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VOL V NO. 293







ECP flexes its muscles, sends notice to 23 legislators 

Commission meets PML-N team today to discuss host of issues including Karachi delimitation and voter lists  Naek urges CEC to lift ban on recruitment ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) flexed its muscles on Wednesday, sending out a strong signal by issuing notice to 23 MPAs over dual nationality and by accepting a petition against the ban on government recruitment.The ECP also indicated that it would review tax evasion by parliamentarians. Analysts think this could be an ECP reaction to continued criticism from political parties. After Tahirul Qadri’s demand for the annulment of the commission, other parties also joined occasional mumblings against the ECP. “This was perhaps the ECP way of saying ‘enough is enough,” said

SNEAK PEEK Mojaan hi Mojaan for babus Pakistan is in turmoil. From politicians to the generals to the common man—everybody is embroiled in chaos up to the neck. But there is one exclusive community that basks in luxury and relishes the best of both worlds — super bureaucrats. Page 03

Dabgari ‒ the lost cultural centre 2002 was the year of change in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa politics as an alliance of religious political parties - MMA formed the government but it proved to be the worst choice for Dabgari, a street that represented the culture of Peshawar. The street was famous for its musician and dancers, including the eunuchs - the most favourite choice of Pakhtuns. Page 05

I will never be out of the film industry: Meera Enjoying her glory in India, Meera said that she will never quit the industry and the she is very happy at her position. Finishing the Lux Calender Shoot in India, and busy with Mahesh Bhatt’s movie and signing on two more films was the latest happenings with Meera. In addition to that Meera’s luck is going high as she is all set to appear in a few functions in Canada. Page 10

Amla takes over as number one ranked Test batsman Hashim Amla leads a number of South Africa players who continue to make impressive gains in the latest ICC Test Player Rankings released on Tuesday. South Africa players now head the ICC Test Player Rankings tables for batting, bowling and all-rounders, after the side’s 211 runs win over Pakistan in the first Test at Johannesburg on Monday, which gave it a 10 lead in the three-match series. Page 11

Capital in throes of new designer fad The capital is again in the hands of a new fad and this time it’s the outbreak of designer retail stores which are offering clothes and accessories from a host of designers across Pakistan, all under one roof. Page 02

Iran nuclear talks set for February 26 Iran and world powers announced new talks on Tehran's nuclear program on February 26, but hopes of progress after Tuesday's announcement were tempered when an Iranian official said the West's goal in talking was to undermine the Islamic republic. Page 09

journalist Javed Jaidi. Media reports say the commission may also look into ways to implement articles 62 and 63 of the constitution. Progress on voter verification in Karachi and the new delimitation of constituencies will also be discussed at the meeting, when a date for allotment of electoral symbols to political parties will also be determined.Additional ECPSecretary Afzal Khan said representatives from opposition parties who staged a sit-in have also been summoned on February 7,when their reservations will be discussed. On the issue of dual nationality,

sources told The Spokesman former ambassador Asif Ezdi filed a reference against members of the provincial assembly who have dual nationality.The commission will discuss the reference on February 7.The MPAs served notice include Rana Babar Hussain, Syed Raza Ali Gilani, Pir Kashif Ali Chisti, Farrukh Javed, Muhammad Yaar Hiraj, Arifa Khalid Pervaiz, Zaeem Qadri, Shamsheer Wattooand Raja Sahukat Aziz Bhatti.The ECP also issued notices to two former MPAs.Earlier, former MNA Shahnaz Sheikh submitted a list of 20 MNAs with dual nationality to

the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court had last September ruled that lawmakers with dual nationality were ineligible for any public office, disqualifying all such lawmakers.Following the verdict, the ECP asked lawmakers from the national and provincial assemblies for affidavits affirming they did not have dual nationality. The ECP has called a meeting today to be chaired by Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Fakhruddin G Ebrahim, expected to discuss delimitation of constituencies in Karachi as well as review the ongoing process of door-to-door voter

verification in the city. The government’s request through Law Minister Farooq Naek to reverse the ban on new appointments at the federal, provincial and local government levels and allow funds to be diverted wherever required, is also expected to come under consideration at the meeting. In a telephone call to the CEC, the law minister said a ban on recruitment and diversion of funds before the announcement of an election date was a violation of the Constitution.He said the ECP could impose the two bans after a date for the elections was announced.

Now Nawaz sees plot to put off polls 

Bats for overseas right to vote in elections

OUR STAFF REPORTER ISLAMABAD: The PML-N continues with its now-onnow-off agitational politics, giving the impression of a rift within the party. PML-N Chief Nawaz Sharif 's statement from Jeddah, allaying fears about the postponement of the elections, seemed intended for calming the nerves triggered by its agitation against the Election Commission of Pakistan. Without naming anyone he also pointed fingers at certain forces. The PML (N) leadership, analysts say, seems divided between the pro and the antiChaudhary Nisar camps. Nawaz Sharif 's statement was seen in the light of Tuesday's agitation in Islamabad where Chaudhary Nisar, after a fiery speech, left the procession half way. When PML (N) stalwart Khawaja Asif was asked to explain, he clearly said that he

could not anser for Chaudhary Nisar and his leader was Nawaz Sharif. There were earlier news of the two camps fighting over Riaz Malik and the seat allocation in Rawalpindi Nawaz, who was speaking to reporters in Jeddah, said postponing the 2013 polls was against the interests of the nation. He said his party would not allow for such a delay to take place, and that the elections would take place as per schedule. The PML-N chief ’s statements on a ‘conspiracy’ to delay the elections come in the wake of similar statements from Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf and PPP Senator Raza Rabbani. Nawaz said overseas Pakistanis should be allowed to vote in the upcoming general elections and that it was necessary to pass legislation in this regard. “The incumbent government was reluctant to pass legislation which would enable overseas Pakistanis to vote.”

PTI demands ECP revamping, Zardari’s resignation ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Tuesday demanded reconstitution of the Election Commission and resignation of President Asif Zardari for fair polls. The Political Strategy Committee (PSC) of PTI also expressed its concerns over the failure of the ECP to implement the Supreme Court’s order for conducting delimitations and voters’ verification in Karachi. Expressing its full confidence in the chief election commissioner, the meeting voiced its concerns over the poor performance of the ECP in implementation of the apex court orders as well as checking the misuse of state resources by federal and Punjab governments. –AGENCIES

SHANGLA: A view of the heavy snowfall at headquarter of District Shangla as roads got closed in the city due to snow. —ONLINE

One injured in grenade attacks outside PAF Base KARACHI: At least one person injured in multiple grenade attacks outside Pakistan Air Force Base located on Shahr-e-Faisal on Tuesday. Eyewitnesses said some unknown attackers hurled at least five grenades at the Faisal Flyover gate of the Pakistan Air Force base and fled away. Heavy contingents of law enforcement agencies have arrived at the scene to evaluate the damage. Rangers, police, and PAF personnel have cordoned off the area beefing up the security at the entrances and exits of the base. Bomb defusers also jumped into action at the attack site as the possibility of more explosive devices planted around cannot be ruled out. A search operation has been also been launched in the area to arrest suspected terrorists. —AGENCIES

30 dead as rains wreak havoc Snowfall breaks 30-year record  Most parts of KP, Gilgit-Baltistan cut off  More rains, snow predicted

OUR CORRESPONDENTS PESHAWAR/ISLAMABAD: As heavy rain lashed most parts of country and snowfall broke the 30 years record in mountainous region, at least 30 people were killed and several others injured in separate rainrelated incidents in different parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhawa and Punjab on Tuesday. Four children were killed and nine others were injured after roof of a number of houses collapsed in various areas of Peshawar. Three people were killed in Badrashi Nowshera and Nizampur, while seven others were injured. In Buner, two people were killed when they were hit by an avalanche. Another three people were killed in a similar incident in Shangla. In Swabu Gadoon Muhajir camp, a roof collapsed in which two children were killed and eight others were injured. Four people were killed after a roof collaped in Haripur. A roof collapsed in Laki Marwat killing one woman. Two people were killed in Mardan. In Karak, two people died. In Charsadda a roof collapsed, in which one person was killed. In Swat one woman

was killed. In Banu Datakhal, one person was killed and two others were injured. In Bara Jamrud, a house collapsed due to rains, leaving four people from one family dead. Reports coming in from various places said many valleys in Abbottabad, Swat, Mansehra and Shangla districts have also cut off from the rest of the country due to heavy snowfall and landslides. Inclement weather has also damaged power supply and telecommunication lines. A man was killed and three others injured when roof of a dilapidated house caved in Dhowk Syedan of Rawalpindi as the area received heavy rain previous night. Three including father and son died in separate roof collapse incidents in Okara and Khanewal. Chief Metrologist Ghulam Rasool said the snow fall broke the record of the last thirty years. Muzaffarabad’s land links were cut off from rest of the country while most of the towns in GB were also cut off from main cities due to snow and landslides. Met Department has predicted more rains and snowfall at mountains in Upper KP, Upper Punjab, Islamabad, GB and Kashmir during next 24 hours.

Sleepless in NWA courtesy bangana 

Drones forcing tribals to use sleeping pills  2,629 people including 213 ‘middle- or senior-ranking militants’ killed in 268 attacks

TAHIR ALI MIRANSHAH: The constant presence of US Predator drones in the sky has brought terror to the lives of the tribesmen of North Waziristan. Due to the feelings of fear and continuous uneasiness, majority of the locals are using antianxiety drugs for mental relief. North Waziristan, the home of Utmanzai Wazir and Dawar tribesmen, has witnessed more US drone strikes than any other tribal agency. Since its inception in 2004, the CIAoperated drones reportedly carried out 268 attacks in the lawless bordering areas of Pakistan that killed 2,629 people including 213 ‘middle- or senior-ranking militants’. According to the data available with The Spokesman out of these drone strikes North Waziristan was hit 270 times taking 2290 lives while leaving another 233 people injured.

Drones which is called ‘Bangana’, in the local lingo, has become a hot topic for the tribesmen of North Waziristan. Irrespective of their age, all tribal people whether they are male or female discuss the issue of drones. 'Bangana' means something buzzing like mosquitoes and the locals are right to call it that, as just like the skeeters, the drones also hum in the ears. The fear of being killed by drones does not allow the tribesmen to live in peace. To avoid disturbance and to ‘sleep tight’, majority of the tribesmen have become addicts to anti-anxiety and sedative medicines. “We take Gelai (tablets) due to the tense situation of our area; if we don’t take these medicines we can’t sleep”, says Asim Dawar, 34, who hails from Darpakhail village of North Waziristan. According to Asim a large number of tribesmen have developed the habit of using sedative medicines that are easily available at all

medical stores in the area. “I am not the only person to use tranquilizers; there are thousands of such people using the medicines for mental relief”, he told The Spokesman. There is a strong demand for anti-anxiety and sedative medicines in the medical stores of North Waziristan. Keeping in view the high demand of the stuff, some general stores at Mir Ali and Miransha, the headquarters of North Waziristan, have started selling the toxic drugs. Asadullah Dawar who runs a medical store in Mir Ali Bazaar says, “The demand of Bromazepam group, Lexotanil, Prothiaden, Citalopram, and Clofranil is very high. But none of these medicines can compete with Sosegon tablets and injections that we sell in packets on daily bases. I can say that more than 60 percent people are using tranquilizers in Waziristan”. According to law, stores could not sale antianxiety and sedative medicines without written

physicians’ prescriptions, as the wrong use of such drugs could be dangerous. If the users take high doses of these medicines for a prolonged period, they can get addicted to the drugs. But in North Waziristan the rule does not apply; anyone can buy the toxic medicines without prescription. “No need to ask for written prescription, as no one is taking the medicines recreationally; it is all about drones compelling tribesmen to use the drugs”, Asadullah told The Spokesperson. Dr Fazal Rabi, a psychiatrist, admits that mental diseases have been increased in North Waziristan and terms the deteriorated law and order situation one of the main reasons behind. “The people are faced with uncertain situation; due to terrorism, bomb blasts and drones strikes the tribesmen suffer from mental illness and live in a constant fear and for them the immediate solution is the use of sedative drugs,” said the doctor.


Pre-marital love orchestrated acid attack ASAD SHAH ISLAMABAD: A woman, who orchestrated the acid attack on a bank manager residing in E-11 over a week ago, had an old association with the victim, The Spokesman has learned through reliable sources. Murad Ameer Shah, the victim of the attack, was involved in a relationship at some point before his marriage with the accused, Samar Pervez. But that association apparently ended once the victim got married. The woman's

obsession, however, never ended, sources said. They revealed that Samar was the victim's junior in Bahria University and also an employee of the same bank as Murad, however in a different branch. The fascination had such a level that both were residing in the same locality, which sources claim was done deliberately by Samar to remain close to Murad. Family sources revealed that Samar had in fact never gotten over Murad and had been pestering him for attention ever since. The last time they spoke on the phone was about a month ago

when Murad chastised her for harassing him and his family and told her to leave them alone. It is believed that after this incident, Samar hired two men, who had served at the same bank branch as Murad at one point or the other, to throw acid on him. It has not been confirmed whether the intent was to kill or maim the victim but the potency of the acid was such that the house's gate has been seriously damaged while the victim's three-year-old daughter is sick after inhaling the fumes of the acid. Moreover, the family is going through intense

trauma after the attack and is worried about their security. Samar was arrested by the Islamabad Police and is presently being held in Adiala Jail, Rawalpindi, along with the two attackers. Well-known human rights activist Farzana Bari, when contacted, condemned the incident, saying it is surprising how the police have been so effective in this case because men are never arrested when they throw acid on women but the accused woman has been arrested with evidence in this case.

Netherlands photography competition on 25th ISLAMABAD: The Netherlands embassy is holding a “Discovering The Netherlands in Pakistan” photography competition on February 25 in the Alhamra Arts Gallery in Lahore. The competition would recognize the outstanding potential of photography to tell compelling stories of the links between these countries and the presence of people, projects and/or products from The Netherlands in Pakistan. The national photography competition is open for young photographers (strictly between the ages of 18 and 29). Each contestant will be allowed to send one photo, with a text of max. 50 words, describing the picture and its relevance to the subject mentioned above. The entries will be evaluated by a jury with expertise in photography/art. The best photographs will be displayed at the World Press Photo Exhibition in Lahore, with exciting prizes for the winners. The prizes will be announced on the Embassy website and face book sites shortly and will also spell out the details for the competition. Since 1955, more than 2,100 World Press Photo Exhibitions have taken place in over 450 cities in 115 countries across the globe. @ONLINE

Rain confines people to homes on holiday ISLAMABAD: Heavy rain continued to lash the federal capital for the third consecutive day, confining the residents to their home on a holiday on Tuesday. The day-off was given in connection with the Kashmir Solidarity Day. Rain and crushing cold coupled with electricity and gas load shedding created lots of hardship for the residents. The rain has bought the mercury down to 7 Celsius, throwing the normal life out of gear. The Met Office reported 69mm rainfall in Islamabad since its start on Sunday. The heavy rain and bad weather conditions also affected domestic and international flights at Benazir Bhutto International Airport. The rain created problems for road users, especially pedestrians and motorcyclists. Most of the roads and streets have been dug up for laying waterlines, sewers or other utility services with mud dumped alongside mostly in the cantonment areas. @ONLINE

ISLAMABAD: Rain drops cling like diamonds to branches of the tree in Tuesday’s torrential rain. @STAFF REPORTER

Rain fails to dampen Lok Virsa festival on Kashmir Day-long event highlights culture, struggle and plight of Kashmiris SHANEL KHALIQ ISLAMABAD: Despite heavy downpour in the federal capital, the Lok Virsa and the Ministry of National Heritage and Integration on Tuesday organised a day-long cultural festival as per its schedule in collaboration with the Ministry of Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit Baltistan at Shakarparian to mark the Kashmir Solidarity Day. The idea was to present Kashmiri culture and highlight the struggle and plight of the people who are suffering since decades. Addressing on the occasion, Federal Minister for National Heritage and Integration Samina Khalid Ghurki said that Pakistan would continue to support the cause of Kashmir. “We have been celebrating the Kashmir Day at the national level since 1990 and are continuously trying to highlight the Kashmir issue at all international forums,” she said, adding that Kashmiris were undoubtedly brave people, as they were struggling to keep their identity despite atrocities. She said that the festival would certainly go a

long-way in projecting the cause of Kashmir, as culture was an important tool which can effectively focus on the issue. The minister also met with the Kashmiri artisans and performers who were present on the occasion. The festival also organised stalls of traditional Kashmiri artisans, government institutions and nongovernment organisations. The artisans displayed beautiful embroidered shawls, decoration pieces, gemstones and carpets in creatively-designed cultural pavilions and attracted attention of the visitors. The master artisans include Zulfiqar Ali Ghazi (paper mache), Mukhtar Dar (gabba), Qazi Ali Muhammad (namda), Irfan Sheikh (woodwork), Amjad Butt (shawl), Rubina Zulfiqar, Yasmin Bano, Ghulam Mustafa, Khalil-ur-Rehman, Shamim Habib, Nisar Ali, Muhammad Javed (embroidery), Sajjad Ahmed (woodwork), Nadia Habib (carpet), and others. Famous Kashmiri vocalists including Subhan Rather, Rukhsana Murtaza, Haleema Bi, Gulzar Shereen and Bano Rehmat presented Kashmiri songs. Kashmiri musicians and instrumentalists who also performed were santoor player Ghulam

Muhammad Dar, sarangi player Ghulam Rasul Butt, ghara player Muhammad Akram Butt, dholak player Jeevay Lal, keyboard player Anees Ahmed and others. Expressing solidarity with the Kashmiris and their cause, representatives of different nongovernment organizations like the Sustainable Development Policy Institute, Kashmir Institute of International Relations, Girls Vocational Training Centre, Human Rights Movement, Sungi Development Foundation and others were also present on the occasion. Lok Virsa Executive Director Khalid Javaid expressed satisfaction over the event and said that the purpose of this event was to highlight the sacrifices of the Kashmiri people through a cultural perspective. He said that the Lok Virsa observes Kashmir Solidarity Day for the last several years. Kashmiri cuisine, which includes goshtaba, rista, tabaq maz, aab gosht, boiled rice and noon-chai, was also served during the festival. The event witnessed a great hustle and bustle. Even rain could not diminish the enthusiasm of the visitors and people from all walks of life thronged with their families and friends to see the festival.

Residents demand bridge over Korang Nullah ISLAMABAD: The residents of Union Council Sohan have demanded of authorities concerned to construct a bridge over Korang Nullah as the only way for villagers to cross the Nullah is a road, which is inundated whenever water is released from Rawal Dam. People living in villages along Korang Nullah underlined that a temporally Bridge was constructed by people at their own but it gets inundated even due to light rain and people have no choice but to use risky handmade lift. They emphasized that in rainy season, the link between villages and the city has been disconnected as Rawal Dam administration opens the spillways to release water and the people have no choice but to use lengthy alternative way and have to use 10 kilometer extra distance. @ONLINE

ISLAMABAD: Handmade dolls and other artifacts made by Lok Virsa, draw keen interest at the “Kashmir Mela” on Kashmir Day.

Capital in throes of new designer fad SHANEL KHALIQ ISLAMABAD: The capital is again in the hands of a new fad and this time it’s the outbreak of designer retail stores which are offering clothes and accessories from a host of designers across Pakistan, all under one roof. These stores are paradise for shopaholics as most of them are dealing in ready-to-wear stuff that can simply be picked off the rack. The Spokesman highlights its own favorites! L’atelier House 1A: L’atalier is offering a diverse clothing line, ranging from formals to casuals to bridal wear. Visitors will find 60 brands all under one roof. Racks at L’atalier include some of the biggest designers in the country such as HSY, Maria B, Zara Shahjehan, Lajwanti, Mehdi and others. Designer gold plaited jewelry is also available by brands such as Sonar and Nadia Jotani. Intricate gold plaited jewelry sets can cost around Rs 26000. L’atelier also displays a shoe collection by the popular brand “Chic” which is a favourite among the bling lovers of Islamabad. Melange Outlet: Melange is perhaps the pioneer in creating a market for multi-brand designer stores in the capital and is no doubt the biggest. It is offering more than 70 brands to its customers. The two-storey outlet is displaying likes of Deepak Perwani, Rizwan Beyg, Sana Safinaz and Shamael. Not only that Melange is also offering a wide range of designer gold plaited jewelry and the collection includes labels such as Allure Treasures, Ennz, and Keepsakes. The price range is although not friendly to the pocket however there is a huge deal of variation with a pair of earrings costing Rs 6000 to a bracelet costing Rs 50000! Shoe lovers will also get to quench their thirst as dimontes studded sandals are available by names such as Nadia Kassam and Panic. Modeville: Modeville, a relatively new name has quickly made its place in the hearts of fashion lovers. It is the perfect destination for getting exquisite formal clothes off the rack and is displaying the collections of 55 designers. Although the collections include semi formals and casuals as well however formal embroidered clothes of Sania Masketiya, Tina Arif and Adina’s underscore the place. Designer jewelry is also available by Cerrina, Saj and Rawaj by Pinx. However, what sets Modeville apart from the regular multi-designer retail stores is that it is also providing a men’s range. Two brands Nabeel and Aqeel and The Republic have showcased their signature men’s collection at Modeville. Urbane, Beverley Center: A smaller outlet situated in the commercial area of Beverley Center, Urbane has some delicate designs by big names such as Rani Emaan, Shaiyaan Malik, Zainab Chottani. Urbane includes formals and semi formals mainly with a small collection of designer jewelry by Jewelicious.

