DWS Sunday April to Saturday May JonZu News

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DWS Sunday April to Saturday May JonZu News Powered By Docstoc
                D A W N W I R E S E R V I C E

             Sunday 29 April to Saturday 05 May


The DAWN Wire Service (DWS) is a free weekly news-service
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                         C O N T E N T S


+ Govt objects to SC move in Gilani case
+ Sharifs accused of ‘robbing’ Rs6bn from 31 banks, DFIs
+ Lyari: a virtual war zone
+ ANF expands probe into ephedrine scam
+ PML-N hits back at Malik
+ Nine killed
+ Pakistan provided initial lead in hunt for Osama, say US
+ Shahzain, 26 guards arrested
+ Chief justice honoured
+ Shabnam, Robin Ghosh get lifetime achievement award
+ Two security men killed
+ PPP, PML-N on collision course again
+ Body of kidnapped ICRC official found
+ Panicked families fleeing Lyari
+ New drone strike in Miramshah: three killed
+ No PPP premier will write letter: Gilani
+ PAC seeks to scrutinise SC accounts
+ Rs845bn uplift plan ready for approval
+ Plan to do away with duty waivers in budget
+ Gilani appoints Fawad Chaudhry as assistant
+ Peace conference puts face to drone victims
+ Mehran Bank loan repaid with mark-up, say Sharifs
+ Play by rules, Kayani tells all
+ Nawaz to PM: quit or face movement
+ Gilani maintains defiant stance
+ CJ cautions govt over local bodies Elections
+ Return to wild old ways in parliament
+ FIA told to probe misappropriation of NBP’s welfare fund
+ Attacks violate sovereignty, says Pakistan
+ Drone strikes legal, ethical, says US
+ Widow, mother-in-law of man killed by Raymond Davis slain
+ Abida Parveen Hospitalized
+ CJ hints at ad hoc appointments: 3 judges not available
for PM’s appeal
+ PBC’s opposition
+ The story of an apology lost
+ Babar Awan sacked from last PPP post
+ Conspiracy of silence persists a year after Osama
+ Gilani asks PTI, PML-N to avoid confrontation
+ PM likens PML-N march to revolt by provincial govt
+ Jobless man tries to kill himself
+ Two die in Quetta bomb attack on FC convoy
+ Three killed in Orakzai shelling
+ Hafeez hints at budget revenue target of Rs2.3tr
+ Missing persons case: SC summons Balochistan CM, home
+ Abbottabad commission to complete its report this month
+ PML-N stages ‘go Gilani, go’ show in NA
+ PML-N to hold first protest meeting in Taxila
+ Political and military leaders discuss US ties: Move for
softened version of apology
+ Series of low-intensity blasts hits bank branches across
+ Pakistan played vital role in elimination of Osama:
+ Trust reposed in Gilani; NA seeks new province
+ India has Toughened Siachen stand, says Kayani
+ Malik wants Sharifs quizzed in SC attack case
+ ‘Miscreants’ in Karachi given 48 hours to surrender arms
+ Al Qaeda’s relations with Pakistan were fraught with
+ Non-appearance of Raisani displeases SC
+ Inside Osama’s world: Regrets, plans of a man on the run
+ Gilani vows to continue working as lawful PM
+ Pakistan and US trying to resolve all issues: FO
+ Electricity consumers to bear additional burden of 25pc
+ 3 security men among 5 dead in Bajaur blasts
+ 17 die as coach falls into ravine
+ Journalists in Singapore honour spirit of Murtaza Razvi
+ Pakistan handling contempt crisis in legitimate manner,
says US
+ Taliban claim responsibility: Bajaur market massacre
leaves 26 dead
+ Zardari approves ‘grand operation’ in Lyari
+ CJ rebukes govt for inaction on the missing
+ Rights commission law overcomes NA rumpus
+ ANF again summons Musa Gilani in ephedrine case
+ Hafeez orders revision of growth data
+ Call to hire professional from abroad to run PIA
+ Senior US official may visit soon


+ On the decline again
+ Lyari turmoil
+ Shortage of medicines
+   Political process first
+   Jammers in prisons
+   Journalists’ security
+   Head-on collision?
+   Aid worker’s killing
+   Past is another country
+   Constitutional limits
+   Legality of drones
+   Another May Day
+   Post-war future
+   Lyari crisis
+   Needless controversy
+   Blasts in Sindh
+   KP power project
+   Al Qaeda’s fears
+   Twin resolutions
+   Mohammad Asif’s release


+   Appeasing the hawks
+   Dangerous waters
+   Truth and Terror
+   Listening to Chinese whispers
+   State vs the people
+   The post-Osama terror factory
+   Jaya, Rekha to sit separately in parliament
+   Lucymemsahib and SAP

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


29, April, 2012


Govt objects to SC move in Gilani case

By Ahmad Hassan

ISLAMABAD, April 28: The government came up with
unmistakable indications on Saturday that it was ready to
prolong the contempt case, contending that an official of
the Supreme Court had misused his powers by writing to the
National Assembly and the Chief Election Commissioner
asking them to take “further necessary action” for
implementation of the verdict against the prime minister.

Law Minister Farooq Naek, at a press conference, urged the
Supreme Court to hold an inquiry into the matter and hinted
that the government would move a privilege motion against
the court’s assistant registrar since he had “breached the
privilege of Parliament”.

Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira, Minister for Postal
Services Sardar Alhaj Gorgeij and Senator Sardar Ali were
present on the occasion.

Mr Naek told the press conference that the Supreme Court
had sent a letter along with copies of its two short orders
in the contempt case against Prime Minister Yousuf Raza
Gilani to the Speaker of the National Assembly and the
Chief Election Commissioner asking them for further
necessary action.

The letter, written by SC’s Assistant Registrar Iqbal
Naseem on the day the apex court had convicted Mr Gilani,
said: “I am directed to enclose herewith a certified copy
of the short order of the court dated 26-4-2012 and another
order dated 26-4-2012 passed in the above cited criminal
original petition for further necessary action.”

Reading from the court order, Mr Naek pointed out that the
SC had not asked for disqualification of the prime
minister. Instead, he added, the court had left the
decision for other ‘institutions’ (NA speaker and CEC).

“If the Supreme Court decides to disqualify Prime Minister
Yousuf Raza Gilani, the government will beready to comply
with all its orders,” the law minister observed.
Mr Naek said that an appeal against the Supreme Court’s
order could be filed only after the detailed judgment was

He claimed that the Supreme Court order was not passed
under Section 5 of the contempt of court ordinance which
disqualified a person from holding public office for five

“The court always gives a detailed order so that the
accused can read it and file an appeal, but in this case
the Supreme Court did not issue a detailed order nor did it
give a copy of its order to the prime minister,” he

He claimed that the Supreme Court did not disqualify the
prime minister and people should not rush into passing
judgments. “A trial ends only after an appeal is heard…
What is the rush all about?”

Mr Naek said the NA speaker still had 30 days to decide
about the prime minister’s fate and till that time Mr
Gilani would continue to head the government and remain a
member of the National Assembly.

Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira wondered why a
contempt case was “hushed up against those who had pushed
and insulted the chief justice after he was deposed (in
2007) and political workers were on the streets in his

He asked the PML-N leadership not to jump to conclusion and
“avoid a collision course”

“The People’s Party has learned lessons from its mistakes
and will try to persuade the opposition not to repeat
mistakes,” Mr Kaira said.


29, April, 2012


Sharifs accused of ‘robbing’ Rs6bn from 31 banks, DFIs

By Iftikhar A. Khan

ISLAMABAD, April 28: In what may take an already hot
political temperature to the boiling point, Interior
Minister Rehman Malik accused the Sharif family on Saturday
of ‘robbing’ 31 banks, development finance institutions and
non-bank financial institutions of over Rs6 billion to
build “their industrial empire”.

The allegations, mostly rehashed version of old charges,
came a day after PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif asked Prime
Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani to step down after conviction
by the Supreme Court and threatened to use all options to
send the government packing if the demand was not met.

Speaking at a press conference at his office, Mr Malik
alleged that the Sharif family had forced banks and other
financial institutions to arrange the “staggering sum for
their 19 industrial units”.

With a pile of files lying in front of him, the minister
claimed that he had in his possession all documentary
evidence and threatened to file a reference with the
National Accountability Bureau (NAB) next week.

He suggested the NAB as well as the apex court to take note
of what he called fraudulent extraction of money by the
Sharifs. “I will be pleased to appear before the Supreme
Court with all relevant documents.”

Throwing the challenge of a live debate to Sharif brothers,
he said he would offer himself to be hanged if he was
proved wrong.

In reply to a question, Mr Malik said his life was under
threat and he might be attacked, adding that copies of the
documents were with his lawyers and ‘the mission’ would
continue even if anything happened to him.

He said that although he had tried to avoid taking steps
which could vitiate the political atmosphere, he had no
option but to release the “first instalment of evidence of
corruption involving the Sharif family”.
Mr Malik said the People’s Party was not “allowing me to
bring this evidence” for the sake of promoting
reconciliation, but alleged that Leader of the Opposition
in the National Assembly, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, wanted
that the Sharif brothers be exposed. “He (Chaudhry Nisar)
has won and I have lost.

“I came to the rescue of my party after the other side
started maligning the PPP leadership.”

He alleged that the Rs6 billion default had forced Nawaz
Sharif to join hands with former president Farooq Ahmed
Leghari to dislodge the Benazir government. The deal had
been finalised between the two during investigations into
the Mehran Bank scam as both were beneficiaries, the
interior minister claimed.

He alleged that Mr Leghari had sold his “barren land in
Dera Ghazi Khan for billions of rupees”.

Mr Malik accused the Sharif family of defaulting on payment
of $32 million for paper manufacturing machinery leased
from a British-based firm, Altowfeek Company, in Feb 1995.

The amount was paid after the High Court of Justice,
Queen’s bench division, ordered the British authorities to
charge four properties owned by the Sharif family in
Britain. He alleged that the Sharif family was involved in
money laundering and had deposits in 10 banks in
Switzerland. “I will shortly make public the trail of money
laundering,” he added.

In reply to a question, he claimed that Benazir Bhutto and
Asif Ali Zardari never had a bank account in Switzerland
and no document in the Swiss case was genuine. He said the
much-talked about necklace allegedly owned by Ms Bhutto
also did not belong to her. The interior minister said he
had with him an affidavit of the jeweller concerned to
prove this.

About the PML-N’s threat of long march to unseat the prime
minister, Mr Malik said the PPP could also arrange such a
march from Sindh to Lahore.

He agreed that the tiff between the People’s Party and the
opposition was harmful to democracy, but said that despite
signing the Charter of Democracy, the PML-N wanted to take
every possible step it believed could help topple the

“There were 8,000 NRO (National Reconciliation Ordinance)
cases; why they (PML-N) didn’t become party in the rest of
the cases,” he wondered.


29, April, 2012


Lyari: a virtual war zone


By Abbas Jalbani

KARACHI: For the last several days, the densely populated
neighbourhood of Lyari has been resounding with endless
volleys of gunfire. At times the sound of gunfire is
interrupted by rocket-propelled grenades, forcing most
residents to either remain indoors or run for life.

Violence seems to have become a permanent feature of life
in one of the oldest and most impoverished neighbourhoods
in Karachi. In the latest round of bloodletting, security
forces have squared off against gunmen and ‘gangsters’
following the murder of a seasoned Pakistan People’s Party
activist on Thursday.

A resident told this writer on Saturday that his locality
had been without water and electricity since early Friday
morning. Families had run short of food and milk for
children along with other essentials since no shop was

If anyone dared venture outside, they risked being caught
in the crossfire. A station house officer was shot dead in
a clash with criminals on Saturday. The manner in which the
SHO and his team were trapped and ambushed shows the nature
of organised violence in the area.
However, while security forces confronted gunmen armed with
grenades and other heavy weapons, many outside of Lyari are
unaware of the bloodshed and lawlessness that now appears
to rule Karachi’s old city area.

Local PPP leader Malik Mohammad Khan Niazi was killed at
Aath Chowk while leading a procession against the
conviction of Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani in the
contempt case. Law enforcers have blamed the ‘defunct’ but
active People’s Amn Committee -- formerly associated with
the PPP — for the killing. If this is assumed to be true,
it must be asked why the organisation, considered a
criminal outfit by its detractors, turned its guns on the

“Maybe because of the feeling of betrayal,” a disgruntled
youth said. The ‘committee’, or at least a major faction of
it led by Uzair Baloch and Habib Jan Baloch, became the
sole target of an earlier operation “at the behest of the
largest extortionist group of the city”, he added. Amn
Committee sympathisers say another faction of the
organisation, led by Baba Ladla, has been spared, while
criminals loyal to the rival Arshad Pappu gang are being
used by police to identify Amn Committee fighters.

Having failed to enter Lyari through Lea Market in the last
round of the so-called operation against extortionists in
mid-April, this time the police and other security forces,
led by SP ‘Chaudhry’ Aslam Khan, tried to “conquer” — as
some locals put it — the area by entering from Cheel Chowk.

Their target was the infamous Kalakot area, but to block
its entry and exit points the law enforcers cordoned off
neighbouring Nawa Lane and Kumhar Wara. As a result a
population of around 100,000 was held hostage. Situations
like this have earlier led to massive protests by

Political dimension

The ‘selective’ operation has led to the estrangement of
the Amn Committee from the PPP to such an extent that
according to reports its leader Uzair Baloch has decided to
quit the party and is seriously thinking about joining the
Pakistan Muslim League-N.

Residents say the process of alienation is not confined to
the Amn Committee alone but has engulfed almost the entire
population of Lyari, because of sufferings they have to go
through during the operations. Some have also alleged that
Chaudhry Aslam has used his ‘private army’ — gunmen not
belonging to the police or other law-enforcing agencies —
in the operation.

They allege Aslam has a personal vendetta because of
insults heaped upon him by the Amn Committee when it was
led by the notorious Rehman ‘Dakait’, or Sardar Abdul
Rehman as he wished to be known.

PPP stalwarts including Federal Interior Minister Rehman
Malik, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah and Home
Minister Manzoor Wassan have kept insisting that it is a
targeted operation against extortionists without
discrimination. This has rubbed some in Lyari the wrong

“Why only in Lyari? Why isn’t an anti-extortion operation
launched in other areas of the city where extortion takes
place at a larger scale?” asked Abdul Mutallib Qasarqandi,
a political activist and businessman.

“Extortion in Lyari used to be limited to local
shopkeepers, traders and transporters. When the
extortionists started expanding operations to Kharadar,
Jodia Bazaar and Tower, those who had a monopoly over the
business started objecting and demanded an operation
against Lyari criminals while indulging in the same
business in the entire city,” he added.

‘Robin Hood’ phenomenon

When the current PPP-led government assumed power, Rehman
Dakait started harbouring aspirations about a future in
politics — a wish still nurtured by his successors. Due to
the apathy shown to the voters by PPP lawmakers, the Amn
Committee started to fill in for the state, re-branding
itself as a social/community organisation.

While MNA Nabeel Gabol and MPA Rafique Engineer were seldom
seen in their constituency and accused of neglecting Lyari,
the Amn Committee worked on its image by getting involved
in the area’s uplift.

Some locals are of the opinion that if the PPP continues to
take its voters for granted, even Bilawal Bhutto Zardari
may find it difficult to win a National Assembly seat from
Lyari. However, former People’s Party MPA Nasreen Chandio
said that though the allure of the Bhutto family may compel
Lyari’s people — diehard supporters of the PPP — to vote
for the young Bhutto, the party’s vote bank is bound to
shrink in the coming general elections.

Until a few years ago, Lyari was regarded as vanguard of
pro-democracy agitation. But residents said utter neglect
by its political class allowed the local gangsters to take
the centre-stage. Many were involved in running local dens,
but soon strengthened their political position by involving
themselves in social work. Within no time the situation
degenerated into turf war between various warlords like
gang leaders, posing themselves as politicians or social
activists. And in all this local and central PPP leadership
remained silent spectator, complained many former party

Now it appears this is a political war the PPP is set to
lose because its leadership makes decisions about Lyari to
appease others, and when the situation aggravates, it
depends on advice offered by leaders such as Nabeel Gabol
and Rafique Engineer, who have become unacceptable as far
as the politics of Lyari is concerned.


29, February, 2012


ANF expands probe into ephedrine scam

By Imran Ali Teepu

ISLAMABAD, April 28: The Anti-Narcotics Force has started
questioning leading pharmaceutical companies as it expanded
the scope of its investigation into the ‘ephedrine scam’.

Ali Musa Gilani, son of Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani,
is one of the accused in the case.

It has asked the companies which had been allocated a quota
of ephedrine in 2010 to submit their record of production,
usage and sale, Dawn has learnt reliably.

The International Narcotics Control Board had fixed an
annual quota of 22,000kg of ephedrine for Pakistan but the
ministry of health allocated 30,909.55kg in 2010.

A federal government official told Dawn that about 64
companies were allocated a quota ranging between 250kg and
6,000kg. Berlex Lab International of Multan received
6,000kg and Danas Pharmaceutical of Islamabad 1,500kg.

Sources said the ANF had been questioning the
pharmaceutical companies to ascertain if they had misused
the ephedrine quota.

An official of a pharmaceutical company confirmed that his
firm had been summoned by the ANF. “We have received a
letter and we will be appearing before the ANF,” he said.

The sources said that the investigation officers feared
that a number of companies might not have followed the
production procedure for ephedrine which costs around
Rs5,200 per kg.“We have asked the companies to come up with
‘computer-generated’ transactions of drugs produced from
ephedrine. We will summon production managers because they
possess manual record,” the official said.

According to the sources, the production team signs a
number of documents, including certificates of quality
control department, quantity management and even reports of
the internal laboratory that clears the samples of drug
before their supply to the market.

“We have also asked the companies to come with their
electricity bills since a factory can run 24/7 for 22 days
straight to produce ephedrine related drugs such as syrup,
tablets or drops from a quota of 500kg,” the official said.

Electricity bills of Berlex and Danas were very low during
the period when they should have worked overtime if they
used the allocated quotas.


29, April, 2012


PML-N hits back at Malik


By Our Staff Reporter

LAHORE: Senator Pervaiz Rashid of the Pakistan Muslim
League-Nawaz has said that Interior Minister Rehman Malik
will face ‘humiliation’ if he presents his ‘bunch of lies’
in court. “People will also reject his politics over this

Commenting on the allegations levelled by Mr Malik against
PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif and his family, Senator Rahid said
the rule of People’s Party was a story of loot and plunder,
bringing forth a fresh scam evry other day. According to a
press release, he said that instead of levelling false
allegations, Mr Malik should give account of billions of
rupees looted by ‘his master’; otherwise humiliation was
his fate. “Rehman Malik has no threat from anyone except
from his own hypocrisy and lies.”

Mr Rahid said that after the Supreme Court judgment
convicting the prime minister, the interior minister was
trying to hide his misdeeds by mudslinging others. He
advised Mr Malik to go to the court and present proofs so
that facts should become clear.

Senator Rashid challenged that Mr Malik will never dare go
to the NAB. He alleged that Mr Malik had been giving this
bunch of lies to PTI chairman Imran Khan for past four
years. Earlier he had given the same to former president
Pervaiz Musharraf. Before that he himself had lodged cases
in the court but could prove nothing, the PML-N leader

He recalled that four days ago Mr Malik had submitted such
documents to the Supreme Court, but these had been
rejected. “Rehman Malik cannot stop implementation of the
SC decision by levelling false allegations.”

Mr Rashid said if a dictator could not end politics of the
PML-N how would Asif Zardari and his cronies be able to do


29, February, 2012


Nine killed


By Our Staff Reporter

KARACHI, April 28: The death toll in gunbattles between
police and gangsters in Lyari rose to nine late on Saturday
night when two people lost their lives.

Police said that a government school teacher was wounded
near Gabol Park when she was hit by a stray bullet in the
head. She

was admitted in a serious condition to the Civil Hospital,
but died during treatment around Saturday midnight.
In another incident, a young man, identified as Muhammad
Akhtar, was killed in Meranaka, near Shershah Bridge, when
unknown persons shot at him.


29, April, 2012


Pakistan provided initial lead in hunt for Osama, say US


By Anwar Iqbal

WASHINGTON, April 28: Days before the first anniversary of
Osama bin Laden’s elimination, US and Pakistani officials
are saying that Pakistan, perhaps, had a greater role in
helping the Americans reach the Al Qaeda chief than it was
ever acknowledged.

On Saturday, media reports quoted unnamed American
officials as saying that the information they learned from
the ISI was ‘useful’ in determining Bin Laden’s presence in
his Abbottabad compound.

Officials who spoke to Dawn also said the ISI provided the
CIA with the initial lead that helped them find Bin Laden.

In its Saturday edition, The Washington Post reported that
the ISI had provided the CIA with a cellphone number in
2010 that eventually led to an Al Qaeda courier, along with
information that the phone had last been detected in
Abbottabad.“The ISI said it did not know then that the
number belonged to the Al Qaeda courier,” the Post added.

Sources told Dawn that the ISI provided the CIA “with bits
and pieces that helped them make the bigger picture”.
The ISI, the sources said, did not have the capacity to
build the bigger picture but “they were disappointed when
the Americans did not share the conclusion they drew from
the information the ISI had provided”.

The US decision to raid Bin Laden’s compound without
consulting Pakistan, the sources added, “placed the ISI in
an awkward position” and that’s why they did not claim
credit for their role in leading the CIA to Bin Laden.

“After the raid, nobody had believed their claim,” said one
such source. “Besides, it would not have helped them in
Pakistan where the public was more interested in knowing
why the Pakistani military failed in detecting the US
forces. Saying that they led the Americans to the compound
would have made the ISI look even worse.”

The sources said that the ISI was now trying to seek credit
because it felt “this is the time to redeem their image and
clear Pakistan’s name”.The May 2, 2011 US raid on Bin
Laden’s compound has isolated Pakistan internationally and
has done an irreparable damage to its image in the US where
it is blamed for hiding America’s ‘public enemy number one’
for years.

The Post reported that an unnamed senior ISI official told
its correspondent in Islamabad: “The lead and the
information actually came from us.”

Another official said: “Any hit on [terror group] Al Qaeda
anywhere in the world has happened with our help.”

But a senior US official told AFP news agency that “the
Pakistanis didn’t provide any tips on Bin Laden. They
provided certain information that aided the United States
in developing the American intelligence picture on the
compound,” said the official, who asked not to be

“This was an American operation,” the official added.

One ISI official, who said he had been intimately involved
in the hunt for senior Al Qaeda operatives, including Bin
Laden, told the Post the ISI provided the CIA with a
cellphone number that eventually led to an Al Qaeda courier
using the fictitious name of Abu Ahmed Al Kuwaiti, the
paper said.
The officials said that in November 2010, they turned over
the number to the CIA, along with information that it had
last been detected in Abbottabad, the report said.

The ISI said it did not know then that the number was
Kuwaiti’s, but that CIA analysts did, without however
relaying that information back to the Pakistanis, The Post

“They knew who the number belonged to,” the paper quoted
one official as saying. “But after that their cooperation
with us ended.”

“It is the story of an extreme trust deficit and betrayal,”
complained the other ISI official, the paper said.

However, a US official disputed the ISI version, The Post

“The fact is, our knowledge of the number didn’t come from
them telling us about it,” the paper quoted the US official
as saying.


29, April, 2012


Shahzain, 26 guards arrested


By Saleem Shahid

QUETTA, April 28: Nawabzada Shahzain Bugti, the provincial
chief of Jamhoori Watan Party (JWP), wanted to the police
in an arms smuggling case, surrendered to the authorities
on Saturday after a meeting at his residence with
Balochistan Home Minister Mir Zafarullah Zehri. The 26 body
guards of Mr Bugti, who also face the same charge, were
also arrested.
In 2010, Mr Bugti and his men were coming to Quetta from
Chaman when FC personnel stopped them at the Bileli
checkpost and took them into custody on the charge of
carrying illegal arms in their vehicles. A sessions court
released them on bail. The provincial government challenged
the decision in the Supreme Court and earlier this month a
three-member bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar
Mohammad Chaudhry cancelled the bail.

On Saturday, the home minister went to the residence of Mr
Shahzain, the grandson of the slain nationalist leader
Nawab Akbar Bugti, and informed him that warrants for his
arrest had been issued and he should surrender to the
police. “I court arrest along with my 26 guards who have
been nominated with me in a fake case of arms and
ammunition smuggling,” Mr Bugti told reporters outside his

The minister took Mr Bugti to the Quetta district jail in
his official vehicle under heavy security. The JWP leader’s
guards were detained and driven away by the police.

Mr Zehri said he had himself brought Mr Bugti from the
Machh central jail after the sessions court had granted him
bail and now he was taking him to the Quetta district jail
because his bail had been cancelled by the Supreme Court.

Police and law-enforcement agencies personnel cordoned off
Mr Bugti’s residence on the New Al Gilani road.

When DIG (operation) Qazi Wahid informed him that they had
come to arrest him, Mr Bugti said a fake case had been
instituted against him and his guards because he had
announced his plan to launch a long march on Dera Bugti.
“The government prepared a fake case against me and my
guards just to sabotage the JWP’s long march programme.”
The JWP leader said that there was contradiction in
Interior Minister Rehman Malik’s statements, adding that on
one side Mr Malik offered to hold talks with the exiled
Baloch leaders and withdraw cases against them, on the
other fake cases were being registered against him which
would only deepen distrust between Balochistan and the

He alleged that rulers had always deceived the Baloch
people. They hanged the Baloch leaders after requesting
them to come down from mountains and hold talks, adding
that in similar way they had eliminated Akbar Bugti.

He said his case had been disposed of within no time, but
nobody had taken notice of the case in which former home
minister Mir Shoaib Nausherwani had been nominated in the
Akbar Bugti murder case. He said despite the fact that
arrest warrants had been issued against Mr Nausherwani he
was accorded VIP treatment by police when he was brought to
cast his vote in the recent Senate election.

Mr Bugti said the case against him was baseless and had
been registered to put pressure on him. “The case was
registered after 10 hours and the number of recovered
weapons was not mentioned in the FIR,” he said, adding the
sessions court had granted him bail because there was
nothing against him in the case.

He said he and his party had struggled for the rights of
Baloch people while remaining within the framework of
Pakistan. “We honour law and will face cases in courts,”
the JWP’s provincial leader said, adding he would again
file a bail plea.

Mr Bugti alleged that agencies had kidnapped his counsel
Mukesh Kohli so that no lawyer could represent him in the

The JWP leaders and workers present on the occasion raised
slogans in favour of Mr Bugti and against the government.

Amanullah Kasi adds: The women’s wing of the JWP condemned
Mr Bugti’s arrest and said he was implicated in a false
case to pressure his family to give up its struggle.

The protesters assembled outside the press club and raised
slogans and demanded he be freed immediately.

They held the government and intelligence agencies
responsible for the crisis in Balochistan.


29, April, 2012

Chief justice honoured


By A Reporter

ISLAMABAD, April 28: Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad
Chaudhry has been bestowed the prestigious and renowned
“International Jurists Award 2012” for his unique and
tremendous contribution in the field of administration of
justice by the International Council of Jurists.

A statement issued by the Supreme Court said the award was
in recognition of the tireless and fearless endeavours made
by the chief justice towards administration of justice in
the country against all odds.

The award ceremony is scheduled for May 28 in London and
the award will be presented by Lord Phillips, President of
the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom, in the presence of
chief justices, law ministers, members of parliament, bar
leaders, law teachers and journalists from different


29, April, 2012


Shabnam, Robin Ghosh get lifetime achievement award


LAHORE, April 28: Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has
conferred the lifetime achievement award on Shabnam and
Robin Ghosh for their contribution to Pakistani film
The award was given at a ceremony organised by the PTV
Network at the Governor’s House on Saturday.

Speaking on the occasion, the prime minister said: “I am
very pleased to give you this lifetime achievement award
and both of you deserve it.”

Leading film artistes performed on the songs picturised on
Shabnam or composed by Robin Ghosh. Shabnam said that she
was very pleased to visit Lahore after a long time.—Shoaib


29, April, 2012


Two security men killed


DERA GHAZI KHAN, April 28: A policeman and an army man were
shot dead and five passengers, including two army
personnel, injured in an attack on a D.G. Khan-bound van
near Rakni in Balochistan.

According to reports reaching here, the van was coming from
Loralai when it was intercepted allegedly by Baloch

Mohammed Taqi of police’s special branch and Husnain Majeed
of the army were killed and army men Rabnawaz and Parwaiz
and three other people, Allah Ditta, Fehmeed Umer and
Azizullah, were injured in indiscriminate firing by the
assailants.—Tariq Saeed Birmani


30, April, 2012

PPP, PML-N on collision course again


By Amir Wasim

ISLAMABAD, April 29: The on-again, off-again confrontation
between the two major political parties, the PPP and PML-N,
has returned in all its ugliness, mudslinging and tit-for-
tat attacks.

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani’s sentence by the Supreme
Court on contempt charges was over in just 37 seconds on
Thursday, but in the following three days, the two major
national parties appear to have buried, at least for now,
the oft-reported ‘understanding’ between them to avoid
taking their differences to the point of ‘no return’.

The statements issued by the leaders of the PPP and PML-N
over the past three days, accusing each other of committing
corruption and making compromises on principles, have
revived the politicking of the 1990s between them.

Two back-to-back hard-hitting news conferences – one by
Interior Minister Rehman Malik and the other by Leader of
Opposition in National Assembly Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan --
kept journalists on their toes on a rather dreary Sunday.

For the second day, Mr Malik came up with allegations of
money laundering against the Sharif brothers and the
opposition leader termed the minister’s tirade an attempt
to divert people’s attention from the real issue of $60
million stashed in Swiss accounts. He said it was ironic
that both the president and the prime minister were
convicted men.

Chaudhry Nisar indicated that he would spearhead a strong
protest in the National Assembly on Monday evening if the
prime minister tried to attend the session.

Speaking in the National Assembly on Thursday, Chaudhry
Nisar called for Mr Gilani’s resignation after his
conviction and dared the treasury benches to bring the
prime minister to the house. Mr Gilani did not attend the
session on Thursday evening, but taking advantage of the
absence of a majority of PML-N’s members, attended Friday’s
session briefly and delivered a speech in which he
castigated PML-N’s policy and challenged the opposition to
bring a no-trust motion against him.

Chaudhry Nisar said on Sunday the prime minister had come
to the house only after getting information that most of
PML-N’s members were in Lahore for a meeting.

He also criticised Speaker Dr Fehmida Mirza for allowing
the prime minister to speak during the question hour.

“We are here and the arena too. They will find us there in
tomorrow’s session,” he said.

He said his party would announce its plan of action after a
joint meeting in Islamabad on Monday of its central working
committee and parliamentary group which would be presided
over by Mian Nawaz Sharif.

Responding to a question, he said the opposition’s movement
was not for removing the government, but for implementation
of the court’s verdicts. He said his party was not
interested in bringing a no-confidence motion against Mr

In response to the minister’s allegations of money
laundering against the Sharif brothers, he said there was
nothing new in them. He said most of the cases about which
the interior minister was talking were 15 to 18 years old
and were pending in courts. He said the PML-N had itself
approached the courts in some cases to make early

Chaudhry Nisar constantly used the term “swindler” for Mr
Malik in his news conference and said the minister had a
“stinking reputation” even in his own party. He said he
considered it “below his dignity” to respond to Mr Malik’s
each and every allegation.

Earlier, the interior minister again accused the Sharif
brothers of receiving money from Younus Habib and
challenged PML-N’s leaders to drag him to a court of law if
his charges were false. “If the PML-N has courage then it
should file a defamation case against me,” Mr Malik
challenged. He announced that he would release more
“corruption stories” of the Sharif brothers in the next few
Mr Malik asked the PML-N chief to first get himself cleared
from the Supreme Court of charges of receiving money from
Younus Habib, the chief of the now defunct Mehran Bank.

He said he had instructed his office to send the documents
to the National Accountability Bureau for legal action.

