yield. “In many areas, the cutting and threshing are two different works with different wages, but both the activities are to be completed in south Punjab by the same labourers at minimum wages,” Bhatti added. If a family is already has a deal with farmer as his permanent workers (tenants), then they will have to carry out the job without any extra wages, as there are given 1/8 share of the produce. “We are bound to do everything from to preparing of land to

harvesting of crop, but we never receive the actual or sufficient wages,” Ghulam Nabi, a 45-year-old tenant said. Sometimes, the farmer sells out his total yield minus the stock for his own use and the labourers just receive the husk as the sole reward. However, there are some areas where the workers’ per acre share is set as 80 kg to 100 kg for cutting, threshing and packing the wheat. Mostly, the wheat is shifted to the

market while the husk dumped in the field. There are many examples where the farmer violates his own agreement regarding the wages. “The next wheat harvesting is just round the corner, but I am still waiting for my last year wages. Every time I repeat the demand, he just gives another date,” Hafiz Mehtab, a poor seasonal labourers, said. The season is very important for the both farmer and his workers.

suffered the huge loss.” “Since my grandfather, we are under debt to the farmer; therefore, we cannot move anywhere,” Wali added. One the other hand, a farmer blamed the government for the high rates of agricultural inputs. “We can’t afford paying extra to the labourers involved in harvesting. If we do so, what will we get,” Malik Qadir Bakhsh, a big landlord, said. During the wheat harvesting season, many local traditional festivals are arranged. ”Visakhi” (also pronounced as Bhisakhi) is the most popular festival of Punjab when the farmers and the wheat harvesting labourers enjoy the life with their families. The tired labourers along with their families visit the Visakhi festival and buy some sweets (like jalibiyan) and toys for their kids. After the completion of wheat harvesting, the labourers preserve their wheat for the entire year in a mud storage called “Kalhoti” and then start the search of new opportunities as routine. (Concluded)

Landi Kotal still suffers from terrible skin disease Over 2,000 fly-borne leishmaniasis patients reported so far Hospitals lack basic necessities to tackle the epidemic OUR STAFF REPORTER

KHYBER AGENC Y: The disease of leishmaniasis has turned into an epidemic in Landi Kotal and the adjacent areas as thousands of local tribesmen, including a large number of children, have been infected by Leishmania, a parasite. The most affected areas of the region are Torkham, Gagra, Mulagori, Ashkhel and Walikhel, hospital sources said. The thermo therapy technician in the Landi Kotal hospital, Haji Tahir, said hundreds of leishmaniasis patients were being providing medical treatment. Pointing scores of patients sitting outside his room for their turn, Tahir said the numbers patients was increasing day-by-day and the total had crossed the figure of two thousands in the ongoing year. “Every day, 10 to 12 patients are provided the therapy and one to three need medication for

recovery,” he added. Badshah Mir, a resident of Surkamr, Sarkai, of Tehsil Jamrud, who brought his four years old son Shakir to the Landi Kotal hospital for therapy treatment, said his son and a nephew had been suffering from the disease for the last one year. The Jamrud hospital is lacking of thermo therapy facilities; therefore; they have to travel 35 kilometres to Landi Kotal for treatment.” Another tribesman, Ihsanullah hailing from Khuga Khel who was buying injections from a private medical store for her minor daughter, said he was a poor taxi driver but he had no other choice as the hospital had no alternate treatment except therapy machine which had already been overburdened because of thousands of patients. He demanded the authorities concerned for immediate provision of another thermo therapy machine for smooth and

timely cure of the disease. Agency Headquarter Hospital Landi Kotal Medical Superintendent Dr Nazir Wazir said the high ups in the FATA Health Directorate had been briefed on the whole situation. The locals have demanded the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa governor, FATA health director and Khyber Agency political agent to provide with full set of needed things to tackle the disease. It is important to note that leishmaniasis is caused by the blood-feeding flies. They carry Leishmania, a parasite, which causes leishmaniasis. Its bite first turns into a permanent wound, while it remains as a permanent mark even after healing. The suggested precautionary measures include ensuring use of mosquito net and avoiding accumulation of water in streets and drains. In case of the signs of are noticed, it is necessary to contact the hospital at the earliest for a free test.

Roadworks inaugurated in Swabi OUR STAFF REPORTER

SWABI : Federal Minister for Communications Dr Arbab Alamgir Khan on Tuesday inaugurated the Karnal Sher Khan Interchange and Ghazi Interchange. Both the interchanges have recently been completed which will facilitate the people and traders of different regions of the district and periphery areas. Seven years, back it was former president Pervez Musharraf who laid the foundation of Karnal Sher Khan Interchange, aiming at making the people easily approach the Karnal Sher Khan Cadet College which is situated near the Ismaila Mountains. The Ghazi Interchange would facilitate

the people of Tehsil Ghazi, Tehsil Topi and all those who either work in or come to Ghulam Ishaq Khan Institute of Engineering Sciences and Technology, Tarbela Dam, Ghazi-Barotha Hydropower Project and Gadoon Amazai Industrial Estate. Arbab said a monument of Karnal Sher Khan would be constructed near the interchange, enabling the people of the country and foreigners to know about his bravery who gave his life for the motherland at the mountain peaks of Kargil. The minister said two bridges over Uch Khwar would be constructed along with the building of the dilapidated sections of the road which linked the interchange with the Karnal Sher Khan Cadet College.

SEPCO stops electricity to Larkana LARKANA: The WAPDA and SEPCO have halted electricity supply to the Larkana district without any announcement. The WAPDA and SEPCO officials have initiated a drive for removal of the newly-inducted meters, which were issued during installation of new ABC cables in Larkana. –ONLINE

Both schedule their main family activities after this season. Most of the people directly related to wheat business plan their children’s marriages after the wheat harvesting. That is why in south Punjab and interior Sindh, the April and May is the marriage season. One can say that wheat harvesting ultimately brings happiness in the lives of farmers and seasonal workers Many of the labourers plan building their house after earning during the season. Although they work out continuously for two months but they always or mostly end up with more debts. In Interior Sindh, the seasonal workers and the tenants (locally known as haris) always remain under debt. “My grandfather and a farmer had a deal for the cultivation of land. And now my sons and I are also working here on the same land,” Wali Muhammad, a hari, said. He added that during the floods in 2010-11, all the total crops were destroyed. “As we were also a shareholder with 1/8 share, we also

FAISALABAD: EPI vaccinators protest as they ask government for security during anti-polio campaigns, as Taliban have targeted health workers, especially women, in multiple attacks in various cities. –ONLINE

PESHAWAR: PPP activists protest outside Peshawar Press Club. Senior party workers are unhappy with recent nominations for various slots by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa President Anwer Saifullah. –ONLINE

‘Record development in Attock’ OUR STAFF REPORTER

AT TOCK: Record development projects have been under taken during the last five years at the cost of millions of rupees, which benefitted thousands of families in PP-19. This all could be made possible only because of the better strategy, leadership and good governance of Punjab Chief Minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif. MPA Malik Aetbar Khan said this while talking to The Spokesman at his residence in Village Khunda, about 80 km from Attock. Giving details of various development projects, he said initial work had been started on a bridge between Attock and Mianwali over Sawan River which would cost Rs 1305.811 million and link the two districts while facilitating thousands of travellers. He said various projects had been completed which included metalwork of 29 link roads at the cost of Rs 297.516 million, while missing facilities were provided to 101 schools at the cost of Rs 184.661 million. “Ten water supply schemes have been completed at the cost of Rs 61.572 million and a Basic Health Unit (BHU) has been built in Village Gulyal at the cost of Rs 11.280 million.” Aetbar said he tried his best for the development of his constituency and would bring his constituency at par with developed areas of the Punjab if voted to power again.

PPP stands for labour class: Kaira ISLAMABAD: Minister for Information and Broadcasting Qamar Zaman Kaira said on Tuesday that Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) was the party of labour and working class and it would continue to serve them. This he said while addressing the participants of a sit-in of Pakistan Ordinance Factory (POF) Wah employees at D Chowk, near Parliament House. He said Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf had given approval for regularisation of contract and casual employees of POF Wah Cantt. He said that the Prime Minister had issued directives to the Secretary Defence for regularization of casual employees of the POF Wah and summery in this connection will be moved to the regularization committee schedule to meet tomorrow. The prime minister, he added, also sent the case of up-gradation of POF employees to the POF board for approval as the board was the competent authority in this regard. He also said that the premier had given approval for grant of danger allowance to POF Wah employees. Kaira also announced that the government had accepted in principle the demand of the employees of the POF for revival of old medical facilities but for this

they will have to surrender medical allowance being given in the salary. Kaira also visited the sit-in camps of teaching and nonteaching staff of schools working under Federal Directorate of Education. About teaching staff demands, he said, that he will convey their demands to the Prime Minister and these will be considered for approval. At non-teaching staff camp, he said, their genuine demands will be accepted within 24 hours. Moreover, he said, that case for regularization of non-teaching staff will be tabled before Regularization committee headed Syed Khursheed Shah. He said that the people’s government has already regularised 250,000 contract employees and the nonteaching staff of the FDE would also be regularised as per policy. –AGENCIES

Irrigation Department employee goes missing

ANP hasn’t decided yet entering into alliance: Hoti

LARKANA: An employee of the Irrigation Department has allegedly gone missing. According to details, a missing irrigation employee (baildar) at Kirthar Canal Mukhtiar Ahmed Gopang, also the general secretary SITUMF, mysteriously went missing in the jurisdiction of Waleed Police Station Larkana on Sunday last. The relatives and SITUMF leaders and workers have expressed dissatisfaction over the performance of police and demanded of the DIG Larkana to take solid steps for his early recovery. –ONLINE

OUR STAFF REPORTER MARDAN: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Amir Haider Khan Hoti on Tuesday said that the ANP would never surrender to terrorists and the party workers have given great sacrifices for the security and better future of the country. Meanwhile, two PPPP leaders Arshad Khan and Haider Ali Khan Advocate - also announced to quit the party and joining the ANP. Talking to media persons in

Mardan, he said the ANP was on the frontlines in the war against terrorism and the party had so far lost around 800 workers, including Bashir Ahmad Bilour. He also strongly condemning the bomb blast near Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain’s house in Nowshehra. “We gave the basic right of development to Mardan as the previous rulers ignored the district during the last 60 years, Hoti said, adding that he was very happy to see

progress in Mardan and other parts of the province, especially in Education and health sectors. Hoti said the ANP had made no decision made so far to make an alliance with any other political party but the politics was an art of possibilities; therefore, regional and district-wise alliance as well as seat adjustment was possible with any party. He said the interim setup for the province would be decided in next two or three days as he was in touch with

all political forces in the province. The chief minister said he would do more for the development of district if the people of Mardan gave him another chance to serve them. On this occasion, the PPPP candidate for PK-23 and exchairman of District Council Mardan Arshad Khan joined ANP. Meanwhile, Hoti also addressed a gathering in Katlang where a senior PPPP leader and candidate for PK28 Haider Ali Khan Advocate joining the ANP.



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

Way to go, ECP The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) asserted its authority on Monday and sent the amended nomination papers for the upcoming general elections for printing without waiting endlessly for the formal approval of the President who had been sitting on the proposed draft since 3 February. The office of the federal law minister had raised objections to the amendments which require the candidates to submit their income and agricultural tax returns of the past three years, details of foreign trips undertaken by them during the period, details of expenditure of children studying abroad, a declaration of not having or applied for a foreign citizenship, details of their income and expenditure and a list of spouse and dependants. According to ECP member Riaz Kayani, ‘The chief election commissioner is determined not to let tax evaders, defaulters and those who got their loans written off or were indicted, to take part in elections’. The ECP had the constitutional authority to take the step that it took and it must be commended for taking a stand on the matter. This newfound independence should be the defining spirit of the commission in the run-up to the holding of elections. While chanting hollow mantras about free and fair elections, the established political parties and their traditional winning horses have been trying to subvert any meaningful reform of the electoral process. Recently, there was a hue and cry in the national assembly with parliamentarians across the political divide condemning the ECP for asking them to verify their educational qualifications. A large number of sitting parliamentarians had submitted forged degrees to the commission to contest the 2008 elections which required the candidates to hold a graduate degree. Similarly, quite a few members in the outgoing assembly were dual nationals who had contested the election illegally. A shamefully large percentage of parliamentarians were reported to be tax-dodgers while there are many who have defaulted on their loans or got them written off. Naturally, the amended nomination papers do not suit the entrenched political elite. In another related development, the government took no time in welcoming a European Union election observation mission. The Council of the European Union had made the offer on Monday and said that it is ready to assist by deploying an election observation mission. Since the restoration of democracy in 1988, foreign observers have been a regular feature of elections in the country. With big question marks looming over their capacity and objectives for making these assessments, the plethora of foreignfunded and controlled election watchers have done little more than giving certificates of approval for elections in the country, even when there were glaring indications of foul play. There is sufficient evidence to suggest that these observation missions and related NGOs act as tools of the imperialist agenda in developing democracies. The guarantee of free and fair elections is a strong and independent election commission and political parties with trained workers. Instead of welcoming foreign observers with dubious agendas, the government would do well to ensure the independence of ECP and to strengthen it.

