DWS Sunday 15 April to Saturday 21 April - JonZu News by wuyunyi


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

            Sunday 15 April to Saturday 21 April


The DAWN Wire Service (DWS) is a free weekly news-service
from Pakistan's largest English language newspaper, the
daily DAWN. DWS offers news, analysis and features of
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                         C O N T E N T S


+ 15-day toll rises to 26; strike call for today: Eight
Hazaras shot dead in Quetta
+ Seraiki province promised before polls: PM’s son framed
in drug case: Zardari
+ India asked to honour 1989 accord on Siachen
+ Bashir new high commissioner to India
+ US unlikely to meet every demand
+ Man behind Gilgit blast traced, claim police
+ Drone strikes may come up in talks with Pakistan: US
+ Ship that ran aground rescued
+ Tehrik-i-Insaf likely to suffer as PML-N opens its doors
to all
+ Dangerous militants among 384 escape after Bannu jail
+ Portfolio allocation causing fissures in PPP
+ Most targets remain unmet: Rs3.3tr spent by govt in pro-
poor sectors in 3 years
+ Zardari advises govt to set up Seraiki bank
+ ‘PM’s son returning to attend SC hearing’
+ US hopes routes will reopen before Zardari’s May 20 trip
+ Job creation, power generation a budget priority: PM
+ NRO case postponed till May 3
+ Inquiry into jail attack ordered: Four senior officials
+ US appears firm on repairing ties with Pakistan
+ Four new ministers of state sworn in
+ ANF takes ephedrine scam probe to PM’s House
+ Benazir case: PPP’s stance questioned
+ US says evidence collected so far doesn’t lead
investigators to Pakistan
+ Labour Party suspends Lord Nazir
+ Parliament’s guidelines discussed: DCC go-ahead for
resetting Pak-US ties
+ Government urged to take initiative: Nawaz wants Siachen
+ Power tariff hike cut to Rs1.67 per unit
+ Another three missing persons produced before SC
+ US will continue to seek action against Haqqanis
+ Haqqani-Ijaz message record not available: RIM
+ ANF official can’t summon record of PM’s House: Gilani
+ India, Afghanistan fail to agree on gas transit fee
+ Officials to visit Washington for trade, investment talks
+ Zardari visits avalanche-hit site: Kayani urges talks to
settle Siachen issue
+ SC showers praise on Dr Adeeb Rizvi
+ 10 killed in Karachi
+ Kaira returns to his favourite ministry: Strange
portfolios allotted to some ministers
+ Draft budget lacks welfare plans, PM tells economic
+ Pakistan trying to make US ties more transparent: Sherry
+ Lower temperatures in north fuelling water shortage
+ CJ, Sharmeen on Time list of influential people
+ SC seeks NAB report in rental power case
+ After SC judgment, converted women say they want to live
with husbands
+ ‘Blue books’ missing from ministry
+ Terror mastermind says he got bomb training in Waziristan
+ Dawn’s senior assistant editor Razvi murdered
+ ANF names Musa Gilani as accused in ephedrine case: SC
hearing today
+ Issue should be settled under Simla accord: FO: Pakistan
position on Siachen unchanged
+ India welcomes Kayani’s remarks
+ Pakistan, US exploring joint ownership of drone attacks
+ Extra limbs of newborn removed
+ Ephedrine scam hits production of life-saving drugs
+ Nine die in clashes, shelling: N. Waziristan tribe takes
on militants
+ NAB records statement of Raja Pervaiz in rental power
+ Pakistan needs to act against Haqqani network: US
+ All 127 on board Islamabad-bound plane perish: •Fire at
crash site •Black box found
+ Wind shear may have caused the tragedy
+ Ephedrine case: ANF told not to malign anyone
+ Siachen to be demilitarised only if India does the same:
+ Nawaz denies calling for unilateral Siachen pullout
+ West’s Afghan withdrawal worries Commander
+ Pakistan, India and Afghanistan sign TAPI fee deal


+ Positive steps
+ Unwarranted expansion
+   Theft by PIA crew
+   Hazara killings
+   Repatriation of prisoners
+   Intelligence debacle
+   Siachen reminder
+   Seraiki province
+   Need for impartiality
+   KCR ‘revival’
+   Pak-US negotiations
+   Truly a pipe dream
+   Callous protest
+   Solution to Siachen
+   After the operations
+   Merry ministers
+   Drone programme
+   Power protests
+   Cricket fiasco


+   The US is the new India
+   Yours, sir, is a LAFA
+   The respectful raid
+   Blood on the tracks of history
+   The enemy within
+   Peace on sale
+   Minority report

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


15, April, 2012


15-day toll rises to 26; strike call for today: Eight
Hazaras shot dead in Quetta

By Saleem Shahid

QUETTA, April 14: At least eight members of the Shia Hazara
community and a policeman were killed in three attacks here
on Saturday.

After the attacks and subsequent violence, the
administration called out Frontier Corps in the city. The
paramilitaries started taking up positions at important
places in the evening.

“Seven people were killed in firing on two vehicles on
Brewery Road and Subzal Road,” DIG (Operation) Qazi Wahid
told Dawn.

Saturday’s killings took the number of Hazara Shias killed
in Quetta and its vicinity during the past fortnight to 26.

The Hazara Democratic Party has called upon the community
to observe a strike on Sunday to “register outrage over the
unabated killings”.

Chief Minister Nawab Aslam Raisani, who was in Islamabad,
expressed sorrow over the deaths and ordered officials
concerned to “take all possible steps for arresting the

The Balochistan governor had earlier this week criticised
the provincial government, warning that the army could be
called out if the administration failed to protect life and

Soon after Saturday’s attacks, angry protesters blocked the
road that leads from Quetta to Hazara town.

They torched a private van and a motorcycle in Bolan
Medical College Hospital.

A student was injured when unknown people fired in the air.
Shots were fired at police, too.

The protesters also burnt tyres at different points in
Quetta and some men riding motorcycles fired blank shots,
triggering panic.
Shops and business centres were closed and people started
rushing home as fear overtook the city after masked men
riding motorcycles fired indiscriminately in shopping

The terrorists first struck at Killi Ibrahimzai, where four
motorcyclists fired at a yellow cab that was taking six
people to Quetta from Hazara town.

“They opened fire on the car from two directions, killing
all the six passengers. They suffered bullet wounds to
their heads,” police said.

In the other shooting, two men riding a motorcycle attacked
another vehicle on Subzal Road.

One man was killed on the spot and another was critically
injured. He died in the Combined Military Hospital.

A policeman, Mohammad Panha, was shot dead in Shalkot, near
Quetta, when he was going to his place of duty.

According to some TV reports, some suspects were taken into

OUTRAGE: Members of the Hazara community converged on
Brewery Road in their hundreds and at the Bolan Medical
College Hospital, where bodies were placed for
identification. The enraged crowd pelted vehicles with
stones and blocked roads.

The demonstrators set on fire a van and a motorcycle parked
in the hospital and also attacked some shops.

Groups of protesters burnt tyres at Meezan Chowk and in
some other places across the Balochistan capital.

However, security personnel dispersed them after firing
shots in the air.

Home Secretary Naseebullah Bazai immediately called out the
Frontier Corps to control the situation.

“Ten FC battalions have been deployed in and around Quetta
to restore peace and order,” official sources said.
Heavy contingents of FC, police and Balochistan
Constabulary patrolled the road and streets of the
provincial capital.


15, April, 2012


Seraiki province promised before polls: PM’s son framed in
drug case: Zardari


By Our Staff Correspondent

MULTAN, April 14: President Asif Ali Zardari made a
spirited defence of Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on
Saturday, putting down a “barrage of false allegations”
against him to his commitment to creation of a Seraiki

During a meeting with parliamentarians and delegations of
People’s Party from Multan division, Mr Zardari cited the
“fabrication” of a case against Ali Musa Gilani, the prime
minister’s son, in the ephedrine import scam to buttress
his assertions about a “witch-hunt against” Mr Gilani.

The President also made a significant statement on the
province issue, saying that he had authorised Mr Gilani to
begin efforts for “consensus-building” by reaching out to
major political players.

“Seraiki province will be created by the present government
before the general election and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza
Gilani himself will make the announcement,” he said.

The creation of Seraiki province would be a great setback
for the PML-N, Mr Zardari observed.

He said since the creation of Pakistan, the Seraiki region
had been deprived of its rights and wondered that “if we do
not give rights to the people of this area, who will do

“People could join terrorist groups or small political
parties by isolating themselves if they are denied their
rights. This will weaken the country,” the President
remarked. “Creation of a Seraiki province is not a
political issue but a matter of safeguarding integrity of
the country.” He said that to make the Seraiki province
viable there was a need to include some non-Seraiki
districts, too.

He said although he had ceded presidential powers
voluntarily, the chief minister of Punjab was clinging to
many ministries.

In reply to a question about loadshedding, he said “we will
not go into election until we ensure availability of
electricity for 24 hours”.

Asif Zardari said the tribal area of southern Punjab
(Rajanpur and Dera Ghazi Khan) would be given the status of
“A” area and he had directed the interior ministry to
submit a report to him in this regard.


15, April, 2012


India asked to honour 1989 accord on Siachen


By Baqir Sajjad Syed

ISLAMABAD, April 14: Pakistan reminded India on Saturday of
a 1989 agreement for resolving the Siachen dispute and
asked New Delhi to honour it.

“A 1989 agreement exists, which settled the principles for
the resolution of Siachen conflict,” Zehra Akbari, Director
General (South Asia) at the Foreign Office, said at a media
briefing on rescue operations in avalanche-hit Gayari.

“Time has come for the implementation of that agreement. It
has to be resolved to prevent such mishaps from happening
again,” she said.

Last weekend’s massive avalanche in Gayari, which buried
the army’s battalion headquarters in the region trapping
135 troops and civilians inside it, brought the conflict
over Siachen into focus, with people on both sides of the
border questioning the strategic value of the territory and
calling for withdrawal of troops from the world’s highest
battlefield where relentless sub-zero conditions have
killed more people than the actual combat.

Ms Akbari said Pakistan had been persistently asking for
resolution of the issue. She was referring to the Pakistan-
India joint statement issued on June 17, 1989, after a
meeting between the two defence secretaries.

The statement said: “There was agreement by both sides to
work towards a comprehensive settlement, based on
redeployment of forces to reduce the chances of conflict,
avoidance of the use of force and determination of future
positions on the ground so as to conform with the Simla
Agreement and to ensure durable peace in the Siachen area.
The army authorities of both sides will determine these

The agreement was made possible because of back-channel
contacts between then prime ministers Benazir Bhutto and
Rajiv Gandhi.

The 1989 agreement, which was soon afterwards denied by
India, was lacking in three aspects — which point the
troops should pull back to, how to ascertain the existing
ground position and monitoring of demilitarisation.

Pakistan has, during various sessions on Siachen, proposed
that troops return to pre-1972 positions, as agreed in the
Simla Agreement, but India has insisted on authenticating
the actual ground position line both on maps as well as on
the ground. Indians believe that accepting Pakistani
proposals will imply a surrender of the glacier that has
been under Indian control since 1984.
It is said that the Indian army has been at the forefront
in preventing a resolution of the issue. At the back of
Indians’ mind, an Indian source said, was a fear that China
would benefit from any settlement because of its strong
ties with Pakistan.

American diplomatic cables, revealed by WikiLeaks, had also
pointed out to the Indian army’s resistance to a resolution
of the dispute.

The cables cited the China factor, India’s distrust of
Pakistan, Indian army’s internal corruption and its desire
to retain the strategically advantageous territory as the
factors stopping Delhi from agreeing to a settlement.

The cables said every time India and Pakistan came “very
close” to an agreement on the Siachen issue, the prime
minister of the day would be forced to back out by the
Indian defence establishment, Congress Party hardliners and
opposition leaders.

RESCUE EFFORTS: The Director General of Military
Operations, Maj Gen Ashfaq Nadeem, said rescue efforts in
Siachen were at “full-scale” and rescuers had been able to
reach the ground level at two points, but did not find

Digging at other points, he added, was continuing. He
admitted that chances of finding any survivors were slim,
advising “prayers for a miracle”. He expressed the hope
that rescue efforts would pick up pace in coming days after
an expected improvement in weather.

Maj-Gen Nadeem said a new battalion headquarters had been
raised at Goma to replace the one buried under the
avalanche. The new headquarters has been properly staffed
and equipped. It is fully operative now.


15, February, 2012


Bashir new high commissioner to India

ISLAMABAD, April 14: The government formally announced on
Saturday the appointment of Salman Bashir as new high
commissioner to India.

He has replaced Shahid Malik.

According the Foreign Office, Mr Bashir has served as
foreign secretary from 2008 to March 2012 and was also
Pakistan’s ambassador to Denmark, Lithuania, China and

He also served at the Pakistan’s mission to the United
Nations in Geneva as well as at the Organisation of Islamic
Conference in Jeddah.

Mr Bashir held important positions at the ministry of
foreign affairs, including director general United Nations
desk and additional secretary for Asia Pacific. —APP


15, April, 2012


US unlikely to meet every demand


By Anwar Iqbal

WASHINGTON, April 14: The Pentagon has said that a ‘clear
willingness’ to restore ties with Pakistan does not mean
that the United States is willing to accept all their

Earlier this week, the Pakistani parliament unanimously
adopted 14 recommendations for rebuilding ties with the
United States, demanding immediate halt to drone strikes
and an unconditional US apology over a Nato air strike that
killed 24 Pakistani soldiers in November.
At a briefing at the Pentagon, Department of Defence
spokesman George Little acknowledged that America’s
relationship with Pakistan went through a difficult phase
last year.

“We want to settle down these issues and move forward with
Pakistan on areas of our shared interests,” he said.

Mr Little said the US was looking forward to receiving the
official version of these recommendations.

Asked if the US was willing to apologise over the Nov 26
air raid at Salala checkpost, the Pentagon spokesman said:
“It is hard to speculate what our position will be on each
of these recommendations from the Pakistani parliament.”

But there’s “a clear willingness on part of the US
administration to engage with Pakistan because we value
this relationship”, he said.

When a journalist asked if this willingness meant that the
US was ready to accept some of the demands, the Pentagon
spokesperson said: “I will not characterise that our
willingness to discuss means that we are ready to accept
all Pakistani demands.”


15, February, 2012


Man behind Gilgit blast traced, claim police


By Our Correspondent

GILGIT, April 14: Police claimed on Saturday to have traced
the man who had thrown a hand-grenade on protesting
activists of the Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamat at Etehad Chowk on
April 3.
“We have traced the culprit who threw a hand-grenade on the
protesters and conducted raids to arrest him, but he has
changed his hideout,” SP Gilgit Wasil Khan told Dawn,
adding that the man was also wanted in some other cases.

He declined to give more details and said the identity of
the man could not be disclosed at the moment because those
involved in the blast could escape.

He said some of the troublemakers had also gone
underground, but information about their whereabouts was
being gathered. The CCTV footage of the incident had been
acquired, he added.

Deputy Inspector General Ali Sher, who is heading a team
investigating the Chilas incident, said all the culprits
would be brought to justice and his mission would be
accomplished soon. He expressed the hope that there would
be no interference in the investigation.

The DIG said the notables and tribal chieftains had
expressed sorrow over the incident and they were very

Interior Minister Rehman Malik, who was due to visit Gilgit
on Saturday, could not reach here because of some official
engagements and would come on Sunday, officials said.

A curfew imposed in Gilgit on April 3 was relaxed for four
hours from 2pm on Saturday.

Gilgit-Baltistan remained cut off from the rest of country
because traffic on the Karakoram Highway was suspended.

Although more trucks loaded with foodstuff and essential
commodities reached Gilgit, traders kept fleecing people. A
wheat flour bag of 40kg was being sold at Rs1,200, while
its official price is Rs700.

Flights were not operational and cell-phone service
remained suspended.

Meanwhile, a meeting of the Gilgit-Baltistan cabinet
resolved to enforce the writ of the state at all costs.

The meeting, presided over by Chief Minister Syed Mehdi
Shah, decided to cleanse the region of weapons and vowed to
take strict action without discrimination against the
elements who were trying to destroy peace in the region.

The cabinet reviewed the law and order situation and
directed the heads of law-enforcement agencies to ensure
protection of lives and property of people.

An official handout quoted the chief minister as saying
that no-one would be allowed to create a state within

He said those who took the city hostage would face the
music because now there would be rule of law.

Mr Shah informed the meeting about the measures taken for
restoring peace in the area and said drastic steps were
taken to crush the anti-peace elements.


15, April, 2012


Drone strikes may come up in talks with Pakistan: US


By Our Correspondent

WASHINGTON, April 14: The United States has indicated that
the issue of drone strikes may also come up for discussion
in future talks with Pakistan, although a State Department
official noted that Washington never encourages public
discussions on intelligence matters.

At a news briefing at the State Department, spokesman Mark
Toner was asked if the United States would also discuss the
drone issue when it held talks with Pakistan on the
recommendations the Pakistani parliament has made for
setting new terms of engagement with the US.
“No, I can’t talk about any intelligence matters from the
podium,” the official replied. But “we have very robust
counter-terrorism cooperation”.

Reminded that Pakistan had already put the drone issue on
the table, Mr Toner said: “I will just say that we’re gonna
talk about all aspects of our relationship moving forward.”

Asked if counter-terrorism cooperation between the two
countries included the drone strikes, Mr Toner said: “I
cannot address that point.”

He added: “Let these conversations move forward. We’re not
going to take anything off the table or put anything on the

“We are ready to engage with the Pakistani government on
this parliamentary review and on the issues that it has
raised,” Mr Toner said.

The State Department official said that although no visits
or meetings had yet been planned for talks with Pakistan on
the parliamentary recommendations, one senior US official
arrived in Islamabad on Saturday.

USAID chief Rajiv Shah has already met the Pakistani
foreign minister and was scheduled to meet President Asif
Ali Zardari for talks on US civilian assistance to
Pakistan, indicating the US desire to stay engaged with

Noting that the parliamentary process had not completed yet
as the recommendations await cabinet’s approval, Mr Toner
said: “As we move forward we definitely want to engage, to
talk about the breadth of issues that have been raised in
this parliamentary review and to come to a better
understanding of our relationship.”

The US official pointed out that the two countries had
stayed engaged throughout the process, including through
“the turmoil, if you will, in the relationship post-
November 26th”.

When pressed for comments on the recommendations, Mr Toner
said he was not going to negotiate with Pakistan from the
“Let our senior officials sit down with Pakistan’s senior
officials and discuss it,” he said. “We’re aware of some of
the concerns that parliamentary review raised. And frankly,
some of them are not new to us, so we’re gonna engage.”

The State Department official noted that “civilian,
counter-terrorism and security cooperation” between the two
countries had continued without interruption.


15, April, 2012


Ship that ran aground rescued


KARACHI, April 14: A Taiwan-registered container ship that
ran aground near Karachi port on Friday was rescued by the
KPT tugs early on Saturday, official sources said.

YM North, carrying 1,7140 containers, was floated back at
around 5am when the tide was high in an hour-long operation
monitored by KPT chairman Muhammad Aslam Hayat and other

The ship was given berths 26-27 at the Karachi
International Container Termi-nal at West Wharf where 1,553
containers would be unloaded, the sources said.—Staff


15, April, 2012


Tehrik-i-Insaf likely to suffer as PML-N opens its doors to

ISLAMABAD, April 14: As the election nears, the sidelined
and discarded politicians appear to be heading for the
Pakistan Muslim League-N rather than for Pakistan Tehrik-i-
Insaf which no longer looks a safe bet.

The PML-N, which had been following until recently a strict
policy in accepting such people and was critical of the PTI
for allowing what it used to call the “remnants” of former
dictator Gen Pervez Musharraf, has finally decided to open
its doors for everyone.

After recent joining of the party by PML-Q dissidents Marvi
Memon and Engineer Amir Muqam, two confidants of Gen
Musharraf, the PML-N leaders claim that they have a long
list of “prominent political figures” who have already
negotiated with the leadership and are waiting to make a
formal announcement to join party.

Most of the politicians who joined either the PML-N or the
PTI had done so only after having negotiations with the
leaders of the two parties and without showing their
intentions till they made a final decision.

Former foreign minister in the present PPP government
Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureshi met PML-N president Nawaz
Sharif at least twice before announcing his decision to
join the PTI. He had held the last such meeting with Mr
Sharif and other PML-N leaders at Raiwind only four days
before his announcement to join the PTI at a public meeting
in Ghotki last year.

Similarly, former Pakistan People’s Party senator Enver
Baig joined the PML-N last week after holding negotiations
with the leaderships of both the parties. Mr Baig, who had
resigned from the PPP in August after receiving a
suspension notice for allegedly violating the party
discipline by meeting Mr Sharif, had been in contact with
leaders of both the PML-N and the PTI for several months.

Sources told Dawn that only a few days before joining the
PML-N, Mr Baig had a breakfast meeting with Mr Khan at the
latter’s Banni Gala residence in the presence of Jahangir
Tareen and Ishaq Khakwani, but a deal between them could
not materialise.
The PTI leaders believe that Mr Baig actually met Mr Khan
to strengthen his bargaining position in negotiations with
Mr Sharif. On the other hand, Mr Baig claimed that he had
met Mr Sharif on the request of some friends and made it
clear to Mr Khan that during the meeting he had not made
any commitment to Mr Sharif.

Earlier, Marvi Memon, soon after joining the PML-N, claimed
that she had been offered the office of PTI’s information
secretary by Mr Khan.

After these incidents, the leaders of both the parties have
become cautious. They claim that a number of prominent
figures are expected to join their respective parties over
the next weeks, but have not revealed their names.

PML-N’s information secretary Mushahidullah Khan and senior
PTI leader Ishaq Khakwani, when contacted separately, said
that a number of renowned political figures and ex-
legislators were expected to join their parties.

In reply to a question, Mr Khakwani rejected the perception
that people had started preferring the PML-N over the PTI
while deciding about their future political destination.

In fact, he claimed, only those people were joining the
PML-N who had been rejected by the PTI.

Mr Khakwani claimed that a group of four to five former
MNAs would join the PTI in coming days.

Sources in the PML-N also said that a number of prominent
personalities were expected to join the party during Mr
Sharif’s visit to Sindh next week.

According to the sources, the leaders expected to join the
party include Sindh National Front chief Mumtaz Bhutto,
former information minister Mohammad Ali Durrani, former
minister Tariq Azeem, former chairman of Pakistan Steel
Mills Lt-Gen (retd) Abdul Qayyum and Shaukat Shah from
Nawabshah.—Amir Wasim


16, April, 2012

Dangerous militants among 384 escape after Bannu jail


By Abdus Salam

BANNU, April 15: In what is being described as the biggest
jail-break in the country’s history, over 100 militants
stormed the central prison here after Saturday midnight and
freed 384 prisoners, among them a man sentenced to death
for trying to assassinate former president Pervez

According to an official, 100 to 150 militants arrived on
pick-ups at about 1.30am and attacked the prison housing
over 900 inmates after blowing up the main gates with
rocket-propelled grenades.

They broke open locks of cells, including those housing
hardened criminals and condemned prisoners and blasted
metal doors, the official said.

“The attackers appeared to be in control of the prison for
more than two hours. The guards offered little or no
resistance after the militants asked them to step aside.”

The brazen attack and its scale showed that no place in the
province is adequately protected or safe.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa police chief Akbar Khan Hoti, who
visited the jail along with Home Secretary Azam Khan,
called it a security lapse. “We are inquiring into the
incident,” he told reporters.

He quoted the prison guards as saying that the attackers
had accurate information about cells in which militants had
been kept.

The police official said there were 21 condemned prisoners
in the jail but the attackers appeared to be interested
mainly in freeing the man who was on death row for the
high-profile assassination attempt.
The militants had blocked all roads leading to the prison
by erecting barricades and deploying pickets to keep law-
enforcement personnel away, a security official said.

Police arrived at the place only when the militants had
escaped after freeing the prisoners, he said.

Four guards injured in the attack were admitted to a local
hospital, he said.

It was not clear how many of the escaped prisoners were
militants but an official said one of them was Adnan
Rashid, sentenced to death for the attempt on the life of
Gen (retd) Musharraf. He was among six air force personnel
who were convicted by a field general court martial in
October 2005. He was a junior technician in PAF, Quetta.

The Lahore High Court and subsequently the Supreme Court
declined to intervene in the case saying the Constitution
did not permit them to look into a conviction by a military
court. The official said most of the prisoners did not join
the fleeing inmates and 26 of them voluntarily returned to
the jail.

Another 11 fleeing prisoners were arrested, seven of them
during a search operation in Karak. A search was under way
for the other escaped inmates.“It is not clear how the
militants managed to come in such a large number without
being detected and leave without being intercepted. A high-
level inquiry is being ordered,” the security official
said.“There has been an intelligence failure and a security
failure,” he said.

“There was no pre-emption and there was no response while
shooting and bombing continued for more than two hours
inside the prison. It seems as though there was no real
effort to stop the militants or resist them”, the official

The banned Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan claimed responsibility
for the attack.

“We have released our men without losing a single man,” TTP
spokesman Ihsanullah Ihsan said. Bannu adjoins North
Waziristan and an official said the fleeing militants might
be heading to the tribal agency.
The Supreme Court had dismissed Adnan’s appeal against his
conviction in March last year and his review plea is

“It appears that the attack was aimed at freeing Adnan who
had been convicted and sentenced a long time ago.
Convictions of hardened militants are too few and
implementation of their sentences too late,” an analyst

Our Correspondent in Karak adds: A terrorist of Afghan
origin was among seven of the escaped prisoners arrested by
police at a checkpoint on Terri bypass while they were
going towards the border area after having sneaked into
Karak from Bannu.

District police chief Sajjad Khan said at a press
conference that Mohammad Zarif of Khost in Afghanistan,
Manzoor Ali of Parachinar, Mohammad Nabi of Hangu, Hizar
Hayat of Kohat and Eid Mohammad, Mohammad Sharif and
Khalilur Rehman of Sadda had been apprehended.

He said Zarif was a terrorist who had been sentenced to
life imprisonment in a murder case. The other arrested
prisoners were involved in murder cases, he said.


16, April, 2012


Portfolio allocation causing fissures in PPP


By Khawar Ghumman

ISLAMABAD, April 15: It’s quite unusual; the PPP government
inducted five federal ministers and six ministers of state
into the cabinet on Friday, but it is yet to announce their
During his interaction with electronic media persons on
Sunday, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said portfolios
of the new ministers would be announced in consultation
with President Asif Ali Zardari. He defended the cabinet
expansion and said he needed people to run the country.

If PPP’s information secretary Qamar Zaman Kaira, who is
one of the new ministers, is to be believed, portfolios
would be allocated on Monday.

According to him, Saturday and Sunday being off days an
announcement was delayed till Monday.

But according to a PPP insider, a few more ministers are to
be sworn in soon, maybe to accommodate coalition partners,
and only then the portfolios of new ministers will be

When asked, PML-Q’s information secretary Senator Kamil Ali
Agha said the party had not formally asked for its share in
the latest cabinet expansion, but, “yes, as a coalition
partner it is our right to get a fair share”. He said three
cabinet slots given to his party were vacant following
resignation of its members and those needed to be filled.

The senator said getting cabinet posts wasn’t PML-Q’s
priority, because it was more concerned about poor
governance. However, now that the PPP government had
decided to bring in new ministers it would definitely ask
for its share.

There are reports of rifts in the PPP over likely changes
in the portfolios of some sitting ministers which also is
causing delay in the allocation of ministries. Under
normal circumstances, portfolios of new ministers are
announced within 24 hours of the oath-taking, an official

He said only the prime minister and the president could
explain what was the urgency in holding the swearing-in
ceremony if they were yet to decide about portfolios.

A PPP leader said the ministry of information and
broadcasting was the bone of contention between new and
sitting ministers.
Incumbent Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan wants to retain the
portfolio, whereas Mr Kaira, who has staged a comeback, is
trying hard to get the ministry back. According to PPP
sources, Mr Kaira rejoined the cabinet on the condition
that he would get the information ministry.

Then Raja Pervez Ashraf, another new entrant who earlier
headed the ministry of power, wants the same portfolio. But
the sources said it would not be an easy decision for the
president because it was being held by Naveed Qamar, a PPP
stalwart from Sindh.

Nazar Mohammad Gondal, former minister for food and
agriculture, is looking for an important portfolio since
his previous ministry has been devolved under the 18th


16, April, 2012


Most targets remain unmet: Rs3.3tr spent by govt in pro-
poor sectors in 3 years


By Khaleeq Kiani

ISLAMABAD, April 15: The government spent over Rs3.33
trillion in 17 pro-poor sectors of economy in three years
but many of the key targets set in the poverty reduction
strategy paper (PRSP-II) could not be achieved due mainly
to high inflation, weak economy, repeated floods, war on
terror and overall security situation.