From skin care to makeup, salons making weddings memorable SHANEL KHALIQ ISLAMABAD: Wedding season is on and no one blossoms more in this season then beauty salons. From skin care treatment to the makeup, these salons are offering packages of various kinds to their clients and promise to make your big day memorable for you. Who keeps their promises is for the brides to discover themselves. The Spokesman takes a look at some of the famous names in town in the beauty business! Daniela Beauty Salon: One of the oldest names in town and specialists at gorgeous bridal makeup, Daniela is offering its clients different rates and packages. If you are looking for signature makeup by Daniela for just one

day then be ready to spend Rs 25000. A better deal would be to get your makeup done for both days from Daniela costing Rs 23000 for each day. These rates exclude any other treatments and services such as manicure, pedicure etc. Depilex Beauty Salon: Mussarat Misbah’s signature beauty salon Depilex opened its doors to the residents of Islamabad quite a few years back and is a renowned name for the bridal makeup and quality services throughout the country. Surprisingly, its charges are a tad bit less than most other parlors in the town. You can get your bridal makeup done for one day including other side services such as threading, manicure etc in just Rs 20000. It seems that a competitive market has led

everyone to consider revising their rates. Mili’s Beauty Salon: If you are planning to wear the traditional red dress on your wedding and are dreaming to be the quintessential Eastern bride then Mili is the place for you. It is a renowned place for giving you the right traditional ethnic look and that too at affordable charges. Signature makeup by the lady herself will cost you Rs 20000 for one day and if done by her assistant it will cost you Rs 15000. However, this is exclusive of all side services. If you include those you can avail a 20% discount in the overall cost. But there’s more, if you get your makeup done for both days then the services will be complimentary. Not a bad deal at all! Jugnu Wasim: A tried and tested name in

Rawalpindi, Jugnu Wasim recently opened up its outlet in Islamabad. It has quickly made a name for itself in the capital as well with its quality services and professional outlook and can be seen bustling with brides on any given weekend. If you want signature makeup by the man himself then it will cost Rs 35000 per day. However, the well-trained assistants are also quite popular and they will charge Rs 25000 per day. In case, you’re looking for a discount deal then Jugnu offers three-day bridal makeup in Rs 50000. Also, Rs 4000 to Rs 6000 are for bridal mehndi. Faiza’s Beauty Salon: Perhaps a well-known name in hair styling and cutting services in the city, Faiza’s is also offering affordable bridal makeup packages. For the first day, you will be

charged Rs 20000 including side services such as manicure pedicure etc. Following this, the charges for the second day will be Rs 15000. If you opt for a package deal including days then mehndi makeup or party makeup for one of your siblings will be complimentary. Seems like an affordable bet and if you trust the haircut then give their makeup a shot too. Other big names in the town include Sobia’s Beauty Salon and Allenora who have gained immense popularity among women in recent times. With Islamabad’s burgeoning population and the evergreen “shaadi” mania, these parlors are the most flourishing businesses in town and undoubtedly mostly have proved themselves on the customer satisfaction scale.




PPP counting on allies?


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

Sugar baby turns sour he PTI’s sugar tycoon is elitist to the core. Whenever he goes around in ‘awami’ meetings he takes along a bevy of servants in a separate Land Cruiser including family cooks wearing party caps. Last time the big Khan went to his new constituency in Lodhran he made the mistake of servants sitting with journalists in the same vehicle. The naïve servants spilled the beans before the wily journos. The Khan was upset when the news got out. But then he depends on the tycoon for using his private jet. Shh…


Tera kya ho ga... ho sits on that Hill and runs this country? Asif Zardari. Wrong Answer. It’s the man who uses his power to run the country. He was all over in the 1990s. He loved the limelight, the glitz, the glamour. And that just made lot of people jealous and envious. This time around he is even more powerful--But away from the limelight. It's a clever move. But that does not mean Sheeshnag is not watching. He is curling around you very fast. Wait and see. Shh…


Sleeping Pillsʼ Mystery re members of parliament more concerned about the Qadri factor creeping in their minds or sleeping pills these days? Answer seems to belittle Qadri because spouse of a minister of state recently ended up in the emergency ward of a local hospital for over doze of sleeping pills. Weeks before, another of Isloo hospital received a parliamentarian herself who ended up taking far more sleeping pills than she used to because she was not used to hardtalk throughout her stay in Jeddah school. Shh...


TAHIR NIAZ ISLAMABAD: The PPP is ironing out its electoral strategy with its allies after brain storming over their pluses and minuses. A survey was recently conducted to find out how the media sees PPP’s chances in the next elections. Realizing it is too late to go back to the ideological rhetoric, the party focuses on the electoral alliances with its partner. As the next polls seemed to be headed towards a coalition government, as in all elections since 1985, except for Nawaz Sharif’s heavy mandate in 1997, the PPP has accelerated its effort to make arrangements with its allies. The strategy varies from party to party and place to place. The agreement with the PML (Q) is that the two would not contest on seats won in the last elections. Tensions grew when PML (Q) saw the PPP breaking away its members. The PPP has also slowed down the process and is now ironing out its differences with the Shujaat-led PML. Both parties do not have a choice, particularly in Punjab. They see their best chance is to fight separately but not against each other. This will divide the PML vote bank. The big questions are: whether the PPP voters will vote for the PML (Q) and vice versa. And the role of the PTI spoiler is not clear. But for the PPP-PML (Q), this is the only bet they have. Their assumption is based on the analysis that the two allies lost over 23 NA seats against PML-N in 2008 due to the split vote despite the fact they collectively bagged majority votes from these constituencies. There were 23 NA constituencies in Punjab from where PPP or the PMLQ candidates could not win in 2008 elections due to a split vote. If these two parties this time agree to field consensus candidates, they can give a tough time to their major rival; PMLN and even win seats for the coalition. Dr.Tariq Fazal Chaudhry of PML-N won the seat from NA-49(IslamabadII) in 2008 by securing 45482 votes against 79272 collective votes of Syed

Nayyer Hussain Bukhari of PPP and Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar of the PML-Q. The PPP and PML-Q candidates got 44726 and 34546 votes respectively and remained second and third in the contest. Similarly, Shahid Khaqan Abbassi of PMLN bagged 99988 votes to win NA-50(Rawalpindi-I) while Ghulam Murtaza Satti of PPP got 77978 votes and Javed Iqbal Satti of PML-Q got 28188 votes to become second and third respectively. Muhammad Faiz Tamman of PML-N won NA-61 (Chakwal-II) by getting 92201 votes while Ch. Pervaiz Elahi of PML-Q got 91769 votes and Sardar Mansoor Hayat Tamman of PPP got 28807 votes. Raja Muhammad Asad Khan of PML-N won NA-63 (Jhelum-II) by getting 79662 votes while Ch. Shahbaz Hussain of PML-Q got 51666 votes and Ali-uz-Zaman of PPP got 24476 votes. Ch. Mehmood Bashir Virk of PML-N won NA-97(Gujranwala-III) by getting 48701 votes while Dr. Zafar Chaudhary of PPP got 41545 votes and Ch. Shahid Akram Bhinder of PML-Q got 21626 votes. Rana Nazir Ahmad Khan of PMLN won NA-99 (Gujranwala-V) by getting 60219 votes while Ch. Muhammad Abdullah Virk of PPP got 44705 votes and Ch. Shamshad Ahmad Khan of PML-Q got 39986 votes. Haji Mudassar Qayyum Nahra (Independent) won NA-100 (Gujranwala-VI) be getting 57320 votes while Ch. Bilal Ijaz of PML-Q got 53285 votes and Tariq Yaqoob Fateh Muhammad of PPP got 32511 votes. Justice(R) Iftikhar Ahmad Cheema of PML-N won NA-101 (GujranwalaVII) by getting 71792 votes and Hamid Nasir Chatha of PML-Q got 48813 votes and Asma Shahnawaz Cheema of PPP got 37554 votes. Saira Afzal Tarar of PML-N won NA-102 (Hafizabad-I) by getting 56313 votes while Ch Shoukat Ali Bhatti of PML-Q got 42808 votes

and Malik Shoukat Hayyat Awan of PPP got 21567 votes. Zahid Hamid of PML-N won NA-114 (Sialkot-V) by getting 62362 votes while Ch. Abdul Sattar of PML-Q got 56343 votes and Ghulam Abbas of PPP got 55797 votes. Rana Tanveer Hussain of PML-N won NA-131 (SheikhupuraI)by getting 50638 votes while Brgd(R) Zulfiqar Ahmad Dhillon of PML-Q got 40898 votes and Ch.Mushtaq Ahmad of PPP got 23506 votes. Rana Tanveer Hussain of PML-N won NA-132 by getting 48193 votes while Syed Gayoor Abbas Bukhari of PPP got 34084 votes and Shahid Manzoor Gill of PML-Q got 24260 votes.Sardar Muhammad Irfan Dogar of PML-N won NA-134 (Sheikhupura-Cum-Nankana SahibII) by getting 47925 votes while Khurram Munawar Manj of PML-Q got 32928 votes and Noor Ul Ain Rai

The agreement with the PML (Q) is that the two would not contest on seats won in the last elections. Tensions grew when PML (Q) saw the PPP breaking away its members

Saeed of PPP got 21752 votes. Choudhary Muhammad Barjees Tahir of PML-N won NA-135 (Nanka Sahib-I) by getting 46739 votes while Rai Ijaz Ahmad Khan of PPP got 42588 votes and Mian Shamim Haidar of PMLQ got 24748 votes. Ch.Bilal Ahmed Virk of PML-N won NA-136 (Nankana Sahib-cumSheikhupura) by getting 49681 votes while Peer Tariq Ahmed Shah of PML-Q got 39371 votes and Ch.Tawakkal-Ullah Virk of PPP got 24911 votes. Rao Mazhar Hayyat Khan of PML-N won NA-138 (Kasur-I) by getting 58832 votes while Sardar Tofail Ahmed Khan of PML-Q got 39986 votes and Tariq Hakam Ali of PPP got 30630 votes. Waseem Akhtar Sheikh of PML-N won NA-139 (Kasur-II) by getting 51436 votes while Ch. Manzoor Ahmad of PPP got 44002 votes and Niloufer Qasim Mahdi of PML-Q got 21012 votes. Rana Muhammad Ishaq Khan of PML-N won NA-141 (Kasur-IV) by getting 58807 votes while Sardar Muhammad Asif Nakai of PML-Q got 44468 votes and Rana Abdul Shakoor Khan of PPP got 20084 votes. Rana Mahmood-ul-Hassan of PML-N won NA-150 (Multan-III) be getting 57774 votes while Syed Abdul Qadir Gillani of PPP got 43299 votes and Fazal Ahmad Sheikh of PML-Q got 25158 votes. Sardar Mansab Ali Doggar of PML-N won NA-164 (Pakpattan-I) by getting 35597 votes while Pir Muhammad Shah Khagga of PML-Q got 34196 votes and Rao Muhammad Jameel Hashim Khan of PPP got 26315 votes. Tehmina Daultana of PML-N won NA-169 (Vehari-III) by getting 48999 votes while Khan Aftab Ahmad Khan Khichi of PML-Q got 45885 votes and Ghulam Sarwar Khan Khichi of PPP got 9094 votes. Syed Muhammad Saqlain Bukhari of PML-N won NA-182 (Layyah-II) by getting 75910 votes while Malik Niaz

Punjabi tales of a ‘gifted horse from Pakistan’ NAB to be Pakistan’s very own FBI

MUKTSAR: The 12-year-old horse’s entry into any equestrian arena precipitates a murmur in the crowd: this is the horse that former Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif gifted to then Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh in 2005. That, however, is not Sunny Kid’s only claim to fame. Now at the Punjab Police Academy (PPA) in Phillaur, the gifted equine has won a silver and bronze at All India Police Meets and had bagged a silver in Show Jumping at the National Livestock

Mela held in Mukstar a fortnight ago. All this, the horse’s riding master, Inspector Jaswinder Singh says, after only three years of training. Sunny Kid, an arbi mix breed, arrived in Phillaur as a foal in 2005, and has since been taken care of by officers at the Academy. Initially the horse was kept for mere display but soon its potential began to appear. “I started training Sunny Kid in 2009 and since then it has made us proud in many police meets and championships,”

says Inspector Jaswinder Singh. While the Amarinder has never come back to see Sunny Kid it has not stopped academy staff from taking extra special care of the ‘gifted horse from Pakistan.’ Now, as Jaswinder prepares for an International Horse Meet in Pakistan from February 6-13 — a competition that doesn’t allow outside horses — he will have an edge over other competitors, after all he practices with his beloved ‘horse from Pakistan’.—Source: Indian newspaper

Mojaan hi Mojaan for babus akistan is in turmoil. From politicians to generals to the common man—everybody is embroiled in chaos up to the neck. But there is one exclusive community that basks in luxury and relishes in the best of both worlds—super bureaucrats. There are almost 50 Amir Mateen Grade-22 officers now. This excludes the super-duper Salman Farooqui, who as Secretary General in Grade 22 with the status of a State Minister, holds the golden key to the Presidential treasures. Also excluded are half a dozen Grade-22 officers hired on contract including Special Secretaries to the President, Mrs Nasreen Haque, Special Secretary Establishment Division Munir Ahmad and the three Secretaries of the Election Commission of Pakistan, the Senate and the National Assembly, not to forget the two retired Generals monitoring Defence Division and Production. Wow, quite a figure. Well that’s just half of the story. Another 170 are waiting in Grade-21, half of them having their two-year waiting requirement fulfilled, are pulling every string to get into the Super Club-22. Where will it lead to? The Club-22 ballooning into a 100 or even more, if we allow them to have their way. Remember the Devolution of power. It was meant to, besides provincial autonomy, cut the size of the government. The idea was not to have duplication of Ministries. And here it is-- the babus keep coming out with new divisions, autonomous and regulatory bodies, wings, departments—all those fancy words that basically come down to more expansion and more perks. There are 44 Divisions already besides autonomous and regulatory elephants. Why do we have a Human Rights Division? Ever heard a Grade-22 officer by the name of Shaigan Shareef Malik raising his voice for the Baloch missing persons or standing by the Hindu women abducted in Sindh. All we know is that the government is the biggest violator of human rights.


Politically Incorrect

Ahmad Jakhar of PML-Q got 52108 votes and Syed Faqeer Hussain Shah of PPP got 41328 votes. Muhammad Baleegh-ur-Rehman of PML-N won NA-185 (Bahawalpur-III) by getting 54334 votes while Muhammad Farooq Azam Malik of PPP got 47337 votes and Muhammad Afrooq Anwar Abbasi of PML-Q got 18822 votes. The PPP see their victory in the following assumption. They think that the ANP or the PPP have a better chance at winning on at least nine National Assembly(NA) seats in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. The MQM allies may also win another 20 seats and the rural Sindh is the PPP stronghold. With the PTI damaging the PML (N) in Punjab, they think they have better chance on post-election alliances. The 2008 National Assembly election results show that either PPP or the ANP were the winner or runner up in the 9 NA constituencies of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. They hope to redo the track again by contesting against each other. The wild card remains the PTI here but then, they would like to think, who cares for Imran Khan. PML-N-PML-Q Alliance? Though it seems highly unlikely that the two PMLs could get together. But then everything is possible in politics. But if this happens, this may be biggest combination to win Punjab. They can easily win 28 NA constituencies in Punjab as in 2008 PML factions lost these constituencies because of the split vote. Those constituencies are NA-51, NA-59, NA-64, NA-66, NA-72, NA-76, NA-81, NA83, NA-98, NA-100, NA-108, NA109, NA-111, NA-116, NA-129, NA-130, NA-140, NA-145, NA-146, NA-152, NA-155, NA-161, NA-168, NA-170, NA-176, NA-184, NA-189, NA-193. There may be many imponderables involved and a lot will depend on events between now and the elections, but no harm in dreaming. So this is the wishful thinking of these parties so far.


The government may have abolished its privatization policy but the one-time expanded Planning Division stays. Do you know about National Harmony Division? What does Inter Provincial Coordination do? Or the National Food Security and Research Division or the more intriguing National Heritage and Integration Division. Even the CIA could not have coined such dubious names for these outfits. Underneath these fancy names are huge edifices created for our worthy members of the Club-22 to run their small fiefdoms of staff cars, the colonial peons and toilets are clearly marked “For Officer”—tax-payers money be damned. After all, they did not pass that CSS bloody exam 35 years ago to be the ‘public servants,’ goes the saying. The trick is to keep upgrading these posts. The Chairman of the Provincial Planning and Division was a Grade-21 post that got elevated to Grade-22. The same is the case with the Chairman Land Commission and Senior Member of the Punjab Revenue Board. Punjab also has a Grade-22 officer as the Acting Chief Secretary. No wonder Shahbaz Sharif loves these babus so much and holds a contempt for his own political class. His earlier Chief Secretary, Javed Mahmood, who was accused of crushing down a Colonel, the last we heard, was su-

pervising family agriculture in Kasur after taking a long leave. He will still be eligible for all the perks and pension for sure. Club mates take care of each other. In the past, others have worked for Chaudhary Shujaat’s Mill as Manager while keeping their job. Yet the ground is ripe for making way for more members of the Super Club. About ten vacancies of Grade-22 are still vacant and are being run by Acting Heads. This includes the CDA and we all know that the last few heads of this prized outfit have either been pushed out or, such as Kamran Lashari, faces corruption charges before the Courts. By the way Lashari is now advisor with the

Punjab government. Told you Shahbaz Sharif loves them—who cares about the Supreme Court. Also, the Supreme Court has ruled that no extensions will be given. Yet the contracts to retired people keep coming. In fact, the two most important Divisions are being run by retired officers on contract. Wajid Rana, who was given a contract in last November, runs the Finance Division. More important, Munir Ahmad has been hired as Special Secretary in Establishment Division for a two year contract. Why? Because he specializes in bending rules and making more room for people like himself. Why should there be a Special Secretary when they already have Taimoor Azmat as the Establishment Secretary. Then why should there be a Special Secretary of Water and Power also? It’s a total mess. Salman Farooqui refuses to give way at 70 plus whereas hundreds of junior officers in non-DMG grades sulk for years for the promotion board to just sit down. Nargis Sethi has an additional charge while the most senior 22-grader in officialdom sits at home for the last four months for a posting. By the way it was again His Lordship who caused this anomaly. A recent holy judicial scripture makes it mandatory for the government to give reasons if they send an Officer on 'Special Duty', the official-speak for the notorious acronym OSD. Trust the bureaucrats to find novel ways of beating the law. They just make them sit at home without salary for months, which is worse than being an OSD. What a send-off for one of their own kind who retires after 35 years of service in April. Retirement without salary.

The government may have abolished its privatization policy but the one-time expanded Planning Division stays. Do you know about National Harmony Division? What does Inter Provincial Coordination do? Or the National Food Security and Research Division or the more intriguing National Heritage and Integration Division. Even the CIA could not have coined such dubious names for these outfits

M H JAFRI ISLAMABAD: Word around town is that the National Accountability Bureau plans to hire the services of US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to get its 360 junior and midlevel investigators trained. There should be nothing to hide about it but for some reasons the NAB has not confirmed it. Our mole inside the NAB claims the training starts next month. The NAB has also approached the British Social Crimes Agency (SOCA) for training in white collar crimes. The question is who should teach whom. We genuinely think that the FBI may have a lot to learn from the NAB. That may in fact be the picture. Remember the Redford-Bradpitt movie ‘Spy Games’ where you can’t tell who is marking whom. The news also sounds funny considering the ongoing Supreme Court proceedings against the NAB Chairman Admiral (Retd) Fasih Bokhari. The NAB is believed to have intervied the 360 nominees. If this goes further, and the NAB Chief is charged by the courts, who knows, the next NAB might be investigating the old NAB. We keep our fingers crossed.

Today's take: Caretaker Prime Minister


Asma Jahangir wondering who is on her side and who is not. Delusional: Hussain Haqqani thinking he can be a candidate. Upset: Hussain Haroon musing UN Ambassadorship was enough: “hey boydon’t drag me further into this shit for pete’s sake.” Angry: Tahirul Qadri thinking “why can’t I be the one.” This is all that I ever wanted-revolution be damned. Down: Nawaz Sharif surprised that why can’t they make Kalsoom the PM: “if she can handle kitchen she can run Pakistan. Up: Asif Zardari because he knows he will decide the name at the end of the day. Dejected: Imran Khan for not being not consulted at all: “Ok I was wrong not to contest polls. Please talk to me once. Nonchallant: Fakhru Bhai is too old to worry about stupid things: “Just want to die as an honest man—politics be damned.” Wondering: Shujaat Hussain: " Saada wi khayal rakho tay koi saanu wi puchay." Concerned: Army for not being consulted at all: “We had to live to see this day.”