Mr Malik said the nation wanted to know how Nawaz Sharif
and Shahbaz Sharif, who were in prison after their
conviction in 2000, were allowed to leave the jail

without following the judicial process. He urged the Punjab
government to make public the documents relating to the
release of the brothers.

Replying to a question, Mr Malik said he would approach the
Supreme Court with new evidence and also hoped that it
would take suo motu notice of the corruption of the Sharif

On Saturday, the minister had accused the Sharif family of
robbing 31 banks and financial institutions of over Rs6
billion to build their industrial empire.

He said his party’s leadership was not allowing him to
bring forward the evidence against the Sharif brothers in
the interest of political environment. He alleged that it
appeared that Chaudhry Nisar wanted the Sharif brothers to
be exposed.

Mr Malik is also reported to have hinted that he possessed
a letter allegedly written to Gen Musharraf by the mother
of Chaudhry Nisar seeking his pardon.

When Chaudhry Nisar was asked about the claim, he said: “If
he is man enough, he should make the letter public.” He
announced that if Mr Malik presented any such letter he
would quit politics.

This is not the first time since the 2008 elections that
the nation has seen the two parties jabbing at each other.
But political analysts believe that this time their
confrontation may last longer and culminate in a high drama
since elections are only months away.

30, April, 2012


Body of kidnapped ICRC official found


By Saleem Shahid

QUETTA, April 29: The body of a kidnapped British official
of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Dr
Khalil Rasjed Dale, was found in an orchard near the
Airport Road on Sunday morning.

“The beheaded body of Dr Dale, kidnapped on Jan 5, was in a
plastic bag dumped in the apple orchard,” a police officer

The ICRC official was a British national of Yemeni origin.

The killers left a chit with the body saying that they had
kidnapped Dr Dale and killed him because the ICRC did not
pay the ransom they had demanded. It said the video of the
killing would also be released.

Taliban had earlier claimed to have kidnapped the official.

According to sources, the kidnappers contacted the ICRC
last month and demanded $30 million for his release. There
was no official confirmation about the ransom demand.

Dr Dale was kidnapped from the Chaman Housing Society when
he was returning home from his office.

“The ICRC has now received confirmation that Khalil, a 60-
year-old Health Programme Manager in Quetta, Balochistan,
was murdered almost four months after his kidnapping,” a
statement issued by the ICRC in Islamabad said.

After receiving information about the presence of a body in
the orchard near the western bypass, police took it to the
Civil Hospital.
“This is the body of Dr Khalil Rasjed Dale” were the words
written on the bag with a black marker, a police officer
told Dawn.

Local ICRC officials identified the body in the hospital.

Police Surgeon Dr Safdar Hussain said the body appeared to
be 12 to 15 hours old. “He was slaughtered with a sharp
knife,” he said. No other marks of torture were found on
the body.

Hospital sources said the body would be handed over after
autopsy to the ICRC on Monday.

According to the sources, the body will be taken to
Islamabad on a special ICRC plane.

The ICRC had suspended its health projects in Balochistan
and other NGOs had also reduced their work in the province
after the kidnapping.

“A rehabilitation centre for disabled people run by the
ICRC in the Christian Hospital was not working since the
kidnapping,” the sources said.

The local administration beefed up security for all UN
organisations and foreign NGOs and deployed more security
personnel in different areas of the city.

Balochistan Chief Minister Nawab Aslam Raisani condemned
the killing.

He said that the elements involved in the crime were
enemies of the country and the province whose act was aimed
at defaming Pakistan.

He pledged that the killers would be brought to justice

Kalbe Ali adds from Islamabad: “The ICRC condemns in the
strongest possible terms this barbaric act,” the
organisation’s Director General Yves Daccord said. “All of
us at the ICRC and at the British Red Cross share the grief
and outrage of Khalil’s family and friends.”

Dr Dale had been working for the ICRC and the British Red
Cross for many years and carried out assignments in
Somalia, Afghanistan and Iraq. In Quetta, he worked as
health programme manager for almost a year.

According to a local journalist, the UNHCR chief in Quetta,
John Solecki, had also been kidnapped from Chaman Housing
Society in 2009. He was freed recently after payment of

Reuters adds: British Foreign Secretary William Hague also
condemned the killing. “This was a senseless and cruel act,
targeting someone whose role was to help the people of
Pakistan, and causing immeasurable pain to those who knew
Mr Dale.”

The doctor is the third Westerner killed in such a fashion
in Pakistan after Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl
in 2002 and Piotr Stanczak, a Polish geologist, in 2009.

In March, a Swiss couple that had been abducted in
Balochistan showed up at an army checkpoint after eight
months of captivity. Militants said a ransom had been paid.

In August last year, American aid worker Warren Weinstein
was kidnapped from his home in Lahore and Al Qaeda claimed
responsibility for the kidnapping.


30, April, 2012


Panicked families fleeing Lyari


By Our Staff Reporter

KARACHI, April 29: With the Lyari area of Karachi
continuing to resound with gunfire and explosions of bombs
and rocket-propelled grenades for the third consecutive day
on Sunday, panicked residents have started leaving the
locality for relatively safe adjoining places or other
parts of the city.
Lyari looks like a virtual war zone with armoured personnel
carriers of police in full-fledged action and gunmen
hitting back with lethal weapons. The area is facing an
acute shortage of foodstuff and other essentials. There is
no water in most of the areas and parts of the locality
were without electricity. People, mostly women, leaving
their homes with their children said they wouldn’t be able
to survive the hardship anymore.

The violence which appeared to be intensifying with each
passing day claimed another four lives on Sunday. A
policeman was among them.

Several people, including two DSPs and as many
mediapersons, were injured.

“It is a curfew-like situation here in Lyari as police are
firing indiscriminately during the so-called targeted
operation,” a resident told Dawn.

“Somehow I managed to bring my children to my office in
Clifton, because they had not got even a sip of water for
more than 30 hours and were in a state of trauma in the
absence of electricity,” said Elahi Bakhsh.

Several other families fled their homes because of
continuing violence and closure of markets and the
breakdown of power and water supply system.

Some moved to stay at their friends’ and relatives’ in
other parts of the city, but there were many more who could
not found a shelter.

Residents of the Lea Market area, Aath Chowk, Cheel Chowk,
Afshani Gali, Ghareeb Shah, Bakra Piri, Chakiwara,
Kumharwara, Kalakot and other affected parts said the
authorities should have made some arrangements for the
supply of food and other essentials.

“There’s no electricity here, we have heard that a pole-
mounted transformer in our area has been damaged during the
police operation,” said a resident, who was confined to
their small apartment with his family in Kalakot, on the

Food items and water were being sold at exorbitant prices
in some parts of Lyari until yesterday, but that option too
was no longer available, said a young resident of

In a related development, IG Sindh Mushtaq Shah put all
other units of the crime investigation department (CID)
under the direct command of CID SP Aslam Khan asking them
to assist him in the operation.


30, April, 2012


New drone strike in Miramshah: three killed


By Pazir Gul

MIRAMSHAH, April 29: A US drone fired missiles on Sunday at
an abandoned school in Miramshah, the headquarters of North
Waziristan tribal region, killing three suspects and
injuring two others.

Local people said that two missiles hit the building which
once housed a primary school for girls.

Three people inside the building were killed and two others

The bodies and the injured were taken to a private hospital
in the area.

Authorities closed down the school in the heart of town
some time ago after a portion of the building was blown up
by militants. Officials in Peshawar told Dawn that the
building was being used by the Punjabi Taliban.

Sunday’s was the second drone attack in Miramshah during
the current month. Earlier, a private building was targeted
in which four suspects were killed.
According to news TV channels, the foreign office condemned
the drone attack.


30, April, 2012


No PPP premier will write letter: Gilani


LAHORE: Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani asserted on
Sunday that no premier belonging to the PPP would write a
letter to Swiss authorities to reopen graft cases against
President Asif Ali Zardari. “We will not budge from our
constitutional stance, come what may,” he said while
talking to a group of lawyers at his residence here.

The prime minister termed PML-N an ‘opportunist’ party and
said its president (Nawaz Sharif) was trying to confuse the
people over the Supreme Court’s verdict in the contempt of
court case.

“Mr Sharif appears to be confused. Therefore, he is trying
to confuse the public over the court’s decision in my
case,” Mr Gilani said.

Punjab PPP Information Secretary Raja Amir, who was present
on the occasion, told Dawn that the prime minister was
displeased with the PML-N’s efforts to indulge in political
point scoring on the Supreme Court’s verdict.

“I am utterly disappointed with the PML-N for what it has
been doing after the court’s verdict. The PML-N is
misleading the people, but we will not let it succeed. We
have always taken the PML-N along and accommodated it, but
it always stabbed us in our back whenever it got an
opportunity,” the prime minister was quoted as saying.

Mr Gilani further said that the Sharifs wanted one law for
themselves and another for others. He asked them to wait
till the completion of the necessary legal procedure. “The
PML-N should stop holding its own court,” he advised its
leadership.He said the PPP, through constitutional
amendments, had lifted the condition of becoming prime
minister for the third time, primarily as desired by Mr
Nawaz Sharif.

“I will not resign on anybody’s wish. I will not succumb to
any pressure,” Mr Gilani said, adding that only the
parliament could decide if he would continue to serve as
the prime minister.

Raja Amir said that the prime minister had told lawyers
that he had received more congratulatory messages after the
Supreme Court judgment than when he was elected the prime

Federal Law Minister Farooq H. Naek also called on the
prime minister at his residence here and discussed some
legal matters with regard to his conviction.—Zulqernain


30, April, 2012


PAC seeks to scrutinise SC accounts


By Khawar Ghumman

ISLAMABAD, April 29: As the war of words between the ruling
Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and the opposition Pakistan
Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) turns shrill after the Supreme
Court order against Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, the
Public Accounts Committee (PAC) could turn out to be a new
battleground in the fight between the executive and

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the National
Assembly is meeting this week after a six-month hiatus. It
is expected that the committee will call the Supreme Court
Registrar, Dr Faqir Hussain, to scrutinise the apex court’s

Talking to Dawn, the newly elected chairman of the PAC,
Nadeem Afzal Gondal, said that an appearance by the SC
registrar was long overdue. Principal Accounting Officers
(PAOs) of all other government departments are expected to
present their accounts for a mandatory regularisation of
expenditures in their departments.

However, Mr Gondal was quick to clarify that the scrutiny
“has nothing to do with the SC contempt decision against
Prime Minister Gilani”. The PAC has nothing to do with the
case, since the government had decided to submit an appeal
against the decision. “This is a totally separate issue,”
he insisted.

Mr Gondal, who was unanimously elected as the new PAC
chairman last week, after Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan’s
resignation, said he was meeting the auditor-general on
Monday to set an agenda for the committee meeting scheduled
for this week.

“We will decide when the SC registrar should be called
before the committee,” Mr Gondal said.

“Under the Constitution, PAOs of relevant departments —
where public money is used — are supposed to come before
the PAC. We will use this right, and ask the SC registrar
to appear before the committee,” said Mr Gondal, who is
also known for his loyalty towards his party — the PPP.

Moreover, Mr Gondal continued, the former chairman of the
PAC, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, had also written letters to
the SC registrar calling for his appearance before the
committee. According to Mr Gondal, the committee would
merely be following up on an already existing decision,
made under the former chairman of the PAC.

But according to observers, the PAC proceedings will not
remain as peaceful as they used to be in the past, since
the ruling party has decided to fall back on its majority
in parliament against the SC and the opposition PML-N.

At a press conference on Saturday, Federal Minister for
Law, Senator Farooq H Naek clearly indicated that
parliament would pitch itself against the judiciary, when
he said that the government would bring a privilege motion
against the SC registrar for forwarding the court order
passed against the prime minister to the Speaker of the
National Assembly for necessary action. According to the
law minister, the registrar does not have the mandate to
direct the speaker to take any such action.

This is not the first time that the issue of the SC
registrar appearing before the PAC has come up. During a
PAC meeting held on April 9, 2010, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan
had said that the Supreme Court must be accountable to the
parliamentary committee like all other government
ministries and departments.

In the same committee, Chaudhry Nisar – who is leader of
opposition in the National Assembly – said that he had
written a letter to the SC registrar to this effect. He
also said that, if the need arose, he would write another
letter to make sure that the court’s registrar participated
in committee meetings aimed at reviewing the judicial
body’s audit objections. But since then, Chaudhry Nisar
seems to have dropped the idea of taking up this issue

The registrar has thus far refused to appear before the
PAC, arguing that the Supreme Court does not fall under the
PAC’s ambit.


30, April, 2012


Rs845bn uplift plan ready for approval


By Khaleeq Kiani

ISLAMABAD, April 29: The Annual Plan Coordination Committee
(APCC) is expected to meet on Wednesday to approve for the
2012-13 financial year about Rs845 billion worth of Public
Sector Development Programme (PSDP) – about 16 per cent
higher than the current year’s programme.

Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Dr Nadeemul Haque,
provincial ministers for planning and development and
secretaries of federal ministries and divisions will attend
the meeting on May 2.

Sources told Dawn on Sunday the planning commission had
recommended a federal share of Rs370 billion for the
development plan, including the foreign exchange component
of Rs91 billion. The federal development programme is about
12 per cent higher than the current year’s budgetary
allocation of Rs330 billion.

They said the firm commitment development schemes had been
kept at Rs350 billion, but another Rs20 billion had been
recommended for block allocations to be kept at the
disposal of federal ministries.

The final size of the federal PSDP is likely to be
increased to about Rs390 billion by the National Economic
Council on special directives of the president and the
prime minister.

The provincial development plans have been estimated at
Rs475 billion for next year, about 10.5 per cent higher
than the current year’s allocation of Rs430 billion.

The next year’s allocation for the Earthquake
Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Authority has been kept
unchanged at Rs10 billion.

The country’s total development budget (federal and
provincial) has been estimated at Rs845 billion for the
next year against the current year’s budget allocation of
Rs730 billion, showing an increase of 15.75 per cent or
Rs115 billion.

A special allocation of Rs27 billion has been recommended
for the politically-motivated Peoples’ Works Programme for
discretionary development schemes to be implemented on the
directives of the prime minister and parliamentarians.

The federal ministries had come up with a total demand of
about Rs750 billion for development schemes that had been
scaled down on the recommendations of the priorities’
committee keeping in view the overall financial envelop
indicated by the ministry of finance.

The sources said that the federal government would restrict
the current year’s PSDP at Rs300 billion, instead of Rs330
billion allocated in the budget. This is despite the fact
that project-related foreign inflows have surpassed the
estimates by a wide margin owing to unrealistic estimates
made in the last year’s budget.

According to the sources, the government had estimated Rs38
billion foreign exchange inflows for development schemes in
the current year’s federal budget that was revised to Rs90

However, instead of making a proportional increase in
development expenditure, the government has reduced the
rupee component of development programme by Rs70 billion
that has now been diverted to the subsidy account to meet
higher requirement of the loss-making power sector.

The government has already slowed down the local currency
releases to development schemes as is evident from the
Rs155 billion provided for projects in the first 10 months
of the current financial year.

The actual releases so far made to the federal projects are
slightly higher than the amount spent for development
during the same period last year, even though the PSDP was
slashed by Rs100 billion last year.

Officials said that while making the next year’s
development plan, special emphasis has been placed on
projects that are nearing completion coupled with those
having international commitments under binding contracts.

They said the PSDP size of Rs845 billion to be cleared by
the APCC would be presented to the National Economic
Council (NEC) for formal approval before the announcement
of the federal budget. The NEC could increase the PSDP’s
size in order to enable the government to announce fresh
projects to win over voters in coming elections.

The NEC is the country’s highest economic decision-making
body headed by the prime minister, with chief ministers of
four provinces and Gilgit-Baltistan, the prime minister of
Azad Kashmir, governor of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and federal
and provincial ministers for finance and planning its


30, April, 2012


Plan to do away with duty waivers in budget


By Mubarak Zeb Khan

ISLAMABAD, April 29: The government is considering imposing
in the 2012-13 budget minimal taxes on products, raw
materials and machinery that are currently being imported
without duty, thus doing away with protection provided to
some industries flourishing at the cost of consumers.

Talking to Dawn on Sunday, a senior official said: “The new
approach has been evolved following the observation that
past taxation policies have failed to raise the tax-to-GDP
ratio, which fell to 8.2 per cent this year from 9.8 per
cent last year.”

The official said the budget-makers had proposed that the
zero per cent slab on all products, raw materials and
machinery be abolished to raise duty and taxes for the

This year, 76 per cent of the imported products entered the
country without duty, said the official. “This is a major
concern for the budget-makers.”

The total goods imported during the July-March period were
worth $33.285 billion, making a strong case for imposing
taxes on all imports.

FBR chairman Mumtaz Haider Rizvi has hinted at reducing the
customs duty to 25 per cent from 35 per cent in the budget.
The regulatory duties were introduced in 2008 to curtail
import of luxury items, which led to multiple customs

The official said the government is also considering
reducing customs duty across the board for all taxpayers.
“No discrimination will be made between commercial
importers and industrialists,” he said.

“The government is considering slashing exemption limit to
90 days from the existing 12 months to reduce the misuse of
the Duty and Tax Remission for Export (DTRE) scheme by

According to him, the FBR has worked out commodity profiles
of various sectors like sugar, cement and cigarette to plug
tax evasion. “Various stakeholders have approached the FBR
to reduce general sales tax rates from 16 per cent to a
single digit,” he said.

The higher GST rates have led to illegal payments of input
tax adjustment to unscrupulous people, which has crossed
the figure of Rs50 billion. The reduction in GST rate,
which is the highest in the region, will lead to payment of
input tax adjustments.


30, April, 2012


Gilani appoints Fawad Chaudhry as assistant


ISLAMABAD, April 29: Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani
appointed on Sunday Fawad Chaudhry as his special assistant
for information and political affairs with the status of a
minister of state.

Mr Chaudhry, a former spokesman for Gen (retd) Pervez
Musharraf, joined the Pakistan People’s Party about two
months ago. Since then he has been defending Mr Gilani and
President Asif Ali Zardari in the media.

Sources said Mr Gilani appointed Mr Chaudhry after
consultation with President Zardari.

Mr Chaudhry belongs to a known political family from Jhelum
and his grandfather Chaudhry Mohammad Awais was a member of
the former West Pakistan Assembly.

His uncle Chaudhry Altaf Hussain was the governor of Punjab
during the second government of Benazir Bhutto in 1993.—
Staff Reporter


30, April, 2012


Peace conference puts face to drone victims


By Anwar Iqbal

WASHINGTON, April 29: Drone victims are not just figures on
a piece of paper, they are real people and that’s why it is
important to see what happens on the ground when a missile
hits a target, argues Pakistani attorney Shahzad Akbar.

“We have to see what exactly is happening on the ground,
what is happening to the people,” he told a Washington
conference on drones.

“We apologise to the people of Pakistan for the strikes
that have killed so many civilians,” said Nancy Maneiar, a
peace activist associated with the US-based, anti-war Code
Pink Group. “The CIA needs to be held accountable for their

Those who order a drone strike act at once “as prosecutors,
judges, jury and executioners,” said journalist Jeremy
Scahill who recently travelled to Afghanistan, Pakistan and
Yemen to observe the consequences of the drone war. “This
is lawless activity that the US is indulging in around the
world,” he said.

“War on terror is an oxymoron. How can you end terrorism by
spreading terror via horrific remote control killing
machines,” said Dr Amna Buttar, a PPP MPA from Punjab. “All
190 million people are the victims of this remote-
controlled war.”

They were among two dozen peace activists, lawyers,
journalists and retired military officials attending a two-
day conference, which began in Washington on Saturday.

International peace groups had to lobby hard for Mr Akbar
to attend the conference as the US government delayed his
visa application for 14 months because he has sued the CIA
over drone strikes in Pakistan.

Mr Akbar told an audience of about 300 people from across
the United States that it was important to put faces on the
drone victims; otherwise people will not understand their

“They feel this imminent threat of being attacked from the
sky. And they feel helpless because they have no other
place to relocate. Many have no skills, no education, so
they cannot relocate to other parts of Pakistan,” he said.
Advocate Akbar showed a photo of a teenager named
Saadullah, who was helping his mother in the kitchen when a
drone hit their home in Fata in 2009. He woke up in a
hospital three days later without his legs.

Sanaullah, a 17-year-old pre-engineering student, burned
alive in his car during another strike in 2010.

Mr Akbar also showed photos of the Bismillah family:
mother, father, a daughter and a son, all killed in a drone

Other speakers noted that US drone strikes in Pakistan had
also killed 168 children. They quoted from recent surveys
suggesting the number of ordinary people killed could be 40
per cent higher than previously reported.
US officials, however, have rejected such studies as
“exaggerated”, and said the “the claims of extensive non-
combatant casualties are uncorroborated”.

The “Drone Summit: Killing and Spying by Remote Control,”
organised by American human rights groups, noted that there
had been a lethal rise in the number of drone strikes under
the Obama administration.

President Obama argues that drone strikes are focused
effort at people who are on a list of active terrorists and
have not caused a huge number of civilian casualties.

Supporters of drone warfare say the drone technology is an
accurate and less expensive weapon that minimises risks to
US troops and protects America by killing terrorists.

Clive Stafford Smith, founder and director of Reprieve, an
organisation that helped secure the release of 65 prisoners
from notorious Guantanamo Bay, also highlighted this point.
“We can kill people without any risk to ourselves and
that’s why the politicians like it,” said Mr Smith while
addressing the drone conference.

Other panellists noted that US drones had the potential to
be equipped with heat sensors, Geographic Positioning
Systems, licence-plate readers, extremely high resolution
cameras, infrared cameras, and facial-recognition software.
Coordinated swarms easily could track people’s daily
movement from home to the office to a political rally to
the grocery store.


30, April, 2012


Mehran Bank loan repaid with mark-up, say Sharifs


By Our Staff Reporter
LAHORE, April 29: The Sharif family said on Sunday that it
had repaid the Rs48 million loan taken from the Mehran

According to the Sharif family’s spokesman, a sum of
Rs102.1 million, including the mark-up, was paid to Mehran
Bank against the Rs48 million loan taken for the Chaudhry
Sugar Mills.


01, May, 2012


Play by rules, Kayani tells all


By Baqir Sajjad Syed

RAWALPINDI, April 30: Setting the ground rules for ending
the politico-judicial impasse that has gripped the country
since Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani’s conviction by the
Supreme Court in the contempt case last week, Army chief
Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani urged all organs of the state to
adhere to

their roles defined by the Constitution and stressed equal
justice for all.

The Army chief’s prepared remarks at the martyrs’ day
ceremony at the military headquarters were significant
given that the controversy generated by the SC verdict
about the future of the prime minister appeared to be
descending into a full-scale political crisis after the
PML-N threatened to launch an all-out movement to force Mr
Gilani’s resignation.

While Gen Kayani spoke about issues ranging from the
soldiers trapped beneath a massive avalanche near Siachen
to sacrifices by security forces in the war on terror and
troubled ties with the US because of unbridgeable mistrust,
his words on respect for the Constitution and justice
overshadowed other parts of his brief speech at an event
organised to honour the soldiers who had lost their lives
defending the country.

The carefully chosen words were seen as a caution to all
sides to refrain from steps that could hurt the country. He
was meticulous enough to be not seen as taking sides in the
political face-off.

“The Constitution of Pakistan has clearly delineated the
responsibilities and roles of the national institutions. It
is now our responsibility that we resolve our issues, while
remaining within the constitutional limits, in a manner
that it increases respect and dignity of both our country
and ourselves,” Gen Kayani said in his comments in Urdu.

The military has during most part of the country’s history
wielded enormous influence in domestic politics and played
a decisive role in many such crises in the past.

The government has also always insisted on respect for the
limits set by the Constitution which make the parliament

Despite growing questions about the legality of the prime
minister remaining in office, Gen Kayani, much to the
dismay of the opposition, has regularly joined Mr Gilani at
official meetings.

Gen Kayani’s remarks came at the end of a day that
witnessed noisy protests in the National Assembly by the
PML-N over the prime minister continuing in the office
after conviction, bringing the proceedings to a standstill.

“We should never forget that after all, the sole purpose of
a democratic system is welfare and prosperity of the masses
and increase in their self-respect,” noted the general
resplendent in his full military regalia.

At a time when questions are being raised about the stance
of the judiciary vis-à-vis the present government, the army
chief said: “Alongside we should strive for establishing a
society that has equal justice for all.”

US TIES: While alluding to the United States, Gen Kayani
decried the mistrust shown by “some outside quarters”
despite the continued sacrifices by the people of Pakistan
and the army. This attitude, he said, compelled review of
bilateral ties. “We understand that others will have to
keep in view our sovereignty, respect and dignity.”

He assured the military’s support for the unanimously
approved parliamentary recommendations for a reset in ties
with the US and said the army would endorse any policy
framed for “protecting sovereignty and national respect”
that was in line with public aspirations.

GAYARI: The army chief said no effort would be spared to
recover the 139 troops and civilians buried under an
avalanche at a military complex since April 7.

No worthwhile progress has been achieved over the past 23
days in the rescue operation, which has been impeded by
freezing cold, an inhospitable terrain and other logistic


01, May, 2012


Nawaz to PM: quit or face movement


By Amir Wasim

ISLAMABAD, April 30: The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz
announced on Monday that it would launch a ‘protest
movement’ against the government, but gave no plan or a
roadmap for its execution.

“Comply with the Supreme Court’s order, quit the prime
minister’s office or face protest movement. This is the
final verdict of the PML-N and the gist of today’s
meeting,” Nawaz Sharif said at a press conference after
presiding over a joint meeting of the party’s central
working committee and parliamentary group.
The meeting was convened to devise a strategy in the
aftermath of last week’s conviction of Prime Minister
Yousuf Raza Gilani by the Supreme Court on contempt charges
for not writing a letter to the Swiss authorities to reopen
a money-laundering case against President Asif Ali Zardari.

Accompanied by senior party members, including Punjab Chief
Minister Shahbaz Sharif, the PML-N chief said his party had
decided to ask the Election Commission to clear its
position on the issue of the prime minister’s
disqualification after his conviction.

He said it was unfortunate that a ‘convicted’ prime
minister was adamant to ‘cling to power’.

“If people do not come out (in streets), there will be
chaos and anarchy in the country,” Mr Sharif warned. He
urged lawyers, traders, students and civil society
organisations to join hands to save the nation. “I invite
all political parties to come out to save Pakistan,” he
said, adding that parties should rise above political and
election interests. He said those who did not come out to
save the country would be committing treason.

In reply to a question, Mr Sharif showed his readiness to
even talk to Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaaf chief Imran Khan, who
has been savaging the Sharif brothers in public meetings
and in the media.

“We will contact Imran Khan. We will contact Jamaat-i-
Islami and will approach the true and real successors of
Benazir Bhutto. We will contact Naheed Khan (former
political secretary of Ms Bhutto) and Aftab Sherpao. We are
launching a strong protest movement (against the
government) inside and outside parliament,” he said, adding
that the objective of the movement was to establish rule of
law, and not to acquire power.

He said there was a feeling within the party that there was
a ‘do-or-die’ situation and the time had come to play the
role it had done at the time of the movement for
restoration of deposed judges in 2009.

In reply to a question, the PML-N chief did not rule out
the option of en mass resignation from the assemblies and
said all options were under review. “If the rulers do not
spare the life of people, there will be a long march.”
He avoided giving a timeframe or deadline for the long
march despite repeated questions by reporters.

Sources in the PML-N told Dawn that the issue of en mass
resignation had been discussed at the meeting, which lasted
almost four hours.

The party was divided on the issue. Hawkish elements
favoured quitting the assemblies to force the government to
hold elections. Others said they should not leave the field
open for the government.

It was through a show of hands that the party leadership
came to the conclusion that they should not immediately
resign from the assemblies and use the option at an
appropriate time, the sources said. According to them,
Marvi Memon, who attended the meeting on special
invitation, suggested that the party should form committees
in districts and cities to mobilise the masses.

Enver Baig, a new entrant to the party and a former PPP
senator, suggested that the PML-N leadership should
approach the diplomatic corps in Islamabad to apprise them
of the prime minister’s legal status after the apex court’s

An aggressive Khawaja Saad Rafiq lashed out at President
Asif Zardari and said he was an “untrustworthy man who does
not understand the language of decency”.

Other prominent speakers at the meeting were Chaudhry Nisar
Ali Khan, Sabir Shah, Zafar Ali Shah and Ghous Ali Shah.
The PML-N secretary general, Iqbal Zafar Jhagra, told Dawn
that the party had prepared a schedule for rallies and
public meetings across the country and it would be released
to the media in a day or two.

He said the party’s movement was not aimed at removing the
prime minister, but forcing the rulers to implement the
court’s orders by writing a letter to the Swiss authorities
to reopen the case against the President.


01, May, 2012

Gilani maintains defiant stance


By Khawar Ghumman and Iftikhar A. Khan

ISLAMABAD, April 30: There is no let-up in the rising
political temperature in the country. Prime Minister Yousuf
Raza Gilani, at centre of a controversy after his
conviction for contempt, continued with his defiant mood on

The prime minister, while speaking at a ceremony in the
morning, publicly criticised the Supreme Court judgment and
then while addressing the Senate in the evening he hit out
at the Pakistan Muslim League-N for demanding his
resignation in the aftermath of the conviction.

At the ceremony organised by Radio Pakistan, Mr Gilani for
the first time publicly criticised the seven-member Supreme
Court bench’s judgment in which he had been found guilty of
contempt charges.

“Even though the entire world is aghast over the SC
judgment against me, we have accepted it.

“Can a court convict somebody with a criminal offence when
there are civil charges against him?”

The prime minister also said in a sarcastic tone that his
30-second punishment deserved to be included in the
Guinness Book of World Records.

He said there was no law in the world under which a court
could send home an elected representative, thus he would
continue to serve as prime minister.

Since the announcement of the court judgment on April 26,
legal experts are divided on its impact. Some say it
automatically disqualifies Mr Gilani as a member of the
National Assembly and he ceases to be the prime minister.
But there are others who believe that only the speaker can
decide on the matter as the final authority.
From his hard-hitting remarks, it appears the soft-spoken
prime minister has decided to take his opponents head-on.

And for the first time, the prime minister bracketed the SC
judgment and PML-N’s response to his conviction, saying
that from the opposition party’s reaction it appeared as if
they knew the judgment in advance.

“The implementation of law by the SC should be even-
handed,” said the prime minister while referring to the
court’s lack of interest in the Mehrangate scandal in which
PML-N leaders are allegedly involved. “Strangely, the SC
was quick to announce decision on my cases but showing no
urgency on Mehrangate scandal.”

In response to a question, the prime minister outrightly
dismissed a perception of a constitutional crisis following
his conviction.

“Only the Sharif courts based in Raiwind are getting
impassioned and want to send the current set-up packing.
Otherwise, there is nothing wrong.”

Mr Gilani also asked the Sharif brothers to explain under
which court judgment they had been released from Adiala
jail and flown to Jeddah.

In response to the opposition’s demand for his resignation,
Mr Gilani said only the speaker of the National Assembly
had the power to ask him to leave the charge as prime
minister and if asked, he would not think for a second and
go back to Multan.

“What is the hurry, let the detailed judgment come. And
what about my right of appeal against the decision which
the Constitution gives me,” he said in response to a query.

LETTER TO AITZAZ: “At the end of the day, it is the people
of Pakistan who judge the performance of their government
and this right of the people, expressed through their
elected representatives in parliament, cannot be taken away
and should not be allowed to be taken away from them,” the
prime minister said in a letter addressed to Senator Aitzaz
Ahsan along with a Rs100 cheque as fee for what he termed
his priceless services as his lawyer.
“In representing me, in fact, Senator Aitzaz Ahsan was
upholding and defending the principle of supremacy of the
Constitution which was no small matter, especially in the
face of an adverse propaganda by some political entities
and relentless bias by a section of the media.”

