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PG I 06

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VOL V, NO. 304


RABI-US-SANI 06, 1434


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Another blast targets Hazara community

Carnage in Quetta leaves 67 dead OUR STAFF REPORTER

The provincial assembly and the suspended government will now have reasons to make an issue out of it. They were packed off on the ground that they were not able to control violence against the Hazaras. The crisis deepened when the Hazaras refused to bury their dead. Ït is a new situation now,"said politician Rauf Khan Sasoli. Many believe the problem will not be resolved until the army takes on the Lashkar-i-Jhangvi in Punjab. Hazara leaders allege that LEJ leaders Akram Lahori and Malik Ishaq are facilitated in jail as well outside to carry on such attacks. This will not stop until the LEJ is not rounded up. Wazir said the bomb was planted near the pillar of a building in the market. “The building collapsed due to the intensity of the

QUETTA: The misery of Hazaras got re-ignited after a brief respite when at least 67 people were killed and over 200 wounded Saturday when a large explosion shook the restive capital. The explosion may complicate the Balochistan's political crisis as the last government was suspended because of the earlier explosion. This may once again put the pressure on the centre, the Governor and the establishment that the wave of violence was only interrupted but not rooted out. The explosion occurred near a market at the busy Kirani road, close to Hazara Town. “It was a remote-controlled bomb. The death toll may rise,” said Wazir Khan Nasir, a senior police officer. He said the dead included women and children.

SNEAK PEEK Elections a tough job for ANP amidst Taliban threats As the proposed government-Taliban peace talks await ‘seriousness’, it makes it difficult for the Awami National Party (ANP), the ruling party in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, to go for the upcoming elections in a peaceful environment. Page 05

Gilanis await kind grants by Raja to win voters After series of meetings of former prime minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani with his successor, Raja Pervez Ashraf, for allocation of funds for the half-way mega development projects of Multan, now his sons, the junior Gilanis, await Raja Sahib's kindness to issue special grants for their constituencies. Page 03

Ayesha Omer says ʻno moreʼ to comedy The sweet and charming Ayesha Omar who now wants to focus on her singing career and plans to switch from comedy. Currently appearing in “Zindagi Gulzar Hai”, Aysha Omer has revealed her future plans. According to her, she now wants to try something serious or to build her career as a singer in Pakistani industry. Page 10

Proteas-Pakistan second Test evenly poised Robin Peterson and Dale Steyn led a South African fight back which left the second Test against Pakistan evenly poised at the end of the third day at Newlands on Saturday. Pakistan were 100 for three in their second innings at the close, a lead of 112. Peterson hit 84 to enable South Africa to get within 12 runs of Pakistan's first innings total of 338 and Steyn bowled at blistering pace to take two wickets as Pakistan lost their first three second innings wickets for 45 runs. Page 11

bomb, some people have been trapped inside,” he said. The blast was so heavy that windows of the nearby buildings were broken. The whole area plunged into darkness due to power breakdown. Police said it could not yet confirm the exact nature of the explosion. However, according to unconfirmed reports, around 100 kilograms of explosive was used in the blast. Official said an angry mob surrounded the area and were not allowing policemen, rescue workers and reporters to reach the site. “Some of them were armed and were firing gunshots in the air.” Majlis Wahdat-e-Muslimeen, condemning the attack, called for a shutter-down strike in Quetta today. Tahafuz Azadari Council (TAC) said that it would observe a week-long mourning.

Total confusion on new setup Khursheed says assemblies going within a week, Kaira says on March 16  Situation more messy in provinces

ATIF MATEEN LAHORE: The issue over the selection of the Caretaker Prime Minister and the Chief Ministers continues to become messy with conflicting signals from the political parties flying all over. Federal Religious Affairs Minister Khursheed Shah threw the spanner in the works by announcing in Sukkur that the issue over caretaker set-up “will be decided in a week.” He also sounded reconciliatory by hinting that “the PPP has a history of taking consensus decisions.” This gave credence to the report that the political parties, particularly the PPP and the PML-N, might agree on a joint candidate. In the end, it seems, no party wants the decision to go to the Election Commission of Pakistan. The PML-N announced on Friday that it had finalized a name for the caretaker PM. Media reports speculated that the PML-N was in agreement with other parties as Jamaat-i-Islami, Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaaf and JUI-F on the name of Justice (retd) Nasir Aslam Zahid. Now the ball was in the PPP court. Many inferred from short time announced by Khursheed Shah that, in the words of journalist Haider Shah, “may be it is because the PPP is inclined towards accepting the opposition nominee. In other case, Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly had clearly indicated that if the PPP rejected the name the PML-N would consult the opposition parties again.” Political Pundits, however, point out that the announcement of the decision regarding the names for the caretaker Prime Minister should not be confused

with the holding of the elections. The names could be announced now whereas the government would be dissolved whenever the PPP government would decide. Federal Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira made it clear that they stood by the agreement reached with Minhajul Quran Chief that the Assemblies would complete their term till March 15. This means that the National Assembly would stand automatically dissolved, which will give the Election Commission of Pakistan three months of election schedule against the two months that the ECP will have if the National Assembly is dissolved before Marsh 15. This was the demand of Tahirul Qadri who wanted the ECP to be given one month extra that is allowed in the constitution so that it will do a better purge of the systematic lacunas. This suits the PPP as it will enjoy maximum time in the government. Qadri, many say, gave the PPP the option which they wanted to exercise any way. “This suits every MNA who would not like to go home early,” said journalist Mubashar Bokhari. “It will be bad for people to vote in June in this case but who cares for the people.” The PML-N also seems to stay in the government for as much time as possible. The party at one stage even threatened that it would not dissolve the Punjab

Assembly, legally possible because of late government formation in Punjab, along with the National Assembly. Most agree that, besides other reasons, Punjab Chief Minister would like to see his Metro Bus Project implemented properly and the road cleaned before his government is packed off. The situation of the provincial caretaker governments gets ignored in the messy Islamabad politics. A legal issue exists in Balochistan where the Provincial Assembly stands suspended and it is not clear that who will decide the caretaker setup. Whether the Parliament will exercise its power to decide the Balochistan caretaker Chief Minister or the Assembly will be restored at the last minute for it to decide the caretaker CM. In Sindh, the ever mercurial MQM seems headed towards sitting on the opposition benches. Whether this is to have a joint PPP-MQM move to have a mutually agreed caretaker CM to stall the nationalists or just the smart move by the MQM to increase its leverage. “It suits them to contest the next elections by sitting on the opposition benches towards the end,” said Mr Bokhari. Questions also hang over the CMs of Punjab and Khyber Pashtunkhwa. It is obvious that they will be decided once the haze over the central caretaker set up is cleared.

LAHORE: Government team led by Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain meets Dr Tahirul Qadri on Saturday. –INP

QUETTA: Clouds of smoke hovering in the sky after an explosion in Hazara Town. More than 50 persons lost their lives in the incident. –ONLINE

Kamran Faisal committed suicide: report ISLAMABAD: A medical board of Islamabad s Polyclinic Hospital Saturday declared the death of the NAB investigator Kamran Faisal as suicide. The medical board had declared the NAB Officer Kamran Faisal’s death as a suicide, rejecting the stance of forensic test report put forward by Punjab Forensic Science Agency (PFSA). The medical board report said that the marks on the body came when the grave was opened and the dead body was taken out, rejecting another claim of the PFSA which said that Kamran Faisal was tortured before the death, media reports said. The medical board of Polyclinic Hospital, Islamabad, met here to review Punjab Forensic Science Agency's report on Kamran Faisal's death. The board after finalizing the report sealed it and handed over to the Islamabad police investigators. Federal police had asked the hospital administration to conclude the report soon so that it could be presented before the Supreme Court on February 19. However, the family of Faisal Kamran has rejected the reports and demanded of the Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry to take sou moto. -INP

MQM bids adieu to PPP yet again 

Govt hopes to win them back

OUR STAFF REPORTER KARACHI: Citing “noncompliance” by the ruling coalition partner, the MQM on Saturday decided to part ways with the PPP-led provincial government in Sindh and federal government. Speaking at a press conference after Rabita Committee meeting, which was held simultaneously in Karachi and London, senior MQM leader Dr Farooq Sattar said it was not possible for MQM to continue its cooperation with the PPP government. “MQM ends its alliance with PPP and quits provincial and federal governments, he said, adding that the decision was final and irreversible. Sattar alleged that PPP is patronizing the criminals of People’s Aman Committee and Layari Gang War terrorists. “These elements are involved in kidnapping for ransom, extortion and terrorism,” he said. Traders, police officials and MQM workers were targeted by these elements. He said instead of snubbing these criminals, the PPP government has withdrawn

cases against them and is protecting them. He accused the government of creating hurdles for the ministers of MQM. “We cooperated with PPP for the continuation of the democratic process but now it is not possible for us,” he said. Farooq Sattar said politics of hereditary must come to an end. “Law and order situation in Karachi is aimed at destabilizing the country. Restoration of Karachi peace is a must for holding of elections. Meanwhile, Interior Minister Rehman Malik told newsmen in Karachi that reservations of MQM will be removed and expressed the confidence that PPP‚ MQM alliance would continue. Some analysts are of the opinion that the MQM’s decision is a well-timed move, aiming at occupying the opposition seats and thus becoming a part in the process of appointing the caretaker setup in the province. It is worth mentioning that after the latest twist, the PPP and MQM will bargain for the caretakers in Sindh with no room for the real opposition - PML-F.

NWA operation to put TTP might, glory at stake 

FRC report claims double faced policies of Taliban  Says TTP intends to change nature of its influence from military to political

TAHIR NIAZ ISLAMABAD: The might and glory of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) might be at stake if the government decides to launch military operation in North Waziristan Agency (NWA) even under the US pressure, believes FATA Research Centre (FRC). “A perspective established came across during the year 2012 that TTP has been cornered from Bajaur, Mohmand, Swat and most parts of the Kurram Agency. However, they are present in NWA, SWA, Upper Orakzai

and most parts of Khyber Agency. This is a worry for the TTP to stick to the losing heaven villa, NWA, since the government is mulling the military operation in NWA. If this operation is to be held even under the pressure of Americans, TTP’s might and glory is at stake”, said the FRC Annual Security Report 2012. The report claimed drone attacks are one of the fundamental reasons of people psychological problems in FATA, where majority of the patients are suffering from mental diseases. These attacks are causing the increase

in the number of newly recruited militants. These are also creating distrust between the state and society in FATA, where people consider the State of Pakistan to be bypassed by the US while conducting these attacks. It said on one side the Taliban talk about peace and offer peace dialogues whereas at the same time, they continued attacks on military forces. “Terrorists’ foremost agenda for the year 2012 seemed to be annihilation of educational institutions across FATA.” The report said the year 2012 witnessed a vivid shift in attitudes of

TTP leadership. “It may be the transition period within the group where it intends to change nature of influence from military to political and also to be a national non-state actor,” the reports said, adding: “Since TTP is losing its ground as well as people’s support is also diminishing for them with the passage of time; they made some feeble attempts to regain their strength back at the social front. Hakeemullah Mehsood’s demands to make constitution as ‘Islamic’ and indication of dialogue with the government were nothing but to get

public support.” The report said peacekeeping in FATA and Frontier Regions has been incurring a heavy cost on public exchequer. Primary focus of the State functionaries and policymakers seemed to be establishing peace in the region while development of the region has become a second priority for the administration in practice. The report said year 2012 experienced bad law and order in different regions of FATA and FR and cross border situation stays fragile as

before. TTP has been notorious to use kidnapping for ransom, demanding release of its militants and exhibiting its power in the region. The year has been a period of terror and combat across FATA; Frontier Regions were also not kept any safe from this situation. This is an unfathomable huge loss of humankind. The year 2012 was found extremely terrible on the security concerns having 570 attacks, 2544 killed and 1508 injured victims of conflict and militancy in all agencies of FATA, the report concluded.


CDA not providing record of missing streetlights SALMAN ABBAS

ISLAMABAD: The Capital Development Authority (CDA), in an effort to cover the skin of its officials, has not yet provided the record of street lights worth Rs50 million to the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) which were to be reinstalled at the Islamabad Highway after their reparation.

Around five-year back, the civic authority had removed streetlights installed at the Islamabad Highway from Koral Chowk to Rawat for their reparation. “But Capital Development Authority has not yet installed the lights worth million of rupees on route,” said an official, requesting anonymity. After dismantling, it may not be possible for the

authority to re-install new lights due to shortage of funds, he said. However, the scenario has created a lot of hardships for the residents of the adjoining localities like Pakistan Town, Korang Town, PWD, etc. according to the estimate, these lights were of worth Rs50 million and it seems that a huge discrepancy has been committed in the matter, the CDA

official said. On suspicion, the matter is being probed by the FIA which has also sought the record of the removed streetlights a week ago but the authority has not provided any record so far. When contacted, Capital Development Authority spokesman Ramzan Sajid was not available for his comments on the issue.

Traders give deadline to CDA over soccer field row ISLAMABAD: The angry and vibrant traders of F-8 Markaz have formally given a three-day deadline to CDA to resolve the thorny issue of construction of lawyers’ illegal chambers on a football field. A dispute between traders of F-8 Markaz and the legal fraternity arose on February 13, when the lawyers started construction of 35 chambers on the ground. The traders, however, called the Enforcement Directorate of the Capital Development Authority to stop them. This drew the ire of the legal fraternity, who clashed with the traders, leaving three people injured. On the complaint of F-8 Markaz Trader Welfare Association President Qamar Zaman Abbasi, the police registered an FIR against more than 50 lawyers for damaging commercial property and resorting to aerial fire. However, the lawyers approached the same police station, leveling the same charges against the traders. The police, on the complaint of lawyers, also lodged a case against the traders. Meanwhile, the lawyers resumed construction of chambers at the playground, claiming that they have been issued the no objection certificate (NOC) by the Islamabad Capital Territory. The traders have threatened the CDA that if the matter is not resolved and the lawyers are not made to end their illegal occupation than they would stage a sit-in in front of Supreme Court on Monday. ONLINE

Puppet show to highlight childrenʼs problems today ISLAMABAD: A free puppet show would be held on Monday at the Pakistan National Council of the Arts. The show is being jointly organized by the Pakistan National Council of the Arts and Ministry of National Heritage & Integration at 4:00 pm at PNCA Auditorium, F5/1, Islamabad. National Puppet Theatre will present Folk Tales, Skits to provide entertainment and education about social problems like Health, Education and Environment etc. ONLINE

Numberless vehicles roaming unchecked ISLAMABAD: Expensive cars without number plates are running around in Islamabad unchecked causing a concern among the citizens of Islamabad. According to details, more than a dozen cars with no number plates and tinted glasses, which include Land Cruiser, BMW, Mercedes and Corolla, are roaming around freely in the capital, the citizens complained. It has been noted that these cars are not even stopped at police check posts. The free roaming of such cars has created panic among the citizens and has demanded that police should be more vigilant and should not remain as silent spectator. ONLINE

A girl walks past a dish antenna installed outside a katch abadi (temporary settlement) in the federal capital. — ONLINE

Jinnah may become Bhutto Protest against move to rename Quaid-e-Azam Medical College as Zulfikar Ali Bhutto University HOMER BALOCH

ISLAMABAD: Members of All Federal Health Employees Association on Saturday staged a protest demonstration against the expected move of the authorities to rename the Quaide-Azam Medical College with the Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Medical University (SZABMU), to declare Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences as an autonomous body and suspension of Syed Manzar Abbas, chairman of the association. Hundreds of doctors, nurses and paramedical staff marched through the corridors and gathered at the administrative section of the hospital and protested for almost six hours, where they raised slogans against the authorities and opposed the expected decision of the government to make PIMS an autonomous body. They also demanded to resume services of Syed Manzar Abbas who was

dismissed a week ago by the PIMS administration. In the past too, all the employees had opposed the move of the Health Ministry which was ready to make hospitals autonomous but the decision was postponed, Abbas, in charge of the Computer Section of PIMS, told The Spokesman. This year again, they did the same in an unscheduled meeting on January 30, he said. An employee requesting anonymity said that the decision would be a totally political as this may be a step by the government just to adjust their own men in the hospital. Showing his caution, Abbas said the expected decision would cause confusion like the employees (of the hospital) will not remain under the direct government control as the universities has their own set up, of which, they (employees) would not get facilities that a government employee deserves. Furthermore, appointments of the doctors will not be made under the Federal Public Service

Commission by which, the vice chancellor will be authorise to appoint or remove the employees at his own wish, he said. “If the government really needs a medical university, it should either make it at some other place or just simply upgrade the Quaid e Azam Medical College,” he said. Raja Ilyas, working as security in charge at the Polyclinic and member of joint action committee, told The Spokesman that all three federal hospitals of Islamabad would be under the authority of vice chancellor according to this move. “We will lose our status of employees under the federal government. We are also protesting against the move and in solidarity with Mr Manzar Abbas for his illogical suspension,” he said. Manzar Abbas, an officer of Grade 19 was suspended a week ago by the authorities for calling on a meeting in the conference room without any approval. An official requesting not to mention his name said that it was

necessary to get approval for conducting a meeting in the conference room on day before the meeting. About his suspension, Abbas said that they had to conduct a meeting under joint action committee and they also had approval (to conduct meeting) from the library in charge, the officer authorised to give permission for conferences in conference room. When contacted, PIMS Executive Director Professor Riaz Ahmad Warraich told The Spokesman that it was clearly mentioned in the bill that the status of the hospital and employees would not be affected by declaration of autonomous body. “Mr Manzar was suspended not by him but CAAD. He was found violating the rules for entering the auditorium by force and causing it damage, for being involved in unions which is not allowed by the management, and for giving priority to his other activities rather than taking interest in his official matters,” he said.

Commuters demand repair of ‘capital’ bus stops ISLAMABAD: Owing to the negligence of Capital Development Authority, various bus stops in federal capital are in dilapidated conditions and lack basic facilities, including chairs and benches for commuters. Commuters are forced to wait for buses and minivans while standing on the roadside under severe weather conditions during the summer season due to the absence of sheds on various bus stops. The sheds of the bus stops are either absence or having large holes resultantly the commuters cannot sit inside the bus stops. Although the CDA had constructed many bus stops across the city yet due to its negligence, the commuters could not take advantage from them. The sheds of various bus-stops set up on different routes, including 105, 120, 111, 124, 136, 21 and 101 are either broken or having holes in them and during the CNG closure days the shortage of public transport vehicles causes rush of commuters on van-stops. Resultantly the passengers including women, students and old-age citizens have to stay for long under these broken sheds. “Commuters have to wait on the footpath or by standing on the roadside for the transport due to the absence of proper bus-stop or sheds. And in the summer season and after monsoon rains, it becomes very difficult for the commuters to wait in the scorching heat without sheds,” Zakaullah, a commuter waiting at Faisal Morr for public transport, said. ONLINE

No security, no infrastructure, at lower courts A CDA official claims lawyers themsleves are responsible for the mess SALMAN ABBAS

ISLAMABAD: A laxity of the Islamabad Capital Territory administration and the Capital Development Authority is costing heavily to the lower courts which are presenting a chaotic picture due to poor cleanliness, insecurity and lack of other infrastructural facilities. Besides judges, lawyers and staffers of the district courts, other core issues being faced by the litigants include non availability of proper sheds and lack of security measures taken by the authorities concerned despite the fact that some deadly attacks have taken place in the premises of the district courts in past. During June 2011, a man was shot dead in the district courts when his rival opened fire on him after the hearing of a case. In September 2011, an unidentified gunman shot and injured the under-trial prisoner and a police constable in the district court premises and the gunman also managed to flee from the scene unhurt. Despite these horrific incidents, one can see that most of the walk-through gates are out of order and only one constable has been deployed at each entrance of the courts. The ICT administration which is responsible to ensure security in the courts has been paying no heed towards the issue. A site to establish the sheds has been reserved by the administration but without any development. The visitors registered several complaints about the poor security measures at the lower courts. “I have an enmity with some people and they may even kill me. It is state’s responsibility to ensure security at courts,” said a litigant, wishing not to be named. Besides litigants appearing in courts for their civil and criminal lawsuits, there are many who come here for other legal issues; but they all share some common problems such as poor cleanliness, shortage of benches and poor security. “I have come here from Chakwal to appear in a case but I am shocked to see such a poor condition here in the middle of the federal capital,” said Baqar Raza, a litigant. Talking to The Spokesman, District Bar General Secretary Shajjar Abbas said that they have registered complains about the poor conditions inside the court areas. He said that the CDA should improve the situation in the district courts as it has even become impossible to walk here because of the over flowing drains. Ironically, shops have been converted into court rooms as no proper rooms existed in the district courts for judges where they can perform their duties. District Courts Superintendent Chaudhry Siddique said that lawyers were also the main responsible for the most of the problems besides the negligence of the concerned authorities. He said that many of the lawyers have constructed their chambers on the main gutters due to which the sewerage lines have been choked. He said that few days ago they demolish a chamber of a lawyer because of the same reason but now the lawyer has been demanding compensation from them despite the fact that his chamber was illegal. “How can we improve the situations in such conditions when even the lawyers, themselves, not ready to make the conditions better in the district courts,” questioned the official.