Only PML-N opposing new province: Gilani

Sindh MNAʼs son manhandles PIA officer KARACHI: Nouroz Baloch, the son of MNA Sher Muhammad Baloch was arrested on Tuesday for allegedly subjecting PIA officer Allah Dino Jatoi to violence at Karachi Airport. The officer fell unconscious after being tortured. Police took the accused into custody and shifted him to Air Port Police Station. PIA employees shut the reservation office to voice protest against the incident of violence and rushed to police station. The police stopped the media representatives from making coverage of the incident at the initial stage and later registered an FIR against Baloch. @ONLINE

Talks with Taliban a serious matter, says ex-PM

New provinces issue a ʻZardari dramaʼ: Shahbaz LAHORE: Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif said that the new provinces issue is a political drama of President Asif Zardari. Talking to MPs of PML-N from different districts, Shahbaz Sharif said that the commission made for the creation of new provinces was not sincere and is based on malicious intent. President Asif Ali Zardari had started a political drama ahead of the general elections, Shahbaz Sharif said. He said the people of Bahawalpur and South Punjab were well aware of the tactics of Zardari government and BJP proposed by Zardari has become Bharti Janta Party. @ONLINE

Asma not fit to be caretaker PM, says PTI LAHORE: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf on Tuesday said that there is nothing personal against Asma Jehangir she just does not fit the criterion to be a caretaker prime minister. PTI has taken note of a statement by Asma Jehangir in which she has attacked PTI Chairman Imran Khan and the party for raising objections on her nomination by PML (N) as caretaker PM. A PTI spokesman said that the problem with Jehangir’s nomination was not her person but that she does not fit the qualifications that the party thinks are necessary for a caretaker Prime Minister. @ONLINE

3 dacoits killed BAHAWALPUR: Three robbers were killed in an alleged police encounter in the outskirts of the city here on Tuesday. According to media reports, the dacoits had kidnapped three young men from Mauza Pakhiwar on December 26 and had demanded Rs2 million as ransom, while the heirs were arranging ransom money, the robbers killed one of the kidnapped youths and later the remaining two were retrieved on payment of Rs2 million. Besides, the accused were threatening the families of the kidnapped youths to withdraw the cases registered against them and last night they had raided the house of the complainants for this purpose, when police on a tip off reaching the place laid a siege around the accused that ensued cross firing and the three accused Khalil Ahmad, Sajjad and Mustafa were killed. @ONLINE

KARACHI: Fire fighters extinguishing fire in a plastic factory in Landhi Export Processing Zone. -ONLINE

Protesters brave the rain to join rallies for Kashmir UN office presented memorandum to implementat resolutions on Kashmir ASAD SHAH ISLAMABAD: Protests and rallies were held across the country on Tuesday to show solidarity with the Kashmiri people. Despite a heavy downpour, the twin cities, too, witnessed a number of Kashmir Day rallies and protests brought out by the determined protesters. Different political and religious parties also staged demonstrations to show solidarity with the Kashmiris. Members of the Kashmir Committee of the parliament after their walk till the United Nations office presented a memorandum to its officials, demanding implementation of the UN’s resolutions on Kashmir. They also demanded that the UN play its role in ending the decades-old Indian occupation. The walk was attended by many people from different walks of life, including Kashmir Committee member Raja Zafarul Haq. Jamaat-i-Islami also initiated a

demonstration at the Karachi Company in Islamabad. Former MNA Mian Aslam and many others spoke at the occasion demanding the right of self-determination for the Kashmiri people. PML-N Azad Kashmir chapter staged a walk in Rawalpindi which started from the Shah Nazar Bridge and ended at the Rawalpindi Development Authority office. Many different leaders of the AJK PML-N were present at the occasion.

Similarly, a ceremony was held at the National Press Club in Islamabad in which former speaker Azad Kashmir Assembly Shah Ghulam Qadir and Jammu and Kashmir People’s Party President Sardar Khalid Ibrahim participated. Both the leaders while talking to the media said that the Kashmir issue has not been the priority of the present government. They alleged that the government does not have a long term policy on the issue and

MULTAN: Police have unearthed a fake medicine manufacturing factory in Multan and arrested nine workers on Tuesday. According to media reports, the police have also sent samples of medicines to a laboratory for test. Further investigation is underway. @ ONLINE

Rain stops development

Admission date extended RAWALPINDI: The Rawalpindi Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education have extended the date of FA, FSc annual admission form for one week and mow it could be submitted until February 11. The Board spokesman said on Tuesday that now the last date for submission of form would be February 11 with single fee while the admission form could be submitted with double fee until February 18 and the admission could be sent with triple fee

ANF flouts SC’s eviction orders KARACHI: Higher officials of Anti-Narcotics Force have daringly defied the directives of the Supreme Court by refusing to vacate the housing unit of the Housing Ministry. The housing unit No 12-A of Bath Island, being retained by ANF for 6 months of overlapping time, was leased from Housing Ministry during 2007, during the tenure of then director ANF, Brigadier Karim Bukhari. According to routine procedures, the departing ANF director should have handed over the house to Housing Ministry, but he rather handed over the possession directly to Brigadier Muhammad Bashir, who passed it on to his successor Brigadier Muhammad Wajid, who is currently utilizing the premises. The Supreme Court had earlier ruled in favour of the Housing Ministry against petition number 1498/2011, which upheld Housing Ministry’s regulations which allow ISI and Foreign Affairs to transfer the residence to its personnel. @ONLINE

ANF seizes huge caches of drugs Larkana doesn’t like

Medicine factory sealed

RAWALPINDI: Persistent down pour has led to severe traffic jams besides impeding ongoing development work in Rawalpindi city. The heavy shower like the other parts of the country not only paralysed the normal life in Rawalpindi but also set the vehicular traffic system topsy turvy on all the roads and avenues with the Murree Road remaining the worst-affected artery after the rain. The lashing showers of rain have adversely hit the ongoing work on mega projects including Mareer Hassan Tunnel Expansion, Sixth Road flyover and service road and on the other side the scattered material and equipment of these projects stalled the traffic flow causing a perpetual nuisance for the citizens. @ONLINE

only issuing statements will not solve anything. They also criticized the government for not taking the Kashmiri leadership into confidence before giving the Most Favorite Nation status to India. At the time of independence in 1947 the Muslim majority Kashmir was divided between the two countries, with India dominating two thirds of the region and Pakistan one third. A revolt by the people of Kashmir against the Hindu ruler triggered a build-up of Indian troops and an attempt by India to annex the whole in 1948, provoking a war with Pakistan, which sent troops and Pashtun tribesman to the region. A UN commission brokered a cease fire in 1949 and a five member commission made up of Argentina, Belgium, Columbia, Czechoslovakia and United States drew up a resolution calling for a referendum to decide Kashmir’s future. However India never allowed the referendum to take place and now the resolution has gone into the cold storage.

MULTAN: Former prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani has said that all the political parties except PML-N are in favour of Southern Punjab province. On his arrival in Multan on Tuesday, he said that making of Seraiki province was included in the manifesto of the PPP. “The PML-N cannot deceive people anymore on this issue. President Zardari has announced very clearly that the province will be made at any cost.” He said that PPP is making serious efforts to make new province before elections but PML(N) is creating obstacles in it. He said that the demand to change the governors is unconstitutional. “When I was disqualified, there were different conditions but the prevailing scenario has totally changed in the tenure of Raja Pervaiz Ashraf. Now the government has written a letter to the Swiss authorities. I took the stance that the president has constitutional immunity,” Gilani added. The former PM said that the election commission is a totally independent and it has authority. The PPP has given the name of Nawab Salahuddin Abbasi for the slot of interim chief minister of the Seraiki province. The matter regarding new federating units should be resolved by national consensus, he added. The PPP’s Senior Vice President said that he does not know whether the name of Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri is in the list of the caretaker prime minister or not. “The negation with Taliban is a serious matter and we would comment on it when high level talks would get started,” he added. He said that the whole nation is standing shoulder to shoulder with the Kashmiri people in the struggle for their rights. He said that Pakistan is doing trade with India on equality basis. @ONLINE

ISLAMABAD: Syed Ahmed hosted a dinner in honor of US Ambassador Richard Olson in Islamabad. Former Prime Minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani Makhdoom Amin Fahim and others are also seen in the picture. @ONLINE


Kashmir Day events

ISLAMABAD: In continuation of the war against drugs, the Anti-Narcotics Force on Tuesday recovered a mega consignment of drugs from two gowdowns in Karachi. Interestingly, however, no arrests could be made. As per details, drug traffickers brought huge quantity of charas from Afghanistan and stored it in a godown in Industrial Area of Karachi. A suspected godown was kept under surveillance. Subsequently a raid was conducted, which resulted in recovery of 3,008 kilogrammes of charas from the godown. In another operation, it recovered a huge quantity of heroin and charas from the city. The drugs were dumped in a godown in Hub River Road area. A raid resulted in the recovery of 140 kilogrammes of heroin and 336 kilogrammes of charas.

LARKANA: All four deputy commissioners of the Larkana Division did not arrange any official function regarding the Kashmir Solidarity Day while different political and religious parties and some social circles largely organised rallies and seminars to mark the officially-announced day. Despite having budget and other resources, deputy commissioners of KamberShahdadkot, Shikarpur, Jacobabad and Kashmor-Khandkhkot did not organised any official programme in the division. Jamaat leader Kashif Ali led the rally from Bunder Road to the Pakistan Chowk and the teachers took out the rally from the Government Pilot Higher Secondary School in which members of the civil society, non-government organisations and people from all walks of life participated in large number. @ONLINE

UK colleges cheat scores of Pakistan students MIRZA KHURRAM SHAHZAD ISLAMABAD: Hundreds of Pakistani students have been robbed by dodgy UK colleges, mostly set up by Pak emigrants, and dozens of travel/education consultants have gone underground to avoid wrath of the affected students, The Spokesman has learnt. Six colleges, working in the cities of London, Birmingham and Manchester were closed down in mid-2011 after these cheated the students through advance admissions and tuition fees. The institutes had promised that they would provide visas to these students. The students were refused visas because the colleges in the UK were not following the criteria set by the British authorities and were later forced to close down due to their inability to observe relevant laws. The majority of the affected students belong to Kashmir. They are now running after the education consultants, who are largely hiding because they are unable to pay back the fees. Helping Hands International Education Consultants Manager Sardar Javed Ahmed told this scribe that at least six UK colleges did not return 103,000 pounds of advance fees to

73 students who had applied through his office. The faulty institutes are Manchester Media College, Queensbury College, Stratford College, Lords College, Crown College, and PTAP College. "Manchester Media College is to refund 50,000 pounds to 50 students, Queensbury 10,000 pounds to four students, Stradford 15,000 pounds to seven students, Lords 15,000 pounds to five students, Crown 7,000 pounds to three students and PTAP College is to refund 6,000 pounds to four students," Ahmen claimed. He said in total, the colleges have cheated around 500 students of Mirpur alone and an estimated amount of 700,000 pounds has been eaten up. "Although we had written agreements with these colleges, they deceived us. We could not register complaints against them because we want to an amicable resolution of the issue. We want to get the money back at all cost. They also did not pay us fee cuts, which were agreed between us at the time of signing of the agreements," said Ahmed. Another consultant, Faisal Mehmood, director of Manchester Travel and Education

Consultants, said that one college cheated at least 54 of their clients. "We have a very bad experience with the UK colleges. We recruited 54 students for Lords College in Manchester in April 2012. We paid fees to the college at the rate of 1,250 pounds per student. This included 1,000 pounds as first installment (course fee) and 250 pounds as admission fee," he said. "We received the Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) letters (admission letters) for all 54 students but all were refused visas by UK High Commission in Islamabad, which said the visas were being refused because Lords College had been suspended from the United Kingdom Border Agency sponsors list on May 9, 2011," Mehmood maintained. He alleged that the college managements kept them in the dark. "We contacted the college administration on daily basis but they gave us false hope.” “After sometime the college authorities suspended all contacts with us and also sold out their building. Having no response from them, our chief executive, Azhar Mehmood, visited London and met with the managers of the college, Mr Babar and Mr Tahir. During

this meeting, they offered us to pay 14000 pounds if case we gave them a clearance letter about all the pending fees of 67000 pounds. We did not agree to their offer." Speaking to The Spokesman, some of the students said they were uncertain about their future. "I got admission in Lords College because of its cheaper fee structure. My class in ESOL was to start on June 6, 2011. I paid 1,250 pounds as my advance tuition and admission fees. But I was not issued a visa because the college was removed from the UKBA list," said Ali Raza, 24, a student from the town of Dina. "After the visa refusal, I am now working in a car showroom to make up for my huge financial loss. My family tells me every day to go to the consultant to recover the money," Raza further said. Fahid Manzoor, 21, a student from Khari Sharif, a village in the suburbs of Mirpur, said his 1,250 pounds advance fee was also not refunded. "I got admission in an English language course in Lords College and paid them advance fee of 1,250 pounds. I was issued admission papers. Even then I could not get a UK visa," he said.


Politics and religion

Politics of new provinces

Dabgari – lost cultural centre Peshawarʼs famous street became a no-go area for transgenders when the MMA govt banned music, other activities in the locality  Some say Fazlʼs relatives behind the move for commercial gain 


PESHAWAR: 2002 was the year of change in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa politics as an alliance of religious political parties - MMA - formed the government but it proved to be the worst choice for Dabgari, a street that represented the culture of Peshawar. The street was famous for its musician and dancers, including the eunuchs the most favourite choice of Pakhtuns. Dabgari is an ancient word. The meaning of ‘dab’ is leather pot, usually used to carry liquid like ghee and ‘gar’ means the makers of it. But with passage of time, Dabgari became famous for housing musicians and dancers. People of Peshawar were used to book dancers from this street, but the street was banned for musicians and dancers after the MMA formed government in KP; therefore, the skilled people moved to other parts of the province and Punjab. A ‘guru’ Kainat, who was running his ‘Bala Khana’ (the home where dancers live and is also used as a business place) in Dabgari, said the day when MMA announced ban was a horrible one. “We had to move from there but didn’t know where to go and how to manage as we only earn from music shows.” All famous singers of KP, like Nazia Iqbal, were grown up Dabgari, which can easily be

described as ‘Shahi Mohallah’ of KP, but with more sophistication. Some 100-meter long street was full of culture, but one can now only see the signboards of doctors’ clinics and crockery shops as it has become a commercial area. Some people from old Peshawar city say Dabgari is situated in the heart of city and some powerful people in the MMA banned the street for cultural activities due to its increased market value as they were interested in building commercial plazas, but the residents of this old street were not ready to leave the area. “The ban in name of religion was a great tactic by these religio-political leaders,” a resident of Dabgari said, adding that some closed relatives of JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman were involved in property business. They used various tactics to occupy attractive places, sometimes using religion-based sloganeering. In some other cases, they constructed seminaries on disputed properties, he added. 25-year-old Reema from swat said he left his home at age of 15 when his parents noticed that he was not behaving like boys. “At that time, I came to Dabgari and got shelter, which I lost when the MMA government banned the presence of transgender and musicians.” Reema is now living in Rawalpindi and

satisfied with his profession, saying he gets enough to live here but the major part of it taken away by his guru. 65-year-old Khursheed Ahmed, a resident of Peshawar, said in the past Dabgari was the only place where these dancers and musicians were doing the business but they had now spread to all parts of Peshawar. “I don’t know the ban was good or bad, but it helped the transgender to spread across the country.” Khursheed uses some quotes from Saadat Hassan Manto’s works and says in past only some families were involved in the dancing business but now the situation has changed. Dabgari was not only famous for its dancers, as music teachers were also available in the street and they taught music to the children of Peshawar’s notables. It is worth recalling that the MMA government had banned musical shows and dramas in Nishtar Hall, the only premises available in the city for cultural activities. As a result, people related performing art opted for the CD dramas which soon ruined the Pakhtun culture. And is does not stop there, as bans famous Pashto singers, including Zarsanga and Hidayatullah, are compelled to live in a horrible condition as a homeless people just like the ‘internally displaced persons’.

MUZAFFARABAD: A boy standing at the main entrance to his damaged house in the area of Tariqabad, which has been affected by landslides. ℗INP

Renaming KP only to appease people of Hazara: ANP

Malala effect felt, but in classrooms of Swat only

ISLAMABAD: The Awami National Party (ANP) has termed the reports regarding changing the name of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province as a gimmick to appease the people of Hazara, saying no such thing is under consideration at all. In a brief chat with the on Tuesday, ANP central leader Senator Zahid Khan said changing the name of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa was impossible under the present situation as neither the Parliament nor the provincial assembly had enough time to deal with this ticklish issue and transact law in this regard. He added that the assemblies were likely to be dissolved soon after completing their constitution terms. Zahid said changing name of the KP was an attempt on the part of the PML-Q to appease the people of Hazara aimed at seeking their support in the general elections. INP


SWAT: “It is the first day of term in the Swat Valley and we are watching the girls of Rashid Minhas High School give prayers of thanks for their education. These few have much to be thankful for,” reports the UK-based ITV. Two-thirds of the poorest girls in Pakistan do not go to school and only an estimated 26 percent of them are literate. Poverty, cultural and social taboos as well as the Taliban threat often mean education is a rare privilege here for girls, rather than a fundamental right. The ITV says in Mingora, the hometown of Malala Yousafzai, her new video message renewing her mission to empower girls through education is making front page news here. Some of her family members fear it could once again provoke her Taliban terrorist enemies out of the shadows. Her cousin Aziz Yousafzai, also a teacher, not only shares his pride in his fearless young relative, but also his fears for her long-term safety.

The ITV says the teachers at Malala's former school are anxious. Whilst happy to welcome us, they do not want to be filmed or to see the students filmed for fear of reprisals. The numbers attending their school have risen since the attack. In that sense, Malala has already had an impact in the cities here. But it is unlikely the rural areas will have felt any similar Malala effect, despite the government using the Malala incident to push the issue further up the national agenda. In the villages located near Mingora, fathers openly spoke about the normality of their daughters not going to school because it was their destiny to become the property of another man. These were not terrorist extremists who wanted to harm their daughters or blow up their schools but rural fathers who could not afford to educate all their children and saw little point in schooling for girls. The ITV says it is clear that outside the classrooms in the cities of Swat Valley, Malala's message has yet to be felt.

South Punjab and the case of Mianwali F

inally, the proposed bill tabled by the of sustainability gave shape the region a PPP, while adopting a poor strategy, distinctive identity with a separate way of to carve-out a new province out of thinking, the same basin which gives birth Punjab has acted like an abortifacient. And to the Indus valley civilisation. The thus, the question remains unanswered, populace is inhabited on both sides of the both legally and politically. Mr Farhatullah river commonly known as “Kachha” or “Baith”, imprinting the Babar, being the head of the population with a specific and commission on new distinctive identity of provinces, was entrusted with separateness in lingualthe task to bringing forth the cultural terms. legal and economic viability of Multan, being the capital of the stated province. It was the whole region had its first hailed across the heartland brunt of semi-autonomous comprising areas having status by the Sikhs, but later identical socio-cultural values the rulers of Lahore annexed and characterised by a common civilisation and MUHAMMAD KHALID NIAZI Multan to its dominion. Before its annexation, it had political history extending kept its semi-autonomous back to thousands of years. Up till now, the notion of creating a new status for hundreds of years and had province in Punjab was misconceived as a never been a part of Punjab. Its cultural taboo by the powers that matters; oneness and a resilient riverian economy therefore, the commission’s formation coupled with socio-lingual heritage ensued a heated debate among the helped it to be a separate entity. With the passage of time, other ethnic parliamentarians and the socio-cultural think-tanks. It is an appreciable step in the and cultural communities started settling sense that so many hidden facts surfaced in Thal, Choolistan and Indus basin. They and a public discourse started in print as also merged with the locals and well as electronic media. Especially, the contributed to the economic and cultural creation of a new province to be shaped on development of the region and ultimately the basis of common history and a shared came a part of its civilisational ambit. The cultural heritage or merely on Seraiki area is characterised by its administrative basis is the main question hydrolytic mode of agriculture. The Seraiki region has never been a part that is to be answered. The proposed area for a new province is a of Punjab - neither administratively nor composite whole. The indigenous population culturally - and both moved on their own called “Seraikis” constitute a different socio- courses of evolution until the rise of Sikh ethnic group along with previously settled rule; so the notion advanced by certain ethnic groups comprise a total whole having proponents that the question could be all the stakes related to a new province. So addressed by certain administrative far, the indigenous people are concerned that measures is not justifiable on available they owe to a common tradition of pulling historical evidences. Punjab’s establishment arrogant their present existence back thousands of years having a harmony of ethnic and treatment of underdeveloped areas has cultural diversity and a landscape of bio- further fuelled a sense of deprivation and diversity with deposits of alluvial soil brought alienation. They feel that their resources are by River Indus and its tributaries. The being exploited to the benefit of others. present look of the Seraikis is result of the Here, it is to be emphasised that all the long-traced agricultural evolution, peculiarly ethno-cultural communities feel at ease connected with riverian belt of the River while dealing with their day-to-day affairs Indus. Its alluvial confinements being the and cherish a common fruitful future result of richly nutrients brought by the determined jointly to give the region a overflowing, and mighty currents of the river peaceful co-existence leading towards gave shape to a distinct and a conspicuous development with the exception of certain way of life which distinguishes it from other militant sectarian outfits. The collective temperament of tolerance gets its strength entities inhabiting Pakistan. In its antiquity, southern region, now from the oasis of Sufism; a prevailing called Seraiki belt, starts from the Salt psychological current. A symbiotic Range at Kalabagh, Mari Indus, and relationship remains intact between Wanda Kukranwala, from where the River different cultural groups for mutual benefit. A far as the question of Mianwali to be Indus turns its course to southwest, passes through Jinnah Barrage, and turns further included in the newly-proposed province is southward making its way to Chashma concerned, it is to be mentioned that the Barrage. Over here it initiates spreading its riverian culture becomes distinct when the nutrients both on both westerly and mighty river drifts into the plains leaving eastern sides giving birth to lush green the town of Kalabagh. Moving further of pastures stretching miles and miles to the south, the region gives birth to most refined south, which is a source for livestock and sublimed expressions in prose, poetry sustainability and then it carves its and music. Furthermore, the written and southerly course passing along Dera Ismail spoken language is Seraiki when judged on Khan, Dera Ghazi Khan and flowing grammatical principles. If asked to a further to south, closes on where the Sindh creative poet or a singer what language they speak or write? Seraiki, promptly they province starts. The River Indus, being the main source reply, and not Hindko or Punjabi.