This is the crux of a report released by the ministry of
finance covering three years of the PRSP-II – financial
years 2008-09 to 2010-11. It said the economy registered
lower growth mainly due to the massive floods that hit the
country in two consecutive years. “The catastrophic floods
were huge and their devastating consequences were witnessed
in the form of sharp decline in nearly all macroeconomic

The report said the impressive performance of the services
sector was the only stimulant in an otherwise declining
economy. “Inflation remained in double digit in three
consecutive years”. The external sector showed an overall
improvement on the basis of exports and buoyant
remittances. Rise in global petroleum prices had serious
implications for the already large fiscal deficit.

It said a total of Rs1.246 trillion was incurred on pro-
poor sectors in fiscal year 2010-11, registering a growth
of over 12 per cent against Rs1.11 trillion in fiscal year
2009-10 and Rs977 billion in 2008-09.

“Total transfers through all (social safety net) programmes
showed a net decrease of 11 per cent in terms of grants and
8 per cent in terms of beneficiaries during financial year
2010-11 as compared to 2009-10,” it said, adding that the
total number of beneficiaries of these programmes was 5.83
million in 2009-10 but fell to 5.43 million in 2010-11. It
was 4.36 million in 2008-09.

Owing to turbulent political and economic environment, the
GDP growth rate stood at 2.4 per cent in 2010-11.
“Pakistan’s macroeconomic indicators showed a declining
trend mainly because of the disastrous floods and its
involvement in war on terror”.

Agriculture sector acutely suffered as the growth rate
shrank to 1.2 per cent in 2010-11. “Inspite of its
considerable significance, the agriculture sector remained
neglected by the policymakers”

The services sector, on the other hand, played a vital role
in the economic progress during the last few years and has
consequently emerged as one of the driving forces of
economic growth, displaying the highest trajectory trend of
4.1 per cent in 2009-10 against 2.9 per cent in 2010.
“Although, the progress of services sector in 2009 and 10
was nearer to the projected rate but it achieved the
projected figures in fiscal year 2011. The performance of
some subsectors in services sector has not been very
encouraging as finance and insurance witnessed a negative
growth from 2008-10 to 2010-11”.
Also, the wholesale trade after showing good performance in
2009 declined drastically in subsequent two years, failing
to meet the projected growth rate.

On top of that, during the three years the inflationary
pressures intensified and caused serious threats to
macroeconomic stability. Inflation was observed at 17.03
per cent in 2008-09, then fell to 10.10 per cent in 2009-10
but again witnessed a rise of 13.7 per cent in 2010-11
against the projected rate of 5.5 per cent.

“The total investments made in the last few years as a
percentage of GDP have fallen short in reaching the
envisaged targets.” Investments as a percentage of the GDP
fell to 13.4 per cent in 2010-11 from 18.2 per cent in
2008-09”. On the contrary, the national savings a
percentage of GDP showed some resilience and market a
growth of 13.6 per cent in fiscal year 2010-11 against 13.1
per cent in 2009-10. Despite this increase in growth rate,
the “national savings fell short of the targeted rates” by
a wide margin. For example, the national savings at 13.6
per cent in 2011 were against a target of 17.6 per cent.

On the other hand, the population growth rate was on a
continual rise since the last three years notably from
168.2 million in 2008-09 to 175.3 million in 2010-11.

The pro-poor expenditure as percentage of GDP surpassed the
targets in all the three years including those in the
current expenditure, although pro-poor development
expenditure fell short by 0.36 percentage points in fiscal
2010-11 against the target of 2.2 per cent of GDP.

In these three years, the actual expenditures as percentage
of GDP exceeded the PRSP-II targets in nine pro-poor
sectors while in six sectors it remained below the
projected figures during 2009-10 and 2010-11. The areas
that could not achieve their targets included education,
agriculture, social security and welfare, Pakistan Baitul
Maal and Benazir Income Support Programme.

In the health sector, the ratio of actual expenditure to
GDP remained above targets in first two years (2009 and
2010) but declined to 0.59 per cent in 2010-11.

The total disbursements under the social security and other
welfare in 2010-11 declined to Rs17.6 billion from Rs20.3
billion in 2009-10. “The number of beneficiaries under BISP
increased in three years from 1.76 million in 2008-09 to
3.08 million in 2010-11 but it failed to meet the projected
number of beneficiaries covered in the BISP programme”.


16, April, 2012


Zardari advises govt to set up Seraiki bank


By Our Staff Correspondent

MULTAN, April 15: President Asif Ali Zardari said on Sunday
that he would advise the federal government to set up a
Seraiki bank and asked businessmen and entrepreneurs to
submit a proposal within a week.

During a meeting with the business community of southern
Punjab, the president said the proposed bank would address
financial problems of businessmen of southern Punjab.

He said the banks had been manipulated for political
purposes in the past but his government was determined to
ensure a financial system without political interference.

Talking to a delegation of the   Pakistan Cotton Ginners
Association, President Zardari   said the government was
trying to overcome electricity   and gas crises and expressed
the hope that positive results   would be achieved by June

He assured the ginners that the government would remove all
hurdles in cotton export and would take steps to increase
foreign exchange earnings.

Addressing a press conference, the president categorically
said the government had no intention of abolishing the
death penalty because it was part of the Constitution.
He said the companies which had invested in the energy
sector because of government efforts were forced to wind up
their projects owing to false allegations of corruption.

Mr Zardari said allegations levelled by former president
Farooq Leghari and Ehtesab Bureau chief Saifur Rehman
against the Benazir government were now being levelled
against the present government.

Without naming the PML-N leaders, the president said they
were organising protests against electricity loadshedding
in their strongholds.

He said Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani was facing
criticism because he had taken up the cause of Seraiki

He said powers were transferred to the provinces because
the policies pursued by the centre did not yield results.

“The capacity of provinces will be increased through
evolution and eventually they will be able to deliver,” he

He said he was the first president to surrender powers
willingly and after that Nawaz Sharif called him to say
that it was unbelievable that he had surrendered his

Mr Zardari said he had spoken in favour of the Seraiki
province because giving identity to the nationalities was
in accordance with the Constitution and PPP manifesto.

Replying to a question about the water dispute with India,
he said although his visit to India was a private one,
first issue that he raised with Prime Minister Manmohan
Singh was that of water.

Talking to a delegation of intellectuals, President Zardari
said that giving identity to nationalities was essential
because denying it caused a sense of deprivation.

He said Bengalis were denied their rights and their
identity and as a result they adopted a course which even
the army could not reverse.“We are not doing politics on
the issue of Seraiki province. It concerns stability and
integrity of the country,” he said.
He said poverty and non-development in the area engendered
terrorism and a delay in creating Seraiki province will
strengthen extremism in the region.

He said the people of Seraiki belt had turned against
Takht-i-Lahore and they want their own identity and
province and the PPP would give them their rights.

He said the PPP had no agreement with the PML-Q that the
new province would consist of only three divisions of
southern Punjab. He said other Seraiki districts would also
be included in the province according to people’s wishes.

APP adds: The president also met a delegation of ulema and
mashaikhs and called upon them to work for religious
harmony and assist the government in preventing the youths
from falling into the trap of militants.

He called upon them to highlight the real message of Islam
which preached peace, harmony and tolerance.

Mr Zardari said limited job opportunities and poverty in
the area encouraged militants and extremists to mislead the
youths and use their talent for their nefarious objectives.

The ulema and mashaikhs assured the president of full
support to the government in the war against militancy and
in its efforts to wean the youths away from extremism.


16, April, 2012


‘PM’s son returning to attend SC hearing’


By Our Staff Reporter

LAHORE, April 15: Syed Ali Musa Gilani, the younger son of
the prime minister, is returning home from South Africa to
attend the Supreme Court hearing in ephedrine import case
on April 19, according to his lawyer.

“Musa Gilani is returning to join the Supreme Court
proceedings on April 19,” a counsel for the prime
minister’s son said on Sunday.

Fawad Chaudhry said a team of legal experts would accompany
Mr Gilani to the court to defend allegations against him.

He said there was no truth in the allegations as three men
had been “arrested using Mr Gilani’s name to deceive the
people of Bahawalpur, Multan and Kharian”.


16, April, 2012


US hopes routes will reopen before Zardari’s May 20 trip


By Anwar Iqbal

WASHINGTON, April 15: The United States hopes that Pakistan
will reopen ground supply routes to Afghanistan before
President Asif Ali Zardari arrives in Chicago to attend the
25th NATO summit which begins on May 20, diplomatic sources
told Dawn.

The United States would welcome Pakistan’s “potential
participation” in the NATO summit, says White House deputy
national security adviser Ben Rhodes. US officials also
hoped that Mr Zardari’s participation could lead to a
trilateral meeting between the US, Afghanistan and

Officials dealing directly with the summit said that Mr
Zardari’s participation was “70-80 per cent confirmed” and
they were working on removing some ambiguities.
“And obviously, the United States expects Mr Zardari to
reopen the supply routes before the summit as it would be
too embarrassing for him to attend a NATO meeting while his
forces are blocking NATO supply lines.”

Nearly 50 heads of state and government will attend the
two-day summit inChicago.

Pakistan had boycotted the December 2011 conference in Bonn
to protest a NATO air raid on its border posts that killed
24 troops.

But officials in Washington say that the signals they have
so far received show that “Islamabad is eager” to attend
the Chicago meeting.

The first item on the summit’s agenda — reconfirming NATO’s
commitment to Afghanistan through the 2014 transition and
beyond — directly affects Pakistan and Pakistani officials
have indicated that they would like to be included in any
talks on Afghanistan’s future.

NATO has already announced its commitment to supporting
Afghanistan beyond 2014 when the US plans to withdraw all
combat forces from the country and hand over security
responsibilities to Afghan forces.

“We also want to see a stable Afghanistan beyond 2014 and
that’s why we want to attend the Chicago summit,” said a
senior Pakistani diplomat when asked for comments.

“At Chicago, leaders will put forward proposals to make
this (NATO’s commitment to Afghanistan) a reality – a mark
of their determination to ensure the country will never
again be a base for global terrorism,” said a NATO

Meanwhile, policy-makers and think-tank experts in
Washington noted that Pakistan’s parliamentary
recommendations — despite their apparent harshness —have
cleared the way for the country’s reengagement with NATO.

Besides reopening ground supply routes to Afghanistan, the
experts also believe that Pakistan is willing to help the
US negotiate a peace deal with the Taliban.“And this also
explains their eagerness to attend the NATO summit,” said
an expert.

16, April, 2012


Job creation, power generation a budget priority: PM


ISLAMABAD April 15: Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said
on Sunday that job creation, food security and meeting
energy shortages would be priorities in the next federal

Addressing a press conference at Prime Minister’s House, he
said more incentives would be given to farmers to increase
production for the sake of food security.

The cabinet would discuss the priorities of the budget at
its next meeting, he said.

Mr Gilani said the government had brought inflation under
control, although it was an international phenomenon. He
said the provinces were responsible for controlling prices
and curbing profiteering.

He said the government was sharing the burden of the
provinces by importing fertiliser worth billions of rupees
and providing them to farmers at subsidised rates.

The Benazir Income Support Programme would continue along
with other schemes to provide relief to people, he said.

The prime minister said PML-Q chief Chaudhry Shujaat
Hussain had suggested that the federal and provincial
governments should pool their resources to resolve the
issue of circular debt in the energy sector.

Replying to a question, he said Pakistan saw the United
States as a partner and relations between the two countries
should be based on mutual interest and respect.
He said he had told US President Barack Obama that the two
countries could not take their ties forward without the
support of their people.

President Obama had responded by saying that his country
respected the sovereignty of Pakistan and would also
respect the resolution of parliament but security needs of
the United States should also be taken care of, he said.

The prime minister said foreigners should not use Pakistani
soil for spreading terrorism. The whole world was concerned
about the issue and it was embarrassing when incidents of
terrorism took place, he said.

About the presence in the country of the late Al Qaeda
chief Osama bin Laden, he said it was an intelligence
failure of the world.

The ISI and CIA were working together and many high-value
targets had been nabbed, he said.

The prime minister said there was no confrontation with the
Supreme Court but appointment of officers, including the
attorney general, was the government’s prerogative.

He said if PTI chief Imran Khan had any formula to
eradicate corruption within days the government would be
ready to implement it.

He said he had been briefed by the foreign minister and
interior minister on the situation in Afghanistan and law
and order in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa after recent incidents.

The prime minister said political reconciliation was the
only way to achieve stability in Afghanistan and Pakistan
would act as a facilitator to help create suitable
conditions for peace.

He said drone attacks were counter-productive and the
unanimous adoption of a resolution by parliament would
strengthen the government’s position when it engaged with
the international community.The prime minister said PPP’s
manifesto committee would decide the contours of the new
Seraiki province.

He said the PPP had given voice to the aspirations of the
people of the Seraiki region.
He said a consensus among the parties would be evolved for
constitutional amendments needed for the matter.

He welcomed a statement of MQM chief Altaf Hussain in
support of Seraiki province.

He also welcomed a statement of Punjab Chief Minister
Shahbaz Sharif and said the issue of creation of new
provinces was part of the manifestos of several political
parties. He said ANP chief Asfandyar Wali had told him that
Seraiki province was a part of their manifesto. Even
sections in the PML-N are in favour of Seraiki province.

He said the PPP had withdrawn some of its members from the
cabinet earlier to make space for federal ministers from
the PML-Q after it joined the coalition.

Under the 18th Amendment, there would be a limit on the
size of the cabinet after next elections, he said.

The prime minister said general elections would be held on
time and the issues of local bodies’ polls and voters’
lists are before the courts.

He said and any decision about elections would be taken in
consultation with coalition partners.

Prime Minister Gilani said today’s politics was like horror
movies and it was not a job for the faint hearted.

The prime minister said he would visit the Gyari region of
Siachen where soldiers were buried under an avalanche.

He said the new ISI chief was working fine and his posting
was a routine matter.—APP


17, April, 2012


NRO case postponed till May 3

By Nasir Iqbal

ISLAMABAD, April 16: The much anticipated bang turned out
to be a whimper on Monday morning after the Supreme Court
delayed the NRO implementation case for another two and
half weeks without passing any order against the prime

“The implementation of the NRO may come up on May 3,” said
presiding Justice Nasir-ul-Mulk, as he dictated the orders
after the end of the proceedings on Monday.

At the last hearing on March 29, a seven-judge bench had
fixed Monday for the announcement of an “appropriate
order”. Legal observers had interpreted “appropriate order”
to predict that an additional contempt charge would be
slapped on Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani for defying
the NRO verdict.

The observation was supported by the judges’ expressed
displeasure at the March 21 letter from the prime minister
submitted in the court, in which Mr Gilani had requested
the bench to settle the contempt case before raising the
issue surrounding the implementation of the NRO verdict.

The court made sure to establish the fairness and equality
of its proceedings before postponing the hearing. “Only the
law and the constitution will rule. All are equal no matter
whosoever or whatever high office is involved,” Justice
Asif Syed Khosa said before the bench postponed the

‘NAB reports incomplete’

Advocate Shaiq Usmani, representing National Accountability
Bureau Chairman Admiral (retd) Fasih Bukhari, read out NAB
reports to the bench, making sure to highlight the prime
minister’s response. The bench, however, found the reports
unsatisfactory and incomplete.

The reports touched upon the reappointment of Adnan A.
Khawaja as chairman of the Oil and Gas Development
Authority (OGDC), and appointments of Ahmed Riaz Sheikh as
additional director general of the Federal Investigation
Authority (FIA) and former attorney general Malik Muhammad

The reports denied that the prime minister had any
knowledge of Khawaja’s history as a convict before his
appointment as chairman of the National Vocational and
Technical Training Commission (NAVTEC). The reports claimed
that Khawaja held this position before he was appointed to
the lucrative chairmanship of the OGDC, and that it was the
duty of the former principal secretary to inform the prime
minister before the OGDC appointment.

As a result, the reports shifted the entire burden of
Khawaja’s appointment as chairman of the OGDC onto the
shoulders of former establishment secretary Ismail Qureshi,
joint secretary Khalid Ikhlaq Jilani and deputy secretary
Rung Ali Zia. They were accused of concealing the facts
from the prime minister.

Similarly, the reports passed the buck when it came to
taking responsibility for the appointment of Ahmed Riaz
Sheikh. Instead it placed the responsibility on Ismail
Qureshi, acting secretary interior Ahsan Raja and section
officer establishment Maqbool Ahmed Malik.

The accused officers had already recorded their statements
with the NAB during the course of its investigation. Riaz
Sheikh quit earlier after a court intervention.

Finally, the NAB reported on Malik Qayyum who was charged
with withdrawing legal assistance between Pakistan and
Swiss authorities in probing $60 million graft cases
involving President Asif Zardari.

Mr Qayyum is still in the UK and NAB has asked the
Pakistani High Commission to confirm whether the former AG
was in the UK for health reasons. The bureau is still
awaiting their response.

The court squarely rejected the reports and said an attempt
was being made to clear bigwigs and arraign smaller
officers who were forced to implement the orders. The court
asked the NAB to submit statements of the officers facing
charges of concealing facts from the prime minister. The
bureau was also asked to make positive attempts to
repatriate Malik Qayyum from the UK.

Before the end of day’s proceedings, newly-appointed
Attorney General Irfan Qadir alleged that the electronic
media was undermining the legitimacy of national
institutions in their tickers. When asked to define the
national institutions being undermined, he defined them as
the prime minister’s office and the NAB. He said one
channel was particularly active, but did not name it.

Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan, who is defending the prime minister
in the contempt case, will resume his arguments on Tuesday.
He may continue to convince the bench that its present
members should not hear the case because Article 10A of the
Constitution – which promises a fair trial – demands so.


17, April, 2012


Inquiry into jail attack ordered: Four senior officials


By Zulfiqar Ali and Abdul Salam

PESHAWAR/BANNU, April 16: Embarrassed by the biggest
jailbreak in the country’s history, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
government removed on Monday four senior officials and
ordered a high-level inquiry into the incident as more
details emerged about the audacity of the attacking
militants and utter failure of police to respond.

“We were shaken out of deep slumber by a volley of shots
and loud explosions. We were scared and we started reciting
kalma,” Omar Nawaz, a former local nazim and an inmate who
chose to return to the prison, told Dawn.

“There was a lot of firing. Nobody knew what was happening.
Then we saw the Taliban breaking open doors of the cell and
ordering us to leave,” he said. “Leave or your corps will
be taken out,” he quoted one of the militants as saying.
“We had no choice,” Omar said.

“They told us ‘you are free, go home’,” said Rasul Khan,
another prisoner who decided to return and surrender to the
authorities. “They were raising slogans of Allah-o-Akbar,”
he said.

The shooting, bombing and breaking of doors of the cell and
barracks continued for over two hours, eyewitnesses said.
Police was nowhere to be seen.

This is the first-hand account of some of the prisoners who
had fled the Bannu Central Prison during the Saturday
midnight attack by more than 100 armed militants.

Mohammad Azam Khan, provincial Secretary of Home and Tribal
Affairs, put the number of escaped prisoners at 384.
According to last reports, 88 of them have since returned,
most of them voluntarily. A few others were arrested in
different areas.

Janatullah, another prisoner, said the attackers who spoke
Urdu and Pashto were asking about cells and barracks
housing Taliban and condemned prisoners.

This lends some credence to claims by the authorities that
the militants had come to free Adnan Rasheed, a junior
technician of the PAF, sentenced to death for his
involvement in a botched attack on former president Gen
(retd) Pervez Musharraf in Jhanda Chichi in December 2003.

Another inmate said the militants had ordered them to leave
the prison and said that “all roads have been cleared”.

This substantiates earlier reports that the militants had
set up posts on roads leading to the prison to prevent
police and other law-enforcement personnel from reaching

According to latest reports, of the 384 escaped inmates,
145 were under-trial, 94 were charged with murder and 30 in
narcotics cases and 21 sentenced to death.

The KP government removed Bannu Division’s Commissioner
Abdullah Mehsud, Inspector General (Prisons) Arshad Majeed
Mohmand, Deputy Inspector General (Bannu Range) Muhammad
Iftikhar Khan and Deputy Superintendent (Bannu Jail)
Muhammad Zahid from their posts and made them officers on
special duty.

A five-member committee set up on the order of Chief
Minister Amir Haider Khan Hoti has been asked to complete
its inquiry in 15 days.

Accompanied by Home Secretary Azam Khan, Information
Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain said at a press conference
that the inquiry committee would look into all aspects of
the incident. It will unearth facts leading to the
jailbreak, fix responsibility and ascertain whether any
threat was conveyed in advance. He said the committee would
try to find out if the jailbreak was in anyway linked to
Saturday’s multiple coordinated attacks in Afghanistan.

“We have been facing acts of terrorism for the past few
years, but such type of negligence has never happened,”
Mian Iftikhar said.

“Over 100 militants brazenly attacked the jail and safely
returned to their areas along with 384 prisoners,” he said,
adding that there was a major intelligence failure.

The home secretary said he had requested the federal
government to allow installation of jammers in jails after
receiving reports that prisoners were using cellphones, but
the centre did not issue an NOC for the purpose.

He said the militants involved in high-profile cases had
been kept in KP’s jails which needed sensitive equipment
and security system.

Answering a question, he said the attackers could not reach
the barracks of convicted prisoners or those being tried
under anti-terrorism laws.

The inquiry committee will look into the home department’s
letter dated Sept 15, 2011, calling for a joint security
review of prisons by the district police and jail

17, April, 2012


US appears firm on repairing ties with Pakistan


By Baqir Sajjad Syed

ISLAMABAD, April 16: Although the world’s sceptical eye is
once again turning to Pakistan in the aftermath of Sunday’s
attacks in Afghanistan, Washington appears to be firm on
repairing ties with Islamabad as it avoided its concerns
from degenerating, for now, into public criticism of its
ally’s counter-terrorism record.

The two sides would soon be resuming negotiations on a new
framework approved by Pakistan’s parliament for conduct of
ties when an American delegation led by Special Envoy Marc
Grossman visits Islamabad later this month.

“We’d be happy to accept and welcome a (US) delegation to
continue the dialogue on the new terms of engagement,”
Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar told Dawn after speaking
to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton over phone.

The redefined terms of engagement call for stopping drone
attacks and allow non-lethal Nato supplies bound for
Afghanistan to pass through Pakistani territory. Moreover,
the new framework says that relations with the US should be
based on mutual trust and respect and demands respect for
Pakistan’s sovereignty.

“Both of us are keen to ensure that our mutual interests
are served by a partnership approach,” the foreign minister

Although the two foreign ministers conversed about the way
forward in the relationship, the attacks in Kabul, blamed
on the Haqqani network, also came up for discussion.

“We also discussed the terrible attacks in Afghanistan and
our mutual condemnation of acts of terror,” Ms Khar said.
The Kabul attacks also featured during a meeting between
Foreign Minister Khar and US Ambassador Cameron Munter
earlier in the day.

“Terrorism continues to remain on top of the agenda of our
discussions,” a US official said after the meeting.

While authorities in Islamabad are reluctant to talk about
the renewed pressure for action against the North
Waziristan-based Haqqani network, the US too has been
meticulous in choice of words while expressing its concerns
as evident from State department’s statement on the Khar-
Clinton conversation.

Unlike the previous scathing criticism on the issue of the
Haqqani network, which was last year described as
“veritable arm” of ISI by former US chairman Joint Chiefs
of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen, the State Department this
time said the secretary “underscored our shared
responsibility for robust action … to confront and defeat
terrorists and violent extremists”.

Despite the softening of public tone, a US official said
there was no change in position on the link between the
Haqqani network and Pakistan.

Pakistan has in the past responded to criticism of its
failure to prevent the Haqqani network’s terror from
reaching Afghanistan saying it alone can’t be held

Foreign Minister Khar, during her conversation with her
Afghan counterpart Dr Zalmai Rassoul, stressed the need for
Pakistan and Afghanistan to work together for eliminating

She also condemned the brazen Kabul attacks and “conveyed
the solidarity of the government and people of Pakistan
with their Afghan brethren on the terrorist attacks of
Sunday April 15, 2012 in which many precious lives were


17, April, 2012

Four new ministers of state sworn in


By Syed Irfan Raza

ISLAMABAD, April 16: Four more PPP leaders from Punjab were
sworn in as ministers on Monday, clearly indicating that
the party is preparing to fortify its ranks in the province
for upcoming election battle.

Those who were made new ministers of state included Punjab
PPP President Imtiaz Sardar Waraich, Sardar Saleem Haider,
Dost Muhammad Mazari and Moazzam Ali Jatoi.

Not only these four ministers of state, but also the 11
ministers who were sworn in on Friday have yet to be given
their portfolios.

The reason for the delay is stated to be some rift within
the PPP and demands of some coalition parties.

The fresh induction of PPP leaders from Punjab once again
contradicted claims of Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani
that the size of the federal cabinet would be smaller due
to the government’s austerity drive.

Although coalition partners did not come on record to say
that they have reservations over induction of new ministers
from the PPP, they criticised the government for violating
its own austerity policy by expanding the cabinet and not
taking them into confidence over the issue.An official
announcement from the Presidency said: “President Asif Ali
Zardari administered oath to ministers of state at a
ceremony held here at the Aiwan-i-Sadr.”

Besides Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, the ceremony was
attended by federal ministers, members of parliament and
senior government officials, the announcement said.

Asked why all new inductions had been made from Punjab, PPP
Fauzia Wahab said the party wanted to strengthen its ranks
in the province.

Meanwhile, a source in the PPP said there some rifts within
the party had held up allocation of portfolios to the newly
inducted ministers.

The source said that the PPP had decided to replace Federal
Minister for Information Firdous Ashiq Awan with Qamar
Zaman Kaira. However, the sitting minister has indicated
she would put up a fight.

Those who were inducted in the federal cabinet on Friday
but have not been given portfolios were Qamar Zaman Kaira,
Rana Mohammad Farooq Saeed Khan, Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, Nazar
Mohammad Gondal and Farzana Raja.

The ministers of state are Nawabzada Malik Ahmad Khan,
Raheela Baloch, Abbas Khan Afridi, Tasneem Qureshi, Malik
Azmat Khan and Syed Sumsam Ali Shah Bokhari.

According to Article 92 of the Constitution, the size of
the cabinet cannot be exceeded 11 per cent of the strength
of parliament.

“The total strength of the cabinet, including ministers of
state, shall not exceed 11 per cent of the total membership
of Majlis-i-Shoora (parliament),” the article amended
through the 18th amendment said.

In reply to a question, PML-Q spokesman Kamil Ali Agha said
his party had not demanded any ministry in the fresh
cabinet expansion.

He expressed concern over the expansion despite the
financial crunch.

“We will definitely ask rulers to adopt austerity,” he

The Awami National Party said it did not support increase
in the size of the cabinet.

“We do not want any new ministry, but we think the size of
the cabinet should have been curtailed due to poor economic
conditions,” ANP spokesman Zahid Khan said.

17, April, 2012


ANF takes ephedrine scam probe to PM’s House


By Amir Wasim

ISLAMABAD, April 16: Five days after Prime Minister Yousuf
Raza Gilani took the federal cabinet into confidence over
allegations about the involvement of his son in the
ephedrine import scam, the Anti-Narcotics Force expanded
the scope of its investigations to the Prime Minister’s
House, Dawn has learnt.

On Monday, the chief security officer at the Prime
Minister’s Secretariat received a letter from the ANF,
asking him to provide complete record of visitors to the
PM’s House.

Through the letter, a copy of which is available with Dawn,
ANF Joint Director Lt-Col Syed Touqir Abbas Zaidi, while
referring to a case registered at the ANF police station,
Rawalpindi, has asked the chief security officer “to
provide PM’s House entry record from January 2009 to date”.

The ANF official has stated that the “information is
required in official capacity” under various provisions of
Control of Narcotics Act, 1997. The chief security officer
has been informed that ANF assistant director Inamullah
Khan has been “detailed to take over the record from the
concerned staff”. The letter, however, makes no mention of
any deadline for collection of the record.

A source close to the prime minister told Dawn that Mr
Gilani was upset over the move and was likely to take some
“legal measures” against the officials for writing such a
letter to the country’s chief executive. “It is a joke that
the prime minister has been asked to produce otherwise a
secret record.”
Moreover, he said, it seemed that the ANF had asked for the
record on its own as there had been no such directives from
any court.

A senior official in the Ministry of Narcotics Control told
Dawn that the ANF had sought the record of visitors because
it had come to its knowledge that some of the suspects in
the ephedrine import scam had been frequently visiting the
PM’s House.