Sufi music enchants residents of federal capital SHANEL KHALIQ

ISLAMABAD: The federal capital was treated to a night of captivating Sufi music at the Mystic Music Sufi Festival organized by the Rafi Peer Theatre Workshop in collaboration with the Pakistan National Council of the Arts at a packed PNCA Auditorium. The twoday-long festival concluded on Saturday with musical performances by a variety of folk artists. The festival brought together traditional folk musicians from all over the country on one stage to perform in the capital. The event opened with a documentary commemorating the life and achievements of Faizaan Peerzada, son of the famous playwright Rafi Peer. Faizaan dedicated his career to the promotion of performing arts in the country, particularly familiarising children with this vast field, with a special focus on the art of puppetry. This was followed by the screening of a documentary on the role of Rafi Peer Theatre Workshop in the country.

The setup with its draping curtains and exquisite lighting set the stage for some of the best folk artists in the country. Performances on the second day started by Bazm-e-Laiqa from Gilgit-Baltistan who were followed by Shah Jo Rang from Bitshah, Sindh, Sain Zahoor from Haweli Lakhein, Gunga and Mithu Sain from Lahore, Akhtar Chinar Zahri from Baluchistan, Sher Miandad Khan from Pakpatan

and Nawab and Muhammad Khan from Hyderabad. While talking to The Spokesman, Tasneem Peerzada said that the Rafi Peer Theatre Workshop has been involved in preserving the heritage of traditional performing arts in the country. “Faizaan was passionate about supporting Sufi music, he is no more with us but this festival is our way of paying him a tribute,” she added.



Javed Hashmi seems to be swimming in tumultuous waters


enom Inc. This should not be held against me in a court of law as I solemnly declare that these are absolute lies, dirty whispers and wild speculation that I have heard while crawling in the dark power corridors of the creepy Capital. You will believe them at your own risk Shh...If you have venom to spill please don’t hesitate to share with us on our blog at

Who buys the hottest penthouses?

s the Centaurus Plaza opens its Mall today, all eyes are set on who will live in the hottest penthouses in the hottest plaza in the Capital. The four penthouses at the top of Islamabad’s highest buildings have a breath-taking view, private swimming pools, each apartment having four bedrooms in two decks. The amenities could be customized from golden locks to silver taps. Life underneath these super luxurious apartments includes a fivestar hotel, a mega shopping mall and a Cineplex. Two buildings have been reserved for residential apartments and one for corporate offices. Builders say that two of the four pent houses are for sale and the asking price is a whopping Rs 240 million. Stories abounded about the owners of the two apartments. Centaurus management is keeping its lips sealed. Some say it’s Man on the Hill, others say that the dubious Malik bought one and still others say that the builders have kept two for themselves but have not been able to sell the remaining two. You know why? Initially, a race was on among the country’s elite to buy the most prized penthouses in Pakistan overlooking the power centres that run this country. But then everybody got scared about the public scrutiny. Naturally, we would like to know the tax history of the person who spends Rs 240 million on an apartment. Centaurus, may have other issues also. Questions are being asked about the various favours being given to the builders about its impact on city environment, traffic, safety. The CDA bosses who gave most of the NoObjection-Certificates are already under investigation by Islamabad High Court. Neighbours around the Plaza are already worried about the change in their life style, about the increased traffic in the area. The vicinity is bound to get choked once all the apartments are full. Similarly, it's believed that the adjacent flyover and underpass were constructed to facilitate the influx of the towers. City stake-holders were not asked about the elevation heights that have been allowed in an area which is now confirmed to be earthquake prone. Also they were allowed their own grid station, in F-9 park, against environment rules and regulations. The biggest scrutiny will remain about financial credentials of those who can afford such opulence. What are their financial credentials? Sheshnag is watching and will keep you informed.


Media magnatesʼ political affiliations umor has it that AZ's new palatial bastion of power in Lahore, from where junior will spearhead Punjab's 'roti kapra aur makaan' campaign for the next elections, had its interior done by the former's new best friend who owns and runs the city's only local channel. Another member of the Lahore group is the education tycoon cum channel owner. Both have been 'prepped' to serve as a tool to defeat the Sharif's in the coming elections. The two channel heads are seen riding together in each other's SUVs with armed protocol. Speaking of which the local channel boss also use to provide Firdous Ashiq Awan his complete protocol whenever she visited Lahore as Minister for Information, an appointment which some say he full fledgedly pushed in the relevant circles. He's become so well-connected now that they say he also orchestrated Shoaib Malik's return in the national team who was seen visiting his office daily when he was out of the squad. Back when this government was formed, the channel was in a dire financial situation with layoffs and delayed salaries haunting it. All it took was scratching the right backs and some 'obliging' here and there and voila! The channel was pumped full of dough and was back with a bang. Of course being a relative of the Chaudhries really helped the process. They say he's a regular visitor to the halls of power and makes sure the national channel doesn't get his face on camera, hobnobbing with the big man. So it’s true that a friend in need is a friend indeed. More on the other baron sometime. Sshhh...


Baaghi too in trouble GHAZANFAR ABBASS his may be the first time in 15 years of continuous electoral victory that he finds his contest precarious. The only time he could not become the member of the National Assembly since 1985 was in 1993. The PTI experiment is giving him jitters again. The main security for him in all these years has been the sound PML (N) backing. He was always allowed to contest for more than one constituency. He is in thick soup as the PML (N) is hell- bent to see him lose. So vengeful is Nawaz Sharif that he may not give party ticket to anybody here to avoid a triangular division of votes. The PML (N) may back the PPP, the Jamat-iIslami (JI) candidates or, whatever it takes, even give a ticket to the devil himself to see Hashmi shed tears. Hashmi’s old colleague from Jamaat, Liaquat Baloch is already active in his constituency. Baloch has Multan roots but he left the area because of his brother, the infamous robber Saadat Baloch, who was executed for killing by the dozens. The Jamaat chicken has come to roost again. Even the Saraiki nationalists and literary figures are not happy with Hashmi, as they claim that


he has avoided taking a defiant stand on the issue. The PPP might give a ticket to Amir Dogar who may reap a sympathy vote for the death of long-time local politician Malik Sallahuddin Dogar. But the biggest problem he faces is from, hold your breath, Shah Mahmood Qureshi. Fate has brought the two sworn enemies in the same boat. Although both try to give the impression of mutual bonhomie-often appearing together—but the long-time enmity will not go away with the swish of a magic wand. Both have a history of bad-mouthing each other in public. Hashmi always said that the two shrines of Bahauddin Zikria and Shah Rukn-i-Alam, of which Shah Mahmood is the custodian (gaddinasheen) were being used as textile mills. He would say publicly that Shah Mahmood was stealing the ‘holy money’ and then also sponsored a Qureshi, Makhdoom Amir Ghous to contest his claims as the custodian. The litigation went on for years. Every year Hashmi supported parallel committees of Qureshi rivals to organize the annual festivals (Urs) of the shrines. So the mutual acrimony will not die down just because the ‘King Khan’ put them in one basket.

Hashmi now matches Qureshi in wealth. He is no longer the middle class politician that everybody knew in Multan. He rides in fleets of expensive SUV Prados and lives in palatial mansions. He has moved to this palace of a house in the posh cantonment right across the power centre: the Corps Commander’s residence in Multan.

Hashmi now matches Qureshi in wealth. He is no longer the middle class politician that everybody knew in Multan. He rides in fleets of expensive SUV Prados and lives in palatial mansions. He has moved to this palace of a house in the posh cantonment right across the power centre: the Corps Commander’s residence in Multan. Qureshi also accused him of corruption as the Health Minister in the PML (N) government. Qureshi contested Hashmi’s ‘baghi’ credentials by saying that the latter always sided with the establishment. The only time he got on their wrong side he had almost made a deal. Now that Hashmi is out of the PML (N) even Nawaz Sharif levels the same charge, saying that this was the real cause of friction as they were told that he was sold out to Musharraf. A plan was made to hijack the PML (N) through him. If Nawaz Sharif had not reacted fast the conspiracy may have worked. Remember when Nawaz

Gilanis await Raja's kindness to win their voters MIRZA KHURRAM SHAHZAD ISLAMABAD: In Pakistan, you never know. If one day you are king, the next day you are struggling to win the King's blessings. The Gilanis are perhaps the most appropriate example of this theory at the moment. After series of meetings of former Prime Minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani with his successor Raja Pervez Ashraf for allocation of funds for the half-way mega development projects of Multan, now his sons await Raja Sahib's kindness to issue special grants for their constituencies. A source in the ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources said that when majority of other PPP MNAs have got dozens of their gas schemes developed, Musa Gilani and his brother Abdul Qadir Gilani await Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf 's approval for special funds. "The gas schemes in their constituencies are incomplete and the Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) has run short of funds. So now they are waiting for the Prime Minister to issue special funds to complete these schemes," the source said. He said that the petroleum ministry's recent request to the Prime Minister for the approval of a soft loan worth seven billion rupees for the SNGPL, also covers finances for the gas schemes of the two Gilanis' constituencies and of a few other MNAs. A senior official of the SNGPL, who is based in the company's Lahore headquarters and

approves new development schemes, said Musa was a daily caller. "Musa Gilani calls me almost every day to get issued material and equipment for the gas schemes in his constituency. But the problem is that we have no funds and are waiting for PM to give us a loan," he said. The official said that he has conveyed to Musa that SNGPL would only be able to complete the gas schemes if the PM approves their loan. "So it is now in the hands of Raja Sahib, if he shows some kindness, the Gilanis' gas schemes will be completed. Otherwise it will be left half done with the schemes of some of other MNAs. In other words, it's in PM's hands that he helps Gilanis to win voters for the next elections or leave them to face the wrath of people," he said.

Hiring galore in new state-run English news channel TAHIR NIAZ ISLAMABAD: The newly-launched stateowned English language TV Channel, PTV World has turned out to be a ‘family-front’ as not only the political leadership but also the employees of the PTV stuffed their near and dear ones in it on hefty salaries. The salary package of every team member hired either on daily wages, contract or probation, varies depending upon who recommended the person. The hiring and perks' deciding power lied with Dr. Najeeb, a ministry high up and also the ‘representative’ of minister for information, Qamar Zaman Kaira, MD PTV Yousuf Baig Mirza and Controller Incharge English News Muzammal Ahmad Khan. Sons of around eight PTV regular employees were inducted in the Technical Section of the channel while induction in the IT Department was assigned to one Fakhar Hameed who hired around 100 new employees on hefty packages. The MD, when contacted, said the details about hiring criteria and salaries are unknown to him and directed this scribe to contact the Admin and Personnel department. A likely ‘blunder’ of the PTV management

in the coming days, as is being said by insiders, is that the channel is earning nothing as was the case with the now off-air private English channels. At least two fulltime English language channels in Pakistan found it impossible to survive. Dawn News, which was the first English language news channel in the country operated for three years before switching over to mainstream Urdu due to dwindling profits and shrinking viewer base. Express 24/7, the second locally operated English language channel remained on air for almost 30 months before a similar story of dwindling revenues and shrinking viewership forced it off-air. The project is not commercially viable; however, it served as ‘’ for those linked with power corridors. The channel is said to be technically weak and lacks basic ingredients for a TV channel. Majority of the employees have been hired on daily wages, contract of one-year or probation. Those on probation from the very first day of their joining would soon be regularized as permanent employees, insiders have revealed. Inaugurated by President Asif Ali Zaradri, the channel was launched on the wish of

PPP Co-chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and was a ‘part’ of the election campaign of the PPP. Insiders reveal that the team would be trained at government expense and would shift to a new channel to be launched by one of the friends of President Zardari in which the sitting MD PTV Yousuf Baig Mirza also allegedly has a share. The PTV English channel comes with a capital investment of Rs300 million and is being supplemented with the revenue generated by the PTV Sports channel. According to the channel's management, currently no government support on the financial front was being given but there could be a possibility of finding government support in future. At the centre of a legal battle with his exwife, the current MD PTV enjoys heavy perks. The consolidated terms and conditions of the present Chairman/MD, PTVC are as under: Salary Rs 1,000,000 per month; House Rent Allowance Rs 200,000 per month; Utilities Allowance Rs 75,000 per month and Total Gross Salary Rs 1,275,000 per month. Furthermore, he receives 3 percent of the monthly revenue earned over and above the average per month revenue of the year (for twelve

months) ended 30th June, 2010. He rides a chauffeur-driven 1600 CC car with unlimited fuel for private and official use maintained by the Corporation plus a number of other facilities at the government expense. With over 6000 employees already working in the state-run television, hiring of more by the MD might not make that big a difference but the eligibility of those hired on the recommendations of those ‘in power’ remains a big question. Around 20.2 million people in the country are paying Rs 35 fee, mandatory with the electricity bills every month, which forms the 70 percent of the revenue of the state run television. Besides this the Corporation receives huge amounts as government grants and recurring expenses. Rs 130m were estimated in the head of recurring expenses in the budget 2011-12 but the revised estimates touched Rs 374.8 million. The question arises as to whose bright idea it was to launch another enterprise which would eventually be running on government subsidies such as other financially deteriorating institutions as PIA, Railways and the Steel Mills. But then again, this is how the 'system' works.

Sharif asked for an inquiry against Hashmi, Khawaja Saad Rafiq and Tehmina Daultana? Even Hashmi’s local interests clash with Qureshi. Shah Mahmood wants to contest on two party seats against the party policy. Hashmi opposes that. Partly also because Hashmi wants his son-in-law Zahid Bahar Hashmi to contest from Punjab seat PP-212 that falls under NA 148. Shah Mahmood wants a Gilani to contest from there as he wants to divide Musa Gilani votes. As things stand today, it seems as an uphill struggle. It’s probably the same story for all the big-wigs of the Saraiki belt. Besides Hashmi and Qureshi, Jahangir Tareen has little chance to win the Lodhran constituency. The only winning candidate that the PTI has in the Saraiki belt may be Awais Leghari but he too is contesting as an independent as per the decision of the Leghari tribe. There you have it Khan sb.

Adnan Siddiqi @adnansiddiqi 'The fact that Shahbaz Sharif married me shows how progressive and liberal he is.' @TehminaDurrani #KLF 'People think I may someday write a book about Shahbaz Sharif, I won't' @TehminaDurrani #KLF Adnan Siddiqi @adnansiddiqi 'President Arafat was murdered by Israel, with the collaboration of some insiders.' George Galloway #KLF Adnan Siddiqi @adnansiddiqi George Galloway on #Assange: 'smell the rat, they want vengeance against the greatest whistle blower who unmasked their dirty deals.' #KLF Usman Ahmed @ahmed_usman Met Pervez Hoodbhoy. Told him that he is awesome & stuff. Very gracious about it. Gushed later like teenage girl who met Beiber. #KLF Rob Crilly @robcrilly Comes to life with question from a Karachi aunty asking for more money from US #klf Faizan Lakhani @faizanlakhani "Education isn't about curriculum & syllabus, we must also talk about teaching style, school structure, examination system," Dr Ishrat. #KLF Aisha Sarwari @AishaFSarwari Only men and only Muslims can live in this country Khaled Ahmed -#KLF #Pakistan @theRealYLH Maheen Usmani @MaheenUsmani Strange how ppl at #KLF session with George Galloway so emotional about Palestinian rights. What about #Shiagenocide in our own backyard? Khan M Osama Shaukat @biryaniaddict While Karachiites had a breath of fresh air and books at #KLF, these political parties were busy in their undignified powerplays#NeedABreak Sara B @sara_pk Another fun day at the Karachi Lit fest! This is what should be 'breaking news' all the time! hmm,did any foreign channel cover it?#KLF

Today's take: MQMʼs self serving departure


MQM for proving one can have their cake and eat it too Down: PML-F's dreams of having a say in the caretaker setup are thrashed Aloof: PPP for not being affected one way or the other Sad: ANP because any gain of MQM is their loss Wish full: PPP hoping to orchestrate the same move in KP Upset: Nawaz Sharif saying so much for my Sindhful dreaming Tense: Governor Sind worrying about his shaky seat Perplexed: Imran Khan thinking what's going on and what he should do now Angry: Nationalists about MQM quitting by stepping on their wound of local ordinance Confused: 'aam awaam' about MQM's 150th summer sault in this tenure


Rude wardens add to traffic woes

PAL chairman praises Balochi poet ISLAMABAD: Atta Shad belonged to Balochistan but he earned an international repute as a major Pakistani poet through his unusual and versatile poetry, said Pakistan Academy of Letters Chairman Abdul Hameed on the occasion of Atta Shad’s death anniversary. He further said that Atta was equally popular in Urdu as well as Balochi. “He has a considerable work in research on literature and culture to his credit. He also penned a number of dramas. His writings are an asset for Balochi as well as Pakistani literature.” PR

Sindh PTI office-bearer joins PML-F KARACHI: Joint Secretary of Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf, Sind Peasu Mal along with his supporters belonging to Hindu community has announced joining Pakistan Muslim League- Functional. According to a statement issued by PML-F here on Saturday, Peasu Mal along with his supporters met the Chief of PML-F Pir Pagara and announced joining the party. Briefing the media about the meeting, Secretary General of PML-F Imtiaz Shaikh said that Pir Pagara has assured the delegation that his party will fully protect the rights of minorities, as provided in the constitution of Pakistan. He said that the people belonging to different walks of life and religions are joining PML-F as they have confidence in the leadership of Pir Pagara. To a question, he said that PML-N chief Mian Nawaz Sharif will meet Pir Pagara on February 23 in Karachi. Both the leaders will discuss political situation during the meeting, he added. PML-F leaders Ghulam Mustafa Khar, Muhammad Ali Durrani, Kamran Tassori and Pirzada Yasar were also present on the occasion. ONLINE

Five butchers arrested, 25 kgs meat seized RAWALPINDI: The Health department launched operation against butchers and seized 25 kg of meat here the other day. On the complaint of sale of substandard meat, the District Official of health department raided against five butchers of Shah Khalid Colony. The slaughterhouse of Sihala Doctor Irshad and District Sanitary Inspector Malik Abdul Aziz led by teams launched operation against butcher Aslam Sakna Phalia and recovered 25 kg stale meat from his shop and registered the case against him in Airport Police Station. Meanwhile, they also issued challan against butchers Muhammad Asif, Muhammad Nawaz, Malik Fazal and Aqeel u Deen over filthy arrangements in shops. ONLINE

Hafiz Saeed to address JuD rally today KARACHI: Ameer Jamat-ud-Dawa Hafiz Saeed will address a one-day Tableeghi public gathering on Sunday at Markaz-e-Taqwa center of Gulshane-Iqbal area. Besides Ameer JuD, Professor Hafiz Muhammad Saeed and other central leaders will address the meeting. According to press statement, central leader ship of JuD has reached in Karachi to take part in the meeting; thousand of banners and advertisements have been pasted round the city for publicity of the event. Workers of JuD have started mass contact campaign urging the masses by visiting mosques, markets, religious schools to join the gathering. Large numbers of students are expected to participate in the gathering from the different educational institutes of the port city. Al-Hamdia students have set reception camps at different places of the city including Gulshan-e-Iqbal, Tariq Road and Metro Wool. ONLINE

KARACHI: Swinging in the rain — Women enjoy the swings in Bagh-e-Jinnah in the rain in the provincial capital. ONLINE

Ghazi Force has camps in tribal areas, says LM cleric Maulana Aziz has no confidence in ‘weak’ commission Says seminary students still missing NAJEEB ULLAH KHAN

ISLAMABAD: Lal Masjid (red mosque) chief cleric Maulana Abdul Aziz has said that he has no confidence in the commission to investigate the full-scale military operation, carried out in July 2007 that left scores of seminary students dead. Considering the commission a weak, the cleric said that he was not expecting much from the body. “I cannot say anything whether the commission is independent or not but it is weak and toothless,” he said in an exclusive interview to The Spokesman. Abdul Aziz said that he had lost faith in the commission after witnessing fate of the previous commissions. “What did a commission can deliver in presence of retired and serving

(army) generals,” he questioned, and said that no general (retired or serving) has ever been executed or tried in a court of law in Pakistan. About the recent peace initiative by Taliban, the chief cleric said that there was no chance of the success of any kind of peace talks with the militia. “(Because) the ultimate destination of the government and the Taliban are two opposite things; they both can’t travel in the same boat,” he maintained. He explained in his style that democracy and Islamic Sharia were two opposite things and anyone can observe that the government advocating democracy while Taliban were demanding Sharia, as code of conduct. When asked if former president Pervez Musharraf or former

prime minister Shaukat Aziz would ever be summoned by the Lal Masjid Commission, he replied in negative. “Nobody will ever be punished not even those at the lowest rank what to talk of

Musharraf or Aziz,” he said, and maintained that he had appeared before the commission several times with clear evidence about casualties. “(But) we are still in dark as many of our students are still missing we don’t know if they are alive or dead,” he observed. To a query, he said neither he nor the mosque administration owns the Ghazi Force, a first militant organisation that emerged from the capital's mosque. “I do agree that a terrorist organisation with the name of Ghazi Force exists which was formed by my students after the operation but I have no information whatsoever about their whereabouts,” he maintained. He said the members of Ghazi Force had their training camp in the tribal areas.