ATTOCK: A man preparing Sajji, hoping to attract cold and hungry customers. ℗ONLINE

Manchester of Pakistan may be a future Titanic 

Textile sector unable to meet previous orders and get new ones  Local investors moving to other locations for better opportunities


FAISALABAD: Continued gas and electricity load shedding is causing an estimated loss of six billion US dollars per annum as textile industry is unable to obtain new orders because they have been unable to ship the previous ones during the allotted time, revealed a survey conducted by The Spokesman. Out of US$ 14 billion exports of textile, US$ 10 billion originate from Punjab where Faisalabad contributes with US$ 4 billion per annum. Local Industrialists banking on the shallow promises of the federal ministries argue that 80 per cent textile

industries are located in Punjab. Owing to the severe shortage of electricity and gas, they say “it will be difficult to meet the export target of US$16 billion for the year 2012-13.” “Our our inability to deliver orders on time has shaken the investors so much that we managed only 40 percent of what we got in the previous year during the recently held exhibition of world textile industry and retailers in Germany.” Explaining this world event held every year in January, they said over 2,600 exhibitors from more than 60 countries come to Heimtextil each year for expert guidance at the beginning of the season. And more than that: With its international visitor profile and high proportion of decision makers, the international trade fair for home and contract textiles acts as a mood barometer for the entire business year. “Therefore, it hardly matters for us

that whether Pakistan gets G-Plus status from Europe or get an preferential access to US markets,” they remarked. With only two days of gas supply to textile industry and prolonged and unexpected power outages, exporters and industrialists are wondering how US$ 95 billion targets set in the recently announced trade policy of 2012-15 would be met. “With this partial supply of gas, it is impossible for us to meet even the domestic demand for the coming summer,” complained the textile millers waiting for the federal government to fulfil its promises of continued supply of gas and electricity. “The country's economy is still in the phase of recession where energy crisis has badly affected to the export earnings as well as domestic commerce coupled with the dwindling foreign direct investment

and poor law and order situation,” said a high up of Faisalabad chamber of commerce and industry. “The only way to sustain the deteriorating macro-economic indicators is possible by increasing foreign exchange earnings through increased exports but the situation is quite opposite,” he added. “Gas supply to the textile industries in Faisalabad is not available from the last two months which has resulted in piling up of export orders and production jobs and this partial supply will not serve the purpose to start production at full scale to clear the backlog; therefore, the talk about new orders is useless,” said an exasperated industrialist, issuing lay-off orders of the factory workers. Staring at the roof, he said with remorse that gas was an essential input for textile industry without which the

production process completely halted. It took many hours to warm up the production machines. “Our policymakers will be able to understand the ground realities and draw policies accordingly,” he hoped. According to the chamber of commerce and industry officials, the basic concern is that even the local investors have started shifting their investments to places like Bangladesh, Singapore and Malaysia because they are getting not only the finances on favourable terms from those governments but also the basic utilities to run their industry and meet the international orders on time. Statistics reveal that low growth in Large Scale Manufacturing (LSM) sector and relocation of industries to other countries is worsening because of the energy crisis, high input cost and low credit availability to the

private sector due to heavy borrowings by the government from banking sector, says a businessman. Depending on the forecast for the gas demand-supply gap in the coming years, the production capacity utilisation of industries will remain hostage to the lowest ebb if load shedding of gas and electricity is not overcome. The industrialists, traders and workers are unanimous in demanding the government to restore full supply of gas to the textile industrial sector; otherwise, all the potential investors will opt to other destinations for better opportunities. Without lowering the cost of running business and raw materials besides an improved law and order situation, it is almost impossible to achieve the export target envisaged in the STPF 2012-15, they stress.



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

TTP represents no one At the just concluded trilateral summit in England, Afghanistan, Pakistan and the UK agreed to the opening of an office in Doha for negotiations between Taliban and the Afghan High Peace Council. Interestingly, a day earlier, Hakimullah Mehsud’s Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) had once again expressed its willingness to talk peace with the government if Mian Nawaz Sharif, Maulana Fazlur Rehman and Syed Munawar Hasan became guarantors on behalf of the Pakistan Army. The TTP has made it clear that they would not lay down arms till the implementation of Shariah in the country. While every power player in the barbaric great game is now heard talking about talking with the Taliban, a clear distinction must be made between the Taliban resisting foreign occupation in Afghanistan and the TTP that has killed thousands of innocent Pakistanis in recent years. While it makes sense for the Afghan government and its Nato allies to talk to Taliban, and for Pakistan to facilitate those talks, talking to TTP makes no sense. They represent no one and stand for nothing more than a mafia-like control over territories to facilitate their criminal activities. The discourse on militancy and militants has been warped by the fraudulent War on Terror that the US pretends to be fighting with the entire planet as its battleground. The country has used the smokescreen of this war to intervene militarily in Afghanistan and a number of other countries in the Middle East and Africa. Despite the fact that the meddlesome super power has been caught with its pants down, funding and arming the extremists that it claims it is fighting, it continues to repeat clichés about the war and weave a deceptive and incoherent narrative around its interventions meant for controlling territories and changing regimes not pandering to its corporate-driven diktat. To formulate an effective policy to counter militancy and terrorism in Pakistan, it is essential that the government assesses the situation on the ground without the US narrative clouding its perspective. The TTP is involved in kidnappings for ransom and trading arms and drugs in the name of Islam. It has terrorized people in the tribal areas, espouses sectarian hatred and would like to impose its brand of Shariah through coercion and violence. To talk peace to them is like playing a raga to a buffalo. These criminals must be reined in with a heavy hand. However, for it to be successful, the comprehensive military operation against them must be free of any interference by the US and accompanied by a sealing of the border with Afghanistan from where they get supplies and sustenance. Within the country, action should be taken against sectarian outfits that provide moral support to it. Talking to them would amount to giving more power to their nefarious agenda and odious entity, and making them a stake-holder in the Afghan peace process. While the Taliban can claim to represent the widespread hatred for the occupying forces in Afghanistan, the TTP represent no one but their criminal interests.

The danger of public opinion polls ASHRAF TAHIR

The IRI survey on the popularity of political parties has generated much debate in the media lately, with mediapersons and politicians accepting the results unquestioningly

With the release of the Washington-based International Republican Institute’s (IRI) latest survey on the popularity of various political parties in Pakistan, political debate suddenly escalated to a new level. The results of the survey were treated as beyond question, and the discussion basically revolved around the participants finding reasons and giving explanations for the scenario painted by it. There was no attempt to look at the matter more deeply and ascertain the validity of the survey as the last word on public opinion. Surveys and polls have many in-built flaws and we should read them more carefully. For some time, discussion on television talk shows has sounded enriched by the use of data, and politicians who are otherwise unaware of the annual budgetary figures of the government, are heard quoting figures in their public statements. This may signal an improvement on the generalised political and policy debates that we are accustomed to, but as a professional who has worked in designing and conducting surveys all my life, I would still caution that there are other angles to be kept under consideration. First, the idea of depending too much on a single survey is a flawed one, particularly in a society that is largely not policy literate. Those of us who work in the policy domain can understand the strengths and limitations of a single study and can always qualify the conclusions and put the findings in perspective. Colleagues working in health, education, and economic policy are aware of this and when, for example, the Punjab Education Assessment System report states that learning levels in the Punjab have gone up, other studies need to be consulted, for example, that of Annual Status of Education Report (ASER), a civil society organisation, that suggest that seven children in ten cannot read a story when they finish Class Three.

A comparison between the two surveys quickly makes it clear that we have to read numbers carefully and keep other studies done in a similar context in mind. Another level of sophistication would be to compare the figures to other historical, empirical studies with sound research methodology. The practice of using data in the social sciences is a new one that has also caused much displeasure to many academics who accuse mathematicians of having hijacked the social sciences. Ideally, the debate after the present IRI survey should have been informed by other data sources and studies which, unfortunately, we do not have. The

another very hard working and committed colleague. We worked hard to ensure the field testing of the research tools and then redesigned them learning from earlier field reports. We took great care in the selection of field enumerators and kept them in Islamabad for five days to help them understand each question, and to make them culturally and morally sensitive to the ethical protocols of the data collection process. After complete satisfaction, we handed over the data collectors to the operations team of the organisation for work to begin. Surprisingly, it took me three weeks to collect the data from one district that I closely

As the famous Urdu columnist, Mushtaq Ahmad Yousfi, wrote long ago, there are three kinds of lies. Lies, white lies and data. Yousfi was a banker and knew more than many of us about this

solution is to have more surveys in Pakistan in the political field so that public opinion, media and political parties have various sources of information to rely on from which they can read patterns. Second, while the IRI’s survey methodology looks fine with the error margin of less than 2 per cent which is close to an ideal, no one can be sure of its ideal field level execution. As an example I can quote from when I was working for a large-scale survey some time back as a lead researcher of an apparently important report and was responsible for developing the research design, designing the main research tools, and training the data collection staff with

supervised, but the other more remote and tribal district just took a week. When we investigated further and looked at the data carefully, we realised most questionnaires were filled without going to the field! The organization was keen to quickly develop a report due to the pressure of deadlines, contractual obligations, and to keep costs down. This is more or less a regular pattern so that things look smart on paper and smarter in presentations, and this is done to make a good impression on visiting data quality experts from abroad. I am not suggesting that all data is spurious. Without good data, our weak social sciences

background and even weaker analytical skills would keep us from interpreting public opinion on key policy issues. Data helps define the boundaries of a debate and provides us with a beginning and a sense of progress. But this is easier said than done. When we work with data, we get rid of all grey areas, remove all generalities, and stop thinking of selection biases and issues of data collection. Above all, the issue is with data interpretation. One of my best teachers at college used to give an example of a bad research hypothesis. He said that to test if the number of ants appearing on campus on a given day was linked in any way with student’s absenteeism, all he needed was data collection on two variables across the university for some months and he was sure he could make a statistical argument out of it. ‘But that was not the point’, the professor used to warn us. ‘Or else, you will keep on measuring and interpreting a wrong set of variables in a completely wrong model not backed by theory.’ Today, with our media and politicians new to data handling, it is important to remember the professor’s point. Data is good only if it follows standard research methodology, does not leave out major research questions dealing with the subject, the data collection process is sound and interpretation is clear. In addition, you have to have at least two to three different sources to validate what you are reading from one source. Otherwise, as the famous Urdu columnist, Mushtaq Ahmad Yousfi, wrote long ago, there are three kinds of lies. Lies, white lies and data. Yousfi was a banker and knew more than many of us about this. ASHRAF TAHIR IS A RESEARCH CONSULTANT IN DEVELOPMENT AND PUBLIC POLICY

The ins and outs of democracy Ms. Rice exposes it clearly in her book that the contours of the PPP-led government were decided in Washington and further steps were to be taken to ensure the predetermined façade of democracy in Pakistan of the suspended government, is no different. This has resulted in a bizarre political setup where there is no genuine opposition. Zardari has been practicing the politics of Lately, some politicians have been working reconciliation (read compromise) shamelessly. hard to give an impression of being in This mutually beneficial politics of opposition while enjoying the perks only compromise with nearly everyone in the governments in Pakistan can give. But assemblies, including those who once accused people are not fooled by them. by him of murdering BB, has impacted the Opposition is an integral part of a governance of the country adversely, bringing parliamentary democracy. It is necessary and misery and hardship to the people. Everyone indispensable. The opposition keeps a check was offered a share in the government. Those on the government pointing out weaknesses reluctant were ably coerced into it with a bit in its policies and performance while offering of arm-twisting. a credible alternative. Moreover, it works to Every major political party has its piece of ensure transparency, integrity and efficiency the power-pie and there is no opposition in in the conduct of public affairs and prevents the assemblies. Zardari is the greediest child the abuse of power, thereby ensuring the gobbling the biggest piece, his eye on defense of the public interest. Government everyone else’s pie as well. His PPP rules institutions like NAB or the judiciary can Islamabad along with PML-Q, MQM, ANP, never keep governments in line as well as a FATA members and independents. The strong opposition can. situation is virtually the same in KP and The effects of this strange political setup Sindh. In Punjab, the PML-N has a juicy without opposition in the assemblies are too obvious. Some of the simpler but equally share which it initially shared with PPP and devious politicians openly declared on the PML -Q. Maulana Fazlur Rehman is in the media that equal opportunities should be government even when he is officially the provided for corruption and now that they leader of the opposition. The Balochistan Assembly, where 62 of the 65 MPAs were part are in government, it is their right to indulge


EDITOR’S MAIL BOX Revolutionary voices in Seraiki It is almost hilarious how many contradictions we have heard from our confused politicians in recent times over the formation of new provinces in the Punjab. Former Prime Minister, Syed Yousaf Raza Gailani, recently declared that, as a student, he was convinced by reading Mr Taj Muhammad Langah’s works, on the need for a separate province for the

Seraiki people. But this seems contradictory to the entire political career of Mr Gilani and his family which supported General Zia and later did not oppose Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif’s selection as chief minister of the Punjab. At any later date in his career – as a member and chairman of District Council Multan, and as a member parliament and a minister during General Zia’s era – Mr Gilani never showed any signs of being a nationalist politician. In Zia’s times, no politician of the rightist camp in the Seraiki region supported the national question calling it “anti- Pakistan” and against the ideology of Pakistan. In his tenure as prime minister, Mr Gilani was quoted as saying that the issue of the restoration of Bahawalpur as a separate province was just negative, destructive tactics. He accused the Establisment of removing him from office partly because of his position on the Seraiki question. But soon after a meeting with Mr Zardari in Islamabad, he came home and was busy forging alliances with old, feudal, pro-Establishment political families of Bahawalpur division who were behind the

in it. Surprisingly, these elected officials weren’t penalized by their parties or even the media and they shamelessly continue to be part of the government although they deserve to be in a correction house or on a psychiatrist’s couch. Juicy government departments and corporations have been doled out generously. Railways, PIA, Steel Mills and KPT, to name a few, are in the hands of different coalition partners. Even if the government denies the innumerable stories of corruption, the results are for all to see. All of them have been wrecked costing hundreds of billions to the public exchequer. Hundreds of thousands of jobs in the public sector are at risk. No new jobs are being created and inflation is going through the roof. Electricity is expensive but unavailable. The law and order situation is a mess. Not a flattering picture of democracy. Interestingly, the collapse of each State institution brings a few more smiles on the faces of allies in the government. Strangely, these economic disasters, instead of causing cracks in the compromised coalition, somehow strengthen it even more. No one has ever been held accountable for the poor performance of these public institutions. To

movement of restoration of Bahawalpur province. At the residence of Syed Irfan Gardezi, Mr Gilani again revealed for the very first time that he had not opposed the demand of the restoration of Bahawalpur as a province, forgetting all his statements as prime minister. Mr Gilani was instrumental in bringing three sons of Makhdom Ahmad Mehmud into politics, one of whom was made governor of Punjab on his advice. Governor Ahmad Mehmud now claims that the PPP will restore Bahawalpur province in which two other divisions may be included. This means that the new province in the Punjab will be called Bahawalpur and it will consist of three divisions: Bahawalpur,Multan and Dera Ghazi Khan. But Mr Ahmad Mehmud addressed a meeting in Rahimyar Khan after taking oath in which he avoided to the word "Bahawalpur" and used "South Punjab" instead. Now he says that very soon South Punjab will be a separate province. Mr Yousaf Raza Gailani also used the word southern Punjab and avoided mentioning the Seraiki issue at the anniversary of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto.

date, the coalition is going strong apparently at the cost of the State. This kind of political compromise has its roots in the charter of democracy (CoD) signed between the late-BB and Nawaz Sharif. After the CoD was signed in May 2006, within months, BB and Musharraf reached an understanding on transfer of power under the close watch of Condy Rice. Immediately after January 2007, BB, who was being treated as a con-woman for over a decade by Americans, started getting the treatment of a stateswoman celebrity. Ms. Rice exposes it clearly in her book that the contours of the PPP-led government were decided in Washington and further steps were to be taken to ensure the predetermined façade of democracy in Pakistan. A strange democracy where the results are pre-ordained in a foreign country. The said CoD also talks about education, economy, unemployment and condition of the poor, but they have been conveniently ignored. Lacunas don’t exist in nature, and whenever they are made artificially they don’t last long and forces appear from nowhere filling them. The restored judiciary and the rising PTI have emerged as opposing forces to the politics of

The Commission is likely to accept the point of view of those groups who oppose the formation of the new province in Punjab based on identity and nationality, making it a victory for the right wing. Right wing politicians neither accept the national question nor do they accept Seraiki belt as a separate cultural entity. They even deny Sindh, Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa as culturally different federal units and consider them merely administrative units. In my view, feudals and capitalists within the Pakistan Peoples’ Party are manipulating and distorting the case of Seraiki people and this is just opportunism. I seriously feel a vast lacuna exists in the Seraiki region with the absence of representative revolutionary voices of the working classes, the peasantry and revolutionary middle-class intellectuals. The nationalists of Seraiki region have generally inclined towards the rightists, and they put their weight behind feudal and pro-capitalist forces in this region. They have never looked at the nationalist question as a class question in the Seraiki region and they never

compromise. It is said that we have had four bouts of martial laws in Pakistan with devastating our society and its basic fabric, basically because the oppositions of the time invited the military to step in. This is a flawed argument though. If the generals were so obedient to the politicians they’d listen to them when they are asked to leave. There is sufficient reason to believe that those inviting the generals did so when given the nod. Actually, economic conditions and dissatisfaction of the common man with democracy is the biggest factor making military interventions possible. Conditions deteriorate when the common man gets disillusioned by democracy and starts longing for generals. Democracy, like love, can survive almost any attack, except neglect. The people of Pakistan can no longer be taken for granted by politicians using names of dead people or underage children. Gimmicks and demagoguery won’t work anymore. People are tired of being bribed by small goodies bought from their own money.

linked this demand of the right to self determination as a voice against global imperialism. GHAZANFAR ABBAS DERA GHAZI KHAN

No consensus Here in the Seraiki belt, mixed opinions are being expressed by political and social circles on the proposed new province in the Punjab. But street protests have begun in Multan and in Mianwali, rejecting the ecommendations of the parliamentary Commisssion. Bahawalpur United Front rejected the recommendations of the Parliamentary Commission calling it just a bad design by the GilaniMukhdom clan. Surprisingly, the President of the Pakistan Seraiki Party, Taj Muhammad Langah, has also rejected the recommendations. He held that the time had come to start a “jail going movement” where he would be the first to offer himself for arrest. Earlier, it was Langah who was very optimistic about


the good intentions of the government about forming a Seraiki province and defended Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani. He was severely critcized for this by Seraiki nationalist circles. Apparently, there is no consensus of opinion even within the PPP. Member provincial Assembly from Muzzufargarh said recently that he did not agree with the Commission and demanded the establishment of a province comprising 23 districts whose name could be Seraikistan or Bahawalpur Seraiki. Another member of the National Assembly from the PPP, Mehmud Hayat Tochi Khan, from Vehari said that the Commission was dominated by people who were not propeople and the real stake-holders were not given representation in the Commission. Seceretary of PPP South Punjab, also seems unhappy and he was noted to have said that they were struggling within the party for an identity. AAMIR HUSSAINI MULTAN Please email your letters to or post them to our address in Islamabad.


