DWS Sunday 01 April to Saturday 07 April by xY1337NG


                D A W N W I R E S E R V I C E

            Sunday 01 April to Saturday 07 April


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                         C O N T E N T S


+ SHC seeks explanation for strikes
+ Govt adds fuel to nation’s misery
+ Unprecedented hike in CNG rates
+ Consensus on NATO supply eludes PCNS
+ Foreign NGO’s role in ECP plan questioned
+ Name of Gilani’s son missing from document: International
rules violated in chemical scam: report
+ Babar Awan removed from PCNS hours before meeting
+ Zulfikar commission suggested law to legalise IB working
+ Attack on Parliament House foiled: Malik
+ President to visit India on 8th
+ ISI seeks in-camera Balochistan hearing
+ Fuel price hike: PML-N to boycott PCNS meeting
+ Gilani renews commitment to Iran pipeline
+ Details about Osama’s hideout in Haripur emerge
+ Sialkot Stallions breeze to eight-wicket win
+ ‘Decision rests on parliament’: PM: Govt in no hurry to
open NATO routes
+ Oil prices likely to be slightly reduced
+ Rental power scam — bigwigs on ECL
+ PPP man, six others killed: Lyari violence gets out of
police control
+ Widows, two daughters of Osama jailed
+ Hindus of upper Sindh: a bruised community carries on
+ Panetta defends ties with Pakistan: Govt was not aware of
Osama’s presence
+ Man held for kidnapping, assault in Ubauro
+ Riots erupt in Gilgit, Chilas; 14 killed
+ Senior US diplomat arrives today
+ 33rd death anniversary of ZAB Bilawal asks: SC to revoke
Bhutto verdict
+ Prices of oil, CNG cut
+ ‘Evidence needed to try Hafiz Saeed’
+ CJ dissatisfied with report on Balochistan
+ Parties in PCNS want earlier resolutions implemented
+ Bounty not linked to supply routes: US
+ Kayani meets Saudi defence officials
+ Names of RPP owners, CEOs put on ECL
+ Hafiz Saeed issue may test Singh-Zardari talks
+ Five officers injured in ’copter crash
+ PML-N agrees to end PCNS boycott
+ American team holds talks in Islamabad: Review should
benefit both sides: US
+ Man supplying oil to NATO forces among seven killed
+ Bloodletting continues in Gilgit despite curfew and troop
+ Bhutto legacy and lack of alternatives equal PPP
+ Khosa quits Punjab cabinet after murder case
+ Memo hearing: Haqqani cites heart problem in petition
+ 20pc raise in salary, pension likely for govt employees
+ Order to arrest Balochistan’s ministers involved in
kidnapping: CJ tells IG to produce the missing seven today
+ Two strikes on police in Karachi; 3 cops die, SP survives
+ Behind-the-scene talks under way with US
+ Zardari fires a broadside at Sharifs
+ Pasha says he took every step with chief’s approval
+ Gilani dismisses objections to Zardari’s India trip
+ US says it’s not trying to influence president’s visit
+ Acid attack girl jailed for 34 years
+ ‘Three Cups of Tea’ author found guilty of fabrication,
+ Kidnapped Pakistani teen starved to death in Greece
+ Police partially comply with CJ’s order: Four of the
missing 7 brought to court
+ SP accuses fellow officer of having plotted suicide
+ Two bodies found
+ Third force in interior Sindh remains a mirage
+ Zardari launches another tirade against Sharifs
+ Nawaz links reopening of NATO routes to expulsion of US
+ Rs210bn approved for buying wheat: Oil prices to be
reviewed twice a month: ECC
+ Fazl not to attend PCNS meetings
+ Krishna unsure if Zardari’s talks will be substantial
+ Brahamdagh Bugti says he will be killed if he returns to
+ Disabled prayer leader shot dead by terrorists
+ China places six Uighurs on ‘terror list’


+   A familiar cycle
+   BRICS summit
+   UN envoy’s criticism
+   A difficult review
+   Khyber IDPs
+   Behind the bonhomie
+   Increase in oil prices
+   Ephedrine scam
+   Sectarian violence
+   India visit
+   Down but not out
+   A worrying move
+   Seeking confrontation
+   Electoral rolls’ update
+   Fresh start awaited
+   Balochistan: missing parts
+   President’s speech
+   ‘Memogate’ continues
+   Policemen’s murder


+   The PPP’s urban problem
+   A world without paper
+   A case for bipartisanship
+   On a wing and a prayer
+   Demography as destiny

                   N A T I O N A L N E W S


01, April, 2012


SHC seeks explanation for strikes


By Our Staff Reporter
KARACHI, March 31: Sindh Governor Dr Ishratul Ibad ordered
a crackdown on criminals and the High Court chief justice
sought a report from police and Rangers chiefs about the
frequent strikes and incidents of violence as Karachi saw
the third shutdown within a week on Saturday.

Karachiites woke up to find all markets closed and public
transport off the road after the Muttahida Qaumi Movement
(MQM) called for a day of mourning across Sindh in protest
against the pre-dawn armed attack near the Banaras bridge,
in Orangi Town, that claimed the lives of four people.
Among the dead were a man and his 12-year-old son.

At least six people fell prey to the day-long violence in
different parts of the city.

Activity in almost every walk of life came to a crippling
halt. Hyderabad and Latifabad, Mirpurkhas, Digri, Jhuddo,
Naukot and Kot Ghulam Mohammad also saw partial shutdowns.

The MQM came out with harsh words for the Awami National
Party (ANP), accusing it of trying to destroy peace in the
city by “killing innocent Muhajirs and resorting to blatant

“They (Muhajirs) cannot be subjugated by any form of
terrorism and will not allow a reign of terror and crime to
descend on Karachi,” said a terse statement released by the
MQM coordination committee.

“The ANP leaders claim that they have come to Karachi to
earn their livelihood, but it is obvious to the people of
Karachi that they are involved in terrorism, loot, plunder
and unlawful occupation of properties,” it added.

Before the provincial administration moved in, Sindh High
Court Chief Justice Mushir Alam ordered police and Rangers
chiefs to submit a report on the frequent shutdowns and
incidents of violence in Karachi that have left about 30
people dead and scores of others wounded since Monday. Over
50 vehicles have been set on fire.

Governor Ishratul Ibad summoned a meeting in the evening to
review law and order in the city and ordered a “crackdown
against criminals”. Sindh Home Minister Manzoor Wassan and
senior officials of police, Rangers and other law
enforcement agencies attended the meeting.
“Police have been ordered to launch a crackdown on
criminals without taking into consideration their party
affiliation,” Mr Wassan told Dawn after the meeting. He
came up with appeal against the day of mourning that was
called twice this week by the MQM and once by the ANP, both
coalition partners of the PPP-led government.

“There should an end to the trend of observing day of
mourning or black day. It provides criminals an opportunity
to manipulate the situation to their own advantage,” he


01, April, 2012


Govt adds fuel to nation’s misery


By Kalbe Ali

ISLAMABAD, March 31: The petroleum ministry added fuel to
the fire raging in the country, especially in Punjab and
Karachi, when it announced a massive hike in oil prices on
Saturday, setting aside recommendations made by the
regulator. The hefty rises took prices of all the major
fuel items above the Rs100 mark.

The revised price of petrol for April will be Rs105.68 — an
increase of Rs8.02 per litre.

After the decision by the petroleum ministry, the Oil and
Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) has notified the new
prices. However, an official of the petroleum ministry told
Dawn that the prices of petroleum products had been
increased in line with international trends.

The price of high speed diesel (HSD), the most widely
consumed petroleum fuel, was raised by Rs4.70 per litre to
Rs108.16 and the HOBC price was jacked up to Rs135.81 — an
increase of Rs8.94 per litre.

The special committee formed by Prime Minister Yousuf Raza
Gilani on Feb 29 had decided to keep diesel (HSD) rates
unchanged till June, but the petroleum ministry ignored
even that decision.

Kerosene, regarded as the poor man’s fuel, will now cost Rs
101.69 — a Hike of Rs 5.29.

The price of Light Diesel Oil (LDO), a fuel mainly used in
certain pumps used for operating tube-wells and other
machines, went up to Rs 98.74 per litre from Rs 93.29.

The price increase will also have a severe financial impact
on the aviation industry, including the army aviation and
the air force.

The price of JP-1 was increased by Rs2.89 to Rs 90.79 per
litre and that of JP-8 will be Rs90.49 per litre _ an
increase of Rs3.73.

Sources in the petroleum ministry confirmed Ogra had
recommended that the current increase in prices of petrol,
kerosene and LDO be adjusted in the petroleum levy because
the impact of not increasing the rates of these products
will be no more than Rs3.25 billion on the national kitty.

Meanwhile, an official of the FBR confirmed that the
government would be earning Rs7 billion in terms of
petroleum levy for April and collections in terms of GST on
petroleum fuel would be Rs18 billion. During the current
fiscal year the petroleum sector remained the leading
contributor in the overall tax collection by the FBR and
its share has been 43 per cent in total GST collection.


01, April, 2012


Unprecedented hike in CNG rates

By A Reporter

ISLAMABAD, March 31: The ministry of petroleum and natural
resources has made an unprecedented hike of Rs 9.93 in the
price of compressed natural gas for Karachi and Lahore. In
Islamabad and Peshawar regions the hike will be as high as
Rs 11.58. The increase will take effect on Sunday (April

The new price, notified by Ogra for Region-I -- Khyber
Pakhtunkhwa, Potohar region and Balochistan -- is Rs88.70
per kg and for Region-II -- Sindh and south and central
Punjab -- Rs80.89.

The increase has been made to keep the CNG prices at 55 per
cent of those of petrol and the Gas Infrastructure
Development Cess (GIDC) on CNG has also been increased.

The chairman of All Pakistan CNG Association, Ghiyas
Abdullah Paracha, said a meeting of the association would
be held on Sunday to review the situation.

“This increase is illogical and unacceptable and it will
trigger a storm of inflation. CNG consumers have already
been disturbed by three days of loadshedding and now this
price hike is not less than a calamity for them,” he said.

He said that despite the fact that the CNG sector was
paying the highest tariff, the filling stations were facing
severe gas loadshedding for three days a week, low gas
pressure for another two days and power outages.


01, February, 2012


Consensus on NATO supply eludes PCNS

By Amir Wasim

ISLAMABAD, March 31: The all-party Parliamentary Committee
on National Security (PCNS), currently busy in redrafting
its earlier recommendations on fresh terms of engagement
with the US, is facing a daunting task to come out with a
consensus document because of different and changed
positions adopted by the parties on resumption of supplies
for the Nato-led troops in Afghanistan.

While the Pakistan Muslim   League-N and PML-Q want to link
the resumption to certain   conditions, the JUI-F is
completely against it and   has threatened not to sign the
document if its demand is   not met.

According to sources, failure of the parties for the second
day on Saturday to reach a consensus on the new
recommendations to be presented in the form of a resolution
forced PCNS chairman Raza Rabbani to put off the in-camera
meeting scheduled for Monday (April 2).

Hours before the meeting began, the Pakistan People’s Party
replaced former law minister Babar Awan with its
information secretary, Qamar Zaman Kaira. The latter
attended Saturday’s proceedings.

Talking to reporters after the meeting, JUI-F chief Maulana
Fazlur Rehman said his party wanted parliament not to
reverse the earlier government decision of suspending Nato
supplies following an attack on a Pakistani post in
November last year that had left 24 soldiers dead.

He said the nation was against resumption of supplies.

“NATO supplies should not be restored and we are ready to
go into isolation on this issue,” he said in an obvious

The Leader of Opposition in National Assembly, Chaudhry
Nisar Ali Khan of the PML-N, and Maulana Fazl had made
fiery speeches in the joint sitting of the two houses of
parliament on March 27 and voiced their “serious
reservations” on some key recommendations of the PCNS at
the start of the debate on its report that their parties’
nominees had signed.
The report had been tabled by the PCNS chairman on the
first day of the joint sitting, which had initially been
called for three days, on March 20.

Maulana Fazl, who is the sole representative of his party
in the 13-member committee, had warned the government that
it would not be able to restore the supplies for which the
committee PCNS had proposed levying of taxes and
transportation of half of them by Pakistan Railways.

“You will not be able to implement it in the field,” he had
said about the possible restoration, and even made a veiled
threat of physical obstruction: “We are not wearing

He ended his speech with a warning: “We shall see how they
implement (the decision) in the field.”

A proposal that the NATO supply resumption should be linked
to cessation of drone strikes came from the PML-N whereas
PML-Q’s Mushahid Hussain Sayed proposed that war-related
equipment should not be allowed through Nato containers.

According to sources, the PCNS members agreed to abolish
some of the earlier recommendations regarding presence of
foreign private security contractors and intelligence
operatives with conditions of transparency and use of
Pakistani airbases by any foreign force with parliament’s

Some members suggested that parliament adopt a resolution
categorically declaring that Pakistan would not support any
US aggression against Iran.

Talking to reporters, Senator Rabbani said the committee
was reviewing only those proposals on which certain parties
had expressed reservations.

He said the committee would complete its work as early as
possible and hopefully with a consensus.

The decision to send the recommendations back to PCNS for
redrafting was taken at an extraordinary meeting of top
military officers and civilian leadership on Thursday
The military authorities reportedly tried hard to persuade
all parties, especially the PML-N, to agree on a joint
stand on the nature of future engagements with the United


01, April, 2012


Foreign NGO’s role in ECP plan questioned


By Malik Asad

ISLAMABAD, March 31: The Election Commission’s move to
involve a foreign non-governmental organisation (NGO) in
computerisation of electoral rolls using the computerised
national identity card (CNIC) database despite opposition
by the interior ministry has jeopardised the privacy of the

According to documents available with Dawn, the interior
ministry opposed the involvement of the International
Foundation for Electoral System (IFES) in the project for
computerisation of electoral roll system (CERS) and the
economic affairs division (EAD) also did not sign the
memorandum of understanding between the ECP and the IFES.
However, the ECP involved the NGO in the sensitive project
without completing legal formalities.

Constitutional expert S.M. Zafar said the CNIC data
contained personal information of citizens and should not
be shared with any local or foreign NGO.

Another expert, Mohammad Akram Sheikh, said that unless
there was written consent from a citizen, his personal data
provided to Nadra could not be shared with any NGO.
According to the documents, the ministry of interior did
not issue a no-objection certificate (NOC) for the signing
of the memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the
economic affairs division and IFES despite repeated
requests made between 2007 and 2010, because of concerns
that it would provide uninterruptible access to the NGO to
the sensitive CNIC database and classified data of the ECP.

The ministry suggested: “The National Database and
Registration Authority (Nadra), a top-ranking,
internationally recognised and expert organisation, may
undertake the responsibility to improve the CERS project
for electoral process in Pakistan so that secrecy of the
CNIC database may remain only with Nadra and is not shared
with any foreign organization.”

In January 2010, the EAD again sent a letter to the
interior ministry for signing the MoU but the latter in
February turned down the request and said it “regrets its
inability to grant the NOC for administrative reasons”.

Sources in the ECP said that outgoing secretary Ishtiaq
Ahmed Khan in April 2010 allowed the IFES to execute the
task and sent a summary to Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza
Gilani explaining the reasons for involving the NGO in the

He said that in order to overhaul the entire election
system on modern lines the ECP was looking for financial
and administrative support of international organisations
with emphasis on the updating of electoral rolls in
collaboration with Nadra.

The summary said the USAID was extending financial and
technical support through its implementing partner, the
IFES, to the ECP in several areas to improve the electoral
process. He said the USAID had requested for signing of a
new MoU between the ECP and IFES to facilitate and regulate
the technical assistance. The draft MoU was referred to the
EAD for obtaining the views of the ministry of interior and
vetting by the law ministry but for unknown reasons the
clearance of the signing of the MoU was not being supported
by the ministry.

It said a private firm, Kalsoft, which was engaged by the
ECP for the project in 2007, “not only failed to deliver a
fully functional computerised electoral roll system but
also failed to provide error-free rolls”. Subsequently, it
created a number of deficiencies in the existing electoral
rolls. In order to rectify these problems, a great deal of
financial and technical assistance was required.
The IFES then offered its technical help to bring the ECP
out of the problem by removing deficiencies, errors and
bugs in the CERS, the summary said.

With IFES support, the ECP initiated a pilot project with
Nadra, providing them voters’ data of Rawalpindi and
Chakwal districts. After the desired results, the ECP
“intended to use the whole CNIC database of Nadra to update
its existing computerised electoral rolls and this will be
done with technical and financial assistance of the IFES”.

The secretary said the interior ministry’s refusal to
support signing of the MoU and now indicating its refusal
to support grant might result in an abrupt cessation of all
the assistance activities. He said the CERS project
required Rs1 billion funding and abrupt termination of work
due to refusal of visas to technical personnel might create
a serious situation for the ECP and cause a huge loss of
money, time and efforts.

The secretary requested the prime minister to allow the
IFES to continue its assistance till the job was finished.

The prime minister’s secretariat in May 2010 sought views
of the ministries of interior, foreign affairs and law and
justice and the EAD on the matter.

The EAD communicated to the secretariat the concerns of the
ministries of interior and foreign affairs and informed the
NGO that MoUs with international NGOs and donors are singed
by the division once concurrence from all the stakeholders
was received and the drafts were vetted by the law
ministry. In the instant case, the interior ministry, a
major stakeholder, had not conveyed its concurrence, it

The ECP secretary, when contacted, said the commission was
getting technical support from the IFES but not providing
it access to the national database.

He said the ECP had been left with no option but to accept
the offer of the IFES because the rolls were contaminated
and their authenticity was doubtful.

A central development room for the project has been set up
on the second floor of the ECP building.
IFES officials were not willing to give their version on

Nadra’s Deputy Chairman Tariq Malik said the IFES had not
been engaged by the authority but was providing consultancy
services to the ECP. “We are directly dealing with the ECP
and providing them all the required data and information
necessary for the electoral rolls.”


01, February, 2012


Name of Gilani’s son missing from document: International
rules violated in chemical scam: report


By Imran Ali Teepu

ISLAMABAD, March 31: As the ephedrine scandal allegedly
involving prime minister’s son Ali Musa Gilani lands in the
Supreme Court, a Joint Investigation Committee’s report
reveals that there have been violations of international

However, the report does not mention the prime minister’s
younger son.

According to sources, the report found that the allocation
of quota of the chemical in 2010-11 by the government
exceeded the limits fixed by the International Narcotics
Control Board (INCB).

The scandal recently surfaced again, after remaining hidden
in files of the Anti-Narcotics Force, when the court turned
down a request by the ANF for withdrawal of the case
against the import of ephedrine.
Ephedrine is used to manufacture medicine to treat cold,
flu and asthma, among other diseases. Being a controlled
chemical, it is only allowed to be used in quantities
prescribed internationally.

An expert said ephedrine was allocated by INCB to each
country who then gave contracts for its use to
pharmaceutical companies. The products are sold and
exported in accordance with INCB’s quotas.

He said that award of contracts depended on the companies’
record and expected demand.

“The INCB had fixed an annual quota of 22,000kg for
Pakistan but the devolved ministry of health allocated
30,909.55kg of ephedrine,” an official told Dawn.

The investigation committee comprised members from the ANF
and the ministries of narcotics control and health.

“The committee was assigned the task to carry out complete
verification of licit/illicit use of ephedrine in the
manufacture, distribution and sale etc,” the report says.

“The Berlex Lab International from Multan was allocated
6,000kg of ephedrine to be exported by the defunct health
ministry to Khaldar Company in Iraq, while 1,500kg was
issued to Danas Pharmaceutical to be exported to a Kabul-
based firm,” an official said.

The problem arose when, within a few weeks, the defunct
ministry allowed both companies to sell the ephedrine
products in the local market in violation of international

“Export quota of ephedrine was converted for local
manufacturing without any cancellation of order/document
from importing country,” the official said.

The local pharmaceutical companies sent a request to the
government saying they were unable to export the tablets
due to “unprecedented reasons”, according to the report.

“Both the firms were allowed to manufacture tablets. M/S
Berlex Pharmaceutical was allocated 6,500kg of ephedrine
and they also submitted a record of manufacturing some 217
million tablets while M/S Danas Pharmaceutical was
allocated 2,500kg and manufactured 21 million tablets.”

The investigation report said: “It seems the demand made by
the company for 3,000kg for ephedrine is more than the
national allocation of Iraq. For Afghanistan the national
quota is 50kg and defunct ministry of health approved

It noted that total legitimate requirement of ephedrine for
Pakistan according to the INCB was 22,000kg. However, “we
have already granted 22,394.55kg for national use and
8,515kg for export purpose, meaning thereby that we have
already exceeded the limits fixed by the INCB by

The federal official said: “The ministry of health had also
received requests of 20 companies for allocation of 5,317kg
quota of ephedrine prior to these applicants, which was not
granted due to non-availability of quota for 2010.”

The report revealed that the Berlex company sold the entire
stock to an individual whose record could not be verified,
while Danas Pharmaceutical’s tablets were sold to 14
customers in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Gilgit-Baltistan.

The investigators were startled to learn that quota for
export had been granted without authentication of

ANF’s previous efforts to untangle the matter were limited
to a request for more inquiry against the health officials


01, April, 2012


Babar Awan removed from PCNS hours before meeting

By Our Staff Reporter

ISLAMABAD, March 31: Former parliamentary affairs minister
and Senator Babar Awan suffered further humiliation on
Saturday when he was removed by his Pakistan People’s Party
from the Parliamentary Committee on National Security
(PCNS) hours before the all-party panel was to hold a

A notification issued by National Assembly Speaker Dr
Fehmida Mirza, replacing Mr Awan with PPP’s information
secretary Qamar Zaman Kaira, hours before the start of the
PCNS meeting took all the members and its chairman Raza
Rabbani by surprise.

The PPP leadership, particularly Prime Minister Yousuf Raza
Gilani, is unhappy with Senator Awan because of his refusal
to appear before the Supreme Court as a witness in the
contempt case the premier is facing for not writing a
letter to the Swiss authorities to re-open a corruption
case against President Asif Ali Zardari.

Earlier in March, the prime minister removed Senator Awan’s
brother Farooq Awan as adviser to the ministry of law,
justice and parliamentary affairs division and appointed
him as adviser to the ministry of postal services.

Farooq Awan was appointed adviser last year after Senator
Awan resigned as federal law minister in order to appear in
the apex court as a lawyer in the presidential reference on
the Z.A. Bhutto case.

Before this, Mr Gilani removed law secretary Masood Chishti
and made him member of the Prime Minister’s Inspection
Commission. It was Senator Awan who had brought Mr Chishti
to the law ministry.

Having been re-elected to the Senate on a PPP ticket in the
recent polls could be termed the only major achievement of
Babar Awan – once a close confidant of President Zardari –
since his refusal to defend the prime minister in the apex

Sources in the PPP claimed that the party leadership was
also considering removing Senator Awan as vice-president
and finance secretary of People’s Party as President
Zardari was annoyed with him for his blunt refusal to
appear in the apex court as a defence witness when the
prime minister was facing contempt charges only because of
his act of defending the party’s co-chairman.

The sources said the PPP leadership was also unhappy over
the way Senator Awan, himself facing a contempt case, ran a
campaign to get himself nominated as chairman Senate.

Taking notice of ‘insulting remarks’ made by Senator Awan
against the judiciary during a press conference last year,
the Supreme Court on Jan 17 suspended Mr Awan’s licence as
a lawyer. The contempt case is pending and, if convicted,
Babar Awan could lose his Senate membership.

It was in January last year that Babar Awan angered the
party leadership when as the law minister he made a
premature announcement about the government’s plan to
right-size the federal cabinet. His untimely disclosure put
so much pressure on the prime minister that he had to go
for the dissolution of the entire cabinet before picking a
new team of ministers.

And it was Mr Awan who confirmed to the media outside the
Rawalpindi’s hospital reports about the death in a gun-and-
bomb attack of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto,
against the party’s plan to make the formal announcement at
a press conference at the Zardari House.

Mr Awan, who joined the PPP during the October 2002
elections, has always been considered an outsider by a
majority of the PPP jiyalas and some of them openly
question his loyalty to the party.

Mr Awan could not be contacted for his reaction to his
removal from the PCNS despite repeated attempts.


01, April, 2012


Zulfikar commission suggested law to legalise IB working

By Nasir Iqbal

ISLAMABAD, March 31: As the Supreme Court is grappling with
the issue of widening the scope of Air Marshal (retd)
Asghar Khan’s case by focusing its attention on the
Intelligence Bureau (IB), the matter reminds one of
recommendations made by the Zulfikar commission on
enhancing proficiency of the civilian agency.

The two-decade-old report on the working of security and
intelligence agencies by the commission has still to see
the light of day. It had recommended that the IB should
focus on covert anti-state and subversive activities of
political parties or individuals, rather than on overt
activities of such parties as these found ample coverage in
the press.

“The interest of the IB in political parties should be more
by way of analysis and assessment of the overall situation
in the country,” said the report, whose copy is with Dawn.

Finalised in 1989, the report was presented before a three-
judge Supreme Court bench, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar
Mohammad Chaudhry, hearing a 1996 petition of Asghar Khan
who had requested the court to look into the allegations of
ISI’s financing of politicians in the 1990 election to
limit the victory of Benazir Bhutto’s Pakistan People’s

The report was placed before the court in a sealed envelope
by its office and was later returned and sealed again.

The Supreme Court still has to make up its mind on
declassifying the report, along with other documents.

The commission was appointed by former Prime Minister
Benazir Bhutto under then Air Marshal Zulfikar Ali Khan to
review the working of security and intelligence agencies
and recommend measures to improve their performance. It was
set up in view of serious inadequacies and shortcomings in
the structure of intelligence network and their working
It had suggested to the government to enact a law to
legalise the working of the IB. The charter of duties of
the IB should be studied in detail, updated and, if
necessary, revised in the light of present day requirements
of the government. It called for appointing a JIC (joint
intelligence committee) which should work under the
National Security Council (NSC) to be headed by the prime

The NSC would help provide a unified policy direction to
and coordination between different intelligence agencies.
The council should comprise ministers for foreign affairs,
defence, interior and finance and the JIC chairman. The
chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff Committee and chiefs
of the three armed forces should attend its meetings as

The report said the JIC should steer intelligence functions
within the framework of policy directives given by the NSC.
The JIC should comprise a permanent chairman and
secretaries of foreign affairs, defence, interior and
finance and IB and ISI chiefs.

In view of the infiltration by agents of the Indian
intelligence agency (RAW) in rural Sindh and Afghan agents
in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan, the report suggested
that counter-intelligence efforts in these areas should be
stepped up. “Surveillance, both technical and human, is a
highly specialised field of work and, therefore, the IB
needs to attain a high measure of proficiency in both.”

The report that monitoring of telephones should be
undertaken only where absolutely necessary and each case
should be authorised by a competent authority for a stated
period. The IB should be divided into two separate
departments, internal and security and counter-intelligence
and external as the other. Alternatively, the external and
counter-intelligence department should be established as a
distinct directorate with sufficient strength of
professional, whole time personnel to be trained and
deployed on a war-footing on the lines of the Indian
intelligence agency, RAW.

Working and utility of the links abroad should be
reappraised and their task revised and updated from time to
time. Central control of agents should be seriously
considered, the report said.
Security of documents in sensitive ministries and the Prime
Minister’s Secretariat should be improved. “Top secret” and
“eyes only” documents should under no circumstances leave
the premises and each document should be issued to an
officer cleared for that classification and returned to the
secret registry before the close of the day.

Likewise vetting of personnel in sensitive ministries and
the PM Secretariat should be made very thorough and
debugging and sweeping of these ministries and the
secretariat should be more frequent. Telephones in the PM’s
secretariat and residence should be checked for debugging
everyday. The report said that experience has suggested
that the IB and special branches suffered in proficiency on
account of being manned by deputationists.

“The IB and four special branches and possibly the existing
defence intelligence services put together can form a large
cadre both for officers and other ranks. Steps should be
taken to create these cadres. There are several training
institutions which is wasteful. A single combined facility
to cater for officers and men of the ISI Directorate, IB
and special branches should be set up to ensure a high
quality of output,” the report said.


01, April, 2012


Attack on Parliament House foiled: Malik


By Our Staff Reporter

ISLAMABAD, March 31: Interior Minister Rehman Malik claimed
on Saturday that police had thwarted a plot to attack the
Parliament House during the president’s address to a joint
session of the National Assembly and Senate and arrested
the main handler of the conspiracy.
Chairing a meeting held to review the law and order
situation in the capital, the minister praised Islamabad
police for averting the attack.

Talking to reporters later, Mr Malik did not give details
about the arrest. However, it was disclosed that the
alleged handler was an official of the finance ministry.

On the other hand, police expressed ignorance about the

The minister instructed Islamabad police chief Bani Amin
Khan to take more measures to ensure safety of the citizens
in view of continuing threats from terrorists.

He also took notice of incidents of car theft in the
federal capital and asked the inspector general of police
to take steps to curb the crime.

The IG said two gangs had been apprehended and car thefts
had been considerably reduced.

At least 93 vehicles were stolen in the city during the
first two months of this year.

The minister said all station house officers in Islamabad
should be replaced in two phases. An SHO should immediately
be removed from the post in case of an incident of car
lifting, murder or robbery in his area, he said.

Mr Malik said an anti-corruption wing should be set up in
Islamabad police by next week.

A project for centralisation of data of all vehicles has
been finalised with the help of the National Database and
Registration Authority (Nadra) and work on it will be
launched soon in consultation with the provinces and other
stakeholders. All vehicles in Islamabad will be registered
with third-party insurance.

The city administration will issue fitness certificates
periodically for each vehicle and the project will be
implemented from May 1.

02, April, 2012


President to visit India on 8th


By Syed Irfan Raza

ISLAMABAD, April 1: President Asif Ali Zardari will pay a
private visit to India on April 8 to pray and pay respects
at the shrine of Hazrat Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti in Ajmer.

President’s spokesman Farhatullah Babar told Dawn on Sunday
that the president had accepted Indian prime minister’s
invitation for a lunch in New Delhi during his stopover
there on way to Ajmer Sharif.