Punjab govt sacks 120 more absentee doctors

RAWALPINDI: The Traffic Warden System introduced in Rawalpindi on the lines of Islamabad Model Traffic Police could not produce the desired impact on traffic flow due to flaws in the initial training of the personnel which was inadequate to handle the heavy responsibility entrusted to them. The new system was introduced in haste without improving the road network and traffic signals of the city, sources said, adding that, instead of regulating the traffic flow and facilitating the citizens, the traffic wardens have often been found engaged in brawls, exchange of hot words with the commuters resulting in registration of cases against the commuters and making the situation messier. Traffic jam on the road is a routine that compels the wardens to switch off traffic signals and regulate traffic manually," said a commuter. The commuters were of the view that switching off traffic signals and manually management of traffic by the wardens was the main reason for traffic mess on the main roads. A commuter said the wardens had failed to manage traffic load in the city despite their good strength. He alleged that many traffic wardens disappeared from the assigned points throwing traffic into chaos. He said the residents of the areas like City Saddar Road, Ratta Amral Road, Gawalmandi and Kashmiri Bazaar suffered the most due to wardens' traffic mismanagement. "Traffic wardens do not have ability to manage traffic. Smooth flow of traffic on Benazir Bhutto Road has become a dream for the motorists, as the worst traffic jam from Committee Chowk to Naz Cinema Chowk have become a routine," the commuter said. They said long queues of vehicles on BBS Road and Raja Bazaar have exposed the mismanagement of traffic wardens. Proper traffic signals should be installed on the roads, which were the only solution to improve the traffic mess, they added. ONLINE

No free foreign policy: Rasheed ISLAMABAD: Awami Muslim League chief Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed has said that independent foreign policy cannot be executed until and unless a solid economic policy is not established in the country. He expressed these views while talking to media here on Saturday. Sheikh Rasheed accused Hussain Haqqani of being a traitor for hatching conspiracy against army. While commenting upon the recent government, he quoted that the political, economic and moral situation of the country has worsened. Sheikh said that dual nationality holders are the assets of Pakistan as they enormously contribute in the national exchequer so the dual nationals should be awarded the right to vote. He mentioned that Nawaz Sharif has been deceived in the name of democracy due to his simplicity. ONLINE

Lawyers’ battle for high court bench deepens

Best treatment facilities everyone’s right, says Shahbaz LAHORE: In a new move, Punjab Health Department on Saturday terminated 120 more doctors who are absent from their duties since a year, media reported. The number of terminated doctors has risen to 265 now. The Health Department said that the doctors were repeatedly warned and asked to resume their duties but they did join their duties. Reports said that the terminated doctors have no relevance with the protesting doctors of the YDA. Meanwhile, Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif on Saturday said that provision of modern and latest treatment facilities to the masses is the top priority of Punjab government and billions of rupees are being spent for providing best treatment facilities to the people of the province. He was presiding over a high level meeting for reviewing the pace of implementation on various programmes of health sector at Model Town. He said that provision of free medicines in the hospitals has been ensured and new

hospitals have been constructed for providing best treatment facilities to the people whereas treatment facilities have been further improved for upgrading the hospitals in various districts. He said that Punjab government is endeavoring for providing quality and modern medical facilities to the people and improving health sector for which record budget has been allocated. He said that 410 beds hospital in Bahawalpur and 300 beds hospital in Shahdara are at the final stages of completion and these hospitals would soon be made functional. Special Assistant on Health Khawaja Salman Rafique, Members Assembly Hanif Abbasi, Muhammad Riaz Malik, Rana Muhammad Iqbal, Abdul Razzaq Dhillon, Chairman Planning and Development, Secretaries of Health and Information departments, Chief Executive Officer Rawalpindi Institute of Cardiology and other concerned officials were present in the meeting. Addressing the meeting, Sharif said that like

education, every person of the society has equal right over the best facilities of health and Punjab government is providing this right to them. He said that due to the completion of 410 beds hospital in Bahawalpur, best and modern treatment facilities would become available to the people of south Punjab. He directed the concerned authorities to complete the remaining work of Bahawalpur Hospital and the process of purchase of equipment and machinery at the earliest. He said that 300 beds hospital in Shahdara is being constructed on the longstanding demand of the people of the area and after its completion, modern and latest treatment facilities would be available to thousands of people of the area. The chief Minister said that the hospital being constructed in Shahdara would become functional in March. The Chief Minister directed that the work of up-gradation of District Headquarters Hospital Sargodha be completed at the earliest and there should be no further delay in its up-gradation. ONLINE

PM orders new agriculture loans just before elections MIRZA KHURRAM SHAHZAD ISLAMABAD: Realising that the real battle of the upcoming elections will be fought in the rural areas, the Prime Minister has directed the Zari Taraqiati Bank Limited (ZTBL) to initiate new loan schemes which could benefit maximum number of farmers and the rural population. A source in the ZTBL revealed that the bank was asked to immediately start the campaigns and the management issued notifications of four loans schemes on December 3, 2012, when the Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf visited the ZTBL headquarters. Following the government instructions, the schemes were designed to target the youth and women in the rural areas. According to the documents obtained by The Spokesman, the ZTBL has launched four new loans schemes which will provide finances up to one million rupees to the rural areas' population under PM's directives. The schemes, which are launched to win the youth and women in the villages, include Aasan Qarza Scheme (Easy Loan), Khawateen Rozgar Scheme (Women employment), Shamsi Tawanai Scheme (Solar Energy) and Bio Gas scheme.

The ZTBL will provide finances up to one million rupees for each Solar energy project and up to 750,000 rupees for the Bio Gas project. The women employment scheme and Easy loan scheme will have maximum

financing of 0.2 million rupees. The loans will be provided to any applicant fulfilling the criteria. The branch managers and Zonal Credit Committees (ZCC) will be authorised to sanction the loans against easy terms. The bank will seek land and property ownership papers and jewellery as the guarantee for the loans which will be payable in easy installments of six months. The deadline to return the loans is up to ten years depending upon the loan schemes. The government expects that majority of rural youth and women will be benefited from these loans and it will help the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) in the upcoming elections. A senior official in the ZTBL told on the condition of anonymity that the government considers these schemes equivalent to the Punjab government's yellow-cab and students financing schemes. "It is a routine job for ZTBL to devise such schemes to benefit the farmers and rural population, but it seems that the top government authorities are preparing to portray these schemes as their initiatives for the rural population to get political benefits," he said. "They are considering it equal to Punjab government's schemes to provide yellow-cabs, tractors, laptops and solar energy systems to the youth," the official added.

FAISALABAD: The city lawyers’ struggle for the setting up of a high court bench intensified, as on the sixth consecutive day of their protest strike they seemed losing patience on the apathetic attitude of the authorities that led to the locking of the civil courts, session courts and DC office on Saturday here. The lawyers while staging a protest demonstration outside the session court on finding a heavy contingent of police got enraged, barged into the DC office, went on a rampage and locked down the main gate of the building. Lawyers’ leaders said that until the announcement of the setting up of a high court bench in Fasislabad, they would not only let the locks open, but put under locks the administrative offices also. ONLINE


Elections a tough job for ANP amidst Taliban threats 

TTP, which rejected the recent peace talks offer, says KP ruling partyʼs workers must be eliminated because they represent secularism


PESHAWAR: As the proposed government-Taliban peace talks await ‘seriousness’, it makes it difficult for the Awami National Party (ANP), the ruling party in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, to go for the upcoming elections in a peaceful environment. News about the negotiations between the government and militants surfaced in December last year when the Tehrik e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) showed willingness in ‘serious talks’. But Hakimullah Mehsud-led militants are still awaiting government’s ‘serious’ and ‘meaningful’ response. On Thursday, the ANP called an All Parties Conference (APC) in Islamabad to get things settled with the Taliban but the meeting failed to achieve its goal. The conference agreed to initiate peace talks with TTP. “Peace needs to be restored in the country….attaining peace through

dialogue should be the first priority,” Asfandyar Wali Khan, the chief of ANP, read out the APC declaration. But the ANP’s hopes dashed, as TTP rejected the offer, saying that the political parties had nothing to do with the interests of the country but were much more concerned about their own security. “As the general elections are not far, the calling of an APC shows that the political leaderships are doing this for their own interest and their power,” Ehsanullah Ehsan, TTP central spokesperson, said. On the next day of the APC’s meeting, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Ameer Haider Khan Hoti, escaped an assassination attempt in Mardan when a suicide bomber attacked his convoy. Although, the Taliban have not accepted responsibility for the attackmost probably due to certain policy this carries a strong message for the ANP leadership that the Taliban are chasing them everywhere.

The rejection of APC’s offer is a great setback for the ANP, which has lost a number of its political leaders and workers during the last few years. Being a secular political entity, the ANP has been fighting an ideological war against the Taliban since it came to power in KP in 2008. The TTP terms the ANP as its declared enemy and says that a conflict between ‘Islam’ and ‘secularism’ is going on where the Taliban represent Islam while the ANP wants to bring the country under the banner of secularism. “It is my order to the mujahideen that the elections are once again nearing to form a democratic, secular system in the country. The ‘nationalyaan’ (ANP followers) are the members of Satan’s Shura; therefore, target them whenever you find members of the ANP,” said Hakimullah Mehsud in a video released last year.

According to data available with The Spokesman, since 2008, the ANP has lost more than 550 of its workers including three members of Parliament, in different Taliban attacks. Last December in a big blow to ANP, Taliban killed Senior Minister KP Bashir Ahmed Bilour during a suicide attack in Peshawar. Until recently, the ANP was one of the political parties who strongly opposed any peace deal with Taliban. But as the general elections are approaching (expected in May) the ANP has changed its stance regarding Taliban. It is worth recalling that the ANP had even demanded a full-fledged military operation against Taliban, whether they are ‘good’ or ‘bad’. “We must go after their sanctuaries (in North Waziristan); I will meet with the President to advise him to go after the militants. Whether anyone stands with us or not, we have to fight this mind set,” Asfandyar Wali Khan was quoted

as saying on the occasion of Bashir Ahmed Bilour’s death at the hands of the Taliban, in December 2012. Now, when the ANP has shown interest to have a peace deal with the Taliban, problems are remains that who and how to negotiate with the militants. Both the Taliban and government talk about peace deal but there is a trust deficit between them; they are blaming each others for ‘nonserious’ attitude. Meanwhile, the Taliban have expressed their willingness to enter peace negotiations with the government if three senior politicians – Nawaz Sharif of PML-N, Maulana Fazlur Rehman, head of Jamiat Ulema e Islam (JUI-F) and Syed Munawar Hasan, the Amir of Jamaat e Islami (JI) – would act as guarantors. But none of these parties are ready to be guarantors. PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif welcomes the peace talks’ offer but

refuses to be a guarantor due to the government’s ‘credibility record’. “There is a need to take the Taliban’s offer seriously. I ask the government to initiate result-oriented peace talks with the Taliban without any delay”, Sharif said. The JI is also asking for negotiations but when it comes to guarantees, the party is not ready to act as one. “How can we become a guarantor in talks when the government is not ready to implement even the resolutions of Parliament , JI Deputy Secretary General Farid Ahmed Piracha was quoted as saying. Even, Maulana Fazlur Rehman has recommended the platform of Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) ‘grand jirga’ for talks with Taliban. He was the person who earlier offered his services to talk with Taliban but as the time came to play his role, the Maulana backed out of his earlier promise.

Dance of deception ith respect, my friend, the representatives, whether they are Khosas author of an analysis ‘Digerian or the so-called PPP leaders, have just are not welcome’, needs to pay their own intoxicating political interests, attention to the ground realities. Being a which is to achieve power in south member of the Seraiki people, I find it Punjab and they are driven by their own really hard to accept this highly stylised desires. Unfortunately, they are fighting yet subtly vicious concept of inflicting for their own agenda instead of the shame towards a set of community on people’s betterment. The question is if the people of Seraiki geographical or ethnic grounds. Anyone, who is not naïve enough to belt need to have their own identity, then start thinking in a classical arrogance- why the mercenary politicians and laden pseudo British style, will clearly malevolent bureaucrats are not accepting understand that all the inhabitants of this this reality. If the Pakhtuns, Balochs and belt, regardless of the difference of Punjabis can have their own identity, then why the Seraikis dialects, clearly and cannot inspire for the historically are free from same? the stated behaviour of One thing in this segregating any group scenario is clear that these from themselves and hedonist political leaders totally disagree with the are just playing politics on concept of superiority or the Seraiki province issue. inferiority on these When the crafty grounds. representatives of PML-N I would like to know and PPP give their the source of this idea of JAN SHER statements on the matter, ‘Ryasti vs Digerian’. Being I think they are doing so a Seraiki, it was a shock for me until I realised that this was only on the directives of their respective nothing more than a strike from the parties’ chiefs. People from south Punjab belt do not media wing of avaricious political parties eyeing gaining power by manipulating want pandemonium, as altruistic minded populace of the region are only the emotions of innocent people. Divide and rule has always remained a begging for their right. The Seraiki favourite tool of the kings and they are belt is also rich having fertile land and not reluctant using it in the Seraiki region rich in minerals. Hence, there is no once again, thanks to the greed of some doubt that it provides a substantial chunk of the GDP. The ‘Takht e of our fellows. We need to be very focused on our Lahore’ and the federal capital have to targets lest we fall to the solutions that do be meticulous on this issue instead of not serve anyone but the politicians. All giving i cursory look. No more manipulation gentleman, as the Seraikis’ stand united during current tough times. The political parties’ people are no more a simple commodity.


SWAT: All dressed up and nowhere to go — Taliban have destroyed the local tourism industry affecting the livelihood of thousands of people. It is hoped that normalcy will return, thus rejuvenating the local businesses. ONLINE

Sardar Attique condemns hanging of Afzal Guru MUZAFFARABAD: Former prime minister of Azad Jammu and Kashmir and president of Muslim Conference Sardar Attique Ahmed Khan Saturday denounced the inhuman and brutal killing of Afzal Guru by India in Tihar Jail as a cowardly act. He urged upon the international and regional human rights organisations to take serious note of the so-called largest and secular democracy India’s heinous crime, depriving Afzal Guru of basic right of access to a lawyer in his defence and to undertake all the court proceedings under internationally well-known notorious POTA Act. He was addressing the participants of National Youth Summit 2013 organised by social sector organisation, ‘Aiming Change for Tomorrow’ and ‘Valley Trackers’. Sardar Attique briefed the youth on the core issue of Kashmir and the Kashmiris stance on the issue. He said, “We support and believe in, and will continue nonviolent democratic freedom movement for right of

self-determination, till it will reach to its logical conclusion and we appealed UN, European Union, OIC, SAARC, ASEAN and all other international and regional bodies to wake up and come to the rescue of helpless Kashmiri people.” He also spoke to the youth on the issues related to governance in an interactive session. An informal session followed where youth were asked to prepare action plans for post-summit social action projects. The speakers at National Youth Summit 2013 urged the participants to promote entrepreneurship among them and work for prosperity of the country together. At its third simultaneous day, the workshop discussed the importance of self-realization in success and the speaker urged the youth to come out of its bounds to play a role in the development of the country. During the second session of the day, titled ‘Developing Confidence’, Asma Mustafa, a professional consultant and counsellor, discussed the main factors that caused lack of

confidence amongst many people. Indicators of low self-esteem were also discussed, followed by an activity that emphasized the need for building confidence in order to move on in life without hurting anyone’s interests or rights. A session was also conducted on creativity where the youth was informed to come out of bounds to play a role for their selves and their coming generations, and that creativity and arts should be accepted to promote cultural harmony and peace. Another workshop was held for volunteering to promote the spirit of selflessness amongst young people. The youth delegation also went on to a city tour where they were taken to the legislative Assembly of AJK. Deputy Speaker Shaheen Kausar Dar welcomed the youth on the arrival and had interactive discussion on the problems of Kashmir, the role of AJK government for the cause of Kashmiri people and the governance structure. The youth travelled to the city to see some parts of Muzaffarabad later. INP

One terrorist killed, 12 held in separate actions BANNU/TAXILA: One terrorist was killed and six others arrested following a clash with security forces in Bannu on Saturday. On the other hand, another six terrorists belonging to Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) were arrested from Taxila. Acting on a tip-off, the security forces launched a search operation in the Mandan area of Bannu, where militants were believed to be hiding. The militants attacked the troops, who opened retaliatory fire, killing one of them and apprehending six others. The security forces and police conducted a joint operation in Bannu after Friday’s suicide bomb struck the convoy of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Ameer Haider

Khawaja Fareed’s Urs begins KP government to regularise 13,000 LHWs PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has completed paperwork for regularisation of 13,000 ladies health workers. According to a local TV channel, the provincial government has decided to regularise lady health workers in BPS5, while their supervisors will be adjusted in BPS-7. After the final decision, at least 13,000 lady health workers would be regularized in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. ONLINE

Four women die in rooftop collapse JACOBABAD: At least four women were killed when the rooftop of their house collapsed in wee hours of Saturday, officials said. According to local police, heavy rains caused roof of the ill-fated house located in ADC Colony to cave in overnight, killing four women and injuring a child. The deceased include a woman, her two daughters and another woman, who was present at the time of mishap. AGENCIES

KOT MITHAN: The three-day annual Urs of the great Sufi poet Khawaja Ghulam Fareed started on Saturday, as thousands of his disciples reached in Kot Mithan, Rajanpur from round the country to attend the event. Khawaja Ghulam Fareed is known as a Seraiki mystic poet but his works are also found in other languages – Arabic, Sindhi, Punjabi and Urdu – as well. A large number of non-Muslims – from Sindh and Punjab particularly the Cholistan Desert – are also among the visitors. “We the Hindus are the disciples of Khawaja Ghulam Fareed; therefore, we all come here every year,” Atam Bheel, a visitor from Cholistan, said. One the first and second day, Azmat-Fareed Conference arranged by Khawaja Ghulam Fareed Foundation, is scheduled in which many famous scholars and clerics are participating. During the opening ceremony, a special kind of cap known as “Kullah” and a wreath was presented to the management of shrine. Meanwhile, the Seraikistan Qaumi Ittehad (SQI) held a sit-in at the shrine to press the demand for a Seraiki province. The SQI chairman in his address said, “We need a Seraiki province; we will never surrender to the ‘Takht-e-Lahore.” On the other hand, another sit in is scheduled for today (Sunday) by former PPP worker Khawaja Amir Koreeja against the Punjab government which has banned

Hoti. Meanwhile, police in Taxila arrested six alleged TTP terrorists during a targeted search operation and recovered arms from their possession late on Friday night. According to details, the police on a tip off conducted a search operation against miscreants during which six alleged terrorists, stated to be members of banned TTP were apprehended. The police claimed that the detainees were planning to target sensitive installations but timely action foiled the bid. Police also recovered hand grenades, explosive material and arms from the arrested suspects. The arrested terrorists were shifted to some undisclosed location for further investigation. AGENCIES

Special person in search of identity OUR STAFF REPORTER

The shrine of Khawaja Ghulam Fareed. cultural activities during the event.; hence, the pilgrims have nothing to enjoy during their stay at Kot Mithan. It is worth mentioning that a large number of agriculture land, homes and many shops are controlled by the Punjab Auqaf Department but

it has not spent even two percent of the total income on their maintenance. Meanwhile, the provincial government has ensured foolproof security in and around the shrine, as a large contingent of security personnel has been depoloyed in the vicinity. AGENCIES

BANNU: The working of state institutions is pathetic in every sense, a fact reminded to the people on a daily basis. The latest example is a twenty eight-year-old special person Muhammad Raza who lost his CNIC a year ago after which he applied at the NADRA’s office in Bannu for a new one. Raza said he was shocked to see that he was shown was shown as a normal and not a special person in the new CNIC. He visited the office repeatedly to rectify the mistake but to no avail. He says the NADRA officials demand ten thousands fine for a new CNIC of special person, but he is not in a position to arrange the amount. The reason is simple. Raza belongs to a poor family and works on daily wages of Rs 80. He is facing great difficulties to sustain himself and the family amidst the alarming hike. And arranging Rs 10,000 for CNIC is a herculean task for him. According to Raza, he has been deprived of Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) as he is a normal person in the CNIC. Raza demanded the government to assist him as he is unable to look after his family and asked the NADRA officials to issue him a special person’s CNIC.