Competing narratives on Pakistan ASHRAF TAHIR Recently, the chairman of the Press Council of India (PCI), Justice Markandey Katju, likened Pakistan to Jurassic Park, saying violence and death are being reported every day due to inherent faults in how the country was conceived. He commented that commotion in the country was a natural consequence of setting up a theocratic state and that in a maximum of fifteen to twenty years, Pakistan will again become part of India to create a state which can curb extremism on both sides of the border. In his earlier article, ‘The truth about Pakistan’, published just last week in The Nation, he went on to establish the thesis that there was no such thing as the two-nation theory and that it was the product of British conspiracy. He held that before 1857, Hindus and Muslims lived together peacefully and that was proof enough that they could do so again. Katju, a credible judge and now an outspoken advocate of minority rights, represents almost a similar position to that of the Communist Party of India or the Jamiat Ulema-i-Hind, although they had opposite theoretical bases. The fact of the matter is that these views could never capture the popular imagination of the Muslims of India who wanted constitutional safeguards in united India which the Congress refused time and again. This intransigence was consistent and went into as late as the summer of 1946 when Nehru and Sardar Patel rejected the cabinet mission plan. So, no one has the time or the energy to pay heed to Mr. Katju’s romantic views about Pakistan and India getting together to create a tolerant, pluralistic state. However, Pakistan should understand that increasing violence and a visible weakening of the state is challenging the very existence of the country and if the erosion of State authority is not arrested soon, things may actually drift into complete chaos. Before that happens, the troubling question is that the international narrative and story on Pakistan is not changing as “the most dangerous place in the world”, “drifting into extremism” and where foreign journalists opt to write books like Alive and well in Pakistan. The prevalent liberal view within Pakistan is remarkably close to the international narrative being advanced now for over a decade about a failing state. There is considerable

Rhetoric aside, the global narrative on Pakistan as a failed State can become a reality too if radical measures are not taken now scholarship in the area, in some cases, funded by the State Department. Many scholars are writing about how Pakistan will eventually collapse due to rising extremism and a hapless or complicit State, with many international observers fearing that the extremists will then get hold of nuclear weapons too. The intelligence community dealing with the war in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and journalists embedded in the war machine write about how Pakistan is playing a double game in Afghanistan by sheltering Taliban leaders. Terror attacks like 7/7 and Osama Bin Laden's last hideout next to Pakistan’s military academy makes it all too easy for a lazy conclusion on this

York, in her piece on Women's Day in The News (otherwise a paper eager to perpetuate the prevailing global myths on Pakistan) questioned a brand of feminism used as a proxy to serve imperial motives in Afganistan. Saadia writes eloquently that: ‘...the idea that the US/Nato war in Afghanistan has been good for Afghan women continues to hold sway within the liberal mainstream in the United States. In August 2009, for example, Time magazine’s cover featured a disfigured young Afghan woman with the caption, “What Happens When We Leave Afghanistan”. More recently, in May this year, Amnesty-USA ran a campaign openly supportive of the US/Nato presence in Afghanistan just in time for

The prevalent liberal view within Pakistan is remarkably close to the international narrative being advanced now for over a decade about a failing State. There is considerable scholarship in the area, in some cases, funded by the State Department country as a rogue state not obeying the international system in marginalising the Taliban and Iran. Lately, I find most Human Rights reports, either by the local commission run by Asma Jahangir or international bodies like Amnesty, extremely naive about the international political context, the “war on terror” reporting and proxy wars being played by intelligence agencies. While it is true that Pakistani security forces should be accountable, but so are the Americans in Afghanistan and FATA and the Indians in Kashmir. That is why Tariq Ali had to remind Lahore's English speaking crowd just last week that they should still keep talking about Kashmir because the killing there has surpassed that in Tibet except the international press in unwilling to notice it. Just recently, Saadia Toor, a rising academic at City University of New

the Nato summit in Chicago. Ads on city bus stops featured images of Afghan women in burqas along with the caption: “Human Rights for Women in Afghanistan. Nato: Keep the Progress Going!” (Imperialist Feminism Redux, 8 March, The News). The same logic is being deployed consistently to victims of human rights abuse without their knowledge and permission. The political use of human rights reporting and Pakistan’s universally negative image may be worth noting, but there is a radically different turn the country’s political and military leaders will have to take to stabilise Pakistan. Of primary importance is containing the use of violence for political means and marginalising and weakening the terror network in the country. It is an open secret that investigation officers, the local judiciary and the media are unwilling to take on known local

terrorist outfits. The State will have to come in by making anti-terrorism a priority and focussing on rooting it out while developing political consensus and educating society. Unless violence ends in general and the minorities and other threatened groups like the Hazara, the Shia, and Baloch nationalists feel safe, Pakistan cannot even begin to move towards stability. In this context, rather than dismissing Justice Markandey Katju outright, we need to realise that our fragility has convinced a sizable section of Indian thinkers that Pakistan will not be able to survive and we are only providing them good grounds to think so each day. There is ample evidence that Pakistan’s internal instability has further toughened the Indian position on issues like Sir Creek, Siachen, Kashmir and even minor cultural exchanges. The recent hype on cross border firing in AJK in the Indian media has stunned Pakistani intelligentsia with the Indian chief of army staff stating that they will attack Pakistan in their own time and in their chosen positions. This type of talk will continue for a while because somewhere in the Indian establishment, the hawkish view on Pakistan’s future prevails and a weeklong stay in Delhi and a few conversations with representative Indian media is enough to convince you of their fixed and quite retrogressive views. The core question is if in the next twelve months, this country is likely to come out of a sense of drift into destruction. Possibly not. There are several difficult transitions to be made, the most important of them being the political one. There will be change of leaders in the military and the judiciary too while the United States military withdraws slowly from Afghanistan. Does the Pakistani political leadership have the potential to steer the country out of impending doom? Many people in Islamabad doubt that but it is challenges that test anyone’s potential. The ability to deliver will have consequences not only for the people of Pakistan but for stability in the region. THE WRITER IS A RESEARCH CONSULTANT IN DEVELOPMENT AND PUBLIC POLICY

A bear and bull story All over the world, they tend to become political agents when the elections approach, but as far as bears and bulls at KSE are concerned; they quite frankly do not have a clue KUNWAR KHULDUNE SHAHID Throughout the course of human history bears have generally been perceived as nocturnal animals. They raid trash cans and crops at night and generally tend to avoid human beings. Their sleeping habits and hibernating tendencies are well known and their obsession with solitude is well documented. But few people are aware of the diurnal side of a particular breed of bears who can wreak havoc with human beings inhabiting a particular region through their 9 to 5 job, wherein they throw all of their quintessence out of the proverbial window. If they get too clingy, a continuum of hugs can ensure that a whole country comes crashing down, such is the significance of these bears’ occupation. And then there are the bulls. They might work at the same place, but the bulls’ agenda is totally different to their oversensitive colleagues. While the bears can hug a nation into submission, once the bulls parade in numbers they can stampede over the


Pakistan’s energy problem and Iran-Pakistan pipeline Pakistan is passing through one of the worst energy crisis in its history. No serious effort has so far been made to address this critical issue by those responsible. The rapidly deteriorating energy problem, besides some other equally grave issues like massive electricity shortage, miserable law

sensitivities and become the founding fathers of the country’s future. Rarely do you see them being the emblem of a nation, but the connoisseurs know that when flaunted, there are few better support systems for a country’s growth than a bull’s horns. Both bears and bulls hog the attention of entrepreneurs and economists throughout the year, but it is this time of what is normally a five-year period, that both these species evolve into political agents. As elections approach, bulls work faithfully for the ruling party, while bears relentlessly support the opposition. Whoever gets the better of the other tends to rubberstamp their party’s success in the electoral dogfights. However, the bears and bulls in our neck of the woods don’t quite seem to be following that particular script. The reason why the two species aren’t really fulfilling their duties as election campaigners owes a lot to the capricious nature of KSE – the chamber wherein the two groups of animals face off. In most countries a mere glance at KSE’s corresponding chambers is often good enough to prognosticate the results of the

and order situation and the horrendous menace of terrorism, has taken a heavy toll on the economy of Pakistan. Industries and businesses are winding up. They are moving to countries which do not or have very little of these problems, and offer a congenial atmosphere and far better business prospects than Pakistan. The situation is indeed alarming and depressing. In the prevailing critical situation the news of implementation of the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline truly comes as breath of fresh air. The long-pending project, a joint venture of neighboring Iran and Pakistan, if it is able to see the light of the day, will significantly help in reducing the massive gas shortage which Pakistan faces today. It would perhaps also help in rejuvenating the country’s industries which have almost come to a halt due to inadequate gas supply and revive industrial production. This undoubtedly will give the moribund economy of the country the boost that it direly needs. A

elections. Take the US for instance, where the bulls at Wall Street rallied to take President Barak Obama home after mustering enough investor confidence last year. In fact in the 28 US elections since 1900, 90% have gone according to the bear-bull script with bull surges preceding the re-elections 15 out of the 16 times. Take any other country, and you’d see a similar trend, with bulls and bears orchestrating election campaigns. However, in Pakistan neither the bulls nor the bears quite frankly have a clue. Take the example of the 441-point plummet at KSE following the inauguration of the Iran-Pakistan pipeline. In most other places unveiling one of the biggest projects in the history of the country would have resulted in extended bear hibernation, but they were partying late into the night in Karachi on Monday. What was even more bizarre about the bear celebrations was the fact that the unveiling of a gas project, saw every energy sector share go down like a pack of cards. Granted Uncle Sam has the strings of the Pakistani bears and bulls tied to his belt, but surely such a lucrative project

question that however arises is will this project ever kick off. At least when looked at from the recent very bold standpoint of the incumbent government of Pakistan, it seems it will. That the government of Pakistan has finally signed an agreement with the Iranian government vis-àvis the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project reflects the seriousness of the two countries to go ahead and implement this extremely vital project without further delay. As reported, under the deal between the national Iranian oil company and Pakistan’s interstate gas system, Tehran will provide 750 million cubic feet of natural gas, a day, for 25 years, from its giant offshore South Pars field in the Persian Gulf. The total cost of laying down the Pakistani section of the pipeline is $1.5 billion. Iran has already completed the construction of its section and is funding $500 million for the construction of Pakistani section, with Pakistan government furnishing the remaining $1 billion.

would have given some impetus to the bulls in energy sector at least. After all who’d benefit more from the gas coming from Iran than the likes of OGDC and SSGC? One could’ve forgiven the bears and bulls for forgetting their roles had the IP plunge been an anomaly. But the fact of the matter is this election year has seen sociopolitical negativity being accompanied by the bulls, with fiscal positivity being escorted by the bears. When MQM was giving the current ruling party the tongue-out, Quetta was shuddering with ethnic cleansing bombs and foreign exchange reserves were continuing their precipitous descent, KSE was busy knocking off intraday and closure records, as bulls stampeded over the 18,000 barrier like it didn’t exist. While favourable CPI (Consumer Price Index), declining inflation and now the inauguration of the IP gasline have witnessed the emotional side of the bears. When the bulls and bears aren’t following the conventional script themselves, monitoring their movements to forecast the upcoming polls becomes a futile exercise. The rumour mills work over time

Pakistan, in particular, cannot overemphasize the importance of this project. This is evident from the devastating energy scenario that has been lucidly elaborated above. But the question arises, how would the government of Pakistan deal with the strong resentment that the US government has shown over the project? In its latest opposition of project, the US State Department has categorically said it is in Pakistan’s interest to avoid any activity that can hit it with sanctions. The State Department said that it was providing Pakistan with alternatives that would avoid any violation of sanctions. The deputy acting US spokesman, Patrick Ventrell has recently said “the US government fully recognizes that Pakistan has significant energy requirements but it really thinks there are other long-term solutions to Pakistan's energy needs, and it has therefore been assisting, as a government, to contribute to the alleviation of the energy crisis in Pakistan."

whenever KSE is under the spotlight. And the latest chit chat coming out of the mills is that the powers that be have ‘fixed’ a prolonged bull surge that should see a mad dash in the near future that would send the (wait for it) 22,000-point barrier tumbling out of the picture. The claim might instigate a chain of raised eyebrows, and rightly so, but the fact that the market was rising while the country sank during the ongoing fiscal year does give the impression that the bears and bulls are following a clandestinely orchestrated script. The safe bet is that bulls are going to dominate their matchup with the bears in the near future unless of course the nephew has another lucrative project lined up that might invoke Uncle Sam’s wrath. And as far as looking at bears and bulls to predict the outcome of the elections is concerned, it seems as if we might have to put the cart before the horse in our neck of the woods; especially if the horse comes with a pair of horns, curved outwards in a flat arc.

The stance taken by the US government vis-à-vis the project is undeniably very bold and clear. Stance of the government of Pakistan on the issue, widely projected in Pakistan’s print and electronic media lately, is equally strong and comprehensible. None less than the stature of the President of Pakistan, Mr. Asif Ali Zardari has categorically stated that no power in the world can halt the $7.5 billion project, dismissing mounting US opposition to the venture that will be formally inaugurated on March 11, 2013. During his recent interaction with a group of journalists in Lahore, the President emphatically said "Nobody has the power to halt this project." Pakistan, he said, is a sovereign and independent country that is acting in its national interest by going ahead with the IP gas pipeline project. When asked about US opposition to the project, President Zardari said Pakistan can make decisions independently and sign an agreement with any country to tackle its energy crisis. A very bold


stance indeed, Mr. President! Let’s, for once, in larger national interest stick to the stance we have taken on the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline. M. FAZAL ELAHI ISLAMABAD

Non-Tariff Barriers The relentless debate on MFN to India is becoming a tiring affair. It is no rocket science that unless India lifts the Non-Tariff Barriers, it is impossible for MFN to be a success. They want us to hurry up and remove all the items from the negative to the positive list, but they aren’t taking the first logical step by abolishing the NTBs. I don’t think it’s a wise move to acquiesce to Indian demands; we should focus on national interests. SHAKEEB AHMED LAHORE Please email your letters to or post them to our address in Islamabad.