The president would return to Islamabad the same day, he

Earlier, the spokesman told Dawn that it would be a purely
religious visit to pray at the shrine of Khwaja Moinuddin
Chishti. But an official announcement issued late in the
night said that the president would also be meeting the
Indian prime minister. It will be the first visit to India
by Mr Zardari as president and the first by a Pakistani
president in seven years. Former president Gen Pervez
Musharraf visited India in 2005.

The spokesman said foreign secretaries of the two countries
were finalising arrangements for the visit.

Agencies add: Lasting Pakistan-India peace is seen as vital
to South Asian stability and to smoothing a dangerous
transition in Afghanistan as most NATO combat forces
prepare to withdraw by the end of 2014.

The atmosphere between the two has improved after a flurry
of high-level meetings.

New Delhi froze peace talks with Islamabad following terror
attacks in Mumbai in 2008 that left 166 people dead and
which India blames on Pakistan-based militants.
In March last year, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and
his Indian counterpart Singh watched their countries’ teams
play in the cricket World Cup semi-final in India.


02, April, 2012


ISI seeks in-camera Balochistan hearing


By Abdul Shakoor Khan

ISLAMABAD, April 1: With Supreme Court Chief Justice
Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry heading for Quetta to hear
petitions relating to law and order in Balochistan, the
Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) has requested an in-
camera session on the matter.

In a letter sent to the court ahead of a hearing in Quetta,
a senior ISI official wrote: “In order to have a holistic
view of the situation prevailing in the province, this
Directorate General be allowed to make a comprehensive
presentation to the honourable Supreme Court on April 3.”

Scores of people have been killed in terrorist activities
and sectarian attacks in the province in recent months. And
human rights organisations have reported enforced
disappearance of dozens of Baloch nationalists.

Although the Balochistan home department claims that only
48 people have gone missing, the Human Rights Commission of
Pakistan has put the number of missing persons at several

The apex court heard several petitions on March 22 about
violations of human rights in the province and announced
that the bench headed by the chief justice would sit in
Quetta in the first week of April to deliberate on the
The bench directed the Balochistan chief secretary and
inspector-general of police to prepare a comprehensive
report containing tehsil-wise crime data and explaining
what steps were taken to maintain law and order in rural
and urban areas of the province.

The bench also asked the officials to enumerate the reasons
behind the increase in cases of violence in the province.
It also asked them to explain why teachers and other
professionals were reluctant to serve in Balochistan.

“There are so many complaints regarding missing persons.
The IGP… is required to submit a comprehensive report,
taking up the case of each of the missing persons in
Balochistan,” said the bench.

Through the attorney general, the Supreme Court also
directed the ISI, Military Intelligence (MI) and
Intelligence Bureau (IB) to submit details of persons yet
to be recovered.

“At the same time, these Agencies are required to give
detailed reasons, may be in camera, in respect of persons
whose dead bodies are found in abandoned places/areas,
including the citizens as well as the members of the
Forces,” the court said.

The bench observed that several reports had been submitted
to the court on behalf of the ISI, MI and IB and that “the
same shall be shared by the Advocate General Balochistan
for the reason that if needed he shall also give briefing
to the court upon them”.

The court said it had gone through the reports and
instructed the agencies to file fresh reports on the


02, April, 2012


Fuel price hike: PML-N to boycott PCNS meeting

By Amir Wasim

ISLAMABAD, April 1: Reacting immediately to the
government’s decision to increase prices of diesel, petrol
and other petroleum products, the Pakistan Muslim League-N
announced on Sunday that it would boycott Monday’s meeting
of the Parliamentary Committee on National Security (PCNS)
which is redrafting its recommendations on new terms of
engagements with the US.

The party will also hold a protest rally in Rawalpindi on
Wednesday against what it termed a “cruel and inhuman

The PML-N also said it would support every protest call
given by businessmen to express solidarity with the people.

The announcements were made in a statement issued by the
Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly, Chaudhry
Nisar Ali Khan.

The PML-N leader termed the decision to boycott the PCNS
meeting and its call for a protest rally as only the
“immediate reaction” and said the party would devise its
course of action after consulting the leadership and other

Chaudhry Nisar, whose party has indicated several times in
the recent past about a plan to mobilise people, said: “All
patriotic and truly democratic political parties, ordinary
people of Pakistan, traders, businessmen, students, lawyers
and civil society’s representatives will have to take to
the streets for their rights and to physically stop the
government from taking such cruel and inhuman decisions.

“If we all accept the recent hike in oil and CNG prices, it
will prove that we as a nation deserve to have a leadership
like (President) Zardari.”

Chaudhry Nisar, who served as petroleum minister in the two
PML-N governments, claimed that the recent increase in
prices was not proportionate to the rise in world prices.
He said the decisions to increase the prices of petroleum
products and compressed natural gas reflected poor and
faulty economic policies of the government.

He said while people were suffering from loadshedding and
increase in prices of oil and gas, President Asif Ali
Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani were busy in
“foreign excursions”.

He said the prices had been increased to meet the expenses
of the foreign trips and to cover the rulers’ alleged

PML-N’s decision to boycott Monday’s session has made the
task of the bipartisan PCNS more difficult. The committee
has been struggling to reach a consensus amid varying and
changed positions taken by several parties about resumption
of Nato supplies to Afghanistan.

PCNS Chairman Raza Rabbani said he had not been officially
informed by PML-N’s members about the

boycott and the meeting would be held as scheduled.

He expressed the hope that the opposition members would
realise that the committee was performing an important
national task.

Experts believe that a possible prolonged boycott by the
PML-N can further delay the finalisation of a new report by
the PCNS amid increasing pressure on the government for
restoration of Nato supply routes.

The joint sitting of both houses of parliament on the mater
will resume on Thursday afternoon after a five-day recess.

After a similar increase in oil prices in February, the
National Assembly had unanimously passed a resolution
urging the government to consider withdrawing the increase
and the prime minister promised to do “whatever is

Chaudhry Nisar had cited it as one of the opposition’s
conditions for supporting an amendment to the Constitution
to validate over 20 by-elections.

Speaker Dr Fehmida Mirza constituted a committee to devise
a new mechanism for determining oil prices. The committee
recommended that the price of diesel should be frozen till
June 30 and the government should provide Rs15 billion
subsidy for the purpose. It sought proposals from the
provinces about prices of other petroleum products.


02, April, 2012


Gilani renews commitment to Iran pipeline


By Khawar Ghumman

BOAO (China), April 1: Pakistan and Iran reiterated here on
Sunday their commitment to complete their trans-border gas
pipeline project despite US opposition and pressure.

According to sources, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and
Iranian Vice-President Mohammad Javad Mohammadizadeh
expressed their deep desire for speedy completion of the
project and also decided to help each other in exploring
avenues of alternative financial support.

Their meeting was the first high-level contact between the
two countries after a consortium led by the Industrial and
Commercial Bank of China reportedly backed off last month
from providing financial advisory services for the project
apparently because of US opposition to the plan.

The Iranian leader said his country had completed its part
of the work on the pipeline and urged Pakistan to expedite
it on its side. The prime minister arrived here on Saturday
night to attend the Boao forum for Asia.

The United States and European Union are pressurising
Pakistan to drop the project because of what they call
Iran’s nuclear ambitions. The West has imposed sanctions on
Iran and multinational companies doing business with Iran.
Talking   to Dawn, a minister accompanying Mr Gilani said:
“We are   under tremendous pressure from the US to shelve the
project   but frankly speaking we don’t have other workable
options   at the moment to meet our energy needs.”

The minister said that during recent talks with US
officials who wanted restoration of Nato supply lines, the
government had urged them to either help Pakistan meet its
energy needs or let it go ahead with the pipeline project.
Pakistan is yet to receive any firm commitment from the US
on the energy issue.

“If the Afghan war is important to President Obama as he
heads towards his re-election, we also have general
elections within a year and we need to have something to
present to our voters. Would any government like to go into
elections with people protesting on roads?”

According to the sources, Prime Minister Gilani and the
Iranian vice-president also discussed the Afghan issue and
called for joint efforts for peace and prosperity in the

The prime minister also stressed the need for addressing
issues such as extremism and drug trafficking in the
region. He said his government had declared Jundullah a
terrorist organisation and would take every possible
measure against it.

A plan to open Pakistan’s consulate in Bandar Abbas was
also discussed.

Pakistan, the prime minister said, wanted to increase the
volume of trade with Iran to $5 billion.

He supported Iran’s pursuit of nuclear technology for
peaceful use.

The Iranian vice-president called for greater people-to-
people contacts between the two nations.

He said Iran appreciated Pakistan’s efforts to play a
positive role in the region with its stance of peaceful co-

He also called for enhancing connectivity among Pakistan,
Iran and Turkey.
Prime Minister Gilani also sought China’s help for
completing the gas pipeline.

During a meeting with China’s Executive Vice-Premier Li
Keqiang, he sought help for small and medium energy

Prime Minister Gilani is one of the key speakers at the
opening session of the forum scheduled for Monday. He will
speak on this year’s theme, ‘Asia in the changing world:
Moving towards sound and sustainable development’.

He is accompanied by Information Minister Firdous Ashiq
Awan, Finance Minister Dr Hafeez Sheikh and Water and Power
Minister Naveed Qamar.

APP adds: Talking to the prime minister, the Chinese vice-
premier said: “No matter what changes take place at the
international level, we will uphold Pakistan’s sovereignty
and territorial integrity.” He said Pakistan and China were
strategic partners who respected and trusted each other at
a level of equality.

Prime Minister Gilani condemned a recent terrorist incident
that had taken place in the Chinese city of Kashgar and
said Pakistan considered the East Turkistan Islamic
Movement a common threat to both countries.

He said Pakistan was mindful of the importance of
maintaining a working and constructive engagement with the
US but would not compromise on its sovereignty and national
dignity. He said he had informed US President Barack Obama
in Seoul that Pakistan’s parliament would decide about the
parameters of bilateral relations.

The prime minister sought China’s help for setting up the
Benazir Bhutto Institute of Media Science.


02, April, 2012


Details about Osama’s hideout in Haripur emerge

HARIPUR, April 1: It’s an ornate but not lavish two-storey
house tucked away at the end of a mud clogged street. This
is where an intelligence agency believes Osama bin Laden
lived for nearly a year until he moved into the villa in
which he was eventually killed.

The residence in Haripur was one of five safe houses used
by the slain Al Qaeda leader while on the run in Pakistan,
according to information revealed by his youngest wife, who
has been detained.

Brigadier (retd) Shaukat Qadir, who has spent the last
eight months tracking Bin Laden’s movements, told The
Associated Press that he was taken to the Haripur house
last November by intelligence agents who located it from a
description they got from Amal Ahmed Abdel-Fatah al-Sada.

Ms Sada, a 30-year-old Yemeni, has been in Pakistani
custody since May 2 when US Navy SEALs overran the
Abbottabad compound, killing Bin Laden and four other
people inside. Since then, the Inter Services Intelligence
has been trying to uncover the trail that brought him to
Abbottabad villa in the summer of 2005.

The best information appears to have come from Ms Sada, who
was believed to be his favourite and who travelled with Bin
Laden since his escape from Afghanistan’s eastern Tora Bora
mountain range in 2001.

Brig Qadir, a 35-year army veteran who is now a security
consultant, was given rare access to transcripts of
interrogation of Ms Sada and access to other documents on
Bin Laden’s movements.

The details of Bin Laden’s life as a fugitive – which were
first published by Dawn – have raised questions over how he
was able to remain undetected for so long in Pakistan after
the Sept 11, 2001 attacks, despite being the subject of a
massive international manhunt.

Yet a senior US official, who is familiar with the contents
recovered in Bin Laden’s Abbottabad house, said there was
no evidence that Pakistani officials were aware of Bin
Laden’s presence.
“There was no smoking gun. We didn’t find anything,” he
said on condition of anonymity because he was not
authorised to speak about the contents of the Abbottabad

According to the interrogation report, Bin Laden lived in
five safe houses and fathered four children – the two
youngest born in a public hospital in Abbottabad. But
investigators have only located the houses in Abbottabad
and Haripur.

Ms Sada’s descriptions of the homes have been vague and the
Haripur house was found only after a series of hits and

She knew only that it was located on the edge of Haripur,
it was two-storey and it had a basement. It apparently was
used by Bin Laden while he waited for construction crews to
finish his new home in Abbottabad.

Investigators scoured the area looking for properties until
they found the Haripur house in Naseem Town, a chaotic
suburb where relatively affluent houses bump up against
sun-baked mud huts that belong to nomadic Afghans.

Like the CIA, the ISI also tracked the movements of Bin
Laden’s Pakistani courier who used the pseudonym Abu Ahmed
al-Kuwaiti and his brother. The two were ethnic Pashtuns
from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. They were Bin Laden’s front men.

The ISI discovered that the Haripur house, like the land on
which Bin Laden’s Abbottabad villa was built, was rented by
two Pashtun brothers claiming to be from Charsadda.

The AP located the Haripur house that Brig Qadir said ISI
agents had taken him to last November and found the real
estate broker, Pir Mohammed, who rented the four-bedroom
house to the two brothers, Salim and Javed Khan from
Charsadda, for $150 a month.

At the time Pir Mohammed ran a small real estate firm
called Mashallah. He said his meeting with the brothers was

“They must have seen my sign and come in,” Mohammed said,
adding that he had met the brothers only three times – when
they signed the contract, when they moved into the house
and when they moved out 11 months later.

Two months ago several ISI agents took all the records of
the house and its tenants since its construction in 2000,
said Qasi Anis Rahman, the brother of the widow who owns
the house.

“All they said was that it was for security purposes,” said
Mr Rahman.

Ms Sada is currently in Pakistani custody, along with Bin
Laden’s two other wives and several children. They were
arrested after the raid. The US Navy SEALs shot Ms Sada in
the leg during the operation.

Mohammed Amir Khalil, a lawyer for the three widows, said
the women would be formally charged for illegally staying
in Pakistan on April 2. That charge carries a maximum five-
year prison sentence.—AP


02, April, 2012


Sialkot Stallions breeze to eight-wicket win


ISLAMABAD, April 1: Six-time National T20 Cup winners,
Sialkot Stallions became the champions of the Faysal Bank
Super Eight T20 Cup on Sunday when they defeated Karachi
Dolphins by a huge margin of eight wickets after an
interesting contest in front of a jam-packed Rawalpindi
Cricket Stadium.

In a final that was tight until the last three overs,
Dolphins’ 167-for-8 total proved to be too little for
Stallions to chase as they won the event with seven balls
to spare.
Dolphins chose to bat and made a quick start with opener
Shahzaib Hussain scoring 30 off just 14 balls that included
four boundaries and a huge six.

Khalid Latif hit an unbeaten 81 off 59 balls. Asad Shafiq
was another leading scorer, who made 38 off 35 balls with
two fours and a six.

For Stallions, Raza Hassan grabbed four wickets for 33

In reply, all top-order batsmen of Stallions contributed to
their victory except semi-final centurion opening batsman
Shakeel Ansar, who was run out for six.

The chase got off to an explosive start with Imran Nazir
smashing 41 runs off just 20 balls. Stallions’ captain
Shoaib Malik as well as Haris Sohail hammered blazing half
centuries. Malik made 62 off 42 with seven fours while
Sohail scored 55 off 48 balls. Both the batsmen remained


03, April, 2012


‘Decision rests on parliament’: PM: Govt in no hurry to
open NATO routes


By Khawar Ghumman

ON BOARD PM SPECIAL PLANE, April 2: Prime Minister Yousuf
Raza Gilani has said his government is in no hurry to
reopen Nato supply routes and a decision to that effect
will be taken only after evolving a consensus at the
Parliamentary Committee on National Security.

During an informal chat with media personnel on board a
special plane on way back home after attending the Boao
Forum conference in China, Mr Gilani said: “Let the
committee, which has representation from all political
parties in parliament, decide what they want. The
government has not set a timeframe for the committee to
complete its deliberations and will wait for a final

Referring to the recently held all-inclusive meeting on the
issue of Nato supply lines which were closed after an
attack on the Salala checkpost in November, he said had his
government wanted to enforce its own decision, “there would
have been no fun in sitting late up to 2am in the morning
and listening to opposition parties”.

The March 29 meeting held at the Prime Minister’s
Secretariat was attended by leaders of almost all political
parties and the military top brass, including the army and
ISI chiefs.

The prime minister said since it was a national security
issue, the government wanted everybody on board. He
expressed the hope that the government would be able to
reach a solution which would be accepted by all parties.

But when a member of his delegation was asked about the
background discussions on the issue of reopening of Nato
supply routes, he said: “If you ask me to explain the
situation in so many words, we are virtually caught between
the devil and the deep sea.”

Although opposition parties had agreed that Pakistan could
not afford a hostile posturing towards Nato countries for a
long time, in public they were playing politics with the
issue, said the federal minister who didn’t want to be

On the other hand, he said, the military authorities wanted
the government to develop a consensus among political
forces and resolve

the issue on an emergency basis.

With the passage of time, the United States and its allies
are getting impatient and pushing Pakistan hard for a
favourable outcome, that is, the reopening of supply
routes. And they want it without any further delay and hard
The sole purpose of convening the last week’s meeting was
to make all stakeholders, especially opposition parties and
the military leadership, sit together and express their
points of view. The minister said it turned out to be a
good exercise because it took some pressure off the

“Why the PPP should take the blame for siding with the
Americans at this point and time when anti-American
sentiment is running high among the masses. Let the PML-N
and other political forces come clean on the subject,” he

When a number of questions relating to the energy crisis,
particularly prolonged loadshedding across the country,
were hurled at the prime minister, he snapped: “Do you
really think the PPP government is not aware of all this
and does not want to address this.”

He said the issue wasn’t as simple as it looked. It
involved circular debt, line losses and overall governance
in the power sector, which the government was trying to
address to the best of its abilities, he said, adding that
at an energy conference to be held next week in Lahore, the
centre would seek input from the provincial governments how
best “we all can get rid of this problem”.

“Very few people know that the federal government has
allowed the provinces to go for electricity generation at
their own. Putting the entire blame of electricity shortage
on my government is unfair,” Mr Gilani responded to a

Finance Minister Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, who was accompanying
the prime minister, said the budget-making exercise was
very much on track and the government was planning to
present the next budget on May 25.


03, April, 2012


Oil prices likely to be slightly reduced

By Khaleeq Kiani

ISLAMABAD, April 2: The government has decided to slightly
reduce prices of three major petroleum products -- petrol,
high speed diesel and kerosene -- in an effort to defuse
the strong public reaction to a large increase in the
prices made on Saturday.

The Ministry of Finance is likely to announce a decision to
the effect on Tuesday.

Petroleum Minister Dr Asim Hussain told Dawn on Monday that
President Asif Ali Zardari had directed him “to move a
summary to the finance ministry for reduction in oil
prices”. He said his ministry had moved the summary seeking
a maximum possible reduction in the prices of three key
products and a decision was expected on Tuesday.

He said the petroleum ministry had proposed to provide as
much relief to consumers as possible by reducing the
petroleum levy. But, he said, the reduction would be of
around Rs2-3 per litre.

According to sources, the petroleum ministry suggested that
since the revenue collection on account of general sales
tax was much higher than anticipated at the time of budget
presentation last year, petroleum levy should be reduced to
“net off” overall impact against higher GST collection.

They said GST had increased by Rs4-6 per litre since July
last year because of high international prices. The
government also kept on increasing petroleum levy and the
petroleum ministry now wanted to reduce the levy, they

Officials said the government had on Feb 29 agreed to
freeze the price of high speed diesel till June 30 through
a subsidy of Rs15 billion as part of negotiations with
parties in parliament. They said the government had not
increased the levy on high speed diesel and the finance
ministry should have kept its word by freezing its price.

On Saturday, the government increased the prices of petrol
by 8.2 per cent, HOBC (high octane blending component) by
seven per cent, light diesel oil by 5.8 per cent, HSD by
4.5 per cent and kerosene by 5.5 per cent.

This was done despite the fact that the Oil and Gas
Regulatory Authority (Ogra) had in its summary recommended
to the government to keep the prices of petroleum products
unchanged to provide relief to the public. It was of the
opinion that the increase be adjusted in petroleum levy
because the impact of not raising prices of petroleum
products would be not more than Rs3.25 billion on the
national kitty.

The regulator also reminded the government of a decision by
a special committee on revenue against any change in HSD
prices till June 30. It advised the government not to pass
on to the public the additional impact of un-audited price
differential claims of Pak Arab Refinery Limited amounting
to Rs328 million.

“All its proposals were, however, rejected by the federal
government,” an Ogra statement said.

The government decision to increase petroleum prices has
been rejected by all political parties, trade bodies and
the transport sector.

Some transporters have announced an increase in fares.


03, April, 2012


Rental power scam — bigwigs on ECL


By Syed Irfan Raza

ISLAMABAD, April 2: In line with a recent decision of the
Supreme Court, the National Accountability Bureau tightened
the noose on Monday on 19 bigwigs, including four former
federal ministers and four former secretaries, and placed
their names on the exit control list (ECL) for alleged
irregularities and non-transparency in rental power
projects (RPPs).

In its verdict on Friday, the court rescinded the RPPs and
ordered NAB Chairman Admiral (retd) Fasih Bokhari to
proceed with corruption references against those who were
at the helm of affairs when the contracts were signed
between 2006 and 2008 to overcome the energy shortfall
through these projects as a stopgap arrangement.

According to a NAB official, the bureau also seized
property of 12 RPPs and asked the district coordination
officers and deputy commissioners concerned to take action
if their owners tried to transfer the property.

But the NAB did not issue any press release about its
decision of placing the names on the ECL of the former
ministers, including Raja Pervez Ashraf of the PPP, and the
former secretaries, but passed on the information
unofficially to the state-run news agency to circulate it
to the media. The NAB recommended the names of 19 people to
be put on the ECL and sent them to the interior ministry
for a decision.

“On the recommendations of the NAB all the names have been
put on the ECL,” a source in the interior ministry told

According to sources, NAB took the decision to send the
names to the interior ministry at a meeting held at its
headquarters. The bureau obtained a list from the ministry
of water and power of the former ministers and secretaries
and other officials of Wapda allegedly involved in the RPP
scam. They served the ministry and Wapda during 2006-08.

The people whose names have been put on the ECL are: Former
federal ministers for water and power Raja Pervez Ashraf,
Liaquat Ali Khan Jatoi and Tariq Hameed, former finance
minister Shaukat Tarin, former secretaries of water and
power Shahid Rafi, Muhammad Ismail Qureshi and Ishfaq
Mehmood, former finance secretary Salman Siddique, former
chairmen of the National Electric Power Regulatory
Authority (Napra) Khalid Saeed and Lt-Gen (retd) Saeed Uz
Zafar, Genco chief executive officer Yousaf Ali, former
managing directors of the Private Power Infrastructure
Board (PPIB) Khalid Irfan Rahman, Fayyaz Elahi and Yousaf
Memon, former managing directors of the Pakistan Electric
Power Company (Pepco) Tahir Basharat Cheema and Munawar
Baseer Ahmad and Pepco chief executive officers Muhammad
Arif Saleem, Fazal Ahmad Khan and Chaudhry Muhammad Anwar.
The names of 12 RPPs whose property have been seized are:
Techno-E Power (on Summandri Road, Faisalabad), Young
Generation (Satiana Road, Faisalabad), Techno-E Power
(Sahuwal, Sialkot), Pakistan Power Resources (Guddu
district, Kashmore), Karkay Karodeniz (a Turkish ship
anchored in Karachi), Gulf Rental (Aimanabad, Gujranwala),
Reshma Power (Raiwind Road, Lahore), Walters Power
International Naudero-I (Larkana), Walters Power
International Naudero-II (Larkana), M/s Alstome (Bhakki
district, Sheikhupura), M/s General Electric Power
(Sharqpur district, Sheikhupura) and Pakistan Power
Resources (Piranghaib, Multan).

Meanwhile, Raja Pervez Ashraf welcomed the Supreme Court
decision in a TV programme, but said the contracts with
RPPs had been signed during the Musharraf government in
2006. He said the agreements signed in 2008 had also been
approved by the present federal cabinet as a collective

He said he himself had sent the issue to the Asian
Development Bank for investigation.


03, April, 2012


PPP man, six others killed: Lyari violence gets out of
police control


By Our Staff Reporter

KARACHI, April 2: As law-enforcement personnel fought
pitched battles with armed groups in Karachi’s Lyari area
for the second day on Monday, seven people lost their lives
and scores of others were wounded.
President Asif Ali Zardari expressed fury over the law and
order situation in the city and told the authorities to
show no mercy to extortionists, targeted killers and

When President Zardari was presiding over a meeting in
Bilawal House, not very far from Lyari, protesters and a
large number of armed people were engaged in a battle with
police during which a PPP leader of the area and six other
people were killed.

Rockets, petrol bombs and automatic weapons were freely
used against police and political activists.

Besides PPP leader Hasan Soomro, a 10-year-old boy was
among the dead.

The violence broke out soon after Sunday’s raid on a
‘hideout of suspects’ by a CID team led by SP Aslam Khan.

“We cannot and must not permit the criminal mafia to hold
the city hostage,” the president was quoted as saying at
the meeting by his spokesman Senator Farhatullah Babar.

The Sindh governor, chief minister, federal interior
minister, provincial ministers, directors-general of the
Intelligence Bureau and Pakistan Rangers, the inspector-
general of police and other senior officials of the federal
and provincial governments attended the meeting.

According to the spokesperson, President Zardari directed
the officials concerned to restore peace in the country’s
economic hub and bring the criminals to book without any
consideration for their political affiliation. He called
upon all parties to demonstrate political will and purge
their ranks of criminals and directed law-enforcers to take
tough measures and use the advanced technology to get hold
of criminals.

Mr Zardari directed the authorities concerned to equip the
police force with aerial patrolling gadgets and heavy-duty
armoured personnel carriers.

He also asked officials to use geo-fence technology for
localities infested with criminal elements.
According to the spokesperson, President Zardari called for
carrying out a scientific study on sectarianism, extremism,
land grabbing, street crimes, targeted killings, political
rivalries and migration from other parts of the country.

He also called for improved coordination between law-
enforcement agencies and intelligence agencies.Giving a
briefing on the assistance given by the interior ministry
to the provincial government in combating crimes in
Karachi, Interior Minister Rehman Malik said a policy had
been devised whereby mobile service providers would deliver
SIMs to cellphone users at the postal address given in
their computerised national identity cards.

Mr Malik informed the meeting that criminal elements had
been using stolen and snatched mobile phones by replacing
the SIM. Now the PTA would automatically be alerted if a
SIM was changed in a cellphone, he added.

This together with the geo-fencing would lead to almost
instant identification of the location of the unauthorised
user of any particular cellphone and facilitate the arrest
of criminals, he said.

Earlier, the Sindh PPP core committee met at Bilawal House
and discussed overall political situation in the province
and coalition matters.

Sources said participants were of the opinion that the PPP
should continue to pursue its policy of reconciliation in
the larger interest of Sindh and the country.

Meanwhile, the Awami National Party asked its workers and
the administration on Monday to take down party flags and
demanded that law-enforcement agencies should show
impartiality in operations against suspected terrorists and

The Sindh High Court on Monday put the provincial police
chief and the director-general of Rangers on notice in a
petition seeking their removal from the office for failing
to control targeted killings and terrorism in the city.

A division bench of the SHC headed by Justice Maqbool Baqar
directed the respondents to file their comments and
adjourned the hearing to April 18.
The petition was filed by Rana Faizul Hasan, the secretary
general of the United Human Rights Commission of Pakistan.


03, April, 2012


Widows, two daughters of Osama jailed


By Malik Asad

ISLAMABAD, April 2: A local court convicted on Monday three
widows and two grown-up daughters of the slain Al Qaeda
chief of illegal residency and impersonation and sentenced
them to 45 days imprisonment, to be followed by

The five have been in custody since May 2 last year when
Osama bin Laden was killed by US commandos in his
Abbottabad residence.

Senior Civil Judge Islamabad Shahrukh Arjumand ordered the
interior secretary to deport them to the countries of their
origin in accordance with the law. They accepted the
charges levelled by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA).

Amal Abdulfatah, Osama’s youngest wife, was indicted under
section 419 of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) for using fake
identity in different hospitals when her five children were
born. She and the other two widows of Bin Laden, Khairiah
Hussain Sabir alias Umme Khalid and Shaim Sharif, and
daughters Mariam and Samina, were also charged, under
section 14 (2) of the Foreign Act, with illegally staying
in Pakistan.

According to the charges read out by the judge in the
presence of Bin Laden’s family, Ms Amal entered Pakistan on
a valid visa. But after the expiry of the visa in 2000, she
illegally stayed in different areas of the country. The
other two women and children entered and stayed in Pakistan
without any legal authority.

The FIA also had booked them under sections 212 (harbouring
an offender) and 109 (abetment) of the PPC and section 13
of the Foreign Act. However, the agency dropped the charges
of harbouring an offender and abetment which entail jail
terms of not less than three years.

Zakariya Abdulfatah, younger brother of Amal, had filed in
the Islamabad High Court a petition challenging the
registration of a criminal case against his sister and her
children under sections 13, 14 of the Foreign Act and
sections 212 and 419 of the PPC.

Amir Khalil, the counsel for Osama’s family, told Dawn that
the FIA had dropped the charges under sections 212 and 109
against his clients because it could not prove them.

He said the members of the family had already spent more
than a month in jail since their arrest on March 3. The
case against them was registered on March 1 and, therefore,
they will be released in a couple of weeks and deported.

He said the widows had requested the judge to consider
their case on humanitarian grounds and pardon them because
they were helpless women.

FIA assistant director (legal) Khalid Naeem said sections
212 and 419 had been incorporated in the initial incomplete
challan because of certain reasons. These sections dealt
with those unknown people who had harboured Bin Laden and
facilitated his stay in Pakistan.