Back from the US of A KEEKAR KANAIR So he’s bothered by his friend’s children calling him Uncle. He told me he said to his friend, ‘your children are aging me by calling me Uncle. Stop them.’ Majid chuckled and coughed his deep smoker’s cough. I started going to Model Town swimming pool when I first returned from the US and the boys said, ‘Uncle, you swim really well. Can you teach us?’ I thought it might have been a teenage day at the pool the first day I went. But it was screaming teens every day, I realized. Because that’s what this city is - it’s a city made up primarily of youth. ‘Can you get me a lighter, boy?’ Majid said in Punjabi to the dapper waiter at Gloria Jean’s. Majid was not disrespectful though it sounded to me like he could be. Actually I’ve evolved. My evolution of realizing the New Pakistan is almost two- years- old. Majid has evolved - he’s a San Fanciscan or closest to that persona that the San Francisco Chronicle pushes, the lefty streets of SF and Berkley do, or just the general “Californication”. He will evolve and I think he’ll catch up with neoPakistanism. When I came back I did not speak the Lahorese that is spoken in New Lahore... so Majid is excused for calling the dapper waiter “boy”. That’s what we called them back 25 years ago, in the 1980s. My point is, simple spoken words we knew have acquired brand new meanings. Pakistani slick waiters have a selfrespect that’s taken this great place and these great times a lot of sweat and blood to build. It is not easily hurt by an outdated me or outdated Majid from California, ourselves actively dowloading the new version. He told me about the man he’s trying to do business with in Lahore, which he plans to run over the web. He seems full of a relaxed confidence of it flying....beyond load shedding and the weather war we fight in this country. His spirit is good, I didn’t want to corrupt him by expounding some cynical opinion about how he could not pull it off. I want to see him succeed. It’s the hopeful in me wanting quanta of modernity floating around in the general time and space. Lahore has become quite a bustling big city with urban attitudes. Anonymity is there and so is forlorn do-whateverness. i didn’t know what kind of things Majid and I would talk about. We were meeting after many years. Last year he came and our encounter was brief at a Shahi Mohalla chic restaurant with a group of friends when I didn’t so much as say a word to him. I’m surprised now that that group was willing to have a rather negativity-laced conversation about the frustrating dominance of the Mullahs. Our conversation, this time around, was rather different. I knew Majid as a bossy class monitor who’d occasionally beat any of us up for talking in class while the teacher was away. A little bit of a tiger-tempered bully. I don’t know why I remember a scar on one end of his lower lip. It added to his jock-like persona. This last December though I met a different Majid. He was just plain mellow. This was a man in his late forties, like myself with a charmingly pale wrinkled face, a poorly trimmed grey mustache and some missing

teeth. He had on a Swati hat for warmth - sort of an awful off-white one. His clothes were wintery and nothing mentionable other than for their unfashionable utilitarian style. His shoes were shiny burgundy man-shoes. Our chemistry (or personality, as I explained the latter to Majid), was not any different from what it was back in school days some 30 years ago: I was getting a wiser-than-me vibe from him. Therefore, when I decided to open up to him about what my impressions were, I told him I initially had bad attitude towards my clients when I started seeing them and when I thought they were overwhelming me with their lack of information compared to my experience with fairly well informed clients in the US. I think I was not mindful of the big picture. Not mindful that cultures are different and living in the same culture for many years had become a habit I needed to give up because now I was living in Pakistan where I needed new habits and to modify my attitude. In fact, the attitude of having any kind of bad feeling towards people in Pakistan was a misjudgment. So I told Majid how I still flare up with some clients even though I try to control my anger and my bad attitude. He said something very nice, affirming my vibe of big brother I was getting from him: ‘Yaar, it’s only human to have an anger outburst every now and then.’ In short, I was able to talk to Majid freely. He’s not the kind of guy to interrupt me while I’m talking. I tried not to interrupt him because I really wanted to get his take on things, his impressions and his mechanisms of handling the world. Majid lives in the Bay Area, California and he lives alone. He uses only one room in his house and from what he told me I can see a pair of blue trousers inside-out on the back of a chair, some books on the carpet below, a toothbrush on the side table and other such glimpses. He told me he had a mouse take over one of the rooms in his house which he let the mouse have without trespassing the mouse’s space until the day the mouse died in the crevice of a hollow wall, the norm in California homes. So this set the backdrop for our little meeting. I studied his body language: he was very laid back and relaxed and seemed to be enjoying the visit to the coffee shop. He ordered an Americano and so did I. He said one of our friends should go into politics because there weren’t any honest people in politics (I think, here he chuckled at his own oxymoron). We had met this friend at a dinner party a night before where the political friend delivered his opinions all evening. There is usually very little contribution to the conversation if that friend of ours is with us. In any case, Majid was mellow, enjoying the slow pace of his time in Pakistan while he was here for six weeks. When he mentioned the slow pace he was feeling I suddenly remembered my day and how hectic it had been. How I’d had no time to enjoy the slowness of our beloved hometown and I suddenly felt the stress in my neck and shoulders. THE AUTHOR IS A FICTION WRITER

Qadri unveils a string of rallies

Pakistan’s Murdochian media Let’s be clear on one thing. There is no such thing as a free Press in Pakistan. For each story that is run every now and then to give the appearance of no-fear, no-favour journalism, there are a dozen that never make it MEHREEN ZAHRA-MALIK

obvious: not even the worst of scandals has caused the media heavens to fall. We keep watching competing media houses for the The year 2012 was when the curtain simple pleasure of seeing the was pulled back on the Pakistani guests squirm. The horror media. mumbled and muttered across Since the lawyer’s movement in Pakistani newsrooms over the 2007, we had come to know the media as an independent crusader shenanigans of magnate Malik Riaz was synthetic, at best. against Pakistan’s corrupt and In Pakistan, the media is a powerful rulers, holding them to account and always siding with its regulated business, at least in theory, since the governing laws frail democracy. So central were are not worth the paper they are the burgeoning television news printed on. Editors, publishers, channels to the tenuous and television executives insist on democratic project that we were willing to look the other way even “self-regulation”, a code for taking editorial decisions with an eye to as it became increasingly clear that the media may have become a the bottom line. The timeworn local tradition of a secret part of everything that ails this government fund to plant official country. But a drum roll of revelations last platitudes across media platforms year has made it impossible to look continues without questions or concerns of integrity. There are away. At the centre of the surge of advertorials. There are potted scandals was a leaked off-air phone-ins on talk shows. There are footage of an interview with a real bribes. There are bribes by other estate developer embroiled in a names (“foreign tours”). There is corruption scandal involving the cheerful disregard for the son of the populist chief justice. Pakistanis watched in shock as the country’s feeble anti-defamation laws. anchors of private television Let’s be clear on one thing. There channels discussed the questions with the interviewee and went over is no such thing as a free Press in Pakistan. For each story that is run his answers while supposedly offevery now and then to give the air. appearance of no-fear, no-favour The leaked video unleashed journalism, there are a dozen that shame and rage across Pakistan never make it, and only sometimes and sparked a furious debate over the absence of an enforceable code for legitimate reasons. One cannot of conduct and the lack of editorial judge Pakistan’s power-drunk but self-preserving media without independence in a media held looking at the stories that are not hostage by the commercial being reported. interests of owners. Some media organisations But months after Mediagate - as the scandal came to be called - one including those in the US and in Europe - serve as an ostensible thing has become painfully

insurance policy for big business, which is fair enough but hardly a foolproof strategy. Often journalists will pontificate and preach about their personal and professional virtue and valour merely to elude the fact that the news organisations they work for are, in fact, commercial enterprises. Media bosses know the cardinal rule well: Do not piss off paying advertisers. In Pakistan, the biggest advertiser is the government. The only complaint you will ever hear from a Pakistani media mogul in his (or her) less-guarded moments about this inconvenient fact is that the government isn’t spending nearly enough. The skinflint news channels and broadsheets that have been known to go for the government’s jugular, do so not in a bid to expose wrongdoings, but to bare their fangs and hype up their nuisance value. In the ensuing battle of kings versus kingmakers, what chance does truth stand? Journalism in Pakistan has come to stand for all-caps scandalmongering and sensationalism. Political news is the celebrity gossip of our media times. In zealous obeisance before ratings, the cannot-fail business model keeps appealing to the worst in people’s nature: reckless gossip, wild conspiracy theories, fervid and populist rejectionism. Raw emotions help rake it in. The result is a media landscape shorn of any real credibility, barren and bleak. At least in the US, there is a Keith Olbermann for every Bill O’Reilly, and there are solid, truly

instructive platforms like PBS, NPR and even C-Span. We, on the other hand, have lemmings. It’s a scandal. Ultimately, it is the audiences and advertisers who enable Pakistan’s media and who are responsible for its selfdestructive degeneration. Raised on a bilious diet of distortion and dogma, people buy dailies or tune in for cheap entertainment. And they expect to get what they pay for: salacious half-truths and provocative stories that will elicit a dinner-time rant and then they’re done. But there is always that little bit of hope. After Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer’s assassination, advertisers were corralled into boycotting a local news channel. It worked, and the inflammatory host was given the heave-ho. But is it really another matter that she resurfaced weeks later on a rival channel? The closest approximation of an independent and free media is only possible in an unwounded society, where introspection and honest self-appraisal are not viewed as admissions of weakness. In business, there is oftentimes a thin line between what is legal and illegal. There is no distinction between morality and immorality, only profit or loss. If Pakistan’s media businesses really want to serve the public interest, they would make this important distinction count. Now what could be less- forgive me RupertMurdochian than that? THE AUTHOR IS PAKISTAN CORRESPONDENT WITH REUTERS AND A FORMER ASSISTANT EDITOR AT THE NEWS

Decline of the musical tradition in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa NAZARUL ISLAM The rich tradition of Pashtu music started declining in Pakistan when military dictator General Zia took over the reign of the country in 1977. It was a time when the jihadi culture started growing in Pakistan and cultural activities were widely discouraged. The dark period came to an end when the political system was restored in 1988 and once again cultural activity began in Peshawar, the Pashtun heartland. The legendary singers of Pashtu music like Khial Muhammad, Gulnar Begum and Gulzar Alam worked hard for the revival of music and cultural activities, with much success. After a hard time, Pashtu music, film, theater and cultural activities started blooming again. In an interview with the famous Pashtun music singer, Gulzar Alam, we discussed this checkered history. ‘Pashtuns were always considered to be futuristically inclined, but now they have been dubbed as the worst, most extremist community of Pakistani society. Music is an everyday part of our lives. It heralds the birth of a baby, a new life, and it is a Pashtun tradition to engage drummers when a baby is born with joyous celebration,’ says Gulzar. Similar rituals are observed during the engagement and wedding ceremonies, and on these occasions it is not only the men who take to their feet and start dancing but women dance too, obviously within the confines of their homes. ‘There is also a tradition for young men to sit around in their respective hujras or male guest houses for hours in the evening, playing the flute, strumming the rubab - a traditional

Politics and militancy have affected the lives of people and destroyed many good things in Pashtun culture. Today, it may be hard to imagine that the Federally Administered Tribal Areas were once known for their music and cultural activities string instrument like a guitar accompanied by the thumping of a traditional pair of small drums called the tabla. And where the tabla is not available to these young guys, they switch to an earthen water pitcher for the same purpose,’ he adds. But politics and militancy have affected the lives of people and destroyed many good things in Pashtun culture. After the defeat in Afghanistan of the communists, religious militants took over and began to exert their influence not only in their own country but in the tribal areas of Pakistan. Today, it may be hard to imagine that the Federally Administered Tribal Areas were once known for their music and cultural activities. In the words of Gulzar Alam, ‘The very first victim of this extremist ideology was the entertainment culture. This wave of terrorism affected the sense of security of common people but killing any sense of culture and community affected them more. People related to the entertainment sector, artists, musicians, vocalists, composers, poets, and technicians have all suffered tremendously, not only financially but mentally too. Today everything is in disarray. The well-known artists are living miserably: They are so scared of the militants’ threat they are restricted to their homes.’ Personally, Gulzar was apprehended and tortured by the Mutahida Majlis-e-Amal

(MMA) government. It was this coalition of six religious parties in government in KP, also in government in Balochistan, who struck the first blow to Pashtu music in KP by banning musical gatherings. Peshawar’s Nishtar Hall was closed down, the sole cultural centre of the provincial metropolis. The ban compelled Pashtun singers to take shelter in other parts of the country. The MMA government went to the extent of banning the listening of music in public transport. ‘I was victimised by the MMA government. They started harassing my family too. One evening, the police raided a musical programme where I was singing and after a verbal exchange of words with the police, I was beaten up and taken away,’ says Gulzar. It was only due to the intervention of some friends that he was later released. In late 2008, militants attacked the vehicle of a harmonium player, Anwar Gul, an old friend of Gulzar, who was killed in the outskirts of Mingora, the main city of Swat. The militants killed Shabana, a popular dancer and singer from Swat in 2009, and displayed her dead body at the “slaughter square” they had formed - now called Farooq Shaheed Square. It was a clear message for the people affiliated with singing. The famous actor of Pashtun stage and drama, Alamzeb Mujahid, popularly known as “Janan”, and Arshad Husain were also

abducted in 2009 by the militants and were released only after heavy ransom. After their release, they announced their retirement from the art at a press conference in Peshawar Press Club. ‘Today I say farewell to the world of art and will no longer be appearing on the television screen in the future,’ Alamzeb Mujahid said at the occasion. Another singer, Haroon Bacha, left for the United States due to life threats from the militants. Gulzar tried to find refuge by sprouting a beard but it didn’t work and he had to move to Quetta. Recently, to promote the soft image of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the Sarhad Tourism Corporation (STC) arranged a colorful cultural and food festival. Nishtar Hall began resounding with the voices of melodious singers and theatre artists once again, and people heard the songs of Rahim Shah, Musarrat Mohmand, Meena Shams and others. But it was a sad moment when an emerging female singer from Swat was shot dead in Peshawar in June 2012. She was gaining popularity and her songs were on everybody’s lips and her albums were always on the top of music charts. There is a vast variety of poetry including mystical poetry, love stories, new poetry, and a never-ending list of popular songs. It has been a staple of young men are to listen to them in the company of their friends or while working in the fields or after grazing their animals in the field while women tend

to listen at home. The Pashtuns have produced world-class poets and singers. The most famous among the poets include classical poets like Khusahal Khan Khattak, Rehman Baba, Amir Hamza Shinwari and Ghani Khan, to name a few.The classical poet, Rehman Baba says, che nazar ki di sa aib na we Rehmana,mmmmm khukwali makh ta pa kato ki gunah nishta (If there is no malice in your eyes, Rehman, it is no sin seeing a beautiful face). A more contemporary poet, Ghani Khan reiterates, Ghani wokhor dasi gham chi daro lari na dam, tool jahan day stargi stargi nishtsa stargi da sanam (Ghani is faced with incurable disease, but he can still be cured after seeing the eyes of his beloved). Gulzar Alam was forced to wear a beard and to hide himself for many years to survive, but now he feels the situation may be getting better. He has shaved again and is back to living in Peshawar. Gulzar believes psychologically the situation is getting better, but it will take time before the arts are restored to their popular place and become public again. NAZRUL ISLAM IS A FREELANCE WRITER


Uninterrupted power supply to Punjab textile mills from today OUR STAFF REPORTER

LAHORE: “Uninterrupted electricity supply to the textile mills on independent feeders in Punjab is being restored with effect from today,” All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) Punjab Chairman Shahzad Ali Khan said Monday. The Ministry of Water & Power had assured of restoring electricity supply to textile mills in Punjab in first week of February. The matter was brought to the notice of President

Asif Ali Zardari by APTMA Group Leader Gohar Ejaz on telephone who immediately took notice and directed concerned authorities to honour the commitment without delay. Accordingly, the ministry assured of restoring the supply from February 6 onwards. It may be noted that the APTMA leadership including Gohar Ejaz, APTMA Central Chairman Ahsan Bashir, and zonal leadership both from Punjab and Sindh called on the president in Karachi to brief him

about the problems faced by the industry in Punjab owing to complete shut down since December 22, 2012. The APTMA leader told the president that the ministry had suspended power supply on December 22 completely and dishonoured its assurance with the prime minister of 16 hours a day electricity supply from January 1 2013. Zardari directed the ministry to ensure 16 hours power supply without delay and further asked them to ensure uninterrupted

power supply for 24 hours a day from the first week of February when additional generation would be added to the system with restoration of hydel generation. The ministry, later, followed the instructions in letter and spirit and kept on supply electricity for two shifts to the mills in Punjab. However, there would be no need to close one shift from February 6 onwards since there would be uninterrupted power supply to the textile mills on independent feeders in Punjab. This

uninterrupted power supply would help the industry to operate 24/7 and add more to the exports and employment of the country. APTMA Punjab Chairman said the APTMA management has welcomed the decision and lauded President Asif Ali Zardari for his concerns regarding the problems of the textile industry. He said the industry assured the president of rising up to the expectations of the government as far as increase in exports and employment generation was concerned.

Sindh: No CNG today and on Friday KARACHI: Under gas load management plan, the CNG stations in Sindh will remain out of business today and on Friday, a news channel reported Tuesday. An official Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) statement says the CNG outlets will be denied gas from Wednesday 8:00 AM to Thursday 8:00 AM in the first phase, whereas from Friday 8:00 AM to Saturday 8:00 AM in the second. Instead of a back-to-back 48-hour CNG closure, the SSGC has left the consumers with a respite of one day in between, which means consumers will be able to refill their gas cylinders from Thursday 8:00 AM to Friday 8:00 AM. ℗ONLINE

Oil prices slip in Asian trade SINGAPORE: Oil prices fell in Asian trade on Tuesday in line with a sell-off in regional equities, analysts said, largely due to political concerns in Spain and Italy. New York’s main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in March dropped 14 cents to $96.03 a barrel and Brent North Sea crude for March shed 21 cents to $115.39. ℗ONLINE

Small traders laud govt moves for welfare ISLAMABAD: Small traders of capital city Tuesday lauded the government for initiating moves aimed at the welfare of the small traders, businesswomen and the cottage industry. Steps taken by the government for setting up chambers for small traders and small industry in every district of country would help resolve many problems confronted by the business community, said Islamabad Chamber of Small Traders and Small Industry President Kamran Abbasi. Speaking to the business community here at Super Market, he said, “We have been striving for chamber of small traders since 2008 and now our dream is coming true with the formal approval of Trade Organisations Bill from the Upper House expected within days.” He informed that an application had been moved to the office of Director General Trade Organisations to rename their chamber from Islamabad Chamber of Small Traders and Cottage Industry to Islamabad Chamber of Small Traders and Small Industry to ensure compliance with the bill. Abbasi said that major beneficiaries of the new law would be millions of small traders, importers, and services providers for which the credit goes to Commerce Minister Makhdoom Amin Fahim, Jahangir Badr, Chairman Senate Syed Nayyar Hussain Bukhari, Senator Haji Ghulam Ali, Khurram Dastagir Khan and all concerned officials. He said all trade bodies were currently functioning under the Trade Organisation Ordinance 1961 that had certain in-built inadequacies including lack of governance mechanism for services sector, female entrepreneurs, small businesses and cottage industry. Speaking on the occasion, Jahangir Akhtar, Secretary General of the proposed Islamabad Chamber of Small Traders and Small Industry said that government’s move would ensure effective dispute resolution mechanism and that every taxpaying trader would be eligible to become a member of the chamber with the membership fee being merely Rs 200. He said that chambers of small traders would take the decisions on merit which will make things better for everyone. “The bill supports proper implementation of law, definition for territorial jurisdiction for trade bodies, elimination of fake associations, and facilitates the small businesses to prosper and promote good practices,” said Akhtar. ℗ONLINE


How the IMF can help reduce unemployment BY JOSEPH E. GAGNON


he U.S. isn’t expected to return to full employment for at least six more years, and the consensus in Washington seems to be that President Barack Obama’s administration has no options to improve that dreary outlook. The debate over tax increases and spending cuts, as well as the latest statement from theFederal Reserve, proves that additional fiscal and monetary stimulus won’t be coming unless the economy turns even worse. But there’s one weapon the Obama administration can fire to get a more satisfactory recovery in employment: taking action to narrow the longstanding deficit in international trade. Millions of jobs are at stake. As it happens, the International Monetary Fund recently gave a green light to measures the administration could use to reduce the trade deficit in a formal statement of its “institutional view” on the management of capital flows. Capital flows directed by a number of foreign governments into the U.S. have grown to unprecedented levels in recent years. These flows keep foreign exports artificially cheap and make U.S. exports artificially expensive to foreign buyers; they are the main reason the U.S. has a large trade deficit right now. The country should take heed of the IMF’s recommendations and act forcefully to damp these distortionary capital inflows and to restore balance in international trade. For countries in the position of the U.S., the IMF doctrine recommends policy measures be taken in the following order. Each successive step should be taken only if the previous ones have been pursued aggressively and proved insufficient.

Buy Reserves

Akram Masih Gill, Minister of State for National Harmony and Masood Siddiqi MD/CEO of OGDCL cut a cake at a function organised by Christian Employees of OGDCL at their Head Office in Islamabad. ℗ONLINE

Asian markets reverse rally HONG KONG: Asian markets tumbled on Tuesday, bringing a recent rally to a juddering halt, as Wall Street and European shares were hit by political concerns in Spain and Italy. The euro also slumped as Spain’s prime minister was forced to deny corruption claims, while former Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi vowed to throw a spanner in the works of a government austerity drive ahead of a general election. Tokyo shares lost 0.94 percent, Hong Kong tumbled 1.54 percent, Sydney shed 0.70 percent, Shanghai was 0.39 percent off and Seoul slipped 0.88 percent in morning trade. The losses come after several markets approached highs not seen for several months as confidence slowly returns, thanks to an easing of the eurozone debt crisis and a pick-up in the US and Chinese economies. However, dealers suffered a blow Monday when Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy came under pressure to step down as he becomes engulfed in a corruption scandal. ℗ONLINE

Govt imposes petroleum levy of Rs 3,500/tonne ZEESHAN JAVAID

ISLAMABAD: Brushing aside the decision of Lahore High Court (LHC), government has imposed Petroleum Levy of Rs. 3,500 per tonne on Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) produced in Pakistan and issued the notification in this regard. After the imposition of petroleum levy on LPG, the price of LPG would probably increase by Rs. 5 to 10 per kg. LHC had suspended the petroleum levy imposition terming it as discriminatory towards local LPG producers. Even so, the Ministry of Petroleum through its SRO dated February 1 2013 has imposed Petroleum Levy of Rs. 3,500 per tonne on LPG produced in Pakistan. This is the third time since 2011 that Petroleum Levy has been imposed on locally produced LPG. On both the occasions LHC had suspended the imposition of the levy terming it discriminatory towards local LPG production. “The levy has been imposed in order to

promote LPG imports at the cost of local production” said Belal Jabbar the spokesman for the LPG Association of Pakistan in a statement issued on Monday. Under the Petroleum Products Ordinance 1961, the Government is authorised to charge Petroleum Levy up to Rs 11,486 per tonne. “We fear that this is the initial step and expect the government to increase the amount of levy from Rs. 3,500 to Rs. 11,486 per tonne in the coming months,” said Belal. The new notification is likely to be challenged again on the grounds that it is discriminatory towards local LPG producers that account for 80% of the country’s LPG consumption. It is also feared that the notification would drive up the cost of the product for the consumers. State owned PARCO and OGDCL had announced a reduction in their LPG base stock price from Rs 92,900 to Rs 88,700 per tonne on Saturday, following the decline in Saudi Aramco CP. That price will most likely be revised upwards by Rs 3,500 per tonne following the imposition of the Petroleum Levy.

Micro credit sector witnesses robust growth ISLAMABAD: Microcredit Summit Campaign’s report has revealed that about 13 million of the world’s poorest families received access to micro credit and other financial services in 2011. However, contrary to the global trends, microcredit sector has witnessed robust growth in Pakistan, which has been ranked by the Economic Intelligent Unit among top countries for offering conducive environment for microfinance sector growth.