In reply to a question, he agreed that the ANF should not
have sent the letter directly to the PM’s Secretariat and
that it should have been routed through the ministry under
which the ANF was functioning.

On April 9, the government had removed two ANF officials
who were investigating the Rs7 billion scam of illegal sale
of ephedrine, a controlled substance used in medicines.
Media reports have been accusing the prime minister’s son,
Ali Musa Gilani, of involvement in the scam.

The officials were removed from their positions four days
after the removal of ANF Director General Maj-Gen Shakeel
Hussain, apparently for the same reason.

The two officials were removed even though the force, led
by military officials, had challenged the removal of its
chief in the Supreme Court.

According to sources, the ANF chief’s removal was made in
the wake of his assurance to the Supreme Court during
hearing of the ephedrine quota scam that he would proceed
against all influential people in accordance with the law.

The scam came to light earlier this month when the ANF
informed a three-judge bench of the Supreme Court, headed
by Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, that the
ephedrine quota worth Rs7 billion was given to two Multan-
based companies on the pressure of an influential person.

The case was registered on October 10 last year after two
pharmaceutical companies – Danas Pharmaceutical and Berlex
Lab International – were held responsible for obtaining
export quotas for the drug in collusion with the health
ministry officials that exceeded the limits fixed by the
International Narcotics Control Board (INCB).
The INCB had fixed a quota of 22,000kg of ephedrine for
Pakistan for 2010-11, but the ministry of health allocated
a quota of around 31,000kg after devolution.

The apex court has summoned the record for a hearing on
April 20.


17, April, 2012


Benazir case: PPP’s stance questioned


By Our Staff Reporter

ISLAMABAD, April 16: The Supreme Court expressed surprise
on Monday over PPP’s reluctance to register a second FIR in
the Benazir Bhutto assassination case.

“It is unfortunate that the party of Benazir Bhutto is in
power but they are opposing the registration of the second
FIR for further investigation into the BB murder case,” a
three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad
Chaudhry said.

The court also observed that Interior Minister Rehman Malik
should have dissociated himself from the official post till
the investigation was completed because he was one of the
accused in the case.

The bench was hearing an appeal filed by Mohammad Aslam
Chaudhry who had worked for Ms Bhutto as protocol officer
for 21 years and was one of the witnesses injured in the
gun-and-bomb attack outside Liaquat Bagh on Dec 27, 2007.

The petitioner had challenged rejection by the Lahore High
Court of his plea for registration of the FIR.

Mr Aslam Chaudhry had requested the court to initiate
criminal proceedings against former president Pervez
Musharraf and others for allegedly hatching and executing a
plan to assassinate Ms Bhutto and named as respondents
Punjab’s former chief minister Chaudhry Pervez Elahi,
Interior Minister Rehman Malik, former law minister Babar
Awan, the then acting interior minister Lt-Gen (retd) Hamid
Nawaz, ex-director general of Intelligence Bureau Syed Ijaz
Hussain Shah, former interior secretary Syed Kamal Shah and
senior police officers of Rawalpindi.

The court wondered why the government had failed to publish
the United Nations (UN) investigation report on the case
despite having spent millions of dollars.

“It is too sad that the government is making efforts that a
fresh FIR should not be registered against Kamal Shah,
Javed Cheema and others,” the chief justice said when
informed that Mr Malik and Mr Elahi were against it.
Advocate Anwer Mansoor Khan, representing the interior
minister, said the applicant wanted to disrupt the murder
case and had filed the application after three years with
mala fide intentions.

He said the applicant had not filed some important pages of
the UN report and that he wanted to submit those pages
along with other documents.

The lawyer sought time to submit a reply and said the
applicant was not an aggrieved person in the case.

Justice Khilji Arif Hussain said the applicant was a worker
of the party and an eyewitness of the incident and,
therefore, he was an aggrieved person.

The proceedings were adjourned for April 24.


17, April, 2012


US says evidence collected so far doesn’t lead
investigators to Pakistan

By Anwar Iqbal

WASHINGTON, April 16: US Defence Secretary and the military
chief on Monday blamed the Haqqani network for this week’s
terror attacks in Kabul as Secretary of State Hillary
Clinton discussed the matter with Pakistan’s Foreign
Minister Hina Rabbani Khar by telephone.

 Afghan Taliban attacked Kabul on Sunday with rockets and
explosives in one of the most serious assaults on the
capital in the past decade. They occupied high-rise
construction sites and using them as bases, fought pitched
battles with Afghan security forces.

 “The intelligence indicates that the Haqqanis were behind
the attacks that took place. And we had received a great
deal of intelligence indicating that the Haqqanis were
planning these kinds of attacks,” Defence Secretary Leon
Panetta told a briefing in Washington.

 Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin E.
Dempsey said that evidence collected so far had not led
American investigators to Pakistan but this could not be
ruled out.

 “I’ll just add that, though the evidence leads us to
believe that the Haqqani network was involved in this, it
doesn’t lead back into Pakistan at this time,” he said.
“The Haqqani network exists on both sides of the border, so
we’re not prepared to suggest this emanated out of

 But the general added that “the evidence may at some point
lead us there, but we’re not there yet”.

In a related development, State Department spokesperson
Victoria Nuland told reporters that Secretary Clinton, who
is visiting Brazil, telephoned the Pakistani foreign
minister from Brasilia earlier in the day and discussed the
attacks with her. Secretary Clinton “discussed the cowardly
attacks in Afghanistan” with Ms Khar and “underscored our
shared responsibility for robust action … to confront and
defeat terrorists and violent extremists,” the spokesperson

At another briefing at the State Department, deputy
spokesman Mark Toner said that Secretary Clinton spoke with
the US ambassador in Kabul before calling the Pakistani
foreign minister.

 “They, of course, discussed yesterday’s attacks in
Afghanistan. But they did (also) raise the parliamentary
review process and our willingness to engage in a dialogue
with Pakistan,” Mr Toner said.

 Mr Toner said that while he could not discuss the
specifics of Secretary Clinton’s conversation with Ms Khar,
he could spell out the US position on parliamentary

 “We recognise that this has been a long and difficult road
for Pakistan. It speaks, frankly, to the strength of
Pakistan’s democratic institutions that this parliamentary
review’s taken place,” he said.

 Mr Toner noted that the civilian government had taken the
lead on this issue, had owned it, and had come up with a
series of recommendations.

 “I think it’s incumbent on us now to engage with them in a
discussion about some of those recommendations,” he said.

 The secretary and the Pakistani foreign minister discussed
only the parliamentary review and the attacks in
Afghanistan, Mr Toner said when asked if the two leaders
had also discussed other issues.

 At the Pentagon, Secretary Panetta said the US was “always
concerned” about the type attacks that took place on
Sunday. “They reflect that the Taliban is resilient, that
they remain determined.”

 Mr Panetta noted that the Taliban made “no tactical gains”
from these attacks which were “isolated attacks … done for
symbolic purposes”.

 The Taliban had not regained any territory and had not
been able to really conduct an organised attack since last
year, he said.
 Yet, Mr Panetta acknowledged, that this was clearly the
beginning of the spring offensive that the Taliban engaged
in every year.

 “What does it mean? It means we’re still in a fight. And I
don’t think any of us have ever suggested there wouldn’t be
fighting still needing to be done,” Gen. Dempsey added.


17, April, 2012


Labour Party suspends Lord Nazir


LONDON, April 16: Britain’s Labour Party on Sunday
suspended peer Nazir Ahmed over reports that he offered a
$15.9 million bounty for the capture of US President Barack

The Lord also offered a similar incentive for the capture
of former US president George Bush in response to a US
reward for the capture of suspected terrorist Hafiz
Muhammad Saeed, according to Express Tribune newspaper.

“We have suspended Lord Ahmed pending investigation,” a
Labour spokeswoman said.

Mr Ahmed denied the comments but spoke out against Mr Bush
and former British prime minister Tony Blair over the wars
in Iraq and Afghanistan. “I did not offer a bounty. I said
that there have been war crimes committed in Iraq and
Afghanistan and those people who have got strong
allegations against them – George W. Bush and Tony Blair
have been involved in illegal wars and should be brought to
justice,” he said from Pakistan. If the Labour Party wants
to suspend me I will deal with it. They will have to give
me some evidence.” —AFP

18, April, 2012


Parliament’s guidelines discussed: DCC go-ahead for
resetting Pak-US ties


By Baqir Sajjad Syed

ISLAMABAD, April 17: The Defence Committee of the Cabinet
(DCC) gave a go-ahead on Tuesday for starting negotiations
with the US for resetting ties in the light of
parliamentary review.

The negotiations are expected to primarily revolve round
resumption of Nato supplies, counter-terrorism cooperation,
greater transparency in US operations in Pakistan, demand
for civilian nuclear deal and expulsion of foreign
operatives from the country.

Strangely, cessation of drone attacks, demanded by
parliament and long viewed as a breach of sovereignty, is
missing from the government’s list of priorities for
upcoming parleys.

“The DCC discussed guidelines approved by parliament on
April 12, 2012, with regard to Pakistan’s foreign and
security policies. It was decided that a work plan may be
developed for effective implementation of parliamentary
guidelines based on Pakistan’s national interests,” a
statement issued simultaneously by the Foreign Office and
Prime Minister’s office said after the conclusion of the
meeting of the country’s top security policy coordination

Army Chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, other services chiefs,
chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee and a number of
federal ministers attended the meeting chaired by Prime
Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani.

Mr Gilani told the meeting that it was time to move beyond
review during which the entire relationship had been put on
The green light from the DCC, which had soon after the
Salala incident ordered a review of relations with
Washington, looked a mere ritual after Foreign Minister
Hina Rabbani Khar had in her telephonic conversation told
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, a day earlier, that
“we’d be happy to accept and welcome a (US) delegation to
continue the dialogue on the new terms of engagement”.

The meeting underscored importance of the parliamentary
review saying it gave ownership to country’s foreign and
security policies. The only red line set by the forum and
disclosed publicly was “no compromise on Pakistan’s nuclear

Prime Minister Gilani announced the key “policy parameters”
for re-engagement with the US in his opening remarks.

“Negotiation on new terms and conditions for resumption of
the Ground Lines of Communication (more commonly referred
to as Nato supply routes), joint counter-terrorism
cooperation, greater inter-agency coordination,
transparency in US diplomatic and intelligence footprint in
Pakistan, strengthening of border security and non-use of
Pakistan’s territory for attacks on other countries and
expulsion of all foreign fighters from Pakistan’s
territory, are our fundamental policy parameters,” Mr
Gilani said, omitting the much criticised US drone strikes.

Information Minister Firdous Ashaq Awan and other
government functionaries were contacted for comments on the
startling omission of drones from the prime minister’s
remarks officially released to the media, but no-one was

There has been a consistent softening of the stance on
drones, whose tactical advantages are now being realised.
The initial proposals tabled in the parliament for debate
by the Parliamentary Committee on National Security had
linked them to continuity of Nato supply routes through
Pakistani territory. But the final edition restricted only
to reiterating condemnation of the drone strikes in

The Pak-US negotiations will be important in the sense that
they will provide an opportunity for discussing ‘nuts and
bolts’ of the future cooperation on the basis of the
broader guidelines given by the Pakistani parliament.
“The message from the parliament – yes to partnership but
not at the cost of our sovereignty, carefully calibrates
the roadmap of the engagement,” Mr Gilani said.

The DCC discussed the terrorist attacks in Kabul, which
have been blamed on the Haqqani network. The deliberations
in this regard focused on the possible international
repercussions of the incident even though initial reactions
from the US and Afghanistan have been careful, avoiding
criticism of Pakistan’s failure to reign in the Haqqanis.

“The DCC condemned the recent terrorist attacks in Kabul
and other Afghan cities and reaffirmed Pakistan’s support
for an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned inclusive peace and
reconciliation process,” the statement said.


18, April, 2012


Government urged to take initiative: Nawaz wants Siachen


By Farman Baltistani

SKARDU, April 17: PML-N President Nawaz Sharif has urged
Pakistan and India to immediately start negotiations to
resolve the Siachen issue and pull their troops out of the

Mr Sharif who is the first leader of any political party to
visit Gilgit-Baltistan after the Siachen avalanche hit 138
Pakistani troops was talking to newsmen here on Tuesday.

He said if the two sides managed to resolve the issue they
would save a lot of money now being spent on troops and use
it for development and people’s welfare.

He said Pakistan should take the initiative in this regard
and urge India to hold talks.
The former prime minister said he was proud of the army
personnel trapped by the avalanche in the Gayari sector.

Mr Sharif paid tribute to the brave men who were spending
their days and nights on the heights of Siachen for the
sake of the nation. He said they were true Pakistanis and
their contributions for the defence of the country were

He said the rescue operation was under way despite harsh
weather and the army was trying hard to get to the trapped

“I pray to Allah Almighty to save their lives and let them
meet their families again.”

In reply to a question about the recent killings in Chilas,
the PML-N chief said the incident was a matter of grave
concern. He accused the government of giving a free hand to
terrorists and having failed to protect people’s lives.

He said imposing curfew in Gilgit was not a solution to the
problem. The government, he added, had no plan to curb

Mr Sharif also condemned target killings in Quetta.

Earlier, he had an aerial view of the Gayari sector and
returned to Skardu.

Mr Sharif met eight affected families, expressed sympathy
with them and prayed for the trapped men.

He announced a compensation of Rs500,000 for each affected
family and said the Punjab government was preparing a
comprehensive package for them.


18, April, 2012


Power tariff hike cut to Rs1.67 per unit

By Our Staff Reporter

ISLAMABAD, April 17: The National Electric Power Regulatory
Authority (Nepra) withdrew on Tuesday the Rs3.03 per unit
increase allowed last month over the base tariff and
notified with a majority vote an increase of Rs1.67 per
unit for all distribution companies except KESC.

According to a Nepra notification, there will be a decrease
of Rs1.36 per unit in the bill of consumers on account of
fuel charges adjustment as compared to Aug 2011.

A senior Nepra official explained that the effective tariff
should have come down by about Rs3 per unit if the
regulator had stood by its own judgement of last month in
which it had rejected a request from the water and power
ministry to treat a base fuel tariff of Rs 45,000 per ton,
instead of Nepra-determined fuel cost of Rs65,000 per ton.

As a result, Nepra member from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Shaukat
Ali Kundi, wrote a dissenting note saying the regulator had
determined the tariff for Wapda companies on the basis of
Rs 65,000 per ton and sent to the government for

After declining the government’s request for
reconsideration, the tariff determination of Nepra has
attained finality and will be deemed to have been notified
in the official gazette under the Nepra Act.

He said the fuel cost component of Rs 65,000 per ton
determined by Nepra should be assumed a benchmark for all
future references while determining the fuel cost
adjustment for Wapda companies for the 2011-12 fiscal year.

He said the reference tariff for fuel adjustment for
September should have been assumed at Rs6.55 per unit based
on furnace oil price of 65,000 per ton in 2011-12, instead
of Rs5.54 per unit that was applicable in 2010-11 when the
furnace oil was available at Rs 45,000 per ton.

“There seems to be no legal justification for making
adjustment to the basis of references determined for 2010-
11 which is now non-existent and irrelevant,” he said.
The two members of Nepra who notified the higher tariff did
not even mention their earlier unanimous judgement, but
said they had disallowed the cost of power purchased from
rental power projects following a decision of the Supreme
Court that cancelled deals with RPPs.

A Nepra official agreed in principle that since the three-
member regulator had unanimously rejected the power
ministry’s request, it would have been better if the fresh
decision that nullified the earlier determination should
have been approved by a larger bench, comprising at least
four members.Interestingly, Nepra had rejected last month a
request by the ministry of water and power to assume
furnace oil price at Rs45,000 per ton for the current year
that prevailed in the 2010-11 financial year keeping in
view economic and social policy objectives of the federal

The ministry had also sought to allow adequate transition
time for the minimisation of subsidies, financial
sustainability and feasibility of tariffs and financial
stability of the sector.

The ministry was of the view that calculating base tariff
on the basis of Rs66,723 for 2011-12 would oblige the
government to cater for additional subsidy, thereby
jeopardising financial sustainability of the sector and
financial constraints and limitations of restrictions
imposed under the fiscal responsibility and debt limitation

Nepra, while rejecting the ministry’s plea, had held that
the request was in violation of the Nepra act and tariff

Nepra has now indirectly accepted the power ministry’s
stand by recognising energy cost on the basis of Rs 45,000
per ton, resulting in higher tariff increases.

The fine line between the two legal positions is that fuel-
based tariff increase is directly notified by Nepra soon
after its determination under law. On the other hand, the
base tariff increase has to be notified by the government
after a determination is issued by Nepra.
In that case, the government has to take political blame
for tariff increase or has to provide subsidy that for the
current year had been estimated to touch Rs350 billion.

Under the Nepra act, if the government fails to notify the
base tariff within 15 days of rejection of its
reconsideration request, Nepra-determined tariff will be
deemed to have been notified.


18, April, 2012


Another three missing persons produced before SC


By Nasir Iqbal

ISLAMABAD, April 17: In an interim order on a case relating
to the law and order situation in Balochistan, the Supreme
Court passed the buck to the elected governments and said
that lack of attention by the federal and provincial
governments was part of the problem.

“We may reiterate that it is the duty of the provincial as
well as federal governments to maintain law and order and
provide security to life and property of the citizens being
subject of the Constitution,” Chief Justice Iftikhar
Mohammad Chaudhry said while dictating the order after
three more people who had gone missing on April 3 were
recovered and produced before the court on Tuesday.

Dr Naseer Ahmed, Akhtar Lango and Abdul Hafeez Rodiani were
brought to the court by Advocate General of Balochistan
Amanullah Kanrani and Acting SP Quetta (operations)
Muhammad Tariq.
“The situation prevailing in the province needs special
interest and attention of both the governments,” the order

The disappearance of these people had been brought to the
notice of the court by Rukhsana Baloch, sister of Dr
Naseer, during the hearing at the Quetta registry of a
petition on the law and order situation and human rights
violations in Balochistan filed by Hadi Shakeel, former
president of the Balochistan High Court Bar Association.

The court ordered the Balochistan IG to recover and produce
them on April 10, but he failed to do so. Subsequently, the
court issued a stringent directive to the IG to positively
recover these persons.

At the last hearing on April 12, three other missing
persons, Mir Jan, Amir Khan and Gul Mir, all residents of
Quetta’s Sariab road area, were produced before the court
which set them at liberty.

The three informed the court that they had been forcibly
taken away from their homes, blindfolded and kept in
custody for about 40 days. They were abandoned in Khuchlak
area where police took them into custody.

Amanullah Kanrani informed the court that Dr Naseer, Lango
and Rodiani had reached their homes on their own. The
Jinnah Town police station in Quetta recorded their
statements under relevant laws.

But the court noted that these were stereotype statements.
“The version recorded by police is not acceptable,” the
chief justice observed. He said that unless testified by
police it would not be considered to be true. “Prima facie
it remains the duty of police and Levies Force to provide
protection to the life and security of the citizens in
urban and rural areas in terms of Article 9 of the
Constitution,” the chief justice said.

The court recalled that seven people who went missing from
the Sariab road area and later recovered by police had been
allegedly picked up by intelligence agencies. “But to
establish this assertion, no evidence or proof was
furnished nor is anybody willing to disclose the name of
the agencies. We have inquired from police but as usual
they express inability in this regard. Be that as it may,
the AG Balochistan is directed to produce these persons
before the Supreme Court again when it will resume hearing
in Quetta on April 30,” the court said in the order.

“This court is prima facie of the view that without
identification by the police and Levies Force or any other
such like source, it is not possible for any intelligence
agency to pick up a person,” it observed.


18, April, 2012


US will continue to seek action against Haqqanis


By Anwar Iqbal

WASHINGTON, April 17: The United States would continue to
urge Pakistan to take action against the Haqqani network, a
State Department official said on Tuesday and Secretary of
State Hillary Clinton also expressed the need for a joint
effort against the group.

But some US media outlets reported on Tuesday that Pakistan
was taking steps to quietly reopen NATO supply routes to
Afghanistan in the next few weeks. Last week, a
parliamentary committee allowed the government to reopen
the routes provided they were not used for transporting

“We are trying to strengthen the relationship with
Pakistan, but will continue to make the case for putting
pressure and taking action against groups like the Haqqani
network,” State Department’s deputy spokesman Mark Toner
told a briefing in Washington.

“The United States, Pakistan and Afghanistan, all need to
take steps and cooperate to counter this threat together,”
he added.
Earlier Tuesday, the State Department released a copy of
Secretary Clinton’s press talks in Brasilia, saying that in
her conversation with Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar,
she had expressed her “strong conviction that there has to
be a concerted effort by the Pakistanis with the Afghans,
with the others of us, against extremists”.

Secretary Clinton said that when she visited Pakistan last
October, she made it very clear that Pakistan had to “work
with us to squeeze the Haqqani Network. And I’m going to
continue to make that point, to press it hard”.

Because of the threat the Haqqani network posed to the
entire region, “we’re going to take it very seriously”, she

Secretary Clinton telephoned the foreign minister on

But Mr Toner said that US experts were still gathering
information about Sunday’s terrorist attacks in Kabul, “And
we don’t know whether these will lead us to Pakistan-based

The State Department spokesman noted that the United States
had been quietly raising concerns about the Haqqani network
at various levels in Pakistan. “We have had a difficult
time in the relationship with Pakistan, but we would like
our counter-terrorism cooperation to continue,” he added.

He also noted that the Pakistani parliamentary review of
US-Pakistan relationship had completed and the United
States now wanted to “have a strong and serious discussion
with them about all issues including the Haqqani network”.

Meanwhile, a US media outlet reported that Islamabad had
already alerted the Pakistan Oil Tankers Association to
prepare for restarting its operations.

The association has been transporting around 70 per cent of
non-lethal supplies to Afghanistan since November 2001 but
they halted their operations after Pakistan blocked the
routes over a Nov 26 NATO raid that killed 24 Pakistani

The association used to process about 200 to 250 NATO
containers a day before the blockade.
The US media report noted that NATO had already been using
Pakistan’s airspace for supplies to its troops in
Afghanistan, which Pakistan allowed in February as the
first trust-building measure.

But America’s main news agency AP reported on Tuesday that
the weekend attacks in Kabul could trigger fresh tension
between Washington and Islamabad as they attempt to rebuild
their troubled relationship.


18, April, 2012


Haqqani-Ijaz message record not available: RIM


By Malik Asad

ISLAMABAD, April 17: The BlackBerry service provider has
informed former ambassador Husain Haqqani that it does not
have the record of messages of the period during which he
was allegedly in contact with American businessman Mansoor

Mr Haqqani had sought from the Research in Motion (RIM)
company the record of May to October last year on the
directives of the memo investigation commission.

Advocate Zahid Hussain Bokhari, the counsel for Mr Haqqani,
told Dawn on Tuesday that RIM’s Legal Director Fredric
Nisbet had regretted in his written reply that the company
did not have the required data because it was not its
policy to retain it for more than three months.

He said a similar reply was given earlier to Mr Ijaz when
he sought the record of messages allegedly used during
preparation of the memorandum allegedly delivered to former
US military chief Mike Mullen.
The commission had asked the former ambassador on April 6
to send a letter to the service provider for waiving his
privacy rights.

According to Advocate Bokhari, he had drafted the email in
compliance with the commission’s directive and the letter
had been delivered to the RIM through Mr Haqqani. He said
the RIM record was the only evidence which could
corroborate the Blackberry message exchanges claimed by Mr
Ijaz. “In its absence, the claim of Mr Ijaz has no


18, April, 2012


ANF official can’t summon record of PM’s House: Gilani


By Khalid Hasnain

LAHORE, April 17: Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said
here on Tuesday that an official working in the Anti-
Narcotics Force (ANF) on deputation couldn’t dictate the
government to give record of Prime Minister’s House.

“The ANF is an institution of the federal government that
works under a ministry headed by a minister as well as a
secretary and director general. How an official working
purely on a deputation basis in a department of the federal
government can write a letter or dictate the government in
this regard?”, he said while commenting on a report about a
letter relating to the so-called ephedrine quota scam sent
by an ANF official seeking the record of visitors to PM’s
House since January 2009.

Talking to reporters after addressing the convocation of a
private educational institution at the Lahore Expo Centre,
he said he was the prime minister of 180 million people of
the country and a subordinate of his couldn’t write a
letter to PM’s House in this manner. Replying to a
question, he said: “We will make the Seraiki province with
consensus by involving all stakeholders, including
political parties, in the process.” He said the name of the
new province was not important.

Commenting on Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif’s
statement against the setting up of a ‘Seraiki bank’ in
south Punjab, he said setting up banks was a subject of the
federal government.

“There are many national and international banks
established and working in the country under regulations of
the federal government and the plan to set up the Seraiki
bank cannot be stopped on the desire of anyone.”

Talking about the situation in Balochistan, Gilgit-
Baltistan and other areas, he said maintaining law and
order was primarily the responsibility of provinces but the
federal government couldn’t ignore its responsibilities in
this regard.

Replying to a question, he said he had asked Indian Prime
Minister Dr Manmohan Singh to sit together to resolve the
issues of Siachen, Sir Creek, Kashmir and terrorism.

He said he believed that “Mr Singh also wants to resolve
all issues between the two countries”.

Paying tribute to the soldiers missing after an avalanche
in Siachen, the prime minister said he had called a meeting
of the defence committee to get a detailed briefing on
rescue work.

He said the government would take action against elements
involved in the Bannu jail break.


18, April, 2012


India, Afghanistan fail to agree on gas transit fee

By Khaleeq Kiani

ISLAMABAD, April 17: India and Afghanistan failed on
Tuesday to make progress on the issue of transit fee for
the $7.6 billion Tapi (Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-
India) gas pipeline which will pass through Afghan

As a result, Pakistan and India also could not agree on the
transit fee for the pipeline’s segment passing through
Pakistan which has linked its fee structure with the India-
Afghan agreement.

Technical teams of the three countries held talks for two

For the pipeline, Afghanistan will charge Pakistan and
India a transit fee and Pakistan will charge India the same

Sources said the difference was just of 3 US cents per
mmBTU (million British Thermal Unit) and could be settled
anywhere in-between but would require political support
from the Indian and Afghan leadership and “a push from the
US” which was supporting the project.

The Afghan side demands 54 US cents per mmBTU but India has
offered 44 cents and then raised it to 47 cents, but Kabul
declined to agree on anything below 50 cents, the sources

But, the India team did not have the mandate to offer more
than 47 cents. It was, therefore, agreed that the parties
will hold another round of talks and in the event of their
failure to reach an accord a pipeline steering committee
led by the Asian Development Bank which is to meet in
Ashgabat on May 6 will play the role of mediator.Pakistan
has told the visiting delegations that instead of
negotiating a separate transit fee it would accept the fee
structure agreed upon by India and Afghanistan.
Pakistan has already cleared a formal signing of gas sales
and purchase agreement (GSPA) with Turkmenistan. The
agreement is expected to be signed by Turkmengaz and
Interstate Gas Company in the first week of May.

Under the agreement, Turkmenistan will supply 1.3 billion
cubic feet gas per day at a price equivalent to about 70
per cent of Brent Crude Oil price delivered in Multan.

The Economic Coordination Committee of the cabinet
constituted a committee last week to analyse the cost of
risk sharing for gas transportation through war-torn Afghan
territory and the overall cost of pipeline project inside

The pricing formula finalised by India, Pakistan and
Turkmenistan was based on common principles but the base
price for India and Pakistan was different. In view of
security situation in Afghanistan its reluctance to bear
the risks involved, Turkmenistan and Pakistan had agreed to
share the risk with an upper and lower limit of risk costs.

The ministerial committee will submit its report to a
steering committee comprising federal ministers and the
chief minister of Balochistan to examine risk-sharing and
transportation costs, transit fee and gas price review

The pipeline is expected to bring gas to Pakistan by
December 2016, depending on a credible security apparatus
in Afghanistan where it will provide 500mmcfd of
gas.Turkmenistan also offered to increase the supply to
about two billion cubic feet a day if the two sides agreed
on transporting about 700 million cubic feet a day (mmcfd)
to Gwadar port for eventual sale or export as liquefied
natural gas.


18, April, 2012


Officials to visit Washington for trade, investment talks

By Mubarak Zeb Khan

ISLAMABAD, April 17: In what appears to be an attempt to
put relations with the US back on track, the government has
decided to send senior officials to Washington for
continuing engagement at a higher level for further
liberalisation of trade and investment regimes between the
two countries.

This will be the first official visit of any delegation
after the parliament unanimously approved new guidelines
for the country’s troubled relationship with the United
States on April 12.