Mauritia! Oh never mind, it’s just another ancient continent discovered on the floor of the Indian Ocean. No big deal. Go on, back to your bombs, now

NATASHA SHAHID I waited and I waited and I waited some more, just to be sure, but not a single soul in sight mentioned it. Not in the electronic media, not in the print media, not in the social media or any other kind of neo-medium that I may be outdated enough to be aware of (is telepathy still off bounds?). Anyhow, so the day arrived when procrastination was no longer an option; when lesser mortals with their contemporary and relevant knowledge could no longer be relied upon to speak of something delightfully fantastic; and when the present became so unbearably bloody that living in the past was the only remaining route to sanity… if it may qualify as such. Thus, it so happened that your humble servant was compelled to carry the tattered flag of the ancient and irrelevant in her very own hands – Jihad, indeed! Drum rolls! Drum rolls! I say. Drum rolls, please. No drum rolls? Oh. They tell me it’s all been sent to the theatre of geo-politics, next door. How very unfortunate. But, grieve not, comrades! This (surprisingly obstinate) scribe shall continue sans the sound effects – there are but two-and-a-half of you in the audience to begin with. (This is what happens when you try to stage a show next to a sold-out theatre. Way to go, Shakespeare.) Never mind, never mind, back to the topic! Mauritania! Or was it Mauritius? Oh, ‘scuse, Mauritia (it doesn’t red-line anything, but it red-lines that! Even Microsoft knows what’s not in vogue). So a couple of weeks ago a bunch of geeks mistakenly known as geoscientists had a Eureka moment when they discovered a long-lost piece of land that had sunk to the depths of the Western zone of the Indian Ocean some sixty million years ago – that’s long before either of our speculated fathers (Adam or the Ape) landed on (or sprouted out of ?) the planet. Soon enough the geeks discovered that it wasn’t just any piece of land, that it was in fact a pretty big piece of land, so – voila! We have a new mini-continent! It’s like the Earth had an eighth child who had died in infancy. And what’s so important about that? Not much, just a possible rewriting of geological history. Or, perhaps a discovery of extinct living organisms that man has thus far been unaware of. Or non-living minerals. Or… Perhaps… Gold? Silver? Diamonds? Rubies? TREASURE? Now your ears stick up. Down, tiger. It probably is just another huge piece of rock – or that’s what they’d keep on telling us while

they dig out all the precious jewels. As standard Pakistani citizens, we’ll probably never know. Why? Because we’re too busy fretting about “happening news”, and not-giving-adamn about science. So we’re always the first ones on the buzzer when it comes to knowing who Barack Obama’s great-grand-father was and nowhere when it comes to knowing how to keep our drains unclogged. We all, of course, know what affects our lives more, don’t we. But, however bad that might be, we just can’t be blamed. Because, we’re just a product of our surroundings, aren’t we? This is just what happens when people are too entangled in so-called “global affairs” (read: things that don’t concern them, which they can only whine about and never change singlehandedly. Unless they’re superman’s progeny, of course. Don’t think superman ever had any children, though. Unless he had them secretly. We’ll never know that, either, I guess. Anyway. So much for parenthetical “comments”. I could write a whole essay parenthetically, trust me.) Anyhow! Therefore, as dutiful Pakistanis, this Mauritius-iania, or whatever, should not be any of our concern. New discoveries that aren’t even remotely controversial do not interest us the least. What’s an ancient continent compared to sectarian killings, CNG shortage, parliamentary elections, T20 cricket and Sharmeela Farooqi’s engagement? A trifle, of course! It’s not the stuff that makes breaking news and headlines. Nor the stuff that keeps us busy. Or the stuff that we can gossip about, make witty jokes out of, laugh at, cry at, whine at or loathe – the stuff that interests us. We’d rather yawn than care about constructive information. Research and discovery? All that can very well go to the dogs (In which case it won’t be long before we would have dogs ruling over our country. Some might argue that’s already the case, but this time it might happen for real, not just in sms-jokelore). As for the less dutiful of us (those who care to mind their own business - a rare breed I tell you) and those who’d rather read than gossip (that breed’s already extinct, I guess), this is sure to be a revelation. A piece of news that would interest a rare breed and an extinct breed – a revelation, indeed! I’d be surprised if it’d make it even to the mid-pages of a newspaper. And I wondered what was keeping this news away from the media. Not any more I guess. If I told you there was a clan of blasphemous amoeba that inhabited Mauritia before it sank to the bottom of the Indian Ocean, would this piece of information be qualified as newsworthy? Thought so. THE WRITER IS A FREELANCER

Aakhir kab tak? EDWIN HUSSAIN Three-and-half decades ago, Pakistanis were largely a tolerant, moderate, loving and compassionate people. Muslims, Christians, Hindus, Sikhs and Zoroastrians all lived together as a community, participating in each others’ festivities religious or otherwise, enjoying their lives and everyone had a progressive outlook. The draconian rule of General Zia has been a watershed event in the history of this country as it changed all that was good in this society and this community. A friend of mine once said quite candidly, ‘that man, Zia-ul-Haq has torn this society into innumerable small pieces and buried them so deep that even if we were to dig and try to unearth them, we would fail’. One retrogressive ruler has created such deep fissures and divides in this society that has completely disrupted all social life as we knew it. Sectarianism, religious intolerance, bigotry, fanaticism and prejudice are now the hallmark of this deeply divided and alienated society; a society at odds with itself. Hazaras (Shia) are being brutally targeted in Quetta and elsewhere and there is nowhere to turn, no one to ask for help with target killers on a rampage in Karachi, and banned militant religious outfits mocking the so-called federal and provincial governments. The Ahmadis were silenced some time ago in Lahore and even the majority Sunni religious scholars are gunned down ruthlessly, but there seems to be nothing known as a government in place to turn to. It seems that terrorism has become the order of the day. The entire governmental machinery seems to be paralysed or perhaps inept and incapable of

Pakistani Christians ask a simple question: Why should those behind such inhuman acts sleep cosily at home when dwellers of Badami Bagh are forced to live on the roads? doing what it is meant to do: guard people’s lives and properties. Petty politicking and vested interests have taken over and the larger good of the society has been relegated to political slogans and election rhetoric. Unfortunately, we have become a picture of lawlessness, intolerance, haplessness and helplessness and all across the world people refer to this country as a land of terror. Yet political exigencies and expediencies have left the government incapable of taking any measures to tackle this growing menace. What happened in Badami Bagh the other day should not come as a surprise, since earlier the same party in government failed to bring to justice the perpetrators of Shanti Nagar which was ransacked by a misguided religious mob in the 1990s. The entire village was firebombed and blown into smithereens, women were raped and their belongings were looted or destroyed. When Gojra, in Faisalabad, went unpunished where around seven people were mercilessly burnt alive because of their religious affiliation, more crime had to be on its way. But the grossly incompetent and partisan government and bigots at the helm of affairs made sure that no one was penalised, especially not the police officers involved. It seems that no one is pushed about living in such a lawless society with the government being the biggest violator of justice and equity. Smaller communities are targeted because the perpetrators of these heinous crimes are

conscious of the fact that, at the end of the day, they will escape unscathed, justice will neither be served nor will it prevail, at least this is what the past tells us and the future doesn’t seem very promising either. Pakistani Christians ask simple questions: are they lesser Pakistanis, have they not shed blood in wars, have they not contributed towards health, education and overall development of their beloved homeland? Why should those behind such inhumane acts sleep cosily at home and dwellers of Badami Bagh are forced to live on the roads? It is good that the CM of the Punjab and the CJ have had the sagacity of at least taking notices, but to what end? The end result may remain the same, but one can wait and see, yet historical evidence points towards that direction. To date, nobody charged with blasphemy has been proven guilty and it is a known fact that this law is largely discriminatory because it targets mostly Christians and has been used to harass and marginalise a poor segment of society. Those falsely charging the Christian community with blasphemy and mobs desecrating the Holy Bible and burning churches should also be charged with blasphemy. The incident in Sialkot, although unrelated to what happened in Lahore, is a stark reminder of the monsters we have become, but it clearly shows the kind of mob mentality we have assumed. The fact of the matter is that we as a society have become indifferent

and apathetic to what happens to our fellow citizens. If this is the state of affairs, which prima facie seems to be, then the Lord God help us; we are lost and headed for imminent disaster, but when disasters become the order of the day, where’s hope? I, for one, believe that there is hope and we don’t have to look here and there but only need to look inwards. We need to re-invent ourselves for our larger good, for the sake of this great country, for the future of our children and for the good of our coming generations. The genies that we create out of political exigencies are bound to haunt us one day eventually; they may be religiously intolerant groups or mujahideen or political parties meant to dent vote of other renowned parties. These genies need to be capped by letting justice prevail. A few short-sighted, erratic and opportunistic leaders and individuals have held this nation hostage for a long time. It is about time that such people are sidelined and placed where they belong. The government of the day, be it federal or provincial, needs to take charge of the situation and stop petty electioneering gimmickry, stop cajoling these intolerant religious entities for petty gains. Past trends need to be reversed, and justice needs to be meted out fast, because justice delayed is justice denied. Otherwise we all will suffer and the question we won’t be able to answer is, “Aakhir Kab Tak?”. THE WRITER IS A FREELANCER

On the wings of intolerance VIJAY PRASHAD The BJP, the party of the Right, sees the Indian parliamentary elections on the horizon and prepares to put forward its leading candidate for the polls. The old guard is now exhausted - Atal Bihari Vajpayee (born 1924) has lapsed into the fog of senility and L. K. Advani’s (born 1927) pasted smile no longer inspires the young. Those who are in Modi’s generation, born after Indian independence (1947), Arun Jaitley (born 1952) and Sushma Swaraj (born 1953) do not have the dynamism of Modi (born 1950). Jaitley, a student leader of the Right, has spent his career at the Bar and as the pre-eminent bureaucrat of the BJP. Swaraj began her political life as a socialist, having been raised in a hard Right family, but soon drifted toward her family’s political commitments. Often mentioned in the same breath as Modi, neither Jaitley nor Swaraj have his mass capacity nor the machismo that is so essential for a party whose natural inclination is toward fascism. The ruling coalition, the United Progressive Alliance (UPA), is directed by the Congress Party, the historic vehicle for India’s freedom movement that has now devolved into the main engine to deliver India to neo-liberal policies. In power since 2004, the UPA (now in its second term) is fixated on increasing India’s growth rate. Between 2004 and 2011, India’s growth rate averaged 8.3 per cent, but it has fallen considerably since then (to 6.5 per cent in 2011-12, and expected to drop to 5.4 per cent in 2012-13). There is little actual expectation that the GDP will pick up. The IMF’s Article IV Consultation report for India (February 2013) argues that growth will not pick up unless the

Fortunately, Modi’s road to Delhi must go through 543 parliamentary seats. The Congress is not an adversary and the corporate media has already begun to sing Modi’s praises. It is only this regional factor that might block Modi’s juggernaut ride to Delhi government tackles supply bottlenecks, uncertainty about policies and lengthy delays in investment project approvals and implementation. On the question of delays, the IMF executives point to the coal sector (India has the fifth largest coal reserves in the world).Get rid of the environmental regulations, the IMF implies, and India will grow like gangbusters. At the next election, it is either the UPA or the BJP that will come to power (the Left is too weak and the regional parties are all happy to line up behind one or the other of the bourgeois blocs). Neither will buck the IMF’s policy suggestions – they are only hampered by the demon of elections, where vote banks have to be guaranteed certain state benefits to cajole them to abandon one of the bourgeois blocs for the other. This is of course an irritant to the IMF wizards. Modi has put himself forward as a better reformer for Indian capitalism than the current Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh. As Chief Minister of Gujarat, Modi claims to have created a miracle in his home state and wants this to be his resume for the PMship. Unfortunately for Modi, his history does not allow such subterfuge. Not only is Modi the putative leader of the BJP, but also he has been since his childhood a member of the RSS, the moral center of Indian fascism. His rise to the top of the BJP came from both his loyal service to the RSS and his organisational work during the Ram Janambhoomi movement in the 1980s

and 1990s, which culminated in the destruction of the sixteenth century Babri Masjid in Ayodhya and the anti-Muslim riots that came in its wake. Modi then returned to Gujarat as Chief Minister, where he oversaw the mass murder of over three thousand Muslims and the systematic disenfranchisement of Muslims and Christian tribals’ (in the Dangs district). Human Rights Watch’s April 2002 report, “We Have No Orders to Save You”: State Participation and Complicity in Communal Violence in Gujarat, should be compulsory reading for the Indian electorate. Mention of the Gujarat killings rattles Modi’s supporters. They like to turn to the record of the Congress, which is no better. The high command would like to concentrate on two elements: One, the Corrupt UPA government with its chair, Sonia Gandhi, as the principle target. There is no doubt that the Gandhi family has vacuumed more than its fair share of the social wealth into its bank accounts and its several properties. No question that the Congress is vulnerable, as scam after scam unfolds. Little birds in Delhi tweet that Rahul Gandhi’s task is to maintain his family’s hold on power so that investigations of their personal corruption are not opened. Two, the torrent of social ills in the country, with rape and violence on the rise. The BJP’s sentimentality for Tradition leads it to make the case that far too much social

laxity has enveloped India in a social crisis. From here come all manner of misogynistic and feudal statements about Indian Womanhood. It asserts, as most fascistic organizations do, that its brand of Discipline is the antidote to what has befallen India. There is no concern for the widening inequalities, a contributing factor to the social mayhem. Modi’s supposed probity is compromised by rumors of his own corrupt practices. When Wharton rescinded a speaking invitation to Modi, his prime backer Gautam Adani of the Adani Group withdrew his support to the Wharton India Economic Forum. Anti-corruption campaigner Arvind Kejriwal has accused Modi of corrupt deals with Adani, facilitating his access to easy licenses for his power plant, cheap land and cheap coal blocks. Modi and Adani deny the allegations. Once the flurry of the election season will open, more firm claims will emerge. The bromides about the Gujarat miracle dissolve in the ether of the facts. In Gujarat the rate of growth of employment over the past twelve years has been zero, that between 40 and 50 per cent of children are underweight and half of its children are malnourished, and that basic goods (fuel, food, clothing and housing) are among the more expensive in India. To this “model” must be added Modi’s reactionary ideas about caste. In his Karamyog (2007), Modi writes that those

castes fated to do sanitation work (clean gutters, sweep houses and cart away refuse), such as the Balmikis, do so as an “experience in spirituality”. ‘I do not believe that they have been doing this job just to sustain their livelihood,’ says Modi, because it is their ‘duty to work for the happiness of the entire society’. Subhash Gatade, who edits Sandhan, points out that when confronted by Modi’s logic a leading Dalit poet asked, ‘Why didn’t it occur to Modi that the spirituality involved in doing menial jobs hasn’t ever been experienced by the upper castes?’ Fortunately, Modi’s road to Delhi must go through 543 parliamentary seats. The BJP would have to win a majority of these seats before it can turn to its parliamentary leader to stake a case for the PM-ship. In the 2009 election, the BJP won 116 seats, with its coalition bringing in 159. The Congress won 206, with its UPA bloc winning 262. It would be a remarkable turn of events for the BJP to double its seat count, which is why it has to rely on regional parties; apart from one in the South (AIADMK) and one in the North (Akali Dal), the other regional parties are not comfortable with Modi’s corrosive history. The Congress is not an adversary and the corporate media has already begun to sing Modi’s praises. It is only this regional factor that might block Modi’s Juggernaut ride to Delhi. (C OUNTERPUNCH)


Clashes, blasts mark Bangladesh Opp protest

South Korea dismisses DPRK war threats SEOUL: South Korea's defense ministry on Tuesday dismissed the Democratic People's Republic of Korea’s (DPRK) repeated threat of military action as "psychological tactics" meant to pressure South Korea and the United States. "North Korea (DPRK) has been consistently issuing rhetorical threats warning of provocations," defense ministry spokesman Kim Min-seok said in a briefing, calling such threats "an attempt to put psychological pressure" on South Korea. "(The move is) seen as an attempt to shore up its domestic support and pressure South Korea and the United States into opting for a change in their North Korea policy," Kim added. While the DPRK is trying to create a "war-like" atmosphere, there currently is no indication that the country is preparing for additional nuclear or missile tests, the spokesman told reporters. The remarks came amid heightened tension on the Korean Peninsula as Seoul and Washington pressed ahead with the planned military exercise Pyongyang denounced as a pretext for northward invasion. –AGENCIES

DHAKA: Several bombs exploded in Bangladesh’s capital and police clashed with protesters Tuesday as opposition leaders enforced a daylong, nationwide general strike over police intimidation. Witnesses and news reports said several homemade bombs exploded during the beginning of the shutdown. RTV and Bangla Vision stations reported explosions in parts of Dhaka. It was not clear if there were any injuries. Clashes were reported inside and outside Dhaka, and thousands of security officials were deployed in the capital to maintain order.