The report said as a sector developer, Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF) is in the driving seat to control the trajectory and disbursed over Rs. 14 billion during the year under review resulting in an increase of Rs. 2,545 million in the outstanding loan portfolio and contributing almost 76 per cent of the total increase witnessed by the microfinance sector in Pakistan. PPAF is the strategic and exclusive partner of Microcredit Summit Campaign

for reporting and in terms of realising its aims and objectives. Since its inception, PPAF has disbursed more than $850 million through 5.2 million micro credit loans. Report further revealed that currently, almost half of Pakistan’s microfinance market share is financed by PPAF through over 50 microfinance banks, microfinance institutions and other civil society organisations in 92 districts across the country. ℗ONLINE

First, ease monetary policy if inflation isn’t a problem. Second, use expansionary fiscal policy to sustain growth if government debt isn’t excessive. Third, accumulate more foreign-exchange reserves to weaken the currency. Fourth, impose controls on capital inflows. The U.S. has pursued the first two steps aggressively but growth has remained too weak. It’s time to move on to stage three: large-scale purchases of foreign-currency reserves. At only $52 billion, U.S. reserves are far below the conventional metric for adequate reserves of three months of imports, which would imply reserves of almost $700 billion. U.S. reserves are denominated in euros and yen. With both the euro-area and Japanese economies already stagnating, leaders of these countries would surely criticize official purchases that put upward pressure on their currencies and downward pressure on their exports. The obvious alternative is to buy the Chinese renminbi, but China forbids foreign investment in its currency except through strictly limited channels. No other single currency has markets deep enough to make purchases practicable in the amounts required. However, as I recently proposed with my colleague C. Fred Bergsten, the U.S. should purchase reserves in a range of currencies from countries that manipulate their exchange rates, namely Denmark, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland andTaiwan. And the U.S. should communicate clearly to Japan that any future intervention by the Japanese to weaken the yen would be fully offset by U.S. purchases of yen. Further measures are needed, however. The country should prepare to impose taxes or restrictions on capital inflows, especially against countries such as China that manipulate exchange rates and that don’t allow reciprocal purchases of their own currencies by foreigners. And the International Monetary Fund should examine whether the large purchases of foreign assets by governments in oil-exporting countries exceed a reasonable level, especially in light of the negative effects of such purchases on global economic activity during a time of widespread underemployment. These policies would add millions of jobs in the U.S. As the leaders of the Group of 20 have urged, governments in countries with trade surpluses should be encouraged to boost consumption and investment at home. Returning international trade to balance would strengthen global growth and make it more sustainable, a good outcome for the whole world.

Writer is a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics. The opinions expressed are his own.) ℗BLOOMBERG

Sui gas tariff goes up in South, down in North 

SSCGL’s tariff raised by Rs 9.66/mmbtu  SNGPL’s reduced by Rs 7.91/mmbtu, additional income goes to govt pool


ISLAMABAD: Owing to the revenue requirements and income of gas utilities, Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) has approved the decision to increase the tariff of Sui Southern Gas Company Limited (SSGCL). A decrease in the tariff of Sui Northern Gas Pipelines (SNGPL) has also been announced. Gas consumers are set to bear the brunt of SSGCL’s tariff hike. And they would not find any relief from the decrease in tariff of SNGPL owing to the federal government’s formula in this regard. Available copy of OGRA’s decision pertaining to gas companies’ tariff disclosed that the regulator (OGRA)

has jacked up the tariff of SSGCL by Rs 9.66/mmbtu while tariff of SNGPL has been reduced by Rs 7.91/mmbtu. During last financial year 2011-12, income of SNGPL stood at Rs 224 billion and 90 crore while the gas company’s revenue requirement remained at Rs 220 billion and 49 crore. And the data reveals that the company earned Rs 4 billion and 41 crore additionally. Even so, under the federal government’s formula, the SNGPL’s additionally earned income of would go to the Gas Development Surcharge pool, which would later be handed over to the provincial governments. And with the federal government having already collected Rs 9 billion from the over burdened consumers of Punjab and Khyber

Pakhtunkhwa (KP), the amount would surged to Rs 13.5billion after this decision. Rs 9 billion and 72 crore of them would be given to Sindh government. On the other hand, the revenue requirement of SSGCL was witnessed to be Rs 134 billion and 90 crore while the company’s income stood at Rs 131 crore and 58 crore during the last fiscal year 2011-12. As a result SSGCL faces a loss of Rs 3 billion, 32 crore and 10 lakh, which the gas utility would pay from the relentlessly emptying pockets of its consumers during the next financial year. Documents available with this scribe further showcased that OGRA on account of stolen gas, non-metered and metered losses

including non-recovery of bills from crisis-riddled KP and Balochistan province has rejected the collection of Rs 9 billion from the poor consumers already paying their bills regularly. During the first week of the current year, the issue of stateowned gas utilities’ exorbitant demand for disallowances on unaccounted for gas (UFG) and nonrecovery of bills and non-metered gas remained indecisive even after of a couple of hours of heated debate in the federal cabinet. During the course of this meeting, the regulator’s viewpoint was clear; it had approved the law and order and non-recovery of bills allowances for the Sui Southern Company which “genuinely deserved”

operating in Balochistan and Sindh. The Petroleum Ministry was of the view that denial to grant the demanded allowances would threaten the financial viability of these utilities. Therefore, the PM decided to constitute a committee sensing the gravity of the issue under law minister Farooq H Naek and sought a report. It merits mentioning here that SNGPL had demanded OGRA to allow it to collect Rs 6.3 billion from the consumers and SSGCL had demanded Rs 2.1 billion. Petroleum Ministry has surprisingly sought from the regulator (OGRA) Rs 6.4 bilion for SNGPL and Rs 3.2 billion for SSGCL in addition to the demands of both gas utilities which is apparently “unjust and not fair.”


Iran's Ahmadinejad on historic visit to Cairo CAIRO: President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad arrived in Egypt on Tuesday for the first visit by an Iranian leader in more than three decades, marking a historic departure from years of frigid ties between the two regional heavyweights. Egypt's Islamist President Mohammed Morsi gave Ahmadinejad a red-carpet welcome on the tarmac at Cairo airport, shaking the Iranian's hand and exchanging a kiss on each cheek as a military honor guard stood at attention. Ahmadinejad's three-day visit, which is centered around an Islamic summit, is the latest sign of improved relations between the countries since the 2011. AGENCIES

France arrests Islamists in Mali rebels probe PARIS: French police arrested four suspected Islamist militants near Paris on Tuesday as part of an investigation into the recruitment of volunteers by al Qaeda insurgents in Mali, Interior Minister Manuel Valls said. The arrests came as France's intervention in Mali to rid its former colony of Islamist fighters has prompted the authorities to increase security measures against possible reprisal attacks on its interests in mainland France and abroad. Anti-terrorism judge Marc Trevidic, who is in charge of the operation, told Reuters last month that France needed more robust local policing, better intelligence sharing and the ability to infiltrate small radical Islamist groups if it hopes to fight new security threats on its soil. AGENCIES

China locks radar on naval forces: Japan TOKYO: Japan accused China's navy of locking weapons-guiding radar onto Japanese naval forces twice in the past three weeks—a serious escalation in the two countries' long-running territorial dispute that has heightened fears of a looming military conflict between the two Asian giants. In a hurriedly arranged news conference, Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera said Tuesday evening that Chinese frigate ships aimed firecontrol radar at a Japanese naval destroyer on Jan. 30 and a navy helicopter on Jan. 19. AGENCIES

Kenya tracks Facebook, Twitter for ʻhate speechʼ NAIROBI: Every day, Kagonya Awori and her tech-savvy team trawl through Facebook and Twitter for warning signs that Kenya's elections in March may unleash the same ethnic violence that took the country to the brink of civil war five years ago. Sifting through blogs and social media sites, the group of six search for hate speech and inflammatory postings - or any early indications that inter-tribal tensions are escalating. Awori and her colleagues have reason to be worried. AGENCIES

Iran nuclear talks set for Feb 26 DUBAI: Iran and world powers announced new talks on Tehran's nuclear program on February 26, but hopes of progress after Tuesday's announcement were tempered when an Iranian official said the West's goal in talking was to undermine the Islamic republic. First word of the meeting, to be held in Kazakhstan, came in comments from Iran's Supreme National Security Council to state news agency IRNA. Later, a spokesman for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said she hoped to make progress in allaying concerns about a program Iran denies has a military purpose. Both sides said the widely expected appointment to meet was made on Tuesday by Iran's deputy nuclear negotiator Ali Bagheri and European Union counterpart Helga Schmid. However, there were immediate signs from Iran, which holds a

But comments by Abdollah Haj-Sadeghi, a representative of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to Iran's elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), indicated continued differences of opinion in Tehran; those may limit the prospect of narrowing the dispute with the West at the talks in Almaty, the first of their kind since negotiators met in Moscow in June. "They will never want real dialogue and negotiations," Haj-Sadeghi was quoted as saying by the ISNA news agency, addressing religious students in the theological center of Qom. "Their goal is to inhibit the Islamic revolution. If they can't eliminate the Islamic revolution, they want to weaken and inhibit this revolution," he said. "A revolution with a religious nature cannot reconcile itself with arrogance."

N Korea threatens ‘stronger’ measures than nuclear test

Hollande sees tough EU summit ahead

SEOUL: North Korea stepped up its bellicose rhetoric on Tuesday threatening to go beyond carrying out a promised third nuclear test in response to what it believes are "hostile" sanctions imposed after a December rocket launch. The North frequently employs fiery rhetoric aimed at South Korea and the United States and in 2010 was blamed for sinking a South Korean naval vessel. It also shelled a South Korean island in the same year, killing civilians. It did not spell out the actions it would take. The North is not capable of staging a military strike on the United States, although South Korea is in range of its artillery and missiles and it can hit Japan with its missiles. "The DPRK (Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea, or North Korea) has drawn a final conclusion that it will have to take a measure stronger than a nuclear test to cope with the hostile forces nuclear war moves that have become ever more undisguised," the North's KCNA state news agency said. The United States and South Korea are staging military

PARIS: French President Francois Hollande on Tuesday warned British Prime Minister David Cameron not to hijack this week’s European Union summit with excessive demands on cuts in the European Union budget while refusing to make concessions themselves. In his address to the European Parliament, Hollande said the 2014-2020 EU budget of some 1 trillion euro ($1.35 trillion) was open to some savings but insisted the leaders at Thursday’s summit should not compromise innovation and shared sectors like farming. A November summit ended in failure when Britain led opposition against proposals for a new seven-year EU budget, which represents less that 2 per cent of the 27-nation gross domestic product. The breakup was seen in Britain as a show of Cameron resolve in the face of thrifty EU nations. AGENCIES

drills that North Korea says are a rehearsal for an invasion, something both Washington and Seoul deny. The North successfully launched a longrange rocket in December in violation of U.N. resolutions that banned it from developing missile or nuclear technology after nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009. The North says that it has the sovereign right to launch rockets for peaceful purposes. Its widely trailed third nuclear test was announced in response to the sanctions agreed in January, although satellite imagery indicates that the isolated and impoverished state has been readying its nuclear test site for more than a year. While most experts believe the North will stage a test, the timing is not known. It could come around February 16, the anniversary of former leader Kim Jong-il's birth. Another unknown is what the North will use as fissile material. In the past it has used its diminishing supply of plutonium stocks, but is believed to have enriched weapons that would give it a second path to a nuclear bomb. AGENCIES

Iranian officials often use the term "arrogant" to denote Western nations. It was not immediately clear whether he was referring to the continuing process of negotiation with the six world powers, known as the P5+1, or to the prospect of direct negotiations with the United States, Iran's main adversary. Haj-Sadeghi's remarks contrasted with those of Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi, who said in Berlin on Monday that he was "optimistic" regarding what he saw as a new approach from the United States regarding Iran. Shashank Joshi, a senior fellow and Middle East specialist at the Royal United Services Institute, said the mixed messages reflected Iran's "fragmented" political system, in which power is divided between elected and unelected bodies. AGENCIES

India rape trial hears witnesses

Pressure mounts on Assad over talks offer DAMASCUS: Pressure mounted Tuesday on Syrian President Bashar al Assad to respond to a surprise offer of talks by his main political opponents aimed at ending warfare in which tens of thousands of people have died. Assad himself has yet to comment on the offer from Ahmed Moaz al-Khatib, leader of Syria’s opposition National Coalition, but pro-regime Al-Watan newspaper described it as a political “manoeuvre” that comes two years too late. Khatib told pan-Arab television channel Al-Jazeera on Monday that “the ball is now in the regime’s court. They will either say yes or no.” He was following up on his surprise announcement last week that he was ready for talks with the Damascus regime – subject to conditions, including the release of 160,000 detainees – on ways to end the conflict that has ravaged Syria since March 2011. He later elaborated, telling Al-Arabiya news channel he was ready to meet Assad’s deputy, Vice President Faruq al-Sharaa. In the past the opposition has demanded


ong the disclaimer of those bearing bad news, the phrase “don’t shoot the messenger” may soon become a rallying cry of the American public. Under an ostensibly liberal, Democratic president, government prosecutors have ushered in a new era of targeting whistleblowers. Prosecuting those responsible for the wrongdoings, meanwhile, has been made no such priority. The recent sentencing of former CIA officer John Kiriakou represents the latest example in the crackdown on leaks to the media and public. So, the “good news” is, someone has finally gone to jail in connection to the U.S.’s policy of torture in the War on Terror. The bad news? It’s someone who helped bring the abhorrent practice to national attention, not any of the people who conducted or green-lighted that torture. As journalist Kevin Gosztola observed, “The only CIA officer to go to jail for torture is now officially an officer who never tortured anybody.” It’s probably not worth holding your breath (emphatically not a pun) waiting to see any of the waterboarding perpetrators brought to justice. Because when we’re dealing with war crimes, the law has come down hardest on those individuals bringing them to light. Take the case of the headline-fetching “kill team” in Afghanistan’s Kandahar region throughout 2009. Here, a former Staff Sergeant Calvin Gibbs encouraged fellow soldiers to murder unarmed civilians as young as 15 without provocation and assist him in collecting body parts as trophies. At a spry 26, he became the highest-ranking official charged in the murders. His life sentence affords him eligibility for a generously early parole. While a handful of his subordinates have been dealt sentences ranging from three to 24 years, it is likely each of them, along

presidential election in June, that powerful figures were skeptical of their worth. Western powers say Iran may be close to having the capacity to build a nuclear weapon, though Tehran insists it is seeking only electricity. The United States and its allies, which have imposed tough economic sanctions, are keen to show progress on an overall agreement for curbing and monitoring Iran's nuclear activities - not least because Israel, seeing itself especially threatened, has warned it could mount a pre-emptive attack. A spokesman for Ashton, who represents the five permanent U.N. Security Council members plus Germany, said: "She hopes that the talks will be productive and that concrete progress can be made towards a negotiated solution to meet the international community's concerns about the Iranian nuclear program."

Assad step down before talks can begin but analysts say Khatib’s change in stance stems from a belief that the population will be bled dry while the West fails to act. Experts have also predicted that Khatib’s overture will be rejected outright by Damascus, with Assad unlikely to accept his conditions for talks. Giving hint of what is likely to be an official reaction to the proposal, Al-Watan said Tuesday that Khatib’s offer came too late. “Despite their importance, the statements of Sheikh Moaz al-Khatib are two years late. During that time, our finest young men have died, suffered wounds or been exiled, while we have lost our electricity and fuel infrastructure, alongside several military positions,” it said in a long editorial. “So the ball is not in the Syrian state’s hands, as Khatib said,” Al-Watan added. Washington gave strong backing to Khatib’s call for dialogue. US State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said that if the Syrian regime is interested in peace “it should sit

down and talk now with the … Coalition, and we would strongly support al-Khatib in that call.” But she stressed that the US position remained unchanged on bringing to account those, on both sides, who have committed atrocities. Assad last month announced he was ready for talks with the opposition but ruled out meeting groups such as Khatib’s National Coalition, which backs rebels seeking to overthrow his regime. Some opponents of Assad’s regime denounced Khatib’s offer for talks, while others welcomed it. “To negotiate is difficult. They may be doomed and they may fail, but the attempt to stop the bloodbath with a proposal so humane may reap more fruits than merely waiting,” prominent Kurdish activist Massoud Akko said on his Facebook page. Meanwhile, Hadi al-Abdallah, an activist in besieged Quseir in the central province of Homs, told AFP via the Internet he considered Khatib’s proposal naive. AGENCIES

NEW DELHI: The trial for five men accused in the gang rape and death of a 23-year-old student in India began hearing witnesses today for the first time. The special court in New Delhi is under a media blackout, but Indian media reported that the court began hearing evidence from several witnesses to the Dec. 16 attack, which has focused international attention on violence against women in the country. BBC reporter Sanjoy Majumder told CBC News that one of the first witnesses to arrive at the courthouse was the young male friend of the student, who was with her the night she was allegedly gang-raped by five men on a bus and is now in a wheelchair after he too was attacked. The woman and her friend were dumped naked at the side of the road, and the woman died two weeks later in a Singapore hospital. There is a publication ban on the trial, but in earlier statements, the woman's friend said he tried to stop the assault, but instead was attacked with iron bars as they dragged her to the back of the bus. He has also pointed fingers at the police, freelance journalist Faiz Jamil told CBC News. He has said that after he and the woman were dumped on the side of the road, three police vans showed up, but instead of helping them, the police argued over whose jurisdiction they were under. AGENCIES

Prosecuting whistleblowers instead of criminals


Speak no evil, just do it 

Under an ostensibly liberal president, a new era of targeting whistleblowers has begun

with Gibbs, will be free within 10 years. Then there’s the 2005 Haditha massacre where soldiers under the direction of former Staff Sergeant Frank Wuterich slaughtered 24 unarmed civilians in response to an IED detonation earlier that day. Despite testifying to giving a “negligent verbal order” and failing to identify targets or maintain “adequate tactical control” of his troops, Wuterich was discharged from the Marines under honorable conditions. He returned to his family and Connecticut home where he was celebrated with a fundraising golf tournament and awards of recognition from community groups. More recently, in March of this year, the world learned of Staff Sergeant Robert Bales, who strolled out of his Afghanistan outpost to fatally shoot and stab families in two separate villages just before dawn. Of the 16 unarmed civilians he is accused of killing, nine were children. Although he faces the possibility of the death penalty at his upcoming court martial, Bales has complained of no ill treatment and has seamlessly integrated into the general, pre-trial population at Fort Leavenworth—a state-of-the-art military facility with private cells offering 35 square feet of unencumbered living space, along with windows and natural light. Compare the three examples above with some of the individuals hounded for merely exposing government and military abuses.

In addition to public disgrace and loss of livelihood, whistleblowers in some cases face life in prison, 150-year sentences with no chance of parole, and members of congress clamoring for their blood. Former ethics adviser Jesselyn Radack paid for her critique of the violations in the John Walker Lindh case with her career at the Department of Justice—who really could use another ethics adviser, it seems. State Department official Peter Van Buren was stripped of his security clearances after two decades of service and assigned to menial telecommuting work after publishing a book critical of reconstruction efforts in Iraq. In other cases, mainstream news outlets have been threatened with subpoena. Less mainstream ones, like WikiLeaks, have faced financial blockade and the threat of a U.S. sealed indictment for founder Julian Assange. For a picture of how this sort of persecution permeates the cultural landscape, one needn’t look farther than the tragic passing of Reddit co-founder Aaron Schwartz, who took his own life for sharing information restricted not for national security but for a subscriptionbased profit. The most glaring example of the Obama administration’s prosecution of its critics, however, can be found in its unprecedented penchant for the archaic, WWI-era Espionage Act. In the past, the act was used to stifle and intimidate reformers, such as Eugene Debs, Emma Goldman and

radical fringe publications like the New York Times. Those joining the club today are individuals accused of passing information not to enemy forces but to trusted media outlets read by the American public. All six of them say they are whistleblowers, not traitors. Of the six Americans charged under the Espionage Act since 2009, Shamai Leibowitz, Stephen Jin-Woo Kim, Jeffrey Sterling, Thomas Drake and John Kiriakou may not be household names exactly. The sixth however, is well on his way to becoming one—if he’s not already. Army private Bradley Manning, accused of passing government files to the media outlet WikiLeaks, approaches his 1,000th day behind bars awaiting trial in the most high-profile case the administration has pursued against its critics. While already rife with human rights and procedural violations, the Manning trial threatens to set as dangerous a precedent for those serving in the military as the other five do for civilians. The prosecution contends Manning is guilty of “aiding the enemy” simply because he passed sensitive materials to WikiLeaks, knowing, once published, the material could in theory be accessed by any super villain clever enough to get his hands on an internet connection. Should the military court rule in their favor, soldiers in a unique position to speak out about mismanagement, abuses of power and atrocities would have serious cause to

second-guess any thoughts about coming forward. Within the past four years, the Obama Administration has brought charges against more whistleblowers than all other presidential administrations to date. Its special preference for the Espionage Act effectively erases the differentiation between whistleblowers and those committing treason. While the espionage charges were dropped in Kiriakou’s case as part of a plea bargain, its frivolous invocation has led journalists and activists from all stripes (it’s not every day Jerry Falwell and Noam Chomsky stand in the same camp) to raise concerns about the chill factor this policy invariably has on a free press and the informed public prerequisite to the democratic process. In just four years, Attorney General Eric Holder set the dubious milestone of prosecuting more of his colleagues under the Espionage Act than all of his predecessors combined. Even Edwin Meese (whose approach to the office could be summed up with his 1985 quote, “If a person is innocent of a crime, then he is not a suspect”) knew better than to open this Pandora’s Box. Although alarming, this trend doesn’t call for conspiracy theories, or even limiting criticism to one administration over another. After all, public opinion varies in all of these cases, while Americans as a group are wary of granting the label of whistleblower too freely. What the precedent set in the last four years does demand is some deep reflection about the rule of law, its application and whether we as a nation want to punish criminals or merely the outspoken witnesses of their crimes.