The prime minister referred to Chaudhry Aitzaz’s book
‘Divided by democracy’ in which he wrote that in the
political history of Pakistan not once had the judiciary
“invalidated the incumbent regime of a military adventurer”
and expressed the hope that some day this would prove to be

CONSPIRACY: Speaking in the Senate after a protest walkout
by PML-N members against his appearance in the house after
conviction, Mr Gilani accused the opposition party of
conspiring to derail democracy and advised it to desist
from influencing the court’s decision.

He said the law provided for an appeal against the judgment
followed by a procedure. He said he would quit the day he
was de-notified by the speaker.

He also claimed that even if he went, the next prime
minister would be picked by him.

The prime minister said he was not a beneficiary of the
National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) and his only crime
was that he wanted to protect the Constitution. He said he
had given respect to former prime minister Nawaz Sharif
after his conviction in a hijacking case.

He said Mr Sharif had become the first beneficiary of the
NRO when he proceeded to Jeddah from Adiala jail under an
agreement. However, he kept misleading the nation by saying
that he had not signed any agreement.

Prime Minister Gilani said he had followed the rules and
procedures and accepted the advice, which was correct, that
a letter for reopening cases against the president could
not be written because the head of the state enjoyed
complete immunity in and outside the country under the

The prime minister said even his successor would not write
such a letter if he left.
He said Mr Sharif’s moves were driven by his ‘Imran
phobia’. “That is why they want to hold a long march before

Mr Gilani said the bar on becoming prime minister for the
third term had been lifted to favour Mr Sharif.

DAR’S DEFENCE: Leader of Opposition in the Senate, Mohammad
Ishaq Dar, sharply reacted to the remarks, saying Mr Sharif
had not gone to Saudi Arabia through any NRO but Muslim
countries had played a role to save the leader who could
have been hanged by Gen Pervez Musharraf.

He said the clause about bar on premiership was also
applicable to the late Benazir Bhutto.

Senator Dar said the PML-N would accept the decision if the
sentence was set aside after an appeal.


01, May, 2012


CJ cautions govt over local bodies Elections


QUETTA, April 30: Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry
has said the government is bound to hold local bodies’
elections under the Constitution.

“We will not allow anyone to violate the Constitution. The
elected government, he said, would face difficulties if it
violated the Constitution.

The chief justice made the remarks while hearing a case
relating to the law and order situation in Balochistan at
the Quetta Registry of the Supreme Court.

Advocate Generals of all provinces presented reports to the
chief justice on the issue of local bodies’ elections.
After reviewing the reports, the chief justice said the
Punjab government’s report was not effective.

He said it did not appear that elections would be held in

He observed that whenever the military took over power it
first held local bodies’ elections. The chief justice
warned that the government would end if anybody filed a
petition against non-holding of local bodies’ polls.

He said that someone had once announced that polls would be
held within ’90 days but elections could not be held in 11

The chief justice issued a notice to the Secretary of the
Election Commission about preparation of electoral lists.
He said the commission should also tell the court when
these lists would be ready. He also ordered secretaries of
local bodies of the four provinces to inform the court on
May 3 about the date fixed for the LB polls.—PPI


01, May, 2012


Return to wild old ways in parliament


By Raja Asghar

ISLAMABAD, April 30: Torn papers flew from their desks and
their shouts rent the air in the National Assembly on
Monday as lawmakers of the opposition Pakistan Muslim
League-N returned to some wild old ways in parliament to
press their demand that Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani
resign after a Supreme Court conviction for contempt.

Their noisiest protest in the four years of the present
parliament, in which members of smaller opposition parties
did not join, brought the lower house to a standstill
before Deputy Speaker Faisal Karim Kundi adjourned it until
Wednesday, just as the prime minister was telling the
Senate in an adjacent hall that he was staying in office to
exhaust legal remedies available to him.

The protest, during which PML-N members also displayed
placards bearing slogans “go Gilani, go” and “implement the
Supreme Court verdict”, was a flashback of a year of
combined opposition protests in parliament against then
military president Pervez Musharraf after the 2002

Those protests, in which the presently ruling PPP and the
PML-N chanted “go Musharraf, go” together, had ended after
the Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal (MMA) alliance of religious
parties signed a deal with Gen Musharraf to validate his
rule through the controversial Seventeenth Amendment of the
Constitution in exchange for a promise to quit as army
chief by a deadline to which he did not stick.

Lawmakers of MMA’s only remnant left in the present
parliament, the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam of Maulana Fazlur
Rehman, who sat on opposition benches after being part of
the present PPP-led coalition government for about three
years, and PPP-S chief Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao, did not
join Monday’s protest staged by the PML-N shortly after
party president Nawaz Sharif announced a decision of a
combined meeting of the party’s working committee and
parliamentary group to launch what he called a “full-scale
movement” to see Mr Gilani’s back.

However, in the Senate, the PML-N took much milder stance
by only staging a protest walkout when the prime minister

The PML-N’s move, apparently meant to grab the political
centre-stage ahead of the next general elections a year
later, came three days after the prime minister had told
the National Assembly that he would not give up office
before exhausting a legal remedy of an appeal to be filed
before a larger Supreme Court bench against Thursday’s
ruling by a seven-judge bench and then a constitutional
remedy of Speaker Fehmida Mirza ruling against
disqualification rather than sending the matter to the
Election Commission for a final decision.
But the stance taken by PML-N members made it clear they no
more regarded Mr Gilani as prime minister as they began
their protest at the start of the question hour by refusing
to listen to an answer to one of their colleagues’ question
by Petroleum and Natural Resources Minister Senator Asim
Hussain, some calling him a “stranger in the house” as if
he had lost his position in the cabinet and so he could not
speak in the lower house.

The same shouts were repeated as Senator Hussain tried to
give some more answers, resulting in an abandonment of the
question hour because PML-N members who had entered their
question would put them formally in the house and the
shouting that made everything said either by the minister
or the chair was inaudible in the galleries without the
help of earphones attached to the house sound system.

Some PML-N members wanted to speak about the Supreme Court
ruling -- over the prime minister’s refusal to write to
Swiss authorities to reopen disputed money laundering
charges against President Asif Ali Zardari because of the
president’s constitutional immunity against prosecution --
rather than asking questions, but the chair did not allow

One PML-N member, Abid Sher Ali, from Faisalabad even once
made a dash to the rostrum, only to be pulled back by a
party colleague.

Opposition leader Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, who had dared
the prime minister in a speech to the house on Thursday to
occupy his seat in the house after the court ruling, but
was absent when Mr Gilani did come to deliver a hard-
hitting response the next day, was not present in Monday’s
protest, leaving the shouting and desk-thumping to be
supervised by another front-bencher, Khwaja Mohammad Asif
from Sialkot.

In the beginning, the protesters only chanted slogans and
forcefully thumped their desks while standing in their
seats, they later tore up papers, which appeared to be
copies of the day’s agenda and printed questions and
answers, and threw them towards the stage.   While most PPP
lawmakers and their allies sat quiet in their seats, one
member of the government-allied Awami National Party,
Himayatullah Mayar, did rise to remind the PML-N of its
past association with the military dictatorship of late Gen
Zia-ul-Haq, to be greeted with some desk-thumping from the
treasury benches. But the rejoinder from the newly elected
member from Mardan district of Khyber Pakhtunkhawa province
was drowned out by protesters’ shouts.

PPP chief whip Khurshid Ahmed Shah managed to lay a couple
of ordinance and introduce a bill but the chair skipped a
scheduled start of a debate on President Zardari’s March 17
address to a joint sitting of parliament and a call-
attention of notice of five members of the government-
allied Muttahida Qaumi Movement about it called “downfall
of Machine Tool Factory, Karachi”, before adjourning the
house until 5pm on Wednesday.


01, May, 2012


FIA told to probe misappropriation of NBP’s welfare fund


By Nasir Iqbal

ISLAMABAD, April 30: The Supreme Court ordered the Federal
Investigation Agency on Monday to probe the alleged
misappropriation of billions of rupees in the National
Bank’s ‘Staff Welfare Fund’ in the name of ‘achievement
award’, but after registering an FIR.

A two-judge bench comprising Justice Mian Shakirullah Jan
and Justice Jawwad S. Khawaja had taken up a petition filed
by Syed Jehangir, secretary general of NBP’s Trade Union
Foundation Karachi. The petition includes the name of the
bank’s former president Ali Raza as an accused. The bench
directed the FIA to register FIR against 16 bank officials,
including the former president, at whom fingers had been
pointed and submit fortnightly progress reports on the
investigation to the court registrar for perusal of judges
in their chambers.
The petition named the federal government through finance
secretary and FIA director general and its Sindh director
as respondents.

Advocate Hashmat Habib, representing the petitioner,
alleged that each of the 16 officials had been given cash
awards ranging from Rs35 million to Rs40 million from the
welfare fund. Meagre amounts of Rs5,000-10,000 were
disbursed among a large number of employees of the bank.

The counsel informed the court that the FIA in its
preliminary investigations had put the volume of the scam
at Rs2 billion and said that the 16 officials were willing
to return the award money voluntarily. But the agency has
now taken a U-turn and said in its latest report submitted
to the court that the finance ministry and the State Bank
of Pakistan had found no criminality in the disbursement of
the award among the employees.

Advocate Habib maintained that his client had filed the
petition to safeguard the national exchequer against
payment of a huge amount of money to attorneys.

Advocate Akram Sheikh, representing at least 13 NBP
officers, said 84 per cent of the total amount of the award
had been distributed among 12,000 employees of the bank and
16 per cent among his clients.

Those who received 84 per cent of the amount had not been
summoned and the petition only focussed on his clients
under a policy of pick and choose, the counsel deplored.


01, May, 2012


Attacks violate sovereignty, says Pakistan


ISLAMABAD, April 30: Pakistani officials on Monday
condemned the US for carrying out its first drone strike in
the country since parliament demanded they end two weeks

The foreign ministry issued a statement, saying the strike
which killed three suspected militants in the North
Waziristan tribal area on Sunday “are in total
contravention of international law and established norms of
interstate relations”.

“The government of Pakistan has consistently maintained
that drone attacks are violative of its territorial
integrity and sovereignty,” it said.

But Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani struck a moderate
tone on Monday when he seemed to link the strikes to the
continued ability of militants fighting the government.

He pointed out that the resolution passed by parliament
also stipulated that foreign fighters must be expelled from
the country and Pakistani soil should not be used to attack
other countries.

“So, when we plan a strategy (with the US), all these
aspects would be discussed,” he said.

A Pakistani intelligence official said the most recent
strike seemed to be a message from the US.

“It’s a message that things are going to continue as usual
irrespective of what we say,” said the official, speaking
on condition of anonymity

It’s not the first time the US has ignored Pakistan’s
parliament, which has called for the drone strikes to end
since 2008. President Barack Obama significantly ramped up
strikes in Pakistan when he took office in 2009.

Drones are not the only issue complicating Pakistan’s
decision to reopen the Nato supply lines the country closed
after a US border air attack killed at least 24 Pakistani

Pakistan’s parliament has also demanded that the US provide
an ‘unconditional apology’ for the deaths of the Pakistani
troops in November. The US has expressed regret, but has
declined to apologise – a decision that appears to be
driven by domestic political considerations. The US has
said its troops fired in self-defense – a claim disputed by
Pakistan – and the White House could be concerned about
Republican criticism if it apologises.—AP


01, May, 2012


Drone strikes legal, ethical, says US


By Anwar Iqbal

WASHINGTON, April 30: White House counter-terrorism adviser
John Brennan offered a rare public defence of drone strikes
on Monday and said the attacks were legal and ethical and
were directed only at “legitimate military targets”.

In an indirect reference to Pakistan, Mr Brennan said the
country’s reluctance to act against certain terrorists also
justified the US decision to use unmanned aircraft for
targeting militant hideouts in Fata.

“There’s nothing in international law that bans the use of
remotely piloted aircraft … or that prohibits us from using
lethal force against our enemies outside of an active
battlefield, at least when the country involved consents or
is unable or unwilling to take action against the threat,”
he said.

At a two-day seminar in Washington this weekend, peace
activists urged the US government to immediately halt the
strikes because they were “illegal and unethical” and were
also killing innocent civilians.

In the first ever detailed US policy statement on drones,
Mr Brennan rejected both arguments and indicated that drone
attacks on terrorist targets would continue.
In a speech marking the anniversary of Al Qaeda leader
Osama bin Laden’s elimination, Mr Brennan said the strikes
were used only in cases of a “significant threat”.

He said the US Constitution empowered the president to
protect his nation from any imminent threat of attack.


01, May, 2012


Widow, mother-in-law of man killed by Raymond Davis slain


By Our Staff Reporter

LAHORE, April   30: The widow of a man killed by US secret
agent Raymond   Davis last year and her mother were shot dead
by her father   over a matrimonial-cum-monetary dispute in
Johar Town on   Monday.

Neighbours said the family had shifted   to their one-kanal
home from a rented house in Shahdara a   year ago after the
suspect’s son-in-law Faizan Haider and   his friend Faheem
were shot dead by the US national near   Qartaba Chowk.

Monday’s shooting near Maulana Shaukat Ali Road at around
1pm attracted a large number of people of the area to the

According to Saddar SP (Operation) Mohammad Athar Waheed,
Shahzad Butt, 55, first opened fire on his wife Nabeela,
45, in the car porch and then fired at his daughter Zuhra,
25, the mother of six-month-old Ahmad Faizan.

He said Nabeela’s body was found in the porch and that of
Zuhra, who had run out of the house to save her life, near
the gate.

The suspect, father of six daughters and a son, ran away
firing in the air, the police official said.
The suspect shot both the victims from point-blank range.

Police found empty-shells of bullets fired from a pistol.

SP Waheed said Haider Ali, 19-year-old son of Shahzad, who
was outside, rushed towards his home after coming to know
about the shooting but his car met with an accident in
Johar Town. However, he managed to reach home.

Police said preliminary investigation showed that Shahzad
was opposing the second marriage of Zuhra with her Dubai-
based maternal cousin. Shahzad’s wife also wanted her
daughter to marry her sister’s son and the couple often
quarrelled over the issue.

On Monday, Shahzad and Nabeela quarrelled again.

Their other daughters tried unsuccessfully to stop the
accused from shooting their mother and sister.

A close relative of the family told   this reporter that
Zuhra had got a major chunk of Rs30   million compensation
for her husband’s death and she had   developed a dispute
with her father over the use of the   money.

He said Zuhra also wanted the ownership of the house
transferred to her name.

A case was registered against the accused on the complaint
of his son Haider Ali.


01, May, 2012


Abida Parveen Hospitalized


NEW DELHI, April 30: Eminent singer Abida Parveen was
hospitalised here on Monday for cardiac problems. Doctors
at the Medanta City Hospital said she would undergo

According to APP, Pakistan’s High Commissioner Shahid Malik
called on the singer and presented a bouquet on behalf of
President Asif Ali Zardari.


02, May, 2012


CJ hints at ad hoc appointments: 3 judges not available for
PM’s appeal


By Saleem Shahid

QUETTA, May 1: Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry
said on Tuesday that three judges who were part of the
bench that heard the contempt case against the prime
minister would not be available if a review petition came
up. Therefore, he added, two ad hoc judges and an
additional judge would have to be appointed in the apex
court to ensure that a nine-member bench heard the appeal.

Speaking at the inauguration of a new building of the
Balochistan High Court’s bench in Sibi on Tuesday, he said
since a seven-member bench had heard the contempt case, a
nine-member bench was necessary for the review petition.

Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry did not identify the three judges
who would not be “available” nor did he specify the reason.

“At present, only six judges are available and in this
situation we will have to induct three more judges to form
a nine-member bench to conduct hearing if the government
files an appeal,” the CJP said.

He said that under Articles 181 and 182 of the
Constitution, additional and ad hoc judges could be
inducted to constitute a big bench, if required.
Earlier, the chief justice inaugurated the premises of the
Sibi circuit bench and planted a sapling.

Hundreds of lawyers from Quetta, Sibi and Nasirabad
divisions attended the function.

They hosted a luncheon for the chief justice and other

Several delegations of bar associations from Nasirabad,
Sibi, Dera Allahyar, Dera Murad Jamali, Usta Mohammad and
Dera Bugti called on the chief justice in Sibi.

Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry advised them to play their
role in swift and smooth dispensation of justice, saying
that it was their responsibility to continue their struggle
for securing and protecting rights of the downtrodden.

He expressed the hope that the Sibi circuit bench would
improve access to justice.


02, May, 2012


PBC’s opposition


By Nasir Iqbal

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Bar Council on   Tuesday came out in
opposition to the move for appointment   of two ad hoc and
one acting judges in the Supreme Court   for completing the
bench to hear a review petition by the   prime minister
against his conviction.

The council appealed to its members to ensure their
presence at a meeting slated in Lahore for May 5 where the
PBC intends to work out its line of action in case ad hoc
judges are appointed instead of elevating high court judges
to the SC bench.
“We have rescheduled the meeting for May 5 (from May 3)
because some members and presidents of the bar councils and
associations are preoccupied, but they have assured us of
their attendance on the changed date,” PBC vice chairman
Akhtar Hussain told Dawn.

The venue and time of the meeting will, however, remain
unchanged — the Lahore High Court Bar Association office at

The PBC is a mother institution which oversees the affairs
of all bar councils and bar associations in the country.

The meeting, to be attended by chairmen and vice chairmen
of the executive committees of all bar councils, former and
incumbent presidents of the Supreme Court Bar Association
(SCBA) and presidents of the high court bar associations
will chalk out a future line of action and take coordinated
steps to oppose the move to appoint ad hoc or acting judges
in the apex court.

Mr Hussain said the PBC had always opposed such a move and
advocated elevating a high court judge to the Supreme Court
to fill a vacant seat.

According to an informed source, the law ministry is seized
with a proposal for the appointment of Justice (retd)
Mahmood Akhtar Shahid Siddiqui and Justice (retd) Ghulam
Rabbani as ad hoc judges and a sitting senior judge of the
Lahore High Court as acting judge of the apex court.

Justice Shahid Siddiqui retired as SC judge on Oct 13 last
year and Justice Ghulam Rabbani as ad hoc judge on Oct 19
that year.

The Supreme Court is currently working with 16 judges
against the total sanctioned strength of 17. One judge is
indisposed due to health reasons while a senior judge is
officiating as acting chief election commissioner.

Another judge, who had declined to sit on a previous bench
set up to hear an intra-court appeal of the prime minister
against framing of charges in the contempt case, may again
prefer not to sit on the bench, thus depleting further the
size of the court that may take up the challenge whenever
moved by the prime minister against his conviction.
Whenever heard, the composition of the bench should
comprise at least nine judges -- larger than the earlier
seven-judge which had handed down symbolic punishment to
the prime minister. Only appointment of ad hoc and acting
judges will fill the gap.

The last of such hullabaloo on ad hoc appointments was
raised when a full-court meeting had on Feb 14 last year
proposed to grant second extension to Justice Khalilur
Rehman Ramday as ad hoc judge. The idea was dropped after
opposition by the bar councils and associations.

Meanwhile, special assistant to the prime minister Fawad
Chaudhry suggested that the chief justice should refer the
matter to the seven-judge bench that had awarded sentence
to the prime minister. The bench should take up the matter
again on its own to suspend the sentence because according
to provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code if a sentence
is less than a year it could be suspended, he added.

Under the 19th Amendment, the chief justice can ask for
appointment of any ad hoc judge under Article 182 of the
Constitution, but after consultation with members of the
judicial commission constituted under the 18th Amendment.
However, an approval by an eight-member Parliamentary
Committee as required under the 18th Amendment is not
necessary in this case.

A request for appointment of both acting and ad hoc judges
will be routed through the ten-member judicial commission,
headed by the chief justice.

Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry has already called
a meeting of the commission on May 9.

Similarly, under Article 181 of the Constitution, the
President on recommendations of the judicial commission can
appoint a high court judge to act temporarily as a judge of
the apex court.


02, May, 2012

The story of an apology lost


By Baqir Sajjad Syed

ISLAMABAD, May 1: The US apology for the Salala attack was
once thought to be the easiest of Pakistan’s demands for
the Americans to fulfill. However, it has now emerged as a
major hurdle in the negotiations for re-engagement.

Western diplomats put the blame squarely on Islamabad. They
claim that serious miscalculations by the Pakistani side in
the process leading up to the start of formal talks made
the latter miss the bus.

The first round of Pakistan-US talks, which were held in
Islamabad last week, ended without any progress because of
the American refusal to apologize and their refusal to
discuss the demand by the parliament that Washington cease
the drone attacks.

By the time the talks ended, President Asif Ali Zardari was
pleading with Washington “to help Pakistan in reaching
closure on Salala”.

The president was unmistakably referring to the apology,
because he himself had on the other sticking point – drones
— offered to discuss alternatives. Similarly he had also
hinted that broad parameters for resuming Nato supplies
through Pakistan had been developed.

The November 26 Salala attack, which forced Islamabad to
embark on a parliamentary review of the terms of engagement
with Washington, represents a major turning point in the
fraught bilateral relationship.

That Washington realized this was evident from their offer
at one point to offer an apology for this.

The US delegation had in the meeting between Foreign
Minister Hina Rabbani Khar and Secretary of State Hilary
Clinton in London conveyed Washington’s readiness to tender
As per the plan, Secretary Clinton was to then make the
apology in a statement during her interaction with the
media, which was to be followed by US Chairman Joint Chiefs
of Staff Gen Martin Dempsey’s call to Army Chief Gen Ashfaq
Parvez Kayani

Western diplomatic sources revealed that even the Pakistan
Army at that stage was ready to accept the offered apology
while President Zardari and Finance Minister Hafeez Sheikh
were very keen to get the relationship back on track.

However, Dawn has learnt that Pakistan then told the United
States to wait till the completion of the parliamentary

But this was a serious miscalculation as now the Americans
are no longer in the mood. The Pakistanis are being told by
Obama administration that it is now too late for an

Some say April 15 Kabul attacks, which brought the Haqqani
Network back into the spotlight, have forced a rethink in
Washington on the apology. Those who closely follow the
upcoming presidential elections firmly believe that it had
more to do with political expediencies. Obama, they say,
would not want to look too soft towards Pakistan that is
viewed as a difficult ally.

This is why some argue that the decision to not accept the
apology when it was being offered was a serious
miscalculation on the part of Pakistan.

But it is still not clear who took the decision to ask
Washington to wait.

Some unidentified element within the government put the
matter on hold. While there is speculation about who this
‘spoiler’ is, some think that it could be the same tough
talking member of the Pakistani delegation, who made the
defense component of US special envoy to Pakistan and
Afghanistan Marc Grossman’s delegation leave the meeting,
on the pretext of another pressing engagement.

Those privy to the recent discussions between Marc Grossman
and the Pakistani side said Islamabad has been told that
the American offer of an apology and more would shrink as
time passed and the presidential campaign progressed.
In fact, US diplomats, who are working overtime to explain
the Obama administration’s volte face on the apology, are
carrying along with them a list of about a dozen and a half
occasions when they offered regrets and condolences for the
lives lost in the tragic incident.

The US expectations and offers include the start   of the
negotiations for the resumption of ground supply   routes,
settlement of outstanding Coalition Support Fund   claims,
counter-terrorism cooperation, market access for   Pakistani
exports, financial assistance and cooperation in   the Afghan
end game.

Foreign Office Spokesman Moazzam Khan was unavailable for

However, it was evident from Foreign Minister Khar’s speech
at LUMS the other day that despite the apparent deadlock
over the apology Pakistan was keen to move forward.

“Now, as was the case last week with Ambassador Marc
Grossman’s visit to Pakistan, we are working with our
American friends to establish an ecosystem in which we can
both do for each other, the things that we can mutually
benefit from. We believe there is a good ending here for
both Pakistan and America,” Khar said. Ends


02, May, 2012


Babar Awan sacked from last PPP post


ISLAMABAD, May 1: Former minister for law and parliamentary
affairs, Senator Babar Awan, now stands truly powerless in
the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) after removal from the
vice president’s position.

As PPP co-chairman, President Asif Ali Zardari withdrew on
Tuesday a four-month-old notification regarding Mr Awan’s
appointment as the party’s vice president and also removed
him as finance secretary.

“On the instructions of PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari,
the notification issued on Dec 29, 2011, appointing Mr
Babar Awan as vice president, PPP, is withdrawn with
immediate effect,” said an announcement on the website of
the party.

Another announcement on the website says: “The PPP co-
chairman, Mr Asif Ali Zardari, has appointed Ms Rukhsana
Bangash, MNA, as secretary finance, central executive
committee (CEC), in place of Babar Awan with immediate

After losing the two offices, Mr Awan will not be a part of
the CEC, the highest decision-making forum of the party.—
Amir Wasim


02, May, 2012


Conspiracy of silence persists a year after Osama


By Arifa Noor in Abbottabad

IT’S now an island of white concrete in the midst of green
fields dotted with smaller houses. A clear patch to one
side of the plot has been turned into a cricket pitch. The
children playing there run through puddles of water and
crushed and broken concrete as they field.

When one of them is asked if he knew who once lived here,
he hurriedly says, “Osama,” his eyes chasing the ball just
outside of his reach.

Who was he?
He hesitates, then mutters “He was from Saudia” and runs

Surrounded by greenery; the whispering of the pine trees
and the picturesque mountains all around, at first glance
this idyllic scene does not seem an appropriate hideout of
the world’s most wanted man which then also witnessed US
Navy Seals in action a mere year ago.

But a second glance reveals the tell-tale signs — the
demolished concrete; the discreet but unknown men who stand
around staring and whispering to each other; and the
journalists who are walking up to shoot the remains for the
anniversary story.

Exactly a year ago, the residents of this small town called
Bilal Town woke up with the sound of an explosion, only to
discover a few hours later that the noise was from a
helicopter crashing during an operation carried out by US
Navy Seals inside a high walled compound to eliminate Osama
bin Laden, the head of Al Qaeda and the world’s most wanted

Some of those local residents who woke up that night sit a
little apart, wary and tired.

An old man sitting on a grassy patch is not happy to be
accosted. Reluctant to talk, he then just erupts and says
that Osama did not live there. “There were ordinary people,
families who were killed by them. But there was no Osama,”
he says, as he gazes ahead, not willing to make eye

But there is not just anger. There is fear too in his words
and actions. He stops one journalist from taking a
photograph and tells him to go shoot the “strangers”
standing near the compound.

Later it emerges that he too was “picked up” for
questioning a year ago. His sin? He lived in a small house
opposite the famous OBL compound, a house the walls of
which seem to have collapsed at some point for a number of
the bricks are just stacked and not bound together. He came
back within days, but his son’s interrogation is said to
have continued for weeks.
A younger man, with a whisper of a beard, is more
forthcoming. When asked if he too thought OBL never lived
there, he launches into a long exposition on world politics
which he first summarises with a few words: “Osama, Obama,
money and drama.”

This is not the view of an extremist or right winger. In
his exposition he dismisses “the so-called jihad” and
points out that he did not consider OBL as anything more
than a “fighter” of some kind.

But some of his views are shared by many Pakistanis across
the north- western swathe. And it reflects less on their
extremism and more on the gap between them and the
rulers.Conspiracy theories flourish in the absence of
information and this is why Pakistan is a hotbed of
whispers, rumours and conspiracies, local and

Be it the mysterious deaths of Pakistani leaders or of
wanted men such as OBL or events in Balochistan or Fata,
the information provided by the state is so hazy, confusing
and incomplete that only gossip can fill the gaps.

OBL’s death is a case in point.


A year later, there is little or no information on the May
2 action and the compound in Abbottabad. The only solid
information has come via his Yemeni wife’s account; she
said that he changed houses five times and fathered three
children while on the run – in various cities of Pakistan.
This too was leaked. The authorities have maintained a
stony silence.

This has been the situation from the start in Pakistan when
the Americans announced the news of his death.

Except for unseemly bickering among the military and the
politicians and the avalanche of rhetoric about sovereignty
and its violation, there was little else.

Saeed Shah, a freelance journalist who works for foreign
publications and spent days camped out in Abbottabad,
reminisces: “There was great pressure for news from the
western outlets, but there was a vacuum of information on
the Pakistani side.” He adds that within a day or two of
being there in Abbottabad even the neighbours of OBL were
averse to sharing any tidbits because they had been warned
off by the agencywallahs.

“All the information was coming out of Washington.”

Nothing has changed a year later. The information continues
to come out of Washington - the photograph of the situation
room; the names of those in the White House who were
against the operation; the details of the Navy Seals
action; the debate on what the death of OBL achieved and
even criticism of President Barack Obama for taking out
OBL. In 12 months, the world has learnt much about what
prompted Washington.

But in Pakistan, there is an embarrassing silence.

The Abbottabad Commission is getting nowhere after months
of meetings, trips and interviews. We are not even sure
what it is looking into - the ‘violation’ of Pakistan’s
sovereignty by the Americans or to hold accountable someone
because the world’s most famous terrorist was caught from a
house in an urban centre.

Such is the vacuum of news that it proves impossible to
even find out who ordered the demolition of arguably
Pakistan’s most famous but underwhelming house.

One local journalist says it was the army. Another says it
was the Abbottabad Commission. A call to the commissioner
of Hazara, Khalid Khan Umerzai, provides an interesting
insight. When asked who ordered it, he chuckles – deeply
and long _ before saying: “The government.” But which

“The government of the day,” he says, and the amusement in
his voice does not encourage more questions.

He then does explain that the piece of land will be used to
build housing for government officials.

A plot of land which is approached by a dirt track rather
than a road will be used to address the housing woes of
government officials at a time when the federal government
is trying to get vacated houses inhabited by its employees
and provide them a monetary compensation instead. Is there
any logic to this?

A resident of Abbottabad has asked why the government could
not use the land to build a library for children. People
elsewhere have argued that the house be maintained as a
reminder of a dark part of our history.

But such options remain unheard.

“A state that does not realise the importance of informing
those it is accountable to does not bother to heed voices
that are trying to initiate a debate on what the compound
signified,” says a security analyst.

But perhaps there is a far more unfortunate reason at work

As a historian pointed out, nations rarely maintain
physical reminders of their darker moments. Auschwitz, a
Nazi concentration camp that was turned into the Holocaust
museum, survived because it was located in Poland, which
had been invaded by Germany during the Second World War.

Another reason such memorials come into being is because
the status quo changes. The victims of yesteryear become
the rulers and they want to hang on to their memories of
their victimhood – Amritsar’s Jallianwallah Bagh is one
such example.

But May 2 provides no such parallel. Those who shaped the
policy that has led to questions about the complicity of
someone powerful in OBL’s presence in Pakistan continue to
be in power. The status quo has not changed.

“OBL’s presence in our midst simply raises questions about
the policies of our continuing state structures,” said an

Which nation holds on to a building that simply is a
reminder of unanswered questions?


02, May, 2012

Gilani asks PTI, PML-N to avoid confrontation


By Khawar Ghumman

ISLAMABAD, May 1: While a war of words between the ruling
Pakistan People’s Party and the opposition Pakistan Muslim
League-N continues unabated after Prime Minister Yousuf
Raza Gilani’s conviction for contempt of court, behind-the-
scene efforts aimed at calming the political storm are
under way.

An official told Dawn that Prime Minister Gilani had
requested PML-N president Mian Nawaz Sharif and the
Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaaf chief Imran Khan to avoid
confrontational politics.

According to the source, the prime minister communicated
his concern to the PML-N and PTI leaders that a direct
confrontation between mainstream political parties would
only benefit anti-democratic elements in the country.

In recent public statements, the prime minister has
expressed fear that a conspiracy is being hatched to
replace the current set-up with technocrats.

Speaking at a ceremony on Monday, he also warned his
political opponents of dire consequences, saying: “If
somebody believes that they will come to power after
throwing out the PPP government, they are absolutely

Soon after his conviction on April 26, Prime Minister
Gilani reached out to Mr Sharif and Mr Khan through
intermediaries, asking them to heed his apprehensions and
deliver words of support.