An official source told Dawn on Tuesday that the three-
member official delegation would be headed by Commerce
Secretary Zafar Mahmood. Board of Investment Secretary
Munir Qureshi will also be part of the delegation.

The delegation, according to the official, will leave on
April 22 to resume talks with senior officials of the
United States Trade Representative (USTR) in Washington as
part of the sixth Trade and Investment Framework Agreement
(Tifa) meeting.

Both countries had launched talks under Tifa since 2004 on
a wide range of investment climate issues, including market
access, the US Generalised System of Preferences, trade
promotion efforts, intellectual property rights and sector-
specific investment challenges.In Sept 2011, high officials
of the two countries met in Islamabad, but no progress was
made on any issue for facilitation of bilateral trade. Both
countries have also failed to make progress in any area
included in the negotiating agenda of the Tifa meeting for
the past eight years.

On the other hand, Pakistan’s desperation for repairing its
ties with the US was clear from the fact that the Chairman
of Board of Investment (BoI), Saleem Mandviwala, initialled
investment treaty with the US government on March 9 in
Washington without even taking relevant stakeholders on
board, especially of the commerce ministry.
The BoI chairman’s move sparked protest among officials of
federal ministries who said the decision had been taken in

According to the official, this would be a major issue for
discussion during the proposed meeting in Washington. The
delegation, according to the official, would justify
Islamabad’s move for making delay in approving the
initialled BIT document.

But contrary to this, the US was unwilling to approve the
legislation for the much-awaited establishment of
reconstruction opportunity zones (ROZs) in tribal areas of
Pakistan and Afghanistan. The products manufactured in
these zones will be allowed duty-free entry into the US

The establishment of ROZs in the area has been one of the
major demands of Pakistan since 2004 for ending poverty in
terrorism-hit areas, but Washington has paid only lip-
service in this regard.

In the past five meetings on Tifa, USTR officials repeated
their stand that the US would work with the Congress to
enact the ROZ legislation.

Even in the absence of any investment treaty between
Pakistan and he US, flows of FDI from the US were much
higher than those countries with whom Pakistan had
initialled investment treaties in the past one decade.
Pakistan had complained to the US that under the current
requirement of irradiating mangoes at a plant in Iowa,
commercial shipments in sizeable quantities were not a
viable option.

“We hope the US will review this condition and allow pre-
shipment irradiation in Pakistan. This is imperative for
commercially feasible shipments of fruit to the US,” the
official said.


19, April, 2012

Zardari visits avalanche-hit site: Kayani urges talks to
settle Siachen issue


By Syed Irfan Raza and Baqir Sajjad Syed

ISLAMABAD, April 18: President Asif Ali Zardari finally
made it to Siachen even though his trip was overshadowed by
Chief of Army Staff Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani’s statement on

Accompanied by Gen Kayani, the president visited the Gayari
sector of Siachen Glacier, where an avalanche had buried
over a 100 troops on April 7.

A trip by the president scheduled for Monday was cancelled
due to bad weather and on Tuesday opposition leader Nawaz
Sharif managed to beat him by visiting Gayari and speaking
in favour of a reduction in defence expenditure and
demilitarisation of the region and asked the government to
take the lead in resolving the Siachen conflict.

On Wednesday, when President Zardari finally made it to the
area, Gen Kayani stole the limelight by acknowledging the
need for resolving the Siachen conflict and for a peaceful
co-existence with India.

However, he insisted that the focus, for the moment, should
remain on the Gayari tragedy.

“I have been hearing a lot of comments. We should focus on
this tragedy. The troops had been deployed to defend the
country,” Gen Kayani said as he reviewed the rescue effort
along with the president.

It is noteworthy that the tragedy has intensified the
debate in Pakistan on the Siachen conflict; a growing
number of people have demanded its resolution, with some
commentators and peaceniks even demanding a unilateral
withdrawal of Pakistani troops.

Mr Sharif on Tuesday seemed to add his voice to this
Although Gen Kayani did not directly name Mr Sharif, he
appeared to be reacting to the PML-N chief’s statement when
he said that Pakistan’s forces had come to the area in
response to the Indian occupation of Siachen Glacier in

“The army’s job is to defend the country, whatever the
cost,” he added.

But he did reiterate that “the issue should be resolved.
All issues should be resolved”.

Voicing support for the peace talks re-launched last year,
he maintained that “peaceful co-existence was very
important for both countries and there should be no doubt
about that”.

He also referred to the several rounds of talks held
between the two countries but stopped short of blaming the
Indians: “There were times when we came close to a
solution, but then nothing happened.”

The presidency welcomed the army chief’s comments: “We
think that it was a positive statement,” said the
president’s spokesman, Farhatullah Babar.

In private, Pakistani diplomats and army officials accuse
the Indian army of stalling progress on the issue — this
was even mentioned in the US diplomatic cables revealed by

Dialogue resumption

 It is important to note that diplomats and defence
officials from India and Pakistan are expected to meet
later this month for resuming their dialogue on Siachen.
The Gayari tragedy will now provide the backdrop against
which these talks will be held.

Both sides admit the futility of the conflict, but differ
over the resolution.

India wants Pakistan to authenticate the Actual Ground
Position Line (the positions currently held by both sides)
on the maps as well as on the ground, but Islamabad has
been insisting on withdrawing to the positions agreed to in
the Simla Agreement.
Pakistan feels that accepting the Indian demand would
“legitimise” India’s “intrusion” into Siachen.

Defence secretaries of the two countries in 1989 came close
to resolving the issue but India backed out. Ceasefire has
been holding in the region since 2003.


19, April, 2012


SC showers praise on Dr Adeeb Rizvi


By Nasir Iqbal

ISLAMABAD, April 18: The Supreme Court was all praise on
Wednesday for Dr Adeeb Rizvi, Director of the Sindh
Institute of Urology and Transplant (SIUT), for his
services to the humanity.

The nation was thankful and prayed for Dr Adeeb Rizvi, said
Justice Khilji Arif Hussain, one of the members of a bench
headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry.

Dr Adeeb was present in the court.

“We are thankful to you,” the chief justice observed.

The bench had taken up a petition jointly moved by rights
activist Asma Jehangir, HRCP chairperson Zohra Yousuf, Edhi
Foundation chairman Maulana Abdul Sattar Edhi, Professor of
Urology Dr Anwer Naqvi, Sindh Education Foundation
president Prof Anita Ghulam Ali, columnist Ardeshir
Cowasjee, journalist Zubeida Mustafa, Support Trust
chairman Syed Mohammad Shabbar Zaidi, director of Sheikh
Zayed Islamic Research Centre Dr Noor Ahmed Shahtaz,
Associate Prof Dr Aamir Jafarey, nephrologist consultant Dr
Tufail Mohammad and Prof of Pathology Dr Mirza Naqi Zafar.
They sought a court order for devising rules and protocol
to prevent violation of the Transplantation of Human Organs
and Tissue Act, 2010.

Filed by Advocate Muneer A. Malik, the petition requested
the court to make available the assistance of an effective
and specialised investigative agency like the Federal
Investigation Agency to the Human Organ Transplantation
Authority for probing possible violations of the act. The
petition said the modus operandi of hospitals and doctors
violating the law was very sophisticated and commercial
transplants taking place frequently involved foreigners.

The court ordered the Punjab, Sindh and Balochistan
governments to submit their replies to the petition by May
29. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has already filed its reply.

The petitioners alleged that unscrupulous elements made the
country notorious for organ trafficking and ‘transplant

The petition contended that until the prohibition of kidney
trade in India in 1994, it was the primary destination
globally for ‘transplant tourists’. Post-1994, Pakistan
emerged as the world’s largest bazaar for illegal trade in
human organs.

In the absence of any effective law, some 2,500 kidney
transplants were performed by 2007 and around 1,500 of them
were for the benefit of foreigners.

It was estimated that 80 per cent of such transplants were
between unrelated living donors and recipients where the
former was paid for the donation of his/her kidney.

Rich patients from Europe, India and the Middle East would
visit Pakistan and pay anywhere between $10,000 and $30,000
for a transplant that included the purchase of a kidney
from a living donor. Invariably, such commercial donors
were destitute, impoverished and uneducated persons lured
into selling their organs by exploitative middlemen working
hand in glove with unscrupulous hospitals and medical

A survey of 239 commercial kidney donors in Sargodha
district found that 90 per cent were illiterate, 66 per
cent bonded labourers and 93 per cent sold their kidney in
order to pay off debts.

The average price paid to such donors for the sale of their
kidney ranged from Rs 50,000 to Rs200,000, leaving a
handsome margin for middlemen as well as the doctors and
hospitals involved.


19, April, 2012


10 killed in Karachi


By Our Staff Reporter

KARACHI, April 18: Some 10 people were killed in different
parts of Karachi in renewed acts of terror across the city
on Wednesday that mostly targeted roadside teashops and
attracted measures from police authorities to guard such
public places where terrorists attacked wage earners and

North Nazimabad emerged as the worst affected town where
four people were shot dead, including two activists of the
Awami National Party. Attacks on three roadside teashops
claimed four lives and left three people injured.


19, April, 2012


Kaira returns to his favourite ministry: Strange portfolios
allotted to some ministers

By Khawar Ghumman

ISLAMABAD, April 18: A five-day guessing game came to an
end on Wednesday after Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani
finalised the portfolios of 15 newly inducted ministers.

The six federal ministers and nine ministers of state were
sworn in three days apart. President Asif Ali Zardari
inducted 11 ministers on April 13 and another four on April
16. This is the longest ministers have ever gone without
knowing their portfolios.

The long wait led to stories about tensions within the
party as new ministers lobbied for ministries already held
by others.

Nevertheless, the new appointments -- all of which are from
the PPP and Punjab -- indicate that the party is finally
gearing up for the political challenge they face from the
PML-N in Punjab in the next elections. The ministers have
been given especially important portfolios.

As expected, Qamar Zaman Kaira returned as Information and
Broadcasting Minister -- a post he had held for a few years
before it was handed over to Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan in
February last year. Mr Kaira, who is also PPP’s information
secretary, has been expected to re-enter the federal
cabinet ever since he was removed 11 months ago. He was not
disappointed thanks to the backing of the prime minister.

Dr Awan was given the newly-formed Federal Ministry of
National Regulation and Services. Observers expect her to
be disappointed with the shift. Nonetheless, it is
noteworthy that she is one of only a few within the PPP who
have retained a slot in the cabinet continuously.

Another PPP heavyweight and former minister of water and
power, Raja Pervez Ashraf, became the Minister of
Information Technology.
“In terms of profile, it is a huge ministry which manages
projects worth billions of rupees. Its Universal Support
Fund (USF) is worth nearly Rs60 billion. Mr Ashraf will
once again be sitting on a goldmine,” quipped a PPP

Punjab Governor Sardar Latif Khosa, who served as adviser
to the prime minister on IT before his governorship, had
publicly talked about massive corruption within the
ministry. Mr Ashraf is already facing Supreme Court
indictment for his alleged role in the shady RPP deals in
his erstwhile Ministry of Water and Power and will have to
be extra careful in running his new ministry, said a PPP
lawmaker who refused to come on record.

According to reports, Mr Ashraf wanted to return to his
earlier home -- water and power. The ministry is presently
being run by Naveed Qamar, a PPP stalwart from Sindh.

“Raja Pervez Ashraf wanted water and power, but in the
presence of Naveed Qamar, Prime Minister Gilani couldn’t
help him,” said the PPP official.

Nazar Mohammad Gondal, a senior PPP leader who was the
federal minister of food and agriculture prior to its
devolution will now be overseeing another newly formed
division named Capital Administration and Development.

A PPP source remarked that Mr Gondal was unhappy with his
new portfolio. “Politicians with rural background need
ministries that can facilitate their constituents.”

Rana Mohammad Farooq Saeed, former textile minister, has
been named federal Minister of Climate Change. Many are
unsure about Mr Saeed’s responsibilities.

Maula Bux Chandio will be continuing as federal Minister of
Political Affairs, a Prime Minister’s secretariat official
said. During his previous stint as minister of law, many
say that his predecessor, Senator Babar Awan, and the
latter’s brother advised the prime minister on law and thus
ran the ministry for all intents and purposes.

Among ministers of state, Syed Sumsam Ali Bukhari and Malik
Ammad Khan have returned to information and broadcasting
and foreign affairs, respectively. They held the same
portfolios until the cabinet was reshuffled in February

Chaudhry Imtiaz Safdar Warraich, the former minister of
state for communications, is now in charge of the Interior
Division. Observers remark that it will be interesting to
see how he works with Interior Minister Rehman Malik. As
the PPP chief in Punjab, Mr Warraich will definitely assert
his new position. It remains to be seen whether Mr Malik
will allow him space in the ministry, given Mr Malik’s
domination of the ministry since 2008.

The former minister of state for interior Tasneem Qureshi
has been given the portfolio of water and power. Throughout
2009-10, Mr Qureshi remained in headlines for his alleged
role in awarding thousands of unaccounted licences of
prohibited-bore arms. His new role will be closely watched.

Other ministers of state include Sardar Mohammad Muazzam
Ali Jatoi (National Food Security and Research), Malik
Azmat Khan (Inter-Provincial Coordination), Raheela Baloch
(Science and Technology), Dost Mohammad Mazari
(Communications), Sardar Saleem Haider (Defence) and Abbas
Khan Afridi (Commerce).


19, April, 2012


Draft budget lacks welfare plans, PM tells economic


By Khaleeq Kiani

ISLAMABAD, April 18: Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and
his cabinet colleagues are not satisfied with the contours
of next year’s budget as prepared by the country’s economic
managers. They say the draft budget lacks public welfare
initiatives, particularly in the areas of energy and
employment generation.
A government official told Dawn that it was because of this
reason that the cabinet did not approve a budget strategy
paper presented by the ministry of finance during a recent

He said the prime minister directed Finance Minister Dr
Abdul Hafeez Shaikh and his team to hold talks with key
federal ministers and prominent members of parties in the
ruling coalition to listen to their points of view on the
matter and then call a cabinet meeting with the single-
point agenda of hammering out budgetary proposals.

The finance ministry team was expected to meet key
ministers and important political leaders this week for
their inputs on the subject. However, the consultative
process had to be delayed for a few days owing to Mr
Shaikh’s engagements in the United States with lending
partners and the Obama administration officials for
financial support and disbursement of the Coalition Support
Fund (CSF).

Sources said the ministers from the MQM and PML-Q were
particularly critical of the way the process of budget
formulation was handled by the finance minister because in
their view they could have given constructive suggestions
for easing the suffering of the people but they were never

And as if this was not enough, some PPP ministers expressed
annoyance over the fact that it was the last budget of the
sitting PPP government but there was nothing in it that
could attract the voters. More importantly, they said, the
people were getting fed up with the electricity and gas
shortages but the budget paper did not offer any strategy
to deal with the crisis or resolve the problem of circular

The PPP ministers also criticised the lack of initiatives
vis-à-vis employment generation.

The PPP ministers told the prime minister that they could
defend the high commodity prices by linking these with last
year’s flood and hike in oil prices in the international
market, said the official. But they could simply not go to
their constituencies at times when there were electricity
and gas outages there.
Therefore, the government should not hesitate in easing the
shortages even if it required borrowing from the State Bank
and commercial banks to ensure regular supply of fuel.

While attempts to contact finance ministry spokesman Rana
Asad Amin for comments on the matter ended in failure, a
cabinet member told Dawn that the finance ministry’s
presentation to the cabinet focused on broad financial
allocations for different sectors and their revenue
sources. The presentation did not touch on economic
policies that could address key public interests.

The finance minister has, however, repeatedly stated that
the budget would not compromise on fiscal responsibility
and economic prudence for popular temptations and hence the
limited resources required the policy-makers to continue
with austerity and expenditure management to win
international integrity and support.

Mr Shaikh is reported to have told the political leadership
that higher international oil prices, slowdown in external
flows, delays in CSF disbursement, delays in auction of 3G
telecom licences, non-recovery of PTCL proceeds and power
and food subsidies were some of the key risks to the
financial position, leaving little room for a popular

Moreover, the increase in grants to loss-making public
sector entities, worsening of the Eurozone crisis and low
provincial cash surpluses also had adverse implications for
current account and fiscal deficits.

Therefore, the people should not be burdened with higher
inflation through monetisation of fuel supplies and
subsidies and instead focus should be on tax policy and tax
administration reforms to mobilise domestic resources.

He advocated fiscal austerity, consolidation of special
programmes and strengthening of social protection like
People’s Works Programme and Benazir Income Support
Programme (BISP) for balancing regional development.

Also, the government should now focus on elimination of
discriminatory tax exemptions, accelerate restructuring of
public sector enterprises and working with provinces for
improvement financial discipline while overcoming energy
and infrastructure development.
The budget strategy paper had also called for
rationalisation of ministries and review of pay structures
by further monetisation of perks and privileges and
rationalisation of food commodity operations. It was,
however, a different case that instead of rationalisation
of ministries, the prime minister inducted 15 new ministers
in the cabinet.


19, April, 2012


Pakistan trying to make US ties more transparent: Sherry


By Anwar Iqbal

WASHINGTON, April 18: Mistrust between Pakistan and the
United States, which intensified after the weekend’s
terrorist attacks in Kabul, may also undermine President
Asif Ali Zardari’s expected visit to Chicago next month,
diplomatic sources told Dawn.

The sources said that while the Americans still believed
that President Zardari’s participation in the Nato summit
in Chicago was necessary, they had not yet sent a formal
invitation to Islamabad.

“The Americans want Pakistan to reopen Nato supply lines
before the summit and this is delaying the invitation to
Islamabad,” a source said.

That the US-Pakistan relationship was in trouble also
became obvious at a reception Ambassador Sherry Rehman
hosted on Tuesday night for a delegation of senior
Pakistani military officials who are visiting the US
National Defence University in Washington.

“The mistrust is not one-sided as Pakistan too has
concerns,” the head of the delegation, Brig Mahmood Sadiq,
told the guests, which included half a dozen senior
American military officials as well.

He noted that the US decision to invade Osama bin Laden’s
compound without consulting Islamabad had hurt the
Pakistanis, as did the Nov 26 Nato attack on a military
post that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers.

“The Pakistanis are also asking who is sponsoring terrorism
at the state level,” the brigadier said.

While summing up the difference, Ambassador Rehman said:
“Pakistan and the United States are engaged in the
challenging choreography of reconfiguring the bilateral
relationship to make it more transparent and sustainable —
with realistic expectations on both sides.”

Her address was Pakistan’s first policy statement in
Washington on US-Pakistan relations after parliament
approved a set of recommendations last week for rebuilding

She noted that this was “arguably the most critical time”
in the history of US-Pakistan relationship. “Various
assaults on Pakistani sovereignty and dignity have had a
major impact on public opinion in our country,” said the
ambassador while referring to the US raid on Osama bin
Laden’s compound and the Salala air raid.

She pointed out that Pakistan’s parliament had just
concluded an exhaustive review of the bilateral
relationship, which “we believe is among the most important
in the world and which, we on the Pakistan side, are very
keen to maintain and strengthen”.

At the same time, Pakistan wanted this relationship to be
grounded in “realistic expectations, respect for each
other’s sovereignty, appreciation of each other’s
legitimate security interests and understanding of each
other’s redlines”, she said. “Both sides need to be aware
of each other’s limitations and constraints.”

The Pakistani government, she said, wanted to use the
framework parliament had provided as the foundation for “a
healthier, more sustainable and mutually cooperative”
relationship with the United States.
“For any relationship to be sustainable, both countries
must treat each other as partners and respect their core
interests,” she said.

The ambassador also noted that the 18-hour long terrorist
attack in Kabul on Sunday was also casting its shadow over
US-Pakistan relationship.

She reminded the US that President Zardari, the Defence
Committee of the Cabinet and Pakistan’s foreign minister
had all condemned the attacks and had offered to work
jointly to combat terrorism.

“Clearly, the people of Pakistan do not need to be lectured
about the dangers of terrorism. We have stood up for our
principles with our blood.”

Ambassador Rehman said that while Pakistan had vital stakes
in Afghan stability, “we are very clear that Pakistan has
no interest in playing favourites in Afghanistan, nor can
we treat it as our strategic backyard”.

She emphasised that there could be no military solutions to
any conflict in the region, and Afghanistan was no


19, April, 2012


Lower temperatures in north fuelling water shortage


By Ahmad Fraz Khan

LAHORE, April 18: Despite sporadic rain in the country
river flows declined sharply, pushing water shortage to
over 35 per cent on Wednesday.

The Indus River System Authority (Irsa) had projected a
shortfall of 27 per cent for the period.
However, with temperatures remaining lower than expected in
the northern parts of the country, all rivers have
witnessed exceptional reduction in their flows.

On Wednesday, the combined flow of the rivers was 104,700
cusecs against a rather healthy figure of 237,500 cusecs on
the corresponding day last year.

The Indus had a flow of 26,000 cusecs against 51,500 cusecs
last year. Similarly, the Jhelum had a flow of 31,900
cusecs as compared to 92,800 cusecs last year.

A flow of 29,000 cusecs was recorded in the Kabul river
against a flow of 37,900 cusecs last year, and the Chenab
witnessed its flow decline from 55,300 cusecs last year to
only 17,800 cusecs on Wednesday.

With all the reservoirs (Tarbela, Mangla and Chashma)
remaining virtually empty, Irsa had no choice but to
proportionately reduce supplies to the provinces, putting
further pressure on agriculture activities, particularly
sowing of cotton in Punjab and Sindh.

According to Mohammad Riaz, the chief meteorologist, the
situation is expected to improve in early May. “This is a
temporary phase, which has prolonged itself with frequent
and longer cloud covers in northern parts of the country,”
he told Dawn by phone.

Various weather systems are developing more frequently than
expected. A weather system is already developing that will
bring cloud cover with it early next week for catchments
areas of the dams. It will take another week to clear this
cloud cover, taking us to the end of the month, according
to Mr Riaz.

For river flows to improve, a consistent increase in
temperature was needed, he said, but new weather systems
kept breaking any such trend.

“There is substantial snowfall in catchment areas which
could remove the current water shortage, but this would
happen only in early May.”

According to officials of the Punjab Agriculture
Department, the province now needs water for cane,
vegetables and fruit orchards. On top of it, cotton sowing,
which is at a crucial stage, is suffering because of water
shortage. “It costs farmers around Rs1,000 per acre if he
runs his tubewell on diesel and Rs400 on electricity,” said
an official.

“Due to this factor, everyone is waiting for canal water to
arrive, which has gone missing from the system and hurting
agriculture beyond redemption,” he remarked.


19, April, 2012


CJ, Sharmeen on Time list of influential people


By Masood Haider

NEW YORK, April 18: Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad
Chaudhry and Pakistan’s first Oscar winner Sharmeen Obaid-
Chinoy have been named by the Time magazine among the 100
most influential people in the world. In its appreciation,
the magazine said that Chief Justice Chaudhry and Sharmeen
Obaid had made it to a list of people who “inspire us,
entertain us, challenge us and change our world”.

A profile written for the magazine by Tehrik-i-Insaaf chief
Imran Khan said: “(Justice) Chaudhry has become the first
head of Pakistan’s Supreme Court to attempt to bring the
powerful to justice.

He has taken on the prime minister and the president in an
effort to hold them accountable.

“It’s not just the politicians either. Chaudhry, 63, is
also seeking to take Pakistan’s intelligence agencies to
task for their human rights abuses.”

Sharmeen Obaid was praised in the list by Hollywood actor
and director Angelina Jolie.
She said: “Sharmeen belongs to a monumental campaign that
is changing the legal, social and political fate of
survivors of acid-related violence.

Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy’s documentary Saving Face brought
Pakistan’s acid-violence problem to the world stage. Today
she is bringing the film’s message to towns and villages in
Pakistan through an educational awareness campaign.”

The Time’s list of 100 most influential people includes
Salman Khan of the Khan Academy, Iran’s Supreme Leader
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Manal Al Sharif — a Saudi
protester against the country’s ban on woman drivers.


19, April, 2012


SC seeks NAB report in rental power case


By Our Staff Reporter

ISLAMABAD, April 18: The Supreme Court asked the National
Accountability Bureau’s chairman Admiral (retd) Fasih
Bokhari on Wednesday to appear before it on Thursday to
explain what progress had been made on the issue of Rental
Power Projects (RPPs).

According to the court’s schedule, it will receive NAB’s
first fortnightly compliance report on its March 30
decision which declared that the projects were not

The court had ordered the NAB chairman to proceed with
corruption references against those who were at the helm of
affairs when contracts were signed from 2006 to 2008 to
plug the energy shortfall through the RPPs as a stop-gap
Admiral (retd) Bokhari has to submit fortnightly progress
reports to the court’s registrar for perusal by the judges
in chambers.

In line with the court’s decision, NAB on April 2 and 3
tightened the noose around those involved in the RPP scam
by putting their names on the exit control list. They
included newly appointed federal Minister for Information
Technology Raja Pervez Ashraf, three former ministers, four
ex-secretaries and owners and chief executives of 12 RPPs.

NAB also froze properties of 12 RPPs and cautioned their
owners and the district coordination officers and deputy
commissioners against transfer of the seized assets.

The NAB chairman said at a recent press conference that the
bureau could go for plea bargain with the accused to
recover the amount siphoned off in the RPPs case. “Under
Rule 25 of the NAB Ordinance, we can go for plea bargain in
any case,” he said.

The Supreme Court had directed NAB to recover the entire
amount given to RPPs as mobilisation advance along with


19, April, 2012


After SC judgment, converted women say they want to live
with husbands


By Our Staff Reporter

ISLAMABAD, April 18: The chief justice was in a hurry for
once. In just the second hearing on Wednesday of a case
related to the conversion of three Hindu women, a Supreme
Court bench, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad
Chaudhry, wrapped up the case and announced its judgment.
The three young women present   in the court were told to
express their ‘true’ feelings   about what they wanted to do
and Sindh police were ordered   to be their ‘protectors’ --
ensure their safety and their   happiness.

Police were asked to submit reports every fortnight about
the wellbeing of the women.

The women did not utter a word during the proceedings.
Later they were sent off to the registrar’s office to pour
their hearts out.

In between, they were kept apart from their parents; they
were taken to the registrar’s office from a different route
so that no one would run into them.

The women recorded their statements before the registrar
and decided to go with their husbands.

The judgment, however, did not go down well with the
hapless parents. For the rest of the afternoon, the human
tragedy that is the Hindu minority in Pakistan was played
out on the steps of the Supreme Court building and outside
as the families spoke to media and protested the verdict.
Wednesday did not bring them the justice for which they had
travelled from Sindh to Islamabad.

The women who appeared before the court under the watchful
eyes of Sindh police were Rinkal Kumari, 19, (now known as
Faryal Bibi) of Mirpur Mathelo, Dr Lata Kumari, 30, (Hafsa)
of Jacobabad, and Aasha Devi, 19, (Haleema Bibi) of
Jacobabad, who earlier was missing but surfaced

“We gave these girls sufficient time to think about their
future and we will not force them. They are grown-up and
are allowed to go wherever they want to go,” the chief
justice observed. He said they were sui juris (one who has
reached maturity and is no longer dependent) and,
therefore, fully in a position to decide about the future.

“We feel they (the women) stayed in a pressure-free
atmosphere at the Panah Shelter Home in Karachi where
neither of the parties was allowed to meet them,” the court
The order, however, generated instant commotion inside the
courtroom, prompting the chief justice to ask the counsel
for different parties to urge their clients to maintain

Frantic developments were seen soon after the announcement
of the verdict. Dr Ramesh Kumar Vankwani, patron of the
Pakistan Hindu Council (PHC), called an emergent meeting to
discuss implications of the verdict.

The PHC also filed a petition highlighting abduction of
Hindu girls who were then forced to change their religion
and married off to Muslim men. The court will take up the
case after two weeks.

The disappointed parents of these women and members of the
Hindu community, including parliamentarians from the ruling
PPP, staged a sit-in outside the Supreme Court for some
time and called for giving custody of the women to their

“This is complete injustice in the name of Islam,” shouted
Mohen, father of Aasha, outside the courtroom. He asked why
the court did not take into consideration a demand by
police for payment of Rs1.8 million for recovering the girl
-- a demand which was raised to Rs3.5 million and then to
Rs5 million. “From where we will fetch this kind of money.”

He said the Hindu community was being forced to leave

The mothers of the three women kept weeping and wailing
outside the Supreme Court and alleged that the court had
never allowed the girls to meet their parents.

Ramesh Lal, a PPP MNA from Larkana, said minorities had
lost all hopes in the country’s judiciary and today justice
had been buried forever. “Why the judiciary, which never
tires of taking suo motu notices against the president and
the prime minister, is not taking notice about police
demanding money from the victim families to recover the
girls,” he asked.