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Dust in our eyes The Lahore High Court ruled on Friday that all public activities of the president were liable to scrutiny, and if the office of the president was being used for the benefit of a particular political party it would amount to a contempt of court. A full bench of the court was hearing a petition seeking contempt of court proceedings against President Zardari for not complying with an earlier judgment of the court that had declared political activities by the president as unconstitutional in May 2011. The court issued notice to the president on a fresh application in the petition questioning the political activities by President Zardari during his recent visit to Lahore, and asked his counsel to obtain clear instructions from the president on whether he was willing to refrain from indulging in political activities. While the case against the president has lingered, mired in technicalities raised by his counsel, Zardari has continued to flout the constitution. Since last May’s ruling by the court, the president has been more careful about using his official residence for his political meetings that he had continued to conduct in full media glare despite objections from opposition parties, though there is sufficient reason to believe that the lavish presidency has not been completely cleansed of politics. He is still seen micro-managing political affairs on his frequent trips, huddling with PPP wallahs and coalition partners away from the capital, choosing candidates for Sindh in Karachi or meeting partymen from Punjab in Lahore. The justifications advanced for this unconstitutional behavior by the holder of an office that is clearly meant to be non-partisan, amount to throwing dust in the eyes of the public. An attempt has been made by his counsel to convince the court that he holds the co-chairmanship of PPP that is not a political party under the Political Parties Order 2002 and the party registered with the Election Commission of Pakistan is actually PPP-Parliamentarians, which is headed by Makhdoom Amin Fahim. The counsel has also argued that the private engagements of the president could not be questioned by the courts, and in his private capacity, the president could meet political leaders and discuss political issues. According to him, with the impending elections, the president is supposed to take part in political activities. The counsel also said that the political activities of the president were misreported by the media. This is all hogwash of course. There is no excuse for the way the president has chosen to conduct himself in office and he cannot hide behind frivolous technicalities and misleading arguments. President Musharaf was severely criticized by the PPP leadership for being partisan and using the presidency for political activities. And this was before the 18th Amendment became a part of the constitution, making it all the more important for the office of the president to be above the political fray. Its insistence now that there is nothing wrong with the president to indulge in politics is hard to stomach. Has it now become kosher because it works to the advantage of PPP?

The looming crisis Unless political parties find consensus and express confidence in the chief election commissioner, the exercise of general elections is going to be pointless with everyone crying foul at the results and further deepening the crisis in the country MOHAMMAD JAMIL

nominating the caretaker prime bring in a set of people of its choice. In minister is not likely to be decided by the past, it was because of rampant the prime minister and leader of the corruption and internecine conflicts By rejecting Tahirul Qadri’s petition opposition, and in all probability, may between the parties that an for reconstitution of the Election finally fall into the lap of the ECP. In adventurer could derail the Commission of Pakistan, the apex that case, protests against poll rigging democratic process. Of course, the court discouraged those harbouring could lead to chaos and even anarchy. incompetence and greed of politicians plans to make the Election It is the antics of some politicians takes away hope from people and has Commission controversial. Apart from who have rendered the ECP led in the past to at last three military Qadri, PTI and PML-Q have also controversial. They have driven the governments and in 1990 to the expressed similar apprehensions citizens into a blind alley from where dismissal of elected governments about members of the Election it is now not so easy to pull out. One under 58-2-B. Commission, except for the chief would expect political elites to show The country’s history is replete with election commissioner. some maturity in this and look beyond such examples. In the 1950s, torn by In a surprise move, Minister of their own immediate gains. They the intrigues by the civil and military Information, Qamar Zaman Kaira, bureaucracy, the political parties were said in a press briefing at Lahore Press must sit together to address the concerns and reservations of some at daggers drawn over their own petty Club recently that the chief election parties, and form a caretaker issues. In what was then West commissioner was nominated in accordance with the stipulation of the government in line with the letter and Pakistan, late Khan Abdul Qayyum Constitution. He went on to observe that the Constitution was not strictly followed while nominating other From the statements of opposition members of the Election Commission. This means that the PPP has its share parties, one can infer that the in making the Election Commission issue of nominating the caretaker controversial for reasons best known to its leaders. It is not hard to imagine prime minister is not likely to be what would be the outcome of an election held by an authority mired in decided by the prime minister and so much controversy. leader of the opposition, and in all Meanwhile, all political parties carry on with their hype and unrealistic probability, may finally fall into expectations. Despite its dismal performance in office, the PPP is the lap of the ECP hopeful of success in the forthcoming elections. The PML-N believes it will secure more seats in the national and provincial assemblies as compared to the spirit of the Constitution. Khan was criticising the government 2008 elections. Pakistan Tehrik-eThe country is presently at the and had led a 32-miles-long Insaf is confident that a majority of crossroads with the economy in dire procession from Jhelum to Gujrat, the young voters would vote for it, straits; with the State apparatus fallen which set off a panic alarm in then given the youth attending its rallies to personalised whims and selfpresident Iskandar Mirza. In the and public meetings in droves. The aggrandisement; corruption ruling former East Pakistan Assembly, a ANP is certain of romping home yet every institution; and a majority of the deputy speaker was injured in a free again in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. The people living below the poverty line. for all on the floor of the assembly and MQM is optimistic about not only There is so much general unrest in the later succumbed to injuries. The securing the existing seats in Karachi contradictions between the center and country and ethnic and sectarian but also in interior Sindh. Other the provinces over One Unit became violence has instilled a deep sense of parties and groups too harbour irreconcilable and late General Ayub insecurity. The energy crisis is at its similar hopes. peak and has resulted in the closure of Khan promulgated Martial Law in It should be kept in mind that in October 1958. industries, throwing more and more case election results are not according people out of jobs. In a society imbued with democratic to the prophecies of these politicians, traditions and values where social In such a dismal condition, people they are likely to raise hell and blame justice prevails, nobody entertains are looking for a messiah. Already, the Election Commission for it. From major political parties are ideas of an autocratic or military the statements of opposition parties, setup. But when feudal culture and complaining that the establishment one can infer that the issue of outlook pervade all strata of society; interferes in politics and wants to

when politicians consider their parties as personal fiefdoms, and the State apparatus becomes victim to personal whims of the ruling elite, the result is chaos. From 1988 to 1999, the Benazir and Nawaz governments were twice dismissed on charges of corruption, nepotism and for being a security risk. The civil and military bureaucracy may have played a role in this, but the leaders were not new to politics to be misled or misguided. They lost no opportunity to trade accusations and instituted cases against each other during their tenures. If democratic options are thrown away by the politicians and bad governance and internecine conflict prevails, one should not blame the establishment for taking over. It has to be mentioned that in Pakistan, elected leaders and military dictators have disappointed the people in equal measure. But since 18 February 2008, the people of Pakistan had hoped that the PPP and the PMLN would leave the past behind and focus on the welfare of the people. People want a better deal; they want jobs; they demand a change in the system, which is the root cause of their deprivation. It is unfortunate that political parties in Pakistan failed to establish the democratic tradition within their own parties to promote a culture of tolerance. This is one of the reasons that election results may not be acceptable to parties that fail to win the desired number of seats, on the plea that they were rigged. In India, booth capturing by candidates is a widely reported polling day phenomenon, but there, unlike Pakistan, the defeated lot does not implicate the State. The government and the opposition parties need to work out modalities to ensure fair, free and transparent elections. It is also important that a majority of political parties express confidence in the CEC before election, so that there can be no litany of foul play later, and no crisis of confidence that would further weaken this country. THE WRITER IS A FREELANCE COLUMNIST

Changing Balochistan With the dismissal of the corrupt Raisani government, there was hope that the status quo may change in Balochistan. But will the criminal elements – the mullahs, sardars, and smugglers – return to power in the forthcoming elections? SHAKEEL BALOCH

federal government was beginning to listen to their noise. If these pressure tactics succeed and the The government led by Nawab Mohammad Aslam Raisani was a crippled, federal government decides to restore the provincial assembly, then it seems obvious insensitive one that could not deliver that the parties of the erstwhile coalition anything to the people. Billions of rupees government will split with mutual consent piped in from Islamabad were embezzled instead of being channeled into the much- into two. Two of them will be in the opposition while the rest will form the needed development of the province. government with the consensus of the Instead of improving the standard of leader of the house and leader of the living of the poor, it made the ministers opposition. A care-taker chief minister of multi-millionaires. There was some relief their choice will then be nominated to when the Raisani government was form a care-taker government of their dismissed and with the imposition of choice. Elections in the province will then Governor’s Rule on 14 January 2013, it be engineered to bring back the old guards was hoped that some constitutional and there will be no change in the status obligations may be met. quo. This is a bleak prospect indeed for the But will these criminal elements – the people of the province. mullahs, sardars, and smugglers – return The long history of neglect and to power in the forthcoming general discrimination of the province and military elections? There is general apprehension operations time and again have made the that this may be the case ever since the province the most sensitive area of JUI-F began protests against Governor’s Pakistan today. According to the Rule for the restoration of the dismissed Islamabad-based policy research institute chief minister and it seemed like the

EDITOR’S MAIL BOX Ending the menace of corruption Corruption is a menace that has been devouring Pakistan’s ability to stand on its own feet and deprive its people the opportunity to relish the fruits of progress and prosperity that they so genuinely deserve. This menace has burgeoned into the roots of almost every strata of our society like cancer. If immediate and stringent measures are not taken to uproot it from every level of the Pakistani society it might put the very

existence of the country at stake. It is an undeniable fact that hundreds of billions of dollars have come into the country as grant-in-aid since the past over six and a half decades. It is also true that equally large amounts were taken as loans (at exorbitant interest rates) from the developed world by successive governments during this period. Had this money been honestly and judiciously utilized for the purpose it was taken, Pakistan and the Pakistani nation would, perhaps, have stood out conspicuously in the map of the developed societies of the world. It would also have enjoyed the fruits of progress and prosperity which the developed societies of the world are enjoying today. Since this has not happened, the situation today is contrary to what it actually should have been. Even after 65 years of our existence we continue to shamelessly hold the begging bowl in our hands, as firmly as ever, and beg for our developmental needs from the developed world. Where has all this money disappeared after all? Where else, it has gone into the personal kitties of the successive perfidious rulers of this country. People at the helm have always

Sustainable Development Policy Institute, Balochistan has the poorest per capita income with 52 per cent people living below the poverty line. The province has a small population, with the biggest land mass that is rich in mineral and in oil and gas resources. Its 770-kilometre coastline also provides it with an ideal trade route leading to the Middle East and to Europe which makes it of strategic importance too. It is difficult to understand then why there has been systematic neglect of its people. The extent of exploitation and neglect of this province can be evinced from the fact that, in 1952, when natural gas was explored in Sui, the rest of the country was provided with natural gas but the people of Quetta had to wait till 1984 to get this facilioty. And this too came with the help of Kuwait who funded the project. The capital of the largest province of Pakistan received natural gas 32 years after it was discovered. Only after much the hue and cry by the

flagrantly disregarded the value of this country and this nation and always compromised its prestige and honor. They have done so because personal interests and gains have always been very dear to them and the country and the people figured very low in their roster of priorities. Even today, when the country is almost at the brink of collapse and everything is in a state of total disarray, they seem to be least perturbed. Undoubtedly, steering Pakistan out of the deep morass that it is in today should be a top priority agenda for every concerned citizen of this country. That corruption should be impudently eliminated from every segment of the society is the burning desire of this nation. That this country should become the bastion of progress and prosperity is a dream that the masses of Pakistan have been dreaming since its very creation. Will their aspirations to see their country prosper ever be fulfilled? Will they ever be able to enjoy the benefits of prosperity that they have been longing for since the creation of this country? No, not until the menace of corruption is completely rooted out from this society. The most effective way to deal with the menace of corruption is to immediately table

people were the other four districts of Mastung, Kalat, Pishin and Ziarat connected to natural gas supply recently. The other 25 districts still await the facility, even the district of Dera Bugti where the gas wells are situated and where poor people still use timber for fuel. In the reign of General Pervaiz Musharaf, a great deal of publicity was created over the launching of the mega development project of the Gwadar Port. The port was built with three berths but with no warehouses, and no connection to the railway line or to the highways. Such a grand scheme did not think of how clean drinking water would be provided to the inhabitants and today the people of Gwadar are compelled to drink contaminated water. A large port with no supporting infrastructure did not bring any relief to the local people. Propaganda of this port of international standards was aimed at inviting expatriate communities to invest here. This meant the business community of Islamabad, Karachi

and Lahore and their relatives living abroad, businessmen like the owners of KASB bank, brokers of the Karachi Stock Exchange, federal and provincial ministers of Balochistan and local bureaucrats made billions of rupees through the real estate business in Gwadar in the period between 2002-2007. The standard of living of the local people is the same as it was before 2002. Due to the negative policies of Islamabad, the province still suffers from under development and unrest. The way in which political people and the intelligentsia are being killed or kidnapped has aggravated the sense of desperation in the province and made people feel that all representative voices of Balochistan will be silenced. Those brought into power to represent their interests will be the same old corrupt and criminal elite of the past.

and pass legislation against corruption winning target. in the parliament and ensure its MUSTAFA RASHID stringent implementation by the LAHORE rejuvenated Judiciary of Pakistan. This may seem to be a far cry, but indisputably this is what the salvation MQM leaves government of this country and this nation strongly depends on. It is wonderful timing from Farooq M. FAZAL ELAHI Sattar and co, their decision to leave ISLAMABAD the government leading up to elections. Now they can sit in the opposition and join other racket makers and generate lots of noise Ajmalʼs brilliance against the government with the elections just around the corner. The It is amazing to see that there were buildup to the coming elections is some people after the first Test becoming more intriguing day by day. match that wanted Ajmal to be dropped from the team. That would SARA ABIDI have been the greatest knee-jerk ISLAMABAD reaction in the history of cricket. IP pipeline Ajmal has come back with a bang in the second Test, and it was an absolute treat to watch the greatest It is encouraging to see Pakistan going spinner in the world today, wreaking for the Iran-Pakistan pipeline project havoc with a formidable batting and paying no heed to the US lineup in their own backyard. antagonism. With the cabinet Ajmal’s six wicket haul in this Test approving the decision to give the match needs to go down as one of his license of constructing the pipeline to best efforts. It is now up to Misbah the Iranian firm, we now need to and Azhar Ali to carry the total to focus on generating the $1 billion that is needed to start work on the project. over 300 and that should be a


We’ve already had too much dillydallying, while he Iranians had completed their side of the pipeline ages ago. If one were to give it a deep thought the pipeline project is actually a match made in heaven for both Pakistan and Iran. Pakistan needs to overcome its precipitously increasing gas crisis while Iran needs to sort out its fiscal deficit owing to the sanctions on Iran by the US. The best thing about offering the contract of constructing to an Iranian company is that now no other country is involved in the project. Even though Chinese and Russian companies were interested in financing the project and providing their technical expertise, it is best if the project remains a strictly Iran-Pakistan project. Because when other nations are involved, they bring their own vested interests into the mix, and that is the last thing both Pakistan and need, considering they are two nations that are severely hampered by unnecessary foreign involvement. ZAID NASIR LAHORE Please email your letters to or post them to our address in Islamabad.


Whose equality? dealing with this issue, particularly when it comes to accepting gay members within their fold. So it came as no surprise to me when at a recent meeting, a room full of young British Muslims unilaterally declared that ANISA MUSTAFA they disagreed with the bill. If you’re a supporter of gay rights you wouldn’t be blamed for taking this to be a Last week the movement for equality typical example of faith-based ostensibly made a great advance as a homophobia. How else might you bill legalising gay marriage passed a crucial stage in the British parliament. interpret this rejection of the bill you might ask? In a study on homophobic I say ostensibly rather than attitudes among ethnic minorities, categorically because equality is not a Professor Andrew Yip has argued that straightforward business. In there are ‘differential levels of multicultural societies like tolerance of homosexuality’, making a contemporary Britain questions of clear-cut distinction between ‘pro-gay’ equality have become far less easy to resolve than the liberal establishment or ‘anti-gay’ very simplistic. This implies that a more nuanced would like to admit. Multicultural understanding is needed as it is not here refers to the fact that Britain is impossible to conceive that people now home to people from multiple who reject the bill may not be backgrounds, cultures and countries. motivated by a hatred of gays but Steven Vertovec, an expert on rather be acting according to transnational anthropology, has defensive instincts. One reason for coined the term ‘super-diversity’ to disagreeing with the bill may be the capture what is happening in cities like London where over 300 different fear that it will override their religious freedom to define marriage according languages are spoken. In a city like London where different to their own beliefs and values. Muslims are not alone in cultures have a capacity to clash as harbouring this fear, many Christian well as coexist making governance church leaders have similar anxieties and the demands of equality a real which stem from the possibility of challenge. Liberal systems of religious institutions being challenged governance claim to be committed to equality by celebrating diversity in the in court under equality laws if they private realm while remaining neutral refuse to perform gay marriages. Although ministers have made it clear on the state level. However, this is a that churches and other faith myth that can easily be contested by institutions will not be forced to marry the fact that English remains the gay couples, the likelihood remains official mode of communication in that such legal challenges can be Britain despite it being the first mounted once the bill is instituted. language of only one ethnic group. Who will then decide whether it is a Similarly bank holidays are derived violation of the gay person’s rights for from Christian customs, hence a church or an imam to refuse to Christmas and Easter holidays are granted while Eid and Diwali are not. marry them or if it is a breach of religious freedom to demand that they Therefore at the level at which the state operates there is endorsement of do so? It seems to boil down to a question of whose rights take the cultural domination of the white precedence when interests are majority over other ethnic groups; a opposed in such a manner. fact of life tolerated by most There are no simple answers to the minorities in the interests of social questions that arise when equalities cohesion and national unity. While clash and this is why the gay marriage most of the time it is accepted that bill is so contentious and likely to face equalities have to have limits in a several more challenges when it goes super diverse society, other times the inequalities experienced by particular to the House of Lords as well as being at the centre of heated national groups become intolerable and they debates. There will be many who will are challenged and overturned. rue these debates and dismiss Feminists and race activists have opposition to the bill as a made several gains in this respect by reprehensible sign of homophobia, highlighting the advantages that a but I will not be one of them. While I ‘neutral’ state accrues to the upper strongly support the bill for gay class white male. marriage, I share the concerns of The gay marriage bill is one case some religious groups that this may which highlights the strain that a become another opportunity by the demand for equality can put on the secular liberal front to crush faith in state. The bill has proved to be society. As an atheist who grew up in a somewhat embarrassing for PM religious society, I am only too aware Cameron who needed opposition of the dangers inherent in denying support to get it through parliament and persecuting difference and in the face of fierce opposition from diversity. It is because I value my half his MPs. Government ministers freedom of belief and lifestyle so describe the bill as ‘a major step deeply that I find it oppressive when forward for equality and justice’ but religious groups are given short shrift many conservative and faith groups by those who claim to be liberal and fear that the bill has the potential to democratic. If equality is to have any undermine religious freedom. meaning in any society it must Although the bill has protections for embrace views and values that are faith institutions, these are not different and not just impose its own sufficient to appease its opponents. agenda and pretend that it is doing so The issue of homosexuality has always been a sensitive and incendiary for ‘universal’ human rights. I do hope the gay marriage bill goes through one matter for the Muslim community in day but I hope it is not at the cost of Britain, particularly its leadership, freedom for religious groups. which has often been criticised for THE WRITER IS A DOCTORAL condemning homosexuality as immoral and illegal under Islam. Even RESEARCHER IN SOCIOLOGY BASED AT more progressive elements in the THE UNIVERSITY OF NOTTINGHAM AND Muslim community have difficulties A FREELANCE COLUMNIST