AFP adds: Monday’s proceedings lasted three hours in a
makeshift court set up in the plush house where Osama’s
widows and their children are living and where they will
serve out their sentences, away from the prying eyes of the
media. Police commandos barricaded the main gate of the
two-storey house and policemen could be seen on the first
floor by journalists, confined to the opposite side of the
road in the leafy G-6 neighbourhood of Islamabad.

Defence lawyer Amir told reporters that the accused were
“all in good health” and said they had all spoken during
Monday’s proceedings.
Zakariya Abdulfatah said the judge had also imposed a fine
of Rs10,000 each, which he said had already been paid.

“The court has also given direction to the government to
arrange the necessary documents for their earliest
repatriation, so that they can go to their own country as
soon as possible,” he told reporters.

The three widows have an undisclosed number of children
among them, but only those above 12 were charged. Under the
Pakistani law, they faced a maximum sentence of five years.


03, April, 2012


Hindus of upper Sindh: a bruised community carries on


By Cyril Almeida

In the little town of Reharki in Ghotki district, a
sprawling multi-acre complex sits among fields just off the
main road.

Known as the Reharki Darbar, it houses the Sant Satram Das
temple and is just a few kilometres from the Bharchundi
Sharif shrine, which has become the focal point of
allegations that Hindu women are being forced to convert to

At one end of the Reharki Darbar, an enormous hostel is
being constructed for visiting pilgrims, while a recently
completed causeway donated by the federal government
provides easy access to temple sites at either end of the
massive grounds.

In mid-April, according to caretakers at the darbar, tens
of thousands of visitors will gather at the complex for a
festival marking the death anniversary of Bhagat Kanwar
Ram, a popular Sufi poet and singer who was killed in
communal riots in 1939, allegedly by the then-custodians of
the Bharchundi Sharif shrine.

“It’s a great event and people come from all over, even
outside Pakistan, from Dubai and India,” said Aneel Batra,
a local community leader.

The large Bharchundi Sharif shrine in Daharki, the source
of much consternation among the Hindu community in recent
days, and the even-larger Sant Satram Das temple complex in
adjacent Reharki symbolise the contradictions of the lives
of Hindus in upper Sindh.

In the districts of Jacobabad, Shikarpur, Ghotki, Sukkur,
Khairpur and Larkana, a mixture of lower-caste peasants and
well-to-do businessmen, traders and professionals do suffer
sporadic violence and must contend with a strain of
intolerance evident since the Zia era.

However, the Hindu communities’ ancient ties to the land,
their integration into Sindhi society and their wealth
allows them to work and live in northern Sindh relatively
free from the systematic repression that Christians in
south Punjab or Ahmadis across Pakistan suffer.

Discrimination against and outright repression of Hindus is
far more pronounced in south-east Sindh, where the vast
majority of Hindus in the province, many of them lower-
caste peasants, live in Tharparkar, Mirpurkhas, Umerkot and

Growing violence

The violence that the Hindus of upper Sindh have faced in
recent times does have community leaders feeling vulnerable
and scared.

“We feel like there is a plan to   get us out of here. That
because we are well-to-do, there   is envy and people want us
gone,” according to Dr Hari Lal,   a community leader whose
home was targeted in violence in   Pano Aqil, Sukkur, last

That fear was echoed by Eshwar Lal, president of the Sukkur
Hindu Panchayat: “Periodically kidnapping Hindus, entering
our homes, picking up our children, it’s all meant to
prevent the community from growing, to keep us under
psychological pressure.”

In addition to commonplace extortion and somewhat less
frequent kidnappings, Hindus have also been attacked and
killed in low-level communal violence in upper Sindh

In November 2011, for example, three Hindu doctors were
killed in Chak, Shikarpur, after a dispute involving a
Muslim girl belonging to the local Bhayo community
snowballed.Two months earlier, in Pano Aqil, the hometown
of Dr Hari Lal, police had to be called in to quell small-
scale riots after the local Kalhora community accused a
Hindu employee at a school run by Dr Lal of having molested
a female student from Kalhora community.

According to Shakir Jamali, head of the Sukkur Taskforce of
the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, the violence
against Hindus is rooted in local factors and not
necessarily linked to religious extremism:

“In the Pano Aqil case, the JUI tried to give it a
religious hue via the Kalhora community but it didn’t work.
In Shikarpur, too, the killers tried to give the matter a
religious dimension but the local civil society prevented

Jamali added: “Because Hindus are weak and vulnerable as a
community, justice is often not served. Local politicians,
waderas and sardars urge them to hush up the matter,
telling them they are too weak to take on Muslim tribes and

A weakened community

Across upper Sindh, Hindus point to the Zia era as the time
when the modern-day marginalisation of the ancient Hindu
community began.

Mahesh Kumar, the owner of a cotton-ginning factory in
Ghotki district, explained: “Before Zia, we had as many
votes as the other communities and the local MPA needed our
support to win. Zia’s separate electorate marginalised us.
Although joint electorates have been reintroduced, those
12-15 years put us under pressure. And once you’re put
under pressure, it’s hard to recover.”

With their political influence somewhat eroded – though
still significant via alliances with local politicians,
local analysts suggest – the Hindu population’s sizeable
wealth in upper Sindh makes them choice targets of
kidnappers, extortionists and petty criminals.

“In Ghotki, the cotton ginning factories are owned by
Hindus. In Sukkur, half the trade in rice, grains and dates
is conducted by Hindus. In Khairpur, Hindus have a big role
in the date trade. In Jacobabad and Kashmore, rice milling
and trading are Hindu domains. In Larkana, Hindus have a
big role in the rice trade. All of this makes them a
target,” said Eshwar Lal.

Hindus are also prominent among the professional classes. A
doctor in Sukkur city, who spoke on the condition of
anonymity because he is a government employee, said: “25
per cent of the doctors in the medical college here are
Hindu. We educate our children and they compete for the
best jobs. Some in the Muslim community, especially the
poorer ones, look at us with envy. And sometimes they act
on it and get away with it because of the religious card.”

Leaving not an option

While Hindu victims of violence and other crimes do
sometimes migrate to India and other countries, emigration
is no more than a trickle. The difficulty in obtaining an
India visa is part of the problem but an uncertain future
in a new country and the tug of home tend to dampen
enthusiasm for migration.

“I have 200 to 250 patients here. If I moved to even Mirpur
Mathelo, a few kilometres away, I wouldn’t have a
practice,” according to Dr Shivak Ram, speaking at his
large family compound in Daharki.

“If I sell off my businesses and move to India, with the
currency exchange rate being what it is, I’ll only have
half as much money to invest there. Who can suffer that
kind of loss?” asked Mahesh Kumar, the affluent factory
owner in Ghotki.In Sukkur city, a lawyer, Mukesh Kumar,
suggested that if visas to India were easier to come by “a
hundred families would leave every week”. But Kumar
admitted that he had no intention of relocating his family,
“Leaving your place of birth is difficult. Our roots, our
temples, our spiritual links are all with this land. In
India, we’ll always be called mohajirs.”

The long history of inclusion in the social, political,
economic and even religious fabric of upper Sindh appears
to have prevented a rush for the exit by Hindus.

Hindu acceptance of Sufism, as evident in the Bhagat Kanwar
Ram festival in Reharki Darbar, and embracing of Sindhi
nationalism has allowed the community to brand itself as
Sindhi first and made it easier to find common ground with
the Muslims of upper Sindh.

“There’s a saying in Sindhi ‘Hindu goth je soonh ahi’ – a
Hindu is the beauty of the village or town,” according to a
former resident of Jacobabad who spoke on the condition of
anonymity for professional reasons. “Hindus were considered
integral to life in Sindh.”

He added: “The situation may have changed somewhat over the
last 20 years, but it hasn’t erased the long history of
Hindu influence in upper Sindh.”


03, April, 2012


Panetta defends ties with Pakistan: Govt was not aware of
Osama’s presence


By Anwar Iqbal

WASHINGTON, April 2: US Secretary of Defence Leon Panetta
said on Monday that like others in the Obama administration
he too believed the top Pakistani leadership was unaware of
Osama bin Laden’s whereabouts despite new evidence showing
that the Al Qaeda chief lived in the country for nine years
after 9/11.

In an interview to CBC television, Mr Panetta, however,
said he believed some “lower rank” people in the military
might have known where Bin Laden was hiding.

“Well, you know, these situations sometimes, the leadership

Pakistan [sic] is obviously not aware of certain things and
yet people lower down in the military establishment find it
very well, they’ve been aware of it,” the US defence
secretary said.

 “But bottom line is that we have not had evidence that
provides that direct link.”

Mr Panetta also expressed a keen interest in reviving US
relations with Pakistan.

Noting that the relationship had gone through “ups and
downs” since

January last year, Mr Panetta said: “We’re actually in a
period now, after coming out of a couple of incidents,
where they’re interested and we’re interested in trying to
put this back on track.”

The two sides, he noted, were now “making some progress,
trying to reopen the blocks, the portals for our supplies.
We’re making some good progress with regards to cross-
border operations. They are taking some steps to go after

“So, slowly but surely we’re trying to get things back in
the right place, to try to ensure that both of us are
working against terrorism.”

Secretary Panetta said that both the US and Pakistan had
analysed the material recovered from Bin Laden’s compound
“but I have not heard any kind of evidence that involved a
direct connection to the Pakistanis”.

He added: “Obviously the concern has always been, how Bin
Laden could be in an area where there were military
establishments, where we could see the military operating
and not have them know?”

Mr Panetta acknowledged that this was and “always will be”
a complex relationship. “In some ways we share a common
concern and a common threat.”

Pakistan, he noted, had lost “an awful lot of lives”
because of terrorism” and that’s why it continued to
conduct military operations against the terrorists.

“So in many ways we have common cause, but the problem is
that they view their position in that part of the world as
one that is threatened,” he said.

The Pakistanis feel “threatened by India, threatened by
others, threatened by some of the terrorists, threatened by
the concern about how they’re going to be viewed in that
region, what kind of position are they going to have for
the future,” Mr Panetta added.

“And as a result of that, sometimes we get very mixed
messages from Pakistan as to just exactly where they’re
going to be. We’ve had ups and downs.”But Mr Panetta said
that he believed it was “an absolutely essential
relationship” if both sides continued to purse the

“Frankly, you can’t really have peace in Afghanistan until
we’ve been able to ensure that we have peace in Pakistan
with regard to the terrorists,” he added.

Mr Panetta said the US did not share its plan to raid the
Bin Laden compound with Pakistan because in the past
whenever the US shared such information, “unfortunately,
for one way or another, it got leaked” to the individuals
they were trying to go after. “So as a result of that we
were concerned that if we were going to perform a sensitive
mission like this, we had to do it on our own.”


03, April, 2012

Man held for kidnapping, assault in Ubauro


By Waseem Shamsi

SUKKUR, April 2: Ubauro police have arrested one man and
are conducting raids for his accomplices accused of
kidnapping and assaulting a girl of Mitho Bhutto village.

Aftab Bhutto was arrested after the victim’s father Amir
Bakhsh Bhutto lodged an FIR at Ubauro police station. He
said Aftab Bhutto along with 11 accomplices had attacked
his home, kidnapped his daughter at gunpoint and assaulted
her after taking her to an unknown place.

Amir Bakhsh told reporters at Daharki and Ubauro that the
accused had also shaved the girl’s head, disrobed her and
forced her to walk around the village.

He said his relatives searching for his daughter were
informed by people that an unconscious girl had been left
abandoned by some men in a sugarcane field near the
village. She was taken to a police station and then to the
taluka hospital.

The complainant said Ali Sher Bhutto, one of the
accomplices, had accused his son three days ago of having
illicit relations with his wife, but could not prove it.


04, April, 2012


Riots erupt in Gilgit, Chilas; 14 killed


By Farooq Ahmed Khan
GILGIT, April 3: A bout of violence claimed 14 lives and
left over 50 people injured in Gilgit and nearby Chilas
before a curfew was imposed in the region’s capital on

“Five people were killed and at least 40 injured in
different parts of Gilgit city,” District Magistrate Arqam
Tariq said.

He said the army had taken over the control of the city and
law-enforcement personnel had been ordered to shoot anyone
violating the curfew.

According to a police official in Chilas, “nine people were
killed near the town by a mob in retaliation against the
killings reported from Gilgit”.

The violence started unexpectedly. The Ahl-i-Sunnat group,
a reincarnation of the banned Sipah-i-Sahaba Pakistan, was
observing a strike to press the government for the release
of its leader. A group of workers of the party reached the
Etihad Chowk in Gilgit. When they were trying to force
shopkeepers to close their shops, unknown people threw a
grenade on them. Dozens of people were injured.

Within minutes, firing broke out that lasted for about five

It appeared as if the entire   city was under attack as
firing took place in various   localities. Panicked residents
holed themselves up in their   homes and the streets and
markets were rapidly emptied   of people.

Law-enforcement personnel were unable to control the
situation despite resorting to firing till curfew was
imposed and troops appeared on the roads.

The entry points of the city were closed and helicopters
hovered over the area.

The scale of violence could be judged from the fact that an
official in the Kashrote Civil Hospital said that more than
50 people had been admitted there and four bodies had still
not been claimed by anyone.

Officials at the District Headquarters Hospital said three
police personnel had also been brought in for treatment.
Police official Alam Khan from Chilas told Dawn that
Superintendent of Police Jamshid Khan had suffered serious
injuries. Another policeman was injured while trying to
stop the mob from attacking and destroying buses.

Tens of thousands of people marched towards Karakoram
Highway and intercepted a convoy of buses heading towards
Gilgit. Nine passengers were shot dead and four buses were
set on fire.

Apart from the deployment of troops, no significant steps
were taken by the administration to arrest the miscreants.

The district magistrate of Gilgit said no arrest had been
made, adding that the culprits would be apprehended after
the troops brought the situation under control.

An official said the mob had blocked the Karakoram Highway.
Security forces failed to restore traffic on the highway
till late in the night.


04, April, 2012


Senior US diplomat arrives today


By Our Staff Reporter

ISLAMABAD, April 3: Senior US diplomat Thomas Nides is
expected to arrive here on Wednesday for continuing talks
on reengagement as parliament struggles to firm up new
terms for bilateral cooperation.

Mr Nides, who is Deputy Secretary of State for management
and resources and Secretary Hillary Clinton’s alter ego,
during his meetings with President Asif Zardari, Prime
Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani
Khar and Finance Minister Hafeez Sheikh, would primarily
focus on financial aspect of the relationship, including
aid under the Kerry-Lugar Act and Coalition Support Fund

He is, however, also expected to touch upon some of the
more contentious political and security matters.

Mr Nides’ trip would be the second high-profile visit by a
US functionary after Centcom commander Gen James Mattis and
Isaf chief Gen John Allen’s meetings with military leaders
in Rawalpindi.

These meetings follow Prime Minister Gilani’s talks with
President Barack Obama in Seoul and President Zardari’s
discussions with Special Representative for Afghanistan and
Pakistan Ambassador Marc Grossman in Dushanbe.

As the two distinct tracks of reengagement and review
continue side by side, the government’s worst fear is about
resumption of NATO supply route being linked by legislators
with cessation of drone attacks, one of the main
recommendations of the Parliamentary Committee on National

Opposition parties in parliament seem to be inclined to
linking the two issues.

The various options being discussed include reopening only
after US gives assurances about discontinuing the drone
war; and/or announcing the resumption of routes with the
condition that they would be unilaterally closed in the
event of another predator strike.

Anwar Iqbal adds from Washington: The State Department said
on Tuesday that Mr Nides would discuss a “full range of
issues” in Islamabad.

The visit is part of a concerted effort to “build on our
recent high-level engagement with the Pakistani government
as its parliamentary review approaches a conclusion,” it

At a regular briefing in Washington, State Department

Victoria Nuland was asked if Mr Nides would also discuss
with Pakistani authorities a $10 million bounty the
department announced on Monday for information leading to
the conviction of Jamaatud Dawa chief Hafiz Mohammad Saeed.

“Well, the full range of issues related to international
terrorism, terrorist threats in Pakistan, internationally,
is obviously one of the subjects that Deputy Secretary
Nides will be talking about,” she replied.


04, April, 2012


33rd death anniversary of ZAB Bilawal asks: SC to revoke
Bhutto verdict


NAUDERO, April 3: Pakistan People’s Party Chairman Bilawal
Bhutto Zardari said on Tuesday that the Z.A. Bhutto
reference case pending before the Supreme Court had
provided a golden opportunity to the court to do justice to
the great leader.

Addressing a meeting of the PPP Central Executive Committee
held here on the eve of the 33rd death anniversary of Z.A.
Bhutto, he said: “I expect the Supreme Court to finally
provide us justice. Justice in the eyes of history – the
court must set the record straight.”

He said the Supreme Court sentenced Z.A. Bhutto to death by
hanging for a crime he had not committed. The judicial
murder was not the first, nor the last, flawed decision
made by courts.

He said it was unfortunate that courts had often stood on
the wrong side of history. From the doctrine of necessity
to the judicial murder of Mr Bhutto and the legitimisation
of violations of the Constitution, the courts had not
performed the role required of them by the Constitution.

The PPP chairman said restoration of judges by the prime
minister was truly a historic milestone. Now it is up to
the courts to redeem their institution’s sullied reputation
in the eyes of history. “Was their brave stance evidence of
the beginning of a new era in Pakistan where the judges of
our courts will be remembered for dispensing justice,
supporting democracy and refusing to do the bidding of our

“I am confident the Supreme Court will deliver us justice.
I am confident the Supreme Court will not stand in the way.
We expect the Supreme Court to apologise for the role it
played in the judicial murder of Shaheed Zulfikar Ali

“There have been some positive developments in the
decisions taken by the court to right the wrongs of the
past. These developments give me the confidence to believe
that the Bhuttos of Larkana will also get the justice they

“The Sharifs of Lahore have had their trumped-up charges
squashed by the courts. I do not believe there will be
double standards. I do not believe that Shaheed Zulfikar
Ali Bhutto of Larkana is hanged but he does not get justice
from these courts while the Sharifs of Lahore are

“Similarly the Asghar Khan case has finally been taken up
by the Supreme Court. Shaheed Benazir Bhutto fought for
more than a decade for this case to be heard. It is a
positive development that following Imran Khan of Lahore’s
demand the case has finally been heard. I have no doubt the
forces that conspired against the PPP and Shaheed BB shall
finally be exposed.

“Despite these positive developments there are also some
worrying signs. More than 50 per cent of terrorists
presented before our courts have been freed. I am told
there is a lack of evidence and the fault lies with the

“The rapists of our sister Mukhtaran Mai have been freed by
the courts. Presumably for the same reasons. How can there
be enough evidence to hang ZAB but not enough evidence to
keep terrorists and rapists in prison. How can there be
enough evidence to keep Benazir Bhutto Shaheed, President
Zardari and Prime Minister Gilani in prison for so long
without a conviction but rapists and terrorists are set

“The courts are dangerously close to repeating the mistakes
of the past. They should resist the temptation to obey the
dictation of the establishment.

“We cannot allow the court to dig up my mother’s grave and
put her martyred corpse on trial.

“Mr prime minister you will not violate Vienna convention,
you will not violate the Constitution of Pakistan, you will
not desecrate the graves of our martyrs. You may lose your
office. You may lose your government but you must do what
is right. There is not only the Supreme Court, there is
also the court of the people and the court of history.

“They can threaten to send Yousuf Raza Gilani of Multan to
prison but he is a follower of Bhutto Shaheed. Let us pray
that our Supreme Court will once again choose to stand on
the right side of history. Let us pray that there will not
be double standards. That Shaheed Bhutto of Sindh was
hanged but another prime minister from Punjab is freed.
While a former prime minister from Punjab, a self-
confessing, convicted accused is vindicated, while Shaheed
BB is put on trial from her grave.

“That a prime minister who ransacked the Supreme Court is
given better treatment over our Seraiki-speaking prime
minister who obeys the Constitution and presents himself
before the court is stripped of his constitutional rights.

“I have faith in the Pakistan People’s Party. I have faith
in democracy. I have faith in Pakistan. I have faith in you
Mr prime minister. You will make Shaheed Benazir Bhutto and
Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto proud. We will get justice. If
not now. If not by this court. We will be vindicated in the
courts of history.

The people have spoken. We are all agreed.—APP

M.B. Kalhoro adds: The central executive committee renewed
its pledge to accomplish Z.A Bhutto’s mission.
PPP Secretary General Jahangir Badar said the meeting
reposed confidence in the leadership of President Asif Ali
Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani.

The committee thanked President Zardari for sending the ZAB
reference to the Supreme Court.

It urged Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari to play his role
to unite and politically mobilise the youth.

The meeting called for keeping the focus on the Bhutto case
and bringing the killers of Benazir Bhutto to justice.

The CEC adopted a resolution in support of the Kashmir

Mr Badar said the meeting praised the leadership of the
prime minister and his role in getting the 18th, 19th and
20th amendments approved by parliament and in restoring the
1973 Constitution in its original form.

The CEC said that although Z.A Bhutto was eliminated
physically he still ruled the hearts of people. He said the
central and provincial leadership of the party expressed
confidence in the leadership of Asif Zardari, Bilawal
Bhutto Zardari and Yousuf Raza Gilani.


04, April, 2012


Prices of oil, CNG cut


By Khaleeq Kiani

ISLAMABAD, April 3: The government reduced on Tuesday the
prices of petrol, high speed diesel and kerosene, and CNG
by a maximum of 2.2 per cent in an attempt to defuse
protests sparked by an increase of up to 8.2 per cent in
the prices announced last week,
According to an Ogra notification issued on the directives
of the government, the petrol price was reduced by Rs2.32
to Rs103.36 from Rs105.68 per litre.

The price of high speed diesel was cut by Rs1.16 to Rs107
from Rs108.16 per litre and that of kerosene by Rs1.74 to
Rs99.95 from Rs101.69 per litre.

An Ogra notification said the price of CNG was reduced by
Rs1.95 to Rs86.75 from Rs88.70 per kg for region-one which
includes Northern Punjab (Potohar), Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and

The price for region-two which includes Sindh and south and
central Punjab and Balochistan was reduced by Rs1.78 to
Rs79.20 from Rs80.98 per kg.


04, April, 2012


‘Evidence needed to try Hafiz Saeed’


By Baqir Sajjad Syed and Khalid Hasnain

ISLAMABAD / LAHORE, April 3: The government needs
watertight evidence from the United States to act against
Jamaatud Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Mohammad Saeed.

“In order to proceed against Hafiz Saeed we need hard and
undeniable evidence that can withstand judicial scrutiny,”
an official of the interior ministry told Dawn, reacting to
the $10 million bounty announced by the US for information
leading to the radical leader’s arrest.

“We can’t prosecute a Pakistani national on the basis of
hearsay just to please India,” he said about the reward
announced by a US official in New Delhi.Interior Minister
Rehman Malik said in a TV talk show that the government was
yet to be officially intimated by the US about the bounty
for Mr Saeed, who is now among the top five men wanted by
the Americans.

Activities of Hafiz Saeed, who founded the now banned
Lashkar-e-Taiba during the mid-1990s, have largely focussed
on the freedom struggle in Kashmir, but recently he has
emerged as one of the main leaders of the Difa-i-Pakistan
Council (DPC), an alliance of some 40 rightwing groups
opposing reopening of suspended NATO supply routes to

The reasons cited in the US ‘Rewards for justice’
notification include an Interpol ‘red corner notice’ issued
by the Indian government against Mr Saeed for his alleged
role in the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks and designation of
the two groups founded by him as foreign terrorist
organisations by the United Nations and US.

He acknowledged that the names of LeT, JuD and Hafiz Saeed
had come up several times during Pakistan-US dialogue over
the past year and a half, but claimed that nothing concrete
had been shared by American officials with Pakistanis in
this regard.

The US programme offering millions of dollars has been used
to track terrorists on the run but Mr Saeed’s case is
unique in that he freely moves about in a country that has
been a close US ally in the war on terror, but is currently
reviewing the terms of its cooperation.

He has been participating in anti-US rallies of the DPC and
only late last month, attended a demonstration against
possible restoration of NATO supply routes outside the
parliament building.

Mr Saeed, during a TV show, mocked at the bounty: “I’m not
hiding in caves for rewards to be announced for my capture.
The US is frustrated because of our campaign against
resumption of Nato supply.” He challenged the US to get him

The PML-Q, a key ruling coalition partner, claimed that the
bounty was unlawful and meant to appease India.

“The US has announced reward for information about a person
against whom no criminal case exists in America,” the
party’s secretary general Senator Mushahid Hussain said at
a media conference, where he urged the government to
protest with Washington against the move.

Mr Saeed believes the bounty on him and $2 million for
locating his brother-in-law Hafiz Abdul Rahman Makki is an
attempt to please India and lure certain mafias into
getting him.

“I am among the people of my country and moving here
freely. I fully believe in Almighty Allah as my protector
and am not afraid of the Americans,” he said.

“Although the US has pleased India through this
announcement, it is, in fact, more concerned over DPC’s
growing popularity. The DPC will not budge from its stance
on Nato supply. The US knows that it will be very difficult
for the government to restore the NATO supply after DPC’s
strong opposition,” he said.

Talking to Dawn, JuD leader Amir Hamza said the head money
should better be placed on US President Barack Obama and
his predecessor George Bush for conspiring against

In reply to a question, he said: “The security being
provided by JuD’s volunteers to their head at the moment is

JuD spokesman Yayha Mujahid said Hafiz Saeed would continue
performing his work without any fear. He said the JuD would
never withdraw from its stance against the proposed
restoration of NATO supply and giving India the most
favoured nation (MFN) status.

US embassy spokesman Mark Stroh rejected JuD’s claim that
the bounty had been announced to please India and stop the
group from opposing resumption of NATO supplies.

“It is a ridiculous claim of the JuD chief. Mr Saeed was
listed on the UN 1267/1989 Al Qaeda Sanctions Committee
since Dec 10, 2008, as an individual associated with the Al
Qaeda terrorist organisation and, thus, subject to
international sanctions,” he said.

The spokesman quoted a statement issued by the US state
department through the embassy on Tuesday.
“The US department of state has authorised a reward of up
to $10 million for information leading to the arrest or
conviction of Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (sic) founder Hafiz
Mohammad Saeed and a reward of up to $2 million for
information leading to the location of LeT’s second-in-
command, Hafiz Abdul Rahman Makki,” the press release said.

It said that the LeT was designated by the state department
as a foreign terrorist organisation on Dec 20, 2001, and he
participated in the planning of the four-day terrorist
assault on Mumbai in Nov 2008.

“Saeed and his organisation continue to spread ideology
advocating terrorism, as well as virulent rhetoric
condemning the US, India, Israel, and other perceived

“Hafiz Abdul Rahman Makki is Saeed’s deputy and head of
LeT’s political affairs department. Makki previously served
as head of LeT’s foreign relations department and has
helped raise funds for LeT.”

It said that early in 2007, Mr Saeed provided approximately
$248,000 to an LeT terrorist training camp and
approximately $165,000 to an LeT-affiliated seminary.

“On Nov 4, 2010, the US treasury department designated him
a ‘specially designated national’ which subjects him to

“We encourage anyone with information on these individuals
to contact the nearest US embassy or consulate, any US
military commander or the

Rewards for Justice office. All information will be kept
strictly confidential,” it said.


04, April, 2012


CJ dissatisfied with report on Balochistan

By Saleem Shahid

QUETTA, April 3: Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry
said on Tuesday that the dumping of bodies of missing
people in Balochistan was creating hatred and sending a
wrong signal across the country.

He was hearing a petition on the law and order situation
and human rights violations in the province at the Quetta
registry of the Supreme Court.

The petition was filed by Advocate Hadi Shakeel, former
president of the Balochistan High Court Bar Association.

“The bodies of 204 missing persons were found in different
parts of Balochistan over the past two years,” Advocate
General of Balochistan Amanullah Kanrani informed a three-
judge bench headed by the Chief Justice and including
Justice Tariq Pervez and Justice Khilji Arif Hussain.

Justice Iftikhar regretted that no cases had been
registered against those involved in kidnapping people and
dumping mutilated bodies. “If someone is involved in any
crime he has to be produced before court for trial.”

He expressed displeasure over a report on security
situation in the province over the past two years and
ordered that a complete report be submitted at the next
hearing on April 5.

The report was submitted by the advocate general and home
and tribal affairs secretary of Balochistan. It does not
have details about the 204 bodies found and 80 people
kidnapped in the province during that period.

Advocate General Amanullah Kanrani said the number of
bodies found in the province had now declined.

The chief justice said the bodies of 53 people were yet to
be identified, adding that the report revealed that 80
people had been kidnapped and yet the advocate general
claimed that the situation was improving. “Human being is
human being; do you know when a family receives the dead
body of their loved one, how they suffer; can you imagine.
The provincial government appears to be helpless in
maintaining the law and order situation. Where is the writ
of the government?” he asked.

The chief justice regretted that there was nothing in the
report about the recent Spiny Road incident in which six
people were killed.

He said there were reports that some provincial ministers
were involved in kidnappings for ransom. “If ministers are
involved in such crimes then what a police inspector would

He asked the Balochistan police chief why he did not record
the statement of the home minister who had disclosed that
three provincial ministers were involved in kidnapping for

“What roles security institutions, including the ISI, MI
and IB, are playing for restoring peace in the province? A
citizen kidnapped from Quetta is recovered in Waziristan,”
the chief justice regretted.

The chief justice also expressed dissatisfaction over a
report on the killing of wife and daughter of Bakhtair Khan
Domki in Karachi and ordered submission of a complete
report on April 5.

About violence in Karachi, the chief justice said a Supreme
Court judgment on the issue had not been implemented in
letter and sprit.

“Had the detailed verdict been implemented there would have
been no killing of innocent people in Karachi,” he said,
adding that the court had ordered the government to remove
all ‘no-go’ areas, deweaponise the city and stop
politicising police for a durable peace in Karachi.


04, April, 2012


Parties in PCNS want earlier resolutions implemented

By Ahmad Hassan

ISLAMABAD, April 3: Efforts to forge a consensus in the
Parliamentary Committee on National Security (PCNS) on new
terms of engagement with the United States ran into further
trouble on Tuesday when some parties came up with new

The parties which had earlier linked the reopening of Nato
supplies to an end to drone attacks now want the government
to also implement the resolutions previously adopted by

PCNS chairman Senator Raza Rabbani admitted at the
committee’s meeting that the government had failed to
implement the resolutions.