Noor Naz Agha, the counsel for Rinkal, however, welcomed
the verdict and said the court had rightly accepted that
being adult, the girls had a right to live their lives
according to their choice.
But she held the absence of legislation responsible for the
rising number of complaints about forced conversions and

Mian Aslam, son of MNA Faqir Abdul Haq alias Mian Mitho,
who was accused of abducting Rinkal, rejected the
allegations, wondering “if we kidnapped her then why she
was produced before the magistrate to record her will and
later handed over to police”.

He brushed aside an impression that the girls were
converted to Islam forcibly.


19, April, 2012


‘Blue books’ missing from ministry


By Munawer Azeem

ISLAMABAD, April 18: Three ‘blue books’ containing secret
information about important people (VVIPs and VIPs) and
diplomats are missing from the Ministry of Interior.

Reliable sources said on Wednesday the ministry had
recently delivered 1,250 ‘blue books’ to the departments
concerned, but their delivery record and three books were
missing. It is suspected that the books have been stolen.

The sources said the issue was being considered as a major
security lapse.

Officials concerned informed their seniors who issued
directives that the matter be investigated and the missing
books traced.

The ‘blue book’ also contains details of sensitive
installations. It carries matters relating to protocol and
steps to be taken in the event of a disaster or an


19, April, 2012


Terror mastermind says he got bomb training in Waziristan


NEW YORK, April 18: The mastermind of one of the most
serious terror threats since the Sept 11, 2001, attacks ---
a foiled plot to attack New York City subways --- testified
on Wednesday that Al Qaeda trainers taught him a “very
simple” formula for making suicide bombs.

After being recruited by the terror network and taken to a
compound in the South Waziristan region, Najibullah Zazi
said he learned how to mix chemicals found in nail polish
remover and other products sold at beauty supply stores.

“It was very simple and they’re everywhere,” he said of the

Zazi, 26, was testifying for a second day at the trial of
Adis Medunjanin in federal court in Brooklyn.

Prosecutors allege that Medunjanin, Zazi and another former
high school classmate from Queens, Zarein Ahmedzay, formed
a terror cell that posed one of the most ominous terror
threats since 9/11.

Zazi has testified that during their 2008 trip to Pakistan,
the three Americans met a top Al Qaeda operative they knew
only as Hamad. Authorities say Hamad was Adnan Shukrijumah,
a Saudi still listed on an FBI website as a fugitive who
plotted attacks for Al Qaeda worldwide.

Hamad told the three that they were best suited for an
operation on US soil. He also mulled over potential targets
with them, including the New York Stock Exchange, Times
Square and an unspecified Walmart store, Zazi said.

The men ended up choosing the subway because “it’s the
heart of everything in New York City,” Zazi said on
Wednesday. The purpose, he added, was “to make America

In a later meeting in New York, the plotters decided to
blow themselves up at three different locations at morning
rush hour inside the Manhattan subway system during the
month of Ramazan, Zazi said.

Their hope was that “people would have a lot of fear”, he
said. —AP


20, April, 2012


Dawn’s senior assistant editor Razvi murdered


KARACHI, April 19: Murtaza Razvi, senior assistant editor
and head of Dawn’s magazines, was murdered in the city in
the early hours of Thursday.

Police said his body was found in an art studio in Defence
Housing Authority. His hands were tied and there were
torture marks on his body. He had apparently been strangled
to death.

The studio belonged to sculptor Shahid Rassam, a close
friend of Mr Razvi.

Saddar division SP Dr Farrukh Ali quoted Mr Rassam as
saying that Murtaza Razvi had asked him for keys to his

“Earlier in the day, when Mr Rassam called him, Mr Razvi’s
cellphone was switched off and he was not available in the
office. He somehow managed to unlock the place to find Mr
Razvi’s body. The police also found a rope which apparently
was used for strangulation,” the SP said.

However, police said the real cause of his death would be
established after the post-mortem.

His family has said that Mr Razvi did not have any personal
enmity with anyone. They are expecting the police to carry
out a thorough investigation to establish the motive behind
the murder and apprehend his killer(s).

Murtaza Razvi, 47, was among the most highly qualified
journalists in the field with over two decades of
experience. He had worked in a number of well-known
publications. He also held the post of Dawn’s resident
editor in Lahore. Later on, he moved to Karachi to take
over as magazine editor. He will be sorely missed by his
colleagues in Dawn.

He is survived by his wife and three daughters.

His Namaz-i-Janaza will be held at Masjid Yasrab, DHA
Phase-4, after Juma prayers.


20, April, 2012


ANF names Musa Gilani as accused in ephedrine case: SC
hearing today


By Nasir Iqbal

ISLAMABAD, April 19: A day ahead of the hearing of the
‘ephedrine’ case by the Supreme Court, the Anti-Narcotics
Force submitted on Thursday a report before the court
formally naming eight accused, including Prime Minister’s
son Ali Musa Gilani, for their alleged involvement in the
The 23-page report submitted by ANF’s Regional Director
Brig Fahim Ahmad Khan names Ali Musa Gilani, former
director general health Dr Asad Hafeez, Deputy Drug
Controller Abdul Sattar Shorani, former health secretary
Khushnood Akhtar Lashari, MNA Mian Abdul Sattar, Drug
Controller Sheikh Ansar, Anjum Shah, a resident of
Nawabshah and friend of Mian Abdul Sattar, and Acting
Secretary of the Ministry of Narcotics Control Zafar Abbas

The accused allegedly allocated 6,500kg and 2,500kg of
ephedrine to Berlex Lab International, Multan, and Danas
Pharma (Pvt) Ltd, Islamabad, respectively, in 2010-11 for
export to Iraq and Afghanistan. Meanwhile, 20 other
companies were waiting for allocation of a 5,710kg quota.

According to the ANF report, the accused managed to convert
the allotment of drugs intended for export into local use
with the help of health ministry staff and under alleged
political pressure from Ali Musa Gilani and Mian Abdul

The allocation amounts were in violation of a UN convention
that set the export quota for Iraq at 3,000kg and
Afghanistan at 50kg.

In 2010, total ephedrine allocation was raised to 31,534kg
against an annual ceiling authorised by the International
Narcotics Control Board for Pakistan at 22,000kg. Over the
last four years, average allocation of ephedrine was
13,544kg per annum, according to the ANF report.

Berlex and Danas’ management claimed to have manufactured
218 million and 85 million tablets, respectively, from
ephedrine, said the report, adding that neither company
could present evidence to support the claim. Lower staff,
employees and suppliers of raw material did not support the
stance of the companies.

The report said that all pharmacists and medical stores in
Kohistan, Northern Areas and of the Punjab drug control
authorities that supplied Danas Pharma medicines have
denied any receipt or supply of tablets at their end. Danas
Pharma claims to have transported the tablets to the
Northern Areas and Kohistan through Kohistan Deer Goods
Transport Company, but the latter’s office in I-11/4,
Islamabad, appears to be a fruit and vegetable shop.
Similarly, all label printers, chemical and bottle
suppliers also denied any supply.

The companies’ claims that extra tablets were produced were
further negated by their electricity bills. The companies
do not seem to have used extra electricity during the
relevant months, said the report.

Berlex’s distribution companies –   Florence Pharma Shop and
Can Pharma – neither exist on the   ground in Multan nor are
they registered in any government   department. Non-
production of proper sale records   before the investigating
officer clearly shows illicit use   of the controlled

Lashari denies allegations

Meanwhile, Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister
Khushnood Akhtar Lashari in a statement before the apex
court denied allegations of his involvement in the case. He
said his name was being dragged by certain quarters for
nefarious and self-serving purposes.

He allegedly became aware of the allegations when the media
explored the contents of the interim challan filed by the
ANF before the ANF court in Rawalpindi. According to Mr
Lashari, the challan made unfounded assertions that he had
directed Deputy Drug Controller Mohammad Tanvir to issue a
500kg quota to Berlex as a regular allocation and further
2,000kg by way of a re-appropriation of the quota.

The responsibility for irregularities with regard to the
quota of ephedrine and later conversion to local use rested
with the office of Director General Health Dr Rashid Jooma,
according to Mr Lashari.

He took strong exception to the registration of 4,000 drugs
by the health DG in a single meeting of the Drug
Registration Board. He deplored that he was being targeted
and involved in the scam on account of his present
position. According to Mr Lashari, the affidavit filed by
Brig Fahim Ahmed Khan before the Supreme Court was nothing
but a concoction of untrue statements.
“Such statements could only have been made by a person who
had lost all control of his senses,” he alleged, adding
that there was a game afoot to harm his reputation and

Scam hits production of life-saving drugs: Page 14


20, April, 2012


Issue should be settled under Simla accord: FO: Pakistan
position on Siachen unchanged


By Our Staff Reporter

ISLAMABAD, April 19: The Foreign Office said on Thursday
that there was no change in Pakistan’s position on Siachen,
but hoped for progress in the upcoming meeting of defence
secretaries of the two countries on the issue.

“Whenever we will discuss this issue, we will discuss it in
a manner that we find a practical and pragmatic solution of
Siachen based on mutual interest as was underscored by
President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Manmohan
Singh in their meeting,” FO spokesman Moazam Khan said at
his weekly briefing.

Both sides are working on dates for the next meeting of
defence secretaries to be held in Rawalpindi under the
resumed peace process. The secretaries will discuss
proposals for resolving Siachen and Sir Creek disputes.

Differences over how to conduct demilitarisation has
prevented progress in previous rounds on Siachen. India
wants Pakistan to authenticate the Actual Ground Position
Line (the positions currently held by both sides) on the
maps as well as on the ground. Pakistan has been insisting
on withdrawing troops to pre-1972 positions as agreed in
the Simla agreement.
In 1989, the defence secretaries had agreed on principles
for ending the dispute, but India backed out. The
principles included redeployment of forces, avoidance of
use of force and determination of future positions on the
ground in conformity with the Simla agreement.

Ceasefire has been holding in the region since 2003.

“It is in our mutual interest, both for Pakistan and India,
that we address these issues in a meaningful and result-
oriented manner,” Mr Khan said.


20, April, 2012


India welcomes Kayani’s remarks


HYDERABAD (India): India on Thursday welcomed Pakistan Army
Chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani’s remarks on resolving
the Siachen issue and demilitarisation there, and said the
money spent on deployment of troops could be spent on
development of the two countries.

According to Times of India, Minister of State for Defence
Pallam Raju said: “I am glad that our neighbouring country
Pakistan is also realising the challenges and the economic
problems of maintaining troops on the Siachen Glacier.”

Observing that the deployment of troops in glacial heights
took a heavy economic toll, he said both the countries had
their concerns. “They have their concerns and we have our
concerns but it does take an economic toll. This money can
be better spent on development of both countries,” the
minister said.

Official sources in Delhi also termed the remarks a
“positive development” since they were made by none other
than Pakistan Army Chief, reflecting the readiness of the
military to resolve the issues between the two countries.
“One has to see who has made the remark, when it is made
and the place. All this is very positive,” they said.

Gen Kayani, while visiting Skardu in Northern Pakistan on
Wednesday, after the region was hit by an avalanche
resulting in deaths of a number of civilians and military
personnel, had spoken in favour of resolving issues between
India and Pakistan and their peaceful co-existence.

“All issues should be resolved and peaceful co-existence is
very necessary for both countries. There is no doubt about
that,” he had said, hoping that the Siachen issue was
“resolved so that both the countries don’t have to pay the
cost”.—Dawn Monitor


20, April, 2012


Pakistan, US exploring joint ownership of drone attacks


By Baqir Sajjad Syed

ISLAMABAD, April 19: Pakistan and the United States have
begun exploring various options for joint ownership of
drone attacks against militant targets in the tribal belt
after the US flatly refused to stop the predator strikes.

“We are striving to have genuine co-ownership of the drone
operations,” a senior Pakistani diplomat, who has been
regularly briefed on the ongoing behind-the-scenes
negotiations between Islamabad and Washington, told Dawn on

The various proposals being discussed include a real-time
intelligence sharing and advance notification of drone
A number   of sources in Islamabad and Washington confirmed
that the   US had refused to end drone strikes. This has been
conveyed   to Pakistani authorities on more than one occasion
over the   past few weeks, they said.

A Pakistani proposal for using F-16s against militant
targets has been rejected as an unsuitable alternative.

“The Americans insist that drones are integral part of
their counter-terrorism operations being best suited for
this purpose,” the diplomat said.

This development has been accompanied by a softening of the
position taken by the government and parliament on the
issue of drone attacks.

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, while outlining the
negotiation agenda at the DCC meeting over the weekend,
omitted drone attacks.

“Negotiation on new terms and conditions for resumption of
the Ground Lines of Communication (more commonly referred
to as Nato supply routes), joint counter-terrorism
cooperation, greater inter-agency coordination,
transparency in US diplomatic and intelligence footprint in
Pakistan, strengthening of border security and non-use of
Pakistan’s territory for attacks on other countries and
expulsion of all foreign fighters from Pakistan’s
territory, are our fundamental policy parameters,” Mr
Gilani said while listing ‘policy parameters’ for re-
engagement with the US.

The revised draft of new guidelines for relations with the
US adopted by parliament also took a softer approach to the
issue by just reiterating demand for cessation of the drone
attacks – the long-held principled position, but avoided
its linkage with resumption and continuity of Nato ground
supply routes.

Foreign Office spokesman Moazzam Khan tacitly accepted the

“Pakistan’s relations with the United States are very
important. We want to address all issues on the basis of
mutual respect and mutual interest… at the end of the day,
the two countries will have to find some mutually
acceptable grounds as to how we want to move forward,” Mr
Khan said.

US Embassy spokesman Mark Stroh, when contacted, said: “We
are ready to fully engage on full breadth and scope of the
recommendations. We are finding areas of mutual interest
for moving forward.”Formal negotiations on new terms of
engagement are expected to begin later this month with the
visit of US Special Envoy Marc Grossman. But, an accord
would be finalised during Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani
Khar’s visit to Washington expected in the first week of

Another Pakistani official denied that there had been a
sudden change in the position on drone attacks. He recalled
that the envoys conference, convened for providing input to
the parliamentary review process in December, also did not
ask for stopping drone attacks.

He, however, said that despite the apparent settlement to
discuss co-ownership of drone, apprehensions persisted in
Islamabad and strategists thought that drone did not chime
with overall reconciliation strategy.


20, April, 2012


Extra limbs of newborn removed


KARACHI, April 19: Doctors say they have successfully
operated to save the life of a baby born with six legs due
to a rare genetic condition, hospital officials said on

“A team of five experienced doctors have successfully
separated the extra legs and limbs from the baby today. He
is very much safe and secure,” said Jamal Raza, the
director of National Institute of the Child Health in
Mr Raza said it was a case of parasitic conjunction – more
than one baby joined together but only one of them fully

The boy was born to the wife of an X-ray technician a
couple of weeks ago in Sukkur and was moved to Karachi for
treatment early this week.

“The extra limbs and legs were the result of a genetic
disease which would affect only one in a million or more
babies,” the doctor said.—AFP


20, April, 2012


Ephedrine scam hits production of life-saving drugs


By Khawar Ghumman and Imran Ali Teepu

ISLAMABAD, April 19: While Prime Minister Yousuf Raza
Gilani is busy claiming innocence of his younger son Ali
Musa Gilani in the ephedrine scandal, few people in the
government have noticed that the matter has led to a crisis
of a different nature. The pharmaceutical industry has been
hit hard because of non-availability of controlled
substances in the country.

As a result, many life-saving drugs of which these imported
substances are essential ingredients are missing from drug
stores or being sold at much higher prices.

Pakistan Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Association chairman
Khawaja Mohammad Asad confirmed the crisis and said the
authorities should take notice of it. “It takes about five
months for a company to import a controlled substance for
manufacturing a certain drug. The pharmaceutical industry
is allocated inadequate quotas of controlled substances for
which we have to regularly place orders. But after the
ongoing scandal the entire process of their import is
virtually stalled,” he said. If the current situation
persists for another few weeks, Mr Asad warned, there would
be a serious shortage of drugs like Lexotanil, Diazepam and
Xanax in coming days. These drugs are already out of
market, causing serious problems for patients of high blood
pressure, anxiety and sleep-disorder.

According to the PPMA record, about 400 companies in the
country use controlled chemicals for manufacturing drugs.
Mr Asad said that because of the fast depleting stocks of
raw material, the companies had no option but to stop their
production. “Pakistan has some 700 pharmaceutical companies
with an annual turnover of over $900 million. We can only
import controlled substances after securing a mandatory no-
objection certificate (NOC) from the government which is a
time-consuming job considering the chronic bureaucratic
procedures,” he said.

“Due to the ongoing ephedrine saga, things have become
difficult for us,” said a senior official at a multi-
national pharmaceutical company. He appealed to the Supreme
Court hearing the ephedrine import case to dispose it of on
an emergency basis and direct the government to expedite
the import of the controlled substance.

The government is currently drafting rules and regulations
for the newly-established Drug Regulator Agency of Pakistan
(DRAP) which deals with issues concerning the drug
industry. The DRAP is being placed under the newly-created
Ministry of Regulations and Services which has been given
to Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan.

“We are trying to frame rules for the DRAP but it will take
some time,” a senior government official said, adding that
since the emergence of the ephedrine scandal, no request
had been processed for the import of controlled substances.

He said that every second official of the DRAP, which was
earlier under the health ministry’s drugs control wing, was
at present under investigation by the Anti-Narcotics Force.
“People are so scared of the implication of this high-
profile case that they are not working these days,” the
official said.

20, April, 2012


Nine die in clashes, shelling: N. Waziristan tribe takes on


Bureau Report

PESHAWAR, April 19: Clashes between tribesmen backed by
helicopter gunships and militants left at least nine people
dead and several others injured in Shawa tehsil of North
Waziristan on Thursday.

According to an official, the heavy gunfight between
supporters of tribal elder Satar Qabalkhel and Taliban
militant Hafiz Gul Bahadur started at 6am and continued
till 3pm.

Later, helicopters were sent to pound the positions of
militants who had besieged the Qabalkhel Wazir tribe.

“Both sides have stopped firing, but tension prevails,” an
official in Miramshah said.

Sources said militants loyal to Sirajuddin Haqqani of
Afghanistan also took part in the clashes.

Four supporters of Satar Qabalkhel and at least five
militants were killed in the clash.

It is the first time that a tribe has challenged the might
of the Taliban in North Waziristan.

Satar Qabalkhel, who wields influence in Shawa tehsil, is a
Taliban deserter.

According to sketchy accounts available, militants had
killed a member of the Qabalkhel Wazir tribe about two
years ago. The heirs of the slain tribesman killed a
militant some two months ago.
Militants encircled houses of Qabalkhel Wazirs in Shawa
area, adjacent to Mirali tehsil, before dawn and launched a
heavy attack on them. The residents launched a counter-
attack and clashes continued for several hours.

According to officials, four Qabalkhel tribesmen and two
supporters of Gul Bahadur were injured in the clashes.

After a brief lull, militants launched another attack
against the tribesmen and the authorities sent air support
to rescue them.

Helicopters shelled militants’ positions and dispersed
them. Four militants were killed in the shelling.


20, April, 2012


NAB records statement of Raja Pervaiz in rental power case


By Syed Irfan Raza

ISLAMABAD, April 19: The newly-appointed federal Minister
for Information Technology (IT), Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, who
is one of the main accused in the Rental Power Projects
(RPPs) scam, joined investigation into the case on Thursday
by recording his statement before the National
Accountability Bureau (NAB).

On the other hand, the Supreme Court expressed
dissatisfaction over the progress made by NAB in the case.

“Raja Pervaiz Ashraf visited the NAB headquarters and
joined the investigation by giving his statement,” the
bureau’s Prosecutor General, K.K. Agha, told Dawn.

He said the minister stuck to his previous stance that he
had done nothing wrong in the award of RPP contracts signed
between 2006 and 2008 to plug the energy shortfall as a
stop-gap arrangement.

Mr Ashraf claimed that due to objections raised in
different circles, he had ordered a third-party audit by
the Asian Development Bank (ADB). “Had I been afraid that
this would prove something against me, why would I have
asked the ADB for the audit,” he said.

In the light of ADB’s audit report, the Supreme Court
declared on March 30 that the RPP contacts were not
transparent and asked NAB to recover the money from the
owners of the projects with interest for the period they
had kept it.

The NAB served notices on owners and chief executives of
all RPPs to pay about Rs22 billion they had received from
the government as mobilisation advance for setting up the

Most of the RPPs could not work after receiving the money
and those who installed their plants did not meet the

The bench consisted of Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad
Chaudhry, Justice Khilji Arif Hussain and Justice Tariq

The court reprimanded the NAB chairman for not having
arrested any of the persons covered by the judgment and
failing to file a reference before an accountability court
despite a lapse of over two weeks.

The prosecutor general (accountability) said the NAB
chairman had been asked in the judgment to proceed in
accordance with the law.

He said an inquiry had been launched Under Section 18 of
the NAB Ordinance and evidence had been collected for the

“Due process has, therefore, been followed as NAB has taken
steps to ensure that its inquiry would not be compromised,”
he said, adding that requests had been made for putting
names of the persons involved in the case on the exit
control list and freezing their bank accounts.
The court said its judgment could be used as the reference
and there was no need of the NAB inquiry.

However, the prosecutor general said in that case NAB would
become redundant in respect of its power of inquiry and
investigation. The court also dismissed the NAB chairman’s
suggestion given in his report that a transparent process
should be initiated for awarding new contracts and ordered
him to comply with the judgment and submit another report
in accordance with the schedule.

It issued the following order: “Mr Fawzi Zafar, Additional
Prosecutor General, Accountability, has submitted a report,
which is not satisfactory. We failed to understand as to
what is the authority of the chairman, NAB, to seek
approval of this court for asking the government to
formulate a new policy by following a flawless and
transparent procedure under which the existing
generators/equipment and machinery can be utilised for full
production of electric capacity; he should have realised
that this court by means of comprehensive judgment dated
30/03/2012 had already declared that so far as these
projects were concerned, these were not transparent and
against the relevant law; thus the chairman, NAB, had no
authority to approach this court, seeking assistance on
this point, as such the request so made by him is turned
down. However, we direct him to comply with the judgment
dated 30/03/2012 in letter and spirit and submit compliance
report as per the schedule fixed in the said judgment to
the registrar of this court for our perusal in chambers and
passing appropriate orders, if need be.”


20, April, 2012


Pakistan needs to act against Haqqani network: US


KABUL, April 19: The Haqqani network was responsible for a
series of attacks in Afghanistan a few days ago, the US
ambassador to Kabul said on Thursday, and Islamabad was
being pressed to take action against the group.

The attacks on Sunday, including the biggest assault on the
capital in 10 years of war, saw squads of militants fire on
government offices, embassies and foreign bases.

“There is no question in our mind that the Haqqanis were
responsible for these attacks,” Ambassador Ryan Crocker
told reporters in Kabul.

“We know where their leadership lives and we know where
these plans are made. They’re not made in Afghanistan.
They’re made in Miramshah, which is in North Waziristan,
which is in Pakistan,” Crocker said.

“We are pressing the Pakistanis very hard on this. They
really need to take action.”

Islamabad denies any support for Haqqani activities, but
former US military chief Admiral Mike Mullen described the
network a “veritable arm” of the Inter-Services
Intelligence agency.—AFP


21, April, 2012


All 127 on board Islamabad-bound plane perish: •Fire at
crash site •Black box found


By Munawer Azeem and Amir Ali Teepu

ISLAMABAD, April 20: The calm of Friday evening in the
capital was shattered by a plane crash and the news of 127
deaths, less than two years after a similar tragedy in the

The weather once again was seen as the immediate cause,
once again the aircraft belonged to a private airline and
once again it had reached Islamabad from Karachi and was
preparing to land.

Bhoja Air’s Boeing 737-200 lost contact with Air Traffic
Control after 6.40pm as it was trying to land at Benazir
Bhutto International Airport. The weather was bad and parts
of the city were experiencing rain and lightning. Some
officials went so far as to call it a hailstorm.

“A passenger plane crashed during a hailstorm at 7.10am,”
said an official of the CDA’s Emergency and Disaster
Management Directorate.

The aircraft crashed near Karal Chowk in Rawalpindi in a
residential area some 10 kilometres or so from the runway.
It was a rural area with small houses; the density of
houses was not as thick as in urban areas. In the darkness
of the night, it was still possible to make out wheat
fields in the vicinity of the crash.

“Nobody survived,” said Mohammad Asif Majeed, director of
the disaster management directorate, who was leading one of
the initial rescue teams that arrived at the site. The 127
people on board included nine crew members. “It crashed on
a clutch of houses in a village,” he added.

When the news first broke on TV channels, it was not clear
where the crash took place or whether it was a passenger
plane or not. However, it soon became clear that the tragic
accident had claimed a passenger plane of Bhoja Airlines.

The airline had recently restarted its operations in the
country and this was its first flight from Karachi to
Islamabad. The captain, Noorullah Afridi, had recently
joined the airline, according to some reports.

Within minutes of the crash, rescue teams of the military,
police, local authorities as well as fire brigade were
headed for the crash site as were journalists and
distraught relatives. It took them over 30 minutes to reach
the spot because of rush and the weather.

There was a traffic jam at the Airport Chowk close to the
crash site. According to one journalist, many of the
visitors at the airport also headed to the crash site upon
hearing the news, which added to the crush of humanity
there and made the rescue operation more difficult.
“My family is there. I want to go there,” said a weeping
Azhar, a young man in his late 20s whose family was on
board the plane. He was headed for the crash site.

There was absolute chaos as police blocked the entry to the
single road that led to the site.

“When the plane crashed there was fire everywhere. It
continued for an hour,” said Raja Ali Abbasi, a villager at
the site. A fire department official said the fire was
extinguished in around 45 minutes, adding that “the fire
caused more damage”.

It was impossible to determine how much damage was caused
to the houses that the plane crashed on. But initial
reports suggested that no inhabitants of the area were
seriously hurt or killed. However, their houses were
damaged and the residents were stunned to witness body
parts and machinery pieces rain on them. According to
police, about 50 houses were damaged. It did not appear
that any intact body was recovered from the crash site.

As had happened at the crash site of the Airblue aircraft
on July 28, 2010, the various rescue teams did not
coordinate with each other and neither were they well
equipped. For instance, for the first couple of hours, none
of the rescue teams had any searchlight. People used car
headlights and small torches and even cellphone torches to
make their way around.

At one stage, Rawalpindi’s 1122 officials refused to allow
the Islamabad administration to lift bodies from the site.
Hot words were exchanged before a third rescue team
mediated between the two and soothed nerves.

Investigators in plainclothes were also present at the
site, taking pictures.

The dark and the rainy weather made the rescue task next to
impossible. When finally the body parts were packed into
sacks and placed in ambulances that were heading back, some
of them got stuck on the muddy track. “They placed four to
six sacks in each ambulance,” said an eyewitness.

The ambulances began to reach Pakistan Institute of Medical
Sciences (PIMS) by about 10 at night. The hospital had been
put on alert since the news of the crash came.
Having learnt from their experience with the 2010 crash,
the local authorities had hired a cold storage as the PIMS
mortuary would run out of space.

Deputy Commissioner Islamabad Amir Ahmed Ali said the
medico-legal examination and identification of the body
parts would be carried out at PIMS. “DNA tests will also be
conducted,” he said, adding that a cold storage had been
hired for the purposes.

“We have a huge hall where the bodies will be placed for
the time being,” a senior hospital official told Dawn.

“It will take at least three to four days before we can
clear the area. And the investigation will have to wait
till Saturday morning,” said an army official heading a
rescue team.

Late at night, the flight data recorder had been recovered
from the crash site and an inquiry into the incident had
been ordered that was to be led by Group Captain Mujahidul
Islam, head of Safety Investigation Board, CAA.

Two operation rooms were set up at the Benazir Bhutto
International Airport and Jinnah International Airport,
Karachi, to provide information to the relatives.

People in the crash

A newly-married couple, whose wedding took place last month
and who were on their way to Islamabad for their honeymoon,
were also killed in the crash. Another passenger, Qamar
Aftab, was on his way to Islamabad to attend the marriage
ceremony of his brother-in-law.

According to military officials, Station Commander Officer,
Hyderabad, Brig Javed Akhter, his wife, Brig (retd)
Mohammad Anwar Khan and Squadron Leader Usman Rehman who
was posted at Malir, Karachi, were also among those killed.

Condolence messages

Within hours of the tragedy, condolences messages also
started pouring in from all over.

President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza
Gilani expressed deep grief over the tragic plane crash.
The prime minister ordered the Civil Aviation Authority
(CAA) to gear up all its resources for rescue operation.

Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh also expressed deep
grief over the tragic air crash. In a message to Mr Gilani,
he conveyed his deepest condolences to the families of
those who lost their lives.

“I pray that the Almighty will grant them the strength to
bear their loss. Our thought and prayers are with the
people of Pakistan in this time of grief,” he said.

(Additional reporting by Mohammad Asghar and Amir Yasin)

PIA extends help

THE PIA announced late on Friday night it was operating a
special flight (PK-300) to fly to Islamabad free of cost
one family member of each person who was aboard the crashed
plane. The flight was scheduled to leave Karachi at 7am.


21, April, 2012


Wind shear may have caused the tragedy


By Baqir Sajjad Syed

ISLAMABAD, April 20: As the pilots of Bhoja Air Flight B4-
213 attempted to land amidst rain and strong winds, the
unlucky aircraft might have flown into an unexpected wind
shear that possibly smashed it on the ground below.

Soon after the accident, the government ordered an inquiry.
It will be conducted by aviation regulator – CAA’s Safety
Investigation Board. It would be months before the CAA team
comes up with an explanation for the accident.
The probe will look into various aspects -- weather,
pilots’ role, the condition of equipment, and handling by
air traffic controllers and sabotage. Safety record of the
airline, whose operations remained suspended for not
fulfilling the required criteria, would certainly come
under question.

However, pilots and air accident experts, who helped Dawn
analyse the tragedy by putting together the chronology of
events, say the crash was fairly consistent with what could
have been caused by a wind shear. Unfortunately neither the
ageing aircraft nor the ill-equipped airport had wind shear
detection systems that could have forewarned the pilots and
ground controllers. The result was a catastrophe. Wind
shear is a meteorological phenomenon involving fast
changing wind patterns, mostly down drafts, that could
cause a landing aircraft to lose speed and altitude. If
proven this could be possibly the first case of air crash
in Pakistan caused by wind shear.

An official of the Met Department confirmed wind shear in
the area surrounding the airport at the time of the crash.
The pilots were landing under a strong headwind of 30 knots
(about 35 mph) picking up to a maximum of 40 knots (some 46
mph) after getting clearance from air traffic control at
the Benazir Bhutto International Airport. Airport Manager
Ashfaq Hussain confirmed that the aircraft had been cleared
to land and there wasno signal of distress from the pilots
till they were last in contact with the traffic

The plane at the time of the accident was flying at about
1500 to 1800 feet. Witnesses say that then it suddenly
started to drop and within seconds plummeted to the ground.
As the aircraft was making an approach for landing, it is
evident that pilots had reduced engine power by then and
once caught in the wind shear they had very little time to
increase the speed to come out of it.

The aircraft apparently then stalled and fell to the
ground. Air planes while landing particularly become
vulnerable to wind shear because the wheels and flaps are
down, inducing a drag, and engines are not operating at
full throttle, making it difficult to remain airborne. On
the ground the Bhoja Air jet broke into four pieces with no
major signs of burning.
Waleed Hassan, an aviation enthusiast, talking to this
correspondent from the site of the accident, said he hadn’t
seen any fire tenders putting out fire or smelt burnt
substance. Yes, some of the recovered engine pieces were
blackened. This was consistent with the claims by some
witnesses, who said they saw one of the engines on fire
before the jet came down. Experts say the pilots after
getting caught in wind shear may have tried to get out of
it by applying power, but one of the engines in the process
may have flamed out, in causing the plane to go into
‘unusual attitude’. A lesser likelihood, the experts said,
could be fuel depletion.


21, April, 2012


Ephedrine case: ANF told not to malign anyone unnecessarily


By Nasir Iqbal

ISLAMABAD, April 20: The Supreme Court ordered the Anti-
Narcotics Force (ANF) on Friday to continue its
investigation into the ephedrine scandal in a fair,
independent and transparent manner and avoid maligning
anyone unnecessarily.

The scandal also involves Ali Musa Gilani, younger son of
the prime minister.

A three-judge bench comprising Chief Justice Iftikhar
Muhammad Chaudhry, Justice Khilji Arif Hussain and Justice
Tariq Parvez had taken up a petition moved by Brig Fahim
Ahmed Khan, Regional Director of ANF Islamabad.

Advocate Raja Shahid Mehmood Abbasi, representing the ANF,
complained in the court that hurdles and hindrances were
being created to obstruct the investigation.
The court was informed that the ANF had taken up the case
on July 6 last year, but when it transpired during the
course of investigation that some influential political
personalities were involved in it, interference started and
Narcotics Control Secretary Zafar Abbas also sent a letter
to the ANF on April 3 this year.

During the proceedings there was a heated exchange between
the bench and Zafar Abbas and at one stage the bench asked
the latter not to cross his limits.

The letter by Mr Abbas said the ANF had so for not traced
any facility which could convert ephedrine into any
narcotic material and no evidence of misuse of ephedrine
had been found. Besides, it said, there was no evidence to
show any role of influential persons which could constitute
a narcotic offence and on the basis of facts mentioned in
the FIR no-one could be considered guilty of a crime.

The letter said the Ministry of Narcotics Control did not
issue an NOC for the allocation of quota for locally-
manufactured ephedrine which proved that the case did not
fall under the Control Narcotics Substance Act, 1997, but
under the Drugs Act of 1976. Since the issue was outside
the purview of the CNS Act, the culpability of the accused
named in the FIR was totally absent, it added.

The letter advised the ANF to forward   the case to the Drug
Regulatory Agency of Pakistan so that   it could be dealt
with in accordance with the Drugs Act   of 1976 as per advice
of the Law, Justice and Parliamentary   Affairs Division.

ANF Director General Maj-Gen Syed Shakeel Hussain informed
the court that the narcotics control secretary had on April
6, 2012 (at 10am) issued his repatriation order, but it was
withdrawn at 11am. At about 2pm the same day, he was called
back by the defence authorities through an independent

However, the ANF chief could not say whether this
notification was issued after the withdrawal of the
repatriation order or prior to that.

Advocate Salman Akram Raja submitted an application on
behalf of Khushnood Akhtar Lashari, Principal Secretary to
the Prime Minister, for becoming a party in the case, which
was allowed by the court.
He said he was also representing Ali Musa Gilani who had
been advised to cooperate with the narcotics authorities in
the investigation and, if needed, also appear before the
court. A concise statement in this regard would also be
filed, he said.

Advocate Mirza Waqas Rauf filed a petition on behalf of
Sheikh Rashid Ahmed. It highlighted the heinous nature of
the crime which, according to the petitioner, was an
offence against the entire society.

The court issued notices in this regard.


21, April, 2012


Siachen to be demilitarised only if India does the same:


By Mohammad Aslam Piracha

OKARA, April 20: President Asif Ali Zardari has ruled out
unilateral troop withdrawal from Siachen and said that
demilitarisation of the area would be possible only if
India also agreed to it.

Addressing a convention of workers of his party at the
residence of Minister for Kashmir Affairs Mian Manzoor
Ahmad Khan Wattoo in Wasawela on Friday, Mr Zardari said
Pakistan was willing to hold talks with India on all

The president and the people attending the convention
offered prayers for the army personnel trapped in Siachen.

The president said the government would consider a proposal
put forth by Mian Manzoor Wattoo for connecting Multan with
New Delhi with a route through the Sulemanki headworks to
boost trade and economic activities.
Maintaining his tirade against the Sharifs, Mr Zardari
against severely criticised the Sharifs and said that
Shahbaz Sharif was behaving like a Mughal prince.

He said he and his party had delegated powers to provinces,
but Mian Shahbaz was not ready to hand over 17 provincial
ministries to his MPAs.

He said the younger Sharif always heaped slur on the PPP
and its leadership, while the PPP talked about

He said he had supported the N-League government in Punjab
in order to assess their political capability.


21, April, 2012


Nawaz denies calling for unilateral Siachen pullout


By Syed Irfan Raza

ISLAMABAD, April 20: In what appeared to be a response to
Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani’s Wednesday statement, PML-N chief
Mian Nawaz Sharif qualified his earlier comments on

Mr Sharif announced that he had not called for a unilateral
withdrawal of Pakistani troops from Siachen, but called for
a resumption of a peace dialogue between Pakistan and
India. The hope is that such dialogues may result in both
countries pulling out their troops from the conflict zone.

He was speaking at a press conference at the Punjab House.
Mr Sharif made his original statement during a visit to
Siachen on Tuesday. A day later, Gen Kayani during his
visit to the area said that a unilateral withdrawal would
not be possible, which was seen as an implied criticism of
Mr Sharif’s statement.
Others too joined the chorus including the ruling party
leadership. At a public meeting in Okara on Friday,
President Asif Ali Zardari also said that Pakistan would
not withdraw troops from Siachen unilaterally.

The Siachen issue dominated the press conference and other
PML-N leaders also jumped in to clear the


“Some sections of the media have misinterpreted Nawaz
Sharif’s statement.

He had said that Pakistan should initiate Pak-India
peaceful dialogue but not that it should unilaterally
withdraw Pakistani troops from Siachen and other bordering
areas,” said PML-N’s Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan at the press

“We should take a step forward to take an initiative for
meaningful dialogue, for reducing tensions, and for cutting
defence expenditures by the two sides so that the countries
could spend more and more on the welfare of their people,”
said Mr Sharif.

The PML-N leader, during whose tenure the 1999 Kargil
conflict had taken place, agreed that Pakistan and India
had committed ‘mistakes’ in the past.

“Both sides should not repeat mistakes,” he said.

When asked why he had not taken such initiatives, which he
and Chaudhry Nisar were now suggesting, during his tenure,
Mr Sharif argued that both of his tenures were too short
for significant progress.

Sharif and the military

Aside from the Siachen issue, the press conference was used
to announce that retired general and former military
secretary for Benazir Bhutto, Abdul Qayyum, had joined the

When asked why his criticism of military generals did not
translate into his party’s policy on new inductions, Sharif
explained his decision and said: “All generals are not
Pervez Musharraf. Many of them are patriotic Pakistanis.”

Talking about the country’s defence budget, he agreed that
it should be discussed and approved in the parliament. “It
had already been decided in the Charter of Democracy signed
by me and Benazir Bhutto that the defence budget of the
country should be decided in the parliament,” he said.

Gen (retd) Abdul Qayyum said he joined Mr Sharif’s party
because the country’s biggest challenge was poverty.

“The PML-N has a team of economists that can help overcome
poverty under the guidance of Nawaz Sharif,” he said.

The opposition

Mr Sharif denied that his party was behaving as a friendly
opposition. “The language which President Zardari has used
about us recently does not reflect that we are friendly,”
he said.

When asked whether the PML-N would go for another long
march to oust the PPP-led government, he said there was no
such plan on the cards, but added that opposition’s
effective role had restrained the ruling elite from
committing wrongdoings.

Chaudhry Nisar criticised Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaaf chairman
Imran Khan for not visiting Siachen where 138 soldiers and
civilians were buried after an avalanche on April 7, and
where the rescue operation was still under way. “Imran has
no money to visit Siachen, but he has resources to spend
millions of rupees on his public meetings and foreign
tours,” he said.

He added that the PTI chief always raised his voice for
missing persons, but seemed to have no time to visit the
missing persons’ camp established in Islamabad by their


21, April, 2012

West’s Afghan withdrawal worries Commander


PESHAWAR, April 20: The withdrawal of most combat troops
from Afghanistan at the end of 2014 has raised questions
from Kabul to Brussels to Washington about the potential
chaos that may follow if the Taliban press to take over

Few people are as worried about what the pullout could
trigger in Pakistan as Lieutenant-General Khalid Rabbani,
commander of the corps fighting militants in the northwest
of the country.

Sitting in his office in the heavily-fortified headquarters
of the XI Corps in Peshawar, he speaks anxiously about
creating the right perceptions as the foreign troop exit

“If they are leaving and giving a notion of success to the
Taliban of Afghanistan, this notion of success may have a
snowballing effect on to the threat matrix of Afghanistan,”
Gen Rabbani told Reuters in an interview this week.

“On our side, it may give impetus to the already dying down
so-called Tehrik-i-Taliban’s effort over here.”

One of the most notorious Pakistani Taliban leaders,
Afghanistan-based Mullah Fazlullah, has already
demonstrated what may be in store if US-led Nato forces
fail to stabilise Afghanistan before 2014. Hundreds of his
fighters staged cross-border raids on Pakistani posts last
summer, killing dozens of Pakistani soldiers.

“Our friends on the other side know exactly where they are
because we communicate it to them. But they have capacity
issues,” said Gen Rabbani, referring to western and Afghan

“I wonder, that if the superpowers and the western world
operating on the other side, they have capacity issues, we
certainly have them too.”
Gen Rabbani took command at a time of deep crisis in
relations between Washington and Islamabad, a week after a
cross-border Nato air attack killed 24 Pakistan soldiers on
Nov 26.

About drone strikes, which fuel anti-American sentiment in
the country, Gen Rabbani said he acknowledged the strikes
could be effective, but added they also killed civilians
and were counter-productive.

“You kill five, and you’re making 50 more enemies. It’s
very clear arithmetic. This is the arithmetic that we’re
trying to make them understand,” he said, adding that
instead intelligence should be shared so that Pakistan
could act.

“They may indicate (a target), we’ll pound it with the
precision shooting of our F-16s. So it can be done, it has
been done at one or two places. Why can’t this model be
followed, we keep on telling them this is a possible model
to be followed.”

The United States has repeatedly urged Pakistan to mount a
full-scale assault on North Waziristan and go after the
Haqqani network, reportedly one of the deadliest militant
groups. —Reuters


21, April, 2012


Pakistan, India and Afghanistan sign TAPI fee deal


By Khaleeq Kiani

ISLAMABAD, April 20: Petroleum Minister Dr Asim Hussain
said on Friday that Pakistan, Afghanistan and India had
signed early this week an agreement on a transit fee of US
cents 49 per MMBTU (million British thermal unit) for $7.6
billion Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas
pipeline project.

The project is likely to bring gas to Pakistan by December
2016, depending on a credible security apparatus in
Afghanistan where it will provide 500 mmcfd of gas.

“The transit tariff has been concluded and signed,” said
the minister at a news conference.

He said initial media reports about failure of talks over
the transit fee were not correct.

He congratulated Afghanistan and India for resolving the
issue and said it marked a major progress for the project.

The project involves a 1435-kilometre pipeline of 56-inch
diameter from Ashgabat to Multan. The pipeline from
Daultabad gas field in Turkmenistan will run 145km in the
host country, 735 kilometres in Afghanistan and 555
kilometres in Pakistan up to Multan under the preferred
southern route via Herat and Kandahar. It will then run
another 250 kilometres from Multan to Fazilka in India,
covering a total distance of around 1,685 kilometres.

An official said that since the transit fee finalised by
the negotiating teams was subject to approval by their
respective governments, its announcement was not made at
the conclusion of talks, leading to reports about
inconclusive negotiations.

Dr Asim said that Pakistan had played a key role in
bringing India and Afghanistan to a common ground and its
efforts had been appreciated by the two countries.

He said that India would pay about 49.5 cents per MMBTU to
Afghanistan as transit fee. Pakistan would charge India the
same rate for the pipeline segment in Pakistan and pay it
to Afghanistan for allowing the pipeline to reach Pakistan.

Dr Hussain said the participating parties would assemble in
Ashgabat on May 24 for a conclusive meeting where
Turkmenistan would come up with its upstream development
plan for providing gas to the pipeline. On that occasion,
Pakistan and Turkmenistan would also sign a formal gas
sales and purchase agreement. India and Turkmensitan, he
said, had already signed the GSPA while Afghanistan was
about to sign a similar agreement.

Replying to a question about Iran-Pakistan pipeline, the
minister said Pakistan had made it clear that this project
would be built and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani had
also stated this in various public statements.

While a contractor was working on the design of the
pipeline, the project was entering into the second phase
whereby an advertisement for Engineering-Procurement-
Construction (EPC) contract would be issued next week.

The minister said the nation was facing a severe energy
crisis because no government in the past ever took the
issue seriously. Steps are being taken to improve the
situation, even though people would continue to face
difficulties for four years.

He said the crucial mistake was made by past governments
which allowed maximum dependence on gas resources and
worsened the energy mix. Asked about the recent
controversial appointment of chairman of Oil and Gas
Regulatory Authority (Ogra) who did not have any oil and
gas sector experience and qualification as required under
the rules, the minister said he was not part of the
decision and hence the question should be posed to the
cabinet division.

He, however, said that as a member of the selection
committee he had shortlisted three candidates for the post
of OGDCL managing director who had 30-40 years of relevant
experience and qualification.

Dr Hussain said he had just returned from Algeria where he
discussed the possibility of importing liquefied natural
gas (LNG) to meet the country’s energy needs. He said that
technical teams of the two countries would meet soon to
discuss technical details. He said the import of LNG from
Qatar was also in the process.

He said the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC)
of the United States had warned the government against LNG
pricing review in less than five years owing to
uncertainties over rates of return and hence the LNG
contracts would be signed for 10 to 15 years to provide
more clarity to investors.
He said the Pakistan State Oil had been directed to
establish 100 liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) filling
stations for the shortage-hit CNG-run transport. He said
the trial run had proven that LPG cost an average of Rs6
per kilometre compared with Rs5 per km for CNG and Rs9.50
per km for petrol.




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


15, April, 2012


Positive steps


PAKISTAN’S relationship with India has finally reached a
stage where pleasant surprises are no longer rare. We are
not sure at this point whether Pakistanis are ready for an
urgent investment in India. It is also not clear whether
Pakistan will end up getting electricity from Indian power
producers. What restores confidence in our ability to
negotiate are images in which Islamabad and New Delhi are
engaged in talks that have substance. The signs are that,
in this environment, it is not impossible for the two
countries to have good-neighbourly ties. Matters have moved
fast enough for India to not only allow foreign direct
investment from Pakistan, but also for the two countries to
discuss facilities such as the opening of banks.
In New Delhi on Friday, Indian Industry Minister Anand
Sharma said the procedures and requirements for allowing
FDI from Pakistan were in the formulation stage and would
be notified “very soon”. A reconfirmation that the two
neighbours have reached a stage where they can jointly
remove an obstacle came a few hours later: Indian Home
Minister P. Chidambaram and visiting Pakistani Commerce
Minister Makhdoom Amin Fahim inaugurated an integrated
check post at the Attari-Wagah border to benefit
travellers. Specifically for Pakistan, it was good to see
Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif — who recently refused to
receive President Zardari in Lahore — hop across to stand
by Mr Fahim’s side during the ceremony. This did appear to
be proof of Pakistani consensus on India.

True, these developments have everything to do with global
dynamics and the role of the powerful in shaping these
dynamics. Of course this is all about the business of give
and take for the world does not know a better formula for
building a relationship. But there will be some thorny
issues on the way as Islamabad and New Delhi walk, and are
guided, along the way to ‘normalistaion’, which is but a
relative term. A few daunting challenges remain. Kashmir is
the most difficult of them. And even if the two sides play
friends to local and international galleries at the moment,
they have to be careful which deals they strike and at what
price. Take electricity from India. If it is going to cost
Pakistan more than it can realistically afford, Islamabad
must assert its right to buy it from a cheaper source. The
idea of a free world based on fair give and take would be
jeopardised if it turns out that some of the promises in
the Indian package are flaunted just to wean Pakistan away
from exploring other — inexpensive — options, say
electricity from Iran.


15, April, 2012


Unwarranted expansion

THE expansion of the federal cabinet, with 11 new ministers
and ministers of state inducted, contradicts the prime
minister’s earlier claim of being on an austerity drive
when he had right-sized his cabinet. The government has not
explained the new expansion, or the urgency with which it
has been carried out. The cabinet now comprises 53 members,
including advisers and special assistants to the prime
minister. It does not appear to realise that the swelling
numbers have little rationale at a time when many
ministries with real jobs to do have been devolved to the
provinces. What prompted it to take this measure then? Is
it a simple case of rewarding poll-winning party loyalists
in the run up to the next election in order to thwart their
being poached by rival parties? We raise this question
because the expanded federal cabinet does not include a new
minister from amongst its coalition partners, a fact that
has reportedly created ripples in the PML-Q, MQM and ANP.
Had it been a case of keeping coalition partners happy by
offering them token ministries, the move would have been
perhaps more understandable.

It is precisely such acts of omission and commission which
leave the government open to criticism by the opposition.
Already brows are being raised over the induction in the
cabinet again of Raja Pervez Ashraf, whose name the Supreme
Court had directed the National Accountability Bureau to
put on the Exit Control List, as the court proceeds with
the rental power plant deals made under him as water and
power minister. The expansion of the federal cabinet is an
insensitive act at a time when the government in its four
years in office has little to show in terms of good
governance, a grip on law and order or economic management
or, indeed, transparency in appointments. If for nothing
else a more responsible government would have acted with
some circumspection in the face of allegations by the
opposition and general criticism by the public and media.
Indeed, circumspection is a word not much heard or
considered in our corridors of power.


15, April, 2012

Theft by PIA crew


ONE doesn’t know whether to laugh or cry. The UK’s Greater
Manchester Police has complained to the PIA management that
its crew members are in the habit of stealing, and has
asked the airline to take steps to prevent this. What have
they been making off with? Objects of little worth, to be
sure — glasses, towels, kettles etc from hotel rooms
besides shoplifting small items — but this does little to
lessen the degree of shame associated with such acts. The
communication’s wording indicates the embarrassment of the
police superintendent in raising the issue. In fact, the
relatively low value of the items being pilfered would
imply that PIA staff are indulging in this activity not out
of need or for monetary gain — not that either would
justify their illegal activities — but out of a callous
disregard for rules and upright behaviour. Given that
complaints have risen to a level where some action is
necessary, the communication asks the airline to address
the matter internally since, if arrested, crew members
would have to be detained overnight thus disturbing flight

The shame this brings to Pakistan is made all the worse by
the fact that such incidents involve the country’s flagship
carrier. The manner in which PIA has been run to the ground
over the past decades is widely known. The airline has
fallen from being one of the world’s top fleets in the
1960s to a creaking state enterprise that is barely keeping
afloat. Yet incompetence or mismanagement is one thing,
petty criminality quite another. Such activity only
strengthens the impression that Pakistanis are an unruly
and undisciplined people, who resort to malpractices not
because they have to but because they revel in them. PIA
had better clean up its act; meanwhile, the thieving crew
should be ashamed of themselves.


16, April, 2012

Hazara killings


YET another series of attacks against the Shia Hazara
community in Balochistan over the weekend has raised fresh
questions about the state’s inability or, as some quarters
darkly suggest, unwillingness to take on the sectarian
killers in the province headlined by the Lashkar-i-Jhangvi
Balochistan. To be sure, with only a small number of
hardcore militants believed to be involved, stopping them
will not be easy. But there are disturbing signs that the
killings are yet to shake the political and security
apparatus in Balochistan out of its stupor. Even more
problematically, members of the provincial government are
being accused by the Hazara community of either providing
sanctuary to the killers or of turning a blind eye to their
presence in certain areas.

What is clear is that Balochistan has a growing problem of
radicalisation. A network of madressahs and mosques has
mushroomed in Baloch areas like the districts of Mastung,
Khuzdar, Noshki and Kalat. With little to no oversight of
their operations, the network has injected into parts of
the Baloch population a growing intolerance along
sectarian, i.e. Sunni-Shia, lines. Add to that mixture the
recruiting of LJ type militant outfits and a relatively
small problem can snowball. In Balochistan, the surge in
targeting the Hazara community this year and particularly
in the last few weeks is not well understood. It could be
that a ‘deadline’ for the Hazaras to leave Quetta, for
example, set by the militants has expired. Or with the
space for sectarian attacks in other parts of the country
somewhat reduced, the Hazaras in lawless Balochistan are an
easier target.

Whatever the reasons for the surge in killings and attacks,
the matter seems to be beyond the control of regular law-
enforcement agencies. Police in Quetta are themselves
targets of sectarian killers and do not have the resources
to fight back or defend themselves. And if the police’s
political bosses in the provincial government are
disinclined to take on the sectarian militants, there’s
little the police can do anyway. Which leaves the
intelligence apparatus. The LJ in Balochistan is precisely
the kind of entity that intelligence agencies are meant to
track and help dismantle. The damaging war against Baloch
separatists being led by the intelligence agencies is real
enough but it’s not reason enough to preclude other actions
by those agencies. But what if the agencies see strategic
reasons to leave some groups untouched? The Hazaras of
Balochistan are truly caught between a rock and a hard


16, April, 2012


Repatriation of prisoners


PRESIDENT Zardari has written to Indian Prime Minister
Manmohan Singh requesting him to release octogenarian
Pakistani virologist Dr Khaleel Chishty. The doctor has
spent the last two decades in India, where he had gone to
visit his mother but ended up facing murder charges
following a mêlée in Ajmer. Handed a lengthy sentence last
year, Dr Chishty was recently granted bail by the Indian
Supreme Court following the president’s short visit to
Ajmer and Delhi. The president has requested the Indian
leader to repatriate the virologist considering his
“advanced age and his precarious health condition”. It is
hoped that Mr Singh responds positively to Mr Zardari’s
request so that Dr Chishty can be reunited with his family
in Karachi. In a related development, the Indian Supreme
Court has ordered the authorities to repatriate Pakistani
prisoners who remain incarcerated in Indian jails despite
completing their sentences. Media reports indicate that
some of the Pakistanis in Indian jails suffer from
disabilities and psychiatric disorders.

India and Pakistan should take advantage of the current
bonhomie and work out a permanent mechanism whereby
prisoners in each other’s jails are swiftly repatriated
after completion of their sentences and are not held
without charge. Both states do exchange prisoners’ lists
each year, but clearly the process needs to be overhauled.
Many people are arrested for overstaying or other minor
infractions and end up languishing in jail for years on
end. The home/interior ministries of both countries need to
maintain updated information on the number of prisoners
belonging to the other country in their respective jails as
well as what charges they are being held on and the number
of years they have been incarcerated so that individuals do
not remain in prison indefinitely. The Pakistan high
commission in Delhi also needs to be more proactive in
ensuring Pakistanis in Indian jails have consular access.


17, April, 2012


Intelligence debacle


IT was an intelligence failure of horrendous proportions.
Somewhere between 100 and 150 militants launched an assault
on Bannu Central Prison soon after midnight on Saturday.
Blowing the main gates apart with rocket-propelled
grenades, they caused 384 of over 900 inmates in the
facility to escape in what is being described as the
country’s biggest jailbreak. It is disturbing to know that
the most high-profile of the escaped prisoners was Adnan
Rashid, sentenced to death for an attempt on the life of
Pervez Musharraf and whose release was the apparent
objective of the assault. Equally alarming is the escape of
some other hardened criminals on death row including known
militants. The raid, responsibility for which has been
claimed by the TTP, was obviously well planned; while some
men were inside the jail, others erected barricades at all
the access roads. As it turned out, though, the militants
met with virtually no resistance.

Such a lapse of intelligence, after a series of security
breaches including the GHQ attack and later the undetected
presence of Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad and the assault
on PNS Mehran, casts serious doubts over the abilities and
effectiveness of the security and law-enforcement
establishments. The area from Bannu to Miramshah has long
been considered militant-infested and the Pakistan Army
maintains a significant presence there. Unlike the tribal
areas, the law-enforcement apparatus is extant. If
militants’ activities here are not being effectively
monitored, and such a strike, which must have taken months
of planning, can be conducted without the knowledge of the
intelligence network, it belies the latter’s claims of
success against terrorist outfits. Why should Pakistanis,
or indeed the world, trust the authorities when they say
they have the security situation under control? Not only
did a convoy of vehicles reach the jail without difficulty,
the absence of a rapid response betrayed the security
apparatus’s total lack of preparedness. And this despite
more than a decade of resisting militant groups that appear
to be far more organised.

As a result of this debacle, the militants’ ranks are sure
to be swelled by a large number of new recruits, with the
Pakistani Taliban being even further emboldened. This
incident should make clear to those who give excuses and
justifications for the militants’ excesses what the
intentions of such elements towards the Pakistani state
are: they have not simply declared a war on drone strikes
or the American presence in Afghanistan. As for the
security establishment, so often in the news for sordid
tales such as ‘Mehrangate’, the incident should serve as a
reminder of what its priorities should be.