Nearly 400 members of paramilitary Bangladesh Border Guard were also deployed to aid police in Dhaka, said Maj. Gen. Aziz Ahmed, the force’s director general. Schools and most businesses in Dhaka remained closed Tuesday. Traffic was thin on the usually clogged streets. An 18-party opposition alliance led by the Bangladesh Nationalist Party, or BNP, was enforcing the strike to protest alleged police intimidation during a rally on Monday. The party and its allies are demanding restoration of a caretaker government system to oversee upcoming elections. Its ally Jamaat-i-Islami also wants a

Corporation were among those arrested. Zia, in a late-night meeting with senior party leaders, criticised the government for the arrests and later announced similar nationwide shutdown for March 18 and 19 if the detained senior leaders are not freed immediately. Zia’s party and Jamaat-i-Islami have denounced the trials of several opposition politicians accused of mass killings and atrocities during Bangladesh’s 1971 independence war against Pakistan. Bangladesh says the war left three million people dead, 200,000 women raped and forced millions to flee to neighboring India.

halt to trials of several opposition politicians accused of crimes stemming from the country’s 1971 independence war. After Monday’s rally, police arrested some senior leaders and more than 100 activists of the BNP, headed by former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia, in Dhaka during a raid on its party headquarters. Police said they also recovered at least 10 homemade bombs from the headquarters. But the party blamed police for keeping those bombs inside the headquarters to create a drama. BNP’s acting secretary general, Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, and a former mayor of Dhaka City

Battle for Syrian airport intensifies

Chopper crash kills five US troops in Afghanistan KABUL: A helicopter crash in southern Afghanistan has killed five American service members, officials said Tuesday. Monday night’s crash brought the total number of US troops killed that day to seven, making it the deadliest day for US forces so far this year. Two US special operations forces were gunned down hours earlier in an insider attack by an Afghan policeman in eastern Afghanistan. The NATO military coalition said in a statement that ”initial reports” showed no enemy activity in the area at the time. The cause of the crash is under investigation, the statement said. A US official said all five of the dead were American. The official said the helicopter went down outside Kandahar city, the capital of Kandahar province. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the information had not been formally released. The five dead included everyone aboard the UH60 Black Hawk, said Maj Adam Wojack, a spokesman for the international military coalition in Afghanistan. –AGENCIES

US expels Venezuelan diplomats in retaliation WASHINGTON: The United States said on Tuesday that it has expelled two Venezuelan diplomats in retaliation for the South American nation's expulsion of two US military attaches last week. "We're in response to the Venezuelan government's actions against two of our personnel, we did inform the Venezuelan government on March 9 that in accordance with article 9 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and article 23 of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, that we had declared two of their second secretaries persona non grata," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said. The targeted envoys are from the Venezuelan embassy in Washington and the consulate in New York respectively, Nuland told reporters at a regular news briefing. "And they have now departed the country," she added. The Venezuelan government announced on March 5, the same day President Hugo Chavez died of cancer, that two US military attaches were being expelled from Venezuela for participating in illegal acts that promote destabilization of the nation. –AGENCIES

Jamaat-i-Islami campaigned against the independence of Bangladesh, but denies committing any atrocities. The administration of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina initiated the trials in 2010 and three verdicts have already been declared. Ten of the defendants are from Jamaat-i-Islami, the country’s largest Islamic party, while the other two belong to the BNP. Two of the senior party members of Jamaat-i-Islami have been convicted, one sentenced to death and another to life in prison. Another former member of the Islamic party has been sentenced to death. –AGENCIES

DHAKA: Bangladesh’s opposition activists shout slogans after they burn a street vendor’s cart as they clash with police during their protest in Dhaka. –WIRE SERVICE

Respect Falklands vote, Cameron tells Argentina L ONDON : British Prime Minister David Cameron on Tuesday urged Argentina to respect the wishes of the Falkland Islanders after they voted overwhelmingly in a referendum to remain a British territory. A near unanimous 99.8 percent of the 1,672 eligible voters in the disputed South Atlantic archipelago voted “yes”, according to official results, with a 92 percent turnout. Only three of the 1,517 valid ballots were cast against staying an internally self-governing British territory. The islanders organised the vote in response to increasingly vocal demands for sovereignty by Argentine President Cristina Kirchner, who claims Britain is illegally occupying the islands. Her government has dismissed the referendum as meaningless and said it would not affect its claims on the Falklands, which sparked a brief but bloody war with Britain in 1982. The announcement of the result overnight Monday was met with jubilation in the islands’ tiny capital Stanley, and Cameron said he was personally “delighted” by the outcome. The British prime minister urged Argentina to “take careful note”. “The Falkland Islanders couldn’t have spoken more clearly. They want to remain British and that view should be respected by everybody, including by Argentina,” he said in a statement. Cameron also warned against any military action by Argentina. “The Falkland Islands may be thousands of miles away but they are British through and through and that is how they want to stay. People should know we will always be there to defend them,” he said.

Falklanders hope the referendum result will arm them with an unambiguous message to take to other capitals when pressing their case for acceptance on the international stage. The United States, for example, has studiously avoided taking sides on the issue despite its close ties with Britain. The resounding “yes” result, delivered at around 10:30 pm Monday (0130 GMT Tuesday), sparked massive celebrations. “There’s so much noise here, it’s huge,” said Barry Elsby, a member of the islands’ legislative assembly. “There are hundreds of people outside the cathedral, celebrating, singing and waving flags.” He told AFP the vote “sends a message around the world”. International observers from Canada, Chile, Mexico, New Zealand, Paraguay, the United States and Uruguay monitored the referendum on Sunday and Monday and declared it “free and fair”. Argentina however maintained its position that the vote was illegal. “It’s a manoeuvre with no legal value, which has neither been convened nor supervised by the United Nations,” said Alicia Castro, Argentina’s ambassador to London. “We respect their way of life, their identity. We respect that they want to continue being British, but the territory they inhabit is not British,” she told Argentinian media. The referendum sparked huge enthusiasm among the Falkland Islands’ 2,563 permanent residents, four-fifths of whom live in Stanley, with its typically British pubs and red telephone boxes. –AGENCIES

Snow disrupts transport across Europe BRUSSELS: An overnight snowstorm in northwestern Europe forced the closure of Frankfurt Airport, caused record traffic jams in Belgium, and left British and French drivers sleeping in their cars. Take-offs and landings at Europe's thirdbusiest airport were halted at around noon on Tuesday to clear snow from the runways. It was set to reopen at around 1230 GMT. In France, a Tunisair plane slid off the runway on landing at Orly airport, forcing the closure of a runway at Paris's second hub while 140 passengers were evacuated. In Belgium, the breakdown assistance association Touring said the total length of tailbacks on highways and major roads at their rushhour peak hit 1,670 km (1,038 miles), beating by far the previous record of 1,285 km set on Feb. 3 last year. Eurostar train service connecting London with the French and Belgian capitals and the Thalys line linking Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam in the Netherlands and Cologne in Germany were both suspended. Brussels' two main railway stations were closed. France's civil aviation authority cancelled a quarter of flights at Paris Charles de Gaulle airport, the second-largest in Europe after London's Heathrow, and a fifth at Orly. –AGENCIES

BEIRUT: New clashes erupted Tuesday in an intensifying battle for control over Aleppo's international airport and nearby military bases in Syria's north, activists said. Rebels have tried for weeks to capture Aleppo's international airport and nearby air bases as part of their campaign to erode the regime's air supremacy in the 2year-old conflict that the United Nations says has claimed more than 70,000 lives. Rebels have made significant strategic advances in the north in the past months, capturing military bases, two dams on the Euphrates river and the city of Raqqa in the northwest — the first urban area to fall into opposition hands since the uprising against Assad's regime began in March 2011. The rebels also control large swathes of land outside of Aleppo. The battle for the city itself, Syria's main commercial hub, is locked in a stalemate. Rebels pushed into the city in July and captured several neighborhoods and it has been a major battleground in the civil war ever since. The army still holds large parts of Aleppo and maintains control over the airport, the country's second largest. Crucially, Syria's air space is firmly controlled by the regime in Damascus, which uses its warplanes to regularly bomb rebel strongholds. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said clashes erupted anew on Tuesday around the airport and rebels also intensified their assault on the Nairab and Mannagh air bases near the strategic facility, which has not been handling fights

for weeks because of the fighting. There were also intense clashes at another nearby airfield known as Kweiras, according to the Observatory, a Britain-based antiregime group that relies on a network of activists on the ground. Fighting also raged for a second day in the central city of Homs as rebels tried to take back the poor neighborhood of Baba Amr, which they lost to President Bashar Assad's troops a year ago. Last year, government forces besieged Baba Amr for a month before rebel forces withdrew and the government seized control on March 1. Hundreds of people were killed in the siege. On Sunday, rebels pushed back into Baba Amr and Syrian forces responded on Monday by firing heavy machine guns into the neighborhood, sending residents fleeing. In Geneva, The UN food agency said the renewed violence in Baba Amr has forced at least 3,000 families to leave their homes in the contested area. The World Food Program said in a statement that more than 1,000 of the displaced families have taken refuge in six schools in Homs and some 2,000 families are staying in public shelters or with relatives in different parts of the governorate. It was unclear how much of the neighborhood rebels had seized or continued to hold after the latest fighting in the area. In Kiev, Ukraine's Foreign Ministry confirmed that a Ukrainian journalist who was kidnapped in Syria is free after being held by rebels for more than 150 days. –AGENCIES

Ahmadinejad under fire for hugging Chavez's mother TEHRAN: Senior Iranian clerics have scolded President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for consoling Hugo Chavez's mother with a hug — a physical contact considered a sin under Iran's strict Islamic codes. The rebuke follows a widely published photo showing Ahmadinejad embracing Chavez's mother at the funeral of the late Venezuelan president in what is seen as taboo-breaking behavior in Iran. Iranian papers on Tuesday cited clerics from the religious center of Qom who described the hug as "forbidden," inappropriate behavior and "clowning around." Iran's strict Islamic codes prohibit physical contact between unrelated members of the opposite sex. The clerics did not spare Ahmadinejad. "Touching a non-mahram (a woman who is not a close relative) is forbidden under any circumstances, whether shaking hands or touching by the cheek," said one of the clerics, Mohammad Taqi Rahbar, adding that such a contact, even with "an older woman is not allowed ... and contrary to the dignity of the president of the Islamic Republic of Iran." –AGENCIES

China countering Western colonialism in Africa Where Beijing focuses on economic development, the United States has sought to legitimise its presence through counterterrorism operations and the expansion of the United States Africa Command, better known as AFRICOM


T should come as no surprise that incoming Chinese president Xi Jinping’s first trip as head of state will take him to Africa, to deepen the mutually beneficial trade and energy relationships maintained throughout the continent that have long irked policy makers in Washington. The new guy in charge who some analysts have suggested could be a populist reformer that empathises with the poor - will visit several African nations with whom China has expressed a desire to expand ties, the most prominent being South Africa. Since establishing relations in 1998, bilateral trade between the two jumped from $1.5 billion to 16 billion as of 2012. Following a relationship that has consisted predominately of economic exchanges, China and South Africa have now announced plans to enhance


military ties in a show of increasing political and security cooperation. During 2012’s Forum on China-Africa Cooperation meeting, incumbent President Hu Jintao served up $20 billion in loans to African countries, which were designated for the construction of vital infrastructure such as new roads, railways and ports to enable higher volumes of trade and export. In his address to the forum, South African President Jacob Zuma spoke of the long-term unsustainability of the current model of Sino-African trade, whereby raw materials are sent out and manufactured commodities are sent in. Zuma also stated, "Africa's past economic experience with Europe dictates a need to be cautious when entering into partnerships with other economies. We certainly are convinced that China's intention is different to that of Europe, which to date continues to attempt to influence African

countries for their sole benefit." Xi’s visit highlights the importance China attaches to Sino-African ties, and during his stay, he will attend the fifth meeting of the BRICS, the first summit held on the African continent to accommodate leaders of the world’s most prominent emerging economies, namely Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. The BRICS group, which accounts for around 43% of the world's population and 17% of global trade, is set to increase investments in Africa’s industrial sector threefold, from $150-billion in 2010 to $530 billion in 2015, under the theme "BRICS and Africa: partnership for development, integration, and industrialisation". Analysts have likened the BRICS group to represent yet another significant step away from a unipolar global economic order, and it comes as no surprise. The value and significance of the BRICS platform comes in its ability to proliferate South-South

political and economic ties, and one should expect the reduction of trade barriers and the gradual adoption of economic exchanges using local currencies. China’s ICBC paid $5.5 billion for a 20% stake in Standard Bank of South Africa in 2007, and the move has played out well for Beijing Standard has over 500 branches across 17 African countries which has drastically increased availability of the Chinese currency, offering yuan accounts to expatriate traders. It looks like the love story that has become of China and Africa will gradually begin shifting its emphasis toward building up a viable large-scale industrial base. Surveys out of Beijing cite 1,600 companies tapping into the use of Africa as an industrial base with manufacturing's share of total Chinese investment (22%) fast gaining on to the mining sector (29%). These and other investments demonstrate a willingness by Chinese investors to put down roots

and infrastructure in Africa. They also show that China's dragon safari is about more than just sourcing commodities for export.” Chinese commercial activities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo have significantly increased not only in the mining sector, but also considerably in the telecommunications field. The majority of Congolese raw materials like cobalt, copper ore and a variety of hard woods are exported to China for further processing and 90% of the processing plants in resource-rich southeastern Katanga province are owned by Chinese nationals. China has made significant investments in manufacturing zones in non-resource-rich economies such as Zambia and Tanzania and in Ghana’s infrastructure. As Africa’s largest trading partner, China imports 1.5 million barrels of oil from Africa per day, approximately accounting for 30 percent of its total imports. China-