A member of the committee told Dawn that the meeting had
discussed proposals to make the earlier resolutions part of
the committee’s recommendations.

The Pakistan Muslim League-N continued its boycott of the
meeting for the second day.

The committee will meet again on Wednesday to discuss
possible changes and additions in the recommendations
earlier tabled in a joint session of the two houses of

Talking to reporters after the meeting, Mr Rabbani said the
discussion on various proposals was moving in a positive
manner, adding that people would not be disappointed this
time. He said every party had the right to express its
views on the recommendations.

Mr Rabbani said PML-N’s reservations over some
recommendations would be addressed through consultations
with other parties, but added that all recommendations
could not be revised.

PPP-S president Aftab Khan Sherpao told Dawn that the
committee’s efforts would be fruitless unless the PML-N,
the largest opposition party, joined the proceedings. He
criticised the PML-N for not taking other opposition
parties on board before boycotting the PCNS meeting.

He said Mr Rabbani was trying to contact PML-N members of
the committee, but Senator Ishaq Dar was in Dubai while
telephones of MNA Sardar Mehtab Ahmed Khan remained


04, April, 2012


Bounty not linked to supply routes: US


By Anwar Iqbal

WASHINGTON, April 3: The US State Department said on
Tuesday that its decision to offer a $10 million bounty for
Lashkar-e-Taiba founder Hafiz Mohammad Saeed had
“everything to do” with the Nov 26, 2008 terrorist attacks
in Mumbai.

At a briefing in Washington, State Department spokesperson
Victoria Nuland said the United States had “absolutely been
in communication” with the Pakistan government over this

A journalist told the spokesperson that Hafiz Saeed spoke
to Al Jazeera television earlier in the day and said he was
being punished for urging the Pakistani government not to
reopen NATO supply routes to Afghanistan.

“Is there anything to that? Or is this specifically because
of his suspected involvement in the Mumbai attacks?” the
journalist asked.

“No, it has everything to do with Mumbai and his brazen
flouting of the justice system,” Ms Nuland replied.
“As he lives more or less openly in Pakistan, has there
been communication with the Pakistani government?” asked
another journalist.

“Absolutely. We have been in communication with Pakistan on
this issue,” Ms Nuland said.

“The government of Pakistan has regularly, in our
conversations with them, pledged its cooperation in the
investigations. We fully expect that it will follow through
on those commitments.”

“The reward is for information that leads to the conviction
– conviction where?” asked a journalist.

“Wherever he can be found. It’s not specific in the way,”
said Ms Nuland. She said she believed Hafiz Saeed had also
been charged with the murders of six American citizens in

“It seems to be the vast amount of damage that this guy and
his group has done to India. And I’m not aware that they’re
offering any reward, so I want to know why the US taxpayer
is offering a reward?” asked a journalist.

“I can’t speak to whether India has its own rewards for
justice-type programme,” said Ms Nuland, noting that the US
does have such a progamme.

“This is with regard to justice being served on people who
have killed Americans, so that there’s no impunity for them
anywhere in the world,” she said.The department also
announced a separate reward of up to $2 million for
information leading to the location of LeT’s second in
command and Hafiz Saeed’s brother-in-law Hafiz Abdul Rahman

“Hafiz Saeed participated in the planning of the four-day-
long terrorist assault on Mumbai in November 2008 that left
166 individuals dead, including six US citizens,” the State
Department noted.

“Hafiz Saeed and his organisation continue to spread
ideology advocating terrorism, as well as virulent rhetoric
condemning the United States, India, Israel, and other
perceived enemies,” it added.
Hafiz Saeed is already on a US Department of Treasury’s
list of special designated individuals with links to

“Hafiz Abdul Rahman Makki is Hafiz Saeed’s deputy and head
of LeT’s political affairs department. Hafiz Makki
previously served as head of

LeT’s foreign relations department and has helped raise
funds for the group,” the State Department said.


04, April, 2012


Kayani meets Saudi defence officials


RIYADH, April 3: Chief of the Army Staff Gen Ashfaq Parvez
Kayani and senior Saudi defence officials decided on
Tuesday to enhance strategic relations between the two

The army chief, who is on official visit to Saudi Arabia,
called on Minister of Defence Prince Salman Bin Abdul Aziz
Al-Saud, Deputy Defence Minister Prince Khalid Bin Sultan
bin Abdul Aziz and Commander of Royal Land Forces General
Khalid bin Bandr Bin Abdul Aziz.

A statement from the Pakistan embassy said Gen Kayani
expressed his gratitude to the Saudi government and people
for exemplary support extended to Pakistan at all times.
Both sides reaffirmed their commitment to maintain and
reinforce their relationship for peace and security in the

Discussions were held in detail on various aspects of
combat capabilities and professional skills and both sides
agreed to enhance interaction between their armed forces
and their combat capabilities.—APP

04, April, 2012


Names of RPP owners, CEOs put on ECL


By Syed Irfan Raza

ISLAMABAD, April 3: The National Accountability Bureau
continued its action for the second consecutive day on
Tuesday and placed more names on the exit control list
(ECL) for alleged irregularities and non-transparency in
rental power projects (RPPs).

This time the names of owners and chief executive officers
of RPPs have been put on the ECL, according to an official

On Monday, the NAB placed on the ECL the names of 19
people, including four former federal ministers and four

The names of those placed on ECL on Tuesday are: Muhammad
Anwar Khan, CEO of Techno-E-Power; Muhammad Rafiq Butt, CEO
of Young Gen; Muhammad Jamil Arain, CEO of Karkey; Ghulam
Mustafa Tunio, CEO of Gulf Rental; Tariq Nazir, CEO of
Walter Power; Ghulzar Muhammad, CEO of Alstome Power
Rental; Abid Ali, CEO of Techno-E-Power; Habib Ullah Khan,
CEO of Young Gen; Iqbal Z. Ahmad, principal officer of
Pakistan Power; Orhan Remzi Karadeniz, chairman of Karkay;
Haseeb Ahmad Khan, CEO of Gulf Rental; Shah Faisal, CEO of
Reshma Power; Muhammad Nasarullah Baig, principal officer
of Walters Power; and Naeem Shafique, country manager of
General Electric Power.

Notices under the National Accountability Ordinance have
been issued to four companies which are to refund down
payment, along with the mark-up.
They include Techno-E-Power, Walters Power Naudero-I,
Karkey Rental Power and Gulf Power Project. “They have been
asked to deposit the money in three days,” the announcement

The NAB took the action after the directives of the Supreme


04, April, 2012


Hafiz Saeed issue may test Singh-Zardari talks


By Jawed Naqvi

NEW DELHI, April 3: The US announcement of a $10 million
terror bounty on Mumbai attack accused Hafiz Saeed could
test President Asif Ali Zardari’s Sunday meeting with
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in New Delhi, analysts
and reports said on Tuesday.

The US announcement was made here by visiting Under-
Secretary of Political Affairs Wendy Sherman and it came
virtually on the eve of the proposed daylong trip by Mr
Zardari to a popular Sufi shrine in Ajmer. The religious
visit will be preceded by a lunch hosted by Dr Singh.

Indian Home Minister P. Chidambaram welcomed the
announcement of the US bounty and said it might prod the
government of Pakistan to take action against the extremist

However, the Indian Express quoted unnamed sources as
saying that despite the strong language, New Delhi remained
“determined” that the US notification on Saeed would “not
cast a shadow” over the Pakistan president’s short visit
“He (Zardari) is coming on a private visit and it might not
be the best occasion to raise this issue. But we will raise
it at every other available platform,” Mr Chidambaram was
quoted as saying.

Any pointed effort to avoid a discussion on the issue,
however, would inevitably make the Indian prime minister
vulnerable before the Bharatiya Janata Party-led rightwing
hawks in parliament.

Mr Chidambaram was asked at a news conference if the issue
might be raised with Pakistan’s head of state. He gave a
tactful answer. “I don’t know what the prime minister will
say to Zardari,” he said, adding India would continue to
raise the issue on other occasions.

Mr Chidambaram pointed out that there was enough evidence
to detain and interrogate Mr Saeed but “Pakistan government
was not doing its duty”.

Indian Foreign Minister S. M. Krishna welcomed the US move
announced by the visiting official, saying: “India welcomes
this move to bring the perpetrators of Mumbai terror
attacks to book. It sends a strong message to the Lashkar,
its members and patrons that the international community is
together in combating terrorism. This is a message to
terrorists all over the world. I always insisted that he
was the brain behind the terror attack in Mumbai.”

Mr Chidambaram was more relentless. “What this announcement
will do is it will put pressure on Pakistan. I sincerely
hope this will make them take action (against Saeed).
Pakistan is in denial and continues to be in denial,” the
minister said.

Local reports quoted official sources as saying India knew
a week ago about the US move and was “hopeful and very
optimistic that Saeed will be brought to book”.

Initial reaction to the Zardari visit had focused on scope
to improve the visa regime and improvement of trade. Now
the focus may shift back to terror. “Saeed is a free man
there and often holds anti-India rallies,” one Indian
commentary said. India has repeatedly sought his arrest,
but Pakistan has each time sought “actionable” and
“substantive” evidence against him before it could act.

04, April, 2012


Five officers injured in ’copter crash


GHALANAI, April 3: Five military officers, among them the
inspector general of FC, were injured when their helicopter
made an emergency landing here on Tuesday, officials said.

A security officer told Dawn that FC Inspector General Maj-
Gen Nadir Zeb, Brig Aftab Ahmad, Brig Saeedullah, Lt-Col
Fazle Rabbi and Maj Abbas received minor injuries in the

Troops cordoned off the area after the crash and took the
injured to the Peshawar CMH by a helicopter.—Fauzee Khan


05, April, 2012


PML-N agrees to end PCNS boycott


By Khawar Ghumman

ISLAMABAD, April 4: After sulking for three days, the PML-N
agreed on Wednesday to return to the Parliamentary
Committee on National Security which is redrafting its
earlier recommendations on new terms of engagement with the
The PML-N, which has been boycotting the PCNS meetings in
protest against the recent hike in prices of oil and gas,
decided to end its boycott after Prime Minister Yousuf Raza
Gilani telephoned PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif and asked him to
be part of the committee tasked to enumerate terms which
would be followed by the government in its working with the
US and Nato forces fighting in Afghanistan.

The prime minister called the PML-N president soon after
the latter’s return to Lahore from Dubai and hours after
the 13-member PCNS failed to make any progress in its work
because of the boycott of its meetings by PML-N’s
representatives Senator Ishaq Dar and MNA Mehtab Ahmed Khan

Talking to reporters soon after the meeting, the
committee’s chairman Raza Rabbani expressed displeasure
over the continuing PML-N boycott and urged it to attend
the meeting.

PML-N deputy secretary information Khurram Dastagir
confirmed the outcome of the conversation between Mr Gilani
and Mr Sharif and said his party’s lawmakers would now
attend the PCNS meeting.

People watching the development closely told Dawn that the
PML-N was facing pressure both from the US and the military
to help the PCNS reach a consensus and resolve the issue of
NATO supply.

On March 30, US Ambassador to Pakistan Cameron Munter had
called on Mr Sharif at the Punjab House in Islamabad after
the latter had presided over a consultative meeting of his
party on the issue of NATO supplies. It is learnt that the
US ambassador urged the PML-N chief to help the government
in preparing ground for reopening the Nato supply routes.

A source in the PML-N said that although it was a difficult
task the party would need something in return as a face-
saving compromise.

“During the meeting Nawaz Sharif appeared to be melting,
although he didn’t assure Mr Munter of his party’s all-out
support,” he said.

A day before the high-level consultative meeting on March
29, the military leadership had urged Leader of the
Opposition Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan to be part of the
political process which the government had initiated for
forging an agreement among political parties for reopening
Nato supply lines.

A senior government official said the army wants ‘us’ to
speedily resolve the issue.

That the prime minister called Mr Sharif was significant
because the joint session of the two houses of parliament
will resume its proceedings after a five-day recess on

Amjad Mahmood adds from Lahore: The prime minister assured
the PML-N chief that his party’s suggestions would be
accommodated in the parliamentary committee’s

A PML-N office-bearer told Dawn that the prime minister
asked Mr Sharif that any further delay in preparing a
unanimous draft by the PCNS on the Nato supply issue could
create problems for the country.

He said the prime minister’s assurance suggested that the
government was mentally prepared to reopen Nato supply.

He said Ishaq Dar and Mehtab Abbasi would meet in Islamabad
on Thursday to devise a strategy before joining the
committee’s meeting.


05, April, 2012


American team holds talks in Islamabad: Review should
benefit both sides: US


By Baqir Sajjad Syed
ISLAMABAD, April 4: In a message directed at the
parliamentarians engaged in a long drawn-out debate on new
terms of engagement with the United States, a visiting
senior US diplomat, while advocating continued bilateral
engagement, reminded them on Wednesday to be mindful of
American security concerns.

And President Asif Ali Zardari has said Pakistan will take
a decision on restoration of NATO supply routes in the
national interest.

“We have different perspectives. And we will where we have
those, seek to find solutions that respect each other’s
interests. I believe we will come out of this with a
relationship that benefits both our nations,” US Deputy
Secretary of State Thomas Nides said in a statement echoing
President Obama’s earlier call for a balanced approach that
respects Pakistan’s sovereignty and interests and also
caters for US national security.

The theme of both statements issued during his stay in
Islamabad pertained to continued US commitment to Pakistan,
significance of sustained engagement and the need for a
balanced approach.

The visit by Mr Nides, following one by US Centcom chief
Gen James Mattis and Isaf chief Gen John Allen, was meant
to build on the meeting between President Obama and Prime
Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani in Seoul on the sidelines of a
nuclear security summit last week and another between
President Zardari and Afghanistan-Pakistan envoy Marc
Grossman in Dushanbe, Tajikistan.

The trip also coincided with a growing controversy in
Pakistan over US bounty for Jamaatud Dawa chief Hafiz

After meetings between Mr Nides and top government
officials, the Foreign Office, which had initially kept mum
over the matter, asked the US, through a media statement,
to produce “concrete evidence of Mr Saeed’s involvement in
terrorism” and stop “engaging in a public discussion on
this issue”.

During his day-long stay in Islamabad, Mr Nides, who is
technically the number two at the State Department, met
President Zardari, Prime Minister Gilani, Foreign Minister
Hina Rabbani Khar and Finance Minister Abdul Hafeez Shaikh.
The composition of Mr Nides’ delegation, which included Dr
Peter Lavoy, assistant secretary of defence for Asia and
Pacific security affairs, and Mr Daniel Fieldman, deputy to
special Af-Pak envoy, was indicative of the agenda of
meetings in Islamabad.

The FO said the talks covered “the whole gamut of bilateral
relations and issues of mutual interest”.

US Embassy spokesman Mark Stroh described the meetings as
“real and productive” engagement with the civilian

Mr Nides sounded positive about the interactions. “I am
heartened that we are working through our differences very

Sources on the Pakistani side also termed the meetings
productive. But they insisted that there was “no blinking”
on the issue of sovereignty.

Statements issued by the Presidency, Prime Minister’s
Office and the Foreign Office all emphasised respect for
Pakistan’s sovereignty, need for a relationship based on
mutual trust and mutual respect and importance of the
parliamentary review.

During his meeting with Mr Nides at the Governor’s House in
Lahore, President Zardari said the government would take a
final decision on restoration of NATO supplies after going
through recommendations of the Parliamentary Committee on
National Security (PCNS).

He expressed concern over drone attacks and said these were
against the country’s sovereignty. “Drone attacks are
causing civilian casualties and also fueling militancy,” he
said, adding that Pakistan-US relations should be based on
mutual respect and interest.


05, April, 2012

Man supplying oil to NATO forces among seven killed


By Ibrahim Shinwari

LANDI KOTAL, April 4: Seven people, among them an oil
dealer, were killed and three others wounded when a
passenger van was blown up in a roadside bomb blast in
Jamrud Tehsil of Khyber Agency on Wednesday.

Official sources said a remote-controlled device placed
along a road at Shah Kas locality was detonated at around
8.30am. It appeared that the target was the passenger van
going to Jamrud bazaar from Qadam, they said, adding that
seven people were killed.

The vehicle was destroyed in the explosion.

“Six passengers, including oil dealer Haji Gulab, were
killed on the spot while a critically injured person died
in hospital,” Asmat Ullah Wazir, political tehsildar Jamrud

He said that Haji Gulab was previously involved in the
business of fuel supplies for NATO forces in Afghanistan
and had received threats recently.

“At the moment we can only presume that Haji Gulab might
have been the target, but we are investigating the
incident,” he said.

Sajid Afridi, a resident of the area, said he saw human
flesh and body parts scattered at the scene of explosion
and the three injured screaming for help. The injured were
taken to the Hayatabad Medical Complex.


05, April, 2012

Bloodletting continues in Gilgit despite curfew and troop


By Farooq Ahmed Khan

GILGIT, April 4: The deployment of troops to Gilgit brought
only a surface calm to the city on Wednesday as the death
toll climbed up and violence spread further to adjacent
areas and beyond.

The bloodletting continued unabated as the local
administration conceded to another seven deaths in Sultan
Abad, Naltar and the adjacent areas of Gilgit, taking the
death toll in the city to 12 over two days of violence. “We
have received confirmed reports that 12 people have been
killed in Gilgit,” DSP City Tahira Yasubddin told Dawn.

The violence began on Tuesday after a grenade attack on the
protesting workers of a sectarian party, Ahle Sunnat Wal

It was also revealed on Wednesday that there was an
increase in the death toll of the tragic Chilas incident
where an angry mob had attacked buses on Tuesday and shot
to death nine passengers. It appeared on Wednesday that
three more had died there – not at the hands of the angry
mob but because they jumped into the River Indus to escape.

By Wednesday evening, senior police officials told the
media that the bodies of the nine people shot dead had been
transported to Gilgit.

The city remained peaceful as more troops were flown in to
aid those called in from Gilgit garrison on Tuesday. The
continuing imposition of curfew as well as the fact that
cellphone services were disrupted to prevent the spread of
rumours and panic further helped control the situation.

Administration officials said that the army had control of
the city, adding that Corps Commander General Khalid Nawaz
visited Gilgit, where he was given a briefing on the
security situation, and oversaw the deployment of the
On the flipside, the curfew cost the residents in terms of

People in Gilgit city faced great difficulties as food in
homes ran short and curfew and closed markets made purchase
impossible. However, because the troops were unable to
monitor the congested streets located deep inside mohallahs
within the city, small corner shops did a brisk business as
desperate residents made a beeline for them to buy
essential items.

The situation at hospitals was even more critical.

Duty official, Yawar Abbas, at DHQ hospital said that the
institution was short of medicines, while food was being
rationed and provided to patients and attendants. “If the
situation does not change, we will face grave problems,” he

Officials said the situation at the civil hospital Kashrote
was no different where those injured in the hand grenade
attack on Tuesday were admitted.

Beyond the city, tempers boiled over and what appeared to
be indiscriminate violence carried out by angry mobs. The
administration simply reacted to some of the more violent
instances and appeared to be 10 steps behind the miscreants
instead of controlling the situation.

For instance, it imposed curfew in the nearby town of
Danyore after a mob attacked Sultan Abad village and killed
three people. In Nagir, 70km south of Gilgit, local
residents took hostage 32 people from Chilas and Kohistan.

The unrest spread as far as Skardu where police reported
that angry people carried out an arson attack on a petrol
pump owned by people from Diamer District.

The administration’s impotence was evident from the reports
of the kidnapping of its own officials in some regions.

Some officials disclosed on the condition of anonymity that
the civil judge Hunza/Nagar, Kifayatullah and Dr Rashid,
the District Health Officer, along with 30 more individuals
had been held hostage in Nagir valley and the
administration was making hectic efforts to get them
It was also not clear what the plans of the authorities
were. There was no information on how long the curfew would

Some officials claimed on the basis of anonymity that an
operation would be carried out against the leadership of
sectarian parties operating in the area. But there was no
confirmation of this.


05, April, 2012


Bhutto legacy and lack of alternatives equal PPP dominance


By Cyril Almeida

MORE than 40 years after Zulfikar Ali Bhutto electrified
interior Sindh with his brand of politics, the PPP looks
set to continue its domination of the region at the next

While the woes of incumbency and a non-Bhutto leadership
appear to have dimmed enthusiasm for the PPP somewhat, the
absence of a viable political alternative has once again
left the party with a clear path to victory here.

“The only alternative to PPP is individuals, like the
Mahars and Jatois. Given a choice between the PPP and
independent waderas, sardars or pirs, the people prefer to
vote PPP. At least that way they get something, a party
that has a shot at power,” according to Zulfiqar Halepoto,
president of the Sindh Democratic Forum, an independent
political think tank.

For decades, the political dynamics of interior Sindh –
essentially, Sindh minus Karachi and Hyderabad – have been
fairly static: the PPP controls roughly two-thirds of the
National Assembly seats available, while the remaining one-
third is carved up among powerful landlords, tribal chiefs
and spiritual leaders outside the PPP fold.

In 2008, fuelled by anger over the assassination of Benazir
Bhutto, the PPP won 28 of the 39 National Assembly
constituencies in interior Sindh. In 2002, when Musharraf
tried to suppress the PPP, the party still won 25 seats.

At the next election, the PPP is expected to retain its 2:1
advantage over the rest of the field. However, the party is
expected to face a tougher time than in 2008, when even
powerful candidates pitted against the PPP, like Liaquat
Jatoi of Dadu district, were steamrolled in an election
held just weeks after Ms Bhutto’s assassination.

“The PPP will get its votes, but the voter will give them a
tough time. Candidates will be abused. Many will be told
for the first time, we’re only voting because of the PPP,
not for you,” said Nazir Leghari, editor of Daily Awam.

Rumblings of discontent

On the 600-kilometre stretch of the N5 highway from outside
Karachi to the northern reaches of Sindh, new Toyota and
Suzuki cars frequently zip past lorries, playing a game of
hide-and-seek with the highway police on the look-out for
speeding violations. The slow-moving lorries are themselves
often laden with yet more new vehicles.

Sections of the population are obviously doing well and the
PPP leadership is quick to point out the benefits that have
accrued to interior Sindh over the last four years: high
crop prices; record sums of money and new powers via the
NFC and the 18th Amendment, respectively; the brisk sale of
cars, motorcycles and consumer goods; and massive amounts
of aid and reconstruction after the floods and rains in
successive years.

Others, however, point out that the benefits have far from
been distributed equally, and it doesn’t take much to find
signs of acute poverty in the province, like the legless
and armless beggar in the middle of a broken stretch of
road in Nawabshah.

Manzoor Solangi, a documentary filmmaker with Sindh TV who
has travelled extensively through Sindh, said, “They’ve
distributed tens of thousands of jobs but they’ve gone to
relatives or favourites of candidates and allies. Inflation
is up, governance is poor and corruption is rife. The
average man can see all of this.”

Solangi argued that while previous PPP governments faced
similar problems, there was a difference this time: “BB had
charisma and she was the daughter of Sindh. So Sindh could
forgive her. But the new leadership doesn’t have that
connection to the people.”

With more than four years having passed since the death of
Ms Bhutto, the lack of progress in identifying who was
behind her assassination has also caused a few ripples of
discontent, according to Manzoor Shaikh, host of a
political talk show on KTN, a popular Sindhi-language
channel. “The appeasement of MQM is also a sore point. Some
ask what’s the difference between Musharraf and the PPP?”
Shaikh added.

The floods of 2010 and rains of 2011, however, do not
appear to be a major electoral issue. Abrar Kazi, president
of the fledgling Awami Jamhoori Party, said, “There was no
major famine or outbreak of disease that will count.
Besides, people believe floods and rains on this scale are
acts of nature and not really in the hands of politicians.”

Privately, the PPP leadership admits there are challenges
ahead. One party insider speaking on the condition of
anonymity claimed, “Not everyone has got a job or some
benefit this time round obviously. We’ll have to put up
with nakhras (complaints) at the next election.”

A new politics

In Moro, Naushahro Feroze, a stronghold of Ghulam Murtaza
Jatoi, head of the National People’s Party, a local
landlord recounted with awe a rumour he had heard after a
recent visit by President Zardari to a neighbouring
district: “He distributed Rs 10,000 to every adult in every

Aware of the potential difficulties at election time and
perhaps also of his limitations as a charismatic or popular
politician, President Zardari is believed to be using money
and patronage to consolidate the PPP’s base and buy off
rivals wherever possible.
Party officials are reluctant to talk about the role of
money in the next election. One senior party leader simply
said, “When the electoral wave is not at your back, you
need more of everything, including money.”

Others are more frank, however. “Zardari has given a free
hand to the party machinery to make money. The electables
have made so much money they will buy buses, not rent them,
to bring voters to the polling station,” said Abrar Kazi.

A former Sindh government official who spoke on the
condition of anonymity said, “This year the budget for
rural development has been quadrupled to Rs4 billion. What
is rural development? It can mean anything. More often than
not, it’s just a bribe.”

The former official added: “President Zardari is all about
knowing what you want. He’ll take you by the arm and ask,
‘What do you want?’ Roads, schemes, projects, if you’re an
ally or he needs you, whatever you ask for, you get.”

The PPP is also credited with other politically savvy
moves, particularly the introduction of the Benazir Income
Support Programme. “In making women the beneficiaries, the
PPP was particularly clever,” said Jami Chandio, a Sindhi
writer and activist. “Women in these areas often didn’t
have identity cards and couldn’t vote. But they need ID
cards for BISP and Nadra has issued them in a big way.
Sentimentally anyway attached to Benazir, these women will
vote for her.”

The Bhutto factor

In Matiari, in lower Sindh, a group of labourers at a
roadside café had no doubts who they would vote for at the
next election. “We vote for BB. She’s our princess,” they
said in unison.

When asked why they vote for the PPP, a labourer who
identified himself as Pyaaro said, “Roti, kapra aur
makaan.” Pyaaro did not seem too concerned that the PPP had
not delivered much of food, clothing or shelter to him or
his companions.

At its core, the PPP phenomenon in Sindh remains about the
Bhutto legacy. “Bhutto has seeped into the identity of
Sindh, it’s become part of the soil and folklore,”
according to Nazir Leghari, the newspaper editor. “Whoever
controls the keys to Garhi Khuda Baksh, controls the
politics of Sindh.”

“BB is such an iconic figure. I haven’t even been able to
convince my mother that PPP is not good for Sindh,”
Zulfiqar Halepoto said with a tinge of regret.

The Bhutto legacy and President Zardari’s skills in power
and patronage politics, then, means that the best aspiring
rivals to the PPP can hope for is to look to the future.

“The PPP will win next time, there’s no doubt. But if the
Bhutto legacy fades and the poor governance record
continues, the following election could see some cracks,”
Abrar Kazi argued.

But, Kazi admitted, it all depended on the rise of
alternatives. “The space exists to replace the PPP and
these waderas and pirs but someone has to rise to the
challenge if their hold is to be broken.”


05, April, 2012


Khosa quits Punjab cabinet after murder case


LAHORE, April 4: Punjab’s commerce and trade minister Dost
Muhammad Khosa resigned on Wednesday after registration of
a case against him for kidnapping and killing his ex-wife.

Sapna Khan, a former stage actress, is believed to have
been murdered because nothing has been heard about her
since she was kidnapped from outside the residence of
Lahore High Court chief justice in the GOR-I in June last
Mr Khosa’s resignation sent to the chief minister’s
principal secretary was accepted and a summary to the
effect was forwarded to the governor.

According to a PML-N official, Mr Khosa was asked by the
party leadership to resign immediately after the
registration of the case under section 364 at Racecourse
police on March 30. But Mr Khosa, son of Senator Sardar
Zulfikar Khosa, took time to decide.

He has not yet secured a pre-arrest bail and police are
reluctant to take him into custody.

The case against him was registered on the directives of
the LHC.—Staff Reporter


05, April, 2012


Memo hearing: Haqqani cites heart problem in petition


By Malik Asad

ISLAMABAD, April 4: A day before the memo commission’s
meeting, former ambassador Husain Haqqani expressed his
inability on Wednesday to appear before it on medical and
legal grounds.

Mr Haqqani sent an application through his counsel Zahid
Hussain Bokhari to the commission comprising Balochistan
High Court Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa, SHC Chief Justice
Musheer Alam and Islamabad High Court Chief Justice Iqbal
Hameedur Rehman.

The commission is investigating the origin and purpose of
the memorandum allegedly written by Mr Haqqani to former US
military chief Admiral Mike Mullen to pre-empt a military
takeover in Pakistan.

Mr Haqqani requested the commission to adjourn the
proceedings because he had been a cardiac patient for three
years and was currently under treatment for chest pain at
the Advanced Cardiology Centre. “The applicant is scheduled
for an MRI/CT (scan) at the National Institute of Health in
the United States on April 4, 2012, and (has) also provided
a copy of the medical certificate to the commission. The
doctors have found him to have symptoms of crescendo angina
and advised thorough investigation and tests,” the
application said.

It said Mr Haqqani’s earlier application seeking recording
of his testimony via video link was still pending before
the Supreme Court which had adjourned the matter without
deciding its fate.

“The applicant is going through a potentially serious
medical condition and the aforementioned application is yet
to be decided by the Supreme Court. It is fair to adjourn
the proceedings...,” the application added.


05, April, 2012


20pc raise in salary, pension likely for govt employees


By Khaleeq Kiani

ISLAMABAD, April 4: The government is expected to announce
in the next budget a 20 per cent increase in salary and
pensions of government employees and six special honoraria
payments to all officials of the finance ministry.

Informed sources told Dawn on Wednesday that according to
initial estimates of the finance ministry the financial
impact of the salary and pension increase would be around
Rs25-30 billion.

An official said the authorities had initially considered
to revise the basic pay structures of government employees,
but later decided to offer an ad hoc relief to help them
cope with inflation because there was no adequate time to
call meetings of the Pay and Pension Commission to firm up
long-term proposals.