Trading hope: towards better Pak-India ties There is no renouncing the fact that as two growing nations, India and Pakistan require each other’s support to enhance economic growth. Several studies have proved this. In such a sure scenario of success, is it our fear that holds us back? RAKESH VAID No two neighbouring countries in the world perhaps so wilfully deny economic benefits to their people for the sake of inflated presumptions. Writing about India and Pakistan, I cannot but go back to Jinnah, who reflected the vision and promise of the new nation. ‘I sincerely hope that they (relations between India and Pakistan) will be friendly and cordial. We have a great deal to do and think that we can be of use to each other (and to) the world,’ he had said in New Delhi on 14 of July 1947. And at least trade continued between the two nations with no great depletion during his lifetime. But, as the years have gone by, we have only struggled - perhaps not too successfully - to free ourselves on both sides of the border from the clutches of politics and bureaucracy that has induced hatred, fear and hopelessness. Politics and economic growth cannot be de-hyphenated, yet it is the duty of the government on both sides to identify the area where minimal political interference may result in the maximum benefit of the peoples of the two countries. To begin with, India and Pakistan should accord duty free access to their markets for all products that are made in cottage industries and are labour intensive. My reason for suggesting this is that a humble factory worker can thereby be instrumental in normalising and balancing our trade relationship. Once economic inter-dependence is

established, it will be much easier to resolve other issues. Civil society in both countries should put pressure on their respective governments to open up fair trade opportunities, free of any nontariff barriers, and a lenient and liberalised visa regime. If people are enabled to interact and visit each other frequently, it is likely to change misconceptions about each other. Governments can keep negotiating for peaceful resolution of core issues. After all, the investigation and solution of the Mumbai carnage or an apology for defying the eon-long tradition of hospitality cannot be furnished by the common people but only by the governments of Pakistan and India respectively. I refer here to Atithi Devo Bhava, the way in which a Pakistani theatre troupe and a team of hockey players had to leave India. In 2011, Pakistan announced that it will accord India the status of Most Favoured Nation for trade and a number of times deadlines were set to put this into effect but, till today, it is not clear when this may happen. Meanwhile, India gave Pakistan that status way back in 1996. It is not surprising then that people in India doubt the intentions of the Pakistani government. Despite the fact that all Pakistani political parties are on board on this count, the government seems to be dragging its feet over some issue only known to it. There is no renouncing the fact that as two growing nations, India and Pakistan require each other’s support to enhance economic growth. Several studies

have proved this. In such a sure scenario of success, is it our fear due, deliberate or designed - that holds us back? If the fear is based on how local labour will suffer due to trade liberalization, we have only to examine how much governments have done to improve the conditions of labour in general. Over the years, all development programmes have been vitiated by the unchecked growth of population in our regions where more than one billion people live on less than two dollars a day, under miserable conditions with no access to basic health care, clean drinking water and sanitation. Meanwhile, we are sitting idle, awaiting a solution to fall from the sky. Our false national pride has taken over our rational thinking. In India, each year we are adding 16 million people to our work force and in Pakistan about 4.5 million, with no plans to create more employment opportunities. It is estimated that in the next five to seven years, job losses in the agriculture sector are going to be more that 8 million due to automation, whether or not our trade relationship improves. India’s official trade with other neighbouring countries, including Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal, has escalated rapidly in the last decade. So has Pakistan’s trade with its western neighbours. But by overlooking the possibilities lying in the east, has Pakistan made a wise move or has it affected its economic growth adversely? Even if we do not take into account trade policies, it is a

natural rule of trade that common cultural factors between any given trade partners work best. If Pakistan keeps staring westward where it has nothing but religious commonality with its neighbours, it may not be a lasting relationship. In an age when all countries are weighed down by inflation, Pakistan cannot play geopolitics while neglecting its market growth. India has serious border disputes with China, yet the two-way trade is in excess of 75 billion Dollars and by 2015 it is expected to be in excess of 125 billion Dollars. If assessments, studies and predictions in the field are to be believed, by 2025 India will be China’s second largest trading partner. In the world today, the only marker of a nation’s strength is its economic indicators and the size of its war machinery is not even taken into account in such assessments. Population growth and poverty have marred the economic upswing of our countries to a great extent, yet wisdom lies in turning our worst fears and weakness to our strength. What we need is hope, passion and determination so that we can overcome official hurdles, working closer together. As Wasim Barelvi says: Haadson ki zad pe hain to muskurana chorh dein? Zalzalon ke khauf se kya ghar banana chorh dein? T HE WRITER IS A D ELHI - BASED I NDIAN BUSINESSMAN WHO KEEPS IN TOUCH WITH HIS S IALKOT ROOTS

Hijacking History: Facts, torture and "Zero Dark Thiry" BARRY LANDO What if a new film came out about 9/11, “based on a firsthand account of actual events,” that convincingly showed no Jews were in the World Trade Center that fateful morning. The fiery disaster, in fact, was a Zionist/CIA plot to justify launching “The War on Terror”? Or what about another film “based on true historical events,” that Barack Obama is a closet Muslim, and the drive for gun control paves the way for a jihadist takeover of America? Outrageous right? What about a film leaving the impression that brutal methods of torture, though perhaps morally repugnant, led to the assassination of America’s number one enemy. The first two claims, often backed up by amateurish photos, videos and ropey documentation, have been bandied about for years on the Internet. The film about torture, however, is a sophisticated production, turned out by the Sony Corporation and a talented director, writer and cast, backed up by reams of expensive research, nominated for five Oscars, and reaping hundreds of millions of dollars in box offices around the world. The movie, of course, is Zero Dark Thirty (ZDT). In a way, that film, and others like it, are hijacking our history. I’ll get back to that charge. Some commentators like the Times’ Roger Cohen have praised ZDT “as a courageous work that is disturbing in the way that art should be.” Indeed, as befits a work of art, much of the story-line in ZDT is unstated, diffuse. There are a lot of shadowy images, elliptical scenes, muttered exchanges. But it’s

Zero Dark Thirty has been roundly criticised from Human Rights Watch, to prominent American Senators, to a former agent in the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, for giving Americans the erroneous impression that torture played a key role in tracking down and killing Bin Laden difficult to come away from the film without the perception that brutal torture, such as water boarding, played an important role in the CIA’s finding Usama Bin Laden’s personal courier, which in turn led them to the Al Qaeda leader himself. The problem is, according to a lot of people who should know, that was not the case. The film has been roundly criticized from Human Rights Watch, to prominent American Senators, to a former agent in the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, for giving Americans the erroneous impression that torture played a key role in tracking down and killing Bin Laden. In fact, when challenged on the film’s accuracy, director Kathryn Bigelow claims a kind of artistic license—as if her critics really don’t get what her craft is all about. “What’s important to remember is it’s a movie and not a documentary…It’s a dramatization of a 10year manhunt compressed into two-and-a-half hours…There’s a lot of composite characters and it’s an interpretation.” O.K., just an interpretation. But Bigelow and her publicists try to have it both ways. The film’s trailer breathlessly invites us to “Witness the Biggest Manhunt in History.” And, as the film begins, we are solemnly informed that it is “based on firsthand accounts of actual events.” But, “It does not say that it is a factual, unembroidered recounting of those events,” explains Roger Cohen, sounding less like the

gimlet-eyed columnist and more like attorney for the defense. To bolster his case, Cohen quotes Israeli novelist Amos Oz’s observation that “Facts at times become the dire enemies of truth.’ “Or, put another way,” Cohen explains, “while reality is the raw material journalism attempts to render with accuracy and fairness, it is the raw material that art must transform.” In other words, directors like Bigelow must be given the license to shape and change the facts if necessary, so that her audience can benefit from the film-maker’s memorable take on history. That’s one argument. But let’s go back to Amos Oz’s provocative statement that “facts at times become the dire enemies of truth.” Isn’t it equally true that lies and distortions presented under the guise of facts also become the dire enemies of truth? Are we really supposed to believe that the intent of the people who made this film was not to have the audience believe, one hundred percent, that, “yeah, wow, this is exactly how it went down in Pakistan.” So much money, time, and skill were spent creating believability–in the last half hour breathlessly following the second-by-second night-vision action of the Navy Seals as they closed in for the kill. What we were witnessing was much more immediate and “real” than what Barack Obama must have been seen from the direct CIA feed to the Oval Office when the assassination of bin Laden took

place thousands of miles away. But such story-telling skill cannot erase the fact that the film was also a gross distortion of reality. One that could make a difference: There’s a national debate about torture going on. In fact, the T-word has become so sensitive that government officials and much of the media prefer the euphemism “enhanced interrogation techniques”. There is no way that a powerful film like Zero Dark Thirty does not become an important part of that debate: “I know torture works, Hell, it helped us get Bin Laden. I saw the movie.” Indeed, at one part in the film, when CIA agents are discussing the fact that the new Obama administration had given a thumbs down to torture, you couldn’t help feeling that Obama’s edict was naïve, uninformed, and would only weaken the United States. Of course, for thousands of years playwrights, from Sophocles to Shakespeare to have done their own riffs on history. The difference is that with the increasing sophistication of the media, film makers have the ability to create the impression that what we are seeing is God-given truth. So we swallow the lies and distortions along with the facts. There’s just no way to tell the difference. That point was driven home by a study done in 2009 by Andrew Butler, now at Duke, but then at the Department of Psychology of the Washington University of Saint Louis. His researchers gave a group of about fifty

students an accurate written account of an historical event to read. They also showed them an excerpt from a feature film about that same event, an excerpt that wrongly and blatantly contradicted the central fact of the printed text. When they were later tested, 50% of the students recalled the misinformation portrayed in the film as being correct. “This continued,” Butler reported “even when people were reminded of the potentially inaccurate nature of popular films right before viewing the film.” Another fascinating result: “the students were highly confident of the accuracy of the misinformation” sometimes even attributing the false information from the film to the accurate text they had read. Even when students were told that specific facts in the film were wrong, when they were tested days later, some still felt that what the vivid version the film presented was the truth. The problem is that, for the great majority of people on our planet, historical films “based on fact” are becoming our history books. Whether it be Mel Gibson or Daniel Day Lewis in Lincoln, or Karen Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty, taken together they substitute tedious print with a patchwork of spellbinding tales and dramatic images—a beguiling but often distorted or completely false vision of ourselves and our past. (COUNTERPUNCH)


Bahrain crisis talks to begin amid mistrust

Time for US to be more engaged: Kerry

WASHINGTON: The US cannot afford to retrench or retreat itself because of budgetary cuts, Secretary of State John Kerry said Saturday. "This challenge deserves more focus and more attention, not less. This is not a time for the United States of America to retrench and to retreat. This is a time to be more engaged," Kerry said in his address to the employee of the USAID - the foreign aid wing of the US Government, which is headed by Indian American Raj Shah. –AGENCIES

Police and protesters clash in a Shia village of Daih at the funeral of a teenager killed earlier in the week

MANAMA: After nearly two years of nonstop unrest, opposing factions in Bahrain are set to open talks to ease an Arab Spring conflict that has run longer than Syria's rebellion and is playing out on the doorstep of the US military's main naval base in the Persian Gulf. But mistrust runs so deep on all sides that even the prelude to Sunday's planned start of negotiations has been a study in the kingdom's divisions and suspicions, and suggests a difficult route toward any possible accords. The country's Sunni rulers _ supported by the West and other Gulf allies _ seek to bring the main Shiite factions back into the political fold in

Cuba removes civil aeronautics institute

hopes of starting a gradual reconciliation on the strategic island, home to the US Navy's 5th Fleet. Envoys from the Shiite groups, however, remain wary of opening a process that they believe has no chance of reaching their goals: forcing the ruling monarchy to give up its monopoly on power and allow an elected government that would certainly include the majority Shiites. Meanwhile, hard-line Shiite protesters demand nothing short of toppling the two-century-old dynasty. Such a showdown would likely prompt another round of military action from neighbors such Saudi Arabia, which sent in troops to aid

discrimination and are effectively shut out of top-level government and military roles. Shiites protests for a greater political voice have flared during the past decades, but the current unrest is the longest and most threatening to the ruling system. A statement from Al Wefaq, the biggest Shiite political group, said the talks must seek a "big political project that seriously represents the peoples' demands." The last round of talks in 2011 collapsed quickly. Al Wefaq delegates pulled out, saying the government was not willing to discuss political reform. Since then, accusations and recriminations from both sides have sharply intensified.

Bahrain's Sunni leaders after the uprising began in February 2011. Washington, which has supported the efforts for negotiations, has stood by Bahrain's monarchy because of its critical military ties and worries about fallout among other Gulf Arab states. However, US officials have criticized harsh measures by Bahrain, including stripping 31 Shiite activists of citizenship, and faces mounting pressures to further trim military sales to Bahrain's government. Bahrain's Shiites account for about 70 percent of the kingdom's more than 550,000 native-born citizens. While they are the majority, they claim they face systematic

HAVANA: The Cuban authorities have decided to merge the Civil Aeronautics Institute (IACC) into the Transportation Ministry in an effort to improve government efficiency, local media reported on Friday. The move by the Council of State was part of a series of reform measures to "separate government and business functions" to improve Cuba's public institutions, the official Granma daily said. The IACC, including 11 departments and three joint venture companies, were responsible for directing, implementing and monitoring state and government policy related to air transportation, civilian air navigation and other auxiliary and related services. It would keep its name after the merger. –AGENCIES

Iraq blasts kill intelligence official, four others MOSUL: A suicide bombing on Saturday killed a senior Iraqi intelligence officer and two guards near the main northern city of Mosul, while other blasts left two more dead, officials said. The attacks were the latest in an uptick in violence that comes as Iraq grapples with nearly two months of anti-government protests and a political crisis. Brigadier General Aouni Ali, the head of the country’s main intelligence academy, and two of his guards were killed in the bombing outside his home in Tal Afar, near Mosul, police and a doctor said. Also north of Baghdad, a judge was killed by a magnetic “sticky bomb” attached to his car in the village of Sulaiman Pak, according to security and medical officials. –AGENCIES

US charges former congressman with fraud WASHINGTON/CHICAGO: Prosecutors filed criminal fraud and conspiracy charges on Friday against former Chicago congressman Jesse Jackson Jr., son of the famed civil rights leader, accusing him and an unnamed co-conspirator of misusing $750,000 in campaign funds. Jackson, 47, released a statement as the charges were filed admitting mistakes but did not immediately enter a plea in US District Court in Washington. "I offer no excuses for my conduct and I fully accept my responsibility for the improper decisions and mistakes I have made," said Jackson, a Democrat. Once considered one of the most promising black politicians in the United States, Jackson resigned his congressional seat on November 21 for health reasons, acknowledging at the time that he was under investigation by the FBI. –AGENCIES

Clashes have broken out on at the funeral of a teenager killed in demonstrations to mark the second anniversary of Bahrain's Shia-led uprising, with police firing tear gas to disperse mourners, witnesses said. The security forces blocked access to the funeral of Hussein al-Jaziri in the Shia-populated village of Daih near the capital Manama on Saturday, firing tear gas and stun grenades to disperse dozens of people trying to push their way through. Four people were arrested in after an overnight attack on security forces that wounded four policemen, including an officer, authorities say. –AGENCIES

‘Iran not seeking N-weapons’ HYDERABAD: The activists of Indian Communist Party Marxist burn an effigy in protest against the increase in petroleum prices. –WIRE SERVICE

Afghan forces ready to take over: Karzai KABUL: Afghan President Hamid Karzai reiterated Saturday that the Afghan security forces are entirely ready to ensure national security after NATO-led forces withdraw from the country by the end of 2014. "Once the foreigners leave, Afghans will demonstrate to the world that they are able to secure the country and provide security for the nations," Karzai said in his speech delivered at an army officers's gathering at Afghan National Military Academy. "Our national security forces are entirely ready to take security charge by the end of 2014," Karzai said. "Afghans do not need foreign forces for the defense of their country." Transition of security responsibilities from NATO-led forces to Afghan army and police began in mid-2011 and lasts till 2014 when Afghanistan is due to take over its full security duties from US and NATO-led forces. Currently there are about 100,000-strong foreign forces, with nearly 66,000 of them Americans in the country. Under the US President Barack Obama's withdrawal plan 33,000 US troops already pulled out of Afghanistan in September last year and another 34,000 will return home within one year. The Afghan leader also called on Taliban and other insurgent groups to renounce violence and join the government-initiated peace and

reconciliation process. The Taliban, whose regime was ousted by a US-led invasion in late 2001, has renewed armed insurgency since then, staging roadside and suicide bomb attacks, killing combatants as well as civilians. However, the Taliban has repeatedly turned down government's offer for peace talks, saying there will be no dialogue with the government in the presence of foreign troops in the country. According to Karzai, even if the NATO-led forces leave Afghanistan, international financial support for the war-ravaged country will stay. During an international aid conference in Japan in July last year, the donor countries pledged more than 16 billion US dollars in development aid for Afghanistan through 2015. The US and its NATO allies also promised almost the same amount to support Afghan army and police after pullout of their troops. –AGENCIES

Chopper scam

Italian court rejects Indian request to share details NEW DELHI: An Italian court hearing a VVIP chopper deal scam case with India has rejected New Delhi's request for sharing details on the probe, reported local media Saturday. Saying the issue was "covered by secrecy", the judge of preliminary investigations of the tribunal, Busto Arsizio Luca Labianca, told the Indian embassy in Rome that it was "not possible to give a positive reply" to the Indian request, the Press Trust of India quoted Indian official sources as saying. The Indian government is sending a joint defense secretary to Italy to gather "as much evidence as possible" relating to the allegations of corruption in the acquisition of 12 VVIP helicopters for the Indian Air Force from Italian firm AgustaWestland. Indian embassy in Rome had made the request for the details and documents of the probe after the arrest of Finmeccanica chief Giuseppe Orsi in connection with allegations that kickbacks were paid deal. –AGENCIES

TEHRAN: Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Saturday that the Islamic republic does not intend to build nuclear weapons, Press TV reported. Khamenei told a group of his visitors Saturday that Iran has " no intention to build nuclear weapons." "We believe that nuclear weapons must be obliterated, and we do not intend to make nuclear weapons, but if ... we had decided to possess nuclear weapons, no power could prevent us," he said. Iran and the West are locked in a bitter dispute over the former's nuclear activities, with the latter accusing Tehran of developing nuclear weapon under a civilian cover, a charge Iran has consistently denied. US Secretary of State John Kerry on Thursday urged Iran to make "real offers" and engage in a "real dialogue" in the upcoming nuclear talks with world powers, saying that is the only way to make progress. Iran agreed recently to start fresh talks with the socalled P5+ 1 group -- Britain, China, France, Russia, the United States and Germany -- on Feb. 26 in Kazakhstan. Iran's former chief nuclear negotiator Hassan Rouhani said that Tehran's nuclear issue could be resolved if world powers entered negotiations "seriously," Tehran Times daily reported Saturday. Rouhani told reporters here Friday that "Iran has always said that it is ready to hold serious negotiations," and that the issues between Iran and the West, whether nuclear or otherwise, must be

resolved through dialogue. The United Nations nuclear watchdog again failed to make a deal with Tehran on a so-called "structured framework" to resolve the outstanding issues regarding Iran's nuclear program. Herman Nackaerts, deputy director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), told reporters Thursday at the Vienna international airport that they were not granted to visit the Parchin military base southeast of Tehran as well. The US, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany are due to meet Iran for talks in Kazakhstan on 26 February to tackle a decade-old row that has already produced four rounds of UN sanctions against Iran. Separate talks between Iran and the UN nuclear watchdog agency this week failed to produce a deal on reviving an investigation into Iranian research that could be used to produce nuclear weapons. Tehran's leaders have remained defiant against six UN security council resolutions calling on them to halt enrichment of uranium and they have refused to co-operate fully with the International Atomic Energy Agency over their nuclear programme. Iran recently said it had begun installing a new generation of centrifuges at its main uranium enrichment facility in Natanz, a move that will allow it to vastly increase its pace of uranium enrichment in defiance of UN calls to halt such activities. –AGENCIES

'Hundreds held' in Syria tit-for-tat kidnappings BEIRUT: More than 300 people were abducted by armed groups in northwestern Syria over two days in an unprecedented string of sectarian kidnappings, a watchdog and residents said on Saturday. The spate of abductions, involving large numbers of women and children, began on Thursday when upwards of 40 civilians from the majorityShiite villages of Fua and Kafraya were kidnapped by armed groups in Idlib province. Hours later, more than 70 people from Sunni villages and towns were seized in retaliation by gunmen from nearby Shiite villages. Subsequently, dozens of people from mostly Sunni opposition towns including Sarmin, rebel-held Saraqeb and Binesh and embattled Maaret al-Numan were captured by pro-regime gunmen, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. "In two days, the number of abductees has risen to over 300 people," Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP by phone. The majority of the rebels fighting the regime are Sunni, while the ruling clan and many of its most fervent supporters are members of the minority Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shiite Islam. –AGENCIES

The hawks were wrong: Iraq is worse off now So, Saddam is gone – but at what cost? Iraq has been destroyed and hundreds of thousands of innocent people have lost their lives, as the direct result of an unnecessary, unprovoked war that, according to the former chief justice Lord Bingham, was a ‘serious violation of international law’ MEHDI HASAN On Saturday 15 February 2003, more than a million of us – students, toddlers, Christians, Muslims, nuns, Telegraph readers – gathered in Hyde Park for the biggest public demonstration in British history. “Not in my name,” we chanted, as a series of speakers – from Charles Kennedy to Jesse Jackson – lined up to denounce the impending invasion of Iraq. In Glasgow, a sombre yet defiant prime minister delivered a speech to Labour Party activists. Responding to the march in London, Tony Blair declaimed: “The moral case against war has a moral answer: it is the moral case for removing Saddam.” He continued, “It is not the reason we act. That must be according to the United Nations mandate on weapons of mass destruction. But it is the reason, frankly, why if we do have to act, we should do so with a clear conscience.” Whether or not Blair’s conscience remains “clear” is, as he once pointed out, between him and God. But a decade on from the debate about dodgy dossiers, WMDs, 45-minute warnings and various

clauses and subclauses of UN Resolution 1441, those of us who marched against the war stand vindicated. We were right; the hawks were wrong. It isn’t the size of our demonstration that those of us against the war should be proud of, it is our judgement. Our arguments and predictions turned out to be correct and those of our belligerent opponents were discredited. Remember the rhetoric? There was “no doubt” that the invaders would “find the clearest possible evidence of Saddam’s weap¬ons of mass destruction” (Blair) as well as evidence of how Iraq had “provided training in these weapons [of mass destruction] to al-Qaeda” (Colin Powell); the foreign troops would be “greeted as liberators” (Dick Cheney); “the establishment of a free Iraq at the heart of the Middle East” would be “a watershed event in the global democratic revolution” (George W Bush). It was a farrago of lies and half-truths, of delusion and doublethink. Aside from the viewers of Fox News, most people are now aware that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, no ties between secular Saddam and