Africa trade rose from $10.6 billion in 2000 to $106.8 billion in 2008 with an annual growth rate of over 30 percent. By the end of 2009, China had canceled out more than 300 zero-interest loans owed by 35 heavily indebted needy countries and least developed countries in Africa. China is by far the largest financier on the entire continent, and Beijing’s economic influence in Africa is nowhere more apparent than the $200 million African Union headquarters situated in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia which was funded solely by China. Here lays the deep hypocrisy in accusations of Beijing’s purported “new colonialism” - China is focused on building industries, increasing development, and improving administrative and well as physical infrastructure - the propagation of force, which one would historically associate with a coloniser, is entirely absent from the Chinese approach. (


Gold 10 Gms

Dollar Interbank


Kibor 6 months

Rs. 98.15

T Bills6 months



Urea/Bag Rs. 1742

Coal Spot $93.05/Ton

Iran to export 21 mcmd gas to Pakistan TEHRAN: Managing Director of National Iranian Gas Company (NIGC) Javad Oji said that Iran plans to export 21 million cubic meters gas per day initially to Pakistan via the peace pipeline. Talking to IRNA on the sidelines of a ceremony marking start of operation to pipe Iranian gas to Pakistan‚ he said Pakistanis favor increasing the ceiling of mutual contract to 30 million cubic meters per day. He said necessary predictions have been made for export of 60 million cubic meters Iranian gas to Pakistan through the peace pipeline. "So‚ their request to increase the volume of the gas exports to 30 million cubic meters from the current 21 million cubic meters will be studied." The official said IranPakistan gas line is continuation of the 7th pipeline originating from

Asaluyeh. He said the first phase of the 7th gas line‚ starting from Asaluyeh to Iranshahr in SistanBalochistan Province in an area of 900 kilometers‚ has been completed and people in the province are now benefiting from it. Oji pointed out that 80 km out of the 320 km pipeline‚ which lies in Iranian territory‚ has been completed. He noted that 780 km of the pipeline lies in Pakistani territory‚ costing 2 billion dollars to be implemented out of this $500 million of the piping cost has been financed by Iranian banks and companies‚ he added. He said that the project is commissioned fully by Iranian experts. It is estimated to be fully complete in December 2014. He noted that Iran can serve as sustainable supplier of energy to the neighbors as it has huge energy reserves. –AGENCIES

ICCI welcomes Iran-Pakistan pipeline inauguration ISLAMABAD: Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry (ICCI) welcomed inauguration of IranPakistan gas pipeline project costing $1.2 to 1.5 billion terming it as a peace pipeline which would be mark a new chapter in the history of Pak-Iran bilateral relations. Zafar Bakhtawari, President ICCI said that the completion of this project would greatly help in overcoming country’s energy problems and improving energy supply, especially to manufacturing and industrial sectors which would ultimately make our industrial units more competitive in the global world. ICCI President said that the functioning of IP gas pipeline would ensure supply of 750m cubic feet of natural gas per day and help bridge the energy gap of around 4000MV, required to keep industrial and commercial wheels of the country into perpetual motion. Bakhtawari was of the view that early completion of this mega project of national importance would be a great favor to the business community and industrialists as most of the industrial units depend on electricity. Thus, execution of this project would provide gas to power producing units which would definitely improve thecompetitiveness of export-oriented products and enhance country's exports, he maintained. He further said that IP gas pipeline will remove the mistrust between Pakistan and Iran which was prevailing since 30years, adding that it would also help eradicate terrorism and bring prosperity in Balochistan. Bakhtawari also hailed the recent decision of the Federal Cabinet regarding transfer of Gwadar port operations to a Chinese company and said that Pakistan and said that Pakistan really values its relations with neighboring countries and always emphasized on regional cooperation. He said that Iran and Pakistan are two Muslim countries which have historic brotherly and geographical relations with common faith, which would be strengthened with the passage of time. He said that both the countries have huge trade and investment potential as well as capacity to launch joint ventures in the areas of common interest. –STAFF REPORT

Pensioners to get smart card from 15th ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue Saleem H Mandviwalla has announced to issue smart cards to pensioners in the country to facilitate them in getting their pension.The cards will be issued form March 15. Addressing a press conference here on Tuesday along with Deputy Chairman NADRA Saleem H Mandviwalla said that this step has been initiated following the directions of President Asif Ali Zardari. He said that it has been decided that ministry of Finance and NADRA both will bear the cost of this smart equally. The Deputy Chairman NADRA Gohar Ahmed Khan further giving the details of the smart card said that through these cards pensioners would get their pension at our centers. He said that after complete verification of any individual this card would be issued and this mechanism would be helpful to eliminate ghost pensioners in the country. Deputy Chairman NADRA further told in pilot project has been initiated in six districts and from March 15 and would be expanded in other parts of the country. He said that pensioners of all departments will get their pensions through these cards. –AGENCIES

Indian traders import 1,455 tonnes of Pakistani sugar NEW DELHI: Private traders have imported 1,455 tonne sugar, valued at Rs 4.42 crore, from Pakistan in the first three months of the 2012-13 marketing year starting October, Parliament was informed today. "As per Directorate General of Commercial Intelligence and Statistics, Kolkata, about 1,455 tonnes of sugar at a value of about Rs 4.42 crore has been imported from Pakistan during current season 2012-13 till December 2012 by private traders," Food Minister K V Thomas said in a written reply to the Lok Sabha. The minister said the Centre has not entered into any contract with Pakistan for import of sugar during 2012-13 and 2013-14. –MONITORING DESK

KARACHI: Karachi stock market closed higher on Tuesday after there was no immediate announcement of sanctions against Pakistan for concluding a gas deal with Iran. The Karachi Stock Exchange's (KSE) benchmark 100-share index ended two percent, or 350.29 points, higher at 17,872.85 points. The market had dipped sharply the day before after investors sold shares in anticipation of possible sanctions. Iran and Pakistan held a ceremony Monday to mark the beginning of work on a gas pipeline, a deal that the US has repeatedly warned may fall foul of a sanctions regime designed to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear bomb. Engro Corporation and Nishat Mills Ltd closed at their upper limit due to institutional buying, said Samar Iqbal of Topline Securities. Pakistani stocks can only rise or fall five percent a day, a rule meant to curb volatility in the market. Foods and Fertilizer Engro Corporation rose 4.99 percent to 128.65 rupees, while Nishat Mills was up 4.99 percent to 78.06 rupees. –AGENCIES

BUYING 99.30 128.49 145.87 26.80 26.30 345.84 95.21

Qatar ensures LNG supply to Pakistan LNG to be imported at nominal price: Dr Asim Hussain


I S L AM ABA D: Advisor to Prime Minister on Petroleum and Natural Resources Dr Asim Hussain has said that Qatar has assured supply of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) to Pakistan and a summary would be tabled in the federal cabinet in its today’s (Wednesday) meeting. “Since Qatar has assured reduced price of Liquefied Natural Gas to Pakistan so country will get Liquefied Natural Gas at government level and a summary to this effect would be presented in the federal cabinet. The next government will further strengthened this project, Dr Asim said. During a press conference the Advisor also said that Pakistan and Iran have agreed to establish an oil refinery at

Gwadar with a refining capacity of 4 lac barrel and within three years this refinery will also invest $2.5billion. More, a tender has been made for IP gas pipeline, three compressors will be installed in Pakistan and the country’s GDP would go up by 5percent. Asim also informed that Oil and Gas Development Company Limited (OGDCL) has won the bid for 29blocks of oil and gas. He said around $372million investment would be made for oil and gas exploration in 60blocks. “On 14March, there would be a groundbreaking for an oil refinery to be established with the help, support and

cooperation of KP government and PSO, he said, adding, “ gas companies will invest $4billion investment for the exploration of shale gas in the country. Advisor to Prime Minister on Petroleum and Natural Resources Dr Asim Hussain in a also said that IP gas pipeline will be insured owing to fear of terrorism and gas will also be provided to CNG sector when Iranian gas will be brought to the country. While admitting increase in gas theft owing to the involvement of gas utilities officials, Asim said, yes, there is no contradiction that officials of gas companies are involved in the heinous crime of gas theft.

Pakistan losing kinnow market in EU: Jawad

KSE-100 index gains 350.29 points

CURRENCY US Dollar Euro British Pound UAE Dirham Saudi Riyal Kuwaiti Dinar Canadian Dollar

LAHORE: A man spraying insecticide at a fruit farm in the suburbs of Lahore. The number of insects tends to rise this time of the year. —ONLINE

SELLING 99.55 128.94 146.36 27.05 26.55 350.60 96.90

ISLAMABAD: Chief Executive Officer Harvest Tradings, Ahmad Jawad have urged Punjab Industrial Estate Development and Management Company (PIE) to speed up the process of Industrial estate at Tehsil Bhalwal which will be compromising on 400 acres. Talking to kinnow growers at Sargodha, he said after completion this project will make a strong push for the export of kinnow process as Bhalwal is known as the hub of kinnows, supplying over half of the country’s kinnow exports. However it was a matter of great concerns that Pakistan which is 13th largest kinnow producing country in the world, annually produces 2 million tons yield has minimum

in the ranking to export of this fruit. As Pakistan needs to get seedless variety on a large scale to cater the needs for EU markets as with the introduction of seedless variety, kinnow exports are expected to grow to $1 billion extra. Currently, the world citrus markets value is $2.135 billion, in which, country share has remained around 2.5 per cent Jawad said Pakistan is losing the kinnow market in the European Union due to excessive seeds, as buyer seeks seed-free fruit for easy eating,” still we are looking forward to have max 3 to 5 seeds in each fruit. However research revealed that Europeans consider massive seeds to cause stomach disorder as every seed of kinnow

10-Y PIB

has a specific chemical material that sometimes disturbs the stomach “. Despite the fact Pakistan is the best kinnow producing country but suffers from a lack of value addition and support from the government. “Neither the government nor the fruit association (PFVA) have taken measures to educate the farmers about the latest techniques for producing fruits,” He added that Pakistani growers should learn from their Turkish counterparts who captured the EU market well because of the lack of seeds. “Presently Pakistan has a yield of 8,000 kilogram per acre of land while it is 16,000 to 20,000 kg per acre as per world standards,” Jawad added. –AGENCIES



Furnace oil 78,446/MT

Bank compensation up in 2012 despite cutback efforts LAURA NOONAN

ompensation at the world's biggest banks rose last year, with 35 of them spending a combined 10 billion euros ($13.1 billion) more on staff than in 2011, figures compiled by Reuters show. Bankers' remuneration has rarely been out of the spotlight over the last five years, as the industry's powerhouses were rescued from the brink during the financial crisis with hundreds of billions of taxpayers' dollars. Policymakers have since fought to curb the bonuses they say encouraged excessive - and sometimes catastrophic - risk-taking. Capping absolute pay levels is off-limits for regulators, but banks have talked a lot about cutting staff costs. Reuters analyzed the 2012 results reported by banks in the benchmark EuroStoxx 600 index and their U.S. competitors and found staff costs rose to 275 billion euros across the group. Two thirds of the banks analyzed increased compensation per person, though several attributed this at least in part to redundancy issues. The compensation ratio - the industry's preferred yardstick, which measures staff expenses against revenue - was up for 18 of the 35 banks. Philippe Lamberts, a Belgian MEP who has also been outspoken on bank pay and supported a cap on bank bonuses recently agreed by members of the European Parliament, says the figures prove that, left to their own devices, banks do not reduce pay. "To me it confirms that what we are doing on the remuneration front is necessary," said Lamberts, referring to efforts to restrict remuneration through bonus rules and other provisions in a European Union package of bank regulations. A recent survey from recruitment agency Morgan McKinley showed that bank staff who changed jobs in London in January enjoyed average pay rises of 23 percent. But banks baulk at the suggestion they are paying staff more, saying things are more complex than the figures suggest. U.S. retail banking giant Wells Fargo, however, was comfortable with the fact that per-person compensation went up about 2 percent last year and stands at the equivalent of 83,000 euros, placing the bank at the middle of the compensation table. "We support our team members as a competitive advantage and are committed to compensating them based on performance," a spokeswoman said. The bank recorded pretax earnings of 28.5 billion euros in 2012, up from 23.7 billion euros in 2011. Among other banks, it was not uncommon for per-person compensation to outstrip the rise in pretax profits. In eight of those where per-person compensation rose, pretax profit fell. In another three cases, per-capita compensation went up, even though the banks actually recorded losses. Banks say the figures can be deceptive. They have been cutting jobs, with 93,000 shed across the group in 2012, falling heaviest on some of the loss makers. The lay-offs incur redundancy costs that are grouped in with overall staff compensation, which also includes pensions and payroll taxes. The per-head figures used are based on year-end headcount, since several banks have not released average headcount figures and declined to provide them to Reuters. That means that if a significant number of staff left in the year, the perperson staff costs are overstated. Since year-end headcount is also used to calculate per-person costs for 2011, however, when banks also mostly laid off staff, the broad figures provide a consistent basis for comparison. Where average headcount figures are available, these can show material differences. Bank of Ireland, still 15 percent state-owned, does disclose them, showing the bank's per-person compensation rose just under 4 percent. Year-end figures overstate it at 9.5 percent. Even so, it was a year when the bank's losses rose more than tenfold to 2.1 billion euros. The highest per-head rise using year-end figures is Danske Bank, where Reuters figures show an 11 percent rise. "The figures do not reflect actual developments in pay for Danske Bank employees," said Bent Jespersen, senior vice president at the Danish bank. Jespersen said a union deal to increase wages 1 percent, plus "minor individual adjustments", pushed pay up. Staff departures also hit headcount, the bank said, a factor also cited by Switzerland's Banque Cantonale Vaudoise, which had the fourth highest increase in compensation per capita. At Deutsche Bank, where per-head costs rose 5.9 percent, a spokeswoman said the figures included an element of deferred bonuses granted in 2009. Deutsche Bank also booked significant severance payments over the year, she said. Investment banking giant Goldman Sachs, which saw an 8.8 percent rise, had the thirdhighest increase in per-head payroll costs. Goldman, which declined comment, also tops the table for highest average pay, at the equivalent of 310,000 euros, based on average euro/dollar exchange rates for 2012. A source at another investment bank included in the analysis pointed out that their average staff costs were not comparable with banks that had large retail operations, where staff costs are lower. It said compensation ratios were more revealing. For Goldman, pretax profit growth of 82 percent easily beat the rise in average compensation, and its compensation ratio actually fell to 38 percent in 2012 from 42 percent in 2011. –REUTERS


APCNGA begins hunger strike against government 

Demands 7-day gas supply, protests against ‘anti-CNG’ policies


I SLAMABAD: All Pakistan CNG Association (APCNGA) on Tuesday commenced hunger strike against anti CNG policy, of the government, politically motivated gas distribution, five-day gas load shedding in Punjab, continuous maltreatment, and abuse of power by authorities. Leaders of the CNG association largely consists of influential businessmen were among the present on the occasion demanding reversal of anti-CNG moves of the incumbent government, abandoning projects which are to benefit few at the cost

of entire CNG sector protecting interests of 80 million countrymen using CNG-powered vehicles for transportation. They found worried about Rs400bilion investment, which to them is at stake due to uncertain gas supply coupled with worst kind of supply suspension and load shedding in Punjab has added to their miseries. “We are protesting anti-CNG policies of the government, politically motivated gas distribution, 5-day gas load shedding in Punjab, continuous maltreatment, and abuse of power by authorities,” said Ghiyas Abdullah Paracha, Chairman Supreme Council APCNGA while speaking in the

hunger strike camp. Ghiyas Paracha said that in a bid to introduce costly imported LNG and LPG to benefit few influential, government has been systematically destroying CNG sector, which will be resisted. He said gas crisis was engineered to justify the wrongdoing and efforts to familiarise masses with costly liquid fuels would met with failure. “Some influential officials and crooked businessmen have shaped a gang to deprive masses of their rights, relieve them of their hard earned money and lay waste to our investments,” he said, adding, that plundering national resources will not be

allowed come what may. Paracha also expressed his worry over the uncertain gas supply to the CNG stations across the country. He said on October 04, 2011 and Jan 01, 2013 the Prime Minister issued orders to provide gas to our CNG outlets but it could not be implemented due to friction between petroleum ministry and Ogra. The all-powerful bureaucracy also violated the orders of High Courts directing implementation of PM’s orders. New CNG stations will not enhance the usage of gas but distribute load, which will relieve masses that have to wait for hours to get their tanks refilled, he deplored.