He said the 20 per cent increase would be across the board
for all grades and cadres.

The official said an additional option under consideration
was monetisation of housing facilities of senior government
officials of grade 20-22 by offering them Rs55,000 to
Rs70,000 a month to pay as rent for houses of their choice
on the condition that they would vacate official

In order to implement this scheme, he said, the authorities
were taking into consideration the initial work done by a
previous Pay and Pension Commission headed by State Bank’s
former governor Dr Ishrat Hussain. He said a committee
headed by Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission Dr
Nadeemul Haque was in the process of finalising its
recommendations. The scheme will initially be for federal
government officials in top three basic pay scales.

The official said the government was expected to increase
the house rent allowances by 200-300 per cent for employees
of grades 1 to 19, but that would take some time.

He said the finance ministry was proposing six special
honoraria payments -- equivalent to six basic salaries --
for all officials working under five federal secretaries
associated with the ministry of finance and economic
affairs and the Federal Board of Revenue for their extra
work in the budget-making exercise.

Last year the government increased the salary and pensions
by 15 per cent and also announced monetisation of transport
facility for grade 20-22 officers with a monthly cash
payment of up to Rs85,000. The monetisation policy has been
implemented in a couple of ministries.
In the 2010-11 budget, the government allowed an ad hoc
monthly allowance of 50 per cent of the basic pay which was
merged into the basic salary last year.

The official said the PPP government had allowed a
cumulative increase of 105 per cent over the past four
years which, in terms of compound impact, worked out to
about 135 per cent.


06, April, 2012


Order to arrest Balochistan’s ministers involved in
kidnapping: CJ tells IG to produce the missing seven today


By Saleem Shahid

QUETTA, April 5: Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry
ordered Balochistan police on Thursday to produce before
the court on Friday seven people picked up from Quetta’s
Sariab Road area on March 1. If

it was not done, he warned, the police

chief and other officers concerned would be suspended.

The chief justice also ordered the home secretary to arrest
three provincial ministers involved in incidents of
kidnapping for ransom.

The chief justice issued the orders while hearing at the
Quetta registry of the apex court a petition on the law and
order situation and human rights violations in the
province. The petition was filed by Advocate Hadi Shakeel,
former president of the Balochistan High Court Bar

Justice Iftikhar expressed anger over absence of Attorney
General Maulvi Anwarul Haq and asked why he went to
Islamabad for attending the memo commission’s proceedings.
“Is the Supreme Court hearing on the missing persons
important or the memo scandal case?” he asked. He said the
attorney general must attend the court hearing on Friday to
respond to allegations levelled against the Frontier Corps
by some members of the Balochistan assembly.

The chief justice asked Balochistan IG Rao Amin Hashim and
other senior officers present in the court who had picked
up the seven people and ordered that they must be brought
to court on Friday.

Nasrullah Baloch, chairman of the Voice for Baloch Missing
Persons, informed the court that 10 Baloch people had been
picked up from the Sariab Road area on March 1, but three
of them were later set free. The whereabouts of the
remaining seven were not known, he added.

Home Secretary Nasibullah Bazai informed the court that
over the past two years bodies of 349 missing people were
found in different areas of Balochistan, but no FIR had
been registered against kidnappers.

The chief justice asked the home secretary and the IG to
register FIRs and bring the accused to justice. He ordered
Chief Secretary Babar Yaqoob Fateh Muhammad to pay
compensation to the families of the victims.

Nasrullah Baloch said the families wanted recovery of their
loved ones, not compensation.

“Whether someone wants it or not, pay compensation to every
family,” Justice Iftikhar told the chief secretary. He said
people belonging to almost all ethnic groups -- Baloch,
Pashtoons, Saraikis and settlers -- were being targeted in
Balochistan. “Enough is enough.”

He asked the home secretary to admit that the government
had completely failed to protect the lives and property of

Nasibuulah Bazai submitted a statement by provincial Home
Minister Mir Zafarullah Zehri accusing three provincial
ministers of being involved in kidnapping for ransom.

“The ministers involved in kidnapping for ransom must be
arrested,” the chief justice said in his order. Referring
to a statement by provincial minister Mir Sadiq Ali Umrani
that Frontier Corps personnel were involved in the killing
of two people in Luckpass area of Mastung district, he
directed Deputy AG Malik Sikandar Khan to ask the FC to
clarify its position.

The chief justice expressed his displeasure over the
performance of police in the province and regretted that
half of the police force was on leave. He said police had
failed to investigate 95 per cent cases. “Police can
deliver in a batter way if they desire to do so. And if
they are not willing the situation cannot be improved,”
Justice Iftikhar said, adding that no areas, including
Pishin and Mastung, were safe.

He said that many issues could be resolved by holding local
government elections. He directed the chief secretaries of
the four provinces to submit reports through the attorney
general on Friday about why local bodies’ elections were
not being held.

The chief justice was displeased by non-submission of a
report by the Sindh IG on progress in the murder case of
members of the Domki family and asked him to appear before
the court on Friday.


06, April, 2012


Two strikes on police in Karachi; 3 cops die, SP survives


By S. Raza Hassan

KARACHI, April 5: A suicide bomber targeted on Thursday a
senior police officer said to be a leading name in the
crackdown on militants, killing four passers-by and
injuring 17 others in the city’s Malir area.
Earlier in a pre-dawn attack, three policemen were gunned
down in PIB Colony. A car carrying the policemen was
peppered with bullets by assailants who came on six
motorcycles and two cars. A police officer, a head
constable and a constable lost their lives in the strike.

According to police, SP Anwar Ahmed Khan was going to the
District Courts, Malir, in a convoy of five vehicles for a
meeting when the suicide bomber blew himself up at the T-
junction of Jinnah Avenue and Sharea Faisal in Malir Halt.

At the time of the attack SP Khan was in a black police
car. His motorcade included two APCs and two police

An investigator said apparently the suicide bomber had been
told by his handlers to target the APC because the SP
usually travelled in an APC. Commonly known as Rao Anwar,
SP Khan is among the few surviving officers who had played
an active role in the Karachi operation during the 1990s.

The bomber, believed to be in his mid-20s, was apparently
waiting at the spot and blew himself up when he saw the APC
coming towards him, said a police officer.

Three of the dead were identified as Lal Badshah, 50, who
was going to a hospital in Malir; Ata Muhammad, 60, a
contractor in a garments factory; and Adeel Ismail, 30. The
identity of the 60-year-old man could not be ascertained.
As some coins were found in his pockets, police surmised
that he was a bagger.

Three City Wards and police constable Ayub posted on the
SP’s security were among the injured.

“I was heading to the district courts for a meeting in
connection with the investigation of a case when the blast
took place,” SP Anwar said, adding that about a month ago
intelligence reports had alerted police to such a

“Besides me, CID SSP Chaudhry Aslam and some Rangers
officials could be the probable target of the attacks,” SP
Anwar told a private television channel, quoting from the
intelligence reports.
He said he was sure that Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan was
behind the attack.

When asked about the possible connection between the early
morning terrorist attack in PIB Colony and the suicide
attack on SP Khan, DIG East Tahir Naveed said there was no
evidence to prove that the two incidents were interlinked.
But he said the SP was an apparent target of the suicide

Investigators told Dawn that about 4-5kg of explosives
laced with ball bearings was used in the blast. There were
at least 105 pellet marks on the APC. The investigators
also found a dual-SIM phone at the scene. Its IMEI number
was deciphered, but the whereabouts of its user was not
clear yet, they added.

According to Dr Kaleem Shaikh, senior medico-legal officer
in Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre, a pair of lower
limbs from toes to knees had been brought to the hospital
with an assumption that these belonged to the suicide
bomber. Two ears and some parts of hairy skin were also
brought to the hospital, presumably belonging to the

The dead and most of the injured suffered pellets and ball
bearing wounds, Dr Shaikh said. Sindh Chief Minister Qaim
Ali Shah sought a report from the IG on the blast.

AFP adds: SP Anwar Khan has been at the forefront of a
campaign against Islamist militants in Karachi.

“I got several letters sent by unknown militants, the
latest of them was received last month, in which they had
threatened me with grave consequences if I continue to hunt
their terror accomplices,” he told AFP.

“Such attacks will not deter us from our mission to keep
our people safe,” he said. Anwar Khan also took part in the
raid on a seminary in December last year, which led to the
rescue of 53 students, including children as young as
seven, chained up in the basement. The children said they
had been regularly beaten.

The last suicide attack in Karachi killed two policemen in

06, April, 2012


Behind-the-scene talks under way with US


By Baqir Sajjad Syed

ISLAMABAD, April 5: As politicians wrangle in parliament
and in front of television cameras about the state of the
country’s relations with the US, behind the scenes
officials from both sides have been finalising the real

High-level interaction between the two countries picked up
momentum over the past fortnight and those who were part of
the talks hint that the two sides are close to finding
common ground.

Although the green signal has to come from the parliament
where the legislators may be shying away from appearing too
close to the Americans because of political expediencies
and security fears, those in the know feel that the recent
meetings have led to concrete progress on some contentious

However, any settlement will be formalised after the
parliament completes its debate and sets the guidelines for
the new-look ties.But if the executive had its say, the
possible shape of the quid pro quo could be: Pakistan
conditionally announcing the resumption of Nato supply
routes and the US altering its drone war to address
Islamabad’s concerns with a probable unannounced cessation
of strikes.

Moreover, the US would offer apology for the Nov 26 border
incident and clear some $1.5 billion in Coalition Support
Fund (CSF) arrears.
The CSF arrangement in its present shape would be revoked
and the two sides could be signing CSF 2.0, which
Pakistanis believe would be more ‘respectful’ than its
predecessor agreement.

USAID chief Rajiv Shah would be the next to visit Islamabad
in the coming days to listen to his Pakistani interlocutors
about their proposals for projects run by US aid.

Both countries are keen to normalise the relationship, but
chief among the US goals is to stabilise Afghanistan for
which it considers Pakistan’s help as crucial.

US Deputy Secretary Thomas Nides, during his visit to
Islamabad, had stressed the importance of staying engaged
and accommodating each other’s concerns.

“Too much is at stake for us to turn away from each other,
so we must work through all of these challenges,” he had
said as he echoed President Barack Obama’s call for a
balanced approach in the ties.

No one would speak on record about the various options
being discussed because of the sensitivity of the issue.

Foreign Office Spokesman Abdul Basit only confirmed that
various proposals were being mulled over.

“Different ideas are being discussed but nothing is final
yet,” he said at his weekly briefing.

The government, conscious of the US patience with the
protracted parliamentary review running thin, is set to
change its tactics for getting the proposed guidelines
through. As a first step, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani
has already convinced PML-N to end its boycott of the
Parliamentary Committee on National Security (PCNS).

The amended set of PCNS proposals, according to a source
familiar with behind-the-scenes negotiations with the
opposition parties represented in PCNS, could be
accompanied by a dissenting note unlike the previous
version that were framed with near consensus.

A PPP legislator disclosed that forthcoming elections and
anti-Americanism aside, the Difa-e-Pakistan phenomenon had
been crucial in making some of the opposition groups back
out from the earlier set of proposals.

DRONES: Sources, briefed on the recent Pak-US interactions,
claimed that there was a clear rethink in the American
administration about the drone campaign. They even expected
an unannounced end to the strikes.

“The Americans will have to do something, they know it,” a
senior Pakistani official said. His views were separately
endorsed by another official, who had participated in the
recent bilateral discussions.

It is said that the rethink on drones was possible only
because of the hard line taken on the issue by both the
civilian and the military leaders, and more importantly
because of a united front put up against the strikes.

The Pakistanis have similarly told the Americans that they
wouldn’t take part in joint counter-terrorism operations
with them.

NATO routes: Reopening of suspended NATO routes is almost
certain, but would come with conditions and at a higher

The dilemma confronting Islamabad is that failing to
restore the supply lines would not only affect the
normalisation process with the US, but would also be taken
as undermining the UN-mandated Isaf counter-terrorism
effort in Afghanistan that involves some 50 countries.


06, April, 2012


Zardari fires a broadside at Sharifs


By Zulqernain Tahir
LAHORE, April 5: President Asif Ali Zardari lashed out at
the Sharif brothers in a speech at the Governor’s House
here on Thursday, regarded by many as PPP Co-Chairperson’s
formal launching of his party’s election campaign in

“Lahore is PPP’s city. Sharif brothers are refugees here.
They are alive in politics only because of me. The power
they are enjoying is a gift of the PPP which can send them
home any time, but for the politics of reconciliation of
the BB Shaheed that it is following,” Mr Zardari said.

The president, who is visiting the city after about a year,
had claimed during a visit here in Feb 2010 that he would
hold a Darbar in Lahore every month and listen to problems
of workers, strengthen the party in Punjab and give the
Sharif brothers a tough time.

He said the Sharifs were Mohajirs in Lahore and they would
not be ruling Punjab after 2013. He did not stop there. He
said the Sharifs did not have enough followers to attend
the funeral of their father.

“The PPP has votes while other parties have only candidates
and hollow slogans,” he claimed and asked party workers to
prepare themselves for the next elections and mobilize the
people of their constituencies. He made it clear that the
PPP would be contesting the next elections in Punjab in
alliance with the PML-Q. He said a transparent polling
system was being introduced which would end bogus voting.
“Now a person from Gowalmandi (Nawaz Sharif’s constituency)
will not be able to cast another vote somewhere else under
the new system.” Alluding to Shah Mahmood Qureshi who has
defected to PTI, Mr Zardari asked his followers to see what
had happened to a ‘Makhdoom of Punjab’ after quitting the

Meanwhile, PML-Q leaders Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and
Pervaiz Elahi called on the president at the Governor’s
House and exchanged views with him on the political
situation and energy crisis. The president had also invited
presidents of the PPP central and south Punjab chapters and
Governor Latif Khosa to the meeting.

The president said: “We will make a strategy in next
elections that the PPP and PML-Q together wrest Punjab from
the Sharifs.” He asked the Punjab PPP leadership to work in
cooperation with the Chaudhrys so that the two parties
could make seat adjustments and move ahead frequently.

According to a participant of the meeting, the president
informed the Chaudhrys about the interest shown by PML
(like-minded) leader Hamid Nasir Chatha to join the PPP.
“But they were of the opinion that Mr Chatha is a loser”
and, therefore, he should be ignored.” The president said
the PPP-led coalition government would solve the problem of
loadshedding in three months.

“We will solve the loadshedding problem within three months
and provide relief to the masses this year,” the president
said. He said his party would solve problems of the masses
and the government would present a ‘people-friendly’ budget
this year. Referring to the recent increase in petroleum
prices, the president said the government had to take some
tough decisions in “the best interest of the country”.

He said his first preference was ‘my country’ and,
therefore, it did not matter if his party’s popularity
graph declined because of such decisions.


06, April, 2012


Pasha says he took every step with chief’s approval


By Malik Asad

ISLAMABAD, April 5: Lt-General (retd) Ahmed Shuja Pasha,
the former chief of Inter-Services Intelligence, made his
first public appearance since his retirement last month to
record his testimony before the memo commission here on

He told the commission that on the memo issue he had taken
every step with the approval of the military high command —
from the beginning of the investigation to his meeting with
Mansoor Ijaz and the decision not to probe the issue any

He said that at the Prime Minister’s House where (former
ambassador) Husain Haqqani had met the political and
military leadership and tendered his resignation, he
(Pasha) was under instruction to simply listen to what Mr
Haqqani had to say. That was the last time he saw Mr
Haqqani. The former spy master introduced himself as a
“retired soldier” before recording of his testimony. He
said that after initial investigation and meeting with
American businessman Mansoor Ijaz he found the latter’s
version satisfactory and brought the matter to the notice
of the ‘top three’ — President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime
Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and Chief of the Army Staff Gen
Ashfaq Parvez Kayani.

“I did my duty as the director general of Inter-Services
Intelligence (ISI). The matter was sensitive and when it
was placed at the highest level it went beyond my
jurisdiction,” Gen Pasha said, adding: “Had I continued the
investigation it would have resulted in more speculations
and controversies. The ISI in sensitive cases does not act
on its own but awaits instructions, and unless directed by
the authorities it does not proceed further.

“I thought this was a matter of national security and the
president, prime minister and the COAS are responsible for
national security more than anyone else.”

Answering questions put by the counsel for the former
ambassador and lawyers of the PML-N, Gen Pasha said: “There
was no threat of military coup after the May 2 incident.
Relations between the civilian government and the military
were also not strained.”

He said: “When I read the article of Mr Ijaz in Financial
Times in October last year, I wanted to know the truth
behind allegations levelled in the article. Through one of
my sources, I contacted him and he agreed to meet me in
London on Oct 22, 2011.”

During the meeting, he said, Mr Ijaz had shown him
BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) exchanges, emails and other
related material and “I found that evidences were not
fabricated”. He said Mr Ijaz did not tell him that
President Zardari had instructed the former ambassador to
deliver the memo. “On Oct 23, I left for Pakistan and in
the morning of Oct 24, I brought the matter into the notice
of the COAS.”

According to him, he obtained permission from the COAS, and
not from the civil government, to meet Mr Ijaz.

Gen Pasha said he had met the president on Nov 18 and
briefed him on the memo issue, adding that he later
attended the meeting at the PM House where the president,
prime minister and the army chief were also present.

The meeting which lasted more than three hours was also
attended by Mr Haqqani for about 10 minutes during which he
denied the allegations levelled by Mr Ijaz, but unlike the
American businessman he (Haqqani) did not produce any
evidence in support of his denial.

The commission’s chairman, Balochistan High Court Chief
Justice Qazi Faez Isa, asked Gen Pasha why he had not
challenged Mr Haqqani’s denial when he was satisfied with
Mr Ijaz’s version, he said: “I did not confront him because
it was decided prior to the start of the meeting.”

He (Haqqani) did not bring his BlackBerry handsets because
he had not been asked to do so. “It was not an
investigation session and Mr Haqqani only explained his
position,” he added.

Gen Pasha said the ISI had eight sections and the section
‘S’ is one of them. However, he did not share any
information about the section ‘S’, except that it was an
operational wing of the agency.

He told the commission that elimination of the section ‘S’
was not of much concern for him. Real issues in the memo
were “commitment of more US boots on the Pakistani soil,
the matter relating to the nuclear discipline and the
formation of a national security team which would be
acceptable for other countries” and, therefore, he
recommended investigation into the conspiracy.

According to him, former US military chief Mike Mullen and
former US national security adviser James L. Jones also
admitted the existence of the memorandum.
The commission expressed dismay over the absence of Mr
Haqqani and rejected his plea for adjourning the
proceedings. It observed that Mr Haqqani had submitted a
medical certificate of March 12 in which he had been
advised for an MRI from a US institute, but in the earlier
proceedings last month, the defence counsel did not raise
the issue of his illness.

The commission asked the former ambassador to submit his
consent for dropping privacy rights of his BlackBerry
exchanges by Friday. It sought the assistance of S.M. Zafar
on the matter of repeated absence of Mr Haqqani.

It directed Mr Haqqani to send his consent to Research in
Motion, the service-provider of BlackBerry, and submit a
copy of the request to the commission at the earliest. The
commission decided to examine the confidential
correspondence of Mr Haqqani with the Foreign Office and
directed FO officials to produce Mr Haqqani’s service
contract, along with the standing operating procedure for
non-career diplomats. The officials are also required to
provide reports of the vetting of Mr Haqqani by
intelligence agencies before his appointment as ambassador
to the United States.

The commission also completed the cross-examination of
Kashmiri leader Mohammad Yaseen Malik, but deferred an
order on his testimony till the next hearing.

Mr Ijaz’s counsel Akram Sheikh asked Mr Malik several
questions, but the commission disallowed most of them,
saying that these were not related to the memo issue.


06, April, 2012


Gilani dismisses objections to Zardari’s India trip


By Raja Asghar
ISLAMABAD, April 5: As opposition concerns pushed aside
parliament’s debate on reviewing Pakistan’s ties with the
United States, the government urged lawmakers on Thursday
to take only a positive view of President Asif Ali
Zardari’s religious trip to India on Sunday.

Both Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and Foreign Minister
Hina Rabbani Khar dismissed opposition objections to what
the government calls a private pilgrimage to the shrine of
Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti at Ajmer, in India’s Rajasthan
State, and promised to inform parliament of any talks the
president might have at a lunch to be hosted by Indian
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in New Delhi.

As the National Assembly and Senate resumed their joint
sitting after a five-day recess, opposition leader in the
lower house, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, and another
opposition party leader questioned the justification of the
trip without an invitation and without taking parliament
“into confidence” as well as because of their doubts about
India’s sincerity to improve relations with Pakistan.

First it was Ms Khar who defended the journey for which,
she said, the Indian government was asked and, in response,
the president also received the Indian prime minister’s
invitation to stop for a lunch with him in New Delhi while
on his way to Ajmer.

The foreign office advised the president to accept Mr
Singh’s gesture, she said, adding: “I don’t see anything
wrong in this.”

The foreign minister said the meeting between the two
leaders would not be part of the formal “dialogue process”
between their countries and advised objectors: “This must
be seen in correct light, not in bad light.”

The prime minister, who had arrived in the house during Ms
Khar’s brief speech, later said in brief remarks that the
president had long planned the trip to Ajmer to fulfil a
“mannat”, or vow, made during his days of prison and that
the Indian prime minister’s invitation for lunch should be
viewed as an honour.

While assuring the house that his government was already in
the process of discussing “all core issues” with New Delhi,
including the dispute over Jammu and Kashmir, he said: “We
will not do anything contrary to national dignity and self-

Explaining that while he, as chief executive, was
responsible for all formal talks with his Indian
counterpart, he said: “You will be taken into confidence
about whatever is discussed with the president” (in New

Responding to concerns voiced by Chaudhry Nisar and JUI-F
leader Maulana Fazlur Rehman about a $10 million reward
announced by the United States for information leading to a
capture and conviction of militant leader Hafiz Mohammad
Saeed, both the prime minister and the foreign minister
said Islamabad had sought concrete evidence against the
founder of the banned Lashkar-i-Taiba group when the issue
was raised with a visiting US delegation on Wednesday.

Mr Gilani said he had also talked to Pakistan Muslim
League-N leader Nawaz Sharif by telephone on Thursday and
“taken him into confidence” about the government’s point of
view on Hafiz Saeed’s affair, which he called “our internal

“If there is any concrete proof against Hafiz Saeed, it
should be provided to us,” the prime minister said, adding
that Pakistan had an independent judiciary that could take
care of any charges against Hafiz Saeed.

The inconclusive debate on the report of the bipartisan
Parliamentary Committee on National Security was on the top
of the day’s agenda, but it was not taken up apparently due
to continuing reservations of opposition parties about the
committee recommendations that their representatives had
already signed.

The committee has been holding in-camera meetings since the
joint sitting was adjourned five days ago to sort out
differences mainly on a restoration of Nato supplies to
Afghanistan via Pakistani land routes which were suspended
after a US helicopter attack on two Pakistani border posts
in November killed 24 soldiers.

It appeared the committee, head by Senator Raza Rabbani of
the ruling Pakistan People’s Party, wanted more time to
reach a consensus as National Assembly Speaker Fehmida
Mirza allowed an additional day’s recess for Friday besides
the two-day weekend when she adjourned the house until 5pm
on Monday.

 Senator Rabbani assured the house earlier that his
committee, said to be reviewing portions of its report on
which reservations have been expressed, would be guided
only by “supreme national interest” rather any external or
internal pressure in framing its recommendations.

At the fag-end of the day’s proceedings, the house saw
Maulana Fazlur Rehman and some PML-N members seeking to
block a landmark pro-women bill that had already been
passed by the National Assembly and was brought to the
joint sitting because it was not passed by the Senate
within the required maximum period of 90 days.

However, the Domestic Violence (Prevention and Protection)
Bill, which had been hanging fired in parliament for years,
was deferred until Monday on a suggestion from PPP chief
whip and Religious Affairs Minister Khursheed Ahmed Shah,
who convened a meeting of a lawmakers’ committee on Friday
to resolve differences.

Strangely, only some opposition members of the National
Assembly wanted a deferment on the bill earlier passed by
their house and none from the Senate, while the JUI-F
leader’s call for referring the draft to the Council of
Islamic Ideology for its opinion seemed to have lost force
after Senator Rabbani and some other PPP members pointed
out that rules did not allow taking such a course at this

However, the house adopted two other government bills
already passed by the National Assembly but not passed by
the Senate. One of them — the NFC Institute of Engineering
Technology Multan Bill — provides for the establishment of
the institute with degree-awarding status, and the other —
the Pakistan Trade Control of Wild Fauna and Flora Bill —
aims to give effect to the United Nations Convention on
International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and

The house also passed a motion authorising the National
Assembly speaker to convert a National Assembly special
committee on Kashmir headed by Maulana Fazlur Rehman into a
committee of both houses of parliament by including members
from the Senate as well.

06, April, 2012


US says it’s not trying to influence president’s visit


By Anwar Iqbal

WASHINGTON, April 5: The United States was not trying to
influence President Asif Ali Zardari’s forthcoming visit to
India by announcing a $10 million bounty for Hafiz Saeed,
the US State Department said on Thursday.

“It’s a win-win situation when Pakistan and India are
engaging in dialogue or talking to each other and are
building better cooperation,” the department’s spokesman
Mark Toner said at a briefing.

Mr Toner, however, clarified that the US had played no role
in arranging the visit but wanted these talks to succeed.

The spokesman had to face a barrage of questions as
journalists tried to determine why the State Department
announced the reward at a time when the Obama
administration was trying to rebuild its relationship with

Some journalists also focused on the possible impact of
this reward on India-Pakistan relations, particularly at a
time when both were apparently trying to improve ties.

A journalist observed that Hafiz Saeed was not yet indicted
in a US court and asked why the US had based this move on
“just an allegation”.

“An allegation based on our conviction that he is, in fact,
guilty of these crimes,” Mr Toner said, adding that he
could not get into details of an intelligence matter.
“What we’re looking for is evidence that can be used to
prosecute him in a court of law in Pakistan or elsewhere
and $10 million is that sweetener, if you will, to
encourage people to come forward,” he said.

A journalist suggested that the US effort had apparently
backfired as it made Hafiz Saeed a media celebrity in

“He’s clearly trying to bask in the media attention. We
just hope — and reiterate — that our offer is very real,
that if anybody knows or can produce evidence that ties him
to the Mumbai bombings and other terrorist acts, that they
step forward.”

Another journalist pointed out that the US move encouraged
conservative groups in Pakistan to urge President Zardari
to cancel his visit to India.

“There’s no relation here. We certainly don’t want it to
impact on his visit to India. We think his visit to India
actually is very constructive, and we’re all for it,” Mr
Toner replied.

“By issuing this notice, are you trying to create a split
in Lashkar-e-Taiba?” asked another journalist.

“We’re not. We’re asking for an individual to step forward
who can produce evidence that ties him to these attacks,”
the spokesman said. “We’re not playing some sort of
strategic game here.”

Responding to another question, Mr Toner said the US had
been in “very close contact” with the Indian government on
this issue.


06, April, 2012


Acid attack girl jailed for 34 years

By Our Staff Correspondent

FAISALABAD, April 5: Anti-Terrorism Court judge Ishtiaq
Ahmed sentenced on Thursday a girl to 34-year imprisonment
and Rs115,000 fine for throwing acid on the father of her
former fiancé.

The girl had thrown acid on Razzaq Ahmed, father of
Shehzad, in Asif Sitara colony area of the city on Nov 20,

She believed that Razzaq was responsible for his son’s
refusal to marry her.

The girl came from her home in Chishtian and attacked the
man when the henna ceremony of Shahzad with another girl
was under way.

The acid caused serious injuries to Razzaq and damaged his
one eye.The girl also attacked Shehzad with a knife and
injured his chin.

She was caught and handed over to police.

The court handed out the sentence after convicting the girl
under various sections of the Anti-Terrorism Act and PPC.


06, April, 2012


‘Three Cups of Tea’ author found guilty of fabrication,


WASHINGTON, April 5: A US author nominated for a Nobel
Peace Prize for his work building schools in Afghanistan
and Pakistan has agreed to repay $1 million to his charity
after a probe into financial misdemeanours.

Greg Mortenson, who wrote the best-selling book “Three Cups
of Tea” about his work, has also agreed to resign from his
charity’s board for “financial transgressions” in a
settlement reached with the Montana attorney general.

A year-long investigation by the attorney general’s office
found Mortenson had “failed to fulfil his responsibilities”
to his Central Asia Institute (CAI), but that the charity
was worth saving.

The probe by Montana Attorney General Steve Bullock
followed a CBS television expose last year alleging that
some of the most dramatic episodes in Mortenson’s
bestselling memoir and its popular sequel “Stones into
Schools” were fabricated and largely served as a conduit to

In “Three Cups of Tea,” which has sold more than four
million copies since its 2006 release, Mortenson tells the
stirring story of how he was rescued and nursed to health
in the remote Pakistani village of Korphe after a failed
climb in 1993 of the mountain K2.

He writes that as he recovered, he promised villagers to
come back and build a school, a decision that gave birth to
his now famous campaign.

But the 2009 Nobel nominee “had significant lapses in
judgment” that caused millions of dollars of donations to
CAI to be spent on family vacations and personal items,
Bullock said in a statement.

He said Mortenson would be removed “from any position of
financial oversight” and as a voting member of CAI’s board
of directors, though the author will be allowed to keep a
non-executive role.

“Despite the severity of their errors, CAI is worth
saving,” Bullock added.

Mortenson, who resigned as executive director last year,
has repaid $495,000 of $1.05 million owed to CAI, leaving
him with $560,000 to repay over three years.—AFP

06, April, 2012


Kidnapped Pakistani teen starved to death in Greece


ATHENS, April 5: A Pakistani youth was starved to death in
Greece after being held to ransom by kidnappers for months,
the semi-state Athens News Agency reported on Thursday,
citing police sources.

The 17-year-old had been found dead by relatives in January
on a street bench in west Athens following a tip-off from
the kidnappers who had helped bring him to Greece in the
first place.

Police said the teenager had been held captive from October
2010 and malnourished to force his family to make a payment
of 5,500 euros ($7,200). But even though the money was
paid, the kidnappers demanded more, ANA said.