In a conversation with Dawn, Senator Pervez Rashid of the
PML-N refused to acknowledge any behind-the-scenes
communication with the PPP.
However, considering Imran Khan’s ‘docile’ reaction to the
prime minister’s conviction, it seemed the PTI leader had
accepted Mr Gilani’s request, said the senator.

“Do you think we will listen to the PPP after the recent
exchange of harsh words between our leaders?” Mr Rashid

PTI’s information secretary Shafqat Mahmood also denied any
communication with the PPP.In the past, the PML-N president
has responded positively to the prime minister’s friendly
postures in tension-filled times. On March 22, 2009, when
the PPP and the PML-N were having an eyeball-to-eyeball
confrontation following the imposition of the governor’s
rule in Punjab, Mr Gilani’s visit to Raiwind played a key
role in reversing the situation.

On several later occasions, Mr Gilani has acted as a fire
fighter between the two rival parties. In February 2010, he
met Mr Sharif at a time when the former Punjab governor,
the late Salman Taseer, took on the provincial PML-N
government head on. The timely meeting brought down tension
levels between the two parties.

According to a PML-N insider, Mr Sharif is aware that a
situation can at times get out of control and this is why
he is still not in favour of an all out war with the PPP.
However, he feels pressured by the mood in the PML-N which
believes that this is the right time to whip up anti-
government sentiment.

In the past, Mr Sharif had advised party colleagues like
Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan and his younger brother Shahbaz
Sharif against reverting to the politicking of the 1990s,
where both parties consistently brought each other down.
Both are known as party hawks.

On the other hand, a PPP leader believes that the upcoming
general elections can be delayed for a year if the PML-N
doesn’t listen to the ruling party. He said the PML-N
wanted to have the next elections under the acting chief
election commission – which the PPP would not accept. Under
the 20th Amendment, a consensus between the leader of
opposition in the National Assembly and the prime minister
is mandatory for the appointment of the CEC and a caretaker
prime minister before elections.
However, after the conviction, the PML-N has refused to
accept Mr Gilani as lawful prime minister. Therefore, the
PPP leader argued, brinkmanship between the two major
parties could prove far more dangerous for democracy this
time around than in the past four years.


02, May, 2012


Imran rejects Nawaz’s offer


By Ahmad Hassan

ISLAMABAD, May 1: Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaaf chairman Imran
Khan rejected on Tuesday PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif’s offer
of political cooperation until the party resigned from
assemblies and the Punjab government “restored its

“First quit the Punjab government and resign from
assemblies to regain our confidence which you (Mr Sharif)
have lost because of backing off thrice from the boycott
pledge in 2008 elections and then contesting polls,” Imran
Khan said while briefing newsmen at the party secretariat
here after presiding over a meeting of the PTI’s central
working committee.

 Earlier, according to sources, the PTI CWC meeting
discussed Mr Nawaz Sharif’s Monday remarks of contacting
leaders of all opposition parties, including PTI chief
Imran Khan, to launch a movement to force Prime Minister
Gilani to resign after his conviction by the Supreme Court.
The PTI leaders were of the view that PML-N lawmakers
should first resign from seats of the National Assembly and
provincial assemblies to show their seriousness and to
restore the credibility of the PML-N which it lost by
contesting elections.
 The party leaders said that the N-League was no more a
reliable party as it had betrayed the PTI and other
political parties on several occasions in the past and most
recently, it backed off over the Memo scandal.

 Mr Khan announced holding of a ‘Solidarity with Supreme
Court March’ in Islamabad on Sunday, calling it a prelude
to the ‘tsunami march’ which, he claimed, would be the
country’s largest protest against Mr Gilani if the latter
refused to “accept his disqualification”.

The PTI President, Makhdoom Javed Hashmi, vice chairman
Shah Mahmood Qureshi, vice president Hamid Khan and
Information Secretary Shafqat Mahmood also attended the

 “We will wait until the Election Commission completes the
process of Mr Gilani’s disqualification,” said Mr Khan,
adding that his party no more recognised Mr Gilani as the
prime minister.

 The PTI has also decided to file a reference with the
Supreme Court against Mr Gilani, the sources said.

 They said that the PTI would also seek an opinion from the
SC whether Mr Gilani could remain prime minister after his

 Mr Khan announced formation of a three-member committee
consisting of Javed Hashmi, Shah Mahmood Qureshi and Dr
Arif Alvi to hold talks with leaders of political parties,
except those in the government, regarding the future course
of action over the issue.


02, May, 2012


PM likens PML-N march to revolt by provincial govt

ISLAMABAD, May 1: Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani
said on Tuesday that no provincial government could launch
a long march against the federal government because it was
unconstitutional and unjustified and it would be treason.

He was speaking at a TV programme, “Prime Minister Online”,
jointly telecast by the PTV and Samaa TV.

In reply to a question about the long march announced by
the Punjab government, the prime minister said that such an
act would be considered “treason” as it would be a step of
the provincial government against the federal government.
“It is totally unacceptable.”

Referring to the attitude of PML-N leaders, he said they
had no principles. The PML-N and the Tehrik-i-Insaaf were
making statements without any justification against the
PPP, he said.

“I have full support of all coalition partners and the long
march will not be supported by other political parties,”
the prime minister said.

In reply to a question about achievements of the PPP
government over the past four years, Mr Gilani said the
biggest success of his government was the revival of the
1973 Constitution in its original shape and the consensus
over the NFC award giving more rights to provinces.
Granting autonomy to provinces and self-empowerment to
Gilgit-Baltistan were also listed among the achievements.

He said when he was summoned to the Supreme Court for the
verdict he was mentally prepared to go to the Adiala jail.

The prime minister said the sentence was just for a few
seconds as it was till the rising of the court and the
entire process was completed in just five to six minutes.

In reply to a question about his previous statement that he
would resign if he was convicted, Mr Gilani said although a
conviction was a conviction his previous interview was
before consultation with his lawyers.

The prime minister said anyone could be summoned by a
court on fake applications and such litigations could
disturb affairs of the government. He said he had full
authority to work as the prime minister.
Referring to the conviction of Mr Nawaz Sharif in the plane
hijacking case, he said the conviction was overturned after
eight years on his appeal.

He said there was absolutely no clash with courts as the
verdict would be implemented in due course.

“I have a right of appeal, too. I want to use my right of
appeal which is also being accepted by the Chief Justice of
the Supreme Court,” he said.

“I followed rules and procedures for not writing a letter
to the Swiss Court and even it was in accordance with
recommendations of the Ministry of Law,” he said.

“I appeared before the court three times and now let us
wait for the detailed judgment and everyone should wait for

The prime minister said he did not feel there was any moral
obligation for him to resign as he was not sentenced on any
moral ground.

It is the prerogative of parliament to rewrite the

Referring to the corruption issue, the prime minister said
there was more perception than reality in such reports.

Giving an example, he said his son Abdul Qadir Gilani was
wrongly implicated in the Haj scandal, but after
preliminary inquiry, even the Chief Justice said those were
fake allegations.—APP


02, May, 2012


Jobless man tries to kill himself

By Mohammad Hashim Bhurgari and Mohammad Hussain Khan

BADIN / HYDERABAD, May 1: A jobless man tried to commit
self-immolation on Badin’s Shah Latif Road on Tuesday.

The onlookers rushed and did manage to save his life but
not before he had sustained serious burn injuries.

Abdul Razzaq Ansari, the only breadwinner of his family of
seven, lost his job in a sugar mill a few months ago. Since
then he has been trying to get another job but in vain.

Recently, he sought the help of the taluka chief of PPP, Dr
Aziz Memon. However, Mr Ansari allegedly did not get a
positive response from Dr Memon, driving him to despair.

A resident of Ward No 4, Badin, 30-year-old Ansari also
tried to get his outstanding salary of four months from the
sugar mill, but to no avail.

At about 1pm on Tuesday, he along with his three minor
children reached Shah Latif Road and set himself on fire
after sprinkling kerosene on his body. A small group of
policemen were present nearby but they didn’t try to stop

Mr Ansari was taken to the Civil Hospital, Badin, in a
critical condition.

Later, he was shifted to Hyderabad where doctors said the
victim had received 25 per cent burn injuries, and that his
condition was stable.

Dr Tahir Ahmed, head of burns ward at the Hyderabad civil
hospital, told Dawn that an injury near the neck of the
victim was serious and deep.

“It will require surgical intervention, but the rest of the
body is relatively less-affected in terms of the severity
of wounds and will heal naturally. The wound around the
neck falls in category 2B,” he said.

After receiving the news of his son’s attempt to commit
suicide, Mr Ansari’s father suffered a heart attack and had
to be admitted to the Civil Hospital, Badin. The speaker of
the National Assembly, Dr Fehmida Mirza, has directed the
authorities concerned to take care of Mr Ansari.

02, May, 2012


Two die in Quetta bomb attack on FC convoy


By Saleem Shahid

QUETTA, May 1: Two people were killed and 15 others,
including six security personnel, injured in a car bomb
attack on a Frontier Corps convoy on Sariab Road on

“The convoy of Bolan Scouts, a wing of the FC, was coming
from Sibi and five personnel were among the injured,” a
police officer told Dawn.

Mohammad Khalid, an employee of Balochistan University, and
Tanveer Ahmed, 15, a student of class eight, were killed in
the explosion that took place near the Irrigation Colony.

Police and FC personnel took the injured to the Civil
Hospital and Combined Military Hospital. Five of the
injured were in a critical condition.

Police said around 40kg of explosive in a parked car was
detonated with remote control.

Pieces of the car spread over a 500-metre area, police
officer Fareed Barach said.

Four rickshaws parked near the place caught fire and were

Two vehicles in the FC convoy were damaged and five
personnel in them were injured. Four houses were also badly
damaged by the explosion.

According to witnesses, the blast took place when the first
vehicle of the convoy passed the parked car. “The two
persons who were killed were passers-by who were very close
to the place,” police said, quoting the witnesses.

The injured include police constable Mohammad Karim, FC
lance naiks Karam Elahi, Noor, Anar Khan, Sher Bahadur and
Waheed, and civilians Noor Mohammad, Mumtaz, M. Rafiq,
Mohammad Akram, Gul Mir, Mohammad Ali Zar Wali, Aminullah,
Ibrar Hussain and Mohammad Raza.


02, May, 2012


Three killed in Orakzai shelling


By Our Correspondent

KALAYA, May 1: Three people were killed and two others
injured on Tuesday when an artillery shell fired by
security forces landed in an orchard near Mir Garhi village
in Mamozai area of Orakzai Agency.

According to sources, those killed by the shell were
identified as Amir Khan, Shoaibullah and Khaliq.

The injured, whose names could not be ascertained, were
taken to a private hospital in the area.

The sources said that heavy shelling on some targets forced
civilians to flee their homes for safe places and many
families reached Tora Warai area in Hangu district via
central Kurram Agency.

They said a number of these families were living under the
open sky and waiting for relief.


02, May, 2012

Hafeez hints at budget revenue target of Rs2.3tr


By Mubarak Zeb Khan

ISLAMABAD, May 1: Undeterred by the May Day holiday and the
raging political storm over the conviction of prime
minister in the contempt case, federal Finance Minister Dr
Abdul Hafeez Shaikh held a meeting on taxation proposals on

Sources in the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) said that
during the meeting the minister hinted at fixing revenue
collection target at Rs2.3 trillion in the budget for 2012-
13. This target would be met by widening the tax base
rather than by proposing additional taxes or increasing the
existing tax rates that would hit the common people

Dr Shaikh also underlined the need for achieving this
year’s collection target of Rs1,952 billion. He said the
officials failing to meet their targets would be dealt with
severely. They would be transferred and adverse remarks
would be entered in their annual confidential reports.

An official familiar with the deliberations made during the
meeting told Dawn that there seemed little room for
additional taxes in the budget as its focus would be on
efforts to document the economy.

Tax officials headed by FBR chairman Mumtaz Haider Rizvi
briefed Dr Shaikh about the various proposals that were
either meant to document the economy or encourage
investments. “We cannot increase the existing tax rates or
extend the scope of taxes to some products,” the official

The tax officials proposed that slabs for the salaried
class be reduced from 16 to six. The minimum tax rate
should be 10 per cent on taxable incomes of up to Rs1
million, and the maximum rate should be 35 per cent on
taxable incomes exceeding Rs10 million.
It was proposed that incomes of more than Rs350,000 be
deemed as taxable, which would give relief to the low-
salaried people.

The sources said the meeting also deliberated on lowering
the GST rate and observed that the move would bring about
the desired results only if all the sectors of the economy
were documented.

The meeting observed that only between 75,000 and 80,000
people were filing sales tax returns with the department.


03, May, 2012


Missing persons case: SC summons Balochistan CM, home


By Saleem Shahid

QUETTA, May 2: Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry has
summoned Balochistan Chief Minister Nawab Aslam Raisani,
Home Minister Mir Zafarullah Zehri and ISI’s sector in-
charge on Thursday during hearing on cases relating to the
issues of missing persons and dumping of bullet-riddled
bodies. The order was issued on Wednesday when a Supreme
Court bench comprising the chief justice, Justice Khilji
Arif Hussain and Justice Tariq Pervez continued proceedings
on a petition on the law and order situation in the
province and the missing persons issue.

The authorities concerned failed to present 12 people who
had ‘disappeared’ from Quetta and Totak area of Khuzdar
despite an order issued by the court to police and the
deputy commissioner of Khuzdar on Monday to produce them on
“The chief minister, Balochistan, and home minister will
have to assure the Supreme Court that under Article 9 of
the Constitution, complete protection to life and property
of people will be ensured by the government; besides that
neither any citizen will be lifted or kidnapped nor any
incident of killing and throwing of bullet-riddled bodies
of missing persons will take place,” the CJ said in his

He said the court was astonished that no-one was ready to
take responsibility of people’s security. He said the
provincial authorities had been living in Islamabad instead
of Quetta. They will have to be in the provincial capital
to maintain law and order and ensure peace in the province.

He observed that seven or eight secret agencies were
working in Balochistan but the federal government was not
paying attention to the issue of restoring peace which had
become a matter of great concern in the province.

“Among the senior authorities of the province, only the
chief secretary is present in the court, while the governor
and chief minister are out of the province despite the very
serious law and order situation.”

He said that even if the provincial government was helpless
it should be clear that the apex court was not helpless and
it would fulfil its responsibility of swift and smooth
dispensation of justice.

The chief justice said all relevant officials would have to
ensure recovery of missing persons, otherwise they would
have to submit before the court that they had failed to
fulfil their responsibilities of providing security and
protection to people.

“We can go to any extent for recovery of missing persons,”
he added.

In reply to the court’s order for appearance of the
Frontier Corps inspector general and provincial heads of
intelligence agencies, the deputy attorney general said
they could not appear before the court due to their
important meetings on law and order.
Justice Khilji observed that houses of people were burning
in the province but the officials were busy in their so-
called meetings.

Home Secretary Nasibullah Bazai and provincial police chief
Rao Amin Hashim submitted that they could not ensure
complete end to the throwing of bodies of missing persons
because of lack of resources, but they would do their best
to ensure peace.

Deputy Inspector General of Frontier Corps Brig Farrukh
Shehzad assured the court on behalf of his institution that
efforts would be made to curb the incidents of dumping of
missing persons’ bodies.

The chief justice said if the court could call the prime
minister it could also summon the ISI sector in-charge.
“ISI’s sector in-charge shall appear before the court on
Thursday,” he ordered.

The chief justice told the home secretary and IG of police
that two more bodies of people whose names were in the list
of 62 missing persons submitted by the affected families
had been found on Tuesday.

He inquired whether police asked the recovered missing
persons who had picked up or kidnapped them. Justice Tariq
Pervez said the court wanted to find solutions to all
problems through the Constitution.

The chief justice said all were aware of those who had
escaped from jail and people belonging to the Shia
community were being targeted and killed.

He said it had been reported that some ministers were
involved in kidnapping people for ransom. The court could
no more tolerate such a situation, he said.

He said the relatives of missing persons had said in their
statements before the bench that they had approached the
apex court for the recovery of their loved ones and for the
sake of justice but they were receiving their bodies.

He expressed anger over failure to find Dr Akbar Marri who
had gone missing in 2010 and ordered payment of his salary
to his family.
The court recorded statements of relatives of 28 of the 62
missing persons.


03, May, 2012


Abbottabad commission to complete its report this month


By Syed Irfan Raza

ISLAMABAD, May 2: The Abbottabad Commission on the killing
of Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden will complete its report
this month, the government announced on Wednesday.

The commission was supposed to present its report by
December last year. A government press release said that
reasons for the delay would also be made public.

The Al Qaeda leader was killed in a US raid carried out on
May 2 last year.

The report is expected to tell the nation if the Pakistani
authorities had prior knowledge of the US raid. It will
also find out if Osama bin Laden was actually killed in the
attack — a question that has been raised before the

Osama’s brother-in-law Zakaria Al Sadah, who visited
Pakistan recently to take his sister and her children back
to his country, confirmed to the Pakistani media that Osama
had been killed in the raid carried out by US commandos.

A source privy to the inquiry told Dawn that the commission
had examined more than 120 witnesses, including officials,
surviving members of Osama’s family and the family of two
Pakistani brothers who were protecting Osama.

03, May, 2012


PML-N stages ‘go Gilani, go’ show in NA


By Raja Asghar

ISLAMABAD, May 2: On a day parliament should have recalled
Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden’s violent death in
Pakistan, the opposition Pakistan Muslim League-N staged
another noisy protest in the National Assembly on Wednesday
to keep up its campaign against Prime Minister Yousuf Raza

 In the din of shouting and desk-thumping that began at the
start of the question hour and marred the entire evening
sitting, both the government and opposition ignored the
first anniversary of the May 2 US commando raid that killed
the world’s most wanted man at his Abbottabad hideout.

That event, which deeply soured decades-old Pakistan-US
relations and a Pakistani inquiry commission report which
has taken too long to come, found no mention also during a
simultaneous sitting of the Senate in an adjacent hall,
although the PML-N protest there was only a mild walkout as
part of a party campaign to force Mr Gilani to resign from
his office after his conviction last week by a Supreme
Court bench.

In the National Assembly, PML-N lawmakers, not joined by
smaller opposition groups, staged almost a repeat of their
last noisy show on Monday, shouting “go Gilani, go” while
standing in their seats, thumping desks, displaying
placards bearing hostile slogans, and throwing up torn
papers, though this time they took their protest too close
to the stage and the treasury benches.

Defying repeated calls from Speaker Fehmida Mirza to
maintain order and “dignity of parliament”, some protesters
went ahead to occupy the steps of the stage below the
speaker’s chair, crowded the desk of the prime minister --
who was not present -- and even stood in front of one row
of ministerial benches.

Some PML-N members repeatedly placed cardboard placards
bearing “go Gilani, go” slogan on the prime minister’s
desk, only to be immediately grabbed and torn up either by
Water and Power Minister Naveed Qamar or another member of
the ruling Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) sitting next to
him at the time.

When a woman lawmaker of the PML-N thumped at the prime
minister’s desk, a PPP woman pushed her away and herself
sat in the prime minister’s chair, before placing her bag
there as a warning against any protester daring to occupy

While the protesters punctuated their anti-Gilani chants
with unintelligible booing, some thought of displaying a
childhood skill by turning torn pages from printed
questions and answers into paper aeroplanes, which they
darted at treasury benches but which would hardly reach

Significantly, opposition leader Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan
kept himself away from the shouting contingent, but, like a
commander, watched its performance from a far-away back
bench, though he came a few rows forward after a break for
Maghrib prayers.

A few party members appeared disinterested, including
former journalist Ayaz Amir who sat quiet in his seat and
Rashid Akbar Niwani who left the house while his party
colleagues kept on shouting.

The treasury benches kept their calm, as they had done in
the last sitting on Monday, and transacted some legislative
business, including introduction of some private bills,
though two bills about child rights and domestic violence
were deferred to accommodate objections from the opposition
Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam, which did not join the PML-N protest,
before the house was adjourned until 10am on Thursday.

One bill introduced by PPP’s Khurram Jahangir Wattoo seeks
to amend the Defence Act of 1903 to allow residents of
border areas to cut trees on their private lands without
seeking permission from the army or Rangers.
Another bill moved by Kishwar Zehra of the Muttahida Qaumi
Movement seeks to provide for re-enactment of law relating
to employment, rehabilitation and welfare of disabled
persons, and one of Riaz Fatyana of Pakistan Muslim League-
Q seeks an amendment to the Political Parties Order of

Some bills standing in the names of PML-N members were not
moved by their authors because of their protest.


03, May, 2012


PML-N to hold first protest meeting in Taxila


By Amjad Mahmood

LAHORE, May 2: The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz said on
Wednesday that in the first phase of its protest movement
public meetings would be held at the level of district
headquarters in all provinces, starting with Punjab.

Party president Nawaz Sharif and Punjab Chief Minister
Shahbaz Sharif will address the meetings. The first meeting
will be held in Taxila on Sunday.

This will be followed by meetings in Gujranwala on May 7,
Bahawalpur and Sargodha on May 8, Rawalpindi and Multan on
May 10, Sialkot on May 11 and Gujrat on May 12.

Dates for meetings in other provinces will be announced
after consultations with relevant party organisations, says
a PML-N statement.

A senior party official told Dawn that long marches or
caravans would also be organised in the four provinces with
the aim of mobilising the masses and the party cadre for
next elections.
The marches will terminate in provincial capitals.

The plan, the official said, had been prepared to negate a
perception that the anti-government movement existed only
in Punjab.

The decision for a march on Islamabad will be taken if the
government sticks to its refusal to implement the Supreme
Court verdict against Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani.

The leadership, the official said, had directed the
organisers not to mention elections during the mass contact
drive and concentrate on the PPP’s refusal to implement the
court’s verdict.

Replying to a question, the official said, the party had
extended the hand of cooperation to Imran Khan’s Tehrik-i-
Insaaf knowing what the response would be.

“It was done to offset any criticism that efforts were not
made to unite all forces against the PPP government’s


03, May, 2012


Political and military leaders discuss US ties: Move for
softened version of apology


By Baqir Sajjad Syed

ISLAMABAD, May 2: The top political and military leadership
once again put their heads together on Wednesday to search
for the way ahead in stalled negotiations with the US for
resetting relations, but made little progress beyond
concurring that the ties were too critical to be left in
“We discussed various formulations for the demands to be
made from the US, including the text of a possible apology
statement that would not only be acceptable to us, but
would also help the Americans overcome their reluctance in
apologising,” one of the participants of the meeting told

The meeting was the third of the newly-formed informal
group of decision-makers over the past seven days.

The forum, which includes President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime
Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani
Khar, Finance Minister Hafeez Sheikh, Interior Minister
Rehman Malik, Foreign Secretary Jalil Abbas Jilani, Finance
Secretary Wajid Rana, Ambassador to the US Sherry Rehman,
Army Chief Gen Ashfaq Kayani and ISI head Lt-Gen Zaheerul
Islam, enables civilian and military leaders to coordinate
their positions on issues vis-à-vis ties with the US. It is
in addition to the much broader Defence Committee of the
Cabinet that was previously handling the crisis in the
relationship in the aftermath of the 26/11 Salala border
post attack by American aircraft in which 24 Pakistani
troops lost their lives.

The first round of formal parleys between the US and
Pakistan last week failed because of the US insistence on
not discussing cessation of drone attacks and refusing to
apologise for the Salala attack.

A source said that following the impasse over apology, the
Pakistani side started working on a text of a statement
that could be acceptable to both Pakistan and the US. The
idea is that after developing consensus at home, the text
of the proposed apology statement would be suggested to the
Americans asking them to announce it so that the two sides
could move on with the negotiations on other issues.

The under-consideration text, though mild in language than
a direct apology, includes an implied acceptance by the US
of responsibility for the deadly strikes. It has been
endorsed by the civilian leaders, while the army is said to
be studying it.

Explaining Pakistan’s position on the issue of apology, the
source said Americans were morally bound to apologise for
killing 24 young soldiers of an ally which, according to
their own assessment, had done more in the war on terror
than any other partner. “It (the apology) is important to
keep the morale of our troops fighting terrorism and
extremism high.”

Other than apology, the presidency meeting spent
significant time discussing the new terms for the re-
opening of NATO supply routes including imposition of new
taxes, which is being termed “the opportunity cost”.

A US team which arrived in Islamabad along with US Special
Envoy Marc Grossman last week for talks on resumption of
NATO supplies through ground routes has stayed back for
finalising the new terms.

Although the US team has had a few sessions with the
finance ministry, a final deal would be reached only after
the green signal from the civil-military combine.
Apparently it looks that the go-ahead would come only after
progress on the apology issue.

The presidency meeting also took stock of the just signed
US-Afghanistan strategic partnership agreement, fresh
terror attacks in Afghanistan and Taliban’s ‘spring
offensive’ beginning from Thursday.

The leaders have been particularly concerned about the
situation in Afghanistan because of its implications for
normalisation of relations with the US.


03, May, 2012


Series of low-intensity blasts hits bank branches across


Dawn Report

HYDERABAD / KARACHI, May 2: A series of low-intensity
explosions, most of them targeting branches of the National
Bank (NBP), were reported from cities and towns across
Sindh on Wednesday.

Handbills purportedly issued by the Sindhu Desh Liberation
Army’s ‘chief commander’ Darya Khan were found at the
places where the blasts had taken place.

According to sources, some suspects were detained in raids
carried out after the explosions.

The group was earlier involved in similar attacks on
railway tracks and gas pipelines in the province.

In Hyderabad, blasts took place at four branches of the

Three people, a man and his son among them, were injured in
one explosion.

The blasts at the Tower Market and Fatima Jinnah Road
branches ripped apart the bank’s ATMs.One blast took place
at a Sindh Bank branch in Kotri where a watchman of Wapda
was injured.

Explosions also took place at NBP branches in Tando
Mohammad Khan and Hala.Saleem Vistro, in-charge of the bomb
disposal squad, said: “These were locally made devices
containing one to one and a half pound of a high explosive
substance. They were fitted with detonators but nothing was
found after the explosions.”

According to NBP sources, nine branches of the bank’s
Hyderabad region were attacked.

An official said work at some branches was affected for
some time.

Bombs also exploded at or near branches of the bank in
Ranipur, Dadu, Mehar, Thatta, Shaheed Benazirabad, Qazi
Ahmed, Moro, Badin, Larkana, Shahdadkot and Wara.

The bank’s staff in Dadu stopped payment of salaries to
employees of various departments and demonstrated in

A bomb placed outside the Sakrand branch was defused.
A blast in the Dokri branch damaged the office of the
manager and injured a guard, Abdul Sattar Samo.

The pamphlet found after an explosion said: “Sons of the
soil have decided to fight for the independence of Sindh.”

In Karachi, two low-intensity blasts, one in Gulistan-i-
Jauhar and the other in Gulshan-i-Iqbal, triggered panic in
the areas.

Early in the morning, a bomb connected to an electronic
device exploded under an electric pole near a KESC office.

Minutes later, a bomb went off in a mobile phones market in

The Quetta-bound Jaffer Express escaped disaster when local
people stopped it moments after the tracks were blown up in
Qazi Wah, near Ghotki. The train left three hours later
after the tracks had been repaired.

An explosion on the railway line between Sarhari and Lundo
stations damaged a foot-long portion the tracks, causing
suspension of rail traffic.

Hyderabad SSP Haseeb Afzal Beg told reporters the blasts in
the city could possibly be a reaction to the operation
being carried out in Karachi’s Lyari area.

He said the bank’s administration had said that the closed-
circuit television cameras near the ATMs were not


03, May, 2012


Pakistan played vital role in elimination of Osama:

ISLAMABAD, May 2: Defence Minister Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar
has said the government and armed forces of Pakistan played
a vital role in the elimination of former Al Qaeda chief
Osama bin Laden through a mobile phone’s chip/SIM, DawnNews

Speaking during an exclusive interview to BBC’s Urdu
Service on Wednesday, the minister claimed that it was
Pakistan’s armed forces which had weakened the Al Qaeda’s
terrorist network.

He revealed that the former Al Qaeda chief was hunted down
through a mobile phone’s SIM/chip which was found

Mr Mukhtar also revealed that Pakistan was bound by a
contract with the United States to hand over all Arabic and
English data found in the search for the Al Qaeda chief.
Similarly, the US was to provide all Urdu data to Pakistan
for intelligence-sharing purposes.The defence minister also
said that the armed forces were currently looking into
material recovered from the compound in Abbottabad, where
Osama bin Laden was killed by US forces.

Moreover, the minister said that Dr Shakeel should have
informed the Pakistan government rather than the US.


04, May, 2012


Trust reposed in Gilani; NA seeks new province


By Raja Asghar

ISLAMABAD, May 3: In a rebuff to noisy protests from the
main opposition party, the remainder majorities of both
houses of parliament on Thursday placed their “complete
confidence” in Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani. The
National Assembly also demanded a new province of south

The show of support for the embattled prime minister and
the first formal parliamentary demand for the creation of
Pakistan’s fifth province came in two resolutions passed by
a tumultuous National Assembly in the morning while a much
calmer Senate in the evening only passed the first

The move in the National Assembly, where the resolutions
were moved by Law and Justice Minister Farooq H. Naek, came
amid some rowdy scenes, climaxing to some fist-flinging
after nearly an hour of PML-N slogan-chanting, desk-
thumping and booing as part of a party campaign against the
prime minister.

But in the Senate, where the PML-N senators only staged a
protest walkout, the passage of identical resolution for
reposing the confidence in the prime minister moved by the
leader of house, Senator Jahangir Badar of PPP, remained a
smooth affair.

After the vote in the National Assembly, just before the
adjournment of the house until 10am on Friday, a PPP member
and one from a group of PML-N protesters blocking a row of
ministerial benches were seen throwing punches at each
other like boxers, though none of them seemed to have been
hit, before other colleagues separated the two men.

The PML-N chanting of slogans and insults in the National
Assembly, dominated by “go Gilani, go” call, began much
before the proceedings started late by more than two hours
and continued through a curtailed question hour, in
defiance of repeated calls from Speaker Fehmida Mirza to
keep order.

There was some paper-tearing and display of placards
bearing anti-Gilani slogans, as had happened in two
previous sittings on Monday and Wednesday, but not as much
litter was left this time by the protesters, who moved
around in front of the stage or crowded the prime
minister’s desk in his absence, chanting slogans in Urdu,
Punjabi and English languages punctuated by booing like
“ha, ha, hoo”. Opposition leader Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan
did not join the active crowd but watched their performance
from a distant back bench.
To read out the two resolutions, Mr Naek had to come to a
second-row seat of the treasury benches from his own seat
in the front row that was blocked by protesters and seemed
going through a vocal struggle in order to be heard – which
he was not in the galleries though house members using
headphones of their desk appeared to be understanding the
texts that they cheered with desk-thumping of their own and
voting “ayes” for them.

The reaffirmation of confidence in the prime minister was a
parliamentary response to the PML-N demand that he resign
because of his conviction for contempt of court last week
by a seven-judge Supreme Court bench for not implementing
an earlier court order to write to Swiss authorities to
reopen disputed money-laundering charges against President
Asif Ali Zardari as well as to back his argument that he
had only upheld a constitutional immunity the president has
against prosecution at home or abroad while in office.

Though the demand for a new province carries no legal
force, it seemed aimed at giving a political momentum to a
pledge by the PPP and its coalition allies to carve out a
province in Seraiki-speaking southern Punjab ahead of the
next general election, though the resolution’s English-
language text proposes its name as “Janoobi (southern)
Punjab” rather than the originally envisioned Seraiki

That name could be acceptable, at some stage, also to the
PML-N, which heads the Punjab provincial government as the
largest single party in the provincial assembly and whose
leaders have said in the past they are not opposed to
creating new provinces on administrative, rather than
linguistic, grounds.

“This house reposes complete confidence in Prime Minister
Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani as the constitutionally and
democratically elected prime minister and unanimously
elected chief executive of this country,” said one
resolution, recalling his election by a big majority of the
342-seat National Assembly in March 2008 and a subsequent
unanimous vote of confidence by the same house.