Salman to associate with Dubai tourism

‘Elijah Wood can become a good filmmaker’

DUBAI: Salman Khan who is currently shooting for brother Sohail Khan's Mental in Dubai is the latest celeb to endorse international holiday destination. Bollywood and international tourism have had a long standing agreement, when a celebrity endorses a certain country, that country in return grants unparalleled shooting rights for that particular celebrity's film. Reportedly, Salman Khan has met the project developers for the same. However, talks are still on as Salman Khan hasn't yet taken a decision. The project was announced last year and the project is called 'Dubailand'. Apart from this, we hear that Salman Khan is also looking at buying an apartment there. -SHOWBIZ DESK

LONDON: Actor Elijah Wood is destined for a career behind the camera, feels the director of his new film Maniac. The Lord of The Rings star plays a disturbed serial killer in Khalfoun's new slashes film and the director thinks he could follow in the footsteps of Ben Affleck. "He brought tons of ideas to the set, he's a total filmmaker. I'll be really surprised if we don't see him directing very soon. Funnily enough, he understood immediately that he had to be there every day. Even though we don't see him throughout the entire movie, he realised it was important that he be there to deliver lines and to really influence the other actors. "Eventually the movie began to be seen through his eyes and he was participating. He'd be looking and pulling the camera on set, he was director of photography and he really morphed into the character. It was very interesting to watch," Khalfoun said. Maniac is released on March 15. SHOWBIZ DESK

Rabia Butt and Shehzad Sheikh to star in Lollywood’s Hijrat SHOWBIZ DESK

LAHORE: Super model Rabia Butt has now got the chance to flaunt her acting skills along with actor Shehzad Sheikh both playing lead roles in directorial debut of Farooq Mengal, entitled ‘Hijrat’. Rabia Butt is a known fashion model who has set many fashion runways on fire with her sensuous catwalk and appealing beauty. Other than the fashion ramps, Rabia Butt will now feature in famous director Farooq Mengal’s latest film Hijrat starring opposite Shehzad Sheikh. Film Hijrat portrays human rights issues in Pakistan and is a romantic flick. It is about a love triangle and elaborates many problems in Pakistan. Farooq Mengal has really worked hard for the film and has imported first-rate production and filmmaking equipment from india to maintain quality of the film. Along with Rabia Butt and Shehzad Sheikh, the cast of film Hijrat also includes Noman Ijaz, Azra Aftab, Ayub Khoso and the Moroccan actress Wiam Dhamani who is also staring in Shehzad Rafique’s film ‘Ishq Khuda’. Film Hijrat is set to release this year in October 2013.

Kim gets a 'vampire' facial

Spielberg planning Kashmir film

LONDON: Kim Kardashian was seen undergoing a ‘vampire’ facial, a procedure where ones own blood is splashed on the face with the help of tiny needles in the latest episode of Kourtney and Kim Take Miami. The 32-year-old reality star even shared an image of the facial on Instagram. In the procedure, blood is drawn from the arm of the person and is then spun in a machine for removal of platelets. The blood is then splattered onto the face, which stings a little. The ‘vampire facial’ is an update on the ‘vampire facelift,’ in which several painful injections are given on the face. -SHOWBIZ DESK

SHOWBIZ DESK MUMBAI: US director Steven Spielberg is planning to produce a film set partly on the de facto border between India and Pakistan in the disputed Kashmir region, a report said. Spielberg, who is currently in India's entertainment capital Mumbai, told The Times of India that the film would be produced by his DreamWorks Studios and its Indian partner Reliance Entertainment, which is headed by tycoon Anil Ambani. "We have finalised a script for a movie," Spielberg said. "Part of it will take place on the India-Pakistan border in Kashmir. But we're still trying to figure out the casting, locations and who's going to direct it." Earlier, Spielberg spoke to a gathering of Indian directors at an event moderated by Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan in Mumbai. Bachchan later said on Twitter that he had "a scintillating evening with Mr Steven Spielberg", describing the acclaimed director's comments as simple, honest and with immense candor. Spielberg, known for classic hits such as Jaws, E.T. and Jurassic

Baz Luhrmann's ‘The Great Gatsby’ to open Cannes film festival SHOWBIZ DESK LONDON: Australian director Baz Luhrmann's "The Great Gatsby" will open the 2013 Cannes film festival, the world's most important cinema showcase, organizers said. The adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's account of "Roaring Twenties" America combines serious literary heritage and A-list star power, with Leonardo DiCaprio in the lead role. DiCaprio will make an appearance at the festival on the famous Croisette waterfront for the first time since 2007. The opening gala, preceded by a glitzy red carpet fashion parade and followed by parties along the palm-lined Riviera, will also be attended by Bollywood star Amitabh Bachchan and U.S. rapper Jay-Z. "It is a great honor for all those who have worked on The Great Gatsby to open the Cannes film festival," Luhrmann, whose first film Strictly Ballroom was screened there 21 years ago, said in a statement. "F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote

Danny Boyle, Rosario Dawson part ways? LOS ANGELES: Director Danny Boyle and actress Rosario Dawson have reportedly ended their relationship. Boyle and Dawson had started dating last year. "It's all over. It's very sad, but they always were an unlikely couple, in many ways," Sunday Telegraph newspaper quoted a source as saying. Dawson had earlier dated actor Jason Lewis for two years.

Atif Aslam turns 30

LAHORE: Renowned Pakistani pop singer Atif Aslam celebrated his 30th birthday tomorrow. Aslam who has won numerous awards started his career in 2004 and several songs of his first album ‘Jal Pari’ were huge hits. Atif has also sung playback in several Bollywood movies and has also achieved start status in India. Atif has also sung playback in several Bollywood movies and has also achieved start status in India. He ventured into the realm of acting when he starred in the movie ‘Bol’. Atif made his debut on 17 July 2004 by releasing first album titled Jal Pari, which stood on the success of “Aadat”. The album had become the youth anthem of Pakistan. Atif was able to deliver in live performances as well in Pakistan and numerous countries across Asia. The artist started performing to sellout crowds on a regular basis. -SHOWBIZ DESK


Park, was seen by AFP leaving Ambani's office. Reports said billionaire Ambani and his wife Tina were throwing a lavish party in honour of the director during his visit.


pro-CIA, anti-Iran propaganda. Though the movie isn’t showing in any Iranian theaters, many Iranians have seen it on bootleg DVDs and it set off a spirited debate that exposed a generational divide. Iranians who took part in the 1979 Islamic Revolution picked apart the portrayals of Tehran at the time but those too young to recall

Carraway, the narrator. The festival runs from May 15 to 26 and U.S. director Steven Spielberg is head of this year's jury. Last year's winner of the coveted Palme d'Or for best picture was Austrian filmmaker Michael Haneke for the drama Amour.

Bhansali addresses Deepika as Ash MUMBAI:Sanjay Leela Bhansali has worked with Aishwarya Rai Bachchan in three films and shares a wonderful rapport with her. Reportedly, Deepika Padukone is being reminded of Bhansali's admiration for Aishwarya Rai Bachchan on the sets of Ram Leela. Sanjay Leela Bhansali often addresses Deepika Padukone as Ash or Aishwarya at the sets of Ram Leela. The daily quoted a source as saying, "There have been so many occasions that after a shot Bhansali would say 'Nice shot Ash' or 'Ash, let's do the next scene like this' while talking to Deepika." Apparently, Bhansali's assistant directors have to remind the director that he is working with Deepika, not Aishwarya. Aishwarya Rai has worked in three major projects with Sanjay Leela Bhansali. Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, Devdas and Guzaarish were the three mega-budget films where the two worked together. Ash is said to have developed a warm bonding with her director right from her first film.

Iran mulls suing Hollywood over Argo TEHRAN: Iran is planning to sue Hollywood over the Oscar-winning “Argo” because of the movie’s allegedly “unrealistic portrayal” of the country, Iranian media reported. Several news outlets, including the pro-reform Shargh daily, said French lawyer Isabelle CoutantPeyre is in Iran for talks with officials over how and where to file the lawsuit. She is also the lawyer for notorious Venezuelan-born terrorist Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, known as Carlos the Jackal. Following the 1979 attack on the US Embassy in Tehran, 52 Americans were held hostage for 444 days, but six embassy staffers were sheltered by the Canadian ambassador. Their escape, using a fake movie as a cover story, is recounted in “Argo.” After its Oscar win in February, Iranian officials dismissed “Argo” as

some of the most poignant and beautiful passages of his extraordinary novel just a short distance away at a villa outside St. Raphael," he added. DiCaprio plays Jay Gatsby in the 3D movie, Carey Mulligan is Daisy Buchanan and Tobey Maguire is Nick

the events were eager for a different view on what had happened. The decision on the lawsuit came after a group of Iranian cultural officials and movie critics screened the film in a closed audience in a Tehran theater late Monday. The gathering, titled “The Hoax of Hollywood,” discussed various legal aspects of filing a lawsuit, media reports said,

without providing details. It remains unclear what specific charges Iran could raise and what court Tehran could turn to if the action goes ahead. Those at the meeting dismissed “Argo” as a “violation of international cultural norms.” A statement issued after the gathering said that “awarding an anti-Iran movie is a propaganda attack against our nation and entire humanity.” The statement did not clarify how the movie was allegedly unrealistic, but officials have accused “Argo” of depicting Iranians as “too violent.” They have also said the movie’s director did not refer to other documentaries on the embassy storming or discuss reasons for the crisis, which included simmering resentment against the United States for a CIA-aided counter-coup in 1953 that toppled democratically elected Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh and restored the proWestern monarchy in Iran.


Model Alizey’s new look SHOWBIZ DESK here are many out there who are struggling to enter the limelight. Some succeed, while others have to wait till their stars turn lucky for them. Among those who are climbing up the ladder of success rapidly, Alizey Nasir, with her killing looks stands out. Her career as a fashion model was no less of a surprise for her. Alizey Nasir has adopted modeling as a full time career, yet she seeks to learn more in everything she adopts or plans to adopt in future. Alizey NAsir has been on and off seen on ramps, yet she has appeared more in commercials, which according to herself, is where she enjoys being more. With Alizey busy with acquiring project after project, her education has sort of taken a back seat. Alizey Nasir is still in the primary years of her career where choosing the best offer can take her to heights and a wrong step can destroy it all. Good luck to her. Have a look of Alizey Nasir new photoshoot done by Photographer Hassan Vohra



Phelps rules out rio Olympics 2016 return RIO DE JANEIRO: US swimming legend Michael Phelps said Monday there was no chance of him coming out of retirement to compete in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics. "I'm done, I'm done," Phelps said after meeting children from Rio's Rocinha favela on the sidelines of the Laureus Sports Awards. Phelps, the most decorated Olympian of all time with 22 medals, retired from swimming after bagging four golds and two silvers at last year's London Olympics. But the 27-year-old Baltimore Bullet ruled out any chance of a comeback in Rio. "It was a great race ... I look back at all I've got and I can truly say I've done everything I've wanted," said Phelps, who accumulated an astonishing 18 Olympic golds in his career. –AGENCIES

Indian Olympic medallist quizzed over drug haul NEW DEL HI: Indian Olympic bronze-medallist boxer Vijender Singh has been questioned over his alleged links to a $24-million heroin haul and has refused to give blood or hair samples, police said Tuesday. Singh, who won a bronze at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, was interviewed near Chandigarh in northwest India on Monday evening after an alleged drug dealer arrested with the heroin named him and fellow boxer Ram Singh as ‘clients’. Vijender, 27, who became a household name in India after winning the Olympic medal, has strongly denied any link to the drug dealer and slammed as ‘ridiculous’ the allegations against him. Police seized 26 kilograms (57 pounds) of heroin worth 1.3 billion rupees ($24 million) last week in the northern state of Punjab. The alleged dealer was arrested along with five others. Vijender, himself a police officer in the neighbouring state of Haryana, was questioned for close to four hours on Monday evening, according to a police statement reported by the Press Trust of India (PTI). –AGENCIES

Federer marches into Indian Wells fourth round INDIAN WELLS: Roger Federer made quick work of Ivan Dodig on Monday, keeping his Indian Wells title defence on track with a 6-3, 61 third-round victory over the 60th-ranked Croatian. Federer needed just 61 minutes to seal the victory – abetted somewhat by Dodig's six double-faults, the last of which came on match point. The quick finish may have been a godsend for the Swiss great, who said he "tweaked" his back late in the match. However, Federer said he fully expected to be fit enough to continue his pursuit of a first title of 2013. "I'm not too worried," Federer said. "I have gone through it so many times where you feel a little tweak. You might play next day. Now this time around I have a day off, extra time. "From that standpoint I'm not worried at all," added Federer, who will face compatriot Stanislas Wawrinka for a quarterfinal berth. Wawrinka ended the challenge of Australian veteran Lleyton Hewitt 6-4, 7-5. –AGENCIES