The police arrested a 24-year-old Pakistani man who
allegedly conducted the ransom negotiations as a suspect
and are seeking another seven, the agency said.

Greece, currently in the throes of a major economic crisis,
is an important hub for clandestine migrants to Europe from
Turkey and the Middle East. Pakistan is one of the main
countries of provenance.

Smugglers charge a high price to bring migrants and
refugees to Greece by plane, speedboat or truck and those
who survive a perilous journey usually end up heavily in
debt to the gangs.

Nearly 100,000 people were arrested in Greece last year for
illegal entry or residence and authorities are going
through some 30,000 asylum requests by migrants and
refugees, according to officials.—AFP

07, April, 2012


Police partially comply with CJ’s order: Four of the
missing 7 brought to court


By Saleem Shahid

QUETTA, April 6: Police produced four of the seven missing
persons before the Supreme Court registry here on Friday
and Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry ordered that
the remaining three be brought on Monday.

Maj-Gen Obaidullah Khattak, the Inspector General of
Frontier Corps Balochistan, appeared before a three-judge
bench hearing a petition on the law and order situation and
human rights violations in the province and clarified the
position on the allegation levelled by provincial minister
Mir Sadiq Ali Umrani that the FC was involved in the
killing of people.

The bench, headed by Justice Iftikhar, comprises Justice
Khilji Arif Hussian and Justice Tariq Pervaiz.

On Thursday, the chief justice had warned that the
Balochistan police chief and other officers concerned would
be suspended if the seven people picked up from Quetta’s
Sariab Road on March 1 were not brought to the court.

The four people presented in the court were identified as
brothers Mohammad Javed, Malik Sher and Mazar Khan, and
Hazar Khan.

Balochistan IG Rao Amin Hashim informed the court that
efforts were being made to recover the remaining three.

But the chief justice warned that action would be taken
against the IG and officers concerned if they were not
recovered by April 9. He also ordered that three other
people who had been picked up from Killi Ismail area on
April 3 be also produced before the court in Islamabad on
April 10.

The chief justice said the Superintend of Police and the
SHO should be suspended if any person was picked up from
their area of jurisdiction. “The situation will improve if
the court order is implemented.”

The four men were allowed to meet their parents in the
court. The chief justice said if they were not involved in
any case they should be released.

The SHO of new Sariab police station informed the court
that their statements could not be recorded because they
were recovered late on Thursday night.

A woman informed the court that his bother had been taken
way by officials of a secret agency and later his bullet-
riddled body was found. She said her brother Dr Naseer
Baloch had been picked up on April 3, along with his two
friends, while they were sitting in a hotel in Killi

Justice Khilji said a murder case would be registered
against the Superintendent of Police City if anything
happened to them. The chief justice directed Advocate
General of Balochistan Amanullah Kanrani to make all-out
efforts for the early recovery of missing persons,
including Zakir Majeed, Hafiz Seedur Rehman and Dr Din
Mohammad Baloch.

Frontier Corps IG Obaidullah Khattak said the FC had issued
a contradiction the next day in newspapers against the
allegation levelled by Sadiq Umrani.

“A contradiction is not enough; you should have approached
the federal interior ministry on the issue,” the chief
justice said, adding that that Mr Umrani had levelled the
allegation in the assembly, and not in the drawing room.
“The minister could have been disqualified if he had given
wrong statement,” he said, adding that the FC should help
police and not create problems. The chief justice asked the
FC chief to come up with an explanation at the next
Maj-Gen Khattak said a large number of FC men had also been
killed in different attacks and cases had already been
registered with police.

The chief justice regretted that even in the presence of
26,000 police and 50,000 FC personnel, the law and order
situation in the province could not be brought under
control. If police performed their duty, he added, the
situation could improve.

Provincial Home Secretary Nasibullah Bazai informed the
court that over the past three years 1,056 people had been
killed in the province, including 227 FC personnel and 196
police men. Around 250 people fell prey to sectarian

Justice Iftikhar again expressed displeasure over the
absence of Attorney General Maulvi Anwarul Haq. “It shows
how much interest he has in the Balochistan issue,” he

The chief justice was dissatisfied with a report submitted
by DIG South Karachi on the murder of members of the Domki
family and regretted that the additional IG Sindh who was
investigating the case had been sent abroad on training,
while the Sindh IG did not appear before the court. He
ordered that additional IG be brought back for completing
the investigation and he should appear before the court at
the next hearing.


07, April, 2012


SP accuses fellow officer of having plotted suicide attack


By S. Raza Hassan

KARACHI, April 6: In a surprising development, a senior
police officer who had survived a suicide attack in the
city on Thursday has accused a fellow officer, and not
terrorists, of having hatched the conspiracy to kill him.

SP Anwar Ahmed Khan lodged a complaint in which he named
Azam Mehsud, an inspector of Karachi police, his brother
and a number of other people as accused.

The SP   was going to the District Courts in Malir in a
convoy   of five vehicles to attend a meeting when a suicide
bomber   blew himself up at the junction of Jinnah Avenue and
Sharea   Faisal in Malir Halt. At least four passersby were
killed   and 17 others injured.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack.

SP Khan lodged the FIR 48/2012 under sections 302, 324, 427
and 120 of the Pakistan Penal Code, section 3/4 of the
Explosives Act and section 7 of the Anti Terrorism Act at
the Model Colony police station late on Thursday night.

In 2009, SSP Farooq Awan was injured and a policeman was
killed when they came under fire in Sohrab Goth where they
were searching for a kidnapped man. Sherzaman Mehsud, a
brother of Inspector Azam, was suspected of being involved
in the kidnapping and of carrying out the attack on the

Sherzaman was later arrested from a private hospital where
he was undergoing treatment for gunshot wounds.

According to police, the accused was recently released from

SSP (Range Crime East) Niaz Khoso confirmed that Azam
Mehsud, a former SHO of Sohrab Goth, had been booked under
section 120 of the PPC for his alleged involvement in
plotting the suicide attack.


07, April, 2012


Two bodies found

QUETTA: Two bullet-riddled bodies were found in Mastung
district on Friday.

Sources in Levies Force said local people informed them
about the presence of the two bodies.

They said the bodies were taken into custody and shifted to
the civil hospital where one of the slain men was
identified as Abdul Mannan. The other body could not be

The bodies bore bullet wounds on the chest and the head,
and the hands were tied with rope.

A spokesman for Tehrik Nifaz-i-Amn, Ghazi Khan Baloch,
claimed responsibility for the murder of one of the men.—
Staff Correspondent


07, April, 2012


Third force in interior Sindh remains a mirage


By Cyril Almeida

ON Jan 22, in the small town of Bhitshah in Matiari
district, where Sufi poet and Sindhi colossus, Shah Abdul
Latif Bhittai, is buried, a closely watched political rally
was held. Organised by Ali Kazi, a Hyderabad-based media
magnate, the rally was the capstone of a month-long effort
to launch a new political party in Sindh.

“Ninety-five per cent of Sindh’s problems are linked to bad
governance. The law and order situation, the lack of
infrastructure, the lack of progress, it all flows from a
tyrannical mindset,” said Kazi in an interview a couple of
months after the Bhitshah rally.

“We wanted people to realise the power of their vote. It’s
a perception, a myth really, that the waderas can’t be
defeated. So in 32 days, we held 187 public gatherings from
Karachi to Kashmore, talking about change,” according to

By all accounts, the rally was a failure. A few thousand
people turned up where several hundred thousand had been
hoped for. The movement to create a third option for
interior Sindh — to take on the PPP and a powerful cohort
of independent waderas, sardars and pirs — had fizzled out
before it could take off.

According to Wusatullah Khan, a BBC journalist who has
travelled extensively through Sindh, Kazi did not
understand the mechanics of politics in the province. “Ali
Kazi was a businessman until last year, he has no history
in politics and his is an urban thought,” Khan said.

“The rules of rural society are very different. You need a
network of local influentials who gather votes and local
people have to trust your guy,” Khan added. Outwardly, Kazi
is unmoved by the Bhitshah debacle. “Maybe I do understand
the model of traditional politics but maybe that’s
precisely what I don’t want to follow,” he said.

But Kazi has returned to his business roots managing his
Sindhi-language media empire and has no immediate political
plans. Another prominent face of the Kazi-led movement,
Marvi Memon, has since joined the PML-N.

Sindhi nationalists

On the fringes of Sindh politics for the past four decades,
a motley group of politicians known as the nationalists
have noisily claimed to be the only authentic
representatives of Sindh and of Sindhis. With a vague
agenda – most have drifted from the demand for a separate
country towards more autonomy for the provinces – and a
minimal electoral footprint – partly because of ambivalence
towards parliamentary politics – much of that claim has
rested on turnouts at nationalist rallies.
In recent years, the size of the crowds at nationalist
rallies has grown. On March 23, for example, Bashir
Qureshi, leader of the Jeay Sindhi Qaumi Mahaz, which
rejects electoral politics, held a large rally in Karachi
in which he declared the time had come for Sindh to declare
its independence. Two days earlier, Qadir Magsi, leader of
the Sindh Taraqi Pasand Party, which does not seek a
separate state, gathered thousands of supporters to
celebrate Sindh Motherland Day in Hyderabad.

“Ten years ago all the nationalists combined couldn’t have
brought 10,000 people to a jalsa, now they could get
substantially more,” according to Ali Hassan Chandio, the
president of the fledgling Sindh National Movement. Still,
few are convinced that the electoral impact of the
nationalists will grow, even as many of the major parties
begin to throw their hats into the electoral ring.

“Zero plus zero equals zero,” said an analyst who spoke on
the condition of anonymity because of his personal
relations with nationalist leaders. “They’ve got nothing,
not even the people who turn up at their rallies vote for

A PPP leader from the south of the province was also
dismissive, “They aren’t a problem electorally. Qadir Magsi
may have a few votes but it’s not really a problem to
adjust them.” However, Ali Hassan Chandio believes that at
least the long-term electoral prospects for the
nationalists are improving: “There are possibilities, in
Jamshoro, in Badin, in Thatta, in Tando Mohammad Khan, in
Tando Allahyar Khan. It all depends on whether they can
change mindsets and gain the trust of the people.”

A sceptical electorate

Converting support into votes remains a big hurdle for the
nationalists, not least because of their approach to
politics and personal reputations. According to Zafar
Junejo, a social activist based in Dadu, “To win an
election, you need to be among the people, to work on their
behalf, to share in their grief at funerals and happiness
at weddings. The nationalists do none of that.” Junejo
added that many of the nationalist leaders were viewed with
mistrust by the electorate and have a reputation for
corruption and other criminal activities. Unity is also a
problem. “The three big players, Ayaz Palejo’s Awami
Tehrik, Qadir Magsi’s Sindh Taraqi Pasand and Jalal Mehmood
Shah’s Sindh United Party, if they developed a common
manifesto and fielded joint candidates then something would
be possible. But the differences between them are acute,”
Ali Hassan Chandio said. Chandio said that the floods and
rains over the last couple of years were an opportunity for
the nationalists to show their concern for voters, “but
they did nothing”. He added: “Even now, they aren’t getting
ID cards made, developing grassroots networks or doing the
kind of work that wins elections.”

Aloof from the electorate and fractious, the nationalists
are also marginalised by the presence of the PPP. Jami
Chandio, a writer and activist, suggested that because a
Sindh-based option that can project power nationally
already exists, nationalist options are less appealing. “In
the colleges and universities, students like the emotional
appeal of nationalism. But outside, most can see they have
no hope of coming to power so it’s a waste,” Chandio said.

The also-rans

With no third option on the horizon in Sindh, the PML-N is
busy co-opting existing candidates outside the PPP fold.
“PML-N understands the need to gather older and new
political forces of Sindh under one umbrella, including
nationalists who have chosen to stay out electoral politics
in the past,” according to Marvi Memon, who joined the N-
League after the failed attempt with Ali Kazi. The strategy
is to bring into the PML-N fold figures like Liaquat Jatoi,
a powerful candidate from Dadu who is sure to give the
incumbent PPP MNA a tough time. Mumtaz Bhutto, who is
loosely clubbed together with the nationalists, is also
believed to be another target.

“By himself Mumtaz Bhutto doesn’t stand a chance. But if he
allies with Nawaz and people think the PPP isn’t coming
back to power, then people may think of him as a future
chief minister and he could pull a Sindh Assembly seat,”
according to a politician familiar with the area. “But it’s
still Larkana, it won’t be easy.”
Meanwhile, the PTI, even after the inclusion of Shah
Mehmood Qureshi, who has a number of spiritual followers in
Sindh, is not expected to be a factor. A politician from
upper Sindh who is considering joining the PTI explained,
“I like what Imran Khan stands for. But winning here has
nothing to do with the party; it’s all about independent
vote banks. Shah Mehmood Qureshi has some support in
Ghotki, in Mithi, in Mirpurkhas, but he’s no game-changer.”
So in Sindh at least, the status quo looks set to prevail.

Wusatullah Khan, the BBC journalist, explained the choice
thus, “I’m a voter on the way to the polling station,
thinking about who to vote for. I can’t vote for
nationalists because they won’t win and that’s a wasted
vote. I can’t vote for N-League; how many offices do they
have in Sindh? PTI? It has no presence. MQM? No. It comes
down to PPP and independents.”


07, April, 2012


Zardari launches another tirade against Sharifs


By Our Staff Reporter

LAHORE, April 6: President Asif Ali Zardari launched
another diatribe against the Sharif brothers on Friday,
saying they had ‘stiff necks’ and he knew how to humble

“I gave concession to the Sharif brothers only to send Gen
Musharraf packing,” the president said while speaking to
party activists at the Governor’s House here on Friday.

He said Punjab would vote the People’s Party to power next
year because the “arrogance’ of the PML-N had made it
unpopular. “The PML-N does not have majority in Punjab, but
we never tried to topple its government,” Mr Zardari said,
adding that the PPP did not believe in “the politics of

The president asked party workers to make preparations for
the next elections and said he would personally visit all
divisions of Punjab before the polls to strengthen the
party in the province.

The PPP said President Zardari’s earlier statement that the
Sharifs did not have “enough followers to shoulder the
funeral of their father in Lahore” was misquoted. “The
president did not say anything about the funeral of the
father of Sharif brothers,” Information Minister Firdous
Ashiq Awan said.

President Zardari further said the PPP had come to power in
hard times and successfully completed first four years of
its term, adding that those workers who had given
sacrifices for the party would not be ignored. He said he
would be in touch with workers and continue to visit
Lahore. The president directed federal ministers to address
workers’ grievances and give them respect. He said the PPP
government would soon overcome the energy crisis and solve
the loadshedding problem.

Suggestions given by PML-Q chief Chaudhry Shujaat Husain to
resolve the energy crisis would be referred to parliament,
Mr Zardari said. He reiterated that the PPP would contest
the next elections with its allies.


07, April, 2012


Nawaz links reopening of NATO routes to expulsion of US


By Ali Hazrat Bacha
PESHAWAR, April 6: Pakistan Muslim League-N chief Nawaz
Sharif said here on Friday that the government would have
to get the country cleared of American agents (contractors)
and drone attacks stopped in exchange for reopening routes
for NATO supplies.

He was addressing a meeting at which PML-Q’s provincial
president Engineer Amir Muqam joined his party and
announced the merger of his faction into the PML-N.

Mr Sharif said the government would have to stop allowing
the use of bases in the country by foreign troops. Besides
NATO trucks should be used only to carry foodstuff through

“The Parliamentary Committee on National Security is
already working on the issue and my party has expressed its
stance,” he said, adding that the PML-N would not support
reopening of the NATO supply unless these conditions were

He urged the United States to use its influence to get the
Kashmir issue resolved as lives of innocent people in the
occupied territory could be saved.

He condemned the American announcement of a bounty on Hafiz
Saeed’s head and said the US-Pakistan relations could not
improve unless the US stopped pursuing double standards.

“The meetings of the Parliamentary Committee on National
Security will be a futile exercise if the US did not change
its policy towards Pakistan,” he said.

He said the government would have to change its foreign
policy and stop compromising on national security and
sovereignty. Otherwise, development and peace in the
country would remain only a dream.

He accused the government of indulging in corruption and
destroying national institutions like PIA and Pakistan
Railways. Because of its faulty policies, he said, the
energy crisis was worsening by the day.

Criticising the role of military dictators, he said, they
tried to divide political parties, encouraged non-party
elections and promoted sectarianism. Referring to the
government’s performance during the past four years, he
said it failed to resolve the energy crisis, curb terrorism
and sectarianism, steer the country out of financial crisis
and focused only on accumulating wealth.

“The country would not have faced the financial crisis and
law and order problem if the PML-N government had not been
removed in 1997 when it was in a position to complete the
planned motorways from Peshawar to Afghanistan and Central
Asian countries,” he said.

Commenting on remarks made by President Asif Ali Zardari,
he said he would not use the same language because the
nation was the better judge.

“Everyone knows that the Musharraf government did not allow
members of my family to attend the funeral of my father in
Lahore,” he said.

He asked the government to end corruption, take up welfare
projects and his party would support it in the best
interests of the nation.

PML-N leaders Iqbal Zafar Jhagra, Pir Sabir Shah, Sardar
Mehtab Ahmed Abbasi, Rehmat Salam Khattak and Farid Toofan
were present on the occasion.


07, April, 2012


Rs210bn approved for buying wheat: Oil prices to be
reviewed twice a month: ECC


By Khaleeq Kiani

ISLAMABAD, April 6: The Economic Coordination Committee
(ECC) of the Cabinet decided on Friday to review oil prices
twice a month and to lift 7.725 million tons of fresh wheat
from farmers at a cost of Rs210 billion through banking
credit to provinces.
Finance Minister Dr Hafeez Shaikh presided over the
meeting, which also extended seven and a half year of tax
holiday to a private group to set up another second-hand
oil refinery in Karachi and allowed special funds like
pension, gratuity, superannuation, contributory provident
fund and trusts to make investments in the National Savings

WHEAT PROCUREMENT: Some members of the ECC questioned the
rationale behind seeking the federal government’s sovereign
guarantee to help the provinces raise Rs210 billion for
wheat procurement because it was a provincial subject.

They were reminded by the provincial representatives that
the federal government should not in principle be
discussing the wheat procurement, but since the prime
minister had unilaterally increased the support price for
wheat from Rs950 to Rs1050 per 40kg, it was the centre’s
responsibility to foot its bill.

And given the fact that over Rs179 billion worth of wheat-
related loans were outstanding, it was difficult for the
provinces to raise fresh credits for the current crop and
hence the federal government would need to give guarantee
for loan repayment.

The ECC agreed to provide guarantee for raising Rs210
billion to help the provincial governments and Pakistan
Agricultural Storage and Services Corporation (Passco) to
procure 7.725 million tons. The interest rate for Rs210
billion fresh lending would be decided later after
negotiations with the banking industry.

The meeting approved a procurement target of four million
tons for Punjab at Rs105 billion. Sindh will procure 1.3
million tons at a cot of Rs34 billion, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
325,000 tons at a cost of Rs8.5 billion and Balochistan
100,000 tons at a cost of Rs2.6 billion. Passco will
procure two million tons of wheat for strategic reserves at
a cost of Rs59 billion.

The meeting was informed that about 4.5 million tons of
wheat had been stored in government godowns, mostly in

It noted that the next season would start with a carryover
stock of about 3.5 million tons while a fresh wheat output
of about 25 million tons was expected during the current
season against a domestic consumption requirement of about
23 million tons.

OIL PRICING: Mr Shaikh said that Ogra and the finance
ministry had opposed fixation of oil prices on fortnightly
basis instead of monthly basis on grounds that this would
lead to hoarding and artificial shortage of petroleum
products and public outcry twice a month.

He, however, defended the decision saying there was another
view that suggested the impact of price changes should be
divided into 24 installments in a year, instead of 12.

He said there were countries where adjustments in petroleum
prices took place on a daily basis. An official said the
change in pricing mechanism was made on the request of oil
refineries to reduce uncertainty in inventory losses and
price differential backlog.

TAX EXEMPTION FOR REFINERY: In reply to a question, the
minister also did not see a big deal in grant of extension
in tax holiday to Byco Refinery to set up another second-
hand refinery of 135,000 barrels per day of refining
capacity which had failed to meet its commissioning
deadline by the end of 2012. The petroleum ministry
convinced the ECC that the techno-economic study be
conducted by Byco itself within three months.

NATIONAL SAVINGS: The meeting was informed that the ECC had
stopped institutional investment in the national savings
except special funds but a subsequent notification
erroneously barred special funds like pension, gratuity,
superannuation, provident fund and trust funds from
investments in national saving schemes, resulting in
withdrawal of Rs150 billion of these funds from NSS. This
was making the government excessively dependant on bank
borrowing, which was not only expensive but also
inflationary. Therefore, the ECC allowed these special
funds to make investments in national savings.

The ECC allowed the United Bank to establish a subsidiary
in Tanzania (UBL-Tanzania) with a total investment of $14
million. The committee approved exemption of taxes and
duties on import of gas pipeline, LNG and its machinery and
equipment for production of low BTU gas.
The ECC deferred the collection of applicable taxes, duties
and any other levies till the commencement of commercial
operations of the natural gas and LNG import projects.


07, April, 2012


Fazl not to attend PCNS meetings


By Ahmad Hassan

ISLAMABAD, April 6: The Parliamentary Committee on National
Security (PCNC) redrafting its recommendations for new
terms of engagement with the US suffered a setback on
Friday when JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman announced
that he would no more attend its proceedings.

He even suggested that the “government has already decided
to restore NATO supplies and the committee has been asked
merely to rubber-stamp the decision”.

The committee’s meeting scheduled for the day was put off
till Monday.

Pakistan blocked Nato supply routes soon after Nato/Isaf
forces attacked Pakistani checkposts in Mohamand Agency in
November last year, leaving 24 soldiers dead.

Maulana Fazlur Rahman told reporters his party would not be
used to approve decisions which had already been taken by

He warned that reopening the NATO supply route, with or
without any condition, would be opposed at every forum. He
said he would also not attend the parliament’s session over
the domestic violence bill. Meanwhile, Leader of Opposition
in the National Assembly Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan of PML-N
said his party would never allow restoration of usual
relations with the US and NATO and would oppose resumption
of NATO supplies.

Talking to journalists, Chaudhry Nisar also threatened to
quit his office if the supply routes were reopened.

The PML-N boycotted the committee’s meeting for three days
and one of its representatives, Sardar Mehtab Ahmad Khan,
returned on Thursday when Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani
requested Mian Nawaz Sharif to end the boycott.

Chaudhry Nisar said he had made his stance clear to his
party and leaders of other opposition parties on the issue
of NATO supplies.


07, April, 2012


Krishna unsure if Zardari’s talks will be substantial


NEW DELHI, April 6: Officially, President Asif Ali Zardari
is just having a quick lunch with India’s leader on his way
to visit a shrine in Ajmer. But Mr Zardari’s trip to New
Delhi on Sunday marks a milestone in the warming relations
between the two neighbours.

Such are the pressures on the nuclear-armed countries that
even as they inch closer together, they cannot be seen as
fully embracing.

Zardari can’t risk annoying Pakistan’s army by holding
official talks with India, according to analysts. Indian
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh faces pressure of his own to
keep some distance from Pakistan until it cracks down on
anti-Indian militants.

President Zardari’s trip to New Delhi, the first by a
Pakistani head of state since 2005, is the most visible
sign that the neighbours have put the enmity that followed
the 2008 terror attacks in the Indian city of Mumbai behind
them and are working to strengthen economic and political

All issues are on the table, Indian Foreign Minister S.M.
Krishna said. But he was not sure how deep the discussion
would be.

“After all it’s a private visit of Zardari to India. He is
coming on a religious mission. I don’t know whether they
would have time enough to go into details,” he said on

Pakistani Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit said the
lunch will help promote “peace and prosperity in this part
of the world, and we are looking forward for a constructive
engagement between the two leaders.”

Relations have slowly improved in recent years, culminating
in Pakistan’s pledge to give India “most-favoured nation”
trading status by the end of this year. The World Bank
estimates that annual trade could grow to as much as $9
billion from $2 billion if trade barriers are lifted.

Pakistan’s commerce minister is visiting India a few days
after Zardari’s trip to join his Indian counterpart in
opening a “Lifestyle Pakistan” expo highlighting fashion,
food and arts from India’s neighbour.

“I think the India-Pakistan bilateral relationship is
looking up. I think there are a number of issues which
ought to be resolved and I am sure mutual talks will
eventually resolve those issues,” Mr Krishna said.

Singh does not appear ready to reciprocate with his own
informal trip to Pakistan — perhaps, as some commentators
have suggested, couched in a visit to his boyhood home in
the Pakistani village of Gah — unless there is real
movement in talks between the two countries.

When Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani asked him last month
when he would visit, Mr Singh said: “I said let us do
something solid so that we can celebrate.”—AP

07, April, 2012


Brahamdagh Bugti says he will be killed if he returns to


By Idrees Bakhtiar

KARACHI: Brahamdagh Bugti, the grandson of slain Baloch
leader Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti, fears that the authorities
will kill him if he returns to Pakistan from his self-exile
in Europe.

“If I go back, I also will be killed,” he said in an
interview in Geneva, Switzerland. “Nawab Akbar Bugti was
killed, Balach Marri was killed,” he added to make his

Brahamdagh, now living in Zurich, often meets the press in
an upscale hotel in Geneva. He said the reason he was
living in exile was that he was better able to work for his
cause from outside Pakistan. “I can work for the Baloch
people from here,” he said.

He was only 25 when Akbar Bugti was murdered on August 26,
2006. That was when he fled to Afghanistan where he stayed
for a number of years before seeking asylum in Switzerland
last year. He has shaved off his Baloch beard, trimmed his
flowing black locks and exchanged his Baloch turban for a
beret. An apparently unarmed but sturdy-looking young
Baloch guard shadows Brahamdagh wherever he goes.

Rejecting the possibility of holding any negotiations with
the authorities in Pakistan, he suggested that the only way
to resolve the crisis in Balochistan was to hold an
internationally-supervised referendum in the Baloch
districts of the province. “Let there be a referendum under
the auspices of the United Nations…If the people say they
want to live with Pakistan, I will have no objection; I
will accept that. I will give up my demand [for the
independence of Balochistan]. But if the majority supports
independence, then the international governments and the
United Nations should guarantee that they would support
it,” he said.

Brahamdagh, whom the authorities in Pakistan have variously
accused of financing, running and heading terrorist
activities in Balochistan, rejected the perception that
Baloch sardars were against development in their areas. He
said the Baloch were, however, opposed to road-building
projects meant for further exploitation of the province’s
natural resources.

When asked about the murder of Punjabi settlers in
Balochistan, Brahamdagh blamed the army. “When the army
kills people, the family members [of those killed) have no
choice but to react and take revenge,” he said.

The full text of the interview has been published in
Herald’s April issue.


07, April, 2012


Disabled prayer leader shot dead by terrorists


By Our Staff Correspondent

QUETTA, April 6: Maulvi Mohammad Qasim, a JUP leader and
prayer leader of a local mosque, was shot dead by
terrorists on the Sariab road area here on Friday.

When the cleric, who is disabled and uses a wheelchair,
came out of his house to go to the mosque to deliver the
Friday sermon, a couple of gunmen came on a motorbikes and
opened fire. He was seriously injured and died in the
Quetta Civil Hospital. He had suffered five bullet wounds,
two in the head.

“Maulvi Qasim was the Khateeb of Noorani mosque on the
Sariab road and he was going to the mosque when armed men
attacked him,” DIG Operation Qazi Wahid told Dawn, adding
that terrorists escaped from the scene after the incident.

“We are investigating the murder of the prayer leader from
different aspects,” the DIG operation said.

“It was an incident of target killing,” a senior police
officer said. He said that he was a well-known leader of
the JUP-Noorani group. No one has claimed responsibility
for the attack.


07, April, 2012


China places six Uighurs on ‘terror list’


BEIJING, April 6: China has placed six men from the Uighur
ethnic minority on a “terror” list, accusing them of
involvement in terrorist training camps and of inciting
attacks in the restive western Xinjiang region.

China’s Ministry of Public Security said the men, whose
names identify them as Uighurs, were members of the
outlawed East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM), blaming
one for orchestrating violent attacks in the city of
Kashgar last July.

Chinese authorities have accused the ETIM, which wants an
independent homeland for Xinjiang’s Uighurs, of
orchestrating attacks in the region on many occasions.

The United States and the United Nations have listed the
group as a “terrorist” organisation, and China has
previously said it has operations in Pakistan as well as

The public security ministry said in a statement on
Thursday night it had frozen the funds and assets of the
six men, whose whereabouts are not known.
Xinjiang has been under heavy security since July 2009,
when Uighurs launched attacks on Han people — who make up
most of China’s population — in the regional capital

The government says nearly 200 people were killed and 1,700
injured in the violence.

Many Uighurs remain angry at the crackdown that followed
the violence.

Xinjiang, which borders Pakistan and Afghanistan, is home
to around nine million Uighurs, but the number of Han
living there has increased dramatically over the past

China blames much of the violence in the resource-rich
region on what it calls the three “evil forces” of
extremism, separatism and terrorism.

But some experts doubt terror cells operate in Xinjiang,
where the Turkic-speaking Uighurs practise a moderate form
of Islam.—AFP




                   E D I T O R I A L N E W S


01, April, 2012


A familiar cycle

MUCH blood has flowed in Karachi’s streets over the past
few days. Hardly had the earlier bout of violence subsided
when a new round of killings broke out late Friday night.
Resultantly, the MQM called for another ‘day of mourning’
on Saturday — the third one this week — in which routine
life came to a grinding halt. The current violence was
triggered by the killing of an MQM worker on Tuesday,
following which activists of the MQM and ANP — the two main
rivals — have been gunned down, although both the victim’s
family and the Muttahida have held some members of the
banned Amn Committee responsible for the murder. A much
larger number of citizens with no political affiliation
have also been killed as gunmen roamed the city’s streets
unhindered by law-enforcement personnel. The Sindh High
Court chief justice took suo motu notice of the violence on
Saturday; it was the Supreme Court’s intervention that
helped stem a similar tide of violence last year. Waking up
to the situation a tad late, the president has also ordered
a ‘crackdown’ against ‘terrorists’ in the city.