The prime minister says he will not resign before
exhausting the legal option of an appeal to a larger bench
after receiving a detailed judgement -- though he had
already completed the symbolic sentence of “imprisonment
till the rising of the court” when a short order was issued
on April 26 – as well as a constitutional remedy of a
ruling by National Assembly Speaker Fehmida Mirza on
whether or not a question of his disqualification had
arisen because of the conviction.

The resolution commended the prime minister for “upholding
the majesty of law by personally appearing thrice on being
summoned by the Supreme Court and showing great humility
and respect to the apex court”.

It also appreciated what it called “the firmness and
dignity” he displayed “in upholding the constitution and
parliamentary democracy in the country” and said: “This
house also wishes to reaffirm its belief in the
constitutional procedure for the disqualification of a
prime minister from holding the office and that any other
procedure adopted will be considered as unconstitutional.”

The resolution on the new province said that “in order to
address the grievances and to secure the political,
administrative and economic interests of the people of
southern region” of Punjab province and “to empower them in
this regard, it has become expedient that a new province
known as province of Janoobi Punjab be created from the
present province of the Punjab”.

It called upon the Punjab provincial assembly to present a
bill in that house “to amend the constitution in accordance
with Article 239 (4) of the constitution of the Islamic
Republic of Pakistan, 1973, for passage which would have
the effect of altering the limits of province of Punjab,
thereby creating province of Janoobi Punjab”.

That article says: “A bill to amend the constitution which
would have the effect of altering the limits of a province
shall not be presented to the president for assent unless
it has been passed by the provincial assembly of that
province by the votes of not less than two-thirds of its
total membership.”

The PPP had at one time promised to bring a constitutional
amendment in parliament for the creation of a Seraiki
province, but that did not come, though the issue got a new
focus in recent speeches by President Asif Ali Zardari and
Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani. Similar private bills
proposed by lawmakers of the government-allied Muttahida
Qaumi Movement and Pakistan Muslim League-Q have also
remained pending for months.

04, May, 2012


India has Toughened Siachen stand, says Kayani


GYARI, May 3: Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez
Kayani said on Thursday that India had toughened its stance
on Siachen as compared to 1989.

According to TV channels, he was talking to media personnel
after a visit to Gyari, his third since the avalanche
tragedy, to review rescue work. Gen Kayani said India had
now been demanding re-determination of positions. But, he
added, it “takes two hands to clap”.

According to an ISPR press release, the army chief was
briefed on the ongoing resuce work and efforts to create a
watercourse to safely drain the lake which was formed by
the blocking of the Gyari River by the avalanche.

Meanwhile, the satellite data link became operational on
Thursday, which will allow real time video monitoring of
the relief work from GHQ.

Gen Kayani remained with the troops for some time and
lauded their motivation in the face of tough conditions and
extreme weather. He appreciated their resolve to upkeep
army’s proud tradition of not leaving a man behind, until
humanly possible, regardless of cost.

The army chief was accompanied by Commander Rawalpindi
Corps and a media team invited to witness the activities at
the disaster site.—Dawn monitor

04, May, 2012


Malik wants Sharifs quizzed in SC attack case


ISLAMABAD, May 3: Amid intensifying political acrimony
between the government and PML-N, the interior ministry
instructed Islamabad police on Thursday to reopen
investigations against Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif over
the storming of the Supreme Court building in 1997.

According to sources, Interior Minister Rehman Malik has
directed police to reopen the inquiry and interrogate the
PML-N chief and the Punjab chief minister.

The sources said Senior Superintendent of Police Mohammad
Yousuf Malik, who hails from the prime minister’s
constituency and has served as SSP in Multan, had been
asked to interrogate the Sharif brothers and submit a
report as soon as possible.

The minister asked the city administration to hold an
inquiry, fix responsibility and also address the matter of
non-completion of the police probe in 1999. Acting on the
minister’s order, Chief Commissioner Tariq Mehmood Pirzada
asked Deputy Commissioner Amir Ahmed Ali to conduct
inquiry, the sources said.

The sources said that one Shahid Orakazi had filed a
petition in the Supreme Court seeking action against people
involved in the attack.

A police superintendent named Tamour Ali Khan had
investigated the matter but could not complete it because
the Sharif brothers were in custody at the time and ‘out of
his reach’. The SP submitted an incomplete investigation
report to the interior ministry.—Munawer Azeem

04, May, 2012


‘Miscreants’ in Karachi given 48 hours to surrender arms


By Shamim-ur-Rahman

KARACHI, May 3: The government has given 48 hours to
‘miscreants’ active in Lyari and elsewhere to surrender
their weapons and ordered paramilitary Rangers to take
positions along with police to weed out criminals.

Addressing a press conference here on Thursday, Mr Malik
asked people to give the government one month to expose the
elements who were involved in terrorism and destroying
Karachi’s peace.

Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah and Information
Minister Shazia Marri and Special Assistant to CM Waqar
Mehdi were present at the press conference.The chief
minister said the government had devised a strategy to weed
out criminals and claimed that the situation had improved.
He said the action was being taken against criminals and
not against any community.

Mr Malik said all those in possession of illegal weapons,
including rocket-launchers and grenades, must surrender
them within 48 hours at the nearest police station or a
Rangers checkpost. He also said that those who were not
wanted in a case about any heinous crime and found to have
been forced into that crime would be dealt with mildly.

He said the government had also decided that any weapon
recovered by police and Rangers during a general operation
after 72 hours would be dealt with severely in accordance
with the Anti-Terrorism Act and the house where such
weapons were found would be destroyed.

The minister said the action by police and Rangers would be
across-the-board in an area where writ of the government
had been challenged.
He said a meeting on law and order had found that the
operation in specific areas had achieved its targets. He
pointed out that criminals had destroyed the water and
power supply network. He directed the organisations
concerned to restore water and power supply within 24

Mr Malik said the 72-hour deadline had been given on the
demand of people of Lyari who had asked to give peace a

He said Rangers and police had been directed to take over
all entry and exit points to ensure that no weapon was
allowed to go in and no criminal left Lyari or did anything
detrimental to peace.

The minister said 36 cameras with digital lines had been
ordered to be installed in the next four days and these
would be controlled and monitored by the police

He said police had been given four helicopters fitted with
machine-guns to monitor activities of terrorists. A local
monitoring system through highly sensitive apparatus was
also being ordered to keep an eye on the Lyari town, he

Mr Malik said the method employed by terrorists in
Malakand-Swat or Balochistan was traced in Lyari where all
sorts of elements were challenging the writ of the

He said the action had taken a long time because police had
not anticipated that terrorists were equipped with such
deadly weapons.


04, May, 2012


Al Qaeda’s relations with Pakistan were fraught with

By Anwar Iqbal

WASHINGTON, May 3: The Bin Laden documents, released by the
US military on Thursday, have no explicit references to any
institutional Pakistani support for Al Qaeda or its

The documents, collected by US commandos when they raided
Osama bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad on May 2 and
killed him, also show that

Al Qaeda’s relations with Pakistan were fraught with

The discussion of Pakistan is scarce and inconclusive.
Although references are made about “trusted Pakistani
brothers”, they do not disclose who these brothers are.

The documents also show that Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan had
come incredibly close to provoking a direct and public
confrontation with Al Qaeda’s leadership.

Its indiscriminate attacks against Muslims caused two Al
Qaeda leaders Atiyyatullah and Abu Yahya alLibi to write to
TTP leader Hakimullah Mahsud to express their displeasure
with the group’s “ideology, methods and behaviour”.

They also threatened to take public measures “unless we see
from you serious and immediate practical and clear steps
towards reforming [your ways] and dissociating yourself
from these vile mistakes [that violate Islamic Law]”.

The documents make it clear that Bin Ladin was not informed
of the TTP’s failed attempt to bomb New York’s Times Square
by Faisal Shahzad in May 2010. Bin Ladin was following
Shahzad’s trial in the news and was disappointed by his
performance, which he thought distorted the image of

Bin Laden also reminds TTP leaders that as US citizen
Shahzad had taken oath of allegiance to the United States
and should not commit ‘treason’ by violating this oath.
One document includes a list of 30-50 journalists around
the world and advises Al Qaeda operatives to send their
propaganda material to these journalists.

In Pakistan, Hamid Mir and Salim Safi, Rahimullah Yusufzai,
Jamal Ismail, and at and an unidentified Al Jazeera
correspondent were on this list.

“It would be good if we send it to those journalists and
writers. We would inform each that he has been chosen to be
amongst a group of international journalists and writers,”
the letter says.

“And they will receive special media material on the tenth
anniversary of 9/11. It will be favourable if the message
sent to them also includes … reasons that call them to be
interested in this material and to cooperate in publishing
its mission for the world, plus other convincing

The journalists would also receive a password and a site
address to download the materials at the right time, about
5 days before the anniversary, the letter adds.“But from
what I know about the black reputation of Pakistani
Taliban, I am confident of what was stated, particularly as
these information verify each other,” says one letter which
does not have the author’s name but is apparently from Bin
Laden or one of his senior aides.

It notes that the TTP was targeting religious and tribal
leaders, mosques and public places across Pakistan, killing
men, women and children.

 It notes that after one attack, TTP accused Blackwater of
orchestrating the bombing failed but failed to prove its

The document also refers to a propaganda video released by
Uzbek militants who pledged to bomb mosques across Pakistan
as revenge for the military’s attack on the Red Mosque, and
to bombard other mosques.

The author discusses such attacks with a young militant,
saying: “This is not acceptable … even if the mosque is in
a military or government compound.”
“The young man did not accept my story, and replied that
most –or maybe- all mosques now are mosques of evil full of
informers, spies and government employees and they have no
mercy on them,” the author adds.

 The author then refers to another group of militants who
went to Kurrum to ambush a military patrol, which was

The leader of the militant group then suggested that they
should attack the Shia instead.

This annoyed the head of another militant group, which was
cooperating with them and prevented the attack.

“The list is quite long,” argues the author, and includes
robbery, kidnapping and other crimes committed by those

The author points out that taking over mosques and spilling
the innocent have always been associated with “the worst
groups and individuals”.

“I have no doubt that what is happening to the Jihadi
movement in these countries is not misfortune, but
punishment by God on us because of our sins and injustices
and because some of us are silent over these sins.”

The author points out that a Mujahid should not obey Emir’s
orders if those orders lead to God’s disobedience, “even if
his Emir was Khalid Ibn al-Walid.”

If an individual is martyred, the author argues, and owned
a few dinars to someone before he died, he will be denied
heaven until the debt is paid.

“Now, how about he who has killed scores or even hundreds
of Muslims in absolute injustice? He is more eligible to be
denied the heaven.”

The author urges “the wise men of Taliban movements in both
Pakistan and Afghanistan to review his statement” and stop
the killings.

One document refers to a report by a Pakistani journalist
residing in America, which notes that most of the questions
raised at President Obama’s mid-term news conference dealt
with America’s bad economy.

The author then asks al-Qaeda operators to release OBL’s
statement prepared for the 10th anniversary of 9/11 because
it too dealt with America’s economic woes.


04, May, 2012


Non-appearance of Raisani displeases SC


By Saleem Shahid

QUETTA, May 3:   The Supreme Court, angered by non-appearance
of Balochistan   Chief Minister Nawab Aslam Raisani and non-
cooperation of   secret agencies, directed police and the
Frontier Corps   on Thursday to produce missing persons on

“It is frustrating that people have disappeared and not a
single security agency has a clue about it,” regretted
Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, who is heading a
three-judge bench hearing a petition on the law and order
situation and human rights violations in Balochistan at the
SC’s Quetta registry. Justice Khliji Arif Hussain and
Justice Tariq Pervez are other members of bench.

The court directed provincial Home Minister Mir Zafarullah
Zehri to appear before it on Friday. Otherwise, it warned,
a case would be registered against him for having lied
about the involvement of some provincial ministers in
kidnapping for ransom.

On Wednesday, the chief justice had ordered the chief
minister, home minister and sector in-charge of the ISI to
appear before the court on Thursday, but none of them
turned up.
Advocate General of Balochistan Amanullah Kanrani informed
the court that the chief minister had sent an application
stating that he was holding meetings with foreign
delegations in Islamabad.

The chief justice said the court wanted to summon the chief
minister so that he himself could observe the situation in
the province.

When the court asked the advocate general if the home
minister’s statement about the involvement of some
ministers in kidnapping for ransom had been recorded, he
said it had been submitted and the minister would appear
whenever he was summoned by the court.

The court said it had summoned the minister for Thursday,
but he did not appear. He would be booked if his statement
proved to be a lie, the court warned.

It asked the advocate general what steps had been taken by
the government to put an end to the killing of Hazara

The chief justice said Balochistan was a tribal society,
but unabated incidents of target killing and sense of
insecurity had forced even women to come out of their homes
to hold protest demonstrations.

He criticised the performance of the Balochistan IG and
officials of other law-enforcement agencies and said police
should know and inform the court about the whereabouts of
missing persons.

“It has been observed that Balochistan police are timid or
incapable of protecting the life and property of people.
Neither any intelligence agency nor the FC is sharing with
the apex court information on the missing persons,” the CJP
said, adding that such attitude of security institutions
had been obstructing resolution of the issue.

He directed the home secretary to ensure immediate recovery
of the missing persons and inform the court about steps
taken to trace and recover senior lawyer Mukesh Kohli. Why
the authorities were not informing the court from where the
missing persons had been recovered? he asked.
The chief justice said if secret agencies’ stance was that
they had not picked up or detained the missing persons then
one should be right to suggest that they were under
detention of police or the Levies Force. The government and
police have failed to maintain law and order in the

Justice Khilji told FC Balochistan’s DIG Brigadier Shehzad
that people were afraid of his force and no-one was ready
to inform even the CJP about the current status of missing
persons. “It is better that the masses pay respect to the
FC instead of being afraid of it,” he said. Brig Shehzad
said he regretted that people have levelled allegations
against the FC in the court. He assured the court that his
institution would strive to trace and recover the missing

Justice Tariq Pervez said when police kept quiet about
missing persons and did not want to share information with
the court, it would appear as if they were involved in it.

Balochistan IG Rao Amin Hashim requested the court to
listen to him on the issue separately in-camera. But the
bench rejected the request.

The chief justice warned the IG that all officers concerned
would be suspended if the missing persons were not produced
before the court.

Referring to the Manzoor Mengal case, the CJP criticised
Investigation Officer Abdul Qadir for telling lies and
deliberately conducting faulty investigation into the case.
He ordered the SP concerned to investigate the matter and
register an FIR against the IO if Mengal was not recovered.

The court has so far recorded statements of relatives of 56
missing persons.


04, May, 2012


Inside Osama’s world: Regrets, plans of a man on the run

By Baqir Sajjad Syed

ISLAMABAD, May 3: A set of declassified Al Qaeda (AQ)
correspondence released by a US think tank on the first
anniversary of the killing of global terror icon Osama bin
Laden (OBL) by American forces in Abbottabad reveals that
the outfit’s chief, disgruntled with his unruly affiliates,
wanted to embark on a reform process to win back the
sympathies of alienated Muslims.

Besides, he wanted focus of all militant attacks to be the
US which he described as “our desired goal” and plotted to
down aircraft carrying President Barack Obama or Gen
Petraeus (now CIA chief).

The information was gleaned from 17 Al Qaeda internal memos
authored by OBL and his senior lieutenants, including
Atiyya Abd-Al Rahman, Abu Yahya al-Libi and Adam Gadahn,
which were recovered from Bin Laden’s Abbottabad hideout by
US Navy SEALs after the raid. Most of these documents were
in electronic format and had been saved on thumb drives,
memory cards and OBL’s personal computer’s hard-drive, in
addition to hard copies of some of the correspondence
addressed to him.

It remained unclear what percentage did the revealed
documents make up of the intelligence treasure trove,
thought to comprise thousands of documents seized from the
so-called Osama compound.

Gen John Abizaid, chair of the Combating Terrorism Centre
(CTC) which published the documents, in the foreword for an
attached analytical report ‘Letters from Abbottabad: Bin
Ladin sidelined’ noted that documents might help reassess
the known information about Al Qaeda, “but not as a
definitive commentary on Al Qaeda’s evolution or the
group’s current status”.

The memos, however, provide a fresh insight into the
outfit’s planning to overcome the difficulties it was
confronting, including distancing of ordinary Muslims from
its ideology, growing isolation, depleting cadres,
financial difficulties and loosening control over global

There were obviously regrets for the mistakes made by the

“I plan to release a statement that we are starting a new
phase to correct (the mistakes) we made… In doing so, we
shall reclaim, God willing, the trust of a large segment of
those who lost their trust in the jihadis,” OBL said in a
2010 letter as he worried about AQ affiliates causing
unnecessary Muslim civilian casualties.

As part of the plan to rejuvenate the group, correspondence
reveals that changing the name of Al Qaeda was being
contemplated because the strategists thought the outfit’s
ID did not evoke the feeling of affiliation among common
Muslims who consequently did not feel offended by the
campaign against it. The names being considered included
Ta’ifat al-tawhid wa-al-jihad, Jama’at wahdat al-Muslimin,
Hizb tawhid al-Umma al-Islamiyya and Jama’at Tahrir Al-

While the attached analytical report concludes that the AQ
central leadership under OBL was not in sync on the
operational level with the affiliates, Bin Laden, who has
been painted as a lone sad man helplessly watching things
get out of control, looked upset with the failure of
affiliated groups to garner public support, poor media
campaign and inefficiently executed terror plots that
killed innocent fellow believers.

His advisers, including Gadahn and Libi, could be seen
criticising the strategies and activities of Al Qaeda in
Iraq, Al Qaeda in Arab Peninsula, Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan
and Al-Shahab.

There has, however, been very little criticism of the
operations carried out by the Taliban and groups like the
Haqqani network. Gadahn, while questioning various terror
operations, refers once to an Afghan Taliban act -- bombing
of a mosque for killing Kunduz mayor that killed 30 others,
who happened to be praying there.

Growing challenges, however, did not stop the isolated AQ
chief from plotting rather impractical attacks, including
shooting down planes bringing President Obama and Gen
Petraeus to Pakistan or Afghanistan with the hope of
plunging the US into crisis.

“I asked Shaykh Sa’id, Allah have mercy on his soul, to
task brother Ilyas to prepare two groups -- one in Pakistan
and the other in Bagram area of Afghanistan -- with the
mission of anticipating and spotting the visits of Obama or
Petraeus to Afghanistan or Pakistan to target the aircraft
of either one of them,” the terror leader said in a letter.

“The reason for concentrating on them is that Obama is the
head of infidelity and killing him automatically will make
Biden take over the presidency for the remainder of the
term, as it is the norm over there. Biden is totally
unprepared for that post, which will lead the US into a

“As for Petraeus, he is the man of the hour in this last
year of the war, and killing him would alter the war’s

The accompanying analysis said that the correspondence shed
light on AQ’s ties with Pakistan and Iran. About Iran, the
documents suggested there was an adversarial relationship,
but left it vague in the context of Pakistan.

“The discussion of Pakistan is scarce and inconclusive.
Although references are made about trusted Pakistani
brothers, there are no explicit references to any
institutional Pakistani support for Al Qaeda or its
operatives,” the attached analytical report by the CTC

In one of his last letters before his death, OBL looked
supportive of Arab Spring as he noted: “What we are
witnessing these days of consecutive revolutions is a great
and glorious event, and it is most probable, according to
reality and history, that it will encompass the majority of
the Islamic world with the will of Allah, and thanks to
Allah things are strongly heading towards the exit of
Muslims from being under the control of America, and the
Americans worry about that, which is great.”

It is interesting that both the western governments and OBL
viewed Arab Spring positively. While the prevailing
perception in the West was that the Arab uprising would
serve as a blow to militant ideology of AQ, OBL looked at
it differently. He was, however, worried that the countries
witnessing the movements may settle for western style
democracy stopping hardline extremists from coming into
power. This progress, he opined, was “half solution”.


04, May, 2012


Gilani vows to continue working as lawful PM


ISLAMABAD, May 3: Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has
once again made his intentions clear that he would neither
acquiesce to the opposition protests nor to the short order
of the Supreme Court and would continue working as lawful
chief executive of the country.

Questioning the legality of the SC short order in which he
had been held responsible for committing contempt of court,
Prime Minister Gilani said: “Article 248 (1) of the
constitution provides him complete immunity in discharging
of his official responsibilities, thus, on the basis of
this court order he cannot be disqualified.”

The prime minister also intends to challenge the court
order after the release of the detailed judgment. He was
talking to journalists at the Prime Minister’s House.

Beaming with confidence after the passage of resolutions in
his favour in both houses of parliament, Mr Gilani said he
was here to stay and those calling for his disqualification
were actually ridiculing the Constitution.

Asked if he wouldn’t feel embarrassed facing international
dignitaries as a convicted prime minister, he snapped back
to a foreign journalist “there isn’t any charge of moral
turpitude or financial corruption against me. I have been
convicted for defending the Constitution which I will keep
on doing in future as well”.
He said: “If his conviction as Prime Minister affects the
country’s image internationally, it also affects the image
of the judiciary that has held him responsible for
committing contempt of court for implementing the
recommendations of his law and justice division.”

He was referring to his government’s position on the issue
of writing a letter to Swiss authorities against President
Asif Ali Zardari, who he repeatedly said enjoyed complete
immunity against court proceedings.

When asked about Pak-US talks over resumption of Nato
supply lines, Mr Gilani said the government was busy
talking with US officials in the light of recommendations
made by parliament and expressed the hope about a positive
outcome in coming weeks.—Khawar Ghumman


04, May, 2012


Pakistan and US trying to resolve all issues: FO


ISLAMABAD, May 3: Pakistan said on Thursday that it had
been sincerely working with the United States at several
levels to resolve all issues, including finding an
alternative to drone attacks, because both countries were
partner in the war on terror.

Foreign Office spokesman Moazzam Ahmad Khan said: “There is
need to resolve all issues with the US.”

At his weekly media briefing, he said Pakistan had a clear
stand on drone attacks and considered them as illegal,
violation of Pakistan’s territorial sovereignty and

He said Pakistan was interested in finding an alternative
to drone attacks.
The spokesman said there had been interaction between
Pakistan and the US at various levels to resolve issues
through a mutually beneficial and acceptable manner.

He said relations with the US were being discussed in
accordance with the recommendations of parliament and
everything would be decided in the context of guidelines
given by it.

Refusing to confirm or deny invitation from the US to
attend a summit being hosted by President Obama in Chicago
this month, Mr Khan said Pakistan had not yet decided about
participation in the summit. The issue was discussed at a
meeting held at the President’s House on Wednesday, but no
decision had been taken, he said.

He said the Defence Committee of the Cabinet would review
mechanism to implement recommendations of parliament in its
next meeting.

He said Pakistan-US relations were important and there was
a desire on both sides to come up with mutually acceptable
resolution of all issues.

The spokesman said there were issues on both sides and
there was also the will at both sides to improve relations.

He said all issues were discussed with US Envoy for
Pakistan and Afghanistan Marc Grossman during his recent
visit to Islamabad. Both sides shared their concerns and
perspectives on different issues, he added.

Mr Khan said nobody should have any doubt about Pakistan’s
unwavering resolve and determination to fight terrorism.
Pakistan was pursuing a well-thought out anti-terrorism
policy and expected that the partners would also show more
understanding and patience in this regard, he added.

Talks with India

The FO spokesman said President Asif Ali Zardari and Indian
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had a constructive meeting in
New Delhi in which they discussed all issues. The two
leaders underlined the importance of finding a pragmatic
and practical solution of all the issues including Sir
Creek, Siachen and Jammu and Kashmir, he said.

He said representatives from the two countries would meet
on May 14 to 16 in New Delhi to discuss Sir Creek and
interior secretaries in Islamabad on May 24 and 25 to find
ways to check terrorism and drug-trafficking.

He said the Siachen issue had been a part of the dialogue
process and the two sides had been discussing it.

Mr Khan said there had been progress in Pak-India relations
last year and the current round of talks would be completed
by the end of the year.

About removal of non-barrier tariff with India, he said it
would improve bilateral trade and would benefit Pakistan.—


04, May, 2012


Electricity consumers to bear additional burden of 25pc


By Khaleeq Kiani

ISLAMABAD, May 3: Consumers of electricity will have to
bear an additional burden of about 25 per cent (Rs1.87) per
unit in four months (May-August) because of tariff
adjustments notified by the National Electric Power
Regulatory Authority (Nepra).

Notified under monthly fuel adjustment mechanism, the fresh
tariff will not apply to consumers using less than 50 units
per month, known as ‘lifeline consumers’.

According to four separate notifications released on
Thursday, the fuel-based tariff has been increased by 45
paisa and Rs1.002 per unit to be recovered from consumers
in June and August, respectively.

The raise is over and above Rs1.67 per unit fuel-based
increase in tariff to be recovered from consumers in May.
The increases have been allowed on account of high furnace
oil prices and bad energy mix during the September-January

Simultaneously, Nepra notified a reduction of Rs1.25 per
unit in tariff for the billing month of July. As such, the
overall tariff will increase by Rs1.87 per unit to be
recovered from consumers until July 2012.

The power regulator said the revised tariffs would apply to
all categories, except lifeline consumers of distribution
companies of Wapda. “The adjustment will be shown
separately in bills on the basis of units billed to
consumers.” Under the law, Nepra has been empowered to
directly pass on to the consumers the impact of fuel cost
every month without seeking any approval from the

Meanwhile, a meeting of the cabinet committee on
restructuring presided over by Finance Minister Dr Abdul
Hafeez Shaikh on Thursday could not take a decision on
another tariff notification which would have regularised
about 12 per cent tariff increase already recovered from
consumers in recent months owing to legal complications.

It also failed to take a final decision on the appointment
of chief executive officers of distribution companies
currently being run by senior officers on an acting charge

The appointment of fulltime chief executive officers and
chief financial officers had been one of the key steps for
restructuring the loss-making power companies. The
appointments have been pending for more than six months
because of various procedural difficulties.


04, May, 2012

3 security men among 5 dead in Bajaur blasts


By Our Correspondent

KHAR, May 3: Five people, among them three security
personnel, were killed in two back-to-back bomb explosions
in an area of Bajaur Agency on Thursday.

Sources said that Anar Gul and his son Adeel were killed
when they stepped on a bomb planted by terrorists in
Chamarkand area, some 25km from Khar.

The second bomb went off after security personnel reached
the scene of the blast about half an hour later and
cordoned off the area. Two FC men identified as Afsar Ali
and Sobedar Riaz, and Hawaldar Ruhul Amin of Levies Force
were killed and another was injured in the second

Security forces launched a search operation in the area and
detained 12 suspects.

AFP adds: The first attack killed two pro-government tribal
elders, local government official Tariq Khan said.

“Two paramilitary troops and one tribal policeman were
killed in the second bomb blast,” he said.


04, May, 2012


17 die as coach falls into ravine

By Our Correspondent

MANSEHRA, May 3: At least 17 people, four army personnel
and two policemen among them, were killed and another 20
injured when a passenger coach plunged into a ravine in
Kamila area of Kohistan on Thursday.

The coach carrying 37 passengers was going to Skardu from
Rawalpindi when its sleepy driver lost control over it, a
source said.

Fifteen people were killed on the spot and two died on way
to hospital.

Local people and police retrieved the bodies and rescued
the injured persons and took them to the Dassu Civil

The deceased included Bibi Jan, Hajra Bibi, Mohammad Sadiq,
Amir Khan, policemen Mohammad Ijaz and Aslam Hussain,
Mohammad Hussain, Asghar Nawaz, Ibrahim, Akseer, Sepoys
Mohammad Khalid and Shabeer Ahmad, and Hawaldars Ghafar
Ahmad and Mohammad Mushtaq.

The bodies of a minor girl, a youth and an old man were yet
to be identified in the hospital.

“The bodies of the four army men, an army contractor and 12
injured personnel were airlifted to the Combined Military
Hospital in Rawalpindi,” Kohistan District Coordination
Officer Aqal Badshah told reporters.

He said the condition of four injured people was critical
and they had been sent to hospitals in Hazara.

Mr Badshah said policemen Mohammad Ijaz and Aslam Hussain
were on duty to protect the passengers. Following the
Harban sectarian attack earlier this year, two policemen
are to be deputed on every coach.

A military official in Rawalpindi said the killed and
injured personnel were going to Gilgit-Baltistan to rejoin
their duties after holidays.

04, May, 2012


Journalists in Singapore honour spirit of Murtaza Razvi


SINGAPORE, May 3: Journalists from 14 Asian countries
observed World Press Freedom Day at Singapore’s Nanyang
Technological University with a symbolic release of
balloons, honouring the spirit of murdered Pakistani editor
and columnist Murtaza Razvi.

The journalists are taking part in the Asia Journalism
Fellowship, a sabbatical programme of Temasek Foundation
and NTU’s Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and

Razvi, who spent three months in Singapore in 2009 as a
Fellow in AJF’s inaugural round, was killed two weeks ago
in Karachi at the age of 47. He was renowned in Pakistan as
an outstanding and courageous journalist, and warmly
remembered by the AJF Class of 2009 as a gregarious and
generous human being. Stressing the importance of media
freedom in furthering the public interest, journalists
gathered at the event called on governments in Asia to act
against the impunity that currently envelops crimes against
media workers.

“As journalists from diverse media traditions in Asia, we
collectively affirm journalism’s role in advancing our
communities’ collective interests, a responsibility that we
believe is best fulfilled in an environment that respects
human rights, including freedom of expression,” they said
in a joint statement.

Addressing the Fellows, Maria Mercedes Robles, the
secretary-general of the Asian Media Information and
Communication Centre, paid tribute to the profession.
“We should be grateful that we have heroic deeds of
journalists from all over the world which can instigate
change and which can inspire the journalists of tomorrow,”
she said.

The 2012 Fellows and other guests released 60 balloons into
the evening sky, one for each journalist who has passed
through the AJF programme since its launch in 2009.

Razvi was represented by a single red balloon, released by
compatriot Gonila Gil, minority affairs reporter of Daily
Aajkal in Lahore.

“Murtaza Razvi was respected as a nice human being, highly
educated and one of the most well mannered journalists in
Pakistan,” she said.

“We need to learn from his devotion to journalism.”


04, May, 2012


Pakistan handling contempt crisis in legitimate manner,
says US


By Our Correspondent

WASHINGTON, May 3: Pakistan is tackling the crisis
generated by the Supreme Court’s verdict against the prime
minister in a ‘legitimate and democratic fashion’ and
within its judicial system, says the US State Department.

The department’s views, expressed at a news briefing in
Washington, appear carefully crafted to convey its support
to the Gilani government without belittling the judiciary.

Throughout the crisis, the US State Department has
maintained a careful approach towards the verdict which the
opposition claims has disqualified the prime minister. The
government maintains that it has not affected the prime
minister’s legitimacy and Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani will
complete the rest of his tenure.

In earlier briefings, US officials avoided making explicit
comments on the situation, reminding the questioner that it
was Pakistan’s internal issue.

But in the latest briefing, State Department’s deputy
spokesman Mark Toner was forced to respond when a reporter
accused the US administration of backing the prime

“He is taking the country to a point where the army would
be forced to take over. Why are you so quiet, why don’t you
have any concern?” the reporter asked.

“Well, I would dispute the premise of your question,” Mr
Toner replied. “I think we’ve been very clear that we view
this as an internal domestic issue but one that is falling
on a clear democratic track.”

He noted that the dispute was “progressing within the
Pakistani judicial system and is being addressed in a
legitimate and democratic fashion by the Pakistani judicial

When the reporter argued that as a convict Mr Gilani could
no longer continue as prime minister and yet the US and its
other western allies were not using their influence to
force him to step down, Mr Toner disagreed.

“I’m not an expert on the Pakistani Constitution. All that
I can say is this case has moved forward through the
Pakistani judicial system in a way that we view as
consistent with Pakistan’s democratic values and in a
transparent manner,” he said.