Islamist Osama. The fall of the Ba’athist dictatorship failed to usher in a democratic or human-rights revolution. Every argument advanced by the hawks proved to be utterly false. The Iraq war was a strategic disaster – or, as the Tory minister Kenneth Clarke put it in a recent BBC radio discussion, “the most disas¬trous foreign policy decision of my lifetime . . . worse than Suez”. The invasion and occupation of the country undermined the moral standing of the western powers; empowered Iran and its proxies; heightened the threat from alQaeda at home and abroad; and sent a clear signal to “rogue” regimes that the best (the only?) means of deterring a pre-emptive, US-led attack was to acquire weapons of mass destruction (see Korea, North). There may have been a strong moral case for toppling the tyrant and liberating the Iraqi people – but there was a much stronger moral case against doing so. Brutal and vicious as Saddam’s reign had been, a “humanitarian intervention” could not just be justified in March 2003, given the complete

absence of an ongoing or imminent mass slaughter of Iraqis. Some of us warned that the cost of action, in blood and treasure, would far outweigh the cost of inaction. And so it came to pass. The greatest weapon of mass destruction turned out to be the invasion itself. Over the past ten years, Iraqis have witnessed the physical, social and economic destruction of their country – the aerial demolition of schools, homes and hospitals; the siege of cities such as Fallujah; US-led massacres at Haditha, Mahmudiyah and Balad; the biggest refugee crisis in the Middle East since the ethnic cleansing of Palestine in 1948. Presumably, denialism is how hawks sleep at night. They dispute the studies that have uncovered the human cost of the war – whether it be the civilian casualties across the country, or the torture and abuse inside Iraq’s prisons (which a UN investigator described in 2006 as “worse than it has been in the times of Saddam Hussein”), or the fivefold increase in birth defects and fourfold increase in cancers in and around Fallujah. Or they try to blame

the violence and turmoil in Iraq exclusively on terrorists, “jihadists” and “Islamofascists”. The insurgency kicked off in Fallujah on 28 April 2003 as a nationalist campaign, long before the arrival of foreign jihadists but only after US troops opened fire on, and killed, 17 unarmed Iraqi protesters. There were no jihadists operating in Iraq before our Mesopotamian misadventure; Iraq had no history of suicide bombings. Between 2003 and 2008, however, 1,100 suicide bombers blew themselves up inside the country. The Iraq invasion turned out to be the best recruiting sergeant that Muslim extremists could ever have prayed for, radicalising thousands of young men from the Middle East to the Midlands. Ultimately, say some hawks, such arguments are irrelevant. Didn’t Iraqis welcome the removal of Saddam? Despite the bloodshed, isn’t their nation better off as a result of the war? Not quite. The post-Saddam government, observes the noted Iraqi novelist and activist Haifa Zangana, is “consumed by sectarian, ethnic division, but above all by corruption”. The Human Rights Watch 2012 report shows how the

rights of the Iraqi people are “violated with impunity” by their new rulers. In his book Iraq: from War to a New Authoritarianism, Toby Dodge of the London School of Economics documents how the war has produced an Iraqi system of government not so different from the one it replaced. Prime Minister Nouri alMaliki, Dodge argues, is leading his country towards “an incredibly destructive dictatorship”. The establishment of a liberal democracy on the banks of the Tigris remains a neocon pipe dream. So, Saddam is gone – but at what cost? Iraq has been destroyed and hundreds of thousands of innocent people have lost their lives, as the direct result of an unnecessary, unprovoked war that, according to the former chief justice Lord Bingham, was a “serious violation of international law”. “It was worse than a crime,” said the French diplomat Talleyrand, responding to the execution of the Duc d’Enghien by Napoleon; “it was a blunder.” Iraq turned Talleyrand’s aphorism on its head – it was worse than a blunder; it was a crime. (New Statesman)


G20 steps back from currency brink MOSCOW: Japan's expansive policies, which have driven down the yen, escaped direct criticism in a statement thrashed out in Moscow by policymakers from the G20, which spans developed and emerging markets and accounts for 90 percent of the world economy. Analysts said the yen, which has dropped 20 percent as a result of aggressive monetary and fiscal policies to reflate the Japanese economy, may now continue to fall. "The market will take the G20 statement as an approval for what it has been doing -selling of the yen," said Neil Mellor, currency strategist at Bank of New York Mellon in London. "No censure of Japan means they will be off to the money printing presses." After late-night talks, finance ministers and central bankers agreed on wording closer

than expected to a joint statement issued last Tuesday by the Group of Seven rich nations backing market-determined exchange rates. A draft communiqué on Friday had steered clear of the G7's call for economic policy not to be targeted at exchange rates. But the final version included a G20 commitment to refrain from competitive devaluations and stated monetary policy would be directed only at price stability and growth. "The mood quite clearly early on was that we needed desperately to avoid protectionist measures ... that mood permeated quite quickly," Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty told reporters, adding that the wording of the G20 statement had been hardened up by the ministers. As a result, it reflected a substantial, but not complete, endorsement of Tuesday's proclamation by

the G7 nations - the United States, Japan, Britain, Canada, France, Germany and Italy. As with the G7 intervention, Tokyo said it gave it a green light to pursue its policies unchecked. "I have explained that (Prime Minister Shinzo) Abe's administration is doing its utmost to escape from deflation and we have gained a certain understanding," Finance Minister Taro Aso told reporters. "We're confident that if Japan revives its own economy that would certainly affect the world economy as well. We gained understanding on this point." Flaherty admitted it would be difficult to gauge if domestic policies were aimed at weakening currencies or not. The G20 also made a commitment to a credible medium-term fiscal strategy, but stopped short of setting specific goals as most delegations felt any economic recovery

was too fragile. The communiqué said risks to the world economy had receded but growth remained too weak and unemployment too high. "A sustained effort is required to continue building a stronger economic and monetary union in the euro area and to resolve uncertainties related to the fiscal situation in the United States and Japan, as well as to boost domestic sources of growth in surplus economies," it said. A debt-cutting pact struck in Toronto in 2010 will expire this year if leaders fail to agree to extend it at a G20 summit of leaders in St Petersburg in September. The United States says it is on track to meet its Toronto pledge but argues that the pace of future fiscal consolidation must not snuff out demand. –AGENCIES

G20 exchange rate policies need to be better aligned: US official MOSCOW: While the Group of Seven industrialized countries - the United States, Britain, Italy, Germany, Japan, France and Canada - have longstanding rules on exchange rates, the newer G20 of emerging and advanced economies, including China, India and Brazil, is still trying to develop a set of common standards, the official said. The G20 meeting committed to move more rapidly toward more market exchange rate systems and to refrain from competitive devaluation. The wording of the final statement was closely followed given concerns that Japan is targeting a weaker yen in its aggressive expansive monetary and fiscal policies, which have driven down its currency. G20 currency tensions are not new. The United States has long pressed China to reform its exchange rate regime by allowing market forces to play a larger role in managing the economy. The U.S. administration official said G20 discussions were focused more on currency frameworks than on a particular country's policies. Meanwhile, the official said the United States was on target to meet a pledge by advanced economies at the G20 in Toronto in 2010 to halve their budget deficits by 2013. With the pact set to expire this year, some countries like Germany want the G20 to set new debt-cutting targets. The U.S. official said the Moscow meeting wanted to avoid any commitment that there is a one-size-fits-all pace of fiscal consolidation. However, the official said the United States was comfortable with the way the fiscal consolidation effort was being discussed by the G20. –AGENCIES

GM paid $119 million for 1pc stake in China venture BEIJING: General Motors Co (GM.N) paid $119 million in September to buy back a 1 percent stake in its joint venture with its top Chinese partner SAIC Motor Corp (600104.SS), which it had given up ahead of its 2009 bankruptcy. The deal pushed GM's ownership in Shanghai GM back to 50 percent, the U.S. automaker disclosed in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday. However, SAIC retains a 51 percent share in the sales side of the business. In the runup to its 2009 bankruptcy filing, GM sold the 1 percent share to SAIC for $85 million. On Thursday, GM Chief Financial officer Dan Ammann told reporters that the Detroit company had completed the repurchase of the 1 percent stake in Shanghai GM and the Chinese government approved the purchase last year. –AGENCIES

Facebook says it was a target of hacking SAN FRANCISCO/ LOS ANGELES: It said none of its users' data was compromised in the attack, which occurred after a handful of employees visited a website last month that infected their machines with socalled malware, according to a post on Facebook's official blog released just before the three-day U.S. President's Day weekend. "As soon as we discovered the presence of the malware, we remediated all infected machines, informed law enforcement, and began a significant investigation that continues to this day," Facebook said. It was not immediately clear why Facebook waited until now to announce the incident. Facebook declined to comment on the reason or the origin of the attack. A security expert at another company with knowledge of the matter said he was told the Facebook attack appeared to have originated in China. The attack on Facebook, which says it has more than 1 billion members, underscores the growing threat of cyber attacks aimed at a broad variety of targets. Twitter, the micro blogging social network, said earlier this month it had been hacked. – AGENCIES

Dr. Asim Hussain directed E&P companies to negotiate Gas Sale Agreement (GSA) with the Fertilizer Companies for direct sales. —STAFF PHOTO

No pressure from US on Pak-Iran gas pipeline: Dr Asim STAFF REPORT

ISLAMABAD: Advisor for Prime Minister on petroleum and Natural Resources, Dr Asim Hussain said that Pakistan has no pressure regarding Pak Iran gas pipeline project by USA. He was talking to media personnel Zia u Din University on Saturday. Dr Asim said Pakistan State Oil (PSO) is a profitable institution of the country and its debts are temporary however, Finance Ministry has released the funds for PSO to overcome the financial crises, he added. MQM’s Member National Assembly Khush Bakht Shujat, former Vice Chancellor Karachi University, Dr Pir Zada Qasim and Chairman State Life Corporation, Irfan Siddiqui were present on the occasion. Replying to a question Dr Asim said that provision of gas to transports seems impossible because there is a huge shortage of gas in economy sector. Qatar has no singles vehicle on gas despite it is producing most gas of the world, he stated. Talking about the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) he said that Ogra should follow government policies rather than self-

decisions, Ogra is an authority and it should be worked under the government, he emphasized. Petroleum Ministry has progressed historically in five years, which had not done in last 60 years, he claimed. OGDCL signs direct gas sales agreement with fertiliser producers: Dr. Asim

Hussain, Advisor to Prime Minister for Petroleum & Natural Resources directed E&P companies to negotiate Gas Sale Agreement (GSA) with the Fertilizer Companies for direct sales to them from new and unutilized gas finds on fast track basis. Following this strategy about two months ago OGDCL started first ever negotiations with the fertilizer sector in order to reach an agreement for direct gas sales to them. Earlier the gas sale agreement of fertilizer companies were with the distribution companies i.e. SSGCL & SNGPL. Now this practice is being changed in order to fast track gas sales to the fertilizer industry. This new strategy has been defined by the Ministry of Pet. & Natural Resources during the last

two months in order to extend hydrocarbon benefits to the industrial and power sectors directly resulting in value addition of gas, reduction of circular debt and making available cheap fertilizer for the Agriculture sector. Two months ago OGDCL initiated negotiation under the above strategy and concluded signing of a Gas Sale Agreement (GSA) with M/s Dawood Hercules, Lahore, M/s Agri Tech Ltd, Lahore, M/s Pak Arab Fertilizer, Lahore and M/s Engro Fertilizer Co. Ltd, Karachi for provision of 130 MMCFD gas from Kunnar Pashaki Development project District Hyderabad, at the at Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Resources. This will enable OGDCL to supply gas to the hard hit fertilizer sector in order to meet their requirement on urgent basis. It is worth mentioning that this step will enable commercialization of Low BTU gas reservoirs across the country as well. Some of these reservoirs had been lying dormant for the last many years due to lack of infrastructure, poor pricing and various restrictions on the E&P companies.

Pakistan oil production rises 10 pc in 2012 ISLAMABAD: Average production in the country this year has increase by a decent 10% to 71.6 k barrels as compared to 64.9k last year 2011-12. According to the statistical data it is learnt that during 2007-08 volume of domestic oil production was 70.4k. Domestic oil production showed significant improvement in 2012 when major discovery was made from Nashpa field of Nashpa block located in KPK region. Statistical data further revealed that fields production increased by a massive 109% to above 1k bpd as against 5.5k bpd last year 2011-12. During last year 2011-12 other major increase in domestic production of oil was from Adhi fields as its total production increased by a decent 16%. The much discussed Tal production

increased by a mere 3% despite commissioning of Makori east towards the end of the year. Though we continue to have conviction in the block’s potential but commissioning of Makori CPF (central processing Facility) holds its key. According to the data during forward near term oil production increased to trigger after materlization production from Sinjhoro fields, makikhel-2 and maramzai-2 while improvement in production from Nashpa Adhi and Mela fields are also events to keep a track. During last year 2011-12 despite the security concerns and circular debt restricting Pakistan Oil and Gas exploration companies to tap in new reservoirs, the sector continues to rely on maximizing the yield of existing reservoirs. –ONLINE

Yen falls on G20 statement, oil slides NEW YORK: Wall Street closed flat, pressured by shares of Apple Inc (AAPL.O) and Wal-Mart Stores Inc (WMT.N), but the strength of a stock rally that has seen the benchmark S&P 500 index gain 6.6 percent so far this year kept markets from tumbling. The day's data underscored the stillbumpy road to economic recovery. The New York Federal Reserve reported manufacturing in New York state expanded while a survey showed a surprisingly strong rise in U.S. consumer sentiment in February. On the downside, U.S. industrial production unexpectedly dipped in January, spurring concerns about economic activity. Oil prices sank, with Brent futures finishing their first weekly loss since mid-January. – AGENCIES



n effective tax policy that ensures adequate domestic revenue is a crucial determinant of a country’s ability to pursue development policies. But tax revenues in most developing countries are low, impeding progress toward more balanced, inclusive, and sustainable economic development that can improve public health and raise standards of living. Although non-tax revenue may contribute significantly to some countries’ total GDP, the average tax/GDP ratios in low-income and lower-middleincome countries are roughly 15% and 19%, respectively – significantly lower than the OECD average of more than 35%. To finance development projects, poor and lower-middle-income countries must devise and implement tax strategies to increase domestic revenue. This entails abandoning the prevailing dogma that taxes should only be increased when absolutely necessary. This stance assumes that lower tax rates raise the tax/GDP ratio by ensuring better compliance with tax laws, and favors indirect taxation (such as value-added taxes) in order to broaden the tax base to include those with modest incomes. Meanwhile, direct taxation of corporations and individuals has tended to decline – despite the moot claim that lower direct taxation ensures investment and growth. As a result, the tax/GDP ratio in most countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America has stagnated or even fallen. In many developing countries, total tax revenue is derived from three main sources: domestic taxes on goods and services (sales and excise taxes), direct taxes (primarily on corporations), and, most important, taxes on foreign trade (import duties). But, as trade liberalization has lowered tariffs and duties, the share of trade taxes has declined, while other sources have not compensated for falling trade revenue. By contrast, in high-income countries, income taxes (primarily on individuals) comprise the largest proportion of tax revenue (roughly 36%), while domestic taxes on goods and services and social-security contributions each account for slightly more than onequarter. Moreover, the share of trade taxes is typically low. CommentsView/Create comment on this paragraphOf course, developing countries should not simply mimic developed economies’ tax systems. After all, no one-size-fits-all approach exists, even among developing countries. And tax policy must evolve with changing economic circumstances. Instead, developingcountry leaders must draw on the experiences of both developed countries and their peers to design tax policies that meet the basic requirements of operability, buoyancy, and stability. This can include broadening the tax base, reducing tax avoidance and evasion, improving tax collection, and developing new, cooperative international taxation strategies. In many countries, tax reform has already significantly increased the share of direct taxes in overall revenue. Raising tax rates for the wealthiest citizens in developing a more progressive income tax framework would bolster this progress. Governments should also work to improve tax compliance and reduce evasion, which requires limiting tax officials’ discretionary authority. Computerizing tax administration, for example, could help to limit corruption by making it more difficult to tamper with records. In order to increase personalincome taxes’ share of total revenue, developing countries are already improving their tax administrations in innovative ways, particularly to reach hard-to-tax citizens. More can be done: Every individual who owns a house or a vehicle, is a member of a club, holds a credit card, passport, driver’s license, or other identity card, or subscribes to a telephone service can be required to file a tax return.



Pak-China Gwadar Port deal to be struck tomorrow ISLAMABAD: The agreement for handing over the operations of deep sea Gwadar harbor to China Overseas Port Holding Authority (COPH) will be ratified on February 18. According to Media Reports, the accord signing ceremony will be held at Aiwan-eSadr (Presidency). Sources also divulged that the transition of the control from the Port of Singapore Authority International (PSA) to COPC would complete within a week after the pact was inked. On a side note it was also revealed that the terms and conditions of the deal remain unchanged. Gwadar Port is a warm-water, deep-sea port situated on the Arabian Sea at Gwadar in Balochistan province of Pakistan. It is located at the apex of the Arabian Sea and at the mouth of the Persian Gulf, approximately 460 km west of Karachi, 75km east of Pakistan's border with Iran and 380km northeast of the nearest point in Oman across the Arabian Sea. It is situated on the eastern bay of a natural hammerhead-shaped peninsula protruding into the Arabian Sea from the coastline. The harbour is owned by the state-run Gwadar Port Authority and operated by PSA (2007-2012). Following the completion of Phase I, the Government of Pakistan on 1 February 2007 signed a 40-year agreement with PSA for the development and operation of the tax-free port and duty-free trade zone. PSA was the highest bidder for the Gwadar port after DP World backed out of the bidding process. –ONLINE

Corporate Social Responsibility

SECP approves CSR voluntary guidelines ISLAMABAD: Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) has approved the Corporate Social Responsibility Voluntary Guidelines, 2013, aimed at encouraging body corporate to align their business strategies with their social responsibilities. According to a statement issued here on Saturday it is stated that the consumer social responsibility guidelines (CSR) are a significant step towards streamlining reporting requirements and corporate accountability of the CSR activities by corporate entities. The guidelines, notified as ‘CSR Voluntary Guidelines, 2013’ after consultation with external stakeholders and general public are being published as guidance document for all companies. Under the Guidelines, Board of Directors of

registered entities are encouraged to take ownership for formulation, adoption and implementation of CSR policy of a company. The Guidelines recommend that CSR policy be fully endorsed by Board of Directors of Company and that such policy is embedded in the vision and strategy of the company. CSR governance benchmark table has been added at the end of Guidelines that shall facilitate companies to assess their performance and for peer review. Presence of an effective CSR management system is emphasized in CSR Guidelines. The said systems are expected to provide a road map for implementation of CSR activities. Also, specific indicators reflecting effective governance and implementation of CSR policy have been provided in the Guidelines. The requirements of

disclosure and reporting have been extended i.e the broad areas expected to be covered by CSR reports have been provided in the Guidelines. Furthermore, it is stated that companies have been encouraged to earmark specified financial or no financial resources, specific criteria or a proportion of their profit (preferably 1-2%) for CSR initiatives. The method of allocation of resources or identified criteria must ideally be predetermined, duly endorsed by the board and form part of CSR Policy. The Guidelines also provides for forming a CSR consultative committee for purpose of ensuring transparent, specialized supervision and reporting progress. Recommendatory terms of reference of CSR committee have been added at the end of Guidelines for facilitation of

Companies. Moreover, keeping in view the best practices, guidelines call for obtaining independent assurance regarding the CSR project undertaken by Companies and the report of assure thereof forming part of CSR report of company. Commission also approved the constitution of CSR Forum. The mandate of forum includes gap analysis, raising awareness amongst businesses regarding CSR issues, CSR reporting and assurance reporting framework in view of international best practices. Commission is appreciative of the CSR initiatives taken by companies and is confident that these Guidelines shall facilitate in strategizing and reporting CSR framework for greater benefit of society and sustainability of business. –ONLINE


Sahiba makes comeback after 15 years

Kim sells Beverly Hills bachelorette pad CALIFORNIA: A year and a half ago Kim Kardashian’s life looked rather different than it does today. The reality star was engaged to NBA star Kris Humphries and living in her gated Beverly Hills estate. Now that she’s had her TV wedding, split from the groom after a couple of months of marriage, is still embroiled in a messy divorce, has taken up with rapper Kanye West, and is expecting her first child, it’s no surprise that Kardashian has changed up her living situation, too. After buying an $11 million Bel Air mansion with West in December, it’s now been reported that the 32-year-old has gotten rid of her previous digs. Details of the sale have been shrouded in mystery. According to real estate blog Trulia Luxe Living, the property was never actually listed, but was purchased for an undisclosed price by a buyer who took ownership of the 5-bedroom, 4.5-bath gated estate as part of an LLC. -SHOWBIZ DESK

LAHORE: Actress Sahiba has come back into movies after 15 years. Actor Shan’s new production “Saya-e-Zuljilal” has forced Sabiha to make a comeback as she is playing an important role in the film. After getting married to Afzal Khan (Jan Rambo) Sahiba had left the industry for good but then she was seen back on Television mostly with her husband and then later on she was seen hosting a morning show. According to sources, Shan had asked for special permission to get Sabiha in his movie. -SHOWBIZ DESK

Ayesha Omer says ‘no more’ to comedy

Javaid to star in Bollywood movie Commando

Enough for Bulbuley

KARACHI: The sweet and charming Ayesha Omar who now wants to focus on her singing career and plans to switch from comedy. Currently appearing in “Zindagi Gulzar Hai”, Aysha Omer has revealed her future plans. According to her, she now wants to try something serious or to build her career as a singer in Pakistani industry. “Fans will have something different very soon and hope they will like me as a singer”, says Ayesha Omer. She also declared that she is not getting right roles for the films therefore at the moment she will not be venturing into Lollywood. We wish Ayesha Omer best of luck for her future endeavors, anyhow we love her for her ravishing role of Khoobsurat in Bulbuley. -SHOWBIZ DESK

Shobhaa De cancels visit to Karachi Literature Festival SHOWBIZ DESK KARACHI: Mumbai-born writer Shobhaa De has also canceled her visit to the Karachi Literature Festival. The move comes a day after Indian poet Gulzar and film director Vishal Bhardwaj returned to India from Pakistan. The KLF organisers tweeted from their account that Shobhaa De cancelled because she said her visa was issued too late.