17, April, 2012


Siachen reminder


THERE is little reason why a Pakistani tragedy in Siachen
should prompt the Indian government to seek a settlement on
the icy heights — unless wiser counsel prevails. A
‘comprehensive settlement’ was pledged in the 1989 joint
statement signed by the then Pakistani and Indian defence
secretaries on June 17 as a result of back-channel
diplomacy when Benazir Bhutto and Rajiv Gandhi were prime
ministers. The agreement, which a senior Pakistan Foreign
Office official recently asked India to honour, has
remained a piece of paper for more than two decades. It is
unlikely to be translated into an international treaty
because the security establishments of both countries have
frustrated attempts by their civilian leaderships to end
the conflict on the world’s highest battlefield. At the
moment, Indian generals think their troops are in a
strategically advantageous position. A pullback to the 1984
positions, before fighting began in Siachen, would in their
opinion deprive the Indian army of the operational
advantage it enjoys at present. If there is a pullback, the
Indian side insists, the existing positions must be marked
on maps and ground.

Pakistan’s position is simpler: let the two sides withdraw
to the 1984 positions and pledge to turn the glacier into a
demilitarised zone. There are reasons to believe that many
Indian governments wanted to clinch an agreement on Siachen
but were frustrated by their defence establishment.
Essentially, it is for the Manmohan Singh government to put
its foot down and end a conflict in which more men have
died from harsh climatic conditions than in actual combat.
A Siachen settlement will have a positive effect on the
overall relationship between Pakistan and India and quicken
the pace of normalisation.


18, April, 2012


Seraiki province


IT was perhaps inevitable: with President Zardari camping
out in southern Punjab for a couple of days, talk of a
‘Seraiki’ province would be whipped up again. And so it
came to pass, this time with the president’s suggestion
that a new ‘Seraiki Bank’ would be established — though the
modalities and legality of such a step were conveniently
overlooked. That the PPP is playing up the emotionalism of
the Seraiki issue in the pivotal south Punjab region ahead
of the next election is known to one and all. But it has
already forced a concession from the PML-N, which was
perceived as being reluctant to carve up its Punjab base.
Earlier this week, Nawaz Sharif endorsed the creation of a
new province essentially reviving the territorial limits of
the old Bahawalpur state.

While political rhetoric regarding the creation of new
provincial units is common nowadays — perhaps keeping
upcoming general elections in mind — the fact remains that
this will not be an easy task. It is true that Seraiki
speakers have a distinct identity and their voices need to
be heard. Perhaps the first step should be the initiation
of a debate on the issue; legislators, civil society and
most importantly the people of regions demanding separate
provincial status must discuss the question. If there is
accord the debate can move to the legislatures. Aside from
the constitutional process, there are thorny questions
regarding the division of assets, resources and redrawing
of boundaries. For example what will be the geographical
boundaries of a proposed Seraiki province? Will it
incorporate three divisions of southern Punjab, as the
president suggested, or will the Seraiki-speaking parts of
other provinces be included? It should also be realised
that forward movement on the Seraiki issue will energise
demands for other provincial units, such as the Hazara belt
in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. In Sindh, the issue of division is
at least publicly disowned by the major parties with the
MQM denying it wants a ‘Mohajir province’; however, the
appearance of posters and graffiti demanding such a
province has raised the suspicions of Sindhi nationalists.

In Punjab, it is fairly clear that the PML-N needs to
discuss the Seraiki\Bahawalpur issue with the PPP-led
federal government. The call for a new province must not be
motivated by point scoring and political expediency,
neither should it be rushed before the next polls simply to
grab votes. Also, the province’s assent is key and cannot
be overruled. The question of new provinces requires
thought and consensus, not bluster and hyperbole, while the
creation of new units should be guided by the need for
better governance and devolution of power.


18, April, 2012


Need for impartiality


EXCESS and abuse of power are apparently two sides of the
same coin regardless of who tosses it. In the controversial
case involving ephedrine release to two pharmaceutical
companies under investigation by the Anti-Narcotics Force
(ANF), first it was the prime minister who summarily
dismissed senior ANF officials who were investigating the
case. This was done seemingly to thwart investigations by
the force, which allegedly led to the PM’s son Ali Musa
Gilani. And now it is the ANF officials who took the case
of their peers’ dismissal to court and started acting in a
questionable manner. The letter sent by the ANF inquiry
officer to the PM Secretariat asking for the record of
visitors to that office since 2009 is the action in
question. Even if this sensitive information is required
for investigating an alleged Rs7bn scam, the request should
have been routed through the narcotics control ministry.
But the ANF — with military officers on board — has also
picked a bone with the ministry to which it is accountable.
This conduct may be based on the disdain military officers
have historically shown for civilian authorities, but it
has no basis in law in a democratic set-up.

Investigation into the scam is important, but there are
limits which should not be crossed. The ANF’s letter to the
PM Secretariat appears to be an effort to undermine an
elected government. This paper has defended the
investigation, yet a line must be drawn if the probe
transforms into an effort to malign the prime minister and
his family. Musa Gilani may have curried favour and may
have been involved in wrongdoing. Only an impartial
investigation can unearth the facts. The probe must
continue and the transfers out of the ANF need to be looked
into. Yet the investigation cannot be given a partisan
colour and there must be no agenda at work. The ANF will
have to show that it is not out to get the PM’s son to
settle scores with Mr Gilani for firing its officials. It
must not appear as if some quarters are running a smear
campaign against the elected government.


18, April, 2012


KCR ‘revival’


TALKING about a revival of the Karachi Circular Railway is
a bad joke. On Monday, for the umpteenth time, we were
given a timetable about when a study regarding the circular
railway would be ready. The Japanese told Sindh’s chief
secretary the report would be completed by November. We
have been here before. The Japanese — like many other
foreign donors — are serious. Their offer to rebuild the
KCR has been there for a long time. If there is no progress
and the KCR track remains buried under tonnes of rock and
sand, it is the Pakistani bureaucracy and the federal and
provincial governments which must accept the blame. A
revived KCR must still be welcomed, even though it will be
a poor substitute for the mass transit scheme which has
existed on paper since the seventies, when a plan was drawn
up for a five-and-a-half mile underground “spine” track
from Liaquatabad to Tower. The military government, which
seized power in 1977, shelved it. The Junejo government
revived it, and an Indus Mass Transit Company came into
being, providing for elevated railway tracks in phases.
Money was pledged by a number of foreign agencies, and even
the cornerstone was laid by a prime minister. But the plan
never saw the light of day.

The ‘soft loan’ offer by the Japan International
Cooperation Agency is magnanimous — $1.58bn in easy
instalments spread over 40 years. What, then, is
officialdom waiting for? It is waiting, because that is
what it does. The failure to see the mass transit scheme
get going and years of dithering over the KCR have reduced
public transport projects for Karachi to an academic
discourse. More regrettably, there is lack of governmental
will, for the political leadership has not put its foot
down and pressured the bureaucracy into expediting any of
these projects.


19, April, 2012


Pak-US negotiations


THE seemingly interminable process of resetting ties with
the US got another nudge in the right direction on Tuesday
with the Defence Committee of the Cabinet giving its
official approval for the start of negotiations with the US
in light of the parliamentary resolution last week. The
process from here should be relatively quick and result-
oriented. While US frustration has spilled over at times
since the closure of the NATO supply routes in November —
the recent bounty on Hafiz Saeed being an example — by and
large the US has showed restraint. After the coordinated
attacks by the Taliban in several provinces, the US notably
did not blame Pakistan or sanctuaries here for helping
facilitate the attacks. With the emphasis on the American
side on the resumption of ties rather than squabbling over
differences, Pakistan appears to still have a negotiating
partner interested in getting results rather than
amplifying differences. But the question still remains: how
will Pakistani negotiators get the best deal for Pakistan?
It will be a real test of Pakistan’s diplomatic skills in
the days ahead to produce an outcome that will be hailed
back home as well as welcomed by the Americans.

However, perhaps what Pakistani negotiators should keep in
mind is what is at stake. The closure of the NATO supply
routes was not just an act of protest against the US, it
affects each and every foreign country with a presence in
Afghanistan. As such, Pakistan was taking on not just the
world’s only military superpower but the collective
economic and military might of the developed world. While
many of America’s allies and partners may even be
sympathetic to Pakistan’s concerns, when it comes to its
relationship with the US the other countries’ concern first
and foremost would be the safety and success of their
mission in Afghanistan. Pakistan is really not in a
position to unnecessarily antagonise a spectrum of the
international community owing to a dispute with the US.

Clearly, there is much more at stake than just the supply
routes. Drones, for example, remain a sticking point, even
if the DCC did not play up that aspect. But the supply
route is what Pakistan chose to leverage last November and
if it expects to gain going forward, it needs to work out a
sustainable arrangement on that issue. Such has been the
atmosphere of anti-Americanism that has been fomented since
November that the safety of the NATO convoys will
definitely have to be looked at. The last thing Pakistan
would need is being shown up as unable to deliver even on
the little it has pledged while it continually asks for


19, April, 2012


Truly a pipe dream


THIS is odd, if not outright bizarre — Pakistan,
Afghanistan and India talking about the pricing formula of
a unit of Turkmen gas to be conveyed by a pipeline across
war-torn Afghanistan. Impressive was the seriousness with
which delegates from the three countries discussed the
issue in Islamabad. Afghanistan will charge Pakistan and
India for hosting the pipeline across its mountainous mass,
while Islamabad will in turn ask New Delhi to pay it a like
amount. There was no agreement during the two-day
negotiations that concluded on Tuesday. The three parties
are to meet again at a date not yet specified, and if they
fail to agree on a formula, the Asian Development Bank will
play mediator. Assuming that the three sides will develop a
consensus at their next meeting or, failing that, the ADB’s
good offices will clinch a deal in Ashgabat next month,
some pertinent questions deserve to be asked: is peace
around the corner in Afghanistan? Will the American
withdrawal by 2014 — unlikely to be total — be followed by
a lasting peace? Will gas start flowing through the TAPI
pipeline by December 2016 as hoped for? If all this is in
the realm of uncertainty, doesn’t common sense suggest
opting for the relatively hassle-free and terrain-wise easy
Iran pipeline?

India’s stand on the TAPI project defies logic, if we
consider its stance on the other pipeline. New Delhi used
to complain — before it buckled under American pressure and
ditched the three-state project — that it was worried about
the security of supply from Pakistan. Do not the same
security concerns apply to the TAPI pipeline? While the
TAPI project is dependent upon the chimera that is peace in
Afghanistan, an IPI pipeline can become a reality in a
short time, because Tehran has already laid the pipeline
across Iranian territory. If India reconsiders its decision
to renege on the IPI project, gas can start flowing from
Iran to India via Pakistan in a relatively short time.
Pakistan, our eastern neighbour must accept, will be there
in any case, whether India opts for TAPI or IPI or for


19, April, 2012


Callous protest


EVEN myths need some care and a little looking after for
survival. Much has been said about Chief Minister Shahbaz
Sharif’s struggle to live up to his reputation as a tough
administrator. The long dispute between the Punjab
government and the Young Doctors’ Association shatters
another illusion: that the ‘enlightened’ are more open to a
dialogue and a negotiated solution to issues. This young
front emerged on the scene a few years back. It has since
graduated through a series of crippling but successful
strikes to be today regarded, in fact feared, as a potent
force with the power to shut the hospital doors on the ‘sea
of suffering humanity’.

Their latest grouse is the transfers of young doctors from
the more privileged public-sector teaching hospitals to
smaller government-run health facilities in and away from
big urban centres. The transfers are standard practice. The
older batches have to each year move on to give way to a
younger set that must undergo apprenticeship at the
teaching hospitals. In this particular case, the health
department has been guilty of ordering some transfers where
doctors had not yet completed their mandatory
apprenticeship. Even then, the YDA’s reaction of forcibly
closing down hospitals is too strong to stand the test of
logic. The Pakistan Medical Association (PMA), controlled
by senior doctors, says the strike is unethical, but this
call is of little practical value considering the
disconnect between the senior and junior doctors. A bridge
must be built between senior and junior doctors and between
the latter and other agents, such as lawmakers, who can
help them realise their demands. These have to be first
processed through long and serious deliberations.
Emboldened by their past victories, the young doctors are
not prepared to explore other options. They are too fond of
striking, and striking where it hurts the most.


20, April, 2012


Solution to Siachen

WITH Gen Kayani’s statements in favour of the
demilitarisation of Siachen, there is now a publicly stated
consensus on the political – government and opposition –
and military sides that the world’s highest theatre of
conflict should come to an end. His remarks followed a
visit with President Zardari to the site where Pakistani
soldiers and several civilians are believed to be buried
under enormous amounts of rubble and ice. With another
round of talks on the Siachen issue due with India soon,
this may be the time to push for a political settlement to
a conflict that few even in India believe makes sense. The
realist school of thought may be sceptical about whether
the tragedy could be the catalyst for a better outcome but
perhaps the overall thaw in relations between the two
countries in the recent past could help create the right
environment for a resolution of the Siachen conflict.

A key point is that Gen Kayani’s statements were not
limited to Siachen but referred to the overall framework in
which the defence of the country should be ensured. To hear
an army chief so openly talk about how the defence of a
country was not dependent on just soldiers and weaponry but
also on the robustness of its society and economy was a
welcome nod to reality. To actually arrive at a situation
where Pakistan spends less on defence, however, remains a
major challenge. A major factor would be to what extent the
fears and suspicions on the country’s eastern border can be
reduced. Direct trade is a potential game-changer but as
with any move in which there will be winners and losers,
there is still some way to go before it becomes an
irreversible reality. A deal on Siachen or Sir Creek have
long been presented by the Pakistani side as the so-called
‘low-hanging fruit’, but India has been disinclined to
share that view — though the tragedy in Siachen could
propel talks on a deal there. Beyond that, in the near
term, there is the post-war future of Afghanistan and
India’s involvement in that country that could present an
opportunity for both countries to break out of the zero-sum
mindset that so often characterises ties between the two

What should be clear is that if ties between India and
Pakistan are to be improved, it will require an equal
amount of commitment and input from India. Many of
Pakistan’s national security and foreign policy choices may
be hard to defend but Indian intransigence or churlishness
has certainly played its role in the past in keeping ties
from improving meaningfully and irreversibly.


20, April, 2012


After the operations


THEORETICALLY at least, the task of ridding the north-
western parts of the country of the scourge of militancy is
simple: send in the army. What happens afterwards, though?
As a matter of course, the civilian apparatus ought to take
over, with the police replacing the soldiers and the state
making an effort to strengthen itself in areas such as the
justice system. The latter’s deficiencies in Swat caused
many to be initially taken in by the promises held out by
the militants. Yet even as the army claims success in its
operations against militants in many areas, the state has
not seen sufficient success in shoring up its civilian
apparatus, taking over responsibility and thus obviating
the need for the military’s continued presence. There is
little doubt that in most of the ‘cleared’ areas, the
militants would regroup and return if the army were to
withdraw. That, in fact, is one of the lessons to be
learned from the recent Bannu jailbreak debacle. The utter
lack of response by the prison authorities and the police
shows how unprepared the civilian authorities are — despite
years of being in the midst of the battle — for resisting
the militants on their own.

Unless the state wants a long-term military presence in the
northwest, it must urgently build up the capabilities of
its civilian infrastructure. On Tuesday, addressing a
seminar at the University of Peshawar, the Peshawar Corps
Commander Lt-Gen Khalid Rabbani pointed to this very
deficiency when he called for greater political ownership
of the operations in Fata. According to him, the Pakistan
Army has conducted more than 300 major and 760 minor
operations in militancy-hit areas over the last few years,
and the government’s writ has been established in 91 per
cent of Fata. Can the army consider its job done and return
to the barracks? Not until civilian institutions are in a
position to take over control and responsibility. Meanwhile
the military, for its part, is suspected of having cut
‘deals’ with militants in some areas, leading to apparent
peace. This needs to end, for what Pakistan needs is the
total cessation of militancy in all its regions.


20, April, 2012


Merry ministers


THERE is —always — wisdom in a prime minister’s allocation
of ministerial portfolios. Those who are interested in it
beyond a simple, habitual bashing of the federal government
can actually find the positives behind the latest such
allocation right away. A minister who had been ill-
informing the people about our real ability to overcome the
power crisis can only benefit from a top-level run at the
Ministry of Information Technology that is all about
communicating and communicating it rightly most of the
time. Similarly, it is only conjecture that Dr Firdous
Ashiq Awan will be unhappy about her shift from the
information ministry to yet another brilliant innovation —
the Federal Ministry for National Regulation and Services.
If one thinks this is an unnecessary ministry one would
have to first justify the existence of the very visible
Ministry of Information. In any case, it is all about how
politicians manage to stay in the news instead of what
ministry they are given charge of at a given time — so long
as the politician in question is a minister and has a flag
to show for it. And since all of us seem to be in an
imagining mood, who can stop the lady from Sialkot from
asserting that news factories are in greater need of
national regulation than, say, the sport-goods industry?
Next, take the portfolio for climate change. The very title
seems to have bamboozled the biased critics of the Zardari-
Gilani set-up. The new minister for the highly imaginative
posting happens to belong to Faisalabad. Who would be
better placed than him to report the effects of chimneys
going silent because of a lack of energy? Since smoke is
bad for the climate, he can only be expected to provide
good news to the environmentalists. Who doesn’t want good
news? The habitual government-bashers, of course.


21, April, 2012


Drone programme


DRONES are back in the news, though not the strikes for now
but the debate over the ‘ownership’ of the programme.
According to a report in this newspaper yesterday, Pakistan
and the US have begun exploring various options for shared
control of the drone programme after the US refused to end
the strikes. Given the opacity of the drone programme and
the refusal of both sides to reveal operational details, it
is difficult to say whether the negotiations will succeed
or what concessions either side is ultimately willing to
make. However, this much is clear: establishing some kind
of joint control over the strikes is in the interests of
both countries. From the US perspective, an effective
weapon to fight militancy is constantly mired in
controversy because the strikes are presently seen as an
infringement of Pakistani sovereignty. By now it seems
fairly clear that the regularity of strikes is deeply
impacted by the opposition to strikes here. So it stands to
reason that minimising the controversy is in the interests
of the US.

Of course, states don’t just give away, or even share,
complex new technologies because of public perceptions in
countries that are troublesome allies at best. Pakistani
officialdom has boxed itself in on drone strikes: having
whipped up anti-American fervour and publicly denounced the
strikes, it has become doubly difficult to now acknowledge
the efficacy of the strikes. But poor decisions in the past
should not hold decision-making hostage in the present. If
Pakistan is to be able to strike a deal with the US on
sharing the use of the drone technology inside Pakistani
territory, it will have to work hard to reverse the
perceptions of the Pakistani public and US policymakers.
With the Pakistani public, a dose of truth-telling — not
something officials here excel at — will be needed. For
one, while drone strikes do cause civilian casualties the
alternatives are even more damaging: troops on the ground,
artillery or aerial bombardment. For another, it is
essential to take out some militants in the tribal areas or
else they will likely plan fresh attacks inside and outside
Pakistan. These truths must be told loudly and with
conviction if public opposition is to be countered.

As for perceptions of US policymakers, the unhappy reality
is that after Osama bin Laden was found to be living in
this country for many years, Pakistan’s commitment to
fighting militancy, even of the kind that threatens global
damage, is under severe scrutiny. Joint ownership of the
drone programme in Pakistan will only come if Pakistan
demonstrates anew that it can and does want to fight


21, April, 2012


Power protests


POWER shortages are rising. So are tempers. People in many
parts of Punjab have been out on the streets for more than
a month now to vent their anger resulting from the long and
unannounced power cuts. At some places the protesters have
been violent, mobbing Pepco offices as well as other
government installations, smashing vehicles and setting
private property on fire. At least one man lost his life in
Lahore last month when power protesters attacked a petrol
pump. This kind of violence was once again witnessed on
Thursday in Lahore, Toba Tek Singh and Gujranwala when a
large number of people, including traders and industrial
workers, took to the streets to disrupt road and rail
traffic. What followed was excessive force by police in
Toba Tek Singh to prevent the protesters from damaging
private property. This amounts to treating only the
symptoms and that too with a level of force that can only
incite people further. That is not how the escalating power
protests should be tackled. How long can the authorities
expect those whose livelihood is in jeopardy because of the
power shortages to keep their cool?

The solution lies in providing the people with enough
electricity in their homes, shops and factories. No doubt,
given our resources at present, this is a tall order. But
the decision-makers must at least be seen to be taking
earnest steps towards a solution. Instead, they continue to
promise and boast, allowing their credibility to be further
eroded, and adopt unpopular measures, as they did at the
energy conference in Lahore earlier this month, as the
‘best’ short-term solution to the energy crisis. They
proposed little at the conference that would eliminate or
reduce supply gaps, and people are justified in asking the
rulers why they are spending millions on lecturing them on
the austere use of power. Going forward, the electricity
crunch is projected to increase. So are the power protests.
There is no guarantee the protesters will not turn even
more violent, and the government will have no one to blame
but itself.


21, April, 2012


Cricket fiasco


THE postponement of the Bangladesh cricket team’s tour of
Pakistan following a court decision in Dhaka has dashed
Pakistan’s hopes of reviving international cricket at home
even after three years. The tour, which involved rigorous
diplomatic efforts and behind-the-scenes discussions
between the two cricket boards and their respective
governments, was seen as the beginning of the end of
Pakistan cricket’s isolation at home since the 2009
terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan team in Lahore. True,
security would be a valid concern for any visiting team
after 2009, but there were realistic expectations that the
government would have provided the best. Unfortunately,
Thursday’s developments will deprive cricket fans of
enjoying an international match on home soil.

Pakistan’s unflinching support for Bangladesh cricket over
the past decade or so is no secret. Right from Bangladesh’s
debut in international cricket in 1999 to the recently held
Asia Cup in Dhaka, Pakistan has been a staunch ally of the
Bengal Tigers in world cricket. Moreover, the whole-hearted
participation of our top players in the recently organised
Bangladesh Premier League was a fine gesture, especially
after the leading Indian and Sri Lankan players had snubbed
organisers at the eleventh hour to jeopardise the high-
profile event. The PCB also earned the ire of a number of
fellow cricket boards by agreeing to nominate Bangladesh
Cricket Board chief Mustafa Kamal as vice-president in the
upcoming International Cricket Council elections. But all
that goodwill has apparently come to nought after the
tour’s postponement. In fact, looking at the stunted
progress on the issue between the PCB and BCB and their
lack of trust in each other, it would not be surprising if
the tour were to be called off altogether. That would be a
great pity indeed for cricket lovers in both countries and
could affect the planning of future matches between the



          C O L U M N S / A R T I C L E S N E W S


15, April, 2012


The US is the new India


By Cyril Almeida

IF there were a Sigmund Freud of international relations,
he’d probably ask, ‘What does Pakistan want?’

The trajectories of Pakistan’s two critical relationships —
with India and the US — in recent months suggest that we
like to keep things complicated, very complicated.

For just as we start to approach the relationship with
India more rationally, the US becomes the new India and we
plunge that relationship into yet more incoherence and

It’s the same set of principals here, so why are they
producing such different outcomes?

The army still dominates the national security and foreign
policy domains but there is also the political government,
the Foreign Office and a loose-knit group of security and
foreign-policy experts who help shape policy.

What’s causing them to collectively choose such different
paths, where the decades-old Enemy No 1 gets deepening
trade and investment ties while a damaging clash over red
lines with the US — on drones, for example — leaves
everyone wondering where a vital trade and security

relationship is headed?

There’s no Freud to help out here, so guesswork will have
to suffice.
Start with India. The security establishment hasn’t
suddenly unlearned all that it believed to be true about
Indian policymakers and warriors for decades.

But the series of crises that rocked the army leadership
last year created a small window of opportunity here.
Uncertain and unsure, the army was more amenable to being
convinced to do things it may have been reluctant to green-
light before.

There have been similar moments in the past, but nobody to
take advantage of them. This time, there was a tenacious
and committed commerce secretary and a political government
eager to improve ties with India.

So they pushed hard and it started to yield results. Notice
how virtually every other subject in the ‘full-spectrum
dialogue’ has meandered along without much progress. Trade
and investment got a bigger, more concerted push and hence
the breakthroughs.

It helped that the army’s own security prism was changing.
Realising that Pakistan had fallen significantly behind
India in economic terms and that strategic competition with
India will be more and more expensive in the years and
decades ahead, the army is also more amenable to new ideas.

Perhaps key to it all is that India is a well-understood
problem. It’s such an old adversary, the contours of
disagreement and avenues for conflict so well understood,
that Pakistan can be confident there are few surprises in
store. If India tries anything funny, Pakistan can quickly
respond, the thinking would be.

Contrast this with the relationship with the US, where
there’s so much more room for uncertainty and doubt.

Take the drones. The Americans themselves are figuring out
the potential of the rapidly evolving technology. The first
strike in 2004 already seems like another era. By 2008, the
system’s capacity was up to nearly a dozen strikes a month
and didn’t have to rely as much on Pakistani intelligence

An acceptance here behind the scenes of the inevitability
of some strikes combined with frequent public denunciation
of the strikes is an approach borne out of fear and
uncertainty. What if a strike every other day became the
norm? The Americans could then press to expand the area of
operation. To date, an overwhelming majority of the strikes
have occurred in the Waziristan agencies.

From there, they could expand to include the other tribal
agencies more regularly, then to the settled districts
adjoining the tribal areas and before you know it, the
outskirts of Quetta or the sprawling shantytowns of Karachi
could be targeted.

So opposing the inevitable — intermittent drone strikes in
Fata — could help prevent the unknown — the raining down of
missiles all over Pakistani territory.

And because drones are politically unpopular, there’s no
one in the other policy camps to try and placate the army’s
fears and convince them to try a different tack, as has
happened on trade with India.

Another example: the future of Afghanistan. There are
increasing signs that the Pakistan Army understands that it
can’t dominate Afghanistan via Pakhtun proxies and keep
that country isolated from the outside world like it did in
the 1990s.

A nominal centre with the present configuration of power in
the regions more or less adhered to and semi-guaranteed by
outside powers, that makes the most sense for Afghanistan.

But the security establishment here believes that the main
work needs to be done in Afghanistan first. Without a
workable framework for a post-war future in Afghanistan, it
doesn’t make sense for Pakistan to put its cards on the
table or to make any concessions at this point.

Unlike the relationship with India, the relationship with
the US is characterised by too many unknowns and too much
uncertainty about what will happen even two or three years
down the road.

Uncertainty causes the security establishment here to go
into a defensive position and treat with great suspicion
anything that could blow up in their face. The India
problem is well understood. Nobody can claim for sure what
Afghanistan will look like several years from now.
The army may not be thrilled about trade with India but has
assessed that it will not undermine Pakistan’s position on
‘core issues’ and that it could be beneficial for our
sluggish economy. So the push by the civilian apparatus,
bureaucratic and political, is yielding results.

With the US, while everyone in policymaking circles agrees
that the relationship cannot be allowed to break down, the
army is filled with uncertainty about how to proceed; there
are too many variables in play at the moment; and the
civilians neither have the resolve nor the understanding to
push for potentially game-changing options.

So that’s the difference. What Pakistan wants is tofeel
like it knows what it’s agreeing to.

The writer is a member of staff.




16, April, 2012


Yours, sir, is a LAFA


By Hajrah Mumtaz

MOST people reading this probably have, tucked away in the
back of their minds, memories of a succession of teachers
drumming into their heads lessons on the Queen’s English.

The Oxford English Dictionary defines the Queen’s English
as the language as regarded under the guardianship of the
Queen (when the reigning monarch is male, it changes to the
King’s English), hence standard or correct English.
In terms of grammar, it refers to the rules and usages as
standardised in the UK, and pronunciation- and accent-wise
the term refers to what is thought of as the clearest and
most widely understood accent, ‘received pronunciation’
also referred to as ‘Oxford English’ or ‘BBC English’.

Be that as it may, the language is a vibrant one and people
across the world and in the UK have made it their own by
gleefully diversifying it. As a result of the English-
speaking peoples’ interactions with the world, meanwhile,
the language itself has absorbed new words and phrases.

From the subcontinent alone have come ‘pyjama’, ‘bandanna’,
‘bangle’, ‘bungalow’, ‘guru’, ‘jungle’, ‘veranda’ and many
others. Sri Lanka has compiled an entire dictionary of
words that are used only in that country. (One of these is
‘floor patients’, which describes the people who, unable to
find a bed in a ward, are forced to camp out on the floor
of a medical facility.)

The debate over whether the Queen’s English is the best is
because there do exist differences between it and English
as used in different parts of the world. The American
English pronunciation of ‘route’ or ‘vase’, for example,
makes purists cringe. In Malaysia, having an ‘off day’
means to ‘have the day off’, not to ‘have a bad day’ as the
Queen’s English demands. To ‘chop’ a document means to
rubberstamp it, not cut it down. In the UK, ‘wicked’ is
popularly used to mean ‘good’.

In countries where English is commonly spoken, particularly
those that suffered colonialism under the British, the
ability to speak the Queen’s English is associated with a
certain nebulous prestige.