“And we don’t have any real comment on what is a domestic
political issue.”

Responding to another question on US-Pakistan relations, Mr
Toner noted that the two countries had held several rounds
of talks for improving bilateral ties.
He noted that US special envoy Marc Grossman was in
Islamabad last week, “building on some of the momentum that
we’ve seen over the past months.”

Mr Toner also noted that earlier this month, Pakistan
completed a parliamentary review of its ties with the
United States.

“The Pakistanis have made clear on a number of areas how
they want to see the relationship move going forward. We’ve
talked before about the fact that terrorism is an
existential threat for Pakistanis,” the US official said.

Thousands of Pakistanis, he pointed out, had lost their
lives to terrorism. “So this is a shared struggle. We
recognise that. We’re committed to working through the
problems that we’ve had in the past, because it’s in both
our national interests to do so,” he said.


05, May, 2012


Taliban claim responsibility: Bajaur market massacre leaves
26 dead


By Anwarullah Khan

KHAR, May 4: At least 26 people, among them two security
officers, were killed and 75 others injured on Friday when
a teenage suicide bomber blew himself up in a crowded
bazaar in Khar, the main town of Bajaur tribal region. The
Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack.

“The suicide bomber, stated to be a 15-year-old boy,
detonated explosives strapped to his body as he approached
a checkpost of the Bajaur Levies force where senior
officials had gathered after patrolling the area,” Haseeb
Khan, an official of the local administration, told Dawn.
Sultanzeb, an eyewitness, said Levies officials had reached
the checkpost in two vehicles a few minutes before the
bombing. “They were talking to security personnel at the
post when the blast occurred. The place was littered with
human flesh and blood,” he said.

Several shops and vehicles were damaged.

The dead and the injured were taken to the Agency
Headquarters Hospital (AHH) Khar. Doctors at the AHH
referred the critically wounded to hospitals in Peshawar.

Dr Jehanzeb Tawar, head of the Bajaur health deportment,
said 26 people were killed and 75 others wounded in the

A large number of people gathered at the hospital to donate

“Bajaur Levies head Subedar-Major Javed Khan and Quarter
Master Subedar Fazal Rabi were among the dead,” Political
Agent Islam Zeb told reporters. He said the two officers
were the target of the attack, adding that they had
received threats from militants.

“Apparently, the bomber was waiting for the head of tribal
police and rushed towards him when he was talking to other
personnel at the checkpost,” he said.

Last year, Tamgha-i-Shujat was conferred on Subedar Fazal
Rabi. A security official said that Fazal Rabi, who was in
charge of the Levies bomb disposal unit, had survived
several attacks in the past.

The area people said the explosion was so powerful that it
was heard in 8km radius of the bombing site. A curfew was
imposed in the area after the attack and markets,
educational institutions and offices were closed. Public
transport remained off the road.

It was the third bomb attack in Bajaur over the past two
days. On Thursday, two blasts killed five people, including
pro-government elders and security personnel, in tehsil
Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan spokesman Ihsanullah Ihsan told
reporters from an unidentified place: “Our target was the
chief and deputy chief of the Bajaur Levies force.”

The two officials were involved in the killing of Al Qaeda
leader Sheikh Abu Marwan Asouri in Bajaur a few years ago.

AFP adds: Bajaur has been one of the toughest battlegrounds
in the fight against Taliban. The military conducted major
offensives there in 2008 and 2009 and has repeatedly
declared it secure.

Friday’s blast was the deadliest bombing in the country
since Feb 17 when 31 people were killed in a suicide attack
in the Kurram Agency. The TTP spokesman said that anyone
involved in ‘activity’ against the Taliban “will be treated
with iron hands”.


05, May, 2012


Zardari approves ‘grand operation’ in Lyari


ISLAMABAD, May 4: A few hours after a police crackdown was
stopped in Karachi’s Lyari area, the government decided to
launch a ‘grand operation’ within 48 hours.

Violent gun-battles between security forces and the local
People’s Amn Committee (PAC) have rocked Lyari — a
stronghold of the Pakistan People’s Party — over the past

The decision was first taken by the provincial government,
before it was endorsed at a meeting at the presidency,
chaired by President Asif Ali Zardari. The meeting was
attended by top PPP leadership from Sindh, including
Minister for Labour Khursheed Shah.
Rangers, police and other security forces will join forces
in a large-scale attempt to stamp out the violence. The
centre has directed the Sindh government to carry out an
operation “across the board”.

President Zardari said that the life and property of
innocent people in the area must be protected and law and
order must be restored.

“The president directed that all law-violators be brought
to book, regardless of their political affiliation, if
any,” said the President’s Spokesman, Farhatullah Babar,
while speaking to the media.

Interior Minister Rehman Malik threatened to torch any
house where weapons and criminals were found, and gave all
‘miscreants’ 48 hours to surrender.

Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah, who was attending the
meeting with members of his cabinet, briefed the president
about efforts under way to control the law and order
situation in Lyari.

The current operation is being conducted against leaders
and workers of the PAC, a group reportedly formed by the
former Sindh home minister Zulfiqar Mirza and now headed by
Uzair Baloch.

When asked why criminals and outlaws were being inducted
into a PPP-formed body, Mr Shah admitted that ‘unwanted’
people had infiltrated the organisation.

Nawab Ali Wassan, an MNA from Khairpur, told Dawn that the
president had been informed about Uzair Baloch’s
willingness to surrender. However, he is only ready to
surrender to the Rangers – not the Sindh police.

“Uzair Baloch told us that he wanted to be imprisoned in
Punjab and not Sindh. He feared that he would be killed if
he is handed over to the Sindh police,” Mr Wassan said.

Lyari PPP leader Rafique Engineer said that local people
were stuck in their houses for over a week, facing food
shortage and in dire need of other basic goods. “The
ongoing operation against criminals in Lyari, which has
lasted eight days, stopped on Friday, so locals can shift
to other places or get food and daily-use items from the
market,” said Mr Engineer.

Using force and politics

“The president reiterated that the situation in Lyari needs
to be tackled both by the use of force against miscreants
and through political means,” Mr Babar said.The president
reiterated that it was important for all political forces
to join hands to restore law and order in Karachi, adding
that genuine problems of development were also necessary to
address.—Syed Irfan Raza


05, May, 2012


CJ rebukes govt for inaction on the missing


By Saleem Shahid

QUETTA, May 4: The Supreme Court, hearing a petition on the
law and order situation and human rights violations in
Balochistan, observed on Friday that the prime minister,
federal ministers for interior and defence and the
provincial government appeared to be not serious about
resolving the issue of missing persons.

A three-judge bench comprising Chief Justice Iftikhar

Chaudhry, Justice Khilji Arif Hussain and Justice Tariq
Pervez regretted that summons had been issued to the
Balochistan chief minister and home minister, but none of
them appeared before the court.

The chief justice said the chief minister was not taking
any interest in the affairs of the province and, therefore,
the court would ask the governor to play his role in
restoring peace in the province.
The court said the interior minister and other government
authorities used to issue statements in the media on the
grievances of Balochistan, but in fact they were not
serious about taking practical steps to recover the missing
persons, provide security and protect the life and property
of citizens.

“Balochistan police know everything about the missing
persons, but they are neither ready to share information
with the court nor do they want to take steps to recover
them,” the bench observed.

The court ordered registration of cases against two serving
majors of the Frontier Corps in connection with the
kidnapping of one Ali Hasan Mengal from Khuzdar.

The weeping mother of 13-year-old Shabbir Samalani informed
the court that her son had been missing for four years. She
requested the judges not to leave for Islamabad till the
recovery of her son.

Justice Tariq Pervez said: “A grieved mother is weeping in
the court; I am astonished why stones are not falling from
sky. The cry of a mother for justice can bring punishment
from God to the responsible persons.”

The chief justice said: “We have no interest in the case of
a person belonging to the elite class, but in the case of a
grieved mother because a mother cannot tell a lie.”

He said police were hiding truth from the court, but “we
will proceed to Islamabad with the file of Shabbir”. He
ordered police to recover the boy who reportedly went
missing from the Brewery police station in Quetta.

“The police after arresting the boy as target killer have
handed him over to a secret agency and they are now
avoiding telling the court which intelligence agency has
custody of the boy,” the CJP said.

He gave police two weeks to recover lawyer Munir Mirwani
who had disappeared from Khuzdar.

He said the court would summon the defence secretary, along
with relevant records. The secretary will be bound to ask
the heads of relevant institutions who will take
responsibility for the deteriorating law and order.
The CJP asked FC Balochistan’s DIG Brigadier Shehzad why
people were being kidnapped in the presence of his force.
He was told to convey to the FC inspector general the
court’s order for early recovery of the missing persons.

The FC DIG said resources to work on the issue were not
adequate. He suggested the setting up of a joint team of
civilian and non-civilian institutions to trace the missing

Deputy Attorney General Malik Sikandar informed the court
that the sector in-charge of Inter-Services Intelligence
(ISI) could not appear because he was not in Quetta. The
CJP asked him when the Balochistan IG could come to the
court why not the sector in-charge of ISI.

“The Supreme Court bench is not sitting in Quetta to listen
to stories from the authorities,” he said, adding that the
province was burning and stakeholders would have to play
their role in putting out the fire.

The families of seven persons who disappeared from Marwar
area informed the bench that three of them had reached
home. The remaining four are still missing. When the CJP
asked who had picked up theses persons, they said FC
personnel had taken them away from their homes. He ordered
the FC to recover the four.

The CJP asked the provincial government to immediately
release the salary of Dr Akbar Marri, one of the missing
persons, to his family.

The chief justice sought a report on missing person Zakir
Majid when law-enforcement officials informed the court in
camera that he was wanted in cases of heinous crimes.

He said the FC IG would have to appear before the apex
court in Islamabad if three people who had disappeared from
Zarghoon Road area in Quetta were not recovered till Friday

The court asked Home Secretary Naseebullah Bazai what steps
had been taken against the kidnappers of judges. The CJP
regretted that people were being forced to set up camps to
collect money to pay ransom to the kidnappers to get their
beloved ones freed.
The chief justice asked the home secretary what action had
been taken on the home minister’s statement about the
involvement of some ministers in kidnapping for ransom. The
secretary said he had asked the minister several times to
tell him the names of these ministers but he had refused to
do so.

Chief Justice Iftikhar said police and the FC should
conduct a joint operation to abolish camps set up for
receiving ransom. “The apex court will extend all support
to the forces in this regard,” he said.

All possible steps should be taken to end target killings
and bring the elements involved to justice.

Relatives of another 60 missing persons submitted their
applications to the court.

The next hearing of the case will be held in Islamabad
after two weeks.


05, May, 2012


Rights commission law overcomes NA rumpus


By Raja Asghar

ISLAMABAD May 4: A landmark government bill to create a
state-funded but independent national human rights
commission completed its parliamentary sail on Friday,
overcoming an opposition rumpus in the National Assembly at
the end of a brief spring session.

The final passage of the National Commission for Human
Rights Bill after a shuttle between the two houses of
parliament over the past few months came more than three
years after the cabinet decided to set up such a body to
comply with what the document described as constitutional
and international obligations and the government’s agenda
to protect human rights.

The second National Assembly vote on the bill --
necessitated by some amendments made in its first draft by
the Senate last month -- came amid the fourth day of
riotous, noisy protests by the lawmakers of the opposition
Pakistan Muslim League-N in a party campaign against Prime
Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, which was cut short by the
prorogation of the house after only seven working days of a
10-day session.

The bill now requires only a formal signature of consent by
President Asif Ali Zardari to become law, which will
empower the federal government to appoint the nine-member
National Commission for Human Rights under a procedure
involving a public notice to invite suggestions,
consultations between the prime minister and the leader of
opposition in the National Assembly and approval by a
bipartisan parliamentary committee before a presidential

As in previous three sittings, PML-N members continued
chanting “go Gilani, go” and other slogans as well as some
crude booing throughout about 50 minutes of proceedings to
press their demand that the prime minister resign because
of his conviction last week by a Supreme Court bench for
contempt of court -- for not writing to Swiss authorities
to reopen disputed money-laundering charges against
President Zardari on ground of a presidential immunity
against prosecution.

Ignoring calls for order from Speaker Fehmida Mirza and a
reminder from Law and Justice Minister Farooq H. Naek that
the court had not disqualified Mr Gilani and that the prime
minister must exhaust his legal remedies against the
conviction, the protesters threw around torn papers,
displayed placards bearing anti-Gilani or anti-government
slogans, and crowded the prime minister’s desk and a whole
row of ministerial seats.

But the law of diminishing returns seemed to be hitting the
protest as some senior PML-N members seemed less interested
in slogan-chanting by activists, with leader of opposition
Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan only watching or directing them
from a distant back bench.
The law minister accused the protesters of seeking to
derail the democratic process and said the PML-N would be
responsible if it really happened.

The minister, who had moved two resolutions passed by the
house – minus the PML-N -- on Thursday reposing “complete
confidence” in the prime minister and demanding a new
province in south Punjab, said the PPP would consult
coalition allies about a demand for the creation of a new
province comprising Hazara division of Khyber-Pakhtunkhawa

Commission composition, powers

The National Commission of Human Rights, according to the
bill, will consist of a chairperson who has been or is
qualified to be a judge of the Supreme Court, or has
“demonstrable knowledge of, or practical experience in
matters relating to human rights”, one member each from the
provinces, the Federally Administered Tribal Areas and
Islamabad Capital Territory with demonstrable knowledge of,
or practical experience in, matters relating to human
rights”, the chairperson of the National Commission on the
Status of Women, one member from minority communities and a
secretary to be appointed by the commission. The total
membership of the commission must have at least two women.

Its functions will include inquiring into violations of
human rights or abetment at its own initiative or on a
complaint, intervening into court proceedings on
allegations of violation by seeking to become a party in
the case, visiting jails or other places of detention,
review factors – including acts of terrorism – that inhibit
enjoyment of human rights, spreading human rights literacy,
submitting independent reports to the government on the
state of human rights in Pakistan and developing a
“national plan of action for the promotion and protection
of human rights”.


05, May, 2012

ANF again summons Musa Gilani in ephedrine case


By A Reporter

RAWALPINDI, May 4: The Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF) has again
summoned Ali Musa Gilani, the youngest son of Prime
Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani, on May 12 in connection
with the investigation into the ephedrine case, sources
told Dawn.

Earlier on April 26, Mr Musa Gilani recorded his statement
before an ANF’s investigation team and denied allegations
levelled against him.

He said he did not know Tauqeer Ali Khan, the accused
nominated in the case, who introduced himself as his
personal secretary to ANF officials.

Mr Musa Gilani also denied allegations that he had
influenced directors-general of the ministry of health for
allocation of ephedrine quota of 9,000kg to Berlex and
Danas pharmaceutical companies.

The sources said there were certain questions with
investigators who believed Mr Musa Gilani should answer
them to reach a logical conclusion of the matter.

The investigators on Friday also summoned ANF secretary
Zafar Abbas Luk and PML-N legislator Hanif Abbasi, the
owner of Grace Pharmaceutical, on May 8.

The sources said the ANF would also summon   former health
minister Makhdoom Shahabuddin and MNA Mian   Sattar. The ANF
decided to summon both parliamentarians in   light of the
statements of some accused who claimed the   two were
involved in the scam.

Prime Minister’s special assistant Fawad Chaudhry, who
appeared in the ANF office in Rawalpindi along with Mr Musa
Gilani on April 26, told Dawn on Friday that he was ready
to appear before the investigators as and when they called
He said that only one of the 7,000 papers submitted in the
Supreme Court contained the name of Mr Musa Gilani in which
former director-general Rasheed Juma told the ANF that he
had received a call from him for allocation of ephedrine
quota to Berlex and Danas pharmaceutical companies.

Mr Musa Gilani said that someone else might have used his
name while talking to Mr Juma on telephone.


05, May, 2012


Hafeez orders revision of growth data


By Mubarak Zeb Khan

ISLAMABAD, May 4: Finance Minister Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh
prevailed upon the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) on
Friday to revise growth figures.

The PBS had on April 26 projected the economic growth at
3.2 per cent which was below the finance minister’s
estimate of four per cent.

At the same time, the base year for calculation of national
accounts has been changed from 1999-2000 to 2005-06 to
depict the actual performance of economy and variables.

Dr Hafeez was in Washington at the time of these
calculations of trends in Pakistan’s economy and shared
with donors his estimates about the growth in various
indicators. Since then the revision has created ripples in
the corridors of power. On Friday, the recently-constituted
PBS governing council headed by Dr Hafeez Shaikh asked for
recalculation of national accounts on the basis of the old
base year, apparently to show feel good figures for the
embattled government.
PBS secretary Sohail Ahmad, who is also chief statistician,
admitted that announcing the growth figures on the basis of
the revised base year was his mistake.

“It was my mistake that I have not presented the new
calculations to the governing council before making them
public,” he said, adding it was mandatory to seek the
governing council’s approval.

The change in base years should be made every five to seven
years, but Mr Ahmad said it required proper consultations
with all stakeholders. “The PBS officials are not
authorised to change the structure of the whole economy
without having a say from the stakeholders,” he said while
justifying the revision in growth figures.

On April 26, the PBS secretary was jubilant to have taken a
landmark decision to change the base year with the help of
a German consultant. But a week later, he said he was not
aware that the governing council had not been informed
about the change. “I was posted in the PBS in January and
was not aware of the working of the organisation,” Sohail
Ahmad said, adding that his team was now working on
calculating new growth figures on the basis of the old base
year. The revised figures about production and agricultural
yields in May will also lead to changes in the trend in

He said the budget would be based on the new figures which
would be finalised next week. It will be presented to the
National Economic Council headed by the prime minister.

However, the PBS secretary said a meeting of the governing
council appreciated the rebasing for calculation of economy
which would make the system more advanced and on a par with
the international system. But at the same time, he said,
the meeting asked for a comprehensive working on the
rebasing year which would automatically delay the process
for another one year.

An official statement issued after the meeting said the
council discussed the recently-conducted national accounts
rebasing exercise. Members expressed concern over the
methodology, quality of primary data on various sectors of
economy, analytical framework and restructuring steps taken
by the PBS to adjust GDP of the past 10 years.
They also pointed out inadequate consultations with
stakeholders, including academia and multilaterals, on
technical aspects before taking the rebasing data to the
National Accounts Committee as was done during the previous
rebasing exercise.

They asked the PBS to prepare a comprehensive background
paper highlighting the logic for rebasing, process adopted
including discussions with various stakeholders,
methodology including measures taken to rebase the data,
changes in key macroeconomic variables by sector and year
because of the rebasing and their explanations and
comparison of data of old series of pre-1999-2000 rebasing
with that of 2005-06. The meeting was informed that the
process would take four weeks.


05, May, 2012


Call to hire professional from abroad to run PIA


By Zulqernain Tahir

LAHORE, May 4: The PIA board has renewed its call for
“hiring a foreigner with vast experience of running an
airline” to streamline the affairs of the national carrier
just over a month after the appointment of its new managing
director, former Air chief Rao Qamar Suleman.

The proposal to hire a foreigner to run the affairs of the
national airlines was mooted by one of the directors,
Makhdoom Ahmed Mahmood, at a meeting of the board in
Islamabad on Monday and was endorsed by majority directors
including its chairman, Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar, who is also
Defence Minister. The proposal will now be debated in the
board’s next meeting scheduled for May 15.
Mr Mahmood, who is also member of the Punjab Assembly and
is close to the PML-N leadership, told Dawn he had raised
the issue of hiring a “thorough professional from abroad”
because the national carrier could not afford further
deterioration. “The hiring process should start
immediately,” he said.

He was of the view that a foreigner would be in a much
better position to take “independent” decisions and resist
political pressures.

“In countries such as Singapore and Qatar they have
experienced foreigners to run their national airlines. Why
can’t we have one in Pakistan?,” he asked. Chaudhry Ahmed
Mukhtar said he had endorsed the proposal of Mr Mahmood
because he too wanted improvement in the PIA.

“There is no harm in hiring a foreigner if he has what it
takes to turn the national carrier around,” he said.

He said Mr Mahmood’s proposal was not new as a similar
proposal had been also discussed by the board before Rao
Suleman was given the job. He said the board’s decisions or
proposals were not binding on the government, the majority
shareholder in the PIA.

It is not clear if the board is going to adopt the proposal
and how the government and the new PIA managing director
going to react to it.

The managing director of the PIA has not attended the last
two meetings of the board nor has approved the minutes of
the meetings.

Sources say he did not attend the board meetings because
the government had not fulfilled its commitment to also
make him PIA chairman.

Relations between him and the incumbent chairman are also
said to be pretty sour on account of use of powers.

While the managing director could not be contacted for his
point of view despite repeated efforts to reach him through
a PIA spokesman, Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar sought to dispel
reports of his differences with the new boss of the
national carrier.
“I have good relations with the managing director and we
regularly consult each other over the airline’s matters.”

He said the chairman did not have any administrative powers
to run the affairs of the organisation.

“As chairman I assist the board on various issues,” he
said, adding that as an ex-officio PIA chairman he had
expressly delegated all the administrative and financial
powers to the managing director from the time of assuming
charge since 2008.”


05, May, 2012


Senior US official may visit soon


By Anwar Iqbal

WASHINGTON, May 4: Chairman of the US Senate Foreign
Relations Committee John Kerry or a senior member of the
Obama administration may soon travel to Islamabad for talks
on reviving bilateral ties, diplomatic sources told Dawn.

Senator Kerry was to visit Pakistan earlier this month but
delayed his trip because an official delegation, headed by
US Special Envoy Marc Grossman, was already going to

Diplomatic sources in Washington, however, are saying
there’s a strong possibility that the Obama administration
may send a senior official instead of Senator Kerry.When
asked to name the official, the sources pointed out that
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was already in the
region but added that it’s still not clear if the
administration would send such a senior person at this
“If Secretary Clinton goes, it would mean that the two
sides have made a breakthrough and are ready to finalise a
deal,” one source said.

Pakistan’s Ambassador to the US, Sherry Rehman, who was to
return to Washington on Sunday, has further extended her
stay because of the expected visit.

Ambassador Rehman went to Islamabad almost two weeks ago
for talks with Mr Grossman’s team. She extended her stay
for further talks with a team of mid-level US officials on
the efforts to reopen ground supply routes to
Afghanistan.On Tuesday, the US Department of Defence sent a
report to Congress, saying that the continued closure of
ground routes could hurt US efforts to rebuild Afghan
security forces to combat the militants.

The report observed that the capabilities of the Afghan
government remained limited, and expressed “strategic
concern” over the continued closure of the crucial Nato
supply routes.

“The resultant standoff has hampered Afghan security forces
equipping and fielding efforts by backlogging thousands of
tons of equipment.




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


29, April, 2012

On the decline again


WHETHER it is going forward or back or just swaying from
side to side, the relationship between the US and Pakistan
seems to change from week to week. Just when Pakistan
appeared to finally get its act together and moved towards
direct negotiations with the US on the future of the
relationship between the two countries, the US decided to
go back on a prior understanding. There will be no apology
for the Salala attacks, Ambassador Marc Grossman and his
team are believed to have told Pakistani officials during
their recent visit. Very well, there will be no resumption
of ties without an apology was the Pakistani response. The
dispute over the Salala apology is an elegant example of
how to create an unnecessary mess. Initially, the US
dithered, then Pakistan bargained and then events
intervened. The apology over the Quran-burning incident in
Afghanistan by President Obama meant that the quota of
presidential apologies to difficult allies in an election
year had been used up. So the apology was downgraded to
diplomatic and military principals and was to come once
Pakistan was done with its parliamentary review, with
officials here apparently preferring that sequence of
events. But then the insurgents attacked several provinces,
including Kabul, on April 15, and the Haqqani connection
was back in the limelight. No apology, the Americans appear
to have decided as a result.

What seems clear by now is that it is unwise to link issues
in these negotiations or else an impossible-to-resolve
chain will result. Making a Salala apology a prerequisite
to reopening the supply routes runs the risk of the
Americans linking the participation of Pakistanis in the
Chicago summit to something else and then on and on it will
go. As has been the case with the drones, hard negotiations
behind the scenes with Pakistan offering a menu of
alternatives that would substantially reduce the frequency
of unilateral strikes is a more promising route than a
blunt rejection of something the American side is almost
certain to never give up. Given that there are several
important phases in Pakistan-US ties ahead, an
interconnected link
of conditionalities would only serve to complicate, perhaps
even jeopardise, the ultimate aim of winding down the war
in Afghanistan and ensuring a peaceful and stable country
there and the decline of militancy here.

Perhaps what Pakistani officials must also keep in mind
during these negotiations is that saying ‘no’ to the
Americans at present amounts to spurning many of its allies
who are active in Afghanistan. International isolation is
never in Pakistan’s interests, especially at this juncture
in its history.


29, April, 2012


Lyari turmoil


ONCE again, there is turmoil in the congested streets of
Lyari. A supposed crackdown against ‘gangsters’ in
Karachi’s most troubled area on Friday turned into a battle
between law-enforcers and gunmen. Friday’s action was
triggered by the shooting to death of a PPP worker in the
locality a day earlier. Violence continued into Saturday,
with a number of fatalities reported. Police say
‘terrorists’ of the ‘defunct’ People’s Amn Committee
clashed with the law-enforcers; what is alarming is that
the gunmen’s powerful armoury matched that of the police.
While Lyari is in the throes of violence, the rest of
Karachi remains relatively unaffected, indicating there is
a disconnect between what goes on in that forsaken corner
of the city and the rest of the metropolis.

It is easy for the police to say they are up against
‘gangsters’, but more transparency is needed. Are the law-
enforcers up against armed residents of Lyari, or are they
facing resistance from the crime lords who rule the area?
Whatever the case, the common people are suffering the
most. When politics and crime come together they form a
toxic mix, and perhaps that is what we are witnessing in
this under-developed, crime-ridden part of Karachi. Some
PPP leaders had earlier backed the Amn Committee — widely
believed to be a front for criminal elements. Now that the
criminals are out of control the party is taking action
against the very forces it once apparently patronised. It
is similar to the situation on the national stage, where
sections of the establishment once backed jihadi militants
as ‘strategic assets’; these very ‘assets’ have now turned
their guns on the state. The lesson to be learnt from Lyari
is that patronising thugs and criminals to secure street
power is not a viable policy; these elements are no
substitute for genuine political workers. Also, if the PPP-
led government cannot control Lyari — its supposed bastion
— what about law and order in the rest of Karachi? It is
time the ruling party backed up its stated good intentions
with sincere actions to rid Lyari of criminals and provide
socioeconomic opportunities for its blighted residents.


29, April, 2012


Shortage of medicines


A SHORTAGE of several key medicines has been reported from
Karachi and Lahore. Among the drugs in short supply are
tranquillisers and those for the treatment of thyroid
ailments and blood pressure. To aggravate the misery of
consumers, the drugs that are available are retailed at
prices much higher than those notified by the government,
while there are accusations that traders are hoarding the
drugs. The recently formed Drug Regulatory Agency of
Pakistan had earlier this month raised the prices of
various medicines, but it appears that retailers are still
charging at will. While some reports in the media have
inferred that the shortage of medicines is artificial, it
is likely that ongoing investigations into the ephedrine
scam have affected the import of controlled substances
required for the manufacture of many drugs. Import permits
are apparently not being issued and the rules governing the
working of the Drug Regulatory Agency have not been
formulated. This is preventing the body from taking
effective steps to tackle a crisis that could have serious

The issue needs to be dealt with on two fronts. While
investigations into the ephedrine import case should
continue, the state must ensure that the import of raw
materials for essential drugs is not affected. Secondly,
the relevant authorities must look into accusations of
hoarding and black-marketing and punish those involved in
these unethical practices. The state must also ensure
retailers are not charging consumers more than the notified
rates. Inflation is already having a crushing impact on
ordinary people; further exploitation by unscrupulous
traders will only add to their woes. Many of these issues
could be sorted out if the Drug Regulatory Agency was
equipped with the legal and administrative tools that would
enable it to do its job. This should be done as soon as


30, April, 2012


Political process first


AS confusion over the precise meaning and implications of
the Supreme Court’s short order in the contempt of court
case against Prime Minister Gilani continues, the
inevitable has happened: the political class has erupted
with allegations and recriminations as the fate of the
prime minister has apparently switched to the political
arena. First, the opposition landed its punches, claiming
that they no longer acknowledged Mr Gilani as the prime
minister though stopping short of pledging to trigger the
constitutional disqualification process. Then the PPP came
out swinging and on Saturday it was left to the interior
and law ministers to land their punches. Rehman Malik’s
memory was suddenly jogged and he has remembered all manner
of financial allegations against the Sharifs. This has
already earned a response from the PML-N and the back-and-
forth is likely to continue into the week.

More intriguing were the hard-hitting statements of the
otherwise soft-spoken law minister, Farooq Naek. After an
assistant registrar of the Supreme Court forwarded the
court’s decision against Mr Gilani to the speaker of the
National Assembly and the Election Commission of Pakistan
for ‘further necessary action’, Mr Naek hit back against
the court and suggested that parliamentary privilege had
been infringed upon by the assistant registrar’s action.
Leaving the technicalities aside, it does appear the
registrar may have acted with undue haste. There is no
detailed judgment yet, the government has yet to decide on
its option to appeal against the verdict and the short
order itself has only used the word ‘likely’ when referring
to the possibility that the prime minister may be
disqualified on the basis of his conviction for contempt of
court. So ‘necessary action’ by the speaker or the ECP has
yet to arise. Perhaps an order with categorical directions
would have helped clear some of the uncertainty surrounding
Mr Gilani’s fate as prime minister but since that was not
forthcoming, the political process should be given a chance
to work through its constitutional responsibilities in the
present instance first.

Ultimately, the longer the issue of the prime minister’s
future gets dragged out, the losers here will be the people
of Pakistan. A political class already easily distracted
and sidetracked from its core duties as public
representatives will find a political scandal/crisis of
this sort near impossible to resist, leading to yet more of
a circus-like atmosphere just when parliament should be
gearing up to deal with passing the federal budget. Common
sense can prevail, if all sides refrain from unnecessary


30, April, 2012


Jammers in prisons

THERE is no reason why the Sindh government should kowtow
to the cellular companies on jammers in jails, especially
when the issue has a bearing on security issues involving
hardcore criminals and terrorists. Do we want another
Bannu? On Friday, Sindh Minister for Prisons Ayaz Soomro
told the provincial assembly that jammers could not be
installed in Sindh jails because of objections by the
cellular companies, which said this would affect the
quality of their service in adjoining areas and hurt their
commercial interests. In the first place, jail inmates are
not supposed to have cellphones. But we know how
inefficiency and corruption enable prisoners to get many
contraband goods, including drugs. A cellphone in the hand
of a prisoner is a potentially dangerous tool, for it is
known that the device has been used to orchestrate crimes
on the outside by those inside. The Bannu jail break is one
recent example, for the attack on the prison and the escape
of no less than 384 inmates was facilitated by the fact
that many of the convicted, among them terrorists,
possessed cellphones. In fact, as the Taliban later
proclaimed, they had inside help, and the cellphones must
have come in handy.

Whether in prison or outside, criminals have used this
gadget to their advantage. Investigations reveal how
cellphones were used to plan the assassination attempts on
Pervez Musharraf. This only serves to strengthen the case
for the installation of jamming devices in all prisons.
Some Pakistani banks have already banned the use of this
device by their clients on bank premises, and jammers have
been installed in parliament and some provincial
assemblies, without disturbing service outside the
insulated area. Since letters by relatives are read by jail
authorities before being handed over to prisoners, there is
no room for leniency when it comes to communicating through
cellphones smuggled in. The federal and provincial
governments must move on this issue with speed, because a
Sindh request for such jammers has been pending with
Islamabad. Cutting off wireless communication from within
prisons will deny terrorists and criminals a major tactical

30, April, 2012


Journalists’ security


THE Internet has softened the formerly hard boundaries of
the journalistic community to include people such as
bloggers, videographers and citizen journalists who carry
out journalistic work for evolving media networks. As the
scope and span of the field grows, so too it seems do the
risks, with the Internet throwing up the newer challenge of
the need to protect digital security. Research undertaken
by the international Committee to Protect Journalists shows
that on the average, 30 journalists are murdered around the
world every year. Further, it sheds light on various facets
of the risks faced by journalists of different media; for
instance, about half the journalists that are in jail at
any given time work primarily online, while beat reporters
covering politics, crime, corruption and conflict are
particularly vulnerable to attack or detention. Yet not all
journalists facing potential risk have the support network
crucial to their security.