Michael McKee is a member of the Bradley Manning Support Network. (Counterpunch)


Shahrukh Khan to lecture at Harvard

Delhi has become my second home: Sonam Kapoor




MUMBAI: Bollywood's leading actor Shah Rukh Khan has been invited to give a lecture at the renowned Harvard University. We hear from sources that the University approached SRK asking him to deliver a speech by taking out some time from his busy schedule. The actor who will be re-starting the shooting for Rohit Shetty's Chennai Express is planning to visit the university in March and this time will be preparing for one on a more serious note. Having graduated in Economics and with a great amount of experience working in the industry, SRK who also runs a successful company called VFX is likely to talk to the students about the economics of filmmaking in the world's largest movie-making industry. Last year, the actor was invited to give a speech at the Yale University at the US. -SHOWBIZ DESK

NEW DEHLI: Sonam Kapoor just wrapped up shooting for Ranjhana last week and is headed on the sets of YRF's next film. However she won't have to change city. Both the films are being shot in Delhi. Says Sonam Kapoor, "I have been shooting in Delhi for Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, Ranjhana and now I am back here for YRF's next. Delhi has practically become my second home". This will be Sonam's first film under the YRF banner. This fun-filled satire is written by Habib Faisal and will be directed by Nupur Asthana. Ayushmann Khurana stars opposite Sonam Kapoor in the film. Talking about the film Sonam says, "The story is about two people, passionately in love and who strongly believe that love can help them survive. But Mayera's willful bureaucrat father (Rishi Kapoor) vehemently disagrees. Things change when recession strikes and the lack of money tests love". -SHOWBIZ DESK

Oscar nominees attend award luncheon

Humaima replaces Mehreen in music video SHOWBIZ DESK KARACHI: Rishi Rich’s French star Abbas Hassan is about to hit the sets of his music video for his widely awaited new single, and it’s caused a pressstorm before even being released! Times of India reported in December that Abbas had selected supermodel Mehreen Syed as his leading lady, but new reports from Abbas Hasan’s management have confirmed that Humaima Malick will be starring opposite the heartthrob singer in his new music video. Humaima Malick, best known as the face of major brands and for her critically acclaimed performance in the film “Bol”, will now be setting the screen on fire opposite Rishi Rich’s artist and protégé Abbas Hasan. Humaima who has beguiled us with her refreshing personality and serious acting chops continues to juggle modelling and acting effectively. Having starred in many hit dramas on top TV channels in Pakistan, she is now ready to take to take Bollywood by storm. Abbas says: “I’m really looking forward to work with Humaima, I think she’s incredibly beautiful and talented. I think it will be really cool for our fans and the world to see her in a different context and I’m sure she’ll be perfect for the role.” The song is reportedly produced by Rishi Rich himself and his production protégé Naamless is also said to have worked on the track. The video is already in preproduction stages and is planned for February, so we can look forward to seeing Abbas and Humaima sharing the screen early in the new year. This has been an exciting year for Humaima Malik with two Bollywood films already set for release. Not only will she be starring opposity Sunjay Dutt in Sher, she has also been signed on in a lead role in Vidhu Cinod Chopra’s next film, Chitthiyan.

I will never be out of the film industry: Meera SHOWBIZ DESK


LAHORE: Enjoying her glory in India Meera said that she will never quit the industry and the she is very happy at her position. Finishing the Lux Calender Shoot in India, and busy with Mahesh Bhatt’s movie and signing on two more films was the latest happenings with Meera! In addition to that Meera’s luck is going high as she is all set to appear in a few functions in Canada! Meera said that she has worked hard for her work and will always want to be a successful actress.

CALIFORNIA: The Academy Awards nominees luncheon took place at The Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, California, bringing out this year’s Oscar hopefuls. Best Actress nominee Jennifer Lawrence was glowing in a white strapless dress and admitted she has started thinking about what to wear on February 24. “I’m going to wear sweatpants,” Lawrence joked. “No, I’ve been thinking about it and I’ve got some sketches together, but nothing decided yet. “ “Last time was comfort,” the “Silver Linings Playbook” star told us, referring to her red Calvin Klein gown from 2011. “This year I’m like, ‘Wear a corset.’ I’m going to go for fashion this time. I say that, but at the end when you’re just exhausted from dressing up you never care! But no, I will.” As for how she will calm her nerves on the big night, Lawrence revealed she usually turns to food. "Right before the last Oscars I was wearing a skintight dress and I ate a Philly cheese steak and fries and was like ‘this is definitely going to help,' which it didn’t. I ended up having to double my spans.” Lawrence also told reporters that she hopes to bring both of her parents along as dates to the Academy Awards. Ben Affleck seems to be the hottest thing in Hollywood right now, but he told, there are plenty of fellow Oscar nominees he hopes to work with someday. “I would love to work with directors Ang Lee, David O. Russell, Steven Spielberg. I would love to work with Kathryn Bigelow,” Affleck shared before laughing: “I don’t know what it says about me that I haven’t worked with any of those people!” “Part of me, when I get around these people, I feel like I should be doing an audition or something,” continued the “Argo” director. “I’m just happy to be rubbing elbows with them.” Many call it the upset of the season that Affleck didn't receive an Oscar nomination for Best Director. So does he think that category should be expanded? “I leave those sorts of calculations to the Oscar ologists,” Affleck said with a smile. “I feel so incredibly honored to be nominated as a producer for this movie. There are nine amazing movies, any of which could win, any of which deserve to win. So I don’t get into much of worrying about who got what, who didn’t get what. I’ve had many, many, many years of watching from home.” Inside the luncheon Affleck was seated at DreamWorks CEO

Mexican jewellery popular with celebrities





MADRID: With a concept of jewellery based on a fusion of traditional craftsmanship and avantgarde design, Mexican Daniel Espinosa has beguiled with his baroque creations such stars as Madonna, Susan Sarandon, Halle Berry, Gwyneth Paltrow and actresses in the successful television series Gossip Girl. In times of crisis and austerity, Espinosa, rather than conservatively sticking to discreet, unpretentious jewels, goes in for baroque creations with all the personality in the world. "I like to

make eye-catching jewels with geometric volumes," the designer said. Born to a family of jewellers in Taxco, home of Mexican silver, Espinosa, who has the profession and technique in his blood, preferred to concentrate more on design and moved to Los Angeles. "Jewellery is in my DNA," Espinosa said, adding that nowadays "I work to give my jewels a new kind of expression, but my starting point is always as the artisan". His necklaces, chokers, bangles, bracelets and earrings have caressed the skin of Nelly Furtado, Paulina Rubio, Madonna, Melanie Griffith, Gwyneth Paltrow, Halle Berry and Sharon Stone.

Priyanka music video goes viral

SHOWBIZ DESK MUMBAI: Priyanka Chopra’s video for her first song, In my city featuring, has opened to a great response. “It’s received over one million views within four days of its release. A lot of videos take a long time to reach that mark,” says a source. The song has apparently become popular across the world, especially in Canada, where the actor is currently promoting the album. “There’s a huge Indian population in Canada, and Priyanka has been invited to promote her song there. She’s visiting radio stations, malls and also giving away signed merchandise to her fans,” says the source. “Though the song is of international standards, a lot of Indians connect well to it because she’s got a desi feel to it. It was something some Priyanka always wanted.”

Ben Affleck

Jennifer Lawrence

QuvenzhaneWallis Denzel Washington Jeffrey Katzenberg’s table where many industry moguls came up to wish him good luck on the big day. Denzel Washington had a very welcomed party crasher: Best Actress nominee Quvenzhané Wallis, who walked up to the “Flight” actor’s seat to introduce herself. “I gotta see her,” Washington had said earlier about meeting the 9-year-old nominee. “Maybe if I’m nice to her she’ll put me in one of her movies!” Denzel and Quvenzhané took pictures together and seemed equally thrilled to meet the other. All of the nominees were eventually wrangled to pose for their 2013 Class Picture. It looked like the spot to be would have been in between Best Actor nominee Hugh Jackman and Best Actress nominee Jessica Chastain. The duo was smiling and laughing, and genuinely looked elated to be part of the prestigious ceremony.

Victoria's lip ring voted fashion disaster of the century

Britney Spears steps out in tacky outfit

'Khiladi 786' director to keep don's biopic entertaining

Russell Brand enjoys hanging out with the homeless

LONDON: Victoria Beckham may be a well regarded fashionista now but a lip ring that she wore during a performance in 2001 has helped her top the list of fashion disaster of the century ahead of Lady Gaga and Angelina Jolie. The former Spice Girls singer is leading the list with 20 per cent votes while her footballer husband David's cornrow hairstyle in 2003 has been named second in the poll, the Daily Mail reported. Lady Gaga's controversial meat dress at the 2010 VMA's was next on the list of major fashion fails, according to the survey by Central Contracts which asked 1000 people to name the worst celebrity style catastrophes since 2000. Gaga has garnered 16 per cent votes to land at third spot. Reality TV star Kim Kardashian, singer Nicki Minaj and Simon Cowell are the worst offenders on the list as voters slammed them for their overall fashion sense. Angelina Jolie's attention-grabbing velvet gown, which showed her right leg at the Oscars last year won her a seventh spot on the list. -SHOWBIZ DESK

LOS ANGELES: The pop star, who's never had a chic street style, wore a particularly odd ensemble on Sunday, as she and her sons Sean Preston and Jayden took her pups to see the veterinarian. It was the kind of tacky, just-threwon-whatever look that inspires people to jokingly write "y'all" every time they refer to her. Spears donned pajama shorts, a tank top (with bra straps peeking out from underneath), tall patterned socks, sneakers, a messy updo, and what looks like makeup from the night before an outfit that would have been perfectly accessorized with a bag of Cheetos. Perhaps there was something seriously wrong with her adorable pooches, and she had to rush out of the house? Or, maybe she just wanted to give herself a break on a lazy Sunday? Unfortunately, when you're Ms. Britney Spears, there are always cameras watching. Whatever her reason for choosing the getup, it's a far fall from the more pulledtogether mini dress looks she was sporting on "The X Factor" last season. -SHOWBIZ DESK

MUMBAI: 'Khiladi 786' director Ashish R Mohan, who is making a biopic on notorious gangster Babloo Srivastava, says he will try to keep it real and entertaining as expectations have soared after his debut film last year. Srivastava was a former aide of mafia don Dawood Ibrahim. "This is my second film and considering 'Khiladi 786' did well so there are lots of expectations from me. So I am in no hurry to finalise things. The film is of different stature. It is not easy to handle a subject of this nature. One has to stick to realism and keep it entertaining at the same time. This time it is difficult," Ashish told. "I am still writing the script. I think it would take couple of months may be five-six months to finish the scripting part. I want to do full justice to this film, so I would take my own time," he said. The film will chronicle the life of Srivastava on the big screen. "It is a semi-biopic is what I would say. The film would probably have 100 percent or 80 percent or 40 percent of Babloo's real life story. -SHOWBIZ DESK

NEW YORK: One thing’s for sure when it comes to Russell Brand: He’s an eccentric guy. From his wild outfits to his public discussion of his sexual conquests to that time he threw a paparazzo’s iPhone through a window, the 37-year-old certainly marches to the beat of his own drum. "The Howard Stern Show" on SiriusXM Satellite radio, the “Get Him to the Greek” star proved again he’s not your average Joe, sharing the fact that he doesn’t just give money to homeless people he sees on the street, he enjoys taking them out for a meal, too. “I do like to hang out with the old homeless. They’ve got a lot of interesting things to say, some of them,” said Brand, who made the appearance to promote the return his FX talk show, “BrandX.” “Some of them do seem to be living outside of convention and they’ve got access to interesting information.” Brand said that while many the people he’s taken out have been mentally ill, and he’s still quite interested in what they have to say. -SHOWBIZ DESK




Misbah among top 10 for first time in his career

Amla takes over as number-one ranked Test batsman Steyn breaks 900-rating points barrier for second time


STAFF REPORT ISLAMABAD: Hashim Amla leads a number of South Africa players who continue to make impressive gains in the latest ICC Test Player Rankings released on Tuesday. South Africa players now head the ICC Test Player Rankings tables for batting, bowling and all-rounders, after the side’s 211 runs win over Pakistan in the first Test at Johannesburg on Monday, which gave it a 10 lead in the three-match series. Amla has taken over the number-one position in the ICC Player Rankings for Test batsman for the first time in his career, after entering the Johannesburg Test trailing Australia captain Michael Clarke by just one ratings point. He has moved to top spot after knocks of 37 and 74 not out, and now sits on 895 ratings points, which is his career-best rating. Amla, who was short-listed for the ICC Cricketer of the Year Award in 2011 and 2012, now heads both the Test and ODI batting tables. He is the first man since former Australia captain Ricky Ponting in December 2007 to do so. Amla, reacting to his number-one Test ranking, said: “I am surprised and happy with my position as the No.1 ranked Test batsman. However, I’m also mindful that rankings change quite regularly. It’s been a great year for our squad, and to be honest I still don’t think that I am the best batsman in our team. What has been most pleasing though for us has been the all-round contribution from everyone in the squad that has been the main reason for our success over the last few years.” Fast bowler Dale Steyn has broken the 900-rating points barrier for the second time in his career to retain his number one position in the ICC Player Rankings for Test bowlers, and Jacques Kallis still heads the ICC Player Rankings for Test all-rounders. South Africa vice-captain AB de Villiers has achieved a career-best fourth position in the batting rankings after knocks of 31 and 103 not out, and Pakistan captain Misbahul Haq has broken into the top 10 for the first time in his career in 10th position (up by three). Others to make upward movements in the batting rankings are Pakistan’s Asad Shafiq in 28th (up by four) and Faf du Plessis of South Africa in 34th (up by four). Bowlers to make upward movements are Jacques Kallis in 29th (up by four) and Mohammad Hafeez in 48th (up by eight). Kallis continues to head the all-rounders’ list, but Hafeez has broken into the top 10 after jumping three places to 10th.

Winter Olympics Games in Sochi to cost $50 billion

MOSCOW: The Winter Olympic Games to be held in Russia's Black Sea city of Sochi in one year's time will cost a total of 1.5 trillion rubles ($50.0 billion), a Russian deputy prime minister said on Monday. "It's true that the figure is approaching this ceiling,” Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak told reporters. He said of the 700 billion rubles ($23.3 billion) coming from the Russian budget, 200 billion ($6.7 billion) is being spent on building the Olympic facilities and 500 billion ($16.7 billion) on developing Sochi's infrastructure. The total cost is a sharp rise from initial estimates of $19 billion, although direct comparisons are difficult between different sets of figures. Russia is planning on Thursday to hold a major ceremony to mark the one-year countdown to the Games. —AGENCIES

Chile marks new start for Nadal TENNIS PARIS: Rafael Nadal's return to action after a seven-month injury layoff will be the focus of attention in tennis in Chile this week. The 11time Grand Slam champion has been on the sidelines since he was beaten in the second round at Wimbledon by Czech journeyman Lukas Rosol in late June. During that time, Roger Federer, Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic have won Grand Slam titles and, as the other member of the sport's Big Four, the question is whether the Spaniard will ever be able to compete again at the highest level. Nadal, who will be 27 in June, has been careful to play down expectations. Yes, he still has some pain from his troublesome knees and no, he does not expect to immediately rediscover his old winning ways in his first tournament back at Vina del Mar in Chile, the starter for the claycourt season that climaxes with the French Open in Paris in May/June. "Of course I still feel pain in the knee that sometimes stops me from playing, but you have to start sometime and I am here to try and give my best and hope that my knee comes through it," he added. "Undoubtedly the clay surface is a little less aggressive on my knee," he said. "My aim is to compete courageously and hopefully the knee will stand up to it. "There is always the possibility that I will lose in the first round after so many months without competing." The consensus is that Nadal, who had been due to return to action at the notoriously physical Australian Open in January, but who

pulled out due to a viral condition, has been wise to bet on clay once again. Seven of his 11 Grand Slam titles have come on the claycourts of Roland Garros and he has amassed an unprecedented career win record of 254 out of 273 on the surface since he first exploded onto the international scene in 2005. Vina del Mar is an essentially low-key tournament, but Nadal is looking to progressively rebuild his confidence in claycourt tournaments in Brazil and Mexico before heading up to the United States for the Masters Series events in Indian Wells and Miami on the less unforgiving (for his knees) hardcourt classics. After that beckon Monte Carlo, Barcelona, Rome and on to Paris – the red clay route that Nadal has dominated like no-one else over the last eight years. What happens after that on the grass of Wimbledon and the hardcourts of New York depends to a great extent on how his physique and mental fortitude cope with the new challenges. Few of his peers seem to doubt his ability to get back to the top level and everyone agrees that his return will be good for the sport of tennis given the Spaniard's huge fan base. "Can't wait to see him back playing again. The sport will be all the better for it," said Federer, whose rivalry with Nadal has marked tennis and all of sport for the last eight years. "As far as I am concerned he will still be as difficult to beat as ever." Nadal fans will be encouraged by the last time he had a lengthy layoff to rest his knee joints, at the start of the 2010 season. On that occasion, he promptly made two semifinals at the hardcourt Masters tournaments in

Spanish tennis player Rafael Nadal signs autographs before a training session in Vina del Mar, about 120 km west of Santiago,Chile on Tuesday. –AGENCIES the United States and then went on to win all three of the claycourt Masters tournaments and yet another French Open title without dropping a single set, a feat never accomplished before in tennis history. To round off the season, he

POA flays disgruntled elements for violating IOC Charter STAFF REPORT LAHORE: The Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) has flayed those disgruntled elements that held an unlawful meeting in Islamabad and termed it as a POA meeting. It is pertinent to mention that Islamabad Olympic Association (IOA) president Brig (r) Arif Mahmood Siddiqui, who was issued a showcause notice for violation of the POA Constitution and later was suspended but got a stay order against his suspension, called an illegal meeting of some sports dissidents in the federal capital and termed it a meeting of the National Olympic Committee of Pakistan. The unlawful meeting “unanimously resolved to constitute a committee to be called as interim committee to perform the role of the POA with the assignments: to run day to day affairs of the POA and affect its representation at national and international level, to conduct the proposed National Games in Islamabad in collaboration with the Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) and to initiate the process to conduct elections of POA office bearers within 90 days.” Addressing a press conference here on Tuesday, POA president Lt Gen (r) Syed Arif Hasan said that the Inter Provincial Coordination (IPC) joint secretary backed socalled dissidents, who had lost the POA elections last year, had crossed all limits. “Their illegal trespass of holding a meeting of people of dubious antecedents and portraying it as if the POA has met has no precedence anywhere,” he added. “Who authorised them to call the

POA president Syed Arif Hasan addresses a press conference on Tuesday. meeting and dub it as if the POA was meeting when the courts have had no issue with my election as POA president, when the International Olympic Committee (IOC) recognizes the POA as the legitimate National Olympic Committee of Pakistan?,” Arif questioned. The repeated thrust of the POA president was on how losers were trying to hijack the POA and the national sports federations by employing the government muscle because of a few interested individuals. And to prove his point, Arif gave circumstantial and other evidence. “Apart from the locus standi of the person calling the meeting, who are the people in attendance? Not the genuinely elected office-bearers who were recognized as such by all concerned, the POA and the continental and global federations under whose watch they operate,” he said.

Arif said this campaign that started post POA elections in February 2012 was a malicious attempt to install the losers by overwhelming margin in the offices of the winners with the help of the PSB. “This is something that the POA and the national sports federations have resisted throughout. And we would continue to do so.” He said at the one hand stories were being planted in newspapers that the POA should reconcile with these, and on the other such naked transgressions are taking place. “The so-called interim committee that this gang had shied from announcing after its previous illegal and unconstitutional moot has now been unleashed? My question to all those with dubious intent and even more dubious credentials – the losers with no legs to stand on – is: what is the big rush? When the IOC has already called the POA and the

PSB over to Lausanne on February 15, why are things being taken to a head now? Why can these elements not wait for the outcome of that meeting? Arif said the dissidents knew that they had no legal, moral, constitutional locus standing and also what the IOC verdict would be. “I am telling them here and now, surrounded with and backed by the genuine representatives of Pakistan’s national sports federations and provincial associations, that this could have dire consequences for Pakistan sports. But come what may we shall not allow this to happen to the POA or the national federations,” said Arif, who was indeed encircled by a large number of national sports federations’ presidents and secretaries. The POA president also mentioned that of the 25 who are said to have attended the meeting, an overwhelming majority was patently bogus, there were either misrepresentation or unauthorized representation in most other cases. The forum and the way the meeting had been called – no authority to requisition, then no requisition at all, no agenda and no mention of where the meeting had taken place – all combine to paint it as a highly dubious exercise. People were ordered on the telephone to attend, in federal board office that was opened on a Sunday. Arif said the POA’s General Council would meet again on February 12, 2013 “to reendorse its mandate for the current dispensation not by just substantial but a very vast majority – with the entire media present to vouch for its being genuinely representative”.

would also lift the Wimbledon and US Open trophies. Whether he can repeat that feat, or even get near it, lies a long way down a road that will commence on the Pacific Coast of Chile on Wednesday. —AGENCIES

Portugal bans Olympic windsurfer over secret pregnancy

LISBON: Portugal's Olympic committee has banned a female windsurfer for life for concealing she was pregnant but attending the London Games anyway to see her husband. Carolina Borges travelled to Britain as part of the Portugal team but then sent an email during the Games in July saying she was quitting before her RS-X event had even started. "The Portuguese Institute of Sports and Youth accepted our recommendation and has forbidden the athlete from ever representing Portugal again," Olympic committee head Vicente Moura told Lusa news agency on Tuesday. Brazil-born Borges represented Brazil at the Athens Olympics in 2004 but later joined Portugal's squad. "It all points to the fact that she took advantage of the trip to the Olympics to be with her husband," Moura added. Borges is married to U.S. sailor Mark Mendelblatt, who competed in London in the Star class in the sailing regatta off the south coast of England. Moura said that the decision was made after an investigation proved that the athlete was pregnant at the time of the Games and failed to inform the national Olympic committee as required. —AGENCIES

Asif and Salman set to contest ban at CAS STAFF REPORT KARACHI: Banned Pakistan cricketers Mohammad Asif and Salman Butt are set to appear before the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne, Switzerland, to appeal against the International Cricket Council’s (ICC') ban for spotfixing. Asif will have his case presented by his lawyer Ravi Sukul through teleconference but will appear before the court on February 7. Salman will be accompanied by his solicitor Yasin

Patel when he appears before the court on February 8. Both Asif and Salman have served approximately two-and-a-half years of their seven and ten-years bans respectively (with the possibility of a suspended sentence after five years). Mohammad Aamir, the third player to be sanctioned, has decided not to appeal against the five-year ban against him. The ban doesn't permit the players to take part in any official match, international, domestic or club, until at least September 2015.