"She'd like to attend #KLF next year and we hope very much that she does," they added. The Mumbai-born writer tweeted from her own account late on the other day that the delay in her visa was the main cause for her decision. Though, she gave into some conspiracy talk speculating whether the visa was deliberately delayed, the report said.

SHOWBIZ DESK LAHORE: After appearing in many Bollywood hits, Pakistan’s most endeared director and actor Javaid Sheikh is set for another Bollywood movie entitled “Commando”. Javaid Sheikh has already flown to India and is busy for “Commando”, which is being produced by Vipul Amrutlal Shah with whome Javaid Sheikh worked in film “Namaste London”. Film “Commando” is a Bollywood action film starring Vidyut Jamwal, Pooja Chopra, Jaideep Ahlawat along with Javaid Sheikh. Always bringing prestige for Pakistan on Indian screens, Javaid Sheikh has acted in several Indian films which include Shikhar, Jaan-E-Mann, Apne, Om Shanti Om, My Name is Anthony Gonsalves, Jannat, Money Hai Toh Honey Hai, Yuvvraaj, Road to Sangam, Hum Tum Aur Ghost, Kajraare and now he is set for his new Bollywood venture “Commando”. Javaid Sheikh is a man with dynamic personality and the capability to perform in a realistic style. He is the only Pakistani actor who has appeared in most convincing roles in Indian films.

Kidman refused to say 'N-word' in Paperboy SHOWBIZ DESK LONDON: Hollywood actress Nicole Kidman refused to use an offensive racial epithet in 'Paperboy' when requested to do so by the film's director, her co-star has said. British actor David Oyelowo said the Oscar-winning star was asked to say "the n word" in the film by director Lee Daniels. "She flatly refused. She felt that was a bridge too far for her and I really respect her for doing that," said former 'Spooks' star Oyelowo, who is of Nigerian descent. Kidman, 45, received a Golden Globe nomination for her work in 'The Paperboy', which is released in the UK on 15 March. Set in Florida at the end of the 1960s, the film sees two reporters, played by Oyelowo and Matthew McConaughey, work to have a murderer's conviction quashed. Their efforts are both helped and hindered by Kidman's character, a blowsy hairdresser who has won the trust of the felon through sexually explicit correspondence.

Opera world stages own Bipasha Basu wants kids, when is the marriage? awards despite budget crunch Says she loves kids, preferably a girl child Feels she can dress them up so beautifully SHOWBIZ DESK

SHOWBIZ DESK LONDON: The world of opera, faced with budget cuts and wanting to raise appreciation of opera, has launched its own annual international awards, unveiling a shortlist of finalists in 23 categories. The Operas, which will be presented at a ceremony in London on April 22, are the brainchild of Opera Magazine and British businessman Harry Hyman. Opera Magazine editor John Allison said he hoped the awards would bring recognition to opera at a time when many opera houses were struggling to make ends meet due to a decline in private sponsorships and cuts in state subsidies. English National Opera, one of London's two principal opera companies, last month announced a loss for 2012 with audience figures down 9 percent and a drop in its public subsidy, while Paris Opera chief Nicolas Joel has publicly decried budget cuts and said he did not intend to renew his contract in 2015. "Opera houses all over the world are in a lot of difficulty at the moment as everything is being cut and everyone is feeling the pinch. Some smaller houses in the United States have closed," Allison told Reuters. "Opera houses work very hard and artists put their life and soul into their work but there are a lot of good performances that come and go and are not recognized. Hopefully these awards will raise opera in everyone's conscience." Allison said the DESIGNE

Cleme nts AT THE LONDON FASHION WEEK The LFW schedule is packed full of Central Saint Martins alumni But among those of the old guard are husband and wife duo Clements Ribeiro. Collars came punctuated with jewels and shoes pointed at the toe, pleated kilts or skirts that buckled across the waist and more buckles to toughen up floralembroidered coats this was a rougher and tougher take, something which was backed up by the prevalent use of red and black lace throughout on dresses and pencil skirts.

Hanan Alattar and Alfie Boe, perform during a dress rehersal for the the production of “The Pearl Fishers” at the English National Opera in London. awards also aimed to boost support for new and emerging artists who struggle to make a living from their profession and receive little public recognition. "Everyone has awards - films, books, music - but there just has not been a set of international awards for opera. We want to change that," said Allison. The International Opera Awards, to be known as The Operas, involve 23 categories that recognize "the achievements of all the performers, producers and teams that work in Opera". Awards will be given to best female singer, male singer, conductor, opera company, and chorus, and there is also a life-time achievement award and a readers' award.

MUMBAI: Bipasha Basu is back to the horror genre with ‘Atma’. She says, “I use my intuition and have always depended on my gut feelings. I have always been comfortable and also never fallen flat. My gut feelings have definitely helped me not only chose films rightly but move ahead in life. So, be it good film or a bad film it has solely been my decision.” She adds that she likes to portray roles which her womanhood as understandable. “It could be a romantic love story. I have loved doing films that portray me as a human being and not merely as an accessory.” Being in filmmaking, her professional advice to all is, “I like everyone to do their job perfectly. I always expect everyone to be involved on the sets and give it their best. I am very disciplined and hence like others to be disciplined as well. Not that I’m a Hitler,” she smiles. Bipasha talks about trust issues. “Yes! I’m an open person and I do not easily trust or wrongly like to trust anyone.” However, she says she is a positive person. “I do not like to empower any negative energy around me. I like to get over any spooky things around.” She says she believes in God. “I feel I am blessed

child of the god and hence have reached to this heights being from nowhere.” Bips agrees that she is a trendsetter. “I am horror trend-setter. So what if I am the ‘Face of Fear’. I know how to tackle it unquestionably. I deem to do entertaining films, whether it’s comedy, romantic or horror. So long as my role is strong and the story intriguing, I say yes to the film.” Bips says she loves kids. “I told Suparn to name this little kid in the film after my niece, so that I have that bonding with her. Nia is a wonderful kid who enacts superbly.” Talking about her childhood days she says, “I have two siblings and we share a wonderful relationship with each other.” She says she doesn’t miss having brothers. “I have many cousin brothers. Whenever, we are together we enjoy a lot. Also my filmy brothers are Rocky Soham and Sikander. I remember once I wrote something for Soham on Rakhi day and stuck his pix on Facebook and Sikander rang me up and told me ‘It’s great you did not make me your Rakhi brother. Mein itna gadha nahi hun ki tumhara bhai banu!’.” She says in her school days boys refused to be her rakhi brothers. “They would bluntly say ‘we would

not like to be your brother’.” She adds, “Let marriage happen. But yeah, I love kids. Preferably a girl child. I feel we can dress them up so beautifully. I will undoubtedly be a

fabulous mom. Once a woman becomes a mother everything else vanished and she gets thoroughly involved with the caring and sharing with the new born.


Tearful Serena becomes oldest world number one DOHA: Serena Williams was in tears on Friday after snatching an historic victory at the Qatar Open, which ensured that she would become the oldest woman to hold the WTA Tour's world number one ranking. The 31-year-old American's 36, 6-3, 7-5 victory over Petra Kvitova in the quarterfinals put her back on top of the world after an interval of two and a half years during which she sometimes thought she might never play again. Williams had been 1-4 down in the final set of an outstanding match against the Czech, and her relieved smile, heavenward gesture and tears in her moment of triumph gave lie to her earlier statement that the number one position no longer mattered. "I am so sensitive nowadays -- I am always crying, but I never thought I would be here again you know," said Williams in a reference to the pulmonary embolism from which she suffered in 2011, threatening her life as well as her career. "I have been through so much and I never thought I would be here," she repeated. The victory, which was due to her very special competitive spirit and instinct for finding a way when no clear direction is evident, earns her the top spot at an age six months older than her fellow American Chris Evert did at 30 years and 11 months. That was more than 27 years ago, underlining Williams' status as one of the all-time greats, and possibly the finest woman player there has ever been. AGENCIES

World wrestling chief resigns following IOC snub PARIS: The president of wrestling's world governing body FILA resigned on Saturday less than a week after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) recommended that the sport be dropped from the 2020 Summer Games. Switzerland's Raphael Martinetti announced he was stepping down at a FILA Executive Committee meeting in Thailand, a move confirmed by bureau member Rodica Yaksi when contacted by Reuters on Saturday. "He has given his resignation. The bureau has selected an interim president for the extraordinary congress that will be held in Budapest in September during the world championships," the Turk said by telephone. "We just voted and elected Mr Nenad Lalovic (from Serbia) as the interim president for the congress... not the FILA president." FILA vice president Tomiaki Fukuda told reporters that the governing body would continue to review wrestling's plight during the annual gathering being held in Phuket. USA Wrestling thanked the outgoing president and welcomed the changes being made at the governing body. Part of the first modern Olympics in 1896 and all further editions of the Games, except the 1900 Paris Olympics, wrestling was stunned when the IOC Executive Board made a surprise recommendation on Tuesday to drop the sport from the 2020 Games. The sport will now join seven other candidate sports battling for one spot in a revamped programme when the IOC session in Buenos Aires votes on the recommendation in September. AGENCIES

Froome wins Tour of Oman cycling race MASCATE: Britain's Chris Froome laid down an early marker for the season as he beat all the major Tour de France contenders to win the Tour of Oman in style on Saturday. Team Sky's Froome, second overall in last year's Tour behind team mate and compatriot Bradley Wiggins, won the fifth stage ahead of double Tour champion Alberto Contador, who took second place overall. Saturday's sixth and final stage was won by French champion Nacer Bouhanni as Froome secured his first major stage race victory. Australian Cadel Evans took third place overall ahead of Spain's Joaquim Rodriguez, winner of stage four. Froome's win was reminiscent of Wiggins's Paris-Nice victory in 2012, when the 32-year-old rider also claimed the Tour de Romandie, the Criterium du Dauphine and the Tour. The Kenya-born Froome went toe-totoe with Contador, Rodriguez, Cadel Evans and Italian Vincenzo Nibali on the climbs as he snatched the leader's red jersey after stage four. Wiggins, who started his season in Oman in a supporting role, was never in contention. AGENCIES

Proteas-Pakistan second Test evenly poised CAPE TOWN: Robin Peterson and Dale Steyn led a South African fight back which left the second Test against Pakistan evenly poised at the end of the third day at Newlands on Saturday. Pakistan were 100 for three in their second innings at the close, a lead of 112. Peterson hit 84 to enable South Africa to get within 12 runs of Pakistan's first innings total of 338 and Steyn bowled at blistering pace to take two wickets as Pakistan lost their first three second innings wickets for 45 runs. At that stage South Africa were slightly on top but Azhar Ali and captain Misbahul Haq shared a largely cautious unbeaten partnership of 55 to see Pakistan through to the close without further loss. South Africa were hampered by a recurrence of a hamstring injury to Morne Morkel, who left the field after bowling one ball in his second spell. He had to stop bowling because of the same injury in the first innings as well and seems unlikely to take the ball again in the match. Peterson led a fighting performance by South Africa's lower order batsmen as they


Azhar Ali avoids a bouncer from South Africa’s Dale Steyn on day three of the second Test between South Africa and Pakistan at Newlands on Saturday. —AGENCIES recovered from an overnight 139 for five to reach 326 all out. Pakistan's first innings lead of 12 runs was soon shown to be negligible as Steyn and Vernon Philander both took wickets in their first overs. Azhar and first innings centurion Younis Khan battled through some testing bowling against Steyn,

Philander and Morkel. Bowling downwind in his second spell, Steyn was timed at more than 146kmh and troubled both batsmen before Younis, forced on to the back foot, chopped the ball into his stumps. After being dismissed without scoring in the first innings, Misbah took 18 balls to score his first runs in

PAKISTAN FIRST INNINGS 338 (Younis Khan 111, Asad Shafiq 111, V Philander 5-59, M Morkel 2-59) SOUTH AFRICA FIRST INNINGS (overnight 139-5) G Smith lbw b Ajmal 19 A Petersen c Azhar b Ajmal 17 H Amla lbw b Ajmal 25 F du Plessis c Younis b Ajmal 28 J Kallis lbw b Ajmal 2 de Villiers c Gul b Irfan 61 D Elgar c Younis b Ajmal 23 R Peterson c Gul b Hafeez 84 V Philander c Jamshed b Irfan 22 D Steyn c Sarfraz b Irfan 10 M Morkel not out 8 EXTRAS: (B 12, LB 8, NB 7) 27 TOTAL: (all out; 102.1 overs) 326 FALL OF WICKETS: 1-36, 2-50, 3-84, 4102, 5-109, 6-164, 7-210, 8-277, 9-303, 10-326 BOWLING Umar Gu 20-5-74-0 Tanvir Ahmed 10-4-26-0 Mohammad Irfan 21-1-86-3

Saeed Ajmal 42-9-96-6 Mohammad Hafeez 9.1-1-24-1 PAKISTAN SECOND INNINGS Mohammad Hafeez lbw b Steyn 0 Nasir Jamshed lbw b Philander 0 Azhar Ali not out 45 Younis Khan b Steyn 14 Misbahul Haq not out 36 To bat: Asad Shafiq, Sarfraz Ahmed, Umar Gul, Saeed Ajmal, Tanvir Ahmed, Mohammad Irfan EXTRAS: (LB 2, W 3) 5 TOTAL: (3 wkts, 44 overs) 100 FALL OF WICKETS: 1-0, 2-7, 3-45 BOWLING Steyn 9-2-24-2 Philander 11-4-26-1 Morkel 3.1-0-8-0 Peterson 15-5-32-0 Kallis 5.5-2-8-0 Toss: South Africa Umpires: S Davis (Australia) and B Oxenford (Australia) Third umpire: BF Bowden (New Zealand) Match referee: J Crowe (New Zealand)

the second innings. Scoring slowed to a crawl, with left-arm spinner Peterson conceding only four runs in his first eight overs. But Misbah

gained in confidence, three times hitting Peterson for six as he advanced to 36 not out. Azhar was unbeaten on 45. AGENCIES

IOC reviews situation of Olympic Movement in Pakistan 

No Pakistan Government official attends meeting


LAHORE: The International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) met in Lausanne, Switzerland on Friday with IOC Member Syed Shahid Ali and the President of the Pakistan Olympic Association (POA), Lt Gen (r) Syed Arif Hasan. During this meeting, all aspects of the situation currently prevailing within the Olympic Movement in Pakistan were carefully reviewed. It is pertinent to mention that no official of the Government of Pakistan attended the meeting, which showed the ‘sincerity’ of the Government of Pakistan towards sports in the country. Pakistan is coming closer to an IOC ban as the PSB is trying implement the National Sports Policy under which no national sports federation main officials can have more than two tenures, and expects the POA to follow suit. But the POA is lawfully refusing to follow the PSB directives, saying the POA is an autonomous body that will only follow the IOC Charter. The PSB believes it has to implement the law of the land on the POA and its affiliated units as it provides the national sports federations with annual grant and also the government gives them tax exemption. “The

POA had conducted its regular quadrennial elections on February 4, 2012 in a fair, transparent and democratic manner, in the presence of IOC and OCA observers, IOC Member Syed Shahid Ali and all members of the POA General Assembly. The procedure, outcomes and results of the POA Elective General Assembly of February 2, 2012 had been fully accepted by all candidates and by all members of the POA General Assembly, and have therefore been duly recognised by the IOC and the OCA,” said a statement of the IOC after the meeting in Lausanne. “As a consequence, the IOC and the OCA reiterate their full support to the legitimate POA – headed by Lt Gen. (r) Syed Arif Hasan – which is the sole and unique body recognised by the IOC and which has exclusive jurisdiction to deal with any Olympic-related matters in Pakistan, including but not limited to constituting, organising and leading its delegation at the Olympic Games and at the regional, continental or world multi-sports competitions patronised by the IOC (including all IOC events and OCA events), as mentioned in the Olympic Charter,” added the statement. “No body other than the IOC-recognised POA can claim to exercise any Olympic-related

activities in Pakistan and/or designate itself as an “Olympic” body and/or use the Olympic rings or any of the properties which belong to the IOC or the POA. Any potential disputes affecting the Olympic Movement in Pakistan should be dealt with through dialogue and mutual understanding within the competent bodies and legitimate structure of the POA, which will be facilitated by IOC Member Syed Shahid Ali,” said the statement. The IOC said the Government of Pakistan was invited to attend this meeting but, unfortunately, did not reply to the invitation extended by the IOC. “In spite of this, it was agreed that the POA would make another effort and continue doing its best to establish fruitful dialogue with the Government of Pakistan and find good solutions for the future which are fully compatible with the principles and rules which govern the Olympic Movement and, in particular, the principle of autonomy of the Olympic Movement.” The statement said IOC Member Syed Shahid Ali and POA President Lt Gen (r) Syed Arif Hasan would work in close collaboration to ensure that the above-noted resolutions of this meeting are respected and implemented by all entities and individuals who desire to be part of the Olympic Movement in Pakistan.

New faces, same close contest

New Zealand take on England in 1st ODI today HAMILTON: From the frenetic, electro-pop noodling of T20, the series settles into a more traditional rhythm ahead of the hoped-for operatic sweep of the Tests --- an ideal way to build up through the formats during a tour. The ODIs will provide us with a burst of prog rock, as maligned as it is apparently outdated but still capable of moving the faithful. And, given 50overs cricket is traditionally New Zealand's strongest suit, a decent contest could provoke some contented toe-tapping and beard-stroking among onlookers. England do not have a great ODI record in New Zealand, having only twice won bilateral series there, the last in 1992. They will also have to deal with one of the side effects of modern format juggling, as almost half the side, including the top three, will come in cold, having not played a match on tour. In the cases of Jonathan Trott, James Anderson and Graeme Swann, their last competitive outing came in the Nagpur Test in mid-December. England may have come up with a method to coax their corps through the international calendar but, as Australia have recently discovered, constant tinkering can be just as damaging as losing players to injury. The New Zealand side will also have a slightly different make-up to the T20s, though the likes of BJ Watling, Kane Williamson and Kyle Mills have been able to play domestic cricket since returning from South Africa. Ross Taylor missed New Zealand's surprise ODI series win on that tour but his return, provided he can find some form, should strengthen an already capable outfit. There is a good blend of youth and experience in the squad and, despite England's lofty ODI ranking (second

to India on decimal points), Brendon McCullum will be hoping his side can land a few more blows before the Tests. With Ashley Giles still wearing out the creases in his new England gilet, having taken over as limited-overs coach last month, there will be plenty of lessons to learn in conditions that will be more reflective of those at home, where the final edition of the Champions Trophy will be held later this year. A 3-2 defeat in India was no disgrace but a few quandaries --- such as the wicketkeeping position and candidates for No. 7 --- remain. For McCullum and Mike Hesson, another new team, the priority is simple: win. In the spotlight: Kane Williamson is one of New Zealand's most promising batsmen but he struggled to cope with the demands of playing in all three formats in 2012. Dropped from the T20 team for the South Africa tour, he returned to limited-overs international cricket batting at No. 3 in the Kimberley ODI and made his highest score of 145 not out in a series-clinching win. New Zealand have several dashers and diligent allrounders but Williamson adds class to the batting line-up. He has rapidly developed into England's T20 explosives expert, but Jos Buttler is still learning on the job as wicketkeeper, a position that Alastair Cook confirmed he will hang on to for the ODIs despite the presence of Jonny Bairstow in the squad. Buttler has only played three ODIs and has a maximum of six to cement his place as keeper for the Champions Trophy. The prospect of giving him an extra 30 overs in which to wreak destruction with the bat is also tantalising.