Sangakkara, Dilshan excel in drawn eight-century Galle Test GALLE: Sri Lanka's Kumar Sangakkara completed his second century of the match before the opening Test against Bangladesh ended in a tame draw on the fifth and final day in Galle on Tuesday. Sangakkara cracked a solid 105 and opener Tillakaratne Dilshan an impressive 126 as Sri Lanka declared their second innings at 335-4 at tea to set Bangladesh an improbable 268run victory target in the last session. The tourists finished at 70-1 in their second innings. The flat track at the Galle International Stadium produced eight centuries, equalling the record of most tons in a Test, set during the West Indies-South Africa match at Antigua in 2005. "The draw is huge and it was also the first time we took the lead against Sri Lanka," said Bangladesh captain Mushfiqur Rahim, who was named man of the match. "It is really enjoyable. The

team is playing very well together. We didn't really bowl well first up, so we had a chat that we need to show character and then our batsmen did really well." Sri Lanka added 219 to their overnight total of 116-1 for the loss of three wickets, with debutant Kithuruwan Vithanage (59) and skipper Angelo Mathews (38 not out) being the other main scorers. Sangakkara completed his 32nd century, the highest by a Sri Lankan in Tests, with a single off off-spinner Mohammad Mahmudullah. He hit 10 fours in his 172-ball knock. The former captain, who scored a brilliant 142 in the first innings, also became the fifth Sri Lankan to make a century in each innings of a Test after Duleep Mendis, Asanka Gurusinha, Aravinda de Silva and Dilshan. "It was disappointing not to win the match. It was hard work for the bowlers, but the batsmen

batted really well," said Sri Lanka skipper Mathews. "The batters would have loved to bat for another two days on this pitch. We have a couple days to freshen up and I look forward to the next game." Dilshan, 63 overnight, played some good shots in the opening session and reached his 16th Test hundred when he turned left-arm spinner Elias Sunny to square-leg for a single. Dilshan and Sangakkara fell in the space of 19 runs after lunch, but not before putting on 213 for the second wicket. Sangakkara, 49 overnight, was caught by Jahurul Islam off Mahmudullah at short mid-wicket, while Dilshan was caught by Abul Hasan at deep square-leg off the same bowler after hitting nine fours in his 190-ball knock. Bangladesh also put in a solid batting performance in the match as they posted their highest Test total of 638 in their first innings on Monday

SCOrebOArd SRI LANKA FIRST INNINGS 570-4 DEC (L Thirimanne 155, K Sangakkara 142, D Chandimal 116, Sohag Gazi 3-164) BANGLADESH FIRST INNINGS 638 (Mushfiqur Rahim 200, Mohammad Ashraful 190, Nasir Hossain 100, T Dilshan 2-75) SRI LANKA SECOND INNINGS (overnight 116-1) D Karunaratne c Hasan b Hossain 3 T Dilshan c Hasan b Mahmudullah 126 K Sangakkara c Jahurul b Mahmudullah 105 K Vithanage b Mahmudullah 59 A Mathews not out 38 L Thirimanne not out 2 2 EXTRAS: (NB 2) 335 TOTAL: (for 4 wkts dec; 83 overs) FALL OF WICKETS: 1-17, 2-230, 3-249, 4-320. BOWLING Hossain 9-1-33-1 Hasan 10-0-45-0 Gazi 15-1-58-0 Sunny 20-0-76-0 Mominul 5-0-25-0

in reply to Sri Lanka's 570-4 declared. Rahim top-scored with 200, the first Test double-century by a Bangladeshi batsman. Mohammad

Ashraful 1-0-10-0 Mahmudullah 20-1-70-3 Nasir 3-0-18-0 BANGLADESH SECOND INNINGS 41 Jahurul Islam not out Anamul Haque b Eranga 1 Mohammad Ashraful not out 22 EXTRAS: (B 4, LB 1, NB 1) 6 TOTAL: (for one wicket; 22 overs) 70 FALL OF WICKET: 1-2 BOWLING 4-1-6-0 Kulasekara Eranga 3-1-10-1 Herath 4-0-15-0 Mendis 7-1-23-0 Dilshan 4-0-11-0 Toss: Sri Lanka Umpires: Richard Illingworth (ENG) and Nigel Llong (ENG) Third umpire: Tyron Wijewardene (SRI) Match referee: David Boon (AUS)

Ashraful (190) and Nasir Hossain (100) were the other main scorers. The second and final Test starts in Colombo on Saturday. –AGENCIES

Sultan Azlan Shah Cup Hockey Tournament

India triumph over Pakistan

Malaysia hold Australia to 1-1 draw New Zealand down South Korea 3-0 IPOH: India came from a goal down to defeat Pakistan 3-1 to register their first win in the 22nd edition of the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh. The young Indian side showed plenty of maturity and composure to avenge the Indian defeat at the AHF Champions Trophy in Doha last December. More importantly it kept the Indian hopes alive for a podium finish at the Azlan Shah Cup. Pakistan took the lead in the 4th minute as skipper Muhammad Imran decided to relay the penalty corner attempt to the right for a diving Muhammad Waqas to turn into goal. But India hit back in the very next minute when Rupinder Pal Singh sent in a pile driver of a flick sailing into the Pakistan net. Five minutes into the match and its 1-1. India took the lead in the 9th minute when Akashdeep Singh pounced on the rebound after an initial attempt by Mandeep Singh came off Pakistan keeper Imran Shah who was playing in the place of regular Imran Butt. Pakistan could have leveled in the 11th minute but Muhammad Irfan Junior made a hash of things with the goal gaping in front of him. Pakistan were awarded penalty corners in the 15th, 25th and 35th minutes, but Imran could not find the target as India led 2-1 at halftime. Pakistan dominated proceedings in the first ten minutes of the second half, thanks to the untiring Shafqat

Rasool, but they just could not find the final touch. In the 52nd minute Pakistan were awarded their fifth penalty corner but Imran pulled it just wide of the left post and India sighed in relief. Mandeep Singh and Malak Singh kept the Pakistan defenders busy with their constant pressure and that forced the Pakistan defenders into making long passes instead of building up from the back gradually. In the 56th minute India went 3-1 up when Mandeep Singh picked up the rebound from his deflection to send the ball into the roof of the net. Pakistan were then awarded their sixth penalty corner in the 58th minute, but Sreejesh denied Imran yet again with a diving save. Two more penalty corners to Pakistan in the 64th and 65th minutes were also wasted and as the minutes ticked away, the youngsters of India started slowing the pace. Pakistan were awarded their ninth penalty corner 40 seconds from time but failed to reduce the deficit. In other match, defending champions New Zealand got back onto the winning trail when they defeated South Korea 3-0. New Zealand, the defending champions, had lost both their opening matches, 4-3 against Pakistan and 3-2 against Malaysia and were looking for a win to secure points. Malaysia held world number two Australia to a 1-1 draw in an exciting match in front of a full stadium. –AGENCIES

Vienna residents reject city’s 2028 Olympic Games bid VIENNA: Vienna's plans to bid for the 2028 Olympic Games have been firmly rejected by the city's inhabitants in a referendum, local authorities said on Tuesday. A resounding 71.94 percent of voters said no to the proposal with 28.06 percent in favour, the government said on its website ( Austria hosted the 1964 and 1976 Winter Olympics, both in Innsbruck, and co-hosted the Euro 2008 soccer championship with Switzerland but has never staged a summer Games. The rejection came 10 days after Swiss voters in the Graubuenden canton voted against a plan to bid for the 2022 Winter Olympics. "We accept the result of the referendum," Karl Stoss, president of the Austrian Olympic Committee (OeOC), which had backed the proposal, told Austrian media. "We would welcome any investments in sporting infrastructure by the city of Vienna so that we can offer top training conditions to our athletes and so that, from now on, Vienna can regularly stage big international sporting events, even if they are not on the scale of the Olympics." –AGENCIES

GALLE: Bangladesh’s Mohammad Ashraful (L) is watched by Sri Lankan wicketkeeper Dinesh Chandimal as he plays a shot during the final day of the opening Test between Sri Lanka and Bangladesh at the Galle International Stadium on Tuesday. –AGENCIES

FIFA suspends Executive Committee member PARIS: Sri Lankan Manilal Fernando, a member of world governing body FIFA's Executive Committee, has been provisionally suspended from all footballrelated activities for 90 days, FIFA said on Monday. Without going into details of Fernando's alleged transgressions, FIFA said in a statement it was suspending him in the wake of an investigation opened in October 2012 "in order to prevent interference with the establishment of the truth" regarding ethics proceedings. "The proceedings relate to formal ethics charges brought in a final report filed by the chairman of the investigator chamber with the chairman of the adjudicator chamber. This report is the result of investigator proceedings opened in October 2012," FIFA stated. Fernando, 63, represents the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) and has sat on FIFA's Executive Committee since 2011. –AGENCIES

Bolt and Ennis win top Laureus Awards RI O DE JANEIRO: Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt and British heptathlete Jessica Ennis won the Laureus World Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year Awards on Monday following their success at the 2012 London Olympic Games. The team of the year award went to Europe's Ryder Cup team after their stunning victory over the United States at Medinah last September. Bolt, who also won the award in 2009 and 2010, won gold in the 100, 200 and 4x100 metres relay in London to repeat his medal haul from Beijing. He was not there in person to receive the award at Rio's Theatro Municpal but appeared via a hologram. Wearing a suit and tie and holding the trophy in his hands, Bolt promised to defend his Olympic titles at the 2016 Rio Games. "Definitely I will be here in 2016," he said. Also nominated for the award was American swimmer Michael Phelps, who won four gold and two silver medals in London to become the most decorated Olympian of all time. Phelps was given a new award for Exceptional Achievement, which he collected at the gala ceremony in the 2016 Olympics host city just hours after participating in a swimming class for children at a Rio slum. "Being able to be given an award from athletes who are icons in their sports, it's just a tremendous honour," Phelps said at a news conference. "My life just keeps getting better and better." Also nominated for the top sportsman

Jessica Ennis Usain Bolt award were British Olympic champions Mo Farah and Bradley Wiggins, Formula 1 triple world champion Sebastian Vettel and Barcelona's Lionel Messi. Great Britain won three prizes with Ennis, Andy Murray and Sebastian Coe. Ennis dominated the Olympic heptathlon and won the gold medal despite carrying the enormous pressure of home hopes at the Olympic stadium, while Murray won the breakthrough award after winning his first grand slam at the US Open as well as Olympic gold and silver medals in London. Coe, the chairman of the Organising Committee of the London Olympic and Paralympic Games and also a Laureus World Sports Academy Member, received the lifetime achievement award. Dominican Republic's Felix Sanchez received the comeback of the year award after winning the Olympic 400 metres hurdles gold medal in London, eight years after winning it for the first time in Athens. –AGENCIES

World Figure Skating Championships commence today

Asian and Canada stars all set to sparkle LONDON: Reigning Olympic champion Kim Yu-Na and Japan's Mao Asada will join Canadians Patrick Chan, Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir in star roles when the World Figure Skating Championships open Wednesday (today). Two-time defending men's world champion Chan and reigning world and Olympic ice dance champions Virtue and Moir, who grew up in London, will enjoy a home ice advantage while Kim and Asada lead a competitive women's field. Already heated rivalries will intensify in all disciplines with the world's elite looking to stake early claims to the 2014 Olympic podium and post results that earn their countries maximum entries for next year's Sochi Winter Games. Competition begins Wednesday with the pairs and men's short programmes. Asada, the 2008 and 2010 world

champion, and Kim, the 2009 world champion, have achieved superstar status in their respective homelands. Kim will emerge a self-imposed twoyear hiatus from International Skating Union (ISU) competition while a resurgent Asada looks to parlay a recent win streak into a third world crown. Kim looked great as she tuned up for these championships at a second-tier event in Germany. Her 200-plus total score confirmed she had lost none of her jumping prowess and performance panache. Meanwhile, Asada has gone undefeated this season in ISU events after struggling to retool her jumps the previous two years. The Japanese star has regained the form, and the triple Axel, that brought her two world crowns. Reigning women's champion Carolina Kostner of Italy is skating better than ever, but repeating as champion will be difficult. Her long

list of challengers also includes another Japanese rival, Akiko Suzuki, and American Ashley Wagner. Defending titles will be no waltz around the ice rink for the Canadians given losses to arch rivals this season. Chan raised eyebrows when he hired a modern dance instructor as his coach last summer and then struggled on the Grand Prix circuit. Meanwhile, his main challengers, Spaniard Javier Fernandez and Japanese Yuzuru Hanyu and Daisuke Takahashi, raised their own levels, flashing quadruple jumps galore and shrinking the sizeable points gap Chan enjoyed for two years. Chan said his season "hasn't been great" but said he has regrouped, refocused and really thought about what he needed to do to improve ahead of these championships. "Winning the world championships would be great this year going into the Olympic

Games," Chan said. "It would be nice to ride that wave winning the world championships – not just any world championships, but in London, in Canada – and ride that wave all the way to Sochi so that I can really step on the ice (in Russia) with a lot of confidence." Virtue and Moir also hit a few potholes this season with losses to their American training mates, Meryl Davis and Charlie White, at two major events. The Canadian and American duos have had a lock on the top two podium spots since 2010, with Virtue and Moir winning in 2010 and 2012 and the US duo coming out on top in 2011. Virtue's troubles with chronic lower leg cramping has tested the perfectionist couple's patience and hindered their performance again this season, although Virtue said last week she is now ‘feeling great’. The pairs event, like ice dance, is again expected


Nathalie Pechalat and Fabian Bourzat competing for France practice at Budweiser Gardens in preparation for the 2013 World Figure Skating Championships. –AGENCIES to be a two-way race between Germany's four-time world champions Aliona Savchenko and

Robin Szolkowy and Russians Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov, twice runners-up. –AGENCIES



Pm okays policy for release of unhindered funds ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf Tuesday granted his approval to a policy of getting funds released from the national exchequer without any hindrance. The above policy has been approved at a time when the incumbent government is only four days away from its dissolution. Under the new policy, no one will be able to raise any objections to the funds' withdrawal, not even the Auditor General. Now no matter how big the amount of the funds, the Finance Ministry can get them released without facing any hurdles. According to the Auditor General, no consultation was made on the proposed policy before the prime minister's approval. –MONITORING DESKK

MARCH 13, 2013

Consumers to pay cess on CNG SALMAN ABBAS ISLAMABAD: Gas distribution companies took a sigh of relief Tuesday as the division bench of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) Tuesday enabled the government authorities to collect the Gas Infrastructure Development Cess (GIDC) from consumers for the time being while suspending the earlier order of IHC single bench which had declared the GIDC Act 2011 as illegal. A division bench comprising Justice Riaz Ahmed Khan and Justice Mohammad Noorul Haq N. Qureshi suspended the short order of Justice Siddiqui till the issuance of detailed judgment. The final verdict on the fate of GIDC would be announced after hearing about 300 petitioners who had initially brought this case in the IHC. After suspension of IHC single bench order by the division bench, the GIDC Act has

been restored for the time being which enabled the gas distribution companies to collect the levy from the consumers. Domestic consumers of gas, however, were exempt from the levy which the government imposed on the industrial sector, initially at the rate of Rs 13 per MMBTU but later increased it to Rs 100 per MMBTU, only to be reduced to Rs 50 per MMBTU in September last year. Over 400 industrial units challenged the GIDC in the Islamabad High Court last September as the levy had increased their cost of production. The contention of the petitioners was that the levy was imposed to finance the infrastructure for the proposed TurkmenistanAfghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) and Iran-Pakistan (IP) pipeline projects, or for price equalisation of other imported alternative fuels, including LNG and LPG.