The grammar is important, of course, but great weight is
given to the accent and pronunciation as well, with this
aspect often being thought of as constituting the
difference between the working classes and the elites. In
Pakistan in recent days, for example, there have been a few
snickers over Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani’s inability
to properly pronounce

But Ghana, it seems, has decided to fight back. Old-style
Ghanians speak — as in Pakistan and other places with
varying degrees of success — the Queen’s English.

As reported by The Guardian, according to the head of
linguistics at the University of Ghana, Prof Kofi Agyekum,
“there has been a significant change now, away from those
who think sounding English is prestigious, towards those
who value being multilingual, who would never neglect our
mother tongues, and who are happy to sound Ghanian when we
speak English”.

The argument is that linking the ability to speak English
like the British to intelligence amounts to having a
colonial hangover; that Ghanians who speak in their own
way, with their own accents and/or pronunciation, should
not be objects of derision. And Ghanian English can give
you the question ‘Have you eat?’ which could be answered by
‘No, I go eat after small small’.

How is Ghana turning the tables on the old guard? The
practice of mimicking ‘English English’ has been dubbed
LAFA, or ‘locally acquired foreign accent’. It is the
people afflicted by LAFAs, now, who have become objects of
derision. Prof Agyekum feels that people were trying to
speak in a way that didn’t seem natural. “They think it
sounds prestigious, but frankly it sounds like they’re
overdoing it.”

(Ghana has nine indigenous languages that are officially
sponsored by the government, a further 26 that are
officially recognised and at least double that number that
are also


One must wish Ghana luck in its project to “turn the
tables”, as one commentator was reported to have said, on
the Queen’s English.

Personally, I think that languages ought to be written and
spoken in their correct form. Slang is one thing, and
sometimes words and phrases must be added to a language
because it lacks expressions — because of historical and
societal context — that convey the exact meaning required.
Thus we have additions such as ‘floor patients’ or ‘mummy
daddy’ people. And there does exist a need for languages to
be flexible and coin new words and usages as times change.

Accent and pronunciation, however, are more problematic.
One could argue that pronunciation should also be as
received, but too many people find themselves derided or
discriminated against in varying ways, here and elsewhere,
because their English accent is not good enough.

While it would be absurd to lower standards when it comes
to hiring, for example, an English teacher, it should not
matter if one’s accent is Pakistani-ised while applying for
a salesclerk’s job, or his or her pronunciation is less
than BBC standard. Yet the prestige attached to English is
such that in many spheres of operation, it becomes an
informal but powerful requirement even though the language
of transaction is likely to be Urdu or one of the regional

And in Pakistan, there are two curious aspects to be noted.
First, accent seems to be taking emphasis over grammar and
pronunciation, with many people taking more pains over the
former. Secondly, especially amongst the elites, an
American accent appears to have gained more currency,
something that can be explained by either the fact that the
US is a popular destination for higher education, or the
flood of American cultural products in the English-speaking

The work worth doing is for Pakistanis to make the jump
that Ghana seems to have, i.e. realise that language and
accent do not lend or necessarily reflect intelligence or
worth — that the knowledge or talent of the boy who speaks
with the Punjabi accent can be as good as (and be perceived
as such) or even better than the boy who speaks with the
MTV accent.

Perhaps Pakistan too needs to start laughing at victims of

The writer is a member of staff.


18, April, 2012


The respectful raid


By Rafia Zakaria

THE problem of night raids has been a thorny one for United
States forces deployed in Afghanistan. The nature of their
task, apprehending sneaky Taliban fighters hiding deep
within huts and homes in towns and villages, is a difficult

If they do not find anyone or anything other than pots,
pans and unmade beds, they face the charge of having
invaded the private, the sacred, the realm of women and
children for nothing at all. If they find someone or
something, it is still a loss; they may have caught the
enemy, but the steps to capture trampled over too many war-
torn hearts.

Back in Washington, the loss of Afghan hearts, minds and
lives is only one of the variables policymakers and
military strategists use to develop their battle plans.
Unsurprisingly, most see night raids as cornerstones of
conquest, instrumental in catching the bad guys. Of the
near 2,200 night missions US and Nato forces carried out in
2011, they assert that nearly 83 per cent yielded the
capture of an ‘enemy lieutenant’ or a ‘senior leader’. In
the words of US Special Forces commander Adm William
McRaven, the attacks are thus “very valuable”.

However, as US and Nato forces have begun the onerous job
of wrapping up their mission in Afghanistan, they have had
to confront the wreckage that the poor etiquette of such
invasions leaves behind. In doing so, some have come up
with an inventive if tried solution that can smooth its
healing salve on maimed Afghan hearts.

News reports last week announced not just that the US and
Afghanistan had reached an agreement about the continuation
of night raids, but that these raids would be carried out
by a newly trained, elite Afghan force. Unlike any other in
recent Afghan history, it would be made up entirely of
women. Along with similarly trained male Afghan special
forces, they would carry out night raids, able to touch and
search women without offending their modesty.

The premise is clear; in having Afghan men and women
conduct the raids in search of the enemy, it will be locals
who will then be saddled with the burden of invading
private space, violating the seclusion of women, laying
bare and exposed the closely guarded and concealed sphere
of the family.

More dividends of goodwill could be availed by painting
this as a martial transformation of Afghan women, no longer
the beaten down, cut up and shrouded lot, but brave
soldiers toting guns and scaling walls. With her
machinegun, the Afghan woman soldier represents not the sly
subcontracting of the war on terror to the Afghan natives
themselves, but the armed and consequently empowered Afghan
woman. As everyone, Afghan or otherwise knows, guns and
night goggles are really all you need to be powerful.

My failure to gather up admiring gasps and applause for
this recent transformation of Afghan women is not based on
a disdain for their desire to take over the security of
their country. It emanates instead from the lie that
suggests that a ‘culturally sensitive raid’ respectful of
segregated societies is somehow a ‘better’ invasion of
privacy than one that brutishly, unashamedly brandishes the
absolute power of the raider and the powerlessness of the

In the news stories surrounding the renegotiation of the
terms of US-Afghan cooperation on night raids, few have
even bothered to mention that the deal also included the
fact that an Afghan judge has to ratify the raid prior to
it being carried out. That part, of course, is purely
theoretical, since while Afghan women have been trained to
tote guns and scale walls to conduct raids, Afghan courts
and the legal mechanisms to oversee the process of granting
permission for raids or assessing the evidence for them no
longer exist.

Focusing on making a raid palatable by wrapping it in the
cloth of cultural sensitivity also deflects the debate away
from the tremendous global cost all forces involved in
fighting the war on terror have imposed on ordinary
citizens wherever they may be.

On the one hand, terror groups from Al Qaeda to the Taliban
have made it part and parcel of their strategy to exploit
the traditional respect given to the familial sphere of
women and children by using it as a cover for absconding
leaders and varying facets of campaign planning. The impact
of bombers using burkas and men hiding behind wives and
children is not simply incidental or piecemeal but a
transformation of the sacred to the sinister.

Where US forces are concerned, using female Afghan soldiers
to accomplish the same illegalities once proliferated by US
forces aims at an instant purification of illegitimate
intrusions, a way to deny the symbiotic injustices that
allow both the Taliban terrorist and the American
imperialist to wage their oppression on those left in the
miserable middle.

But just as the Pakistani public seems uninterested in
protesting the cancerous creeping of terror into the
private sphere, of protesting against any situation in
which a wanted man hides behind women or uses the shroud of
domesticity to disguise terror, Americans say little
against the FBI spying on innocent citizens, the CIA
patrolling borders with drones or even the humiliation of
being patted and poked and profiled at every American

The crucial question about a raid — any raid — accomplished
by any force, Afghan or American, is not whether it is
culturally sensitive, but whether it is legally justified,
discerned to be necessary by an impartial judicial body
evaluating the evidence.

The legitimacy of intrusion, in an Afghan village or an
American airport, rests only secondarily and incidentally
on the people carrying it out and far more crucially on the
processes that have been followed to carry it out, the
collection of information and the proof that necessitates
it. An illegal raid, however pleasantly dressed and
carefully enacted, remains an ugly injustice. n
The writer is an attorney teaching political philosophy and
constitutional law.



18, April, 2012


Blood on the tracks of history


By Mahir Ali

“PEOPLE from both sides behaved like beasts,” says Sarjit
Singh Chowdhary, a retired brigadier, offering an
indisputable overview of the events in Punjab during the
year that India was partitioned.

His testimony is among the innumerable first-person
accounts that comprise the core of Ishtiaq Ahmed’s
meticulously researched thesis on the direst events of
1947, The Punjab Bloodied, Partitioned and Cleansed (Oxford
University Press). Essentially an invaluable oral history
of events in the Punjab during that decisive year, it
serves as an overarching cautionary tale.

A number of themes emerge from its pages as the
circumstances of 65 years ago are graphically resurrected
in the words of those who experienced them firsthand. Among
the crucial incidents that preceded the bloodbath was
Master Tara Singh’s provocative waving of the kirpan
outside the Punjab Assembly in Lahore following the
resignation of the Unionist-led Khizr ministry, in the wake
of a Muslim League agitation.

Here, one of the numerous counterfactuals of that period
rears its head. The League, hitherto not particularly
influential in provincial affairs, won the largest number
of seats in the 1946 elections but fell short of a
majority. A coalition with the Congress was within the
realm of possibility, but the largest nationalist party’s
hierarchy decided against it. On the one hand, its demurral
is perfectly understandable. On the other, it is hard not
to wonder whether such an arrangement might not have saved

Some of the initial instances of communal strife involved
attacks by Muslim mobs on Sikhs in villages near Rawalpindi
in March 1947, as well as clashes in the garrison town
itself. There was turmoil in Lahore during the same period.
It was still unclear at that point whether a Muslim-
majority state called Pakistan would emerge — and the
question of the shape it might take was even murkier.

Many Sikhs and Hindus believed, for instance, that if a
divide occurred, Lahore would be a part of India; after
all, much of the city’s property belonged to non-Muslims,
and it hosted crucial Sikh shrines. At the same time, quite
a few Muslims in Amritsar and Jalandhar expected those
cities to be assigned to a putative Pakistan,
notwithstanding their non-Muslim majorities. These
seemingly unrealistic notions were prodded in some cases by
political leaders.

It’s useful to remember, though, that in those days reality
was a rapidly morphing construct. As Ishtiaq Ahmed points
out time and again, the Radcliffe boundaries — delineated
by an Englishman who had arrived in India for the first
time just a few weeks earlier — were officially announced a
couple of days after partition. The mid-August cut-off
point wasn’t public knowledge until Lord Mountbatten’s June
3 announcement.

The haste with which the British colonial power withdrew
from the subcontinent has often been cited as a leading
cause of the gory disarray that followed. After all, the
initial deadline for the transfer of power was June 1948.
Whether the Punjab situation would have been ameliorated to
some extent by a longer deadline and an earlier demarcation
of the new international boundary is a moot point, although
it’s certainly possible that a more orderly transition
would have facilitated a less rancorous divide. It might
have helped, too, had Mountbatten been able to fulfil his
ambition of serving as governor-general of both countries
in the immediate aftermath of independence.
Another question that the book raises is whether a division
of Punjab was an inevitable consequence of the
subcontinent’s partition along communal lines. The Muslim
League was keen to claim the province as a whole, and
entered into comprehensive negotiations with the Sikh
leadership as a means of facilitating this outcome. The
Sikhs were understandably wary of Mohammad Ali Jinnah’s
assurances of virtual autonomy, given the focus on Islam as
a determining factor for the forthcoming divide.

The vast majority of witnesses, including many of those who
lost most of their families in the Punjabi holocaust,
testify to a broad communal harmony in the run-up to 1947.
Some Muslims resented the deplorable Hindu tradition of
excluding them from kitchens, but many others accepted the
prohibitions on breaking bread together as a cultural norm.
The extent to which class resentment might have contributed
to the conflict is insufficiently explored in the
testimonies, possibly because it was largely a subliminal

It is universally accepted that innocents were subjected to
the vilest atrocities, but it’s vital to remember that they
were perpetrated by Sikhs, Muslims and Hindus alike — with
reports or experiences of incredible cruelty elsewhere
commonly cited as a provocation. It is perhaps even more
important to note the innumerable instances of folks from
all backgrounds keeping their heads when all about them
were losing theirs, and not letting the vitriol that was
seeping through the land of the five rivers poison their
hearts. An incredible number of survivors acknowledge that
they owe their lives to awe-inspiring acts of kindness by
friends, neighbours and sometimes even strangers belonging
to supposedly rival communities.

In some cases, political affiliations clearly played a
role: for instance, nationalist Muslims resistant to the
clarion call for a separate homeland and communists on both
sides of the deepening divide often did what they could to
ameliorate the consequences of the communal frenzy that
climaxed in the weeks following freedom at midnight. The
appearances of the resolutely secular Jawaharlal Nehru are
often cited as a crucial factor in quelling or pre-empting
outbreaks of violence. By the same token, the instigative
acts and rhetoric of the Muslim League National Guard, the
RSS and the Akalis frequently figure as retrograde
Could anything short of a renunciation of the partition
project have prevented the bloodbath? Eventually, well-
armed military escorts protected many a refugee convoy. It
should, of course, never have come to that. Although the
tragedy lies 65 years in the past, it has vitiated
relations between India and Pakistan ever since and
continues to undermine the powerful logic of harmonious
coexistence. Ishtiaq Ahmed’s probingly piteous account of
how the Punjab suddenly went pear-shaped in 1947 ought to
serve as prescribed reading particularly for those who
continue to pursue the pathetic notion that the carnage was
either inevitable or necessary.



19, April, 2012


The enemy within


By I.A. Rehman

THE enemy within has been nibbling away at Pakistan’s
vitals with vastly increased ferociousness and there is
little evidence to suggest that the monster is being tamed.

The latest wave of sectarian violence in Gilgit-Baltistan
has been going on for more than six weeks. On the last day
of February, 18 people belonging to the territory were
brutally shot dead after being forced out of buses in the
Kohistan district of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

After the victims’ identity had been established with the
help of their national identity cards they were lined up
and gunned down by a firing squad whose members were
wearing military uniforms. The grisly operation had
obviously been planned well in advance and bore the stamp
of professionalism. The authorities made some noise but
failed to nab the killers and eventually took refuge under
the excuse that the culprits had crossed over the national

They were proved wrong on April 3 when the monster of
intolerance raised its head in Chilas. Again a large band
of armed militants stopped several buses on the Karakoram
Highway and picked out members of the Shia community for
slaughtering. This time the authorities chose to display
their armed might. The army was called in and a nine-day
long curfew was imposed. Whether this had any effect on the
perpetrators of the sectarian strife is not known; what is
known is the unbearable hardship caused to the curfew-bound

Referring to the “terrible condition of the people of
Gilgit-Baltistan”, a student wrote on April 15: “…[T]he two
million people of Gilgit-Baltistan are hostages in the name
of security for the last 12 days. The transport system was
closed down from the first day and that has caused shortage
of food. There is no medicine left in hospitals. They
blocked the cellular services and that cut the links among
relatives. We don’t know what is happening to them.

“The government has failed to maintain law and order.
Instead of taking serious action it only makes statements.
The trouble is within a five-kilometre area of Gilgit. Four
forces were operating in the area — the FC, Gilgit-
Baltistan Scouts, Rangers and the police. Now they have
called in the army. No improvement yet. We are a peace-
loving people. We want peace at any cost. For that we are
ready to support the government and all law-enforcing
agencies. At the same time we are human beings. We need
food for our survival. We need medicines. We need your

The young student’s cry of anguish is without art or labour
and must carry greater weight than the empty rhetoric of
professional politicians.

Now peace is reported to be returning to the trouble spots
in Gilgit-Baltistan. But for how long? There is no use
pretending that successive eruptions of sectarian violence
in that territory are of local origin or are caused by
stray incidents. The people of Gilgit-Baltistan have been
the target of discrimination and oppression because their
majority subscribes to the Shia faith. For this reason,
they were denied elementary legal and political rights for

Now their strategic location has become a source of their
misery. The new breed of militant hard-liners is apparently
determined to subdue the local population by any means,
including a forced change in the territory’s demography.
Thus, the sooner the government stops treating the periodic
bloodletting in Gilgit-Baltistan as a routine law-and-order
matter the better it will be.

But Gilgit-Baltistan is not the only place where Pakistan’s
worst enemy is seen in action. At the other end of the
country, it is targeting the Hazara community of Quetta in
what is looking more and more like a sectarian-motivated
pogrom. Two dozen Hazara Shias were cut down within three

The victims have done everything possible to remind the
government of its duty to protect them. They have curtailed
their normal activities and have been disposing of their
property at throwaway prices — this is perhaps one of the
objectives of their tormentors. Here too the perpetrators
of violence are believed to be the extremists from outside
Balochistan who have set up regular militias with the
purpose of challenging the existing order in Pakistan and
the neighbouring countries.

This enemy can be seen elsewhere, too. In Karachi the, same
hand is targeting Shia professionals. Recently, it
displayed its handiwork in Chenab Nagar where it assumed
the form of a few policemen. They tortured an innocent
teacher to an extent that he could not survive. Torture to
death in custody is quite common, but since the victim in
this case was an Ahmedi citizen they lost all sense of
human mercy.

Unfortunately, this enemy within has been allowed to grow
stronger and stronger over the past many decades. The state
tolerated him as an ally in its confrontation with the
advocates of a democratic, egalitarian order. The military
rulers nourished him and pampered him as a key figure in
their strategy to conquer the land and the people of
Pakistan over and over again. Now he is openly challenging
the constitution and the laws of Pakistan and has
established his monopoly as the sole interpreter of the
official religion of the state.
At the moment, this enemy is targeting only the communities
vulnerable because of their belief or the parties in power.
But he will not spare the opposition parties either. The
religio-political parties’ turn may come last of all but
they too will fall under the axe. It is becoming
increasingly clear that Pakistan can somehow scrape through
the many crises it faces today but it will not be able to
survive the drift towards a capitulation to the demons of
religious intolerance.

The ubiquitous enemy we are talking about has certain
advantages over the state gendarmes. He can easily melt
away in any congregation. He is disarmingly modest, does
not appear to be materially corrupt and the corruption of
his mind is too subtle to be evident to ordinary citizens.

Also, unlike the mercenaries in state service, he believes
in his mission and is keen to die for it. It will not be
possible to defeat this enemy unless all parties and people
of goodwill come together, sink their differences and
establish all Pakistani citizens’ equal right to the
freedom of belief. That is the only route of salvation and
we do not have much time to cover it.


19, April, 2012


Peace on sale


By Jawed Naqvi

I’VE searched the broad history of capitalism as best as I
could, right up to the Occupy Wall Street Movement. I’ve
looked up the evolution of global trade.

Nowhere could I find a single clue to the mantra for peace
between warring nations as flaunted by Messrs Asif Zardari
and Manmohan Singh. Both want us to believe that their
business elites are best equipped to normalise the dodgy
relations between India and Pakistan.

 If anything, officially sponsored trade — as opposed to
the days of the good old Kabuliwallah — has been a source
of conflict everywhere. Everywhere.

Look it in the eye. The worst-case scenario for a global
conflict today exists between the world’s two largest
trading partners — China and the United States. Pakistani
businessmen pushing for increased business with India cite
the growing Sino-India commerce as a model to replicate. In
other words, we are being told to keep the powder dry, the
Agnis and the Prithvis on the ready, while business goes on
unperturbed. Can it happen, and to what avail?

History is replete with errors of judgment of the kind
Messrs Zardari and Singh seem susceptible to. Trade and
commerce could be just about OK as a need to be addressed.
But it can hardly be accepted as the only acceptable
panacea for the politically fuelled woes that we confront.
Ask the tormented people of Kashmir or the stranded soldier
in Siachen what the priorities should be.

If somebody suggests that India-Pakistan trade, spurred by
exclusively anointed business visits, will boost the
possibilities of peace in the subcontinent, that is pure
state-sponsored blackmail, not a considered choice on offer
to the people. It’s like the fable about catching a bird:
light a candle and put it on the bird’s head so that the
melting wax blinds it. Then you can catch the bird.

How on earth are the various business federations or the
chambers of commerce on either side going to pave the way
for the armies to go back to their barracks? There never
was any connection between low-trade volumes of any two
countries and denial of visas to each other’s citizens. And
traders are about private profit and not public interest of
the kind that people of the two countries should be looking

My favourite Anglo-Indian teacher at La Martiniere College
in Lucknow taught innocuous sounding ditties in our
geography class: ‘In fourteen hundred and ninety-two,
Columbus sailed the ocean blue. In fourteen hundred and
ninety-eight, Da Gama knocked at India’s gate.’
But the nursery lyrics masked the trauma of entire
civilisations across the oceans that were torn asunder by
colonialism and its accompanying racist worldview. The East
India Company was about trade, we know. Was it also about
peace?Before Saudi Arabia prescribed the death penalty for
carrying cannabis (which you can still smoke freely in
Amsterdam), colonial Britain and its Indian compradors were
pumping opium into China in the name of free trade. The
Opium Wars, the Boston Tea Party in America were all
aspects of trade for profit with official imprimatur. The
people’s resistance to thwart the nefarious business was
fortunately just as robust.

I hear India, a net importer of oil, will sell petroleum
products to Pakistan. The last time there was an oil shock
India had to surrender a portion of its gold reserves to
stave off defaulting on international loans. The move
thrust Dr Manmohan Singh at the centre-stage of Indian
politics and the IMF as the country’s economic shepherd.

Any African leader who resisted the IMF was taken down.
There is a long list of casualties — Thomas Sankara of
Burkina Faso, Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria, Laurent Gbagbo
of Ivory Coast and Muammar Qadhafi of Libya. The history of
the World Bank would be incomplete without reference to the
central role in it of the retired warmongers who headed it.

Lahore and Karachi at present are not very different from
New Delhi or Kolkata in electricity shortages. There was a
time when Pakistan was offering to sell electricity to
India. Now it’s the other way round. Two energy-deficit
countries trying to bail each other out makes for a welcome
relief from their standard carping. But why should that
hold up the withdrawal of troops from Kashmir and Siachen,
and the easing of visas for the ordinary or underprivileged
citizen in either country?

We are told that the climate of hate is abating between the
two countries. This smacks of ridiculous pomposity. The
only people I know that badmouth the other side are their
sleuths, officials or diplomats and the occasional visiting

To say that hate is waning only goes to show it is
something that can be managed and controlled with the throw
of a switch. It also means that it can be unleashed at
will. We have very pliable TV outfits that can start or
stop vicious campaigns, full of jingoism, projecting their
countries as bigger in influence than the baby pool the
world actually assigned to them.

It is these journalists and assorted officials, more than
anyone else, who are today assiduously promoting powerful
business clubs usually known for their single-minded
pursuit of private profit as beacons of hope for peace.

Two issues need to be resolved or at least understood in
their context by the common people in India and Pakistan.
The business community anywhere is not known for its
sensitivity towards matters of peace. It can and often does
make more profit out of war and prevailing tensions between
states. I am not revealing a secret in asserting that
businessmen by the very nature of their pursuit are prone
to shore up right-wing politics.

Traders loyal to the revivalist Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh
or the fundamentalist Jamaat-i-Islami can, of course,
forever go on kindling a fear psychosis about opening trade
and investment across the borders. They are notorious for
missing the point. However, trade was one of the eight or
nine issues between India and Pakistan in their composite
dialogue. And it would be self-defeating to saddle it with
the responsibility of heralding peace. That was never its
strength, and it can’t be today.

The writer is Dawn’s correspondent in Delhi.



21, April, 2012


Minority report


By Irfan Husain
A FEW months ago, somebody emailed me a chilling audio clip
of a conversation between a journalist and a Pakistani

When the interviewer reminded the terrorist that he was a
Muslim too, and recited the kalima to prove it, he was told
bluntly that the Taliban did not view anybody who did not
subscribe to their extreme vision as believers.

When the Taliban was reminded that the founder of Pakistan
was a peaceful, tolerant man, he replied that Jinnah had
‘Ali’ in his name, and so must be a Shia. “We do not accept
the Shia as Muslims,” he insisted.

From considering the Shia to be non-Muslims, it seems there
is only a short step to declaring them wajib-ul-qatal, or
deserving of death, preferably by violent means.

Indeed, this extreme

view has been around

for three decades in Pakistan. The emergence of the Sipah-
i-Sahaba Pakistan in the 1980s and later the Lashkar-i-
Jhangvi (LJ) saw the beginnings of sectarian bloodshed.

Of course, Shia-Sunni strife is nothing new in Muslim
history. From virtually the earliest period of Islam,
conflicting claims over the Caliphate have led to the
bitter divide that persists to this day. Many of the
current conflicts within the Islamic world have their roots
in this ancient schism.

The ongoing slaughter of Hazara Shias in Pakistan is yet
another reminder of the inhuman nature of extremism. While
individual Shias have been targeted for years, the recent
mass killings of ethnic Hazaras is probably happening
because they can be so easily identified. According to a
Hazara website, 700 of the community have been killed in
recent years without a single terrorist being brought to

An article ‘Who kills Hazaras in Pakistan and why’ on the
webzine Outlookafghanistan.net states:

“Since the declaration of religious extremists as
‘strategic assets’ by the ruling elites of Pakistan, the
religious militant groups like Lashkar-i-Jhangvi and the
Taliban have been given free hands [sic] to do anything
they like.”

The cold-blooded massacres of Shias in Kohistan and Chilas
seem to indicate that either the local law-enforcement
agencies were asleep or complicit. Gilgit’s lockdown and
the evacuation of foreign tourists showed the world yet
again what an anarchic and violent place Pakistan has

In a recent army-led operation, several of the alleged
extremist killers have been arrested, and Shia and Sunni
mosques in Gilgit sealed to forestall further tension. But
the real test will come when these terrorists are brought
to trial: thus far, the record of our judiciary in
sentencing such criminals has not been very reassuring.

More often than not, they have been released on bail, or
let off on grounds of insufficient evidence. Judges have
been reluctant to grasp that witnesses are too scared to
come forward. Repeated postponement of hearings also deters
people from giving evidence.

Apart from the LJ and the SSP’s anti-Shia violence, the
Jundullah is a latecomer to Pakistan’s sectarian slaughter.

Understandably, hundreds of Hazaras have fled, many to
Australia. They are only the latest wave of persecuted
Pakistanis seeking sanctuary in safer places. Those
Christians, Hindus and Ahmadis who could have already left
the country Jinnah saw as one where they would have equal

Steadily, the space for anybody not hewing to the
mainstream school of Islam is shrinking. Indeed, the
Taliban spokesman I quoted earlier was clear that all those
who did not actively oppose the state were non-Muslim and
therefore wajib-ul-qatal. This is the inexorable logic of
the takfiri philosophy that underpins the global jihad:
anybody can be dubbed a non-Muslim and thus a target.

Sadly, the response to all this violence among the
Pakistani ruling elites remains muted. There is little of
the anger directed towards the Americans for the drone
attacks that have killed far fewer innocent people than
sectarian terror has. And yet, the media, the political
class, and civil society seem oddly disconnected with the
fate of our unfortunate minorities.

Those Pakistanis who are worried about where their country
is headed would do well to check out Minorities Concerns of
Pakistan, a web-based newsletter that voices the fears and
woes of Christians, Hindus and Ahmadis. Each time I do, I
feel ashamed of what we are doing to our fellow citizens.

But Pakistan is not alone in this sectarian madness. Across
large swathes of the Islamic world, non-Muslims are being
targeted with increasing frequency and ferocity. More than
half of Iraq’s Christian population of around 1.4 million
has fled in the face of extremist violence.

The ancient Egyptian Coptic community are regularly
targeted by the country’s Salafi fundamentalists. Nigeria
has witnessed a wave of church bombings from the Boko Haram
anti-education Islamist movement.

And yet Muslims demand ever-increasing freedom to pray and
spread their faith in the West. Whenever permission to
build yet another mosque is denied, authorities are blamed
of Islamophobia. Any real or imagined slur against symbols
of Islam results in demonstrations across the Islamic
world. Yet there is silence in the West over the treatment
of minorities in Muslim countries.

The recent edition of Minorities Concerns of Pakistan
carried a moving article about the difficulties Christians
face every day in dealing with Muslims. Apparently, they
are forever being asked to convert to Islam, and made
conscious they are living in Pakistan on sufferance. If
Muslims in the West were subjected to this kind of
rudeness, there would be protest demonstrations that would
include western liberals.

But we in Pakistan have become so hardened to the plight of
Shias and non-Muslims that we take their daily suffering
for granted. However, we should remember that for the
Taliban, we are all wajib-ul-qatal.

The writer is the author of Fatal Faultlines: Pakistan,
Islam and the West.



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