Team news: Taylor will come back into the side at No. 4 and he could find himself spending plenty of time in the middle with McCullum, who has moved to No. 5 to balance the demands of captaincy and wicketkeeping. New Zealand face a straight choice between playing one of the two other allrounders in the squad, Colin Munro and Andrew Ellis, or Trent Boult. They may not be comparable in terms of style but England will welcome back the reliable presence of Jonathan Trott in place of the rested Kevin Pietersen. The conditions could be ripe for Chris Woakes to showcase his all-round skills at No. 7, while James Anderson, Stuart Broad and Graeme Swann should slot back in after missing the India series. Steven Finn, meanwhile, could debut a new, shortened run-up to try and combat his habit of knocking the stumps in his delivery stride. Pitch and conditions: The teams head back up to Hamilton, venue of the second T20, where New Zealand's pitch-it-up swing trumped England's hitthe-deck aggression. The sunny weather is expected to continue and, considering the effect of the ball under lights last week, the team winning the toss may fancy having first crack at the short boundaries. Squads: New Zealand (probable) 1 Martin Guptill, 2 BJ Watling, 3 Kane Williamson, 4 Ross Taylor, 5 Brendon McCullum (capt & wk), 6 Grant Elliott, 7 James Franklin, 8 Nathan McCullum, 9 Kyle Mills, 10 Trent Boult, 11 Mitchell McClenaghan England (probable) 1 Alastair Cook (capt), 2 Ian Bell, 3 Jonathan Trott, 4 Joe Root, 5 Eoin Morgan, 6 Jos Buttler (wk), 7 Chris Woakes, 8 Stuart Broad, 9 Graeme Swann, 10 James Anderson, 11 Steven Finn. AGENCIES

ICC admits error in Kallis dismissal STAFF REPORT LAHORE: The International Cricket Council (ICC) has admitted its Playing Control Team (PCT) made "an honest error" while applying the Decision Review System (DRS) to the South African player Jacques Kallis review on the second day of the Newlands Test against Pakistan and that the batsman was erroneously given out. Kallis was given out after an appeal that Pakistan coach Dav Whatmore confirmed was for a bat-pad catch off Saeed Ajmal's bowling. Umpire Steve Davis upheld the appeal but the batsman immediately asked for a review. Hot Spot replays indicated there was no bat involved, so it couldn't be out caught, but the ball had both pitched and hit Kallis' pad well in line with the stumps and the ball-tracking indicated that it would have clipped leg stump, which was shown to be an umpire's call. As a result, Kallis was instead given out lbw, after input from the third umpire, Billy Bowden. The playing conditions allow for the method of dismissal to be changed during a review but have specific terms under which that can be done. So when it was evident Kallis could not be out caught, because he had not hit the ball, the evidence for an lbw decision should have been considered from the point of view that the onfield umpire had ruled it not out. The projected path of the ball --- clipping leg stump ---- was then an umpire's call, according to the DRS, and Kallis would have been not out. “The PCT made an honest error in this extremely rare situation," the ICC said in a release. “The umpires followed usual umpiring principles in giving Kallis out lbw on umpire's call the review was for the batsman out caught. This is because the normal principle is that an appeal covers all forms of dismissal. However, the playing conditions state that when the third umpire observes that the batsman could be out by another mode of dismissal, the decision being reviewed using DRS should be as if the batsman had been originally given not out. Therefore, in this instance Kallis, as the point of impact was umpire's call, should not have been given out lbw.” This is the second time in the series that DRS has come under discussion. At the Wanderers, Pakistan were unhappy with the use of Hotspot after four decisions went against them. They indicated they would write a report to the ICC and Whatmore said any grievances would be addressed through the channels provided, although nothing further was heard about the issue. Whatmore remained a backer of DRS in spite of the recent incidents.

Look to women's cricket for the game's lost pleasures


or the last couple of weeks I have been watching and commentating on a different kind of cricket, where I have had to bite my tongue while saying things like ‘Bowled him!’ Barring that, commentating on the ICC Women's World Cup has been a thoroughly enjoyable experience. No serious comparisons can be made between men's and women's cricket, for various reasons, but watching the women's game up close has been instructive for me - for its contrasts with the men's game, and what it tells us about the evolution of the men's game. It has been truly gratifying for me as a cricket follower to see some real spin and swing being bowled. As a rule, women seem to


swing the ball more than men do, and they also do not need turners to spin the ball – all they need is a 22-yard cricket pitch. This, of course, is not to demean the men in any way, but it raises the point of how swing and spin are less and less evident in the men's game now. The pitch at the Cricket Club of India, where the World Cup games were held, was hard and bouncy, covered by a thin layer of grass. With matches starting at 9am, our pitch reports always suggested bowling first as the obvious option after winning the toss, and spoke of how it was going to be a seamer's delight. And each time it startled me how the spinners extracted spin from the pitch, even when they were bowling first. No way would the men have found spin on that surface at that hour. There are two simple reasons for this: female spinners flight the ball more and bowl it a lot slower than men do, with their average speed being around 65-70kph. Male spinners generally bowl around 80kph, and their trajectory is much flatter. This is why women can find turn even on a pitch with

no soil exposed, to get the spin advantage. There was a time when men used to flight the ball like the women do today, but we all know why that does not happen anymore. One, with increasing amounts of limitedovers cricket being played, the batsmen's mindset has changed completely. Hitting the ball in the air is no more the taboo it used to be. Two, the bats have got heavier

If you're a fan of spin and swing, you could do worse than become a fan of women's cricket and bulkier, and the boundaries are rarely long enough. It amazes me how many times a batsman mistimes the ball and it still sails over the ropes into the stands. Women are able to bowl full because they know very few women in the world can hit the ball out of the ground. So it does not need an especially big-hearted, courageous bowler to pitch it full or throw

it up in the air as a means of deception. Even though the boundaries are shorter (around 55 metres on average), sixes are rare in women's cricket, while in men's cricket, with 70m boundaries, it is batsmen who can't hit sixes who are rare. One other reason why 50-overs men's cricket seems a drag sometimes is because men take so long to bowl their quota of overs. They invariably go overboard by 30 minutes. Women get three hours and ten minutes to bowl their 50 overs, as against men, who get three and a half hours. Even on a humid day, the women were rushing through their overs and running to take their positions in the field in between overs. Visits by substitutes with drinks are infrequent, unlike in men's cricket, where it has gone completely out of control. In the women's games, every time the batter was ready, so were the fielders and the bowler. Why are women generally so keen to finish their overs in time – even when their side is lagging in the match sometimes? Is it hefty fines or penalties in terms of money or runs? Bans? No. There is no penalty of any kind if

they don't bowl their overs in time. They do it out of habit, a good habit. The game is a lot more attractive to spectators if they get to see all its facets in one match, and those include swing and spin. It is up to administrators to ensure this. My stint covering women's cricket has confirmed what I have felt quite strongly for a while: sooner rather than later, the rule-makers will have to restrict the weight and dimensions of the cricket bat. At the moment the edges are starting to resemble the face of the bat. Wherever possible they need to drag the boundaries further away, so a batsman will know he is taking a huge risk when he is trying to loft a full, swinging ball or a flighted, spinning delivery. If it does not come from the middle of the bat, he should know that is probably going to be the end of him. When a batsman has this doubt in his mind, watch how the game becomes more attractive than it is today.

(Former India batsman Sanjay Manjrekar is a cricket commentator and presenter on TV)



Meteor was 30 times more powerful than Hiroshima bomb 

Broke 30-50km above the Earth’s surface  Landed in a lake near Chebarkul  Was big enough to flatten London  Rescue team heads for meteor site

MOSCOW: Russian authorities have reportedly sent a 20,000-strong team to the Ural Mountains to help with the rescue and cleanup operation after a meteor struck the area. The 10-ton meteor, thought to be made of iron, exploded over the Chelyabinsk region in southern Russia Friday morning. More than 1,000 people were injured when the meteor, which was travelling at over 54,000mph, streaked through the atmosphere and created a sonic boom. Hundreds of people were injured when glass shattered in countless windows in the area. Nasa revealed that the meteor that exploded above a Russian city was about 30 times as powerful as the nuclear bomb dropped on Hiroshima. It said it would expect an event of this magnitude to occur “once every 100 years.” According to Russia’s Academy of

Sciences, the meteor broke apart 30-50km above the Earth’s surface, releasing several kilotonnes of energy - the same as a small atomic weapon, the BBC said. Dramatic amateur video footage showed the meteor streaking across the sky at around 9.20am local time. It caused a bright flash of light and left a white trail of smoke. Tim O’Brien, associate director of the University of Manchester’s Jodrell Bank Observatory, said: “It made a sonic boom in the atmosphere, and that hit buildings and shattered windows. That is what seems to have caused the injuries. “It’s a completely abnormal experience. This thing appeared in the distance, raced over the horizon and was followed up 30 seconds or a minute later by a huge boom as the shockwave hit the ground. I can imagine that

would be very frightening.” Sergey Hametov, a resident of Chelyabinsk, said: “There was panic. People had no idea what was happening. Everyone was going around to people’s houses to check if they were okay. “We saw a big burst of light, then went outside to see what it was and we heard a really loud thundering sound.” Dr Lewis, an astronautics expert at the University of Southampton, said the meteor was “very small” at around five metres in diameter. In an amazing “cosmic coincidence”, experts said the meteor appeared to be unconnected to an asteroid that narrowly missed Earth last night. The asteroid, named 2012 DA14, was big enough to flatten London and came within 17,200 miles of the Earth’s surface. –AGENCIES

A Russian policeman works near an ice hole, said to be the point of impact of a meteor seen earlier in the Urals region, at lake Chebarkul.

Protect prosecutors, witnesses: CJ

Taseers strongly deny Shahbazʼs release LAHORE: Family of late former governor Salman Taseer has strongly denied rumours, kicked up by national media, about the release of Shahbaz Taseer who was kidnapped in August 2011 from Gulberg area. Amna Taseer, widow of Salman Taseer and Shehrbano Taseer, categorically denied the media reports saying: “Whenever it will happen you will hear from us,” said one tweet from Amna Taseer. Electronic media along with few wire agencies reported that a deal to get Shahbaz Taseer released from the captivity of Taliban was struck and Taseer had been shifted abroad. The media even quoted that the release came into effect after paying Rs250 million ransom. It was reported in the international media that Shahbaz Taseer was sold three times within the terrorist groups during his one and a half year captivity.–STAFF REPORTER

Another PPP MPA joins PML-N LAHORE: PPP MPA Rana Munawar Ghaus Saturday announced his joining PML-N after a meeting with Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif. Talking on the occasion, Ghaus expressed complete confidence over leadership of President PML-N Muhammad Nawaz Sharif. He also appreciated the steps taken by the Punjab government for the progress and prosperity of the province. Shahbaz warmly welcomed Rana and assured that his respect would be ensured. –ONLINE

NAB team to bring Tauqir back tomorrow PESHAWAR: Special team of NAB officials will bring back former OGRA chief Tauqir Sadiq tomorrow (Monday) on the orders of the Supreme Court. Team including two NAB officials Irfan Baig and Waqas Ahmed and one policeman Rana Shahid left for Dubai on Friday from Bacha Khan International Airport, Peshawar through a private airline. Sources told the team will bring Tauqeer back to Peshawar on Monday, from where he will be shifted to Islamabad. –INP

Four drown as water floods underpass FAISALABAD: At least four people drowned after water gushing out of a breach in a nearby canal flooded an under construction underpass here. It was reported from Abdullah Pur area that water, which escaped after a canal was breached, has been filling the belly of the unfinished underpass for many hours. Some passers-by reportedly got washed away down into the frothing pool formed by runaway canal water at the bottom of underpass, however, two of them were rescued in time, whereas four others drowned. An angry mob even tried to attack the DCO , who arrived there too late and with too little help. Divers and cranes were used to get the bodies of the victims out. –AGENCIES

NAB to probe corruption in Balochistan govt QUETTA: The NAB has decided to start investigation against corruption in official expenditures of Balochistan government. NAB officials said officers of the Balochistan government including officers of 19 to 21 grade caused a loss of Rs 3.75 billion to national exchequer. Total 30 officers will be probed including one of grade 21, 10 officers of grade 20 and 19 of grade 19 for their alleged involvement in corruption. –ONLINE

Says non-implementation of ATC Act leading to acquittals of terror suspects 

KALLAR SYEDAN: A large number of people gather at the house of sepoy Ikhlaq Shaheed who was killed by Indian troops on Friday. –INP

Sacrilegious film to stay on YouTube 

Google declines Pakistan’s request

SAHTAK BALOCH ISLAMABAD: Owing to the absence of ‘mutual legal assistance treaty’ between Pakistan and the US, Google has declined to remove sacrilegious film 'Innocence of Muslims' from YouTube on the request of Ministry of Information Technology. Following the site’s release of US-made profane movie, violent protests sparked around the globe as million of protesters sweeping away all barriers took to the streets chanted slogans “Death to America” and “Death to the enemies of Islam”, and major cities turn into battle zones. The violent protests in Benghazi even resulted in the killing of the US ambassador to Libya and members of his entourage. They burnt down US and Israeli flags and threw slippers and used broomsticks to beat photographs of Obama, terming it an attack on humanity, which in result would also shatter intrafaith harmony and tolerance in the world among different faiths of people. In Pakistan, the Senate Standing Committee on Information and Broadcasting of Pakistan condemned the sacrilegious film and urged the government to raise the issue at the annual session of United Nations General Assembly as the controversial movie was largely considered as an attack on 1.5 billion Muslims and a premeditated and a malicious act to spread hatred and violence. Official sources in the power corridors of incumbent government told this scribe that Google has rejected the application of Information Technology Ministry seeking deletion of the blasphemous movie from the YouTube. They said Google declined

the request on the grounds that Pakistan had not inked a ‘mutual legal assistance treaty’ with the US. They added that owing to the said treaty, Google had closed the immoral video in four Muslim countries including Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh, Malaysia, and Indonesia. They also said a Google team would visit Pakistan in current month (February) to negotiate with authorities on the matter. “Though the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) had blocked YouTube, a subsidiary of US Internet giant Google, has been blocked in Pakistan since September 13 for refusing to heed Islamabad's call to remove the controversial video, yet the impious movie 'Innocence Of Muslims' can be watched in Pakistan through an easy access to the website,” said a senior official at the Ministry of Information Technology. It merits mentioning here that the crudely made sacrilegious film was produced by a group composed of Jews of double Israeli-American nationality and by an Egyptian Copt. A court in Egypt after a complaint by an Egyptian, who accused YouTube of being a "threat to social peace" by putting the US-made film on line, ordered that the videosharing website YouTube be blocked hosting an anti-Islam film that triggered deadly outrage across the Muslim world last year. On January 29, a Cairo court upheld death sentences passed on seven Egyptian Christians in absentia for their involvement in making the film. The accused, including the movie's director, are currently living in the United States.

Curfew lifted, but IHK remains shut SRINAGAR: Police on Saturday lifted a strict curfew across Indianadministered Kashmir imposed one week ago after the secret execution of Muhammad Afzal Guru, a Kashmiri convicted of involvement in the 2001 attacks on the Indian parliament. Authorities also restored mobile internet and cable television services that were blocked fearing massive protests by Kashmiris, said police officer Ashok Prasad. A strict curfew has been in place since the execution, but groups of demonstrators have defied it and clashed with government forces. Three protesters have been killed and more than 100 have been detained, according to police. Even as the curfew ended on Saturday, big shops and businesses remained closed in response to a two-day strike called by the All Parties Hurriyat Conference, protesting the detention of more than 100 people and demanding their immediate release. Private cars and motorbikes were back on the streets in the Kashmir Valley, but state-run and private buses stayed off the roads. Fruit and vegetable vendors and small neighbourhood grocery stores also were back in business. –AGENCIES

ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry Saturday stressed upon the importance of safety and protection of witnesses, prosecutors and judges. In his opening remarks at a meeting held to monitor the cases in antiterrorism courts, the chief justice said the matter of safety and protection of witnesses is very important which needs to be tackled on priority basis. "As the cases in the ATC Courts are already related to hardened criminals and who are involved in heinous offences, therefore, the witnesses in such cases need special care and protection.” The meeting was attended by senior judges of the Supreme Court and high courts. IGPs of all four provinces, home secretaries and prosecutor generals also attended the meeting. Addressing the participants, the CJ blamed the non-implementation of Anti-Terror Act for failure to achieve the desired results in controlling terrorism. "If there is no sufficient evidence, it is not possible for the Court to inflict punishment without determining the guilt of the person. Nobody can be deprived of his life and liberty without due course of law", he said. Justice Chaudhry said the terror accused were being acquitted due to

lack of concrete evidence, poor investigation and weak prosecution. In sectarian cases, witnesses hesitate to come to courts to testify against the people accused of terrorism. Nobody could be given sentence without the concrete evidence. He said a large number of terror suspects were released by antterrorism courts due to poor investigation and weak prosecution. It also demoralizes the personnel of the prosecution and investigating agencies, which need demoralized the society that perhaps nothing could be done to control and combat the acts of terrorism and commission of heinous offenses. The court, he said, are criticized for acquittal of suspected. Every accused has the right to get fair trial. He continued that steps needed to be taken to protect witnesses, judges and investigators. “If the witnesses are fully protected then they would be coming forward in order to depose against the accused. They will not feel any fear. As the cases in the ATC Courts are already related to hardened criminals and who are involved in heinous offences, therefore, the witnesses in such cases need special care and protection.–AGENCIES

Contempt case

SC returns NAB chief ’s reply OUR STAFF REPORTER

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court Registrar Dr Faqir Hussain returned on Saturday, being irrelevant, a reply submitted by NAB Chairman Admiral (r) Fasih Bokhari in the contempt of court case against him. In his reply, the NAB Chairman sought change of Supreme Court bench to hear the contempt of court case against him contending that a three-member bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, which had issued him a contempt notice and was hearing the contempt case against him was

biased and prejudice, thus a separate bench should be constituted to hear the contempt case against him. He said particularly the chief justice should separate himself from the bench. Returning the reply, the Registrar noted that the reply was irrelevant having no linkage with the case. Besides, he noted that objectionable and derogatory language was used in the reply. A three-member bench headed by the Chief Justice and comprising Justice Gulzar Ahmed and Justice Sh. Azmat Saeed is scheduled to hear the contempt case against the NAB Chairman on February 18.

US army anticipates bloody Afghan pullout 

Feels most vulnerable after taking down their surveillance, early-warning systems  Taliban ready to strike at departing troops

MONITORING DESK HAJI RAHMUDDIN POST II, Afghanistan: When the last American soldiers to occupy this squat, lonely outpost in southern Afghanistan pulled out this week, they left the same way earlier units had arrived: ready for a fight, reports the New York Times. They were leaving this violent patch of land outside Kandahar. It was, as First Sgt. Jason Pitman, 35, bluntly put it, “no time to get stupid.” The Americans knew they would be most vulnerable in their final hours after taking down their surveillance and early-warning systems. The Taliban knew it, too, and intelligence reports indicated that they had been working

with sympathetic villagers to strike at the departing soldiers. Two days earlier, the militants made a test run against the outpost, taking the rare step of directly engaging it in a firefight, albeit a brief one, soon after the first radio antennas came down. On the same day that President Obama announced that roughly half of the American troops still in Afghanistan would withdraw this year, the smaller-scale departure from the Haji Rahmuddin II outpost was an uncelebrated milestone. But it pointed at a harsh reality of the process: that some of the withdrawal will happen under fire in areas of the Taliban heartland where the idea of Afghan-led security remains an abstraction. With the

start of the annual fighting season just weeks away, some of the hardestwon gains of the war are at risk of being lost. The American withdrawal is picking up pace regardless, and American commanders have begun to cede even the most contested of ground to Afghan forces. There are some things the Americans have to do solo because the Afghans cannot do them, nor will they be able to anytime soon, commanders say. One example is using high-tech surveillance — blimps, drones, cameras mounted on towers at every base — to help spot militants before they attack, and to direct airstrikes against them. They have launched numerous such attacks in the past month alone.

Backlash against new US medal for drone pilots WASHINGTON: Should US drone pilots or cyber warriors thousands of miles from the battlefield be eligible for a more prestigious combat medal than soldiers wounded or killed in action? The Pentagon concluded this week the answer is “yes” — at least in extraordinary circumstances, and announced the creation of the Distinguished Warfare Medal, outranking even the Bronze Star. It has triggered an angry backlash with some veterans and active-duty troops upset over the most substantial shakeup in the hierarchy of military medals since World War Two. Opponents say the new medal’s rank is too high and sends a signal — inadvertently, perhaps — that the Pentagon does not sufficiently value the sacrifices of front-line troops. The Veterans of Foreign Wars strongly objected to the decision. “Medals that can only be earned in direct combat must mean more than medals awarded in the rear,” John Hamilton, the VFW’s national commander, said in a statement. Websites and blogs, including the VFW’s Facebook page, were filled with angry comments, some calling the new medal a “joke”. Advocates at the Pentagon and beyond say the new medal is playing catch-up with reality. -Agencies

Published by Ahmad Waleed from Yasmin Majeed Printing Press, 69-Cricket Stadium, Rawalpindi

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