However, it will be interesting to see what the president
is able to do as the main players involved in Karachi’s
mayhem — the MQM and ANP — are coalition partners of the
PPP, while the ‘banned’ Amn Committee, another party to the
violence, is perceived as having PPP support. Yet no one in
government is openly willing to admit who is responsible
for the violence. What can law-enforcement agencies be
expected to do when suspects are released due to pressure
from different quarters? The fact is Karachi is controlled
by political militants fighting bloody turf wars in which
ordinary citizens are mowed down as collateral damage.
Undoubtedly, the violence is controlled and artificial, and
if the parties want it can be easily prevented.

We seem to be going backwards to the 1980s and ’90s, when
hundreds of people were killed in a year in spasms of
ethno-political violence. If the situation is not
controlled it may go beyond the targeting of political
workers, degenerating into more generalised ethnic
bloodshed, where the victim’s only ‘crime’ is belonging to
the ‘wrong’ ethnicity. The state and Karachi’s political
stakeholders bear primary responsibility for preventing
this. Interior Minister Rehman Malik’s fly-by-night
solutions of patching together temporary ‘truces’ between
the warring parties until the next round of violence are
untenable. The ordeal of Karachi’s residents must end; this
can only be done by allowing the law-enforcement agencies
to take indiscriminate action against violent criminals and
for the parties to renounce the politics of bloodshed and


01, April, 2012


BRICS summit


THE sweeping politico-economic declaration adopted by the
fourth BRICS summit in New Delhi on Thursday has set off
expected speculation about the group’s raison d’être and
has raised many questions about its cohesion and ability to
stay together. A game of blind man’s buff thus unleashed
sees the four-year-old club of Brazil, Russia, India, China
and South Africa in diverse ways. Do its members, disparate
as they are, possess the wherewithal to meaningfully divert
the global axis away from the West towards a genuinely
multipolar architecture? Even within India there have been
fairly differing perceptions that have also included

An Indian paper that advocates closer ties with the United
States labelled the summit as a photocall, while a rival
editorial offered an alternative view and quoted Brazilian
President Dilma Rousseff as suggesting that the Delhi
meeting was a major success. Ms Rousseff stressed the fact
that between them the BRICS nations contain roughly a third
of the world’s population and a fifth of its GDP. There is
no doubt that their economies and markets can strongly
benefit from one another. Is the baggage of history likely
to be a hindrance? Two of the group’s key members — Russia
and India — have had angry differences with China. But it
is also a fact that all three have been engaged in a common
endeavour, not dissimilar to the one envisioned by BRICS,
in the Shanghai Initiative. South Africa and Brazil bring
up the geographical span of the group, which comprises four
continents — Asia, Europe, Africa and Latin America.

The Delhi summit described BRICS as a platform for the
promotion of peace, security and development in a
multipolar, interdependent and increasingly complex,
globalising world. This could require major adjustments. An
emphatic political declaration, for example, found India,
which had seemed to take the western stance on burning
issues like Iran and Syria, joining a better connected set
of approaches for a peaceful resolution of problems that
otherwise carry the potential to precipitate a horrendous
calamity, which nobody, including the detractors of BRICS,
really wants.


01, April, 2012


UN envoy’s criticism


EVEN though he was breaking no new ground, the UN envoy on
human rights chose New Delhi as the venue to tell India
that democracy and special powers for armed forces for
tackling popular causes did not go together. Talking to
journalists on Friday after visiting India-held Kashmir and
other insurgency-hit areas, Christof Heyns, the world
body’s special rapporteur on extrajudicial and summary
executions, said the Armed Forces Special Powers Act was
“hated” and the head of the held territory’s human rights
commission had called it “draconian”. His main findings
were that extrajudicial killings continued in India, and a
number of UN bodies considered AFSPA “a violation of
international law as well”.

The UN envoy’s findings fall in line with reports by
Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the United
Nations’ annual world review, some of India’s own NGOs and
sections of the media, all of which regard AFSPA as a law
that has enabled the security forces to indulge in blatant
human rights violations with impunity. The worst part of
the law is that soldiers accused of killings, torture and
disappearances in held Kashmir or India’s troubled
northeast cannot be prosecuted, except through a
complicated process of permission from the central
government. The held territory’s chief executive, Omar
Abdullah, too wants AFSPA to be withdrawn in phases.
Initially, he believes, the law should be withdrawn from
areas where the Indian army has not been operating for
years. The perpetuation of special powers has enabled the
Indian army to use brute force to crush the Kashmiri
people’s legitimate struggle for freedom. New Delhi should
realise it would have a positive impact on India-Pakistan
relations if it addressed the world community’s human
rights concerns in the valley and ended the stifling
atmosphere in which the Kashmiri people have been living
for decades.


02, April, 2012


A difficult review


LAST Friday’s drone attack in Miramshah, North Waziristan,
may have eliminated four suspected militants but it has
also made the parliamentary review of Islamabad’s strategic
relations with Washington a more onerous task. The attack
came in the same week that saw the first direct public
contact between the top military commanders of Pakistan and
the US since ties between the two countries reached a nadir
following last November’s US air strike on check posts in
Salala. Pakistan’s justifiable anger over the attack and
the loss of two dozen of its soldiers might have abated had
the US issued an unconditional apology. But it was not
forthcoming. Anti-Americanism had already been on the boil
following the bloody escapade of American defence
contractor Raymond Davis in Lahore and was exploited by a
security establishment at home that encouraged mass
hysteria ostensibly through surrogates among right-wing
elements. The US raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound last
May further complicated matters and the Salala strike
appeared to be the last nail in the coffin, with Islamabad
stopping supplies to NATO troops in landlocked Afghanistan.
With a parliamentary review of the proposed contours of a
new US-Pakistan relationship under way, the latest US
attack can only be seen as insensitive by a public that is
stridently opposed to drone strikes. The Pakistani military
leadership had appeared quietly in favour of resuming NATO
supplies after four months of back-channel efforts (the
recent agreement between the Pakistan Railways and the
military-controlled National Logistics Cell is a clear
indication). But now, politicians, whose positions were
cemented as a result of hardening public opinion that GHQ
itself contributed to, are finding it difficult to support
the resumption.

We have always held that the US drone attacks have
succeeded in killing some key perpetrators of mass murder
here (and abroad). It is equally true that unless there is
coordination and intelligence-sharing between the two
countries, these attacks will continue to be seen as a
breach of sovereignty, a statement of distrust between the
allies, and as extracting a civilian toll. Unfortunately,
without transparency and a proper mechanism to verify the
effectiveness of such attacks, the debate will remain
bereft of evidence and continue to be guided by passion
rather than reason.

President Barack Obama is believed to have told Prime
Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani in Seoul that whatever the
parliamentary review recommends, his need to protect
American lives also needs to be considered. The US may have
a point but it is intelligence-sharing and coordinated
action with Pakistan and not unilateral strikes that will
help in the matter, especially as Islamabad reassesses its
ties with Washington.


02, April, 2012


Khyber IDPs

EVER SINCE the menace of militancy raised its head in the
north-western parts of the country, those who have lost the
most have been the residents of these areas. Estimates of
how many people have been displaced from which area have
been piecemeal and sporadic. Nevertheless, estimates that
include the exodus from Swat, Bajaur and other areas from
as far back as 2009 indicate that at the very least, 2.7
million people were forced to flee their localities (two-
thirds are believed to have returned after the government
declared their areas as safe). Now comes the news that in
the current round of fighting, over 100,000 people have
fled Khyber Agency since Jan 20. According to the UNHCR,
the UN refugee agency, since March 17, on average 2,000
families have been arriving at the Jalozai camp near
Peshawar — daily.

These are alarming figures, made all the more so by the
fact that a military operation of sorts has been under way
in Khyber Agency since 2009. Holding out is Mangal Bagh,
head of the Lashkar-i-Islam. The group continues to control
certain areas of Bara and Tirah and attacks security
forces. Reportedly, the problem lies with the nature of the
military operation which, observers say, is piecemeal and
has been mismanaged. Meanwhile, the use of tactics such as
shelling by security forces means that an unknown number of
civilians continue to die while everyone who is in a
position to flee does so. Many of the uncounted find refuge
with relatives in other parts of the country, while those
at camps such as Jalozai face a future that is uncertain at
best. This cycle of misery needs to be brought to an end.
If a rethink in military strategy is what is needed, then
so be it. The area’s people have been held hostage to
violence for long enough and as in the case of the IDPs of
Swat and Bajaur, they need to return to their homes.
Meanwhile, there is a need for credible data about the
scale of the dislocation seen in the northwest and how that
is affecting the country’s demographics.


02, April, 2012

Behind the bonhomie


MORE than the rhetorical support for Iran on its nuclear
programme, what must have pleased Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s
hosts was his disapproval of military threats. In Tehran on
a two-day visit, the Turkish prime minister told newsmen
that military threats against a country “that seeks to
master peaceful nuclear technology are not acceptable”. Mr
Erdogan’s stance was welcomed by President Mahmoud
Ahmadinejad, and the Iranian side indicated that Istanbul
could be the venue for the talks scheduled to begin with
P+1 on April 13. But behind the cordiality there are issues
on which the two neighbours do not agree. Ankara and Tehran
differ on their positions on the beleaguered Assad regime
in Syria, and Turkey’s decision to allow parts of an anti-
missile shield on its soil has evoked criticism

in Iran. Mr Erdogan was also evasive when asked whether he
had brought a message for the Iranian leadership from
President Barack Obama from Seoul, where the two had met

last week. As a Nato member, and enjoying friendly
relations with Iran, Turkey is in a position to break

the ice on Tehran’s nuclear programme, because the talks
have remained suspended since January 2011.

While Turkey’s European orientation and its keenness to
become a member of the European Union remain unchanged, the
Erdogan regime has of late been playing a more assertive
role in the region and adopting a relatively independent
stance on the Arab-Israeli conflict. Aware also of the
gradual shift in the global economic and political power
from west to east, and situated at the confluence of two
continents, Turkey has been reordering its foreign policy
priorities. How far it goes in this direction would depend
a great deal on the evolving economic and geopolitical
situation in the eurozone and the long-term implications of
the Arab Spring.

03, April, 2012


Increase in oil prices


THE latest increase in domestic petroleum prices announced
on Saturday, to stay abreast of global trends, has pushed
the government into a very tight corner. If it withdraws
the increase, partially or completely, as demanded by all
and sundry, it will have to deal with serious financial
repercussions. The budget deficit is already being
projected to rise to seven per cent of GDP. If it does not,
it will still face grave political consequences at a time
when the next election is just around the corner. People
burdened by years of high inflation and led by the
opposition are already on the streets in many places
protesting growing shortages of electricity and its soaring

The oil price hike has further fuelled public anger against
the government, and not without justification. It had
already increased the people’s cost of living —
transportation and food have become more expensive and the
cost of healthcare, education and housing is set to surge
further. More people will slide below the poverty line as
real incomes stagnate or fall. Others will cut their
expenditure on food, education and healthcare. Businessmen
have threatened to shut down their factories because higher
fuel prices will add to their costs and make their
businesses uncompetitive internationally. It is impossible
for anyone, even the staunchest of government apologists,
to endorse the fuel price rise. But the options of the
government, struggling to survive its last year in power on
borrowed money, are limited by financial troubles.

Global oil prices are shooting up because of the US
blockade of Iran imposed to force it to stop its nuclear
programme. Going forward, international prices are
projected to surge further, possibly above the historic
high of $145 a barrel reached in July 2008. It, therefore,
is not possible for the government to freeze domestic
prices because it will force it to borrow more money from
the banks or print more money to finance its budget. This
will pull down the economy as in 2007-08 when the
government under Gen Musharraf did not pass on the oil
price increase to consumers in view of elections. Still,
global oil prices are not solely responsible for the pain
of the ordinary people. The government must accept its
share of the blame in mismanaging the economy. Its failure
to broaden the tax net and restructure public-sector
enterprises, for example, is largely to blame for the
widening budget deficit. Had it implemented governance and
fiscal reforms it might have been better placed to protect
the people against rising global oil prices today, just as
India has done next door.


03, April, 2012


Ephedrine scam


WHETHER or not Prime Minister Gilani’s son, Ali Musa
Gilani, is involved in the Ephedrine scandal is something
that we may not find out. The report issued by the joint
investigation committee tasked to look into the matter does
not mention his name. What we do know, however, is that
through quota manipulation and out-of-turn release of
stock, international rules appear to have been violated and
it is possible that the component, also known as ‘poor
man’s cocaine’ in the medicine Ephedrine — has ended up on
the market unregulated.

Ephedrine is a controlled chemical and is only allowed to
be used internationally in prescribed quantities. It seems
that the International Narcotics Control Board fixed an
annual quota of 22,000kg for Pakistan for 2010-11, which
was then supposed to give out contracts for its use to
pharmaceutical companies depending on the companies’ record
and the expected demand. However, the devolved ministry of
health far exceeded this quota by allocating nearly
31,000kg of the substance. Two pharmaceuticals were
allocated large quantities of Ephedrine to be exported, but
the products were then allowed to be sold in the local
market in violation of international quotas and “without
any cancellation of order/document from the importing
company”, says the report. The matter demands a thorough
inquiry, for it could be an issue of public health safety.
First, there is the matter of whether elements in official
corridors are supporting unscrupulous practices that favour
one pharmaceutical over another. But more importantly, it
needs looking into whether drug quotas are being used as a
cover to import into Pakistan substances that can be
abused. As it is, the country has met with little success
in clamping down on drug abuse and the availability of
dangerous substances. If official quarters are involved,
the problem could be bigger than imagined so far.


04, April, 2012


Sectarian violence


GILGIT-Baltistan plunged once again into violence on
Tuesday. A number of people were killed and injured when a
grenade was reportedly lobbed at an Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat
(formerly Sipah-i-Sahaba Pakistan) rally in Gilgit.
Supporters of the ‘banned’ party were demanding the release
of a detained leader. Though curfew was imposed rivals
continued to trade fire, while there were reports of the
violence spreading to Chilas. Tension had been simmering in
the region for the past few days, as sectarian clashes had
occurred on Sunday. It seems that Tuesday’s attack was only
a trigger and considering the region’s troubled history the
situation has the potential to deteriorate much further.

The underdeveloped area, otherwise known for its stunning
natural beauty and towering peaks, is rarely discussed on
the national stage. Communal tensions first emerged in
Gilgit-Baltistan during the 1970s, when the princely states
were abolished and amalgamated into the Northern Areas.
This process, along with the opening of the Karakoram
Highway in the mid-1980s, initiated demographic changes as
the inhabitants’ traditional way of life began to disappear
and ‘settlers’ from other parts of Pakistan started
arriving in the area. However, the sectarian conflict in
this Shia- and Ismaili-majority region did not reach its
current, bloody proportions until the late 1980s when —
under Gen Zia’s watch — sectarian and jihadi elements were
introduced into the area. Communal relations have nosedived
since, with periods of uneasy calm sandwiched between
regular cycles of deadly violence similar to what we are
seeing now.

Though the region has enjoyed a degree of autonomy since
2009, the local administration has failed to establish
order, while Islamabad — specifically the security
establishment — has let the lava of communal tension flow
freely. This is a matter of grave concern, especially
considering that Gilgit-Baltistan is located in a
strategically sensitive area. As elsewhere in the country,
the state bears primary responsibility for keeping the
peace and ensuring troublemakers don’t fan the flames of
sectarian hatred, especially after the recent Kohistan bus
attack in which a number of Gilgiti Shias were killed. The
area’s religious leaders must promote tolerance. Yet if the
state does not clamp down on violence, radicals from the
Shia and Sunni communities will be calling the shots,
rendering the clerics irrelevant. That would be a
disturbing development and its fallout could inflame
communal sentiments elsewhere in the country. The state
needs to pay due attention to Gilgit-Baltistan,
specifically its law and order situation, and heal the
region’s wounds, which have been festering for decades.
This is essential for maintaining communal harmony not only
in the area, but throughout Pakistan.


04, April, 2012

India visit


CAN a presidential visit to India really remain private, no
matter how compelling the reason for confining it to
prayers in Ajmer’s holy precincts? The answer is in the
negative, for President Asif Ali Zardari will have a
meeting with Dr Manmohan Singh over lunch in New Delhi on
Sunday before returning home the same day via Ajmer. This
will be Mr Zardari’s first visit to India as president and
the first by a Pakistani head of state since Gen
Musharraf’s ‘cricket visit’ to New Delhi in 2005. Should we
be upbeat about the luncheon meeting only to be
disappointed later? High-level contacts between Pakistani
and Indian leaders over the last couple of years have
remained just that and no more. Yousuf Raza Gilani and the
Indian prime minister met at least four times — at the
World Cup semi-final at Mohali, on the sidelines of the
Saarc summits in Thimphu and the Maldives and at the recent
nuclear safety conference at Seoul. But barring an exchange
of platitudes, nothing came of them, for there was no
progress even on less contentious issues like Sir Creek,
visa liberalisation and cultural exchanges. Thus, to expect
that the luncheon get-together will get the ball rolling
and nudge the two foreign offices into quickening the pace
of the normalisation process is to be naive.

There is, however, one opportunity which Dr Singh can seize
to make the difference: he can undertake the much-delayed
visit to Pakistan. The Indian prime minister is known to be
keen on improving relations with Pakistan, but has to face
stiff opposition from the hawks in his cabinet. More
unfortunately, with the Congress party routed in the UP
election, the hawks and even the rank and file in the
Congress party would not let the Indian prime minister do
anything that can cost them votes. That is where Dr Singh
can rise above the compulsions of domestic politics and
realise the overall benefits accruing to South Asia from an
India-Pakistan rapprochement. If undertaken, a reciprocal
visit by the Indian prime minister could break the ice that
has been there since Mumbai 2008.

04, April, 2012


Down but not out


DR Babar Awan seems to be in a spot of trouble these days.
He has managed to secure a term in the Senate but he isn’t
quite the man who would frequently emerge from the
presidency to accomplish a task with unmatchable aplomb. He
was not exactly a darling of the ‘original’ PPP crowd. Many
saw him as the man who had celebrated the execution of
Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. But all said and done, Dr Awan did
have his admirers who justified his loudness by pointing to
the crudeness of those he had to take on. Then Barrister
Aitzaz Ahsan made his way back to the PPP’s front row.
Tactics changed when Mr Aitzaz, a lawyer with impeccable
credentials, agreed to represent the prime minister in the
Swiss letter case. Dr Awan, who had earlier represented PPP
leaders as a lawyer, was now required to play a lesser role
as witness in the same cases he pleaded. He cited
‘professional’ reasons for not testifying, but the refusal
angered the very power he derived his strength from. A
series of reminders about the dangers unfaithfulness
invites followed, the latest being Dr Awan’s removal as a
PPP nominee to the Parliamentary Committee on National

These Awan ‘humiliations’ should be taken as reminders and
not an outright dismissal due to a couple of strong
reasons. One, President Zardari is not known for hastily
parting with confidants he has gathered around him as PPP
chief. Two, away from the arguments based on personal
histories and the need for less vociferous politics, the
particular style that Dr Awan practises has become a
requirement for all political parties. Perpetual crises are
a part of Pakistani politics and the president’s friends
will have to stand by him. Patience could well see Dr Awan
claw his way back to the top.

05, April, 2012


A worrying move


THE announcement by the US of a $10m bounty on Jamaatud
Dawa leader Hafiz Saeed raises more questions than it
answers. Washington links its decision to the 2008 Mumbai
terror attacks. The post-9/11 world has witnessed many
bizarre events. But such a huge reward for targeting a man
who has never attempted to hide himself and who moves about
freely and addresses large crowds appears absurd. After
9/11, it took a decade for the world’s remaining
superpower, with seemingly unlimited intelligence
capability, to track down Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden.
So, how did Hafiz Saeed, who was not in hiding, get on the

Of the many explanations, the obvious deduction is that
Washington wishes to appease New Delhi and bring more
pressure to bear on Islamabad to make it amenable to its
demands. There is also the view that after the ISI cracked
down on CIA assets here it is now the latter agency’s turn
to turn the screw on its Pakistani counterpart. Dr Ghulam
Nabi Fai’s arrest in the US is also being explained in
these terms, while Hafiz Saeed, too, is widely viewed as an
asset of the security establishment. These arguments may be
plausible, but it is also true that Pakistan has an
appalling record of bringing to justice those wanted for
terrorism here or abroad. The pace of the trial of those
behind the Mumbai carnage is a case in point. It has been
some years since the tragedy took place and Pakistan
arrested some key members of the LeT as alleged
perpetrators. Even though the government claimed to have
sufficient evidence against them, the in-camera trial has
made little progress.

Meanwhile, key figures of the banned Lashkar-e-Taiba (part
of which later morphed into JuD) and armed militants such
as Jaish-i-Mohammad ‘assets’, continue to have complete
freedom of movement across the country. In this context, it
is disturbing that, under the cover of the pro-
establishment Difaa-i-Pakistan Council, Hafiz Saeed is
being wrongly projected as a non-militant religious
scholar, even though it is widely known that the outlawed
LeT was created by him. Even now, most members of the
banned outfit draw inspiration from his jihadi teachings.
The responsibility, then, is Pakistan’s to rein in Hafiz
Saeed, probe allegations of terrorism against him and to
take action if he is found to be involved in cross-border
militancy. For its part, America should realise that by
announcing head money for someone not in hiding it is
setting a dangerous precedent. It would have been wiser to
apply diplomatic pressure on Pakistan to get its message


05, April, 2012


Seeking confrontation


THE 33rd death anniversary of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto was
always going to be a moment in which the PPP leadership
would try and whip up the base against enemies real and
perceived and take a few verbal shots at opponents. So
perhaps it wasn’t a surprise that Bilawal Bhutto, President
Zardari and Senator Aitzaz Ahsan took hard lines on the PPP
leadership’s most recent troubles with the Supreme Court.
But it was certainly disappointing to see the party stoke
the fires of confrontation with bellicose and taunting
remarks. When the contempt case against the prime minister
began, it appeared that it was the court that was in undue
haste to trigger an event that could have uncertain effects
on the democratic dispensation. But as the court once again
appeared to relent and proceeded to delay what at one point
seemed inevitable, it was the government, led by the prime
minister himself, that seemed to be almost challenging the
court to convict the prime minister — a move that the PPP
has gambled could reap political dividends for the party
with the electorate. So, instead of focusing on completing
its term, it is the government that now looks like it would
rather have another political crisis for the country to
deal with. Disappointing is only the least of it.

The ploy of raising the issue of the ‘judicial murder’ of
Mr Bhutto by a long-retired SC just as the present court
appeared to be cornering the government last year was also
a cynical move. Legally speaking, there is not much that
the present court can do to undo the gross injustice of Mr
Bhutto’s conviction while the government always has the
choice of moving parliament to rectify the past somehow.
However, by placing the matter in the judicial arena, the
PPP was clearly playing politics and trying to fight what
it perceived to be as fire with fire. With Senator Babar
Awan leading the government’s legal strategy at the time,
such cynicism was perhaps to be expected. But a year later,
Mr Awan is out and more reasonable heads were supposed to
be managing relations with the court.


05, April, 2012


Electoral rolls’ update


THE federal interior ministry appears to be unhappy with
the Election Commission of Pakistan’s decision to involve a
foreign organisation in the computerisation of electoral
rolls. However, as reported, the ECP has gone ahead with
its cooperation with the International Foundation for
Electoral System despite the objections. USAID, the
American government outfit that oversees foreign aid, is
financially and technically supporting the endeavour.
Apparently, the interior ministry wants Nadra to
computerise the rolls on its own. Yet as mentioned in the
report a local firm was taken on to update the rolls in
2007 but failed to satisfactorily complete the project, as
the rolls it produced were found to be deficient. These are
the same rolls that have been termed ‘contaminated’ by the
Supreme Court. Election Commission officials insist that
the foreign organisation does not have access to the
national database and is only providing technical support.

All departments of the state should together resolve this
issue keeping in mind the fact that error-free rolls are
essential for a credible election. Since a local firm has
been given the chance to update and computerise the rolls
and has failed to perform, there is no harm in consulting
foreign experts to get the job done. The ECP and Nadra
should ensure that information from the national database
is not sold or made accessible to unconcerned quarters. It
should be noted that there is no ‘sensitive’ data contained
within Nadra’s database; it is basic information about
citizens. Still, this information needs to be guarded in
order to protect citizens’ privacy. In this age of
technological advancement that should not prove to be too
difficult. With elections drawing near, all stakeholders
need to focus on the end result of the process: electoral
rolls that are free from anomalies and controversy.


06, April, 2012


Fresh start awaited


THE American and Pakistani states appear to move in
mysterious ways. US Deputy Secretary of State Thomas Nides
came to the capital with a message for Pakistani officials:
the Pakistan-US relationship is vital and it is in both
countries’ interests to reboot it soon. Unfortunately for
Mr Nides, the US has been in the news for all the wrong
reasons in Pakistan this week with the peculiar
announcement of a $10m bounty for Jamaat-ud-Dawa/Lashkar-e-
Taiba leader Hafiz Saeed. A rather blatant pressure tactic,
the American move also has the potential to backfire: the
forces holding up the normalisation of ties with the US now
have yet more ammunition to argue that the US is no friend
of Pakistan and what it really seeks is an alliance with
India to try and squeeze Pakistan. Growing frustration or
someone’s idea of a calculated risk may have been behind
the move against Hafiz Saeed but better sense should have
prevailed. Then again, better sense only rarely seems to
prevail in Pakistan-US relations of late.

On the Pakistani side, the temptation to play to the
galleries and rant about defiance of the US will still be
strong. But it has been, is and will always remain a bad
idea. Pakistani politicians are notorious for saying one
thing behind closed doors and something quite different in
public. Be it fecklessness or an opportunistic streak that
seeks to be on the right side of public opinion whatever
the cost, Pakistani politicians have just not been able to
tell the truth to the people, the ones whose interests they
ostensibly represent. The truth is this: by closing the
supply lines to Afghanistan, in boycotting Bonn and by
succumbing to sundry other emotional responses since last
November, Pakistan has put itself dangerously close to
being definitively regarded as part of the problem in the
‘Af-Pak’ region and not part of the solution.

It’s not just the US that Pakistan has challenged, the
mission in Afghanistan is still an international one and
from NATO countries to other powerful states, all have a
desire to prevent Afghanistan from descending into chaos
and civil war again. Pakistan really cannot afford to be on
the wrong side of that equation.

The problem is, with elections on the horizon and the
right-wing mobilised and baying for blood, mainstream
parties will not want to be seen to take the lead in
restarting relations with the US, a relationship that is
immensely unpopular after the active cultivation of anti-US
sentiment over the years. Perhaps they may want to think
about doing it in the national interest, the real, not
perceived, one.


06, April, 2012


Balochistan: missing parts

ON Tuesday, both the prime minister and the chief justice
spoke on Balochistan. Holding court in the Quetta registry,
Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry expressed his
dissatisfaction over an official ‘sum up’ that was
submitted to him and asked for a more thorough report on
law and order in Balochistan. The chief justice’s strongest
remarks came when he reiterated what everyone has been
saying: the government’s writ does not prevail in the
province. He asked the government’s lawyer tough questions,
and hopefully, some of the missing aspects will be covered
in the hearing of the case. A few things may remain more
unexplained than others though, such as the role that the
intelligence agencies — the MI, IB and ISI — are playing to
restore peace to Balochistan. The government has now been
forced to quickly fill the large empty spaces of the
Balochistan puzzle with facts it could not have seriously
hoped to ‘conceal’ from the Supreme Court. Given that the
summary didn’t even include the hundreds of acknowledged
instances of missing people later found dead, it was as if
the officials had simply forgotten their assignment in the
unfortunate tradition of the powerful as well as the less-
empowered state actors ignoring a province’s demand for

Meanwhile, Mr Gilani’s typical prime ministerial take on
Balochistan on Tuesday reflected the sad fact that the
government is still unable to see reality as it is.
Speaking in Naudero, the prime minister repeated the same
old jargon that only a handful of people wanted
independence for Balochistan. At a distance from a stern
judiciary and a prime minister apparently lacking in
authority it appears that ‘the handful’ are ensuring that
their anger with the government is clear to all. To make
the first attempt towards peace, they have to be fully
understood. They cannot be fully understood unless they are
taken due notice of. They cannot be expected to have high
hopes of justice unless all actors, from the more visible
government to the less-spoken-about but conspicuous
agencies, are held accountable.


07, April, 2012

President’s speech


VISITING Lahore after a while, President Asif Ali Zardari
spoke with much emotion on Thursday.

He was countering the Sharifs, but even before that, he was
countering the Asif Zardari who had spoken with similar
passion at Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s death anniversary in Garhi
Khuda Bux a day earlier. In that speech, the Lahore throne
was castigated as a usurper of rights of other areas in
Punjab, especially the southern parts where the PPP
envisions a new province. This could generate some bad
vibes in the Punjab capital and the adjoining districts
included in the ‘exploiters’ nexus’. The argument says the
more the PPP speaks about the denial of rights in the
southern parts the more ground it could lose in central and
upper Punjab where the PML-N is already very strong. This
is an aspect the PPP, which brands itself as the force that
binds Pakistan together, has been struggling to address.
President Zardari appears to be the PPP’s best bet for
attempting a revival in and around the city the party has
been calling its home ever since its birth here some 45
years ago.

The president’s latest speech in Lahore brought back
memories of an earlier visit here by him. Back then, he had
predicted the impending replacement of Gen Musharraf in the
presidency with a PPP jiyala, a synonym, as it turned out,
he used for himself. That transition completed a long time
ago, perhaps he would want to stick to an idiom and tone
befitting a president — whatever the demands of the
political circumstances. That certainly wasn’t the case
with his address on Thursday.