Apart from being sanctioned by the ICC, the trio was also found guilty by Southwark Crown Court in November 2011, on charges of conspiracy to cheat and accept corrupt payments over deliberate no-balls. After being implicated, Salman served seven months of his 30-month jail sentence, Asif six months of a year-long term, while Aamir spent three months in a young offenders' institute. Asif was released from Canterbury Prison in south-east England after completing half of his one-year sentence in May

2012 while in June, Salman was released from prison seven months into his 30 month sentence. Salman since his release has been pressing for his innocence and asserted that he didn't fix or influence any of the bowlers to bowl a no-ball. “I have no links with spot-fixing nor I have ever entertained any offer, nothing ever practically happened in a match that was linked to any offer,” he told reporters on his return to Pakistan last year. “Of spot-fixing or any fixing, I never asked anyone to do anything or

bowl any no-balls, I am not associated with it. Salman, 28, had also hinted to lodge an appeal with the International Criminal Court, but decided against it due to the expense involved and the lengthy duration of the proceedings.

South Africa brush aside Pakistan challenge C



WOMEN’S WORLD CUP CUTTACK: (Agencies): Riding on a splendid all-round display from Marizanne Kapp, South Africa routed Pakistan by 126 runs in Cuttack on Tuesday to register their first win in this World Cup and qualify for the Super Six round. Kapp scored her maiden hundred and was involved in record stand for the sixth wicket with Dane van Niekerk. She also contributed with the ball, taking three wickets for 18 runs, as Pakistan were dismissed for 81. It was an intense battle at the Barabati Stadium, with both teams meeting in a

virtual knock-out game for the final spot in the Super Six in Group B. Having faced heavy defeats in their other group matches, Pakistan, who were put in to field by South African skipper Mignon du Preez, came on to the field eager to turn the tide. When their new-ball combination of pacers Asmavia Iqbal and Qanita Jali reduced South Africa to 55 for four in the 17th over, the Asian team held the upper hand. Just as South Africa began building a partnership, Susan Benade was run out, stranded well short of her crease after a moment of confusion with Kapp. However, Kapp and van Niekerk combined to ensure that the South

African bowlers had a strong target to defend. Unperturbed by the run-out drama, Kapp put her head down and focused on rotating the strike, allowing van Niekerk to gain confidence. Soon, the duo were scoring with ease against an allspin attack. Pakistan's tactics of bowling out Jalil as early as the 21st over, and restricting Iqbal's spell to six overs, backfired as the lack of variation allowed the South African batsmen to score at will. The last two overs of the South African innings were memorable, filled with quick runs and milestones. In the 49th over, Kapp drove Bismah Maroof through the off side for a single to complete a well-deserved century. In

the 50th over, van Niekerk cut loose, hitting part-time offspinner Nida Rashid for 18 runs, beginning with a six over midwicket, the first of the tournament at the Barabati Stadium, and a couple of straight fours. The unbeaten, 128-run stand between Kapp and van Niekerk is the highest partnership for South Africa in the World Cup and the second-highest sixth wicket partnership of all time. Given their poor batting form throughout this tournament, Pakistan were looking at a difficult chase. None of their measures, including promoting Jalil as a pinch-hitter and bringing skipper Sana Mir lower down the

order, paid off as Pakistan collapsed to a low score for the third time in as many matches. The South African bowlers stuck to their line and all five bowlers took wickets. Kapp, bowling medium pace, emerged as the most successful bowler, picking up three wickets for 18 runs. The win gave South Africa a rare World Cup victory. During the 2005 World Cup in South Africa, the Proteas girls won just one of the seven leagues games, beating Sri Lanka. In 2009, in Australia, they managed to beat Sri Lanka during the seventh place play-off after going winless in the group stage. Brief scores:

South Africa 207 for 5 (Kapp 102*, van Niekerk 55*, Qanita Jalil 2-30, Asmavia Iqbal 2-31) beat Pakistan 81 (Sidra Ameen 15, Asmavia Iqbal 14, Kapp 3-18, Ismail 2-18) by 126 runs Australia beat NZ by 7 wickets:

New Zealand 227 (S Bates 102, K Perkins 41, ML Schutt 3-40, L Hunter 1-17) Australia innings 228 (M Lanning 112, J Cameron 82, L Tahuhu 1-38, S Ruck 1-47) England won by 6 wkts against WI:

West Indies 101 (Kyshona A Knight 33, S Daley 30*, A Shrubsole 4-21, A Brindle 3-0) England 103 (D Wyatt 40, H Knight 18, D Dottin 3-20, S Munroe 1-22). —AGENCIES



CIA used ISI facilities to interrogate militants

SC to take up important cases today

ISLAMABAD: A three-member bench of the Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry will resume hearing of some important cases today. Bench will hear the Karachi law and order situation case , a suo moto case and two petitions against financial irregularities in the Pakistan International Airlines(PIA). During the last proceedings of the Karachi law and order case ,Justice Chaudhry said the court would examine each and every incident to determine whether their judgment was ignored or implemented in the Karachi law and order case. The chief justice asked officials to bear in mind that they were hearing a contempt petition of the nonimplementation of the court’s judgment in the Karachi law and order case. –STAFF REPORTER

PTI, MWM discuss poll alliance ISLASMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-eInsaf (PTI) and Majlis Wahdatul Muslimeen (MWM) Tuesday discussed various options for knotting alliance and joint strategy for upcoming general elections. PTI President Makhdoom Javed Hashmi held a detailed meeting with MWM Deputy Secretary General Ameen Shahidi here in this regard. Talking to reporters after a meeting, Hashmi said his party was striving to bring all anti-status quo forces on one platform so as the corrupt politicians could be held accountable. He said there was no clash between the followers of Shia and Sunni sects in the country. PTI Vice Chairman Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Secretary General Dr Arif Alvi, Firdous Naqvi and Ejaz Chaudhry were also present on the occasion. Hashmi said the upcoming elections are very crucial for the country and all the political parties will have to be united on one point agenda to save the country. —AGENCIES

Raisani sends resignation to PPP leadership QUETTA: Former Balochistan chief minister Nawab Aslam Raisani has sent his resignation to the leadership of allied political parties. Rasiasni tendered his resignation under the pressure of coalition partners. Talking to reporters, Raisani said he was ready to submit to whatever decision the coalition partners might take in this regard. “I will have no objections to the outcome of their deliberations on my fate”, he said. –AGENCIES

8,715 Pakistanis suffering in jails worldwide: FO ISLAMABAD: Some 8,715 Pakistanis are languishing worldwide jails, with majority 2,373 of them in Saudi Arabia. The Foreign Ministry sources report that UK hosts about 1,476 prisoners, UAE has 1,334, 403 prisoners in Indian jails and 319 in Greek jails. America jails 9 Pakistanis, while 350 are jailed in Afghanistan, 53 in Bahrain, 26 in Canada, 150 in Hong Kong, 38 in Germany 75 in France and 134 in Italy. The list also includes 83 in Hungary, 79 in Iran, and 202 in Malaysia, while Pakistan’s best and closest friend China also holds 264 Pakistani prisoners. Most of Pakistani imprisoned in Greece and Hungary are Pakistanis who had tried to enter Europe illegally through seas. –AGENCIES

50 countries helping American covert operations  US and UK intelligence officials questioned prisoners

MONITORING DESK NEW YORK: Pakistani spy agency ISI's detention facilities in Karachi and elsewhere were used as an initial detention and interrogation point by the CIA during America's war on Qaeda which was supported by over 50 countries following 9/11 attacks, a new report has claimed. The report authored by Amrit Singh, daughter of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, says over 50 countries assisted the US in its war against al Qaeda including by hosting CIA prisons on their territories and detaining, interrogating and "torturing" terror suspects. It said detention facilities in Pakistan in which detainees were held at the behest of the CIA include the ISI detention facility in Karachi, which was allegedly used as an initial detention and interrogation point before detainees were

transferred to other prisons. Although controlled by the ISI, detainees at the facility claim to have been interviewed by both US and British intelligence officials. The report 'Globalising Torture - CIA Secret Detention and Extraordinary Rendition' released Tuesday by rights advocacy group Open Society Justice Initiative details the involvement of 54 nations in the American campaign against al Qaeda and identifies 136 people who had been held or transferred by the CIA, describing when and where they were held. Singh said she had found evidence that prisoners were held in countries like Thailand, Romania, Poland and Lithuania while Denmark facilitated CIA air operations. The report provides the number of known victims of secret detention and extraordinary rendition operations, in which suspects were transferred from one country

to another without any legal process. Singh, who joined the Open Society Initiative in 2009 as senior legal officer for national security and counter- terrorism, said: "moral cost of these programmes was borne not just by the US but by the 54 other countries it recruited to help." The report said foreign governments also failed to protect detainees from secret detention and extraordinary rendition on their territories and to conduct effective investigations into agencies and officials who participated in these operations. The governments identified in the report span the continents of Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, and North America and include Afghanistan, Australia, Azerbaijan, Canada, Egypt, Germany, Iran, Libya, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka and United Kingdom. "By engaging in torture and other abuses associated with secret detention and

extraordinary rendition, the US government violated domestic and international law, thereby diminishing its moral standing and eroding support for its counterterrorism efforts worldwide as these abuses came to light.” "By enlisting the participation of dozens of foreign governments in these violations, the US further undermined longstanding human rights protections enshrined in international law including, in particular, the norm against torture," Singh said in the report. "Responsibility for this damage does not lie solely with the United States, but also with the numerous foreign governments without whose participation secret detention and extraordinary rendition operations could not have been carried out. By participating in these operations, these governments too violated domestic and international laws and further undermined the norm against torture," Singh said.

Sherry warns America over drone war 

Says continuing strikes are a ‘red line’

WASHINGTON: Smarting under the US drone attacks it calls a violation of its sovereignty and international law, Pakistan has threatened to withhold cooperation with the United States on counter-terrorism operations until the drone strikes stop. Pakistan’s Ambassador Sherry Rehman said Tuesday that the continuing drone strikes are a "red line," but she declined to say whether Pakistan would order its US-made F-16 fighters to shoot down the drones. "I can't speak to that issue," Rehman said at a breakfast meeting with reporters. But she insisted that Pakistan does not privately okay drone strikes inside Pakistan. "I can assure you there is no quiet complicity in this, there is no question of a wink and a nod," said Sherry. While dismissing drone strikes as "operationally counterproductive," Rehman said Pakistan wants to continue to cooperate with the US on counterterrorism operations, especially as US and allied conventional forces are drawing down in neighboring Afghanistan. But she portrayed the US and Pakistani disagreement over the armed drone program as an obstacle. "The drones are the red line here," she said. She was dismissive of the 12-year US effort in Afghanistan, observing that "clearly, force has not been an

answer over the years." She said the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan has become more turbulent, despite what she described as a determined Pakistani effort to control crossborder operations by the Taliban and other militant groups. And she rejected US criticisms that Pakistan has allowed the Taliban sanctuary inside its territory. "Don't always lay at our door what this big global [U.S.] force couldn't do in Afghanistan," she said. Pakistani forces have taken control of 86 percent of the tribal areas along the border, she said, up from 37 percent in 2009, and Pakistan has built 800 border control points to the 100 manned by Afghanistan. "We do what we can," she said. "It's hard to interdict on this border if the other side is unmanned." Rehman repeated the objections to the drone strikes frequently voiced by Pakistani officials and critics around the world: that they create deep resentment on the ground in Pakistan and elsewhere; that they radicalize people who had tried to stand against terrorists; that the al Qaeda leadership is decimated anyway; and that in the long term it harms U.S. and Pakistan efforts against terrorists. Rehman also said Pakistan supports efforts toward a negotiated peace in Afghanistan. –AGENCIES

Obama ‘kill list’ leaked WASHINGTON: An internal US Justice Department memo says it is legal for the government to kill US citizens abroad if it believes they are senior al Qaeda leaders continually engaged in operations aimed at killing Americans. The document, reported Monday by NBC News, provides a legal rationale behind the Obama administration's use of drone strikes against Qaida suspects. The 16-page document says it is lawful to target Qaeda-linked US citizens if they pose an "imminent" threat of violent attack against Americans, and that delaying action against such people would create an unacceptably high risk. Such circumstances may necessitate expanding the concept of imminent threat, the memo says. "The threat posed by Qaeda and its associated forces demands a broader concept of imminence in judging when a person continually planning terror attacks presents an imminent threat," the document added. The memo does not require the US to have information about a specific imminent attack against the US. –AGENCIES

LAHORE: DPC convener and JUI-S chief Maulana Samiul Haq, Jamat ud Dawah Ameer Hafiz Saeed, Jamaat-e-Islami Ameer Syed Munawwar Hasan, Maulana Ahmad Ludhianvi, Maulana Fazlur Rehman Khalil, Maulana Abdul Qadri Looni and others join hands during a rally on Kashmir Solidarity Day. –ONLINE

Bangladesh politician sentenced to life for war crimes DHAKA: A Bangladeshi court sentenced a senior Islamist opposition official to life in prison Tuesday for mass murder and crimes against humanity during the 1971 liberation war against Pakistan. Abdul Quader Molla, 64, the fourth highest ranked leader of the Jamaat-e-Islami party, is the first politician to be found guilty by the International Crimes Tribunal, a much-criticised domestic court based in Dhaka. Molla cried “Allahu Akbar” (God is greater) and said all the charges were false after the presiding judge Obaidul Hassan delivered the verdict in a crowded court, blanketed with heavy security. The judgement sparked protests by Jamaat, the country’s largest Islamic party which enforced a nationwide strike Tuesday in anticipation of the conviction. It warned it would resist “at any cost a government blueprint” to execute its leaders. “He deserved death sentence because of the gravity of the crimes. But the judge gave him life imprisonment,” Attorney General Mahbubey Alam said, adding Molla “had directly participated” in the killing of more than 350 people near Dhaka. The verdict is the second to have been handed down by the tribunal. On January 21 a top TV preacher, an ex-Jamaat official, was sentenced to death in absentia for murder and genocide. The judge in Molla’s case refused a prosecution bid to try him for genocide. Molla’s lawyer Nazim Momen said they would appeal the verdict as it was “politically motivated”. Ten other opposition figures — including the entire leadership of Jamaat and two from the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) — stand accused of war crimes. Both Jamaat and BNP have labelled the cases “show trials” aimed at barring the leaders from upcoming polls. International rights groups have questioned the proceedings. –AGENCIES

Leave Kashmir, Hafiz tells India 

Says era of ‘integral part’ is over

LAHORE: Jamaatud Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed urged India to “leave Kashmir” while addressing a rally in Lahore to mark Kashmir Solidarity Day on Tuesday. “No one could defeat the Muslims… If America had to run away, then India, you will have to leave Kashmir as well,” said Saeed amid chants of ‘al-jihad, al-jihad’. Saeed expressed support for all Kashmiri leaders and prayed to God to protect and unite them. “India’s army of 800,000 will lose… Kashmiris will get independence,” he said. Saeed said India has been ousted from the deadly game it was playing in the region at behest of the United States who has been defeated in Afghanistan. Afghans stood for their freedom, for 11 years, with immense determination and sacrifices - Truth prevailed, Falsehood perished. Those who pressurized Pakistan and intimidated are now begging Pakistan's support for peacenegotiations with Afghans, he added. He said that world is changing; decayed systems are bond to perish. Last 3 decades have seen defeated world-powers; now India will be defeated in J&K. Pakistan observed Kashmir Solidarity Day on February 5 to denounce Indian rule in the disputed Himalayan region claimed in whole by both countries.

The day has been observed in Pakistan since 1990 to pay homage to Kashmiris and highlight the plight for their birth right to self-determination, promised to them by the international community under the resolutions of United Nations Security Council. The day was observed as a public holiday. A minute of silence was observed throughout the country at 10am, while rallies, processions, seminars and photo exhibitions were also arranged by Pakistani missions abroad. Rallies, demonstrations, human chains by men, women and children were seen at various points across the country as well as in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) and at the connecting points between Pakistan and AJK to express solidarity with the struggling Kashmiris despite heavy rain in the area. People formed Human Chains at Kohalla‚ Azad Patan and Mangla bridges connecting Azad Kashmir with Pakistan in rainy weather. The main function of the day was joint session of AJK Legislative Assembly and AJK Council at Muzaffarabad. Free ration-packages on behalf of the people and the government were distributed among Kashmiri refugees at their camps situated in Muzaffarabad‚ Bagh‚ Kotli and Rawalakot districts. –AGENCIES

Iran buying ‘black’ dollars from Pakistan AURANGZEB KHAN PESHAWAR: The alarming devaluation of Pakistan Rupee against US Dollar may have been the outcome of massive illegal transfer of the American currency to Iran through Afghanistan. FATA Chamber of Commerce and Industries Vice-President Usman Ghani confirms that there is a surge in the illegal purchase of US Dollars in the recent weeks. “Most of the Dollars are going to Iran through Afghanistan,” said Ghani. “We have ample evidence that proves Afghan traders are buying Dollars from the black market of Khyber Pashtunkhwa,” he added. Market experts say the volume of the buying and selling of Dollars go into millions per day. Top bankers say there are definite economic and political reasons for the

extra-ordinary Rupee devaluation. Silk Bank’s Vice-President Shahram Raza says nobody should be surprised over this, considering the economic condition of the country. “The perpetual uncertainty and political instability has had a deep impact on the economy,” he said while pointing out that “we can expect lots of illegal transfer of capital to the markets like Dubai. The stock market also took one of the biggest dip when the news of Prime Minister Raja Ashraf ’s possible arrest broke out in the middle of a prolonged long march taken out by Minhajul Quran cleric Dr Tahirul Qadri. But Shahram said the money transfer to Iran could also be one of the factors. A simple comparison among the money markets of Karachi, Islamabad and Peshawar will show the unusual difference in rate. The exchange rate

in Peshawer’s Sarrafa Bazaar is sometimes five Rupees more than that of other major cities. Local traders sometimes held back Dollars for Afghan buyers who buy in bulk and give much higher rates. Meewa Khan, a trader, when asked about the unusual exchange rate said jokingly, “ trust these Afghan traders; if they are buying Dollars from us for five Rupees more than the market rate I can tell you they will charge ten Rupees more from Iranian buyers.” Illegal money exchangers abound in Peshawar’s Sarrafa Bazaar. They will exchange money in most common currencies from Riyal to Euro to Yen but the bulk of the business is in Dollars. Meewa Khan agreed that the surge has been recent. “Maybe the Iranians are feeling the squeeze of the American sanctions,” he said. The porous border and free movement between Pakistan and

Afghanistan facilitates the illegal trade. Meewa khan said that carrying Dollars across the border was not an issue inside Afghanistan, adding, “it’s even more easier to send them across to Iran because the border forces are watchful for Taliban while Dollars are welcomed.” The increase in Dollar purchase may also have to do with the recent restrictions put up by the Afghanistan government under US pressure. Iran continues to face UN sanctions for its nuclear stance. Most of its international trade is done through money laundering and illegal purchase from the international market. The two natural choices also happen to be the next door neighbours, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Incidentally, the administrative checks in these two countries are also the weakest. US Treasury had recently advised

stringent checks on illegal transfer of Dollars to Iran, especially from Afghanistan. Governor of Afghanistan's Central Bank, Noorullah Delawari in an interview to American Radio admitted that they have been partially successful in curbing the illegal trade in Dollars. He was of the opinion that while there was largescale demand it was difficult to control supply. However, money traders say the restrictions in Afghanistan have turned the focus to Dollar purchases from Pakistan’s black market. In any case the market in Pakistan is much bigger than in Afghanistan. The informal bilateral trade between Pakistan and Afghanistan is largely done in Dollars as the currencies of Pakistan and Afghanistan fluctuate a lot. “This leads to disputes,” confirms Painda Khan, Convenor of the Fruit Market

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

Association in Islamabad. Most of our fruit trade with Afghanistan is conducted through dollars.” He complained they were facing problems because of the Iranian purchases through Afghan traders. “You see, we cannot buy dollars sometimes, they keep them for Afghans who give them better rates.” But the illegal Dollar trade is not just confined to purchase from the black market. More than half of this is done through Hawala and Hundi, the traditional way of money laundering in these parts. In case of bigger amounts, the traders in Dubai are also involved. “While Iran faces sanctions, lots of people are making lots of money,” said Shahram. He said the biggest loser was Pakistan which was bearing the brunt of this devaluation. It’s about time the government should do something about it, he added.

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