Realising this gap, the CPJ launched on Thursday an
interactive Journalists’ Security Guide which provides a
blueprint for news professionals’ physical and digital
security. Topics addressed include preparing to cover an
armed conflict, measures to protect oneself, sources and
family while covering organised crime and corruption, and
to protect digital information. In creating the guide, the
CPJ has done valuable work for journalists across the
world, including those in Pakistan. The issues faced by
journalists here are no different to those anywhere else,
and are in fact rendered all the more grave by the
country’s unique circumstances, such as militancy in the
north-western parts, terrorism in the urban areas and the
tactics of intimidation and coercion used on occasion by
religious, political and other groups. Yet a guide such as
this ought not take the pressure off media houses to train
and amply equip their staff to protect themselves.
Journalists undertake vital and dangerous work, and must be
supported through institutional and other means.

01, May, 2012


Head-on collision?


IT has taken only a matter of days for the Supreme Court
judgment against Prime Minister Gilani to translate into a
full-blown political confrontation. So long as ministers
and other senior figures on either side of the
parliamentary divide were sniping at each other, the matter
could have been contained. But yesterday, Nawaz Sharif
upped the ante by demanding the resignation of the prime
minister, and if that was not forthcoming the PML-N supremo
pledged to launch a protest movement. At the moment, the
PML-N’s game-plan is not clear: does it hope to use the
protest movement to build pressure for early elections or
is this just an attempt to shed the last vestiges of the
‘friendly opposition’ tag with elections on the horizon?
Using the SC-government tussle over the Swiss letter for
electoral ends is not without risks. It isn’t clear if a
pro-judiciary-type movement can be fashioned out of this
particular issue as it was several years ago when Gen
Musharraf had tried to shut Chief Justice Chaudhry out of
office. The earlier campaign helped the PML-N to unexpected
success in the 2008 elections but this time round the
matter is less clear-cut. The PML-N brain trust will be
furiously calculating the potential gains versus the risk
that a protest movement which doesn’t catch the imagination
of the public could pose to the PML-N at the next election.

So far, the more sensible route to follow appears to be the
one suggested by Prime Minister Gilani. The prime
minister’s suggestion in the Senate yesterday that everyone
wait for the SC’s full judgment was obviously laced with
self-interest. Delay has been a central part of the PPP’s
strategy in its troubles with the court. However, the
pledge inside parliament by the prime minister that if he
were de-notified he would accept the verdict and go home is
one that the opposition ought to take seriously and hold
him to. After all, the PML-N has the right to ask the
speaker of the National Assembly to refer the matter of Mr
Gilani’s disqualification to the Election Commission and if
the final judgment of the SC clarifies the ambiguity of the
short order, the matter should be settled relatively

Yet, the sensible path is not always the one treaded by the
political class here. After four years of relative calm,
with a general election at most a year or so away, the PML-
N’s and the PPP’s calculations may lean towards
confrontation at this point in time. Perhaps if the full
judgment of the SC were issued soon, some of the
uncertainty may be lifted and matters could settle down


01, May, 2012


Aid worker’s killing


THOUGH religious militants are capable of carrying out all
sorts of atrocities, when victims are beheaded even the
most jaded observer is left shaken. That was the gruesome
fate which met British aid worker Khalil Dale, whose
slaughtered body was

discovered in a Quetta orchard on Sunday. Mr Dale, a
convert to Islam who worked for the International Committee
of the Red Cross, had been kidnapped by the Taliban in
January from the Balochistan capital. Reports indicate the
senior aid worker was killed because a hefty ransom demand
was not met. The ICRC has a well-earned, global reputation
for neutrality and has — since the mid-19th century —
maintained a presence in some of the world’s most difficult
conflict zones. For example, the Switzerland-based
humanitarian outfit was active in Afghanistan during the
days of the anti-Soviet resistance, during the civil war in
the 1990s as well as when the Taliban ruled Kabul. It
remains involved as the insurgency continues. But it seems
that for militants, the line between aid workers and other
non-combatants and ‘enemy’ troops and intelligence
operatives has become increasingly blurred, with all
westerners and those who work with them seen as fair game.

While the savagery of the militants can never be justified,
some western intelligence agencies have complicated matters
by reportedly planting operatives within the ranks of
humanitarian organisations. This highly irresponsible
policy has jeopardised the activities of genuine aid
workers and put lives at risk. In Pakistan, we have seen
that the Americans’ use of the polio programme to track
down Osama bin Laden damaged the anti-polio effort in Fata
and other affected regions. It appears that some in the
western intelligence community are only concerned with
achieving their targets, unperturbed about the consequences
of their actions and methods. The governments concerned
need to review these policies so that the reputation of
international aid agencies and humanitarian outfits is not
sullied. By ‘embedding’ operatives to meet perceived goals
and gain access to ‘enemy’ territory, western intelligence
agencies are compromising aid organisations’ reputation of
neutrality and preventing these outfits from carrying out
valuable humanitarian work in the world’s trouble spots.


01, May, 2012


Past is another country


WHEN Shabnam and Robin Ghosh moved to Karachi from Dhaka in
the 1960s, a vibrant film industry awaited them. Over the
years, the couple found fame and fortune with their work in
Urdu films. There was a time when Shabnam, for all
practical reasons, was the only leading lady of Pakistani
Urdu films worth mentioning — and even then there was a
debate as to who was more talented: she or husband Robin
Ghosh. Those were the times when the Pakistani film had
room for loud melodrama, as well as romance and subtle
soul-stirring tunes, including Robin Ghosh’s roshogolla

Invited to take part in a programme by PTV to honour their
contribution to the Pakistani film industry, the couple
landed in an altogether different country last week. The
subtle and the artistic had since given way to silence
which now stalks the old film studios. More than a
celebration of the continuing tradition in artistic
expression, as the guests from Dhaka went around asking
after an ailing actor from yesteryear looking for patronage
and condoled the passing away of another, the visit threw
into sharp relief the bad times now dogging Pakistani
cinema. Shabnam and Robin Ghosh gave the studios in Karachi
and Lahore their best years. They truly deserved the
reception afforded to them by the officials and their fans
here, and their visit serves as a reminder of the rich
cultural contribution of some very talented souls from
Bengal. The list of the Bengali filmmakers who helped shape
our common artistic expression is long and includes such
stalwarts as director Ehtisham, who introduced Shabnam to
us, Mustafeez, Nazrul Islam and many others. Our tribute to
Shabnam and Robin Ghosh should be built upon to reconnect
to a past that promised a variety of expressions, messages
and entertainment for people to choose from.


02, May, 2012


Constitutional limits


INSTITUTIONS should operate within their constitutional and
legal spheres and the law should be applied equally to all
— these are principles that no one will argue against. But
it was an odd messenger and occasion for this particular
message on Monday: Gen Kayani speaking at a ceremony
commemorating Martyrs’ Day. Perhaps the army chief also had
in mind the army high command when he was advising all
institutions to accept their constitutional limits and that
would be a good and proper message from the army chief.
However, lecturing about the proper constitutional limits
of other institutions may be a lesson too far for the
country to digest at this juncture in its history. For few
institutions have so consistently and damagingly strayed
beyond their mandate and encroached on the turf of other
institutions as has the Pakistan Army.

The very fact that the country is going through a tenuous
transition of democracy over the past four years has
everything to do with a leader of the Pakistan Army, Gen
Musharraf, who Gen Kayani worked closely with. And it was
only months ago that the outrageous allegations of a
particularly outrageous character, Mansoor Ijaz, were taken
at face value by the army-led security establishment,
precipitating a political crisis that threatened to derail
the democratic project. So perhaps what is required is less
preaching and more self-reflection from the institution
that Gen Kayani heads.

There was another unusual aspect to Gen Kayani’s speech:
the relative absence of any reference to the internal
threat from militancy and why it is necessary for Pakistan
to fight that fight. The occasion was arguably perfect for
a detailed explanation on who and what are the real threats
to Pakistan’s stability from within. However, Gen Kayani
opted to reference the sacrifices that the security forces
and country at large have made over the past decade more as
a reminder to the outside world that it should treat
Pakistan better. Legitimate as many of Pakistan’s
complaints against the outside world are, what is also
keeping the country mired in controversy and insecurity are
the threats that have proliferated internally. For those
internal threats to be defeated, an honest reckoning of who
and what they are must be made. Martyrs’ Day was an
opportunity to set the record straight. Instead, the
country’s attention was taken elsewhere. True, all
institutions in Pakistan need a great deal of self-
reflection and rethinking for the country’s trajectory to
improve. The political class in particular needs serious
overhaul. Equally, however, Pakistan’s problem has long
been some institutions trying to do the job of others. That
must change.

02, May, 2012


Legality of drones


THE US government has often defended its policy on drone
strikes within Pakistani territory with even President
Barack Obama providing justifications. The argument is that
they neutralise threats that the Pakistan security
apparatus is unable to target with similar precision.
Indeed, notwithstanding the controversy that has
accumulated over this tactic of warfare, there is
sufficient evidence to suggest that it is a relatively
efficient method of achieving the desired results and the
collateral damage may be lower than is popularly believed.
Even so, the White House’s counterterrorism adviser John
Brennan’s defence of drone strikes as legal and ethical
must raise eyebrows. At a two-day seminar, held over the
weekend in Washington, Mr Brennan countered peace
activists’ contention that the strikes were “illegal and
unethical” and said that “there’s nothing in international
law that bans the use of remotely piloted aircraft […]”.
This is the first time the US has spelt out its philosophy
on the use of drones.

While the reference to Pakistan in Mr Brennan’s comments
was indirect, on Sunday the country saw a drone strike in
North Waziristan in which three suspected militants were
killed. This was the first attack since Special Envoy Marc
Grossman’s visit last week. A day later, the government
issued a statement repeating that it holds such incursions
as violations of its territorial integrity and sovereignty.
As matters stand, the US must take this seriously. While
initially there may have been some consensus and
coordination between US and Pakistani authorities over the
drone strikes, Pakistan has now clearly withdrawn any
support it might once have offered. Such strikes can be
considered legal or ethical only if the country in which
they are being conducted is on board, and the tactic is
employed with the consent of the government concerned. The
only way for the US to avoid being perceived as a violator
of Pakistan’s sovereignty is to win over this country’s
authorities and fully engage with them. In the absence of
such cooperation, the US is setting a dangerous precedent
with its unilateral policy of hot pursuit that could be
taken further by any country at any time.


02, May, 2012


Another May Day


MAY Day has turned into just another ritual. Well-
intentioned speeches are made, seminars held and token
marches organised to mark the day. In fact, there would be
little protest if the holiday were scrapped altogether. In
spite of this apathy, working men and women here continue
to face many challenges. The president and prime minister
made all the right noises this May Day, but far more needs
to be done to improve the lot of the workforce. Political
parties — which used to be at the forefront of the workers’
movement — have ineffectual labour wings more concerned
with union politics than with campaigning for labour
rights. From being a central plank in Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s
PPP-led government of the 1970s, today the issue of
workers’ rights is on the back burner. The fall of the USSR
and the ineffectiveness of the leftist movement in Pakistan
are contributing factors. Today the power of unions has
been diminished while the number of unionised workers is on
the decline.

To its credit, the present government has taken the right
steps, such as reversing Gen Musharraf’s anti-labour
regulations. But devolution has presented a new set of
challenges, placing more responsibility on the provinces to
formulate and enforce labour laws. A dedicated labour
movement is needed more than ever in this age of
retrenchments, cost-cutting and corporate ruthlessness. As
trade unionists point out, there are plenty of laws; what
is lacking is their enforcement. The contract system is
considered a major evil, depriving workers of most
benefits. While the state needs to enforce the laws on the
books and introduce new legislation where required, the
unions must also re-energise themselves to protect the
rights of the workforce in a system which tramples on the
rights of workers even as it benefits from the fruit of
their labour.


03, May, 2012


Post-war future


PRESIDENT Obama’s unannounced trip to Afghanistan had clear
domestic overtones. The trip came a year to the day Osama
bin Laden was killed in an American raid in Abbottabad — a
high point of Mr Obama’s presidency that he and his
advisers were keen to remind voters of in an election year.
Then there was the need to press home to American voters
that the unpopular war in Afghanistan was indeed on the
road to closure, while at the same time responding to Mitt
Romney, the Republic challenger to Mr Obama this November,
who has criticised the US president for publicly stating a
withdrawal timeline. Aside from dancing that delicate dance
for domestic reasons, the American president had little to
say in concrete terms about the post-war future of
Afghanistan. Without a status of forces agreement, which
would determine whether and for how long American forces
will stay on in Afghanistan beyond the 2014 deadline for
the end of combat operations; without a monetary figure to
back up the US’s commitment to a long-term security role in
Afghanistan; and without anything definite to say about how
far the ‘direct discussions’ with the Afghan Taliban have
progressed, there was little assurance that anyone has any
real idea about what Afghanistan will look like even three
years on.

Consider just one problem: the size of the Afghan armed
forces post-2014. While the official goal is to reach a
combined total for soldiers and policemen of 352,000, the
multi-billion-dollar sums required to support such a force
are simply not on the table. So, Mr Obama pledged that,
“The Afghans will sustain that level for three years, and
then reduce the size of their military”. But what will
become of the servicemen who are trained in warfare and
then discarded after three years? It isn’t necessary that
those surplus servicemen will attach themselves to warlords
or insurgents but in a country like Afghanistan, indeed any
country struggling to establish internal peace, it probably
is not a good idea to train and then discard soldiers. And
that is a small problem when compared to that of
negotiations with the Afghan Taliban: even if they do want
peace, where exactly is the middle ground between the West
and the Taliban?

Turning to Pakistan, President Obama’s reference to
“building a global consensus to support peace and stability
in South Asia” was an interesting one. The US president
seemed to suggest that this ‘plan’ was in addition to
shaping ‘Afghanistan’s future’. If this was a reference to
nudging along Pakistan-India relations, it remains to be
seen if that particular regional approach will yield


03, May, 2012


Lyari crisis


AS the police-led operation against ‘gangsters’ in Lyari
entered its sixth day on Wednesday, the humanitarian plight
of this forsaken Karachi neighbourhood’s residents has
become a matter of serious concern. People have been
without food, water, power and gas for the past several
days while stray gunfire poses a constant threat. Many of
those who could do so have already fled Lyari. The city has
witnessed protests against the operation, with
demonstrators clashing with the law-enforcers. Protesters
claim the action is partial, targeting a particular ethnic
group. And while the Sindh government announced it had
started relief work for the hapless people on Tuesday, it
appears no plan was chalked out to protect residents before
the police went inside the area last week.

Confusion seems to surround the operation. Police say they
have secured troubled parts of the area, yet journalists
have exposed this claim by easily interviewing a ‘wanted’
man. It is unclear what the police seek to achieve in
Lyari. No one in government has spelt out a long-term
solution for the crisis. There has been criticism that the
police are patronising one set of gang-sters (the Arshad
Pappu faction) against another (the People’s Amn
Committee). If these allegations are true, it would mean
the state has learnt nothing; there are no ‘good’ gangsters
and ‘bad’ gangsters. Action against criminals must be even-
handed and non-partisan. While the police have faced stiff
resistance — confronted with sophisticated weapons — there
are also accusations that the operation has been carried
out to appease the PPP’s political allies or to settle
personal scores.

What is most surprising is that the Rangers have not been
utilised — perhaps because the paramilitary force would
carry out indiscriminate action. The state must involve the
Rangers so that humanitarian supplies can reach the
affected parts of Lyari and criminal elements can be
neutralised. It makes no sense to bypass the paramilitary
force which has been stationed in the city specifically to
help maintain peace. If the Rangers continue to be kept out
of the picture, it will only fuel suspicions about the true
motives behind this operation.


04, May, 2012


Needless controversy

WHEN Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry publicly mentioned the
need for more judges on the Supreme Court if an appeal
against the prime minister’s conviction is to be heard, he
was technically correct. The seven justices who ruled
against Mr Gilani cannot hear an appeal against their own
order and three other justices are for various reasons
believed to be unavailable to hear an appeal —
necessitating the appointment of more judges. Justice Anwar
Jamali’s health does not permit him to hold hearings at
present — he would need to be replaced with an additional
or acting justice under Article 181 of the constitution.
Justice Tassaduq Hussain Jillani has previously declined to
participate in hearings where Mr Gilani is the defendant
because the two are related — necessitating an ad hoc judge
as replacement under Article 182. Similarly, if Justice
Shakirullah Jan continues as acting chief election
commissioner, he would also have to be replaced by an ad
hoc judge in any appeal against the SC’s conviction of Mr
Gilani because depending on the outcome of the appeal,
Justice Jan may ultimately have to sit in judgment over Mr
Gilani in any disqualification reference that is brought
before the Election Commission.

However, setting the numbers aside for a moment, Chief
Justice Chaudhry’s comments are quite astonishing. Whether
Mr Gilani’s legal team will choose to appeal against his
conviction is not known yet and it almost certainly will
not be known until the detailed judgment is issued by the
SC. And while the appeal has yet to materialise, it seems
unusual to talk about how many judges may not be available
at an unspecified date in the future. Stranger yet is to
mention the numbers but then not the names. If Shakirullah
Jan is indeed one of the judges who will be unavailable to
hear the prime minister’s appeal because of a potential
conflict of interest in his role as acting CEC, then that
implies Justice Jan will still be acting CEC at the time
the prime minister’s appeal lands before the SC. But a
permanent CEC could be appointed by a parliamentary
committee before Mr Gilani’s appeal comes before the court
— in which case Justice Jan would no longer have a conflict
of interest and there would be no need for an ad hoc judge
to replace him.

 The comments by the chief justice have unnecessarily
stirred up controversy, particularly with the judicial
commission member and PBC representative, Khalid Ranjha,
coming out against the idea. In the present environment,
perhaps it would be wiser for the judiciary to limit its
comments to those made from the bench and not from the


04, May, 2012


Blasts in Sindh


A NUMBER of low-intensity blasts occurred in different
parts of Sindh on Wednesday. Prominent among the targets
were ATMs and branches of the National Bank of Pakistan,
while train tracks were also targeted in a few places,
briefly disturbing rail traffic. Though several people were
reportedly injured, there were thankfully no fatalities.
Pamphlets belonging to a group calling itself the Sindhu
Desh Liberation Army were found at the blast sites; the
outfit has in the past been associated with blasts
targeting rail tracks and gas installations in the
province, and the current wave of attacks indicates it has
expanded its reach, considering that the explosions took
place in locations across Sindh. According to the
pamphlets, the group is fighting “for the independence of

If some nationalist militant groups want to create the
impression that Sindh’s problems are similar to those of
Balochistan, this would be debatable. Indeed, parts of
Sindh — especially the ‘interior’ — face major problems,
such as poverty, lawlessness, malnutrition and lack of
infrastructure. But it is difficult to accept that the
situation in Sindh is at par with what is going on in
Balochistan. Sindh’s views are expressed by the PPP in the
provincial assembly as well as in parliament, as the party
considers Sindh its power base. Also, Sindhi nationalist
parties of all hues — both those that believe in
parliamentary politics and those that do not — are quite
active. So it is hard to fathom that Sindh’s voice is not
being heard within the federation. These acts of terrorism
only harm the genuine causes of Sindh and are akin to
punishing the people of the province. What was achieved by
targeting people drawing their salaries from banks and
disrupting rail traffic? Sindh’s causes and concerns are
best expressed in the legislatures. There are major issues
that need attention. But if these are not being addressed
is resorting to acts of sabotage and terrorism the best
option? If the system is not delivering, Sindh’s elected
representatives must be asked what is preventing the uplift
of the province’s under-developed areas. Terrorism can
never be considered a genuine method of raising grievances.


04, May, 2012


KP power project


IT is important to note that Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has taken a
lead over the other provinces by not only formulating the
Hydropower Generation Plan to generate hydel power but also
by starting work on it. The inauguration of the 36.6MW Dral
Khawar Power Project in Bahrain, Swat, on Saturday is the
first step in the scheme. The hydropower plant will be the
first ever energy project launched by any provincial
government in the country since the passage of the historic
18th Amendment to the constitution empowering the provinces
to take up their own energy projects. The plan envisages
the completion of 24 hydropower projects across the
province to produce 2,100MW of electricity over the next 10
years at a cost of Rs330bn. The implementation of the plan
should create thousands of new jobs and kick-start economic
activities in the province while helping to reduce power
cuts. That the formulation of the plan enjoys the support
of many political parties represented in the province will,
hopefully, ensure its continuity even after the incumbent
government is gone.

Other provinces have done little to produce electricity
from their own resources to address growing power
shortages. For example, the Punjab government that misses
no opportunity to take Islamabad to task for increasing
electricity shortages has done little on its own to
generate power. The budgetary allocation of Rs9bn for
initiating energy projects this year has been diverted
elsewhere because it politically suits the provincial
government. Sindh, too, has not taken any steps of note to
utilise the huge Thar coal reserves for power generation,
and is yet to come up with an energy policy or plan. Punjab
and Sindh must learn from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and follow the
example the latter has set in spite of the various problems
it has to deal with, including the menace of terrorism.


04, May, 2012


Al Qaeda’s fears


THE Osama letters — 17 select letters to and from Osama bin
Laden dated between 2006 and 2011 and recovered from his
Abbottabad hideout — offer only a partial view of what the
Al Qaeda leadership was thinking and plotting during its
years on the run. Nevertheless, they do appear to suggest
what many analysts of Al Qaeda have claimed over the years:
that creating a radical Islamist movement with an iconic
leader at its heart was easier than keeping it together,
coherent and focused. In page after page, Al Qaeda’s
leadership is seen fretting over the need to hold together
their movement and to perpetuate its message while
preventing it from being ‘corrupted’ or ‘diluted’ by new
entrants with diverse agendas. Equally, Al Qaeda seems to
be struggling to make an impact of its own, its cadres
either on the run from drones or being tasked with fanciful
plots like trying to bring down a plane carrying the US

The overall message of the 175 pages of documents released
is that while Al Qaeda continues to want to wreak global
damage its capacity to do so has definitely been
undermined. This is a message that a US administration
heading into an election will almost certainly want to send
out for political reasons. But that does not change the
reality that Al Qaeda has been damaged to a significant
extent since 9/11. For all its mistakes — the Iraq war
being a colossal one; the alienation of Iran being a
smaller one that cost the US Iranian cooperation against Al
Qaeda — the US has edged closer to its goal of defeating Al
Qaeda. True, the rise of Al Qaedism — groups that espouse
Al Qaeda’s philosophy of jihad against a diverse group of
targets — has meant that radical Islamist militancy is far
from on the wane; however, at least the US is thinking
about how to confront that threat.

Contrast that commitment with Pakistan’s ambivalent fight
against militancy. While it’s become clear that even within
the security establishment there is recognition of the cost
that policies of old have inflicted on state and society
here and of the threats that confront Pakistan in the
future, there is still no real evidence that meaningful
course correction has been embarked on. Even sharing
information with the public is done in a selective and
arbitrary manner. The Osama commission is still to complete
its work and Pakistanis still do not know how and why the
world’s most wanted terrorist was able to find sanctuary in
Pakistan for many years. Without honesty and clarity of
purpose, the fight against militancy will never be won.


05, May, 2012


Twin resolutions


EMERGING in a determined fashion from the chaos created by
a rowdy opposition in the National Assembly, the PPP and
its allies in parliament came up with two significant
resolutions on Thursday. The first resolution renewed trust
in Prime Minister Gilani following his famous half-minute
sentencing in a contempt of court case. Both the National
Assembly and Senate passed this resolution. The second
resolution was about the creation of a ‘Janoobi Punjab’
province. Presented and passed only by the Lower House, it
nevertheless fulfilled its likely purpose. The two
resolutions were intrinsically linked given the politics
the PPP is keen on practising. The party is seeking to gain
political mileage out of the contempt case by arguing at
public forums that Mr Gilani is being targeted because of
his demand for a Seraiki province. All PPP personalities
who make public statements on a given day are following the
same tactic that entails the linking of the court case to
the party’s lunge towards the creation of a new province
carved out of Punjab. Although ‘Janoobi Punjab’ requires
constitutional cover — support by two-thirds of the Punjab
Assembly which the PML-N controls — the resolution is
nonetheless a strong enough statement by the PPP. It
appears this is the issue around which the PPP would like
to evolve its strategy for the next election — even though
in recent times its leadership has made some effort to try
and avert or minimise the blowback from upper and central
Punjab districts.

The other resolution, which reposes faith in a convicted
prime minister still awaiting a full ruling that explains
his conviction, is a manifestation of a strong will to
fight on. Under pressure on moral and legal grounds, the
government has strived to project many of its court battles
as fights for the supremacy of parliament. There are many
questions but perhaps the opposition would want to have the
full contempt order before it presses on. What the
opposition cannot ignore is that a vote of confidence for
the prime minister has its value in the realm of practical
politics where majorities always count.


05, May, 2012


Mohammad Asif’s release

THE release of fast bowler Mohammad Asif from a British
jail on Thursday brings back memories of the spot-fixing
scam at Lord’s in 2010. The nasty scandal, which also
involved Salman Butt, who was then captain of the national
team, and bowling prodigy Mohammad Aamir, brought
unprecedented shame and torment to Pakistan cricket. The
subsequent lengthy bans that were imposed on the trio by
the International Cricket Council and the nerve-racking
trial in London’s Southwark Crown Court resulting in jail
terms for the three cricketers as well as bookie Mazhar
Majeed, continue to haunt Pakistan sports fans to this day.
Here we must recall with regret how Pakistan squandered a
golden opportunity to nip the fixing menace in the bud in
1999-2000, when the famous Justice Qayyum inquiry
commission undertook the task to expose some cricketers
involved in match-fixing.

Sadly, though, the recommendations made in the report were
not only brushed aside by the then PCB regime, the culprits
named in it continued to represent Pakistan, with the
exception of former captain Salim Malik who was banned for
life from playing cricket. Not taking serious note of the
recommendations then has caused irreparable damage to
Pakistan cricket now. The ramifications of this remain a
source of concern for a whole generation of young players
who realise that it will take the ICC and cricket teams
around the world a long time before they can once again put
their faith in Pakistani cricket. While the great strides
made by Misbah-ul-Haq and his team during the last 12
months in world cricket are commendable and have, to some
extent, restored the country’s image, Pakistan has
continued to see some of its players with immense potential
being sidelined because of suspicions of corruption and
cheating, which is deplorable to say the least.



          C O L U M N S / A R T I C L E S N E W S


29, April, 2012


Appeasing the hawks


By Cyril Almeida

SO now we know. The Supreme Court doesn’t have the gumption
to pick the nuclear option in a fight of its own making.

Many will whisper the reason but few will say it out loud
for fear of attracting the court’s ire. So with a prayer
and the hope that a spirit of magnanimity prevails, here is
a question to ponder: is the court of Iftikhar Chaudhry an
ideologically divided court?

To the outside observer, evidence suggests that there are
hawks and there are doves and often what emerges as case
law is a compromise between the two groups.

It’s been honed to near-perfection by now: the hawks nudge
everyone towards the brink and then the doves herd everyone
past the well of death.

Rewind to January. The bench tasked with getting the NRO
order of December 2009 implemented issued its own order.
Instead of decisive action, ‘six options’ were presented
and the matter referred back to the chief justice for a
decision by a larger bench.

In those six options lies perhaps the most direct evidence
of the gap in thinking between the hawks and the doves.

The doves’ approach is broadly: let political matters be
decided in the political arena; avoiding putting so much
pressure on the system that everyone, including the judges,
may end up going home; and take care to not get dumped with
all the blame for triggering unintended consequences.

The hawks’ thinking: let the heavens fall, our duty is to
uphold the law; the government is epically corrupt and
monumentally incompetent and is a threat to the interests
of the country; the winds of history are at the backs of
the judges and theirs is a historic opportunity; and a new
constitutional order will only emerge if bold decisions are

When converted into judicial-speak, the positions of the
doves and the hawks on the matter of the Swiss letter are
set out in option six and one respectively of the January

Parsimony isn’t a strong suit of judicial-speak, so bear
with the lengthy reproductions. First, the doves:

“Option No. 6: The constitutional balance vis-à-vis
trichotomy and separation of powers between the
Legislature, the Judiciary and the Executive is very
delicately poised and if in a given situation the Executive
is bent upon defying a final judicial verdict and is ready
to go to any limit in such defiance then instead of
insisting upon the Executive to implement the judicial
verdict and thereby running the risk of bringing down the
constitutional structure itself this Court may exercise
judicial restraint and leave the matter to the better
judgment of the people of the country or their
representatives in the Parliament to appropriately deal
with the delinquent.”

Translation: accept the limits of judicial power and drop
the matter or else run the risk of system collapse.

The hawks’ option:

“Option No. 1: … A chosen representative of the people
deliberately violating such a sacred trust and disregarding
his commitment in that regard with Allah Almighty may
hardly qualify to be accepted as ‘ameen’…. Court has an
option to record a finding in the above mentioned regards
and it may hand down a declaration to … the effect of a
permanent clog on the Prime Minister’s qualification for
election to or being chosen as a member of Majlis-e-Shoora
[Parliament] or a Provincial Assembly. Somewhat similar
oaths had also been made by the Co-Chairperson of the
relevant political party before entering upon the office of
the President of Pakistan and by the Federal Minister for
Law, Justice and Human Rights Division before entering upon
the office of a Federal Minister and apparent breaches of
their oaths may also entail the same consequences.”

Translation: For violating their oaths of office by defying
a categorical order of the Supreme Court, chuck out the PM,
Zardari and the law minister from politics forever.

Positions thus staked out, at extremes from one another,
the demands of the hawks and the doves are laid before the
chief justice.

He is the vital man. Hawk or dove, to the last man they
follow their leader. And no decision of the chief justice
has been as vital as the one to move with consensus. No
split judgments, no dissenting opinions, the court of
Iftikhar Chaudhry speaks as one.

It’s an approach with consequences outside the judicial

Appeasing the hawks meant hauling up the prime minister for
contempt after he bluntly refused to do what the court has
ordered and hence the circus of the past months.

Listening to the doves meant a legally and constitutionally
sound judgment that has left everyone wondering what was
the point to picking a fight the court wasn’t willing to

We’ve seen this before, particularly with the 18th
Amendment. The hawks then wanted a hermetically sealed
judiciary in which the judges themselves decide who can or
cannot become a judge. But when parliament decided
otherwise, the hawks pushed for judicial review of the
amendment and pressed for it to be overturned.

Worried about judicial overreach and the court being
dragged through the mud, the doves fashioned a compromise:
a judgment that made clear what the judiciary wanted
without directly ordering parliament to do the court’s
bidding. Parliament chose to listen to the judicial advice
and the 19th Amendment was the result.
Compromises have a habit of leaving everyone unhappy and
unsatisfied. Pick a fight you can win or don’t pick it at
all. But behind monoliths there are divisions and
appeasement becomes necessary.

There will be more heart-stopping moments, dashed hopes and
hand-wringing ahead because the hawks can’t be ignored. But
better hawks who have to be appeased than hawks who get
their way in the end.

The writer is a member of staff.



30, April, 2012


Dangerous waters


By Hajrah Mumtaz

GERMANY is having to invest half a million euros on
controlling the re-release of a book that proved itself to
be of immense danger: Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf.

The first edition of the book was published in 1925 and up
until 1945 an estimated 10 million copies of it were in
circulation. The Nazi government in fact ensured healthy
sales: after 1933, every newly married couple in Germany
received a copy and second-hand bookshops were barred from
selling it.