According to the petitioners, no timelines could be determined at present for even the start of these projects as well as the costs of the same and the government had imposed and started collecting the cess whose rates had been increased exorbitantly without any justification or rationale. Advocate Shah Khawar, Anwar Mansoor Khan and Salman Akram Raja appeared on behalf of the federal government and ministry of petroleum appeared before the bench on behalf of the federal government. Advocate Khawar told the court that a number of petitions against GIDC were pending in the Lahore and Sindh high courts when the IHC single bench declared the GIDC Act 2011 as illegal. He said that the single bench through a short order declared an Act of Parliament as illegal and a detailed judgment in this regard is yet to be issued. He said in the short order the

judge did not give reason for declaring the Act illegal and because of this order the LHC and SHC issued stay orders in the favors of petitioners who had challenged the Act. According to him, the GIDC could not be termed as illegal or unconstitutional because the imposition of tax is the prerogative of the government; the GIDC was introduced after necessary legislation and could not be set aside by the court. The levy never violated the fundamental rights of the citizen therefore, it could not be declared unconstitutional, the counsel added. The bench after initial hearing of the appeal suspended the short order of IHC single bench till the issuance of detailed judgment over GIDC Act 2011. The court also issued notices to all the petitioners to hear their point of view and adjourned the hearing till a date to be fixed by the registrar office.

Ec official shot dead in Quetta

Adiala Jail’s missing prisoners

QUETTA: An election official in Balochistan was shot dead by unidentified motorcycle-riding gunmen. The provincial deputy election commissioner, Ziaullah, was on his way home from office when the gunmen attacked his vehicle near Chandi Chowk in the Satellite Town suburb. The election officer's bodyguard, who was driving the car, was injured in the attack. The attackers sped away from the site. A rickshaw driver took the injured officer to a hospital where he died from his injuries. Meanwhile, police discovered two bodies riddled with bullets in the Aabgum area of the city. Both bodies were identified as Safdar and Baaz Muhammad and were kidnapped by unknown persons from Degari and Mushkaaf areas. –STAFF REPORTER

No trial under FCR 


Sindh EcP member writes dissenting note ISLAMABAD: Election Commission of Pakistan member from Sindh has reportedly not signed the draft of nomination papers, the ECP ordered for printing without the approval of the president, a private TV reported. The TV said Sindh ECP member Roshan Esani had different viewpoint and written a note of dissent on the draft nomination papers. Esani has a stance that the president had authority to approve nomination papers, adding that sending these documents for printing without the approval by the head of the state is not fair. –MONITORING DESK

Egyptian President morsi due on 16th ISLAMABAD: Egyptian president Dr. Mohammed Morsi is due to arrive in Pakistan on March 16 on a two-day visit. The Egyptian president is to hold bilateral consultations with Pakistan leadership on a variety of issues. Both Pakistan and Egypt are expected to sing six agreements in various fields. The Egyptian president could not make it to D 8 summit in November last year as he had to postpone his visit at the eleventh hour because of internal political situation of Egypt. -DNA

Five of a family killed in accident KHAIRPUR: A dreadful traffic accident takes lives of five member of a family, when a motorcycle collided with a trailer. The unlucky family of five, couple and three kids, were going on a motorbike on National Highway, when a trailer crushed them resulted deaths of all five family members. The deceased included Ghulam Rasool (32), his spouse Mehnaz (26), nine years old Bakht, 6 years Hamoli and 2 years old baby named Gul. The trailer driver tried to escape from the scene but police arrested him from Rohri. -ONLINE

SC questions ISI’s authority on forced detentions

KARACHI: President Asif Ali Zardari unveiling a plaque to inaugurate 50,000 residential plots for the poorest of the poor under Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto Towns Sindh. –ONLINE

Pak–US ties termed tense but ‘essential’ 

Again warns of curbs over IP pipeline


WASHINGTON: The US National Security Adviser Tom Donilon on Tuesday said that ties with Pakistan have become difficult but also essential. Delivering a speech on the US policy towards Asia at the Asia Society, Tom Donilon said crisis no longer looms over US relationship with Pakistan as over the past year both the countries have worked hard to overcome the period of strain in their ties. "We have had, as you might imagine, as has been clear, some difficult issues, but I do think we are at a point here where we don’t have a crisis hanging over the relationship. We continue to work intensively with the Pakistanis on the kinds of issues, and we’ll continue to do so." The US National Security Adviser said they have had with Pakistan a very important partnership in the counterterrorism area. And indeed the Pakistanis have suffered thousands of casualties in the battle against extremism. He said Pakistan has been an important partner of the US in its efforts against the most extreme elements. The national security adviser said the US and Pakistan have in common a stable Afghanistan at the end of this process, and the two countries are working together on that. "We both have in common the fight against extremist elements, and we continue to work on that," he said. Referring to the upcoming general elections in Pakistan, Donilon termed it as

a milestone towards strengthening of the democracy in the country, and said the US will be "watching that." State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said Pakistan risks sparking US sanctions if it pursues its plans with Iran to build a $7.5 billion gas pipeline. “We have serious concerns, if this project actually goes forward, that the Iran Sanctions Act would be triggered,” State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said. “We’ve been straight up with Pakistan about these concerns.” Nuland said the US was “supporting large-scale energy projects in Pakistan that will add some 900 megawatts to the power grid by the end of 2013.” Those projects included renovating the power plants at Tarbela, the Mangla Dam, as well as modernizing others plants and building new dams at Satpara and Gomal Zam, she added. APP adds: The US Ambassador Richard Olson Tuesday called on Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar at the Foreign Office. During the meeting, they discussed the overall bilateral relationship including progress made under the strategic dialogue process in various spheres of cooperation. The Foreign Minister expressed satisfaction on the current trajectory of the relations between Pakistan and the United States and hoped that these multifaceted relations would be further strengthened and deepened on the basis of mutual respect and common interest. They also discussed the situation in Afghanistan and how Pakistan and the US could cooperate in bringing peace and stability in that country.

President inaugurates uplift projects OUR STAFF REPORTER

KARACHI: President Asif Ali Zardari Tuesday inaugurated a number of developmental projects in various parts of Sindh aimed at further improving the infrastructure of the province, and provision of health and housing facilities to the people of Sindh. The various developmental projects inaugurated included foundation stone laying of Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Expressway from Garho to Shah Bundar, inauguration of new buildings of District Headquarter Hospitals at Badin, foundation laying of District Headquarter Hospitals Dadu, Emergency Trauma Centers at Taluka level Badin, Shikarpur, and the launch of Township Scheme in Karachi under the Benazir Shaheed Housing Project. Those present at the ceremony included among others Sindh Governor Dr Ishratul Ibad Khan, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah, Managing Director of Zulfikarabad Development Authority Lt. Gen (Retd) Syed Iftikhar Hussain Shah , federal and provincial Ministers, parliamentarians and other high officials.

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Tuesday held that the missing prisoners of Rawalpindi’s Adiala Jail, being detained by the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI), could not be tried under the FCR, as they had spent a lot of time in the prison and later were shifted to the internment centers. A three-member bench comprising Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Justice Gulzar Ahmed and Justice Sh. Azmat Saeed, noted that no one was above the law and no one should even think that the courts were helpless. The court noted that the intelligence agencies should not forget that they had the authority to function only within the sphere of law. The chief justice said if courts would be unable to dispense justice, then how the country would run, adding that extra legal measures from any one would not be compromised. He said no institution of the country had the authority to keep the people into illegal custody for the entire life. He regretted that federation’s chief law officer Irfan Qadir was posing as if he did not know anything about the case. Justice Gulzar Ahmed noted that the trial of the missing prisoners could not be completed despite the lapse of over 18 months. He said agencies’ record indicated that a new story was being fabricated to justify their

detention. During the hearing, Tariq Asad, counsel for missing prisoners, stated that the trial of 11 prisoners was not conducted under the Army Act 1952, thus they could not be kept in the internment centers. Raja Muhammad Irshad, counsel for ISI, presented before the court record of Rawalpindi’s Hamza Camp and requested the court to keep it secret. He said the accused were involved in suicide attack on Hamza Camp and they would be prosecuted under Frontier Crimes Regulation ( FRC). The court noted that the trial of the accused was completed long ago, however, the agencies kept them under forcible custody. The court questioned that now how proceeding could be initiated against them under the FCR. After examining the record, the chief justice said, “So many days had gone and you were now presenting these documents in the court.” He made it clear that the court would take decision in accordance with the true spirit of law in this regard. Raja Irshad requested the court to adjourn the hearing for two weeks so that the matter may be settled under the FCR. The chief justice regretted that despite the lapse of about two years, no evidence could be brought against the prisoners, adding that evidence was must for detaining any one. Meanwhile, the court adjourned the hearing until March 20.

Panic after 4 dead in 3 KP blasts PESHAWAR: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa witnessed a panic day by experiencing three attacks in various areas killing at least four while injuring as many as 24 others. Early Tuesday morning, a bomb ripped through a sewerage canal near the residence of KP Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain injuring six including three children. According to District Police officer, Muhammad Hussain, “The explosive device was planted at an underconstruction canal. The minister remained safe as he was in Peshawar.” In 2010, Taliban killed the only son of the minister in his native town, vowing to target more politicians. In the afternoon, a remote control bomb targeting a police van killed two policemen while injuring at least 18 others in Bannu. As per Bannu DSP Iqbal khattak, the bomb planted in a motorcycle hit a police van that was carrying police officials, killing at least two civilians while injuring 18 others including a woman. Bannu is gateway to the restive North Waziristan from where the Talian carried out attacks on security forces and politicians. The Taliban also killed senior KP minister Bashir Ahmed Bilour last December. Later in the afternoon, a constable of the bomb disposal squad (BDS) Zarmast died when a pressure cooker bomb exploded in restive Mattani area of Peshawar. “Zarmast was trying to defuse a roadside bomb and it exploded, killing him on the spot,” a fellow colleague said. He was the senior official and was famous for defusing bombs. Another BDS official was killed last year while defusing a bomb. –NAZAR ISLAM

Four years on, ‘Mullah Radio’ still haunts Malakand TAHIR ALI

M I N GO RA : It has been almost four years since insurgents led by Mullah Fazlullah − popularly known as Mullah Radio − were ousted from Malakand Division in a successful military operation, however the fear of the Taliban is still in the back of the minds of local inhabitants. In the post-operation period, old security checkposts still stir uncertaintyin the Valley’s inhabitants, leading to stressful situations. Urooj, a 14-year-old girl who lives in the Kabal area of Swat, still remembers the time when the Taliban emerged in her village. They forced women to remain indoors and destroyed her school; her family migrated to

Mardan where they lived inside a camp built for internally displaced persons (IDPs). “I can’t forget that tragic period of my life; I will never forget,” she says. Urooj has gone back to school but she still fears the Taliban. “Baba says we are free of the menace of the Taliban but I ask if there is no threat from them, why are security forces still patrolling the area”, she asked. Just like Urooj, many inhabitants of Swat, Buner and even some parts of Lower Dir are still not over the trauma of the reign of the militants and security forces'bloody clashes with them. Today, there are no signs of the Taliban and the control of the area rests with the Pakistani military. Though a reminder of some degree of security, residents also look at the check-posts with

trepidation. “Sometimes, just in front of our homes, the security forces ask us for our ID cards; it seems if we are living like illegal immigrants. During the time of the militants and even after their defeat, we are still living in an uncertain situation. When will the MaulanaFazlullah chapter close?” asked Ahmed Khan who lives in Dewlai in Swat, also known as the Switzerland of Pakistan, a peaceful place before Fazlullahled militants descended on it in 2007.Tourists came to the area not only from Pakistan but from abroad, a source of income for many locals. “There were no security concerns; even the foreigners wandered in our areas on bicycles; but once the Taliban came and following a

military operation 2009, even we as locals are reluctant to venture outside our homes after dark”, Arshad Khan of Shamozai told The Spokesman. Dargai is the gateway to Malakand Division, where everyone is checked before entering Swat valley — whether they are locals or non-locals. Long queues of vehicles wait to be checked. After the Dargai check-post, once the Malakand Pass has been crossed, visitors are checked once again at Chakdara if they are moving on to Dir, Chitral or Bajuar while those who enter Swat, Buner and Shangla are checked at the Landaki checkpost. Apart from the main checkpoints, there are numerous other small checkpoints all over the valley.

Professor DrFouziaNaeem, Dean Faculty of Social and Media Sciences, Sindh Madrassatul Islam University, is of the view that in a postwar scenario, the presence of check-posts and security forces scars children. “When things are not clear it leads to uncertainty in children, which is followed by lack of decision power.” UsmanUlasyar, chairman of the Swasto Art and Culture Association, is of the view that fear of the militants will fade if military personnel are called back from public places and security of the area is handed over to police. Locals say that the common people of Swat are usually kept away from cultural activities and the functions are designed to entertain ‘honorable guests’ from outside.

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