For argument’s sake, Chief Minster Shahbaz Sharif’s own
tirades against Mr Zardari can be taken as one of the
reasons behind or a justification for the president’s
aggressive attack. But then Mr Sharif should be, and has
been, pulled up for persisting with the kind ferociousness
Pakistani politics can do without. A chief minister vowing
to drag a president through the streets appalls; he does
not inspire. Likewise, it is not worthy of a national
leader of Mr Zardari’s stature to be recalling how many
people had attended which funeral. It is even less worthy
of a president who ends up reposing his faith in the
process of reconciliation started by his leader Benazir
Bhutto. He was calmer on Friday and opted for less
aggressive language to express his thoughts. The message
was the same: the PPP will give the PML-N a tough time in
central Punjab. Proof enough that one does not need to lose
one’s cool to communicate.


07, April, 2012


‘Memogate’ continues


THE ‘memogate’ affair and all it entails has no relevance
whatsoever to the vast majority of Pakistanis. Yet despite
this, investigations into the origin and credibility of the
memo, allegedly sent to now retired US admiral Mike Mullen
by American businessman Mansoor Ijaz on the behest of then
Pakistan ambassador to the US Husain Haqqani, continue. On
Thursday retired ISI chief Shuja Pasha recorded his
testimony before the memo commission in Islamabad. The
former spy chief told the commission that had he continued
the investigation after meeting Mr Ijaz in London last
year, it could have created “more speculations and
controversies”. Strangely, Lt-Gen Pasha had found Mansoor
Ijaz’s claims to be credible enough to warrant a trip to
the UK, yet his testimony indicates that he and his
superiors were less than enthusiastic about further
investigating the claims. The general also said that there
was no threat of a coup, that Mansoor Ijaz claims was being
planned, after the Abbottabad raid and that civil-military
ties were not strained in the aftermath.

What all concerned — especially the members of the memo
commission — need to consider is the credibility of Mansoor
Ijaz, for it was his accusations that have created a
mountain out of a molehill. On multiple occasions Mr Ijaz’s
credibility has come into serious question, and as the memo
controversy drags on it is becoming increasingly clear that
the issue was contrived from the start and did not deserve
so much attention. The burden of proof needed to be much
higher before the state’s machinery was swung into action
to probe the matter. To date, nothing tangible has been
produced before the commission to justify the time, money
and effort that have gone into investigating the affair.
What it has done is to have pit state institutions against
each other and distracted the judges sitting on the
commission from tending to more pressing matters in the
country’s courts. The memo controversy was artificially
manufactured and based on dubious evidence — basically one
man’s accusations. Hence, we feel that the sooner the
commission wraps up the probe the better it would be for
Pakistan and its ‘national interest’.


07, April, 2012


Policemen’s murder


FOR a city that has seen recurring bouts of violence for a
quarter of a century now, the death of three policemen in a
pre-dawn attack on Thursday should come as no surprise. The
policemen, on duty in PIB Colony, were cut down by a hail
of bullets fired by gunmen who had come riding half a dozen
motorcycles and two cars. The same day at Malir Halt, a
senior police officer survived a bid by a suicide bomber to
assassinate him, though four pedestrians were blown up. SP
Anwar Khan himself attributed the blast to the Taliban,
because he had been one of the leading security officials
in the war on militants in Karachi. The mode of killing
carried the militants’ signature. The attack was well-
planned, and the explosive device weighing some four to
five kilos contained over 100 pellets.
Investigators are not sure whether there was a link between
the two attacks that occurred at opposite ends of the city.
The PIB killings too showed meticulous planning and
execution on the part of the perpetrators. Just as the
militants had kept a watch on the SP’s movement, so too the
killers at PIB knew that the policemen were sitting ducks,
for they met with no resistance from the targeted law
enforcers. The two murderous strikes clearly establish the
security agencies’ inability to penetrate the killer
networks that abound in Karachi. In a megalopolis that
harbours well-armed and well-trained mafias of all hues,
on-spot defenders are inherently at a disadvantage against
those who strike with a plan. A basic measure to counter
such attacks is a comprehensive counter-intelligence
strategy that penetrates underground networks by using the
most modern electronic and surveillance tools and
techniques. The question is: do we have one that could
deter such attacks against both policemen and ordinary




          C O L U M N S / A R T I C L E S N E W S


01, April, 2012


The PPP’s urban problem

By Cyril Almeida

ASIF Zardari is one helluva clever politician. Minimally
talented but monstrously successful, he’s carried a ragtag
group to what they believe is the threshold of successive
electoral victories.

The dark arts of Asif Zardari are well known and bear no
repeating. But for all his genius in the ways of power
politics, Zardari suffers from the same myopia that his
father-in-law and wife were afflicted with.

The PPP sees politics as a numbers game: the route to power
is to win the most seats, which means protecting and
focusing on the base, i.e. rural Pakistan.

A fairly plausible approach in theory, in practice there’s
an important corollary: don’t make enemies of the folks who
don’t vote for you.

Since 2008, the PPP has done what it’s done best for
decades: focus relentlessly on interior Sindh and southern
Punjab. The policies — boosting agricultural support prices
and input subsidies; income support programmes; building
roads and bridges, schools and health facilities — and the
messaging — Sindhi nationalism and Seraiki autonomy — have
been distinctly rural in flavour.

Urban Pakistan has got nothing. No jobs, no growth, no
focus on the stuff that animates urban electorates —
corruption, governance, national pride and honour — and no

It’s a fairly well-established circle: the PPP looks at
urban Pakistan and decides it doesn’t stand much of a
chance there so doesn’t waste resources wooing urbanites;
ignored and sidelined, urban Pakistan drifts even further
away from the PPP.

Working the levers of rural power politics and patronage,
the PPP believes it can win enough seats to overcome the
party’s massive urban deficit and ride to national power.

But politics in Pakistan isn’t just electoral.

Urban Pakistan has ways of influencing the direction of
politics here that goes far beyond the ballot box. Moneyed,
educated, connected, driven and ideological, urban Pakistan
can project strength beyond the one-man-one-vote numbers

When rural Pakistan suffers 20-hour power cuts, you never
hear about it. When urban Pakistan suffers eight or 12
hours a day, riots break out and the system is forced to
crank out more electricity.

When the tribal areas are racked by violence and
insurgency, it takes months or years for the state to swing
into action. When Peshawar or, even more potently, Lahore
is attacked, the state machinery is forced into responding

It helps that the media is drawn overwhelmingly from a
middle-class urban cohort and that proprietors are all
city-based. Reflecting the values and priorities of urban
Pakistan, the media focuses relentlessly on corruption and
governance and ignores political legitimacy because it
views the electoral system as corrupt and beholden to
feudal and dynastic politics.

Because it doesn’t know how to court urban Pakistan anymore
or because it reads politics in electoral terms, the PPP
has flirted dangerously with ignoring urban Pakistan. And
it has cost the PPP.

ZAB was the first to make the mistake of ignoring urban
Pakistan. The policy of nationalisation and the politics of
the left alienated prosperous and conservative urban
Punjab, from where rose the opposition that set the stage
for the Zia takeover.

BB understood the symbolism so she picked Lahore as her
destination on her return from exile in 1986. But she
didn’t know how to hang on to Lahore in the face of a
determined establishment. Having a shambolic party
leadership in the province didn’t help matters either.

The result: Sharif rose to national prominence and the PML-
N became the only serious rival to the PPP for power in
Islamabad. Instead of fighting back, BB decided to double
down on rural Pakistan. Since 1993, urban Pakistan didn’t
really figure in her political calculations.
Now, Zardari is repeating the mistake of ignoring urban

The power crisis has urban Pakistan seething. Inflation and
disappearing jobs have deepened the gloom. Tales of
corruption, incompetence and arrogance have intensified a
pre-existing dislike for Zardari.

The breakdown in law and order and rise in crime have
angered urban denizens. The PPP’s disputes with the Supreme
Court and perceived closeness to the US have rubbed
sections of urbanites the wrong way.

None of it bothers Zardari much. As far as the PPP brain
trust is concerned, even if mineral water flowed from every
tap in urban Pakistan, homes were stocked with Belgian
chocolate and driveways filled with new cars, the PPP would
probably still not win from urban Pakistan. So why waste
resources on urban Pakistan when rural Pakistan remains far
more amenable to the advances of the PPP?

But in understanding that the PPP and urban Pakistan can’t
be BFFs, the PPP has gone to the opposite extreme: it has
virtually cultivated urban Pakistan as a sworn enemy.

The anger, sometimes all-out hatred, felt towards the PPP
in much of urban Pakistan is an unnecessary and dangerous
variable that the PPP has created for itself.

If Zardari games the system and uses money and coercion to
steal the next election, a repeat of 1977 may be on the
cards: horrified at the prospect of another five years of
Zardari’s PPP in power, urban Pakistan could revolt.

Even if urban Pakistan doesn’t revolt, it will continue to
inject into politics here a dangerous instability that
could cause the democratic project to unravel once again.
Supreme Court intervention, military intervention — the
extra-constitutional forces in the country would find a
powerful and vocal ally in urban Pakistan if they decide to
take on the PPP.

Zardari’s genius is in working a room full of politicians
and knowing how to get 51 per cent on his side always.
But 55 per cent of the electorate doesn’t vote. And among
those who do vote in urban Pakistan, the overwhelming
majority pick options other than the PPP.

That old adage of holding your friends close and enemies
closer could have served the PPP well. But a scorned urban
Pakistan has seen the PPP turn its back on it.

Plunging a knife in the PPP would be the sweetest revenge
for urban Pakistan. And the PPP wouldn’t even see it

The writer is a member of staff.



02, April, 2012


A world without paper


By Hajrah Mumtaz

MY great-grandmother was born into a world where the only
method of transport was animal-powered.

She was a teenager when she saw her first train in India,
which she described as a “miracle”, and she lived to fly
around the world. She died at the cusp of the Internet age,
and I often wonder what she would have made of it.

It is in the nature of things that during every period of
human history, there are inventions and developments that
people think are truly epoch-changing. But it is also
possible to identify certain inventions and technologies
that can truly be said to have changed the way the world
worked, never to go back.
The internal combustion engine was one of them, electricity
and telephony were of similar significance, as was the
invention of the moveable metal type printing press.

The last was ‘invented’ by goldsmith Johann Gutenburg in
1440. (The method of moveable type printing was originally
invented in China earlier in 1041AD, using clay type. It
did not replace the then traditional method of printing
from individually carved wooden blocks because of, it is
conjectured, the numerous thousands of characters in the
Chinese language.)

But in 1440, Gutenburg’s work changed the world. Before
that, there was no method of mass producing the written
word and the world of ideas was almost exclusively the
preserve of the priestly and other elites. By the end of
the century after the printing press was invented, though,
books were being mass produced in over 2,500 European

And now, we are living in an era where something we have
lived with and the presence of which we have taken for
granted for nearly six centuries seems to be on the cusp of
being replaced by newer technology.

The development of the Internet by American computer
scientist Vinton Cerf in 1973, and the worldwide web in
1989 by British computer scientist Timothy Berners-Lee is
giving the printing press a run for its money, and then

I may be overstating matters in saying that the word,
physically printed on paper, may be going out of
commission. But it is certainly undeniable that the online
method of distribution is gaining more and more currency
(and saving more and more trees). And one of the victims —
beneficiaries? — is an institution much more venerable and
at least as influential as Kodak, which filed for
bankruptcy earlier this year.

After 244 years, the Encyclopaedia Britannica announced
last month that it had decided to cease the publication of
its famous line of reference books — once an essential that
graced the bookshelves of the well-to-do and erudite. It
will, instead, concentrate on its digital offerings.
“We’d like to think our tradition is not to print,” said
company president Jorge Cauz, “but to bring scholarly
knowledge to people.” And why not, for which parent — no
matter how smitten with the idea of a college-educated
child — would spend upwards of $1,000 on a print edition,
which last ran to 32 volumes, when a basic online
subscription costs a mere $1.99 a month?

Resultantly, the 2010 edition of the Britannica is the last
that we will be able to leaf through in the traditional
fashion. Apparently, some 4,000 sets of that edition remain
in the market for sale. Cauz said that over the past few
years, the print edition accounted for less than one per
cent of the company’s revenue: “The market is not there”,
he pointed out. Meanwhile, the online edition of the
encyclopaedia has been available for 20 years, and is
updated virtually constantly.

Meanwhile, the newspaper industry also initially took a
hit, both through readers switching to online sources of
news and the global economic downturn which caused a
general tightening of the belt, particularly in the US.
Many of the major newspapers have adapted revenue-
generating models to suit the Internet, and most offer
continually updated online versions.

While observers say that it no longer seems as likely as it
did three years ago that the newspaper will disappear,
certainly new business models have to be (and are in many
instances in the process of being) created.

And there are a few instances where prominent newspapers
have had to favour online presence, such as the Christian
Science Monitor which in 2008 ceased its daily print
edition in favour of a daily online and weekly print

A printed product that you can physically leaf through is
beginning to look less like the smart option. This is not
just because of the number of trees that are pulped every
year to make paper — and this is an entirely valid concern
in an increasingly resource-scarce world — but because a
reduction in printing costs means that the product can be
sold for less too.

E-books and newspaper, magazine and encyclopaedia
subscriptions generally cost less than the paper version.
And then, there is the fact that online records can be
breathtaking in the size of their scope and accessibility.
Finding a New York Times edition from 50 years ago in paper
is a bit of a challenge, but online it is a mere click

Yet when I was given a Kindle, I had strong reservations. I
like my books to, well, be books: I appreciate the texture
of the page, the note written in the margin by some other
reader, even the ink stain left when the material made
someone start in surprise. Also, I like collecting books
and derive pleasure from having them neatly lined, ready to
provide information or entertainment as the case may be.

And yet, I now see the point of the ability to carry around
with you, in one small paperback sized device, a library of
hundreds of books and a capacity so large as to be

The march of time produces unexpected results, but the road
is always interesting. The work of Cerf asnd Berners-Lee
may in time prove of even more significance that
Gutenburg’s, though he was the one who paved the way.

The writer is a member of staff.



04, April, 2012


A case for bipartisanship


By I.A. Rehman

THE parliamentary debate on national security and the terms
of engagement with the US has revealed both the highs and
lows of Pakistan’s political culture.
The high point is of course the fact that parliament’s
right to discuss national security and matters related to
it, and to lay down the policy framework, has been
established. The country’s foreign policy, or whatever goes
under that label, has often been discussed in the
legislature, but the circumstances and the hard choices
Pakistan faces give the present exercise extraordinary

Besides, the people’s right to know what is done supposedly
in their interest also has been recognised to a greater
extent than before. This development, if allowed to run its
due course, will brighten the prospects for a transition to
a genuinely democratic dispensation.

The low point is that the significance of the development
is not fully realised by the various parliamentary groups
and quite a few powerful lobbies have their eyes on the
elections instead of their duty to strengthen democratic

The issues under debate are related to national security,
the strategic understanding with the US and the war against
terrorism. These matters have been considered the exclusive
domain of the military establishment since 1979, if not
earlier. Even when Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif were
allowed to preside over the democratic façade, they had
little authority or possibility of putting in a word with
the decision-makers in command.

We also know that Pakistan’s honour was not compromised by
receiving maintenance under the Kerry-Lugar Bill; it was
compromised only by providing for civilian oversight of
military spending. Thus, one might have expected some
reservations on parliament’s assumption of the lead role
from the military establishment but it has chosen to let
the parliamentarians decide. Even if it is inspired by a
desire to avoid responsibility for unpopular decisions, the
shift deserves to be welcomed. One should like to hope that
this decision will become a weighty precedent and nobody in
the future will be allowed to deviate from it.

Surprisingly, parliament’s right to discuss foreign policy
has been challenged by the defenders of the role of the
Foreign Office. Their right to join the debate cannot be
disputed. It is good that under the present government,
which every bureaucrat finds weak, incompetent and corrupt,
they can have their say, something that they could not do
under the holy, efficient and incorruptible regimes of
Ziaul Haq and Pervez Musharraf. Their experience commands
respect and so does their opinion. Yet it is not impossible
to defend the institution of parliament against their

The foreign office everywhere has two main functions.
First, it serves as the government’s archives and reference
department. It helps the government with background
material on any foreign policy issue and lists the options
before it, including an argument in favour of a particular

Second, the foreign office carries out the decisions of the
government and keeps track of the country’s compliance with
bilateral, regional and international treaties and
compacts. The network of envoys a foreign office controls
has duties in both areas. Nowhere in the world can a
foreign office claim exclusive and unfettered right to
frame the country’s foreign policy and any attempt on its
part to deny parliamentary oversight is unthinkable. The US
State Department may every now and then try to bypass,
circumvent or obstruct the foreign policy decisions taken
by the president and Congress but it will not challenge the
latter’s prerogative. What are parliamentary debates on
foreign policy meant for if parliaments do not have
oversight rights?

Unfortunately, in Pakistan the Foreign Office has often
been denied its due. It is said that strong political
leaders generally followed their own counsel, and did not
pay sufficient heed to the Foreign Office’s advice.
Politicians did not enjoy much respect at the Foreign
Office because they were considered inferior in terms of
education and social status to the Foreign Service cadre.

Dictators Ayub, Zia and Musharraf apparently had better
relations with the Foreign Office for, while they decided
matters on their own, they made a great show of listening
to the Foreign Service experts. Gen Zia in particular made
them happy by sitting through long briefing sessions and
taking copious notes that he rarely read again. Thus, there
is need not only to increase the capacity of the Foreign
Office in regard to both its functions but also to enable
those working for it to think independently on foreign
policy issues.
Within parliament, the role of anti-democratic factions,
especially those who exploit religion for narrow
personal/factional ends, offers little surprise. They are
the permanent denigrators of any idea of parliamentary
supremacy. They and their cohorts in the militant groups
outside the legislature get emboldened when parties
swearing by democracy fail to see the urgency of a rational
consensus on the issues of security.

The opposition has every right to criticise the report
prepared by the parliamentary committee and to suggest
improvements but its insistence on receiving assurance of
implementation from extra-democratic sources is difficult
to condone. It is all right to ask for the establishment of
democratic mechanisms to implement parliament’s
decisions/resolutions but when it is said that only a
guarantee by the military top brass will be acceptable,
this amounts to a farewell to democratic principles.

The state of Pakistan has repeatedly suffered grievous harm
by the tendency among political parties to summon extra-
democratic actors to help them vanquish their opponents. It
was a clear rejection of this path and a pledge by the
leaders of the PPP and PML-N that they would never seek the
military’s aid in dislodging each other’s regimes that made
the Charter of Democracy of 2006 a document of historic
importance. It seems Pakistan’s major political parties
find it hard to liberate themselves from their past.

The future of the democratic experiment depends on
establishing conventions about the limits to the ruling
parties’ authority and to the opposition parties’
privileges. We do not have such conventions because the
democratic interludes between authoritarian regimes were
too brief to allow the development of codes of democratic
behaviour. All models of good governance require a national
accord on the fundamentals of the polity which no side is
expected to breach. In the main this requires a degree of
understanding between the ruling party and the main
opposition, or bipartisanship in short.

In Pakistan’s case, bipartisanship is the only key to
establish the post-18th Amendment democratic federation.
Some of the most important constitutional offices can only
be filled through bipartisan accord. The responsibility for
working this system falls on both the ruling coalition and
the main opposition party. If the government delays
consultation with the opposition the latter may take the
initiative instead of allowing matters to be delayed and
then pouncing upon the government for not doing its job.
And if a bipartisan approach to national security is not
possible then neither any other democratic consensus nor
consolidation of democracy should be expected.


04, April, 2012


On a wing and a prayer


By Jawed Naqvi

PRESIDENT Zardari has been to Ajmer before. In 2005, he
prayed there with his wife. In 2003, Benazir Bhutto prayed
there alone for his release from prison.

But does it really matter? It is a bit of a lottery, isn’t
it, these visits to holy shrines.

Ask Dr Khaleel Chishty from Pakistan whose Indian family is
involved in the management of the shrine in Ajmer. Now in
his 80s he is a serving a prison term that nobody even in
India feels good about.

The Indian government has celebrated the release of its
citizens from difficult places such as the death row in
Pakistan but has expressed helplessness in freeing the
ageing and ailing Dr Chishty.

Many Pakistanis come to India to visit Ajmer and other
shrines. Many Indians go to Katasraj, an ancient Hindu
temple that was recently refurbished in the Salt Range that
hugs the Lahore-Islamabad highway; Sikhs travel to Nankana

Then there is the tribe of the so-called civil society.
I’ve hardly met anyone among these more regular and
therefore privileged visitors to India who would take time
out to engage with the India that doesn’t come to
conference halls or shops in Khan Market or buys antique
goods around the Jama Masjid in Old Delhi.

The same is more or less true of Indians who travel across
the border on their overrated cultural missions. Self-
styled hawks and doves seem to have joined hands on one
common cause — to elbow out the cynical owl or the
indifferent crow or the fast-waning tribe of sparrows with
their hand-to-mouth existence.

I was reading a newspaper in Lucknow when I learnt that the
Pakistan president would use his private visit to the
shrine of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishty to nudge the bilateral
visa regime. Benazir had prayed there for the visa regime
to become more liberal between India and Pakistan.

The message is implicit but not difficult to divine. This
has been attempted before. The Indian-Pakistan peace trail
is littered with broken promises and shattered hopes.

When all remedies fail, people turn to prayers. The popular
lines are a staple of Indian cinema — ‘Inhe dawa ki nahi,
dua ki zaroorat hai’. (This person needs prayers not

Desperate men and women afflicted with seemingly incurable
problems — physical pain and mental agony — end up at the
doors of seers or fakirs with magical prowess to heal. I
recently read Imran Khan’s autobiography, which is replete
with stories of his belief in spiritually gifted men who
shaped his life.

(Imran may not have heard of what former Indian minister
Mani Shankar Aiyar advised his fellow former minister
Natwar Singh when the latter scribbled in the St Stephens
College visitors book, where they had both studied, words
to the effect that he was what he was because of the
college. “Why blame the college?” Mani reportedly exclaimed
right below Natwar’s comment.)

If we look at the entire South Asian spectrum of faiths and
religions, there is no dearth of potent seers and holy men.
Just look up the who’s who in the visitors’ diary of any
popular spiritual guide in India. Insecure ministers, prime
ministers, presidents, powerful business tycoons, cricket
stars, miserable housewives, childless couples — all throng
to this or that abode of the spiritual guru.

President Zardari’s visit to the Ajmer shrine of Moinuddin
Chishti will have many purposes. It could be about thanking
the benign spirit for transforming his life from a prison
inmate to becoming the seemingly invincible civilian head
of state in a country where the military usually holds the

In a way the Zardari visit offers great symbolism for
believers in the powers of Sufi fakirs. Just compare his
proposed journey to Gen Musharraf’s failed trip to India in

The Indian foreign minister at the time Jaswant Singh was
very keen not to send back Musharraf empty-handed from
Agra. But he was also clear that the Khwaja of Ajmer had
not sent for the Pakistani visitor (‘hukum nahi aya tha’).
And so the powerful general had to fly home to Islamabad
without the promised spiritual rendezvous.

When it eventually did happen, he was out of power. A more
rational view of the same event was that Musharraf was
badly tripped by a right-wing Hindu hawk in the Indian
prime minister’s cabinet — the home minister.

We don’t know who pays or should be paying for these
private trips by powerful heads of states to shrines,
journeys that have little or no constitutional cover. The
sight of Indian president Shankar Dayal Sharma in his
loincloth lying prostate at a popular temple in southern
India or prime minister Narasimha Rao given a humble chair
next to the saffron-clad spiritual guru, the late Sai Baba,
himself ensconced on a huge bedecked throne comes to mind.

These may not be the most reassuring picture given the
context of India’s secular and rational constitution. From
whatever little that I have read of Mohammad Ali Jinnah’s
personal beliefs and spiritual perspectives, I doubt if a
visit to a shrine would be the preferred route the founder
of Pakistan would take to resolve personal or political

In any case, regardless of the means used — spiritual or
rational — much of the India-Pakistan peace narrative
resembles an incorrigible glutton who fools himself by
visiting the gym regularly.

We will pray for peace but do nothing to dismantle our
hair-trigger-ready nuclear missiles. Remember that no one
in the United States or the Soviet Union rushed off to the
church or the synagogue to defuse the 1962 Cuban missile
crisis that nearly destroyed all forms of life on earth. If
the showdown fizzled out it was because certain diplomatic
and technological mechanisms were put into motion to help
the two countries back off from the brink.

Unfortunately, there is scant awareness of the risks among
the people of India and Pakistan about the dangers
unleashed on them by the states and their misnamed defence
policies. Acute fatalism, which characterises vast swathes
of ordinary people in the subcontinent, poses a hindrance
to a secure and peaceful world. We cannot forever go on
living on a wing and a prayer.

The writer is Dawn’s correspondent in Delhi.



07, April, 2012


Demography as destiny


By Irfan Husain

ABOUT 100 yards from our old family home in Karachi, 20 or
30 workers can be seen sitting in a line every morning.
They include carpenters, plumbers and labourers, waiting
for somebody to hire them for odd building jobs.

Not far away from them are food vendors next to Tariq Road,
selling snacks consisting of chaat, dahi baray and chohlay.
What these two groups of men have in common is their
Pakhtun origins.

These are the people hardest hit whenever Karachi is shut
down by one of its unending strikes or ‘days of mourning’.
While they have nothing to do with the city’s vicious
ethnic wars, they are the ones to suffer yet another day of
income lost. While industrialists estimate total losses of
these lockdowns at Rs4bn a day, labourers and small vendors
count their losses in their inability to feed their

Last week was a prime example of just how dysfunctional
Karachi has become. In tit-for-tat killings and ‘days of
mourning’, the MQM and the ANP between them shut down the
city for three days. Many people were killed, dozens of
cars, rickshaws and buses were burnt. Children couldn’t go
to school, workers failed to turn up to work, and life
across the city was at a standstill.

While both parties were seeking to demonstrate their power,
ordinary people from the communities they claim to
represent were the hardest hit. Ironically, both parties
are members of the ruling coalition in Islamabad, and the
MQM is a partner in the provincial government in Sindh. One
would have thought their role in the administration would
have injected a sense of responsibility into their
politics. One would have thought wrong.

The MQM was formed as an ethnic party in 1984, and was
publicly launched by Altaf Hussain in Nishtar Park in 1986.
The first wave of violence between the Pakhtun and Mohajir
communities was witnessed in 1985. While the MQM had no
public role in those riots, since then the city has been
subjected to repeated bouts of urban warfare.

Back then, the major Mohajir-Pakhtun clashes in various
localities involved the Irfanullah Marwat-led Punjabi-
Pakhtun Ittehad. The MQM has maintained that in those days
it started encouraging its supporters to take up arms to
defend themselves from other heavily armed groups that
included Pakhtuns, elements of the PPP and later, the
Pakhtun-led ANP. The latter then acquired additional
weapons to counter the MQM threat.

Today, the ANP’s Karachi chapter is a force of such
strength that areas under its control are no-go areas for
‘outsiders’. Meanwhile, according to the WikiLeaks papers
released through this newspaper, the US consulate in
Karachi estimates that out of all the armed groups in the
city, the MQM has the largest group of around 10,000, with
another 25,000 in reserve. If true, this makes it amongst
the most potent forces in Karachi.

But despite its electoral clout and armed might, the MQM
remains an insecure party. The reason for this lies
partially in demographics: while the number of Mohajirs who
support it is subject to natural increase, other
communities in Karachi such as the Sindhis, Baloch,
Pakhtuns and Punjabis are being reinforced by migrants, and
in recent times displaced people from the northwest tribal
belt, from other parts of the country.

The MQM tried to expand its area of influence and politics
beyond ethnic margins, but the integration process has not
really gone forward — hampered in part by groups such as
the Sindhi nationalists.

Yet as the numbers of non-Mohajirs increase, they want more
land, opportunities and, above all, greater political
representation. To finance their operations, these various
political parties and their armed gangs engage in land
grabs and extortion on an expanding scale. Many of the
battles being fought on Karachi’s streets today are turf
wars over the city’s resources.

One of the main complaints the MQM has voiced over the
years has been about the lack of jobs for urban youth. But
ever since its rise as the city’s biggest political party,
it has contributed to acts that have only added to
investors’ insecurity.

Logically, one would have thought that as the MQM, the ANP
and the PPP were coalition partners in the federal
government, they would have been able to hammer out a
formula which would allow Mohajirs, Pakhtuns and Sindhis to
coexist peacefully. But sadly, logic is trumped by local
ambitions and greed. Whatever the verbose interior minister
might say, a single incident can spark off days of

And since these parties are in government, the Karachi
police are helpless in cracking down on the criminals who
operate with immunity under their flags. As soon as they
are arrested, they are released by orders from above.
Meanwhile, the death toll keeps mounting: according to the
Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, over 1,100 people were
gunned down in Karachi in 2011. The way things are going,
this number may well be exceeded by this year’s death toll.

Another problem the MQM faces is that it is doomed to be a
junior partner in any political arrangement at the federal
and provincial levels. Despite its many attempts, it has
little support outside urban Sindh where the vast majority
of Mohajirs live. Like any ethnic or sect-based party, it
is forced to keep a firm grip over its vote bank; hence the
many allegations of the MQM’s strong-arm methods in
virtually every election it has contested.

Both the major mainstream parties mistrust the MQM, but
must cut deals with it to keep a semblance of peace in
Karachi. Even Imran Khan has been forced to accept this
harsh political reality. But the MQM’s edifice is
precariously balanced.

Ultimately, the MQM’s destiny lies in demography: according
to previous census data, the percentage of Mohajirs in
Sindh is declining, and is expected to fall below 20 per
cent in the next census report. Meanwhile, the ranks of
other communities are swelling; in terms of Pakhtuns alone,
an estimated one million people have so far relocated to
Karachi following the start of the conflict in the north-
western parts of the country.

To remain relevant, the MQM must break out of its self-
imposed brand of ethnic politics. Above all, it needs to
free itself from its image of a violent, out-of-control
party seeking narrow political advantage through political

And just for the record, I am a Mohajir myself, even though
I cringe at having the label applied to me. n

The writer is the author of Fatal Faultlines: Pakistan,
Islam and the West.



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