After the Second World War ended and Hitler’s forces were
defeated, however, Germany not only banned its publication
but also put curbs on displaying it in public and placing
it prominently in shop windows (although the book has
continued to be widely available in other parts of the
world and is downloadable on the Internet).

Now, however, Germany is having to reconsider its stance
since the copyright on the book, currently held by the
Bavarian state finance ministry, expires in 2015. After
that date, anyone will be able to publish the book.

So the authorities are attempting to pre-empt the
possibility of any future exploitation by right-wingers by
planning a highly controlled re-release and putting the
official version out first.

The hope is to neutralise the noxiousness of the book and
the ideology it articulates by including in the new
official and annotated version commentaries dissecting and
rubbishing Hitler’s arguments.

Since there is the obvious possibility that more young
people might be reading it after the re-release, Germany is
also working on a separate, simplified version for schools,
as well as an official e-book and making it available in
audio formats. State authorities intend to seek ‘intense
discussions’ with bookshop and publishing houses to
voluntarily commit to avoiding selling or reprinting
unannotated versions of Mein Kampf after the copyright on
it expires.

The attempt is to demystify the book — and Hitler’s
ideologies — and put the work in the context of the
catastrophe it led to, identifying it as a very dangerous
way of thinking. Yet for obvious reasons, the issue seems
to be relevant, now — more than 65 years after the Second
World War ended — to mainly Germany.

For the rest of the world, as noted earlier, the book has
been freely available and many argue, in fact, that it has
been relegated to the status of a historical curiosity. It
retains its significance, but has little relevance in the
modern world.

As one contributor to The Guardian put it, “[…] it is an
open question whether Hitler’s rant still has much
practical appeal. The first part comprises his
reminiscences, carefully sculpted to suit his purposes as
an aspiring politician in Weimar Germany. His nostalgia for
the trenches, his rage against the ‘November criminals’ who
engineered Germany’s capitulation, and his tirade against
the Treaty of Versailles can hardly inspire politicians of
any stripe today. The second part, which outlines the
ideology and tactics of the National Socialist movement, is
similarly archaic.”

There is reason to be grateful for that. The world has
moved on to a place where the targets of the far right are
no longer the same as that of a book many consider amongst
the most articulately racist ever written. (Even though
some writers, including the above-quoted David Cesarani,
consider it to be a “ticking time-bomb”, racism, obviously,
remains a live issue in the modern world; it’s just that
the profile of the ‘wrong people’ has changed.)

Encapsulated there is the problem: dangerous ideas, once
articulated, cannot be contained, especially when the
literature laying them out has been produced.

Should, then, ‘dangerous’ literature be allowed to be
produced at all? The problem there is what constitutes
‘dangerous’ and who’s making the call.

There are a great number of cases where books have been
banned, and sometimes their authors hunted down, because a
repressive state considers them ‘dangerous’. The Soviet
Union banned Dr Zhivago in 1988 because of the criticism it
contained of the Bolshevik party. Nadine Gordimer’s July’s
People was banned in apartheid-era South Africa.

Chinese writer Shen Congwen’s ideas were considered so
dangerous by both the communists and nationalists of China
that they were banned in Taiwan , while in mainland China
publishing houses not just burned the books but melted down
the printing plates, almost erasing his name from the
modern Chinese literary record.

Yet in other situations, it is easy to discern and agree
upon ‘dangerous’ literature: that which contravenes the
laws that many countries — including Pakistan — have in
place with regard to incitement to violence against other
groups, religions or sects, or spreading hatred against
members of other communities.

This is where Pakistan, so fond of bans otherwise, is
swimming in dangerous waters by allowing the literature of
hate to be published and disseminated unchecked. On the
market and in the public sphere are a very large number of
publications put out by various big and small far-right and
extremist groups, that can easily be said to be inciting
communal and sectarian hatred, or fostering militancy and
anti-state activity.

They can be found at any large book fair, on sidewalk book
stands, and pamphlets that are freely distributed. The
ideologies they articulate are deeply dangerous given the
already riven and fragile nature of inter-community
relations within this state.The country is fighting the
monster of terrorism, militancy and inter-sectarian and
inter-ethnic divisions with boots and guns but is leaving
this ‘soft’ aspect of the matter alone. How many minds such
literature poisons is anybody’s guess. This deficiency
needs to be addressed. Dark ideas and dangerous ideologies
can be dissipated, but as illustrated by the Mein Kampf
example, once they acquire physical form the task becomes
all the harder.

The writer is a member of staff.


01, May, 2012


Truth and Terror


By Rafia Zakaria

THE compound has been demolished and the wives shipped off
to Saudi Arabia. In the one year since Osama bin Laden’s
death the physical evidence of his presence, his home and
household have all but been eliminated from Pakistani soil.

If these demolitions and departures were indicators of the
end of an era, the dislocation of terror and its tentacles
in Pakistani soil then Pakistanis could all have heaved a
collective sigh of relief on this day and marked it as the
moment when they kissed terror and its bloody legacy good

As history or fate would have it, such sentimental scenes
are not destined for Pakistan. According to the South Asia
Terrorism Portal, the country saw 476 major incidents of
terrorism (major classified as involving three or more
deaths) in 2011.

The worst of them came not before but after the raid on
Osama bin Laden’s compound, when 90 people, paramilitary
and civilians were killed as two suicide bombers attacked
an FC training centre in Charsadda.

The attacks have continued unabated since, the period from
January until April of this year 2012 already having
witnessed 201 bomb blasts with hundreds killed and injured.
The year and a half period from 2011 to the middle of 2012,
has seen more people die of terrorist attacks in Pakistan
than Americans in the whole decade since 9/11.

Pakistan’s casualties from terror are not simply those who
have died in the attacks themselves. Every dying man and
woman to fall in the unfortunate path of the suicide bomber
or automated blast has left behind him or her an unseen
mourning horde of those that must live on, lives forever
interrupted, inexplicably and unjustly.

The conflict between security forces and terrorists has
wreaked its own havoc in the enactment of Pakistan’s terror
tragedy. A few weeks ago, UNHCR, the UN refugee agency,
announced that 208,000 internally displaced people are now
living in the Jalozai camp in Nowshera since January of
this year, a number said to represent only 15 per cent of
the actual people displaced from their homes.

Many of these wandering victims of terror, homeless and
hungry, are just as hapless as the dead According to Oxfam,
nearly half a million people are in dire need of
humanitarian assistance, with a recent influx of 63,000
families putting tremendous stress on the resources
available. Nearly 80 per cent of the displaced families
have no access to healthcare or medicines.

When the death of Osama bin Laden was announced a year ago
today, those assessing the success or defeat of the war on
terror from the safe distance of faraway lands rejoiced and
believed. A poll conducted in Pakistan days after found
Pakistanis unsure.

Conducted by YouGov, in collaboration with Polis at
Cambridge University, the poll found that 66 per cent of
educated Pakistanis did not believe that Osama Bin Laden
was killed in the attack.

Another poll, conducted by Gallup International also
conducted in the immediate aftermath of the raid, found
that only 25 per cent of Pakistanis actually believed that
the person attacked in Abbottabad that day was Osama bin

When asked whether terrorism would increase, decrease or
remain unchanged, nearly three-quarters of Pakistanis
believed that it would increase or at best remain

As the ensuing year’s numbers have shown, they were right.
Counting casualties, direct and indirect, dead or almost
dead, maimed by bombs or bullets delivers a prognosis that
shows terror living well and claiming much, hiding in
cities and towns and felling young and old with hate or
hunger. But the doubt over Osama bin Laden’s death amid the
continuation of the very disease it was supposed to cure
points to another casualty.

The first decade of the war on terror, punctuated by
today’s anniversary of the death of the mastermind most
visibly associated with it, has produced not only
casualties of flesh and blood but also of truth and belief.

Pakistanis did not doubt Osama bin Laden’s death because
the crystal balls or nocturnal visions indicated no
cessation in bombings and killings, or because of secretly
nursed sympathies that venerated a mass murderer, or any of
the other explanations bandied about by those who would
magnify the death of the man into an epic victory.

Pakistanis did not believe in the death of Osama bin Laden,
because the most tragic, heartrending and invisible
casualty of terror in Pakistan has been the death of truth
With the proliferation of terror has come the elevation of
secrecy, a new creed practised by governments and
intelligence agencies, foreign governments and spymasters,
extremist outfits that change names with the seasons and
all those who shelter them. This intricate web of the
unknown that weaves through every event and breathes souls
into the corpses of doubt has meant the end of fact in
Pakistan. The bomb blast at a train station, the murder of
a journalist, the verdict of a court nothing can be solved
or explained or predicted because nothing can be believed.

There are many scars inflicted on the suffering by
conflict, this one cast on one and all bleeds everyday and
is never bandaged, draining drop by drop the spirit that
sustains a nation.

Bleeding internally and externally, one year after Bin
Laden’s death, Pakistan is not misunderstood and the truth
more so. As the reason for deaths, the causes of
catastrophes, the elusiveness of justice or accountability
present day-after-day new tableaus of anarchy, it seems
laughable and even cruel to consider that many in the world
thought and still think that the death of a single evil man
could mean much or anything when the deaths of so many
innocent others have meant absolutely nothing.

The writer is an attorney teaching political philosophy and
constitutional law.


02, May, 2012


Listening to Chinese whispers


By Mahir Ali
NEITHER China nor the United States could have been
thrilled by Chen Guancheng’s decision to seek refuge at the
US embassy in Beijing on the eve of their Strategic and
Economic Dialogue.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Treasury
Secretary Timothy Geithner were scheduled to arrive in the
Chinese capital yesterday, but were preceded earlier in the
week by Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell.

Although he was photographed in a Beijing hotel, a blanket
of secrecy surrounded Campbell’s arrival on Sunday, a week
after Chen dramatically escaped house arrest in Donshigu in
Shandong Province, made his way to Beijing and eventually
decided that the American mission would be his safest bet.

As of yesterday, neither the US nor China had officially
acknowledged his presence at the US embassy.

Although it is claimed that representations requesting his
freedom had periodically been made, until a couple of weeks
ago Chen was hardly an international cause célèbre in the
same league as the outspoken artist Ai Weiwei or the 2010
Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo.

Blind since birth, Chen had got himself into trouble with
local authorities in 2005 by taking up cudgels on behalf of
the victims of a relentless sterilisation campaign.

In 2006, the largely self-trained lawyer was sentenced to
more than four years in prison on the ostensibly absurd
charges of destroying property and disrupting traffic. He
remained under effective house arrest, though, even after
his jail term ran out, and has alleged that up to 100
members of the security services were deployed to keep him
isolated and immobile.

Analysts have been comparing his case with that of Fang
Lizhi, a dissident astrophysicist who sought — and was
granted — American asylum in the wake of the Tiananmen
Square massacre in 1989, but was compelled to spend 13
months hidden in the US embassy while officials from both
sides deliberated over his fate.

Fang, who had been accused by Deng Xiaoping of
masterminding the Tiananmen uprising, was eventually
allowed to travel abroad for ‘medical treatment’. He died
last month in Tucson, Arizona. Chen is a far less prominent
dissident, and what potentially complicates matters is his
reported desire to remain in China. He apparently believes
the nation is on the cusp of dramatic change, and shortly
before turning up at the US embassy a statement from him
was posted on the Internet requesting the premier, Wen
Jiabao, to take measures against the abuse of his family.

It has since been reported that certain family members as
well as those who assisted in Chen’s flight from illegal
imprisonment have themselves been taken into custody.

The extraordinary lengths to which the Chinese authorities
are prepared to go in the ostensible interests of
maintaining ‘stability and harmony’ underline some of the
contradictions unleashed by efforts to reconcile strict
political authoritarianism with market forces at the
economic level.

The Chinese economy’s phenomenal growth in recent decades
bears testimony to a degree of success that no one could
have predicted in the late 1970s, when Deng, the Zhou Enlai
protégé, sporadically derided (not entirely inaccurately,
it must be said) as a ‘capitalist roader’, triumphed in the
power struggle following the old guard’s demise. Despite
occasional expressions of reformist intent, however, it has
been accompanied by unrelenting political repression —
which makes China a particularly attractive proposition for
foreign investors, as it combines an effectively endless
supply of cheap labour with little risk of unrest among the

The Communist Party leadership couldn’t possibly be
unaware, though, that deepening disparities of wealth could
ultimately provoke an explosive reaction.

Yet its ability to pre-empt such an explosion is
questionable. The case of Bo Xilai points towards the
tendency of local party bosses in the vast country to
establish veritable private fiefdoms.

Until he was toppled last month, Bo, the Chonqing party
secretary who had been hailed for leading a crackdown
against criminality and corruption, was spoken of as a
probably candidate for the powerful standing committee of
the Communist Party politburo later this year, when the
current leadership is expected to make way for a new

His downfall was partially accounted for by his wife’s
alleged role in the death of a British businessman, Neil

The charge appears to have been substantiated by Chonqing’s
former police chief, Wang Lijun, who in February sought
asylum at the US consulate in Chengdu but eventually
‘agreed’ to surrender to the Beijing authorities (and
hasn’t been seen since then).

Apparently, it wasn’t so much the Heywood murder that
precipitated Bo’s collapse as the discovery — thus far
unacknowledged by Beijing — that the local leader had been
systematically wiretapping his colleagues and superiors.

According to a report in The New York Times, he even
listened in when President Hu Jintao spoke to a senior
anti-corruption official who was visiting Chonqing.

Bo publicly criticised the growing gap between rich and
poor and encouraged sing-alongs that harked back to the
Cultural Revolution, while he and his family members and
cronies were busy amassing wealth.

Heywood had been associated with the family for a long
time, and is said to have been instrumental in enabling
some of this wealth to be stashed away overseas.

It has been conjectured that he sealed his fate when he
demanded too big a cut from Bo’s wife, Gu Kailai — once
described as China’s Jackie Kennedy.

The case has been described as China’s Watergate, although
the cover-up will inevitably be a great deal more
successful in a country where the state goes to great
lengths to maintain curbs on information and discourse, and
systematically penalises opinions that diverge from the
party line.

It routinely censors the Internet, but may well be fighting
a losing battle on that particular front.

China’s economy may well overtake that of the US before the
end of the decade, but the People’s Republic ultimately
cannot live up to its name without giving the people a
meaningful say in how they are governed.

A capitalist edifice raised on socialist foundations cannot
indefinitely endure. Sooner or later, change will come —
and, at least in the short run, it may not be for the
better. The only question is whether it can be accomplished
without lapsing into chaos.


03, April, 2012


State vs the people


By I.A. Rehman

THE maddening operation in the Lyari area of Karachi has
once again exposed the law-enforcement personnel’s
incapacity to deal with an armed and organised challenge
without grievously harming the innocent population in and
around the theatre of conflict.

In any such situation, the first question that always comes
to mind relates to the factors contributing to a clash
between criminal outfits and the forces of law and order.
In the case of Lyari, the role of certain political
elements in creating, training and protecting militia-like
bands has often been mentioned in public debates.

Even if this knowledge was not easily available any
investigating authority would have concluded that the so-
called Lyari gangs could not have built up their arsenals
of heavy weaponry without the connivance of the state
apparatus, if not its collusion. Nor could they have
acquired the means of raising, training and maintaining a
force capable of murder and extortion and subverting peace
in other ways.
It is not for the first time that Pakistani authorities
have been forced to go all out in their campaign to stamp
out the monsters of their own creation. A heavy cost has
already been paid for their failure to remember the lesson
known to the whole world that any authority that creates a
private army to serve its interests through the unlawful
use of violence has ultimately to wipe it out. This has
happened even when resort to violence is inspired by a
noble cause, such as national liberation.

But Karachi has been home to quite a few unlawful militias
raised by several contenders for dominant status in the
metropolis — mostly by political parties, ethnic
communities and religious organisations. There have been
crackdowns on armed groups, some brief and others spread
over considerably long periods, and the general impression
is that each of these operations ran aground before
realising its final objective.

Have appropriate lessons been learnt from the latest anti-
crime drive? For quite some time, the authorities have
claimed that the present operation is aimed at ridding
Karachi of all criminal gangs regardless of their political
or ethnic affiliations. Can this assertion be upheld in an
independent probe?

An important issue in debate is the timing of the operation
in Lyari. When did the authorities realise the threat from
the Lyari desperadoes? Could the operation there have been
more successful or would its purpose have been achieved
over a shorter period and with smaller cost if it had been
launched earlier? After all, Lyari had been, or should have
been, on the official radar since the killing of Rahman
Dakait (dacoit).

The way the Lyari operation has been conducted has been
criticised on more counts than one. Doubts have been raised
on the soundness of intelligence reports on the basis of
which the plan of action has been drawn — assuming that the
raids on gangs have followed a definite plan.

It has been alleged that those conducting the drive against
armed gangs have not hesitated from using private militants
against their rivals in criminal undertakings. If these
allegations are correct the tactic cannot be too strongly
condemned. Such dangerous aberrations have been witnessed
during the conflict with terrorists in the northern parts
of the country, and the horrible consequences witnessed
there should have deterred anyone from using the recipe for
civil war in the country’s largest city.

Above all, the need to avoid causing unnecessary suffering
to the population of Lyari does not seem to have received
due attention. A large number of people were caught in the
crossfire as both sides resorted to indiscriminate firing.

Many more were put to hardship by the non-availability of
water and foodstuff. The sick could not receive medical
care. Quite a sizeable section of the population was forced
to migrate to safer places.

It is true that anti-social elements can add to the
suffering of the people in their neighbourhood and even
manoeuvre anti-police demonstrations with a view to
creating public sympathy for themselves. Yet the
deficiencies in the law-enforcement agencies’ standard
manual are no secret. They lack training in the controlled
use of firepower and are generally unfamiliar with the
methods of establishing order through reliance on non-
lethal force.

They tend to panick in the face of resistance and forget
whatever instruction in the principle of proportionality in
countering violence with violence they might have received.

In any case, the people have a right to be reassured that
all necessary precautions were taken to guarantee that the
innocent residents of the locality were not exposed to any
risk. The authorities must be made to answer a few
elementary questions.

Was the Lyari population warned of the possibility of
running battles in their streets? Was any attempt made to
mobilise the law-abiding people in support of the operation
that could disrupt their normal life? Were the people
living in the targeted pockets given the option to move to
safe places? Were any relief squads organised to extend
succour to the unintended victims of the state agents’

These questions need to be answered, possibly by a high-
powered commission of inquiry that may be asked to probe
all the operations against the terrorists, target-killers
and extortionists carried out in Karachi over the past many
years. It is necessary to ascertain what steps have been
devised to prevent the state functionaries from indulging
in target-killing, extortion or other excesses. Are they
offered training and refresher courses in the use of force,
especially firearms, while pursuing their quarries? Is any
policy of compensating the innocent victims of operations
against criminals for loss of life and property in place?

Unless a thorough probe can satisfy the public on these
points the distrust between the state and the citizens will
widen, respect for the law will decline further and peace
and tranquillity could be disturbed by those very hands
that are supposed to maintain them.


03, May, 2012


The post-Osama terror factory


By Jawed Naqvi

I MUST confess I was among the feckless journalists that
wouldn’t believe for days after the event a year ago that
Osama bin Laden was killed or could be killed without the
help of Pakistani intelligence.

Many analysts staked their reputation over the
inevitability of Pakistani collusion in Osama’s death. The
true story remains mired in claims and counter-claims.

So much so that President Obama was ticked off by officials
of the US Navy SEALs for claiming undue credit. There was a
story this week about a vital tip-off the Americans got
from Pakistani intelligence on Osama’s secret courier whose
movements were tracked and eventually led to the Al Qaeda
chief’s lair near a Pakistani army cantonment. The debate
continues, drawing new battle lines, killing old alliances,
building new ones.
It was such an incredibly daring operation fraught with
risks. After all, in 1980 another Democratic president lost
a second bid for the Oval Office after a similarly daring
operation went wrong. The attempt to rescue American
hostages from their captors in Tehran misfired in a stormy
Iranian desert.

Pictures of President Obama and his team watching the real-
time execution of Osama bin Laden added to the pervasive
sense of achievement that followed and lingered on for
weeks, months, across the oceans.

And yet, in political cat and mouse, rarely does the
assassination of an adversary lead to an anticipated
dénouement. The meticulously planned elimination of Osama
in his lair last May appears today at best to have been a
vendetta killing of a macabre villain. By all accounts, the
threat of religious terrorism associated with the 9/11
mastermind remains very much alive and ready to mutate into
more ominous forms of horror.

According to a recent CNN news alert, a 22-year-old
Austrian named Maqsood Lodin could represent new forms
religious terror may acquire. He has been questioned by
police in Berlin since May last year after he had returned
from Pakistan. Lodin’s interrogators were surprised to find
that hidden in his underpants were a digital storage device
and memory cards. Buried inside them was a pornographic
video and a file marked ‘Sexy Tanja’.

After sustained efforts to crack a password and software to
make the file nearly invisible, German investigators
discovered encoded inside the video a treasure trove of
intelligence — scores of Al Qaeda documents that included
clues about plots and a road map for future operations.

These plots, according to CNN, include the idea of seizing
cruise ships and carrying out attacks in Europe similar to
the gun attacks by Pakistani militants on Mumbai in
November 2008.

US intelligence sources told CNN that the documents
uncovered are “pure gold”; one source says that they are
the most important haul of Al Qaeda materials in the last
year, besides those found when US Navy SEALs raided Osama
bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad.
One Al Qaeda document makes it clear that the group is
aware it is being followed. “It specifically says that
western intelligence agencies have become very good at
spoiling attacks, that they have to come up with new ways
and better plotting.”

While the document ‘Future Works’ does not include dates or
places, nor specific plans, it appears to be a
brainstorming exercise to seize the initiative and again
install Al Qaeda on front pages around the world. The
question remains: is the world really much safer after
Osama bin Laden.

As assassinations go, Osama’s killing seems almost passé in
its import against some other individual fatalities,
including the less immaculately planned and nearly
spontaneous assassination of Archduke Ferdinand in the
Balkans in 1914.

Those two bullets fired on a Sarajevo street on a balmy
June morning in 1914 set in motion a series of events that
shaped the world we live in. The First World War, the
Second World War, the Cold War and its conclusion all trace
their origins to the gunshots that interrupted that summer

By contrast, Osama’s killing will at best find an echo in
the American presidential race in November this year. But
even President Obama who ordered the assault will not be
quite so sure that the proverbial trophy of the victim’s
head was good enough to see him home and dry against the
gathering Republican challenge. Who knows, but had the Al
Qaeda chief been nabbed alive the secular world and
probably President Obama himself would have benefited more.

The cynical cost-benefit factor in the bizarre terror hunt
has all the potential to make ordinary people wary of the
shifting motives behind the global dragnet. What would make
any serious observer suspicious about celebrating the
anniversary of Osama’s death as some kind of a game-changer
in the big fight is the palpable shift in focus about the
quarry. From Al Qaeda and groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba it
spawned, suddenly out of the blue, a new battle cry has
brought Iran in the crosshairs of global terror hunt.

As an Indian journalist I have watched together with other
angry colleagues how a fellow journalist has been made a
pawn in the new chess game between Iran and its detractors,
with India playing a cowardly facilitator, in a post-Osama
terror hunt.

An alleged bomb attack on an Israeli diplomat’s car in
Delhi was without a moment’s pause declared to be the
handiwork of Iran. Until this incident, all the alleged
villains were Sunni groups variously based in Pakistan,
Bangladesh and India. Suddenly, Iran, which itself was and
reportedly still is a target of Al Qaeda’s Pakistan-based
allies, has become the terrorist-in-chief.

I wonder how Syed Mohammed Kazmi, now lodged in Delhi’s
Tihar jail for the alleged attack on the Israeli car, a
charge he has vociferously denied, will observe the
anniversary celebrating Osama bin Laden’s death. As far as
his friends are concerned, and they are highly respected
Indian journalists, Kazmi was by far the best informed
correspondent who had enviable contacts in nearly all the
countries of the Middle East. He challenged the West in
Syria, in Iraq and on Iran.

The terror factory works both ways. It spawns a culture of
indiscriminate mass murderers. It also enables the most
applauded democracies to turn slowly, unobtrusively, into
police states.

The writer is Dawn’s correspondent in Delhi.


04, May, 2012


Jaya, Rekha to sit separately in parliament


By Jawed Naqvi
NEW DELHI, May 3: Did Indian movie actress Jaya Bachchan
who doubles as an elected member of the Rajya Sabha ask for
a new seat number that will move her away from Rekha, a
former screen rival and newly nominated MP, once
romantically linked with Ms Bachchan’s husband and cine
star Amitabh Bachchan? The Telegraph of Kolkata reported on
Thursday that the new arrangement will ensure the two women
do not appear together in live telecasts of the house

Rumours were rife about the seating arrangement for the two
women MPs after the Manmohan Singh government nominated Ms
Rekha (one name) to the Rajya Sabha together with cricket
star Sachin Tendulkar. Ms Rekha’s rumoured affair with Mr
Bachchan saw them working together in several successful
movies with romantic storylines.

As the reel-life chemistry fired the imagination of
cinegoers and resulted in the 1970s movie “Silsila” (The
Affair), the Amitabh-Rekha relationship acquired iconic
status. Jaya Bachchan played the unhappy but eventually
successful wife of her real-life husband Mr Bachchan in the
movie while Rekha was loved by fans as the proverbial other

According to The Telegraph the Rajya Sabha secretariat has
accepted a plea from Ms Jaya Bachchan, a Samajwadi Party
MP, to change her seat from 91 to 143.

Ms Rekha, who has been recommended for nomination to the
Rajya Sabha, is expected to be allotted seat 99, “which
means the Silsila co-stars will be far apart from each
other and are unlikely to be seen in the same frame when
proceedings are telecast,” The Telegraph said.

Sources close to Ms Bachchan claimed the change was
prompted by the death of an MP who had occupied the seat
next to her. Had the original arrangement been followed, Ms
Rekha would have sat almost behind her cine rival.

According to the Rajya Sabha website, “ordinarily, once
seats are allotted to members, no changes are made during
the currency of the session, unless they are absolutely
essential and even if few changes are made, care is taken
that these changes do not upset the general seating
arrangement till the duration of the session”.
Seat 143, Jaya’s new perch, was occupied by another
Samajwadi member.

Sachin Tendulkar, who has also been recommended for a
nominated membership, will be allotted seat 103. It is,
however, not known when Rekha and Tendulkar will take the
oath of office. The process could be completed next week.

The writer is Dawn’s correspondent in Delhi.


05, May, 2012


Lucymemsahib and SAP


By Irfan Husain

OVER the years, billions of dollars in foreign aid have
been poured into Pakistan’s social sector. Nevertheless,
literacy remains stubbornly below 50 per cent, and life
expectancy at birth is at 66 years, 164th lowest in the

So why this abysmal and sustained failure by successive
Pakistani governments and international donors in solving
these perennial problems? After all, other similarly placed
countries have made great strides in both critical areas.
Sri Lanka, to name one, has long had a literacy rate of
over 90 per cent, and life expectancy there is above 75.

One reason is our prodigious birth rate: Pakistan’s
population has grown around six times since Partition,
climbing exponentially from around 32 million in 1947 to
close to 190 million now. But planned parenthood is another
issue the donor community as well as a few Pakistani
governments have tried to address, to little avail.
Despite the fact that none of our religious texts bans
family planning, many of our reactionary politicians have
opposed such programmes tooth and nail.

Much literature has been produced by social scientists to
explain these failures, but few writers, to my knowledge at
least, have succeeded in getting to the heart of the
matter. It has taken a medical doctor to produce a nuanced
understanding of the dynamics of social-sector programmes,
and the reasons why they have been such dismal failures.

In her book So Much Aid, So Little Development, Dr Samia
Waheed Altaf has delved deeply into her personal experience
based on years working for the Pakistan government, as well
as for donor agencies. Thus, she has been able to give
readers an insight into the inner working of both
bureaucracies. And as a medical practitioner, she has
observed at firsthand the poorly designed programmes that
foreign ‘experts’ push.

As her template, Dr Altaf uses our Social Action Programme
or SAP (does anybody remember that ill-fated attempt at
poverty alleviation?). But her book is not just another
academic exercise: rather, it’s a lucid, sardonic look at
why things are in such a mess.

At the centre of the book is ‘Lucymemsahib’, a composite
‘development expert’ based on other well-meaning foreigners
who travel the world, trying to devise and implement
programmes in societies where they don’t speak the
language, and don’t understand the customs.

In my many years as a civil servant, I have observed the
interaction between various government departments and
donor agencies at close quarters. For our government,
grants and loans from overseas represent a much-needed
boost to our foreign-exchange reserves. Thus, these inflows
are courted and welcomed, irrespective of the nature of the

For donors, there is normally a budget for sectors and
countries, so there is pressure on agency bureaucrats to
disburse these funds before they lapse. Usually, they are
judged not by the end result of long-gestation projects,
but by their efficiency in doing the paperwork, and signing
Thus, neither Pakistani civil servants nor their foreign
counterparts are accountable for where the money went, and
whether it did what it was supposed to in terms of impact.

The first thing written into a project proposal is
transport for the team leader and his staff. Next comes
foreign training and visits to the headquarters of the
donor agency for meetings and discussions.

A big chunk of the budget goes towards the salaries and
allowances of foreign experts who can easily command a
consultancy fee of $2,000 a day. What’s left is then
divided up between local staff.

One problem Dr Altaf highlights is what happens when
medical technicians are trained to work in, say, maternal
and child health centres of provincial governments. Because
there is no clearly defined career path for them, they
mostly go abroad or work for themselves. In the rural
areas, they can easily get away with styling themselves as

In her book, Dr Altaf skewers the many bureaucrats she
comes across in Pakistan, and recounts hilarious encounters
and discussions. Poor Lucymemsahib misses much of what’s
going on around her, maintaining a constantly bewildered
air while delegating the actual work to her associate, Dr
Altaf. Here is one project director instructing his staff
on his priorities for a new social-sector project:

“Vehicles, make sure you put in vehicles. Four-wheel-
drives, vans, jeeps, pickups, even motorcycles and
scooters. You never know what the project might need.”

One underling points out that POL (petrol, oil, lubricants)
might be a problem because running costs and maintenance
have to be covered by provincial governments. A colleague
suggests a way around: these people are old hands at
working the system.

Although Dr Altaf uses wit liberally throughout her book,
her anger over what’s wrong with the whole international
aid racket bursts out now and then. Here, she vents her
rage with the so-called development experts who flit around
the world, dispensing half-baked nostrums:
“You call yourself an expert, you go halfway around the
world at enormous financial cost to the country you are
sent out to help. (World Bank experts do not come cheap.
All the cost of their technical input, including premium
air travel, five-star hotel accommodations, any other
related expenses, are part of the loan to the developing
country.) You give expert advice to national governments on
a sensitive and crucial technical issue that has far-
reaching economic consequences. You know your advice will
be taken seriously, and you know very well that it is half-

Due to the gender-oriented projects on which Dr Altaf has
worked in Pakistan, she has dealt with many professional
women in offices and in the field.

Almost invariably, she finds that their effectiveness is
reduced because of the male-dominated environment in which
they work. Her view of Pakistani male civil servants, with
their patronising attitude towards women (unless they are,
like Lucymemsahib, foreigners), is severely jaundiced.

When SAP was finally shut down in 2003, there were few
tangible results from this costly exercise. Generations of
Pakistanis will have to repay the loans obtained from
sundry countries and institutions whose ‘experts’ profited
mightily from the ill-fated programme.

Given the fact that Pakistani resources met 80 per cent of
SAP’s huge costs, citizens have the right to demand a
proper accounting. Who did the money help, apart from those
directly involved with the programme? What, if any, lessons
were learned? I’m sure Lucymemsahib and her tribe won’t
care for the answers, but Dr Samia Altaf does.

The writer is the author of Fatal Faultlines: Pakistan,
Islam and the West.


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